Sunday, March 25, 2018

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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Descartes, excerpt





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Perhaps a god is deceiving me.

Perhaps a god has sentenced me to time, that lasting illusion. 
I dream the moon and I dream my eyes perceiving the moon.


—Jorge Luis Borges

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on being “old” in Bali






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It has been suggested that the linear theory of time is related to the experience of time in the Northern (and Southern) hemispheres, where it is marked by seasonal changes: life begins in the spring, matures in the summer, and dies in the fall, to begin a new cycle the following spring. Bali, however, lies in the region of tropical rain forests near the Equator where there are no reasons to synchronize the growth schedules of all livings things. Instead, the processes of growth and decay proceed at different rates all over the forest, all the time. A flower is on a short, rapid growth cycle; a tree, a much longer one; a rock, longer still. The cycles mesh in this world, the Middle World, to create life.

–J. Stephen Lansing


time crystals




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... Nobel prize-winning physicist Frank Wilczek proposes that just as there are naturally emerging crystal structures in the third dimension, this same effect could be happening within what he calls “Time Crystals”, extradimensional patterns that reside within a timeless whole.

—Alex Vikoulov
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relation(ships




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The classical idea that objects and processes exist “in” space and time is now dead ... space and time should instead be seen as phenomena that somehow “emerge” from relationships.

–Alexander Wendt
Quantum Mind and Social Science: Unifying Physical and Social Ontology


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possibilities, excerpt





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I prefer zeroes on the loose
to those lined up behind a cipher.
I prefer the time of insects to the time of stars.
I prefer to knock on wood.
I prefer not to ask how much longer and when.
I prefer keeping in mind even the possibility
that existence has its own reason for being.


–Wislawa Szymborska


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Telescope





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This is the pipe that pierces the dam
that holds back the universe,

that takes off some of the pressure,
keeping the weight of the unknown

from breaking through
and washing us all down the valley.

Because of this small tube,
through which a cold light rushes

from the bottom of time,
the depth of the stars stays always constant

and we are able to sleep, at least for now,
beneath the straining wall of darkness.


–Ted Kooser

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Saturday, March 24, 2018

all those things for which we have no words are lost. –Annie Dillard





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a glossary of chickens





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There should be a word for the way
they look with just one eye, neck bent,
for beetle or worm or strewn grain.
“Gleaning,” maybe, between “gizzard”
and “grit.” 

And for the way they run toward
someone they trust, their skirts
hiked, their plump bodies wobbling:
“bobbling,” let’s call it, inserted
after “blowout” and before “bloom.”

There should be terms, too, for things
they do not do—like urinate or chew—
but perhaps there already are.

I’d want a word for the way they drink,
head thrown back, throat wriggling,
like an old woman swallowing
a pill; a word beginning with “S,”
coming after “sex feather” and before “shank.”

And one for the sweetness of hens
but not roosters.

We think that by naming we can understand,
as if the tongue were more than muscle.


–Gary Whitehead



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all good things




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All good things approach their goal crookedly.

Like cats, they arch their backs,
they purr inwardly over their approaching happiness:
all good things laugh.



—Friedrich Nietzsche


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the law that marries all things





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1.
The cloud is free only
to go with the wind.

The rain is free
only in falling.

The water is free only
in its gathering together,

in its downward courses,
in its rising into the air.

2.
In law is rest
if you love the law,
if you enter, singing, into it
as water in its descent.

3.
Or song is truest law,
and you must enter singing;
it has no other entrance.

It is the great chorus
of parts. The only outlawry
is in division.

4.
Whatever is singing
is found, awaiting the return
of whatever is lost.

5.
Meet us in the air
over the water,
sing the swallows.

Meet me, meet me,
the redbird sings,
here here here here.



—Wendell Berry



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andy goldsworthy
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awareness is not a thing




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... the most fundamental scientific ‘fact’ is not the existence of a universe of things in space and time but awareness of such a universe.

Awareness is not a ‘thing’ that can evolve from or arise out of an unaware or insentient universe of things. On the contrary all things in the universe emerge and take shape out of a universal awareness.


