Wednesday 26 December 2012

As It Is

Back home in Newcastle for a week now having spent the past year living and working with the FF. (Most of the previous year was also spent with the FF.) I notice that I have been missing my room in Cluny a bit; I clearly got a bit attached to it. This is probably a good thing as it shows that I was happy there. Some attachment is inevitable and probably part of healthy engagement with life. Practice no doubt lies in how one responds to the attachment. I decided a month or so back to take up a place on a one year masters degree starting in January, hence my leaving Cluny. In the intervening period a job interview came up together with a subsequent rejection. This and no doubt a few other, yet to be clear to me, factors have cooled my feelings about the masters degree. So, I am wondering just why I did leave and what I might best do next. I miss the buzz of being in community. Even though I didn't directly engage with many people for much of the time, there is still being 'in the field' as they say. Back home it seems much quieter. Great to be with DC but definitely quiet not having all those people coming and going. And until I start the course or something else, there is not the purpose which life in the community affords. The challenge to get meaningful work, relationship and home all in the same town seems to remain. I can make my home wherever I need to do so, the other two I can't dictate to.

Christmas is not my favorite time of year. It has a sort of in-build failure; however hard one might try not to let it get built up into something it can't be, there is still an expectation of... Of what? Salvation, satisfaction through consumerism, great social interaction? Probably all that. And of course it's just another day but with the hint of peace on earth, presents good and not so good, interactions good and not so good. I'd love a Christmas without the consumerism. Not just in my own experience but also in wider society. That would totally shift the field.

The weather is grey and the short days are dark and wet. At this time of year nature is holding her breath and I've said for years that we ought to hibernate. Looking at the economy and the environmental problems we face it seems to me that we need to back off all the busyness and look towards what we really need. Interesting then that I dread the prospect of being without purpose. But there is a difference between backing off the busyness and lack of purpose.

Looking back over the past few years (and more) I see I grown some wonderful relationships with people in the FF. I've made a difference there and that is good. Even though while I am in the FF I find the (excessive) feminine energy tiresome and often crave a bit more dynamic, male energy, I never the less recognize that some (probably feminine) part of me is clearly nourished by the particular opportunity to serve which the FF offers. It has been suggested to me that I am wrestling with two sides of myself; the gentle, feminine, laid-back and the dynamic, male part. The key is probably something to do with dynamic action that responds but is not driven. Again, it will, I suspect involve facing and releasing more fear.

On the bright side, DC and I picked angel cards; I have Joy and he Sisterhood / Brotherhood. May this coming year be filled with joyous connection to sisters and brothers. Over the next few days I'll be tuning into  how that wish might best be served.

Saturday 15 December 2012


Cairngorm across Loch Morlich

I took this photo with my phone on panorama, a clever feature which joins photos together. I was surprised just how well it works.

Friday 7 December 2012


This picture of domestic bliss jumped out at me tonight walking through Cluny lounge.
The cat in front of the fire, so life like it looks like it might move is a toy. Yet it seems to fill the space with a purring energy!


Being inside (the tent) is smooth, warm and soft. Being outside is jagged, tight, hot or cold, prickly or hard. It doesn't matter what the tent is. At the deepest it is the separation of the original fall; the exile from the garden (of unity). In the everyday it is generally separation from other people at the individual and collective level. And separation is often from our self; fragmented parts and lost parts. Experiences that might have been but were only glimpsed in the imagination still seek expression so that some aspect of the self might flourish. Might flourish that through the self, the Self might see and thus make the whole point of the original fall; we come out of unity to have experience. (The tree of knowledge so often taken only to represent sexual knowledge, is of course the very content of our lives. Sexuality is an aspect of the wider erotic impulse.) Painful indeed then to look on experience with some part of that experience attached to something that never was. And more so if what was / was not puts one outside the (imagined) group experience. The group experience affords living expression of separation in unity. All that I have been is is clearly all that could have been. That which is, is. Yet we all have unexpressed wondrous parts; many unopened buds. There is a sadness in life that many such buds will not flower. Yet if karma ripens such that we see the buds and can imagine the flower then at some level maybe this is the flowering. No wonder this complex of connection and separation takes a life time to mature and then only if we are lucky. If I could go back with the ghost of Christmas past and give the gift of hindsight to myself would this be a blessing or a curse? Would I, in trying to save my younger self pain and my current self grief, rob my self of wisdom? Did being outside let me see a bigger tent?

Sunday 2 December 2012

Did / Did Not Have

A recent conversation briefly turned to the 'non-raunchiness' of a certain 'rather attractive' non-dualist teacher. It was agreed by all present that that was to be expected. Sex is about a hunger to bond with the other, to merge, a desire for oneness, yet also a desire to have. It requires (the illusion of) separation. This is why long term couples can find it difficult to keep that part of a relationship going; they become too close. At least for a certain kind of sex this is true. The picture is of course more complex; human sexuality has many twists and turns (to match the complexity of our being in the world). And a sensual - sexual continuum ebbs and flows with the ongoing dance of relationship. Sex turns about oneness and separation.

