To be Free

Release from the shackles of a mind made prison, sought for so many years and yet so recently achieved.

The bars of the cage dissolve, as illusory as once they seemed so real.

Watching a kestrel hover above a marshy field, its every feather vibrant in the wintry sun, quivering in the strong breeze.

Swooping for its not so lucky prey but that too seems the way of the world.

A pair of buzzards wheel and shreik above, chased by angry crows.

A snow white egret lands the other side of the reedy stream, a leggy grey heron languorously swoops above the treetops.

This is life, this am I too. Part of what is all around me. An animal, a relative (and not so very distant) of all that I see on this and every other day in the quiet countryside of a little green island.

Would that I had witnessed this pleasant land a hundred or a thousand years ago.

Even now there is enough beauty left to mock and ridicule the small conceits and irrelevant concerns of a species which has long lost its way. Or has it? Perhaps we were never designed to see through the deceptions which bind us.

How quietly amusing it all seems from a distance. Of what consequence the concerns of man, viewed from a point where eternity stretches to infinity across time and space.

Rustling leaves, the gentle murmuring of the wind. A trickling brook, the far off roar of the sea.

Shelter, enough to eat and a medicine man. What else required to live in peace and harmony with a planet still beautiful enough to be worth saving.

But if the machinations of the naked ape finally destroy all I see around me, then that too must be. For what point resisting the tide, fighting and struggling unaware billions who look still for unachievable, illusory goals.

Did they but know it, less is more. Could they but see it, yearning serves only to whet an appetite.

War and conquest, physical or sublimated through the world of commerce. Dominance, the need to defeat and to rule. To humiliate and subjugate.

No peace to be found in such unrest. Do their restless souls not see that only quiet will ever satisfy. That all else serves only to foster greater craving, that all such yearning is never sated.

Is that awakening? The abandonment of more. Bearing witness to the circuitous treadmill and stepping off it.

Emptying the mind, unlearning the destructive habits of an unwise and poorly led life.

Who will awaken or wants to. How many will turn their thoughts inward and ask whether they have understood. How few will change their ways.

Some perhaps. Who knows, one day a trickle may become a stream. One day may greed and violence lose their potency. One day may we realize the purposelessness of lives led in the pursuit of the unachievable.

In the meantime, does any of it truly matter. Do good and bad exist or are they just a matter of perspective. Accept all and nothing will disappoint.

But keep out of their way, if you can. Ask them to leave ambition on the doorstep when they come to visit. Ignore the quest for more and shrug at any assumption of superiority.

Peace may be achieved by remaining small and invisible. Not getting trampled under foot by a thundering herd seeking countries which will never be found.

Race, colour, creed, gender. What an irrelevance. Class, pomp, snobbery, position. What thin gruel.

And so a quiet evening after a day of revelation, if that does not sound too grand.

Fingers spreading maladept over a keyboard. A little work on the latest eccentric algorithm which will likely be still born – the latest in a long line of dead pups.

And Rachmaninov – lost in the glory of his Vespers. Russian liturgy, what solace.

Getting there. Or somewhere. Nowhere to go, nothing to do. Released from the shackles of the mind, a modest awakening of sorts perhaps.

A freedom which has come from letting go. Grasp nothing.

13 Comments

  1. A wonderful lyrical poem on many levels … thank you, Anthony. I’m reposting this as you so kindly did announce I could repost any of your work..This one is outstanding. Why don’t you ask your university’s publlshing house where they’d recommend you to look for an agent who takes on poetic works?

    In the meantime, how’s your book of essays coming along? Nearly finished? (No pressure!).

