Category Archives: Spirituality

3 Day Quote Challenge

Day Three – Wonder

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“The sense of wonder is our sixth sense.”  D.H. Lawrence

I love the work of D.H. Lawrence, and especially when he is speaking to our inner ability to wonder. Wonderment refreshes the senses, but as Lawrence is suggesting, wonderment is innate in us, it is our ability to see the world through different eyes, eyes that revel in nature, in sunsets, in love, in compassion, in poetry, in simplicity, humility, integrity, passions … Imagine a day without wonder! No? I can’t either, I’d dry up and fade, besides I have jawdropping moments of wonderment daily. for me wonderment is a key to my creative flourishing, the juice of passion.

My nominations for today:

Soudip Ghosh

A Canvas To Describe Feelings

Sgeoil

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Glimmer

via Daily Prompt: Glimmer

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(Image: hdwalpapers2013.com)

I love the night sky, the glimmer of light, those stars, planets, refracting the sun’s light for vast distances we call light years. As a child I wanted to go out there and see how it all fitted together, and to see if there was life out there in some form. Space always captivates me, it is, as Captain Kirk said: “Space, the new frontier.” And with an ever expanding universe, there will be an ever growing new frontier, and one we cannot consume.

There is always a divide over space exploration, those who criticize it, for a variety of reasons, and those who support it. Constructive criticism is worth hearing, but that which is borne out of ignorance or fear is not. Fear closes us down, shuts off our creativity, our capacity to dream and think big. It’s easier to be negative than positive, but it is positive energy that will help us, negativity will be our death.

On a tangent here check out, and thanks to Skirmishes With Reality, Jaron Lanier on How We Need To Remake The Internet, where he talks about how negativity is destructive: www.ted.com/talks/jaron_lanier_how_we_need_to_remake_the_internet

Martin Luther king Jnr. said: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” No wonder that the great spiritual guides of the past all made that connection in a variety of ways, because as you say that quote it it seems logical.

As with light, so with love, love is a glimmer of hope, and a more down to earth hope. Like light, like the universe, love is a positive and ever expanding energy. When we become love in all its forms for others, we become glimmers of hope. Together we can dispel the darkness that haunts our world, our communities, our homes, and our selves. We can be that energy where we are. Love is a new frontier, lets explore that.

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

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Filed under astronomy, environment, life, mindfulness, nature, Science, Space, Spirituality

Rush

via Daily Prompt: Rush

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I took this photo when Jon and I went to Bluff Knoll a couple of years ago. It was raining towards the top, and given the the sides of the mount were almost vertical in long sections, the rain rushed, hurtled down in streams. I love the sound of rushing water, it is something I’ve liked since I was a child, and this day was no different, it was a real treat. The other experience, inevitable really, was that we got soaked, and I didn’t mind that either. When I was a kid I’d run around without my raincoat on and rejoice in the rain. To play on the word rush, I got a rush out of the rain, and out of the rushing water.

Over the years I’ve experienced a rush in different ways, the usual suspects, drugs, alcohol, sugars, speed, abseiling, sport, travelling, bush walking, and the list goes on. It took time to learn to simply enjoy the moment, to attend to the experience as it was without seeking after it. It took time too, to emmerse in the experience without just consuming it. Of course it was partly learning and maturing, but it was also learning to let go and to deepen in the experience. There is something about experiencing a rush, a peak moment, to reach the pinnacle, but to do so without rushing it because the quality is richer and lasting. Not everything has to be immediate.

Who could forget the clasic Aesop fable ‘The Tortoise and the Hare” where the hare presumes to beat the slow moving tortiose, and yet through over-confidence and arrogance loses. Aesop simply making an observation about life, it’s how we are when we don’t immerse and attend.

I love this quote from Tolstoy: “The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.” and Rousseau: “Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” The reverse is also true.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Explore

via Daily Prompt: Explore

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One of my shots of Jindalee (Giles Breakaway). The Great Central Road and the roads that intersect it, the places along the way, have well and truly been traversed over two hundred years of exploration, mineral exploration, pastoral leases and tourism. But for us (Lyn, Su, Geoff) it was a time of exploration – it was the first time we’d been out there. As I looked out across to the east of the breakaway, I wondered what visual and geographic delights lay beyond. I was happy to camp for a time and explore the breakaway, and even happier to drive on into our unknown and see what was up ahead.

