The fun of it is there is always a first person story in the third person identity.
Over time, I’ve retrained my point of view, so everywhere I am seeing the “I” in the she, the he, the you and the it. In this way, I access with great pleasure the tremendous shock of the new where there was only the same old same old.
That old joke of the greeting between psychiatrists, “You’re okay, and how am I?” amuses because of the odd transposition of views. When I enter my doctor’s surgery, my greeting is, “How are you, Doctor?”
Walking outside anywhere, seeing and sensing sentient life, insects, birds, pets, cattle or the vegetable world, there is no harm in asking, “What is going through your mind? What am I to your view? The sun and the moon, the wind and rain, what are they to you now?”
These questions work well when addressed to a stone in the street, a river in the country, clouds in the sky, even an active volcano over the horizon.
The thought-thinking “I-node” becomes curiously calm and joyful, when I try to join with the conversations of the being of those who are “not-I”.
Out and about, I try in one way or another to shed a portion of the importance of my identity. Attention directed outside of myself and towards the otherness in others lets me see, in all things living and not alive, the bas-relief of the urge to survive and the factual evidence of survival.
As I approach each and every alive person in this peculiar unself-referential way, I sense the white heat of the Will to Live in them.
My own heart, also concerned with not being not-alive, relaxes and fills with a compassionate gentleness all over again.
Though they outnumber me, yet the myriad diverse multiplicity of others does not dwarf me, it completes me!
When I become attentive to and am aware of “The Gentleness of Being”, I feel that the huge and welcoming universe of Heart’s Love is brought forward into my view by the interaction of these two everyday accessible attributes – Gentleness and Being.
It is a delight full of pure wonder to be able to let intuition close the gap between my heart and the heart of another.
Other motives and motivations inspire another person’s heart when their own life history has taken them on such different paths from mine.
In spite of all the dazzling outer differences, I am constantly aware of the love that animates every heart of every person. No heart can be greater or less than love, so all hearts are equally lovable without exception!
Every person I meet, or have met, or shall meet, is their own representative of the peace and love of which all life is constituted, from which we all come, and back to which we are all walking each other home.
Today, even as I write, I am sensitive to the same magical newness that completely captured me, body and soul, back when I began, in 2013, the year I call the Year of my Life.
I find my life has most meaning, I contain most validity, when I am able to lose some of my identity in that of another.
I don’t need no rocket to Mars, when there’s a lifetime of discoveries to be made in the exploration of the admiration of Other!
People say my sharing of myself in my writing is so open and generous. I am hardly aware that it’s what people notice, till they comment on it. So why do I share like I do?
I share because I go with hope. I hope I may find a mirror to some of the qualities of my own heart in the heart of another.
I do not seek comfort or even love.
My heart seeks kindling by the encounter with the lit glow of another heart! If this is a legitimate search for the truths of Heart’s Love in all alive life, then it will continue to be a journey of discovery whose joys will have no end.
Nodding off to sleep to the collective hooting of owls in Hazel Cottage, Sedrup Green, Magicshire.
As a very young chap in the early 1950s, there was a time, while the summer light faded, when I would gradually fall asleep to the hooting of owls.
Many, many owls, some nearby, others responding intermittently at a distance.
I was cosy under the huge dome of a delicious feather eider down, I used to call The Lump. My room was at the north gable end under the thatch.
The cottage is at the edge of a tiny hamlet called Sedrup Green, a scattered group of wychert dwellings set loosely around a wildflower meadow cow pasture to be found after the No Through Road ended and a muddy track began.
The hamlet and some of its cottages are listed on the Domesday Book map, which dates from 1186.
These raptor calls I learned from older boys to imitate by blowing between the thumbs of my cupped hands.
Their hooted conversations held a startling, timeless and inescapable otherworldliness.
I recall these memories, and I am once more lying very still – a small breathless boy with calloused knees and a head full of the wonder of the unseeable sound makers marking out the dark hedges of approaching night.
Epiphany the Second on holiday near Cahir, co.Tipperary, Ireland.
In August 1977, I crossed the threshold, the portal to an intense liberation.
Since that time I had never encountered a story that showed me I am one of many to have been smelted in a furnace of the heart and to have survived the ordeal of refinement by burning.
Recently I spotted a good description in an article “From misery to bliss”. Well, thank goodness for Facebook.
Since that time, I have described only to certain close friends how, over a few days and nights, the layers of self peeled away in pain and incomprehension.
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I remember walking along Exhibition Road, London and instead of the usual bland, blanked off faces of people walking past me, I became acutely aware of reading, in the expression on every face, the reality of each person’s spirit.
