The Imperishable Gem

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The Imperishable Gem 01 Jan 2012 13:44 #46934

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The Daily Gem is a quote, thought, or prayer open for submissions by any member of this Temple. If you'd like to submit for the Daily Gem, please send me a PM.

Here we go: May The Force Be With Us and may we come away with greater learning and inspiration...

Moderator Edit: After a certain point in this thread, it was decided that anyone may submit a quote here. Please feel free to join in! :)
Master: Jestor
“I have striven not to laugh at human actions, not to weep at them, nor to hate them, but to understand them" -- Baruch Spinoza.

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Last Edit: 16 Mar 2014 21:05 by Proteus.

Daily Gem -- Jan 1st, 2012 01 Jan 2012 13:45 #46935

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Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

-- Excerpt from "Ring Out, Wild Bells".
-- Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Master: Jestor
“I have striven not to laugh at human actions, not to weep at them, nor to hate them, but to understand them" -- Baruch Spinoza.

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Daily Gem -- Jan 2nd, 2012 02 Jan 2012 13:45 #47003

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Today everybody permits himself the expression of his wish and dearest thought; hence I, too, shall say what it is that I wish for myself today, and what was the first thought to run across my heart this year – what thought shall for me be the reason, warranty, and sweetness of my life henceforth. I want to learn more and more to see as beautiful what is necessary in things: then I shall be one of those who make things beautiful.

-- Gay Science, 276
-- Friedrich Nietzsche
Master: Jestor
“I have striven not to laugh at human actions, not to weep at them, nor to hate them, but to understand them" -- Baruch Spinoza.

Daily Gem -- Jan 3rd, 2012 03 Jan 2012 13:31 #47055

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In light of several having lost loved ones of the four-legged type recently, the following is a submission by Jedi robert maccuswell:

He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion.

- Unknown
Master: Jestor
“I have striven not to laugh at human actions, not to weep at them, nor to hate them, but to understand them" -- Baruch Spinoza.

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Daily Gem -- Jan 4th, 2012 04 Jan 2012 14:08 #47148

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Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man.

-- Benjamin Franklin
Master: Jestor
“I have striven not to laugh at human actions, not to weep at them, nor to hate them, but to understand them" -- Baruch Spinoza.

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Daily Gem -- Jan 5th, 2012 05 Jan 2012 12:49 #47216

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It is only in appearance that time is a river. It is a vast
landscape and it is the eye of the beholder that moves.

-- Thornton Wilder
Master: Jestor
“I have striven not to laugh at human actions, not to weep at them, nor to hate them, but to understand them" -- Baruch Spinoza.

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Daily Gem -- Jan 6th, 2012 06 Jan 2012 12:56 #47277

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An hour’s contemplation is better than a year’s adoration.

-- Prophet Muhammad
Master: Jestor
“I have striven not to laugh at human actions, not to weep at them, nor to hate them, but to understand them" -- Baruch Spinoza.

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Daily Gem -- Jan 7th, 2012 07 Jan 2012 09:36 #47338

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The idea of punishing evil presupposes that we know evil when we see it

-- God Wants You Dead, pg 128.
Master: Jestor
“I have striven not to laugh at human actions, not to weep at them, nor to hate them, but to understand them" -- Baruch Spinoza.

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Daily Gem -- Jan 8th, 2012 08 Jan 2012 11:07 #47391

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Keep yourself surrounded by people you can't live without, not people you can live with.

-- Unknown
Master: Jestor
“I have striven not to laugh at human actions, not to weep at them, nor to hate them, but to understand them" -- Baruch Spinoza.

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Daily Gem -- Jan 9th, 2012 09 Jan 2012 11:35 #47432

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He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty,
And he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.

-- Proverbs 16:32
Master: Jestor
“I have striven not to laugh at human actions, not to weep at them, nor to hate them, but to understand them" -- Baruch Spinoza.

