Walking – one step in front of another, and the trees bend one way then another , whispering , living lives of mystery beneath my feet. I love the dialogue I have with these forebears. I cannot remember a time when I didn’t notice the living companions growing beside me, I only remember how bleak it was when I lived for a time in a concrete jungle, because it was the cheapest housing.
Equanimity is a perfect, unshakable balance of mind, rooted in insight.
Says the Master:
For one who clings, motion exists; but for one who clings not, there is no motion. Where no motion is, there is stillness. Where stillness is, there is no craving. Where no craving is, there is neither coming nor going. Where no coming nor going is, there is neither arising nor passing away. Where neither arising nor passing away is, there is neither this world nor a world beyond, nor a state between. This, verily, is the end of suffering.
— Udana 8:3
From “The Four Sublime States: Contemplations on Love, Compassion, Sympathetic Joy and Equanimity”, by Nyanaponika Thera. Access to Insight (Legacy Edition), 30 November
This wonderfully drawn slide from one of the splendid animations by RSA Animates demonstrates how wonderfully similar the patterns of very different life mechanisms can be – it reminded me how powerfully I felt the implications of that similarity when I compared the visuals from different ends of the telescope in the ‘Powers of Ten ‘video, which is well worth visiting here: http://www.eamesoffice.com/education/powers-of-ten-2/
What I viewed as I turned the pages of the vintage book was the astonishing similarity between the patterns from the telescope when it was viewing the universe at the scale of 10 to the power of 10 positive, compared with the patterns of the view when under the microscope the make up of the atoms viewed at the scale of 10 the to power of 10 negative. Totally bizarre.
It seems implausible that the patterns from such vastly different scales of what we experience as life can almost replicate each other – there is poetry in it , a mystery of import which mankind has not yet fathomed. It excites me to find that sort of synchronicity which perplexes and offers the possibility of discovering more exciting knowledge, more depth of human understanding exists beyond current comprehension. It suggests that the route of interconnectedness may be the one to follow, and even more so today after reading about the ‘wood wide web’. (many biologists have started using the term “wood wide web” to describe the communications services that fungi provide to plants and other organisms.)
Eastern philosophy, poets and Science seem to be united in their preoccupation with the interconnectedness of life’s machinery, and as D.H .Lawrence wrote
‘I am part of the sun as my eye is part of me. That I am part of the earth my feet know perfectly, and my blood is part of the sea.’
Show me more examples of pattern synchronicity – those occurrences that make you shudder with possible delight and expectation. I am deeply interested in knowing more.!
The RSA animates video I referred to in the top image can be found here rsa animates and in this particular one Manuel Lima discusses the power on networks in a complex world.
It’s all I have to bring today
Emily Dickinson, 1830 – 1886
It’s all I have to bring today—
This, and my heart beside—
This, and my heart, and all the fields—
And all the meadows wide—
Be sure you count—should I forget
Some one the sum could tell—
This, and my heart, and all the Bees
Which in the Clover dwell.
” Anyway, these ideas or feelings or ramblings had their satisfactions. They turned the pain of others into memories of one’s own. They turned pain, which is natural, enduring and eternally triumphant, into personal memory, which is human, brief, and eternally elusive. They turned a brutal story of injustice and abuse , an incoherent howl with no beginning or end, into a neatly structured story in which suicide was always held out as a possibility. They turned flight into freedom, even if freedom meant no more than the perpetuation of flight. They turned chaos into order, even if it was at the cost of what is commonly known as sanity”
It has taken me to page 189 to find a passage that sings. This is a trial of a book, and I am channelling my resilience in order to discover nuggets such as this.
I have found one more so far – and one that is amusing me . The link to my own life dilemna is that of finding an engagement present which has more meaning to the recipients than a token of splendid hope for a future of wedded bliss. I have found my ideal gift in a tableau written by Bolano in which his character re-enacts one of the ready made artworks by Marchel Duchamp. He hangs up a geommetry book on a clothesline in the garden “letting the wind go through the book, choose its own problems, turn and turn out the pages” Marcel gave this instruction to his sister in law as his wedding gift and in turn she made a painting of it, calling it ‘Marcel’s Unhappy Readymade. Duchamp said it amused him to bring the idea of happy and unhappy into readymades and include the actions and consequences of the elements. So Bolano is referencing the ideas of a surrealist artist , one who said
“What is the solution? There is no solution because there is no problem. Problem is the invention of man – it is nonsensical” .
And yet it is possible the book Duchamp chose for his readymade artwork was Euclid’s Elements, in whose time it was believed not distinction existed between physical and and geometrical space. Euclid’s definition of a point is “that which hath not parts, or which hath no magnitude”. This surreal artist has attempted bravely to surmount the inexpressibly bleak meaningless of existence by purporting to draw attention to it, and in doing so produces opportunity for reportage and creative endeavour. So that book of geometry that is reduced to nothing by the wind and the rain is now an idea in an artists brain, it has been made into a painting, and subsequently into a further exploration yet by a later artist John Banting in his surreal picture, and later still , finds its way into Bolano’s artistic creation. An author who plays with the notion of novel and fiction and reality. Margins between what is real and what is imagined are blurred, but the interest for me in his writing is how he mirrors the simultaneous mundanity of life with the danger and inherent grotesque realities that invade our lives, as horrors of brutal terrorism and inhumanity are played out daily in all of our lives across the internet and the screen.
Do I dare to to imitate art and give my nephew and his intended an instruction to hang a book of geometry from their washing line, and name it as a gift. My husband says not.
I think it is the best gift they will ever receive.
The book I am reading is Roberto Bolano’s 2666 and the image is John Bantings ‘Ruin And Clothes line’ 1937, an artist who met Duchamp . Courtesy of http://www.lissfineart.com
Like This is a poem by Rumi, with a backdrop of a digital painting by Anne Corr
If anyone asks you
how the perfect satisfaction
of all our sexual wanting
will look, lift your face
When someone mentions the gracefulness
of the nightsky, climb up on the roof
and dance and say,
If anyone wants to know what “spirit” is,
or what “God’s fragrance” means,
lean your head toward him or her.
Keep your face there close.
When someone quotes the old poetic image
about clouds gradually uncovering the moon,
slowly loosen knot by knot the strings
of your robe.
If anyone wonders how Jesus raised the dead,
don’t try to explain the miracle.
Kiss me on the lips.
Like this. Like this.
When someone asks what it means
to “die for love,” point
If someone asks how tall I am, frown
and measure with your fingers the space
between the creases on your forehead.
The soul sometimes leaves the body, the returns.
When someone doesn’t believe that,
walk back into my house.
When lovers moan,
they’re telling our story.
I am a sky where spirits live.
Stare into this deepening blue,
while the breeze says a secret.
When someone asks what there is to do,
light the candle in his hand.
How did Joseph’s scent come to Jacob?
How did Jacob’s sight return?
A little wind cleans the eyes.