learning in the inner realm

following action, reflection is due
out of reflection, attitude grows
upon attitude, action is built

Marcus Antoninus

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Modesty

Reducing excesses,
encouraging what is subdued,
within myself I hold a mountain.
Disguising my powers,
I cultivate modesty,
harvesting genuine strength
to cross the great water.
No blame.
Great success.

Marcus Antoninus
(freely interpreted and rewritten from I Ching, hexagram 15)

I choose

I now choose:
this steadfast commitment
to a life of wisdom,
this relentless search
for proper engagement and detachment,
this healthy custom
of cultivating my inner garden.
In whatever circumstance,
in every place and moment.
In this one my only life,
I already made my choice.

Marcus Antoninus

Truth before prudence

Giordano Bruno, statue

You brother, you teacher,
you brave heart, mind and soul!
Why did you stay when you knew well
they would burn you at the stake?
For speaking out loud,
standing up and showing to the world,
the bottomless depths of your thoughts,
those precious insights
that the centuries proved right.
Those shattering new ideas,
that the dark priests could not hear.
You shook down their house of cards,
you disarmed their castle of power and lies.
Why, my dear friend, did you choose to stay?
Confronting them up for your words,
for the beautiful fruit of your thoughts.
Oh! my brother, you valued truth so much more
than all the prudence in the world.
You die wrapped in rope, your tongue bond
while the empty souls shamelessly looked on.
May we never forget you,
because so little has changed,
with all these new old priests
still bustling around,
your example and pride
will forever be
a beacon of light and insight.

Marcus Antoninus
Ode to Giordano Bruno

The days

The world being what it is
and me being who I am …
how could I prevent some of those mishaps?
Left without sleep and wishing better days,
lingering over the spilled milk
some days I cannot help but reflect
about what makes a day without blame.
But upon deeper thought I then realize
that such would merely be a passable day
not a worthy goal, perhaps even a lame one,
completely unlike a great day,
one in which I gracefully deflect attacks
tuning my mouth to the wisdom I grew inside,
guarding myself against my own wrath
and practicing that higher living art,
where in spite of noise, greed and lies
I remain aware, joyous and wise,
genuinely faithful to myself
positive, constructive and calm,
amidst a world that has gone severely mad.

Marcus Antoninus

Unadorned simplicity

I once placed myself
at just the right distance
from people and things
and only then could I see
the vast web of dependence
of which all of us form part
and without delay I realized
that I need nothing more
than the acceptance and joy
of my bare existence.

Marcus Antoninus

Moving into open fields

If anything there is
in this life to be desired
I am sure it is to become
that fully accomplished human
that our inner nature holds.
How could we not be genuine?
How could we become something else?
We are not made to behave as puppets,
bleakly painted paper figurines.
We are soul and flesh uniquely combined,
let’s open that big door and run,
into those vast interior fields
and let the exterior world take notice
that here and now,
in her full integrity,
a whole person stands.

Marcus Antoninus