starry_night

The Stars Are Alive And Nights Like These, Were Born To Be, Sanctified By You And Me

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Starry Night, 30.X.10.
Acrylic on canvas, 16″ x 20″.
Painting by Haryaksha Gregor Knauer

During the recent British Ultra Fest at Radley College there were a few nights I was on the night shift. As the lighting levels were low I was afforded a view of  clear skies several times. The night sky represents, for me, at least to some extent, the unknown. Looking at Haryaksha’s work I felt the intensity of his sky packed with living stars and at the same time in the Saguaros, physical processes of life – again a collection of unknown (to me) yet living dynamic processes.
The backdrop to this is that I am reading a lot of Sri Aurobindo at the moment and in particular his writings about the veil of ignorance we live behind, our perception of ourselves and forces around us.

Thank you Haryaksha.

 

From: The Pan Within by The Waterboys

Put your face in my window
breathe a night full of treasures
The wind is delicious
sweet and wild with the promise of pleasure
The stars are alive
and nights like these
Were born to be
sanctified by you and me
Lovers, thieves, fools and pretenders
and all we gotta do is surrender…

Prasna Upanishad – Excerpt

And in dreams the mind beholds its own immensity. What has been seen is seen again, and what has been heard is heard again. What has been felt in different places or faraway regions returns to the mind again. Seen and unseen, heard and unheard, felt and not felt, the mind sees all, since the mind is all.

Juan Mascaró – Translations from the Upanishads

The Ultra Running Network

I have been developing several ultrarunning websites over the years most notably multidays.com and ultrarunningworld.co.uk.

Multidays.com provides news in three main categories – multiday races, 24 hour races and international ultramarathons.
Ultrarunning World focuses on UK news and UK runners in races around the world and is also the home of Ultrarunning World magazine.

There are other sites that form what I have come to call the Ultra Running Network (URN) and these include the original domain Multiday Running.com which is a collection of multiday race reports. The original site was unfortunately lost.

There is also a smaller site, Stagerunning.com which has Stage Races as its focus.

The Mythos of Bali

It has been several years since I have managed to go on a Christmas trip and Prabhakar has just sent me a link to some photos he took while he was in Bali.
Balinese dancer.

I was fortunate enough to go to Bali a few years ago and these images remind me of how life on this Indonesian island still maintains its dignity and compassion. Prabhakar portrays a timelessness in the culture of this little country that has a similar size population to that of Wales, a culture that communicates through music and dance.
Bali has a Hindu minority that is nevertheless visible and integrated into the consciousness of the people. Shrines are everywhere and burning incense and rice offerings are familiar aspects of day to day life. From this devotional grounding has developed a rich culture.
Music is central to Sri Chinmoy, who visited a few times, and I am sure that this trip brought back a lot of memories for his students who have returned to Bali and which remains a natural environment conducive to connecting with the deeper rhythms that move in and through us on our journey. Thanks for the photos.

Checkout Prabhakar’s website for his Balinese gallery.
Wikipedia – Bali

Insecurity and Oneness

This morning I opened my book up (The Divine Hero by Sri Chinmoy) and the section was called Protection-Prayers. Guru talks about inner attacks and outer attacks and that thoughts are attacking us at every moment and if they are not someone else’s thoughts, then they are our own. Very interesting.

Guru talks about feeling oneness with the world and that this dissolves the feeling of insecurity. He shows through examples that we need the left arm to enable the right arm to do things just as much as we need our legs support us and our head to carry our brain and our eyes to see etc. We need all the parts of the body to enable one part to do its job. This section is about teamwork and how, if we identify with the team, we can identify with what all the members of the team have achieved and claim that as our own.

I have felt the difference before in my life of the power that is there when I am able to make that identification and that claim. There is a sense of belonging, of connecting with something, with entering an energy field we can say and that energy field feeds us in a way we want or need. This is not just a sense of belonging to a group but an identification with the highest that we are able to experience right now, and this is the way that that is manifesting. If I feel that the Guru is the vehicle for God to manifest on earth then I can say that identifying myself with that is creating my connection to God.

There is a nicely chosen aphorism in the book:

Oneness is the perfect expansion
Of our inner reality.
Let our heart’s oneness only increase
To make us feel
That we belong to a universal world-family,
And this world-family
Is a fulfilled Dream of God.

So then I went back to the beginning of the chapter and saw that it was about insecurity. Guru opens the chapter by defining our ususal conception of security saying that “In the unaspiring life there is no such thing as security… Here on earth when we want to establish security in our own capacities and talents, we come to realise that it is impossible. Then we become a perfect slave to someone else in order to gain security.”

Insecurity for me means a loss of balance and stability in where i anchor my sense of self. I guess we have to have the experience of security before we can know what its like not to have it, rather than the more common or normal state which is insecure. Security means inner joy and confidence and these do not rely on outer material but arise from within and emerge from our aspiration and willingness to grow into our own self-transcendence.

I wondered what else Sri Chinmoy said about the topic and I found this poem on insecurity at Sri Chinmoy Poetry.

You are insecure
Because
Your belief is not sustained
By the inner faith.

You are insecure
Because
Your faith is not sustained
By the unconditional surrender.

You are insecure
Because
Your surrender has not
Breathed the life of oneness supreme.

Sri Chinmoy

The Guest House – Rumi

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 are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
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 whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

Jelaluddin Rumi

From The Essential Rumi
translation by Coleman Barks
with John Moyne

Sound & Vision

Mantras are words or sounds that are chanted or repeated to produce particular efects as realised by ancient peoples and passed down through Indian and Tibetan teachings, for example, and are still part and parcel of spiritual practice today in many traditions.

Here in this video clip the effect of sound on materials can be seen to have a clear and startling impression.