All the world’s a stage…

We could imagine ourselves as a leading actor in a play. There are other actors, but we have something unique… The play is written around our character.

We are the only performer who can describe the play from the inside – our ‘inside’. We infer that others can do this, but we have a unique perspective on our view of the play. We have no idea whether their description of the play-from-the-inside is anything like another’s.

From childhood, we learn language: a means to describe our experience, and hopefully share it accurately. We only have language – and perhaps art – to achieve this sharing.

This reliance on language as sharing the world takes up a major part of our attention, and therefore our mind. Our mind is the part of our identity that faces the world. Our mind can do other things, but our upbringing has focussed it outwards.

Our world is the picture painted by the senses. There are thoughts and emotions, too, but they don’t have the reality of the things brought to us by sight, smell, touch, hearing and taste. These relate us to the history of all life on Earth.

When we decide that enough ‘outwards’ is enough, we can summon the will to break the chains of attention that lock us into the script of the play.

If we do this, we might notice that what we thought of as ‘us’ is not singular but plural. It comes as a surprise to learn that we actually inhabit all the characters of the play, to different degrees. They all affect how the play moves through its stages, but we don’t share the same affinity with each of them.

It may take us many performances of the play to get to know each of the characters well enough to find out where our ‘home’ character is. We discover, often with a shock, that there is a central character that we remember ‘being’.

We step back into this central character with more power and authority… but our boldness gives us the will – and now the power – to challenge the whole thing. Why are we in a play? Who wrote our script?

With an internal noise like ripping curtains, we gaze around the theatre to see the smiling patrons. Casting aside the months of learned script, we stop speaking and walk to the edge of the stage, asking:

“Who am I?”

The lone figure in the crowded audience rises to their feet. They stride towards the steps and up onto the stage, facing us with a heart that glows. We have no choice but to embrace them; we have no desire to do anything but embrace them.

“I’ve been looking for you for a long time,” they say. “You’re the part that forgot its actor…”

Within that embrace, they spin us around, and our opened mind and heart recognise the same shining eyes from everyone in the theatre…

The play has ended. But a new one has just begun…

©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 Endurance of St. Paul’s

There was a time, not long ago, when my livelihood – and that of 25 other employees of the software company I established in the late 1980s – depended on our continued involvement with the plans of some large city institutions such as the Bank of England, Euroclear and various of the high street banks also headquartered in the (old) City.

For a company based in Manchester, it was an achievement we were deeply proud of.

It was a world I retired from nearly ten years ago, beginning my work of a more spiritual nature with the foundation of the Silent Eye, and joined soon after by Sue and Stuart.

I still enjoy coming back to London, but the old feeling of being at home there has diminished. London was always a world hub of finance, and fast moving. You could be out of date in a year, never mind a decade.

The weather was kind, and we were able to walk most of the way to the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), via which we were headed to the stunning ABBA Voyage ‘concert’.

Coming back on the Central Line tube train, I reflected on the warmth I used to feel when passing the magnificent St Paul’s Cathedral – Christopher Wren’s masterpiece. Although vast, it somehow contained a welcome for the human and his/her scale.

A short detour on the way back from the concert and we were able to revisit it – in darkness, of course, but floodlit.

There was nothing but welcome in that venerable old stone.

I smiled the short distance to our hotel. Some things were, wonderfully, the same…

©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

Survivor in a landscape?

A complete accident this, though it looks like the figure in the right hand aperture was staged…

I have no idea who she was.

Kendal Castle; home to prominent members of the Parr family, whose daughter, Katherine Parr, remarkably survived the Tudor monster – Henry VIII.

Perhaps that’s her ghost, smiling in the late summer sun, reminding us that even the darkest fates can, occasionally, be sidestepped…

I’ve processed the colour and some of the texture to match the mystery!

©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

Defining Relationships (4) the mirror of life

In parts one , two, and three, we looked at the relationships we build with the world and each other. We saw that we don’t really know anyone else, fully; rather, we have an image of how they are, how they react, what are their likes and dislikes. In other words, we have a historical figure that bears the name of our ‘other’.

We are never dealing with them as they really are – now.

Some people, hearing this, feel trapped in a bubble of ‘self’. But that is not the way to consider this, at all!

If our ‘bubble’ contains those with whom we are having relationships, then it also contains our world… our whole world. The higher truth is that we are already connected with everything we need.

Whatever is ‘out there’ is not what it look like from ‘in-here’ In-here is entirely an accumulated product of how we have reacted to the world from our birth onwards. This vast ocean of reactions forms itself into our personality – our egoic nature, in the psychological sense.

Our personality lives in the mind, like a suit of armour. Its contents are what our ‘self’ looks up (in microseconds) to decide how to react. In effect, it’s instantaneous because the often-needed routines are kept ‘warm and ready’. Much of this is handled in language within thoughts. We run intense ‘chats’ with ourselves in complex situations. Some people actually talk their thoughts out, aloud.

