The Phiroz Mehta Trust Summer School 2011
By William Grice
A good measure of the success of such an experience is perhaps one’s feelings towards the world at large afterwards.
Personally I found that even on the return journey home other drivers had become much less irritating, and my ageing car seemed sprightlier. Even the sudden demise of my ‘Sat Nav’, plunging me into having to actually plan my route home, did not cloud my sunny disposition.
What could have wrought this transformation?
Perhaps the clue is in the use of the word ‘disposition’; being disposed, indeed. My general disposition is to be at the disposal of a rather discursive mind, and therefore not at ease with the practice of ‘noble silence’. However, perseverance after many dismal failings was rewarded this year. What a treat for my school-fellows!
The choice of recorded talks by Phiroz was unanimously agreed to be of even greater relevance this year. Perhaps it was because they were mainly from the earlier times, dating back to the 1970’s. Coincidentally, a recurrent theme was the importance of silence in the practice of mindfulness meditation. It seems that the blindingly obvious is essentially extremely obscure sometimes. One such instance was during a reading by Michael Jenkinson from an American publisher on Buddhism. Although understanding that our psyche has a direct affect on our physical body, the fact that the reverse is also true (naturally) had somehow eluded my understanding.
There was also a new dimension to our general discussions which developed quite spontaneously at times, that of a self-imposed order of which Mr Burcow would have been quite envious.
The fellowship of old friends is priceless. We all get along together in an unfussy manner of which Phiroz would approve; necessarily so, for he had engendered it so.
Special thanks must go to Rosemary Monk for her guiding hand, and to Carolyn Martin for her painstaking programming.