Appointment for coffee in 60 days

An Italian friend of mine moved to Germany (Italians and Indians are not that different in my book - both very emotional peoples with a rather lazy attitude to time) - and got a phone call from a friend. She was calling up in March to arrange to meet for coffee at the end of May! - the day and the time were agreed on over the course of the phone call...My Italian friend was very polite. But when she put the phone down - she had a good chuckle and a good story to show how Germans and Italians are VERY different. I will never forget her '"And this was for coffee!" shriek' that came at the end of the story! :) Planning a month and a half ahead for coffee! Mama mia! Cappucino! Fettucini!...or whatever it is the Italians say when they want to express shock and bewilderment!

Linnaeus

Linnaeus's genius was that he managed to systematically organize the natural world. It was something that was needed. It had never been done.

I remember being a member of the Linnean Society. It is tucked in the courtyard of the Royal Academy. Going there, on several occasions, on early visits to London, I felt I was entering a refined world....a world which held secrets not only to the natural world, but also to my future...not to mention the auspicious approaches of science and Britain's heritage in the scientific tradition (dating back to the Enlightenment).

I reflected - when I returned to India this time - on the significance of organizing one's priorities and what an interesting character Linnaeus was in this respect. His whole life was dedicated to organization. Any great achievement takes serious preparation and serious preparation takes serious organization...

creative unease

i heard a friend say recently that the most gifted people are cursed by one supreme ugly reality: life is too short
sleep can seem to get in the way...
i feel any man who tunes into his creative potential feels that truth to one degree or another

but you think sleep is limiting your creativity?

no -
it enhances it - when there is balance
but it can get in the way of creative work
the zen of creative work can be intensely rewarding and developmental to the psyche and the world
and when you harness that kind of energy
the pulse of the movement creates a kind of dichotomy
between action and inaction
which can be challenging to deal with

Social computer networks

Alone on the Internet? Hardly
Study: Web expanding people's social contacts

Friday, January 27, 2006; Posted: 4:45 a.m. EST (09:45 GMT)


NEW YORK (AP) -- The cyber-world expands people's social networks and
even encourages people to talk by phone or meet others in person, a new
study finds.

The Pew Internet and American Life Project also finds that U.S.
Internet users are more apt to get help on health care, financial and
other decisions because they have a larger set of people to which to
turn.

Further rebuking early studies suggesting that the Internet promotes
isolation, Pew found that it "was actually helping people maintain
their communities," said Barry Wellman, a University of Toronto
sociology professor and co-author of the Pew report.

The study found that e-mail is supplementing, not replacing, other
means of contact. For example, people who e-mail most of their closest
friends and relatives at least once a week are about 25 percent more
likely to have weekly landline phone contact as well. The increase is
even greater for cell phones.

"There's a certain seamlessness of how people maintain their social
networks," said John Horrigan, Pew's associate director. "They shift
between face-to-face, phone and Internet quite easily."

Meanwhile, Internet users tend to have a larger network of close and
significant contacts -- a median of 37 compared with 30 for nonusers --
and they are more likely to receive help from someone within that
social network.

The latest Pew report, issued Wednesday, was based on random telephone
surveys conducted in February and March of 2004 and 2005.

Each year's survey involved about 2,200 adults and had a margin of
sampling error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press.

Finding a Community

I suppose the "now" is key.

Yes, living in the now.

I can be very much in the now - but I also have to be aware of the challenges that lie around it - my parents aging...creating a viable situation for a self-reliant future etc...all these factors, which are very much not in the now - feed into it don't they?

What I have learned about myself is this: I want to know what spontaneity is. Pure spontaneity. I feel that buried in spontaneity is the kernel of our existence - enlightenment if you like. I live for creativity - whether it be architecture, writing or yoga or massage... or of late - building businesses.

Life is an incredible canvas for many creative activities...It takes a lot of risk-taking and interest in multiple fields - as everything is inter-connected - to build an original and dynamic approach to living.

I hear the wisdom in Abraham Lincoln's line that the future lies in the hands of those who learn to make the most of a small plot of land. The Japanese have a lot to teach on this matter - by example. Perhaps the Native Americans too. Indeed, all creative nomads teach us about this art form (very relevant to today's world and the wisdom of 'small is beautiful.') As the population increases and as corporations swell...the ability to remain sane, self-governed and self-motivated is more and more challenging.

The mounting pressures mean simplicity and an authentic, refined vision are critical to a creative life. If you wish to be spiritually minded in your endeaors then these things are even more poignant.

I tend to feel that ashrams are of a by-gone era. Ashrams tend to promote communalism - and though I love the company of creative people - I sort of like them on my own terms. Not a big one for modelled communities I suppose. Self-reliance, privacy and creativity - seem to me inseparably linked. The right company in the right doses is also a big part of that.

I think that ashrams tend to get that equation wrong. They introduces strained ideals and those ideals tend to make a muck of things...especially vision. The future is in being small but connected - at least for those living a life based upon vision, happiness and simplicity.

I once visited an amazing house in the Canary Islands. A talented architect had spent 30 years making it - all meticulously built and quite definitively beautiful. He used one of the areas to teach children with special needs. Though it was overwhelmingly beautiful and harmonious - it lacked the punch of a sacred space.
He had focused too much on the details - on creating his dream home...and, in the process, thrown the baby out with the bath water.

There is a yoga school here which is not so perfectly designed - architecturally speaking - but it has enough space to it...it works...and it is very much a sacred space. Without a heart...our living spaces become inert and mechanical. They mirror our own limitations ultimately...Looking within and prioritising our approaches to living is critical to creating the right kind of space in which to work and live to our optimum. I think if we get these things clear - the right kind of community will automatically build itself around us. In the case of the architect in Spain - I feel he focused too much on the paint and beams - rather than purpose they were there to house. Breathe life into your vision...and your vision will breathe life into the stones that surround you. This is the way of wisdom - not the other way around. It's like the story of the Native american spirit woman. She agreed to marry her husband - an ordinary hunter...if he promised to never touch her miracle basket. He promised. But then he broke it years later, when she was out collecting firewood. He discovered it to be empty. She returned to the wigwam and knew immediately that he had tampered with it. "What is the big fuss about?" he asked as she made to leave him for the last time. "There's nothing there," he stammered in disbelief as she walked away. She turned and looked at him pityingly. He was not ready for her (for what she represented). To him there was nothing in the empty box she treasured above all else. But to her there were great mysteries to which her husband was not privy to.

We must not focus too much on the structures that house our bodies. We must build loosely, but carefully, the struts and frames that shape an organized existence, but, at the same time, we must be sure to have plenty of space - internally and externally - to dedicate our waking moments to the unknown and unformed. Otherwise, we risk being one-dimensional and irreverent of the unseen wonders that lie in wait for us. Such was the mistake of this Native American hunter. He was not spiritually ready for the promise he made his wife (his spiritual teacher in disguise) - ie not to tamper with what she valued most - something beyond space and time...the sacred realm of intangible beauty which should be at the heart of all our constructions and endeavors in this world.

Creating our environment - means being careful about whom we spend time with. It means to be privy to the weighty pertinence of "pearls before swine." It means designing a living space which is simple and sacred. It means having sufficient space to be self-nurturing. It means embracing a wider community, without being suffocated by it. That is the equation to balance.

Dialogue about Belief

Why is my idea of God not objectivity? Please enlighten......

BECAUSE TO BE OBJECTIVE YOU NEED TO KNOW EVERYTHING - ALL FACTORS AND YOU, THAT WHICH IS OBSERVING, MUST NOT INTERFERE WITH THE EXPERIMENT, WHICH IS IMPOSSIBLE (cf: Schrodinger's cat).

FOR EXAMPLE IF YOU ARE 3 AND THIRSTY - BLEACH IS AS GOOD AS LEMONADE TO YOUR EYES.
WHEN YOU ARE OLDER YOU SEE THE FOLLY OF THIS AND KNOW THAT LEMONADE IS THE ONLY THING YOU COULD DRINK.

NOW, EQUALLY - WHAT IS TO SAY THAT, WITH MATURITY AND INSIGHT - WE WILL SEE THE LIMITED UNDERSTANDING (OR RATHER OUR MIS-UNDERSTANDING OF THINGS) OUR BELIEFS PRESENTLY FEED US? OBJECTIVITY IS A DANGEROUS IDEAL. BUT RIGHT PERCEPTION IS A REALISTIC AND NECESSARY GOAL.


What does my belief system presuppose? Please enlighten.......

IT PRESUPPOSES THAT THERE IS A GOD. EVEN WHEN THERE MAY NOT BE ONE. AND THEN YOU GO AHEAD AND BELIEVE IN HIM AND YOU CEASE TO BE ABLE TO LOOK WITH AN OPEN MIND. YOU NEVER STOPPED TO QUESTION THIS. THE WHOLE CONSTRUCT OF YOUR SEARCH IS BASED ON AN IDEA THAT MAY OR MAY NOT BE RIGHT. IT'S LIKE 'A WIZARD OF OZ' COMPLEX; YOU BELIEVE THERE IS A HIGHER BEING - BUT YOU DON'T KNOW UNTIL YOU HAVE MET AND TESTED HIM IF THIS IS ACTUALLY TRUE. THIS IS WHY EXPECTATIONS INTRUDE ON LOVE. LOVE IS PERPETUALLY INNOCENT (from an I Ching commentary: "to express one's self strongly and openly and unexpectedly is an act of innocence since it comes from the heart and thus is not premeditated (a moment of enlightenment)" - BELIEF BY DEFINITION IS PREMEDITATED). OUR IDEA OF GOD - AND THE REALITY OF THINGS CAN BE RADICALLY DIFFERENT THINGS - JUST AS THE POPULAR IDEA OF THE WIZARD OF OZ BLINDED DOROTHY. SHE FIGURED OUT THAT HE WAS NOT ALL HE WAS CRACKED UP TO BE....HE HAD HIS FLAWS TOO. POINT BEING DON'T BELIEVE RHETORIC, DON'T BELIEVE THE BRAIN CHATTER. FIND OUT WHAT BELIES APPEARANCES; ESPECIALLY UNFOUNDED BELIEFS...THIS APPROACH IS THE ESSENCE OF HYPOTHESIS AND THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD.

