Flat, smooth and perfectly even!

 

 

  psaltery + angel

 

You are just there close to my inclined eyes, but I can’t look at your radiance, your compelling body working so brilliantly for you, because I have to watch the patterns my fingers imprint on the black and white keys.  I regret this deeply. I try to jump away from them to just prize your eyes to mine. But I console myself that our eye beams have been long twisted together, spiralling, since our spirits leapt into these two borrowed vessels, mine and yours, from the cerulean blue.  The visible can never compete with the storm of sound vibrations after all. We both know this fact and live by it.

You are daring, so daring, in front of so many people, at the party to mark the beginning of a completely New Year! But I can’t see any of the reaction of our audience members, can’t even feel them.  The sounds and the patterns absorb us both utterly, so much so that most humans can never understand or experience it.  The audience is one giant voyeur standing getting ready for the countdown to the New Year! They are spectres to us adorned in fairy lights and paper decorations, clutching clinking glasses to suck on, their spirits locked into their flesh. In fact, I would go as far as to say that they have permanently occupied their skin sack and rarely move outside it.

You slant your head to rest your attractive cheek on the intense reflection in the mahogany case, French polished like glass or a paralysed tropical pond, and the reflection is visible to me if I blink and squint a little. Your cleavage and one of your exposed breasts lean out of your silver-leaf dress to forage for the cool of the ivory-toothed beast, and really it would seem that the top of a magnificent grand piano with its kidney curves was custom made for the writhings and song-smithing of a beautiful woman.  I just can’t look away from the patterns, but I can feel these curvaceous lines matched with my own breast, as we breathe together.

 

sound board

 

 

The sound board, one huge diaphragm stretching across the belly of this instrument of perfection is beneath you, handcrafted by Steinway experts. Piano makers brave the snows and blizzards to seek out the Sitka Spruce, meticulously selected with between 8 and 12 rings per inch, the more rings the more resonant. Sitka is in Alaska, the trees growing more than 50 metres in height with trunks of over 2 metres in diameter, their old-growth free of knots. They grow closely together to exclude light so that no other plants can thrive and interrupt their growth.

Once planed and sanded to perfection, this board for sound is lowered into the body of the piano, its bent rim made of indestructible rock maple which creates the barrier to stop the vibrations escaping once I create them. This takes a whole day, a small crane and the full attention of several ‘belly’ men before the stringing is done. Sitka Spruce keeps out all interferences and makes a perfect basking pool for vibrations. This is my heart.

I have been waiting for your diaphragm all this time because my own has ceased to function, given over to chain smoking. My man body is pale and unhealthy, powdered inside and out with nicotine, hardly breathing at all these days as human life and its pointlessness stunt me. I must say that you so naturally breathe in perfect synchrony with the shiny beast, diaphragms superbly matched. And once again, I can start to “breathe” through you as my dream promised.

 

diaphragm

 

The finger and thumb patterns of my engaged made-for-it hands move on apace, the most fascinating of all phenomena. Fingers wriggle meaninglessly, bending or flattening, squeezing together to execute a rapid change of location. The wrist rocks like a supersonic pendulum. The finger tips are masters of their strings deep inside the belly.  Long thumbs inch from side to side notching along the horizontal plane with blind precision. I am these relentless patterns, so they are effortless, and I dive into them, swimming like a tropical flash into a million connotations and probabilities. I never once stop to ask a single question of why this shape or that, this intensity or that, this speed or that, why this formation. After all, what good are questions when you are a piano.

 

vocalist

 

You heavenly vocalist, squirm to mirror my hand patterns exactly, imitating me blindly, superbly. Then you transpose your head presenting me with your legs portrayed through a deep slit, the silver shining up your tanned articulate thighs, your calves, the strong bones of your shins making the flesh seem polished, sculpted. You have no single inhibition because this is the final performance and so you will pulse with your true nature.  There are no masks, no coverings, nothing reserved.

Nothing and no-one is driving this sublime music: we both create it without any of the rational explanation or analysis which the audience assumes.  They are certainly assuming that we have rehearsed for thousands of hours, perfecting phrases, restoring and rebuilding their contours, and intensifying tone and colour by experimenting a million times and using our critical judgement to choose exactly the right ones.  They are assuming that we have practised for hours, me executing physical gymnastics with the fingers and forearms and for you performing repeated vocal miracles and feats of breath and diaphragm control.  They do not know or have any inkling that we never practise and never rehearse together.

‘Practise?’ ‘Rehearsal?’ These two words have come to dominate the world of neurotic and slightly insane musicians who give up everything else in life for their ‘art,’ but truly they are robots motivated only by precision and technique.  Practise makes perfect! What a facile meaningless maxim when most people never perform in their entire lifetime, keeping themselves back because they are ‘not ready,’ not ‘good enough.’ Many are still practising on their deathbed having decided that they will perform in the next life or for the worms.

To rehearse is an act of the murder of spirits. How can music have become so mechanical, so prescribed. How can human beings have so high-handedly subjugated the ‘Music of the Spheres?’ This places us always at the side of our lives instead of in the centre of existence, embodying them as it was meant to be.  We are taught to never be ready to give everything; to always keep things back for another time.  But we both have managed to sidestep this stinginess. We perform constantly. There is no break from it, no holiday, no time put aside to practise, no separation.

 

the spheres

 

Your beautiful blond fecund head is, once more, adjacent to mine and the rapid arpeggios and wide chords which expand my span to its limits forge on. Now we both look down from above at the lightning speed patterns streaming from my fingertips mixing ourselves in with them as we soak up the vibrations we are embodying.

We notice vaguely at the periphery patches of arousal along our skin, the hair pores tingling and swelling to make what they call ‘gooseflesh.’ I have no idea why we have to be distracted from the ways sound can arouse us by a skittish land bird reputed to lay golden eggs. Why can’t we allow ourselves to embody our arousal in the raised pores of a human being capable of making the most divine sounds ever known on the Earth?

I don’t have to tell you anything. No pencil markings scribbled in the score like a shopping list. No knowing looks as we approach a tempo or key change. No foot tapping or lead up.  It’s simple. I make fractals with my fingers on the glassy keys while you drape them in vocal jewels produced from the operating of the chords at your throat. The very mention of your throat makes me wince as I imagine the appalling crime of cutting throats so popular today; the opening of your taught skin, slicing muscle and nibbling bone and the jewels come spilling out with the blood. The human throat has to be the most miraculous product of evolution and at the same time the most vulnerable and visceral, uniquely fragile.

You tell me you feel the same way about my fingers being cut through on a wooden board, the razor blade rocked from point to the main body, rolling through the flesh until the blade is flat along the board the digital obstruction easily shifted.  But you need have no worries because I would find another way to articulate my patterns.  They must flow; they must fill the universe. I am the piano. My man resonances could never stay inside a body shape, unable to be vertical, insisting on stretching, radiating across the soundboard pool, muffled into silence by the felt dampers and then thrilled and free when they are lifted away by my toe-tapping pedal.

And we have found a way to escape from the barbed enclosure of ‘time’ and ‘space.’ The final performance is eternal, and I can fly my piano body anywhere with you impinged on its top. Our music never stops.  It is not dependent on an audience though we attract them, and they pay our milk and addiction bills.  They whisper ‘genius,’ ‘they were made for each other,’ and,  ‘what talent!’ thinking we cannot hear but forgetting or ignorant of, as most people are about pianos, the science of the hundreds of strings strung over the soundboard pool catching every sound when the felts are lifted. So their prosaic words are unfortunately transmitted along the strings too and we must ignore them.

 

Cristofiori

                                                                            Cristofiori: inventor of the piano 16th century

 

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This is the opening to a new book I am writing about the miracle of the piano and the mysterious way it was invented.
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Scent of the Divine

 

between worlds

 

What can we learn from those deprived of fully or normally functioning senses about accessing other ways of being? How can we avoid the domination of visual processing, the consequent ownership of everything we see, and the blind instinct to pin everything down into permanence in the realities we create in our minds? Everything, and often everyone, we see we want to possess and fossilize, preserving them in aspic, making them permanent. These collections often become our reality and naturally, we fear their loss.

For urban dwellers in the developed world, the allure of millions of visual signals pulls us out of our true nature. We are provoked by their sight to make choices, to possess or reject. In modern life, the monopolizing visual sense can generate synthetic conditions in which we ‘see,’ but more importantly ‘are seen,’ and we interpret everything to suit us, on our terms. Whereas the non-visual senses – listening/hearing, tasting, smelling, feeling – receive concrete data from the environment, e.g. sound, scents, textures and shape, flavours and temperatures, etc. that need no interpretation as they are un-seeable, invisible to most humans.  In a series of articles soon to be made into a book, I will explore these ancient senses that I believe link us with our innate divinity.

Our true nature is both visible and invisible, never limitable to man-made concepts like space and time, to merely seeing and being seen. Our sacred responsibility while inhabiting the visible world is to live out our unconditional love and compassion so we can convey the lessons of humanity to others. As well as to revive our divine energy in these days of shocking social deterioration and urban isolation. In simple terms, our senses are out of balance in modern life so by closing down the visual sense and ‘going inside,’ we can make contact with our higher self and the vast magical land of the invisible.

The ‘I,’ the ego, and the physical eye operate in a similar way. As mentioned, the visual sense is the most dominant in our consumerist acquisitive societies, manufactured diversity and pluralism overwhelm us with choices, alternatives, get-out clauses, and so on. If we cannot see something, there is a possibility that we consider it not to exist, or at the very least to have no validity. We need proof either with the naked eye or in writing to make things valid because our trust in others and in our perceptions of reality is so weak.

It is no wonder then that we cling desperately to the ‘self’ as evidence that our flesh and blood actually exist. But in that clinging, there is a possibility that we may have lost all contact with our true self our true nature; that our divine flame is either guttering or has extinguished altogether.

In respect of the above, the visually impaired are fascinating. If we take away visual data from human existence altogether, then how do we make sense of the world? I have had the privilege of working with visually impaired children and adults as a Music Therapist. They have taught me so much about concrete communication, contributing to my own spiritual insights and helping me to step beyond the straitjacket of duality which most of us wear.

 

scent

 

Before writing in detail about my professional experience, I would like to recount a film which movingly depicts how a person deprived of sight as an adult, makes sense of his new world. The title is ‘Scent of a Woman’ 1992, based on an Italian film released in 1974 Profumo di donna, (director Dino Risi, leading role Vittorio Gassman, based on the story Il Buio e il Miele by Giovanni Arpino).

A colonel is injured in an accident, losing his sight entirely. He adapts badly to his disability by drinking heavily and lashing out obnoxiously at everyone around him. He sees no reason to go on living so he employs a young student paying his way at a local university to accompany him to New York to take his final pleasures before shooting himself, his pristine gun in his suitcase, his practice at assembling and cleaning it copious.

Booking into the best hotel, he lavishes them both during their stay. In the hotel, there is a dance floor, a small band playing Latin American music in the afternoon where guests are dancing formally. The colonel senses the fragrance of a woman sitting nearby them and somehow knows that she is alone. He goes to ask her to join them for a drink, and then to his helper’s incredulity, forcefully invites her to dance the tango with him. He knows the steps intimately and the floor clears to watch the spectacle. His helper is nervous at first but soon relaxes as they stride out together confidently, victoriously.

 

scent of a woman.jpg

 

Personally, this scene has incredible nobility because of my experience of visual impairment. Apparently, all the visually imapired colonel needs to achieve the impossible is the fragrance of a woman, his healthy body receptive to vibrations, and his kinesthetic memories of dancing the Tango, all of them concrete data.

Is it possible to reconstruct a visually accessed environment in terms of sound and movement? I know first-hand that this is what the visually impaired do to make sense of their world. A young female client blind from birth had never seen anything or anyone; unusually, she did not experience even faint patterns of light or shadow. She had no choice but to utilize sound and movement as her environment, making mountains out of piano chords and snowy summits with her agile voice. She could create a journey in a ship by jumping high to make wave patterns and the rocking of the vessel, using her fingers and voice as the people on board.

She was happiest without words, entirely nourished by the vibrations of sound and sensing them in her body. I often envied her freedom from intellectual assessment or interpretation, craving only spontaneous integration with the stimuli.

Jiddu Krishnamurti, spiritual teacher and visionary, said, “The description is not the described; I can describe the mountain, but the description is not the mountain, and if you get caught up in the description as most people are, then you will never see the mountain.’ Of course, my young client had never seen a mountain and never would be able to do so, so instead, she could sense it made of sound and smells combined with her own bodily movements in space. This can demonstrate just how attached the sighted become to words and their meaning. Being receptive to only the sound of the word and not its meaning can liberate us, so we are able to revert to our true spirit nature beyond mere symbols. As we listen to music, imbibe the fragrance of toasted bread, taste a freshly picked ripe plum, finger fabric made from silk in the dark, words become redundant and shockingly inadequate except in the hands of a talented poet.

Colonel Slade on the other hand, had seen many mountains and had actually experienced their descriptions but was now dependent on memories of mountains. Would he be content with this vagueness when he had made mountains so permanent in his life? Would his awareness of mountains gradually dissolve if it could not be refreshed? Would his sense of loss, of the living reality that everything is impermanent, finally hit home and bring him to an awakening, or would it be utterly unendurable. Perhaps he was now consumed by the description of himself as a blind helpless and pitiable being and failed to see that he was not the described. It would seem that his decision to kill himself in some way represented the final irreversible permanence.

 

murasaki

 

Although occasionally troubled by the language and words of her carers and therapists, which she was often unable to interpret, my young client was completely happy and reasonably well-adjusted in normal life. But she became aggressive if she was not allowed to move her body through the air or blocked from feeling the vibrations of sound because this was the only way she could be certain that she existed. So, in terms of her inner spiritual life, she was not beleaguered by dialogue from either her demons or her false angels, not attached to concepts and theories, and not hampered by the acquisitive ‘I’ or ‘eye.’ Whatever she needed to affirm her identity came from sounds and smells, touches and tastes. Words were not symbols which developed an intellectual reality of their own to her and caused her to live in an abstract world of the mind.

The visible. The invisible. A famous blind and deaf phenomenon Helen Keller, who eventually learned to live in the visible and audible world said, ‘the best and the most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt in the heart.’ This spiritual view of life comes from a grueling heart-breaking training as a child to be able to live in the world of the sighted and the hearing. Her complete adaptation is testimony to our ability to overcome anything if the divine flame in the heart is strong and we do not allow our senses to be out of balance.

As the world is designed for the sighted, it is impossible for the majority of the unsighted to make sense of it. They experience existence more directly, more concretely, often from the higher self. This is an inspiration. Many of us have learned to access the higher self through meditation or prayer, which invariably entails closing the eyes and focusing our listening. But how we struggle with distractions in the form of words – notions, speculations, justifications, judgments, criticisms, ad infinitum.

We naturally want to escape from this relentless barrage of concepts, so look for a path leading away, taking us out of ourselves. It is ironic that all we need is already located inside us if only we can quell the noise of our minds and just be in silence and stillness. The blind cannot escape and have no desire to usually. They are content to finger the complex textures of an item on and on or jump continuously to experiment with their balance or to mingle with concrete energies.

In spiritual practice, we aspire to go beyond words and other habitual interpretations of reality. We can learn to sink down into the firm yielding of now and here, of the great still silence where we too, like the unsighted, can detect vibrations and use other tools accessible to humans such as clairvoyance, perfect pitch, telepathy, that we once utilized. Colonel Slade’s tango with a beautiful fragrant woman almost pushed him over the edge, sending him to lock himself into his room and prepare his gun. Then he felt the love of his young accomplice in an angry invective about his cowardliness and self-pity and knew he could play a useful role in his young life. He could settle for concrete stimuli in time and found wisdom behind his irascible intolerance, and he could still believe in questions and their answers, somnambulating around the visual world learned from memory, at least for a while longer.

The questions the congenitally blind may pose are mere sound-play empty of meaning: hearing their own voices, imitating other voices, projecting the sounds their being can create to chart their environment. They are not desperate jabs at understanding existence, of ‘seeing’ through or behind impressions, of ‘understanding’ and interpreting everything as those of the sighted, because they know there are no questions, so there are no answers.

They are not separated away from existence because they cannot see to measure and compare, to judge and sort, to speculate or criticize. We sighted need to accept everything and step beyond duality to reconnect with our divine origins. Whereas the blind are embedded in existence; they cannot easily move around in their concrete environment as we do in the virtual worlds we invent.

It is difficult for those who have always been able to see the world to imagine the world of the congenital blind. They are like ghosts using their body form as an instrument to detect their environment. They themselves become concrete in the same way that what they perceive best is concrete. They do not take what is visible and transient deep inside them and make it invisible in order to learn lessons and connect with the invisible world. They are invisible already.

They are usually calm and steady because everything is already lost in their world; they can hold onto little and describe nothing. Voices come and go and textures and temperatures are continually changing beyond their control. There is no light or shade. There are no models to imitate except vocally which means they are often excellent mimics because of their exclusive audio focus. We often pity them, their deprivation of the treasures of the visual, but their insight into life is extraordinary and their link with the divine I believe functions strongly.

My blind client knew my inner thoughts as I worked with her. She had the gift of clairvoyance without doubt, and she could predict my future. As a music therapist, I was one of the few people she wanted to be with all the time because I could make soundscapes for her and with her, and she could use instruments and her voice and body to act in them.

Our environment can provide concrete data such as resonances, smells, textures and temperatures, tastes and kinesthetic awareness, none of which are open to the same kind of interpretation as visual data perceived only by the physical eyes. These data are invisible, the dimension and substance of our spiritual origin. The shaman in primitive tribes enters into a trance to connect with the world of spirits to access wisdom of the elder ancestors. He or she can no longer ’see’ in the physical sense. Soothsayers and seers have traditionally been visually impaired. We are told by Buddhist Masters that during our time in human life we are living in a dream world in which everything is impermanent and created by our minds.

 

fragrance 4

 

The blind colonel on the dance floor moving his own body and his unknown partner’s through space to the majestic rhythms of the Tango inspired by the fragrance she is wearing is a moving feat to the sighted. There is no hesitation, no speculation, just beautiful bodies moving trustingly through space, responding to resonances and scents. This is surely an unconditional act. At first, he intends this performance to be his swan song – resonance, rhythms, fragrance, bodily accompaniment- all that he needs to shift to the invisible world. But soon he realizes that he can adapt and at the same time can find peace with his true self.

 

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Priestess Pamela

 

ancient-burmese-pagoda-12756883

 

retreat with relics

Any ordinary family house in the city suburbs that it is presided over by a Spiritual Master takes on a new quietness, a holy stillness, a synthetic sacredness. It must become an exclusive and open channel for Her or His Holiness.

It is no longer a domestic niche for family and status: door lentils for measuring growth, carpets for wearing out, furniture for rearranging, beds to replace cots or wallpaper to be replaced to match recent trends. And it is not for her or his disciples to put down roots there as was intended, for their roots are already set in the Beloved who resides in paradise. They are pilgrims you see, and their residence, wherever it is, is a tent. They barely graze its structure.

It is not safe now for precious Masters to be outside the crowded tower blocks and urban sprawl. Gone are the days when they could retreat for years into dark caves or dusty desert palaces with their exquisite mosaics and cool inner courtyards. In fact, recently the drought has been so severe that they might combust at any time if they did! It is the Beloved’s will that we respond to his anger expressed in the world with only a deepening of our prayers and a cherishing of our Master here in the broken city.

Sunrise among the cement and glass towers and the spaces between them takes some getting used to after such baked palaces and gädam, shrines.  The Beloved One is testing us more and more radically so that the severity of our environment becomes irrelevant to our devotion to Him.  The storms and hurricanes, the torrential rain and flooding, the fierce forest fires and earthquakes, the drought and air pollution are staged exactly to make us stronger in our trust in Him.

We must retreat from this daily declining world in order to purify and to climb higher and higher to make the perfect union with Him possible.  But after our morning prayers and drawing of the first water before dawn, we cannot resist running to peep round the lace at his His exquisite light pouring between the tower blocks so that it may shine on us and He will notice us.

It was sad when the present cataclysmic conditions of this human world forced us to leave our own desert shrine built around all Almu’s, our Master’s, ancestors’ graves for the last timeThe pilgrim caravan at the height of Ramadan was the perfect test! Ah, how wise our Almu is and how wide open is her channel to The Beloved One.

