The Arrow

Each birth is the firing of an arrow. Its natural energy sends that arrow as high into the sky as nature & nurture allow. As it soars into the air its shadow is invisible on the ground. But after reaching its zenith the arrow turns back towards the earth. And as it nears the ground its shadow becomes ever more clearly visible.
> That arrow is the physical manifestation of each person's soul. The mind /consciousness is the observer. In early life the process is not usually clear because even if anyone looks in the sky for the arrow they are generally dazzled by the sun. Only later in the day, when the angles are easier to spot & the shadows larger, does the bigger picture become clear. Even then, many people do not see that to complete the process, to fulfil the arc of life, demands that we become present at our own death.

How do we do this?

> By integrating the shadow - by assimilating within ourselves the duality holding us back from our true purpose in life. This involves engagement with all that is distasteful about ourselves. It may involve some kind of wilderness experience, & that is why the disorientation following a job loss, a breakup or bereavement can be a blessing in disguise. Only by embracing all that is unlovable can we truly discover love, and only in uncovering the endless spring of love that we can discern what lies in the shadow's penumbra.
> Thus we learn to pick our way throu the deceptive attractions which the shadow offers (& which so entertained us earlier on the journey) & come to the heart of life, the point where the arrow, striking the turf, opens to us the infinity that lies within material existence.



> In the same way that I don't see any contradiction at all between science & the existence of a primordial intelligence who, like the 'shared intelligence' of herd instinct, exists within & yet transcends all life-forms, I don't see an inherent contradiction between the evolution of humans souls throu reincarnation & the potential of Christ-energy dramatically to accelerate the accepting out of the earth plane.
> I'm sure that the highest calling we can have is to reach a point of poise, by integrating our shadow, & so to free ourselves to move off the earth-plane & become a sustaining spirit in the metaphysical structure that connects the pure raw energy of that primordial intelligence to the physical world. It would appear to me that the gift in martyrdom is that by accepting death in love the soul us freed to zoom up a celestial ladder, while those who die 'rag[ing] against the dying of the light' attract a celestial snake!
> Underneath the tinsel, stomach-stuffing & refuse mountains, it is the entry of that 'powerless' Christ-energy into the world at the darkest point of the year which this day celebrates. To me this does not exclude the perspective & gifts of other traditions, particularly the Tibetan & Vedic lineage from which I have gained so much amplifying awareness. But in recent years a lot of focus has been placed on the negative record of Christianity, which is undeniable, & it's easy to lose sight of the idea which opens John's Gospel that there is a light which, from the beginning of time, has been continuously entering the world & irradiating the darkness and which has manifested discretely in certain avatars.
> Marie-Louise Von Franz's analysis of/in The Grail Legend is that the concept of the grail represents a mystical essence which is required to complete /integrate /transcend the unresolved dichotomy between light energy & dark energy which is the philosophical heredity of medieval churchianity. She argues that while we continue to see 'the devil' as having potency over /expressing unintegrated aspects of human behaviour we are condemned to repeat the patterns of denial that perpetuate the very duality projection which the devil represents. And that this itself is a feature of the churches' projection of an unnatural or superhuman 'lightness' onto the figure of a male Christ, & a projective reduction of the feminine to a bloodless sideshow - which in turn has led, as we know, to the 'demonisation' of ordinary sanguinary females. More on The Grail Legend
> The paradox being that we have to let go of capital-C Christ in order to find our own small-c christ /annointment within. This is the teaching of that classic of late medieval mysticism, The Cloud of Unknowing.
> Altho I find the run-up to Christmas utter hell, the commercial 'sincerity', the faux-bonhomie, the feeling that present buying is like a terrible exam you have to re-sit every year & always fail(!) I still wish you a really Happy Christmas.



They do not require justification,
They are.

Their hearts beat lightly
in time with the great heart.

They do not strive to consume,
nor to possess, nor to advance themselves.

They bring light into the world,
weaving rainbows & starlight into everyday life
as spiders spin the magic dew into morning jewels.

They aspire to be no more than a feather on the breath,
and dying have no greater wish than to be the breath itself
wafting seeds of hope around the globe to fertile soil.

They cannot be disappointed who have no appointment.
Tho sorrow, tho loss, tho suffering touch them
it cannot etch bitterness into their heart,
for their heart is enclosed in the hand of a loving parent.
Having one wish, to serve, they cannot be discouraged
when service is long and hard.

They who transform humanity’s inhumanity,
they alone resolve injustice,
refusing to demand the second eye, the second tooth.

They? Who are they?
They are we who have ventured into our own darkness,
who have journeyed to the point where I become you.
They are we who see that to beggar my neibour
is to beggar myself – who have perceived that the goal of life
is not to acquire wealth, but to acquire wisdom –
who’ve realised that materialism ties the soul to the earth,
while spirituality releases it to fulfil the destiny of the sky-born.

They are us:
We are you:
I am hir.

As I become,
you too become,
& thus we are.

If you are,
I also am,
but if we are not – noone is.

All is thou – & yet ‘thou’ is more.
Thou art more.

Light and dark are alike.
Antitheses moulding each other
to give existence form.
Night yields to day;
flood turns to ebb;
up becomes down –
each an index of the other’s power.
So it is with love & hatred – no aspect
of experience unrelated to its opposite.

In the dynamic equation of the cosmos
the outcome is always 1 or 0.
The light of I hovering between the 1,
or subjective atma, & its enclosing zero,
the luminous dark brahma of not-I –
each higgs-boson dancing just for me,
yet for nobody – being being the centre point of Being.

It is you, it is me, it is the hidden clarity of I AM
that draws us from the sweet illusions of sleep
into the longed-for dream of waking to a higher self.

Miss this one point & its circumference is invisible.
You see it? You don’t? Both are the background OM,
the ever-oscillating alpha & omega,
as infinity yields its presents.

In the slow process of coming to at-one-ment,
our attunement to what was always inside us,
I & U are the binary vibration of harmony –
an intunity radiating from the heart-wise.

