Full Sails

Body Types - in an era of political correctness, this is sure to be a loaded subject. However, once the knowledge (of) is studied, observed and subsequently verified, a recognition of one's own mechanicality and individual body type ultimately dawns. As much as this understanding is wonderful when it comes to the various idiosyncrasies of human relationships, it is in the first place most useful when it comes to understanding why, as supposed individuals, we behave in certain and definite ways. There is a line to be found between our own human will, our desire to ‘do’, and the service of unity consciousness – the highest right. I am an active type, Solar Mercury Saturn, nervous system stretched taught and ready for action. I have what we would call a useful, if exhausting, set of mechanics.  A friend with a similar set of mechanics summed it up perfectly: we would find something to do in a lift. Absolutely true, I sometimes catch myself rubbing finger marks off the brass panels. If this level of activity was confined to being punctilious in matters of domestic hygiene and order, I would be delighted as I could live in a weirdly clean and orderly house and be surrendered to the will of the higher. Its not. It pervades all things as our mechanics do.


How to find the line?


On Sunday I was struggling, I had over committed myself again. Filled my diary for the next few months, had been caught again in the ‘doing’. I had also entirely ignored my own preferences, my own physical warning signs (stress, anxiety, low energy) and ploughed on. Fear keeps me ploughing on: what if I don’t do this, I might miss out on that, and they might do the other. Nervous system stretched so that it becomes hard. Impossible to meditate or concentrate; restless.

Then an image arrived, perfectly and fully, like a download:

I am on a vast ocean, sapphire blue to a 360 degree horizon, calm. I am in my sailboat, the sun is hot and I am standing up, feet braced to balance. I am furiously blowing into the sails; the effort to keep filling my lungs and blow is enormous. With each breath, the mainsail flutters very slightly, but I cannot work out how to fill the jib too. There is a panic in it all and hopelessness to the scene but I do not see it. I do not see the impossibility of the task. Crucially, I do not see that I am head to wind – even if there were forty four of me, or fifty five, the sails would not properly fill. There might be some movement but the effort would far outweigh the result. Then I have a thought, its not my thought, it comes in from somewhere: sit down, rest against the transom, tilt the tiller towards me and I will fill your sails. I do it, they fill, the boat leans into the wind perfectly counterbalanced, smooth and up on a plane, all I am required to do is steer, trim the sails and watch the wind, feel for its power.

Then the tears come. Tears of gratitude, of joy, of relief.

As this image settled in, I felt it soften me, loosen my stretched nerves, relax my hardened brain. As if light were pouring in and gently easing the cells out of the shock of the effort I was forcing them to endure.


The clarity of this simple image startled me and in a few minutes, all the knowledge and understanding was distilled into this perfect scene. The boat is the machine – it is designed to serve the wind, to plane across the ocean with ease and the wind serves it by its constant guidance, movement and flow.

In order for the boat to be seaworthy we work on it. Where the sails are too big because we preferred vanity and power to seaworthiness, we must adjust their size then trim them in – reign in the fear that pushes us toward power rather than wisdom. Where the keel has too much drag because we haven’t bothered to go under the waterline and clean the weed and barnacles off it - preferring not to look into our dark places, hoping that they will stay out of sight and out of mind - we must tend to this so that we may increase our potential when the wind comes. The ropes are used to buffer the shocks of the journey, they can be adjusted to keep us upright if the storms hit, or to take advantage of the strong gusts.

We work on the machine to make it ready – not because it is an end in itself because the sailboat without the sailor is useless and the sailor without the wind is, well, exhausted, stressed and blind to the help that is there all the time.

The sailor is the soul; it is what connects the boat to the wind. In this vision, the act of tilting the tiller towards the wind is the act of surrender to the higher. It is an act of faith and trust. When the soul believes itself to be alone on the sea, it leaves its station at the helm and tries to ‘do’ what only the wind can do. When it has grown in wisdom sufficiently to know that there is no alone, it takes up its proper position at the helm: mastering the machine, following the wind.

