Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life2) Buddha taught that men should not demand an eye for an eye, but rather return good for evil. He further believed that human desires and frustrations can be solved only by love -- not a limited or selfish love for particular people or things, but unlimited, unselfish love for all creation.
At last I found thee.
Ah, At last I know the secret of it all.
Ah, the longing seeking, striving, waiting, yearning,
The idle hopes and joy and burning tears that fall.
Oh, tis love and love alone the world is seeking.
And tis love and love alone I've waited for.
Ah, my heart has all the answers who is calling,
For it is love that rules forevermore.
(as sung by Nelson Eddie and Janette McDonald, Naughty Marietta)
A foolish man, learning that the Buddha observed the principle of great love, abused him. After he finished the Buddha asked: "Son, if a man declined to accept a present made to him, to whom would it belong?" And he answered, "In that case it would belong to the man who offered it." "My son," said the Buddha, "thou has railed at me, but I decline to accept thy abuse, and request thee to keep it thyself. Will it not be a source of misery to thee? As the echo belongs to the sound, and the shadow to the substance, so misery will overtake the evildoer without fail."
3) "Dreams of Peaches"
I want to see thee in my dreams
the white light thou art
floating to me
I want to touch thee in my dreams
taking thine hand of love
seeking adventure together
I want to feel thee in my dreams
filled with thine presence
every part of thee known to my heart
I want to kiss thee in my dreams
pulling thee close
our lips meeting in fiery passion
I want to make love to thee in my dreams
two bodies, spirits, and minds intertwined in love
I want to see thee in my dreams
Come to me dream lady!
4) After the floods receded and Earth came back into being, there was upon the surface a film more sweet-smelling than ambrosia... At this time the gods of the Central Heaven said to one another, "Let us go and see what it looks like..." Some put their fingers into the film many times and lost all their majesty and brightness. Their bodies grew heavy and their substance became flesh and bone. They lost their magic and could no longer fly... so they stayed and fed upon the film that covered Earth, and gazed at one another's beauty. Then those among them that were most passionate became women, and these gods and goddesses fulfilled their desires and pleasure in one another... love-making first spread throughout the world; it is an old and constant thing... Now the people hated and despised such couples and hit them or pelted them with sticks, clods of earth, tiles or stones. That is why today, when a girl is married, she is pelted with flowers or gold [rice] or silver... and people say: "May peace and happiness be yours!" Nowadays good is meant... (Buddhist tradition)
Quiet Time6) Is an Atheist life a 'loveless universe?' If there is no god to love his creatures, there would be that much less love in the world. (more gods, more love? and more hate?) Aside from certain mystics and their raptures, how deep can one love an unseen power? How much is dramatic for effect? A person will not cease to love other human beings and animals just because he does not believe them to be the work of a god; love giving is a human instinct. In fact, in an environment that is free from irrational taboos and repressions (some connected with religious beliefs) there will be more, not less, love in the world. Being in love may be in some ways parallel with holding a religious belief, but not having the latter does not preclude one from having the former.
Sit here with me now
for fifty years
before you say goodbye.
Touch me steady, soft
and feel my love,
the warm signal of calm.
Look over the pond
and hear the breeze
echo the truth for us:
"Your breath is my life
relax with me
each day my gift to you."
Think in this moment
of me and you.
A world of peace is ours.
Sing as the birds fly
free and graceful.
So, our love forever.
(IJ, January, 2001)
7) Yes, I love you.
I tell you this each day
but sometimes you don't hear!
Or maybe you forget
for just one sad moment.
A timeless interlude
when old pain hides your heart.
You ask me like a Wren:
"Do you love me today?"
How to cure that sadness
is my daily ritual.
So hear me now again:
"I love you, forever."
The words you like to hear-
The song I sing in love-
How many times refrain?
Every day you intrigue,
Reward my patient love
And each song is my joy.
(IJ, January, 2001)
8) Many primitive people recognize romantic love, but disparage it as a form of madness. Most primitive peoples joked about youngsters infatuated in romantic love, and regard those so enraptured with tolerance and patience for they know that the illness will soon go away. For primitive people, the institution of marriage was so important to the survival of the family that romantic love could not be an important consideration. For the Great Basin (the greater Utah, Nevada intermountain area) Shoshone marriage is nothing to write sonnets about, it is a life-and-death-business. It offers benefits that include division of labor, sharing food, protection and education for children, security in old age, succor in sickness and accidents resulting from the hunt. It includes everything meaningful in life, but it does not necessarily include romance. And most of the world except Western civilization, feels exactly the same.
