American Poetry, Poetry

It is Better to Write, Then Die – Patti Smith

"I could hear / the freemen call / the way is hard / the gate is narrow / what matter I say" Patti Smith's A Writer's Song pays homage to the instinct for laying one's mat 'among the reeds' and writing one's name 'upon the water'. Writing, she suggests, is a response in tune with… Continue reading It is Better to Write, Then Die – Patti Smith

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Letting Go of Hope – Pema Chodron

When Things Fall Apart continues to be one of the most enduring spiritual books of the last century that holds wide appeal as a treatise on suffering and how to manage it. Pema Chodron recommends that we lean into pain and suffering, rather than avoiding it or trying to escape it. In this extract from… Continue reading Letting Go of Hope – Pema Chodron

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Brahman, God, Allah and the Tao – Alan Watts

Among Alan Watts' most compelling qualities was his fascination with different systems  of faith and his ability to draw comparisons and lines of equivocation between them in a way that they would further illuminate each other. He stressed the importance of looking at the experience of religion rather than the schema of a doctrine, writing in his… Continue reading Brahman, God, Allah and the Tao – Alan Watts

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Let Us Be Contented – Winston Churchill

Today's Dewdrop is dedicated to the memory of Spencer Steadman (1978-2019). He was a great man and an exceptional friend as well as an avid admirer of Winston Churchill. This following passage from Churchill's memoirs was read at his funeral today.   Let us be contented with what has happened and be thankful for all… Continue reading Let Us Be Contented – Winston Churchill

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Gurdjieff and The Two Rivers

George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff was a mystic and a spiritual teacher of Armenian descent whose philosophy and insight are often quite difficult to initially grasp, but who nonetheless left a significant mark in 20th century western spirituality. Gurdjieff's chief hypothesis was that man lived in a perpetual state of 'sleep' and could only utilize his full… Continue reading Gurdjieff and The Two Rivers

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Leo Tolstoy on the Crisis of Reason and Faith

"I understood that, however irrational and distorted might be the replies given by faith, they have this advantage, that they introduce into every answer a relation between the finite and the infinite, without which there can be no solution." So said Leo Tolstoy about his agonizing struggle with existence in the light of setting rationality up… Continue reading Leo Tolstoy on the Crisis of Reason and Faith

American Poetry, Poetry

One Must Have A Mind Of Winter

Picking up on Les Kaye's theme of harmonizing our inner lives with the demands and responsibilities of work, it's inspiring to look at a poet like Wallace Stevens who composed his poems while commuting to and from his job as a lawyer and businessman. A fervent advocate of the transformative power of the imagination, Stevens… Continue reading One Must Have A Mind Of Winter

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Materialism and the Monastic Life

Is it necessary to live in a monastery in order to pursue a spiritual path? How can we focus in our daily lives in the midst of a technological and cultural onslaught? These are the questions that Les Kaye, the abbot of Kannon Do Zen Meditation Center in Silicon Valley, puts to the reader in… Continue reading Materialism and the Monastic Life