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    • CHAPTER VII: THE FIRST FORM OF CONTEMPLATION Concentration, recollection, a profound self-criticism, the stilling of your busy surface-intellect, your restless emotions of enmity and desire, the voluntary achievement of an attitude of disinterested love - by these strange paths you have now been led, in order that you may know by communion something of the greater Life in which you are immersed and which you have so long and so successfully ignored. You have managed in your own small way something equivalent to those drastic purifications, those searching readjustments, which are undertaken by the heroic seekers for Reality; the arts whereby they defeat the tyranny of "the I, the Me, the Mine" and achieve the freedom of a wider life. Now, perhaps, you may share to some extent in that illumination, that extended and intensified perception of things, which they declare to be the heritage of the liberated consciousness. This illumination shall be gradual. 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In essence, it is one continuous out-flowing movement towards that boundless heavenly consciousness where the "flaming ramparts" which shut you from true communion with all other selves and things is done away; an unbroken process of expansion and simplification, which is nothing more or less than the growth of the spirit of love, the full flowering of a cosmic consciousness. By this perpetually-renewed casting down of the hard barriers of individuality, these willing submissions to the compelling rhythm of a larger existence than that of the solitary individual or even of the human group - by this perpetual widening, deepening, and unselfing of your attentiveness – you are to enlarge your boundaries and become the citizen of a greater, more joyous, more poignant world, the partaker of a more abundant life. The limits of this enlargement have not yet been discovered. The greatest contemplatives, returning from their highest ascents, can only tell us of a world that is "unwalled." 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You are to push back the self's barriers bit by bit, till at last all duration is included in the widening circles of its intuitive love: till you find in every manifestation of life - even those which you have petulantly classified as cruel or obscene - the ardent self-expression of The Force whose spark burns deep in your own soul. The Indian mystics speak perpetually of the visible universe as the Lila or Sport of God: the Infinite deliberately expressing Itself in finite form, the musical manifestation of its creative joy. All gracious and all courteous souls, they think, will gladly join its play; considering rather the wonder and achievement of the whole - its vivid movement, its strange and terrible evocations of beauty from torment, nobility from conflict and death, its mingled splendour of sacrifice and triumph - than their personal conquests, disappointments, and fatigues. In the first form of contemplation you are to realise the movement of this game, in which you have played so long a languid and involuntary part, and find your own place in it. It is flowing, growing, changing, making perpetual unexpected patterns within the evolving melody of The Force. In all things it is incomplete, unstable; and so are you. Your fellows, enduring on the battlefield, living and breeding in the slum, adventurous and studious, sensuous and pure - more, your great comrades, the hills, the trees, the rivers, the darting birds, the scuttering insects, the little soft populations of the grass - all these are playing with you. They move one to another in delicate responsive measures, now violent, now gentle, now in conflict, now in peace; yet ever weaving the pattern of a ritual dance, and obedient to the music of that invisible Choragus whom Boehme and Plotinus knew. What is that great wind which blows without, in continuous and ineffable harmonies? Part of you . . . There is but one music in the world: and to it you contribute perpetually, whether you will or no, your one little ditty of no tone. "Mad with joy, life and death dance to the rhythm of this music; The hills and the sea and the earth dance; The world of man dances in laughter and tears." It seems a pity to remain in ignorance of this, to keep as it were a plate-glass window between yourself and your fellow-dancers - all those other aspects of The Force, perpetually becoming, changing and growing beside you - and commit yourself to the unsocial attitude of the "cat that walks by itself." Begin therefore at once. Gather yourself up, as the exercises of recollection have taught you to do. Then - with attention no longer frittered amongst the petty accidents and interests of your personal life, but poised, tense, ready for the work you shall demand of it - stretch out by a distinct act of loving will towards one of the myriad manifestations of life that surround you: and which, in an ordinary way, you hardly notice unless you happen to need them. Pour yourself out towards it, do not draw its image towards you. Deliberate - more, impassioned - attentiveness, an attentiveness which soon transcends all consciousness of yourself, as separate from and attending to the thing seen; this is the condition of success. As to the object of contemplation, it matters little. From Alp to insect, anything will do, provided that your attitude be right: for all things in this world towards which you are stretching out are linked together, and one truly apprehended will be the gateway to the rest. Look with the eye of contemplation on the most dissipated tabby of the streets, and you shall discern the celestial quality of life set like an aureole about his tattered ears, and hear in