Saturday, December 4, 2021

Mary Oliver ~ Living


Katsushika Hokusai 1760 – 1849: 'Self Portrait as a Fisherman'
Color woodblock print with metallic pigments; surimono shikishiban.
Art Institute Chicago


The witchery of living
is my whole conversation
with you my darlings.
All I can tell you is what I know.
Look, and look again.
This world is not just a little thrill for the eyes.
It's more than bones.
It's more than the delicate wrist with its personal pulse.
It's more than the beating of the single heart.
It's praising.
It's giving until the giving feels like receiving.
You have a life - just imagine that!
You have this day, and maybe another, and maybe still another.

 From “To Begin With, the Sweet Grass”
‘Evidence: Poems’  Beacon Press, 2010


With thanks to Miriam Louisa Simons

Friday, December 3, 2021

Shiv Sengupta ~ What is spiritual anarchy?



Anarchy and chaos seem to go together like peanut butter and
jelly, like macaroni and cheese, or Thelma and Louise. The two
seem inseparable in our minds because we have no idea what
this word “anarchy” really means. It conjures images of rioting
in the streets, burning cars, broken shop windows, rampant
looting, bands of armed militia terrorizing innocent civilians,
bodies on the street, starvation … but that’s just the Hollywood version.

Anarchy is rst and foremost about self-governance. Yet,
self-governance is not something most people are capable
of. Most people need to be led, guided, instructed, advised,
rewarded and punished for them to feel as if they are on the
right path in their lives. They need this structure put in place
for them so that they may feel a sense of value, contribution,
progress and meaning. Without it they feel lost—cast adrift
upon a vast ocean of experience with no real markers by which
to chart their progress.

If you were to take a person like that and suddenly strip
them of the scaffolding that society has built around them, they
would most likely react by either going berserk or falling apart.
Most people are simply not ready to have the dual training
wheels of meaning and identity taken off their bicycles.

They are better off doing as they are told.
They are better off maintaining an illusion of freedom and choice
They are better off believing that their opinions and
beliefs are proof of a uniquely forged identity.
They are better off believing that the more they protect
and craft that identity the more secure they are going to be.
They are better off believing that the more people they
can get to agree with them, the more proof they will
have of the rightness of their perspectives.

Without others to provide them with a context for their experiences,
such people are totally lost. Without someone to agree
with and someone to oppose, it is hard for them to know where
they stand. Those who have spent their lives living in castles in
the sky will have no idea what to do when they see that the sky
is just a great blue void that they are endlessly falling through.
They will simply flail in desperation. And flailing people certainly look chaotic.
But flailing is not anarchy. It is just chaos.

When the Buddha spoke of enlightenment, he was speaking
about spiritual anarchy. When J Krishnamurti talked about a
“total revolution”, he was talking about spiritual anarchy.

Anarchy is a process that begins with the stripping away
of all the narratives we have invented as a civilization—until
there is nothing left of a person but spirit encased in flesh.
The experience of living is whittled down to the very core until we
are brought to the heart of it—the self in its rawest and most
unadulterated form. The book of life is torn apart—one page at
a time, chapter by chapter—history, race, religion, nationality,
gender, spirituality, ethnicity, politics—all the accumulated
knowledge of the world expunged.

We stand face to face with the universe just as we once did
on the day we were born. We recognize that the essence we
call a “self” and the essence we call a “universe” are one and the
same even if their forms may differ. Finally, we choose to take
responsibility for this essence in all its forms—including that of
our self. This is spiritual anarchy.

It is governance not just of a separate individual self. It is governance
of the whole as our self. Such governance doesn’t happen
by force. It is not an assertion of our own will upon the universe,
nor is it the submission or surrender of our will to the universe. It
is a governance that happens by listening, adapting and responding
to the ow of life itself. Then at times when this ow aligns
with that of society, we may appear to “conform”. And when this
flow appears to misalign with that of society, one may appear to
“oppose”. Yet, this aligning and opposing has nothing to do with
being “for or against”. The direction in which we move has not
been primarily set within a social context.

When I gaze up at a starry night sky, my eyes can see stars
that exist hundreds of light years away. And if I close my eyes,
I can still feel the aftershocks of the Big Bang resonating within
my body. This moment encompasses all of space and time. This
whole universe has been gifted to me as a canvas. Am I going to
listen to someone telling me what to draw on it?

Spiritual anarchy is the process by which the control of the
social self-construct is relinquished and restored to the spirit.
The only law that applies henceforth is spiritual law. Yet, this
is not something cast in stone like commandments on a tablet.

It is a truth that reveals and rewrites itself afresh moment after moment.


 Advaitaholics Anonymous Vol.II
A Manifesto for Spiritual Anarchy



The Doors ~ The end


 This is the end
Beautiful friend
This is the end
My only friend, the end
Of our elaborate plans, the end
Of everything that stands, the end
No safety or surprise, the end
I'll never look into your eyes... Again
Can you picture what will be
So limitless and free
Desperately in need... Of some... Stranger's hand
In a... Desperate land
This is the end
Beautiful friend
This is the end
My only friend, the end
It hurts to set you free
But you'll never follow me
The end of laughter and soft lies
The end of nights we tried to die
This is the end.