The day after my last long walk (“Do you see what I see?”), I went for another.
A little over 16 kilometres.
This time, unlike the last, my gaze was not downcast. As with my spirit, my head was up.
And here following are some of the things that drew my eye.
(again, apologies for the old, not-“smart” camera phone image quality).
It was a warm day, and after about 6 kilometres I paused at a public reserve area to refill my water bottle.
There I spotted a cricket ball nestling down in the grass.
I sat down to rest and stretch for a while. As I enjoyed the feeling of old, roughened leather in my hands,
memories of childhood came flooding back.
Like so many Aussie lads, I was addicted to cricket as a youngster. Fast bowling was my specialty.
As I looked out across the reserve, my mind inadvertently recalled the imagery of long forgotten major triumphs
— and sadnesses — of my sporting youth.
I remembered how, in Year 6, a new and very sports-oriented school principal was appointed to head my primary school.
He promptly raised the emphasis on organised sports activities, including, for the first time in my experience, inter-school competition.
The particular images I recalled as I gazed out over the reserve, were memories of my own participation in two such inter-school competitions. And in so remembering, I was sharply reminded of the perils, and injustices, arising from the notions of popularity, peer pressure, and celebrity. Yes, even at primary school grade.
I recalled how another young lad, along with myself, spearheaded the school cricket team’s fast bowling attack. The other lad, however, was rather more gifted than I; he could bat as well. Unsurprisingly then, he was anointed team captain.
Being more charismatic to boot, he was the school’s unquestioned Mr Popular.
The memory of our first ever inter-school cricket match came painfully to mind. An “away” match. I was reminded how our team bowled first, and I was “on form”, ripping through the top and middle orders, taking figures of something like 6 for 10. The team captain collected 3 wickets, and chasing a tiny total, we won at a gentle canter.
He was voted man of the match.
Then I remembered our first inter-school soccer match. In a somewhat embarrassing 9-0 overall drubbing, I scored the first 5 goals for our team, demoralising the other. The team captain — yes, the same lad who captained the cricket team — then followed up with the final 4 goals.
Those final 4 goals appeared to be all that anyone remembered when the final whistle blew. Because once again, the team captain was popularly voted man of the match. And this time, being a “home” game, he was mobbed by backslapping teammates and enthusiastic home audience. I wandered from the pitch alone, wondering at the injustice of it all.
Then I was blessed to recall something entirely more pleasant, and really, quite beautiful. Indeed, a little tear came to my eye as I remembered it. Seriously.
After the soccer match, at the end of the school day while waiting for the bus, and yes, feeling a little down, one of the girls in my year came to me with a personal gift. She had made, and colourfully decorated, her own Man of the Match award, fashioned from cardboard. Shyly, she handed it to me, along with the declaration that she thought I should have been named man of the match, before scurrying away.
Such a beautiful memory. What a sweet, kind, lovely heart she possessed.
True it is, that “unless you turn around and become as little children, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven”.
As I rolled the cricket ball around in my hands, I experimented with what I could remember of the different grip techniques. And I tried to recall what was the special grip I had always used, and practiced countless times, in trying for
my special “unplayable” delivery.
If you know nothing of cricket, then this will of course mean little to you. Suffice to say, my special delivery was a ball which would — on incredibly rare occasion — swing away from a right-handed batsman, but on striking the pitch would then
seam back in the opposite direction, towards the stumps.
I remembered fondly a moment of unalloyed sporting triumph, which came on moving to a new school in Year 8. On one of the first occasions of playing sports, two teachers divided the boys into opposing teams, which they would captain for a cricket match.
When the teacher on the opposing team — a very large man — came to the wicket to bat at No. 3, the ball was thrown to me. If I recall correctly, I had perhaps boasted somewhat of being a decent fast bowler. I guess there were those who must have been keen to see what the new boy could do.
Naturally then, when I ran in to bowl to the imposing figure at the other end of the pitch, I was determined to try to get my special “killer” delivery to come off. And remarkably, in that first over, on about the third attempt, it did.
The batsman stepped forward to the pitch of the ball, following the outswing, and played a confident drive to off … only to hear the death rattle of his stumps behind him, as the ball neatly jagged back, through the gap between bat and pad.
Quietly delighted within — not at having dismissed the batsman, but at having actually pulled off that delivery — but not wishing to outwardly display anything but “cool”, I strolled nonchalantly down the wicket, only to rapidly become more than a little startled and bemused as, quite unexpectedly, new school teammates — and even the teacher captaining our side — rushed me with excited vigour and enthusiasm, as though I were some conquering hero.
Perhaps noticing the puzzled expression on my face — like, “What’s the fuss?” — the teacher informed me that the man I had just completely bamboozled was a Grade cricketer, who had never been dismissed in all his years teaching at that school.
I had cleaned him up in my first over.
I never took his wicket again. Ah, bittersweet nostalgia!
Rested and refreshed, I returned to the present as I donned my Frillneck hat and Julbo Sherpa sunnies, before walking on.
About a kilometre or so further, I came upon some horses grazing in the paddocks adjacent the quiet country road. Noticing me approaching, they came to the fence to greet me, doubtless hoping for a treat. The sight, the smell, the touch of a horse … truly, there is something unquestionable grand, noble, earthy, and magical about it all.
It was a truly wonderful, glorious day, with hardly a cloud in the sky. A little further along, I snapped these photos with my old phone. Alas, their quality is woefully inadequate to capture the beauty of the vista across the fields and towards the mountains, beneath stunning skies, but perhaps you will gain some small sense of it.
Barely 500 metres further, however, I was startled to suddenly spot a large red-bellied black snake in the grass no more than 5 metres ahead of me. I moved off the grass verge and onto the road, keeping my distance, and observed it for a short while.
Sadly, of late I have noticed a number of adult, and baby red-bellies, who have suffered the fate of encountering whizzing motorists; it is springtime here in Australia. Happily, this one decided to abandon any thought of sunning itself on the warming asphalt, and instead slithered off into the surrounding shrubbery.
Perhaps it was my day to rescue creatures from the perils of careless and inattentive motorists. For no more than 100 metres further along, a long-necked turtle was quietly lumbering up the road, right in the wheel tracks. Indeed, so near was it, that I spotted it while watching the red-bellied black, which prompted my moving on to its rescue, and in so doing, perhaps being the cause of startling the snake into going for cover.
Naturally, I picked this fellow up and — mindfully holding him at far arms length, to avoid being splashed by the inevitable pungent stream of retaliatory urine — gently placed him well off the road.
It was some kilometres further before anything else caught my eye sufficiently to prompt my pausing to take a photograph. And then, such attractions came rapidly. All within 100 metres, in fact. Perhaps I just suddenly became more acutely observant —
My final resting place on the day’s journey was the little old local cemetery. I find it is a lovely quiet place to turn in, and take a break from one’s exertions.
I could not help but notice — and ponder — the inscriptions on these two headstones.
Beautiful. Don’t you think?
Love, thy will be done
I can no longer hide
I can no longer run
No longer can I resist the guiding light
It gives me the power to keep up the fight
Love…thy will be done
Since I have found you my life has just begun
And I see all of your creations as one
No one less beautiful or more special than the next
We are all blessed and so wise to accept
Thy will love be done
Love, thy will be mine
And make me strive for the glorious and divine
I could not be more, more satisfied (satisfied…)
Even when there’s no peace outside my window
There’s peace inside
And that’s why I no longer run (I no longer run)
Love thy will be done
Love, thy will be done
I can no longer hide
I can no longer run (no…)
Love, thy will be done
Thy will love be done
No longer can I resist (no…) the guiding light (guiding light)
The light that gives me power to keep up the fight
I couldn’t be more satisfied (no…)
Even when there’s no peace outside my window
There is peace inside
And that’s why I can no longer run
Love thy will be done (thy will be done, done, done…)
Love, thy will be done
I can no longer hide
I can no longer run
Love, thy will be done
Thy will love be done
Love, thy will be done
I can no longer hide
I can no longer run (no…)
Love, thy will be done
Thy will love be done…
Thy will love be done…
Thy will love be done
© 1991 Sony BMG – Martika
* I … love? … the constant backline of drums/bass throughout this track; without variation in rhythm, or intensity. That “steady state” behind the music is, I think, profoundly symbolic, and in context of the lyrics, divinely inspired.
One of the most pure, beautiful pieces of ‘pop'(ular) music … ever.
They say that our thoughts drive our emotions. But there are times when I think that it is very much the other way around.
For me, today was one of those days. I felt unusually powerful emotions throughout the morning; indeed, from the moment of waking from a restless sleep. Being mindful of the identity of these emotions, and, in turn, of the implications of their sudden appearance, long dormant, my mind became increasingly busy with self-examination, and conflicting analysis.
So I went for a long walk.
After about 10km, during which time I had only briefly succeeded in “finding my centre”, my downcast gaze lifted sufficiently, and at just the right moment, to notice something in a nearby field, which sight served as a metaphorical (and necessary) slap on the cheek.
Twin lambs were running eagerly across the field, to meet their approaching mother. The beauty, the majesty of this simple picture was of itself enough to liberate me from the shackles of my cogitations concerning the unimportant; that is to say, concerning myself. As my thoughts (and feelings) turned fully to this vision, leaving self-focussed thoughts and feelings far behind, the remainder of my walk was, despite physical weariness, a spiritual refreshing.
When dancing lambs and graceful ewe met in the middle, I experienced a mixed feeling of mild amusement (bringing a small smile), and empathetic affront (bringing a stab of inner pain), on seeing the forcefulness — I may even say, violence — with which the two lambs attacked their mother’s udder to suckle. It briefly occurred to me that perhaps the second of these responses arises from my upbringing, and the manner in which I was raised to view and treat the fairer sex.
Whether it is nurture, or nature that is responsible, I cannot say with any certainty. One thing of which I am certain, is that it has always felt right, and deeply natural to me, to afford the female of the species — all species, not only my own — with something that would quite appropriately be called reverence.
To treat a female — any female, of any species — with anything other than a reverential gentleness, is a concept that I find to be completely alien. Unnatural. Wrong. Not just in a moral, but in a spiritual, cosmic sense. As in, to me this is a matter of cosmic importance.
No doubt this is one among several reasons why, as mentioned in a recent post (“Before everything got amplified”), I have always felt somewhat “out of place” living in this period of human history, and more particularly, within the increasingly “loud”, aggressive, degenerative, and degrading Western culture.
It seems altogether clear to me that, for all the oft-purported glories and righteousness of the feminist revolution in the West, what has been “achieved” in actuality is almost unspeakably lamentable: a less-than-subtle, real world debauching of women.
In our grossly, crassly over-sexualised society, the marketing gurus, Hollywood celebrity machine, and avaricious bankers, have elevated onto the public pedestal the substitute image of a female “goddess” who, far from being a subject of mystery, awe, and near-divine reverence, is rather an object of thinly veiled, overtly sexual, brazen superficiality.
From every billboard, TV screen and computer monitor, we are subliminally instructed to no longer reverence woman for the uniqueness of her gender, for her femininity, her special qualities of soul, and her priceless difference, but rather, to alternately lust after, and obey her. And that’s just a male perspective; I cannot even begin to imagine the insufferable pressure — both subliminal, and overt — that our women must feel, from the age of about 7, to live up to the many conflicting, unnatural, and impossible “standards” that have been increasingly and relentlessly imposed on them from every social organ.
What for Average Man — or at least, for this average man — may once have been the Divine Feminine to be reverenced, is now portrayed instead as either mistress to be used, or master to be obeyed. For the marketers, movie creators, and money lenders, this same woman, successfully “liberated” from the drudgery of household chores and child-raising, has now been added alongside her now-emasculated male “partner”, as another “free”, “equal” wage-slave. Labouring away, every day, at a bullshit job. Another cow to be milked at the Great Western Household Debt dairy farm, borrowing electronic digits at compound interest from a bank, in order to buy more, more, and ever more “stuff” that she does not need.
You’d think Western women might have learned a thing or two from the experience of millions of women in early “revolutionary” Russia. Initially enamoured of their “liberation”, and especially of their newly-proclaimed, heretofore undreamt of sexual freedoms, only to find that their liberation from traditional home-making roles was merely in order for them to be enslaved anew; a newfound “equality” to daily labour in communist factories. And that, strangely, their menfolk no longer respected them at all, sexual “liberation” bringing only increased promiscuity, STD’s, broken hearts, and single mums. Is there really all that much qualitative difference for women in our “liberated” West? Or are our womenfolk simply too propagandised with ego-stroking “You’re worth it” cosmetics advertisements featuring air-brushed celebrity sex kittens to notice?
But I digress.
After watching the ewe and her lambs for some time, and walking onward a little way, not only my thoughts but my emotions uplifted and transformed, it occurred to me that it might be nice to have a photo or two. I walked back, and here they are:
I apologise for the poor image quality. Alas, all I had on me was my old, and rather basic mobile phone. I happily confess to being something of a Luddite with regards mobile phones. I have long eschewed buying a so-called “smart” phone. The internet has its place. Ever-present in my pocket it is not.
On resuming my walk, I pondered the memory of mother, and her twin offspring. They brought to mind the symbolic meanings embedded in the logos of this blog, and my recent project.
As I strode lightly onward, my earlier turmoils evaporating, I became acutely aware of my gait.
Have you ever really observed yourself as you walk? Try it sometime.
What came most immediately to my consciousness, was the opposing symmetries of movement, rotating about a centre. Arms and legs contra each other, that is to say, left contra right. And much more significantly to me, upper body contra lower body.
Now this may seem to you to be painfully simple, and unimportant. But I found it quite profound.
Try walking freely, with muscles relaxed. Notice that your left arm swings forward, in concert with your right leg swinging forward. Left arm / Right leg. Right arm / Left leg. Over and over.
Try making your arm motion match your leg motion instead. I did.
Left arm / Left leg together. Right arm / Right leg together.
In experimenting with natural versus unnatural gait, I felt deeply impressed with a sense of the mimicry, the connection that our own motion has, with the greater motions of the planet on which we live. What came to mind was an image from one of the earliest posts on this blog (“180 +/- 180”; well worth reading for its brief and valuable message, unlike this post, whose aimless rambling is rather like the walk that inspired it!). This image depicted the relative motions (notice the direction) of free air above and below the earth’s equator —
Can you see the connection?
Free relative motions. Those of the “higher” half moving opposite the “lower” half. Rotational motion, around a fixed (yet moving) centre.
As, for the first time, I fully relaxed in my walk — mind cleared, spirit unburdened — it occurred to me that the effect of walking is not unlike that which I experience when riding the Harley. Indeed, I was struck with the impression of how many similarities, how many connections, there are between these two modes of “transport”.
Walking, there is this very evident aspect of opposing symmetries of movement; rotations, about a fixed yet moving centre. My body is the motorcycle, as it were; my sense being that, not some inner part of my body (the solar plexus? Alas, I am no biomechanic!), but rather, my soul, is then the centre about which all this motion occurs.
Riding, it is almost as though my entire Person, body and soul, is at rest; and so it seems that all of “me” is the centre, about which all of the motorcycle’s many individual motions pivot. Within the motorcycle, again, there are manifold rotating, symmetrical, and contra motions. Wheels rotating about their centre. Pistons, rising and falling, pivoting about their centre. Conrods rising and falling, and rotating about their centre. Intake, and exhaust valves, rising and falling in opposite motions. Et cetera et cetera.
In becoming aware of these symmetries, these connections, these similarities of motions in the natural realm, and also in man-made motion machines, my homeward journey became something quite joyous, profound, and uplifting. And this, I cannot help but observe, quite contra to my outward journey.
It seems I have a little ewe, and her twin lambs to thank for that.
This scene from the TV series Elementary moved me. Strongly.
I watched it several days ago. And yet, my thoughts return to it still.
Like “Sherlock”, I have often wondered … well, wished … if I should have been born in another time. All my life, indeed, I have had occasion to entertain this wish. This feeling, of somehow being … out of place. But it is only recently that my reason for doing so has echoed Sherlock’s.
As a child, and an avid reader of books, I oh so easily imagined myself living in the earliest era of aviation. Being one of those “magnificent men in their flying machines”.
In my early teenage years, a friend introduced me to the novels of Wilbur Smith. Need I say more.
The first decade or so of my adulthood, however, brought no pause for such contemplations, as I busied myself with the trappings of the world.
Witnessing the near-death experience of my older brother changed everything. My “conversion”, my “spiritual awakening”, or “rebirthing”, if you will, ushered me into the dawning of profound change, of most all my previous perspectives.
During those energetic years in pursuit of my piece of all the best the world appeared to offer, I found it very easy, natural, to focus intently on the achievement, the attainment, of many and various desired outcomes. From the immediate, to the somewhat more distant of aspirations.
I have always had a great ability to focus. To exist as in a tunnel, striving, seeing only the chosen object. For the time required, all else completely eclipsed, as though it did not exist.
From my days as a child reading “Reach for the Sky” for the umpteenth time, oblivious to calls to the supper table, to my days as a late teen road running in rain, hail, or shine, oblivious to the blared horns and flailed arms of friends passing by seeking to capture my attention, to my days as a young entrepreneur powering through 19 hour days at the office, it seems that I have always had a great natural ability to completely shut out from mind all but that which I wanted to exist there.
Perhaps the most profound change, one experienced immediately on my conversion, my transcendence to the “new life” of the spiritual world, was a tremendous stillness, or silence, of the activities of mind. To describe that bliss, I have not words even remotely adequate to the attempt.
This may strike you as paradoxical; my claim to natural capacity for focus, contrasted with an expression of joy on being relieved of all thoughts.
Not so, for I have always been a “complex person”, given to much thought. It is of importance to note that my ability to shut out unwanted thought has always been predicated on desire … on my first having chosen a particular some thing that I wished to achieve, or attain.
But on my rebirthing, I suddenly awoke from my former life, to find myself quite bereft of predicates.
Strangely, happily, I wanted nothing.
Absolutely. No thing.
I felt complete contentment.
I no longer felt desire for any thing. That is to say, any other thing. Only that which I was experiencing.
I desired no material thing.
And no intellectual thing.
Intellectualism, the power of rational thought, of ideas, it is a subtle master, and one to whom I had been a perpetual slave. Sifting, sorting, analysing, contextualising, prioritising, debating, arguing; these had long been activities, or better I can now say, exertions, of mind in which I had ceaselessly, remorselessly engaged. Nought did I know then, for I could not see, how vain, how unnecessary, how unimportant were all these exertions , in the greater and true scheme of all things.
(For it has now become clear to me, that we employ our intellectual strivings, almost exclusively, in the service of attaining material, and transient things. Goods. Objects. Status. Recognition. A higher total of electronic digits at a bank. Illusions of Safety, Prosperity, and Security.)
And so it was, oh blessed joy, what peace, a great bliss, to suddenly, effortlessly, find myself in a place relieved of these exertions! Shut out, kept far from me, almost as though with a magical, invisible force field.
Immediately, and only the more clearly in time, I saw the truth of our quest for knowledge, and our pride in acquisition, in attainment of “information” and “facts”. Of the great, transcendent value of Knowing, as compared to merely knowing. And so it came to be that not only the name of my first blog, The Blissful Ignoramus, but also the tagline, encapsulated my new perspective.
“I Don’t Know… the truth that sets me free” —
Most of the time, on most topics, I don’t know.
Instead, I only “know” what someone else has said.
I don’t know, if they really know. Often they too, only “know” what they’ve heard or read from someone else.
Most of the time, on most topics, we merely parrot what others have said. And imagine, that we really Know.
I have learned, that this a very important thing to Know.
Recognising what I don’t know, makes me feel humble.
Accepting that I don’t know, makes me feel free.
Observing when others really don’t know either, makes me feel equal… and forewarned.
Intuiting when no one really knows, makes me feel unity, understanding, and empathy.
We’re all in this world of lies, half-truths (now called ‘spin’)… together. And what a sad and sorry flock of unthinking parrots we all are! In truth, none of us really Knows much about anything.
On looking back over the archives of The Blissful Ignoramus, I can see clearly where my spiritual state has gone awry in recent years. At approximately the same time as I began to turn, in mind and heart, back towards certain problems of the world, desiring to, in some way, contribute to redressing them, commensurate with the rate of turning, my “blissful ignorance” began to fade. The clear, effortless, simple insights expressed there in aphoristic form, became the more infrequent.
I have in consequence found myself in a strange and dry place, perhaps somewhat like that expressed by St. Paul. Seemingly caught between two worlds. Unable to “have”, to “fit” into, or even to truly desire, either one. And in this neither world, that invisible force field, the one formerly shutting out the noise, the cacophony, of worldly things and my own thought processes, it too departed from me, along with my state of blissful “ignorance”.
But happily, over the past week, since those events chronicled in These Present Waters, I have again begun to experience, to Know, albeit sporadically, the experience of blissful ignorance. And in so Knowing, I have become profoundly aware once again of the intrusion, the enormous, dark, and snatching power of distraction, arising from all the noise “out there”.
It seems to me that it is only when one has experienced being set free from all the noise that goes on inside one’s own mind — when one has let go of it all, and fallen back into the deep, quiet, silent well of Living Water — that one can truly see how intrusive, how distracting from what is truly important, is all the noise, amplified, coming from “out there”.
Perhaps too, this is why, over the past week, I have most often Known the experience of that “blissful ignorance” — stillness, silence of mind and heart — while having my earplugs in, wind softly rustling, and V-Twin rhythmically pulsing through my body.
It’s the consistency. The constancy. The blessed monotony.
It’s the sound of a “steady state”, you see.
I often wish that we humans had no words. No ability to speak, or write. For I often think that the world would be a better place, if not for the presence of words.
True enough, words can lift up, bless, and inspire. There is much good that can be said of words. But how often do words deceive. How often do they hurt. How often are they misheard, misperceived, and misunderstood. Does the good outweigh the bad? Or is the bad so repellent, that it might be better just to not have either? To forgo all the good, in order to be rid of all the bad too.
I often wish that we might communicate by telepathy. I wish that, not words, but understandings, could be transmitted — nay, implanted — directly into the mind of our fellow. Clear. Complete. Nothing added. Nothing withheld. Perfect understanding. Perfect knowing.
Some years ago, I worked in the city nearest my home. I became pleasantly accustomed to spending my lunch break sitting on a lonely, grassy hilltop, in a parkland overlooking the Pacific Ocean. At times, serendipitously, others would come, and sit quietly nearby. Eating. Reading. Dozing in the sunshine. Playing with children, or a family pet. Rarely would any words pass between us. Only smiles. And nods of knowing.
I was inspired by these experiences, and sought to establish a Meetup social group to encourage this. I called it “Alone Together”.
The idea was simply to set a regular time, and picturesque place, where attendees could come and sit, silently. Alone, and yet, Together. For as long, or as little, as each one wished. The only rule: no words. No communication, spoken, or written. Alas, I lost enthusiasm for this idea — perhaps, in hindsight, somewhat precipitately — when initial inquirers quickly proved to be motivated only by the most superficial — that is to say, physically romantic — of intentions.
A week or three ago, I met a lovely older lady at my present favourite lakeside haven of solitude and tranquillity. As I sat quietly on the grass watching the Whistling Kites nesting above, I heard the sound of a vehicle approaching over the field behind. Through the passenger side window, “Helen” began speaking with me about our feathered companions. Evidently she had observed that I was photographing them. Joy in this activity is a pleasure we share in common. I imagine this explains why a little old lady would approach a strange leathered man, in an isolated rural location, when his ape-hangered iron steed scowling darkly nearby might otherwise suggest a risk of his being a “bad ass biker”.
Although I did enjoy meeting and conversing with Helen, an observation has since occurred to me. The “conversing” part was entirely unnecessary. Superfluous. And in a sense, detrimental. Indeed, I can imagine an alternative first encounter — a Take 2 — that would seem to me to be far more pleasurable, and enriching.
In a world without words, our meeting might instead have resembled my Alone Together social vision. Helen might have driven up and, instead of speaking to me, simply done what she came to do. Watch the birds. Silently. Alone, as it were. Perhaps inevitably, our eyes would meet. Smiles would be exchanged. Understanding — knowing — would be shared. Just the essential. The apparent. That we both enjoy observing the birds.
And that would be enough. More than enough.
What is more, the not knowing any more than this, would make for an added pleasure. That of mystery. Of quiet anticipation. That some day, we two strangers might meet there again. And again share, silently, our mutual pleasure.
Sadly, I must confess that because many words passed between us, I have little wish to meet again. I now know too much. To join Helen’s formal birdwatching club — though I do appreciate the invitation — holds little attraction. To meet again in my — our — private place by the lakeside, will mean an intrusion. A slightly unwelcome, and certainly an unnecessary intrusion — the intrusion of words — on the very activity, the essential reason why I — we — travel to that beautiful place in the first place.
I know this to be true. Because it has already happened.
I would much prefer that we could simply be alone … together … in a world with no words.
When thou comest by thyself,
think not before what thou shalt do after,
but forsake as well good thoughts as evil thoughts,
and pray not with thy mouth
but list[en] thee right well.
And then if thou aught shalt say,
look not how much nor how little that it be,
nor weigh not what it is nor what it bemeaneth …
and look that nothing live in thy working mind
but a naked intent stretching into God,
not clothed in any special thought of God in Himself … .
This naked intent freely fastened and grounded in very belief
shall be nought else to thy thought and to thy feeling
but a naked thought and a blind feeling of thine own being:
as if thou saidest thus unto God, within in thy meaning,
“That what I am, Lord, I offer unto Thee,
without any looking to any quality of Thy Being,
but only that Thou art as Thou art, without any more.”
That meek darkness be thy mirror, and thy whole remembrance.
Think no further of thyself than I bid thee do of thy God,
so that thou be one with Him in spirit,
as thus without departing and scattering,
for He is thy being, and in Him thou art that thou art;
not only by cause and by being, but also,
He is in thee both thy cause and thy being.
— Anonymous, Epistle of Privy Counsel.
For silence is not God, nor speaking is not God;
fasting is not God, nor eating is not God;
loneliness is not God, nor company is not God;
nor yet any of all the other two such contraries.
He is hid between them, and may not be found
by any work of thy soul,
but all only by love of thine heart.
He may not be known by reason,
He may not be gotten by thought,
nor concluded by understanding;
but He may be loved and chosen
with the true lovely will of thine heart … .
— Anonymous, Epistle of Discretion.
On the art of contemplative prayer; that is, of love meeting love.
My soul weeps with longing,
For the eye of my soul it sees,
Flashes, fleeting moments,
Emanations of that which is Best,
Pure, Virtuous, and wholly Divine.
I see Goodness, Truth, Mercy, Justice,
Twinkling in imperfect man,
How little faith is needed,
The existence of the Perfect implied,
By that which is imperfect.
Oh how I love,
And long to be forever lost in,
What is on other side,
Pierced through with darts of Light.
But a kiss from the lips of God,
My soul cannot be sated,
By this promise of His Essence,
For I long that all might share in Perfect Bliss.
Come, darkness, draw near, gather all about,
For so much the sooner your time will end,
I pray not that I should pass over into that Light,
But that the Light will move you on,
And dawn over us all.
If in God’s starry universe there throbbed
No heart but His and mine, I would not plod
With eyes earthbound, hungry of soul, and robbed
Of a sweet sense of nearness to my God.
For mystic notes that issue from His Soul
Would wing their shining way in singing showers
Into my waiting heart, when spared the toll
Of intercourse with men that wastes my powers.
Alone with God! My soul, invite the art,
As One who climbed the heights alone to pray
And in the gentle stillness, heart to heart,
Let Heaven’s dew transform this house of clay.
Oh, God is everywhere. Yes, God is here!
Only my faith is dim … the world too near.
— Edith Alice Bang
Has it ever been your misfortune to see the rather inane 2007 movie “Wild Hogs”?
They say that the origin of the popular nickname “hog” goes all the way back to 1920, when a team of farm boys — who became known as the “hog boys” — consistently won motorcycle races. The team’s mascot was a live hog, which they would take for a victory lap on their Harley-Davidson following a win —
It is said that team member Ray Weishaar was the man most responsible for popularising the little hog. Apparently, he was particularly fond of it —
Some 60 years later, the Harley-Davidson Motor Company came up with a way to cash in on the informal tradition, by creating a factory-sponsored community marketing club and calling it “HOG” — the Harley Owners Group. The company has even tried to trademark the word “hog” — unsuccessfully.
But let us set aside for a moment the cynical, the degenerate, and the inane use of symbolism in pursuit of corporate profit.
Could there be a deeper, ancient, mystical, and sacred significance to the modern association of the word “hog” with a mode of transport, of movement with rest, that so many — myself included — find to be, at least at times, an almost “spiritual” experience?
Here’s René Guénon with The Symbols of Sacred Science, and a brief excerpt from the chapter titled “The Wild Boar and the Bear” (plus, some fascinating facts on the ancestry of the Motor Company’s founders, at the end) —
Among the Celts the wild boar and the bear symbolised, respectively, the representatives of spiritual authority and temporal power, that is, the two castes of Druids and Knights, the equivalents, at least originally and in their essential attributes, of the Brahmins and Kshatriyas in India. As we have indicated elsewhere, this clearly Hyperborean symbolism is one of the marks of the direct connection of the Celtic tradition to the Primordial Tradition of the present Mahā-Yuga, whatever other elements, from earlier but already secondary and derivative traditions, may have come to be added to this main current and to be, as it were, reabsorbed into it. The point to be made here is that the Celtic tradition could probably be regarded as truly constituting one of the ‘links’ between the Atlantean tradition and the Hyperborean tradition, after the end of the secondary period when this Atlantean tradition represented the predominant form and, as it were, the ‘substitute’ for the original centre which was already inaccessible to the bulk of humanity. On this point also, the symbolism just mentioned can provide some information that is not without interest.
Let us note first the equal importance given the wild boar by the Hindu tradition, which is itself the direct issue of the Primordial Tradition and which expressly affirms its own Hyperborean origin in the Veda. The wild boar (varāha) not only figures as the third of the ten avataras of Vishnu in the present Mahā-Yuga, but our entire Kalpa, that is to say, the entire cycle of manifestation of our world is designated in the tradition as the Shwetavarāha Kalpa, the ‘cycle of the white wild boar’. This being so, and considering the analogy which necessarily exists between the great cycle and subordinate cycles, it is natural that the mark of the Kalpa, so to speak, should be found once more at the outset of the Mahā-Yuga; and this is why the polar ‘sacred land’, seat of the primordial spiritual centre of this Mahā-Yuga, is also called Vārāhi or the ‘land of the wild boar’. Moreover, since it is there that the first spiritual authority resided, from which all other authority of the same order is only an emanation, it is no less natural that the representatives of such an authority should also have received the symbol of the wild boar as their distinctive mark and that they should have retained it during the times that followed. This is why the Druids designated themselves as ‘wild boars’ even though, since symbolism always has multiple aspects, we may well have here at the same time an allusion to the isolation in which they kept themselves with respect to the outside world, the wild boar having always been thought of as ‘solitary’. It must be added, furthermore, that this very isolation, which took the form, with the Celts as with the Hindus, of a forest retreat, is not unrelated to the characteristics of ‘primordiality’, of which some reflection at least has always had to be maintained in all spiritual authority worthy of the function it fulfills.
As one who has Celtic ancestry, and who has taken to a solitary life, finding this preferred isolation most often by riding “at one” with a “wild hog”, or travelling by motorcycle to a favourite forest retreat, naturally, I find Guénon’s research to be not without great personal significance.
I do wonder at the degenerate state of spirituality in our world today, when considering the many who prefer to ride in packs, rather than alone.
It is interesting to note the ancestral origin of the founders of the Harley-Davidson Motor Company — William S. Harley, and the Davidson brothers.
The ancestors of the name Harley date back to the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from their residence in Harley, a place-name found in Shropshire and in the West Riding of Yorkshire. The place-name is derived from the old english words hare, which meant hare or rabbit, and leah, which meant forest clearing. The name as a whole meant “clearing with lots of rabbits”. The original bearers of the name lived in or near such a clearing.
Shropshire. Celtic and Druid central, in the Iron Age.
Think too, of another popular nickname for Harley’s — “iron horse”.
And the name Davidson (“David’s son”)?
Arthur Davidson, Sr. (c. 1881–1950, Milwaukee, Wisconsin) was one of the four original founders of Harley-Davidson. His father William C Davidson, son of a blacksmith who owned a smithy in Netherton, Scotland, had emigrated to the United States around the year 1857…
First found in Perth, Scotland, where, in 1219, Johannus filius Davidis, a merchant in Perth, is mentioned. Some accounts suggest that around 1000 AD the Catti (Chattan) Clan, from whom the Davidson Clan descends, broke into two distinct factions, the MacKintosh and the MacPherson Clans. The Davidson Clan was part of the MacPherson element, but always considered itself to be the senior clan of the Chattan group… Bearers of Davidson were found on both sides of the Scottish-English border.
Again, Celtic central in the Iron Age.
All this a series of mere “coincidences”, of course.