Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Time Being and Cat

Yesterday afternoon the following passage from Ruth Ozeki's novel, ``A Tale for the Time Being,'' caught my eye:

Do not think that time simply flies away. Do not understand "flying" as the only function of time. If time simply flew away, a separation would exist between you and time. So if you understand time as only passing, then you do not understand the time being.
To grasp this truly, every being that exists in the entire world is linked together as moments in time, and at the same time they exist as individual moments of time. Because all moments are the time being, they are your time being.   --- Dogen Zenji, Uji
--- p. 259, A Tale for the Time Being

Last evening I played tennis and I did NOT enjoy it, and worse, it started a phase of deep depression that is extended to now.

This morning, I heard Lawrence Ferlinghetti's poem, ``The Cat,'' on radio (Writer's Almanac: link). It felt somehow related:

The cat
                              licks its paw and
        lies down in
                            the bookshelf nook
                                                                 She
                                    can lie in a
                                              sphinx position
        without moving for so
                                         many hours
and then turn her head
                                to me and
                                          rise and stretch
       and turn
                       her back to me and
              lick her paw again as if
                                    no real time had passed
                     It hasn’t
                                    and she is the sphinx with
                        all the time in the world
                                             in the desert of her time
             The cat
                    knows where flies die
                               sees ghosts in motes of air
                                                   and shadows in sunbeams
She hears
                  the music of the spheres and
       the hum in the wires of houses
                           and the hum of the universe
             in interstellar spaces
                                                      but
                prefers domestic places
                             and the hum of the heater
--- “The Cat” by Lawrence Ferlinghetti from These Are My Rivers
PS. [2015-12-12] Another translation of the first quote from here:


Seeing time as flowing away is not enough. Thinking that the only property time has is the ability to flow is not enough. If we think of time only as flowing away, then there must be gaps between instants of time-present as they pass. Ordinary people only see time as something that flows away, and this is why they do not experience time-present, and have not heard it explained. In actual fact, all the things in whole Universe are time-presents that are both continuous and separate. Real time is always time-present, and so it is always this time-present.

These days, after reading Don DeLillo's novel ``The body artists'' I am thinking about the concept of time more often.
The complete text of Dogen's ``Shobogenzo'': http://www.urbandharma.org/pdf/Shobogenzo.pdf

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