Archive for February, 2015

Selected Wise Words From Rumi

February 28, 2015

There are many wise sayings from Rumi. Some were posted on the blog: something to tell. I copied a few thoughtful and instructive ones:

Raise your words, not voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.

When someone is counting out gold for you, don’t look at your hands, or the gold. Look at the giver.

Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.

You are not just the drop in the ocean. You are the mighty ocean in the drop.

Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.

See more quotes and images from this blogger at rumi’s wise words.

You may also enjoy Two kinds of knowledge about living and learning.

Here’s another one: Poems by Rumi and Octavio Paz open our minds to a more cosmic perspective. Also see several inspiring poems by Hafiz.

 

Time for some humor and love — WELCOME BACK

February 19, 2015

Saw this on a friend’s Twitter feed. Too funny to not share. Made my day!

WELCOME BACK

Words are not needed here; it says it all, but I couldn’t resist. Welcome back to the school of life. Seem familiar? Did we learn our lessons well? No? Having to repeat a class? Time for a fresher course, and then some! Maybe we’ll get it right this time around. You think? If not, there’s always the next class, the next life, with more lessons to be learned. 🙂

COMING BACK FOR LOVE IN FIVE ROMANTIC FILMS

Made in Heaven posterWhen it comes to getting it right for love, I recommend my all-time favorite romantic movie: Made in Heaven (1987), about two souls, played by Timothy Hutton and Kelly McGillis, who meet and fall in love in Heaven. Annie (McGillis) is sent to Earth and Mike (Hutton) makes a deal to be reborn (Elmo) to find her (Ally). But he’s given a time-frame of 30 years in which to do it, otherwise he’ll lose her forever. It’s a magical movie filled with surprises. Rent it. Read more about it on Wikipedia. Found it on Vimeo with Spanish subtitles.

That year, Wim Wenders came out with his amazing film, Wings of Desire, about an angel who tires of overseeing human beings and wishes to become one himself when he falls in love with a mortal.

City of Angels posterTen years later it was adapted for English audiences as City of Angels (1998). Wenders co-wrote the screenplay. Nicholas Cage plays the angel who falls in love with a doctor, Meg Ryan, because of her beauty and concern for her patients. She doesn’t believe in angels, but when he reveals himself to her she falls in love with him, and has to decide between him or her fiance. One patient, a former angel, tells him how he became human for a woman. He does the same and experiences the joys and sorrows of love and loss.

sit-bdAnother great movie is Somewhere in Time (1980adapted from the 1975 novel Bid Time Return by Richard Matheson who also wrote the screenplay. Richard Collier (Christopher Reeve), a playwright, falls in love with a picture of Elise McKenna (Jane Seymour), an actress who had performed at the Grand Hotel. He discovers he was there and finds a way to travel back in time to win her heart. It works, but something unexpected happens that changes everything.

The SAG strike and lack of funds prevented the film from being effectively launched that year. When it was finally shown in New York, critics panned it, squashing plans for a national release. But, with the advent of cable television and late night movies, it soon became a cult classic and went on to win numerous awards.

John Barry composed the beautiful soundtrack including the haunting 18th variation of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. Barry had been mourning the death of his parents and was not making himself available for work, but Seymour, a close friend, and the script, persuaded him to get involved. He channeled his emotions into the music, which contributed to the film’s success. Visit the official fan website to find out more: http://www.somewhereintime.tv.

Another beautiful time-travel love story is The Two Worlds of Jennie Logan, a 1979 made-for-television movie based on the much-loved classic novel Second Sight by David Williams.

The Two Worlds of Jennie LoganAfter trying on a dress found in the attic of an old Victorian house her husband purchased to try to save their marriage, Jennie Logan accidentally travels into the past. After several visits there she discovers true love. Returning to the present she investigates who he was and how he may have been killed. She travels between both worlds in an attempt to save her lover’s life and alter history. Find out more at IMDb and the Amazon book description and comments. Watch it on YouTube, if it’s still there.

