The sadness I have caused any faceby letting a stray wordstrike it,any painI have caused you,what can I do to make us even?Demand a hundred fold of me - I'll pay it.During the day I hold my feet accountableto watch out for wondrous insects and their friends.Why would I want to bring horrorinto their extraordinaryworld?Magnetic fields draw us to Light;
they move our limbs and thoughts.But it is still dark;
if our hearts do not hold a lantern,we will stumble over each other,huddled beneath the sky
as we are.–RumiI hold my feet accountable.
Sunday, March 31, 2019
Remote from universal nature, and living by complicated artifice,
man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his
knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the
whole image in distortion.
We patronize them for their incompleteness,
for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves.And therein we err, and greatly err.
For the animal shall not be measured by man.In a world older and more complete than ours they move
finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we havelost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear.They are not brethren, they are not underlings;they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.
–Henry BestonThe Outermost House
The birds don't alter space.
They reveal it. The sky
never fills with any
leftover flying. They leave
nothing to trace. It is our own
in chill air. Be glad.They equal their due
moment never begging,
and enter ours
without parting day. See
how three birds in a winter tree
make the tree barer.Two fly away, and new rooms
open in December.
Give up what you guessed
about a whirring heart, the little
beaks and claws, their constant hunger.
We are the nervous ones.If even one of our violent number
could be gentle
long enough that one of them
found it safe inside
our finally untroubled and untroubling gaze,
who wouldn't hear
what singing completes us?–Li-Young Lee
Book of My Nights
Saturday, March 30, 2019
A separate self is merely conventional reality, in the same sense as lines of latitude and longitude and the measurements of the clock; which is why one of the means of maya, illusion, is measurement.Things are measurements; they are units of thought, like inches are measurements. There are no things in physical nature.How many things is a thing? However many you want. A “thing” is a “think”, a unit of thought; it is as much reality as you can catch hold of in one idea.
What I mean by ‘thought’ is the whole thing — thought, ‘felt’, the body, the whole society sharing thoughts — it’s all one process. It is essential for me not to break that up, because it’s all one process; somebody else’s thought becomes my thought, and vice versa. Therefore it would be wrong and misleading to break it up into my thought, your thought, my feelings, these feelings, those feelings. I would say that thought makes what is often called in modern language a system.
A system means a set of connected things or parts. But the way people commonly use the word nowadays, it means something all of whose parts are mutually interdependent — not only for their mutual action, but for their meaning and for their existence.
Thought as a System (1992)
Go inside a stoneThat would be my way.Let somebody else become a doveOr gnash with a tiger’s tooth.I am happy to be a stone.From the outside the stone is a riddle:No one knows how to answer it.Yet within, it must be cool and quietEven though a cow steps on it full weight,Even though a child throws it in a river;The stone sinks, slow, unperturbedTo the river bottomWhere the fishes come to knock on itAnd listen.I have seen sparks fly outWhen two stones are rubbed,So perhaps it is not dark inside after all;Perhaps there is a moon shiningFrom somewhere, as though behind a hill—Just enough light to make outThe strange writings, the star-chartsOn the inner walls.–Charles Simic
The Voice at 3 A.M.
My super power is the thought, Eve should be in my arms
when she’s afraid, and there she is, safe, full of bones
and blood and going nowhere if I have anything
to say about it. Vice versa applies when I’m afraid,
this is our pact, that we’ll hold each other
before we hold a door or gun, feather or piece
of a star, if we’re ever lucky enough to be walking along
and trip over a discarded chunk of heaven.
I can also make anything below eight thousand pounds
levitate, but in comparison, that power is whimsical
and irrelevant to my emotional makeup, I can take or leave
making things float and fly, but I can’t leave Eve.
My whole life has been an argument with the saying,
You’re born alone and you die alone, as I suspect
my mother was there, otherwise, why has she taken credit
for the melding of my spirit and flesh, if we go
with the old-school notion of human beings
as a combo pack of soul and guts. You’re born
into a relay race of affection if you’re lucky, handed
from cherishing to cherishing and likewise
carry others as far as you can, until they ask
to be set down or you get tired, and then,
after a long struggle or just a few seconds
of looking at a donkey in a field eating alfalfa,
you die. There are other sequences, of course—
I’m exhausted, not exhaustive—but I’m pretty sure
I’ve made my point or at least acted convincingly
like I have one, though I’m not sure of much.
