the feminine face

Untitled -  2014 - Melinda Blair Paterson
Untitled – 2014 – Melinda Blair Paterson

This week I received an email newsletter from SAND (Science and Non Duality). You may have heard of them? They are an organisation that promote wonderful teachers in these fields, and hold a number of popular conferences throughout the year both in America and Europe, that discuss the nature of Consciousness. So it was a delight when I opened this beautiful email of images and information inviting me to view a new short film they had created titled ‘Exploring the Nature of Consciousness‘. I grabbed myself a cuppa and sat back to enjoy.

The opening images of streaming soft sunlight, people moving through nature, and calming music immediately set the tone to relax and receive. The first teacher appeared on screen to share… a man, then another and another. It did cut to an image of a beautiful young blond woman looking up into the camera with a gentle gaze. She never spoke. The next teacher came on screen…. a man. (Hmmm there might be a pattern here?) There were a few more images of women throughout the 6 minute video, one playing a cello on the beach, another looking into the sunset, and even a beautiful woman dancing whilst bathed in sunlight. Not one of these women spoke. The whole short film was of male teachers speaking about the nature of Consciousness. The video ended and I just sat there, not sure what to do with the sense of rising anger and the question:

Where are the women (teachers)?

It seemed that even though the film had been beautifully and thoughtfully crafted, it felt such a repeat of the old paradigm using only the male face of Life (God) to share information. Where were the women in this field? Surely I’m not the only one watching this short film noticing an obvious lack of the intelligent female face of Life, other than what appeared to be in the role of eye candy! Which brings me to another question. Why were the women all young?
Please SANDs (and the majority of media on this planet today) do not insult my innate intelligence, wisdom and knowing by offering the male form as THE only authority on a subject, and in particular, Consciousness. For the truth is Consciousness is neither male or female, and yet creates itself in both forms.

As my dear friend Miriam Louisa of This Unlit Light wrote recently on the same subject in her poem…

when you know yourself

you know that there is nothing that is not God

you know that the face of God
is the Face of faces
you know It as both He and She
and neither: nada
(…more)

Please know I have nothing against men, and in particular, male teachers, as I respectfully acknowledge the gifts and pointing I have received from both Adyashanti and Rupert Spira. However, having journeyed for over thirty years through the maze of 80s, 90s, and 00s of spiritual teachings, it is only in recent years I have thankfully found women (teachers) to help balance my deeply conditioned experience of the unconscious patriarchal authoritative culture we live in.

And yes slowly, ever so slowly, as each person awakens to the truth of who they are, this is changing. Which is why I feel when we are aware and have the opportunity to share wisdom, particularly on the subject of Consciousness, we present the Face of Truth, of Life, of God, as equally from both men and women. Mx

ps… Miriam Louisa has also created a page on her blog This Unlit Light titled: wideawake women, which came into being to highlight the fact that there are many clear and quietly powerful women pointing to the Great Perfection, each in their own way. Bless you Miriam. x

the aliveness of life

tree snake with melinda - image by MelindaBlairPaterson (Instagram)
tree snake hanging with Melinda – image by MelindaBlairPaterson (Instagram)

Coming home and seeing a snake hanging around… literally, is a great way to experience being ALIVE! Everything switches on doesn’t it?  The mind, body, and awareness all collide and collapse into the moment of now.

I’d been away for a few days and my friend (a curious and harmless tree snake) had moved into my patch whist I’d been travelling. Here in Australia we have a number of poisonous and deadly snakes, so from a young age we are educated to approach all snakes with caution. In fact we are taught not to approach them at all, but rather back away slowly and let the creature have ‘right-of-way’. So when I found this fellow between myself and the front door my assessing of the situation came at lightening speed; i.e.  probably, hopefully, prayerfully, it was ok for me to quickly pass and get inside. (Note… I did place my bag between my body and the snake just in case I was wrong in my educated guess of it being a tree snake.)

Once inside I realised my heart was pounding and the adrenalin had amped up to such a level I just had to jump around and shake myself a bit to settle somewhat, and I couldn’t stop laughing and squealing, it really was the most delightful experience. I decided to poke my nose out the door and see if the snake was still around. Sure enough, still hanging there on the wire. So suddenly I went from flight to fight…. well curiosity actually, and stepped out with my iPhone to take a photo. I mean it was so beautifully curled around the wire and such a glorious shade of green. I quietly stepped closer and closer. The snake lifted its head towards me, seemingly equally curious to know who I was. We had our moment… gazing at each other, the shot was taken, and then the snake effortless unwound itself and headed up onto the roof.

OMG… how alive is that!

In recent weeks I’ve found a letting go or lack of interest in speaking about or listening to non-duality teachings. What use to be a huge source of ‘hunger’ for many years has quietly and unsuspectingly been replaced with a sense of ‘enough’. There’s no residue in the change. No lingering thought or sensation wishing it was different, or missing how it use to be, but rather like the snake, something else has moved in when the ‘me’ had gone away for a few days.

What appears to be here now is a keen interest in the Alive-ness of life. It feels extraordinarily simple. There is no longer any need of books to read, teacher to listen to, or spiritual conversation to be had… but rather just being with whatever shows up in the day in a kind of fascination. Awareness and Aliveness appear to be one and the same. Mx

transfer

This blog originated on the Blogger platform in July 2012. The intention was, and still is, to share my thoughts and experiences of waking up (if I can be so bold to assume that’s happening) and interact with people experiencing the same.

transfer - Melinda Blair Paterson

Nearly two years later with no followers, (sorry I lie, there is one and I am deeply grateful to him) I find myself prompted by a friend to start the Blogging 101 online course with WordPress. Don’t get me wrong, and this is going to sound silly, but I really didn’t mind my blog being somewhat invisible. It gave me a sense of freedom to just write when I felt prompted and for my own pleasure. Now I’m feeling a bit braver and have a yearning to connect with people who are interested in non duality, awareness, awakening and truth.

When I was transferring this blog over this week I had to go back through each post and put in the Tags (it’s part of the back-end of WordPress blogging). This meant I also had to read every old post and find the key words and phrases. This exercise opened my eyes to where my perspective was nearly two years ago, and is now. I can see these writings/postings have become a kind of journal, a record, of my questioning and experiencing whilst walking the ‘waking up in Byron’ journey. I felt a quiet warmth in my heart about that, and I wish to acknowledge some of the people that have made this journey to date so rich, including: my dear friend Kathy, non duality teachers Rupert Spira and Adyashanti, Miriam Louisa Simons and her amazing blogs – the awakened eye, this unlit light, wondering mind studio and echoes from emptiness, and dearest to my heart, my partner – Alistair McKinnon.

I hope if you find your way here that you will join me and share your perspectives and experiencing also. I’d love that. 🙂

Cheers Mx

melinda blair paterson

Staying home

      image by melinda blair paterson

Sunday:  There is a deep peace here today and I have no idea here it came from or how it arrived? Don’t get me wrong, it is most welcome to stay home as long as it likes. The body feels as though it has little interest in movement and yet I watch as movement occurs. The moment feels strangely still, and yet I have no idea how this is happening. I move to sip a cup of tea, or rather I have the thought to sip a cup of tea, and then wait, movement finally comes and the tea is sipped. It’s a beautiful cup of tea, the smell, the taste, the texture in my mouth. Then the next moment is an offering of resting, and then the next, and then the next. There is a deep peace here today and I have no idea where it came from or how it arrived? I guess I’ll just stay home and hang out with it. 🙂 Mx

The background and Margaret Olley

image courtesy of Tweed River Gallery, Murwillumbah


 

