From Beneath

Photographs are meant to be taken from above, except….

Except when they’re not, and there’s some compelling reason to take them from beneath.

Often, I walk the collie in the early evenings. It’s impossible in the winter, except with a flashlight; and then you get strange looks. But in spring and summer, you can still find strong evening sunlight – full of golds – emerging from hedges and shrubs in patterns that often resemble diamonds.

(Above: hidden glories beneath the foliage; and a matching ‘orb’ to boot!)

My favourite; easier than finding the fragmenting light, is to simply insert myself beneath several layers of the leafy canopy and point the camera upwards… as in the image above.

(Above: the ‘ghost’ of what is beneath)

Sometimes it’s not what’s there, but rather the ‘ghost’ of what is there within the suppressed rays of light – its shadow… If you’re lucky, you might get the moon, too.

©Stephen Tanham 2022

Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye, a journey through the forest of personality to the dawn of Being.

http://www.thesilenteye.co.uk and http://www.suningemini.blog

Heroes in a Landscape (1) Arrival

(Above: the splendid setting of the Castlerigg Stone Circle – but it didn’t look like this on the Friday!)

It’s a method for uniting a group of people to a common purpose. It’s a technique for ‘washing’ the immediate environment and dedicating your effort to the highest motive and energies. It’s a wonderful way to align yourself to your immediate surrounding, teasing out that sense of really ‘knowing’ what’s around you – especially in a landscape as beautiful and powerful as the English Lake District…in spring.

We can call it ceremony. Modern psychology, recognising its value, named it psychotherapy and psycho-emotional journeying. For thousands of years, it has been known simply as ritual and, once you remove the populist rubbish from around its edges, there lies revealed a beautiful and empowering use of the human mind and emotions.

The best example of ritual I know is the simple hug. It has rules: the touching of bodies is proscribed in a certain non-sexual way. The hands grasp the other in a gentle embrace, and the heads align so they don’t clash. The duration of the hug and, indeed, the distance of the other person, can be adjusted according to the level of personal trust involved. A hug carried out with loving respect is a powerful and uplifting thing… It’s a wonderful ritual.

Like many ‘mystery schools’, we use ritual. But only when appropriate. The greater part of our ‘communion’ with the landscape on the Journey of the Hero weekend was simply walking and taking in the fresh green delight of spring in northern Cumbria. When we did use ritual, it was powerful…and in some cases, created there and then to adapt to the specifics of the landscape of beauty around us.

The idea for the ‘Journey of the Hero’ workshop began shortly after Sue Vincent’s death, a year ago. Keen to signal that the Silent Eye would be continuing its work, despite her sad loss, we came up with the idea of adapting the core of Joseph Campbell’s book; ‘The Hero with a Thousand Faces’ into a three-day event that would reflect the Lakeland spring’s splendour, using the hills, lakes and even rivers of the region to provide a series of delightful challenges for our group of ‘happy adventurers’ – as Stuart named them.

(Above: the 1949 edition of Campbell’s groundbreaking book. Wikipedia)

A happy and wonderful bunch they turned out to be… But the weekend was to challenge us all in ways not always foreseen. The idea that the organisers were actually in charge of events in the underlying hyper-myth: life itself, was to prove deeply amusing…

Campbell proposed that all the world’s myths and fairy stories followed a common theme; a kind of ‘meta-structure’ whose building blocks were the skeleton on which each detailed journey was mapped. We wanted to use this structure to find synergy in the landscape, rather than an actual story. In this way, we would be more focussed and more in-tune with the beautiful places in which we wandered. He proposed the name ‘Monomyth’ for the underlying meta story.

The Monomyth contains the following stages;

1. The hero’s adventure begins in the ordinary world.

2. He/she must leave the ordinary world when they receive a call to adventure. This is sometimes refused – initially.

3. With the help of a mentor, the hero will cross a guarded threshold, leading them to a supernatural world, where familiar laws and order do not apply.

4. There, the hero will embark on a road of trials.

5. Allies sometimes assist.

6. As the hero faces the ordeal, they encounter the greatest challenge of the journey.

7. Upon rising to this challenge, the hero receives a reward or boon.

8. They return to the ordinary world, empowered to act in a higher way. The world gains much from their renewed presence.

(Above: the Tarot Card ‘The Star’ from the Paul Foster Case deck)

While I concentrated on the locations and the vital timings, Stuart was busy crafting a method whereby the above stages of the Monomyth could be emotionally linked to their sequence. He proposed the use of the Tarot cards – that ancient method of both ‘divination’ and, more importantly, perhaps, the use of ‘active imagination’ to take us into a series of meditative states that reflected the Hero’s journey.

