Monthly Archives: July 2010

The Meaning of Life

“Grallie is a lot happier when there is no man in her life,” I hear Laverne saying firmly to an unknown other at the end of the phone. It astonishes me that anyone might be interested in my relationship status.  It sets something in motion and later, driving across town I am overwhelmed by a sense of gratitude for my life exactly as it is. It would appear that I am rather good at working against the trend. Nearly everyone I know colours their hair and is after a man. But not me.

It occurs to me, when I stop the car at the first convenient spot in order to let the palpitations die down, that this feeling has been building in me since I voiced my intention a few months ago of receiving a new man in my life if that was the plan for me. With each passing month I have kept an eye open, because you have to be vigilant in case your intended comes in disguise, but nothing has come. One or two little frissons maybe but no follow- through. So I am increasingly of the opinion that my unremembered life- plan does not include another intimate relationship. The sense of relief is huge.

Intimate relationships are hard to manage. There is a limited length of time that they can be held together by magic alone. Four years in fact. A quartile each for sensation, connectedness, being and wonder. After that a step must be taken into reality or the whole thing starts flaking, like an iguana’s skin.

I remember so well the growth of awareness that something is amiss. The missed chances of connection, the growth of a dance that keeps the two of you from bumping in to one another, so that days grow into months and neither has touched the other. The absence grows along with the days, until it takes the form of a great beast, sitting there in the middle of the room, with each one of you stepping around it, careful not to upset the status quo.

It takes courage to exit from the room but it takes even more courage to lead your partner to the beast and force him to feel the dry scaley skin. That courage is the absolute condition for becoming happy. What no longer fits falls away, that is the law.

 I know I cannot live without harmonious surroundings, because I have woken up  and I intend to carry on living that way. For me harmony seems to exist only when I am alone or when I am with girl friends. The process of learning  this has brought me to myself.

What I realised while crossing town; what created the powerful reaction, is the moment’s realisation that I no longer carry the yearning for the male within me. Even Daniel Craig no longer stalks the corridors of my psyche. The male has been integrated, so I no longer need him out there. When did this happen? When did I start living complete and at ease within myself? Was the answer found within the pages of Gebser, while I was looking for something else?

It seems that while I am aiming my arrow of life towards timelessness, a lot else is happening. This state exists in meditation and in sleep but in life it is collapsed time that feels like shimmering in bliss. As it works through the body from source, it is infinitely possible. Gebser taught me the meaning of these words. It will never let me down because it is the truth. It exists in great abundance all around me and somehow, on my route to it, I have managed to clear enough debris to reach the place of bliss.

Many men have helped me with this debris clearing and I thank them for this. But I made the decision to take the route. In the process I have caught glimmers of truth that rise within me as bubbles of joy. The absence of an intimate relationship may be the price I have paid for this, temporarily or permanently; only time will tell (and what of timelessness then?).

Tomorrow I head for Devizes and the Crop Circle Lectures. It is an adventure and I go alone. I’ve booked a B&B for three nights and I suspect I will come back changed in some meaningful way. It has that crossroads feel to it. ‘The meaning of life is to see’, said the Zen sage Hiu Neng and I will make sure, as always, that I am looking!

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Aunty Mu Continues

Those of you who regularly check in on my blog know that I have a beloved relative who is 98 years old. Aunty Mu is a living embodiment of the Bette Davis comment that old age isn’t for sissies. She keeps going via a very singular will, for her  sight is fading fast and her hearing held together by the digital revolution. Still she has a way about her that reminds me of Diana Cooper, as she has a natural elegance that has not deserted her in old age. Like all women of her age  she is stick thin and though bending a little now, she is far from  broken. When asked, she modestly puts her survival down to  intelligence, but with a wry grin. She still does her daily maths quiz with magnifying glass and determination and she has opinions on everything.

Aunty Mu is an anomaly. She does things she’s not supposed to do and doesn’t do those things she should do.For example she still smokes in spite of the fact that she finds it hard to get cigarette tip and lighter flame to meet. She dismisses all salads as ‘ rabbit food’ and has never been keen on moving her body vigorously. She swears that people wear out their body parts with ‘all that exercise’. She has no arthritis and is as flexible as a woman half her age. When she goes to church, which has become her only outing of the week, she wears high heels.

What I have noticed about Aunty Mu is that she is very different from me. ‘You’re pitched too high, Allie’, she is fond of telling me.’You’ll wear yourself out’.  She describes herself as phlegmatic and she has calmly sailed through life on an even keel, providing a steady hand and voice amid surrounding dramas. I sometimes think that people can be divided into two groups; flesh and bone. I am definitely one of the former; prone to mild hysteria, passion and general wetness, I feel things deeply and shake easily if stirred. Aunty on the other hand has spent her life cool and dry, though she says that extreme age is bringing on uncharacteristic dribbles and a runny nose. 

