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“The wild geese do not know where they are but they are not lost. Knowledge can lift the veil. It can also become the veil. “In the pursuit of knowledge every day something is added,” Lao Tsu declared. “In the practice of the Tao, every day something is dropped.” This is not mere anti-intellectualism; it is a recognition of both the importance and the limitations of knowledge.

–James Carse from “Breakfast at the Victory”

“Sufis speak of their nafs, or the false self that takes the place of the soul. Somewhat more complicated than the concept of the ego, the nafs refers to all that in ourselves which has become an object for others or for ourselves. it is our visible self, the tangible, public aspect of a personality. it is what we see when we look at ourselves, it is what we present to others to be seen by them. It is what stands in the way of our oneness with others, with ourselves, with the Divine. The nafs in each of us has a life of its own, logical, powerful, real. Sometimes the Sufis describe it as a hungry yellow dog that stays begging at our side until we learn to drive it away. Sometimes it pops out of our throats in the form of a mouse or a young fox.”

from “Breakfast at the Victory” by James P. Carse

IF ONLY WE HAD TALLER BEEN

-by Ray Bradbury

The fence we walked between the years
Did balance us serene;
It was a place half in the sky where
In the green of leaf and promising of peach
We’d reach our hands to touch and almost touch that lie,
That blue that was not really blue.
If we could reach and touch, we said,
‘Twould teach us, somehow, never to be dead.
We ached, we almost touched that stuff;
Our reach was never quite enough.
So, Thomas, we are doomed to die.
O, Tom, as I have often said,
How said we’re both so short in bed.
If only we had taller been,
And touched God’s cuff, His hem,
We would not have to sleep away and go with them
Who’ve gone before,
A billion give or take a million boys or more
Who, short as we, stood tall as they could stand
And hoped by stretching thus to keep their land,
Their home, their hearth, their flesh and soul.
But they, like us, were standing in a hole.
O, Thomas, will a Race one day stand really tall
Across the Void, across the Universe and all?
And, measured out with rocket fire,
At last put Adam’s finger forth
As on the Sistine Ceiling,
And God’s great hand come down the other way
To measure Man and find him Good,
And Gift him with Forever’s Day?
I work for that.
Short man, Large dream. I send my rockets forth between my ears,
Hoping an inch of Will is worth a pound of years.
Aching to hear a voice cry back along the universal Mall:
We’ve reached Alpha Centauri!
We’re tall, O God, we’re tall!

If Only We Had Taller Been – Ray Bradbury

*with thanks to Beth for her posting

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Joan of Arc

I know this now. Every man gives his life for what he believes. Every woman gives her life for what she believes. Sometimes people believe in little or nothing yet they give their lives to that little or nothing. One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. And then it is gone. But to sacrifice what you are and live without belief, that's more terrible than dying.--

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Beannacht

On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.

And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

John O'Donohue, Echoes of Memory