(Above: The ever-present Skiddaw mountain)

We were to begin, on the Friday afternoon, with the famous stone circle of Castlerigg, a ring of large stones at least five thousand years old, set on a natural plateau surrounded by some of Lakeland’s tallest mountains. Simply standing on that plateau is an act of magic, as nature quietly invites you to contemplate and share the reasons for the existence of this remarkable edifice.

(Above: Lakeland most famous weather – heavy rain!)

As we approached on the busy and fast A66 road, the skies began to darken. By the time we arrived at Castlerigg, we were in the middle of a full-blown Lakeland downpour… showing no signs of stopping.

It began to look like the ‘ordeal’ stage of our Monomyth was going to be thrust upon us ahead of schedule…

To be continued in Part Two.

©Stephen Tanham 2022

Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye, a journey through the forest of personality to the dawn of Being.

http://www.thesilenteye.co.uk and http://www.suningemini.blog

Spirituality in Transition

(Above: wonderful light and dark contrasts in the mysterious Lacy’s Caves alongside the River Eden)

There are times when you know that a particular world is changing. By ‘world’ I mean a specific part of life, not the whole world, though that could be said to be in a state of apparentl chaotic change, too…

(Above: Castlerigg as we first found it – Driving rain on the Friday)

The ‘world’ I mean is that of spiritual teaching; and the challenges to its present methods come in two forms:

The first is the worsening economic situation across most of the planet. If you’re not a billionaire, you’re getting poorer, as essential goods, such as sources of energy for heating, cooking and transportation become the subject of international strife.

(Above: Castlerigg on the final day – a basket of bright sunshine and a thankful contrast to the Friday)

When many are struggling to pay essential bills, the idea of paying out more for what appears to be a speculative investigation into the inner nature of ourselves may seem a scrambling of priorities. When such considerations are set at the end of a pandemic, and the world is struggling to get back to some sense of normal, we might expect little interest…

But last weekend, a group of dedicated adventurers from a variety of traditions enjoyed the immense beauty of the northern Lake District in all its spring glory, even venturing into the nearby Eden Valley – home of some hidden and mysterious treasures.

(Above: the ever-present Skiddaw mountain looms over everything around Keswick)

This experiment in using the outdoors, rather than a conventional indoor setting of rented hall, was forced upon us by the decline in the ‘old model’ of how such gatherings are conducted. Covid simply stopped such meetings from happening But it’s eventual fading did not automatically trigger a restart of the ‘old world’. No-one knew what would happen when travel was allowed, again. Things whose time has come can often fail to revive in these circumstances.

To compound the problems, there was a ‘new world’ in town, in the shape of Zoom-based meeting (and similar technologies). In order to maintain some contact with those we used to see, often, we too had begun to hold at least monthly meetings over zoom – involving people from across the world and slowly learning how to conduct meaningful dialogue and shared experiences across international video links.

(Above: beyond the Friday, the Lakeland countryside blossomed into one the most perfect weekends)

But, although here to stay, most said that video conferencing was no substitute for face-to-face gatherings. Having said that, the costs of travel and accommodation, post-Covid, mean that Zoom and its rivals are here to stay. Although this post is primary to introduce the weekend’s outdoor explorations, the Silent Eye team will be continuing and even expanding their Zoom presence in parallel with pioneering new ways of mystical experience in dramatic landscapes, as in Keswick.

That’s not to say that it was all plain sailing. The weather on the Friday afternoon – our first slot of the weekend – was enough to send anyone home. The ancient stone circle of Castlerigg was the soggy setting for the opening, and it was a challenge to get through, let alone enjoy. But it did begin the event, signaling, possibly rashly, that we were intent on making this happen.

(Above: the shores of Derwent Water, home to some of the finest views)

There is always some mischief on these meetings. It would be rash to attribute them to ‘mischevious spirits’ but sometimes it felt like that – especially on the Saturday; that long day of wonderful adventures… and some challenging mishaps.

Yet, enjoy it people did… enough to say so, as we all hugged in the bright sunshine of the final Castlerigg session and resolved to meet again in September.

The photos, here, will provide a taster. The detail – involving much humour and not a little irony – will be present in what follows over the course of a series of posts. We hope to convey to you a little of what it was like to be there. It’s a wonderful journey and often a triumph over unexpected adversity, but its a story that’s never dull…

Part One will be on Thursday, here and on the Silent Eye blog.

