In our consciousness of time we are doomed to the past. The future we may dream of but can know it only after it has come and gone. The present too we know only as the past. When we say, “This now is present, the heat, the breeze, the rippling water,” it is past. Before we knew it, before we said “now,” it was gone.
If the only time we live is the present, and if the present is immeasurably short (or long), then by the measure of the measurers we don’t exist at all, which seems improbable, or we are immortals, living always in eternity, as from time to time we hear, but rarely know.
You see the rainbow and the new-leafed woods bright beneath, you see the otters playing in the river or the swallows flying, you see a beloved face, mortal and alive, causing the heart to sway in the rift between beats where we live without counting, where we have forgotten time and have forgotten ourselves, where eternity has seized us as its own. This breaks open the little circles of the humanly known and believed, of the world no longer existing, letting us live where we are, as in the deepest sleep also we are entirely present, entirely trusting, eternal.
Is it concentration of the mind, our unresting counting that leaves us standing blind in our dust? In time we are present only by forgetting time.
The phoebe sits on her nest Hour after hour, Day after day, Waiting for life to burst out From under her warmth. Can I weave a nest of silence, weave it of listening, listening, listening, Layer upon layer? But one must first become small, Nothing but a presence, Attentive as a nesting bird, Proffering no slightest wish Toward anything that might happen or be given, Only the warm, faithful waiting, contained in one’s smallness. Beyond the question, the silence. Before the answer, the silence.
I write in hopes of finding people who are interested in the same subjects I am. These are things worth talking about. I honestly believe that science is not the answer, religion is not the answer, the “answer” is something we cannot yet sense. It is invisible.
And that idea leads to the benefit of writing this particular blog: I’ve learned a lot from the correspondences I’ve had with readers, collaborators and inspirers. This invisible web that has been formed is absolute and beautiful to me. The experience of knowing others defines our lives. This is a way to explore a concept of such intractable magnitude through fragments, stories, sounds and images.
In my former life I was spoiled and did not take spiritual accomplishments seriously.
"This young woman knew that she would die in the next few days. But when I talked to her she was cheerful in spite of this knowledge, “I am grateful that fate has hit me so hard,” she told me. “In my former life I was spoiled and did not take spiritual accomplishments seriously.” Pointing through the window of the hut, she said, “This tree here is the only friend I have in my loneliness.” Through that window she could see just one branch of a chestnut tree, and on the branch were two blossoms. “I often talk to this tree,” she said to me. I was startled and didn’t quite know how to take her words. Was she delirious? Did she have occasional hallucinations? Anxiously I asked her if the tree replied. “Yes.” What did it say to her? She answered, “It said to me, ‘I am here—I am here— I am life, eternal life.’"
“If we’re to really acknowledge what our life actually is, it has to be an acknowledgment of this present moment. And to acknowledge the happening of this present moment we really don’t have to do anything at all. We simply rest, make no effort to do anything, and the present moment makes itself known…There’s nothing we need to accomplish, nothing we need to change…it’s perhaps unnecessary to have a constant focus around the world of thought. This moment is not only the process of thinking.”—Darryl Bailey, from the talk “Acknowledging the Moment” (via sharanam)
“A human being is part of a whole, called by us the Universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”—Albert Einstein
“There is no more obnoxious way to punish a man than to force him to perform acts which make no sense to him, as when one empties and fills the same ditch indefinitely, when one makes soldiers who are being punished march up and down, or when one forces a schoolboy to copy lines.”—Simone de Beauvoir
“If we want to understand human consciousness or indeed animal consciousness overall, we can’t just look to the brain. We need to look to the embodied, situated animal’s life. No brain scan, no matter how cleverly constructed, is going to reveal the consciousness happening because that is not where the consciousness is happening.
That’s the wrong level of analysis. The consciousness is unfolding in this dynamic. The consciousness is not in the head.”
“I do not consider myself less ignorant than most people. I have been and still am a seeker, but I have ceased to question stars and books; I have begun to listen to the teachings my blood whispers to me. My story is not a pleasant one; it is neither sweet nor harmonious, as invented stories are; it has the taste of nonsense and chaos, of madness and dreams—like the lives of all men who stop deceiving themselves.”—Herman Hesse, Demian