Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Puzzlement, reticence, a degree of alarm and misgiving.

You know how you can get those things to plug into your computer – an external hard drive -  that significantly extend its memory and also enable you to take everything you’re working on from place to place without lugging actual laptops back and forth? 

Well I have a notebook that fulfils a not dissimilar function.  It was Kathy gave me the idea.  We were having coffee together at Waterfalls café and something of interest wafted through our conversation that caused her to whip out a very small pocket note book and either jot something down or look something up (I forget which).  Watching her do this I resolved to equip myself with just such a little notebook.  So I have one, and in it is pretty much everything occupying my mind.  It's become the external hard drive of my brain.  If I need to mail something off to anyone I jot their address down there.  If I’m contacted to undertake some kind of pastoral ministry for someone their basic info and contact details are noted there.  If an idea passes through my head I write it down there – in fact I had just the best idea for the opening of a novel while in the shower the other day, and I thought “That’s it!  That’s it! It’s on its way!”  But I didn’t write it down and it’s gone now.  That’s why I need the notebook – though of course it’s still no use if I don’t actually write the thing in it.  I keep occasional tally of accounts in there, and add notes to self.  If there’s something I’m puzzling through I think aloud in there – you can tell I’ll have to burn this small book once it’s full.  And I write down wise words quoted from other people there, to consider later.

In the last couple of days I wrote down Katrina’s address that she kindly emailed me, to send some bits and pieces off to her in the post, and this quotation from Thich Nhat Hanh:
“In Buddhism all views are wrong views.  When you get in touch with reality you no longer have views.”

Such an interesting and thought-provoking observation. But wait?  Is that a view?  I mean, what I just said.  Am I expressing a view about . . . er . . . his view . . . or the view of Buddhism?  I mean isn’t “When you get in touch with reality you no longer have views” what in normal parlance we call a view?  That is to say, it’s an opinion (I think) about the way things are.  Reality, surely is too large and too kind of dense for any one human being’s mind to encompass it – surely?  Isn’t this the old fable of the blind men describing the elephant?  Each one experiencing but a part of one massive objective reality.   Because of that, is not the way we see life bound to be our view?

Of course Thich Nhat Hanh is further up the mountain than I am by a tidy number of miles but even so – doesn’t that just mean he has a better view than I do, rather than no view at all?  Maybe this is a semantics problem and he means something different from what I think.

Be that as it may, his words brought to mind something Michael Lorence (co-inhabitant with his wife Diana of Innermost House) said about his parents: that he never knew them to express an opinion.  Which concept arrested me completely.  Stopped me dead in my tracks.  Two people who passed through life without expressing an opinion?  Are you sure?  Of course as they are now deceased and lived in America anyway I have no way of verifying this or checking if he and I might define things differently.  But I was very surprised, and intrigued. [Sorry, I've done my darnedest to find the Innermost House Facebook post in which this was said - I think it was probably March or April, not sure - but the introduction of Facebook Timeline has caused problems in accessing all the earlier posts so I can't get to it]

And these two things, all views are wrong views and when you get in touch with reality you no longer have views, and not having an opinion, have been jiggling around in my mind and asking me questions.

You see, my beautiful mama says I am very opinionated, and I cannot say she’s wrong.  It’s true, I do have opinions about almost everything.  I thought you had to, to form a life, to get anything done.  Otherwise you’d just go with the flow, wouldn’t you – reflect the mainstream.

For example, Thich Nhat Hanh himself did some research a year or two back and established that consuming animal products was a bad thing for the wellbeing of the Earth – taking up grain that would have fed the hungry and water that could have been more compassionately and responsibly shared etc.  But there you go!  That’s an opinion – it’s a view – I know it is because I’ve been nosing around this inconclusively all my adult life.  It’s not as simple as an objective fact.  Eg, if a pheasant is killed by a car on the road, how do I benefit the poor if I don’t eat it?  How is the State of the World affected if I have rescued ex-battery three hens in my back garden eating kitchen scraps or not?  But if Thich Nhat Hanh had not taken the view that the view the vegans promote is correct, his community at Plum Village would never have gone vegan, under his direction.

