Xian = Influence

#31 Influence 咸 (salty)

Stop doing. Cleanse your mind so you’re prepared—
Wait patiently, a sign will manifest.
A presence before whom your soul is bared
Will speak through you. You will be blessed.

Don’t be too quick to offer explanation—
Events will make interpretation clear.
This story line is not of your creation;
You’ll lead the army marching from the rear.

Your lucid observation is sufficient,
Eyes open, but don’t try to be omniscient.
Just watch. Your role is not to mourn or cheer,
And partial vision is no cause for fear.
You’ve acted boldly, though you’re not ambitious;
Your good will and detachment are propitious.

JJM = #31 from the I Ching Sonnet Project

Hexagram 31 • Influence/Courtship • Hsien | I Ching Meditations
art by Adele Aldridge

It’s up to us to imagine the More Beautiful World into existence.

Come, imagine with me.

In the old world, different ethnic groups saw one another as threats. “If we’re right, then they must be wrong. Worse yet, if they’re right…”

There was a tension until we converted other tribes or nations or cultures to our own way of being, or else wiped them out. Genoside.

All that is over. The world is full of a wide diversity of peoples and ways of life. Each group is fascinated to learn about the others. Maybe we will adopt some of their ways, but in any case we will learn about ourselves from seeing how different another people can be. So many ways to be human.

Before, there were 6,500 languages, and each year there were 40 fewer than the year before. Now the number of languages is growing. It is already back up over 7,000 because quasi self-sufficient tribes quickly develop their own ways to communicate.

A father's guide: How to talk to your teenage son | Weekend | The Times
  • I’m scared
  • Well, of course you’re scared, Will. If you weren’t scared, how could this be a challenge appropriate to your Anafar?
  • That doesn’t make me any less scared, and I don’t like it when you take my feelings and interpret them on me.
  • I’m sorry. You’re scared, Will. I hear you and I understand.
  • I have thought it isn’t right. I’m not ready to leave. If it were with the Magicodumbras, maybe. But the Zuzumozis are just too strange. I don’t think I can get used to living with the Zuzumozis.
  • Remember when Nick said the same thing about the Namibians? A year later, he came back speaking fluent Otjiherero, and teaching all his friends to dance the Malgaisa with him. 
  • Tell me about when you were a boy, Daddy. Did you have an Anafar year?
  • When I was a boy. When I was a boy, the world was a different place. More rigid by far, more homogenized. There were other nations, other ways to be. But I hardly knew anything about them, and in my ignorance, I dismissed them as primitive and uninteresting. So no, I never had an Anafar year.
  • You didn’t have an Anafar, and you grew up just fine. So why do I have to leave the Red Hills and everyone I love?
  • Kahokia is a good place. It’s our good place, and we love it. But it’s not the only good place, and our way isn’t the only way to live. I believe in change and growth and always trying new things. We were not given this lifetime just so we could live comfortably, every day the same. You and I and every living being is an agent of change.
  • But I’m young and everything in Kahokia is still new and fresh for me. I am just learning the ways of our city. It’s not fair to rip me out of this new environment and dump me in a different new environment.
  • Oh, Will! No one is dumping you. We will call you and write to you every day. Many times a day, if you can stand it. I will always be thinking about you and listening to you. And the year will be over before you know it, and you will not want to return to Kahokia.
  • Maybe so. But I am just growing to love the things we do and the ways we do them. I love the way that all our food is in one pantry, where everyone contributes and everyone takes what they like all the time. I love holding the babies of my neighbors and gazing into their little eyes. I love the forest, our Kahokian forest, and all the things I’ve learned about how the forest feeds us. 
  • Yes, life here is especially rich for young people, and we have all worked to create for our children the life that we did not have when we were children. And an essential part of your life as a Kahokian is to learn about other peoples, other ways to be human, other lands with their plants and animals and the ways people have learned to live with those other lands. I ask you to trust me that this is good.

An Irish Rosh Hashanah

In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where our thoughts never thought to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until we were ready to emerge.

For a long time it has watched our desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside us,
Noticing how we willed ourselves on,
Still unable to leave what we had outgrown.

It watched us play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would we always live like this.

Then the delight, when our courage kindled,
And out we stepped onto new ground,
Our eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before us.

Though our destination is not yet clear
We can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl ourselves into the grace of beginning
That is at one with our collective desire.

Our spirit awakens to adventure;
We hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon we will find home in a new rhythm,
For our souls sense the world that awaits us.

~ John O’Donohue

(Liberty taken with pronouns,
from second person imperative
to first person plural by JJM)

Labor Organizing for Our Time

It’s an unreported truth that the largest group of people declining COVID vaccination are healthcare professionals. They know too much about the skimpy testing that the new, experimental technology was subject to, and they are aware of the vaccine side-effects because they see them every day.

Doctors and nurses have credibility, they have first-hand knowledge, and they have power. It will be organizations of these professionals that expose the orchestrated media propaganda and turn around public perceptions around COVID treatment and prevention.