Defending Your LifeOn a lighter note, Albert Brooks wrote, directed and starred, with Meryl Streep, in Defending Your Life (1991), “the first true story of what happens after you die.” The dead are sent to Judgement City, a vacation-style place for the afterlife where representatives using large amounts of their brain potential help you defend your life in front of a court. The opposition also reviews aspects of your life where you showed fear instead of courage, the intent being to learn from past experiences.

Shirley MacLaine has a cameo role inviting people to the Pavilion of Past Lives, which is quite funny. There is also a love interest between the main characters who meet while their lives are undergoing review before they will be sent onto their different destinations. The question is, will he overcome his fears and sacrifice everything to be with this wonderful woman? You’ll have to see the movie to find out. 🙂

Blending heaven and earth, the divine and the mortal, the idyllic past with the unfulfilled present, or unresolved issues exposed in the afterlife, each film provides a different perspective on the sacrifice the main character makes for love, giving up one to gain the other. The ways of karma are unfathomable, but true love is eternal, and transformational!

LEAVING ROMANCE BEHIND TO FIND ONESELF

There was one movie that made a big impression on me when I saw it on television as a teenager. It’s about love, but more the story of one man’s quest for self-realization in a confused and materialistic world.

Razors_Edge (1946)The Razor’s Edge tells Larry Darrell’s story and his search for meaning after a comrade dies saving his life on the last day of World War One. Larry leaves love behind to find himself. He rejects the conventional life in search of a more transcendent experience, which takes him to India where he meets a guru. His search for enlightenment fulfilled, he may not have to reincarnate if he can walk the razor’s edge, live in the world and not be overtaken by it, anchored to his Self.

Larry returns to find his friends who are suffering due to a reversal of fortune brought about by the Great Depression. He shares what he’s learned to help them. Read more of the story on Wikipedia. I saw the original 1946 version starring Tyrone Power, based on the book by W. Somerset Maugham, which I later read.

Razors_Edge (1984)It was remade in 1984 with Bill Murray in his first dramatic role. Murray also co-wrote the screenplay with director John Byrum. Visit Wikipedia for a full summary. Byrum couldn’t find a studio to finance it. Dan Aykroyd suggested Murray could appear in Ghostbusters for Columbia Pictures in exchange for the studio funding The Razor’s Edge. Murray agreed and a deal was made. Though the film lost money, Ghostbusters went on to make millions.

Both versions of The Razor’s Edge are worth watching for their own values, but I prefer the earlier one. You can see it here.

This poem by William Stafford—The Way It Is—perfectly describes the kind of perspective Larry Darrell developed and how he lived his life.

PERSONAL NOTE

Larry Darrell’s quest spoke to me as a young person and unknowingly foreshadowed the direction my life would take during my college years and beyond when I would discover Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and his Transcendental Meditation technique. Our generation was so fortunate to have received the many gifts Maharishi brought out from the Himalayas. He inspired us to develop our full potential as human beings with TM and its advanced techniques, and to work with him to help make this world a better place to live in by applying his life-transforming Vedic knowledge and technologies in health, education, rehabilitation, virtually all areas of life. We are forever grateful. JGD

To find out more about Maharishi, see this HuffPost article by Philip Goldberg on Maharishi. Also watch the 1968 film of Maharishi at Lake Louise and the 2007 A&E biopic on the History Channel.

UPDATE

I just discovered The Love Letter (1998), a Hallmark  Hall of Fame movie, starring Campbell Scott and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Based on a short story of the same name by Jack Finney, it was first published in “The Saturday Evening Post” on August 1, 1959, and reprinted in the same magazine on January/February 1988.

imageThis love story touches two lives that live a century apart. A letter from the past will change their future forever as these souls cross lifetimes for love! Scott, a 20th century computer games designer, exchanges love letters with Elizabeth Whitcomb, a 19th century poet, through an antique desk that can make letters travel through time. We witness parallel lives interact as they fall deeply in love with each other, weaving past, present, and future in a moving, magical way.

You could read more about it on Wikipedia, but first watch this excellent made-for-television movie (1:39:28) on YouTube, if it’s still there.

