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darksouls

Dark Souls: a button mashing video game that speaks to the spirit

Play ‘Dark Souls’ and you will die — again and again and again.

From Software’s latest game — released this month — is long. It’s hard. It can be almost painful to play. And it has absolutely enthralled videogamers.

Maybe that’s because, like a great spiritual teacher, this videogame challenges gamers to learn. Only then will a player be rewarded with the next challenge.

If you’re a certain sort of spiritual person all of this might sound familiar — and maybe a little insulting. No one is going to become enlightened by grinding away a this game on their XBox 360 or PlayStation 3.

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Find yourself, lose yourself

Find yourself, lose yourself

Black Swan shows the best and worst extremes of art and letting go

BY MICHELLE MORRA-CARLISLE – As the closing credits for Black Swan started rolling, the woman I was sitting next to turned to me and said, “Weird, eh?”

Yes, the darling ballerina who first graced the screen had gone off the artistic deep end. There comes a point in Black Swan where everyone in the theatre realizes it’s more than just a movie about an angst-ridden dancer. We fidget, uncomfortably bracing ourselves for what’s next.

Natalie Portman’s character, Nina Sayers, is a disciplined dancer whose entire focus is on keeping it together. That means being sweet enough to keep her unstable and manipulative mother (Barbara Hershey) from unraveling, quiet enough not to elicit the wrath of her catty fellow dancers, and having full control over her every ballet move. That self-discipline makes her the ideal White Swan for Swan Lake – her big break – but her choreographer Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel) doubts her ability to embody the sensual darkness of the Black Swan. In a grueling rehearsal, the sexy and cruel Thomas says, “Perfection is not just about control. It’s also about letting go.”

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Spiritual Surf: Cho, Dead Poets’ Anxiety

Spiritual Surf: Cho, Dead Poets’ Anxiety

Poets who commit suicide use “I,” “me” and “mine” in their writing more than poets who don’t take their lives, according to a study in the Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine. Discover Magazine picked up the study in 2006, which compared 156 poems by nine poets who committed suicide to 135 poems written by poets who didn’t take their own lives. The “stable” poets used words such as “talk,” “share” and “listen” more as well. Discover compares “An Appearance,” by Sylvia Plath to “The Ache of Marriage” by Denise Levertov and the difference between the two is telling.

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Palm

At the End of the Mind

There’s no doubt American poet Wallace Stevens was a searcher. He wrote surrealist, transcendental poems such as “Of Mere Being:”

The palm at the end of the mind,
Beyond the last thought, rises
In the bronze distance.

A gold-feathered bird
Sings in the palm, without human meaning,
Without human feeling, a foreign song.

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