Category Archives: Films/Books

Between Quiet and Solitude

Pegasus Books, Berkeley.
Pegasus Books, Berkeley.

This photograph has been deliberately fuzzed. That’s how my mind was and generally is when in a bookshop of any size. I’m an admirer of book covers, the design and fonts used, the colours and lately the plastic covers. Shining paper is giving way to mat flexible plastic. Feels good in the hand. But, I rarely look inside. I’m not there to buy I’m there because the door’s generally open and I’m irresistibly drawn into the cavern of yet to be explored delights. But, I don’t get past the covers, often.

I know a genuine writer who writes real books, which have been published. The most recent one Every Blade of Grass as a Kindle edition. At Pegasus I made a half-hearted attempt to find him on a shelf, his books, but not having my glasses cut the project short. He says that writers are readers and more importantly, for me, that readers are writers. Aspiring to be a genuine writer I guess I’ll have to get past the covers sooner rather than later. In the mean time books covers are lovely.

But that wasn’t what I had intended to write about tonight. I was sent a link to the most incredible story which I’ve been READING, on and off, for most of the day. The title of the news article is The Strange & Curious Tale of the Last True Hermit. It is an amazing story of a twenty year old chap who camped out in the woods in Central Maine…for 27 years. He survived by stealing food and supplies as well as books and magazines. It is a gripping tale. I was anticipating a sad ending but no. He went to jail, got a seven months sentence and let out on the understanding he wouldn’t return to the woods. He went back home to live with his mother.

When asked what insight he had into life truths while he was alone in the woods he eventually said, Get enough sleep! Then…

He set his jaw in a way that conveyed he wouldn’t be saying more. This is what he’d learned. I accepted it as truth.

“What I miss most,” he eventually continued, “is somewhere between quiet and solitude. What I miss most is stillness.”

Thanks to Julius for the link.

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Greater Integration of Intention and Action – Book Review

The Hidden Brain is an altogether spectacular read, the kind that gives the best possible hope for changing our minds in the most necessary direction there is – toward more fairness, greater self-awareness, and a vital integration of our intentions and our actions.

The Hidden Brain: How Ocean Currents Explain Our Unconscious Social Biases from Brain Pickings.

The review of The Hidden Brain on Brain Pickings makes for disturbing reading especially since at first glance, a superficial glance at the cartoon style drawings, you might dismiss the whole review. I advise reading on. Fascinating and informative to say the least.

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The Misguided Monk – Animation Video

A big thank you to Angie for pointing towards this charming short video. A reconnection with the warmth of companionship.

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Encouragement – Recognition

I will be away from an internet connection for the next few days so posts may be few, if at all. A break may well do me good in terms of bringing some energy to writing. Talking to a regular reader this lunch time at the end of a retreat at Throssel I was reminded, gently, that it doesn’t always pay to be too available. I think she spoke from experience. Part of continuing writing IS about being available, of being a place which invites people in to connect with themselves. And that’s more or less what the other regular reader I met this lunch time said. Good to see you both. Thanks for your encouragement, much appreciated too.

I watched Beasts of the Southern Wild this evening. The child lead is a nominee for the Academy Awards Best Actress. Over in America the awards glitz and prance must be getting going about now. It was her first acting job. Good job! and wonderful ability to scream very loudly.

But what would be the effect on that girl should she win the award? Would it be good to get recognition so early in her career. Now 9 years old she would have reached a level of professional recognition many don’t get until they are seasoned. Recognition is a double edged sword isn’t it. Bringing on the one hand confidence (it has that effect on me when, as today, I meet readers) and on the other hand it is easy to get swollen headed and out of balance. Nobody is immune to the lure of fame and fortune. No worries about that for me though!

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Zen – The Movie

Zen tells the story, the film version anyway, of Dogen Zenji. I watched it several times while in the US last summer. It is worth a watch. I understand it’s been hard to find copies so I’m glad to point you to a site where Zen, the movie, can be bought.

Zen is an elegant and fascinating look into the life and times of 13th-century monk Dogen, founder of the Soto sect in Zen Buddhism. Offering a fairly faithful depiction of what is known of the monk’s life, the film follows Dogen, handsomely portrayed by kabuki actor Nakamura Kantaro, from an orphan child inspired by his mother’s dying words to a young monk wandering in China where he experiences his awakening. After reaching enlightenment, he returns to Kyoto to spread his teachings of silent meditation, attracting both dedicated followers and fierce detractors who cast him as a heretic. In his travels and teachings, Dogen encounters many different people. Some guide him, some follow him, and some test him, but all become crucial figures in his spiritual journey of peace and meditation.

Thanks go to Rod in Canada for the link.

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