Dreamweaving: How to Shape, Surf and Share the SacredHow to Shape, Surf and Share the Sacred. I recall someone once saying to me ‘as soon as you have a thought about something…you are wrong’. In other words, as long as my thoughts continue to be filtered and presented through my personal perceptions of reality, then they can never accurately describe the true nature of any situation. Like the proverbial finger pointing to the moon, my thoughts, opinions and resulting words may point to the truth but cannot claim to be the truth.
This is very exciting! This is the simple reason we are here!
If the truth could be expressed in words, then once uttered, where might we take it? What would we do with it only continue to filter and interpret, package and mutate its meaning to suit our current level of consciousness. As long as we come from a perception of separateness we will continue to manifest a world, which represents the least of who we are and who we can become.
As a wonderfully innocent twelve year old, I had a teacher in school who taught Religion/catechism and Mathematics. He was an ‘old school Patrician Brother’ and felt that true learning could only occur when lubricated with violence. One day I approached him after class and asked him to explain a specific point that he had attempt to drum into our little minds. I asked him ‘sir, could you tell me again the meaning of Life?’ He was shocked, perhaps at my audacity to question, or perhaps at the possibility that I did not already know the standard answer. His default setting in terms of response was to grab me by the collar, swing me around and administer a well-placed punch to my kidney area! I limped off, dazed and confused, thinking… ’this cannot be the meaning?’
The next day he called me up to the top of the class, and I braced myself for impact. Without any eye contact, and perhaps experiencing some guilt he declared that the meaning of Life was ‘To Know, Love and Serve God and be happy with Him forever in Heaven’. He punctuated the emphasis on the word ‘Heaven’ with another masterfully placed thump on my sternum. He promptly dismissed me with a nonchalant shove and that was that.
I returned to my seat, sat down and rubbed my chest. I silently began imaging the classic Zeus-like God figure, roughly 65 years old, long white beard, white robe and of course sandals – beaming with holy light and simmering with quiet rage and judgements on all us sinners. The image did not sit well. Perhaps there was a healthy dose of Celtic rebel spirit mixed with some postcolonial psychology at work.
I distinctly recall deciding there and then that I would not drop everything in order to know him, love him or indeed serve him. I mean, I hardly even knew the guy, and felt no compulsion to want to serve him. It seemed altogether too much work, and sure, what did he ever do for me? The imposed and limited patriarchal imagery seemed at odds with what I wanted the universal loving creative force in the Universe to be like. There I was… having a thought again… and therefore being wrong!
It was a little after this experience that I was reading a book and came across an account of a monk in the middle ages called Spinoza. He also received more than his fair share of slaps upside the head for his challenging of the Zeus God Package. He is reported to have said that he ‘believes in a God who reveals himself in the harmony of all that exists, and not in a God who concerns himself with the fate and actions of men’. Now, that seemed a little more like it! It seemed to fit more with my emerging sense of awe and wonder at the natural world, from the scale and beauty of a simple cell to the magnificence of a spiral galaxy. However, I do recall feeling that there must be more to it than this. Was I having another thought? Oh dear.
I feel this time was a conscious beginning to my personal quest for understanding and truth – the quest for the Pure Principle behind Creation. To save the reader possible high blood pressure, I am not suggesting that I have found the truth or that these pages contain it, but I am inviting you to join me on a voyage of playful discovery.
The desire to learn and understand led me to concentrate on and gravitate to Science and Art. These subjects seemed to offer me a way to gain knowledge of and expression of the ‘truth’. At the time I did not appreciate the limitations of these particular filters but nevertheless they provided a solid base for future understanding.
I set my sights on getting accepted into the School of Architecture in Dublin. I have always been interested in buildings, and how they not only represented a centering force for culture, functions, materials and space, but how they could be a huge influence on how we live, grow and perceive the world. I felt that if there was a pure principle defining and describing the process of creation then I imagined it would be presented within the first week of college. Yep, another thought… and therefore wrong… again. Oh well.
I started in the School of Architecture in 1984, and waited patiently and eagerly to be presented with this pure principle. The weeks became months and as is the way of it… turned into years, as I continued to await enlightenment!
All I kept receiving and perceiving was more opinions – nothing that rang out like a truth bell. I was being gifted with the slow realisation and appreciation of the limitations of thoughts, words, opinions and perceptions that generated them.
I recall being told by one of the lecturers that the best way to get through the school (the truth? ha ha) was to study the masters, pick one that you resonate with, study their style and learn to imitate / regurgitate that style. There… sorted! Easy really.
