Wednesday, February 28, 2018

this mystery






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As we walk into words that have waited for us to enter them,
so the meadow, muddy with dreams, is gathering itself together
and trying, with difficulty, to remember how to make wildflowers.

–Marie Howe


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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

dis(appearances





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I come here every day, say hello to the butterflies, and talk about things with them. When the time comes, though, they just quietly go off and disappear. I'm sure it means they've died, but I can never find their bodies. They don't leave any trace behind. It's as if they've been absorbed by the air. They're dainty little creatures that hardly exist at all: they come out of nowhere, search quietly for a few, limited things, and disappear into nothingness again, perhaps to some other world.

–Haruki Murakami
1Q84, p 81


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Sunday, February 25, 2018

Saturday, February 24, 2018

tell me before you go





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WRITER: But tell me before you go. What was the worst thing about being down there?

AGNES: Just existing. Knowing my sight was blurred by my eyes, my hearing dulled by my ears, and bright thought trapped in the grey maze of a brain. Have you seen a brain?

WRITER: And you're telling me that's what's wrong with us? How else can we be?



–August Strindberg
A Dream Play, Caryl Churchill adaptation


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after all





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The physical world many believe to exist beyond consciousness is an abstract explanatory model.

Without a physical world outside consciousness, we are left with consciousness alone as ground of reality. In this case, we must completely revise our intuitions and assumptions regarding death. After all, if consciousness is that within which birth and death unfold as phenomenal processes, then neither birth nor death can bear any relevance to the existential status of consciousness itself.


—Bernardo Kastrup
The Idealist View of Consciousness After Death







Thursday, February 22, 2018

Lord Krishna to Arjuna








Creatures rise and creatures vanish;
I alone am real, Arjuna,
looking out, amused, from deep
Within the eyes of every creature.

I am the object of all knowledge,
Father of the world, its mother,
Source of all things, of impure and
Pure, of holiness and horror.

I am the goal, the root, the witness,
Home and refuge, dearest friend,
Creation and annihilation,
Everlasting seed and treasure.

I am the radiance of the sun, I
Open or withhold the rainclouds,
I am Immortality and
Death, am being and non-being.

I am the Self, Arjuna, seated
in the heart of every creature.
I am the origin, the middle,
And the end that all must come to.


–The Bhagavad Gita
Stephen Mitchell version



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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

pearl of the formless






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I drive down into the depth of the ocean of
forms, hoping to gain the perfect pearl of the formless.

No more sailing from harbour to harbour with this my weather-beaten boat.
The days are long passed when my sport was to be tossed on waves.

And now I am eager to die into the deathless.

Into the audience hall by the fathomless abyss where swells up the music of toneless strings I shall take this harp of my life.

I shall tune it to the notes of forever,
and, when it has sobbed out its last utterance, lay down my silent harp at the feet of the silent.



–Tagore translation
from Gitanjali


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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

in(formation





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If you want to have life, you have to die every moment for it.
Life and death are only different expressions of the same thing looked at from different standpoints; they are the falling and the rising of the same wave, and the two form one whole.

—Swami Vivekananda


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Sunday, February 18, 2018

part of the deal





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Saturday, February 17, 2018

no hard feelings





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Friday, February 16, 2018

true belongings





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I am of the nature to grow old.
There is no way to escape growing old.
I am of the nature to have ill-health.
There is no way to escape having ill-health.

I am of the nature to die.
There is no way to escape death.

All that is dear to me and everyone I love
is of the nature to change.

There is no way to escape being separated from them.
My actions are my only true belongings.

I cannot escape the consequences of my actions.
My actions are the ground on which I stand.


–Buddha

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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Rest





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Close your eyes
Let them rest
I ain't in no hurry, no hurry at all

Rest your head upon my shoulder
I swear I will carry, carry you on
I won't let you go on, go on hungry
I won't let you cry, without a hand to dry

Rest your hands
Leave them tender
They weren't made for working, working at all
I won't let you go on, go on hungry
I won't let you cry, without a hand to dry

Rest your soul, live in peace
I won't let you worry, worry at all
I won't let you worry, worry at all
I won't let you worry, worry at all

–Michael Kiwanuka


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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

question





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what time is it?it is by every star
a different time,and each most falsely true;
or so subhuman superminds declare

-nor all their times encompass me and you:


when are we never,but forever now
(hosts of eternity;not guests of seem)
believe me,dear,clocks have enough to do

without confusing timelessness and time. 


Time cannot children,poets,lovers tell-
measure imagine,mystery,a kiss
-not though mankind would rather know than feel;

mistrusting utterly that timelessness

whose absence would make your whole life and my
(and infinite our)merely to undie


–E. E. Cummings
poem


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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

No Death, No Fear, excerpt





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The day my mother died I wrote in my journal, “A serious misfortune of my life has arrived.” I suffered for more than one year after the passing away of my mother. But one night, in the highlands of Vietnam, I was sleeping in the hut in my hermitage. I dreamed of my mother. I saw myself sitting with her, and we were having a wonderful talk. She looked young and beautiful, her hair flowing down. It was so pleasant to sit there and talk to her as if she had never died. When I woke up it was about two in the morning, and I felt very strongly that I had never lost my mother. The impression that my mother was still with me was very clear. I understood then that the idea of having lost my mother was just an idea. It was obvious in that moment that my mother is always alive in me.