The vast barren wilderness where the Shoshone lived supported only small, nomadic family groups foraging for food (less than one person per 2,500 square miles). These small groups created peace and safety by marrying into each other's families. Shoshone marriage alliances were enduring and the alliances between families were maintained during the very long periods in which the families never saw each other. Each family spent approximately ninety percent of its time isolated from other families as it wandered in quest of food. Yet, when families met, marriage alliances made these gatherings less haphazard because kin cooperated with kin wherever possible.
Incest is banned in almost every human society, essentially for the same reason. This is not necessarily because of any fear of genetic problems, but because of the desirability to create permanent alliances with neighboring family groups or bands. If a man marries some other man's sister and yet another man marries his sister, he has gained two brothers-in-law to hunt with or to avenge his death in a quarrel. Incest would establish no new bonds between unrelated groups and denies each man the safety of increasing the number of people he can trust. (Peter Farb, Man's Rise to Civilization, 1968)
Walking on the Beach10) "I have a question for you alone, my brother: like a sounding lead, I cast this question into your soul that I might know how deep it is. [drop a rock into a dark well]
It's dark except that piece of sky
that creeps into our hearts through the sky-light.
You stir and moan against my shoulder
and tremble, frightened by a dream.
"Come with me to the beach." I say,
now a habit that carries us both away.
"See the smooth sand? Hard packed
by gentle floods that foam over your toes."
"Feel the cool water around your ankles
and feel the dizzy, virtigo as the wave ebbs."
"I'm okay now." you whisper.
"I'm not done yet." I suggest.
"Look at the seagull there, floating
on the surf with her mate."
"Now Cocoa is chasing that elusive prize,
splashing and jumping his long legs racing in joy."
"Yes. I see. Thank you."
"Keep walking with me until we reach the end."
(IJ, January, 2001)
"You are young and wish for a child and marriage. But I ask you: Are you a man entitled to wish for a child? Are you the victorious one, the self-conqueror, the commander of your senses, the master of your virtues? This I ask you. Or is it the animal and need that speak out of your wish? Or loneliness? Or lack of peace with yourself?... [If each parent was so tested there would be no population explosion.]
"Marriage: thus I name the will of two to create the one that is more than those who created it. [part of the art of life] Reverence for each other, as for those willing with such a will, is what I name marriage. Let this be the meaning and truth of your marriage... Many brief follies -- that is what you call love. And your marriage concludes many brief follies, as a long stupidity. Your love of woman, and woman's love of man -- oh, that it were compassion for suffering and shrouded gods! But, for the most part, two beasts find each other.
"But even your best love is merely an ecstatic parable and a painful ardor. It is a torch that should light up higher paths for you. Over and beyond yourselves you shall love one day. Thus learn first to love. Bitterness lies in the cup of even the best love; thus it arouses longing for the overman [Ubermensch]; thus it arouses your thirst, creator. Thirst for the creator, an arrow and longing for the overman: tell me, my brother, is this your will to marriage? [self-knowledge?] Holy I call such a will and such a marriage." (Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, 1883)
11) "A reformer cannot afford to have close intimacy with him whom he seeks to reform. True friendship is an identity of souls rarely to be found in this world. Only between like natures can friendship be altogether worthy and enduring. Friends react on one another. I am of opinion that all exclusive intimacies are to be avoided; for man takes in vice far more readily than virtue. [non-exclusive intimacies might be constructive, one defending against the vice of the other]. And he who would be friends with God must remain alone, or make the whole world his friend..." (M. K. Gandhi, All Men Are Brothers, 1960) The corollary: one can have intimacy, as long as one does not over-zealously try to reform that person or otherwise absorb their vice.
12) "423 - The heart has it reasons of which reason knows nothing: we know this in countless ways.
"I say that it is natural for the heart to love the universal being or itself, according to its allegiance, and it hardens itself against either as it chooses. You have rejected one and kept the other. Is it reason that makes you love yourself?
"424 - It is the heart which perceives God and not the reason. That is what faith is: God perceived by the heart, not by the reason." (Blaise Pascal, Pensees, 1660)
I agree, it is natural for the heart to love itself -- but unnatural to love an incomprehensible entity -- sooner, I would love a box of Valentine chocolates.
