The condensation of thought

Photography: Staff Sgt. Samuel Bendet, U.S. Army

Photography: Staff Sgt. Samuel Bendet, U.S. Army

I live in a wing of a building of seventeenth century origin, and which is situated on the waterlands of the Somerset Levels. It’s rather ramshackle in a charming way; the current roof superstructure envelops the original thatched one for example. The walls are ludicrously overbuilt in terms of their structural integrity, being a good two feet thick. Then again, due to them resting directly upon a formerly afforested sea-bed, and so subject to imperceptible undulations from the constantly shifting peat grounds beneath, it’s as well that they are so in order to grant something level on these un-level levels, and which nature might otherwise topple in time.

My bedroom windows are of the older variety: sash-style, timber framed with large iron counterbalances attached to rope pulleys which hoist the single glazed panels. Due to the absence of any effective thermal barrier, then as my body loses water overnight due to respiration and transpiration, so it is that much of the same deposits itself on the thin glass of those panels in a process of reverse vaporization. This occurs as the vapours cool in proximity to the glass, and when the outside temperature is lower than that of my bedroom. When I awaken each morning and peer out, the world appears opaque and hard to discern.

What also happens upon awakening is that I begin to generate thoughts. My brain rises in temperature and excites, sending vapours of thought-forms out into awareness. These are seldom very interesting. It feels like an involuntary purging that the mind obligatorily accommodates in its role as facilitator of the grey matter’s largely vapid outpourings, a few of which pass muster, yet by far the greater part of which do not. So there is this transpiration of thought-forms that echoes the nightly issuance of watery vapours into the air. And what are the effects of this? Again, they are analogous: the reality of life appears opaque and hard to discern.

Some may argue that for them this is not so, and that reality appears in pellucid clarity upon awakening: ‘It’s a nice day; It’s going to be fun in the office; I bet that new recruit was impressed by what I said to her; I’ll take her for a drink later; I’d better wear those snazzy new boxer-shorts today’. Yes, for this person, the world is perfectly clear, so much so that they even anticipate what may happen within it as apparent certainties. There’s no opaqueness, there’s nothing that’s hard to discern. The weather will stay fair; so their colleagues will be in a good mood; and the new recruit will undoubtedly succumb to their further charms.

So which of us is being more realistic? Is it the person who discriminates as regards their condensations of thought, seeing them for what they are in actuality, or is it the person who inhabits them as their world itself? This begs the question as to what is the meaning of clarity. We can have clarity of thought; we can be ruthlessly logical in our discursive thinking, such that it becomes impermeable to effective opposition from the vapours of other’s thoughts. This is all well and good up to a point. Additionally though, we can have clarity about the nature of thought itself. This, I would suggest, is a necessary prerequisite of knowledge.

How then, can one tell if another has clarity? It cannot be ascertained by the precision of their words, nor by their eloquence or poetic beauty. Neither can it be known by the other’s purposefulness, nor their piercing gaze. Perhaps the better indicators come in observing a certain coolness or insouciance within the emotional stance of the person projecting their thoughts. Such attitudes may indicate a lack of attachment to the mind’s projections – the narratives it cleaves to as part of an identity construct. Another indication is the willingness of someone to laugh readily at themselves; this too indicates clarity of thought on the human condition.

As soon as we think, or indulge any form of mentation, there’s a greater or lesser condensation of thought. There’s a reverse vaporization that to some extent renders the world opaque and hard to discern as it truly is. The condensation smears out across the window of pristine awareness, fabricating incredibly intricate patterns and rivulets as it does so. To gain true clarity, we need not attempt to overcome thought though. True clarity arises with the focused seeing of the condensation, with the knowing of its same one-dimensionality as the glazing, and with the overarching vision as to a beyond of the pane itself – all of this at once.


65 thoughts on “The condensation of thought

  1. Lovely analogy of condensation on the window with the clarity of thoughts and awareness.

    I love the paintings and the photo. 🙂 Beautiful post.

    • Thank you very much for your kind words Faqeeha; I am glad that you liked the analogy.

      The photograph is of an Iraqi schoolgirl peering out of her classroom window.

      Liz Doyle’s paintings seemed to provide the right sort of imagery for the text; Liz is a wonderful artist.

      All best wishes and thank you once again Faqeeha.


      • Yes, I really like the selection of the photo showing a window and peering girl. Very relevant to the text. The paintings are showing opaqueness, which is also relevant to the imagery you have used.

    • It’s gratifying indeed Ellen, to have an artist such as yourself comment so approvingly upon the imagery I choose to accompany the text. Liz is an artist I discovered recently and whose work impressed me greatly.

      I just recently remarked to a commenter elsewhere that my challenge is to try and do justice to the imagery with my words, though this is a tall order and one I know I will always fall short of. Still, perhaps it’s always best to aim high.

      I am pleased that you took something from the text also Ellen; there’s an awful lot packed into that last sentence – the rest can largely be ignored.

      A million thanks for reading and commenting Ellen; I am always very interested in your thoughts.

      Hariod. ❤

  2. Hariod, if you are going to insist on using terms like reverse vaporization, the thermodynamically-trained engineers reading your blog are going to be confronted by a tremendous opacity of thought. It is a powerful way of making your point, however, I grant you that. 🙂

    I love the notion you have raised that the awareness of a beyond even as we are confronted by the clouded glass is key to knowledge. We get back to a faith of sorts do we not?

    (Don’t answer that!)

    I am more interested in a line used early on saying ‘I begin to generate thoughts.’ There is a passage in ‘A Course of Love’ where Jesus says something to the effect that, ‘The difference between us is that I don’t think the way you do. My thoughts are received like gifts.’ I haven’t read it in a while, and that is only in quotes because it is a (very approximate) paraphrasing, but there were two ideas in ‘A Course of Love’ regarding thought I found interesting. One, we dwell in a sort of sea of thoughts that aren’t necessarily of our own making per se. My interpretation is that it’s kind of like swimming in a shallow lake after a fleet of power boats streaked past . . . it’s all full of chunks of debris and dust and swirly floaty things. All just drifting around . . . And so that’s part of it, but then there are the types of thoughts we receive, that seem to arrive from outside of us, as if a hand bearing a sealed glass jar of clear mountain springwater were thrust in front of us while we were trudging around the speed-boat-disheveled lake. Or as if from beyond the pane of glass, a light shone . . .

