Posts tagged inspire

(More) Messages from His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Mcleod Ganj – 5th March 2015

Holed up in cosy cafe in Mcleod Ganj, decorated with prayer flags and embroideries of the Potala palace, monks slap tables and play with their mobile phones, the mantra ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’ is played quietly from a giant, flashing speaker.  I’m sipping a special teas, Tibetan in origin it has dried lychees, plums, goji berries and some unknown foreign fruits floating around in it.  More of a fruity soup than a tea really.  As the rain lashes down in the narrow streets and freshly snow capped peaks are cloaked by by a swirling silver mist, I am left a window from which to reflect on my times so far up here in the heart of the Tibetan community in exile.  An wonderfully homely and inspiring place.  Mcleod Ganj is a place that cannot help but capture and challenge your heart equally, when the reality of the situation here sinks in,  humanities light and dark sides are finely exhibited.  This is especially true when you hear individuals tales of suffering and incredible human feats of courage, grief and resilience.  Every Tibetan citizen here has seen their lives violently uprooted and have suffered great loss and torment.  

Being in Mcleod Ganj feels a long way away from India at large, it’s like being in the centre point of the most vital page of an ancient cultures history.  History seems to move slowly at  the moment, too slowly for some of the younger Tibetans, but the Dalai Lama stands firmly within the peaceful, middle way, the way of Guatama Buddha.  The only way form him and Tibet.  Their way.  

In Mcleod Ganj we witness a displaced and gloriously elaborate community re-establishing its culture, proudly maintaining its unique identity in a melting pot of craft, cooking, music, literature, art and worship; whilst attempting to face up to incredible and almost impossible circumstances.  Dealing with the Chinese Government, a real life David versus Goliath situation, with peace and re-conciliation as their only weapon.  An awesome feat, led by an awesome human being….

Today I watched the Dalai Lama teaching from the eight verses of mind control.  The discourse related directly to esoteric Tibetan teachings but His Holiness always kept (and keeps) things contemporary and relevant to the audience, mainly the Tibetan lay community.  The Dalai Lama embodies ancient Tibetan ritual, ceremony and scripture and yet remains focused on moving Tibet forward, assimilating Western practices and technology.  

Witnessing the veneration of H.H. by Tibetans is a deeply moving and humbling experience.  The Dalai Lama speaks like an empassioned father, amazingly forceful and yet tender at the same time, the audience is utterly rapt to his every word, you could hear a pin drop, if you could find an empty scrap of floor space to drop one.  The large courtyard is a sea of shaven heads, wide eyes, craned necks and the occasional cluster of hairy Western travelers, highly incongruous and yet warmly very welcomed.  A little FM radio was offered up by a friendly nun sitting on my foot and I was able to catch bits and pieces of the English translation.  The Dalai Lama is irrepressible, radiant and a wonderfully pleasant person.  Being in his presence brings a sense of peace and always a chuckle or two.  This goes for the Tibetan community at large, when they weep and angst fills their faces, it seems like the world is filled with the deepest woe, all hearts lie broken and bereft; but when they smile, its as if sunshine and joy were never ending.  Gladly, in Mcleod Ganj, you will mainly see Tibet’s lighting up the streets with the broadest grins and much hearty laughter.   

After yesterdays post, I started to read more of H.H.’s quotes  and couldn’t help but share more.  The Dalai Lama is 80 years old, but is still the worlds most outspoken advocate of peace, tolerance and compassion.  Our only options for a better world.  

Spending time in the presence of His Holiness and so many softly spoken and devote Tibetan Monks and Nuns emphasises the importance of not only kind words, but practice, discipline and action infused with good intention.  I am a great one for talking about peace and spirituality, but in practice; the actual daily experience of living, well lets just say that things can be a very different matter!

