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Practically Preposterous

--by Pavithra Mehta (Mar 15, 2011)
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"Well, I was just inventing a new way of getting over a gate -- would you like to hear it?" 

"Very much indeed," Alice said politely. 

"I'll tell you how I came to think of it," said the Knight. "You see, I said to myself 'The only difficulty is with the feet: the head is high enough already.' Now first I put my head on top of the gate -- then the head's high enough -- then I stand on my head -- and the feet are high enough, you see -- then I'm over, you see?"  -- Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass

And when was the last time you came across something as Practically Preposterous as that? :-) Just realized right there that that's a Paradox. Practically Preposterous. (And I think I've learned somewhere along the way to pay attention to paradoxes. They put the truth before the explanation and its up to us to get from one to the other. And the journey that starts in perplexity usually ends in some form of wisdom). 

Practically Preposterous ... that's kind of like Mission Impossible. A Mission being something you set out to Do. Impossible being something that just Can't be Done. 

Practically Preposterous ... and that's actually a double paradox. Because the word Preposterous comes straight from the Latin word "praeposterus" -- a curious conjunction of "prae" meaning "before" and "posterus", meaning "coming after." So put them together and you've got the before coming after. And that could mean doing things backwards -- or it could just mean starting from where you want to get to. It could just mean Living the Dream instead of Dreaming a Life. And maybe that's what he meant by Being the Change.

He was -- if you think about it -- a pretty preposterous man. Gandhiji. Because everyone knew you exchanged blows to fight a battle to win your peace until he came along and placed peace before the battle and the battle before the blows (and the whole point was that you never got that far). Doing things backwards. Practically Preposterous!

[...]

Maybe part of the problem is we don't prompt ourselves enough towards faith in the preposterous. Maybe it's time then to start cultivating the Red Queen's practice ...

'"I can't believe that!" said Alice. "Can't you?" the Queen said in a pitying tone. 'Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes. Alice laughed: "There's no use trying," she said; "one can't believe impossible things." "I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."

Six impossible things.

Your Time Starts Now :-)

--Pavithra Mehta, in Practically Preposterous

 

 


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11 Previous Reflections:

 
On Mar 21, 2011 Pancho wrote:

My family calls me Pancho and I'd like you to know that I love you all.   Practically Preposterous! I've been many times to this home, the Kindness Temple, and yet I was nervous. One of the poets of all times who has inspired me the most was right here with us. The author of the passage! The one and only hermana Pavi :-) To make the impossible possible, I tried to bring to the living room --never and adjective was so perfect!-- another of the most influential poets in my life: Rumi. I did my best and recited the poem with the heart. Here is one of the poems that have stirred the soul very deeply.   Like This  by Rumi If anyone asks you how the perfect satisfaction of all our sexual wanting will look, lift your face and say, Like this. When someone mentions the gracefulness of the nightsky, climb up on the roof and dance and say, Like this? If anyone wants to know what "spirit" is, or what "God's fragrance&quo  See full.

My family calls me Pancho and I'd like you to know that I love you all.  

Practically Preposterous! I've been many times to this home, the Kindness Temple, and yet I was nervous. One of the poets of all times who has inspired me the most was right here with us. The author of the passage! The one and only hermana Pavi :-) To make the impossible possible, I tried to bring to the living room --never and adjective was so perfect!-- another of the most influential poets in my life: Rumi. I did my best and recited the poem with the heart. Here is one of the poems that have stirred the soul very deeply.
 

Like This 
by Rumi

If anyone asks you
how the perfect satisfaction
of all our sexual wanting
will look, lift your face
and say,
Like this.

When someone mentions the gracefulness
of the nightsky, climb up on the roof
and dance and say,
Like this?

If anyone wants to know what "spirit" is,
or what "God's fragrance" means,
lean your head toward him or her.
Keep your face there close.
Like this.

When someone quotes the old poetic image
about clouds gradually uncovering the moon,
slowly loosen knot by knot the strings
of your robe.
Like this?

If anyone wonders how Jesus raised the dead,
don't try to explain the miracle.
Kiss me on the lips.
Like thisLike this.

When someone asks what it means
to "die for love," point
here.

If someone asks how tall I am, frown
and measure with your fingers the space
between the creases on your forehead.
This tall.

The soul sometimes leaves the body, then returns.
When someone doesn't believe that,
walk back into my house.
Like this.

When lovers moan,
they're telling our story.
Like this.

I am a sky where spirits live.
Stare into this deepening blue,
while the breeze says a secret.
Like this.

When someone asks what there is to do,
light the candle in his hand.
Like this.

How did Joseph's scent come to Jacob?
Huuuu.

How did Jacob's sight return?
Huuuuu.

A little wind cleans the eyes.
Like this.

When Shams comes back from Tabriz,
he'll put just his head around the edge
of the door to surprise us.
Like this.


So, when someone doesn't believe you 
that there is a family
who has opened their home
for almost 14 years
every single Wednesday
feeding more than 26,000 bodies and souls
with the only purpose to serve with love...
look at him or her 
with loving eyes and your best smile
Like this :-)
 
May all become compassionate, courageous and wise.
Pancho
 
P.S. "There's prayer, and a step up from that is meditation, and a step up from that is 'sohbet', or conversation. Who is talking to HU! (The pronoun for the breathing Divine Presence.) Lover to beloved, teacher to disciple. The Friendship of Rumi and Shams became a continuous conversation, in silence and words, presence talking to absence, existence to non-existence, periphery to center. Rumi's poetry may be heard as eavesdropping on that exchange."

 

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On Mar 20, 2011 Prasad wrote:

 Wonderful Pavi. Being smart is seeing the paradox and acting on it for ones benefit. being wise is learning to work with practically preposterous stuff...

