Inspiration from music, books, and poetry (Inspiring Shorts #1)

(Image by Franco Folini of Limantour Beach (via Flickr and Creative Commons) at Point Reyes National Seashore, a location that has often inspired Andrew)

Editor’s note:  occasionally we’ll be too busy to write something of length (or quality!) — such as over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays here in the States — but we want to keep the cadence of weekly articles going out to you all.

As an experiment suggested by a long-time reader (JJ in Seattle), we’re testing out this new idea, and we’re calling it, “Inspiring Shorts.”  We’ll share good vibes from inspiring books we’re reading, poems we’ve written, music we’re listening to, or other sources of inspiration.  We hope that we pass some of the good energy on to you.

Original poetry:

“Sizzling Rain Curtain”

(J. Andrew McKee, MD; August, 2014)

Sizzling rain curtain,
Pointing the way to stillness,
in spite of gadgets.

(written during a downpour; it is now raining outside as I type, so I figured now was the time to share)

Inspiring quotations from books we’ve been reading:

On nurturing the positive energies within us:

“To better succeed at [exercise #10 of breath awareness*] we must know how to recognize and touch the positive mental formations that are already present in us, such as faith, goodwill, compassion, understanding tolerance, and equanimity.  Our mind becomes joyful every time we recognize these positive mental formations.”

— Thich Nhat Hanh with Annabel Laity, “Breathe!  You Are Alive: Sutra On Full Awareness Of Breathing,” (Parallax, revised edition, 1996, p. 62)

* In Hanh’s translation, the Buddha’s tenth exercise in his sutra (or talk) on breath awareness was, “Breathing in, I make my mind happy.  Breathing out, I make my mind happy.”

On the benefits of patient meditation practice:

“As we learn to be alertly and calmly present in our meditation, a deeper intimacy with ourselves and with the world will arise.  As we cultivate our ability to remain mindful without interfering, judging, avoiding, or clinging to our direct experience, wellsprings of insight and wisdom have a chance to surface.”

— Gil Fronsdal (“The Issue at Hand,” Bookland, 2001, p. 43)

Music we’ve been enjoying:

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