Tuesday, October 31, 2006

An odyssey
I watched 2001 last night. I was rather trepidatious putting the DVD on to play because when it had arrived in the post that morning I realised that my mother had taken me to see the film as a child, and it had scared the shit out of me. I was so shocked by the film at the age of ten that the event has lain in my memory like a repressed trauma ever since.
When I saw it again last night I felt that fear and then accepted what it really was that had freaked me out. I knew exactly what the film is about. It is about something that the mind cannot fully grasp; hence terror, or repression. I feel much better today.

Christ Ken
I found this site a while ago; http://www.iamachrist.com/
I thought, I would like to meet Ken. This morning Ken turned up. Ken is my brother in law's gardener. I just realised how amazing he is, and how everyone you meet has something to show you that could be jolly useful. He is 75 years old, and he is fitter than me, certainly fitter than my poor exhausted father. He works as a gardener, which is clearly something he loves to do, and also regularly flies out to Greece with his girlfriend to go dancing. He stays with family. I told him that I hope I am as fit and well as him at his age. He is very proud of this and rightly so. He tells me, 'I am never without a woman'. His current girlfriend is 71; she does gardening work too. He told me that this last weekend they went out dancing. 'I like to jive, rock and roll' Ken tells me. She drank ten vodka redbulls. 'She went loopy!' he says. He left his glasses in the cab on the way home because she would not stop jumping about. He had to call the cab company in the morning to ask about his glasses. He is, as far as I can see, the most contented and relaxed man I know. I hope my father can be like this soon.

Flower and the the lovely woman who runs the yoga yurt place have both spontaneously called me Richard. Richard is my middle name, my Father's name, and the name of the Lionheart King. My father showed me devotion to a woman even when she is very unhappy and hurts you. Thank you very much, dad. Thank you.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Sun Ra
I watched again the fabulous BBC tv documentary on Sun Ra this week. I realised with shock and delight that I understand what Ra is talking about.
Some highlights;
Sun Ra was being clerked in a hospital, when asked where he was born he answered 'Saturn'. The doctor, rather annoyed, asked a co worker to come and examine him and see if he was crazy. The co worker, a jazz fan, said, 'that is Sun Ra. Of course he is from Saturn'.
The drummer from Kool and The Gang goes to see Ra in concert for the first time. 'just at that moment, Ra hit a chord so big, he had to just walk straight back out again'.
'Man, they were so out there, they weren't out on a limb, they were hanging in space'.
The police come to the door of the house where Ra lives communally with his Solar Arkestra, to investigate a complaint of noise. Ra gets his bible and quotes to the police, 'make a joyful noise'. The police leave immediately and do not bother him again.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Saint Michael of Corleone
I watched The Godfather last night. As I see it, the story is usually read as the descent into evil of an innocent. But I see the story of an innocent awakening to something that
he must conclude. When Michael Corleone is in hiding in Sicily, he
falls truly in love. He is very happy, when the life he is in hiding
from reaches out to destroy his beloved. He sees that he can bring it
to an end, and that he must do it. Even though he will have to assume a
role immersed in this terrible world, and appear to do terrible things.
He is a man who has seen his fate. In it's period context, this is an
allegory of Europe realising that Fascism must be stopped.

This is the tragedy of The Godfather part 3; it was a wasted
opportunity for a truly enlightening trilogy. I wish someone had
pointed this out to Coppola.

