Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Beautiful Numinosity

"You enter a profound state of non-manifestation, which is experienced like, say, an autumn night with a full moon. There is an eerie and beautiful numinosity to it all, but it’s a "silent” or “black” numinosity. You can’t really see anything except a kind of silvery full­ness, filling all space. But because you’re not actually seeing any particular object, it is also a type of Radical Emptiness. As Zen says, “stop the sound of that stream.” This is variously known as shunyata, as the Cloud of Unknowing, Divine Ignorance, Radical Mystery, nirguna (“unqualifiable”) Brahman, and so on. Brilliant, silvery radiance, with no objects detracting from it.

This has an overwhelming spiritual feel. It becomes perfectly obvious that you are abso­lutely one with this Fullness, which transcends all worlds and all planes and all time and all history. You are perfectly full, and therefore you are perfectly empty. “It is all things, and it is no things,” said the Christian mystic Benmen.

Awe gives way to certainty. Of course, that’s who you are, prior to all manifestation, prior to all worlds. It is called “seeing your Original Face,” the “face you had even before your parents were born.” In other words, it is seeing who or what you are eternally."

- Ken Wilber (1949 - )

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Stillness of Air

"The pursuit of science has often been compared to the scaling of mountains, high and not so high. But who amongst us can hope, even in imagination, to scale the Everest and reach its summit when the sky is blue and the air is still, and in the stillness of the air survey the entire Himalayan range in the dazzling white of the snow stretching to infinity? None of us can hope for a comparable vision of nature and of the universe around us. But there is nothing mean or lowly in standing in the valley below and awaiting the sun to rise over Kinchinjunga."

(1910 - 1995)

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Sense of Aesthetics

"Why is there so much beauty in nature?' We do not believe that beauty is only in the eye of the beholder. There are objective features underlying at least some experiences of beauty, such as the frequency ratios of the notes of a major chord, the symmetry of geometric forms, or the aesthetic appeal of juxtaposed complementary colors. None of these have survival value, but all are prevalent in nature in a measure hardly compatible with chance. We marvel at the songs of birds, the color scheme of flowers (do insects have a sense of aesthetics?), of birds' feathers, and at the incomparable beauty of a fallen maple leaf, its deep red coloring, its blue veins, and its golden edges. Are these qualities useful for survival when the leaf is about to decay?"

- Henry Margenau (1901 - 1997)

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Deep and Boundless

"You have only to rest in inaction and things will transform themselves. Smash your form and body, spit out hearing and eyesight, forget you are a thing among other things, and you may join in great unity with the deep and boundless."

(4th Century B.C.)

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Geological Time

"The formation in geological time of the human body by the laws of physics (or any other laws of similar nature), starting from a random distribution of elementary particles and the field is as unlikely as the separation of the atmosphere into its components. The complexity of the living things has to be present within the material [from which they are derived] or in the laws [governing their formation]."

- Kurt Godel (1906 - 1978)

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Profound Repose

“I have visited, a great many years ago, the Sandwich Islands-that peaceful land, that beautiful land, that far-off home of profound repose, and soft indolence, and dreamy solitude, where life is one long slumbrous Sabbath, the climate one long delicious summer day, and the good that die experience no change, for they but fall asleep in one heaven and wake up in another."

- Mark Twain (1835 - 1910)

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Hanalei Bay

"Fall after fall of shining water hastens down green, abrupt slopes and across brief shore lands to the sea held within the broad curving arms of Hanalei bay. To the south of this green valley of Waioli stand its three peaks. Namolokama at the center, flanked on the west by Mamalahoa, on the east by Hihimanu. eastward still further, wandering in the wide bends of the sea, lies the more open valley of Hanalei, largest river of all the islands and drawing its source direct from Waialeale's summit lake."

- Ethel Damon (1883–1965)

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Kauaian Verdure

"Here nature has wrought with bold hands and on a large scale, gouging profound valleys out of massive mountains, scoring them deep with gorges and buttressing them thick with ridges, and then throwing them over them a veil of tropic verdure that half reveals and half conceals and wonderfully softens, the bold hard features of the geologic. Nature has contributed the magnificent semi-circular bay with its fine beach and swimming, a succession of splendid cliffs and broad fertile valley, bounded by mountain walls down whose sides leap numberless thread-like waterfalls which now and again lose themselves in the foliage."