Of course, when it comes to love being tested by time, The Time Traveler’s Wife (2009) is one worth watching. Rachel McAdams stars as the wife, whose husband keeps disappearing on her at different stages of her life. About Time (2013), is another film about time travel, and how a father teaches his son, who has the same ability, how to improve situations with time travel when he messes up trying to win the heart of a pretty woman, also played by Rachel McAdams. She also stars in The Vow (2012), as a woman who wakes up after a car accident with severe memory loss and forgets that she’s married to her husband. He has to work hard to woo and marry her all over again.

When it comes to a war between words and pictures here’s a poem in a movie inviting you to be who you are.

The film Arrival asks: If you could see your whole life from start to finish, would you change things?

Our Meditation Love Poem for Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2015

I wrote Our Meditation Love Poem, about 4 ½ years ago, and decided to post it now, for Valentine’s Day. I was visiting my sweetheart during the week at her care facility and wrote the poem and story behind it that Saturday, September 4, 2010, almost 4 ½ months after she moved in.

OurMeditationLovePoemForSali

I was remembering the meditation we had this week; my chest area filled up with a great inner warmth and bliss of loving you. Tonight, I was listening to Leonard Cohen singing his songs of love, and started writing this poem from that memory, that feeling, and also remembered the quote in the film, Tristan and Isolde, when he is dying and he says to her, “You were right—life is greater than death, but love is greater than either.” He was referring to what she had said when they first met, about following your heart, and that love in one’s life fills up what would otherwise be an empty shell of duty and honor, quoting John Donne’s The Good Morrow, where he writes:

My face in thine eye, thine in mine appeares,
And true plaine hearts doe in the faces rest,
…..
If our two loves be one, or, thou and I
Love so alike, that none doe slacken, none can die.

So I came up with this poem, Our Meditation Love Poem. I found myself writing a 17-syllable line, the sum of a haiku in 3 lines. I liked the flow and decided to make each line 17 syllables long, each one having its own internal rhythm and flow. I wanted to write 11 lines for some reason, maybe thinking there were 11 syllables in each line. But now I remember there are 17. But I would then have to write 6 more lines, and right now I can’t see it. I naturally divided them into 2 stanzas of 4 lines each followed by a stanza of 3 at the end. It seems to have worked well.

Related: See this for : i carry your heart with me by e.e. cummings. And This Quiet Love, a #LovePoem from Kenny, for Sally on #ValentinesDay. Enjoy reading other beautiful love poems posted on The Uncarved Blog.

This Quiet Love, a #LovePoem from Kenny, for Sally on #ValentinesDay

February 14, 2015

This Quiet Love

This is a quiet love
One of simplicity and easiness
No complications here
It’s too late in life for that sort of thing
Just time to be best friends

© Ken Chawkin
October 22, 2006
Fairfield, Iowa

I wrote this poem around 8 years and 4 months ago at the recognition of a growing friendship I was sharing with someone special. I realized I was enjoying a different kind of love at this stage of my life, and it was good. Earlier attempts at love in relationships had been disappointing—unrequited, romantic, irresponsible, tempestuous, lustful, and in the end, unfulfilled. I didn’t think true love was possible, or if it even existed.

And then it happened, but not all at once. We had met briefly 10 years earlier, then forgot. After we unknowingly reconnected, a story in itself, love took some time to blossom, to be earned. She was UNDECIDED about being COMMITTED. Through each stage, poems would flow forth; she became my muse. All poems listed in the sub-category Sally Peden are about Sali, except the first 3, which were written by her about a visit To Jyotir Math with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

Later my love would be tested when An Unwanted Guest came to live with us. Eventually we would have to live apart, which lead to the Dementia Blues. But Sally’s Smile would continue to uplift me and all those around her. Many changes continue to transform our lives, each in our own way. I never would have imagined this kind of development, but This Quiet Love continues to sustain me. As does the love of my family, my children and my siblings, for which I am truly grateful.

And even with the ongoing decline, Sally continues to maintain her essential nature.

See this for : i carry your heart with me by e.e. cummings. See Our Meditation Love Poem for Valentine’s Day, and other beautiful love poems posted on The Uncarved Blog.