Many were contorted and consumed by loathing.
Some were almost completely lacking in hope.
Some were intensely unhappy, as if their next facial expression was to be The Scream, ‘that’ painting by Edvard Munch.
Very possibly I was seeing my own projections. The old assumptions began to drop away from me, as if recent ghosts of my identity were drifting off, abandoning me in ones and twos.
The assumptions of who I am are like those straight and rooted tracks on which I automatically rely for my next blink, step, next thought, next breath. I and all of us do depend on lifetime timeline assumptions without giving them a second thought. We never call them into question, unless we perceive extreme danger from an external threat or sudden inescapable challenge.
Whatever it was that had begun to move, my self-belief was evaporating, and I found myself left with fewer and fewer safe assumptions about who I was.
My friends who are my familiar friends inside of me were going somewhere else, not staying to see what happens next.
In quite a short time, as if I had no power to control the processes my spirit was undergoing, I shed my few and flimsy onion-skin layers of self-belief, until I reached a point of maximum intimacy, where the core of my being lay exposed like a small pool of white-hot molten metal resting in the base of an immovable immutable crucible. It was painful like active nettle-stings, but it was endurable.
I was drawn to rural isolation as the best and least threatening setting in which to preserve what I had left of me. I had no clues, no map to follow in this descent.
I bought rail and ferry tickets to Cork. I asked for bus timetables at the central London Bord Fáilte. I set out with a rigid metal frame grey canvas rucksack.
I travelled from London to County Tipperary, Ireland for a summer holiday. I knew very well I couldn’t escape from myself. But I came to rural Ireland to find rural peace in August, because I had become afraid for my sanity. I presumed something was going to happen to me. I wanted to give my undistracted attention to whatever it was going to be.
My next memory is of getting off the bus at the quiet place called Cahir. I walked along a reassuringly peaceful road, and I checked in to my family run guesthouse.
For safety, or rather, for self-preservation, I stayed indoors. I sat in my B&B room. I remember a pot of tea and a kindness of biscuits. I was as unprotected, fragile, brittle, as a soft bodied insect.
If I should step outside, or if I were to add to my sensory input in howsoever small a way, I might go off the edge like an untethered astronaut – lost in a mild but unending emptiness.
With a new morning, a brightly sunlit summer morning, stasis came.
It was a still point where nothing more could happen to me. I was at the bottom of the descent, but I was not finished off.
The pain was no longer inside of me. It was not there. I remember silence.
I weep today and every time, as I recall the beauty of that silence. This silence was brand new. It was much louder inside than outside.
Silence indescribable, solid to the timid touch, had replaced pain and the frequent cramping presence of adrenaline.
I could breathe again. I could hear my breathing. I looked outwards. The yellow corn was growing gold and ripely in the small square field beyond the house. The field of gold glowed unpretentiously just outside my window. No wind moved the corn stalks baking under the blue sky.
Every ear of corn still stands there, warm in the midday heat and unmoving in my mind’s eye.
I felt an amazing, delicate, intense pleasure at seeing my host family around me, simply and quietly going about their day. I hardly dared move in case this most ordinary sweetness should crackle and dissolve.
My host family’s silent, but tangible normality was my personal reassurance. Their wordless presence was as loud as if I were being publicly baptised at the centre of a crowd.
I was filled with a soft bliss, like a person drinking after a long thirst.
The words of my drink were these:
“All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.” [Julian of Norwich]
One thing I knew with great certainty and I would forever carry with me, that however long I live, whatever the severity of the test, I would always be able to survive.
And so I packed my rucksack to return home to the world of work and to continue with a new relationship which would culminate two years later in marriage.
My awakened heart burns golden consuming nothing – in sickness and in health – from the centre to the outermost edge.
And this is the mantra I composed to celebrate the awakening:
Things. Things are falling into place. This journey. The ground.
The ground as I walk on it is materialising under my every footfall. It’s as if reality is coming to meet my feet.
First, there is frustration and irritation, those old timeworn habits.
As I walk or cycle out of the house, there they are – people! They drive too fast. They block my space, judge me, ignore me.
Now, without prompting, I understand how pointless and empty of meaning is my own irritation. So I observe my emotion, I watch it arrive towards me, and it actually walks ghost-like right through me and vanishes!
The feeling that remains is relief and levity!
Second, and just as unsettling, are the trees.
I have read that it is a simple, effective and loving discipline to observe trees as living and growing, moulded by time and the weather. I observe them just existing as trees in conformity to their own beautiful nature. Trees aren’t judgemental, nor do they invite judgement.