©Stephen Tanham 2022

Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye, a journey through the forest of personality to the dawn of Being.

http://www.thesilenteye.co.uk and http://www.suningemini.blog

Orderly and aligned

(Image by author)

There’s an old aphorism in the field of teaching mysticism: that if you endeavour to do something of significance; something that requires careful planning and even more careful resourcing, then you will be surprised how ‘testing’ the ‘final approach to the event will be. Moreover, the difficulties thrown at one may- humorously – be taken as a reflection of the event’s importance.

(Above: Castlerigg Stone Circle in its magnificent north-Lakes setting)

The word’s ‘final approach’ are borrowed from the art of flying a plane. As a much younger man, I did have ‘private pilot’ flying lessons; about fourteen hours of them in total, nearly enough to do my first solo flight – a big moment in a trainee pilot’s life… Sadly, we set up a software company at that point, and I didn’t have the time to dedicate to anything other than commercial survival…

I remember those days of flight-training, well. I learned a lot about how focussed pilots have to be in those last few minutes – then seconds – before the wheels hit the ground, hopefully together and in an orderly and aligned way. My instructor had a great sense of humour and those words of his stuck in my memory.

The same is exactly true of running a mystical workshop – any workshop, in fact, that requires acres of planning and ‘what if?’ testing.

(Above: the town of Keswick, seen from the shores of Derwent Water)

In theory, the Silent Eye’s ‘Journey of the Hero’ workshop, centred around the beautiful town of Keswick in the northern part of the English Lake District, was ready to roll about a week, ago. All the proposed walks – along lakes, rivers, ridges and mountains, had already been rehearsed and timed. The written material for our opening and closing ceremonies at the wonderful stone circle of Castlerigg had been examined and fine-tuned.

The only thing that remained was for me to design a new language…

(Above: the shores of Derwent Water)

J.R.R. Tolkien was a professor of ancient languages, and once designed the whole Elvish language so that the books comprising the Lord of the Ring trilogy would be founded in an actual spoken tongue. My admiration for this knows no bounds, especially since I’ve spent the last several weeks attempting to create an infinitely simpler language of ‘gesture’ so that we can carry out part of the workshop in complete silence…

It’s part of a series of ‘triggers’ that, with the right sense of place can induce the ordinary rational mind to have a rest and let the whole of our being come out to play. For hundreds of years we have lived too much in one side of our minds, and much damage is being done by this. The high goal of the Journey of the Hero weekend is, in some small part, to extend this.

(Above: the man and his amazing digger)

And then the Fates began to have their sport…

On Sunday, Simon – a local contractor who has done wonderful things with a small digger to remodel what was once an old canal and now actually looks like a garden – called by in his pick-up truck to tell us that he was ready to start work on our new fence… the day after. The old fence having been storm-damaged some time ago. I swallowed hard. Part of the deal with Simon is that, when needed, I act as his labourer. It’s not exploitation; it’s just that he’s a one-man-band and wants to stay that way. It’s not even a money thing, it’s simply a question of time. He’s very good at what he does and works on the projects he likes and with the people he gets on with. The issue is that he’s always short of time to finish each project, and deeply appreciates my help fetching and carrying things and materials (like truckloads of earth) to his point of focus in the garden. We had waited three months to get him back, and the spring was in full riot… I had little choice…

(Above: Lakeland’s weather can change in an instant)

In the middle of his first day, with me a dirty and sweaty bundle, the phone rang, again. This time it was the company from whom we have just ordered two exterior doors to replace the low-budget ones we had to settle for when the ‘building fund’ ran out, ten years ago. This company came highly recommended and we were eagerly awaiting their arrival… just not this week. We said yes, of course, knowing that it was going to detract from the available time to ‘write that language’.

Fast forward to this morning, when, after the third 05:30 start in as many days, we were driving through a violent downpour on the M6 south, enroute to our annual checkup at our old dentists near Chorley. We liked the team there so much, we elected to stay on their books and put up with the hour’s travel when needed. I’d already allowed for this interruption to the week’s plan, but not in concert with the other two… My ‘light aircraft’ was fast becoming, in the immortal words of Johnny Depp in the film Pirates of the Caribbean, ‘full of ‘oles’. I was beginning to lose my presence of mind.

(Above: who knows… we might even have time for an evening sail on the lake)

And then, on the outskirts of our destination, the mobile rang in the car. It was the receptionist from the dentist… frantic. She’d just arrived in, to find a phone message from her boss (the dental surgeon) to report that he’d been up most of the night with food poisoning – possible Norovirus. She knew we had driven down from Kendal through torrential rain… for nothing.

