Turn Off – Tune Out.

Namaste to all our readers, we return with pics taken this time somewhere in the English Midlands. These calm waters lie within the boundaries of the city. Defended by riparian trees. So calm and beautiful, yet close to industrial estates. A space perhaps coveted by uncaring developers, but a safe place to turn off, and tune out, (if not to drop in as well.)

Some working folk come here to fish, and enjoy the tranquility, and sheer contrast away from the fumes and concrete close-by.

For those inclined, this oasis can mirror the state of inner stillness, and reflect the potential of the mind to reveal its true nature – which is clarity.  Inner stillness grants clarity, silences the world’s all-encompassing cacophony, and is our victory. If this part of us is not worth defending with firm personal boundaries, then nothing is.

May you hold firm your sacred boundaries, and swim daily in the cooling stillness of the borderless lake.

Peace from Amras.

When a long train of abuses and usurpations, all pursuing invariably the same destructive goals, threaten the very fabric of organic life and the serene harmony of the planet, it is the right, it is the organic duty to drop out of such morbid covenants and to evolve new loving social structures. ~ Dr. Timothy Leary.

 

Photography ©Amanda Moloney.

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Uppercase Urban Ambles

A long time ago, before we arrived, the stage was all set for matter alive. Each one a rung on the spiralling stair, we all belong in each other’s care.

Namaste, and sincere greetings to all readers. Last weekend, Amanda was back in the capital, on business. With a blog post in mind, she rose with the dawn to take these pics while the streets were free from the morning throngs. And what a beautiful day it was, which seems quite providential when you think about it, because since the weekend we find ourselves scudding through April monsoons once again.

Here in this ancient city, we walk on roads old and new. Here things that came into existence a long time ago endure alongside things now becoming. If this place should stand come two millennia hence, I wonder how much, if any of what we see today will remain.

We belong to our time, as the builders of the wooden ships that sailed from here belonged to theirs. They too walked on roads old and new. If we were they, would we do things differently?

Fortunately, it doesn’t matter, because metaphysical speculation doesn’t increase knowledge. And none of us here are qualified to judge the soul of any other, even though we may taste perforce the rotten fruits of their ignoble labours. However, the divine gift, freely given at birth, which is the knowledge of right and wrong, unites us more intimately with the hearts of our noble ancestors than do all the handmade things they left for us to own, no matter how greatly valued, or even useful they are.

We know only too well the wrongs that were committed by certain ancestors, for we are charged with fixing them. While we observe the blind leading the blind to perdition, divine honour gently reminds us to work hard at keeping our personal lives clean, and above all, blameless. And to know that no matter how painful and difficult our individual lives may be, we are charged with the duty to say no when we are called upon to hurt, steal, cheat, lie and kill. It is as easy as that, where is the confusion?

I love the lonely palm tree, flourishing in exile, and reminding the riverbank of long ago, in a very different time, when lions and crocodiles were familiar feeders around here.

We want to express our gratitude to all who enjoy dropping by, there will be more photos taken during that morning in the big city coming soon. Until then, take care of your thoughts, strive to keep a light heart, and keep in mind at all times the fact that you are a child of the divine creation, no matter what anyone ignorant of this self-evident fact might believe.

Peace from Amras.

Willing to experience aloneness, I discover connection everywhere;
Turning to face my fear, I meet the warrior who lives within;
Opening to my loss, I am given unimaginable gifts;
Surrendering into emptiness, I find fullness without end.
Each condition I flee from pursues me. Each condition I welcome transforms me
And becomes itself transformed Into its radiant jewel-like essence.
I bow to the one who has made it so, Who has crafted this Master Game;
To play it is pure delight, To honor it is true devotion.

~ Psychotherapist Jennifer Welwood.

Photography ©Amanda Moloney.

Transformations

Over All

 

And I will see my dream come alive at last,
I will touch the sky. *

 

Namaste to our friends and readers. I do hope you are all keeping well. I know how difficult a thing that can sometimes be to achieve. Yet nevertheless, I do hope you are all keeping well.

I hope too that you like the artwork above, it’s gone down quite well with my close friends, and I wanted to share it with our readers. I’ll let the picture speak for itself.

With that, and certain hope for the world in transformation, I wish you peace.

Until next time.

 

“Finally, may we indeed, keep in our hearts, that our humble blogs are the spirits that keep the World Wide Web humane. Let us use this gift to flourish as people! Let us cherish one another! And be thankful for one another, because at some point, we touch our respective lives.”

https://ainabalagtas.com

 

* From “Faith of the Heart” by Diane Warren.

Artwork ©Francis Moloney.

The Freshly Waxed Sled

We were treated to a heavy snowfall. It stayed for a week, but now is gone. It was a nice lead up to the seasonal festival here in the hills, where the soundless blanket of frozen crystals fell from the air. It seemed as if we were living in a scene from a Christmas card.

I am old enough to remember snowfalls that almost completely buried the houses where I lived, and which endured for many months. Temporary ski slopes were created in the unlikeliest of places, and I used to go sledding almost every day. Most of the roads were impassable for traffic, so walking to school and back was akin to embarking on an arctic expedition, which came complete with freezing flurries, and howling winds. Also ambushes, and pitched snowball battles with rivals from other schools. That was 62/3. Winters have never been so good since.

