Saturday, March 10, 2007


After a full week back at work I feel physically and mentally as if I’d never been away. Last weekend my back got worse, my shoulder stiffened and my right arm began to ache. The cold March winds have been blowing across the entrance to the East Chapel. My shoulders and arm have been at times in agony. As the week has progressed I’ve found myself getting less good quality sleep and more ragged and irritable mentally. Friday was a particularly taxing day, short staffed and too much booked in for the day. I have found myself with less equanimity and good humour than usual.

The nightmares returned the other night. It all started in a style of dream I used to have quite frequently; I’m trying to get back to somewhere in order to find or collect something. In this dream I was trying to locate an old great coat, like the one I inherited from my Grandad after he died. In my younger days I used to be fond of that style of coat, complete with trilby, bow tie and sleeveless jumper. But then, just as I’m nearing the place where I know I can find it, a disturbed man in his thirties, with black greasy unkempt hair, appears. I try to escape him by hiding in a small closet room. He dashes through the wall like a ghost would, stands before me and exits madly through another wall and re-enters behind me. At this point I’m screaming, and my lovely boyfriend David wakes me.

Not felt like doing much writing this week. Still reflecting on the ‘why the Self should be such a problem’ issue. I’ve come up with quite a good metaphor to use, but its not turning out on the page in a useful way yet. I’ve decided to read Sangharakshita and see if I can get clearer with a little help from the master. I’m reading ‘What is the Dharma’- always a favourite of mine, accessible, well written and avoids Sangharakshita’s tendency to use the extensive descriptive style of a Victorian Anthropologist. Though I haven’t got to it yet, I’m looking forward to reading about the Three Lakshanas in the next chapter. One does get the sense of his unshakeable faith and confidence in the Dharma, it fair leaps off the page at you. As far as a beginner goes, I am noticing that he takes something’s for granted, primarily that such a thing as Enlightenment exists and that we’d all therefore want a slice of it please.

Two Eno CD’s turned up this week, courtesy of Caimen USA, both are in his ambient style. One called ‘Thursday Afternoon’ from 1984 and ‘Neroli’ from 1993. The latter I think is his most daringly minimal , using very simple tones and chord progressions, yet it still has a very warm almost Arabic feel to it. Taken at a gentle pace, like being softly wafted by a huge feather fan in the sweltering midday heat. Like all of these types of pieces it is simultaneously interesting and undemanding, it depends on your mood. If you’re looking for a gross musical stimulant, well then these pieces will not be for you. They each take about an hour, so they aren’t your average three-minute pop song. Out on the radical fringes Eno is exploring the possibilities of music to create an atmosphere with the sparsest of elements, but also be functional and disposable too. Most popular music is both functional and disposable by accident, but rarely by design. With his ambient work, such as ‘Music for Airports’ and ‘Neroli’ Eno is extending not only how one makes music but also what it’s made for. Positioned as it is somewhere between the ethos of ‘lounge muzack’ and ‘New Age’ meditation music, it isn’t to everyone’s taste. David for one doesn’t like Eno.

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