I must continue forever to vividly see the white minarets and flat roofs of that small community shimmering on the swaying horizon. It was like a beautiful date confectionary carefully wrapped in trembling palm arms above the oasis. This vision is and should always be an important part of my devotions: going back again and again to such miraculous luminous moments in my mind which surely can only be brought about by the King, the absolute perfection of the Beloved One. Such a paradise could only be made possible from His goodness!

The complex procedures and rituals for de-enshrining the relics and ancient treasures took time and the entire dedication of all our small isolated community there.  Then packing them on the camel troop needed expert and ancient desert techniques. But when we were all ready, swathed in our black hijab revealing only our eyes to the sky, then came the real test.  How could we equally swathe our tiny Master, Almu, extract her and lift her inside the tented seat available only to those who are already in a paradise capsule here in this low existence? But she was so strong, bidding a prophet’s farewell to her family and devotees.

‘’arak fi aljana!   See you in paradise!’

It would be the last time in this suffering life to see them because of His anger at the proliferation of evil in the world.

Then thanks be to God, we completed the 3-day crossing to the city boundary, eating little except dried figs and palm nuts and sipping at perfumed leather water flasks after sunset.  We dared not stop, the swaying creatures below us somehow knowing the great significance of their mission.  And we……..well, we moved between the slit-mirages of heaven and earth with a longing to be held in Your strong arms again and again, O Beloved.

Now, there is no more time to spare for these devotions of a lowly mortal! The Master must be fed and I must go on typing her sacred words into letters and scriptures to leave behind to guide all remaining beings to paradise.

Today, I have given instructions for everyone to cover their noses and mouths with white masks even inside our rooms because of the dust driven into the city by violent sandstorms from the east. But this is no real hardship as our mouths are covered anyway, covered for You Beloved. And in these troubled days, the monastic rules are bent exceptionally to allow us to use a little money to buy cheap sunglasses to shield our eyes.  So, we must work even harder to keep His Divine light bright!  Ingenious tests, if we pass them, are surely leading us closer and closer to Heaven.

 

 whirling

 

whirling

We sit in prayer.  We stand in prayer. We breathe prayers. We eat and drink prayers. We whirl round and round in prayer.

Each prayer is at once a tear and a wide smile. White on white, we dazzle each other with our garments of natural fibres and finger traces until we are unsure if there is any flesh inside them at all!  This is a women’s house and every day we repeat the prayer recited by the men which declares, ‘I thank my blessed god that I was not born a woman.’  Our tests are much more difficult than the men’s tests Almu always tells us, and lately, she has had definite intimations that it will be women will inherit the Earth, not men.

Some people ask us what prayer is as it is our way of life. Without hesitation, I can say that it is begging, entreating from the humblest position imaginable. It is requesting help and positive support without pride from the Ultimate, from the perfection of the Beloved. It is complete acceptance that I am nothing and no-one without His help.  I must accept that I need His guidance, His exquisite signals, in every moment of my life. And this blessed and sacred witnessing of my spiritual development is my absolute joy. I must reserve nothing, hedge no bets whatsoever so that I can eventually become an open channel like my Master.

The boy children before Almu was born were diseased and no more arrived after her, so her Master, her father, took God’s hint.  He prepared her and she proved to be as strong as the strongest son, if not stronger, which was fortunate as the line was to end with her. A bridge must, therefore, be made in the Order and a new line started, which has surely lifted the hearts of all females beneath their veils.

We ask Almu when she first started to whirl in prayer. She says that her mother could feel her whirling in her womb. This makes us hanker to go back to our own womb homes to wait to feel it for ourselves.  It is so wonderful to be able to talk to a Master who has a womb like we do. Perhaps it is that seeds are so plentiful that The Beloved needs wombs to keep them safe in at this time of the Earth’s disintegration.  Then suddenly, Almu shimmers her eyelids and we know it is a sign that she will teach us. We know the signs well and anticipate them all the time in our daily life, promptly kneeling around her and breathing more deeply in preparation to receive the wisdom.

‘Know your nafs, your desires, intimately like the many wines, each one a different composition, a different ratio of grape-skin pulp, of juice, of sugar.

Know them like the different colours and textures of your sister’s whirling skirts as the sky circles in them.  For shining your light on them and reflecting them in a million mirrors will reveal your original being. Your original face will appear and you will never misplace it again.

But you will realize they, your nafs, do not belong to you. You will realize that spinning planets do not need covers and anything put on them will be burned away by the Sun.  Spin and spin every single desire away for you are a mere match stick rolled backward and forwards in the Beloved’s palms.  Rolled until the silsila, the chain of order reaches the Beloved.

Your sikke, your conical hat of red camel hair, is the tombstone of your nafs, your desires, and your wide skirt represents their shroud. So, the whirling is the funeral of all your desires and worldly dreams. Your soft-strong pivot is the left foot: the right foot will make the full turn around your heart, on and on, pushing round and round until you can push no longer and He takes over.

Our Rumi declares that,

“All loves are a bridge to Divine love.  Yet, those who have not had a taste of it do not know!”’

We are never certain if Almu’s words are actually symbols to lead us to understand or tears. Whatever they are, they comb out the longing held like a closed concertina in our frizzy or curly hair, so that we can cross that bridge to the Divine.

Almu starts naturally to whirl to lead us as if she is watering the plants or brushing her teeth, neither of which she is allowed to do. To begin with, her arms are crossed in front of her chest and then with each turn, as her prayer deepens, as her few nafs visibly dissolve, her arms move, effortlessly, one upwards to the Beloved, the other down to the Earth, her channel luminous between them.  Her wrists and fingers are long and elegant, completely surrendered to Him.  They are no longer those of a human.

She mumbles once more before she evaporates into planet whirling.

‘……..Balance is our striving…….. only when we are completely balanced can we go to Him……… can we be perfect like Him. We…. must….. surrender….. everything……’

The novices begin in their own space, unsteadily and un-surrendered, but gradually they let go, becoming unconscious of any techniques or critiques. I watch their reflections in the shiny parquet blocks of the ground floor prayer room, winding myself in with each of their souls which I have come to know so well. Their wrists become limp once they are in steady circulation, their arms hanging limp, their fingers long, their eyelids flickering.  They resemble young flowers in the rains, their arms rising and breathing, their narrow channels flickering intermittently.

Once their social attributes are starting to dissolve, it is my signal to join them. Almu has collected them safely now so I can push gently round my own pivot, feeling the draft of warm air beneath the sail of my orange skirt where my legs are strong but supple masts. The wooden ocean is calm beneath my slippered feet.

As I spin, first, almost immediately, the relief comes, the relief to be away from the suffering and fear of human life, to be dancing on Your ground under Your sky without distraction. I am certain to be smiling and sighing with relief. Next, the melting, all worries and concerns and coverings floating off into deep space.  ‘Surrender.’ ‘Surrender.’  To give oneself up. This word is for me a giant tear trickling in between each complete spin especially in these chaotic and terrifying times. I have no hesitation in giving everything to you Beloved. It is easy compared with the earthly tests you set us.

Next and finally for the conscious mind and for the crudity of words, the intellectual skin is pierced and there is another huge release.  No more abstract thoughts or words! Everything in this layer is concrete. Earthly flawed Pamela, entangled in a haze of mumbo-jumbo is shattered and falls away. In her place, Planet Pamela spins freely and silently in Your garden.

 

water ablutions

 

water devotion

I don’t remember when I stopped breathing my own breaths. Perhaps I never once breathed by myself. Certainly, a person not devoted to the Beloved who has not made themselves a bridge to the divine, cannot breathe fully and so cannot pray properly. Certainly, a person not devoted to the Beloved cannot know the glories and the tragedies of the world He created. Now, I must use every breath to obey Him, to ensure that each of His wishes is fulfilled.

He tells me to make sure I ‘survive’ in these times of destruction so that I can protect and lead my nuns.  Each breath my body uses, each heartbeat is for them from Him as I too work at becoming a wide-open channel using Master Almu as my perfect model.

Today is Water Day.  Once a week we must change the water supplies we have conserved in plastic bottles. The water conveyed through the pipes and taps is becoming more unreliable each day: sometimes it is dirty, sometimes it spurts and then disappears to a trickle, sometimes it has been changed into foul air belching out. So, my nuns keep watch, running around from bathroom to kitchen to outside tap, reporting if and when the water flows naturally.

They giggle as they pelt around, becoming quite unruly with the activity, and so I must discipline them, sitting them around me and reminding them of their devotions, of their constant inner prayer which they have lost in the dashing and turning of squeaky dry taps.  Their faces are like shining medallions resting in white sand as they listen, their regret at their animal behavior in such a Holy House keen like citrus.

I remind them, ‘As Almu constantly tells us and shows us through every pore of her skin, we are each a beautiful channel through which the Beloved flows in every drip and drop of liquid be it water or sweat or tears or warm rain from His heaven. Remember that channels are always open and hushed and still, my girls!’ They are movingly contrite after that.

We have collected many bottles with screw tops over the months and we empty and fill them mindfully once a week.  They are brightly coloured and adorned with labels which we do not understand.  But we must respect them with their cheap advertising and profane messages. We must respect that they can contain Him.

We store the full bottles inside nooks and crannies: under the stairs, in our closets, outside in the yard, on top of the fridge, especially in Almu’s quarters, wedged between her glass display cases containing the precious relics of her ancestors moved here from the Desert shrine.  They are incongruous particularly in her inner sanctum, but we must be able to access our survival materials at all times so that we can run or hide and survive.

We constantly keep an eye on the bottles, an eye on our liquid Beloved tucked into our lives. And when emptying and refilling these feather-lite plastic receptacles, produced in the massive factories jogging along in never-ending lines, fitted out with their screw tops, tightened and then adorned with labels by the lurching robot arms, and so on………we must remember that they are made by the hands of Him.! This is simultaneously joyful and sad.  But if I am honest, how I long for the pulling up of Water from the Oasis wells, the buckets made from camel stomachs, the ropes of newly plaited palm hemp, the splash and splutter of Him coming out of the Earth in handmade receptacles.

My nuns valiantly pass the glistening bottles along in a chain from the filling station in the kitchen to their destination, full and full again.  I have taught them to receive each bottle gracefully remembering who is inside when they are full, and who is waiting to be inside when they are empty.  We do this as a prayer that we may get closer and closer to Him, and that He may grant us good health and strength so we may go to His side soon.

One appointed nun fills from the tap, her white robes covered in a plastic apron, wearing rubber gloves.  There is a fine line of His salty liquid along her top lip as the temperatures rise and the fires taunt the city limits. Her prayer is for steadiness as the water enters the bottleneck so as not to waste a drop. Then another nun is the keeper of the screw tops. Her prayer is to pick up the tops with lightness and precision. Then with flexible wrists to screw them in place quickly and accurately. Yet another uses her rag to wipe Him from the outsides of the closed bottles and to tighten the tops so that He cannot trickle away.  Her prayer is to absorb Him into her cloth and to pass the perfectly filled vessel of Him to the beginning of the chain of bottle passers.

Emptying requires slightly different prayers and levels of concentration. Passing gracefully along the line is gratitude for the use of Him stored away in the beautiful vessels made by his hands. The emptiers stand at the aging back door with its heat blisters and scorched paint from the proximity of the fires; its 4 cracked glass panes damaged by the tornados and its door furniture rusted by the floods and torrents as rivers frequently break their banks.   They wash away the red dust from the steps and yard walkway, wearing white rubber boots, pouring Him into the corroded drains, sluicing the toilets and washing basins, and filling the washing machines with Him. Nothing must be wasted.  Not one drop or drip of Him.

We focus and pray. But then and there, our precious bottles drop from our hands, the full ones splattering everywhere, drenching our robes and head veils.  The empty ones jump around and roll about squeaking. And we also drop to the wet floor in the kitchen and along the dark corridor, down on the back step and walkway.  Prayer must be seamless!

The brick house is quaking downwards, dropping like a ship down the side of a massive wave. It feels like 10 metres but it is in fact only millimetres, and in split seconds we become the shivering prayer to simply survive this time so that we may serve Him here on the shuddering earth.

The quaking stops but we wait for the aftershocks which can be worse.  We crawl with tiny hand and knee steps in the pools of Him, our white robes grey and heavy with the wet of Him, towards a table or a shelf, the staircase cupboard, or a closet, and we wait for His anger to stop.

‘Almu!  Almu!’

I must go to her for she is the closest to you, Beloved.  I must keep her channel wide open.

I dodge lumps of aging plaster and stone falling from above and the creak of door posts splitting, my heavy wet robes making me slow, far from heaven. Holding hands over my ears because the sound of the Earth crying out and the flashing cracks on the horizon are deafening, I try the staircase up to her room which is still dropping down violently with the aftershocks.  And once at the top, I drop down with the next shock and the sponge burden of my sacred robes, wondering if the roof will fall in or the staircase crumbles to powder.

But as I crouch there in the dark shifting mass of the Master’s Holy house, her shrine, I smile ecstatic.  There is no fear.  There is no accountability.  In Your anger, You may take me to your paradise.  Perhaps I have served you enough here on Earth.

In my heart, I cry out, ‘Take me! Take me!’

 

magic-blow-14274866

 

the miracle

When I arrive finally at Almu’s rooms on the third floor nearest to Him and the shaking is less, I knock and announce myself in the way I have been taught, but I cannot open the door. The door frame has buckled and jammed it and even with my extra watery weight I cannot force it to open.  I press my ear to it but there is silence inside. Then I remember the connecting door to her sleeping room from the bathroom. It opens easily into the dark tiled area and its dull reflections and I push through to knock on her bedroom door, announcing myself more urgently, but still, there are no sounds inside.

I slowly creep inside but battle against a strong gust of air and light which makes it quite difficult to enter the ample sitting room. Then, as I peep round, narrowing my eyes at the assault of light and wind, I realize that the roof has indeed fallen in. The frayed edges of the timber and lath and plaster are still trembling with aftershocks and there is a layer of detritus over all the fine silks and cushions, leather-bound books and sheaths of paper. It is miraculous that the five tall glass display cases housing Master’s treasures are undamaged except for one of them which has been badly cracked by a falling beam. Everywhere else in the room is transformed by rubble and dust and Almu is nowhere visible.

I call her name many times, reverentially, trembling that she may have been taken by Him, immediately worrying about who can provide the channel to the Beloved if she has. I search, pulling aside what I can to look underneath, looking behind bookcases torn from the wall, under the piles of her fine robes hanging from a high rail which has fallen. I waddle through the rubble to check the small prayer room which is intact except for a few documents shifted and writing equipment shuffled, and her bedroom with its high bed strung up with redundant mosquito nets.

I rush to the bed through the jungle, dodging shards of glass as the window has blown in under the strain on the downward quake, but she is not in the bed.  I climb up and look down the far side of the mattress, then climb down to check under the bed.  Nowhere!

She is nowhere to be found! I struggle back into the main sitting room and the fear sets in.  How can we get to our Beloved if we have no Master? How can we grow and develop our spiritual steps if her knowledge and insight are not imparted to us?  I let my own fear grip me even though I teach my charges to deepen their Love, to lie down on the bridge to Him, to surrender totally.

Then, drenched in my fear, weighted down with it mixed in with my soaked robes, I hear a strange sound like laughing or giggling, and I immediately attribute it to one of the young nuns. I look through the dust fretting the sharp shaft of light forcing into the long closed-in room.  And once again, I hear it, like a devil, and I freeze.  Then it gets louder and the fear grips me again. I have completely been seized by the thought of the Devil, iiblis!

‘I have lost my prayer, lost my connection with You beloved!’

I say these devastating words out loud making sure You know my honesty and my weakness.

 

space

 

…only in Paradise

The cackling sound gets closer here inside the room with me and I frantically look amongst the chaos for its producer, terrified! Then, Almu clearly calls my name from above, ‘Pamela.  Pamela,’ from the hole in the roof!  I peer dumbfounded up through the buffeting dust, calling her back, ‘Almu, Almu!’ Then, like a sudden apple fall, her medallion face framed in the ornate saffron veil of a Master peers down, smiling and completely uninjured. I panic! I must get her down! But I’m not sure how amidst the continuing aftershocks which knock the knees out of me with their invisible cosh-like side-blows.

‘Hold tight, Master! I am coming!’

I drag a table under the gaping hole, scraping the floor which causes its legs to shiver and jar. Then I hear hysterical voices of nuns desperate to know where I am who have also lost their prayer. I call to them and they push in through the bathroom door.

‘Is everyone safe?’

They look glum, shaking their heads.

‘Sister Mia is badly injured.  It’s her head which was bleeding badly!  We stopped the bleeding, but now she seems to be unconscious.  We need you to………….’

‘Why did no-one stay with her?  Because she was unconscious?!’  I lash out at them and Sister Ria runs out despite how scared I know she is. The others stop their story and their pleading when they see me looking up through the huge hole in the roof. They panic as they watch me start to climb up on the table.

‘What’s happened?  Almu? Almu? Where is she?’

They run to support me, then they hear her calm unmistakable voice greeting them from the roof. They are silent as a result of this apparition, not quite sure whether they are dead or alive!

I urge, ‘Come!  Help me to get Master down.’

They climb up on the table silenced by shock, but even the tallest of us cannot reach high enough to catch her. We all look around frantic for something to get us even higher.

Then, one of them has the answer.

‘The bed! Drag it here and she can jump down onto the mattress.’

So, we drag the heavy bed, white wet robes attempting stampede then slumping, more knee side-blows at first, and then a clear patch for running in. Kicking away rubble and wincing with cuts and dust coughs, we succeed in dragging the old bed, first testing the mattress for its springiness, under the huge hole nearest to our Master.

Almu? Master? Can you let yourself down on to the bed?’

We make a ring around the edges to prevent her from bouncing off. And she cheerfully pokes her bed-socked legs down first, then unhooks her robes, and gradually lowers her body downwards. The edges of the huge hole crack and splinter with her movements so she pauses until a strong beam is revealed which she shifts her grip to.  She dangles there and then, praying vociferously in a muttering style, drops down on the bed and promptly sits up eyes as wide as teacups, smiling.

Almu, Almu.  What happened?’  We cry and scream with delight that our precious Master is saved. Though pale and covered in dust, her unprotected eyes bloodshot from all the fire smoke outside, she is smiling, which we remark is remarkable but not rare for a Holy being in a serious situation.

‘What happened, my Holiness Almu?’ The others quieten down.

She is smiling but hesitating to put something into words, and we are impatient, shocked, in some way glad to have survived again, and that she has not been taken off to Him.

‘Are you injured in any way?  Please tell us quickly so we can tend you!’

She begins, looking straight ahead, the pure air of her channel fragrant among all the dust and detritus that powders her veil and robes.

‘It’s His doing, of course, as is everything. But it is a miracle, a true miracle my disciples. Yes yes! I’m unharmed as far as I know. But that is of no consequence……’

She pauses, seeming as if she is communicating with someone invisible, blinking continuously, her palms pressed together at her heart but quite calm.

‘In truth dear ones, I have no idea how I got up onto the roof.  I was resting in bed when the shaking started.  It jolted me awake, but I was calm, always calm cradled in His Divine light…….’

She pauses again.  We wait perfectly patiently, immune to the continuing aftershocks, the cracking and splintering of wood, the distant alarms and bicycle ambulance sirens. She blinks again many times, trying to understand His actions and to obey His instructions in the telling.

‘I could hear the roof cracking and squeaking loudly.  It lunged with the quakes downwards and almost came in a few times and I knew I could not escape.  I began to think that it was my time to go to Him. But then when a really strong quake came and I winced and closed my eyes tightly because it was certain it would come in, I was lifted quite gently by something or someone, like a wave or rising water. I remember wobbling a little as I rose and was convinced he was taking me to Him.’

‘And then? And what then?!’

We are so eager to know.

‘Then, I opened my eyes very gingerly, and I remember that I was still smiling.  And suddenly I could see the horizon, all around. I could see the fires and the mountain snowy tops and the swaying tower blocks in the city-centre.  And I was sitting on what was left of the roof but could also see down into my room!’

‘It’s a miracle.  It’s a miracle!’ we all chorus loudly, smiling tearfully, but not bothering to understand!

We were all safe which was in itself another miracle, except for Sister Mia. I suddenly remember her and rushed out to try to reach the basement.

