Wendy

Sisters……. in non-duality

 

In jealousy and foolish pride

greed hatred and delusion

we immolate our peace of mind

and suffer in confusion

 

Old fears and anguish quake the heart,

in place of ease a tightness comes –

releasing this …A…ཨ…o p e n n e s s

reveals the sameness of our “bones”

 

Each moment of our life will pass

as fresh or turbid waters

we have a choice…

in letting go

we are the the buddha’s daughters

 

 

 

‘Sisters under the skin’  could be this pictures title

of course ‘brothers/sons’ fit too – it just doesn’t rhyme as well!

I wrote this poem many years ago after some turbulent interactions helped me see how quickly I could still become enmeshed in reactivity.

People we find difficult to relate to are priceless for showing  us our ‘pinch points’ or unresolved bruises, and then we can notice the depth of our limited, habitual, egoic response to freeze, withdraw or try to control the situation.

With this, the limited effectiveness of the scabs which act as a protective covering for old wounds is exposed. Picking at their edges is still painful…so there is incomplete healing.

Defensiveness, when there is some’thing’ to protect is a natural response… When there is directly seen to be no ‘thing’ as such,  then resting in the spaciousness of openness works to resolve the tension. The primary locus of perspective is inclusive rather than individuated.

With this, the edges of the wound are brought together and the pain of separation, of being a truly separate other with the fear of annihilation by definition, is healed.

This may sound like a ‘happy ever after’ story… but it’s certainly not the case that all interactions then flow easily. But maybe more easily than they otherwise might because…
as the defensiveness of the ego decreases there is more of a sense of innate inclusion and with that sense, warmth increases and the defrosted softness allows other possibilities of engagement to come to mind.

There is space for the situation to evoke, rather than a habit which provokes, the response.

A screwdriver for a screw… a hammer for a nail…but ‘me’ as something rigidly defined is not useful for very much…!

We are all scions, reflections of the buddha-mind.
It’s in not seeing, recognising, realising that sameness…with that an absence of fixed internal/external definition….that self-other definition increases and the divisions of the world arise.

 

 

Photo creative commons Write Well Daily

This perspective may help …

and hopefully will do no harm!

 

Once, in a talk James said… ‘keep your dosh in your pocket, sit on your bum and get enlightened!

That’s pretty simple eh?… but it doesn’t happen so often.

So many distractions, emotional obscurations, karmic propensities limit the time on the cushion…
and then the time spent there, although different in location posture and initial intention, is often not so very different from ‘samsaric-time’ off the cushion.
Time is spent fusing with arisings and chewing on them. Sitting there making ‘something’ from nothing – as if that were possible…waiting for it to be over, falling asleep…drifting.

It can be so very hard to let go of old habits…
Although, in believing in, validating and identifying with thoughts we give up our freedom, feel locked-up and suffer the consequences, because they feel ‘just right’ – there’s no questioning them, whether snug and cosy like wrapping up a soft cardigan or putting the usual straight jacket. What to do?…What I usually do!

Yet in this lifetime, as meditators, the goal is to realise our true nature. To succeed we need good teachings, and good examples, application and time. We are so lucky to have the first two for sure, the third to a lesser or greater degree depending on circumstances, the fourth i’m hoping to influence a bit with this article.

We need time to see how we obstruct ourselves; time to have our ‘bum on the cushion’ sufficiently long for the knots to dissolve, and to look in the relaxed way and recognise the ground to which we apply our interpretive matrices

So my practical suggestions below will not cause you to  realise your pre-existing lightness… but  they may buy you just a little extra time for this realisation to occur!

Basic biological knowledge tells us that our nose is good at filtering out ‘stuff’ in the air we breathe. It also warms the air going down into our lungs so that the oxygen exchange there is more efficient.

Some more in-depth thinking and research has shown that nitric oxide is produced in the nasopharynx and that this gas has excellent anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-microbial effects (1)acting as first line of dense against micro-organims.
This article (2) Nasal nitric oxide in man – Thorax BMJ suggests that a function of  nitrous oxide  is to keep the sinuses sterile under ordinary conditions. Nitrous oxide also has an effect on the ability of haemoglobin to release oxygen (3).

Severely afflicted Covid patients, until they become very weak, have no difficulty in breathing…so oxygen is getting down into the lungs…yet they present as breathless. The problem is that the oxygen is not able to be utilised for exchange in the normal way.
Lately this realisation has been having an impact on when and how ventilation is offered …seeing that increased pressure is not the answer and may increase damage to lungs which are particularly fragile in this state.
A New York ER/ICU doctor who had noticed how different this condition was from anything he had seen before voiced the idea  of the use of nitrous oxide…and maybe he is onto something.

Certainly (2) nasal air(containing NO) added to the ventilation of intubated patients increases oxygenation and decreases vascular resistance. Although its rôle in inflammation is not really known and is debatable, this article in thorax leans towards the beneficial.
Long-term ventilation can result in cilliary dysfunction and bacterial infection both of which effects, it suggests, may be mitigated by the addition of nitric oxide.

So, particularly under current circumstances, it makes good sense for us to utilise the nitric oxide produced in the nasopharynx to cleanse the incoming air for our own benefit… and the outgoing air for the benefit of others. Also to ‘disinfect’ the lower lungs (which is where maximal exchange occurs) and to maximise the efficiency of oxygen exchange.

If you breathe through the mouth these beneficial effects are bypassed (and diminished if you smoke)… so, if you are able, it’s much better to use the nose for breathing at all times… including exercise and… sleep … (do ask if you are interested in this or any other aspect!)

Also the benefits of using a surgical mask will be greater if you breathe like this… and it is a good reason, if you make your own, for ensuring that it is not so dense that you cannot breathe sufficiently easily through your nose that you start to breathe through your mouth to get more air. We can survive on less breath than we imagine (see below).

There is another factor to consider… that is the rate of breathing. Aiming for a soft, slow, and light (ssl!) even flow … yet taking the air down deep – to make the lower ribs move in and out slightly…
The  concentration of nitric oxide is higher at lower flow rates (2) So this way, which may seem like underbreathing if you are used to taking big breaths, may not only be perfectly adequate but may concomitantly increase oxygen exchange by not over-saturating with oxygen.

You can match the flow of breath to a mantra, or to the increasing breathing timing (4 6 4 etc), or Tong Len, or just allow the flow to flow. The breath will naturally regularise if you practice shiné …… as explained with other practices in James low’s latest zoom videos on How to make use of solitude.