I have read that it is amazingly simple to transfer this wholesome way of seeing trees in their endless variety to the appreciation of other people.
When I observe people as possessors each of their own original innocence and dignity in the manner of trees, it is my whole relationship with the treeness of trees which receives an entirely unexpected boost!
What is taking place is a falling away of the veils that usually obscure the essential nature of everything.
With difficulty, I have to try to tear myself away from a huge Plane Tree standing in full leaf, in sunlight, unmoved by any breeze.
I see the delicate green flags as naked messengers of the tree’s reasons for occupying its space in its time.
The only thing it is not doing that I am doing is moving away now
“Feel the peace and beauty of connecting to your heart…”
I am always of the belief that it is possible to walk “through” the Stargate portal and to have an insight so immediate and all pervasive that your pain and hurt, every trace, drops away, and at last you can “let it be”.
This is an insight into love absolute, a place, a real place, where fear evaporates before it can take shape.
You must know I have had the good fortune to pass through some form of Stargate. To reach there, I had to have lived more than a handful of decades, be retired and released from over 40 years of nine-to-five grind, and I had to undergo several epiphany experiences closely accompanied by some shining new rare and true soulfriends.
Before you arrive in the presence of such a magic portal, it’s likely you’ll still need to arrive again and again at more of your old journey destinations on your way. You’ll probably be faced with the choice to tear down clinging overgrown undergrowth covering the face of your mind.
You will see yourself in the forgotten places with a brand new clarity. You will be forced to allow the sacred significance of your present-in-the-past to carve deep grooves in your heart. You will suffer ancient tears to overflow into your present you for the first time.
Only by touching naked feet fearless onto such stepping stones as I describe will you understand your leaden ankle weights and unseen shackles represent illusions.
Released from these delusional encumbrances which you had chosen as your territorial possessions, you start to walk tall. This is the walk of your life.
These are structures that have become so vital to the security and safety of your self. You have devoted so much energy, time and concern in their construction. These are systems you have become accustomed to handle in a fiercely protective, conscious, deliberate and deliberative way. You can remember words to describe them, such as weights and shackles, tears of lead, deflection of hurt, avoidance of pain.
Your protection has come more to depend on the unblinking maintenance of your defences, and less on identifying what caused you to construct your defences.
Who you are is occulted by the insistent persistence of your protection of you.
Like you, I know you can always stand in the light of your own being at a moment’s notice.
You may be moved to seek help and find it with an intermediary.
You may find the light of your being quite unexpectedly homes in on you of its own accord, with a beam like a searchlight.
The shock can startle and even perplex you, till you are are obliged to accept the fact that your soul is staggeringly beautiful, or you opt to refute the experience, telling yourself platitudes handed down to you from the bland, limp phrasebook of socially acceptable conformity.
This encounter with the happening magnificence of your being has not any words to enscribe, describe or circumscribe it.
This close encounter with the heart of your shining soul is yours. It is yours before question or answer.
You have already entered many times into a wordless wonder of living. You know what it is, of course. It is something that sometimes happens in your body or mind. Or you have felt it “outside” of you.
You are far nearer than you can begin to imagine to the shimmering entrance portal into the place where the wonder of living is too intense for words. And the space, the extremely real place, perhaps the only space which is real, and which lies ever glowing at a constant brightness (the ‘bright’ of peace and love), is the directly lived experience, the Now.
Now is not a mere moment. Now is every moment, suffused to saturation point with beginninglessness and endlessness – EveryNow.
EveryNow exists complete, without reference to a frame of words.
EveryNow exists in completeness, independent of whether it is thought of, or sought after.
EveryNow exists completely and it is unaffected by being ignored, or overlooked, either by negligence or on purpose.
Blink, and you can find yourself in it… it in you.
All you need is to be ready and prepared. Be ready for the invitation. If you give any of what I describe a modicum of credence, then your best tribute to it and to your innate beauty, and to your instincts of self-preservation, and even to your secret inner conviction that you truly think of what I am talking about as a schmaltzy, rose-scented, kitsch pink cloud, is to be ready.
The way to get close enough to the magic of EveryNow, so that it can guzzle you all up into its roseate field, is to be prepared and ready to accept its invitation card: Infinity.
Sleep is as precious as wakefulness. Sleep is close to infinity. Sleep is a hallowed gift. Wrap it with respect, give all of yourself into it. Sleep well
If Time’s prime quality is beginninglessness and endlessness, if Time’s beginning and ending are immeasurably over the horizon of Human instruments of calculation, then it is true to say Everlasting Time collapses as a contradiction in terms.
