Paradise

: a very beautiful, pleasant, or peaceful place that seems to be perfect
: a place that is perfect for a particular activity or for a person who enjoys that activity
: a state of complete happiness

Source: www.merriam-webster.com

Etymology

Paradise (n.): late 12th century, “Garden of Eden,” from Old French paradisparadise, Garden of Eden” (11th century), from Late Latin paradisus, from Greek paradeisospark, paradise, Garden of Eden,” from an Iranian source similar to Avestan pairidaezaenclosure, park” (Modern Persian and Arabic firdausgarden, paradise“), compound of pairi-around” + dizto make, form (a wall).”

The first element is cognate with Greek peri-around, about,” the second is from Proto-Indo-European root dheigh-to form, build” (related to: dough).

The Greek word, originally used for an orchard or hunting park in Persia, was used in Septuagint to mean “Garden of Eden,” and in New Testament translations of Luke xxiii:43 to mean “heaven” (a sense attested in English from c. 1200). Meaning “place like or compared to Paradise” is from c. 1300.

Wisdom

“The path to paradise begins in hell.”

Dante Alighieri (1265-1321, simple called Dante, major Italian poet and philosopher of the Late Middle Ages who “sought to raise the level of public discourse by educating his countrymen and inspiring them to pursue happiness in the contemplative life”; best known for the “The Divine Comedy.”)

Bio Source:

plato.stanford.edu/entries/dante/

“God hides the fires of hell within paradise.”

Paulo Coelho (b. Paulo Coelho de Souza, Brazilian lyricist and novelist; best know for “The Alchemist”)

Bio Source:

paulocoelhoblog.com

“Certainly paradise, whatever, wherever it be, contains flaws. (Paradisiacal flaws, if you like.) If it did not, it would be incapable of drawing the hearts of men or angels.”

Henry Miller (1891-1980, 20th-century American writer, who created a new novel characterized as a fictionalized autobiography; best known for “Tropic of Cancer,” “Black Spring,” “The Rosy Crucifixion Trilogy,” and “Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch”)

Bio Source:

www.biography.com/people/henry-miller-9408455

“I don't like Paradise,
As they probably don't have obsessions there.”

Alda Merini (1931-2009, Italian writer and poet who books include, “The Presence of Orpheus,” “Fear of God,” “Roman Wedding,” “Diary of an Other,” and “Love Lessons”)

Bio Source:

www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/alda-merini

“Wherever you find the greatest good, you will find the greatest evil, because evil loves paradise as much as good.”

Wallace Stegner (1909-1993, hailed as “one of the most important novelist in America;” published thirteen novels, three short-story collections, sixteen nonfiction titles and has edited eighteen works in fifty-three years he was publishing books; won The Pulitzer Prize in 1972 for “Angle of Repose” and the U.S. National Book Award in 1977; also known as a “damn environmentalist,” during the Kennedy Administration where he served as a special assistant to the former Interior Secretary Steward Udall.)

Bio Source:

www.theparisreview.org/interviews/2314/the-art-of-fiction-no-118-wallace-stegner

“I am still in the land of the dying; I shall be in the land of the living soon.” (Newton’s last words)

John Newton (1725-1807, former sailor, cleric, slave trader, and author of the most famous hymn in history: “Amazing Grace”)

Bio Source:

www.christianitytoday.com/history/people/pastorsandpreachers/john-newton.html

“Now comes the mystery!” (Beecher’s last words)

Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887, 19th-century Congregationalist minister and preacher who emphasized God’s love rather than God’s punishment; social reformer, who supported the abolition of slavery and the women’s suffrage; and the brother of author Harriet Beecher Stowe, who wrote the famous antislavery novel, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”)

Bio Source:

www.biography.com/people/henry-ward-beecher-9204662

Meditation

“The Expulsion from Paradise is eternal in its principal aspect: this makes it irrevocable, and our living in this world inevitable, but the eternal nature of the process has the effect that not only could we remain forever in Paradise, but that we are currently there, whether we know it or not.” — Franz Kafka

We can’t help but think of the Garden of Eden when contemplating paradise.  As most parables in the Bible, this story is layered and coded with symbolism.  We must not to take it literally.  Perhaps it’s a blueprint of our evolution and cycles of transformations through dissonance.

According to Ken Wilber in his book, “A Theory of Everything – An Integral Vision for Business, Politics, Science, and Spirituality:

“… if the person has tasted a stage and becomes fairly full, then he or she is open to transformation.  In order for this to occur, some sort of dissonance generally has to set in.  The new wave is struggling to emerge, the old wave is struggling to hang on, and the individual feels torn, feels dissonance, feels pulled in several directions.  But in any event there has to be some sort of profound dissatisfaction with the present level; one has to be agitated, annoyed, frustrated with it, so that a deep and conflicted dissonance insistently arises.”

As we all know, it was Eve, who was on the leading edge of that dissonance, dissatisfied with The Garden and with its ever encroaching banality.  Eve  is easily tempted, because she wants to see what’s beyond the Garden’s walls, even if beyond it may be scary and troublesome.

(Most new stories come from the Bible.  But, can’t help but think of M. Night Shyamalan’s movie, “The Village,” where a 19th century young woman escapes her community to find she’s actually lives in the 21st century.)

Eve wanted to go to the next level and she forced her partner, Adam, to to do the same.  Isn’t that the archetype of today’s modern Western woman.  Eve no longer wants to the status quo.  She wants to flex her muscles in free will, and is willing to pay the price.   And the only way she can do that is to jump off that cliff, even if it means risking pain and strife.

As we ascend collectively, by our mere proximity and presence, we will inevitably annoy, agitate and push each other out of our comfort zones into deeper stages of discomfort and consciousness.   This is all a part of transformation and our pursuits towards a profound and deeper state of happiness and bliss.  However, we don’t have to push or prod.  All we have to do is live, as Richard Rohr suggests, a humble and honest life.  Then we will discover the levels of whom we are internally and externally, a more evolving unified body, mind, and spirit.

Let us continue to search for our paradises, and relish the blessed transformative challenges and divine experiences along the way.

Miraculously Yours, Tonya

Discussion

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