I’m sad today knowing that an old friend is close to his final passage, and that there is nothing I can do but send loving thoughts from a distance. I’m also sensing the collapse of my own history as it reconfigures to continue without his presence, feeling these shifts and changes. Memories of course come rushing in, along with understanding that as he lets go more and more of the life in the seen universe, he becomes a pinpoint in preparation to pass through the narrow gate. Dissolution or reunion? Natural reality reveals itself no matter what you may believe. This is the greatest human journey.
“I was a young man, back in nineteen sixties. You made your own amusements then, going to the pictures….” Incredible String Band.
It was an honor to perform the wedding ceremony for Deanne and Geordie this August, adapting the standard Sufi Universal Worship service to include their love of nature. We were on the gorgeous deck overlooking the ocean, with eagles in the evergreen treetops. Along with their wonderful family and friends, the ceremony was witnessed by all the beings of earth sky and sea who happened to be nearby.
I love being able to do this ceremony, and the others that are part of the Universal Worship work, first established by Inayat Khan in the 1920′s. Shamcher ordained me way back in the 70s in Edmonton, and since then I’ve officiated at weddings, baby blessings, house blessings, and memorial services, whenever asked.
The appreciation of nature and our intimate connection is easily visible through an understanding of the essence of tea.
With a single plant, innumerable varieties of sustaining, stimulating infusions have been created over the centuries. The tea we drink today is the result of an ongoing interdependent co-creation between the tea plant and the human beings who cultivate it. In relation to landscape, weather and climate each harvest differs from the last. Keeping the tea experience the same for the end-user, no matter what the annual conditions, is a fine art. It is an art that includes the variations of influence much like wine. And with tea the variations within each batch reveal the intimacy between the grower and plant, along with the conditions of preparation.
The perfume industry created stable artificial molecules at the turn of the last century, so as to offer their clients the exact same scent without the instability of the natural molecules. Tea does the opposite, celebrating this natural instability. Uncontrollable, as nature is uncontrollable. What is stable one year is not so the next. Yet the game is to create recognizable and unchanging teas.
Because it is perishable, in many cases tea is to be enjoyed within a limited time frame, closest to its time of harvest. The tea drinker participates in the compression of conditions expressed by the leaves as recorders of that growing season.
One leaf infused in a cup of boiling water unfolds and expresses just this – and it is an exquisite Gaian technology born of the relationship between humans and plants. A microcosm.
A sip of tea is a sip of this natural information, once stored, now revealed by infusion. Where the leaf grew on the plant, soil, harvest, how the leaf is treated after picking, all innumerable arts of tea. Then the preparation of the drink itself, with its own variables of water type, temperature, pot and cup. Time of day, time of year, place: a variable environment of location, season, weather and time. Coming to the tea drinker – with emotional variables in play also, ready to match the infinite variety of natural information the infused leaf brings in.
I am amazed!
The air changed just as we entered September, and my mind is slowly returning from the summertime haze. Its been a lovely summer and here are a few highlights – more to come next post.
We went to Portland for a week, dogsitting while friends of friends went to Northwest Sufi Camp.
Around that time the article I’d written while we were housesitting for my cousin at Nanoose Bay came out in Heartbeat, the Ruhaniat newsletter (published as a pdf online.)
The theme is Sacred Nature.
The In Love with the Mystery book and CD Project is now at press, with delivery in a week or so. It’s great being part of the Eskova team helping to make this project happen! We’ve put out a few newsletters with info, plus created the website for Ann Mortifee, with info on this latest project.
Keeping in Touch #1 – announcing the book project
Keeping in Touch #2 – features the new video
Empty your mind of everything.
Let the mind rest at peace.
The ten thousand things rise and fall while the Self watches their return.
They grow and flourish and then return to the source.
Returning to the source is stillness, which is the way of nature.
The way of nature is unchanging.
Knowing constancy is insight.
Not knowing constancy leads to disaster.
Knowing constancy, the mind is open.
With an open mind, you will be openhearted.
Being openhearted, you will act royally.
Being royal, you will attain the divine.
Being divine, you will be at one with the Tao.
Being at one with the Tao is eternal.
And though the body dies, the Tao will not pass away.
- Tao Te Ching
I’m just back after being with my mum who is in Foothills Hospital in Calgary. Mum grew up in Canmore, Alberta, and we had a sweet moment talking with my brother about the alpine flowers she remembers.
We also talked about St. Michael’s Anglican Church, where her family donated some stained glass windows in memory of their father, E.A.Colebrook, who had managed the mine store for many years.
Here’s where it is. View Larger Map Zoom out to see the mountain location.
And the flowers:
I’ll be blogging more about this hospital visit, and the opening of the family memory banks in future posts.
For the tea report on this time in Calgary, go to my tea blog, Cha-Cha-Cha, and the posts:
Hospital Tea – all about tea at the hospital
Exquisite: Naked Leaf – video of a lovely owner-operated tea shop
Oolong Tea House in Calgary – a place near the hospital where I went once in a while for tea and wireless, meeting James on iChat!
8,000 Sacred Drums Ceremony
March 21, 2009 2:00-5:00 pm Victory Square Park (Cambie and E. Hastings)
This is a worldwide call to Indigenous Peoples and Humankind to join together. According to a 500 year old Otomi (Mexico) Prophecy, the day when the sounds of eight thousand sacred drums join together an intense healing Healing of Mother Earth will commence. The earth we share today is in total disequilibrium. Let’s work together so we can live together on the road to Sacred Peace, in harmony with the Universe, Mother Nature, the Community, the Family and our own Hearts.
