There are two things that I hesitate to write about. The first is the extended family who don’t agree with many of my views so why expose them to danger, the second is contained within the word spiritual.
Everything that I deal with in the material world – political machinations, finger pointing over some ‘how dare you!’ diatribe, even the perennial climate change scenarios which warned us of a coming ice age in the mid seventies … is woeful. There’s a communal sense of needing to be ‘on guard.’ … I don’t know what happened to “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” … resilience, resilience.
At the supermarket today and the cashier finds that the receipt roll has run out and starts replacing it as a queue forms. I can see that she doesn’t need me hovering and waiting for a receipt and so I tell her so.
‘Thanks, Darl.’ she responds and as I walk away so I’m moved to turn around and say.
‘Thanks for that, it was a pleasantry and I couldn’t help but think that if I had said ‘Thanks Darl,’ would that have been seen as inappropriate?’
‘Oh no,’ she responds, ‘I get called sweetheart and call other people love all the time.’
‘Just a sign of the times that I should even think of it.’ say I and walk away – probably leaving a somewhat bemused queue behind me. I like that affectionate expression of mateship and don’t like political correctness nor ideological standpoints.
Most of the Treeferns in the garden have, by now, unfurled their emerald green, glorious Spring crown of new fronds. They look magnificent and hopefully rains will arrive to further their growth. The earth is bone dry as I found today while digging up a small crop of garlic – and I’d watered those beds.
We have an excellent footballer here who has been prone to using social media to promote his fairly fundamentalist religious view. It hasn’t gone down well and was seen and reported as homophobic. It wasn’t – it included pretty much all of us, whom he sees as needing to repent. He’s not advocating beheading – he is Christian - but now he equates our bushfires and the ongoing drought with God’s displeasure. He’s lost my sympathy. I have no idea of which God of love he feels that he’s speaking for.
It’s part and parcel of why spiritual concerns as opposed to religious doctrine are, in my mind, such difficult areas to approach.
One man’s vision or brief entry into another reality is another man’s hallucination and – nothing can be proved so why talk about it.
Thalia and I were walking passed a local fruit shop, adjacent to the railway line, on a clear morning many years ago. Both of us glance up at the same time and mutely witness a green fireball, Traffic Light green, flame-like iridescent yet somehow contained, soundless and fast, it travelled at what seemed just maybe fifty feet/metres? above the railway tracks. It was basketball size and gone in a matter of moments - on its way high over Sydney and probably out to sea.
Wonderful though it was to witness and wonder, the event took place in the material world. So it was with a close up but not a contact UFO experience which came complete with multiple lights – yes, profound and mysterious but still taking place in the material world, to my normal senses plus a bit of heightened awareness.
Working in the rainforest, decades back, taking out and rescuing endangered or valuable plants, going in behind the loggers. We were living in a shack on a ridge at the foot of a small valley. At night it was pitch black in terms of human light. The bedroom faced up the valley and one night, two grown men witness a light which slowly makes its way through the valley landscape gradually coming closer. We witness this light with amazement and … growing fear. At first one thinks in terms of a person with a torch but this was between ‘unlikely to impossible’ in view of our location. Then there was its movement which was – as best to describe it – like a very large glow-worm on a pogo stick. It was not bright and its movement was erratic, jerky and ‘up and down.’
It passed the edge of our vision and, sad to say, both of us were so unnerved that we didn’t rush to the other side of the house to watch its journey. We have something called ‘Min min’ lights in Australia. No explanation, it wasn’t swamp gas.
Who knows what it was but we experienced it in the material world.
They’re events, utterly real, not hallucination and indicative of a universe perhaps swarming with life and sometimes operating in dimensions other than the material.
I don’t mind talking about such things. They’re not uncommon and they don’t radically change my life … that wide subject remains an ongoing interest. I find it odd that the news channels continue to treat UFO ‘stuff’ as if it’s still a subject of ridicule.
As John Cleese might say – with a stare – ‘Silly person.’
For me, there was and is Christ with his challenge, inspiration and moral framework, then the value of some yoga and a tradition which includes vast cycles of time, add to that the reality of Aboriginal Dreaming and include the venerable Chinese spiritual sources.
China has given us the I Ching, an unending source of spiritual nourishment, used by Emperors for millennia, in order to guide their actions in the ruling of an Empire.
That Empire, complete with Emperor, exists today and millions have been pulled out of poverty. Abuse, excess and corruption occur but it’s always been this way as it is elsewhere in the world - including democracies. China today, the one party state has lost something real by replacing a spiritual tradition in favour of … what? Party Personalities and ideological positions? It’s not going to be a simple matter, governing so many people and to deny spiritual life and call such matters superstition diminishes the people.
My interest in the I Ching came initially through the Richard Wilhelm translation. A concept is described, unfamiliar and contrasting with my early Christian upbringing, the one proposing ‘One life – That’s it – Get it right - Heaven or Hell await for eternity.’
The startling concept that I found within the I Ching was that there are a limited number of situations in life through which each of us move. Sixty four situations. That’s a pretty remarkable concept and a very precise number.
These situations reoccur, transform one into another and within each situation there are various places or positions such as entering or leaving that situation.
A situation such as ‘Difficulty in the beginning’ is common to a child at school as equally as it applies to someone starting a job, learning a skill, finding love or starting a rule as a new Emperor. It’s a matter of scale.
That ‘difficulty in the beginning’ is felt by me in the writing of this and so I’ll stop here with a grateful acknowledgement to the I Ching.
And that’s the problem with writing about spiritual and why, like family, I seldom feel comfortable about mentioning … what to call it? … the deeper aspects of life. Yet there’s more substance there than in much of what passes for reality.
A songbird calls in the garden. Red and blue, the Rosella sings a three note melody and brings me out to give it some seed. It’s a delight to observe. If I’m slow to answer its call, which I do with my own version of its whistle, then it tries another variety. It’s not tame, it’s flighty and recognisable by a few missing breast feathers. It’s ingenious, persistent and doesn’t mind a brief, cheerful conversation.
The King Parrots, on the other hand, resplendent in their green and red feathers, don’t call to me, yet will eat, unafraid, from my hand. They’re not tame in any sense. They’re well named, regal and at ease.
Total fire bans in place, bushfires continue to spread, no rain in sight and we’re yet to experience summer.