Every Story

Every story has a beginning, a middle and an end. We listen and we judge; good/bad, long/short, interesting/boring, pleasant/painful, rational/irrational, comedy/tragedy, classic/trite, inspiring/depressing; the list could go on. Sometimes we listen eagerly and don’t want the story to end. Other times we are bored and can’t wait for the story to finish. Every story is unique and will resonate differently to others. We use the filter of our mind and the same story will be different to each individual just as the stories of our lives will be unique to ourselves and the filters we perceive with but isn’t this a similitude of life?

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Summary of Life

What can I say that you do not already know? Why should you read this other than to avoid looking at the truth for yourself? Why am I writing this other than to distract myself from the reality of life? Is life too demanding to be faced undiluted? It seems that life is just too hard to be faced and yet is there anything wrong with not facing that which doesn’t need to be faced?

The truth is just that. What is so special about truth, let alone the truth, or any truth and surely one truth will contradict another truth so the truth is not the truth in the end and why should it be? Surely it would be much wiser to seek happiness, or is happiness the truth? The truth is what is born must die and so if one can accept this truth it will not concern oneself. A meditation practice I learnt as a child was on retiring to go to sleep in the evening to review the day and to hand it over to God knowing that one may die in one’s sleep. Some people may not wish to face their mortality but most religious practises are ways of preparing for one’s death. If you are prepared for something you stand a better chance of handling the situation than if you did nothing.

Having said the above, life is about living and to get too concerned about death or the afterlife is to miss this life. Have fun and make plans for your future and remember that today could be your last day on earth so don’t take it too seriously.

Learning W. E. Henley’s Invictus

Out of the night that covers me

I have recently been accepted as a volunteer for The Reader charity and so have developed a renewed interest in poetry and literature. In the past I have written poetry without following any structure and have judged whether it worked or not by trial and error. I now realise there is more to poetry than just pleasing words. Not only is there rhyme but there is rhythm and metre, similar to music. To really appreciate poetry it needs to be read aloud. I have been reading about how to improve memory, particularly through imagery and the above picture is a cheat sheet for me to remember WE Henley’s poem Invictus! With time and practise I will be able to perform it without the sheet. Life is good!

An excerpt from Poems and Pen Drawings

A Buddhist Carol

Beyond enlightenment

There is no quest.

Beyond enlightenment

There is no goal.

Beyond enlightenment

Nirvana is illusion.

Beyond enlightenment

Suffering is unfounded.

Beyond enlightenment

Nothing matters

And beyond enlightenment words are just sounds

And sounds are without meaning

In a never ending universe

Where Buddha and Christ shake hands

Bearing gifts of love and contentment

Beneath the trees of eternity

Far beyond the Christmas season.

A Sample of my Earlier Writings

It’s Just a Cup of Coffee, Man!

I notice the cup of coffee. It is earthenware and robust. It reminds me of my geography exam and the unorthodox crazy wisdom of my fourth grade biology teacher. Tensions ran high and there was much confusion in my teenage years. Passion marred by miscommunication, misunderstanding and melancholy led to a less than happy existence.

It was only a cup of coffee. My first and my last for a long time, although now I am a regular caffeine addict. How can a cup of coffee tell so much? Betrayal and empty promises of prowess and power lay within that bean so expertly blended and brewed. Where did it all lead? Could I ever go back? The answer is no and this is the reality of my circumstances. My brain has been rewired with that first fateful swig of the black foul smelling hot liquid that resided in an innocent unsuspecting beverage about to deliver a heavy dose of anxiety just before my geography exam. Promises of heightened concentration and clear thinking gave way to the jitters and an inability to relax. I performed under par even though I passed the exam. I could have done better.

But that was then and this is now. Today I drink coffee regularly, although I avoid the filter variety (still too anxiety invoking to imbibe) in and out of season and at any hour, day or night with little side effects. It’s a small addiction I don’t wish to abandon.

Alan Swift