—Peter Wilberg
The Awareness Principle





what(ever





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Never forget that the universe is a single living organism possessed of one substance and one soul, holding all things suspended in a single consciousness and creating all things with a single purpose that they might work together spinning and weaving and knotting whatever comes to pass.

–Marcus Aurelius
April 26, 121 — March 17, 180, Rome


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Desert Rivers, Mexico
Adriana Franco
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all things flow and touch each other





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My brother used to ask the birds to forgive him; that sounds senseless but it is right; for all is like the ocean, all things flow and touch each other; a disturbance in one place is felt at the other end of the world.

—Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The Brothers Karamazov

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Friday, March 23, 2018

what makes life worth living





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invitation





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It’s the season of spring, let us be cheek to cheek with the east wind
Let us be friends with the rose, and companions of its scent
It is the time of the wild tulip with pure hearts let us take up the cup
Like the narcissus, let us be drunk without pretense


—Sheyhi
from The Gathering of Desire,
Ottoman Lyric Poetry: An Anthology


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all things





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All things are little, changeable, perishable. All things come from thence, from that universal ruling power either directly proceeding or by way of sequence. And accordingly the lion’s gaping jaws, and that which is poisonous, and every harmful thing, as a thorn, as mud, are after-products of the grand and beautiful. Do not then imagine that they are of another kind from that which thou dost venerate, but form a just opinion of the source of all.

—Marcus Aurelius
Meditations





There is no gap between us and the process. –John Daido Loori





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We all behave like Maxwell’s demon. Organisms organize. In everyday experience lies the reason sober physicists across two centuries kept this cartoon fantasy alive. We sort the mail, build sand castles, solve jigsaw puzzles, separate wheat from chaff, rearrange chess pieces, collect stamps, alphabetize books, create symmetry, compose sonnets and sonatas, and put our rooms in order, and all this we do requires no great energy, as long as we can apply intelligence. We propagate structure (not just we humans but we who are alive). We disturb the tendency toward equilibrium. It would be absurd to attempt a thermodynamic accounting for such processes, but it is not absurd to say we are reducing entropy, piece by piece. Bit by bit. The original demon, discerning one molecule at a time, distinguishing fast from slow, and operating his little gateway, is sometimes described as “superintelligent,” but compared to a real organism it is an idiot savant. Not only do living things lessen the disorder in their environments; they are in themselves, their skeletons and their flesh, vesicles and membranes, shells and carapaces, leaves and blossoms, circulatory systems and metabolic pathways - miracles of pattern and structure. It sometimes seems as if curbing entropy is our quixotic purpose in the universe.

–James Gleick
The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood



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The Silence of the Stars





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When Laurens van der Post one night
In the Kalihari Desert told the Bushmen
He couldn't hear the stars
Singing, they didn't believe him. They looked at him,
Half-smiling. They examined his face
To see whether he was joking
Or deceiving them. Then two of those small men
Who plant nothing, who have almost
Nothing to hunt, who live
On almost nothing, and with no one
But themselves, led him away
From the crackling thorn-scrub fire
And stood with him under the night sky
And listened. One of them whispered,
Do you not hear them now?
And van der Post listened, not wanting
To disbelieve, but had to answer,
No. They walked him slowly
Like a sick man to the small dim
Circle of firelight and told him
They were terribly sorry,
And he felt even sorrier
For himself and blamed his ancestors
For their strange loss of hearing,
Which was his loss now. On some clear nights
When nearby houses have turned off their televisions,
When the traffic dwindles, when through streets
Are between sirens and the jets overhead
Are between crossings, when the wind
Is hanging fire in the fir trees,
And the long-eared owl in the neighboring grove
Between calls is regarding his own darkness,
I look at the stars again as I first did
To school myself in the names of constellations
And remember my first sense of their terrible distance,
I can still hear what I thought
At the edge of silence where the inside jokes
Of my heartbeat, my arterial traffic,
The C above high C of my inner ear, myself
Tunelessly humming, but now I know what they are:
My fair share of the music of the spheres
And clusters of ripening stars,
Of the songs from the throats of the old gods
Still tending even tone-deaf creatures
Through their exiles in the desert.


