Fork waters

Terrain 1. By Béla Borsodi, Vienna

Terrain 1. By Béla Borsodi, Vienna

I swim in currents of sensory stimuli; each illuminating with a greater or lesser lucency the waters I navigate. That which glows brightest through the fluids of potential experience causes awareness to snorkel in its direction. Relentlessly, forks appear in the pelagic wanderings of my life, and a selection is to be made as to my orientation. What determines any choice and propels me along this fork or that, remains opaque to me for the most part; it simply happens. Once in a while, I am forced to surface, to tread water and reflect. I am at what appears to be a critical bifurcation; my decision determines whether I sink or swim. Or so it appears as such to me.

With a shift in perspective, I see that the myriad forks which appear before me are of but a single perceptual stream, all a flowing continuum within a singular oceanic awareness. It is a life analogous to liquid in so much as it may course freely in all directions, yet remains within a torrent of unicity I see reflected in memory as life. One moment I funnel through tributaries, the next I am the limitless ocean. Now I apprehend only the flotsam, and next I behold the very depths. One is not distinct from the other; it is all but a frame of reference as to what makes it seem so. I cannot choose the ordering; yet in possessing a degree of buoyancy my drowning is spared.

And what if I seldom perceive the oceanic; what if my experience comprises solely the blind propulsion of the senses? Before too long, I feel inundated; my buoyancy begins to fail me; I am sinking. Wading onto shores beyond these metaphors, I may speak of becoming stressed, or increasingly prone to anxiety. Everywhere I look I see only chaotic presentations of imagery. None of it runs together seamlessly. Everything is fractured and pulling me in differing directions; I become exhausted and confused at the brutal cleaving of percept from sense. The mind aches for tranquillity, for perspective; objecting to objectifications, it hearkens for signs of peace.

How may the mind hear them, and what comprises such signs of peace? To hear distinctly requires a soundscape of silence. Only against such a backdrop can each sign be made distinct. In any cacophony we hear all and nothing at once. So, we come back to the body, to the silent knowledge of our being which some regard as presence. We hear the sound of silence, feel our occupation of pellucid space, and simply know that we are. Try this: At the end of this paragraph, the word ‘peace’ appears. As your eyes settle on that word, hold the vision whilst drawing back telescopically into a sense of beingness, feeling the space you occupy. This is our sign of peace.

Terrain 2. By Béla Borsodi, Vienna

Terrain 2. By Béla Borsodi, Vienna

This simple technique is a refuge from the storm of sensory stimuli. It can be applied in any situation, for we are never apart from ourselves. When we find our mind inundated, when the cacophony appears, we come back to our silent knowledge of being. First, attend to a single sense, such as the breath as felt at the nostril or in the movement of the abdomen, then hold to that whilst telescopically drawing back as before into feeling the space you occupy. As we become skilled in this, which takes many repetitions, we find the body is flooded with feelings of calm; a suffusion of delight supplants the incipient stressfulness and a sanctuary is found within.

The perception of chaos and the inhabitation of a stressed mind both result from our estrangement from the simple peace of being. We instead dwell in a frightened and confused self-narrative which feeds off a heedless attentiveness. Undirected, our attention causes that which was first spoken of, and once again we face a cascading of the senses, an onslaught of forks in a fast-flowing river. We frantically attempt to plot our course, yet are diverted in wrong directions incessantly. Time speeds up; we fight to control our chaotic mind and are caught in a story disordered by a random pagination. Stop. Rest now in the sound of silence and at the sign of peace.

Even when life flows serenely, we still may take delight in our sense of beingness. That is because it is innately delightful, not by dint of contrast, for it is what we are in essence – silent, peaceful, contented. Many tend to disbelieve this; they assume there’s a wishful spinning of thought, some naïve New Age trope-mongering or similar. Or they envisage a labyrinthine teleological path needs pursuing to reveal the truth of it. This is not so; it is all much simpler and immediate; we are not seeking the apotheosis of Nondualism or Zen. On first hearing such an assertion, one may well feel dismissive, for what earthly use are silence, peace and contentedness?

We come back to sensory fragmentation, to the renegade and perfidious attentiveness which renders life episodically fractured and jarring. Rather than seeing the complete picture – a unified presentation of myriad fluxing phenomena – we see the whole divided, apprehending what we think of as unrelated imagery in thought and physical impressions. Though artfully contrived, the photographs here demonstrate the mind’s perfidy as perspective shifts; the unity of a single scene fragments into four quarters. Discerning the integrated wholeness, awareness is known as it is and always was; the mind quietens; the body pacifies, and we are reposeful.

 

127 thoughts on “Fork waters

    • Many thanks for reading in any case Moi; I should say that I would only rarely go so far with analogy and metaphor – that, I think, is really best left to the poets, and I certainly am not among their number.

  1. Great meditation, Hariod. Watching the video after reading it – whew! Nice. Frantic and effective. I had to stop it midway to calm down – oh! (that’s the pause that effects insight). You’re very adept, wise one. ❤

    • Thank you very much for reading and reflecting here Meredith; I appreciate it greatly. I thought I should include the video just in case anyone wasn’t quite sure what I was aiming at with this piece, and didn’t get the play on words of the title. Take care dear Meredith, Hariod ❤

  2. Hariod, you write of depth. Then again, your writings in this post are deep – very deep. As with the deep ocean, the light of your words is only just filtering down to me. I have read them once but know I need to re-read them several times in order for the beauty of your thoughts to be fully revealed to me.

    • Thank you very much indeed for reading this month’s offering Paul; I appreciate you giving the time to do so and for commenting with a reflection of your own. I do hope this article didn’t come across as too cryptic, though I think that is a danger when one veers into analogy and metaphor more so than is helpful – not something I am normally prone to do, though perhaps on this occasion I did. Thank you once again Paul. All best wishes, Hariod.

  3. Hi Hariod,

    I tried to swim along with your words, propelled by the senses, making every effort to bask in their glow, yet I must confess I had to look for footholds. Having failed to find them in the ocean, I tried to concentrate on the ‘sensory stimuli’ and could only gather a few emotional sensors.

    I have never been dissuaded by the forks, and could navigate the stormiest of waters myself. There was a time when tempests could cause turbulence, incite my emotions, but no longer so, as their power has waned and they fail miserably to affect me.

    I am very thankful to you dear friend, for stimulating my thoughts to the level of understanding of your insights about life, and for responding to them.

    With reverence, Balroop.

    • Hi Balroop,

      I think you have understood well enough my dear friend, and I must apologise for the slightly stream-of-consciousness feel of this particular piece. I am never quite sure in what style any of my short blog articles might manifest to be frank. I know what it is that I seek to transmit, yet each piece seems to carve its own contours and this one, for some reason or other, wanted to dwell in metaphor rather more than is my normal inclination.

      You are a strong woman Balroop, in being able to chart the high seas of life with an unwavering equanimity. That is a domain for the very few, and of them, a number possess a certain brittleness to their emotional composure. This rarefied field is for those who truly understand the nature of thought and feeling, and do so not with any forced detachment, but with a vision unencumbered by erroneous self-narratives. You have my respect for this.

      With reverence, Hariod.

      • Hi Hariod,

        Thanks for understanding me so well from my few musings, I am touched by your discerning eye that pierces through the words unlike many, but I have to confess that it is the fire of life’s furnace that molds this strong individual.

        My first introduction to the stream-of-consciousness style was through James Joyce whom we had the obligation to read and understand as young students of literature. However, we always discussed his digressions and scoffed at them! Eliot and Woolf too made us stumble, but I learnt a new style and slowly started appreciating it. You sometimes remind me of these writers. Many thanks for getting me back to those cherished times.

  4. It is interesting, when we allow our selves to quieten our minds, which in turn can “pacify the body”. I love the terminology that you have used because that is just what happens for me. And of this comes the wonderful reward for these efforts, that is the ‘simple peace of being’. It is a very good place to be I feel.

    Warm regards, Karen.

    • Hello there dear Karen; thank you so much for visiting once again and for considering my monthly offering just here. You seem to have a firm grasp of what it is that I am pointing to in this piece, not least of all, I suspect, due to it being within your own sphere of experience. I very much hope that you are keeping well and that your muse is with you; I daresay we will be hearing more on that front in your own space before too long Karen.

      Warm regards, Hariod.

  5. As we clear our minds of unnecessary clutter, we become more awake and aware. We recognize and strengthen our connection to the truth within. With fewer distractions, even the most mundane task, object, or thought offers insight. As we restore balance and harmony to our mind, we feel a greater sense of serenity, peace, and tranquility within.

