Markings in Marble

Alan Watts, Out of Your Mind: The Nature of Consciousness

“In order to understand what the self is, you have to remember that it doesn’t need to remember anything.

Just like you don’t need to know how to work your thyroid gland.”

“Doesn’t it really astonish you that you are this fantastically complex thing and that you’re doing all this and you never had any education in how to do it? You never learned, but you are this miracle?

Well the point is, that from a strictly physical, scientific standpoint, this organism is a continuous energy with everything else that’s going on. And if I am my foot, I am the sun.

Only we’ve got this little partial view, we’ve got the idea that “No, I am just something in this body: the ego.”

That’s a joke.

The ego is nothing other than the focus of conscious attention. It’s like a radar on a ship. The radar on a ship is a troubleshooter; “Is there anything in the way?

And conscious attention is a designed function of the brain to scan the environment, like a radar does, and note for any trouble making changes. But if you identify yourself with your troubleshooter, then naturally you define yourself as being in a perpetual state of anxiety.

And the moment we cease to identify with the ego and become aware that we are the whole organism, you realize as the first thing, how harmonious it all is.

Because your organism is a miracle of harmony, all this thing functioning together. Even those creatures that are fighting each other in the blood stream and eating each other up. If they weren’t doing that you wouldn’t be healthy.

So what is discord at one level of your being is harmony at a higher level.

And you begin to realize that, and you begin to be aware too that the discords of your life, and the discords of people’s lives, which are a fight at one level, at a higher level of the universe are healthy and harmonious.

And you suddenly realize that everything that you are and do is at that level, as magnificent and as free of any blemish

as the patterns in waves,

the markings in marble,

the way a cat moves.

And that this world is really okay. It can’t be anything else because otherwise it couldn’t exist. “

Ask if you must

Rilke, Rainer Maria. Letters to a Young Poet. Modern Library Edition 2001

“You ask whether your verses are any good. You ask me. You have asked others before this. You send them to magazines. You compare them with other poems, and you are upset when certain editors reject your work. Now (since you have said you want my advice) I beg you to stop doing that sort of thing. You are looking outside and that is what you should most avoid right now.

No one can advise or help you- no one. There is only one thing you should do. Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write.

This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer.

And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple “I must,” then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your whole life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse. Then come close to Nature.

Then, as if no one had ever tried before, try to say what you see and feel and love and lose.

Don’t write love poems; avoid those forms that are too facile and ordinary: they are the hardest to work with, and it take a great, fully ripened power to create something individual where good, even glorious, traditions exist in abundance.

So rescue yourself from these general themes and write about what your everyday life offers you; describe your sorrows and desires, the thoughts that pass through your mind and your belief in some kind of beauty- describe all these with heartfelt, silent, humble sincerity and, when you express yourself, use the Things around you, the images from your dreams, and the objects that you remember.

If your everyday life seems poor, don’t blame it; blame yourself; admit to yourself that you are not enough of a poet to call forth its riches; because for the creator there is no poverty and no poor, indifferent place. And even if you found yourself in some prison, whose walls let in none of the world’s sounds- wouldn’t you still have your childhood, that jewel beyond all price, that treasure house of memories? Turn your attention to it. Try to raise up the sunken feelings of the enormous past; your personality will grow stronger, your solitude will expand and become a place where you can live in the twilight, where the noise of other people passes by, far in the distance.

And if out of this turning-within, out of this immersion in your own world, poems come, then you will not think of asking anyone whether they are good or not. Nor will you try to interest magazines in these works: for you will see them as your dear natural possession, a piece of your life, a voice from it.

A work of art is good if it has arisen out of necessity. That is the only way one can judge it.

So, dear Sir, I can’t give you any advice but this: to go into yourself and see how deep the place is from which your life flows; at its source you will find the answer to the question of whether you must create. Accept that answer, just as it is given to you, without trying to interpret it. Perhaps you will discover that you are called to be an artist. Then take that destiny upon yourself, and bear it, its burden and its greatness, without ever asking what reward might come from outside. For the creator must be a world for himself and must find everything in himself and in Nature, to whom his whole life is devoted.

But after this descent into yourself and into your solitude, perhaps you will have to renounce becoming a poet (if, as I have said, one feels one could live without writing, then one shouldn’t write at all). Nevertheless, even then, this self-searching that I ask of you will not have been for nothing. Your life will still find its own paths from there, and that they may be good, rich, and wide is what I wish for you, more than I can say” (p. 10).

To Speak

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from Denise Levertov’s The Sorrow Dance, New Directions, 1967

To speak of sorrow

works upon it,

moves it from its

crouched place barring

the way to and from the soul’s hall —

out in the light it

shows clear, whether

shrunken or known as

a giant wrath —

discrete

at least, where before

its great shadow joined

the walls and roof and seemed

to uphold the hall like a beam.

Compassion

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Dalai Lama

Lecture. HH Main Temple, Mcleod Ganj, Northern India. April 16th, 2018. 

