I could have been a cloud on Jupiter

When the inevitability of one’s life-package and its path becomes evident and one realises that nothing could possibly be other-than-it-is, the sweetest awe and appreciation flood into the space left empty by the imaginary controller.  It’s often misunderstood, this disappearance of the doer, and explained away with all manner of hypothetical imaginings. Actually, it isn’t understandable or able to be conceptualised by means of any erudite definition or name.  Best then, to leave the labels alone and keep silent unless confessing one’s own experience.  

Wislawa Szymborska’s poem didn’t fall from my own pen, but it expresses to perfection the astonishment and gratefulness I experience as I reflect upon the wondrous “coincidence” of the life-pack I call mine.  This is probably my favourite poem of 2017.


Clouds on Jupiter photographed by NASA's Juno

 

I am who I am.
A coincidence no less unthinkable
than any other.
 
I could have different
ancestors, after all.
I could have fluttered
from another nest
or crawled bescaled
from another tree.
 
Nature’s wardrobe
holds a fair
supply of costumes:
Spider, seagull, fieldmouse.
each fits perfectly right off
and is dutifully worn
into shreds.
 
I didn’t get a choice either,
but I can’t complain.
I could have been someone
much less separate.
someone from an anthill, shoal, or buzzing swarm,
an inch of landscape ruffled by the wind.
 
Someone much less fortunate,
bred for my fur
or Christmas dinner,
something swimming under a square of glass.
 
A tree rooted to the ground
as the fire draws near.
 
A grass blade trampled by a stampede
of incomprehensible events.
 
A shady type whose darkness
dazzled some.
What if I’d prompted only fear,
Loathing,
or pity?
 
If I’d been born
in the wrong tribe
with all roads closed before me?
 
Fate has been kind
to me thus far.
 
I might never have been given
the memory of happy moments
 
My yen for comparison
might have been taken away.
 
I might have been myself minus amazement,
that is,
someone completely different.

– Wislawa Szymborska

 


Maria Wisława Anna Szymborska


Photograph of clouds on Jupiter, courtesy of NASA.


 

here is where the vista opens

This post is a loving tribute to Joan Ruvinsky, who left us on March 21 in Montreal.

Just prior to Christmas, Joan wrote a newsletter note about the preciousness of the moment. I’m glad I kept it, because it couldn’t be more apt right now.

This Unlit Light: Michael Kenna - Huangshan Mountains, Study 42

You never know if this is going to be the last time, the last holiday season, the last menstrual period, the last trip to the mountains, the last whatever. It wouldn’t be such a big deal if, for instance, it were just the last time you were ever to put gas in the car, except, looking back on it, as a charming ritual. Does its being the last time make it more significant? Will we pay more attention? We don’t even know if it’s the last time when it is happening. We can only know through memory, in retrospect. 

Or we can pretend the future and say, “That was the last time I ever time I’ll ever go to that restaurant!”  This is the past conditioning the future. The food was terrible. Never again. Period.

Oh, how we like to place ourselves in time! It makes us feel situated. Secure. 

But in the moment, the actual moment, we just don’t know. Is it the first? Is it the last? Actually, it’s right now, first time, or last time – however we name it to stay comfortably situated in linear time, to play it safe. In fact, it is only and forever right now. 

So every moment, the smell of this hot cider mulling on the stove, the clacking of the printer, the wind in the pines, this holiday season to celebrate, or not… it’s just right now, whether we are labelling it from anticipation or from memory. This moment is absolutely precious. This moment is out of time, beyond comparison. No sequence. No succession. Just now. Here is where the vista opens. Now is when we are home, home in This, as This, as pure perceiving.

How wonderful.

May whatever you celebrate for the first or last unknown time be joyous. 

Love, Joan

pathlessyoga.com



Joan’s closing comments in a conversation with Grace Bubeck: Death only happens to the body, we are Love. 3:16



The entire conversation: The Radical Joy of Facing Death. 48:41


I treasure Joan’s last succinct email message to me…

Pas d’inscription. Juste de se présenter à 15h45

Amour


The magnificent photograph is by Michael Kenna.


