On Parmenides

‘The School of Athens’ – by Raphael, 1509 (fresco at the Vatican City) – Wikimedia

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There is nothing,
and there will never be anything,
outside of being
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~ Parmenides (trans. Francis Lucille)

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The Oxford Dictionary wrote this very concise description of Parmenides: “Greek philosopher. Born in Elea in south-western Italy, he founded the Eleatic school of philosophers. In his work ‘On Nature’, written in hexameter verse, he maintained that the apparent motion and changing forms of the universe are in fact manifestations of an unchanging and indivisible reality.” This statement is a quintessential definition of non-duality, and a summary of Parmenides’ work expressed as far as the early fifth century BC, in the cradle of western civilisation. The depth of understanding and vision required to make such statement has puzzled and influenced many a philosopher since, and has aroused the interest of countless spiritual seekers. This spiritual message is worth a good attention here.

Parmenides is the author of one single work, a poem of which only fragments have remained over the years. It survived because the around 800-verse original poem was abundantly quoted by his pairs, and could be re-formed in a shorter version, as known today, of 160 verses. His poem, today translated as ‘On Nature’, ‘On Reality’, or simply ‘Fragments’, is comprised of three parts of which the second and most important has survived in its almost entirety.

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A study of Parmenides’ statement of truth in his poem ‘On Nature’… (READ MORE…)

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The Craving

Why do you keep falling, my heart
To all that impart an immediate pleasure
Truth is not an easy catch that can be met
In the petty, neither one that you can grab
In the temporal and all its passing hues
There is more to it than mock or parody

You have to only stay where you are, to
Not take that first step ahead, allured by
The fire of thoughts, elated by feelings
Be only so present so as to sight
A calm within a space, a space within a calm
That nothing can stir or move or shake

And you shall stay there, not concerned
By all that in you shout and scream
By all these thieves that claim your fall
And beg in the usual, the false order restored
A peace so cheap as to be no peace at all
You know what an imitation of truth is

This is an endeavour of unbounded courage
You need some heart to inhabit your heart
You’ll be surrounded by liars and impostors
All these preachers of facile commands
They too dwell where you truly dwell
They go only by effort or indulgence

Presence is a magnetic field that attracts
Always only itself. No need for exertion
No need to launch a campaign for truth
Desire is their last treacherous injunction
So repulsive when it comes to being home
You are already where you crave to be

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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 Coronation

I want to be all alone with you.
Who cares of these hundreds
relentless thoughts. I’ll let them
be and live their own thinking-life.
I’m not concerned with them.
They’re none of my business.
Have a good journey folks!
I’ll just stay here alone
with my silent friend.

I want to be all alone with you.
I have nothing to do with these
endless stories and beliefs.
All these far-fetched ideas
that keep giving birth to
that constant flow of suffering.
Waves after waves of feelings.
Don’t involve me. I want to be
in unaccompanied solitude.

I want to be all alone with you.
I won’t busy myself with these
ten thousand things. Not this time.
They have helped me well, with
pleasures and necessities.
To fight my fears off and
seek a hidden peace.
But god they’re clumsy! So
please, leave me alone for now.

I want to be all alone with you.
And when I’ll feel your presence
in me, so as to be just only you,
then I’ll return to all and everything;
To the feelings and the spicy;
To the world and its troubled affairs.
I shall welcome the weird and the inept,
and the thinking rendered innocuous.
I’ll make them my loyal attendants
And I’ll crown them with glory.

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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 Fate of Me

‘Ink Landscape’ – Kanō Motonobu, 16th AD (Art Institute of Chicago) – Wikimedia

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I saw you rise so many times,
Invade the space of my being,
To occupy my whole presence,
Take everything, leaving nothing,
Not a corner of emptiness
Where I could recognise my self.

I saw you rise so many times
Acquire my whole, my essential
To leave me lost, truly yearning
For that silence now filled by you;
To leave me sad, truly longing
For the one here just before you.

