Category Archives: Reading

Joy, wisdom and time

Earlier, briefly, I was sad, thinking what did I do to deserve this? (I don’t feel that way very often.) But also, what did I do to deserve the joy and wisdom that has come from it too? The joy and wisdom of being able to see how unimportant most things are that we think and worry about. The joy and wisdom of being in the present, with my self, with the others I love. The miracle of how so much of my body works, and the ability and time to tune into that, and to how everything, everything works together.For me now I must simultaneously keep striving, and take it easy on myself. That is the balance. And know that the balance is always there, anyway. The balance is always happening. Part of my sense of the present is the sense that all time is eternally present. This is from TS Eliot’s Four Quartets. Here is the start of the first quartet, Burnt Norton:

‘Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.
What might have been is an abstraction
Remaining a perpetual possibility
Only in a world of speculation.
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.’

When I searched for these words, I also found a Wikipedia article, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/An_Experiment_with_Time, which talks about J.W. Dunne, who wrote about these ideas in 1927, and is probably TS Eliot’s source. I’ll have to find out more about him. I know that some physicists also study this concept now. I read a New Scientist article which discussed how, in physics, there is no reason why time cannot flow in any direction, and that it must all be simultaneous. The linear perception of time in consciousness, it is suggested, is an evolutionary mechanism making it possible to co-ordinate physical consumption of food and existence in three dimensions. If we did not have this linear perception of time, we couldn’t eat, because we wouldn’t be able to see exactly where our food was, if we could simultaneously see its ‘time track’ for even the previous or subsequent moments with the same sense of reality. You can see the start of this article at http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg18224455.500-clockwatchers.html.  

If all time is eternally present, why should the future be anything to be afraid of?

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Filed under Philosophy, Quotes, Reading, Spirituality

What is real?

So, what is real? I read the New York Times magazine article called ‘Out There’ (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/11/magazine/11dark.t.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2&ref=magazine). It is about how 96% of the universe appears to be made up of ‘dark energy’ and ‘dark matter’ – basically undescribed and unknown forces and substances. Everything else – not just life, but stars, planets, galaxies – what we have called ‘everything’ or ‘reality’ – appears to make up only 4% of what exists.

A quote: ‘“We’re just a bit of pollution,” Lawrence M. Krauss, a theorist at Case Western Reserve, said not long ago at a public panel on cosmology in
Chicago. “If you got rid of us, and all the stars and all the galaxies and all the planets and all the aliens and everybody, then the universe would be largely the same. We’re completely irrelevant.”’

It is an interesting thought. Perhaps this dark energy/matter is the oneness, the beingness that we sense in meditation? The article discusses how the energy/matter would be all around us, all the time, passing through us, without being ‘perceived’ as anything.

It is interesting also, how it is described as ‘dark’, rather than ‘light’. Is that because there is no light in this ‘dark’ stuff, or is it just a word we are using to show its polarity, its oppositeness, its duality with what we usually perceive? The article doesn’t explain the use of the word ‘dark’ in this context.

I wonder if it is also related to what I have heard described as ‘the physics of nothingness’. I know there are leading physicists who see this as the critical question that needs to be studied. What is in the space between particles? There is much more space than there is matter, even if we look only at the 4% universe.

Everything and nothing. Darkness and light. Meditation moves closer to the sense and feeling of them than thought and logic.

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Filed under Current issues, Meditation, Philosophy, Reading, Science, Spirituality

An equal music

I have just started reading An Equal Music, by Vikram Seth. I am greatly enjoying it so far. As soon as he started, in
Hyde Park, my mind settled right into it. I love that setting, reminding me of the first time I lived in
London for an extended period, in Shepherd’s Bush, on the Central Line. I walked through
Hyde Park, looked in the Serpentine (that apparently has a swimming club!), visited people in flats like the ones he describes. It is so wonderful to open my book here in Darwin, and move briefly to
London.
I care immediately about these characters – I’m not sure why, as I am not very musical myself. But Michael’s dedication – not quite complete – to his talent, from his
Northern England background is attractive. His comments and descriptions of the others around him is creating a range of characters who already stand alone as people I want to know more about, both as themselves, and as how they will interact with Michael.
It is good to have found another book I want to fall into. 

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The Jane Austen Book Club

“Sylvia thought how all parents wanted an impossible life for their children – happy beginning, happy middle, happy ending. No plot of any kind. What uninteresting people would result if parents got their way.” (p178)“ ‘I guess I think we all deserve more than we earn,’ said Sylvia, ‘if that makes any sense. I’d like the world to be forgiving.’” (p237) 

Two quotes that I enjoyed from this book. But overall, I found it a little disappointing. I liked the characters, but I’d like to have had all of them explored in more detail. I didn’t find myself caring enough about any of them, although I found all of them interesting in as much as I knew about them. I think this book would make a better movie than novel, because good actors would add the richness that isn’t quite there in the text, in my opinion. Not as comfortable as Mc Call Smith’s
Edinburgh that I visited last week.
 

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Filed under Books, Reading