It was then that the magic happened. My wife and I looked at each other and burst out laughing; assuring the lady that it was okay; just another link in the testing chain of the week and something that could be re-arranged.

So here I am… typing away, having lost three days of my ‘finals’ week and hoping my remaining energy reserves will pull off a small miracle and deliver that ‘language of gesture’ before we leave for Castlerigg on Friday.

It’s not the first ‘final approach’ to an event that has been bumpy like this. Hitherto, they have gone well. I think I can see that small strip of safe landing space in the far distance. It’s starting to look orderly and aligned… I just hope my wheels are, too. Wish us luck!

©Stephen Tanham 2022

Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye, a journey through the forest of personality to the dawn of Being.

http://www.thesilenteye.co.uk and http://www.suningemini.blog

The Light in the Cathedral

All cathedrals are places of wonder…

Whatever your beliefs, the sheer scale of the construction, the devotion of effort and vision – often spanning centuries – humbles us as we struggle to take in the vastness of their creation.

Chester Cathedral is no exception but it does have an additional quality that I’ve not found when photographing similar buildings. – the softness of the light.

I’ll be doing a blog dedicated to this deeply peaceful place, shortly. For now, here’s a few photographs…

©Stephen Tanham 2022

Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye, a journey through the forest of personality to the dawn of Being.

http://www.thesilenteye.co.uk and http://www.suningemini.blog

Painting the Universe (1)

There are some ‘big blocks of colour’ in an understanding of the mystical perspective – which is the inner truth of our lives. Even a cursory examination of these brings insight. Let’s consider them…

Foremost of these is that there is a more powerful Life behind life; that the life we see is seen through a lens that distorts, and that our belonging, our real identity, is with that which is beyond the distorted lens. The basis of this is quite simple, but let’s approach it carefully.

The Sufi philosopher and poet, Rumi, wrote:

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”

What did he mean? Was he simply talking about love between two people – that we should devote our lives to ordinary love as we know it? Clearly this is insufficient. We can sense something vast in what he was trying to import, something that used the passion of love as a metaphor.

The Sufi poets used both ‘love’ and ‘wine’ to convey the experience of what lies beyond the clouded lens we use to look at the world. They also had a special meaning for the word ‘Beloved’. We will examine all of these in this series of posts.

True teachers of the ‘mystical life’ see – by direct experience – that there is a deeper life centred in the human consciousness. Our ordinary consciousness is a product of a ‘self’ developed from birth onwards. This self sees and feels objects around it. Some of them are pleasant and some aren’t. Because the newborn has no sense of itself – it simply is – it hungers to know more, and so adopts these reactions to the objects around it.

It’s a tasty world, and the child is hungry to understand it… and even more hungry to understand it-self, since this is where all the impressions of its world come to reside and stay. Even at this stage, the brain is busy recording the history of the person, generating a vast store of experiential data that will be added to all its life – as the primary filter (memory) against which all experience will be judged.

The adoption of these vivid early impressions becomes its first identity. We all have a primal hunger to know who we are. These patterns of identity, like and dislike, become the foundation of its character, its self. As the child grows, we say it develops a personality, more accurately, an egoic self.

We all have one… we were all once children experiencing this, hopefully under the loving eyes of our parents, who could do no more than guide the child to be what they were…

The word ego was bestowed on the developing self by the pioneering psychologist Sigmund Freud, whose work showed that the egoic-self had three divisions: id, superego and ego. As the child developed, it suppressed – under guidance from the parents – some of the wilder instincts in its nature (the id) – in order to fit in with the expectations of the parents, and, later on, society. This pattern of censure became the superego. Between id and superego, the child developed an identity of ‘acceptable me who gets praise’ and this is viewed as the ego, though really it’s part of a three-fold psychological structure.

From this early stage, the child colours everything that happens to it with the lens of its egoic-self. As the growing human becomes more capable, it fortifies its self. By adulthood, it is a suit of armour, which, initially, is wonderful… but gradually is seen to progressively dull the experience of life. This ‘dulling’ invites a question: If the suit of armour of the egoic self is all there is, then how does it know that fresh expereince has become ‘dull’?

Wordsworth famously wrote:

“Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting: The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star, Hath had elsewhere its setting, And cometh from afar: Not in entire forgetfulness, And not in utter nakedness, But trailing clouds of glory do we come From God, who is our home: Heaven lies about us in our infancy!”