Simple mindfulness of the breath…noticing as it comes and goes… takes you out of thinking, brings you into the present, is relaxing and increases the capacity for non-distracted attention to the boring…! so we are not so easily seduced by ‘exciting’ arisings

and maybe buys… not so much, more days for ‘fun in the sun’… but maybe some extra time for sitting on the bum!!!

 

P.S. I have a bit of a cough at the moment but rather then express it to no point, i’m holding my nose for a few secs. then breathing in… seems to do the trick just now…(though to match this with the very reasonable ‘keep hands away from face’ instructions… you’d be keeping up with the hand washing instructions, ideally before and after!)

I thank Patrick Mackeown for that tip and some of the other ideas around breathing… in a video offering breathing techniques for covid prevention/ recovery… there are others on the advantages of nasal breathing for asthma and athletes. His training for athletes…effectively taking them three miles high to practice… linked in my mind with the E.R.doctors sense that some patients seemed to be like those suffering from altitude sickness.

Whilst some of our notions, particularly of the purpose of meditation, may differ… his words like mine, are i’m sure, well intentioned gestures in the flow…arising and passing… with meaning (if any) imbued by the mind of the listener
Being calm and clear, breathing well, facilitates relaxation and ease with whatever circumstances arise for us.

 

P.P.S.Humming may clear the nasal passages….(and produce nitrous oxide). There’s some pubmed research on that which you can google if you like…i’m done googling, it can swallow a lot of time, this just seemed worthwhile… off to dinner and my cushion

P.P.P.S! The photo i found in my album… entitled ‘Go without regrets’…sounds good to me. Just built a ramp for the mouse to exit under the defunct dishwasher but sounds like he wants to use the back door…   Thanks to whoever sent that to me or, if i filched it in my ignorance, apologies and please let me know if you are unhappy and i will remove it. Looks good the other way up too, i think.

 

 

 

Staying alive…ahhh ahhh ahhh ahhh… staying alive….

It has to be sensible to be  at ease with the natural consequence of birth… that is at some point we will die… but also to do what we reasonably can to stay alive and healthy enough to practice, to continue to deepen our practice while we can.

After death, the traditional understanding is that one is blown by karma from the past into another existence. An existence which is dependent on behaviours, not necessarily enacted in this life but which could be related to activities in past lives.
So it could be a long time before we have the freedoms and opportunity to practice the Dharma again.

Another way of looking at this is that we are continuously creating  many scenarios from arising movements in the mind – experiences, including heavens and hells – and believing in them. We fuse with the patterns we have formed from these experiences as though they were more than the relative truth, as though they were self-existing rather than transient experiences arising in awareness… and we want to become free of this on-going confusion.

We have life, with that, the teachings so beautifully explained, and such freedoms and opportunity to practice before our last breath – as well as then :-).

James’ recent zoom teaching Emptiness Equanimity and Kindness is a beautiful explanation and, as you know, we need to hear, to feel, to question to reflect and to digest to the point where there are no obstructions to manifesting that view.

So in order to facilitate that – maybe to give some extra time in this life – surgical masks being unavailable, here is a picture of a mask I made yesterday!

 

It’s easy to wear, made out of materials to hand, and reusable.
Masks vary in effectiveness…. the Pitti masks, were you able to purchase them, look attractive and are good at filtering some contaminants but they are not designed for the corona virus particle, which is too small for them to filter out… whereas surgical masks seem pretty good – perhaps pretty close to the N95…
Home-made masks definitely have their place under the circumstances.
The rationale and science behind its use and the construction of my mask is explained here. 
There are many websites and much information/nonsense floating around, but this seems to me to have integrity in the results of the scientific testing shown.

It’s worth noting that the 2 m  of social distancing is  a suggested minimum distance  advice which arose from tests on virus transmission… in still air.
If the wind is blowing, or the  transmitter is moving say on a bike, assisting the propulsion, the distance travelled by the virus could be much greater.

Speech is carried as vibrations through air coming from the subject, this air contains moisture… including possibly a viral dose from someone who is infected though not displaying symptoms…it is propulsive, having energy behind it.
And there are not so many people who can know in advance that they are going to cough or sneeze and be able to do something effective to prevent it.

So, to me, as well as social distancing, it makes sense to wear a mask when out and about. This is in order to minimise the viral load received and also as a kindness to others.

Wearing glasses helps protect the mucosa of the eye from viral ingress…ski goggles are even more effective…
…and wearing a mask (and glasses), as well as decreasing the viral dose,  means that fingers, which may have picked up virus particles along the way, are kept away from the face, keeping you safer.

So…in this home made mask, above…
The inner mask is made of non-woven material of some kind given to me by my mother in Thailand ten years ago, with elastic loops that go over the ears… it has a couple of pleats to allow for the nose protuberance!
You can see some stitching at the top of this mask. This is formed around a  plastic covered paperclip which is halfway unfolded so it’s like an S lying on its back. It is used to form the nose shape which  fits on the bridge of the nose… I suggest you bend it over your thumb to start with before trying it on your nose for shape, as it quite stiff to bend.
This  addition is an important extra detail as it helps to keep the cloth closer to the face stopping air from entering directly.

Sewing the mask to a silk scarf helps keep the arrangement in place. ( If you have one, as you can see on the website above, this has slightly better virus protection than an ordinary scarf but mainly it is very easy to breathe through)

You will notice that there is a bit of tissue sticking out between the inner mask and the scarf… this is a dry wipe… kitchen towel or toilet tissue also would do the job of increasing the filtration without making it too difficult to breathe through.
As I have stitched the sides and the top of the mask to the scarf, but not the bottom,  an upside-down ‘pocket’ is formed and this extra layer of filtration can be placed between the two… and is held in place as the scarf is tightened.

The knots tied in the scarf ends mean that it can easily and consistently be tied to the right tightness without  loosening behind the head… a wide ponytail slide, if you happen to have such a thing, clicks easily across between the knots and the head holding the scarf closely in place… Alternatively you could also use a rubber band, hair band, or simply tie  the two scarf ends together.

These three layers of filtration – inner non-woven cloth, tissue, and doubled silk – produce a mask which is quite easy to  breathe through whilst being, according to the measurements on the website above, fairly close to that of a surgical  mask.

It’s also worth noting that it is also washable… but perhaps more important to note that current understanding is that the virus cannot survive for longer than four hours on cloth.  So disinfection occurs when the mask is left for this length of time, say overnight, and doesn’t need  daily washing. The tissue layer can easily be replaced whenever you feel the need but again, after four hours it should be okay.

