Real and lasting success in life and as a human being is not the result of circumstance, technique, relationship, job or spiritual pathway. It flows from Presence. Presence is a function of being in loving connection to the life force and allowing it to organize our lives and relationships in accordance with a purpose and pattern that we can not understand in advance but must live into.
I finished reading Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. As I read, I kept a folded up piece of paper as a bookmark on which I wrote down vocabulary words to look up and page numbers of passages that I found interesting and enjoyable because of their writing quality or because they spoke to me in some way. Here they are, with the hope you find value within them too. I don't believe in coincidences, including the timing of this book appearing in my life. A book of seemingly endless fire and burning, for me it was a mirror of personal transformation. Its spirit has become a part of me now.
He stared at the parlor that was dead and gray as the waters of an ocean that might teem with life if they switched on the electronic sun.
She was beginning to shriek now, sitting there like a wax doll melting in its own heat.
Once as a child he had sat upon a yellow dune by the sea in the middle of the blue and hot summer day, trying to fill a sieve with sand, because some cruel cousin had said, "Fill this sieve and you'll get a dime!" And the faster he poured, the faster it sifted through with a hot whispering. His hands were tired, the sand was boiling, the sieve was empty. Seated there in the midst of July, without a sound he felt the tears move down his cheeks.
He could feel the Hound, like autumn, come cold and dry and swift, like a wind that didn't stir grass, that didn't jar windows or disturb leaf shadows on the white sidewalks as it passed. The Hound did not touch the world. It carried its silence with it, so you could feel the silence building up a pressure behind you all across town.
This was all he wanted now. Some sign that the immense world would accept him and give him the long time he needed to think all the things that must be thought.
There was a silence gathered all about that fire and the silence was in the men's faces, and time was there, time enough to sit by this rusting track under the trees, and look at the world and turn it over with the eyes, as if it were held to the center of the bonfire, a piece of steel these men were all shaping. It was not only the fire that was different. It was the silence. Montag moved toward this special silence that was concerned with all the world.
He saw the moon low in the sky now. The moon there, and the light of the moon caused by what? By the sun, of course. And what lights the sun? Its own fire. And the sun goes on, day after day, burning and burning. The sun and time. The sun and time and burning. Burning. The river bobbled him along gently. Burning. The sun and every clock on the earth. It all came together and became a single thing in his mind. After a long time of floating on the land and a short time of floating in the river he knew why he must never burn again in his life.
A writing or a word or music or an action, everything we see around us in the world, is a spiritual entity in itself which contains a spiritual essence of its own. When you speak, you imbue your words with your spirit. Thus, they have a spiritual essence. Once they pass your lips, they are not you. They are themselves, a separate entity, a sound wave. They can, in turn, imbue others, even you, with their spiritual essence.
This is not unlike your own interaction with others. You are changed as the result of your interaction with others. For instance, a person can change your mind about something, inspire you, or make you angry. These kinds of interactions may at first be superficial, but if they occur over time, they can create a more lasting and significant change in you. You, too, have this same influence over the lives of others. Exchanges between us are both physical and spiritual.
The physical aspect is represented by such things as sound waves, facial expressions, ink or paint on a surface, brain waves and other brain functioning. The spiritual aspect is the unseen aspect of these things. Ink on a piece of paper is more than its physical existence. It represents something to us. It has meaning and therefore a life of its own, an influence of its own over those who can perceive that meaning in some sense or another. This is its spirit.
"'We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over; so in a series of kindnesses there is at least one which makes the heart run over.'"
He glanced back at the wall. How like a mirror, too, her face.
Impossible; for how many people did you know that refracted your own light to you? People were more often -- he searched for a simile, found one in his work -- torches, blazing away until they whiffed out. How rarely did other people's faces take of you and throw back to you your own expression, your own innermost trembling thought?
He felt that the stars had been pulverized by the sound of the black jets and that in the morning the earth would be covered with their dust like a strange snow.
Books bombarded his shoulders, his arms, his upturned face.
A book lit, almost obediently, like a white pigeon, in his hands, wings fluttering. In the dim, wavering light, a page hung open and it was like a snowy feather, the words delicately painted thereon. In all the rush and fervor, Montag had only an instant to read a line, but it blazed in his mind for the next minute as if stamped there with fiery steel. "Time has fallen asleep in the afternoon sunshine." He dropped the book. Immediately another fell into his arms.
For a long time I've forgotten what feeds my imagination and nurtures my mind. I didn't formally make a resolution at the dawn of 2014 that I would read more, but I've since re-discovered books and that I really love a good story. Almost every time I go somewhere without a book, I find myself in a situation wishing I had one. It's wonderful to commune with another mind through reading... So far this year I've read "To Kill A Mockingbird" and "Star Trek." Yesterday I went to the library and checked out "Fahrenheit 451." As I read, I'll be sharing passages from the book and posting them here. This is how the story begins. I was hooked immediately...
It was a pleasure to burn. It was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed. With the brass nozzle in his fists, with the great python spitting its venomous kerosene upon the world, the blood pounded in his head, and his hands were the hands of some amazing conductor playing all the symphonies of blazing and burning to bring down the tatters and charcoal of history.