Archive for the ‘prayer and meditation’ Category

Church of the Infant Jesus

April 14, 2016
font

font in the Church of the Infant Jesus

cloak worn by the Infant Jesus

cloak worn by the Infant Jesus

Strictly speaking  Carmelite Church of Our Lady Victorious in Malá Strana but commonly known as Church of the Infant Jesus for the little infant Jesus wearing a cloak.

The infant Jesus is 16th century. Legend has it that the statue once belonged to Saint Teresa of Avila.

Up a spiral stone staircase, a museum of various cloaks.

When I visited, I was struck by a girl in her twenties, her face was lit up with joy as she looked at the statue.

I caught up with her as she left. She told me she was a student in Prague.

When Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho was unknown, he had yet to write, he travelled Europe. He asked the Infant Jesus to help make his dream come true to become a writer. He noticed the Infant Jesus was wearing a shabby cloak. He promised, that if he became a writer, he would return with a cloak.

Paulo Coelho marks St Joseph’s day with his friends. This year it was at Lobkowicz Palace in Prague  Castle. During the morning he visited the church and presented the Infant Jesus with a  new cloak.

The Infant Jesus is credited with miracles. Hence the pilgrims.

I was appalled at the disrespect shown by the hordes of visitors to the church.  Two women having a very noisy conversation on the stairs leading up to the museum, the noise echoing up and down the staircase. Two women walking down the aisle having a loud conversation. Then bang, crash, a tourist group erupted through the doors, their tour guide, Italian, laughing and shouting. I wish I gone after her and took a picture of her as she left, as she was unfit to be a tour guide. Then it got worse and worse.

I walked out in disgust.

Why do they not bar tour groups?

A shop near the church entrance, but closed when I left.

Across the road, shops selling tourist tat, images, replicas of the Infant Jesus.

Paulo Coelho on Super Soul Sunday

September 4, 2014

On Sunday, Paulo Coelho will be a guest of Oprah Winfrey on Super Soul Sunday, 11am ET/PT.

The Alchemist, his best-known book, originally did not sell in Brazil, and was dropped by the publisher.

He knocked on doors, and eventually found a publisher who was willing to take a risk, even though he was publishing a book, another publisher dropped.

Three years later when the book was already a half a million copies in Brazil, Paulo asked his publisher ‘Why did you accept a book that was already published and it was a flop?’ He replied ‘I don’t know.’

The Alchemist has gone on to sell 70 million copies.

Last week it was No2 in the New York Times best-seller list. It had recorded three-hundred and eighteen continuous weeks in the New York Times best seller list.

Adultery, his latest book published last week, entered the New York Times best-seller list at No2.

You, who they call Lord

March 30, 2014

You, who I can feel deep inside my soul.
You, who has created this world.

When I look into the microcosmos, in the macrocosmos, everywhere I find you.
I sense your greatness.

You, who they call Lord,
who they call Father,
who they call Allah,
who they call Jahwe,
You, who is there.

Who is with us. Who walks with us.
The older I become, the more I can call you friend.
You are the friend of my life, who loves me and who called me to carry your message to the people.
Thank you.

I want to ask for everyone who is here today, to feel some of God’s Greatness and His love, who wants us, who loves us.
Jesus Christ showed us a way which we can walk together.
In spite of everything and everyone, we can find ways together,
seek and find ways which will gift us with a better and more beautiful life.

Paulo has written that he is searching for the sense in his life.
And while searching he went across new paths, wrong tracks and detours, like the all of us.

Let’s keep on looking for you in the humans beings that are present in our path.

Amen

— Abbot Burkhard

Abbot Burkhard is Abbott Emeritus at the Benedictine Abbey at Melk.

It is a tradition of Paulo Coelho that he marks St Joseph Day with a party with his friends. Abbot Burkhard is one of his friends. The evening will always have prayers in many languages, many traditions, starting with Portuguese led by Paulo Coelho.

This prayer by Abbot Burkhard, translated from German by Nayla, is from Istanbul.