    Anyway, all of which is to say, observing the thought, the fog on the pane of glass, without buying into it per se is so important. But I am curious what you think about those OTHER kind of thoughts, the madly inspiring ones, the ones that cannot be resisted, the ones that are magnetic and beautiful and transformative . . .?

    An engineer grateful for this post which inspired me to respond and think beyond the pane of glass . . .

    Another lovely post . . .


    • As to the first charge: ‘Guilty m’lud’. [Note 1: The defendant in this case admitted taking liberties with the law, and confessed that this was due to the need for concision, at the expense of precision.]

      As to the second charge: You’ve asked me not to answer Michael, so I will respect your request to remain silent and leave the question dripping from the mists of thought. [Note 2: Nothing in the article implied or meant as regards ‘faith’.]

      At this stage, I am thinking – ‘Great, I’ve converted darling Michael to contrarianism!’ And then you mention Jesus . . .

      I have to confess that my thoughts are not ‘received like gifts’; though at the same time I don’t try to banish them, or judge them harshly. How did I put it? ‘It feels like an involuntary purging that the mind obligatorily accommodates in its role as facilitator of the grey matter’s largely vapid outpourings, a few of which pass muster, yet by far the greater part of which do not.’ Given the space constraints – I’m now trying to limit my thrice monthly posts to c.750 words – that’s a fair description of my attitude i.e. a sort of judging equanimity. There’s really not much of interest going on to be frank, it’s just, well, ‘vapid outpourings’ for the most part – not very interesting at all, and certainly not indicative of an anointed one.

      You go on to quote A Course in Love, saying ‘. . . we dwell in a sort of sea of thoughts that aren’t necessarily of our own making per se.’ This is another interesting point that you make Michael. May I suggest that by removing the single word ‘necessarily’, the whole becomes more accurate? Here, we enter the sphere of volition of course, and possibly also a torturous discussion on free will. But in short, the way I see it is that volition is no more than a conditioned action of the mind; it is not a command made by an agent of selfhood. It feels that it is, in part because we experience proprioceptive sensations that we falsely correlate to agency – I feel that I am doing this volitional thinking. I have presupposed an ‘I’ that thinks volitionally about volitions. I’ve put Descartes before de horse. [I’ll get my coat.]

      You continue: ‘. . . then there are the types of thoughts we receive, that seem to arrive from outside of us . . . as if from beyond the pane of glass, a light shone . . .’ As a creative person, you will have a far greater sense of intuited creativity than I ever would Michael, though I have had deep discussions with creative people over many years, and was always drawn to such types. You seem to be indicating an illumination of sorts, which is certainly something we can all relate to I’m sure. Again, this is something I’ve gone into, and would very much recommend Jacques Hadamard’s book The Mathematician’s Mind [Publisher: Princeton Science Library] for a deeply insightful take on how creative ideas spring into existence. This is one aspect of creativity, covering both artistic and scientific endeavour.

      The second aspect of creativity, and the one that perhaps you are more interested in, is ontological discovery. This, I would say, again links back to the concepts discussed in Hadamard’s book, and are largely tied-up with how the mind incubates amorphous ideas, or ideas that only have a perimeter, but nothing contained within. This type of discovery, I would say for most people, occurs when it’s least expected. For example, the mathematician and physicist Henri Poincare had a profound revelation come to him in an instant as he stepped onto an omnibus, and after having for some time put all thought on the subject aside. Similarly, the actualisation of selflessness/non-duality/God (if you like), which is to say the ontological discovery of Self without self, occurs not as any contrivance of thought, but as a seemingly spontaneous occurrence. Indeed, it simply cannot be arrived at discursively or empirically; it is not an actualisation borne of any mode of thought, inference, logic, deductive or inductive reasoning, syllogism, faith, behaviour, ritual, or circumstance. It is not a subject realising or acquiring an object of knowledge, nor is it an object of knowledge absorbing a subject. Subjectivity and objectivity continue to sublate one another in the mind, as they always will. At the same time, the mind knows this is a construct of its own making. It sees, and after tittering for a bit, then accepts that it lives in a paradox out of necessity.

      I think this provides a little more on my own perspective Michael, though I know that readers will have their own takes on things which will, to a greater or lesser extent, be at variance. This is quite fair enough; I can only speak from my own perspective and know that others would verbalise it all quite differently; and hopefully some might air their thoughts here. My own manner of description is rather dry I know, I tend not to use words like ‘love’, ‘infinite’, ‘boundless’, ‘divine’, or even ‘consciousness’, as I try to keep the thing grounded and accessible to all, which it is.

      And now you can respond just as I did on your own site Michael: ‘I’m not reading all that!’

      Lots of love dear Michael.


      • What a joy it is to dialogue here, Hariod. You didn’t go on half as long as I did, and I have enjoyed reading this a couple of times. I do so want to be a contrarian. . . 🙂 I’m thinking. . . is that a British expression for what we might call a sceptic? Or not quite as jaded and more like one who asks for a clear argument be presented before we move towards proclaiming what we know, or can know. I am thinking the latter as I don’t experience you as jaded in any way, or as anything other than a contrarian diamond of loving presence.

        At any rate, I will come out and say it: I’m of the opinion awareness is not of purely physical origins.

        But here are some quotes from ‘A Course of Love’ that bear delightful similarity to what you have described and include the ones that I butchered in my memory. Whoops. And please bear in mind, I enjoy finding connections, but do not enjoy attempting to convince. So that is not my intent at all. My sense is that your gracious being is immune to being convinced, or to being interested in convincing, and so we can have this wholly joyous exchange as an exchange of ideas and sharing of perspectives in a rich and non-threatening manner. So, that said. . .

        “What I am striving to help you see, once again, is that union isn’t achieved with a flash of light from above, but that it quietly infiltrates the dot of the self in unguarded moments.”

        “It is THAT you think that differentiates you from me, not our content, which is one and the same. You might imagine that the WAY you think is so different from the WAY I think that they are incomparable. But thinking is not an accurate description of what I do, or of what occurs in unity. I am and I extend what I am.”