 

fire-dance-20334687

 

waiting to go to Him

I work my way through the rubble, the shocks having subsided now replaced by a strong smell of burning, praying for another miracle for Sister Mia to be saved. Then I see her lying so still, Sister Ria sitting touching her shoulder and weeping.  Of all of my charges, Mia is the kindest and most devoted, a young angel, and it seems that it is her nature to serve and to treat everyone equally lovingly.

She is submerged under rubble, her legs badly squeezed by a fallen beam which I cannot lift on my own.  There is a deep gash on one side of her head near the temple where she has been hit by a falling electricity conduit. The novices have successfully stopped the bleeding, but she is lifeless and so pale.

‘I think she has gone, Priestess. She has not moved or breathed for all the time I have sat here.’ Ria is distraught, shaken.

I bend my ear to her chest and try to take her wrist to test her pulse, but it is tangled in robe and plaster chunks.  There is no heartbeat and no pulse.  But it is curious that there is no expression of pain or fear either on her sweet face.

I suddenly realize that Almu has been saved instead of Mia, and that, in fact, Mia’s greatest dream has come true.  She had gone to Him.  Some would say she was too good and pure for this tainted world.

I tidy up her robe and wipe away some of the blood stains with my wet robe sleeve. Then I take out a large white handkerchief from my under-robe and put it gently over her face.  There is no need to close her eyes as they are closed in perfect repose.  Now I am certain she has gone to Him. Her body is so soft and still, her skin so smooth and pale but perfect.

Sister Ria goes to help the others and I sit with her for a while in prayer.  The rest of the house is quiet, the others absorbing the significance of Almu’s miraculous rescue and tending to her physical needs, making the occasional sound from the top floor. I must wait with Mia, appreciate her and prepare her for burial.  We, the sisters, are legally responsible for those of our community who die in the city since the breakdown in public services. We must deal with the disposal of the body after the spirit has gone to Him because all public services for the deceased have been suspended due to the chaos and dangers of the time. Islamic Law says that we must wash and wrap her carefully, never damaging her, filling her shroud with sandalwood pellets and jasmine petals. Then in her shroud, we will bury her under the floor of this cellar:  this must be our cemetery now for there are no others.

I think many thoughts as I sit in the half-light with her, the high narrow window letting in some grey from the smoky sky. Mia is the first of us to die here in the city-shrine.  But then, unexpectedly like another quake, my conditioned and disciplined thoughts are pushed aside by an electric charge of sheer guilt: lanced by horror and regret!  It is as if a dark figure strides into my mind brandishing a hatchet. I continue to speak to Mia and so to Him in whispers while simultaneously listening for any footsteps approaching the cellar, trying to make the shadow disappear!

Then such words come from where I will never know. ‘Beloved, I Pamela, am still not ready to come to you!  After all this time and all this utter devotion to you, doing your wishes and bidding at every turn, you still do not take me to you, take me from this struggling existence. Why do you choose this innocent child over me? Why?’

Then I feel bitter tears welling up and stinging my cheeks.  Forbidden tears of frustration and even anger grip me, barging in and bullying me, an overwhelming feeling of inadequacy and failure.

‘I simply am not good enough.  Not as good as angelic pure Mia. I am tainted, Beloved.  You may never want me by your side leaving me marooned in this suffering life on this dying dirty planet!’

I watch from sunrise to sunset for Your coming. Waiting is sometimes agony, waiting for enlightenment with no control. Squeezing more and more prayers between the fingers of the clock, striving to make them deeper with each second.  You ask me to live full, being fully acquainted with death and awakening to eternity, but where are You?  I cannot ‘live fully’ without knowing you are there. Please, please Beloved, give me a sign!’

I sob. The others come and sob with me for Mia, but they do not know the truth of my tears and I dare not tell them.

 

sci-fi-vector-illustration-46403313

 

evil is close

It is the burial day.  The suffocating smoke in the air is particularly bad today so we must place masks under our veil and press the sunglasses closer to our eyes.  It is difficult to see for the tears and to bear the sweating and cloying of our skin as the fires outside burn high, fanned by gusting winds.

We break the hard rubble floor of the cellar with pickaxes, unable to lift them very high.  Then we clear away the rubble until we reach the brick foundations of our house and lay her body carefully in its cotton shroud tied at top and bottom with a blessed chord.

Almu attends, sitting on her portable throne as she would do at a public burial. She gives her blessings and then makes the signal for us each to drizzle three handfuls of dirt gently onto Mia’s shroud, reminding us that nothing should damage her body.  It should remain in the identical condition it was at the moment of her death.  I go first, focusing on her and her goodness, but again, the dark villain suddenly appears in my mind, and I feel the jealousy and envy arising like bile into my heart, and I am so shocked in front of the whole community!  I desperately ask, ‘Am I losing you, my Beloved.  Or are you abandoning me, tired of waiting for me to be fully awake like Mia obviously was?’

I hesitate to let the grains of earth trickle onto her, holding my movements back, and at the same time holding back a tide of regret and waste. Almu gently encourages me and force myself to make this public show, wondering if the others also wonder why He chose to take Mia and not me. My spiritual rank is the highest and yet I will never be more than a servant! I struggle inside asking for You to send me a sign of how I can be more adequate, how I can please You more.

The ceremony is over and we enter the quiet room to have a period of silence to offer to Mia. Almu sits with us, swaying in her ecstasy far beyond the prosaicness of words and thoughts, savouring her sign from Him in the form of her personal miracle.  And again, the villain enters me and I wonder if this is the devil come to give me the ultimate of all tests of my faith in You. I cannot sit still, fidgeting like a novice, and Almu knows there is something troubling me as she looks and listens deep inside me. I must at all costs be a perfect model for the young nuns and novices.

The silence blows like trumpets of war in my ears.  My arms and legs are rigid like rods, the soles of my feet and palms are burning; my prayer has vanished and left me like a mad woman. I call out to you Beloved but you will not answer me and I want to run but have no idea how to run or where to run to.  My eyes are open when they should be gently closed. I try to force them to close but they will not budge. I realize that I must leave the room, but the villain has grabbed me by the throat and will not allow me to. I desperately want to call out to Almu but she will not allow the ecstasy to be interrupted by such crude animal weakness.

Then the silence is broken but not by me.  One of the novices is sobbing.  Without opening her eyes Almu harshly whispers ‘tahkum fi nafsik,’ ‘control yourself!’  But the sobbing continues and becomes louder and more desperate. I am grateful for the distraction of aiding her.  Almu signals to me with one open eye to take her out and comfort her.

I put my arm around her and shepherd her out of the dark prayer room. We creep upstairs so as not to disturb the ecstasy of the others into my room so that we can talk. She, Mariam, is still sobbing, burying her face in the edge of her veil.

‘I cannot stop Mother. I cannot turn off the tears of disgust.’

‘But what is it that makes you cry?  It must be Mia’s death.  Death is always hard when you are young, I know!’

‘No! No! It is not that!’

‘What then my child?’

She sobs more, her breathing shallow, her pain worsening!

‘Are you ill?’

I feel her head to check her temperature, looking deeply into her eyes.

‘No! No!’ She hesitates, unable to meet my eyes! ‘I am not fit to be here.  I am the lowest devil.  Please, I want you to kick me out into the street. Kick me into the fires!  I deserve to die in the greatest agony for what I have done can never be forgiven, not even by The Beloved!’

I cannot imagine what her sin is or if it can possibly be worse than mine.  I must allow her to take her time telling me. As she summons the strength, I review her spiritual progress and her contribution to our community. Still, she cannot say the words which she is impaling herself upon, cutting her skin with.

‘You are a good Nun.  Your progress is a little slow in your spiritual lessons, but you work hard to help your sisters and me, and Almu is pleased with you too! Of course, it may take you many years to control your earthly desires and really give yourself to Him, to make yourself into a living prayer which burns every second you inhabit this innocent body of yours.’

She suddenly looks at me with venom in her heart, tearlessly.

‘Innocent?’

‘What do you mean? Yes, you are young and pure and so innocent of worldly evils!’

Then she commences sobbing again and hiding her eyes from me.

‘How are you not innocent Mariam? Tell me what you have done? Whatever it is, He will forgive you.  But you must let it out into words so I can know, so I can help you!’

Again, she hesitates, muffling her sobbing, wanting to scream out but aware that the others will be disturbed if she does. I grab her hands in mine and beg her to tell me finally, and she agrees.  But the words come so slowly as if they are coated in syrup, giving many opportunities to allow my own impurity to creep in, my own lack of innocence to sting me like opportunist wasps.

‘I have feelings.  Is that so wrong?’

‘No, of course not.  We, all humans, have feelings. And feelings are natural as long as we do not become attached to them.  As Almu teaches us, we must experience our feelings and then let them dissolve because they take up precious space which the Beloved could fill. They arise and immediately subside having no other meaning or depth than a bubble in a stream.’

Now she cries again harder than ever.  I beg her to tell me what her feelings are and that she must not hide them from her teachers or from Almu. I reassure her that it takes supreme courage to be completely honest with oneself and so with spiritual superiors, knowing full well that I do not have such courage and that my own weakness conveyed in words would devastate everyone, each syllable a stick of dynamite. She begins again. I hold her hands tightly.

‘I have feelings, deep wonderful feelings that I have never known before, but I can’t possibly let go of them, ever!’

I am a little shocked but ask why.

‘Because they are my real feelings.  They are my truth. They are not imaginary and I cannot prevent them from coming to me or staying with me!’

‘But I cannot imagine what can be a stronger feeling than those we have for the Beloved!  What is their source?’

Now she cries again and cannot get the words out.  I try to guess.

‘Feelings for yourself?’ She shakes her head.

‘Feelings for someone else?’  She nods.

‘Who warrants such incredible feelings? Is it someone from your past?’  She shakes.

Is it someone now, in this Holy house?’  She nods.

Then the banks break and she shouts out the words.

‘They are for Anu. I love her with all my heart and I want to lie with her forever.’

She looks at me with utter horror and disbelief at her utterance. Gathering courage, she elaborates.

‘My feelings for her are greater than for the Beloved!  I have betrayed Him. No matter what I do I cannot stop my feelings for her….the beating of my heart like a tight drum….the lightness in my head….the ecstatic smile…..and worse!’

I pull away from her, telling her that she must be mistaken; she could be mistaken. And yet, she must be totally honest with herself to make as much space as possible for the Beloved to enter.

‘Does she know how you feel?  Have you told her?’

‘No! I dare not for it will ruin her practice.  I don’t know what to do.  I have to do something or else I will go mad.  I have thought of taking my life, of making myself utterly separate from the Beloved and from Master Almu, and from you. That’s the only thing I can do.’

 

snow

 

remove all obstacles

The Holy House is in chaos. We were beginning to recover from Almu’s miracle and Mia’s tragic death and burial, but then Mariamhas confessed her feelings. I talk with Almu immediately afterward and she is calm, philosophical.

‘It’s not the first time this has happened, and it won’t be the last! But we must take this evil away from here, remove all obstacles so that the channels are not contaminated.  It sullies and soils them and us, and you Pamela, must deal with this. It is your acid test.  Can you put aside your human feelings for this misguided child who no matter how much we cultivate her faith and lead her closer and closer to Him, is not satisfied with His Divine Love? She has to resort to so-called animal ‘love’ with all its conditions and limitations. Dear precious Pamela, can you let even more of the Beloved fill you so that you can do what has to be done according to the Law?’

‘Yes, Master. Of course.  It is easier now that we are in the city and can take her to the Mosque. I will disrobe her and collect her things, then take her to the Mosque by the evening!’

As I turn to do her bidding, I turn away from my own disturbing feelings, pushing them deeply away for it is my duty to deal with this serious matter on behalf of Almu and our Holy House. My duty in order to keep our channels clean and undefiled.

‘But wait! You have talked to her at length and I have heard her sickening idolatry of poor unsuspecting Anu with my own ears, but do we need to talk with her more do you think? Is she really beyond our help? Is she really beyond our prayers?’

We try once more, smuggling her out of my room and into Almu’s rooms without the others, who are preparing dinner, seeing her. We must also decide what to tell them as they have a right to know.

‘How long have you had such feelings girl?’

Almu is not gentle with her at all for this is the cardinal sin of all sins, that of loving someone of one’s own sex and igniting the burning fires of worldly passion which once lit are impossible to dampen.

‘For almost a year now.  I have struggled to turn them away, distracting myself in any manner of ways. But especially in silence time, it is impossible.  My dreams are stuffed full of our shared closeness, our shared tears, and laughter. When I see her if she has been absent, or when we have supposedly been asleep though I am incapable, and greet each other before early-morning prayers, the door to my heart opens wide to her leaving so little space for the Beloved to climb into.’

Her eyes drop with the shame of it, the shame of being totally honest!

‘Girl! Do you really know what you are saying? If we were at the palace shrine now, there would be no question of what would happen to you!  You know, don’t you?’

‘No Master. I’m not sure. I have never needed to know this before, so I have never asked.’

‘We, the Holy Ones, believe that you have a disease which is incurable!  There are only two ways to deal with it.  The first is the most brutal – you must be locked in a single solitary cell and given no food or water until you expire. The second, we will ask our physician to take away the parts of you that are opening up these feelings to you and replace them with the more appropriate for it is usually only men who suffer from the sin of lust.

Once this has been completed and you have recovered from surgery and adjusted to your new sex, then you will be dismissed from the Order and forbidden to enter any mosque on any continent.  To enforce that requirement, we will mark your forehead with a secret marking which all the most evolved of our teachers know. Therefore, you will be an outcast from the Love of the Beloved and never again allowed to even imagine it.’

Mariam almost faints when she hears these dictums, Priestess Pamela catching her before she falls.

‘This is your last chance girl before I contact the Imam at the mosque and hand you over to him! I demand that you make your choice here and now.’

There is a silence, a momentary gap to allow the said feelings to arise or not.

Mariam, novice of this Holy House, who is the Beloved in your heart of hearts?  Anu or the rightful Beloved?’

There is no hesitation at all.

Anu is my Beloved. She fills every space in the filigree of my soul. I would willingly die for her because I know I cannot live for her.’

 

desert death

 

doubts

The House is so still after Mariam leaves. Almu goes into retreat to investigate this strange occurrence in her House, insisting that she is not disturbed until she emerges and determined to survive on a few dried dates and water. She announces that she must pray for us all, but I know she feels a failure for not having detected such feelings of lust among those close to her. She feels guilt also for what will happen to the poor novice as she has chosen to be locked away rather than undergo surgery.

The other novices are disturbed.  We have told them that Mariam was unhappy and unsure that she would be able to devote herself to the Beloved totally, so she has left the Order. They are shocked, their own faith rocked. And so, the dark doubts besiege our community, some expressed, some unexpressed. Meanwhile, the earthquakes tear at the House and the droughts escalate so that some days we are forced to use our liquid supplies of the Beloved, those for our ablutions and those to slake our thirst.

Anu is especially shaken and helpless. She comes to me privately wanting to know more.

‘I had no idea that she was feeling this way.  We were close.  We talked intimately often before sleep.  She told me that she had no doubts about the Beloved, that he filled her and filled me, and that we would always be together and go to him together! I am so sad. What can I do? Would Almu allow me to contact her, Priestess?’

‘No, I’m afraid not.  That would distract you and the others too much from your focus and preparation to take your vows.  Part of your training is to accept, just accept, that this is what your spiritual superiors require of you. This is what the Beloved wants of you, too. So, you just have to let go of whatever feelings you had and refocus on Him and on serving Him with every pore of your skin.’

She cries and I embrace her to give her courage.  Then again, as I hold her young body, the dark villain strides in and demands that I tell this pure girl the truth, tell her of Mariam’s adoration, of the courageous sacrifice she willingly makes for her feelings. The truth?  Are we not spending every single second of our existence striving for the Truth?  And yet, we lie constantly.

We are constantly taught that lying comes from greed, from the strong desire to keep the best for ourselves and to command respect from others. And Almu has asked me to make sure of Anu’s feelings, to ensure that she is not also hiding some secret lust. A faint bird-like voice mentions my own feelings, my own truth, and in some strange way, I envy the innocence and passion of these two young women.  They are bound together perhaps in their devoutness to Him, but perhaps as human beings too, and is that so wrong?

‘And Anu, I have to ask you even though you are so upset at Mariam’s sudden departure.’

‘Yes?’ Her eyes leave behind her personal sadness and walk back into the full light of godliness.

‘I will, I must be blunt. We have to be absolutely certain……..’

‘Yes, priestess, anything? You are my beloved teacher and mother.  I have no secrets from you.’

As I try to string this question together like threading miniature beads on fish gut, I wonder why saying words out loud to another can be so painful, so uncomfortable, and in the hesitation, I remember the teaching that it is better not to speak than risk wounding or maiming someone’s mind, especially that of a young devotee.

‘Is the Beloved with you now at this moment? Can you feel His Divine Love? Are you living each moment as a flame of pure prayer?’

‘Yes, of course. He softens the distress in my eyes and dries my tears. Yes! He is always here in my heart. And He will always be in Mariam’s too, won’t He?’

 

 channel of light

 

escalation

Almu whirls with us, our skirts revolving in the sky. We become prayers pivoting around each of our human hearts and tiny planets spinning around the major planet of Him. Overcoming the dizziness is the most difficult and next the calming of the breath, His breath. We spin close to each other in One Heart entering Almu’s wide channel leading to Him.

And we spin to salve our human wounds, to heal our suffering minds.  All doubts, all bags of thoughts and worries, are emptied into his pure light.  If only we could keep spinning forever.  It is only when we stop that the human weaknesses creep in, the dark villains, the shadows and lies manifest.

‘Even when you wind down slowly and eventually come to a natural halt, you can continue on in your heart forever, unstoppably. Let the whirling within you show in the light of your eyes, the delicacy of your touch, but most of all in the sounds you make with your mouth.  Know that once you have emitted those sounds it is impossible to take them back. If you are careless and not mindful, you stand to hurt someone, or even to damage them seriously.’

But we must stop and be still and parade the love that we have learned from Him in our daily existence. He watches our every movement, witnesses each of the gossamer threads created by our words and smiles and tears. Then, once we have crawled along them to where we want to be, He watches while we snap them and feel the satisfaction of the goodness and sincerity we have brought into the world of humans.

We will receive important empowerments today from Almu and so assemble in the inner sanctuary wearing our best robes and veils, having scrubbed and polished ourselves until we are pristine and pure.  We must sit still for long periods and so take time to adjust our voluminous robes and to sit in total balance before the Master enters. We hear her coming by the ringing of a tiny sweet bell rung by her novice attendant especially chosen from among the community.  She enters in her finest robes of vermillion inherited from her father and his father before, and back along the line of the Divine.   She arranges herself and starts.

‘Today, we must prepare ourselves for a most serious event.  This is the reason I wish to empower you so that you will be able to deal with it well, graciously.  Remember, you must go on whirling with the Beloved always in your heart no matter what is happening in this human world of suffering.

The Earth, His choice for our placement and our spiritual growth, is in dire straits. We are getting through each day only by the skin of our teeth and by the strength of our faith. But this is His ultimate test. The fires get a little closer every day and soon we will have to flee to the safety of the high mountains and leave this Holy House. But instead of fear of burning in them, we can use them to burn away all our worldly delusions, to burn away the feelings, both good and bad, both legal and illegal, that gnaw at us in daily life.

The floods rise until bridges are washed away and people made to disappear, but the waters are purifying. His water will wash away the sins, the ignorance, and meanness. The winds gust so high that whole roofs are lifted and people in the streets blown down like dry withered trees because they are not filled with Him. But these ferocious winds are His Holy breath for us, His chosen ones, to fight against, to make us strong and determined.

And His quaking is nothing to be afraid of.  He is waking us enthusiastically from the dullness of our low minds, from our tremendous ignorance.  And we can be assured, that once we are fully awakened we will be taken, as Mia was, to His paradise.’

She pauses for our contemplation and remembrance of Him and His forces, opening the channel a little wider to make more room for acceptance, for deepening our total commitment to Him, the King of Love.

‘It is the Beloved’s dearest wish that we now enter the final phase of His Divine plan. From today onwards, until further notice, all our places of worship, our sacred masjid, our beautiful mosques, will be closed up and guarded by the military. We will not be able to enter them any longer to meet with our chosen community and mingle our prayers with theirs. This is very sad but absolutely necessary because we must first prove that our Beloved is necessary to the survival of this planet before we can continue to worship Him publicly. Of course, nothing can or must stop our private worship.’

