art, Articles, what to read

There Is A Cloud Floating In This Sheet of Paper

I’ve written here before about Thich Nhat Hahn and the zen of paper conservation.  Here is a lovely, simple meditation from his book Being Peace.

“If you are a poet, you will see clearly that there is a cloud floating in this sheet of paper. Without a cloud there will be no water; without water, the trees cannot grow; and without trees you cannot make paper. So the cloud is in here. The existence of this page is dependent on the existence of a cloud. Paper and cloud are so close. Let us think of other things, like sunshine. Sunshine is very important because the forest cannot grow without sunshine, and we humans cannot grow without sunshine. So the logger needs sunshine in order to cut the tree, and the tree needs sunshine in order to be a tree. Therefore you can see sunshine in this sheet of paper. And if you look more deeply … you see not only the cloud and the sunshine in it, but that everything is here: the wheat that became the bread for the logger to eat, the logger’s father … the paper is full of everything, the entire cosmos. The presence of this tiny sheet of paper proves the presence of the whole cosmos.”

off topic

Happiness is available. Please help yourself to it. Thich Nhat Hahn

Water Lillies, Balboa Park

The above quote has been an essential guidepost in my life, but I seem to forget it for long stretches.  When I recall the simplicity of that sentence, it leads me out of some pretty gripping self-pity.  So, I thought I’d share my favorite book:  Being Peace, just in case anyone else wanted a little mindfulness reminder.  Learn more about Thich Nhat Hahn here.

and here’s the paper-related part:  If you click here, “you will see clearly that there is a cloud floating in this paper” – page 51.  A most eloquent description of the components of a sheet of paper, and therefore, the universe.  Read it and then answer that infuriating grad school question “what is information?”.  I dare you.