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I shall say that I want it all.
If you ask me how much I want,
I shall tell you that I want it all.
You and I and everyone are flowing this morning
Into the marvelous stream of oneness.
Small pieces of imagination we are,
We have come a long way to find ourselves,
And for ourselves in the dark,
The illusion of emancipation.

This morning my brother is back from his long adventure.
He kneels before the altar and his eyes are filled with tears.
His soul is looking for a shore to put an anchor,
My own image of long ago.
Let him kneel there and weep,
Let him cry his heart out.
Let him have his refuge for a thousand years.
Enough to dry all his tears.

Because one of these nights I shall come.
I have to come and set fire to this small cottage of his on a hill.
His last shelter.
My fire will destroy,
Destroy everything.
Taking away from him the only life raft he has, after a shipwreck.
In the utmost anguish of his soul,
The shell will break.
The light of the burning hut will witness, gloriously, his deliverance.
I will wait for him beside the burning cottage,
Tears will run down my cheeks.
I shall be there to contemplate his new existence,
And hold his hands in mine,
And ask him how much he would want.
He will smile at me and say that he wants it all.
Just as I did.

~Thich Nhat Hanh~

How much of our lives is a process of unlearning? I unlearn my despair to find my love. I unlearn my craziness in order to find my own capacity to discern. I unlearn my addictions by discovering the real joy of everyday life. Unlearning my stories about myself, unlearning my limitations, I find I am a completely free, a wanderer of the world, all loneliness departed, without a need to play any particular role for myself or others. I unlearn my judgments, and as I do, compassion naturally appears like water flowing through the cracks in an ancient wall. All plants receive this water indistinguishably — whether I happen to first see them as beautiful flowers or as weeds. A garden is a garden, no matter who planted it; no matter how humble the blossom.

I unlearn the day to find a storm of stars. I unlearn the night to find the unfolding petals of first light.




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January 2007