We women are all shocked by this news, losing our composure easily.  It seems so sudden, so illogical, and we each have a million questions, a million sudden solutions to solve the earth’s problems.

‘Hush. Hush.  Remember. Accept. Accept this earthly announcement, scattering it into the spinning in your heart.  Accept as He accepts. We have nothing to fear for we know that paradise is at hand and He is waiting for us eternally. There are no questions to ask or solutions to offer. It is His will and we will follow it.’

‘Finally, this Holy House will from now on be our mosque, our masjid. It is His will that we stay safe here so that He can call us when it is time to walk up the mountainside to get even closer to Him.’

We immerse ourselves in the news, emptying the bags of thoughts and worries one by one while trying to allow the spinning to continue uninterrupted.

 

 

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                               This is an extract from my latest novel ‘Custodian’ which will hopefully be published later this year.
In brief, the Earth has reached its limit of damage and will explode imminently. The last resort to save it is to enlist the wisdom of the tireless custodians of the Earth, indigenous peoples who have cared for it for thousands of years. All religions and synthetic stimulants are outlawed until they can be proved to help the Earth’s recovery in some way.  Priestess Pamela must later choose between the Earth and Her Beloved; between reality and fiction.

Torn out Twice

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1.

Crawling is inhuman, wet belly down, chafed and chapped skin on limb extensions knee and elbow, no claws or thick fur to protect an exposed white membrane. The hillside quietly drinks from the snow melt, sapling roots peeping up as soil filters away.  They feel my weight, my new heat, the prickle of the fear which mutates between my ears and behind my eyes. They feel me as a different kind of mammal from those humans who crawl with the abandon and rigour of wolves and wild cats.

Once before I walked ‘vertical’ here in leather boots and dry garments, my head in the sky, my eyes seeking out only the best fruits. I did not know the drinkers beneath my soles and they were far away from my peculiar fear. My arms were free to clutch the ultimate product, my oiled rifle; my lips and tongue liberally dusted with gunpowder always ready to spit-charge it with; and my heart was greedy to snatch land without permission, to fell building trees and scrape away the fur and claws I lacked, without a thought.  I stepped proudly through the rivulets, eyes cocked, index finger twitching, choices firmly made: the walking zenith of God’s creation to date.

By my side was my son who only knew pride as a father’s theory. He could clearly see the drinkers below and had never known a single choice in all his life. Although we prowled together with blind pistols, he was not torn out of the universe like me, not marooned without a puff of wind in the visible world, not perpetually surveyed by the bloodshot eyes of the master of my mind and a bearded creator.

I could see the edge of the watery copse ahead and the guttering flame of rolling hills beyond and I knew I could be seen; my son was his mother’s line, that different kind of mammal that is not concerned with being seen but with pure seeing, not marred by chronic fear just a necessary flickering of it; descended from that noble line of the loyal custodians of the Earth, not pilfering aliens like me.

My punctured ripped weight is dragged by a mere fragrance.  I follow it with my nose but I have no notion of the intoxication of questions or whereabouts. Now I know my son’s mammal – there are no choices, no play with word games and the decaying baubles of outcome, just listening to the needs of the Lands without beginning or end.  I have no desires as I crawl, only crude urges which my cellular being remembers – urges to only drink like the roots below me, to only become my pain like the facets of jewels, to only be packed back in to the guardian universe like him.

The she-bear tore me out for a second time, filling my face with her bristling pelt: her cub whined applause from cover.  Hoisted by teeth injected into soft organs, lifted and rigoured by the modernized apparatus of the throat, dropped and thrown by a wet muzzle, even her eyes assaulted mine for extra punishment to make a laughing stock of me to the eyes of the hills.  Turning and turning me again to reach right into me from both back and front, she then chucked me off the ridge.

My gang shot her just before she was about to go for the head and finish my miserable existence. With the shot, she plumped down directly on top of me, the final belly blow. Extracted as trophies, I earned her teeth and claws. I did not steal them. They embed my torn thigh as the scent drags me but I feel nothing until much later when they have to be surgically removed.

Just-crawling, that only, is my sole way to be pasted back into reality, to fully apply the theory, and the only way to be with my son and fill my arms with the essence of all life instead of a killing machine.

    

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2.

Survival of the body against all odds. To a body which is prey to arrogance and fear and the chronic decay of suffering, revenge, jealousy and greed are its yeast.

I see it clearly now from my crawl. The heavily-armed settlers of gleaming white skin are the true enemy of Nature, snatching it excessively to go way beyond ‘survival’ by marching towards wealth and power over others. They are uninvited visitors stumbling on a pristine land ample with resources and treasures. Convicted criminals and entrepreneurs, outcasts of their societies, they race to the far corners of the world to be the first to ravage. But they are unaware of their infliction, long since sold out on Nature, preferring instead cess-pool cities and pleasure palaces beneath roofs and glass.

Horizontal and servile, I am between worlds, haunted by visions of my union with the Land through my native wife, ranging through tall grasses waving with no knowledge of fear or obsession with competition. She smiles and sings me to Now and Here beneath the Madonna tree, our mixed flesh son running between us as yet unable to see above, still carefully wrapped in the oiled skins of intuition.

The soldiers slapped away the luxuriant herds of buffalo along with her body. And our son was wounded and feverish as I kept his spirit in him with the tribal lore in my pedestrian Pawnee.  He came to me from her and did his best to be by my theoretical side until he too was scared off by an alien bullet to the head.

My hunger for revenge is far greater than that for food.

 

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3.

The stags float by on the bloated current behind me as I tear the moss surreptitiously from the rocks and stuff it into my mouth.  They do not know I am there clinging like a boneless leach, my body jellified, my bitten fingers full of holes and relieved of their dexterity.

I cease my snorting and grunting for sustenance when the exposed nerves of my spine detect their antler parade moving effortlessly with single purpose. They notice out of sheer appreciation of a contrast so dramatic between us mammals. And once again, I stumble upon that other mammal like my son, their ancient elegance and assurance of their place in the land stunning me.  Despite my defeated crumpled state, my white enemy status, I foolishly aim my stick rifle at them and even issue the mock sound of shooting a bullet from it.  Who on Earth do I imagine is listening?

This pathetic silliness in this magnificent wilderness serves no purpose other than to distract me from the collapsing of the balloon of my stomach as its sides stick together. Natural balance denies me organic food to pay back with my concentrated pain for all the enemy assaults of all time.  I am being made an example of I believe.

But I am not angry or humiliated as such things do not exist in true human nature. These other original mammals are kindly showing me the error of my ways, clawing and biting away the layers of manufactured life to reveal the most exquisite gem of all, my indestructible and divine nature which is just like theirs.

 

 

valid-lit-logo                                      Inspired by a stunning film which compares survival modes of ancient inhabitants of a land                                                                                                           and offcomers who live in their minds!

Making Titans: interfering even with the gods!

 

 

What has Science come to? Where are the so-called doyens of our civilization leading us?  In the evolution of the human species during the last 30,000 years can we really believe that using the fruits of our creativity in the form of technology and medical advances to change everything that is natural is our true direction?

The list of how we have ‘interfered’ on so many counts is long! We have exploited the Earth with our lust and greed until it is showing strong signs of extinction. We have hypnotized members of mass societies so that their true nature is buried so deeply that they become their status, the economic situation and their social masks are like ingrown toenails impossible to remove. Homogenized bureaucrats and those receiving education have sewn their qualifications earned by dubious means into their flesh. But to top it all, we are starting to meddle in nature’s products by using invasive surgery and transformational therapy. 

In the film which illegally coins the eponym ‘The Titan’ (2018), humans ruin the paradise Earth and then prepare to abandon it to live on the planet of Titan which offers a similar paradise. However, Earthlings are not adapted to live in its gaseous and flooded conditions, so scientists set about selecting humans of outstanding endurance to ‘adapt.’ The adaptation consists of transforming most of their human functions especially the way they see by surgical blinding and implanting feline retinas and corneas.

This concept though alluring, and fascinating, is highly flawed and negatively influential especially for younger generations who thrive on staples of computer graphics, avatars and animation. The arrogance of the human mind in full flood systematically washes away all that is natural in favour of home-grown beings of their own creation and leads us to quite rightly label modern humans as ‘conquering aliens’ for the good of the progress and evolution of their race, they think.  We, humans, are portrayed as being a truly invasive species, plundering and laying waste until we get what our minds want. The portrayal, sad to say, is accurate especially for the wealthy ‘educated’ sections of the world.

Earth is undeniably a unique paradise made even more paradisical by our human presence and our extraordinary abilities to express our divine spark of Love.  You only have to look at the lives of indigenous peoples living in a traditional way and their utter respect for the Earth and their mother ‘Nature,’ to realise that modern civilisation is careering off course driven by power-crazed monsters who care nothing for our origins as a species and have bungled the divine into the trunk of their vehicle!  Yes, we can look at the facts of evolution and trace our physical development culminating in the zenith of our miraculous bodies, but when we look at the spiritual aspects, it is difficult to see any evolution.  This is precisely because the human mind has taken over and smashed the sacred into smithereens in favour of the secular gods of money, Coca-cola, Levis and the Olympic games.  The reality is that our birth and adaptation to Earth is both our origin and our destiny.  The flame of our special existence is divine and created by natural forces, but the hurricanes and cyclones are blowing out that flame, the desert sands burying our true nature and origin ever more deeply. 

What is our true nature?  It perhaps is so submerged that the only way we can get in touch with it is through meditation and other transcendent means such as the re-educative techniques of F.M.Alexander and Moshe Feldenkrais and via the insights of great spiritual visionaries such as Buddha, Lao Tzu, Gandhi, Osho, Krishnamurti and a few others.  They all directed us away from foraging outside to acquire and possess, to visibly prove ourselves and desperately seek approval and fame, to create and then rightfully, in our deluded minds, destroy our creations with the sweep of an arm. Instead, a 180-degree turn inside is deemed necessary to side-step the heavy modifications of conditioning and indoctrination, to fling off the encasements and costumes issued to us by bogus leaders and embody our true and individual nature.

We naked miraculous human beings are the only Titans here and now moving around our home Earth which we must not abandon. We are not mythical giants of Bible lands leaving trails of destruction and fear in our wake.  But we are truly the gods and buddhas that we have come to raise up on to pedestals in erroneous acts of sanctification. We, each one of us, are the good titans when we embody our true nature and live here in our peaceful harmonic paradise of Earth.

 

 

 

 

River Daughter by Charley Linden Thorp

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I remember the day we died together on the green river in every single detail. It is not a memory or a dream, but a repeated reality. I turn away to repeat it like a mantra when everything in this war seems so hopeless.

I am the river and the river is me. Papa is me and I, Papa. I am the river and the river is me. Papa is me and I, Papa.

Our boat moves slowly despite the danger, the authorities pursuing us down both banks. I take a single thick hair of your moustaches between my teeth, you smile and I feel its bulge against my bulge and we gaze at the same rolling dark green waters and the waters gaze back at us. This airy bliss is our death.

But soon, our cheeks are torn apart to play out other scenes by uniformed arms. Our roles? I play the Madonna. You, Christ’s soldier. The setting? A country where all religious beliefs are outlawed.

Since our green river day, I have become a teacher and nurse, rearing more soldiers for “beloved leader” to deploy, then caring for them when injured and dying. This is my way of being myself.

One day Papa, a city plaza is bombed from the air. Spindly death machines swing through space, their bombs are kicked off rusting underbodies by pert jackboots. The wounded are my pupils so we bundle them and their limbs into the hospital ship and leave dock immediately. The aerial pests shipwreck us and we become specks in the flaming ocean!

I help an injured soldier to keep afloat, holding him on to a black spherical mine. His blood spills out, his legs are pulp below the waves but eventually, the enemy-swarm moves on to other flowers.

We sleep, then wake with a start to check our pale grip. The soldier’s time is up so he pulls aside his studded collar to reveal a chain, dragging it up to show a beautiful crucifix, encrusted with gems; a glorification of God, number one enemy of the state!

He hands it to me, asking me to use it to get through the madness of this war. He calls me ‘Madonna,’ asking for my blessing so he can go to ‘heaven.’ I put it on quickly for fear it will sink like everything else and when I look back at him he has slid away.

Now, I am the only survivor bobbing on this black bauble, but I’m aware of my fingers moving slowly towards the crucifix. And then suddenly Papa, I see our wooden boat, the green body of the river moving steadily with it, and feel our cheeks resting together.

Now I completely understand the difference between sea-water and fresh-water. A great river is a large body, a substantial limb, while the ocean is many smaller bodies, made menacing by salt.

The crucifix wakes me. I take it in my fingers.

‘Papa, do I feel something watching me, protecting me? Is it you? Can this encrusted metal shape make me feel something? I have been trained to know that this is a phantasy and yet I can hear you saying, ‘Must we believe that there is nothing else except birth and death and suffering, and working for others in between? Nothing held in the wonders of nature and weather. Nothing more than H2O in a heartfelt tear?’

With such salty questions asked and allowed to evaporate, I find myself in a hot apple orchard in the mountains. The villagers have locked themselves into their houses in the valley because the enemy is near, but we, another fatherless daughter and me, are picking the apples before they drop and spoil. Authoritative foreign voices shout to each other below.

We listen, the still crucifix inside my blouse. The gipsies come, talking loudly, petitioning the officer. They have no fear, living in a flurry of violin vibrations and scintillating tambourine cymbals. Momentarily, the officer seems clasped by their hope, as we are, but then he dismisses them goose-stepping away.

They become silent, except for a small voice, shaking her quarter-size tambourine. She does not stop even when the machine gun is cocked. And even as it fires.

The rapid volley slaughters the adults. His fellow officers rebuke him but he laughs, saying, ‘Nobody in their right mind needs a gipsy.’ The small remaining gipsy has never learned fear or choked down the lessons of ‘time’ or ‘space’ or ‘form’ and she never will.

He spots the abundance of our orchard and swivelling his gun onto his back, starts to climb the hill. I stand rooted behind the green apple spheres but he finds my face hidden behind one especially large fruit.

He drags me down the hill looking for somewhere dark and muffled. In the barn, I escape his tight grip and run on ahead. He stalks me among the dark hay stalls but Papa I am saved. My ‘daughter’ friend is waiting with a pitchfork to pin his greedy eyes to the timbers. In time, his friends come looking for him and we finish the remnant enemy off.

And again, I feel the crucifix dangling between my perspiring breasts and again I feel some benevolent vigilance. I can even become the blessed apples themselves, just as I am you and our green luscious river! The agonized crucifix is somehow bringing me to an otherness.

At night, the battalion has moved on, so we start to walk, talking little so I can go to our river and check your cheek and eventually, in the middle of a burned hay field, we see the surprise of a basilica. It is deserted, the treasures pilfered, apart from the glorious Madonna in copper and bronze hanging high above the ruined altar.

We fill a tin bath with fresh water and harvest illegal ‘Our Lord’s Candle’ flowers growing nearby to make frothy shampoo. We scrub and cut out the combs from our matted hair. I remove the crucifix while I wash but it catches the light from the highest dome, reflecting the beautiful paintings inside and making us envious.

One day, I return from collecting blueberries, but see that the uniforms have found our holy camp. Prosaic bicycles thrown down hurriedly, a boneshaker motorbike and sidecar with warm tyres block the main double doors meant to receive robed processions and choristers.

As I move by night and sleep by day, tying myself high in a tree, ‘Papa I can feel you near! You are here, perhaps looking for me, perhaps to experiment with God.’

I end up back at the wheat field to see our basilica reduced to dust but the wondrous Madonna still hanging untouched and I know you were there stealing my combs in your filthy clothes.

Later, as I crouch by a stream munching on stale cakes from a bombed bakery, I hear a plane shot down. The crucifix becomes hot on my breast and I start to look for survivors.

I spot the burning plane wedged in rubble, shouting for survivors. Someone groans. Lifting away tin sheets and timbers, I find the pilot, leaning upright against the exposed bones of the matchstick plane.

I move in front of him. He tries to speak but his larynx is burned and only squeaks. I bandage his hand, inject him with morphine and as I reach around his wide chest with bandages, his eye fills with light. The unburned cheek bulges with a smile and he indicates something beneath my blouse with a nod leaving my eyes very briefly.

We both stop, acknowledging the crucifix, smiling to have shared it illegally. His broken lips ask me to show him what lies below it, deliriously enunciating the word ‘Heaven!’ ‘Heaven,’ another officially eradicated disease.

I begin to unveil my beauty to him freely, wondering if this is what prostitutes feel like behind glass? Morphine? Opium? What does it matter? He mouths the word ‘Madonna,’ repeatedly.

‘Papa, I have never felt so beautiful since that moment against you on the green river.’

I slowly undress, pulling multiple layers over my head, letting the plumpness of my breasts drop, the gleaming broken body of Christ lying across my breastbone caked in gold and gems.

My eyes return from inspecting myself to see if I am fully revealed to him, anticipating his joy like a beacon in his pain. But his eye is fixed, his mouth open as if about to speak. And a thin rivulet of saliva trickles down into the rubble and blood at his feet.

I remain still as wet snow starts to drop, aware that I am the only sentient being in this metallic-asbestoid scene.

Towards the end of the war, I find my regiment and put on my uniform again, but cannot be promoted for my work with triage because I can no longer speak to tell the authorities. We are camped on a hilltop near the enemy bunker, anticipating the reprisal in the trenches below.

‘Papa, the green river has never faded despite 12 years of daily horrors.’ It is the only reality, pinned against the sacred crucifix and the Madonna.

Opposite, the enemy spies through gun slits and plays gramophone records of mighty Wagner and Beethoven. Down in the valley, we see civilian men walking up in the direction of the bunker, moving confidently holding stout sticks. We wonder if we are dreaming as full symphony orchestras mount towards their climaxes? Then, more and more civilians appear with an army of accordion players, drowning out Arian goddesses with gipsy folk music.

‘I actually see you Papa in your full regalia as colonel at this moment. You are leading the surge of people moving steadily up the hill. I run, bursting out of the arms of my comrades, shouting at the top of my lungs, the first time I have uttered a sound from my mouth for several years. “Bapa!!”‘

At first, you do not hear me, glancing casually at the jackrabbit careering down the hill in your direction. But then you match fragments of sound and shape, realizing that it is your river daughter in the flesh. And you start to run on uneven boggy ground, your eyes lighting up, the tears rising.

We get closer, you slowing down, aware of some danger that I am not, me running on unbridled, always a child. And as we meet, you hold me still at arm’s length, trying to calm me enough to make me look down at my feet. I look down and realize that your jackboot is resting on one of my boots, which in turn has depressed the detonator of a land mine.

‘You speak urgently but calmly Papa, as always.’

No time to let the tears flood or our cheeks lock together. One of us will be blown up and you are determined it will not be me. You reach into your breast pocket and bring out my comb from the basilica, saying you knew I had been there with the Madonna.

Then, you order me in military fashion to lift my foot out of my boot and step away. Shout at me to turn and walk back up the hill, slowly and quietly without disturbing the ground. I protest again, trying to spit out words that have congested my body for so long.

I turn from the glorious site of you and we both wince at a huge explosion up at the bunker. One of your snipers with a working gun high in a tree has picked off the main bombardier and set off a chain reaction detonating all the ammunition stored there. The enemy is annihilated and I have found my papa, all in one of ‘time’s’ precious baubles!

As I slowly climb back up the hill, away from you and you make to move, you know that you will detonate the mine! If one moment can contain both the zenith and nadir of two lives, this is it.

You wait for me on the green river while it is clear that I must be a Madonna guiding my people to reality for some ‘form’ and ‘time’ and ‘space’ yet to come.

 

 

 

        Images by Japanese artist Mariko Kinoshita and megapixyl

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To say what has never been said

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Do you live your own truth? Or are you living someone else’s truth?

 

 

 

Artistic expression is perhaps your only opportunity to express your individual mind and the only opportunity others have to hear or see what they have never heard or seen before.

Modern human beings are heavily conditioned the moment they are born. They emerge from the womb usually a round peg fitting into a round hole. Their family and inherited ancestry, their language, their culture, their gender, their social class, their intelligence quota, etc. are the ground they have been assigned to grow in. It is difficult not to lose touch with one’s True Nature in the midst of all these givens.