Maybe Aunty has lived so long because she has a built in thermostat set lower than the rest of us. I love staying with her but the fact that she refuses to touch the heating system, even in summer makes it a challenge. It blasts away day and night and makes me pink and sweaty. I have a wardrobe of voile and cotton for trips to the tropics and visits to Aunty Mu.

I’ve been staying with her this weekend and we had a great time chatting about the old days and looking through photographs. She speaks sadly of those who have gone on before and tells me how hard it is to be the last of her generation standing. I make notes of everything she tells me and one day I will collate the stories. It would be great if I could do that and read them back to her before she passes but I fear time is not on my side.

Sometime I talk to her about passing. I asked her if she’d agree to devising a code word/phrase that she would try to get through to me after she’d gone. I thought this would appeal to her, like doing her maths puzzles but no chance. ‘I don’t believe in that rubbish. Oliver Lodge tried it and it didn’t work,’ she said firmly. I’m not sure she’s right there but when she’s made up her mind she’s like her hero, Mrs Thatcher. Not for turning.

That’s another big difference between us; politics.  I’ve always tried  to keep her off the subject, for the sake of my blood pressure. This is getting much easier with time. She doesn’t seem to be engaging with politics like she used to. But she still gets stirred up about sex, which she declares ‘disgusting’. Yet she is infinitely curious. Or was. When Clinton was enmeshed in the Lewinsky scandal she got me to explain the workings of a blow job to her. Well, who else would do it? I will never forget the look on her face when the awful realisation hit home. She was speechless for at least fifteen minutes.

Loving Home

As I was coming out of my dreamstate this morning, I was given a message. It said that I was doing just fine and that my recent worries about losing faith in a movement that I had been following for the last twenty years was exactly what was to be expected for the stage I have reached on the path to realization. ‘No more Gurus’ the voice said faintly, as I opened into consciousness. I woke to a good feeling.

Does that means no more inspirational books? It’s been a while since I went to workshops and lectures. I realised that everyone was doing what I do anyway-which is expressing their dreams and hopes. Once one has talked through the quantum world view-which is truly revolutionary, what else is there to say? After all, none of us knows what’s going to happen. It’s all surmise and creative thinking. I rarely hear anything new; just another spin.

I think that what’s happened is that reading Gebser has moved me somehow into another phase of understanding. He’s given me a panoramic view of the history of knowledge that I now hold within me. Of course I can’t quote and argue my corner with this, why would I want to? It is just sitting quietly within me, like a knowing.

I have restructured my life over those twenty years, so that I spend my time being, rather than stressing and struggling. I’m lucky enough to have had a breakthrough that resulted in me no longer being any good at my job, so I was pensioned off. What freedom that has given me-to write ,to paint, to change the way I think, to be and to go.  I am living a life today that one day everyone will live- if they are lucky.

The world is changing a lot faster than my capacity to keep up. I don’t compete. I just create a corner of sanity and live out my days. I have to live simply because my early retirement means that I have limited funds. Today I live a life very much like my parents did in the fifties. I observe the rule of ‘No Entitlement’. I am very grateful for what I have and make sure I never compare what I have with anyone else.  The world is awash with stuff,  so I buy secondhand. Cheap and shabby chic is my style. I love my home.

This is the foundation stone of my contentment. There is nothing complaisant about it. If the worst happens I can recreate what I have here, elsewhere. Everything I see is translatable. I came back from my Amazon years with three cabin trunks and have expanded and shunk ever since. The evolution of a life is best done like that, otherwise one gets weighed down with stuff and rapid ageing results.

I have made my peace with the past and now I am in the process of doing the same with the future. I have learned that it is best to travel light, which is not my natural default mode. I have found myself within the story of my life. Now it will be a ‘to be cont…’

I have looked for order and found uncertainty and chaos. So I have carved my own place within. A grotto for my soul.  Change goes on and I accommodate it as best I can. Here at a fulcrum point in history, I have a choice. To stay rigid and fear based or to be flexible; climb on my metaphorical surf board and Geronino! ride the wave that straddles the old and the new, into the future. You know which one I choose.

I choose the world that wants us to be awake to connection. I see a great freedom opening up for those ready to step inside. I see in the general splintering of reality a chance to create my own reality. I see  possibilities within what’s coming, to grow and be and love. And when I look back on the history of the development of knowledge I can see that some things never have changed and never will. It was Aristotle who identified what humans really need for happiness. They are health, knowledge, self esteem, friends and love. 

I carry my home within, like a snail carries its shell- a shell marked with a spiral. The spiral is the very first shape that matter makes on its journey from chaos to order. Isn’t that amazing?

