Sunday, November 29, 2009

"The Beholder" ["Der Schauende"] by Rainer Maria Rilke

I can tell by the way the trees beat, after
so many dull days, on my worried windowpanes
that a storm is coming,
and I hear the far-off fields say things
I can't bear without a friend,
I can't love without a sister.

The storm, the shifter of shapes, drives on
across the woods and across time,
and the world looks as if it had no age:
the landscape, like a line in the psalm book,
is seriousness and weight and eternity.

What we choose to fight is so tiny!
What fights with us is so great!
If only we would let ourselves be dominated
as things do by some immense storm,
we would become strong too, and not need names.

When we win it's with small things,
and the triumph itself makes us small.
What is extraordinary and eternal
does not want to be bent by us.
I mean the Angel who appeared
to the wrestlers of the Old Testament:
when the wrestlers' sinews
grew long like metal strings,
he felt them under his fingers
like chords of deep music.

Whoever was beaten by the Angel
(who often simply declined the fight)
went away proud and strengthened
and great from that harsh hand,
that kneaded him as if to change his shape.
Winning does not tempt that man.
This is how he grows: by being defeated, decisively,
by constantly greater beings.

Ich sehe den Bäumen die Stürme an,
die aus laugewordenen Tagen
an meine ängstlichen Fenster schlagen,
und höre die Fernen Dinge sagen,
die ich nicht ohne Freund ertragen,
nicht ohne Schwester lieben kann.

Da geht der Sturm, ein Umgestalter,
geht durch den Wald und durch die Zeit,
und alles ist wie ohne Alter:
die Landschaft, wie ein Vers im Psalter,
ist Ernst und Wucht und Ewigkeit.

Wie ist das klein, womit wir ringen,
was mit uns ringt, wie ist das groß;
ließen wir, ähnlicher den Dingen,
uns so vom großen Sturm bezwingen, -
wir würden weit und namenlos.

Was wir besiegen, ist das Kleine,
und der Erfolg selbst macht uns klein.
Das Ewige und Ungemeine
will nicht von uns gebogen sein.
Das ist der Engel, der den Ringern
des Alten Testaments erschien:
wenn seiner Widersacher Sehnen
im Kampfe sich metallen dehnen,
fühlt er sie unter seinen Fingern
wie Saiten tiefer Melodien.

Wen dieser Engel überwand,
welcher so oft auf Kampf verzichtet,
der geht gerecht und aufgerichtet
und groß aus jener harten Hand,
die sich, wie formend, an ihn schmiegte.
Die Siege laden ihn nicht ein.
Sein Wachstum ist: der Tiefbesiegte
von immer Größerem zu sein.

From Selected Poems of Rainer Maria Rilke, A Translation from the German and Commentary by Robert Bly.  Also, from p. 65: "I once heard a story of Rilke's early life with his mother. It seems she wanted a girl, not a  boy; and she gave him seven or eight middle names, including Maria. When he was two or three years old, Rilke would knock on the living room door from the hall. 'Who is it . . . is it Rainer?' 'No, that naughty Rainer is dead.' ' Is it Margaret?' 'Yes.' 'Well, then you can come in.' Rilke would then enter, wearing a small dress, and he and his mother would have tea." Also, on p. 134, Bly quotes the poet Francis Ponge: "One will surely understand what I consider to be the function of poetry. It is to nourish the spirit of man by giving him the cosmos to suckle."

Friday, November 27, 2009

13 ways of looking at my guru. #10: The great good fish

The Gospel of Thomas, Saying 8:

And he said, "The one is like a wise fisher who cast his net into the sea and drew it up from the sea full of small fish. Among them the wise fisher discovered a fine large fish. He threw all the small fish back into the  sea, and with no hesitation picked the great good fish. Whoever has ears, listen!"

I basically divide everyone I've ever met in my life into two groups of people: Swamiji, and everybody else.

