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.