Christopher Titmuss Dharma Blog

A Buddhist Perspective

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Anonymity. A Poem

A role, an identity, a function,
a disguise to mask the blessing
of an anonymous way of life
of my refuge in unknown fields.

My face means nothing
beyond the mirror
in shadows of false dawns
to appear before the other

This upsurge of a minor figure,
a construct without substance
oh, what joy to linger in
the heartland of anonymity.

Unknown to others,
unknown to myself,
the music of signless wonder
of space without shadows.

No belonging to another
no belonging to myself
I cannot ask for more than that
I can only find more than that.

No arrival, no departure
no form to adopt
pointless visibility
no imitation of everyday life.

Who perceives self
becomes blind in both eyes
this anonymity shows
fertility of the nameless.

What seeds nourish the
quiet of being nobody?
hidden replaces fixations
to upsurge in this expanse.

A pilgrimage without a pilgrim
no start, no end,
no self of senseless packing
no thinking of senseless thinking.

In this non-belonging,
in this non-connection
let us salute anonymity
free from formed restraints.



An Ode to Brighton Beach

Moonlight falls deep into green sea
waves inscribed en route
pebbles wait in their stillness
Jesus and Mary Magdala
cross-legged, under pleasure pier
with view of hammered rust.

Bather skims pebble on water,
Smooth, slim, round pebble
plop, plop, plop,
until the precious moment,
washed, willing and sinks
even as moonlight fades

Words nestle in the deep
erupt from sea-sons bound.
ebb and flows to ears
A solitary figure feels
and steps out of shadows
an inheritance beneath the feet.

Are you waiting in the queue to dive?

A Poetic Reflection on Poem

Poem explores depth of experience.

Moonlight goes beneath the waves
Jesus-Mary Magdala sit beneath pleasure seeking pier
out of reach of rusty relic
bather dives into water
stone sinks into the sea,
words emerge from the deep
and flow as waves to our ear
sea-sons – Jesus-Mary, sons of the sea.
a solitary figure, with no shadows
stands at water’s edge
knowing inheritance of earth/water
Are you ready to dive into the deep?



What is the Ultimate Truth? What is the relative truth? Guided Meditation. Talk. Q and A. with Christopher. On Line. Sangha Live. Sunday 5 June 2022. 20.00 CET

In the spiritual, mindfulness, religious, Buddhist circles, we use the word ‘practice’ with frequency. Practice provides a genuine sense of development, of moving forward, while a fading of practice can give the sense of being stuck or slipping back into old patterns.

Practises maximise attention on the world of mind-body, mindfulness, meditation and well-being – that means conventional or relative truth of our perceptions.

Some practitioners adhere strictly to a specific practice, teaching and teacher. This can bring about a repetition of the same sensations, pleasurable and painful, due to the cycles within the specific practice. A specific practice can lead to a confined view or even become a militant orthodoxy.

A person may refer to their meditation practice, their yoga practice or describe themselves as a practising Buddhist or a practising Roman Catholic.

Others adopt a varied exploration to open the mind but may feel frustrated at not being able to co-ordinate different approaches, traditional and contemporary. It is not even necessary for the practising self to co-ordinate spirituality, various religious forms, mind-body approaches and more. Unification of diversity has little merit.

Practice requires wise attention to change our experience in major or subtle ways. Practice serves as a key theme in the arena of conventional truth.

What is the Ultimate Truth?

Ultimate truth confirms a liberating truth, an awakening truth. Views differ from truth since views belong to the healthy, unhealthy or neither. Truth reveals discovery not tied to such human perceptions.

The power of trust matters. Am I willing to drop the notion of practice, narrow or broad, and trust that I will not slide back into old ways? Can such trust serve as an open doorway to ultimate truth?

This 90-minute session will neither encourage practice, nor endorse practice, despite its countless personal and social benefits. Practice remains confined to priorities of past, present and future. Practice functions as a preparation for seeing and knowing truth that liberates.

We are familiar with taking up views, remaining neutral with views or holding onto views. We might call these views relative or even absolute. 

Can we discover truth not bound to perception, nor views, not bound to mystery, not bound to self, in any way at all?

This question lies at the heart of the deepest exploration.

