Sunday, February 26, 2017

stillness reconsidered






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To Taoism that which is absolutely still or absolutely perfect is absolutely dead, for without the possibility of growth and change there can be no Tao. In reality there is nothing in the universe which is completely perfect or completely still; it is only in the minds of men that such concepts exist.

–Alan Watts (1915 - 1973)



... gosh, his little lips! 
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object





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…whatever has been pierced by the searchlight of the intellect is instantaneously transformed into a mere 'thing', a quantifiable object for our thought that is henceforth only mechanically related to other objects. The paradoxical expression of a modern sage, “we perceive only that which is dead,” is a lapidary formulation of a deep truth.

–Ludwig Klages
On Consciousness and Life in The Biocentric Worldview







cloudy words






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God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
then walks with us silently out of the night.

These are the words we dimly hear:

You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Embody me.

Flare up like a flame
and make big shadows I can move in.

Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Don't let yourself lose me.

Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousness.

Give me your hand.


–Rainer Maria Rilke
Book of Hours, I 59



Saturday, February 25, 2017

stellar






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I wish I could speak like music.

I wish I could put the swaying splendor
Of the fields into words
So that you could hold Truth
Against your body
And dance.

I am trying the best I can
With this crude brush, the tongue,
To cover you with light.

I wish I could speak like divine music.

I want to give you the sublime rhythms
Of this earth and the sky's limbs
As they joyously spin and surrender,
Surrender
Against God's luminous breath.

Hafiz Wants you to hold me
Against your precious
Body

And dance
Dance.


Hafiz



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desire itself is movement





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Words move, music moves
Only in time; but that which is only living
Can only die. Words, after speech, reach
Into the silence. Only by the form, the pattern,
Can words or music reach
The stillness, as a Chinese jar still
Moves perpetually in its stillness.
Not the stillness of the violin, while the note lasts,
Not that only, but the co-existence,
Or say that the end precedes the beginning,
And the end and the beginning were always there
Before the beginning and after the end.

And all is always now. Words strain,
Crack and sometimes break, under the burden,
Under the tension, slip, slide, perish,
Decay with imprecision, will not stay in place,
Will not stay still. Shrieking voices
Scolding, mocking, or merely chattering,
Always assail them. The Word in the desert
Is most attacked by voices of temptation,
The crying shadow in the funeral dance,
The loud lament of the disconsolate chimera.

The detail of the pattern is movement,
As in the figure of the ten stairs.
Desire itself is movement
Not in itself desirable;
Love is itself unmoving,
Only the cause and end of movement,
Timeless, and undesiring
Except in the aspect of time
Caught in the form of limitation
Between un-being and being.

Sudden in a shaft of sunlight
Even while the dust moves
There rises the hidden laughter
Of children in the foliage
Quick now, here, now, always—
Ridiculous the waste sad time
Stretching before and after.


–T. S. Eliot

because





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People think that the world itself is overflowing with beauty,
but they forget that they are its cause.


—Friedrich Nietzsche
Twilight of the Idols


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you are that





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Let your beauty manifest itself without talking and calculation.​

You are silent. It says for you: I am.

And in comes meaning thousandfold​, comes at long last over everyone.


–Rainer Maria Rilke


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Friday, February 24, 2017

at every instant





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Immanuel Kant perhaps composed the longest list of defect in classical Greek “pure reason”. One that has received less publicity than most goes like this:

When an arrow gets fired from a bow toward a target it appears to move through space. However, at every instant the arrow actually occupies one position in space, not two or three or more positions. Thus, at every instant the arrow exists in one place, not in two or three or more. In other words, at every instant the arrow has a position. If the arrow has one and only one definition position at every instant, then at every instant it does not move. If it does not move at any of these instants, it never moves at all.

You cannot escape this Logic by positing instants-between-instants. In these nanotime units, the same logic holds. At each nano-instant, the arrow has some location, not several locations. Therefore, even in nano-instant, the arrow does not move at all.

It seems the only way out of this absurdity consists of claiming that the arrow does, after all, occupy two locations at the same time. Alas, this leads to worse problems, which I leave you to discover for yourself.

And that shows where Logic gets you, if uncorrected by observations. If we do not correct our Logic by comparing it with experience, we may go on for centuries elaborating our most ancient errors endlessly.


–Robert Anton Wilson
Quantum Psychology









Ode to the Past





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Time
is divided
into two rivers:
one flows backward, devouring
life already lived;
the other
moves forward with you
exposing
your life.
For a single second
they may be joined.
Now.
This is that moment,
the drop of an instant
that washes away the past.
It is the present.
It is in your hands.
Racing, slipping,
tumbling like a waterfall.
But it is yours.


–Pablo Neruda



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hush





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The moment you start talking you create a verbal universe, a universe of words, ideas, concepts and abstractions, interwoven and inter-dependent, most wonderfully generating, supporting and explaining each other and yet all without essence or substance, mere creations of the mind.

Words create words, reality is silent.


–Nisargadatta

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social life, excerpt





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What I like about the trees is how
they do not talk about the failure of their parents
and what I like about the grasses is that
they are not grasses in recovery

and what I like about the flowers is
that they are not flowers in need of
empowerment or validation. They sway

upon their thorny stems
as if whatever was about to happen next tonight
was sure to be completely interesting—


–Tony Hoagland



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whiskeyriver
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something wonderful will happen





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It’s that dream that we carry with us
that something wonderful will happen,
that it has to happen,
that time will open,
that the heart will open,
that doors will open,
that the mountains will open,
that wells will leap up,
that the dream will open,
that one morning we’ll slip in
to a harbor that we've never known.


