Take three steps back – Vis Viva Chapter 6

Eric says we should go back to Jason Bourne today and how that willingness to step forward for the programme got him into all sorts of trouble. He says that manipulation is at the root of this and that his willingness to look only on the bright side of life is both a blessing and a curse; that most people take three steps back unless they can see some advantage in things for them. His Nan had a word for it. “Some people are very cute;” she used to say.

Eric reminds me that in my willingness to help other people, I have actually been very dis-empowering to them, and that my take charge mentality, because nothing appears to be happening, has very bad consequences; it establishes a dependency and is not liberating. The weird thing is that people nearly always want to take shortcuts and they always, always want others to take the risk for them. In effect it is manipulation. Eric says that he is now a little sick of this.

He says that people have always apparently recognised in him some sort of a potential, then tried to use him. He is not quite sure what that potential is, but reckons a part of it is remaining calm and objective in moments of crisis, some of which are of his own making. It does take a crisis though for people to actually want to listen to him. He says that the three steps back mentality, is risk averse, often controlling and already looking for a scapegoat even before things begin. On the one hand people so badly want heroes, yet they are often so willing to cast them quickly as the villain of piece.

A long time ago and apparently whilst on the Warrior’s path he was foolish enough to allow himself to be set up as a leader for a group of people. Well somebody had to do it didn’t they? There they built him up as a leader of men, they told him he was the alpha male and set him up for people to compete against and very occasionally with him. They told him all sorts of stuff and let him believe that his fate was to lead this group of people and learn what it meant to learn to lead.

Eric still thinks it funny how that all came about.

In his vanity and naïveté he had let his life get away from him and into this fantasy world. In retrospect how many people could hold together an academic position at a top university, a directorship at an evolving spin out company and an imagined position as leader of a group of people working with the Warrior’s path?

It was imagined then. He was never really the leader.

Afterwards it did all seem rather empty. It was a nice fantasy while it lasted.

If one really, really believes in fate and that in any given lifetime one’s job is to fulfil fate, then, can you imagine the impact of being led to believe that one’s fate was to lead a group of people across three continents on some great quest to unite the heart centres of the planet and then, to have that crushed and taken away over a few short weeks?

What then is one supposed to do with what appear to be the remnants of a life? What then? Eric says he truly believed that he had forfeited his fate. And that sort of thing can make one a little reckless, he comments. If the forfeit is still true then what does that leave? Who knows what lies ahead and what does it matter if the fundamental purpose of one’s existence has been swept aside and demolished?

Eric comments that these events led him to search a great many avenues and paths. He took great care to explore each one of them, as soon as a doorway appeared he would follow the path along the corridor of enquiry for a while, letting his intuition guide him.

He could not however unlearn all that he had learned.

This whole affair left him with a deep longing for a path lost and a fate abandoned. There pendant in the web of life were ghosts and visions still hanging. Eric took his time to re-run and re-perceive his life, and each interaction. How different it all looks now.

He says that because we are re-visiting that space in time we have activated some form of intent and that through the inter-connectedness of the web of life that perception is being shared some thousands of miles away. The dreamers of mankind are group conscious he reminds us. Best not to dwell too long on those thought patterns then.

He is reminded that as he was preparing to leave that group he bought himself a TV. He would need something to do instead of answering all those messages and being at the beck and call of others.

Six years later on it all seems so very, very far away and lost, forgotten in the ephemera of time.

Is that still it then? A fate abandoned and a life of decay. There was some talk back then of Eric making a “bid for power”, the theory says that a bid for power comes only once in a lifetime and that should one fail then one is either destroyed or taken back to a point somewhere in the stream of life before one found the Warrior’s path; there to wonder wistfully about what it might have been like to be a Warrior.

Perhaps this then is it. As we sit here typing away in this lovely cottage, no job, no spin out company, no great spiritual quest; a quiet life of beauty and perhaps mediocrity, with no personal power, one where I gradually fade away. Eric doesn’t believe in fat ladies and he hasn’t heard one sing for quite a while now.

Like Jason Bourne we are looking back for Treadstone. If fate really is fate, then there is nothing that can be done about it, sooner or later one has to go there and live it. There seems to be very few threads left and precious little on that island from before.

