Mary Watts Chapel,Surrey,U.K.

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the doors to the chapel

“A painted surface is a real, living form.” – Kazimir Malevich

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Watts Chapel

‘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.

Further reading

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

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

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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

“Letting Go” For Happiness – Inspirational Quotations

Thanks to Val Boyko for the youtube.

 

Alan Watt’s videos are a great source of wisdom. This short one is no exception. He speaks here about attachment, and how we humans hang on to things. We grasp at fleeting happiness that, like a butterfly, flits in and out of our lives leaving only memories. Neither things nor people make us really happy. We need to learn happiness from those who are masters in that department. Anandamayi Ma was a master of happiness or what she called bliss.

In the book The Essential Sri Anandamayi Ma, the author, Alexander Lipski has given many wonderful accounts of her mastery and her teachings on non-attachment. Anyone who was fortunate enough to meet Anandamayi Ma – and there are many fortunate ones still living – knows that something of her teaching is in her very person. She was the living embodiment of  “A Blessing”, a gift to mankind. I wish there were more like her alive today, but it seems as the darkness of the age has drenched us with uncertainty and fear, so the great masters have retreated from our world. We are left with their words and  timeless wisdom, in those we need to find solace in this age of  Kali.

 


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Ananadamayi Ma

From Selected Discourses – Anandamayi Ma..

 

Question:  “Please explain the nature of worldly and divine happiness.”

Mataji: “Divine happiness is pure, unalloyed bliss, happiness in its own right.”

Question:  “But surely, there is happiness in the world too!”

Mataji: “Then why do you make this remark?”

Question: “Why do people run after material happiness?”

Mataji:

“You know this happiness from experience, and hence your question. But the Divine is gracious and makes you see that this so-called happiness is not happiness. He kindles discontent and anguish in you, which is due to the want of communion with the Divine. Worldly happiness is derived from the countless manifestations of God. People talk and marvel about those who renounce the world, but in actual fact it is you yourself who have renounced everything. What is this “everything”? God! Leaving Him aside, everyone is literally practicing supreme renunciation. It is only natural that the sence of want should awaken. Even in the midst of comforts and pleasures one feels homesick in a foreign land. There is distress even in happiness, one’s possession are not really one’s own – this is what He causes man to feel. It is said, it is not, that on being hit one recovers one’s senses, one learns by receiving blows.

When He manifests Himself as worldly happiness, one does not feel contented, for along with it He appears as the sense of want. But divine happiness, even the tiniest particle of a grain of it, never leaves one again; and when one attains to the essence of things and finds one Self – this is supreme happiness. When it is found, nothing else remains to be found; the sense of want will not awaken anymore, and the heart’s torment will be stilled forever. Do not be satisfied with fragmentary happiness, which is invariable interrupted by shocks and blows of fate: but become complete, and having attained to perfection, be YOURSELF.”

 


 

A Parable:.

A precious necklace was seen flashing from the bottom of a lake. Many felt tempted to recover the valuable ornament and dived deep into the water for it, but found no necklace anywhere. Yet it was clearly visible to everyone from the edge of the lake. They were all puzzled. Eventually they realized that there was no necklace at the bottom of the lake; what they saw was its reflection in the water. They looked up and discovered the precious ornament hanging from a tree. A bird must have picked it up from somewhere and deposited it there.

God who dwells within you is the source of true happiness. In the objects of the senses this happiness is merely reflected. The individual, misled by birth after birth by having only a glimpse of this reflected joy, thinks that this is the real thing, namely sensuous delight. So long as one believes that true happiness can be had in sense objects without searching within, one will never taste true happiness. The kingdom of God, hence of happiness, is within you.

– Anandamayi Ma, the Mother Bliss – Incarnate, by Anil Ganguli