"Our chief want in life is somebody who shall make us do what we can."--Emerson

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Dharma as penance

Rudolf Steiner, lecture five of According to Luke, September 19, 1909:

"If the bodhisattva had not appeared completely in the body of the great Gautama Buddha, individual human souls would not have been able to receive the lawfulness known as dharma, which human beings develop from within only by eliminating the astral content of their souls in order to free themselves from all the harmful effects of karma. The Buddha legend points to this fact in a wonderful way when it says that the Buddha had succeeded in "setting the wheel of the law rolling." That is, when the bodhisattva was enlightened and became the Buddha, a wave flowed over all of humankind, and as a consequence individuals gradually learned to develop dharma from within their own souls....
Through the Buddha, humankind acquired the lawfulness that each soul discovers for itself and uses to purify itself and rise to the highest possible level of earthly morality. As proclaimed by the Buddha, dharma, the law of the soul, is accessible to individual human souls at the highest level of development; the Buddha was the first to derive it from within."

Friday, November 13, 2009

It's the anniversary of Swamiji's mahasamadhi

"Wisdom is the precondition of love. Love is wisdom reborn in the human I."--Rudolf Steiner

Wisdom: Born out of the periphery of the cosmos

Rudolf Steiner, conclusion to the evening lecture of April 18, 1909 [the last in the lecture series "The Spiritual Heirarchies and the Physical World"]:

"'We are the center of our universe. Everything around us loses its significance because we have to acknowledge that the outer, sense-perceptible world cannot solve the riddles that confront us. It is as if everything were concentrated at a single point. But just as everything compresses altogether, the solution of the cosmic riddle comes back from the periphery as powerfully real as matter itself, which is a reflection and image of the spiritual. Matter gathers itself together, disappears at the center and reappears at the periphery. That is reality. Our knowledge is real when it steps in front of our eyes as the structure and process of the entire cosmos. Such knowledge is no longer a form of speculation--a weaving of fanciful theory--for such knowledge is born out of the cosmos. This is the feeling we should develop. Wisdom must become an ideal for us, born out of the periphery of the cosmos and capable of filling us with great strength, with strength that enables us to fulfill our own destiny and to achieve our own cosmic ideal. With this strength, we shall also be able to realize the human ideal that awaits us in the future."

Rudolf Steiner: "Wisdom is the precondition of love. Love is wisdom reborn in the human I."

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Holy Spirit is the Bodhisattva

Rudolf Steiner, lecture 9 of "The East in the Light of the West," August 31, 1909:

The being who is the great teacher of all civilizations "is the totality of the Bodhisattvas. The Christian conception would designate it the Holy Spirit. The Bodhisattiva is a being who passes through all civilizations, who can manifest Himself to humankind in various ways."

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Intuitive health report from the School of Metaphysics

July 13, 2009. You will search for the essence of the entity referred to as Pearl Rosenbourg....

We have this.

You will examine the essence of this entity throughout, from the crown of the head to the soles of the feet. You will relate all disorders as seen, whether mental, emotional, or physical, and you will also relate those things necessary for the correction of any disorder.

We see regret within this one. We see that there are actions that this one has taken that in this one’s estimation, this one views as having either hurt others or produced discordance between the self and others. We see that this one eats the self up in thinking about this. Would suggest to this one that evaluation of the past is useful, and this one having some perspective from the present, that this one did not have at the time, would suggest that this one be more gentle with the self, more forgiving of the self, more forgiving of other people in the present as well as the past. And then for this one in the present to seek ways that this one can cause something different, even if it is not with the people that this one has regrets about. That when there is the regret there are always resonant type situations, even if they are with different people or different situations, there is some resonance in the present, that this one can cause something different to occur in the present with the self, which will then aid this one in the forgiveness, the compassion, the gentleness. It would benefit this one to recognize that learning is a process for this one to forgive the process of learning, to be willing to learn, to be happy about learning. It would aid this one to consider viewing the self as if this one were a child. Not as childish, rather the kind perspective that this one would have, of a child, and this one’s capacity to be more forgiving, patient, compassionate, loving and so forth. And to treat the self in this way. It would benefit this one to have some place to volunteer the time and energy to aid others. This would aid this one in building a deeper sense of knowing this one’s value and worth.