Eric says that inherent in the possession of knowledge and in positional power is a danger. It can bring out the very worst in one. He is pretty sure that he doesn’t want power any more; he does still want to learn. It seems though there aren’t that many people around that he can learn from. He says that he still has two very big questions though and that we should devise a strategy to unpick one of them first because that has massive implications for many people and for the second one. We should go one step at a time though, for here is such a tightrope. The answer to this first question has implications that are truly earth shattering in dimension.

Today though he is reading a play called Le Roi Pêcheur by Julien Gracq, one of many books that have “jumped out” at him during his life. This book in a subdued cover caught his eye in a tourist information office in Brittany. The office was closed so he had to hunt it down later. When it arrived the pages were not yet properly cut and he had to separate them with his Sabatier. It took quite a while and there was a great sense of satisfaction when he had done this.

“No more heroes, any more,
No more heroes, any more.
Whatever happened to all those heroes…?”


sang the Stranglers many decades ago now, perhaps as a sign of the times with emerging punk rock and that sense of rebellion then. Only to be followed by “Thatcher, Thatcher, the milk snatcher.”

Now we live in times where the majority of politicians are grey and boring or unable to string together a coherent sentence to drawl. There are few heroes. Eric says that you just have to look at the cars they make these days; by and large they are all pretty much the same despite the ardent claims of the manufacturers.

Who then are the male heroes of today?

He reckons that there has been so much spin that substance is hard to find. Irrespective of the vis viva having imbued the material form with life. There is no substance to the words of these politicians, despite the sound of them issuing out causing the matter of the air to vibrate. The words are not matched by deeds and nor by character.

Eric has been paying a lot of attention to spiders lately. He says that at one level they are quite remarkable creatures, they have evolved this capacity to spin the most delicate of webs and then they just wait. They wait for some food to arrive. They are predators. He reckons that many people are like this. Rather than do the hard work of being creative themselves they wait for other people to come along and then live off them and their successes. They feed. They are vampires. They suck the life force out of others.

A lot of people are like this, they are scared that they themselves cannot be creative so they act as if they are friends and bask in the glory of association. I have done this myself. I am sure you have all met the “name dropper” who has so many rich and famous friends and acquaintances; at first glance one can become captivated by the reflected glory and the glamour. The apparent connectivity and the illusion of creativity can quite quickly become jaded when the true colours begin to show.

Some people live their whole lives like this, running so very, very quickly so as not to be caught up by their own half truths and lies. I agree with him for I have seen people steal others ideas and then become quite famous passing those ideas off as their own. Eric tells me that this is how the world works. He also says that such people live lives of fear. Ultimately though, things do catch up.

He reminds me that a Warrior is always advised to look beyond the face value of a situation and see what lies beyond.

People often present a situation in a way that is perhaps most beneficial to them, whilst keeping their true motives as well hidden as possible. Eric reckons that by looking out for what isn’t said, how that isn’t said and the extent to which it isn’t said one can get a glimpse of the fear which is driving the not saying. This then, acts as a portal towards a truth other than that which is being presented.

He reckons that as we are all a mystery unto our selves we cannot easily see our own behaviours, this is sometimes called a blind spot; the best way to see ourselves is to look at those around us and ask ourselves what is it that they are reflecting for me? If we can see a behaviour in others then it must be within the realms of our own personal experience, either we have {or are} exhibited {-ing} that behaviour or someone has done that to us before. It is really handy, though not always comfortable, to be as honest as possible here.

He says that such mirrors can be past, present or future. I agree with him here. I have found that when someone comes into my life and I get a gut feel about them, whether pleasant or unpleasant, then they are going to show me something about myself and perhaps between the two of us there is some learning to be done.

It is very interesting to hear other people talk about their friends and colleagues and even about one-self. I can remember asking someone to describe how I influence others and what they saw. I know myself pretty damn well. This lady said that she saw me as someone who manipulated power behind the scenes. I listened to the face value of what she had said, balanced it against what I know about myself and made a mental note. She has seen this in me therefore it is within the scope of her experience and because it was the very first thing she recognised, to watch out, she is probably doing this right here and now.

Eric says that people do all sorts of things to hide the truth perhaps the most common of these is smoke screening; that is talking about everything but the matter at hand, he says that there is an interesting change in tone of voice when people do this. The next léger de main , is by way of telling a partial truth to cover for a much bigger mistruth, in a sense offering up something unpleasant as a cover, this appeases the other person’s sense or intuition that all is not well yet doesn’t come clean. I too have noticed this on a number of occasions and then let it run.

