It has been said that there are two kinds of people in the world:
those who seek wholeness (Self) and know it, and those who seek wholeness
and don’t know it. The latter, troubled but clueless of the source,
ignore their doubt, yet live a life of “quiet desperation”
– ultimately wreaking havoc on their life and those around them.
The former, boldly facing and embracing the unknown in their quest for
Self, are “content to begin in doubt, and therefore end in certainty”
What follows are words of certain wisdom, gained from a variety of personal
Taking a Riddle Into the Tavern
For many years my heart wanted something from me,
Not knowing that it was itself that it wanted:
The desire for Jamshid’s Cup,
Wherein all existence can be seen,
Except for that chalice itself, that is.
There was a man beloved of God
Who cried out to God,
“Why have you forsaken me?”
I took the riddle of this into a tavern
And asked the one who served.
He said, “Some secrets must be kept,
Not told to the world at large.
The rosebud and the soul write mysteries
On their margins, fold within fold.
Stay closed and wait.”
—Hafiz (Caravan of Dreams, by Idries Shah)
Holy Mother, Blessed Sister, Spirit of the Fountain,
Spirit of the Garden,
Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still.
—T.S. Elliot, Ash Wednesday
The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao…
Ever desireless, one can see the mystery.
Ever desiring, one sees the manifestations…
Stay with the ancient Tao, move with the present…
The ten thousand things rise and fall
while the Self watches their return.
They grow and flourish, and then return to the source.
Returning to the source is stillness,… the way of nature.
—Lao Tzu, The Tao Te Ching
There might be much or little beyond the grave,
But the strong are saying nothing until they see.
—Robert Frost, The Strong Are Saying Nothing
The man who would learn the human mind will gain almost nothing from experimental
psychology. Far better for him to put away his academic gown, to say goodbye
to the study, and to wander with human heart through the world. There in
the horrors of the prison, the asylum, and the hospital, in the drinking
shops, brothels, and gambling hells, in the salons of the elegant, in the
exchanges, socialist meetings, religious revivals, and sectarian ecstasies,
through love and hate, through the experience of passion in every form
in his own body, he would reap a richer store of knowledge than textbooks
a foot thick would give him. Then would he know to doctor the sick, with
real knowledge of the human soul.
—Carl Gustav Jung
Our age, rich in everything else, is remarkably poor in providing sources
for personal direction and authentic human existence.
—Maurice Friedman, To Deny Our Nothingness
Sometimes it’s easier to see more clearly into a liar than into the
man who tells the truth. Truth, like light, blinds. Falsehood on the other
hand is a beautiful twilight, that enhances every object.
It’s the women of high society that like to keep doors closed [to
social climbers]. They don’t like others to see there’s nothing
—William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair
Insanity is often the logic of an accurate mind, overtaxed.
What’s madness but nobility of the soul at odds with circumstance?
I feel along the edges of life, in search of the open land.
When my friend is away from me, I am depressed;
nothing in the daylight delights me,
sleep at night gives no rest,
who can I tell about this?
The night is dark, and long… hours go by…
Because I am alone, I sit up suddenly,
Fear goes through me….
Kabir says: Listen my friend:
There is one thing in the world that satisfies,
And that is meeting with the Guest.
…If you want the truth, I will tell you the truth:
Friend, listen: the God whom I love is inside.
…Kabir will tell you the truth: Listen brother!
The Guest, who makes my eyes so bright,
Has made love with me.
…Kabir will tell you the truth:
go wherever you like to Calcutta or Tibet;
if you can’t find where your soul is hidden,
for you the world will never be real!
Knowing nothing shuts the iron gates; the new love opens them.
The sound of the gates opening wakes the beautiful woman asleep.
Kabir says: Fantastic! Don’t let a chance like this go by!
…The purpose of labor is to learn;
when you know it, the labor is over.
The apple blossom exists to create fruit;
when that comes the petals fall.
The musk is inside the deer, but the deer does not look for it:
it wanders around looking for grass.
—Kabir (A Fish in the Sea is Not Thirsty,
translated by Robert Bly)
Love is the great traveler, beaconing us to expand ourselves.
