The Martial Emperor’s Dream Of Expansion Has No End

the martial emperor's dream of expansion
Cavalry of the Tang Dynasty

Scholars say the poem “Song of the Wagons” was written by Du Fu (712-770) in 750 or 751. This was a few years before the start of the An Lushan Rebellion. This is one of the earliest surviving poems of Du Fu. Here is the poem in Chinese (simplified):

兵车行

车辚辚
马萧萧
行人弓箭各在腰
耶娘妻子走相送
尘埃不见咸阳桥
牵衣顿足阑道哭
哭声直上干云霄
道傍过者问行人
行人但云点行频
或从十五北防河
便至四十西营田
去时里正与裹头
归来头白还戍边
边亭流血成海水
武皇开边意未已
君不闻汉家山东二百州
千村万落生荆杞
纵有健妇把锄犁
禾生陇亩无东西
况复秦兵耐苦战
被驱不异犬与鸡
长者虽有问
役夫敢申恨
且如今年冬
未休关西卒
县官急索租
租税从何出
信知生男恶
反是生女好
生女犹得嫁比邻
生男埋没随百草
君不见青海头
古来白骨无人收
新鬼烦冤旧鬼哭
天阴雨湿声啾啾

The martial emperor’s dream of expansion has no end

This poem has been translated into English by a number of scholars. The earliest translation I know of was in 1967 by David Hawkes. I don’t know who made this particular translation.

The wagons rumble and roll,
The horses whinny and neigh,
The conscripts each have bows and arrows at their waists.
Their parents, wives and children run to see them off,
So much dust’s stirred up, it hides the Xianyang bridge.
They pull clothes, stamp their feet and, weeping, bar the way,
The weeping voices rise straight up and strike the clouds.
A passer-by at the roadside asks a conscript why,
The conscript answers only that drafting happens often.
“At fifteen, many were sent north to guard the river,
Even at forty, they had to till fields in the west.
When we went away, the elders bound our heads,
Returning with heads white, we’re sent back off to the frontier.
At the border posts, shed blood becomes a sea,
The martial emperor’s dream of expansion has no end.
Have you not seen the two hundred districts east of the mountains,
Where thorns and brambles grow in countless villages and hamlets?
Although there are strong women to grasp the hoe and the plough,
They grow some crops, but there’s no order in the fields.
What’s more, we soldiers of Qin withstand the bitterest fighting,
We’re always driven onwards just like dogs and chickens.
Although an elder can ask me this,
How can a soldier dare to complain?
Even in this winter time,
Soldiers from west of the pass keep moving.
The magistrate is eager for taxes,
But how can we afford to pay?
We know now having boys is bad,
While having girls is for the best;
Our girls can still be married to the neighbors,
Our sons are merely buried amid the grass.
Have you not seen on the border of Qinghai,
The ancient bleached bones no man’s gathered in?
The new ghosts are angered by injustice, the old ghosts weep,
Moistening rain falls from dark heaven on the voices’ screeching.”

the martial emperor's dream of expansion
Step 219 of Steps to Knowledge, the book of spiritual practice of the New Message from God.

Every human being must speak out against war. It is never justified. It is errors compounded. It is failure compounded. War degrades humanity’s ability to navigate an increasingly difficult world. War discourages humanity from believing it can rise and unite to become a strong race, which it must. The martial emperor’s dream of expansion has no end? Humanity must awaken.

* * *

Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! We are students and advocates of the the New Message from God. We are members of a worldwide community. We seek to assist the world in successfully navigating difficult times ahead. We seek to assist the world in successfully emerging into a greater community of intelligent life. You will also find some poetry. Find out more about us here. Contact us here.

She’s Free She’s On Her Destination

She's free she's on her destination

Humanity faces a global pandemic. The human family faces an increasingly difficult world. A world of declining resources. Climate that is less friendly. A polluted environment. Extraterrestrial intervention. What am I going to do about it? Share a poem, of course!