The thing is that lies then need supporting lies, and I use the word lie also in the sense of lying by omission. This omission creates a non sequitur in the flow or pattern of a cloth that intuitive people pick up on. They may not act on what they perceive yet that pattern of “something missing” is stored in the pattern recognition centre. From time to time then the weaver has to darn the fabric of a lie, to tend to it so that it does not all unravel.

Sometimes complete silence is the best way to encourage this darning for the weaver is always a little anxious. And a lie told often enough becomes a truth and if told by enough people the truth. These truths then, can act as submarines in the fabric of life, waiting to appear at unexpected moments, like the Lehman brothers.

Eric says that taking those three steps back is very hard for him to do, but it is unconditional. He does this more often now. This brings us both back to fate. Eric says for many years now he has wondered about what fate is and more specifically what the general look and feel of his fate are? What are the themes? Part of it is to do with this potential that others see in him. Somehow they seem to want him to materialise something that they want, a vision or direction that they want him to go in.

It goes back to bullying in a number of ways and he remembers a time where all “advised” him on how they would like him to behave. In a very real sense creating an expectation that he felt he should fulfil and a method that they wanted him to follow. He says that one of the biggest challenges for him is summarised in a single word, no. That is, he has never really said it enough.

Bullying has been a theme all his life; as has being manipulated to do the wants of others. One of his psychiatrists was always teasing him that he was a push-over; together they discussed the irony of this in that he has plenty of personal power but never really chooses to exercise it. He says that somehow he just doesn’t fit in with the world and that he is not worldly wise; he is not cute.

Although people want to take short cuts, the facts are that if you do help them, when they don’t really need it, they start to see you as a “sucker” and in time they loose respect for you, they start to take more advantage of you. They even feel sorry for you. This feeling sorry for someone or pitying them is perhaps the most disempowering thing that anyone can do to another.

It neglects the inclusion of a person’s fate in life and goes quite a long way towards robbing them of the possibility of change. It is kind of ironic to be told on the one hand that you are an alpha male and on the other to have people bullying you and trying to take advantage of you. Somehow and in someway this doesn’t fit. It is a puzzle that Eric and I have lived with for much of our lives.

Now and in retrospect Eric wonders whether this whole business about learning to lead wasn’t a complete red herring. Even so he has made quite a study of leadership and what it feels like. So it all was of some use after all. He never liked the wolf pack as an analogy, there is something in that whole approach which doesn’t suit him and it has a great deal to do with Darwinian thinking, survival of the fittest and all that; the hunter and the hunted. Eric says that perhaps it is his pomposity that finds such things distasteful. Why should he have to compete? His needs are very simple he does not need status, he does not need physical plane wealth, he does not need to shag loads of birds.

Eric says he can appear a little strange to people, in that many of them look to him for some form of direction, he does not know why. He has had it explained to him that people sense this potential in him, that he has power. Then, when he tries to point out a direction or way of being, they appear to fight him tooth and claw. It is a mystery. He wonders what the pay off in all this is. What is the purpose behind it all?

This lack of cuteness has gotten him into all sorts of scrapes; particularly with women. Until quite recently it had never really occurred to him that he was attractive or desirable to the opposite sex and this links across to another project l’homme méhaignié, because one of the challenges in this life for him has been that of masculinity. Being bullied at school for being a homo, did nothing for his self confidence. He even wondered whether they were right and that he was a homo after all. He knows he is not, now. Later to be harassed about what sort of a man he was didn’t really help. It made matters worse. Some of the perhaps best intentioned comments, rather than causing him to have the desire to fight, just made him think the other people were oh so stupid and that perhaps they were right, that he was no man after all.

Eric has a different view of masculinity to most, he says that true masculinity is about not being afraid of emotions and feelings, that vulnerability is a lead that he is happy to provide, whereas bravado, back slapping and jock-strap-ery is not masculine. This behaviour is almost as bad as “boys don’t cry”. From his perspective there is nothing more beautiful than to see a man let out tears of poignancy. This warmth and caring is the essence of true masculinity, and when true masculine warmth is expressed it does something quite magical. A friend of his once did it quite naturally to a young woman on a course; she burst into tears, never having experienced it before.