When Time in its supra-Human vastness and all-encompassing inclusivity is considered as being the concatenation of eternity moments, does it not retain a meaning of taste, sight, sound, even of touch as well, for you and for me?
So here we are, Delicious! There is no “Glass half full; Glass half empty”.
The glass is.
I see neither heaven nor hell, no duality. I see the temporary coalescence of the me I call myself in the same eternity as you.
To sum it up, good Friend, you are a beautiful concatenation of glowing moments of the infinite, just like me.
Whenever I hear someone’s story of their 360° round trip on these rivers of tears, I feel a mix of compassionate pain and frustration at their unnecessary journey.
My gut says, “It ain’t necessarily so!”, because it puts me in mind of those circular journeys of solitary despair I knew so well.
I am a soul filled with a joyful heart. I am blessed with this grace because my heart has beat to its own time, while I lived and breathed through suffering.
I must state my position.
Many years I spent with my heart uncomprehendingly engaged in a mood of gloom. I lived close to the edge of the world. I could only grieve for the beautiful security of how things were, because I had lost contact with that most natural of gifts that all sentient beings share – to love to live in the flow of the present moment.
This flow of the lived living moment is the dance of life we can watch on any street corner all the world over, where children play, yell, and enjoy their own company.
The will to live – that resource of legendary power – knows no past or future. If I live in the fullness of this present moment, I know nothing of any “threat” to my existence, because a threat can only exist in the context of the future-in-the-past.
Similarly, if all I am is joy-of-present, I shall have no care for the past.The reality available to innocent babies and to all young sentient living beings is reality both all-encompassing and intensely personal, exactly as the Universe is both personal and vast.
This reality is a self-awareness welded to and bonded with the will to live.
For the new-born, so for our grosser adult selves – we have an imperative to survive. Survival is the expression of our dependence on billions of iterations of our ancient genes in the moment-to-moment.
Mercifully, survival is maintained by autonomous life systems. The “test” – that all-out awful emergency – is rarely handed over to us that we shall be obliged to take full responsibility for our survival.
The continuum between life and death, the fulcrum of existence, is as a magnificence. A magnificence removed from the tick-tock of time, contained in and available to us in the Grace of Present Here-and-Now.
In my late teens, before I ‘dropped out’, I searched for and found a precious union. I cleaved to “haeceity”, to the THISNESS of things. It hardly matters here what association this had to mainstream thought, the important fact is that this understanding of the essential nature of reality remains with me still today.
This found communion with the simplicity of “What is” is my bedrock, my source of strength, healthy well-being, and healing. It is also my ever-available portal to the most sacred space in the heart containing the source of endless peace and love, present in us all and available to us all, from which we come and to which we all return.
The ability to approach and become contiguous with the uncomplicated bliss of “What is” literally saved my sanity and on occasion my life.
After this, in my lost years (20 to 25) I became troubled with abnormal mood fluctuations, and was dependent on pharmaceutical and hospital support. My withdrawal from society caused much anxiety and pain to my family and friends. My parents did all they could to help me, though at times they feared for my safe future.
Arguably there have been several early-life traumas which predisposed me to this. I have been privileged to revisit my Inner Child, and I spent invaluable hours – under direction of my Shamanic Healer here in Bournemouth where I live now – in precious, if at times painful, discovery of the selfless love of that little boy.
The small boy-child I was took it on his own advisement to loyally support me during my early years trauma. I see now I owe a sacred debt of gratitude for his compassionate and unconditional love which ultimately made possible my release from early trauma.
With the dominance of low mood during those years, I lost my former ability to connect to the flow of the present moment. It felt like a bitter-sweetness, a sorry addiction to sorrow, much like a drug. For extended periods of time, probably prolonged by tranquillisers, this was my emotional home.
Mental states at unnatural levels of modulation had determined that I ascribed meaning to both thoughts and situations which in “logical reality” hold no more significance than the superficiality of the fleeting moment.
Here is my understanding of something central to the way we can lose our firm hold on the balance of our mental health.
An enormous burden of energy is required to deal with the trivia of day-to-day living as if they are issues of crucial importance. We maintain a healthy working equilibrium most of the time without much conscious thought.
We can be well served if we can be made to see from an early age the value of living “in the moment”. With the knowledge of these practices (living mindfully) comes the ability to apply personal choice to the management of an individual’s state of mind.
If we have prior understanding about how much importance to give to our thought patterns, we may be equipped to make choices in good time, when we are still inclined to seek help.
The starting-point when a person begins to regard the trivia of day-to-day living and their accompanying thoughts as if they are issues of critical importance, could be a jumping-off point into spiral, nonlinear thinking and decision-making.
