Making this my day of seeking spiritual beauty and soul searching. I am hypnotized by the beauty of Sufi poetry, that so speaks to the heart. Also, I have added for eye-candy purposes only, amazing images of Mosques in Iran, most of which are centuries old. I cannot think of a better offering than stunning architecture and the beauty of these priceless Mosque’ ceilings. ~Eve
“I have loved in life and I have been loved. I have drunk the bowl of poison from the hands of love as nectar, and have been raised above life’s joy and sorrow. My heart, aflame in love, set afire every heart that came in touch with it. My heart has been rent and joined again; My heart has been broken and again made whole; My heart has been wounded and healed again; A thousand deaths my heart has died, and thanks be to love, it lives yet. I went through hell and saw there love’s raging fire, and I entered heaven illumined with the light of love.
… I wept in love and made all weep with me; I mourned in love and pierced the hearts of men; And when my fiery glance fell on the rocks, the rocks burst forth as volcanoes. The whole world sank in the flood caused by my one tear; With my deep sigh the earth trembled, and when I cried aloud the name of my beloved, I shook the throne of God in heaven. I bowed my head low in humility, and on my knees I begged of love, “Disclose to me, I pray thee, O love, thy secret.” She took me gently by my arms and lifted me above the earth, and spoke softly in my ear, “My dear one, thou thyself art love, art lover, and thyself art the beloved whom thou hast adored.” ~ Hazrat Inayat Khan,The Dance of the Soul
“When the sun rises and shines,
Not all the lotus buds in the lakes and ponds bloom,
Only those that are ready, do.
The rest have to bide their time,
But all are destined to bloom,
All have to fulfill that destiny.
There is no need to despair.”
~ Sathya Sai Baba
This is the dark time before the light. The light of Spring hovers but not quite here yet. We are now through the month of the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, the day when the North Pole is tilted farthest from the sun. Our ancient ancestors observed this event by watching the stars and the shortening days carefully chronicling the movement of the sun. They learned that the darkest day is followed by a little more light and warmth when a new cycle of life struggles to emerge into the fullness of the new season.
When we are left to our own devices, our thinking mind tends towards a certain pessimism that all will be dark forever. The light will never return, our minds tells us; it is always darkest before it is pitch black: that is the kind of doom and gloom prediction that often dominate us most during the grimness of the winter months. A perpetual gloom that descends and refuses to let go. Our minds are that way. We see only the dark and the cold. Educated as we may be, we are wired to a reptile mind that wants to flee from the gloom and freeze and to return to the light and the warmth. When we imagine only the dark, nothing anyone can tell us will make it otherwise. It is not until we enter the world of fresh observations, sensations and possibilities, that there is a shift in thought. When we sit down to meditate or spend time in nature, or just taking photographs as I have done here, that we rejoin the living world.
“A painted surface is a real, living form.” – Kazimir Malevich
‘It is no exaggeration to say the Watts Cemetery Chapel is one of the most beautiful, extraordinary, original, marvellous and magical buildings in the whole of the British Isles!’ — Lucinda Lambton
Landscape, art and remembrance are beautifully blended together in this Grade I listed building. Visitors are drawn to the bright red brick of this Arts & Crafts masterpiece. Up close, the extraordinary design and decoration both fascinate and overwhelm all who venture up the winding yew tree paths.
Mary Watts was the artistic force behind the creation of Watts Chapel, and she dedicated it to ‘the loving memory of all who find rest near its walls, and for the comfort and help of those to whom the sorrow of separation remains.’ G F and Mary Watts both rest in Watts Cemetery, as do many other people who have played a role in the Artists’ Village over the years.
In 1895 Mary began to run evening Terracotta Classes at Limnerslease, the Wattses’ nearby residence and studio. At these classes Mary would teach local villagers how to model tiles from local terracotta clay with the beautiful and symbolic patterns that she had designed to decorate the walls of the Chapel.
