Sunday, August 21, 2016

what




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Reality is what we take to be true. What we take to be true is what we believe. What we believe is based upon our perceptions. What we perceive depends upon what we look for. What we look for depends upon what we think. What we think depends upon what we perceive. What we perceive determines what we believe. What we believe determines what we take to be true. What we take to be true is our reality.

—Gary Zukav







Monday, August 15, 2016

before the names





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I dream of the silence
the day before Adam came
to name the animals,
The gold skins newly dropped
from God's bright fingers, still
implicit with the light.
A day like this, perhaps:
a winter whiteness
haunting the creation,

as we are sometimes
haunted by the space
we fill, or by the forms

we might have known
before the names,
beyond the gloss of things.

–John Burnside



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utterance





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Sitting over words
very late I have heard a kind of whispered sighing
not far
like a night wind in pines or like the sea in the dark
the echo of everything that has ever
been spoken
still spinning its one syllable
between the earth and silence

–W. S. Merwin


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Silence will carry your voice like the nest that holds the sleeping birds. –Rabindranath Tagore






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Sit quietly, and listen for a voice that will say: “Be more silent.” 

Die and be quiet. 

Quietness is the surest sign that you’ve died. 

Your old life was a frantic running from silence. 
Move outside the tangle of fear-thinking. 

Live in silence.


–Rumi



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Sunday, August 14, 2016

questions





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Change your ways of feeling and thinking, take stock of them and examine them closely. You are in bondage by inadvertence.

Attention liberates. You are taking so many things for granted.

Begin to question. The most obvious things are the most doubtful.
Ask yourself such questions as:

‘Was I really born?
‘Am I really so-and-so?’
‘How do I know that I exist?
‘Who are my parents?’
‘Have they created me, or have I created them?’
‘Must I believe all I am told about myself?’
‘Who am I, anyhow?’.

You have put so much energy into building a prison for yourself. Now spend as much on demolishing it. In fact, demolition is easy, for the false dissolves when it is discovered.


–Nisargadatta Maharaj




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you contain multitudes




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You are mostly not you,” microbial ecologist Rob Knight wrote in his fascinating exploration of the human microbiome, in which he pointed out that only 1% of the genes in our bodies are human and the remaining 99% are microbial.

–from Maria Popova's review of Tiny Creatureshere.


.




Even when we are alone, we are never alone. We exist in symbiosis — a wonderful term that refers to different organisms living together. Some animals are colonised by microbes while they are still unfertilised eggs; others pick up their first partners at the moment of birth. We then proceed through our lives in their presence. When we eat, so do they. When we travel, they come along. When we die, they consume us. Every one of us is a zoo in our own right — a colony enclosed within a single body. A multi-species collective. An entire world.

[…]

All zoology is really ecology. We cannot fully understand the lives of animals without understanding our microbes and our symbioses with them. And we cannot fully appreciate our own microbiome without appreciating how those of our fellow species enrich and influence their lives. We need to zoom out to the entire animal kingdom, while zooming in to see the hidden ecosystems that exist in every creature. When we look at beetles and elephants, sea urchins and earthworms, parents and friends, we see individuals, working their way through life as a bunch of cells in a single body, driven by a single brain, and operating with a single genome. This is a pleasant fiction. In fact, we are legion, each and every one of us. Always a “we” and never a “me.”

–Ed Yong
I Contain Multitudes 




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for the rest of Maria Popova's article see brainpickings
illustration by Emily Sutton,
from Nicola Davies' excellent children's book, Tiny Creatures

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surrender






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Surrender.
Be crumbled, so wild flowers will come up where you are.

You have been stony for too many years.
Try something different -
Surrender.



Rumi 


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without willing






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Learn who it is within you who makes everything his own
and says, “My God, my mind, my thought, my soul, my body.” 

Learn the sources of sorrow, joy, love, hate. 

Learn how it happens that one watches without willing,
rests without willing, becomes angry without willing,
loves without willing.


–Hippolytus of Rome



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interval





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Instantaneous architectures
hanging over a pause,
apparitions neither named
nor thought, wind-forms,
insubstantial as time
and, like time, dissolved.

Made of time, they are not time;
they are the cleft, the interstice,
the brief vertigo of between
where the diaphanous flower opens:
high on its stalk of a reflection
it vanishes as it turns.

Never touched, the clarities
seen with the eyes closed:
transparent birth
and the crystalline fall
in the instant of this instant
that forever is still here.
 

Outside the window, the desolate
rooftops and the hurrying clouds.
The day goes out, the city
lights up, remote and near.
Weightless hour. I breathe
the moment, empty and eternal.


