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Issue #1321 - Thursday, January 16, 2003 - Editor: Jerry
Sufi Mystic What is life?
What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night.
It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is
the little shadow which runs across the grass and
loses itself in the sunset.
-Crowfoot, Native American warrior and orator (1821-1890)
from The Other Syntax
Truths Determined By Energy
Those shamans had derived their construct by means of their
ability to see energy as it flows freely in the universe. Therefore,
the warriors' way was a most harmonious conglomerate of energetic
facts, irreducible truths determined exclusively by the direction of
the flow of energy in the universe. Don Juan categorically stated
that there was nothing about the warriors' way that could be argued,
nothing that could be changed. It was in itself and by itself a
perfect structure and whoever followed it was corralled by energetic
facts that admitted no argument, no speculation about their function
and their value.
Commentary on Journey to Ixtlan
THE WHEEL OF TIME
"In order to be intelligent in my world, you must be able to
concentrate, to fix your attention on any concrete thing as well as
on any abstract manifestation."
"What kind of abstract manifestations are you talking about,
Clara?" I asked.
"An opening in the energy field around us is an abstract
manifestation," she said. "But don't expect to feel it or see it in
the same manner you feel and see the concrete world. Something else takes place."
THE SORCERERS' CROSSING
On Not Judging
From the Coptic Christian Tradition:
A brother in Scetis committed a fault. A council was called to
which Abba Moses was invited, but he refused to go to it. Then
the priest sent someone to him, saying, "Come, for everyone is
waiting for you." So he got up and went.
He took a leaking jug and filled it with water and carried it
with him. The others came out to meet him and said, "what is
this, father?" The old man said to them, "My sins run out
behind me, and I do not see them, and today I am coming to
judge the errors of another." When they heard that, they said
no more to the brother but forgave him.
A brother sinned and the priest ordered him to go out of the
church; Abba Bessarion got up and went out with him, saying,
"I, too, am a sinner."
from 'The Monk's Garden' or 'Paradise of the Desert Fathers'
The treasure house within - Ma Tzu
When Hyakujo first arrived at Chiang-Si to pay his respects to Ma Tzu, Ma Tzu inquired, "from where have you come?"
"From the great cloud monastery at Yueh Chou," answered Hyakujo.
"And what do you hope to gain by
coming here?" Asked Ma Tzu.
Hyakujo replied, "I have come seeking the buddha-dharma."
To this Ma Tzu replied, "instead of looking to the treasure house which is your very own, you have left home and gone wandering far away. What for? I have absolutely nothing here at all. What is this buddha-dharma that you seek?"
Whereupon Hyakujo prostrated himself and asked, "please tell me to what you alluded when you spoke of a treasure house of my very own."
Ma Tzu replied, "that which asked the question is your treasure house. It contains absolutely everything you need and lacks nothing at all. It is there for you to use freely, so why this vain search for something outside yourself?"
No sooner were these words spoken than Hyakujo received a great illumination and recognized his own no-mind. Beside himself with joy, he bowed in deep gratitude.
The Book of Life: Daily
Meditations with J. Krishnamurti
Alone has great beauty
I do not know if you have ever been lonely; when you suddenly
realize that you have no relationship with anybody; not an intellectual
realization but a factual realization...and you are completely isolated.
Every form of thought and emotion is blocked; you cannot turn
anywhere; there is nobody to turn to; the gods, the angels, have all
gone beyond the clouds and, as the clouds vanish they have also
vanished; you are completely lonely; I will not use the word alone.
Alone has quiet a different meaning; alone has beauty. To be alone
means something entirely different. And you must be alone. When
man frees himself from the social structure of greed, envy, ambition,
arrogance, achievement, status then he frees himself from those,
then he is completely alone. That is quite a different thing. Then there
is great beauty, the feeling of great energy.
from Daily Dharma
" Breathe in with the deep awareness
that you are a human being.
Then breath out and touch the Earth, a non-man element, as your
mother. Visualize the streams of water beneath the Earth's surface.
