A Tower of Watchfulness

‘Still Life, Pink Roses’ – Vincent van Gogh, 1890 – WikiArt


We keep receiving invitations
from presence all the time.
But we turn them away
too often — and it’s a shame.

They could take care of our path
with the elegance of
their coming into being.
Paving it as it were.
Illuminating it.

For they are graceful messengers
blooming from the depth
of our innermost being.
They abhor objectivity.
They form surreptitiously
above and amongst
all that is unconscious
in ourself.
They are prodding little bells
that are here for a mission:
To wake us up.
To lure us into presence.

They may come suddenly as
the insistent call of a blackbird.
Its song a joyful reminder —
Stop it! Come back! —
so that you may let yourself
fall back into presence.
So that you may be reminded
of the intimacy of your
most tender being.

Honouring these invitations
is an ever present Sadhana.
One that requires very little effort.
For this is the effort of just
being — Being presence.
A tower of watchfulness.



Text by Alain Joly

Painting by Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890)



Vincent Van Gogh (Wikipedia)

Voices from Silence (other poems from the blog)


The Heart of Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore is certainly one of the fathers of modern Indian literature. His work is immense and fascinating. He is the author of more than a thousand poems, two thousand songs of which he also wrote the music, novels, short stories, plays. He has also written essays on all subjects that were dear to him, from philosophy to politics, from education to the arts, and left many sketches, drawings and paintings. But Tagore was first and foremost a poet, ‘The Poet’, as he is affectionately known in India, and it was through his poetry that he became known throughout the world.

He was born the last child of a Brahmin family from Calcutta, in 1861, and grew up in the shadow of a learned father and religious reformer. He took part in the intense intellectual and social emulation that Bengal experienced in the 19th century, when it struggled with modern Western influences. Educated in the three languages ​​- Sanskrit, Bengali and English, he wrote poems very early, and translated some of his collections into English himself. The publication of ‘Gitanjali’ in Europe and North America made Tagore famous, and he received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913. His sudden renown allowed him to make numerous trips to various continents for conferences or visits of friendship, in which he tirelessly preached peace, non-violence and unity among men. A friend of Gandhi, Tagore participated in his own way to the emergence of India as a nation. He is the author of many poems and patriotic songs, two of which have become the national anthems of India and Bangladesh.


Thou hast made me endless, such is thy pleasure. 
This frail vessel thou emptiest again and again, 
and fillest it ever with fresh life
~ Gitanjali


‘Gitanjali’ (1912) is a succession of dialogues, praises to God, filled with some accents of the most profound spirituality. Face to face with the Master, with the Friend, with the Lord, the poet is alternately filled with aspirations, confusions, caught in lamentations, or in luminous resolutions. These poems combine the finesse of language with philosophical reflection or contemplation, and they do so so harmoniously that we are invited to a double and indissociable meditation.


And it shall be my endeavour to reveal thee in my actions, 
knowing it is thy power gives me strength to act
~ Gitanjali

Let’s delve into the spiritual heart of Tagore’s poetry and essays (READ MORE…)



The ghost in the system

Here is a reminder inspired from the words of Rupert Spira. I love this expression from Rupert: a ‘ghost in the system’, because it gives a vivid image of a reality that is so easily overlooked. It is necessary and terribly efficient to look into these matters for ourselves. This is why I like to share here the parts of a spiritual teaching that sounds like ‘something to do’, something to experiment and verify for ourselves:

During the day, doing whatever you do, keep on searching for the ruthless person or entity you have been working for frantically, check that it ever existed, look if it is there at all, if you are not the zealous servant of an illusory master who actually never ever existed… Is there anybody there, an entity to whom all this is happening?… Enquire by looking within…


Further exploring on the subject:

You know so many things about yourself,
but the knower you do not know.
Find out who you are, the knower of the known.
So far, you took the mind for the knower,
but it is just not so. Look within diligently.

~ Nisargadatta Maharaj


All we know is experience but there is no independent ‘we’ or ‘I’ that knows experience. There is just experience or experiencing. And experiencing is not inherently divided into one part that experiences and another part that is experienced. From the point of view of experience, which is the only real point of view, experiencing is too intimately one with itself to know itself as ‘something,’ such as a body, mind or world.
~ Rupert Spira


The self that we seem to have become as a result of the forgetting or veiling of our essential being is an imaginary one. It is in fact a thought, not an entity or a self, that has caused this exclusive association of our self with an object of the body and mind.
~ Rupert Spira




– ‘Presence’, Vol. I & II – by Rupert Spira (Non-Duality Press)
– ‘I Am That‘ – by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj (Non-Duality Press)

Rupert Spira
Nisargadatta Maharaj (Wikipedia)

Fleeing to God (other pointers from the blog)
Khetwadi Lane (Homage to Nisargadatta Maharaj)