Similarly, when I was in my baby-birthing years I took the view that home births were safer than hospital births, and that birth is primarily not a physical but a spiritual and sacred event.  Our hospital consultant obstetrician took a very different view, and he had several other views as well that confirmed my view that my babies would be better off born at home under the care of community midwives not him.  That was just an opinion – but it was the opinion that resulted in my taking the actions I did, chipping away at getting a home birth until, by baby No 5, I eventually did.  And guess what?  It was a better and safer process than in hospital.  The care was more consistent and given by more experienced attendants, the risk of infection that goes with a public place with a large transient throughput of people was absent.  And, unlike with my previous labours, the last one was done and dusted in three hours rather than continuing interminably because (as any farmer who keeps livestock might have predicted) when I was moved in the middle of labour to a place where I felt exposed, suspicious and tense, the birth process would stop dead and have to be artificially restarted and managed – which is not from any point of view a clinical plus.

So the reality I got in touch with shaped my views and in turn my views informed the reality into which my choices shaped my life.  Isn’t that the same for everybody?

But none of that is what I meant to say.

What I meant to say was about the expression of views.  In my previous blog post I mused about Scott Savage’s book and the similarity of something spiritual I glimpsed in the faces of Diana Lorence and Daniel Suelo, and I woke up this morning realising I had been thinking aloud.

It’s my belief (here we go again – a view, you see, an opinion) that thinking aloud in a public place is unwise and possibly a sign that the person is becoming unhinged.  And the internet is the most public place you can possibly think aloud in.  I shouldn’t be letting my private musings evaluating Scott Savage’s writing and Daniel Suelo’s and Diana Lorence’s faces fall out of my head onto a public page!  I’ve lost the plot!
And what’s more, here I am again, you see – thinking aloud! 

Thinking aloud about what I was thinking aloud about before.  Tut.

All this is serving to confirm my view (here we go again – my view, my opinion) that to be in touch with reality is to recognise it’s high time I stopped blogging.  I should miss it of course.  My beautiful mama is quite right, I’m a very opinionated person and I like airing my views.  But, as Oscar Wilde pointed out, “We are not sent into the world to air our moral prejudices.” 

It has come to my attention recently that I have no idea at all how I seem to others – not least because opinions expressed to me about myself vary staggeringly from “sick”, “psychotic”, “like the wrath of God”, “born to rattle the cage of the church”, “very left field”, to “calm”, “gentle”, “irenic”, “like a kitten”(!) and “serene”.  What’s to be made of that lot?  Nothing at all of any use!  

And if I can’t tell how I come across I can’t accurately evaluate how to modify my conduct to become a better person. 

The principal thing is that I can’t disentangle what I’ve thought and felt from what I’ve said and done – or what I’ve said and done openly from what I’ve said and done privately.  And that does make a difference!  Keeping those barriers in place is an important aspect of what sanity actually is.  If you can’t do that it’s an indication of brain synapses or something.  Do you see what I mean?  Thinking aloud again!

So I have concluded that if I cannot differentiate to the point where I can be 100% certain of wise discretion, the internet is not a good place for me to be.

What I would like to do, after posting a few pieces more edifying  than this, is to leave you my address so that if you wish to stay in touch with me you can do so the old-fashioned way – not by email, by handwritten letter or personal visit.  Then after that I could just post if I have something earth-shatteringly wise to say, which obviously wouldn't be often.

Now then, here’s a question to the intelligent.  Is there any real reason why I shouldn’t do this?  Post my address here so you can write to me, I mean.  I know people are absolutely paranoid about their contact details being made public like that, so I’ve never made mine public – but why?  Who’s likely to read this blog that would make that a problem?   Advice welcome!  Your opinions, your views, or – if any of you are in touch with reality and no longer have views – simple objective unarguable truth will do.  Thank you. 

Posting a couple ahead of time.

365 366 Day 194 – Thursday July 12th

Do you know what this is?  We’ve had it my whole life.

365 366 Day 193 – Wednesday July 11th   

A meditation cushion.     Thich Nhat Hanh, and a whole lot of reviewers on Amazon, said that if I had one of these I’d be able to sit up straight with my legs crossed in a proper meditation position easily.  Like a child I believed them.  It turned out the reality they were in touch with, that made their words not views or opinions but plain unequivocal truth, was different from mine.  This has not actually left the house, but I gave it to Hebe who has abandoned it in the living room, so it may make its way to the charity shop yet.


Bean said...