Full many a glorious morning I have seen
Flatter the mountain-tops with sovereign eye,
Kissing with golden face the meadows green,
Anon permit the basest clouds to ride
With ugly rack on his celestial face,
And from the forlorn world his visage hide,
Stealing unseen to the west with this disgrace:
Even so my Sun one early morn did shine
With all triumphant splendor on my brow;
But, out, alack! He was but one hour mine,
The region cloud hath masked Him from me now.
Yet Him for this my love no whit disdaineth;
Suns of the world may stain when heaven’s Sun staineth.
Then a cloud passed, and the pool was empty… Go, go, go, said the
bird; humankind cannot bear very much reality. And yet there is that other
dimension altogether in the very short fact of consciousness itself: to
be conscious is not to be in time.
—T.S. Elliot, Burnt Norton, Four Quartets
Leave with your scholarship and your philosophies.
Even if you reduced them to a single hair’s breadth
There would be no room here for those,
As now the dawn comes up.
In the wholeness of the rising Sun
It’s an impudence to light lamps.
In a Dark Time
In a dark time, the eye begins to see,
I meet my shadow in the deepening shade;
I hear my echo in the echoing wood—
A lord of nature weeping to a tree.
I live between the heron and the wren,
Beasts of the hill and serpents of the den.
What’s madness but nobility of the soul
At odds with circumstance? The day’s on fire!
I know the purity of pure despair,
My shadow pinned against a sweating wall.
That place among the rocks—is it a cave?
Or winding path? The edge is all I have.
A steady storm of correspondences!
A night flowing with birds, a ragged moon,
And in broad day the midnight come again!
A man goes far to find out what he is—
Death of the self in a long tearless night,
All natural shapes blazing unnatural light.
Dark, dark my light, and darker my desire.
My soul, like some heat-maddened summer fly;
Keeps buzzing at the sill. Which I is I?
A fallen man, I climb out of my fear.
The mind enters itself, and God the mind,
And one is One, free in the tearing wind.
To act well in this world, one must die within oneself. Man is not on this
earth only to be happy. He is not here merely to be simply honest. He is
here to realize great things for humanity, to attain nobility and surpass
the vulgarity in which the existence of almost all individuals drags on.
The Getsmart Prayer
I do my laundry and you do yours,
I am not in this life to listen to your ceaseless yammering,
And you are not in this world for any discernable reason at all.
You are you, and I am I, and I got the better deal.
And if by chance we find each other, it will be unspeakably tedious.
May Fritz rest in peace. —T.C.G., Parody of the Gestalt Prayer
(Epitaph to Fritz Perls on his death,
Psychoanalytic Quarterly, ~1973)
No bird soars too high, if he soars on his own wings.
When legends die, dreams end.
When dreams end,
There is no more greatness.
—H. Borland, When Legends Die
Thank you falletin’ me be mice-elf again.
—Sylvester Stewart, Sly and the Family Stone
Only in silence, the word
Only in dark, the light
Only in dying, life.
Bright the hawk’s flight
On the empty sky.
—Ursala K. Le Guin, A Wizard of Earthsea
In the Desserts
Truthful I call him who goes into the desert, having broken his revering
heart. In the yellow sands, burned by the sun, he squints thristly at the
islands abounding in wells, where living things rest under dark trees.
Yet his thirst does not persuade him to become like these, dwelling in
comfort; for where there are oases there are also idols.
Hungry, violent, lonely, godless: thus the lion-will wants itself. Free
from the happiness of slaves; redeemed from gods and adorations, fearless
and fear inspiring, great and lonely: such is the will of the truthful.
It was ever in the desert that the truthful have dwelt, the free spirits,
as masters of the desert; but in the cities dwell the well-fed, famous,
wise men—the beasts of burden.
—Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra, 1885
You’ve seen a herd of goats going down to the water. The lame and
dreamy goat brings up the rear. There are worried faces about that one,
but now they’re laughing, because look, as they return, that goat
is leading! There are many different types of knowing. The lame goat’s
kind is a branch that traces back to the roots of Presence. Learn from
the lame goat, and lead the herd home.