She’s free She’s on her destination

She's free she's on her destination
February 25, 1888 issue of the New York Herald

The Walt Whitman poem “Old Salt Kossabone” first appeared in the February 25, 1888 issue of the New York Herald. It would later appear in the first “Annex” section of the final edition of Leaves of Grass. To me, it is as if he had already written his epitaph and obituary in the poem “So Long!” then discovered he had a few more poems to write. This poem is one of them.

OLD SALT KOSSABONE.

Far back, related on my mother’s side,
Old Salt Kossabone, I’ll tell you how he died:
(Had been a sailor all his life—was nearly 90—lived with his
married grandchild, Jenny;
House on a hill, with view of bay at hand, and distant cape, and
stretch to open sea;)
The last of afternoons, the evening hours, for many a year his
regular custom,
In his great arm chair by the window seated,
(Sometimes, indeed, through half the day,)
Watching the coming, going of the vessels, he mutters to himself
—And now the close of all:
One struggling outbound brig, one day, baffled for long—cross-
tides and much wrong going,
At last at nightfall strikes the breeze aright, her whole luck veer-
ing,
And swiftly bending round the cape, the darkness proudly enter-
ing, cleaving, as he watches,
“She’s free—she’s on her destination”—these the last words—
when Jenny came, he sat there dead,
Dutch Kossabone, Old Salt, related on my mother’s side, far
back.

I don’t think people in our time are aware of the complexities of sailing ships. Whitman made references in other poems to ships at sea being baffled or “puzzled.” Let’s just say it’s trickier than it looks. I take joy in this poem for a couple of reasons. I hope for those who care about me to see me “strike the breeze aright.” I hope to see a struggling humanity rising and uniting, becoming a strong race, determined to successfully navigate the difficult times ahead. I wouldn’t mind if my last words about humanity were “She’s free she’s on her destination.”

* * *

Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! We are students and advocates of the the New Message from God. We are members of a worldwide community. We seek to assist the world in successfully navigating difficult times ahead. We seek to assist the world in successfully emerging into a greater community of intelligent life. You will also find some poetry. Find out more about us here. Contact us here.

Right Now Someone Is Working To Help The World

Right now someone is working to help the world
Danielle LaPorte, Canadian author

There is an accomplishment that the New Message from God wants from me. I must recognize that humanity is heading for a new world reality, an increasingly difficult world. A world of declining resources, affected climate, environmental degradation, and extraterrestrial intervention. And yet, with all these difficulties, I must also keep my faith in my human family. Even during its reckless, destructive adolescence.

Right now someone is working to help the world

What do I do when I have seemingly impossible sets of constraints to meet? I share a poem. And the poem I am sharing is The Manifesto of Encouragement by Canadian author Danielle LaPorte. It exists in both text and picture form.

The Manifesto Of Encouragement by Danielle LaPorte

Right now: There are Tibetan Buddhist monks in a temple in the Himalayas endlessly reciting mantras for the cessation of your suffering and for the flourishing of your happiness.

Someone you haven’t met yet is already dreaming of adoring you.

Someone is writing a book that you will read in the next two years that will change how you look at life.

Nuns in the Alps are in endless vigil, praying for the Holy Spirit to alight the hearts of all God’s children.

A farmer is looking at his organic crops and whispering “nourish them.”

Someone wants to kiss you, to hold you, to make tea for you.

Someone is willing to lend you money, wants to know what your favorite food is, and treat you to a movie.

Someone in your orbit has something immensely valuable to give you – for free.

Something is being invented this year that will change how your generation lives, communicates, heals and passes on.

The next great song is being rehearsed.

Thousands of people are doing yoga right now intentionally sending light out from their heart chakras and wrapping it around the earth.

Millions of children are assuming that everything is amazing and will always be that way.

