Here is a wondeful tribute to John Tavener shown on the BBC on New year’s Eve which you’ll get on iplayer if yor quick.
there’s a lovely song at the end about SHUNYA, the Void, or as Tavener says, Nirvana. I was pleased to find that Tavener along with his stated and obvious love for Orthodox Christian ideas and sounds was into Buddhist ideas (also Hindu and Islamic too). I feel honoured that I had chosen to use his visage to portray Thomas Plume in a ‘mural’ that I did in Maldon in Essex.
Surya Das in his book about the Buddha Within on p. 130 says the Buddha taught that everything is ephemeral, interdependent and in process and that…some folk have a clear sense of purpose and direction whereas others are blown about by every passing breeze. It is part of a call to be master of your own destiny.
As 2013 drew to a close I was reflecting on the bygone year and wondering if I should post my thanks to all those who helped me (in my weakness…I heard the drifter say…thanks zimmer man).
I thought if I thank JDD for letting me use his place for a small exhibition, DJ for his lovely comments particularly on my article in ABYB and on G BATCH An Introduction to Six Mystics, SB for publishing the article and so on to thank so many who really helped like MB who taught me how to coil pot again only much better than before. Then I thought if I try to remember & name all those who helped and if I listed them I would be bound to forget one or two really key folk like DD, MLL & DW without whom my journey would have been stalled. I concluded that I couldn’t list all those who helped. But I thank them.
I’ve been trying to learn how to meditate for a couple of years now as some very clever humans inform me that the skill is most important and beneficial. Up to the day before yesterday the skill evaded me. I see it as a learning curve unlike say swimming or Tai chi or Ashtanga Yoga all of which you learn in a physical, tangible way. Meditation is more difficult cos you do, nothing. That’s the point, you stop. You don’t even tink. Well, my mum Jenny used to say, I’m like, like a hen on a hot girdle ( I tink she meant gridle, a hot bed of iron used for cooking lovely drop scones on, imagine that then you get a metaphor for me). A fart in a cullender is another analogy she used to describe my blarting on long before I started blarting on blogart, HEY! I just invented a blogart- a bloke wat blarts on in the blog somewhat like a blaggart…I do go on). Jennie wer a Geordie, salt of the earth. So, after 2 yearns trying I wer no nearer being able to meditate. Then I found a meditation on the 4 Immeasurables*. And that cracked it for me in a funny way, it snuck up on me with stunning results. I had a real problem letting go of some things that occurred in 2013. I received some ignominious observations and marks during times when I was vulnerable from some who should know better. I felt hurt and en-angered (not enraged, enangered). My past conditioning would have had me confront the perpetrators of these perceived insults and have it out, pistols at dawn. Every day those insults would plague me but my four closest advisors had advisedly suggested I drop it and carry on regardless.
Anyway, I was carrying on regardless (not) and I decided to try this meditation exercise on Loving Kindness, Joy, Compassion, Equanimity. Miracle. I came round after only about 20 minutes and there in the greasy palm of my long artistic fingered hand was a solution. Thank them. For their invidious ness, because they above all the helpers & kindnesses helped me, to sharpen my mettle and keep me from conceit. They put me on my toes on the lookout for adversity with a new readiness to understand their view as legitimate observations from their respective positions, their ‘where they’re at’.their actions or absence of them, remarks & examples drove me to do more, to improve my peractice and spurred me on to write more and get published. I awoke to the Buddhist belief in being generous to others, especially your critics and denigrators.
I wer unsure if I should even mention it for fear of appearing vindictive myself and also empowering my critics by giving them the pleasure of knowing that they had an effect on me but I saw the need to rise above (my own)small-mindedness (and believe me I have some of that in bucket-loads, the smile on my face is an upside down frown, thanks John Prine). Another Buddhist notion is to move on, let go, stop clinging, to the bad as well as the good. As an ex-teacher I recall the tendency at the end of a day to recall the kids who had been most upsetting to me and their contemporaries before reminding myself about the 75-90% who had been ok or great. So, now as I look back on my teaching career I can now see the hundreds of pupils with whom I had a great time learning and growing (up or along) together. When I look at my own educators the ratio reverses, only a minority of teachers have that special something. In my case they had to be big enough to see thru the veil of idiocy I erected for my own protection. I must admit I did the disguise very well so I should forgive those who could not see through it, most of all myself. Another Buddhist ting is to learn to love yourself as you would love others or something like that. (You’ve forgotten again haven’t you you idiot. No no no, you godda luv me.)
That’s ok cos ‘everything is ephemeral, interdependent and in process’. Do not fret about scattering your pearls because only those with eyes to see can find them.
Watch out those of you with eyes to see, for new gems this year as they will inevitably appear. Take a gander at http://thepublicblogger.com/
It’s someone in the USA who has looked in at my blog whose site seems very interesting.
Events to look out for: February 3rd opening of my Bookart show at Red Lion bookshop, Colchester.
A new article in the Blue Notebook sometime in spring.
May, the Norwich artist’s book fair, I’ll be there with me mates , Gambit.
Sometime in 2014 a new PK artisbuk, Squidgerats Scribblings.
October- When I’m 64. Will You Still Love Me By Then? Thank you John & George.
That’s it fer this tweek, Boo Boo, said Yogi Bear the Injun Mystic.
Ps Warning. Please do not read on below if you don’t wish to be touched by sadness today. Below is finishing off something I began to blart about last year on how an Annie Lennox cd had helped me in difficult circumstance around about 20 years ago:
In my blog last week/year I mentioned the beautiful impact this song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HG7I4oniOyA.in by Annie Lennox had on me as I drove to see my father on his dying day. ‘Why’ was such a pertinent song, so powerful so apt for me at that time as I drove thru the night as my father’s bodily boat sank irretrievably from my grasp and I kissed his forehead as he lay there on my arrival. I think that was the only time I ever kissed him. There were no man-hugs in those days. Even when I had told him a couple of weeks before that I loved him he looked at me in a form of disbelief that came from his war-generation era and said, ‘Do you?’, which momentarily made me doubt what I had just said. But I did love him, despite and because of his weaknesses one of which was the constant need to show he was strong. Annie’s song accompanied me to that final kiss and I have tried to contac her to let her know how much that meant to me then, and since. Tho I spose she gets lots of calls like that Bless her cotton socks.