1510 DISTILLING THE TRUTH

Distilling can be considered a form of purification.  I love the definitions of distillation, “the action of purifying a liquid by a process of heating and cooling” and “the extraction of the essential meaning or most important aspects of something“.  The extraction of the essential meaning of something – if only we had that ability for living our lives.

Poitín [ˈpˠotʲiːn], anglicised as Poteen or Potcheen, is a traditional Irish distilled, highly alcoholic beverage (60%-95% ABV). Poitín was traditionally distilled in a small pot still and the term is a diminutive of the Irish word pota, meaning "pot". Traditionally distilled from malted barley grain or potatoes, it is one of the strongest alcoholic beverages in the world, and for centuries was classified as illegal in Ireland.

Poitín [ˈpˠotʲiːn], anglicised as Poteen or Potcheen, is a traditional Irish distilled, highly alcoholic beverage (60%-95% ABV). Poitín was traditionally distilled in a small pot still and the term is a diminutive of the Irish word pota, meaning “pot”. Traditionally distilled from malted barley grain or potatoes, it is one of the strongest alcoholic beverages in the world, and for centuries was classified as illegal in Ireland.

A family near where i grew up in the rural west of Ireland use to distill poitin in the autumn – ready for the Christmas rush.  It was their way of financing Christmas in those tough times.  There were legal issues, it was officially bootlegging, as well as moral issues arising from this enterprise.  I’m not sure how they dealt with the legal issues, other than avoiding being caught by the law, and i understand that they dealt with the moral issues by producing the best quality poitin they could.  Such compromises are life made of.

garda

There are moral issues relating to the State as well, why would this be necessary?  What kind of a country was it that a family had to resort to illegally producing alcohol to survive Christmas?   It raises many questions about Christmas too, questions which are more relevant today than they were all those years ago.  Why is Christmas so materialistic?  Why has Christianity not done more to change the emphasis of Christmas?  There are also many moral issues to do with the consumers of that poitin.  I’m sure it was not all consumed in happy moderation, a hot drink or two among friends on a cold winters night.

I was reminded of this last week when my son and i sought out a specialized sport shop, D8 Fitness, in the Coombe, an old part of Dublin city.   My son was seeking stretching bands and i picked up a wobble board – such a fun way of improving my balance and strengthening my core, and a new yoga mat.  I digress, but sport and exercise are always a part of our lives.  Beside where we found parking, was a distillery, a legal one,  Teelings Distillery – so new that it only opens this Saturday.  It has been a number of years in the construction and preparation and represents some €10 million investment.  It is the first new distillery in Dublin in 125 years.  A long way from a copper coil, a few potatoes and a couple of barrels in a bog in the west of Ireland.  This distillery will provide year round employment as well as providing a new tourist attraction – a distillery is not just for Christmas.

Teeling-Whiskey-Distillery-Image-1

I wish it well and i hope its products are consumed wisely.

So. lets get away from the action of purifying a liquid and back to the extraction of the essential meaning or most important aspects of life.

I always believed that getting to the core of truth involved stripping away accumulated layers of inaccuracies and mistruths until, finally, there exposed for all to see was the ‘TRUTH’.  Growing up, for most of us, involves the accumulation of layers of deceit, of concealment, layers we found necessary at different times to copy with life and what it threw at us.  Sooner or later, if you were both fortunate enough to recognize what was happening, and unfortunate enough to be exposed to such suffering, because it inevitably involves suffering, an opportunity came, or was thrust upon you, to strip away those layers of concealment and to expose, and face, your true self.  Not a journey most of us would volunteer for if we have any alternatives available to us.

For some, those rare individuals, life does not include the growth of such layers and, therefore, they have nothing to strip away, being genuine at all times.  For others, help is provided, or taken up, meditation, yoga and other similar practices, which eases the path and may avoid much of the suffering associated with a sharp readjustment to face reality.

For many of course, life is spent dodging the issues, hanging fearsomely onto those layers and assuming that the rest of the world is out of step – avoiding accepting that they even have a plaster.

there-are-two-ways-to-remove-a-band-aid-slowly-and-painfully-or-quickly-and-painfully-your-choice-john-wood

That about sums it up – off course you could always leave the plaster on but that is rather a waste of a life.

We have raised this in other blogs – the central message of most religions and philosophies is ‘ change yourself’. Quit worrying about changing the world, about changing society and change yourself.  Imagine, as John Lennon described, if everyone changed themselves there would be no other changing to do.

Imagine” – John Lennon

“Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today…

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one”

Easy isn’t it – just change yourself.  Imagine you are a butterfly emerging from your chrysalis – brand new and beautiful for all the world to see.

cocoon

I have been trying to get to the core of truth in religions over the last few years -seeking the kernel at the center which justifies and supports everything else.   My approach has been to try to strip away those centuries of layers which have accumulated, to distill the truth and find the Holy Grail. My approach, i now believe, was wrong.  The only layers which are important are those i have surrounded myself with, they are the only barriers which need to be stripped away to find the truth.  The truth is within me, within us all – most religions tell us this but we don’t listen.

And so my journey becomes an inner journey.

But i’m not the only one

I hope someday you’ll join us

And the world will live as one

Time to emerge my friends

Namaste

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