    Aah . . . that’s better!

    “Inner peace is the ultimate source of happiness and joyfulness.” ~ Dalai Lama

    • I certainly would not wish to argue with any of that Nancy. Do you have any suggestions as to how we may clear our minds of this “unnecessary clutter” – perhaps some technique that you yourself utilise? May I ask also, could you express in a few words for us what this “truth within” amounts to? The idea of such a thing seems a little abstract and distant without your further elucidation. I am sure we would all be greatly appreciative of any additional insights you felt able to offer here. Many thanks for your interest and generosity Nancy; with all best wishes, Hariod. ❤

      • The truth within => balance, harmony, serenity, peace, tranquility, light, love, a sense of oneness, etc.
        Technique => meditation, following the breath, realizing we are not the thoughts we think.

        • May I ask Nancy, when you realise this “truth within”, as presumably you have at some point, does it remain forever present, or can it be superseded by what I suppose we must, in contradistinction, describe as a non-truth? Thank you! H ❤

            • I shall wrestle away with diligence Nancy! Actually, your lovely quote reminds me a little of some words from The Pali Canon, and in particular the Buddha’s final words to his attendant and trusted disciple:

              “Therefore, Ananda, be islands unto yourselves, refuges unto yourselves, seeking no external refuge; with the Dhamma as your island, the Dhamma as your refuge, seeking no other refuge.”

              – Maha-parinibbana Sutta, Part II, Verse 33

              I asked the question of you as I have always felt a little uncertain of this notion of ‘Truth’ when it comes to ontological knowledge, and have resisted using it myself in the past, as I have also with the term ‘Reality’. It of course depends upon context, though I feel that for the spiritual seeker (I do not care particularly for that term), the notion of any such final and ultimate ontological ‘Truth’ can be pernicious, particularly when thought of as some sort of internalised revelation, some ‘possession’, as it were. It seems to me that this is the paradox of spiritual seeking; that is to say that in the end, the seeker themselves (as self-conceived) must disappear in the moment that what is sought, is revealed. This then leaves the question of what it is that apprehends the revelation, and the paradox comes full circle. Food for thought; not your preferred chocolate, but something to chew on awhile perhaps.

  6. This flows perfectly and takes the reader along, separating the scribbled chaos of the sounds, sights and indeed all stimuli from the whirlpool and leaving one calm, but still connected. Beautifully written as ever. The video is an excellent visual to extend the initial images/image at the top too.

    Fork waters. I immediately thought of ‘Fork Handles/Four Candles’ *laughs*.

    A lovely start to day, thank you H.

    – Sonmi floating upon the Cloud

    • I just knew that you would be the first Sonmi, and possibly the only one, to get the Ronnie Barker slant. When the silly idea of it first came to mind I thought I should dispense with it immediately; but as it sort of fits quite well with the ideas in the text, then despite the admitted naffness, decided to risk all and run with it. I think it unwise to get too precious about these sorts of things here in Blogoland, as after all, no one cares anything like as much as the writer; that, I feel sure, is the brutal truth of it. Then again, to make even a single connection with heart and meaning is surely worth the dilly-dally and occasionally brief toiling that goes on behind-the-scenes.

      That is why I must thank you so much for your supportive words of encouragement Sonmi, for taking a few minutes to listen to me wandering around my head whilst I sit alone here beside my trusty Rayburn Royal on the Waterland of the Somerset Levels. I only inflict this sort of thing on subscribers here once a month, yet still I feel both humbled and gratified that there are any of the same, and that they too should actually consider what is offered. All the more of a delight it is then when one of refined sensibilities, way beyond my own, does just that and leaves me a cherished note of approval. A thousand thanks float up to the sky and are yours fork heaps.

      Hariod ❤

      • I think it’s a marvellous way to combine a little humour with content, and that is the finest fare so far as food for thought goes, and it also illustrates your point too. You have a great sense of humour, it’s a part of you and therefore a part of your writing, though my sensibilities are somewhat lower down the scale from yours I can assure you, *laughs*, below the water level of that pretty land you have as your home (which Sonmi has visited three times herself). The stream of conciousness you emit works a treat, and it’s a form of writing I really enjoy, and must admit find myself employing without choice. You bring out something soothing in people, and that’s quite a gift.

        – Sonmi smiling upon the Cloud ❤

        • “The stream of conciousness you emit works a treat, and it’s a form of writing I really enjoy, and must admit find myself employing without choice.” – You crack me up Sonmi, truly you do; subtle but utterly priceless as ever! How else can one possibly write, in a stream of unconsciousness perhaps? Then again, there are one or two blogs I can think of that if not written precisely from a place of somnambulism, induce the effect within the reader quite readily. I daresay that my own efforts are far from being immune from this accusation at times; oh well.

          And before I forget, please consider the above obscurity for this year’s Cloudies – under the usual award category it goes without saying. One or two people seemed a bit miffed not to be walking away with the WTF Cloudie last time ’round, and I can see that I may have to redouble my efforts if I am to stand a chance of even being shortlisted. Tell me, do you accept bribes? I have some vegan toothpaste, an easily repairable piece of 1970’s Chinese automata, or an unforgettable WordPress password – the choice is yours but for a promise!

          Three times you have visited here you say? Did you manage to escape before they initiated you as a Goddess? I must say Glastonbury is good fun like that; everyone wants to transform you into someone else. Why, only the other day I was walking down the High Street and met no less than four reincarnations of King Arthur, six of Queen Guinevere, and several folk who appeared to be in some sort of in-between condition, doubtless not having proffered the necessary sum for a full transformation. There’s more Pagan millionaires here than you can shake a broomstick at.

          H ❤

          • *laughing* No, I meant that most people have a very structured, premeditated (rather than post?) style, which doesn’t flow as though straight from brain to pen/fingers/wax tablet, but feels. . . stilted I suppose; whereas your writing does not have that ‘text-book’ feel to it. And this is bearing in mind I know how meticulous you are with your grammar. And grandfather too in his time I’m sure. Tis an art, and comes naturally. *nods*.

            I do take bribes but no one as of yet has been able to afford me. *falls about*. I liked Glastonbury, yet despite being what some might describe as a hippy (I haven’t got a beard with beads in it or anything mind), I find most of the shops very. . . commercialised, full of the same tat. My draw are the shops that sell rocks and minerals as I’m quite wild about them. I studied Geology, and also had a pet rock as a child due to my mother being scared to death of pet poo. Tis a miracle I turned out so sane isn’t it? Hahaha. *adjusts the biscuit tin on her head*.

            You shall get your award in Devon H.

            – Sonmi laughing upon the Cloud

            • I like certain stones myself, and at one time collected only those that had holes in them. I managed to secure a hundred or so over a period of a few years, though gave them away to a friend because they were said by the witches of North Cornwall (where once I lived) to have healing powers. The idea is that you string them together and hang them outside your house to ward off disease and ailments. I kept two for myself, along with a few special stones without holes in them. They are like the relics of saints or some such, and I treasure them for some odd reason. I daresay when you refer to rocks and minerals you are meaning something a bit special and rare, and my stones are really only special in the forms they present, not the substance that they are. H ❤

              • I like the sound of them very much. I collect stones that are. . . just stones I guess, as well as having some pretty polished ones and big chunks of fossils. I always ask friends to bring me back a stone from the places they visit. They’ll remember at some point, and there will be the stone. A friend brought me back one he threw at a monkey when he was in Nepal. It was attacking him I should add! Anyway it’s a plain piece, but it has history, as they all do I suppose *laughs*. I also have quite a few stones from waterfalls up the west coast of Scotland, which is one of my favourite areas to visit. They say you shouldn’t take stones from such places, and beaches too. They can sod off though.

                On the subject of witches, I once had a huge old witch ball, one of the fragile glass ones. It was green and I loved it very much, however someone very tall knocked it with their head and it smashed, so it is no more, but I enjoyed my time with it. *smiles*.