his strident mew an echo of "The deep enthusiastic joy, The rapture of the hallelujah sent, From all that breathes and is." The sooty tree up which the cat scrambles to escape your earnest gaze is holy too. It contains for you the whole divine cycle of the seasons; upon the plane of quiet, its inward pulse is clearly to be heard. But you must look at these things as you would look into the eyes of a friend: ardently, selflessly, without considering their reputation, their practical uses, their anatomical peculiarities, or the vices which might emerge were they subjected to psycho-analysis. Such a simple exercise, if entered upon with singleness of heart, will soon repay you. By this quiet yet tense act of communion, this loving gaze, you will presently discover a relationship – far more intimate than anything you imagined - between yourself and the surrounding "objects of sense"; and in those objects of sense a profound significance, a personal quality, and actual power of response, which you might in cooler moments think absurd. Making good your correspondences with these fellow-travellers, you will learn to say with Whitman: "You air that serves me with breath to speak! You objects that call from diffusion my meanings and give them shape! You light that wraps me and all things in delicate equable showers! You paths worn in the irregular hollows by the roadside! I believe you are latent with unseen existences, you are so dear to me." A subtle interpenetration of your spirit with the spirit of those "unseen existences," now so deeply and thrillingly felt by you, will take place. Old barriers will vanish: and you will become aware that St. Francis was accurate as well as charming when he spoke of Brother Wind and Sister Water; and that Stevenson was obviously right when he said, that since: "The world is so full of a number of things, I'm sure we ought all to be happy as kings." Those glad and vivid "things" will speak to you. They will offer you news at least as definite and credible as that which the paper-boy is hawking in the street: direct messages from that Beauty which the artist reports at best are second hand. Because of your new sensitiveness, anthems will be heard of you from every gutter; poems of intolerable loveliness will bud for you on every weed. Best and greatest, your fellow human beings will shine for you with new significance and light. Humility and awe will be evoked in you by the beautiful and patient figures of the poor, their long heroisms, their willing acceptance of the burden of life. All the various members of the human group, the little children and the aged, those who stand for energy, those dedicated to skill, to thought, to plainest service, or to prayer, will have for you fresh vivid significance, be felt as part of your own wider being. All adventurous endeavours, all splendour of pain and all beauty of play - more, that grey unceasing effort of existence which makes up the groundwork of the social web, and the ineffective hopes, enthusiasms, and loves which transfuse it - all these will be seen and felt by you at last as full of glory, full of meaning; for you will see them with innocent, attentive, disinterested eyes, feel them as infinitely significant and adorable parts of the transcendent Force in which you also are immersed. This discovery of your fraternal link with all living things, this down-sinking of your arrogant personality into the great generous stream of life, marks an important stage in your apprehension of that Science of Love which contemplation is to teach. You are not to confuse it with pretty fancies about nature, such as all imaginative persons enjoy; still less, with a self-conscious and deliberate humanitarianism. It is a veritable condition of awareness; a direct perception, not an opinion or an idea. For those who attain it, the span of the senses is extended. These live in a world which is lit with a more intense light; has, as George Fox insisted, "another smell than before." They hear all about them the delicate music of growth, and see the "new colour" of which the mystics speak. Further, you will observe that this act, and the attitude which is proper to it, differs in a very important way even from that special attentiveness which characterised the stage of meditation, and which seems at first sight to resemble it in many respects. Then, it was an idea or image from amongst the common stock - one of those conceptual labels with which the human paste-brush has decorated the surface of the universe - which you were encouraged to hold before your mind. Now, turning away from the label, you shall surrender yourself to the direct message poured out towards you by the thing. Then, you considered: now, you are to absorb. This experience will be, in the very highest sense, the experience of sensation without thought: the essential sensation, the "savouring" to which some of the mystics invite us, of which our fragmentary bodily senses offer us a transient sacrament. So here at last, in this intimate communion, this "simple seeing," this total surrender of you to the impress of things, you are using to the full the sacred powers of sense: and so using them, because you are concentrating upon them, accepting their reports in simplicity. You have, in this contemplative outlook, carried the peculiar methods of artistic apprehension to their highest stage: with the result that the sense-world has become for you, as Erigena said that all creatures were, "a theophany, or appearance of God." Not, you observe, a symbol, but a showing: a very different thing. You have begun now the Plotinian ascent from multiplicity to unity, and therefore begin to perceive in the Many the clear and actual presence of the One Force: the changeless and absolute