Cognitive Dissonance

I have been feeling off colour of late and now I know why. It’s cognitive dissonance. This is the most influential theory in social psychology by all accounts. It describes the uncomfortable feeling caused by holding on to two contradictory ideas simultaneously. Apparently the term ‘sour grapes’ comes from Aesop’s fable about the fox who failing to reach the grapes, decided he didn’t want them anyway as they were flawed. This is an example of dissonance or discomfort being reduced by the fox changing his belief.

The term is often used when people are talking about crop circles, the world of which seems to me about as dissonant as one can get. First of all the circles themselves challenge our basic assumptions about reality on multiple levels. When this hits the brain it creates a most unpleasant feeling and people find ways of dealing with it. They say it’s boring or they say that everyone knows that people are making them or they ignore them completely, like the islanders, who ignored the arrival of Captain Cooke’s ship because they had never seen a ship before.

The Theory of Cognitive Dissonance was developed in the mid ’50s by Leon Festinger in his book of  that name. He showed how we strive to preserve our beliefs by adapting the threatening in any way possible and will opt for familiarity rather than confront the new. When Festinger infiltrated a group with specific beliefs, he found that when time proved them wrong, they actually became more convinced, not less, creating a counter-intuitive level in their persistence of belief. The trouble with investigating the subject of crop circles, is that one quickly finds that both sides, believers and skeptics,  accuse each other of being victims of cognitive dissonance. It’s enough to do one’s head in.

Festinger suggested that groups often have an intolerance to ambiguity. I think I do as well but I am pushing through the discomfort in an honest effort to stay openminded on the subject, poised as we are on the cusp of a step change in the evolution of knowledge. After all, if we are to make the leap, we must recognise that there has to be a tension between observation and experience. Crazy ideas compete with consensual knowledge in the amphitheatre of change, whether we like it or not. In the world of crop circles we have a mixof people; some who say they make the circles, some who suggest they might have made circles but wont tell you which,some who believe they represent mystery to be adored. Then there are all the people involved in the £6000000 tourist industry, together with a smattering of self styled gurus, artists, scientists and code breakers. 

What’s actually happening is the result of an an interaction of relationships formed over time that actually is powerful enough in itself to create something phenomenal, over and above the individuals involved.  In the midst of the confusion over what is true and what is false, lies the land of myth, creativity and expanded experience. Out of the disconnected comes a new way of seeing. This the crop circles are teaching us, for in themselves they exist in an atmosphere of  rites and ritual, faith and belief. A part of the magic is the tradition of covertness and anonymity that surrounds their creation, whether in this world or in another. To be effective the circles have to be more than art-and they are.

Sexagenarians

After 60 one gets one’s pleasures where one can. A basket of white peaches, a bowl of claret-coloured gooseberries, the pop of the fat pod of a pea. Or a rather fine, dusky young man, emerging from the bushes in the park, stark naked, one hand waving, the other wanking.

Margery has been to stay, which is always fun. We talk about ageing and laugh about the silliness of our youth. We were both beautiful then and now we are well- preserved, which is the best one can manage after 60. Sex is not something we talk much about any more, as there are so many other things more thrusting. Until yesterday in the park.

We were both feeling rather washed out, as the weather has been muggy of late and we were sitting on a  bench, talking I seem to remember, about gardening, when the incident took place. I saw him first. He was far enough away to be something of a challenge to focus on  properly, even with my prescription sunglasses.

” Is that man naked? “I said to Margery and she looked. For rather a long time I thought. Then she said, “What’s he doing?'” The movement was unambiguous, even if the details were, sadly, blurred. We watched for a while,  reflecting on the fact that neither of us seemed fazed by the event. How very different from our youth.

” He’s waving at you,'”said Margery, with a little more energy. We then had a little banter about why it should be me he was waving at, when we were sitting side by side. Then he turned and went back into the bushes and we reflected that perhaps we should call the police. But neither of us had brought our mobiles. At our age you don’t always think to take mobiles on walks, which is perhaps silly, as you never know when someone might flash you from the bushes.

After a while he reappeared and started the process all over again, with rather less energy , so we got up and went on our way. It seemed  to have been no more than a tiny ripple on our pond of communication, whereas long ago it would have been a drama. I did reflect later how lucky we’d been to have such a fit flasher. How generous the Universe can be with her gifts and how appreciative one becomes with age.