If you do not have a 10-year-old  cloth mask to start with… you will see that drying-up cloth/ tea towel can be used to make one which would perform this function well… as you can see from the website tests,  j cloths and non-woven cleaning cloth have their place.

Even if you use a material like cotton which only reduces 50% of the viral dose that would still be 50% better than nothing.

Wishing you Good health, and good luck!

 

 

P.S. any questions… just ask me via the contact tab

 

 

 

Everyday….is a good day… to wake up!

It’s good to be alive, to be able to breathe, to be able to pray, to be able to practice the dharma.

The compassion which arises from wisdom, like wisdom itself, is not something artificial, so not something  we can construct  by our efforts.

But we can use many methods to soften our sense of being an isolated, separate self…  and bring ourselves into a more healthy orientation with those we see as ‘other’…a deconstruction of our ego-centrality…it’s all about me, mine, and my opinions.

Prayer is one such method… done with full attention the ever- present connection is  energetically illuminated.

Although it is harder now to reach out towards those who are suffering in a physical or  practical way… the prayers and meditations that we do can actually be more beneficial.
 This is a bit hard to realise…  it took me many years… the ego wants to do something to fix situations…
Of course, often that move can be entirely appropriate, the problem arises dependant  on how much  ‘I-Me!‘ is involved in the doing. If the move arises easily (but not habitually) and is released, rather than credit taken, then that’s harmonious with  the dharma, with life.
So no-one one would say ‘please don’t do good things’…
but the direction of  dharma travel, of increasing  wisdom, changes our own conception of what is most valuable beyond the relative notions…
…taking us towards the pure relative…in the direction of the ultimate level of compassion, of the expression of our buddha-nature.
The energetic attention flowing out in the world from our heartfelt prayers does make a difference both to ourselves, as our orientation changes, and to others in the way we relate to them… a much bigger difference than you might imagine is possible through this.
A few days ago I was asked by one of you for some prayers that would be easy to use and easing…
So here are  some daily prayers which you can use if you like…
I used to do the first two immediately I woke up (before getting stuck into ‘thinking about’ my situation!’)

Then sitting up in bed I would  say the Four Immeasurables prayer….

then some meditation before getting out of bed…a good start to the day!

1.

 May I be full of loving-kindness

 May I be well

 May I be peaceful and at ease

 May I be happy

2. 

May all beings be happy, content and fulfilled

May they be healed  and whole

May all have whatever they want and need

May they be protected from harm

and free from fear

May all know inner peace and ease

May they be awakened, liberated, free

May there be peace in our world

and throughout the universe

 

Variations on similar lines say would be:

May no sentient being be unhappy, malicious, or ill,

neglected or despised;

and may no one be despondent

and:

Courage to the fearful,

freedom to the enslaved,

strength to the week, 

mutual affection to all sentient beings

( that’s a prayer from Shantideva’s writing  of the Bodhicaryavatara ’the way of the bodisattva ‘)

3.

The Four Immeasurables  prayer that we say in the group goes like this:

May all beings be happy and know the root of happiness    (love)

May they be free from suffering and cut the root of suffering    (compassion)

May they abide in happiness free from suffering   (joy)

and may they be free from aversion and clinging – feeling close to some and distant from others  (equanimity)

A full explanation of the profundity of this prayer is to be found in macclesfield audio talk 10

An alternative  with the same meaning is:

May all sentient beings be free from aversion and clinging, 

feeling close to  some and distant from others

May they win the bliss that is specially sublime

May they find release from the ocean of unbearable suffering

and maybe they never be parted from freedom’s  true joy

 

In this way we can begin every day with the wish to devote it to the good of all living beings,

 to bring peace and ease into every situation we encounter,

 to be able to develop the spaciousness and qualities – the wisdom and compassion – required to fulfil these wishes.

That should keep us going for a bit…!

If you later wish to take refuge… (i.e. step on the Buddhist path) and take the bodhisattva vow 

there is a brief daily meditation practice (these are the foundational practices from a Buddhist perspective)

and much more!

Just let me know if anything doesn’t make sense and we can talk it through

…but also, if you keep an eye on the Simplybeing.co.uk website Homepage and also Events you will see there is more activity and suggestion coming from James as to how orientate yourself, to be most at ease in and able to work with this particular situation in which we find ourselves operating…

…among which, currently on the right-hand side of the homepage at the top, there are some short  guided meditations…which I recommend for relieving fusion with stress and tension and releasing back to your open state…allowing those movements to flow though without being defined by them.

 

The audio and video recordings of the Macclesfield in February teachings
 are now available …links here   audio video

 

Just let me know if anything you find you need a bit of help ‘unpacking’….

 

all good wishes
wendy

 

Photo credit ‘ Dreamer’ from LoveThisPic … (which describes itself as a  place for people to come and share inspiring pictures, quotes, DIYs, and many other types of photos.)

 

The light…of ‘life and death’

Click this link for some beautiful rainbow pictures
published by National Geographic.

I just wrote what’s below in response to an email from a friend who is struggling with her breathing and a severe headache Having just come back from Vietnam she fears the coronavirus is the likely cause of symptoms

She has asthma and is over seventy… she has family with her…

Of course different words are fitting for different people… what I had written before she found helpful.

So I’m sharing this extract, conscious of the fact that people looking at this site have different depths of practice…

perhaps it will be helpful for someone…

 

‘Yes Sweetie, thats it…

Sweet breath in from the world…and out into the world…

Nice and easy does it…and i’m with you all the way…

 

This poem is one I wrote earlier about going…as and when we do….

in response to Dylan Thomas’s ‘raging at the dying of the light’ upon his father’s death

 

‘Oh Love… go gently into that good night

and give your peace to those whom death doth fright…

We would not rage at sunsets, rainbows ends…

The leaf that falls response to winter, so…

when death comes

be not uptight

there is no ending to the light….’

 

Wisdom is light,

Love… you are one of its many expressions

xx wendy

Knowing that whilst the breathing will, overtly, likely be laboured in the extreme, it’s possible to hold another view in mind…even one which keeps the suffering of others in mind, is actively dissolving the suffering of others into emptiness…or simply resting in awareness during the dissolution…

Would this be possible?… With an absence of fear, with profound practice we’ll get as close to this as maybe…let’s see.
Some of us will have more time than others to put the teachings into practice before it’s time to go…let’s not waste our precious opportunity.

 

Plus good coronavirus science also at National Geographic!