Love and dancing
I am very into club trance right now. The stuff from right at the end of the last century.
It is a truly european art form. I hear the classic sequencer music pioneered in Germany and the light sensibility of uk synth pop. Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk, loved up UK acid.
But it is like it is expressing something different. It is so joyful; my masculine hears freedom, my feminine hears love. It is like a truly modern human celebration of being.
There is the beat, which I used to hear like dots on a score, in a line. Now I hear it all in the same place, changing, unfolding, ever upwards. The ostinato spins around this relentless movement, like petals from the centre of the flower.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Today I was walking a path I often take, and as it is so familiar, I am able to simply follow the path without looking ahead. I find myself immersed in the experience of the path changing beneath my feet. The waves of corn wash past as I walk through the cornfield, the flowers and grasses dance past as I walk across the meadow.
My eyes relax, as if they are usually trying too hard to hold something. And this vision just moves past me, ever changing. And then I noticed something. If I look down, there is one feature that is consistent; this body, these bobbing feet.
And seen in this way, I find I am the centre of awareness that includes the body within itself, not the self which regards the body as it centre, itself. And I feel dizzy.
I have for a few years now been driven to scrutinise my experience by the sense that I am missing something. I once discribed this as like watching a television upside-down. Eventually you get used to it, that actors appear on one side when you are sure it is really the other side. And you no longer find it strange that everyone walks on the ceiling. It means you have to think a bit too much about what is going on, but eventually, that is just how it is. If you one day began to suspect that there was maybe a simpler way to see things, you might have difficulty seeing the very obvious, 180 degree mistake. And if you did figure it out, it might be a bit disturbing to imagine things the right way up.
This dizzy feeling is like seeing things turn over. My feet are at the top of my picture. I hang from the ground much like you imagine they do in Australia.
It felt like my soul noticing my body. My mind is usually there too, but it felt like closing the triangle, a holy, or whole trinity. A being comprised of three parts.
I recall a quote from my favourite zen master; All is constantly changing, except one thing. Can you find it? Of course, that one thing is always there. Even the body, I have noticed, changes, and it seems they eventually disappear. But in the truth of my experience, in what is given, it is there like the symbol of the eternal. It's image, I guess.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The Law
'You see, there is something you have to understand', my Sri Lankan host leaned towards me as he spoke and took the joint I was passing back to him. 'Where you come from, there are many rules. There are laws which say you can do this, you can do that. They tell you how to do everything, they tell you what you cannot do. You believe these rules.' He exhaled, seeming to luxuriate in the pleasure of the ideas he was imparting as much as the aromatic smoke. 'Over here, we don't have that. We don't need it. Sri Lankan people, they know how to behave.'
This was in response to my question about the planning permission for his guesthouse, situated in the most astonishing vantage point over the most astonishing landscape I have yet seen. No planning permission? I asked; he chuckled at me. And that? The large joint of locally grown, natural grass? Do you get trouble from the police? 'The policeman, sometimes he joins me for a joint here.'
I am not surprised. You can see the coast from his place, fifty miles away, and 1000m down. Over to the right a waterfall graces the rock face between two tea plantation. There are eagles to be spotted taking all this in too, from the air.
There are fewer laws in Sri Lanka, and I never felt so safe. It has occured to me that a true human society would be no society, comprised of people who can be trusted to live in anarchy because they have gotten over the business of hurting each other. Their motive will be love, not money.
In Sri Lanka, it is possible to believe in this vision. I remember feeling rather disconcerted during my first few days in the country by the liberal use of car horns. Now to me, a car horn says only rude things, usually 'I am rather cross with you'. In Sri Lanka, it means simply, I am here. Curiously, this is what the Highway Code will tell you is the sole function of the car horn. For a few days it seemed to me that these people, so genuinely friendly, were enduring the most endemic road rage. Of course, they are only notifying pedestrians of their approach. In most parts of Sri Lanka, if you do not watch theground as you walk along the roadside, you will inevitably trip over before too long. Plus, you are probably too relaxed and happy, and usually deeply engaged in conversation with a companion. When you hear a car horn, you stop, and wait for the car too pass. The driver does not have to slow down. It has probably taken him ten minutes to accelerate his ancient japanese minibus to his current velocity and he will appreciate not having to wear his brakes too much. Incidentally, however elderly the minibus is, there is always one item of equipment in mint, unused showroom condition; the seatbelt.
Wherever I looked there is a culture of consideration in Sri Lanka, obvious to me because where I see it back here it is a usually a conscious effort. Over there it is just obviously the best way to get things done. On one occasion, my host was driving us to the beach. I found that I was quite alarmed at his speed, and his road positioning; occupying the centre of the road. When I voiced my concerns, he pointed out that this is simply the most effective way to drive. Firstly you need some speed on these worn roads, he explained. Secondly, the road has the best surface in the middle, so it is safer. Thirdly, although an oncoming vehicle, utilising the same strategy, appears to be on a collision course, both drivers know to move left at the appropriate moment.
Fourthly, my friend was clearly enjoying himself, and amused by the idea that I might drive on the left at all times because of a law. How absurd.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Humiliation and forgiveness
I am becoming deeply troubled by Thomas The Tank Engine. I am often persuaded by number one nephew that it would be a good idea to watch television. I have often favoured the Thomas dvd because it is so much more watchable than Kipper the Dog, who is frankly rather childish. But there is a recurrent theme in the Thomas stories which concern me.
Most of the stories follow this pattern:
1. Arrogance. One of the engines will display some rather unpleasant selfish behaviour. Usuall it seems some kind of suppressed rebelliousness. Each engines' role in life is clearly dictated by the Fat Controller. He is basically a considerate man but his management skills are entirely arbitrary or reactive, never intuitive.
2. Calamity. This wilful behaviour will endanger other engines, their payload or often a carriage of children. Other engines will appear particularly magnanimous in their assistance by comparison when they save the day.
3. Humiliation. The engine in question will be the subject of hilarity and/or anger.
4. Contrition. Said engine will then have to humple himself thoroughly and apologise to all concerned.
5. Forgiveness. The other engines and more importantly the Fat Controller will forgive the engine and point out publicly how stupid it has been. It will then happily return to its alloted role free of it's rebellious spirit.