At this point of oneness, there is no I,
for we’re invisibly they, & thou invisibly me.
Resolving this equation fills the beggar’s bowl with stardust,
calming hir aching belly with edible meaning
– rain bringing new life to a dried-out plain.
Balance requires no justification
if the (w)holeness of no-thing
is made perfect in loving one who is nought.



"Truth is visible even in the darkness - it is heard when the busyness of day falls silent.
Love blossoms at night, & in the wee small hours all is renewed.
Love stands in the moonlight listening & waiting for the right moment to act."


Love is all around you

"Dont think of love only in terms of relationships; realise that it exists in the whole natural environment & fabric of life on earth. It's not cuddly or sentimental 'Christmas-only' love, but a vital, vigorous force that enables life to grow round obstacles. It's your job to make that real to people. Humans could do so much to make the planet a paradise, instead they end up making much of it a hell, both for themselves and for all other life-forms, because they don't understand vast scope & simple-complexity that how true love encompasses. They think love applies only to humans, and only in a certain kind of way. How tragic."

> Why then is this deeper reality not seen?
"Because of ego & intellect. Christ said 'unless you become like a little child you cannot (even) see the kingdom of heaven,' far less enter it. To understand, you have to see the natural goodness around you and amplify that – instead of seeing all the deviousness & crookedness, and responding to that."

> What is the kingdom of heaven?
"It is no more, no less than to be at peace with(in) yourself. You put yourself on the pathway to it by setting aside nearly everything your education taught you about becoming an adult!"


Nothing is wasted

"Nothing is wasted. Allow your natural thankfulness to flow from your heart. Let it spread like a warm flood over everything you do, filling hollows, replenishing the soil, nourishing every aspect of your life. Let it catch you with sudden unexpected joy in the middle of busyness (& business). Let it partner you in moments of relaxation. Let it walk with you in the dawn of each new day. Remember it as you would a lover in the secret recesses of your heart."


We have all the resources we need

What is truthful exists within all of us, but often it requires a Dark Night of the Soul before we can recognise & connect to it. The clarity that comes at such times i its own reward, one which far exceeds the rewards of prosperity. 'Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven & all these things shall be added unto you.'

The Kingdom of Heaven is surely nothing other than that unshakeable connection to inner truthfulness which is only formed by adversity. The still small voice that comes by night is the surest guide.

If achieving your own authenticity matters more to you than anything else then follow it, no matter where it leads. 'At first wisdom will lead thee by crooked paths; but at last she shall bring thee out to the way that is straight.' In all this, it is your innate truthfulness that is your guide.


Concerts in place of Exams

Every couple of years I remind my pupils (& their parents) of the function that our biannual concerts have in the learning cycle. I was thinking about it this morning & collated these thoughts.

> Whatever we do, it's usually hard to get direct accurate feedback. If you ask someonelse, whatever they say is filtered throu their own perceptions. If you apply for an opinion to a professional (eg an examiner) they will give you a judgment that is based on the aesthetics of their discipline, which states not what is authentic to yourself but how you measure up to an abstract.
> Music however provides its practitioners the purest form of feedback. In performing to other people you know how you have done. In performance, especially in a sympathetic environment, you experience a fusing of the constituent parts you've studied into a coherent experiential whole. And an important component in creating a sense of wholeness is the response of those who love you - primarily & principally your parents, but in professional terms, your admirers. Given the right conditions, I believe this is as true of someone giving their first concert as it is of Daniel Barenboim giving his 4000th.
> Exams cannot supply this missing ingredient. While I taught at the Junior RCM, I knew there was something profoundly unbalanced about how we were educating young musicians & I could see that exam-mania played a part in it but I couldn’t put my finger on the 'logic error'. [For a more detailed analysis see What Role for Exams in a Post-Gutenberg age?
> I actually think that if you wished to create the sense of disconnection which exists between most professional musicians and what they do (& may once have loved) you could find no better way instil it in them than by training them to think that music consists of a series of judgmental encounters. And I submit that those experiences 'writ large' fully account for the emotionally dysfunctional nature of the contemporary art music scene in the UK.

What’s the answer?
> Well, in Of Geist & Grooves there is an analysis I wrote a few years ago about the psycho-musical processes which I think pupils' concert performances cement in place. The presence of a loving consciousness in the audience creates for the young performer the ideal crucible to fuse all the elements involved in musical performance, both artistic & technical - and from that experience s/he emerges with greater self-awareness, just as a soldier does from experiencing battle conditions after training. It becomes a solid 'platform' on which to build future development. Put another way it is the ideal heuristic (optimised solution) on which to base the next stage of the experiment which is learning - & life.

What is the discovery?
> In the system I have evolved, each performer's progress is defined by hirself. What s/he discovers in/by performance is authentically hir own inner 'meaning/s', or sense of self-worth - which I consider the greatest form of empowerment any education can offer. In contrast, the conventional way of learning a musical instrument brings you into contact primarily with the defined aesthetic parameters of a range of 'approved meanings'.
> In the middle ages medicine often involved comparing patients' symptoms with one of the latin treatises, often without actually examining them. I believe that medieval methodology still largely underpins the teaching of conservatoire music (as exemplified in the Grade system) - the difference is that the pupils do indeed get examined -& how- yet the examination is not about uncovering what is authentic in each of them, it's about measuring their conformity to abstract standards which, IMO, have no real place in music - other than to petrify it in some antique past. (How can you examine the fitness of a pop musician to have a 'hit'? It's laughable. When Buddy Holly first broke throu his band only knew 3 songs, & for the first year they never had time to learn any new ones. An obvious fail! Could Ray Charles have passed an exam, & if so, in what?)