Someone is in profound pain, and a few months from now, they’ll be thriving like never before. They just can’t see it from where they’re at.

Someone who is craving to be partnered, to be acknowledged, to ARRIVE, will get precisely what they want – and even more. And because that gift will be so fantastical in its reach and sweetness, it will quite magically alter the memory of angsty longing and render it all “So worth the wait.”

Someone has recently cracked open their joyous, genuine nature because they did the hard work of hauling years of oppression off of their psyche – this luminosity is floating in the ether and is accessible to everyone.

Someone, just this second, wished for world peace, in earnest.

Someone is fighting the fight so that you don’t have to.

Some civil servant is making sure that you get your mail, and your garbage is picked up, that the trains are running on time, and that you are generally safe.

Someone is dedicating their days to protecting your civil liberties and clean drinking water.

Someone is regaining their sanity.

Someone is coming back from the dead.

Someone is genuinely forgiving the seemingly unforgivable.

Someone is curing the incurable.

YOU. ME. SOME. ONE. NOW.

Right now someone is working to help the world. I send them skill and inspiration. They’re going to need it. We’re all going to need it.

* * *

Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! We are students and advocates of the the New Message from God. We are members of a worldwide community. We seek to assist the world in successfully navigating difficult times ahead. We seek to assist the world in successfully emerging into a greater community of intelligent life. You will also find some poetry. Find out more about us here. Contact us here.

Facing My Fears And Griefs

Facing my fears and griefs

The Chinese poet Du Fu () (712-770) is well-known and well-loved among Chinese-speakers around the world. He aspired to be a civil servant, but his poetry made a much greater impact.

I have mentioned that it took about six hundred years for the poetry of Rumi to reach the west. It took a much longer time for the poetry of Du Fu to arrive on western shores. British diplomat Herbert Giles (1845-1935) was the first English translator of Du Fu in 1898. Since then, the importance of Du Fu has been recognized by western scholars. Stephen Owen translated the complete works of Du Fu in 2016.

Facing my fears and griefs

The Du Fu poem I am sharing with you is from a troubled season of Chinese history known as the An Lushan Rebellion. I’m told that Du Fu is hiding in a Buddhist monastery to avoid being conscripted by rebel forces. Here is the poem in Chinese:

大云寺赞公房四首 (三)

灯影照无睡
心清闻妙香
夜深殿突兀
风动金锒铛
天黑闭春院
地清栖暗芳
玉绳回断绝
铁凤森翱翔
梵放时出寺
钟残仍殷床
明朝在沃野
苦见尘沙黄

Du Fu wrote four poems in this setting. This is the third of them. Earlier translators rendered the title as “In Abbot Zan’s Room at Dayun Temple.” I am sharing a translation by David Young.

In the Abbot’s Cell

I lie awake and watch
the flicker of the lamp

delicate odor of incense
helps to clear my thoughts

mostly filled with darkness
the central hall looms large

sound of a wind chime
tinkling below the eaves

—————

The flowers just outside
are all invisible

but I can smell their fragrance
here in the quiet dark

one of the constellations
is setting behind the roof

passing the iron phoenix
fixed at the temple’s peak

—————

Pretty soon the monks
will start to chant their sutras

the bell calls them to prayer
I stay in bed

before very long I’ll have to rise
and walk across plowed fields

facing the dust and wind
facing my fears and griefs.

I take pleasure in Du Fu’s enjoyment of the environment and the present moment. To me, it is as if he takes strength to face the coming trials from these things. This poem can be found in the book “Du Fu: A Life in Poetry” translated by David Young.

The world is facing a pandemic. Strategies have proven ineffective. Du Fu enjoyed the odor of the incense and the movement of the constellations. I am enjoying offering a poem of Du Fu in the hope of giving strength to face difficulties. I lift up the hands of the helpers. In my own way, I am facing the dust and wind, facing my fears and griefs.

