Friday, 30 October 2009

Everything and Love

I want to write about everything. So I have labeled this post Form. And that is where we start; form. In outline, all forms are interconnected and thus not knowable in themselves. For example, the mug to my left on the desk came from clay and is glazed. There will be a hole where the clay was removed, ditto the glaze. The energy used in transporting and making the mug will have resulted in CO2 in the atmosphere etc. etc. And I can only see it with my vision and only then in the way that I look at it. I don't get all the details,even if I look closely at it. And the colours are not the same to me as for a bee. And I can't help but see a mug, which a bee would not see. The world that a bee or a dog knows is not the world that I know. And we as humans don't have the last word on what is, we just think we do, that's just a habit we have. Every thing is connected including our perception of things. What is, is the unknowable void, empty and folded upon its self to give rise to form and in so doing making manifest its desire to be, to know. And some unknowable aspect of this desires an amazing variety of forms. Just think how many types of grass there are, let alone all the other forms, chairs, trees etc. And then the sentient beings including human beings with our amazing minds. And at mind we see that all we have is our own experience. Sit in meditation and see thoughts and sensations come and go. But who sits? Where to focus attention, inside or out, is there a difference, who is focusing, what is the will? Thinking, thinking, just sit with open awareness. Deep inside, in the body-mind a sense of stillness embracing all, refusing not a thing. Only our thoughts judge. Being accepts and is, all there is in any moment.

Each contains the other, yin and yang, no dark without light. And everywhere is change, yang flowing to yin which gives birth to yang. Without change there would be no life. The breath would not enter and leave, the oxygen would not flow in the blood. And in meditation this is seen, the constant flow of change. And my awareness always just behind time, just behind where the universe is. I hear a noise, I think bird and picture it in the tree outside. But I have not seen this it is just imagination. And beside, the sound is gone, when did I hear it? We live in the gap between what was and what is, always just behind. The void's desire to be, present in us, we attach to things we like. Yet change tends to take them away and so we suffer. Yet deep within us the stillness remains unmoved, accepting all. At this point I could move to talk of compassion and reducing the ego's demands so as to be more free, to accept more of life and be more there for others. But it is other that I want to explore.

Our situation is a paradox; we are all connected yet separate. We can't survive alone, the mug does not exist without the hole in the ground and the CO2 and is not a mug without human culture to so define it. I am defined by my relation to other. Yet I must face my own death. The void seeks to know by coming into form and in human being we derive the existence of the void. It is my understanding though not experience that some apprehend this not just by intellect but by direct perception. But it is my direct perception that I seek unity. In love in all its complex forms I seek to be one with other. And it seems that the desire to generate more form and more unity is without end. Is this the point about which spirituality turns; samsara, nirvana, desire, acceptance, form, void, meaning and purpose, meaningless and purposeless? I am no Bodhidharma. I need meaning. And I need to be needed. And to return to love, I have with my partner of almost eighteen years achieved a sort of selfless unity. Each of us through a process of sharing, giving and taking, has woven the three cloths I have spoken of elsewhere; his (self), my (self) our relationship, all three one as all is one. Family, friends, our society, animals, desks, chairs, the air, all one. Yet perceived as joined and separate at different levels. It is the closeness, the proximity, the intimacy of the connection that we crave. And having reached high levels of intimacy with an other human being, desire for more connection arises, and so in form the desire for unity returns. At the 'lower' levels, in erotic desire the mind seeks the new, the constant chase for excitement. This not what I am writing about. There is the desire for unity in it, but the emphasis is more in the expansion of form, the desire to know more forms. But in love as apposed to lust, we see the desire for unity, to return to the void. In lust the head long chase for the abandonment to be found in the little death of orgasm. In making love the partial death of self as each flows into the other, heart to heart and only then the temporary slip in to the almost selfless abandonment of orgasm. Yet we do not die, we pull back from our connection with our lover and into our own experience of orgasm, however much we desire to unite. Then gradually we return to the world.

Is it possible for me to live in the world with an aliveness of deep connection as my experience? My aloneness healed, forms all changing but the stillness of the void present, is this the place to be? Part of me can remain at the eye of the storm, watching. But I am not playful, I am attached to things, I feel the gap between the way the universe appears and what I want. The void generates both of course. And where am I? I am not alive with deep connection, not as I write. This is generally taken to be the spiritual work, to be present and playful without attachment. How far down that road can I make it? I am not a monastic, meaning and complex love are deep in my needs, not desires, needs, it seems. And the desire expressed above for more unity is moving me to a polyamory I can see is just not practical. Here we see the juxtaposition of form's desire for unity and the incompatibility of forms. Or is there a way? And would it be in harmony with The Way? This question, which has arisen out of the unfolding of things, together with my desperate need to feel useful, and the two are not unrelated, is burning in me. I've written about vitality and meaning before and included a reference to Pan. (Please follow this link now, before returning.) But not just Pan, the post also looks at the relation of desire and compassion. I feel now that there is some deep wisdom in the need for us to be united in form; the void knowing its own oneness. Is there more than one type of spiritual experience pointed at here? Or am I just too attached, and if so to what? Love and attachment; loving someone and wanting something from the situation. How can we love and how can we be with?

