Hold It All

Category: Our Heroic and Ceaseless 24/7 Struggle against Tsuris

Looking Ahead to a Spring Trip to Washington, D.C.

I want to listen to your tales of triumph and disaster

I want to massage your feet, long oppressed by heels

I want to be present to all you cannot say

I want to be restored by seeing your samadhi in the flesh as you whirl around in the kitchen (darshan)

I want to buy you three books (at Busboys and Poets) you will actually want to read before 2020

 

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Don’t Get Rattled by Samsara

So many of my brilliant former students—
Their families from Gujarat, Bijar, Delhi,
Kerala, West Bengal—
Would pity me
Or express incredulity

That I, their erstwhile quasi-prof,
Hang on the words
Of Sri Anandamayi Ma
Listen to circa mid-80s recordings
Jai Ma Kirtan

Memorize chapters of the Gita
Chant Hare Krishna when raking leaves
When they’ve left all that behind
(What their grandparents wanted continued
Even amid the maya malldom of America)

Live and let live, Shimmelstoy
Meditate and let not meditate
But one day, if I hear through the mangovine,
One of them is in that predictable predicament
Of the arriviste Richard Alpert at Harvard

I’ll shell out twenty bucks
Track down her address
Put in the post a simple investment
In the next hundred years–
A timeless copy of Be Here Now

Exchange

“But how come those Palestinians can’t be like Dr. King?”

Well then…

“So, Rabin, did he make it even through a third of Gandhi’s Collected Works?

And did Shimon Peres invite Gene Sharp to give workshops to the IDF elite, with handouts  for all on the  198 methods of nonviolent action?

And when Begin came to the U.S. did he arrange a tête-à-tête with Diane Nash? 

And does Netanyahu take practical  inspiration from the life of Badshah Khan?

And do the teachings of the Besht get ample time in the training of the paratroopers?

And the Air Force pilots, do they learn to recite gathas from Thich Nhat Hanh?

And for the Palestinians did  Dov Weinglas cultivate compassion like  Aung San Suu Kyi?

Wait a second, scratch that last one”

I Was Sitting Outside at 6 North Coffee

I bought tea for my friends
Shams and Rumi
Another intoxicatingly sunny day
70 degrees
They were cutting up the way they always do
But they could see in my eyes a request to quit horsing around.

“Friend Mark,” Rumi began, “Tell us what is on your mind….”

I knew how to ring their bell. Read the rest of this entry »

Bella Levenshteyn Gives Me an Opportunity to Practice

“I’ll be filling two backpacks, and then I’m headed to Warsaw”
My heart sinks

Three deep breaths in and out
My heart expands

“So Don’t Flip”*

When it comes to righteous indignation
She makes Arundhati Roy seem timid

At a public reading of The Book of Mev
I made sure she read last reading aloud the last chapter

To mark the occasion of her medical school graduation
I gave her the original of Dear Layla Welcome to Palestine

If I see her once a year for a few hours
I consider it a very good year

For the last year she’s been working
One hundred-hour weeks

The Stoics advised long ago
Know what you can and can’t control

I can buy three sheets of Harvey Milk stamps
Send her reminders of her sri and satyagraha

 

*Jack Kerouac, to Allen Ginsberg

Today is Saturday

Once bought a pair of shorts online
Received Cabela’s email this morning

Subject Line reads:
“This Week’s Guns and Ammo”

Then “Save up to $50”
“Intuitive, ergonomic handling”

“Compact and lightweight
For easy all-day carry”

“Unfailing performance for your .223”
“Check it out”

“Neoprene Floating Gun Case…
Protect your weapon in any weather”

“Load up”
“Get the best”

Today is Saturday
February 24th, 2018

Notice What You Notice

Laura Bronstein came over to my home
To drop something off from Henry

(He wasn’t able to get out much anymore
And he was gradually accepting help)

Laura noticed one of my shelves in particular
“So, you are into Simone Weil?”

“Yes, lately I’ve been working my way
Through Pétrement’s bio in French”

Laura said in her unshakeable tone
“I identify more and more with her”

Our eyes locked for several seconds
Before she turned to leave

And the thought occurred to me:
She’s the Categorical Imperative in corduroys


–work-in-progress, Our Heroic and Ceaseless 24/7 Struggle against Tsuris

Aiming for the Supreme Goal in Life

Dear Perry

I am sending out the following to a few of my friends, Bengali-Americans, who haven’t heard of Sri Anandamayi Ma. I think they’ll be open to her.

I’m grateful we read her before I went to law school.

Namaste forever,

Tanya

 

It was reported that various Indian philosophers and scholars said to the Bengali mystic Sri Anandamayi Ma: “We have studied dry scriptures. But, we now see before us, a living embodiment of all that is contained in our holy books of wisdom.”

Sri Anandamayi Ma passed from this life in 1982. Even though we no longer have the opportunity of darshan of her “living embodiment,” we still can learn something from Joseph Fitzgerald’s The Essential Sri Anandamayi Ma: Life and Teachings of a 20th Century Indian Saint.  Given the pace of our lives, the intense pressures to achieve success, and our nagging sense of being frequently adrift, an acquaintance with Ma is a step toward sanity.

____________________

First, we can ponder reflections from Ma’s biographer, Alexander Lipski, like the following…

I felt as though I was mentally stripped naked. It seemed to me that she could see into the innermost recesses of my mind. I asked her to tell me what the chief obstacles on my spiritual path were. In response she revealed to me some glaring shortcomings of which I had been hitherto totally unaware. What She said was in no way flattering, in fact, painful, but Anandamayi Ma said it so compassionately, although firmly, that I did not feel condemned. I realized what true loving detachment was. Read the rest of this entry »

Should This Be Added to Gene Sharp’s List of 198 Nonviolent Actions?

Today Spielberg’s The Post opens
It’s true! — a film about the Pentagon Papers
I texted Max if he’d like to go and he responded in a couple of minutes:

“I took a quick look at the Post‘s website
Talk about sepia tones
It’s no surprise

But I don’t know if I could stomach it
Well, maybe going and vomiting
Would be the appropriate direct action”


–from novel-in-progress, Our Heroic and Ceaseless 24/7 Struggle against Tsuris