Monday, 31 December 2018

What's Up In 2019? Finding Our True Selves, Perhaps?

Dear Reader,

The news may be disturbing that there are 5 erupting volcanoes in Indonesia, 6 in Central America and 4 in South America, in addition to 2 in the Mediterranean. And many more are in a state of 'unrest'. (For a full list see here)

The thought that such eruptions have taken place for aeons should not placate us when we consider that the number of eruptions has been irrevocably increasing and, using more reliable data, particularly in the last 200 years. These increases have interestingly enough) appeared to correspond to both the start of the Industrial Revolution and Consumerism and a significant increase in population (though see the caveat in the top left of the image), and the last 50 years or so show very significant increases.

But in our disconnectedness, we probably think that all this - and Climate Change - is somehow a separate issue from the way we humans have been behaving. Do we really think that or are we accepting what is told to us through the media? For me I feel that particularly since the start of the Industrial Revolution we have been making a big noise around the planet, retrogressively removing our ability to relate to nature without a big effort. Indeed we seem to have adopted a mentality that those often regarded as 'primitive' races find hard to understand because our ways have been so out of 'sync' with nature and the concept of one-ness.

I submit that these factors - and many other forms of man-made disturbance - are likely to 'come to a head' during this coming year and over the next 3 or 4 years. What we should seek - surely - is how to find a way to regain a balance not only amongst ourselves and the environment but with Mother Earth in her totality. That surely is our future, not a meaningless and more automotive version of what we've been doing.

There are a number of movements and modern writers who are spiritually conscious of (and disturbed by)  what is going on around us. They feel the need to tell us of the need to re-appraise ourselves. I quote from just two such writers, but they are by no means alone in their cry.

The writer Paul Kingsworth has written:
We bend our shoulders beneath the official notion that the material world is explicable, just as we bend our shoulders beneath the notion that words are merely units of information. But something in us—something which sings when the moon is up—knows this to be a lie. We miss the songs that were sung through us, whoever it is, whatever it is, that sung them. We live in an age of loss, our stories collapsing around us, our people dividing into tribes, anger and rage and condemnation overruling nuance, compassion, and attention. Looking around our outer world right now, it can seem as if we are being driven mad by something. It can seem as if we are stuck, raging at the world, missing something we deeply need.
In times like these, we are all in the process of transformation, and so is the world around us. The Great Work, the magnum opus, is the work we are all engaged in, whether we know it or not. The Great Work is the reassembling of the tiny shards of light into which the universe was shattered at the Creation. Every story we tell, every poem we write, if it is true, reassembles a tiny piece of this light, brings us back closer to the heart of the mystery. How do we know this? We don’t. At the heart of art is the same paradox as lies at the heart of religion: we don’t know anything. We can only act from our unknowing, with faith and determination.
James Stark: elaborates on this theme:
We have labored under the notion that we are not enough, that when we speak of subtle worlds, invisible landscapes, and a sacred activism, we speak nonsense. We have assumed that there is only one way to be in the world, and that way is certain, self-evident, and without alternatives—at least to sane, healthy people. We have tried to adopt the language and assumptions of development and progress; to force our eyes to see food as product of the marketplace instead of gift; to devalue our dreams for meaningful work as empty if not bottom-lined by the motivation to make money. But there are rumors of ancient futures and we are beginning to see how this monoculture of mind no longer serves the diversity and expansiveness of human and other-than-human beings; we are seeing how the one usurped the many. We are seeing—like you are—that growth is not enough.
In the beginning of this next paragraph I would like to think that in the UK we do not quite have the inclination to leave a fellow "to die":
Because of a cockeyed model of life, we live in a generic culture that rewards the fast, the narrow, the devious, and the man that leaves his fellow on the wayside to die. A culture that punishes compassion, smallness, uncertainty, and intimacy. For growth, for this rush for supremacy, we are mortgaging the very things that make us attractive. We are trading away the genius of being alive, our profound diversity. This singular truth, this certainty with its claims to universal validity, this one way of knowing, promised us wealth and peace. The profits grew, but our trees, homes, and lands were disrespected; we became more efficient, but our efficiencies crowded out our cultures and languages.

Now we can no longer abide economic structure and ideological monologue that considers our wellbeing an afterthought, our lands a lifeless mass of dirt awaiting capitalist redemption, and our cultures a cosmetic distraction from the more serious business of making more money. We cannot listen for too long to the boastings of a pixel pretending to be the entire picture.

Let me say that the crisis we face as a species is not merely economic, it is epistemic: we are confronted with a paralyzing loss of certainty, the eradication of the mythological grounds upon which we slowly invented modern culture. We are faced with the end of truth. These are perilous times. But therein lies the brilliance of our moment, a beauty I suspect the techne of decentralization serves: the truth is broken, wrinkled, and in his place are a thousand splinters of story. That’s the power of today. That’s hope of a different persuasion, that in pulsating fractals of the whole, in puddles of renewal and resistance, people everywhere can recognize that behind the sheen of global gigantism, behind the blitz of ads, and behind the certainty of numbers is an institutionalized reluctance for people to live their own lives. In this system, we are hardly the social actors; we are the social outcomes—puppets attached to the strings of a hidden ventriloquist. This is the economic arrangement we call ‘normal.’

Wade Davis said, “There is, indeed, a fire burning over the earth, taking with it plants and animals, cultures, languages, ancient skills and visionary wisdom. Quelling this flame, and re-inventing the poetry of diversity is perhaps the most important challenge of our times.”

The call to localize is a response to the poetry of diversity and coincides with this end of truth, with the refutation of the ‘complete dictionary’—that system of creeds that once roped us in and in whose tight wager a beautiful plurality of worlds still struggles for breath. Economic decentralization, driven by the realization that there are many ways of knowing and being in the world, coincides with this planetary urge to play with new forms, to revive the messiness of being alive, to leave the corrupt security of a monologue and venture out into the wildness we once called home. It implies that we are learning to come home to ourselves. The building of a temple without steeples. We are regaining our power, once invested in intergovernmental agencies, trade treaties, nations states and tricle-down policies.