        “You may think that all of your previous learning and thinking merely resulted eventually in a new idea being birthed, but this is not the case. Heredity can be cited as a cause for talent, but what is heredity but that which already exists within you? So too is it with an idea. An idea already exists within you, but is awaiting its birth THROUGH you.

        If we return to the image of the body as the dot in the wider circle and accept that your discovery of your natural talent or ability and your discovery of new ideas are discoveries of something that already existed beyond the dot of the body; and if you accept that these ideas that already exist were able to pass through you in order to gain expression in form; then you are beginning to see, on a small scale, the action that, on a large scale, will become the new way.”

        Thank you for the opportunity to be here and share and explore new territories.


        • As I see it Michael, you are a sceptic – in the philosophical sense – whether you would label yourself as such or not. What I mean is that you intuitively sense that your natural state is not to be evidenced by means of reason and that you doubt the reliability of your senses. If you did not, you would have arrived at your union with God in thought, or in vision, or sound. Part of your knowledge of God (if one thinks in those terms – I personally don’t), has been, and still is, arrived at by doubting and testing. If I am wrong on all this then please correct me.

          So part of your faith, and as I understand it, part of any religious faith, entails the exercise of a certain philosophical scepticism as regards the conventional means of arriving at knowledge. Perhaps there are parallels here with the ‘via negativa’ of Apophatic Theology or the ‘neti, neti’ of Advaita Vedanta – ‘not this, not this.’ If your knowledge of God could be arrived at empirically then your teleological concept, which we discussed on your own site, would be redundant, as would the Telos of all other heavens conceivable by you, or any other intelligent religious devotee.

          Still, being a sceptic in this very positive sense, does not necessarily extend into contrarianism, which as you well know, is part of my own unfortunate psychological make-up. I can say it’s served me pretty well over the years, but I am not always skilled in exercising it, and so can at times rub people up the wrong way, rather in the manner of one of those irritating journalists who frequently posit a contrarian standpoint as a means of clarifying the other’s position. We British are often stereotyped as being courteous, and when I go onto North American blog sites then a part of me feels I should conform. I don’t always indulge that part of me, but I try to keep the contrarianism in check a little.

          You say ‘I’m of the opinion awareness is not of purely physical origins.’ This is tricky territory, and we soon find ourselves talking about Panpsychism and Panexperientialism, fixing ourselves into yet more ‘isms’. Whilst much of the study of consciousness is leading to conclusions in that direction, I must leave it to those with brains far bigger than mine to formulate their theories. I did, however, give a glimpse of my own take in the previous post in which I asked ‘where is awareness?’ I am not a hard materialist Michael, which I think you can guess. The question of the localisation of awareness is a dead end. Ted Honderich’s ‘Radical Externalism’ [] is interesting, but nothing beats the actualisation of non-duality; however briefly glimpsed.

          Hariod. ❤

          [Erratum: In my comment above timed at 11.33 a.m. on the 6th. I mistakenly omitted the word 'harshly' from paragraph 4. This error made my later reference to how I regarded thought with 'a sort of judging equanimity' seem contradictory. It is now corrected and so makes sense.]

          • Hariod,

            You are teaching me about the rich rewards of dialogue with a contrarian, for it is indeed helping me to clarify my position. I walk away from these encounters not quite knowing who I really am – at the same time knowing even more profoundly – which is perhaps part of the point. 🙂

            I think this ‘God’ word simply brings up too many connotations and habitual mental cohorts to be useful. The result of my endeavoring to understand ‘reality’ and ‘who I am’ has resulted in the inner experience of this word shifting quite a bit, and I fear that when it is used it may suggest a perspective on my part that may not be fully genuine.

            As I noted on my own blog in our dialogue there, it is quite impossible to know how words are received by others, and both despite of this and because of this I’m drawn to try and clarify. I guess it boils down to this:

            1) I feel intuitively and innately that the speck of intelligence and awareness I have instinctively (and perhaps naively), called ‘me’ is part of something far vaster. I am not separate from this vastness, but nor am I all of it. Our relationship (between the vastness and ‘I’), cannot be placed into words, but it is this relationship from which our inter-being is derived.

            2) I feel the vastness gives rise to forms of expression that run a gamut whose far ends I can neither see nor comprehend. These forms of expression all possess at some level a life, a power, a presence.

            3) I feel the vastness is, fundamentally and irrevocably, a priori to any forms or expressions, Love.

            4) I feel the vastness is intelligent, aware and comprehending, and that as I come to know the truth of who I am, I come to understand the nature of the vastness.

            5) ‘I’ am the vastness’s gift to myself, in the sense that it is through coming to know who and what I am that ‘I’ (as is true of all of us), glimpse the nature of vastness. I am in a sense, an ensemble of modes of being not separate from beingness itself, but still, one whose expression is uniquely suited to both express and discover the nature of vastness. In being me, I stumble into everything. All of us are like this – uniquely positioned to succeed in expressing and discovering the nature of who we are.

            And so, that vastness is what I would at this point in my deliberations call God. I don’t think any of us do much interaction with this vastness all at once. We witness or encounter it within, and we glimpse it through our encounters with one another, with images and dreams, with any and all of the countless forms through which vastness expresses. But we never sit down to tea with the entire vastness all at once. . . There is no ‘God’ like there is a ‘Michael’. ‘God’ doesn’t have a face, but every face is Hers. Something like that. The entirety I’m calling the vastness that we never quite grasp all at once, but whose essence we glimpse in every particularity, is what I think I would call God.

            I don’t consider myself a religious person, because I don’t believe the structural mandates of religion are necessary for touching this vastness, or developing an intimate awareness of it within. I think in many ways the religions reinforce the conceptual barriers to encountering this vastness on the only terms we can – through the vehicle of who we are.

            I don’t think there are any should’s or should not’s from the perspective of the vastness, any rules we are to live by, any opinions formed of how we are doing or how we ‘ought’ to be. Love has no need of these. They literally have no meaning to Love, no more than if I were to stand here in my kitchen right now and wink a flashlight on and off in some code I invented and told no one else about. You wouldn’t even see it. . . much less know my secret code. Judgments are, to a certain extent, our secret codes.

