Inspirations

harebell

On this page, as time allows, I’ll be adding snippets of others’ writings that inspire me on the theme of our relationship to the soul, and to other (human or other-than-), and world.

Here are a few:

The entire cosmos is a cooperative. The sun, the moon, and the stars live together as a cooperative. The same is true for humans and animals, trees, and the Earth. When we realize that the world is a mutual, interdependent, cooperative enterprise – then we can build a noble environment. If our lives are not based on this truth, then we shall perish. Buddhadasa Bhikkhu

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‘”Make of yourself a light”‘
said the Buddha
before he died.’ Mary Oliver

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‘Three things differentiate living from the soul versus living from the ego only. They are: the ability to sense and learn new ways, the tenacity to ride a rough road, and the patience to learn deep love over time… it is not from the everchanging ego that we love one another, but rather from the wild soul… It takes a heart that is willing to die and be born and die and be born again and again.’ Clarissa Pinkola Estes

*

‘Humans are tuned for relationship. The eyes, the skin, the tongue, ears, and nostrils–all are gates where our body receives the nourishment of otherness. This landscape of shadowed voices, these feathered bodies and antlers and tumbling streams–these breathing shapes are our family, the beings with whom we are engaged, with whom we struggle and suffer and celebrate.’ David Abram

*

‘We could learn to stop when the sun goes down and when the sun comes up. We could learn to listen to the wind; we could learn to notice that it’s raining or snowing or hailing or calm. We could reconnect with the weather that is ourselves, and we could realize that it’s sad. The sadder it is, and the vaster it is, the more our heart opens. We can stop thinking that good practice is when it’s smooth and calm, and bad practice is when it’s rough and dark. If we can hold it all in our hearts, then we can make a proper cup of tea.’ Pema Chodron

*

‘To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.’ Mary Oliver

*

‘THE ANCIENT RHYTHMS OF THE EARTH: The earth is our origin and destination. The ancient rhythms of the earth have insinuated themselves into the rhythms of the human heart. The earth is not outside us; it is within: the clay from where the tree of the body grows. When we emerge from our offices, rooms and houses, we enter our natural element. We are children of the earth; people to whom the outdoors is home. Nothing can separate us from the vigour and vibrancy of this inheritance. In contrast to our frenetic, saturated lives, the earth offers a calming stillness. The patience of nature enjoys the ease of trust and hope. There is something in our clay nature that needs to continually experience this ancient, outer ease of the world. It helps us remember who we are and why we are here.’ John O’Donohue 

*

‘Eden, I think, is not simply a mythical place, or a metaphor for original innocence, or an outworn and divisive religious symbol. Eden is a state of being, and we are free to return every time we know ourselves again in deep communion with the rest of life.’ Eleanor O’Hanlon

*

‘When there is the encounter with the other, when there is mutuality, when there is presence, when there is giving and receiving, and both are changed in that encounter, that is the moment when you can begin to move toward transformation.’
Richard Rohr

*

‘For me, living a full life means being open to experience and persuasion, experimenting endlessly with new arguments and knowledge, risking ridicule by testing new ideas. The thought of descending into static respectability appalls me.

‘Dante was right. The inner circle of Hell is a place where nothing changes, where life is frozen into immobility, where no one can change their destiny. When people claim that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, or that a leopard can’t change its spots, they shut themselves out of life.’
George Monbiot

*

‘… to a poet, the human community is like the community of birds to a bird, singing to each other. Love is one of the reasons we are singing to one another, love of language itself, love of sound, love of singing itself, and love of the other birds.’ Sharon Olds

*

‘When the Pleiades and the wind in the grass are no longer a part of the human spirit, a part of our very flesh and bone, man becomes, as it were a kind of cosmic outlaw, having neither the completeness and integrity of the animal nor the birthright of a true humanity.

‘We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature, and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, and greatly err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.’  Henry Beston

*

‘Until the human is understood as a dimension of the earth, we have no secure basis for understanding any aspect of the human. We can understand the human only through the earth.’ Thomas Berry

*

‘When I write about nature directly, or refer to it, here are some things I don’t mean, and a few I do.

‘I don’t mean nature as ornamental, however scalloped and glowing it may be.

‘I don’t mean nature as useful to man [sic] if that possibility of utility takes from an object [also sic] its own inherent value. Or, even, diminishes it.

‘I don’t mean nature as calamity, as vista, as vacation or recreation.