True masculine warmth is a precious substance and it can make the world go round. Being warm, sensitive and caring are all taboo, in the common view of the world and what better place to suppress them than an English boarding school, where you get teased for being a homo. Eric knows he has it and that sooner or later other men will find it too. He hides it for now though, most of the time. Most men use something like this warmth for seduction and it is easily misread as a come on. Eric laughs at the number of times he has been his charming self only to find a woman to immediately point out her relationship status to him. People’s perceptions are quite the funniest things he says.

Eric says that this warmth is closely related to compassion and arises out of being as thoroughly inclusive as one can. He says that because he is not nor has he ever been, an angel he finds it very hard to be judgemental. He knows that he is far from perfect, whatever that may mean, and that he has done many things he is not proud of. He doesn’t like to throw stones at others and laughs at glasshouses.

He reckons that at least he is honest about his own hypocrisy and that is a good place to start; aspirations, he says, are generally a good thing, though it is easy to kid oneself that aspirations have become practice and fact. Intention to change is all that is required, because sooner or later if that intention is real the actions of a being change and the beginning of transmutation takes place; some times though because of the hubris of man this can feel like Sisyphus getting up each morning for another day at the office; three steps forward and three steps back.

Eric reckons then this is the key to leadership, knowing when to step forward and when to step back, stepping forward is what he calls an intervention. Every intervention and action has impact on the flow of life and by and large it is best to do this only sparingly for by being too eager we rob others of their challenges; in effect tying them up with our own apron strings when they are already ready and able to leave the nest.

Praelucere.

He reached down to pick the chestnut from the ground; holding its green and spiky roundness in his hand. Transported back to the schoolyard of short trousers bruised knees and conkers. Vinegar soaked and the pain at loosing a sixer to Jones. He cracked the shell and marvelled at the smooth and shiny surface. He eased it from the tender flesh and held it to his eye. Such perfection and mint as the first garden. He smelled matron and armpits, polish and carbolic, shoe parade before school, chalk, Parker pens and Quink.  It flooded back into the tide of his life. Tears held and distant hillsides waiting for his parents who never came. Table tennis and essays, letters on a Sunday and prep before “lock up”. His pride at the first hair and the confusion of his body. Boyhood fondlings and the first time, the first time that he was silent for the sake of another. Visions of bushmen caves and arrows and hidden skulls. Of buried treasure and lost parchments. How could he know that they would call him a liar for what he saw? He learned to pull back that tongue.

He let it go once and he didn’t know why. He spoke of the dream, in the dream and he touched their hearts.

He ran it through his fingers. Every finger, like silver balls chiming with the rhythmic motion of his life. He weighed and he measured. In that conker he felt. He saw it as the tree it would become. He saw it dangling on a thread. He saw it on the mantelpiece and in a jar. He saw it baked in the oven to make it hard; the conker to conquer. He saw the tricks of the trade. He saw it in the light. And he remembered Mariabronn. 

He stepped forward and into the glen. The cold dawn light matched the colour of his vision. Grey blue, grey blue. And the Son lifting the will o’ the wisp mist. Rising and swirling, seaming the world and steaming. On the edge of the clearing he saw the lone Wolf. Watching. Watching him and he thought he saw it wink. There was a lush knowing in its eyes. It watched him a little longer and in a cough of recognition it turned and left. He went further into the clearing and lay down his sack. He sat down by the sycamore and sighed. He closed his eyes and summoned the dream. He called it to him, asking for the vision of the way ahead. He stilled his breath, closed his eyes and called into the void. He muttered the words the wizard had taught him. And it came.

He saw the lengthening shadows of summer sunsets, long and longer, stretching into the gap between the worlds, the ephemera of a dusk and the in between. The sense of connectedness and the burning in his hands. The feeling of the surge of power in him and his eyes beginning to shine, the pregnancy of the moment and the movement all around. Hush! Hush….Hush. 

Oak tree stump, with clothes of linen white. Pierced by the sword. Sangraal. On the caw the clearing shifted to the marble Temple floor. The oaken altar like pulsing veins and heart, in the clarity of the incense filled room, alive in the rock. The two visions overlapped the clearing and the Temple. How? He felt himself standing and his coarse peaty robes became at once light and delicate. He looked at his hands dirty and fine. He held them out and felt the rainbow between them. He played with it a while, balancing and measuring the flow.

