how long is now

“This is the fullness of time – when the Son of God is begotten in you.”
Meister Eckhart


“Saying the mantra is like a Mexican wave of prayer from Christian monks in desert monasteries to Tibetan lamas in mountain monasteries from age to age.”

Via Creativa

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

ClockAllWht1_00BFI-230pxOne of the metaphysical conundrums which we don’t need to feign interest in here. Although, modern quantum physics does suggest that it is only when ‘reality’ is perceived by an observer and the wave function collapses that anything ‘real’ can be said to exist at all.

If a clock chimes in the heart of a mountain and plays a different tune every day for 10,000 years but no-one is around to hear it does time pass? And this is not purely metaphysical conjecture to exercise the minds of budding monks. It is a real project in Texas created by The Long Now Foundation which includes amongst its founders the polymath composer, artist, and app developer Brian Eno – he of Roxy Music fame and author of ‘A Year With Swollen Appendices” which is wonderfully eclectic.

“It is a huge Clock, hundreds of feet tall, designed to tick for 10,000 years. Every once in a while the bells of this buried Clock play a melody. Each time the chimes ring, it’s a melody the Clock has never played before. The Clock’s chimes have been programmed to not repeat themselves for 10,000 years. Most times the Clock rings when a visitor has wound it, but occasionally it will ring itself when no one is around to hear it. It’s anyone’s guess how many beautiful songs will never be heard over the Clock’s 10 millennial lifespan.” The Long Now Foundation

The creative spark behind the project was Brian Eno’s observation when he lived in New York that everyone seems to be living in ‘the short now’ – busying themselves with today’s or this week’s projects. “What about the project of your year or your life?” he mused … and wondered what living in the long now might be like.

I like my home-spun philosophy on time – if there is such a thing as eternity … then we’re in it now. And if we’re in eternity now then time, as such, is an illusion. That’s the long and the short of it … choose how long is now.

“To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.”

William Blake


Life of Pi

“Spirituality is not to be learned by flight from the world, by running away from things, or by turning solitary and going apart from the world. Rather, we must learn an inner solitude wherever or with whomsoever we may be. We must learn to penetrate things and find God there.”
Meister Eckhart


“Saying the mantra is like reciting the genetic code of God.”

Via Integrativa

Life of Pi

If you don’t know which God to believe in (if any) then do what Piscine does in The Life of Pi – believe in them all. Bob Hope was asked why he does benefit gigs for all religions. “Why risk the afterlife on a technicality”, he quipped.

Joseph Campbell who developed the idea of the universal ‘monomyth’ in his seminal book ‘The Power of Myth’ held that numerous myths from disparate times and regions share fundamental structures and stages, which he summarized in The Hero with a Thousand Faces:

A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won:

The formula works for every hero’s story from Homer’s ‘Odyssey’ to Simon Beaufoy’s ‘Full Monty’. In essence, there are three stages of the journey – the call/departure, initiation/crisis and the return/victory. Works for all religions and all vocations … try it for your own life and journey.

In the case of Pi he is confronted by Richard Parker – a tiger in the boat. For me, this represents a mirror of our deepest fears – in this case of being eaten. We all have our fears which co-habit the same boat we’re in. Like Pi the only way through is to embrace them and make them our friend. Grrrr ….

Pi says to the Canadian novel writer who comes to hear his story, “my story will make you believe in God.” Our own story is to make us believers. That’s why we can be grateful for the perils as well as the thrills of the journey we experience as Life.

“(the monomyth is) the one, shape-shifting yet marvelously constant story that we find, together with the challengingly persistent suggestion of more remaining to be experienced than will ever be known or told.”
Joseph Campbell


lighten our darkness

“I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you
Which shall be the darkness of God”
T.S. Eliot


“Each repetition of the word is like a hachure stroke towards perfect darkness.”

Via Negativa

lighten our darknessThe purpose of meditation is not to control your thoughts – they cannot be tamed – but to lose control. To shift out of the constant stream of thoughts that animate our every waking moment. To rest in the still small voice of silence. To give yourself – your frantic posturing self – a break and allow the natural self to rise up from the ground of your Being.

The word ‘meditation’ comes from the Latin ‘medio stare’ – to stand in the middle. In the middle of what? In the middle of stillness … in the middle of darkness.

There is a wonderful visitor attraction on Lanzarote created by Cesar Manrique called Jameos del Agua which some say is the eighth wonder of the world (probably the Lanzarote Tourist Board). It is a natural volcanic grotto with a lake home to a unique species of blind white crab – ‘munidopsis polimorpha’. I guess they’re blind because there was no natural light in the cave until it was turned into a night club. It’s a great place to visit – I created the ‘Via Transformativa’ audio meditation there. But its not dark.

If you want real darkness, in your face darkness, just across the road on the way to the Cuevas Verde caves there is a hidden cave with a kink after the entrance so in a short walk you are in total darkness and total silence. Take a torch. Take two. And a candle and incense and meditate in utter darkness for half an hour. You can even keep your eyes open – not a single photon disturbs your gaze.

At first its a bit scary … but do you know what? After a while it is the most natural relaxing way to just ‘be’. A bit like a womb without a view.

“The final goal of being is the darkness and unknowability of the hidden divinity, which is that light which shines but the darkness cannot comprehend it.”
Meister Eckhart


I see you

“We are the mirror as well as the face in it. We are tasting the taste of eternity. We are pain and what cures pain. We are the sweet cold water and the jar that pours.”


“Saying the mantra is like fingerprints on a steamed up bathroom mirror until you can see clearly.”

Via Transformativa

AvatarPair43In James Cameron’s movie Avatar towards the end of the film when Neytiri is holding the real Jake in her arms, not the avatar Jake, they say to each other, “I see you.” Of course, they could have said “I love you” which is what we might expect – but our Hollywood notions of ‘love’ are too romanticised for real communication these days. Jake is the one she loves, the real him, regardless of his avatar. She sees through to his soul and loves him.

In modern love you may as well say “I need you” … we are accomplices in projecting onto the other what we need to make us feel good about ourself, to feel accepted, to feel loved. This is proxy love. No other person can give you the love you seek. Only wiping away the illusion of separateness … from others, sure, but crucially from your True Self will allow you to see into the truth of who you are … the beloved. Meditation dissolves all known illusions.

“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.”
1 Corinthians 13 v.12