Sunday, 21 February 2016

Large And Small

Poul Anderson, For Love And Glory (New York, 2003).

"As the judgment instant neared, you forgot your merely mortal quarrels." (Chapter XXV, p. 140)

Big problems chase out little problems. It is good to have big problems occasionally just to put the little ones in perspective. Sometimes, the bigger problems also can be transcended:

"They've forgotten their feud, Lissa thought. I have too. At least, it doesn't matter anymore. Probably it will again, when we are again among human beings. But today it's of no importance whatsoever." (Chapter XXVI, p. 143)

Passages in hard sf novels can relate to here and now experiences. In zazen, just sitting meditation, we do not prevent thoughts from arising but instead practice not thinking about them. Thus, any memory, image or phrase might arise but the practice is to let each of them pass like a cloud in the sky. Once, something that was bothering me kept entering my mind as expected during half an hour of meditation. However, when I had finished meditating and stood up, I was instantly elated. It was exactly like being in a plane under dark storm clouds when the plane suddenly ascended vertically into a clear blue sky full of light. I knew then that the place above the clouds existed, that I would soon return back down beneath the clouds and that that did not matter.


  1. Kaor, Paul!

    Some of what you said here reminds me, if I recall correctly, of what I read in such Christian works of meditation as THE CLOUD OF UNKNOWING.


  2. Sean,
    There is clearly overlap between Christian and Indian mysticisms.

    1. Kaor, Paul!

      I can see some overlapping in the methods used in Christian and Buddhist mysticism.