Category Archives: Teachings

Take Heed


Iain’s bequest:
to point us in
the right direction, yet
you really have to
look them out
before they’ll
invite you in.
A perfect posture:
not bending
over backwards
to gratify you –
rather bending
towards you,
to meet you
Even sunlight,
brought to its knees,
only half-illumines
such a purpling
of the blues.
No impulsive gusts
can fluster
the playful attitude
of bowed heads.
It may seem that
all is easy
as gazing
off a mossy log,
but, take heed,
or all you will see
is flowers.

June 2015
Paul Taylor

In memory of the late Iain Robinson, who showed Paul this wood in Garstang.

Not Crying Over Spilled Milk

poured forth
ran out
flowed out
scattered about.
Spillage, SPILLAGE!

It was double cream to be exact.
flipped off the kitchen counter
landed upside down
white liquid flowing
under the kitchen unit
there to go sour
and smell.

Did my best
mopped and wiped
wiped and mopped
Sheet after sheet of
newspaper, turning translucent
sheet after sheet
into the bin, into the bin.

Degrease with dish soap
AKA washing-up liquid
water – rinse, more water-rinse
dry, dryer, more dry
rubbish wrapped, new liner
in the bin. Cry? Not likely
Rubbish to the outside bin.
No use crying over spilled cream

Or spilled anything for that matter.

That was yesterday while visiting an elderly woman and when about to pour the lovely white liquid on a piece of apple pie. No, no good crying over spilled milk or spilled anything for that matter. I’d have taken a photograph but I was standing in the puddle! Bare foot.

Keen To Lern!

When I wrote my first letter applying for a job I was unschooled and innocent (ignorant). Not only was I applying for a job I wasn’t qualified for (no, I didn’t have a driving licence, no, not (yet) 21 years old and no (save for amateur tinkering about) experience as a photographer). However, I wrote, I am keen to lern. Apparently my spelling learn wrongly got me an interview because the employer liked the spirit behind my writing – and I also shared my first name with his daughter! Anyway I got the job. I did learn a great deal and became almost a member of the family. Early learning, (I was probably 17 years old at the time) stays deeply embedded in ones self (body/mind) and I’m still at the point where I could probably  print black and white prints at speed, perhaps with my eyes closed!

Like most children I learned to ride a bicycle which when I started seemed completely impossible. But I persisted, fell off, climbed back on again until I could steer a steady course across the lawn. And in no time I was tooling up and down the main road and riding no hands down the local hill, on a minor road. Riding a bike is complex learning and to make the point a chap illustrates in this video how difficult it is to unlearn and then relearn riding a modified bike. His learning looks as difficult as that old childhood trick of rubbing your tummy while tapping the top of your head. That’s had many a youngster engaged, or distracted, while practicing something which is essentially useless!

But, or however, I’ve remained keen to learn and over the years my unschooled state has changed to something resembling ‘educated’. Not in a traditional sense probably. My point, and there is one, is that the brain can learn to do new things, it can and does change itself fundamentally.  And what we call the self, isn’t what we think!

Jedi Order (Star Wars) vs. Buddhist Quiz

Bit of fun for you.
Yoda vs. Buddha. Enlightenment means stepping away from the dark side, something on which both masters of Buddhism and the Jedi Order agree. But can you tell the difference between the insight of Yoda and the insight of the Buddha?

Enlightenment means stepping away from the dark side, something on which both masters of Buddhism and the Jedi Order agree. But can you tell the difference between the insight of Yoda and the insight of the Buddha?

From the BBC Radio 4 website

The illustrations on-line for the BBC Radio 4 series, Incarnation: India in 50 Lives are worth taking a look at.

Thanks to my walking companion for pointing out this quiz. I got 5 out of 10. However, I was guessing the answers so that’s fairly good I thought.

Expanding and Contracting Self – Who ‘s Measuring!

1Zen Ivy
Young creatures grow and expand at an alarming rate. Before you know it they have outgrown their shoes and clothing tugs tight. Hair gets longer – and longer and the first cut is an event to remember. Sometimes with tears and screams. Depending. Some save a lock so precious is that sign of development. So fast this expanding, each day, week, month brings a gasp of amazement. Soon speech and exploration, nothing is sacred for a toddler. Yes, an expanding and exploring self, developing before our very eyes. In no time that toddle is walking arm on arm to music and applause. Another cycle about to begin.

Then the slow trickle. Imperceptibly expansion turns around into contraction. For sure there is some breathing out and breathing in, the growth and decline and growth again however, imperceptibly, contraction. The world, the horizon, extents just past finger tips.   Hair thins, clothes hang, nails horn like. Ballance once a challenge towards standing now a challenge of a different kind and magnitude. Vastly different.  The self contracts? Diminishes? Or so it might appear.

I have been using the expression ‘diminished capacity’ as a catch-all phrase for those whose world is closing in on them. Mentally, physically and emotionally. I’m shaking, she tells me on the phone. Another and another speaks of what life has become. However while my elderly friends might smile ruefully at my recently, severely diminished, ivy plant picture above, (and that’s another story) there is dignity and  depth in the sedate stepping. Gnarled hands indeed but the vital life, inner life, does not fade from the eyes. However sunken or hooded they may become.

What we call the self is not what we think!