 

silence is our real nature

This morning, a beautiful offering from Jean Klein – Silence. It’s another gem from my mother’s folder. You may be familiar with it – it’s somewhat of a classic, but if you’re like me you’ll never tire of its wisdom-blessing.

Since every line is a meditation, I have taken some liberty with the formatting.

 

Rajasthan, India - Tantric painting

 

Silence is our real nature. What we are, fundamentally, is only silence.

Silence is free from beginning and end. It was before the beginning of all things.

It is causeless. Its greatness lies in the fact that it simply is.

In silence all objects have their home ground.

It is the light that gives objects their shape and form.

All movement, all activity is harmonized by silence.

Silence has no opposite in noise.

It is beyond positive and negative.

Silence dissolves all objects.

It is not related to any counterpart which belongs to the mind. Silence has nothing to do with mind.

It cannot be defined but it can be felt directly because it is our nearness.

Silence is freedom without restriction or center.

It is our wholeness, neither inside nor outside the body.

Silence is joyful, not pleasurable. It is not psychological. It is feeling without a feeler.

Silence needs no intermediary.

Silence is holy. It is healing.

There is no fear in silence.

Silence is autonomous like love and beauty. It is untouched by time.

Silence is meditation, free from any intention, free from anyone who meditates.

Silence is the absence of oneself. Or rather, silence is the absence of absence.

Sound which comes from silence is music. All activity is creative when it comes from silence. It is constantly a new beginning.

Silence precedes speech and poetry and music and all art.

Silence is the home ground of all creative activity. What is truly creative is the word, is Truth.

Silence is the Word. Silence is Truth.

The one established in silence lives in constant offering, in prayer without asking, in thankfulness, in continual love.

– Jean Klein


This short biography of Dr Jean Klein by Andrew Rawlinson is an excellent introduction to an extraordinary sage. [pdf]


Image – anonymous Hindu Tantric painting, Rajasthan, India.
Made using tempera, gouache, and watercolor on salvaged papers, these paintings from Rajasthan form a distinct lexicon dating back to the 17th century. They were/are used to awaken heightened states of consciousness. They are not produced for commercial purposes, but simply pinned up on the wall for use in private meditation.

See Franck André Jamme’s stunning book: Tantra Song: Tantric Painting from Rajasthan

when you know yourself

silence stillness simplicity serenity solitude

keep far away


 

the altar of this moment

A beautiful poem for a Sunday: The Altar of this Moment by Dorothy Hunt.

 
For Simone, who was gratefulness and generosity embodied. And who left us seven days ago.

Reblogged with gratitude from the wondrous science and nonduality website


Photograph by Juliana Nan

 

Place everything you can perceive—
everything you can
see,
hear,
smell,
taste,
or touch,
upon the altar of this moment
and give thanks.

It is over so soon—
this expression,
this single moment of your precious life,
this one heart
pounding itself open
with fear or wild joy,

this one breath rising
in the cold winter air
smoothly and gently
or coughing and sputtering.

Bow, while you can, before
this one taste
of afternoon tea
warming its way to your belly,
or the fragrant orange
exploding its sweet juice
in your grateful mouth.

You have to love
the antics of your mind,
imagining life should only be sweet.
The bitter makes the sweet; and life is both.
It is whole, like you,
before you think yourself to pieces.

Place this moment’s pain and confusion on the altar, too,
and give special thanks for such grace
that wakes you up from sleeping through your life.
Pain is greatly under-rated as a pointer to Unknowing,
yet greatly over-rated when taken as identity.

In this one moment,
your eyes meet mine and there is
a single looking.
What is peering from behind our masks?
Can it touch itself across the room?

Place your palms together;
touch your holy skin.
In another moment it will shed itself.
What will you be then?
What were you before you had two hands?
What are you now?

You cannot capture That
and place It on the altar of this moment.
It is the altar,
and this moment’s infinite expressions,
and the Seeing,
and its own devotion to itself.

You are That.

