The Beauty and Mystery of Language

May 5, 2014


Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoche, the charismatic and learned Tibetan lama colleague and friend of Sogyal Rinpoche, told a story to us which I will retell, in a nutshell.

A great lama was travelling, accompanied by his attendant. He had to have a bowel movement, and had nothing to wipe with. His attendant brought out a newspaper. The lama recoiled in horror. “But why?” the attendant asked. “It’s only English!”

Precisely what happened then is not clear, however even lowly English could not be treated in this manner, and this teaching prefaced an exposition of the beauty and deep mystery of language.

In another quarter entirely, a Toronto scholar by the name of Merrill Swain, PhD, taught that languaging creates thought. Her work in second language acquisition led her to the insight that it is in bringing forth words that we organize thought; it is in the process of articulation that we understand.

Each of us constantly creates ourselves anew, and each of us has a fountain within. Words help us make the choices of an artist, a surgeon, and an athlete which filter and shape the water of that fountain.

I invite you to share your words with me, so that we can shape them together into reflections of your competence, authority and ever-renewing sense of self on a journey. Contact me for details on how to create a lasting work of word/art which will strengthen, support and remind you of your own inner knowing. 

 

My Mother's Death

August 4, 2013
My mother passed through the threshold on June 3, 2013, after a series of strokes beginning in December, 2012. I departed from Toronto and joined her just after the performance of Mythic, an exploration of the ancient story of Demeter and Persephone, designed as a prayer for the solstice and rebirth of the light.

Our six months together were profound, challenging and healing. As my mother’s live-in caregiver, all artistic work underway in Toronto was suspended, and I gave myself completely...


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The Feminine Creator

May 31, 2012
The Venus transit of June 5-6, 2012 heralds an awakening. Many consider this transit of Venus across the Sun as a marker of reactivation of the divine feminine creative force.

The Mayan calendar was built around Venus transits. We are currently leaving behind a polarization in which humanity separated itself from Gaia and consented to a hierarchy which construed God as male and nature as a resource.

Over an eight year period, the retrograde cycles of Venus around the Sun form the shape of a pen...

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Meditation and the Creative Process

April 4, 2012
The creation of art is an interesting process. Most children revel in pretending to be plants breaking through the soil in spring, and will sing with all their hearts.

Later however, some people decide that they aren't talented enough, and close down their voices; deciding they are awkward, chubby or somehow 'wrong' for the dance--they stop. Somehow we are left with a professional class of artists whose specialized skills amaze us, and we become more distanced than ever from the joy of creativ...

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Witnessing and Being Witnessed

February 28, 2012
Oscar Wilde's quotation, "Most people are other people" is an interesting one. We assume that our memories are real, though they are constantly re-imagined. We believe that our perceptions of the present are accurate, though they are conditioned by our memories and habitual responses. How much of what we think is reality is based on having digested the ideas and behaviour of others, and integrating it into ourselves, as ourselves? Haven't previous generations in turn, done the same?

Many spiri...

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Artefacts in the Space of our Minds

December 29, 2011
Stories rise up, bidden and unbidden, shaped or unshaped, requested or driven away. When we work with them as art, speaking them, opening them up and cradling the words, we have so many choices.

Why do we meditate before inviting these stories into the ensemble? It is to cleanse the palate of the mind, and give the story space.

Memory is constantly recreated. Time itself is not linear. We have heard this before. Time is a construct so that we mortals may make sense of our experience, but there ...

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The Beauty of Age

November 8, 2011
Depth of feeling is a quality that comes from experience which has been processed, composted, and layered over time into an understanding that has subtlety, wry insight, and offers a refreshing insult to arrogance.

Just as a good soup needs various ingredients to be satisfying, tasty and nourishing, a creative effort benefits from including a topic of substance with a seasoning of whimsy, and the well-rehearsed with the gifts of the moment. Those of accumulated years may bemoan certain changes...

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Warmth, Light, and Wakefulness

August 14, 2011
For thousands of years, a spoken wisdom tradition has been kept alive by men and women of the highest realisation. A lineage which had previously been kept in strict secrecy has slowly begun to be revealed by great Tibetan teachers, because they know the time has come.

One of the wisdom tools that has been offered to us generously is that of meditation. This process is not what has come to be known as 'mindfulness', but a more subtle set of instructions which include a motivation of being of t...

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Process and Product

May 28, 2011
What makes us feel satisfied as creators? Is it the process, or the product? Or both? Ths question is especially important when we work with ephemeral arts, like improvised sound and movement. Some people just do not feel as though their efforts have been rewarded over time unless there is something to "show" for it. Others of a different temperament simply do not care. On the polarity are those whose bashfulness creates an uncertain relationship with an audience. These creators may yearn to ...
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The Wisdom Within

May 22, 2011
Within each of us is a wealth of knowledge, power and wisdom, which can be evoked to benefit ourselves and those around us. Sometimes we forget, but as soon as we hear authentic truths, we may say, "I knew that."

Why is this so? Because within us is a world beyond our daily concerns, and it is completely available as soon as we sit down quietly to tune in,

There is a story of a Buddha statue which had been covered in dust. The dust had in time become more solid and formed a crust. This crust wa...

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