GNL number 93

on doings at Meeting #93, Sunday, April 12, 2015
including liturgical items, major themes, and other odds and ends


Thus Gautama (Buddha) walked toward the town to gather alms, and the two samani recognized him solely by the perfection of his repose, by the calmness of his figure, in which there was no trace of seeking, desiring, imitating, or striving, only light and peace.
~~~Hermann Hesse, Siddartha

These are all I have. I do not have the wide, bright beacon of some solid old lighthouse, guiding ships safely home past the jagged rocks. I only have these little glimmers that flicker and then go out.
~~~Rebecca Wells, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.


This little meeting took place in the beautifully warm, sunny morning Light on the patio south of Sue’s house, so we slid most naturally into our conversation about Light, Part II by way of sunshine and updates on the trips we’d each recently taken — Sue to California, Gail to Florida, Cynthia to Arizona, and Nancy to Virginia.

Sue of course provided not only sun and update, but our research report on the topic word, which had included references to the physics of light, prompting questions to her scientist husband, who said among other things, that light is the whole story. She was also led to look more closely at the Genesis story in Judaism, and light in eastern spiritual traditions, and rediscovered as well a fine poem of hers on Light. See AFTERWORDS for the poem, notes on all these, and her quotes.

Nancy spoke of wanting to travel light, or at least lighter, to ditch most of her stuff, and live much more simply, spend less time just choosing among too many things, too many improvements, and just need less. An old theme, but she was resolved to keep keeping at it. And another part of this, it seemed to her, was maybe traveling light also suggests not only letting go of our stuff, but dropping old stories that keep us stuck. (See AW for quotes)

Cynthia shared with Sue trip discoveries — the need to literally travel lighter, and the magic of the desert light, especially at dawn and sunset. And she was struck too by the bright artificial light display of night-time Phoenix. She also feels that deep need to live lighter, give more away. And then, as light on an old subject, reported good news: that our project to turn Anna’s trip journal into print-form is almost done, and can be ready for presentation next Skippy!

Gail had an even more detailed thesaurus than last COS and read more uses of the word light, eg, as verb and adjective (like birds light on limbs, and light-headed,-fingered,-footed,-hearted?). And updating her story from last time on Virginia and school, she said V, facing a hard writing assignment, had been writing wonderful poems. Gail also spoke of their trip to Florida and the bright beauty of Biscayne Bay, south of Miami, where they were fascinated especially with the sea animals.

It was our decision to direct today’s offering to the Stop The Pipeline organization for its so vital work in the fight against the proposed Constitution Pipeline.


Whether in the intellectual pursuits of science, or in the mystical pursuits of the spirit, the light beckons ahead, and the purpose surging in our nature responds. ~~~astrophysicist Sir Arthur Eddington, The Nature of the Physical World


Sunday, May 10, Mother’s Day (1030), at Gail’s homestead in Worcester. The subject, in honor of Anna’s trip journal (in print form by this date) will be Journaling, or other notes to ourselves.

Also in May: on a date TBA in the week of 18th through 24th, we will make our much anticipated field trip to the Syracuse Cultural Workers Center. (Your input please on preferred day.)

And a note about the June meeting: Adair hopes to attend, so stay tuned for which day that meeting will be.


from Sue



1. Something that makes things visible or affords illumination: All colors depend on light.

2. Physics: Also called luminous energy, radiant energy. electromagnetic radiation to which the organs of sight react, ranging in wavelength from about 400 to 700 nm and propagated at a speed of 186,282 mi./sec (299,972 km/sec), considered variously as a wave, corpuscular, or quantum phenomenon. a similar form of radiant energy that does not affect the retina, as ultraviolet or infrared rays.

Jay’s scientific remarks: “Light is the ultimate Mystery. Primordial Light is the name given to the oldest light in the Universe—the 13.7 billion-year-old photons that come to us from the Big Bang. They were gamma rays, and therefore invisible to the human eye. Only later when things cooled a bit—the vibrations of the photons slowed down and became the kind we can see—slower still they became radio waves and infra-red rays. Photons exist in timelessness. Everything that exists comes from the first Light.

This made me think about Genesis and what Kabbalah, Hasidism and now most of mainstream Judaism have to say about the kinds of light God created on the first & 4th days.
From commentary by Rav Kook, 1835-1935: The hidden light of Creation: “The very first act of Creation, as recorded in the Book of Genesis, was the creation of light. “And God said: There shall be light” (Gen. 1:3). What kind of light was this? “It cannot be the light that we are familiar with, the light emanating from the sun and the stars. These heavenly bodies were created much later, on the fourth day of Creation. The Sages called this primordial light Ohr Ha-Ganuz, ‘the Hidden Light.’ Too pure for the current state of the universe, God concealed it for a future, more deserving world. What is the nature of this special illumination introduced at the beginning of Creation?”