See the minerals. See our Mother Earth, the mother of us all. Then
bring your arms up and breath in again touching the trees, flowers,
fruits, birds, squirrels, air, and sky---the non-man elements. When
your head is touching the air, the sun, the moon, the galaxies, the
cosmos---non-man elements that have come together to make man
possible--you see that all of the elements are coming into you to
make your being possible. Breathing in again, stretch your arms and
be aware that you also penetrate other elements. Man helps make
other elements possible." ~Thich Nhat Hanh
From the book," Cultivating The Mind Of Love, The Practice Of
Looking Deeply In The Mahayana Buddhist Tadition," published
Step Into Liquid
I had never surfed before, I found this film compelling not only
because it transcends both surf and world cultures, but because it exposes
what lies at the most primitive inner core of surfing, spirituality," said
Step Into Liquid is a Dana Brown film that tells tales from twenty
different locations. It features surfing legends like Laird Hamilton and Dave
Kalama surfing at Jaws, an aerial spectacle from Taj Burrow in Australia, the
Malloy brothers in Ireland, Peter Mell, "Skindog" Collins and crew surfing
Monster Mavericks, super tanker wake surfing in Texas, Rapa Nui's first-ever
tow-in, long-boarding on Lake Michigan, and a highly anticipated footage of
Cortez Banks and its sixty-foot plus waves.
View the trailer: http://www.stepintoliquid.com
No matter what I read or have read, I am
always taken back by my
special fondness for the Tao and it's writings/teachings. This
morning I was reading a portion during my daily meditations and it
really stayed with me. It was all about "Positioning", and the
message really hit home.
Heron stands in the blue estury,
Solitary, white, unmoving for hours.
A fish! Quick avian darting;
The prey captured.
positioning - positioning - positioning - positioning
It went on to say, people always ask how to follow Tao. It is easy
and natural as the heron standing in the water. The bird moves when
it must; it does not move when stillness is appropriate.
The secret of its serenity is a type of vigilance, a contemplative
state. The heron is not in mere dumbness or sleep. It knows a lucid
stillness. It stands unmoving in the flow of the water. It gazes
unperturbed and is aware. When Tao brings it something that it needs,
it seizes the opportunity without hesitation or deliberation.
Then it goes back to its quiensence without disturbing itself or its
surroundings. Unless it found the right position in the water's flow
and remained patient, it would not have succeeded.
Actions in life can be reduced to two factors: positioning and
timing. If we are not in the right place at the right time, we cannot
possible take advantage of what life has to offer us. Almost anything
is appropriate if an action is in accord with the time and the place.
But we must be vigilant and prepared. Even if the time and the place
are right, we can still miss our chance if we do not notice the
moment, if we act inadequately, or if we hamper ourselves with
doubts and second thoughts. When life presents an opportunity,
we must be ready to seize it without hesitation or inhibitation. Position is
useless without awareness. If we have both, we make no mistakes.
Response from Harvey:
Thank you for the beautiful evocation
of the natural grace of the heron.
Isn't the same natural force which
runs through the heron actuating everyone
of us - and, of course, everything?
Is the heron a better example of the harmony
of this force than is the confusion of
human life we see around us, or is it just
that it is easier for us to recognize
that harmony in the stillness and swoop
of the heron?
A few things that matter...
Life is sacred:
Live on purpose.
be intoxicated with this world and astonished with the world you
growth is a journey...
success doesn't require arrival.
want what you already hold.
give no place to public opinion.
delight in your friends.
practice the art of doing nothing.
embrace moments of grace.
give the child in you a w i d e s k y.
a collaboration of Tony Hershey & Maryann Radmacker
http://www.sundanceonlinefilmfestival.com/animation01_06.html# have a beverage in the Kunstbar
every drink inspired by a famous painter from the sundance
film festival Response from J.P. :
Thanks beautiful Michael!
I was gonna chainsmoke Gitanes, stare at the endless streams of metal motor traffic from a highway overpass, hold my face in a contorted grimace and scare away pigeons - but seeing Munch's Scream running out of the bar lifted my sombre spirits considerably!
Pour me a Jackson Pollock while I fall into a Dali.
go to chapter 20 part 5
oh ah bzzzzzzz
cosmology and consciousness
[ THURSDAY, JANUARY 16, 2003 04:27:53 PM ]
Following is the full text of the inaugural address by Dr Karan Singh on a symposium Science and Beyond: Cosmology, Consciousness and Technology in the Indic Traditions.
As this symposium begins with cosmology, I would like to start my address by quoting the famous creation-hymn from the world's most ancient living scripture, the Rig Veda (X.IZ9/1-7- Griffith translation):
Then was not non-existent nor existent:
There was no realm of air, no shy beyond it:
What covered it, and where? And what gave shelter?
