Winter is behind us now. This brings a feeling of light, hope and openness. We can look out of the window at trees and see them forming leaves. Golden Daffodils adorn our gardens once more. The snowdrops and crocuses are also bountiful. This year more than most! I like to think it is not only a new beginning but also a time to ponder on what lies ahead. Although in the quiet moments of a Spring day, reflection on what has past is often more on our minds. Dare we expect more from this new year than the last? In the old Pali dialect, the language of the Buddha (upanijjhāna), “reflection” has the self-same meaning that it does in English—it means to be like a mirror or the surface of a deep pond, to receive an impression and hold it without adding anything else. It also means to contemplate or consciously consider. To listen to the inner voice of reason.
Years ago, at Chuang Yen Monastery in Carmel, New York, Bhikkhu Bodhi spoke of this, and of the Buddha’s advice to his 7-year-old son Rahula. The Buddha told his son about the importance of honesty, telling young Rahula to practice reflection—to reflect on the inner and outer consequences before, during, and after doing something. Please consider trying this. The results are subtle but quite amazing. Consider how you feel before you perform an act of generosity, during, and after. Also consider how it feels to do something less than noble or not do something. Let’s say, not to eat or drink too much or be angry or stingy, to un-grasp the hand of lifelong habits. What is amazing is that this type of practice of reflecting on the quality and consequence of our lives is a way to expand time by opening and deepening and enriching the time we have to spare.
In meditation or just being alone with our thoughts , we allow ourselves to reflect on something that has already happened. We can allow a memory or experience to arise within us, and like the surface of a deep pond, reflecting the moon without fighting it or fleeing from it or freezing it or adding anything at all. Remember that the ancient root of the word, “understand” means to stand under, to allow the truth of something to soak in. It also suggests holding and supporting, standing under our own experience, receiving it. Think of the lake under the moon.
Crocuses in the garden
Re-written from an article published in Parabola magazine.
Might be a good idea to subscribe. They need supporting.
“Words are a pretext. It is the inner bond that draws one person to another, not words.” Jalaluddin Rumi.
Hot of the press my new YouTube dedicated to all great Teachers of Truth. Like Rumi says, come, come, come whoever you are, come! Life is short and there’s so much to learn about love. So Heathen, fire worshipper or idolatrous, come! (I like that. 😉 ) eve
In 1976 the poet Robert Bly handed Coleman Barks a copy of Cambridge don AJ Arberry’s translation of Rumi and said, “These poems need to be released from their cages.” Barks transformed them from stiff academic language into American-style free verse. Since then, Barks’ translations have yielded 22 volumes in 33 years, including The Essential Rumi, A Year with Rumi, Rumi: The Big Red Book and Rumi’s father’s spiritual diary, The Drowned Book, all published by HarperOne. They have sold more than 2m copies worldwide and have been translated into 23 languages.
A new volume is due in autumn. Rumi: Soul-fury and Kindness, the Friendship of Rumi and Shams Tabriz features Barks’ new translations of Rumi’s short poems (rubai), and some work on the Notebooks of Shams Tabriz, sometimes called The Sayings of Shams Tabriz. “Like the Sayings of Jesus (The Gospel of Thomas), they have been hidden away for centuries,” Barks notes, “not in a red urn buried in Egypt, but in the dervish communities and libraries of Turkey and Iran. Over recent years scholars have begun to organise them and translate them into English.”
800 years ahead of the times
“Just now,” Barks says, “I feel there is a strong global movement, an impulse that wants to dissolve the boundaries that religions have put up and end the sectarian violence. It is said that people of all religions came to Rumi’s funeral in 1273. Because, they said, he deepens our faith wherever we are. This is a powerful element in his appeal now.”
“Rumi was an experimental innovator among the Persian poets and he was a Sufi master,” says Jawid Mojaddedi, a scholar of early and medieval Sufism at Rutgers University and an award-winning Rumi translator. “This combination of mystical richness and bold adaptations of poetic forms is the key to his popularity today.”
“When the sun rises and shines,
Not all the lotus buds in the lakes and ponds bloom,
Only those that are ready, do.
The rest have to bide their time,
But all are destined to bloom,
All have to fulfill that destiny.
There is no need to despair.”
~ Sathya Sai Baba
This is the dark time before the light. The light of Spring hovers but not quite here yet. We are now through the month of the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, the day when the North Pole is tilted farthest from the sun. Our ancient ancestors observed this event by watching the stars and the shortening days carefully chronicling the movement of the sun. They learned that the darkest day is followed by a little more light and warmth when a new cycle of life struggles to emerge into the fullness of the new season.
When we are left to our own devices, our thinking mind tends towards a certain pessimism that all will be dark forever. The light will never return, our minds tells us; it is always darkest before it is pitch black: that is the kind of doom and gloom prediction that often dominate us most during the grimness of the winter months. A perpetual gloom that descends and refuses to let go. Our minds are that way. We see only the dark and the cold. Educated as we may be, we are wired to a reptile mind that wants to flee from the gloom and freeze and to return to the light and the warmth. When we imagine only the dark, nothing anyone can tell us will make it otherwise. It is not until we enter the world of fresh observations, sensations and possibilities, that there is a shift in thought. When we sit down to meditate or spend time in nature, or just taking photographs as I have done here, that we rejoin the living world.
