Blessings – Video

This Precious Life

I love Celtic Woman and this song so suits this small message today.So let’s count our blessings one by one. This is my last post before Christmas, so hoping all of you that follow this blog, have a peaceful, joyful Christmas. Eve

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When a friend or loved one is lost to us, one is so poignantly reminded of how precious and fragile this life is that we all share together. We cannot assume that any of us will be here tomorrow, just because we are here today. We cannot live in constant fear of death, and yet without mindfulness of the impermanence of all things, I don’t think we really grasp the preciousness of this life.

Mortality sucks, big time. And yet if the price of life is mortality, I’d gladly pay it for the chance to have “shown up” here with all of you in this often unpredictable,crazy, amazing world. I am supremely grateful to have had the opportunity just to be—and to love just a little and to wonder at it all.

Maybe, in this world, we are just hatching, sprouting unseen wings, and learning how to fly beyond the limitations of our origins. Maybe there’s more to us and to this world than just the fabricated and impermanent. I hope so! But if not, that makes the gift of consciousness all the more precious, does it not?

In whatever time we have together, may we cherish ourselves, may we cherish one another, may we cherish this world and the beings of this world. May we cherish this precious life. May we seek, may we find. :)

Blessings too for Isaac if you still visit, thanks for the Rumi and for the smiles.

What’s In A Birthday – Love And Friendship

A hilariously funny, cheeky birthday song. ;)


I don’t remember ever wanting to celebrate my birthday. I have no idea why my birth anniversary had to be so filled with trepidation and worry. Could I have been born into the wrong family? Perhaps the stork had dropped me at the wrong address. Certainly as a child, I felt like the odd one out – an odd child that no one understood. There was a sense of loneliness and isolation that crept into my heart and soul, and remained there for some years. My family were traditional in every way. Besides mum and dad, there were three other siblings, although they were much older than me. My older brother had already left for the services when I was only two years old, my other brother was always out-and-about doing his paper rounds. His whole goal in life, even from a young age, was to earn money to afford an expensive home. He achieved that later on. My sister was, huh, what would you say? She was zany! I don’t remember her too well. She married young so our relationship was never a close one.

Going back to my birthday experiences, even mum’s attempt to throw a birthday party would end up with me in tears, sitting outside on the stairs. I just couldn’t take the anxiety of all those cards and presents that, in those early days, were abundant.

I loved other people’s birthdays though. My mother’s birthday on the 1st September was celebrated with bouquets of bright, colorful flowers. I remember huge bunches of Dahlias and Sweet Williams, freshly picked from the garden, adorning the dining-room  table. Everyone I knew enjoyed their birthdays, except for me.

To go forward in time to 1985, we’d arrived back in England after many years abroad. My husband, daughter and  I, had rented a flat in a London suburb. The flat, itself, was nice enough with comfortable furniture. There was a phone sitting conveniently on a small table in the hallway. The only problem was: the phone was disconnected! We had moved in on the 1st of June, and a few days later, on the 5th of June, both my sister and my sister-in-law would be celebrating their birthdays. I remember clearly on the evening of the 4th June, I lay in bed thinking about their respective birthdays, wishing all the while, I could phone them the next morning. Of course with a disconnected phone this was something I was unable to do. Sighing, I calmly let that wish go.

On the morning of the 5th of June, I was awakened by a soft ‘brrr’ of our telephone. Was I dreaming or what? Then it rang again, then again! I quickly sped to the hall to answer the call but there was no one there. What I heard instead was a dialing tone. The phone had been mysteriously connected!

I quickly called both my sister and sister-in-law to give them birthday wishes. We discussed at length the weirdness of the sudden phone connection. I gave them both the phone number that was penciled in on the dial ring. Both promised to call back.

 


birthday candies

birthday candies


After that, the phone remained curiously silent. I called them both again. They said, they had tried to ring but the line was dead. There was no such number listed. As there was no way to check the line, we just laughed this off as a cosmic joke or perhaps as a prayer answered.

Over the coming week I called them often, although they could not return my calls. Then, all of a sudden, the phone  “died” again and remained dead. We never did receive a bill. I look back at the joyful experience with gratitude and thanks. I shall never forget that morning as long as I live and the joy a simple phone call brought.


