• Tag Archives truth
  • UnLearning

    “I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth”.

    Umberto Eco

    Enigma. The losing of a wallet. I was looking forward to finishing work on Friday. The thought of escaping to Akaroa and catching a movie made the afternoon fly along.

    A beer was sitting on the picnic table as I got home. Everything was coming up roses. When my roomie headed back to Christchurch for the weekend I still had time to make it to Akaroa. And then I couldn’t find my wallet. The enigma of losing a wallet.

    Is there an underlying truth to it? What if there isn’t. I know there were things calling to me. A phone call to a friend, a letter to write to another, this post to write. Things I probably wouldn’t have done if I’d taken that escape.

    The title and theme of this post has been sitting with me for a two or three weeks and it all began constellating last weekend as I was cleaning out the laundry in the Wainui Heights building.

    Wainui Heights
    Wainui Heights

    When I first set foot in a kitchen and began a career in cooking I didn’t imagine that cleaning laundries would be part of my full time employment. It was certainly part of my Air Force career but done outside of work hours. Most of what I’d been introduced to in that 20 year career has had to be unlearned over the last few years. Ways of doing things had become habits, habits that weren’t relevant in other kitchens, in other relationships. Habits are the ego keeping me safe.

    Maybe the terrible thing is an ego that wants everything to have a underlying truth for its life. Creating an underlying truth may become a habit leading to complacency. There’s nothing like hitting an animal on the road to erase complacency. Rushing. In a hurry to a meeting. Late. A hare in the headlights as I came round a bend the previous Sunday night, a sickening thump and the feeling of driving over a lump. I was aware during the afternoon that part of me didn’t want to attend the meeting and so I didn’t leave ‘til late. I have to say I was creating an underlying truth for not wanting to attend. A self worth issue. The immediate truth I created was the death of one of our four legged friends. Sadness and soul searching. And at the meeting? That underlying truth I imagined was unfounded.

    If the underlying truth of life is that our thoughts create our reality then I find it hardly surprising that it could seem enigmatic at times. I often wonder at the events that arrive in my life. What are the thoughts that have attracted them to me? Especially the ones that seem detrimental. Have I always been the protagonist in the detrimental or have the other parties in the events played a larger part than my own? (Separations, relationship breakups, job changes etc.) If the power of a single person’s thought creates their reality imagine the power of a thought that engages collective energy.

    Rather than being an underlying truth I imagine that thoughts creating our reality could be an overt truth both collectively and personally. This being true I marvel at my friend Elisabeth’s direction to our group when she was our shamanic teacher to have “exquisite awareness” both when we were in the middle of a shamanic journey and also in any moment we were experiencing physically.

    To do this one must engage the present moment with innocence and humility. These are prerequisites of the unlearned state. When cultivated they provide each moment with its own unique textures allowing it to become an absolutely new experience whatever we may be doing.

    Look to the moments when life has worked you to standstill. I was at a low ebb this afternoon after a busy weekend feeding the masses. As the group left and we continued to clean up I could feel my energy waning. The excitement was over. The doing was done. And as we left the complex and headed back to the house the moment began to take on a new flavour. I was moving into being. In that beingness I was open. In that quiet openness I saw this tree arrayed in light.   I hadn’t seen it that way before and it captivated me.

    Precious Moment
    Precious Moment

    I found VisionQuest to be not only a powerful experience of exquisite awareness but also of unlearning. The power of being in the present moment without preconceptions in a 4 metre diameter circle for 96 hours in nature. You carry with you an awareness that everything that happens in the circle is a teacher. Openness and innocence is required for you to be present to what the circle is offering you as teaching. At some point your focus is drawn to the minutiae of the physical – ants, caterpillars, spiders, trees, rocks, bushes. I hear it said that the devil is in the details, know that the Creator is there also.

    For those entering the VisionQuest circle a sacrifice is being made and for this they are under the protection of the Creator. The energy generated by a questor ripples outward touching the surrounding areas with peace. Spare a thought for those questing at this time. At present there are people around the world – in the US of A, in Germany, in Australia, in South America; and even a couple here in New Zealand questing and creating peace.


    “There is a road that can’t be seen

    No map can guide the way.

    Winding between thought and flesh

    Changing every day.”

    Thanks Isabelle


    P.S. The Wallet is found.

  • Working with Aspects of the Soul: Wisdom

    Wisdom is simple.

    I have always believed in numbers, in the equations and logics that lead to reason. But after a lifetime of such pursuits I ask, “What truly is logic?” … It is only in the mysterious equations of love that any logical reasons can be found.
    Russell Crowe playing mathematician John Nash in A Beautiful Mind

    I was going to tell you how moved I was by the final scene of the movie “A Beautiful Mind”, from which the quote above comes, until I Googled it and found Holt UnCensored. What is the wisdom in keeping the truth from people? The Movie – I keep capitalizing the M in movie this morning for some strange reason – becomes a fictionalised account of the truth. Maybe it serves a purpose for the wider public to give them courage to face the demons of their own lives. Perhaps I’m being caught up in a truth and lies thing. When we see anything that gives us heart whether true or fictionalised it simply gives us heart.

    When I heard it I thought what a wonderful piece, I can use that tomorrow when I ‘m writing about wisdom. I see it now as a sentiment meant to engender an emotional response from an audience. And I was touched by the words, though I find it sad that the makers felt they had to change the substance of the movie to somehow make it more palatable for a wider audience. That even in truth the story is a triumph over adversity. There may have been no need to softsoap the movie-going public.

    I visited my friend Wendy Joy for a Conscious Connected Breathing session yesterday morning. Also known as Rebirthing, the session is guided by the practitioner firstly to get the client into and maintain their breathing pattern initially, at regular times along the way, and then if they appear to be in some difficulty as the session unfolds.

    Yesterday I had a most beautiful experience as I connected with the void. In previous experiences there was a darkness – not an unpleasant darkness – but a darkness nonetheless. Yesterday an experience of light in the void. I struggled some of the way with the breathing but after a while it took on a life of its own. While it somehow seemed significant to experience the light, the moment Wendy placed her hand on my back I finally understood. That’s when the tears came. The tears of absolute blessedness. If I seek the light or anything connected with the light to the exclusion of all else, then I miss the point of our material existence. To experience each other as physical. One hand gently placed on my back was enough to discover the wisdom of being here in the physical.

    Wendy also lent me the book A New Earth by Eckhardt Tolle. There is a wonderful passage early in the book where he tells the story of the Buddha giving a silent sermon in which he simply contemplates a flower he is holding gently in his hand. Only one of his monks understood the power of the sermon.

    As I looked at my own wisdom yesterday in the context of the challenges I’ve been facing I see the ways in which I am able to delude myself, lie to myself, love myself, be in the moment, follow my path, be myself as I feel the expectations of those around me or are they in fact my own expectations projected outward.  All is well and I am Blessed.