We see within the emotional system there has been a kind of shutdown emotionally. It is as if this one has beaten the self emotionally for the regrets and mistakes of the past. Would suggest to this one that a gentle reprimand for what this one views as being a mistake is enough. And that in order for this one to move forward within the self and to aid others, there is a need for this one to appreciate the emotions and their use. It could benefit this one to engage the imagination in this, for this one to make a list of people who this one views as being gentle and warm emotionally, affectionate, loving. And for this one to imagine the self being like these ones and then to practice this. It would benefit this one to touch more and to allow the self to be touched.

We see within the physical system there is a shrinking of some of the tissues that is occurring. There is some dehydration that is occurring. It would benefit this one to drink water by sipping. It would also benefit this one to eat foods that have absorbed water. Such as making rice with extra water so then it can be absorbed by the body. It would benefit this one to reduce foods that are hot in nature such as hot spices such as cinnamon or red pepper. To eat foods that are more cooling, such as watermelon, cucumbers, tomatoes. There is a need for this one to eat a variety of foods. Chick peas would be of benefit. We see that there is a kind of fraying of some of the muscle fibers. There is less elasticity. Gentle massage would be of benefit. Stretching the body with the breath would be of benefit. We see that there are times when this one is somewhat harsh with the body. This follows upon what has been described. Would suggest therefore that this one be more gentle with the body rather than pushing it beyond limits. To allow it to rest. There are times when there is a need for rest that should be respected. It would benefit this one to sleep when needed rather that when this one thinks this one should be awake or asleep. There are changes that are occurring in the needs of the system for sleep. Sleeping more often for shorter periods of time would be of benefit. It would also benefit this one to be attentive to the dreams, to record them, to receive the images that are in. Even to draw them. We see that that it would be of benefit for there to be focus upon the senses of smell and taste. There are times when the foods that are eaten, although healthy, are not received by the body nutritionally. This also would be a matter of this one learning to appreciate the self and the process of eating rather than as a kind of duty that this one must do.

This is all.

Monday, November 2, 2009

"The Blessed Virgin Compared To The Air We Breathe," by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Wild air, world-mothering air,
Nestling me everywhere,
That each eyelash or hair
Girdles; goes home betwixt
The fleeciest, frailest-flixed
Snowflake; that's fairly mixed
With, riddles, and is rife
In every least thing’s life;
This needful, never spent,
And nursing element;
My more than meat and drink,
My meal at every wink;
This air, which, by life’s law,
My lung must draw and draw
Now but to breathe its praise,
Minds me in many ways
Of her who not only
Gave God’s infinity
Dwindled to infancy
Welcome in womb and breast,
Birth, milk, and all the rest
But mothers each new grace
That does now reach our race—
Mary Immaculate,
Merely a woman, yet
Whose presence, power is
Great as no goddess’s
Was deemèd, dreamèd; who
This one work has to do—
Let all God’s glory through,
God’s glory which would go
Through her and from her flow
Off, and no way but so.