Just a little request for people all over the world and children of light to please start reflecting on the stories of your souls to vibrate wisdom around the earth. You can do that with any little gift you have. Like photography or writing or painting! You need not be a big star or a public figure. Just be yourself! You can pick up a coloured pencil or a microphone and begin! Press the inks of your pens onto pretty paper or tap words into your computer or iphone and start sharing what you know and have learned with all those people out there.You can do anything you want if you are focused on it. Turn your personal story into a piece of the earth’s puzzle so that our combined thoughts, feelings, our lessons learned and our deeply-felt convictions, reveal common truths that cannot be denied. Just imagine the changes that could happen if people everywhere, suddenly stopped acting like someone else and became true to themselves and celebrated the beauty of their uniqueness.It’s only after people have willingly removed their false masks and false costumes and false ideals and have begun pouring light from their hearts to reveal their vulnerability, dreams and pain, will we be able to see that beneath the surface, we are all the same, although each one unique. After all, how can the world collectively fight for truth, if soldiers in its armies are devoid of truth? We must first of all be true by putting the ultimate truth into our words, into our actions and into life itself. And to do so, everyone must learn to think and react with their conscience. Imagine what Truth could do to neutralise the forces of evil once this black and white world suddenly becames energized by a sense of amazing, unified voices. We could put back vivid colour into every home, every school, every industry, every nation, and every garden on earth where flowers have been crushed by corruption.
Eve – flowers from this summer’s collection – 2016
“Before my teacher came to me, I did not know that “I am.”
I lived in a world that was a no-world. I cannot hope to describe adequately that unconscious, yet conscious time of nothingness. Since I had no power of thought, I did not compare one mental state with another.” ~ Helen Keller
The unity of language and consciousness.
If we want to know more about communication between people, epochs and cultures, we must investigate the nature of the means of communication—language. Language is the highest form of thought expression, the basic means of controlling behaviour, of knowing reality and knowing oneself and the existence of culture. Without the gift of speech man could never acquire cultural values. Consciousness presupposes speech as its material reality in the form of gesture, sound, symbol, and so on. Speech may convey thoughts, feelings and volition in the process of mutual communication, because words are material and can therefore be sensuously perceived. Speech is language functioning in a specific situation of communication. It is the activity of communication and its recorded results. Russian speech, for example, embraces an infinite number of statements by specific individuals and all that has been written in that language. Language, on the other hand, is a specific vocabulary and grammar, expressed in rules and sentence patterns, which have been evolved historically and are national in character. But specific sentences, both spoken and written, belong not to language but to speech: they form the symbolic reality that constitutes the existence of language.
~ A. Spirkin – Consciousness of the World
Ferdinand de Saussure a Swiss linguist now considered the father of twenty century Linguistics said:
… “In language there are only differences. Even more important: a difference generally implies positive terms between which the difference is set up; but in language there are only differences without positive terms. Whether we take the signified or the signifier, language has neither ideas nor sounds that existed before the linguistic system, but only conceptual and phonic differences that have issued from the system. The idea or phonic substance that a sign contains is of less importance than the other signs that surround it. […] A linguistic system is a series of differences of sound combined with a series of differences of ideas; but the pairing of a certain number of acoustical signs with as many cuts made from the mass thought engenders a system of values.
Semiology is the study of signs and sign processes (semiosis), indications, designation, likeness, analogy, metaphor, symbolism, signification, and communication. Semiotics is closely related to the field of linguistics, which, for its part, studies the structure and meaning of language more specifically Semiotics is often divided into three branches.”
Relation between signs and the things to which they refer; their denotata, or meaning
Relations among signs in formal structures
Relation between signs and the effects they have on the people who use them
In what language do deaf people think? I think in English, because that’s what I speak. But since deaf people cannot hear, they can’t learn how to speak a language. Nevertheless, they must think in some language. Would they think in English if they use sign language and read English? How would they do that if they’ve never heard the words they are signing or reading pronounced? Or maybe they just see words in their head, instead of hearing themselves?
… Can you think without language? Answer: Nope, at least not at the level humans are accustomed to. That’s why deafness can have far more serious consequences than blindness, developmentally speaking. The blind suffer many hardships, not the least of which is the inability to read in the usual manner. But even those sightless from birth acquire language by ear without difficulty in infancy, and having done so lead relatively ordinary lives. A congenitally deaf child isn’t so lucky: unless someone realizes very early that he’s not talking because he can’t hear, his grasp of communication may never progress beyond the rudiments.
