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The Secret Garden: Chapters 19, 20 and 21 
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Tom the drawlin'-but-not-droolin' country boy said:

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GentleReader9 wrote:
I know you meant what you said about unconscious power in a kind spirit.


Indeed I did, but I'm a country boy with poor social skills, and sometime I step on others' toes when I don't mean to.


You didn't step on my toes, Sweet Thing. I'm such a frenetic, preemptive toe-protector, I spend the whole dance going, "Look out! Your heel is by my toe! Oh, oh -- now my toe is right next to your instep, your other instep, the ball of your foot! Yikes! No, you missed again...." But you didn't hurt me and I know you don't want to. You are a kind and patient man. I know that if I only could hear you repeating yourself mundanely on a bus, I would fall deeply in love with you. (sigh). :in_love: Good thing you're far away, huh? I like that quality in a man: really far away. What could be more attractive?

Well, we may be stardust and we may be golden, but this string gives a whole new meaning and force to the slogan, "We have to get ourselves Back to the Garden!" Especially if, as you claim above, it shows us how love really grows -- in Contrary Mary's garden.


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Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:27 pm
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GentleReader9 wrote:
Robert Tulip Posted: Tue Dec 23, 2008 8:17 pm
Quote:
Hi GR9. Yes, the theosophy article by Leadbetter was good. I read about him in a biography of Krishnamurti, and he had a strongly telluric sense of the energy of natural rocks as a result of meditating in the bushland around Sydney, where I also grew up, and where I had favourite spots such as Whale Rock in North Epping. In Australia the energy of place is a strong theme in Aboriginal dreaming spirituality and art. Australian bushland is much less affected by human disturbance than in Europe, and there is a sense of ancient undisturbed complexity and sensitivity about it.
Hello, Robert Tulip, And Merry Christmas; as I recall you do celebrate it. I hope it is a warm and beautiful day full of whatever kind of magic is best for you and all the others who visit this site and read this message now and in the future. My wishing this is a kind of "magic" based on the concept of magical words or powerful writing, forms which can hold my emotional, intellectual intent and "content." The strange idea behind this used to be that you could make marks on stones, on papyrus -- or on nothing but the air, for you can speak, chant or sing certain sounds into a moment -- and others, present or absent, would be affected by it. It was true then and it's true now, to the degree that people choose to learn to participate in the process. You can look at this post, know that I mean you well, that I wish you warm and happy, and choose to feel that. But look at the improbability! You are on the other side of the world, reading electronic patterns of energy and feeling how you feel about it. Human beings are powerful and intense creatures, each with ancient and deep connections to the physical world and to each other, no matter where they are. Like Mary and the others in the book, we have power and we get to decide how to use it, with what kind of spirit. I open my heart to the spirit of the ancient dreaming around you, written on the Australian part of the earth and I breathe in the awareness of it with respect and love for the people who left it to us. I believe they meant us well and remember them as grandparents, great-aunts and uncles, with love and high regard. I have to work now. More later.
Thank you GR9 for your kind and gracious thoughts. I did have a pleasant Christmas Day, and my church celebrated by hearing stories from Christmas around the world, including Chile, Belarus and South Africa. In Belarus Christmas was totally banned for 75 years by the Bolsheviks, but the old traditions are now coming back. The Russians imposed the pagan story of Grandfather Frost



Wed Dec 31, 2008 1:03 am
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Robert Tulip wrote:
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Real prayer is about forming intentions and connections and articulating our desires, rather than seeking a magical supernatural intervention against the laws of physics. Real prayer seeks to sensitise us to reality, and to protect us from forces that desensitise us.


I agree with the second sentence. What I have been taught to consider "real prayer" as opposed to wishing is to sincerely seek out and request knowledge of God's will for me and the power to carry it out. Any other kinds of desires or difficulties can be turned over from my heart to God, but the method of spiritual practice I have been taught distinguishes "forming intentions...and articulating our desires" or "seeking a magical supernatural intervention against the laws of physics," from right prayer, which entails always aligning my individual will to be directed by God's rather than the other way around.

I've been taught that use of my will to align myself with a Higher Power is the correct use of the will. A wish, on the other hand, can be my will, and as long as it doesn't hurt anyone, is an expression of positive intentions for myself or others, and I'm not too attached to struggling to make them happen, I don't believe God minds my making them. A wish is a humble thing, but like a humble worker, it can get things done, too. :smile:

Hey, Happy New Year! And thanks for all the enriching information from Australia.


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Wed Dec 31, 2008 8:08 pm
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GentleReader9 wrote:
Good thing you're far away, huh?

Yes, at a great distance my many faults don't show :)
Quote:
We have to get ourselves Back to the Garden!" Especially if, as you claim above, it shows us how love really grows . . . .

Yes, cultivated with friendship and work toward common ends.

Tom



Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:52 pm
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Thomas Hood wrote:
realiz wrote:
I think it is a very British attitude about the healing power of cool air. Babies are put outside in their prams to nap in the cool fresh air because it is considered healthy. . .I have to say I agree. Nature is healing.


I was a breech birth baby, born with lung damage, and on the baby doctor's instruction was raised in an unheated room with chimney and windows open. I remember waking up to snow on the floor. At least part of the time I had an electric blanket so was warm in bed. Birds regularly fell down the chimney or flew in the windows and would circle overhead before finding their way out a window. A cousin who teased me for having birds in the bedroom has long been dead from poor health, and I continue on.

Tom


Oh, man! Those first few words of this post of yours, Thomas - it's just too tempting to have fun with that.

But I am sincerely sorry you were born with lung damage. I hope you're ok now - I expect you to be around here for a while, y'know?

I'm going to be - I just turned 65 and intend to live to a 100.



Fri Jan 02, 2009 1:13 pm
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realiz wrote:
Quote:
So what about the ghost? Is the ghost of Colin's mother there in the garden?


I guess it depends on how you see a ghost. The 'spirit' of Colin's mother is there and also she seems to be with Mr Craven on his hike when he starts to lose some of his bitterness when he sits down by the flowers, which gives us the sense of both the magic of growing things, nature, and the spirit of his wife are working.


Well I did once have the pleasure of knowing a ghost . . . it was an interesting experience - I didn't know the woman in her 'real life', but by way of feeling her spirit in a house where I lived for a few months, I got to know 'her'.

It was nothing like the stories say it is.



Fri Jan 02, 2009 1:16 pm
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WildCityWoman wrote:
Oh, man! Those first few words of this post of yours, Thomas - it's just too tempting to have fun with that.

Have all the fun you want, Carly. I was born backwards and have been backwards and gone my own good way ever since. There are advantages to not taking the common path, and remembering where you're from, and returning to original experience. Whatever harm was done at the beginning is long outgrown. Maybe there really is something to the fresh air idea.

Tom



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Thomas Hood wrote:
Quote:
I was born backwards and have been backwards and have gone my own good way ever since. There are advantages to not taking the common path, and remembering where you're from, and returning to original experience. Whatever harm was done at the beginning is long outgrown. Maybe there really is something to the fresh air idea.


These should be the lyrics to a song, maybe with a couple of changes or additions here and there. Do you write songs, Thomas? Do you play an instrument? I know you write poems, which is not far from writing lyrics.


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Fri Jan 02, 2009 2:35 pm
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GentleReader9 wrote:
Do you write songs, Thomas? Do you play an instrument?


I don't play anything with skill but play by ear and can pick out tunes -- as I think most people could with a little practice. I tried to get my niece and nephew to learn the recorder, and got us instruments, but I was unable to engage their interest. I ended up learning to compose tunes on it and had a repertoire of self-composed music. In high school I wrote music for Poe's Annabel Lee, the First Psalm, and other lyrics. Nothing commercial. I'm too self-conscious to perform in public.

Tom



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I think there's something about magical music or chanting toward the end of this book when they want Colin's father to come home, but in the meantime, I want to consider this passage from the start of Chapter 21:

Quote:
One of the strange things about living in the world is that it is only now and then one is quite sure one is going to live forever and ever and ever. One knows it sometimes when one gets up at the tender solemn dawn-time and goes out and stands alone and throws one's head far back and looks up and up and watches the pale sky slowly changing and flushing and marvelous unknown things happening until the East almost makes one cry out and one's heart stands still at the strange unchanging majesty of the rising of the sun--which has been happening every morning for thousands and thousands and thousands of years. One knows it then for a moment or so. And one knows it sometimes when one stands by oneself in a wood at sunset and the mysterious deep gold stillness slanting through and under the branches seems to be saying slowly again and again something one cannot quite hear, however much one tries. Then sometimes the immense quiet of the dark blue at night with millions of stars waiting and watching makes one sure; and sometimes a sound of far-off music makes it true; and sometimes a look in some one's eyes.


I've kind of thought of this more as the feeling that the present moment is eternal, or what is meant by "the Eternal Now," the only real time in which everything that actually happens, always happens, the rest being not quite true, reduced to memory, hope, idea, dream, fantasy. I don't know if our presence in this now means for a fact that we will live forever or not. It might just mean that this is the true referent of what is meant by forever and there is no forever apart from it to be experienced.


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Sat Jan 03, 2009 1:55 pm
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GentleReader9 wrote:
It might just mean that this is the true referent of what is meant by forever and there is no forever apart from it to be experienced.


Profound, GR9. This aside from the author must sum up the philosophy of the book. By occasionally finding beauty in the universe as a whole, one is assured of enduring goodness in times of personal decline. Thoreau describes it this way:

Quote:
There were times when I could not afford to sacrifice the bloom of the present moment to any work, whether of the head or hands. I love a broad margin to my life. Sometimes, in a summer morning, having taken my accustomed bath, I sat in my sunny doorway from sunrise till noon, rapt in a revelry, amidst the pines and hickories and sumachs, in undisturbed solitude and stillness, while the birds sang around or flitted noiseless through the house, until by the sun falling in at my west window, or the noise of some traveler's wagon on the distant highway, I was reminded of the lapse of time. I grew in those seasons like corn in the night, and they were far better than any work of the hands would have been. They were not time subtracted from my life, but so much over and above my usual allowance. I realized what the Orientals mean by contemplation and the forsaking of works."


Tom



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Tom Hood wrote:

Quote:
By occasionally finding beauty in the universe as a whole, one is assured of enduring goodness in times of personal decline. Thoreau describes it this way:

Quote:
There were times when I could not afford to sacrifice the bloom of the present moment to any work, whether of the head or hands. I love a broad margin to my life. Sometimes, in a summer morning, having taken my accustomed bath, I sat in my sunny doorway from sunrise till noon, rapt in a revelry, amidst the pines and hickories and sumachs, in undisturbed solitude and stillness, while the birds sang around or flitted noiseless through the house, until by the sun falling in at my west window, or the noise of some traveler's wagon on the distant highway, I was reminded of the lapse of time. I grew in those seasons like corn in the night, and they were far better than any work of the hands would have been. They were not time subtracted from my life, but so much over and above my usual allowance. I realized what the Orientals mean by contemplation and the forsaking of works."


This is why I want to talk to you, Tom. You not only understand what I try to get across about how I read the books, you bring in intertextual and contextual stuff that enriches it and validates it or expands it with sincere, thoughtful questioning. And then you listen to the answers, too. I'm so glad you're here! :smile:


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Sun Jan 04, 2009 2:59 pm
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GentleReader9 wrote:
You not only understand what I try to get across about how I read the books, . . .


Thank you, GR9, but to tell the truth, when I first read this book I misread the passage you quoted, because I was focused on Burnett's interest in spiritualism, which isn't relevant here. She is describing real personal experience, not religious theory, and you made me see it differently. Thanks.

Tom



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I agree that Burnett is talking about real personal experience. The now moment is a referent for forever, if I understand GR9's meaning, because it's the only moment that is independent of the incessant plod of time that we are so familiar with. Right now, a moment can stand still and forever can be lived fully in that moment. So living forever, as Colin is talking about in this quote, can be seen as happening vertically in the now moment rather than horizontally in the backward or forward march of time.



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giselle wrote:
Right now, a moment can stand still and forever can be lived fully in that moment.


I think so too, giselle, and here's a personal example. In 1999 I completed a project that had worked on for decades -- with never an encouraging word -- and the day I finished I remember thinking I could lay down and die and I really wouldn't care, not that I was immortal but that I had done my bit for the universe. And I still think so, but that one completed project has opened doors to others.

Tom



Mon Jan 05, 2009 12:11 pm
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