Monthly Archives: October 2009

Heart (repost from 2005)


Noel Hart, Crimson Rosella


David Watts, Crimson Rosella


Crimson Bouquet

Imagine your heart as an opening lotus.
From its center comes a crimson child,
Pure, virginal, and innocent.

One meditation gives this instruction :

Imagine your heart opening into a red lotus.
From its center comes a crimson child.
Bring this child out of your body and imagine him or her floating above
your head. You, as a child, are holding a sun in each hand while each foot stands
on a moon.
Hold this image as long as you can.

It is hard to bring out this child. When you try, you realize how many defenses you have built around yourself. You also realize how the experiences of adolescence and adulthood have stained you. Sometimes, you may even doubt that you have a pure and innocent self to bring out anymore. But each of us does. Each of us must find that crimson child within us and bring him or her out. For this child represents the time when our energies were whole and our hearts were untroubled by the duplicity of the world and ourselves.

Deng Ming Tao, 365 Tao

Norah Jones
Seven Years

Spinning, laughing, dancing to
her favorite song
A little girl with nothing wrong
Is all alone

Eyes wide open
Always hoping for the sun
And she’ll sing her song to anyone
that comes along

Fragile as a leaf in autumn
Just fallin’ to the ground
Without a sound

Crooked little smile on her face
Tells a tale of grace
That’s all her own

Spinning, laughing, dancing to her favorite song
A little girl with nothing wrong
And she’s all alone

My child sees the sky
by Ganesh Visputay

My child sees the sky
She sees trees, vines, flowers and blossoms,
The arabesques adorned by leaves and flowers
Of various trees,
Stars shining through those designs,
She gazes steadfast
Cuddled in the cradle of my arms
And she smiles
After a while
I see that she sees all this

I too begin to see
Trees, vines, sprays of flowers

Where had the sky hidden all these years?

Why is it we hide our hearts from others? What is it we are afraid they will see? How much we love them? Alas, I’ve lost friends for that great crime. Or, perhaps, people would see how much we care only for ourselves, and not for them. I suppose people think that of me as well, even though it isn’t true. If only we were as unafraid to show our beautiful colors as a gorgeous crimson rosella.

Perhaps our hearts our not really hidden at all, at least, from the child in each of us. I tend to look at others with a child’s eye, and see them for who they truly are. And sometimes, this seems to be what other people fear most of all — that I will know them, know their secrets, know all the things they have hidden away and covered up in order to be accepted in the world, all the things they truly feel but are afraid to express. And, that I will still love them — anyway. or perhaps even because of those things. Why are we afraid to be who we are?

BibliOdyssey: Handshakes in Thought

Great piece on Van Gogh’s letters at BiblioOdyssey — and more at linesandcolors

“The feeling for and love of nature always strike a chord sooner or later with people who take an interest in art. The duty of the painter is to study nature in depth and to use all his intelligence, to put his feelings into his work so that it becomes comprehensible to others.

But working with an eye to saleability isn’t exactly the right way in my view, but rather is cheating art lovers. The true artists didn’t do that; the sympathy they received sooner or later came because of their sincerity. I know no more than that, and don’t believe I need to know any more.”
{Vincent Van Gogh b. 1853 d. 29 July 1890}

“And we sometimes lack the desire to throw ourselves head first into art again and to build ourselves up for that. We know we’re cab-horses and that it’ll be the same cab we’re going to be harnessed to again. And so we don’t feel like doing it and we’d prefer to live in a meadow with a sun, a river, the company of other horses who are also free, and the act of generation. And perhaps in the final account your heart condition comes partly from there; it wouldn’t greatly surprise me. We no longer rebel against things, we’re not resigned either — we’re ill and it’s not going to get any better — and we can’t do anything specific about it. I don’t know who called this condition being struck by death and immortality.

The cab we drag along must be of use to people we don’t know. But you see, if we believe in the new art, in the artists of the future, our presentiment doesn’t deceive us. When good père Corot said a few days before he died: ‘last night I saw in my dreams landscapes with entirely pink skies’, well, didn’t they come, those pink skies, and yellow and green into the bargain, in Impressionist landscapes? All this is to say there are things one senses in the future and that really come about.”

BibliOdyssey: Handshakes in Thought.

Solitude (repost and updated from 2005)

There are no ancients before me,
No followers behind:
Only the vastness of heaven and earth
On this mountain terrace.
Though heaven may know the ultimate,
Joy or sorrow is our own will.

We stand alone in this life. No one lives our life for us. Neither drug nor sorcery can remove us, even for a moment, from our own life. We can deny it, but it is useless : We are here alone, to engage every precious moment according to our wills.