 

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Only the truth that is uniquely your own liberates. Anybody else’s truth becomes a bondage and you a slave.

We may fall into the trap of comparing and judging art works by abstract criteria but it is being true to our own inward flights of consciousness that is part of our mission in being human.

 

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Michaelangelo was an Italian painter, architect, sculptor, inventor and poet of the High Renaissance. His True Nature exerted an incredible influence on the art of the world. He allowed no limitations to be placed on himself despite the ground he was assigned to grow in. He fearlessly took risks and followed his heart in all things, a veritable warrior of self-expression.

His True Nature dazzles the world even now 700 years later.

 

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I’m longing to hear what I have never heard and never seen before. How about you?


images courtesy of Mariko Kinoshita, Linden Thorp and Megapixyl.com

Virtue

 

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 ‘When your heart surges broad and full like a river, a blessing and a danger to those who live near, that is when your virtue has its origin and beginning.’

Thus spake Zarathustra.

Vincent Van Gogh took his own life happily because his mission was completed. He had allowed his river to surge and overflow in all his works. He had utter trust in his own creativity and his artistic judgement never flickered despite no acknowledgement as a painter. He painted without cease but was so poor that he could not afford a place to hang his paintings so gave them to friends and even strangers to hang in their homes. Originals are still being discovered today in private basements and attics.

His joy and vision were not to be appreciated in his lifetime but he knew one day the world would be ready for them. He lived a life of complete sacrifice but not to a hypothetical god or image! He gave all his energy to creativity and therefore he can be called a true saint!

 

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Societies and communities will judge and snarl at creators, sorting and grading them on a whim, wielding their right to destroy or applaud their talents and achievements. They will scream and shout criticism and condemnation exactly to drown out the individual small voice.

But if you are committed to living out your personal truth, that voice will become an opera cadenza, a great symphony, the roar of a lion. Van Gogh was such a lion.

Your uncompromising creativity surging and overflowing is your virtue!

 

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      Moving images courtesy of Mariko Kinoshita, Linden Thorp and megapixyl.com

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Moongazing

Mariko Kinoshita, a Japanese artist, is highly culturally adaptable unlike many Japanese who still harbour suspicions about foreigners. This is to be expected when we consider that the whole country was closed to all foreign influence for a period of over 250 years between 1603 and 1868. 

But this work unashamedly evokes the very essence of Japan. Gazing at the moon through the pale fish of cherry blossom (sakura) is essential for the Japanese spirit. The kimono and white mask of a beautiful silent woman create the sense of mystery the world is so intrigued by.

In Japan, fully-grown adults can be seen weeping at the sight of sakura at its peak. We watch the national news several times a day to find the exact peak for particular locations and then rush to stand close and gaze by moonlight.  In fact, the first national forecast has been released today so people are already planning.

Tsukuyomi-no-Mikoto is the moon god in the Shinto religion and in Japanese mythology.  This deity is male unlike in ancient myths of Greece or Rome, and its creator also male. Tsukuyomi was the second of the ‘three noble children’ born when Izangi-no-Mikoto, the god who created the first land of the Japanese archipelago.  It is said that he was born from Izangi’s right eye. After climbing a celestial ladder, Tsukuyomi lived in the heavens with his sister Amaterasu, the sun goddess, who also became his wife. Japanese myths are primitive and not limited by worldly classifications. The very origins of Japan are fantastical in a very eastern way which fascinates westerners.

I love Kinoshita’s painting and feel honoured to be helping this artist edge into the wide world. It is easy to see her unconscious heritage in the stillness and silent joy.

                                    Images courtesy of Mariko Kinoshita and Linden Thorp

 

Departure: caretaker’s diary

On departure day, as I watched the group prepare to leave, they packed nothing at all. They took only a few handmade possessions which they habitually carry or wear: their dilly bags woven from Mangrove string containing personal effects such as churingas (totemic identity badges); their Wood and Grass carrying bowls, coolamon, sported on heads, shoulders or against bellies; their custom-made digging sticks slung across shoulders with ornate Kangaroo straps; beautifully crafted decorated boomerangs for hunting; and perfectly cylindrical Hollow Log coffins containing Bones of their deceased.

Churinga. Coolamon. Hollow Log Coffins. I remember how strange theses names were to begin with, but how now they have become the objects they describe. They are so beautiful, so practical and of course hand-made using only the materials the Desert provides.

If only you could have been there to see them go. Ninija’s tribe, leaving the disorganised collection of tin-roofed huts, each with its rubbish heap outside. All naked and all barefoot, now all indifferent to white man’s comfortable way of living!

They are mostly advanced in years, weakened by a cultivated dependence on ‘Easy’ supplies of ‘civilised’ bags of white sugar, flour, pre-packed snacks, tea-bags. Modern medical assistance and intervention was forced on to them at the settlement; their own natural remedies and healing practices kicked aside as voodoo.

Ninija, leading the exodus, tall and broad. Her strong frame stooped to carry the extra weight gained as a result of unaccustomed starch and lack of exercise. Her hair a flaxen thatch cropped short by sharp ‘white fella’ scissors. She carried a large Grass dilly bag slung over one shoulder, a digging stick of the Pelican clan across the other. And held loosely down by her thigh the perfect wooden cylinder of her treasured Bone coffin, decorated as distinctively that of a Traditional Landowner. This would soon contain the precious remains of her son ginger.

At her side was small gina, her granddaughter, ninija’s successor to be. She was strapped up with her own digging stick of the Porcupine clan. Her grandmother’s coolamon, carrying bowl, balanced perfectly on her small head. Gina spiked the sand as she walked with a black tightly furled umbrella, outsized for her, its crook and ferrule of lacquered wood now flaked by strong Sun.

The party of shiny black skins with their blond and red topknots of wild hair was joined occasionally by competing Kangaroos. On one side they were flanked by a massive flock of high Emus, great scratching Bird of the Lands, and on the other by a troop of wild Camels. I had been so surprised to come across wild Camels in the Australian Desert. Apparently, they were once imported by Arabian explorers and have now become naturalized. Above the whole assembly, white Pelicans flapped their slow Wings through an indigo Sky, muttering to the full Moon.

The shimmering tribe was walking away from civilization, from ‘security,’ from ‘safety,’ without compasses. Away from health care and education. Away from the culture of ‘the thinking’ stuffed with words and ideas.

Following them, at some distance, was the party of newly arrived white workers adorned in multiple protective layers. They were led by the tall blond rifca in her loose-fitting blood red dress. Rifca. She was to help in much greater ways than the practical work of building shade shelters assigned to her and her group. Like me, she was to become a link between ancient Desert knowledge and wisdom and modern People. But that’s another story for another ‘here’ and ‘now.’

To read more of my extraordinary experiences with Australian indigenes, please read my book: Easy-Happy-Sexy: on the Twelfth Day

http://youtu.be/8Tc7XuC U38k

                                               images courtesy of Linden Thorp and megapixyl.com

Visual and Vibrational Sacred Echoes

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Humans remain creatures of the natural world in so many ways. We echo nature’s colours and pulsing rhythms of light and shade. We unconsciously imitate the perfection of the universe although we assert that we are superior and have risen above the animal and plant kingdom.

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We use substances of the Earth to make pigments and construct instruments to apply them, and yet we are always aspiring to be better, to create something superior, to outshine with our progress and sophistication.

We rarely stop to acknowledge that without natural resources we would not be able to create anything.

And we could ask for whom are we creating? To become immortalized for our genius, to make money, to display our so-called ‘talents,’ to ventilate our unique mechanistic minds?

 

 

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Traditional Landowners in the Australian outback create for very different reasons. A Traditional Landowner, chosen for his or her spiritual elevation, ‘owns’ thousands of miles of the Dreaming Lands. He or she must curate the Land forms and phenomena and celebrate the creation stories with songs and paintings.

Every artwork is a visible sign, a testament of harmony in all things for the spirit guardians or creation heroes to see; each brush stroke, or rock chisel mark or stipple or speck, is in veneration of ancestors and Father Earth and the Great Mother Nature. Artists do not practise: their painting is a live performance. 

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Decorating Hollow Bone Coffins to hold the precious bone fragments of their ancestors is a serious occupation. Their grandeur will pay tribute to the human life and spiritual lessons learned in the eyes of the Sky Heroes, and to the next stage of traveling on in the Sky.

 

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As the Djang approaches, the final glorious death ceremony, larger square coffins are made to convey the sun-dried corpse to the burial fires, but only the underside is decorated with secret symbols describing the life of the deceased so that that Father Earth and Mother Nature will know.

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Making art is a sacred duty to these wise people. It is dedicated entirely to the Earth and the Sky.

If only we secular people could find such sacred duties once again. Art would take a very different turn if we did.

 

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                 Gorgeous images courtesy of Mariko Kinoshita, Linden Thorp and Megapixyl.com


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Ondine (2009): Valid Lit

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“Ondine” took me by surprise. I was at first skeptical because it is billed as an Irish Drama and they are often hard to stomach for someone with the Irish blood and blarney running through their own veins. So, I let it play on while only giving it half my attention.

The free running of alcohol and recovery from it, broken families and life-long feuds, poverty, fishing folk, the corrupt Catholic Church and the strangle hold it has on people that have a tendency to be wild…… and other hallmarks…… were expected.

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But then, I realized that the dour fisherman with the thick almost unintelligible Irish brogue was Collin Farrell of sleek Hollywood and the darker-than-black features. His hair was long trailing well-beneath his wooly cap and he was racing round the inlets in a dilapidated trawler instead of a limousine. This realization combined with the above shot really caught my interest so I quickly became transported by this Celtic fantasy.

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Of course, this is a love story as well – between Syracuse (an approximation of ‘circus’ because of his alcoholic antics) and Ondine (a borrowed name form the French). The connection between them apart from him fishing her out of the cold ocean and secreting her away in his abandoned family home, is Annie, his precocious, invalid daughter. She happens to be an expert on selkies, mythological creatures common in northern Europe who are a hybrid of seal crossed with human, and immediately recognizes Ondine as such a hybrid.

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Selkies (Maidens of the Sea) are indeed fascinating, standard fairy-tale creatures in Finland, Iceland and among Inuits: an institution also in northern Scotland, Ireland and the Faroe Islands. The selkie lives as a seal, among seals, but is known to shed its heavy pelt in order to become a land creature. When psychological conditions were not recognized then ‘the fairies’ were often held responsible for this kind of mischief.

In freezing climes peoples often wear seal skins from head to toe, and cover their kayaks with them. When they get heavy with water they have to be laid out in the sun to dry. It is thought that this ‘myth’ may have come from the sight of seal-skin wearers stripping off and lying beside their skins in the sunlight. It is also said that selkies are supernaturally formed from the souls of the drowned.

 

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Ondine’s arrival plays complete havoc with sober Syracuse’s faith and already damaged reputation. How can he confess that he’s falling for a mermaid and intending to consummate the relationship!

To be honest, I was completely taken in by Ondine’s aqueous origins especially when she accidentally discovers her pelt on the ocean bed and buries it in Syracuse’s garden to be dug up 7 years later. I found it completely acceptable that all the dresses Syracuse buys for her automatically become swimming suits.

 

 

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But reality slams into this sleepy fishing town of an interesting Romanian origin! The less said……….

Anyway, this tale is a delight. At once crude, basic, intoxicated and hard-faced, but magical and romantic as well. It has a happy, zany ending which the town will never recover from. Please watch it and see how far you can suspend disbelief.

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Images courtesy of ibdb.com and megapixyl.com

 

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Into the Forest (2015)

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This film is a precious find. I came upon it by accident and decided that the forest was a place I wanted to be at that moment. I craved a tapestry of growing green giants and laughing foliage in which to lose myself regardless of the human story that would weave into it. I lost myself completely in greenery but also in the stunning relationship between members of a suffering family sheltering deep in the Canadian forest.

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Plot:

In brief, a father and his two teenage daughters live in an ideal forest location in self-sufficiency. The daughters are discontented with this remote way of life craving the company of their peers and experience of the city. Nell is working to graduate from High School while Eva is practising modern dance in preparation for auditions to become a professional. Then, the closeness of this family of three is suddenly put to the acid test.

A massive power outage hits Canada which causes everything to breakdown. There is no synthetic energy to be had at any price and soon the last gasoline is finished so leaving is not an option. The majority of this intriguing human drama, which can serve as a preparation for all of us in the developed world for such a situation, is about the survival of the two sisters after their father bleeds out as result of a chain saw accident. They re-experience the tragic loss of their mother to disease when father dies and are thrown entirely on their own resources and their exclusive relationship. This situation could happen to any of us in today’s precarious and passive existence.

 

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Impressions/Reflections:

Without material or parental/adult support, we see the two women gradually reveal their True Nature. Eva, a dancer, is artistic and vulnerable to emotional, unrecovered from the death of her mother with whom she was close. Nell, scientist, logical to the core, essentially practical and quirky, is also newly mourning the terrible loss of her beloved father. This is an awakening for all viewers to two facts: first, most of us tend to take the loving protection and guidance of our parents for granted, and second, that we each have the resources to be independent and to make sense of life in our own way. Both young women quickly recover from their loss and step into the legacies of their parents in order to survive this extreme which they are in no way prepared for.

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One episode:

One day, Nell goes berry-picking – the fruits of the forest being their main source of food as they are both vegetarians. Eva is left behind to chop wood for the approaching winter. A stranger appears, a city refugee, whom she remembers as an acquaintance of her father’s. She lies and tells him that her father is in the forest, but the stranger has been watching them for sometime so sees through her lie.

Quite soon he smells her fear which arouses his male instinct to relieve his own fear by cruelly raping her. Nell hears her screams and races back, but he has left. Eva is physically and emotionally battered by this grotesque act, fast to relinquish all responsibility for human life to her younger sister who sets about boarding up the house and watching with a loaded rifle for the rapist’s return.

Eva recovers very slowly indeed, refusing to eat or get out of bed for an eternity, and when she does venture outside briefly into the forest air, she finds she is pregnant with the trespasser’s child. The sisters must decide what to do as food is in short supply and another mouth to feed could present problems. Nell is prepared to help Eva abort this baby which is the only option to her, but Eva decides she will bring it into the world, a new world with new ways of being. The story of how they deal with the pregnancy and the actual birth with no medical or adult help is moving, inspiring, empowering!

After the decay of their house, they deem it unhealthy to bring up a new being in and so burn it and walk “Into the Forest,” hence the film title.

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Deep reaction:

Although we all may think as moderns we could never survive back in nature, it is our origin! Our ancestors survived what we perceive as Nature’s cruelties and unfairnesses, living wrapped in complete trust and belief in the planet. We consider that we are no longer animals and most of us have missed our chance to be gods or fully enlightened beings, however, we cannot refute that we have indigenous wisdom running through our veins which will enable our survival.

In the forest, we can breathe so deeply in concert with the trees and plants, and if we put aside our psychological fears, our compulsive comparing and judging, and trust the universe, it will provide all we need. It may not be what we are used to, but it is certainly a great deal healthier and we have a superb chance of getting back in touch with our still core, our power as a species, in the process.

By entering into the essence of this story, I was able to survive in the beautiful and resourceful forest. It awakened me to my own unique beauty and resourcefulness as an Earth being, along with that of all beings of our human species.

 

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Images courtesy of imdb.com and megapixyl.com

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Valid Lit: motivation to create

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The words I write and the images I choose and make to accompany them come from stillness and inaction; in other words, from deep inside the self. They are not trite ‘concepts’ or ‘notions,’ flimsy ‘ideas’ or ‘theories.’

They are my truth which I breathe onto the page.

 

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I did not read them in a book or think dead thoughts about them using an external stimulus. I went inside with the butterfly net of my breath and my sincerity, waiting and gently catching. Then, painstakingly I unfolded the winged words so that they could make their only flight.

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I did not find the specks behind these words dangling from the horizon or high in a tree for I have changed direction from there to here, always moving towards the heart.

We can know the visible world with the help of words and images, but it is impossible to know our very being with them.

This knowing is our mission and our challenge as valid creators – sharing our inner truth universally with skillful and sincere use of symbols.

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Images courtesy of Mariko Kinoshita and megapixyl.com

Writing Brushes of China – https://www.megapixl.com/linqong-stock-images-videos-portfolio, Christmas in Canora, 1982- Mariko Kinoshita, Inner Life of Music – https://www.megapixl.com/agsandrew-stock-images-videos-portfolio, Small Volcanic Humming Bird – https://www.megapixl.com/-stock-images-videos-portfolio, Lotus – https://www.megapixl.com/linqong-stock-images-videos-portfolio

 

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Earth Aware in Arizona

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I feel so privileged to be here at Monument Valley staying in a Navajo Hotel called ‘The View,’ in the Navajo Nation Lands. Every view displays these ‘monuments-butte,’ (tower) and ‘mesa’ (table) – free-standing rock formations which appeared about 570 million years ago.

The Valley Road is unpaved and only visitors may use it. It was freezing cold with snow in the air, so we decided to drive down it at 5 mph to allow us to negotiate the ruts and rocks. We were obliged to take a long slow look at these incredible monuments and resist stopping to hike off- road. The Navajo fiercely protect the delicate strata which native people have lived in awe of for thousands of years.

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This was once the ocean floor and the mantle of the Earth uplifted in these strange forms known as ‘The Mittens’ with their prominent thumbs to crack it. Later the ocean subsided west to become the Pacific Ocean during the shifting of the tectonic plates. Slowly the resultant mud solidified into sandstone and limestone as the climate fluctuated.

 
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I drove here from San Diego, a total of 662 miles, but the journey went by quickly. We passed through many types of desert and mountain landscapes, through great heat and snow, rarely stopping because we did not want to interrupt such Earth closeness.

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Such an ancient scenario to suddenly arrive in, but arriving created a deep connection with my Earth! I am One with it now!

I am sandstone and limestone. The desert paints me in rainbow colours against the gigantic Moon. And I continue to arrive there and will do so eternally.

 

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This is my Earth! I am inspired to become its custodian once more, to hold it and look upon it with complete awe like the wise ones!

Only putting aside the synthetic so-called reality created by my limited mind will allow this to be.

 

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Images courtesy of Linden Thorp and megapixyl.com

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Mansfield Park (1999): English Innocence.

 

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What is it that gives me such hope about British films? After watching endless protracted dramas and crime films made in US, one becomes jaded, almost immune to blood and guts, torture and the deviousness of the worldly mind.

Why do we watch them you may ask? Waiting for another mutilated body or packaged body-part, a dank basement masquerading as a graveyard, a filthy bathroom, rampant sex acts or mental health problems, becomes a way of life on modern TV channels. But I believe that present American film directors are fixated on blood and filth because those aspects of human life which are normally hidden need to be fully illuminated. We are living in an age of what Buddhists would call ‘hungry ghosts’ and depravity after all, and we need to confront that full-on.

 

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So, after such inurement, ‘Mansfield Park’ set in early and relatively innocent 19th century England, will lift the spirit, will bring on a deep sigh of relief. Of course, in this story horrors and unfairnesses, poverty and life exigencies abound but the principal message is one of hope and light. Protagonist Fanny Price, sent away from her poor docks’ home at the age of 10 to serve the wealthy branch of her family, is heavily oppressed because of her class. In spite of this gross handicap, in the end she wins the true love and status she clearly deserves and we are gratified.

 

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This setting of one of my favourite Jane Austen novels, truly lifted my heart after a spate of subjecting myself to deep cinematic darkness. Being British by birth, I am not proud of the British class system or the societal havoc reeked by the Industrial Revolution in any way, but somehow the light always manages to get through in British culture. This story is a fairy story which the British are so in tune with.

The beautiful and talented Fanny is marooned in a poor home although her imagination is rich and she entertains her siblings by writing stories and histories prolifically. The family is overburdened financially and so it is agreed between her mother and her mother’s sister that Fanny will be sent to Mansfield Park to act as a servant and get an education in the meantime.

Having arrived there, Fanny is devastated at being treated as an outcast and being given a neglected attic as her bedroom. She sorely misses her family’s genuine love but she almost immediately meets Edmund, her cousin, who tries to comfort her with jokes. It is then that their love is kindled and becomes a bond made for life.