 

I have another small story about my birthday  to share here.

On my very first visit to Sathya Sai Baba, He told me, a few days before my birthday, (my birthday fell during my visit), he’d call me for an interview or “audience” on my birthday. The day came and went without without even a mention of an audience with him and I was never to have one. Now, I often think: ‘What did he mean by birthday?’

Many sages tell us often that the day we are born is not our birthday at all, it is the day we die to a higher self that is the day for real celebrations. I guess I am still awaiting my Birthday and its celebrations – not sure when it will come, but meanwhile I muddle through the traditional birthdays, knowing that a higher one awaits.

Hiding – Inspirational Poems And Quotations

Chartres Old Town, Fr.

Chartres Old Town, Fr.

 

“Knock, And He’ll open the door
Vanish, And He’ll make you shine like the sun
Fall, And He’ll raise you to the heavens
Become nothing, And He’ll turn you into everything.”  ~ Rumi

 


Hiding is a way of staying alive. Hiding is a way of holding ourselves until we are ready to come into the light. Even hiding the truth from ourselves can be a way to come to what we need in our own necessary time. Hiding is one of the brilliant and virtuoso practices of almost every part of the natural world: the protective quiet of an icy northern landscape, the held bud of a future summer rose, the snow bound internal pulse of the hibernating bear. Hiding is underestimated. We are hidden by life in our mother’s womb until we grow and ready ourselves for our first appearance in the lighted world; to appear too early in that world is to find ourselves with the immediate necessity for outside intensive care.

Hiding done properly is the internal faithful promise for a proper future emergence, as embryos, as children or even as emerging adults in retreat from the names that have caught us and imprisoned us, often in ways where we have been too easily seen and too easily named.

We live in a time of the dissected soul, the immediate disclosure; our thoughts, imaginings and longings exposed to the light too much, too early and too often, our best qualities squeezed too soon into a world already awash with too easily articulated ideas that oppress our sense of self and our sense of others. What is real is almost always to begin with, hidden, and does not want to be understood by the part of our mind that mistakenly thinks it knows what is happening. What is precious inside us does not care to be known by the mind in ways that diminish its presence.

Hiding is an act of freedom from the misunderstanding of others, especially in the enclosing world of oppressive secret government and private entities, attempting to name us, to anticipate us, to leave us with no place to hide and grow in ways unmanaged by a creeping necessity for absolute naming, absolute tracking and absolute control. Hiding is a bid for independence, from others, from mistaken ideas we have about our selves, from an oppressive and mistaken wish to keep us completely safe, completely ministered to, and therefore completely managed. Hiding is creative, necessary and beautifully subversive of outside interference and control. Hiding leaves life to itself, to become more of itself. Hiding is the radical independence necessary for our emergence into the light of a proper human future.

Excerpted from ‘HIDING’ From CONSOLATIONS: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words. © David Whyte:

You Are The Universe – Philosophy

A little Alan Watt’s time.

Since he died in his sleep in 1973 at the age of fifty-eight, Watt’s interpretation of Eastern spirituality has continued to resonate with Western seekers. Although he read and studied widely and traveled the world interacting with some of the twentieth century’s most influential minds (D.T. Suzuki, John Cage, Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell, and poet Gary Snyder, among them), Watts would be the first to say that, most importantly, he was on a de-conditioning mission.  I like the expression de-conditioning, it resonates with me! :)

Here’s one of my favourite Alan Watt’s quotes.

“Jesus Christ knew he was God. So wake up and find out eventually who you really are. In our culture, of course, they’ll say you’re crazy and you’re blasphemous, and they’ll either put you in jail or in a nut house (which is pretty much the same thing). However if you wake up in India and tell your friends and relations, ‘My goodness, I’ve just discovered that I’m God,’ they’ll laugh and say, ‘Oh, congratulations, at last you found out.” – From The book, The Essential Alan Watts.

 

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“This is therefore to say that the transformation of human consciousness through meditation is frustrated so long as we think of it as something that I by myself can bring about, by some sort of wangle, by some sort of gimmick. Because, you see, it leads to endless games of spiritual one-up-man-ship. And of guru competition. Of my guru being more effective than your guru. My yogas are faster than your yoga. I am more aware of myself than you are. I am humbler than you are. I am sorrier for my sins than you are. I love you more than you love me. There’s this interminable goings on where people fight and wonder whether they are a bit more evolved than somebody else and so on.