Oh Ember, I would so, so miss your blog, yes you have opinions, but you gently put them across and give food for thought, you are certainly not domineering when presenting your view. I agree Americans have a different sense of humor that the Brits, believe me I have lived her for over 30 years now and still confuse people with my British sense of humor!
I for one enjoy snail mail, I recently started smail corresponding with a blogger in Australia. There is something about a letter that is very satisfying. Arriving home and finding a letter in the mailbox, rather than circulars and utility bills. Then coming in and making a cup of tea while eyeing the envelope on the counter. Finding a quite place to sit and drink my tea and savor the letter, it becomes a kind of ritual, a very satisfying one, something that we don't find in technology. And then the writing of the return letter, it is nice to let the thoughts flow, take time to actually write with a pen rather than a keyboard, it takes more thought as you cannot delete and spell check :)
But even though snail mail is lovely I will still miss your blog.

I fully agree with your feelings about blogging, I struggle with what to do with my blog, it is like having a diary that is out there for the anyone to read. But on the flip side of blogging I have found several interesting people and have learned a lot from some of the blogs I visit.

Blessings to you,

Ganeida said...

Can I be earth~shatteringly honest? Redundant question because obviously I'm going to be seeing as I cannot wait on your answer.

Firstly I just don't believe the whole *no opinions* thing. If you have a kid, if you open your mouth at all, then you are bound to express your views just by default. Even saying you have no opinions is an opinion ~ if you see my drift, so ditch that one.

Then why shouldn't you express your opinion in cyber space? The rest of us do & lots of people have even less worthwhile to say yet dribble their inanities all over the place. You at least try to be thoughtful & considered & some of us particularly appreciate a different POV.

No~one is forced to read here. Those of us who do & like you obviously hear something that speaks to our condition. The rest should be ignored because no~one is holding a gun to their head & making them read you!

Having found you I am extremely loath to give you up while holding your right to blog or not as you like. ♥♥♥

Pen Wilcock said...

Ganeida - if you were not earth-shatteringly honest I'd suspect a troll has hacked into your account and was sock-puppeting under your name.
Yes, Alice and I were discussing the whole views and opinions thing over breakfast, and concluded we simply couldn't imagine how life would progress without expressing opinions.
Alice pointed out that even a basic question like "What's the time?" invites an opinion or a point of view -
"Too late"
"Depends where you live"
"Lunchtime . . ."
I do like chatting away here with folk, but I think I must try to be more careful of what I say about others. I do at least try to imagine how those others might feel were they to come across what I have written, and temper my expression in that light.
I have your address - I think it's going to be exciting corresponding with people all over the world!

Bean - Yes, I have recently resurrected the lovely practice old-fashioned correspondence - it was nuns that started me off, because the mostly don't hook up to the internet for personal communication.
I certainly think I need to be online much less for all sorts of reasons - not most days as at present.
Anyway I have your address, so I'll write you a letter :0)

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness what a sad day this is...but I have your address, so I am not worried that you will disappear completely from my life.

Everyone has opinions. Everyone was given a mind to discern and a voice to express. It is a gift. If I choose to take your opinion and bring it into my life, then my life has changed for the better.

What we say here, it is the equivalent of a soap box from the old days. We express and we write, we criticize and we write, we ache and we write....because in a way, we want a connection to the world out there and we want the opinions of others to be shared and expressed.

I will miss you Pen.


Pen Wilcock said...

:0) x

Anonymous said...

I, too, would miss your blog so very much, Ember. I don't know very many people where I live (having lived here for four years) and your blog, and one or two others, are very important to me. (My virtual friends I call them.) I don't always agree with what you post, but then, it would be weird if we didn't think differently on some things. I don't have a blog myself because I am afraid of revealing too much of myself and of upsetting others. However, this is because of my super-sensitive, people-pleasing nature, not because I believe it's wrong to have strong opinions.
I empathise with Ganeida's comment and truly hope that you continue to blog - as long as you feel happy doing so.
God bless you, Ember

DaisyAnon said...

Ooh, Pen I shall be sorry if you stop blogging. I have some comments:

1 Is there any real reason why I shouldn’t do this? Post my address here so you can write to me, I mean.

Yes, because it is a huge risk that someone will be able to put together these bits of information and cause you a lot of problems. Not to mention the very real risk of mentally ill stalkers. It's not as if you are a very unknown person, you are a published author and a public figure.