See this most recent post, December 8, 2016, Capturing an authentic moment in writing, Being with Sali, August 1, 2012, on a full moon night. It concludes with an update, of Sali’s passing, October 1, 2016, with a link to a blog post by Valerie Gangas, Life in Love with You, describing her personal response to Sali’s Memorial Service and Vedic Cremation Ceremony, which took place on October 5, 2016.

Here is the most recent update, December 28, 2016: An early attempt at some kind of closure with a poem on Sali’s passing and auspicious times.

And, as a reminder, the poem, Love After Love by Derek Walcott, profoundly describes the basis for any love relationship, knowing and loving your self.

See these Final entries leading up to and after Sali’s passing

Listen to Canadian harpist Kristan Toczko perform Claude Debussy’s Clair de Lune. Just beautiful!

February 12, 2015

Time now for a peaceful musical interlude. Listen to Canadian harpist, Kristan Toczko, play Claude Debussy’s romantic composition, Clair de Lune. It was recorded live on May 12, 2014 at the Church of the Holy Trinity in Toronto, ON, Canada, and later published on her YouTube channel, Kristan Toczko, August 5, 2014. This short classical piece, and her interpretation of it, are just beautiful!! Like a powerful haiku, it leaves you with a deeply peaceful feeling.

I also found this beautiful performance of Claude Debussy “Clair de lune” by Angela Hewitt in a live concert for the Royal Conservatory of Music at Toronto’s Koerner Hall recorded for CBC Music.

This rendition of Claude Debussy – Suite Bergamasque – Clair de Lune by the famous French-American pianist François-Joël Thiollier is sublime! I also found it as Clair de Lune (Moonlight) showing the album cover.

Apparently, Clair de Lune, was a French poem written by Paul Verlaine in 1869, and became the inspiration for the third and most famous movement of Debussy’s 1890 Suite Bergamasque of the same name.

Cameron Diaz tells Bob Roth @LynchFoundation how #TranscendentalMeditation has helped her

February 10, 2015

Watch this Conversation with Cameron Diaz presented by the David Lynch Foundation. Published Feb 7, 2015 on the DavidLynchFoundation channel, actress and author Cameron Diaz was interviewed by DLF Executive Director Bob Roth on her personal practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique. Cameron is sweet and lively as she shares some amazing stories, practical ways that TM helped her deal with personal relationships, acting under stressful conditions, and more. The event took place in New York City at Donna Karan’s Urban Zen, a DLF sponsor.

Visit the David Lynch Foundation to see how they are helping different sectors of society overcome trauma and transform lives: www.davidlynchfoundation.org.

Denise Levertov’s Primary Wonder is being present to the quiet mystery that sustains us

February 10, 2015

This beautiful profound little poem, Primary Wonder, by Denise Levertov (1923–1997), reminds us what is important when we get overshadowed by life’s little problems. When she became present to the mystery, experienced that joyful cosmic stillness within, she realized her life, and all of creation was sustained by the Creator. Life’s problems receded, became insignificant when presented with such primary wonder.

Primary Wonder

Days pass when I forget the mystery.
Problems insoluble and problems offering
their own ignored solutions
jostle for my attention, they crowd its antechamber
along with a host of diversions, my courtiers, wearing
their colored clothes; cap and bells.

…………………………………………….And then
once more the quiet mystery
is present to me, the throng’s clamor
recedes: the mystery
that there is anything, anything at all,
let alone cosmos, joy, memory, everything,
rather than void: and that, O Lord,
Creator, Hallowed One, You still,
hour by hour sustain it.

