Last we consider the time of their comming, the season of the yeare. It was no Summer Progresse. A cold comming they had of it, at this time of the yeare; just, the worst time of the yeare, to take a journey, and specially a long journey, in. The waies deep, the weather sharp, the daies short, the sunn fartherst off in solstitio brumali, the very dead of Winter.
23rd December, 2005
Christmas 2005—The World is ShakingHere we are at the turning of the year, and we are glad in many ways, that the old year is finally relinquishing its grip and slipping away. Despite a difficult year, we are thankful that we made steady progress with our website which is now a little over one year old. Despite encouraging developments with the website it has not been an easy year. Daily it seems we have been assailed with bad news, whether it was the deadly terrorist explosions on the London Underground in July or later in August, when Hurricane Katrina caused such devastation on the Gulf Coast. Let alone the litany of violence that we hear of nightly from far away Baghdad which at times seems right next door!
Towards the end of the year then, it was with some relief that we welcomed the coming Ramadan fast. Although we are not Muslims in the outer sense of the word yet we follow the Ramadan fast each year. Pak Subuh the founder of the Subud spiritual brotherhood, often talked of the spiritual benefits of following the monthly fast each year. Though whether we are Christians or Muslims the important thing is to do the monthly fast each year whether we call it Ramadan or Lent.
We had no sooner started Ramadan this year when on the 1st day we felt a tickle in the throat which rapidly developed into flu symptoms. And of course, it was at this time that the terrible earthquake struck in Kashmir, killing many thousands. Both of us fell ill and in a weeks time we had both taken to our beds and by this time we were finding it an effort even to go out into the kitchen and prepare a drink or a small meal. It seemed as if every last drop of energy had vacated our bodies as we shuffled about. Perhaps we thought, we have this deadly Bird Flu that we had been hearing so much about? Well, if that's the case then we are not long for this world.
S's condition with her irregular breathing was becoming more serious and finally I called 911 and within minutes we had para-medics pounding up the stairs, and minutes later S was whisked away in an ambulance to the local hospital. The emergency doctor felt that S's condition was serious and had her sent to a larger hospital across town. At this hospital S was diagnosed with pneumonia and later with a heart condition that required angio-plasty. Fortunately, all went well with S's treatment and she was home at the end of the week. What complicated things further was that S had also been suffering from allergic reactions (from medications), resulting in a swelling tongue that had meant frequent trips to the ER.
Now what was interesting is that despite all this stress and upset we both continued with doing the Ramadan fast. It's strange but doing the fast at a difficult time actually made things easier and lighter.
Then a few days before the end of Ramadan we came home to find our beloved little cat lying on the floor desperately ill. The next morning we took him to the vet who told us he had a blockage in his urinary tract and that at this point there was no way to save him. So we had to have him put to sleep and we came home feeling very sad.
Now of course our difficulties pale to insignificance when we look at the suffering and sorrow that has swept over our globe in the last year. What can we say? Only that in some way, all we could do was to seek the comfort of a Higher Power at this time. S said to me in conversation, "You know—it's like the world is shaking!" And it really is that way. Even now we are not sure if the shaking has stopped, and we for one step out of the front door very gingerly these days—looking all ways—wondering what else may be on the way!
Anyway, that's enough of all that. We have however, managed to add three new books to our website. Firstly, a selection of poems, called, Realisation & Declamation by Anthony Bright-Paul. Secondly, a re-telling of some principal Upanishads by Ray Douglas in, The Essence of the Upanishads and in the last week, A Life in Subud by Raymond van Sommers—A contribution to the history of Subud.
The Future of Undiscovered Worlds Press
We hope that more people will join us next year in developing Undiscovered Worlds Press, not only by way of new articles, books and creative projects, but by helping to establish UWP as a vehicle for creative endeavour.
As the year turns and we look to the future—an Armageddon or a radiant Golden Age? We are journeying with the Three Wise Men across the waste of this world—to a destination as yet uncertain. Perhaps it is good to recall the words of King George VI spoken in his radio address to the British nation at Christmas time 1939—in the early days of World War II.
"A new year is at hand. We cannot tell what it will bring...In the meantime I feel that we may all find a message of encouragement in the lines which, in my closing words, I should like to say to you: I said to the man who stood at the Gate of the Year, "Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown." And he replied, "Go out into the darkness, and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be better than light, and safer than a known way.""King George VI, Christmas Radio Address 1939