Category Archives: mortality

it’s 50 years since Churchill died.


Well do I remember those cold winter days and nights when thousands queued silently to pay their respects to one of greatest figures of history.
And I remember the journey on the Thames barge, as if a salute by Royalty to a great Commoner.

To realize that was 50 years ago means we who remember him still have become a part of history.

thinking about gaza-truths, half-truths and lies: help to tiptoe through the issues


Map of gaza; Wikimedia Commons

‘Both sides of this conflict need to compromise’ John Kerry. By the way the USA paid for the bombs that did the damage in Gaza and will pay for most of the aid to rebuild it.
Billions of dollars that could have been spent constructively-treating malaria and Ebola for example.

Also bizarre seeing the commemoration of the centenary of the start of the ‘war to end wars’ by Britain juxtaposed on the TV news with pictures of the Israelis waging a ‘hightech war’ bombing Gaza installations and incurring heavy and predictable civilian casualities in the process.

evidence for past lives

There is much evidence for the existence of past lives much of the best coming from the work of the late Ian Stevenson.  In some cases the situations may be quite dramatic, for example the child who confronted its murderer in a previous life.  The evidence was so accurate that the man confessed and was convicted of the crime.



Ebola virus outbreak in west africa spreading-concerted action needed urgently.


The World Health Organization says that the Ebola haemorrhagic fever virus outbreak now affecting Guinea Liberia and Sierra Leone requires additional urgent action despite the help of external experts already in place. This is the largest recorded outbreak of this highly infectious disease and there have been a significant increase in the number of deaths and reported new cases in the last three weeks.

As of June 20 the number of confirmed and suspected cases of Ebola haemorrhagic fever in Guinea were 390 with 270 deaths and a cumulative total of 158 clinical cases in Sierra Leone of which 34 have been fatal. As of June 22 Liberia had reported 51 clinical cases of which 34 have been fatal .

WHO has convened a meeting of Ministers of health of countries in the region in early July.

the 14th Shamarpa leaves us, but we have the teachings of a modern Buddha.

The Shamarpa, Shamar Rinpoche (the Red Hat Lama), seen by his followers as the embodiment of the Buddha Amitabha ( a bodhisattva named Dharmakara translating as the Buddha of infinite Light) who passed on the 11 June leaves us. Behind are the teachings of a modern living Buddha.

Wish him well in the immediate task of seeking the next incarnation.

This very recent and very frank and direct recording posted earlier this year provides a fascinating interaction between a lama educated in the tradition of Tibetan buddhism who is a modern Buddha and the presentation style of high quality modern journalism in the form of Barnet and Freeman on Cutting Edge Consciousness.

To start with the Shamarpa explains the tradition preventing a monk or nun from representing themselves publicly as a spiritual teacher.  He describes the traps and pitfalls that exist for spiritual teachers and how easily this position can be misused.

Some way into the recording there is a frank discussion about the traditional vows taken by Buddhist monks and nuns and why they are taken.  The conversation leads on to the profundities around meditation, reincarnation, karma and enlightenment.

After the Shamarpa leaves there is further deep debate between the two journalists of the implications resulting from the interview.

This valuable teaching is well worth listening to carefully over and over again.

the amazon rainforest is burning: we need it for our survival: act now

Resources are limited on this earth we all share. Tha Amazon rain forest, one of the biggest of the earth’s ‘lungs’ is burning and dying. Take note and act before it is too late. Humanity must find some way of valuing the environment and pricing it’s destruction into our economics. Continual economic growth is just not possible. While the newspapers are full of the damage humans do to each other, we are sleep walking to an environmental and economic disaster.

Burning rainforest-001a
Burning rainforest

nelson mandela

This is his full length funeral in Soweto as presented by ITN.

Nelson Mandela is dead.

Father of the Rainbow Nation

Nelson Mandela is dead!

His shadow covers us all.

Nelson Mandela is dead!!

Implacable defender of liberty.

Nelson Mandela is dead!!!

Respected by his enemies.
Nelson Mandela is dead!!!!!

He was magnanimous in victory.

Nelson Mandela is dead!!!!!

Reconciliation the only way.

Nelson Mandela lives on.

New movie: The Long Walk to Freedom.

neuroplasticity, environment, genetics and the development of children

This is an important and timely contribution to the debate about the effect of the environment on the development of children. The significance of neuroplasticity cannot be underestimated. Some individuals are more influenced be their environment than others. Resistance to the effects of a negative environment (poverty, no exercise, unemployment, high incidence of smoking and drinking) correlates with the levels of self-control present between 3 and 11 years of age.
This and other evidence leads to the postulation of the existence of an ‘executive network’ linked to the prefrontal cortex that regulates behaviour and thought. Essential for the inhibition of impulsive and negative behaviour, those individuals starting life with the strongest executive functioning are more likely to behave in ways that protect and nurture the brain and lead to better long term health in general.
These ideas link well with the concept of self directed neuroplasticity developed from studies later in life in for example the treatment of obsessive compulsive disorders. Another strand of evidence derives from the changes found in the brain following meditation.

