Sunday, October 30, 2011

Hafiz, you shouldn't have!

The other night, I was waiting for my roommate to finish up with some studying, so I decided to start "I Heard God Laughing," which is poetry by Hafiz that was translated by Daniel Ladinsky. While reading one of his poems, I was impressed with the imagery that flooded my thoughts. Although I haven't danced in quite a while now, I feel so powerful when I am able to master a step. May you also cast all of your votes for dancing!

Cast All Your Votes for Dancing
I know the voice of depression
Still calls to you.

I know those habits that can ruin your life
Still send their invitations.

But you are with the Friend now
And look so much stronger.

You can stay that way
And even bloom!

Keep squeezing drops of the Sun
From your prayers and work and music
And from your companion's beautiful laughter.

Keep squeezing drops of the Sun
From the sacred hands and glance of your Beloved
And, my dear,
From the most insignificant movements
Of your own holy body.

Learn to recognize the counterfeit coins
That may buy you just a moment of pleasure,
But then drag you for days
Like a broken man
Behind a farting camel.

You are with the Friend now.
Learn what actions of yours delight Him,
What actions of yours bring freedom
And Love.

Whenever you say God's name, dear pilgrim,
My ears wish my head was missing
So they could finally kiss each other
And applaud all your nourishing wisdom!

O keep squeezing drops of the Sun
From your prayers and work and music
And from your companions' beautiful laughter

And from the most insignificant movements
Of your own holy body.

Now, sweet one,
Be wise
Cast all your votes for Dancing!

Stewart Falls

I have been begging a couple of my friends to go for one last day hike before the snow comes. Despite how short the Stewart Falls trail was, and the fact that all of the beautiful fall leaves had already fallen, we had a lovely time. I was shocked at how colourful and gorgeous the scenery was. This mini trip was another testament that I need to devote more time to exploring the Provo outdoors.

During our trip, my friend and I were able to have some really good conversations that really made me reflect on myself, my friend and the applicability of all of the silly social theorists that I am studying right now. As I devote my theory efforts to Georg Simmel, I am being converted. Fragmentation of the self is real. We aren't able to truly know or holistically understand others because one cannot truly know their true self. The only being that is able to view us perfectly is God, thus we must rely on him to help us understand our potential.

Additionally, humans always view others in relation to themselves. As my friend explained his perspective of some people that I admire, it was interesting to observe the reality of our inability to divorce our identities and perceptions of ourselves as we interact or observe them. We evaluate the competency, likeability and success of others on our life experiences, race, gender, socioeconomic status, religion and many other dynamics that make us unique humans.

I guess I'll have to remember to recognize my preferences and assumptions when I begin my research. Thanks to everyone who contributed to my lovely weekend. I'm content, satisfied and ready to take on another week.

My personal favorite! (Above)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Oh, Georg Simmel!

Simmel is a fairly obscure social theorist that I did not know existed until August. As I have mentioned before, my theory course is very difficult for me, painfully difficult. I have created a new formula for my education in my theory class: glean meaning in any way that I can. Find meaning that is applicable to my interests and find a purpose in reading. I have had a friend explain this class as a course on learning how to learn and I have found that in order to learn something, I must find an application and I must care. I have grown impatient in my acquisition of knowledge and refuse to learn pointless facts that I will never employ, but I am more than willing to be inspired and explore theoretical structures that explain why individuals, institutions and societies act and develop in the ways that they do.

Here are a few of my treasures from Simmel:
George Simmel on Individuality and Social Forms: The Transcendent Character of Life
"... we are bounded in every direction, and we are bounded in no direction.
... For only whoever stands outside his boundary in some sense knows that he stands within it, that is, knows it as a boundary." p354

In this book he discusses that we are boundaries because we experience aspects of life along a spectrum of feelings, tastes, scents, joys, sorrows, etc. Because each of these experiences are felt along a spectrum of extremes, we use these extremes to orient ourselves and can only experience a finite magnitudes. Thus our imagination and direct experiences are limited. Once recognized, these limitations can and are surpassed most notably through innovation and technological advances.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Mt. Timpanogas

In September, I summitted Mt. Timpanogas for the first time. The ascension was frigid because we began our hike at 3:00AM in attempts to watch the sun rise from the summit. We didn't make it to the summit when dawn cracked, but it was a glorious moment! The views were absolutely breath-taking. I wish that I could have discovered this years ago. It would have made the past 3 years so much more enjoyable. I guess I will just have to make up for lost time during my program.


Reflections on Rumi

My master's program is tough. The program is constantly pushing me to new limits. This past week was definitely one of those weeks, so I sought solace in some poetry by the wise Rumi. I vaguely remembered hearing about his greatness in one of my undergraduate MESA classes, but I never read any of his works and was only reminded of him while watching "The Kiterunner." Amir recited a beautiful poem of war and sorrow while he and his father were fleeing Afghanistan. The thoughtful and piercing words ignited my curiosity.

When the pressures of my program overwhelmed me, I found myself in a tucked away corner of the library searching for a release. I found dozens of books that brought a smile to my face merely by reading their titles. I envisioned myself in an alternate reality in which I actually had time to read my new found treasures.

In the slender book, "Night & Sleep," Coleman Barks wrote a brief introduction about Rumi and concluded with an insightful piece of advice: "There often seems to be something missing from a Rumi poem, a space. This is the center of longing in each of them. 'You must fill it with yourself.'"

With no further adieu, Rumi:

The Friend
Friend, our closeness is this:
Anywhere you put your foot, feel me in the firmness under you.

How is it with this love.
I see your world and not you?

The Ears
The big ear on the outside of our head could be closed.
It is so good at hearing that the inner ear goes deaf.
What if you had no hearing at all, no nose, no mind-stuff!
Then one could hear well the three syllables: "Turn around."

Our sounds, our works, our renown, these are outer.
When we move inwardly, we move through inner space.
Our feet walk firmly, they experience sidewalks well.
There is one inside who walks like Jesus on the sea.

I will hopefully find some time to post more Rumi with some elaboration later.