 

The Abc of coronavirus…actions bring consequences

 On the Simplybeing.co.uk web-site homepage  there is now a section ‘Protecting body voice and mind of all beings in a time of turbulence’ where ‘new material’ takes you to advice for now and texts for practitioners.
It led to this post which has a bit about practice at the bottom. It’s a long read…so head on down to the page if that’s what you’re looking for!

In 2017 I was just recovering from a virus when I posted on this website… I said that was glad that this had just been an ordinary virus rather one into which DNA had been injected…a new human capability which was troubling me at the time.

When we start to play about with the fundamental building blocks of life in the pursuit of life on our terms we are taking huge risks based on probabilities and assumptions. ‘Not always so’ is an empirical observation, expressing the actuality of how things manifest and interact…it will depend upon the circumstances!

I am not implying that this coronavirus virus is man-made…but as we fiddle about with genetics for our own purposes, and generally abuse the world, then some intended and, sooner or later, unintended consequences of these actions will naturally manifest.

Unregulated genetic experiments can now be carried out incredibly easily and the consequences will not, cannot, be contained or constrained effectively.
Many countries with the capacity…including the USA, Britain, China, and many others… have engaged in, or are engaged in, the creation of chemical and biological weapons capable of mass destruction. These products are stored ‘safely’…  until they are not…
because the truth is that every situation is Impermanent in it’s nature.

We are so clever but not so wise…

We split the atom …and now vast quantities of man-made fissile materials are at large in the world… the whereabouts of much is known but some unknown…large quantities have ‘vanished’ into the hands of those who would like the power to control.

We also split the world into good and bad, right and wrong, yours and mine, self and other.

Then, to maintain our segregated position and try to keep it safe, we act like the sorcerer’s apprentice… we’ll fix this problem by doing that. But doing that has had unintended consequences – so now because of that I also need to do this… and so the activity ramps up and ramifies.

If you have listened to James telling the truth, (audios and videos free on-line!) you will know that the way through is to see the non-duality of self and other and  the relationship between openness and manifestation.
So, not suggesting that no activity should take place but, for it to go well through time, it won’t be arising from a position of certainty and separation but of inclusion without reification.

Collaborating with whatever manifests from a sense of relaxed openness… is the best way of working with circumstances… tension will not lead to clarity of activity.

There are often undesirable by-products from our material  ‘creativity’ activity  so  what do we do with them?
Well, we stuff our ‘rubbish’ into cracks in the ground, dump it into the rivers and sea and export it to other, poorer countries, who can be paid to take it off our soil (but not without our own hands being soiled by the exploitation involved)… and more recently we’ve started to put our ‘junk’ up into space.

 Some would say it’s not junk…(certainly it’s new and expensive and resource hungry).. ‘it’s really important to get this extra view, this further information, this further ease of communication….’

Really?…Is it so wonderful to be able to see exactly what is happening on the road, or in the mine, so far far below the satellite?
Maybe not so exciting for the ‘man on the Clapham omnibus’ trying to live on what’s called ‘Universal’ credit – but I think we can be  mostly sure that if it weren’t of financial or political interest to somebody then it wouldn’t have happened.
‘Inside information’ whether financial or political is of value for some and can be  exploited for gain, this has always been so.

Nowadays there is great interest in getting financial information a fraction of a split-second before anyone else… this desire has consumed a vast amount of time and energy and is continuing to do so…

This is all in the interest of making more money out of nothing… to fritter, for power, for pride…?

Greed, desire, hunger of this kind is never satisfied.

There is always fear of loss or being outmanoeuvred so there is  ongoing need to control and manipulate the circumstances which are always changing…it’s a monkey trap for those who grasp…with no rest.

Back to the ‘rubbish’…
We’ll deal with it! Containers filled with spent nuclear waste can be stacked to make walls…that’s quite a creative way of disposing of rubbish isn’t it?
If the seals have a twenty year guarantee or so… provided someone is happy to dismantle the wall and check the seals and replace them, as needs be, every twenty years we are ‘good to go’ aren’t we? Well yes…though I suppose some seals will fail, as gadgets are wont to do, within the guarantee period… but who’s to know?
If you’re a large country then the problem is less troubling… you can just dig a big hole and put it in that with zero impact… but maybe not…

because of impermanence again… things move and shift and degenerate…

Water supplies needed by atomic reactors for cooling purposes may be limited by climate or by politics… and the very ground on which they are built also moves and shifts.

There is no stability anywhere to be found in that which moves… seems obvious doesn’t it? When you look that’s what you see.

Specific genetic modification of crops…well that’s an improvement surely? ‘It’s marvellous, increases the yield’…
through time will that be the only result?
Other varieties become less popular, then less available. There’s no thought to will happen to linked factors in origination dependant upon these changes.
Mono-cultures decrease the diversity of plant, insect and bird life, and resistance to disease…

… also modified material may then only be purchased at a premium price from a specific supplier.

Happily some bright sparks save seeds from the original varieties but use of them is limited…

Banana production, where so many trees derived from the  Cavendish line are again massively under threat from disease and shows again how necessary is variety and natural diversity rather than cloning and ‘perfecting’ that which is perfect in its own way.

Man-made climate change has so may negative impacts…including rapidly diminishing plant and animal species, fires, floods, and the devouring of the crops in vast areas of Africa and the Middle East by plagues of locusts.

Then there’s greed, not need, for avocados… So water is diverted from villages in areas where it is scarce into the growing of trees which consume a vast amount and are not native to the environment… again adversely affecting  the native insect  population. Land which was wild is cleared and cultivated for this.

Turning what was an extremely fertile and richly productive area of California into a giant almond forest devoid of the normal undergrowth of varied plant species…plants which would interfere with the ease of harvesting… has had a hugely negative impact on the native insect life.
Since when did we have such an enormous need for almonds?
Anything to do with marketing …and perhaps the results of homogenisation of milk, thereby changing its natural state?
So bees are shipped in truck loads, as slaves, across the country to do the work of pollination. Working on monocultures in rotation depending on the flowering season of the species to be fertilised. Fed on antibiotics to reduce the risk of illness in such big numbers travelling together…

That’s no way for a bee to live… and so they die.

We are happy to farm and consume ducks that never see the water… cows that never see the sunshine…chicken likewise and fed with antibiotics…

Valuable farmed fish are often crowded together and kept healthy with…  doses of antibiotics. A good helping of  chemicals including metallic (and sometimes radioactive) pollutants are thrown in for free, into the sea, by the humans who eventually eat them! Wild fish of course come without the anti-biotics…

The cutting down and burning of the forests proceeds apace. Trying to protect the native hardwood trees from illegal logging becomes an incredibly dangerous thing to do as so much money is involved that these people are often shot and killed by those carrying out the activity.  The protectors of the land and trees that those wonderful monarch butterflies fly to… over thousands of  miles in their migration… end up dead at the bottom of wells with bullets in them for obstructing ‘progress’.