Then today I read in the paper that civil servants have had some difficulty in defining consummation of a gay relationship. This it seems is required if we are to have gay marriage.  Ha; I laughed out loud! That old chestnut.  The business of 'really doing it'. It is of course tied with an other slightly more complex than often thought of area; virginity. In a society wrapped up in a heterocentric world view it's all very simple; penetration, penis in vagina. Or is it? In reality people have always known that there are many ways to merge in a sexual way and that it's the opening of two (or more) people to each other that is at the root of all this. Did any rapist ever take anyone's virginity? Can a couple who have been lost together in the journey to orgasm without penetration claim not to have had sex? The civil servants have decided to leave it to the judges to decide.

And I think it fair to say that there is a deeper level of something required to engage in anal intercourse with someone than is required for vaginal intercourse. Defining that something is not straightforward but it is approached in terms of trust, intimacy, meaning and connection; opening. Generally speaking it takes a bit more opening to get it to slip in. Which is not to say that it is in some way a deeper consummation than vaginal penetration. And on the other hand, it is. And of course, if you are less aware of the meaning of any act then it can be all too easy to engage in it at the physical level. At the emotional, mental and spiritual levels of course things are not necessarily following suit. It's not that any physical act can be said to enshrine consummation in the way the law might like. And I am sure there are plenty of male gay couples who have consummated their relationship without ever having penetrated each other physically. At this point the invisibility of lesbianism becomes all too apparent. Society has always be far less concerned, far less fearful of lesbianism than of male homosexuals. It has always been concerned that its males should not be penetrated. The business of consummation in the eyes of the law is probably more to do with power than oneness. Sexually knowing each other is not captured in a simple did / did not have sex with. Sex is complex because it is part of a journey to oneness. The sexual act penetrates us at emotional, mental and spiritual levels. It is about cracking us open. The monk Ikkyu must have seen a wonderful resolution of the Red Thread koan in his relationship with the blind singer Mori. Now that I write this post I recall the sheer complexity of all this... And the simplicity. I start to remember the types of desire to which the koan might point, the energetic aspects of sex, the unique opportunity that gay sex offers to see what we are, the vibrant aliveness of life and the stillness in which it is held. The word intimacy implies both separate and together.

Sunday 25 November 2012


I've just watched the movie Undertow (2009) original title - Contracorriente. Beautiful! I was in tears. One of those movies that reminds me of the eternal spiritual truth of being who we are.

Getting the details for the link above I see a Facebook link and there a comment about the movie Weekend; an other great movie.

Both of these movies are about gay love. Although easier than in the past, for many it is still a challenge to come to terms with being gay. I recall my own coming out over twenty years ago and consider the ongoing unfolding of life as an out gay man. I recall in the early years of my relationship with DC listening to rabbi Lionel Blue on Radio 4's 'Thought for the Day'. He was saying that sex was very spiritual. In those days I was 'pre-spiritual' as it were but deeply knew that statement to be true. Having let the denial, fear, frustration, confusion and isolation slip to the side I was feeling the wholesomeness of actively being who I was. If there was a God I thought, this is definitely what He would want for me and not what I had left behind.

Although it can be very painful to be outside 'the norm' it can also offer increased awareness. That is certainly true of being gay. The archetypal story of 'The Hero's Journey' which is told through so many variations of detail points to the eternal truth of the homecoming and the driving force of love in all forms. Of course the true test of all this is in the mundane, for that is the seedbed of the wondrous.

Saturday 24 November 2012

Terrier Truth

I started writing this post a few days ago and wrote this:

I acknowledge that I have a 'fast energy' and an irritable and / yet tenacious tenancy.  All summed up quite well by the nickname terrier. I find it difficult to be slow, relaxed, gentle, graceful. And yet some part of me probably wants to be more like that. And an other part just can't stand it! [And] Because I am not really working at the pace required of most modern work places some part of me drives me on against the fear of slowing down and never being able to 'cut the mustard' again. Or maybe deep down I feel it's too late anyway; I've been away from it too long and can't work like I once could. Or maybe it's just frustration at not being involved in a demanding project and part of a team of professionals. Anyway, the feedback from people in the community here is often that I should be more soft and feminine. Now I know that even in the construction industry people have found me abrasive, but I just can't stand this so called feminine softness. And I can think of a few feminists who would take you to task over the whole thing anyway! But there is something here. How much of this is adapted, defensive, limited and limiting ego and how much is just the basic flavor of the undefended self? Hard to say.

But the muse was not with me and I couldn't find the pith of the post.

