Archive | Essays

There Is A Place

DSC_1197When I posted on this blog a letter I had written to the Professor of Theology and Philosophy in 1991, I mentioned Robert Nozick’s book called The Examined Life (published in 1989) and the possibility that we might be in the creation business as apprentices.  I recalled a conversation I had with our son David  who was a lawyer with a Philosophy major who also spoke of creating worlds which was new to me.   That took place long before David’s death in 1985.   Recently I found this poem written in 1988.

 

There Is A Place

There is a place and time
hanging to the east of conscience,
lolling in the fullness of space
that I watch and hunger for.
It thrives on my thought
being a world I created and rolled into Being.
It belies my judgment, proving itself real.

I’ve worked till dark and used the moon
to guide the plow through memories
meshed in tangled emotions.
I’ve cleared the land allowing new growth
to firmly root and be nurtured
by sun held too long beneath
grey clouds, heavy.

I did not know to do it
except my need to begin.   Anywhere.
And anywhere was a lot of places.
I was a good place to begin
so I began to plow,
through memories giving rise to emotions,
giving rise to pain.   Again.

To have left them buried beneath
a facade of civility was courting
volcanic eruption in babies still to be born.
I knew that but didn’t know I knew it.
I plowed till dark and through the night
and by the light of the half moon
plowed some more.
The night grew weary of me.

And now I sleep.   The babies play
and in their play create worlds again
on firm ground, growing grass without weeds,
digging foundations in loam
and not building mountains on garbage.
I’ve given them what I knew to be best
of what I am.  No need for them to fulfill
my dreams for I’ve dreamed them

and the new world waits.

 

February 4, 1988

 
 
 
 
 
 
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Hopes and Desires

DSC_1148Those of us who have hopes, hold tightly to them.  I have found  during this life that there is insufficient time to enclose them all.  There is not enough time to focus on them as well as our commitments.  And we don’t know this up between the eyes at the time we make our first commitment.   Because we are honorable peoples, we stay the route and run out of time which takes us with it.   The commitments we go into, with part of us still wishing hopes fulfilled,  take energy into their cause.   So the girl who wished to write teaches her children and they become fine writers.   And she who created in the kitchen for her brothers teaches her children how to create with their hands, with their minds,  in the pleasure of the fields in all weather.  She teaches the glory of creation with reverence.  We learn what we can do with what we have and are richer for it.

We watch our children make commitments with their desires running alongside, to find that they must shelve portions of them we term dreams (because they are not yet physical) and tend to the needs of commitments.   And then we wish that each generation will be aware of consequences when decisions are made that prevent desire’s fulfillment.   Failure?  Giving up?   No,  just reality doing a check.  Humans must be a priority, especially when we make them.   What values would have gone into a dream are instilled instead, in commitments.  We learn early that our hearts teach us in ways the world cannot.

And the dreams of value,  either genetically impregnated or morally ensconced,will have their day either here or elsewhere.   And the dream being of noble quality demands a someone of noble quality to carry it.   If the progeny carry their commitments with honor, their dreams will be carried by a someone with honor.   Our hopes, if passed to one with memory who cherishes these, will be fulfilled.  And we will be the person of quality who dreamed the desire into being.  When we have worked the dailyness,  laid the groundwork,   done the footwork, and have ploughed the field to make it ready to work, the hope will be a reality.

All of Life is carefully balanced.

Photo by John Hallissey

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The Mills Grind Slowly

Dear Dr. . . . .

I presume it is Dr. though I did not see the title,  I feel it is richly deserved.  If you would please excuse me for not offering my gratitude for your perusal and comments on my work.  Life has a way of intervening and commitments cannot wait.

The work I refer to,  just to refresh memory,  was the poetry and the essays that my friend. . . so kindly asked you to look at.   The material reviewed you said was challenging and intriguing and I thank you.  Challenging and intriguing nowadays is not the stuffs of the marketplace.  In fact,  what can be easily identified, especially the familiar, is what is marketable.  This is not to put the onus on people,  though it seems that to massage the brain into greater activity is not thought of as fun.   That is too bad.   To my thinking, the purpose of this physical life is to learn but from the observation of the majority,  its purpose is to entertain.   The gods,  I understand,  even hide the lessons in toys.

With the challenges of earning a living,  there is little energy left to try and change much of anything.  To inject new thought or old thought spoken in today’s language,  puts one on the defensive.  The old adage of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’  seems to be what is propelling everyone.  Except things are broken, old ideas, old habits and a first rate intelligence is not required to see that the results are no longer sufficient.  Ideas and values must expand to fit the larger scope, not abandoned altogether.