It seems the ideal environment for a developing child is a wild garden allowing contact with nature in a safe and secure space.

the sages of old, they could fly !


Bronze :Sage in contemplation by M J Jaquemart

In days gone by the power to fly seemed to rest with a special few.

These old sages made their destiny their own in knowing what to do.

They flew because they understood and were aware of the world around them.

Like the birds in the sky or the fish in the sea or grass growing on the hill.

In past days only the rare, gifted and lonely spirits broke the mould.

This mould that held lesser mortals gripped, condemned to walk the byways.

Seen as dangerous, the gifted few were often burnt as witches were of old.


In the Axial Age there came the Buddha, Confucius, Lao Tzu, Zoroaster,

Heraclitus, Plato, Socrates and the rest, also Testament Prophets of Old.

Whether they met and talked is now beside the point. Probably not:

They did not need to. There was a spirit moving across the world, awakening

Slumbering minds to the interlinked nature of all things: like Indra’s net.

The ancient sages understood, using just their minds, more than we know now.

Such ones appear but rarely, if ever. For sometimes the lifespan of a universe

Can pass without such a one appearing. The rest condemned to live in ignorance.


Some sages taught to those who listened, but they did not hear or understand.

Today’s scholars know more of what there is. What we see and feel is coloured

By our senses and by our past. Of that there can be no doubt, no doubt at all.

A question is how modern sages compare with those of the past? Was William Blake

A sage? Or Emanuel Swedenborg or Krishnamurti? and what about the current ones.

One can hardly hear at all, rather like a modern Tower of Babel! The Dali Lama?

And what about Maitreya who placed the foundation stones of the lives we live now?

We know nothing, though our history is in the rocks around us if we could but read.


How can one learn to see this world around us for what it really is?

That was not what made the ancients understand, for what they

Saw was not of this world but another, less distinct, beyond, like shamans

Beyond the bounds of normal human understanding and description.

More people are alive now than ever lived in all our ancestral lineage.

Can thoughts add up together? If so the intensity of thought is greater now than ever.

Many have struggled and died in past years to allow us to be free.

Do we dare? Do we measure up to what we have been bequeathed?

Often the chains that bind our thoughts exist nowhere but in our minds.

Sadly it takes more to unlock these hidden shackles of the brain

Than to rescue scarred and damaged bodies ground down by lives of toil and torment.


Often we value the things we CAN see higher than those we cannot.

What price the freedom to roam and soar in the sky like a bird?

What price to have those things we take for granted? Warm in winter,

Cool in summer, clean air and water and enough food for all to eat.

It ain’t going to be so for ever. Who will go to the wall?

“They” will try and own these necessities and make the others pay.

All use what mother earth provides as if its free, and will be there for ever.

Blinded to the fact that mankind is fast destroying the hand that feeds.


Its the wear and tear of those lives so unlived by so many

That destroys the insides and brings tears to the eyes from grief.

A lived life grows and brings such sweet ties that bind with others.

There is someone there, someone inside living a life, and looking out

To welcome those passing by along on the road of time.

So there is someone to care for those who need help. Does anyone not?

“They” can never command those who fly free with the winds in the sky

And sail over the sea to the end of the world and beyond in their thoughts.

reestablishment of polio in somalia- MSF withdraws because staff being killed. Who will control this outbreak now?

MSF pull out from Somalia
MSF pull out from Somalia

The attention of the world is at present on Syria and the use (or not) of nerve gas against a population indiscriminately.   However there is a threat that is perhaps even more insidious emerging in Somalia.  Declared Polio free  by the World Health Organization in 2009, Somalia is experiencing an explosive outbreak of Polio with at least 105 cases this year, over half the cases that occurred in the world in 2012.  Polio is considered endemic in only 3 countries: Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan, but now the virus has returned to Somalia.

This is an enormous reverse for the Polio eradication programme, with the virus reestablishing itself in an area considered free of Polio.  Remember that for every symptomatic case of Polio there will have been 100 asymptomatic cases, implying widespread dissemination,of the virus.

The outbreak is largely occurring in the area controlled by the Islamist group Shabab

Medicine sans Frontières, which has worked in Somalia for 22 years, has withdrawn all it’s staff because of the extreme danger, sixteen staff members having been killed.