* * *

Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! We are students and advocates of the the New Message from God. We are members of a worldwide community. We seek to assist the world in successfully navigating difficult times ahead. We seek to assist the world in successfully emerging into a greater community of intelligent life. You will also find some poetry. Find out more about us here. Contact us here.

I Lift Up The Hands Of The Helpers

Pandemics are a consequence of humanity’s treatment of nature.

Illnesses in animals have frequently jumped to humans.

Given what is known about epidemics, something like this is likely to occur in the future

God is not the judge. God is the witness.

In every difficult situation, there are helpers and profiteers. I lift up the hands of the helpers.

I lift up the hands of the helpers. I give them strength of character and strength of faculties of mind.

I lift up the hands of the helpers.

* * *

Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! We are students and advocates of the the New Message from God. We are members of a worldwide community. We seek to assist the world in successfully navigating difficult times ahead. We seek to assist the world in successfully emerging into a greater community of intelligent life. You will also find some poetry. Find out more about us here. Contact us here.

I Too Dwell In Possibility

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886), American poet

This poem by American poet Emily Dickinson was published in 1890, four years after her death. I am sharing it with you because it describes something of my experience of being a student of the New Message from God. I too dwell in possibility.

I dwell in Possibility

I dwell in Possibility –
A fairer House than Prose –
More numerous of Windows –
Superior – for Doors –

Of Chambers as the Cedars –
Impregnable of eye –
And for an everlasting Roof
The Gambrels of the Sky –

Of Visitors – the fairest –
For Occupation – This –
The spreading wide my narrow Hands
To gather Paradise –

I too dwell in possibility

I too dwell in possibility
Step 135 of Steps to Knowledge

I too dwell in possibility. The New Message from God speaks of a future that will not be a linear extension of the past. Some people now can envision the difficulties of a less predictable climate. Others can now envision the consequences of environmental degradation. But the New Message from God is predicting some things that no one I know of is envisioning.

It’s not all bad news

First sentence of “The Great Warning,” Chapter 2 of the book “The New World”

The New Message from God warns humanity to prepare for a stressful future. This is from the revelation “The Great Warning.”

“God has sent the New Message to the world at a great turning point for the human family—a turning point for which you are unprepared and unaware, a turning point that is so great that it will alter the course of life for everyone here today, and the future of everyone to come in this world.”

It is true that the New Message from God predicts an increasingly difficult world over a certain time period. The New Message from God predicts a world of diminishing resources, affected climate, environmental degradation, and extraterrestrial intervention. But what if humanity responds effectively? What if humanity brings forth the strength required to meet these great challenges? What if humanity becomes a unified nation? That is the possibility in which I dwell. In this dwelling of possibility, I am eagerly expecting the fairest of visitors.

* * *

Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! We are students and advocates of the the New Message from God. We are members of a worldwide community. We seek to assist the world in successfully navigating difficult times ahead. We seek to assist the world in successfully emerging into a greater community of intelligent life. You will also find some poetry. Find out more about us here. Contact us here.

Approve Me Or Disapprove Me

Mirabai and Krishna. Approve me or disapprove me
Mirabai, 16th century Indian poet and devotee of Krishna

I am thankful to Minnesota poet Robert Bly for introducing me to the Indian poet Mirabai (1498-1546). She unwillingly married a prince of a region now part of the state of Rajasthan . During her twenties, this prince was killed in a war. She decided to go inward. She found a low-born teacher (Ravidas). At night she would tie her saris together, and climb down the castle walls to visit him. Then she would wash his old feet and drink the water. Her in-laws greatly disapproved of her and considered her an embarrassment. But Mirabai and her poems and songs are dearly beloved in India.

This poem was translated from Rajasthani into English by Robert Bly.

