Monthly Archives: September 2015

Your Heart’s Scope. Your Heart’s Hope

Standard
Gautama the Buddha

Gautama the Buddha

PR–249

The Difficult Business of Watch Repair

“I cannot dream that this watch exists and has no watchmaker.”
–Voltaire

I am fascinated by Vipassana Buddhism
I believe in that one merely observes:
No worries about changing

About guilt about ought
Just be caught aware
Of what you are thinking

What you are doing
Maybe too with a little thought
About the projected payout

I said to myself how practical
How easy a first step:
Become aware

Then of course you can fix stuff kind
Of like getting a new pair of glasses before
The difficult business of watch repair

But I now believe it’s easier than that
If you watch it
The watch repairs itself

~.~.~

Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Invocation:

“Towards the one, the perfection of love, harmony and beauty, the only being, united with all the illuminated souls who form the embodiment of the master, the spirit of guidance.”

~.~.~

Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Prescribed Daily Mantra:
“My thoughtful self: Reproach no one. Bear malice towards no one. Hold a grudge against no one. Be wise, tolerant, considerate, polite, and kind to all.”

~.~.~

Gentle Reader,

For starters, I want to apologize for the lapse of what has it been? Two weeks? Three?

I am starting to feel it was a rash promise, “New post every Monday.” (I really must amend that) Especially since some of them more than usually require research. (Like today’s). Also recently I’ve been ill, and the internet has been down. (Remember, this is Guatemala here, and we have regular power outages, etc. And when it rains I can’t see some of my favorite channels on television. Life is hard) But mostly it’s because this post is a victim of mission creep and now it looks like it may be a three parter, instead of the projected two (I refer to the current Aldous Huxley theme). Moreover, much more difficult to execute than my usual stuff I can at least do a good first draft of off the top of my head. But this is more like writing a paper for a literature class.

So I fear it’s a tattered flag I am saluting with this post-a-week promise. And I have noticed some other blogs which are far more intermittent than mine. And a wee voice talks about a happy balance between maintaining a schedule, and not having a nervous breakdown. If any are not into a faithful vigilance towards blogs, and yet would prefer not to miss one of these posts, remember, there is a follow button. Press that, enter your email, and one can relax and await notification by email when a new post arrives.

Now back to business:

This post might properly be titled, “My Aldous Huxley Angle, Part Two.” (Because the last post was part one)

But that sounds unpoetic and I usually at least try to be dramatic.

Which suggests what they always tell you in writer’s school: You need a “hook” atop your oeuvre to pique the reader’s interest.

So no doubt this will have a different title.*

Oh dear. Digression ataque de nuevo. Sigh.

But onward:

Back to Aldous Huxley. Even in high school I was fascinated by his work. I read almost every one of his novels including of course, his famous cautionary tale of a future dystopia, Brave New World, often paired with George Orwell’s 1984,** which provides a darker future of a Stalinist police state that can practically read minds. Huxley’s was less dark, but the point was, that even though they ruled more by drugs and hedonistic mind conditioning than by threats of pain and such negative feedback, yet the horror was achieved. The horror being what happens when you are denied your humanity, your heart’s scope. Your heart’s hope.

There. Maybe that’s my title!

Aside from Brave New World (which fyi is the less depressing read, of the dicho dystopias) there was Ape and Essence, Eyeless in Gaza, Time Must Have a Stop, Chrome Yellow, Antic Hay, Point Counterpoint, After Many a Summer Dies the Swan (another wry fantasy novel dealing with a “breakthrough” in the direction of human immortality), and importantly, his last novel, Island, which had a more mystical bent,*** and also featured a future alternate society, but this time beneficent.

Even if it was a Jesus parallel. In that this society got invaded and lost everything to their non-mystical neighbors. Kind of a crucifixion of innocence kind of thing.

I have always remembered Huxley’s Island, or at least the incident with the young boy being bitten by a large snake, which of course terrified him. The elders would not be content to let the boy who survived nicely, forget the incident. No, they made him relive it by constantly describing how it was, down to remembering all the details, so it would be a part of conscious memory instead of being forced underground into the subconscious where otherwise it would live and do its dirty work in dreams or a generalized sense of dread.

All of which showed a marvelous understanding of the human psyche and how to deal with it without doing any harm, and beyond that, to actually cure mental damage and maintain mental health.

It was essentially Buddhist philosophy.

To encapsulate, here’s a quote:
“Nobody needs to go anywhere else. We are all, if we only knew it, already there.” ****

I think I will add it to this websites quote collection (See “Quotes” button above)

I looked Island up online and found some interesting stuff (See below)*****

More next week.

God be with you,
Eric Halliwell

*A ver cual. I usually pick titles the way I do for my poems. If you look at any of them, you will note that almost invariably the title is a verbatim extract from the body of the poem. It does solve a lot of the problems one has picking titles. There is in my poems usually a dramatic sequence or colorful bit or something which Samuel Johnson (the famous British man of letters immortalized in Boswell’s Life of Johnson–Which I intend to read someday) might have called “exceptionally fine.”

Even though what Doctor Johnson actually said was, “If you think you have written something exceptionally fine, strike it out!”

It’s best of course if this title eloquently encapsulates the idea of the poem.

If the poem doesn’t feature any such highlights perhaps it’s time to go back to the drawing board (poem-wise)

**By an interesting coincidence, when Huxley briefly taught writing, one of his students was George Orwell, whose also dystopian (plenty scary) cautionary tale, 1984, is usually paired with Huxley’s Brave New World. Such a small world. As this post also demonstrates when you get to the coincidences.

***In his later years, Huxley became focused on Eastern mystical ideas, such as mentioned above, Buddhism.

****smacks of Zen do it not?

*****I did some research for this post and found an article by Velma Lush who argues that it’s Buddhist stuff, giving these examples:

“Over a thousand birds inhabit the island mimicking the word, ‘Attention,’ reminding people to pay attention to everything they do.”

“From the beginning, children are taught to do things with ‘the minimum of strain and maximum of awareness’ “.

“By being fully aware of what you’re doing, work becomes the yoga of work, play becomes the yoga of play, everyday living becomes the yoga of everyday living.”

The article can be found here:
http://www.huxley.net/island/)