Category Archives: Spirituality

Not For Me

Obsequious – Word of the Day

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Photo: http://www.sexysingular.com

Not For Me

What possessed you?
Did you think I’d be impressed if you grovelled?
That I wouldn’t wonder where your dignity lay?
Surely, lower that the soles of my shoes
which you readily moistened with your lips.
What chance respect now?
Now that you’ve declared an unreserved submission
that was never once desired,
least of all by me?
What hope is there for you, for me, for all the world?
And end to it!
Arise and speak with me
of needs and wants, hopes and dreams,
of far away lands and desperate sorrows,
of grief, of love, of sparrows.
And let us look each other in the eye and know
that we can trust our truths
and hold each other’s dreams
and keep our shoes dry,
lest in turn, we own each other.

©Paul Vincent Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under life, love, mindfulness, poetry, politics, Spirituality, Work

La Capella (The Chapel)

Exhilarating – Word of the Day

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Beedelup Falls, Pemberton. For me the bush is exhilarating, it refreshes and restores me. This is my true chapel.

La Capella (The Chapel)

I drink,
breathe in,
those familiar smells
of this hallowed place.
Myrtles form your vaulted ceiling
which resounds with the chant of my praise.
While your aisles are damp, meandering paths
through open woodland,
and at its center
your altar of rugged granite.
And yet, there is no intended sacrifice
save that which surrenders itself for another.
Sunrise and sunset are your stained glass,
an ever changing story of light and life.
Ravens, your gargoyles, guard the narthex,
announcing every entrance,
for everyone is called to this sacred space,
a sanctuary of wonder and delight.
This chapel of life-breath and beauty,
a sublime offering,
healing,
refreshing,
life giving.

©Paul Vincent Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under astronomy, bush walking, Forest, life, nature, poetry, Spirituality

Elegy

Energetic – Word of the Day

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The creek line along the outer wall of King’s Canyon.

Elegy For Mother

I stopped on the rise
where the trail opens to a valley,
and sat for a while admiring your view.
I took off my shoes and savoured your sand,
ran my hands down your powdery skin,
stretched my arms out in praise,
breathing you in,
taking you in memory,
sacred memory.
Purified in your creeks,
fuelled by your self-offering,
I reflect this on your paper,
in my electronica chic,
mineral products so smooth.
All that you are is
all that I am,
and all that I have.
Yet, though I valliantly try,
I have left you
exhausted,
depleted,
like a football I once kicked,
burst and rent.
Kyoto a faded vow,
my lust has consumed you
your energy spent
feeding mine.
And more than admiration,
or the faithlessness of plattitudes,
Mother,
Sacred Mother,
you need a hand.

©Paul Cannon

 

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under bush walking, Elegy, environment, Forest, life, mindfulness, nature, poetry, Spirituality

Heavenly

Candor – Word of the Day

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Photo: jpinfo.com

 

Heavenly

I heard your footsteps pressing down
on surrendered cypress,
barely,
above the water singing over rocks,
gently seeking home,
just visiting this humble onsen.

I saw you emerge,
floating through the Hinoki,
its resin so sweet,
an offering in praise of your being.
Heavenly,
Cherry blossom pink.

A ritual unfolds.
A pause,
a prayer,
as kimono softens the rock.
Your body supple as a young Sika,
graces the intimacy of water.

An open conversation
I hear with my eyes.
And, though my lips silently babble,
my heart speaks straight,
as my ritual unfolds.
A prayer …

©Paul Cannon

 

The Latin allows for candor to carry the meaning of brilliance, whiteness, radiance, naturalness and much more.

An Onsen is a hot spring, but has also come to include the bath house alongside. A Sika is a Japanese deer which is also a species common across Asia. Hinoki is a small cypress tree.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under life, love, meditation, nature, poetry, romance, Spirituality

Seasons Out Of Time

RDP#52-Time

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Savoir Vivre

Arabica claims my soul,
and I fold into myself.
Nursing, caressing ceramic,
contours of the mind explored,
a joie de vivre.

Pleasure fills and shutters me,
with a kind disregard for all.
Shuffling The Daily, scraping chairs,
pling and clicking banished,
My visa is for mellow ground.

Grief, a presence felt, “How was that?”
But how could I explain?
Ambrosia? Words inadequate.
A meditation slowly unfolding.
“Perfect.” I said.

The spell now broken I come ashore,
leaving kairos, chronos pulling
its quotients ever draining.
But I,
I prefer seasons out of time.

©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under life, meditation, mindfulness, poetry, seasons, Spirituality

Into The Mystical

Mystical – Word of the Day

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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

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Time Will Tell

Epiphany – Word of the Day

 

Gillian Welch: Time the Revelator

Aha!

