World Service #11. Meditation with an Elephant and the Importance of Conversation. 10.10.2020

In this episode:

Meditation with an Elephant, Paul Barton;
Film Chat: ‘The Translators’;
‘Conversare’, Al Stewart;
Playing for Change, ‘Words of Wonder’- ‘Get Up, Stand Up’.

This World Service takes a bit of a turn away from personal wellbeing toward the post-COVID agenda – the kind of world we might want to build post-COVID.

Who would have thought of serenading a bull elephant by playing Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata? Beneath the obvious act of compassion, lies the story of an elephant and the trauma this magnificent creature has suffered.  – which you find out reading the pianist’s notes. Yes, we need more of this amazing communication with animals. It is so humanising.

The pianist, Paul Barton explains on his Facebook page:

Mongkol is a 61-year-old former logging elephant. His captive-held life was spent hauling trees in the Thai forest. He lost his right eye and tusk in this brutal practice. Mongkol was rescued and brought to Elephants World to spend the rest of his days relaxing peacefully in freedom by the River Kwai. I discovered Mongkol is an extremely gentle, sensitive elephant who enjoys music, which I play to him occasionally in the day and night.

I hope you are able to set anxieties and tensions aside to really relax with this music and feel the love between the player and the elephant.

The film The Translators looks like a good thriller. Steve Parker thinks it may be one of many good foreign films being currently shown in cinemas because the big movie houses are holding back on releasing their big blockbusters. COVID-19, particularly in the US, has got in the way of the usual rush to see the new multimillion dollar commercial films as they are released. Off camera, Steve and I had a long conversation about the publishing industry. Plenty to think about for a more humane postCovid world.

‘Sun Spot’ shines on a person I have got to know over the last year or so. Al Stewart established the School of Nutrition and Diatetics in the Medical School at Flinders university. Since his retirement about thirty years ago he has thrown himself into innovative methods of solving complex problems through conversation. Eventually this led him to his own contribution to this field, which he calls Conversare. Al is passionate about promoting ‘conversational communities’. There may be clues here for those concerned with rebuilding community and welcoming the stranger.

I have turned to ‘Playing for Change’ again for a final catchy multicultural song to go out on. Personally, I find this kind of constant rhythm quite conducive to what I might call ‘positive meditation’ –  music lifting the spirit to happy places.

I hope you enjoy!

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