Tuesday, 24 March 2009


Sorry, been a bit crap with getting the video sorted out again, but will endeavour to get something sorted mucho rapido....

Several days later: Here you go...

"Let us first be as simple and well as Nature ourselves, dispel the clouds which hang over our brows, and take up a little life into our pores." Thoreau, Walden

Dawn is rising as I write this. The embers from last night’s fire are still glowing, so I’ve just put a couple of logs on and given it a blow until the flames kick in, and soon I will be warm. I’ve put the kettle on top of the stove too, so not only will I be warm, I will have tea!

Unlike an electric kettle, a kettle on a fire can take 20 minutes to boil. This is no inconvenience to me whatsoever. Why are we in such a rush? Where are we trying to get to? The grave will arrive soon enough...

Boiling a kettle here is an event in itself. You sit and keep an eye on the fire, and listen as the kettle gets warmer, in complete harmony with the flames dancing below it. I never do that in a flat. Watching the red light on a kettle go on and then watching it click off three minutes later just doesn’t hold my attention somehow.

As I wait for the kettle to boil, I’ve been thinking, and I thought I would share my thoughts with you.

There is an ancient lore among recording engineers, on which I have been reflecting:

“Shit in, shit out”.

Cryptic, I know. They are an esoteric lot, sound engineers. Like Zen masters, you rarely get a straight answer out of them.

What it means is, if what you record is of poor quality, it doesn’t matter how you mix it, and how many fancy effects you put on it, the resulting track will be poor.

I have been thinking about this with regard to life in general.

I live in such beautiful surroundings. I meditate and do yoga regularly. This makes it possible for me to live simply without feeling bored, or at the end of my tether. I spend a significant amount of time sitting with my thoughts, listening to the wood crackle in the stove. I walk though magnificent mountains. I drink, and even bathe in, fresh mountain spring water – straight from the spring – that would be too expensive to enjoy so lavishly, were I to buy it in plastic bottles from the shop. Nature is all around me, and at night when I go out for a pee, I always end up peeing with my head cocked up looking at the stars. I say ‘wow’ regularly.

I am putting in beauty and positivity through my senses, and the result is feeling content to the point where I sometimes feel on the verge of enlightenment, as my heart opens right up, and I have no feelings of craving for anything other than this. I don’t even crave enlightenment. My sense of self drops away, as I feel totally merged with the universe around me. I become aware that I am a little knot of energy in a much larger energetic field, and I know that this knot will unravel soon enough.

Beauty in, beauty out.

Recently, a friend reminded me of a story from the Buddhist tradition:

A monk spends many years on retreat and thinks he has become enlightened. He comes down from the mountains, back into the world. As he is walking through a market, someone stands on his foot. “Hey, watch where you’re going!” he says angrily. And he realises he is not in fact enlightened, and sods off back up the mountain, for an undisclosed period of time.

This story illustrates how much of the Buddhist path can only really be walked in the world. It’s easy to cultivate universal loving-kindness for the human race in abstract. But when the nasty little bleeders are stealing your parking space, or blowing up your street because they want to install a puppet government and pilfer your country’s natural resources, it’s another story isn’t it.

This anecdote is a great reminder for spiritual seekers that they should not use meditation to disappear up their own arseholes and think they are Buddhas. But for most of us, that’s not really the problem.

For most of us, I think we could do with a lot more sitting on mountains, cultivating universal loving-kindness for all beings. Even if it is in abstract. At least then you get to know what it feels like. And actually, it’s not like such practices are pointless because you can’t maintain them twenty-four seven in the heart of the city. They change you and they change the world.

In this world, right now, there are countless beings sitting on mountains, glowing with positive energy and spreading feelings of loving-kindness in all directions throughout time and space. Mantras are being chanted at this very moment, for the benefit of all beings, and have been, without a break, for hundreds of years. This world is aglow with mystics, putting in the hours for the sake of all sentient beings. We are better off for having them around.

Anyway, I’ve got my suspicions that these ‘city’ concoctions are a passing phase and soon everyone who’s anyone will be living in a yurt in the mountains. A-listers will be fetching their own water from holes that they dug themselves. The paps will be catching shots of them taking a pee with their heads cocked up at the sky, mouths agape. The caption below the photo in OK magasine will read ‘Wow’. Red carpets will be so last season. Mountain chic...


BeccyNel said...

I love it, short but utterly sweet. Wow!

Padma said...

Thanks Beccy! I am LOVING your blog by the way. Don't suppose you fancy 24 hours in London on 28th April? I'm doing a session for a web TV show in Camden and it will be lonely without you on keys. I know how much you LOVE London ;-)

[Rest of world: Beccy is an amazing singer-songwriter and I was lucky enough to have her accompany me on keyboards for much of last year]

Glad to hear Asia is treating you well, anyway. Miss you guys!!!!!

jason palmer said...

nice :)

jason palmer said...

Have you heard 'rocky mountain high' by John Denver ?

Mike said...

Nice one Padma :-)

I have been noticing recently that particularly some Buddhists from some traditions are actually in a way using the whole thing as a kind of head-trip to deny the feelings and energies that arise within them ... you know nice simple, clean, logical concepts to control the messiness and un-label-ability of what we really feel deep down.

Keep blogging.


Padma said...

Very true Mike!