“All that can just fall away. And then we get this strange feeling that we’ve never had in our lives except occasionally by accident. Some people get a glimpse that we are no longer this poor little stranger and afraid in a world it never made. But that you are this universe. And you are creating it at every moment. Because you see, it starts now. It didn’t begin in the past. There was no past. If the universe began in the past, when that happened it was now. But it is still now and the universe is still beginning now and it’s trailing off like the wake of a ship from now and as the wake of the ship fades out, so does the past. You can look back there to explain things but the explanation disappears. You will never find it there. Things are not explained by the past. They’re explained by what happens now. That creates the past. And it begins here.

‘That’s the birth of responsibility. Because otherwise you can look over your shoulder and say, ‘Well, I am the way I am because my mother dropped me. And she dropped me because she was neurotic because her mother dropped her.’ and we go way way back to Adam and Eve or to a disappearing monkey or something.We never get at it. But in this way you are faced with that you’re doing all this. And that’s an extraordinary shock.

‘So cheer up! You can’t blame anyone else for the kind of world you’re in… And if you know, you see, that the I — in the sense of the person, the front, the ego — it really doesn’t exist, then it won’t go to your head too badly if you wake up and discover that you’re god.”

– Alan Watts

We Don’t “Cook” Easily – Spirituality

There is a story about an old Zen monk who was dying, who had finished everything and was about to get off the wheel. He was just floating away, free and in his pure Buddha-mind, when a thought passed by of a beautiful deer he had once seen in a field. And he held on to that thought for just a second because of its beauty, and immediately he took birth again as a deer. It’s as subtle as that. It’s like when we begin to see the work that is to be done, and we go to an ashram or a monastery, or we hang out with satsang. We surround ourselves with a community of beings who think the way we think. And then none of the stuff, the really hairy stuff inside ourselves, comes up. It all gets pushed underground.
We can sit in a temple or a cave in India and get so holy, so clear and radiant, the light is pouring out of us. But when we come out of that cave, when we leave that supportive structure that worked with our strengths but seldom confronted us with our weaknesses, our old habit-patterns tend to reappear, and we come back into the same old games – the games we were sure we had finished with. Why? Because there were uncooked seeds, seeds of desires that sprout again the minute they are stimulated. We can stay in very holy places, and the seeds sit there dormant and uncooked. But there is fear in such individuals, because they know they’re still vulnerable.
Nothing goes under the rug. We can’t hide in our highness any more than we’ve hidden in our unworthiness. If we’ve finally decided we want God, we’ve got to give it all up. The process is one of keeping the ground as we go up, so we always have ground, so that we’re high and low at the same moment – that’s a tough game to learn, but it’s a very important one. So at the same moment that if I could, I would like to take us all up higher and higher, so we can see that the game isn’t to get high – the game is to get balanced and liberated.
– Ram Dass – excerpt from Grist for the Mill.

Holding On Forever – Inspirational Quotations

Cyclamen Painting….

 

“As we watch the blossom falling, we see ourselves in it, and we feel the gravity of the moment.”  ~|Zen Moments

There’s a great essay written by Sigmund Freud called: “On Transience.” In it, he cites a conversation that he had with the poet, Rilke, as they were walking along this beautiful garden. At one point, Rilke looked like he was about to tear up. Freud said, “What’s wrong? It’s a beautiful day. There’s beautiful plants around us. This is magnificent.” And then Rilke says, “Well, I can’t get over the fact that one day all of this is going to die. All these trees, all these plants, all this life is going to decay. Everything dissolves in meaninglessness when you think about the fact that impermanence is a really real thing.”


Perhaps the greatest existential bummer of all is entropy. And I was really struck by this, because perhaps that’s why, when we’re in love, we’re also kind of sad. There’s a sadness to the ecstasy. Beautiful things sometimes can make us a little sad. And it’s because what they hint at is the exception, a vision of something more, a vision of a hidden door, a rabbit hole to fall through, but a temporary one.


