I am very pleased to include in this spring issue an attractive new edition of the Findhorn Classic Encounters With Nature Spirits by R Ogilvie Crombie. It’s an enjoyable account of a solitary mystic’s encounter with a faun and with the great god Pan in the everyday streets and gardens of Edinburgh. Roc, as he was known, had been studying the esoteric for a long time, but these crucial life-transforming meetings did not take place until he was in his sixties.
It must be a blessing to have these moments “when the veil parts” and you glimpse a reality that is completely different from the everyday. Maybe it doesn’t dispel all possible doubts regarding an esoteric reality– I think I have written before that we might have to accept doubt as part of the human condition – but these moments are precious and I think it’s our duty where possible to tell people about them and encourage them on their paths, whenever we are blessed enough to have these experiences.
We should be on that path because it’s the right thing to do. Because it’s a path of love, kindness and generosity; because we are working with the universe and its unquestionable “will to good”. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to glimpse the supernatural or even to witness a miracle, but that has to be treated as a bonus, and as a rare gift. Please also bear in mind that you can sometimes only recognize the miraculous in retrospect, after the event.
That’s why books like these are so important. They too are gifts from people who have done the hard work, who have a constructive lesson to pass on, or who might even have a miracle to tell us about. We should cherish them, read them slowly and absorb every last drop of energy from them. Make them special, make life itself special.
I have so many books and other materials to look through, and I get blasé all the time. There are books that I pick up with almost unbearable excitement, and which fifteen minutes later are just part of a stack on my shelves. I try not to take anything for granted but that takes constant effort. Yet it’s something we should be striving to do every minute of the day.
The IKEA adverts on television have as their catchphrase “The Wonderful Everyday”. I think that their intentions are ultimately different, but they have a point, that greyness and predictability have to be transcended consciously and even mindfully in every moment. Even though there are also times when I would like the Everyday to be some kind of distant memory!
I do think that all the books that follow are incredibly valuable, but there’s another one I would like to highlight – Conscious Creativity by Philippa Stanton. It’s a book that’s saturated with joy and colour. It’s full of techniques, tips, stories and wonderful images that can inspire us to be creative and take joy in our surroundings. Look around you and remember those items, those books, pictures, films, meals that inspired you once and you then moved on from – they can inspire you again. Remember those little moments when you said to yourself “Now I can change…now I can do that daring thing that I know will make me happy… now that risk doesn’t look quite so scary”.
I was at an exhibition in London recently devoted to the Italian architect Renzo Piano, who designed the Pompidou Centre in Paris and the Shard in London. Being an architect must be thrilling: you are part builder, part poet and part alchemist. In the film shown there he says with passion, “To be creative, you have to decide to be creative”. That’s it. Don’t just wait for the muse to visit, or for the stars to be properly aligned in the heavens. Do it now, and transform that everyday moment. It doesn’t matter if you think life has passed you by; I don’t think that the universe could care less how old you might be! But just don’t “settle”, and don’t give up on the adventure.
In the end, creativity and spirituality are so closely related as to at times be one and the same thing. Keep your spirit vibrant and look for inspiration. And also cherish these gifts that other brave and diligent souls have passed on to us, because there are lessons they can teach that might otherwise have been too difficult for us to learn on our own.
Finally, keep in mind that we are all in this together!