Saturday, September 11, 2004

Expressions of uniqueness

52% of the land mass that is Sweden (where I now live) is covered by forest,
or so I understand. Along my pathway of self-knowingness, life presented me
with a sense of isolation within one of these forests, for quite some years.
Accordingly I used to spend many, many hours simply sitting and being
absorbed by the beauty of the surroundings in which I now found myself.
Indeed, it was the hermit-like solitude that allowed me to 'find myself',
an opportunity I had previously denied myself with all my seeking, busy
expressioning of who I thought I was (a synonym, generally, for who we
think other people think we are!)

After quite a long period of time, I started to recognise that I couldn't see
two trees that were the same. Over time I investigated more thoroughly and
was amazed to discover that it was hard to find even two leaves on a tree that
looked the same - when I thought I could find two the same I realised that
they hung in different places on the tree and,therefore, sensed the sun,
the wind, the rain,- their presence in this world - differently.

It slowly dawned on me just how incredibly unique is every single thing in
nature. Never the same sky, never the same clouds, never the same...anything.

This for even the blades of grass that comprise my lawns.

Quote: "When a mind is stretched by a new idea, it never goes back to its
original dimensions." source - Unknown"

How much more so, then,for each and every human being whose spirit
explores in this life's walk all the infinite possibilities of the
expressions of lovingness that constitute the 'One-ness'?

Quote: "The saddest places on earth are graveyards. Not because people are
buried there, but because dreams, talents and purposes that never came to
fruition are buried there. Graveyards are filled with books that were never
written, songs that were never sung, words that were never spoken, things
that were never done.

You have talents and gifts that no one else can offer. There are things you
can do that no one else is capable of doing quite the way you can do them.
Don’t rob this earth of your purpose by taking it to the grave with you.
You see, we all have a purpose, a reason for living, breathing and existing.
We all have unique talents and gifts that were created and given to us to be
shared. Our task is to understand this and figure out what is our purpose."
Mark Victor Hansen

This is the deepest recognition in events like Beslan and WTC (amongst many
others). We have all, all of us, been denied the experience of fully knowing
all those children and adults whose life-presence was stolen from us. Or,
just maybe, our attention has become focused more sharply upon them...and
we have started to understand the wonderful uniqueness and preciosness of
each one. There is also a manifestation of the unity (One-ness) of us all
when we see the world-wide 'togetherness' and empathea that events like
Beslan evoke.

The presence of each one of us is a present to the world, a precious gift.
The challenge of inter-dependence is to recognise the preciousness of each
of these unique presents, is it not? To understand the significance of it.

When we can once grasp this reality our minds and our emotions can never
return to their original dimensions.

One-ness is not a belief system. Not a chosen course of philosophised
comprehension. Not a religious doctrine. One-ness is what is. It is the
reality of existing in this world. The reality of infinite multi-dimensional
lovingness. The multi-stringed dna stranded reality of life.

Losing any part of it is losing a part of ourselves.

Quote: "You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it
within himself." -- Galileo

Friday, September 10, 2004


Aha! No matter how old we are there is always something to learn
about the 'mechanics of living within this reality'. Nothing to learn about spiritual truths, for we all know those already - but we exist within this 'earthbound physical reality' and we have things we need to learn about this process.

So now I have managed to learn how to activate my 'comments'
section on my blog.

I've done my bit - do you want to do yours and give me some feedback?



Originally uploaded by In The Oneness.
Shining in the darkness of this disaster are many, many examples
of the triumph of the human spirit

Georgy survived :)
That strained, troubled expressive faced little 10 year old
sitting in his neat white shirt and smart outfit at the feet of a terrorist in the gymnasium at Beslan. Though unbelievably close to a detonated explosive device, Georgy incredibly survived.That image which echoed around the world of this child, the first excerpt from the filmed sequence inside the gymnasium on the 1st day of the siege, was followed today by the image of a smiling safe, if injured, Georgy whose dignity in the face of such horrors spoke of a spirit that defied annihilation.

In his book "Conversations with God', Neal Donald Walsch speaks of a way to deal with tragedies, a way that is not exactly new - for Zen Masters and many Bhuddists adopt such a methodology. He (Walsch) says of such circumstances that we should ask of ourselves which aspect of our spirit do we wish to reveal, manifest, in this face of this circumstance.

In Georgy, as in so many of the good people of Beslan, we have seen the triumph of the human spirit meet the face of harsh and cruel adversity. Amazing acts of selflessness, of valour and bravery and of straightforward simple human compassion punctuate the grief of this town.

