Tag Archives: christianity

Deep Simplicity

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Over the three decades or so that I have been exploring life through the lens of spiritual practices, one of the most touching aspects of this exploration is how the simplest of observations come back to visit, again and again, over the years. Rather like old friends they appear, time and time again, to share their wisdom.

Sometimes, these insights have a remarkable knack of appearing so simple and obvious. So that my mind looks at them and immediately reacts with ‘ah yes’ I get that. And yet each time that they revisit they reveal a deeper truth, as if this exploration is a spiral journey that repeats itself, over and over again.

Let me share a couple of these old friends with you.

One of these insights is that we create, or at least co-create, the world that we live in. In the parlance of the Christian faith, we reap what we sow. It has been my observation of late that this is one of the most profound and penetrating truths of our existence. Right here, right now we are creating, with our thoughts, our words, our deeds and our non-deeds, the world we live in and experience each day.

Often, we may seek to avoid what is right in front of us, right under our noses, and seek to escape into other realties, other parts of the Earth, other philosophies or high-sounding spiritual paths. Yet, here in this simple truth of creation is the beginning, the middle and the end of our human experience and of our spiritual search.

A second example, is the truth that our bodies are the embodiment of enlightenment itself. An observation most eloquently expressed in the teaching of Gautama Buddha. But, isn’t enlightenment some magical state alternate consciousness, the ultimate bliss of someplace else, other than here?

Again, it’s one of those insights which seem easy to grasp intellectually, nodding our heads knowingly before moving onto the next truth. Yet here, in this humble human body, at the visceral, gut, cellular level is enlightenment, the very essence of our awakened being.

Perhaps, you too have your favourite old friends, who revisit you from time to time and share the light of their wisdom?

With Best Wishes,

© David R. Durham
The Poet Photographer

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Big Blue Yonder

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You hope to meet me in a distant heavenly tomorrow;
A kettle starts to boil.

You catch a glimpse of my face in the moon and stars;
Letters drop through the door.

You call for me in your darkest, lonliest hours;
My shirt it smells fresh, newly washed.

You find brief respite in the words of great teachers;
A cough reminds me to buy some more vitamins.

Your holy mantras sing of love and longing;
The noise of children playing disturbs my restless thoughts.

You search in vain for me on the mountain tops;
When all the time I am here, here in the your valleys and your homes.

Eternally present in your heart of hearts.

© David R. Durham
Spirit Healer Website
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Crucifix: Symbols & Meaning

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I find the image of Christ on the cross deeply engaging. It is a haunting image of a man killed because of his beliefs about justice, love and God. And his subsequent actions that were inspired by these beliefs, actions which upset the then ruling classes of his society.

And as the years role by, it evokes in me changing feelings and thoughts:

‘A man crucified on a cross.’

‘A symbol of what our society does with enlightened men (and women).’

‘A release of the body into spirit.’

‘A victim.’

‘A noble man taking a lowly form of death to make a political point.’

‘A sacrifice of the insubstantial and impermanent, and a re-birth into the eternal.’

‘A symbol of hope in troubled times.’

‘A symbol of what one man gave up for the many.’

‘A mythical Man, imagined long before Jesus was born.’

One Symbol – Many Layers of Meaning.

© David R. Durham
Spirit Healer
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Sacred Voice

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One of the recurring themes throughout most, if not all, spiritual and religious expressions and celebrations is the use of music, chants and songs.

Modern Religion
In the Christian tradition through the sung mass of the Orthodox church, to the time of French composers Léonin’s and Pérotin’s development of polyphonic music in the 12th century1, on to the majestic creations of composers such as Mozart, Bach and Palestrina. And in our own times, the deeply moving music of the composer John Tavener. Worship, reverence and music go hand in hand, and it is often the beauty of this music, especially that of sung music, which touches us most deeply.

Looking at other religious traditions, and at the same time traveling backwards in time, the Hindu faith has its’ rich Kirtan2 history of devotional mantras, chants and songs.

If we move away from modern organised religion, which accounts for only a small fraction of modern Homo Sapien’s time on Earth (currently estimated at around 200,000 years), what other forms of spiritual music do we have here?

Our Tribal Roots & The Shaman
Well, due to the lack of written records, our knowledge is limited. However, we do have the oral traditions from those more ancient of times which survive to this day. And they are the held in the keeping of the most ancient of holy women and men, the shamans of the tribe.

Whilst it is true that many shaman are given to dwelling on trivial mundane concerns, there are some who transcend their limited ego-minds to walk among the stars, explore consciousness and commune with the spirits, and rhythmic chants are one of the tools they use to achieve this.

It is currently believed by historians, that we have spent much of our history as humans, not in towns and cities as we do now, but in much smaller rural tribal societies. And here, traditions were passed down from generation to generation not through the written word, but through the spoken word, chants and songs. And anthropological studies have confirmed the immense capacity of the human mind to faithfully record and to pass on to future generation the most elaborate oral traditions, through myths, songs and story telling.

Rhythm of Life
So the use of musical instruments, rhythm, and in particular, the human voice feature consistently in the celebration and exploration of our spiritual life throughout our history.

Why is this I wonder?

Well I certainly don’t have ‘the answer’ to this question. But it does seem to me that music, and the human voice in its’s most eloquent and purest forms transcend our mental layers of modern languages and logical thought processes. They go deeper as it were on a biological level and touch us and resonate with us at our core physiology.

After all, from the cycle of electrons around atoms, our bodies’ numerous internal rhythms, to Earth’s changing seasons and on to the movements of star systems and galaxies, we are shaped and live our lives within many, many rhythmic structures.

And there are the modern mystics, who say that before the advent of the spoken language, we sang. The shaman too, as a part of their development, learn their own power songs for various rituals.

So could it be that the human voice3, that tool we use in our everyday communication, is at its’ root a sacred instrument to express the joy and wonder of the breath of life?

References:
1 The BBC TV series: Sacred Music, available on CD, DVD & YouTube.
2 The great Kirtan teacher, Chaitanya Kabir. His teachings are available at the Sounds True Website.
3 Chloe Goodchild – Awakening Through Sound, Web Link.

© David R. Durham
Spirit Healer Web Link
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Oceans: No Blue, No Green

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Today’s post is an inspirational TED Talk link from ocean researcher Sylvia Earle:

“With every drop of water you drink, every breath you take, you’re connected to the sea. No matter where on Earth you live.” – Sylvia Earle

“The ocean environment is unquestionably linked to human life. Covering 71% of our planet, it is the basic component that makes all life on Earth possible. All life, including our own, depends on a healthy ocean. The Ocean Heals Us by providing important information that leads to medical breakthroughs with powerful abilities. For example, painkillers modeled after cone snail toxins are 1,000 times more powerful than morphine.

“The Ocean Nourishes Us by providing a healthy source of protein rich in essential fatty acids. with most of the world’s fishers now stressed by over fishing, we need to stay informed on sustainable seafood choices.

“The Ocean Sustains Us by proving the driving force of our climate, which in turn provides most of the freshwater and oxygen essential to our lives, which feeds our crops and quenches our thirst. Oceanographer, National Geographic Explorer-in -Residence.”

(Quote Source: http://chge.med.harvard.edu/edu/topics/healthy-oceans)

Mission Blue – Sylvia Earle Alliance

Kindly Re-Blog or copy/paste etc. to your network.

David R. Durham
Spirit Healer Web Link

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