Thursday 30 November 2017

My relation with trees

During a long railway trip, I found myself thinking of the past events that have shaped me - most of all, maybe some 45 years ago. 

 I stood closely facing a small tree in our garden, and felt able to “ask” of it, as it were, “What is it like to be a tree?” This was my turning point. There was, in a sense, a shattering “answer”, though it is hard to explain it. For a short moment my perception had enlarged so as to include its own ‘is-ness’ as a tree. From then on, trees had an inner being, just as the birds and our selves.

Thursday 23 November 2017

Today, having left it for some time (shouldn't get in a rut), I walked to the nearby beach Grove. It was relaxing to bow again before the ancient central beach-tree, and sing the first line of "St.Frances' song"  (in English it would be: "Lord, make me an instrument of your peace"). Yes, I know it was first written in Germany and had nothing at all to do with St. Frances, but it's a reminder of what I might occasionally try to do.

Friday 17 November 2017

Time and the universe

I'm intrigued by the "Beginning" of the universe. The word immediately promote questions: was there a beginning, in the scientific sense? what was it like? The problem is that "beginning" implies a moment that is the start of something: before it was not, and after it was. But in the case of the universe there was no beginning, only an after. In this sense, this 'beginning' is timeless: time comes after it. 
But could this be said of the universe as a whole? The universe is a four-dimensional extension, permeated by a kind of weft that sets a limit, namely the speed of light, on the shapes within it. Time is not an absolute, but a human convention. 

[Addition after finding an alternative]  
There's an alternative to this in the ideas of Ahmed Farag Ali and Saurya Das ("Cosmology from quantum potential." Physics Letters B. Volume 741, 4 February 2015, Pages 276–279 - see

It rests on a non-standard approach to quantum theory due to Bohm - but I feel that we still have no fully consistent approach to applying quantum theory on a large scale.
At the core of this is the fact that we still have no universal approach to physics, encompassing the smallest particles and the entire universe. Our physics remains a patchwork.

Wednesday 15 November 2017

(This one's a bit heavy, I'm afraid!)
I've been thinking about God as "word" - as in "In the beginning was the word" in the Gospel of John. It's also implicitly there in the words "God said, 'let there be light' in The book of Genesis, the start of the bible.
There are echoes of this with the Greek writer Judaeus Philo of Alexandria (15 BC - 45 CE), who taught that the logos ('word' but in a general sense) was an intermediary between God and the cosmos. Then there is an echo of God as "word" in the Qur'an (Surah 96), where the presence of God to Muhammad, that started Islam, came as a word (namely the word "Iqra", meaning "Read", despite that Muhammad could not read). 
For a Christian (which I am, at least in the sense that I voluntarily asked to be christened, and I go to church quite a bit) God is both the ultimate creator of all universes, and a presence so close to Jesus that he called him "Father".
The best I can do is a fuzzy notion that pure being, in itself , is beyond words.

Tuesday 14 November 2017

It's surprising how the past, whether old or recent, creeps up. Today I was, as usual, on the Common and, since the ground was very whet, walking on an old strip of concrete. I recalled that this had been placed there in the second world war, to provide for the landing and departure of airoplanes - a humbling thought!
I think this carefulness of thought continued on me when, at home, I was improving a decoration on the kitchen wall! In retrospect, I recalled that I had made each step with careful thought!

Thursday 9 November 2017

Where three roads meet

   Today's walk started off very basically: crossing the road to the Common, walking towards the underpass beneath the road, with it's layers of  (very competent) graffiti ... and I started to wonder where I would go. A thought came to me, something like a voice: "the common will tell you". And so I duly wandered: along the path close to the nearby road, turning at it's end to the next edge, and finally, with some relief, entering the far end of a wood. Initially it seemed a dump, with empty beer cans and discarded clothes scattered around: but soon was the real wood.
   It was a dark area with widely scattered yew trees. There was no undergrowth, apart from some large fallen branches, three of which were raised from the earth, like aerial roads. I was reminded of  Oedipus, who was told that a fateful event would happen where three roads meet. Everything was peaceful, however, where I was.
(A long time ago I was fascinated by Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex in which Oedipus' fate was unknowingly to kill his father and marry his mother)

Wednesday 8 November 2017


Walking home after my hair-cut (I rarely get round to it, but I enjoy the ambiance when I do)  I was, as usual, looking at things in my surroundings. After a while, I noticed that no one else was doing this - apart from those who clearly needed to keep their eye on the ball, like parents with children. The rest were reading or listening to something held in front of them.
Looking is a dying art!

Tuesday 7 November 2017

 Walking, as so often, to the beech grove yesterday, I encountered an interesting change. Four of the various large fallen branches that scatter around there had been arranged in a neat large square, suggesting a comfortable place for a few people to sit in. There were no empty cans near by (as there are sometimes) : it had been a gently civilized event, perhaps a pic-nick. But!!, this square was placed right in front of the central tree, the one on which, whenever I came there, I drew the essence of the grove, the tree against which I rested when ever I came!
 I paused, and then left happily. I took it as a useful reminder that symbols which you set up, such as the one that I assigned to this tree, should not be clung to.
 I'm tempted to continue this principal regarding what I do in church, but this is getting into deep water!  

Friday 3 November 2017

Cosmic intelect

Back home yesterday after a trip to Fowey! - and now musing on today's walk in Southampton Common. I was reflecting on the universe ("the universe" used to be my specialty before I left Southampton University!). My mind wandered to a remark out in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe: "You might think that going to shop is a long time, but the universe ... is  really big".
So, in that case, it's likely that there are other beings out there who might be similar to us; or, more likely, more development. What might they say about the universe? Posably their way of thinking would be so different from ours that there could be no such contact.
This difficulty occurs even within our own planet. I am attracted by dogs, though I never thought of having one (far to difficult to look after!). When I pass one, I still say "hello" (in human-doggyish, of course: I hold my hand down with the back of my palm to the dog, and the dog licks it).

Another frequent encounter, as noted in an earlier blog, is with trees - but here it is a different interaction: my opening to a tiny spark of the inner nature of the tree.