He walked and the moss floor of the Temple moved the marble. Footstep, echoed in hall and in wood, dew and holiness at the same. He moved to the altar and knelt. He felt the dampness of the grass on his knees and then he crossed himself. He bowed his head and the chain-mail rustled.  He reached to his temples feeling his hair and the crown. He clasped his hands together in prayer and the Monks began to sing.  He stood and bent his fingers in doubt. Why? Slowly he reached out his hand then brought it back. He turned and looked back into the clearing it seemed far away. Caught on the song he turned again. As he reached the sleeve fell back. Each hair on his arm was like ocean footsteps, with electrifying eels of exquisite tension. He spread his fingers and turned his hand to cup. As he touched the golden circle exploded in his eyes, the lighting force surged through his feet and welded him to the ground. A circle of light bonded him.  The earth and the heavens flowed within him and he knew. He knew more.

Now trembling he willed his hand to move and as he lifted the Angels called. The fabric of the world was rent and he knew. He moved his hand towards his mouth and inhaled the scent, figs and fenugreek, cardamom and lace, roses and blood, lavender and lemon, corpse and cadaver, butterfly and mint, harpsichord and thunder, seagull and spray, virgins and devils, priests and parchment. Quivering now he brought it to his lips. He raised it and began to sip… 

The raindrop landed on his nose, wetting his marrow within. Quenching like blacksmiths and calming like cobwebs, strung in the mist. He heard the deer approach and bow its head and the robin at his feet. He felt the worms in the earth and the doves in the sky. He felt kangaroo and penguin, polar bear and ant. He felt ivy and hawthorn, mushroom and milk. He saw candle and cavern, river and stream. He knew all that there is and all that has been. And he wept and he laughed.

He looked to his hand and ran it through his fingers, soft and waxy, precious, perfect and Heaven scent.

Vis Viva – A Journey to Sirius Chapter 5

Chapter 5 Oh come to me….Beautiful Rain

A Fremen dies when he is too long from the desert. We call this the water sickness.

Frank Herbert, “Children of Dune” Gollancz
Orion Publishing Group, London. Page 127 ISBN 0 575 074906

Eric says that today we should talk about rain, beautiful rain. For today is not a day of fire and orange red suns, not yet. He says that we should wait for one of those spectacular sunsets before we talk of fire, today is a day of water. He suggests that before we get started I should open the door so that I can hear the rain and the birdsong because it will help me to remember that I am a being touched by the desert and the bush. My relationship with rain is different from the English. Only those who have lived with cloudless skies and scorching desert suns can love the rain as much as I do.

Today it is comfort rain, soft downy and close. The earth is drinking and all around things are growing, you can almost see them. It is getting heavier now and in the wet slabs of stone I see the shadow of a bird flying above and I look up to see a heron, its wing feathers slightly tatty around the edges and the sound of those wings is soft on the wind. He is taken to the wide rivers of Africa and the parchment creeks of the Australian desert. For his life has also been one of rivers and of mountains. He was born of stock from the foothills of Snowdon and taken as a child from this green and pleasant land, far away across the seas, to the Southern hemisphere. There he was marked by a different sun and saw panoply of stars that truly put the sky into, sky.

Eric says that there is an urban legend; that Eskimos have many words for snow and wonders why aren’t there quite as many for, rain? He says that when rain comes to him in his dreams he understands it as meaning the process of life and a reminder to be aware that the vis viva is always busy; that we should trust whatever it is that the power within has for us to do. He says that now we have got started on this Chautauqua he feels that the time is right for us to be doing it and that the I Ching has agreed, Sheng {Pushing Upward}, and he has noted the text there.

Today then he says that we should talk about relaxing into the process of life and that although this is linked to the journey motif what we should discuss is water and actions, those that yield and dissolve making life more fluid than sand. He says that action without condition is the means by which one walks the path with heart and that for him there can no longer be any other way.

Eric reckons that most people never truly listen to what others say, most lives are spent and he is sure that this is the right word, fighting for air time and clamouring for attention. I agree and am pretty sure that most people use words and phrases they have borrowed from others and spout truths which they themselves have never checked the validity of.

Life then is not about a reactive and hurried knee jerk to the world; a cause and effect, a reason and a justification. There is more than this. In order to be able to do this, what one needs to do is to, stop the world, to……….

Pause.