There is a clear message here; know your place. These stories seem fine for boys in pre war public schools being bullied in to appropriate roles for the British Empire. There seems no even faint justification for this message today, unless my nephew wishes to become a dictator.
Unfortunately the models in the tv show are absolutely fantastic. I do not believe you would have persuaded Jojou junior to play outside if it had been on when I was little. It was the model machines in Thunderbirds that fascinated me with that show. I watched some old thunderbirds a few years ago and was shocked to observe that the stories are rubbish. So am hoping that the bizzarre anachronistic fascist/feudal message of Thomas is wasted on today's small minds. If not I will have to insist on bloody Kipper, or worse still, the horrible Tweenies.

map one
I had a lovely day with the Kitten on sunday. We walked by the canal in islington until it rained. She told me she had been considering quite how much I had changed my life. It is true, I have and I am delighted with the results, but had not considered that anyone else had noticed, because no one has ever really mentioned it so explicitly before.
A while ago I was contemplating how and why I made such a change, and saw that I had wanted to change things for a long time but was stuck in a trap. I identified from my own experience a rather tricky dead end in the labyrinth, which I feel applies to many other people living and working in a modern urban environment. There is a way out, the path that I took, and it goes as follows:

It seems to me that people seem to think they have to live in a way that they find intolerable. They cannot admit to what they really want to do because if they did they would have also to acknowledge that they dislike major aspects of their current experience. They cannot be fully present in their lives because they cannot afford to see too much truth.

So they stay locked in a world where they have to do things that they secretly wish they could just stop doing. There is so much quiet desperation within them; part of them that has either given up the struggle believing it has failed, or is silently stifling one long scream of anguish.

Yet all they have to do is consider the possibility that they may be wrong. They may have to accept that people who they trust and who love them have given them advice that led them to do what they are now so tired of. If they were to accept this one truth then they may slowly have to accept that they have been wrong about many other things too. They may have to confront the grief they feel at having forced themselves to endure such torment. They may weep to realise that the last time they remember doing just what they wanted was when they were a child. Yet all it takes is a moment's humility; these truths can be seen, and these old ideas can be put down.

And the business of being in truth can be practised in this way. The more we learn to recognise our truth when our experience reflects it, the better we become at spotting it. Slowly a much happier being emerges. Then we can start to enjoy ourselves.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Why on earth do people not just do what they say? Why do they say one thing and do another? What is that all about? I feel as if I have been puzzling this out for my entire life. I remember how much it confused me as a child. It seems I have tried just behaving like everyone else but that means nothing makes sense. I am giving up this strategy. I am sure things are actually much simpler.
Like being kind to eachother. People give so many reasons why they cannot be kind to this person or this group. Why bother even with the moral argument when the first thing to recognise that UNKINDNESS SIMPLY DOES NOT SEEM TO MAKE THINGS BETTER. Just stop it! Then you can spend as long as you like discussing ethics, or politics, or whatever.

But everyone seems to still permit some unkindness, as individuals and as nations. As above, so below. Often the most unseen unkindness is people's unkindness to themselves. This business really foxes me. I know, I have done enough of it.

Occasionally, people still ask me about my reasons for becoming vegetarian. They often want to give me their reasons why they would like to do it. I have given many reasons, but I see now that I find that I simply see the business of breeding animals into captivity to then kill them, cut them up and eat them, as horrible. I think that is a horrible thing to do. I believe that is an observation, not a judgement, and I want as little to do with it as possible. I would not try to stop anyone else, as I think this horrible activity is a result of something within people, so any action or evangelising is only ever addressing the symptoms, not the cause. Eof us has to work that bit out on our own. As far as I am concerned, I have. That is why I do not eat meat.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

The clouds, the sun.
Stormy weather with strong sunshine; great weather for clouds. Clouds are such good value for money. A cloud is relatively free of imposed meaning. It is just a shape. And it is miles wide, floating in the sky. How splendid is that? When you can just see it, it is better than I could ever describe.

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