It is a profound re-telling of what I’ve written above but written in the 1790s. It illustrates the depth of perception that great poetic and emotionally sensitive minds have always found, in ages that did not possess the idea that truth had to be numbers…

We shall have more to say about these ‘clouds of glory’ and – without trying to upset anyone, God, in future posts of this series.

For now, let’s close Part One, with the idea of ‘Object Relations’, an understanding of which, in the context of the truly spiritual, is the basis of these blogs.

The different experiences that colour the infant’s perception, and eventually becomes adopted or ‘imprinted’ on the child’s consciousness as building blocks of its identity, are referred to in developmental psychology as ‘Objects’ – that is, they are recognisable as separate things, capable of being labelled by the consciousness. In others words, they have repeatable properties. The field of Object Relations is one of the backbones of modern psychology. But this series of blogs is not intended to focus on psychology, beyond borrowing some of its words. Our purpose is to pursue Wordsworth’s ‘clouds of glory’ to see if the nature of the early ‘objects’ in our consciousness actually contain signposts back to the Greater Life from which we came…

And whether we can, in our modern world, remove the many barriers to Rumi’s ‘love’.

©Stephen Tanham 2022

Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye, a journey through the forest of personality to the dawn of Being.

http://www.thesilenteye.co.uk and http://www.suningemini.blog

Enduring Magic of the Stone Jetty (1)

(Above: the Stone Jetty as it is today. Simpler, but deeply loved. Across the bay you can see the outlines of the Lake District hills. Image by the author)

The great Victorian steamers that used to take excited day-trippers across Morecambe Bay to glimpse the still distant splendour of the Lakeland fells are gone.

(Above: looking back at Morecambe from the end of the Stone Jetty)

Much later, old and tired ships would be chained to the north side of the industrial dock and broken up for valuable iron; to be re-smelted and given new life via giant and ‘satanic’ furnaces in Salford and Sheffield.

(Above: The Stone Jetty (right) during the time of Ward’s ship-breakers; a very industrial landscape. Behind and to the right you can see the old Midland Hotel (replaced by the present Art Deco building below) and the terminus of the Midland railway that gave it its name. Photo courtesy of New Morecambe and Heysham Past and Present Facebook Group)

The space at the start of its length was large and open, and looked across at the terminus of the Midland Railway – the reason that Morecambe could attract so many visitors in its heyday.

And then, in the course of a the decade of the 1930s, not long after the end of the ‘Great War’, in an age when the well-off were intent on enjoying themselves, two wonderful things happened to the bleak and largely abandoned Stone Jetty.

The first was the creation at its landward end of the new Midland Hotel – an Art Deco masterpiece known across the world.

(Above: the Midland Hotel as it is today. Photo by the author)
(Above: facing the sea and the Stone Jetty, the ‘mighty Midland’ hotel retains its Art Deco charm, courtesy of the recent refurbishment. The hotel now forms the start of the restored Stone Jetty. Photo by the author)

The second was the opening of Morecambe’s state of the art ‘Super Swimming Statium’ – a giant pool that had a record-breaking capacity of 3000 people.

(Above: the Super Swimming stadium – showing the vast number (3000 max) of visitors it could accommodate. The Stone Jetty is behind and to the left. Photo from New Morecambe and Heysham Past and Present Facebook Group)

Time passed… and the hundreds of thousands of visitors who flocked to Morecambe during the industrial ‘wakes weeks’ dwindled. Cheap flights and guaranteed sun drew families to spend their precious summer holidays in Spain. Morecambe suffered, badly. To this day, its promenade, though popular for day-trips, still holds a fraction of those of its Edwardian heyday.

The Super Swimming stadium is long gone, as is the much smaller ’Bubbles’ pool that replaced it. The Midland Hotel thrives, newly restored by developer Urban Splash and now owned by English Lakes group.

But the Stone Jetty remains. Simple and enduring, stretching far out into one of England’s most beautiful marine landscapes, it retains a special magic born of time, endurance and something special that no-one can define. These days it simply sports its spectacular views and a small cafe half way along its quarter kilometre length.

But, a few times a year something truly magical happens…

At certain high-tides, the sea appears to rise up and nearly engulf its structure. People flock to experience the remarkable ‘peace’ as the high-water laps quietly around its concrete and stone.