Might I venture to say that our most compelling imperative today—if one is permitted to speak in those ways—is to reclaim the thickness of our tongues and learn the names and faces of our neighbours; it is to realize that our worldview is just a tittle in a never-ending sentence; it is to see that there are more ways to learn than school and polished degrees could ever accommodate and more ways to live than could be captured in a Facebook post. The imperative is to recognize that our theories of change have to change and that urgency is not always a function of increased effort and logical coherence. We must reacquaint ourselves with allies that cannot be seen, too subtle for the modern eye, and forgotten human capacities that are wondrous beyond compare, too outrageous for rational thought. We must recognize that our crises emerge from clinging too tightly to a single story, from drinking out of a single drying wellspring while others flow unattended. This recognition also implies that there are no convenient ‘others,’ no convenient enemies, and that we are the systems we oppose. It means admitting that we don’t know the answers, talk less of the questions — and that’s okay.

The new politics of hope we imagine is not so much about the correct answers. It’s about us—us as aspects of our ecosystems, our cultures, and our relationships. That’s the poetic hope my life force, Ej, our daughter, Alethea, and I hold as we embark on a quest to live and thrive in a wider spectrum of values, to trust that there is more to life than the urge to consume, to rest in the knowing that we are never ever alone and couldn’t possibly be. That’s why I’m excited to work for a more just world, a coming together to insist on the insidiousness of corporate monoculture and the promise of community.
His prayer (yes, all this thought is no way disconnected from the Source):
As we move into the possibility of civilization collapse, my prayer is that human beings might find paths towards living from our hearts and in harmony with all life. My message and deep felt longing is that we all embrace love, joy and hope and become be.

Thank you for reading this.

Friday, 21 December 2018

Christmas 2018 - And What's Next?

Dear Reader,

Well, that time of the year has again come round - the one that most of us treat as a time to make children happy by giving them the presents they hoped for and for pursuing the mythology that exists about Christmas. But at least the theme of 'giving' continues to be emphasised, even though we mostly don't stop to think about what it's all about.

And the people involved in these UK scenarios will be wanting to know a lot more about what Christmas is about as far as they are concerned:

  • Some 597 homeless people died in England and Wales in 2017, an increase of 24% since 2013, according to the Office for National Statistics.
  • The amount of homelessness is thought to be far greater than the Government admits to.
  • In addition, a new analysis finds 130,000 kids will be homeless at Christmas.
  • Government Ministers have also been warned that the Housing Benefit freeze risks pushing renters into homelessness,
  • The disabled have been severely targeted, particularly on the bedroom tax issue, but also with regard to the difficulty they have in gaining PIP benefits.
  • On top of that, Foodbanks continue to be perhaps the most quickly expanding food outlet sector.

Eight years after coming into office, the Tory Government has decided that perhaps it's about time some of these anomalies should be checked. But it's almost a cynical response, knowing that they will stand to gain deep unpopularity if these issues are allowed to worsen any further.

And in the middle of all this - indeed it's promoted by the media as the most important subject - is Brexit. And what a shambles this process has proved to be, with possibly great impact on how we perform trade and with regard to the staffing of the NHS.

And there is the little matter of climate change, with the Government very reluctant to call a halt on fracking. And in this 'Lost 'World' video and article there is just a little reminder of how the world's resources are being mismanaged.

And what about HS2? Surely that White Elephant must be brought to a halt before it really hits the buffers.

The year 2019 stands to be a year when all these matters (and others) will surely start to come to a head. And serious issues exist in many other countries of the world - including the US, so that it stands to be that the whole world will be at a crossroads in 2019 or 2020.

But I still say to you all: be happy this Christmas. But let's try harder to personally carry that happiness towards others that are far worse off, wherever they may be.

Thank you for reading this.

Monday, 26 November 2018

How To Balance Technological Development With Life Itself

Dear Reader,

I worked in I.T. for 40 years, but in that time (to 2006) it was all about data processing, the latest developments then being concerned with databases, enterprise business solutions (e.g. SAP) and the (then) upcoming world of the Internet. That now seems to be eons ago. In just over 12 years since there have been exponential developments in the electronic world to the extent that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is now the main topic of conversation in this realm. It is gaining pace very quickly.

And one of the products gaining great momentum is Alexa.

Here is an interesting (and, be warned, fairly long) article on an assessment of Alexa and her relatives: click here.

The more I find out about this development the more I become apprehensive. Sure, AI will be a welcome aid in certain areas of need, but unfortunately, many of us take an unrealistic view about life and tend to develop deep attachments to gadgets. Look how we became attached to mobile phones and screen-based activity in general.

But to use facilities such as Alexa can only have one outcome to my mind: that our dependency on AI will grow and with it our attachment to it and loss of ability to live with the natural world to which we really belong.

As time goes on I long more for the countryside and the mountains that I enjoyed in my youth - not to become an extension to the world of AI. Living by AI (and gadgets) is not what life is about as far as I am concerned.

If we are concerned about our children and their attachment to mobile gadgets then - as I see it - there will be more to be concerned about as we lose our sense of who we really are.

Would you trust Alexa to find the solution to the Brexit issue or whether to bomb a country? It seems to me that we are heading in that direction.

How, then, to re-think the way we live our lives?

David Abrams is a 61-year-old American philosopher, cultural ecologist, and performance artist, best known for his work in bridging the philosophical tradition of phenomenology with environmental and ecological issues. He has written books, but in this article he frames the topic of technology (e.g. gadgets) vs realism; very intelligently in my view.