Dorothy Hunt

 


Image credit – Juliana Nan


Also by Dorothy Hunt:
when God comes in your house


once your cruci-fiction is over

Bill Viola - The Crossing, 1996, video/sound installation

 

once your cruci-fiction is over

you will say Father

thank you for forsaking me

so that what I am

and have always been

could melt, again

into the womb

of the Mother’s wild Love

 

could shed the unstoppable

tears, that by some divine alchemy

transform

from grief into bliss

 

could abide again

in the Garden of Grace

regardless of life’s sorrows

and confusion and pain

 

you will say thank you

once your cruci-fiction is over

 


Image: Bill ViolaThe Crossing, 1996
Video/sound installation

Source


love and joy, thanks and celebration

Sitting in my rainforest sanctuary on Christmas Day, alone and at peace, listening to the forest sing its hymns of praise, wondering when the mercury will stop climbing and the mozzies munching – noticing a little urge to send my thoughts of love and joy, thanks and celebration, to all the beloveds who join me on this wee patch of cyberspace.  I’ve shared my delight of the art and writing of Michael Leunig in other posts; this is his beautiful Christmas prayer.

Christmas.

Dear God, it is timely that we give thanks for the lives of all prophets,
teachers, healers and revolutionaries, living and dead, acclaimed or obscure,
who have rebelled, worked and suffered for the cause of love and joy.

We also celebrate that part of us, that part within ourselves,
which has rebelled, worked and suffered for the cause of love and joy.

We give thanks and celebrate.

Amen

Michael Leunig - Bush Christmas

Huge clouds of brown butterflies swirl up into the dazzling light, parrots swoop to grassy earth, honeyeaters ravish the sweet flowers of the bottlebrush, echidnas trundle steadily in search of each other, lizards dart among ants and ancient rocks, the fine branchlets of the manna gums quiver to the mating growls of koalas, ibises stroll and feast on grasshoppers and gleaming Christmas beetles hang from eucalyptus leaves like small green baubles. The birds sing gloriously and not a wrong note is heard. This is Christmas in the [Australian] bush.

For joy and meaning [let us] turn to our natural country and witness miracles of vitality and new life, of inspiration and profound beauty; all in some humble, quiet and improbable place.

I’m happy to confess that I am holed up in a “humble, quiet and improbable place.”  But whatever and wherever your place may be, I pray that your holy-days are a source of the miraculous, the vital, the beautiful and the sacred.

Quoted text from www.theage.com.au
Artwork by Michael Leunig

an apology to subscribers

Dear friends, followers, and email or RSS feed subscribers to this little blog –

Late last January I switched to a new WordPress theme – the one you see this post displayed on, and with which I’m very satisfied, overall. However, themes are little universes of their own, with mysterious configurations and ways of presenting themselves. (Just like us, eh?)

Some time ago I was surfing back through older posts to try and find an entry on a particular topic, and I discovered that the pre- Forever theme posts which used certain formatting elements were not displaying to my liking. In particular, the ‘small’ font-size was virtually unreadable.

Being of a fussy artistic disposition this bothered me and I resolved to edit them once time allowed. It’s a job that’s been on the back burner for a while, but /and during the last few days I’ve made a start. The problem is, that when I edit a post sometimes WordPress re-posts it to all my ‘followers’ – but only sometimes. I have no idea why this happens when I am only reformatting html and – in some cases – changing categories. The content of the post remains unchanged.

The forum angels advise me that I can switch the blog to “private” for the duration of my editing, and then switch it back to “public” when I’m done, thus avoiding re-posting of edited posts. I’m reluctant to do this, however, because the stats tell me that visitors are continuously viewing the blog – their numbers may not be huge, but I don’t want any of them to be turned away. I wish there was an option to show a message saying “Blog under maintenance – please come back later” – are you listening, WordPress Happiness Engineers?

So far three or four posts have been re-issued – out of dozens that have been edited. I’d like to offer my apologies for this unnecessary input to your inbox. And I need to warn you that over the next week or so there might be more, as I have dozens more posts to mend. You will recognize them by their date. Please just delete them – unless, of course, it’s new material for you and you’re interested…

While I’m at-it, dear friends, I want to thank you for your companionship and support over the past three years. It may ‘only’ be a virtual connection we share, but this heart knows true friendship when it inexplicably and graciously comes its way.

Grace and gratefulness!

~ miriam louisa

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