13) "The desire for affectional stimulation is readily observed in both normal human adults and children... Studies of hospitalization and wartime orphans indicate an apparently inborn need for affectional stimulation, and infants reared in a large institution where they receive only minimal adult attention are often retarded physically, intellectually, and emotionally, although their nutritional and cleanliness needs are well met." (L. Dodge Fernald and Peter S. Fernald, Basic Psychology, 1979) This affectional stimulation has to do with 'homeostasis,' the ability of the body to restore equilibrium. Body temperature, oxygen absorption, the auto-immune system, brain functioning and perception by all the senses requires un-conscious control mechanisms that operate on a chemical level in the body. Affection is a natural exogenous stimulation that helps the body's homeostatic activities to regenerate normal functioning.
14) Kamal taught many things to Siddhartha. "Her smooth gentle hand taught him ...that one cannot have pleasure without giving it, and that every gesture, every caress, every touch, every glance, every single part of the body has its secret which can give pleasure to one who can understand. She taught him that lovers should not separate from each other after making love without admiring each other, without being conquered as well as conquering, so that no feeling of satiation or desolation arises nor the horrid feeling of misusing or having been misused... Here with Kamala lay the value and meaning of the present life, not in business...
"Ordinary people can love, that is their secret." (Hermann Hess, Siddhartha, 1957)
15) Homosexuality, which is a form of nonprocreative sex activity, has been present in humanity throughout history and certainly before. Such sexual stimulation, same gender sex, is practiced indiscriminately by many animal species and seems to be a natural physiological consequence to many circumstances in the environment, conditioning, isolation, genetic predisposition and risk aversion. In Ancient Greece the practice was common and according to some sources, even encouraged. Beginning around 1700 the practice became suppressed in Western culture for a variety of reasons including religious taboo and the suggestion that sexuality was a medical issue and homosexuality was somehow diseased or abnormal. "Earlier in the [20th] century, it was found that slightly more than one out of every three males studied in the Kinsey Report had experienced orgasm by some type of homosexual contact, a figure considerably higher than was expected... In the 1970's the American Psychiatric Association decided that homosexuality is not a mental disorder and classified it as a sexual disturbance only if the individual is in conflict about it." (Fernald and Fernald, Basic Psychology, 1979)
So the problem confronting society is not the practice of nonprocreative sexual activity, but the defeat of attitudes prejudicial to the acceptance of people who seek solace and love naturally from same gender partners. If we differentiate between nonprocreative sexual activity and sexual activity intended for procreation, then it is clear that nonprocreative activity between the same gender and otherwise is by far the most common form of 'love-making.' In a world society and ecology plagued by over-population of Homo sapiens almost to the breaking point, tolerance of honest and gentle nonprocreative sexual behavior seems a reasonable alternative and should not be discouraged, if consensual, one way or the other.
16) "...If a bunch of apes are going to live together as an intelligent, mutually supportive social unit... then those animals are going to have to get along... Unfortunately, when you mix up males and females -- and you spell that S-E-X -- that's when the fighting is most apt to start. In groups of lemurs, baboons -- you name it -- when a female comes in heat (into estrus), that's when the males are the most aggressive. It's natural. It's your job to get your genes into that female before some other fellow does."
"There are ways [in nature] of defusing that aggression... One is to lower the competition for sex. That can be done by the development of a pair-bonding system. If each male has its own female, its own private gene receptacle, it doesn't have to fight with other males for representation in succeeding generations." --epigamic differentiation--
"How do you get that started? One way would be to get rid of a free-for-all mating setup. Give up some of those sexy visual signals, the swellings and the exciting odors that say, 'I'm in heat.'... You can do that by making the sexual symbols more individualistic [courtship rituals, private petting]. Concentrate more and more in the individualization of sexual responses, and after a while you may find that a particular female is sexually exciting to only a few males... maybe only one... epigamic differentiation. I call it being in love." (C. Owen Lovejoy, Kent State University)
17) The Taj Mahal is known as a work of art in architecture, but it is less well known as a work of love. The fabled Taj, completed in 1634 was constructed as tomb for the wife, Mumtaz, of Shah Jehan. Located in Agra, India, it was near in time to the culmination of the reign of the Islamic rulers and their far flung empire stretching from Spain to the Himalayas.
The gateway of the Taj is profusely adorned with fanciful arabesques and an unbroken chain of graceful kiosks. The colorful interplay of red masonry and white marble of the tomb itself are intended to be framed by the clear blue sky of north India. The shrine, rising at the end of a formal avenue of pools, trees, and flowers, seems to be resting motionlessly and magically floating in the clear atmosphere. Voids, exaggerated by shadows in the deep arches, were made to enrich the surface with a quiet rhythmic beat, and as a final touch four minarets were placed at the corners of the plinth to repeat the upward movement and at the same time stabilize the entire monument. We are left to imagine the intense devotion and love that existed between Jehan and Mumtaz, and the Islamic art which is among the most interesting, rhythmic and sophisticated in the world, allows the intensity of this relationship to sing forth over the intervening centuries.
