Tangled

It has been many years now that my parents passed away and I miss them very much. But there are a few things that have been gnawing at me ever since. Just a little context.

When dad left us, mum said  to me just a few days after dad had left that all the inheritance would go to my sister. I was first dumbstruck. But in the circumstances of dad being just gone I did not have the temerity  to say anything. So, I replied…”of course that is understandable given the fact that my sister never made it in life and had nothing to her name”. We all felt so distraught by its sudden departure that I was in no position to say anything. Was mum calculating that I was in a vulnerable position when she said it? Was she planning it all along? I will never know. The fact remains that my sister got the lot.

As years went by I had some weird feelings coming and going. My cousin, whom I visited last year said to me as we were walking and meandering in the streets of Paris hand in hand: “do you know that under french laws children can’t be left out of a will”? No, I did not know that at all. She urged me to follow it up and find out what my rights were, I may have a case after all.

This thought has then been in the back of my head and could not get rid of it. What was I going to do? Ideas zapped through my mind. Should I contact a lawyer? Should I write a letter to my sister?  What should I do? I decided to speak to my son and also try to open the matter with my husband which I did. The first thing that they mentioned was : what would I get out of pursuing this matter? That got me going….I tried to find all sorts of reasons: revenge, pride, feeling of having won in the end, showing off, being right, superior, better than my sister, in the end a whole string of ideas that were not really tempting. The more I envisaged them the further away from them I ran.

Why would I not pursue it in the end? After all this idea has been planted in my mind and I was somehow determined to go ahead and claim my rights. Then after having pondered on it for a few days, I realised the futility of it all. Why would I want to stir the hornets nest? Why would I want to enter litigation with my sister for maybe a doubtful result? Why would I want to encumber my mind with for months or maybe years fighting and wasting not only money but my time and my present well-being? Why would I want to give my brain space and entertain the idea that I might win in the end? Just to show her that I am capable.

In the end who care about all the legal procedures? Wasting my time on such a trivial pursuit. I must say that after all these ideas came and went I do not feel the urge nor the need to go after her. It is her in the end who is the loser not me. And she knows it. She is the one living with all this burden on her conscience. Not me. She has not not even phoned her nephews…my two sons… to ask them if they might have wanted a trinket  from their grand parents. How low can you go I thought! I feel she is hiding from it all being scared that I could do something to upset all the financial reward that she received. She could rest assured, I won’t. I have not spoken to her in 7 years.

She mostly lived from help from mum and dad on many fronts.  TV, house deposit, and many other material things from us . Hardly had a steady job. But in all fairness she has a son who is highly disturbed ( was at the time of me knowing her) no husband, and having to deal with raising 3 boys. But I know and knew many women who have struggled with similar issues and managed to cope and had a job.  Obviously she could not that is why mum and dad decided to give her everything I suppose. She  did not cope with life. In the end, yes, I feel sorry for her. And that is one of the reason, today I decided to let go.

But the real reason apart from her tragedy is that I do not need any financial help and I said before I feel there is no point. My present situation is too precious to get entangled with hounding someone  with revenge or prove a point in law.  I prefer my mind to be still and have the space to continue to do the things I enjoy in life.

It was easy to come to this conclusion in the end for my own sanity to forget and forgive. I feel much better and my mind is lighter and breathe easier. I could also say that is a closed chapter in my life. I thank my husband and my son for their insights.

Till next time.

Busy with the painting

It has been some turbulent few weeks. When we came back from Europe and 2 weddings later, we decided finally to get the house repainted. My incessant cooking had transformed the kitchen from a very pale blue to an oily yellow and it was time to give it a fresh coat of paint and a little rejuvenation.

Then it was finding the right colours. An agony! I never thought that deciding on a colour was that hard. But it was. We settled finally on light blue just a little darker than the previous one. We did not want to be too adventurous. A little contrast could be seen below the outside is lighter while this side of the wooden door is a little darker in the picture below.

IMG_0414.jpg
Contrast between the old and the new
IMG_0416 (1).jpg
Shade of blue

 

 

 

 

 

 

After many painters came and went we settled on a quiet young man. But like every tradesmen if I can generalise, they must have their radio blaring in the background. And there is one thing that I do not like is background noise of the incessant chatting and music all day long. My own company is amply sufficient with the twitters of the multitude of birds, frogs, cows, chickens and cat and dogs. My life is full at this level.

So, this painter was not going to lift a little finger in helping move the furniture. That got me really stroppy. So, Peter and I painstakingly prepared ourselves to do some heavy lifting. Seeing that we were much older than him, “HE” decided to give us a hand finally. But I suspect it was because he saw that we were twice his age and he started to feel just a little guilty to remain inactive in the face of 2 old people being strong and  him not showing some sort of  sensitivity or empathy. So, he did help in the end but just a little.

