Thursday, April 29

Soft Clarity

Today: pine, yuzu, and a touch of neroli.

Friday, April 23

Exotic & Medicinal

Yesterday's blend: lavender, cardamom, patchouli, lime, rose. A great combination of exotic/sensual and medicinal. However the lime was somewhat overpowering, though I used little; I'll have to use even less. Or it could be replaced with yuzu.

How do you think the capacity for religious belief evolved?

What an extremely interesting question! I haven't thought about this in depth yet, so this gives me the chance; however I have gotten indignant upon hearing stupid theories on this matter while watching cavemen documentaries. (I went through a prehistoric phase last month.) Obviously, there are no longer any ape men we can study. A better understanding of the emotional and intellectual range of animals would provide clearer knowledge about where we come from on this point, and make it more feasible to guess what the path must have been from there to here, but we don't have that; instead it's commonly assumed that our inner worlds developed from nothing, but we have no idea to what degree that is or isn't true, and personally I find it unlikely that it is absolutely the case. Further, we don't even know very much about prehistoric humans that were biologically about the same as us; I assume that these 'late prehistoric' people would have been very similar to to more recent 'primitive' peoples, and the small amount of physical evidence suggests that similarity, but again it's basically a guess.

So given all that... I would guess that religious belief and practices developed as a way of organizing and working with knowledge, as human knowledge grew ever further beyond the bounds of simple perception (which is a more commonly understood aspect of our evolution). A successful prehistoric human, particularly at times of survival stress, would have had to have phenomenal skills and knowledge in order to compensate for impractical human bodies... not only for social groups, but also for travel, hunting, coping with weather, extracting greater nutrition from food, and medicine. Today we have schools, textbooks, and specialists; in those days an anthropomorphic, emotionally compelling framework made all that knowledge more available and navigable. Of course it was not merely distant unchangeable knowledge for distant unchangeable phenomena, religion also provided a perceived or real point of contact through which nonphysical power could be used, or through which further knowledge could be discovered and developed. While a very different species might have come up with a very different organizing method, ours was based on our emotional and intuitive impulses, also strong forces in our pre-human evolution, as it was moving towards an ever greater degree of cooperation and orientation towards others. It's not surprising that what we know (or assume) of our early religions is so similar to the world of dreams that's constantly with us, and also provides our most constant window to exceptional and rationally inaccessible knowledge. But then animals also seem to dream; so you might say that religiosity would have begun whenever humans developed sufficient intellectual capacity to remember our dreams, reflect on them, and travel in that world as they traveled in this one; then religion would have furthered our ability to use our intellectual capacity.

Sunday, April 11

One Fine Wing

we together are
like a bird with one fine wing
no use flying

Saturday, April 10


Sometimes I want to run away, to leave heavy dull reality behind, and isolate myself in my imagination for awhile. There, it seems, I could fertilize and attune and feel out my inner states once again. My personality seems like a giant kite that I am trying to ride in the winds, constantly feeling for points of balance in its spars, constantly losing them.

But reality became heavy and dull through a similar hermetic project. I sought to make my life more regular and even, I desired monotony and peace, thinking that when my daily life took that form, the essential would be revealed, would shine out. It didn't quite work that way. Or did it? As Shunryu Suzuki said, the most important thing is to find out what is the most important thing. In the face of that, it seems appropriate to be left in an ambiguous muddle.

I love what I love because it reminds me of what I love. And what I love does not quite exist. I am relieved to come back into an experience of the beloved, like coming into or out of an eclipse. I no longer am far from God, attempting to argue myself into remembering what it was like. I lie back and feel, in a subtle way, my body beaming with light. Hovering above me, in what you might call my mind's eye (or mind's body, with many senses), is again an oval face; a cheek to stroke, a gaze to drift past, footsteps. Or on another night, a sensible wise voice behind my ear. And on a deeper level than these perceptions comes another change. I find the point of balance on the spars, and the point is enormous, inescapable, profound. Still I can feel the thin wooden spar of my current personality shake and shift in the wind. Even in this state, I can still feel my weakness, my thin dryness, my vulnerability in the midst of so much energy. Somehow the true self, giant and light, is hung on this delicate, unreliable frame.

The presence of the one you love makes you forget that which is not important. If worries crowd in, clamoring, contemplate again that oval face that does not need to be quite there. The presence of the one you love is itself the solution, assuring you that in love every trouble that can come will be undone. Contemplate the one you love and allow for coalescence.

Thursday, April 8

Cicada Song

Last night I saw Jonsie (of Sigur Ros) give a performance. He's releasing a new solo album "Go," and apparently he's kicking off a tour from Vancouver, curiously enough. It's really worth going. I am not always engaged by musical performances, but often last night I was transfixed in a way that I've never been before. He also has a "light show" consisting of stunning, well crafted projected animation and stage design that, though it varies in quality in this show, at its best takes you on a beautiful, stark, warped journey quite similar to the visual play that one often engages in while listening to music deeply and privately... but it draws you out into this journey and performance in a way that is just unlike anything else as an experience, as well as being technically wondrous.

One of my favorite things about rock concerts, which I actually rarely attend, is discovering new musicians through the opening band. Okay, this has only happened once before, before I start sounding like I know what I'm talking about--Darren Hanlon opened for the Magnetic Fields, ages ago, and that was a happy discovery for me. (There aren't enough songs about squash.)

Opening for Jonsie was Death Vessel, which is to say Joel Thibodeau. He stood out there awkwardly, and then launched straight into the most powerful, pure song, nonsensical and direct... "Deep In the Horchata." You can listen to it through myspace here. I've been listening to it over and over since then.

Saturday, April 3

Today's Essential Oils

Bergamot, Lemon, Coriander and Vetiver. Too sweet! I added black pepper and yuzu.