I summarized another related Jewish belief—that in order to begin the Creation, God w/drew his infinite expanse into a confined space (tzimtzum) to make room for Creation and then poured the divine Source Light into the newly created world from vessels that shattered—scattering sparks of the eternal light all through Creation—so every thing that is: rocks, drops of water, plants, animals, carries these sparks concealed in them. The human task is to find and collect these sparks and reunify them. In Hebrew this is called tikkun-olam—repairing the world.

Most mystical traditions see Light as Source Energy.

Buddhism—Flower Ornament Scripture, 359-710 CE
Hinduism Indra’s Net “Imagine a multidimensional spider’s web in the early morning covered with dew drops. And every dew drop contains the reflection of all the other dew drops. And, in each reflected dew drop, the reflec-tions of all the other dew drops in that reflection. And so ad infinitum. That is the Buddhist conception of the uni-verse in an image.” –Alan Watts

Quotations I forgot to read:

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” ~ Plato

“Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” ~ Brené Brown

“When you light a candle, you also cast a shadow.” ~ Ursula K. Le Guin

“There are two kinds of light – the glow that illumines, and the glare that obscures.” ~ James Thurber

2003 poem of mine that I found:

“Light” by Susan Fantl Spivack

The morning her eyes adjust finally to midnight, she gives up good

fortune. Rising from her life long dream of triumphant arrival, she stares

for some time at the metal porch roof. Maple seeds. Golden leaves

shining beneath gray rain. This is the key, she tells herself. This is

the back entrance–no fancy doorbells.

All day the wind blew without pause or cessation. It’s all about sentences,

the modestly famous poet said. But she thinks it’s more about the spaces

between. Silence follows the period. Whispers surround commas.

The Dickinsonian dash–broken branches all over the lawn.

Like his concetrated whistle, wind between his teeth–the man who is

her body’s extension. He uses his hands to reassemble the ill-fitting parts

the universe keeps breaking into. His thoughts, she thinks, are a roving flash

light scanning the underside of the bureau–missing earring, eye-glass

screw. Her pride keeps her from him for hours, sometimes days at

a atime–ebony drop cloth shadowing her entire life. And her thoughts–

such comic relief–a squirrel madly chewing the velvety adges. The way

hopelessness turns to epiphany as the all day cloud-cover, endless gray

rain starts opening up. Celebrating intermittence, breathless she arrives

into this provisional, impossible light.


from Nancy

With all of mankind, towards the light

I shall raise the children

High, high, laughing for joy to the sun.

~~~Yang Lian

The sunbeams stream forward, dawn boys,

with shimmering shoes of yellow

~~~Mescalero Apache song

A certain day became a presence to me;

there it was, confronting me—a sky, air, light:

a being. And before it started to descend

from the height of noon, it leaned over

and struck my shoulder as if with

the flat of a sword, granting me

honor and a task. The day’s blow

rang out, metallic—or it was I, a bell awakened,

and what I heard was my whole self

saying and singing what it knew: I can.

~~~Denise Levertov

And I thought over again

My small adventures

As with a shore-wind I drifted out

In my kayak

and thought I was in danger.

My fears

Those small ones

That I thought so big

For all the vital things

I had to get and to reach.

And yet, there is only

One great thing,

The only thing:

To live to see in huts and on journeys

The great day that dawns,

And the light that fills the world.

~~~Inuit song

and a good little YOGI teabag-tag:

Live light,

travel light,

spread the light,

be the light.

and sent in by Ann

Light pertains to sight and weight, sometimes at the same time. “Lighten up” can mean both make the gloom recede and the load bearable.

Light, as related to sight, sometimes means vision; vision has its own set of strings attached.

Two sides of light:

Lightning is both terrifying and beautifully awesome.

Light can be suffused or bright.

Light is good at showing the shine and also good at showing the dust.

Light can bring truth out or its glare can hide the facts.

Yin and yang have elements of light in each.

We are discovering the most elemental parts of light, yet it is still either on or off.

Did we have bright, “ah ha” ideas before the light bulb…?

“The birth of an idea is that happy moment when everything appears possible and reality has not yet entered into the problem.” Rudolf Diesel

Six Wordies:

Outside light changes the inside light.

Being able to read is light.

Early morning light smothers the night.

Dawn sneaks up on the night.

Early morning light, what a treat.

Any writing opens cans of worms.

Writing can open up most minds.

Balance is usually letting everything in.

and from our friend in Herkimer County, Donna Veeder

I like this one. We all are in need of light after this winter of so much snow covering up everything. I think my roof is glad to see the sun! Snow is melting off of everything. Although when the snow is all about and the sun shines I get very energetic. And even when the sun is hiding, I feel that the reflections off the snow are just a cooler light. We used to get snow drifts that covered up the windows at time on the farm. It would rise up the windows in a cone and then curl backward from the heat inside. It even did that on our old chicken house out back. I took a photo of that once. I think it was my first year there and I had never seen a show drift that big! We all drift toward the light.


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