Category Archives: Daily Life

From the Forbidden City

Wu Wei translated as 'Doing Nothing'
Wu Wei translated as ‘Doing Nothing’

Here’s a nice bit of, what I think is very old, calligraphy hanging up in the middle of one of the most important halls of the Forbidden city. Wu Wei (translated as ‘Doing Nothing’ on the plaque outside.

Reading from right to left the first character is Wu which is the same character of my name – Mu which means…empty, immaculate, no and nothing! The second character of my name – go means work, karma/action. So the calligraphy is close to Mugo in meaning which makes this image rather special for me.

Doing nothing, an under rated activity, can be ‘doing’ a great deal. And doing nothing can be entirely the wrong thing to do! All worth sitting with.

Thanks to the very long-time reader of Jade for this photograph, snapped in China just the other day.

On Listening and Speaking

1beach trees in a laneThe only EP (extended play vinyl record) I ever owned had, on the A side, Lee Marvin singing I Was Born a Wand’rin’ Star, from the film Paint Your Wagon. And on the B side Clint Eastwood ‘singing’ I Talk to the Trees and he went on to (have to say) groan the following words But they don’t listen to me!

Ever thought, been upset about, got really angry about, feeling like, somebody isn’t listening to you? Never mind about talking to the trees, your cat or your plants which I suspect ‘hear’ our words, spoken or unspoken, very well indeed. The felt sense of being heard is heart-rending, when it is not there and most heartening when it is. Enough said!

While I have been thinking about listening and speaking the Clint Eastwood piece has been playing in my brain. Now I’ve share it, it has gone! As if it were that easy to let go of ones persistent thoughts, feelings, emotions etc. etc. etc. Anyway here is a quote for today from Krishnamurti who was very influential in my spiritual growth in my teens and early twenties.

So when you are listening to somebody, completely, attentively, then you are listening not only to the words, but also to the feeling of what is being conveyed, to the whole of it, not part of it.
Jiddu Krishnamurti

Perfecting The Art of Listening

herron fishingHave you ever watched a Heron?  Listening? Fishing?  This beauty was snapped wading in the Lancaster Canal last Wednesday. It’s the quality of listening, of being physically still, of being intent that never fails to catch my attention.  Herons are masters of their fishing craft. And so elegant too.

Here at Throssel for the next ten days or so there is a coming together of monastics of the religious order of which I am a part. Listening; embracing the hearts and minds of those who are here, knowing directly the unifying quality of meditation practice (sitting and moving about too) and the diversity of how practice is given expression. Each in our various individual ways. I guess this blog is one way of giving expression to, connecting with, the hearts and minds of those who read here.

I’ll attempt to post on the theme of listening, and speaking.

Robust Feet – Walking On

From a  tapestry based on The Decent From the Cross by Rubens 1612.
From a tapestry based on The Decent From the Cross by Rubens 1612.

Just look at these wonderful feet! Strong robust toes, firm lower legs – and minimalist shoes! The tapestry can be seen hanging on the wall of Whitewell St Michael’s, a Chapel of Ease built in the late medieval period in Whitewell in the Forest of Bowland. The tapestry is HUGE and impressive – a labour of love. In the original painting, titled The Decent From the Cross the feet (foot) is in the right hand bottom corner of the painting. A spectacular foot to be sure.

I’ve been appreciating feet these past days while I ‘wear in’ a pair of minimalist/barefoot shoes. It’s taking measures of perseverance to stay-with these new shoes, which I’m committed to doing.

Developing a deep appreciation of the ground beneath ones feet is rather important. In every level it’s important practically and spiritually, of course.

I’d found myself in the Forest of Bowland on Tuesday because I was in search of a high place to sit and contemplate, decompress (and nap) after a six hour, early start, drive north from Exeter. Unfortunately all views towards the West were obscured by cloud
up high in forest of Bowland
so I drove on visiting the chapel in Lower Whitwell, then the hotel for a cuppa and later cutting through the Trough of Bowland pausing briefly to admire the purple heather – and sheep

Sheep up highthen to find the sun shining on the high moors.
Forest of BowlandThis post is for my cousin in America who I met for the first time last June. We ‘tooled’, her expression, around the area I covered last Tuesday even passing by the cafe we had lunch in. Happy memories. Come again and we can explore some more.

Climbing up High

Well these photographs are too good (breath-taking) to miss. And I am proud to say I took the banner photo on the warpandwoofknitting blog. The 27th was a special anniversary day for the author and what better thing to do than go hike up a mountain.

Being up high, climbing up to a high point and look out around, is what I love to do. Inspiring and a time when insights break free in unexpected ways. Ah! Happy memories of climbing a Tor on Dartmoor years ago – which is where I may well be in a few days time.