Earlier today at lunch and again whilst out for a walk with a friend the subject of my terrier nature came up again. I'd forgotten that I'd started a post on this and during this afternoon's walk took some pictures of a wonderful pink-red sunset. As I suspected the phone-camera could not quite capture the scene. I tried with three different settings:

Just which is the truest image?

And this question of seeing 'the truth' is a tricky one. It requires a great deal of wisdom. So, returning to that question How much of this is adapted, defensive, limited and limiting ego and how much is just the basic flavor of the undefended self? Again, Hard to say. On the one hand there is as they say, no smoke without fire and I acknowledge that the fast, driven, tetchy stuff is connected to contraction in the body-mind. And it is no doubt that contraction which is visible in my deportment, especially my gait. Yet on the other, there is the feedback 'oh but you are a mover and a shaker; you make things happen, you keep the show on the road'.

And it's all an aspect of 'the truth'. 

The truth is rarely pure and never simple.

Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest, 1895, Act IIrish dramatist, novelist, & poet (1854 - 1900)

And yes, I do from time to time see gentle people who (still) have a liveliness to them and it is quite wonderful.

Saturday 17 November 2012


Yesterday driving over to 'The Park' to check the progress made by contractors installing temporary boiler plant the radio played Desert Island Disks. There was time to hear two snippets between the talking; Wagner: Tristan und Isolde: Dolce e calmo (5 VIII. 1957, Athens) and Nimrod from Elgar's Enigma Variations. Both very moving pieces evoking the inevitable sadness at the bottom of human existence and pointing at the same time to that deep knowing of our true home and the desire to return there. And as when any work (of art) becomes a finger pointing to the moon we see where we are and feel a gap (between heaven and earth) that is almost filled by the pointing. Almost yet not... The Lark Ascending but never quite reaching... Rothco's paintings opening a portal to an other world that we feel we could almost step through... Almost, but not quite, at least not literaly. There are of course no gaps; they are filled by experience. This experience is our appreciation of the work (of art), of our world.

There is of course, a place here to explore the connection between life and death; the most basic of all dualisms. Eros being a good place to start. For love and life force, move us with all kinds of desire (both wholesome and unwholesome) to have experience. Not the least of which is the experience of some La petite mort be it through sex or art.

And the particular shape of the gap seems to be determined by my general mood before experiencing the work. Yesterday I had a sense of purpose and attcheivement; I was making things happen and they were going well. There is a connection here between this inner longing to return home and our time here in human form, on earth, in the world, where we do 'our thing'; purpose. For me the fall of Adam and Eve points to the need to come out of the garden (of unity) in order to experience (that very unity). It is by engaging in useful meaningful work as part of the wider community of beings whilst holding an awareness of our true nature that we return home. Hell is our separation. But as ever, it is the same separation which lets us see; Samsara and Nirvana one and the same.

These were my thoughts as I drove along. I parked the car and called DC to check on how he felt about the Wagner. We've had a talk before about Wagner; Wagner was not a dude. Wagner could have been a dude but he was just too nasty. Which is a shame, because fundamentally this means that he failed to fully grasp the connectedness of life and thus the value of all beings. A dude you might have gathered is a character who is sorted, knows the (true) nature of human life, is thus happy and good to be with. Fundamentally someone at ease and aware. The application of the name dude was one of DC's during a conversation about the 'greats' of history. Bach, apparently was a dude (I'll have to check that with DC). Einstein was a dude. The Buddha of course was a dude. Yes, DC confirmed Tristan und Isolde did point in the way described... but that doesn't get Wagner off the hook, in fact it puts him on it!

Philosophising at an end I commented on my deft shift between such things and engineering skills and chalked up a few cool points. We all need a few positive strokes.

I walked up to the site and said 'hi' to the guys setting the heating plant to work. Heat was soon flowing into various buildings and warming the occupants. The archetype 'Engineer' is a dude. 

Sunday 28 October 2012

Mist on the sea

 Walking on the beach today the combination of sea (with a bit of a swell on it) and the mist gave rise to that sense of the sublime. La Mer... The photos don't quite catch it.

And this tree, still there from back here.

Thursday 25 October 2012


Yesterday, driving through the countryside into town a pheasant strolled out of the vegetation by the roadside and straight in front of the car. I can't remember the exact thoughts and actions but do recall expecting it to take some evasive action. It did not; bumph. Finding a safe place to pull over I got out to inspect the damage, and here is the confession, to the car. The pheasant had gone through the plastic radiator grill and was stuck between the grill and the radiator, its head still moving, tongue out, poking out through the bars. I guessed it was dead and the movements just the nervous system in action. But no, as I took hold of it to pull it out it pulled back. Umm. How to get it out? No easy way and not the best place to stop. I decided to leave it and continue. Getting to my destination I look at the front of the car again. The pheasant had moved and now still trapped its legs dangled down from the front of the car.  I took hold of them and pulled the poor thing out. Aware that I did not know what state it was in and if it would start flapping about I flung it across to the side of the road. All the time aware that this was a living creature and I was not putting it first in my thoughts. I looked to see how it was. Just about alive but clearly not going to live. Just what is the right action? Wring its neck? I don't think I know how. It might also make it for all I know... umm? Ok, leave it there, by the roadside on an industrial estate. I was not into claiming it as road kill for the pot.  I offered a little blessing / mark of respect to it. Let's hope it lacked the capacity to suffer too much.

