Saturday, 29 May 2010

Why Doesnt Everything That People Say Come To Pass?

'' When the thread between the spoken word and the soul is broken, when the soul is found empty and the image dulled, the what is said, though it be plenty, is as empty as chaotic sound. And nothing can it betoken. ''

'' Thats sheer fantasy! Come on now, you let yourself beleive in everything, like a naive child.''
'' How can it be fantasy, Vladimir?! After all, I could give hundreds of examples from the world you live in, and even from yuor own life, as to what power a word has when it projects the image connected with it!''
''Then give me an example I can understand.''
''An example? Here is one. A person is standing on the stage before an audience and speaking words. An actor, for instance. He will repeat the same words people have heard many times before, but there is only one actor people will listen to with bated breath. Another they will not adore. The words are the same, but there is a vast difference in how they are declaimed. What do you think? Why does that happen?
''Well thats actors for you. They spend years studying at drama school- some are oustanding in their professsion, others just so-so. They memorise there lines at rehearsals so that they can say them with expression.''
'' They are taught at drama school, Vladimir, how to get inside the image that underlies the word. Then they try to reproduce the image during rehearsals. And if an actor suceeds in projecting even ten percent of the invisible images underlying the words he utters, the audience will then listen with there whole attention. And if he should succed in projecting the images behind half of his words, you will indeed call that actor a genius. For his souls is speaking directly with the souls of those sittting or standing in the auditorium. And during the play people will laugh or cry as they feel in there soul what the actor desires to convey. Such is the instrument of the grand creator''

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Best of luck to us all as we wade through the mire of programming and judgement in the name of being right.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Beginners Mind

In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few.

Shunryu Suzuki

Beginner's Mind
Beginner's mind is a wonderful strategy that can help us to learn all this stuff--mysticism, spirituality, metaphysics--much, much more easily. The idea behind this strategy is that you take all of the things you know--all of your brilliant opinions, all of your reason and logic, even your cherished beliefs--and you put all this stuff on the shelf for awhile. (Now, mind you, it will all still be there safe and sound when you get back!)

The idea of beginner's mind is that you temporarily set all this aside, on purpose, for a little while, and just go ahead and do the exercise that the teacher suggests--no matter how illogical, or insignificant, or meaningless it may seem to be--merely so that you can see what your experience is.

When you begin to explore experiential work, there are many little exercises that don't seem to be important, or make sense. Many opinions about this may come up that get in your way. None of these little exercises is going to permanently change you in any way. Yet each of them is designed to show you one more little integer of experience, one more facet of a whole experience of being awake and experiencing "the totality of the here and now."

Each of these little exercises gives you a little experience. These experiences are called awarenesses. From practicing these little awarenesses, gradually you can put together a more whole experience of being awareness itself.

Mits once said that "'I don't know" is the warrior's wisdom. (A spiritual person can speak like that, you know. An altruistic Buddhist bhodisattva is a warrior, too--an "awakening warrior," the term means--a warrior of the light.)

"I don't know" is a good one! Whenever you happen to hear yourself saying or thinking this--whatever you are doing at the time--it is a very good sign that insights and understandings are going to be coming up. In the troubled times of my life, I find it a great relief of stress when I can remember this: "I don't know."

People don't allow themselves this stance of "I don't know" often enough. This is because we always know, or we always think we know. Most of the time when people think they know, they don't really know at all. All they know are their past impressions of the situation that is happening now, the conclusions they came to on previous times, or judgments about similar events or circumstances that happened once upon a time.

Living with "I know" is a tremendous handicap that keeps us out of the present, and living in the past. It doesn't allow us anything new, no surprises, no insights, no discoveries. It doesn't allow us to unlock and understand any of the mysteries of the present moment, and it keeps us frozen in the judgments of the past.

That is why beginner's mind is a wonderful strategy for those who would like to learn about the deeper mysteries of life. It isn't easy! There's nothing people treasure as much as their brilliant opinions, unless it is their cherished beliefs. Yet these will not help us in finding these new dimensions of life that are to be found in schools like this.

Beginner's mind doesn't ask you to believe in anything in particular. It simply says put aside the beliefs you already have for a little while, and do the exercises the teachers suggest without beliefs or expectations, simply to see in your own direct experience whatever your experience of these exercises is.

And after the exercises are over, you can go right back to that shelf again. You can take back all of those opinions, all that reason and logic, all of those cherished beliefs--just the way you left them! You can put them right "back on" all over again. If there happen to have been some new insights, something new, never noticed before, something you've seen with your own eyes, or heard with your own ears, something you've smelled, or tasted, or felt with your own sensitive body, there is no problem about that. You can still leave with what you came in with. That choice is still up to you.

Beginner's mind is simply recognizing that this wonderful intellectual thinking mind that we all have may, at certain times, distort things very greatly and block things off from our view. If we consciously set aside this effect, on purpose--for convention's sake, or for the fun of it will do--if we adopt "I don't know" as a strategy, instead, then secrets begin to become known.

There are always a few surprises that come along this way. That is the value of beginner's mind, when you realize you really haven't known. If you'd like to, you may try this out in your own life some time, and see this on your own.

Gerard Burns

Gerard M Burns is a contemporary Scottish artist who is not afraid to express himself through the traditional themes treated in the mainstream of European art from the Renaissance to modern times.
As he himself put it in a recent interview : “I am attempting to reclaim a more traditional approach to painting, content, subject matter and technique, but within the context of modern society.”