            Arriving at this conclusion, and here I again struggle to understand quite how you will have experienced what I have written so far, has indeed been the result of engaging in relationship. You could call this doubting and testing, but at some point the friend we doubt and test as a way of assuring ourselves they are engaged and committed becomes the friend with whom the validation simply becomes unnecessary, and the acts of relationship take other forms. A single conscious breath contains enough now. I imagine it is kind of like going blind, and needing to touch the walls and the road and the door handles periodically to continually assure oneself of their existence. Then this act of assurance becomes an inner awareness. We don’t touch door handles to assure ourselves, we touch them to open them.

            I think of Jesus as one mode of expression of the vastness, albeit one who succeeded in allowing the contents of the vastness to flow through his being, his mind, and his awareness in a very unqualified and powerful manner. What arises within me as a presence when I think of him is not a religious thing, any more or any less than taking in a beautiful view of the mountains is a religious thing. A radiance exists. A love is offered. Clarity is available. For those who wish to look at the mountain and drink of its beauty, they need merely turn their attention in that direction. The mountain is simply there. Neither Jesus nor the mountain have a monopoly on the offerings of the vastness, or desire to. They simply are. You do have to look in their direction to see them, but doing so or not doing so changes nothing about the vastness, about the looker, or about them. When I look at them, it is not at all clear that there are any real, firm distances or distinctions between us. . . And so, in a sense, Jesus does not exist at all. When I look strongly enough, he disappears altogether. So do ‘I’. There is only this feeling of communion that is translatable to any object or view.

            I’m entirely okay with saying we don’t know where the hell ‘consciousness’ resides. It is difficult to fathom the materialist view. It is equally difficult to fathom the opposite end of the spectrum perhaps. It may be that the vastness and the myriad forms of expression have such an interwoven relationship that we can’t draw lines between them as we are wont to do sometimes. When unified, they are each a little different than when they are split-off from one another. Consciousness may not be here OR there. I know I cannot say with any defensible certainty. I only know it exists, and this is enough.

            I am sorry to have written so much, Hariod. . . I hope I have not been impolite with your gracious welcome.

            Much Love,


            • You certainly have not written any more than is entirely welcome Michael. As I make clear in the explanatory page about this site, the intention here is for respectful dialogue and an exchange of views. Whilst it may be all very comforting to have circular exchanges in which affirmations of each the other’s viewpoint occurs, this can come across as little more than groupthink, so not essentially what I aim for on this site.

              You are welcomed with open arms to come and discuss or detail your own perspective at length Michael, and if others find your and my inestimable powers of endurance 🙂 in this regard altogether too much, then they can, and quite possibly will, skip over them. Still, I feel privileged at having responsibility for a platform in which such exchanges may occur, and the numbers engaged or the extent of the engagement are by the by.

              Thank you for your wonderful contribution Michael, and time permitting, I may come back to you on this.

              For now though, I wish you all the very best my friend.


              P.S. I hope it was okay to have broken your comment into more paragraphs than originally submitted; I did not want others to read from dense blocks of text which might have been off-putting to them.

  3. I used to have a room in a building like yours with old style sash windows. I’d get up in the morning, idly smear the curious cold moisture with index finger and consider the generations of people who slept there before me, fogging up the windows with their vapours, and carrying out this same small action . . . pondering the historical accumulation of thought forms.

    • Thank you very much indeed for adding your own imagery here Mr. T. [Apologies, I’m not sure how you’re known by name] I know well from your wonderful website that worded imagery is one of your specialisms.

      That’s an interesting idea that you posit when you say ‘. . . pondering the historical accumulation of thought forms.’ I wonder if there are metaphysicists who expand upon this idea; perhaps you are able to yourself?

      Quite possibly I have misunderstood you and that you mean to refer to the exchange of ideas in the world as producing some sort of ‘accumulation’, rather than an inaccessible and ethereal pattern or trace?

      With gratitude and respect.


      • Thank you, yes, apologies, I was a bit unclear. . . not thinking of the leftovers of metaphysicists considering this kind of thing over the centuries – although living in an old building like the one you describe, I imagine you can’t help thinking of its former inhabitants and how they thought about things in their day.

        It was the metaphor that interested me, one thing becomes another, and we could go off in the direction of ghosts here but I don’t mean that. Just something that there’s no words for. . . thoughts become vapour, the human condition, and seeing this one-dimensionality. It sums it up. Thank you for that Hariod and while I’m here, I haven’t ever met a Hariod before. Please call me Tiramit, it’s the Thai version of the sanskrit: Mitra Dhir (transcription may be incorrect), friend/strength and I like to think of it as ‘steadfast companion’. In Tolkein’s world, the Elves referred to Gandalph as Mithrandhir. At the time (many years ago), I used it as an identity for publications, it seemed like a good idea at the time. . .

        • Aha, I grasp what you’re getting at now I think Tiramit – sort of the accumulated and communal thought-plot that we get plonked into soon after we’re ejected from the womb; the matrix of thinking that takes over and endlessly seduces attention, weaving all of our seemingly private stories into a grand historical narrative that itself remains in one-dimensionality. Or something like that.

          Many thanks for introducing yourself, for taking the time to consider my words, and for commenting upon them Tiramit. I’m all too conscious that time is in short supply, that there’s so much to read from our blogging friends around the world, and so am humbled and honoured that you give a little of your time to my own endeavours. I can’t ask that you be true to your name at all times, though whenever you drop by please consider yourself my esteemed guest.


    • Hello Tiramit, so nice to meet you here!

      Your image painted here in words (and Hariod’s), reminds me that I have an artist friend who makes amazing paintings using his finger through the condensation on a steamy window, building wonderful imaginary worlds of couples strolling arm in arm and children in the park. He then takes photos of the pictures in the condensation and then exhibits the prints.