At this point I stopped writing this post to return to the industrial estate. Back to my room again now. I looked for the pheasant whilst out; flattened. Run over probably by a van. Something about the body squashed sort of adds insult to injury. Not a good day for the poor creature.

What I notice in my response to all this is that to be honest I am not too distressed about the pheasant. I am just left with some minor car damage and that feeling I get when things go unexpectedly slightly pear shaped. Life as they say is dukkha. Should I feel more (compassion) for the pheasant? Is the observation of one's response enough?

Sunday 21 October 2012

An Autumn Day

A pleasant walk along the banks of the river Divie today with two companions. There was a touch of 'Last of the Summer Wine' about our little group and I felt little like Compo at times. That it should have come to this!   LOL. The autumn colours were splendid in places. Photos from my smart phone (first 3 the same scene):

Rob's Boy Scout instinct...
Following the river we came to a steel wire with pulley wires strung across the water. We mused for a while about its use and location of any chair. Rob assessed its tightness and various methods of using such a convenience were aired. Later at a large Beech tree, Rob produced a rope and we proceeded to measure the girth. Once home we looked up the formula and ascertained the age of the tree to be about 230 years...

Like the trio in 'Last of...' we rounded off the trip with a visit to a tea shop.

There is much  in this unfolding of the day; the rubbing along of partly disparate partly similar folk, connecting with nature, the refreshment found in tea and company, the passing of the afternoon and seasons, ageing, the boyish interest in ropes and measuring, looking things up and working things out... And it crossed my mind a few times during the walk 'how open are our eyes to this day?'; this seeing is not just with the eyes either, but with the whole body-mind. Thoughts, emotions, judgements, sights, sounds and other sensations; all pass by. DC and others too were in my thoughts. My attention as ever changing 'size' and focus. I slipped at one point and getting up and  dusting myself down I caught myself just starting to criticize myself for not paying attention. But that had passed by the time we sat with refreshments and met others we knew. The autumn sun gave a memory of summer and a gentle benevolence to the day. Shared contemplation of the fishing paths by the river, of the past workings of large country estates, of the detailing of stonework and the profitability or otherwise of the bookshop across from the cafe / tea shop... This unfathomable mystery of connection and separation, warmth and meaning, isolation /individuation . 

Thursday 11 October 2012

Divine Balance

I've been aware of not posting much of late. Typical Blog waning I suppose. But tonight I've just watched the end of 'Man on Wire".  I am going to watch this again right through. When pictures of Philippe Petit walking out on the wire are shown the divine comes into view. I am bit too tried to write well about this but perhaps the best is just to point to this aspect and the movie. Picking Labels for this post makes the effect more clear. The beauty and tears of those reliving the story make the point. Death and life. Crazy and true.

Tuesday 28 August 2012

Potential Work

There is the potential for some freelance work; self employment status. To put energy into this I've ordered business cards and set up a website. If it all comes to fruition then I'll register self employed with the tax office. I notice that my pessimism needs to be firmly put to one side. I also notice how writing here about this brings together this site and my new site but only from this side. I haven't linked to this part of my life from my professional 'shop window'. As long as I recognize the risk of splitting I guess I should have a good chance to avoid it. This points to authenticity and the way in which we all need to wear some kind of a mask or self. The question I find helpful is 'am I adjusting my presentation (my mask) to fit or to deceive?' I wonder how long I'll keep this new site going.

But since all work and no play makes for not just a dull Jack but also a dull post, here is a photo of the coast from last Sunday; a splendid day! The composition is not great but look closely and see how clear the day is...

Sunday 19 August 2012


Searching once more for a regular job has led me to times of feeling very down; the whole process is so 'soul destroying'. An interesting expression and one which raises all sorts of questions about the nature of human Being. Irrespective of any search for work, work in the form of a failed drainage pipe found me on Friday. A moderately lengthy job involving a fair bit of re-piping and working between floors and in voids/ducts. On the one hand not too pleasant and yet on the other very rewarding. Nothing like a bit of an emergency to get a sense of purpose and direction. Solving a problem is very rewarding. And this is the intimacy I think we all need; life calling upon our abilities to deliver something of use to the collective. Definitely restorative for the soul. It's all about being in the flow (no pun intended); giving and receiving, stuff going on. Buddhism does not include a notion of a soul let alone harbor the idea of anything in this life having a destructive influence on such, yet cause and effect; karma is spoken of. This contrast between the experience of looking for a job and finding meaningful engagement with life in work makes plain the nature of what seems to be key here; engagement with the collective. This engagement is very apparent to me as I read One Month On from Field of Merit  a work in progress by Rev Alicia and RM Mugo. I am sure their project will come to fruition.