Olav H. Hauge
Robert Bly version



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Saturday, February 18, 2017

hymn





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listen





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listen
hiding in this cage
of visible matter
is the invisible
lifebird
pay attention
to her
she is singing
your song


–Kabir
Sushil Rao translation




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listen





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The flute of the Infinite is played without ceasing, and its sound is Love.

–Kabir

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The Sciences Sing a Lullabye






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Physics says: go to sleep. Of course
you’re tired. Every atom in you
has been dancing the shimmy in silver shoes
nonstop from mitosis to now.
Quit tapping your feet. They’ll dance
inside themselves without you. Go to sleep.

Geology says: it will be all right. Slow inch
by inch America is giving itself
to the ocean. Go to sleep. Let darkness
lap at your sides. Give darkness an inch.
You aren’t alone. All of the continents used to be
one body. You aren’t alone. Go to sleep.

Astronomy says: the sun will rise tomorrow,
Zoology says: on rainbow-fish and lithe gazelle,
Psychology says: but first it has to be night, so
Biology says: the body-clocks are stopped all over town
and
History says: here are the blankets, layer on layer, down and down.


–Albert Goldbarth




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Friday, February 17, 2017

destruction






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The search for Reality is the most dangerous of all undertakings,
for it destroys the world in which you live.



–Nisargadatta Maharaj


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revelation






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You are the deep innerness of all things,
the last word that can never be spoken.
To each of us you reveal yourself differently:
to the ship as coastline, to the shore as a ship.


–Rainer Maria Rilke
Trans. by Anita Barrows



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Thursday, February 16, 2017

No Title Required





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It has come to this: I'm sitting under a tree
beside a river
on a sunny morning.
It's an insignificant event
and won't go down in history.
It's not battles and pacts,
where motives are scrutinized,
or noteworthy tyrannicides.

And yet I'm sitting by this river, that's a fact.
And since I'm here
I must have come from somewhere,
and before that
I must have turned up in many other places,
exactly like the conquerors of nations
before setting sail.

Even a passing moment has its fertile past,
its Friday before Saturday,
its May before June.
Its horizons are no less real
than those that a marshal's field glasses might scan.

This tree is a poplar that's been rooted here for years.
The river is the Raba; it didn't spring up yesterday.
The path leading through the bushes
wasn't beaten last week.
The wind had to blow the clouds here
before it could blow them away.

And though nothing much is going on nearby,
the world is no poorer in details for that.
It's just as grounded, just as definite
as when migrating races held it captive.

Conspiracies aren't the only things shrouded in silence.
Retinues of reasons don't trail coronations alone.
Anniversaries of revolutions may roll around,
but so do oval pebbles encircling the bay.

The tapestry of circumstance is intricate and dense.
Ants stitching in the grass.
The grass sewn into the ground.
The pattern of a wave being needled by a twig.

So it happens that I am and look.
Above me a white butterfly is fluttering through the air
on wings that are its alone,
and a shadow skims through my hands
that is none other than itself, no one else's but its own.

When I see such things, I'm no longer sure
that what's important
is more important than what's not.

–Wislawa Szymborska
S. Baranczak and C. Cavanagh translation




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First Light Edging Cirrus






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1025 molecules
are enough
to call woodthrush or apple.
A hummingbird, fewer.
A wristwatch: 1024.
An alphabet's molecules,
tasting of honey, iron and salt,
cannot be counted–
as some strings, untouched,
sound when a near one is speaking.
As it was when love slipped inside us.
It looked out to face in every direction.
Then it was inside the tree, the rock, the cloud.


–Jane Hirshfield



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tickets






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The day I am killed
my killer will find
tickets in my pockets:
One to peace,
one to fields and the rain,
and one
to humanity's conscience.
I beg you--please don't waste them.
I beg you, you who kill me: Go.


Samih al-Qasim


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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

true lovers





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true lovers in each happening of their hearts
live longer than all which and every who;
despite what fear denies,what hope asserts,
what falsest both disprove by proving true

(all doubts,all certainties,as villains strive
and heroes through the mere mind’s poor pretend
—grim comics of duration:only love
immortally occurs beyond the mind)

such a forever is love’s any now
and her each here is such an everywhere,
even more true would truest lovers grow
if out of midnight dropped more suns than are

(yes;and if time should ask into his was
all shall,their eyes would never miss a yes)


–E. E. Cummings



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Sunday, February 12, 2017

Know Deeply, Know Thyself More Deeply






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Go deeper than love, for the soul has greater depths,
love is like the grass, but the heart is deep wild rock
molten, yet dense and permanent.

Go down to your deep old heart, and lose sight of yourself.
And lose sight of me, the me whom you turbulently loved.

Let us lose sight of ourselves, and break the mirrors.
For the fierce curve of our lives is moving again to the depths
out of sight, in the deep living heart.
But say, in the dark wild metal of your heart
is there a gem, which came into being between us?
is there a sapphire of mutual trust, a blue spark?
Is there a ruby of fused being, mine and yours, an inward glint?

If there is not, O then leave me, go away.
For I cannot be bullied back into the appearances of love,
any more than August can be bullied to look like March.

Love out of season, especially at the end of the season
is merely ridiculous.
If you insist on it, I insist on departure.

Have you no deep old heart of wild womanhood
self-forgetful, and gemmed with experience,
and swinging in a strange union of power
with the heart of the man you are supposed to have loved?

If you have not, go away.
If you can only sit with a mirror in your hand, an ageing woman
posing on and on as a lover,
in love with a self that now is shallow and withered,
your own self–that has passed like a last summer’s flower–

then go away–

I do not want a woman whom age cannot wither.
She is a made-up lie, a dyed immortelle
of infinite staleness.

–D. H. Lawrence
to his wife



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