the only way to end this circuitous torture of self-obsession

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AC: The self, which we worship at the moment, is actually a terrible prison. It’s a cage. You are trapped…When you get trapped in your own short term desires, it’s a cage…Maybe it’s good to escape from that daily grind of having to listen to your consciousness constantly saying that “I want this. I want this. I want this.” Which we are encouraged to believe is liberation…Maybe it’s not.

RB: I think you are quite right. Even pop spiritual orators such as Eckhart Tolle will say to you this incessant inner narrative, the relentless thinking – there’s no freedom in that. And watch where those thoughts take you. If I’m walking my dog in the field…this material reality is…I am a man, in a field with a dog. In my head what’s happening: “Oh God. Why did I do that for? This will probably go wrong. What’s going to happen?” …There is a self-imposed tyranny to that…

AC: People live inside their heads very much. Because they are encouraged to, that is the end point. But actually what’s going on in those heads are things that people don’t want to tell. Fear. Loneliness. Doubt. Because actually if you are going to be the right kind of individual, you mustn’t have that. You see that on social media at the moment…

RB: …Self is the relentless driven inner narrative…I myself have had to battle…I believe the disease of addiction has at its core a kind of circuitous self-centeredness that can only be ended, well first by removal of the initial substance…once those things are gone you recognize those drives are still present. What is it?! You become obsessed with food. You become obsessed with sex. You become obsessed with work and other people’s opinion. In the end you begin to recognize that the only way to end this circuitous torture of self-obsession is with ideas that have always been present in religious and spiritual doctrine, service, connectionin whose service is perfect freedom. It is so beautiful. You give yourself up…it is an idiom that implies that there is an upward transcendent trajectory.

~ Russell BrandIs Civilization Crumbling? With Adam Curtis. (Under the Skin. With Russell Brand. Podcast #50, March 24, 2018)

A few moments of silence

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Standing out there in the downpour, beyond the green rows of a new garden. He was bent far over before the flat gray sky in what appeared to be an attitude of prayer or adoration, his arms at his sides. The rain had plastered his shirt to his back and his short black hair glistened. He did not move at all while I stood there, fifteen or twenty minutes. And in that time I saw what it was I had wanted to see all those years…The complete stillness, a silence such as I had never heard out of another living thing, an unbroken grace.

~ Barry Lopez, from “Field Notes: The Grace Note of the Canyon Wren


Notes:

  • Inspired by: 5:08 a.m. 55° F. Quiet. A cool breeze flows through the open window. The pitter patter of soft rain falls on the Earth on this Memorial Day, May 29, 2017
  • Photo: Ponychan
  • Thank you Christie for introducing me to Barry Lopez.

Remembering the lost platoon

Important to watch to the end…

Not everyone had Thanksgiving dinner at home with Family

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Photo: U.S. military personnel wait in line for Thanksgiving dinner at a coalition air base in Qayara, south of Mosul, Iraq. (Felipe Dana / AP / wsj.com)

35 Seconds of Silence

They hover as a cloud of witnesses above this Nation

A pedestrian carrying an umbrella walks through a Memorial Day display of United States flags on the Boston Common in Boston, Massachusetts. See other Memorial Day Photos here: These Emotional Photos Show The Real Reason for Memorial Day

Post Title: Quote by Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887)

 

feed him for three days before asking who he is

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The Arabs used to say,
When a stranger appears at your door,
feed him for three days
before asking who he is,
where he’s come from,
where he’s headed.
That way, he’ll have strength
enough to answer.
Or, by then you’ll be
such good friends
you don’t care.
Let’s go back to that.
Rice? Pine nuts?
Here, take the red brocade pillow.
My child will serve water
to your horse.
No, I was not busy when you came!
I was not preparing to be busy.
That’s the armor everyone put on
to pretend they had a purpose
in the world.
I refuse to be claimed.
Your plate is waiting.
We will snip fresh mint
into your tea.”

Naomi Shihab Nye, “Red Brocade” (1952)


Notes: Image Source: Rice Nice Recipes, Every Hour. Poem Source: “who are you really, wanderer?” (via Schonwieder)

 

Just, so much (too much) here…

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Photo: A U.S. service member salutes her fallen comrades during a memorial ceremony for six Airmen killed in a suicide attack, at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan on Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015. The deadliest attack in Afghanistan since 2013 killed six U.S. troops on Monday, including a family man from Long Island, New York; a South Texan; a New York City police detective; a Georgia high school and college athlete; an expectant father from Philadelphia; and a major from suburban Minneapolis with ties to the military’s LGBT community. They were killed when their patrol was attacked by a suicide bomber on a motorcycle near Bagram Air Base, the Defense Department said. (wsj.com: Tech Sgt. Robert Cloys/U.S. Air Force / Associated Press)

 

What Motivates a Modern Nun?

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[…] Which provoked a question: What could lead a personable young woman from a happy family to give up everything — especially at a moment when women have never had as many opportunities before them?

It’s a reasonable question.

Yet amid the palpable jubilance of this jam-packed basilica, it is clear that this question is the wrong one. There are no sad sacks or martyrs on this altar today. These are happy, excited women. What is it they believe they have found?

Sister Bethany says it’s the “peace in your heart” that comes from knowing you are where you are meant to be. In this case it’s a place so countercultural, it’s almost un-American. For in a nation founded upon the God-given right to the pursuit of happiness, these sisters vow to put the happiness of others before their own. […]

~ William McGurn, What Motivates a Modern Nun?


Photo Source: Thank you Doug @ Eclecticitylight. Image from the 1947 film titled: “Black Narcissus

 

Ripples outward and yokes circles of people in bonds of affection

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[…] Most people feel grateful some of the time — after someone saves you from a mistake or brings you food during an illness. But some people seem grateful dispositionally. They seem thankful practically all of the time.  These people may have big ambitions, but they have preserved small anticipations. As most people get on in life and earn more status, they often get used to more respect and nicer treatment. But people with dispositional gratitude take nothing for granted. They take a beginner’s thrill at a word of praise, at another’s good performance or at each sunny day. These people are present-minded and hyper responsive. This kind of dispositional gratitude is worth dissecting because it induces a mentality that stands in counterbalance to the mainstream threads of our culture.[…]

Gratitude is also a form of social glue. In the capitalist economy, debt is to be repaid to the lender. But a debt of gratitude is repaid forward, to another person who also doesn’t deserve it. In this way each gift ripples outward and yokes circles of people in bonds of affection. It reminds us that a society isn’t just a contract based on mutual benefit, but an organic connection based on natural sympathy — connections that are nurtured not by self-interest but by loyalty and service.

We live in a capitalist meritocracy. This meritocracy encourages people to be self-sufficient — masters of their own fate. But people with dispositional gratitude are hyperaware of their continual dependence on others. They treasure the way they have been fashioned by parents, friends and ancestors who were in some ways their superiors. They’re glad the ideal of individual autonomy is an illusion because if they were relying on themselves they’d be much worse off. […]

If you think that human nature is good and powerful, then you go around frustrated because the perfect society has not yet been achieved. But if you go through life believing that our reason is not that great, our individual skills are not that impressive, and our goodness is severely mottled, then you’re sort of amazed life has managed to be as sweet as it is. […]

~ David Brooks, The Structure of Gratitude


Photo Source: mennyfox55

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