“Love for oneself seems to be a paradoxical statement. If love is a bridge that unites, then how does love for oneself manifest? In truth, however, the profoundest love one has is for oneself. It is the glue that integrates a human being spiritually and psychologically. It is not love, as a feeling or a craving; rather it is of a different order; it is a state of being. The difference between a feeling and a state of being lies in their nature and how they are experienced. Feelings are fleeting and temporary. To be sustained, they need to be rekindled and continuously remembered. And they are evocative, depending on an outer stimulus. A state of being is constant and contextual. It is, whether remembered or not, and is the source of all feelings and actions. It is a place to come from. It is that which is being expressed, and it is at one with the expresser.”

– DovBer Pinson (Meditation and Judaism:Exploring the Jewish Meditative Paths)

 

 

 

“Here the spirit is alien. Its race and kin are all in heaven. It has many friends there. To assist the spirit in its distress, to weaken the flesh for its part in this struggle so that it cannot conquer the spirit, penances are put upon the flesh, like a bridle, to curb it, so that the spirit may control it. This is done to bring it to subjection, but if you wish to make it a thousand times more subject, put the bridle of love on it. With love you may overcome it most quickly and load it most heavily.

~ Meister Eckhart

 



Master Meng said: There was once a fine forest on the Ox Mountain,

Near the capital of a populous country.

The men came out with axes and cut down the trees. Was it still a fine forest?

Yet, resting in the alternation of days and nights, moistened by dew,

The stumps sprouted, the trees began to grow again.

Then out came goats and cattle to browse on the young shoots. The Ox Mountain was stripped utterly bare.

And the people, seeing it stripped utterly bare,

Think the Ox Mountain never had any woods on it at all.

Our mind too, stripped bare, like the mountain, Still cannot be without some basic tendency to love. But just as men with axes, cutting down the trees every

morning,

Destroy the beauty of the forest,

So we, by our daily actions, destroy our right mind.

Day follows night, giving rest to the murdered forest, The moisture of the dawn spirit Awakens in us the right loves, the right aversions.

With the actions of one morning we cut down this love, And destroy it again. At last the night spirit Is no longer able to revive our right mind.

Where, then, do our likes and dislikes differ from those of animals?

In nothing much.

Men see us, and say we never had in us anything but evil. Is this man’s nature?

Whatever is cultivated rightly, will surely grow. Whatever is not cultivated rightly must surely perish. Master Kung (Confucius), said:

Grasp it firmly and you will keep it.

Grasp it loosely, and it will vanish out of your hand. Its comings and goings have no fixed times: No one knows its country!

Of man’s right mind, of this only does he speak!


“If we know God, our identification of ourselves with those we love will
be patterned on our union with God, and subordinate to it. Thus our
love will begin with the knowledge of its own limitations and rise to
the awareness of its greatness. For in ourselves we will always remain
separate and remote from one another, but in God we can be one with
those we love.”

 

“I stood upon the Ivory Tower
As far as I could see
The winds that grew from out of the trees
were calling out to me

I followed fortune ’round the tower
Searching in vain
For through the mist ’round the old stone tower I only
found rain
And though the cold, cold Ivory Tower was
stony through and through
I laid and dreamed on a featherbed, my dream was of
you
My dream was of you

I feared not in the Ivory Tower
Imprisonment you’ll find
Lies within your heart your soul,
your spirit and your mind…”

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