–Octavio Paz
Eliot Weinberger translation
 



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5%





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... We perceive only a negligible portion of the vibrating ocean in which we are immersed.

We fail to detect the infrared and the ultraviolet, infrasound and ultrasound, and in general the very high and very low frequencies; we can’t even detect the X rays, gamma rays, radioactivity, and cosmic rays, which all still affect our bodies. And so many frequencies are still unknown.

The senses are therefore incomplete; our neural circuits can’t process the majority of inputs in order to translate them into images. According to some, our senses comprehend only 5 percent of the signals from the world, which means that we miss 95 percent of our environment.



–Citro Massimo, M.D.
The Basic Code of the Universe:
The Science of the Invisible in Physics, Medicine, and Spirituality



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We lay in the dark, breathing together. The deepest intimacy ... –L.Gluck




Galaxy by Fritz Trautmann 


Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone—we find it with another.

–Thomas Merton


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For this is the truth about our soul…our self, who fish-like inhabits deep seas and plies among obscurities threading her way between the boles of giant weeds, over sun-flickered spaces and on and on into gloom, cold, deep, inscrutable; suddenly she shoots to the surface and sports on the wind-wrinkled waves; that is, has a positive need to brush, scrape, kindle herself, gossiping.

–Virginia Woolf
Mrs. Dalloway









Saturday, August 13, 2016

note to self





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Abandon all self-concern, worry not about your welfare, material or spiritual. 

Abandon any desire, gross or subtle, stop thinking of achievement of any kind. 

You are complete here and now, you need absolutely nothing.


–Nisargadatta Maharaj


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tell no one

 



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Travel and tell no one, live a true love story and tell no one, live happily and tell no one, people ruin beautiful things.

–Khalil Gibran





the physics of beauty





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The physics of beauty requires math. The sunflower has spirals of 21, 34, 55, 89, and - in very large sunflowers - 144 seeds. Each number is the sum of the two preceding numbers. This pattern seems to be everywhere: in pine needles and mollusk shells, in parrot beaks and spiral galaxies. After the fourteenth number, every number divided by the next highest number results in a sum that is the length-to-width ratio of what we call the golden mean, the basis for the Egyptian pyramids and the Greek Parthenon, for much of our art and even our music. In our own spiral-shaped inner ear’s cochlea, musical notes vibrate at a similar ratio.

The patterns of beauty repeat themselves, over and over. Yet the physics of beauty is enhanced by a self, a unique, self-organizing system. Scientists now know that a single flower is more responsive, more individual, than they had ever dreamed. Plants react to the world. Plants have ways of seeing, touching, tasting, smelling, and hearing.

Rooted in soil, a flower is always on the move. Sunflowers are famous for turning toward the sun, east in the morning, west in the afternoon. Light-sensitive cells in the stem “see” sunlight, and the stem’s growth orients the flower. Certain cells in a plant see the red end of the spectrum. Other cells see blue and green. Plants even see wavelengths we cannot see, such as ultraviolet.
Most plants respond to touch. The Venus’s-flytrap snaps shut. Stroking the tendril of a climbing pea will cause it to coil. Brushed by the wind, a seedling will thicken and shorten its growth. Touching a plant in various ways, at various times, can cause it to close its leaf pores, delay flower reproduction, increase metabolism, or produce more chlorophyll.

Plants are touchy-feely. They taste the world around them. Sunflowers use their roots to “taste” the surrounding soil as they search for nutrients. The roots of a sunflower can reach down eight feet, nibbling, evaluating, growing toward the best sources of food. The leaves of some plants can taste a caterpillar’s saliva. They “sniff” the compounds sent out by nearby damaged plants. Research suggests that some seeds taste or smell smoke, which triggers germination.
The right sound wave may also trigger germination. Sunflowers, like pea plants, seem to increase their growth when they hear sounds similar to but louder than the human speaking voice.

In other ways, flowers and pollinators find each other through sound.
A tropical vine, pollinated by bats, uses a concave petal to reflect the bat’s sonar signal. 
The bat calls to the flower. The flower responds.


–Sharman Apt Russell
Anatomy of A Rose: Exploring the Secret Life of Flowers




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Dr. Bohumil Kröhn photo, 1937/38
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consisting of






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We are the same as plants, as trees,
as other people, as the rain that falls.

We consist of that which is around us.

We are the same as everything.


—Buddha


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poem





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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



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Friday, August 12, 2016

Every Day You Play, excerpt






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Every day you play with the light of the universe.
Subtle visitor, you arrive in the flower and the water.
You are more than this white head that I hold tightly
as a cluster of fruit, every day, between my hands.

