Wednesday 29 April 2009

Can we find it?

I've just watched Grand designs revisited. Kevin McCloud revisits the Sussex woodsman's cottage. It's a beautiful building housing what looks like a beautiful family. I think it possible to really see the care and love put in here. A man in tune with the Tao I would guess.

And it seems to me that the task before us is to take this and expand it into the global scale needed in the face of impending environmental crisis, economic problems and the arguably impoverished state of many peoples existence. In the face of rampant capitalism consuming all before it, can we find a real sustainability? Can the people of the world look at each nation and find a way to be in harmony with the earth, the Tao, the Way?

India and China with their great philosophical and spiritual traditions of the Way are following in the way of the West, of separation, consumerism. Could we all East and West find a way to move towards the Way?

We can't all be woodsmen. And we can't go on consuming resources and generating pollution. There is not the resource available for each of us on the planet to live the way we have selfishly done in the the developed world. What is to be done?

Sunday 26 April 2009


DC and I went to see In the loop last night. It was funny and sort of awful at the same time; egos gone quite mad. And if it were not all too close to the truth and that one can always see one's own craziness in the outrageous theatrical rantings of others if one chooses to look, then it would be just a jolly good farcical romp. But they really did go to war and we do all get a bit like those crazy people at times and of course that's how we are as we are.

And those awful politicians we have chosen for ourselves by default of not demanding better have in the past and continue now to dismantle the very fabric of society as fast as people try to create it. I think that if any of them had the balls to stand up and say 'Enough is enough, we're going to move away from pandering to the greed of the city financiers, stop this out sourcing, dismembering of systems and go back to rational forms. We are going to take an honest look at what it would really mean to have sustainable lives across all spheres- social, community, environment and finance at national and international levels. We are going to consider our existential position in a truly open way and not just restrict our view to the traditional rules of the political game.' then apart from the fact that the party machines and Whitehall would spin their spins people would take an interest and consider their own positions. But right now we just have talk of getting back to economic growth. Mad fools! Oh, and anyone who promised to ban those dreadful telephone systems - listen to the following options, if you want to listen to more of this press 1, if you want to listen to some other blather press 2, if you want to speak to a real person dream on...- well they would get every one's vote!

Last night I dreamt of a houseboat tied with a rope to stop it floating away. No prizes for analyzing that one. Today I listened to a Madness album from the 80's. Great stuff; such energy, such sanity.

Friday 24 April 2009

What is it?

To set the scene; I was at work today and a colleague mentioned his proposed parachute jump, I commented that I was far too aware of the void to do that, I didn't need that to feel death nearby. He commented that it might light something in me. He thinks I am disappointed with the world. I don't think he has me right. It's not that I said, it is alight. What is it? he said. I'd tossed a few ideas about sub-personalities about (they have seen the inner terrier a few times) and I listed the classic inner child etc. 'What about the disappointed child?' he said.

What is it? Indeed! Does he have any idea of the size of the question? And the disappointed child? That's not the word I'd use. Frightened, sensitive, feeling that others were very different. Probably deeply in tune with many aspects of his world but not the presentation of his cultural surroundings. And to locate all that and find the child in question here in the now? And yes what about it? What comfort? The ego shell connected with all this is still tight. It's probably the subtle tension I can feel and can't let go of in zazen.

I've just finished reading what I thought a good book by David Guy on the Red thread koan. His thoughts match many of my own on this one. The little death of orgasm, the death of aspects of the ego in love and making love. The tension in the body how this is related to being closed, pain, loneliness and temporary release in orgasm. The need for softening and more lasting freeing up from ones ego shell. Big subject lots of related items-

sex(ual), spirit, (pre)sexual, nakedness, innocence, ego, death, orgasm, desire, life force, creativity, energy, void, form, emotion, communication, feeling, bonding, thought, head, heart, self, Self, love (four fold model), body, visual, attraction, evolutionary biology, yin, yang, gay, straight, bi, intimacy, same, other, power, control, personal, impersonal.