I sometimes make the point in a good-natured way when pupils miss concerts that they’d never consider missing an exam. The attitude that an exam as somehow 'important' & thus unmissable, while a concert is merely optional shows how much everyone has been brainwashed by the current misdirection of education, IMO. It's understandable of course because we are trained to believe that the whole hard-edged world exams defines people's access to 'a career' & thus to privilege & money. A premise I dispute, despite the overwhelming evidence(!)
> But actually music (or art) isn't about that, & altho it can be twisted to serve such ends -as what cannot?- to do so is to eviscerate its greatest gift to the individual - namely to put hir in touch with hir true self, to marry hir emotions & skill-set (something 'scientific' education doesn’t even attempt). It makes real a soft-edged world of internal recognition, & this gives the young pianist permission to explore further what s/he senses to be of value within hir.
> That is what all education should be about IMO, and nowhere more than in music - yet Western culture has not evolved learning procedures designed to bring that about. Partly because we still think of education as being about teaching - when it isn't. Things will only change when the learners' view of learning becomes paramount. I’ve used the decade I’ve spent helping beginners learn the piano to experiment with what sparks the most rapid response in young pianists - some ideas worked, some didn’t. But the main thing has been that I’ve been listening to them - and to the music they want to play - not trying to fit them onto some Procrustean piano stool.
> I have no power to change anything in music. All I have is the power each human being has to be a witness to what seems truthful; and it grieves me to see so many colleags participating in a mighty system geared to salami-slicing children's love of music when I believe there are options which produce infinitely more wholesome results in the longterm. If I could manage to establish a 'respectable' educational alternative to the prevailing mindset I should think my life had not been entirely worthless.

So that’s what the concerts are about - creating a permissive environment where there are no hard edges for kids to knock against if they fall, & plenty of elastic to help them jump higher.



> Strange to encounter myself 45 years later. I was 15 when I ran away from school to Paris -no longer a boy, but not yet a man- hoping to study with Messiaen - all of whose organ music I could play by then. I would go to listen to him improvising after High Mass at La Trinité, but there were so many organ-fanciers swarming round the organ loft door that I couldn't face putting myself forward among so many eager & ambitious competitors for his attention. Not really knowing what to do I took the advice of the Australian concierge in the hotel where I was staying & went to Brive La Galliarde. There I lived out a half life for some time, not communicating with anyone, until my money was running out & then, finally, I capitulated & called my parents - who were of course worried sick.
> My father came out to see me & this was the picture he took perhaps just after a lunch which included trufle – whose appeal then & subsequently eluded me as completely as the passing fashion for Beaujolais nouveau.


What is meaning?

What is it that drives us to communicate? Where does it arise, to whom is it directed?
I write now in the beautiful summer's dawn, one day before the solstice, to noone. I sit at my computer, listening to the voice which 'speaks' inside me & I type.
In this I feel a qualitative difference to some of the messages written during earlier years where I woke & immediately wrote whatever presented itself. Here, now, I am a conscious interrogator of my inner voice/truth. Yet in rationalising (or engaging intellectually with) it I suppress its authenticity - like layers of clay pressing down on the rising ground water.

Having become stressed by the demands of various commitments, last Sunday Clancy & I were hugely refreshed by attending Salisbury Quaker Meeting. Altho we've been Members of the Religious Society of Friends for 20 years, we've not attended meetings often in recent years, prefering to meditate at home. However there is something uniquely present within the group meditation which is 'Meeting for Worship' which I haven't encountered in any other situation. Because by attending you agree to be part of a 'group mind' you can park or surrender your own mind to it – & this gives an opportunity to uncouple from the stresses & concerns which o/wise ricochet around in it.

Because Quaker worship doesn't focus on an object or a projected personality, it is a space which enables unmediated contact with the 'not-I within', or 'that of god in every person' as the Quaker phrase is. It shows that true worship is an acknowledgment of the being which we are individually and of which we are collectively part. Buddhists call this distinction mind/Mind.

We think meaning is what we think. We associate meaning with doing, with communication, with conscious action – busyness – the ego holding an opinion. True, at one level an opinion must be held by someone to be psycho-active – yet, some 'opinions' are sufficiently widely held to constitute archetype, which is in human perception, regardless our personal relationship to it. [OK, so it does not exist independently, being like a garment hanging in our wardrobe, yet its form awaits us as language awaits the energy of thought.] The fertile point for the creative mind lies in coming to a personal balance between the ego's openness to the synchronicities of the unconscious & a real 'investment' of unconscious-yet-fully-present intention in one's life-purpose.

By undertaking a great deal in recent months, I had become ego-centred, & couldn't release myself from goal-driven doing-meanings to discover my authentic being-meaning. This is of interest to noonelse (& of significance only to those who may have been caught up in the tail-spin of my drivenness) yet the action of externalising /objectifying my thought process here in this 'public' yet invisible space so graciously provided by Google creates as-it-were an 'utterance' by means of which I can triangulate or correlate the I (ego) with the 'not-I within' (the inner-otherness from which creativity springs) – & thus clarify meaning/s not accessible by words nor in their manipulation.



Today is a watershed in my life. I have acquired a harpsichord. This may seem a very different kind of subject from the general tenour of The Light on the Clouds – but this space is one I created to post a diary of the inner guidance I received during some very difficult years where I was experiencing a profound life change from everything I had grown up to the age of 40 with, as a musician, into I-knew-not-what. Because I felt guided (by Sai Baba) I was able to trust a process in which my whole inner world was melted down like that of a chrysalis. I knew it was important to keep a contemporaneous record of that very painful transformation because it could never afterwards be reconstructed, & also because I knew I had been 'chosen' to undergo it in an exemplary form which might afterwards be serviceable to others encountering such experiences.

In the world's eyes I am nobody, yet my determination to be 'present' -and to engage intensely with what that demands in being a a witness to 'that of god within'- is what confers individuality on me – as it does on everyone who chooses to walk such a path. Those who pursue 'celebrity' within which imagine they will find self-affirmation are rewarded with the possession of emptiness. The journey to authenticity lies in the opposite direction – away from the bright lights into the embracing darkness.

