Tuesday, January 19, 2016

End in Sight?!

Today is Tuesday, January 19th, 2016. Last night I felt that the end of my explorative journey is in sight. I started this "safar" (journey in Persian) in early 2009, almost 7 years ago. If I want to identify a clear starting point for this journey, it was a day in May of 2009. Early morning, I had one of the most vivid dreams of my whole life. In that dream, I saw a girl who was about to start a journey with a group of her friends, but when the departure time arrived, we all knew that I could not go with them. I woke up with the outmost sense of despair and urgency. I just wanted to tell her, ``I am ready.''

This dream ultimately changed my whole life. And yet, amazingly, it feels now that nothing has really changed. I have witnessed most amazing things. I went back to my childhood (in a most terrifying dream a couple of years ago, I faced the emptiness and void that has been inside me since some events of my childhood) and went forward to my old age (not literally, of course, but recently I had some vision/feeling that how my life would feel when I am old), and dare I say, I even met God (in the most metaphoric sense of the word).

Was the whole thing worth seven years of my life? It seems that the main outcome is a sense of acceptance. But, what else could, and should, I have done with my life? At the end, it's not like we can take anything with us at the time of our death. The whole life is a short experience. So I prefer to think that I had an amazing experience and I paid the price for it.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

On God

What is God? A `goodness' assumption on the nature of the unknowable core, within and without, which is the most real. It is not a rational, logical conclusion; rather a deep orientation in our being that elevates us from fear and anxiety into peace and calm. As such, God is essentially the movement from fear into hope.

 ... That's how she used to be and how she might be again someday, if she was ever just barely getting by and somebody seemed to be about to make it harder just by making it different. ... she still thought sometimes, Why should he care? What is it to him? That was loneliness. When you're scalded, touch hurts, it makes no difference if it's kindly meant. ... --- p.253

And then there were the people no one would miss, who had done no special harm, who just lived and died as well as hey could manage. That would have been Lila, if she had not wandered into Gilead. And then she though, I couldn't bear to be without Doll, or Mellie, or Doane and Marcelle. ... not that they had mattered so much to her when she was a child, but because fair was fair and none of them ever had any good thing that the other didn't have some right to, ... If there was goodness at the center of things, that one rule would have to be respected, because it was as important to them as anything n this world. --- p. 258

So it couldn't matter much how life seemed. The old man always said we should attend to things we have some hope of understanding, and eternity isn't one of them. Well, this world isn't one either. Most of the time she thought she understood things better when she didn't try. Things happen the way they do. Why was a foolish question. In a song a note follows the note before because it is that song and not another one. ... It was eternity that let her think this way. In eternity people's lives could be altogether what they were and had been, not just the worst things they ever did, or the best things either. So she decided that she should believe in it, or that she believed in it already. ... --- p. 259

... Eternity has more of every kind of room in it than this world did. ... ---p.260
... and then she realized how tired she was. But she knew she would come back to what she'd been thinking about. And also to ``the peace that passeth all human understanding,'' which was the blessing he said over his flock ... ---p. 260
... There was no way to abandon guilt, no decent way to disown it. All the tangles and knots of bitterness and desperation and fear had to be pitied. No, better, grace had to fall over them. ... ---p. 260
That's how it is. Lila had borne a child into a world where a wind could rise that would take him from her arms as if there were not strength in the at all. Pity us, yes, but we are brave, she thought, and wild, more life in us than we can bear, the fire infolding itself in us. That peace could only be amazement, too.
Well, for now there were geraniums in the windows, and an old man at the kitchen table telling his baby some rhyme he's known forever, probably still wondering if he had managed to bring her along into that next life, if he could ever be certain of it. Almost letting himself imagine grieving for her in heaven, because not to grieve for her would mean he was dead, after all.
Someday she would tell him what she knew. ---pp. 260--261, Lila, Marilynne Robinson 


Saturday, January 09, 2016

More Grace

Religion can be understood as a language, similar to mathematics, for contacting the unknowable within.

`Things happen for reasons that are hidden from us, utterly hidden for as long as we think they must proceed from what has come before, our guilt or our deserving, rather than coming to us from a future that God in his freedom offers to us. ... The only true knowledge of God is born of obedience, ... and obedience has to be constantly attentive to the demands that are made of it, to a circumstance that is always new and particular to its moment. ... Then the reasons that things happen are still hidden, but they are hidden in the mystery of God. ... Of course misfortunes have opened the way to blessings you would never have thought to hope for, that you would not have been ready to understand as blessings if they had come to you in your youth, when you were uninjured, innocent. The future always finds us changed. ... This is not to say that joy is a compensation for loss, and that each of them, joy and loss, exists in its own right and must be recognized for what it is. Sorrow is very real, and loss feels very final to us. Life on earth is difficult and grave, and marvelous. Our experience is fragmentary. Its parts don't add up. They don't even belong in the same calculation. Sometimes it is hard to believe they are all parts of one thing. Nothing makes sense until we understand that experience does not accumulate like money, or memory, or like years and frailties. Instead, it is presented to us by a God who is not under any obligation to the past except in His eternal, freely given constancy. ... When I say that much the greater part of our experience is unknowable by us because it rests with God, who is unknowable, I acknowledge His grace in allowing us to feel that we know a slightest part o it. Therefore we have no way to reconcile its elements, because they are what we are given out of no necessity at all except God's grace in sustaining us as creatures we can recognize as ourselves. ... So joy can be joy and sorrow can be sorrow, with neither of them casting either light or shadow on the other.' ---pp. 222--224, Lila, Marilynne Robinson


Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Revolving Doors

Choice, the act of choosing between viable options, is like a revolving door: it opens new possibilities and it eliminates some previously feasible alternatives. This is well known and quite intuitive.

It is less known that the way we approach a a decision, the way we conceive the ``opportunity'' that is inherent in, and precedes, a choice, also resembles a revolving door. It can guide us from ``being closed'' to ``being open'' or vice versa. If we approach ``opportunity'' as a fleeting entity, something that tends to disappear if we do not seize it, we tend to limit ourselves and guide ourselves into fear and closure with every decision we confront. If we can give ourselves the freedom to observe and appreciate all options in front of us, without being forced into a particular choice because of ``logical/rational reasons'' or ``emotional forces (of certainty)'', then we will free ourselves with each decision we make.

If only she'd known then what comfort was coming, she'd have spared herself a little. You can say to yourself, I'm just a body that thinks and talks and seems to want its life, one more day of it. You don't have to know why. Well, nothing could ever change if your body didn't just keep you there not even knowing what it is you're waiting for. Not even knowing that you're waiting at all. ---p. 179, Lila, Marilynne Robinson


Mendelssohn, Violin Concerto E Minor OP.64 (Full Length) : Hilary Hahn & FRSO:

https://youtu.be/o1dBg__wsuo






Clear Shallow Water

I started reading this novel, `` The Driver ,'' by Hart Hanson , and I did not like it much and decided to stop. But then I came ba...