We had to go up to London yesterday, drove to Havant to get the train as planned; Dan brought his ticket for me to find that there was engineering works over Saturday and Sunday between Haslemere and Guildford. Had I known, spotted the posters, checked the website we would have driven to Guildford or even Richmond instead. Never mind.
The cross stitch that I wanted to get started on the train stayed in my bag, the books stayed in the bag so we just chatted on the way up. It took an hour longer to get to Waterloo; we got lunch at Ping Pong which is a chain of Dim Sum restaurants in London. First time I had been there, and a bit of a road test for when Mum and I got to see Penelope Keith in ‘The Importance of Being Ernest’, we ordered the dishes and a couple of beers. The food was great, although the ambience in the restaurant was noisy, under the railway arches with trains thundering over head, and a great long room with high ceilings, glass and wood everywhere so no sound was being absorbed by any soft furnishings. Dan and I were sat opposite each other, and could hardly hear each other talking.
We went back to Waterloo, hopped on the Northern Line, changed at Euston for Finsbury Park and tried not to smack the Arsenal fans chanting on the underground, swearing ‘oooh look at me off to the football!’ Grrrr.
Came out the station, walked to Patrick and Caireen’s new flat and chatted with them, Mum and Dad for a couple of hours, then went to the pub for dinner. We walked through the park to the Daniel Defoe, where ‘Alister’ has used the kitchen for really good food. Better than the average pub, Dad, Mum, Caireen and I had steak, melt in the mouth, Dan had game pie and Patrick had monkfish wrapped in bacon which took his breath away it was so good.
We toddled off back home, via a taxi to Waterloo, train to Guildford that stopped everywhere, bus to Haslemere, train to Havant, drove home. I decided that I was not going to move from my bed until 10, Dan got up this morning asked if I wanted the alarm off, I nodded sleepily, and went back to sleep. Someone dropped something heavy down the rubbish shoot and shot me awake. I thought, ‘I’m sure I’ll have another couple of hours’, looked at the clock and it was 10.30. Arse. So I got up.
Dan had been watching the Grand Prix; I joined for the last 10 laps, eating my grapefruit and yoghurt, blinking into life again. I have a list as long as my arm today, I wrote it on the train, so I must close soon, I’ve been typing this watching the South Bank Show on June Whitfield, which has been one of the loveliest programmes I have seen in years. It’s just gone noon, and I need to iron, cook a roast, do some sewing and give myself a manicure. How very 1950’s housewife, but slightly less 1950s is checking I have everything off our desk top computer, update my iTunes and iPod and catalogue our DVDs with Dan.
I have been talking about this for a while so I will (at last) tell you about the book I have been reading and studying. As you know I have a lot of spare time on my hands while I tootle up to London and back every day. I have been known to sleep on the train, but I have also completed several courses and cross stitches en route. Oprah Winfrey is a woman whom I admire greatly, she uses her fame, money and power in good ways, every school in America has at least one computer donated by her. The Angel network that she set up to allow people all over the world to donate goods and money to charitable causes was one of the first groups on site in New Orleans, with clothes, food and people to help the stricken city.
I get email alerts from the website, subscribe to the magazine, but cannot watch the programmes as ITV2 no longer show them. I hope that when I get to Melbourne, I am able to watch the show again, but can still get my Oprah fix without it. Her book club started Richard and Judy on their merry way a few years ago, and has inspired me with several books I have really enjoyed reading, so this convulsed explanation is how I found out about Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth.
Since Mark left over two years ago, I have learnt a lot about myself and my self. I cannot put a name to what has been shifting inside me, but for those of you who read this regularly will maybe remember what a crappy week that Dan and I had a few weeks ago, but I still felt calm and serene inside – when normally I would have been really quite frazzled for example. Now I was frazzled, frustrated and really quite cross on Friday, but this time I recognised that had I calmed down I would have probably got more work done, had I not taken it as an affront to me.
Any life-form in any realm can be said to undergo ‘enlightenment’. You do not become good by trying to be good, but by finding the goodness that is already within you, and allowing that goodness to emerge.
Now every religion talks about a second insight, in Christianity, salvation, Buddhism the end of suffering. Liberation and awakening are also other terms to describe it. Teachers of this still preached what they needed people to hear, but though their teachings were simple, powerful and fundamentally the same, their teachings have been distorted, misinterpreted and many things have been added to them by ‘disciples’ that have nothing to do with their original teachings. Religions in consequence have become divided, instead of unifying people all over the world. Through them, they could make themselves ‘right’ and others ‘wrong’, and define their identity by pointing out ‘unbelievers’. So far so Monty Python right? Exactly.
One of the main issues I have with religion is ‘mine is better than yours’ if we are all supposed to treat each other with respect, love and consideration, why do people blow themselves up to prove their point. How is that supporting what is supposed to be the good divining force in us? And as there are so many millions of people, how do you accurately label exactly what I am feeling, compared to what you are feeling? Take the Quakers for example, they can meet anywhere, as they believe that everything you need for a religion, is within you. Now that makes sense to me.
What Tolle is teaching is that ‘in spite of all the insane deeds perpetrated in the name of religion, the Truth to which they point still shine at their core. It still shines, however dimly through layers upon layers of distortion and misinterpretation. Many people realise that having a belief system, a set of thoughts that you regard as the absolute truth, does not make you spiritual. The more you make your thoughts and beliefs into your identity, the more cut off you are from the spiritual dimension inside yourself.’
So this is where I am at, Oprah is pioneering a world wide web event, where she is sitting down with Eckhart Tolle and working their way through the book for 10 weeks. People all over the world have been dialling in, downloading podcasts, transcripts and I expect the sales of the book have also rocketed accordingly, but if people all over the world are realising that Humans have to change or die, not only through global warming, landfill sites and eating crappy food, but through recognising tolerance, it will have to happen soon. Now all of this can mean nothing to you or everything, if you are ready you’ll listen, if you’re not, then you’ll just think I am mad. And that is fine, I am happy with that, I am not on this journey for anyone other than myself.
I’ll leave you with this thought; if fundamentally all religions teach to the same point, why is fundamentalism so scary? Because in the words of Ned Flanders, ‘I’ve done all the bits in the bible, even the bits that contradict the other stuff!’ I have got a little deep here today, but I hope that you will forgive me, more mutterings will surely follow.