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Category Archives: forgivenessImage
As little kids back in the sixties in suburban West Coast Canada, my best buddy and I would spend a lot of our classroom time drawing war scenes on pieces of paper. Our depictions were filled with fun explosions and gunfire. Traditionally, the good guys always defeated the bad guys. That was less than twenty-five years after World War Two, which meant Americans against Nazi Germans. (“Achtung! Schweinehund!”) Sargent Rock and Sargent Fury were two of the action comic books that I’d sometimes read under my blankets at home when I was supposed to be sleeping. The world seemed so clearly laid out in black and white, and we were the triumphant heroes. Could I have imagined back then that I would marry and move to Europe decades later, and live a pleasant life in enemy territory?
In 2003 my wife inherited a cottage and property on a creek in the Vienna Woods from a deceased friend of her grandmother (these women had survived two world wars in Vienna, losing all their material wellbeing twice in one lifetime) in a small valley with seven hills that had established inns for travellers (twelve in its heyday!) and farms from way back in the twelfth century AD. Ten years later we received a surprise visit here by an old man who’s father had built the one room structure out of hand-sawn wooden beams, bricks and improvised mortar, and dug the six meter well, back in 1934. They had received the property because the father was employed on the railroad that ran through the village. This is where our visitor had happily grown up as a child. But then Hitler rose to power and all hell broke loose. At the end of the devastating war they moved to Vienna. But young Kurt experienced the relief from oppression of the evil regime here in his rural corner of Austria. When news of the fall came, in the one desperate night before the Russians swarmed in, the impoverished villagers broke into the Nazi headquarters and SS officer training centre* (that existed on an ancient country estate then, just a few blocks from the house where we now live in the village of ‘Eichgraben’, Oak Gully) and stole everything they could carry away. Apparently some homes in the area still have oak floorboards that were made off with that night from the Herrenhof. Even cobblestones from the new Autobahn (freeway/motorway) that was commissioned by Hitler nearby were stolen. A teenage friend of Kurt was caught with an unlicensed motorcycle by the police that were later assigned to come and inspect the village and it’s inhabitants. The boy was worried that they would confiscate it, but the friendly officer simply took a hammer and whacked a dent into it, declaring that it looked broken and that he could keep it! (They still use the old wartime civil-defence siren system here to alert the volunteer fire department members in cases of emergency, giving the haunting impression every time that bombs are about to fall.)
*(The dreaded SS had many secretive training centres throughout the Vienna Woods, where young men were brain-washed into becoming cold, calculating killing machines. Young ladies from the nearby farms and villages would sometimes be invited for dance evenings at the Herrenhof to pump the egos of the budding officers.)
It took a long time for me in Austria (where I arrived in 1986 to marry my sweet Viennese Fräulein … whom I had met in India!) to realize that every war memorial statue and roll of honour here praised the so-called bad guys killed in action. The fact really came home to me one day when I helped fill a scene full of SS officers as an extra in an American Broadcast Corporation television series called War and Remembrance. I was in Vienna’s Rathaus Keller (City Hall cellar) at a make-believe banquet, dressed as a Nazi (they paid me extra to have my blond hair shaven down to a crew cut) with two hundred other scary looking men, and a Hitler look-alike raving up on the podium. (What a jerk!) This was daily life here not long ago, and it’s been equally brutal in many other countries since.
In 1989 I spent a few weeks working in a one-hundred-and-fifty year old family-run shop in the heart of Frankfurt. My boss, like his parents and grandparents before him, did exclusive picture framing work. They had also all been Nazi supporters. So many times I had to listen to his assertions that the Allies did worse things than Hitler’s well-meaning assistants. Some evenings on the bus ride home I couldn’t help crying, so intense was the physical pain in my heart from those tangible, torturing vibrations.