                – Sonmi skimming pebbles across the loch from upon the Cloud ❤

                • I used to visit the West Highlands regularly many years ago, and would never fail to be enchanted by the place. A friend lived a relaxed life as an incipient alcoholic cocktail bar waitress-cum-concocter in a permanently deserted hotel up in Lochinver, Sutherland, and so that was a regular stopover place during the seventies. She would have a frantic session only when the fishermen had came home from the sea and left their catch at the local fish market. They would then head for Jacqui’s bar and get pasted trying to keep up with her, though none would succeed. May and September were the months I would prefer to go – not so many midges – and I have so many fond memories of the glorious scenery, the magical moments besides the waterfalls that you mention, and the sheer overwhelming wilderness of it all. Sorry to hear about your witch ball by the way, that’s a blooming nuisance, though I trust the evil spirits remembered you were not one to be messed with, and that they continue to do so. If not, you can have my green glass fishing net ball which serves the same purpose for me in the bay window of my lounge. H ❤

  7. I tried to read this yesterday but my attention wasn’t up to it. I’m glad I waited; this is a fabulous piece of writing. It is also very timely for me. My regular meditation practice has become more weekly than daily and my stress levels are becoming unmanageable. I’ve been struggling with forks in the water and starting to drown. My whole sense of purpose and my fundamental philosophies are shifting and causing me anxiety. I’ve been aching for the peace but not able to pull myself out of the flow for more than a quick gulp of air. Thank you for throwing me a lifeline. I’m off to meditate now. 🙂 Love the art and the pun by the way. 😀

    • Diolch yn fawr Sarah; to come back and have a second bash at this touches me greatly. The first commenter here aroused once again my prior suspicion that I may have gone overboard with this one – probably far too much metaphor and analogy for a non-poet such as myself. So, that you have persisted and found fit to offer such generous and gracious feedback has completely made my weekend – thank you so very much; your words are cherished.

      I am so sorry to hear that the waters are turbulent currently dear Sarah; yet surely your art is at times a wonderful refuge is it not? Perhaps that is rather facile a thing to say, and I know that life as an artist is far from being without challenges – I lived with a professional painter once, and despite their eminence the challenges were many and fierce at times. When you refer to your sense of purpose, do you specifically mean your artistic expression?

      Ydych chi’n hoffi siocled? 😉

      • I think your writing is an art. In your comments you talk about each piece carving their own contours. This is what happens when I create. We are only partially in control of our art, and we need to let it have its way. To restrict our art to cater for all tastes is wrong, I think. We can’t please all of the people all of the time, so we need to stay true to our artistic instincts.

        By the way, your title immediately made me think of the “Fork ‘andles” sketch too. 🙂 This then led to me looking up the Dirty Hungarian Phrasebook sketch by Monty Python on YouTube. (I don’t know why – the connection is rather tenuous. 😉 ) Have you seen it?

        The waters are always turbulent when I procrastinate about meditation. I’m like a depressed person coming off their meds because they feel better. I’d convinced myself that I was getting better at being present throughout the day so that it wasn’t so important for me to sit. I wanted to be less like the crashed out Buddhas in this other timely article – http://buddhismnow.com/2015/02/07/crashed-out-buddhas-by-ajahn-sumedho/. However it seems that I’m not practiced enough to be able to achieve this without my daily meditations.

        As to the reason for the turbulent waters, well, that’s a long and tedious story that I’m not sure is appropriate for this space. Suffice it to say that my art is the least of my worries and does indeed provide some slight refuge.

        Oh, I love chocolate ❤ , how about you? Cadbury's is by far my favourite even though it might seem rather plebian to the gastronomes. I'm a bit concerned that the new American owners of Cadbury might fiddle with the recipe. They'd better not or I might have to unstiffen my stiff upper lip. 🙂 I also came to appreciate dark chocolate after attending several long (i.e. longer than a few days) Buddhist retreats run according to the Thai Forest tradition. We're not supposed to eat after midday but dark chocolate isn't counted as food for some (rather convenient) reason. 😀

        • Just on your opening remarks there Sarah, I do find that in writing a piece such as this, I become submerged in some new mood that seems to come as much from what is being written as my emotional state prior to commencement. I probably am not expressing this very well, and as I do not consider myself to be creative in any true sense, such as in the way that you are, then this is probably the reason for my inability to describe the sensation clearly. It is for me, no more than a glimpse into what it is like to be creative, though one that I value greatly as the years progress.

          Ah, so along with Sonmi you too have picked up on the Ronnie Barker theme of the title; I rather imagine this will be lost on most non-British readers; though as I said to her, I thought I would run with it anyway and risk readers’ thinking oddly of me. [Strictly entre-nous, I suspect that is largely the case in any event.] I didn’t recall the Dirty Hungarian Phrasebook sketch, so have just wandered off to view it – wonderful! And if only policemen these days were so vigilant. 😉 On a related note, I am relieved to discover from your response that my attempts at communicating in Welsh had not been unwittingly copied from some mischievous website! 😮

          I had previously read Sumedho’s article in Buddhism Now, and think it is wise for each of us to stick to our routine whether the mood takes us or otherwise. I used to do six or seven silent retreats a year for many years, and oddly, the ones I considered cancelling due to feeling under the weather physically quite often turned out to be particularly interesting. I take it that you practice Vipassana Sarah, and I wondered whether your connection was with Amaravati? I met Sumedho once at Oxford University where he was giving a talk to The Buddhist Society, and found him to be quite a commanding yet very friendly and approachable presence. Have you met him yourself?

          As to chocolate, then it’s dark all the way for me. H ❤

          • I think all human beings are creative in some way. The way you describe your writing process is very familiar to me as a creative process. Also, your choice of art to illustrate your words is also evidence of your innate artistry. You may not have created the images yourself but you are sensitive to their content and how they interact with, and enhance, your writing.

            I do indeed practice Vipassana, how about you? I started with a couple of silent retreats at Gaia House in Devon but as soon as I found a suitable place in Ireland I stopped going there. I’ve never been to Amaravati but I have indeed met Sumedho, Sucitto, and a few of the other monks from Amaravati, Chithurst and so on. They come over to quite a few venues in Ireland. They have close links with a retreat centre called ‘Sunyata’ in County Clare, and with the Thai community all over Ireland. ‘Sunyata’ also invite other teachers, like Stephen and Martine Batchelor, over. I haven’t been able to go for a while though, due to family commitments. I find the senior monks to be impressive human beings and evidence that the Buddhist path is a worthy one.

            It would’ve been funny if you’d found the Welsh equivalent of “my hovercraft is full of eels”. Then all your Welsh readers would indeed think oddly of you. 😉

            • Your words are altogether too kind dear Sarah, though I will readily accept their content even knowing that I deceive myself in the process! I am also very pleased that you appreciate my choice of artwork, although this month’s offering was unusually mundane in the nature of its content, with all due respect to the masterful photographer concerned.

              I do believe I spoke to the people at ‘Sunyata’ some years ago; it was when they were renting rooms out for private retreats and I was then considering the same. I am so pleased to hear that they are flourishing in their endeavours; that must be very gratifying for them, and a boon for so many others such as yourself of course.

              I practised Vipassana and Metta for some twenty and more years before drifting into something a little freer and perhaps Zen-like. I was very obsessive in my Vipassana years, sitting for 4 or 5 hours a day for the whole of that time, more when I was on retreat of course. This was purely a reflection of my lack of acuity, nothing more.

              Hariod ❤

              • Sunyata is well worth a visit if you don’t find traveling a torment. It’s a very peaceful and beautiful venue; there are some photos on their website http://www.sunyatacentre.org/. If you still do private retreats I’m sure the people at Sunyata would be willing to negotiate. They are very accommodating, particularly if you are willing to help out while you’re there. The facilities are basic but adequate. Do you still go on retreat at all?

                • Thank you very much Sarah; I will look at their website with interest and keep the link for future reference. That would certainly be my preferred accommodation should I decide to visit the area, particularly so given your kind recommendation. I ceased attending retreats a few years ago because my home life had become most conducive to silent formal practise and mindful living. Also, I felt retreating at a monastery had rather run its course within me after what I called my ‘Vipassana years’ just above. I continue to live contemplatively, and have a morning routine of seated practice, though no longer sit to the same extent as before. Thank you for your interest and for engaging with me Sarah; it is lovely that you do so and I appreciate it greatly. Hariod ❤

                  • How wonderful to have a home that is so conducive to your practice. I find it very hard to be peaceful or mindful in my own home for any length of time. I suspect though that the contrast between our situations is not entirely unrelated to the contrast between the quality (and quantity) of our respective practices. 🙂

                    It’s not a chore to engage with you, as you put it, so there’s really no need to thank me. However, since you have, I must also thank you for this pleasant discussion. I really appreciate being able to touch on subjects that I haven’t had much opportunity to discuss elsewhere recently, especially with someone who has far more experience than I do.