But we did “the works” during these 2 weeks. Cleaning behind everything, cobwebs, dead cockroaches …What a mess! Living on the farm has its attractions but also one has to be diligent about the dust and general cleanliness. Yes, two weeks of complete scrubbing and moving the sofas, the beds, the wardrobes, tables and so on. We never had so much exercises in 2 weeks and this is not quite finished also. Overnight we just go to bed knackered, exhausted and slept for 10 hours straight.

IMG_0507.jpg
House in a mess

In that period, we also got rid of a mountain of STUFF that were not in use or that was superfluous. Boxes went to the local Op shop. In these moments I wished I got rid of the whole house …just dreaming of course. Because I know the moment there is an empty space it will get filled. How easy it is to accumulate! How hard it is to get rid of objects! But we were quite strict and we were elated that a lot of it maybe found a better place.

Can we measure the content of a house with the content of our mind? I am sure it is not far behind at all. The baggage, the packages, the nick knacks, the clothing, the books all represent a life time. A lifetime of memories that weighs on the inside and the outside.

Does one feel a little lighter? Well, on the surface for sure. But, we do carry it all our life inside our mind. A good thing or a bad thing. I am not sure. On the one hand, it is of course necessary to have the knowledge that we have in order to function in our society….In fact a must. On the other there is an innocence, a simplicity, a freshness but that is not enough to function in this turbulent world. The pivotal point is an equilibrium between the two. Not too far in one direction or the other. I wonder how many people can do that? How many people can understand the necessity of one and the beauty of the other. Honestly, I really don’t mind how many. I just hope that I can find solace in my own equilibrium. Is not that the most important adventure? Seeing the function and aligning it with wisdom.

Till next time

 

The balustrade is here. So is everything else.

Well, after waiting for more than 3 weeks the new balustrade to be brought in and Peter installed it. He always says” won’t take too long” but with one thing and another not going right it ends up being much longer….much longer than expected. It is done now and the painting is finished. Some more deck planks needed to be replaced as a result of the overall design. Peter has been actively pursuing the finishing touches.

Balustrade

BougainAn array of coloursvillieas in full bloom

We are having lunch on the new veranda almost everyday. It is just exquisite and so holiday like. We do say to ourselves: “Who needs to go anywhere and pay such an enormous amount of money to just enjoy the views of the few cows on the opposite property, or just watch the passing cars, the joggers up and down the country lane, the familiar site of a little red van, the tractor from next door marching slowly to the adjacent house and hearing the voice from John down the path bellowing at his cows or dog. The birds are also much closer and the fact that we are sitting enjoying our lunch or a cup of coffee seems that we are engulfed with a closeness to it all. Of course our little butcher birds which have multiplied to 5 by now are incessantly chirping to demand food. It is never enough.. But, they are always watching for the little cat which might be hidden under a chair or a towel. All these scenes take on a different atmosphere and a sort of closer to home feeling. Yes, the familiarity with it all. A sense of tranquility and security envelopes one. But I do have a slight objection to the word security. Why? because security is only fictitious at this point in time. And above a making of the self.

It is amazing how we do want to possess all of it. The mind goes on incessantly wanting to bring back everything to a narrow frame. A frame that is old, obsolete, of no consequence to the NOW. As we catch ourselves doing just that, there is at the same time a feeling of wanting to possess the moment. In fact not accepting the vastness of what is beyond description. Just because it is beyond it all. How can we just describe this moment of “ISNESS”. No words can come close to it. And yet, that is exactly what the mind wants to do. Describing the impossible. How hard it is to accept just what is. When one is engulfed by this feeling there is no staying with it. Hard for the mind of course. We are so accustomed to wanting to do so, that is how restless it is.
Yet, this feeling of belonging to this totality is very real and present. The whole body-mind is witnessing a moment that is itself in the present and it is the present that the mind does not seem to accept. The reason is simple. Present is not part of it. It knows the future and the past and these are the only referential points that it has. Hence the need to bring it back within its confines. Description, reduction, limitation, appropriation of a sort.

The mind does not accept space or what is. The proof is the encounter with nature. Surrounded by its immensity it becomes speechless for a moment then very quickly tries to describe it. Sitting having lunch in this new setting accompanied by birds, trees, skies, clouds and all the wonders of nature, one is truly ONE with it all and for a brief instant a sort of bliss overwhelms one. Boy! what was that? What did I feel? What happened? Suddenly I had no ME. But instead of accepting it, we rush to the description and trying to rationalise it, to appropriate it. And here we descend into the narrow confines of the mind of reducing this bliss to words.

That in itself is not an issue at all. You might even say normal activity of the mind, it does that, just that. So where is the problem? Well, there is no problem as long as you are aware of that movement and don’t try to erase it or suppress it. The seeing of it is already a freedom and an understanding of how we function as humans.

