Luminous beauty

I have been reading, on the recommendation of a friend, A New Earth by Ekhart Tolle. Among the many lessons in this book. one stands out. The world as we perceive it is an illusion created by our thoughts. This little piece of enlightenment isn’t Ekhart’s – it is Buddhist.

I can illustrate it in this image. When I took and blogged this photo 6 months ago I named it ‘luminous beauty’ entranced by how the setting sun had lit the petals. As I revisit this blog today (April 12, 09) and am inspired to add some reawakening narrative my thoughts are less generous: ‘meh give me the humble snowdrop anyday’.

You see I am a different person today. I am less in love with my Thai past and increasingly enamored by my American future. Ironically neither exist. They are both illusions I have painted over a present that has become as hard to find as the holy grail. The flowers (luminous orchids or humble snowdrops) are essentially invisible to me until I learn how to be present.

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The Lily

Sitting pretty

Lily is Roso’s sister. A friend of ours had taken care of a stray while she had kittens and we agreed to take one (or possibly two) and someone else would take the third. We had the first choice and I immediately chose Lily. Roso betwitched Dom into choosing her by doing this cute thing of pretending to gaze up at him adoringly. Guys dig that.

The odd thing about cats is that you can pursuade yourself all you like that they are your pets, but give the situation even a modicum of objective relfection and it is so obviously untrue it is embarrassing. Cats own you.

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The Roso

Givin’ teh meen face

I awoke this morning and slowly opened my eyes to find this face inches from my own. This face with these eyes. I read somewhere that, unlike dogs, cats don’t have facial expressions. They are however able to communicate without words, and the effect is the same as our smile, or frown or (as in this case) psychotic gaze. The thoughts Roso was downloading into my sleeping cerebral cortex went something like: ‘You will do great evil in my name. You will conquer the world and call it Roso. Oh. And. By the way, get rid of T’ing’.

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Tree planting

For the world or karma?

To celebrate Asalha Puja Day had a tree planting morning at Huay Tung Tao in Chiang Mai. A ‘bit of a do’ orgnaised by the local staff at work. I wasn’t sure whether this was a merit making exercise or simply a chance to make the world a better place. Let’s go with the latter, I can live with that.

An aside: for all the spiritual journeying I don’t get merit making. I understand the need to quieten karma… like stilling the ripples on a pond. But to buy fish or turtles in order to release them perplexes me. The small lives wouldn’t be trapped if there wasn’t a market in the merit of their release. It is like making people sick in order to cure them.

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Garden glimpses 2

Bird of Paradise

A bit flashy, these flowers are the egomaniacs of our garden. Lurid orange creatures shouting “Look at us, we are beautiful!”. And they are, but no one likes a show off. I miss the delicate unassuming flowers of England: snowdrops, crocuses, violets, london pride, forget me nots, snapdragons and bluebells. Flowers that know that mid-shin is plenty high enough, that there is secret power in making people bend over to admire you. But deep down I think you get what you deserve. I deserve these gaudy tropical idiots, outrageous bougainvillea, dizzying frangipani – I am too robust for delicate blossoms. In the other(imaginary / parallel) life, where I remained in England and was a spinster with a houseful of cats I almost certainly had a garden full of hollyhocks.

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Garden glimpses

White orchids

I find it magical how flowers suddenly appear in my garden. One day I have a bunch of green and then suddenly there is a flower – brief and beautiful. Likewise I find Dom’s utter indifference to flowers astonishing. How can someone so sensitive not be moved to find a small exquisite thing is sharing a moment of existence with us?

How can you cry at films and be blind to the fragile emotion of a flower? Read more

New gadget alert

Drawing Tablet

Dom thinks I am an artist so when he found a drawing tablet he urged me to get it. I have been looking at them for a few months off and on (more off). I don’t know I feel less of an artist now than I ever have – but that may be a reaction to the fact that Dom decided to have faith in me as one. I am tired of the label that I briefly in a moment of false confidence agreed to. I don’t understand the need to label. Artist. Writer. Like giving yourself the word makes any difference. Dom thinks by calling me an artist I will be one. I think an artist is a person who makes art. I don’t. But hey I might with this new gadget.

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