“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
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.
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
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
----too much in that shot
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
No one ever alone
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)