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Jerry Katz
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#2661 - Monday, December 4, 2006 - Editor: Gloria Lee

The Nondual Highlights  

"The earth has enough for the needs of all, but not the greed of a few."                                

- Mahatma Gandhi  

  “To protect what is wild is to protect what is gentle. Perhaps the wilderness we fear is the pause within our own heartbeats, the silent space that says we live only by grace. Wilderness lives by this same grace.”

-Terry Tempest Williams    

[See the photography exhibit which for political reasons was removed from the Smithsonian.]    

orld Without Borders features the work of artist and environmentalist Subhankar Banerjee. Through his art, exhibits, books, public lectures, and interviews, he hopes to increase public awareness about issues that threaten the health and well-being of our planet. The interdependent relationship of land, water, wildlife, and humanity ensures the survival of all living things: When one is threatened, all are threatened. The mission of World Without Borders is to work with organizations and policy makers to protect the web of life that sustains our planet.

  click below

“This wild, free valley and the barren ground beyond is but a fragment of one of the last pristine regions left on earth, entirely unscarred by roads or signs, indifferent to mankind, utterly silent.” -Peter Matthiessen  

  Awareness cannot be practiced. There has been some confusion between awareness and mindfulness. They are related, but distinct. Sati, or mindfulness, implies there is action of the mind. We purposely set ourselves to pay attention to our minds. We exert effort. Awareness is different. Awareness is devoid of any action. The mind simply "awares." There is no action here, only a collected and spontaneous awareness that just "sees." Here, mindfulness is the cause, and awareness is the effect. You cannot practice or train the effect. You can only practice something that will cause it. We have to start with mindfulness so that awareness may arise in us.

-Thynn Thynn, in Living Meditation, Living Insight

A fish swims in the ocean, and no matter how far it swims there is no end to the water. A bird flies in the sky, and no matter how far it flies there is no end to the air. However, the fish and the bird have never left their elements. When their activity is large their field is large. When their need is small their field is small. Thus, each of them totally covers its full range, and each of them totally experiences its realm. Practice, enlightenment, and people are like this.

-Zen Master Dogen, Moon in a Dewdrop, edited by Kazuaki Tanahashi

  It delights me to know I share a birthday with one of my favorite poets, Rilke. So I'd like to include The Writer's Almanac notes from December 4, for his remarks on the terror of beauty. And then to close, a quote on the fear of the inexplicable .  -Gloria

It's the birthday of poet Rainer Maria Rilke, (books by this author) born in Prague (1875). He spent most of his life traveling, never settling anywhere for more than a few months. And since he only wrote in spurts, he supported himself by getting rich noblewomen to fall in love with him and support his work. He apparently wasn't the best-looking guy in the world, but women found irresistible because he was so romantic and poetic.

Rilke's most important patron was a woman who wouldn't be seduced, the Princess Marie von Thurn und Taxis. She offered Rilke her Castle Duino near Trieste as a place to live for a while. It was a medieval castle with fortified walls and an ancient square tower. Rilke's room had a view of the gulf of Trieste, which he loved. In a letter from his room he wrote, "I am looking out into the empty sea-space, directly into the universe, you might say." He lived there for a while with the princess and her entourage, but then she left him there alone, with just a few servants, to concentrate on his work.

It was that winter of 1912, alone in the castle, that Rilke later said he heard the voice of an angel speaking to him about the meaning of life and death, and he started a poem that began with the lines, "And if I cried, who'd listen to me in those angelic / orders? Even if one of them suddenly held me / to his heart, I'd vanish in his overwhelming / presence. Because beauty's nothing but the start of terror we can hardly bear, / and we adore it because of the serene scorn / it could kill us with. Every angel's terrifying." The result was a cycle of 10 long poems that he called The Duino Elegies.

Fear of the Inexplicable

But fear of the inexplicable has not alone impoverished
the existence of the individual; the relationship between
one human being and another has also been cramped by it,
as though it had been lifted out of the riverbed of
endless possibilities and set down in a fallow spot on the
bank, to which nothing happens. For it is not inertia alone
that is responsible for human relationships repeating
themselves from case to case, indescribably monotonous and
unrenewed: it is shyness before any sort of new,unforeseeable
experience with which one does not think oneself able to cope.

But only someone who is ready for everything, who excludes
nothing, not even the most enigmatical, will live the relation
to another as something alive and will himself draw exhaustively
from his own existence. For if we think of this existence of
the individual as a larger or smaller room, it appears evident
that most people learn to know only a corner of their room, a
place by the window, a strip of floor on which they walk up and
down. Thus they have a certain security. And yet that dangerous
insecurity is so much more human which drives the prisoners in
Poe's stories to feel out the shapes of their horrible dungeons
and not be strangers to the unspeakable terror of their abode.

We, however, are not prisoners. No traps or snares are set about
us, and there is nothing which should intimidate or worry us.
We are set down in life as in the element to which we best
correspond, and over and above this we have through thousands of
years of accommodation become so like this life, that when we
hold still we are, through a happy mimicry, scarcely to be
distinguished from all that surrounds us. We have no reason to
mistrust our world, for it is not against us. Has it terrors,
they are our terrors; has it abysses, those abuses belong to us;
are dangers at hand, we must try to love them. And if only we
arrange our life according to that principle which counsels us
that we must always hold to the difficult, then that which now
still seems to us the most alien will become what we most trust
and find most faithful. How should we be able to forget those
ancient myths about dragons that at the last moment turn into
princesses; perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses
who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. Perhaps
everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless
that wants help from us.

Rainer Maria Rilke

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