I CONCUR WITH YOU ON ONE POINT. IT IS AN ORDERED UNIVERSE. BUT IT IS DEFINATELY NOT A PERFECT UNIVERSE. PERFECTION IMPLIES FREEDOM FROM CONSEQUENCES.


You say that certain things are facts. What is a fact? Something that is provable beyond doubt....doesn't that involve belief?

OH DEAR!
NOTHING CAN BE PROVED.
SCIENCE IS THE DOMAIN OF DISPROVING. READ KARL POPPER. SCIENTIFIC THEORY HAS BEEN FOUNDED ON THIS SINCE THE DAYS OF ARISTOTLE...

THE REALM OF THE MYSTIC IS TO FORGE A RELATIONSHIP WITH SPONTANEITY - WHICH IS OF ANOTHER DIMENSION ALTOGETHER. BELIEF SYSTEMS CLOUD SUCH ENDEAVORS. PERIOD.
A FACT IS AN UNAVOIDABLE REALITY OF CONDTIONED EXISTENCE.

Data comes to us and we find it comforting to say this is a fact and that is a fact.

NO THERE IS NO COMFORT IN FACTS - THAT'S THE BEAUTY OF THEM. THEY ARE NEITHER COMFORTING NOR DISCOMFORTING. THEY JUST ARE. A BELIEF ON THE OTHER HAND IS OF THE REALM OF CONJECTURE AND HENCE OF LIMITED VALUE (AND CAN BE DOWNRIGHT INTRUSIVE) IN FACING WHAT IS.

...but do we stop to think what a 'fact' is? The 'fact' is you could be a brain in a box, for all you know, and there is no way of proving that you are not.

TRUE - I CAN PROVE NOTHING TO YOU.
I CAN BE AWARE OF SOMETHING WITH ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY AND HAVE NO NEED TO PERSUADE ANOTHER OF IT - HENCE THE RECURRING THEME OF THE STORY OF "DOUBTING THOMAS."

WHEN WE EXPERIENCE THAT WHICH IS REAL - NO ONE CAN ALTER THAT EXPERIENCE WITH MERE WORDS. THEY CAN REFUTE IT OR CONCUR WITH IT - BUT THAT DOES NOT ALTER OUR CORE RELATONSHIP WITH THAT WHICH IS REAL. A RELATIONSHIP WITH REALITY IS WHAT I SEEK; NOT BELIEFS IN REALITY. UNTIL I COME UPON REALITY ALL BELIEFS ARE SUSPENDED. IF I COME UPON REALITY - WHAT USE WILL BELIEFS BE THEN? THEY WON'T BE USEFUL. PERIOD. eg "I BELIEVE IN FOOD." NONSENSE! THAT WON'T FEED ME. I EAT. THAT FEEDS ME. NOTHING ELSE. BELIEFS ARE CHUMP.


Facts, they are so nice and lovely. With them I don't have to believe ..........that way I feel secure........

WHAT IS SECURE ABOUT THE FACT OF A TSUNAMI OR DEATH?

Hexagram 25, encore un fois

The Judgment:

Innocence. Supreme success.
Perseverance furthers.
If someone is not as he should be,
He has misfortune,
And it does not further him
To undertake anything.


Keyword(s): Simplicity
Symbolic of: Innocence

Hexagram 25 : The Reflection of the Self - the Essense of Order - in the Attentive Mind

"WU WANG -

WU : devoid of; -less as suffix..

WANG : caught-up in, entangled, involved; disorder, incoherence; foolish, wild, reckless; false, brutish behaviour; vain, idle, futile." ERANOS p311
Image :

"[With enlightenment comes confidence].
Under heaven, moving thunder. People associated with [Non-Involvement].
In primal times one nurtured the many beings through vigourous correspondence to the seasons.[strong regulating, or 'spoon feeding', encourages the development of a lack of participation]"

In hexagram 25, to express one's self strongly and openly and unexpectedly is an act of innocence since it comes from the heart and thus is not premeditated ( a moment of enlightenment). To escape from the dark side, the side of service, requires an initial act; one needs to do something and get involved with the new and disentangled from the old. The line comments show that non-involvement/disentanglement has it's ups and downs.

Extended Commentary

The raw context from which the situation derives is described by hexagram 45 gathering capabilities/massing. It passes through hexagram Enlightening/Awareness before reaching here.

From http://members.ozemail.com.au/~ddiamond/h25.html

Is Shakespeare right?

Shakespeare's age-old claim by MacBeth that sleep and dreams are the "chief nourishers in life's feast".

Creativity


"The spell in which imagination bodies forth the forms of things unknown."

Shakespeare

In Search of Healing

I think there is value to values. :) But I think everything must be questioned. What do we seek to preserve but our own self-concept (which by its very nature needs to be protected)...

If you really know who you are self-concepts are meaningless. Love does not need protection. Love is the most destructive thing. Fear is what needs to be protected. The fears associated with the idea that we are a body...that the mind is the master of things. The mind is not the master - but most of us live as though it were. Hence we are ruled by thought. Thought is self-destructive. It breeds the chaos of us coming to percieve ourselves as "human thinkings" rather than human "beings."

Love (using the vehicle of insight) destroys all of this. Seeing this is like seeing light - it is so crystal clear- but it must be appropriated to the relative world of frightened human beings...and we all have areas of darkness to be approached 'appropriately.'

Hence - "Others then express criticism of you which can be very damaging if you are just trying to find your own path." - so true! The sapling is a delicate thing. I believe we are here to resolve the issue of identity. It can lead to some wonderfully funny illusions (and some terribly tragic ones). Sexuality, drive, passion, illness, health, fear, talent, issues/habits, prevailing psychological environments...they add up to make the face in the mirror - taking them all into account, we can try and find the firm tree we are destined to be. In our modern world, sadly, the forest (by analogy: our community) is often just a plantation - where the natrual has been replaced by the trend...and the tree is a commodity (a society without reverence for the right quality and frequency of pauses)...not a friend.

When will we ever learn that true friends are mirrors of something deeper...not timber to be felled? Or, put another way, what kind of questions and approaches to living bring about the genesis of an authentic human being - one with their own voice? I suppose that is the common challenge we face as healers and serious human beings... No?

A human being is the seed. A seed that grows up naturally - not cramped and conditoned by market forces - is the where healing is to be found... On this planet to figure out how to live that way takes a lot of courage...and an openness of mind that is not bound to conclusions nor afraid to make mistakes.

To be or not to be

I am not judging
I accept that belief feeds people on certain levels, but for me it is shallow - this is elementary to me. Faith is very powerful in the right hands.

I hope for nothing. I want to know what is actually true. If I am hoping...I am intruding on the inquiry. I don't conclude. I need to look and see what is there. I see believers and non-believer proclaiming their rhetoric...but it is all so shallow - I have nothing to persuade another of - so I don't believe or not believe. I want to find out what is actually true.

I want to know if there is an end to suffering. I don't give that question a label. I don't call it a search for God. God is just a word, an idea - with many different meanings to many different people - I am not interested in playing with ideas. I am serious. I am desperate to find out what is possible to a very serious mind. I don't phrase it as some big experience...that I have made contact with the divine - all of that nonsense. I start with myself and I look...No believing, no ideation. Just observation of the mind and what lies behind the mind. That silent awareness which observes. I peel away the layers to see what I am connected to.

What works for you - might not work for me, my friend. What you say may strike me as poppycock (and honestly sometimes it does) - but it is your poppycock and I accept that it might yield things for you which I cannot conceive of...So I call you silly on one level - because what you say is meaningless and deadly to me - but I also see you as a sincere human being seeking insight and clarity...and I know there are many ways to skin a cat. But please - drop this notion that you can persuade me into seeing any real difference between believing in God and not believing in God. Perception is based on interpretation of sensual information and intuitive information. Interpretation can be flawed or attuned to what is.

We all must start (and end) with deciphering perception. The physicists say that objectivity is impossible - because the observer affects the observed. On another level though, the observer is the observed. So until we face up to what we are thinking - we can never come to clarity as to what we are beyond whatever temporary identies the body and mind and environment might attest to/construct. This might sound terribly intellectual - but it is really not. It is the beginning of looking at ourselves as we have been conditioned...and in that process, becoming aware that there is an awareness operating which is not based on thought; an awareness that is of another dimension.

Belief is of the dimension of thought. Being is of another dimension. Pure being is where I feel real intelligence lies. Thought, by definition - constructs the thinker, the ego - and produces a realm - no matter how seemingly marvellous and inter-galactic - that is limited and material. Discerning this seems to me essential to finding out what reality is and what illusion is. I don't believe that I am NOT a body. I see it.

"And how do you know if God is listening to you?" You ask me this? A very intellectual and "impossible to answer question." Fine to ask it. But why this endless talk of God? Why not start with observing what you are? What frailties and illusions bely your motivations and your prayers? Just as one should ask when another is communicating with one - WHAT IS TALKING? Is it pride, ignorance, jealosy, confusion, fear, insecurity, affection, insincerity etc?

"How does one know if one has a true experience of God. For such an experience would be truly life changing?" paraphasing you...

I have not experienced God. I don't know what God is. I have had visions. They are interesting and life affirming.

Life has meaning for me when I know my true nature...and as far as I understand that quest - it all comes down to how desperate you are to know. True knowledge begins to flower when you have such an all-consuming love in your heart for reality (or God as you might call it) - that nothing can interfere. I would not call such a man a believer. I would call him free. Free of beliefs, free of illusions. His mind is like a clear vessel reflecting the sun. Light is not thought. Light is not belief. Transcendence transcends belief. There are two kinds of desperate men. One is a sorry figure and the world is full of them. The second kind is the one who is extraordinary...because he is mad with his quest to know what he is.

End to Suffering

We are healed of a suffering only by expressing it to the full.