When I resigned from the Junior Royal College of Music in 1991 & appeared to be 'walking off the edge of the world' I knew as a musician, I did so within the sense of a promise from Sai Baba that all this (in particular access to an electronic music studio) would all be given back to me in a new & vivid form when I had proved myself. I think I may that while I may have flinched at the harshness of some of the spiritual weather I've been throu, I've stayed more or less true to my path - and that now seems to have brought me to a space which was the one I was striving for in my earlier life, but could never fully achieve.

My deep love of 16/17thC keyboard music was what brought me into contact with my harpsichord teacher Jane Clark (Dodgson) in 1964 when I had no means of expressing my musical impulses effectively. She rescued me as a human being & made me into a harpsichordist – tho that was not really what I wanted as a life-path in an age when the whole dynamic of the 60s seemed to promise breaking down those cultural & social barriers that had held back the tide of creative development for decades, generations or even centuries (depending on your perspective). I was embarrassed by my 'classicism'. But now I feel Ive proved everything I need to - about my virility & fashion-ability - so that I'm now ready to embrace the roots I was desperate to escape from 40 years ago.

My harpsichord is a single manual flemish copy with 2 8's & buff made by Michael Ellis-Jones in 1996. I bought from Colin Booth. Neither of us has been able to discover anything about the maker, but its timbre and scaling are superb, tho it's more of a chamber instrument than a concert one. I've never owned a harpsichord before - & yet now I am able to 'own' not just it but the ability it confers of entering into the palaeo-psychology of different worlds whose emotional value-system is preserved in their music just as ours is. I shall hugely enjoy the opportunities it will offer me to weave this new strand into my life.


Looking back over 'temptation'

I've now almost finished uploading this blog of inner guidance which I received between 1991-7. I started the uploading as a result of a beautiful experience when I was alone in the Tuscan hills in August 05 - and it came to me that it was now time to make these inner experiences public. I decided that I would do it by revisiting the 'messages' (from my subconscious or whereverelse you think they originate) & studying their relevance for me now, 15 years later. In the intervening 9 months I've generally managed to upload 1 or 2 a day, and I've been stunned by their beauty, conciseness and apposition to my present life.

Broadly, they came to me on first waking, & I would write them down without questioning or editing, during a time that I was led throu a sequence of very difficult changes. In the opening period, I was a freelance composer, writer & broadcaster. But by 1990 I was searching for a way to integrate a deeper musical /spiritual reality than the one which I could easily access within the lifestyle & mindset I had acquired to date. In 1991 I felt led to 'walk off the edge of the world' that I then knew, by resigning from the Junior Royal College of Music where I had taught part-time for 17 years & by accepting that my broadcasting career was over. [The Birtian reforms had meant that my niche in BBCr3 Features was abolished.]

I felt impelled by the appearance of Sai Baba in a dream in 1987, when I had never even heard his name. This had created a dynamic in my life where I had reached a point where I knew I had to trust that the experiences which seemed to be propelling me towards professional annihilation would actually provide a bridge over the abyss that appeared to beckon - albeit a flimsy wooden one without a handrail. I had to cast off into the void in order to allow what was to come next to manifest itself.

And so it came to pass. What followed was (pardon the mixture of metaphors, but it's appropriate in a dream-related scenario) a white-knuckle roller-coaster ride that involved a magazine publishing enterprise called CataList that ran for a year and a half before crashing due to circumstances for which I was not responsible, and which it was very hard to accept because it seemed that failure was the very opposite of what I believed would happen as a result fo trusting my guidance. Yet in that abject humiliation came, for me, the greatest jewel of all – a profound integration where I could really accept Dylan Thomas's line 'good & bad, two ways of going about our death by the grinding sea.

Like director John Huston's teenage experience of surviving being swept throu a sluice, I real-ised that there really is a power which supports those who surrender to it. The gift of Job's experience was that stript of everything (which I wasn't) he came 'face to face' with that presence which is the fount & origin of all matter – & we begin to understand how the raw metaphysics of universe differ from our anthropomorphic projections – how in fact there is no incompatibility between the power of love & the power of evolution, how both are natural forms of growth in which the self-centred emotional vocabulary of humans cannot (yet) see a connection.

If history is written by victors, then stories of testing in adversity can only be written by 'overcomers'. But I didn't want that. I knew that, even if noonelse was interested, the real story was that I already knew the ending. I knew that everything was fine – even tho it felt like torture & everyonelse thought I was a lunatic. As I dangled over the void I experienced complete freedom in my relationship with 'that of god within' – ok, not freedom as in 'feeling ok freedom', but a more profound freedom - that it was perfectly alright not to feel ok. All our physical & cultural programming teaches us to avoid pain – but once you can see pain as 'simply another way of being' it draws a huge amount of the sting. You can see beyond your immediate physical senses – and then a bigger picture forms.

What we can't bear about the disturbance of our bourgeois patterns of consciousness is the unending, open-endedness nature of mental illness or addiction. It threatens our orientation around periodic forms. Thus'The World' doesn't want to hear about (news) stories that have no ending, because it arouses in us an unresolved anguish. And this was very much my own position. Yet, I knew it was important not to surrender to the angst of the situation, but to keep focused on the goal of wholeness. In the same way, to return to my earlier metaphor of the flimsy bridge, that I had to keep looking ahead to the other side of the chasm, not downwards into the bottomles abyss.
Perhaps this over-dramatises things? A lot of people who have known me over the last 20 years wouldnt've seen that much disturbance on the surface of my life? Despite some very tight corners I still have the support of my wife, Clancy, & my children don't (obviously) hate me – as is the case with many who have allowed themselves the indulgence of falling into the crucible of their own subconscious. I think /hope that even if/when I was unbearable I never lost a sense of proportion – which came from knowing that this wasn't really happening to me. Sure, it was something I had to go throu (why, I didn't know) but the reality was that I already knew the answers: this was simply the way to get at them.

