Sunday, July 24, 2011

Admonition to Myself

Yesterday the world seemed to be askew, tilted on its axis by all the troubling news from every corner. As the day wore on and my thoughts became more and more agitated I knew I had to go within for answers. These answers always come from a quiet place, from that still, small voice. I just have to remember to be still and listen.

This morning a book popped into my thought shortly after waking. I hadn't opened this book for a few months, but I felt certain I would find something to hang on to, something that would help me move into healthier thinking. I went to my bookshelves to retrieve it and then opened it to what feels like the perfect admonition to myself:


Why scurry about looking for the truth?
It vibrates in everything and every no-thing, right off
    the tip of your nose,
Can you be still and see it in the mountains?   the pine
   tree?  yourself?

Don't imagine that you'll discover it by accumulating
   more knowledge.
Knowledge creates doubt, and doubt makes you
   ravenous for more knowledge.
You can't get full eating this way.
The wise person dines on something more subtle:
He eats the understanding that the named was born
   from the unnamed, that all being flows from non-
   being, that the describable world emanates from an
   indescribable source.
He finds this subtle truth inside his own self, and
   becomes completely content.

So who can be still and watch the chess game of the
The foolish are always making impulsive moves, but
   the wise know that victory and defeat are decided by
   something more subtle.
They see that something perfect exists before any move
   is made.
This subtle perfection deteriorates when artificial
   actions are taken, so be content not to disturb the
Remain quiet.
Discover the harmony in your own being.
Embrace it.

If you can do this, you will gain everything, and the
   world will become healthy again.
If you can't, you will be lost in the shadows forever.

From Hua Hu Ching: The Unknown teachings of Lao Tzu, translation by Brian Walker.

Painting: "House on a Hill,"  by Winslow Homer


  1. Hello Teresa:
    Oh, how one yearns to hear that 'still small voice of calm' when everyone and everything seems topsy-turvey. The writing you show here is full of wisdom and, indeed, hope. We can only trust that those whose lives are in turmoil at present can find 'harmony in [their] being'.

  2. Jane and Lance, It was so easy to fall into almost debilitating angst over the terrible news out of Norway, coupled with Somalia and all other sad regions, not to mention our own country here in the U.S. being split apart by politics...this and other news really wore on me. I sometimes have to find a focus for moving beyond it. This helped tremendously. Thank you for your thoughtful comments.

  3. Your thoughts and this poem touched me this day, Teresa. Thank you.

    I sometimes find I need to sit and be quiet and I pray a simple prayer, "still my heart, Lord", sometimes aloud, sometimes deep inside of me, until, indeed, my heart is still and a peace comes.

    I love this picture by Winslow Homer. I had the pleasure of seeing a retrospective of his works a few years ago at the Art Institute of Chicago that was such a pleasure to see.

  4. You are so wise, Teresa. You really are.

  5. It seems we know the wisdom of Lao Tzu intuitively and as we get older things become more clear. For me, most of the time I forget so thank you for this reminder.
    The state of the world was getting me so down that I turned off my satellite and quit watching TV. Now, I occasionally check the news on Google.
    "Knowledge creates doubt, and doubt makes you ravenous for more knowledge."

    I also really like the picture by Homer.

  6. Penny (LOTCO), I'm glad this touched you, too. I like your prayer. Very Much. Simplicity offers the quickest path to peace.

    re: Winslow Homer: I would so love to see a retrospective of his work. That would be heaven, or a close approximation.

    CherylK, I love hearing from you and not just because you always say the nicest things, but because you have a good feeling about you, even from a distance. Thank you.

    Linda, I forget to remember. :) I need these reminders from time to time. I don't watch TV often, but I see headlines online that suck me into this vortex of emotion and then I have to fight my way out, or, in my better moments, get peaceful and clear, which is always the better choice.

    Glad you like the Homer. I think he's wonderful.

  7. I'll copy this quote and read it often; one of the reasons I splurged for a workshop when I could ill afford it, otherwise Gary said we are just waiting to die and that has no hope.

    Each day we try to remember what our previous lives were or would be if the US economics were better for all those affected, then the next day we think of ways to survive till things are better.

  8. Oh my goodness. I soaked in every word of this. Thank you so much. Isn't t amazing how these things come along just when we need them?

  9. It helps me to remember the media wants attention and I am not obligated to give it mine.

    Peace to you, Teresa.

  10. This is how I have always felt, only he said it more eloquently.

  11. You are definitely a wise soul, and your intuition about this book, this particular page, are spot on. Thank you for pointing a direction for me.

  12. LINDA S, It is important to move ahead with something life-affirming even when it might, to human sense, be difficult. It brings a momentum, an energy that builds on itself and takes us to a better place that we can then build on further. The workshop seems like a perfect example of this. I'm so glad you went.