Very nice indeed and most of us do not think about these wonderful paradoxes to come up with original answers like Gandhiji did...

Somebody said -- we are all born originals but alas most of us die as copies...

thanks for the great reflection

Prasad



On Mar 19, 2011 Caesar wrote:

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world
    gives do I give to you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither
    let it be afraid.JESUS CHRIST loves you!



On Mar 16, 2011 Shariq wrote:

Thank you Pavi for sharing your provocative thoughts on Gandhiji's preposterous ways; this is truly ingenious. Gandhiji was a man well ahead of his time and we are just beginning to catch-up with his way of thinking, particularly if we were to imagine our experience of being in Sean Carroll's universe rather than Lewis Carroll's universe. As it turns out, according to Sean Carroll, the Professor of Theoretical Physics at Cal Tech, we all may be living in a preposterous universe - please note the name he has chosen for his website: preposterousuniverse.com! His deeper thoughts on the Preposterous Universe can be found here: preposterousuniverse.com/preposterous.html, and for a light hearted version here he is on the Cobert Report: preposterousuniverse.com/talks/videos.html. What took the rest of us so long to realize the truth of the pervasiveness of the preposterousness?



On Mar 16, 2011 Varsha wrote:

Thanks, Pavi. Strangely (or should I say, serendipitously, as there may not be any coincidences), my Dad is currently reading the book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.  I didn't realize how deep it was. When I read the first part, I took it literally-- a headstand?  And seeing things "upside-down" or from a different perspective.  I think this goes along with the creative solutions we all have-- working from a paradigm/framework and mindset that is different (as the same ones may not work with existing problems).  And the before coming after reminded me of NOW, which is the ONLY time we really HAVE to actually live/experience.  The notions of "can't", "won't", "don't" all are beliefs which when turned upside-down hold possibilities.  I think of us keeping on ?ing/searching/seeking, or simply BEing, and living from this possibility. And the end reminded me of stillness and silence, which is one way of relis  See full.

Thanks, Pavi.

Strangely (or should I say, serendipitously, as there may not be any coincidences), my Dad is currently reading the book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.  I didn't realize how deep it was.

When I read the first part, I took it literally-- a headstand?  And seeing things "upside-down" or from a different perspective.  I think this goes along with the creative solutions we all have-- working from a paradigm/framework and mindset that is different (as the same ones may not work with existing problems). 

And the before coming after reminded me of NOW, which is the ONLY time we really HAVE to actually live/experience. 

The notions of "can't", "won't", "don't" all are beliefs which when turned upside-down hold possibilities.  I think of us keeping on ?ing/searching/seeking, or simply BEing, and living from this possibility.

And the end reminded me of stillness and silence, which is one way of relishing the experience of NOW.

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On Mar 15, 2011 John Daubney wrote:

RE. Practically Preposterous, I'm reminded that when the call came to me to write a book about something I was deeply convicted about, my ego tried everything under the sun to convince me the idea was preposterous:    You are not a writer; You don't know how to compose a book!  Who would be interested in sitting for an interview with you!   This is just another of your cockamany ideas!    You would never finish it!       No one would be interested in reading your book even if you finished it.        I think it was musician, Neil Young who said he had to be willing to go out on the stage each night willing to make an Ass____   of himself in order to be his creative self and give his best.  In Gratitude, John        I'm not sure about re-incarnation so I've decided that that I will listen to for the call, no matter how preposterous it may se  See full.

RE. Practically Preposterous, I'm reminded that when the call came to me to write a book about something I was deeply convicted about, my ego tried everything under the sun to convince me the idea was preposterous:

   You are not a writer; You don't know how to compose a book!  Who would be interested in sitting for an interview with you!   This is just another of your cockamany ideas!    You would never finish it!       No one would be interested in reading your book even if you finished it.

       I think it was musician, Neil Young who said he had to be willing to go out on the stage each night willing to make an Ass____   of himself in order to be his creative self and give his best.  In Gratitude, John

       I'm not sure about re-incarnation so I've decided that that I will listen to for the call, no matter how preposterous it may seem. I will at least explore the "crazy idea" that comes to me. Spirit has directed me to do some pretty odd and non-traditional things in my life and each of them has resulted in my spiritual growth and in benefit to me and others, I trust.

       Trusting only in the logical can cause the death of the creative and the divinely inspired direction.

 

 

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On Mar 15, 2011 Pawan lakra wrote:

 it is wonderful ...........



On Mar 15, 2011 Conrad wrote:

Thanks much Pavrithra. You have my deep gratitude. As a retired philosophy of education professor, what you are saying is that the heart of all powerful learning. What you said in one page  would take me 20.  I am so pleased to receive your e-mails. Your writing will help me be the change I wish to make.
Warm and kind regards to Nipun and all the Mehtas.  Conrad



On Mar 15, 2011 LoriD wrote:

Thank you. This is exaclty what I needed to hear in this moment!

Namaste



On Mar 15, 2011 Thierroche wrote:

 ' Freedom is at the beginning, not at the end ' (J.Krishnamurti) is another example of these supposedly absurd= preposterous statements. As in Alice in Wonderland the Queen's comment to our resisting such statements might well be  that we just lack practice!



On Mar 14, 2011 Ganoba wrote:

 When we choose one out of a pair of opposites, which we often do, we are doing a preposterous thing. Imagine inviting the husband alone and leaving the wife out (or the other way round). Won't we consider that to be preposterous?

Yet we do this kind of choosing (which actually a heartless choice) all the time; separating the day from the night, the beginning from the end, the light from the dark, happiness from sorrow.

The list is endless.

Deciding not to separate the pair of oppsites is really a wise way of choosing.

Try it just for fun. It is not preposterous at all.