Clear, shadowless sensing; inspired writing. Who else but David Abram?
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Late one evening, I stepped out of my little hut in the rice paddies of eastern Bali and found myself falling through space. Over my head the black sky was rippling with stars, densely clustered in some regions, almost blocking out the darkness between them, and loosely scattered in other areas, pulsing and beckoning to each other. Behind them all streamed the great river of light, with its several tributaries. But the Milky Way churned beneath me as well, for my hut was set in the middle of a large patchwork of rice paddies, separated from each other by narrow, two-foot-high dikes, and these paddies were all filled with water. By day, the surface of these pools reflected perfectly the blue sky, a reflection broken only by the thin, bright-green tips of new rice. But by night, the stars themselves glimmered from the surface of the paddies, and the river of light whirled through the darkness underfoot as well as above; there seemed no ground in front of my feet, only the abyss of starstudded space falling away forever.
I was no longer simply beneath the night sky, but also above it; the immediate impression was of weightlessness. I might perhaps have been able to reorient myself, to regain some sense of ground and gravity, were it not for a fact that confounded my senses entirely: between the galaxies below and the constellations above drifted countless fireflies, their lights flickering like the stars, some drifting up to join the constellations overhead, others, like graceful meteors, slipping down from above to join the constellations underfoot, and all these paths of light upward and downward were mirrored, as well, in the still surface of the paddies. I felt myself at times falling through space, at other moments floating and drifting. I simply could not dispel the profound vertigo and giddiness; the paths of the fireflies, and their reflections in the water’s surface, held me in a sustained trance. Even after I crawled back to my hut and shut the door on this whirling world, the little room in which I lay seemed itself to be floating free of the Earth.
– David Abram: The Spell of the Sensuous
The Alliance for Wild Ethics
John Ruskin: Rough sketches of tree growth, pen and neutral tint.
Let two persons go out for a walk; the one a good sketcher, the other having no taste of the kind. Let them go down a green lane. There will be a great difference in the scene as perceived by the two individuals. The one will see a lane and trees; he will perceive the trees to be green, though he will think nothing about it; he will see that the sun shines, and that it has a cheerful effect; and that’s all! But what will the sketcher see? His eye is accustomed to search into the cause of beauty, and penetrate the minutest parts of loveliness. He looks up, and observes how the showery and subdivided sunshine comes sprinkled down among the gleaming leaves overhead, till the air is filled with the emerald light. He will see here and there a bough emerging from the veil of leaves, he will see the jewel brightness of the emerald moss and the variegated and fantastic lichens, white and blue, purple and red, all mellowed and mingled into a single garment of beauty. Then come the cavernous trunks and the twisted roots that grasp with their snake-like coils at the steep bank, whose turfy slope is inlaid with flowers of a thousand dyes. Is not this worth seeing? Yet if you are not a sketcher you will pass along the green lane and when you come home again, have nothing to say or to think about it, but that you went down such and such a lane.
– John Ruskin
Quoted in The Art of Travel, by Alain de Botton
Image © University of Oxford – Ashmolean Museum
John Ruskin at the artisans’ gallery
seeing without shadows
The mind thinks that there is an observer, an independent you,
and that is what is doing the observing.
But really there isn’t someone who is observing.
Consciousness is conscious.
Awareness is aware.
Observing is observing.
More from Adyashanti:
seeing from silence
Milosz, Lawrence, Einstein and Adyashanti on nondual awareness
In a similar vein:
everything is this Knowing
carse, katz, and the vast view
Haiku is an open-eyed engagement with the word and with the world. It is not so much what paints itself on the retina as what resonates – through one or more of the senses – with the human spirit. Haiku moments, in all their purity, surprise us when – and only when – we have achieved passive, non-striving awareness.
– Gabriel Rosenstock
sickle moon –
Haiku by Gabriel Rosenstock
disappearing in the haiku moment
the haiku moment
a glimpse of a god
When thought ceases, so do I.
I die to the molecular world around me: the birds and cars and people and expressways. The trees and buildings and rivers and neon signs.
I am the puzzle piece fitting perfectly into those around me.
Out an airplane window I am an imperceptible dot in a sprawling, seamless mosaic.
In death I awaken to this heavenly perspective at ground level.
– John Ptacek
Image source: The Village Web