THE STORY GOES THAT YOGA was first disclosed to an Indian prince by a cat who consented to teach the prince the secrets of feline flexibility. Whether or not that’s true, the cat who lives with Ann & I repeatedly teaches the following tranquility-yoga. The position is called “Sleeping Hand Cat,” and it goes like this:
1. “Let C = a comforting hand-shaped anthropomorphism” — i.e., of God, or Jesus, or Buddha, or your mom or dad, or whatever best evokes your own most watchful-and-protective self.* The literality of this visioning is not as important as the feeling.
2. Lay on your left side in the most comfortable manner with a firm but soft pillow under your head. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing until you’re in a relaxed state of awareness.
3. Imagine/visualize C as the pillow beneath your head. Really feel your head cradled and protected, as though nothing can get past your protector to harm you.
4. Continue until sleep overtaketh and give way to pleasant dreams, or until you want to get up. (But why would you want to?)
* Atheist fanboys may find benefit with Aragorn or Eowen. (But not from their movie versions.)
ALTHOUGH WE’RE NOT GENERALLY A “quotes ‘n’ links” blog, today Metaphorager.Net feels compelled to pass along two related items:
1) From Robert Anton Wilson‘s Prometheus Rising, p. 201:
“[...] Simply accept that the universe is so structured that it can see itself, and that this self-reflexive arc is built into our frontal lobes, so that consciousness contains an infinite regress, and all we can do is make models of ourselves making models …
“Well, at that point, the only thing to do is relax and enjoy the ride.”
2) Charles & Ray Eames’ 1968 film Powers of 10. (I assign this completely scientific piece as homework for my religious-school students to flex their awe-muscles. It’s a brief magnification journey within and without the hand of a man sleeping next to Lake Michigan. See it. See it now.)
THE THINGS YOU LEARN WITH a computer: This is World Space Week, shining a pre-dawn beacon on the modern launchpad set, and in observational honor thereof I offer the Brooklyn Space Project: a father-and-son team who sent a HD-camera-and-GPS-equipped weather balloon to touch the edge of space. (Evidently these things are all the rage on YouTube, but it’s the first one I’ve seen.) My favorite moments were the weird electronic chorus at 60,000 feet (?) and learning that a collapsing weather balloon does make a sound when there’s no one in space to hear it scream. (Pun courtesy of Ridley Scott.)
Q: WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN you lose your wallet, the wife’s got the car all day, and the cat has a mysterious slash on his tail which he won’t stop licking and leaves bloody smears on the chaise-longue???
A: What I did was call Arroyo Veterinary Hospital, who told me to sit tight while they sent someone over to pick him up, fix him up and hang on to him until this afternoon. These are the same people who oohed and awwed over our little woojums last time and who put him up during the week we got flooded in February.
That’s ARROYO VETERINARY HOSPITAL, who have no idea they’ve been so lauded. Local heroes: people who do their job well and graciously. Thank you.
AT LEAST ONCE IN ONE’S life, one should encounter a place where one is in the minority: it has the potential to sharpen the senses, humble the soul and question the assumptions. A different, but equally primal, experience, can be had by entering a place where one’s species is in the minority — or to be blunt, prey. Something essential there is through knowing the bottom of the food chain.
IT’S TRUE THAT THE VICTORS write history — but not all victors are dishonest. Ask yourself: Do they learn from, or at least admit, their mistakes? Trying to overcome one’s own Bad Self ™, personal or cultural, is a good sign that the necessary self-correctives are being observed. If not, dissent is not only patriotic: it’s a sacred duty.
YOU HAVE NOT LIVED UNTIL you have allowed a small animal to sleep on you.
1. READ A LETTER TO THE SF Chronicle’s editor this morning by a gentleman saying he voted for Prop 8, the anti-gay marriage initiative, because heterosexuals own the word “marriage.”
2. I’ve heard this argument before, and like the other arguments favoring less freedom for minorities it does not persuade me. In essence, this particular argument, a favorite of Bible-lovin’ folk, makes a word more important than people.
3. But Bible-lovin’ folk (of which I consider myself one, in some sense) must needs believe that people were created in “God’s” image.
4. And the word “marriage,” like other English words, came to us long after Biblical Hebrew. Like other words, it’s an artifact — a man-made thing — and by definition, not nearly as important as a living, breathing, bloodbeating human being made in God’s image.
5. So why are some Bible-lovin’ folk so quick to commit idolatry?
FROM THE “THANK G?D I Lived Long Enough To See T*H*I*S” file: While life isn’t the only
explanation for the unexpected acetylene/hydrogen findings, it is by far the coolest. (Ob
JewGeek: Bless the One who makes the makings of creation.)
. Astronomy Now: Something strange is happening on Titan.
. Science Friday: Titan’s Chemistry and the Search for Life.
THE ROOT OF RELIGION, SOME say, is our need to express gratitude for being alive. Sometimes we need to express it to others, but don’t know quite how. Here’s one way: http://www.gratitudecampaign.org/. (Note to hipster friends who don’t dig the military: It’s really for everyone.)
It’s simply the American Sign Language sign for “thank you,” but as the website says, “It means so much more.”
THAT’S WHAT ASTRONOMERS AMATEUR AND professional alike are asking after one of the former imaged the impact earlier today. As of 0940 pm PDT Thursday, few other sites have picked it up, so remember — you might have heard it here first.