I hear the babble of the world

I hear the babble of the world.

I try to discern something, a word, anything, that will indicate that the world is awake. But most of it is asleep or keeping the awoken part very well hidden.

The news is heartbreaking no matter where it comes from. Violence fueled by an obtuse sense of self is on the rise, both in speech and action; while so-called political correctness actually impedes free speech, the one where humor and laughter are allowed. Remember?

Trying to be original has become so common that it is… you guessed it, no longer original.

I do look around. I do observe and I do try to avoid judgement. But at times, I wish there were less brashness and a dash more of elegance — intellectual elegance I mean, the one that opens your mind and makes you want to pursue a conversation. The one of knowledge and simple straightforwardness, not the one of vulgar (as in vulgaris) information and complicated pretension.

The world is in dire need of consciousness, of ideas and concepts beyond the confines of the known, of dreams and of those things that are only accessible to the mind. If only mankind would realize that what he can do is far far greater than what he has made and what he thinks he can do.

There are more than 125 trillion synapses in our cerebral cortex, that is more than there are stars in 1’500 milky ways. And yet, look at the world.

Thank you for reading.

Kenza.

Silence and wonder

There is a profound silence in a Bach Cantata. That silence can also be heard in the paintings of Caravaggio. A flower blooms in silence.

Yes, silence, because it is from silence, that deep internal silence, that inspiration rises and where creation is fully displayed.

And yet, only once you have learned to listen, really listen, and look, really look, can you hear that silence.

The only way you can learn is if your entire being becomes silence. For that you must nourish yourself with silence, breathe it, integrate it; hence allowing your ego to wither, finally unloading the heavy burden of self-centeredness.

You will then be open to that supreme spiritual experience that is wonder —and do not be surprised if it comes to you from the most humble of places.

Kenza.

Note: I only mentioned Bach and Caravaggio, for the sake of brevity. It applies to any work of art in any form, but with criteria, that moves you (and not just your hips!).

Benevolence

An old word rooted in Latin often forgotten or misused.

Benevolence.

The gift of kindness, the act of helping that seeks nothing in return but the wellness of others.

A humble blue flower that keeps on giving amidst the chaos of the world. Yes, a fragile flower with the divine potential of awakening.

Kenza.

Inspiration: despite the rise of unrestrained individualism, there are gestures of kindness that create hope and can inspire us to do the same. 

Observing the world: performance

Performance— it is all about it these days.

But what is it for?

To be better than another? To earn more so as to buy more? Then it is akin to getting a watch that runs faster.

Rather absurd I would think.

Now, if performance means products or actions that help the general interest, and especially the most precarious among us, then it makes sense.

Kenza.

Inspiration: observing the world. 

I seldom discuss

I seldom discuss. I used to with almost everyone, now it is very rare.

To discuss a topic means that one is open; that there is harmony between the ones holding a discussion, a harmony based on respect. Every discussion no matter how banal a subject may appear, engages the mind and hence must be honest. By exchanging ideas, one enters into confidence and reveals himself. And I repeat, no matter the subject matter.

To discuss, one should thus be present, fully present, aware of the other, his gestures and eyes and voice, his degree of attention and his thoughts. But it has to be both ways, otherwise the limits that so often isolate a person from another strengthen rather than wither.

Without candidness on all parts, our words run into mud, stall and little of their meaning gets through. If the heart is not open, there will be no current and there will be no light. Each will remain alone with his ideas and opinions, and little would have actually been achieved on the path of knowledge or wisdom.

As I said, the subject that is being discussed has no impact on the process because honesty and openness should always prevail. If you are exchanging ideas on how to make the best omelet, do so. Listen to the other, learn, explain. If you are discussing a political or a social issue, do so as well. We are in control of our words and we must make the effort to listen, to establish a real exchange. Convincing the other is never the aim of a discussion. Rather a discussion is an exchange. If one changes his mind, fine; if not, fine as well; at least both communicated and there was real human contact.

I have so often felt alone during a discussion, and I do not enjoy the sound of my own voice echoing in the void. So now, I do not discuss anymore and retreat in silence. It takes a most special person to get me to actually discuss a subject, and I am grateful to have a few of those in my life.

Kenza.

Peace

These days, peace has a general definition based on a negative. Take anyone at random and ask what peace is, and they will tell you that it is the absence of war, the opposite of strife.

Peace is thus seen as something beyond us, something that has to do with the “grand scheme of things” rather than our everyday life.

This understanding influences greatly how we think, how we speak and how we act.

I find that increasingly, people become annoyed and too often resort to agressiveness as their first reaction when faced with something they dislike —be it being stuck in traffic, waiting in line, not getting an immediate answer to a message, or anything that goes against what they had expected.

The reaction can go from cursing internally (I personally see that as self-inflicted harm) and blaming others, to straight out shouting.

A mix in various degrees of (1) impatience; (2) an exaggerated sense of self, in other words a lack of humility; and (3) the idea that living means imposing oneself on the world, are some of the causes that lead to such reactions.

Where am I heading with this you may ask?

I am heading towards peace. Yes, peace, salam, shalom, paz, мир(mir)—say it in whatever language you chose.

Peace is the ability to react in a gentle way to any situation, be it annoying or not.

Peace is not the ability to control or eliminate anything, be it anger or impatience or war.

Peace is not a state of mind.

Peace itself is an act.

Peace is positive and purposeful.

Peace is humility. It is patience and it is kindness.

Peace is filled with the potential for love and is itself a product of love.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.” John 14:27.

Kenza.

Caveat: in some parts of the world I had the privilege to visit or to live, agressiveness, even in its mildest form, was very rare and politeness, and hence respect, generally prevailed. 

Inspiration: peace, and the persistent inability to understand much of the world. 

Kadō – 華道

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On Thursdays, I give an art appreciation class to children between the age of 8 and 12. Today, we spoke about Japanese esthetics and they experienced the “way of flowers,” known as Kadō (華道) in Japanese.

It was one of the loveliest classes I have ever given, filled with beauty and simplicity. So I came here to share some of it.

Inspiration: children inspired by simplicity and the beauty of nature.