Archive for the 'Sprituality' Category

30
Mar
08

A Man Said to the Universe

A man said to the universe:

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“Sir, I exist!
“However,” replied the universe,
“The fact has not created in me
“A sense of obligation.”

-by Stephen Crane

25
Mar
08

The Dimensions of Her Soul

She Considers the Dimensions of Her Soul

(Mrs. Morninghouse, after a Sermon Entitled,
“What the Spirit Teaches Us through Grief”)

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The shape of her soul is a square.
She knows this to be the case
because she sometimes feels its corners
pressing sharp against the bone
just under her shoulder blades
and across the wings of her hips.
At one time, when she was younger,
she had hoped that it might be a cube,
but the years have worked to dispel
this illusion of space. So that now
she understands: it is a simple plane:
a shape with surface, but no volume—
a window without a building, an eye
without a mind.
Of course, this square
does not appear on x-rays, and often,
weeks may pass when she forgets
that it exists. When she does think
to consider its purpose in her life,
she can say only that it aches with
a single mystery for whose answer
she has long ago given up the search—
since that question is a name which can
never quite be asked. This yearning,
she has concluded, is the only function
of the square, repeated again and again
in each of its four matching angles,
until, with time, she is persuaded anew
to accept that what it frames has no
interest in ever making her happy.

By Young Smith
Copyright © 2008 by Young Smith

20
Feb
08

Between Going And Coming

Excerpts from Octavio Pazspeech at the Nobel Banquet, December- 1990

At the close of this century we have discovered that we are part of a vast system (or network of systems) ranging from plants and animals to cells, molecules, atoms and stars. We are a link in “the great chain of being”, as the philosophers of antiquity used to call the universe. One of man’s oldest gestures, repeated daily from the beginning of time, is to look up and marvel at the starry sky. This act of contemplation frequently ends in a feeling of fraternal identification with the universe. In the countryside one night, years ago, as I contemplated the stars in the cloudless sky, I heard the metallic sound of the elytra of a cricket. There was a strange correspondence between the reverberation of the firmament at night and the music of the tiny insect. I wrote these lines:

The sky’s big.

Up there, worlds scatter.
Persistent,
unfazed by so much night,
a cricket: brace and bit.

Stars, hills, clouds, trees, birds, crickets, men: each has its world, each is a world, and yet all of these worlds correspond. We can only defend life if we experience a revival of this feeling of solidarity with nature. It is not impossible: fraternity is a word that belongs to the traditions of Liberalism and Socialism, of science and religion.

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Between going and staying the day wavers,
in love with its own transparency.
The circular afternoon is now a bay
where the world in stillness rocks.

All is visible and all elusive,
all is near and can’t be touched.

Paper, book, pencil, glass,
rest in the shade of their names.

Time throbbing in my temples repeats
the same unchanging syllable of blood.

The light turns the indifferent wall
into a ghostly theater of reflections.

I find myself in the middle of an eye,
watching myself in its blank stare.

The moment scatters. Motionless,
I stay and go: I am a pause.

-Octavio Paz (1914-1998)
Translated by Eliot Weinberger

11
Feb
08

Between the Poles of the Conscious

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Between the poles of the conscious and the unconscious,
there has the mind made a swing:
Thereon hang all beings and all worlds,
and that swing never ceases its sway.

Millions of beings are there:
the sun and the moon in their courses are there:
Millions of ages pass, and the swing goes on.

All swing! the sky and the earth and the air and the water;
and the Lord Himself taking form:
And the sight of this has made Kabîr a servant.

Saint Kabir

Many legends abound about the birth, life and death of Kabir, AD.1440—1518 India’s poet and sufi mystics. His birth itself is shrouded in mystery, some say he was the son of a Brahman widow,what is known though is that he was brought up in a family of muslim weavers. He was never formally educated and was almost completely illiterate.

21
Jan
08

Anchored to the Infinite

Anchored to the Infinite

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The builder who first bridged Niagara’s gorge,
Before he swung his cable, shore to shore,
Sent out across the gulf his venturing kite
Bearing a slender cord for unseen hands
To grasp upon the further cliff and draw
A greater cord, and then a greater yet;
Till at the last across the chasm swung
The cable then the mighty bridge in air!

