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).)