Synchronicity: The day after Festa de São José I was in Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Assunção talking to the Parish Priest. I mentioned this prayer by Abbot Burkhard. One week and one day later, Paulo Coelho in a tweet, referenced this prayer on his blog.

The Supreme Gift

February 6, 2014
The Supreme Gift

The Supreme Gift

Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” — Luke 7:44-47, New International Version (NIV)

THOUGH I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become as a sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not LOVE I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not Love, it profiteth me nothing. — Henry Drummond, The Greatest Thing in the World

The Supreme Gift, a rewrite by Paulo Coelho of The Greatest Thing in the World by Henry Drummond, a book that was to greatly influence the life of Paulo Coelho.

The Supreme Gift, is currently only available as an e-book, only available on Amazon and iTunes (it may become available on Kobo).

But why restrict to Amazon and ITunes (and maybe Kobo), when there are distinct advantages to author and reader to release on leanpub?

Writers get a far better deal on leanpub, as do readers.

Leanpub pays 90% royalty to authors, less a 50 cent flat fee.

For the reader, multiple download formats, open source formats, not propriety formats.

Amazon is a propriety format, restricted to an Amazon Kindle. iTunes I do not know.

Kindle spies on what the reader is reading, Amazon can and do arbitrarily delete contents of a Kindle.

Kobo readers are better than Kindle. Open source format for e-books.

Kobo Touch is currently in WHSmith in UK at £30 (approx 45 euros), it was £90. The equivalent six inch e-reader from Amazon, Kindle Touch, is double the price.

For those who do not have an e-reader, download and install Calibre.

Calibre can also be used to manage books on an e-reader.

A few ball park figures (for writer can substitute publisher):

The Supreme Gift on Amazon — $3

Assuming writer gets 40% — $1-20

The Supreme Gift on leanpub — $2

The writers receives 90% less 50 cents — $1-30

Thus reader and writer get a better deal on leanpub.

But let us go a step further, a book about a gift, let us incorporate the principles of the Gift Economy that Charles Eisenstein describes in Sacred Economics.

Charles Eisenstein, in keeping with his idea of a Gift Economy, gift to others with no expectation of return, you can purchase Sacred Economics from a bookshop (if you can find), download as an e-book (pay what you wish), or download for free.

Leanpub lets us do something clever. We can set a low minimum price, say $1, a suggested selling price of say $2. A slider lets us pay what we choose, we can pay more than the suggested price, and we see how much of the price we choose to pay, goes to the author.

If we choose less than the suggested price, the author has granted us a gift. It is then for us to decide what we do with our gift. We may, for example, tell others, we have then passed the gift on, if they choose to download and pay, then we have also repaid the author.

It is what bass player Steve Lawson calls a zero cost transaction. No one has actually lost anything, you do not know where it may lead.

Bandcamp in part, operates in this way. You can listen as often as you wish, you are encouraged to share, sometimes download for free or pay a low minimum price, pay what you wish. And surprisingly it works, people are willing to pay, and if they share, more people discover the music. A complete contrast to the greedy Big Record Labels, who rip off everyone and criminalise those who dare to share.

Steph Bradley spent six moons walking around the country, sharing and collecting tales of what is possible, what people are trying, and collecting together in Tales of Our Times. She was inspired by Paulo Coelho to follow her dreams. On St Valentine’s Day, she will publish on leanpub, Searching for Love, an anthology of love poetry.

The Greatest Thing in the World (1874), a meditation Henry Drummond wrote in 1874 that illuminates the importance of 1 Corinthians 13. Widely read and quoted during his lifetime, it went on to sell over 12 million copies and it continues today to influence people to follow God’s two great commandments: to love God and to love each other.

Winter Solstice Stonehenge

December 21, 2013
Winter Solstice Stonehenge

Winter Solstice Stonehenge

Winter solstice is the shortest day of the year.

Stonehenge is an astronomical observatory.

Mahamrityunjaya mantra – Reema Datta

February 27, 2013

Mahamrityunjaya mantra from Truth Love Creation, a series of beautiful, haunting Sanskit songs sung by Reema Datta.

