Sunday, November 05, 2006

A time for reflection

Its the 5th November today, remember, remember the 5th of November.......
A popular British rhyme is often quoted on Guy Fawkes Night, in memory of the Gunpowder Plot:
Remember, remember, the 5th of November
The Gunpowder Treason and plot ;
I know of no reason why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes,
'Twas his intent.
To blow up the King and the Parliament.
Three score barrels of powder below.
Poor old England to overthrow.
By God's providence he was catch'd,
With a dark lantern and burning match
Holloa boys, Holloa boys, let the bells ring
Holloa boys, Holloa boys, God save the King!
Hip hip Hoorah !
Hip hip Hoorah !
A penny loaf to feed ol'Pope,
A farthing cheese to choke him.
A pint of beer to rinse it down,
A faggot of sticks to burn him.
Burn him in a tub of tar,'
Burn him like a blazing star.
Burn his body from his head,
Then we'll say: ol'Pope is dead.

Our bonfire is stacked high with the prunings of the cut branches and has been building up for the last month. It is a welcome tradition in a time when nature stands still. The bees in the hive are dormant, the bird song has gone, everyone retires in their homes and after the harvest we can sit and take stock of how we are doing on balance. Downshifting may not produce a monetary profit but on balance we have gained a better balance and understanding of the rhythms and cycle of life and how we have an active part in it. Man has always felt a deep connection with nature, his life was dominated by it, nature was respected as not doing so created immediate repercussions. Having distanced ourselves from nature and put it out of our awareness, we are now reminded that what we took for granted is actually pouncing and making an entrance in our awareness through news of global warming and strange weather patterns. This is the first year where we have not had our Indian summer weeks in September and where the temperature lingered above average until the end of October. Last week we went from 23 degrees C to - 2 in a the span of 7 days and that is a shock as usually it diminishes gradually so we can adapt easier. We can light fires but I guess the animals out there might be spared a thought.
I reflect at this time about the harvest, what I have contributed and taken from this world and on balance, despite best efforts, I am still consuming 1.6 planets. To get to 1 and create that balance will require some more effort, creativity and ingenuity.
The first change I am working on is on changing the perception of Christmas Time and be more focussed in my giving. Its quiet in the garden and this will give me time to get the needles out, the sewing machine out and create some truly individual gift baskets.

In the Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama says:
When life becomes too complicated and we feel overwhelmed, it’s often useful just to stand back and remind ourselves of our overall purpose, our overall goal. When faced with a feeling of stagnation and confusion, it may be helpful to take an hour, an afternoon, or even several days to simply reflect on what it is that will truly bring us happiness, and then reset our priorities based on that.This can put our life back in proper context, allow a fresh perspective and enable us to see which direction to take.
Our day-to day- existence is very much alive with hope, although there is no guarantee that tomorrow at this time we will be here. But still we are working on the basis of hope. So, we need to make the best use of our time. I believe that the proper utilisation of time is this ; if you can, serve other people, other sentient beings. If not, at least refrain from harming them. So let us reflect on what is truly of value in our life, what gives meaning to our lives and set our priorities based on that. ( Dalai Lama,1998, p 46)

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