The Shrug

Went for a walk this morning, a little tired,
A little weary, to taste of the autumn air,
And watch the coloured wood against
The sparkling snow mountain caps.
Below the village along the narrow valley,
The path led to clean fields, a clearing;
Two houses stood there, farms with
Cows and hens and cats, a garden there
Deliciously abandoned for winter is coming.
Furtive escapes, lazy grazing, slow wanderings,
Countless hideouts — a children’s paradise.
I saw two young men working,
And I stood there watching;
Tasting…

Then simple men with simple features
Came towards me with wondering eyes;
We exchanged words, they were smiling.
In the silence offered to me then,
I promptly dreamt of living here:
Sitting all morning on those steep slopes,
To think, and keep an eye on the herd,
Twig in my mouth contemplating sceneries,
Strong legs, strong hands, a little nap,
I’d learn simple work for simple ends,
I’d give my heart to this beautiful piece of land 
And those two young men smiling at me.
Addressing them, I said: I like this place.
They shrugged.

So they did it again, my playful thoughts —
To imagine another place, another deed,
To bend the exquisiteness of the now
And squeeze it into a stretch of time, 
Another mirage for my needy self.
The new is good at stirring our imagination
And digging out pleasure that would not last
When coming down day after day with milking cows.
I clung to the marvellous autumn colours for help. 
They told me of all that rests peacefully
Behind the field of thoughts, the claws of time.
They told me that there is a happiness and a beauty 
Always — when you’re resting as rests the land
Or the clear sky, the mountain caps.

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Text and photo by Alain Joly

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Suggestion:
Voices from Silence (other poems from the blog)

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The Quality of Now

Here is a reminder inspired from the words of Rupert Spira. It is necessary and terribly efficient to look into these matters for ourselves. This is why I like to share here the parts of a spiritual teaching that sounds like ‘something to do’, something to experiment and verify for ourselves:

Try to find, to feel in yourself the experience of a past or future. See that it’s not possible, that the past or the future is always an idea or a concept… Really ponder the implications of that, the past is not there, the future is not there, it’s never there… Try very hard, feel it, see how this feeling-understanding that there is no past or future affects the quality of the now, see how it impacts the way you move, the quality of your relationship, your daily activities… For each of these three examples, you can do it either with the past or with the future… Experience the new vulnerability in yourself…

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Further exploring on the subject:

As long as there is an observer there must be living in the past, obviously. And all our life is based on the past, memories, knowledge, images, according to which you react, which is your conditioning, is the past. And living has become the living of the past in the present, modified in the future. That’s all, as long as the observer is living. Now does the mind see this as a truth, as a reality, that all my life is living in the past?
~ J. Krishnamurti

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Past and future are dependent on the present. The past was present in its time and the future will be present too. Ever-present is the present. To seek to know the future and the past, without knowing the truth of time today, is to try to count without the number ‘One’.
~ Ramana Maharshi

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Now if there is no future, because the future is now and the past is now, then what is action? We said action as we know it now is based on the past – memories, regrets, guilt, experience, which is all knowledge, or the future, the ideal, the concepts – right? Theories, faiths, you act according to that. So you are acting according to the past or to the future. But the past and the future are now – right? So what is action? You understand my question? Please do – don’t give up. You have to exercise your brain, your intellect, your energy to find out, your passion to find out.”
~ J. Krishnamurti

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The ego struggling to survive either clings onto its accumulated memories, or projects desires into the future, thus using up a considerable amount of energy. Accumulation, choosing, elaborating, all take place on a horizontal plane, in time and duration. The energy constantly turns back upon itself, creating a vicious circle. Being uninvolved with this movement, this dispersal, this sterile swinging between past and future, puts to rest the energies that sustain these habit-patterns, and we finally awake to liberating awareness. Then the energies converge vertically in the eternal now.”
~ Jean Klein

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Picture by Alain Joly

Bibliography:
– ‘Presence’, Vol. I & II – by Rupert Spira (Non-Duality Press)
– ‘The First and Last Freedom’ – by J. Krishnamurti – (Rider Publishing)
– ‘Be As You Are’ – by Ramana Maharshi (Edited by David Godman) – (Penguin Books)
– ‘Who Am I‘ – by Jean Klein – (Non-Duality Press)

Websites:
Rupert Spira
J. Krishnamurti
Ramana Maharshi (Wikipedia)
Jean Klein (Wikipedia)

Suggestions:
Fleeing to God (other pointers from the blog)
A Day at Brockwood Park (Homage to J. Krishnamurti)
Rendezvous with Ramana, Part II (Homage to Ramana Maharshi)

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