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#2503 - Tuesday, June 20, 2006 - Editor: Jerry Katz


    Christiana contributes...  

"Enlightenment"  

by Joe Zarantarella

Most people see enlightenment
as a noun, as a thing, as
a steady state, as something
to be reached or achieved-
and always, always somewhere
in the distant future.
I see enlightenment as a verb,
as a process of ripening,
ripening until one day
the fruit just falls from the tree.

No amount of effort on the
apple tree's part can speed
the ripening of the apples.
It takes the right conditions
though- sun and rain- and
the great thing is, unlike apples,
the right conditions are
always already present
to ripen your soul.

Simple being present
to whatever is unfolding-
to just this,
right now, just this-
opens your soul to the
ultimate sun and rain.
And one day your soul
becomes so ripe; that it
just lets go of its limb-
and falls gently
ever so gently, back
to the warm ground of Being.    


   

Christiana contributes again...

 

The Summer Solstice

 

Introduction   

 

 

v      This is the week toward which the year has been straining.  The fullness of light transforms awareness.  Each day prolongs itself.  Time is reinvented.  Approaching next week’s summer solstice, Earth seems to slow in its turning.  All of nature tugs at human consciousness to say:  Notice this.

 

v      And so you do.  This morning you put the newspaper down and let your eyes go to the window.   A red-breasted bird perches on the ledge, watching.  The wall of ivy shimmers with pale ripeness.  Sunshine slants into the yard.  Leaves glisten.  For a moment you attend to the way the world welcomes the longest days of the year.  Your part is to take it in. 

 

v      But the newspaper makes demands of its own.  How to square time’s invitation to contemplation with the conscription of public sorrow?  You lift the paper and resume reading accounts of the latest catastrophe in Iraq.  Mass beheadings.  The routinization of decapitation marks yet another threshold into horror.  Such dismemberments complete the defilement of nature's masterpiece, the human body.  Who can do such things?  And what are the joys of summer solstice to that?  Drawing your gaze through the window again, the blue sky comes into view – the heavenly field of cosmic play within which seasons have their meaning.  Perceptions of the spheres and their swirling elude you.  Instead, memory and anticipation take over, free associations of the endless evenings of this special week:  friends stopping by, relaxing on the porch, you and your sisters and brothers dashing after the ice cream man, the hum of baseball games from windows down the street, every neighborhood you have ever lived in settling into the contentment for which these long days were made.  The past and the future kiss. 

 

v      But what are the pleasant memories of these past days to the grip of hunger?  The newspaper reasserts itself, a catalogue of distress: illness of birds, US agents in league with warlords, the Pentagon deleting protections of Geneva, American city boys shooting one another, further horrors of the Holy Land, nuclear dread, and always Darfur, the world-historic and world-permitted crime.  Anguish defines the age. 

 

v      Humans must always balance the tension between grave public demands and intensely personal preoccupations. But the golden twilights of June want attention paid. You remind yourself that this week’s display is of ingenious movements of the planet that you otherwise take for granted.  The resulting length of days points to earth’s trustworthiness, for the movement away carries the promise of return.  When has the dance of earth and sun ever broken that commitments? These moments are sacraments of life’s goodness.  Haste, duty and the hassles of work have no admittance here.  Ironically, this is how you deepen your feeling of responsibility for the world: to be at peace is the way to prepare to work for peace. There is no coping with the heartbreak of the human condition without a nurtured sense of the heart when it is full.  It is the business of the summer solstice, to nurture that plenitude. That is why, on each day of its approach, you will note the timelessness of evening.  In the morning, you will let your eyes drift from the wartime news to the red-breasted bird on the window ledge, to join in its watching.

 

Adapted from Jim Carroll, The Boston Globe  June 12, 2006

 

 


Bob sent the following to Nonduality Salon:

Frederick Franck, a true Renaissance man - artist, sculptor, writer,
and visionary - died peacefully at home on June 5, 2006.

photo: Frederick Franck

 

He had recently celebrated his 97th birthday. His wife of nearly 50 years,
Claske, and his son, Lukas, were with him. He was buried the next day
at Pacem in Terris, the transreligious sanctuary he and Claske
created around their farmhouse in Warwick, New York, with an old mill
and gardens filled with Franck's sculptures and paintings.

Franck's life covered most of the twentieth century, and he was
fortunate enough to meet and even work with some of its spiritual
giants. Yet he had no religious affiliation nor did he belong to any
one community.

In the late 1960s, Franck and his wife Claske moved to Warwick, New
York, to concentrate on his drawing, painting, sculpture, and
writing. There they converted the ruins of an eighteenth century
watermill into an "oasis of peace and sanity" called Pacem in Terris
(Peace on Earth). This transreligious sanctuary, with its gardens and
sculptures by Franck, is dedicated to Pope John XXIII, Albert
Schweitzer, and the Japanese Buddhist sage Daisetz T. Suzuki.
Catholic, Protestant, Unitarian, Jewish, and Buddhist groups have
used this non-sectarian and sacred space for services, spiritual
drama, and musical performances.

Franck wrote more than 30 books and was still writing and creating
art at 97. His classic 'The Zen of Seeing' is going strong with over
300,000 copies in print.

Read For:
. Insights into what it really means to open your eyes and see the
abundant wonders and miracles in front of you.

. An appreciation of the sacred core of all human beings.

. A prophetic critique of the forces that compel human beings to
kill, to desecrate the natural world, and to violate the souls of
others.

. A robust and rounded vision of what it means to be human against
all odds.

~ ~ ~

Read more at

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/18/nyregion/18franck.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

photo: Mr. Franck's work, "Pieta."

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