A lot of the time I felt utterly useless. Nothing I did seemed to work. But even allowing myself to enter that profound sense of worthlessness was a valuable experience – & I could allow myself this since I knew that I was exceptionally able & had repeatedly proved this in the earlier part of my career. The fact that people didn't value what I was now articulating was a reflexion of the limitations of their standpoint, not of the authenticity of my vision.
Psychic isolation is one of the most acute forms of suffering. We have in ourselves the residual instincts of herd living or tribal awareness. Not to real-ise this aspect of ourselves is not to real-ise our full humanity. But we live in an age that is only just emerging from the beau idéal of nuclear individualism & my branch of the human species has not yet (re-)discovered how to create belongingness in a nuclear age. The search for a value-system that values us for more than our economic value is perhaps the most important search we undertake. I have found an answer that works for me, and I endeavour to real-ise in the lifestyle choices I make - for instance my involvement with the Big Green Gathering or my ColourMuse teaching method.

I called this post Looking back over 'temptation' because I wanted to capture the essence of that line in The Lord's Prayer whose original meaning has been rendered opaque by time. I think it means 'lead us not into temptation' of despair. For if you lose /let go of your ability to cognise duality (the distinction between what I am now experiencing & an alternative reality) you then lose the essential characteristic that distinguishes homo sapiens from other life forms. That's one it's almost impossibly hard to come back from.


"If you can be faithless /and therefore trustworthy"

It reminded me of Auden's poem
"Lay your sleeping head my love,
Human on my faithless arm."

AM wrote: "Oriah Mountain Dreamer explain[ed that this phrase means] that she trusts most someone who is prepared to let her down in order not to betray their own deepest truth, for she knows that she can then always trust them to be straight and authentic even if they will not do what she wants."
I’m sure this interp~ is the correct one, but I think it's also the case that a true (feeling) understanding of any particular quality only comes when we can clearly comprehend its polar opposite. We cannot truly appreciate love until we u/s the depths of not-love - that’s where kissing frogs comes in.
Similarly, in resolving our issues with the not-I we see the I (the ego) in 3D, and in truly encountering the I we see the not-I. An experience to which some wish to attach the god-language. Vedantic thought calls these the brahma (universal) and the atma (nucleus).

I’ve mentioned last year on this forum that I’m rereading the Bible in its entirety. It's so far taken about 14 months to reach the book of Judith - but it has raised a number of issues for me around language and experience.

When I had read & reflected on the Jews' experience of manifesting a cosmic energy-presence throu the agency of Moses I began to have an intuitive sense of the scope of the word shekinah (glory). I wrote about this but have not produced it anywhere because I decided to leave it until I had an overview of the experiential arc of the Torah /Haftorah.
I couldn’t get a handle on the idea of 'the fear of the Lord' however. This week I heard a doc about the rebuilding of Arsenal football club while driving, and a veteran player spoke lovingly of the place in the players' tunnel where he threw up 'every single match' [sic!] (- I’ve always wanted to write that.) Then I thought of Sarah Bernhardt's retort to an ingenue who said she never had stage fright: 'maybe not, but if you were any good you would have."
And this made me think of the idea of this fear arising from a primal encounter with the 'not' aspect of our dreams/projections. We *want* a certain thing so much that when we are actually confronting it it produces a tremendous void in us, and that void is a crucible in which our experience is fused into a transcendental reality. It is as-it-were an orgasm of the soul so aweful that we both desire & fear it as we desire & fear the first sexual encounter with someone with whom we are beginning to believe ourselves in love. (Could we bear it if it went wrong? Yet wrong could only be that it manifested not-love instead of love.)

So perhaps the couplet also means: 'If you can see the tremendous cost of both faithlessness /and trustworthiness ...' then you understand the power given to humans?
How does this play into 'the fear of the Lord'? We can perhaps comprehend this as an overwhelming encounter with a raw power in ourselves which we both desire and dread - a pure, holy self of unlimited potential, (perhaps) present in our dreams & (perhaps) absent in our waking life. Perhaps. Then we would have to conceive this as psychic feedback magnified to the point of overload throu the psychic amplification of a collective tribal experience which it's almost impossible for our post-scientific age to imagine. (Perhaps football crowds are the last bastardised trace of this kind of psychic amplification - the ball holding all consciousness in its trajectory? The player's fear that he would be worthy - in the crucible of the tunnel all outcomes are possible.)

And then perhaps there is the meaning: 'Only those who understand lying can tell the truth' ... because they have made a voluntary choice to tell it?
I used to know someone who Asst Deputy DG of the BBC under Alistair Milne. (Which dates me!) From him I first understood about how spin-doctoring worked. There is the truth about an incident - but this may not be as powerful, or indeed explicable, as the public expectation /projection of what the truth is LIKELY to be. The art of news management lies in understanding and manipulating the nuances between the principal perspectives that can be anticipated.
Indeed, as we know, the truth of spiritual reality/ies does not excite the mass of the population because it does not conform to their projections of material comfort. The art of the very greatest truth-teller is to manipulate that duality so as to make profound truth accessible to those whose capacities prejudice them towards shallow truths.
As I have watched the sad decade unraveling the promised Blairite dawn I have often thought of James Agee's eloquent remark: 'It is probably never really wise, or even necessary, or anything better than harmful, to educate a human being toward a good end by telling him lies.'

Being aware of choice, and choosing to serve the (inner) light - is surely the highest calling of humanity?

> reposted from MusicPsyche@yahoogroups.com

Dawn Chorus

I hear the birds in the spring dawn. They sing from the goodness of their little hearts – for them no worries about meaning, about they duality of existence, about god/s. Their species' awareness is their 'god', their nature impels them to bless it in song so long as they have breath. It is the wellspring of our nature too, and the source of our highest good to sing, to praise, to honour the life-force that blesses us with abundance ... when we allow it to(!)