 Video of nurses orgnizing against mandatory vaccination

How to meditate, How to live

Permit this moment to transfigure you
Accept your thoughts and feelings, for a start
Embrace this unique Now with open heart
And, shedding expectation, seek the New.
To move is not verboten, but avoid
Deliberate action, thought out in advance
With Buber, say “I-thou” and take your stance
In primal presence, pure and unalloyed.

You’ll soon find your attention seeks distraction;
Then follows judgment, mind assigning blame
Some part of you declines to play this game — 
When openness returns, repeat the action.

You must not take this counsel as a goal
But rather, be a witness of your soul.

— JJM, Sonnets of Oneness, 29 August ’21

Mindful Walking Practice: How to Get Started

Speaking reality into existence

In this remarkable essay, Charles Eisenstein tells stories of people who have the gift of seeing a possible future and creating it with their words and intentions. He focuses on Elon Musk as an example, but also Nelson Mandela and Mohandes Gandhi.


“Two things are required to wield the power of prophetic speech. First, one must actually see a real vision in order to speak it into existence. The prophet cannot create on whim or fancy. Human beings are the receivers and not the creators of true visions. The vision must be true, and one must actually see it; otherwise, no one will believe you when you say, “Here is what shall be.” No matter how hard you persuade people of its necessity and feasibility, and even if they verbally assent to it, still they will not play the roles necessary for its manifestation.

“Put a different way, the world was already pregnant with the possibilities that Musk, Namadamu, Mandela, Marcos, and the rest declared into actuality. Please understand that I am not putting these individuals into the same moral category. Yet they have something in common: the power of word, which can be the instrument of any potentiality, good or ill.

“The second requirement is the bow into service. The vision granted to the prophet has chosen the prophet as its instrument. She must then agree to be that instrument, for which some kind of sacrifice will be required, a letting-go, a dedication to this, and therefore not to that. To serve one future and not another entails the loss of what might have been and who I might have been. Something will be lost and something will be gained. It is inescapable.

“For me a third thing is required as well: community. When I behold a radiant vision and then turn my eyes back to the world as it is, I may come to doubt whether what I saw was real. I need others to confirm it. “Yes, what you saw is real, I have seen it too.” Many who are reading this have played that role for me in times of doubt. Sometimes they do it through words. More powerfully, they do it through the example of devotion. Because, their devotion would waver if they didn’t know that what they served were possible. When I witness kindness, generosity, healing, forgiveness, or courage, I know I’m not crazy. Such acts are the vision showing itself to me anew.

“Another future beckons, and in the spirit of invitation I will speak it more directly and less abashedly in coming months and years. It is quite different from the vision of technological utopia, although perhaps in some mysterious way convergent with it, as it bears the similarity of denser and denser interconnection. Because I know many others have seen it too, I also know that many will hark to and amplify the invitation. This is not a single person’s vision; it is a vast potentiality that speaks with a million visionary voices. Again, visions are not created, they are not owned, they are not even found; they are beings in their own right that reveal themselves to those who seek them. A More Beautiful World is seeking us. It finds us through our seeking of it. I will share what I have been shown, so as to kindle the fire of recognition in those who have seen it too, who have also walked the path of half-belief, doubt, and healing.”

Read the whole essay by Charles Eisenstein

Working to overcome the need to work to overcome.

“If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run…”

Rudyard Kipling (1895)

‘How doth the little busy bee
Improve each shining hour’

–Isaac Watts (1715)

This is, in my view, the central toxicity of Western culture, and what makes it so hard for us to understand the simple truth of Eckhart Tolle’s first book and all its many Eastern predecessors.

I’ve written a poem or two on this theme.

In my experience, Asians and Africans are more likely to live fully in the moment, and Europeans (especially the privileged classes) are likely to define each moment by what is accomplished therein. Many indigenous people are perfectly happy to spend hours on end watching the sun follow its path across the sky. The truth is that each moment is a self-contained reason for being alive. The toxic Western myth is that each moment is to be invested toward a better future.

Of course, the future never arrives; or if it does arrive, we are so accustomed to drawing reward from accomplishment (rather than experience) that finally reaping what we have sown actually causes us to feel anxious.

I have been aware since age twenty-something of this paradox at the core of my approach to life, but have made little “progress” (how deeply this idea of progress pervades my conceptual space!) toward living in the moment.

Now I find myself flat on my back for weeks on end. Perhaps I can permit this experience to transform me. Perhaps I can shed the compulsion to accomplish. Perhaps I will recieve the gift of inhabiting the experience of each moment.

— JJM

All will come again

All will come again into its strength:
the fields undivided, the waters undammed,
the trees towering and the walls built low.
And in the valleys, people as strong and varied as the land. And no churches where God
is imprisoned and lamented
like a trapped and wounded animal.
The houses welcoming all who knock
and a sense of boundless offering
in all relations, and in you and me. No yearning for an afterlife, no looking beyond,
no belittling of death,
but only longing for what belongs to us
and serving earth, lest we remain unused. 

~ Rainer Maria Rilke tr Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows