Whatever is material shape, past, future, present, subjective or objective, gross or subtle, mean or excellent, whether it is far or near — all material shape should be seen by perfect intuitive wisdom as it really is: “This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.” Whatever is feeling, whatever is perception, whatever are habitual tendencies, whatever is consciousness, past, future, present, subjective or objective, gross or subtle, mean or excellent, whether it is far or near — all should be seen by perfect intuitive wisdom as it really is: “This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.” – Buddha Gautama (born 563 B.C.)
So… Here we are at the end of August, drifting into September. The rains came this morning, Mary and I stepped outside as it was raining, and the sun was shining as well. Absolute beauty. The day here has had a softness that is beyond compare. Everything has been glowing with light, and even the vegs in the garden are getting a burst all of a sudden.
Life is sweet. Surrounded by friends, family, our furry ones and the creatures that inhabit our neighborhood (new Jays have arrived!) I sense the exhale at this moment in the web of life. We are off to Sauvie Island this week for pickling cucumbers, and celebrating the beauty of the Autumn.
Here is to your Still Point, and all the gifts that it brings.
On The Menu:
Kodak 1922 Kodachrome Test
Steve Roach – Halcyon Days
Chinese Folk Tales: The Spirit
T.S. Eliot Quartet Extracts
Steve Roach – Earthman
Thanks to Morgan Miller for this: Kodachrome Film Test, 1923…. as you may know, Kodachrome is no longer being produced….
JEAN-LOUIS BÉDOUIN: “Surrealism is born of a consciousness of the derisory condition allotted to the individual and his thought, and a refusal to accommodate oneself to it.”
JOHN HERBERT MATTHEWS: “Surrealism was a perception of reality over which reason was denied the opportunity to exercise confining restrictions.”
HENRY MILLER: “Surrealism is merely the reflection of the death process. It is one of the manifestations of a life becoming extinct, a virus which quickens the inevitable end.”
CATHRIN KLINGSÖHR-LEROY: “For its adherents, Surrealism was a way of life, a kind of existence that left room for playfulness and creativity. It was about living for the moment, with spontaneity and internal intellectual freedom and a lack of materialism, all of which were completely opposed to the values of the bourgeoisie.”
ANNA BALAKIAN: “Surrealism has come to have two meanings: it was originally the closely-knit spiritual union of artists and writers who operated under the common trademark, worked out their artistic problems together, wrote for the same periodicals, sometimes even collaborated on works. But … in its broader sense it represents a spiritual crisis that stems from the ideological developments of the nineteenth century, and has succeeded in producing a technique of writing and painting that conveys a materio-mystical vision of the universe.”
KATHARINE CONLEY: “Surrealism is embedded in the everyday, in the daily experience.”
ANDRE BRETON: “The mind which plunges into Surrealism, relives with burning excitement the best part of childhood.”
Steve Roach – Halcyon Days
Chinese Folk Tales: The Spirit
In former times a poor kindhearted man, by trade a fisherman, lived with his family of wife and three children in a straw hut on the banks of a river in the middle of a thick forest.
Unfortunately, the fish had been nearly exterminated by the cormorants, and for several days he carried an empty basket home. There was nothing to eat in the cooking pot. His children cried, his wife scolded, but all he could do was to knit his brows.
One night, when the moon had just disappeared behind the mountains, he was restlessly tossing about in bed. His wife and children were sleeping soundly. Suddenly he seemed to hear a knock at the door. Thinking that no one could be about at such a late hour, he paid no attention, until finally the knocking became very insistent. Having no fear of ghosts, he pulled on some clothes and glanced out of the window near the bed.
The silvery-green disk of the moon was shining through the pines on the western hills, and an icy wind blew in through the window. Going to the door, called out, “Who is there?” “It is I,” answered the voice. “I am bringing you fish. Open the door quickly.” “Oh, are you Little Number Three?” asked the fisherman, because he had once heard that Little Three caught fish for other people. Since the voice answered his question in the affirmative, he opened the door.
A dwarf, clad in a raincoat and a large straw hat, came smiling into the room with a basket full of fish on his back. He told the fisherman to take out half the fish, and to cook and eat the remainder; on no account, though, must he talk to other people about who had brought them.
