zen II


Every month, on the back page of The Sun -- one of my favorite magazines, if not the favorite magazine, after the unfortunate demise of DoubleTake several years ago -- they publish a couple columns worth of aphorisms under the title "sunbeams." Here are several from this month's edition:

First, on the myth of the economy of scarcity:

"An assumption deeply integral to capitalism ... [is that there's] not enough to go around: not enough love, not enough time, not enough appointments at the food-stamps office, not enough food stamps, not enough money, not enough seats on the subway. It's pervasive. We learn mistrust of each other, bone deep: everything is skin off somebody's nose." -- Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz


"Love ... is the extremely difficult realization that something other than oneself is real." -- Iris Murdoch

"The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was 'If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?' But ... the good Samaritan reversed the question: 'If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?'" -- Martin Luther King

"The friend who holds your hand and says the wrong thing is made of dearer stuff than the one who stays away." -- Barbara Kingsolver

"There is incredible value in being of service to others. I think if many people in therapy offices were dragged out to put their finger in a dike, or take up their place in a working line, they would be relieved of terrible burdens." -- Elizabeth Burg

"Saving someone's life is like falling in love, the best drug in the world." -- Paul Schrader

"We are here to help each other get through this thing, whatever it is." -- Mark Vonnegut

"One life stamps and influences another, which in turn stamps and influences another, on and on, until the soul of human experience breathes on in generations we'll never even meet." -- Mary Kay Blakely

"One could laugh at the world better if it didn't mix tender kindliness with its brutality." -- D.H. Lawrence

"If those who owe us nothing gave us nothing, how poor we would be." -- Antonio Porchia

"When we honestly ask ourselves which people in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing, and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares." -- Henri Nouwen


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