- J. M. Lydgate (1854 - 1922)
The Wreck of the Saginaw: Notes of Halford Interview
Memories ... regarding the wreck of the ship
“Saginaw” off the coast of Hanalei (Kauai, Hawaii)

Monday, May 16, 2016

Doing Things from Your Soul

"When you do things from your soul,
you feel a river moving in you, a joy."

- Rumi
(1207 - 1273)

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Trees are Poems

"Trees are poems
that the earth writes
upon the sky."

- Kahlil Gibran (1883 - 1931)
Sand and Foam

Postscript: watch one humble human planting his poems here.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Direct Experience

"Seeing is perception 
with the original, 
unconditioned eye. 
It is a state of consciousness 
in which separation of 
audience/image dissolves; 
in which a reality beyond words 
and concepts opens up, 
whose "point" or "meaning" is 
the direct experience itself."

(1931 - 2009)

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Parts of the Universe

"A poet once said, 'The whole universe is in a glass of wine.' We will probably never know in what sense he meant it, for poets do not write to be understood. But it is true that if we look at a glass of wine closely enough we see the entire universe. There are the things of physics: the twisting liquid which evaporates depending on the wind and weather, the reflection in the glass; and our imagination adds atoms. The glass is a distillation of the earth's rocks, and in its composition we see the secrets of the universe's age, and the evolution of stars. What strange array of chemicals are in the wine? How did they come to be? There are the ferments, the enzymes, the substrates, and the products. There in wine is found the great generalization; all life is fermentation. Nobody can discover the chemistry of wine without discovering, as did Louis Pasteur, the cause of much disease. How vivid is the claret, pressing its existence into the consciousness that watches it! If our small minds, for some convenience, divide this glass of wine, this universe, into parts -- physics, biology, geology, astronomy, psychology, and so on -- remember that nature does not know it! So let us put it all back together, not forgetting ultimately what it is for. Let it give us one more final pleasure; drink it and forget it all!"

(1918 - 1988)

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Wandering through Outer Worlds

"The time that my journey takes is long and the way of it long. 

I came out on the chariot of the first gleam of light, and pursued my voyage through the wildernesses of worlds leaving my track on many a star and planet. 

It is the most distant course that comes nearest to thyself, and that training is the most intricate which leads to the utter simplicity of a tune. 

The traveller has to knock at every alien door to come to his own, and one has to wander through all the outer worlds to reach the innermost shrine at the end. 

My eyes strayed far and wide before I shut them and said `Here art thou!'

The question and the cry `Oh, where?' melt into tears of a thousand streams and deluge the world with the flood of the assurance `I am!'"

- Rabindranath Tagore (1861 - 1941)

Monday, May 09, 2016

A Parable, whose Subject is Time

"'In a riddle whose answer is chess, what is the only word that must not be used?' I thought for a moment. 'The word chess,' I replied. 'Exactly,' Albert said. 'The Garden of Forking Paths' is a huge riddle, or parable, whose subject is time; that secret purpose forbids Ts'ui Pen the merest mention of its name. To always omit one word, to employ awkward metaphors and obvious circumlocutions, is perhaps the most emphatic way of calling attention to that word. It is. at any rate, the tortuous path chosen by the solutions—all devious Ts'ui Pen at each and every one of the turnings of his inexhaustible novel. I have compared hundreds of manuscripts, I have corrected the errors introduced through the negligence of copyists, I have reached a hypothesis for the plan of that chaos, I have reestablished, or believe I've reestablished, its fundamental order—I have translated the entire work; and I know that not once does the word 'time' appear. The explanation is obvious: 'The Garden of Forking Paths' is an incomplete, but not false, image of the universe as conceived by Ts'ui Pen. Unlike Newton and Schopenhauer, your ancestor did not believe in a uniform and absolute time; he believed in an infinite series of times, a growing, dizzying web of divergent, convergent, and parallel times. That fabric of times that approach one another, fork, are snipped off, or are simply unknown for centuries, contains all possibilities. In most of those times, we do not exist; in some, you exist but I do not; in others, I do and you do not; in others still, we both do. In this one, which the favouring hand of chance has dealt me, you have come to my home; in another, when you come through my garden you find me dead; in another, I say these same words, but I am an error, a ghost."

