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Tag Archives: Alan Watts
“Nature holds the key to our aesthetic, intellectual, cognitive and even spiritual satisfaction.”
~ Edward O. Wilson
This is my first winter of continuously visiting the creek with creative intent… Despite the frozen elements… it is quietly beautiful the way frozen interacts with non-frozen. This is a naturally occurring ice ridge where the water starts flowing again.. The photographic element I like here is the blending of stationary ice with flowing water..
Balancing on ice is the same idea, but with far less friction. weight really has to be focused at specific angles to avoid slipping away.. not to mention with the load of a small arch.. the rocks DID NOT freeze to the ice. this one turned out be relatively stable compared to the last…at the end I jumped all around it on the ice, testing the vibrational threshold… no collapse… for all i know, it could still be there if the ice hasn’t shifted too much.. it’s small enough to remain slightly unseen by the usual pedestrian traffic.
**Although it is fun to come out in the creek in these conditions and “play around,” I do not recommend it for inexperienced creek goers.. The sheets of ice are strong but not uniform. Knowing actual creek depths around you is paramount for safety. some areas can have a relatively deep water flow under the ice.. which can be fatal to a small enough person. this particular area was only about 15 cm deep on average..
“Tomorrow and plans for tomorrow can have no significance at all unless you are in full contact with the reality of the present, since it is in the present and only the present that you live.”
~ ALAN WATTS
This is a screen-grab from a video I recorded yesterday up at the quarry… I’ve become fascinated with collapsing these orbs just as much as building them. Collapsing them really seals the process. It balances the balance… While gently teaching practitioner about letting go. This is a great example. 4+ hours of work versus a 2 second collapse. I used to be a fastball pitcher as a kid and i really need to pitch a fair chunk of rock at it for anything to happen… these orbs have SO MUCH inertia!! This picture records the split second after impact when the balance disappears.
I know there is a lot of hype around the solstice this year. We seem to be in the midst of accelerated change everywhere. I wonder if we are all to experience a drastic shift in the flow of creation. I can’t imagine how/what or even if something magnificent or tragic will happen. Endless possibilities. But I have to admit that I feel a slight rise in anxiety from the individual level all the way up to the global level… Curious if something might happen, and if so, WHAT?
then on the other hand, perhaps it’s best to heed the wisdom of Alan Watts on this matter..
One thing for sure is I’m still having fits of smiles and laughter… for no apparent reason.
“We should develop if we could, a new vocabulary. it’s very difficult in the context of our competitive world, to speak about things like this. to bring about the idea of doing something which is not acquisitive; which you’re not going to get anything out of, because there’s no one to get anything. When you understand what i’ve been talking about, about there being no experiencer separate from experience then there’s no one to get anything out of life, or to get anything from meditation..
So we have here a sort of law of reversed effort. You must therefore understand that as a background to anything said about technique. because whenever we talk about technique, we seem to be talking about the competitive thing. mastery. the idea of “mastery of technique.” but on the other hand, if you play a musical instrument, technique is very important in the making of a satisfactory sound… but if you force the learning of technique, or force the performance of it, everyone will hear it, and you will hear the forcing of it yourself. and it will be unmusical.
And so, you have to address yourself to the playing of an instrument without hurry, and never, never force anything. and you will find there is a point then, where the instrument seems to play itself. and when you get that peculiar feeling of the sound that is coming out of a flute, or a violin string, or whatever, is as it were, happening of itself… then you’re playing the instrument properly.”
“He [the Buddha] maintains what is called a noble silence. Sometimes later called the thunderous silence.. because this silence, this metaphysical silence, is NOT a void. It is very powerful. This silence is the open window through which yo
u can SEE; not concepts, not ideas, not beliefs, but the very goods. But if you say what it is that you see, you erect an image and an idol and you misdirect people. It is better to destroy people’s beliefs than to give them beliefs. I know it hurts, but it is The Way.”~ Alan Watts
“I once asked a group of high school children: What do you mean by a ‘thing’? And first of all they gave me all sorts of synonyms. They said it’s an object, which is simply another word for a thing. It doesn’t tell you anything about what you mean by a thing. And finally a very smart girl from Italy, who was in the group, said: A thing is a noun. And she was quite right. A noun isn’t a part of nature, it’s a part of speech. There are no nouns in the physical world. There are no separate things in the physical world either.”
~ Alan Watts
Many people stop and ask me if there is a name for this art. I always hesitate, partly because there are so many names in various languages. I normally default to telling whoever the simplest of appropriate nouns.. usually: “Rock Balance”. If I feel talkative I sometimes go into more detail with the different names I’ve encountered. But the interesting part is, there really is no “noun” to comprehensively describe the art. In my initial hesitance when people ask, It often enters my head to just say “everything”, which would require a great deal of explanation to describe the scope of what I’m referring to. I’ve also gotten used to the way spell-check rejects the word “balancer” everytime… ha. funny. perhaps we can make it a new noun so balancers can really exist ;)
“With the Shramana, one of the first things he practices is silence. It’s called Mauna. And he may take a vow not to speak for a month, or a year.. And after about a month of Mauna. You don’t only stop talking. But you stop thinking in words. and that’s a very curious experience when it happens, because.. All the senses take on a tremendous intensity. You see things which you have never seen before because you stop codifying and classifying the world by thinking. Sunsets appear incredibly more vivid, and flowers are enchanting. The whole world comes alive to the Muni (silent one).”
~ Alan Watts
This balance encourages silence through the precarious form it takes. I find that the smaller I can get the balance points to be, the more I naturally become silent while observing it. Perhaps this is a reason I love to make the balances seem impossible. I imagine they have a similar effect on others as far as encouraging inner silence.. I guess that’s what my photos are meant to promote too… inner silence :)