Existential Experience

Rainbow2

A gap of two months or so since my last post, whoa, time flies! It’s been a busy time with three weeks away sailing, editing my first book, working on the cover, getting close to finishing the first draft of my next book, planning another cover, learning more about self published marketing, producing a five-year plan for my writing, creating the plot for my next book (actually a series of five books, OMG what task have I set myself!), plus holding down my day job, and more. Something had to give and it was this blog.

But back to the title and the photo –

The picture was taken at one of my favourite places, Loch Tarbert, Isle of Jura in the Scottish Highlands. The rainbow was stunning and stayed as it is in the photo, about half a mile away, for about thirty minutes.

Now, the opinion I want to express, and the theme of this post –

The photo is attractive, though it would have been taken better by a professional photographer with superior equipment (rather than a point and shoot iphone). But that is beside the point. No matter how good the photo it cannot replace the experience of being there. The colours will not render as true to nature, however ‘HD’ they are. There is no record of the smells, the touch of wind on my face, the sound of birdsong, the taste of the salt air, the immaculate peace of the moment, experiencing all those things right there, whilst witnessing the scene.

This is one reason I don’t take photographs very often. I see a beautiful sight in my daily life, or visit places on sailing adventures where the scenery is spectacular over a field of view of 360 degrees. You can’t photograph that, images yes, the experience, no. If I experience a profoundly beautiful moment, perhaps with wildlife or a fantastic view then show a photo of such, and this has happened, the response is usually something like  ‘oh, that’s nice’. No! It wasn’t ‘nice’, it was fucking amazing! But you have to have been there. You can’t experience someone elses experiences.

What about using photos to assist memory? The only photographs I would wish to re-view are those of scenes that are so ingrained in my memory that the moment lasts a lifetime, so the photos would be redundant anyway. A danger is that by reaching for a camera, focusing and composing, we lose the moment, not for the image but for ourselves, especially a fleeting moment.

I recall a moment many years ago while sailing in the Western Approaches, somewhere between Ireland and Lands End. It was dawn, a warm sunrise, a placid sea and blue skies, no land in sight, perfect peace and tranquility after the previous day of harsh weather. But then it became sublime; a school of a dozen or so dolphins broke the surface, and played with the boat.

 As they surged at the bow, shot under the keel, and entertained themselves I called my then wife who was asleep. She didn’t hear. I considered searching for my camera, or going below to shake her, but resisted. I didn’t know how long the moment would last, ten minutes or a few seconds. So instead I ignored the desire to record the event on film and ‘recorded’ that beautiful moment in my mind. 20-plus years later the memory and the feelings are still with me, as clear as the moment in which they happened. I had learnt a valuable lesson.

It is not possible to experience life through tv, social media, video, glossy magazines, etc, nor with the distraction of being permanenly connected to a smartphone as if you have no life without one. These are entertainment and tools for modern living, not life itself, but they have become the bulk of what many people experience as ‘life’, living through other people’s experiences, force-fed beliefs and opinions, losing their own; plugged into the Matrix of media.

As an exception I would argue (with some bias!) that a good novelist can transport you to new realms of experience, though you are still living his/her experience or creation not your own.

I love a fascinating insight by Stephen King in his book ‘On Writing’, he says that a book is telepathy. Really, it is. A book you may be reading is implanting facts or a story in your mind from the mind of the author many years and miles distant. From his mind to yours across time and space – telepathy truly! A beautiful thought.

The only way to experience life is through your own actions and state of mind. To be present in the moment, alive to your surroundings through every sense. To go out and live new sights, to search out new experiences, and create your own world. For creating our world is what we actually do, we create our own reality – the subject of forthcoming posts.

Existential experience of life, not existence by proxy.

To finish, a couple of loosely related images. How not to live in the moment. Both humorous and a sad indictment of the current state of much of ‘civilised’ society 🙂the_zombie_apocalypse_has_begun_big

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Star Tripping

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In star spanned dreams I ventured

Through time and space unending

No point of reference I saw offered

For time existed no more

And distance was beyond measure

How small my being and unknown

Until next I was present in all

Consciousness spanned and joined

With all stars, galaxies and universes

The atoms of my being ceased to be

And were dispersed through infinity

Their true home, boundless

Spread through the vastness

Yet condensed to the singularity

Of one knowing point of existence

And in the majesty of all,

Looking back towards me

As a reflection, I saw your face

So we created existence, you and I

Together with all sentient beings

Through the desire of thought

And we gloried in the structure

Of a creation built of love.

The Healer

healing_hands2

We knew not from where he came

perhaps out of the air itself

To those who had the sight

his hands, old and wizened

glowed with an aura of azure blue

as did his shoeless feet while

golden light adorned his head

and within eyes dark and fathomless

shone the light of a thousand stars

 

For many days he dwelt among us

He partook not of water nor wine

neither consumed our food

but lived by unseen energy

He taught us to feel the power

through our heads and feet and hands

that one day we may be like him

Free in body and mind, sustained by air.

 

He tended our sickness with care

and made us whole once more

He gave to us his wisdom

To eat not of animal, fowl or fish

those creatures you should love

But be content to consume

those that have no eyes to see

the vegetation, seed and fruit

 

For these beings are your friends too

but created from the beginning

to work with you in harmony

sustaining your body matter

even the smallest atoms of your being

of those parts you have yet no knowledge

To nurture, protect and fortify

against all malevolence and disease.