 

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But there are many shadows cast amidst the sunshine and brilliance of the central figure and her deeply pious Edmund. For instance, Sir Thomas Bertram, Baronet, the owner of Mansfield Park, runs a plantation in Antigua and with it a great number of black slaves at a time when slavery is starting to be abolished. Tom Bertram is a drunk, a gambler, and eventually becomes gravely ill due to his reckless lifestyle. Lady Bertram is vague and distracted, addicted to laudanum and lap dogs, and her sister Mrs Norris who is a skinflint and total snob persists in keeping Fanny in her place. Henry Crawford is a lusty bachelor who falls in love with Fanny but she refuses to accept his dubious morality.

 

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At one point, grown tired of her social oppression and the demands being made of her by Sir Thomas to marry a wealthy man she does not love, Fanny decides to return home. Then the class contrast becomes patently obvious. She is once more marooned in a dirty environment, presided over by a drunken father whose dark family secrets are palpable in the eyes of the girl-children. And now, she deeply misses Edmund who is betrothed to be married to someone of his own class.
The gay balls and elegant dancing suit Fanny so well once she returns to Mansfield Park to care for son Thomas who is declining rapidly, and as luck would have it, she confronts Sir Thomas with his exploitation of slaves while Edmund steadily realizes his mismatch. Eventually, his betrothed, Miss Mary Crawford, Henry’s sister, reveals her true meddlesome and insincere nature to the whole family, and Edmund breaks off their engagement and listens to his heart. He immediately proposes to Fanny and plans to publish all her literary works.

 

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This is truly a rags-to-riches story and Fanny is perhaps the most compelling of all Austen’s heroines. The light created by this wonderful story comes flooding through and reminds us that we too have a True Nature and should never lose track of our dreams and native knowing.

Watch this film soon. It is oozing with period accuracy and attentiveness to the original text to lift you easily into the saddle of your heart. Fanny is a weaver of tales so reminiscent of Jane Austen’s herself.

 

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Images courtesy of imdb.com (Internet Movie Data Base) and megapixyl.com

 

 

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An Audience with the Master IV: Valid Lit

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The Master has no need of the books which his personal assistant, a shaven-headed nun in the traditional pink robes with orange under-robe, follows his instructions to find for me from shelving behind us. Meanwhile, he asks further questions, the interpreter bowing after each thing he says and pausing in order to make sure he has the right sense of it before conveying it to me.

“And why do you want to meditate?”

“Why do you want to become enlightened?”

He raises his broad hand having uttered his questions, the palm demonstrating a warning, halting what he anticipates as my habitual response.

“Please answer the questions without personal details of your history or any excuses. Please speak plainly.”

He is firm, intent, polite, but refuses to entertain the insincerities of the ego, and certainly it is not possible that the intellect can reason and manipulate any answers to such immense questions. I forage for answers in deep snow at first dropping my head in order to focus, but as my fingers grasp what I think is an answer, the heat of my humanity melts the cold snow of reason, of this intellectual device of question and answer.

I want to say that I do not really know, or cannot explain, but that he and I both know that these are not accurate statements to justify why I have come to find him in this remote part of the world. My erroneous interpretation of modesty perhaps inhibits me, but then I raise my head and without saying the words “I DO know exactly why,” or “ I am getting closer to enlightenment,” I begin to tell him why, using words that I have never managed to find before now. My feelings of realization are stronger than ever before.

 

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His strong direct voice insists on mine being the same, so I speak out confidently, looking directly into his eyes as I touch the truth glowing in the centre of my heart and with it a threatening tide of the tears of sincerity.

In this process of clarifying exactly my answers to his needle-sharp questions, in putting aside the excuses, the machinations of mind, I finally focus exclusively on what is the most important thing in any human’s life. I realise that this exact moment in this exotic religious centre of excellence has been planned all my life, and that it is the putting aside of my will which has allowed it to happen. Without any doubt, unconditional faith does not concern the will in anyway.

“I need to meditate in order to get control of my clinging and arrogant mind.”

“I need to meditate to open wide the door of my heart.”

“To finally destroy the ego.”

“To eradicate my ignorance totally.”

At first, my words are strong, flaunted and open like huge blooms, but the death of the ego soon issues the sounds of the tears which hang there, like warm drops of moisture waiting to trickle down into the pith of the plant. He waits without effort whilst I search to express my view of enlightenment, looking deep inside into my energy, and knowing all manifestations of me without words.

“So far, I have cut with my bad karma whilst helping only a few. Now, as my ignorance begins to drop away, I can help many I hope. I can bring them with me to enlightenment with a good heart.”

 

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Timelessness fills this interaction between pupil and Master. It is as if I am in the presence of the Buddha, here and now where there are few scraps of recognizable modernity. ‘Here,’ a place where the human spirit shines brilliantly because it is cleansed of the fear and poisons which can be created by the misguided intellect, and ‘now,’ the intense reality of the moment where everything is still and there is also no fear so that the heart may easily open.

Master? The ego does not easily accept this kind of superiority, or it’s implied opposite of childlike subservience. We are taught not to easily accept the minds of others in the west, not to trust, always to question. Perhaps chronic doubt is our insurance against looking like fools. But if we can allow ourselves not to doubt, but instead to trust from the heart, then the heart is wise. It can listen instead of always wanting to do the talking like the head. The heart can obey and believe in others. The heart is quiet, strong and sure-footed on a tightrope.

For most of my life, like other reflectors on “life,” I have tried to imagine how humans would behave without the concepts of time and space. I am able to see now that this was a pointless quest for ‘here’ and ‘now,’ in this city pagoda, I am able to directly experience a way of being far beyond these ideas, remote to the pastime of speculation.

 

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This country is Myanmar, formerly Burma, which has always had a colossal tradition of Buddhist teachers and spiritual excellence. You had never heard of this place before. We had never heard of each other before we met by accident in a crowded London bar. I, searching for a café in the area, long-since closed down, and you, brought to me by the barman as someone who had known the area well for a lengthy period.

We met and talked and drank together, and then as the busy celebrations of Saturday evening started and we each had other people to meet, we walked out on to the high street to say goodbye. People around us encouraged us to kiss and through this we recognized the important passing presence of each other in our lives. It was this kiss which formed a bond devoid of words or compatibilities and which caused us to blend fleetingly to share the way together for a while. An honest, karmic kiss out of the blue is a certain way of recognizing a fellow traveller.

Then one day, we were shopping as modern people do, and whilst browsing in a bookshop you were moved to buy me a present secretly which you gave to me later. You could have known nothing of what would happen as a result of this.

It was a novel written by a native of Burma which described some of the spiritual traditions and magic of the country. I was delighted, having had an interest in this country for many years; I read it avidly and was enriched by its beautiful stories of natural lives. Then soon, and quite unexpectedly, I learned that an old friend had gone to work in Myanmar. He invited me to visit, which I thought was unrealistic at the time. Then almost immediately after this, I was invited myself to take up a post in Japan, a life-long dream. Rapidly, the decision to go to Myanmar and Japan was made, and my tickets were booked.

Of course, you and I had become close and it was difficult for you to accept that I would take up this incredible opportunity. Once the job contract was signed, the weeks rushed by and my departure was immanent. You separated yourself from me, trying to ignore what was going to happen. Then my sea-trunk was delivered form the luggage shop, which was to be sent ahead of me by sea.

I began thoughtfully to fill it with books and papers, shoes and winter clothing which I would not need for a few months as it would be the beginning of cherry blossom spring when I arrived. It was positioned in the sitting room on the fashionable floorboards, it silvery exterior and cheap ornate locks attracting the eye. I slowly emptied cupboards and drawers of my few belongings, and got ready to send them to the other side of the world, and you remained distant from this process.

 

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Then, with one week to go before my departure, I returned home to find small contributions on top of the trunk, and saw this as a sign that you were beginning to accept the reality. I smiled as they indicated at least a little trust, a little heap of hope placed there carefully by your strong hands. I tried to know your pain, and your methods of pain control.

As I sorted through my books I came across that novel which I had forgotten about. I touched its well-used corners and creased cover, opening it and reading the dedication which I had not read seriously before. Then, I lowered myself on to the edge of the silver trunk in bewilderment.

The author had written it whilst on his way from London to Kyoto, the city I was leaving and the one I was destined for, to lecture in English as I was to, whilst stopping off for a short holiday in his native Burma, as I was to. Your intuitive heart must have known that these events would happen, so you bought the book unwittingly to prepare me.

Our deep connections became suddenly so obvious, so patent. But you were only to be a guide briefly to send me on my way. You could never listen intently enough to have the kind of faith to join me.

 

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Images by Linden Thorp


‘An Audience with the Master’ has been published as a short story. It is creative non-fiction and it happened to the writer.

 

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7 Pyrenean Moments from ‘Veil’: moment 5

moment 5

I went to close the shutters that folded into the outer recesses of our large windows around the perimeter of our room. As I quickly opened the windows outwards and reached each side to encourage the folded shutters out of their corners, cold wind bit me chasing out the build-up of wood heat. The hot and cold air combined on the wide stone of the sill, and candles were exchanged for stars in the sky.

The dark beauty Tilda always accompanied me on these missions. She could not resist jumping up to poke her nose outside, then scampering in again and thudding to the floor as I drew the shutters towards each other and latched them together. And as I stepped back from shuttering the largest window, I saw that she was peering down at something in the corner, gingerly putting out her paw to touch it.

I whispered, “It’s a scorpion. Must have come from under the skirting into the warmth.”

You were visibly shocked and told me to exterminate it as quickly as I could.

“The colour?”

“Black.”

I was aware of trying to keep my voice calm.

You swiftly removed the cats from the site, clutching them both together, their long furred legs and bodies hanging down, eyes wide as saucers, as I went to get a catching-glass. The bronze of your outdoor skin had blanched with fear.

Once caught, I released a small black scorpion in the ruin next door. 

“How can you stay so calm? Always so calm!”

The cats were curious about their lost opportunity, but you were annoyed, walking to the fridge to fill your glass again. You over-reacted to this potential murderer, as if your own life depended on it. It seemed as if the scorpion would seek you out deliberately and shoot its sting in your face.

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Moments 1-4 are in previous daily posts if you would like to know the whole story!

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1

Veil is available in ebook form at:

http://www.amazon.com/author/lindenthorp_inthefield +

Author page: http://lulu.com/spotlight/Veil_linden415

images courtesy of Mariko Kinoshita and megapixyl.com

Fusine Lake, Italian Alps – https://www.megapixl.com/rifberlin-stock-images-videos-portfolio, Grunge French windows – https://www.megapixl.com/lvnel-stock-images-videos-portfolio, Tension – https://www.megapixl.com/eyewave-stock-images-videos-portfolio

7 Pyrenean Moments from ‘Veil’

moment 4

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My memories of life on the plains are becoming vague now. Our primary motivation for leaving was to search the mountains for authentic sound. We were musicians, you a singer and me a string player. We specialized in medieval music.

Our performances were plagued by endless speculation about what the music we were playing had actually sounded like at the time it was written, 1000 years before. We were both certain that here in the mountains, where the Troubadours and Cathars wandered, we would find practical exponents of this authenticity.

Our lives on the plains had been a race to earn and be successful, of grueling practice to keep ahead, with little time for anything else. But here there was a slowing down of the eye and ear, and we had easily slipped into a more reflective mode.

 

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We harvested things endlessly in our strong arms and stout baskets, sorting and storing, managing our nourishment. Such simple activities brought us close to the earth, and allowed our city hearts to open their tight buds.

An afternoon in full sun underneath the walnut trees collecting light brown nuts like planets. Filling the baskets and then sorting them into ripe and unripe, small and large, their beautiful dryness was irresistible to the fingertips. Wild cherries, shiny baubles of blood, picked in pairs loping down from tough stems. The locals said you could only see your true face in their shine.

There was watercress in the river, as the mountain snows first melted down into the Otter Pool. We had to reach down to the roots to cut it slightly above so that the crop would continue. Then, in the hot kitchen it was transformed into peppery soup and the crunch of salads.

This mountain life busied our long fingers in nature’s hair, and gave us closeness with our creations. It was the life medieval musicians who lived free from concepts and criticism not as fugitives from nature as we did on the plains.

 

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I went on.

“But it’s not all those incredible things about coriander that matter to me really. There is something deeper that comes through the taste, something ancient and persuasive. It’s so fresh, such a meaningful taste, full of sunshine.”

You were quiet, the evening book opened across your lap. You lifted the glass to sip, took the wine into your mouth, held it there, and then swallowed it with a curious noise. You stroked the nose of Judy, who as usual sat close to you, then took another cigarette and lit it.

The room was an illuminated ship in a dark sea now.

 

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This is the 4th of 7 moments which open my Cathar book ‘Veil.’ Join me tomorrow for the 5th moment.

This book ‘Veil’ is available at:

Author page: http://lulu.com/spotlight/Veil_linden415 +

http://www.amazon.com/author/lindenthorp_inthefield

 

Images courtesy of Mariko Kinoshita and megapixyl.com – all licenses at lindenthorp@gmail.com

7 Pyrenean Moments from’Veil.’

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moment 2

As winter progressed, the deep valleys were snowed in, so our island trips came to an end. We brought in our last load of firelighters-huge pinecones as large as children’s heads from Wild Boar Forest, and closed up the shutters of the house.

In the haven sitting room, I begged for rugs and curtains to cushion us from the increasingly shocking cold, but you refused. You demanded we actually experience our first winter. So, the inert embers of the fire were continually exploded with pine bombs to build the slow crescendo of heat, the air bitter with resin.

Without doubt, you were more medieval than I was. Bare-armed, always preferring the large glass garden doors open, especially when the winds were high. You would smoke and sip local wine, an open book balanced on your lap, your slender legs crossed to immerse you in the corner of your blue hydrangea sofa. But you were only temporarily at peace, anesthetized.

 

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We had adopted the medieval way of life, sitting around the log stove, preserving garden crops. Sometimes, at our peril, we shared stories of our lives never told in the city of ‘Frowns and Tears’ ruled over by the tyrant ‘Time.’

The high mountains surrounding the village had many secrets. They were dotted with Cathar castles of ‘the Good’ camouflaged on craggy precipices. They were mystical paragons who had hidden there during the Spanish Inquisition, and who posed a massive threat to the Roman Catholic Church exactly because of their goodness and their spiritual perfection. This was also the enchanted land of the Troubadours and Trobiaritz– renowned minstrels and poets who sang of pure courtly love and spirituality.

Evenings had always been our special time back in the city, each one a life in its own right. It was usually initiated with flames and candles, and the opening of corks. Each make or break, the visible or the invisible, irresistible attraction or polarization. Now, in the mountains, evenings ended in small deaths in the full darkness and silence. We two isolated souls, who might sting or flee at any moment, were entirely alone here.

 

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We had thought that your nightmares of torture by fire, your terrifying sleep-screaming, would stop once we left the stress and degradation of the city, but they continued. Already twice you had refused to come to bed. The moon shone in on the long many-windowed room so you could find your wine glass in the dark. As I left you to go to bed, your cigarette fire glowed in the dark when you sucked on it.

I stood outside the door for a while, debating if I should leave you alone or not. I crept back in, coaxing you, your reaction unpredictable. I came close to your fire, felt the dark hydrangeas, sitting close to you. I reached across to touch your thigh, my fingers and lips gravitating towards your places of release, but your clipped voice paralyzed me.

 

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“Put the light on if you want that!”

You insisted that I did not actually love you if I closed my eyes as I became aroused.

“It could be anyone,” you always spat out, mildly indignant. The visible was all that counted to you.

Upstairs I dozed, and soon the strains of your beloved Maria Callas recordings filled the shell of the house. I accepted that you were going somewhere I could not go, sinking in your suffering like quicksand, so I slept until you made your way back to me. Or not.

I had always been aware of your multiple fears, but they were more prominent in a place where the population was dominated by rock and bear, larch and scorpion.

Here humans were simply a passing fad.

 

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This is the second moment of the opening of my Cathar novel ‘Veil.’

Author page: http://lulu.com/spotlight/Veil_linden415  +

http://www.amazon.com/author/lindenthorp_inthefield

I will be serializing the first chapter moment by moment in the coming days.  Please join me in the Literature sphere.

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Veil book jacket

Gattaca 1997: rejecting a gift from existence

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This film makes many important points about a future of human beings dominated by the intellect and the ascendancy of technology and science. The hero – Vincent’s – genetic composition is flawed because his heart is weak, in fact, 10,000 beats overdue in his thirties, so he is determined to realize his dream of going up into space before he dies. Due to genoism – cell discrimination – he is forced to work as a cleaner but all the while he studies and memorizes astronautical manuals. His search for a new identity to enable this is the main focus of the film, and in this lie the gems of insight.

 

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He, along with his new identity Jerome Morrow, spend all their time transforming Vincent. To enable this he must carry samples of Jerome’s blood at all times, he must wear lenses the colour of Jerome’s, he must even undergo surgery to increase his height by 2 centimetres, wear false fingerprints, etc. Their shared apartment is a laboratory and they are both experts at various eugenic techniques.  At every opportunity, Vincent-Jerome must scrub away his dead skin cells in case he sheds any while at work.  He also has to negotiate the world without his glasses as myopathy is only associated with the genetic underclass.

 

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In short, Vincent must discard his natural inheritance if he wants to realize what he believes is his absolute mission in human life. At one point, he sheds an eyelash in the workplace, the genetic police find it and start a hunt for the ‘invalid’ who has been so careless. Everywhere he goes he must check that he is not leaving skin fragments or hairs behind. His whole resume lies in his DNA; an interview consists only of a blood test. He even offers a hair from his head as a love token to the beautiful Irene during their brief skirmish. But she lets it drop on the breeze perhaps because she too is an imposter with a weak heart!

 

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Science will go mad in the future as this rare film eloquently suggests! Personality, ancestral lineage and merit will all be abandoned but we will live in sanitized societies the leaders of which will be free of defects. But what about our True Nature, our original divine origin, and our unique spirit.  What about the unknown which is our natural environment: science is one dimensional in comparison because it exclusively concerns the known, and what is known is dead, destined to be archived and regurgitated mechanically.

 

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We, humans, are potentially the next stage of evolution from animals because we have been endowed with the special gifts of language and communication. But despite advanced technology and the so-called excellence of education and progress, most of us still only realize 10% of our potential because we fritter away our human moments in a dream. It is said that we have reached our peak in physical terms, our bodies are miracles of genetic engineering, but we lag very far behind spiritually as is obvious from the trail of damage we leave behind us everywhere.  The planet has been ruined because developed nations are so primitive.

 

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Our natural existence, exactly as it is, is our divine inheritance.  Embodying our True Nature, some would call it Christ-Consciousness or Buddha-Nature, is our only chance to find our Truth, to use our Mind mechanism to properly realize out potential in order to step across the bridge of our native energy into full awareness.  If we allow dead scientific knowledge to dominate, then we will rapidly deteriorate and annihilate the planet and therefore the human race. Human beings are the way if we can only allow ourselves to just be.

At the close of Gattaca, as Vincent-Jerome jubilantly prepares to take his first space flight and Jerome-Eugene prepares to take his own life, Vincent tries to express his indebtedness for his new identity to Jerome. But Jerome says that no thanks are needed for the gift of his body because it is nothing compared to the gift of the dream that Vincent has given him in exchange. 

 

 

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The facts of the film

In brief, the title Gattaca is formed from the first 4 components of DNA – guanine, adenine, thymine and cytosine, but it was original called ‘The Eighth Day.’ Its genre is biopunk, it is a visually stunning filmand it concerns Eugenics, the study of improving a population by controlling breeding to produce desirable characteristics, and a view of destiny through the battle of genetic inheritance. It is directed and written by Andrew Niccol {b.1964 New Zealand screenwriter, producer and director, famous for Lord of War (2005), In Time (2011), The Host (2013) and Good Kill (2014)}   The protagonists are Vincent Freeman (Ethan Hawke), Jerome Eugene Morrow (Jude Law) and Irene Cassini (Uma Thurman).  The fitting and evocative score is composed by Michael Nyman.

The Plot: Vincent Thurman is born with a defective heart and so because of genoism (discrimination according to cells) is forced to join an underclass and has no future, but his passion is going into space.  His blind ambition drives him to acquire another identity, that of Jerome Eugene Morrow, a genetic aristocrat and outstanding space navigator who, due to an accident, is paralyzed and unable to function in his capacity.   A gene broker sets about creating Vincent’s new identity so that he can take Jerome’s place in Gattaca, the space exploration centre.  We follow the nerve-racking scrutiny Vincent-Jerome must undergo to enable him to take his first rocket flight. 

