I am grateful that you have visited my blog. I hope your visit is a successful one. Please feel free to comment, contact or otherwise interact with the site and with me. I'm beginning to spread my wings photographically, so please take a look at Paul's Photos on Flickr (on the right). which will lead you to my presence on Flickr. Again, your comments, feedback or whatever are very welcome. Let us assist each other in our pursuit of our own truth, our own Dreaming. Peace!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wish the world truth & honour as you sign your emails and letters

Recently I reconnected with a very good friend. We'd been out of touch for a few years, and I tell you: it was really good to hear from him again. I think we've kind of taken off just where we left off. Anyway, I was looking at some printouts of old emails from him (he used to send his poetry out to people on his list; ah, the good old days when you had to actually email people to share your writing, thoughts, ideas, whatever), and I noticed a really nice sentence he used on one as a way of signing off. He wrote:
Vishwa dharma ki jai

This is Sanskrit and means (according to my friend), 'victory to universal truth and honour'. When I read this expression, I was moved. Now, I don't have a problem with 'yours sincerely' or 'kind regards' and so on, as ways of signing off in an email or (just imagine) in a letter. Indeed, I think those salutations (is that the right word?) can be meaningful and can carry heartfelt and sincere wishes from one person to another.
However, as with all things we do 'automatically' and as a matter of course, these expressions seem to have lost much, if not all their true meanings. In fact, how often do we get emails with no such signing off, and with merely the sender's name at the bottom? Actually, now I think about it, I remember some emails that don't even carry the sender's name as a way of signing off. Now, that is rude on the surface, but in reality it's also meaningless: people and the way they communicate are changing; I guess some of these so-called 'niceties' are just naturally going to be lost.
So, when I read my friend's Sanskrit salutation, I thought, hey, I'm going to make sure that I for one do not forget these traditional expressions of good wishes and salutation. And what better salutation for a truth seeker (that's me) than my friend's?
It might be that a wish for the victory of universal truth and honour sounds a bit old fashioned, a bit formal even. Not at all: how up to date, how necessary in our materialistic, fast-paced and sometimes lonely and corrupt world, is it to seek truth and to act with honour. Honour isn't the fuddy-duddy, formal term you might think. Look it up: it's about honesty, truth, right behaviour integrity, all that good and right stuff.
So, I'm going to try to use this great salutation whenever I can. And my message to you, dear reader? Vishwa dharma ki jai

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Beauty, Simplicity and Fearlessness: Art will take you there

Nicholas Roerich was a Russian, one of those crazy Russians who believed in beauty and art and culture as being the way to a peaceful world. Well, if he's crazy, then I sure would like some of whatever he had. Bring it on, that's what I say. Here's just a tiny snippit of what he said, as quoted in a very groovy book called Nicholas Roerich: A Master of the Mountains by Barnett D Conlan:
'... every Art creation is a dynamo charged with uplifting energy and a real
generator of enthusiasm and he (Roerich) looks to Art as the most effective instrument for
leading towards a life of 'Beauty, Simplicity and Fearlessness', to a
'Fearlessness which possesses the sword of courage and which smites down
vulgarity in all its forms, even though it be adorned in riches.'

In the years before World War II Roerich set up what he called Centres of Culture around the world. I don't know too much about this stuff, but I plan to check it out. His idea was that Art and Culture were the perfect tools for attaining peace. He was a painter (I went to his house in Naggar in the Himalayas in India which is now a gallery and museum: his paintings are almost not of this world; ethereal and radiating an energy of their own), an explorer, linguist (he was the first to put together dictionaries for various Tibetan and other central Asian languages), and a writer.
Here my main thought is about how every work of art is a dynamo full of energy. Isn't it so? Don't you feel that with your own work? Whether it's words, paint, clay, fabrics, or whatever you work with? And don't you sense it when you look or read the art of others, at least sometimes?
I do, and I'm sure you do too. And isn't it also true that so much of the 'art' and what passes for 'culture' is vulgar? I mean vulgar as in lifeless, made to service the needs of ego, the market or other mundane purposes.
I do not suggest for a minute that artists (whatever their medium) shouldn't get paid or otherwise recognised for their work. All I say is that it is intention that is key with art. And surely it has not escaped your attention that most art with 'soul' doesn't earn its creators a lot of money. No?
I guess what I'm getting at is all of us who are trying to express through 'Art' and who have as our aim the recording, reporting or whatever of truth, should be encouraged. Every time we create something from our hearts, from our souls, with goodwill, then we set loose an energy that has a life of its own. Of course, the other side is also true: Roerich said every work of art is a dynamo: the resulting energy is there, for good or for ...
Beauty, Simplicity, and Fearlessness. There could not be a more positive, more true reason to get creating Art ... whatever that means for you.

Peace from me to you

Monday, October 5, 2009

You Got Oldies? They're ALL Goldies!