And I recall a post I made on vitality which attempts to start to look at desire, form, void, creativity, the Tao.

And my own ideas about part ego death whilst making love before orgasm so that the little death is less important than when that is not the case and one is just locked in the excitement of the head long race to the oblivion of pointed release. And to thoughts of those post orgasmic laughs that accompany the breaking of a modality, the absurdity of it (all).

And that all this flashes through my monkey mind with the thoughts of recent dabbles with colleagues talking about the hopelessness of continued economic growth, awareness practice, and other things that make them all think I am just strange, and the knowledge that I always fail to present stuff in an open relaxed manner and slip into ranting, which is no good and I tell myself it's all just fingers pointing at the moon...

All this, and my own recollected history, the struggle with the fear stemming from the all too evident fragility of each life in the face of life, not mention the ever nagging grief from the imagined loss of in particular the adolescence that never was. And he asks what about the disappointed child?! What the **** do you think you are looking at?

And I am supposed to give an answer? I told him - I picked my koan and I'm sticking with it, I am hanging in the tree, what more answer can I give?

And that will be just part of it and that's before getting any where near ideas about there not being any it, let alone any experience of no it, just being. I am still far too caught up in it for that.

Monday 20 April 2009


I was musing earlier that I often think of things and the self as an array of axes, sort of at varying planes to each other sort of like the straws in the KerPlunk game my brother and I had when we were kids. Various dialectical relationships and interconnectedness, a sort cloud of points connected by... well you get the idea; a sort of visualisation of Buddhist interdependent arising with a bit of Taoism I suppose. And more importantly that if I could get sufficient spaciousness of mind that it would all fall into place and like pulling out the straws in the game - KerPlunk, it all makes perfect sense and I am liberated. (Gosh, might even be a sort of enlightenment.) What a trap, how cunning the mind is at finding ways to have control, some thing to grasp on to. But it does sort of help, the trick is probably to recognise that expectation of the marbles dropping and drop it.

It was a lovely sunny day today.

Sunday 19 April 2009

Developing form

Back from a weeks holiday with DC in Devon. I kept a few very short notes while away as a summary of what I seemed to be with, in summary it boils down a sense that I have been and remain negligent in expanding my life to be all that is possible and all this tied tightly with my OCD, which I see is not quite as residual as I have for years assumed.

Looking back at my past I am aware that I have all sorts of emotions about who I recall that I was. Now unpicking this is difficult; not only is it a question of sub-personalities and dis-identification in the present, but this as a rolling development through time. Where to find the position to stand? Can I be compassionate with myself now for struggling with my recollected self(s), can I find a way to locate each of the selfs I recall and give the vestige (is that the word) that I now have in this self the support laking (as I perceive it now) at the time of that self? Standing back, dis-identifying with all this, becoming the watcher I see as ever, that I still approach from a position. It's no easy thing to give a 'no answer' to the koan, so my patterns continue and some aspect of me watches.

Of course the koan is answered, life flows on, I was/am and will be at each moment all that is possible for me; I like everyone else am always doing my best. Star dust made conscious looks back at its self and in its limited view defined by the forms available finds gaps. Gaps between what it can imagine might have been, might be, was, is, might be. Life flows into gaps, the constant out of balance giving rise to our experience else there would be no change and thus no life.

Developing form, sex, life force, spirit, time and death. The missing one from the list, the one that summarises the others in a way; OCD, which is, I think just the great grasping for control, the denial of our ultimate loss of form, the accepting and denial of death.

And for the most part the weather was fine and I caught the sun and so did DC. The leaves are coming out and the spring is springing. Late now; time for bed, work tomorrow. If I had more time to write this I'd unpick through the emotions and try to be more honest.

