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October 31, 2008

universal love

If you look at the universe as closely and as inwardly as you are able to look - that is to say, if you look within yourself; if you not only contemplate but feel all things in your own consciousness, upon which all things have traced their painful impression - you will arrive at the abyss of tedium, not merely of life, but of something more: at the tedium of existence, at the bottomless pit of the vanity of vanities. And thus you will come to pity all things; you will arrive at universal love.


Posted by amin at 11:52 AM

October 29, 2008

Prayer of Columbus

A BATTER'D, wreck'd old man,
Thrown on this savage shore, far, far from home,
Pent by the sea and dark rebellious brows, twelve dreary months,
Sore, stiff with many toils, sicken'd and nigh to death,
I take my way along the island's edge,
Venting a heavy heart.

I am too full of woe!
Haply I may not live another day;
I cannot rest O God, I cannot eat or drink or sleep,
Till I put forth myself, my prayer, once more to Thee,
Breathe, bathe myself once more in Thee, commune with Thee,
Report myself once more to Thee.

Thou knowest my years entire, my life,
My long and crowded life of active work, not adoration merely;
Thou knowest the prayers and vigils of my youth,
Thou knowest my manhood's solemn and visionary meditations,
Thou knowest how before I commenced I devoted all to come to
Thou knowest I have in age ratified all those vows and strictly kept
Thou knowest I have not once lost nor faith nor ecstasy in Thee,
In shackles, prison'd, in disgrace, repining not,
Accepting all from Thee, as duly come from Thee.

All my emprises have been fill'd with Thee,
My speculations, plans, begun and carried on in thoughts of Thee,
Sailing the deep or journeying the land for Thee;
Intentions, purports, aspirations mine, leaving results to Thee.

O I am sure they really came from Thee,
The urge, the ardor, the unconquerable will,
The potent, felt, interior command, stronger than words,
A message from the Heavens whispering to me even in sleep,
These sped me on.

By me and these the work so far accomplish'd,
By me earth's elder cloy'd and stifled lands uncloy'd, unloos'd,
By me the hemispheres rounded and tied, the unknown to the

The end I know not, it is all in Thee,
Or small or great I know not - haply what broad fields, what lands,
Haply the brutish measureless human undergrowth I know,
Transplanted there may rise to stature, knowledge worthy Thee,
Haply the swords I know may there indeed be turn'd to reaping-tools,
Haply the lifeless cross I know, Europe's dead cross, may bud and
blossom there.

One effort more, my altar this bleak sand;
That Thou O God my life hast lighted,
With ray of light, steady, ineffable, vouchsafed of Thee,
Light rare untellable, lighting the very light,
Beyond all signs, descriptions, languages;
For that O God, be it my latest word, here on my knees,
Old, poor, and paralyzed, I thank Thee.

My terminus near,
The clouds already closing in upon me,
The voyage balk'd, the course disputed, lost,
I yield my ships to Thee.

My hands, my limbs grow nerveless,
My brain feels rack'd, bewilder'd,
Let the old timbers part, I will not part,
I will cling fast to Thee, O God, though the waves buffet me,
Thee, Thee at least I know.

Is it the prophet's thought I speak, or am I raving?
What do I know of life? what of myself-.d
I know not even my own work past or present,
Dim ever-shifting guesses of it spread before me,
Of newer better worlds, their mighty parturition,
Mocking, perplexing me.

And these things I see suddenly, what mean they?
As if some miracle, some hand divine unseal'd my eyes,
Shadowy vast shapes smile through the air and sky,
And on the distant waves sail countless ships,
And anthems in new tongues I hear saluting me.

Walt Whitman

Posted by amin at 3:37 PM

the fathomless ocean of meanings

After mentioning the name of God, I glorify Him with His praise which should constitute the beginning of every book. May His blessings be upon His messengers! - a prayer which should form the completion of every discourse.

I then wish to rouse you from your sleep. O you who recite the Quran to a great length, who take its study as an occupation, and who imbibe some of its outward meanings and sentences. How long will you ramble on the shore of the ocean, closing your eyes to the wonders of the meanings of the Quran? Was it not your duty to sail to the midst of the fathomless ocean of these meanings in order to see their wonders, to travel to their islands in order to gather their best produce, and to dive into their depths so that you might become rich by obtaining their jewels? Do you not feel ashamed of being deprived of their pearls and jewels by your persistence in looking at their shores and outward appearances?... Take notice that, fulfilling the duty of brotherhood and hoping the blessing of your prayer to God, I now wish to guide you to the manner of the journey of these people, of their diving and of their swimming.