‘I don’t mean landscape in which we find rest and pleasure – although we do – so much as I mean landscapes in which we are reinforced in our sense of the world as a mystery, a mystery that entails other privileges besides our own – and also, therefore… right and wrong behaviors pertaining to that mystery, diminishing it or defending it.’ Mary Oliver

*

‘The language of the hill country… or of any sacred place, is not the language of pen on paper, or even of the human voice. It is the language of water cutting down through the country’s humped chest of granite, cutting down to the heart and soul of the earth, down to a thing that lies far below and beyond our memory.’  Rick Bass

*

‘At times of personal crisis and struggle I have used nature as a co-therapist. Spending time in nature has helped to centre and ground me, giving me the space and support to deal with my issues. I have also found metaphors of my struggle in the form of trees, plants or animals which have enabled me to understand and process my difficulties. I believe that deep within us there is a stored memory of our ancestors’ intimacy with nature. We can bring to life this powerful bond through trips into woods, fields and up mountains, walks by lakes and the sea. Even by sitting in our gardens surrounded by plants, or growing vegetables in our allotments, we can find healing and peace.’ Martin Jordan

*

‘Mortals dwell in that they save the earth – taking the word in the old sense… Saving does not only snatch something from a danger. To save really means to set something free into its own presencing. To save the earth is more than to exploit it or even wear it out. Saving the earth does not master the earth and does not subjugate it, which is merely one step from spoilation.’ Martin Heidegger

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‘Never believe that a group of committed citizens can’t change the world; indeed, it might be the only thing that ever does…’ Margaret Mead

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‘The earth does not belong to us; we belong to the earth.’ Chief Seattle

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‘Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realise we cannot eat money.’ Cree Proverb

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‘And those who were seen dancing were thought insane by those who could not hear the music.’ Nietzsche

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‘To apprehend things – walking on a hill, seeing the light change, the mist, the dark, being aware, using the whole of one’s body to instruct the spirit… it dissolves one’s being. I am no longer myself, but a part of a life beyond myself.’ Nan Shepherd

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‘In every heart there is a coward and a procrastinator.
In every heart there is a god of flowers, just waiting
to come out of its cloud and lift its wings.’   Mary Oliver

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‘A sense of place is the sixth sense, an internal compass and map made by memory and spatial perception together.’ Rebecca Solnit

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‘It is a mathematical fact that the casting of this pebble from my hand alters the centre of gravity of the universe.’ Thomas Carlyle

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‘I was raised to believe in a spirit world, that life exists before the earth and will continue to exist afterward, that each human being, bird, and bulrush, along with all other life forms had a spirit life before it came to dwell physically on the earth. Each occupied an assigned sphere of influence, each has a place and purpose…And if the natural world was assigned spiritual values, then those days spent in wildness were sacred.’ Terry Tempest Williams

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‘A story is like the wind: it comes from a far-off place and we feel it.’ Kalahari bushman, quoted by Laurens van der Post

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‘And so I came to live my life not according to plan or conscious design, but rather as someone following the flight of a bird.’ Laurens van der Post

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‘If a true poet, as Randall Jarrell once said, is someone who is struck by lightning several times, then the only thing a poet can do is make sure he keeps going out… You can work at your poetry but you can’t work at your inspiration.’ Adam Phillips

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‘Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.’ Plato

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‘Inside this clay jug
there are canyons and pine mountains
and the maker of canyons and pine mountains
all seven oceans are inside
and hundreds of millions of stars.’
Kabir, tr Robert Bly

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‘People who lean on logic and philosophy and rational exposition end by starving the best part of the mind.’ W B Yeats

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‘A world of humans without a self-identification that extends into the other than human realms is an unsustainable world. It will lack the ability to pay attention to the very relationships that ultimately sustain it. It will not know the health of its children is inseparable from the health of its soils and forests and waters, for example, and so through nature attention disorder it will sow the seeds of its own collapse.’ Larry Glover

*

‘The older we get, the deeper we dig into our childhoods,
Hoping to find the radiant cell
That washed us and caused our lives to glow in the dark like clock hands
Endlessly turning toward the future.’
Charles Wright, ‘Archaeology’

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Two questions: ‘Am I supporting an accelerating pace of insensitive globalization, and so also supporting the destruction of the very world of nature I hold dear? Am I contributing to the economic and social injustices unintentionally fostered upon third world peoples by a privileged few?’ Larry Glover

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‘During the Enlightenment, in which science became the dominant philosophy of the western world, the sun was metaphorically seen as the light of reason. The rational, logical, linear, analytical mind was the source of this light, what we might call “solar” consciousness . . . Yet when the world is seen as a place where everything is alive and in communication – that is, as an interactive dance of multiple subjects possessing their own interiority – then metaphorically, we are no longer oppressed by the unitary, solar viewpoint . . . This type of consciousness, which by contrast we might call “lunar,” sees all things as alive and meaningful.  Lunar consciousness includes all the marginalized parts of ourselves that are so necessary to our health and to the health of the world: the emotional, the non-rational, the intuitive, the beautiful . . . The deeper we go into the mind, the more the lunar qualities of human consciousness become prominent.’  Stephen Aizenstat

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‘It is this sense of community that embraces stones, water and soil that Aldo Leopold was talking about when he said, ”’We abuse land because we see it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.”’ Jonty Williams

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‘I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart’s affections, and the truth of imagination.’ John Keats

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‘The universe is composed of subjects to be communed with, not objects to be exploited. Everything has its own voice. Thunder and lightning and stars and planets, flowers, birds, animals, trees – all these have voices, and they constitute a community of existence that is profoundly related.’ Thomas Berry

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‘We also belong to something larger than the places we know best, to a community of living things that’s more diverse and fascinating, and more humblingly complicated and beautiful, than we can possibly imagine.’ John Aitchison in The Ecologist, January 2016

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