A short extract from that article states:
For most traditionally oral, indigenous cultures that we know of, any and every phenomenon is potentially animate; everything moves. ...
All things are felt to have their own pulse, their own inner spontaneity or dynamism. All things have agency, the capacity to act—although some things, like trees, rocks, or mountains, clearly move much slower than other things, like bears or dragonflies. Such styles of perception show themselves in exceedingly different ways throughout diverse indigenous traditions, yet Western ethnologists in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries could not help but notice this curious commonality among the divergent tribes they lived with and sometimes managed to learn from. The members of such cultures seemed to respond to their surroundings as though all things were alive and (at least potentially) aware. Further, from this animistic perspective, it seemed that all things were felt to be expressive; all things had the power of meaningful speech (although, of course, very few of them spoke in words).
He ends:
For animism—the instinctive experience of reciprocity or exchange between the perceiver and the perceived—lies at the heart of all human perception. While such participatory experience may be displaced by our engagement with particular tools and technologies, it can never entirely be dispelled. Rather, different technologies tend to capture and channel our instinctive, animistic proclivities in particular ways.
This brings me back to the feeling I have of wanting to be back with nature. The natural world is part of my essence; anything else is ephemeral and unsubstantial I feel. To me, putting the natural world into second place (to gadgets) would be an abdication of what I have been bestowed with: it would be a betrayal of my real self.

God created us with free will, and this is the very sort of situation that should challenge us to determine a proper direction in our lives. In so doing we fulfil the trust that God bestows us with, and is the real reason for our creation. We are here to find our real selves: that is our real goal in life, not submission to slavery. But the over-use of gadgets is just one way by which we can become enslaved.

Thank you for reading this.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

The Only Way Ahead?

Dear Reader,

Anyone who has read any of my posts will know that I see all spiritual ways are like the different petals of a flower: each has the same essential quality. The way an individual petal moves in the wind may differ, perhaps, but it is still a sibling of the other petals and they stem from the same source.

But what is it that practically joins the various spiritual ways together? It is surely the caring element; the notion that all people are shareholders of the same planet, together with the myriad forms of other life forms that dwell upon planet Earth. And that there can only be one Creator-God that has produced all that we behold.

So how is it that it's all gone 'belly-up' (as it were) and that peoples of different religious persuasions see themselves as something better, or that their God is greater?

What is wrong is surely written into the word "religion" - from the Latin, "to bind together". It invariably comes to be the case that when a spiritual way of life becomes encrusted in laws and in haranguing from the pulpit (and, worse, that original teachings get modified), that we should begin to realise something has been lost. It is surely incumbent upon us to seek what the teacher originally did say, not be persuaded by others who claim years of academic study. After all, did the great teachers (such as the Buddha, Jesus or Muhammed) ever go to university or its equivalent in those days? No, their own quality and relationship with God was all that was needed to produce recognisable Truth.

And until we see what is really wrong with our so-called "civilisation" and instead elect to government those who have innate wisdom to lead, we are not going to see much change. Not, at least, by peaceful means; but when (if ever) did revolutions and wars lead to proper peace? Surely we have to be the change, particularly as our national governments are probably not in charge of their own destiny.

I would like our political leaders (and even religious leaders) to read the following, extracted from  'Caring' by Tarthang Thulku (Dharma Publishing, 2018):
Despite all the 'advances' we have witnessed in the West, we know there is so much suffering and alienation in society. Individuals often express a deep sense of loneliness and even dissatisfaction with their lives. It is true that modern medicine has prolonged life spans and prevented illness. Technology has made so many things easier. But happiness or contentment for most seem to be further from reach than ever before.
At the same time, religious structures both in the West and East, are often either becoming more superficial, or are getting radicalized. Fundamentalism is on the rise in all religions, as people with negative motivations take advantage of the new gaping voids in society and governing systems to spread a message that made Veer into hatred and discrimination.
Perhaps, if we were to develop a genuine quality of care, things could be different. So it is important to see how we might consciously develop the quality care, and consider it's deeper implications for society.
Caring seems to have many different dimensions. On one level, to care is to love and understand the needs of others, in what we could call a 'horizontal' way. Fundamentally to care requires us to first be aware: to be aware of our surroundings, to be in-tune with the needs of others. The awareness of the cry of suffering, the alertness of the immediacy of disruption, this juncture, in balance, or pain is one fundamental aspect of the quality of care.
In these cases of horizontal care, I care for my fellow being, neighbor, other sentient beings, even perhaps the gardens, or spaces I inhabit. I care for the situation at hand and seek to understand what might give greater comfort and ease, greater beauty and clarity to those around me.
The second, perhaps less known form of care is a vertical kind of care. This form of care may be care for a higher purpose, or even a transcendent, perhaps non-visible one. In this vertical form of care, I imagine that we care for things along an arc of the past and future that may be beyond our present moment. We care about our ancestors and the environment from which we are born. We care about the lakes and the mountains and the sky, for we know that they are our progenitors. We also care about qualities and ideals of our future embodiment. We care about realizing our potential, and the potential of each and every sentient being. With this form of care, prayer and especially virtuous aspirations, we may find care to be a very powerful vehicle of self-transformation.
We know that within each being a light is there to manifest, and we seek every way to help cultivate their awakening with our hands folded at the heart level, we pray consciously for their awakening. The horizontal care we extend to our brothers and sisters in the present moment naturally awakens the call for the vertical form of care.
To care means to make one's own life an example of good conduct. It does not mean that we must give big speeches or write fancy words; our actions should simply demonstrate our ideas. Perhaps even more importantly, our care should be evident even when no one is there to see us or congratulate us. Our lives should be our records.
Thank you for reading this.

Monday, 15 October 2018

To See Jesus Properly, Blink And Look Again.

Dear Reader,

Some 44 years ago, something got me off my backside to seek what Life is really about. I do not mean so much by the usual meaning of the phrase but rather what Life itself is for, and what was my own true role in all that, minuscule being though I felt myself to be.

I am not going to go into detail here of the background of that situation, but a strange event occurred that triggered a period of profound inner experience that caused me to switch my attitude. It was a kind of being 'born again' experience, though the kind of questions raised then, at age 30, were a continuum of the kind of spiritual feeling and philosophical questions I was asking between the ages of 12 and 17.

So, over the last 44 years I came to study, through substantial reading, discussion and experience, all of the major religions. In terms of what effect that time and experience has had on my own life, then I profess myself to be a follower of no specific religion other than a Perennial Philosophy, also called the Eternal Way. I see no formalised religion as being greater than another in its potential, though (as I was brought up in a Bible-teaching country) the matter of Jesus has remained close to me.

For me, the nature of Jesus and His teachings have taken on a more expansive hue in the light of my broader understanding gained over all those years. And I have come to certain conclusions helped by other students and writers who have published their findings over the past 40 years or so, in the light of the Dead Sea Scrolls (1945) and the Nag Hammadi Library (1947 and 1954). However, the source of those conclusions is also linked to the works of the late John Michell, who published insightful books in the 1970s.about numbers, sacred geometry and their relationship to texts in the Bible. And also the work over several decades by the polymath Keith Critchlow. 

My incursion into Islam over several years certainly caused me to view Christianity differently, and the book "Jesus Prophet of Islam" (its 1970s version and the updated 1990s version) was a great insight into how formal Christianity came about. Indeed, how the Bible was put together in the 4th century AD was a revelation to me 40 years ago. 

My primary, more recent, academically-based and well-researched sources are:
  • Elaine Pagels: The Gnostic Gospels (1979) and Beyond Belief (2004)
  • Gordon Strachan: Jesus The Master Builder (1998)
  • Holger Kirsten: Jesus Lived In India (1986)
  • The Golden Age Project. (referred to in my previous post)
It is noteworthy that Pagels and Strachan both come from a strong Christian background, yet both have been willing to extend their search for Truth beyond reliance on the Bible. It is in that spirit that I hope the reader will view the findings (summarily listed below), and I would urge the reader to seek out the Truth for himself.

All I have done here is to list those sources that have had the most profound effect on me in relation to my study of Jesus, but I would emphasise that I don't necessarily agree with all the findings of those works. The great majority of that content does make sense to me, however, and have helped me to see the Bible in a different light.

There is much that they say that fits into my own experiential study, including the unitarian teachings of Sri Sathya Sai Baba and various Sufi and 'Hindu' masters, such as (but not only) Rumi and Yogananda, and the early Christian and theologian, Origen.

Before we go into the primary findings about Jesus and Christianity (I hesitate to call them 'My Findings') and their connection with ancient teachings, I would like to briefly mention a further waking-up that occurred to me in 1998. I was on a visit to Malaysia and found myself sitting at a tea-hut in the middle of the night with the stars twinkling brightly above us. I was sitting with 3 Malaysians, two of them being Hindu and the other Christian, and we were talking about religion when I was asked what I thought was the correct religion. My answer was: "The way of Jesus". I hardly believed I had said that as for years I had been concentrating on other spiritual traditions, but out it came. On reflection, I think that was the true start of my re-examination of Christianity and my return from what had been partly an ego trip into the study of other teachings.

The Primary Findings

The detailed findings are not going to form the body of this article. The detail of this topic may possibly be published separately at some future time, but I would just like to summarise here, for interest, what I believe to be the case and also to perhaps whet an appetite for the detailed document or book. Or, in the absence of that document, to whet a search for oneself.

The following findings are compatible with my experience and study of other spiritual traditions which has revealed that the Truth is stranger than fiction. I pray for your forgiveness if any error be found.
  1. That much of the Bible is not to be taken literally. However, there are key moral and spiritual teachings in the Bible that will lead to the core Truths. The truth of any religion lies in its experience, not its words. 
  2. That the 4th-century Emporer Constantine formalised Christianity as Roman Catholicism and modified certain aspects to make it more palatable for Romans.
  3. That the Bible is a 4th-century construct that left out other significant manuscripts, perhaps with pure intention in order not to confuse, but including enough for those who wished to seek more.
  4. That early Christianity included the practice of vegetarianism and the belief in reincarnation, a tenet that was not expunged from Christianity until (again) the 4th century.
  5. That the Protestant movement of the late Middle Ages was a protest and realignment without the original Christian teachings being fully identified.
  6. That there are traditions that seriously suggest that Jesus visited England's west country, perhaps sometime between the ages of 12 and 29.
  7. That the first Christian church established in Europe was at Glastonbury, England, in 37AD.
  8. That there are traditions that seriously suggest that Jesus junior visited Glastonbury at that time or shortly after.
  9. That there are traditions that seriously suggest that St. Paul came to England and helped to found a monastery at Bangor on the River Dee which was referred to by the venerable St. Bede as having thousands of members.
  10. That the practitioners of early Christianity in England found sympathy/compatibility with the practices and beliefs of the Druids, who had strong links with spiritual traditions across Europe and the Middle East.
  11. That early British Christianity was suppressed by Rome in the early 7th century.
  12. That the later Glastonbury Abbey (built on the site of the original church) is in alignment with, and shares geometrical measurements with, Stonehenge - and also the Great Pyramid, which is seriously thought to be (by para-archaeologists) older than 10,000BC.
  13. That the Bible is suffused with words (in its ancient Hebrew and Greek forms) carefully selected and ordered according to a numerological system called gematria. A book called "The Bible Code", published in the 1990s, demonstrated that.
  14. That gematria is an ancient system of (officially) unknown origin but would appear to be incredibly ancient. Though it is usually referred to as part of a Pythagorean system, it seems to be very much older than that source, just as Pythagoras's famous Theorem was not originated by Pythagoras. Pythagoras is known to have studied at many spiritual sources in Europe, the Middle East and the East.
  15. That gematria is connected to sacred geometry, the underlying numerical system and basis for the natural order of sounds and shapes that pervade the universe.
  16. That the source of the practices of the Essenes (of Palestine) included the Pythagorean system as well as other ancient holy systems that formed a Perennial Philosophy. Almost beyond doubt, John the Baptist and Jesus were strongly connected to the Essenes. Many of the early Christians appear to have been Essenes.
  17. That Jesus primarily came to help mankind into a new sense of spiritual understanding and potential based on spiritual principles that are incorporated in the ideas of Perennial Philosophy (also called the Eternal Way) and which he (Jesus) studied, and revealed his mastery of, during his eastern travels between the ages of 12 and 29.
  18. That the ideas and practices of the Essenes evolved into various forms of Sufism and Batini (inner dimensions) after the coming of the religion of Islam and the teaching of Muhammed, who gave immense respect to Jesus. The Qur'an declares Jesus as one of the prophets of Islam. Note: Islam simply means "submission to the will of God", nothing else. A respected western commentator on Islam (W. Montgomery Watt) once wrote: "if Islam means 'submission to God' then I am a Muslim (one who submits to God's will)".
  19. The idea of the teachings of Jesus the Messiah being unrelated to, or even essentially of a higher nature than, all other spiritual ways must be viewed as anathema when it comes to viewing the teachings of Jesus. Inclusivity through the love of God and of our neighbour should be the paramount considerations in living our lives. Love conquers all.
The overall historical picture should lead us to see that all spiritual paths are linked, despite very different modes, symbols and languages, and are devoted to one purpose: to invite man to rise up and evolve into a man of spiritual poise under one God. And while all teachings emphasise on the importance of utilising this life as one's best opportunity, there is the saving grace of reincarnation to enable us to keep trying to reach that poise until it has been achieved.

It is interesting that the YMCA's symbol is the upturned triangle, representing balance in body, spirit and mind in order to create poise:

For more on the early British church click here.

Thank you for reading this.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Did Those Feet In Ancient Time...?

Dear Reader,

My past two posts were largely about the ancient origins of the British and about sacred geometry. This week the topic reverts specifically to the history of Britain, but in the context of its ancient spiritual developments and roots of Christianity in Britain and the reason why it's of importance.

In those immortal words of William Blake's 'Jerusalem', reference is made through the words "And Did Those Feet In Ancient Time" to the possible visit of Jesus to Britain, and specifically to Britain's west country, from Glastonbury westwards.

Now for many years I regarded those words of Blake as being perhaps of wishful thinking and not based on anything substantive and not of great importance. Until, that is, I went back to historically research ancient British history a few weeks ago and from which I have lately come across remarkable findings by other investigators over the last 200 years, and which is on-going in a project called The Golden Age Project.

The Golden Age Project website talks a great deal more than what I am referring to which is the part about the possible visit of Jesus to these shores and its ramifications, but I suggest it is worthwhile referring to the Golden Age Project's website for a greater appreciation of their subject matter.

The nature of The Golden Age Project findings might be thought to be too 'way out' or unrealistic, but is this because of how we have been conditioned to think? You see, one of the main issues that now becomes more vivid to me is that over the last 2,000 years we in Britain have been subjected to huge dominating forces in the form of the Romans, the Roman Catholic Church and, finally, the Normans, in that order. We have developed our own way since the Norman invasion, but "our way" has been considerably conditioned by the three dominating forces referred to earlier. What our point of view became - in my view - was essentially a synthesis of those three dominating forces with 'add-ons'. But there was something that was much finer that survived (despite its attempted domination) until the 7th century and which I believe is really worthy of study.

So let us start somewhere about what I am alluding to, and my first point of reference is that the Roman Catholic Church, despite its pretence at being the true representative of Jesus, actually knows that the Christian church was not firstly established (in Europe) in Rome.

Astonishing, isn't it?

It would seem that virtually all the great names of the Roman Catholic tradition in Britain (from the monk Bede and including St. Augustine) admitted that the first church was established at Glastonbury in the 30s AD, probably 35 AD. That the next church was established in Wales in 62 AD and that shortly after there was a great monastery established at Bangor that was a huge influence in British spiritual life until the 7th century. All before St. Augustine came over and - eventually by default after a great battle that happened to clear the way - established the Roman Catholic tradition that seriously influenced our ways in Britain for 1,000 years (supplemented by the Normans). Even Henry VIII did not entirely get rid of Catholicism, and it was not until William of Orange arrived and the Bill of Rights passed in 1688 that we have the state firmly committed to Protestantism.

But let's return to that early Christian church in Britain, and ask how it came to be. And the answer brings us back to William Blake and his poetic assertions about "Those Feet". It would appear that it was none other than Joseph of Arimathea and other close members of Jesus's circle that were responsible for planting that early church, and that Joseph of Arimathea had greater credentials than the Bible would let us believe. But the further amazing realisation is that the teachings that were espoused were esoterically in tune with those of the Druids. And that the Romans made it their main job to persecute Druids and Christians alike, until it came about that Christianity (in a certain form) was established by Constantine as the official Roman religion nearly 300 years after the first European church was established at Glastonbury.

There is a great deal more to dwell on including the assertion that St. Paul was yet another great figure of Christianity that came to these shores and helped to establish the monastery at Bangor. And much, much more besides including the revelation that Emperor Constantine was descended from a British royal family.

I am building up a historical perspective of all this that will (in the not too distant future, hopefully) appear on my website and, perhaps, as a book. I believe the matter to be of supreme importance, and in fact should be of great interest to the Hindus, Buddhists and Muslims that now share our country, and all those who believe in the essential unity in all religious teachings - especially the Unitarians and the Quakers.

Thank you for reading this.

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Sacred Developments In A New Age

Dear Reader,

It is always marvellous to me how a train of thought leads me to something new or magnifies the topic even more. This past week has been a very good example of that.

In my previous post, I alluded to 'sacred geometry'. Now (for those not familiar with the topic) sacred geometry is an extremely ancient system of design that has given rise to the basis of design of virtually all the genuine temples, mosques and cathedrals in the world. Those buildings - as places of worship to the Almighty - are designed in such a way so as to bring to those premises the full powers of the natural energies of the universe, bringing with them uplifting and healing power - particularly of the soul. Chartres Cathedral is just one magnificent example. 

An example of a practitioner in this method has been Professor Keith Critchlow, a great practitioner of sacred geometry for over half a century. He is a polymath, an artist, lecturer, author, and professor of architecture in England and Professor Emeritus at The Prince's School of Traditional Arts in London. He has designed many great buildings, including the great Sathya Sai Super Speciality Hospital in India, and mosques etc.

It was a friend of Keith Critchlow's - the late John Michell - who highlighted to me the importance of sacred geometry in ancient sites such as Stonehenge and the Great Pyramid through his publications in the 1970s. At that time I did not think it being more than an esoteric yet whimsical notion of little practical purpose in the modern age. But I have been proved to be very wrong.

The topic of sacred geometry has come more and more to the forefront in the last two decades or so. It may not be present in the general public's perception, but it is there, and there is no doubt as to its significance and a pointer to how architecture will develop in the New World that is around the corner.

The 'Flower of Life' geometry - the basis of much.
"What 'New World' is this?", you say.

Only six years ago there was a mild panic when the world became very aware that the Mayan Calendar was to reach its end in December, 2012. People said that it would be the end of the world, but - as always - nothing of that nature occurred. But what did happen is that planet Earth made a spiritual shift of vital importance, and that is taking us - through all the current chaos and crisis - to a New Age. Christians would say this New Age is the second coming of Christ.

In this New Age, man will have a need to reach into a new spiritual dimension and faculties such as sacred geometry will be one of the tools that will bring man into closer alignment with God's creation and the Almighty himself. As it is, in fact, already doing and has been for some time now.

The time is coming closer for us to have to change. And part of that will be to recognise our dependence on Mother Nature - and the whole universe - and we will have to stop treating our world as though it is there for us to play with as we like, which attitude has given rise to all the environmental issues and climate change that is now upon us.

This past week I have suddenly grasped how much has been going on behind the scenes in these last few decades to help us all into this New Age.

I wish everyone well in this venture.

Thank you for reading this.

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Picking Bones and Turning Stones...

Dear Reader,

To me, it is a curious condition that we seem to accept that civilised life started less than 7,000 years ago. It is also a curious condition to my mind that we westerners mostly think that the pure teachings of Jesus had not been heard before.

I am constantly learning something new about man's history, and the other day I obtained a history of Britain by its most acclaimed historian: G. M. Trevelyan. In some early pages of this well-written book are references to early people of Britain called 'Iberians'. Now this name (Iberian) hit me like a thunderbolt; Iberia to me has always been the Spanish and Portuguese peninsula, so what on earth would 'Iberians' be doing in Britain?

I donned my research 'hat' once more. I learnt that these peoples (the Iberians) were the same that created Stonehenge and were the main body of people in these islands until the Celts arrived, much later. And it's only since the arrival of the Celts that British history has hitherto been concentrated. The Iberians have been something of an enigma ... except for Stonehenge ...

My research then took me into genetics, and the work of Stephen Oppenheimer, a professor at Oxford University, author of 'The Origins of the British: A Genetic Detective Story' (2006).

Oppenheimer wrote (in a 2006 newspaper article):
I have traced and mapped sources and dates of migration of the male and female gene lines, which had arrived in the British Isles before 1950.
The first and most important discovery I made is that three-quarters of British ancestors arrived as hunter-gatherers between 7,500 and 15,000 years ago, after the melting of the ice caps but before the land broke away from the mainland and divided into islands.
Our subsequent separation from Europe has preserved a genetic time capsule of southwestern Europe during the Ice Age, which we share most closely with the former ice-age refuge in the Basque country. Overall, three-quarters of our modern gene pool (two thirds in England) derives from this early source.
The first settlers were unlikely to have spoken a Celtic language but possibly a tongue related to the unique Basque language.
The curious fact that Oppenheimer states is that the migration of the Iberians into Britain occurred around 10,000 BC (though there is a wide plus or minus I know). I say 'curious' as I do believe (yes, many don't) that Atlantis actually existed but that it disappeared under the waves at about the same time as the Iberian influx. Now surely, some survivors of that cataclysm (accepting - as I do - that Atlantis was located in the Atlantic Ocean) would have reached the Iberian peninsula before some moved further on. And it was not that long after (around 7,000 BC or perhaps even earlier) that the Iberians started building extraordinary mystical sites such as Stonehenge, which went through subsequent re-development.

And I hypothesise that it's the survival of those mystical structures, using a design based on mystical (sacred) geometry, that indicates that the builders were inheritors of a spiritual tradition that goes back aeons, and to Atlantis, where it is believed that an extraordinary civilisation existed. It is further believed (by those who accept the Atlantis notion) that it was a great being of wisdom that took other survivors of Atlantis to Egypt and there built the Giza Pyramids, built using the same sacred geometry as used at Stonehenge. Of course, the official archaeological teaching is that these pyramids were built much later, but that belief is being rapidly eroded. 

So, what has happened since 10,000BC? I follow the theory that says that the Atlantean culture was destroyed because it came to the limit of disobeying natural laws. Hence man was made to start all over again. And what have we done? It seems to me that we are replicating the errors of the Atlanteans and are moving towards an 'End of Time' once more. But I do believe also that on this occasion there will be a brighter outcome, and a future of hope. Why do I say that? Because I believe in the great masters Krishna, the Buddha and Jesus (and others) who showed man that there is a right mode of living - for those that will take heed.

Thank you for reading this.

P.S. Please take a look at my updated website homepage.

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Life Can Be Wonderful, If...

Dear Reader,

In recent decades we have heard a good deal about the mantra "you are what you eat". And I would think that a majority of people in the west now take at least some note of that and actually apply the doctrine in everyday life. However, we all like to have a periodic 'day off' from what many see as being a boring path to a healthy lifestyle.

The tragedy is that western eating and sedentary habits have been replicated in eastern countries too over the last few decades and yet it was they that had a better wisdom towards diet! They also are now having to think again.

And in this video of a delightful dialogue between an eminent cardiac surgeon and Sadhguru my feeling is that the argument for a healthy lifestyle (exercise as well as diet) comes over well. And one particular matter took my interest in that Sadhguru referred to the dangers of looking forward to a retired life, arguing that without the challenge of something like a working life, people can stagnate. This point is contentious, though, as many people are employed in unstimulating work and therefore want something else more enjoyable in their later years, but if retirement has to be then let us be prepared to find something in retirement that is a challenge, perhaps in some form of voluntary work, or taking an active interest in local history, or in some other form of activity.

The overwhelming underlying issue, though, is that our bodies are provided to us for careful maintenance and surely we have a duty to keep our body machine in reasonable order. If we were to accept that doctrine then we should see ourselves in a different light, particularly as the sages tell us that if we take care of ourselves then greater possibilities open up for us. We can actually gain by behaving sensibly; it's not just a chore, it can be a delight so long as we have the right (positive) mental attitude.

And - importantly - money has little or nothing to do with our attitude and decision on the matter. It's how we perceive life that is the crux, combined with a sense of duty in not being an unnecessary burden on society. For example, if we take proper care of ourselves then the need for expensive healthcare can be eradicated. In the UK, to avoid that would be a great help to our wonderful health service.

And may I humbly add that reducing one's meat consumption would provide all kinds of benefits, to us individually and also to the world's sustainability. Further, the welfare of animals would be seen to be of greater importance than it now is. Tragically, they are predominantly seen to be there just to sustain our physical needs and are mechanically dealt with. They - as with all forms of creatures - form part of a whole, a unity. Without a healthy unity, we are headed for problems, particularly for our children.

Thank you for reading this.

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Finding Freely-Given Generosity

Dear Reader,

I am increasingly aware that all over the world there has been, sadly, a falling-away of family bonding and unsought-for generosity. Even in the East where their extended families and care towards them was famous, there has been a greater tendency for elders to be placed in care homes in recent decades.

I have become more aware of this as my wife comes from the East and her generation still retain their respect for older members of their extended family. But there is the tendency now for the modern generation to be not so concerned and live more for themselves.

I do not blame the modern generation for everything: far from it. It would appear to me that the seeds for this lack of concern were planted earlier when people started to be more widely educated in the western system, which tends to play more towards looking out for oneself and sticking to straight lines of thinking. That education tended to make many educationally highly-qualified people look down on their less well-endowed relatives.

In this, as I posted last week, there seems now, thankfully, to be a belated but slow change in thinking, more given towards traditional eastern modes of thought. And this approach is vital as we also seek to find ways to towards a more sustainable way of living on a planet of finite resources. We have to re-learn how to love our environment as well as other people.

But the circumstances which we have created, and the need to re-think, has cast my mind back to the late 1950s and the 1960s when life was quite different and people tended to be much more inclusive towards one another. For me, it also meant a time of adventure and the outdoors in those pre-PC days. From Snowdon to Derbyshire, from Birmingham to Stratford, from Dover to Milan, I covered quite a few blades of grass at a time when most ordinary people stuck to their holidays by the English seaside or were beginning to jet away to sunshine beaches.

As time went on I launched myself into hitch-hiking on the continent, mainly through France and North Italy, but also Belgium and Switzerland. Although my hitch-hiking experience was relatively short-lived, I have to say that those trips over three or four years (including one that lasted several months) had a profound effect on my attitude towards life, aided by many wonderful encounters with French (and Italian) nationals who were so generous towards us, I found it quite astonishing. I wonder if the same experiences would be possible now, in this more calculating age?

Probably the most remembered is when a companion and I were given a lift by a van driver and his mate in mid-France. We were stowed in the back of the van (without windows) and went some distance before noticing that we had left the main road and were travelling down a rough road surface. This didn't seem right - particularly as we continued in this fashion for some time! We began to think we were being kidnapped! Eventually, the van stopped. We were let out of the back and were then greeted by the driver's family and neighbours in their remote hilltop village. We were then treated to their local vin and hosted for some time before we continued on our journey! Their hospitality was quite extraordinary; they were just so excited to meet English people!

Another occasion saw me travelling with a van driver over the 200 miles from Marseilles to Lyon, a trip that took 3 or 4 hours. He was so grateful for my company and conversation on the journey that he insisted on giving me money for my lunch when we got there.

Many years later, in the 1980s and 1990s, I experienced the generosity of ordinary people in Malacca, Malaysia, where simple people living on very little would host us in their homes.

The nature of people - if we would remember ourselves correctly - is to be generous, so to be anything different is really contrary to who we are and invariably leads to difficulties.

So let us re-think about who we are and learn to know our (real) selves, as men of wisdom advised long ago, and, as Jesus said, the true way of life rests on two laws. The first is to love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and all thy mind. The second is to love thy neighbour as thyself. To forget these two laws (principles) is tantamount to forgetting about how to be human beings.

Thank you for reading this.

Sunday, 5 August 2018

What Can We Do Today For The Sake Of Tomorrow?

Dear Reader,

The need for commonsense leadership has been apparent for some time. How long has it taken for world leaders to agree that climate change is a reality and something to be taken very seriously indeed. There have also been ecological warnings raised by 'think tanks' since the 1970s - apart from more isolated warnings before that - and yet the world's economy goes on thinking that 'more is best'.

The main problem - I suggest - is that our educational system is geared towards the 'more' syndrome, and also to the use of the brain as our sole source of direction. Our education is greatly in need of being re-framed to attune more to commonsense teaching. Even wisdom teaching.

How refreshing it is, therefore, to find that some quite significant western institutions have called 'time' to examine how they should better go about things. It's taken time, but at last there's now some effort towards thinking differently.

In the Youtube library you will find a series of such talks that have taken place very recently at some major institutions, and primarily involving an Indian educationalist cum community worker cum mystic cum yogi who goes by the name of 'Sadhguru':

Here's a selection of the most profound recordings on the topic of how we should think about ourselves and the world around us, in order to bring the world into not just sustainability but harmony:
At the World Bank
At Stanford Business School
At Harvard Medical School
About Medicine... 
and about The Ideal Education
And there are many more fascinating videos that can be viewed on the sidebar at the above links.

How about these thoughts that Sadhguru conveys - amongst many others - that should be challenging us to 'think again':
That if we pursue study in the current educational system over a 15 to 20 years period, then we lose around 70% of our real intelligence.
That if we pursue study in the current educational system over a 15 to 20 years period, then we could find that around 40% of the total population will become schizophrenic in the next 25 to 30 years.
Surely, apart from all the issues of sustainability and climate change, these references should make us sit up and wonder what kind of world are we trying to leave for our children.

Thank you for reading this.

Friday, 29 June 2018

Have A Heart!

The brain is not (nor should not be) the source of our thoughts.
Dear Reader,

Without further ado, please read this quotation from the Bahai Teachings site:
If you’re reading this, you obviously have a beating heart.
In fact, why don’t you take a moment, right now, to sit back and just feel your heartbeat? Touch a finger to your wrist or your neck, and there, right beneath your skin, try to imagine the marvel of that faithful muscle. It beats constantly, without stopping, every minute of every day for your entire life. Try to truly feel your pulse and consider your heart’s job. Approximately the size of your fist—a little muscle that weighs maybe 12 ounces—it powers your entire physical existence, loyally pumping blood starting about three weeks after you begin life in your mother’s womb until your last moment on Earth.
The average human heart beats a hundred thousand times a day.
If you live a normal lifespan, your heart will faithfully beat nearly three billion times. No human organ—with the possible exception of the brain—has a harder or more complex task.
Perhaps that explains why the ancients saw the heart as the seat of life. In the oldest human societies, the heart represented the source of empathy, emotion, consciousness, reason, will, intellect, purpose and even the mind. That expansive, warm wonder of a feeling centered in our chests when we experience love? The heart. That terrible broken pain centered in our chests when love fails us? The heart. That sympathy and connection we feel to others when their emotions peak? The heart.
But modern science has traditionally viewed our hearts as mere mechanistic pumps. Because it sends our blood coursing its way through our arteries and veins, medical science has treated the heart muscle as the most machine-like of our vital organs.
Recently, though, that thinking has begun to change, as extensive scientific research and the new field of neurocardiology has increasingly shown that our hearts actually have a much larger role than simply pumping our lifeblood:
…one of the early pioneers in neurocardiology, Dr. J. Andrew Armour, introduced the concept of a functional “heart brain” in 1991. His work revealed that the heart has a complex intrinsic nervous system that is sufficiently sophisticated to qualify as a “little brain” in its own right. The heart’s brain is an intricate network of several types of neurons, neurotransmitters, proteins and support cells like those found in the brain proper. Its elaborate circuitry enables it to act independently of the cranial brain – to learn, remember, and even feel and sense. (From Neurocardiology, The Brain in the Heart, Heartmath Institute, 2015)
So we have known, for the past quarter-century, that the human heart contains a complex network of neurons that make up an intrinsic nervous system. These neurons transmit the heart’s signals to the brain, and the two organs actually work together. In fact, scientists have discovered neural pathways that allow the heart to inhibit or stimulate the brain’s electrical activity—to actually overrule the mind.
Everyone who has fallen in love understands how that mechanism works.
In fact, when we say our happiest and most spiritual feelings radiate from our hearts, we may be on to something scientifically and biologically real. The heart isn’t just a cardiac pump with its own nervous system—it’s also an endocrine gland, releasing peptides that stimulate the pituitary gland, which in turn releases hormones like oxytocin, commonly referred to as the love or bonding hormone. That expansive feeling of well-being, affection and love you’re experiencing in your chest? Turns out it literally does come from your heart. Maybe the ancients were right after all.
The article goes on to say that humans are "hard-wired, in other words, for attachment, affiliation and unity. We are inherently loving beings. We seek the bonds that only love can bring." Universal spiritual teachings state that every human heart innately and naturally desires connection, devotion and lasting love.

But we do not here talk simply about human inter-connection but about our connection with the entire environment in which we live, which is endless in reality. However, for now let's talk of our immediate (and physical) environment - called Planet Earth.

In the UK, these are some of the main development plans that our Government is pushing ahead with:
  1. Fracking.
  2. Heathrow's 3rd runway.
  3. HS2 (London-Midlands high speed railway), with HS3 to follow.
  4. Nuclear submarine replacement.
  5. Cancellation of a remarkable tide-control project in favour of nuclear power.
The cost and the ramifications of these projects are stellar in proportion and, frankly, hugely dangerous and wasteful in the main - and that's apart from the health issues.

Where is the heart that we allow these decisions to be made with barely a whimper? Since when has government been purely about economics and not inclusive of ethics?

There will be a cost to this: an enormous cost, not just in terms of money but the affect on people and nature itself. And we think that Mother Earth won't answer back?

We need to firstly think through the heart, not the head.

There's more to read - please click on this link.

Thank you for reading this.