Social conditioning helps us suppress this, but a visit to anyone with advanced dementia will show what happens to such ‘babbling’ when the social conventions are dropped – or decayed.

In previous parts we hinted at a single technique that will help correctly align us in relationship with the world — with the Universe of our ‘world?’

Within this quest, we found that the only truth of any value in understanding and changing our world and its relationships, is our own. It doesn’t matter what rules the world lives by, they wont change us. What will change us is dedicated living by what we consider to be our truth.

The first step – and the bravest. Is to say to our world:

“I don’t really know you…”

With this simple step, you will – if you mean it – break all previous conditioning and expectations. You will stand on the edge of a new world, one empowered only by your own truth…

Now, can start by adding:

I’m going to challenge all my assumptions…

From that moment on, every time you make a value judgement: ‘it’s always rubbish…’ challenge it. Ask if it’s really rubbish, or whether you have projected how you feel as an habitual pattern onto the ‘screen’ of this experience. The most important result of this is that you:

Allow it to be different, this time!

Our real goal is to see through the movie that is our view of the world, and know that it’s really only the screen and the moving colours and shapes of light that we are seeing – and reacting to…

When we see this movie for what it is, we begin to realise that what gives it life is the me, the Self. And that’s when we become empowered to change everything….and at the same time form the most powerful relationship of all.

End Part Four and series…

Previous posts:

Part One –

Part Two –

Part Three

©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 pursuit of personal music…

I’ve been clearing out my study. I’m a hoarder, and it’s an essential process once every year or so…if I’m honest, occasionally two!

At the bottom of a yet another box of ‘memorabilia’, I found this.

Back in the day, when I was a Computer Science student at Wolverhampton Polytechnic, I had very little money. My dad had bought me a decent stereo with a twin-tape cassette deck. My music collection comprised 90% cassettes, borrowed from other people’s vinyl albums and ‘taped’ (copied, in analogue format) onto these flexible little fellows.

I loved the artwork of albums in the 70’s. I used to ask to take the loaned albums into one of the department stores that had a ‘Photo-me’ booth. There, I would hold the vinyl cover up to the camera to get my own image, which would then be sellotaped onto the cassette’s label.

How the world has changed…

Now, most of the time, we don’t own music – just the right to access it…

Looking back on this memento from so long ago, I felt a great sense of loss of the ‘closeness’ we had to music, back then – and its preciousness. I remember having an album of Crosby, Stills and Nash as a Christmas present. All that seems to be lost in this on-demand world.

Still, a happy memory at the bottom of that box. Think I’ll keep this one… Mind you, just the one…

©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

Fading summer wine

One of the most poignant moments of the year is the last week of August. There comes that first sense of ‘chill’, plus the heavy dew on the morning grass.

We find the best way to deal with this is a bottle of white wine, taken just as the warmth of the afternoon has begun to ebb.

We spend the time it takes to sip the wine recalling the high points of the summer, thanking it for restoring us and fortifying our bodies against the ordeal of the coming winter.

©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

Hidden aspects of Kirkby Lonsdale: a journey in pictures

I’ve written about Kirkby Lonsdale, before. This lovely market town, on the border between Cumbria and Yorkshire, has many faces, some of them well hidden…

A photo-tour is a good way of sharing these…

Our journey starts with Devil’s Bridge, located below the town, and the old crossing point for the River Lune. This used to be the main road to Yorkshire…

The way down to the River Lune is steep and treacherous. People jump off the bridge into the river, here…

It’s a popular spot with canoeists. This is a regular group who appear to have ‘hexagonal’ canoes.

The Old Mill at the bottom of the steep lane from the town centre is one of the most photographed buildings in the town. But seldom seen by those who only take the tourist route.

Climbing Mill Brow, which is very steep, we come to what I always think of as the ‘Jane Austen’ house.

Looking back down Mill Brow, we can see how steeply the road drops off to the river.

There is a ‘secret road’ through the town that used to be the main thoroughfare. Here, hidden near the summit of Mill Brow, is the old market square. Market in this context meant ‘Cattle Market’.

From the market square, the ancient lane runs in a dog-leg towards the church.

St Mary’s Church is located at the Kirkby Lonsdale’s highest point. It is one of the oldest part of this landscape.

The oldest parts of the church are Norman. Three doorways and the inner north arcade date from the early 12th century. The church was restored in 1866. The ceiling was raised, giving the outer north aisle a separate roof,

The old door of St Mary’s Church. The main entrance is to the right.

The interior of St Mary’s is simply beautiful.

St Mary’s supports a popular children’s group.

The far end of the church yard is the gateway into the town centre.

