Acharya Mahapragya, India

(Submitted by The Art of Living Team)

Indian philosophy, or ‘darsha’, is based on perception, or seeing. In fact, 'darsha’ means seeing or perceiving. Its meaning has changed now. The philosophy being taught in colleges and universities today is based on inference and reasoning, but in ancient times it stood for direct apprehension. Not inference, not abstract reasoning, not causation, not universality or pervasiveness, but sheer apprehension. Today, we have lost the power to see and we fail to distinguish between thinking and perceiving.

Feeding the eyes

J. Ruth Gendler, USA

(Submitted by The Art of Living Team)

The more I study and imagine how people and animals see the world and process what they see, the less certain I am about what the words visible and invisible, realistic and abstract, beautiful and ugly mean. What's abstract and what's realistic depends on the kind of lens you are looking through.


Lao Zi, China

(Submitted by The Art of Living Team)

Without taking a step outdoors
You know the whole world;
Without taking a peep out the window
You know the colour of the sky.

The more you experience,
The less you know.
The sage wanders without knowing,
Sees without looking,
Accomplishes without acting.

The Art of Peacemaking

Eliyahu McLean, Israel

(Submitted by the author and originally published in 'The Art of Living')

In our increasingly polarized world, traditional Jewish teachings about peace can offer us wisdom that we can apply in our current predicament. The word shalom in Hebrew means peace.
From the same root in Hebrew comes the word shalem, or wholeness. The great Hassidic philosopher Rebbe Nachman taught that the highest, or absolute, peace is the peace between opposites.

If we were to know

Pema Chödrön, USA

(Submitted by Axelle Goossens, Belgium)

If we were to know that tonight we would go blind, we would take a last, real and longing look at each blade of grass, at each cloud formation, at each speck of dust, at each rainbow and drop of rain, at every thing.

Sight, Memory (With Apologies to Nabokov)

Ama Reynolds, USA

(Submitted by the author)

What is light? What is light within? What is light within light? Stillness becoming alive, yet still? A lively understandable spirit once entertained you. It will come again. Be still. Wait. - Theodore Roethke


The Joy of Small Things

Subhashini Raghavan, India

(Submitted by the author)

It was monsoon season; the power had gone; I couldn't switch on the computer or the TV or use the phone; the streets were flooded and I couldn't go out. I was bored beyond belief. Then I glanced out my window at the nearest puddle and began to see the life forms floating through: there was the big black ant clinging on to the edge of a floating leaf, making an effort to climb up, as if scaling Everest.
Then, the millipedes crawling away at the corners with what appeared to be a million legs.


Chandrakirti, India

(Submitted by Mária Bányai, Hungary)

All phenomena possess two natures:
That which is revealed by correct perception
And that which is induced by deceptive perception.
The object of correct perception is ultimate reality,
The object of deceptive perception is conventional reality.

Measuring anew

George Bernard Shaw, Ireland

(Submitted by Gerard Clarke, Ireland)

The only person who behaves sensibly is my tailor. He takes my measure anew every time he sees me. All the rest go on with their old measurements.


Connie Spittler, USA

(Submitted by the author)

Years ago, I met a man who noticed lint. After Reinhold Marxhausen watched his wife clean the clothes dryer screen, he began to collect this peculiar stuff, not seeing throwaway material, but texture, color and invention. A Professor of Art at Concordia College in Nebraska, he layered the multi-colored fibers under glass, forming abstractions that echoed landscape. I bought one, as a reminder to look more closely at my immediate world.

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