Back Home

Tuesday died last Wednesday.
It’s good to be back however posting may be erratic while I catch up. I’ve also got a deadline to meet on a piece of work and that takes precedence over my on-line activities.

Off Line

In Britain it is ‘Mothering Sunday’, let’s have a thought for mothers everywhere.

I’ll be back on line on the 27th March.

Intimate Space

Yesterday I drove north towards Scotland to meet with a blog reader and long time sangha member and his wife and three week old baby. They had driven down from Edinburgh on their first long run in the car with baby aboard. The moment they came to a halt in the car park of Otterburn Mill it was feeding time, again!

Being around a couple getting accustomed to a new little being in their lives is quite touching. The care and tenderness eminating from them spread out all around us as we went about the business of ordering and eating a meal. At one point I was asked if I wanted to hold the baby and I declined saying something like I’m nervous around babies and an upset one is the last thing you want on a long drive. But actually, on reflection, I realize there is such a bond of intimacy between mother and baby, and father too these days, I felt it not quite right to cross over into that space. Can’t explain it.

Coming back across the Northumberland moors with drop dead views in all directions I saw lambs scampering about. Spring has reached these parts however not so in the West Allyn Valley. We seem to be a good week behind, no lambs, no daffodils or pink blossom. We have that yet to come.

But I’ll be away when the buds burst. For the next couple of weeks I’ll be off-line and in Wales. It’s a rare opportunity for me to be able to take a complete break from my monastic responsibilities and retreat. Thanks to those who are making this possible.

On route to Wales there will be a couple of nights stay in Harrogate with a day retreat in Leeds on Saturday. I have to carry my laptop with me so I may post tomorrow, or I may not.

Handle with Care

According to a leaked memo from the Fish and Wildlife Service, requests by government scientists for foreign travel “involving or potentially involving climate change, sea ice, and/or polar bears” require special handling.

The New Scientist has blogs.

Go Empty Handed

Several people have been in touch recently, via email and in person, who have spoken of pennies dropping. That is by way of a deeper insight into the true nature of existence or being called into what was described as the Great Silence. And with these insights the doors have opened in remarkable, some might say miraculous, ways to going beyond fear, yet not out of pain, and left enveloped in calm.

When the Universe opens up a crack there’s no mistaking this and questioning what one sees is absurd since the gap between observer and observed has been shown as an illusion. What is obvious is simply obvious, where is the need for explanations? To be sure as the moments, hours or days pass the mind definitely wants to make some sense of what has been shown or understood, and tries. However the underlying message is that something has touch where the intellect has no foothold. BTW, we are not talking enlightenment here and at the same time there is nothing that is not enlightened, from the first.

One characteristic of seeing into the nature of how things are is the quiet knowing that words are crude tools in the face of what’s shown or known. Even so it is good to simply write. Quite often I am asked to witness these words, I do not take them lightly or hold them cheap and nor should anybody else, especially the writer. Humility is the watchword of such writings and if that is not present it does not bode well for the onward path.

I’m touched that relative strangers trust enough to speak about their interior, and rightly private, world. This is not stuff to bandy about the Internet, or at least not without a great deal of care.

Out of their Great Compassion the Buddhas and Ancestors have handed down their wisdom and we have the opportunity to learn from them through the sutras, scriptures and writings so easily available now. Collectively know as the Dharma. Their words point the way however we must go on alone, with empty hands.