2 October 2005
lives, we need both routine and ritual. The distinction between the two
hinges more on attitude than action.
is something we do without awareness for convenience, to avoid the
distraction and clutter of little decisions about unimportant things.
Routines are necessary for efficiency, thou they rob us of experience.
is an opportunity for heightened awareness: it is the shell of an
experience, for which we reserve periodically a place in our lives, and
which we approach with our sensibilities fully open, our expectations
deliberately set to one side.
a danger that our rituals can devolve into routines, with only perfunctory
attention. Hence we continually re-invent them – each time that we
meditate or pray, each time that we hear a piece of music or attend a
wedding, each time we ask a loved one about his daily experience – we come
forward in full I-thou relationship, as Buber
would say. I am new to this occasion, and I approach it in a way that was
not even possible before this moment.
1 October 2005
curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can
30 September 2005
"Your task is not to
seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself
that you have built against it."
ad-Din Rumi, born this day in 1207
Rumi was a poet and a Sufi
and a mystic. His writing speaks to us with such an immediacy, it is
difficult to believe that he lived so long ago. His thought was deeply
rooted in Islam, but he refused to be confined by it: "Muslims,
Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians should be viewed with the same
"All day I think about
it, then at night I say it. Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to
be doing? I have no idea. My soul is from another realm, I'm sure of that,
and I intend to find my way there."
29 September 2005
"Only in solitude do we
find ourselves; and in finding ourselves, we find in ourselves all our
brothers in solitude."
~ Miguel de Unamuno y Jugo,
born this day in 1864
Unamuno was a Basque
philosopher and poet who struggled with the impact of the scientific
worldview on Christian faith. He wrote a novel
(in 1914) in which a man writes a novel, and precipitates an existential
crisis when he discovers in his introspection that he is himself the
creation of a man named Unamuno, and that he lives only in Unamuno's
imagination. The novelist in the novel rebels against Unamuno, and his
triumph is to achieve an independence of thought and creation.
"He sought the quixotic in all things, whether in creative writing or in contemplation of other writers, and assumed with his patron saint Don Quixote the tragic contradiction of all the great
'feelers' of Europe."
- R. E. Batchelor
28 September 2005
Every day and every hour, one
should practice mindfulness. That's easy to say, but to carry it out in
practice is not. That's why I suggest to those who come to the meditation
sessions that each person should try hard to reserve one day out of the week
to devote entirely to his or her practice of mindfulness...
If it is Saturday, then
Saturday must be entirely your day, a day during which you are completely
the master.... Every worker in a peace or service community, no matter how
urgent its work, has the right to such a day, for without it we will lose
ourselves quickly in a life full of worry and action, and our responses will
become increasingly aimless...
[F]igure out a way to remind yourself at the
moment of waking that this day is your day of mindfulness... Today is your
day...While still lying in bed, begin slowly to follow your breath - slow,
long, and conscious breaths... Spend at least a half hour taking a bath...
For those who are just beginning to practice, it is best to maintain a
spirit of silence throughout the day. (That doesn't mean that on the day of
mindfulness, you shouldn't speak at all.)... In the morning, after you have
cleaned and straightened up your house, and in the afternoon, after you have
worked in the garden or watched clouds or gathered flowers, prepare a pot of
tea to sit and drink in mindfulness...Eat lightly... In the evening, you
might read scripture and copy passages, write letters to friends, or do
anything else you enjoy outside of your normal duties during the week.
Be a bud sitting quietly in the hedge.
Be a smile, one part of wondrous existence.
Stand here. There is no need to depart.
This homeland is as beautiful as the homeland of our childhood.
Do not harm it, please, and continue to sing...
From Thich Nhat Hanh’s
Miracle of Mindfulness
27 September 2005
There are many thousands of
man-made satellites in orbit, principally for communication, navigation, and
observation of the Earth and the Heavens. Still, space remains exotic
because it is expensive. Suppose it became cheap enough for much more
Rockets are, after all, an
extravagant way to move anything. Throwing hot gas behind you as fast as you
can just to keep from succumbing to gravity is spectacularly wasteful. What
if you could just pull yourself up?
Since the 19th Century
Russian visionary Konstantin Tsiolkovksy, people have
talked of building towers that stretch up to space. The supporting structure
turns out to be too heavy. The engineering parameters look much more
promising for a "sky hook" with a rope hanging down. Still, you
need space-age material strengths, but cables made of carbon fiber are, in
principle, light enough and strong enough to make it possible. What will
hold it at the top? A 600-ton counterweight in geosynchronous
The principle is the same as swinging a rope around your head with a weight
tied to one end. If the weight and the length are adjusted just right, you
can anchor one end down at the equator, while the counterweight at the other
swings free, 60,000 miles overhead, and just keeps pace with the earth’s
The construction will require
conventional spacecrafts, but once the cable is installed in space, it will
support a cable car which crawls up into orbit and back, requiring a tiny
fraction of the power and the weight of a conventional spacecraft. All
the power is expended for the first 1/3 of the trip - after that,
centrifugal force continues to accelerate the craft outward. It could
tug on the next passenger, tethered by a second cable; or it could use the
same effect to gather speed for a launch into deep space.
The cost of the entire
project is estimated as low
as $10 billion - about half what Americans spend in a year for coffee, or a tiny
fraction of what it cost to send a man to the moon.
by Bradley Edwards Web
site by commercial developers How
26 September 2005
I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love
For love would be love of the wrong thing;
There is yet faith, but the
faith and love and hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So darkness shall be in the light, and the stillness the dancing.
Eliot, born this day in 1888
Coker (#2 of Four Quartets)