                    • Thank you so much Sarah; it is indeed a pleasure to share words with like-minded individuals – and please think of me as nothing more than an equal in terms of paths, practise and so forth. As I said just above, my length of duty in sitting was purely a reflection of my lack of acuity, nothing more. The true indicators of wisdom are seen in displays of honest civility, compassion and humility, all of which I detect in abundance within you, along with much else besides.

  8. Dear Hariod,

    Such an important piece and I don’t think I fully grasped it. It requires rereading several times. I am very easily over-stimulated and could not watch all the video. Not quite sure of visually how to understand: “hold to that whilst telescopically drawing back as before into feeling the space you occupy”. Mooji, too, speaks about space and pulling back into awareness or consciousness to find peace. It is the ego/body/mind that allows us to be over-stimulated. A very valuable piece for those who can fully grasp what I cannot.

    Thank you for the thoughts, techniques and description of it all. xx Ellen.

    • Hi Ellen,

      You appear not be alone in getting a little lost in this one, and I’ve remarked to one or two above that I seem to have veered a little too far into analogy and metaphor on this occasion I fear. I was conscious of having done so prior to publishing, but nonetheless will be interested to discover the overall impression from readers once all the feedback has come in. It can be quite fun to write a little more in a stream-of-consciousness kind of way, though of course, there does need to be some meaning imparted to the reader!

      That is most interesting that Mooji uses the idea of drawing awareness back into a sense of our being. That of itself is not too challenging; the part that takes practice (and which Mooji also advocates?) is in holding onto the original object of awareness – be it a sight, or the feeling of our breath, or whatever. Developing that skill does result in always having a sanctuary accessible; a place of tranquillity and repose that we can access in any and all situations without the need to close our eyes and make the world disappear.

      In my opinion, and for what it is worth, you would do well to stick with Mooji on any contemplative practices dear Ellen, for he is a teacher and I most certainly am not. All that I present here on this site are the findings of my own deepest explorations, which I am happy to share and receive feedback on. Nothing is meant to stand in contradistinction to the several wonderful teachers that live amongst us, and I must say that from the little I know of Mooji, you will doubtless be receiving wonderful guidance from his illustrious quarter.

      Thank you so much for reading and for sharing your reflections Ellen; I truly value both my dear friend.

      Hariod. ❤

      • Oh, Hariod, please don’t judge your piece on my reaction. I seem to be very obtuse about these things. Others may understand all. I am sticking with Mooji but I am in awe of your posts, and comments, and involvement. Mooji has me and that is what will go for me, maybe until the end of my life, but certainly for now. Doubts arise, but he says doubts are common. He doubted his guru, Papaji, in the beginning. I wish I had not started so late on this road. Thank you for your sensitive comments and insights. xx Ellen.

        • It is very true Ellen, doubts are not only common, they are absolutely par for the course. In orthodox Buddhism, it is only upon reaching the first stage of sainthood – Sotāpanna or Stream Winner – that doubts disappear; and only a very few practitioners get to that point in short time. There is no rush for any of us, for the many blessings of a wholesome path are reward enough as you know. H ❤

  9. I so enjoyed this brilliant video that so perfectly illustrates your brilliant post, Hariod. It reminds me a bit of William James pointing to “the blooming, buzzing confusion.” And it seems to me that resting in Rumi’s field beyond ideas is the place of peace. I do see non-dualism a bit differently, however. For me it is not an ‘apotheosis’, at least not in the traditional sense. It simply means going beyond judgement and discrimination to that place of the direct experience of Being. Perhaps the holiness of the present moment is a kind of apotheosis.

    • Thank you so very much John for taking the time to consider this month’s offering; your presence here is an honour and I always benefit from your erudition and generosity, as do others, I know. You are right, the choice of the term ‘apotheosis’ should perhaps be reserved for certain historical adepts of, say, Taoism and Buddhism. Iron Crutch Li and the rest of the Eight Immortals were raised to the Taoist pantheon, where the term must surely apply; though perhaps a better term as regards Nondualism might have been ‘apogee’, or something similar, and as far as I know there is no history of deification amongst past adepts of Classical Advaita or Zen. Perhaps this is a little odd in some ways, for I am sure you would agree that whatever the tradition, the apogee of each is of the same nature. Still, it is best always to remain true to such traditions, and in any case, I am hardly in any position to take a Professor of Philosophy to task over such matters!

      Thank you again John; I send my very best wishes to you and to Caroline.

      Hariod.

  10. I love this Hariod. There is something magical in the chosen words. I felt myself drawn to the movement and sensations. I too will come back to this when I am home and have easy Internet access!

    • Oh, thanks so much Val; clearly you have your hands full currently – probably with yoga students – so I appreciate that trying to absorb this untypically(?) oblique offering may not have come at the best of times for you. You appear to have found something of value nonetheless, and I am very grateful to you for your generous words of support and encouragement. Be well and happy Val, Hariod ❤

      • Thanks H! I’m actually with my 89 year-old mother-in-law and family trying to handle diminishing health and an inability to let go. Another fork in the road of life.

        • Ah, I can only say that your mother-in-law is fortunate indeed to have you involved during this challenging phase. I am all too familiar with the sort of situation you describe Val; so please take care to preserve your own energy my friend. H ❤

  11. I waited to read your post at a time when I could give it my full attention (or as full as my monkey mind is capable of). It felt like a meditation just to read it. I love the part about the effect on reflecting on the word peace. And I chuckled with your statement “On first hearing such an assertion, one may well feel dismissive, for what earthly use are silence, peace and contentedness?” Oh, what a blessing it is whenever we can get a taste of silence, peace and contentedness. Awesome imagery throughout.

    • Thank you so very much dear Karuna for lending your ear to this month’s offering; and of course, for adding such a generous and encouraging reflection of your own. I trust that during your amazing sojourn in India, which I read all about with great interest of course, that you did indeed find more than a few moments of silence, peace and contentedness. I am sure that this will have been the case, even if your exploits at the recent Superbowl did not permit as much, yet instead provided an almost unbearable measure of fervour and excitement. My, what a contrast to the sub-continent and your beautiful ashram.

      With much gratitude and respect as always Karuna.

      Hariod ❤

      • Amma’s way is more about stirring our stuff up so we can work with it; with the goal being peace, silence and contentment. So, my experience is often more like being on a roller coaster. But yes I did experience all of that in India.

        And the Superbowl brought up every emotional possible. What a time it was! There may be more similarities between the two places than you would think. I would have to ponder that one! 🙂

    • Thank you very much for reading this offering; it is a little untypical of my style – if indeed I posses anything that might be called ‘style’ – and I’m not usually quite so oblique in my delivery. I do hope I have not scared you off with this, on your first visit, though it seems not, and I am grateful for your reflections. All best wishes, Hariod.

  12. I tried the ‘telescopically drawing back’ technique a few times dear Hariod. It was far easier for me to anchor in the breath, the sensation in the nostril and abdomen than the visual drawing back exercise. Maybe ‘many repetitions’ is the trick here.

    Saw the video you posted; it was quite interesting to observe the mind dance with the objects on screen and notice the slight agitation it caused at a physical level as well. I felt that if the video was any longer I would’ve easily been able to experience an amplified level of agitation, just ‘watching the screen’.

    Somewhere along the playful watch though, something happened without intention. The eyes found rest on the red box while the objects continued their dance in the periphery; as the eyes rested, the agitation started receding as well.
    What do I take from this?

    It’s crucial to carve a moment of rest in the chaos before the mind and body find themselves trapped, agitated and overwhelmed. That rest may take any form – a quiet conscious breath, or a visual breather – but it allows somehow calm to again find its way in and there’s maybe a possibility of recaliberating the senses and hence the scene.

    Many thanks for this reflection my friend!

    • I am genuinely touched that you would engage with what I wrote here Precious Rhymes; truly I am. These monthly posts I make are in truth more just little prompts and anecdotes for gentle consideration, whereas my ‘pages’ [see menu icon to left of screen] carry all the detail for those who may wish to go a little deeper. Much to my surprise, most subscribers here appear to have some formal practice of their own, mainly with recognised traditions such as mystical Christianity, Taoism or Buddhism, and some, perhaps such as yourself, living contemplatively within their creative endeavours. I can certainly tell that you are well-versed in attentiveness and awareness skills of course.

