Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Tripping the Noumenal Fantastic

Simmer summer august wind gust, monster maple, ogre oak, trees are scary after living with the mushroom desert folk.

The mind hallucinates while being watches; disidentifying with the mind is called job one.

It’s not the dream that’s waking up but it’s the dreamer returning from its trip of self-awareness.

Like an ouroboric fractal universe, the mind is made to endlessly divide if left to its own device.

Mind may be a tool but love is the hand that holds the tool. And love is the hand of the heart of the noumenon.



footnotes

1. leaving santa fe, we were somewhere on the edge of the catskills when the trees began to stranglehold

2. the mind divides, therefore the mind is dreaming. i am, therefore the mind is deconstructing.

3. self-awareness is the evolutionary thread. the needle is enlightening intent.

4. consciousness gets lost in the mind. getting lost in the mind hurts. no one wants to hurt.

5. in other words, mind is a tool, love is non-doing, being is ouroboros, self-awareness is the sacrifice.















My Rumi A-3

Now I know the true beloved, this beauty adorning all experience. It rises into heaven like the spirit of the prophet.

The sun is blotted out by its presence; the universe is chaos in its heart. And by its brightest power, the sea and earth catch fire.

So I ask where is the ladder that I may join with you in heaven. And it answers that the mind is the ladder; place it underneath oneself and rise.

As the mind is placed beneath you, you will step into the stars. And when you know you are the air that climbs the air, already you are there.

Ten thousand ways to realization open suddenly to you. One is waking into heaven every morning like a prayer.




Arberry 3

Today I beheld the beloved, that ornament of every affair; he went off departing to heaven like the spirit of Mustafā. 

The sun is put to shame by his countenance, heaven's sphere is as confused as the heart; through his glow, water and clay are more resplendent than fire.

I said, "Show me the ladder, that I may mount up to heaven." He said, "Your head is the ladder, bring your hcad down under your feet."

When you place your feet on your head, you will place your feet on the head of the stars; when you cleave through the air, set your foot on the air, so, and come!

A hundred ways to heaven's air become manifest to you; you go flying up to heaven every dawning like a prayer.






Monday, August 3, 2020

Transcreating Rumi

For lovers of Coleman Barks' versions of Rumi, this book, 'Mystical Poems of Rumi' by A.J. Arberry, should be a place of pilgrimage. This is the source of most of his transcreations. The way the story goes is that Robert Bly introduced this book to Barks in 1976 saying, these poems need to be released from their cages.


Here is Arberry on his book in the introduction (it is one paragraph which I have divided into five for blog readability): 

"These versions, being in the vast majority the first renderings into a western language (and the modern Turkish translation has been fully consulted), and intended primarily for non-specialists, have been made as literal as possible, with a minimal concession to readability. Short notes have been appended, to clarify obscurities and to explain unfamiliar allusions. 

For the rest, the reader is earnestly advised to make himself familiar with the Mathnawi in Nicholson's translation, and with the Fihi mā fihi in my own Discourses of Rumi. The poet is always consistent in his thought, and often repetitive in his expression, so that all his writings shed an abundance of mutually clarifying light. 

When all is said and done, however, it must be admitted that a number of passages in these poems still baffle the understanding, which is hardly surprising, considering the occasional nature of some of the references (for these poems were the spontaneous utterances of an ecstatic, unpremeditated and unrevised). 

There is also the further difficulty, that the language of the poems, though of course greatly influenced by literary style, is basically colloquial. It incorporates many Khorasanian idioms, affected by long residence in Arabic-speaking and Turkish-speaking lands, all from seven hundred years ago, so that the colloquial usages of the present day are not always a reliable guide.

Rūmī himself appears to have been conscious of the elusive, evanescent nature of his utterances, as when he says (in poem 125 of this selection), "My verse resembles the bread of Egypt—night passes over it, and you cannot eat it any more.”"


And here is Franklin Lewis on Barks and Bly and Rumi (one para divided into 3 here): 

"On the other hand, Bly and Barks tend to present Rumi as a guru rather calmly dispensing words of wisdom capable of resolving, panacea-like, all our ontological ailments. This effect is created in their writing not only by simple diction and plain sentences, but by the tendency to resolve paradoxes, and in the breathy knowing pauses and placid demeanors of their recitation style.