The 'Red thread' koan it would seem, has come right up in front of me. Here I am having tried to go for Gold, to be like Bodhidharma, without attachment to meaning, responding to life as it comes, holding and letting go of the boughs, and this comes up; I need to be needed and I need closeness with more than one man. It might well only be my mind's projection, issues of co-dependency and the different forms of love are there but the feelings remain. We relate to each other through our feelings, by being in the body part of the body-mind. Thoughts and feelings are not separate and it is possible to get great feelings of joy by talking about ideas, but about is not the thing its self. Again I am not just talking about the erotic, in fact that's the least of it.

In passing I would add that DC and I saw 'The imaginarium of doctor parnassus' at the cinema last night. I enjoyed it. To me it plays with ideas from the mind only school of reality and the battle of good and evil. Interestingly, or so I thought, the devil doesn't want to win, he just wants to keep playing the game, what would be the point in wining, there would be no more game, no more fun for him. Where does this sit with form and void? This is complex, why must the devil take his fun at the expense of others? Is this because he represents a separatist, selfish view of being? Where is the desire for unity, the pain of separation? I've not thought too much about this. It's so unrewarding to view the world from the view point of a tormentor. Anyway, good triumphs and love flowers. It's a good movie, I was touched by parts of it. On leaving the cinema and walking to the car park DC pointed out that 'the great thing about art is how it shows up the madeness of things'. After the fantasy world of the movie, the almost pantomime of punters queuing to get into night clubs in town seemed very made.

And I think back to last week at Cluny, the joy of connection with caring and interesting people. The journey people make from head to heart as they say in the Findhorn community. And I recall the way the community seems in part to be about 'probing the field' again to use the language of the community. It can be challenging, there are some ideas that I find interesting but I also hear my alarm bell ringing; take care, not all views of reality lead to enlightenment. And it all comes back to this; rub along together, take care of your self AND each other. The pots need washed, the people fed and sheltered, in all of this love each other. And they have many ways to help people start to take off the armour of their adapted self, to move towards authenticity, self and other acceptance. The Findhorn community is complex. It is a shame that I was not in a more relaxed space, when at Cluny, my body-mind too full of emotions. I did however, find periods of joy living in community. But it is in the world that I need to find a place to be. I have always been a bit of misfit and probably never quite sure where to place my power. In the past, career wise there was a sort of path though, but now I just don't know.

I have no idea what I am going to do. But in me is a sense of still strength, my power. And I do my best to be good.

Sunday, 25 October 2009


I plan to return home tomorrow. There are questions that seem only to have their answer there now. Being here seems to have raised the possibility of the their answer there.

I'll miss the sharing here and the sometimes strange and the sometimes wonderful people here but what I need to do now is reconnect with the truth of what is at the place I call home. The time here (which has been intense) seems to have clarified the questions. Which is good.

It's not time to be clever about 'home'. Spiritually it is about being 'at home' wherever. But few of us are wandering mendicants and so the question of rooted-ness comes up. And when they come under question it is very hard.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Still Hot

I am still in this hot place. It's scary. And it's be about more than just the next couple of weeks here. Wanting to escape is be about the thoughts I have brought with me not what is here. This feeling of isolation is terrible. I know it's not rooted in anything other than my thoughts, but I still feel it.

And part of me watches and knows the deep, deep connection and love, not just deep in the philosophical sense, but the direct practical every day; those who are thinking of me and love me.

I need to get out in the world and do something of use. Something I can believe in and that will help with fruitful connection.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Moving meditation

After breakfast and zazen I went to the ballroom and spent just under an hour dancing to T-Rex as a moving meditation; feeling into the emotions, the tight spaces, the needs and pains, the softening and the opening. I must remember to do this more as I find it a very grounding, very rounding, emptying and warming activity.