"A love Poem for the 90's"19) Religion has insinuated, and more, infused itself into the personal love and sex lives of believers as one of its major topics of concern. In history, religions have played a more influential role in setting the standards and 'morals' ruling the intimate lives of society than the governments of states in most cases, and in fact the laws enforced by governments relating to families and sex are most often a result of mores developed by popular religions. In a society with freedom of religion, it is intolerable to have any one religion dominate our civil or private lives. Where laws must be made by tolerant, enlightened majorities various concepts of morality must cohabit even when sometimes contradictory. (Although even a majority must show a reasonable tolerance and compassion for the minority views.)
Take the famous case of Pierre Abelard, a Roman Catholic theologian and priest, who wrote provocative and controversial opinions against the tenets of his religion. He was in love and secretly married to Heloise at the time when married men could not be priests. The drama of their life was created by the ascetic practice of official celibacy, which is a ridiculous practice based on misguided teachings of 'original sin' and the presumed sanctity of sacrifice in general and celibacy in particular. After being discovered and pursued by his detractors, Abelard was captured and castrated in 1119. He became a monk; she a nun, but they continued to correspond lamenting their truncated love and tortured circumstances. This kind of abuse of authority by the Catholic Church is abominable but persists to this day in many religions where celibacy among the clergy is required (and even when it is not).
20) The early calendars of 12 months and thirty days were soon found to be deficient and adjustments, such as adding a month each six years, were required. Thus the leap year was invented. This year has gained fame among some societies for permitting women to pursue and propose marriage to eligible gentlemen. One such tradition is reported to have been institutionalized in Scotland in 1288:
"It is stated and ordained that during the rein of his most blessed Majesty, for every yeare known as lepe yeare, every maiden ladye of both high and low rank shall have liberty to propose to the man she likes, should he refuse to take her to be his lawful wyfe, he shall be fined for the sum of one pound or less, befitting his rank; except and always if he can make it appeare that he is betrothed to another woman he then shall be free." Such a policy would help ensure an increase in population. Possibly because of over-population, celibacy is much more widely accepted and encouraged in many societies.
21) When is enough, enough!? The seventeenth moon of Jupiter has now been formally discovered. Only three miles in diameter, it is the smallest known moon of any planet. The new moon was originally mistaken for an asteroid orbiting Sun, but as long as it has been captured and is now orbiting Jupiter, it is formally a moon. (Thanks go to the astronomers at Spacewatch and to the Minor Planet Center.) This moon has an erratic orbit, in the opposite direction from most of Jupiter's other satellites (and its shape is probably not uniformly spherical). The moon is initially known as S/1999 J1, but what is important to the subject of Love is that all Jupiter's moons are named for the lovers of this promiscuous god. Jupiter should stand as an inspiration to all those who, because of the circumstances of their life, find themselves enamored with more than one person from time to time. Whether in serial monogamy, or in blatant, obsessive addiction to sex, promiscuity has been with humanity for as long as monogamy, but has no more to do with Love than the 17th moon of Jupiter.
22) "On Leaving You."
It felt so good to be with you,
That it feels so bad to be alone.
23) Among the common buzz words of social interaction is a counter-intuitive concept of love. The 'necessity' for this practice is the all too common situation where a loved one is a bad actor and enabled by the other members of the family. When people grow too accustomed to each other sometimes this leads to license that becomes abusive or cruel, not necessarily physical but in assorted ways. Alcoholism, delinquency, philandery, gambling addictions, overeating, slovenliness, shoplifting, verbal and physical abuse and other abusive situations create victims of loved ones who tolerate bad action and paradoxically enable and aid the perpetrator.
How does one break this cycle of enabling and abuse? The first step is to seek support from confidants, educated family members or organized support groups. Then, enlist the aid of these competent, often experienced supporters to help bring an end to the situation, whatever that takes. The victim cannot usually help themselves out of these abusive relationships alone, and no one needs to tolerate any form of abuse. This is where 'tough-love' comes in, and the victim must insist on changes or separate themselves from the perpetrator one way or another. There are no easy answers, but by taking appropriate action to defend the victim, the miscreant is often coaxed out of the abusive conduct and restored to a productive life.
24) "What is brahmacharya? It is the way of life which leads us to Brahma -- God. It includes full control over the process or reproduction. The control must be in thought, word and deed...
