What You Have Is What You Give

March 29, 2010 § 3 Comments

Since I’m in the throes of helping with the 10,000 details involved in pulling the “Life After Death” issue together, I’ve decided to experiment this week.  I’m posting shorter and more frequent updates instead of the longer once-a-week post I usually write.   Here is the first:

As I wrote last week, we will be excerpting John Robbins (Diet for a New America) new book on living a new kind of good life.  (As it says on big posters in my friendly neighborhood Chase bank: “Save is the new Spend”…It makes me feel so warm, having Chase look after my best interests).    A kind of handbook on living the way people used to live, within their means and close to the earth and to family and friends,  The New Good Life (coming from Random House in May) has an authenticity and power that comes not from high fallutin’ prose but from what Robbins’ himself has lived through and continues to live through.   Written as Robbins struggles to recover from having his considerable life savings was stolen by Bernie Madoff,  the book reminds me that many of us die and get reborn–and more than once–in this very life.

“A single event can awken within us a stranger totally unknown to us.  To live is to be slowly born,” wrote Antoine-Marie-Roger de Saint-Exupery.     It can feel like this, the shock of great loss–or love.  But I believe the “newly born,” post-Madoff, 60-something Robbins is a work in progress and that’s what makes his book so persuasive:

“It’s often been said that there are no luggage racks on hearses,” he writes. “No matter waht world possessions any of us have acqured, we leave it all behind in the end.

What then, do we take with us?

In the end, all you have is what you have given, that’s the conclusion this father, grandfather, environmental and social justice activist has come to.  I’m inclined to believe him.

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§ 3 Responses to What You Have Is What You Give

  • artxulan says:

    I have considered, more than once, the question of what remains after death…if anything.

    I have no answers but I do dare to hope that it is something like seeing the death of one of my many small selfs and under certain conditions a simultaneous new birth. But if this in fact happens at physical death I do not know. It would seem to be an absurdity to carry into another world all that baggage…what is needed?

  • Donny Duke says:

    The path I follow is an attempt to get past tradition, to remove chains of belief that prevent us from risking the adventure of the unknown, but it recognizes that belief itself can also be immaculate when it doesn’t fetter us, when it aids us in always believing that more there is to know and more also there is to become. It is a spirituality, that is, it focuses on inner discovery. In this it is a yoga, for the inner journey here is towards union with our source. Along the way, if one goes deep and wide enough and one is bold and able to surmount fear, one eventually gets past the normal sign posts of dreaming and into the dream realm of the dead. There it’s possible to learn first-hand the answers to many questions about death and the afterlife. Further on, if one is able in the process of that journey to find one’s soul, and that is a much deeper avenue than the city of the dead for the soul is the deepest country within us, then death ceases to be even death and life takes on a whole new hue; it’s the soul’s journey through eternity and before and beyond. What surprises await the soul open to new adventure.
    I think that what artxulan might perhaps be referring to by ‘new breath’ in Parabola is something that seems to be missing not only in journals of spirituality and religion, and it would be appropriate to add here that the two are not the same nor need go hand in hand, but also in art and literary reviews, in popular culture and news magazines, in short in anything that is trying to take a sample of what we as a culture are into, and I would add here that I mean human culture in general and not some national or regional bias on that. I would call that new breath needed inner discovery not bound to find only and reaffirm some outer tenant of belief. I would say inner discovery period, but that would offend. No editor I have yet had dealings with can see how very shallow our modern sounding is into the depths of the well of being, into the possibilities of human existence. With infinity before and behind us and immensity beyond that, seeing that, who cannot but humbly admit that their sampling, their recording, falls short? We need new eyes, but first and more importantly, we need to see that we do.
    Excuse me for sounding my own horn, but I’m a blind man putting on a pair. In my inner journey that has come to the places I’ve mentioned I’ve begun hearing the voice of sight. I’m finding it’s not welcomed by editors either literary or spiritual. It is actually another level of poetry, a new form. We don’t really like the new when it engages the terms of man. So I’m having to bend the rules, walk politely on people’s toes as I’m doing here by putting a poem on a editor’s blog. I hope the emergency of the times will make allowance for doing things with just a bit more force and boldness than patiently and repeatedly requesting an editor to accept unsolicited poetry.