The precedents of the ancients may be helpful, but in the end they are only references. The thought of those who will follow after us is likewise merely a consideration. What matters is being, pure being. Accept who you are. Be who you are.

If there are gods in the heavens, maybe they know the future. As a human being, I can only say that the future is yet to be made. Let us go forth and make it, but let us make it as beautifully as we can. The degree of elegance is determined by our will and the perfection of our own personalities. Therefore, do not sigh over misfortune or adversity. Whether you are happy or sad is entirely up to you.

Deng Ming Tao, 365 Tao

The Tao cannot be sought from others; it is attained in oneself. If you abandon yourself to seek from others, you are far from the Tao.
— Huainan-tzi

The experience of solitude, of the trembling beauty of a swaying pine or twinkling star, or a bird call, is our self reflecting the infinite Tao and becoming, in that moment, conscious of being part of it and not apart from it. — Hermitary and Meng-Hu

It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after one’s own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

We must reserve a back shop all our own, entirely free, in which to establish our real liberty and our principal retreat and solitude. –Michel de Montaigne

I am tired of frivolous society, in which silence is forever the most natural and the best manners. I would fain walk on the deep waters, but my companions will only walk on shallows and puddles. — Henry David Thoreau, Journal

Solitude and nature are absolutely necessary for the proper development of a human being. It is an admixture of natural life, lived in solitude, amid beautiful surroundings of nature and what we call an arboreal life, which is absolutely necessary for the poise and harmony of the human mind. –Gopi Krishna

Never less idle than when wholly idle, nor less alone than when wholly alone.
–Cicero, De officius

I need time and space, and solitude, but it keeps being denied to me. Retreating into inner stillness is the only answer today.

Surf Dog Ricochet Raises Over $8200 for Quadriplegic Surfer

Go Ricochet!!

San Diego, Calif. — Ricochet, the “Surfin’ for Paws-abilities” surf dog, exceeded her fund raising goals, and won 2nd place in the large dog category at the Surf City Surf Dog event on October 11th in Huntington Beach.

Ricochet has been leading a fund raising campaign for Patrick Ivison, a 15-year-old quadriplegic adaptive surfer for the last several months. As part of these efforts, she and Patrick performed a tandem surf demonstration at the Surf City Surf Dog event last Sunday with the goal of raising funds, as hundreds of onlookers enjoyed the tandem pair.

Ricochet’s fund raising goals were twofold: Raise enough money to cover the $2000 cost of Patrick’s new service dog, Kona from Pawsitive Teams, a local service dog organization. And, raise at least $5000 for Patrick’s intense physical therapy at Project Walk.

The WebMD Health Foundation, who is thrilled to help Patrick reach his goals, made a kick off donation of $3600, which helped Ricochet raise a total of $8200. Donations are still being accepted — to donate, click here.

Despite injuring her paw two days before the event, Ricochet was determined to do her job for Patrick, and competed in the large dog category of the surf dog competition, where she placed first. Ricochet then went on to the finals where she won 2nd place in the large dog category, and Patrick happily accepted her prize. But, Ricochet says “The best prize was raising more than $8200 for Patrick, and doing our tandem rides, which put a huge smile on Patrick’s face!”

Patrick suffered a C4/5 spinal cord injury as a result of an un-insured driver backing a car over him when he was a child. Patrick was diagnosed quadriplegic, and has used a wheelchair ever since, but uses an adaptive board to surf.

Ricochet was slated to be a service dog for people with disabilities, but had to be released from that role due to her strong drive to chase birds and other small animals, which could be dangerous to a person with a disability. She went from service dog to SURFice dog, and is now fundraising for charitable causes.

via CityDog Blog: Surf Dog Ricochet Raises Over $8200 for Quadriplegic Surfer.

Pratibha

Pratibha It means vision, insight, intuition, inner understanding, unconditioned knowledge, inner wisdom, awareness, awakening. In Zen they use the word satori. It should not be confused with enlightenment or realisation. Patanjali in his wonderful theoretical textbook of varied yoga practices known as the Yoga Aphorisms or Sutras, sees pratibha as the spiritual illumination which is attained through yoga discipline to enable the disciple to know all else.

It is then the insight or illumination which is the open gateway to the final goal. It is the inner transformation which enables the aspirant to distinguish Reality from the sham. In some way it can be visualised as a bridge between the mind and the Real Self. It produces changed people and clarity of thinking as well as being an infallible guide in all undertakings. Some few people are born with it, but seldom to more than a small degree.