WHOA! Did I hear that right? Learn to repackage someone else’s perceptions of reality and truth? And is that better or worse than generating my own version and adding that to the whole mix? I was confused again, but thankfully did not have to suffer a kidney punch to mark the occasion.
But CONFUSION is good! It instils a state of unrest. ‘Con – Fusion’ – against focus, which when utilised creatively can often lead to clarity and deeper understanding. For me this came in the form of a Japanese karate Sensei or Teacher.
I had begun studying and practicing traditional karate when I started in college. I absolutely loved it and continue to practice the art today. It became the perfect counterbalance on every level to my architecture. Each summer provided four months of time in London to work and train. I entered the ‘Dojo’, or training space for one of the world’s foremost karate teachers. With puppy dog enthusiasm (for which I have become famous for!) I placed myself physically at the front of the class – not realising that there was a strict and well-established hierarchy and seniority in this club, and I was completely breaking every unspoken rule! What the senior students interpreted as deep arrogance was more correctly understood by the teacher as childlike readiness to learn and grow.
After a few gentle but savage beatings by some seniors (in the interests of character development!) the Sensei took me aside and told me in his broken English that I needed to go back to basics, study basics and practice basics. He used his hands to create a pyramid structure, and said the basics represented and formed the foundation of the pyramid. He said that the stronger and wider the base, the higher the pinnacles that can be built on it.
This blew me away (and this time I did not have to have the message physically thumped home!). It was so obvious, so simple, indeed it was never meant to be hard! Back to pure principle, back to basics. I practiced more, studied more, and took every opportunity to make myself open to recognise and embed the pure principles underlying natural growth and expression.
In martial arts there is a ready position called ‘Kamae’ in Japanese. This position provides the starting point of all movement and expression. The physical stance involves standing with feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, and your spine held vertical like beads on a string hooked to the sky. This physical stance in turn supports and facilitates a mental stance, called ‘Mu-shin’, or No-Mind. As the expression suggests, this state is one of no attachment to thoughts, perceptions or expectations. A state of present moment consciousness. Rather than suggest a dormant or sleep like state, Mu-shin involves increase receptivity and awareness, which leads to more coherent brainwave activity, which in turn invites in more information and increased awareness.
The physical expression and movement that occurs from this state is a direct function of the level of awareness immediately prior to the movement. So if stillness creates naturally efficient and beautiful movement, then might this be true for all creative processes, including the design of space? In the gap between the thoughts I was beginning to glimpse another level of understanding.
This small flame of awareness was gently kindled when a book fell of the library shelf on wet evening and hit me literally on the head. I am beginning to think all of my ‘AHA!’ moments involved some level of physical pain! I guess I am a bit slow on the uptake and the Universe needs to get my attention sometimes! The name of the book was ‘A Timeless Way of Building’ by Christopher Alexander and others.
This book explored patterns of form and expression of space as observed in living systems and environments. Reading this book gave me great hope and inspiration, and although the truth continued to remain somewhat illusive I felt I was getting closer. Just waited for the piano to drop on my head, and finish the job.
Fifteen years have passed since ‘graduation’. A time filled with marriage to a most wonderful woman, Heather, the co-creation of a home and family of four beautiful children, Nadia, Maiya, Luka and Kalia. This time has been spent in open pursuit of knowledge and understanding, generally misguided and off the wall, but enthusiastic nonetheless! I travelled to learn and practice, studying Feng Shui – the Chinese Art of Harmonic Placement, Permaculture, Shamanism, Sacred Geometry and Sustainable living.
It was with an introduction to Sacred Geometry that something inside me went ‘bing’ – a switch was flicked and I knew it was significant. (and this time I avoided being hit by anyone – now there’s evolution!) I immersed myself in it, absorbing and studying, literally developing a new language to interpret, describe and express a whole new way to understand the generative basis of life and creation.
It was then that the words of my trigger happy religion teacher came back to me – ‘to know, love and serve God’. Hey, could it be that simple? and indeed that hard?
To Know – to develop awareness – to train the mind.
To Love – to embed this awareness in a way of being which was based on the heart, the seat of the soul.
To Serve – the inevitable third stage when the first two have been engaged.
So the first stage – Knowledge. To Know. Knowledge begins with the accumulation of information but subtly leads to awareness. Whilst it may be impossible to actual ‘know’ everything in terms of linear storage and retrieval, it may not be impossible to develop an awareness of everything. This is a subtle but vital distinction. If stillness or a still mind can create a centering force for information. The more still a mind the more receptive it is to information. A mind already filled with knowledge has no room for truth.