Does this sound familiar: one day, I found myself
looking in a mirror and thinking, Well I guess I’m you,
after which I went at the list someone put in my hand,
crossing items off only to have them appear again,
suggesting that the people who say It’s a process
aren’t just annoying but smug and we should ask them
to leave the pool. With thrashing this deeply
at the core of the endeavor, clinging
and being clung to aren’t just romantic,
they’re what static has been telling us to do,
and I refuse to ignore the physical laws of the universe,
especially the one about the Conversation
of Matter—that everything is speaking to us
all the time, we’re just too busy to listen.
You don’t remember that one from school?
Maybe you were absent or absent minded that day,
or it was wrongly presented as the Conservation
of Matter, that misguided notion that energy
is neither created or destroyed. I’ve created
a shit-ton of energy with Eve, that’s a British measure
equal to 2,300 pounds, and plan to keep on
making this stuff up as we go, the going
being the most important part of any journey
or think piece or life, this thing I find myself
in or of, needing or kneading or both, be it desire
or bread I’m after, the love of a good woman
or bad star, as long as there’s light,
I’m going to stand here clinging to the feet
of my shadow, and in the dark, hold its place,
as I would for any stranger in any line.
Friday, March 29, 2019
As a child I felt myself to be alone, and I am still, because I know things and must hint at things which others apparently know nothing of, and for the most part do not want to know.
–Carl Gustav Jung
Memories, Dreams, Reflections, excerpt
[O]ne can no longer maintain the division between the observer and the observed (which is implicit in the atomistic view that regards each of these as separate aggregates of atoms). Rather, both observer and observed are merging and interpenetrating aspects of one whole reality, which is indivisible and unanalysable.
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.—David BohmWholeness and the Implicit Order
Physics says: go to sleep. Of courseyou’re tired. Every atom in youhas been dancing the shimmy in silver shoesnonstop from mitosis to now.Quit tapping your feet. They’ll danceinside themselves without you. Go to sleep.
Geology says: it will be all right. Slow inchby inch America is giving itselfto the ocean. Go to sleep. Let darknesslap at your sides. Give darkness an inch.You aren’t alone. All of the continents used to beone 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, soBiology says: the body-clocks are stopped all over townandHistory says: here are the blankets, layer on layer, down and down.
The Sciences Sing a Lullaby
The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.—W. B. Yeats
You come and go.
The doors swing closed ever more gently, almost without a shudder.Of all those who move through the quiet houses,you are the quietest.We become so accustomed to you, we no longer look up when
your shadow falls over the book we are reading and makes it glow.
For all things sing you: at times we hear them more clearly.Often when I imagine you your wholeness cascades into many shapes.You run like a herd of luminous deer and I am dark,
I am forest.You are a wheel at which I stand, whose dark spokes sometimes
catch me up, revolve me nearer to the center.
Then all the work I put my hand towidens from turn to turn.
–Rainer Maria Rilke
Silent friend of many distances, feelhow your breath enlarges all of space.Let your presence ring out like a bellinto the night. What feeds upon your facegrows mighty from the nourishment thus offered.Move through transformation, out and in.What is the deepest loss that you have suffered?If drinking is bitter, change yourself to wine.In this immeasurable darkness, be the powerthat rounds your sense in their magic ring,the sense of their mysterious encounter.And if the earthly no longer knows your name,whisper to the silent earth: I’m flowing.To the flashing water say: I am.–Rainer Maria Rilke
The Sonnets to Orpheus, II, 29Steven Mitchell version
Thursday, March 28, 2019
Atoms themselves are not real; they form a world of potentialities or possibilities rather than one of things or facts.—Werner Heisenberg
I believe the first living cellHad echoes of the future in it, and feltDirection and the great animals, the deep green forestAnd whale’s-track sea; I believe this globed earthNot all by chance and fortune brings forth her broods,But feels and chooses. And the Galaxy, the firewheelOn which we are pinned, the whirlwind of stars in which our sun is one dust-grain, one electron, this giant atom of the universeIs not blind force, but fulfils its life and intends its courses.
“All things are full of God. Winter and summer, day and night, war and peace are God.”–Robinson Jeffers
De Rerum Virtute, II, excerpt
I have never yet happened upon a trace of evidence that seemed to show that any one animal was ever made for another as much as it was made for itself. Not that Nature manifests any such thing as selfish isolation.
In the making of every animal the presence of every other animal has been recognized. Indeed, every atom in creation may be said to be acquainted with and married to every other, but with universal union there is a division sufficient in degree for the purposes of the most intense individuality; no matter, therefore, what may be the note which any creature forms in the song of existence, it is made first for itself, then more and more remotely for all the world and worlds.
I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.
Song of Myself, 1892 version