NO MAN IS AN ISLAND
There is never a moment when it can be said that we stand free of what is around us, and free of the pasts that formed us. John Donne in the 17th century captured exactly that point. He links the individual with the group. And that means that individual and group are thereby linked by their pasts as well as their present times, and of course can be linked into the times to come.
NO MAN IS AN ISLAND
No man is an island,
Entire of itself;
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less,
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were.
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind;
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.
We may not choose to recognise or accept the fact, but our lives are irretrievably and intimately bound up with each other’s. Our lives are also, whether we recognise or accept the fact, are deeply spiritual dramas. Our choices can often be material, can often be dependent on selfish motivations, but they nearly always contain moral dimensions. The best dramas, the best stories, are dramas and stories of moral and thereby spiritual choices. They may not be overtly religious – invariably they are not – but they are undoubtedly spiritual with a little ‘s’.
When we walk this Earth, we are not only our parents’ children, we are also our community’s, our nation’s and our world’s children. To achieve any sort of spiritual progress, to make of our lives some sort of sacred drama, we must come to terms with our own individual character and indeed karma, but also the personality and group karma of our nations and of our world. Regardless of our status, of our background, of our given character, of our genetically inherited persona, we are all deeply embedded in a spiritual quest. There may be spiritual awakening in that, there may not be, but the sacredness of our journey is embedded in ever fibre of our being and of our life’s journey.
DREAMS OF THEN AND WHEN
History comes and goes just as with the individual we have reincarnation. Thus we have a group memory of our present world history, but previous rises and falls of civilisations are like dreams to us. There are whispers of them in our consciousness, but nothing hard and fast. And as with our new lives with reincarnation, so too can we be born anew from out of our long lost and often best forgotten histories.
I drift in dreams of long ago
Of long-lost dreams of ancient lives
Of forgotten loves and withered ties
Of what I was, and of what I am.
So distant are the memories
Of wild lands and forgotten seas
Distant too are all my thoughts and fears,
Lost now forever down all the years.
But what they were is what we are,
Lost to minds, but deep still in souls
Dreams and dreams of long lost ancient lives
All we once were, forever survives.
We drift in dreams of long ago
Empires lost, and our futures sewn
Tribal deeds and our dark tribal fears
Still echoing back through all those years.
Dreams of me, and then dreams of you.
And dreams of what we ought to do
Dreams of the past, only dreams at last
If love and peace, in our lives are cast.
Cast into my life, cast in yours
Cast now into our troubled world:
Our dream of peace at long-last unfurled.