Going Digital

It’s not only our televisions and our music that are going digital. We are too.  I expect we always were and now we are rediscovering what it means.  At the moment we are poised, waiting for the switchover in our thinking, which can’t happen until enough of us ‘see’. Our collective wisdom is no longer following a wave, it is being communicated in binary code. The old way of thinking was like tape cassettes and the new more like compact discs. In this new way of seeing there is no chronological sequence and no logical space. The brain just switches, creating the possibility of multiple manifestations of a single viewpoint. Remember those magic eye books that came out  years ago, when you trained your eyes to look in a certain way and lo and behold there was a lion emerging from the patterning? This is what is happening now and another crop circle has come in to help us on our way. It is a hypercube, so it takes a while for the eyes to adjust to the complexity and the perspective. One cube is complex enough and it wasn’t possible to see that in space until the 16th century. Now we are being encouraged to see a cube with four dimensions. It takes some training and I’ll try my best to add a link http://www.mathematische-basteleien.de/hypercube.htm to help but you know by now that my IT skills (to say nothing of my knowledge of hyperspace) lag way behind my enthusiasm. (Credit for drawing-Tommy Borms)

Never have I been surer that this is an interactive process. It’s not clear to me at this point whether we are listening in or putting out our ideas into the fields of crops. I think it’s really important to keep an open mind. No one knows what is going on and if they say they do they don’t.

What we know is consciousness is changing as rapidly as the machines we are creating. In tandem in fact. We are, whether we like it or not, going digital. Reality is pixel-based, repeating patterns across scales, building all the time into higher and more seemingly complex units that are simply repetition. Mandlebrot showed us how. By understanding our own personal area of pixels(our life) we can extrapolate to the whole and that way we get an idea of the macro-cosmic pattern we are a part of. Wow!

What’s happening is that all this mental juggling, helped along by one of the greatest mysteries of our time, is leading us into a new perspective of our intergalactic home. We are heading for unity but, as Margo Channing says in All About Eve, first it’s going to be  a bumpy ride. I don’t hold with all the apocalyptic musings passing to and fro on the web. There is no point in getting frightened. We are not being shown how to build a space ship-that would be too dense for where we’re going. We are being shown how to see in a different way. And every time we push ourselves a bit further out there into timeless, spaceless transparency,we are helping the plan come into being. We are being shown that the world is created by our collective belief system and the bloodshed and negativity is there because we have projected our collective bad stuff into action and materialisation.

The solution is simple and profound. If we change our thoughts and our belief systems, what is happening  in our world will change and we will come into alignment with our destiny and take our place in the whole.This is the plan. The new is waiting and the veil is getting thinner. Once we break the spell of the analogue, we will be released into the clarity and transparency of our brave new digital world.

Couples

I’ve always had an aversion to the idea of couples, even though I’ve been married so many times. Each time I think it will be different but it never is. After the eighteen month cool-off period boredom sets in and the old wound opens , resulting in a terrible feeling of entrapment and despair. But I’m fascinated by the couples who do manage to make a go of  it and I have to own that my Welsh dresser is loaded down with cruets, those quaint salt and pepper sets that of course always come in twos. So there is definitely a fascination in the subject, even if it is being driven by cultural imperatives, rather than free will (if such a thing exists). I am particularly interested, as I grow older, in the relationships where the male is what is known as curmudgeonly. Oh how I love that word.  It rolls around the mouth and ends up sounding exactly what it describes- an ill-natured, churlish fellow. I’ve met a few in my time and now I take great delight in watching at a distance(often with more than a touch of schadenfreude), as patient women sort out such fellows in cafes, supermarkets, streets and parks.

I suspect that Frank Lloyd Wright might have been curmudgeonly. He cetainly led Alistair Cooke a merry dance when he tried to do a TV programme with him in 1959. He was what the young have taken to calling legend. Cooke himself described him as having the most highly advertised ego of his time. How could a woman possibly live in coupledom with a man who said he,” put a cushion of mud under the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo in1922 with the express purpose of withstanding(as it did) the wrath of God. I understand He has been sulking ever since.”

This morning while diverted from shopping for essential supplies by the music coming from the British Heart Foundation Charity Bookshop, I followed my nose and it took me straight to a cloth bound copy of his autobiography, looking very vintage New York and only £3 to boot. It is inscribed on the fly page “To my co-author Olgivanna from her own “author”- Frank Lloyd Wright. Now there’s a sentence to mull over-not that I have had time to yet. But I have already clocked that she doesn’t appear until page 533.Yet he married her and on their honeymoon he read her to sleep with a fairy tale. Later he writes,”Just to be with her uplifts my heart and strengthens my spirit when the going gets hard and no less so when the going is good.” Yet they were not young when they met and the man himself says that he is glad about that for they both seem to add up to just about the right age for them.

I have no idea what Olgivanna thought about living with Lloyd Wright but I’ve already read enough to make me want to find out. In 1966 she wrote a book, Frank Lloyd Wright:His life, His Work, His Words. I’ll look out for it. In the meantime it might well be Guardian Soulmates and a request for someone to read me to sleep with fairy tales. Maybe couples are not such a bad idea after all.