Lying on the floor, still wriggling a bit to the music, fingers dancing, arms and legs slowing, torso softening to the floor, head wondering if this is the end of the energy for now or would an other wave come through, and then remembering a conversation about the sort of things that Findhorn et al has one doing; 'what would people make of it?' What looks strange on the outside, makes more sense on the inside.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009


I was just signing into my e-mail account and had a spontaneous bark; ruff. Most cathartic, not done that for quite some time. Is it my inner dog? It was prompted by some of the more 'challenging' fliers on the notice board. Or so it seemed.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Hot place

I am in a 'hot place'. I need to remember Manjusri Bodhisattva. I can't post the details; it's not fair to those involved, but it isn't an easy time for me now. I knew this would come. But it is finding the way that is hard, let alone the Way. Pain and fear with the associated grasping. There are limits to any non-attachment I might practice; big limits. And even with acceptance, non-attachment, how to then have meaning? For some such a position might open one up to the raw vitality of life and be in tune with the Way. (Riding the Ox home playing ones flute?) But how to avoid slipping into boredom and thus depression? I guess that risk comes when one still has attachments to comfort. Comforts which keep one from living. And I am not that advanced on the path; I have many needs, many attachments too strong it seems for me to let go. And sifting it all out, working out what might be the best action, the action which looks to give the maximum happiness for the maximum number of people, or the minimum suffering, that is the challenge. Truly opening to life with a compassionate heart is one heck of a challenge.

And here in Cluny, helping out and connecting and people seeing each other and their suffering and hugging, the open hearts, the listening as well as the being alone, it all comes up.

Saturday, 17 October 2009


I've got some resistance to staying on for an other three weeks. I was fine this morning and paid the invoice for the LCG. I've done the attunement, got my shift rota, etc. So what changed and when? Well, I went out with a friend 'into the world' for a walk. It's so fresh. It's a beautiful day today. And the contrast with the slightly claustrophobic nature of community was quite stark. This is a good thing; I like being out and about. Nothing like a bit of contrast to help stop things turning invisible. Returning here I had quite a longing just to go home. It will settle. I've put my laundry in (I am not being metaphorical) and there will be new people around starting programmes today. It's such a mix here. One can feel exhausted by the contact and isolated at the same time. Which was one of my fears traveling up on the train last week, which seems a like month ago!

Wednesday, 14 October 2009


I am starting to feel a growing sense of opportunity and with that a gratitude for it. How good to be able to take time out and take stock. And the warmth and connection here in the Findhorn Community is such a blessing. It is a complex environment and that yields the rich opportunity for connections and thus discovery.

I remain open about what to 'do' after LCG and no doubt I'll be ready for the freshness of my own space by the end of four weeks here, but I feel it needs to be something creative.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Thought for the day

I was half heartedly thinking whilst bathing after exercise this morning, which is to say that my monkey mind was babbling away to its self as it does, that one can hear lots of ideas around the Findhorn Community about the way reality is. And, musing on some of my own fantasies I had a brief thought about how the interconnectivity of everything might make for all sorts of possibilities. Yes I thought, but you can't make the toaster work by trying to connect it to the hot tap. Which is a nice way of reminding one's self about relative and absolute truths.

Sex is an interesting area when it comes to connection and creativity. We are all connected but not in all ways. The universe's desire to be, to create, seems to be evident in the drive to connect sexually with, in the case of heterosexuality or birds, bees and flowers, the concomitant procreative function.

So it's the different types and levels of connection that, as form folds over form, creates reality as we experience it in everyday life, i.e. at the relative level. Relative; from Wiktionary:

'Preposition: relative. Relating to, being relevant towards. Adjective - : not absolute ; connected to or depending on something else ...'

After that sojourn in a warm bath I headed off to the ball room and did some Tai Chi. Too fast, too fast, not enough meditation in it. So I went and got my MP3 player and used a bit of new age type music to help me slow it down a bit, which was helpful. Then a bit of free form dancing before tea. Which all goes to show inter dependant arising.

Monday, 12 October 2009


I arrived at Cluny on Friday and took the bus to Park where I stayed B&B for the night. Saturday I returned ready for Exploring Community Life (ECL). Only three sleeps (as kids say) and it has had time to feel like a month. So many connections and so many emotions to process. But today thankfully, I 'landed' sufficiently to be in a reasonably comfortable space for my Living in Community as a Guest (LCG) attunement which took place at 2-30PM today. I attuned to three weeks of LCG post ECL and to Cluny kitchen work dept. (which is where my ELC work dept. attunement placed me). So, feeling lighter for having the 'will I stay or will I go' over with I returned to the kitchen to continue my shift.

Separating 60 eggs, the whites into a bowl large enough to have a deep ring when struck with an egg, the gong perfect to help recall mindfulness. So, 'Instructions for Zen Cook'?

