What is the state of the mind that says, "I do not know whether there is God, whether there is love," that is, when there is no response of memory? Please don't immediately answer the question to yourselves because if you do, your answer will be merely the recognition of what you think it should or should not be. If you say, "It is a state of negation," you are comparing it with something that you already know; therefore, that state in which you say, "I do not know" is nonexistent.... So the mind that is capable of saying, "I do not know," is in the only state in which anything can be discovered. But the man who says, "I know," the man who has studied infinitely the varieties of human experience and whose mind is burdened with information, with encyclopedic knowledge, can he ever experience something which is not to be accumulated? He will find it extremely hard. When the mind totally puts aside all the knowledge that it has acquired, when for it there are no Buddhas, no Christs, no Masters, no teachers, no religions, no quotations; when the mind is completely alone, uncontaminated, which means that the movement of the known has come to an end - it is only then that there is a possibility of a tremendous revolution, a fundamental change. The religious man is he who does not belong to any religion, to any nation, to any race, who is inwardly completely alone, in a state of not-knowing, and for him the blessing of the sacred comes into being.
J. Krishnamurti, The Book of Life
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Thursday, December 07, 2006
"Courage, it would seem, is nothing less than the power to overcome danger, misfortune, fear, injustice, while continuing to affirm inwardly that life with all its sorrows is good; that everything is meaningful even if in a sense beyond our understanding; and that there is always tomorrow." Dorothy Thompson (1893-1961)It is not who we have become that matters but rather what we do with that person. Can you remember a time in your life when obstacles did not exist? I cannot. In every phase of life, something had to be overcome. A thing had to "die" in order for another thing to be born. Someone had to cry in order for someone else to smile. (Think of a woman's labor pains and of her baby's trauma at birth.)
You smiled again.
I did not.
Without warning you left me,
But you returned immediately.
From Mother: A Cradle to Hold Me, by Maya Angelou
Yes, yes, and in the midst of it all we find laughter. It is not people and events that make us laugh but something inside of us that recognizes humor, something that causes our "funny bone" to feel the tickle of an unseen hand.
"We all know we're going to die; what's important is the kind of men and women we are in the face of this." Anne Lamott (b.1954)Anne also says that clarity of vision can make up for a lack of articulateness in writing. I wonder about that. Anne is so articulate and clear in what she writes. But, like any human being, she can only be viewed through a broad, all-encompassing lens. I am attracted to her writing because it is damn funny. She makes me laugh in the sense that she tickles my funny bone and also inspires me to make light of my own traumas, the imagined and the real ones.
We might not be able to control things (nor should we really want to either), but we can steer them in particular directions. Just as wind pushes a sailboat along, just as wind drives rainfall, and just as someone breaking wind causes a change of atmosphere in the room, we (the collective) can say and do things that affect change. What power! What might. Oh, it's a mighty wind indeed.
Powers of observation are most acute in the presence of impossible cuteness. What?, you might ask. It's true. And being content within the boundaries of one's own soul is, I believe, the ultimate challenge in life. (What?)
Well, you might as well enjoy
yourself while you're there.
(While you're where?)
There, inside of yourself.
Don't piss in the water.
Go to the outhouse,
then return to
the house of the holy.
Keep it pure, baby.
What in the hell do you do with impossible cuteness but admire it from afar? You can't embrace it, you can never kiss it enough, and it leaves you longing for more. Of what, though? The impossible? No, of course not. We must embrace the possible at all times. What is possible is to remain faithful even when love is faithless.
The highest kind of love never fades, but we sometimes must transcend the impossible to get to the possible, which is to experience the higher love. If one is happy and another is sad, a kind of balance has been achieved.
Life's vicissitudes do not have to disturb or disappoint us. The human heart is a physical place, a thing of the material world. We all must die one day, but to live today as if we might not wake up in the morning just might be a way to bring us closer to our potential, for that is really what it is all about.
Success comes from reaching (or at least striving to reach) your potential.
Sunday, December 03, 2006
In my previous posting, about poetry, Walt helped me say what I was trying to express in the poems he had commented on. Those poems grew out of something I was experiencing at the time, a thing I couldn't express outright, in plain speech.
Words can be as dangerous as physical weapons, with the power to wound the soul every bit as deeply as a bullet can wound the body.
Trauma comes in various forms, yet the damaging results are similar. Sometimes we create traumatic situations for ourselves without even realizing that is what we are doing, as we are doing it.
Laying our thoughts bare makes us vulnerable, sometimes to abuse. When a person recognizes that he has been abused, he is faced with how to respond. One way is to abuse back, and that method seems to be at the heart of war, if war can be said to have a heart.
Boundaries crossed can result in various kinds of punishment. I regret crossing boundaries that have brought pain into my life. I want to say needless pain, but perhaps experiencing that pain is the lesson I needed to learn to recognize that it happened because I trespassed, ran recklessly through boundaries that should have been warning signs of the danger that exists on the other side.
Unfixable problems cannot be treated with a "quick fix." It's the old existential angst, you know. We attempt to cover up our anxieties and fears in various ways, through self-medication or simply by hiding behind them, refusing to admit we are experiencing them.
Hearts are fragile, and souls (including our own) can become badly damaged if we are not careful with them. Causing harm to a soul brings bad karma back to the soul who initiated the harm.