Saturday, April 02, 2016

GUEST POST by "JD" ~ Intimations of Immortality

"Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home"

In the hospital where my mother died they had a small prayer/meditation room with one wall decorated (and lit up) to resemble a stained glass window. That extract from Wordsworth was 'engraved' on the wall, it was a reminder that all things must pass away: to be reborn?

You will have heard that tired old cliche that we must " each day as if it were your last"

That is a philosophy of despair.

You must live each day as if it were your first! Look at everything and everyone with wonder as if for the first time!

Thank you, JD!

A couple of quatrains from my favourite go-to Persian philosopher (Omar Khayyam). He was in a rather more cynical mood, adding some edge, though not exactly arguing with what JD has written.

But leave the wise to wrangle, and with me
The Quarrel of the Universe let be:
And in some corner of the Hubub coucht,
Make Game of that which makes as much of Thee.

'Tis all a Chequer board of Nights and Days
where Destiny with Men for pieces plays:
Hither and tither moves and mates and slays,
and one by one back in the Closet lays.

JD counters with this though:

If you want to add some verses from the Great Omar that's fine but remember my original idea was to affirm the idea that we are truly immortal which was Wordsworth's view.

The Bhagavad Gita says "the soul is never destroyed when the body is destroyed"-

In a similar fashion that is the message of all the Sufi poets including Omar Khayyam. I have a small book called 'Magic Casements' by Sir George Trevelyan. Wonderful book and I didn't realise the whole book was on-line, so it is worth reading what he has to say about the Rubaiyat, as indicated beneath the quatrains below:

Sir George Trevelyan: At this point I include five verses from that great poem FITZGERALD's: 'Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam' [Sir GT's comments are beneath each quatrain]. This is usually treated as a wine-bibber's philosophy - 'Let us eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.' It does, apparently, say that death is extinction – but as we have seen, every symbol is Janus-faced. You are free to read it in the way that gives meaning to your life, negatively or the reverse. Thus the poem really is about Life Eternal, the Wine of Life and consciousness. The Cup is the body, and the wine is the life given us by Him who said, 'I am the true Vine.'

Think, in this batter'd Caravanserai
Whose doorways are alternate Night and Day,
How Sultan after Sultan with his pomp
Abode his hour or two, and went his way.

The Caravanserai is our Earth life, with the moon-gate of birth and the sun-gate of death – the new dawn.
Listen to this:

Ah, my Beloved, fill the Cup that clears
Today of past Regrets and future Fears –
Tomorrow? – Why, Tomorrow I may be
Myself with Yesterday's Sev'n Thousand Years.

We must learn to live in the present, not because there is no future but that we have the creation of the future in our own hands, if we can learn to work with our Higher Self.

Ah, fill the Cup, what boots it to repeat
How Time is slipping underneath our feet:
Unborn Tomorrow and dead Yesterday,
Why fret about them if Today be sweet?

One moment in Annihilation's Waste,
One moment, of the Well of Life to taste –
The stars are setting and the Caravan
Starts for the Dawn of Nothing – Oh, make haste!

So easily can the poem look like negation – after death there is nothing. But the Life Eternal belongs to the ethereal realm beyond time, space and form. Thus it is the realm of No Thing, a condition of unborn-ness; a freedom from the limitations of form and embodiment. Life on Earth is 'Annihilation's Waste' – this is the 'Well of Life', the heaviest, densest vibration, which we enter for a brief span of existence. As Dawn comes and the stars set, the caravan starts for that Higher Realm – O make haste! Had the negative interpretation been valid, surely Omar would have urged us to miss this Caravan and have another evening of drinking and merry-making. This gives us the clue to the central verse which superficially appears complete negation and, interpreted, is the great affirmation.

And if the Wine you drink, the Lip you press,
End in the Nothing all things end in – Yes!
Then fancy while thou art, thou art but what
Thou shalt be – Nothing – Thou shalt not be less.

For 'Nothing' read 'No Thing' – a condition of 'pre thing-ness'.

Note that affirmation of 'YES' in the middle of this strange verse, the assurance that as a soul you will not be less than a free spirit united with your Higher Self. So, while here, imagine you are what you will be – a No Thing. Thus you will prepare for the great transition, with Donne – What you will be then, think here before, for Thought is the great reality.

JD: So that will be clear as mud now, will it? :)
I love having my synapses tickled into action and my consciousness expanded!


mike said...

We were all born to die and some have more, others less time between the two events. The before and after beguiles us all, with nary a clue and only guesses. If one believes physics, particularly quantum physics, all time is happening at once, and there is no such thing as time:
"But there is another way to do it that gives a different result. This is for an observer inside the universe to compare the evolution of the particles with the rest of the universe. In this case, the internal observer would see a change and this difference in the evolution of entangled particles compared with everything else is an important a measure of time.

This is an elegant and powerful idea. It suggests that time is an emergent phenomenon that comes about because of the nature of entanglement. And it exists only for observers inside the universe. Any god-like observer outside sees a static, unchanging universe, just as the Wheeler-DeWitt equations predict."

It seems that upon birth, we become entangled with our surrounds and experience time, giving the impression that we have linear-time lives, and should "live for the moment", as JD implies. It's so easy to focus on the past and future, forfeiting the here and now. I have two critters that constantly remind me of the importance of living in the moment...they are both very good at it...LOL.