G F Watts financed the building of the Chapel through painting commissioned portraits, and the Wattses presented it as their gift to the village of Compton. Watts Chapel remains a working village parish chapel to this day.
Watts Chapel: A Guide to the Symbols of Mary Watts’s Arts and Crafts Masterpiece
The Making of Mary Seton Watts by Mary McMahon
An Artists’ Village: G F Watts and Mary Watts at Compton by Mark Bills
Compton Parish Church
Watts Cemetery, which surrounds Watts Chapel, is more than 120 years old and was conceived and laid out by Mary Watts between 1895 and 1898 with the help of Compton Parish Council.
Watts Cemetery has been added to the Register of Parks and Gardens at a Grade II* listing by English Heritage, the second highest grade that can be bestowed, meaning it is protected from inappropriate development. The exceptional Arts & Crafts gravestones and cloister give the space a unique and emotive atmosphere. With much thanks to Beauty of the Arts
I say welcome to the path of the heart! The journey within you! Believe it or not, this can be your reality. To love unconditionally and to come alive as never before! This path of love doesn’t go anywhere, although it is an adventure all the same. It just brings you more here and now into the present moment; to be in touch with every second that life gives you. To bring you into the reality of who you already are. This path takes you out of your suffering mind and back into your heart centre where the journey began long ago. There are countless ways of bringing you back to your heart and life without a doubt teaches you that.
LIFE always gives us
exactly the teacher we need
at every moment.
This includes every mosquito,
every red light,
every traffic jam,
every obnoxious supervisor
every illness, every loss,
every moment of joy or depression,
every piece of garbage,
Defining the Moola Mantra with stunning visuals and the mesmerizing voice of Deva Premal.
You have come from God, you are a spark of His Glory; you are a wave on the Ocean of Bliss; you will have peace only when you again merge in Him. ~Sathya Sai Baba
I’ve been thinking about God recently. I’ll tell you what I think God is all about. The Indian mystics all tell us, “A God defined is a God confined.” “What can’t be said, can’t be said and it can’t be sung about either.” They also say, “God is impersonal.” “I am without form, without limit, beyond time, beyond space. I am in everything. Everything is in me. I am the bliss of the universe. Everywhere I am. I am sat, chit, ananda, absolute existence, absolute knowledge, absolute wisdom.” ~ No messing about with their sacred ideas of God and what He is all about. They are straight as an arrow about it.
Jesus Christ says “He that is born of the flesh is flesh and he that is born of the spirit is spirit.” Then he says, “Least ye be born again you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.” also Jesus says, “I and my father are one.” then Jesus says this, “He that loveth mother and father, child, more than me cannot follow me.” What exactly is He telling us?
He is simply telling us just how things are. He’s talking about higher consciousness; He’s telling us who we really are. He is telling us what it means when we start on the journey to be born again, when we suddenly start to have faith in another possibility than the one we have now. Now what is that called, what is the other possibility? It’s just a vibrational rate. It’s like you’re born with a pre-fixed setting on your television set to channel eighteen and you never even knew there was a channel eighteen, channel four, three, two. So when someone comes along and says, “Were you tuned into channel seven last night?” You look at them with a wee smile, “Don’t they know there’s only channel eighteen? Then something suddenly happens, something touches a place in your heart that’s been there all the time. It’s just like you have suddenly awakened for a moment from a long sleep and say, “Oh! Wow! So that’s how it is! I was asleep for a long time. But now you are awake and tuning in to channel eighteen and you like what you are seeing.
When a person asserts that he is low and mean and that he knows but little, he becomes low and mean and his knowledge shrinks.We become what we believe we are. We are children of Almighty God, endowed with Supreme, Power, Glory and Wisdom.We are children of Immortality.When we dwell in this thought, how can we ever be low and ignorant?
– Sathya Sai Baba
So the world has a broken heart today! It is obvious that we are living in a crisis cult. There is dissent wherever we look. How do we as people deal with the appalling sadness we see everywhere? Here are some excellent pointers from one of my favourite authors, Jake Kornfield, who is pretty good at hitting the nail on the head when it comes to suffering and pain. Hope you take a little time to read this article, perhaps you can take on board just a little of what he is saying. Thanks Eve.