Here is the official trailer for Gattaca so you can take a look.

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images courtesy of megapixyl.com and Internet Movie Data Base (imdb.com)

 

 

Writing: a meditation to stay in the field

 

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Writing, reflecting and expressing those reflections, keeps my awareness at a high level. It is so easy to spend the majority of our lives sleep-walking, unaware, unable to develop our potential.  It is claimed by experts that the human species has only so far realized 10% of its potential!  Its physical development is at its peak while spiritually most of us are not advancing at all. We remain imprisoned in synthetic realities we produce using the mechanism of mind; and these we view as actual reality. 

I equate writing with meditation. In the same way that I can close down the visual sense and focus my energy on breathing oxygen which I borrow from the atmosphere, convert for my nourishment, and expel the byproducts which are detrimental of, I allow my fingertips to express what is in my heart in a blank space. Both meditation and writing are a route to get in touch with my true nature and my self-sincerity in a world populated by mask-wearers, heavy with social and political manners, and weighted down by conditioning and negative karma. 

 

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By deciding to create a message using the abstract symbols of writing I clear the bridge of my mind of all the clutter of conditioning, culture and social mores, so that I can walk out into the vast limitless field of the page or internet space.  I can only express my true nature and my sincere view if I write in this way. While writing I always remember that I am a unique peak towering up into the sky and that the valleys around me can echo in response to my message.  Criticism or judgement is not possible because this is my honesty and my unique contribution to the universe. I have no rivals or envy for the writing of others because I write from my unique consciousness, from my particular constellation of energy which there is no single copy of in the universe.

 

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Out in the South Australian desert, Traditional landowners, the most spiritually advanced members of the tribe, are responsible for painting the events of their people on the skin of Planet Earth. These are signs which communicate with the Sky Heroes, their venerated ancestors, in a unique way. If a member of the tribe dies, the Traditional Landowner will create a spiral in the desert floor using a large brush while dancing and singing the songs of the deceased’s totem group, so that their spirit will emerge through its centre. This is a sacred sign exclusively for the benefit of the sacred beings.  

I create using the written word in the same way.  It is a sacred communication which employs all of my consciousness.  Visible signs are visible also in the invisible world, and the two worlds are one as I am one with it.

 

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images courtesy of megapixyl.com

 

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Media Deluge!

 

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If we are sucked into the media vacuum, infiltrated by disturbing images of violence and corruption which become natural to us, then little by little we will not notice anything good, anything filled with light.

If we are only stimulated by death and demise, by materialistic mystery and gore, then how can we be aware of the real universe, the infinity and eternity we are each vital components of? The natural energy in the wild undisturbed places, flowing and pulsing, is the true nature of the planet, and it is our true nature too. These snapshots and effigies of terror we cram into our eyes, block our true nature as well as damaging the planet at many and various levels.

For the majority of us, in our relaxation time away from work and other responsibilities, we willingly fill ourselves with monsters and demons, with the filth and greed of urban life. Hungry ghosts are howling all around us, their suffering intense and, we say, unimaginable. But there is no question of using the imagination to stand in the shoes of others because we ourselves are deeply suffering beneath the veneer of respectability, the fragile semblance of convenience and fulfillment.

We too are howling in the pits of our spirits – a million suicides, thousands of torture methods, starvation and sensory deprivation, hounded and hided. When we have had enough, we flick away the sordid pictures of evil as someone else’s business, the concern of the powers that be. Then we swallow and get on with creating our own brand of it.

In a string of movies, articles and books widely available, even popular, we can find torture, abuse, greed and ignorance on a grand scale; lust and betrayal, and the fertilizing of more and more babies in the name of calming the irrepressible urges.

At each channel change, the mutating of deadly diseases and aliens which target us and fix us as fugitives from our own souls, our true nature, abound. We run in terror, always in the dark depending on fickle torchlight instead of our own light. We are bewildered and manipulated by others.

We are rats in a maze of fear entirely synthesized by the mind, so heavily drugged by our own picture shows that we cannot climb a nearby tree to see the exit.

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In just one session of viewing the flashing screen, I am tortured and I torture.

At one moment, the rack stretches me – my victim, until the tendons and ligaments snap. I hold hospital cardiologists at gunpoint because my son will die without a transplant and I am too poor to buy him a heart. I am a politician involved in outsourcing the killing of Moslems in Iraq to mercenaries, paying them billions of dollars to take them out of my hands.

At the next moment, I am a special squad policeman wading through the sewers every night, working through suicides and poisonous snakes, bag-snatchers who sell their merchandise for inflated prices so they can buy their cocaine fixes, the possessed who bite and speak in scrambled tongues, a dead baby found in the gutter and a living baby in the womb of my wife. Human life seems irreversibly doomed. It seems to be a living hell.

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The oblivion of orgasms, inebriation and lap dancers are what most people pursue, either openly or in secret. Erotic videos flood the internet which most of us instantly judge and dismiss, and yet we are those egocentric handsome guys masturbating while not losing eye-contact with the camera lens for a second except to see how enormous they have become. And we wait too for their moment of sticky heaven.

We are the circus acts of hard inflamed penises curling and thrusting into mouths and assorted orifices in tandem. We are the insatiable girl who writhes repeatedly on a rod-like penis for the camera, blatant, moaning, putting off the moment of explosion masterfully. We writhe. We are repeatedly renewed. We mistake love for lust, flooding with hormones we are told are healthy. All this, not just the respectable parts, is us. The world we see is an exact reflection of our minds.

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Each horror is a bubble constituting the massive wave of imbalance and artificiality. How can we not long for the end of this onslaught, this hell realm? How can we not long to know that our awareness has expanded to blot it all out, the veil of death has been lifted, and that our physical bodies are no longer needed.

That it is the present state of the human race. Only our emptiness and detachment will make it stop. Only letting our positive and undistorted light shine out into the invisible world will balance this visible world.

Our compassion and acceptance is the only subduing influence that we can bring to bear on this media deluge which constantly batters the shores of our true nature.

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images courtesy of megapixyl.com : licenses at lindenthorp@gmail.com

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Soul Management

rafts

Look into life’s screen but don’t stop to ‘save

Continue looking without desire,

without the need to consume, to own,

looking without death

Navigate‘ life without identifying ‘self

or knowledge of knowledge

Enter‘ without a thought of ‘getting’

or ‘acquiring

holding the mind completely still

a soft slippy organ in wet fingers.

View‘ in feline innocence

each time being the first

beyond and beyond and beyond

using your eyes as the ears they are

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images courtesy of megapixyl.com

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discovery natural reflection wellbeing

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‘Ecstasy’ or ‘Instasy:’ a word which can liberate

 

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‘Ecstasy.’ This word in English is very beautiful, weighty, elegant.  But like many English words because of extended use across many Englishes, the meaning has changed. The original via Greek and French means ‘standing outside oneself.’

One way to interpret this is that if we stand outside ourselves, we are in ecstasy. How can this be?

The self is constructed and dominated by the Mind, by the intellect.  This constitutes a kind of prison that we agree to be incarcerated in because of deep fear of the unknown; and so we comply with being separated from everything around us.  In fact, we agree to a tyranny of mere interpretations of reality. 

 

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Actually, being in ecstasy gives us a perfect opportunity to stand inside reality for perhaps the first time. Then we are in our true centre inhabiting our true nature and true happiness and freedom are certain!  Ecstasy is stepping beyond the manmade concepts of ‘time’ and ‘space.’ 

I make sure I spend as much time as possible in ecstasy during each moment! This is especially so when I am writing, creating something or held in the tender embrace of sublime music. 

Be ecstatic!  Stand outside yourself as often as you can!

 

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Images courtesy of Megapixl.com: licenses at lindenthorp@gmail.com

 

Soul Management

We humans are connected at all times to nature.

It is our earthly home, our reality,

our never-failing support,

our origin. 

The 5 elements are our elements.

They make our existence as human beings possible.

If we secrete ourselves away under roofs,

in rooms, in air-conditioning,

then we are slowly poisoned and disabled.

The natural world is our unique freedom:

it nourishes and empowers us.

Earth. Air. Wind. Water. Fire. 

Each day make sure you make contact

and get your dose!

Touch the Earth everyday,

even in your dreams,

to find real beauty and balance

and unconditional happiness.

Images courtesy of megapixl.com: all licenses at lindenthorp@gmail.com

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Divine Thread

I briefly lived with a tribe of Australian native people 11 hours by land cruiser south of Ayer’s Rock.  Our group went to help them to move deeper into the scorching interior of Australia in order to return to ‘traditional desert life.’  Their tribal leader, Ninija, had decided that the aging and young of her people should return to their ‘Lands,’ turning away completely form white-fella comforts and handouts.

During this adventure, my view of human life completely changed.  

The settlement we left consisted of primitive prefabricated housing and an air strip.  But not one member of the tribe lived inside the housing. Instead, they used them as a dumping ground for the heaps of material goods donated to them from white-fella do-gooders.  

White Australians have always wanted to ‘civilize’ these desert people, to make them respectable, useful to their average urban ways.

There is no such…

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Soul Management: sudden loss!

Soul Management

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Everything in human life,

except our spirit and love,

is perishable!

But sudden loss can take you

totally by surprise!

silent stillness
A sunset is fabulous while it lasts,

but it soon disappears!

We have to accept that what is

beautiful and unique will one day

vanish from the visual field…………………….

and this is actually liberation….

but we can rejoice that it will never

vanish from the invisible!

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images courtesy of megapixyl.com and Mariko Kinoshita:

licences at lindenthorp@gmail.com

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Episode 5: abrasion

True Nature: our supreme inheritance

Summary of Episode 4:  after the death of a great leader people cling to the raft they have created to save them; unable to defer to their own true Nature because they have become so dependent; repeated rituals make people dull; we are spirit like Jesus, Allah, Buddha; we use so little of our power (10%); Chunda, the blacksmith; buried under intensive spiritual training; attachment can make us separate and arrogant; Buddha bequeathed True Nature as a parting sentiment and all can be enlightened regardless of spiritual training and education – Chunda; illumination – great teachings can illuminate our inherent nature; devotion and dedication confused; the intellectual and emotional block True nature; young animals and children are free because the meddling mind has not yet interfered. 

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So, how can we grind or polish away all the detritus and conditioning that accumulates covering over our True Nature on a daily basis…

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Two Angels

Divine Thread

%e6%9b%bc%e8%8d%bc%e7%be%85%e4%bf%ae%e6%ad%a3Dawn is an eminently suitable time for angels to leave the down of quilt and pillow, to slip away from the smooth cotton snug, to move further than just turning over.  A loving observer said that your dark red eyelids showed thousands of glow-worm lights as they flickered.  Your luminous clavicle bones trembled, widening, and your swan neck grew long.

The pale sheet bandaged around your breasts slipped allowing dark, mystic nipples oratory and your spine became a shifting spire making scarecrows beneath the sheet.  Several kisses were captive on your argent forehead, but your eyelids could not be caught.

Your keeper told you that you had had a fit, convulsion, apoplexy, petit mal,grande mal.  Gave you the precise time and duration, the clinical description, of your episode.  Stopwatch.  Jotting down notes.  A part-time biologist. You told me, toying with a description like un-relished oysters or snails…

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A world truly made of Words

 

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The dancers move.

Their bodies are words;

“stretch,” “soften,” “open.”

 

Arms move in phrases

the intonation of which they follow

with their eyes.

 

Legs move in sentences

the logic of which they feel

with their minds.

 

Arms and legs,

the syntax and semantics

which hook into the spine,

are constantly available to them.

 

A swirl of alphabet from which to make “me.”

 

 

fire-dance-20334687

 

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images courtesy of Megapixyl: clthorp59@outlook.com

ARTICLE PUBLISHED IN ANCIENT HISTORY ENCYCLOPEDIA  – HTTP://WWW.ANCIENT.EU

CUNDA (Chunda)

by

published on 01 December 2016

The frail Buddha Shakyamuni, known as Gautama Buddha and the Historical Buddha, had reached the end of his physical life and long teaching career. He and his close disciples decided on his final resting place under the twin sala trees in Kushinagar, the republic of Malla in North Eastern Ancient India. There he lay on his side surrounded by many dignitaries and enlightened monks who had gathered to say farewell to him, (c. 563 or 480 BCE). Among them, there was a deeply devoted lay follower named Cunda (Chunda). He was the son of a blacksmith from the nearby area of Kushinagara castle who had come of his own accord to pay his respects to the great Buddha, bringing with him 15 of his friends.

To show his devotion, Chunda had discarded his daily work clothes and put on a simple robe, bearing his right shoulder in the traditional way of monastics. He knelt on his right knee and bowed at the feet of the Buddha. He then made a speech confidently and sincerely which was to change the future course of Buddhism.

chunda

As all those attending had done, Chunda implored the Buddha to accept the simple customary offerings of homemade food he and his friends had brought. All the distinguished members of the congregation had already offered luxurious gifts of precious commodities like livestock and gold, but the Buddha had refused to accept everything until this point. Suddenly, to everyone’s surprise, Chunda’s modest offerings were accepted and he proceeded to eloquently express his deep sadness of himself and his 15 friends at the prospect of losing the Buddha. He hoped that the simple food would prepare him for entering Parinirvana, the highest state of the ceasing of all craving, and that all sentient beings would not suffer from spiritual poverty after his decease.

In ancient India, and to a certain extent there today, the rigid caste system rejected people such as Chunda because he did not fit into any of the four main castes: He was not a clergyman or scholar, not of the nobility or a warrior, not a merchant or farmer, or a general labourer or servant. But he had confidence that all humans, despite their caste imposed at birth, were equal, and that when the Buddha left them, they would all be equally spiritually destitute. He said:

O World Honoured One! My situation is like that of anyone among the four castes who, because of poverty, has to leave his country to find work and then buy domesticated cattle and fertile fields. After removing the stones and weeds and tilling his land, he has only to wait for the rain to fall from the sky.  (Chapter 2, Mahaparinirvana Sutra)

His words displayed great wisdom despite his lack of formal education or spiritual training. He knew that all living beings needed simply the rain of the Dharma to make them spiritually fertile, and that the Buddha, the truly awakened one, the Tathagata, could bring such rain into the human world of suffering (samsara). The Buddha was delighted and immediately conferred eternal life and connected him to the ever-presence ( Skt.; dharmakaya).  In other words, he was enlightened on the spot.

death-of-buddha-fresco

Cunda Preparing the Last Meal for the Buddha

During his ministry the Buddha had insisted that his disciples should leave their ordinary life and become monastic practitioners, learning strict moral discipline (Vinaya) and upholding monastic rules. The assembled disciples who had reached the pinnacle of all spiritual training were looking on as Chunda, a lay person and an ‘untouchable’ – a person outside the caste system – became immediately enlightened with no training and therefore supposedly little virtue. Chunda became the exception that was to be a crucial part of the Buddha’s last will and testament as he moved back to the spiritual source.

THE UNPRECEDENTED ENLIGHTENING OF CHUNDA, A LAY PERSON AND HOUSEHOLDER, WAS TO OPEN THE PATH FOR ALL BEINGS, NO MATTER WHAT THEIR CASTE.

There were two ways in which this moment in the history of Buddhism brought fundamental changes to the aspirations of Buddhists. Firstly, this unprecedented enlightening of Chunda, a lay person and householder was to open the path for all beings, no matter what their caste, whether lay or clerical, to aspire to reach Nirvana (or enlightenment). It is easy to imagine just how radically this changed the course of Mahayana Buddhism because now anyone could become enlightened and many lay Buddhist orders emerged later.

Secondly, Chunda became enlightened within his own lifetime as a relatively young man. He did not have to work hard to accrue merit and virtue in order to become enlightened in a future lifetime, which was the prevailing Brahmin belief at the time. The Buddha’s acceptance of humble Chunda’s offerings was symbolic of the fact that all sentient beings are endowed with Buddha Nature, and that when the rain of Dharma waters the seeds of Buddha Nature, they will ripen, cutting away all negative karma and human suffering.  By bringing so many of his friends in a sincere gesture of reverence to the Buddha and by having the confidence to make his offering in front of all the dignitaries and esteemed disciples, he had exhibited the spirit of a Buddha, without training or privilege.

In appreciation of the Buddha’s acceptance of his humble offerings, Chunda said,

It is hard to be born a human being, and harder still to encounter a Buddha. It would be like a blind sea turtle encountering a floating log with a hole in it and poking its head through. (The Great Parinirvana Sutra)

This comment prompted the Buddha to leave his final instructions before shifting into Parinirvana. His final teachings known as the Dharmakaya focused on impermanence and detachment followed.  He left them in place of his physical body, assuring the grieving congregation that he would always be with them embodied in the last teachings and that these final teachings would exist for all eternity because they were indestructible.

Siddhartha Gautama, the Historical Buddha

Chunda is also reputed to have described the rareness of meeting a Buddha in the Sala grove as follows:

An udambara (a flower said to bloom once every 3000 years) can rarely be seen, and so is it to encounter a Buddha…who can nurture the faith of all sentient beings and…extinguish the suffering of death and rebirth. (The Heart, Diamond and the Lotus Sutra)

A recent sculpture of Chunda in the Sala Grove with his 15 friends executed by a modern Japanese sculptor is an inspiration for Japanese Buddhists of Shinnyo Buddhism whose principal belief is that all beings are capable of polishing their Buddha Nature and reaching Nirvana.

Chunda’s deep humility and sincere heart radiated out beyond that of the advanced practitioners and enlightened who had perhaps become arrogant or complacent. This indicates that practising as a true Buddhist of the heart is not about worldly success and reputation, but about humility, sincerity, and simple but total belief in the power of loving goodness and pure faith in the world. The character of Chunda marks the beginning not only of lay Buddhism but also a prevailing feature of the Mahayanas of Buddhism (2nd century CE onwards), the Bodhisattva who achieves enlightenment for the sake of all other beings and vows to postpone his own enlightenment until universal enlightenment is reached.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  • Nirvanasutra.net
  • Anonymous, Mahapariniravan Sutra
  • Anonymous, The Heart, Diamond and the Lotus Sutra (Lepine Publishing, 2009)
  • Asvaghosatr – Suzuki T., The Awakening of Faith (Dover, 1900)
  • Kato, Tamura, Miyasaka (trans.), The Threefold Lotus Sutra. (Kosei Publishing, Tokyo, 1975)
  • Page, T., Buddha-Self: The Secret Teachings of the Buddha in the Mahaparinirvana Sutra. (Nirvana Publications, London, 2003)
  • Patton, C., The Great Parinirvana Sutra (Abuddhistlibrary.com)
  • Williams, P., Mahãyãna Buddhism: The Doctrinal Foundations (Routledge, 1989)
  • Yamamoto K. (trans.), Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra (3 volumes) (Nirvana Publications, London, 1973)
  • Yamamoto, K., Mahayanaism: A Critical Exposition of the Mahaparinirvana Sutra. (Karinbunko, 1975)

 

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Cunda: the Beginnings of Lay Buddhism

published in Ancient History Encyclopedia on 01 December 2016

 

The frail Buddha Shakyamuni, known as Gautama Buddha and

the Historical Buddha, had reached the end of his physical life

and long teaching career. He and his close disciples decided

on his final resting place under the twin sala trees in Kushinagar,

the republic of Malla in North Eastern Ancient India. There he lay

on his side surrounded by many dignitaries and enlightened monks

who had gathered to say farewell to him, (c. 563 or 480 BCE).

Among them, there was a deeply devoted lay follower named Cunda (Chunda).

He was the son of a blacksmith from the nearby area of Kushinagara

castle who had come of his own accord to pay his respects to the

great Buddha, bringing with him 15 of his friends.

To show his devotion, Chunda had discarded his daily work clothes

and put on a simple robe, bearing his right shoulder in the traditional

way of monastics. He knelt on his right knee and bowed at the feet of

the Buddha. He then made a speech confidently and sincerely which

was to change the future course of Buddhism.

