Bloggers… do you know what you are?

From Sue Vincent, from the heart . . .

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

Dear bloggers,

I woke up this morning to find comments, reblogs, innumerable Tweets , retweets and shares of all kinds from my post about Nick’s participation in the triathlon and his Indiegogo campaign for the acquired brain injury charity he is supporting. It has continued all day.

I cannot tell you how valuable that support can be. It isn’t just about raising funds, but about raising awareness. It is also, for me at least, about Nick himself and showing him that after the last few years, just by making it to the start line of the race, he is already a winner.

In the twenty four hours since Nick launched his campaign, £500 has already been donated… and here’s the thing that had me in tears with my coffee… YOU have done this. YOU, the blogging community.

I look at the list of donations and the vast majority of them…

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Nine Deadly Sins with Coffee (22) – Flight and Fight

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We ran through the steepening streets of the town. I pulled at Alexandra’s wrist and, every few strides, looked around, anxiously, in search of our pursuers.

“What are we running from?” she laughed, behind me, now well used to my craziness. I had noticed that she had recently taken to wearing more casual clothing for our teaching encounters, and suspected that her larger bag, now safely in the car, contained a change of clothes or two – including a choice of outdoor footwear . . .

“I can’t tell you, exactly, the image is fading, but I know it frightened me – and it’s big!”

“Big?,” she gasped, her voice was getting hoarse with the effort. “Big, as in an animal?”

I pulled her on, ducking and diving into the warren of alleyways that make up the Fellside district of Kendal. Fellside is a steep part of town, true to its name, that rises from the town centre and climbs south-westward up the nearby ridge. The old and narrow stone streets were perfectly suited to my purposes, and we could have been on a film set.

“It could be an animal!” I shouted, turning another tight corner and shouting in response to her previous question. “In fact, I can imagine many describing it that way; but I think it’s bigger than that!” My breath was rasping in my throat, too. The gradients of Fellside were a killer.

Alexandra ground to a halt and shook free of my hauling hand, slumping forward with hands on knees. “Idiot!,” she laughed. “You’re killing me!”

“But, it might catch us!” I managed, weakly, between gasps, fighting hard to suppress a grin.

“It can eat me if it likes,” she said, recovering her breath. “I’m not running another step . . . and I’ll need a second bloody shower, now, you nuisance–” she gasped some more. ” . . . and that will have to wait until London!”

“Aww . . .” I said. “Would a coffee help make it up to you?”

She pulled herself vertical and managed a smile. “It might . . . if it’s a good one.”

Five minutes later, and with the cool summer breeze bringing us back to normality, I walked her – downhill, at last – to the outdoor cafe in the middle tier of the three layer mound that forms the bedrock of the Brewery Arts Centre, itself set into the lower slopes of the Fellside district. I sat us on the second of the terraces in the sunshine, facing down the slope. We ordered a bottle of water each, and two large lattés. By the time they had arrived, she was speaking to me, again.

“Is this near the station?” she asked. “I have to be going, soon.”

“No, but it’s very near the Head.”

“The Head?”

“The Sleeping Head – what we’ve been running from . . .”

“I don’t know the–”

“Yes, you do, but it’s better seen in a way that makes an impact.”

For the next few minutes I said nothing else. We drank our coffees in pleasant silence, as the inner tension mounted. Eventually, I took her hand again, pulling her to her feet. “Will you close your eyes for me?”

We had come a long way in the months we had been working together. It was marked by the trust and the ease with which she accepted the request. She nodded, and I guided her, blind, up the stone staircase that had been behind us all along. When she was safely on the upper level, I turned her to face our destination and asked her to open her eyes.

She made a slight gasp.

“This is what we all run from, when we are being the Six,” I said, as her hazel eyes opened wider and she took in the carved head before us.

“Sleeping?” she whispered.

“Sleeping to our spiritual nature, which is actually the characteristic of the Nine, the core of the enneagram. Our life is not our reality, and so we live in a dream. This is what the Six embodies – someone whose fleeing life is the result of being turned away from its reality; from its inner trust, which it had and lost at station Nine . . . and so now lives in the land of fear; believing it is supported by nothing . . .”

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Nine Deadly Sins with Coffee is usually published on Thursdays.

All images and text ©International copyright, The Silent Eye School of Consciousness, 2015.

Steve Tanham is a founding director of the Silent Eye School of Consciousness; a place of companionship, sharing and the search for the real in life, using the loving techniques and insights of esoteric psychology. He retired from a life as an IT entrepreneur to establish the School in 2012, and, having persuaded Sue Vincent to . . .

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Halton Gill

Another lovely collection of Yorkshire Dales images from smackedpentax.

Walking with a Smacked Pentax

On Saturday I had a drive out – originally to look at some prehistoric graves, but like an idiot I had left the map at home. It was probably because I was excited to be out…I am not normally this careless! I know roughly where they were, but I didn’t want to walk too far as the knees are still recovering from an operation and the physio said to ‘take it easy’.

Anyway, I found myself driving down a lonely road past the mountain of Pen-y-ghent towards Littondale, and then home. The road then drops down to the tiny hamlet of ‘Halton Gill’ a gorgeous setting for a Dales village. Unspoilt and beautiful, nestled below the wild fell of Horse Head – it is a lovely location. And the fells are teeming with caves – I have spent much of my youth under these fells.

I parked up and enjoyed the views for half an…

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The accountant

One of Sue’s casual introductions to a so-deep meaning . . .

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

He had kept his secrets. He had thought he was safe… He was doing so well. Doing alright anyway. Now, he was not so sure. It was all gone. He has nothing… is nothing. Nowhere to go… nowhere to be.

Except here.

There is no escaping Review. He had done his best to prepare, fearing what was to come. At close of day, he had gone over everything. Every day. For years. Tracing the threads back to their beginning. What had been right and what wrong? Except, it wasn’t that easy, was it? Understanding…first principles, it seemed, mattered more than tangible results.

The dark tunnel is daunting, closing around him, a steely wormhole drawing him towards a distant point of light. There should be fear. The thought flits across consciousness… is considered dispassionately and discarded. He has gone too far for fear. He moves onward, surrendering reluctance to inevitability. He…

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Ben’s Bit, part 1 – Humbling Beginnings

Steve Green Man Dyingv4AA

There is a wall and, across the dark room, another wall.

I walk between them. Getting there – to the other wall – is the goal.  What is in the middle is mere mathematics: five strides sees me across the old stone floor, and I practice so that my toe touches the far wall exactly on the fifth . . . the edges of the room are safer; I have no idea why . . .

Words come back. ‘It is as though I were dead.’  That came from a book, I think; one I had read recently. But, when I try to focus on the source, it seems to pull away, as though there were another reality that teased with its existence, but would not be grasped.

How long, now?  How long have I been locked in here? One hour, maybe two? One pace, two paces, three . . . I stop at three, drowning in the exact middle of the dark space of the cell in Bakewell Jail. They can’t leave me here!  Look, this is just a mistake, you don’t understand, we were only . . .

There is sound like the breech of an old rifle being loaded. The shutter mechanism in the ancient, heavy door slides back, revealing nine vertical slits of the face of the man I have christened Yellow Eyes. He looks in at me, then barks through the grill, “Back from the door – far wall.”

I was shown the drill when I entered; wearing the plain, grey prison pyjamas. They understand vulnerability in here; specialists I would say – very at home in an ancient backwater in deepest Derbyshire, where inspections are few and far between. I move back to stand facing the far wall and the key turns in the lock. Yellow Eyes enters.

“Present for you, m’lud.”

I hear him slap something down on the table. I’ve only been in here for a matter of hours, but already he’s used the term ‘M’lud’ several times. There’s a bitterness there, a bullying bitterness as though the stone we moved was his personal possession; and now he seeks his carefully crafted revenge in this, his kingdom, where I am imprisoned, on remand for our crime. I shudder at the thought of being under this man’s control, as his words fill my cell with his fetid breath and the image of a cruel smile that glistens around irregular teeth.

