Friday, September 19, 2014
Rounding, Rounding, Rounding
I rounded for a couple of weeks at the end of May and the beginning of June. For those unfamiliar with rounding, the term refers to an extended practice of the Transcendental Meditation® and TM-Sidhi® programs as specified by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. This extended practice allows time for deepening one's experience of the transcendent and getting deep rest at the same time—all in all, not a bad way to spend one's time. Rounding here at the University is practiced in the two golden domes on campus; these domes offer a cool and comfortable environment for this extended practice.
Posted by on 6/18/2014 2:54:00 PMComments 0
Officing in Vastu
Yes, I know officing is not a word, but it captures part of what I want to talk about today. My campus office is in a Vastu building on the Maharishi University of Management campus. Vastu, a Sanskrit word meaning perfect orientation, indicates that the building is oriented due east to get the morning sun. The first morning light is considered by many cultures, including the Vedic culture, to be advantageous, energetic, and life-supporting. Ideally, the building should receive the morning light within two hours of dawn.
Posted by on 5/15/2014 1:42:00 PMComments 0
The Lure of the Storage, Salvage, Pawn, and Picker Shows

I confess to a certain fascination with the reality shows where individuals head out to find or cash in on treasures from the past. Do I think these shows are completely unscripted? Well, no, but for viewers, a certain suspense builds as to what treasures the hunters will find and what the treasures will be worth. I place these shows several rungs above reality shows like Duck Dynasty, the appeal of which totally escapes me. I do admit to never having watched an episode of this show so perhaps I shouldn't offer a valid reaction (oh, please).

Posted by on 4/10/2014 11:56:00 AMComments 0
Blowin' in the Wind
Eldon: Driving around southeast Iowa in the midst of tornadic winds may not be the ideal way to spend a Sunday afternoon, but my friend Jane and I did that this past Sunday. After a movie in Ottumwa (Heaven Is for Real, moving and worthwhile), we headed south east into Eldon. We were scouting great spots for MUM's upcoming Japanese visitors to see to get know Iowa. We began in this small town, less than a half hour from Fairfield, at the delightful American Gothic house, made famous by painter Grant Wood. Even in the pouring rain, the lovely little house is a special place to visit. The information center offers many additional opportunities to learn about this American iconic symbol. They also offer costumes for visitors to pose in, assuming the traditional couple's pose with the pitchfork in front of the house. In summer the Pitchfork Pie lady, who lives in this small beautiful home owned by the historical society, also offers pie for sale in the front yard. 
Posted by on 4/30/2014 11:06:00 AMComments 0
Being Friends by Dara Llewellyn

friendship is about connection

seemingly happenstance

a pulling together

despite the odds

despite our oddities 





Posted by on 4/11/2014 2:25:00 PMComments 0
A Moment among Waves by Dara Llewellyn

A wave knocks me over—

I scrape along the sandy floor,

shells gouge my knees, and

salty water takes my breath.

Posted by on 3/13/2014 2:45:00 PMComments 0
How I Came to Blogging
BloggingI came to blogging blindly. The University invited faculty to start a blog site to share with students, and the idea appealed to me. Honestly though, I wasn't reading many blogs at the time (besides The Huffington Post).Anyway, I signed up. A banner was designed for me and I was told to begin, so I did. I wanted to write about reflective writing because reflection is the foundation of all writing—from poetry to scientific reports to advertising. Reflection puts us in touch with our own thoughts. So, that’s where I began—reflecting on reflection. A couple of years later, I’m still blogging, still enjoying it. Today I’m reflecting on what I’ve learned about blogging over the past two years and also on what I am still learning.
Posted by on 3/14/2014 2:50:00 PMComments 0
Infinity of Stars by Dara Llewellyn

An infinity of stars gleams

through a gossamer veil of deepest blue.

I move out amongst the starry orbs,

encountering ancient friends.




Posted by on 3/11/2014 2:48:00 PMComments 0
Expressions of Higher States of Consciousness in Literature

Everyone is familiar with the three ordinary states of consciousness—waking, dreaming, and sleeping. Research has revealed that a fourth state of consciousness with its own physiological correlates exists, known as Transcendental Consciousness.1 This level of consciousness is stabilized when one begins to experience pure consciousness in a systematic way, and then one begins to experience further higher states.

Posted by on 3/4/2014 3:43:00 PMComments 0
Bliss as a Literary (and Evolutionary) Principle
Bliss in Literature: Bliss may seem an odd component of literary theory, but with a Consciousness-BasedSM approach to literature, bliss becomes a fundamental element in the reading experience. Maharishi describes the relationship this way, “The joy that one experiences in going through a piece of literature is the impulse of bliss arrested in the expression of successful writers.”1  What I like about this statement is that it reminds me of the joy that I have always gotten from reading. I feel some little thrill of pleasure when I have a stack of books on my table, waiting to be read. I always want to revisit the bliss of being absorbed into the world of story.
Posted by on 2/25/2014 2:05:00 PMComments 0
Qualities of Pure Consciousness: Patterning Principles In Literature
Pure Consciousness: We sit to meditate and the mind settles down. Our awareness opens to subtler and subtler levels, ultimately to the source of thought—pure consciousness. Initially our experience of pure consciousness may contrast sharply with waking consciousness, but as we meditate over time, we stabilize our experience of pure consciousness more and more, and we become aware of the qualities of pure consciousness—qualities such as flowing wakefulness, expressing, transforming, expanding, and self-referral, to name a few. 
Posted by on 2/27/2014 3:56:00 PMComments 0
Self-Referral: Reseeing Point of View, Part 2, Self-Referral and the Inner Experience of Reading

