The tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named
is not the eternal Name.
The unnamable is the eternally real.
Naming is the origin
of all particular things.
This is the beginning of a series based on Alan Watt’s “The Joyous Cosmology”. It had a profound influence on my view, and subsequent spiritual forays. Mr. Watt’s hit the nail firmly on the head in this small book. There will be some 6-7 installments in all. I do suggest that you take the time and read them if you haven’t before, and if you have perhaps is now a good time to visit “The Joyous Cosmology” again.
I will be including various poets who were relevant to the time of the book, and to the awakening that was beginning then. (or at least appearing to begin then) The featured poet(ess) today is Diane Di Prima, one of the greats. I love her work, and the profound influence she has had on the following generations. We are lucky to have her still with us!
I have included some music from Mr. Henry Tudor the 8th, who turns out music wise to be a sensitive, and thoughtful soul. If you went by the music, you would think him positively gentle.
On The Menu:
Henry VIII – Helas Madame
The Joyous Cosmology Part 1
Diane Di Prima Poetry
Henry VIII – Two Compositions for Recorders
The Links (Living In An Age Of Wonders!):
Henry VIII – Helas Madame
The Joyous Cosmology Part 1
Alan W. Watts
To begin with, this world has a different kind of time. It is the time of biological rhythm, not of the clock and all that goes with the clock. There is no hurry. Our sense of time is notoriously subjective and thus dependent upon the quality of our attention, whether of interest or boredom, and upon the alignment of our behavior in terms of routines, goals, and deadlines. Here the present is self-sufficient, but it is not a static present. It is a dancing present—the unfolding of a pattern which has no specific destination in the future but is simply its own point. It leaves and arrives simultaneously, and the seed is as much the goal as the flower. There is therefore time to perceive every detail of the movement with infinitely greater richness of articulation. Normally we do not so much look at things as overlook them. The eye sees types and classes—flower, leaf, rock, bird, fire—mental pictures of things rather than things, rough outlines filled with flat color, always a little dusty and dim.
But here the depth of light and structure in a bursting bud go on forever. There is time to see them, time for the whole intricacy of veins and capillaries to develop in consciousness, time to see down and down into the shape of greenness, which is not green at all, but a whole spectrum generalizing itself as green—purple, gold, the sunlit turquoise of the ocean, the intense luminescence of the emerald. I cannot decide where shape ends and color begins. The bud has opened and the fresh leaves fan out and curve back with a gesture which is unmistakably communicative but does not say anything except, “Thus!” And somehow that is quite satisfactory, even startlingly clear. The meaning is transparent in the same way that the color and the texture are transparent, with light which does not seem to fall upon surfaces from above but to be right inside the structure and color. Which is of course where it is, for light is an inseparable trinity of sun, object, and eye, and the chemistry of the leaf is its color, its light.
But at the same time color and light are the gift of the eye to the leaf and the sun. Transparency is the property of the eyeball, projected outward as luminous space, interpreting quanta of energy in terms of the gelatinous fibers in the head. I begin to feel that the world is at once inside my head and outside it, and the two, inside and outside, begin to include or “cap” one another like an infinite series of concentric spheres. I am unusually aware that everything I am sensing is also my body—that light, color, shape, sound, and texture are terms and properties of the brain conferred upon the outside world. I am not looking at the world, not confronting it; I am knowing it by a continuous process of transforming it into myself, so that everything around me, the whole globe of space, no longer feels away from me but in the middle.
