Human beings don’t observe each other enough. When you observe other people you’re observing directly the precise mystery of what life is.
It’s human nature to be both attracted to people and also shy and unsettled by people. We consider someone psychologically healthy who can navigate between the two poles.
It’s true that there are other ways to access a sense of wonder in life, say, through nature, art, spiritual devotion or simply staring at the night sky (if you live in a place where you can actually observe a night sky).
But there’s nothing like another human being to amplify the questions that should be primary in each of our lives: Who am I? Who are we? Where did we come from? Where are we going?
If these questions are not a priority in your life I can guarantee that you’re living a half life. And that’s a shame.
The wonder and awe and beauty and majesty of the human being, the very mystery of how we have a self-reflecting consciousness and our own unique window into reality — a window that phenomenologists call first-person givenness — is why in places like India when people meet each other they put their hands together and bow to the person across from them. That gesture acknowledges the indefinable mystery that is the other individual’s being, his or her divinity. Read more
“About five years ago I saw a mockingbird make a straight vertical descent from the roof gutter of a four-story building. It was an act as careless and spontaneous as the curl of a stem or the kindling of a star.
The mockingbird took a single step into the air and dropped. His wings were still folded against his sides as though he were singing from a limb and not falling, accelerating thirty-two feet per second, through empty air.
Just a breath before he would have been dashed to the ground, he unfurled his wings with exact, deliberate care, revealing the broad bars of white, spread his elegant, white-banded tail, and so floated onto the grass.
I had just rounded a corner when his insouciant step caught my eye; there was no one else in sight. The fact of his free fall was like the old philosophical conundrum about the tree that falls in the forest. The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.”
Annie Dillard | Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
Gorgeous bird photography by TinyFishy
I’ve toggled in and out of vegetarianism for years. There were points in my life where the necessity to eat meat (or the belief that it was a necessity) felt crucial. But as I’ve matured I’ve come to see that most of what I thought about meat was inaccurate, not relevant, and based on whim, ease and, well, self-interest — rather than the ‘bigger picture.’
Everything eats and is eaten. Life eats life. This is a fact. But as our consciousness shifts, evolves, can we take life (to consume it) more consciously? Be that organic gardening, non-GMO food stuffs, humane slaughter houses (what an oxymoron that is)? Or become intelligently aware (not obsessive) with our nutritional needs so that there is balance and sanity amidst our consumption. And awareness of how those needs impact the world and the creatures that live in the world with us.
Presently I live on coffee, wine, salmon, vegetables, nuts and protein from egg whites. No gluten (or very little). Also some kind of treat: Cookies, muffins or an 18-pound box of See’s candy [I’m kidding.] But I do keep the treats gluten free.
But with meat. Oy. Watching one too many Youtubes showing the horrific, often deliberately cruel condition that chickens and cows must live through with what little they even have of a lifespan, tipped the tipping point for me. And then too, what of the workers in these plants and the impact of endless slaughtering on their psyches?
I had to stop and consider what I was aiding and abetting for the sake of convenience while shopping with a budget in mind. Meaning: Everything chopped, washed, wrapped and put on gleaming display in the meat section with an affordable price tag attached. Yes, all the necessities in place to make me not have to think about what I would have to experience if I were finding or raising my own animals and then murdering them.
Watch this interview with activist Gene Baur where he discusses cheap food, annoying protestors and the rise of giant sexless turkeys and let me know what you think and if this makes any impression on your dietary choices. I’d like to hear from you.
Hat tip to Godfrey Hamilton for pointing this Time interview out to me.
Pictures often save thousands of words – especially when it comes to astrologers and their tendency to blowhard.
As we move towards April’s ‘big kahuna’ grand cardinal cross (on April 23/24 to be exact) the following animated GIFS convey the essence and feeling tenor of the approaching clash of the titans:
…and yes, you can even Read more