Readings from Thoreau and Emerson
HENRY DAVID THOREAU
A single gentle rain makes the grass many shades greener.
So our prospects brighten on the influx of better thoughts.
We should be blessed if we lived in the present always,
and took advantage of every accident that befell us,
like the grass which confesses the influence of the slightest dew that falls on it;
and did not spend our time in atoning for the neglect of past opportunities.
We loiter in winter while it is already spring.
ABOVE all, we cannot afford not to live in the present.
He is blessed over all mortals who loses no moment of the passing life in remembering the past.
Unless our philosophy hears the cock crow in every barn-yard within our horizon, it is belated.
That sound commonly reminds us that we are growing rusty and antique
in our employments and habits of thought.
His philosophy comes down to a more recent time than ours.
There is something suggested by it that is a newer testament,—the gospel according to this moment.
THE singer can easily move us to tears or to laughter,
but where is he who can excite in us a pure morning joy?
When I hear a cockerel crow far or near, I think to myself,
"There is one of us well, at any rate,"—
and with a sudden gush return to my senses.
IF you are ready to leave father and mother, and brother and sister,
and wife and child and friends,
and never see them again,—
if you have paid your debts, and made your will,
and settled all your affairs, and are a free man,
then you are ready for a walk.
HE who distinguishes the true savor of his food can never be a glutton;
he who does not cannot be otherwise.
EVERY morning is a cheerful invitation to make my life of equal simplicity,
and I may say innocence, with nature herself.
To him, whose elastic and vigorous thought keeps pace with the sun, the day is a perpetual morning.
WHY should we be in such desperate haste to succeed in such desperate enterprises?
Why should we live with such hurry and waste of life?
Men say that a stich in time saves nine,
and so they take a thousand stitches to-day to save nine tomorrow.
If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.
Let him step to the music which he hears,
however measured or far away.
IT takes two to speak the truth - one to speak, and another to hear.
MUST be out-of-doors enough to get experience of wholesome reality, as a ballast to thought and sentiment.
Health requires this relaxation, this aimless life.
TO be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts,
nor even to found a school,
but so to love wisdom as to live according to its dictates,
a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity and trust. It is to solve some of the problems of life,
not only theoretically, but practically.
I do not know how to distinguish between our waking life and a dream.
Are we not always living the life that we imagine we are?
I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual.
It is surprising how contented one can be with nothing definite - only a sense of existence.
My breath is sweet to me. O how I laugh when I think of my vague indefinite riches.
My wealth is not possession but enjoyment.
RALPH WALDO EMERSON
DREAM delivers us to dream, and there is no end to illusion.
Life is a train of moods like a string of beads, and,
as we pass through them,
they prove to be many-colored lenses which paint the world their own hue,
and each shows only what lies in its focus.
THE standard of beauty is the entire circuit of natural forms, the totality of nature.
Nothing is quite beautiful alone; nothing but is beautiful in the whole.
A single object is only so far beautiful as it suggests this universal grace.
The poet, the painter, the sculptor, the musician, the architect,
seek each to concentrate this radiance of the world on one point.
ALL things with which we deal preach to us.
What is a farm but a mute gospel?
EVERY thought is also a prison;
every heaven is also a prison.
But the quality of the imagination is to flow, and not to freeze.
FINISH each day and be done with it. You have done what you could;
some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it well and serenely.
OUR first mistake is the belief that the circumstance gives the joy which we give to circumstance.
Life is an ecstasy.
READINGS FROM RUMI:
to the world around
show me your purpose
show me your source
even if the world
is Godless and in chaos
show me your anchor
show me your love
if there is hunger
if there is famine
show me your harvest
show me your resource
if life is bitter
everywhere snakes everywhere poison
show me your garden
show me your meadow
if the sun and moon fall
if darkness rules the world
show me your light
show me your flame
LET go of care and become wholly clear of heart,
like the face of a mirror without image and picture.
WHOEVER finds love
beneath hurt and grief
disappears into emptiness
with a thousand new disguises.
IF you can only reflect
like a clean mirror
you’ll be that magical spirit
transmute from a wave
to an ocean
from an abyss
to surpass an angel
IF you pour the whole sea into a jug,
will it hold more than one day’s store?
The greedy eye, like the jug, is never filled.
Until content, the oyster holds no pearl.
NO image can describe
what of our fathers and mothers,
our grandfathers and grandmothers, remains.
Language does not touch the one
who lives in each of us.
HOW do I know
who I am or where I am
How could a single wave
in an ocean.
OF these two thousand I’s and we’s I wonder which one am I?
YOU hear something
and surmise that someone else in your dream
has secretly informed you.
You are not a single ‘you.’
No, you are the sky and the deep sea.
GO out of sourness and bitterness towards sweetness,
just as a thousand sorts of fruits have escaped out of bitterness.
IF anyone asks you about the houris of paradise,
when they speak to you of the moon,
rise over the roof.
If they ask, ‘What is a peri?’,
show them your face;
when they wonder about musk,
scatter your tresses.
‘What is it like when the clouds
open up before the moon?’
‘Like this,’ tell them and button by button
undo your robe.
ENOUGH, for the veil of speech has begun to spin a curtain around you.
YOUR thinking is like a camel driver,
and if you are the camel:
it drives you in every direction under its bitter control.
LOOK at the moon in the sky, not the one in the lake.
If you want to be free of your obsession with words.
SURELY there is a window from heart to heart :
they are not separate or far from each other.
Though two earthenware lamps are not joined,
their light mingles.
No sound of clapping comes forth from only one hand.