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The Lilac Thief

I came across my chapbook, The Lilac Thief, from a few years back. Including it here in a downloable PDF. It contains songs and poems, including "Perfect Spring," from the early years of this century. Hope you enjoy reading and keep writing your own songs and poems until the end of time.

Posted on Saturday, March 28, 2015 at 06:57PM by Registered CommenterLinda Brown Holt | CommentsPost a Comment | References2 References

The Chan (Zen) Drawings of H.D.Thoreau

Look for the article, "The Chan (Zen) Drawings of H.D.Thoreau" by Linda Brown Holt in Qi Journal this year (summer edition).

Posted on Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at 08:07PM by Registered CommenterLinda Brown Holt | CommentsPost a Comment | References1 Reference

on Beethoven's Birthday...

Such' ihn über'm Sternenzelt!
Über Sternen muss er wohnen!

Brothers, above the canopy of stars
must dwell a loving father.
Do you bow down before Him, you millions?
Do you sense your Creator, o world?
Seek Him above the canopy of stars!
He must dwell beyond the stars.

(words by Schiller, music, the Ode to Joy by Beethoven)
Posted on Tuesday, December 16, 2014 at 06:49PM by Registered CommenterLinda Brown Holt | Comments2 Comments

A conversation with students of yoga

Spontaneous comments by Dr. Vijayendra Pratap, director of the SKY Foundation in Philadelphia, Pa., during a talk with students on October 30, 2014. (Some comments are paraphrased; this is not a verbatim transcript.)

On Yoga

Wherever you go, it (yoga) is with you. You don’t need “stuff” to practice yoga. The main focus will be your senses. They allow you entrance into yourself. It is your choice how and what you want to see. Contemplate on what you choose. You have the tools: use them. If you lose your focus, so what? Come back to it.

Human Nature

You are fundamentally perfect, according to my definition. Yoga teaches this. But somehow you got the notion that you are not. The moon on the second day of its cycle is perfect. But you compare it to the day before when the moon was full. No two people are alike. See the beauty of creation in individuals. Know that people are fascinating.


You have the answer for everything. Look within. Knowledge does not come from the outside.

Rising Sun

(A student asked why we begin practice by visualizing the rising sun.) The rising sun opens the lotus. In meditation, the rising sun stands for the power of awakening. The lotus is associated with who we are. It never sinks in water, never drowns. There is mud and filth at the bottom of the pond, but the lotus is untouched. There are dark places within, but you float above it.

In the morning, look toward the sun just rising. If you give yourself quiet time, understanding arises. First comes darkness, but then, the truth is bright and clear. Dig deep: the foundation materializes.

Conditioning and Communicating

We are conditioned to think a certain way. This keeps us from understanding. This is true everywhere, from India to China to America. Go with a fresh mind, an Open Mind (OM). Don’t be so serious, but be sincere.

Did you know you can communicate through silence? Two people deeply in love do not have to say a word: they understand each other. It is like a tuning fork, when one is struck, the other hums. When people are synchronized, they can communicate without talking. How beautiful it is when we are in tune with one another.

Posted on Monday, November 10, 2014 at 08:14PM by Registered CommenterLinda Brown Holt | CommentsPost a Comment | References8 References

Compassion, love are natural responses, Dalai Lama says in Princeton talk

During his Oct. 28, 2014, visit to Princeton University, His Holiness the Dalai Lama spoke with Princeton students in the afternoon during a program, “In the Service of All Nations.” The title refers to a speech by Princeton (and later U.S.) President Woodrow Wilson underscoring the university’s global role. (A blog entry about an earlier public lecture was posted Oct. 28, 2014.)

The following are maxims and reflections offered by the Dalai Lama during this second lecture in Princeton, N.J., on Oct. 28, 2014, often in response to student questions:

Compassion is a key value. Even animals show compassion, the strong will look after the weak. Even dogs, when they meet, show affinity for each other. They don’t compare collars, for instance!

Can you imagine hatred of all humanity? It’s not possible. Compassion, love are natural responses. Anger and hatred arise from particular circumstances. Our basic nature is to be more compassionate. Constant anger is very hurtful for our body.

From an evolutionary point of view, empathy and connection are our primary inclinations. We need a certain amount of hate and anger for survival, but they are not fundamental characteristics of humanity.

We must attack the root causes of inequality between rich and poor. Otherwise, our actions are unrealistic.

Happiness is the goal of life. Loving kindness is the source of happiness.

Modern education has the potential to open our eyes

A student asked: In our careers, should we aim for higher income doing what we don’t feel passionate about, or earn less doing what we love?

HH replied: This should be decided on a case by case basis. We all need money.  First take care of yourself, then others. If  you can’t stand on your own two feet, it is difficult to help other people.

A student asked: How can we get through to people with no interest in helping others?

HH replied: This is a real problem. The very existence of the  educational system is oriented toward the material, not inner values. You cannot change by force or law, but by volunteering. Voluntarily make inner values familiar, with positive emotions.

Asked about the media, HH said: People with no morals get more coverage. Scandal, killing: these are big news. Caring for people is not news. We can change this through education.  Think of the money spent on clothes, beauty products, etc. The heart is valued only at Christmas time!

Asked about social justice in the wake of Ferguson, HH said that many forces are at play: The long-term goal is to improve life through education. We have to make effort, mainly through education, to achieve the same goal but through different professions. Toy factories, video games: less of that. Then better world. You cannot change a materialistic life overnight. One or two individuals can’t do it alone.

A student asked whether she had to go back to her country and provide service.

HH replied: Look at the larger picture, plus consider what you can do (what your gifts are and how they can best be used). When you take care of your teeth, you take care of all of them, not just one!

Take a holistic view. If you look at only the negative, it will make you angry. Develop a method, some sense of developing your courage, so you can help.

A student asked how to deal with large entities such as corporations and nations.

HH replied: Consider your own body, then treat others that way. The entire creation of God preserves, respects, and takes care of others. We have no dialogue with God, only with creatures. The human mind is quite flexible.  We can create that attitude with groups as well as with individuals. Through training and attitude we can change.

A student asked about service and compassion.

HH said:  Service is seen as going to a third world country. But alleviating suffering on a small scale also is service. It is not always physical. The mental level is more important.

When your mental attitude is happy you can reduce physical suffering. When your mental attitude is fearful, you won’t be able to reduce suffering. Scientists are discovering that mental attitudes and training can actually change the brain.  Education itself is not about sensory gratification, but cultivating the mind.

Asked another question about Ferguson, HH said: Ancient Indian psychology teaches that destructive emotions are sudden, positive emotions are cultivated. When the immune system stops, the virus enters. So mental attitude must be cultivated through training. We need more study of emotion. There is a whole map of emotions: we need to get the whole picture.

A student asked how to convert intentions into acts of service (after graduation).

HH replied: It depends on the depth of your conviction. If your intentions are a fad, they won’t last. On my own path, we try to exercise compassion and help others. Habituate yourself to this way of thinking. You have to start somewhere. A professor once started out learning the alphabet. A pilot is trained to fly a jump jet so it appears to be effortless. This is all about practice. Unless you are really well trained, you might pull the wrong switch!

(Reported by Linda Brown Holt. Some of these comments may have been rephrased in places to emphasize meaning. They do not constitute a transcript of the Dalai Lama’s talk. This blog entry is based on the writer’s notes and recollections.)

Posted on Friday, November 7, 2014 at 06:34PM by Registered CommenterLinda Brown Holt | CommentsPost a Comment | References10 References