It is the 'grammar of godliness'.

In such terrible circumstances as these, and many other great tragedies that afflict so many corners of this earth, there appears a unity, a one-ness, an empathea, that is the voice of the human spirit singing it's true spiritual song.

It is this chorus that echoes through eternity and is a reminder of the infinity of Love, the indestructability of Love.

posted by

Thursday, September 09, 2004


Originally uploaded by In The Oneness.
Humanity expresses solidarity with the peoples of Beslan using the symbolism of candles

Wednesday, September 08, 2004


In yesterday's blog I wrote ""The best of humanity always overcomes the worst.....always."
I am sure there are some readers, whose belief in such a concept harshly eroded by some of life's events, have considerable doubt about the truth of such a statement. Then may I humbly ask you to read the following extracted from Time magazine:

> "Paul Quinn-Judge, TIME'S Moscow bureau chief, has been covering the tragedies and atrocities of the Caucasus since 1996 immersing himself in the relentless pain of the place but never letting it cloud his vision. He has been to Chechnya and its neighboring republics nine times. He was in Grozny in 2000 just after the Russian army flattened it; he's been to the Pankisi Gorge in Georgia, a onetime haven for Chechen separatists and al-Qaeda operatives; and back in Moscow, he was at the Dubrovka Theater in October of 2002, where 170 people died after Chechen terrorists seized the building and took 800 hostages. So when he rushed to Beslan in North Ossetia last week catching a flight and driving through the night to cover the school siege he knew what to expect. "When you're faced with a tragedy of this magnitude, the feeling is devastation," Paul says. "Watching stretcher upon stretcher of kids coming out, dirty, half-naked, sometimes probably dead. It leaves you with a sense of deep emptiness."

Paul's report on the tragedy is vivid, poignant and shocking. His interview with Elena Kasumova, a teacher at Beslan's School No. 1 who survived the siege, is especially compelling. "Talking to someone who has gone through the most hellish experience, and can calmly, lucidly, dispassionately describe what happened is humbling," he says. "She saw the guerrillas do horrible things, yet remembers that one was a pleasant, nice-looking guy."

Most of all, Paul says, it's the heroism of ordinary people especially the civilians who rushed to save children as the bullets flew that sticks in the mind. "There's this fantastic solidarity that comes up in a community that has suffered such a crisis," he says. "I stayed with a family that had two children in the school. They didn't want to talk about it. They were worried, but stoic. Yet they spent their time worrying if I was getting enough to eat." Both children were wounded, but unlike so many others in Beslan last week, they survived. <

.... and they worried about food for their guest. !!!!!

In this one simple, normal,compassionate and caring action this family - in the midst of their own torment and distress - demonstrated why terrorism will never win.

For it is written "out of the lion's mouth came forth sweetness" (and that biblical quote is a very special story).

In the darkest of nights the smallest candle burns so brightly.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

This blog extract below was originally written on 16th September 2001
in response to the events at The World Trade Centre in New York.
I guess for the people of Beslan, School nr 1 is kind of their WTC.
Heroism by individuals was clearly shown, sacrifice of self in service
clearly evident. The horror of it all clearly and starkly apparent...
in the ghosted faces of the survivors, in the inexpressably pained faces
of the townspeople, in the aching void deep within that all of us feel
as we are confronted by this merciless, unimaginable circumstance

"The silence of grief
Occasionally in our lives we meet circumstances that so overwhelm our
senses that we are directed into the silence, we walk, as it were, into
a noneness - a no-consciousness.

This past week has been such a time. Not for everyone, for there are
many many who have had little time for the introspective calmness
of loss, they have been too busy trying to rescue...they have set
aside themselves in supremacy of service motivated by astounding
compassion. Their satsang of silent grieving is yet to come, postponed
for the 'now' in the cause of serving their fellow humanbeings.

For almost all of us the need to make comment, to vocalise our
lovingness, was both immediate and urgent. People from all
over the world uniting in a common bond of horror and loss.

It was a time for silence, for observing, for
watching the outpouring of love and compassion that has
been the circumstance, worldwide, in these past days.

Former bitter enemies offering help, allies standing together,
ordinary folks (like me) communicating lovingness in all it's
wonderfully gracious diverse forms.

It has been a time for silence. The silence of that
unrealised hope guiding us into an even deeper silence
within ourselves.