- Jorge Luis Borges (1899 - 1986)
"The Garden of Forking Paths" in Ficciones 

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Force of Creation

"The basic recurring theme in Hindu mythology is the creation of the world by the self-sacrifice of God—"sacrifice" in the original sense of "making sacred"—whereby God becomes the world which, in the end, becomes again God. This creative activity of the Divine is called lila, the play of God, and the world is seen as the stage of the divine play. Like most of Hindu mythology, the myth of lila has a strong magical flavour. Brahman is the great magician who transforms himself into the world and then performs this feat with his "magic creative power", which is the original meaning of maya in the Rig Veda. The word maya—one of the most important terms in Indian philosophy—has changed its meaning over the centuries. From the might, or power, of the divine actor and magician, it came to signify the psychological state of anybody under the spell of the magic play. As long as we confuse the myriad forms of the divine lila with reality, without perceiving the unity of Brahman underlying all these forms, we are under the spell of maya. (...) In the Hindu view of nature, then, all forms are relative, fluid and ever-changing maya, conjured up by the great magician of the divine play. The world of maya changes continuously, because the divine lila is a rhythmic, dynamic play. The dynamic force of the play is karma, important concept of Indian thought. Karma means "action". It is the active principle of the play, the total universe in action, where everything is dynamically connected with everything else. In the words of the Gita Karma is the force of creation, wherefrom all things have their life."

- Fritjof Capra (1939 - )

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Phenomenology of Enjoyment

"The phenomenology of enjoyment has eight major components. First, the experience usually occurs when we confront tasks we have a chance of completing. Second, we must be able to concentrate on what we are doing. Third and fourth, the concentration is usually possible because the task undertaken has clear goals and provides immediate feedback. Fifth, one acts with a deep but effortless involvement that removes from awareness the worries and frustrations of everyday life. Sixth, enjoyable experiences allow people to exercise a sense of control over their actions. Seventh, concern for the self disappears, yet paradoxically the sense of self emerges stronger after the flow experience is over. Finally, the sense of the duration of time is altered; hours pass by in minutes, and minutes can stretch out to seem like hours. The combination of all these elements causes a sense of deep enjoyment that is so rewarding people feel that expending a great deal of energy is worthwhile simply to be able to feel it.

Friday, May 06, 2016

Island of Knowledge

"We live on an island
surrounded by a sea of ignorance.
As our island of knowledge grows,
so does the shore of our ignorance."

(1911 - 2008)

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Ego and Truth

"... we have not perceived the whole truth unless we have also perceived that the truth must operate.  If we think it is the "Ego" or the "I" that operates, we are confused.  (For example, that we follow truth because we are "honest," so that the Ego makes a "choice" ---as if the Ego could with meaning and sense choose to be "dishonest" and thus follow a falsehood.)  In reality, it is the truth that operates, outside of the preferences of the Ego.  And indeed, the truth can even operate on the Ego, by perceiving and understanding its motivations deeply.  So what happens is that the basic principle of the individual ceases to be the Ego and is truth instead.

Now, at present, this happens in a restricted domain, such as science or art.  But to see the basic principle of truth itself, it would be necessary for the individual to allow truth to operate unhindered in every field.  A basic part of the whole truth is to perceive the falsity of every operative idea that is really false.  This is extraordinarily difficult, as our motivations are confused and twisted in a very complicated way.  Many of our false ideas operate subliminally, or even subconsciously.  The problem is far more difficult to understand, than for example the theory of relativity, so that it requires a sustained and serious effort. "

(1917 - 1992)

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Independent Existence

"The misconception which has haunted philosophic literature throughout the centuries is the notion of 'independent existence.' There is no such mode of existence; every entity is to be understood in terms of the way it is interwoven with the rest of the universe.

...Connectedness is of the essence of all things of all types. It is of the essence of types, that they be connected. Abstraction from connectedness involves the omission of an essential factor in the fact considered. No fact is merely itself. 

...'Change’ is the description of the adventures of eternal objects in the evolving universe of actual things."

(1861 - 1947)

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Making Fun of Gravity

"...we live in a beautiful and orderly world, not in a chaos without norms, even though that is how it sometimes appears. My subjects are also often playful: I cannot refrain from demonstrating the nonsensicalness of some of what we take to be irrefutable certainties. It is, for example, a pleasure to deliberately mix together objects of two and three dimensions, surface and spatial relationships, and to make fun of gravity."
- M. C. Escher (1898 - 1972)