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Copyright (c)1990, 1997 by Context Institute

A Muslim Meditation

Know that the world is a mirror from head to foot,
In every atom are a hundred blazing suns.
If you cleave the heart of one drop of water,
A hundred pure oceans emerge from it.
If you examine closely each grain of sand,
A thousand Adams may be seen in it.
In its members a gnat is like an elephant,
In its qualities a drop of rain is like the Nile.
The heart of a piece of corn equals a hundred harvests,
A world dwells in the heart of a millet seed.
In the wing of a gnat is the ocean of life.
In the pupil of the eye a heaven.
What though the corn grain of the heart be small
It is a station of the Lord of both worlds to dwell therein.

– Mishkat al Masabih


A Chinese Meditation

The trees on the Ox Mountain
were once beautiful . However,
because the mountain is on the
borders of a great state, they were cut
down with axes and saws, so how
could they retain their beauty? Yet
they continued through the cycle of
life and the feeding of the rain and
dew to put forth buds and new
leaves. But the cattle and goats came
and browsed amongst the trees and
destroyed them. This is why the
mountain is now bare and stripped.
People look at it and think this is
how it has always been. But this is
not the true nature of the mountain.

And this is also the case with
humanity. Surely we were not
without benevolence and righteous-
ness? The way in which a person
loses their true goodness is just like
the way trees are destroyed by the
axe. Cut down day after day, how
can the mind, any more than the tree,
retain its beauty or continue to live?

– Mencius


Now You Are Fit To Live

Before there were any people, the Creator
had a heavenly companion named Dog.
One day the Creator told Dog, "I’m going
to go away for a while." Dog asked, "Will
you be gone very long?" The Creator
answered "Yes, I’ll be gone for a long
time." Dog said, "I’ll get lonely." So the
Creator thought and said, "I’ll make a
companion for you." The Creator took clay
and shaped it into a man. He told the clay
to sit up and the man sat up. He told the
man to walk and the man walked. Dog
was becoming very excited about his
companion. The Creator told the man to
run and the man ran, with Dog running
and jumping and barking at his side. Then
the Creator told the man to laugh. The man
laughed. The Creator said, "Laugh again."
The man laughed even more. The Creator
said a third time, "Laugh again." And the
man laughed and laughed and laughed.
And the Creator said, "Now you are fit to
live." And that is the story of how man
became Dog’s best friend.

– Jicarilla Apache story, retold by Victor H. Nelson


Now Talking God

Now Talking God
With your feet I walk
I walk with your limbs
I carry forth your body
For me your mind thinks
Your voice speaks for me
Beauty is before me
And beauty behind me
Above and below me hovers the beautiful
I am surrounded by it
I am immersed in it
In my youth I am aware of it
And in old age I shall walk quietly
The beautiful trail.

– Native American prayer


Hindu Prayer

They who have the ocean as their eldest flow out
of the sea, purifying themselves, never resting. Indra,
the bull with the thunderbolt, opened a way for them;
let the waters, who are goddesses, help me here and now.

The waters of the sky or those that flow, those that are
dug out or those that arise by themselves, those pure
and clear waters that seek the ocean as their goal –
let the waters, who are goddesses, help me here and now.

Those in whose midst King Varuna moves, looking
down upon the truth and falsehood of people, those pure
and clear waters that drip honey –
let the waters, who are goddesses, help me here and now.

Those among whom King Varuna, and Soma, and all
the gods drink in ecstasy the exhilalrating nourishment,
those in whom Agni Of-all-men entered –
let the waters, who are goddesses, help me here and now.

– The Rig Veda


Jewish Story

Two men were fighting over a
piece of land. Each claimed
ownership and bolstered his claim
with apparent proof. To resolve their
differences, they agreed to put the
case before the the rabbi. The rabbi
listened but could not come to a
decision because both seemed to be
right. Finally he said, "Since I cannot
decide to whom this land belongs,
let us ask the land." He put his ear to
the ground, and after a moment
straightened up. "Gentlemen, the
land says that it belongs to neither of
you – but that you belong to it."

– The Talmud


Sacred Circles

(poem for Dave Foreman)

Not for me steel coffins
Nor even a pinewood box.
Lay me out in the wilderness
And let me return to Earth.

Tear my flesh, coyote
And I will run with you
Over the plains.
Take my eyes, eagle
And I will soar with you
In the mountains.
Pick my bones clean, little beetles
And I will flow back
Into the lifestream
To think like a mountain
And sing like a river

– Mary de La Valette

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