Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Ray Cook, a Three times free man

Ray Cook, a 3 times free man!

On the beach, adjusting the hat
He came from South Africa to England with his friend.  He had a South African passport and he was wearing a duffel coat.  From South Africa, he brought his love of sport, love of family, his good looks and humour and enthusiasm for what lay ahead.  I think he brought the best of South Africa and was happy to leave the rest behind.
He arrived, found work, found a place to live, found friends and found Mary. He settled for Britain, married, had children, built a house, discovered Shakespeare, a school of philosophy which gave him meditation and he loved all that.  He became a teacher.  Our South African hero with his love of sport and family, his good looks and his humour, his increasing number of friends and his discovery of a philosophy where East can meet West in understanding took all those loves into the classroom and at the same time, he became British as well.  
He now had a British Passport, read the Times, played tennis and cricket, supported both South Africa and England at sport, increased his family from 4 to 8 and 8 to 10 to date.  He increased his group of friends, every new person was a new discovery to be made. He sort of retired but still kept on teaching because he loved the school he had helped to start and all the children loved him. He found the best of philosophy, the best of his good humour and the best of friends and the best of family and combined them all with the best of Britain and the best of South Africa.  He passed it all on to anyone who wanted to join him.
Then, the real challenge, the one he had unknowingly prepared all his life for came hurtling towards him like a rugby ball thrown by Hercules himself.  Cancer was its name.  He caught it and ran with it, he contained it and kept on going with as little fuss as possible.  He read the Times, he did sudoku, he watched sport, he never lost his looks, he stayed in the house he had built with the 4 plus 4 plus 10 plus friends until he had to put all that down and concentrate on waiting.  No more playing tennis, no more driving the car to the sea, gradually no more up and down the stairs but every day a little more time spent encouraging us all to meditate and to join him reading his way through the gospels as well as watching sport.  No more going out meant everyone coming in to join him in this new country called the waiting one.  They say he died on Sunday but I say, he got a new passport, a passport to Freedom and having that, could leave the rest behind for us to choose which of all the passports is the one most likely to take us where we want to go.

Monday, 8 January 2018

There was a man who .....had a.....and found ....freedom at the end

Sister Jayanti speaks to us all
Listen to this story about a man who HAD to find his own freedom in what we would think of as the most awful circumstances.  It does flag up the importance of finding your own inner freedom, our own Luke Skywalker.  Sister Jayanti, in November kindly accepted the invitation to speak about Inner Freedom and this is how she did it.  She is telling a particular story of course but it is all our story, our true story, even if we haven't had to start listening to it yet.  While we are physically able, we may think we are free because we can stride around the world, see with our eyes and hear with our ears but if and when we are stopped in our tracks, when our legs won't carry us, our eyes can't focus and our outer ears aren't able to connect with what is apparently going on outside, then we might need to have some idea of the way inward.  Listen to this beautiful account of inner freedom from someone who lives it.  She is my sister and will be yours too if you accept her ever open invitation into the same close relationship shared by all who are striving for freedom.   She is Brahma Kumaris Sister Jayanti, a most lovely lovely person who I am honoured to introduce to you.

Sunday, 7 January 2018

The fascination of old fossils

David Attenborough and the sea dragon fossil
As David Attenborough attests, there is nothing more fascinating than an old fossil!  Why?  Because an old fossil tells you about all that went before it and what it was in all its grandeur. He is looking at the old fossil of a sea dragon and imagining upon its fossilised image, the reality which was there before.  I am living in an apparent world of fossils, I am one fossil and he is another but look more carefully and what do we old fossils tell you?  Just as Luke Skywalker lives on, so, in the fossil, the sea dragon lives in the fossil.  In every fossil, there lurks a reality and in the same way, in Grandpa there lives Luke Skywalker, a fossilised perfect image of what is really there. Look at your own Grandpa, your own familiar person and envisage the real person lying there, he or she may surprise you!  But you are the one with the power, you are the one who can call him or her forth.  I can tell you it is worth it for the sake of the Skywalker alone.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

A Health Warning!

A New Jedi?
Luke Skywalker and I have cleared the Christmas bits.  What seemed a house full of colour and lights and parcels and Christmas cards has returned to itself.  The boots and coats and shoes scattered up the hall have mostly been packed in suitcases and taken home, the bears and jellycat toys have gone with their owners.   The last visitors from abroad were dropped at Heathrow yesterday to fly for simply hours back to the East.  It should be nice to be having breakfast with just the pair of us plus Princess Leia (aka Auntie No!) but it is, to be truthful, a bit bleak.  Luke Skywalker has turned back into Luke Dogwalker and donned his boots and his green coat and taken his canine friends across the fields.  Instead of a breakfast where food skids across the table, cheerios scatter themselves all over the floor, boys cook their own eggs on the Aga, there is a rather orderly breakfast laid out for just 3 of us!  
As we wipe the inevitable tear from our eyes, we reflect on what on earth it is that makes us feel like this.  It is just nature playing herself out in us.  Nature cleverly persuades us that we are mothers and fathers, movers and shakers, we become her puppets and she (or he or it)  does this magic by creating bubbles of love where love is really bubble free.  Nature has to do this otherwise we would just walk away from our lives and our families and our gardens and our jobs, we would cease to respond naturally.  Nature is indeed a wonder but she, he, it, does come with a health warning.  Believe in her as the source of your happiness at your peril because she has a habit of turning your belief against you. Do her bidding just as far as the Departure Gate and then let them all go wishing them the best of fortune in the same game.  Christmas decorations down, the Wise Men come next, they may have given gold, frankincense and myrrh but their gold was wisdom.  Wisdom is the vital ingredient to negotiating nature's downside.  When the decorations come down, listen to those wise travellers, they have the key.
Wise men bringing gifts

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Luke Skywalker alive and well in St Neots!