In reality, Rumi, especially in the Divân, is a poet of overpowering longing, trying to grope through his acute and shattering sense of loss – loss of Shams and alienation in the material world from the spiritual source - to achieve catharsis, usually in some kind of silent, sagacious suffering.

Rumi's Persian ghazals, spontaneous, excited, full of sonorous, urgent sound play and rhythm, constantly toy with unresolved paradoxes, and do not impress the reader with a sense of serene wisdom calmly dispensed, but with frenetic search and longing to understand. Bly and Barks's view of Rumi corresponds more closely to the tenor of the narrator of the Masnavi than to the poet of the ghazals."


And of course there is the backlash to Barks: The Erasure of Islam from the Poetry of Rumi.



So I decided to try my hand at one of Arberry's translations which Kabir Hemninski also translated. 


Here is the Arberry:

282 

Sit with your comrades, do not go to sleep; do not go to the bottom of the sea like a fish. 

Be surging all night like the sea; no, do not go scattered like a torrent. 

Is not the water of life in darkness? Seek in darkness, and do not hurry away. 

The nightfarers of heaven are full of light; you too, go not away from the company of your companions. 

Is not the wakeful candle in a golden dish? Go not into earth like quicksilver.

The moon shows its face to the night-travelers; be watchful, on the night of moonshine do not go.


And here's Helminski's translation:

Search the Darkness

Sit with your friends; don't go back to sleep.
Don't sink like a fish to the bottom of the sea.

Surge like an ocean,
don't scatter yourself like a storm.

Life's waters flow from darkness.
Search the darkness, don't run from it.

Night travelers are full of light,
and you are, too; don't leave this companionship.

Be a wakeful candle in a golden dish,
don’t slip in the dirt like quicksilver.

The moon appears for night travelers,
be watchful when the moon is full.


I just found the Coleman Barks version:

The Ocean Moving All Night

Stay with us. Don't sink to the bottom
like a fish going to sleep.
Be with the ocean moving steadily all night,
not scattered like a rainstorm.

The spring we're looking for
is somewhere in this murkiness.
See the night-lights up there traveling together,
the candle awake in its gold dish.

Don't slide into the cracks of ground like spilled mercury.
When the full moon comes out, look around.


And finally here's my transcreation of the Arberry translation:

My Rumi A-282

Stay with the ship and do not fall asleep. Do not sail away to the bottom of the sea. 

Gather yourself as the ocean surges. Do not disperse into the tempest. 

Night travelers are bathed in heaven’s light. Do not fade away from their circle. 

The water of life is rising from the darkness. Stand in the dark and do not light away. 

The midnight candle sits in a golden dish. Do not bury yourself in quicksilver. 

The moon guides all travelers at night. Stay in focus and do not let your full face go. 



It's obvious to me that Heminski also used Arberry as his template, although it's said he did go to the Persion or Farsi as well. Mine is a transcreation and so wanders from the original but in a direction which I feel is closer to the intent of the original. Also, in my transcreation, I tried to stay with the parallelism, paradox, nonduality, and form (the couplet is in each line although I am reconsidering this strategy and dividing the lines into an actual couplet). At the least, the process was enjoyable, and I look forward to a second.












Saturday, August 1, 2020

Let There Be Lightning

The Big Bang is like the knowledge that I am. Everything following the Big Bang is forgetting that I am. Let there be lightning and the echoing of thunder.

Before the Big Bang am I—the absolute unknown, the reality of true potentiality, and the sacred ground of material silence.

Lucid dreaming is remembering forgetting. Spontaneous enlightenment is the full potentiality of the noumenon.

The mind divides. Self-awareness is the trinity of reality. The mind identifies with the process. This hurts.

Consciousness knows the mind as a tool by first identifying with it. The meaning of a paradox is always left unsaid.

One doesn’t solve the paradox. Paradox dissolves the logic. Paradox is always unresolved.

Resolution is the latest meta-paradigm. This is called religion when it’s not the latest. The latest meta-paradigm is scientific materialism.