Today walking on the Beach after being in the sea I took the following photo:

...and on the way to take it I took this one:

If only in the midst of depression I would recall and believe that this too will pass and times like those giving rise to the pictures above will also come (and not just go).

Monday 6 August 2012


Have a look at the links on Jade Mountains showing things made from matchsticks!

I wounder about the samadhi involved...

Thursday 2 August 2012

As Selection of Itsy Bitzy Things

Busy Bee

Sunny Flowers

I've not seen one of these before

The first two photos were at the same place on the same day, the third is a different location and a different day as I recall. Life flowing on.

While we have the richness (or otherwise) of the drama of human life, less complex life forms seem to just go about life without much story. In human life we have so much capacity to perceive the universe. After all we went to the moon. Not so Itsy Bitzy.

 Hubble Image (from Google)

Hubble Image (from Google)

Saturday 28 July 2012

Rising up

It's been some time since my last post. Stuff comes up and passes. At one time I thought to write about letting things go and not clinging; just 'put it down'. But the impetus to blog passed too!

At the end of last month Dave C and I had an impromptu trip to NY in the USA. Skyscrapers certainly show the capability of man's ego - both good and not so good. The view from 'The Top of The Rock' is sublime. And for me the little bit of 'nature' in the form of a tree in this photo is a welcome bit of the wider world in a very man made place. Note too the sign: 'No Standing Anytime'; yep, we all keep moving. Moving right through the stillness.

Rockefeller Center NY, USA
This morning I see news from my friend RM Mugo:

working with Rev Alicia, RM Mugo is laying the foundation / sowing the seeds of a great new venture. I have every confidence that small, starting shoots will grow. Things come and go but they also sustain.

from Wiktionary;


sustain (third-person singular simple present sustainspresent participle sustainingsimple past and past participle sustained)
  1. (transitive) To maintain (something), or keep it in existence.
  2. (transitive) To provide for or nourish (something).
  3. (transitive) To encourage (something).
  4. (transitive) To experience or suffer (an injury, etc.).
  5. (transitive) To confirmprove, or corroborate (something).

A blessing on this new venture.

Thursday 7 June 2012


This photo is the result of a Task Process Relationship exercise I did a while back. The Task was to build a structure to support a marshmallow as high as possible using a limited quantity of spaghetti, sticky tape and string. We were in teams and had six minutes. Of the four teams only two produced a result. We came second. Straight away I could see that it needed a spaghetti tripod and the string and tape would make the joints and could act in tension. The spaghetti was the only material that would work in compression. The thing I missed was bundling the spaghetti to make stronger and longer legs of a single tripod. My thinking went - tripod, make it stand, if time build three and put a forth on top. I asked the others in my team 'any ideas?' They were silent, in truth I'd failed straight away at the Relationship part. I'd judged them as likely to fritter the time away and so I took charge. I should have been a bit slower and given more space for their ideas; we might have come up with  the single multi-stranded leg tripod of the winning team. I could see I was doing it; taking charge and running fast with my initial thoughts and I knew I was being a bit judgmental too, but against the clock and determined to get a reasonably stable support for the marshmallow, insight alone was not enough. This is often the case - insight (to my internal process) alone is not enough (to stop the process). As for the Process in the Task Process Relationship triangle I did not give sufficient time to testing ideas with the others. Then again maybe the time would have just been lost. And, in truth I was not in the best frame of mind when I entered the exercise; I was irritable. I knew that, but again insight alone... It's not that we built a structure or won or lost but that I had an other lesson that I am Task oriented and like the Process to be my way and let my judgement impair the Relationships. Funky structure eh?

Sunday 3 June 2012

Spotty Curtains

Out for a walk to day along the coast with a friend we came across this. Imaginative and fun.

Looking at the photo now I see that the blues are great. I can't claim to have seen that in the dim light of my smartphone display at the time; I was more taken by the fun of the painting and just took a 'snap'.

Wonderful views along the coastline were enjoyed by us both. However, I was aware of 'the voice in my head' chirping away with its comments on the view and thoughts about things going on in my little world... I am not sure if it was like that as child or not, I think it probably was. Talking with my friend the conversation came around somehow to things I say, or rather don't say. It seems that I don't always fill in or speak out all the words people need to hear. DC often points this out to me. I think I may have thought I've said something or assumed that people will recall what was said a bit ago and just speak out the thought that I want to share. Apparently it can seem like coming in 'in the middle of a conversation'. What is going on here? I must be assuming people are more connected to what is in my head than they are. In some way do I feel that I know what is going on in their heads and assume they can see me as clearly? Or, am I just off in my own world? I asked my friend, 'can you work out what I am talking about when this happens?' And yes he can 'it just takes a bit of thinking back to what has been said recently'. I find this interesting. Somehow I am not always quite where people expect me to be or they are not quite where I am expecting... This all makes me wonder about 'being in the moment'. Who's moment? We can go around all this for quite a time or just enjoy the view.

