Saturday, June 23, 2007

Midsummer Thoughts


This is the first blossom to appear on a banana tree I transplanted when moving from the country more than two years ago. I spotted it yesterday. To watch it grow and unfold from this first emergence will be a treat.

A Visit from God

When I sit at my computer I’m near the front windows of the room, looking out over some low shrubs to the front lawn. During the morning a wren began hopping and fluttering around the top of the shrubs. I was entranced to see it so close. Then it walked up and down the windowsill outside my open window. It was near enough to touch.

There is really something magical about seeing a wild bird within an arm’s length. But more important than that, I had the sudden, strong feeling that the bird was a pure embodiment of the divine, God . . . that Source essence which we can never understand. It was similar to the experience I tried to describe in the post, “Feline Philosophy”


Star has learned to climb the trellis and drop herself into this hanging basket five feet above the deck. It is now her favorite hangout.


When I began blogging not many months ago I decided to create this philosophical/spiritual blog and another blog which would deal with politics and such harsh realities as war. I’m beginning to wonder now if such segregation is possible. Can we comfortably devote ourselves to the spiritual and philosophical and yet ignore the injustices and governmental crimes around us?

Yes, many sages have seen detachment as a part of spiritual practice, and if one wants a peaceful soul and a calm mind one should stay away from the kinds of things I write about on VIEW FROM THE MOON. In particular one should not read newspapers or watch the propaganda called “news” on television. I certainly am less happy than I was before I started paying attention to “the news” and current horrors in order to write my other blog. I often think of quitting that blog, washing my hands of the dirtiness of politics and international events, and dwelling on truth and beauty.

I think of Voltaire’s Candide, after all his misadventures and the horrors he has witnessed, settling on his little farm and concluding that all he knows is that "we must cultivate our garden." After Candide’s friend Martin says, "Work then without disputing; it is the only way to render life supportable," and the philosopher Pangloss mouths some of his useless observations about the best of all possible worlds, Candide answers, “Excellently observed, but let us cultivate our garden."
This reminds me (I know I’m beginning to ramble) of Anton Chekhov's (my favorite playwright) recurring contrast of the health of country life and work with the decadence of city life and idleness.

It might seem by now as if I’m recommending as summer reading “Candide” or the “The Cherry Orchard” or “Uncle Vanya”, but the book I had in mind is “Palestine Peace Not Apartheid”, by former President Jimmy Carter. As I said above, I’ve indulged in some apartheid of my own by keeping “real life” out of FLIGHTS OF PEGASUS, but even if this is the only time I break the wall, I want to urge people, especially Americans, to read Carter’s book. It is very clear, very succinct, contains valuable source materials, and is especially interesting because of Carter’s personal involvement.


  1. Star is so wonderfully cute, you could blog her like I do Zoey. What wonderful pictures. Thanks.

  2. In Malaysia, Indians used that blossom to cook curry. Great tasting balls of fire.

  3. Your questions as to whether to write or read about politics are relevant to me too, Fleming. I get enough news from Radio 4 and I retreat from international or more local politics in order to, yes, "cultivate my garden" (not literally because I don't have one) but to brood on the problems built into being human. I want to help create the conditions for "natural virtue" because I think every child born into this world these days has a huge challenge to make sense of it at all, and to know what to do.

    I was listening to Bruce Springsteen's songs, "Born in the USA" and "My hometown". Their pathos is the flipside of patriotism: weariness at the imperfection, the desperation, the disappointment of hopes.

    I don't see any quick fixes but everything I write is in awareness of what is going on, and seeking a solution which would not just suit me (I may be an extreme case anyhow) but the human community.

    You speak of injustices and governmental crimes but as long as we have governments dedicated to national interest (which the voters take for granted) then injustices and crimes must follow.

    Only with consciousness of "One Love" can there be any hope of the kind of world we want to see.

    What we can do is to stop saying "I am an American, I am a Britisher, Pakistani, etc" and recognise brotherhood; so that instead of blaming the Jews, Republicans, Chinese etc we can really feel, "A part of the whole of which I am a part is dysfunctional."