I'd like to past a link to an other site so those not familiar with Dogens work would understand the reference to 'Instructions for Zen Cook' but this iMac thing is too clunky, so google it if you want.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Getting it right / wrong

It seems that my writing is too telegraphic, too condensed. I am not completely unaware of this and on Sunday at Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey, in conversation it came up. But in a short while it was understood why; I try to look at things on lots of different levels and remain mindful that to even attempt to say anything on some of the stuff I am writing about is to risk getting it all wrong. Here we go... getting it all wrong. At the deep level there is the whole non-dual, not right not wrong; important, but none the less a smack in the face is painful. At the more relative levels... oh, well look, you either know all that stuff or not. This sort of links up with an other conversation about everyone doing their best. That works at different levels too. No, I am not being clear here am I? Forget it. I am probably being far too presumptuous anyway.

Tuesday now. Spent the morning tidying the wood shed and raking leaves at Harnham Buddist Monastery before having lunch there. Helped with the post lunch tidying then used their hall to sit in meditation. The monks are happy for the public to use the hall to meditate. I'd checked that they were ok about forms of meditation related to traditions 'other' than theirs.

Just started reading Tao Te Ching / Lao Tzu; translated by David Hinton. The introduction to this is, I think, marvelous. Wu-wei: Nothing's own doing, etc. (from the author's list of key terms). To live in harmony with the depth of this philosophy, well, for me it's an aspiration (when I remember) that could be one way to put it. To write of the day to day reality as it seems to me of the unfolding, well I am not being clear am I?

In each moment, choices, nominally right, nominally wrong.

Saturday, 3 October 2009


DC and I had a lovely simple dinner last night with our friends Ann and John at their home.

Ann had bought herself a nifty new notebook computer for work and a lovely new paper notebook as a present for me to take to Findhorn. The gift came with a card:

I wonder if Ann was aware of the symbolism of the Robin; new beginnings, growth, joy, warmth etc. What a lovely start to this period of exploration.
The conversation at table was as ever, fast, wide ranging and generally dynamic. Such fun.
Thank you Ann and John and to DC for an other joy filled evening.

Thursday, 1 October 2009


Just returned from the Star and Shadow cinema where we saw 'Ramchand Pakastani', well worth going to see. It tells the tale of a father and son held prisoner in India for crossing (inadvertently) the border from Pakistan. As ever, the charm of the Star is the fact of it being amateur. It took a bit of getting the film running due to technical problems with the aspect ratio, subtitles and sound. They were all set to give us our money back as the subtitles were not present and so they thought they had the wrong print. But I'd seen some subtitles at the beginning and something told me this was a technical problem. 'Are you sure it's not something to do with how it's set up' I ventured. The projectionist was consulted and sure enough, with a bit of time he should be able to get it to work. So, after a false start and a bit of a delay we were able to see and hear all. Well done the projectionist and such fun to be closer to the technology behind the experience. It came to me that since so much technology just invisibly does its stuff now, we take it for granted and end up with a strange disconnect from the world. Anyway, I was prompted to check up on the marvel that is Wikipedia just how the sound recording is done. I'd an idea it was by light modulation on the edge of the film and yes this is how it is done. In that link following way so fostered by the web I came across the Optigan. What? And so I did a quick google search and found this on Youtube. What a wacky world.

A much better night than last night when I felt really rather down and disconnected, wondering where I am going. I've sort of thrown quite bit bit of my life up in the air recently in an attempt to be authentic, to strive for what might be called individuation, to take spirit seriously, to try to see just what the rice is that's there to be eaten; acceptance. And at times it is hard. Which sort of reminds me of this which points to purpose and connection as well as other things. And last night I was far from accepting. I'll not go into details but I was lost in the middle of too much emotion. And it is all too easy to compound the situation by developing attachments to being in a state of wisdom and equanimity at all times. That old chestnut about keeping on trying and not letting ones failings get one down. But enough, that was then, this is now.

Through the course of the evening I returned again to that thought of just how ingenious human beings are and yet also so mixed up. Purpose, connection, creativity, belonging, love, how come we keep falling into chaos and confusion? I recall 'The Way is wide and straight yet men love the byways'. Which I sort of feel brings us back in a rambling way to this. It's past bed time now so that will have to do for now, but I guess that the quote I left on Jade Mountains sums it up;

'I think all this points to some very deep spiritual 'truths'. Practice for me is about acceptance, acceptance of what is and thus compassion. And for this I need equanimity. Meditation helps develop that spacious mind which is essential in all this. But the challenge has come for me with meaning and purpose. Just to see what it is that is calling to be accepted, ie what is it that is calling to be done and thus to have purpose in the exquisite gift of life, that seems to require much wisdom, even if what has to be done is just to be.'