And I think, ultimately, that is the tragedy. That is why love simultaneously fills us with melancholy. That’s why sometimes I feel nostalgic over something I haven’t lost yet, because I see its transience. And so how does one respond to this? Do we love harder? Do we squeeze tighter? Or do we embrace the Buddhist creed of no attachment? Do we pretend not to care that everything and everyone we know is going to be taken away from us?


I don’t know if I can accept that. I think I tend to side more with the Dylan Thomas quote that says, “I will not go quietly into that good night, but instead rage against the dying of the light.” I think that we defy entropy and impermanence with our films and our poems. I think we hold onto each other a little harder and say, “I will not let go. I do not accept the ephemeral nature of this moment. I’m going to extend it forever.

..

Or at least I’m going to try.

-Jason SIlva

Full Transcript: I highly recommend both links

http://www.johnmcconnellphd.com/uncategorized/1196/

http://www.journal-psychoanalysis.eu/freud-rilke-and-transience/

Lovelock’s apocalypse – Video

James-Lovelock“Humans are too stupid to prevent climate change from radically impacting our lives in the coming decades.” This is the stark conclusion of James Lovelock, the globally respected environmental thinker and independent scientist who developed the Gaia theory.

 

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I am dipping my toe in to  uncharted waters again. It’s not my usual way to post anything quite so controversial as a radical statement about climate change. Articles such as this one can cause fear to some and are seriously side-stepped by others. Why? Because the subject is so fearful. We don’t want to be stirred up when life is giving us a great ride or even a good ride… or even a bum ride!  We leave apocalyptic horrors to fiction writers like Steven King. (The Stand) Don’t you just love a Steven King book? He can speak of death and horror in such a way, we all lap it up, always wanting more. But when a much respected scientist expresses the same apocalyptic thoughts as a good fiction writer, we often dismiss them as nonsense and scare-mongering. 

I enjoyed the article James wrote because he does not dance around the facts.  I not only found his claims noteworthy, I found them much along the lines of my own. Like him, I feel our planet functions as a single organism that cannot endure constant abuse like bombing mountain tops in Western Virginia for coal, or cutting down precious forests in most of Asia and South America, for Palm oil.

 

James Lovelock has made some pretty serious statements concerning Planet Earth over the decades, but now he’s telling the world that it is too late. He said,People might as well enjoy themselves now while they can. There is no future for the Earth. We humans are too stupid to even grasp what we are doing to our Earth.” 

Do you agree with him or is he coming from the stand-point of gloom and doom in his old age?


James Lovelock with Leo Hickman for the Guardian Online

Lovelock believes global warming is now irreversible, and nothing can prevent large parts of our planet becoming too hot to inhabit, or sinking underwater. This would result in mass migration, famine and epidemics. Britain, he believes is going to become a lifeboat for refugees from mainland Europe, so instead of wasting our time on wind turbines we need to start planning how to survive. To Lovelock, the logic is clear. The sustainability brigade are insane to think we can save ourselves by going back to nature. Our only chance of survival will come, not from less technology, but more.

Nuclear power, he argues, can solve our energy problem – the bigger challenge will be food. “Maybe they’ll synthesis food. I don’t know. Synthesiing food is not some mad visionary idea. You can buy it in Tesco’s, in the form of Quorn. It’s not that good, but people buy it. You can live on it.”

But he fears we won’t invent the necessary technologies in time, and expects “about 80%” of the world’s population to be wiped out by 2100. Prophets have been forecasting Armageddon since time began, he says. “But this is the real thing.”

 

Faced with two versions of the future – Kyoto’s prheventative action or Lovelock’s apocalypse – who are we to believe? Some critics have suggested Lovelock’s readiness to concede the fight against climate change owes more to old age than science: “People who say that about me haven’t reached my age,” he says laughing.

But when I ask if he attributes the conflicting predictions to differences in scientific understanding or personality, he says: “Personality.”

There’s more than a hint of the controversial in his work, and it seems an unlikely coincidence that Lovelock became convinced of the irreversibility of climate change in 2004, at the very point when the international consensus was coming round to the idea of the need for urgent action. Aren’t his theories at least partly driven by a fondness for heresy?

“Not a bit! Not a bit! All I want is a quiet life! But I can’t help noticing when things happen, when you go out and find something. People don’t like it because it upsets their ideas.”

But the suspicion seems confirmed when I ask if he’s found it rewarding to see many of his climate change warnings endorsed by the IPCC.

