A collection of short texts, sometimes poetry, that give you cause for pause to wonder upon their meaning.
This text is from a book I have yet to finish. Markings is certainly is not light reading but its verses are often enlightening. I find Mr. Hammarskjöld to be a bit severe at times but I appreciate his stern morality. His dedication to self-reflection and self-discipline are inspiring. Markings is Nietzschean in its formatting and it makes for a quick read in that aspect. Small verses and proportional maxims are pleasant to the reading eyes which yearn for some stopping point.
Verse 8 The Highest Good
The highest good is like water,
nourishing life effortlessly,
flowing without prejudice
to the lowliest places.
It springs from all
who nourish their community
with a benevolent heart as deep as an abyss
who are incapable of lies and injustices,
who are rooted in the earth,
and whose natural rhythms of action
play midwife to the highest good
of each pregnant moment.Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching, Translated with commentary by Ralph Alan Dale
The Tao is hands-down one of my favorite texts of all. I turn to it when my life feels uncontrollable. I turn to it when I am fulfilled. It has wisdom for every stage and every emotion of life. I’m not good at meditation at all– it takes practice and concentration, but I’ve found that meditating on The Tao comes naturally.
As goofy as it sounds I like to meditate in the bathtub. Close yourself in and draw a warm bath. Use candlelight or an indirect light source to create some calmness in your room. Let the water wash over you and clear your mind. Read your verse slowly out loud. Concentrate on your breathing. Let everything else melt away. All that is left is you and the text.
Heike’s Window at Nightfall, from Versailles Cemetery
Perhaps the dead can see in Heike’s window
and, after dark at dinnertime, sit
upon their stones in rows mesmerized
as at a picture show, watching
through the narrow glass, slivers
of lives: Irwin’s arm reaching
a jug of tea; Harck’s boy arm extending
a cup that water fills; Heike
capping berries at the sink, then lifting out
the bread the toaster raises. These gestures
fascinate the dead who watch that glass
as unforgiving and as hard as molten sands
they’ve crossed. On my own path
falls the light from Heike’s window,
a flattened, grave-shaped shining
I step into.Jane Gentry Vance, A Garden in Kentucky collection
Reading this poem I can hear her voice. I don’t know how to explain it. When she speaks it’s like I’m home. You can learn more about her life and listen to her read another one of her poems, Night Beasts in the Backyard.