Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Tree You Can Wind Around

A Tree You Can Wind Around

You are like a wisteria vine in a meadow.
You will naturally climb to the highest point
as soon as you are able, and then offer
your brilliant color and scents to the world
the best you can when your tendencies ripen
and the temporal and eternal spring dawns.

Yes, when your season comes,
if a tree were near your arms you would move
towards it as if you were in love,
sensing some potential of giving and receiving more,
achieving your destiny, hanging from the sky.

When you bloom, is it not clear that you will offer
so much to the world to be harvested?
All your limbs, my dear, can entwine with a pillar
of a kindred spirit, like me, and rise and rise and rise
until no one on earth can see you anymore,
for there is no limit to our height.

There are so many ways to touch the world,
if you sing, your sounds will press against
my cheek in a way I desire
if you dance, I will become the ground you bless
as happiness does for this world
if you make love with another form and can satisfy it
any sighs of respite are also mine.

This is just the way things have become
waltzing towards the heart’s passions
one day, my dear, you will realize you
can accomplish everything
just by appearing among us.

If I thought you could hear what I just said
and cash that in – walk off a wealthy person,
I would repeat it, but only for your soul’s own yearning
and the ability to live these words 
yes, the real blessing of this world is simply
you having ever been.

Know that from this realization came dawn
and every benevolent wave that still
spreads out exploring the endlessness of time.

            It may sound as if this is a love poem to an individual, but really, it is a love poem to life itself, to each one of us as an individual, to any person that ever reads these words. That’s the beauty inherent in Hafiz’s poetry – he writes a love story, but not a traditional one. His narration is as personal as it is wide spreading. Anyone who has ever loved anyone (which is everyone), knows that the real blessing of this world is simply you (whoever “you” is) having ever been. Now read this poem as if it is about you. Absorb what it means to change the world with just your very presence in it.  
            What a powerful note to start the New Year on!

My personal resolutions are two:
        1) That instead of judging another from afar, I will picture them standing in front of me, telling me about their own worth: "I am beautiful, unique, loved." I hope I find it more difficult to pass judgement on another human being - a special, once-only, snowflake.
        2) If I feel myself beginning to complain, whether to myself or another, I will spare us both the distaste that comes from whining. Life is precious, I am blessed. I hope I absorb the grandeur of my blessings more on a daily basis.

            I wish all of you a happy and healthy 2014!

Flowering Wisteria in China

Seasons of Love (1996)
Jonathan Larson, RENT

Monday, December 30, 2013

One Outgrows

One Outgrows

At some point you will have to wean yourself
from the pack.
Wish the care of others well.

If you really want to do something for those you love,
want to leave a lasting legacy in this world,

you need to climb higher, or reach deeper within
and what you then find, well –

you won’t need to think about what to do with it.

God spoke your every word in His mind
before your birth. His hand contained your every act.

There is infinite knowledge that resides in you,
for you are the Infinite’s heir.

"Maybe"s are a world one outgrows.

                 This past weekend I read the special issue of Time called "Secrets of Genius". Genius does not come from genes nor can it be learned, it is something wild and unquantifiable. German philosopher, Arthur Schopenhauer wrote: "Talent hits a target no one else can hit, genius hits a target no one else can see." Samuel Johnson wrote: "A genius, whatever it be, is like a fire in the flint." Immanuel Kant, in his 1790 book, The Critique of Judgement, defined genius as "a talent for which there is no definition nor set of rules". Geniuses outgrow the common harvest, they plant their seeds higher and deeper than others. They leave legacies to this world by weaning themselves from the pack. The "cannots" and the "maybes" are no longer in their vocabulary. 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Who Is Living Next Door?

Who Is Living Next Door?

Who is really living next door to you?
To what extent do you know the answer,

and therefore for a minute now and then
are grateful for their presence?

You have heard about God being indivisible;
is that just a rumor?

Is there a difference between God and existence?

Still, most live as if there is
because slowly we learn.

Some ingredient to solving this vital equation
may be missing.

It could be the physical touch of someone
who knows the Truth.

Yes, someone who knows the Truth and lives it.