From this superposition of the minutia of trivial thoughts on the conscious mind it is not far to go to arrive in the insoluble confusion of the unknown.
Then comes Chaos – a total loss of the ability to assume responsibility for one’s thought and actions.
The problem that got to be crippling for me was that for a time I lost the objective ability to recognise superficiality for the extraordinary gift it is – the delightful sparkling flow of the fleeting moment.
This led to overwhelming feelings of banishment from the world of other people, who I observed as enjoying superficial speech and actions unperturbed by states of hyper self-consciousness.
I now believe that there is a common denominator underlying the pain and helplessness of mental health sufferers. It is a common factor also for those who have tried with all their might to reunite with their sense of belonging in the world.
Without co-ownership of self, and without some sort of recognition of the THISNESS of the existence we all share in common – from the state of being of the humble Lacewing to the imperturbaly powerful outpouring of electromagnetic radiation in the Cosmos – peace of mind, communion with one’s own heart can seem constantly unattainable.
It is a vital life-affirming truth that the only constant is transience.
We all rely on the unconditional acceptance of the flow of the fleeting moment for our conscious awareness to stabilise on a Single-point of unquestioned reference so that we can make moment-to-moment judgements and take necessary decisions at a most elementary level at the prompting of humdrum and fluctuating local circumstances.
Our innate condition is predicated on nothing more than our existence in physical form and our awareness in the Universe of objects and sentience. These are the fundamental reasons we are alive and we remain alive.
Life in us begins without our conscious volition, but we risk everything, the disturbance of our balance, even our sanity, if we continue in life as if life were external to us.
A life fully lived is lived in the passionate and impassioned understanding of life’s array of power and beauty.
Visions of beauty and power are instantly available to those who make the effort to recognise themselves as transient bearers of their portion of brilliance in the array.
Key to the recognition of their own beauty and power is the acceptance of the moment – the EveryNow – as life’s vessel and array.
I coined the word EveryNow in early 2016 to denote a cherished elevated state of being. The word has its roots in the understanding of the illusory nature of clinging to this or that, be it mood, perception, mode of thought, or time itself!
Mine is a story of 50 years of redemption and salvation. No other response than humility and continuous gratitude will do.
I devote much of my time and energy to show how immediate, powerful and freely available is the juicy goodness of the force that some call the life force, others, the will to live, and still more know by words like love, hope, peace, heart, spirit. Alas! So few take the trouble to step over the threshold of words and… love to live!
There are awarenesses, resources of great value, that I am unlocking more and more on my Journey.
In seeking to embrace these, I am inspired by the example of my friend, whose startling quality of compassion in action and word has made me strive to understand its source, the better to assimilate and emulate this living spirit of compassion.
I see value in the observation of Acceptance in action. Acceptance requires no reasons, demands no constructs and it can be seen in the healthy balanced operation of every living organism.
I tap into vast reserves of value from the practice of Acceptance. Acceptance smoothly paves over the crevasses of treacherous impulse to blunder and bluff.
I am in confrontation every day.
These are great stirrings, as in coming upon a selfish owner who is letting a dog “worry” swans. Or these may be small, such as a person whose mere approach rouses an aggressive response in me. My negative response stems from my self regard blinkered from and blind to the life I share with people around me.
Acceptance is my confronted self choosing to reach up to a panoramic viewpoint, and consciously remaining where I am, while I offer to the eyes of my eyes the gift of the widest possible perspective at my location.
Once I arrive – and I can arrive in a flash – I am at once reduced to my true size relative to “where I am at”, and I am released to soar up to great peaks of lightness of being and down to lush fertile places of human comfort, warmth and joy.
Acceptance is my loyal friend when I walk hand in hand with my other awareness: Sufficiency.
Whenever I allow myself to come into closest connection with some external event, it can show me clearly and directly a total, utter and complete satisfaction. It is “Sufficiency”.
It is my awareness of sufficiency which links me directly to the sum of all joys.
Any joy piercing the living moment is sufficient.
I can choose to go out and about with a pocketful of forethought, so that, when I encounter a delight, I need not let it enter me only to pass me by. For example, I may be kissed, and as I stop taking breath, all the breaths I have ever breathed are contained in that kiss.
The treasure awaiting my discovery in any experience is made visible by my inborn ability to allow its inherent quality of sufficiency to overtake both it and me.
Sufficiency is the end contained in the beginning.
If I can only stop trying to dream, I can awake to find I am being dreamed by my dream.
The flesh of humility is clothed by the modest completion of Sufficiency.
Gratitude for this infinite store of sufficiencies!