That’s my simple explanation to anyone who wants to understand an epiphany, the moment something is revealed, when the penny drops or the dots are connected. The classic reference is, of course to the series of revelations of Jesus as Messiah in the gospel, and hence the liturgical season of Epiphany to celebrate these revelations.

It was taken and used in literature as personal revelation in matters from the mundane to the profound. The mystic Julian of Norwich, who wrote her “Revelations of Divine Love” in 1395 (reputedly the first known published work by a woman) reveals a series of spiritual epiphanies, perhaps the most often quoted being: “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.” A profound awareness.

James Joyce polularised the term in his autobiographical work Stephen Hero and in Portrait of the Arrtist as a Young Man, in which he would refer to times when he’d had a deep realisation, or when something manifested more clearly to him.

I really like how Gillian Welch plays with the idea of time as a revelator (see video), as the giver of epiphany, how living and engaging, reflecting and looking back, helps make sense of change and life now. Whereas for Dylan God is the revelator and judge, for Welch Time is. For Welch, time will tell!

I think my first epiphany was that I was part of the fabric of the universe. I freaked my parents out when I was four, I was regularly caught sitting on the window ledge of the second story window where my bedroom was. But I couldn’t help it, the moon and the stars captivated me and held me prisoner in wonderment. Going backwards, I later discovered the world when a maternal uncle gave me a large world wall map to gaze on and realised there was so much that constituted life. And incidentally, I think that order of learning has deeply affected me, because I go to the universe first and the world second.

More recently epiphany is related to my meditation and the contemplative. I never cease to be amazed, even by dew drops on grass! And I’m strangely warmed and satisfied by that.

The whole point of epiphany is that it comes to you, you can’t make it, but you can facilitate it – simply by taking time, time to observe, to engage, to listen, to feel, to receive, to attend.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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It’s A Moiety World

Moiety – Word of the Day

Australian First Nations

There are over 500 Australian Indigenous Nations, as you can see from the map, they have particular areas with distinct boundaries. The nations are formed from clan groups which have their own language and kinship system which is either patrilineal (descent is related to and traced through the father/male line) or matrilineal (descent is related to and traced through the mother/female line). Clan groups are formed from family groups.

There are three levels of kinship in indigenous society: moiety, totem, and skin names.

The term moiety comes from the Latin, meaning half. In moiety systems everything in the universe is in two halves, each a mirror of the other, and the universe only makes sense if these two halves come together. Moieties are patrilineal or matrilineal, so determined by either your father or mother, these are the two halves. People of the same moiety are siblings and cannot marry, they must marry people from the other moiety, and thus the two halves are brought together.

Kinship

That, of course, is a simplistic outline of what the word means, but it belies a complexity of culture that is rich in every way in real life. Whereas white culture has negatively impacted indigenous culture, it is not true in reverse. In fact, we have only just begun to learn from our First Nation people’s how we might better treat each other and the land, given that ecological relationships are so fragile here.

In indigenous culture they have retained something very precious, something we have almost completely lost, the ability of moiety systems to be support systems. If you have a row with mum or dad, you can go to another significant relative within the clan group and debrief, chill out, stay awhile till the heat dissipates and the possibility of return arises. My experience of working with young white people in family conflict is they either go it alone, maybe with a few friends, or sadly, on the streets. Indigenous youth generally look for family. What is important in this is that  while we revere the independence of white youth, we miss the wisdom of healing and wholeness as the moiety or halves work together for unity. No system is perfect, but some have stronger, lasting principles that have lasted thousands of years, like our indigenous peoples. It has now become critical in youth work to build resilience for our youth in trouble, but I think the foundation of resilience is clearly the clan, though, for me, that doesn’t equate to family per se, but rather to those relationships important to our vitality and flourishing. We should never be in survival, but two halves always meeting and making the universe right.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under community, Country, environment, history, life, mindfulness, nature, Spirituality

One of the Great Negotiators

Negotiate – Word of the Day

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Dag Hammarskjold (1905 – 1961) a Swedish Diplomat, economist and from 1953 – 1961 he was the UN Secretary General. He was also a deeply spiritual person, a contemplative who loved the medieval mystics. His book ‘Markings’ a journal of his spiritual struggles was posthumously published with a foreword by his friend, the poet W.H. Auden. He called his diary – negotiations with himself and with God.

Hammarskjold was propopsed by the British Foreign Secertary Anthony Eden who was impressed with Hammarskjold’s work in diplomacy and economics. The vote was almost unanimous in the Security Council and Hammarskjold was announced as the next Secretary General. The American and Soviet delegates thought Hammarskjold was harmless. He was reelected in 1957.

Hammarskjold was unaware of the nomination, and in fact thought the media report was a joke, and because it was announced on April 1st, he quipped that it was a bad April Fools joke. But it was indeed true.