     I say that we are wound
With mercy round and round
As if with air: the same
Is Mary, more by name.
She, wild web, wondrous robe,
Mantles the guilty globe,
Since God has let dispense
Her prayers his providence:
Nay, more than almoner,
The sweet alms’ self is her
And men are meant to share
Her life as life does air.
     If I have understood,
She holds high motherhood
Towards all our ghostly good
And plays in grace her part
About man’s beating heart,
Laying, like air’s fine flood,
The deathdance in his blood;
Yet no part but what will
Be Christ our Saviour still.
Of her flesh he took flesh:
He does take fresh and fresh,
Though much the mystery how,
Not flesh but spirit now
And makes, O marvellous!
New Nazareths in us,
Where she shall yet conceive
Him, morning, noon, and eve;
New Bethlems, and he born
There, evening, noon, and morn—
Bethlem or Nazareth,
Men here may draw like breath
More Christ and baffle death;
Who, born so, comes to be
New self and nobler me
In each one and each one
More makes, when all is done,
Both God’s and Mary’s Son.
     Again, look overhead
How air is azurèd;
O how! nay do but stand
Where you can lift your hand
Skywards: rich, rich it laps
Round the four fingergaps.
Yet such a sapphire-shot,
Charged, steepèd sky will not
Stain light. Yea, mark you this:
It does no prejudice.
The glass-blue days are those
When every colour glows,
Each shape and shadow shows.
Blue be it: this blue heaven
The seven or seven times seven
Hued sunbeam will transmit
Perfect, not alter it.
Or if there does some soft,
On things aloof, aloft,
Bloom breathe, that one breath more
Earth is the fairer for.
Whereas did air not make
This bath of blue and slake
His fire, the sun would shake,
A blear and blinding ball
With blackness bound, and all
The thick stars round him roll
Flashing like flecks of coal,
Quartz-fret, or sparks of salt,
In grimy vasty vault.
     So God was god of old:
A mother came to mould
Those limbs like ours which are
What must make our daystar
Much dearer to mankind;
Whose glory bare would blind
Or less would win man’s mind.
Through her we may see him
Made sweeter, not made dim,
And her hand leaves his light
Sifted to suit our sight.
     Be thou then, O thou dear
Mother, my atmosphere;
My happier world, wherein
To wend and meet no sin;
Above me, round me lie
Fronting my froward eye
With sweet and scarless sky;
Stir in my ears, speak there
Of God’s love, O live air,
Of patience, penance, prayer:
World-mothering air, air wild,
Wound with thee, in thee isled,
Fold home, fast fold thy child.

13 ways of looking at my guru: The thirteenth among the twelve

Rudolf Steiner, from "Rosicrucian Christianity," a lecture given September 27, 1911:

"If you imagine a young man who is very pious and who devotes all his time to fervent prayer to God, then you can have a picture of this thirteenth individuality. He grew up entirely under the care and instruction of the twelve, and he received as much wisdom as each one could give him. He was educated with the greatest care, and every precaution was taken to see that no one other than the twelve exercised an influence on him. He was kept apart from the rest of the world. He was a very delicate child in that incarnation of the thirteenth century, and therefore the education that the twelve bestowed upon him worked right into his physical body....
Whilst the spiritual forces of the thirteenth increased beyond measure, his physical forces drained away. It came to the point when he almost ceased to have any further connection with external life, and all interest in the physical world disappeared. He lived entirely for the sake of the spiritual development which the twelve were bringing about in him. The wisdom of the twelve was reflected in him. It reached the point where the thirteenth refused to eat and wasted away.... After a few days the body of the thirteenth became quite transparent, and for days he lay as though dead. The twelve now gathered around him at certain intervals. At these moments all knowledge and wisdom flowed from the their lips. While the thirteenth lay as though dead, they let their wisdom flow toward him in short prayer-like formulae. The best way to imagine them is to picture the twelve in a circle around the thirteenth. This situation ended when the soul of the thirteenth awakened like a new soul. He had experienced a great transformation of soul. Within him there now existed something that was like a completely new birth of the twelve streams of wisdom, so that the twelve wise men could also learn something entirely new from the youth. His body, too, came to life now in such a way that this revival of his absolutely transparent body was beyond compare. The youth could now speak of quite new experiences.... In the course of a few weeks the thirteenth reproduced all the wisdom he had received from the twelve, but in a new form. This new form was as though given by Christ Himself.... The thirteenth died relatively young, and the twelve then devoted themselves to the task of recording what the thirteenth had revealed to them....We have to see the occult process in such a way that the fruits of the initiation of the thirteenth remained as the residue of his etheric body, within the spiritual atmosphere of the Earth. This residue inspired the twelve as well as their pupils who succeeded them, so that they could form the occult Rosicrucian stream. Yet it continued to work as an etheric body, and it then became part of the new etheric body of the thirteenth when he incarnated again.
The individuality of the thirteenth reincarnated as early as halfway through the fourteenth century. In this incarnation he lived for over a hundred years. He was brought up in a similar way, in the circle of the pupils and successors of the twelve, but not so secluded as in his previous incarnation.... This is the individuality of Christian Rosenkreutz. He was the thirteenth in the circle of the twelve."