Physical and mental boundaries are not finite.   We often speak disparagingly of primitive religions.  Simple observation tells us that as a technological society we have lost the spirituality that once united the simpler life with the cosmos.  And we are the loser.   We speak of life everlasting and yet are afraid to die.  We speak of the resurrection and buy cemetery plots so we will be remembered.  We send crossed signals.

When I wrote the essay, Concerning:  Creation 101 I wished to bring forth several ideas to show we are Creationists.  Individually and en masse we create the climate for what happens in our world.  I came upon a book by Robert Nozick called The Examined Life.   He wrote this while on sabbatical from Harvard and in it, to my surprise,  he announces that perhaps we are in the creation business and are discovering one way it can be done.   And he brings forth the idea that we are apprentices and perhaps will be in charge of something else, anon.

This again says that mental boundaries no longer exist.   There is a Spirit afoot that will speak and to ears and hearts that are open , they will hear.   There are those whose brains are open albeit a tiny percentage more than the average and to them will be given messages transformed  into ideas that will be grounded in this world.   To those whose eyes are open,  they will interpret the writings on the walls.

I realize that my ideas are not new ones but I try to speak in the vernacular.  All life is simultaneous.   When a philosopher like Robert Nozick comes up with creation apprenticeship, someone like me, or maybe many someones also pick up the idea at the same time.  Eden was Earth,  everywhere.   According to where one stood.   Maverick thinking?  Possibly but I think not.   My scope had to broaden to contain my commitments.

Thank you for your time and effort.   I did want to explain myself further.   Whether my lifetime will bear me out, I leave to the heavens.   They still hold the sparklers, contrary to what Man thinks.  I bless,

(I came across this copy of a letter to a Professor of Theology and Philosophy of a large university who was a friend of a friend.   It was in a journal entry of 1991.  The mills of the gods grind slowly.)

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On Growing Up And Growing Old

To know when one demeans one’s own value system, is to debase the Spirit within.   It is all a value system.   And a value system worth its salt will not be maligned in any manner, not even by systems beyond what one knows.  The value system of behavior based on high premises will be honored.   But the source of the system so designed must be investigated and must be researched.   You cannot adopt a belief system based on an others’  work.  It must be within the frame of reference of the individual who espouses the system.

At what point do we decide on a value system?   We can decide at any point whether we be patrons of the library  or of religious conviction.  Do we need a boundary or do we think that we are innately good and require no other to tell us when we do wrong?   It should always be a choice and understood will be the consequences.   When we decide on a value system we are pointedly within a system we have adopted and are living with it or by it.  We simply have not named it.   Is it necessary for us to name the system or are we happy simply to live it?  These kinds of questions we answer as we move from day to day.   It is the dailyness of living that prods us to abide by what we consider to be good or not.   The normal day to day living already comes with its own set of lesson plans.   The heavens note the bright thoughts that are moving within the Earth boundaries and here we are surprised when heaven’s thoughts match ours.   And it is then we shout revelation!  It is interesting as we march into our tomorrows we find that our steps lend themselves to our own adopted behavior.   We are already living our beliefs by our actions and our thinking.  And those who gravitate toward us are already responding to our belief system or our philosophy.   They say the apple does not fall far from the tree.   Here it can also be said that the friends of one’s walk in life are like us and if we find that there is a one who holds different ideas,  we are then free to either walk along or subtly dismiss the one from our circle.   What we do will be very telling about us.   Should we embrace the one whose thoughts differ we might find at first to be frightened.   If terror compounds our fright we will lose the friendship quickly but we might see, if we try to incorporate different ideas, that our boundaries move apart and our premises broaden in scope.

This is about growth.   It is about evolution and it is about being human.   Life is exciting and it is an adventure.   It is about growing up and growing old and wise and a leaning post for the young.   And it is about losing our focus on this world at the end of this life and focusing on a new one.   It is still about growth and evolution and about being other than human that our vocabulary has no words for.   But it will still be exciting and an adventure because life is sweet in any dimension.

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Roses And Evergreens

Roses and Evergreen Do you wear the rose perfume?” she asked.   Yes I said and then she said that every time she caught the scent she wondered from where it comes and who walks with a bouquet of roses.  I wish it were so.   I would give you a rose.  . . . .thorns to be sure, but a rose with petals of baby skin and a scent reminding you of a place long buried in memory.

And coupled with the stringent passion of evergreen. . . both are the true measure of this woman pilgrim in journey.   The evergreen stands as a fulcrum of entry into a forest of refuge.   We belong here it says.   The rose for its scent of love and the evergreen, its passion.  Both marshaling the heart and mind unto the place I know best.

So we must paint roses in the cheeks of the newborn to remind them of the place from which they come.   And with the roses will come the scent they remember.  The evergreen will remind them also of what it is they hold as memory.   Remember the sabers were put across each other at the foot of the evergreen.   A constant reminder that peaceful skills must be honed each day and that they must be taught from the very first breath.  These memories will be sufficient to carry them to the end of their days.  They will remember and know the place that held their hearts and  that with these  they will find peace with understanding.   They need not speak of it but they will know each other by their actions and the love in their hearts.  Their hands will grasp each other and they will know then how much they were loved.

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About The Journey, The Process

One brother told his other brother and underscored that the journey is the only thing, the process if you will,  is the only thing worth the struggle.   And I found the following notes in my work from the Teacher and the Teacher said:

To be able to come to this conclusion, truly is what we work at.   All else are diversions.   All else are those things which are but a tangent of the premise.  Either one finds it for oneself or one does not find it.  Either it is learned in the process or one escapes it entirely and finds that the carrot is not all that good tasting and one must find another carrot.

The goal is unimportant.   The goal is such that it can change and with the change the sweetness is not what one thought.  When you spend a lifetime not swerving from your position,  staying where you are, in the searching you find yourself.  It brings a feeling of compromise with the Earth,  with the Heavens and with yourself.   And the compromise finds you a step ahead with brotherhood in the making.   A step that will bring to the unborn not a feeling of intensity of destroying all the old but one of building where they are and finding a depth, a richness and a spirituality just where they are.   It is not only the way of the world.  It is the way of the universes, for life is everlasting.  To learn the rudiments, to learn the process, puts the mystery back where it belongs.   Within the Godhead and in the Being who is part of the Godhead.

We don’t separate the Being from the Godhead.   We don’t separate Man from God.  We bring it all down to where we are or lift ourselves up to where it is being played out in all dimensions.  We catch glimpses of it all and then because we cannot pursue it in depth,  must be satisfied with glimpses.

Some are given greater glimpses, more in depth visions of greater scope.   But what it all means is that from where we are, to pursue in depth what it is we require brings the greater vision to us and gives greater meaning to who and what we are.  This then is the journey, the process.   We then are able to reflect it in who we are and what we do.   The process being the most important, observations being of immense proportions because of the intensity designated.

It is no small thing being done, small though it looks.  But appearances are not all.   Appearances are the mirror of what is done elsewhere doing what one is supposed to do in order to discover what one can about oneself.  There is a purpose in the learning when it is applied to all areas of life.   And much to be learned that applies to philosophy as a whole.   We take this day with this knowledge and proceed.   We cannot hold anything back but give forth of all that we are to what it is we do and react to.   We plough the field in our own way so that when the plough is lifted, there is no reason to look back.   We will have made straight furrows and there will be no reason ever for another to look and say that the furrows were crooked.   Not when we have given our best throughout and have thought through and worked through the process.

Much is given and since the majority stand where you are in upbringing and commitment and priorities and not in the forefront of the entertainment world,   this is where the work is.   It must be done in the kitchens , in the bedrooms and in front of the fire if it is to work anywhere.   And the root system must be looked at and taken into account.   And the individual’s own responsibility and their accountability is held to be the measure.   Without knowing what it is we do, without being consciously present in the life of one, by the ability and strength that comes from release and healing, one is able to step into an other’s shoes and help to show that there is a solution,  there is a way to freedom that comes, but only when the footwork and only when the material learned is integrated.  One does not integrate a human race, not even on a civil level truly unless the individuals are integrated within themselves.  It is hard to accommodate an Other within one’s circle when one’s world has not been able to accommodate one’s Self.

It is necessary to be civil for civilization not to erupt and go down the tube again.   But not until there is true accommodation for who and what one is,  and forgiveness, can there be peace at the table where one is,  whether it is the dinner table or the conference table.   We talk about a unification,  about a healing in the dichotomy of man.

Let us pursue it further and go about doing it.

(My gratitude is immense.)

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Wrongful Death

We have put so much faith in the medical profession but they ultimately cannot deliver us
from death.  Oftentimes in our western culture, agonies are prolonged as surrounding
relatives make their peace with what a very wise teacher once said to a student,  the only
thing you have to do is die.   The homework is up to you.   And often the departure is fraught with negatives.   The biggest being our inability to leave with dignity.   For then we are stripped of our freedoms;  the freedom to leave with a mind intact.   Is this the purpose of a life?  Is death so ominous that a breathing body vacant of spirit is preferable?

Preparation should have allowed for the personality to keep as much of its functioning self
as possible.  Medical science can make it easier for leave taking on both sides when what we leave is a body still recognizable with a spirit of the beloved we know.   It does not help when our memories are fraught with last months and years of pain that distort the image of the one held dear.  Medicine often negates all we tried to do in life.   When the body is programmed for long life it would be best if we also programmed the mind.

With so much emphasis on the body, we have left no time to fill the mind with nourishment befitting a body determined for immortality.   The spirit makes the break.  Little by little ,  the time spent away from the body is longer.   The tenuous thread,  the linkage to the heart in desperation breaks.   And by that time,  who we were can no longer be recognized.  The civilities, the niceties that we encouraged through the many years have departed with the spirit intact.   These are what makes a civilization humane,  civilized and what is left is Cro-Magnon.

The mind that has been fed, that has been nourished, has the right to what medical science offers.  But this mind will also call a halt to procedures that no longer give sustenance but instead steals from it its dignity.   The population at large has not availed itself to the study of man’s place in the universe   Has not availed itself to what has been offered as guidelines, as nourishment for the spirit.   It has not taken as gospel what we all should know from the time of birth. . . . that death too is part of the living process, the earth process.   And if we have accorded dignity to life itself, then death must be included.

To program a body for long life but starve a mind is criminal.   We are deluged with information as to what to do to keep the body active, to keep it healthy.   We are a world of proof that a healthy body,  one told to eat whatever is newsworthy at the moment will result in a body that fights diseases, that will be able to withstand everything.   And yet we will meet death, if not in our youth by misfortune, then in our dotage with a body so well taught that it will continue to do what it is we taught it from day one.  Yet the mind, the spirit has subsisted on kindergarten fare.  On porridge.   And we are left to wonder why mother or papa are not the persons we knew and if we loved them so much yesterday how could they change so fast to being mean and ugly today?

And where the peace and resolve of the unresolved that are suppose to occur at the bedside?  Where the reconciliations when the unable in body are also unable and absent in mind?  And where the spirit of the beloved who has nurtured us in ages past, the linkage to what was, as our children will be the link in the future to what we were?  The emotional tie will be non existent for the grandchildren.   The last memories will be the only memories for some and for the others,  the last memories will be wiped out as not being part of life.   And both are damaged, for unless we  rearrange our priorities, reprogram ourselves, rewrite the lesson plans,  the last memories will continue to be part and parcel of life in this 21st century.

What to do?   Feed the mind as well as the body.   As we stretch the body,  we must also stretch the mind.   New concepts, old ideas made relevant,  religions made vital, philosophers resurrected and visionary poetry made mandatory.  Literature to be taught and understood with today’s technology, in today’s high tech world has application in the dailyness of each of us.   Along with the ability to compute anything and everything, should be stretched the mind’s ability to grasp spiritual concepts to enrich the person.   It will prove to be practical in the long run.   And the result will be characters of substance befitting the body programmed for life everlasting.

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Begin With A ‘Maybe’

Oftentimes in my comments I will say that if I can introduce a `maybe ‘ into someone’s thinking,  we can help broaden premises.  Because I have lived long enough to see old ideas fail,  am I open to new ideas.   After due thought, I incorporate them  but  also realize that others are not as eager as I am.  We all know we cannot force feed an entire generation nor even attempt to change long established patterns of behavior.   People do what they do because to change any thing means that all things in the light of what is learned, must be examined.  People know this.  Humans know it.   It is not the work for the fainthearted.   It is the work of a human workaholic bent on cleaning up a mess of too many centuries old.

And in the process of reexamination and change,  what we grant to ourselves, we must grant to Others.   If freedom is ours, having freed ourselves either from a past holding us hostage or some other factor, we must grant to the Other, his.   If we claim the sun to shine on our heads, we must also grant space to the Other for the sun to shine.  What we have is a double edged sword.   We must also grant the right not to change to the Other.   If they prefer the status quo,  it must be granted.   But only if an Other’s space is not intruded upon.   By clinging to one’s own bent,  we cannot damage an Other.