I turn to look at my ‘present’. I had asked for notebook and pen, to create a journal that would help me in this solitude.  It isn’t there, but the small table, my only non-plumbing furniture apart from the bed, has several objects on it.

I need him to understand that I shouldn’t be here. “I really shouldn’t” . . . but he cuts me off.

“The Guv’nor checked it over,” he says, ignoring me and pointing at the torn parcel of brown paper on the small, metal table. “Seems your mother has sent you a parcel . . .” he sniggers. “Yes, we’ve checked, in case it was your accomplices, but no, it’s not – but don’t worry, we know you had help and we’ll catch them eventually; and anyway, we got to jail the ringleader!”

But no, they didn’t. Their six dark assassins of my freedom converged on the man stupid enough to go back for Wen’s air- rifle, with which she had expertly shot out the street lights around Bakewell’s All Saints Church. There’s your ringleader, I want to shout out . . . but I don’t. I don’t because something huge flies across the back of my consciousness, something that silences and invites deeper thought; something more real than anything in here . . .

Time seems not to have passed while I considered the implications of this. I stare down at the package. Its plain, white string has been cut in several places. There is something else beneath the parcel, something large and pale.

“And we thought you might like a copy of the local newspaper, M’lud,” he says. Happy reading . . .” The sound is a chortle.

He says nothing more. Just turns and marches out, military like, slamming shut the heavy, steel door and turning the huge key in the old, but well-oiled lock.

Wanting to save the best for last, I first pick up the local newspaper, the Bakewell Gazette. There is something chilling about seeing your fate spread across the headlines in this way, something that speaks of a gateway entered into, a one-way turnstile to a spectator sport . . . and I’m the sport, it would appear . . .

Bakewell Jail newspaper 1

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Ben’s Bit is a continuing first-person narrative of the character created by Stuart France and Sue Vincent, which may bear some relation to the author of this blog, Steve Tanham, their fellow director of the Silent Eye School of Consciousness.  In the latest of their books, Scions of Albion, Ben is arrested for his overly enthusiastic part in a mad escapade, and the other two are nowhere to be seen . . .  For more, enjoy their Doomsday series of books, and the new series (Lands of Exile) beginning soon. Click here for details.

Nine Deadly Sins with Coffee (21) – The Anxious Heart

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We were sitting by the river, though earlier than usual. The padded plastic-bottomed picnic blanket I had brought serving us well as a coffee base on the cold limestone, which was constantly made wet by the spray from the rapids in the adjacent river Kent. Neither of us seemed to mind the gentle mist. The thermos flask had been half emptied and we were enjoying our coffee.  We talked, gently. To anyone passing over the nearby bridge, we would have looked a strange pair – Alexandra in her legal suit, albeit it with walking boots; and me in jeans and summer teeshirt.

The mood was gentle. Fear, the central characteristic of station six on the enneagram of personality, was not a topic to which we needed to add much drama: it had enough of its own.

“We are all afraid,” I said. “It’s just a matter of degree and what frightens us, most. But fear has a very special spiritual role to play for us, as well.”

She sipped some coffee, resting herself on one elbow. “And choice?” she asked. “You indicated last week that we choose a lot of our own fear . . .”

“Yes,” I considered my next words carefully. “We are really like a native American totem pole, one where the different figures are layered on top of each other.” I thought about that concept, and wondered whether that had been the original meaning of such sculptures. I dimly remembered other people having written about the idea. The lower figures would be nearer to the world of instinctive reaction – that which keeps us alive, certainly; but that which restricts the processes of higher thought and emotions until we have enough experience, and, later, trust, to build something greater on that hilltop.”

I pointed to a coiled length of old rope, lying half in the shallows of a quiet pool, well back from the torrent.