The universe always says yes

To praise the being who is (with/in) you is to honour what is highest in your self. Whether you are praising another person or the life-force which is the source of all life you are celebrating not just your existence but the purpose for which you were born. In this way a harmonious world can be (re)created.
By their very constitution all fauna & flora honour their creation by 'doing what comes naturally.' With humans it's more complex our projective capacities have so outstripped our sense of the unity of life-forms on the planet. The greatest intellect in the world that is not based on the respect for /wonder at the mystery of life is built on flawed foundations. It is only underneath the radar in the world of feelings that we can come anywhere near the profound truths of wonder, of service, of dharma, without which are primary instinctis in children & animals .
If we think of love only as something personal which we give or receive we limit the scope of our understanding. It is 'the force that drives the green fuse', the impulse within evolution, the mystery at the heart of existence. If our response is one of gratitude, we can expect gratitude in return. If our response is one of skepticism, we can expect skepticism in return. That's how it works - the universe always says yes.


Turn to the sun

"Is your orientation towards the true light of true love, or are you a moth who mistakes a light bulb for the real thing? How deep is your reality? Are your responses coming from a deep yearning for truth & harmony or do they spring from your circumstances?
The deep path can be lonely, but at its heart it connects to a river of truth that flows under the glaciers which others (mis)take for ultimate reality. It is never frozen, never dammed. It just is."


Moving towards one-pointedness

"Do you not feel closer now to your goal? Do you not feel an inner resolution?
Everything could not happen at once. All has progressed according to inward priorities. No doubt you would have liked to see your material circumstances settled first, but my great gift to you is to leave you this creative spur. You must seek inner resolution before any outward form can manifest. You only need to know that I love you, and I bless you, and I lead you."


Thoughts on Good Friday

Maybe if we used the phrase 'mystery ingredient' instead of the word God we'd have a clearer idea of how this intangible force operates as a catalyst throuout the universe. Part of the issue is how words interact with perceptions. It is very hard to pay tribute to an element whose scope is so far outside what humans can conceptualise.
Today as a result of evidence-based materialistic science we have lost touch with vocabulary that evolved to express emotions involved in collective aspiration. If we use words like worshipping, rejoicing, beseeching (praying even) the image most of us will have is of addressing them to another human or possibly projecting them randomly into the ether.
The discourse of the media since Peter Cook has been to ridicule those big old-fashioned concepts which the public buildings of previous ages express, because their meaning has largely been lost. Yet their effective extinction has brought us no greater joy. More fun perhaps, a bit more pleasure, but no lasting joy.
I saw 2 ads y/day: 'master a craft in a weekend' & 'understand Windows XP'. No doubt these will recruit well, we're at ease in the conceptual world; but in the perceptual world it's all a bit more murky. Which organisation really has the key helping us understand the meaning of life? Even saying that sound like a joke today. Could you /Would you build a great confident cathedral to a 'mystery ingredient'? How do we catch the tail of that most elusive of mysteries, the validation of our own existence? Because of this incomplete awareness in western society which identifies 'reality' entirely thou materialistic criteria, we have evolved a semantic sense-perception that does not include /cannot comprehend the supra-rational aspects of the existence. We've lost the plot because mainstream sense-awareness /vocabulary focuses on concepts not percepts.
You could say by emphasising the conceptual & objective at the expense of the perceptual & subjective orthodox christianity has given us science, technology & our mental prowess. Whereas the unorthodox churches, & their pagan successors, have compensated by emphasising the perceptual & subjective – which was at once more successful in giving the heart primacy (introjection), yet has been less successful in providing the quality of structure & projection which creates the aesthetic conditions for the longevity of a thought-form.
An article on ZNet notes the 80th birthday of Playboy creator Hugh Hefner. When we note the exponential spread of pornography -of which he was the public face- it is plain that something is amiss with a collective psyche which can objectify & degrade the feminine in this way. It's not that I haven't used pornography & don't understand its allure, but I think we must see it in an overall social context where natural relationships between men & women are often heavily circumcised - yes, I use that word deliberately.
How is this part of the 'mystery ingredient'? Well perhaps because nowadays more than ever we men have come to expect to receive our highs (endorphin release) throu sex &/or drugs without engaging with any 'otherness'. And by so doing, and thinking ourselves so clever for managing to do it, we miss the entire point of existence, namely mutuality. For it is in mutuality that the 'mystery ingredient' is most clearly sensed.


Times changes things

For one who has experienced so much anguish it seems banal to write of happiness – as if happiness represented a defection to the unthinking herd, absorption by the golf-playing bourgoisie & its superficial pleasures. Politically, it's hard for me to know how to handle contentment!
Sitting here at meditation time in the sunlit cave that is my/our sitting room, my intense happiness seems to spring from the completion of a cycle – knowing that I held to my path throu thick & thin . (Perhaps that [self-]knowedge is its principal reward?)
Just to hear or meditate on Christ's words "Well done, thou good & faithful servant. Enter thou into thy rest" always moves me to tears. Of course I have done many things that deviated from this, wounded many people, but like the energy of some mighty underground river this invitation has always rung in my ears & guided me (blindly) onward, just as the river follows a path determined by factors it does not control.
I can relate this integrity/ation to the erasure of physical desire – as if I had achieved a full account, balanced & closed that set of books. Now I am free to use the clarity & energy of that energy without its befogging links to personal 'gratisfaction', its engagement with or search for an other, towards engagement with the otherness of human need, and indeed that of all life-forms.

Forgiveness and allowing (so much a theme on this blog) are one and the same. So are the forces of evolution and love. Uncovering this is like discovering the (al)chemical process by which matter is transmuted; knowing that if elements are added in the wrong sequence it all goes awry, yet not knowing in advance what that order should be but simply allowing the subconscious (the underground river) to lead.
I affirm the capacity of my life to bring blessing to others. I rejoice to have reached my 60th year & to know that I am at last qualified to do what all the 'training' has prepared me for. I knew at 11 years of age that it would take this long, I just couldn't imagine how I could survive the intervening 50 years - tho many of them have, of course, been wonderful. I knew then that people would be prepared to hear me when I had the 'proof' of life experience, where they weren't willing (or perhaps, for karmic reasons, able) to accept from me at that age.


