13 February 2005
Feelings carry an insistent,
immediate reality. When we are in pain, in particular, it is difficult to
remember there was a time without pain, or to remember that we will be free
of pain once again.
Meditation provides a habit
of perspective. We learn enough distance from our feelings to be able
to say to pain, "this, too will pass".
Peace is a blessing.
gaining a mature equanimity, must we forfeit the gift of the child: the
capacity to forget time and lose oneself in rapture? Or may bliss also be a fruit of meditation?
Ay - thatís the trick, isnít
12 February 2005
danced in the morning when the World was begun
I danced in the Moon and the Stars and the Sun
I was called from the Darkness by the Song of the Earth
I joined in the Song, and She gave Me the Birth!
I dance in the Circle when the flames leap up high
I dance in the Fire, and I never, ever, die
I dance in the waves of the bright summer sea
For I am the Lord of the wave's mystery
I sleep in the kernel, and I dance in the rain
I dance in the wind, and through the waving grain
And when you cut me down, I care nothing for the pain;
In the Spring I'm the Lord of the Dance once again!
11 February 2005
Philippa Uwins in Queensland, Australia, has been documenting the
existence of life's smallest forms. Bacteria are typically about a
micron across (1/10,000 centimeter), but Uwins's "nanobes"
are only 1/20 that size. (Nanobes are larger than viruses, but a virus is not
an independent living organism, and only comes alive when inside a living
cell, which it infects.)
Uwins is a geologist,
specializing in experimental techniques of electron microscopy at the
smallest scales. She discovered
nanobes while photographing undersea rock samples, and has overcome
prejudice and skepticism just to get her work published in biology journals,
and ultimately prove to the scientific community that they are alive.
The potential significance
of nanobes is this: All of life as we know it is based on the genetic
code. DNA contains information about how to build proteins.
Proteins are the workhorses that do the cell's chemistry. Where did
this fundamentally complex system come from? A prime hypothesis is
that, the first living organisms used neither DNA nor protein, but lived in
an "RNA world",
where RNA was both the repository of information and the chemical
workhorse of the cell.
Nanobes are too small to
translate DNA into proteins. The tantalizing possibility is that
nanobes are RNA-based life forms, living fossils from which we can learn how
10 February 2005
"If your morals make you
dreary, depend upon it they are wrong. I do not say 'give them
up,' for they may be all you have; but conceal them like a vice, lest
they should spoil the lives of better and simpler people."
Robert Louis Stevenson
9 February 2005
The second most common word for happiness in Chinese
is kai shin. The characters literally mean "open heart".
"Fundamental happiness depends more than anything else upon
what may be called a friendly interest in persons and things. ... The
kind [of interest in persons] that makes for happiness is the kind
that likes to observe people and finds pleasure in their individual
traits, that wishes to afford scope for the interests and pleasures of
those with whom it is brought into contact without desiring to acquire
power over them or to secure their enthusiastic admiration. The person
whose attitude towards others is genuinely of this kind will be a
source of happiness and a recipient of reciprocal kindness. ... To
like many people spontaneously and without effort is perhaps the
greatest of all sources of personal happiness."
Conquest of Happiness
8 February 2005
"...meets me through
grace. It is not found by seeking. But my speaking of the primary word [I-Thou]
is an act of my being, it is indeed the act of my being."
"Feelings accompany the
metaphysical and metapsychical fact of love, but they do not constitute it.
Feelings are "entertained": love comes to pass. Feelings dwell in
man, but man dwells in his love. That is no metaphor but the actual truth.
Love does not cling to the I in such a way as to have the beloved only for
its "content", its object; but love is between I and Thou.
The man who does not know this, with his very being know this, does not
"In the eyes of him who
takes his stand in love, gazes out of it, men are cut free from entanglement
in bustling activity. Good people and evil, wise and foolish, beautiful and
ugly become successively real to him; that is, set free they step forth in
their singleness, and confront him as Thou."
from I and Thou, by
Martin Buber, born this day in 1878
(tr Ronald Gregor
7 February 2005
It's the beginning of the
end for the world's biggest family feud, as planes
fly directly between Taiwan and China for the first time in half a
century. A million families were divided across the Strait
of Formosa when Guomindang Republicans fled Mao's army in the 1949
Revolution. As they visit for the Lunar New Year this week, they will
be able to take direct charter flights that don't stop in Hong Kong.
Ideologies on the two sides have been converging for decades, but at a