The Dalai Lama brings sometimes complex philosophy and metaphors into such simple and profound phrases.  He speaks to us from a universal space of love and a sense of deep rooted humanity.  He shares his own life experiences and subsequent revelations.  He claims to be a simple monk, but we all know that he is much, much more……  

The words we need for dramatic evolution and end to the travails of existence  and  harmonious new dawns are all below.  They are simple and yet profound.  The big challenge is can we put them into action?  Can we stick to them?  Do we really want to make the sacrifice, change, give it a try?  We are at a point in human history where something needs to give, we either destroy ourselves, our planet and everything that we share it with, or, we wake up to our current situation.  Ignorance rules.  Money and material gains do not bring peace or happiness of oneself or ones society.  Can we individually break down cultural, religious and all mind based delusions of separateness?  Can we realise true happiness?  Can we embrace our precious human life?  Can we see the light and potential that shines within us all?  The Dalai Lama would smile an indefatigable yes.  Then he’d concisely show you how…….Be loving, be fearless, be free.

 Long life H.H. the Dalai Lama!

 

You can find the official account of yesterdays ‘Long Life Ceremony’ here.

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In Elysium

To my progeny I offer my middle hand,

A dagger on my hip and rings in my ears.

I follow the camels into the dessert

The sun bares the scars

Of the heat that burns within my heart.

 

In the court of the great King I could not kneel

For my finery hindered true action,

I would not relinquish one notch

To melt before the

Gardens of paradise waiting.

 

In my quarters, a box where my jewels lie hidden,

My children are sure to inherent such a

Wealth of guilt.

Where is the father I may become?

Where is the greatness in my fertility?

Why must I blight my unborn son?

 

Curtains drawn before dawn to let the darkness in,

Angels speak within the feint brushstrokes of nature

Awakened,

Casting the sleep from its eyes.

 

My silent meanderings with the moon have left me

Without words or cause.

Why do I flee when joy surrounds?

I am called to rest in sacred silence

And choose thunder

And ride every storm chariot.

 

At the heart of this is peace,

I hear its footsteps somewhere long forgotten.

A yearning from within simmers

And warms this dawn;

 

I must quest, I must linger, I must leave this instance

For the one I love;

Then slip away, into the unknown

Abyss of restful slumber.

 

Yet still,

A slight bitterness divides.

Power does not corrupt the stream,

It grows and carves new ways,

The flow strengthens within a

Raging torrent.

 

True freedom tends to send us

Seeking in different ways.

Way back to the Elysium fields,

Where the great dead roam,

I was born a peasant farmer and still am.

But will I toil ever on?

When will it drop?

 

I was not made for greatness,

I was simply made.

Without hands to act, without eyes to see,

When my heart finally heals over,

It is then that pure love will find me sat here.

 

I am not ancient,

Just grit in the eye of the maker

Re-made,

A passing dot

At which point all things merge,

A passage of potent love

For one and all

To mutate and abuse.

A steady march to

New pastures,

 

With pained pleasures

And gold strung nooses

And a want to fill

The sky with faces and lies;

A want to succeed where success is immutable

And live as if death

Is no longer a neighbour

But a lover now scorned.

 

Awaken from endless seeking,

Beginning-less beginnings await

Open hearts,

To show greater trust and let it come.

 

My hand brushes the barley of the infinite field,

I see it map the contours of my soul.

Surrounded by all my loved ones

In an eternal space,

No longer a shadow

From the past and future.

All love is here.

 

Am I dreaming to believe?

That in Elysium

We are all free.

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Beneath These Waves

Two hearts eclipse the darkness

That sets in solidity

Around the fleeting wonder of being.

 

Beyond expression we are guided by

The motions of red moon.

Stood at the threshold of sensation,

Enlivened in the rare airs

Of an ancient lovers tryst.

 

A union beneath minarets,

An arabesque mirage of adoration,

Open hearted ecstasy beats our drum eternal.

 

Free now to explore these contours,

The glory of fresh beginnings that chime in blue dawns,

From our distant iridescent paradise

Of tiny jewels in vast oceans,

To the humble hearth of hillside firelight.

 

One perfect moment in a frosty dawn’s chorus,

Suspended in the grace of timeless truth

One heart beats eternal,

Let us fall beneath these waves.

