A dream after seeing a sculpture

A creation by Tony Cragg

The words of the song speak the thoughts of the dawn.
Round, like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel,
like the circles that you find, in the windmills of your mind,
Questions to be explored, layers concealing layers, perceptions dimly sensed.

Structured as if in a Tony Cragg creation,
The outer layer speaks, yet conceals what lies within,
Layer concealing layer, strata with its own timeline,
it’s own meaning, making a concealed contribution to the Whole.

What is it I fail to grasp? What moves just beyond my perception?
When I reach out to touch, what is it that moves away?
Elusive as a butterfly darting in the mind, one moment illuminated,
The next hidden, only the question remains, what lies below?

Below my ordinary perception, below the superficiality that surrounds,
Layer below layer, atom forming structure, concealing the quantum mystery,
Mystery wrapped within enigma. Is perception possible? Is it all an illusion?
Or instead, tantalising glimpses of the layers below?

Myth and legend swirl, concealing tradition and history,
One generation follows another, some forgetting, a few retaining,
Knowledge, understanding, but fast diminishing, leaving only distorted echoes,
Of what was once crystal clear. Now lost, only the faintest echo, sounds in the void.

What was there at the edge of my perception? In the dreaming swirl that comes,
As morning dawns, when the mind hovers between the clarity of the day and the dreamy mists of the night.
A glimpse perhaps of the hidden seams concealed within the mind? The magicians who move amongst the unseen layers?
Who make, form, breathes life into the mystery that is hidden? Come the dawn, the vision fades, grows faint, and only a diminishing echo remains.


I was fascinated by the way that Tony Cragg fashioned his sculptures. Beneath each layer, he places another layer, sometimes apparently unconnected with what went before, sometimes crafted by one of Tony’s assistants.

A different set of hands, eyes, meaning. Without seeing the creation from beginning to end in some kind of god-like way, how can anyone know the layers beneath the layers?

Know, let alone understand, what lies below? What is intended even? Just as we view a tree, not seeing the roots, the flow of the sap, the earth and air connections, and beneath all, the swirling movement of the Universe that embrace it and us.

(Tony Cragg is a British born sculptor who now lives in Germany. He is known for his exploration of unconventional materials, including plastic, fibreglass, bronze, and Kevlar. According to Art World, Craggs’ sculptures embody a frozen moment of movement, resulting in swirling abstractions.

The archer, the arrow and the target are united in the “dance”.

I based a chapter in my book, the Wisdom of Rhiannon, on the famous book by Eugen Herrigel, Zen in the Art of Archery.  As a Western visitor to 1930’s Japan, and a lecturer in Philosophy, Herrigel found it almost – but not quite – impossible to learn the Way of the Archer.

It involves not using the mind, not taking aim, but instead stilling the mind, holding the bow steady until “it”, as Herrigel’s teacher called it, determined when to let the arrow fly.  At that point, and only at that point, did the archer, the arrow, and the target become one.  To Herrigel’s frustration, his attempts to hit the target by improving his technique, the strength in his bow arm, and his concentration, all failed and only resulted in his Master’s increasing ire.  Always the guidance was to wait until “it” determined when the arrow should be released.

And then comes this passage toward the end of the book:

“Do you now understand,” the Master asked me one day after a particularly good shot, what I mean by “It shoots”, “It hits”?

“I’m afraid I don’t understand anything more at all,” I answered, “even the simplest things have got into a muddle. Is it “I” who draws the bow, or is it the bow that draws me into the state of highest tension? Do “I” hit the goal, or does the goal hit me? ….. Bow, arrow, goal and the ego , all melt into one another, so that I can no longer separate them. And even the need to separate has gone. For as soon as I take the bow and shoot, everything becomes so clear and straight-forward, and so ridiculously simple ..”

All is One!

Begin it now.

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back.  Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment that one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too.  All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred.  A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.  Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it.  Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.  Begin it now.

Attributed to Goethe.


If anyone wants proof that we have a long way to go in understanding the way the Universe works, look no further than entanglement. Einstein hated it.  He called it “spooky action at a distance”, trying to prove with others that it was a flaw in the theory of quantum physics.

But it does work.  And it has been proved to work time after time. And not only that, it works instantly, over vast distances.  Entangle or “link’ two particles, change an aspect of one, and the other changes – instantly.  Even though as Einstein showed, you cannot travel faster than the speed of light, disruption of entanglement is an instant process.

And physicists can’t explain it. Well, that’s not strictly true.  There is one explanation, but it’s such a mind boggling explanation, that most people shy away from it.

The explanation – that everything is already connected!  You, me, the stars, every atom  in the whole Universe.

I rather like it!

Energy, good, bad, diverted

For more than ten years I practised Aikido, a Japanese martial art.  I was never very competent at it, but it did teach me one thing, and that’s about observing another’s energy.

The Japanese word Ai-ki-do translates broadly as the way of harmonious spirit, with the Ai also meaning Love.  I adored the concept, someone goes to attack you, and you simply turn their own energy back on them, no anger, no hurt, just taking the outstretched fist a little further than the attacker is comfortable with, they fall over, you run!

No hate, no anger, just love and compassion.

And the application of the lesson?  When you meet with another, in meetings, in relationships, in any way whatever there is always an energy that the another radiates.  Sometimes it is wonderful and warm. Coming home from work, and your children rush to greet you.  Going into the corner shop, and the shopkeeper gives you a broad smile of welcome.  Meeting an old friend unexpectedly.

And then there is the negative energy that some another can radiate.  The glare from another car driver caught in the Monday morning queue into work, the impatience radiated by the shop assistant as you fumble for your change, or the anger from someone in a passionate argument.

And what have I learnt?

That you can learn to see, to recognise, that energy, good or bad.

And when you can do that, then you have a choice. To choose to accept that energy, and radiate it back, good or bad.

Or, especially if the energy is bad, to sidestep it, to remain calm, to choose to allow it to pass you by, to not get caught by it.

Instead to reflect Love, Ai, to know that actually there is no opponent, only the dance.



There is just Love

The structure of the Universe bubbles and froths. Particles and ghost particles come into existence, embrace, and vanish.  From this quantum energy was born the Stars, the Planets, all, the all that includes us.

What is this energy that confounds science?  The name they give it is “the vacuum energy”.  But can it’s true name be Love, Love unbounded perhaps?