Saturday 2 June 2012

In the moment

Spring has been well and truly springing up here in Northeast Scotland. Fresh vibrant young leaves have burst out and contrasted beautifully with clear blue skies. Over this past week they have started to darken to a deeper green and everywhere plants are in flower as we move in to summer.

I have found myself thinking 'oh it's so lovely out, I should be making more of it'. Yet I have been enjoying it even when just glancing out the window or door or driving or walking from place to place... funny this wanting to soak it all up as it is so short lived. Then there is the thinking how lovely it is; the adding of words and stories to what is in awareness. Direct experience of what is without the apparent separation is one of those 'spiritual goals' to which people sometimes aspire. I guess having the 'goal' is part of the problem; it's always out there somewhere in the future. And, like 'I should be...' is part of thinking or feeling that things (by which I mean ones experience) are not ok as they are. Or should that be things as it [sic] is. They are after all all one. Language games.

On a personal level I've been slightly irritated by poor standards in others work and in the style of this community people have pointed to the psychological mirrors. However, sometimes it is possible to be irritated not out of projection but just because what one is looking at is not acceptable. And not just not acceptable to me... So,  what has all this been about? Well in truth a button of mine has been pressed. And it is the one marked 'others seem to be living in a fool's paradise'. Umm, deep water that one. Just working with our stuff and being open to what is; it is all in the moment...

Friday 27 April 2012

Parents at Cluny

My parents are visiting me here at Cluny. They seem to be enjoying the place. The Findhorn Foundation is a lot of different things to a lot of different people. I wonder what it will be to them. Mother has very limited mobility but the spark still burns bright and dad is as easy as an old shoe sitting with the smokers outside in the smoking shelter. They are just happy to be. Folks here put a lot of effort into just being. My parents seem to do it without that much fuss. After what they have been through they really do seem to take it (life) as it comes. Interestingly, I notice that since my parents hardly ever go anywhere their world seems so much smaller than that of the globe trotters that pass through here. But is it? The koan arises naturally and does seem to ripen us.

RM Mugo's post on Jade Mountains prompted me to leave a comment referencing an earlier Jade Mountains post:

Friday 20 April 2012


Writing yesterday's post I was aware that I was pointing very much to the everyday human experience and in terms which might be taken to (almost) rule out a transcendent aspect. I want to be clear here that I am not taking such a position. Just what do I attempt to name by the word Spirit, Buddha nature, God (within), Tao, or any other word? I see the interconnection of all life and its constant change, constant flow. There is a majesty in it. From time to time a sense of what might be termed divinity has arisen in my awareness although less so of late. Such experiences come and go. As I write I see that I am not able to articulate an intellectual thesis setting out my 'spiritual position', understanding of 'reality'. Perhaps that's a good thing. Life is at the deepest level a mystery. My post yesterday was intended to point to the danger of constructing 'fanciful' explanations which perhaps reflect more about our wishes than 'reality'. Dangerous, in as much as they may take us away from 'the peace which passes all understanding' rather than towards it. Have I experienced such peace, do I know to what the phrase refers? Not fully and directly, but hints and glimpses have been there. Or so it can seem. Awareness holds experience including the awareness of awareness, each reflect the other. The universe sees its self. I emerge as a separate sense of self and wrestle with my dramas in samsara.

Thursday 19 April 2012

Mirrors, Miracles and Magic

Contrast of hot tulips and cold snow 

Enticing Orange

Second shoot and three new blooms

I was wondering just what was 'up' for me enough to write about, and then I reviewed some photos. Although the 'amaryllis series' seemed at an end, the flowering of a second shoot prompted me to take an other photo. The geranium flower has a hint of blue in the pink and clashes a bit with  deep red but I still find the display a delight on my windowsill. Earlier I'd taken a photo of a lovely sea food curry made by DC which we had shared with a friend; the colours were just so enticing. And before that I'd been taken by the contrast of the tulips and the snow. Spring had been interrupted by heavy snow (which caused a fair bit of damage to trees), but the tulips (and the forsythia beyond) shone bright.