In that silence the voice of LOVE, the tones of togetherness,
have been whispering gently in our existing:

"The best of humanity always overcomes the worst.....always."

Stop! Look! Listen! "

This is not a silence of emptiness. Nor is it a silence of shock.
It is the silence that allows the spirit to communicate, to transmit
love, care, compassion. For Love knows no boundaries:time, space,
physical form - all, ALL are transcended by love.


Originally uploaded by In The Oneness.

The Body Bags

He lay there:
a naked,scorched and desecrated memory
of denied youthful energy.
His left arm bent and raised
hand opened as though to grasp eternity.
His tortured physical form
gashed from stomach to chest
and black polythene
was the only bed wherein he found his past-death rest.
He lay with a hundred others, or more,
like flotsam thrown upon a terrorist shore:
He was just five or six years old
and his full-life story shall never be told.
At his side another, perhaps a brother,
a teenager cradled in a black plastic womb
though a gymnastics hall had been his doom.
His left leg arched, a poignant pose,
his kneecap white and fully exposed.
His body not so burnt-blackened as the first
perhaps he died from a gunfire burst.
Next to him a contorted shell
partially yellow clad, told of the hell
that some adult, in flash-illuminated seconds
had seen as the terrified screams of children beckoned
for release from the searing agonies
of the bomb-blasts, bullets and fire so merciless .
As yet, they had no name
they waited patiently for someone to claim
allegiance to their once lived, once loved shape:
for soon death would totally draw it's cape
fully over their once beautiful and energised bodies.
They have no tomorrows
nor must they join the agonised sorrows
in the once green field
where the torn-up earth yields
it's space
a place
where so many are already lain
in this grief tortured town called Beslan.

I never knew any of you
...but how I cry I cry
in sadness for what was done to you.

copywright Geoffrey Groom 6th September 2004

Sunday, September 05, 2004

The Shadowed Koran

In his mammoth work 'In the shadow of the Koran', Sayyid Qutb developed a theme of jihadist action, essentially protesting the seperation of state and religion in modern societies, that has become the cancer of the Muslim world. Rogue (terrorist) cells) are eating away at the very bases of the Muslim faith and the Immans and leaders seem incapable of affecting either a cure or a non-regressive treatment. Many have seemed to espouse this concept and echo sentiments of hatred and vitriol themselves, an easy pathway to ego-driven politicised power.

Compare for a moment two other major religious institutions in the modern world. The one, the Roman Catholic Christian institution and the other the Bhuddist tradition of Tibet..

In the last decade we have seen the cancer of child abuse discredit those in authority within the Roman Catholic Church, to such an extent that it is inconceivably difficult to even persuade young men to becomepriests. Almost weekly we read of yet new abuse accusations within this institution on a world wide basis.This 'cancer' has eroded the moral authority of this institution and has revealed itself in dramatically falling attendances and finances in Catholic churches. Furthermore, the authority once wielded by this financially powerful institution has suffered irreperable damage, mortal damage, not because of the actions of a few perverted priests but because of the 'sins of ommission and commission' by those in a superior position whose moral,ethical and religious standing should have been such as to commend 'their faith' to the public. The opposite has occurred, for such was their own lack of these qualities that society,in general, has overtaken them in it's standards. Their opinions, dictates and instructions have lost all authority for their standards did not measure up to the standards of those outside this 'kabal'.

China occupied Tibet. During the initial period of 'transition' it was decided to remove 'the opium' of 'religion' from the people of Tibet and free them into a philosophy of communist restrictions instead.Monastries were destroyed, horrific brutalising acts were forced upon peace-loving, non-violent monks and religious students. The whole apparatus of religious rituals was effectively removed from the public's legal participation. The then leader of Tibet's Bhuddists, the 14th Dalai Lama speaks only of bringing Love, Compassion and Understanding. As far as I am aware he has never spoken with hatred or anger against the communists who caused such mayhem in his own country. As a result of his actions, the Bhuddist faith has grown in respect throughout the world. This singer sang a loving song.

Compare also the methology by which 350 million Indians 'escorted' a dominant imperialist power out of it's country. I am with Ghandi when he said 'an eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind'. I am also with him when he said' I am Muslim, Hindu,Christian, Jew, Bhuddist'. To those who truly know the supremacy of the One God's lovingness, there are only dialects of faith in the One God. Dialects, naturally, owe their existence to regional cultural causes and traditions.

