Tag Archives: Future

Childhood Bedrooms

Extract from Chapter Nine of a forthcoming (2016) futuristic novel titled New Planet, New World, which provides a counterpoint to the demise of modern civilization. I chart a Beginning Anew for humanity, a communal Hero’s Journey to reconstruct society based on ecology, caring and sharing. This adventure is not without risk or cost, as power elites ignore their complicity in the destruction of life on Planet Earth.

Childhood Bedrooms

Igor asked her a surprising question, “When you were a child what was your bedroom like?” Catriona smiled as fond recollections arose in her mind. “I had the most marvelous bedroom. It was more of a music room than a bedroom, full of musical instruments.”

She giggled and clapped her hands, “I had all these stuffed animals and would place them next to instruments and move them around. My father was such a goof. He would knock on the door and ask if he was to be Elephant, Tinkerbelle or Bear and then come in and play their instruments.” Igor was rolling over with laughter. “My bedroom had a large bay window and my father would sit there with whatever stuffed animal I assigned to him. Often my mother would come in and conduct the entire ensemble.” Catriona’s face was lit up with the memories and she turned to him, “What about you Igor?”

Igor pondered whether to reveal too much, then decided to do so. “My bedroom as a child was my sanctuary. My parents were often under police scrutiny for their beliefs. To compensate they created a very safe haven for me.” He slowly gathered himself, “I see the corner where books, paintings and wooden stools are piled up in disarray. My bed had two levels, one for me to sleep upon and the other for my stuffed animals to talk to before sleeping. It was a comfortable bed with large pillows and green checkered blankets. I had a telescope next to the window and I would fly in my mind to galaxies with my favorite animals.” Then he paused, “Perhaps it was too much of a sanctuary, as I did not like to leave this house. I had to when my parents entered the Space Agency in Moscow. I did not want to leave my safe bedroom behind but my father was very smart. He cleared it out and painted it in colors I hated. I begged him and my mother to let me see it one last time.”

There was a tremor of emotion in Igor’s voice and Catriona stayed very still. “On that last visit, mother pointed to the empty window where my telescope once focused on the sky. I felt the loss, stripped down in an empty space once resonant with discovery. I felt my mother’s gentle hands on my shoulder and still remember her saying, “There is nothing to hold you back, Igor. Your dream is still inside. Now step into freedom.” She smiled as I looked for the telescope. Nothing was there. My treasures were boxed and sent on to Moscow. This was their way to move me on from fear rather than cling to childhood safety. My mother held my hand and stared at where the telescope was not.” Catriona reached over and gently held Igor’s hand, “And here you now are Igor.” He raised her hand to his lips and gently kissed her fingers.

Ian & mic snags (2)

Why Did I Write This Book – New Planet, New World?

“New Planet, New World” provides a counterpoint to the demise of modern civilization. I chart a Beginning Anew for humanity, a communal Hero’s Journey to reconstruct society based on ecology, caring and sharing. This adventure is not without risk or cost, as power elites ignore their complicity in the destruction of life on Planet Earth.

The book opens with a lyrical and dangerous meeting on a distant planet later this century. The protagonists are from different centuries and cultures. From the 18th century Rising Moon is hurled by shamanic means to Planet Horizon in a nearby galaxy. From the 21st century Catriona gets there from a failing spaceship in an escape module. Wisdom of the Elders meets 21st century Hi-Tech. Instead of killing one another they choose to be blood sisters and embrace survival, accepting nature as a Matriarch. This fragile thread is challenged by the brutal abduction and rape of a main character, Sian the Celtic seer. Her inner strength, of being more than a violated body, inspires the community of pioneers who escape safely from the spaceship. They create a communal structure of living and carve out a home and life on the new planet.

Four Hopi Sacred Keepers offer their lives in a ceremony to enable renewal on a distant planet that none of them will experience. Mysticism combines with hi-tech to enable a Transfer Particle to seed the new planet and establish settlements. The expansion of communities is interrupted by a jihadist attempt to take over. A terrorist cell on Earth hijacks a spaceship and imperils the lives of the pioneers, who respond with tactical violence to kill them. Compassion is exercised towards sleeper jihadists secretly embedded in their midst. The stark violence of survival prepares a backcloth for three distinct love stories to emerge. Ethical settlements grow as a mirror for Tolstoy’s vision of “people of the twenty fifth century” – ahead of their time. The dark episodes and lyrical passages move the story along with action, fear, resolution, death, rape, bravery and exile in a futuristic opportunity for humanity. This action packed book ends on a philosophical note concerning our place in the centuries to come.

Intertwining plotlines arc into the epiphany of the final chapter, which muses about human survival anywhere. This end game is a philosophy of the future. The inclusiveness of science combines with Tolstoy’s vision, Pope Francis’ Climate Change Encyclical and not repeating the mistakes of the carbon cabal. The underlying message is from Tolstoy, the ‘Conscience of Humanity.’ He described humanity’s bottom line as the cultivation of love, the mainspring for authentic and responsible living.

I do not present this as idealism, rather as down to earth wisdom. That is why I wrote this futuristic novel. It is the final bookend of a trilogy – “Chronicles of Awakening.” Redemption is the first book in this trilogy that has Trailing Sky Six Feathers as the second book. The final tome of this trilogy takes characters from the prior two books, placing them in the future on a new planet. I place in the mouth of Dr. Tom Hagen a blistering rant to the UN in 2080 that I would certainly like to give from the future. It is about the willful ignorance displayed by corporate and government cabals invested in the carbon/oil complex, while eco militias murder in the streets and social disorder is a norm.

The First chapter describes tension then co-operation between Catriona and Rising Moon. Instead of harming one another they create a safe haven and save other young people ejected in escape crafts. The Second chapter documents the desolation of Planet Earth, the location of Planet Horizon and establishment of space stations on Mars and Jupiter. Chapter Three relates the destruction of the spaceship and safe landing of some of the pioneer travellers. Chapter Four is a love story and the search for children ejected in escape modules from the spaceship. Chapter Five provides vision for community building. Chapter Six is dark with the tragedy of rape yet permits the human spirit to prevail. Chapter Seven documents the flourishing communities established – Eco-villages and towns plus Wisdom of the Elders villages. The battle with jihadists in Chapter Eight is not for the squeamish. It ushers in the end of innocence and the beginning of wisdom. Chapter Nine is a tender love story, accompanied by Catriona’s shamanic preparation. The final Chapter Ten muses philosophically about human survival anywhere.

 

Interplanetary

Sacred Kiva and the Transfer Particle

This excerpt is from Chapter Two of the book “New Planet, New World.” Astrophysicist meets Hopi Sacred Keepers to activate the Transfer Particle that connects universes.  Just the last chapter to write – Chapter Eight, a philosophical musing on humanity’s survival anywhere.

As he looked into the eyes of Manny’s grandmother, Tom sank down to his knees before her and wept, just as Manny had wept on the journey there. She calmly held out her hands to him and stood before him. He looked into the eyes of wisdom, beauty and power. She spoke to him in perfect English. “I see that Manny has instructed you well. “ She chuckled with that deep guttural sound he had heard before. “You have the new planet’s location for me.” Tom nodded – there was nothing he could say, so full was he of her presence. She understood. “We know what is to be created here and treat it as an honor to be part of it. It will be your task to place it in order on the new planet. I will introduce you to the other Keepers.” Tom was included in a circle of the most magnificent people he had ever met. The tears continued to flow down his face. “This is good,” remarked one of the Keepers. Tom understood what they had committed to and fully realized that it deepened his own commitment.

Boynton settlement cave

“Dr. Hagen, do not lament that we will not return from the kiva,” she said. “I reassure you that this is what we want. We are ready to move on and become part of the Sky People. That is something all four of us have yearned for. We gladly reach for that transformation. We cannot invite you into the kiva. You must stay outside, next to where the North stone is placed.  I will show you.” She took Tom by the hand and pointed out the chair placed right above the North stone in the subterranean chamber. Her smile was quite amusing. “We will be inside with the ceremony for the rest of the day. It will be completed by morning. You are to stay at this location throughout. Our people will bring you water and sustenance. At daybreak Manny will come out by the ladder. There is a flat stone that fits the top of the kiva perfectly. You and Manny will place that over the entrance, as this kiva becomes our tomb.  Though it is only for our dead bodies – we will have gone elsewhere by dawn.” She looked deeply into Tom’s eyes and he felt he was looking into universe after universe. “I have one request for you.  Do not ask Manny what took place in the ceremonial chamber of the kiva. When the time is right he will inform you. Until that time, please resist all curiosity about the Transfer Particle. The fact that you land safely on the new planet in the next galaxy is proof enough.”

He allowed his scientific mind to recede and felt deeply in his body the unification of universes. Tom did not see the energy from the ceremonial chamber travelling into space but opened up to the reality of something he had no prior knowledge of. The taste of the burning fire pit at the center of the medicine wheel was pungent in his mouth. Although the night was cold, beads of sweat broke out on his forehead and ran down his cheeks, splashing onto his buttoned shirt. He was starkly aware that the Sacred Keeper of the Sky People was directly below him. Manny’s grandmother had given him specific instructions and he kept to them as though they were sacred vows. He was in unfamiliar territory, which became more and more unusual as the night proceeded. Yet he was prepared to make that leap of faith to completely trust the elderly Hopi elders who were offering their lives.

Deep sobs arose in his chest and he cried uncontrollably several times during that long dark night. The first light of dawn on the desert horizon was not so much a relief, just a marker of the most significant act of his life. The morning breeze raised a brief sand storm. He gripped the wood of the sturdy chair upon which he sat. He felt the knots of the hard wood with his two hands. This grounded him deeply to the experience of the four Sacred Keepers who he knew were now dead. Humbled by their nobility he waited patiently. He made it so through the night until he heard Manny’s steps on the ladder and was there to embrace him as he climbed out of the sacred kiva. His new friend looked gaunt and bereft, yet had a steely determination in his eyes. Between them they lifted the stone slab and placed it on the top opening of the kiva. They sat at the North apex where Tom had been stationed, very quiet, full of wonder and not a little grief. Breakfast was brought over to them by the other elders remaining in the pueblo, who knew what had taken place. The coffee was good, as were the corn tortillas. There was no need for any conversation or analysis. Tom and Manny entered the helicopter which quickly ferried them to Phoenix International airport. It was a silent journey. Both men knew they had been radically changed.

Interplanetary

Redemption Interview on Rogers TV “Daytime Ottawa” May 22, 11am – noon.

First questions taken from Tiferet Interview with Melissa Studdard:

Tiferet Journal is at the nexus of literature and spirituality. It publishes high-quality poetry, prose and art that further meaningful dialogue about what it is to be human and conscious in today’s often divisive world. http://tiferetjournal.com/

MS: Redemption the manuscript has been on quite a journey. It was written in 1975, lost for decades, rediscovered in 2011, and published in 2014. In what ways is this journey relevant or parallel to Redemption’s plot? What do you hope will be the next stage of this book’s journey?

IP: In 1975 I was writing way over my head and lacked the maturity to understand the deep nuances emerging from my pen. The book was writing me and it is fitting that it was not published until 2014, as the time lapse allowed me to grow into the insights and revelations writ large. I was a total mess in 1975 – with a failing marriage in the Hebrides and trying to keep my career intact as a young professor at Carleton University in Canada. I was not doing a good job with either. The surprise for me in 2011 was how could I have written such a powerful book while in a desperate state of mind? The themes of mental illness and alcoholism are writ large in this deep and turbulent Hero’s Journey to emancipation. Redemption is an allegory for the depression and life difficulties I once experienced, though I did not realize it at that time.

Redemption front cover

MS: Speaking of the Hero’s journey, can you say a bit about the connection between Redemption and Trailing Sky Six Feathers and why the Hero’s journey works so well to convey your ideas?

IP: I consider Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey as an underlying template for all great books and weave its threads through my writing. Redemption is the first book in a trilogy that has Trailing Sky Six Feathers as the second book. They are companions – but the reader may not cotton on to that until they read the final chapter of Trailing Sky Six Feathers. Chapter Nine is titled “The Circle Closes” with a return to memories of the insane sea journeys I undertook in the Hebrides. That chapter is quite an “AHAH” moment. The final book in the trilogy (under construction) takes characters from both books, placing them in the future on a new planet. From the 18th century, Rising Moon (daughter of Trailing Sky) is hurled by shamanic means to the new planet. From the 21st century Tom and Sian Hagen with their daughter Catriona get there from a failing spaceship. Life on the new planet permits a beginning anew for our species – A Hero’s Journey to reconstruct a society based on ecology, sharing and caring.

But there are calamities to endure – a brutal abduction and rape, a militant group hi-jacking a spaceship in order to take over the new planet, the desperate loss of pioneers in an exploding spaceship. I do not shy away from the reason for finding a new planet and place in the mouth of Dr. Tom Hagen a speech to the UN that I would like to give from the future. It is about the willful ignorance displayed by corporate and government cabals invested in the carbon/oil complex, while eco militias murder in the streets and social disorder is a norm. The first chapter of the final book is a lyrical and dangerous meeting on the new planet between Catriona and Rising Moon. Instead of killing one another they become blood sisters. The second chapter is quite dark about the perilous destruction of the spaceship and safe departure of some of the travellers. Chapter three is a love story. Chapter four and five are dark yet permit the human spirit to prevail. The end game is a philosophy to endure and not repeat the mistakes of the prior civilization on Planet Earth.

LET GO OR BE DRAGGED!

                                                         

I presented the Sutra on The Better Way to Live Alone to the Pine Gate Mindfulness Community on our First Saturday Mindfulness gathering in February 2015.

Pine Gate Meditation Hall

I really like the brevity and impact of this sutra. After reading it out to the sangha I used a series of quotes from elsewhere to get the sangha juices flowing.  I began the dharma talk with my favorite fridge magnet – LET GO OR BE DRAGGED – and then moved on to the quotes, which were read aloud by different sangha members. The discussion was illuminating with poignant and direct reflections on experience. I introduced Right View and the Eightfold Path into the conversation. Once Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration spark the engine of Right View so that views transform into insights, then there is a cascade of insight from Right View pouring into all thinking, speaking and action – the rest of the Eightfold Path. When our tired old stories prevail and do not transform into insights, then we have wrong views cascading through thinking, speaking and action. And that ensures the presence of suffering.

This eighteen line sutra is immense, as it contains the essence of the Buddha’s teachings about not getting imprisoned by past, future and present circumstances. They are all enslaving ghosts until we cultivate sufficient attention from the present moment. The key lines for me are:

“Do not pursue the past.

Do not lose yourself in the future.

The past no longer is.

The future has yet to come.

Looking deeply at life as it is

In the very here and now

The practitioner dwells

In stability and freedom.”

Buddha Picture

I also felt that Osho really nailed it in the first quote. I found this way of presenting the material to be novel and useful.

Quotes

There is a teaching on “The Better Way to Live Alone” which defines “living alone” to be the experience of having one’s mind free of thoughts about the past and future, but is instead focused on the “present moment.”  But I can live physically alone but not be alone at all. If my mind is full of memories of the past and thoughts of the future, I can live physically alone but not be alone at all. If my mind is full of memories of the past and thoughts of the future, I can live physically alone while dialoguing with the deceased, reliving a past conversation or some painful (or joyful) incident or experience. Or I can be mentally rehearsing or imagining some future conversation, some future event.

All of which is the antithesis of “living alone” if I am lost in these thoughts. On the other hand If I am aware and watchful of these thoughts, realizing I am having these thoughts in the present moment, then I am truly “living alone” – even if I am living with 100 other beings. And this leads me to my own “deepest core” of who I am. If I know this, I have the capacity to love

  • Osho

As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.

  • Henry David Thoreau

Happiness and suffering are dependent upon your mind, upon your interpretation. They do not come from outside, from others. All of your happiness and all of you suffering are created by you, by your own mind.

  • Kyabje Thubten Zopa Rinpoche

My Manifesto: My body and mind are not individual entities that I can do anything I like with – such as filling them with drugs, alcohol, hateful attitudes and violence.  My body and mind exist for future generations therefore I must be aware of what I put into them.  We must also exercise care and responsibility over what we allow into the minds and bodies of our children, to prevent murders from happening in our schools.  Furthermore, this care and responsibility is to prevent young people turning their consumption of violence in on themselves – in the form of suicide.  So we say NO to our children consuming violence through movies, video games, internet and hate concerts. At the same time we say NO to ourselves at engaging in violent and toxic interactions with them.  We must take steps to fill the ethical void, give our children the benefits of our full presence and learn to listen deeply to them so that positive steps are taken to eliminate murders taking place in our schools.

  • Ian Prattis