Deeper into the Forest

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Pulling 

My sweater closer

I walk deeper 

Into the forest

Of ancestors.

© Salem Islas-Madlo 2016

“In gratitude, I bow to this land and all of the ancestors who made it available. I see that I am whole, protected, and nourished by this land and all of the living beings that have been here and made life easy and possible for me through all their efforts. I see all those known and unknown. I see all those who have made this country a refuge for people of so many origins and colors, by their talent, perseverence, and love–those who have worked hard to build schools, hospitals, bridges, and roads, to protect human rights, to develop science and technology, and to fight for freedom and social justice. I see myself touching my ancestors who have lived on this land for such a long time and known the ways to live in peace and harmony with nature, protecting the mountains, forests, animals, vegetation, and minerals of this land. I feel the energy of this land penetrating my body and soul, supporting and accepting me. I vow to cultivate and maintain this energy and transmit it to future generations. I vow to contribute my part in transforming the violence, hatred, and delusion that still lie deep in the collective consciousness of this society so that future generations will have more safety, joy, and peace. I ask this land for its protection and support.”  ~III Touching of the Earth, Thich Nhat Hanh, Plum Village

It Is Nothing

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Enlighten your desires.

Meditate on who you are.

Quit imagining.

What you want is profoundly expensive,

and difficult to find,

yet close by.

Don’t search for it. It is nothing,

and a nothing within nothing.

~Lalla,  Naked Song

 

Light Upon Light

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Fire energy

Lavender flames

Trumpeting

 Inner truths

Healing fear

In the will to live

To thrive in the face

Of adversity

My heart

Pulsing

With faith

Light upon light

Joining ancestors

Brightly burning

In the midnight sky.

© Salem Islas-Madlo 2016

Revelation

 

each lily

opened

as a new understanding

Source: Revelation

I’ll Stay With My Heart

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Kisses from the sky

Every pale petal blushing 

Summer days deepen

© Salem Islas-Madlo 2016

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Shades of loneliness

Dreams of far away places

Caught in summer rain

© Salem Islas-Madlo 2016

 

Stay the Course

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From its lofty position above the tops of most other trees, the pine reminded ancient peoples of the importance of taking the overview, encouraging objectivity and farsightedness. We are advised to cleanse ourselves of negativity, neither dwelling on mistakes nor apportioning blame. Pine is a symbol of the elevated mind and the birth of the spiritual warrior.   ~Jane Gifford, The Wisdom of Trees

In hushed tones

She whispers,

The Goddess

Of the forest,

‘Stay the course,

It is time

To be

Your own

Master

Amidst the chaos

Cleansing

Your soul

In the

Great stillness

Of

Winter

Solstice

Resting in

The sacred

Heartbeat

Of the forest

Embracing

The healing presence

Of inner light

And

Peace.

© Salem Islas-Madlo 2015

*this post was inspired by the following documentary:

https://www.facebook.com/forestethics/videos/10153503154834221/?theater

The Receptivity of Being Empty

empty room

I want to make myself an empty room:

Quiet whitewashed walls with slant sunshine

And a fresh breeze through open windows.

Some days are extremely fluid, and all possible courses of action are equally attractive. Rather than do something arbitrary, it is far better to empty oneself completely. Then the more subtle currents of life may be felt. One should avoid the mistake of random action.

Arbitrary action will most likely be out of accord with the times. It is artificial, a structure that we impose from our own thought. Such movements are invariably stilted and wooden; they do not have the fresh perfection of the natural.

We do not have enough peace. Yet peace will never be attained by perpetual action. Stirred water never has the chance to settle clear. A tree buffeted by winds can never grow straight. Give up all unnecessary activity. Give up all arbitrary actions. Make yourself receptive. The peace that you seek shall be quickly at hand.

-Deng Ming-Dao

empty

*photos in order of appearance:

girl with light, http://vestidoslindosatelier.tumblr.com/post/42690429819

window with curtain, by Alan: https://www.flickr.com/photos/weardaleone/2728024132/

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

The Intervals In-between

bird chirping

Bird chirp, vanguard for coming rain,

Dog skitters through twilight village.

Smoke raises a column through the pines,

Contented families dine in golden windows.

Life’s pulse is gauged in the hollows, the intervals between events. If you want to see Tao, you must discern these spaces. This requires leisure, the chance to sit and contemplate, and the opportunity to respond to inner urgings.

If you can find a place to retreat, you can make a life where Tao will flood into you. Out in the woods, or in the mountains, or even in small villages where the times are slow paced and the people sensitive to nature, there is the possibility of knowing the deep and the profound. Only when you have the time to accumulate an unshakable belief and faith can you glimpse the Tao in which there is restfulness and a natural sense of what is right.

-Deng Ming-Dao

rain drops

*1st photo by John MacTavish on Flickr

Singing a happy song

*2nd photo found on http://natalienet.tumblr.com/post/13156864629

**This post is dedicate to two very special people in the twitter community:

@SusieAreYouOk and @lintychim

Lunar Eclipse and Sweet Harmony

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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.)