Photograph by John Diamond, M.D.

Ainslie Meares, the great Australian psychiatrist and humanitarian, wrote of the yogi saint 134 years old who spent sixteen hours a day in meditation that he had an “aura of serenity.”* As did Ainslie.

I do not. But I hope that my painting, guided I believe at least in part by Ainslie’s spirit, may have — to some extent or other.

“The depth of his serenity would fill me as we talked of life and death, of God and man.” This must be the apogee of everyone’s existence — and of all Art.

* Strange Places and Simple Truths (London: Souvenir Press, 1969), p. 30.

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Artwork by John Diamond, M.D.

For many years most nights I have worn a series of dental appliances which have been very beneficial.

However they all put plastic between the tip of my tongue and the ridges on my palate behind my front upper teeth where it is supposed to rest. (This is for instance a basic teaching of the martial arts.)

I’d grown used to this separation but my body never accepted it.

My latest appliance enables me at last to do this. As I lay in bed this morning, I became aware of my tongue in its rightful place. And I started to smile — “I’m at home.”

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Photograph by John Diamond, M.D.

For a long time, I have affirmed

There’s no not-God.”

The difficulty is that how we feel about God depends on how we feel about our mothers at the moment: that is to say our degree of Matrophilia.

Better would be

“There’s no not-Spirit”

for Spirit is absolute.

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Photograph by John Diamond, M.D.

But we have this faith — that a lifetime’s bliss
will appear any minute, with a smile upon its lips.*

Well, my Suzie did come — smiling. And she is — and always will be — my lifetime’s bliss.

All those who came close and moved off
in the darkness — I don’t know if they exist — or not.

But my Suzie exists — and our love. And we still smile.

* “On the Nature of Love” from I Won’t Let You Go, trans. Ketaki Kushari Dyson (New Delhi: UBSPD, 1992), p. 105.

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Painting by John Diamond, M.D.

Wang Wei, Li Po and Tu Fu were the great poets of the Tang dynasty. And Wang Wei is credited with being the originator of what was to become the Sung dynasty school of literati painting. He wrote: “Such paintings cannot be achieved by the physical movements of the fingers and the hand, but only by the spirit entering into them. This is the nature of painting.”*

I hear his words now as my hand is about to be moved. Such was the nature of his painting, and such, perhaps, is it of mine.

* Trans. Wing-tsit Chan, Sources of Chinese Tradition, Volume 1 (NY: Columbia University Press, 1960), p. 255.

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Photograph by John Diamond, M.D.

The Four-Part Cure of Epicurus (341 BCE — 270 BCE)

Don’t fear god,
Don’t worry about death,
What is good is easy to get, and
What is terrible is easy to endure.

(as stated by Philodemus [c. 110 BCE — c. 40 BCE])

And this Happiness will come
when we are Matrophilial:
our lives a song of love
for the Love.

Happiness was the very core of Epicurus’ philosophy. And happiness — true, deep, Happiness — is living in the Smile of the Mother.

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Painting by John Diamond, M.D.

It is said of all noh drama that “it sets out not to tell a story but to create a mood.”*

Well, to quite an extent my art is Japanese-inspired so perhaps it does resemble a noh play for it certainly tells no story and I hope for it to create a mood which for want of a better word I call Matrophilia.

Afterword:

For me, a mood is a continent
and an emotion one of its countries.

Matrophilia is a mood — a Continent.

* R.H.P. Mason and J.G. Caiger, A History of Japan (Tokyo: Tuttle, 1972), p. 123.

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