Category Archives: Alt-Religion

The One Called Love – a poem by Paul Vincent Cannon

RDP – Spiritual

IMG_1988.jpeg

Photo: looking south-west from Kata Tjuta NT

 

“Religion is for people who’re afraid of going to hell. Spirituality is for those who’ve already been there.”  Vine Deloria Jnr.

 

The One Called Love

Where the shadows shift slowly
and the wind whispers a language
of its own unknown to human ears,
and dust takes on a life of meaning
as it stirs and lifts,
the residue of centuries
residing in all the corners,
while in the quiet
a still small voice,
the one called love,
waiting to be heard.

©Paul Vincent Cannon

Paul, pvcann.com

34 Comments

Filed under Alt-Religion, bush walking, Country, Free Verse, love, meditation, poem, quote, Spirituality

There Were More

Three – RDP Saturday

hikinggroup.jpg

Photo: midsouthhiking.com

The Festival of the Three has a long history, but carries many historical discrepancies. There are three gifts given by the Magi to Mary on behalf of Jesus, but the number of gifts doesn’t indicate the actual number of wise people. There is no mention of camels in the story. They weren’t kings either, but Magi or the cream of the wise in any realm –  were astronomers, geographers, metallurgists, healers, etc.

 

There Were More

Wittgenstein, Jung, Curie, and Bohr
walked into Bethlehem,
and kicked some dust around,
eventually getting to some house,
where an unwed mother waxed lyrical about her child,
who smiled beatifically,
at the wise ones,
and asked;
why four?
and why no camels?
Perplexed, Jung replied that
greeting cards created expectations,
a kind of make up your own story,
but there were no camels,
and there were more than three,
though finding wise ones was problematic.

©Paul Vincent Cannon

 

Paul, pvcann.com

 

34 Comments

Filed under Alt-Religion, Free Verse, life, Mythology, poem, religion

Divine Humour

Peddler – Word of the Day

7041921261_3650f8a30f_b.jpg

Source: flickr.com  A street peddler in Istanbul.

 

Divine Humour

The smell of sulphur fills the air,
bell, book and candle won’t help you now,
the devil incarnate roams the streets,
seductively peddling false hope, old ways, more tax.
Been like that since the ancient of days laughed and said
“Let them try democracy.”

©Paul Vincent Cannon

 

Paul,

pvcann.com

8 Comments

Filed under Alt-Religion, history, life, Philosophy/Theology, poetry, politics, Quadrille

Into The Mystical

Mystical – Word of the Day

IMG_0133.jpg

The Blackwood River, Augusta, looking north east, one of my mystical places.

Mysticism comes from thε Greek root of μυω, which means to conceal. Mysticism crosses every religious boundary and belief system. That which is mystical is hidden. In the great debates about God from a Christian point of view there is the mystic view that God is both knowable and unknowable at the same time, that as such, there are elements of God that are visible, definable, but that mostly, God is concealed and unknowable.

Many have pursued mystical experiences. Aliester Crowley (1875 – 1947) was one of the most famous occultists of the twentieth century, trying to make connection with a world beyond. Carlos Castaneda trained as a shaman and explored mescalin using peyote as a mystical experience, inspired by the Toltec. Timothy Leary went with the synthetic drug LSD. There are trance groups, fasting practices, musical experiences, ritual practices and more. True tantra, like Tibetan Tantra, was only ever a form of meditative practice whereby the delay of orgasm and the control of orgasm is said to increase ecstatic experience, but for the purpose of prayer and meditation (and should not be confused with “Californian tantra” as I call it, or with Hindu left hand practices). Kabbalah originated as a Jewish mysticism, but now has non-Jewish paths as well. A number of celebrities have dabbled in Kabbala from Elizabeth Taylor to Madonna.

In the third and fourth centuries Christian men and women from Israel, Jordan, Asia Minor, Egypt and North Africa went in droves into the deserts to develop a communal and contemplative life. And from John Cassian to Theresa of Avilla, to Thomas Merton, a few Christians became mystics, seeking the unknowable God.

I think the unknowable attracts, and we pursue it, partly to make it known, to unravel the mystery, to bring the hidden into full view, in the main, to experience what is concealed. Most of the writings of mystics that I have read reaffirm that God, Other, the divine, is unknowable, but that in the journey of mysticism, there is connection, ecstasy, love, wholeness, union and more.

For me any sense of the divine comes more through nature and the contemplative. The photograph shows a familiar walking space I take in, some days it is beautiful, some days it just is, but always it evokes a sense of mystery, of the divine in some way. There is something about certain places that does that for me. Uluru, Kata Tjuta, Elachbutting Rock, Boranup Forest, and more, are places that move me deeply, places where I sense an otherness beyond myself or other people. I have felt ecstasy in these places, I have been overcome with joy, they can be erotic (in the pure, emotive sense) experiences, I have experienced deep inner stillness, and sometimes a confusion of feelings rushing in all at once. Such things tell me I am more open in these spaces, yet I also know that my openness is also because I sense something more. This for me is the mystical.