So we may send our little timid thought
Across the void, out to God’s reaching hands—
Send out our love and faith to thread the deep—
Thought after thought until the little cord
Has greatened to a chain no chance can break,
And we are anchored to the Infinite!

Edwin Markham (1852 – 1940)

Once internationally famous as the author of the poem “The Man with the Hoe,” Markham was a popular American literary figure during the first half of the twentieth century whose works espoused progressive social and spiritual beliefs.

Source: The Shoes of Happiness and Other Poems (1929).

03
Jan
08

If Nature Had Rights ?

If Nature Had Rights – What would people need to give up ?

In a different kind of justice system, a lawyer might advocate on behalf of an aardvark, or a river, or an atmosphere. What might we have to give up if nature had rights ?
by Cormac Cullinan & Drawings by Amy Falstrom

Read an extract from the author’s book –Wild Law.

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IT WAS THE SUDDEN RUSH of the goats’ bodies against the side of the boma that woke him. Picking up a spear and stick, the Kenyan farmer slipped out into the warm night and crept toward the pen. All he could see was the spotted, sloping hindquarters of the animal trying to force itself between the poles to get at the goats—but it was enough. He drove his spear deep into the hyena.

The elders who gathered under the meeting tree to deliberate on the matter were clearly unhappy with the farmer’s explanation. A man appointed by the traditional court to represent the interests of the hyena had testified that his careful examination of the body had revealed that the deceased was a female who was still suckling pups. He argued that given the prevailing drought and the hyena’s need to nourish her young, her behavior in attempting to scavenge food from human settlements was reasonable and that it was wrong to have killed her. The elders then cross-examined the farmer carefully. Did he appreciate, they asked, that such killings were contrary to customary law? Had he considered the hyena’s situation and whether or not she had caused harm? Could he not have simply driven her away? Eventually the elders ordered the man’s clan to pay compensation for the harm done by driving more than one hundred of their goats (a fortune in that community) into the bush, where they could be eaten by the hyenas and other wild carnivores.

The story, told to me by a Kenyan friend, illustrates African customary law’s concern with restorative justice rather than retribution. Wrongdoing is seen as a symptom of a breakdown in relationships within the wider community, and the elders seek to restore the damaged relationship rather than focusing on identifying and punishing the wrongdoer.

The verdict of a traditional African court regarding hyenacide may seem of mere anthropological interest to contemporary Americans. In most of today’s legal systems, decisions that harm ecological communities have to be challenged primarily on the basis of whether or not the correct procedures have been followed. Yet consider how much greater the prospects of survival would be for most of life on Earth if mechanisms existed for imposing collective responsibility and liability on human communities and for restoring damaged relations with the larger natural community. Imagine if we had elders with a deep understanding of the lore of the wild who spoke for the Earth as well as for humans. If we did, how might they order us to compensate for, say, the anticipated destruction of the entire Arctic ecosystem because of global climate change, to restore relations with the polar bears and other people and creatures who depend on that ecosystem? How many polluting power plants and vehicles would it be fair to sacrifice to make amends?

Continue reading ‘If Nature Had Rights ?’

28
Nov
07

On the Nature of Things

On the Nature of Things (Latin: De rerum natura) is a first century BC epic poem by Lucretius that grandly proclaims the reality of man’s role in a universe without a god to help him along. It is a statement of personal responsibility in a world in which everyone is driven by hungers and passions with which they were born and do not understand.

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Again, if movement always is connected,
New Motions coming in from old in order fixed,
If atoms never swerve and make beginning
Of motions that can break the bonds of fate
And foil the infinite chain of cause and effect
What is the origin of this free will
Possessed by living creatures throughout the earth?

-Lucretius (ca. 94-ca. 55 B.C.), Titus Lucretius Carus, was a Latin poet and philosopher. His one work, “De rerum natura”, a didactic poem in hexameters, renders in verse the atomistic philosophy of Epicurus, forerunner of the modern-day atomic theory.




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