This is at first confusing. I am not quite sure of the direction from which sounds come. The visual space seems to reverberate with them as if it were a drum. The surrounding hills rumble with the sound of a truck, and the rumble and the color-shape of the hills become one and the same gesture. I use that word deliberately and shall use it again. The hills are moving into their stillness. They mean something because they are being transformed into my brain, and my brain is an organ of meaning. The forests of redwood trees upon them look like green fire, and the copper gold of the sun-dried grass heaves immensely into the sky. Time is so slow as to be a kind of eternity, and the flavor of eternity transfers itself to the hills—burnished mountains which I seem to remember from an immeasurably distant past, at once so unfamiliar as to be exotic and yet as familiar as my own hand. Thus transformed into consciousness, into the electric, interior luminosity of the nerves, the world seems vaguely insubstantial—developed upon a color film, resounding upon the skin of a drum, pressing, not with weight, but with vibrations interpreted as weight. Solidity is a neurological invention, and, I wonder, can the nerves be solid to themselves? Where do we begin? Does the order of the brain create the order of the world, or the order of the world the brain? The two seem like egg and hen, or like back and front.
The physical world is vibration, quanta, but vibrations of what? To the eye, form and color; to the ear, sound; to the nose, scent; to the fingers, touch. But these are all different languages for the same thing, different qualities of sensitivity, different dimensions of consciousness. The question, “Of what are they differing forms?” seems to have no meaning. What is light to the eye is sound to the ear. I have the image of the senses being terms, forms, or dimensions not of one thing common to all, but of each other, locked in a circle of mutuality. Closely examined, shape becomes color, which becomes vibration, which becomes sound, which becomes smell, which becomes taste, and then touch, and then again shape. (One can see, for example, that the shape of a leaf is its color. There is no outline around the leaf; the outline is the limit where one colored surface becomes another.) I see all these sensory dimensions as a round dance, gesticulations of one pattern being transformed into gesticulations of another. And these gesticulations are flowing through a space that has still other dimensions, which I want to describe as tones of emotional color, of light or sound being joyous or fearful, gold elated or lead depressed. These, too, form a circle of reciprocity, a round spectrum so polarized that we can only describe each in terms of the others.
Sometimes the image of the physical world is not so much a dance of gestures as a woven texture. Light, sound, touch, taste, and smell become a continuous warp, with the feeling that the whole dimension of sensation is a single continuum or field. Crossing the warp is a woof representing the dimension of meaning—moral and aesthetic values, personal or individual uniqueness, logical significance, and expressive form—and the two dimensions interpenetrate so as to make distinguishable shapes seem like ripples in the water of sensation. The warp and the woof stream together, for the weaving is neither flat nor static but a many-directioned cross-flow of impulses filling the whole volume of space. I feel that the world is on something in somewhat the same way that a color photograph is on a film, underlying and connecting the patches of color, though the film here is a dense rain of energy. I see that what it is on is my brain—”that enchanted loom,” as Sherrington called it. Brain and world, warp of sense and woof of meaning, seem to interpenetrate inseparably. They hold their boundaries or limits in common in such a way as to define one another and to be impossible without each other.
Diane Di Prima Poetry
the weighing is done in autumn
and the sifting
what is to be threshed
is threshed in autumn
what is to be gathered is taken
the wind does not die in autumn
shifts endlessly thru flying clouds
in autumn the sea is high
& a golden light plays everywhere
making it harder
to go one’s way.
