Thursday, January 20, 2011


From The Power of Now:

"The reason why the romantic love relationship is such an intense and universally sought-after experience is that it seems to offer liberation from a deep-seated state of fear, need, lack and incompleteness that is part of the human condition in its unredeemed and unenlightened state.
[When you live purely in the mind, you feel fear and neediness and no sense of lasting fulfilment]
But then that special relationship comes along. It seems to be the answer to all the ego's problems and to meet all its needs. At least this is how it appears at first. All the other things that you derived your sense of self from before, now become relatively insignificant. You now have a single focal point that replaces them all, gives meaning to your life, and through which you define your identity: the person you are "in love" with. You are no longer a disconnected fragment in an uncaring universe, or so it seems. Your world now has a centre: the loved one. The fact that the centre is outside you and that, therefore, you still have an externally derived sense of self does not seem to matter at first. What matters is the underlying feelings of incompleteness, of fear, lack and unfulfillment so characteristic of the egoic state are no longer there - or are they? Have they dissolved, or do they continue to exist beneath the happy surface reality?
If in your relationship you experience both "love" and the opposite of love -- attack, emotional violence, and so on - then it is likely that you are confusing ego attachment and addictive clinging with love. You cannot love your partner in one moment and attack him and her the next. True love has no opposite. If your "love" has an opposite, then it is not love but a strong ego-need for a more complete and deeper sense of self, a need that the other person temporarily meets. It is the ego's substitute for salvation, and for a short time it almost does feel like salvation."
[This type of pattern can only be avoided if you both agree that the relationship will be part of your spiritual practice -- that you will both listen and give space to the other person and do not create a relationship around the mind and the demands of the ego.]

Nothing to do

DH Lawrence

"When we get out of the glass bottles of our ego,
and when we escape like squirrels turning in the cages of our personality
and get into the forests again,
we shall shiver with cold and fright
but things will happen to us
so that we don't know ourselves.

Cool, unlying life will rush in,
and passion will make our bodies taut with power,
we shall stamp our feet with new power
and old things will fall down,
we shall laugh, and institutions will curl up like burnt paper."

Monday, January 17, 2011

Forming connections

From Creating the Person by Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan:
"The woman who is conscientious of her duty, of her obligations to her friends, is more pious than someone sitting alone in solitude. The one in solitude does not serve God; he only helps himself by enjoying the pleasure of solitude. But the one who proves to be trustworthy to every soul she meets and considers her relation and connection, small or great, as something sacred, certainly observes the spiritual law of that religion which is the religion of religions."

beauty in the Welsh hills

Always a place of spiritual sustenance for me!

The Art of Listening and Building Relationships

From The Power of Now (p. 105):
"When listening to another person, don't just listen with your mind, listen with your whole body. Feel the energy field of your inner body as you listen. That takes attention away from thinking and creates a still space that enables you to truly listen without the mind interfering. You are giving the other person space - space to be. It is the most precious gift you can give. Most people don't know how to listen because the major part of their attention is taken up by thinking. They pay more attention to that than to what the other person is saying and none at all to what really matter: the Being of the other person underneath the words and the mind. ...
Most human relationships consist mainly of minds interacting with each other, not of human beings communicating, being in communion. No relationship can thrive in that way, and that is why there is so much conflict in relationships. When the mind is running you life, conflict, strife and problems are inevitable. Being in touch with your inner body creates a clear space of no-mind within which the relationship can flower."

portals to spiritual unity

From "The Power of Now" (p.111):
"Surrender - the letting go of mental emotional resistance to what is - also becomes a portal into the Unmanifested. The reason for this is simple: inner resistance cuts you off from the other people, from yourself, from the world around you. It strengthens feelings of separatedness, the more you are bound to the manifested, to the world of separate forms. The more you are bound to the world of form, the harder and more impenetrable you form identity becomes. The portal is closed, and you are cut off from the inner dimension, the dimension of depth. In the state of surrender, your form identity softens and becomes somewhat 'transparent,' as it were, so the Unmanifested can shine through."

Gardens from the Sand

Another insight from "Gardens from the Sand" by Dan Cavicchio (p 57):

"we naturally belong in a state of unity, together as one. Communicating love brings us closer to this state. Blocking communication with things like anger or fear or guilt keeps us apart. And we feel sad - or get sick - simply because we feel alone."
One of many beautiful quotations from "Gardens from the Sand" by Dan Cavicchio (p 55):

"If you want to help anyone, you have to not believe in their problem. By overlooking it, you can offer a moment of hope. And that's what it takes to heal - a moment of hope, or faith, or love. Call it what you like."
"So you think that things like broken legs and hunger aren't real."
"They're certainly real for the people who believe in them." said Samara. "And that includes most of us. But are they real in a permanent sense? Of course not. If they were, healing would be impossible."
Clare shook his head, reflecting on her words. "You know, it's quite an attitude you have."
"It's not so strange, really. Think of a doctor, for example: if a patient comes to a doctor with a broken leg, does the doctor sit around and feel sorry for the patient?"
"Maybe a little," said Clare.
"Not if she's a good doctor," said Samara. "If she's good, she looks beyond the pain. She'll acknowledge it, but then she looks beyond. She knows the leg will be healed. She knows she can help. It's that confidence that helps the patient."

Monday, November 12, 2007

Edward Abbey's pearls of advice...

One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am - a reluctant enthusiast....a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards. [from a speech that Ed Abbey first gave to environmentalists in Missoula, Montana in 1978, and in Colorado which was published in High Country News in the 1970s or early 1980s under the title "Joy, Shipmates, Joy."]

Images from Cairo Museum of Modern Art

From my mum... her joy in life!

If I arrive in school feeling a bit low it doesn't take long to start smiling when you work with small children. How could you not join in with the feeling of wonder and delight that Zoe felt when she found a tiny green tomato growing on the tomato plant in the Nursery garden? It makes me realise how lucky I am to have this gift every working day.

Egyptian Museum of Modern Art - some images

On Saturday, I finally found a quiet place to sit in Cairo: the opera house complex in Zamalek. This complex has a couple of art galleries, and also a central place to sit with classical music playing. I sat and ate a sandwich there and nobody harassed me. And then I sat inside the gallery and just enjoyed the quiet. What bliss! Here are a couple of my favourite images from the Egyptian museum of modern art. I will post some more over the next few days.

From my dear friend in Chile

There is a quotation from Bradley Trevor Greive that I would like to share in a space like your blog, just for the reflection…

"Your life journey is not a race or a competition, nor is a boring highway without exits that you must trudge along for eternity. Embrace the unpredictable and go exploring for things that inspire you. Take time to enjoy the view… The fact is that one day, instead of waking up for breakfast, you will find yourself drawn down a long, dark tunnel towards a bright and beautiful light, and your journey will have come to an end. In that moment, when your entire life passes by before your eyes, I really don’t think you will care too much about the amount of money you made, the frequent-flyer points you accrued, the awards you won, the car you owned, the value of your stock, or the number of times you got your picture in the newspaper. Instead, I believe the most important things in your life will probably be the smooches you shared, the nights you spent gazing in wonder at the stars, all the funny looking snow angels you made, the first drops of summer rain caught on your tongue, and the time that someone special whispered, “I love you”. Don’t waste the present worrying about the future. It will come soon enough – I promise. In the meantime, I suggest you keep your chin up, put your walking shoes on, and follow your heart to the ends of the earth. As you make this journey, always remember that each day is a precious gift. If you can enjoy it for what it is and make the most of it, then believe it or not, there is another extraordinary gift waiting for you. Tomorrow.”