The totality of horror that is Beslan marks, in my opinion, the crucial 'litmus test' for the Faith of Islam. The noble insights of The Prophet Mohammed are in serious danger of being substituted, hijacked, held hostage, by an extreme ' jihadist terrorist' dialect that is - in effect - re-writing the Koran in the minds of muslim youth!

Where, in Beslan, did we see the Prophet Mohammed's injunctions against harming non-combatants honoured? Where, in Beslan, did we see the Muslim concepts of tolerance, of compassion of 'brotherly love'? I have personally been the grateful recipient of many expressions of these concepts throughout my life. Though not strictly a 'muslim' I have always been afforded respect for my 'faith' and treated with kindness and consideration by almost every single muslim with whom I have become acquainted. It has been my life experience (and I'm almost 60) that, though often misunderstood and misinterpreted by others, the muslims with whom I have had contact are decent, moral, ethical and highly family-motivated people.When I visited the oldest mosque in New Delhi, for the purpose of prayer and meditation (even if not with a muslim dialect), I was greeted as a 'prince' and escorted around this wonderful testament of faith by one of the top leaders whose graciousness and tolerance were a testimony to his faith. I came as an ordinary westerner and was afforded gracious (traditional) hospitality. I made this visit to show 'solidarity of faith' following the 9/11 tragedy. I felt it important to make my own personal statement that I did not hold all Muslims responsible for the actions of a disinformed few who represented religious extremity.

Which of these mainstream muslims cannot cry tears of shame in their heart when they see terrorists claiming Islamic authority for actions such as Beslan? How is it possible that a faith so deeply characterised by it's sense of family values could possibly condone such an atrocity against children?

Of course, we can argue political points. We can argue aspects of materialism. We can argue that wrongs have been done to many peoples, humiliations, atrocities, 'state sponsored terrorism', we can go on ad infinitum. But these arguments are secular, are of this world and not the higher world of spiritual realities.When children are abused, or slaughtered like animals, in the name of any 'religious justification' or with religious-instutionalised apathy, that religion mortally wounds itself! See Gujarat. See the film 'The Mission'. See the decline of the Catholic Church, even in Ireland! Have the actions of the State of Israelrecommended the Jewish faith to the world? "With God on our side" has been the call of many a politician in this last century, and the call has so often resulted in war. Does that recommend the 'God' they claim? Do we really think that the One God of supreme lovingness solves problems the way that we do???

I cannot bring myself to believe that the ordinary, decent, family-loving muslims that I have known in my lifecan feel anything but distress at actions like World Trade Centre and Beslan. How long before the grim and horrific shadow of Beslan, if unanswered, takes the form of disaffection with their faith? As, in the same way, the black shadow of paedophile abuse within the Catholic church has created mass dissafection when the answers were inadequate.

When the standards of religious institutions fall below the accepted norms of reasonable and humane behaviour in modern societies, the institution loses respect, loses authority, loses!

Thankfully the watershed of Beslan is beginning to create a wave of revulsion that is already stirring the academics, intelligensia, and religious leaders, of Islam into action. David Smith, writing in the English newspaper 'The Observer' (5th Sept 2004) reports as follows:

"While some Islamic fundamentalists in the Middle East have long supported fellow Muslims fighting in Chechnya, such was the barbarity of the hostage takers that few voices spoke in support of the actions in Ossetia. Egypt's leading Muslim cleric, Grand Sheik Mohammed Sayed Tantawi, was quoted as saying during a Friday sermon: 'What is the guilt of those children? Why should they be responsible for your conflict with the government? You are taking Islam as a cover and it is a deceptive cover; those who carry out the kidnappings are criminals, not Muslims.'
......and again:
"Even the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's biggest Islamic group, condemned the bloody siege in Beslan. Its leader, Mohammed Mahdi Akef, said that kidnappings may be justified but killings are not. He added: 'What happened is not jihad [holy war] because Islam obligates us to respect the souls of human beings; it is not about taking them away.'
.......and again:
"Abdulrahman al-Rashed wrote an article in the pan-Arab Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper under the headline: 'The Painful Truth: All World Terrorists are Muslims!' Al-Rashed said that Muslims will not be able to cleanse their image unless 'we admit the scandalous facts... Our terrorist sons are an end-product of our corrupted culture. The picture is humiliating, painful and harsh for all of us.'
His extraordinary critique was echoed by Ahmed Bahgat, an Egyptian Islamist. Writing in the pro-government newspaper, Al-Ahram , he said hostage-takers in Russia and Iraq are only harming Islam. 'If all the enemies of Islam united and decided to harm it... they wouldn't have ruined and harmed its image as much as the sons of Islam have done by their stupidity, miscalculations and misunderstanding.' Horrifying images of the dead and wounded students 'showed Muslims as monsters who are fed by the blood of children and the pain of their families'.