Marcel Proust

Van der Post on the Evolution of the European Mind

Van der Post in his opening chapter makes little mention of Jung - more of the psychology of an entire culture - how it ebbs and flows with extroverted and introverted moments and how that all ties into the mythological undercurrent of an evolving global mind. It is fascinating. I have never heard someone speak with such acute mythological and psychological understanding of a civilisation - at least as concisely and as clearly as I have Laurens Van Der Post here. Gives one a lot of fat to chew on - all related to deciphering this line a friend shared recently:

"I feel an understanding of the times will lead to an understanding
of how time is to be treated."

I feel it is part of how to go about answering that riddle for me. Van Der Post was a young man in the Second World War - with about 4 or 5 European languages comfortably in his repertoire. And his understanding of the European consciousness was (and his understanding of the hidden meaning of dreams and the beguiling use of symbols in the Bible) - to my ears - far deeper and involved - than any of his contemporaries (indeed anyone I have ever come across).

We are creatures wed to symbols - so when one comes across a mind that is able to decode the symbols of one's race so expertly - the world becomes a clearer place...and the times more meaningful...With a greater appreciation for our background - the actions we make in the foreground of our lives can be more sensitive and more attuned to "right" action. The consquence? - we are likely to be wiser, happier and more "keyed"-in human beings.

One's place in history then is not so bewildering - one's dreams, one's culture are no longer such bedazzling mysteries...one can leap great divides...This is not intellectual - academics rarely find this kind of deep clarity - Jospeh Campbell was perhaps an exception to that - and Van Der Post was not an academic - but he was a brilliant man. I find his outlook refreshing. His take on things enhances where I am already going....

On this issue of time - there is the mythological aspect - which is HUGE.
but there is also Einstein - I am sure his discoveries filter through to psychology in profound ways....I want to ride those beams of light that connect all of this.

The Mastery of Yoga

The Mastery of Yoga must not be measured simply by the ability to master the techniques of yoga like asanas and pranayama, but how it positively influences our day to day living, enhancing our relationships and promoting clarity and peace of mind.

TKV Desikachar

Pregnant

Australian Court Docket 12659, Case of the Pregnant Lady


A lady about 8 months pregnant got on a bus. She noticed a man opposite her
was smiling at her. She immediately moved to another seat. This time the
man's smile turned into a grin, so she move again. The man seemed more
amused. When she moved for the fourth time, the man burst out laughing, she
complained to the driver and he had the man arrested. (Only in Australia)


The case came up in court. The judge asked the man, (about 20 years old),
what he had to say for himself.


The man replied, "Well your Honor, it was like this: When the lady got on
the bus, I couldn't help but notice her condition. She sat under a sweets
sign that said, THE DOUBLEMINT TWINS ARE COMING, and I grinned.


Then she moved and sat under a sign that said, LOGAN'S LINIMENT WILL REDUCE
THE SWELLING, I had to smile.


Then she placed herself under a deodorant sign than said, WILLIAMS BIG
STICK DID THE TRICK, I could hardly contain myself.


But, your Honor, when she moved the fourth time and sat under a sign that
said, GOODYEAR RUBBER COULD HAVE PREVENTED THIS ACCIDENT, I just lost it.


The case was dismissed .

Happiness?

http://www.brainchannels.com/thinker/mihaly.html

Landings

The last time I was home I was at a very different stage - back then it was all about landings. When you land in a new country (ie that time India) - there are many challenges - it was a sifting process...and out of that came 2 clear avenues forward - running an online bookshop and setting up an organic soap business.

I always like the metaphor of the dog sitting down. They sniff around to find a suitable place then they walk around, like a ton of times - because they are picky like that - not just going to plump their ass just anywhere - has to be just right....quite amusing to watch...but there is a lesson in it.

Etymology of Honeymoon

1546, hony moone, but probably much older, from honey in reference to the new marriage's sweetness, and moon in reference to how long it would probably last, or from the changing aspect of the moon: no sooner full than it begins to wane. Fr. has cognate lune de miel, but Ger. version is flitterwochen (pl.), from flitter "tinsel."

From Colin

Being a science teacher means I get to talk about science all the time and I get to read great stuff and have interesting arguments with people on the course about what happens to atoms if the actually manage to reach absolute zero (if that were possible). So according to plan this time next year I should have my own lab in a school somewhere decorated with planets, plants and fossils with beakers and Bunsen burners sittin around! Fantastic!! What an awesome job! Just can't wait till I am doing it properly instead of having to sprint from room to room to do my lessons.

"Equipped with his 5 senses man has explored the universe around him and
calls the adventure science' Hubble.

I've taught lots of bits of lessons so far but I've taught three full lessons completely on my own this week. Stepped into the breech properly you might say! My first was a complete dream, but then I was lucky that I got to teach about the earth, sun and moon and talk about orbits and stuff like that. My last one today was about the phases of the moon which should have been awesome though with it being last period some of the kids behaved like little gits! I've just given out my first two detentions!

Remember experiencing the onslaught of the monsoon sweeping down from the Himalayas through west Bengal as I was traveling on a train from Calcutta. I was leaning out of the train , cause they go So fast!, getting soaked, I don't think I've ever felt so alive!

The Story of Puss in Boots

Once upon a time . . . a miller died leaving the mill to his eldest son, his donkey to his second son and . . . a cat to his youngest son.
"Now that's some difference!" you might say; but there you are, that's how the miller was! The eldest son kept the mill, the second son took the donkey and set off in search of his fortune . . . while the third sat down on a stone and sighed, "A cat! What am I going to do with that?"

But the cat heard his words and said, "Don't worry, Master. What do you think? That I'm worth less than a half-ruined mill or a mangy donkey? Give me a cloak, a hat with a feather in it, a bag and a pair of boots, and you will see what I can do."

The young man, by no means surprised, for it was quite common for cats to talk in those days, gave the cat what he asked for, and as he strode away, confident and cheerful. the cat said. "Don't look so glum, Master. See you soon!"

Swift of foot as he was, the cat caught a fat wild rabbit, popped it into his bag, knocked at the castle gate, went before the King and, removing his hat, with a sweeping bow, he said: "Sire, the famous Marquis of Carabas sends you this fine plump rabbit as a gift."

"Oh," said the King, "thanks so much."

"Till tomorrow," replied the cat as he went out. And the next day, back he came with some partridges tucked away in his bag. "Another gift from the brave Marquis of Carabas," he announced.

The Queen remarked, "This Marquis of Carabas is indeed a very courteous gentleman."

In the days that followed, Puss in Boots regularly visited the castle, carrying rabbits, hares, partridges and skylarks, presenting them all to the King in the name of the Marquis of Carabas. Folk at the palace began to talk about this noble gentleman.

"He must be a great hunter," someone remarked.

"He must be very loyal to the King," said someone else.

And yet another, "But who is he? I've never heard of him."

At this someone who wanted to show people how much he knew, replied, "Oh, yes, I've heard his name before. In fact, I knew his father."

The Queen was very interested in this generous man who sent these gifts. "Is your master young and handsome?" she asked the cat.

"Oh yes. And very rich, too," answered Puss in Boots. "In fact, he would be very honoured if you and the King called to see him in his castle."

When the cat returned home and told his master that the King and Queen were going to visit him, he was horrified. "Whatever shall we do?" he cried. "As soon as they see me they will know how poor I am."

"Leave everything to me," replied Puss in Boots. "I have a plan."

For several days, the crafty cat kept on taking gifts to the King and Queen, and one day he discovered that they were taking the Princess on a carriage ride that very afternoon. The cat hurried home in great excitement.

"Master, come along," he cried. "It is time to carry out my plan. You must go for a swim in the river."

"But I can't swim," replied the young man.

"That's all right," replied Puss in Boots. "Just trust me."

So they went to the river and when the King's carriage appeared the cat pushed his master into the water.

"Help!" cried the cat. "The Marquis of Carabas is drowning."

The King heard his cries and sent his escorts to the rescue. They arrived just in time to save the poor man, who really was drowning. The King, the Queen and the Princess fussed around and ordered new clothes to be brought for the Marquis of Carabas.

"Wouldn't you like to marry such a handsome man?" the Queen asked her daughter.

"Oh, yes," replied the Princess.

However, the cat overheard one of the ministers remark that they must find out how rich he was.

"He is very rich indeed," said Puss in Boots. "He owns the castle and all this land. Come and see for yourself. I will meet you at the castle."

And with these words, the cat rushed off in the direction of the castle, shouting at the peasants working in the fields, "If anyone asks you who your master is, answer: the Marquis of Carabas. Otherwise you will all be sorry."

And so, when the King's carriage swept past, the peasants told the King that their master was the Marquis of Carabas. In the meantime, Puss in Boots had arrived at the castle, the home of a huge, cruel ogre.

Before knocking at the gate, the cat said to himself, "I must be very careful, or I'll never get out of here alive."

When the door opened, Puss in Boots removed his feather hat, exclaiming, "My Lord Ogre, my respects!"

"What do you want, cat?" asked the ogre rudely.

"Sire, I've heard you possess great powers. That, for instance, you can change into a lion or an elephant."

"That's perfectly true," said the ogre, "and so what?"

"Well," said the cat, "I was talking to certain friends of mine who said that you can't turn into a tiny little creature, like a mouse."

"Oh, so that's what they say, is it?" exclaimed the ogre.

The cat nodded, "Well, Sire, that's my opinion too, because folk that can do big things never can manage little ones."

"Oh, yes? Well, just watch this!" retorted the ogre, turning into a mouse.

In a flash, the cat leapt on the mouse and ate it whole. Then he dashed to the castle gate, just in time, for the King's carriage was drawing up.

With a bow, Puss in Boots said, "Sire, welcome to the castle of the Marquis of Carabas!"

The King and Queen, the Princess and the miller's son who, dressed in his princely clothes, really did look like a marquis, got out of the carriage and the King spoke: "My dear Marquis, you're a fine, handsome, young man, you have a great deal of land and a magnificent castle. Tell me, are you married?"

"No," the young man answered, "but I would like to find a wife."