Living in a community with quite a few 'new age' ideas I find people coming out with all sorts of  things. One aspect of this which can trigger my alarm bells is anything which seems to be about something outside of the everyday coming to 'save us'; miracles and magic if you will. Such stuff is enticing and plays to our human need for a super being (a parent) to make all the troubles go away. To me this is not spiritual but all too human. For me the miracle and magic is that we live in a world and have the awareness to perceive the splendor and complexity in the scenes of the photos above. That we can talk of the blue in the pink and the clash with the deep red is in its self a remarkable thing. There is no need to look for salvation in fanciful 'out there' theories. The koan as they say naturally arises. We need to look at what life is asking of us; what wood needs to be chopped. What do we create when we are just our undefended selves doing what we do. It can be like magic when we work with our talents and gifts responding to the everyday. What is before our very senses that we are failing to notice? Life throws up plenty to mirror our internal world and spirituality lies in the wisdom of the heart-mind to square the circle of our human lives. It is both simple and complex, obvious and a mystery. We know so little and yet so much and the more we work out the more we find to work out. The suffering which causes us to seek salvation is part and parcel of the wonder of life and the heart connection we share with each other. Is that not enough? I once heard a little bit of Adorno and asked DC for the text. DC's favorite, bringing a lump to his throat is the second quote, but it is the first that I recall:

‘Grayness could not fill us with despair if our minds did not harbor the concept of different colors, scattered traces of which are not absent from the negative whole.’
(Adorno, Negative Dialectics, 377–8.)
‘Peace is the state of distinctness without domination, with the distinct participating in each other.’
(Adorno, ‘Subject and object’, in The Essential Frankfurt School Reader, ed. Andrew Arato and Eike Gebhardt (Oxford: Blackwell, 1978), 497–511 (p. 500).)

Thursday 29 March 2012

Dying Days

The first of the Amaryllis flowers are in their dying days. Death, part of life's unfolding takes forms back to the earth. Perhaps in these spring days we should hold an awareness of winter. Not to such an extent as to waste the time by not being present with what is by worrying about the future or grieving the past, NO. But by being all the more present with the best of what is before it passes. Looking back, I see that too often I have let slip the spring with too much concern for fear of the winter. RM Mugo's post on Jade Mountains reminds us of the power of generosity of spirit . I'd left a comment on a previous post about grief. The passing of the flowers shown above made me recall the posts on Jade Mountains.

Monday 26 March 2012

Ageing & Growing

The first of the two Amaryllis plants to flower  is starting to age. Still glorious, but time is telling, pertness has given way to a gentle looseness. One bud seems not to have opened. But the plant has a second shoot which is promising... And my friend has said they can stay in my room for a while longer!

The weather today has been wonderful! 22 degrees in the Northeast of Scotland in March! Fantastic. Clear skies and warm air. The birds are still singing outside my open window and it feels like a summer's evening. I noticed the leaves opening on a tree today for the first time this year. Spring is certainly in the air. I wonder, when are we at our peek?

Sunday 25 March 2012

Just Couldn't Resist

I just couldn't resist this photo;

And, 'slightly closer, more from the side dear' she said;


What insect could resist such an invitation? Fly in and be one with all that deliciousness in Red... 
(Don't forget to click on the images.) 


It is warm and sunny today, Sunday. I've no plans and nothing 'needs' to be done. It's ideal for just hanging out, going for a stroll (rather than a hike) and generally having a 'lazy' Sunday. I notice that I feel a bit sad. I am happy enough on my own but like company. Today feels like a day for sharing but DC is not due here until next week and as things have turned out no other 'play mates' seem to be about. Yet a gentle breeze wafts through the open window to say 'hello' and entice me out in to the sun and then on to the beach. Warm gentle weather seems to invite being rather than doing on such days. Without company it's being with the day, the weather, the environment, my thoughts, feelings and body and the body of the earth... with company it's all that and the energy of an other person. Depending upon the person the areas and depth of intimacy will vary as the interplay of self and other unfolds in the body of the day. Separation and connection, many and one; my experience unfolding in interdependent origination, the paradox of each being separate and the same one.

Friday 23 March 2012

Time passing

Maintenance Dept. had a short walk on the beach at Findhorn bay today. A haar hung over the bay and out at sea. I recalled from school boy geography something about temperature inversion causing this... In places and for a time the calm waters were iridescent with blues and a wee suggestion of pink... I recalled the background picture of sky and water which is at present set on this blog as I took a photo. The photo fails to capture the light; it was taken just too late from not quite the right spot... ah well.

A second Amaryllis now sits on my windowsill. They belong to my friend who has been away for the past week. He will no doubt want them back in his room when he returns tomorrow and I am going to miss them next week as I've missed him this week. 

Thursday 22 March 2012


The Amaryllis is looking lovely and today the weather was quite splendid. I was very busy, was 'going too fast'; trying to cram too much in really but all got done and all is well. I love to have 'stuff on', to be busy and making things happen. A good mix of doing and managing today even though I did cram too much in. It is an old habit and one I need to change this 'going too fast'. The point comes when I stop having the day and the day has me! Just before lunch it was clear that some of what I wanted to get done by lunch was going to have to wait until after lunch. 'Time to take it easy for 15 minutes or so, slow down' I told myself. Then I ran to the car to put some stuff in ready for later! I had to see the funny side! The flowers both in the garden and in the house move at their own pace responding to the weather and smile at me in wonder at my dashing about.

