Archive for August, 2011

Lost worlds, emerging worlds.

I’m reading Saul Bellow’s “Humboldt’s Gift” at the moment and it’s one of those novels which contains phrases and sentences which make me stop and think. I like that in a book.

Here’s one passage which has really got me thinking…

….one of Humboldt’s themes was the perennial human feeling that there was an original world, a home-world, which was lost.

That’s so true, and so appealing….from Eden, to Atlantis, to Shangri-la, to……well, think of the lost world stories which have appealed to you so much. Even modern science fiction, like the later version of Battlestar Galactica, with the search for a lost home (Earth), or even Wall-E, with the longing for the home-world before it was destroyed!
Then I came across this post on Mark Vernon’s blog (a post about Owen Barfield)……

Barfield called this earlier consciousness ‘participatory’. He argued that we moderns are passing through a phase of alienation – one that objectifies the world and so brings the great goods of science too. But it is not sustainable, because we distantly recall our participation. What we seek, he thought, is ‘final participation’, a form of consciousness that by deploying the analytical mind in conjunction with a more expansive imagination might move us to a phase where we can know ourselves as subjects and objects. Such a sense is not here yet, on the whole, but various individuals capture glimpses of it, and it draws us to itself.

In the middle of a week where rioting has broken out on English city streets, where people are beginning to ask about compassion, and connection and belonging, the themes of alienation, “smash and grab individualism”, and we are witnessing the collapses of economic, political and social orders in countries around the world, these texts seem particularly pertinent.

What’s the nature of this alienation? Of this sense of being cut off from a better world? I’m sure you could read whole libraries of research and opinion on this subject, but let’s just think of it for a moment in terms of consciousness as Barfield suggests. Don’t we need to support and promote an evolution of consciousness? From the immature, egocentric one, with it’s world-view of separateness and the reduction of human beings to objects, to a much more mature, world-centric one, where we come to know ourselves and others as both subjects and objects.
I hope that more compassionate, more humane, and yes, more human virtues and values will arise from this time.

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How about photographing something purple this weekend and sending me the link to where you post it? Or tweet it to @bobleckridge with #purpleweekend

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cloudy heavens

A church? The sky? Clouds? Spirituality?

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Be The Flow

I woke up in the middle of the night (was it the night? It was dark at least) in a plane somewhere between Paris and Tokyo. I didn’t feel too good. To deal with that, I began to do a little TM (Transcendental Meditation), and quickly, the discomfort melted away. I then slipped into something of a dream, or a meditation state, or I don’t know what, and had what I can only call an instruction. I didn’t hear any voices and I had no visual content to the dream but I had clear “instructions”. I can’t say I’ve ever had an experience like this before, or since.

The instructions were “you must write about the three rivers of Life”.

What’s that? I asked

The three rivers of Life are energy, time and consciousness.

Energy, time, consciousness. Energy, time, consciousness. Energy, time, consciousness, I kept repeating to myself, determined not to forget them and feeling that the moment I “woke up”, like with many dreams, what was clear now would disappear in an instant.

The three rivers of Life are the three flows which create Life. Everything emerges from these three rivers, and everything returns to them.

What have I to write?

Write about the three rivers. Write about flow. Write about this meditation you are going to do now.

I then practised the Three Rivers Meditation.

Why not try it for yourself?

Be the flow.

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summer clouds

Can you remember a time when you looked up at the sky, a blue sky with distinct white clouds in it, and as you looked at one particular cloud you could watch its shape constantly changing? You probably noticed how the cloud would thin out at the edges and, in many cases, especially with the smaller clouds, you could watch as it gradually disappeared.
If you can’t remember ever doing that, then do it as soon as the weather allows. Pick out a fairly small cloud and watch it constantly change shape, constantly thin out at its edges and gradually disappear.
Where does the cloud go?

The cloud doesn’t disappear. It becomes the sky as the sky flows through it.

Come and check out my new project – http://www.betheflow.net

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I think some of the best shots you’ll get come when you change your position, and, thereby, your perspective. Photos taken at eye level, looking straight ahead, standing upright are amongst the most boring one in my opinion.
Look at this flower taken by sitting on the ground and holding the camera right down on the ground in front of me….

backlit raindropped

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august travel

In my twelve monthly themes, August is the month of travel.
I thought of this theme because in France, this month is known for “le grand depart” – it’s the month everyone gets away. They leave home and go and spend some time somewhere else.
I think that’s a good activity for this month because if you go somewhere else, somewhere different from where you pass your everyday life, you’ll see new places, maybe eat different food, participate in different activities, meet new people.
This change gives you a natural and an easy opportunity to get a different perspective.
For many people, a week or two away “on holiday”, gives the opportunity to step aside from responsibilities, routines and burdens and to take a fresh view of things. Holidays are often the times to reflect on how life is going, and maybe even to decide to do some things differently.
Not everyone can manage to take a week or two away somewhere in August, but even if you can’t do that, why not take the opportunity this month to do a little traveling and change your perspectives?
You could take a day trip or two to somewhere you’ve never been before, or to somewhere you haven’t visited for many years. Maybe you could pass a weekend or two somewhere within traveling distance of home, stay over in a B&B, or take a tent!
Whatever works for you this month, try to travel a little distance (or a big one!), and do two things…..
Experience something new.
Reflect on your daily life, from this different perspective.

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