(Above: Kirkby Lonsdale’s Main Street)

©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

Slither hither…

And do you slither hither…

When soft and dozing, August finds

My sleeping skin beneath your sun

My mind soft dulled with wine, and

Sky so blue it sings like life

Reborn…

————-

When winter’s bite’s so long forgot

Yet present in your kiss

Drink this, drink deep, the she-snake smiles

Let this be all there is

And hither to my opened lips

You slither…

————-

Image from Instagram – Winter storm.art

©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

Time, place and lens

The River Kent forms a natural heart to the village of Sedgwick.

The river has many faces. In 2015 it saw some of the worst floods in the region’s history. But most of the time, it’s peaceful and beautiful.

It has some special moods, but you have to be there to photograph them. Not a matter of skill, rather right place at the right time.

Which is to say that I was lucky with this one. The perfect summer day, the dog walk that took me to the river…and then this view of late summer’s splendour.

What did we do before popular photography? Forego the ability to share such moments, I suppose… Poets might disagree!

©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

Defining Relationships (3) turning within…

In parts one and two, we looked at the relationships we build with the world and each other. We see that how we ‘relate’ to the world is coloured by many factors in our early development.

Is there a single technique that will help correctly align us in relationship with the world — with the Universe of our world? Can we really call on any kind of truth to guide us?

There is… and it begins with investigating ‘where’ we live in our human ‘selves’, and taking back responsibility for our worlds.

The anatomy of ‘us’ is quite simple: we have a body and a mind. The mind is not easy to define, but the body is where ‘we’ end and the ‘out-there’ begins… or so we think. Our body is chock full of sensors that relate to us a ‘picture’ of our world and our interaction with it. The body really perceives many ‘grey areas’ but we allocate them the colour of ‘received wisdom’.

Some people even kill for such beliefs, the obvious face-to-face value of compassion and companionship forgotten, in favour of a lethal dogma. Dogmas needn’t belong just to the poor and fanatical. They belong just as much to blind capitalism, which confuses might with right…

If I put my hand on a hot pan, I’ll get burned. So I learn not to. It’s not a matter of opinion, its a matter of physical truth. But the mind is full of opinion, much of it garnered from people we trust and respect. But those opinions – which go to form much of our character – have seldom been tested as truths in our own lives.

Our society is based upon thinking. Thinking is what differentiates the beastly from the elevated and civilised. Only the attempt to shut out half of our real natures leads to the ‘eruption of the untended’ in our consciousness. Freud recognised this and designated it the ‘id’ – the it. The id is the beast. The thought-driven puritan with uncompromising ideals is the ‘superego’… the other end of the psychological self.

Both are false prophets. Our poor egoic selves – holder of the ‘I am’ – are left to wander our lives in search of the truth that harmonises them. It gets hurt, and turns much of its nature to ‘stone’.

There is only one truth worth having and that is our own. It takes a brave soul to say that, and an even braver one to practice it.

To find our truth we need to forget ‘sin’. We need to cast off those old clothes and recognise that we have all we need to find our truths – and that those truths should become our ‘goodness’. We have feelings of goodness and sharing, just as we have temptations of selfishness. We have an inherent gasp of kindness and compassion. We know that they feel like. They come from a place that is more deeply anchored in our truth that our society is.

When we are ready to make the journey towards the real Self, it is powered by the growing certainty that this is the only good that matters. What then springs free in us is an intimacy, a personalness that we have begun a quest which is more important than anything else we could be doing.

As Shakespeare’s Polonius says in Hamlet:

This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.

In the last part of this series, next week, (yes I did extend this in the writing of this part, in not wanting to put too much into any one post!) we will look at the journey into our own consciousness in search of the real nature of a deeply personal awareness – and the dramatically different picture it paints of our lives.

End Part Three.

Previous posts:

Part One –

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

Set in Stone

The Silent Eye’s Landscape Weekends were born from a mad-cap day on Ilkley Moor and a number of subsequent events up there.

Join us on Sue Vincent’s birthday (14th September) for lunch and a short walk to one of Ilkley Moor’s ancient monuments as we remember our former colleague and fellow director in the landscape she regarded as her home.

Meet: Noon at The Cow and Calf hotel and restaurant on Wednesday, 14th September 2022.

You can contact us via email at rivingtide@gmail.com.

©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

Kirkby Lonsdale, Hot August evening…

It had been a long, hot day…

A trip from Kendal to Leeds to catch up with our three-month old grandson.

A walk and some street food in the eclectic Oakwood district, then a gentle stroll back to their house.

We hit the busy time coming back, and decided to give Tess one of her favourite walks by the river in Kirkby Lonsdale.

Walking down from the market town into the valley, we passed the view above… and stopped to take the photo, and… store it in our minds.

The heat (31 degrees C) didn’t diminish the specialness of the moment. We have long and wet winters. When it’s cold it’s very cold.

So, we’ll have a piece of warm heaven to nourish us in January…

©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

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