You might enjoy this hour of David Brooks talking at the Commonwealth Club. His new book (among several) is The Second Mountain; The Joy of Giving Yourself Away.
Recording (an hour):
also available in a Commonwealth Club podcast
Brooks is a “moderate conservative” (he discusses this in the recording, saying he is really more of a 19th Century Whig) NY Times columnist, TV and radio pundit/commentator, book author, philosopher, and now director of a social movement called Weave: The Social Fabric Project with the Aspen Institute (weareweavers.org – you’ll like his 2-minute video on this page; find out about the project in the text under the menu bar items).
I’ve been a big fan of Brooks for many years. I once posted a comment on his Twitter page nominating him for Secretary of Reason in the next White House administration. (I don’t use Twitter anymore. Or Facebook.) But I guess it wouldn’t make sense for the government to have a Department of Reason.
They push the heart toward believing more about the world than it seems to want believed, something more believable — more real — when they sing about it, something we need them to sing about, to keep the spirit breathing, to strengthen faith and disarm disbelief.
Continued from Aranyaka Part 2.
If I were to invent a religion, it would be centered on forest immersion. It need not be a highly social alliance of souls, because silence and solitude are like vestments of immersion. Other critical components of the Order would be creativity, play, liberality and education.
This new religion is wrapped around a core understanding that there are not two natures, human and non-human. There is one Nature and we are part of it. Forest immersion can make this knowledge holistic, both visceral and intellectual, drawn from the primordial biophilia in human nature, and from burgeoning modern science on the topic.
Adherence to this religion calls for daily walking through forest or field, ideally twice or more per day, at least 40 minutes at a time, ideally 90 minutes or more. That would be merely casual adherence.
You never know what may happen during deeper immersion, if you let go of the usual tight grip on yourself and let “wild mind” roll. For instance, here’s Thoreau doing it (in one of a thousand possible ways):
David Kinsley, author of Hindu Goddesses: Visions of the Divine Feminine in the Hindu Religious Tradition, wrote:
One hymn of the Rg-veda (10.146) refers to a goddess of the forest, Aranyani. From this one hymn we get a rather clear picture of the goddess. She is an elusive figure who vanishes from sight and avoids villages. She is more often heard than seen. She speaks through the sounds of the forest, or one may even hear her tinkling bells. She seems to make her presence known especially at evening, and those who spend the night in the forest sometimes think they hear her scream. She never kills unless provoked by some murderous enemy. She is sweetly scented, is mother of all forest things, and provides plenty of food without tilling.
To develop a special relationship with her, create trails! She has a lot to say about how you do that, and she loves to change them for you.
In Part 1, I said that Aranyani is incarnate as forest; forest is the embodiment of Aranyani. Maybe this is why she is so seldom depicted in human form by classical artists, unlike so many other deities.
I was happily surprised to find this work by photographer Bijan Pirnia titled Aranyani, The Hindu Goddess Of Forests, with no anthropomorphic entity in it (that I can find). It is just forest, the embodiment of Aranyani!
Enjoy browsing terrific forest photos by Bijan Pirnia. Thank you, Bijan.
Back to making trails with Aranyani …
The following are not pretty pictures, just documentary, to show you one part of the Aranyaka Maze of paths, each a unique experience. I’m starting with the path into Aranyaka Sanctuary from the west.
“The end of all scribblement is to amuse,
and he certainly succeeds there.”
–Lord Byron, Referring to Sir Walter Scott in a letter to Francis Hodgson, 1810
… even if I’m the only one amused
As I say, I blog for my entertainment.
In my Cadivus post, I quoted Natalie Goldberg’s book Wild Mind, where she advised writers to “sink into the big sky and write from there.” (PDF of the full excerpt.) In my layman’s rough terms, “big sky” refers to widened awareness and/or a Buddhistic meditation practice called “big sky mind.”
In context, I believe Goldberg is talking about unleashing oneself from the limitations of overly self-critical, self-confining, ego-based/fear-driven, creativity-stifling thinking. It may also be distorted thinking that is out of harmony with things as they are.
Like me, for instance (to a degree).
Note the subtitle of this blog, Scribblements from Balsamea. Maybe I should have called it Scribblements of Balsamea, referring not only to these words and pictures, but also to writing myself into Nature here, and herself into my little mind-body machine. Cadivus is the latest significant example of that reciprocal, wordless writing process. I’d like to talk about one of the early examples, a place in Balsamea that I named Aranyaka in 2006.