The Calling

August 22, 2015

The possibility that thought was matter and that this equivalence may be divided by a number, made every belief housed in my skull obsolete. Meaning was a promise made on the fact of my existence, so I thought. I knew then I had to seek solitude. Why and what solitude meant was just as an unknown as my new predicament. In this moment recognition crept along my spine. At first it was a tingle, a feather gently stroking my skin. From the small of my back up along the trough following my spine the sensation flowed. A place of warmth emanated from the middle, between my shoulder blades.

My body seemed at ease and receptive to some message. I didn’t know what was recognised, only that a call had registered through my nervous system. Who or what was calling?

It was strange how this new ignorance appeared. The recognition was sensed complete with a set of meanings ascribed to without consent of my mind. Could this new ignorance be old knowledge long forgotten? Deep down, beneathe  layers of thought matter was the hidden destiny. This is what I felt. It didn’t matter whether it was a long forgotten bone buried by some equally long forgotten god, or just an abstraction to humour a sense of self. This hidden destiny pointed in a direction away from thought.

I lit another cigarette and walked over to the window. The sky was clear, the thunder clouds were swept away by the afternoon breeze. What was this call that began to sound in my secret emptiness? “Surely bones don’t shape one’s destiny!” I said aloud. Perhaps destiny was too big a word. My skin felt warmer all over, I closed my eyes and concentrated on an image of a candle flame. This was something I did when I was a kid before falling asleep. I felt the in and out of warm and cool air, breathed through my nostrils. Deep inside my chest, the flame burnt steadily, wax the pulse, relativity the breeze. Gentle candle smoke rose and insinuated itself along fissures and walls of my skull. My feet and hands became an extension of an invisible stranger that uses flesh and bone as a gardener uses a spade.

A snake slithered through sounds in the air. Its presence a mere hiss of silence, a soft scrape against a wall. As I looked down onto my hand resting on the window sill I recognised the snake curled up in gold around my Holy Ghost finger, a ring, a gift from a long lost friend.

“Babylon is burning at the end of your cigarette,” she said. She appeared before me with a pitcher of water in one hand and the other holding a glass. The air around me crackled – static on a phone. She whispered, “Tell me, what is a man? Wind blown dust swirling into a cone of events, swinging to and fro, like a pendulum across the face of his quarter acre block?” By now she had me in her gaze, though I could not see her eyes.

With the effort of a Houdini I replied, “I take refuge in my beliefs…..” I repeat this over and over in my mind, a merry-go -round mantra. The guns of doubt click and explode in Russian roulette timing: silent movies, iceberg expectations, half life relics, pantomime gestures. Bang! Frame by frame, every movement a question mark in human animation, every frame subtitled, ” I think, therefore I am.”. The soundtrack ever repeating “I take refuge in my beliefs”.

She placed the pitcher on the table and took a sip from the half empty glass. “You think that the real, natural heart’s,”  she pointed with her long finger , “that thing pumping in your chest. You are seriously mistaken.” She flicked some hair away from her eyes as she spread the feathers of one of her wings. Each feather had inscriptions that looked alternatively Cyrillic then Chinese with Arabic curves, Hebrew endings and Greek beginnings. All this however was just guess work for in truth I had no idea what was written. For all I knew each feather could have been a letter in this alphabet of feathers and the whole word wing a verb with an unknown subject . Perhaps the split between subject and object wasn’t even in this grammar – I was illiterate in the language of angels. I found myself  mesmerized by the area of her wing immediately to the left of her elbow. The letters or patterns were themselves hieroglyphs, or so I thought. I felt here was a mystery – how could something be itself and yet point to something else for its identity?

“This is not the time to labour the point. The whole three dimensional world presented to your senses five is a total illusion. If you could slow this holographic movie down to nearly zero you would find flesh and blood is one step removed from your real body. This real body which you fail to recognise is imperishable. It’s the same with your mind. You think that you think, that you set the perceptual and then the conceptual parameters, that the images and ideas in that psychological space are yours. They are just as synthetic as your heart.”

She stopped talking and stroked the rim of the glass with her index finger. The low hum coming from the glass punctuated the silence. She began talking again in a slightly louder whisper, “In fact your thinking is the thinking of someone else that has passed through your mind. You are property. Thoughts that cruise and fly by in your mind are visitors and have nothing to do with your volition. They enter, stay and leave, sometimes become squatters on their own accord. The cube of mind, a stage and a corridor, a cage and a peeping Tom show through cracks of vision, sound, smell, taste and sensation .”