We are not sinful merely because we have eaten of the Tree of Knowledge,
but also because we have not eaten from the Tree of Life.
The visible world is neither matter nor spirit, but the invisible organization
—Heinz Pagels, Physicist
The same organizing forces that have created nature in all its forms, are
responsible for the structure of our soul, and likewise, for our capacity
—Werner Heisenberg, Physics and Philosophy
All my attempts to adopt the theoretical foundations of physics [to the
new knowns] failed completely. It was as if the ground had been pulled
out from under one, with no firm foundation to be seen anywhere upon which
one could have been built.
—Albert Einstein, On the New Physics
The progress of science is strewn, like an ancient desert trail, with the
bleached skeletons of discarded theories, which once seemed to possess
Can a butterfly flapping its wings in Brazil cause a tornado in Texas?
—Edward Lorenz, Keynote Presentation on Chaos Theory to the
American Association. for the Advancement of Science
My thesis is this: When we think of the law that thought is a function
of the brain, we are not required to think of productive function only;
we are entitled also to consider permissive or transmissive function. And
this the ordinary psycho-physiologist leaves out of his account.
—William James, Human Immortality, 1897
[What James suggests is that thought is not produced by the brain, any
more than a radio or TV program is created by the home electronic device
that receives it or the station that transmits it. There is instead a willful,
organizing, creative consciousness that is the source, just as with all
broadcast programs. We know and “get” this with TV. Why not
with humans and the brain?]
Communication across the revolutionary divide is inevitably partial.
—Thomas Kuhn, The History of Scientific Revolutions
Not chaos-like, together crushed and bruised,
But, as the world harmoniously confused:
Where order in variety we see,
And where, though all things differ, all things agree.
A: A violent order is disorder: and
B: A great disorder is an order.
These two things are one.
—Wallace Stevens, Connoisseur of Chaos
“I can’t believe that! said Alice.
“Can’t you?” said the Queen in pitying tone.
“Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.”
Alice laughed, “There’s no use in trying,” she said.
“One can’t believe in impossible things.”
“I dare say you haven’t had much practice,” said the
“Why I know some who’ve believed more than two impossible things
—Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass
Not only is an eccentric not always a particularity and a separate element,
but on the contrary, it happens sometimes that such a person carries within
himself the very heart of the universal, and the rest of the men of his
epoch have for some reason been temporarily torn from it, as if by a gust
—Dostoyevsky, Brothers Karamazov
We shall not cease from exploration. And at the end of all our exploration
will be to arrive where we started, and know the place for the first time.
—T.S. Elliot, Four Quartets
To the heretics – past, present, and future – who, with courageous
and anarchical hearts, turn from the comforts of the false and accepted,
shine light into the darkness of the unknown, and inspire those who can
to seek the Truth beyond — to follow the intuition, the aim, the
essence, the unity of their Being, toward the Self.
—Greg Hitter, Freud’s Innuendo and Jamshid’s Cup:
The Postmodern Quest For Self in the
Shadow of the Newtonian World
Walker, there are no roads, only wind trails on the sea. —Antonio
He who knows nothing loves nothing. He who can do nothing understands nothing.
He who understands nothing is worthless. But he ho understands also loves,
notices, sees… The more knowledge is inherent in a thing, the greater
the love… Anyone who imagines that all fruits ripen at the same time
as the strawberries knows nothing about grapes.
To have faith requires courage, the ability to take a risk, the readiness
even to accept pain and disappointment. Whoever insists on safety and security
as primary conditions of life cannot have faith; whoever shuts himself
off in a system of defense, where distance and possession are his means
of security, makes himself a prisoner. To be loved, and to love, need courage,
the courage to judge certain values as of ultimate concern—and to
take the jump and stake everything on these values.
This courage is very different from the courage of which that famous braggart
Moussolini spoke when he used the slogan “to live dangerously.”
His kind of courage is the courage of nihilism. It is rooted in a destructive
attitude toward life, in the willingness to throw life away because one
is incapable of loving it. The courage of despair is the opposite of the
courage to love, just as the faith in power is the opposite of the faith
—Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving