PIA (PIGTAIL or PLAIT)

From Chiangmai but not born there,
she said her dark skin and big eyes
made her recognized by Thais
as from Malaysia.

Her family had fled into Thailand
when she was a child
to avoid the violence of war
in the border hills.

Pia entered the Meditation Hall silently
waited as the hinged door slowly shut
to stop the noise of the final closing thud.
She lifted the hem of her colourful passin skirt
to avoid any rustling fabric
and tiptoed to her meditation seat –
crouched slightly, head lowered
in respect to the old Teacher present.

After meditation as everyone departed
leaving an untidy array of ‘nests’ and ‘thrones’
of blankets, shawls and cushions;
Pia would turn and face her meditation seat
mindfully fold the shawl, tidy the cushions,
stroke creases out of the covers –
before leaving as silently as she had entered.

On hearing that her Awareness and Respect
had had a wholesome effect
and seen in contrast
to less cultivated Western habits;
Pia had smiled, agreeing;
“Yes, these are commendable Asian virtues
taught within families.”

She balanced her remark
by praising Western qualities
of Organisation and Discipline.

“If all these virtues were present
in a human being
it would be a good balance!”

(from Universal Satnav stories by Linden Brough)

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THE JEWELLER’S APPRENTICE

The bus had just pulled away from the main stop in town when it suddenly stopped, the door slid open and in jumped Jim.  I was sitting near the door and he grinned saying a loud hello with a strong Glasgow accent.  He dropped his lean body on to the seat next to mine while pulling off a full rucksack from his shoulders.

He had been shopping in the Health Food shops and pulled out a packet of biscuits.  “These are the best”, he said enthusiastically, “can only get them in town, gluten-free cranberry biscuits!”  He then tucked them back into the rucksack.

I asked him if he had a problem digesting wheat.  No, he had answered, it was just that they were particularly good biscuits.  He then went on to describe other things he had bought that day.  “Look”, he held up a clean hand that had no signs of manual work and pointed to the middle finger.  “See that swelling there?  It’s the beginning of rheumatoid arthritis, runs in the family.  Both my parents had it really bad but I know how to cure it.   Devil’s Claw.  I bought some today at the herbalists.  Within a couple of weeks all this swelling will have disappeared.  It’s a really strong anti-inflammatory and it’s called Devil’s Claw because it comes from a seed pod that is covered with tiny hooks and it gets dispersed by sticking to the hairs of rats.  Costs twelve pounds but its good stuff.”

The subject of money led him on to ask if I had noticed how the prices at the village grocery shop had gone mad in the past few months.  For years he had spent no more than sixty pounds a week on food and now, still buying the same things, it was costing nearly eighty pounds!   John, at the shop, had shown him sheets of the prices to prove that it wasn’t his increasing of prices but just a reflection of the present sharp rise in the cost of everything.

Jim talked constantly, one subject leading to another.  The thought of money lead him to enthusiastically declare the wonder of having a pension at sixty and that he had never been better off in his whole life!  A hundred and thirty pounds a week, and to think, he said, that he had only ever in his life had two jobs!

“What kind of work did you do?” I asked.

“I was a jeweller’s apprentice”, he answered. “It’s what my parents wanted me to do”.  He then went on to describe that he had been one of a large family in Glasgow, brought up very strictly in the Catholic faith but that he had always been the ‘black sheep’ of the family.  “From the very beginning I was different” he exclaimed, taking his hand up to point to his now greying orange hair, “I was a red-head, no one else in the family had ever been known to have this bright red hair!” He described how he had always been in trouble whereas the rest of the family had been well behaved.

The apprenticeship had only lasted two weeks because he had stolen a diamond bracelet!  After that there was a history of Borstal, being in prison and always, always being in trouble until he met his GURU.

“If I hadn’t met this Zen Buddhist, who’s still alive in the south of England somewhere, I would have spent the rest of my life being in and out of prison”, said Jim.  He then went on to describe this experience that changed his life.  The Zen teacher had told him that the purpose of life was the transcendental goal of Enlightenment, complete Peace and Happiness.   Teachers could only point to ‘the moon shining on water’, it was to be found by oneself within oneself.

“Just on hearing the man say this had an electrifying effect on me”, Jim exclaimed, “my behaviour changed from that moment on…”    At that time, Jim said, he and many others had jumped on the idea that this ‘enlightenment’ could be experienced on drugs even though the Zen teacher had shaken his head at this approach.

It was around then that I met my real GURU, Maharaji.  Prem Rawat is his name.  Can you imagine it he was only thirteen years old and I was in my twenties!  As soon as I saw him I knew.  He just had this aura about him.  He is the reincarnation of a famous Indian Guru, his father had been a teacher as well.

“I remember when it was his 19th birthday.  He lived in California and had the normal teenage passion for cars.  His devotees decided to gift him a brand new sports car just like the one in his favourite James Bond movie at that time.  So, world wide, we started a collection.  My partner at the time and I donated a pound each, which was a lot of money in those days.  We earned it doing some gardening and cleaning out stables.  It was a fabulous event.  We all got together here to watch a video of it.  The car was put into a huge box tied with ribbon and left on his driveway.  Imagine coming out to find this at your front door on your 19th birthday!  When he opened it, there was a brand new, dark green Aston Martin sports car just like the one in the film!  He was completely overwhelmed and delighted!”

Jim said that Mahariji still lived in the same house in an exclusive part of California with many celebrities as neighbours.  He was highly thought of by them all as he had grown up to be a quiet wise man.  He used to see many people and give lots of talks.  Afterwards, he would walk through a crowd of devotees and just point to one or two and say “you”…  they had been selected as being advanced enough for an individual interview.   But now he doesn’t give the big talks.

He had recently visited England and Jim said his followers from around here had hired a minibus at short notice to go and see him.  There had been this huge crowd of his devotees to greet him yet his message had lasted all of five minutes: “Peace and happiness to you all, do not look outside for it, look within.  I wish you all well.” 

By this time the bus had reached the Cliff.  We both got off.  I wondered how many had tuned in to Jim’s story as the volume of his voice had remained at an audible constant.  We walked down the path to the meadow with quick steps and then Jim turned off to follow another path, calling back a cheerful “Ciao!”     

(Story 3 from ‘Universal Satnav’ by Linden Brough)

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ELIZABETH

I was standing in a queue at the Post Office, minding my own business, when the person in front turned from looking at the rack of greeting cards and spoke to me. She was pointing to a card with a picture of a badger on it and was saying how awful it was that permission had been given in a part of Wales for all the badgers to be killed.  Apparently, this was because they seemed to carry a virus that infected the cows and gave them mad-cow’s disease.  As she spoke, it seemed that everything around us disappeared and that we had all the time in the world for this conversation.

“The simple answer would be to stop eating meat”, I replied, “then no animal need be killed.”

This had an immediate impact on her mind and she paused to reflect on a spontaneous adjustment to the truth.  Her face brightened and she agreed that this was indeed the answer! The world came into view again as it was her turn to be served at the counter.

I had never seen this woman before yet, within the next week, I was to meet her again in the Herbalist Health Food Shop in town.  She recognised me immediately and there, again, looking at her – everything seemed to slow down.

“What is your name?” I asked.

“E-L-I-Z-A-B-E-T-H,” she answered, filling eternity.

I finished my shopping after having to ask for help for a particular herbal preparation called ‘Stone Root’ that was not on the shelf and someone had to go upstairs to get a made-up bottle.

On the way back, there, at the bus stop was Elizabeth.  She must have been aware of my slight difficulty in obtaining the particular herbal preparation because she just had time to ask if I had managed to get what I was looking for before the bus appeared. As I sat down by a vacant seat, she approached, and I suddenly thought that she might want to sit next to me.  But it was as if she had read my mind and she smiled, motioning with her hand that she was passing on, saying, “ …for peace…”  She was exactly right.

What did she look like?  She was a tall, slim young woman who had the look of having been stretched so that she didn’t seem completely comfortable in her body.  Her face had an old-fashioned look, not plain, not pretty, not distinctive really in any  way.  Her eyes were blue and from the head that was mounted on this long body, wavy soft brown hair, though neatly cut to chin level, wisped out in all directions. She dressed in good quality outdoor-type clothes and carried a small Berghaus rucksack.

Something about her reminded one of a dandelion flower, tall, thin, yet shining its particular brightness. And that quality of timelessness, as in the child who plays with the dandelion clock asking what time is it?  And on three puffs it’s three o’clock, when it’s just before noon. 

I was to meet Elizabeth again, this time in the nearby village grocery shop.  “Hello ELIZABETH!” I smiled and she smiled back saying, “You remember my name”.

Do you live near here? I had asked her, and she explained that she lived in the outskirts of the village by the wood.  There had been a husband but he had had to be left behind years ago and she had paused, letting the unsaid understanding arise that she was meaning mental bands rather than time and place.  She lived with her five year old son who was doing fine now after a difficult start.  “What do you mean?” I had asked.  He had had health problems and difficulty in managing being with other children, difficulty in fitting in to the world, she had said, but we’ve made a lot of progress. “Will you come and visit me?” she asked, “I’ll write the address down and give it to you next time I see you”.

I never saw E-L-I-Z-A-B-E-T-H again.

(Story 2 from ‘Universal Satnav’ by Linden Brough)

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BOMBER AND BRIAN

Free Photo | Little terrier dog playing in the sea

The tide was far out and I had just returned from a long barefoot walk along its edge.  I stopped to sit on the wall by the cliff steps and dry the feet when an elderly man with a little black and white terrier walked past.  The dog was panting quietly and the man stopped to rest on the wall beside me.

“Is it an old dog?” I asked, noticing its air of quiet dignity and tufts of grey hair around peaceful brown eyes.

“Seven years old” he replied.

“That’s not old for a dog”, I replied and suggested that if the dog needed some water there was a container of it outside the beach cafe’s door.   The man thought that a rest was all that was needed.

“He came from a Rescue Home,” he said, “I’ve always had a dog and the last one for eighteen years.  After he died I decided that being over seventy, I wouldn’t take on another one but after a few months my wife said, “Go and get a dog…”

“Did your dog die naturally?” I asked.

Immediately the man understood.  “No,” he replied, “I had the vet come to the house.  He was suffering so much I couldn’t bear it, just lying there moaning day after day…”

“How did you feel about doing this?”

He was an honest man with a kind face and answered, “I didn’t like doing it and had an uncomfortable feeling deep inside but what else could I have done?”

“Animals find it much easier to leave and don’t hang on like humans.  Your dog would have decided himself when the suffering was too much and that it was time to go.  Perhaps we do such things to relieve our own suffering and are encouraged to do so by the vets.  This conceals the truth that we ask another to kill a fellow being and describe it as ‘putting them out of their suffering’…  A dying creature can be supported with love and compassion without any desire to hurry their death.  Do we put human beings out of their suffering by killing them when they are ill and dying?

“I suppose we think we would like a quick and painless death but the reality is that we want to live,” he said thoughtfully, paused for a moment and then continued to speak: “I decided not to take on a puppy again and that’s why I went to the Rescue Centre.  As soon as I saw him I knew he was the one and unlike most terriers, he wasn’t yappy or excitable.”

“Was he traumatised when you got him?” I asked.

“Not at all,” he answered, “he hadn’t been ill treated, the man who owned him changed his job and this resulted in him not being able to take proper care of the dog.  He hoped he would find a better home through the Rescue Centre.  His name is Bomber which suits him well because he really has been through the wars.  Look,” he said, and pointed to Bomber’s tail; “a badger bit half his tail off,” then he touched the dog’s neck, “a ridgeback bit into his neck and damaged the larynx so that he can’t bark properly, lets out a squeaky sound and look at his teeth,” and he gently opened Bomber’s mouth, “a horse kicked him in the face, smashing his lower jaw and all his lower teeth fell out.  A vet operated on him and reset all the teeth on what was left of the jaw.  The operation costs reached four figures and were paid for by the farmer who owned the horse.”

I marvelled at the row of perfect dog teeth (and Bomber’s karma…).

“I hadn’t asked at the Rescue Centre how he was with children but soon found out.  I’m a stand-in grandfather at the local nursery school, as well as giving talks at the primary school on the war and such like (had to do something to get out of the house as my wife’s housebound).  The children loved him and hearing the story about the badger, the ridgeback and the horse…  Bomber’s great with the children and is now one of their favourite visitors.”

“What is the matter with your wife?” I asked.

“She has advanced osteoporosis and is in constant pain, can no longer walk, has a benign tumour in the brain and has heart problems.   She’s in the camper van parked at the top of the cliff watching T.V.  We can still enjoy an outing, she hasn’t lost her mind and appreciates the change”, he replied.

I restrained from drawing his attention to the parallel of his old dog’s suffering and the old woman’s suffering.

By this time he had introduced himself as Brian. 

“With all this suffering Brian, would you want to come back again?”

“Oh yes,” he smiled and his eyes lit up, “I love my grandchildren and my two children…  Yes, I would come back…”

I rose to leave, touched Bomber’s head gently and shook hands with Brian, “It’s been a nice to meet you.  It sounds as though you try to make the world a brighter place. ”

“I do try,” he answered, his face beaming.

(Story 1 from ‘Universal Satnav’ by Linden Brough)

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DO DOGS GO TO HEAVEN?

“Has a dog Buddha-nature?angel
This is the most serious question of all.
If you say yes or no,
You lose your own Buddha-nature.”
-Zen Verse

A poet had written a love poem about his dog and reading it reminded me of this story which I sent to him from the Myths of the Hindus: Five royal heroes recognising that there time had come, resigned the throne to their successors and set forth on their last solemn journey — the pilgrimage of Death — followed by a dog who would not leave them. The last to die refused to enter Indra’s heavenly chariot —without the dog. He cannot imagine happiness, even in Heaven, if it were to be haunted by the thought of one so true who had been cast off. The god pleads and argues against the dog coming with him. The noble hero replies “To cast off one who has loved us is infinitely sinful.” The test is finished. Refusing to enter Heaven for the sake of a dog —and the dog stands transformed into a shining god, the God of Righteousness. The mortal is acclaimed by radiant multitudes and seated in the chariot of glory, he enters Heaven.

The coincidence amazed the poet as it paralleled a recent experience of his own: “I have a painting of my little dog in the arms of Jesus as seen one early morning at sunrise. A friend of a friend came to visit this heathen and preached that in the rapture only the righteous would enter the kingdom. I asked the lady about my dog, taking her to see my painting, and she said, “No, only humans, there be no animals in heaven (paradise).” I said, “Well madam, in that case, I’d rather not enter, for it would not be paradise for me without my dog, a much better being than I ever was or ever could be.”

Intrigued as to what the true answer might be to this “most serious question of all…” I asked Brian Taylor, author of the remarkable book CENTRE The Truth about Everything.

“Do dogs go to Heaven?”

He didn’t answer “yes” or “no” but replied, “Only if the astral leaves its dog behind.”

“What would the astral of a dog look like?” I asked.

“A dog,” Brian replied. “However, astral forms are mind-made, so they can be changed at will. Usually astrals are not aware of this.”

It became obvious that the same question and answer might apply to humans: ‘Do humans go to Heaven?’ the equivalent answer being, ‘Only if the astral leaves its human behind.’ I asked Brian if this was the case and he replied, “Yes.”

He had gone on to say that “Livingness” – life is a constantly changing continuum. “What I am now I was not then…” “What I will be I am not now…” This is described in his book – the truth being (discovered by using the Centre) that what seems to be an individual is a continuum and not an entity that continues indefinitely. “At any moment it is not the same as at any point in the past, but it is not different either.”He quotes the poet Tennyson who described the continuum as “rising on stepping stones of our dead selves to higher things”.

These ‘higher things’ according to CENTRE are to be discovered within us. The physical body (whether human, animal, fish, bird, insect…) is described as functioning only when it is inhabited by, and impregnated with, an astral body which can provide a non-physical link between it and the origin of life which is the Centre.

The astral body, as described in the book, provides “livingness” by means of subsidiary centres which themselves derive from another body inside the astral body. This is the “deva” body, which derives from yet another body inside it, the “brahma” body. Inside the brahma body is a fifth body – the “Buddha” body…

This makes five bodies that have forms: one material and four mental. The author suggests that it is helpful if one thinks of these five bodies fitting inside each other like a set of Russian dolls. Each being the result of karmic actions, in some cases a very long time ago.

Each of them is described as containing the same Centre. Their forms, as it were, being strung on strings which go right back to the origin of everything. One sees, says the author Brian Taylor, that the road home leads ever further and further inward into oneself rather than outward into the increasingly material forms of outward bodies. In withdrawing inward to more refined forms one is in fact retracing one’s steps. This is the way all beings have come on their journey – outwards from the Centre via subtle mental forms into the labyrinth of material evolution. “The spider, the amoeba, (the dog), the archangel and you are all fellow travellers on this journey from a single departure point. Who could have predicted it?”

Copy of draft ariya avatar

Now the truth of the Zen verse is clear! And the royal hero and poet are right in their love and loyalty for a “fellow traveller”. Not only do we lose ‘Buddha nature’ if we view any of the many outward manifestations of the One (the Centre) as separate and inferior but more seriously so, by harming any of the myriad transformations from the Centre which appear now as humans, now as animals, now as birds, now as insects.

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.”
                −Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

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  1. Universal Octopus Publications
  2. Centre The Truth about Everything by Brian Taylor

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CENTRE TRANSCENDING THE TITANIC

Brian Taylor, quite possibly today’s foremost researcher into yoga and the psychic and spiritual sciences, records his research in CENTRE The Truth about Everything. Michael Tymn, quite possibly today’s foremost writer on 19th century and early 20th century Spiritualism, records his investigations in TRANSCENDING THE TITANIC.

Image for Article TITANIC
What both books focus on is the spiritual and transcendent elements of existence and its apparent continuation after physical death. Michael Tymn uses archival anecdotal evidence communicated through mediums by a few of the deceased victims of the Titanic who survived in another dimension. Brian Taylor uses the Centre, the potentiality of which he describes as like the lamp waiting for Aladdin to wipe off the dust and express a wish or desire.

The most famous passenger on the Titanic had been William Thomas Stead (1849 -1912); a British journalist, editor, author, spiritualist and pacifist —as a peace crusader he had been nominated for the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1903 and thought to have been the likely recipient in 1912.

Stead boarded the ill-fated Titanic for a visit to America to take part in a peace congress at Carnegie Hall. After the ship struck the iceberg, Stead helped several women and children into lifeboats and during the last hours of the doomed voyage, he was reported as appearing utterly calm, unfazed by the prospect of death, which he regarded merely as a transition to a better world.

Very soon after his death, William Stead began communicating through mediums. Of his passing from earth to spirit life, he deliberately kept brief describing the first part as naturally extremely discordant. His first surprise —and he reminds us that to our way of thinking he was dead— he found that from being in dire straights himself, he was able to lend a hand to others. Just a moment of agitation, momentary only, and then the full and glorious realization that all he had learned as a spiritualist was true. He was still so near the earth that he could see everything that was going on there. He could see the wrecked ship, the people, the whole scene; and that pulled him into action— he could help.

A matter of a few minutes only in time, and there were hundreds of bodies floating in the water —dead—hundreds of souls carried through the air, alive; very much alive—newly thrust out of their bodies, all unwillingly. This is described in CENTRE as the ‘astral body’ leaving the physical body, because it is dead. “The human body functions as a living being only as long as it is inhabited by, and impregnated with, an astral body which can provide a non-physical link between it and the origin of life which is the Centre.”

Stead described how they waited until the disaster was complete. The saved—saved; the dead—alive. Then in one whole they moved their scene to a different land. He could not say how long the journey lasted, nor how far from the earth they were, but described it as a gloriously beautiful arrival, “…like walking from your own English winter gloom into the radiance of an Indian Sky.” He would not say that none were unhappy, many were; but that was because they did not understand the nearness of the two worlds; they did not know what was possible, but to those who understood the possibilities there was little grief for them. 

Brian Taylor’s pioneering discoveries provide a spiritual map, a vocabulary and a method to understand all the experiences described by William Stead who had believed in the afterlife but didn’t have doubt removed until after his physical death. CENTRE carries one across the threshold of the spiritual dimension in an impersonal, scientific way and enables the seeker after truth to fit spiritual experiences, like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, into the complete picture. 

Having arrived at the new land Stead reported that they, who had come over from that ill-fated ship, parted company and went their separate ways —in accordance with their karma. Some remained as astrals (ghosts), some found happiness in the Heaven worlds (which Stead describes in ‘THE BLUE ISLAND’), experiencing the truth of “In my father’s house there are many mansions.” Stead described it as a land of freedom and happiness brought about through the real love of man for man. A land to work for—a land in which your place is made according to the knowledge you have had whilst on earth and the way you used that knowledge.

He communicated that Life here is a grander thing —a bolder thing, and a happier thing for all those who have led reasonable lives on earth, but for the unreasonable there are many troubles and difficulties and sorrows to be encountered. He emphasized the great truth of “as ye sow, so shall ye reap.” CENTRE’s core understanding reflects this truth as the natural result of the underlying Oneness of everything illustrated by the simple yet profound Universal Octopus diagram. 

Stead’s urgent message for those on earth is to understand the seriousness of our predicament ‘as you are now, so you will be after death’ and that same law still applies in the afterlife. He gives a brief outline of progressing from sphere to sphere —through making his own conditions. In each further sphere, he said, you become more and more self-contained, more detached. Some can progress to an impersonal state and become pure spirit people; others, he said, return to a new birth on earth. 

Stead enabled another victim from the wreck, the multimillionaire John J Astor (who had conducted himself with dignity and courage during the crisis) to communicate that he had found himself to be suffering from blindness in the new land until he had come to regret his earthly materialistic ambitions after being immersed in a higher spiritual reality. “Why are these things not taught in the world?” he is said to have cried through a medium. “Why did no one ever tell me these things?”

Spirits from the ‘other side’, Stead reported, have nothing more to say that has not been anticipated by one or other of those great Messengers who taught men the Way, their role is more to “widen the chinks through which the same light may shine through a little more clearly…”

CENTRE illuminates the truth about “these things” experienced in the present. It serves as a guide book and blueprint to happiness and teaches how to move from sphere to sphere, form to form, moving steadily deeper and deeper into higher, finer and finer realms —until one reaches the original sphere itself…

William Stead missed CENTRE by a hundred years but anyone reading this has the rare opportunity to read the book, understand the Centre, locate it and use it to reach the destination of their choice and the highest happiness — here and now.

 

TRANSCENDING THE TITANIC by Michael Tymn (2012) Amazon
CENTRE – THE TRUTH ABUT EVERYTHING by Brian Taylor (2012) Amazon
THE BLUE ISLAND as communicated by William T. Stead (1922) Kindle
TITANIC by Filson Young (1912) Free Kindle

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BLONDIN ABOVE NIAGARA

front.cover.blondin.fBOOK REVIEW
Blondin: Collected Poems

by Brian Taylor

New Edition 2019
Published by Universal Octopus
Paperback  224 pages

Blondin opens with an image of a man crossing Niagara on a tightrope – symbolising Everyman’s precarious journey through Life from birth to death.

“Blondin above Niagara,
 the rope begins to sway.
 The rocks below are grinning.
 Every step is Judgement Day.”

And the opening poem is short and enigmatic:

“The Sun shines
  in a bucket of water
  and doesn’t
  get
  wet.”

The book is made up of three collections of poems which all shine an impersonal seeing on the mundane to the extraordinary, the humour and tragedy, the light and the dark of Everyman’s life. The subject matter ranges from Oxford with its colleges, rivers and ghosts to the Far East with its monks and Buddhism.

Each poem in its own way is a pleasure to read, brightens the mind and has a wise point. No words are wasted. Each poem is different, yet all home in on the transiency of things and seeing the world from the same centre (1)  as the Poet at the time the poems were written. Humour and catastrophe side by side, good and evil, rich and poor, the beautiful and the ugly, the livingness of the present moment and the deadness of clinging to the past or a future.

“Poetry begins with pain
 (like any other kind of birth)
 but though it breeds and feeds on earth,
 it aims at not becoming back again
 and reaches to the root of things
 in search of the eternal springs.”

Though Blondin ends with the same short enigmatic poem as at the beginning there is now emphasis on the something unchangeable that has been underlying all the poems. Above the poem, a grim cartoon of the moment before death – combined – they can elicit a flash of the Deathless!

“The Sun (still) shines
  in a bucket of water
  and doesn’t
  get
  wet.”

The insight in the Blondin poems of Everyman’s one step after another (one breath after the other) across the tightrope of Life – is into the Unconditioned State. Everywhere is the contrast between the teeming multiplicity of life and the utter freedom of the Unconditioned State that runs like a crack through the Universe.

Brian Taylor’s collection of poems in Blondin: Collected Poems is a rare work of Art and Insight and serves as a good friend and wise companion on the journey of life to Everyman and the serious truth seeker. Each poem is as fresh to read again and there is joy in awakening to the truth that the poems point to.

Linden Brough, July 2019

 

 

(1) To find out about the different centres in your body see Centre: The Truth about Everything 

 

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NOAH (KNOWING)

Noah'sArk_1In the story God told Noah to build an Ark to keep him safe from the great flood that was coming.

Today, the world is flooded with the great danger of insane behaviour being accepted as the norm in all levels of society. Life in its many forms on Earth is being threatened with extinction unless humans change the way they act. We don’t need a God to tell us what is obvious in the mad world today (yet only seen by a few) and know that the action that needs to be taken is to stop causing suffering to Life before it is too late.

The Ark kept Noah safe.  The Ark could be considered to be what kind of Life one builds for oneself and needs the safety of a moral compass. Basic Ethics – not doing to other living beings what I would not want done to me.

This enables a direct route back to the Centre[1]. The Centre does not harm its tentacles[2]. With this understanding one is in a position to see that the cause of madness in the world is separatism (Ego). Desire fades to explore going further out into the labyrinthine world and one looks inwards to free the mind from identification with its human form and feelings (non-self, impermanent and unsatisfactory) and the cause of rebirth in unsatisfactory realms.

One is now free to choose to mould thoughts, speech and actions from seeing the Truth and by awareness and investigation develop understanding that changes one! One could enter the Centre forever.

The safety of an Ark with a moral compass is what is needed in the world and is the foundation to escape from the world.

“Who would purify their world first purifies their mind,
  As the mind becomes pure, their world becomes pure.”

     -Buddha

 

[1] See Centre: The Truth about Everything by Brian Taylor

[2] Tentacles: See Universal Octopus

 

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THE POPPY LADY

poppies-on-crossesThe idea for a memorial emblem of the red poppy came in a moment of revelation to an American teacher, Moina Belle Michael. It was the Saturday morning of the 11th November, 1918 —the day the Armistice was signed. A young soldier had placed a copy of the Ladies Home Journal on her desk where she was on duty for a Conference of the Overseas YMCA at Columbia University in New York City.  She found time to read it and discovered the marked page which carried John Macrae’s poem ‘In Flanders Fields’:

“I read the poem…  The last verse transfixed me:    

‘To you from failing hands we throw
The Torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die,
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields’.

This was followed by a spiritual experience. It seemed as though she heard the silent voices of the dead, whispering and sighing in anxiety and anguish. In a moment of high resolve she pledged to KEEP FAITH WITH THEM and wear a red poppy as a sign of remembrance with all who had died.  She felt impelled to make a note of her pledge and, as she was hastily scribbling it down on the blank side of a used envelope, three men from the conference approached her with a gift of ten dollars to buy some flowers in appreciation of her work for the conference.  Looking up from her intense reverie of dedication and noting the coincidence, she had replied:

“How strange. I shall buy red poppies —twenty-five red poppies. I shall always wear red poppies of Flanders Field! Do you know why?”

Moina then showed them the poem by John Macrae and shared her inspiration. They were duly impressed and took the poem back with them to the Conference room. The conference were equally pleased and the men returned asking for red poppies to wear.

That Saturday afternoon Moina went poppy hunting in New York City and eventually found twenty five small silk red four-petaled poppies, fashioned after the wild poppies of Flanders. On her return to the university the men came crowding round for poppies to wear. She pinned one on her cloak collar and gave out the others.  This was the first group ever to ask for poppies to wear in memory of their soldier dead.