The Upanishads say a similar thing for those who are awake or self-referral: Brahma bhavati sarathi: Brahman is the charioteer, all actions are conducted for you by the laws of nature. And another quote says: From bliss all these beings are born, in bliss they are sustained, and to bliss they go and merge again. (Taittiriya Upanishad 3.6.1)

Author Philip Goldberg Remembers January 12 as A Double Guru Birthday Fest on HUFFPOST TASTE

February 3, 2015

, HUFFPOST Blogger, Interfaith Minister, and author of ‘American Veda: How Indian Spirituality Changed the West’ remembers January 12: A Double Guru Birthday Fest

MMY-HUFFPOST

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

January 12 is celebrated throughout India, and in countries with large Hindu populations, as the birthday of Swami Vivekananda. A national hero, Vivekananda is revered for updating the wisdom of India’s ancient sages and bringing those teachings to the West, in 1893. By coincidence – or astrological design, take your pick – another vital figure in that East-West transmission was also born on that date, and he too deserves to be celebrated.

The man who became known as Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was born Mahesh Prasad Varma, on January 12, 1917, or perhaps 1918, in Central India. While attending Allahabad University, he heard that a famous saint named Swami Brahmananda Saraswati was in the area, and he went to him “as a thirsty man at a well.” Mahesh asked to become the swami’s disciple. The reply was the same one many future gurus received when they were eager young seekers: first finish school. After graduating with a degree in physics, he was formally accepted as a disciple. By then, the swami had been persuaded to accept the much-esteemed, and long-vacant, seat of Shankaracharya of Jyotir Math–one of four monastic lineages established centuries earlier by the great reformer Shankara. The Shankaracharya would become a legend, and so would the humble disciple who served him primarily as a clerk for thirteen years.

After his guru died, in 1953, Mahesh spent a few years in the Himalayas before traveling to the sacred sites of South India. In Trivandrum, a stranger asked him to give a public talk. He was evidently good at it. Before long, he found himself on what we now call a speaking tour. At a festival in Kerala in 1955, people were impressed enough to call him a “Maharishi”–maha meaning great, rishi meaning sage–and the appellation stuck. When he became world famous a dozen years later, the naïve press treated “Maharishi” as his name, and that’s what he’s been called ever since.

That global fame, as most people know, resulted from his historic encounter with the biggest celebrities of the postwar era. In August, 1967, at the suggestion of George Harrison’s then-wife Patti, the Beatles went to hear Maharishi speak about his Transcendental Meditation at the London Hilton. They became instant enthusiasts and, six months later, went to India for an extended stay at Maharishi’s ashram. In the opening paragraph of American Veda, I refer to that as “the most momentous spiritual retreat since Jesus spent those forty days in the wilderness.” It was as if the earth itself had tilted, allowing the insights of India’s yogis to pour into the West at an accelerated pace.

It was easy at the time for reporters to write off “the Beatles’ guru” as a lucky guy who got rich and famous off the lads’ monumental celebrity. It was easy to label him “the giggling guru” because he had an infectious, high-pitched laugh and he found much of modern life rather amusing. It was easy to mock him as the face of guruhood at a time when yoga and meditation were seen as accessories of flower-power counterculture. All of which belies the fact that Maharishi was a very practical man who took his mission–to spiritually regenerate the world by expanding individual consciousness–very seriously, and he worked longer hours in its service than most CEOs could endure.

He had been planting seeds non-stop for a dozen years when the Beatles sought him out, repeatedly circling the globe and teaching his simple, powerful form of meditation to all comers, and he kept at it for another forty years after the Fab Four made Rishikesh a pilgrimage site for Western yogis. If history is fair, he will be recognized as one of the key figures in the transmission, adaptation and assimilation of Yogic teachings into the mainstream of American life.

Nowadays, everyone from ordinary physicians to giant HMOs recommends meditation to reduce stress and prevent illness. This, to put it mildly, was not the case in 1968. It was Maharishi who convinced scientists to study the practice, and he made sure his systematic TM procedures were compatible with research protocols. He understood that ours is an evidence-driven age, and that Americans would embrace something as exotic as meditation only if science demonstrated its value. The first paper on the physiology of meditation was published in 1970, by one of Maharishi’s students, a UCLA doctoral candidate named Robert Keith Wallace. The collective research juggernaut that followed ushered meditation from the fringes of society to the center, and directly into your armchair, cushion or yoga mat.

So, for whatever stars and planets were aligned on those two January 12s, we can be doubly thankful.

Published 01/09/2015 02:30 pm ET | Updated Mar 11, 2015


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