You are like nobody since I love you.
Let me spread you out among yellow garlands.
Who writes your name in letters of smoke among the stars of the south?
Oh let me remember you as you were before you existed.
Suddenly the wind howls and bangs at my shut window.

The sky is a net crammed with shadowy fish.
Here all the winds let go sooner or later, all of them.
The rain takes off her clothes.
The birds go by, fleeing.

The wind. The wind.
I can contend only against the power of men.
The storm whirls dark leaves
and turns loose all the boats that were moored last night to the sky.


–Pablo Neruda



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question





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Do you see the space between our bodies?
Barely a hand, hardly a breath,
it is the space mountains and rivers are made of.
It is the beginning of oceans, the space
between either and or, both and neither.
the happiness of forgetting
our names and the happiness of hearing them
for the first time.

–Li-Young Lee
Trading for Heaven


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it is a body






.


The earth I tread on is not a dead inert mass.

It is a body—has a spirit—is organic—and fluid to the influence of its spirit—and to whatever particle of the spirit is in me.


—Henry David Thoreau


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Who, then, is breathing?






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Observe your own body. It breathes. 

You breathe when you are asleep, when you are no longer conscious of your own ideas of self-identity.
Who, then, is breathing? 


The collection of information that you mistakenly think is you is not the protagonist in this drama called the breath. In fact, you are not breathing; breath is naturally happening to you. 

You can purposely end your own life, but you cannot purposely keep your own life going. The expression, 'my life' is actually an oxymoron, a result of ignorance and mistaken assumption. 

You don't possess life; life expresses itself through you.
Your body is a flower that life let bloom, a phenomenon created by life.



–Ilchi Lee



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lute music





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Let us celebrate.
The Earth will be going on a long time
Before it finally freezes;
Men will be on it; they will take names,
Give their deeds reasons.
We will be here only
As chemical constituents—
A small franchise indeed.

Right now we have lives,
Corpuscles, Ambitions, Caresses,
Like everybody had once—
Here at the year's end, at the feast
Of birth, let us bring to each other
The gifts brought once west through deserts—
The precious metal of our mingled hair,
The frankincense of enraptured arms and legs,
The myrrh of desperate, invincible kisses—

Let us celebrate the daily
Recurrent nativity of love,
The endless epiphany of our fluent selves,
While the earth rolls away under us
Into unknown snows and summers,
Into untraveled spaces of the stars.


–Kenneth Rexroth




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Sunday, August 7, 2016

you know quite well





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You know quite well, deep within you,

that there is only a single magic,
a single power, a single salvation...

and that is called loving.


–Herman Hesse



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listen







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You are young.
So you know everything. 
You leap into the boat and begin rowing.
But listen to me. 

Without fanfare, without embarrassment,
without any doubt, I talk directly to your soul.
Listen to me. 

Lift the oars from the water, let your arms rest,
and your heart, and heart's little intelligence,
and listen to me. 

There is life without love.
It is not worth a bent penny, or a scuffed shoe. 
It is not worth the body of a dead dog nine days unburied.

When you hear, a mile away and still out of sight,
the churn of the water as it begins to swirl and roil,
fretting around the sharp rocks--
when you hear that unmistakable pounding--
when you feel the mist on your mouth and sense ahead
the embattlement, the long falls plunging and steaming--
then row, row for your life toward it.

Mary Oliver
West Wind #2




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Evolution





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When you were a tadpole and I was a fish
In the Paleozoic time,
And side by side on the ebbing tide
We sprawled through the ooze and slime,
Or skittered with many a caudal flip
Through the depths of the Cambrian fen,
My heart was rife with the joy of life,
For I loved you even then.

Mindless we lived and mindless we loved
And mindless at last we died;
And deep in the rift of the Caradoc drift
We slumbered side by side.
The world turned on in the lathe of time,
The hot lands heaved amain,
Till we caught our breath from the womb of death
And crept into light again.

We were amphibians, scaled and tailed,
And drab as a dead man's hand;
We coiled at ease 'neath the dripping trees
Or trailed through the mud and sand.
Croaking and blind, with our three-clawed feet
Writing a language dumb,
With never a spark in the empty dark
To hint at a life to come.

Yet happy we lived and happy we loved,
And happy we died once more;
Our forms were rolled in the clinging mold
Of a Neocomian shore.
The eons came and the eons fled
And the sleep that wrapped us fast
Was riven away in a newer day
And the night of death was past.

Then light and swift through the jungle trees
We swung in our airy flights,
Or breathed in the balms of the fronded palms
In the hush of the moonless nights;
And, oh! what beautiful years were there
When our hearts clung each to each;
When life was filled and our senses thrilled
In the first faint dawn of speech.