Self-Referral View

In a recent post, we looked at point of view from a traditional perspective. We also considered the shift that reader-response theory brought to our understanding of the reader's role as experiencer in the reading process. When we look at the reader as the experiencer of story, we must take into account many aspects of the person, not only the physical but thoughts, memories, feelings, and awareness of being or consciousness. Consciousness is fundamental to all these aspects of the self. Reading involves all these aspects because it is a process that is both outward (eyes following the text, word recognition, etc.) and inward (a move to more subtle levels of thoughts, for example, our knowledge of context, of literary constructs; memories of our past experiences that may be relevant; emotions that may be tied up with those memories, etc. All of these aspects of self are expressions of our consciousness.

Posted by on 2/6/2014 1:21:00 PMComments 0
Point of View in "The Explosion in the Parlor" by Bai Xiao-YI
The Story: “The Explosion in the Parlor” by Bai Xiao-YI is a spare, elegant story about perspective. The plot, which takes less than two pages to recount and offers few descriptive details, includes one main plot event—the breaking of a tea thermos. We can trace  perspective in this sudden fiction to see how a plurality of perspectives in story and the motif of a mirrored reflection, suggesting self-referral consciousness, move meaning-making into the realm of the reader's consciousness.
Posted by on 2/12/2014 3:38:00 PMComments 0
A Plurality of Viewpoints
Tracing the Evolution of Point of View
In previous posts, we've looked at the traditional understanding of point of view in story. We've also examined how reader-response theory moved this understanding from a more purely textual study in the direction of the reader's experience. Looking at the reader's experience, we took a Consciousness-Based approach to exploring point of view and examined how the self-referral experience of pure consciousness relates to the inner experience of reading. From this vantage point, we can now turn to understanding that a plurality of viewpoints exists in the experience of reading any story. 
Posted by on 2/11/2014 1:50:00 PMComments 0
Self-Referral: Reseeing Point of View, Part I, Traditional View and Beyond

Point of View

Every story has a teller. The storyteller narrates the story from a particular point of view to shape the reader's (or listener's) experience of the story. The reader becomes the ultimate experiencer of story, seeing beyond the narrator's point of view, even seeing beyond the writer's point of view. To understand story and to understand the mechanics of point of view, we must understand the reader's experience, and to understand the reader's experience, we must understand the mechanics of consciousness. The concept of consciousness as a self-referral process can aid us in examining the many possible points of view that can be experienced in story and how that element shapes the story.

Posted by on 1/22/2014 4:13:00 PMComments 0
The Magnifying Lens of a Consciousness-Based Approach to Literature: Overview

All literature is a product of the individual writer’s consciousness as well as a product of cultural, regional, and historical influences, themselves products of the collective consciousness. The reader’s consciousness then, in turn, interprets the meaning of the literary text based on his or her own consciousness, as influenced by (among others) experience, observation, and intelligence. What connects these two ends of the literary spectrum—writing and reading—is consciousness itself.

Posted by on 12/6/2013 3:14:00 PMComments 0
A Consciousness-Based Look at the "Immaterial Reality" of Story
The term the modern short story is somewhat of a misnomer if we examine the origins of the American short story. Irving, Hawthorne, and Poe, for example, come to us from many different manifestations of story—fable, allegory, romance—story forms that go back to the earliest inceptions of story. These stories also include elements of realism that were beginning to emerge in literature in the early eighteen hundreds, so perhaps modern can be appropriate modifier.
Posted by on 12/6/2013 2:41:00 PMComments 0
An Overlooked Film: "Another Earth"

I watched five movies on a 15-hour flight from India back to the U.S. this past summer and still find myself thinking about one film in particular called Another Earth (2011). I came home remembering scenes and images from this movie and eager to talk about it, but no one had heard of it. I couldn’t find it on Netflix but eventually was able to rent it from Amazon.

Posted by on 12/3/2013 2:32:00 PMComments 0
Being Grateful

Often the words grateful and thankful are used interchangeably, yet the nuance of difference in their meaning intrigues me. I find myself drawn to the concept of feeling grateful. Somehow, this concept implies an inner experience that would precede the act of giving thanks, feeling being a more subtle level of experience than acting.

Posted by on 11/25/2013 3:21:00 PMComments 0
Our Changing Language

I’m not French, so I don’t believe that language should remain inviolate. The English language, by the very nature of its origins, is a mishmash of adopted rules and lexicon, American English especially so. I enjoy the richness of the combined origins, and I also enjoy the fact that the language continues to change, but I do miss certain locutions.

Posted by on 11/21/2013 2:33:00 PMComments 0

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