I don't usually read stuff in the papers about health, medical or death related stuff. (yes I know: how can I say I'm conducting an exploration/experiment in truth without looking at the inevitables of life like death. Good point, okay?). But on the weekend I found myself reading a column about the writer's sadness and problems with caring for his mother who was in a nursing home, nearing death from dementia.
He talks about his not so close relationship with his mother and her on-going deterioration as the dementia takes more of her mind. It's a cruel cruel thing, dementia. Anyway, as the months go by, he finds that his mother is less able to recognise him, except on the odd 'good day'. But, then, even those good days disappear and he is left sitting trying to cheer up this poor lady who he knows won't remember his visit, and who doesn't know him anyway.
Then, after many episodes of sitting and thinking sadly about the situation, many times of frustration about not being able to communicate with his mother, he starts telling her stories about shared experiences (there aren't many: as I said, they hadn't been close and he hadn't really lived with her for much of his childhood).
He sees that the times when he tells these stories are the only times his mother smiles and seems to be 'happy'. Of course he still knows she won't remember any of it, but so? He thinks the moment is enough. He feels better, she feels better. It's a happy result. For now at least.
Anyway, I want to share with you the last couple of sentences of the piece, as I think it applies to writers and other creative people 'suffering' a block or a low mood. I know many creative people also suffer from depression and from other mood problems: it goes with the territory I'm afraid. So, here it is:
Try this. Tell them the old sweet stories. It's a lot better than sitting there feeling sad.

Tell them the old sweet stories. And the not so sweet too. And if you are like me, a creative type who is constantly frustrated at not being able to get the stuff out that you want to, and which you know is there, then don't sit around feeling sad (which is what I do a lot of the time. How boring is that?), tell them some of the old stories.What kind of stories? There are many stories we all have: memories, ideas, opinions, fantasies. You name it. As a writer or other creative type, you know what I am saying.
Who is 'them'? I guess it's anyone who'll listen. It's the computer keyboard. It's your blog (hey! I could do that couldn't I?). It's your diary or notebook. It's any way you can get it down and out into the world. Which is where, after all, stories belong. Of course on a blog, or in your notebook or in a file on your hard drive, your writing may not be read by anyone other than you. But, it is the first step isn't it in the process of getting it read by others? You've got to start somewhere.I was feeling VERY sad today. Like I say, it's my usual way of being. So I sat in the local bakery, had a hot chocolate (just one: the other drinks I had were decaf coffee) and wrote a few pages in my journal. Then when I got home, I got out my laptop and started on this post. Nobody will ever read my journal (I think), but maybe someone will read this blog post. But you know something? I don't feel quite so sad, 'cos I've told you this little story.
Thank you for that.

I hope nobody will think I am comparing my pathetic sadness with that suffered by the son of a parent who is losing their mind and their life to dementia. I cannot begin to get my head around that kind of sorrow and pain. Indeed, I hope that, by telling this story and adapting it for my own purposes, I do honour to the writer of that column, as well as to his mother who, after all found escape from what had been a hard life in that other world that is dementia.
I thank them for this story.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

To Thine Own Self Be True. Cool quote eh?

Well, this post is not about the quote I've used for the title, but it is kind of related. As this blog is titled, in part, Dharma Dreaming, I seem to be attuned to any mention of the words or concepts when I come across them in books and stuff.
Now I've said that I have no idea what I was reading when I came across yet another definition of Dharma; it's one I've never seen before. This source said that an 'almost literal translation' of Dharma is, 'duty towards self'.
Nice eh? Just kind of resonated for me when I read it. Makes sense I think. If Dharma is the truth, the law (and I also read somewhere, the lore) of the universes, a guide to life, and on and on, then it makes sense that inbuilt in all that would be a duty to self, or a responsibility to yourself.
We always have a duty to tell the truth of course. But what we often forget is our duty, our responsibility, to express our own truth(s) in our actions, behaviours and attitudes. And we are certainly, many of us, guilty of not being consistent in our duty of care towards ourselves and our well being.
Of course you know what this means: eat right, do right, think right, treat yourself right. All that eight fold path stuff from the Buddha's teachings come into it as well. But in this context it's all about YOU and how YOU look after YOU. I'm not saying be a selfish so and so. Not at all. This is really more about being really you, and being the best you you can be. If you know what I mean. Too much use of you here for my liking!!!
And if you (and me) are the best you can be right now, right here (doesn't mean you're perfect; doesn't mean you have sorted it all out and life is all hunky dorey [what does that mean?], it really, I guess now I think about it, is about being fully present to what you're doing, who you're with and how you are.
Just about care of self. That's all. Of course it sounds really easy; if you're human, you know it's not so simple. All we can do is do our best. And if you do that, your best I mean, then you are truly and really being true to yourself. And that's about as perfect as anyone can expect you do be. Even if that someone is you!