Sunday, September 28, 2008

Entwined in Presence

I still have the image of his beautiful face in my mind every time I choose to recall it. It is adorned with a joyous smile and eyes glistening with the freshness of early morning. Dreadlocks hang loosely against his glowing rust-black skin.

For a few moments, our eyes are entwined in a gaze, looking for nothing, simply enjoying each other's presence, a presence that I am tempted to call divine. Recalling that gaze, I realize that it was free from egoic interests relating to such conditioned concepts as age, attractiveness, color, ethnicity, socioeconomic position, religion, culture etc.

For those few moments, all preoccupations ceased bar one - holding each other's gaze. And it was pure - sparklingly so. It was joyous - spontaneously so. It was fulfilling - unattachedly (yes, I just had to make that word up) so.

In those few moments, I, as a separate self, ceased to exist. We were not two but one. Presence was our name. Presence was our state. Now, writing about it, I realize it goes by another name - Love.

Presence - Love

No attachments, no demands, just joy, beauty, peace, oneness.

Imagine holding such a gaze with your reflection in the mirror! Imagine holding it with your friend, your estranged partner, child, colleague. And I do mean
'imagine', for from that imagination, the wheels of inspired words and action are set into motion!

Every person is called to become transparent to the divine life,
to rediscover the lost image of God within, to become a living
icon of Christ
Dennis J. Billy at

Monday, September 22, 2008


My cat Basil and I were reunited about a week following my return to Brisbane. Bonnie, our Tibetan Spaniel friend, and I, however, had an earlier reunion by about four days.

I've had Basil for six years now and Bonnie for two and a half. They were both inside eleven weeks when they were brought home, both from pet shops and both purchased somewhat unexpectedly.

In Basil's case, I had gone to the pet shop hoping to get some goldfish. I left the store without goldfish and with the cheekiest little kitten (I'd been observing him for close to an hour).

The kids were thrilled as I expected they would be. You see, we were not allowed pets in the townhouse we were living in at the time and because I very much wanted my children to grow up around animals, pet goldfish seemed better than no pet! But, as I was to learn, the intelligence 'out there' does conspire to bring about our true desire and so Basil became the fourth member of our family.

Four years later, a similar conspiracy unfolded. Once again I was in a pet shop, this time looking for flea treatment for Basil. On my way out, despite my mind telling me not to, I wandered toward the big glass box in which was tighly nestled a litter of six white and biscuit pups.

One thing led to another and before fear had a chance to show up (I was in another house now where dogs were not allowed), I was cradling this tiny bundle while the lady at the store was putting my credit card through a test run to see if I had enough funds. I had warned her that there might not be enough and we had agreed that if it didn't go through, I wouldn't be taking the bundle home with me. Well, I'm sure you can guess the rest.

She cost me a return flight to Malaysia, It was a particularly painful time for me. My son had decided to go and live with his father and although I could see him everyday, the 'parting' hurt deeply. What made it so was the circumstances in which that decision was made. I was grateful for Bonnie's entry into our lives - mine, my daughter's and Basil's although I am sure I benefited the most from it.

My daughter has since left to live with her partner. My son is happy or at least happier. I am at peace, happy for both of them and for myself. Grateful for them. They are precious, as is every being. Yes, Basil and Bonnie too. The Zen Master and the Irrepressible Beauty!

Life is multidimensional theater enlisting an unlimited cast for a limited number of roles. Somehow, we each get a turn at each role for shorter or longer periods of time, depending. I suppose, on how quickly we master it or uncover it, upon which we are moved along to give someone else a chance.

I am enjoying my current role, still exploring it, still discovering quirks in my character, still stumbling in its shadows, still bumping into its unexpected and unfamiliar walls and forever drawn to the bright and brilliant curtain call, when at last the character is unmasked.

I wonder if Bonnie and Baz feel the same way. I wonder what they are really like unmasked...

The theatre, when all is said and done, is not life in miniature, but life enormously magnified, life hideously exaggerated.
H. L. Mencken at

Monday, September 15, 2008


I've just realized something. My settings for this blog did not allow 'anonymous' comments. To leave a comment, you would have had to use a Blogger account (if you had one) or an Open ID account. Could this be the reason no one apart from Ellumbra (who has a Blogger account and is happy to use it)has been leaving comments?

Well, I have since changed the settings so now I shall expect to find a flood of comments :-).

In case you have been tempted to share some of your thoughts, longings, enchantments and desires or experiences of sacred space and were not able to, I hope you'll give it another go. I do love to read what you have to say. It often reveals something of myself...

Negative feedback is better that none. I would rather have a man hate me than overlook me. As long as he hates me I make a difference.

Hugh Prather at

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Under the Spell of Love

Why do you crave the inner
And meanwhile shun the outer?

I do not shun the outer
I meet it at Joy’s door
But I seek to know what lies inside
And thus knowing, savour both outer and inner
It is as if I have fallen under the spell of love

You are wise Prophetess
But you are more than wise
You are the Waking Dream

Lucy Lopez

I have a longing. It is to penetrate reality. Why? To know. What? Ah, I almost fell for that one!