A pity Truth Love Creation is not on bandcamp.

I came across this album in Soluciones one evening, a week and a day ago.

Soluciones is a wonderful New Age shop, bookshop, cum music, cum crystal, just up from Plaza Charco en Puerto de la Cruz. It puts to shame Waterstones and a HMV.

Paulo Coelho – Mein Leben/Ma Vie

December 26, 2012

Paulo Coelho uses archery as a form of meditation.

The Way of the Bow is a mediation on archery.

Please feel free to download a free audio book of The Way of the Bow (limited to 200 free books per month, always free to listen on-line, to share).

Celebrating the Winter Solstice

December 21, 2012
Mary Magdalene Church

Mary Magdalene Church

Mary Magdalene Church

Mary Magdalene Church

end of the mayan calander

end of the mayan calander

I am the single radiance by which all is aroused and within which it is vibrant…
For the man who has found me, the door to all things stands open…
I am the magnetic force of the universal presence and the ceaseless ripple of its smile.

— Excerpts from Hymn To the Eternal Feminine by Teilhard de Chardin

Today was the shortest day.

At a little wholefood stall in at the Central Market in Lincoln, maybe a new stall as I have never seen before, a little typewritten notice of celebrations for the Winter Solstice.

0700 Walk up Hoe Hill, near Fulletby, near Horncastle to observe the sunrise

1100 Mary Magdalene Church, Castle Square, Lincoln for a silent meditation at 1111.

1130 Tea shop at Lincoln Cathedral.

1530 Heartwood near Branston to observe the sunset.

The only one I was able to make was the silent meditation at Mary Magdalene. Walk to the top of the High Street, then up The Strait and Steep Hill. I must be unfit as hard going.

Mary Magdalene is rarely open, it was a pleasant surprise to find open. No mention of mediation, no one knew what I was talking about.

Rather annoying, very noisy people in the church.

Unbeknown to the church the silent mediation did take place, and luckily the noisy people had left.

But why can people not be quiet in a church? In the main Catholic Church in Puerto de la Cruz, it is always quiet, those in the church are either silent or converse in quiet whisper.

Silent meditation in a church, one very quickly becomes aware of surroundings, every little sound.

Nine people turned up, ten counting me.

I like this idea a group of people unannounced descending on a church.

I walked with them to Lincoln Cathedral. I was curious why these two locations?

Mary Magdalene represents the sacred feminine, Lincoln Cathedral masculine (I assume St Hugh), yin and yang.

Mary Magdalene lies immediately outside Lincoln Cathedral. At Winchester there is a little church immediately outside the cathedral.

Mary Magdalene, an old Saxon church, lies on a ley line (I do not know what evidence). It is also at the junction of two Roman roads. One I know to be Ermine Street, I assume the other to be Fossway.

A little south of Lincoln, where you can still walk on the old Ermine Street, not a modern road that follows the route, is an ancient Templar building.

At least one of the group of nine had read The Alchemist several times (the tenth anniversary edition is currently available as e-book reduced price). I said there was a new book, Manuscript Found in Accra available next year, Aleph was in The Works at a low price, The Pilgrimage preceded The Alchemist, and to check out The Alchemist pen from Montegrappa. And do not forget audio book of The Way of the Bow is free!

Today the world was going to end (the day has not yet ended). A misinterpretation of what Mayans predicted. They predicted a new era of understanding, not the end of the world. (14th Baktun).

The passage of time

October 27, 2012
Greenwich Meridian at former RAF base East Kirkby

Greenwich Meridian at former RAF base East Kirkby

We only need an accurate measure of time because we travel.

Everywhere had local time, time set by the sundial, clocks and watches set by the church clock or town hall.

When we travel, we travel through time and space.

With the fastest mode of travel by stagecoach, which was measured in days, not hours, local time was ok. With the arrival of steam trains hurtling along at the unheard of 80 mph there was a need for a universal time, railway time, for accurate timetables. The station clock, or the station master’s pocket watch, was now the time by which time was set.