He looked at the Princess as he spoke. She in turn smiled at him. To cut a long story short, the miller's son, now Marquis of Carabas, married the Princess and lived happily with her in the castle. And from time to time, the cat would wink and whisper, "You see, Master, I am worth a lot more than any mangy donkey or half-ruined mill, aren't I?"

What does yoga mean to me?

It means connection primarily - with either a wise teacher or a body of wise and living knowledge. It also means looking into the mirror of experience to understand what the mind does. It means a codified set of principles which help to clarify and explain what the mind does and, hence, what the mind is. It means a way of living which is very dedicated to discipline and being in a clear state of mind. It means being free of all that is unessential. It means living with a clear conscience.

It means relaxation... and figuring out (through the spaciousness given through relaxation) what enormous potentials lie within us. It means identifiying the predominant symbols of the background weave of our consciousness and how those relate to the universal urges of the biological being, as well as how they relate to the universal needs
of the psyche of man (and contextual significance of the cultural ramifications and crossover's therein).

It means learning what are right priorities. It means learning what are right attitudes. It means looking upon mistakes and misunderstandings without the shadow of guilt. Yoga to me, is the scientific and intuitive vehicle for deciphering the riddle of the causes of suffering. It is the mechanics of the spiritual life applied to every plane of our existence.

The Importance of Space from work

Space for refection and rambling in wild places is essential to making the right moves and for making them with vim.

March 2005

A particularly interesting event occurred several months ago. I woke with the name of John Rushkin on my mind. I knew very little about him. But on a recent trip to Europe my mother took me to see his house in the great wilderness of England - the Lake District. What an inspiring man! Of the same league as the likes of Emerson, Whitman, Thoreau and Carlyle...and oh what a garden....what a garden!!!... Visitng his house, I had a distinct feeling that life was nudging me to rise to my highest potential - to be the maverick/polymath within...

A lucky man

Now, I see very clearly where my life is going and how bright things can be...And suddenly Thoreau's phrase - "simplify, simplify, simplify" - my adopted motto - is not just mystically beautiful - but practically mine - How fantastic is synthesis! My favorite cocktail hands down! Clarity and Synthesis on the rocks - with a dash of lemon....

I have finally figured out the points of reference from which to weave my web of creative disciplines....It's like the best christmas present ever....doing what you really love, being what you really are. Connecting the dots of what you are is one part of it. Then there's the fleshing out of the beast that you figured yourself out to be...I just arrived at the second one....I consider myself a very lucky man....

Time

Look at this:

http://www.deathclock.com/

And meditate on this:

http://bodhitree.com/lectures/Arguelles.html

Facing the demons of what we judge as unpleasant or worse

I do love the path of challenge and growth
through focused failure to separate what is
pleasant and unpleasant.

From my good friend David at AllOrganic

The Bodhi Tree Bookstore, Los Angeles - an Anecdote

The Bodhi Tree bookstore in Los Angeles was built because of an inspiration to sell Krishnamurti's books. Stan and Phil, the owners, were in rocket science (literally) designing bomb spreads for the Vietnam bush. They went out to hear Krishnamurti speak in Ojai... and made war no more. K's were the first books, gradually friends brought in books by other teachers, hence the store. But it all started out as a card and tea shop with K's books.

A WISH TO GO DEEPER

A TREK IN THE MOUNTAINS IS ONE THING -
A TREK THROUGH OUSELVES IS QUITE ANOTHER...

YOGA ...WHEN YOU REALLY LEARN TO HARNESS ITS LIVING POWER... IS THE ESSENCE OF SELF-RELIANCE AND DO IT YOURSELF HEALING

(IT ABSOLVES THE NEED FOR HEALERS -
NOT THAT THEY ARE BAD, BUT LIMITATIONS ARE ALWAYS THERE TO BE PUSHED)

I WANT TO KNOW WHAT DISCIPLINE IS

NOTHING I HAVE FOUND, OUTSIDE OF THE QUEST TO MASTER YOGA,
MATCHES UP TO FIGURING OUT THAT CHALLENGE...

Inspiration from the I Ching

If one is increased without depriving others,
There is no blame.
Perseverance brings good fortune.
It furthers one to undertake something.
One obtains servants
But no longer has a separate home.

There are people who dispense blessings to the whole world. Every increase in power that comes to them benefits the whole of mankind and therefore does not bring decrease to others. Through perseverance and zealous work a man wins success and finds helpers as they are needed. But what he accomplishes is not a limited private advantage; it is a public good and available to everyone.
dance
an amazing language
the swimming discourse of empathy and anger and motive and wonder...in movement

Clay and Molding things

I know what wealth is. I also know what not having money is. I know the riches of a mind dredged for its hidden beauty. I know loss. I know attachment. I have felt whispers of love...fleeting, glorious, gripping....passing in the night. I see how valuable my life experience has been for the challenging destiny that lies ahead of me

I value Elsbeth - the sculptress who introduced me to clay and molding things at the age of 8. I value Elizabeth, the wonderful Viennese Jewish lady who loved me like few have ever done. How she listened. How she nurtured the soul with her grape juice and enthusiasm.

I value the amazing forays into the European imagination that my parents gave me. Then there was Kelvin Britten and Marilyn Cadogon who came along just when I needed a scientific buoy of grounded hypotheses and formulae to steady me in the wavering sea of artistic emotion (the cradle of my parent's inner ethos/gift to me) and the storm of inner demons that my father represented to me...Amazing the lamp-posts that guide us through our transformations.

Painting my aunt's long and winding fence in my late teens helped me take the leap that I had to. Soon after I lept an ocean. I could never had done it without that fence. I could never not have done leapt. I am sure you have your versions of such transitory moments...connections from one stage to another....Molding clay into otters with Elsbeth...weilding an unweildy violin...running the track at Olympus in the baking middy heat of a summer's day....ah the recognition of what we are inwardly foistered on us by the mirror of experience!

And now psoriasis and the mythic dimension (I feel it is my destiny to clarify the significance of the conjunction of the mythic dimension with the personality). Both of these things drive me to India. Into a future untested...salient and connected - dedicated to the guidance and example of wise beings - the central flagposts in the evolving drama...The violin has been laid to one side...but the music has not stopped. The clay is still being molded...

The dance continues :)

For Jeff

Dance for joy with the pigeons in Place St Germain - they'll appreciate it - and we'll definately be connected....at least in that moment :)

Fire and Wind

Ah bird feeders and booze - England is such an eccentric mix. That's the prism of my past. And now...now there are pujas and lassi...the prism of my filtered moment.

I am reading an amazing book about the life of Carl Jung right now - by the incomparable Laurens Van der Post. Amazing stuff. The biology of a country. The mechanics behind the evolving psyche of western thought. The fusion of technology and theology...the trap that is the theory of the mind...the luminaries that have waded through it's muddy labarynth and come upon clarity.

I am trying to decipher the mythic gateway presented by my Western conditioned mind when it comes face to face with the grand tale of the East. Pragnatism and individualism and productivity and profits meets holy cows and social accountability and the vastness of a land that has no beginning and no language for time. I am thrown into a furious cycle: heat and dry reeds...fire and wind...death and regeneration. And then there is the thread that runs through it all. The thread, the essence, the suture (from the Sanskrit: sutra - thread). The river of (a questioned) life.


Suture:

"The process of joining two surfaces or edges together along a line by or as if by sewing.
The material, such as thread, gut, or wire, that is used in this procedure.
The line or stitch so formed.

Medicine.

The fine thread or other material used surgically to close a wound or join tissues.
The stitch so formed.

Anatomy.

The line of junction or an immovable joint between two bones, especially of the skull.

Biology.

A seamlike joint or line of articulation, such as the line of dehiscence in a dry fruit or the spiral seam marking the junction of whorls of a gastropod shell."


Both cultural viewpoints are challenged by the same phenomena - but both come up with remarkably different symbols (and sometimes remarkably similar ones) to broach the river to the inestimable void...from whence we came...

The Wedding of Contrasts

Amazing how high raw, dark, brooding landscapes with little but lonely trees and sprawling vacuous skies can lift a man who has grown too used to 100 dusty motorbikes roaring for attention and position at busy crossroads in overcrowded, baking Indian cities! But then the wedding of contrasts is always fertile ground for imagination and spiritual surges...
Eleonor Roosevelt said you must do the thing you most fear. I concur.

I also feel one should be wary of formulas. There is infinite value in certain traditions...but there is no benefit whatsoever in being a slave to them. We are connected all the time to the immeasurable. Some practices unquestionably bring us closer to a ripe awareness of that inescapable and awesome fact. Yet when we begin to think we aren't connected... that's when the trouble starts. Practice...but when you can't remember being is the ultimate practice...

Ha! thinking can really mess You up! :)

Go Your Way

Joseph Campbell talked about getting to the top of a ladder and realizing one is on the wrong ladder - because one's life was not connected with the mythic significance of its inner potentials.


Never go the conventional route (by that I mean the unquestioned route).
One can never be THAT happy going down the conventional route...

Go Your way
and everything will be ok...

No, "ok" doesn't cut it! - but in one sense it does.

Community appears to be a powerful healing force

Interesting extract from:

"Social Network's Healing Power Is Borne Out in Poorer Nations" from Washington Post
Author: Shankar Vedantam - Washington Post Staff Writer, Date: 12 July 2005, Submitted by: Dr. Morton Schatzman, Psychotherapist (GB)


Most people with schizophrenia in India live with their families or other social networks -- in sharp contrast to the United States, where most patients are homeless, in group homes or on their own, in psychiatric facilities or in jail. Many Indian patients are given low-stress jobs by a culture that values social connectedness over productivity; patients in the United States are usually excluded from regular workplaces.

Indian families sit in on doctor-patient discussions because families are considered central to the problem and the solution. In America, doctor-patient conversations are confidential -- and psychiatrists primarily focus on brain chemistry.

Norman Sartorius, the former head of WHO's mental health program, spearheaded the schizophrenia studies. He says there is much the United States and Europe could learn from villages such as Raipur Rani.

In an interview at his home in Geneva, he said Western countries could financially help families take care of their relatives, which would save money on hospitalization and incarceration. Caregivers might be given time off from jobs. And doctors could enlist recreational and religious groups to replace the social networks that patients lose.
"Social factors play a major and important role in the outcome of disease," Sartorius said. "Very few solutions are medical in medicine."

Decades of research have supported the WHO findings, but they have met with stony silence in the United States, in part because anti-psychiatry groups have argued erroneously that the studies prove that drugs and doctors are useless. Most U.S. psychiatrists see schizophrenia as an organic brain disorder, whose origins and outcome depend on genes and brain chemistry. They acknowledge the psychosocial aspects of disease, but the challenges of connecting patients with jobs, schooling and social networks are neglected -- often because they fall outside the bounds of traditional medicine.

Asked whether he would agree that schizophrenia patients might be better off in Nigeria than in New York, Darrel Regier, director of research at the American Psychiatric Association, was blunt: "God, no!"

Regier is not alone. Patient advocacy groups are also uneasy about giving families a central role because, in a previous era, a now-discredited theory blamed schizophrenia on poor parenting.

Drug manufacturers, too, are focused elsewhere. "Pharmaceutical companies, which control the scientific production of research at universities, are not interested in saying, 'Social factors are more important than my drug,' " said Jose Bertolote, a WHO psychiatrist. "I'm not against the use of medication, but it's a question of imbalance."
Western doctors cannot write prescriptions for stronger family ties, Bertolote said. But Indian psychiatrists, unlike their Western counterparts, dispense not only drugs but also spiritual advice, family counseling -- even matchmaking services. Indian doctors are seen not only as medical experts, but as wise authority figures.

In the south Indian city of Chennai, psychiatrist Shantha Kamath writes prescriptions for better family ties: When a father asked for her help in arranging the marriage of his daughter, who has schizophrenia, Kamath's written instructions told the parents how to interact with their daughter and listed the skills the young woman needed to learn before the doctor would arrange a match.

Trend Emerged Slowly
________________________________________
The International Pilot Study on Schizophrenia was launched in 1967 to determine whether the disease existed in all countries and whether it could be reliably diagnosed and treated.

The study quickly established that the disease occurs everywhere. Only gradually did it emerge that patients in poor nations had better outcomes. The second study, which had more rigorous guidelines, included Naren Wig's patients in Raipur Rani village.
In all, the study tracked about 3,300 patients, Sartorius said, and 30-year follow-ups confirmed the initial trends. The study spanned a dozen countries -- capitalist and communist, eastern and western, northern and southern, large and small, rich and poor.
The results were consistent -- and surprising. Patients in poorer countries spent fewer days in hospitals, were more likely to be employed and were more socially connected. Between half and two-thirds became symptom-free, whereas only about a third of patients from rich countries recovered to the same degree, Sartorius said.

Nigerian, Colombian and Indian patients also seemed less likely to suffer relapses and had longer periods of health between relapses. Doctors in poorer countries stopped drugs when patients became better -- whereas doctors in rich countries often required patients to take medication all their lives.

A separate study, in rural China, recently revealed that low doses of medication could be as effective as high doses, and virtually eliminated side effects, said Martin Gittelman, a clinical professor of psychiatry at New York University. And older medications, largely discarded in wealthier countries, were as effective as newer, expensive anti-psychotic drugs.

Dream of a lifetime

"Java at last! I shall never forget landing in Java; crossing the Sumda Straits, down the coast of Sumatra and in low over rice paddies and waving palms to Djakarta - it was like coming home - I had read and imagined it so long."

Mum

Busing in Hungary

'Bus' in Hungarian actually means 'fuck' - so this caused much embarrassment for our Hungarian friends.

From Paula

A traveler

A traveler. I love his title. A traveler is to be reverenced as such. His profession is the best symbol of our life. Going from toward. It is the history of every one of us.

Henry David Thoreau

Dreams speak from within and without

Dreams have two levels. They reflect our anima and animus, the archetypes we are grappling with...And they act also as messengers from the spirit world. There is the internal geography and the inter-dimensional geography. Both have significance. Discriminating which is which takes a subtle intelligence.

Nemesis

I remember Martha once wrote me a love letter in a card...she used the phrase: "my scruffy teddy bear nemesis." I am not sure if it was "scruffy"...something like that - something evoking 'unkempt', "unfinished", "bohemian" - it had the ring of some diminutive phrase we would use for someone we cared for - someone who was beautiful and challenging to us at the same time. I wonder where the phrase came from in her mind - I mean the word 'nemesis' in particular.

I wonder about this because it has come to symbolise the greater story between us. Relationships stand for things. Deciphering their more subtle meaning is a lifelong process.

The online dictionary's definition of nemesis is:

"nemesis
A source of harm or ruin: Uncritical trust is my nemesis.
Retributive justice in its execution or outcome: To follow the proposed course of action is to invite nemesis.
An opponent that cannot be beaten or overcome.
One that inflicts retribution or vengeance.
Nemesis Greek Mythology. The goddess of retributive justice or vengeance."

I wonder how much bitterness people carry without being open about it to themselves? This definately is something that comes up for me as a serious question when I think of Martha. I feel she is happily pursuing her life now - but surely buried in her consciousness is this unresolved bitterness toward me. Something that she covers over. Hate and indifference are mercurial things. It is a complicated issue.

Sometimes, the invisible realm within us needs to be left fallow for some years at times(hence the phrase: "Time is a great healer") - just as fields do - if we really wish to bring about healthy soils and meaningful harvests. Left fallow...but NOT denied, fresh air, fresh rain and bird song. Deep connections between human beings have an astonishing and often times, surprising biology. I see this more potently than anywhere else - in dreams and in art.

Pushing buttons

From a recent dialogue:

"I think you need to look inside your heart and ask why you need to look down on others."

Response:

1. I don't look down on others. Period.
2. I do have pity for much of mankind...Pity and compassion. There is no condescension in that. I can hate the acts of paedophiles or religious zealots for example - but I can never hate the person. I recognise that forgiveness and empathy is all that is open to me in such moments - my conviction is that that is the way of sanity.

Holy Cows make the best meat!

Sri Aurobindo - a bonafied Indian guru - was once visited by a devout devotee from a far away land. He found Aurobindo smoking. "What? you smoke?! But you are holy man!???" He uttered in flabbergasted amazement...all his projections and images of a holy man flustered on the screen of his mind before him and seriously screwed with his head at that moment. Nonchalantly, Aurobindo replied matter of factly: "Yes, I am addicted." :) Holy cows make the best meat!

Carolyn Myss and her Spriritual Tours

I have listened to Carolyn Myss quite a few times - and enjoyed to hear her take on things...an original thinker. But her trips to Egypt with 400 women sort of blends one of my worst nightmares and something that could be genuinely interesting....I don't do coach tours well - nothing makes me feel more like a tourist than being in a coach. I prefer to travel not to "tourist"!

I guess what she does caters to a population of "new age" American women who like to travel in comfort and numbers...and hopefully it leads them down healing tracks. I have noticed though that Americans like sameness...I am sure all cultures do. But America made it an international brand - a Holiday Inn in Milwaukee and Madras are basically the same creature...When you can wake up in the same surroundings no matter where you are - maybe you feel a little safer.

I am not really sure why there is such an urge to make this bland, brand of sameness in corporate hotels. But it is a clear trend...MTV, Sesame Street, coffee and bacon are there wherever you go. Sad in some ways, yet understandable too, as technology takes man's consciousness towards a more global footing.

However, the subtle depths of our cultural heritage can be covered over by superficial escapism - and that is a very real concern - I imagine "Carolyn Tours INC" try to look for the common mythological motifs of ancient cultures and our own - and how that all ties into the psychospiritual vehicle we are all walking around in/as...I imagine - she is on to something. But my hunch is that what one gets in the end is a little watered down and cliched. Perhaps I am wrong. Clearly though she is a good businesswoman and more power to her for that! At the same time, I am always wary of healers who jump on the salesman's wagon and pedal things...America leads the world in this activity. It sells itself the idea that EVERYTHING can be bought. Spiritual insight included! Hah!

Notes from a recent dialogue

I feel there is no difference between the following two statements...

"I believe in God" - "I don't believe in God",

They amount to nothing.

Wisdom has nothing to do with ideation and formulas. And those two statements are all about ideation and formulas to me. I don't believe in food. I go out and eat it or I die. So too for me, with the spiritual life. Ideas and beliefs do not feed me. Direct relationship with the divine within me, and within others, does. One needs inner urgency for that. That being said - I do not say that faith is wrong - only that it must be a faith that is not blinded by dogma nor a faith built on fear (which is very common).

My approach is entirely grounded in experience and implicit direct knowledge of the nature of existence and the mind. I am humble enough to recognise there are many things as yet unrevealed to me.

All thought is a meshwork of images. Once the mind is quiet - healing comes.

A man of unshaken resolve is not offended by words. The world is full of insensitive people with insensitive things to say. The world is full of hypocrisy.

A true friend does not mince words - he says it how it is. Whereas polite society do everything to avoid "issues" being brought up. Bullshit! to that. Without affection these intercourses are meaningless...

Remember that the turning point for Carl Jung was a dream of a great shit from heaven falling on a church. He revolutionized understanding of the psyche - and saw the common themes of man's quest for spiritual understanding the world over. He was not a follower of doctrines - but a man ready to look at the mind for what it was. Wisdom always begins with observing what is - rather than accepting tradition and doctrine blindly (the church in his dream). Everything must be tested.

Abraham Lincoln was a prophetic figure - not a merely a Christian as you label him. Just as Washington was greeted by angels - and told that he would be a father of a great nation...so too Lincoln was guided. That he happened to have been born into the Western world and hence, the Christian culture and the realm of Christian myth - was by the by. God/Life works through all men - whether Hindu, Christian, Buddhist or Muslim or determinedly humanistic (as I am) - IF - and this is the big IF - their minds are quiet and reverent of the deeper meanings behind the sacred symbols of the cultural heritage they were born into.

We are not arguing - for I have no conflict with you. But challenge me with your understanding of what I am saying - and how it affects you - and I wil - naturally speak my mind.