“Oh no! In fact, I’m writing another book now, I’m about a third of the way into it, to try and take the next steps ahead.”


 It’s going to happen!


 

Interviewers often remark about the discrepancy between Lovelock’s predictions of doom, and his good humour. “Well I’m cheerful!” he says, smiling. “I’m an optimist. It’s going to happen.

“Humanity is in a period exactly like 1938-9″, he explains, “when we all knew something terrible was going to happen, but didn’t know what to do about it”. But once the second world war was under way, “everyone got excited. They loved the things they could do, it was one long holiday … so when I think of the impending crisis now, I think in those terms. A sense of purpose – that’s what people want.”

At moments I wonder about Lovelock’s credentials as a prophet. Sometimes he seems less clear-eyed with scientific vision than disposed to see the version of the future his prejudices are looking for. A socialist as a young man, he now favors market forces, and it’s not clear whether his politics are the child or the father of his science. His hostility to renewable energy, for example, gets expressed in strikingly Eurosceptic terms of irritation with subsidies and bureaucrats. But then, when he talks about the Earth – or Gaia – it is in the purest scientific terms of all.

“There have been seven disasters since humans came on the earth, very similar to the one that’s just about to happen. I think these events keep separating the wheat from the chaff. And eventually we’ll have a human on the planet that really does understand it and can live with it properly. That’s the source of my optimism.”

What would Lovelock do now, I ask, if he were me? He smiles and says: “Enjoy life while you can. Because if you’re lucky it’s going to be 20 years before it hits the fan.”

Is James Lovelock a prophet of doom or has an exceptionally long life enabled him to draw conclusions about the state of the planet that most governments of today, fail to see? – Could he be entirely wrong?

Personally, I don’t think so. We only have to look at the oceans or the “plastic soup,” that now threatens us. 

 

I know this is a long read but do hope some of you bloggers want to leave your views on this controversial article.



As Simple As Pie – Inspirational Quotation

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Many of you will have already heard  the sad news that beloved Thay (Thich Nhat Hanh,) is seriously ill in Plum Village in rural France, where he has lived for many years. Whether he will survive or not we do not know yet. He is 88 years old now and for most of  his life he has been  a simple Buddhist Monk; a humble and beautiful being who has been an inspirational to us all.  “Where were you before you were born?” is a beautiful talk from so many given over the years.  He takes this deeply philosophical question of life and death, turns it in to a homily providing us with an answer that is as simple as pie.

 

Today, we hear that Thay is now in hospital, sadly he is in the process of passing away.  It’s a great loss for the world. 

 


Where Were You Before You Were Born?

Sometimes people ask you: “When is your birthday?” But you might ask yourself a more interesting question: “Before that day which is called my birthday, where was I?” Ask a cloud: “What is your date of birth?” Before you were born, where were you?”

If you ask the cloud, “How old are you? Can you give me your date of birth?” you can listen deeply and you may hear a reply. You can imagine the cloud being born. Before being born it was the water on the ocean’s surface. Or it was in the river and then it became vapor. It was also the sun because the sun makes the vapor. The wind is there too, helping the water to become a cloud. The cloud does not come from nothing; there has been only a change in form. It is not a birth of something out of nothing.

Sooner or later the cloud will change into rain or snow or ice. If you look deeply into the rain, you can see the cloud. The cloud is not lost; it is transformed into rain, and the rain is transformed into healthy soil and the soil into cherry trees and the cherry trees into blossoms, the blossoms into cherries and then into the cherry pie you eat. Today if you eat a piece of cherry pie, give yourself time to look at the pie and say:

“Hello, cloud! I recognize you.”

By doing that, you have insight and understanding into the real nature of the pie and the cloud. You can also see the ocean, the river, the heat, the sun, the soil and the trees in the pie. Looking deeply, you do not see a real date of death for the cloud. All that happens is that the cloud transforms into rain or snow. There is no real death because there is always a continuation. A cloud continues the ocean, the river and the heat of the sun, and the rain continues the cloud.

9782071Before it was born, the cloud was already there, so today, when you eat a piece of cherry pie, please follow your breathing. Look into the cherry pie and say hello to the cloud.

~ Thich Nhat Hanh