Sebastião Salgado, Sulfur, Indonesia, 1991. Thank you, melisaki.
We could decide simply to remain absorbed in the mysterious, unformed, free-play of reality. This would be the choice of the mystic who seeks to extinguish himself in God or Nirvana - analogous perhaps to the tendency among artists to obliterate themselves with alcohol or opiates. But if we value our participation in a shared reality in which it makes sense to make sense, then such self-abnegation would deny a central element of our humanity: the need to speak and act, to share our experience with others.
“The solitary life, being silent, clears away the smoke-screen of words that man has laid down between his mind and things. In solitude we remain face to face with the naked being of things. And yet we find that the nakedness of reality which we have feared, is neither a matter of terror nor for shame. It is clothed in the friendly communion of silence, and this silence is related to love. The world our words have attempted to classify, to control and even to despise (because they could not contain it) comes close to us, for silence teaches us to know reality by respecting it where words have defiled it.
When we have lived long enough alone with the reality around us, our veneration will learn how to bring forth a few good words about it from the silence which is the mother of Truth.
Words stand between silence and silence: between the silence of things and the silence of our own being. Between the silence of the world and the silence of God. When we have really met and known the world in silence, words do not separate us from the world nor from other men, nor from God, nor from ourselves because we no longer trust entirely in language to contain reality.”
Thoughts in Solitude
first published in 1958 by Farrar, Strauss, Giroux
in early editions, pages 85-6, in more recent editions pages 82-3.
Thank you, louie, louie.
In the ordinary mind, we perceive the stream of thoughts as continuous, but in reality this is not the case. You will discover for yourself that there is a gap between each thought. When the past thought is past, and the future thought has not yet arisen, you will always find a gap in which the Rigpa, the nature of mind, is revealed. So the work of meditation is to allow thoughts to slow down, to make that gap become more and more apparent.
Self Observation is very difficult. The more you try, the more clearly you will see this.
At present you should practice it not for results but to understand that you cannot observe yourself. In the past you imagined that you saw and knew yourselves. I am speaking of objective self-observation. Objectively you cannot see yourself for a single minute, because it is a different function, the function of the master.
If it seems to you that you can observe yourself for 5 minutes, this is wrong; if it is for twenty minutes or one minute – it is equally wrong. if you realise that you cannot, it will be right. To come to it is your aim.
To achieve this aim, you must try and try. When you try, the result will not be, in the truest sense, self observation. But trying will strengthen your attention, you will learn to concentrate better. All this will be useful later. Only then can one begin to remember oneself. If you work conscientiously, you will remember yourself not more but less, because self -remembering requires many things. It’s not so easy, it costs a great deal.
The exercise of self-observation is sufficient for several years. Do not attempt anything else. If you work conscientiously you will see what you need. At present you have but one attention, either in body or the feeling.
—G.I. Gurdjieff, Views from the Real World. From a talk given in New York on March 13th, 1924.
Thanks to My Caravan of Dream for posting this.
We are the world. The world is you and me, the world is not separate from you and me. We have created this world - the world of violence, the world of wars, the world of religious divisions, sex, anxieties, the utter lack of communication with each other, with no sense of compassion, consideration for another. Wherever one goes in any country throughout the world, human beings, that is, you and another, suffer; we are anxious, we are uncertain, we don’t know what is going to happen. Everything has become uncertain. Right through the world as human beings we are in sorrow, fear, anxiety, violence, uncertain of everything, insecure. There is a common relationship between us all. We are the world essentially, basically, fundamentally. The world is you, and you are the world. Realizing that fundamentally, deeply, not romantically, not intellectually but actually, then we see that our problem is a global problem. It is not my problem or your particular problem, it is a human problem.