What is it that I wish to know? The unknown? The unknowable? The Nameless? The Ein Sof as it is referred to in the Jewish tradition?

Or, do I wish to know whatever there is to be known or whatever can be known? And if so, why?

Well, in either case, Why? is still an important question to ask. And answer.

Why do I wish to know anything? Because, on some level, I believe I will be happier for it. And actually, I am sure that on some level, I believe I will find complete happiness when I do know whatever it is that I am longing to know.

The child asks questions. It seems to have an innate need to know. Or at least to ask. Interestingly, it only begins to question after it has learned to speak - only after it has acquired a new toy/tool. A tool of separation - language.

Did it have questions before it acquired this toy/tool? Unlikely, since 'it' was not limited to the boundaries of 'its' skin. On the contrary, 'it' was everything and experienced 'itself' as (part of) everything. No sense of separation.

And the child, now grown up, has been conditioned by a need to know. But the need to know can sometimes overpower the longing to know, the desire to know. A desire, so sweet and so intoxicating, as if under the spell of love....

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Place called Community

Imagine living in a suburb, town or village where, when someone dies, the whole community wears black as a symbol of solidarity with the immediate family.

Or imagine if all members of the suburb, town or village felt free to attend the funeral service and many did.

I know I would feel deeply touched and greatly supported if this were to happen where I live. It doesn't nor do I suppose does it happen where you live. But it does in Tonga, a little island, north-east of Australia.

Village/communal mourning is just one of the ways in which Tongans hold strong their sense of community. So is the communal and male only drinking of 'cava', a natural alkaloidal hypnotic narcotic extracted from the roots of the pepper plant.

In Tonga, males congregate for a ceremony where they are served this yellow-green extract by females who must not be related to them. Drunk from well-used coconut shells, the drink disposes them to a state of mild euphoria during which they launch into harmonies of uplifting songs.

I happened to see both of these traditional Tongan practices on the television this evening. I couldn't help feeling what masterful ways these were in keeping the bonds of community strong as well as engaging in safe social drinking. In the case of the latter, it seemed to me that drinking was undertaken not only for the pleasure of it but also for the purpose of reinforcing solidarity, kinship and male bonding.

I believe these interests did originally lie at the heart of most social drinking. However, it seems to me that, particularly in western societies, the importance of these interests has diminished, if not been lost completely, by a corresponding erosion of community living and community spirit/mindedness. It has certainly made me appreciate the value of these practices in cultures such as the Tongans and other Polynesians.

We are all longing to go home to some place we have never been — a place half-remembered and half-envisioned we can only catch glimpses of from time to time. Community. Somewhere, there are people to whom we can speak with passion without having the words catch in our throats. Somewhere a circle of hands will open to receive us, eyes will light up as we enter, voices will celebrate with us whenever we come into our own power. Community means strength that joins our strength to do the work that needs to be done. Arms to hold us when we falter. A circle of healing. A circle of friends. Someplace where we can be free.

Starhawk at

Friday, September 5, 2008

Two Apparent Worlds, One Reality

I've been back in Brisbane a week now! I have left one 'world' and returned to another. But of course, they are interconnected and I am not the only interconnecting thread either! So much else in this physical form of consciousness connects them - the air, the ocean, the aircraft that took me from one to the other, the people that were on that plane, the communication between the two and so on. And how vastly different these worlds appear to me! Yet, how much a part of both I feel!

The ability to travel such great distances in such short periods of time allows for rather fascinating experiences. For instance, I find my typical perceptions of difference rapidly clouding in the penetrating realizations of sameness.

My access to people in both 'worlds' gives me a sense of continuity and connectivity between them. For instance, while I was with my brother who is currently only mobile by means of a wheelchair, I noticed some design drawbacks in the wheelchair. Upon returning to Brisbane, I have found myself in the home of another person who uses a wheelchair, the design of which I consider ideal. I happened to think to myself how nice it would be if my brother also had something similar. A day later, I receive an email from another brother saying he had found a wheelchair that, by his description, is rather like the one I've seen here! And this has happened without my even mentioning wheelchairs to my brother!

I guess what I am trying to say in all this is that my sense of continuity and connectivity is one that has perhaps been heightened by my travels between these 'worlds'. The truth of the matter, however, is that this continuity and connectivity have always been. They just hasn't been noticed.

Right now, across the world, there must be others doing something similar to what I am doing right now, feeling some of the things I am feeling, having needs and desires similar to mine. Right now, across the world, there are people being abused, entertained or cared for. Common needs, common emotions, just different details that thread our individual stories; individual stories given meaning by the enchanting and forever unfolding story of divine love!

I do not exist, am not an entity in this world or the next,
did not descend from Adam and Eve or any origin story.
My place is the placeless, a trace of the traceless. Neither body or soul.
I belong to the beloved, have seen the two worlds as one
and that one call to and know, first, last, outer, inner,
only that breath breathing human being

Jalal-Ad-Din Rumi at