(Above: people begin to gather at the ‘end of the pier’)

People begin to gather at the end of the Stone Jetty. Everyone is quiet, as though hypnotised by the feeling of the place…

(A couple reminisce…)
(Above: Fishermen seem uninteresting in their fishing, content to just be here)
(Above: the ocean becomes a bowl of glowing light, perfectly reflected in the mirror-smooth sea)

At moments like this, I feel a new perspective emerging, one that takes us from the grime of the old ship-breakers to the splendour of nature and the potential of Morecambe Bay to fascinate and enchant, I hope you’ve enjoyed this journey though the Stone Jetty’s past and present.

©Stephen Tanham 2022

Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye, a journey through the forest of personality to the dawn of Being.

http://www.thesilenteye.co.uk and http://www.suningemini.blog

Shaping the Unshapeable

We had a lively discussion the other night; ten of us linked at 8:00 pm, English time, across the planet…

On these occasions, it’s hard not to be moved by the sheer wonder of technology in making the impossible possible. The ten of us – the number varies from month to month – are part of what we call SE-Explorations; ‘SE’ for Silent Eye, our mystical school.

The ‘tech’, in this case, was Zoom – that universal enabler of ‘real-ish’ contact during the Covid pandemic. In our case, learning to operate Zoom also allowed us to keep in touch with my son’s family – including our grandchildren in Australia. As an aside, a new grandson is fast approaching via my other son and his wife who live in Yorkshire… Watch this space…

Some of those attending these talks are connected with the Silent Eye school, but most are not; they are from assorted backgrounds, each with a deep interest in the power of consciousness and emotion to take us deeper into our ‘lives’ than we thought possible.

Before Sue Vincent and Stuart France joined me in establishing the Silent Eye School, back in 2012, I worked with an organisation known as The Servants of the Light, SOL for short. Many of the people who join us for the monthly SE-Explorations meetings are from that background. They are a wonderful bunch, full of warmth and wisdom. To connect across the planet once a month, using the Zoom video signal, is a joy.

There is no sense that this is an ‘elite’ group. It’s not. We work hard to ensure that the conversation topic is generalised and applicable to all: beginner and seasoned practitioner.

Our topic last Thursday followed on from my Thursday blog, here: ‘Alignment’. By this, we mean the power of certain symbols to fine-tune our consciousness to a certain purpose, to take us on a journey, or alter our orientation to a goal, renewing that spark of attraction that we glimpsed when we began an endeavour. The purpose of our meeting in cyber-space was to discuss this, and share our views on what really works… and makes a difference. Diagrams can be one of the most wonderful teaching aids. Say I asked you to consider the image below:

If this were our first such discussion, you’d rightly be horrified…

Realising my mistake, I might apologise and offer you another:

(Above: an image that quickly makes sense, even though the details may be unstated)

Suddenly, there is a difference – the human being superimposed on the geometrical figure inserts the idea of a relationship into what is being discussed. Here we have a dual image that invites discussion – and that is the key. Diagrams are all well and good but the best ones are those that invite discussion and even suggest the questions:

What is happening to the figure in the diagram? Why is he (or she) surrounded by two sets of coloured spheres? Is there a third column of spheres running up the middle of the figure? The sphere at the top appears to be brighter than all the others; is that because it’s representing God or is there an elevated state available to mankind, too?

Immediately, through a combination of clear diagram and something that can easily be related to our experience, we have a starting point for what could become an important discussion.

Some time later, we might return to the first diagram – the complex one – and be shown, now that we were familiar with the core meaning of this ‘tree of life’, how the findings of psychology were mapped onto this story of spiritual evolution of the individual consciousness.

The SE-Explorations group decided that the really important thing was that whatever the image used, or even the system of teaching, it should be designed to promote and provoke discussion. Only in the comfort and familiarity of spoken language do we get the necessary dialogue of question and resulting understanding.

The spiritual journey is within, but that gives the impression that it is entirely about the interior of our lives, whereas nothing could be farther from the truth. This journey deals only with realities and the test of those is how much they have the power to change our worlds…

That moment of beginning such a mental and emotional journey has great power, and we can often look back and know with certainty, that many benign ‘forces’ were at work to bring to a beginning something that may subsequently have changed our lives for the better. The attraction of a symbol or glyph is part of its magic.

(Above: the spiritual journey is one of going home)

Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye, a journey through the forest of personality to the dawn of Being.

http://www.thesilenteye.co.uk and http://www.suningemini.blog

#StillLight : Night then Day

A simple grouping, photographed, then post-processed to look like a painting. The spring beauty of night and day.

©Stephen Tanham 2022

Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye, a journey through the forest of personality to the dawn of Being.

http://www.thesilenteye.co.uk and http://www.suningemini.blog