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In My Own Way – Alan Watts

I recently read Alan Watt’s autobiography ‘In My Own Way’, a fine book.  Alan was a man who walked his path and took a large part of a generation along with him.  Whilst reading the book in public, in a series of random places, several people approached me and commented on how much they appreciate Alan’s interpretations and teachings.  I have never been so popular when reading a book!  Most of these people were in their 50’s and beyond, but his message and the way he chose to live is very relevant today.  Be free and enjoy, revel in the mystery and very importantly, simply ‘go with the flow’.

Here is a short passage I’d like to share, it really struck a chord.  Alan is describing the blossoming of a love affair with his last wife lost in the hills of California, living a time of beauty and love.  Alan was a man who enjoyed the finer things in life and conveyed them in such a poetic way:

…..it was the embodiment of something I had been looking for all down the ages to be chief travelling companion-to be whisked off to a shack overlooking the Pacific, where we would sit on foggy nights by a log fire and talk over a bottle of red wine.  Which was just what happened.

We had a hill cottage in Fairafx, an out-of–the-way village to the north of Tamalapais which, in times past, has often served as a congenial retreat for out-of-the-way-people.

In this sanctuary, known only to close friends, I compiled poetry and The Joyous Cosmology.  Here, where Elsa had left a garden on the hill, and where the northern sky across the valley glowed green at twilight, the world woke up for me.  Jano has a capacity for aesthetic absorption which reaches into pure ecstasy-in the convolutions of a leaf, the light in a drop of water, the shadows of a glass in the sun, patterns of smoke, grain in wood, mottle in polished stone.  Together in this cottage we slowed down time.  We watched the sun blazing from a glass of white wine and watered the garden at sunset, when the slanting light turns flowers and leaves into bloodstone and jade.  We studied the forms of ferns and shells, crystals and teasels, water-flow, galaxies, radiolarian, and each other’s eyes, and looked down through those jewels to the god and the goddess that may be seen within even when the doubting expression on the face is saying “What, me?”  Shankar taking hold of the primordial sound of the universe and rippling it with his fingers into all shapes, patterns, and rhythms of nature. 

We found a lonely road across the mountain……..a road along lakes, through forests, and over high grassy slopes from which one could look across the Pacific, where we would stop and listen to the loneliness and the meadowlarks.      

Alan W. Watts – In My Own Way, 1964

If this interests you, here’s part of an Alan lecture:

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An Almost Infinite Library of Inspiring Words and Images via friends at Spirit Science and Metaphysics

Today, I sit here, my head immersed in cyber space via this wonderful little plastic portal of mine (which I bought in Manila for peanuts) just beside the midday kitchen window, festooned in colourful flowers, a rampant aloe plant, its tentacles reaching for the sky, and perfect spirals drawn in wet crayon by the ever lovely Jane.  Above are amulets collected from climes further East of here (or its that the far West?), a mobile made up of coloured welsh glass, fairy lights and the silver/ slate grey light that brings life to these verdant green hills.

So, I sit here, legally high on coffee (some stimulation for the biological mass that has long been part of mystical reflection or just plain old pondering), listening to Touareg’s chant and clap under deep Saharan skies, near a watermelon and the patterns of wax in last nights candle, whole almonds and a small wooden Buddha (from a market in Thailand).  A photography of a wise (is there any other) Bull Elephant stares back at me from the wall, a carved white dove and an ancient looking painting of Shiva and Parvati, nursing an orange Ganesha as a tiger sleeps by their fire, a human skull balances on a copper urn, they drink milk from a clay bowl, deep in a cave.

……this is ground control, this is a not too distant cymbal chiming, this is fresh air passing through, this is woolly slippers on cork floor, this is the prism, the wonder and the joy of being, in a cottage…………..AH!  The crunch of an apple (sometime)…..

I sit here in a form of cosmic union, effortlessly unspeakable and rapt in fascination, viewing the below images and quotes from friends over on a Facebook page named ‘Spirit Science and Metaphysics’ and feeling grateful for the bounty of this vision and the immutable beauty to be found there within.