There are many conspiracy theories based on something missing. The mind will always try to prove it is or isn’t. Faith is knowing that I am.




















My Rumi A-282

Stay with the ship and do not fall asleep. Do not sail away to the bottom of the sea. 

Gather yourself as the ocean surges.  Do not disperse into the tempest. 

Night travelers are bathed in heaven’s light. Do not fade away from their circle. 

The water of life is rising from the darkness. Stand in the dark and do not light away. 

The midnight candle sits in a golden dish. Do not bury yourself in quicksilver. 

The moon guides all travelers at night. Stay in focus and do not let your full face go. 






Arberry-282 

Sit with your comrades, do not go to sleep; do not go to the bottom of the sea like a fish. 

Be surging all night like the sea; no, do not go scattered like a torrent. 

Is not the water of life in darkness? Seek in darkness, and do not hurry away. 

The nightfarers of heaven are full of light; you too, go not away from the company of your companions. 

Is not the wakeful candle in a golden dish? Go not into earth like quicksilver.

The moon shows its face to the night-travelers; be watchful, on the night of moonshine do not go.








Tuesday, July 28, 2020

The Great Debate

My truth is my resolution. Your truth is my refutation and rebuttal. It's nothing personal. Call this deconstructing one’s projection.

Personal deconstruction is an affirmation of knowing as well as negation of conditioned consciousness. Call this my kicking stance.

Three great distractions to self-awareness are argument, evangelism, association. These are the major organs of any organized religion.

In questions concerning truth, there is no one but oneself, all utopia, consciousness-raising, and guided meditations notwithstanding.









At most, it’s like a subtweet.


Conditioned consciousness prefers not knowing. This primal fear is at the heart of all nihilism.

Love is all there is. There is no other.

I saw the mind destroyed by mad utopia, angel-headed consciousness, and the machine shops of meditation.


Monday, July 27, 2020

Formula One

The koan may be the easiest example of this formula: as consciousness is the expression of the absolute, divine imagination is the expression of consciousness, and spontaneous revelation is the expression of divine imagination.

The same formula holds true for other forms of divine imagination such as sutra, myth, parable, psalm, and poetry in general. Beside written poetries, there are talks, discourses, semons, dialogues, and other oral poetry.

It is said Rumi spoke his verse spontaneously and it was recorded by a scribe. Beyond the technical details of rhyme and meter, this is not different than all Nisargadatta’s dialogues.

In effect, the great turning of personal deconstruction, divine imagination, and spontaneous revelation is the trinity of self-awareness in this ouroboric universe of enlightening intent.








footnote

After writing this I see this Nisargadatta quote: “The talks are spontaneously flowing out. I am not framing them. I myself am often amazed as to why these types of profound expressions are emerging, and people who listen to my talks are also nonplussed because they are not able to frame any questions based on my talks.”

Synchronicity is not occasional but nonstop. Conditioned consciousness doesn't recognize that fact. This is a feature of such conditioning.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Exchanging Helminski's Free Verse Rumi

The great thing about true Rumi that a good translation reveals is not just the spirit of love, and the language of truth and beauty, but also the delicate paradox hinted at therein. So far, I have found this paradox in Helminski's translations only. (It makes me want to try my hand at Arberry's technical stuff, like Barks and Bly and others.)

But Helminski insists on using free verse in the weirdest ways with the formal lines of Rumi. The poetic form Rumi often uses is called a ghazal. The rhyming couplet is called a bayt. There are other metrical patterns which are discussed here. So here's Helminki's free verse version.


Buy Me From My Words 

Before now I wanted
to be paid for what I said,
but now I need you
to buy me from my words.
The idols I used to carve
charmed everyone. Now I'm drunk
on Abraham and tired of idols.
An idol with no color or scent
ended my whole career.
Find someone else for the job.
A happy madman without a thought,
I have swept the shop clean.
If something enters my mind,
I say, "Leave. You're a distraction."
Whatever is coarse and heavy, I destroy.
Who should be with Layla?
Someone who can be Majnun.
The man holding up this waving flag
actually belongs to the other side.