      Somehow remembering those photos seems to help me with these complicated ideas and dialogue here on Hariod’s page. Maybe most of my thoughts are visual ones, like dreams perhaps; it is only when I try and think in sentences that the problems start. 🙂

      • Hi Liz, I noticed that Hariod had leased your paintings, there’s a luminosity about them.
        Reading about your artist friend, reminds me I used to doodle in the windows of the bus going to school, there’s a curious and meaningful association here I should have mentioned in the reply to Hariod.
        Maybe I’m like you, work in a narrower range, everything is imagery, words, sounds or visuals. Do you have a link for the artist who works with the condensation of thoughts? With Hariod’s okay, it’d be appropriate to post it here?

        • Yes of course Tiramit, and you Liz too, please feel free to post the link to the artist. And if you know of any decent double glazing outfits, could you send a link to them as well? 😉

        • Hi Tiramit,

          Thanks; yes I am delighted that Hariod has shared some of my paintings on her blog, you’re of course welcome if you ever want to do the same!

          I have sent a message to my artist friend about posting a link and will let you know when I have heard back from him.

          Great to keep in touch and I am an enthralled regular reader of your blog. 🙂

    • Thank you very much for your kind words; I wasn’t at all sure that the watery imagery would meet with others’ approval, so am grateful to hear that it seemed to work for you. 🙂

      With gratitude and respect.


  4. I adore the photo – so sweet. Windows, oh don’t! I used to have the most divine view from the windows here until recently the field trees were violently cut down. I am still in shock. I used to wake to the comfort of the garden, and my heart would gladden on most morns. The seeing of trees was my reality and thus my thoughts followed that reality. Now I look onto a fence and houses in the far field . . . I don’t look anymore, we have just put up Venetian blinds. We are planting new pine trees but as the house is up for sale, we won’t see them grow. Although the housing market it dead at the moment, who knows, we might! Eve.

    • I am so sorry to hear that Eve; and I can quite understand how shocking this destruction must have been. I know that for you, the natural world is something you greatly treasure, sharing it as you do, through your wonderful photography.

      I hope you can rest easy whilst your home is on the market; it can be an unsettling time for many. I daresay your contemplative nature will carry you through any little episodes of turbulence unharmed.

      I am pleased you like the photograph Eve. Although it was taken by a soldier in a war zone, I think it was a capture of right intent, and certainly the little girl seems comfortable with Staff Sgt. Samuel Bendet’s presence.

      Lots of love.

      Hariod. ❤

      • 🙂 – Hmmm. . . yes we lost a lot of trees. The French don’t much like them and the government pays people to chop them down. They are supposed to plant new trees but don’t bother. Well, as you say, just a bleep in consciousness. Letting go. Sigh! Eve.

  5. Liz’s paintings bring out a the depth that you reflect on Hariod. I love how you have meshed them together.

    Your last words really resonate:

    ‘True clarity arises with the focused seeing of the condensation, with the knowing of its same one-dimensionality as the glazing, and with the overarching vision as to a beyond of the pane itself – all of this at once.’

    Condensation will never be the same again.


    • With true clarity, you have homed in on the words where all the meaning lies Val.

      That last sentence contains everything that needs saying; though I know full well that it can only be appreciated by someone who has actualised the meaning as knowledge.

      With great respect, and with gratitude for your consideration of my words and imagery.


  6. I saw this yesterday but did not have time to comment before my self-imposed electronic/internet-free zone begins each evening. 🙂

    You’ve done it again with the paintings!! I love your taste for abstract art – just delicious.
    I love this paragraph:

    ‘How then, can one tell if another has clarity? It cannot be ascertained by the precision of their words, nor by their eloquence or poetic beauty. Neither can it be known by the other’s purposefulness, nor their piercing gaze. Perhaps the better indicators come in observing a certain coolness or insouciance within the emotional stance of the person projecting their thoughts. Such attitudes may indicate a lack of attachment to the mind’s projections – the narratives it cleaves to as part of an identity construct. Another indication is the willingness of someone to laugh readily at themselves; this too indicates clarity of thought on the human condition.’

    It reminds me SO much of a Zen book I have at my office titled, ‘The Gentle Path.’ In it, the author talks about how wanting to save the world (purposefulness), can be just as imprisoning and egotistical for some as playing the victim, and that the true mark of a ‘centred’ individual is a mellow way of being, a coolness of emotions and an ability to laugh at oneself and not take themselves too seriously. Looks like you are pretty darn Zen in my book, Hariod.



    • Hello Amanda; it’s lovely to see you here once again. Any may I thank you very much for giving a little of your time to consider my words and for responding to them so generously as you have – thank you!

      Your idea of an electronic/internet-free zone for a period each day sounds like an excellent idea. I tend to have that myself during the mornings, which is when my mind is more alert and I can be a little more contemplative/reflective. As I’ve admitted already in the article though, the rest of the time it’s all pretty vapid nonsense!

      It’s interesting that you picked up on my observations about psychological traits in relation to clarity Amanda. I actually thought that people might take issue with me for the way I expressed my views on this. It’s far more vital than I made it sound in the article (space constraints!), and yet there is still this interior coolness, insouciance, or nonchalance about whatever thoughts are flowing through awareness. I daresay you are perfectly familiar with this in your own experience; it sounds rather as if you are, so excuse me for blathering on here.

      You created quite a stir with your piece the other day about fairy tales; it all sounded so innocent at first . . . 🙄

      Hariod. ❤

  7. Bodies that breathe, rooms that hold the breath, mind with thought that coordinates, holding it all together?!?. . . Imagination can run amuck here as that sash, stone and thatch have witnessed so many human story variations that could be told. What did it, does it, will it all mean? Our thinking now makes it so.

    ‘A man melts the sand so he can see the world outside. . . midnight is where the day begins’

    Immediately during my read this song came floating in. Can you hear the squeak in the background track from my chair rocking keeping time to my contemplations while sat over in the corner of the room? 🙂

    It is a great privilege to sleep in places on this planet where there is little need to focus on how soundly it can be done. I have spent precious little time in places where I had to worry if the panes would presently be shot out. I find it incredible when such facts in reality can be met with a smile.

    I have been looking recently at the work of the anthropologist Wade Davis as he investigated the potential impact that seeing all the death and human suffering at the front lines of WWI had on those who then went on to first attempt to summit Everest in the 1920’s. Once we have peeked through the looking glass at death, no matter how clear or opaque the look was, I think it can’t help but change how and what we think and then see. Reality? What is really real anyway?

