Posts Tagged ‘poetry’

The Mystical Side of Music

Monday, December 14th, 2015

Ali Z. Hussain writes:

Lately, I have noticed that the only moments during the day when I can maintain an absolute silence is when my fingers are hosting my feelings and the piano in a conversation. Perhaps one might be inclined to think that this is the reason why my lips are sealed shut, because my hands are the ones participating in a dialogue with the instrument. Perhaps that is so, but I think there is another subtle power to music that only becomes evident once we compare this medium of communication with its writing counterparts, prose and poetry.

For Muslim mystics, such Muhyi al-Din Ibn al-ʿArabi (d. 1240), prose is the ideal medium for communicating divine law; a body of knowledge that requires a definitive and non-ambiguous set of terminology and syntax. On the other hand, it is poetry alone that can satiate the passion of the mystic to express the ambiguous and perplexing nature of the mystical experience; where clear boundaries of the law give way to the paradox of the supra-rational. We may posit this distinction as one where prose operates within the realm of the intellect, with its abstract concepts and categories and where poetry rules supreme in the land of the qalb (heart) and rūḥ (spirit); where a constant taqallub (fluctuation) and murāwaḥa (vascillation) is the definitive state of reality.

However, anybody familiar with Ibn al-ʿArabi’s thought and the larger discourse on cosmo-ontology and saintology in Islamic mysticism knows that there is yet another ‘beyond’ to these two realms of the intellect and spirit. In the human microcosm, this third aspect of the laṭīfa rabbāniyya (lordly subtlety) that forms our cognitive faculties is called al-sirr (the secret). Alongside the intellect, heart, soul and spirit the secret constitutes the human communication center with the divine; it is God’s throne in our being and is, sine qua non, the divine trace in the human body.

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From: The Liberal Arts and the Fate of American Democracy By Scott Samuelson

Saturday, December 13th, 2014

Twentieth-century America gave birth to a world-class public educational system that, for all its flaws, gave an astonishing number of people a distinctive liberal education. Unfortunately, for a few decades now we’ve been walking with misplaced confidence toward inequality and empire once again.

But we should refuse to “sit down fatalistically before the croaker’s picture.” As a new world order is taking shape, we have the opportunity to shine like never before as the country where, with the help of the liberal arts, citizens widely participate in the government, workers have a voice in an innovative economy, and the widest number of people enjoy the best of the human inheritance.

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Good holiday gifts

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

I’ll make my usual offer of donating 30% of the price of my popular Afghan Hound memoir, Baltho, The Dog Who Owned a Man, and 20% of any of my other books, to any good cause, BUT ONLY WHEN you order directly from me on my site. I have no way of tracking otherwise. I’ve made this offer earlier. Please remember that it’s a standing offer. Just be sure to tell me when you order what you want me to donate to. www.thomasrameywatson.com/edit

These popular books make good gifts, by the way. Some buy extras to give to charitable events, fund-raising drives, and so on.

The books are also available on amazon.com and from other online outlets and local bookstores. www.thomasrameywatson.com/edit

These popular books make good gifts, by the way. Some buy extras to give to charitable events, fund-raising drives, and so on.

The books are also available on amazon.com and from other online outlets and local bookstores. BalthocovericonsizeLoveThreads_COVER_LSTRWatson_NecessityOfSymbols_cover

Friday, October 10th, 2014

My popular books make great summer reading—as well as gifts. My memoir, Baltho, The Dog Who Owned a Man is about my remarkable Afghan hound rescue named Baltho, with whom I shared a psychic bond. He helped me in my counseling and coaching practice by pointing out things I missed.

Balthocovericonsize

I also recommend my two new books of poetry, The Necessity of Symbols,

TRWatson_NecessityOfSymbols_coverand Love Threads, a remarkable narrative of an often paranormal love affair that takes place mostly in the soul realm. LoveThreads_COVER_LS

In my books I often talks about my many mystical experiences, not only with the living, but with those who have passed on.

 

For more on Baltho and his three incarnations (he’s now back for the third time, wanting to be known as Melchior), see this article by British writer and researcher, Geoff Ward.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is Melchior, along with Melchior and his cat Noir. Melchior is working on becoming my co-therapist again.

Melchior_&_NoirOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

If you’d like signed and inscribed copies of my books you can buy them from this site, for the regular retail price. They’re also available from Amazon.com and other outlets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Links between creativity and mental illness

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

“There are plenty of geniuses who are not mentally ill, and there are plenty of mentally ill people who aren’t geniuses,” said HuffPost Mental Health Medical Editor Lloyd Sederer, M.D., medical director of the New York State Office of Mental Health.

“Sometimes you have the two combined. When you have geniuses who have such prominence, like Philip Seymour Hoffman or Robin Williams or John Nash, they make you think that this is more common than it is,” said Sederer. “One in four people annually in this country has a mental illness that impairs their function. That’s pretty common. The illness is pervasive. Genius is much more rare.”

The cognitive-neuroscience community is divided on whether a scientific link between creativity and mental illness actually exists.

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Walking helps us think

Friday, September 19th, 2014

What is it about walking, in particular, that makes it so amenable to thinking and writing? The answer begins with changes to our chemistry. When we go for a walk, the heart pumps faster, circulating more blood and oxygen not just to the muscles but to all the organs—including the brain. Many experiments have shown that after or during exercise, even very mild exertion, people perform better on tests of memory and attention. Walking on a regular basis also promotes new connections between brain cells, staves off the usual withering of brain tissue that comes with age, increases the volume of the hippocampus (a brain region crucial for memory), and elevates levels of molecules that both stimulate the growth of new neurons and transmit messages between them.

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Walking is great therapy too, a way to help sort out problems and gain perspective.

Thomas Ramey Watson is an affiliate faculty member of Regis University's College of Professional Studies. He has served as an Episcopal chaplain (lay), trained as a psychotherapist, done postdoctoral work at Cambridge University, and was named a Research Fellow at Yale University.

In addition to his scholarly writings, he is a published author of poetry and fiction.

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