What changes your luck?

"What changes your luck is honouring who you truly are – honouring the truth that is born with you – honouring your spirit guides and your relatives.
"Is your first reaction: 'bolox!'? Then consider how that slams the door on a range of possibilites & leaves you shut into your ego-centre?
"Perhaps you have been bruised by unfullfilled hopes? Two affirmations are crucially important: Allow & Be. One allows your world to be permeated by a positive dynamic; the other affirms that you are & have both a calling and a right to be.
"These qualities are like two friends who between them tug & nudge you towards the fullness you dream of – in fact, the fullness that will allow you to be that very hope which you may have been expecting to come from somewhere outside. When these two are in balance your hopes can be met because they will be harmoniously compatible with highest truth that was born with(in) you – because by then the ego & its needs will no longer be your driving force, for your good will be compatible with the greater good."


The way back to the garden

"Holy. Holy Holy.
If you could live with(in) the dynamic created by seeing the true soul of everyone & everything imagine what a release of energy there would be – instead of seeing only separateness and individualism you'd see interconnectedness. And from that would flow collaboration, wholeness, belonging – every worthwhile vibration.
"The way you find the way to this state is by simply taking the next step that appears to you. If you will let yourself be led by this impulse towards clarity & sacredness the power that is within will do the rest. It means doing the natural thing: being loving: being enthusiastic (god filled): being willing to step out & embrace others."


Be still & know

"Well hallo!
Reconnect with that pure stillness. There are no words, no pictures, no sounds – just calm life-giving stilness. You don't have to justify yourself, or argue in favour of anything – just be and experience your full uniqueness."


On the development of a musician

> A butterfly mind is a tremendous asset IF it is grounded in a self-identity that is moving forward in a clear direction. But if the principal focus is lost a person's 'balance of probabilities' gets out of kilter and the result is an airhead. I remind young pianists that if they were training to be a competitive athlete they couldn’t afford to let themselves get out of condition during holidays.

> In my role as a mentor I have two modes: the helpful encourager of those whose 'natural equipment' predisposes them to dabbling: but for those who have the potential to engage more deeply with music I play the trainer who can not only keep them up to the mark, but help them constantly to stretch themselves & thus raise it.
> Now, most teachers fulfil that role by placing rigid structures like exams & curriculums around the child & forcing it along a certain path by means of carrots & whips. [God, do I understand why teachers turn into dragons! - it's much easier to scare children into be(com)ing good than to be constantly having to cajole & woo them.] Just because I don’t, doesn’t mean that I’m not looking for the same pace of development in those who have the potential.

> As a child grows, its consciousness (its spirit, if you will) flutters just ahead of it, drawing it on. In a way that spirit IS its truth, its inner connectedness. I believe that if you can show a child that YOU value that spirit part of hir & show hir how to grow without its intrinsic delight getting trapt in books like a pressed flower, then you’ve fulfilled the real function of education.
> Unfortunately, as we know, schooling tends to beat children around the head with objects (objectivity so-called) which make them lose faith with that pre-verbal world of subjective delight to which music gives pre-eminent access. In state schools it happens 'by accident' because teachers willing to take any real responsibility for pupils' learning are a dying breed. In private schools it happens because they (over?)load pupils with exciting activities.

> The raw material of a pianist is physical dexterity, but the glue that holds hir together is meta-physical - attitude. Keeping a student's attitude focused is not just the glue, it's also the mechanism /the software by which s/he can decode hir experience & integrate it into that exciting sweep of (self-)development which defines achievers from everyonelse.
> Musical excellence does not allow you to idle, 'leisure time' is for people with BORING jobs! You need to keep fit, to keep training - not like a lycra-clad obsessive, but at a reasonable, constant, even pace.


How long can you stay cool?

"Ah my friend, the call to (a fresh) battle fires up your synapses! How long can you remain calm within the action, & not be sucked into surrendering to the excitement so that you lose contact with your angels?"