“Take that harmless snake over there,” I said. The rope was discoloured from its long journey downstream, and covered in enough green algae to look like a convincing, and quite large, grass-snake.  I knew it wasn’t of course; but only because I’d been here with Tess, our collie, many times.

I could feel Alexandra tensing, even though I had said it was a harmless snake. “It’s not, is it – a snake, I mean?”

“We could go over and see?”

“We could, but I’d rather you tell me that it wasn’t!”

“But then you’d be relying on my reality, my experience; and not investigating your own.”

“Which is how most fear starts,” she whispered into the mist, standing up on legs that weren’t completely steady. I watched with growing admiration as she took two steps nearer to the possible green reptile. “I’ll go,” she said, half-turning back to look at me. “But will you hold my hand just in case I freeze?”

“Gladly,” I said. “I just won’t do anything to interfere with the vividness of your experience.” I stood and took her proffered hand. Together, we walked across the wet limestone. I could tell to the second the point at which her snake became an old rope. Her muscles unsnapped, fluidity returned to her body, and she began her customary laughter; but, this time, without the retributions.

“Did you know?”

“Yes.  Didn’t think I’d expose you to a real snake, did you?”

“I didn’t know for sure . . .”

“Precisely – and in that authentic unknowing you became totally present to the moment, and explored it with power.”

She nodded. Pleased to have done this so well.

“Given that it wasn’t a snake,” I continued. “What were you frightened of?”

“What, who . . .” she mouthed, driven on by my relentless questions. She snapped her head up, straightened her back, and looked down on the rope. “Well, there were only three players – you, me  and the old green rope.” She was still laughing – something we all do after an attack of fear. “And I’m not known for being frightened of old bits of rope; so It must have been me!” she said.

“Exactly,” I replied, “And there is a name for being frightened of ourselves, and that is anxiety. I paused to let it sink in. “Real fear – fear in response to a danger that is present, often has its own resolution built in to the problem. The brave bit is to see the problem fully, and therefore to be fully conscious to it; if possible, with no reaction at all – which I admit is easier said than done; but that shouldn’t stop us trying . . .”

“And the spiritual side of all this?” she asked

“All the inner traditions speak of a final act of coming face to face with fear, itself – not fear of an object – as the last act before a significant degree of illumination is given . . .” I paused before adding, “And remember that fear belongs only to the world of the ego, the personality – it has no place in the world of Being.

“And the importance of point six in all of this?”

“The dweller at point six, which we view in the Silent Eye as The Fugitive, is one whose life is lived on a volcano of fear, yet who is amazingly loyal and brave in action.”

“Sounds almost sacrificial?”

“Well, yes, in many ways, that’s how I view it, too, though the many excellent text books on the subject don’t dwell on that. Within the Silent Eye, we like to keep alive the ancient and magical ideas on such subjects, so I would say that sacrifice is a good concept to use, here . . .”

To be continued . . .

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Nine Deadly Sins with Coffee is usually published on Thursdays.

All images and text ©International copyright, The Silent Eye School of Consciousness, 2015.

Steve Tanham is a founding director of the Silent Eye School of Consciousness; a place of companionship, sharing and the search for the real in life, using the loving techniques and insights of esoteric psychology. He retired from a life as an IT entrepreneur to establish the School in 2102, and, having persuaded Sue Vincent to

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The Bump Stone

Another great set of photos from smackedpentax.

Walking with a Smacked Pentax

One of the great thing about exploring the moors is that you never know what you will find. I know the moors pretty well – having walked and explored them for nearly half a century. And now I am taking my two grandsons Mackenzie and Finley (who are now 7 and 5) and they are starting to make their own discoveries.

The Bump Stone The Bump Stone

The moors are covered in strange rock carvings – there are hundreds of them scattered about – most are hidden in the deep heather, but some are in plain view. And most of the carvings are only visible when the light is right – wet or low sun. Some are almost impossible to see in broad daylight.

The views across Addingham from the Bump Stone. The views towards Skipton from the Bump Stone.

No one knows what they mean or who carved them, but most experts agree that they are about 5 – 7 thousand years…

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