These are not my words, but the words of influential Muslims.

There is much that is beautiful, there is much that is loving, there is much that can still promote harmony, peace and a recognition of our inter-dependence within all the major religions. The Muslim faith is no exception to this. Yet all the major faiths, if not very careful, can fall into a politicised darkness of self-justification for actions that are far from the lovingness of the One God.

Any faith that speaks of the lovingness of the One God of us all, any faith that promotes love in place of hate, any faith that expresses meaningful, action-filled compassion in place of bigotry and callousness... any such faith is worthy of respect in this modern, fragmented and often puzzling world.

How can we not all be children of the One God? Do we really think that this all-powerful, all-loving God needs our self-righteous hate-filled actions in order to solve problems? Or is it just remotely possible that it is the differing beauty of our `'religion dialects', when united in harmonious chorus together, that sing the most beautiful song of thankfulness for the One God's lovingness?
We should all be martyrs for Love rather than messengers of hate.

Beware, Islam. The dark, black, lovingless void of the horror of Beslan is casting a shadow of destructive darkness over the beauty and brightness of your light.

In the humility of love I beg you, speak out now. Let the oftentimes silent voice of the muslim majority - decent, caring, tolerant - speak out now against the deepening of this shadow. Let the voices of your leaders and teachers speak out now - and release the Faith of Islam from the insanity of terrorism that threatens it's destruction. There can be no justification for such horrors as Beslan, nor can any be found, to my knowledge, within the Koran.

"A true disciple feels anothers pain as his own".

Shared values of fragile humanity

Mary Riddell
Sunday September 5, 2004
The Observer

Even the living have dead eyes. Cradled in adults' arms, faces smeared with blood, the children of Beslan stare out. Their gaze is focused on a point beyond consolation and beyond childhood. Grown old before their time and burnt by memories no human being should endure, these are the lucky ones.
Today, parents still search hospital wards and mortuaries, hopeful and terrified of what they may find. Others bury those too slow, too scared, too small or too exhausted to escape their assassins' bullets. And westerners, watching the carnage of Number One School unfolding in the media, cannot believe what they are seeing.

It is not the death of innocence, for that myth crumbled long ago. Composers of fairy tales, and charity fund-raisers, have always used children to tell the most terrible stories. Though the purpose has mostly been kindly, the border between generosity and exploitation is frail. The faces of the young gaze out from famine posters or from campaigning adverts warning of abuse behind closed doors. Other children, less anonymous, remind us of the brutality of war.

Kim Phuc, the nine-year-old girl pictured running down the Trang Bang road, ablaze with napalm, summed up the enduring story of Vietnam. Little Ali, the boy with his limbs blown away, encapsulated Iraq. From Darfur to Baghdad, suffering children touch a universal pulse confirming our basic kindness. They touch our consciences but they also salve our fears. Kim and Ali supplied the happy endings craved by adult society.

We may care much too little that children fight wars, or go to prison, or starve, but the victims we do notice confirm that our human sensibilities are intact.

In the past, the lost children have belonged to other people. Not now. The images of Beslan have eroded barriers of distance and bonds of nationality and blood. These, the victims of basest cruelty and purest chance, could be our own sons and daughters. No boundaries remain when a flock of primary pupils who took new books and balloons for the first day of term can stagger, damaged and dying into the playground, if they ever emerged at all. Their parents, families whose politics and troubles we had never known much about, have held up, in their torment, a mirror to our deepest loves and wildest fears.

And yet, the unthinkable was perhaps inevitable. This is an age when war and terror constantly reinvent torturers and victims. Just as Abu Ghraib showed women as monsters, Russia's children illustrate the carelessness of depravity in the week when evil, the most overworked word of the 21st century, came to Beslan.

For all the repulsion, there is some small consolation, too. The vision of parents with their children cocooned in their arms is an emblem of a world of shared compassion and enduring values. But, suddenly, how fragile humanity looks.

The aim of every parent is to forge a world in which their children can find peace. The impact of this crime goes beyond horror for the murdered of Beslan, or pity for the living. We see, in the agony of strangers, the threat to all our tomorrows.