In a helter-skelter mad-dash dog-chasing-its-tail way there is, whether you believe it or not, still plenty of time to pause, step back and look at the process of life to get some clarity on what is actually going on and then to respond intelligently to what transpires. Yes one can always meet force with force, yet often to yield is so much more powerful, and here I mean power in the sense of learning and knowledge and not the other way. He says that most people have buttons that are easily pressed and initiate a knee jerk reaction which he calls a control drama.

These control dramas are there because the so-called rational mind likes to protect what it holds as sacrosanct behaviour patterns and thoughts, learned at mother’s knee. He reckons the only way that one can begin to unpick them is to first take an inventory of ones doings and then, don’t do them any more.

He rather liked Luke Rheinhart’s “The Dice Man” for this but doesn’t recommend that as a way of being. What he means is that once there is a little clarity about behaviours one can do an exciting experiment on oneself to find out where they all came from and get some freedom, by not responding in such a Pavlovian way.

He says that if there is intent to change one can initiate this in an intelligent way and that one of the best ways to do this is to be like water. That is to yield and dissolve and flow and eddy; to absorb and to treat everything for its potential as a gift of learning and new knowledge. Which as we have already discussed allows the power within to guide our development imbuing us with a vitality which is that capacity to live life to its full, so that the vis viva, imbues the power within to organise the form into living the challenges of physical plane existence to the max.

People have barbs, he says, and some of them are so emotionally charged that they wound, a few words spoken with malicious intent can damage as much, if not more than, a knife. They can cut people down. He reckons that it is the quality of the e-motion which is linked to the underlying intent, that has a sound and the sound is what damages. We will come back to colour and movement perhaps another day he says.

If one listens to both the face value of the words and the tonal balance of their delivery he reckons that you can learn quite a lot about what is actually going on. It is the battle of one-up-man-ship that most people try to exert over each other, that maintains a mis-guided sense of control over life and that this is the basis of the construct we appear to live in. Here competition is against and usually for some form of pecking order. Eric reminds me of Terry and how we knew that despite all his brouhaha and forceful manipulation what he feared most was a simple hug from another man.

He says that he finds it ironic that rational mind has inherent in it the quality of ratio and the quantity of ration. Hinting that it attempts to balance whilst limiting the scope of what it is considering. He says he much prefers the irrational as this is much less limited and full of possibilities; that the worst insult you could give him would be to call him rational. Rational is nearly always tied up to justification and presupposes right, that there is only one answer.

He reckons since we are now here we should look logic up on Wiki.

Logic is the philosophical study, or the formal science, of the principles of valid inference and demonstration. The word derives from Greek λογική (logike), fem. of λογικός (logikos), “possessed of reason, intellectual, dialectical, argumentative”, from λόγος (logos), “word, thought, idea, argument, account, reason, or principle”.

As he has mentioned people do not truly listen to each other and often, before a person has even half finished a sentence, others are preparing rejoinders, whether witty or otherwise. He says that in terms of quality, logic which derives from logos, has perhaps become disconnected from its true source, because the logos is the word or the very first sound echoing out of the void, the first thing which is becoming manifest as a vibration within the nothingness, there and then giving evidence of existence and non-existence. Before the first stirring there was only no-thing. In the act of stirring, awareness came into being as a separation. The first word is not quite ineffable and is so much more than the intellectual pissing contest that people think of as debate and conversation. Who then within the rations of the rational mind defines what is valid and what is right?

Eric says that until one has a working knowledge of the second attention one cannot appreciate the quality of words properly or get a feeling for what is left. This left side or feeling is perhaps heart and not mind. In a very real sense the ratio of rational is therefore incomplete in any case, because this left side knowing or inner tuition is left out of the equation. Thus the rational is therefore, if I may use a reasoning word, in a rather odd sense irrational as the referential framework is so limited; and limited to what is in effect and affect concrete thought. What people call rational is all air, mind and lacks. It is not water.

So the rain of this Chautauqua has taken us of down a side tributary of metaphysics and rhetoric in order to describe and discuss rationality. It has been raining now for hours and the pace of it varies. He says it is drawing us back to rivers and streams and to Annwn and perhaps the Celtic salmon of wisdom that features high in the other world journeys, the journeys into metaphor. For whilst the other world journeys beckon one can never step in the same river twice, the world moves on and we cannot step out of the wardrobe from Narnia into an unchanged world. Time’s arrow as perceived on the physical plane is real enough.