    ‘To sleep, perchance to dream-
    ay, there’s the rub.’
    Hamlet (III, i, 65-68)

    A good chunk of the time I suspect I am most likely more awake when I sleep.


    • It’s lovely to have you back on planet earth M; I’ve missed you – have you been away girdling the globe in your magic bus again? If so, I hope all the time travellers were kind to you.

      Your video choice is deep and excellent; the silica liquefies in the overarching vision etc. I occasionally did a little business with Paul McGuinness (U2’s money guru), back in the day.

      I’m pleased to hear that your contemplations are rocking M, 🙂 though I somehow imagine that sitting is the least favoured of your modes. A diamond geezeress such as yourself always has things to do, people to see, ducking and diving, bobbing and weaving, amongst the trees, above the clouds.

      The little Iraqi girl in the photograph is smiling to Staff Sgt. Samuel Bendet through her classroom window because he and his pals are delivering new desks to her school. Hopefully, she is safe and well there now. I have just watched a film called ‘Children of Syria’ which is a BBC production made by their Canadian correspondent Lyse Doucet. The poignancy and power of many of the children’s words was quite extraordinary.This afternoon, I shall read this:

      You asked about ‘reality’ M. – possibly the most useless word in existence, along with ‘existence’. Nuff said.

      ‘Ay, there’s the rub’ 😉 And to finish just for now: ‘What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty! In form and moving how express and admirable! In action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god! The beauty of the world. The paragon of animals. And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust?’

      Hariod. ❤

      • I am tempted to let the air of mystery and adventure hang around my time, but in actual fact I have had a few domestic situations requiring my time and have had my attention on the little fur entity who shares my home as he has once again hit a rough patch, and at 18 (88 in people years), it is a challenge indeed. WordPress family remain never far from thoughts though. -x.M

        PS: Just last week we were reading this in my home as a refresher. . . will attach the synopsis, but there is a link in the body for the expanded article. Had been looking for a good, less biased history point on Middle East mess. Left as a thread for others to follow if so interested as well:

        (H, if I ever link anything that you wish not to have attached, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO DELETE. NO offense will be taken!)

        • I heard about Luke over at Marga’s place M. I never quite understood the allure of ailurophilia, though I am conscious that pets are very much part of our close family. I recently lost ‘Nellie’, my beloved Border Collie, which I may have mentioned, and the tears certainly flowed at the loss of her.

          Many thanks for showing the link to IAK here M; if it is good stuff, and even if unrelated to contentedness and all that malarkey, I am very happy for it to be shared. The world is in a dangerous state now in more ways than one; and we can only hope that this is being seen as widely as possible.

          Lots of love to you, N and L M.

          H. ❤

  8. I love the way you describe thought as vapour. . . It is indeed created to be sent out via the waves of invisible threads as it reaches out into the day, gathering momentum as it clasps and attaches to another thought, gaining momentum like a train with carriages picking up like minded individuals to be carried to their destination. . . That’s why it’s always wise to choose a positive thought, for one never knows when that train will return to its starting point. . . us. . . and bring with it back ten-fold that which we sent out. . . ‘What goes around comes around’ 🙂

    Loved your analogy of condensation. . . Brilliantly written. . .

    Have a blessed day. . . and weekend.


    • Thank you so much for taking the time to read my offering here Sue, and also for providing a most valuable perspective on the effects of our thoughts which you accomplish with vivid and plangent meaning.

      I have become aware of late that you are a highly respected member of the blogging community Sue, and so it is an honour to have you visit my fledgling and still hesitant attempt at a foray into that world.

      With much gratitude and respect.


      • Hariod, the pleasure I assure you is all mine; and you are by no means a mere fledgling. . . Your wingspan is wide and your heights of flight soar with intelligence and inspiration. . . I am so happy our paths crossed. 🙂 And many thanks for those kind complimentary words.



  9. I like the vapors of thought forms imagery too. And I can relate to the two types of awakening you describe, opaqueness and also the thoughts that appear clear but are in reality unrealistic. I have a different experience from time to time, or at least I believe it is different that what you are describing. An example happened a month or so ago:

    I had been trying to write a post and became very frustrated because I couldn’t remember the timeline of the events I was writing about accurately. I finally gave myself permission to not answer the challenge. When I woke up the next morning the first paragraphs instantly came into my head completely formed and I ‘knew’ how to make the whole thing work. That clarity seems like a completely different type than the unrealistic ‘clarity’ that you describe. So is this a third form of awakening, or am I misunderstanding?

    • If you will forgive me Karuna, I would like to avoid any detailed discussion on ‘awakening’ in the ontological sense. I used the term in the article merely to indicate its conventional sense; that’s to say, ‘awakening’ from sleep. Not everyone who reads here concerns themselves with the former concept, and in any case, I rather regard most designations of ontological knowledge as being somewhat misleading. Terms like ‘self-realization’, ‘spiritual enlightenment’ and ‘awakening’ all, to me at least, connote some subject/object relationship. The implication is that the subject of ‘me’ acquires or absorbs into some object of ‘ontological knowledge’ – or vice versa. So these conceptions all are founded on a false dichotomy, and it is this that binds the spiritual seeker to their acquisitive pursuits.

      Still, some readers, such as yourself, rightly perceive and have their own understandings on moments of self-transcendence, or non-duality, and the links between that and psychological well-being. Because of this, I made a nod to such ontological knowledge in the final sentence: ‘True clarity arises with the focused seeing of the condensation, with the knowing of its same one-dimensionality as the glazing, and with the overarching vision as to a beyond of the pane itself – all of this at once.’ Here then, is the point at which subject and object mutually sublate one another whilst being ‘held’ in a unified vision wherein those distinctions are seen to be constructs of the mind alone.

      Coming back to your comment, you refer to a very interesting phenomenon: ‘When I woke up the next morning the first paragraphs instantly came into my head completely formed and I ‘knew’ how to make the whole thing work.’ Allowing questions and ideas to incubate whilst we are asleep is a very powerful way at arriving at understanding, as clearly you know from personal experience. I have read about this as a known phenomenon amongst great minds in the spheres of science and the arts. It applies equally so to far-from-great minds such as my own; and it helps sometimes to put the conscious, thinking mind on idle and to rest in the knowledge that mind is still at work, though now at a deeper and more intuitive level.