I love this translation but why the weird line breaks? I can understand not rhyming the lines within the couplet based on the lack of common rhyme in English. but why break the structure of the couplet itself?

So here’s my reformation of Helsinki’s translation returning the poem to the ghazal it is. I’m guessing at the line breaks here, but I think it’s an educated guess. And I like the results.


Buy Me From My Words 

Before now I wanted to be paid for what I said,
but now I need you to buy me from my words.

The idols I used to carve charmed everyone.
Now I'm drunk on Abraham and tired of idols.

An idol with no color or scent ended my whole career.
Find someone else for the job.

A happy madman without a thought, I have swept the shop clean.
If something enters my mind, I say, "Leave. You're a distraction."

Whatever is coarse and heavy, I destroy.
Who should be with Layla? Someone who can be Majnun.

The man holding up this waving flag
actually belongs to the other side.


~Rumi (tr-Helminski) [tx-SR)





footnote, found this Franklin Lewis quote after writing the above, on paradox in transcreations of Bly and Barks
"On the other hand, Bly and Barks tend to present Rumi as a guru rather calmly dispensing words of wisdom capable of resolving, panacea-like, all our ontological ailments. This effect is created in their writing not only by simple diction and plain sentences, but by the tendency to resolve paradoxes, and in the breathy knowing pauses and placid demeanors of their recitation style. In reality, Rumi, especially in the Divân, is a poet of overpowering longing, trying to grope through his acute and shattering sense of loss – loss of Shams and alienation in the material world from the spiritual source - to achieve catharsis, usually in some kind of silent, sagacious suffering. Rumi's Persian ghazals, spontaneous, excited, full of sonorous, urgent sound play and rhythm, constantly toy with unresolved paradoxes, and do not impress the reader with a sense of serene wisdom calmly dispensed, but with frenetic search and longing to understand. Bly and Barks's view of Rumi corresponds more closely to the tenor of the narrator of the Masnavi than to the poet of the ghazals."





(exactly!! lewis hits the sufi on the dervish. i was feeling this last night. helminski's translations are the first ones i've read to show that frenetic rumi of the unresolved paradox rather than the the guru rumi of barks and bly resolving paradoxes for their gentle readers.)














Saturday, July 25, 2020

talking this ouroboric universe

Disidentifying with its tool, consciousness is free to use the mind for some divine imagination.

As consciousness is the expression of the godhead, mythic imagination is the expression of consciousness.

Thus, personal deconstruction, mythic imagination, and spontaneous revelation is the trinity of self-awareness.

Any form of nihilism is self-awareness interruptus. Like fundamentalist religion, scientific materialism, or being stuck in deconstruction.

The trinity of mythic imagination is loving, paradoxical, and poetic.










just because i'd misidentified myself
with this tool of mind for a spell
doesn't mean the tool itself is bad
or useless

and revelation
is expression
of divine
imagination

the rise and fall of empires,
lucid dreaming,
and the backwards big bang black hole

myth devolves into belief
and not vice versa.
atlantis is drowned by religion.
it's a mythic metaphor.

no division. no logic. no users manual; just pointing.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

talking bhakta

In this 21st century schizoid culture, scientific materialism is the last grand concept to be deconstructed and almost never is.

On the one side of this razor's edge is fundamentalist religion and on the other side, big science, the two great nihilisms of the world today.

And nondual materialism is the ninth circle of scientific nihilism. I'll take my Tao with Sufi, thank you very much. And jnana is to deconstruction as bkakta is to bodhicitta.

In a world of science, one must double-down on love, my love. Love is nothing personal, to say it in a scientific way. Belief is nothing but.

Wisdom is Lao Tzu. Love, Chuang Tzu. Laozi is Zhuangzi. Look, my granddaughter is the latest guru in my collection. And if it wasn't for my daughter, I'd be dead.












another name
for the force is love
starry love
if religion is the fall, big science is the dead cat bounce
believing
nonduality is
the greatest koan
postmodern deconstruction is easy. love is hard.
my greatest karmic
guru has been
fatherhood
i can't imagine
a more efficient way
your life may vary




all politics
is local;
division is
the function
of mind.
love is the universal heart,
my love!