Saturday, 14 February 2015

Only the Heart can know rightly: Healing and Integration. Within ourselves and our communities.

Recently meeting a friend and attending a talk by Lama Ole's on his visit to Christchurch, one thing disturbed me, which was his constant anti-Islam rhetoric. And I have heard similar sentiments being expressed by the young men I talked with in his Diamond Way sangha here in Christchurch. Yes, I know that this is a sad sign of middle age, but I am old enough to remember the 1990s and Yugoslavia tearing itself apart, with genocide in Bosnia, as Serbs massacring Croatians, and Serbian politicians wiping up racial hatred (this now a criminal offense in the UK, as several racist Islamic preachers have been deported, and their assets seized.)

As I Londoner, I grew up in a multicultural international cosmopolitan city, and still like to imagine myself idealistically as an egalitarian liberal. In the 1990's, beginning my study for osteopathy, I was working in London as part-time as an ESOL teacher (having come back from Japan as an EFL teacher, and China the year before where I studied more acupuncture and qigong) and everyone in my classroom was a refugee, so I know the huge suffering that results from civil war and genocide, as I heard these stories first-hand. In those days, you didn't just claim political asylum to stay for years while immigration processed the application, it was usually because all your immediate family had been killed, and your life was in danger.

Yes, I know it's tough on the European Union - but everyone benefits economically from a large supply of cheap labour. There is massive immigration from the East (Poland, etc) westwards (Germany, UK, etc) and has been for more than a generation, since the Berlin Wall was pulled down in 1981, and the collapse of the Communist states.

Lame Ole knows all this - as do all the young people (mostly from Eastern Europe) I met in the Diamond Way Sangha, and continue to meet here in Christchurch. (By contrast, there seems a lack of younger people in the Triratna sangha in NZ and AUS.  Perhaps they all left to work at Windhorse in the UK, and few came back.  Perhaps Triratna has no future beyond the present generation here in Australasia, for this reason.  Soon to become extinct.  We will disappear, leaving samsara to continue to muddle along.  So much for the Bodisattva ideal.

Yet in the naivity of youth, these young buddhists seem to forget however - as in all dualism, and yin-yang, is that there always a seed of good in the bad. Think of the yin-yang symbol. There is also some REVERSE FLOW from the what egoistically we think of as the 'civilized' West, back into the undeveloped Muslim states, and other paces where life is harsh. This will the help people there. The net flow of capital is still from the 3rd world, to the 1st, the developed world, mainly from large multinational corporations, e.g. Shell, BP, Apple, Microsoft, etc, etc. In other words, the wealthy West is still 'ripping off' the developing world (e.g. Africa) and will continue to do so.

Think about the 'Tibetan Wheel of Life': In all 6 realms (the 3 upper realms: god-realm, titans, human realm) and especially the 3 lower realms (animals, hungry ghosts, hell realm) there is ALWAYS a way out, and upwards, and ALWAYS a buddha / bodhisattva in those realms to help those ready to move on, hopefully upwards, and escape suffering. There is always a way out of samsara and suffering, if we have the right attitude and metal equilibrium.
Anyway, I have included some of my favourite poetry, asking my friends to show them to Lama Ole - including 2 poems from Kabir and Rumi. How could a primitive Muslim (OK Sufi) culture ever have produced such genius and refinement?

Remember, at the time of the Crusades (OK, I admit a past-life, as a Knights Templar fraternising with the enemy) the Arab world and culture was way ahead of European culture: algebra, alchemy, algorhythm, arithmetic and may other words are all Arabic in origin. Science, mathematics, medicine, were all far more sophisticated in the Arab world than in medieval Europe.

Perhaps the conflict in the external world (the world of delusion and samsara) will always be inevitable, when we are conflicted within.   'A house divided against itself cannot stand' as another man once said. Yes, I know, this irreverence will upset some of the Western bigots, yet that carpenter modestly liked to call himself the 'son of man'.  Such humility.  Such compassion.  And if I call myself a 'gnostic' christian, then I'm sure to upset my buddhist friends.  You see, this world of delusion and duality is everywhere.

Only the Heart can know rightly:

Are you looking for me? I am in the next seat.
My shoulder is against yours.
You will not find me in stupas, nor in Indian shrine rooms
nor in synagogues, nor in cathedrals;
nor in masses, nor kirtans, not in legs winding round your
own neck; nor in eating nothing but vegetables.
When you really look for me, you will see me instantly -
You will find me in the tiniest house of time.
Kabir says: Student, tell me, what is God?
He is the breath inside the breath.
The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture.
Still, treat each guest honourably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from the beyond.


The way of love
Is not a subtle argument.
That door leads to devastation.
The birds
Make great sky circles of their freedom.
How do they learn it?
They fall
And falling, they’re given wings.


Monday, 9 February 2015

Mindfulness for Health course beginning on Wednesday 18th February at Risingholme Community Center Opawa. Places still available

Just a reminder that there is a Mindfulness for Health course beginning on Wednesday 18th February at the Risingholme Community Center in Opawa.  There are still some places available.

The Course runs on Wednesday evenings from 6.00pm to 8.00pm, and includes a course booklet and some free downloads for guided mindfulness-meditations. The course fee is kept as low as possible at $95 for the full 8 weeks, but this does not include the Course Book.

We will use ‘Mindfulness for Health’ by Vidyamala Burch and Danny Penman. ISBN: 9780749959241   
(winner of the best book - popular medicine - at the British Medical Association's book awards 2014)
This is available from Amazon and Fishpond  ($29.95 including postage)

For further information please see: