Must every film have huge grosses to be a success? As a daily film critic, I see almost every film of any consequence that plays in this country. I see all the commercial releases, and almost all of the imports, and at the Cannes, New York, and Chicago film festivals, I see a good cross section of the smaller films, domestic and foreign, that are worthy of festivals but not commercial enough for wider release.
Much of what I see is, of course, worthless, and most of it is not worth seeing twice. But there are still enough good films left over for me to feel, sometimes more often than you might think, that an entirely different season of films could be booked into the movie marketplace, replacing the films that do get shown, with little loss of quality. These are lost films, films that are the victims of the herd mentality of the American film audience. It has been eight years, for example, since the New German Cinema Rainer Werner Fassbinder , Werner Herzog , Volker Schlondorff , Wim Wenders , Alexander Kluge has been clearly identified in festival and critical circles as consistently providing the most interesting new movies coming out of Europe.
The filmgoing audience has been educated to a degree, yes: Subtitles are no longer the curse of death for a foreign film, and offbeat subject matter is now welcomed as easily as it was once shunned; stylistic experiments by directors like Altman whose sound tracks imitate the complexity of life or Scorsese who sets a frenetic, choppy pace for his characters to keep up with are easily absorbed by a generation saturated by television.
But the process seems now to have slowed down if it has not altogether stopped. In the early days of the revolution, I often discovered films being played in nearly empty theaters which nevertheless gave me quiet delight and satisfaction because I knew they had been made by artists with vision and the determination to work it out. This is less and less true for me nowadays. We have learned from the New Wave, even if indirectly. We have grown conscious of individual filmmakers, and alert to personal styles. But we have also grown wary of the odd film, the film that is not an event, that leaves some of its viewers filled with admiration and others simply confused.
The New Wave as a revolution is twenty years old; its victories are consolidated and taken for granted. But there is still resistance to a new New Wave, the film that does not simply improvise with narrative but tries to leave it behind, to liberate itself from explanation and paraphrase and work in terms of pure cinema. It has been many decades since art, dance, or music were required to have paraphrasable content, or even thought of in that way. A similar freedom has come more slowly to the theater, and hardly at all to film. Movie advertising and promotion executives believe a sure key to box office success is a movie that can be described in one easy sentence:.
Marlon Brando meets this girl in an empty apartment, and they…. There did seem to be a brief moment, in the late s, when narrative films were becoming obsolete. Road pictures often functioned as clotheslines on which the director could hang out some of his ideas about American society, at a particularly fragmented moment in our own history. Other films abandoned narrative altogether. Underground and psychedelic films surfaced briefly in commercial houses.
Nobody has been much interested that some of them "The Godfather" and "Chinatown," for example may have richer levels of psychological and visual organization.
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It appears, then, that films aimed only at the eye and the emotions cannot find large audiences. Experimental filmmakers can try out fascinating combinations of color, light, pulse, cutting, and sound as Jordan Belsen did. They can even create works in which the actual cone of light from the projector was the work of art, and instruct the audience to stand where the screen would be as Anthony McCall has done.
But their nonnarrative works play in museums and galleries and on the campus; commercial feature filmmaking and its audience seem as committed as ever to good stories, well told. But I believe the future of feature films as an art form lies in the possibilities beyond narrative—in the intuitive linking of images, dreams, and abstractions with reality, and with the freeing of them all from the burden of relating a story. I certainly do not believe the day will come soon when large audiences forsake narrative. My concern about television should be almost self-explanatory.
Most of us probably spend too much time watching it. Most of it is not very good. To catch and retain our attention, it has to go by quickly. These smaller climaxes are interrupted at approximately nine-minute intervals by larger climaxes, called commercials.
A commercial can sometimes cost more than the show surrounding it and can look it. Made-for-television movie scripts are consciously written with the thought that they must be interrupted at regular intervals; the stories are fashioned so that moments of great interest are either arrived at or as often postponed for the commercial.
I have expressed concern about our obsessive love for narrative, our demand that movies tell us a story. Perhaps I should be just as concerned with what television is doing to our ability to be told a story. We read novels for many reasons, E. Forster tells us in a famous passage from Aspects of the Novel , but most of all we read them to see how they will turn out. Do we, anymore? Traditional novels and films were often all of a piece, especially the good ones, and one of the pleasures of progressing through them was to see the structure gradually revealing itself.
Is the mass audience still patient enough for such craftsmanship? Or has the violent narrative fragmentation of television made visual consumption a process rather than an end? I might have chosen a number of other films for a discussion of the nonnarrative possibilities of the medium; I choose these two not only because I think they are genuinely great but because they share a similar theme and so can help illuminate each other. Neither film was a commercial success. Both films dealt with women who exchanged, or merged, personalities. Neither film ever explained, or tried to explain, how those exchanges took place.
For many members of the audience, that was apparently the trouble. After an opening consisting of a quick montage of images about which more later , Bergman introduces the premise of "Persona. The next day she tries to shake off her strange silence, but is unsuccessful. The nurse is apprehensive from the first: What if the actress, so much stronger and more famous, proves to be too much for her? That is apparently what happens. The two women enjoy a quiet existence together for at time, picking berries, sorting mushrooms, taking walks on the beach.
But eventually the silence of the actress draws the nurse into more and more compulsive conversation, including a long monologue in which she describes a youthful sexual encounter on a beach. The actress breaks the confidence by describing the anecdote in a letter to her husband—a letter perhaps deliberately left unsealed. When the nurse reads the letter, she feels so angry and betrayed that she deliberately leaves a piece of glass where the actress will step on it. When that happens, the film apparently breaks. The film, happily, would break, or someone lower the curtain by mistake; or perhaps there could be a short circuit, so that all the lights in the cinema went out.
I think the shadows would continue their game, even if some happy interruptions cut short our discomfort. Perhaps they no longer need the assistance of the apparatus, the projector, the film, or the sound track. They reach out towards our senses, deep inside the retina, or into the finest recesses of the ear. Is this the case? This is his mystical, almost savagely yearning wish for the way his film should affect us. There is the dream sequence I mentioned at the outset the one, to repeat, that may not be a dream.
Two doors, brightly illuminated, are on either side of the screen. A bed is in the foreground. Curtains seem to obscure the views back into either of the doorways. A foghorn is heard. Something is said or is it said? She rises. They embrace, and then turn slowly so that both look directly at the camera. Later in the film there is a long monologue in which the nurse seems to know personal secrets in the background of the actress: How she feels about her husband, her child, her sex.
Bergman shoots the scene twice, once with an unbroken closeup of the nurse, then again with an unbroken closeup of the actress. Then, stunningly, he uses a double exposure to blend the two faces together. And we remember that among the images at the very beginning of the film were those in which a small boy reached out a hand to touch out-of-focus faces on a screen: The faces of two women. What I have written here is so far from describing the effect of the film, the mystery of its strangeness and greatness, that I might just as well not have bothered.
There is, to be sure, no end of clues for the scholar determined to make sense of "Persona. After two decades of making films which were often about artists who found themselves creatively impotent, he suddenly found himself in that very dilemma. But I know that 'Persona' literally saved my life at the time I was writing it. I was very ill. So I started to write down some lines every day, just a few lines, just for the discipline of going from the bed to the table without falling over. As a filmmaker, I could not work if I could not move. Now here was a story about an actress who stopped working one day, surrendered her ability to talk.
As a functioning filmmaker, he might as well have been paralyzed.
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And so now we have the autobiographical reference, if we want one. The montage of brief images at the beginning of the film represents his own recreation of his art, and of his ability to function. I reflected on what was important, and began with the projector and my desire to set it in motion. Again, when the film breaks after the actress steps on the glass—that is the moment when the filmmaking tension has become too great to bear, so that Bergman the artist breaks and must start again.
That was…when I got ill again, and the whole thing had come to a stop. These are things I know now, and yet I have not begun to get to the bottom of "Persona," even after seeing it perhaps a dozen times, after teaching it many times with the film analyzer, and, indeed, after discussing it with Bergman. But what did I see on the November afternoon in , when I had been a professional film critic only six months and was therefore presumably fairly close to the average, if serious, moviegoer I hoped to write for? In looking back at my own review of "Persona," written the same day I first saw the film, I find the same mystification in my own first response that so many other people feel.
The nurse is maddened by the unspeaking actress in the same sense that the audience is frustrated by the movie: Both stubbornly refuse to be conventional and to respond as we expect. I suppose I intended that as praise. I awarded the movie four stars, in that conventional newspaper movie review shorthand that also awards "Jaws" four stars.
But I did not understand it. Or, more correctly, perhaps I understood it and did not know that I did. I did not find the feeling in the images, because I was staring at them so hard to spot their meanings. I know today, because I have been told, exactly what each of the images in the opening montage represents. But that sort of knowledge is really movie trivia; spiders and ghosts and cadavers and a nail being driven into a hand have visceral meaning if we let them, and Bergman was not putting them in, I suspect, so that the scholars of his work could take them out again and label them.
They are there for the viewer to respond to as he wishes. But what of the story of the women that grew up around it? We know, because we are familiar with Freudian shorthand and perhaps took college courses rich in image and metaphor, what such a story could mean. In the hands of another director, it could become a struggle of wills, perhaps, and we could take that home and file it away. But why does Bergman cheat? Those faces merging into one another—is he playing with them, with us, or with his camera? What is going on here? Does the husband really make love to the actress?
Is he there at all? As late as , Hitchcock marred the ending of his masterpiece, "Psycho," by bringing an unnecessary psychiatrist on screen for that very reason.
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My own view of "Persona," developed gradually after all those many viewings, is that the film is intended primarily as a sensual experience, dealing at levels below narrative with the uncertainties we all have about our identities. I do not mean here to sound anti-intellectual, or to suggest that academic study of such a film is futile. Music has that ability; why not film? Most films will not stand up to repeated viewings, but perhaps some of the great ones demand them. As we grow more and more familiar with the images and the rhythms, perhaps the medium grows transparent and we can see through it to the mind of the artist, feel his feelings, and share his fears.
If the artist is uninteresting or banal or concerned only with diverting us or making money for himself, that transparency will, of course, be disappointing. But if his insights are truly felt, and if he has through skill or luck found the appropriate external forms for them in the story, the performers, the locations, the camera strategy, the editing, the music, and the art direction , then I believe the film medium is sensitive and flexible enough to become the means of a joining of minds.
Let me return, with that view, to the moment in "Persona" I have described, one of the most sublimely beautiful and moving moments in film history. We are in the bedroom of the cottage. Liv Ullmann appears in the brightly lit, almost ethereal space behind the same curtains on the right—she seems almost a ghost. She speaks, or does she? We do not see her lips move. Bibi Andersson, apparently asleep, senses a presence in the room.
She turns on her side in the bed, sees Liv Ullmann, and rises. The two women approach each other and then turn to the camera—to us. Both look at us. What do we feel? I have read reviews so insipid as to find a lesbian element in this scene. Or, on the level of abstract visual strategy, the back-and-forth movements of the characters can be read as a demonstration of their individual choices, their positive and negative possibilities, and of how they come to rest on the strong axis as they admit their mutual humanity.
But there is still much more there to be discovered. What I sense after so many viewings is that this is the emotional center of the film. Bergman is permitting the two characters to touch as they so gravely regard us, so that we can experience the duality he sees in all human personalities: The visible and the interior, our public personalities and what we secretly know about ourselves, the differences we have one from another and the fundamental ways in which we are all the same.
How simple! How important! And if we experience the moment deeply enough, we are struck then and there with the clarifying realization that "Persona" is not about an actress who suddenly one day stops speaking: It is a film in which Bergman uses that plot element to free himself from words, so that communication could take place between his actresses and with his audiences without the cumbersome necessity for everything to be objectified and explained by dialogue. A film in which both characters were permitted to speak might have taken forever to communicate the same meaning—if it could have.
So I decided to do it. Hitchcock has said that when his screenplays are finished, his films are perfect; they become flawed only during the execution. Altman, awakening from his dream, must have felt even more frustrated: "Three Women" was finished, all except for the steps necessary to make it into a movie. He might have been wiser, perhaps, not to reveal that he began with a dream.
His film, like "Persona," lacks a paraphrasable story and cannot be described in such a way as to give it easily assimilated meaning Critics requiring that kind of content have accused Altman of indulging himself, of not bothering to give shape and form to his fantasies. Yet, like Bergman, Altman was uninterested in constructing a Freudian puzzle that we could entertain ourselves by solving.
He wanted simply to film his dream. Such indulgences are permitted to the avant-garde—indeed, even are expected and encouraged. But if a Hollywood director takes money from 20th Century-Fox and casts star actresses like Shelley Duvall and Sissy Spacek in his dream, he seems to invite irrational resentments. We are somewhere in the Southwest—Southern California, maybe, at a spa where old people come to rest and take the heat and the waters. Sissy Spacek, painfully shy, easily grateful, comes to work at the spa, and Duvall teaches her some of the ropes.
In my view, the opportunities for growth are better than ever in whatever you would call this, this epoch, this 30 seconds of our existence. I do consider that we are in a place where we need to change; we need to evolve where we get along in very simple terms. Now it is vitally important that we find ways to mutually harmonize and mutually get along in ways that contribute instead of take away. The laws of nature are supreme in terms of our options. We have to cooperate with them. TNN: We do.
I have been having this vision lately about humans being a big web but it is almost as if there is something that wants us to stay disconnected from each other. Our nature is to be connected, but there are forces that want to keep us disconnected. What would happen if that ended somehow and suddenly we were just embracing the connection? What would that be like? Is that our true state? John: That is how I experienced being spiritually awake, that we are all connected.
Everyone has … I just call it an opportunity to make choices to move it along. I find it is more critical in a way; it is more important than ever to make choices in cooperation, to make choices that I give to you. In order to do that, I had to be deceptive. But there is also great beauty. I encourage people to find the positive focus and contribute to it. That means often people who want to lie to me or cheat, they get away with it because I give them credit.
I give them the benefit. I encourage people to say well if they take something from you consider it will be replaced. We have a source, a divine source that is going to watch out for us and protect us and supply what we need. At times that often takes great trust and faith in an invisible Creator. TNN: I think the more that you commit to that vision and act out of that vision, it replicates itself in greater measure.
John: Right. There is kindness. There is compassion. There is a willingness to give, a willingness to receive. We have a beautiful friendship, a beautiful neighborhood. In this neighborhood, in West Adams, next to South Central we have a beautiful place for people to come to. There is an Eden steps away. TNN: What is the one question that is commonly asked of you when you travel and lecture? What is the question that keeps coming up?
John: Why did you do that? Laughter You know, the questions that are asked are some version of who are we, or who am I? What is this world? What am I doing here? I find that everyone has a need to answer that question. They pay attention to the hourly things, the bills have to be paid, or if there is some issue with another person or a situation. I find these things often can take our attention and dominate it. We are not really settled and we are not at peace inside.
We are not fulfilled. It is very important — and this may be another way of answering your question — we discover our purpose more directly. That is not a new concept. We encourage people to open the loving treasury and the source of loving. Then, open to having it come from others. TNN: Receiving it. John: Yes, so that the loving in me can connect to the loving in you even if you are not acting very well, which is where it really gets challenging. TNN: Well, I would imagine tolerance is part of love.
We consider acceptance a spiritual law. We need to accept in order to fully resonate with our being. If we are rejecting and we are not in an understanding of what something is or who someone is, there is work there. We often invite people to do that work, to make the adjustments so that there is more acceptance, more cooperation, more understanding.
TNN: I was reading the other day something that really resonated that talked about the more you get into this consciousness the more willing you are to actually look and see who somebody really is as opposed to who they think they are or what they are acting out. You gain an understanding of their behavior because you can see behind the behavior. I have appreciation. I have thankfulness and a willingness to contribute and help. TNN: And cut you some slack. And I search for it,. Often people are in a search for the great love, not really knowing what that is.
So you need to transcend. So if you do react, if you do say something that you really know in your wisdom, in your caring, in your kindness you would not say, that you do call it back. John-Roger referred to service as the highest consciousness on the planet. The service to that One who is in all of the creation and is within you. So how do you serve all things? One of the places to look is what or where you tend to try to ignore, avoid, deny, cancel out, eliminate, or negate the love.
You release any sense that it should be different from the way it is. Try that on for size for a day and see how far you get. I will view it all as exactly perfect as it is. And I will in no way struggle or resist anything today. Those msia. In the revealing, your choice can be to stay free from them. It can be very challenging. Can you stay open? Can you stay neutral towards what is revealing your fear or negative reaction? Can you do that? This is your divine nature.
This is your true nature in your highest consciousness. If the sins of your father and your mother come to you, even all of them so every single one of them is put. They have no more negativity and are only the pure, whole love of God for all of Its creation. Deep within you is only love in your oneness with God. Nothing else is necessary. Why did you do that? Some people determine there has to be some sort of trial. Or is it worthy of my fight or my condemnation? For example, we could look at a rug and find something about how we each look upon it that is different.
We each express a different point-of-view. Our differences are not a reason to stop loving one another. There may be a lot of variation in how we see things. We each can love anyway and even love our different views. So if you get in that business yourself, where you essentially set everyone and everything free, then you have no holds on anything, no demands. New Day Herald I will start to find happiness and peacefulness in me. I will call upon the name of God morning, noon, and night. And I will totally dedicate and devote myself to the uplifting of every consciousness who comes by me.
I will smile inwardly and outwardly. I will not be ashamed of my love I will demonstrate my love totally. I will just be there and allow everyone else the same space in which to unfold. It registers as a kind of clarity or cleanliness. You are someone who is true and clear. So how would you come into this impeccability? Appeal to the authority of God and ask God to act as your co-creator. Trust and surrender to the Christ Beloved within you as you. It begins in the depth of being that is who we are before we realize it as a thought or feeling. As we go into Spirit, it comes into an equality.
So polarity has no meaning in the Spirit. But temporarily I will be in this polarized position, this manifest position of how my life circumstances articulate and specify. So whatever we could consider about the characteristics of a man or a woman or any form of relationship, there is an arbitrariness about each and every condition. And every condition in this world other than change is temporary. So we need to come into the loving within in order to experience loving with someone else.
In order to experience the love of another, I need to be in the love of who I am to know that love. The love of who I am recognizes the love of who you are coming to the love of who I am. And it keeps bridging across. That awareness puts you in a position to adjust. I love this characteristic and this characteristic. I have this history. I have this involvement. I made these choices. I have these results, and I choose to love them. Loving becomes the source for how you express yourself and how you involve yourself.
What that means is all of the things that need healing are going to be healed here and now in the way you relate to yourself and then to others with your love. Loving is truly your nature. God is in control, which is really good, because God always has our best interests in mind. So with that understanding, then we choose to be loving of all. We are here to heal and balance ourselves with whatever has happened in our life throughout our existence.
We heal by being in acceptance, loving and forgiveness. As we can do this with ourself, we can do this with others. Complete healing is forgiveness of all things. Healing comes from the willingness to forgive. Part of it is how you regard and identify yourself. It takes tremendous dedication and courage to uphold impeccability. When someone has this impeccability and sense of honor, then their life has a way of holding it up. There is a kind of reliability with that person that when they speak, they give their word to be the truth. One of the limitations that God puts in place is what we can handle.
God registers as the highest consciousness, the consciousness of the highest good. The omniscience allows for the knowing. The omnipotence is the ability to do what needs to be done. God has the power, the knowledge, the authority, to keep the highest good in place for all the creation. By employing the highest good, then the limited mind can be suspended and released.
I just know I want the highest good and have the willingness to do whatever that requires. And remember, you will be tested from the inside out. But the Lord is within you, as you, loving you always and forever more. Spirit lets you in easily, but It has to give way to the materiality of the world. If you want to know God, keep your eyes on God.
We offer in person and live online events around the world The traditional view of Mary Magdalene features her as a sinful, penitent whore, a reigning image that many modern scholars have disputed. Outside of the conventional canonical writings, the Gnostic texts raised her standing among other early Christian figures. Her time in France, especially, led to a succession of cults and legends that venerate the woman and her contribution to Christianity.
Though her true story has been altered, and perhaps many facts added or removed over the centuries, more details and theories of her life have surfaced in recent years, calling into question whether the usual depiction of Mary Magdalene as a sinful prostitute accurately reflects her entire persona. In nowhere more than France have Magdalene cults flourished and added new and varying details to known.
The dominant legend, as noted above, highlights her apostolic career in what was then Gaul after three siblings—Mary, Martha and Lazarus— took a dramatic voyage by sea.
In greater detail, the leading French tale goes like this: Hostile to those first seeds of Christianity being carried by Mary, Martha and Lazarus, Egyptian Jews eventually put the three out to sea in a vessel without sails, oars or helm. Mary Magdalene is said to have preached to the locals in Saintes-Maries, converting many to Christianity. So instead of preaching after landing in France, the new version had Mary Magdalene seeking a life much like a hermit, one of solitude. Saxer has cited the vita eremetica, this story of her contemplative life in wilderness seclusion, as likely having been borrowed from a Greek legend about a reformed prostitute known as Mary of Egypt.
In the autumn of her years, legend goes on, Mary had a dream of her death. She started a long journey from Saint-Baume to St. Maximin, named after the first Bishop of Aix who received her and prior to her death gave her the Communion of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. Maximin laid her body in an alabaster tomb and prepared his own burial space opposite the monument. But the cult of Mary Magdalen in France was a larger phenomenon than the claims of any single region or family. The tradition that she and Lazarus personally brought Christianity to Gaul in the first century had such patriotic appeal that it remained stubbornly lodged in French popular belief until the nineteenth century, despite the best efforts of historians to debunk it.
At the top of the gravel trail, a column of stone stairs leads to a re-creation of the Passion of Christ. A few steps further, and there is the opening to the legendary home of Mary. Seven Dominican priests take care of the chapel inside where Mary Magdalene is said to have lived, with an altar and statues of her placed around the grotto. Seven stained glass windows give the dark cave light. The cult at St. Maximin still lives on as the Catholic faithful commemorate their saint during the week of July They visit the famed grotto and hold midnight mass on the night of July Today, the sacred relic is held the sacristy located in the eastern wing of the Basilica Saint Mary-Magdalene and the Royal Convent in Saint-Maxima, with her other remains held in a tightly secured vault.
As we sat inside on folding chairs, I asked my friends if they would like to pray with me. They agreed, so I called in the Light and we chanted HU and planted a light column in the grotto and the mountain. I was open to receive anything that Mary Magdalene might want to share. Then my friends and I moved around the grotto.
I walked down into a smaller chapel where a statue of Mary stood beside some lighted candles. I called in the Light a second time and began doing my tone. A bright, radiant light appeared in my inner vision. The loving was very present. The peaceful forest was filled with singing birds; a breeze filled the tall trees that. Follow along with us on the France Tour! Stories, photos, and videos will posted from the road as we travel throughout France visiting amazing historical and cultural places.
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Be sure to check in between September 17 — October 8 for new posts for all to enjoy. What are Light Colulmns? Physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, we should be a Light column. Then, wherever we go, wherever we sit, wherever we talk, we should leave a column of our beingness of Light there. My home, overlooking a beach and the Mediterranean Sea, faces East. After the chant, we share a breakfast of fruits, juice, croissants, pains au chocolat, pains aux raisins, and coffee on the terrace, to the sounds of the sparkling sea splashing on the beach, and gulls flying by.
These are moments of deep peace to start our day. Throughout the year, I stand each evening on the terrace and thank God for my home, the amazing views I enjoy and all the many blessings that enrich me. I have so very much for which to be grateful. The Traveler has always been truly close by me in the nearly 25 years I have been living in the South of France. In the summer months the beach below is very busy with holiday makers, swimming, playing in the water, squeals of delight from children, families shaded under umbrellas, or relaxing in the sun and catching the rays for their take-home tans.
In the evenings, friends gather around long tables for picnics, music and generous conversation long into the night. I have seen at least one seminar in which J-R asks everyone to hold up their hands and he waves the Light over us. I can even feel the energy coming from him as I watch the recording. Then I have been hearing about how we can make large Light columns, even 5, miles wide.
So what about the Mediterranean Sea at my feet? So I am holding the vision of the Mediterranean Sea of Peace. In my vision, I see all the beaches blessed with Light, the people who sail on the sea in boats, yachts and ships, jet skis, wind surfers, kite surfers, and paddle boarders — all the coastlines — sandy and pebbly beaches, rugged cliffs — the many islands, migrants from war torn countries in the East, and the South in Africa, crossing the Sea to find new lives in Europe, the fish, animals, and all living beings in and around the Mediterranean.
Angels of peace, healing and grace are showering their blessings over this beautiful Sea in generous profusion. The Mediterranean Sea has a magnificent Light column extending down from the highest heavens and deep into the centre of the earth, blessing all with Peace and Plenty for the very highest good, from now into eternity. Please join with me in continuing to participate with and share the vision in any way you feel inspired:. Their workshop will focus on experiencing: Silence as a form of communion, a universal language, its own vibration that transcends differences, hostilities and misunderstandings and attunes us to the oneness, the unity, the humanity of all humankind.
Click the video below:. The power of silence in attuning to the simple presence, loving, joy and compassion, that is God, that is unity, that is peace Tools for activating compassion and peace awareness through invocation, chanting, listening, observing, breathing, meditation, prayer and forgiveness.
In preparation for the Parliament, the General Committee formulated ten objects of the Parliament: 1. To bring together in conference, for the first time in history, the leading representatives of the great historic religions of the world. To show to men, in the most impressive way, what and how many important truths the various religions hold and teach in common.
To promote and deepen the spirit of human brotherhood among religious men of diverse faiths, through friendly conference and mutual good understanding, while not seeking to foster the temper of indifferentism, and not striving to achieve any formal and outward unity. To set forth, by those most competent to speak, what are deemed the important distinctive truths held and taught by each Religion, and by the various chief branches of Christendom. Originally convened in on the shores of Lake Michigan, Chicago as part of an original World Trade Fair, this was the first formal gathering of representatives of Eastern and Western spiritual traditions.
Today it is recognized as the birth of formal interreligious dialogue worldwide. For those of you interested in a little history, John Morton previously participated in the Parliament held in Cape Town, South Africa and the Parliament held in Melbourne, Australia. To secure from leading scholars, representing the Brahman, Buddhist, Confucian, Parsee, Mohammedan, Jewish and other Faiths, and from representatives of the various Churches of Christendom, full and accurate statements of the spiritual and other effects of the Religions which they hold upon the Literature, Art, Commerce, Government, Domestic and Social life of the peoples among whom these Faiths have prevailed.
To inquire what light each Religion has afforded, or may afford, to the other religions of the world. To set forth, for permanent record to be published to the world, an accurate and authoritative account of the present condition and outlook of Religion among the leading nations of the earth. To discover, from competent men, what light Religion has to throw on the great problems of the present age, especially the important questions connected with Temperance, Labor, Education, Wealth and Poverty.
To bring the nations of the earth into a more friendly fellowship, in the hope of securing permanent international peace. This was the island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for decades. The island is located out in the bay fronting Cape Town. We were going to participate as John Morton placed a Peace Pole on the island and in front of the prison building. The island and prison is a designated World Heritage Site, so that the many future visitors would see and experience the Peace Pole.
By the time it came to Sunday morning hundreds of people from many countries wanted to participate, so more boats had to be arranged. When it got to be time for the Peace Pole there was a multitude of folks in their colorful national costumes lined up holding their flags from many of the worlds countries. I was standing behind John and off to one side taking pictures. But today was similar but different, it had many of the same ingredients, but it was John Morton, it was about peace, about prayer, about God, and coming together to bless a place where men had suffered.
It was a wonderful moment in time for me personally. I had the awareness that these people had traveled from all over the world to represent their religions and their countries, and that Capetown in South Africa at the tip of this great continent of Africa was hosting this amazing focus of religion and Spirit on the planet. Thirty-three years earlier I had been in the Royal Navy based in Simonstown which is close to Capetown. Now I was returning to this City Hall to hear the great man speak. When we look back at the twentieth century there have been many infamous men who perpetrated evil on humanity.
But for me there have been very few men who were known for their greatness because they espoused peace and compassion to their fellow man Of course he got a rapturous reception from the packed house But I do remember a story he told about taking a vacation to the Bahamas with his wife Winnie after being released from decades in prison. What is your name? This anecdote for me summed up the humility of the great man. When we arrived at the park it was closed, but there was a man at the gate. We asked be be allowed entry, and even offered him a bribe to let us in At that point John said that he could check the Light Columns from there, and that it was all fine.
So now we needed to head back to Capetown. I had driven us down the west side of some mountains called the Seven. Apostles to the park. But I thought we would go back on the other side of the mountains through my old stomping ground, Simonstown. In my mind I am trying to figure out how John could have possibly known of this restaurant. I was the only one who knew we would be going back that particular way I guess I forgot who I was traveling with!
I will be busy in a meeting with many religious leaders. Here is an outline of the workshop. Off you go. But to suffice it to say Spirit kicked in and pretty much ran the workshop for us. I just asked for help from Spirit. The idea was that seeing Naples is so fulfilling, that one has had a complete life after having been to Naples. When John Morton called in the Light on the top of Table Mountain, I did have a powerful experience that my life was complete and I could die.
Below are my notes from that magical time. The lights were kept down while he spoke, as his vision was ruined from the unrelenting sun on Robben island. The Dalai Lama was also present, although I did not see him. They invited me to dinner tonight at the Cape Grace Hotel. We all connected so easily and had such a sense of intimacy together.
December 5 Up before dawn to catch the two ferry boats to Robben Island for the Peace Pole dedication. Carolyn did a remarkable job making this happen— people of every faith and the flags of all nations. Ahmed Kathrada, a former prisoner of Robben Island, stood beside John his entire speech and held the South African flag. It was really beautiful.
John was so moved by the energy that he was almost in tears. His voice broke a couple of times, but made his words even more impactful. Yogi Bhajan is the Master of Kundalini Yoga. He was quite a character and had great simple techniques for removing negativity, increasing happiness and creating more life-force. I really had fun watching other devotees with their master. Yogi Bhajan scolded his sound crew every two minutes—it was just like J-R at Conference. We had a small but very interested group. The Parliament is a great forum for our church and John seems very well received.
An incredible experience to be touching John when he is wearing his Traveler Mantle. It was a very special moment. The cells were so small and the conditions must have been horrible. A good place for a Light Column! December 6 John and Vincent attended Parliament Assembly meetings today. Spirit just charged David and me—we were so full of grace.
The workshop went incredibly well. Standing in for John Morton—now, there are some shoes to fill! My three and half days with the Traveler in Africa were the best of my life, absolutely the most amazing time. John is a walking miracle. You can hear it when you listen to the tapes or watch the videos. Michael Sun was driving. They had just bought this place. He takes me in the house and my memory is that we go immediately downstairs. What is the deal? And of course this ended up being where my offices. It took me a while to actually reflect back on that moment in time and realize what it was all about.
But there was no explanation. I love the clarity. He was incredibly clear about what he wanted. I enjoyed that. Even though the bar was high New Day Herald You had to remember that he was the boss. But you could ask him anything and he encouraged that. The whole game was to constantly dialogue, and tell him what was going on. There was no part of the work that was too small. You could talk about anything. I loved having him as boss. It was just the best. There was just this clarity and crispness in how things were done.
NDH: Sounds like a lot of work, but fun at the same time. There was nothing else going on. Staff was small. It was just so good to have that kind of focus about what we were doing and how he wanted things done. I certainly learned how to write memos. This was before computers.
You typed or printed it out and made three carbon copies of everything. We knew email was coming someday, you could just feel that things were headed in that direction as computers developed. At first it was fun because it was new, but then it snowballed and you could copy all of staff instead of just three people.
I used to like the fact that I could call J-R on the phone. We would just knock out the work. Nobody could keep up with him. He was just this powerhouse. We would travel for weeks, months. There was one time when we traveled for about three months straight. I think that later on he tried to retire to the ranch up in Santa Barbara, to Windermere, but being who he was of course he was going to draw a crowd.
And the next thing you knew people were giving him horses and the whole Windermere thing grew. The physical guy J-R was a nononsense guy but he was also fun. I loved listening to him talk. He could just go on and on with great stories.