Was water there, unfathomed depth of water?
Death was not then, nor was there aught immortal:
No sign was there, the day's and night's divider.
That one thing, breathless, breathed by its own nature:
Apart from it was nothing whatsoever.
Darkness there was: at first concealed in darkness
All this was indiscriminate chaos.
All that existed then was void and formless:
By the great power of warmth was born that unit.
Thereafter rose desire in the beginning.
Desire the primal seed and germ of spirit.
Sages who searched with their hearts' thought discovered
the existent's kinship with the non-existent.
Transversely was their severing line extended:
What was above it then, and what below it?
There were begetters, there were mighty forces,
free action here and energy up yonder
Who verily knows and who can here declare it,
Whence it was born and whence comes this creation?
The gods are later than the worlds production,
who knows then whence it first came into being?
He, the first origin of this creation,
whether he formed it all or did not form it,
Whose eye control this world in highest heaven,
He verily knows it, or perhaps he knows not.
It is indeed astounding that modern developments in science, particularly cosmology, seem to echo some of the insights of our great seers and sages which have come down to us for thousands of years through the long and tortuous corridors of lime. It is almost as if, like the background.
Emanations from the Big Bang, the faint echoes of our ancient spiritual luminaries can still be heard in the background of all our post-modern discourses on the human condition.
Some years ago, when I was ambassador to the United States, I called upon the great scientist Prof S. Chandrasekhar in Chicago, and asked him as to how it was that the seers of the Vedas and Upanishads had two astounding insights which have emerged in modern science only very recently. The first is the concept of Anantakoti Brahmanda billions of galaxies or universe. The second is the concept of vast aeons of times through which creation passes, the single day of Brahma being of 4.32 million years with a night of equal duration, so that a year of Brahma closely approximates the age of planet Earth. He really had no explanation and when I suggested that perhaps this knowledge came to our seers in enhanced states of consciousness, he said that was quite possible.
From cosmology, let us then move on to consciousness. In the Indic traditions, consciousness is not merely an epi-phenomenon of evolving matter, rather, it is the prime principle which calls forth these millions of worlds. The great icon of Shiva Nataraja, lord of the cosmic dance, beautifully portrays this kinetic universe in which all things, from the majestic movement of the great galaxies down to the persistent agitation of sub-atomic particles, are in a state of flux. The drum in Shiva's left hand represents creation the original Big Bang if you like, or perhaps a continual series of Big Bangs, while the fire in his right hand represents their ultimate destruction in the great cycles of time. However, if there were only the Big Bangs and the Big Crunches, there would be little space for you and me. Shiva's other two hands, therefore, point to the possibility of individual realisation amidst the cosmic chaos in which we find ourselves. One hand is raised in a gesture of benediction, telling humanity not to fear while the fourth points to his upraised foot as the path of liberation.
The whole question of consciousness and its evolution is one that has attracted some of the best minds in the world, including the great evolutionary philosopher Sri Aurobindo. In India, we have developed over the millennia systems of yoga which are surely the most profound and integral exploration of consciousness ever essayed by the human race. While we also developed path-breaking outer technology in such fields as metallurgy, medicine and mathematics; Indian civilisation took a turn probably unique in the history of thought. Our most creative minds turned the searchlight inwards towards the source of consciousness itself, and built up an entire science based upon this creative introspection. In his classic work on the yoga-sutras, the sage Patanjali has given us a seminal textbook for exploring the deeper recesses of our being.
Post-Freudian movements in psychology in the West have also gradually developed these deeper insights, notably with C.G. Jung and the post-Jungians, and moving on to Transpersonal Psychology. The study of consciousness has now become a fully respectable and challenging area for intellectual and experiential exploration. I have personally had the privilege of discussing the nature of consciousness with some of the most creative minds of the 20th century Stanislav Grof with his extended cartography of the mind, Rupert Sheldrape with his theory of morphogenic resonance, llya Prigogine with his chaos theory, Jonas Salk, the great biochemist whose book Survival of the Wisest is a classic, Carl Sagan, who brought the mysteries of the cosmos into the minds and hearts of millions, Arthur Clarke, the astonishingly creative space author, and many others. Indeed, the study of consciousness is now one of the most fertile fields for research and experimentation.
