Raw, idiom: 14a. in the natural, uncultivated, or unrefined state: nature in the raw.

I picked up the July issue of Shambhala Sun the other day and have been carting it around religiously, trying to wade through a particularly dense issue in stolen moments on apartment stoops and park benches and bus stops. This month's issue is devoted to questions of yoga and Buddhism, the dharma of body and mind, the ways in which the two ancient traditions interweave and complement one another. As you can imagine, I'm hooked.

Tucked in amongst the talk of asanas and meditations, though, is a little gem of a reverie from writer Pico Iyer. I've always enjoyed what little I've read of Iyer, and this particular piece, "My Private Cineplex," is a melancholy rumination from Japan on seasons and nature and change and moods and minds and writing and death and impermanence and what remains. And in that, it captures so many of the Buddhist themes - transience and change, non-attachment, mindfulness, a witness consciousness - that the rest of the issue speaks more deliberately. The piece isn't available online, so all I can do is direct you to this link for excerpts from several features of the issue itself.

But here's a little taste of Iyer's haunting prose:
The skies are high and warm and brilliant in the autumn, even in early December; the parks are full of gold and yellow and scarlet. The warmth is deceiving, and yet everything is deceiving, because it's all contradicted by everything else around it. The season cannot be quite as renewed and buoyant as the skies suggest; you can feel the sting of cold in the air. And yet it can't be as elegiac as you suppose either, because the leaves are giving off their richest, most generous colors as they fall. You don't know whether to feel happy or sad, which means that it's a choice, in part - and besides, the seasons will keep turning, the colors will keep flaring, the branches will soon be bare again, and everyone will be covered up, whether you want them to be or not.

It doesn't have anything to do with you.

Pick it up. And breathe deeply.


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