Oct 022010
 

Using only logic we lose contact with mystery,with the desire for the imaginary. That’s why I love the Oriental philosophy of paradox, which is not that of the straight line, but of the circle, where something can be and not be at the same time, because life is not robotic with prefabricated answers. It’s unpredictable and can change at any second.

I am very fond of the tradition of the dove and the snake. Sometimes we need physical symbols to understand ourselves better. The classic image, which I like so much, is that of the Immaculate Virgin with a snake at her feet. The tradition of the Spirit, which departs from the principle that, what is important is not accumulation but knowing how to read the language of the collective unconscious, what we call the anima mundi. That would be the language of the dove.

And then, on the other hand, the classical tradition of the snake, of the accumulation of wisdom. We cannot remain with one or the other exclusively, but must harmonise the two – logic and intuition….Jesus says he has come not to destroy law but to fulfill it in spirit. Because a time comes when respect and obedience to law keeps you from living, but you can’t just live with anarchy either.

Another example from the Gospels that I like very much is when Jesus tells his disciples that when they go among men they should be ‘wise as serpents and harmless as doves’. That’s why we have to be alert and keep our feet on the ground, being concrete and objective, but at the same time knowing how to watch the run of things, enjoy contemplating them, trying to discover that secret language that speaks more to our feminine side, than to our reason.

Paul Coelho, Confessions of a Pilgrim, Juan Arias

Jul 172010
 

I collected my small portion of rice and went to sit with the others, who at that moment were eating in sombre silence whilst seated at long trestle tables in the open-air canteen.  The scenery was not at all unpleasant and I wondered why everybody seemed so glum and grey. Our dining area was in the middle of quite a stunning panorama – long, gently rolling fields that stretched for miles to the East and West, low hills to the North and a lightly forested region some distance South.  It was a clear sunny day that felt like Spring.

I ate quietly for some moments, thinking nothing in particular, when I heard a faint but unmistakable humming sound emanating from beyond the Northern hills.  As the noise grew loud enough for them to perceive, my dining companions leapt from their seats and began running wildly in all directions – evidently looking for places to hide – for many of them took refuge under the tables, in the absence of any other form of shelter.  This was desperate too and I wondered what on Earth was going on.  Looking up into the sky, things suddenly became clearer – approaching like a poisonous fly was what looked to be a World War II aircraft. Everyone seemed to think it was about to bomb us.

I looked around in hopeless dismay, wondering what we were supposed to do – we were so exposed we wouldn’t stand a chance if the pilot picked us out for destruction.  I looked up again, willing him to go away, and by some extraordinary stroke of luck, the plane passed right over our heads in the direction of the forest and disappeared from both view and audible location. For the first time I heard voices of hopeful animation from the others, as they came out from their hiding places in evident relief. 

But then – to our helpless terror – we heard the noise once again, this time bearing down with renewed vigour from the Southern forests that may have been our only chance of survival – had we only the time to reach them.  As the plane passed by from the other side at lightening speed, I looked up just in time to see and actual bomb dropping out of the sky, literally, right above my head.

Nothing more or less than a split second later I was engulfed by a terrible and blinding white light and white heat, and the only things I could see around me were a few melting shadows of other people, flailing round as if in slow motion.  The horror was totally unbearable – with dreadful livid certainty I felt the skin melt from my body and heard the shriek of my dying body as if it were already metres away from where I actually stood.

No more was possible, I staggered blindly once again, finding no plausible direction in which to turn, and just as the end drew near I heard the voice whispering once again: “Do not be afraid, you will not remember this, you will not remember this pain, this pain is only in the flesh”.

Small mercy, but still I was grateful for this pure voice of hope, slender as a feather in the wind, strong as the wings of a dove, obliterating all sensation, annihilating my last grip on mortality.

Jun 132010
 

I was staring so hard at the winged being that even in that ‘state’ I began to meditate upon it, until I was slowly drawn towards it. As I got closer it began to look increasingly bird-like.

Before I actually reached it – while I was a few feet away – it seemed as if I was somehow becoming one with it, or closely attached at least; the only thing in my mind was what was before my eye, which at that point in time was like a bird. A white bird. The only thing in my mind was ‘white’ bird and as I thought of this in my eye was a dove.

At this point  in time I realised I was actually thinking I was at one with a white dove and wondered if I was just ego-tripping. I wondered if I should stop,  but for no apparent reason a voice told me not to think about that kind of thing.

We were rising upwards vertically – floating rather than flying – and I was conscious only of the being itself and the blue sky peripherally surrounding us. As we rose higher the bird began to change into a swan and other large, white birds, until it was like an eagle in form. Maybe even a Phoenix, I wondered, but I didn’t know if this could be right.

When we finally finished the ascent – I knew it was very, very high up in the sky – the eagle began to fly in a particular direction with me on its back. I kept very close indeed to the bird’s head/shoulders, so that our faces were almost touching.

I had the distinct impression it was very cold indeed and that we were heading to an even colder place. We seemed to fly for quite a long time. I like hot climates and the cold weather bothered me, it seemed uncomfortably cold.

The sight of a huge, white triangular shape made me realise we were flying towards – and would ultimately fly above – snow-capped mountains that I was told were the Himalayas. The flight over the mountains was spectacular. We followed a very narrow ridge for a long way and there was nothing but snow and sky to be seen amongst those razor sharp peaks.