Archive for April, 2016

The Real Son Of Saul

I see that Son of Saul, the Hungarian film about a Jewish slave worker in Auschwitz is about to be released in the UK. I’m sure it will be a gruelling experience, but I am looking forward to seeing the film. This film is fictional, but my book I Survived a Secret Nazi Extermination Camp contains the real story of a Jewish slave worker in Belzec, one of the Operation Reinhard extermination factories. Rudolf Reder was the only post-war survivor of this hell hole, where 650,000 Jews and Gypsies were murdered. In 1946 he gave an account of his experiences to a Jewish Historical Commission which was gathering testimonies for use in future war crimes trials of the Nazis.  Reder’s witness statement, which runs to 40 pages, is a highly detailed, graphic and horrific account of what he saw and experienced. It is not easy to read the painful incidents that he recounts. When people ask me if I plan to make a film of the book, my response is that if the story were told truthfully, it would be the most painful horror film which would force all viewers to avert their eyes. So I am interested to see how the director in Son of Saul manages to show the unbelievable cruelties that occurred in Auschwitz  to innocent men, women and children.

Advertisements

April 13, 2016 at 9:11 am 1 comment

The 7th Python: The Twat Stage

This week we are starting the second phase of social media publicity and marketing for my book The 7th Python. Previously we used as visuals the clever cartoon cover of the book by Owen Williams and two Gilliam-style animations that Ruth Barratt made for us. The copy was focused on letting people know about the book and its subject matter. But the book also has a sub-title: A Twat’s Tale. This is the name that Eric Idle called me, and so I took it on for the book. For this next phase we are going to use the same graphics but this time we’ve come up with some items- funny and informative – that have to do with twat, and yes, I’m afraid that both Donald Trump and Twatter do make an appearance.

Patrice Stephens is again doing our Digital Publicity with Nigel Passingham in charge of the campaign.

http://www.the7thpython.com

Follow us on Facebook

April 2, 2016 at 2:29 pm Leave a comment

A Spiritual Almanack- April: Blossom

Hexagram 1: Heaven (The Creative Principle)

A flower opens to the sun; our hearts open to the universe.

The rising sun radiates energy throughout the sky, filling the space below the heavens and covering the earth, its heat penetrating all things, quickening them into life and nourishing their development. Whatever the light touches it illuminates and clarifies, exposing hidden shadows, just as the energy of our consciousness – our awareness, thoughts and feelings – illuminate and clarify everything within and without.

Commentary On The Symbol:

The creative principle acts with vitality and persistence.

In correspondence with this

The cultivated person stays vital without ceasing.

Heaven covers everything on earth, and originates all creatures. It is a single flow of energy, continuously circulating, never ceasing, moving forward endlessly and inexhaustibly. The way of the creative is constant change and transformation, allowing each being to evolve into its own nature and opening a path to its true destiny.

The creative, Heaven, is the ultimate of health, vitality and strength, and is the source of our own health and soundness. If we follow the Way of Heaven, we are in harmony with nature, and can adapt to the changes we face, knowing when to move forward and when to stop, when to seize the moment and when to let the moment pass by. Adapting correctly to all change, we find a way that is prosperous and smooth, the obstacles we encounter do not block us, and our path reveals itself in time, each footstep and each decision opening new vistas, new possibilities.

A lily produced in spring is a marvel of creativity. It embodies the ultimate unfolding of yang, the true positive energy of creation. When positive energy is born, all things cannot help but blossom. They are all in process, are transforming and happening, are flowing events rather than fixed and solid objects.

Someone asked Chan Master Wen-Yen,

What is the fundamental idea of Buddhism?”

The Master answered,

When Spring comes, the grass turns green of itself.”

The rain falls, clouds disperse, the sun emerges, and all forms develop of themselves. To follow the way of Heaven is to actualise Tao in your daily life, to interfuse the sacred and mundane in your own body, mind and spirit. This opens the doors of perception, as it did for William Blake:

To see a world in a grain of sand

And a heaven in a wild flower

 

The energy that opens the flower wakes you in the morning. The quality of strength in people is this same primal creative energy of heaven. This energy comes spontaneously to everything from nature, is strong but has no need of force. It is bright and lucid, illuminating everything like the sun at midday. When it appears the earth is covered with growth, the world is filled with golden flowers.

Her name was Shidie Lin, she was seventeen months old and at one month her mother had abandoned her at the steps of an orphanage. The passport picture they sent us showed a sad, perplexed little girl. Did we want to adopt her? Having waited for six frustrating years, there was no hesitation, no matter how deep her sadness. She was healthy and needed a home, no more to be said. They delivered her to our hotel room, a scrawny, tight-jawed, bowl-legged tyke with dozens of ugly mosquito bites on her legs, and a strangely-shaped head. What had we taken on? Six months later, she has blossomed into a smiling, bonny, round-faced, straight-legged toddler who loves life. Love, human warmth, food and security have made her bloom. We call her Lily.

Yoga teacher Vanda Scaravelli writes,

As the sun opens the flowers delicately, unfolding them little by little, so the yoga exercises and breathing open the body during a slow and careful training. When the body is open, the heart is open.

Yoga gives us openness and flexibility of mind and body, and opens our spirit, so that we feel the relationship between heaven, earth and all sentient beings. This feeling of oneness and unity gives us a sense of connectedness to all creation, so that we never feel alone. The asanas help develop a core strength that gives us an inner confidence and centeredness that allows us to blossom into our true self without fear and doubt.

The Brihad Devata says: ‘All that exists is born from the sun’. The ancient yoga exercise, Salute To The Sun (surya namaskar) puts us in touch with the universal energy of the cosmos. The harmonious pattern of postures united in circular movements flowing into each other are part of a whole, just as a petal is part of a flower. Traditionally the sequence is performed at dawn facing east towards the rising sun so that in raising our hands upwards we offer the sun and the universe a respectful salute. The golden warmth of the sun is received by our hearts and welcomed with great love and thanks.

We need to open ourselves to the light so that we can learn to trust ourselves and the universe. As the Mundaka Upanishad says:

The Lord of Love shines in everyone’s heart. When we are wise and see the Lord of Love in all living things, we lose ourselves in the service of all and find ultimate peace and joy. With truth, meditation, self-control and discipline, we can find ourselves in this state of joy and see the inner spirit, our real essence, shining in our hearts.

Every day the sun rises to say “You are alive – enjoy it!” and every night when you go to bed, reflect on how wonderful it is just to be alive, to breathe and feel the joy of existence itself.

April 1, 2016 at 11:11 am Leave a comment


The Blog That Fell From The Sky

Reflections on an age of anxiety.

Categories