** PROGRAM:** – Gather at 2 pm – Elders opening, followed by speakers – 3 pm: Drumming circle (ALL NATIONS, PLEASE JOIN US!) – 4 pm: Elders/youth storytelling and sharing circle hosted by Indigenous Action Movement and No One Is Illegal
Organized by the Indigenous Action Movement with the support of No One Is Illegal, Anti Poverty Committee, and BCGEU.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or see Event page on Facebook:
Lately I’ve been fascinated by the concept of open source spirituality – an approach that means each individual who participates is a co-creator of the energy field, and of the aspiration to the one goal of transcendence or realization or enlightenment – and from this there is a renewed connection with humanity and our goals on earth.
I know that there are many many organizations and movements that foster human development along these lines, and over the centuries so many masters and enlightened ones have brought us their messages – seemingly different but actually the same: look within, learn from nature, seek the truth.
Well, then what? And how do we look within? And in these times, what does it mean? I see it as a great experiment where we are now in possession of all the sacred scriptures in translation, and where the methods that were guarded for centuries as sacred treasures are available free on the internet. Some say you need a teacher to really unlock the secret of these treasures, others say this is available to every human being as our birthright. And awakening can occur spontaneously.
When we begin to seek a kind of peace of mind or transcendence we take steps on the path that is in front of us, toward it or to retain and sustain it. Those steps actually draw the path to come up to meet us. It may come in the form of a specific organization or group – or a lineage of yogis or sufis or kabbalists or buddhists – or even scientists.
Here we are in a new field. A step on the path (whatever it is named) takes us and trains us for the inner work on ourselves. And the stepping on the path is in fact the first effort we may make. Here I think that we are creating and developing a new path – new to each seeker, but ancient and old as all humanity, or maybe even older. What is important to me is that this path is open and is now part of these times.
All ideas and concepts begin to fall away, and another intuitive way of knowing begins to take over, as the human being comes closer toward the purpose of life.
As this happens we feel we need to belong to someone or something, and it is here that the groups and movements come in. They train and help, but can also hold back, as there are so many pitfalls and windy twisty passageways ahead. A straight path is only in our ideal, the combination of time, place and causation makes this path and its process difficult. The truth comes shining through, but is often hard won, as we instinctually hold on to what we must release in order to take another step.
We don’t want to belong to any group or teacher or teaching that will hold back the progress of this path which we are simultaneously creating and following.
I describe all of this as a kind of open-source spirituality because those who have gone before can give to those who are just setting out, and here there is no longer any need for “proprietary software” – it is all available, and free. What we need are more individuals on the path to share with all, outside of the dogmas of any one point of view or specific system. We are all developing exponentially these days, and there’s a new feeling in the air, different from the climate that was so catalytic for human potential development and spiritual life back in the 70’s.
So I’m calling this “open source spirituality”, a free field of play and development of intuitive software for awakening, and the sustaining of this awakening.
Spring has come here in Vancouver, finally, and the air is magically laden with the scent of the blossoms and the opening leaves. Tulips stand tall. But like everyone, I’ve noticed that we don’t have the same power to the scent of flowers that we once did. It was brought home to me when a friend showed me her sweet peas. Remarkably, they smelled as strong as those flowers used to smell when I was a little girl. I realized that I hadn’t actually smelled sweet peas for decades. Why? This article just came in to me today from Vakil Forest Shomer, and I felt I should share it here.
Published on Sunday, April 20, 2008 by The Independent/UK
Why Flowers Have Lost Their Scent
Pollution is dulling the scent of flowers and impeding some of the most basic processes of nature, disrupting insect life and imperiling food supplies, a new study suggests.
The potentially hugely significant research – funded by the blue-chip US National Science Foundation – has found that gases mainly formed from the emissions of car exhausts prevent flowers from attracting bees and other insects in order to pollinate them. And the scientists who have conducted the study fear that insects’
ability to repel enemies and attract mates may also be impeded.
The researchers – at the University of Virginia – say that pollution is dramatically cutting the distance travelled by the scent of flowers. Professor Jose Fuentes, who led the study, said: “Scent molecules produced by flowers in a less polluted environment could travel for roughly 1,000 to 1,200 metres. But today they may travel only 200 to 300 metres. This makes it increasingly difficult for bees and other insects to locate the flowers.”
The researchers – who worked on the scent given off by snapdragons – found that the molecules are volatile, and quickly bond with pollutants such as ozone and nitrate radicals, mainly formed from vehicle emissions. This chemically alters the molecules so that they no longer smell like flowers. A vicious cycle is therefore set up where insects struggle to get enough food and the plants do not get pollinated enough to proliferate.
Already bees – which pollinate most of the world’s crops – are in unprecedented decline in Britain and across much of the globe. At least a quarter of America’s 2.5 million honey bee colonies have been mysteriously wiped out by colony collapse disorder (CCD), where hives are found suddenly deserted.
The crisis has now spread to Europe. Politicians insist that CCD has not yet been found in Britain, but the insects have been declining here too, and the agriculture minister Lord Rooker has warned that “the honey bee population could be wiped out in 10 years”.
The researchers do not believe that they have found the cause of CCD, but say that pollution is making life more difficult for bees and other insects in many ways.”
© 2008 The Independent