Received this image and lovely comment from Laurie Haycraft in response to Parker Palmer’s reflection on being lost in the wilds of your life:
"I had made some stepping stones with this poem stamped into them for our cabin and placed them on a trail leading into the forest. We had some grading work done around the cabin and one of the stones, unbeknownst to me, got buried. When I went to dig up the stones the next year to create a new path, I discovered that the last stone was missing, irretrievably ‘lost’ in the woods. I know I could make a new stone with the final lines of the poem, but somehow it seems more apropos to leave it ‘lost,’ the forest knows where it is and in a way, so do I."
As I look around, I see the crumbling ruins of civilization like a vast heap of futility, yet I shall not commit the grievous sin of losing faith in man. — Rabindranath Tagore, as quoted in this show on his life and modern resonance.
Now we have half-stepped away from our long centuries of despoilment, promising, ‘Never again.’ But still we are haunted. It is as though we have run up a credit-card bill and, having pledged to charge no more, remain befuddled that the balance does not disappear. The effects of that balance, interest accruing daily, are all around us. — Ta’nehisi Coates, as quoted in Courtney E. Martin’s column, "To Be White and Reckon with the Death of Michael Brown"
To be totally honest, I don’t know who I am. And I don’t think people ever will know who they are. We have to be humble enough to learn to live with this mysterious question. Who am I? So, I am a mystery to myself. I am someone who is in this pilgrimage from the moment that I was born to the day to come that I’m going to die. And this is something that I can’t avoid, whether I like it or not, or — I’m going to die.
So, what I have to do is to honor this pilgrimage through life. And so I am this pilgrim — if I can somehow answer your question — who’s constantly amazed by this journey. Who is learning a new thing every single day. But who’s not accumulating knowledge, because then it becomes a very heavy burden in your back. I am this person who is proud to be a pilgrim, and who’s trying to honor his journey. — Paulo Coelho, from his interview with Krista Tippett in "The Alchemy of Pilgrimage"
None of us can truly know what we mean to other people, and none of us can know what our future self will experience. History and philosophy ask us to remember these mysteries, to look around at friends, family, humanity, at the surprises life brings — the endless possibilities that living offers — and to persevere. There is love and insight to live for, bright moments to cherish, and even the possibility of happiness, and the chance of helping someone else through his or her own troubles. Know that people, through history and today, understand how much courage it takes to stay. Bear witness to the night side of being human and the bravery it entails, and wait for the sun. If we meditate on the record of human wisdom we may find there reason enough to persist and find our way back to happiness. The first step is to consider the arguments and evidence and choose to stay. After that, anything may happen. First, choose to stay. —
Jennifer Michael Hecht, from Stay: A History of Suicide and Philosophies Against It
Upon hearing the news of Robin Williams’ death last night, I offer these necessary words from the closing chapter of Ms. Hecht’s book. Read the final chapter here and listen to Krista Tippett’s interview with the historian-philosopher-poet.
This photo of Desmond Tutu at the Goed Geld Gala had the On Being staff smiling today. For more joy, listen to our program with the sage, A God of Surprises.
(Photo by Olaf Kraak/AFP/Getty Images)
After checking in and liking a bunch of stuff over the course of an hour, there were no human beings in my feed anymore. It became about brands and messaging, rather than humans with messages. …
This is a problem much bigger than Facebook. It reminded me of what can go wrong in society, and why we now often talk at each other instead of to each other. We set up our political and social filter bubbles and they reinforce themselves—the things we read and watch have become hyper-niche and cater to our specific interests. We go down rabbit holes of special interests until we’re lost in the queen’s garden, cursing everyone above ground.
But maybe worse than the fractious political tones my feed took on was how deeply stupid it became. — Mat Honan, in a fascinating (and discouraging) Wired article on how he liked everything in his Facebook feed for 48 hours.
The sun of the first day
Put the question
To the new manifestation of life —
Who are you?
There was no answer.
Years passed by.
The last sun of the last day
Uttered the question
on the shore of the western sea,
In the hush of evening —
Who are you!
No answer came.
Pistachios are way underrated.
Almonds are America’s most popular nut.
It is also one the few nuts that you can make milk out of.
While in India for a YouthAIDS trip with actress Ashley Judd, yoga teacher Seane Corn poses in the Eka Pada Koundiyanasana position in front of the Taj Mahal.
There are three things that are real: God, human folly, and laughter. The first two are beyond our comprehension, so we must do what we can with the third. — Old Irish saying, as mentioned in Parker Palmer’s column on forgetfulness and memory