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Mysticism and meditation

by Barnhill, David L. last modified Dec 26, 2010 11:15 PM

“If the doors of perception were cleansed, every thing would appear as it is, infinite."
--William Blake, "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell"

For everything that lives is holy, life delights in life.
--William Blake, "America: A Prophecy"

"The End, the Beginning"  

If there were not an utter and absolute dark
of silence and sheer oblivion
at the core of everything,
how terrible the sun would be,
how ghastly it would be to strike a match, and make a light.

But the very sun himself is pivoted
upon a core of pure oblivion,
so is a candle, even as a match. 

And if there were not an absolute, utter forgetting
and a ceasing to know, a perfect ceasing to know
and a silent, sheer cessation of all awareness
how terrible life would be!
how terrible it would be to think and know, to have consciousness!

But dipped, once dipped in dark oblivion
the soul has peace, inward and lovely peace.
--D. H. Lawrence, The Complete Poems of D. H. Lawrence (New York: Viking Press, 1964), 724.

Gray Weather

It is true that, older than man and ages to outlast him, the Pacific surf
Still cheerfully pounds the worn granite drum;
But there's no storm; and the birds are still, no song; no kind of excess;
Nothing that shines, nothing is dark;
There is neither joy nor grief nor a person, the sun's tooth sheathed in cloud,
And life has not more desires than a stone.
The stormy conditions of time and change are all abrogated, the essential
Violences of survival, pleasure,
Love, wrath and pain, and the curious desire of knowing, all perfectly suspended.
In the cloudy light, in the timeless quiteness,
One explores deeper than the nerves or heart of nature, the womb or soul,
To the bone, the careless white bone, the excellence.
--Robinson Jeffers, The Selected Poetry of Robinson Jeffers New York: Random House, 1937), 572.


For in the immediate world, everything is to be discerned, for him who can discern it, and centrally and simply, without either dissection into science, or digestion into art, but with the whole of consciousness, seeking to perceive it as it stands: so that the aspect of a street in sunlight can roar in the heart of itself as a symphony, perhaps as no symphony can: and all of consciousness is shifted from the imagined, the revisive, to the effort to perceive simply the cruel radiance of what is. 

This is why the camera seems to me, next to unassisted and weaponless consciousness, the central instrument of our time....
If I had explained myself clearly you would realize by now that through this non-"artistic" view, this effort to suspend or destroy imagination, there opens before consciousness, and within it, a universe luminous, spacious, incalculably rich and wonderful in each detail, as relaxed and natural to the human swimmer, and as full of glory, as his breathing....
--James Agee, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (New York: Ballantine Books, 1974), 11.

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by Barnhill, David L. last modified Dec 26, 2010 11:15 PM