      You are correct about the exercise in drawing back telescopically whilst holding to the original object; it does indeed take very many repetitions to master this and is not something we may come to quite so readily. It is effectively a counter to what I call ‘dumb’ awareness and which falls victim to distractedness, thus comprising no more than the attention plonking itself around hither and thither whilst absenting all knowledge of our beingness. So it really is a question of mastering the sustaining of our engagement in life. For the most part, we tend either to be aware of our body and thoughts, or of externalities. In developing presence, we come to integrate the two quite delightfully.

      Thank you so much once again dear Precious Rhymes.

      Hariod ❤

  13. Hi Hariod,

    I, too, read this earlier in the week and knew I had to come back to it when I could give it undivided attention.

    I especially enjoyed this part: “all much simpler and immediate”. Good days, bad days, satisfaction, disillusionment – the older I get, and that seems to be more evident recently, the easier it is to roll along with the ride. Even turbulence can’t last forever, change is constant. As time seems to move more quickly with aging, in some ways it relieves me of clinging too tightly to whatever difficult part of the web is being spun at the moment. It’s like they say of the weather here in Oregon: “What is the weather outside? Wait ten minutes, it will change.”

    But, I am with you here; some form of practice and attentiveness is useful. I have been reading Don DeGracia’s book on OOBE’s in which he very succinctly describes his practice of relaxing the body while focusing more attentively at looking into his closed eyelids. When I try this, it puts me right to sleep! Not that I have much trouble sleeping, but this definitely puts me on the fast track to meet the sandman. Perhaps I’ll not be any good at OOBE’s, but I am enjoying the relaxation it brings.

    I like this post because it is so descriptive of your experience. Others have said something similar. It’s as if I am inside you, riding along through the fluidity of the metaphor and the experience you describe.

    Hugs my dear!

    Debra.

    • Hi Debra!

      How lovely of you to come by, and not only that, but to show such commendable perseverance with my oblique offering; I am therefore doubly humbled, nay, triply so! And yes, being an oldie myself I quite understand the point you make about the pointlessness of clinging to anything, save that is, to one’s dentures, and hearing aid, and walking stick, and pain killers, and Werther’s Originals – though you probably wouldn’t know about those.

      Actually, I downloaded DonDeg’s eBook on OBE’s just a few weeks ago, but as of now have had no chance to explore it. I wondered if you might write an article on it at your place; that would be most excellent and I would take a lead from you should you choose so to do. I’ve had a few OBE’s come unbidden in the past, but it would be quite fun to be in firm control of it. Deep states of concentration are another route into this sort of thing as you probably know.

      Thank you so much once again dear Debra for your interest and reflections; I do so hope that my over-elaboration with metaphor and analogy was not overly burdensome. That is not really my style, though for some reason I became possessed in that way with this one – too much time at Michael’s place? And I apologise also for what must seem a strange title; that is something of a British in-joke as one or two here have spotted. In case you were wondering:

      Hariod ❤

  14. What? I was bamboozled! I didn’t get it until I saw the video. I thought the first photo was four photos put together with a few continuations of objects. Which is pretty cool in itself, right? I had no idea I was actually looking at one photo all along! That was nuts!

    • Thanks Tina, for enduring this rather oblique offering. There was bit of an obscure old English joke hidden in this – something to do with the video you can see just above your comment here. [Fork waters/Four quarters] I also, somewhat bemusingly to myself, went a bit overboard with analogy and metaphor on this one (I promise not to do that again), and seem to have perplexed more readers than you can shake a stick at. Ah well, you win some, you lose some eh?

      • Well a lot of this came from your book. I think it might make more sense in that context where the language has been made clear. Still, the visual component probably made it worthwhile to them, don’t you think? I thought that part was a perfect illustration of stepping back to see the whole, an emphasis on the senses as illusion.

        • Yes Tina, these once-a-month posts that I do are often just little vignettes really, tasters of what one might practise and glimpses of how one might come to view awareness in any more sustained form of contemplative living. I used the title “Fork waters” (which is admittedly clumsy), so as to subliminally suggest and reinforce how the photograph directly beneath it may be perceived. That is to say, as “Four quarters”. Then later in the article I showed the identical scene from a different perspective which straight away unpacks the illusion. And finally, I thought it would be nice to add the video just to prove that it really was one scene and not four. Okay, okay, I probably overthink these things. 😐 Thinking of you often Tina, and hoping that things soon start balancing as they should for you – easy on the Heidegger that girl! H ❤

          • I loved that you had the video too. I wouldn’t have understood, actually. In fact, I kept rewinding the video to be sure I saw it right. Trippy! I really didn’t know it wasn’t four separate photos. That was one of the coolest conceptual art pieces that I’ve seen. You seem to find these really neat things!

            I didn’t get the “Fork waters” but once again, makes perfect sense now.

            Now that I’m doing the PT, I’m feeling a bit more foggy headed. They say this is normal because my brain’s trying to compensate. But it’s looking like Heidegger is out of the picture for a little while. I can barely read a novel right now. I spend a great deal of time staring off into space and feeling annoyed at my lack of productivity. I know what you’re gonna say. But. . . you know me.

            Actually, commenting on other people’s blogs is about the right amount of reading/writing for me. I find that at the end of writing a comment, I’ve reached my limit and I’m already distracted. . . “Ooooooo. . . that plant needs to be watered. I think I’ll stare off into space instead.”

            • I love that your humour remains irrepressible despite these huge obstacles you’re currently facing Tina. Not having your intellect, I can only imagine how frustrating it must be not to be able to engage the mind as you normally would. Staring into space is something I do quite a lot of actually, and rather like the sensation if truth be told. o_O

              • Haha! Well, you’re probably engaging in deep insights about the unity of the mind and body when you stare off into space, whereas I’m thinking, “I’ve got to make a phone call but the phone is five feet away. Hmm. I guess I won’t make that call. I should write a note to myself that I need to make that call. But the pen and paper are also five feet away.” A very different sort of mind-body problem.

                • Oh God, I hadn’t realised it was quite so grim Tina; although I daresay you’re telling the worst of it just here (I certainly hope so), and that the effects ebb and flow in some degree – you mentioned before a rare trip to the supermarket. Then again, how do you know in advance when things might soon take a turn for the worse? You almost certainly don’t I would imagine. And as far as my own mid-space staring goes, there really is nothing special go on in the least. In fact, there’s nothing going on at all. 😐

                  • You’re right, it comes and goes. Luckily, I do know what triggers it. It’s navigating crowded places and taking in a lot of visual stimulation (hence the staring off into space – that’s my being lazy). When I go to the grocery store, things get terrible and I usually just clog the aisle while clutching my shopping cart. This whole experience is teaching me to be more patient with those folks who always seem to be in the way!

                    The thing is, I’m supposed to do these sorts of activities to retrain my brain. So after hearing this, I went to The Gem and Mineral Show, which is basically like diving straight into the deep end. It’s the worst imaginable situation for me right now. (The Tucson Gem and Mineral Show is this huge international event that takes place every year in February. I might blog about it.)

                    Anyways, that was insane. I managed to make it through because my husband was there to think for me, drive me around, walk me down the narrow aisles and do all the bargaining. I’m crossing my fingers that these ventures are training my brain and will reap benefits in the long run. My natural inclination is to avoid moving and turning my head, but this will only make things worse, according to the people at the balance clinic, who don’t have an official diagnosis yet. I suppose the proof is in the pudding, and the pudding won’t come for at least a month.

                    • That’s so funny. You know, usually I don’t dream. When I do, I’m usually balanced, although sometimes when I dream just before I wake up, I feel that pressure in my head even in the dream, and I think about it in the dream. Usually it’s the pressure that wakes me up. Hmm – now I’m wondering if that’s why I keep waking up too early.

                    • I asked because it’s possible to train new ways of moving simply by thinking about it, strange though this may seem. And when we dream, we think about our body and limbs moving through space. The very act of thinking ‘paints’ new movement patterns by forging new neural connections, which are themselves patterns of movements ‘etched’ upon the motor cortex region of the brain. A guy called Moshe Feldenkrais developed a system of using this technique many years ago. Of course, it can’t overcome any extant physiological limitations.

                    • Hmm – I wonder if the exercises I’m doing are similar. I stare at the letter ‘A’ from six feet away and shake my head back and forth for thirty seconds, then up and down for 30 sec. Then I hold my thumb out and focus on that, doing the same thing. I have many more such things. I can’t imagine anyone could do these without getting dizzy. So is his idea to visualize yourself somewhere moving about? I like that idea; it sounds like less of a pain in the neck – literally.