Luke Skywalker even looks a bit like Grandpa
Luke Skywalker even looks a bit like Grandpa


It may seem an unusual film for us old things to go to but last night we went to see Star Wars, the Last Jedi in our local cineworld in St Neots.  Grandpa and I settle into our seats and off we go into the galaxy together.  I am only just getting up to date with Star Wars: when my family were younger, I seemed to be too busy to go to a film which they all loved so much, I suppose I thought it was a young person's film.  How wrong I was, this film was made for us!  It is everybody's story really, you can find the Odyssey and Odysseus in it but you can also find your own inner hero and blow me down if I don't suddenly realise that I am sitting right slap bang next door to Luke Skywalker (also known as Grandpa, Dad, Darling and one or two other less complimentary names).  I knew just why  Luke Skywalker wanted a quiet life somewhere off the coast of Scotland and how he just didn't really want to activate his old life, most old Skywalkers are the same, they appear to only want to finish the work on hand, watch a bit of telly, have supper and pat the dog;  at least my Skywalker mostly does that.  But when connected to THE FORCE and with their full heroic powers kindled, these unrecognised heroes come into their greatness and woe betide the Kylo Rens of this world.  When Luke Skywalker woke up, he stood up to that bad boy and then the whole remaining troop of would be Jedi's were free and the world was going to be safe.  The clever thing though in the film was that there were two Luke Skywalkers;  there was the one walking about standing up to Kylo Ren and the other one was on top of the rock meditating.  And that's the way it works; heroes meditate on a supreme consciousness and their little egos drop away and they become a Force to be reckoned with.  With new eyes, I look at Grandpa and can see deep within him, that the Force is with him even if it doesn't always appear to be! All he needs is a beard and a cloak.

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Henry wishes the New Year would bring a few changes

I live in a rather unremarkable cupboard in the house this blogger lives in.  I share it with random bits and pieces, a polisher, lots of electric bits, bulbs, batteries and wires and to be honest, it isn't a great place to spend a life.  I hear things going on and especially at this time of year because the Christmas Tree is right outside the door of my cupboard.  I heard Sebastian moving the parcels around, making sure that they were in the right piles for the right people, I heard him showing all the other children where their piles were.  I saw the lights on the Christmas tree coming on and going off and heard all the merry sounds of children opening presents BUT nothing happened for me, not during the whole of a  long Christmas Day.  Nobody needs a Henry on Christmas Day so nobody got me out at all, not even to watch the Queen's Christmas message.  In fact nobody thought about me until I was finally pulled out on Boxing Day to hoover up all the leftovers.   This was my moment, this was when  I decided to get myself noticed.  The way I did this was to refuse to go round corners.  She, the blogger is in a hurry so she really notices when I stick on the chest in the hall and she has to come back and call me.  I can tell she that she is finding my smile irritating but after a few tugs from her and a few more refusals from me, she comes back and looks at me with a new eye.  I can tell my actions have caught her attention and and that maybe she has realised that my life and particularly my diet aren't all that great.  After all, my meals over Christmas have been crumbs from the pudding mixed with little bits of paper from the crackers and dog hair!  I hate dog hair, it is so indigestible.  There isn't much that she can do about that but she knows that she needs me and has promised to put me in her blog which goes some way towards easing my feeling of neglect.  What I would like her to do on the blog is to create a movement to change my name.  Dave or Charlie would be better than having the same name as every other hoover which looks like me but in this new world of transgender possibility, I would really like to be reassigned and called Cecily.  Go blogger Go!  And Happy New Year to everyone!

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Happy Christmas may not be Merry Christmas

Everyone is heading somewhere for Christmas. There is definitely something afoot which is moving us to clear our larders and cupboards, polish the polishable, make lists of people to give presents to, plan the journeys to the shops, to the pantomine, to Legoland or the office Christmas party.  Some people are packing salopettes and ski boots, some are packing bikinis and shorts and taking off for hotter climes and some people are not.  Some people have stepped aside from the movement, some by choice and some because they don't have the choice.  Perhaps you are somewhere between  the choosers and the not choosers.  Spending time with one of my favourite not choosers who can't  now choose to go out is a blessed way of stepping aside for just enough time to recharge  and rethink my Christmas planning.  Stepping aside in this way is like stepping out into the fresh air and feeling the beauty which can easily be missed when you are head down, collecting the crackers and stuffing the turkey.   
Our morning starts early, we, he, Mary and I   meditate as dawn breaks and then catch up on his current reading from St Luke.  No easy Christianity here, this is tough stuff: Woe, says our Christ about to be reborn in just under a week, Woe, he says to the Pharisees and lawyers and all hypocrites everywhere.  This is not comfortable stuff because lost in the sentimental side of Christmas and the Victorian trees and baubles, we forget and forget and forget that Christmas celebrates the arrival of a radical thinker and teacher who offered Himself to help us be free from the illusion that our lives were our own and were all there was and would never end.  It is a good time to examine the inner hypocrite lurking in our own set up!

After this visit I am left thinking how it may be possible to give the best Christmas present, not just the lego and the Christmas paper and the turkey and stuffing, but just a little touch of the patient invitation to choose to practice being still amongst it all.  One day it will probably be forced upon us and we should learn to know how to handle it.  My old friend, who is a real lover of life is now slowed down to chair and bed but he has practiced meditation over years, has studied the map of reality and not only manages to find space to be still but gives me, who sits alongside one morning each week, the best Christmas present there is.  The real Christmas present is Wisdom.  If I could give a present, it would be to help make stillness as lovely as Legoland will be today.  Not easy I think