Years ago, when I was minister for health and family planning, I had started in Bangalore in the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences (NIMHANS) a programme entitled Project Consciousness in which I had assembled some of the most creative scientific minds in India as well as involving Pandit Gopi Krishna whose books on Kundalini awakening are known throughout the world. Unfortunately, as so often happens, the project was wound up almost immediately after I left the ministry, evidently considered a mild eccentricity not worth pursuing. It has always struck me as tragic that we in India, with our unique spiritual and intellectual background in this field, should still be lagging behind. Had the project continued over the last quarter of a century, we could well have produced the first Nobel laureates in the field of consciousness research.
Albert Einstein's famous remark that "science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind", makes a very important point. Before him, the Cartesian-Newtonian-Marxist paradigm of thought postulated an unbreachable dichotomy between matter and spirit. This concept dominated Western civilisation for several centuries and did produce spectacular results. However, with the Einsteinian revolution and Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, Quantum mechanics and extra-galactic cosmology, the situation has now changed considerably. Science itself is in one of its great creative periods where old barriers are breaking down and some of us perhaps a trifle optimistically are beginning to discern the outlines of a convergence between science and spirituality.
I use the term 'spirituality' advisedly, because 'religion' carries a lot of baggage, much of it positive but some of it negative also, despite the work being done by interfaith organisations around the world, including the temple of understanding of which I happen to be chairman, whereas spirituality transcends theological divisions, and cuts across barriers of race and creed, religion and nationality. The seers of all the great faiths of the world have, in their utterances, sought to describe what is essentially an indescribable experience, whether it is the Beatific Vision of the Christians, the Bodhichitta of the Buddhists, the Noor-e-llahi of the Muslims, the Ek Onkar of the Sikh gurus or the Self-realisation of the Hindus. Clearly, there are states of higher consciousness which transcend all barriers and which are the heritage of the entire human race. This flows from the persistent tradition of the light that illuminates the universe the light of consciousness itself, and it is ultimately an awareness of this light in all human beings that alone can become the cornerstone of a sane and harmonious global society.
What is needed today, as the watchword of the emerging global society, is a new global renaissance, an integration between apparently conflicting concepts. We need to develop a benign symbiosis between the various elements of our personality the inner and the outer, the quietist and the activist, the feminine and the masculine and in the broader dimension between science and spirituality. It is my sincere hope that this international symposium on science and beyond will help to trigger the process of creative symbiosis whereby alone can the human race survive its own technological ingenuity. It is in this hope that I have the greatest pleasure in inaugurating this symposium.
by Mark Otter to NDS News:
We Can Choose Life
by Jackie Alan Giuliano, Ph.D.
In the midst of a political climate in which the U.S. president and vice president are telling us that conservation doesn't matter and that war in space is our next big priority, it is easy to become disheartened, to feel that the helm of the most powerful ship in the world is running amok.
The reality is, though, that we all have the power to act, to change, to transform our relationships with the natural world and with ourselves. We don't need approval from anyone else to make that choice.
Seeing our Earth from space has inspired millions. But it has also made crystal clear that we use the planet of our birth like an infinite supermarket and at the same time as a sewer. We extract materials to use as resources, confine our neighbor species into pens and warehouses and use them either as slaves or as food, and use our chemical knowledge to create materials the byproducts of which poison us at the genetic level.
Yet we have the technological power to create sustainable practices today, if we want to. But that can't happen automatically. Greed churns parts of the earth into comforts for many, cash for few. It may feel like these pathways are set in stone, yet they are really all about choice. What do you choose?
Choices are happening all around us, yet we may not notice because of all the distractions that fill our lives. Joanna Macy, a great environmental scholar, psychologist, and Buddhist teacher, describes the time in which we live as The Great Turning. She says that this time has three great aspects.
1. Holding actions Actions taken by people all over the world that slow the damage to the Earth and its beings are the most visible dimension of The Great Turning. They include the political lobbying done by groups defending the earth, the boycotts of destructive products, and the writing done by individuals who are documenting the effects of the non-sustainable choices of our culture.