I step outside to breath in a deeper nature, smelling damp earth and the musk of heather, our hawthorn tree is flowering and in it my sight diffuses to witness gods dancing and laughing in the patterns of its weathered bark, and at sunset, the way the potato plants sway in no breeze draws me deeper into a crystallised state of a rapt twilight wonder, fixed on the fluidity of natural perfection, all moves in unison and the universal dance goes on and on.  On eternal bliss, I teeter, that which incarnates wherever the whistle may blow and that tickles me pink.

I see our cat lying below a wooden bench, stretched out like superman, seemingly oblivious to the busy bees that flit about the courgette flowers.  I feel these thick rock walls and know that they are breathing too.

So here we have it, the modestly epic consequence of caffeine and keyboards….

The internet is so many things, a channel to titilate the mind, a window to more enlightened states of being, a web of connectivity that transcends all boundaries, the saviour of the human race from destructive tenedencies?  How we wield this tool is all important, it has awesome powers.  With the right application/ intention it could create a profound sense of oneness which will spread as we discern our own truth, that which abounds and unifies within all the passwords and profusion of information.  All these tangible ‘access codes’ to the ‘mysterious’ doorway of self discovery.  So real, so immediate, so simple yet ever evolving and illusive.

I now immerse myself in these digital streams, this river of driftwood seeking, like a rock, my mind falls into a pool of almost infinite knowledge (PLOP!), my intuition whisks me where I must be going.  Quite a trip through the wormholes of cyber space, deeper and beyond!  Its all richness layered with greater richness, dissolving as a sugar cube in a cup of freshly brewed chai.

The secrets have been laid bare, the instruction manuals are all there to be used and abused; in black and white, green and red, image and word, all old and all new, westernised and easternised, they just need translating into our living, breathing, thinking form.  The mind, ours free to re-wire and tamper with, wipe clean and leave it that way.  How wonderful!  What a gift!  What a glorious conundrum.

I ask myself, “am I being mindful when operating this little plastic gadget?”  The internet can draw me into a space which is the polar opposite of a meditative state, if I can in some way align the two, I have a fruitful internet session and incredible things begin to mingle and meld on the screen.  This is exactly what is happening now.

Gloriously conscious in this state, vibrant for a time in the richness of being, free to contemplate an end to knowing as a white butterfly passes.

I have surely expressed enough.  From my window to yours, I wish all things love, peace, happiness and a deeper sense of something else stirring their soup.

A humble wish, that you enjoy (in-joy!) the below as much as I did when reading through them.

Namaste fellow turtles and wanderersX

“A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it is not open.” – Frank Zappa

Trying to be happy by accumulating possessions is like trying to satisfy hunger by taping sandwiches all over your body – George Carlin

Imagination is more important than knowledge – Albert Einstein

“Matter is energy (light), whose vibration has been so lowered as to be perceptible to the senses. There is no matter.” – Albert Einstein

“Many people, especially ignorant people, want to punish you for speaking the truth, for being correct, for being you. Never apologize for being correct, or for being years ahead of your time. If you’re right and you know it, speak your mind. Speak your mind. Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is still the truth.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

The man who has no imagination has no wings. – Muhammad Ali

Gandhi was once asked: “What do you think of Western civilization?” “I think it would be a good idea,” he replied.

“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

Live Love Meditate Realise

XXXXXXXXThe TurtleXXXXXXXXXX

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Alone on my wild island

Standing stone on top of Snowdon

Standing stone on top of Snowdon

Alone on my wild island
Edges awakened each dawn,
I stray a quiet path of discovery
And adore my jagged shores.

Alone in this wild love
Open to the seasons of joy,
Pure nature speaks, open wilderness creaks
Enriching such transient soil.

Alone in my wild cycle
Conditioned by unconditional force.
Why this solid seed?
In the oceans of forever thought.

Alone in the clay of my ancestors
Their wheeling rhythm a distant croak.
I strive to live to noble ends
And please the star filled smoke.

Alone in the wildflower thicket
It’s blossoming heals the trail of fear,
Unbidden, I am offered to invisible winds
Dancing patterns in clear dark.