He reckons that if you choose you might see life as a river, perhaps sourced high in the broad mountains of mist or from a small limestone spring in the bucolic vale of a shire. Soon that river meets others and they influence each other flowing urgently and precociously over the mossy rocks of life or perhaps more largo over the broad and leafy floodplains. He reckons you can hear brooks chuckle if you listen carefully enough. These streams become rivers and flow towards the wide seas and oceans of life, where man perhaps makes a mark on the world. There the currents are stronger and deeper; within the depths are hidden treasure, perhaps of the abysmal and perhaps of long lost tropical isles where undiscovered pirate gold lies hidden beneath the sing-song dreamlike palms and hammocks.

On its path to the sea the rivers may come across beaver dams constructed by the auspices of the mind that stem the flow of developing consciousness and block it with the tyranny of fear. Perhaps from time to time the river disappears deep into a sink hole or becomes barren and dry, the flow of life vanishes into the desert of a temporary despair. Like the salmon of wisdom we all leave our redds to begin a process of transformation perhaps from parr to smolt and salmon, before we die returning to the source of our birth and as legend has it, reviewing the wisdom gained during our lives. Eric reckons that if we step back and pause to look at our lives as they happen and not afterwards, this magnificent journey is all the richer.

He says that the most important thing he learned during the days of his descent into the underworld of darkness, is to remember that life is a process. He says that no matter how bad things get and how impossible things seem because of rational mind, provided that you are still breathing, the world doesn’t actually end; and that a good night’s sleep nearly always brings a fresh perspective with the rising of the sun.

He says that back then, it really helped him to visualise his life as the course of a river and that rather than seeing footprints in the sand, he sees the moods and themes of the river that is the expression of the vis viva flowing and that it is the quality of flow that allows us to synchronise, synch-chron-ise with the universe, to be in time with it.

He says that when he is a little lost for direction in life he always asks himself what his river feels like, right here and right now. What has the rational mind beaver been doing that stops the flow, how must he be to break out of a corner. What then is needed to move the logs of consciousness that are blocking the flow? Or, isn’t it perhaps now time for a gentle eddy in life, to sit back in the late summer sunshine and let the mayflies dance upon him; to feel the fish turn and break the surface for a well earned meal.

When he finds a barrier in life he asks himself; what is he trying to force? He says that he tries not to force anything but he has a mind too and that desires. It is that force which depletes the vibrancy and makes his brain ache. Time then to dissolve all that is around into the river of his being and take that new knowledge, time to yield and change direction, time to wear slowly down through the matter of the mountain valley and not scrape as a rock filled glacier might; time to pause and eddy and reflect the sun and then because the rain is falling and this process feeds the river, onwards and to the sea.

Eric cautions that until one has lived in the desert of despair a river may seem just a river, he knows then that the rain is precious and it is the contrast that reveals potential. If there is too much water then a man gets complacent and that is what the Fremen call the water sickness, for without some challenge there is no contrast and it is these challenges that help us to be free and most of all, that is what he wants.

Tenebris

The ancient cloak descends through the mists of time upon the earth, primordial in its essence, unforgiving in its relentlessness, cloying and suffocating all in her path. Beauty is extinguished as the damp greyness envelops and enfolds. It recovers the nascent growth, the seeds that part the earth in search of the sun falter sans lumière. 

On the hillside sheltering from the storm against a low brick wall stands a man, his coat shaggy and stained by the peat water of the marsh. He turns up his collar against the wind. He looks at his hands cold and sore from the wind and the rain. He feels the salt path as the tear of his life rolls across his cheek, leaving a track in the mud and the dirt. There is a break in the rain and he stands and looks into the mist. There on the horizon he can see the tendrils of smoke from his cottage. Wearily he picks up his bag and sighs. Bracing himself once more against the elements he sets off. Each step is slow and forced as the memories of every step seem echoed in the fibres of his body. Slowly he gathers his strength to stand once again in the darkness. He searches in himself for the life giving spark. It is there. He fans it with his inner breath, the essence of his life force. He blows gently and soon the spark of his self belief is beginning to glow. Soft and orange, smoky and pungent with the pine sap of his blood. He gathers his will and harnesses it, he corals and directs it towards the flame with the strength of his will he ignites the fire. There he stands a glimmer a life alive. 