      I am very grateful to you Karuna for reading this article and for so graciously contributing an insightful and helpful comment; I truly appreciate it.

      Hariod. ❤

      • And in my example, it took my letting go of the plan to EVER write the post before my conscious mind was able to quieten down and for the unconscious process to start working. I like your phrase far-from-great minds! I’m definitely in that category too.

  10. Hariod, you bring such vivid life to the page, and to the world. Thank you so much for sharing this beauty!

    • Hello there Lauren! It’s great to see you here! And thank you so much for taking a moment or two to read my words; I truly do appreciate it.

      I daresay my articles must appear dryly prosaic compared to the imagery you so regularly present to us on your own site; though you have rather more going on in your life than I do!

      Ah well, what can I do now but draw little pictures in the condensation of my rickety old existence. Thank you once again for being so considerate as to look upon them Lauren.

      Much love.

      Hariod. ❤

  11. Although I can’t attest to a person’s clarity, I do enjoy noticing those who seem attentive to the moment. Living in a small town, most of us have shed our urban veneer, so there isn’t that aloofness to shelter behind. Still, there are those who simply wouldn’t see the condensation on the glass, let alone recognize you at the post office.

  12. I enjoy your visuals and your contemplation. I am an artist and photographer and have had a lot of opportunity to travel to third world countries with my wife who is an opthamologist and volunteers her services there. We are still involved with this activity.

    I purchased your book today and I am looking forward to exploring it. I am inspired in making a connection with another who reflects in a likeminded way.

    At sixty years of age I am feeling somewhat discouraged in my feeling that humanity has lots its way, or humans have lost their way, in their humanity. My sense is that it is awareness that will allow us to find our way back if it is not too late.

    Thank you for your contributions.

    • Thank you very much Gord for reading this article and for introducing yourself with a comment and related reflection.

      I will make a point of visiting your website and taking a look at your artwork and photography if I may. You can probably tell from your visit here that abstract art is a particular love of mine. I do, however, always include what I hope is a high quality photographic image with each article so as to sustain the human interest, so to speak; and so it is gratifying to have an artist such as yourself make a compliment as regards my selections – thank you Gord.

      Many thanks also for purchasing a copy of my book; I hope that you find something of interest in there.

      I share your slightly bleak assessment of the state of the world. It’s hard to see how anyone reflecting at any depth upon the situation could not feel likewise. One senses that big changes lie ahead in the not-too-distant future, and none of them are going to be good. What will hit first – economic collapse, escalating warfare, or environmental catastrophe? I am reminded of a remark once made by Woody Allen:

      More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness, the other to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly.

  13. I love old buildings; just touching the walls feels good. It’s touching ‘time’, as I feel with rocks and stones among other aged objects. Your house sounds lovely; I’ve been to the Waterlands on the Somerset levels, so have been very close to you and your home at some point, which is nice. I usually awaken within a dream which vanishes very quickly, and so tend to let that drift away and come to slowly, the older I get. Clarity: you know when you have it I think – “True clarity arises with the focused seeing of the condensation, with the knowing of its same one-dimensionality as the glazing, and with the overarching vision as to a beyond of the pane itself – all of this at once.” this is spot on, as ever; I love it as it hits the spot exactly for me.

    – Sonmi writing on the condensation of the window upon the Cloud

    • I do so agree with your comments about old buildings Sonmi, and for that reason love to traverse The Levels from my home and visit Wells Cathedral, which stands some six miles away in the foothills of The Mendips. I usually go at teatime so as to catch Evensong and the wonderful choir there. As the attendance is minimal, the service is conducted in the Quire, with its far more intimate setting than the Nave. The Quire and transepts at Wells were constructed, with modifications, over some 70 years, having commenced in 1175 upon the grounds of the original Abbey Church which dates back to 705. The entire building, as it stands today, was completed some 300 years later, just as the Dissolution of the Monasteries came into effect! During that time of upheaval, the Quire would have housed various livestock, with all manner of less-than-holy activities going on there day and night. So you see, the feeling one has listening to the choir recite the psalms, or sing an anthem, is very much a sense of timelessness, and which is transmitted palpably through the stone walls and the many secrets they hold. My own home holds rather fewer secrets, though I have heard tell of a few strange goings on here, particularly when the place was overrun by attendees of the local performing arts festival during its incipient years. The lady farmer who lived here at the time awoke one morning to discover a large male hippie asleep in her bath, fully clothed, and apparently perfectly serene and smelling of Patchouli oil. Upon awakening by the farmer, he politely enquired as to the availability of eggs, and the likelihood of them being served fried on toast.

      Thank you so much for your interest and reflections Sonmi.

      Hariod. ❤

  14. I was discussing with my husband, Charley, all of the ideas within your post and of course those within myriad of rich comments offered. We began to talk about our own worldly perspectives and how very different they were. Charley is trusting in a naive sort of way and he sees the world in another light. I seem to view everything “through a glass darkly”. I am a true cynic and am constantly amazed at his ability to see the world through “rose-colored glasses”. [I hope you are appreciating my appropriation of other’s descriptive phrases to describe our innate differences.] Two people, living under one roof, reacting in our own way to each person, each occurrence, because of our deeply imbedded past experiences which have essentially made us who we are at this moment in time. This morning, after Charley took his shower, there was a huge heart traced into the steam coating the glass door. It had our initials inside. C.S. We have the same initials, but we are very different people with very unique personal histories and so the world beyond the frosted glass is our own to navigate sometimes alone but most of the time together, even though our view of it may not be exactly the same.


    • Thankyou very much, Clare, for this lovely reflection. You made me think about whether I am more cynical than sanguine, and cannot be sure I really have the answer yet. There seems so much to be cynical about these days, when we look at the environment and the threats it faces, or our corporate-sponsored political systems masquerading as democracies, or the smoke and mirrors that is the financial system and Neoliberal Capitalism. I am cynical about all these things, and of the many who promote and sustain them self-interestedly – how could one not be? Then again, my everyday disposition perhaps leans more to Charley’s seeming sanguinity. I am not optimistic for humankind, but there is a sense that if, like almost all species, ours in time disappears, then life shall continue here, and likely on many other worlds within the cosmos.