                    • I practised The Feldenkrais Method, as it’s known, for a couple of years, so as to help with some postural problems. I wondered at first if it wasn’t just another weirdo nostrum that worked only as a placebo, though I found it very good indeed. And given my scepticism, then it can’t have been a placebo effect. You have enough daft suggestions on your plate Tina, so I’m certainly not suggesting it for you, merely mentioning it as a point of interest, and in connection with my question about dreaming.

                      Nearly all of the practise comprises physical movements, because they are the most efficient way of retraining the motor cortex. Practise is done in group sessions, or as one-to-one therapy in private. I did both. However, it is only the message of the movement, which may be powerfully imagined, that impresses upon the motor cortex. The brain doesn’t care whether your leg actually moves, or does not. I only read one book by Feldenkrais; it was called The Elusive Obvious.

  15. While studying for my bachelor’s in journalism in the late 1979 at the University of Maryland-College Park, Hariod, my minor was in physical education. My most interesting course, I found, was titled “Controlling Stress and Tension.” The instructor brought an array of techniques before us throughout the 15 weeks, and we knew that we would all have to pass a final in which we’d be hooked up to blood pressure and other stress-indication monitors and put in any number of stressful conditions. I found deep breathing and self-visualization to be my most effective manner to focus inward and lower all the outward signs of stress and tension. It was much like what you described here. For the final examination, I was put into a chair much like when you visit a dentist, and electrodes were attached to several parts of my body. I was made to watch films of industrial accidents that were quite grisly and horrific, and scary movies of the most terrifying genres. I put myself into my sunny beach, evened my breathing, and passed the test easily.

    • Thank you so much for reading Mark, and for adding such a fascinating insight into your training as a journalist; I truly appreciate it, as will others here. I had often wondered how journalists prepared themselves mentally for the horrors and distress that many would presumably encounter at some point during their lengthy careers. Naively, I assumed that there was no such training, that one was either ‘tough’ enough psychologically, or not, as the case may be. And yet it seemed likely to me that of those seeking such a career, only a minority would have any such capacity.

      If I read the above correctly, you are saying that the course you took on “Controlling Stress and Tension” was part of your bachelor’s degree in journalism, rather than the physical education course, and that the subsequent physical analysis was necessary to pass. So, in other words, the journalism student has to prove their fitness for the job not just intellectually and creatively, but physically too – is that right? Unless I have you wrong, that is quite a revelation to me Mark, and I had no idea. Did you ever encounter horrific scenes in your work may I ask Mark?

      • I must have been unclear in my comment. Much apology, Hariod. To get a bachelor’s degree at the University of Maryland, one must declare a major course of study and a minor course of study. My major was journalism, which I indeed went on to succeed in as a career after graduation. I selected physical education as my minor because at the time, my focus was to become a sports journalist. And I did become a sports editor and columnist for a dozen years, before switching to write about music and entertainment. In any case, the Controlling Stress and Tension class was part of the physical education minor, though it was extremely helpful in the deadline pressures that faced me as well as the news judgment decisions I had to make in the daily newspaper business from 1979 to 2013. That’s the year I was laid off after 29 years employed at the same paper and then accompanying website. Now I freelance for several media sites and a magazine as well as write for my own blog. And I still must control the stress and tension of juggling all those responsibilities. Thanks for your interest, Hariod.

        • Thank you for the further clarification Mark; I appreciate you taking the time to do so. I gleaned an insight into the American newspaper business when I watched The Wire, and there was an entire series based on it. I daresay you will have caught that given your status as a veteran journalist? David Simon has since become someone I hugely admire, and of course, he was a journalist on The Baltimore Sun prior to his move into film making. Your profession of 34 years and counting is indicated, even here, in the way that you write Mark – clear, punctilious and relevant – a model for me to aspire to, that’s for sure.

          • David Simon also attended the University of Maryland at College Park, Hariod, several years after I did, and worked at the campus newspaper, The Diamondback – a daily of which alumni are very proud. Simon went on to do very great things. Thank you for your kind words. I enjoy reading your blog, Hariod, because your descriptive manner of writing is refreshing, and so differerent than newspaper journalism.

  16. Hariod,

    This mind scape is so well illustrated and illuminated both in words and in art, though for the latter I’m referring to the photos of course. I spend a lot of time in these fork waters of which you speak – the top, fragmented, twisted image – and so often forget that the bottom image is within reach. It often feels so unattainable. Your words and wisdom, paired with the beautiful art work, are a visual and heartfelt reminder of what lies within all of us.

    Thank you.

    Lauren ❤

    • Thank you so much dear Lauren; you seem to be one of those who actually gets the point behind this one. I fear I made the whole a little too oblique for many, though it is always tricky gauging the right balance between accessibility and interest. One doesn’t want to dumb the whole thing down to a series of tedious platitudes, and yet when writing about the mind, it is so easy to lose people along the way. Thank you also for your unerring honesty Lauren, and I do not think you are at all unusual in occasionally falling prone to the fragmentation you speak of, far from it. My impression is very much that you possess an unusually high degree of what we might by comparison call an integrated awareness. You see levels of activity in your mind that most would be oblivious to in their own, and as you know for certain I hope, you have my complete admiration for that, as well as for your film and written work too of course. Hariod ❤

    • So very kind of you; I am very grateful for your interest and your all too generous words – what a marvellous encouragement for me! I read the stream of consciousness work and was very taken with it – is that your work and your site? I couldn’t ascertain who was behind it all; it seemed interesting though a little mysterious. Please elucidate Jessie.

      • Most of it is just purge and will be of no intrest, but the poem I directed you to was in correlation to your words on ‘sensations’. I believe we are all so entrapped with our ‘identification’ of these so called sensations, labelling them good or bad, wrong or right, but they really do control people. Anyway, just some more philosophical banter for the day. Glad to.

  17. It is only recently that I mentally project Samatha and Vipassana as merging into one. One leads to the other, and the other leads to one. Concentrating on one sense brings silence, and silence brings concentrated awareness. I never knew what the thing I was doing was, but someone pointed out to me that it was Samatha, and another said it was Vipassana.

    These two paths to meditation never made any sense to me, so I walk my own, as sooner or later anyone should. And then I read what you write, and understand certain parts. Next I wonder about the ocean you talk about – how does your vocabulary translate into mine: how do you ‘listen’, what is your ‘awe’, what is your ‘silence’, and what is that ‘song of your bird’ – and does it matter?

    • I think that there is perhaps a little problem with the language of some Indian reductionist psychologies Bert. If we adopt them wholesale, then it is quite possible that we shall fail to appreciate the limits of introspection. Many adherents to these practices do so, and we have ended up with Classical Advaita being reduced to a simplistic Neo-Advaita in which all there is, is consciousness – a sort of Transcendental Idealism. By that I mean, not only are phenomena only known to us by ideas formed in the mind, but that mind is all that exists – all forms are thought-forms. This reduces Advaita (non-duality) to a monism, which it is not; it is rather a not-two-ism. You are right Bert, it does not matter what or how we label the appearances of awareness, because I think it is so that once we have the experience of the other, we know what they mean even if our descriptions may be quite different. You have been focused on ‘silence’ for a while it seems, and I understand what you mean; that is to say, you do not mean ‘silence’, you mean apprehending something that is not ‘silence’ but that is best described as ‘silence’.

  18. Love this post Hariod! As one who has always been bombarded by my senses I have often had difficulty shutting it all down and just being. I have always found a project that was repetitive and monotonous to help me focus on nothing at all which always seemed to make me able to connect to something inside. The disease I have magnifies my sensory overload; at times it can almost create a sense of panic because I hear everything louder, see everything it seems – even things behind me – feel everything including other’s thoughts and pain, and I struggle to turn it all down. I have often wondered if I view this incorrectly. Instead of seeing it as a burden that needs to be ‘turned off’ perhaps I should sit inside it, listen, see, feel it all with interest. I don’t know. I’m not sure I have the full capacity for this so for now I will heed your advice and table the matter for another time. Love how you always make me think a little deeper, explore a little more! ❤

    • Hello dear Lorrie, and thank so much for considering this offering and for adding a reflection of your own. It is difficult for me to quite grasp how your situation presents subjectively for you, and I sense that you are referring to something well beyond an incessant distractedness. Usually speaking, when people talk of being ‘bombarded’ by the senses, then it reduces to a high degree of distractedness, because of course, the senses run with a consistency that are dependant not upon us, but rather upon impingements from external sources. So, there is no ‘bombardment’ in so far as something out of the ordinary is concerned. However, what you describe, and which I can only assume is a result of your having contracted Lyme’s Disease, sounds quite overwhelming.