Tuesday 20 March 2012

Opening by the day

I love the splendid Red of the flowers against the soft yellow of the walls and the background of the window and view beyond. Great to watch the unfurling of these flowers.

Monday 19 March 2012

Amaryllis Opening

The Amaryllis shown in the previous post is opening. I'll put up pictures to show its unfolding over the days.
Meanwhile I am keeping busy with managing (and doing a bit of practical 'hands on') refurbishment work in Cluny and in The Park. Builders props etc. in the background to the photo...

Saturday 17 March 2012

The Amaryllis, the Geranium and the Daffodil

Looking at the plants on my windowsill and thinking of the names it crossed my mind that the three together sounded like the tile to a children's story.  Through the window can be seen part of a cherry picker. Strange juxtaposition...

Saturday 3 March 2012


I am definitely out of the habit of posting here. I find writing takes quite a bit of time, I can often get ideas to come up and gel but getting them into the words of a post whilst not hard is labor intensive. Writing like any creative process is iterative. And my slow four finger typing impedes progress; I am of the generation and background that doesn't touch type. Come to think of it, whilst technically minded (I am after all, a chartered engineer) I fear that the day may come when I need a teenager to help me switch on everyday technology... middle age eh?... Anyway, I am involved in stuff here in the Findhorn Foundation and I notice just how much more energy I have when busy and involved. As the old saying has it 'if you want something doing ask a busy man'. Considering my energy I see that being in my mid forty's has not exactly less energy but a different pace to my younger years. Speaking today with on other gay man I discovered that he too finds that he is much more able to see how he  might relate sexually to women now. We discussed how with less of the intensely driven need for sexual contact with other men, a need very much expressing its self in very yang exchange, space seems to be opening up for some flow of yin energy. How far this might go is uncertain. I wonder how many other gay men come to this space.  It is not greatly talked about as far as I know. Perhaps I should also point out that I was never one of those gay men who preferred the company of women. The only women I liked were feisty and yang. All that said, I was very much aware of the visceral level of my sexuality on Wednesday when attending a performance of BalletBoyz. There is something deeply life affirming for me in seeing beautiful men moving together beautifully. This is part of yet beyond lust. This is a deeper expression of the life force. I wonder- do straight men and for that matter women have a similar contact with this force (not just lust), in viewing dancers of either sex? I suspect not in quite the same way. This is interesting territory, this exchange of yin and yang energy beyond the hormonal drive as the years pass and new horizons open up whilst the old ones pass by. Looking at some of these photos on the BalletBoyz website I see how very sporty and macho the dancers look. What I like about contemporary dance is the access to the life force without the 'perfume' of sport and machismo, so its interesting to see the choreographer play with this energy.

Monday 13 February 2012


I attended a three day 'Long Term LEAP' induction at the end of last week. This is the Findhorn Foundation staff intake route. It is a commitment to work here for six months and works towards staff threshold. It does not guarantee a staff position and not all who enter the program intend to stay on past six months. The induction ended with a lovely ritual symbolising a move into closer relationship with the Foundation. I am starting to settle into work in Assets dept. and it's great to feel useful and engaged with work in which I believe. I have been thinking about posting on various bits of personal process that arise but the creative spark somehow failed to ignite. Perhaps that's a good sign; indication that I am sufficiently aware that this (process) too will pass. No real heat in it. All (as they say) is well. And that wellness comes from creative outlet doing meaningful work. As they say here, 'work is love in action'.

I see that creativity is in consideration on Jade Mountains. I like the quote featured and totally agree; play, creativity and love.

Monday 6 February 2012

Landing back

On Monday of last week I drove from Home to Perth, stayed overnight then travelled to Forres ready to start a six month contract with the Findhorn Foundation working as a project manager in Assets. This past week has been about landing back here, settling in, both physically, mentally and emotionally. As ever, the physical body arrives whilst the mind remembers the past, flits about in the present and projects off in to its fantasy of the future. The emotions emerging like foam on the waves of the mind. Although foam sounds too light and too dismissive of those sometimes powerful sometimes subtle all so important body sensations. Minds spin stories and change usually feeds the spinning. So, having decided to embark upon a further journey or rather continue my journey, with the Foundation all sorts of voices have had their say from the exited to the fearful. But that's minds for you. However, all is well and it is good to be busy, of use and surrounded by good folk with a liberal sprinkling of smiles and laughter.

Saturday 28 January 2012


There is some thing (or no-thing if you want to get in to the semantics of it) at the very core of our existence together in the world which is beyond all description and is the most profound. It is seen in the fact that we are tiny and apparently insignificant against the scale of the universe and yet at the same time each of us is priceless, of unlimited value. Some times the immensity of that just hits me smack in the face. What can you say but homage to the divine.