–David Wagoner



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I Would Like to Describe



 

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Poems are often these very strange moans. These very impossible efforts toward the innermost pangs. Somehow, the trying to go there gives me hope. To reach down and into. To make your whole language and your whole body move that way. Poetry, song, and hope are all forms of breathing and moving — toward a crow, maybe, or the uneven sidewalk, or someone else’s hands. 

–Chen Chen
interviewed by Allison Peters for the Michigan Quarterly


...


I would give all metaphors
in return for one word
drawn out of my breast like a rib
for one word
contained within the boundaries
of my skin

—Zbigniew Herbert
Czesław Miłosz version 


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anna
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when faces called flowers float out of the ground






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when faces called flowers float out of the ground

and breathing is wishing and wishing is having-

but keeping is downward and doubting and never

-it’s april(yes,april;my darling)it’s spring!

yes the pretty birds frolic as spry as can fly

yes the little fish gambol as glad as can be

(yes the mountains are dancing together)


when every leaf opens without any sound

and wishing is having and having is giving-

but keeping is doting and nothing and nonsense

-alive;we’re alive,dear:it’s(kiss me now)spring!

now the pretty birds hover so she and so he

now the little fish quiver so you and so i

(now the mountains are dancing, the mountains)


when more than was lost has been found has been found

and having is giving and giving is living-

but keeping is darkness and winter and cringing

-it’s spring(all our night becomes day)o,it’s spring!

all the pretty birds dive to the heart of the sky

all the little fish climb through the mind of the sea

(all the mountains are dancing;are dancing)


–E. E. Cummings


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Thursday, March 22, 2018

question





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‘What is grace?’ I asked God.

And He said,
‘All that happens.’

Then He added, when I looked perplexed,

‘Could not lovers
say that every moment in their Beloved’s arms
was grace?

Existence is my arms,
though I well understand how one can turn
away from
me

until the heart has
wisdom.’


–St. John of the Cross
Love Poems from God
Daniel Ladinsky


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Grace is within you. If it were external, it would be useless. –Ramana Maharshi






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You think that you are the body or that you are the mind. But there are occasions when you are free from both.
For example in deep slumber, you create a body and a world in your dream. That represents your mental activities. In your waking state you think that you are the body and then the idea of forest and the rest arise.

Now, consider the situation. You are an unchanging and continuous being who remains in all these states which are constantly changing and therefore transient. But you are always there. It follows that these fleeting objects are mere phenomena which appear on your being like pictures which move across a screen. The screen does not move when the picture moves. Similarly, you do not move from where you are even when the body leaves the home and mixes in society.
Your body, the society, the forest and the ways are all in you; you are not in them. You are the body also but not this body only. If you remain as your pure Self, the body and its movements need not affect you.


–Sri Ramana Maharshi


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you are that





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Grace is always present. You imagine it is something somewhere high in the sky, far away, and has to descend. It is really inside you, in your Heart, and the moment you effect subsidence or merger of the mind into its Source, grace rushes forth, sprouting as from a spring within you.


–Ramana Maharshi

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707





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The Grace–Myself–might not obtain–

Confer upon My flower–

Refracted but a Countenance–

For I–inhabit Her–


–Emily Dickinson




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note to self





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You are neck-deep in water and yet cry for water.

It is as good as saying that one neck-deep in water feels thirsty, or that a fish in water feels thirsty, or that water feels thirsty.

Grace is always there.

–Ramana Maharshi


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grace(ful





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The time of judging
Who is drunk or sober,
Who is right and who is wrong,
Who is closer to god, and who is farther away,
All that is over.

This caravan is led instead by a great delight,
The simple joy that sits with us now.

That is the grace.


–Hafiz

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this




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Kiss the mouth 
which tells you, here, here is the world.

This mouth. This laughter. 
These temple bones.


–Galway Kinnell