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Posted By Opening the Heart

Looking for a fabulous and inexpensive gift for open-hearted friends this holiday season? The OTH staff give an unqualified thumbs up to Roger Housden's collection: "Ten Poems to Change Your Life Again and Again".

Coupled with Housden's perceptive and wise commentary, the ten poems hold up "a mirror to our own deepest joys, desires, and sorrows". Of these ten poems, Housden says, "each......has struck me a blow, a direct hit, into the heart of hearts."

Selected lines:

from Rilke - "Every happiness is the child of a separation it did not think it could survive."

from Hirshfield - "If the gods bring you - a strange and frighteneing creature, - accept the gift - as if it were one you had chosen."

from Hafiz - "Admit something: Everyone you see, you say to them, 'Love me.' - Of course you do not do this out loud; otherwise, someone would call the cops............"

This is a bedside book to cherish and return to again and again.


 
Posted By Opening the Heart

For as long as I can remember I have loved poetry and the power that words have to evoke deep feelings. Archibald Macleish said that a poem “should not mean, but be” and Kabir said the same thing 500 years earlier when he said that you should feel a poem in the “thump of the chest”. These poets, men and women for the past 2000 years, have written these words, this divine, or sacred poetry that pass all the evolved neuro-cerebral connections and go straight to the heart like an arrow to release the pain, sadness and ecstacy that bind us in our humanity. Through their words, they give us a glimpse of the Kingdom that they experienced.
Kabir, a 15th century Sufi poet said that when, for “fifteen seconds”, he heard the words of his master, Shams, it made him a disciple for life.
I believe that poetry, words, can open the heart instantly, heal us, open us to grief long-buried and change our very souls. Lao-Tzu, 2000 years ago tells us that “each separate being in the universe returns to the common source”. Jelaluddin Rumi wrote that “the clear bead at the center changes everything.” Kabir: “Are you looking for me? I am in the next seat.”

The 17th century Zen poet Bunan wrote “Die while you’re still alive and be absolutely dead. Then do whatever you want: it’s all good.” And Kabir, again, tells us to “Wake up! Wake up! You have been sleeping for millions of years. Why not wake up this morning.”

All of these great beings on up through Walt Whitman, Rilke, Antonio Machado, Pablo Neruda, Mary Oliver have been lovingly tapping us on the shoulder to remind us that beyond every wound, every doubt, every fear, that we are loved beyond measure - that we are blessed. May we open our hearts to one another and come to the knowledge of our true self.

“A poet is someone
Who can pour Light into a spoon,

Then raise it
To nourish 
Your beautiful parched, holy mouth.”
 

 Hafiz 

With Love and Respect,

 

Jon