Alone in my wayward spirit
That which guides my inner voice.
Aware of my shadow side
That which radiates delight.

Off the Rrhyd Ddu path, Snowdonia

Off the Rrhyd Ddu path, Snowdonia

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Alan Watts – ‘The House Boat Summit’ with Allan Ginsberg, Timothy Leary, Gary Snyder, Allen Cohen

This is an incredible meeting of some real characters from the 60’s, a time when the feeling that ‘anything is possible’ was a driving force behind everyday life and visions of the future were bright, communal and most of all peaceful.

You can hear on this tape, that this was not just some stoned dream, this was real and this group were thinking pragmatically about what could be done.  Its interesting and slightly saddening that the world they are describing is almost identical to the world we live in now.

The 60’s was not this for all folk, my family were working in the mines of North England and had little prospect of getting out of the Industrial model created and introduced so effectively by the powers that be.  But for a few special sorts, who were tuning into something eternally powerful, the times were changing.  The men around this table had a profound effect on the way that Western culture has developed over the subsequent years, especially in the US.  To have them all around one table, trading jokes and concepts is a wonder to hear.   They seemed charged with inspiration and the fact that they are in a sense ‘serious’ academics adds greater credence to their theories and behavior.

I wonder how our children will look back on this generation?  The lessons of the 60’s are all around, we’re recycling, cutting down on food waste, more aware of environmental issues etc, but do we really mean it.  Really MEAN IT like these fellas meant it.  After all its not a lifestyle, but a life choice.  To do something means doing it all the way.  Easier said than done as we all know!

Big business are using the ‘eco’ feel as a marketing tool now and it turns my stomach to see these profit mongering entities (profit at any cost that is) tagging onto what should be a revolutionary/ evolutionary idea, a giant leap back towards nature and further exploration of what it is to be a here now and to be blessed with so many gifts.

Alan was a real maverick spirit, a light for the Western world and his translations of Eastern wisdom will no doubt filter through the ages.  He was also savvy and I am certain had a hunch that this would be of interest in the future and available to a mass market.  He knew what was going on, he’d lived through two world wars and the stifling repression of middle England and now (or then) things were really taking off in and around California, then it went global and things began to fill with love for a while.

Neil Young says on his new album (the song ‘Walk Like Giants’):

“I used to walk like a giant on the land, now I feel like a leaf floating in the stream….

Me an some of my friends, we were going to change the world, we were trying to make it better, we were ready to save the world!……

But then the weather changed and the white got stained and it fell apart and it breaks my heart, to think of how close we came.”  

Here it is actually in all its 16 minutes of glory.

Its this feeling that amazes me about the 60’s, the collective feel, the global sense of love that was kicking off at that time.  There was hope, and more hope, and infinite holes filled with only hope.  It can’t have gone far…..

We now have this magical tool, the internet, and instead of sitting around a table taking notes, we can get together, all over the world and do amazing things at the push of a keyboard button.  We have so much power we don’t know what to do with it!

Would anybody like to talk about this, maybe we can have our own universal houseboat summit, people from every continent sharing problems and coming up with solutions for all this nonsense that is going on.  Meeting like minds, coming together, making friends and laughing alot along the way. Drop me a line if this resonates.

I’ll stop typing now and let the guys take over, on Alan’s houseboat in a place called Sausalito,California sometime in 1967:

December At Yase

You said, that October,
In the tall dry grass by the orchard
When you chose to be free,
“Again someday, maybe ten years.”

After college I saw you
One time. You were strange,
And I was obsessed with a plan.

Now ten years and more have
Gone by: I’ve always known
where you were—
I might have gone to you
Hoping to win your love back.
You still are single.

I didn’t.
I thought I must make it alone. I
Have done that.

Only in dream, like this dawn,
Does the grave, awed intensity
Of our young love
Return to my mind, to my flesh.

We had what the others
All crave and seek for;
We left it behind at nineteen.

I feel ancient, as though I had 
Lived many lives.

And may never now know
If I am a fool
Or have done what my
karma demands.

Gary Snyder

 

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