Sunday, 25 April 2010


I've had this hanging on my bedroom wall since I was about 17, and it's still as meaningful and relevant in this cruel, mixed-up world today, as it was back when I was a young thing, full of high ideals

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others,even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann

Ok, so that's the piece of prose. If you're not interested in serious commentary, then don't bother reading the rest of this post.

I was baptised into the Congregational (now known as 'United Reform') church, but Christianity has never done it for me.
So, during my 'hippy period' in the late 60s, I spent a lot of time looking at other religions, and trying to find something that echoed the way I felt, and indeed, still feel. Did I find it? Well, not completely.

All religions have something to offer, but no one religion has everything that I need, or perceive to be true.
I'm not a Christian, but I do believe in a Supreme Being - you can call him God, Allah, Jehovah, or whatever you like. As long as there's still unanswered questions in the Universe, man will always need a final solution to believe in. Who was it said, 'if God didn't exist, man would invent him'? So true.

The nearest I have ever found to echo my beliefs, is the Rada Krishna Temple. So many people dismiss them as freaks, a by-blow of the whole hippy movement. But they have a valid outlook on life, and a valid way of living it.

Desiderata - Latin for "desired things", plural of desideratum

So what do I desire out of life?

I'm a pacifist, so naturally I desire Peace On Earth. It's all too easy to trot out such platitudes, but some of us really believe in it.
Almost all wars, throughout history, have been fought in the name of this or that religion. If you think about it, war, or conflict of any kind, comes out of one person believing that they are right, and others are wrong. Whatever happened to acceptance and celebration of our differences? Why must we always seek to make others more like ourselves?

Having said that, of course, there are some things that should never be tolerated - abuse of any kind, verbal or physical, cruelty and injustice.

I enjoy the company of others. I'm gregarious by nature, to an extent, but I still need my own space, and take pleasure in my own solitude at times. So I take short trips away, on my own, to recharge my batteries, and recover my sense of self, and purpose. Much of this time away, I spend riding strange roads, discovering new places. But every now and then, I delight in finding a spot away from civilization, and just sitting, looking at the beauty of the scenery, and allowing my thoughts to wander where they will.

I'm an environmentalist. Like many people of my generation, in my youth I joined Greenpeace. My teenage years were really the first time in history that young people found their own voice. So there was always this or that organisation to join. I gave up Greenpeace when they started to forgo their pacifist ways, and used more violent scenarios to make their point.

Doesn't stop me feeling though, that mankind is bad for this planet, or that we could, and should, be doing a whole lot more to protect it. So, I do what I can, in my own small way, to help. Like adopting a tiger in India. He's called Roque. Tigers have almost been wiped out by man's greed, Some species have disappeared, and all of the others are seriously endangered. That can't be right.

The big hero for me at that time, was Dr. Martin Luther King. One thing I will never stop believing in, is equality, irrespective of race, colour, creed, gender or sexual preference. Why should one human being be preferred over another just because they're the same as you, and not something different? Sadly, after his death, his movement was run along far more militant lines, and so I droppped out.

Again, most of the organisations around that era offered something, but not everything that I related to, and most went too far. The Equal Rights for Women movement, for example. Yes, if a woman does the same job as a man, she should get equal pay, but that's as far as it goes for me.If she expects equal pay, then she must perform equal tasks. If she can't do that, whether physically, or mentally, then she must expect less.

The only organisation from that period of my life that I've stuck with, is Amnesty International.

I could go on and on about beliefs and creeeds etc., but this blog is becoming wayyyyy too long. No doubt I shall be returning to these thoughts at some point in the future

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