Travel by ship needed an accurate time piece by which to measure longitude.

We measure time by change. The burning of a candle, dripping of water, swinging of a pendulum, vibration of a quartz crystal.

The vibration of a quartz crystal varies with the voltage across the crystal and its temperature. For very accurate clocks, the voltage is stabilized and the temperature controlled.

In the 1970s I was making very accurate measurements and was using atomic clocks.

Atomic clocks are so accurate that as with leap years and extra days, we have to add leap seconds to account for the earth’s rotation.

The astronauts in the Space Station circle the earth once every forty minutes, They use GMT.

GMT, Greenwich Mean Time, referenced to the Greenwich Meridian that runs through Greenwich.

Travel on a plane as the sun is setting, and you can experience the sun set over an extended period, often dipping and rising.

We can be outside of time, time can stand still.

We are outside of time when we meditate.

When I was with my lovely Russian friend Lena time stood still.

In Aleph, Paulo Coelho discusses the aleph where time and space meet at a point.

Sometimes we have no time for the things that matter.

We only exist in the present, the past no longer exists, the future has yet to happen.

Time did not always exist. Time came into existence at the time the universe was created. Before then there was no time.

Tonight, strictly speaking 2am Sunday morning, clocks go back one hour from BST (British Summer Time) to GMT.

We go forward in the spring to give an extra hour in the evening. But in the summer, we have extra hours in the evening. In the winter, when we have less time in the evening, the clocks go back, gving us even less time, making the nights long and dark, with it getting dark early evening.

Autumn afternoon in Winchester

October 15, 2012
dusk inside Winchester Cathedral

dusk inside Winchester Cathedral

A cold day, a cold north wind, occasional heavy showers. Did I really wish to spend an afternoon in Winchester?

Bus, train to Alton, then bus to Winchester.

Dysfunctional public transport. Time of arrival of train at Alton is same time as the bus departs. As the train pulls in and comes to a stop, the doors open, I leap off the train, run out of the station, leap on the bus and catch it as it is about to pull out. As the bus pulls away, I observe people leaving the station who have just alighted from the train.

The sun is shining as I reach Winchester, and it is warmer than when I set out. I am feeling rough from the bus journey and go for a walk.

Lunch at The Bridge Patisserie, which was something of a disappointment. I can see why they are getting bad reviews on TripAdvisor.

Calamity strikes. I do something wrong on my camera, over a thousand pictures deleted, gone in a blinking of an eye.

I walk along the river. Now cold, no sun.

I look in the bookshop in the back streets behind Winchester Cathedral. A real bookshop. I ask when is Manuscript Found in Accra due out. Something Waterstone’s unable to answer. I assumed some time soon as been coming out all over Europe this week. But no, not until April 2013!

I wonder into Winchester Cathedral Not quite dusk, but soon will be. Dusk is the time to see a mediaeval cathedral at its best.

I light candles for Canon Andrew White, Paulo Coelho, my lovely Russian friend Lena.

Evensong is about to begin.

The choir emerge and sing in the South Transept. It is a song of welcome. The acoustics are amazing. I sit at the foot of a shrine or tomb. I am the only one there.

I follow the choir and sit in the choir stalls for Evensong. It is sung evensong or choral evensong cf spoken evensong.

I had not intended to stay. I do, and as a consequence I miss two buses.

Walking to the High Street I spot a little alley I had not noticed before that leads to a coffee shop.

As I walk down the High Street, I spot a little alley I had not seen before that leads to a pub hidden in the alley.

I catch the last bus.

I once again experience dysfunctional public transport. Train departs Alton ten minutes early Bus arrives as train departs.

Forty minutes wait. I go to Waitrose.

At Aldershot, train arrives two minutes after bus departs. Almost 30 minute to wait for the next bus. I visit a local shop and chat to Nepalese girl serving in the shop.

From leaving Winchester Cathedral, almost three hours until I reach home!