Why Mira Can’t Go Back To Her Old House

The colors of the Dark One [Krishna] have penetrated Mira’s body; all the
other colors washed out.
Making love with the Dark One and eating little, those are my pearls and my carnelians.
Meditation beads and the forehead streak, those are my scarves and my rings.
That’s enough feminine wiles for me. My teacher taught me this.
Approve me or disapprove me: I praise the Mountain Energy night and day.
I take the path that ecstatic human beings have taken for centuries.
I don’t steal money, I don’t hit anyone. What will you charge me with?
I have felt the swaying of the elephant’s shoulders; and now you want me to climb on a jackass? Try to be serious.

Approve me or disapprove me

I share this poem because I believe there are students of the New Message from God who are subjected to the same kind of social disapproval as Mirabai. I want to say “Approve me or disapprove me. I am a student of the great mystery of my life. I am following the Ancient Rite of Preparation. I don’t steal money, I don’t hit anyone. What will you charge me with? I have felt the power of Knowledge, and now you want me to grovel for social approval? Try to be serious.

* * *

Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! We are students and advocates of the the New Message from God. We are members of a worldwide community. We seek to assist the world in successfully navigating difficult times ahead. We seek to assist the world in successfully emerging into a greater community of intelligent life. You will also find some poetry. Find out more about us here. Contact us here.

You Get Proud By Practicing

You get proud by practicing
Laura Hershey (1962-2010), disability activist

The New Message from God places a much greater emphasis on my practice than my belief. My actions reveal what I really believe, and what I adhere to. One of the steps in Steps to Knowledge is “I can only practice.” I shared my experience of this step in this post “What Are You Practicing?

You get proud by practicing

I don’t know when Laura Hershey (1962-2010) wrote this poem. I didn’t know Laura Hershey at all until March of this year. I believe this poem is her song, her anthem, the story of her life. I believe she is someone who did what she wrote about in this poem. I believe she got proud by practicing.

Power comes in many fine forms

You get proud by practicing
Julia Bascom, President of Autistic Self-Advocacy Network

Julia Bascom shared this poem by Laura Hershey on the 2019 Disability Day of Mourning. While it was a somber occasion, this poem was an exclamation point of the day’s observances. For me, this poem captures some of the feeling of practicing the great practices of the New Message (inner listening, stillness, looking without judgment, learning how to direct your mind at will, always knowing where your mind is going, objectively questioning your assumptions and beliefs, stepping back from who you think you are or what you think life is.) For me, this poem captures some of the feeling of reaping the benefits of my practice.

You Get Proud by Practicing

If you are not proud
For who you are, for what you say, for how you look;
If every time you stop
To think of yourself, you do not see yourself glowing
With golden light; do not, therefore, give up on yourself.
You can get proud.

You do not need
A better body, a purer spirit, or a Ph.D.
To be proud.
You do not need
A lot of money, a handsome boyfriend, or a nice car.
You do not need
To be able to walk, or see, or hear,
Or use big, complicated words,
Or do any of those things that you just can’t do
To be proud. A caseworker
Cannot make you proud,
Or a doctor.
You only need more practice.
You get proud by practicing.

There are many many ways to get proud.
You can try riding a horse, or skiing on one leg,
Or playing guitar,
And do well or not so well,
And be glad you tried
Either way.
You can show
Something you’ve made
To someone you respect
And be happy with it no matter
What they say.
You can say
What you think, though you know
Other people do not think the same way, and you can
keep saying it, even if they tell you
You are crazy.

You can add your voice
All night to the voices
Of a hundred and fifty others
In a circle
Around a jailhouse
Where your brothers and sisters are being held
For blocking buses with no lifts,
Or you can be one of the ones
Inside the jailhouse,
Knowing of the circle outside.
You can speak your love
To a friend
Without fear.
You can find someone who will listen to you
Without judging you or doubting you or being
Afraid of you
And let you hear yourself perhaps
For the very first time.
These are all ways
Of getting proud.
None of them
Are easy, but all of them
Are possible. You can do all of these things,
Or just one of them again and again.
You get proud
By practicing.