As do people who try to protect the land when it is wanted by others for mining or building or other ways of exploiting…

and people who try to protect native wildlife from poachers who want the animals dead for trophies or for spurious medicine for which some will pay an enormous sum.

The oil we stuck up from the ground is seen as something so valuable to possess that multitudes of humans fight and die over

… and  when we have got it we use it in ways which ultimately pollute the atmosphere and poison the seas…fabulous!

So we have been willing to tamper with the genetic fundamentals of plants and animals and even being willing to alter our own genetic structure for the apparent benefit of  some without the capacity to look ahead and see how the consequences might play out, without  understanding the interlinked nature of all phenomena which manifest.

It was while I was studying A-level physics back in the ’70s that I remember reading about the negative consequences of interfering with the wasp population by unnatural (i.e. human motivated) selection…it was in referred to in a Nuffield science course module.
Now i read in  Transgenic wasps could bring down their own kind  an article by  Eloise Gibson
“Everyone hates wasps. It may mean people are willing to accept the risk of genetic modification to eradicate wasps.”
Mmmm… maybe not everyone! I once wrote a post ‘wasps you belong‘… but it seems the New Zealand wasps are extra troublesome to the bees – and especially to humans who poison or otherwise destroy them.
‘If I said to you ‘I’m going to release 20,000 GM wasps and it’s going to halve the wasp population in New Zealand you might not be enthusiastic, but if I said I am going to release three wasps and there will be no wasps left at the end of 20 years, you might view it better,”
he says. (well I, for one, would not)
Researchers are about to complete the sequencing of the common wasp genome (aren’t we smart), the first step towards being able to try switching off genes they think are linked to wasp behaviour, says Dearden. But there are risks – for example the researchers must ensure the wasps can’t pass any damaging effects to bees or other species.’ 

Yes there are risks…but, as we have seen, sadly many will be happy to trade a future risk for ‘jam today’!

Certainly over here, with the decline in the bee population, wasps are even more important in the fertilisation of flowers. They also have their own impact on aphids and other insect life, clearing up debris. Last summer there were so many wasps around that there were notices advertising wasp extermination stuck on local lampposts. I had a nest in the roof above my kitchen and sometimes there were maybe twenty  wasps flying around in the kitchen… quite a humming noise… but they did not sting me and – eventually! – left of their own accord.

So as humans we have been increasingly and aggressively interfering with the balance of nature right across the world…

We have been happy to disturb the habitats of all the other creatures with whom we share this world…

… and, happily disturbing others, we have concreted over both our hearts and environment.

With this self-centred attitude assuming, and fighting for, power and control over our shared resources…it is entirely unsurprising that consequent arisings are not harmonious.

If in our brief lives we could soften, and kindly share in the world with its inhabitants.

Not taking more than we need … not putting our energy into doing things ‘just because we can’… but turning our orientation towards understanding how can we best be with ourselves and each other in this vanishing flash of life…

We could avail ourselves of this lifetime’s opportunity, take the time to investigate, and to explore what’s truly worthwhile–

to realise the truth of our non-essential existence and discover that our true freedom does not lie in the ownership, control, or modification of anything…

Rather that these particular notions form the insubstantial bars of our mental imprisonment

and thus freedom is in the palm of our hand… in seeing the palm of our hand… by releasing the fist.

At any point we have the potential to move in different ways whatever the circumstances:
We can close down and cut off in fear,
or relax and allow the ease which comes with hands-free non-appropriative contact with this astonishing world.

‘May you and all beings be well, happy, and free from suffering,

abiding in the equanimity of the realisation your true nature’

…the infinite wish of the open heart

From the Simplybeing.co.uk website Homepage

Coronavirus protection – James Low

From the Dharma point of view this virus can be seen as an invasive attacking manifestation of the bad karma of period.
‘Bad karma’ means contempt for living beings and for the environment, manifesting as destructive activity in all the continents for many many years. The virus is another form of the disturbance that we see manifesting in intense weather events.
Due to the five poisons ( dullness, appropriation, aversion, jealousy and pride) the five elements (earth, water, fire, wind and space) are  disturbed leading to unpredictable events which interrupt the complacent assumptions of humans and the habitual patterns of animals. 
For those wishing to practice….
… if you visit the new materials section of the home page…there is a Guru-Yoga which James wrote – the heart of the practice. The breath of the practice is there also…and much else to help.
There is a physical expression of tong-len to be found in part 14 (and instructions at the end of part 13) of Macclesfield talk 14. Integrating openness and presence
Particularly when troubled, and finding it difficult to balance,  I have found the activity of this method vey helpful… the egoic sense of overwhelm and impotence relaxes with the rhythm of an activity for the benefit of all.
The following intentional tong-len can be done wherever, invisibly:
Breathing in the suffering on the in-breath into the openness, and  then, with the out-breath, the natural response to suffering flows out… from that to all beings  for as long as there are ‘beings’…
Breathing with those on ventilators, with those feeling crushed with fear and anxiety, those who are exhausted…
no one is alone…whatever the situation.
Keeping the connection, the heart-mind’s effulgence or radiance is softening and tender, encouarging, bringing, being what’s needed.
Healing ‘non-activity’ ….

Anxiety and doubt are not essential…

Some primroses for you… like the ones in the Devon banks around where I live, such a delightful sight!

I am very happy for those of you camels who got to listen to James at the oasis this weekend in London. Refreshment on many levels… hearing the depth of the dharma expressed so clearly.

I’ve been on a kind of retreat for a while so my posting on this website is a little random but I wanted to share, particularly for those who didn’t manage to get to this talk, a link to talk James gave a long time ago, 2003, in Macclesfield entitled Anxiety and doubt.

‘Everything changes and gain and loss fluctuate without ceasing…therefore seeking happiness in outer objects or in mental objects is not wise.’ said the Buddha (Dhp, Finding Freedom)  and this talk seems, among many other teachings!, perfect for these strange times… bringing calmness and clarity when applied.

 

Here also are a few practical notes:

As with the rest of us…that I will die is certain, when or how is uncertain, but for me it is not so likely to be from starvation.
I spend a little time with people who are overtly homeless or vulnerably housed…and am conscious of the varied feelings they evoke in others. Being ignored as ‘of no value’ is commonplace… as is receiving projections of others’ hatred and disgust.
I see that many food banks are struggling for supplies now as people, in their anxiety, are completely forgetting those who have nothing or not enough to live on…the numbers of whom is steadily rising and likely to increase rapidly. Some of these are people for whom the notion of self-isolation is completely meaningless – would that mean separate doorways?!