all leavetaking is in autumn
where there is leavetaking
it is always autumn
& the sun is a crystal ball
on a golden stand
& the wind
cannont make the spruce scream
Rant, from a Cool Place
by Diane DiPrima
“I see no end of it, but the turning
upside down of the entire world”
We are in the middle of a bloody, heartrending revolution
Called America, called the Protestant reformation, called Western man,
Called individual consciousness, meaning I need a refrigerator and a car
And milk and meat for the kids so, I can discover that I don’t need a car
Or a refrigerator, or meat, or even milk, just rice and a place with
————-no wind to sleep next to someone
Two someones keeping warm in the winter learning to weave
To pot and to putter, learning to steal honey from bees,
————wearing the bedclothes by day, sleeping under
(or in) them at night; hording bits of glass, colored stones, and
How long before we come to that blessed definable state
Known as buddhahood, primitive man, people in a landscape
together like trees, the second childhood of man
I don’t know if I will make it somehow nearer by saying all this
out loud, for christs sake, that Stevenson was killed, that Shastri
both having dined with Marietta Tree
the wife of a higher-up in the CIA
both out of their own countries mysteriously dead, as how many others
as Marilyn Monroe, wept over in so many tabloids
done in for sleeping with Jack Kennedy – this isn’t a poem – full of
————cold prosaic fact
thirteen done in the Oswald plot: Jack Ruby’s cancer that disappeared
the last of a long line – and they’re waiting to get Tim Leary
LeRoi Jones – as, who killed Malcolm X? They give themselves away
with TV programs on the Third Reich, and I wonder if I’ll live to sit in
————Peking or Hanoi
see TV programs on LBJ’s Reich: our great SS analysed, our money exposed,
————the plot to keep Africa
genocide in Southeast Asia now in progress Laos Vietnam Thailand Cambodia
————O soft-spoken Sukamo
O great stone Buddhas with sad negroid lips torn down by us by the red
————guard all one force
one leveling mad mechanism, grinding it down to earth and swamp to sea
till Mozart is something a few men can whistle
or play on a homemade flute and we bow to each other
telling old tales half remembered gathering shells
learning again “all beings are from the very beginning Buddhas”
or glowing and dying radiation and plague we come to that final great
“FROM THE VERY FIRST NOTHING IS.”
Memorial Day, 2003
Remember Sacco & Vanzetti
Remember John Brown
Remember the slave revolts
Remember Huey & Little Bobby Hutton
Remember Crazy Horse & Chief Joseph
Remember the Modoc & the Algonquin Nation
Remember Patrice Lumumba
Remember the dream of Africa
Remember Tina Modotti
Remember Makhnov & Tsvetaeva & Mayakovski, Essenin
yes, goddammit, even remember Trotsky
Hey, do you remember Hypatia?
Socrates? Giordano Bruno?
Remember my buddy, Esclarmonde de Foix
Remember Seton the Cosmopolite
Remember Edward Kelly, murdered in prison
Remember to take yr life back into yr hands
It’s Memorial Day, remember
what you love
& do it – don’t wait.
Remember life hangs by a thread —
& then remember the poets:
Shelley & Bob Kaufman
Remember Van Gogh & Pollock
Remember Amelia Earhart
Remember it’s not a safe time & all the more reason
To do wholeheartedly what you have to do
Remember the women & men of Wounded Knee,
Kent State, remember where you stand:
in the midst of empire, & the Huns
Remember Vercingetorix, Max Jacob
Apollinaire & Suhrawardi, remember
that all you need to remember is what you love
Remember to Marry the World
First Snow, Kerhonkson – for Alan
This, then, is the gift the world has given me
(you have given me)
softly the snow
cupped in the hollows
lying on the surface of the pond
matching my long white candles
which stand at the window
which will burn at dusk while the snow
fills up our valley
no friend will wander down
no one arriving brown from Mexico
from the sunfields of California, bearing pot
they are scattered now, dead or silent
or blasted to madness
by the howling brightness of our once common vision
and this gift of yours-
white silence filling the contours of my life.
Ode to Keats, 2, The Dream
Hedged about as we are with prayers
and with taboos
Yet the heart of the magic circle is covered with gray linoleum
Over my head fly demons of the past
Jimmy, they pass
With a whooshing sound
The only ghost who stands on the ground
(who stands his ground)
I rise a few inches above the circle, and turn somersaults
I want to go shopping, but all I see is my reflection
I look tired and sad. I wear red. I am looking for love.
On the sidewalk are lying the sick and the hungry:
I hear “Spencer’s Faerie Queen cost them all their lives.”
And Spencer? I ask, “What did this life buy?”
Through the door is the way out, Alan stands in the doorway
In an attitude of leaving, his head is turned
As if to say goodbye, but he’s standing still.
Hedged about with primroses
The magic words we said when we were praying
Have formed a mist about us…
Henry VIII – Two Compositions for Recorders
Free from desire, you realize the mystery.
Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.
Yet mystery and manifestations
arise from the same source.
This source is called darkness.
Darkness within darkness.
The gateway to all understanding