 

“Remind yourself daily of all our brothers and sisters.

All seven billion of your family.

Basic human nature, like children show, is compassion.

Constant anger, or hatred, is eating our human system.

Constantly purify yourself and come back to your compassion.”

 

“It is extremely important that we introduce compassion and interdependence into our education.”

 

“In the education of our current system, children learn to find the differences in each other.

Today we are in a period of a crisis of our emotions.

India’s understanding of respecting all religions, including non-believers, is one that can help internationally: secular beliefs. “

“Focus on interdependence and one-ness. Us vs. Them mentality is causing our problems. Remove the barriers.

Focusing on the self too much causes loneliness. Just remember we are all human beings otherwise the differences will cause us anxiety.”

 

“Inner peace needs self confidence.

Self confidence needs honesty. Self confidence brings will power.”

 

“Peace does not come from prayer.

Humans create violence, it is up to us to create peace.

We must not think of making change from force. 

Dialogue is what is needed.

Force is from the feudal system. War and force are from this old system.

What use is anger? It will only increase our problems.”

 

“Take care of oneself. Be wise-selfish. “

 

 

 

 

 

Mother Nature

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The Secret Life of Plants  Peter Tomkins and Christopher Bird, 1973.

Luther Burbank (1848-1946); lecture: “How to Produce New Fruits and Flowers“, American Pomological Society Gathering

“In pursuing the study of any of the universal and everlasting laws of nature,

whether relating to the life, growth, structure and movements of a giant planet, the tiniest plant, or the psychological movements of the human brain,

some conditions are necessary before we can become one of nature’s interpreters or of the creator of any valuable work for the world.

Preconceived notions, dogmas, and all personal prejudice and bias must be laid aside.

Listen patiently, quietly, and reverently to the lessons, and one by one, which Mother Nature has to teach, shedding light on that which was before a mystery,

so that all who will, may see and know.

She conveys her truths only to those who are passive and receptive.

Accepting these truths as suggested, wherever they may lead, then we have the whole universe in harmony with us.

At last man has found a solid foundation for science, having discovered that he is part of a universe which is eternally unstable in form, eternally immutable in substance.”

 

 

 

Fearlessness

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Shambala, The Sacred Path of the Warrior Chögyam Trungpa, 1984. 

“The mind of fearlessness should be put in the cradle of loving-kindness

and suckled with the profound and brilliant milk of eternal doubtlessness.

In the cool shade of fearlessness,

fan it with the fan of joy and happiness.

When it grows older,

with various displays of phenomena,

lead it to the self-existing playground.

When it grows older still,

in order to promote the primordial confidence,

lead it to the archery range of the warriors.

When it grows older still,

to awaken the primordial self-nature,

let it see the society of men which posses beauty and dignity.

Then the fearful mind can change into the warrior’s mind,

and that eternally youthful confidence can expand into space without beginning or end.

At that point it sees the Great Eastern Sun.”

Assumptions

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The Power of Awareness Neville Goddard, 1952.

“Since your life is determined by your assumptions, you are forced to recognize the fact that you are either a slave to your assumptions or their master.

Becoming the master of your assumptions is the key to undreamed of freedom and happiness.

You can attain this mastery by deliberate conscious control of your imagination. Form a mental image, a picture of the state desired, of the person you want to be. Concentrate your attention upon the feeling that you already are that person.

First visualize the person in your consciousness. Then feel yourself to be in that state as though it actually formed your surrounding world.

The great secret is a controlled imagination and a well sustained attention, firmly and repeatedly focused on the object to be accomplished.

Every state is already there as mere possibilities as long as we think of them, but as overpoweringly real when we think from them.

.. You become according to your resigned will and your resigned will is your concept of yourself and all that you consent to and accept as true.

.. Every phase of your life is made by the exercise of your imagination.

Determined imagination alone is the means of your progress, of the fulfilling of your dreams.

It is the beginning and end of all creating.

The great secret is a controlled imagination and a well-sustained attention firmly and repeatedly focused on the feeling of the wish fulfilled until it fills the mind and crowds all other ideas out of consciousness.

.. The Truth that sets you free is that you can experience in imagination what you desire to experience in reality, and by maintaining this experience in imagination, your desire will become an actuality.

.. You must stop spending your thoughts, time, and money. Everything in life must be an investment.

To spend is to waste without a return. To invest is to lay out for a purpose from which a profit is expected.

It is about the transformation of the moment. It is only what is done now that counts. Whenever we assume the feeling of being what we want to be, we are investing.” (p.19)

 

“Your imagination is you, yourself, and the world as your imaginations sees it is the real world.” (p. 25)

 

“As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.

..Be still and know that you are that which you desire to be, and you will never have to search for it.” (p.38)

 

“The whole of creation exists in you, and it is your destiny to become increasingly aware of its infinite wonders and to experience ever greater and grander portions of it.” (p.42)