Power makes you proud, and power
Comes in many fine forms
Supple and rich as butterfly wings.
It is music
when you practice opening your mouth
And liking what you hear
Because it is the sound of your own
True voice.

It is sunlight
When you practice seeing
Strength and beauty in everyone,
Including yourself.
It is dance
when you practice knowing
That what you do
And the way you do it
Is the right way for you
And cannot be called wrong.
All these hold
More power than weapons or money
Or lies.
All these practices bring power, and power
Makes you proud.
You get proud
By practicing.

Remember, you weren’t the one
Who made you ashamed,
But you are the one
Who can make you proud.
Just practice,
Practice until you get proud, and once you are proud,
Keep practicing so you won’t forget.
You get proud
By practicing.


* * *

Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! We are students and advocates of the the New Message from God. We are members of a worldwide community. We seek to assist the world in successfully navigating difficult times ahead. We seek to assist the world in successfully emerging into a greater community of intelligent life. You will also find some poetry. Find out more about us here. Contact us here.

This Is Clearly A Transgression

This is clearly a transgression

This is clearly a transgression
Trespassing in sacred precinct
But these words, they must be said
By someone, eventually.

I am only waiting for love to give myself up at last into his hands.
That is why it is so late and why I have left so much undone.

This is clearly a transgression.

They come with their laws and their codes,
their divisions and their jealousies,
only to surround and bind me fast.

But I evade them ever, I walk unheld and free,
for I am only waiting for love to give myself up at last into his hands.

This is clearly a transgression

To be threshed, to be made naked,
To be ground to powdery flour,
To be baked in sacred fire.

People blame me and call me heedless;
I doubt not they are right in all their blame.

This is clearly a transgression

The market day is over and work is all done for the busy.
Those who came to enlist me as a soldier in their wars go back in anger.
I am only waiting for love to give myself up at last into his hands.

* * *

Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! We are students and advocates of the the New Message from God. We are members of a worldwide community. We seek to assist the world in successfully navigating difficult times ahead. We seek to assist the world in successfully emerging into a greater community of intelligent life. You will also find some poetry. Find out more about us here. Contact us here.

Why Should I Fear? When Was I Less By Dying?

Sunday, December 17, 2017 was the 844th anniversary of the death of Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, known to most people in the west as Rumi. I missed the opportunity to celebrate the 800th anniversary of his birth in 2006.

Why should I fear? When was I less by dying?

Rumi was so many things in life. For me, saying Rumi is a poet is like saying Mount Everest is a hill. I believe one day students in the west will study Rumi’s poetry the way Shakespeare is studied today. But I consider Rumi to be much more than a poet. I consider him to be one of the few who attained to what the New Message from God calls Knowledge. Knowledge is the deeper spiritual intelligence that God has placed in each person. Rumi is someone who accomplished what I am trying to accomplish in my study of the book Steps to Knowledge. It may take some work.

Why should I fear? When was I less by dying? The particular translation I am sharing is by the British scholar Arthur John Arberry (1905-1969). He was one of the first scholars to translate Rumi into English. I consider this translation to be direct and to the point. There is so much that could be said about this poem. I have nothing to say that is better than silence.

I died as a mineral and became a plant,
I died as plant and rose to animal,
I died as animal and I was Man.
Why should I fear? When was I less by dying?
Yet once more I shall die as Man, to soar
With angels blest; but even from angelhood
I must pass on: all except God doth perish.
When I have sacrificed my angel-soul,
I shall become what no mind e’er conceived.
Oh, let me not exist! for Non-existence
Proclaims in organ tones, ‘To Him we shall return.’

* * *

Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! We are students and advocates of the the New Message from God. We are members of a worldwide community. We seek to assist the world in successfully navigating difficult times ahead. We seek to assist the world in successfully emerging into a greater community of intelligent life. You will also find some poetry. Find out more about us here. Contact us here.