12 10 / 2011

"Desire" has been a powerful word for me recently. Since I’ve started listening to "On Being," I think this has been my favorite episode.

beingblog:

The Centrality of Desire in the Messiness of Human Life, and God’s Too

by Krista Tippett, host

P1000372Photo by Trent Gilliss

I still have a vivid memory of the first time I interviewed Avivah Zornberg. I had experienced her through the Bill Moyers series Genesis, and through her powerfully, lushly written books about the Bible. I brought one of mine into the studio that day — Everett Fox’s The Five Books of Moses, a translation that sacrifices English clarity to let the visual wordplay of the original Hebrew come through. In the end, I closed my eyes, and did something closer to entering the text than discussing it. That’s what Avivah Zornberg makes possible.

That first time, for Passover, we were looking at the iconic story of Exodus, which has inspired so many people in so many places across time, far transcending its appearance as words on a page. This time, I sat down in her living room in the Old Katamon neighborhood of Jerusalem and began the conversation by wondering where she might want to go. She was as delightful and gracious in her whole being as she is with her voice. We decided to start with the story of Noah and the Flood — chapter 6 in the book of Genesis — and see where it might take us.

This of course is one of those stories that many of us have heard in Sunday school, or seen in Technicolor at the movies, and heard references to and jokes about all our lives. But Avivah Zornberg knows the Hebrew Bible’s actual words and cadences by heart. She approaches it with the foundational mystical text of the Zohar. She applies the ancient Jewish art of midrash, reading between the lines with imagination, poetry, sensuality, and a sense of humor. And she uncovers stories within the story that open up the “biblical unconscious” and speak in unexpected ways to human life.

With her, we see that the biblical flood in some sense un-creates the world that has just been created. But the corruption that led to this undoing was not merely one of fleshly sin and violence; it was a loss of the connective tissue of language between human beings. “They have become so open,” Avivah Zornberg has written of the flood generation, “that they are closed to one another.”

Likewise, in Hebrew, the “ark” into which Noah retreats contains allusions to “word” as well as to “box.” This uncommunicative, self-absorbed man seems, upon closer examination, a strange choice for God to appoint to save all life on Earth. But precisely in his awkward imperfection, Noah embodies one of the qualities I love about the Hebrew Bible. It is an honest, unvarnished account of the messiness of life — the failed and flawed nature even of our greatest leaders. There are no storybook heroes in the Hebrew Bible. They are us, just as they are in real life. So even Noah, in one of those ironies of the human condition, finds himself imprisoned by the box/ark that is his claim to greatness.

That day in Avivah Zornberg’s living room, we walked backwards in Genesis — from Noah and the Flood to the creation story of Adam and Eve and Eden. Here too we find ironies that we recognize at the center of ourselves. From the Hebrew, Eden can also be translated as “delight” — “land of pleasure.” Everything is beautiful and perfect and delicious here. But it is the one tree in the center of the garden, from which God has asked Adam and Eve not to eat, that they desire.

The theme of desire — its centrality in moving human life forward, the way we struggle to both honor and order it — runs throughout Avivah Zornberg’s vision of how this text might tell us the story of ourselves. And, like the Bible itself, she does not condemn the fact of desire so much as seek to understand it. For the consciousness that desire enlivens is also a primary source of awareness and intentionality; it’s our choices that have the power to redeem us, not an impossible striving toward perfection.

I’ll leave you with a line to entice you to listen to my conversation with Avivah Zornberg. She says of the power of Adam’s telling of the first lie:

Brodsky said consciousness, human consciousness, begins with one’s first lie… That’s when we begin to be aware of the complexity in ourselves and the different impulses. And that’s where poetry comes from as well. You know, not only bad things come from saying two things at the same time. As long as you have a kind of straight unequivocal immaculate version of things, then there can be no poetry and there can be no tension, no desire again. Desire makes itself felt when language comes alive.”

06 10 / 2011

"Everything is energy and that’s all there is to it. Match the frequency of the reality you want and you cannot help but get that reality. It can be no other way. This is not philosophy. This is physics."

Albert Einstein

01 9 / 2011

lucifelle:

The human body literally glows, emitting a visible light in extremely small quantities at levels that rise and fall with the day.

Past research has shown that the body emits visible light, 1,000 times less intense than the levels which can be seen with the naked eye. In fact,…

(via )

01 9 / 2011

"Begin to see yourself as a soul with a body rather than a body with a soul."

Dr. Wayne Dyer (via thewitchinghour3)

(via wyld-magik)

19 8 / 2011

"‘One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.’"

Henry Miller

19 8 / 2011

Be Present

  • 1: an uncontrollable job, the stress of kids and chores and interruptions and digital distractions. But it’s how our mind handles those external forces that is the problem.
  • If you are completely present, the external forces are no longer a problem, because there is only you and that external force, in this moment, and not a million other things you need to worry about.
  • Be joyful in whatever you’re doing, grateful that you’re able to do that task, and fully appreciate every little movement and tactile sensation of the task. You’ll learn that anything can be an amazing experience, anything can be a miracle.

02 8 / 2011

"Physical beauty and ugliness is not much important; the real thing is the inner. Once it is there, your physical form won’t matter much. Your eyes will start shining with joy; your face will have a gleam, a glory. The form will become immaterial. When something starts flowing from within you, some grace, then the outer form is just put aside. Comparatively it loses all significance. Don’t be worried about it."

Osho (via astral-travel)

(Source: terramantra, via wyld-magik)

02 8 / 2011

"Everything you see has its roots in the unseen world. The forms may change, yet the essence remains the same. Every wonderful sight will vanish; every sweet word will fade, but do not be disheartened, The source they come from is eternal, growing, branching out, giving new life and new joy. Why do you weep? The source is within you and this whole world is springing up from it."

Jalaluddin Rumi (via lucifelle)

(via littlecitywitch)

26 7 / 2011

20 7 / 2011

"Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me. I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me. Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me. Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me."