Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Maybe we should learn to "stop" and "listen" like elephants?

From American Public Radio - "Whale Songs and Elephant Loves" - Katy Payne is an acoustic biologist with a Quaker sensibility. From the wild coast of Argentina to the rainforests of Africa, she discovered that humpback whales compose ever-changing songs and that elephants communicate across long distances by infrasound.http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif Here, she reflects on life in this world through her experiences with two of the most exotic creatures.

Ms. Tippett: And you were listening to elephants, but you've also referred to elephants as great listeners.

Ms. Payne: Yeah. They do something marvelous that I wish we would do more of the time. This is something you do find in Quaker meetings, actually, and in Buddhist meetings as well. The whole herd, and that may be 50 animals, will suddenly be still, completely still. And it's not just a stillness of voice, it's a stillness of body. So you'll be watching the moving herd, they'll be all over the place, they'll be facing all directions, doing different things. Suddenly everything freezes as if a movie was turned into a still photograph, and the freeze may last a whole minute, which is a long time. They're listening. When they freeze, they tighten and lift and spread their ears. This tells us — this, among other things, tells us that they're concerned with what's going on over the horizon.

Ms. Tippett: Well, speaking of silence, tell me that story about how you became a Quaker and how that intersects with this work you do.

Ms. Payne: Oh.

Ms. Tippett: That's a big question.

Ms. Payne: Yeah. I guess I've always felt that a simpler life would be a good thing for me. Quakers are wonderful practicers of simplicity. They attempt to get their worldly affairs down to a dull roar so that they can help a little bit in meeting some of the world's needs. I like that. And I find that meditation, which sometimes I've done as a Quaker, sometimes in other forms — I don't know, I shouldn't maybe use the word "meditation." Just being silent is a most wonderful way to open up to what is really there. I see my responsibility, if I have one, as being to listen.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Predictable, structured, and cyclic time

The vast majority of the earth’s surface area is covered with water.

Most of the earth is covered not just with water – but with oceans.

Within each ocean (harbor, bay or gulf) - tides rise and fall with predictable and routine regularity.

Tide rises.

Tide falls.

Tide rises.

Tide falls.





In a real way – life is constituted and framed for the life of the planet based on the predictability, the routine, the cycle of the tidal rise and fall.

Water evaporates from these great water regions – is carried over mountains and hills – falls to the ground – and runs to the sea – and Qoheleth notes that the “sea is never full.” (Ecclesiastes 1:7). Water amasses in Fall and Winter in the forms of snow and ice on high-peaks – creating fresh water runs come Spring and Summer that nurture myriad forms of river fauna, flower – feeding not only the various types of fish and frogs – but establishing the fresh water rivers and streams that water crops and provide sustenance for animals that congregate around the fresh source of water.

Tides rise and fall.

We depend upon and exist in the space of this synchronicity.

Water evaporates and precipitates.

We depend upon and exist in the space of these seasons and cycles.

Perhaps Sabbath should be as routine and predictable as the tides and water-cycle.

Perhaps a predictable, routine, and cyclic construction of our lives is what we need in order to exist in tune with God’s Creation – God’s stable, structured and ordered, good creation.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Are we too "connected" to find Solititude in Sabbath

A thought provoking interview with MIT Founder and Director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self, Sherry Turkle.

Author of: Alone Together.

As a person who tries to find sabbath - and who loves the outdoors, I resonated with much of what I heard Ms. Turkle express. Here is a single excerpt from the Full Transcript.

Ms. Turkle: . . . I live on the Cape during the summer, and there are these magnificent dunes that I walk on the Cape. When you walk these dunes — and I've been walking them for years, I mean, decades of going to the Cape. And recently, people have their earphones in and are listening to their music. And more recently, people have their earphones in and are walking them with their handheld devices and are texting as they walk them.

Ms. Tippett: Right.

Ms. Turkle: So you're still getting your exercise. And I'm not saying that they're not looking up to, you know, notice anything. I mean, it's not for me to judge that nobody's noticing anything. But there's something about being attentive with the life you meet along those walks and with solitude.

Ms. Tippett: Right. So you're losing the experience of the dunes as a medium for self-realization, for example. I mean, I think that image of the dunes — I think that this idea of solitude is so central and so powerful in your writing, and we don't think about this very often. You know, this basic quality of human health and wholeness that comes with being able to feel at peace in your own company, right, as somebody said?.

Ms. Turkle: Yeah. There's a wonderful phrase. In psychology, it says, "If you don't teach your children to be alone, they'll only always know how to be lonely."