A Room for Wonder and Awe

“I did not ask for success; I asked for wonder.
And You gave it to me”

"Khob gebetn vunder anshtot glik, un du host zey mir gegebn.

–Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

Rabbi Heschel, some years ago made a significant difference in my life through his book The Sabbath I am not Jewish, and this blog is not intended to proselytize for any religion or belief system. However, as we all struggle, wrestle, and then have days of pure joy, it occurred to me that having a “room” where quotes as that above could be shared, and might serve to buoy us when we need it – A quiet room for reflection and peace. All are welcome to contribute. Poems, quotes, brief essays are all fair. With that said here are two more quotes from Rabbi Heschel from the book I Asked for Wonder, ed. by Samuel H Dresner

To Mock the Dawn
"We can never sneer at the stars, mock the dawn or scoff at the totality of being. Sublime grandeur evokes unhesitating, unflinching awe. Away from the immense, cloistered in our own concepts, we may scorn and revile everything.

But standing between earth and sky, we are silenced by the sight…"

“Awe is an intuition for the dignity of all things, a realization that things not only are what they are but also stand, however remotely, for something supreme.

Awe is a sense for the transcendence, for the reference everywhere to mystery beyond all things. It enables us to perceive in the world intimations of the divine,…to sense the ultimate in the common and the simple; to feel in the rush of the passing the stillness of the eternal. What we cannot comprehend by analysis, we become aware of in awe.”


Metta (Traditional Buddhist Prayer)

May I be happy

May I be free from strife and disease

May I be free from suffering

May I attain peace

May my friends and family be happy

May my friends and family be free from strife and disease

May my friends and family be free from suffering

May my friends and family attain peace

May those I conflict with be happy

May those I conflict with be free from strife and disease

May those I conflict with be free from suffering

May those I conflict with attain peace

May all beings be happy

May all beings be free from strife and disease

May all beings be free from suffering

May all beings attain peace


The Student

By Billy Collins (The Trouble with Poetry)

My poetry instruction book,

which I bought at an outdoor stall along the riv-


contains many rules

about what to avoid and what to follow.

More than two people in a poem

is a crowd, is one.

Mention what clothes you are wearing

as you compose, is another.

Avoid the word vortex,

The word velvety, and the word cicada.

When at a loss for an ending,

have some brown hens standing in the rain.

Never admit that you revise.

And—always keep your poem in one season.

I try to be mindful,

but in these last days of summer

whenever I look up from my page

and see a burn-mark of yellow leaves,

I think of the icy winds

that will soon be knifing through my jacket.


Eternal Now

By Adyashanti (Emptiness Dancing)

Take a moment

to check and see if you are actually here.

Before there is right and wrong,

we are just here.

Before there is good or bad, or unworthy,

and before there is the sinner or saint,

We are just here

Just meet here, where silence is—

where the stillness inside dances.

Just here, before knowing something, or not knowing

Just meet here where all points of view merge into one point,

and the one point disappears

Just see if you can meet right now

where you touch the eternal,

And feel the eternal living and dying at each moment.

Just to meet here—

before you were an expert

before you were a beginner.

To just be here,

where you are what you always will be

Where you will never add anything to this,

or subtract anything

Meet here, where you want nothing,

and where you are nothing.

The here that is unspeakable,

Where we meet only mystery to mystery,

Or we don’t meet at all

Meet here where you find yourself

by not finding yourself.

In this place where quietness is deafening,

and the stillness moves too fast to catch it.

Meet here where you are what you want

and you want what you are

and everything falls away

into radiant emptiness.


I y’am what I y’am

Popeye (The Sailorman)


Tap dancing in ballerina shoes

a newborn heart appears

Translucent skin lights the stage

Cooing joy, the rhythm begins

The audience stirs

A sense of stardust filling the room

The shimmering presence of all that is

tap dancing in ballerina shoes

–Lorraine H.


2 D’s Club

You know the one

In the seedier part of town

Only traditional jazz played here

And we’re cool with that

The atmosphere – sometimes smoky

Poker game in a back room

At the end of the bar,

Sitting – head hanging, bobbing

---- Way down low


An ash precariously long

A shot

----too much in that shot

Brown skins

So many brown skins in this club

Common ground at 2 D’s

Oh yes, plenty of white folks too

2 D’s does not discriminate

The beautiful people walk in

You know the ones,

Just coming to make a show of themselves

They are asked to leave

■■■■’s real here

Take your faux potions and lotions

Down the street

■■■■’s real here


We’re family

No one ever alone

–Lorraine H.

Fresh morning snow in front of the shrine.
The trees! Are they white with peach blossoms
Or white with snow?
The children and I joyfully throw snowballs
–Daigu Ryokan (1758-1831)

i also read that book years ago & loved it

Thanks for sharing!