That has been my life up to this moment, that inner exploration. For me there is always that interesting intersection of living in the present moment, savouring the past for the treasure it has yielded, and looking to the next step, yearning to grow, to be more fully present, more in the experience, less attached to the material. Keeping the balance is the key, learning to love the past without clinging to it, rejoicing in the real now, and embodying the tension of possibility in tomorrow without trying to make it happen. I have worked hard at begining to let go the past, and I don’t always plan tomorrow, in fact, it is often said of me that I like to live in chaos – creative chaos I might add! Progress, though I smile, it comes with age and experience. Yet one must attend, be aware.  Even so, it is still a great achievement when I can just be in the present moment, and today, for a time, was just one of those moments. It always takes my breath away, and I am grateful for it.

I am one of life’s explorers, a soul on a journey of self discovery. I hope you are too.

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

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Filed under bush walking, Country, environment, life, mindfulness, nature, self-development, Spirituality

Betrayal Hurts

via Daily Prompt: Betrayed

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Photo: moviedb.org  – Richard Burton as Alec Leamas, the spy who takes on one more mission in East Germany, only to discover layer upon layer of deception, and his own betrayal (‘The Spy Who Came In From The Cold’ by John le Carre), a story often used, and most recently in Atomic Blonde (from the graphic novel ‘The Coldest City’).

We’ve all tasted betrayal.

Betrayal is an auspicious topic for Good Friday. Today recognises the crucifixion of Jesus. One particular detail in the story, is the cold and public betrayal by his disciple Judas. Judas is dazzled by money, he’d been stealing from the communal purse and now he was enamoured with the thirty pieces of silver he was offered to publicly identify Jesus to an arrest party. As the story goes, Judas leads a party of soldiers and police to where Jesus is, and identifies Jesus by greeting and kissing him. Essentially the kiss of death for a man he professed to follow.

There are many classic stories of betrayal. The Song of the Niebulungs which tells of the betrayal of the dragon slayer Siegfried. Odin was considered by the Norse to be the god of frenzy and betrayal. Euripides’ famous story of how Jason abandons his wife Medea for a younger woman is chilling, it ends badly.

Modern stories abound. Anything by Graham Greene, but especially ‘The End of the Affair’, and classic spy stories are essentially betrayal stories especially as written by John le Carre.

The stories of betrayal, whether true or fiction, actually bear out the popular saying: “The saddest thing about betrayal is that it never comes from your enemies, it comes from your friends and loved ones.” That’s why it hurts so much. Siegfried’s wife takes revenge, Medea kills the children, Alec Leamas chooses death even when he is able to reach freedom. We’re not told what Jesus thinks about betrayal, but he is consistent with his teaching about forgiveness and love, he refuses to stoop to the level of those who whip and kill him.

But for us mere mortals there is a piece of very sound advice to heed: “If someone betrays you once, it’s their fault; if they betray you twice, it’s your fault.” (Eleanor Roosevelt) Clearly boundaries matter. But even then …

I find myself drawn to what Jesus lived and taught – that forgiveness (properly understood) is life giving.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under community, history, life, love, Mythology, psychology, religion, self-development, Spirituality

The Four Quartets

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I love music of many kinds, so quartet brings to mind the Norwegian musicians – Vertavo String Quartet, or from a jazz perspective, the John Coltrane Quartet. However, What is forever etched on my mind are four poems,  the ‘Four Quartets’ by T.S. Eliot.

The ‘Four Quartets’ are reflective meditations on humanity’s relationship with time. Eliot engages spiritual themes, and philosophy, and includes such influences as John of the Cross, Julian of Norwich (mystics), presocratic thinkers (Greek philosophy), and the Bhagavad Gita (Hindu).  The poems were written between 1936 and 1945 and originally published separately, until 1948 when Faber published them in one volume. The period in which he wote these poems is perhaps indicative of the content. The threat of war, followed by the long war and the blitz, which he endured, must have impacted his sense of mortality and time.

The Quartets are: ‘Burn Norton’, ‘East Coker’, ‘The Dry Salvages’, and ‘Little Gidding.’

My favourite of the four is Little Gidding, simply because it contains a profound observation of the human condition that is neither perfunctory, nor damning, but rather, somehow, encouraging. That observation of Eliot’s comes in part five of ‘Little Gidding.’

