Ask yourself “what is happening right now?”
The new poetry pamphlet I’ve been working on with Hugh Greasley and Joe Franklin has arrived in proof form. There are a couple of minor errors to be fixed: I didn’t leave enough room between the bleed and the page margin on the cover, for one thing. These should now be resolved and I’ve put the order in for the first printing.
The cover art is Paziols Morning by Hugh. Check out more of his art at hughgreasley.co.uk.
Here’s an exploration of the Buddhist view of anatta, commonly translated as ‘no self’ or ‘not self’. Although I’m not an authority on this, I’ve been thinking about what anatta might mean in comparison to our normal, conditioned view. Let’s suppose that View A is commonly held:
View A: there is a conscious self, an “I”, who possesses a body and senses through which it perceives the world.
Now suppose View B is the Buddhist view:
View B: there are sensations, memories, concepts, feelings which comprise consciousness in each moment.
A metaphor commonly used for View A is that of a captain piloting a ship. This is the way our language works. We talk of “my” body but it’s not always clear who’s in possession of that body if not the body itself.
In the latter view, the “I” that arises is not permanent. It depends moment by moment upon experiences. These may include physical sensations but also mental events, such as memories and conceptual thought. This “I”, or what psychologists might call the ego, is continually arising and passing as phenomena change. If we look closely, we may fail to find a pre-existing “I” — but this is not to say that there is no reality to our subjective experience. In fact, the opposite conclusion may be drawn: that subjective experience arises directly from phenomena.
In truth, most of us probably hold both views at different times and View B is by no means exclusive to Buddhist philosophy. The question we are invited to ask of View A is, where is this “I” that features so prominently in our worldview? Is it anything more than a thought?
Here’s the the title track of that new collection of songs I’ve been banging on about. Hope you enjoy it.
Here’s a new track intended for People Are Guitars, the instrumental release I’ve been working on. I think it’s finished but there could be some rearranging to do. Feedback welcomed.
The painting is Henry Mosler’s The Lost Cause (1869), on the American Civil War.
Photography — To the Woods and Back. Beautiful photos showing the passage of four years in a bluebell wood.
Music — The Kid Knows Karate. Yorick2300’s sustained mix.
Music — Light Dance (with violin). Majestic composition by Akira Kosemura.
Video — The Important Places. Father and son rafting on the Grand Canyon (via JC).
Charity — Nepal disaster relief organisations.