      In point of fact, awareness arrives perceptually one frame at a time, so to speak, rather in the manner of how a roll of movie film consisting of singular images being illuminated at speed and in rapid succession creates the illusion of flux. Or, how the sequence of binary codes comprising an audio file creates a sense of sonic movement when processed in rapid succession. So, when you say that you feel, hear and see ‘everything’, that is a similar illusion of course, because we all have the same sensory mechanisms. You are wisely damping down these effects by focusing the attention on what you describe as “repetitive and monotonous” tasks; you are in other words concentrating the mind upon a limited sphere of activity.

      This works extremely well in pacifying perceptual activity; though one caveat is that if we become too dependent upon concentration, then the effects outside of our concentrated state seem all the more overwhelming. This then, is something of a double-edged sword, one which many practitioners of concentration meditations or mystical prayer are familiar with, as quite probably you are also yourself. Leaving aside any extant physiological conditions, then the trick becomes one of learning to balance one’s states of concentration, and learning the skills of adapting the same dependent upon the circumstances we face. Resistance, you are quite correct Lorrie, tends only to make matters worse, as then we are introducing further conflict into an already conflicted situation.

      With much gratitude and respect to you dear Lorrie.

      Hariod ❤

      • Thanks Hariod. I appreciate the depth of thought that you put into this response. I wish I could adequately describe what the ‘assault’ on my senses is like. I have recently looked into what an empath is, and I do believe that I have many of those qualities and have had my whole life. It has been a blessing and a curse – each for different reasons. I know not if my heightened senses are due to the disease or possibly the medication, but it would appear to coincide with this phase in my life.

        I am grateful for your words and I take to heart the suggestion to balance my state of concentration and to adapt it in my every day life. As I said, I tried to fight it in the past. I have decided to embrace the ‘noise’ that presents in the form of feeling, sound, sight, and smell, as I believe that everything happens for a reason, then this is no different. Thank you, Hariod! It is a pleasure to see your mind! ❤

        • That makes perfect sense Lorrie, in that your innate sensitivity, whether emphasised or not due to illness, can be seen on a sliding scale, if you will. At one end of the scale we have those who may be deemed clinically psychopathic; that is to say, they have no empathic capacity whatsoever. At the other end, we have what you are calling the “empath”; that is to say, the person who absorbs an unusually high degree of others’ psychical states. That phenomenon, if our meanings are synonymous, has been documented throughout history, including within orthodox Buddhism, and so going back some two thousand five hundred years and more. ‘Clairsentience’ is another term which broadly equates, and these are faculties of mind that may be developed in concentration and awareness practices, again, as documented in reliable sources. One aspect of all this that is familiar to many, and certainly to myself in large degree, is the draining effect of being in the presence of self-centred people. I can almost feel the energy being sucked out of me, as I listen attentively to someone who obsesses about their own circumstances and the alleged uniqueness of them. This effect must be all the more of a drain for someone such as yourself Lorrie, and I only hope that you have life organised in such a way that time alone can be had whenever you need it, and that your character readily allows for this.

          With all best wishes, gratitude and respect dear Lorrie.

          Hariod ❤

          • Hi Hariod! I looked back over my comments and it seems I could have been sucking the life out of you. 😉 Only kidding; it was all about me though! Yes, I have heard of clairsentience, and I really need to do more research to learn how to deal with it better. When you said “sucks the energy right out of you”, it is almost the opposite; sometimes I am bombarded with other’s energy and so there is too much energy – and I’m not always sure who it belongs to! Enough about me, 😉 I hope that you are headed towards a wonderful weekend full of love, light, and laughter! ❤

            • Although I know you are kidding, please be sure not to interpret my words in that way Lorrie; this is, after all, a place where people come to share experience as it relates to the articles I write. And of course, those articles are all about personal psychology and emotions, so it is natural that comments reflect personal experience, just as yours do my friend, and for which, I am grateful for the sharing. H ❤

              • Absolutely Hariod! I thought it was funny and appropriate for me to go there as I know that experience exactly. A little self inspection is always a good idea, especially after a major life event, as it is easy to be stuck in the “I, me, mine” mentality while in the business of relieving pain.

                I honour your friendship and the places your heart, soul, and mind takes us! And I am grateful for, even though it was not your intention, a little mirror to view myself. I received so much during my struggle and I am happy to be reminded of the balance in life that tells me it is time to give! Much love to you Hariod <3. I wish you a beautiful weekend! 🙂

  19. Hariod, I so appreciate your use of the English language – it is beyond refreshing. Your metaphors resonate, your words easily reinvigorate familiar images in my mind’s eye.

    Brilliant post elucidating what is often revealed to me via sense impressions, and, lacking your skill to so cleverly weave loose ends into an intelligible, conceptual verbal tapestry, I then write poetry. 😉

    Thank you!

    • To have such generous a compliment from one so skilled in words as yourself is humbling, as well also being a huge encouragement for me Bela. I suppose there are the two approaches to writing about the mind and its workings from a lay perspective, the one rich in poetic imagery and signposts, the other my own way which is rather mundane in comparison. Whether there is any middle ground I could not be sure, though your all too generous words suggesting that there is give me much to strive for and improve upon. Thank you Bela. Hariod ❤

  20. Hariod,

    I am reminded here of the practice in A Course in Miracles called “the holy instant”, which stripped to its most essential character is the momentary turning of attention ninety degrees from the rushing of the world, into stillness and peace. It is like carving a quiet bubble out of the madness. We can be in the most hectic of situations, and through practices such as you suggest here, remind ourselves of the bigger picture in a way that causes our mind’s attention to suddenly rack focus and go off the rails. In a good way, of course. One flicker of a shift in attention, and everything changes, even if necessity dictates we plunge back into the water.

    My experience is that somehow, through devotedness or practice or whatever you wish to call it, we remember to come up for air more often. In a sense, these practices are self-reinforcing. What do you think it is that ‘reminds’ us to look up in the middle of our hustle and bustle? What is that internal alarm clock, and how do we set it to go off when we most need it?

    Peace, my friend!

    Michael

    PS – I’ll tell you a secret, Hariod. I do so enjoy when you write with analogies. 🙂

    • Ha! I love your P.S. Michael, and have been privately laughing to myself (always a good idea) these past few weeks in that I seem to be catching your ways with metaphor and analogy, though mainly the latter. I am going to have to consciously prohibit myself from starting any thoughts with the words “it’s like”, and keep a firm grip on the concrete. It was interesting to note that in your last piece about the drive I felt very connected to what you were writing about, and it seems to be my nature that a degree of literalism is always necessary for me to get a handle on things. How dull! 😐

      Anyhow, “the holy instant” sounds as though it is in some respects similar to seeing awareness in a more integrated, less dumb way. Although what I point to here, in an admittedly very partial way, is not a “turning of attention ninety degrees from the rushing of the world”; it is rather embracing (you like that word) our being within it. It is actually a very subtle thing, as the mind always wants to collapse and coalesce around this or that – ‘me’ or (a perhaps chaotic) ‘otherness’ – and to have it balanced in apprehending the two takes considerable practise. Well, it did for me. o_O

      Your closing three questions are rhetorical I know Michael. For yourself, the answer might sound a little more biblical than my own, and probably all the more interesting for it. I tend to see it as the simple operation of causation, and how in leaning once to the good, perhaps purely by chance of circumstance, we incline to do so once more given the feelings induced initially. In this way, a virtuous circle begins to form, not one which is self-directed, but which instead directs itself. All the while, we believe a volitional self is doing the work, which as you know, is nonsense.

      Perhaps a less obtuse and rather more practical answer comes in asking “do I want this?”, or perhaps “where am I?”, whenever we perceive the world as chaotic, and begin to feel the stresses mounting up within. Doing so, we give license to the imagined volitional self to (think it is) putting in a fix. Then we have at least the two options you and I have outlined here. Other than that, we can throw in the towel at work, sell the house and go and live in the woods with the deer and rabbits of course. Not a bad idea come to think of it. 💡

      Lots of love and gratitude dear Michael.

      Hariod.