We shall not cease from exploration
And at the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

As I’ve quoted before, Proust puts it well when he says: “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

Eliot is not at odds with Proust in this. He too is suggesting that we humans are curious, we are seekers of truth, of belief, fact, geography, place and space, and more. But, in spite of great travels and in spite of much learning, eventually we return to our roots, our beginning points, and see them afresh.

For me that means seeing the horizons of body, mind and soul with new inner eyes, being able to see with the eyes of wholeness, forgiveness, love, kindness, compassion, and self-giving. Eliot also speaks of how experience is transformative (if we allow it to be so). He also speaks to how we mature in those experiences along life’s journey, and how time affects us, that aging and experience might afford us opportunity to see ourselves afresh. We engage with our youthfulness and “kick the traces” as we used to say, rebelling; we turn to masks, we invent personae for the public I, denial is the trope of our lives. But in the end, at our very core, there is only ever, our true self, if we but look carefully. And if we attend to our true self, accept our self, loev our self, we see ourselves whole as if for the first time.

In a stark reminder, he’s also suggesting that, as with the story of Adam and Eve, so with all of us, we never leave the awkwardness of self-awareness, separation, and a sense even an anxiety, that we could do better we could be someone. All of us strive to overcome those things, but find that we were/are, perhaps, a little too hard on ourselves and that we just need to see ourselves as good. The journey we engage is one to be whole and perfect, but yet, the end of our searching leads us back to where we began, that we were indeed whole in the first place, and that nothing is ever perfect.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under history, life, mindfulness, Philosophy/Theology, poetry, religion, Spirituality

Nature As Talisman

via Daily Prompt: Talisman

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When I was in primary school one boy created a bit of discussion one day because he brought along a rabbits foot, and he explained that this was his lucky charm. I was bemused. I never had one, though I had some favourite things that were sentimental and had I lost them I would have felt out of kilter, but no talisman as such.

I have a book that belonged to my great uncle Davey who died near Arnhem, Netherlands, during WW2, it is somehow a connection to the past. It is a large book, written for adults but yet fits the description ‘ripping yarns’ a bit like the ‘Biggles’ stories for those who knew them. I had a fave knitted red t-shirt that I’d had for years, it had holes in it, fibreglass stains and etc. I still had it when I got married. Lyn threw it out while I was at work one day! We now ask before disposing 😂 I still have a bedside lamp that was modelled on the story and cartoon character ‘Noddy’, I might repair it one day, it’s sentimental. But really, if these were taken from me, I’d grieve a bit, but eventually I’d not miss them, after all they are merely material.

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The labyrinth is for me a practice of meditation, but it is also a symbol of life, reflection and journey. It comes closest to talisman, as I would miss this if it were taken from me, it is important to my rhythm and balance, it is life giving.

But even more than that, the photo at the top, which shows a segment of Billyacatting Nature Reserve near Nungarin, was a regular haunt when I needed to meditate and take time out from long days of driving vast distances. Why is this a talisman? Well, because for me it is life giving and healing. I find natural spaces enable wholeness and awareness more readily than built environs. I come alive in the bush in ways I don’t or can’t in urban spaces. I’m certain I would go on living if I lived in a major city, one like Beijing or Tokyo, LA, London etc., but I wouldn’t thrive, I’d merely survive in such places. But give me the bush and time to walk it, soak it up, commune, meditate, and engage with it, and I am revived, refreshed, and whole. The bird song, the smell of the earth, the blossoms, eucalyptus and other smells, the visual feast, for me the bush, and all that constitutes it, is my Talisman.

What’s your talisman?

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under bush walking, Country, environment, labyrinth, life, meditation, mindfulness, nature, Spirituality

Identical Triangles

via Daily Prompt: Identical

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The Gemstone Buildings – Shenzen. A series of identical triangles become both the strength and design of this building. I have a memory from school days, that identical triangles are a strong foundation for building, and are a basis for architecture.

The Jewish wisdom tradition includes the book of Ecclesiastes, which contains this gem: “A threefold cord is not quickly broken” which became a principle of modern rope-making. Roof trusses, honeycomed cardboard packing, bridge frames, bicycle wheel spokes, a fulcrum, all rely on three. In all the faith traditions of the world three is a significant number. A day broken into thirds of work, rest and play is a healthy process. And who remembers the dictum – meat and three veg for dinner? And, just for good measure, 3 is the first odd prime number. Clearly, there is something about three.