When we have an entire generation bridling under a specific burden, it must be rectified.   That means whatever non-violent tools required, must be used.  We change things then bit by bit.  We know the dangers of drugs.   We know the crunch of unequal opportunities in all walks of life.   So we change by education, by election, by changing laws.  If we have a generation of grandparents seeing beyond their own children and grandchildren,  seeing across waters and generations to come,  we then have those who see life’s continuity.   When we have parents and grandparents viewing their own progeny as mortgage payments requiring due payment,  we will save liters of blood , not only our own but untold generations’ spilling endlessly on soil in wars not needing to be fought.  We will then make a difference.

A young man told me he knew what he was supposed to think and feel.  He said I will continue to try but at that moment he said he was scared.   I told him he was close to the kingdom.   He was.  Enough times told,  the frightened self will begin to change habits.

We can begin with a `maybe’ after due process of thought.

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Let Us Fall In Love

post ladyLet us resolve to fall in love with our Earth.  Other resolutions have already died.   Let us fall in love with our Earth and keep her alive.   Yet how does one fall in love with Earth?  It is easy.   It is a different kind of feeling, a oneness, a union that nothing dissolves or divides.  It is the steadiness, the compliance of all things in Nature that yield to a bidding when it is done with love.  She is not secretive.   She is an open book.

This love is a desire to return to a place where the heart knows its completeness;  in its wholeness with the laws of Nature.  We become one and the same.   We are its answer and its prayer, its meditation and its question.   We are what the seeker chooses to establish when all else fails to come to fruition.   When there is nothing that satisfies, there is always the hope and response in the garden, in the fields and in the forests.   In its beaches and in its waters.  It is a communion with the holiness in us and a love which puts all else to shame unless it measures up.

It is a comfortable place to be.   It is what we choose in place of relationships that wither with disillusion.   Nature does not.   She gives from an unending Source, reaching into her carpetbag to bring forth bits of revelation to entice, to give one reason to keep trying.  Yet when she falters, for every grievance she dispenses, there is redress.   In time there is an adjustment, a correction for every injury.   She is easy to love.   But no matter how many other worlds there are, this one is worth taking care of.   No illusions are necessary because she is sufficient unto herself.

In retrospect, this planet has suffered with our lack of stewardship.   So let us fall in love with her.   Let us resolve to take care of her.   It is time now to assume guardianship of this place we call home.

For this time she is all we have.

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We Connect With The All

I received an e mail with photos of several large elephants making their way to the home of a man who had befriended them.  This person named Lawrence Anthony spent his life caring for elephants in South Africa.  His death occurred on March 7, 2012.  Two days after he died, wild elephants showed up at his home led by 2 large matriarchs.  Up to 31  of them walked over 12 miles to pay homage to his family.   It does not surprise me that they thought of their caretaker as being more than just this person,  Lawrence Anthony.   The question was asked how did they know of the death of this friend and how was word spread.   Growing up on The Farm during my most formative years I saw very old farmers and their animals in communication not only verbally but with body language.   And the animals understood their caretakers without question.  There was a symbiotic relationship between animals and their caretakers.   They were of one heart.   This is how word spreads in the wild or anywhere when the relationship is of heart and understood so.   One knows at a level that our vocabulary has no word for.   My mother thought cows were the smartest of all farm animals.   She did not think dogs were smart at all.   And yet having read a recent study on dog intelligence,  some do have the intelligence of a 2 or 3 year old toddler.   I am in awe.   Yet I know as one who talks to my dogs and listens to them,  that they tune me out when there is no need evident,  as children do.

As far as the elephants making the journey to pay homage to their friend,  it is not surprising.   We are all connected.  There is a common thread that unites all to the all.   We in the western culture are a very small segment of civilization that does not believe in some level of reincarnation.   Most of the world does with different interpretations to be sure.   Many, many years ago I read that if souls wish to participate in earth life but without human experience, they can send a fragment of spirit or soul stuffs to experience physical life at some level of existence.   Elephants, jungle life of many kinds, dolphins and whales have long been known to have language and systems of thought.   We cannot close out  whole systems of Life simply because we do not understand them.   There are those who have spent their lives in service to an assembly of creatures and have learned to understand them.   One day there will be words in our vocabulary to describe meanings not found now.   Sometimes we have to step outside our frame of reference to begin to understand Other than what we are comfortable with.   How great is our need to know is always a good beginning.   Lawrence Anthony communicated at a level that went deeper than most people’s understanding of deep.   This connection to all life , and some say just sentient life, is as far as some go.   I would go farther and say ALL THAT IS is in everything.  I go so far as to say God in a rock and beneath it also.   I have had to redefine the word God to incorporate my views and friend,  it is a long hard work.

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