Meditation for Saturday of Week 37 in the season of Fulfillment

Keeping Life Simple

Claude Monet, The Japanese Bridge (The Water Lily Pond) (1897)

Home may not have been a simple place but because we learned our earliest lessons there, they may seem the simplest. I grew up on a dairy farm, the son of a farmer and his wife: it was a traditional family of the American Midwest, and by comparison to my life since a model of simplicity. After many years practicing law on Wall Street, my father’s dairy farm seems a long way off.

Many of us travel far from our homes. The physical journey is the lesser of the two. Sometimes we can profit from a return home to recall simple things.

Real

True Narratives

Japanese culture emphasizes simplicity in many of its art forms.

Technical and Analytical Readings

Emphasizing simplicity, Wabi Sabi is prominent in Zen Buddhism.

Documentary and Educational Films

Imaginary

Fictional Narratives

Novels:

Visual Arts

Music: songs and other short pieces

Poetry

When I heard at the close of the day how my name had been receiv'd with plaudits in the capitol, still it was not a happy night for me that follow'd,  

And else when I carous'd, or when my plans were accomplish'd, still I was not happy,  

But the day when I rose at dawn from the bed of perfect health, refresh'd, singing, inhaling the ripe breath of autumn,  

When I saw the full moon in the west grow pale and disappear in the morning light,  

When I wander'd alone over the beach, and undressing bathed, laughing with the cool waters, and saw the sun rise,  

And when I thought how my dear friend my lover was on his way coming,

O then I was happy,  

O then each breath tasted sweeter, and all that day my food nourish'd me more, and the beautiful day pass'd well,  

And the next came with equal joy, and with the next at evening came my friend,  

And that night while all was still I heard the waters roll slowly continually up the shores,  

I heard the hissing rustle of the liquid and sands as directed to me whispering to congratulate me,  

For the one I love most lay sleeping by me under the same cover in the cool night,  

In the stillness in the autumn moonbeams his face was inclined toward me,  

And his arm lay lightly around my breast—and that night I was happy.

[Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass (1891-92), Book V: Calamus, “When I Heard at the Close of the Day”]

Books of Haiku poetry:

Poems:

From the dark side:

Music: Composers, artists, and major works

Japanese Koto music

Chinese pipa music

Compositions:

  • Composed to assist congregants in singing hymns, Anthoni van Noordt’s seventeenth-century organ works (particularly his Tablature Book of Psalms and Fantasias [1659]) are simple, even sparse. Yet they leave the listener satisfied and wanting more.
  • Monsigny, Le Roi et le Fermier (The King and the Farmer) (1762): a king embraces a farmer’s simple ways.

Albums:

  • Ingrid Laubrock + Aki Takase, “Kasumi

This Is Our Story

A religion of values and Ethics, driven by love and compassion, informed by science and reason.

PART ONE: OUR STORY

First ingredient: Distinctions. What is the core and essence of being human? What is contentment, or kindliness, or Love? What is gentleness, or service, or enthusiasm, or courage? If you follow the links, you see at a glance what these concepts mean.

PART TWO: ANALYSIS

This site would be incomplete without an analytical framework. After you have digested a few of the examples, feel free to explore the ideas behind the model. I would be remiss if I did not give credit to my inspiration for this work: the Human Faith Project of Calvin Chatlos, M.D. His demonstration of a model for Human Faith began my exploration of this subject matter.

A RELIGION OF VALUES

A baby first begins to learn about the world by experiencing it. A room may be warm or cool. The baby learns that distinction. As a toddler, the child may strike her head with a rag doll, and see that it is soft; then strike her head with a wooden block, and see that it is hard. Love is a distinction: she loves me, or she doesn’t love me. This is true of every human value:

justice, humility, wisdom, courage . . . every single one of them.

This site is dedicated to exploring those distinctions. It is based on a model of values that you can read about on the “About” page. However, the best way to learn about what is in here is the same as the baby’s way of learning about the world: open the pages, and see what happens.

ants organic action machines

Octavio Ocampo, Forever Always

Jacek Yerka, House over the Waterfall

Norman Rockwell, Carefree Days Ahead

WHAT YOU WILL SEE HERE

When you open www.thisisourstory.net, you will see a human value identified at the top of the page. The value changes daily. These values are designed to follow the seasons of the year.

You will also see an overview of the value, or subject for the day, and then two columns of materials.

The left-side column presents true narratives, which include biographies, memoirs, histories, documentary films and the like; and also technical and analytical writings.

The right-side columns presents the work of the human imagination: fictional novels and stories, music, visual art, poetry and fictional film.

Each entry is presented to help identify the value. Open some of the links and experience our human story, again. It belongs to us all, and each of us is a part of it.

latest from

The Work on the Meditations