I think this speaks to the makeup, or potential awareness of the person: body, mind, and soul, perhaps the most important three of all. If we keep body, mind and soul in balance, I believe we are stonger, like the unbreakable cord. Three seems to keep a balance that one cannot provide, and two complicates, and where four potentially cancels out into two pairs. Whereas three creates a balance of thirds in all we do. Identical triangles can be one or two dimensional technical drawings. But as an object, identical triangles can be a thing of beauty and strength. But even more, the triangular of life, embodied in practice, friendships, groups, lifestyle patterns, and above all, keeping the balance of body, mind and soul is crucial for life to flourish and grow.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Thought Provoking

via Daily Prompt: Provoke

If you haven’t seen the 2001 movie ‘Samsara’ it is a definite must, for me it has been a thought provoking movie. Don’t confuse it with the doco Samsara of 2012 from the makers of Baraka (a feast for the eyes), or a TV series of that name. This is a simple trailer, but you can find the full movie on Youtube (with subtitles).

The movie title ‘Samsara’ has a particular meaning in Buddhism. It refers to the endless cylcle of birth, death and rebirth, or put plainly – the life of suffering and dissatisfaction (dukka). The movie takes up this theme of suffering and dissatisfaction through the eyes and life of a Buddhist monk called Tashi. Tashi is awakened from a three year solitary meditation period in the mountains, he is now considered an enlightened being. When he returns to the monastery he finds his sexual urges awakening too, and he eventually leaves and marries Pema and runs a farm. But following an infidelity, and news of the death of his monastic mentor, Tashi is wracked by guilt, and eventually decides to leave Pema and his son Karma and return to the monastry. The movie is powerfully emotive, and is both a love story and a spiritual story. If you want to you can stay on the surface with Samsara, but you can also go deeper. Samsara delves into some key issues of life, love. sex, relationship, spirituality, fidelity, and integrity. It is in fact both a sad movie, and one that moves you and offers hope. It carries the message of the need to be careful in discerning one’s path in life, and that self is not always the best reference point in discerning our path.

One of the most thought provoking moments (among many) is the ending, where Tashi encounters a quote on a stone: “How can one prevent a drop of water from ever drying up?” to which the answer is given as: “By throwing it into the sea.” This is taken as a sign that he is drying up and needs to be back in the sea of the monastery. The overall theme is that life in the monstery life is not perfect, but there is more suffering in engaging the life beyond the monastery than inside it. It also speaks very clearly to me that one’s vocational path can become weary, but the grass is not always greener in other places or roles. In one sense, if you’re looking for a happy ending the movie doesn’t resolve well, and yet, if you look deeply into it, it does resolve well because everyone returns to what they believe they are called to be doing. However, the movie dies not condemn nor judge Tashi, but simply observes his choices.

For me the movie speaks strongly of choices yet of discerning the right pathway and being authentic to that pathway (dhamma). Other traditions would talk about sowing and reaping, or – what goes around comes around, or further still – be careful what you wish/pray for. It moved me deeply, I found it hard to rejoin the world for a time after the movie had finished, such was its impact on me. For me it invites the question of – what sea should I be thrown into in order that I not dry up?

Paul,

pvcann.com

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The Noise of Silence

via Daily Prompt: Noise

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Nightfall just south of Marla (South Australia) so peaceful, the silence is powerful.

I often think of noise differently. I often hope my silence is noisy, as a sense of presence, a calm, so that my silence shouts to the world – there is another way. I was once in a contemplative space and someone interrupted the silence some of us were enjoying, and I quipped, sarcastically, “Is my silence interrupting your noise?” Sometimes silence isn’t noisy enough to grab other people’s attention so that they can see it, feel it, and know it. There are times I hope it is an example, as we say of meditation, we hope our non-reactive silence is helpful and calming. Remember the old saying: “Actions speak louder than words.”

With the noise of deadlines, electronica, health issues, discord, celebrations, shopping centres, busy roads, bustling streets, the jarring noises of life can be debilitating, energy sapping. But silence is a worthy noise. Silence is a contempative stance, a space to claim against the heft of noise, and a place to rejuvenate. It is pleasant work, and it is work because you have to work hard to make the time for silence, and to stick at it. But is work that is deeply invested in your health, body, mind and soul.

And silence is the only space in which we can meaningfully hold ourselves and others with an ear to empathy and compassion. I personally find my reflective and contemplative practices increase my ability to empathise, and to compassionately engage with others. For me an investment in silence is the best noise to engage with.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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