Her countenace slowly began to fracture, crumble like a clod of dry clay and become translucent – from a Greetings Card angel to a stained glass living sculpture. Gradually her form shattered into many more countless pieces. She became a mosaic of color merging with the window. Like salt in water she dissolved through the glass and became orange streaked twilight dusk.

A snail slithers across the dome skull of history. Echoes, of prophets wailing, a curling shell. Cochlea. Earth. I heard the calling, (my) intent unknown.


Sciatica, a Hair Shirt and Attention

April 13, 2011

So, this is sciatica. I get pains from my lower back and down my leg. I walk stilted and my leg is sometimes numb. I’m getting treatment for it and it doesn’t seem to be a chronic condition even though I’ve had it off and on for about 3 months. Each time the sciatic nerve becomes better I inflame it, twice now. Each inflammation was due to my helping Kevin the Handyman. It’s not his fault and neither mine. The jobs needed doing and I had to help him otherwise they wouldn’t get done and he could have got hurt if I didn’t help. Each job seemed small and if I didn’t have sciatica they were. I did not listen to my body.

Sciatica - diagram from Wikipeadia

This is the key – my not listening to my body.

In fact, if I view this situation from a Work perspective, the sciatica, instead of being a useless pain, could be useful as a powerful sensation reminding factor. I remember when I first came across the idea that sensation was the anchor, the platform, the foundation of awareness of oneself, I thought I found the key to my tan tien, my centre. Up to the discovery of sensation as an anchor for attention I visualised where my centre was. Informed by my Tai Chi teacher the centre, the tan tien was about  3 inches below my belly button and about an inch or two in towards my spine. I tried to direct my attention by visualising the surface of my body. With the discovery of sensation as an anchor things changed. I theorised that if I can place my attention on my body, or a part of it and at the same time carry on doing what I normally do, I have the beginnings of separation between “I” and “me”. The attention is divided between sensation and what I am doing. (Check out a development of this idea in my post Kites and Consciousness.)

I went about trying to find means of remembering my tan tien, my centre while watching and counting my breath using the sensation of cold incoming breath and warm outgoing breath through my nose. This was the simple Buddhist meditation of counting the breath. I scratched the spot where the tan tien should be on the surface of my body gently, I even put tiger balm on the area because the heat generated would draw my attention there. I thought I’d figured out why some monks wore hair shirts. It reminds them that they have a body and not to just squat in their minds.

Tan Tien

Did it work?

I gained a sense of my centre but this was also due to the growing sensation of my whole body. It was easier to remember the tiger balmed spot and it was the heat of the balm that drew my attention.

My sciatica has freed me from the need of a hair shirt or tiger balmed strategic spots. Sciatica has given me the “gift” of pain sensation in my lower back and leg and attending to it with awareness of my breath – I type or eat or drive as needed. The pain is there when inflammation fires up but my awareness of it is not. Reacting and feeling the pain is not being aware of it – the pain leads and my mind follows.

If I can build a floor, a stable point of attention in my body I will have the beginnings of separation.

Why the need for separation between the body and awareness?

Why the need to say I see through my eyes not with them; I hear through my ears not with them; I sense through my pain but not with it?

Without that separation “I” am not here, there’s just a happening, an event but no observer.

I wish to be present to what is happening and if what is happening is witnessed within the mind-body then I witness through this mind-body.

So, who am I? Who is the Observer? The Witness?


Kites and Consciousness

March 28, 2009

 

One the things that I love to do is fly kites. There is something so beautiful, peaceful and meditative when one is flying a kite against a blue sky. When the kite is high up in the sky and the kite string sings its low volumed but high pitched sound, you feel that you hold your quivering soul in your hands.

Sometimes, when the sky is clear and the wind constant, it feels like the reverse, that the soul holds my quivering body in its hands.

At rare moments, the string becomes an analogue of attention and instead of it being just one way, it is seen as being two way, the Kite holding me and “I” holding the Kite, simultaneously … double attention.

At even rarer moments, if I am centred and watching attentively, feeling the breeze on my face and arms, feeling the sensation of my body through the weight on my feet, a Third Attention arises. This Attention is the Attention of the Sky Above enveloping the double attention between Kite and “Me”. At moments like these, one feels the miniscule, tiny microscale of the Holy Trinity of Attention as expressed in one flying a kite under the sky.

One is reminded of a greater Holy Trinity of Attention which holds the World together – the Holy Trinity of Forces as expressed in many different traditions.

Check out the transcript of a talk I gave on “Turning Inwards” https://dodona777.wordpress.com/2010/04/27/turning-inwards/

If you click on the images below you will see a larger version of same.


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