Even this can eventually be obscured by social life and its conditioning. It cannot thrive in a world where we permit others to do our thinking for us. The more it is used, the more it increases in intensity. Pratibha is not related to careful thought or deliberation. It is instant in operation and spontaneous in manifestation. For the average Zen student this was regarded as a sufficient attainment. Only those who seek Buddhahood and Enlightenment go further. But this is also a stage which, if once reached, requires no further guidance from a guru or master. Sometimes it is even spoken of as pratibha-shakti — the power of illumination. It is most easily developed by meditation or contemplation, and is independent of all religious patterns.

via Dattatreya.

Review of The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo

The Magician’s Elephant
by Kate DiCamillo
Hardcover.
First published in the USA by Candlewick Press

•  Publication Date: September 2009
•  208 pages
•  ISBN-10: 0763644102
•  ISBN-13: 9780763644109

Categories:
•   Recommended Recent Hardcovers
•   Children’s Books Ages 9+
•   Magical or Supernatural Elements Members Only

In The Magician’s Elephant, Peter Augustus Duchene is a boy alone. He lives with Vilna Lutz, a soldier friend of his father’s, but his family is gone. His father is dead. His mother is dead. His sister, Adele, is – dead? That’s what Vilna Lutz has told him. But Peter visits a fortuneteller who leads him to question the truths he’s accepted. And she tells him that an elephant will guide him toward his true destiny.

An elephant? Impossible.

Or maybe not.

What if this is true? Could it possibly be true? These questions percolate in Peter’s head and heart. By opening his whole self to these possibilities, a space is created – inside and outside – for the answers to come. He hears about an elephant who has been conjured out of thin air by a magician, and he begins to believe. Then he finds out that the elephant is being held right in his town. Finally Peter’s wondering and believing becomes action. He helps the elephant find her home and in the process he moves closer to his own home.

Kate DiCamillo creates an ensemble cast, with Peter and the elephant at the center. Everyone – from the local beggar, to the man who cleans up after the elephant, to the policeman who lives below Peter, to the nun who runs the orphanage – suffers in the same way. They are all not quite where they belong, not quite living whole, fulfilling lives.

For change to come, they must all choose – as Peter has – to open themselves up to questions. As Leo Matienne, the policeman says, “We must ask ourselves [these] questions as often as we dare. How will the world change if we do not question it?” This, in and of itself, is a worthy theme. Asking questions and believing in the possibility of. But the entire cast of characters discovers that they cannot choose to open themselves up to questions and possibilities alone. Separately they don’t have the imagination, or the courage or, most importantly, the openness to the present moment necessary for such an endeavor. This is where Kate DiCamillo’s brilliant craftwork shines through, and her themes elevate from simply worthy to breathtaking.

In the stunning penultimate scene, Peter, intent on getting the elephant back to her home, walks with her on a snowy night, along with all of the others. They are focused on the task at hand, putting one foot in front of the other as snow falls gently on their heads. And miraculously, while deeply immersed in the process of getting the elephant back home, Peter finds what he wants most. “It’s the impossible… The impossible has happened again.” In this transformative moment, everyone finds what they want most. Or, perhaps more accurately, they are found by their deepest desires.

This is the magic of Kate DiCamillo’s story – articulating the idea that in choosing to open yourself up to questions and possibilities and fully giving yourself over to something real and present and physical, you allow your deepest desires to come to you. This is the magic to really living, don’t you think?

Via bookbrowse.com

Sounds like an interesting read, and maybe a good book for kids going through a period of change.

In Surprise, Nobel Peace Prize to Obama for Diplomacy – NYTimes.com

OSLO — President Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples,” a stunning honor that came less than nine months after Mr. Obama made United States history by becoming the country’s first African-American president.

via In Surprise, Nobel Peace Prize to Obama for Diplomacy – NYTimes.com.

AWESOME!!!

“We can’t allow the differences between peoples to define the way that we see one another. And that’s why we must pursue a new beginning among people of different faiths and races and religions, one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect.”

“And that’s why this award must be shared with everyone who strives for justice and dignity; for the young woman who marches silently in the streets on behalf of her right to be heard, even in the face of beatings and bullets; for the leader imprisoned in her own home because she refuses to abandon her commitment to democracy; for the soldier who sacrificed through tour after tour of duty on behalf of someone half a world away; and for all those men and women across the world who sacrifice their safety and their freedom and sometime their lives for the cause of peace.”

— Barack Obama, announcing he will be accepting the Nobel Prize

Quiet

“If you do not understand my silence, you will not understand my words.”

Lots going on internally, and a new fall garden in the works. Just not a lot of writing going on…

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