But most people want to hang on to this moment. Wanting to re-create it, re-live it, possess it, to crystallise it, but it is gone and the next one is never going to be the same. How can we do that? A moment that is passed is passed. Oh yes, we must remember it for ever in our memory. OOPS! Memory, that means in the realm of what is gone. Why is it so hard to accept the present for what it is? We are scared of loosing our identity, our position and our raison d’être. An identity mind you, that is a total fabrication of what everybody has told us for decades, centuries and millennia of what we should be and we believed them so readily. We build a persona entirely on fictitious hearsay…. and we accept it no question asked. Well, we have no choice at the start. But as we mature….if we do, then we could start asking some real questions.

The existence of our life is precious and asking simple questions, observing, contemplating, investigating, pondering and finding out what and who we are is the very purpose of our humanity. So that we can “become” an enriched human being. That would be of benefit to the entire planet….but I am getting carried away.

Till next time.

A simple little incident

We live everyday without really paying attention to how we operate. Why is this? Because most of the time we work with our thinking without leaving a just a little space for the unconscious to emerge. What is that? What does it mean? I will proceed to explain in my own way  what I do mean with this relating to a small incident that happened the other day.

Well, you might say of course we have to think in order to operate. True, this is normal you might even add. Thinking is how we operate, how we function, how we act and how we lead our life on a day to day basis. A necessary tool of course. So what are we talking about there? If I need thinking to function in our life what wrong with this?

Well, there is nothing wrong indeed. Thoughts, we forget are only a little part of our life, but it plays an enormous role and has taken over in more ways than we can imagine. We are word addicts more than coffee, drugs, nicotine and any other substance you can imagine. My father said that many years ago: ” Words are a drug and we don’t know that we are addicted”. Thoughts have taken over our life and we don’t know how to stop. Stop? how can you do that?  Yes, of course there are countless methods that will tell you how to do just that. You pay for them and follow them: the gurus, the methods, the masters, the newly illuminated that have found peace, the countless men and women that swear that they have discovered THE WAY.

AM I to believe them? AM I to follow them because they are gurus and masters?  Tempting no?  Well, I have decided to look at it all in a different way.

If I follow all these masters and know-it all men and women, where do I stand in all that? I’ll be merely a follower. Nothing wrong of course if that is what you want to do. But why can’t I be my own master and guru? Can I discover by myself what they have discovered? Why can’t I do it? What peace are they all talking about?  If they have done so, it must be in all of us. Therefore what is the obstacle?

So, here is my little incident that helped me see through a few things related to thinking and how AT TIMES it can be a real hindrance.

The other day, a friend of mine was looking for a phone number. Have you seen that phone number? No, I said. Never saw it. So, he went on looking for 10 mns solid searching for this evasive number and could not put his finger on it. I remained silent and did not utter a word. After a while, I said: “did you look in the 3rd file in the filing cabinet”? So, he went there and could not find it either. So, he went on looking for a while longer to no avail. That is when I got up, searched that very file in the filing cabinet  and found it. The 3rd one from the back. Dumbfounded he could not understand why he had not seen it.

How many times this happens to all of us? So, I ponder on it for a short while and suddenly it became clear why he had not seen it and why we are not seeing when the object is there in front of our eyes. My simple explanation is that we are taken so much with our thinking that we do not pay attention to what we are doing. We are not with the ACTUAL process. Our mind is filled with ideas hence cumbersome to see the obvious. Our mind is busy, busy with formulating ideas that represent only the world within our frame. We see what we want to see or not see. Seeing requires an attention to the process (thinking) that guides our activity. When that process is too taken by itself it becomes the obstacle. It becomes a hindrance. We can observe here that thinking is necessary but not the ultimate tool. A tool that it is, and that is what it is. A tool that allows us to go to work, to drive a car, to walk through the door, to build a house, to water our garden to cut down a tree and so on. But I would not go as far as saying to know who we are. Thinking can’t know who we are. It approximates our status and makes us THINK. But when it ventures into the realm of being it has lost its power. It pretends and can’t get a foothold. Hence the justifications and the reiterations of its position.

We see the world according to our perception of it. That perception is molded by our background, upbringing and education. Everything is translated by what we know. Of course that is necessary and I won’t deny it. But it becomes an obstacle when that is the only thing that supposedly exists. We forget this. We forget that they might be some other ways to see the world. Thought has become so dominant( addictive) that it remains the only thing that is viable. Hence our narrow minded views of the world. We can’t extend further than what we have become accustomed to “seeing”. We fight for it, go to war on it, annihilate countries and people, torture, maim, rape and so on.

So, if my friend, could have only extended his vision outside his thinking process he might have been able to see the paper and the phone number that he was looking for. In other words he remained glued within his narrow frame of vision and did not see the obvious. That happens to all of us all the time. It is because we do not leave a little space, we do not pause, we do not arrest ourselves just a few seconds that there might be another way of looking,  another perspective on our pseudo reality that we latched onto  as being the only reality that ever exists. How small that is!