Do you really want the possibility of anyone from the internet turning up announced at your house? What does the Badger think??? And your daughters.

If you say somewhere on the Internet that you are going away then people will know the house might be empty.

2 You could make this blog private except for people approved by you. That is possible.

3 If you want people to have your address you could create a dedicated email address for people to email so you can at least have that bit of distance between your address and the whole internet.

4 You could keep this blog for your public thoughts and have a private or semi-private blog for your 'thinking aloud'. I do that and I find it very helpful. I find it more helpful than a paper journal or diary as I can more easily cross reference things, and I type better than I write, plus I can edit. And tbh I just love my computer. LOL.

5 I do hope you will leave this blog up as I often refer to it to find links and thoughts.

6 What about your 365 project - will you continue that here or somewhere?

7 As for 'no opinions' what everyone else has said. I'm not sure this sort of Buddhist remark translates too well out of context. And even people like Thich Nhat Hanh can get it wrong. I think the Buddha himself said to inspect everything with our own reason, even the Buddha. But I have been very guilty of forcing my opinions on people. But along the way somewhere I have let go somewhat of the need to tell others too forcefully of my opinions, and allow them to have their own.

And despite having a preference for my own views/opinions I can sometimes see that they are not necessarily the best or right in every instance.

So if the Buddhist path is one of detachment as a way through or out of suffering then I can see that a certain detachment from our views/opinions is helpful. My life is more peaceful if I keep a lot of my opinions to myself, or at the least show some discrimination about how I share them.

PS I made an exception to this for my comments on you sharing your address.

Personally I don't think you have overstepped the mark in your comments about other authors and the Lorence's. If we put our lives out there then we have to expect that people will comment and it might not always be adoring and worshipful.

I vaguely remember that part of the inspiration for this blog was the idea of forming a like minded community of people to share something of our lives through each others blogs? Hence the title. This seems to have worked well. Is this still an objective? Is so maybe the real question is 'if a public blog isn't the way to go, what is?'

A tiny prayer community I belong to uses http://www.bigtent.com/ this free software and it is very effective.

Sorry for such a long reply, but you did ask?!!

Anonymous said...

What a dull world this would be and boring people we would be if we were not exposed to other people's views (opinions). I believe it is imperative that we live with open minds and absorb others thoughts and views so that we may evolve into better beings. If no one had ever voiced their opinion about solitude, introverts or minimalism I would never have understood that I am ok. Not weird. It's good for us to consider other views and make up our own minds about which view will be adopted.

I eagerly await your posts each day because you make me think about my life and my opinions. I don't always change to your point of view but I certainly consider it well.

I have been a silent reader for a couple months and will miss your thoughts each day. Please reconsider.

Pen Wilcock said...

Hi friends, and good to meet you shejake :0)

I shan't be going right away! I'll post from time to time as something comes to mind, I'll continue to post the 365 chuckout items, and the blog so far will always be here - well over 500 posts!! for people to rummage around in at will.

For getting in touch, Daisy you speak good sense! I'll add a little para at the top explaining to people that if they leave a comment here I will receive it via email, that if they want a private reply they should leave an email or street address, and that I will never publish a comment with their contact details in it.


Heather said...

Would be very sorry to lose you as I have only just discovered you! I find your blog so helpful in making me think, but also as a support in this mad, mad world!! My life is increasingly simple and as solitary as possible, but it is hard to be different from the main-stream, especially if you are rather a sensitive person and thus easily made to feel in the wrong. Hope you will keep on blogging, but if not, would love to correspond, if we can somehow swap addresses. Kindest regards for all you do :-)

Pen Wilcock said...

:0) Heather, I will still be around, just not as much. But if you would like to get in touch for personal correspondence, if you send me a comment with your contact details I will either write to you if you send your street address or email you if you send your email address, so you will then obtain an address to get in touch with me when you would like to.

I will delete any comment with your contact details, and each one is checked before publication so your details could not be accidentally published. x

DaisyAnon said...

if they want a private reply they should leave an email or street address

That sounds good, especially as the onus is on them to provide their contact details.

Pen Wilcock said...


Gail said...

Dear Ember, I would DEFINITELY miss your presence as I read your blog every day. I purchased your Simplicity book and am working my way through it slowly. I like everything about it; the content, the sidebar comments, even the way it's made with the fold in cover that acts as a bookmark for me. That being said, I understand feeling the need to cut back here and concentrate on other work or play.

Buzzfloyd said...

Where the hell has this come from?! I don't think there's anything wrong with your blog, or with sharing opinions. I think it would be a pity if you discontinued it.

Has somebody said something to make you think this way? Do you really think you're going insane(r)?

kat said...

Aaah Pen - there would never be time enough to discuss all the things in person that you talk about here, I'd miss your thoughts, musings, ramblings, rants and wisdom if you stopped! As for views and opinions, I'm not sure we'd be human if we didn't hold them - we just need to make sure we consider them from time to time, their effects on our lives and those of others; catch the sneaky mean ones that we don't notice until they've almost had their way with us, and throw them out! If we weren't watching we couldn't edit. Thay may be able to filter his with sublime ease, but he's had a lot of practice.

Julie B. said...

"It’s my belief (here we go again – a view, you see, an opinion) that thinking aloud in a public place is unwise and possibly a sign that the person is becoming unhinged." -- this comment you made rather stunned me, Ember. Isn't this what every author has done in some way or another? Even an author of fiction somehow puts his/her opinion or views across in their writings. I, for one, am interested in what other people's opinions are, even if they differ from mine. I don't believe that the handful of bloggers I read who give their opinions and think out loud on their blogs are becoming unhinged. So many have given me hope and peace with their thinking aloud - you included. I have experienced friendship, welcome admonition, hilarity, comfort, prayer, and more by reading what people have opined online. I have gotten new ideas that have changed my life by reading other's thoughts and opinions online. I respect your need to step back, but I add my name to the list of your readers who will feel very sad at this. I feel a little bereft already. :(

Zillah said...

'Remember that Christianity is not a notion but a way' (A&Q 2) And life too. It is in seeing the way that others are following that we are inspired and know that we are not alone in our journey.

Pen Wilcock said...

Gail, I will pass on your kind comments to the Badger, whose idea it was to add in the quotes to the Simplicity book and have it produced in the format with the french flaps etc. Glad you like it!

Kat - indeed, and I shan't vanish - just cut back a lot.

Buzz - you make I larf! "insane(r)" :0D
It's a two-fold thing; partly that I think I can be very careless in the way I express myself, and I have noticed that I don't see very clearly the differences between outer and inner - which is jolly handy for spiritual ministry but less so for tact! And partly that I feel the path under my feet curving round towards greater silence/recollectedness, and also I think availability. For what, I am not sure, but you know how it is; you listen and get ready, and then the task presents.

Julie - yes, writers should *appear* to be thinking aloud - that's part of the art of writing! But if they really are they're walking on dodgy ground.

Zillah - absolutely! x

Gerry Snape said...

well I had to read the post twice ...first time I didn't seem to get it...and then I thought ..NO! you have been through so many phases even since I found your blog and they have all facinated me and helped me to know that my mad thoughts and outspoken beliefs and non-beliefs are just normal. Oh I'm not writing this very well...but
I like honesty and there is so little genuine honesty anywhere around at the moment... so to think that your's is going to disappear...well it's not a good thing for my daily existence! but then you must do what you know you must do!! and we shall all hope to hear a little from you from time to time...as my beloved aunt Helen said regularly ..."you are alright wee pet"!!!

Bean said...

Hi Ember, it would be fabulous to receive a letter from you.

AND......... what the heck is that thing, I have no idea at all. It looks like a space ship, could it be something to warm a bed with, or some strange creeping iron, or I don't know what my imagination is failing me.


Trish said...

Pen, what are you torturing yourself for?
You have opinons..so what?
Isn't that part of what makes us human, creative, interesting, interactive, decisive and thoughtful?
I feel a sense of guilt burdening you and it makes me sad.

Actually, all this talk of what is "reality" and should we even have personal "views" etc. seems far too restrictive and like religious psycho-babble to me.
I'm no brainiac.
But in my view.. trying to find the one perfect path through life and save the world every day is mentally exhausting and a recipe for disaster.
When we sweat over every action and word uttered by ourselves or others our 'simplicity' becomes awfully complicated!
Does my head in!!
I find it robs one of the joy and peace and purpose of why one pursues a simple life at all.
But then I'm pretty basic:

Love God..love your neighbour.
Live simply, quietly, kindly and care for all the good things He's given you - including yourself - seek beauty and smile a lot.