Little Three did the cooking himself in the simplest fashion. He used no spices—only salt and oil—but the food tasted delicious. When they had finished eating, he made an appointment with the fisherman for the following night at a certain place to catch fish.
The next morning the fisherman sold the fish, bought some rice, and told his wife that a friend had lent him some money. He sat at home all day and pondered over his experience. When his wife urged him to go out, he merely replied that there were no fish and that it was a waste of time to go down to the river.
Night fell and it was soon time to go. His wife and children were asleep; silently the fisherman took a large fishing basket and went off to meet Little Three. He met him by the wild rocks near the river. The spirit impressed on him the need of following closely and not saying a word and of breathing as softly as possible. The fish could not see Little Three, but if they made any noise the fish would swim away at once. The strangest thing was that the dwarf was able to walk on the water, and he only needed to spit on the soles of the fisherman’s shoes to enable him to do the same. Naturally, the fish could not see the fisherman either.
The fisherman did exactly as he was told. He took great care not to breathe too loudly, and when Little Three caught a fish he took it from him and threw it into the basket. He was kept very busy, and soon became quite out of breath. Before they had gone a quarter of the way, the basket was full; he merely threw the rest of the fish back into the water again, because the spirit went on catching fish without bothering to see whether there was any place to put them or not. A little later they both stepped onto the bank, and shivers ran down the fisherman’s spine at the appalling sight of the deep water they had crossed. They returned home, cooked and ate half the fish, and put the other half aside according to the orders the spirit had given.
Every night, except at the time of the full moon, they went out fishing, but the fisherman said nothing to his wife. To avoid all suspicion, he even went fishing during the day from time to time. But he earned so much money that his wife became suspicious, and eventually she discovered everything.
One night she pretended to be asleep and watched to see what her husband would do. She saw him eating fish with another man and then come into the bedroom and go to sleep. She made no sign, but when he had fallen asleep she got up and saw what they had been doing.
The next day she bored a small hole in the plaster wall and watched the two men cooking the fish. she saw how they only cooked half of them, and she thought to herself that if only they could keep the other half they would have food for several days.
She made a plan, and the following night, when Little Three came again and placed the pot on the fire, it suddenly went up in flames. The spirit saw at once that something was wrong and ran away. The fisherman was very angry, but not until his wife came into the room with a smile on her face did he know that the pot had been made of paper. From then on, the spirit never came to cook and eat fish.
from Folk Tales of China by Eberhard
One of my early great loves, the poetry of T.S. Eliot….
At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.
I can only say, there we have been: but I cannot say where.
And I cannot say, how long, for that is to place it in time.
The inner freedom from the practical desire,
The release from action and suffering, release from the inner
And the outer compulsion, yet surrounded
By a grace of sense, a white light still and moving,
Erhebung without motion, concentration
Without elimination, both a new world
And the old made explicit, understood
In the completion of its partial ecstasy,
The resolution of its partial horror.
Yet the enchainment of past and future
Woven in the weakness of the changing body,
Protects mankind from heaven and damnation
Which flesh cannot endure.
Time past and time future
Allow but a little consciousness.
To be conscious is not to be in time
But only in time can the moment in the rose-garden,
The moment in the arbour where the rain beat,
The moment in the draughty church at smokefall
Be remembered; involved with past and future.
Only through time time is conquered.
The detail of the pattern is movement,
As in the figure of the ten stairs.
Desire itself is movement
Not in itself desirable;
Love is itself unmoving,
Only the cause and end of movement,
Timeless, and undesiring
Except in the aspect of time
Caught in the form of limitation
Between un-being and being.
Sudden in a shaft of sunlight
Even while the dust moves
There rises the hidden laughter
Of children in the foliage
Quick now, here, now, always-
Ridiculous the waste sad time
Stretching before and after.
The dove descending breaks the air
With flame of incandescent terror
Of which the tongues declare
The one discharge from sin and error.
The only hope, or else despair
Lies in the choice of pyre of pyre-
To be redeemed from fire by fire.
Who then devised the torment? Love.
Love is the unfamiliar Name
Behind the hands that wove
The intolerable shirt of flame
Which human power cannot remove.
We only live, only suspire
Consumed by either fire or fire.
Steve Roach – Earthman