I recently visited the Tweed River Gallery in Murwillumbah for an art day with some friends. This is now home to an amazing recreation of Margaret Olley’s home and lifetime of art. Every surface in the home was/is covered, much of which are little still life’s as seen today in her paintings. I have to confess, I have never been a huge fan of Margaret Olley’s work. Perhaps it is because I have always felt so drawn to abstract artists. Thankfully there are plenty of those to explore and ponder as one moves around an art gallery these days. However, on this day I was coming to the end of my meander through Margaret’s home and I heard two gentlemen discussing and admiring one of her paintings. They were standing back quite a distance and I heard the words… “just look at the background, that use of colour blue.” I turned, and true to these words, the blue background of the still life they were admiring just jumped out at me as though it had come to life. The colour was so intense it almost seemed to be vibrating. I stood there transfixed in a moment of art viewing wonder. My eye wandered to another painting featuring a background in greens that also seemed to be shimmering in the late afternoon light of the gallery. I felt my heart open to something connected to and coming from the viewing of the background of these simple and yet elegant still life paintings of flower arrangements. A few steps futher along and I stopped to watch a short video featuring guest speakers in Margaret’s home and the memories they had of her in that environment. It was towards the end of the video that I was again struck by words… “Margaret use to say to me, ‘this is all an illusion, just moments’.”  Again, I felt my heart open and something click. Margaret Olley was awake and aware to the truth of this reality, and she had come to this understand through art. In that moment I felt a new found respect and love of this woman and what she has left as a ‘pointer’ for the viewer in her paintings. It’s all in the background. Mx

Art in Awareness


It “appears” a sequence of spontaneous events occurred this week that opened a door to my discovering a website which features inspiring content for people interested in art and awareness. OMG! I was immediately absorbed into a new world, meeting like-minded friends, and reading insights that brought me to tears.

As an artist my journey has been one of a spontaneous awakening in 2002, followed by a prolific outpouring of an intituitve body of work, only to fall into the conceptual world of art school, emerging  lost in identity and expression as an artist. So it was a heartfelt connection when I found the words of fellow artist, Miriam Louisa Simons, on her website ‘the awakened eye’:
When creating is happening I seem to disappear. This has always been a mystery for me.
In the beginning, as a child, there was simply the delight of making things. Pure play. Innocent wonder. Then, during the years of my education, the criteria invented by those who knew what ‘art’ was all about crowded in and I attempted to make my ‘things’ fit those criteria. I began to explore the intellectual arena called aesthetics. And the mystery faded, quietly, almost without notice.
For over twenty years I made my living creating wearable art. The magic of creativity was there, but it was increasingly elusive and erratic. Since its presence brought a profound and inexpressible sense of wonder and rightness, a sense of utter blessing which never occurred elsewhere in my experience, I began to stalk it. As I did so, it led me away from concerns with financial success, with exhibiting, and even with peer acceptance. It took me into the selva oscura, into exile.
The inquiry into creativity had become my teacher, my guru. It took me to places all over the world where I would be involved in creative education, where I would meet others whose over-riding passion was the mystery of creation. It kept me on the road for decades practicing, teaching, inquiring. It ensured I’d never become locked into making a certain type of art product; if I fell into habit or repetition it simply disappeared. It was replaced by tedium.
This is just one of the many fabulous quotes from modern artists featured on this website, who’s art and/or process points us towards awareness… the greatest gift Art can offer! Mx

Rainy day collage etc

It’s certainly been awhile since I posted to this blog. I’ve been waiting for something to move me or inspire me to write! Nothing has come, or if it did, it fell away faster than I was able to gather the thoughts and pound the keys to express it. What has happened however, is I’ve started a daily artistic expression and am loving this. You see, where I live has been deluged by constant rain over the past month, including a cyclone and I’ve been flooded in. So lots of time to sit, be, and watch in which I’ve started to listen to some videos from Rupert Spira. This helps me move into a mindless space, and it’s from here I pick up the blank page, pencils, scrap paper and images and start to play. Somewhere along the way something Rupert says drops in and that becomes the name of the piece I’ve created. Sometimes there seems to be a noticeable coherence between the title and the piece… sometimes not. What I’m loving is the feeling of freedom in my artistic expression that it doesn’t matter. I thought I’d share a few with you. Mx

giving this understanding back to you

the mind is not party to this

would you have any knowledge of a foot or a floor?

the Universe will find ways of letting you know that you are treating it in a way that is in line with reality

it felt like a distraction for whom?

like death there is nothing to grab onto (Suzuki Roshi)

how are you relating to this?

the transposition to what we understand