Transforming energy during aging process

> I was struck by reading articles in the weekend papers on a new book about Robert Graves's amorous relationships with various 'muses' toward the end of his life by the Moral of the situation. It's ironic how, in these accounts, Moral & moral overlap if Moral signifies underlying lesson & moral signifies underlying intention.
> Like many another male creative artist I have had amorous relationships with various 'muses' & know how a trick of the light, 'un certain regard', can bring about an enchantment that serves both parties – indeed I would go so far as to say that it's up there with the other great mysteries of life's profound experiences.
> Having previously made this blog a record of my experience of a transpersonal awareness which I have sensed wishing to use me as a medium to bring into collective consciousness esoteric perceptions about the metaphysical nature of existence, the '3 Blogs' posting I made on New Year's Eve reflects the random conjunction of 3 strands in my life that I have sought to reconcile, that of personal faith, that of personal eroticism, and that of collective spiritual awareness. Those who know me may have heard me say how I found Casanova's Histoire de ma vie an extremely influential book when I read it some 8 years ago. I took two lessons from it, or rather a lesson & a warning, which together exemplify the Moral/moral nexus found in Graves's case.
> I found padre Giacomo's narrative circumstantially convincing. Maybe he exaggerates here & there, but the whole autobiography struck me as among the most vivid evocations of the pre-Revolutionary world I've encountered. You can smell the shit in the alleys. I would regard it as essential reading to any musician who studying historically-informed performance styles. After a couple of volumes of this dazzling account of dedicated priapism I had to ask myself: 'how did he do it? How did he avoid entangling himself with relationships that never got further than talk?' [What follows is every bit as esoteric as my meta-physical reflections. Some people, some women, may be shocked, but I think it worth setting down as it expresses certain profound truths about the perennial riddles that men & women come together in order to resolve.]
> The more I thought about it, the more I attuned to Casanova's unique moral vision & realised two things: he had learnt to spot women who were 'up for it' & simply didn't waste time on the others: & he understood how every princess yearns to play the gipsy. 'It is true that he lived in an age altogether devoid of knowledge of the nobler relation between the sexes,' says the editor of my 19thC edition of Alexander Pope! But Casanova wasn't in search of 'the nobler relation between the sexes'(!) he was out to enjoy himself & the vibration he projected attracted the appropriate partners. So at one level, the Moral is 'if you're clear about the reality you want to create, you will create it.' On the other hand, in Casanova's moral (intentional) world, he had the self-awareness to know that he wasn't The Marrying Kind. He did The Daicent Thing by a couple of women with whom he'd had long (for him) relationships & left them with enough money to live independent lives.
> From these observations I abstracted a further lesson. If you can use your moral vision to decode women's availability -which god forbid I would do, already!- you can use it to decode the intentionality (moral vision) of anyone you meet. From this I have developed a 'second sight' for recognising those who are purposefully engaged on their inner resolution, as opposed to those who are merely pussy-footing around it.
> This brought me to a much more significant lesson: a theory of 'valuable people'. If you wish to build alliances & inspire groups to bring about change it is counterproductive to involve
yourself closely with people whose motivation isn't of the same depth – because when the going gets tough they'll only stand to the depth their foundations equip them for. There's nothing judgmental about this, it's a simple law of karma – & the fault is not theirs, it's that of the 'engineer' who misjudged or misread their stress qualification, albeit due to inexperience.
> 'As gold is tried in the fire, so are the chosen in the furnace of humiliation.' Proverbs. There's much more I could say around this issue, but I have projects needing attention.
> The warning I read in Casanova's memoirs was that here was a man of exceptional mettle who, in Shakespeare's immortal expression, 'melted down his substance in divers beds of lust.' Casanova saw himself as a man of letters and boasted of his reception by Voltaire, yet he left nothing that has stood the test of time except the record of his sexual adventures. He undoubtedly achieved considerable esoteric insight, the Histoire is shot throu with it, but instead of using this for the benefit of humanity he used it for personal gain, to swindle and to seduce – and he paid the price. He missed the mark which he had set himself for his own life ... and ended miserably, a librarian mouldering in a remote country estate among rustic servants ignored by a Count who lived the high life in Viennese society to which Casanova had once prided himself on having entré.
> His guiding principle 'sequere deum' (follow the god =energy) had been an ignis fatuus, a will o' the wisp, that led him far from his true -divine- nature because Casanova had misidentified the emotional clarity /intensity of erotic encounters with the physical, instead of understanding that it is the meta-physical or spiritual aspects of relationships that are to be worshipped. As a result he had attached his soul irrevocably to the earth plane instead of de-taching it in preparation for departure. These are the lessons which tantra exists to teach.

> Robert Graves too, we are to understand, made this error with appalling consequences for nearly everyone around him. He continued to worship the illusion of eroticism after he could no longer perform its ceremonies – and as a result instead of integrating its lessons into
his life and achieving beauty, he achieved ugliness by disintegrating the lives of his family and those of his lovers.
> Thus the moral intertwines with the Moral. I am not one to speak from high ground, but I have put a great deal of energy into making positive choices in my life designed to avert such gruesome conclusions. Call it soul-preservation if you will – but ultimately, one of the greatest challenge facing men (I cannot speak for women) as we enter that strange 'no man's land' which is old age ['the disaster which occurs to everyone & which noone expects' as I've heard it called, & of which I now have some inkling] is to make the transition to a state where we find /retain the same level energy from somewherelse, which formerly we received from sexuality.
> This tests to destruction those lifestyle decisions we have made throughout our lives. In some future blog I may perhaps speak of this aspect of my own journey.


The right conditions ...

"Intunity is being in the flow, like a ball floating on top of a fountain. Imagine there's a 'forwards' & you fall straight off. It's the fountain of the heart that keeps the ball of intelligence aloft. And it requires all your focus to stay there bouncing gently in the flow. Animals & plants know this; they have no other awareness except their instinctive sense of this intunity. They don't need to call it God, because they know. When they lose it their life-force is extinguished.
"But humans experience duality. Simply to keep love alive seems ridiculously simple – until you try to do it. Keeping your consciousness focused in your sense of truthfulness is no activity for a grown man, you think! No: building an empire, hogging the limelight, driving other people off your patch – that makes sense. But being still, being attentive to 'that of God' within – how much sense does that make when there are mouths to feed & bills to pay & meals to cook? Yet it is in doing this that we experience our ultimate fulfilment, that we experience our greatest intunity with ourselves and our greatest harmony with nature.
"Duality is always present, of course it is. Nothing is static. The (spiritual) weather changes with the seasons (of life) and creates new environments for us to experience ourselves in. This is to be expected. There are eruptions in the heart which vary the fountain's pressure tremendously. Our focus may drift from keeping the ball of intelligent compassion aloft to external scenes or relationships. But we are incredibly privileged, we do not fall sick & die when we lose our sense of inner truth as animals do. We are given time to recover it.
"And what is it for? What is anything for? Everything in the universe exists to serve and to be (ob)served. It cannot predict how it should serve – it fulfils its destiny simply by being utterly & absolutely who & where it is and reacting intuitively & mathematically to its environment. What a lesson that is!
"All life is intelligent. The harmony it creates may be savage and raw but it never loses its intunity. Is the same true of humans? Only if we use our duality to honour the unity which less-evolved life-forms know do we truly become human beings.
"Once we catch an echo of this inner harmony life can never be the same again. Pursuing it matters more than food or relationships – and yet, all the time, there it is within us: the ball of buddhi /intelligence just waiting for our loving attention to reunite it with the fountain of innergy spurting up from the heart – and then, and only then, the true power of evolutionary love is released."
Happy new year.