Monthly Archives: May 2013


Who says my poems are poems?
They aren’t poems at all.
Only when you understand my poems aren’t poems
Can we talk poetry

In my hut I keep Han Shan’s poems
They’re better than any sutra
I copy out his poems and pin them up
And recite them again and again.

I know a gentleman poet
Who writes in the high old way –
Master of form from Han and Wei
Or new style modeled on the T’ang
With elegant strokes, he quietly composes
Deftly adding images to startle.
But he hasn’t learned to speak from the heart
All wasted! Though he writes all night long


The Journey Towards Wholeness

Relaxation, deep, nourishing relaxation lies at the heart of any healing process.

Our pain is our teacher. Listen deeply to what it’s saying, what it’s trying to communicate. Then we are positioned to understand it more fully and thereby start the process of transformation.

Healing is about looking deeply into ourselves and the deeper you look, the more you will see.

A mind that constantly thinks ‘ victim ‘ will find a recovery path difficult because it is still focused on blame rather than recovery.

We may have pulled away, given up on the prospects of healing but that’s no real reason why we cannot re-enter this process and reinvigorate it with fresh intentions – new potential that can unleash a new life for us.

Healing only comes to a settled and stilled mind.

Always listen to what your body is saying.

When freed of anxiety the mind will create a space for healing to take root.

Hope, faith and optimism are at the very heart of the healing process.

Healing is a precious gift we give to ourselves.

The healing process takes times. Deep wounds require deep responses.

The body needs rest, often deep nurturing rest, but isn’t this what healing is really all about?

If there is any resistance healing cannot, fully enter our wounds.

Healing starts with a simple acknowledgement that things can change; that we can turn our pain around to enter a better, fuller life.

If you fully commit to healing then a wonderful thing will happen – healing will commit to you.

Healing is an acceptance of our pain in order to move beyond it.

At the heart of healing is a softness that says everything is OK.

Michael Lewin


“I am circling around God
Around the ancient tower.
I have been circling for a thousand years,
And I still don’t know if I am a falcon, a storm,
Or a great song”


“Surely all art is the result of one’s having been in danger, of having gone through an experience all the way to the end, where no one can go any further. The further one goes, the more private, the more personal, the more singular an experience becomes, and the thing one is making is, finally, the necessary, irrepressible, and, as nearly as possible, definitive utterance of this singularity.”

Rilke -Letters on Cezanne

Gateways to Personal Growth

Where we are is where we should practice

Don’t remain on the surface of life. Depth is there to penetrate – dive in

Never allow time, your most valuable property, to be wasted

Give others the space to be themselves

Treat everyone with dignity and respect

Develop a healthy disregard for your own sense of importance

Take time out to RELAX

Make certain your home greets you with joy

Give yourself to the things that really matter – the most important issues that effect lives

When you discover your mission in life give to it fully, completely and wholeheartedly

Don’t imprison your attention in the wrong area of life

We need to develop the ability to draw a line under our mistakes, learn from them and then move on

Never allow a lack of talent get in the way of your perseverance to achieve

The only real constancy is change therefore accept and embrace it with a full and committed heart

Beginners mind starts every morning

Never be embarrassed when doing good

Life is not solely about personal gain but what you can do to help others

Life – so easy to get it wrong and so difficult to get it right

We have dreams and aspirations, hopes and yearnings to be filled – so don’t waste a moment, fill them

As soon as a dream visits us a corresponding fear / anxiety kicks in – ignore it!!

Remember: we can argue from a sustained base of verifiable facts and still not change people’s minds

Always concentrate on your own little patch

Stay awake

Don’t allow your life to become too complicated – seek out simplicity
in all its manifestations

Swear allegiances to yourself – your highest, noblest self


Michael Lewin

Walt Whitman

“ From this hour I ordain myself loos’d of limits and imaginary lines,
Going where I list, my own master total and absolute,
Listening to others, considering well what they say,
Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating,
Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me.”

A Self is Made…..

“A self is made, not given. It is a creative and active process of attending a life that must be heard, shaped, seen, said aloud into the world, finally enacted and woven into the lives of others. Then a life attended is not an act of narcissism or disregard for others; on the contrary, it is searching through the treasures and debris of ordinary existence for the clear points of intensity that do not erode, do not separate us, that are most intensely our own, yet other people’s too. The best lives and stories are made up of minute particulars that somehow are also universal and of use to others as well as oneself.”