2. Analysis of causes and the creation of alternative institutions The second aspect to The Great Turning is a dimension of attempting to understand how the world works on a level that has previously been ignored. This involves understanding what forces are at work that create obscene wealth for a few while millions of children suffer and die. Communities are banding together around the world to challenge the notion that for some to be powerful, others must suffer. From the recognition that many aspects of our way of living are incompatible with life, new ways of being are springing up, as Macy says, "like green shoots pushing up through the rubble."
We are taught to be afraid and that the fear can be quenched with purchases and good solid jobs in industries that manufacture goods.
3. A fundamental shift in worldviews and values Macy reminds us that none of the harmful institutions and practices can exist on their own without being sustained by deeply ingrained values. These values, based on a profound separation from the natural world, insist that the earth is a source of resources to create perceived comforts for us, comforts that increase the separation. This self-sustaining process ensures that a system of classes will exist to fuel the fire of this view.
We are taught to be afraid and that the fear can be quenched with purchases and good solid jobs in industries that manufacture goods. This guarantees that a few will be super-rich while the rest of us work to make and then buy their goods.
But shifts are taking place that expose these values for what they are: destructive ethics designed to make a few very rich while the rest of us wander in search of home. People all over the world are merging ancestral teachings and scientific thought. You won't hear about these people on the evening network news, but they are out there, working to change the face of how we perceive our world. Those insights are necessary if we are to free ourselves from the grips of the Industrial Revolution that is choking our planet.
This third element of The Great Turning requires a solid rethinking of how we have been taught to define ourselves. We can learn to expand our definition of who we are to include our family, our friends, and the creatures and ecosystems around us. We don't have to be so lonely.
The greatest obstacle to creating the required shift in world values is the deep pain and resulting numbing that so many of us experience when we confront the consequences of our lifestyle choices. The sound of the earth crying is loud for those who choose to listen. We need support from like-minded souls to sustain ourselves.
Malidoma Patrice Somé, a West African medicine man with three masters degrees and two Ph.D.s, in his book Ritual: Power, Healing, and Community, gives us some clues to our confusion. He says, "Industrial cultures live with the essence of two extremely dangerous phenomena. One is the good side of production; the other is the danger of what happens to the tools for production when they are devoid of any spiritual strength."
Somé says, "The spirit liberates the person to work with the things of the soul. Because this reaching out to the spiritual is not happening, the Machine has overthrown the spirit and, as it sits in its place, is being worshiped as spiritual. This is simply an error of human judgment. Anyone who worships his own creation, something of his own making, is someone in a state of confusion."
Somé gives us a powerful clue about how our culture has shifted us away from core values based on life. He says, "Western Machine technology is the spirit of death made to look like life. It makes life seem easier, comfortable, cozy, but the price we pay includes the dehumanization of the self ... It has made the natural way of living look primitive, full of famine, disease, ignorance, and poverty so that we can appreciate our enslavement to the Machine and, further, make those who are not enslaved by it feel sorry for themselves."
How many times have you seen a story in the newspaper and felt sorry for all those people in "Third World" nations who live their lives without fancy clothes, washing machines, and vacuum cleaners? What if, instead, we chose to envy those that are closer to the natural world and living fully in its cycles?
It is true that many people in the lesser-developed worlds are suffering. But they are not suffering because they lack superstores and dishwashers. Their deaths are usually because of nutritional deficiencies and tainted water. Nearly five million children each year die from diarrhea caused by diseases transmitted in polluted drinking water.
This is not a necessary consequence of living in a country that is less technological than the United States. Their suffering can usually be directly tied to the choices being made by political leaders who choose weapons of war over clean water systems. The lives of all those children could be saved for about $700 million what the world spends on armaments in six hours!
So what will it be? Will you choose life? After the initial pain and shock of fully appreciating the consequences of your impact on the world, a great peace can set in.
Start out small: drive less, buy less, walk more, seek out connections to the rhythms of the world. Take a chance and attend a drum circle, shop at a health food store, cancel a credit card.
You don't have to wait for politics to catch up with you. That will be a long wait. Just look into the clear eyes of a child, and you will have all the motivation you need. Choose life.
Jackie Alan Giuliano, Ph.D., is a writer and teacher in Seattle. His new book, Healing Our World: A Journey from the Darkness into the Light, is due out this spring. Please send your thoughts, comments, and visions to him at <[email protected]> and visit his Web site at <http://www.healingourworld.com/>.
Jug of Sun
16 x 20 inches,
oil on canvas, 1997
by Mary Aries
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