He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy.
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity’s sunrise.
Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn
A cool breeze in summer, snow in winter.
If your mind isn’t clouded by unnecessary things,
This is the best season of your life.
The Guest House
This being human is a guest-house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
Who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture.
Still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
Oh mind, you carry on your back
Your actions like a heavy sack
No wonder that your shoulders ached
Another strain’s enough to break
Your neck – so drop this stupid load
This is the last stop on the road
where you can find rest
stay, be Love’s guest.
One instant is eternity;
eternity is the now.
When you see through this one instant,
you see through the one who sees.
Seek the wisdom that will untie your knot
Seek the path
That demands your whole being. Leave that which is not, but appears to be
Seek that which is, but is not apparent.
A billion stars go spinning through the night,
Blazing high above your head.
But in you is the presence that
Will be, when all the stars are dead.
Ranier Maria Rilke
The Summer Day
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean the one who the one who is
eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth
instead of up and down -
who is gazing around with her
enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms
and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall into the grass,
how to kneel down in the grass, how to be idle and blessed,
how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
The most important hour is the Present.
The most important person
Is the one you are Facing.
The most important act
(Courtesy of Ruth Ahrens, Germany, personal communication, February, 2003)