It is therefore important to stop and take a few seconds to envisage another way. To let our unconscious speak. It knows what to do and how to go about it. But that is very hard one might say. Of course it is hard because thinking does leave any gap. It engulfs us and we say that there is no way out. What else should I do? What Can I do? Can you give me a trick or a method? and we do not realise that it is thinking that is speaking. Yes, thinking does not see this realm, can’t fathom it,  can’t hold it, can’t touch it, can’t sustain it, can’t even start to imagine what it could be like or look like. This realm, is not within the grasp of thinking.  It encompasses thinking but not IT!

So, the  pause that is needed to see is gone,  and we remain with the status quo…I can’t find it and start to search around. Stop, and let the mind rest for a second or two. I am not keen on the saying: “search and you will find” it may apply in other occasions but not in that instance. If our mind is perpetually busy,  the standstill, the suspension and the gap  just disappear and we are left with the same old story….the incessant roof brain chatter that hinders us for being present. Being present is  where the thinking does not get involved. It has nowhere to go. In fact it can’t deal with the present since it does not “know” it.

Till next time.

Being here!

Like the far away friend that writes to her blog about “the moment”, I decided to add a few things to her marvellous text.

Yes, it is true, we miss a lot …our roof brain chatter is non -stop. The stream of thoughts that come and go have nothing to do with the present. There are remnants of the past. These thoughts are a long stream of ideas that have shaped us.  Through our teachers, parents, friends, media, environment, and our experiences that we had. We churn them out day in day out. But this is the process that we are made of. They have moulded us into what we are today. Then, we say, “this is me”. We have acquired all of them and selected a few to make them our reality,  are they really?

In my view that are not the reality at all, only a representation through old …very old ideas. An idea is never present. An idea is a reflection of the past. Show me a present idea? They don’t exist. Why?  the answer is very simple and you know it already, they simply don’t function in the now as they are build up of the past and will always be generated by the past. They come after the events as a description of what is….or try to describe what is. They could never succeed because they recall. The present has no words to describe itself. If it had it would not be PRESENT. The present can’t be described. The thought is always after the event. It recalls. It is a normal process. The magic is that NOW is only to be lived. Trying to describe is futile.

If I am cooking which I really like, I am with the cooking. The process knows what to do. If I start thinking, or just come at the time of my doing something we can quickly witness it and go back to what we are doing. If I give vent to that thought: how horrible is my dog, or the problems that I encounter with m y neighbour, or thinking about my next week end, or whatever goes in at the time, then I quickly lose track of the present task. I get confused, lose the thread, or just give that thought full rein and I am lost. Then we go back and they ” what was I doing? what did I forget to add? what should do next? all these question are a sign that we are not with what we are doing. Of course, one has to stop and see what is needed to complete the task, but that is being with what is.

My father used to say it the simplest thing in the world. is to BE. How easy are the words? How easy it is to UNDERSTAND? Yes, dad, to understand is easy, to do or not do,  is harder. Intellectuel understanding is the half way measure. Catching yourself in the act is the hardest thing because thought comes back to justify its position and attitude. Simple but not easy!

What does it mean to catch yourself in the act? My neighbour insults me, is angry with me, treats me like I was a fool. What should I do? Attempt to convince him/her that I am not. If he has decried that I am, what and whom am I fighting. Oh! wait a minute, I am seeing that I am trying to protect my little ego or my big one. The more I try to convince him, the more indignant I become and the more I will boast my self righteousness. I feel hurt to be treated in such fashion. But on the other hand if I see right away his anger, his arrogance, his hatred, his frustration….which I am also made of but not aware of, then my response will  be different. Why should I feed him more of the same that he is already fighting to achieve? What he is achieving? He also wants to be right. Both can’t be right, one has to give in or give up. The stillness inside me will point the way and see all that. If I REACT, I won’t be in the position to see anything and be caught up in the same game. What to do,  you may ask?  Simple but easy again. The space, the calm, the stillness, the vision whatever you may want to call it has the answer. But watch the mind and see how it wants to defend itself against all that. That seeing is the freedom from the known. One may not see it right away (for me that is). But on the other hand, Krisnamurti would say the seeing is the liberation and it is instantaneous.

Being here is the only answer to the myriad of problems and issues that are eating us and causing us ill-ease.   As we are always caught to remedy situations and issues,  it appears unsurmountable. Again my father would say in that vein, that “the solutions of today are the problems of tomorrow” simply because we are always dealing with half concocted solutions. They are never whole, but partial. But that could be the subject of another topic and exchange.

 

SUNSET IN NIMBIN

 

Sunset in Nimbin