So with 24,000 currently, as a ‘tip of the ice-berg’ number for rough sleepers, and with 3,500,000 in fuel poverty in this country… if you have money to spare for a can of meat, tuna, fruit, vegetables, rice pudding, pasta or toilet rolls, coffee, tea, to put in the local food bank collection perhaps at the supermarket then someone in need will be on the receiving end…’Generosity will overcome meanness’ Dhp.
[The suggested items are generally welcomed but if you check on-line you’ll see what’s wanted and needed locally…stocks vary, as does what appeals in different areas.]

As it says in the Dhammapda  ‘We are all guests in this world many people do not know this.
This world is not our true home and we only borrow what we temporarily have – so what is there to fight over?’

Well, clearly the Buddha didn’t know about Toilet rolls!!!

I was recently asked by someone currently travelling in Vietnam how to manage without toilet paper.

This is normal practice for many people in the world, often made hazardous by limited access to soap and handwashing facilities.

The bucket of water, jug, and left-hand swishing method used in many countries may take some getting your head around but trust me, it is entirely doable… thanks to Christine Lyschik who helped me with this knowledge in India many years ago.

‘Nice and easy does it every time’…these word of wisdom (JL) could be the sense that brings you round to James’ much more recent talk on equanimity  Finding balance in turbulent times… and more refreshment from the dharma for enjoying this particular spring-time of your life!

 

Dhp – Dhammapada the first section of Finding Freedom.

Photo – Wikipedia

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.
Attribution: Trish Steel

 

No room for hatred….

 

Some years ago i wrote this post…

world holocaust day

and on that day this year i watched this moving little half hour video…(it’s not about William and Kate lighting candles!) so hang on in there, if you will, to the end…it’s very beautiful, i think.

 

 

‘I have no room for hatred in my heart’ …no matter what has happened to me and those close to me…

…brings tears to the eyes just writing the words.

 

A few days after the memorial day   but memorable every day…

as it says in the Dhammapada:

‘In this world hatred is never pacified by hatred. It is by the absence of hatred that hatred is pacified.’

The words that follow are “This is the ancient truth”.

A truth which was ancient even at the time these words of the historical buddha were spoken…how deep is that?

…and how blind the multifarious, shifting sands of justifications for hatred arising from fundamental ignorance and leading to ignorance of that truth’s validity. Deludedly projecting… and so dividing, partitioning… protecting, and rejecting to the point of annihilation, aspects of the heart-mind, of the undivided whole.

 

Did the angels stop singing after Christmas?

 

‘Peace on earth…and goodwill to all men’… so went the angels message…
…and with that comes a question: can there be peace on earth without goodwill from man to man?
 Man answered ‘Well, maybe God can have goodwill for all men… but us humans? Come on!  Look at them… what are they like!!!
I’m not heartless really you know, I do have a lot of goodwill for my friends…and for people like me… people who like me…some for people who I understand…maybe people who think like me… dress like me… speak like me…  people who behave well according to my interpretation… people related to me… people of my tribe… people of my religion…my country… people with my values…’
Ahh… so you have goodwill for them… [thinks: good there’s hope, potential… this can be a large group we could grow… but it’s a somewhat ‘self-confirming’ ‘self-referential  group ; ) ]
‘Well good grief! No! Not all of them and not all the time… it comes and goes you know…
Why is that?
Well because they do this and that!!! Sometimes they are like this, and i like this, and then sometimes they are like that, and I don’t like that … They  keep changing….’
So they are not stable…
o.k., but ….are you stable?
 
‘Of course I’m stable, only mad people are unstable. You should stick to talking about the stars over Bethlehem and the child in the manger… that’s the kind of stable you know about!
 
That ‘only mad people are unstable’ is a belief, and not a helpful one. It may link with why you are unwilling to really examine and meditate to discover your true status… 
Finding out things about yourself that you do not wish to know can be scary, particularly if you feel they will define you in a bad way…
But you cannot truly be defined…maybe not knowing this is another reason for not wanting to look at the behaviours which you do… and for the ‘you’ that does them.. 
 
Can you acknowledge the ‘skeletons’ in your cupboard for what they are, the echoes of a mistake…? Until then they seemingly hover like dark shadows with no substance but bring you into fear and crimp your ability to move and breathe easily…
In fact no seeming ‘individual’ is stable… because they are not individual… they are in communion with the world and each other and have the same ‘Father and Mother.’
 

‘Oh for God’s sake! You are really off your trolley, what a load of cobblers…Uggh!… and you tell me I have weird beliefs!!!

This is not a belief, and this is for your sake, not God’s. God is ok but confusion in the human realm is on-going and getting deeper. Look, I can see the words need a bit of unpacking and I could explain it more if you are interested… but actually it’s what you’ll find if you look – without knowing the answer in advance…
 
And  how do you feel about the about ‘the rest’, all the other beings who also believe they are ‘things which can be defined and known as something as such’ who are in your outgroup…those other than the ones you mentioned that you can readily identify with?
‘Well God help them… they really are nothing to do with me!’
 But my dear they are!… they are part of your world… part of your experience… they have an impact and are here just as you are…
 
So I’m wondering… maybe you think goodwill is something coming from a very small purse, that it needs to be rationed or it will run out?
 
If so, I can tell you… actually it’s not like that… But this leads me to question how much goodwill do you have towards yourself? How much tenderness, kindness, softness, spaciousness is there?
 
‘Bah! Humbug! Ghastly cissy stuff! I can’t take much more of this… I  need to get on. There is much to be done… its Christmas you know… there’s lots to do to get everything ready in time…..someone’s got to earn the money for it! I’ll be paying for this well into the New Year.’
 
 Just a minute before you rush off… If you do not know this goodwill for yourself so you are always swimming in this warm sea… how can you genuinely have it for others, ongoing, without falsity?
 I’m suggesting that the experience of this goodwill is worth more than anything money can buy or any ‘thing’ you do… maybe your busyness gets in the way?
 