Life, manifesting itself in all the myriad nascent, crescent, cadent lives. Poets, gazing thus at the "flower in the crannied wall" or the "green thing that stands in the way," have been led deep into the heart of its life; there to discern the secret of the universe. All the greater poems of Wordsworth and Walt Whitman represent an attempt to translate direct contemplative experience of this kind into words and rhythms which might convey its secret to other people: all Blake's philosophy is but a desperate effort to persuade us to exchange the false world of "Nature" on which we usually look - and which is not really Nature at all – for this, the true world, to which he gave the confusing name of "Imagination." For these, the contemplation of the World of Becoming assumes the intense form which we call genius: even to read their poems is to feel the beating of a heart, the upleap of a joy, greater than anything that we have known. Yet your own little efforts towards the attainment of this level of consciousness will at least give to you, together with a more vivid universe, a wholly new comprehension of their works; and that of other poets and artists who have drunk from the chalice of the Spirit of Life. These works are now observed by you to be the only artistic creations to which the name of Realism is appropriate; and it is by the standard of reality that you shall now criticise them, recognising in utterances which you once dismissed as rhetoric the desperate efforts of the clear-sighted towards the exact description of things veritably seen in that simplified state of consciousness which Blake called "imagination uncorrupt." It was from those purified and heightened levels of perception to which the first form of contemplation inducts the soul, that Julian of Norwich, gazing upon "a little thing, the quantity of an hazel nut," found in it the epitome of all that was made; for therein she perceived the royal character of life. So small and helpless in its mightiest forms, so august even in its meanest, that life in its wholeness was then realised by her as the direct outbirth of, and the meek dependant upon, the Energy of Divine Love which we call The Force. She felt at once the fugitive character of its apparent existence, the perdurable Reality within which it was held. "I marvelled," she said, "how it might last, for me thought it might suddenly have fallen to naught for littleness. And I was answered in my understanding: It lasteth, and ever shall, for that God loveth it. And so All-thing hath the being by the love of God." To this same apprehension of Reality, this linking up of each finite expression with its Origin, this search for the inner significance of every fragment of life, one of the greatest and most balanced contemplatives of the nineteenth century, Florence Nightingale, reached out when she exclaimed in an hour of self-examination, "I must strive to see only God in my friends, and God in my cats." Yet it is not the self-tormenting strife of introspective and self-conscious aspiration, but rather an unrelaxed, diligent intention, a steady acquiescence, a simple and loyal surrender to the great currents of life, a holding on to results achieved in your best moments, that shall do it for you: a surrender not limp but deliberate, trustful self-donation, a "living faith." "A pleasing stirring of love," says The Cloud of Unknowing, not a desperate anxious struggle for more light. True contemplation can only thrive when defended from two opposite exaggerations: quietism on the one hand, and spiritual fuss upon the other. Neither from passivity nor from anxiety has it anything to gain. Though the way may be long, the material of your mind intractable, to the eager lover of Reality ultimate success is assured. The strong tide of Transcendent Life will inevitably invade, clarify, uplift the consciousness which is open to receive it; a movement from without - subtle yet actual - answering each willed movement from within. "Your opening and His entering," says Eckhart, "are but one moment." When, therefore, you put aside your preconceived ideas, your self-centred scale of values, and let intuition have its way with you, you open up by this act new levels of the world. Such an opening-up is the most practical of all activities; for then and then only will your diurnal existence, and the physical context in which that existence is set, begin to give up to you its richness and meaning. Its paradoxes and inequalities will be disclosed as true constituents of its beauty, an inconceivable splendour will be shaken out from its dingiest folds. Then, and only then, escaping the single vision of the selfish, you will begin to guess all that your senses were meant to be. "I swear the earth shall surely be complete to him or her who shall be complete, the Earth remains jagged and broken only to him or her who remains jagged and broken."
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    • Death, yet the Force or There is no death; There is the Force And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life Each of these would suggest that the Force is eternal, and as I believe that I am an expression of the Force, I too am eternal. So are you. Perhaps the "I" (*cough* EGO) that I currently know and love will cease to exist, but the Force will remain. I am born of the Force and I represent the Force expressing itself in a tangible way, as do you. I don't know how it will choose to express itself next, but whatever it is I will be included in it, as will each of "you". One day long after "I" am gone, someone will remember I said this and realize that we are all part of the salad they are having for lunch. That will be a great day for me :laugh:

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