My father-in-law, a very kind and intelligent, now retired, government official, was spared the fate that met most of the servants of das Dritte Reich. When, as a teenager in 1941, he was drafted and forced to quickly chose between serving as a Luftwaffe gunner or an aircraft warning observer, he was able to choose the safe position. His guardian angel placed him in an observation tower** outside of Paris where he saw no fighting. (His comrade fired some shots towards the ground one night, only to discover the next morning that it had been cows moving around down there in the dark.) Then, on the way to Hamburg to deliver a package, he put his hand through a train compartment window when their car jerked, and was declared unfit for battle because of a stiff thumb. He still remembers the moaning of wounded soldiers from the Soviet front in that Hamburg military hospital where he lay until his mother, undertaking the long journey from Vienna, rescued him and took him home. (It was about this time that my Dad lost his brother, Cliff, as the plane carrying him and other young recruits disappeared from the radar screens — see letter below.) She had organized his transfer through an important doctor that she knew. After his convalescence he was allowed to continue his studies, and heard about the end of the war over the radio in a friend’s apartment in Vienna’s fourth district on the eighth day of May, 1945 (where he was staying because the Allied Forces had been carpet bombing his neighbourhood near the main train station — my first home in Europe from 1986 till 1999). If the Germans had developed their radar technology sooner, or if that train hadn’t made a sudden stop, my wife may never had been born, as her father would certainly have been sent to battle and been killed, or died slowly as a prisoner-of-war in Russia, like his father.
**(By the time of the Battle of Britain in mid-1940, the Royal Air Force had fully integrated radar as part of the national air defence. By contrast, the German Funkmessgerät was neglected, partly due to Adolf Hitler’s prejudice against defensive measures, and failings by the Luftwaffe in coherently incorporating the new technology.)
Papa went on to serve his country for three decades as head of the Regional Land Use Commission, receiving the national Decoration of Honour in recognition of his outstanding integrity and dedication, from the Chancellor, when he retired in 1987.
We might not experience all-encompassing war in Europe again*** (if the Western neocons don’t provoke Russia into further defensive measures) but a similar firestorm is brewing in Asia and the Middle East as I write these words. May mankind soon choose enlightenment and benevolence over baser motivations. Surely we have been deeply prepared for that higher destiny.
***(Almost one-and-a-half centuries before the last world war, here in Eichgraben, some of Napolean’s troops — actually Bavarian soldiers, speaking German like the locals — bullied one of the innkeepers, stealing his goods and insulting him. Seven of them were murdered in their drunken sleep by a few pitchfork wielding farmers, but one escaped to report back to his commanding officer in nearby Purkersdorf. A squadron came here to punish the locals with brutality and a high fine, which was mostly paid by a Viennese merchant who lived in this area.) (A couple hundred years before that, Europe was filled for thirty years with terrorist armies and mercenaries that raped, pillaged and murdered each other and innocent women and children in the name of Jesus Christ, mostly Protestants against Catholics, but even some who were on the same side — France against the, mostly Austrian, Holy Roman Empire. The terror is carried forward genetically to countless suffering ascendants, even today.) (… And who knows what the Romans and Celts, and the occasional barbarian from north of the Danube, got up to here one-and-a-half millennia before that!)
My dear blog has fallen into the shadows of neglect. Let’s see if we can remedy this.
My first beam of light here in … 2017 already!? … has to do with our current world sit-u-eh-shun.
Keeping it really simple: There are only two wrong turns in life: one is left, the other is right.
Psychologists used to believe that everything was piled up on top of each other inside of us — that we had to pass through the subconscious and all kinds of other gobbledygook in order to rise up to our higher, ideal selves. Well, as it turns out, we’ve got the past (conditionings) and emotions running in our left sympathetic nervous system, all our future projections (ego) in our right sympathetic nervous system, and a beautiful ascending waterfall of evolution smack-dab in the middle: the once mysterious parasympathetic/autonomous system.
If you look around (and in the mirror) you’ll find that most everyone — with the exception of most babies, maybe — is being led around by those carrots-on-strings that are our thoughts streaming from one extreme and/or the other. Very rarely do we encounter peaceful souls who know exactly who and why they are, and are satisfied with that. The whole jumble in most of us is now becoming increasingly transparent in world affairs. Unless and until we can naturally zoom into central focus mode, that mega-mess is not going to fade away. It will only continue to get worse until we click and fine-tune into the center of ourselves. That’ll reveal that reality is not noisy after all, unlike most of our previous identifications.
I put a helpful link at the end of this post (a technique I can sincerely vouch for after almost thirty-five years of daily use) but first I’d like to share this insight from the I Ching about our collective 2017.
In this new (very, very temporary!) Trumpish age, people, lost in their own self-mistrust and misleading ideas, tend to mistrust others more and more. The big picture changes then to Innocence, a quality, by the way, that never actually leaves a human being, but simply becomes buried and ignored deep inside. Every one of us is empowered with the instrument and all the natural means to reawaken this universal quality. It’s not a manmade procedure, but something builtin, ready and waiting for our desire and attention to trigger it.