  21. Peace, depth, water, soul, breath – your thoughts inspire me always dear Hariod and I am humbled and grateful for the presence of you in my world of discovery and love; truly. xxx Meg

    • Thank you dearest Meg, for your kind and generous words of encouragement; you breath wind into my sails here just off the shores of this remote archipelago in our shared ocean. H ❤

  22. You are profoundly poetic Hariod, in spite of what you said in one of the comments. Your use of metaphor and the beauty and depth of your words move me deeply.

    “With a shift in perspective, I see that the myriad forks which appear before me are of but a single perceptual stream, all a flowing continuum within a singular oceanic awareness.”

    These words to me are profound and so freeing. Thank you for a beautiful post.

  23. Your words seem altogether too generous Don, though I will embrace them fully and use them in aspiring to what you attribute to me, yet which I know I cannot claim to be a true reflection. This article was perhaps a little more abstract than is usual for my style, and I am delighted that at least in parts, it has struck a familiar note within you.

    With gratitude and all best wishes.

    Hariod.

  24. So (recalling a recent conversation we had), then metaphor and analogy aren’t the exclusive purview of North American bloggers. 😄 😄 😄

    Those two photos are brilliant (in the British sense of the word). It’s fun, after seeing the second, to go back to the first and see how it’s done. Amazing use of objects to create apparent borders!

    • You caught me red-handed Wyrd, and I promise not to go there again, especially not after the general flummoxing that this effort has caused. o_O And do check out the video at the top of the comments if you want to see how the shot was put together; rather a lot of fiddling about was involved.

      • Well, it was a lovely piece of writing – very lyrical! Sometimes that’s all a piece has to be. The second photo made the trick pretty clear to me (you should have heard me roar with laughter when I realized what it was showing me). Totally fooled by the first one! 😄

        • Many thanks Wyrd; you’re a gentleman and a scholar. Apologies for being tardy in getting comments up and responded to; I’ve had rather a hectic day by my uneventful standards.

          • Hopefully pleasantly hectic rather than the other kind. No worries, good friend. The interweb moves too fast for its own good and spoils us with instant gratification. Better to slow down and pace oneself.

            • Neither pleasant nor unpleasant in truth Wyrd; amongst other things, it was just that a very close friend, one who keeps a low-key and arty blog, had someone in the States re-blog an article of hers and it caused an absolute avalanche of activity on her site. The whole thing became a stressful burden, and so she did the wise thing and disabled comments with a polite notification to that effect. Some people, quite understandably, just want to have a limited number of interactions with like-minded others; so when a 3rd. party gate-crashes thinking they’re being helpful and supportive with a re-blog, it can have quite the opposite effect.

  25. Hariod, this was indeed an excellent post. I was too busy within my own deep dive into the abyss to have visited you earlier my good friend. I resonated so much with your deep thoughts here. We are each of us presented with forks in our lives, some indeed can appear like high tides within the rivers of our lives as they swell our thoughts and rush inland flooding areas of mind which were left vulnerable. Thoughts often given to such turbulence become fragmented and disorientated, and can leave one feeling ‘washed out’ as we are left stranded as the water recedes.

    We get up, and around us we may find the debris of what that emotional tide brought within its wake. And we set about clearing the shore. Sometimes we are too quick to throw back into the ocean that which we do not need. But until we have disposed of it efficiently, then the tide at some future point will throw it back for us to deal with again.

    I am but one such soul floundering, spluttering, catching my breath. While others feel like they are drowning within their oceanic experience. The world becomes a mirror as we join our fragments, each crying out to be heard, unsure perhaps which route to take, and not certain if the vessels we sail in will carry us to a brighter shore.

    One thing, Hariod, I have learnt over the years, is that no storm comes without us learning something from it. Navigating the high seas can be hazardous, and if one attempts it solo it can be a very lonely journey.

    I am ever thankful, dear Hariod, for the journey I am on, but even more so, for seasoned travellers such as your good self to accompany me upon my journey.

    Your post reminded me of a poem I wrote some years ago called Fragmented souls https://suedreamwalker.wordpress.com/2012/10/08/unite-our-fragmented-thoughts-become-warriors-of-light/ I hope you do not mind me adding the link to it to share.

    Many thanks dear Hariod, your light is a beacon which shines very brightly upon my path.

    Love, Sue. ❤

    • Thank you so much for sharing your heartfelt reflections here dear Sue. I had not expected you to appear, as I know full well that this has been a time for you to turn inwardly awhile, such as happens for us all on occasion. Perhaps we too may feel ‘washed out’, as the energies discharge in our reordering. I can understand that, and suspect we would agree that this must be part of our lot as possessors of human sentience, as fallible and sensitive beings. And you are right, the driftwood that remains after any emotional storm should be carefully examined and considered, for these are the fragments from which we learn: the knowledge-revealing artefacts of past experience and circumstance. It is lovely to be thought of as a little beacon, as you are to me too Sue, and so many others besides. Thank you for your generous and profound words, they shine all the brighter having come from a transient twilight. But you are always whole and radiant Sue; you know that, and whether the sun and moon are out in your world or not, your inner light can never fade. H ❤

  26. I am weeks late in finding this new Hariod writing, and why is that? Because the timing is perfect! I was oscillating in the cold water, looking down the long thin tines ahead, trying to make a choice under the pressure of drowning – in short, circumstances. I woke up at 4 am. this morning, wondering again which choice to make. Now at 11 am. I am properly zoomed out once again. It is odd how the flow and speed and mental constructs make the choices seem so pressing and oppressive. Your wonderful way with words is like an airplane ride out for a look down on this seeming forking stream for an ocean of perspective. Forking water!

    • About forking time Marga! Just kidding my dear, your presence here, and your mirth-inducing reflections, are nothing short of a delight to receive at any time, and the lateness makes them all the more easy to soak up once the early torrent has abated. Glad to hear you are zoomed out from the earlier pronging of those tines, for if we are not diligent they can indeed be a furcate nuisance; don’t I just know it ducky.

    • Thank you so much Susan for your kind words of appreciation; I greatly appreciate them, truly I do. As for ‘social media’, then I am as much lost as yourself I must admit. Somehow though, I gain the impression that neither of us are at any loss in it all – perhaps we best should stick to art, nature and life; is that not sufficient?

      • Yep, you’re right! Strangely I’m enjoying writing my blog – I didn’t expect that. I feel that it’s another expression of myself, and a place where things seem to come together. I don’t know if that makes sense at all? It seems to be an embracing of many things, even social media, and a relaxing of ideas about myself and what I should be in the world: Art, nature and life!

        • If by “things seem to come together” you mean the occasional clarification of thought Susan, then I think blog writing can be a very useful tool for that; some even say it helps them discover what they’re really thinking. Leaving that possibility aside, then any enjoyment we derive from our writing seems to validate the creative effort in any case, and it isn’t as if we need a wide readership to gain fulfilment from the process. I greatly enjoy writing a little article here once a month, and although the expression of ideas is necessarily constrained, the challenge of producing a worthwhile vignette, something with both a little anecdotal interest as well as a soupçon of philosophical content, is reward in itself for me.

          With very best wishes,

          Hariod.

  27. Though I subscribe to the Hemingway theory of writing – never require a reader to resort to a dictionary – I feel refreshed after reading your posts, and often your comments too. Also, I am reassured that I retain, at minimum, a certain grasp of the language. Your thoughts are interesting, Hariod. I do not, however, understand the problems some commented upon in regard to the video. I prefer simple solutions, so adjusted the volume to a sufficiently low level.

    • I take your point Robert, and it is indeed a fair one. Views differ, and though Hemingway, Orwell and others, such as in Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style, all accord, there is a good case against not defaulting to the lowest common denominator, that being constantly in a state of decay it seems. I rather admire writers, such as Will Self, who wilfully (excuse pun) force the reader to expand their vocabulary. So, we differ there, and I cannot say either of us is right or wrong, nor, I believe, can anyone else, however authoritative a figure they may be. Still, I seem not to have entirely spoiled your enjoyment despite my indulgences, and your words are both gratifying and a great encouragement to me. Thankyou my friend.

      • I think in simple images, simple words, so I write that way. I would not wish your writing to be other than it is, your style is uniquely yours and always interesting. I agree that expanding our vocabulary is an admirable endeavor. ☺

        • Actually Robert, and as you may well know, e-Readers allow a very simple way of gleaning definitions for any more obscure words, simply by clicking on the word and having it open up in an online dictionary. Their sales seem to have plateaued, and I am not a fan of them myself, but the facility for online interactivity in that manner is most definitely a boon as regards education in grammar, I feel. 🙂

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