I saw you rise so many times
T’was impudent, how did you dare
Burying light in obscurity,
Dimming joy with your avid search,
Thinking it right to lead my life
When you are but a malign ghost.

But more than once, you did vanish
I’ll tell you why, listen to this:
I found you had no consistence
The reason is: you are not found
Your reality imagined
Your existence: your insistence.

Look at yourself, you are not here
You’re not the one you claim to be
You’re just a thought that’s tossed about
In an ocean of presence;
That sea is not a place to be
When you are but a lump of salt.

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Text by Alain Joly

Painting by Kanō Motonobu (1476–1559)

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Website:
Kanō Motonobu (Wikipedia)

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

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Longing

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Longing
Is happiness already formed
Crying for your noticing.
It is the soft yet
Heartbreaking expression
Of our forgotten completion.
To suffer was never bad;
Not a thing to run away from
Or curse, or cover, or repair.
It is presence itself ignored —
The wound that it provokes;
It is the plaint of your beloved —
Who wants to turn her down?
Pain is the ecstasy of love
Pushing hard through you,
Elbowing its way on you:
It wants to be revealed;
It aims at being recognised;
It doesn’t thrive in the dark;
Cannot quite find you
In the slumber of your indifference.
Believe me
Suffering has no other attributes
Than the radiance of your being;
No other name or identity
Than a plain and infinite joy —
That thing indescribable
Knocking at your door.

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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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Hunger

‘Raager på Pløjemarken’ – Laurits Andersen Ring, 1891 – Wikimedia

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So this is the mystery,
That there is no mystery,
That it’s all out in the open:
Consciousness being aware of itself.

No dark intrigues, no hidden thoughts,
No story — what an insanity!
Nothing that you were meant to
Invent, project, and be afraid of.

And you were not left away
from the banquet table — never!
Didn’t have to be hungry, to be thirsty,
Had no necessity to believe in any thing.

Your hungers? They were your
Desperation, your final lassitude;
The only thing you could come up with
For not facing death.

So hunger for one thing only:
That one which is without hunger;
And thirst for one beverage and no other:
The beverage of your heart.

Care only for that one spark of light
That will ignite your world
And reveal it to be devoid of hunger,
of thirst, of story — whatever.

But don’t think too big here,
Only have a little hunger,
An infinitesimal thirst,
That will suffice.

That will break
Your hunger
In a thousand
Golden pieces.

It will precipitate you into that
Which is before all hunger,
Incapable of even conceptualising it,
Of only conceiving of it.

The peace of satiation?
Not even that;
The bliss of fulfilment?
That’s too far ahead.

Listen, I’m not admonishing you;
I know about hunger,
To what untold extremities
It can lead us.

Yet its destructiveness
Comes short compare to that
Which will be given to you when
You can be hungry no more.

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Text by Alain Joly

Painting by Laurits Andersen Ring (1854-1933)

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Website:
Laurits Andersen Ring (Wikipedia) 

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

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There is a Land

There is a land in your sky
When you’re climbing high enough
Above all that is swirling round and round:
The thoughts of yourself, all that finally
Doesn’t stand any scrutiny, that is ready
To shrivel at the slightest disturbance.

There is a land in your sky,
A ground so hard as to secure
Everything in you that is hesitant
Unsure, fragile, lacking, misty; 
That life that you had thought was one 
But shows to be no place to land on.

There is a land in your sky,
A place covered up by your mist,
That needs a certain habituation
Of eyes and ears and mind,
But is the most solid ground of all,
The fairest land where stands all life.

There is a land in your sky,
Feel it in the ethereal air of your self;
Let all your weighty substance fall back
And mingle with its vaporous consistency.
It will show you its strengthy arms,
Will reveal itself as the ultimate ground.

There is a land in your sky,
And another sky above that land.
Your self has here the solidity
Of all that is infinite and calm,
And the world now shows to be
The heavenly harbour of your being.

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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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