‘???’
 I’m going to tell you something which may not make much sense on first hearing but if you engage with it, gradually it may shine far brighter than the brightest star…a truth which illuminates the world…it is the truth of you…
Goodwill will arise in a genuine way through understanding the operation of the conditioning which arises from a misapprehension by ‘all men’ of their true nature.   The egoic grip – thought to thought, like velcro – on certainties which are not reliable truths but which obscure the invitation to be curious about the nature of existence can be released. And, with that releasing, the legacy of tension and emotional turbulence…. arising from confusing in mistaking the ego which is limited partial and defensive – in part because because it is not a fixed thing but a construct of thoughts, of beliefs – for the true self … also goes free
 
Then relaxing into the openness, the spaciousness of their true nature allows a resolution of all the tensions… which are not innate…there is no real separation or alienation dividing God and man, or you from me…or them from us
 
so the whole world sings back the song ….Good will to all men!
 
This is the invitation…… 
 
and by the way, before I go…I have a small request. I know it’s the age of concrete not of gold (and that was itself a metaphor!)… but could you  please stop digging sand out the Mekong river….it is affecting vast numbers of beings… 
If you have to keep making your seemingly solid sandcastles which will crumble unpleasantly in the future… could you please use the sand from the desert? I know it’s not what you’re used to but the technology is now available to do this.
 
There are many other wishes to do with leaving in the ground what belongs in the ground… leaving alone what should be left alone… seeing the bigger picture of actions and consequences in relative reality…but that’s enough for now
 
Then, as with all phenomena, the angel vanishes…
and the man sits down and contemplates and meditates… and healing begins…
Well…it is a good news story!
May the New Year bring true peace to all and all projections cease !!!

Update…for smart-phones

Some of the people I speak with had not yet discovered the treasure trove of audios and videos on the simplybeing.co.uk website which are accessible under the heading ‘Publications Audio and Video’ from the homepage as displayed on a computer or laptop.

Many people are accessing the site now through their phones so just to let you know that a lot of work has gone on behind the scenes to update the website for the phone and consequently there are differences to the layout.

As you may have gathered from some of my mutterings I don’t have a smart phone… but thanks to Chris in Germany  you’ll find the treasure easily… !!!!

Remember… Remember…the 8th of November

Remember remember the 5 November!

Remembering the lengths people will go to to destroy what they see as bad and the endless consequences of polarisation.

Remember on the 11th November the seen and unseen consequences of war and fighting…

Remembering the value of collaboration, working together in a respectful and harmonious way to achieve a result which is for the common good.

Re-membering,  dissolving the sense of  alienation in discovering who we and others truly are…

the critical remembering…

and of which we will be beautifully reminded on November 8 to the 10th

Please let Gio know if you are coming…for details see below and Simplybeing.co.uk>Events

James Low: 
Evening Talk & Weekend Teaching in Oxford

“Easy Illumination”
  • November 8th – 10th 2019

“We inhabit a paradox as our true nature is hidden by our way of looking. Using the structure of a short Dzogchen text by the extraordinary Tibetan Yogini Ayu Khandro we will explore how not to get in the way of our mind’s intrinsic illumination. The focus will be on the clarity of the authentic view and the depth of meditation practice”.

James-Low-by-Bernd-Obermayr

James Low is a disciple and teacher in the Byangter and Khordong lineages of the late Chhimed Rigdzin Lama.

He began studying and practising Tibetan Buddhism in India in the 1960’s and received teachings from Kalu Rinpoche, Chatral Rinpoche, Kanjur Rinpoche and Dudjom Rinpoche. Having met his root teacher, Chhimed Rigdzin Lama (also known as C R Lama), he lived in his home in West Bengal, India for many years, serving him as required and being taught many aspects of the tradition. During this period in India James did several retreats and pilgrimages in the Himalayas. In the 1970’s and 1980’s, on his return to Europe, he also had teachings and guidance from Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche.

James translated many tantric texts and sadhanas with CR Lama who wanted texts from his lineages, Byangter and Khordong, to be available in English. CR Lama asked James to teach in 1976 and later gave him the transmissions necessary to do this, together with full lineage authority. In particular, James was encouraged to give the traditional instructions using methods that enable people in the west to get the point. 

James has been teaching in this way for over twenty years. James regularly teaches the principles of dzogchen in Europe and he publishes translations and commentaries from time to time.

James studied at Edinburgh and other universities and has retired from his work in London as a Consultant Psychotherapist in the National Health Service. He is slowly winding down his private psychotherapy practice. He has taught on many psychotherapy trainings in Britain.

Evening Talk:

Friday November 8th, 7pm- 9pm

Weekend Teaching:

Saturday November 9th, 9.30am – 1pm & 2.30pm – 6pm (with breaks)
Sunday November 10th, 9.30am – 1pm (with breaks)

  • James will alternate between oral teaching & meditation practice

Costs and Offerings for Teaching:

The prices below cover costs only: venue hire, James’ travel costs, etc.

Evening Talk Only: £10
Teaching Sessions (a.m. or p.m): £15 per session (am or pm)
Whole Event: £50
In the Buddhist tradition teaching on meditation is offered without charge so there is no fee for the teaching offered this weekend.  

If you wish to offer a donation (dana) to support the work of the teacher and those who help him, then please do so at any point during the event


Both payment for costs and dana are cash only please on the door!


Gio

 

Finding freedom in the finest compost….

I have been slowly reading, re-reading and inwardly digesting the contents of the book ‘Finding Freedom’ and was, today, inspired to write a review on Amazon.
In 2013 as Lara Bates I reviewed ‘Simply Being’ and, as wendy, ‘Sparks’ in 2018. It was easy to do, but times have changed… now I find that before posting a review I must first have spend forty pounds this year. I haven’t done this yet (though I have discovered that putting money onto an Amazon gift card bought in a supermarket is a way to purchase without parting with card details)….so in the meantime, below, is a preview of the review!

I seem to have been getting busier, and not having time to detour to the garden centre and also wanting to support the village shop, I bought  the three bags of cheap compost which they had on display. A neighbour, a keen gardener, saw them and recoiled, saying ‘What is that???!!!’ with a look of utter disgust. I felt that was quite a strong reaction but replied ‘compost’ and left it at that…

It turned out she has a point. I’ve been planting plants and seeds in compost for a long time and have never before had plants which did not grow. The culprit had to be the compost… I looked at its constituents.  The bag didn’t give much away apart from mentioning that a fair proportion of it is ‘recycled’ … one wonders… recycled what?… this does matter! (relatively speaking) and inspired the review.

Finding Freedom – A Most Enriching Compost!

The dharma is  good in the beginning, and in the middle, and in the end…just as it is with the three approaches to awakening elucidated in this book.

‘Finding Freedom’ contains recent revisions of texts from the Theravadan, Mahayana and Dzogchen traditions which James Low had translated earlier, under the guidance of C.R. Lama.