           The Truth is that everyday humans can perform acts that remind us of God - acts of charity, kindness, and goodwill. A smile, a thank-you, a word of encouragement. Giving up your seat on a train to a stranger or spreading daily joy to loved ones. What acts "count"? Perhaps anything that is happiness spent on others that does not diminish your own. Here's a great list to start with. 
           Below is a sarcastic ad from a Swedish branch of UNICEF about the power of one person, yet in mocking the man they have actually illuminated a point that needs to be heard. The man finds himself in Heaven in the company of Jesus, Mother Teresa, and Mahatma Gandhi. He is sitting at their table, dining with them, and they are asking him, "Wow, what did you do to end up here?" He responds that he merely clicked the ad and saved the life of one child. Some would say, "oh, only one". But is it not beautiful to look at this as incredible instead? Your charitable acts matter, your kindness counts. 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Nothing Like a Yesterday

Nothing Like a Yesterday

When was the last time you felt complete,
so complete, nothing dared approach you?

Nothing like a yesterday, or a tomorrow.
Nothing that could speak.

Nothing that could ever point to something
that would ever need to be done.

Nothing that could not do anything,
but adore you. Adore you. Adore you.  

            When I read this poem, I thought of the following Tagore quote, mainly because I could not visualize a moment where an adult might feel this way (fully complete without any facet of the world able to touch you). "Most people believe the mind to be a mirror, more or less accurately reflecting the world outside them, not realizing on the contrary that the mind is a reflection of itself. We live in the world when we love it... Yes, the smile that flickers on a baby's lips when it sleeps - does anyone know where it was born?" If there are moments like this, the flicker of a smile on a baby's lips, in the adult world, they are brief ones. The moment between a glance and the anticipation of a kiss, the moment of feeling an arm wrap around you just before drifting back asleep, the moment at a cribside staring lovingly before the monitor goes off, the moment you first open your eyes in the morning. Maybe these are our few seconds of nothing but adoration. Cherish them.

River Flows In You (2001), Yiruma

Friday, December 27, 2013

This Is The Time For Silence

This Is The Time For Silence

The beauty of the mountain is talked about
most from a distance,

not while one is scaling the summit
with life at risk.

That is the time for silence, reflection,
and drawing upon all your skills
so you might return from the cloud's domain

and inspire others to breathe closer to God,
while still human,
the way you did.

             This poem reminded me of a quote by Wolf J. Rinke that my father shared with me a while back: "A difficulty for many successful people is that they perpetually look up the mountain, never down. To feel a sense of gratitude you must also take the time to reflect on all that you have already achieved and accumulated. Remember, look down the mountain too." Summiting the mountain can be a metaphor for success. At its peak, the enormity of the mountain is not fully recognized. Sure, its height, its vast presence, the accomplishment of reaching the summit may all be experienced. Conversely, the feeling of magnitude might be more fully achieved through reflection. And as Hafiz concludes, after reflection about your own experiences, you can encourage others to pursue their own equivalents. 
Staubbach Falls, Near Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland (1865)
Albert Bierstadt

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Wanting Our Life To Make Sense

Wanting Our Life To Make Sense 

All day long you do this, 
with movements and thoughts,
and then even in your sleep - 
pan for gold. 

We are looking to find something 
to celebrate 
with great enthusiasm,

wanting all our battles and toil 
and our life to make sense

"I found it, I found it, I found it!" 
a man once began to shout, 
after having spent years in solitude,

"Where?" a young shepherd boy nearby asked.

and the man replied, "It may take a while,
but I will show you.  For now, 
just sit near to me."

                   I really like the conclusion of this poem..."just sit near to me".  The gold you seek is found through loving another, "love is the only gold" (attributed to Alfred Lord Tennyson).
                   I took the picture below on my trip to NYC, the billboard contained nothing else besides this grand message.

Love Wins, 2013
Photograph by: Arden Gewirtz

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Until Now I Had Not Known

Until Now I Had Not Known

Until now I had not known, but henceforth
will never forget,

The Beloved and each moment are one.

Yes, The Beloved and each moment are one. 

                  God is present everywhere. He is found in salt grains and supernovas, at funerals and weddings, at boisterous family gatherings and quiet musings under the covers.
                  Below I compressed three days' worth of filming in NYC into a time-lapsed moment (24-27 seconds). Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Campaigning Religions

Campaigning Religions

As the intelligence of the human race evolves
all the competing – campaigning as it were -
religions will be viewed differently.

One will see they are all basically contestants
in a beauty pageant

and the religion that can make your own
beauty most known will win your heart.

            On the Eve of one of the most widely celebrated religious holidays, people worldwide are preparing ways to present their own beauty: through loving gestures, thoughtful gifts, formal outfits, commutes back home, elaborate meals, etc. If a religion lines up with your worldview and the pleasurable ways you choose to interact with the world, if it illuminates sacred truths and glorious passions, if it helps you to love more fully and exalt your own worth, let it win your heart.

Do You Hear What I Hear? (1963), Bing Crosby