    This Secret Romance With Dawn

    The way things are goin’,
    I’m gonna blow up in your face.
    A world voice said that.
    Too many people,
    And who can sort out understanding?
    Everyone pays homage to the price is right.
    Don’t tell me you don’t.
    You’re not detached from stuff.
    Mohammed was a giant.
    I’ll kill you if you don’t believe that.
    Or rob that man.
    The police catch ‘im.
    Wrong, wrong he’s done wrong.
    It leads me towards the unreality of the Unmanifest
    This stupid sticker,
    So heavily involved in motion pictures.
    How about a principle reel?
    Existence is so heavily guarded by ideas
    You can’t see it.
    How do I unravel where you’re at?
    You’re so defined by country,
    Your regional office,
    Stereotype,
    Your social set.
    Are you an art monger,
    A left or right wing political piece,
    A religious chalice,
    A science seeker,
    An alternative hit the herb environmental peace-keeper?
    You are so defined by stories.
    You’re a box other people have made.
    Don’t think I’m not involved.
    I just see the picture.
    Like a blind man that can see shadows
    I prefigure reality.
    Excuse me,
    I wouldn’t
    Give you an example
    Of the height
    Evolution takes us.
    I’ve heard the word.

    With all due respects,
    You’re as much a part of the problem as the people you point fingers at./
    Me too.
    I’ll come over.
    Reality speaker.
    I don’t get tah play.
    There’s a ban on my image of things.
    He did it,
    The editor of Think Magazine,
    Everyone’s alone page,
    What they allow to cross their minds.
    If it doesn’t hold form it’s not wrought.
    This is larger than line it said.
    Can we grabble with the Unknowable?
    It’s what defines us,
    And its borders as us we can know,
    However large we may extend.
    Can I give you formless thinking?
    It’s only a brand I give you.
    I wasn’t able
    To hold creation in my hands and show it to you,
    How it’s just a measureless dot in Immensity,
    That shrouded conscious Vast alone and true.
    I’ve skated,
    Capitalized formless seaboards,
    But can you link this thought to its present reality,
    Your eyelids?
    Can you open your eyes in Immensity?
    You share a view of the One.
    All hope revolves around that
    Unicity.
    It’s our hope in change.
    Great the years grow as we see better.

    I go on my cell phone.
    A little bit I market,
    Close the door
    To outer world.
    Yeah you have
    Free-form fixed something.
    Not many people
    Can hear their infinity call,
    Their most intimate field of answers,
    What poetry the sky speaks.
    This was the pier
    We’ve heard Emily from.
    Blake had this mountain,
    A number of poets we deem potent,
    That Sufi fellow,
    And You-He-Haul.
    My house you know,
    It’s a waiting port.
    It’s got lesson plans.
    These are trained on what infinity stands in Time.
    Their music:
    Everything.
    Listen for this on your channel.
    It takes some measured years.
    Need will translate this to you.
    Your mother is important,
    And your father is
    Not so rule-bound.
    This is an open diary.
    You’ll be workin’
    On the inner voice to help you.
    Give it time
    To render its poetic vision
    Because you can’t
    Get out of the principle of your change
    And go faster than its worth,
    Larger than its purpose.
    Your word has your dwelling place.
    Can I stop horizons?
    I can limit them.
    You man to man?
    Now you can see me do that.
    These are not rules to hem you in.
    They answer your deepest need.
    What he’s telling:
    Surpass ourselves.
    Let’s united.
    Where’s our sphere?
    And he said nine-thirty.
    You’ve got your honor out,
    The kingdom of yourself won.
    It’s what you stand to all,
    The monarch of your every deed,
    A king of even thought and feeling’s plan.
    You manifest this:
    Meaning.
    It’s time to reach the Sun.

    I raise plateaus,
    Splendor your view of the world,
    Your incidence in Time.
    I’m about battleships.
    I rock the future.
    That means I carry it on my breast.
    I prefigure dawn.
    I am an ocean tide in infinity.
    I step on gold mines
    And blow up the littleness of the human state,
    And show you the richness of a larger you.
    I’ve counted my worth.
    Now let me see Time.
    It spends like a rocket ship.
    The world can’t see that.
    Doomed to die the human race?
    That’s not our motto.
    Can we gather it in stars?
    We arrive.
    Images,
    I’m traveling Time here,
    The secret all the Earth hides.
    Just the guy who said it.
    I won’t live up to it.
    To life
    I give large room.
    There’s also…
    What? What?
    I couldn’t tell.
    Looking at functions.
    Lemmie just explain.
    Sit down here.
    We’re gonna change vehicles of consciousness,
    Evolve into a higher type.
    That’s the magic of our secret birth,
    The miracle of our slow change.
    Disaster can only be a handmaid,
    And extinction’s dire peril a midwife.
    It’s just our clutch to be such a catastrophe.
    We are the species before.
    That’s evolutionary speech.
    The process itself is more organic.
    They come from us,
    Born from our children.
    A new hope arises on Earth:
    I love you.
    This is born from patient seeing,
    What vision of the One we all share.
    There’s our evolutionary springs.
    How’s this sit with you?
    Are you turn it off?
    Try to handle it.
    There’s our vision of the future.
    Make it grow.

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