Christmas Day 2005

It is late eveing in India... Christmas day.

At 6.30 am, my Sanskrit teacher telephoned me to wish me a "Happy Christmas". She is a lovely woman - deeply religious and such a good person. I had not long woken. So nice of her to think of me in this way.

It has been interesting coming to India. I was not baptised nor raised in any particular church - but I was raised in Christendom. I have enormous love and respect for Christ and see the essence of his message - "love ye one another" - as a universal inspiration for all.

I suppose I am a humanist (in the broadest reach of that term) who tries his best to face the man in the mirror! When you throw yourself into such a different culture, one comes to see clearer the aspects of one's own conditioning - the good and the bad.

I spent the early morning chanting salutations to mother Mary in Sanskrit - in the company of Westerners and Indians alike - at the yoga school...

"namo namaha mary"

So beautiful, so simple.

Then I attended lectures on yoga and it's application to everyday life.

In the early evening, I sat on the stoop of my dear friend Khartik's house and laughed at his story of his visitng a palm reader. Apparently, the palm reader had said that one day he would go to the West - something he dearly dreams off. The palm reader had made a special point of explaining this (though he knew nothing of Khartik's dream to do it) and Karthik repeated this, emphatically explaining that his dream would come true with the assistance of "EITHER a man OR a woman". Karthik said this with such deliberation and care and we both fell about laughing when I said "Well, I am glad you got that cleared up - at least you know it won't be a monkey."!!! The local children gazed wide eyed at me and buzzed by on bicycles in the crowded alleyway. Wherever you are, it is good to have friends!

In the evening, I visited two very different Indian families, who number Christians amongst their members and celebrated with them with a little cake! A little boy showed me his Ferrari model car with flashing lights and music and tickled me. I tickled him back...

At some point my parents telephoned and my dad spoke to me in his terrible Indian accent as I was being driven through the thick city traffic...

Life: your mission should you accept it...


To follow your dreams.
To let them shape you.

To maintain the right dimensions of order in a universe
which has entropy constantly on its mind.

In time of Cold...the Leaves will fall.

I remember when I was young,
How the spring came and went
On the field outside my house.
I knew no further.

Tadpoles and pipistrelles were
the stuff of legend then.
The bells, they rang day or night;
and many a young man did not
come back from the fight.

Now, I am something else.
But not entirely changed.
As with everyone.
As with everything.

I wonder where all the flowers
have gone?
My friend ages in a reclining chair.
Some do it down the barrel of a
gun;
Some languishing in a hot tropical
sun.

Counting days.
We ask ourselves if regreting pays.
The cold north wind takes away
the midday haze.
Covers it in frost to bring forth
sapling wine.
Ony the wise know the secret of
this rhyme.

I can live with decaying...
I can live with time.
I cannot live without ending.
No death would mean we
might be sealed.
Sealed in blood.
Blood and grime.

The plants are wilting now...
growing now.
The rain has washed their petals
into soil and clay.
The wind has carried precious seeds away.

The great ocean, far off, beckons.
From a distance, across the tidal sands
I hear an oystercatcher's cry.

Piercing me.
The tears they come without water,
without sobbing cries.
Hollow.

I am no patriot.
I daren't take sides...

Empathy does well to kill my pride.
I have learned to aquiesce.
Learned I am that I am.

A friend, asks for my motive.

I hear my uncle:
"nine times out of ten:
find the motive and you find the criminal."

My crime...the wish to be free.
Each passing moment I savor
the ties that bind.

For Peggy and Mum

Iraq and Vietnam

Interesting connections:

http://www.d-n-i.net/creveld/why_iraq_will_end_as_vietnam_did.htm

The only thing in my way is myself...

It’s amazing – I live utterly on the edge. I see the madness of the world – yet I am still caught in it. Still trapped by desire. How to outgrow this foolishness?

Determination – I don’t really know what that is. Without knowing it life is meaningless. I cannot live without hunting for it. Yet it eludes me. The only thing in my way is myself.

Died twice already today and it's not time for lunch yet

A contemporary of Van Gogh's said of Van Gogh:

"That is a man who must have died three or four times in his life".

Preliminary List of interesting dance styles

One general approach to dancing seems to be a little like imitating a speeded up version of rock climbers shimmeying up a steep incline.

Myself - I saw a production of "Haiawatha" when I was about 10. It was fantastic. I love the swirling Native American thing. I guess I do the Haiwatha quite often :)

Note to Nick

Nick is an old friend. When we were 8 he had a SETI antenna system set up in his living room - monitoring for ET in Bootle... and the far reaches of solar system. He grew up in a wondeful big old manor house house with a garden the size of Spain. A childhood friend who lived in THE magic garden - now what else could a bloke ask for in a pal...Glad you made an appearance at age 4 Nick! It's always good to get into the friendship game early...

The ghost of Kipling and Rohl Dahl are egging you to move out here and write the "Just So Hairy Hindi Monster at the bottom of your dahl garden" stories...

Please send me any particularly funny snippets - so I can steal them and broadcast them to subvert the general communist indoctrination process in Chinese nunnerys...Actually, as we are going along that tangent - have you ever read Tom Robbins? - because if you haven't - you absolutely should - start with: "Skinny legs and all" and then take your pick...

I actually wrote this letter after a bowl of grapes, 2 hours on the dance floor, no sleep for 48 hours and a mosquito net between me and the night - a fine way to begin a dialogue i would say....

Right, back to the tablas...and one of my latest missions to buy an apartment - hoping to get a nice 3 bedroomed one for about 12 pounds fifty - amazing the idea flashed across my mind this morning.

I am sure there will come a point where you will have to visit and start converting the natives to be followers of Doctor Who... :)

New Year's Resoluton - numbers 187, 188, 189

187. be more generous
188. build a steam room
189. take "impossible" out of my dictionary

Socrates, you're' the man!

Socrates was on to something - he believed a peak body gives a peak mind - i tend to agree - so it's yoga, swimming, bollywood hip swinging and beach hiking for me...

Passion - men or women do it best?

I read recently that women are more passionate than men.

I suppose before I go on I should define passion. Whoops, that's not easy!

Firstly, being a full blooded passionate male, my first response was to disagree.

But then...

I went dancing...

And I noticed something - women naturally exude passion on the dance floor when the music takes them. I don't mean sexual passion here. I just mean they tend to be less inhibited about flowing with the music. Men are, very often, rational creatures...and rationality is something one needs in dance - but one also needs to let go.

Some men are very good dancers of course. But many are "boxy" and overly mechanical in their movements...and disconnected from their bodies. Others - like many sports people - are connected to their bodies...but disconnected from the rhythm. Perhaps that is part of what passion is - being attuned to the rhythm...

I think women do have more passion naturally - I can't explain it - but what you see on a dance floor seems to touch on it for me.

Of course many great men have had incredible passion. It takes great passion to be a star athlete...it takes great passion to be a Moses...it take great passion to be a real teacher or an orgianl painter...

Women may have more passion naturally...but individually, what counts is how we harness and irrigate the flow of energies that we do have, through the network of fields that form our personality and consciousness...The trick is to be masterful in our use of what resources we do have; to find ways to be ever expansive in our activities, our focus and our heart...

Life's essentials

A good pair of shoes
A few good friends
A love for what you do
A good attitude
Good food
A dictionary with the word "impossible" ripped out
A love of dance and fine music
An ability to laugh at yourself... and hedgehogs
An indomitable will
Good family relations
Trees
More trees
Passion
Adrenalin
Space
Pickle (I don't eat the stuff - but where would be without pickle!)
Bacteria and destruction in general - they bring in the new
Fresh fruit
Water
Goat's cheese
The sound of laughter

Most overated items:

Handkerchief
Shopping bags (learn to recycle!)
Celebrities
Pedestals
American sandwish cheese

Dancing

I just went dancing at a club in India this evening - music was a little passe -hindi pop remixes and dance tracks - but it was fun.

I guess I need to figure out how to dance to the Hindi remix stuff. It was funny watching Indians dance do that stuff. It felt like the whole club suddenly were imitating a bad Bollywood flick - lots of gesticulating arms and swaggering hips. I find dance amazing - it's like a form of language...And it intrigues me in India - (especially Tamil Nadu) - a culture that can be quite Victorian in its attitude. I mean dance here is largely a spectator sport...and traditional dancing is amazing to watch. But as a culture the general populace seem quite disconnected to dance. Sad.
The beat of a drum has profound possibilities to liberate and transmute our consciousness.

I think the Bollywood dancing that is so popular - would make more sense to me if I spoke Tamil or Hindi...I am not sure though if India has their version of salsa or ballroom or jazz - I mean a dance form for couples. All the dancing that comes out of the movies seems to be more like a dramatic language, with lots of face slapping from angry women lead actors. The guy always seem to turn up with 300 dancers skipping the hullabaloo in a paddy field - more akin to the sociology of some game bird species than a dance stlyle. I guess I need to get myself a rice farm and a few thousand twirling beauties. :)

It was sad to see all these mooses on the edges of the dance floor. My definition of moose: big haystacks of designer labels, smoking and drinking, and who have been swallowed up by the escapist bar drone thing - beer in one, hand cigerette in the other. All about the look. No connection to the spirit of the music or themselves -"look at me" is the look they tend to wear - and then there are the big bellied socialites who do the beer dance...Well, there is not much dancing involved - all you have to do is hold a beer and look semi-interested in people getting swetty around you. Middle aged, overweight men do that number very well. The more annoying ones take away dance space on the dance floor.

Now that's a moose - the kind of thing a pickup truck in canada hits on a snowy night - really making a downer of your evening - as the front of your car is now scrap metal - and the glum moose is chowing cud still in the middle of the road - wondering what metal moose behind him is trying to mount him without abiding the usual mating rites....! gah! Mooses!

On a serious note, it has long been a dream of mine to sweep a woman off the dance floor - something just right about it - I believe i need to go to charm school - hah! It frightens the bejesus out of me.