… About one child in a thousand, however, is born with no ability to hear. Years ago such people were called deaf-mutes. Often they were considered retarded, and in a sense they were: they’d never learned language, a process that primes the pump for much later development. The critical age range seems to be 21 to 36 months. During this period children pick up the basics of language easily, and in so doing establish essential cognitive infrastructure. Later on it’s far more difficult. If the congenitally deaf aren’t diagnosed before they start school, they may face severe learning problems for the rest of their lives, even if in other respects their intelligence is normal.
Photo of Helen Keller in mid-life
A few more thoughts!
“Human consciousness, as constructed by human language, becomes the vehicle through which the self-reflective human mind envisions time. Language enables the viewer to reflect upon the actions of the doer (and the actions of one’s internal body), while projecting forward and backward — other possible bodily actions — into imagined space/time. Thus the projected and imagined space/time increasingly becomes the conscious world and reality of the viewer who imagines or remembers actions mapped onto that projected plan. The body thus becomes a physical entity progressing through the imaged world of the viewer. As the body progresses through this imaged world, the viewer also constructs a way to mark progress from one imagined event to another. Having once marked this imagined time into units, the conscious viewer begins to order the anticipated actions of the body into a linear progression of events.” ~Sue Savage-Rumbaugh
Kindly pusblished through the generousity of Blog: KoneKrusosKronos.wordpress.com
flowers in the fountain
To end on:
There is nothing in this world that can arise without the Self. All existence is one – in one’s Self. When the mind moves, like a restless wave, the world arises also. Be still, throw away everything and be free. Free of those burdens that keep you bound to suffering. Stillness of mind comes from giving up all desires and attachments, except that attachment to Self. Meditation, the masters say, is to effortlessly turn the mind inward. When the mind is quiet, all is Self. There is nothing else. ~ Eve
Photographs from the summer garden. This year I grew my wild-flowers from seeds. They survived the driving rain and gusty winds of Springtime, the cold and dull days of early Summer now in August, they bloom and grow as if to reach the sky. So magical to behold. I have taken many photos of them all, especially the Marilgolds although I have only posted a few. Eve
“A poor old Widow in her weeds Sowed her garden with wild-flower seeds; Not too shallow, and not too deep, And down came April — drip — drip — drip. Up shone May, like gold, and soon Green as an arbour grew leafy June. And now all summer she sits and sews Where willow herb, comfrey, bugloss blows, Teasle and pansy, meadowsweet, Campion, toadflax, and rough hawksbit; Brown bee orchis, and Peals of Bells; Clover, burnet, and thyme she smells; Like Oberon’s meadows her garden is Drowsy from dawn to dusk with bees. Weeps she never, but sometimes sighs, And peeps at her garden with bright brown eyes; And all she has is all she needs – A poor Old Widow in her weeds.” – Walter de la Mare, Peacock Pie
LONELINESS is the doorway to unspecified desire. In the bodily pain of aloneness is the first step to understanding how far we are from a real friendship, from a proper work or a long sought love. Loneliness can be a prison, a place from which we look out at a world we cannot inhabit; loneliness can be a bodily ache and a penance, but loneliness fully inhabited also becomes the voice that asks and calls for that great, unknown someone or something else we want to call our own. Loneliness is the very state that births the courage to continue calling, and when fully lived can undergo its own beautiful reversal, becoming in its consummation, the far horizon that answers back.
From upcoming The Reader’s Circle essay; LONELINESS (c) David Whyte
“God is without form, without quality as well as with form and quality.
Watch and see with what endless variety of beautiful forms
He plays the play of his maya with Himself alone.
The lila of the all pervading One goes on and on in this way in infinite diversity.
He is without beginning and without end.
He is the whole and also the part.
The whole and part together make up real Perfection.”
Sri Anandamayi Ma
All photos taken with a Lumix XL7 camera on macro setting. Click on each image to enlarge for details. thanks.
Divine Mother, “When flowers are brought to you, how do you give them a significance? By entering into contact with the nature of the flower, its inner truth. Then one knows what it represents. ( The Divine Mother, from her timeless words on nature and flowers. Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, India.)
Gentle and lovely, flowers share their beauty with us and bring us a touch of eternal things. According to the Mother, each variety of flower has its own special quality and meaning. By establishing an inner contact with the flower, this meaning can be known. “Flowers speak to us when we know how to listen to them,” The Mother said. “It is a subtle and fragrant language.” As if to provide a key to this language. She identified the significances of almost nine hundred flowers.
“It is intended by the word Presence to indicate the sense and perception of the Divine as a Being, felt as present in one’s existence and consciousness or in relation with it, without the necessity of any further qualification or description. Thus, of the “ineffable Presence” it can only be said that it is there and nothing more can or need be said about it, although at the same time one knows that all is there, personality and impersonality, Power and Light and Ananda and everything else, and that all these flow from that indescribable Presence. That is always the fundamental significance, — the essential perception of the essential Presence supporting everything else.” ~ SRI AUROBINDO
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
— Jellaludin Rumi, translation by Coleman Barks
All photos are my own and taken today while out in the garden. The top photo is of spirea buds, the rest are of crocuses under the Weeping Ash Tree, and along the garden path. Eve