He reaches in, to his heart, to open wide the portcullis slammed shut at the frustration of it all. As he walks his body shakes as he once again renders his heart to open. To take it so wide and to prise open the overrun vines of neglect that has clamped it tight. He looks again to his flame and brings it to the castle gate. He holds it aloft and towards the ice. He peers at the reflection of the flame as the white surface snows melt and the image of his outer being is reflected within. He looks within at the eyes. In those eyes he can see the ashes of his lives, the very footprints in the sands of his times, the canvas of his lives written and painted with the palette of his moods. Windswept and dark, light and warm every shade of season, every nuance of feeling each stored as a pastiche of his story. He holds the flame of his self belief to the glass chalice of water, the one whose contents sear his being-ness and burn and pose the question why. 

The pine smoke of his flame darkens the glass and he watches as the water begins to dance with the flame. Yes, there it is that first bubble of hope, it floats and it rises and bursts forth into the now heavy air. With its release a spark returns. He feels its exuberance and its irrepressibility as child in his eyes. He turns again to the manger of his heart, that external womb where he seeks to nurture. He pulls back the covers and looks to the soft downy blankets fresh with the smell of the newborn. For into that heart he puts the child, the symbol of his vulnerability, the symbol of his damaged trust.

 He pauses and searches again for the dove of his being-ness. He reaches within his cloak and cradles it in his hands. He coos into its ear and raises it aloft. He sets it free onto the four winds, to fly and to soar, taking with it the autumn leaves of his self doubt to scatter them to the corners of the world. In the inner world the now wrinkled leaves change into the first seeds of acceptance. He kneels as he abandons. In that release the chains of his own petty wants and desires are rent. Link after link is stretched the metal bending white as the force of his will rips at the steel of his chains. The echo of release runs down his spine as that which was wrought is now asunder. 

He feels himself dissolve and expand into the cup of his karma. The flame of his being-ness bursts into pure light and sound as it expands across the landscape of his world. The vision of all places and all times, the omniscience that is not him yet he is of it. His consciousness flows across the patchwork fields of the low countries. It becomes the royal eagle soaring against the sea cliffs where earth plunges into ocean. The ocean spray washes his wings and freshens his face, as he plays with gulls and rides amongst the nests on the cliff faces.

He dives like a cormorant into the ocean of his life, driven this way and that by the currents that he does not understand nor comprehend. He emerges onto a desert shore.  The dry warmth begins to ease the form. He smells it, the crescent of the desert moon sparkling in the sky. He sniffs and the lungful adds to the spark of his inner flame. He walks with camels in the desert night, lit by the majesty of the stars against the backdrop of the infinite heavens, the veils of space and time showing him the mirror of his own insignificance against the cosmic canvas torn apart and created by a purpose that cannot be named.

He looks within at the sun now dark and sees the orange fire that shows the blackness and he huddles for comfort on that mountain hillside, shaking and afraid. He lifts up his head and howls at the crescent moon, the sound of his voices echoing all the pangs of birth resonant with the sorrow and with the joy of the world, of hope long forgotten. The core of him stretching back through aeons and the string of his voice tendered and marked by every hand that stretched it. He allows his consciousness back to the source, the rose of his own birth where the essence of his own being was forged and thrust into life.  He feels corpuscles of his being-ness clustering into that flame held in the ether of life, the spark of that arrow made by the divine fletcher.

Then he sees it, the first blue in the darkness. A hush falls on the land as slowly the form can be seen in the shadow and the purple black recedes into shades of blue,  so heart warming. The primordial darkness yields to the sun as the pinprick pink pierces the sky, deepening of colour, certain of its own footing, it pushes and probes the darkness. The lotus flower of its leaves opens in song as it rejoices its own birth. Heady and fragrant it yields its fresh perfume on the day. It calls to its heralds the angels, to sound forth the clarion call of life, a life alive and ready. The sky now alight in the soft radiant dawn has a clarity of diamond and a purpose of pure and ecstatic white, brilliance and clarity. The mists of darkness recede and the divine and cosmic essence shines forth warming the heart of man, healing in hues of emerald green, warming with soft yellows, energising with blues and comforting in its sound. It causes his whole body to shake with release. As he bathes in the sun the aches and the weary-ness of his existence are soothed.

He turns again to his flame and it is now bright. He moves across the hillside with more eagerness and perhaps he can now smell the tendrils of the wood smoke from his hearth that is waiting for him.

Om mane padme hum – the jewel in the centre of the lotus….