Rods Not Cones.

There is something rather primal present when the lights go out.

Yesterday morning started with my plugging in the Jewel Trees on the main altar and, after a brief flash, the ‘jewels’ went out! This time of year, with the days getting ever shorter, is when light takes on a significance greater and deeper than one might imagine. For one thing, with attention more inwardly directed, past actions can slide into the present and be learnt from, if Compassion is in the ascendancy. People who suffer from the Winter Blues also know about the significance of light and I suspect most people get a bit down as the sap descends, brown leaves remind of impermanence and the turning year asks us to move on.

It has always been the case that when electricity fails me, I am transported from the ‘lights of Wisdom’,(so to speak) to the ‘darkness of delusion’, in other words I feel helpless and hopeless. And that is how my day went yesterday, in darkness, as I pondering unhelpfully on past actions. The combination of needing to, in fact, cross the road and remembering the Swan poem took me right out of myself and the light went back on. Life is like that sometimes, it just springs up and teaches when you least expect it to.

Wednesday night is when people come to the Priory for a ceremony, meditation and a class. We talked about The Swan and little did I know this was written by a well favored poet. The conversation tended towards ‘taking the next step’ and how life is made up of little ones that can lead in directions one could not have predicted standing on the shore.

The impending new year brings up questions around future directions, renewed resolve, next steps in life. We tend to think that what is ahead is completely unknown and ultimately this is true. However, if one ‘looks’ in the way one uses ones eyes in dim light, through the ‘rods’ at the edges of ones vision and not the ‘cones’ in the centre, the sense of what is there to do will emerge. I’m not talking about anything other than simple meditation practice however perhaps the above will help take the ‘angst’ out of lowering your self into the waters of the year to come.

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4 thoughts on “Rods Not Cones.”

  1. Making a comment can be a bit of a test at first and what some people do is to write something in a text file then copy and paste it into the comment box. That way you can ponder longer on what you have to say without pressure. It also means you can check the spelling which is something one can’t do within the comment box. Easy!

  2. Dear Reverend Master Mugo,
    I just wanted to write and say thank you for your blog and writings that i keep on returning to.
    You gave me the address at Throssel (i was on a retreat and you had just arrived back from your pilgrimage in the east).
    I have been an avid reader ever since and find your writings very inspiring, encouraging and helpful as i try to negotiate the ups and downs of training and everyday life.
    I’ve wanted to leave a comment or something, but i’ve never been quite sure what to say.
    But, i was moved by your story of the fluffed up bird eating like there was no tomorrow at your bigger and better bird feeder, and figured that the least i could do was to say thanks for all the hearty meals that you’ve offered in your writings!
    Many Thanks,
    In Gassho,
    Miles

  3. Thanks Miles, you lead the way!

    Let’s hope others will brave the waters sign up for a Blogger User name. Just amazing what a chance encounter in the cloister can lead to.

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