Hammarskjold believed that relationships were important and that example was one of the best forms of leadership. He tried to meet as many employees at the UN as possible, he ate regularly in the staff cafe, he refused to use his private lift and opened it for general use, he established the meditation room (which he helped to design) which was to be for withdrawal and reflection, a place for silence, and a multi-faith space. He prevented FBI intervention at the UN that his predecessor had allowed at the height of McCarthyism. And he brought order and regulatory process to an organisation in crisis.

He was an able negotiator. He made some impact on relations between Israel and the Arab states. In 1955 he successfully negotiated the release of eleven US airmen who were prisoners from the Korean War. In 1956 he played a major role in ending the Suez Crisis, There are many other negotiations that he was involved in, and which demonstrate his capacity to work hard and achieve a positive outcome. Not everything was plain sailing though, the Congo was unresolved, interrupted by his death, and the Soviet interference and then occupation of Hungary was frustrating for Hammaskjold as there was little he could do to bring a resolution forward.

His role in the Congo Crisis was cut short by his death as the result of a plane crash travelling to Congo. There are those who still believe that Congolese rebels associated with mining interests were responsible for the plane crash, but no substantive proofs have come to light, including a UN 2015 investigation into the matter. Hammarskjold made four visits to the Congo. It was, as history has shown, a tangled web of politics and power plays. The USSR and the Americans had their own people on the ground and were manipulating much of the power play. The Congo had become factionalised on independence, and the popularly elected Prime-minister Patrice Lumumba was murdered. It was utter chaos.

J.F. Kennedy said of Hammarskjold: “I realise now that in comparison to him, I am a small man. He was the greatest statesman of our century.” Kennedy was reflecting on Hammarskjold’s death and on his own resistance to Hammarskjold’s policy in the Congo.

Extreme left and right views are critical of Hammarskjold, and in the main these revolve around the immpossible situation in Hungary, and the seemingly intractable problem in the Congo. But for me they are the proof, by comparison, of the majority of successes he was part of and integral to. His record stands as testimony to his great ability to network, form key relationships, to maintain a consistent approach, and to believe the best in people. His commitment was to keeping peace and finding better ways for nations to negotiate their differences. He formed the UN Emergency Response Group, and initiated the first Peace Keeping force. He was posthumously awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 1961.

His strength came from his contemplative stance, especially meditation, and his sheer passion for peace in the world. His personal belief was that selfless service to humanity was crucial. Whatever you may think of him, he was one of the great negotiators of the 20th century.

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

 

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Play Is Serious Business!

 

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Play, you know, the thing we do when everything else is achieved! This painting (used by Dr. Stuart Brown in his TEDx Talk featured in my post Galahs Partake ) by Pieter Brueghel the Elder, 1501, is entitled “Children’s Games” but if you look closely, not all of the characters are children, in fact there are many adults also at play. Brown asks what has happened to our society that such scenes are no longer part of our life style.

Brown believes that the root of losing play in our society is guilt. We have been well trained in our society to respect hard work at the cost of all else.

In the early 20th century the sociologist and philosopher Max Weber published his work “The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit Of Capitalism.” This work explores the link between work, religious belief and capitalism. Weber’s work was well received, and was commonly called “The Protestant Work Ethic.” Weber lays the responsibility for the drivenness towards capital and work at the door of the Calvinists who held that play was trivial, even ungodly (this from the same funsters who banned musical instruments in churches in the sixteenth century, and influenced the practice of locking up public playgrounds on Sundays). Sadly, this work ethic caught on, and capitalism blossomed in a particular way, a symbiotic relationship, that in my view is destructive on every level.

The result has been an ever demanding economy in which we consume as we are being consumed, body mind and soul, so long as we remain ignorant of the dilemma.

In a more mindful way we need to get in touch with our inner child, to be free to be creative in our own way and not to be drawn into perfectionist behaviours of fun. To be free to leave some things incomplete (which is an acknowlegement that one day we will leave everything complete, and others will do for us what we cannot do for ourselves). In one sense play and letting go has something to give us by way of living as we are aging and preparing for death, the ultimate letting go.

In the short term, play enables us, releases us, heps us reframe and is just plain healthy. We learn more about ourselves and others in play.

That old saying is true: “All work and no play makes Jack/Jill a dull person.” The painting by Brueghel is a reminder that adults used to have fun in simple ways, and perhaps, life was less dull.

In a confronting way, the Benedictine Sr. Joan Chittister once recalled that when she was grumbling about cleaning floors while she could have been studying for her degree, the superior commented “You have all the time there is.” We all have time. Play must be a priority, it must be intentional. Go play 🙂

For an MP3 of Krista Tippett, at On Being,  interviewing Stuart Brown for “Play, Spirit, and Character” (2007) go to Dr. Stuart Brown

Paul,

pvcann.com

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