For the Sake of True Love

img_3281

But for the sake

Of true love

I let go…

Of pride

Of fear

Of illusion

Misunderstandings

Like a wind

Blowing through 

The forest

In a sacred dance

Of leaves

I let go…

For the sake

Of true love

I let go…

© Salem Islas-Madlo 2016*

“Everyday we say or do things that might leave behind ‘internal formations’ in the person we love. Following that, then the suffering and pain grow, and the person we love turns into something like a bomb that might explode at any moment. A few words are all it takes to trigger anger in this person, who you are afraid to approach and who you are afraid to talk to because he or she has become a bomb loaded with too much suffering. When you try to get away from him or her, this person thinks you do so out of contempt and their suffering increases. You also have become a bomb, because you have lost the ability to speak the language of peace, of understanding. You have lost the ability to listen, and so all communication has become impossible.”  ~Thich Nhat Hahn, True Love

img_3272

Cultivating the energy of loving speech and deep listening is a daily practice that begins with ourselves. When we reach that point where we are no longer able to speak and listen with compassion either to ourselves or to another being then its time to pause and look deeply and to trust our heart to guide us. The practice of mindfulness can help us. Mindful breathing and walking. It can help us to come back to ourselves. Bringing our mind and body together in alignment. That happens because we take the time to be present with ourselves by connecting with our breath. Or if we are walking our concentration is on the step connecting with the Earth. This brings a sense of grounding to our being. A space of calm can open our hearts so that we can see ourselves again. Mindful breathing helps us to take care of our body, our painful emotions, and to become aware of our mind.  Sometimes we lose perspective and see ourselves as something apart…something separate. We become overloaded because we aren’t taking care of ourself. But, we don’t have to get caught up in the stories we tell ourselves. Instead, we can retrain ourselves to focus our attention. When looking at our views and perceptions we can find a way to let go of our conditioning, illusions and misunderstandings. We don’t have to do anything…we don’t have to try hard. Breathing happens naturally because we are alive. We just need to notice our breath. Coming back to our breath and reconnecting with our bodies and mind opens up a space for our heart to guide us back to safety…the island of mindfulness. Where we can reconnect to Life. To True Love.

img_3269

*this poem is dedicated to the monks and nuns, Wake Up staff from Plum Village and laypersons who guided us through the retreat “Happy Teachers Change the World” at EIAB during October 14th-23rd

Dragonfly Songs

img_3139

Time

To read 

The signals

Traveling 

On the wind.

© Salem Islas-Madlo 2016

img_3146

At the edge

Of summer

And autumn

Light softens

Dragonfly song.

© Salem Islas-Madlo 2016

img_3150

“When the air is hot and humid, there is a feeing of dullness and stagnation. Everyone is oppressed by lassitude. As the seasons begin changing, fresh air comes from the arctic. Clouds that have been building up begin to dispense rain, and damp air is exchanged for fresh, cool breezes. At night, the heavens are changing so quickly that lightning flashes from colliding clouds, and thunder heralds the revolving of the skies.

The same is true of human life. If the heavens cannot endure stagnation for long, how can stagnation last with us? If we find ourselves blocked and frustrated in life, we must look for the inevitable outlet. Nothing is permanent, so how can our obstacles last? We need to look for the first opportunity to set things moving again.

On the other hand, sometimes stagnation comes from our own laziness or incompetence. In this case, then it is we who must show initiative and stimulate a breakthrough in dull circumstances. As soon as we see a chance, we must act. Unless we engage ourselves and events fully, we cannot expect to act sufficiently.”

~Deng Ming-Dao

Offering Genuine Presence

Happiness&Freedom

An open heart

In the wilderness 

Of my soul

I smile

At myself

Offering the gift

Of presence.

© Salem Islas-Madlo 2015

“The amount of happiness that you have depends on the amount of freedom that you have in your heart.”

-Thich Nhat Hahn-

*photograph by Noell S. Oszvald,

 http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/noell-oszaid-fine-art-photography

Godlike Qualities

handful o' magic

Worship by cultivating nine fields:

Diet. Herbs. Clothing. Recitation.

Movement. Meditation. Creativity. Teaching.

And most important: Compassion.

Worship is not a matter of making an obeisance to a god. It is a matter of achieving godlike qualities in yourself. This is done through the culitvation of nine areas:

Diet should be moderate, healthy, and of living foods. If you want to be sustained, eat things that themselves sustained life.

Learn to use herbs, for they heal and maintain health.

Be moderate in your clothing; wear natural fibers. What you wear is an expression of your state of mind.

Recitation includes prayer, song, chanting, and finally the practice of silence. What you say becomes reality.

Stretch, move, and exercise every day. The universe moves; so too should the energy within your body.

Meditate every day—once in the morning and once in the evening, if possible. Only then will you attain tranquility and triumph over your dilemmas.

Be creative. Thus we contribute, and thus we elevate our souls.

Acquire a good education. Treasure what you learn, and preserve it so that it may be passed on to others. Never be selfish with what you know.

Above all, be compassionate. This a stand against all evil, and it opens your spirit.

People ask, “How can I worship properly?” Cultivate these nine fields.

-Deng Ming-Dao

*photo found on http://laurajaworski.tumblr.com

Missing Meraki

meraki

In my head

Words fall clumsily

Bruising the soul

Of expression

Lumps

In my throat

© Salem Islas-Madlo 2015

*photo from

 http://www.buzzfeed.com/danieldalton/ever-embasan?utm_term=.lsL4ZlpOY#.uty4b4Q99

Self Exploration

antique bottles

Want ripped a hole

Into the pocket 

Of my life

I lost a lot 

Of energy

To the nickels

And dimes

Of dramatic emotion

Now I empty

My pockets

Everyday

So that 

I can be free

To explore

My true nature

© Salem Islas-Madlo 2015

*photo found on  

https://www.etsy.com/shop/leapinggazelle?ref=unav_listing-r

Lunar Eclipse and Sweet Harmony

S0172047

Excerpts from Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice”:

Lorenzo:
How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank!
Here will we sit, and let the sounds of music
Creep in our ears: soft stillness and the night
Become the touches of sweet harmony.
Look, how the floor of heaven
Is thick inlaid with patines of bright gold:
There’s not the smallest orb that thou behold’st
But in his motion like an angel sings
Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubins;
Such harmony is in immortal souls;
But, whilst this muddy vesture of decay
Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it.
Come, ho! and wake Diana with a hymn:
With sweetest touches pierce your mistress’ ear,
And draw her home with music.

Jessica:
I am never merry when I hear sweet music.

Lorenzo:
The reason is, your spirits are attentive:
The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not mov’d with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils;
The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
And his affections dark as Erebus:
Let no such man be trusted… Music! hark!

Nerissa:
It is your music of the house.

Portia:
Methinks it sounds much sweeter than by day.

Nerissa:
Silence bestows that virtue on it.

Portia:
How many things by season season’d are.
To their right praise and true perfection!
Peace, ho! the moon sleeps with Endymion,
And would not be awak’d.

(Soft stillness and the night
Become the touches of sweet harmony.)