I'm glad you are keeping the blog up and will still post!
There would be quite a big hole in the blogworld if you disappeared from it completely.
We'd all miss you too much!

love and blessings from Trish..xx

(who has an opinion and is not afraid to use it occasionally, lol!)

AbiSomeone said...

Dearest Ember/Pen ... your wee Virtual Abbess totally understands! I have taken to Tweeting ... because In have only 140 characters and must be succinct!

I second the idea of a private blog -- I have one with my four sisters -- and hope you would include me, of course.

I treasure the way we think differently --- and alike, as well. You are a joy in my life....

Be blessed as you walk the path Father shows you. Know that you are a beloved sister. I'm still waiting for my copy of "Remember Me" to arrive....


penny said...

I agree with Daisy re her reasons for not putting your actual address up for the world to see.
And I agree with everyone else who said they'll miss your blog posts.
I too, don't always agree with 100% of what you write here, but you probably wouldn't agree with 100% of what I write either. And that's OK.

I was thinking the other day that the internet can be balm for our opinions. That can be unhealthy if we simply 'follow' those who agree with us,ignore those that don't and dumb down thoughtful consideration.

To live we need to know what we believe, and that will change and refocus as we keep learning. I like the echoes in your blog that show you have grown and changed over the years, and that you are still learning. The followers of Christ that inspire me most are the ones that continue to ask questions - and that is what you certainly do. Thank you.

I'll continue to pop in over here to read what you write, even if it comes less and less. The internet is an interesting sponge and we all need to decide how to respond to it.
Much love from little me, whatever you decide to do,

penny said...

And, I would like to know what the round electrical item was... :) I've got NO idea.

Pen Wilcock said...

Goodness me - hello friends :0)

Er - one thing at a time!

1) I'm not torturing myself or feeling guilty, and I don't feel bound from expressing opinions. The problem was that I recognise I have begun thinking aloud on my blog - just letting thoughts fall out of my head onto the page without due care and consideration. Why this matters is that a) 8,000 people come along here and look at this blog every month, so any careless observations have their impact magnified and b) if I think aloud about anyone other than myself, a google search on their name will lead readers here and therefore any thoughts I post should be weighed and considered, not careless or random.

I have always tried to write in a style that *seems* informal and like thoughts were just falling out of my head, but my concern has been that now they actually *are*, and this is incautious and could lead to indiscretion, and that matters.

I have often felt uneasy about the level of discretion people display on the internet. I've lost count of the number of times women whinge about their husbands publicly. If, for example, someone were to come along here and write "I want to live simply too but I can't because my husband won't let me; he's a terrible hoarder and he knows it makes me ill and I've done everything I can to change him but he just won't listen" etc etc - well, 8,000 people would read that - and one of them might be him. There have to be more direct and less humiliating ways to communicate. But I digress.

2) It's a bedwarmer.

3) God bless you for your friendship and companionship. I'll still be posting here from time to time - I mean more like every week or so, not once in six months or something, just not most days, so I can be sure what I'm saying is properly and responsibly thought through.

4) Please note my new novel "Remember Me" is out at the end of the month, and I'll be most grateful for anyone who can buy a copy, and maybe leave a comment on Amazon. The book that follows it is with the publisher, but they will make up their mind whether to publish it or not entirely on the basis of sales figures for the ones already out.

5) God bless your day!!

Hawthorne said...

Hi Ember. I think everyone else has said what I wanted to say!
I love to read your blog: I love the way you put into words things I've been thinking but couldn't express, I love that you have the Biblical training to expand my knowledge, I love that you give me ideas I would never have dreamed of and I love that you challenge me too. I feel part of a community of like minded souls - the Kindred of the Quiet Way, and have found many other bloggers through you. 'Keep yew on a -troshin my booty', as we say in Norfolk. (Keep going.)

PS I agree about the format of 'In Celebration of Simplicity',and the 'laminated' cover is especially useful when reading it in the bath! I love 'The Clear Light of Day' too. God bless you x

Anonymous said...