Thus life by life and love by love
We passed through the cycles strange,
And breath by breath and death by death
We followed the chain of change.
Till there came a time in the law of life
When over the nursing side
The shadows broke and soul awoke
In a strange, dim dream of God.

I was thewed like an Auruch bull
And tusked like the great cave bear;
And you, my sweet, from head to feet
Were gowned in your glorious hair.
Deep in the gloom of a fireless cave,
When the night fell o'er the plain
And the moon hung red o'er the river bed
We mumbled the bones of the slain.

I flaked a flint to a cutting edge
And shaped it with brutish craft;
I broke a shank from the woodland lank
And fitted it, head and haft;
Then I hid me close to the reedy tarn,
Where the mammoth came to drink;
Through the brawn and bone I drove the stone
And slew him upon the brink.

Loud I howled through the moonlit wastes,
Loud answered our kith and kin;
From west and east to the crimson feast
The clan came tramping in.
O'er joint and gristle and padded hoof
We fought and clawed and tore,
And check by jowl with many a growl
We talked the marvel o'er.

I carved that fight on a reindeer bone
With rude and hairy hand;
I pictured his fall on the cavern wall
That men might understand.
For we lived by blood and the right of might
Ere human laws were drawn,
And the age of sin did not begin
Till our brutal tush were gone.

And that was a million years ago
In a time that no man knows;
Yet here tonight in the mellow light
We sit at Delmonico's.
Your eyes are deep as the Devon springs,
Your hair is dark as jet,
Your years are few, your life is new,
Your soul untried, and yet -

Our trail is on the Kimmeridge clay
And the scarp of the Purbeck flags;
We have left our bones in the Bagshot stones
And deep in the Coralline crags;
Our love is old, our lives are old,
And death shall come amain;
Should it come today, what man may say
We shall not live again?

God wrought our souls from the Tremadoc beds
And furnished them wings to fly;
We sowed our spawn in the world's dim dawn,
And I know that it shall not die,
Though cities have sprung above the graves
Where the crook-bone men make war
And the oxwain creaks o'er the buried caves
Where the mummied mammoths are.

Then as we linger at luncheon here
O'er many a dainty dish,
Let us drink anew to the time when you
Were a tadpole and I was a fish.



–Langdon Smith



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ode to the moment








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This moment
as smooth
as a board,
and fresh,
this hour,
this day
as clean
as an untouched glass
--not a single
spiderweb
from the past:
we touch the moment
with our fingers,
we cut it
to size,
we direct
its blooming.
It's living,
it's alive:
it brings nothing from yesterday that can't be redeemed,
nothing from the lost past.


–Pablo Neruda




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unending love





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I seem to have loved you in numberless forms, numberless times…
In life after life, in age after age, forever.
My spellbound heart has made and remade the necklace of songs
That you take as a gift, wear round your neck in your many forms,
In life after life, in age after age, forever.

Whenever I hear old chronicles of love, it's age-old pain,
It's ancient tale of being apart or together,
As I stare on and on into the past, in the end you emerge,
Clad in the light of a pole-star piercing the darkness of time:
You become an image of what is remembered forever.

You and I have floated here on the stream that brings from the fount
At the heart of time, love of one for another.
We have played along side millions of lovers, shared in the same
Shy sweetness of meeting, the same distressful tears of farewell-
Old love but in shapes that renew and renew forever.

Today it is heaped at your feet, it has found its end in you,
The love of all man’s days both past and forever:
Universal joy, universal sorrow, universal life.
The memories of all loves merging with this one love of ours
And the songs of every poet past and forever. 



–Rabindranath Tagore



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Friday, August 5, 2016

a human being is part of a whole





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A human being is part of a whole, called by us the ‘Universe,’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest —- a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. 

This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. 

Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.


—Albert Einstein



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the one and the many





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This moment this love comes to rest in me,
many beings in one being.
In one wheat grain a thousand sheaf stacks.
Inside the needle's eye, a turning night of stars.

Listen, if you can stand to.
Union with the friend
means not being who you have been,
being instead silence, a place,
a view where language is inside seeing.

From the wet source
someone cuts a reed to make a flute
The reed sips breath like wine,
sips more, practicing. Now drunk,
it starts the high clear notes.

There is a path from me to you
that I am constantly looking for,
so I try to keep clear and still
as water does with the moon.

We do not have to follow the pressure-flow of wanting.
We can be led by the guide.
Wishes may or may not come true
in this house of disappointment.
Let's push the door open together and leave.

My essence is like the essence of a red wine.
My body is a cup that grieves because it is inside time.
Glass after glass of wine go into my head.
Finally, my head goes into the wine.


–Rumi
Coleman Barks version
The Big Red Book



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