As a result of ‘The Poppy Lady’s’ tireless campaigning, her dedication to the cause and the inspiration her idea gave to others, the red field poppy has become an internationally recognized symbol of Remembrance and continues to draw heart-felt public support as a fund raiser to relieve distress among war veterans and their families.

Yet the revelation that came to Moina was that the ‘war dead’ were not dead. They communicated that they were in a state of “anxiety and anguish”.  Generating money from poppy sales gives much needed practical help to those who survived.  But can we help the ‘war dead’ who are trapped in the mental torment of violent deaths and the grief of unfulfilled lives? The poppy represents the sacrifice associated with two world wars and today many think of the lives lost in Vietnam, The Falklands, Northern Ireland, Iran, Afghanistan and Syria…

Moina’s heart had been stirred by a poem written from the heart of a poet. This opened an access point to the ‘war dead’ and she spiritually heard their grief and suffering.  We too can feel the heart open on reading the old war poems, or on hearing current war news (and not being entertained by sensationalism and human tragedy). On Remembrance Day (Memorial Day in May in America) the poppy can remind us of those who died in battle and is a point in time which can be used for heart communion with the ‘war dead’.

There is a recorded personal story of a soldier killed in 1918, ‘Private Dowding’, which describes his experience of ‘death’ in the battle-field. He had been sure death would mean extinction and he knew that many believed this. It was because extinction did not come to him that he was drawn to communicate his experience hoping that it would prove useful to some.

He did in fact ‘move on’ and describes inhabiting heaven worlds. The writer of this article mentions ‘Private Dowding’ because of a coincidence that happened one November morning. She had been reading this book when the Poet-philosopher and author of ‘Centre’ happened to visit. She told him about Private Dowding’s story and how Centre understanding had opened the way to make sense of the soldier’s afterlife story. As Brian Taylor listened he had looked at his watch and quietly observed that it was exactly 11am – it was Remembrance Sunday (2012).

The ‘war dead’ have their suffering to wake up from; the living can recognise them when they come. We can share their Communion and unlock the meaning of that wonderful word.

Further Reading:

Flanders Field (11.11.12)

Centre: The Truth about Everything

Private Dowding

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DOES A PIG SUFFER?

Passing by a butcher’s shop in an indoor market I was stopped in my tracks by the sight105218753
in a low-level window. The full-length body of a dead pig cut perfectly in half from nostril to tail. The one nostril oozing congealed blood, the one eye shut, white eye lashes curled, the one front leg and foot stiff, the one back leg the same.

A father wearing jeans and a t-shirt with tattooed arms had stopped with his two children to look. He said, “It’s good to see this, it shows you what sausages and bacon come from. You won’t see this in the supermarket.”

One child asked, “How was it killed?”

“Electrocuted,” the father answered.

He then said passionately, “When you see where your food comes from you will know for yourself what to eat and what not to eat.”

“Well said!” I exclaimed.

He turned around to see who had spoken and said, “I only eat organic meat because then I know where it has come from.”

“Really?” My astonished reply was lost on the father who had moved on to keep up with his children.

Whether a pig is “organic” or not, the pig is a living being and does not want to be killed. Knowing where the pig came from is not the point. It’s knowing the pig will suffer. We can consciously choose to live an ethical life that leads to the welfare and happiness of all beings by simply “not doing to any other living being what we would not like done to ourselves.”

Organic or not, the death trip to the slaughter house is the same nightmare of fear, dread, betrayal, suffering and violent loss of life.

To see with compassion the men who are paid to kill the pigs (and other animals) in the slaughter house. Because of human greed, such brutalising and dehumanising work is done and carries dire consequences for those who do the killing (as well as for those who perpetuate the suffering and killing of pigs).

The scale of suffering is formidable!

PIGS are unfinished business in the conscience of humanity. SEE suffering with compassion and understanding. STOP eating pigs (and any other animal).

Look and See.
Until you See, Look occupies the Present.
As soon as you See, Look occupies the Past.
See occupies the Present.

 

Reference:
VIVA Vegan is a state of kind. Be kind to all kind. https://www.viva.orhg.uk/sentenced-death/part-one-inside-slaughterhouse

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