Be alert and quiet, and you will discover that the present moment is bigger and more abundant with amazing possibilities than you have ever imagined.
FELLOWSHIP WITH MEN in the open.
It furthers one to cross the great water.
The perseverance of the superior man furthers.
True fellowship among men must be based upon a concern
that is universal. It is not the private interests of the individual
that create lasting fellowship among men, but rather the goals
of humanity. That is why it is said that fellowship with men
in the open succeeds. If unity of this kind prevails, even
difficult and dangerous tasks, such as crossing the great water,
can be accomplished. But in order to bring about this sort of
fellowship, a persevering and enlightened leader is needed
— a man with clear, convincing, and inspiring aims and the
strength to carry them out. (The inner trigram means clarity;
the outer, strength.)
Heaven together with fire:
The image of FELLOWSHIP WITH MEN.
Thus the superior man organizes the clans
And makes distinctions between things.
Heaven has the same direction of movement as fire, yet it is
different from fire. Just as the luminaries in the sky serve for
the systematic division and arrangement of time, so human
society and all things that really belong together must be
organically arranged. Fellowship should not be a mere
mingling of individuals or of things — that would be chaos, not
fellowship. If fellowship is to lead to order, there must be
organization within diversity.
Nine in the third place means:
He hides weapons in the thicket;
He climbs the high hill in front of it.
For three years he does not rise up.
Here fellowship has changed about to mistrust. Each man
distrusts the other, plans a secret ambush, and seeks to spy on
his fellow from afar.We are dealing with an obstinate
opponent whom we cannot come at by this method. Obstacles
standing in the way of fellowship with others are shown here.
One has mental reservations for one’s own part and seeks to
take his opponent by surprise. This very fact makes one
mistrustful, suspecting the same wiles in his opponent and trying
to ferret them out. The result is that one departs further and
further from true fellowship. The longer this goes on, the
more alienated one becomes.
(then changing to …)
Ch’ien, heaven, is above; Chên, movement, is below. The
lower trigram Chên is under the influence of the strong line it
has received from above, from heaven. When, in accord with
this, movement follows the law of heaven, man is innocent
and without guile. His mind is natural and true, unshadowed
by reflection or ulterior designs. For wherever conscious
purpose is to be seen, there the truth and innocence of nature have
been lost. Nature that is not directed by the spirit is not true
but degenerate nature. Starting out with the idea of the
natural, the train of thought in part goes somewhat further and
thus the hexagram includes also the idea of the unintentional
INNOCENCE. Supreme success.
If someone is not as he should be,
He has misfortune,
And it does not further him
To undertake anything.
Man has received from heaven a nature innately good, to
guide him in all his movements. By devotion to this divine
spirit within himself, he attains an unsullied innocence that
leads him to do right with instinctive sureness and without any
ulterior thought of reward and personal advantage. This
instinctive certainty brings about supreme success and
“furthers through perseverance.” However, not everything
instinctive is nature in this higher sense of the word, but only
that which is right and in accord with the will of heaven.
Without this quality of rightness, an unreflecting, instinctive way
of acting brings only misfortune. Confucius says about this:
“He who departs from innocence, what does he come to?
Heaven’s will and blessing do not go with his deeds.”
Under heaven thunder rolls:
All things attain the natural state of innocence.
Thus the kings of old,
Rich in virtue, and in harmony with the time,
Fostered and nourished all beings.
In springtime when thunder, life energy, begins to move
again under the heavens, everything sprouts and grows, and
all beings receive from the creative activity of nature the
childlike innocence of their original state. So it is with the
good rulers of mankind: drawing on the spiritual wealth at
their command, they take care of all forms of life and all forms
of culture and do everything to further them, and at the proper
(I ‘performed’ in an old primary school here in Vienna for over a hundred children recently, reading from my books, meditating a bit and partying with my Roland Handsonic. We had lots of fun communicating, dancing and playing music together. My friend, who’s a teacher there, told me a few weeks later that the mood and vibrations of the school had been surprisingly improved by that event. Many children were more cheerful afterwards — the mother of an autistic child was amazed to find her child so balanced and happy — and my friend felt light and cool entering the school each day! Click on the following link to enjoy more experiences about Sahaja Yoga meditation …)
“May the whole world soon enjoy the soothing state of alert thoughtless awareness, when everything flows with equilibrium, and there is no pressure of ego and conditionings on the shining heart. When this time comes, and it will, unnatural corruption and suffering will fade away in the natural light of wisdom and benevolence. Let it come!”