Saturday, February 10, 2007


In recent weeks I appear to be having nightmares with greater frequency. David has had to avoid being kicked or elbowed. I know that they are dark chase dreams. In the last one I was being pursued by a black rabid dog. Without wanting to over analyse this, it feels as if I'm being menaced by my mortality. It has certainly been on my mind a lot lately. My work obviously feeds into this in a big way. Please don't talk to me about Cremation Grounds, I work in one.

This week there were two services for men in their early fifties who had died suddenly. One was diagnosed with a brain tumour in November and died in January. The other was visiting a friend, complained about not feeling well, drifted off and died before their eyes. As the big 50 is looming ( 4 months away ) this is sort of rubbing it in a bit.

On Friday there was a Buddhist Service, the first one I've been on. It was for an English man, led by a Tibetan called Ato Rinpoche. The moment I saw him I was struck by his demeanour, quiet, gracious and considerate. He was so concerned that any Christian minister present didn't feel left out. He was prepared to give them time in the service. Something ,I can assure you, most Christian ministers would not countenance, or be so generous. At the end of what was a very simple service composed of periods of silence, an address and chanting in Tibetan ( Refuges & Precepts, Amitabha Mantra & Rejoicing in Merits ), I was left feeling grounded and unperturbed. The heavy internal debate and conflict of recent weeks appeared lifted. Before the service he just smiled at me, and said 'what an important service I was giving to people'. This simple statement feels to have more meaning than the words alone convey. Perhaps consciously cultivating an attitude of service is a way forward from the 'wasted life' syndrome, that appears to be cyclical and unresolvable on its own terms.

My favorite music, what I'm listening to and hearing in my head constantly, are tracks from CD's by 'The Gotan Project'. A recent discovery for me, but they've been around for six years or so. The music is an inventive mix of Tango, Dub and Electro, whirling around in brilliant swirls and sweeps of fusion. If you haven't heard of them I heartily recommend the CD's ' La Revancha del Tango' and 'Lunatico'.

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