Thursday 9 April 2009


I have a feeling that things are shifting a bit. Just the odd conversation, seeing links, options, that sort of thing. I feel lighter with it. But I am also aware that things are messy and even though I have tried to be sensitive to avoid causing suffering, I can see that I've not managed this. And there seems to be a natural flow of in and out, retreating and engaging , yin and yang to this. Maybe one way to look at authenticity is that one tries to be with this flow (as they say), not to get stuck in either yin or yang phases, and to remember whilst in each that it will pass and to try to avoid building walls or clinging to things against the tide. Emptiness in form. But as so often seems to be the case, the universe moves on at a pace slightly ahead of our keeping up and forms then seem to jar. And, to push the metaphor, it is not easy to see what is tide and what is just local turbulence that we do indeed need to protect our self from. So the waves can be battering but then that's to be expected; samsara, it's all fuel for practice I guess.

Tuesday 7 April 2009

As it is

On the one hand: arrgghhhh, and on the other: umm, interesting.

Monday 6 April 2009

At the wheel

Pushing the sub-personality bus idea I notice that there is a tussle at the wheel; the playful child is bored and wants to drive, the parent is clearly most concerned about that, the copious and far to tricky to see but definitely felt crowd are still clinging on (and know they are at the root of most plans anyway) and the pragmatist applies correction as required. Of course this is par for the course but the driving is rough just now and the ride as seen by the self is less than it might be. Trouble is, the will is not clear. All this would be no problem if it wasn't for the feeling that the journey is at or past the average halfway mark and a more productive second half is hoped for. Mid-life stuff.

DC and I had a nice time in London over the weekend and met up with someone from my Essentials of Psychosynthesis week in Scotland. We also checked out the constructivist exhibition at Tate Modern. I found the work hollow, soulless. I thought of Japanese calligraphy attempting to portray emptiness and giving a rich sense of humanity so lacking in much of this exhibit.

We all need a language (in the broadest sense) with which to make our world. We need forms. I am not happy with the ones I have I guess, or at least what I am doing with them. I am trying to be so careful not to fall into grass is greener whilst balancing to avoid falling into complacency. This I reckon is the best way I can attempt authenticity.

DC has just had back copies of a consciousness journal delivered, our home is full of interesting things to read and there is so little time to read. DC pointed out an article the title of which includes 'the doors of perception', I guess it asks that question about religious experience as either seeing our true nature or states of mind in the material world. I've sort of found that one merging into two sides of the same coin and fading away... And I consider, just what do I hold as my yard stick when considering questions that lead to using phrases including words like; the unborn, karma, connection, intimacy... Intimacy brings up all sorts of practical questions about the form of ones life and the meaning and complexity of the term. The forms and depths of connection barley explored by the word seem manifold... Not just the (simple) erotic aspect of the red thread, but the much more subtle interplay of meaning and connection. We are all connected but the more immediate connection and direct communication...

Can I look at the depth of my existence and be the most without making awful mistakes and threatening immensely valuable parts of my and other people's life?

Thursday 2 April 2009

Right action

Lovely night last night with two friends from work. To be open, soften ego shells and extend compassion is as much of an answer to the koan as I could ask.

With choice before me, and the (inevitable) waxing and waning of meaning(s) I have been if not lost then struggling to read the compass of my emotions this past month. Lining up with the true north of compassion should help me get better bearings. But I am not yet out of the woods.

Wednesday 1 April 2009


I am finding this a tough post to write. I am reviewing how I came to have chosen this koan. (By this I suppose I mean life as I see it now.) Choice is not the word.

I have come back to the search for meaning. For a while it was a search for emptiness. An emptiness so full that it would rid me of the fear of impermanence. But from the start I knew this was a dangerous attachment and loosened its grip. Anyway, it's all too obvious that I have far too many attachments to travel without purpose and meaning. So I review my values and my belief system, my world view. And this brings me to my connection with the Findhorn Foundation, my understanding and practice of Zen Buddhism and... And what? The relationship between the existential and the spiritual axis of being? Between self and Self? That might be one way to put it. But maybe I am being too dramatic.

Doing is an inseparable part of our being. I always approach my sitting place from a physical and what is more an intellectual / philosophical position. My intellectual understanding that 'I' is empty is only of partial value. But what to do? Do 'devil's eyes sprout...'? They have in the past, then less so (thankfully) and a few more again now.

I have freinds coming to dinner tonight.