"I know from my own experience, that as long as I looked upon my wife carnally, we had no real understanding... we came closer and closer, the more we, or rather I, became restrained... All the time I wanted carnal pleasure I could not serve her. The moment I bade goodbye to a life of carnal pleasure, our whole relationship became spiritual. Lust died and love reigned instead...
"I want to test, enlarge and revise the current definition of brahmacharya... in the light of my observation, study and experience. Therefore, whenever an opportunity presents itself I do not evade it or run away from it. On the contrary, I deem it my duty, dharma, to meet it squarely in the face and find out where it leads to and where I stand. To avoid the contact of a woman, or to run away from it out of fear, I regard as unbecoming of an aspirant after true brahmacharya... I do not claim to have completely eradicated the sex feeling in me. But it is my claim that I can keep it under control." (M. K. Gandhi, All Men Are Brothers, 1960) What a preposterous superstition! Why would any god deem it important to eliminate the sex drive? let alone eliminate an open, honest and modest sexual contact between spouses? "Lust" can be a dysfunctional attitude certainly, but the bonding created by intimate physical contact naturally creates a 'spiritual' attachment with very little rationalization. This can be healthy for many reasons.
Wisdom of the Lotus26) Self love: "The claim that good teaching comes from the identity and integrity of the teacher might sound like a truism... good teaching comes from good people... Identity and integrity have as much to do with our shadows and limits, our wounds and fears, as with our strengths and potentials. [This applies to we students as well.]
The Lotus flower emerges from the pad as a bud, as our friendship has.
This inflorescence full of potential is a shy, cautious part of our natures.
There is a seeking in this beginning, a need to fulfill an instinctive destiny.
There is a motivation encapsulated in the pedals, and urging for some unity.
Perhaps misdirected, these sentiments grow between us as a flowering weed in a garden?
In this same way two lost souls might find solace – however mismatched.
We hide our needs, politely, as does the pubescent Lotus its fruiting parts.
Uneven in time and place, we are peer however in nature and the balance of our souls.
Between us there is no risk – a universal love is touched – but not held.
The blossoming awaits its season, but on that day it shall open for others to enjoy.
When I look briefly into your sensitive eyes, I see the quintessential female nature.
Possibly when you read my smile, you understand a universal, gentle male compassion.
For we are unavoidably characteristic of our genders, however neutral we pretend.
Our joy will be in having shared a moment during the growth of this idol.
Our worship of the flower will not be diminished by sharing nature's love with others.
Our passions are calmed by the trust we give and honor.
The wisdom of the Lotus is no less potent in the bud, as in bloom.
So let us share that wisdom, nurture it, receive this Grace then pass it on.
May the Lotus symbol adorn your spirit with peace, as your soft voice blesses me.
(IJ, July 5-6, 2002)
"By identity I mean an evolving nexus where all the forces that constitute my life converge in the mystery of self: my genetic makeup, the nature of the man and woman who gave me life, the culture in which I was raised, people who have sustained me and people who have done me harm, the good and ill I have done to others and to myself, the experience of love and suffering -- and much, much more... identity is a moving intersection of the inner and outer forces that make me who I am, converging in the irreducible mystery of being human.
"By integrity I mean whatever wholeness I am able to find within the nexus as its vectors form and re-form the pattern of my life. Integrity requires that I discern what is integral to my selfhood, what fits and what does not -- and that I choose life-giving ways of relating to the forces that converge within me... By choosing integrity, I become more whole, but wholeness does not mean perfection. It means becoming more real by acknowledging the whole of who I am." (Parker J. Palmer, The Courage to Teach, 1998) We can't love others until we understand and love ourselves and then live true to what we find ourselves to be. Some people believe that lack of integrity causes diseases. At the very least, living a false life will create stress, probably headaches.
The two fish swim bye28)
showing that friendship
(I.J.Hall, September 3, 2001)
I touch you softly
And you purr
To teach me
How to love.
When you Knead me
I know you need me.
When you come to me
And curl onto my lap
I feel that nature
Has given me a special gift.
I brush your hair
And stroke your back
As a surrogate
For the love I need.
When you rub against
I feel that I am wanted too.
(I.J.Hall, July 6, 2002)
When I look into your eyes
We both see blind loyalty --
Yours to me and mine to you.
In silence you are
Magnificent and graceful.
In full voice you have
So much authority that
You claim my heart.
You share my bed
You share my food
You share my Peace
And I gain your love.
Whisper to me the
Secret truth of life
That compels you,
As me, to love
And bond in friendship.
Then you lick your butt.
(I.J. Hall, July 6, 2002)