Barbara Myerhoff

Every-minute Zen

Zen students are with their masters at last ten years before they presume to teach others. Nan-in was visited by Tenno, who, having passed his apprenticeship, had become a teacher. The day happened to be rainy, so Tenno wore wooden clogs and carried an umbrella. After greeting him Nan-in remarked: ‘I suppose you left your wooden clogs in the vestibule. I want to know if your umbrella is on the right or left side of the clogs?’ Tenno, confused, had no instant answer. He realized that he was unable to carry his Zen every minute. He became Nan- in’s pupil, and studied six more years to accomplish his every-minute Zen.

Paul Reps

The Path of Progress

Wise words from the sage, Confucius: “ The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials.” Life is a progression route of learning and understanding that leads to growth, and along the way there are inevitably struggles. But without the struggles there would not be the growth. The later is a product of the former.

Never allow anyone to diminish your dreams

Explore your fears, seek to understand them then you are in a position to transform them.

Stop trying to seek out ‘ experts ‘ and start listening to your own heart.

Awareness of death is not a morbid, gloomy thing but a reality check for life – a life well spent .

Jealousy is a corrosive, emotion that can eat away at our heart. If the feeling emerges try to get underneath its pain to try and listen to its voice impartially. Try to understand the imbalance and disharmony it’s causing. Try to recognize its one-sided, biased views on things that put you in a space of negativity. It’s only by working to diminish our feeling of jealousy, with a full and open heart, that we can step into a new life that will blossom to embrace everyone.

Everyone must have a vision in life, something we can work towards to achieve – a predetermined aim that will draw the best out of us. But we must never let a lack of money to become an excuse for not trying ( which is often the case ). For when we put our goals in place and strive arduously to achieve then the money will follow.

Peace and serenity will surface in our lives when we let go of the judging, weighing, analyzing mode of our normal mental operating.

Aspirations can be transformed into real possibilities if we only work hard enough.

Our minds throw up many questions and find it difficult to answer them satisfactorily. Only a fully lived, deeply felt life itself can really begin to address them.

Do not seek to be right all the time. Being wrong is OK, it’s not a crippling problem that will unhinge us because we can learn from it and in the process grow.

Avoid trying to dominate situations. Allow others, especially the quieter ones to have their say in their own way, and in their own time. You just might be surprised at what you will learn.

Friendship is a precious gift. Always treat it with the upmost respect as if it was sanctified – which it is.

Always try to be flexible and compromise with people, without giving up on the values you hold.

Be gracious in any defeat knowing that you will learn the lessons it has delivered. Then, armed with revised knowledge and continuing perseverance, you will undoubtedly move forward to success.

If everything was perfect in our lives we would have nothing left to do – nothing to work and strive for.

The past is dead, the future hasn’t arrived yet so embrace the now moment. The now moment where our lives only ever really live.

Be relaxed about the negative feelings that surface in the mind. It’s only when you react to them that you empower them.

When we meet our own needs we are not necessarily being selfish but undertaking an important task that will support our work and this can benefit everyone. Playing small, depriving ourselves, serves no one.

Our hearts should expand to embrace love and suffering, joy and pain, happiness and sorrow – all the gains and losses that life deals to us in the knowledge that it makes us stronger.

Michael Lewin


Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu are considered to be the two leading lights of the Taoist tradition which flourished in China over two thousand years ago. Through the sublime use of metaphor and analogy these two masters spin their splendid webs of wisdom. Below are just a few of their aphorisms to enchant us….

” The wise are not learned; the learned are not wise.”

” To attain knowledge, add things every day. To obtain wisdom, remove things everyday.”

” A well-frog cannot imagine the ocean, nor can a summer insect conceive of ice. How then can a scholar understand the Tao? He is restricted by his own learning.”

” See simplicity in complexity.”

” Knowing others is intelligence; Knowing yourself is true wisdom.”

” Mastering others is true strength; mastering yourself is true power.”

” Honour all under Heaven as your body.”

” Perfect kindness acts without thinking of kindness.”

” A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first footstep.”

” Do you have the patience to wait until the mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving until the right action arises by itself? ”

” Freedom from desire leads to inward peace.”

” To a mind that is still the whole universe surrenders.”

Michael Lewin