The orientation and explanations accompanying each translations are easy to follow and invaluable…comprehensive notes further clarify the meaning and intent.

Planted in the compost of samsara… growth is stunted, blossom’s absent and there is a failure to thrive.
Life’s full flowering and realisation of our infinite potential depends upon access to the nourishment of that which is true…offered in ways we can absorb.
The different  formulations offered here address our conditioning in different yet harmonising ways which seep through our ego-self, penetrating right down to the roots growing in samsara – and withering them…. facilitating freedom to rise like the sun. Then, facing towards that as the sunflowers do, the roots of practice find the openness… and the buddha smiles.

So…this is compost of impeccable provenance and peerless quality!

James Low’s translations arise from the dharma, in connection with us at this time, though a lifetime of study and deep practice.
He had the opportunity to clarify his interpretations and understanding with other great teachers for whom the dharma was their life-blood.
So, allied with his facility with the English language, one can have confidence that the translations, although being as he says provisional in nature,  reliably accord with and express the meaning intended to be conveyed.

This is not a ‘page-turner’ of a book but one to stop us in our tracks…leaving each page open…to savour

…leaving me with a sense of most profound gratitude for the dharma, the teachers through time, and the opportunity to practice.

 

 

 

Sunday sitting…?

A few people  have expressed  a wish to come to the group but are too far away for the travelling to and fro to make sense.Some might like a little longer to practice together.

So I’m suggesting that we might meet occasionally on Sunday with a little talk and sit maybe between 10 and 12 then share a bit of food afterwards.

The dates available currently are 11th Aug. 1st Sept and 15th Sept.

R.S.V.P.

The people in your phone….

Many years ago I remember sitting in Macclesfield listening to James inviting us to look around the room at the objects we could see and then to see if there was any more to them than meets the eye, the back story.

I remember  feeling gormless as I looked at thankas, bowls, tables, brocade… and thought how could i see more than what I do – thankas, bowls, tables, brocade… what more could there be?

What more could they be than what they are?… I was very stuck in believing that what I called them, the  labels I put onto the objects, was what they were…I  mean what else could they be? What more could there be to them… how could you see them differently?

He then started to talk about the bowl in front of him… marked by the hammers of somebody probably going deaf in some little workshop in India or Nepal.  About how the figuring, the designs on it, would be ‘just patterns’ to some… but meaningful to those who had incorporated these symbols into their way of interpreting the world. That the symbol itself comes alive through the interpretive matrix of the onlooker and the strength of affect evoked, whether positive or negative or neutral. ( retrospective creative licence in these words which I hope you’ll allow!)

That was not a lightbulb moment for me except in realising that I was missing what someone else could see, that my view might be a tad limited!
As a child I had the luck to be able to look at paintings and I remember thinking that the shadows around the fruit in still-life paintings were put there because that’s what artists do when they paint…I didn’t notice them in real life.

Gradually over time, many years and explanations later… about vases that someone thought beautiful but would end up ignored on a charity shop shelf, and ‘roses’ that were not their name… it sank in. Light slowly dawned that the meaning and value of ‘objects’ does not depend on labels, is not intrinsic, obvious and ‘out there’, but in the observer who creates the meaning through the patterns of thought possibilities available to him/herself… and then projects that onto the object. That moment of meaning is transient… and the repetition of it as a ‘given’, something known and inevitably so, is dulling, obscuring the freshness of each presentation.

It is we who ‘make special’ or not by our selective attention. Someone who knows nothing about buddhism can see a statue and say ‘that’s a buddha’ just through the kind of pattern recognition that we did when we were finding pairs of apples or bananas or whatever in a child’s card game… ‘I know what that’s called!’… but meaning and value are not in the affixed word, nor what’s there, they’re given by us.

Can statues really be buddhas? … these lumps of metal or clay or wood?

Absolutely, if you take the word that matches and is ‘hung’ around the objects neck as definitional… But buddha has different meanings even within buddhism… let alone outside of it. If it’s one who is awake to the unchanging truth and the relationship between that and what we generally take to be true…then a statue does not pass the test…especially if there is also a defined requirement to teach!
Others would say that buddha doesn’t do anything and this is a reflection, or refraction, a gesture arising from that frameless view…not separate from buddha…

And, in observing any form, different aspects will be highlighted by some and diminished by others. If the ‘Buddha’ is dusty, that would be very troubling for some and they would get ‘a dusty Buddha’, whereas others would be more concerned about the lineaments of the face – did it look friendly or not ‘friendly Buddha’, where did it come from ‘well-travelled Buddha’, or are the jewels real ‘valuable Buddha’ or fake ‘tawdry Buddha’ and so on…

Then there are all the causal factors  connected with the arising of the form. This is what James was gesturing to when he spoke about the bowl…
The desire which leads to the mining, the miners, smelters and those involved with the equipment and activities around that… and the designer, the artist the shopkeeper… the notion that this would sell well for a profit… and on the purchaser’s side that this would be a lovely buddhisty thing to have. All the thoughts and connections that have led to further notions then into activities, spread out across the world.The aeroplanes that bring the tourists across to buy or ship the bowls out into the world, the fuel required and all associated with that… more connections with thoughts and life energy of so so many beings at each moment and going back through time.

As there are so many ways of interpreting the presenting form, it is clear that an object cannot be ‘just what I take to be’…it is not any ‘fix-ed thing’ but a site for a multiplicity of potential interpretations…and so the world is not ‘fixed solid’ as it was before but energetically vibrant and dynamic.

When I was small I was quite convinced there was a minute orchestra playing inside the radio. This was so obvious that it never occurred to me to check this certainty with anyone. Maybe there is much that we treat in the same way as adults, taking for granted and assuming rather than putting into question and really looking closely without knowing in advance of seeing.
In fact there was, in the radio, the orchestration of so much in the way of science and technology, composers, musical appreciation, teachers, parents, schools instrument makers, a live orchestra of musicians, and thousands of hours of practice, all coming together with my attention, as i sat on the yellow plastic top stool made by…

So are there people in the phone…?

It’s 200 years since Karl Max was born and this dramatisation of Das Kapital by Sarah Woods  addresses this question in a way which I found moving

… perhaps you will enjoy too if you have an hour to spare… its available for 20 days or so.

It is clear how much aggression occurs, and will it occur increasingly, in the pursuit of limited resources which are not essential to our life and well-being… and are in fact actively detrimental to that of others…

‘But it’s just a phone’… maybe not…