Do lend an ear on the session hosted by Sangha Live.

https://sangha.live/free_live/sunday-sangha-5th-june-2022/



Psychedelics and Meditation: Theories, Evidence, and Future Directions. A Talk by Marco Schlosser

Marco Schlosser offers a thoughtful 90-minute talk with summary/bullet points on screen on meditation, psychedelics and more. Marcus encourages exploration of the meditation experience and looks at current research on psychedelics. His talk is a contribution to understanding the dynamics of meditation in the context of contemporary views and points the way forward.

His talk explores the relationship between meditation and psychedelic practice. How could psychedelics increase the range, depth, and subtlety of meditation practices? And how can meditation practices contribute to preparing, shaping, and integrating psychedelic experiences?

To begin answering these complex questions, I will invite us to playfully inquire how some of the views that characterise present-day discourses on meditation and psychedelics could limit rather than open practice possibilities and freedoms. Any practice is embedded in a framework, and any framework is steeped in a set of assumptions and beliefs.

Rather than framing this as a problem to be overcome, we will ask: How does our commitment to certain views – whether consciously adopted or unconsciously inherited – participate in shaping how we perceive ourselves and the world?

I will review existing research on psychedelic use in meditation training and conclude by proposing questions and future directions for this field.

Link: https://youtu.be/I9YxUcI4uxg

Bio: Marco Schlosser
Marco works as a researcher at University College London and investigates the impact of meditation training on mental health and well-being. Marco is dedicated to the Dharma and meditation. He enjoys contributing to visions of retreat centres of the future. You can follow his work at https://www.marcoschlosser.com

 



We contemplate eternity beneath the vast indifference of heaven’ – A song of Buddha wisdom written by Warren Zevon and sung by David Lindley

A Dharma friend, Klaus in Germany, kindly wrote a comment to my blog on The Outsider by Albert Camus. He sent me a link to a song written by Warren Zevon (1947-2003), an American singer-songwriter, who died from cancer.

In the final paragraph of The Outsider, Meursault, the central character in the novel, says just before his execution: ‘I looked up at the mass of signs and starts in the night sky and laid myself open for the first time to the benign indifference of the world.’

Klaus wrote:

“Today (13 May 2022), I was sitting outside a coffee shop having a cup of coffee.

While reading your above article with eyes open, I fell into a total silence and equanimity. Looking around was just seeing. Not anything interfering.

So relieved. So at ease. Nothing to do. Nowhere to run to.

After a while these lyrics of a song (The Indifference of Heaven, written by Warren Zevon) came to mind:

”….A gentle rain falls on me
And all life folds back into the sea
We contemplate eternity
Beneath the vast indifference of Heaven
The vast indifference of Heaven.
by Warren Zevon.

Performed here live by David Lindley, a fine voice and brilliant musician with string instruments.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQxrHqKFFqc

There is poetic poignancy to the lyrics, with its transcendental depths, beautifully sung by David Lindley.

Revealing the wisdom of a Buddha, the song exposes the relative truth, time, money (hands in the till), rain, memories, same old story, impermanence. Then the song interrupts the relative to remind us to remember to contemplate eternity.

Here are the full lyrics. Watch on YouTube with lyrics in front of you. Performance in Copenhagen in 2012.

THE INDIFFERENCE OF HEAVEN

Time marches on
Time stands still
Time on my hands
Time to kill
Blood on my hands
And my hands in the till
Down at the 7-11
Gentle rain
Falls on me
All life folds back
Into the sea
We contemplate eternity
Beneath the vast indifference of heaven
The past seems realer than the present to me now
I’ve got memories to last me
When the sky is grey
Like it is today
I remember the times when I was happy
It’s the same old sun
It’s the same old moon
It’s the same old story
It’s the same old tune
They all say
Someday soon
My sins will all be forgiven
Gentle rain
Falls on me
All life folds back
Into the sea
We contemplate eternity
Beneath the vast indifference of heaven
They say, “Everything’s alright.”
They say, “Better days are near.”
They tell us, “These are the good times.”
But they don’t live around here
Billy and Christie don’t
And Bruce and Patti don’t
They don’t live around here
I had a girl
Now she’s gone
She left town
The town burned down
Nothing left
But the sound
Of the front door closing forever
A gentle rain
Falls on me
All life folds back
Into the sea
We contemplate eternity
Beneath the vast indifference of heaven
Beneath the vast indifference of heaven.
A remarkable song pointing to eternity beneath the vast indifference of heaven.
Thank you, Klaus.



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