Ghazali - The Jewels of the Quran

Posted by amin at 3:31 PM

knowledge and vision

Revelation corresponds to the extent and form of knowledge. The knowledge of Him, that you acquire at the time of your struggle and training you will realize in contemplation later. But what you contemplate of Him will be the form of the knowledge which you established previously. You advance nothing except your transference from knowledge to vision and the form is one.

Ibn Arabi - Journey to the Lord of Power

Posted by amin at 3:21 PM

October 27, 2008

holy sorrow

All human beings have reason for sorrow, but someone who knows and feels that he is feels most special reason for sorrow. Compared with this, all other sorrows are like game beside earnest. For someone who knows and feels not only what he is but that he is can be sorry in earnest; and someone who has never felt this sorrow has reason for sorrow, because he has never yet felt perfect sorrow.

This sorrow, when experienced, cleanses the soul not only of sin but also of the pain that is its desert for sin; moreover, it makes a soul able to receive the joy that takes away all knowledge and feeling of one's own existence. This sorrow, if truly understood, is full of holy desire; otherwise no one living on earth could endure it or bear it. For if a soul were not somewhat sustained by a kind of delight in its true practice of contemplation, it would not be able to bear the pain it has in knowing and feeling that it exists.

The Cloud of Unknowing

Posted by amin at 11:54 PM

secret thrust of love

This is The Cloud of Unknowing; this is that secret thrust of love in purity of spirit; this is the Ark of the Testament. This is Dionysius's Theology, his wisdom and his treasure, his bright darkness and his ignorant knowledge. This is what makes you silent in thought as well as in speech. This makes your prayer very short. By this you are taught to forsake and despise the world.

The Cloud of Unknowing

Posted by amin at 11:28 PM

the limits of language

The philosopher is driven by a passionate desire to understand the limits of language, and, when he tries to satisfy this desire, the first thing that inevitably happens is that his mind is filled with images which, though they are delusive, have a primitive naturalness which he must experience. Then, and only then, can he go on to achieve the understanding that he seeks.

David Pears - Wittgenstein

Posted by amin at 12:20 PM

objective towards yourself, subjective towards others

The majority of men are subjective towards themselves and objective towards all others, terribly objective sometimes-but the real task is in fact to be objective towards oneself and subjective towards all others.


Posted by amin at 12:07 PM

October 23, 2008


It sheds a shy solemnity,
This lamp in our poor room.
O grey and gold amenity, --
Silence and gentle gloom!

Wide from the world, a stolen hour
We claim, and none may know
How love blooms like a tardy flower
Here in the day's after-glow.

And even should the world break in
With jealous threat and guile,
The world, at last, must bow and win
Our pity and a smile.

Hart Crane

Posted by amin at 11:47 AM

October 10, 2008

a pretty girl or an old woman

He said that a man should be able to lie at the bottom of a hill with his throat cut, slowly bleeding to death, and if a pretty girl or an old woman should pass by with a beautiful jug balanced perfectly on the top of her head, he should be able to raise himself up on one arm and see the jug safely over the top of the hill.

Salinger - Franny and Zooey

Posted by amin at 12:52 AM

the certainty of a thing experienced

The great mystics had to tell all men that the world perceived by the eyes of the body is doubtless real, but that there is something else, and that this something is no mere possibility or probability, like the conclusion of an argument, but the certainty of a thing experienced: here is one who has seen, who has touched, one who knows. And yet these were but the tentative beginnings of an apostolate. The enterprise was indeed discouraging: how could the conviction derived from an experience be handed down by speech? And, above all, how could the inexpressible be expressed? But these questions do not even present themselves to the great mystic. He has felt truth flowing into his soul from its fountainhead like an active force. He can no more help spreading it abroad than the sun can help diffusing its light. Only, it is not by mere words that he will spread it. For the love which consumes him is no longer simply the love of man for God, it is the love of God for all men. Through God, in the strength of God, he loves all mankind with a divine love.

Bergson - The Two Sources of Morality and Religion

Posted by amin at 12:46 AM