Hatred and aversion are all states of mind that strike against experience, pushing it away, rejecting what is presented in the moment. They do not come from without. This insight is a reversal of the ordinary way we perceive life. “Usually” says Ajahn Chah, “We believe outer problems attack us.” Things are wrong and people “misbehave,” causing our hatred and suffering to arise. But however painful our experiences may be, they are just painful experiences until we add the response of hatred or aversion. Only then does suffering arise. If we react with hatred and aversion, these qualities become habitual. Like a distorted auto-immune response, our misguided reaction of hatred does not protect us, it becomes the cause of our continued unhappiness.
Principle #14: If we cling to hatred or anger we will suffer. It is possible to respond strongly, wisely and compassionately without hatred.
The Buddha declares, “Enraged with hate, with mind ensnared, humans aim at their own ruin and at the ruin of others.” How do we break this tragic human legacy? Through understanding anger, hatred, and aggression. They are universal energies, archetypal forces which cause immense suffering in the world. Globally, we have had well over a hundred wars since the end of World War II. Recent years have seen a rise in racist hatred and fear of one group for another. Our models for leadership and our movies celebrate violence. This is not new. Father Bartolome de las Casas, who traveled on the last voyage of Christopher Columbus, describes how the European conquerors entered the American continent with “rivers of blood, a continuous recreational slaughter of men and women, soldiers testing their broadswords by decapitating children.” Is this the legacy we would choose to follow?
In the west, Freud struggled to understand hatred and anger and articulate their genesis in childhood. As we have seen, he believed the aggressive instincts to be primary. Culture’s “ideal command to love one’s neighbor as oneself is really justified by the fact that nothing is so completely at variance with original human nature as this.” Following along these lines, early sociobiologists like Konrad Lorenz and Robert Ardrey believed that our species, like our predecessor monkeys, had necessary and inevitable instincts of territoriality and aggression. Now evolutionary biology and neuroscience are carefully charting the genetic function and neural mechanisms of aggression. But what do we do from here?
The fact that aggression, anger and aversion are part of our universal heritage is only the starting point in Buddhist psychology. We have to learn how they arise and function in our own life. Then we take a revolutionary step. We learn how to transform these responses.
Hatred and aversion almost always arise as a direct reaction to a threatening or painful situation. Fortunately, we can train ourselves to live with mindfulness, to meet fear and pain with wisdom instead of with the habits of aversion and anger.When a painful or threatening event arises, we can open our eyes to it.When we learn to bear our own pain and face our own fears,we will no longer blame and inflict it on others, neither family members nor other tribes.With mindfulness, instead of reacting, we can respond with spacious clarity, purpose, firmness, and compassion. A wise response includes whatever action, fierce at times, is the most caring toward life, our own and others’.
“The eye through which I see God is the same eye through which God sees me;
my eye and God’s eye are one eye, one seeing, one knowing, one love.”
Meister Eckhart, Sermons of Meister Eckhart
We need to fully understand love if we wish to fall in love with the supreme love, known as “Divine Love.” Nevertheless, such an understanding is not something that happens outside this world or beyond our space-time continuum. This is because each object in this world manifests the divine and thus, we as individuals can encounter the divine in anything, anywhere and at any time.
But once this understanding happens, and it is crucial that it does happen at some point, we come to realise that the divine permeates everything. Thus, one way of defining divine love would be by falling in love with everything, as distinguished from the love of one particular object. But this definition does not sufficiently distinguish divine love from human love and the question still remains: is the nature of divine love (i.e., the love of everything) the same as human love?
Once we acquire the realisation that the divine permeates everything, then the nature or mode of our love of the divine changes dramatically. As the object of our love becomes “everything,” the manner of our loving evolves from human to Divine. This is known as enlightenment.