    BB, When I listen and let the ideas roll in it always leads to something good. I just need to calm my thought enough to let it happen.

    LINDA M, I don't normall y give attention to the news but when I see something online, such as this terrible circumstance in Norway, I get emotionally swept up and then have to remember to not be moved from the standpoint of peace, but know that that standpoint is infinitely more helpful than letting my emotions rule the day. As I mentioned, I sometimes get temporarily caught and have to get back to center.

    GIGIHAWAII, I think, as Linda said, we know these things intuitively, but sometimes need reminders and having someone say it so eloquently helps.

    DJAN, It takes Listening. sometimes I'm better at it than others. Whenever I find solace or inspiration from something, I feel certain there's someone else out there that would, also. I'm glad this spoke to you.

  13. A very nice quote, it made a good impression for my day.

  14. Steve, I'm glad. Have a very good one!

  15. My first instinct is always to hide away, whether in a book, working in the garden, or walking my dog' to close eyes and ears to the suffering in the world.

    Poetry is the next port of call, but facing up to and not demanding answers to unanswerable questions is so hard to do.

  16. FRIKO, It's impossible to find answers to these questions, isn't it? One can only find solace, perhaps, in the wisdom of others, who remind us that wisdom is in us, too, if we look and listen. Poetry opens my heart and allows to see beyond the human circumstances that seem incomprehensible. I know you have a deep love of poetry and have such a wonderful site dedicated to it. Many wonderful poems you've shared there.

  17. Yes it's difficult to find a quiet place in this world. Hiding in a corner is not possible, for the world is still getting smaller. We always know what is going on everywhere - in each corner of the world. The world will be healthy again if you can follow the wise words of the poet ? I try to catch a harmony in myself each day...... I try.

    I simply love that Winslow Homer painting.
    Grethe .

  18. Dear Grethe, Yes, the world is really so small. I try to catch a harmony in myself each day." It's becoming even more essential.

    I'm glad you like the Winslow Homer. His paintings bring me peace.

    I hope you're having a good start to the week.

  19. Found this also, and think it is saying the same as yours.
    My prayer for the day:I choose to live in joy this day, sending love, compassion, and forgiveness to those who have fallen under the illusion that violence of any sort is ever justified. I call their Spirit back to true self and Divine Source as a friend, and continue to pray for those who suffer their illusions. HOLY SPIRIT, use me this day to bring about healing in any way to the misery of this planet.~~Sonia Choquette.

    I myself have chosen not to give my attention to the media just feeds the perpetrators what they are looking for...attention for their misguided causes. I have avoided comment on the latest event and will continue to do so because it doesn't help. It seems that religion is always in play, and I'm hoping religion will one day fade away, and all the wars fought over it.

  20. Karena, Thank you. A wonderful prayer.

  21. Poor lonely house on the hill, unkempt and askew, waiting for care and love. A lot of people are like that, left alone and feeling unloved. But we make our own situations by choice. tsk tsk

  22. Manzi, I find it interesting, how it's all so subjective and a matter of perspective....

  23. Oh, Teresa, that is so, so beautiful and lovely. I confess I've never read this before, but what WISE words! I am a self-proclaimed worrier, and like you, the news around us is so unsettling these days. I have a verse that I go to as well: "Be still, and know that I am God." It's a psalm, and I can't tell you how many times, when I start to fret, I say out loud to myself, "Be still, Joan. Be still." Works wonders! Thank you for sharing this, I'm going to copy it an keep it on hand!!

  24. Joan, That might well be my favorite passage from the Bible. Thank you so much for sharing it here.

  25. “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”

    Psalms 46:10

    Hard to hear or feel God wen we're always agitated or agitating. Thinking about putting an end to my blog for that very reason.

  26. Cletis, Thank you so much for this. I hope you don't put an end to your blog, but perhaps listen for another direction, if you're so inclined. I try to keep my blog positive, to listen for divine guidance on what my topics should be, but sometimes I get caught in the undertow and get lost temporarily. If everyone stayed positive and wrote about the good, I still feel that could make an invaluable contribution towards seeing change.

  27. Be here now Teresa - sage advice from Ram Das

  28. Paul, It's another book I return to from time to time for a reminder.

  29. "Discover the harmony in your own being." Seems I was meant to read this today, rather than when it was posted. Thank you for once again providing the perfect insights, yours and others. In moments of chaos, when there seems no spot for the mind to settle, there is also the face of Buddy. A pure, kind, calming spirit dwells there.

  30. Chris, I think we read things when we're meant to, when they would find their way to our hearts and minds easier. So, I'm glad this spoke to you this morning. Thank you so very much for the loving words about my Buddy. He is my teacher and a great companion.