Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Elusive Still Point 2

Lack of Centre: The Still Point Could Not Hold

Spinning Wheel, Ionad an Bhlascaoid, 2005
In the last post I gave a descriptive definition of Still Point describing it thus: The ability to attain Solid Ground in the NOW is what I mean by THE STILL POINT of existence, and it is rather like a Viewing Point from where we can view the path we have travelled upward on our journey. It is also a point from where we can view the rest of the journey we have to make. However, the real point about this Viewing Point is that we can objectively observe the whole Vista or Panorama before us without getting caught up in either the path travelled or the path to be travelled that lies before us. The point is that this Viewing Point or place of Solid Ground is a STILL POINT, an objective place from where we can objectively observe what is happening in our bodies and in our minds right here in the Now.

Now let me use another image for this STILL POINT : a classical image this time, that of the HUB of the WHEEL.  This is a potent and powerful image that appeals visually to me.  When a many-spoked wheel is spinning quickly one can see the centre of the wheel or hub as stationary, yet all the forces of the spokes are centripetally running towards the central stationary point.  With my school physics I know this and understanding one of Newton's basic laws of motion that to each and every force in the individual spoke there is an equal and opposite one on the circumference of the wheel wanting to pull away from the force tethering it at the hub.  This equal and opposite force is called the centrifugal force.  That's all the physics I know really as regards the wheel.  Yet this basic law is a wonderful one is it not to explain imaginatively the power of THE STILL POINT?   In other words, the TETHERING HUB is an image par excellence for this STATIONARY POINT or STILL POINT.

The Centre did not hold during The Celtic Tiger Era:

I am reminded here of the tragedy of The Celtic Tiger years in Ireland when literally the nation as a whole had no central hub, no stationary point, no still point from which to balance its onward motion, no point of equanimity of soul.  In fact, in the visionary and prophetic words of our greatest national poet, W.B. Yeats(1865 – 1939) the truth was stated thus in his wonderful poem The Second Coming:

TURNING and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Irish kitchen dresser, Ionad an Bhlascaoid

Indeed during The Celtic Tiger Era the leaders of the Irish Nation, The Bankers and the Speculators lost all sense of reality. In other words the wheel they were spinning in had no hub at all. The very spokes of that imaginal wheel flew apart and were scattered in a tsunami of greed into a great Black Hole which sucked the very life and soul out of the whole nation. Yes indeed, we must point the finger. We must blame those who are to be blamed, and hopefully put these rudderless gamblers into prison. They sold the nation a lie, a lie which all too many of us swallowed whole. We are not blameless, indeed, but let's be objective, too, our leaders were the main culprits, be they politicians, bankers, investors, speculators and all their over-paid henchmen (I use this word advisedly as pretty few if any women were involved in this corruption first hand: they merely comforted their men in their downfall!) who sold the lie of endless wealth to the small fish in the pond.

If one good thing comes from the death of The Celtic Tiger mentality it may be the reviving of The Celtic Soul which has lain lifeless for far too long now. New breath and life needs to breathed into that national soul. We need a need a new ethics, a new brotherhood and sisterhood of a proper and a real Republic which embraces all her children equally. With a spiritual centre or hub, things will stop flying apart and the centre will hold, and mere anarchy will be halted in its onward march - it will, indeed have to beat a retreat. We need a national STILL POINT or CENTRE or HUB or STATIONARY POINT or SOLID GROUND or VIEWING POINT from which to progress as a people and as a nation that values all its children equally. Now this is no mere pipe dream. It was not countenanced during the Era of THE CELTIC TIGER (dead and gone, thankfully, and hopefully forever!) because greed and more greed became a soul-consuming philosophy. In the metaphoric words of Jesus Christ, "What doth it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul." I quote these wise and profound words here not in a religious sense but in a spiritual one where by soul I mean all that marks us humans out as different from our animal brothers and sisters - our imagination, our vision, our values, our loves, our hopes, our ethics, our morals, our vision, our goals, our dreams, our unity in diversity, our music, our creativity in all its incarnations, our open-handed embracing of differences, our loving and compassionate linked arms around this hurting world and so on and so forth!

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