    Regards, Keith.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My dear Keith, you are most welcome to re-post anything I write. I have you to thank for setting me straight on one or two things and while I would be foolish to claim every day is a joy, nonetheless I have come to see that reality is much as you say it is. Life is a great deal better at this end than before and your ideas have been very beneficial to me. I fear I have done little on my book of essays – and perhaps I ought to contact a publisher. Although perhaps the value of my writings, to me at least, as been as an agent to trigger real change in me. Perhaps I will remain content to plot my journey and to let those who come across my rambling thoughts take them. Or indeed leave them. Perhaps to pursue publication is “ambition” and “worldliness” which I may best avoid. The jury is out at my end but I will certainly give it further thought. I guess my “quest”, my passion (if you like) is the continuing search for truth and reality. Perhaps that is enough for me.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sublime! That’ was the elusive word ringing through my head as I read “To Be Free”. (From Ron’ poetic comment above I surmise he would agreenwith me). Your lyric is sublime.

    Thank you for your kind reply. It is much appreciated.

    I understand the self examination motive for your growingly inspired writing and why you want to retain the purity of the life changing focus you’re being given. Still, the human part of me hopes a Boswell will eventually take on the task of getting your inspirational work duly noted without too much distraction …

    Keith.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Anthony,

    Thank you some lovely writing and happy mind pictures. But just one thought re “Would that I had witnessed this pleasant land a hundred or a thousand years ago” yes, if witnessed from your/mine current position within society, but as an average peasant or average member of the working or labouring class of the time – perhaps not.

    Very relevant In Our Time on R4 this morning – Piers Plowman (circa 1370) Best wishes. On again this evening at 9.30 or via BBC Sounds App. Best wishes,

    Brian

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    1. Quite right of course Brian. And the same point applies equally to the present era. Rather easier to achieve equanimity with a roof over our heads, the NHS and food on the table. Less so for the vast majority of the world. Sadly. Thank you for your kind words and I will listen to Piers with great pleasure.
      A

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  4. This poetic rendering is proof enough that you have more than sufficient resources and skill with words to compose and execute any writing endeavor you might wish to take on. Lyrical hardly begins to describe what you have created here, but it crosses over to profundity with an ease and grace that might well be performed as a poem that is sung to the lyre.

    This excerpt caught my attention especially:

    “One day may greed and violence lose their potency. One day may we realize the purposelessness of lives led in the pursuit of the unachievable.

    In the meantime, does any of it truly matter? Do good and bad exist or are they just a matter of perspective? Accept all and nothing will disappoint.”

    These are some of the most important issues of our day, and while you seem to leave the seeking of the answers to the reader, in posing these questions, you force us to confront them. I would suggest that some of it does truly matter, and that good and bad are not simply or completely a matter of perspective. There are necessities which sometimes compel us to act in one way or another, and objectively real aspects of life that one might rightly describe as clearly good or clearly bad, but what you are pointing to requires us to consider our perspectives in view of your remarkably insightful observations of the benefits of peaceful acceptance and quiet contemplation in coming to terms with life’s challenges.

    Whether or not you decide to pursue a particular path going forward with regards to your writing, I hope you will continue to seek out opportunities to express yourself as you have here. We are all the better for it!

    Respectfully….John H.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your generous words John. Perhaps good and bad matter only in the context of a universe where a high level of consciousness exists. There is an odd contradiction in Eastern philosophy in some senses. On the one hand we are told to be accepting and to roll with the punches and that good and bad must be accepted as part of the overall package. On the other, we are told that we must live a righteous existence and seek to do good or at least no harm.

      Whether or not there is any objective “good” or “bad” in the universe, I would still argue that our consciousness creates concepts of good and bad and that many of us feel obliged to act accordingly.

      I do not condone “bad” and I wish nothing but “good” for people. Had I the power, energy or enthusiasm I would work towards making a better world.

      But I do not. Also, in a sense, I suspect that it would be pointless. Humanity is stuck in its ways and short of genetic modification is likely to remain there.

      Perhaps science will bail us out. Perhaps not.

      In any event, I will at least seek to do no harm. Other than that, I will ignore the world since there is little I can do about it.

      Best regards
      A

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  5. When you become nothing, you become everything 😉 Peace can also be grand and Universe encompassing! If you search Matt Kahn Ascension and read his recent posts, he believes a lot of people are awakening at the moment as a result of slowing down and having to face themselves. This could be a pivotal, exciting time in the history of humanity!

    Liked by 1 person

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