 

But be sure, he said, with stern eye

that you follow the Mother’s way

Then she will care for you always

Her wellbeing is yours also

Only by human hand and love

should your food be grown

not touched by machine or denaturised

nor adulterated with unnatural substance

 

We grew strong in vibrancy and health

Of those remaining with dis-ease

he laid upon them his hands

telling them to know the source

That he was a mere catalyst

the power to heal came forth

from themselves, from within

And they understood and were cured

 

We were saddened at the parting time

But he told that we had been together

since the beginning of time, grieve not.

There is no separation, we are one

together with the earth and cosmos

Then his body began to fade

leaving only his light which soon

dissolved back from whence it came

 

I write this, millennia later, remembering,

and bearing witness in dismay to the follies

as we have lost our way and turned

away from the Mother in greed

Endemic sickness abounds where Instead

we should be free from the distraction

of frail bodies and their maladies

To raise our souls to our higher purpose

 

And so the beacon shines once again

calling the true healers to come forth

to rebuild the garden of life

to purge the darkness from this world

to make well the ills we have caused

for we have made them ourselves

Cleanse the Mother and her children will follow

ageless, strong in spirit, body and mind.

Spaces of Eternity

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Does the green field grow old?

Never under skies of azure blue

But in minds suffused with grey

Seeing not the grace of being

In time standing still to dwell

Upon the moment, feeling.

 

Lost in the spaces between trees

The beauty of vacancy, emptiness

Yet In which lies the truth of being

For it is in the pause of void

That sight opens outwards

Beyond the illusion of mind

 

See the interval beckoning

The parting between each blade of grass

The silence after birdsong before the storm

Even here in tumult the heart beats

Spaces between breaths

Mark the cessation of time

 

Pause and feel the pulse of life

Each atom, each star, waiting

For consciousness to arise

In the realm of understanding

Between mind and matter

Knowing, aware of stasis

 

Does the green field grow old?

Now answer to the blue sky

It does not age when the eye closes

And true vision opens, as witness

To creation from beginning to end

For in the beginning, I am.

The Tree

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THE TREE

She walked alone through the forest
With senses alive, enlivened since
She set foot on the path of truth

She saw the beauty all around
The wonder of nature, raw and just
And breathed deep in its very life

She smelled the bark and wet leaves
The vines that grew beneath her feet
The scent of wild animals near but hidden

She tasted berries and fruits
Her tongue rejoiced in flavours Divine
Even tasted the air with its earthy fragrance

She touched the air, the trees and flowers
And heard every sound, above and below
At one with all she sat by an ancient tree to rest

Her spine eased against the rough bark
And her mind found peace throughout its touch
As she felt the energy of the forest become one

The tree knew her now, touching his soul
And found a way to speak in thought not word
The communion began and her eyes closed

The tree and the girl joined minds as one
Sharing their experience of varied lives
And her sight was raised to a new dimension

She saw and felt the mind of God within and without
The light of understanding blinded her for a time
Until she learned to let go and yield to its power

And then the wonder of true sight the tree showed her
Through ages if time it had stood bearing witness
To the seasons of birth life and death all played before it

She left that place with her heart afire with truth
And the wisdom of an old ragged tree in her bones
Then she began to teach and show others

Far and wide she travelled talking to all who would listen
Not many failed to lend their ear to her words
And those that heard told their friends the wondrous story

When enough understood a time of peace began
The tranquility of the forest known in town and city
As all lived in harmony like the tree and the earth
The mother of life

Shown The Narrow Way

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Follow me
leave the wide straight road
find the narrow winding path
with unknown end
the course of mystics
saints, artists and poets
through age upon age
on the ultimate quest

Come with me
as I guide you through trails
long trod by brave souls
past dark caverns
and bottomless pits
darkness that tempts
along the way
but do not fear

Hold my hand
until we reach the treasure
the unfolding of beauty
fields of light we now walk
in warm sun amongst
soft grass and flowers
of every hue and colour
bright and joyful in life

Follow me now
to the eternal forest
though no sight of sky
there is light, see
from the trees themselves
stop and listen awhile
to the wisdom
of their ancient language

They tell of a time
before time was, before the fall
they have seen all that is
and all that will be
know this when you sit with them
they will give you solace
in grief or pain
these quiet watchers of eternity

Come let me show
all creatures in peace
the bird plays with cat
the chicken with the fox
and deer with lion
free from fear of man
no death nor killing here
true nature returns

Follow me now
to the clearing and sit awhile
speak of what you have seen
recall you left no footprint
remember how all are equal
free from the blinding shroud
of man’s technology
and machines

Now friend you know
I am glad you followed
but this place is not for us
no, you must return
to write, compose or paint
tell, all who will listen, what awaits
when they turn away from folly
to the truth of spirit.

In ages past
we lived free from burden
pain and fear of death
we walked and left no mark
we lived by the energy in the air
in love with the earth and all living things
to this glory we will return
I give you this promise

Go now friend, and show the way

PEACE and LOVE

Reflections of Time

Robert Jepson

Time slides by
silent
unstoppable
Unforgiving as the power of tide
Yielding to no man
nor woman
nor child

The mirror tells a story
your story
of growth, and age, and decay
Cold glass reflects the eyes
but not the soul
enshrined behind the sagging flesh

Put self glory aside
Discard the looking glass
my beloved
For its vision is not mine
that of beauty radiant
the vibration
of your being
Beheld in the eyes of spirit

If the last mirror on earth
were shattered
then
never again
that false image

We will see our true wonder
As we look with yearning
into each other’s eyes
And see
our Love
reflected back

Illumined in passion and grace
piercing through the illusion
of sallow skin and
silver streaks
in hair now thin
Consummated joy in union
amongst the stars
For Eternity

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