    OK that is not what I do each day. I have been blaming Tony Blair for most things, but since he is in 3 days time an ex-prime minister I will have to find someone else to rant against (with only my wife as audience).

  4. Wombat, I'm going to try to find one of those Malaysian curry recipes . . . although because I have only one banana blossom at this time, I'll save it for photographs as it unfurls.

    I'd swim the Pacific ocean for a plate of that curry.

  5. Vincent, thanks for the fine comment. You've helped me think beyond the boundaries of my discussion. While we know that governments dedicated to national interests will not disappear soon (unless they're incinerated), we can hope for them to be replaced in time. My blog is VIEW FROM THE MOON because I refused to be "an American" in my views.

    As you say, 'Only with consciousness of "One Love" can there be any hope of the kind of world we want to see.' I've been lucky to listen to a a wise spiritual teacher in recent years, and he always emphasized that only by raising our own consciousness, and thus the general level of consciousness, can we contribute to bringing peace to the world. He said that "praying for peace" as such praying is usually done has poor results because it resists war (and to resist something is to strengthen it) and sets up a duality. . . whereas simply raising self above war and anger and national loyalties helps raise the entire ocean of consciousness.

    I may not have said that very well, and you may not agree with all of it, but I think it's in harmony with your comment.


  6. Midsummer already, eh Fleming? :)

    You're absolutely spot on about the tug of war we go through when it comes to cultivating our gardens or discerning the truth from the false news prophets.
    On the one hand it enriches us to appreciate the beauty around us, but if we don't also make efforts to just figure out and proclaim the truth of the ugliness also going on around us, then are we failing to truly appreciate the good by letting more bad things go by without a word?
    Maybe it's apples and oranges, but when I see all the evil in the world I sure do appreciate the warm place I have in my honey's arms each night as we sleep peacefully together.
    I can't feel like I'm honest unless I know the why's and wherefores of my judging skill set, and I can't get that in force unless I seek out the truth.
    I hope this wasn't too rambly. Have a great week, Fleming and I look forward to another post! =)

  7. Good words, Tidalgrrrl. Thanks.

    Your comment reminded me of a thought I've had from time to time: Almost none of the bad things I've learned through the news during my life would have been known to me except for the news media. What I mean is, if I look just at what I've observed personally, what has come into my own life, I would be almost completely unaware of all the wars, assassinations, murders, accidents, and other catastrophes that have happened in the world. Maybe that wouldn't be so bad. I've been through several hurricanes, seen the aftermath of a tornado in the neighborhood, experienced a smoky summer of bad forest fires, seen the wreckage of a small plane and its bloody pilot, lost a friend in another private plane crash, passed slowly by some highway accidents, known a woman who killed her child, and had a friend whose sister was murdered. Compare that with everything that's been reported in the world since 1940, and it's not bad, is it?

    And what good has it done for me to know about all the daily disasters and international gangsterism? Nothing I've done has brought the slightest improvement.

  8. Having just lost another very old and dear friend because of my political activism, I asked myself again why it is impossible truly to keep politics in a 'safe' little corner of one's life.

    'To cultivate one's garden' has to be reconciled with 'to thine own self be true.' If one tries to slam the window to the world shut, one amputates that part of the self that cares (unselfishly) about others. A garden tilled without compassion isn't much of a garden at all.

    Wisdom and 'inner peace' are more a matter of balance than segregation, I think. One can't pursue politics instead of a personal life, but on the other hand, I do believe it is important to care about more than those matters that affect us personally. If we truly care, it becomes difficult to keep everything in safe little compartments. It moreover becomes difficult only to speak when it is 'politic' to do so.

  9. Fine thoughts, Freyashawk, and helpful to me in sorting out my own feelings and values.

    I'm sorry to hear that your sincerity has lost you a friend. . . apparently not much of a friend.

    Judging from your and the other comments, my theme of "cultivate our gardens" vs. "improve the world" certainly generated more of a response than I expected. Sometimes I think I'm going to stimulate comments with some bit I think is provocative (i.e. "brilliant") and get no comments. This time I'm pleased to see that the opposite occurred.