I am resolute to master some dance syle...It will be interesting to see which one I pick. I imagine it will pick me. Contemporary or jazz or something like that to expand my personality into places that just make my inhibitions seriously cringe...always good to take a chainsaw to the old inhibitions. That's a big part of Aghora - the religion which focuses on transformation of personality...

Happy Pongal

I see my split with my Martha brought me face to face with myself and my issues in the mirror of life's cruel jokes. That song by James Blunt - "You're Beautiful" kinds of sums it all up! It also gave me a good measure of a really disgusting medicine callled "Attachment sucks - deal with it." Really repugnant stuff - I don't recommend it - but I guess it was what I had to take to get "better." Love always seems to lie over the rainbow...yet, if truth be known, it's hidden in the details, in the quiet seconds that threaten to pass us by when we aren't looking. I believe forgiveness is the best way to get to grips with that reality...

An friend of mine, whom I traveled with through Mexico a long time ago, once said to me "Never seek counsel on any issue beyond technicalities. For everything non-technical - you've got the gray matter - do the math." It gelled well with me. It still does.

Intelligence is a mighty fine thing! I keep trucking, ...processing... The last thing the split with Martha taught me - was how emotional intelligence is a BIGGEE - even I was impressed how much I could hate, love, feel betrayed and at a loss - all together in the some moment - over the same person. Pushed my buttons is not the right phrase - actively jumped up and down on them would be a shade closer! She does cold well. She's a a bondafide refrigerator with me. Ah shucks, I sound like a 12 steps divorce group. "My name is Nathan and I'm a recovering bewildered ex-husband." Hence, I better stop... :)

I am a big one for empathy. So I know that what I just shared is just my take on a molten meltdown that occured between 2 people - she has her version - and never the twain shall meet...at least that's how she has it in her book. I believe checks must be cashed and debts paid though - Newton's Third Law always did it for me. So though it's all over - I am not entirely sure our issues are! What we don't deal with - deals with us - eventually...that's just the way "issues" work.

Life keeps cooking up interesting recipes for me though...and I learn to let go what is making unnecessary barriers to freedom inside of me....I learn to let go...and I learn to smile.

Charlie Chaplin said all tragedy is comical if you figure out the right vantage point...but comics would be out of a job if they didn't say that! Then again,they may be on to something...

:)

Today is Pongal. The first day in the shift of the solar calendar. It starts moving north today...north to heaven...for six straight months - then in June it turns back to the South...and the auspicious goes with it.

If you are going to die...this six month period (as opposed to the other one) is a good idea - I guess it's up to you to pick the year...At least that's how some of the locals see it. The sun is heading for heaven for six months...but after that, it will be turning about face and making a beeline for demon central south. So reap in the harvest of remarkable reflections and make the moment of the in-season fruit.

And keep remembering the benevelonce and maginicence of the sun...

understanding of the times

"Now, about mister Ruskin, Turner and Morris, Goethe, Tolstoy, Gandhi....where to go? Yes, this is the question. But this morality is not what will survive. They themselves need to slip off the pedestals. This restricting vision of an authoritative figure is what fails. Like the Christianity that only sees the Cross and fails to see the Christ.

These are vast sweeping statements. But somewhere in there is the thing that caused me to leave Cambridge in order to be where I am now.
I do feel the importance of these things.

I feel an understanding of the times will lead to an understanding of how time is to be treated."

from letter by venetia

Bottom Line

I guess - - I'm as baffled by some people as you are. But the bottom line
is, life is too short for those who are intensely gifted. And a gift unwrapped is a present unopened ..

The are doors connecting the seen with the unseen...
Do you know where the doors are?

Difference

The more different two people are, the more they can give to each other.

?

Poem by Darius

How sad
are the weeping roses
this early morning.


You can't help but wonder
Why the garden beds still post vacancy signs
In your curious mansion of Creation.

The world
The world is tossed in a wild winding of petals.


Where to begin, when one is already gasping for breath?

W E L L . . . . .
The irony of each person's labyrinth is that EVERY PERSON
Has at least one hallway they have experienced
As being really cool.



Here.

A Tour of my house.


These rooms - - the majority - - - are under construction.

But. . . .

I have left open your favorite doors
To climb through
To the night sky. . . . A ladder to hear
Angels singing as a hive of bees
Buzzing echoes of imploding stardust
Where the galaxies are reborn

Synapse explosions
Leveling the old kitchen cabinets
In your tired worn cookbook

This is only a recipe
To cook up
The
Honey


Chalice

Of your embrace. Be gentle with your No. 1 lover, your

Self

K (?)

The dark side of India

From a friend who was conned:

"Here is my experience with Hindu's and Indians with money:

I had to sue the Hindu man who conned me for two years
and helped me waste two years of my life on a fraudulent scheme
which caused me enormous anguish and grief. He was all charming
and used every bit of religious fakery to avoid his debts to me. Finally
I had enough. Only the threat of garnishing his wages and kicking his
ass back to India got the results. The rest was all verbal BS on his part .
. . totally stringing me along . . . causing me to not trust anyone from INDIA
ever again, in this lifetime. THAT'S how hurt I was, how demoralized,
and how much I was deceived.

Only the most drastic action yields any results with these scoundrels.They would sell their mother if they could get a good price. I see them in the blackest light. I am biased, because I was so badly hurt. But I do believe
their words mean NOTHING.

Should you have documentation of these actions, and the email copies, and anything else you need, only the threat of legal fees and their paying for your attorney costs and the most rigorous, aggressive, SHIVA-LIKE action will get their respect, and what is owed to you. Nothing less than this!

They somehow have a sense to exploit anyone who is kind and giving,
and it is a part of their culture which has caused me to become extremely
PC- politically INCORRECT. I was hurt that much.

The man would go to the Temple and pray to Ganesh and Krishna, all
the while stringing me along for well over half a year on what I stupidly
helped him with financially.

Take whatever aggressive legal actions you can, and do NOT mistake
these people for your friends in any fashion. They will eat you alive while
smiling in your face and telling you that you are their spiritual brother.

Free meal is more like it! And what a tasty young American to take advantage of, too!"

Birthdays

Birthdays have but few benefits it seems - if you are Shakespeare you are born and die on your birthday - which I am not exactly sure is entirely necessary - but it seemed to suit him.

Australian aborigines laugh at the concept of a birthday - they only celebrate when they get better at something...like throwing the bamboo or jamming on the didgeridoo - are you getting better at such things? This is the sort of thing you must ask yourself I suppose.

The Queen of England has two birthdays - one official and one unofficial - which seems a bit unfair - as well as having countless palaces and owning half of New York, she has TWO birthdays! What's up with that?!!!

Californians say things like "I am now 42 years young" on their birthday. Because, well, erm they are stupid Californians and many of them also believe that aliens are about to invade any day. Can't be too tough on Californians though - it will always be my distant home of the heart...

Indians go to the temple in the morning and make offerings - we interesting westerners eat fattening cake and worry about the passing of time. And most cake these days isn't too good - all icing sugar and sappy puppy shapes...so have a healthy birthday this year and maybe take up the didgeridoo - you will likely find that in a years time you will be much better at it and you can hold a celebratory party to announce to all the members of your wandering tribe how much better you are at it - oh you have to change your name too..that's the way the aborigines do it any way.

Education that values love

“A Grateful mind is a great mind which eventually attracts to itself great things.” Plato

I once knew a wise man. A rare gem of a man, whose wisdom lit up a sorry world. He once said “Life begins when you have something to give.” When people came to him, unhappy and forlorn, he counseled them to write a gratefulness journal.

Life can be difficult. Life can be challenging. Life can be full of wounds that cry out to us to learn to heal. Of course, it is not us that do the healing. That is the domain of Nature. But, we at least, must open our hearts for Nature to step in and work the miracles which we were born to share in.

I hear angry voices all around but I know that the poorest man is he who can’t forgive. My friend told me this today. He said of an ex-lover “He’s a poor man. He can’t forgive.” When he said these words…and the story that went with them…I was so grateful. Grateful for the little things. I could relate – I once loved a woman – loved her so terribly much – and yet she slammed and bolted the door in my face. The light was blocked out and the pain was sealed in ice – at least that is how her ego would have had it. And cold, like the North wind she left things untouched, unopened, all stitched up with anger. Blame took over and framed things as her bitterness saw fit.

I had made some mistakes. Heartless, foolish mistakes. But never was I malicious or hurtful deliberately. The poorest person is he who can’t forgive. I have no doubts now as to the profound wisdom of this.

Everyday, greeting us at the door of our experiences…are a thousand ways to dig a ditch between ourselves and others; between ourselves and forever. Why life brought me that wise teacher, I do not know… but I am grateful. Even today the love of his heart guides and leads me.

He gave me some profound guiding words; words that challenged and transformed me. Such is the power of words. Rare words – that come from another level – that are really listened to. Words that become the messengers of real affection. I have yet to rise fully to the challenge he placed before me with those words. It is buried within me - waiting to hatch. I see that now. I also see that I have yet to fully comprehend the love he represented…Miracles are interwoven through time – but they are not bound by it. The mystery continues to unravel.

I once asked him for some words of wisdom to help me rise to the challenge he handed me. He paused for a moment…then he said…smiling…in the warm, sunlit, green tree-dappled Californian afternoon: “Purity of heart is everything.”

The most beautiful words…are the words that mirror clarity. When my friend said today… “He’s a poor man. He can’t forgive”, I lamented and smiled at the same time. How true!

When you no longer value what is valueless…you extend something vital and profound…You can’t truly give…unless you have something valuable to share – and you can’t do that without knowing yourself. You need to go beyond insecurity and greed – to really unravel the mystery of your own existence. You have got to stand alone, whilst holding hands with the world.

That which is worthy of sharing must be discovered with the pure eyes of the heart…You have to leave the madness of conditioned thought systems to awaken to that kind of vision. It takes guts to find that kind of treasure. It lies not outside yourself. It is the easiest, most natural thing in the life. It is the toughest thing in the world. There are so many factors to this – the secret of secrets. But never forget Plato…

“A Grateful mind is a great mind which eventually attracts to itself great things.”

Have you learned the lesson of a gratefulness? Perhaps, it is the only true lesson which we can learn!