Safe Harbours

After the image had come, I sat for a long time. Thoughts came and went, one of them stubborn – a product of my fear: what if I could find a harbour and just stay there and sit it out, tied up on some friendly quay? Didn’t Milton say ‘They also serve who only stand and wait?’

Yes, came the answer. You can sit in any safe harbor – there are many and the attractions are innumerable, not least the siren call of the known. In the harbour there is no need to work on the boat, as long as it stays afloat it will do and the soul can stay aboard and doze in the life of the harbor.

It is this decision that is the only true act of free will – to put to sea or not?

Sailboats look beautiful on a quayside, glamorous and full of promise but on the ocean? My goodness they are magnificent, glorious. Every part of the machine in harmony with the other, sails full, keel cutting, responding to the will of the sailor, her will directed by the wind – all promise fulfilled, a miracle of trust.

We are designed for the vast ocean and the great wind, we just have to let them carry us.



Remember Yourself; Remember your Soul

There is an apocryphal ancient Chinese curse in common usage in English: "May you live in interesting times”.

Well, we certainly do. 

To be alive at this particular point in our evolution, with the seismic changes affecting our planet evokes our fear ‘I’s’, and provokes the instinctive centre. 

We have just experienced the passage of five days in the UK, which are unprecedented in my lifetime. A huge collective shock has been experienced following our vote to leave the European Union, its effects reverberating around the globe, this is against an already seemingly chaotic global passage. Regardless of how people voted, the speed of impact and rapidity of reaction has left people bewildered and disorientated.

Shadow material is emerging; seams of hatred whose existence we had been able to buffer previously are now catapulted into our vision.

These are indeed ‘interesting times’. 


What emerges from all of this is the importance of shocks for us to remember ourselves. To remember that we are more than just the bodies we walk around in. More than the opinions we believe to be true. More than the thoughts that occupy every inhale and exhale. Only in moments when our lives are suddenly turned upside down do we realize that everything is impermanent, flexible and changing. The only fixed point in any life is the essence of the person – the soul if you like – that exists beyond personality, beyond experience and circumstance. Usually shocks are felt in our individual lives, this time its on a mass scale: an opportunity for a collective remembering.

Our world is made up of each of our individual essences and souls - yes, ultimately we are one as we are with the rest of humanity, but our purpose in each present moment of this incarnation is to find our individual soul’s expression so that we may enhance the beauty of the collective that we contribute to.

 The Perfume of the Soul

The clarity that arrived today, against the background of these increasingly turbulent times, is that our collective unity depends on each individual expression, the perfume of each soul fuelling our desire for collective unity. 

I have been lazy in not giving of my individual expression, keeping the perfume for myself, tempering the beauty of the collective unity by not fully participating in every moment. Inner considering means that I don’t write when moved, I don’t connect to people I haven’t ‘met’. I’m busy - we are all busy, but so what? 

I can be busy and still fully engaged with my soul, in every part of my life: with my family, my work, with my spiritual life, with our collective aim and with everything that is ‘outside’ my immediate realm. It seems to me that the lines of distinction I make between all of these things are no longer relevant - all parts of our existence require the perfume of the soul, nothing is outside it. The super effort is not in the doing of the body/machine, its in directing the desire to fully express the soul. 


So today is for me a re-dedication - to the full expression of my soul and to yours, in all aspects of our existence. 

For Awakening Consciousness, our singular aim is for humanity's evolution from homo sapiens to homo spiritus. The turbulent times we are living through are the crucible for that growth. We are designed for and have been prepared for the times we live in - we know that because we are alive. Now. At this particular time. Each of us is required for the navigation of these days, there isn’t another soul like yours. It matters that you express your unique perfume. It makes our collective astonishingly beautiful. 

As you read this, take a moment of re-dedication to the perfume of your soul expressing for the collective, remember yourself and send out a wave of peace and meditate on these words of Paramahansa Yogananda:

I am in the temple of quietness,
Peace fills my body
Peace fills my heart and dwells within my love
Peace within; without; everywhere.
Infinite Peace surrounds my life and permeates all the moments of my existence.
Peace unto Myself;
Peace unto my Family;
Peace unto my Nation;
Peace unto my World;
Peace unto my Cosmos.