The phrase in italics is important : his treatment of traditional themes is wholly personal, since he embeds them in the raw present, synthesising past with present in such a way that contemporary experience is enhanced and invested with new meaning by the subtlety of allusive reference. Thus his paintings are not arid exercises in retrospective homage to past masters, or mere nostalgia for figurative art, but innovative re-examinations of the European tradition, which serve as stimuli for the individual viewer’s own emotional exploration.

Moreover, he is a painter who has not lost his sense of wonder, who revels in beauty of form and colour, and works with a bold palette which is instantly arresting. This arresting quality in his work not only draws you into the visual scene before you, but makes you want to know his meaning. As he himself says : “I want the paintings to catch the imagination, to challenge and amaze people.”

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Onwards and Upwards

''Only just be my dear child... please remember to be more''

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Bark Painting

Bark painting is an Australian Aboriginal art-form, involving painting on the interior of a strip of tree bark. This is a continuing form of artistic expression in Arnhem Land and other regions in the Top End of Australia including parts of the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Traditionally, bark paintings were produced for instructional and ceremonial purposes and were transient objects. Today, they are keenly sought after by collectors and public arts institutions.

The barest necessities for bark artwork are paint, brushes, bark, fixative and a fire.

The material of choice is the bark from Stringybark (Eucalyptus tetradonta). The bark must be free of knots and other blemishes. It is best cut from the tree in the wet season when the sap is rising. Two horizontal slices and a single vertical slice are made into the tree, and the bark is carefully peeled off with the aid of a sharpened tool. Only the inner smooth bark is kept and placed in a fire. After heating in the fire, the bark is flattened under foot and weighted with stones or logs to dry flat. Once dry, it is ready to paint upon.

Earth pigments—or ochres—in red, yellow and black are used, also mineral oxides of iron and manganese and white pipeclay, or calcium carbonate. Ochres may be fixed with a binder such as PVA glue, or previously, with the sap or juice of plants such as orchid bulbs.

After the painting is completed, the bark is splinted at either end to keep the painting flat. A fixative, traditionally orchid juice, is added over the top.

Australian Ground Painting

The creation of a ground painting is a very social event. The picture itself depicts some specific historic ancestor, glorified to be a hero or monster. The ancestor is nearly always some kind of natural element, whether an animal or force of nature. Since the pictures are innately tied to specific locations with specific ancestors, it very much ties the creators to each other and to the land, reinforcing the group identity. The creation of the ground painting and the accompanying dance is a performance tradition, analogous to oral tradition.
[edit] Art

The pigments used traditionally come from the natural resources: lime for white, ochre for yellow, clay for red, coal for black. With the introduction of a market economy, it is not uncommon to use acrylic paint for a ground painting. The emphasis is not on the materials or the form, but the meaning behind the picture as well as the accompanying performance. Nearly always, the participants paint on themselves as well.

The use of certain patterns to symbolize glowing, glittering power are usually limited to crosshatching and dots. In much of Oceanic art, these patterns symbolize an extra power. They are commonly seen on deity figures, the genitalia and thighs of women giving birth, and mythical creatures.

''Understanding human nature is understanding that it beats in the hearts of all people''

Post Colonisation lecture

Friday, 7 May 2010

What are the consequences of this choice I am making?

When you make any choice- any choice at all- you can ask yourself two things: First of all, ”What are the consequences of this choice I am making?” In your heart you will immediately know what these are. Secondly, ”Will this choice that I’m making now bring happiness to me and to those around me?” If the answer is yes, then go ahead with that choice. If the answer is no, if that choice brings distress either to you or to those around you, then don’t make that choice. It’s as simple as that.

There is only one choice out of the infinity of choices available in every second, that will create happiness for you as well as for those around you. And when you make this one choice, it will result in a form of behaviour that is called spontaneous right action. Spontaneous right action is the right action at the right moment. It’s the right response to every situation as it happens. It’s the action that nourishes you and everyone else who is influenced by that action. There is a very interesting mechanism that the universe has to help you make spontaneously correct choices. The mechanism has to do with sensations in your body. Your body experiences two kinds of sensations: one is a sensation of comfort, the other is a sensation of discomfort. At the moment you consciously make a choice, pay attention to your body and ask your body, ”If i make this choice, what happens?” If your body send a message of discomfort, then it’s not the appropriate choice.


Most of our energy goes into upholding our importance. If we were capable of loosing some of that importance, two extraordinary things would happen to us. One, we would free our energy from trying to maintain our illusory idea of our grandeur; and two, we would provide ourselves with enough energy to catch the actual grandeur of the universe.

Coming more into my body

The problem isn’t that we have bodies; the problem is that we’re not living in them.”

~Geneen Roth

Most of us “hover” outside our bodies, “seeing” it almost aerially rather than being in our feet, legs, hands, arms, and feeling them touching the ground, or chair, feeling the sensations of breeze on our skin. Eckart Tolle encourages feeling into in the body as a vehicle to the Present Moment. I like to take it in another direction as well, practicing sensing into and out from my stomach, or heart, lungs, and other areas and organs. These practices ground us in our bodies, our lives, in the Present Moment, connect us to our bodies, and remind us we are its guardian, its keeper.