The second stage – Love. To love. There is a Sufi saying: ‘since only love can bend the light, only love creates’. This will become more meaningful as our journey unfolds. For now it is useful to think of love as a centering force, an openess to receive and incorporate information, literally a hygiene of embedding different frequencies of energy in our physiology.
The third stage – Service. To Serve. To be available.
To step beyond ego, beyond the confines of personality and judgement.
To be a vehicle of change, to facilitate the joyful unfolding of creation.
To Know, Love and Serve. Awareness and Compassion, or Head and Heart leading to Healing.
So where does that leave us? Well, back to the reason for this book, and why the title ‘DreamWeaving? I had resisted the idea of writing a book, as I have a difficulty taking myself too seriously. I also felt that as we continue to evolve and grow so too will our perceptions, and as such the book content will be limited to that snapshot of awareness. But then I thought… so what?!… it could be fun, and might even help the Unfolding!
The title emerged from a continuing desire to strip away the layers of opinion and ego that permeates much of the designed world we have created. We are all living in a dream world, an illusion of separation and individuality, a construct of the mind, where we get to play at weaving the winds of charge and change to knit a life of apparent meaning. All the while Life continues to explore what’s possible.
The subtitle ‘how to Shape, Surf and Share the Sacred’ is generated by and directly refers to the ‘knowing, loving and serving’ – the software of creation. The word ‘Sacred’ can be taken to mean true sustainability.
I have opted to use a multi faceted approach to presenting the information and engaging the reader, in the hope that the truth will have many playful opportunities to peep through. This melting pot of presentations will hopefully facilitate a more context rich immersion in the subject. Indeed it may be possible to get a good understanding of the pure principles from just one idiom, but a greater chance from a multidimensional one! In other words there are a number of books embedded in each other, sharing time and space, but each holding its own perspective and integrity.
For each chapter I randomly (ha ha) chose a Tao Te Ching card from a beautiful publication by Chao-Hsiu Chen. Each Taoist poem offers a wonderful insight into the subject matter of each chapter.
Similarly, I sought guidance and information through shamanic journeys and gave detailed accounts of each one. Also, in the interests of humour being a bridge to understanding I included a lavish dose of cartoons, which may end up making more sense than the general script! Speaking of the general script, there will be some of that thrown in for good measure, supported by drawings, photos, narratives and assorted images. The overall book shape is, you might have noticed, five sided. The reason for this will become apparent as the journey unfolds.. so be patient!
So play with this, have fun with this, experience and trust the process! Spiral in along the arm of expression, allow the language to settle and embed. But pleaaassssseee do not believe a word I say, and please do not take this all too seriously! I would not want to be responsible for filling you with yet more ‘opinion’. I would much rather be of use in freeing you from the confines or your own perceptions, so that you can embed the pure principle yourself.
Enjoy the ride, smile and breathe!
So here are some guidelines to outline this creative process!
Relax and Enjoy the Creative Process.
Play with images that emerge from your subconscious as you open to conceive your ‘perfect’ space – allow these ‘keys’ to inform the next stage.
Learn the symmetry operations of Nature – or at least gently demand that your architect does – the shape of the space is ALL – symmetry creates implosion = LIFE.
Engage the land with awareness and respect – connect, relate, honour and support the elemental realm. Remember, the land is their home too. Learning and practicing basis Shamanic skills is recommended.
Dowse and map your site – find the power points and the hot spots. Learn to engage and effect positive and sustainable change through awareness and compassion. Keep the map updated.
Work with the elements of the land (Feng Shui) – maximize south light and heat. Provide shelter to North – develop awareness of prevailing winds etc.
Chose materials which can hold charge still – ie ones that still retain biological charge holding capabilities – such as wood, wool, straw, earth, stone, natural fabrics and some selected metals (see chart below).
Consciously choose heating and powering systems which are energetically sustainable and repairable – as well as protocols and wiring layouts that minimize or eliminate electro smog.
Build with respect, fearlessness and playfulness! Trust the process – allow the building to become a fractal attractor… and let the magic loose! This is Bio Architecture.
Be open to view the whole creative process as a personal bio feedback exploration of self. Use the situations and experiences that present as an opportunity to see where you might still hold ‘issue’ or charge over. Remember, a truly sustainable environment begins with our hearts – everything else flows from that!
Smile and Breathe – ultimately the best door into this wondrous way of being in the world creatively and sustainably!