      I warm to the rather romantic notion that the universe is slowly becoming aware of itself through the interconnectivity of life forms, and whilst I generally am wary of teleological perspectives, then it does seem to be so that there is an increasing integration of individuated awareness. The brain is a system of interconnected nodes, I gather, yet which together forms an endogram which we think of as consciousness, and which allows a small portion of the universe to be aware of itself. Perhaps through our individual brains, and their access to technology, we slowly are creating another form of quasi-neural connectivity?

      This all sounds rather fanciful, and in truth, I spend no time thinking that way. But there is something within which tells me of my utter insignificance, and a sense of freedom comes with that – the feeling that however things pan out for myself or for humankind, that life continues in abundance unconstrained by individuated concerns. I am reluctant to call it a spiritual feeling, but cannot think of a better term.

      Perhaps that kind of feeling is behind Charley’s tracing of the heart in condensation? I really would not know of course. And perhaps a sensible place to be is somewhere between the cynical and the sanguine, for to lean too much in either direction denies the existence of opposites? You seem to be a woman of good and beautiful heart, Clare, and I cannot help but think you too stand somewhere in the middle of this spectrum.

      With much gratitude and respect,


      • When I’m reminded of the vast universe surrounding us and our small part in it, I do feel much better, Hariod, and with it comes that sense of freedom of which you speak.

        I have a young friend who lives in the Basque country. He stayed with us as a college exchange student. He was even more pessimistic than I at the time, and I would often attempt to get him to lighten up. He was so serious about his studies, his grades, his job potential back in Spain, his future. His stock response to me was, “‘Tis what it ’tis, Clare.” I constantly assured him that he would do well and he had a bright future because of how hard he always worked. And he was a truly good person. Fast forward a few years and he has an excellent job, a girlfriend and wonderful future prospects, and when we Skype, he is always smiling.

        My real cynicism, due to a myriad of experiences with family and friends, lies in trusting other people in my own personal life. I have a terrible aversion to people who lie or are not straightforward. And at the other end of the spectrum, I can tend to be too truthful and it is off-putting to many.

        I’ve read your posts, and the ones on forgiveness and on family relationships are those I revisit the most. But I just cannot bring myself to be more forgiving and this is where my cynicism becomes evident. I don’t feel a heart that is pounded like a piece of cube steak becomes, like the meat, more tender. I think the pounding can often result in a toughness which can not be undone.

        I think I’ll visit your blog for a while. Thanks, Hariod, and have a peaceful week.


        • Well, trust amongst friends and family is surely something to be treasured and honoured, as it is really quite a rare thing it seems, Clare. I often think it to be an aspect of love, in fact, and an indispensable one, without which there can be no true and full expression of love. But we cannot just give our trust naively, of course, and that is perhaps where it is healthy to exercise a degree of cynicism as regards others’ motivations, remaining sanguine as to the possibility that this may be misplaced, yet affording ourselves the protection that it does? Forgive me, but we are animals by nature, and should not be excused this animal instinct to caution through some misplaced notion of human exceptionalism, some assumption of innate goodness and purity such as we project onto the new born of our species.

          As I was suggesting in my previous comment, dark and light does exist as opposites in many, and few are they who are truly harmless, experience tells us. Some do not even understand their darker motivations; whilst others project their insecurities and self-loathing outwardly and onto us – often even onto those they claim to love, and certainly in familial situations this is commonplace. I think trust has to be earned, and that takes time, it takes repeated encounter, and it also surely takes honesty. As you suggest, it is all but impossible to trust in the mendacious – not just trust in their words, which clearly is impossible, but trust in their fundamental integrity, their moral compass, to coin a phrase. To be cruelly and intentionally hurt is bound to carve a deep furrow into our psyche, and there I must remain silent, as I never have had this experience.

          With sincere best wishes, dear Clare.


          • Hariod, I agree with your perspective on trusting others and do feel somewhat better now about my innately unforgiving nature. I, myself, have a very thick skin and don’t feel I’ve been as cruelly hurt as others I’ve known. But from my own experience of watching someone I deeply love being intentionally and cruelly hurt by someone he loves, I must say, I definitely think this is an even worse experience. I know it’s carved a deep furrow into my own psyche. It tends to bring out that dark side of me and remind me of my mother’s so aptly-put advice – “If you take her on, you deserve what you get.”

            Thank you, for your always calming words, my friend.


              • Thank you, Hariod. I know I’m too old to change my sometimes (many times)unappreciated ‘candour’. I also know myself well enough to realize I never would want to change. I’m comfortable in my ways. And soon I’ll be old enough to be deemed cantankerous. I’m okay with that, too. Peaceful dreams, my friend.

  15. Hmm . . . I’m not sure if I’m deceived into confusing my thoughts about reality, with reality itself. I might be. Of course, I can sit down, consider my situation, and realize that there must be a difference between what’s happening out there in that part of the universe that is not me (i.e. most of it) and how that situation is then represented in my head. Unfortunately, I then instantly forget this distinction when it comes to interacting with the world. On the plus side, I’m more than willing to laugh at myself, so I guess that has to count for something.

    • Yes, it’s about our presumption of Naïve Realism, Bun. Whilst we can reason out that what we take to be the world, is not in actuality the world, and hence that what we take to be our self, is not in actuality our self, for everyday purposes we assume our consciousness is synonymous with those things. To dramatise, we might say we’re inhabiting some kind of dream state – a quasi-reality forged in mind that issues in part from assumptions, memories, dispositions, fears, desires, and all manner of a priori biases. As you so rightly say, the best thing is to laugh at it all and not take ourselves too seriously. Many thanks for your kind interest, and with all best wishes, Hariod.

      • I’m relieved to hear I’m responding in the best way. Not taking myself too seriously is one of the top items on the (disconcertingly short) list of things I’m really good at. 🙂

        • Being human is largely to be in a position of absurdity, it seems to me. Perhaps the only true signifier of our intelligence is the capacity to recognise our own condition as such? 🙂

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