I opened the door and went outside. The entire hillside was bathed in moonlight. It was a hill covered with tea plants, and my hut was set behind the temple halfway up. Walking slowly in the moonlight through the rows of tea plants, I noticed my mother was still with me. She was the moonlight caressing me as she had done so often, very tender, very sweet… wonderful! Each time my feet touched the earth I knew my mother was there with me. I knew this body was not mine but a living continuation of my mother and my father and my grandparents and great-grandparents. Of all my ancestors. Those feet that I saw as “my” feet were actually “our” feet. Together my mother and I were leaving footprints in the damp soil.

From that moment on, the idea that I had lost my mother no longer existed. All I had to do was look at the palm of my hand, feel the breeze on my face or the earth under my feet to remember that my mother is always with me, available at any time.


–Thich Nhat Hanh







Sunday, February 11, 2018

don't leave




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Saturday, February 10, 2018

sweetness restored




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not a chance
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Friday, February 9, 2018

after the storm





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Thursday, February 8, 2018

i thank You God for most this amazing day





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i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday;this is the birth
day of life and love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any-lifted from the no
of all nothing-human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

–E. E. Cummings


.
Mary Beth Jarrosak 
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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

uh oh





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I interviewed a woman who is terminally ill. 

‘So,’ I tried to delicately ask, ‘What is it like to wake up every morning and know that you are dying?’ 

‘Well,’ she responded, ‘What is it like to wake up every morning and pretend that you are not?’


–Unknown

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Tuesday, February 6, 2018

ASH WEDNESDAY (excerpt)

 



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Because I do not hope to turn again
Because I do not hope
Because I do not hope to turn
Desiring this man's gift and that man's scope
I no longer strive to strive towards such things
(Why should the aged eagle stretch its wings?)
Why should I mourn
The vanished power of the usual reign?

Because I do not hope to know again
The infirm glory of the positive hour
Because I do not think
Because I know I shall not know
The one veritable transitory power
Because I cannot drink
There, where trees flower, and springs flow, for there is nothing again

Because I know that time is always time
And place is always and only place
And what is actual is actual only for one time
And only for one place
I rejoice that things are as they are and
I renounce the blessed face
And renounce the voice
Because I cannot hope to turn again
Consequently I rejoice, having to construct something
Upon which to rejoice


–T.S. Eliot


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Sunday, February 4, 2018

I'm working on the world





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I'm working on the world,
revised, improved edition,
featuring fun for fools,
blues for brooders,
combs for bald pates,
tricks for old dogs.

Here's one chapter: The Speech
of Animals and Plants.
Each species comes, of course,
with its own dictionary.
Even a simple "Hi there,"
when traded with a fish,
make both the fish and you
feel quite extraordinary.

The long-suspected meanings
of rustlings, chirps, and growls!
Soliloquies of forests!
The epic hoot of owls!
Those crafty hedgehogs drafting
aphorisms after dark,
while we blindly believe
they are sleeping in the park!

Time (Chapter Two) retains
its sacred right to meddle
in each earthly affair.
Still, time's unbounded power
that makes a mountain crumble,
moves seas, rotates a star,
won't be enough to tear
lovers apart: they are
too naked, too embraced,
too much like timid sparrows.

Old age is, in my book,
the price that felons pay,
so don't whine that it's steep:
you'll stay young if you're good.
Suffering (Chapter Three)
doesn't insult the body.
Death? It comes in your sleep,
exactly as it should.

When it comes, you'll be dreaming
that you don't need to breathe;
that breathless silence is
the music of the dark
and it's part of the rhythm
to vanish like a spark.
Only a death like that. A rose
could prick you harder, I suppose;
you'd feel more terror at the sound
of petals falling to the ground.

Only a world like that. To die
just that much. And to live just so.
And all the rest is Bach's fugue, played
for the time being
on a saw.


–Wislawa Szymborska 



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Saturday, February 3, 2018

become becoming





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Wait for evening.
Then you’ll be alone.
Wait for the playground to empty.
Then call out those companions from childhood:

The one who closed his eyes
and pretended to be invisible.
The one to whom you told every secret.
The one who made a world of any hiding place.

And don’t forget the one who listened in silence
while you wondered out lout:
Is the universe an empty mirror? A flowering tree?
Is the universe the sleep of a woman?

Wait for the sky’s last blue
(the color of your homesickness).
Then you’ll know the answer.

Wait for the air’s first gold (that color of Amen).
Then you’ll spy the wind’s barefoot steps.
Then you’ll recall that story beginning
with a child who strays in the woods.

The search for him goes on in the growing
shadow of the clock.
And the face behind the clock’s face
is not his father’s face.
And the hands behind the clock’s hands
are not his mother’s hands.

All of Time began when you first answered
to the names your mother and father gave you.
Soon, those names will travel with the leaves.
Then, you can trade places with the wind.

Then you’ll remember your life
as a book of candles,
each page read by the light of its own burning.


–Li-Young Lee



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Friday, February 2, 2018

the slender sadness






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The Japanese have an expression that seems to capture the sense of pathos that is at the heart of our all too human dilemma: mono no aware, “the slender sadness”. 

Simply by living we take life. 

Leather shoes and belts, breathing in and out, a cup of water, a flushing toilet, a stroll in the forest, raising mustard greens, flying here and there, the daily newspaper: in each, a thousand things are dying and being born.



–Thich Nhat Hanh


...



...when we finally know we are dying, and all other sentient beings are dying with us, we start to have a burning, almost heartbreaking sense of the fragility and preciousness of each moment and each being, and from this can grow a deep, clear, limitless compassion for all beings.


–Sogyal Rinpoche


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Thursday, February 1, 2018

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



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