I stood at the glass door this morning with Bonnie and showed her the snow… She has not learned how special snow days are in the South, or how magical the world feels covered in a blanket of white. Not yet. She will. And so I think maybe the most beautiful part of becoming a child is learning to perceive the world with a conscious sense of wonder, and the struggle of adulthood is to stay awake in that consciousness….
“Thoreau and Weil were writers coming out of the Romantic tradition. For me, the Romantic movement was an attempt to create a wisdom literature for the West. A good part of that wisdom had to do with returning us to the immediacy of the world. As a poetic technique this has come to be known as defamiliarization. What it attempts to do is to destroy the world of custom, habit, stereotype, and ideology so that we can see things for what they are, so that we can see and feel the stone’s stoniness. When Walt Whitman says that his poetry is about leaves of grass, he is essentially saying, We have not been attentive. We need to look again at this leaf of grass. He wrote, ‘Bring all the art and science of the world, and baffle and humble it with one spear of grass.’”—Curtis White, The Science Delusion | Tricycle (via)
"Let us suppose, for instance, that a letter has to be posted in a mailbox a hundred yards away. If the mouth of the mailbox is all we see in the mind’s eye, then the hundred strides we take towards it are wasted. But if we are on the way as human beings and filled with the sense of all that this implies, then even this short walk, providing we maintain the right attitude and posture, can serve to put us to rights and renew ourselves from the well of inner essence.
"The same can be true of any daily activity. The more we have mastered some relevant technique, and the smaller the amount of attention needed to perform the task satisfactorily, the more easily may the emphasis be transferred from the exterior to the interior. Whether in the kitchen or working at an assembly-belt, at the typewriter or in the garden, talking, writing, sitting, walking or standing, dealing with some daily occurrence or conversing with someone dear to us — whatever it may be, we can approach it ‘from within’ and use it as an opportunity for the practice of becoming a true person. Naturally, this is possible only when we are able to grasp the real meaning of life and become responsible towards it. It is essential to realize that we are not committed merely to comprehending and mastering the external world. We are first and foremost committed to the inner way. When this is understood the truth of the old Japanese adage becomes clear: ‘For something to acquire religious significance, two conditions alone are necessary: it must be simple, and it must be repetitive.’
"What does this word ‘repetitive’ signify here? It can happen that daily tasks, by their very familiarity, serve to free us from the grip of the ego and its quenchless thirst for success. They can also help to make us independent of the world’s approval and open for us the inward way. But this is true not only of familiar tasks. Even the practice and repeated effort needed to master something new can be put to the service of the inner work. In everything we do it is possible to foster and maintain a state of being which reflects our true destiny. When this possibility is actualized the ordinary day is no longer ordinary. It can even become an adventure of the spirit. In such a case the eternal repetitions in the exterior world are transformed into an endlessly flowing and circulating inner fountain. Indeed, once repetition is established it will be found that our very habits can be the occasion for inner work. They enable us to make new discoveries and show us that even from the most mechanical actions there may issue forth that creative power which transforms a human being from within."
“One of the best means for arousing the wish to work on yourself is to realize that you may die at any moment. But first you must learn how to keep it in mind.”—George Ivanovich Gurdjieff. Today, in the mighty river.
“The quantitative degeneration of all things is closely linked to that of money, as is shown by the fact that nowadays the ‘worth’ of an object is ordinarily ‘estimated’ only in terms of its price, considered simply as a ‘figure’, a ‘sum’, or a numerical quantity of money; in fact, with most of our contemporaries, every judgment brought to bear on an object is nearly always based exclusively on what it costs. The word ‘estimate’ has been emphasized because it has in itself a double meaning, qualitative and quantitative; today the first meaning has been lost to sight, or what amounts to the same thing, means have been found to equate it to the second, and thus it comes about that not only is the ‘worth’ of an object ‘estimated’ according to its price, but the ‘worth’ of a man is ‘estimated’ according to his wealth.”—René Guénon
“This morning there’s snow everywhere. We remark on it. You tell me you didn’t sleep well. I say I didn’t either. You had a terrible night. “Me too.” We’re extraordinarily calm and tender with each other as if sensing the other’s rickety state of mind. As if we knew what the other was feeling. We don’t, of course. We never do. No matter. It’s the tenderness I care about. That’s the gift this morning that moves and holds me. Same as every morning.”
—Raymond Carver, last strophe to “The Gift,” from Ultramarine (Random House, 1986). With thanks to apoetreflects.
“Grace is always present. You imagine it as something high in the sky, far away, something that has to descend. It is really inside you, in your heart. When the mind rests in its source, grace rushes forth, sprouting as from a spring within you.”—Ramana Maharshi (via apoetreflects)