 

chunda

 

As all those attending had done, Chunda implored the Buddha

to accept the simple customary offerings of homemade food

he and his friends had brought. All the distinguished members

of the congregation had already offered luxurious gifts of precious

commodities like livestock and gold, but the Buddha had refused

to accept everything until this point. Suddenly, to everyone’s surprise,

Chunda’s modest offerings were accepted and he proceeded to

eloquently express his deep sadness of himself and his 15 friends

at the prospect of losing the Buddha. He hoped that the simple food

would prepare him for entering Parinirvana, the highest state of

the ceasing of all craving, and that all sentient beings would not

suffer from spiritual poverty after his decease.

In ancient India, and to a certain extent there today, the rigid caste

system rejected people such as Chunda because he did not fit into any

of the four main castes: He was not a clergyman or scholar, not of the

nobility or a warrior, not a merchant or farmer, or a general labourer

or servant. But he had confidence that all humans, despite their caste

imposed at birth, were equal, and that when the Buddha left them,

they would all be equally spiritually destitute. He said:

O World Honoured One! My situation is like that of anyone among

the four castes who, because of poverty, has to leave his country to

find work and then buy domesticated cattle and fertile fields.

After removing the stones and weeds and tilling his land,

he has only to wait for the rain to fall from the sky.

(Chapter 2, Mahaparinirvana Sutra)

His words displayed great wisdom despite his lack of formal education

or spiritual training. He knew that all living beings needed simply

the rain of the Dharma to make them spiritually fertile, and that the

Buddha, the truly awakened one, the Tathagata, could bring such rain

into the human world of suffering (samsara). The Buddha was delighted

and immediately conferred eternal life and connected him to the

ever-presence ( Skt.; dharmakaya).  In other words, he was enlightened

on the spot.

 

death-of-buddha-fresco

 

During his ministry the Buddha had insisted that his disciples should

leave their ordinary life and become monastic practitioners, learning

strict moral discipline (Vinaya) and upholding monastic rules.

The assembled disciples who had reached the pinnacle of all spiritual

training were looking on as Chunda, a lay person and an ‘untouchable’

– a person outside the caste system – became immediately enlightened

with no training and therefore supposedly little virtue. Chunda became

the exception that was to be a crucial part of the Buddha’s last will and

testament as he moved back to the spiritual source.

THE UNPRECEDENTED ENLIGHTENING OF CHUNDA, A LAY PERSON
AND HOUSEHOLDER, WAS TO OPEN THE PATH FOR ALL BEINGS, NO
MATTER WHAT THEIR CASTE.

There were two ways in which this moment in the history of Buddhism

brought fundamental changes to the aspirations of Buddhists. Firstly,

this unprecedented enlightening of Chunda, a lay person and householder

was to open the path for all beings, no matter what their caste,

whether lay or clerical, to aspire to reach Nirvana (or enlightenment).

It is easy to imagine just how radically this changed the course of Mahayana

Buddhism because now anyone could become enlightened and many lay Buddhist

orders emerged later.

Secondly, Chunda became enlightened within his own lifetime as a

relatively young man. He did not have to work hard to accrue merit and

virtue in order to become enlightened in a future lifetime, which was the

prevailing Brahmin belief at the time. The Buddha’s acceptance of humble

Chunda’s offerings was symbolic of the fact that all sentient beings are

endowed with Buddha Nature, and that when the rain of Dharma waters

the seeds of Buddha Nature, they will ripen, cutting away all negative karma

and human suffering.  By bringing so many of his friends in a sincere gesture

of reverence to the Buddha and by having the confidence to make his offering

in front of all the dignitaries and esteemed disciples, he had exhibited the

spirit of a Buddha, without training or privilege.

In appreciation of the Buddha’s acceptance of his humble offerings,

Chunda said,

It is hard to be born a human being, and harder still to encounter a

Buddha. It would be like a blind sea turtle encountering a floating log

with a hole in it and poking its head through. (The Great Parinirvana Sutra)

This comment prompted the Buddha to leave his final instructions before

shifting into Parinirvana. His final teachings known as the Dharmakaya

focused on impermanence and detachment followed.  He left them in place

of his physical body, assuring the grieving congregation that he would always

be with them embodied in the last teachings and that these final teachings

would exist for all eternity because they were indestructible.

Siddhartha Gautama, the Historical Buddha

Chunda is also reputed to have described the rareness of meeting a

Buddha in the Sala grove as follows:

An udambara (a flower said to bloom once every 3000 years) can

rarely be seen, and so is it to encounter a Buddha…who can nurture

the faith of all sentient beings and…extinguish the suffering of

death and rebirth. (The Heart, Diamond and the Lotus Sutra)

A recent sculpture of Chunda in the Sala Grove with his 15 friends

executed by a modern Japanese sculptor is an inspiration for Japanese

Buddhists of Shinnyo Buddhism whose principal belief is that all beings

are capable of polishing their Buddha Nature and reaching Nirvana.

Chunda’s deep humility and sincere heart radiated out beyond that of

the advanced practitioners and enlightened who had perhaps become

arrogant or complacent. This indicates that practising as a true Buddhist

of the heart is not about worldly success and reputation, but about humility,

sincerity, and simple but total belief in the power of loving goodness and

pure faith in the world. The character of Chunda marks the beginning not

only of lay Buddhism but also a prevailing feature of the Mahayanas of

Buddhism (2nd century CE onwards), the Bodhisattva who achieves

enlightenment for the sake of all other beings and vows to postpone

his own enlightenment until universal enlightenment is reached.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY

  • Nirvanasutra.net
  • Anonymous, Mahapariniravan Sutra
  • Anonymous, The Heart, Diamond and the Lotus Sutra (Lepine Publishing, 2009)
  • Asvaghosatr – Suzuki T., The Awakening of Faith (Dover, 1900)
  • Kato, Tamura, Miyasaka (trans.), The Threefold Lotus Sutra. (Kosei Publishing, Tokyo, 1975)
  • Page, T., Buddha-Self: The Secret Teachings of the Buddha in the Mahaparinirvana Sutra. (Nirvana Publications, London, 2003)
  • Patton, C., The Great Parinirvana Sutra (Abuddhistlibrary.com)
  • Williams, P., Mahãyãna Buddhism: The Doctrinal Foundations (Routledge, 1989)
  • Yamamoto K. (trans.), Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra (3 volumes) (Nirvana Publications, London, 1973)
  • Yamamoto, K., Mahayanaism: A Critical Exposition of the Mahaparinirvana Sutra. (Karinbunko, 1975)

The writing Protectors: pure motivation

Cover Picture

With high-grade criticism and the detailed filtering of the written word, which has become such an important aspect of writing, and a serious consideration for the egos of those who write, we may have lost sight of exactly who the audience we are writing for is.

But before confirming who we are writing for or addressing, it is important to ask ourselves honestly about our motivation to write in the first place. I consider that great Literature is written from a pure motivation, not to pursue a career or to make a mark. Some agnostic writers have even been driven to write to mark their very existence in the event of their plummeting into obscurity at their death. Surely it is the process of writing that’s important, not only the end product, the material result of this process which is either sellable or destructible.

Valid Literature should not be contaminated by such end-gaining. The motivation to write should be pure, and as we pour our spirits into the eloquence and nuances, we perform. Literature to me is like a wonderful performance of dance or music, with strong choreography and vocal quality. We perform on the page in our capacity as artists.

In my own case, I write in the presence of a special witness in the form of a Protector who always ensures that I am being sincere, true to myself, that I am present and performing to my audience on the page. This prevents me from being kidnapped by my human ego, and indulging in vapidity and trivia, or merely showing off.

In the history of the art and sacredness of writing, there are superb anecdotes. A striking example of a propagator of the Buddhist teachings from 2,600 years ago passionately asserts:

I will peel off my skin to use as paper, draw my blood as ink, extract my marrow as water, and splinter my bone for use as a pen.

This demonstrates the perfections involved in performing for our readers on the page, or parchment or slate.

The symbols we use to express our essence have to be exquisitely arranged to transmit themselves clearly to those who take the trouble to read. But of course, the fascinating thing is that every reader who casts their eyes over such an arrangement, has a different mind, a different spirit, from yours. Some may be offended by what you write because you touch a raw nerve; others may suspend disbelief so hard that they cannot find your characters quite credible enough; still others might be sensitive to your perspective, your gender, your lack or choice of experience, what they perceive as your candour or your deceit.

But despite the millions of variables among your readers, writers do touch people’s heart and minds, and that is a responsibility not to be taken lightly. With the dawn of self-publishing and writing opportunities for all, I think we need to carefully check our motivation and the validity of what we write.

I know I can never write simply to impress or allure. My Protectors will always ensure that!

To learn more, please visit me at – https://www.validlit.wordpress.com

images and info:

Cover-Le Dõme (famous Parisian writers’ restaurant)  – https://www.megapixl.com/kovalenkovpetr-stock-images-videos-portfolio;

Grant Snider is an American cartoonist – http://incidentalcomics.com; a Pen – https://www.megapixl.com/davisales-stock-images-videos-portfolio; Babylonian stone with cuneiform script -https://www.megapixl.com/kmiragaya-stock-images-videos-portfolio; Oscar Wilde – https://www.megapixl.com/miluxian-stock-images-videos-portfolio

The Woman in the Fifth: the erotic is a message from our true nature

Cover Picture
 

The erotic burns images into our soul.

Or does it simply mirror them? 

This may happen at an unexpected moment when an image, word or sound ignites a deep feeling completely out of the blue. It takes us by utter surprise, the body reacts without the mind’s interference, and we just know it is a pure and ancient event.

It is like falling in love with a stranger or recognizing our life-partner or a relationship from another lifetime or dimension. It is a moment when real sincerity burgeons and we make contact with ourselves outside the restrictions of social structure and norm, beyond all the layers. This is our true nature. 

It is feminine, yielding, at peace naturally. It is sad and shocking that in a ‘developed’ world dominated by masculinity and competition the erotic has become enmeshed with sex and pornography, the materialism of human feelings, when Eros is the god of true love, of the coming together of two souls. 

Strong feelings often lead to demonstrative behavior – standing up and shouting, murder, betrayal, the giving of oneself totally, suicide – but so what? Why is the human body and its ability to merge with another so shocking? It is reduced to an object by the constant witness that polices the intellect, arm in arm with the Law and Organized Religion.

Suddenly an apparition in a film brings tears to my eyes, my throat tightens and my heart beats rapidly. I cannot believe it is me shedding tears watching a screen in a comfortable seat. 

 

A middle-aged widow dressed in chic Chanel black, hair coiffured immaculate, stocking-seams straight, sipping at champagne, and behind her the heals of the Eiffel tower. A man she does not know walks towards her to look at the view, and at her. He gets closer and they strike up conversation briefly, he lighting her gold-filtered cigarette though he doesn’t smoke. Then she gives him her card with long coral-lacquered fingernails and tells him to ring her any time after 5:00. 

He is mesmerised and so are we as we watch. We know nothing of either of their stories except their suffering and isolation which has attracted them to each other. His visitor status in Paris is nil – living in a filthy cheap hotel, all his possessions stolen from him while he slept on a bus, forced to work for his keep as a night-watchman. His whole purpose is to see his young daughter again after her mother has brought a restraining order against him, so he writes a perpetual letter to her and stalks her waiting in the shadows of her kindergarten. 

One day he takes up the chic woman’s invitationRoles are immediately reversed and she makes all the moves in the hallway, dangling kisses which disintegrate him, undressing him, confronting his habitual domination and taking him. She holds him back with the force-field of her eyes while revealing his erect flesh to the brush of her lips, unconditionally releasing his pent-up seed and afterwards bathing him lovingly. 

There are neither questions nor answers, no parameters based on time or space and social conditioning is a priceless vase dropped on marble from a great height

Two foreign angels are released from their tight protein ropes in the City of Light. They allow each other to fully embody their divine essence in the dark apartment and all the synthetic layers, the spots and spores of differentness planted by urbanization, drop away. 

They are both Greek gods of love like Eros but they can walk around among us.

 

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                                                                                             images courtesy of imdb.com

Integrate into Life’s True Course

This is a must read!! Indigenous wisdom is what we need right now to save the Earth!

Nirvana Linden

Cover Picture
(The following will be interspersed with the indigenous voice of an Australian tribal leader.)

Putting aside the man-made lenses of ‘time,’ ‘space,’ ‘race’, ‘gender,’ and ‘money,’ and so on, is the only way to integrate into life’s true course. This is how we can best begin to repair what we perceive as the damaged links of the broken chain of existence.

The human race has interfered persistently with what is natural, almost insisting on creating its own reality and then imposing it on others instead of listening to the truth and staying put. We have traditionally searched outside for our sensual satisfaction and the realization of dreams, when all the time the glories of our human existence lie inside, deep within our divine spirit.

We have therefore become ‘disintegrated’ beings because we block what is natural, always choosing to ‘live’ indirectly, vicariously, or ‘outside’ reality in…

View original post 2,586 more words

The Laughing of Flowers.

It is said that beautiful flowers and trees are Nature laughing.  This stunning painting by

Mariko Kinoshita, my partner-artist, really exemplifies this notion.  The flowers jump

straight into your heart as you gaze on the cozy rural dwellings made of stone, a material

which is unusable in Kinoshita’s native earthquake-ridden Japan, and accompanied by an

abundance of giggling trees.  She has elevated the blue river which appears to be watering

the flowers and in turn lifts us high into the sky where we can all laugh together. 

In the spiritual plan of things and perhaps in our dream-states, we strongly detect our

closeness to nature and the universe, and through this on to our origins in the invisible and

impermanent world.  It is the mystical order in this painting that touches and transports

us to that fullness of joy which we all have free access to if we choose.

Kinoshita’s Shinto spirit (Shinto, or the ‘Way of the Gods,’ the state religion of Japan

from 500 BCE until 1945) pervades this painting: the conviction that everything and everyone

has a spirit, invisible to the physical eyes, and worthy of full veneration and respect.

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180 Degree Turn

180 degree turn

Priestess Pamela

Retreat with Relics

Any ordinary family house in the city suburbs that it is presided over by a Spiritual Master takes on a new quietness, a holy stillness, a synthetic sacredness. It must become an exclusive and open channel for Her or His Holiness.

It is no longer a domestic niche for family and status: door lentils for measuring growth, carpets for wearing out, furniture for rearranging, beds to replace cots or wallpaper to be replaced to match recent trends. And it is not for her or his disciples to put down roots there as was intended, for their roots are already set in the Beloved who resides in paradise. They are pilgrims you see, and their residence, wherever it is, is a tent. They barely graze its structure.

It is not safe now for precious Masters to be outside the crowded tower blocks and urban sprawl. Gone are the days when they could retreat for years into dark caves or dusty desert palaces with their exquisite mosaics and cool inner courtyards. In fact, recently the drought has been so severe that they might combust at any time if they did! It is the Beloved’s will that we respond to his anger expressed in the world with only a deepening of our prayers and a cherishing of our Master here in the broken city.

Sunrise among the cement and glass towers and the spaces between them takes some getting used to after such baked palaces and gädam, shrines.  The Beloved One is testing us more and more radically so that the severity of our environment becomes irrelevant to our devotion to Him.  The storms and hurricanes, the torrential rain and flooding, the fierce forest fires and earthquakes, the drought and air pollution are staged exactly to make us stronger in our trust in Him.

We must retreat from this daily declining world in order to purify and to climb higher and higher to make the perfect union with Him possible.  But after our morning prayers and drawing of the first water before dawn, we cannot resist running to peep round the lace at his His exquisite light pouring between the tower blocks so that it may shine on us and He will notice us.

It was sad when the present cataclysmic conditions of this human world forced us to leave our own desert shrine built around all Almu’s, our Master’s, ancestors’ graves for the last timeThe pilgrim caravan at the height of Ramadan was the perfect test! Ah, how wise our Almu is and how wide open is her channel to The Beloved One.

I must continue forever to vividly see the white minarets and flat roofs of that small community shimmering on the swaying horizon. It was like a beautiful date confectionary carefully wrapped in trembling palm arms above the oasis. This vision is and should always be an important part of my devotions: going back again and again to such miraculous luminous moments in my mind which surely can only be brought about by the King, the absolute perfection of the Beloved One. Such a paradise could only be made possible from His goodness!

The complex procedures and rituals for de-enshrining the relics and ancient treasures took time and the entire dedication of all our small isolated community there.  Then packing them on the camel troop needed expert and ancient desert techniques. But when we were all ready, swathed in our black hijab revealing only our eyes to the sky, then came the real test.  How could we equally swathe our tiny Master, Almu, extract her and lift her inside the tented seat available only to those who are already in a paradise capsule here in this low existence? But she was so strong, bidding a prophet’s farewell to her family and devotees.

‘arak fi aljana!    See you in paradise!’

It would be the last time in this suffering life to see them because of His anger at the proliferation of evil in the world.

Then thanks be to God, we completed the 3-day crossing to the city boundary, eating little except figs and palm nuts and sipping at perfumed leather water flasks after sunset.  We dared not stop, the swaying creatures below us somehow knowing the great significance of their mission.  And we……..well, we moved between the slit-mirages of heaven and earth with a longing to be held in Your strong arms again and again, O Beloved.

Now, there is no more time to spare for these devotions of a lowly mortal! The Master must be fed and I must go on typing her sacred words into letters and scriptures to leave behind to guide all remaining beings to paradise.

Today, I have given instructions for everyone to cover their noses and mouths with white masks even inside our rooms because of the dust driven into the city by violent sandstorms from the east. But this is no real hardship as our mouths are covered anyway, covered for You Beloved. And in these troubled days, the monastic rules are bent exceptionally to allow us to use a little money to buy cheap sunglasses to shield our eyes.  So, we must work even harder to keep His Divine light bright!  Ingenious tests, if we pass them, are surely leading us closer and closer to Heaven.

 

burmese-novice-boys-in-mandalay-52652260

 

 

 

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This is an expert from my latest novel ‘180 Degree Turn’ (working version). 

The story concerns the plight of developed peoples as the Earth rapidly approaches death.  In order to survive, there is no option but to accept the advice of tribal peoples, the original custodians of the Earth. This requires that all inhabitants make a choice to undergo training as custodians of the Earth or to follow their own reality and beliefs in gods and buddhas, in substances and other fictional deities. The whole of humanity must be turned to look inwards instead of outwards, where they will find their True Nature. 

 

 

Inside

 

flamingos-5

 

They had never actually met until that moment as they worked on each other. Their hands were unknown in the same way as their births and their deaths were and would be. 

‘It’s strange that this is called “a turn,” isn’t it?

She giggled in school-girl-like way though her female maturity was well-established and uppermost in almost every situation. A senior teacher and professional, she found the role of ‘pupil’ of becoming alien and yet amusing. I took my place, arranging my stance, legs hip-width apart, shoulders matching, and each second of this preparation meant that increasingly more of the soles of my feet were spreading across the woodblock floor, grounding me into the Earth.

She walked behind me slowly laying her Parisian scent as she turned, her brilliant raised white shirt collar blasting my peripheral vision with its snow. Taking up the identical position behind me we became one, drenched in the voice of our guide, the voice without a god, without faith or thought.

 

monument-valley-3005451

 

‘Gravity is not an external force which we whimsically notice or not…………………..’

‘It is not outside, to be possessed or its presence invited……………………………….. .’

‘You are gravity and it is your embodiment of it that brings us to notice its eternal existence. Your Earth needs you as much as you need it……………………………………………………………………. ‘

We were ready, inverted mirror images of each other, fully embodying our breath which had deepened in tandem with our listening.  Your arms raised in slow motion from emptiness. There was nothing to be done.  There would be no outcome. Your widened palms and lengthened fingers with their bitten fingernails would at some universal ‘moment’ make soft contact at the base of my neck. We breathed together without distraction.

 

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‘You have made Earth rich, a different kind of tree…………………………………….. ‘

There would be no end to this feeling, this state of lightness every man-second of which was newly experienced, its mystery a raindrop.  For we were firmly treading the path away from the smallness that man has become squatting in the shadow of a god, away from the arrogance of ‘being’ to our rightful place in the dignity of ‘becoming.’

Endlessness. Integration.

‘…….and each human tree is a mighty individual that can step into the full light and gaping sky……………………….. ’

Later, our ‘tree-ness’ continued on as we sheltered draped along the Earth instead of standing perpendicular to it.  Your fingers with their rings were inside my womb moving slowly and softly and we breathed the eternal one breath.

‘I’ve never been inside before. It’s such a relief that there is no outcome, just becoming.’

 

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Words and images by Linden Thorp

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