As Van Morrison wrote in his song “Into the Mystic” – “Let your soul and spirit fly into the mystic.”

I stand in silence
mystical nature envelops
the heron smiles

©Paul Cannon

Van Morrison “Into The Mystic”

 

 

Paul,

pvcann.com

26 Comments

Filed under Alt-Religion, bush walking, Country, Haiku, life, meditation, mindfulness, music, Philosophy/Theology, quote, religion, Spirituality

Meditation: the static life

via Daily Prompt: Static

IMG_1327.jpg

I really like and need meditation, I like its many forms too. Static mediation, sitting and focussing on breathing and being faithful to my mantra is my main form, and brings me joy. But another way of mediation I love is, as I have written before, is the use of the labyrinth, which can take any form or way you like. But no matter the form, the walking clearly isn’t static, and yet, the movement of the body acts like a mantra, it enables focus through rhythm. And so stasis, or the slowing of the inner self is possible. For me it is one of the greatest forms of prayer. It is mentioned in all the great traditions, and not least non-religion, and including Christianity, which surprises some, and is a point of dialogue and connection across beliefs. For me it is a greater connection with being and spirit, a sense of wholeness. It is said that meditation is a form of maturity in prayer, it is the setting aside of agendas and attending to awareness.

In the christian tradition, the antecendents of modern meditation are found in the lives of the desert fathers and mothers, those who formed commnities in the deserts of North Africa, the Middle East, and Syria. Their emphasis was on silnece, and contemplative prayer forms. I love the following quote from one abba Arsenius: “Why, words, did I let you get out? I have often been sorry that I have spoken, never that I have been silent.” which reminds me of Monty Python and a scene from the Holy Grail where God rails against the noise of “all those miserable psalms.” The point being that endless repetition without mindfulness dulls us.

I’m not sure where you’re at, or what you think of meditation, but what I do know is that the world could do with a bit more silence each day, a little more thought for the other, a little more engagement with becoming rather than just doing. A little more stasis would be good all round.

Paul,

pvcann.com

24 Comments

Filed under Alt-Religion, community, kayaking, labyrinth, meditation, Spirituality

Who do you Judge?

I read “The Shack” years ago, and more recently re-read it as part of a book/study group. I recently watched the movie, which I thought encapsulated the book really well, in fact better than the book in some ways. It is a story, an allegory of sorts, of human meets the trinity in the midst of tragedy and grief. But whether or not you hold to the christian faith (and if you do, it is refreshing because it breaks down racial and cultural stereotypes that have been distorted and politicised) it doesn’t matter because (for me) teh penultiamte scene is the scene where Mack meets Wisdom (Sophia) and she calls him on blame, projection, and judging. Mack is consumed by grief, anger, and blames God for the death of his daughter. His consuming feelings are destroying his relationships. this excerpt from the movie is powerful in that we are confronted with our desire yet incapability of true judgement. From a Buddhist perspective, it would lean to non-harming and non-attachment.

The point is, we all tend to judge, we all blame, but can we step aside from this? Forgiveness doesn’t bring back the dead or undo the negatives in our lives, but Wisdom asserts that we can transform, simply through forgiveness, which doesn’t change events in the past, but sure gives positive opportunity to move on into the future. This is a must for every justice system, every community group, every family, every individual. Restorative Justice, at its core,  is founded on this principle. When we let go of the bile and hate, when we realise we cannot get better by punishing others or getting revenge, then there is an inner tranformation, which is also lived and shared outwardly. Forgiveness isn’t giving a free kick to someone who has wronged us, it is letting ourselves off the hook of anger and hate, it unblocks us and sets us free to live. I’ll let you know when I’ve perfected the art of not judging, but for now I’m in training.

(Video: Youtube, The Shack, Judgement)

Paul,

pvcann.com

8 Comments

Filed under Alt-Religion, community, life, Philosophy/Theology, Restorative Justice, Spirituality

Almost Auld Lang Syne

via Daily Prompt: Almost

Well it’s almost 2018. Days and years roll into one another too quickly for my liking. But every so often a year comes along that is not like other years, and 2017 has been a difficult year in many ways. There are the dearly departed who I miss, the friends who have parted company, the institution I am engaged with which has overly corporatised itself, the strain of the economy, and so on. But the strain for loved ones who have battled in body, mind and spirit in 2017 has been great and has left an indelible mark on me, on family and on friends. The old Persian adage: “This too shall pass”, is pertinent.