The thought was emphasized this past week, as a neighbor friend succumbed to her burns after a tragic house fire that occurred a week ago today. She was only 48 years old. The news is constantly reminding us of events that shorten lives.

“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.” Gautama Buddha

Twilight said...

mike ~ Oh! - So sad that your neighbour didn't survive - I'd been meaning to as how she was getting on. - And her husband in hospital...and their home and pets gone. That is just awful - hell on earth for the husband.

Whether there was a prequel, or will be a sequel, to what we're experiencing of life right now, will never be known for sure, that thought alone should encourage us to make the most of what we're sure of - TODAY! If, in making oneself comfortable today it entails believing there will be a sequel - or has been a prequel - that's just a personal choice. I like to fantasise in both directions from time to time, but in the end find myself mostly in agreement with Edward Fitzgerald's take on old Omar K's words.

Twilight said...

JD ~ Thank you, once again for contributing this, it provides a peaceful little corner in which to quietly contemplate our navels for a while. :-)

CherryPie said...

Life is a journey... It is for us to learn and connect with the ultimate reality. God.

The Bhagavad Gita teaches this and so do the words of Jesus in the Bible. The words in both books are difficult to understand, they need a little studying...

Both teachings say "the soul is never destroyed when the body is destroyed"

Omar Khayyam taught about connecting with the ultimate reality and this is the verse that conveys this most to me:

Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the bough, A Flask of wine, a Book of Verse - and Thou Beside me singing in the Wilderness - And Wilderness is Paradise enow.

And from the Bible:

If you would enter the house you must have the key, Christ is the key to the household of God. Christ is the key to scripture. Who said, suffer little children to come unto me, and forgive them not, for such is the Kingdom of Heaven. (St. Luke 18, 16).

Paramhansa Yogandana wrote a Spiritual Interpretation of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, entitled The Wine of the Mystic:

Twilight said...

Cherry Pie ~ Hello! Thank you for visiting and commenting.
I shall read the link with interest in the morning 'tis a little late now and I've just watched a sci-fi "B" movie - not the best overture for such ponderings!

I'm personally not into much on the religious and spiritual side these days. The world as it is doesn't lend itself to it - but it's good to know that some of us have the inner strength to believe in "the good", and perhaps in a happy ending.
I'm not into it, but am really I'm just a "don't know", willing to consider absolutely anything, from the reasonable to the outlandish. None of us really knows anything much when you get right down to it. Anything is possible - all bets are off. :-)

mike (again) said...

Off - I assume you've read this:

“It’s worse than wicked, my dear, it’s vulgar”

mike (again) said...

Off - Breathe deeply, then read this:

Twilight said...

mike (agains) Off Topic
I hadn't read the M. Kidder piece - sickening isn't it, but so good that she has given it some light!

Hadn't seen the other piece either - UGH!!! Even more sickening!

I'll rely on Ed. Fitzgerald's interpretation of Omar to calm me down - as mentioned above

But leave the wise to wrangle, and with me
The Quarrel of the Universe let be:
And in some corner of the Hubub coucht,
Make Game of that which makes as much of Thee.

Yesterday I read and commented on this at Smirking Chimp - it's a more hopeful (kind of) article, from which I picked up a couple of stage musical references (I'm "annui")
Clinton Crashes and Burns, Sanders Will Win (But hold off on that applause)
by Daniel Patrick Welch

mike (again) said...

Welch's essay was a fun read, regardless of his dystopian reptiles controlling the strings of this election's puppetry. He may not be off-base considering Counterpunch's "Clinton bought the loyalty of 33..." disclosure. Seems a number of issues are surfacing that imply the lipstick is on the pig. Good comments from you! Apropos Evita! I found the comments to be refreshing...nothing too severe, but I only read the first layer. I spent much more time than planned responding to comments on "Sanders wants an apology from Clinton". I rarely make comments to vile respondents, but thought I'd take the helm after reading the negativity. Poking sticks at the snakes was fun and I suffered few bites.

mike (again) said...

I've contemplated Welch's essay and I don't think he has it right. Hillary is the perfect accomplice for any power brokers. Bill's two terms as POTUS would have exposed her to the panel of domination, assuming there is a panel. Maybe there are multiple, competing cartels.

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Yes - I've read Welch's piece again and there's possibly a bit of wishful thinking going on regarding the point you make. He seems to seriously despise the Clintons (and who could blame him?) Perhaps the panel of domination (in Welch's estimation) know her well and feel that she might not obey their every wish, and that they'd have more sway with Bernie. I think that is quite wrong though. He's been in politics long enough to know what's what, and must have suspicions as to to "how it all works" once someone is crowned president. He'll have "a plan" and a plan B too - I'd bet on it. One of the commenters pointed out that though Bernie is sincere, he's practical too. Whether that is meant to imply he'd go along to get along I don't know, but if so - I disagree.

Anyway Welch's article garnered more commentary than is usual on Smirking Chimp these days, likely due to his loose and humorous style. His style reminded me of David Michael Green's - who hardly ever posts there now, and when he does it's about past politics not present issues. I think DMG must be under some kind of contract these days.