Well, prompted to break radio silence because I have read your blog almost every day and will miss your thoughts. Thank you for sharing your life with the world - it's beauty filled and your path resonates deeply with me. Why does a person need an opinion about something that is true? It either is or it isn't; a person either understands something so fully and profoundly that opinion is needless because the right action is so blatant that to do or think otherwise would seem absurd, or they don't. Truth, reality, just is.

Just my opinion though...:)

Very best wishes,

Pen Wilcock said...

Hi dears - thanks Ali, thanks Hawthorne.

To confirm - I'm not going away, just applying the brakes so that when I write what I write will be properly considered.

Your encouragement is heart-warming.

As before - if you would like to be in old-fashioned paper correspondence, send me a comment with your street address. I will delete not publish it, and send you a letter.


Pilgrim said...

I pre-ordered your book, months ago....

Pen Wilcock said...

:0) Hooray! Thanks, Pilgrim! Let me know what you think of it . . . x

VickyF said...

I vote with Kat. Please don't stop your blog. It's thought-provoking. Never pushy.
Peace and All Good!

Pen Wilcock said...

:0) Thanks, friend x

Pen Wilcock said...

Got your comment, Paula - thanks for address x

Pilgrim said...

I would miss your more frequent blogging, but agree with you: it's risky to open one's mind to such a range of people as cruises the internet.
Password protecting would go a long way toward avoiding that, but then you would lose a lot of serendipitous passersby.

Anonymous said...


I came across this just a moment ago, by a Catholic blogging priest in the US.
You may find much of what he says on his blog antithetical, but out from the laborynth shines this incredible gem as the question of 'stuff' and simplicity moves upon us all

As an author, you may empathise with his struggles concerning books, and a deep inner longing to simply chuck it all and live only with a 'card table and folding chair' as he puts it.

From the most liberal of liberal to the most ultra 'rad trad' of conservatives, the Holy Spirit seems to be calling us all to simplicity, I believe, in whatever manner we are able to practice it, from radical cashless living to 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it or replace it until it is'.

Simplicity is the concern that seems to be common to us all be we 'uber liberal', 'rad trad', or everything in between...the Holy spirit's cry to return to God, community and family, and be rid of the 'anchors' of 'stuff', as the good Fr. terms the press of the material world 'anchors' is quite right, me thinks, and a thought to which I can imagine you nodding your head in his direction and saying 'on this thing, brother, we are united'.



Pen Wilcock said...

Hi Sarah, hi Pilgrim - thank you for your good thoughts :0)


Anekha said...

I think the quote was referring to a state of detachment from the world. I guess when we are detached then we no longer form opinions about things because we have such a pure state of being. I imagine that to be ( in the tradition of The Bahai Faith) akin to being in the last of the seven valleys. This describes the spiritual journey of our life as going through seven valleys and describes each of them so beautifully and profoundly. The last valley is the valley of abject poverty and nothingness. We start to detach from the world and all in it as our nature becomes so purely spiritual. Of course, that is a sign our earthly journey is done and its time to go! I honestly believe life is about learning, and we learn by not being so perfect but trying to be better every day. So we should try and be less opinionated, but not stress to much about having opinions I think. Food for thought always from your blog and I am very full! take care!

Pen Wilcock said...

:0) Such good thoughts! Thank you Anekha! x

Anonymous said...

That thing Thich Nhat Hanh said: it's not just an opinion, it's a description of the experience of sunyata. Here's the thing, though: it's only true while actually in that experience of samadhi or nirvana. The rest of the time, in ordinary mundane consciousness, it is a worthy cautionary tale not to take our views too seriously. Also, attachment to views prevents the experience of sunyata, so for those on that path, it is necessary to have that non-attachment, as part of the yoga of the path. www.jnanayoga.org for instance.

Pen Wilcock said...

Thank you, friend.

Your comment here demonstrates exactly the heart of my puzzlement.

In my understanding, when a person says "Such and such a thing is true," they are expressing an opinion. That (as I understand it) is what an opinion is.

I also am of the opinion that attachment to anything, including views, is an impediment to enlightenment.

But there's a question about this area of thinking that bothers me. Describing it would be too long to be appropriate in a comment, so I'll put it into a blog post, and as you've subscribed to the blog you'll catch up with it that way.

Meanwhile, thanks so much for your thoughtful and helpful explanation about the Buddhist terminology and understanding.