Yesterday was Anzac Day, in Australia, which is when servicemen and women are remembered and honoured. It is also when the shops don’t open till 1 p.m. As it’s a once-a-year phenomenon, people often forget. I, along with a growing collection of citizens, stood outside the local supermarket waiting for it to open. The local homeless man sat next to the entrance, ready for donations. He probably isn’t homeless but I can’t call him a beggar because he is too polite and dignified. He has a profession – he asks for money.
“Got a few spare coins, love?” he always asks. If you say no, he doesn’t object. If you give him something, he always says, “Thanks, love.”
The human psyche gets in the way of spiritual progress. Without understanding it, we will be fighting an invisible enemy. As soon as it becomes more visible to us, its days are numbered. Rather than trying to delete our mental chatter in meditation, it helps to look at it objectively and go into it. The chatter tells us what we are thinking and what our fears and angers are.
In the beginning years of my consciousness-awareness, during my long daily walks, I would start off just naturally thinking about all the things that were currently preoccupying the surface of my mind. It’s easy. You go with the stream of thought. However, rather than becoming blindly immersed in the thoughts, I would watch them. I didn’t stop them. I let them continue, but I would watch and ask myself certain questions:
What are my fears at this moment? Am I sad or grieving anything? Am I angry with anyone? Do I want something? What are my thoughts telling me?
My doctor didn’t beckon me into her consulting room with her usual cheery greeting. Noted but unconcerned, I entered.
She paused for dramatic effect and said, “I suppose you could tell by my message that it isn’t good news.”
She looked at me to make sure that I was suitably concerned. The receptionist phoned, a few days earlier, asking me to make an immediate appointment to discuss test results. I explained that I was interstate visiting family and was told that a few days wait would be fine. Then, I filed the issue in the back of my mind feeling that all would be well.
“Weak latte (no sugar). Hot chocolate,” yelled the Waldmeer barista.
Merlyn grabbed her coffee and headed for the door. They put sugar in my coffee, she thought as she sipped it. Hang on,that’s not sweet coffee. It’s hot chocolate. The orders have been muddled.Oh, well, it tastes delicious. She thenturned her thoughts to the recipient of her latte who would be missing their own order of hot chocolate. Looking around for a likely suspect, she easily spotted a woman, about her age, staring at her drink. Merlyn wondered what her reaction would be. The woman seemed to be weighing up the benefits of caffeine versus sugar and, like Merlyn, decided to go with the flow. Merlyn then realised that the mixed-drink-recipient was Esther, the psychologist.
It was Monday morning. As Ben walked through the glass doors of the State Ballet building, he came across one of the older professionals of the company, a friend of many years.
“Morning, Ben,” said the man. “How’s Store Creek going?”
“Morning,” said Ben. “Fine. I suppose.”
Truth be told, two weekends had passed since Ben had seen Merlyn. More, he hadn’t even spoken to her. Nor had he messaged. Every day, if not many times a day, he checked his messages to see if she had messaged him. She hadn’t.
Seeing the look on Ben’s face, his friend said tentatively, “Look, buddy, I thought you were back together but if things aren’t going quite to plan, I have a suggestion.” He waited to see Ben’s reaction. As there was no obvious displeasure from Ben about a suggestion, he continued, “The missus and I have had our ups and downs over the years. I think most people think that we have been very fortunate with our marriage and we have been but, the thing is, everyone has their problems. God knows, we’ve had many.”
After six months of living in Store Creek with the cold weather, it was good to finally arrive at spring’s doorstep. Merlyn wondered if that was why Ben had decided to visit today. He said it was a rental inspection. But that was just a joke. At least, Merlyn hoped it was a joke. Although it was two years since their separation, they had been married for three years. Nothing needed inspecting.
My grandfather, Michael John Pope, was a pioneer farmer in outback New South Wales, Australia. He built his small, four-room home, Little Oakey, from the creek-stones of the area. Behind the house was a wattle and daub (clay) kitchen and cellar. In that little home, with his wife Mary Jane, he raised five children in, what would be considered by today’s standards, primitive isolation. One of his daughters, my aunt, describes Little Oakey,
Our home was situated on Little Oakey Creek; a very pretty spot surrounded by lovely oak trees and mountains. There were paddocks, a creek running by the orchard, haystacks, a vegetable garden, wells dug in both gardens, wildflowers growing all around the flats, and a spring where we all swam. I always loved our home and dreamed about it many times and had happy times when going to school. Ann Pope