The people I really admire; the people who build lives of meaning…are people who can concur with this kind of sentiment. They are people who have learned to lose (who do you know who has really learned to lose? That’s no easy lesson to learn perfectly!). They are people who know to share. They are people who have something of their own to give. You can’t buy such individuals. Nor can they be imitated. There is a simplicity and a nobility about them.

Some things in the educational process need to be repeated again and again…until they are ingrained deep, deep, deeply into us. Plato's line is surely one of those things that demands skillful and poignant repetition. That is, if you seek an education that values love. Seek nothing else…and you will be truly rich.

Relationships as Mirrors

Who are the best mirrors to you in your life?

Relationships have much to teach.

I am learning that when people don't get back to us, it doesn't always involve us. They may be overloaded with their own STUFF.

Often, all we want is someone to say a few kind words. When we're ignored we feel hurt. At least I do. Weakness or strength?

Migration

I sometimes feel like a strange migrating bird - there are familiar roosting grounds from season to season - but above all there is the journey - and my central focus to keep to it...It can be a very lonely flight, but the alternatives don't amount to much.

Awareness-Blindness

Love takes intelligence. I speak of the love that shapes a life that is well-rounded - a life grounded in oneself - in discerning questions and the kind of decisive actions that follow from soul-searching and self-examination. There also has to be a quality of intense death-gazing. If you can look upon death peacefully from moment to moment then love must be working through you.

When I look around the world though I see a lot of shelved people - people fabricated out of media-"myths" -fragmented people with unquestioned lives...wearing masks fashioned out of necessity and boredom. It is funny how our personality shapes our view of the world. It also shapes our destiny.

I have always been one to ask questions - and verbal answers have never appeased me. I supposed that explains why mine is such a mystical path. It also has allowed me to see - how desperately dead we are to electricity of real myths. Our museum-view of myths have objectified them into inert fossils and somehow - especially in the West -life has been reduced to the buying and selling of experiences. And what is truly valuable cannot be bought. It can only be earned through dedication and right discrimination...and humility.

Traveling as I have done - ie not for a company or some holiday journey - you see people and countries for what they are - rather than as exhibits in a tourist brochure... - and their culture and background becomes less important. It is the little things which you notice. And they give so much away. The way people talk - one sees what is talking - rather than who is talking.

I used to have a friend - a young Whale research scientist who - for fun - used to play out different roles on flights everytimes he got on an airplane...one trip he'd be an engineer to his neighbor - the next he was a history professor... Just for kicks! I am not sure why he did it. But I think it was a way to make life more interesting for him. He was a lovely man - a very talented sailor and he had a real love and passion for marine life. But how looney! Yet, in retrospect - it dawned on me - how people who live very seriously - people who are very determined - who don't compromise - and false modesty aside - I feel I am in that category...perhaps he was not so crazy after all.

When you are living a life that is very passionate - not just a cardboard cutout of a life that one fashions to merely get by - but when you are really going deeply into something very dear to you - it is likely to take you into some very obscure and miraculous realms - and how does one convey that kind of mystery and distant beauty to another? Mostly, you can't. Unless you are lucky and you connect with someone who is equally serious...or perhaps just very sensitive.

It's ironic - because one yearns to share...what is beyond words....that awareness which transcends thought and makes life worth living. Perhaps we all find it in our own way - but I reckon very few really do - if they did the world would be far less callous and we would have a place for reverence...But we don't know what reverence is.

We have replaced it with TV dinners and sitcoms and all manner of "fillers-in" - to make us forget the drudgery of our existence. Churchgoers spout on about reverence - but they mistake it for what is really blind obedience and a weary, flimsy kind of faith. Reverence has nothing to do with belief systems. It cuts through all those illusions. It took crisis for me to find it.

I think of my friend in London, whose mother died of cancer. She went back to work a couple weeks later - she was in marketing - and her whole office went up in arms over a spelling mistake in a campaign....and she knew then that she had to get out and do something else - because when you reduce life to such plastic-ness you somehow inadvertently kill yourself in the process...and she was too aware, too sensitive, to red-raw to be swallowed up by that kind of blindness.

Wow - how many strains of "awareness"-blindness there are! I mean when you REALLY look, almost everyone is blind in one way or another. Yet nature IS persistent. The flowers poke through the weeds somehow. The Art teacher at my old school summed up the problem of human beings: "They have talent here. But they are all too lazy to capitalize on it." I'm sure there is a lot to that.

Organization

Honesty is my favorite option...but who is ready for the truth...It's like that old story of the Devil and his assistant. The Devil actually saw a person come upon the truth on a walk in the woods. But he smiled. His assistant stood aghast. He thought they were done for! "Why are you smiling?" he steamed. "We're out of a job! Man has come upon truth - that's the end of us." The Devil retorted, smiling devilishly, "No, no, no. Don't be worrying. We'll just get him to organize it."

England

The modern world is not simple - it take guts to live a life of meaning - because so much of modern life is weighted on opinions, commerce and expectations...and the fleeting confines of time. Love is never possible in the company of expections and yet we meet expectations around every corner. I think determination - if it is real determination - teaches one that. At least, that is what it has taught me.

I suppose my spiritual search is to find sanity in an insane world - and the more I experience of life - the more I see how rare sanity is. I think, sadly - for all the things I cherish about England - I find it shallow and cold - though it can be sublimely beautiful and uplifting at times - especially its art and literature. There is an escapist tendency in me when it comes to England. I feel freer in the wide planes of America or in vast expanses of the Vedic scriptures. Each to their own.

Human Ecdysis

My family - have never been simple nor easy - but they are very creative and open-minded. They gave me a lovely space to relax and recharge for a couple of weeks and that's infinately valuable.

I often think of the process by which insects grow - it is called "ecdysis" and sometimes I do not think it is too different from the process by which humans grow or the process by which evolution takes place.

Insects wander around the world with their heavy duty exoskeletons - doing what needs to be done and taking in what needs to be taken in...gathering experience and trials as insects do....Then there comes a day where they seek out a reclusive corner and throw off their, by now, tight-fitting body armour and don a new, bigger, waxy new one - which proceeds to dry out and harden. Suddenly, they are a new creature...more expansive...possessed and changed.

I think human beings do something similar - if they are granted the dignity of space (in the Third world you see on a daily basis how so many, many people do not have such luxuries). When we have enough space - we too can seek out a reclusive corner and throw off the old and welcome the new. I firmly believe that all these transformations come naturally....with the right quality of space and the right approach to living.

Reflection and questioning of our values and our priorities naturally brings a shift...a rewiring of focus...Its great! Of course, we are changing and reassessing things all the time - but it is nice to have retreats from the onslaught of responsibilties and worldly demands to get out of the way of everything and just breathe. Breathing is so full of wonder - as yoga keeps teaching me.

Gratefulness and direction

I read recently that Plato once said: "A grateful mind is a great mind which eventually attracts to itself great things." I really feel that without gratefulness we are completely lost. That and knowing what you want out of life. Without that there can be no meaningful use of drive and passion....Life without passion is, often, little more than mediocrity and argument.

Why we travel

Moving to India was like coming home. Not home to green fields and sheep and Christmas trees - but to one's spiritual home - to be in the ken of those who understand you very deeply is our real home - no?

What we come to treasure

It has just passed 6 and it is still dark and cold - I'm not used to that - ah I can hear the robins and wrens saluting the dawn with their chorus - amazing what you come to value over the course of time. Those fleeting bird calls are rare and beautiful treasures to me - the sound of home - the background noise of a thousand mad dashes to school (I was always late! :) ).

Christmas Cards

When I travel home to Europe at Christmas I am always bowled over by the avalanches of paper that my family get through their letter box - very touching in a way - but I never did obligation well and until lately I did not do "the settling down thing well" either (both of which play a key part in sending Christmas cards)....and so I am not very good a Christmas cards....life on the road!

There are so many kinds of relationship. So many people that warrant a Christmas card. Contrast that with the few people you will ever meet who will ever deeply understand you.

The Legacies of our parents

I always remember a line I read in a book by Ben Okri in Ecuador: "Grow wherever life puts you down." I met a friend I knew in Ecuador recently. She had lost her mother five years back. The loss of a mother must be very challenging. But from the tales and countenance she shared it was clear she had grown into a beautiful and strong young woman - despite all the pain and shadows that an event like that must thrust on one.

Inspiring to hear the story of her younger brother. He had taken a year off from his university course to nurse his mother through her illness. When she died he elected to take a new path. He went into psychiatric nursing...something very different to what he had been studying prior to his break from studies. I see this turn of events as his mother's parting gift to him.

You never know where illuminating insights into ourselves and what is valuable will come from! His healing possibilities bloomed as she passed from this world - amazing the twists and turns of fate...amazing the legacies of our parents.

Flowers in the garden


As I was waiting for an old friend in a bookshop on the South Bank, I picked up a book by Stephen Fry on poetry. There was a brief biography on the back page - which he had written - where he shares that his friends are the flowers in his garden...I share the sentiment.

Reverence

My friendship with my teacher in Los Angeles gave me an appreciation of reverence - a quality that I think is very rare in this day and age - one that has certainly never been very common in the West.

We don't revere anything these days - we've replaced it with pop star idols and "good literature" or mad, evangelical weirdos who suddenly find "God" and proceed to look on everyone else with a quirky mixture of pity and condemnation because they haven't. Sad. A great loss. Reverence is something else entirely.

Going home

My life in Madras, from where I am sitting now - ie suburban, comfortable England is shocking, bewildering and colourful...but then I think my life has always been shocking, bewildering and colourfu! (especially from the vantage point of suburban, comfortable England!)...A friend from Northern Island who is studying in India - turned around to me the other day and said "Isn't it so exotic to be going home?!" and now - more and more - I see her point.

I never thought I would think of sheep and cold fields as exotic. Nor to running around with my sister's kids to find a Christmas tree on the local farm. How funny that is. How funny but how true.

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Mind is the closest thing to our Reality...Be careful how you use it. Businessman, yogi, teacher, addicted to laughing...