Divine love may begin with our loving another person, but gradually our love grows to embrace everything in the world, and as our love encompasses everything, we transcend the norms associated with human love and the manner of loving changes.
Never judge someone’s character based on a few words from some one else. Instead, think about the motives behind the words of the person passing judgment. An honest woman can sell fruit all day and remain a good person until she dies, but there will always be naysayers who will try to convince you otherwise. They will still find fault, becomes fault-finding is habit forming. Perhaps this woman did not give them something for free, or at a discount or a free apple! Perhaps too, she’d refused to stand with them when they were wrong, as often is the case. And also, it could be that others are envious of her, or that she rejected the advances of some arrogant men. Who knows! Always trust your heart. If the Creator stood before a million men with the light of a million lamps, only a few would truly see him because truth is already alive in their hearts. Light cannot be hidden for long. Truth can only be seen by those with truth in them. He who does not have Truth in his heart, will always be blind to her. ~ Eve
Our deep conditioning from school exams, grades, and the like gives us the habit of looking at every achievement competitively, in terms of where we stand. How are we doing: are we better, equal, or worse than others on the same journey? Such evaluation of our position becomes a real obstacle in spiritual life, for it constantly leads us to look at spiritual evolution in comparative terms. Someone tells you they have visions of lights when they meditate. You never have had such a vision. This fills you with feelings of inadequacy and jealousy. On the other hand, you may sometimes feel yourself leaving the body when you meditate. Your friends don’t experience this. This fills you with a subtle spiritual pride that feeds your ego.
In 1970 I traveled around the world on a lecture tour with Swami Muktananta. In his teaching he transmits shakti, or energy, to his students. I recall vividly a living room and Melbourne, Australia, where twenty people were gathered in meditation before him. It was late in the afternoon and he sat cross-legged on the love seat at the end of the room, with his eyes closed behind sunglasses, a knit hat on his head, idly strumming a one stringed instrument. The room was quiet.
Slowly, one by one, the people in the room started to behave bizarrely. One portly gentleman and a dark blue suit with a watch fob suddenly began to do mudras, traditional Indian hand positions. I recall the look on his face of consternation and perplexity – it was apparent that he knew nothing of these mudras, and was certainly not doing them intentionally. Next to him a gentleman dressed in a tweed jacket and gray flannels with the pipe in his pocket, obviously the perfect professor, suddenly got up and started to do formal Indian dance. Again the look of perplexity, for in no way was he responsible for what he did. Near me was a girl who had come not to see Swami Muktananda, but to be with her boyfriend, who was interested. Suddenly she began to do intense, automatic breathing. Her rapid breathing got to such a height that she literally bounced across the floor of the room with the breaths. Again I saw the look of perplexity.
I watched more and more people experience the touch of Swami Muktananda’s shakti, but never felt it myself. None of these things happened to me. I was concerned. After all, if I was “evolved enough” to lecture with Swami Muktananda, why shouldn’t I have these dramatic signs of spiritual awakening? The seed of jealousy sprouted in me. Though I didn’t admit it, I did my best to induce these symptoms of awakening.
Later I learned that these sometimes bizarre manifestations of shakti were the result of various blockages in people and were in no way necessary on the spiritual path. As time has gone on, I have learned that there is no experience, no symptom, no sign of spiritual growth that is absolutely necessary. Each of us has a unique predicament that stretches back over many lifetimes. Each person is drawn to a different set of practices and responds in his or her own way.
Individual differences are not better or worse, merely different. If we forgo judging, we come to understand that each of us has a unique predicament that requires a unique journey. While we share the overall journey, everyone’s particular experiences are his or her own. No set of experiences is a prerequisite for enlightenment. People have become enlightened in all ways. Just be what you are.
The experiences along the way are not enlightenment. So if you don’t see lights or meet remarkable beings on other planes, or if your body doesn’t shake, or if you don’t feel the greatest peace, or even if nothing seems to happen in meditation, don’t compare or judge. Just keep going. To compare yourself with others is to forget the uniqueness of your own journey.