Of course, there has been an equally positive side to the year, with much achieved, loved, enjoyed, celebrated and realised, but it has been difficult, and more so than recent years. I don’t hate 2017, I won’t be glad to see it go because time itself has not made the difficulties, indeed, time is a mere construct.

I prefer to think in seasons, as many ancient cultures have done.

But there is something about marking out a new year as a new personal beginning, a new opportunity, a chance to alter the mindset, set new paths and goals, and release the negatives of recent time. So in that sense, it is almost time for me to set my inner compass and see what holds need to be loosed.

Walt Whitman puts it so well in ‘Song of the Open Road’

From this hour, freedom!From this hour I ordain myself loos’d of the limits and imaginary lines,
going where I list, my own master, total and absolute,
Listening to others, and considering well what they say,
Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating,
Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me.

It’s almost 2018, I hope yours will be blessed and your holds released as you need them to be.

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

6 Comments

Filed under Alt-Religion, community, life, poetry

My Way to Silence

via Daily Prompt: Silent

IMG_0173.jpg

Since the late 1980s I have been a meditator. I have enjoyed several forms, but mainly across Christian and Buddhist ways of meditating. In the end I have stayed within my own tradition and using a Christian form – the method explored by John Main. Labyrinth is another form, and walking meditation I find helpful, and not least bush walking or hiking. But whatever the method, the goal is silence, not an external silence, of course, but a deep inner silence, a peacefulness, a sense of internal unity. It is the closest to a tangible sense of integration. For me there are real experiences of calm that last long after a session, and encounters with emotion, necessary unburdening as the unconscious is loosened and long buried things can be faced. Strangely, I have a strong sense of unity with others within the corporate silence, so that even in a room full of meditators there is connection.

I find I can meditate almost anywhere, but the bush is my special place for meditation, I find that it is already offering a form of silence unencumbered. The photo shows one of my former haunts, Billyacatting Rock near Nungarin. I was based not far from there for a few years, and on my long drives through that district I would take a break and walk and climb the rocks, arriving at a quiet spot, perhaps to sit by a rock pool or gnamma hole and meditating for a time. The wind and the birds were a welcome backdrop. Best thing I ever did, the silence was healing and energising, and was a lasting inner silence.

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

19 Comments

Filed under Alt-Religion, bush walking, community, Country, Spirituality

Believe

via Daily Prompt: Believe

Socrates comes to mind, naturally, when he says: “I am wiser than anyone else because I know I don’t know.” Belief is a strong, determined word. In the hilarious movie ‘Dogma’ (1999) the character Rufus, the thirteenth apostle (played by Chris Rock), asks “Do you believe, or do you have an idea?” The film was a criticism of the institution of the Church, which tends to foster sound doctrine, black and white beliefs, and in some corners of the Church, fanaticism (albeit, fundamentalism).

The issue of religious belief is always objectivity trying to defeat and ridicule subjectivity.

It might be that faith is a better word, but even that is a loaded word. But as author Ann Lamott says: “Faith begins with experience, and our faith is our reaction to that experience. Science begins with intuition and not logic.” And she also adds: “You have to experience something before you can know something.” And, “The opposite of faith is certainty.” and so, back to Socrates.

I prefer to speak carefully of the experience of soul work, the contemplative life, and my experiences of Other. Do I believe? Well, I don’t disbelieve, but I prefer to say, I have an experience, which is something more than an idea.

 

4 Comments

Filed under Alt-Religion, life, Philosophy/Theology

Visceral

via Daily Prompt: Visceral

 

What moves you? The gut is where we feel it, hence the connection of viscera or gut tissue with feelings. Injustice, grief, injury, insult, passion, joy, love. Music, art, poetry. Nature. All visceral because we have a gut response. The Greeks had a wonderfully expressive word for it splanchna (σπλαγχνα), which to my ear sounds like a word for guts. Say it a few times and you’ll get the same feeling I’m sure.

Many things move me. I have music that transports me to other dimensions, art that evokes many responses, poetry that I dearly love, photos that help me re-member (to member back together the body of knowledge), relationships that speak love without actually speaking.

I am also deeply saddened by pain and hurt in  my life and in the world. The plight of refugees, the ever abiding issue of debilitating and alienating poverty, racism, sexism, classism, and ismism. The many stories of brutalised people bring tears.

One of the more visceral joys for me is to spend time with Lyn and friends taking in the Australian bush. I wonder how many of you find the bush somehow, perhaps difficult to put into words, spiritual or life-giving?

The bush for me is smells, colours, textures, even visceral in its own gutsyness, yet also its fragility. It is place to recover, refresh, rediscover and reframe. I feel healthier, more aware, more myself, after days in the bush.

IMG_2559

The Photo shows part of Jindalee (Giles Breakaway), it was a wonderful time there, and one to revisit. I hope you have a favourite place to go to.

pvcann.com

 

10 Comments

Filed under Alt-Religion, life, nature