One day, I was having a go on my best friend’s freshly waxed sled on the street where he lived. Face first, and like a torpedo, I flew down the hill unstoppably towards the junction at the end, accompanied only by the cold wind singing in my ears. The road down there must have been gritted that morning, because I realised suddenly as I cleared the street, that my head was about to collide with the front wheel of a moving car. He must have been the first driver on that road in months. I just glimpsed the shock on his face, when at the instant his wheel should have crushed my head, I was lifted up by the collar of my coat, still clutching the sled, and was placed standing safely on the side of the icy road. This all happened in the blink of an eye. Thinking that my friend had somehow rescued me, I turned and shouted a heartfelt thanks, but there was nobody there. My friend was a quarter of a mile away. The car slid to a halt, and the driver got out. He said nothing, just gawked at me in what looked like complete disbelief, tinged perhaps with a little bit of fear. Cognitive dissonance, I suppose. Then he drove away, and I never saw him again.

My friend was greatly puzzled, but after an excited debriefing session, we agreed that for us, angels are proven, and nothing would ever take that knowledge away from us. We were nine.

Countless, I’m sure, are the numbers of people, who have, and who will experience such things, and although we live in a world that prefers us to keep it all to ourselves, we will alway know what is really true – and so will our angels. And that has to be a blessing.

I wish you all a blessed Christmas, and a safe and holy season in the arms of the giver of life. Let us remember in our hearts, all those who will not have it so good, and perhaps find time to reflect on the ebb and flow of things that cannot be quantified by any organ other than the heart.

On the Eve of the Winter Solstice, Peace from Amras.

Soundlessly they go,
the herons passing by:
arrows of snow
filling the sky.


Yamazaki Sōkan (1464-1552), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Brushing the Leaves

With fondest regards to all our readers. This is another guest post from Chris, featuring pics taken during his recent trip to Dodona, Greece, and the exciting tale of his adventures at this remote location. Take it away Chris.

This has been a place of the oracle for thousands of years. The oldest of the oracle sites by far. Its origins spring from the divine 
feminine and Gaia millennia ago. I sat with my hands brushing the leaves of the sacred oak (long since gone of course but now replaced) as the wind rustled the tree. The oracle it seems spoke to the priestess in exactly this way.

The journey was its own tale. We set out the day before, following a straightforward route on good roads. One wrong turn will take a traveller onto boulder rivers that run for miles. And so for us. Here we collected two punctures. The car abandoned, we walked for miles without meeting a soul. Except one wild bearded man whose clothes seemed to be from a another age. He walked with bearing and indifference.

He reminded me of a Sarkatsan, as described by Patrick Leigh Fermor in his book ‘Roumeli’.
The wanderings of Patrick Leigh Fermor, have panache and romance and were always conducted with a deep respect for ancient peoples and cultures. 
His first honour as a human being was bestowed upon him when he was expelled from Kings College Canterbury. At the age of 18, he walked from the Hook of Holland to Istanbul. From here various adventures in Macedonia and Greece, where in Athens he met Balasha Cantacuzène, a Romanian Phanariote noblewoman. They fell in love and set up home in an old watermill outside the city. The couple stayed together till he returned to England at the outbreak of war. He was sent to Crete during the war, and after the end of the war, continued travelling and writing.

Patrick Leigh Fermor’s travels are remarkable enough (and pretty much impossible now), but as a writer he was unsurpassed. He died in 2011. It was said in his obituaries, he was the best writer of his time.
 Patrick Leigh Fermor spoke ancient and modern Greek and eventually learned Sarkatsan. That the Sarkatsans recognised him was unusual. Outside of a keen watchfulness of current ‘goings on’, enough to preserve their safety, Sarkatsans do not recognise or give attention to the values of modern Greece, modern living or the ways of foreigners. (Fermor was then writing of mid 20th century Greece). Sarkatsan rituals, dress code and nomadic way of life have remained unchanged for perhaps 3000 years and maybe longer. Well that’s how PLF described them in the 1940s and 50s. I have no idea how they have fared in the sixty odd years since. Our mountain route crossed areas that have fed and watered Sarkatsan animals for millennia. So I like to think the man we encountered was Sarkatsan.

We were blocked from Dodona that day, but the next day’s journey was error free and effortless. An air-conditioned tarmac smooth 90 minutes. Disgorging from a tin can is an odd way to encounter this place.
 To show some perspective of the site, there is a photograph of me, leaning against one of the massive supporting walls that surround the amphitheatre. For the purpose of scale, note the man walking towards the front of the amphitheatre. The  supporting wall (where I was photographed) is the second tier above him. You could not get a Euro note between those massive stones.

Yet the scale of the amphitheatre was no preparation for the energy at the place of the oracle and sacred oak. The smell of wild thyme, a warm breeze and the sound of bees. I did not want to leave this place. It is with me now. 
As for Sarkatsans; these people have a living memory of Dodona as the preeminent oracle of the ancient world. Through their oral  tradition and way of life, unchanged for millennia, Dodona breathes its spirit into the world.

 

Dodona small

 

Wasn’t that great? I hope you found it inspiring. Thanks are due again to Chris, and to all you good readers and followers. I have been very unwell again of late, If any kind soul wishes to say a little prayer for me, it will be truly appreciated. My sincere thanks in advance.

Until next time, may we know peace; and may we all come to enjoy the priceless blessing of possessing a clear conscience.

 

[I have] a heavenly vase full of autumn leaves.

They look so beautiful.

How much closer to God can one get?

Lotte Lenya.

 

Photography ©Christopher Hammond.