Carnivores


we are carnivores

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we feed on the scraps 
of the lives of others

we provide no 
sustenance of our own

we gnaw on the hearts 
of others for what 

feelings we can find
having none of our own

it is only a game
it is the only game

we know
it is the only way 

we show 
compassion

borrowing others’
being too 

passionate about 
dispassionate things 

that should not matter 
but do

we are cold and 
we burn 

the bones of others 
to stay warm





Intersection

I stand at the intersection of
compassion and self interest,
thinking how life can make

such an ugliness of us all
or is it how we make such
an ugliness of life?

Cheeks change from
cherubic to sallow,
hour by hour.

From jaundiced to
jaundiced we go, from
sweet to salt to sour.

Running




We ran there,
my mother and I.

We were running with the group,
running in the street,
running for the line.

We were running when the first explosion 
tore the crowd apart.

My brother was in that crowd.

My mother ran to where he had been,
to where we saw him last.

I ran after her, calling his name.
We could not find him.

We found only blood, and 
the pieces 
of other mother’s sons,
other sister’s brothers.

Last month, we lost my father.
Now we have lost my brother.
Our world is torn apart.

My name is Abida
and I live in Baghdad.

My name is Badria
and I live in Kabul.

My name is Brigid
and I live in Dublin.

My name is Abby
and, yes, I live in Boston.

The ear of compassion hears the voice of the other
no matter how far away the voice is.

The ear of compassion hears the voice of the other
no matter which side of the line it calls from.

The ear of compassion hears the voice of the other
no matter how quiet it is.

Why do we run from the voice of the other?
It is our own voice.




Quotes for Peace

Kozo’s Recent Post reminded me of so many things that have been in my reading and in the fore-front of my mind lately.  Each of these quotes came to mind as I read his words so it might make more sense to read his post first, and then come back to this.

Seemed like a good First Post for Peace.

I hope that you may find one of these to be of use to you…

“You are an aperture through which the universe is looking at and exploring itself.”

“Through our eyes, the universe is perceiving itself. Through our ears, the universe is listening to its harmonies. We are the witnesses through which the universe becomes conscious of its glory, of its magnificence.”

—Alan Watts

“The path itself does not lie there waiting for you to walk along it.  It needs to be cultivated, nurtured—literally, “brought into being.”  Such a path might open up in a revealing moment of insight, only to be lost again through subsequent neglect.  To believe in a path is not enough.  One has to create and maintain it.  The practice of the eightfold path is a creative act.”

—Stephen Batchelor

“Failure is the key to success.  Every mistake teaches us something.”

—Morihei Ueshiba

“To know, deep in your bones, how everything you experience is fleeting, poignant, and unreliable undermines the rationale for trying to grasp hold of, possess, and control it.  To fully know suffering begins to affect how you relate to the world, how you respond to others, how you manage your own life.  For how can I seek lasting solace in something that I know is incapable of providing it?  Why would I stake all my hopes for happiness on something that I know will finally let me down?  To embrace the suffering world challenges my innate tendency to see everything from the perspective of self-centered craving.

Craving is not something I can willfully discard, no matter how hard I tell myself to stop.  In keeping with the principle of conditioned arising, to be free from craving requires the removal of the conditions that produce it.  In the Buddha’s analysis, the root of craving lies in the misconception that lasting, non-contingent happiness is to be found in a fleeting, contingent world.  As you come to realize how impossible this is, craving starts to subside and fall away of its own accord.”

—Stephen Batchelor

“To have compassion for others when their suffering is clear to us is natural and easy. To have compassion for one who injures us from the place of their own suffering is a practice. To look past the acts of hurt and ugliness, to see the whole picture of a person’s life and how they have incarcerated themselves behind the bars of their illusions of who they are, is to give them a dignity that opens a space for understanding.

To have compassion for ourselves in this way is perhaps the most difficult work of all.

The word “forgiveness” is laden with expectations, doubts, and “shoulds”. Compassion means opening a crack, letting a little light in, letting some air circulate, and making a space – even a tiny one – for healing to begin.”

—Zen Doe (@The Wind Horse Blog, if you’re not reading her, you should be…)