All that exists in no time

All that remains

When all’s been said and done

Is what’s always been here

And always will be


The vast presence of absence

Endlessly calling for attention

Waiting to burst into life

At the strike of a light


Endlessly forgotten

By the clamour of inattention to innermost receptivity

Frothing over hidden depth

Carving initials

Into stone and bark



‘I was here’


‘I really mattered, didn’t I?’

Which could never have happened

In the first place

Without what remains

When all’s been said and done


We are but traces in eternity*

Flowing lines that gather…

Compassion Fruit’ (Oil painting on canvas by Alan Rayner, 2008). The confluence of classical elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water via a zero-point at their vertical-horizontal intersection, enables the emergence of a Passiflora vine, symbolizing the natural inclusion of Love in Life.

The Essence of Regenerative Sustainability

Stitching in Time’ (Oil painting on board by Alan Rayner, 2020). Every moment is a turning point; In ever-present current; Carrying life across the gaps; In human memory; From future into past; Without a pause for thought; Yet dancing in the Stillness; The play of light in void; That brings relief to form; Flowing here and there in rhythms; Receiving and responding; In continuous relay; Throughout the day; Throughout the night; From season into season; Without the need for reason; To divide, make whole or keep to straight and narrow; Only dying to pass on

What is natural organisation, how does it arise and how is it sustained or lost?

You might imagine that this is a question to which modern evolutionary, thermodynamic, social and complex systems theories would have the answer well sussed. There is, however, a simple life lesson — readily available to any of us from our personal experience — that these abstract theories have not learned:-

  • All falls naturally into place when the receptive influence of continuous space and informative influence of dynamic local boundaries are taken into consideration.
  • All falls paradoxically out of place when…

‘Anew Leaf’ (acrylic painting on board by Alan Rayner, 2020) At the turn of the decade, I resolve to open up a new horizon, and to make a start by painting a new picture. I find a dead maple leaf in a gutter, beginning to disintegrate. I set out to resurrect it in the colours of freshly fallen autumn leaves, lifted up into clear blue sky, leaving behind its mirror image in a sky-filled hole.

I have nothing to sell

No one to tell

No hidden agenda

No vested interests

No heroes to worship

No organization to manage

No empires to rule

No industries to serve

No institutional support

No salary to earn

No profit to turn

No money to burn

No self-belief

No clients to coach

No patients to cure

No therapy to seek

No books to promote

No courses to offer

No technologies to invent

No theories to present

No religious persuasion

No fan clubs to grow

No party-political allegiance

No magical tricks

No axes to grind

No alternatives to debate

No points to score

No games to win

No battles to lose


I am here for one sincere reason, alone

To open the door


For further exploration beyond the open door, please visit

‘Vibrant Confluence’ (Pen, ink and watercolour sketch on paper by Alan Rayner, 2019)

Have you seen or felt the vibrancy
That spirals in and spirals out
To and from receptive calling
Within you and without you
Bringing life to love
In glistening spells of renewal
From there to here in everywhere?

The inner flare
That helps you dare
To dance amidst the silence
Spreading passion
Spreading joy
The gladness in the sadness
The bloom within the doom

Or do you cut it out
Along the dotted line
Between what’s added and subtracted
To and from your head and heart
In arithmetical reduction
From infinity to singularity
The lifeless tyranny of whole and fractured numbers
Isolated by definition
From what calls to light in dark

For further exploration of the vibrancy of ‘natural inclusion’, please visit

Dynamic Boundaries; Continuous Space

Fountains of the Forest (oil painting on board by Alan Rayner, Mycological Research 102, 1441–1449, 1998). ‘a tree is a solar-powered fountain, its sprays supplied through wood-lined conduits and sealed in by bark until their final outburst in leaves … Within and upon its branching, enfolding, water-containing surfaces, and reaching out from there into air and soil are branching, enfolding, water-containing surfaces of finer scale, the mycelial networks of fungi … which provide a communications interface for energy transfer from neighbour to neighbour, from living to dead, and from dead to living

***What is an Individual?***

That was the research question that ultimately led me to question everything I’d been told by conventional analytical science in general and evolutionary biology in particular. Because it has no definitive answer. As William Wordsworth put it:- ‘In nature, everything is distinct, yet nothing defined into absolute, independent singleness’.

The very idea that reality can be subdivided or aggregated into discrete numerical units that can be treated as independent ‘wholes’ acted upon by external ‘force’ is inconsistent with evidence and incapable of making consistent natural sense. It is an abstraction from nature…

‘Ibotenic Thread’ (Oil painting on board by Alan Rayner, 1999)

It comes to all of us

I suppose

Who aspire




To be good

To do good

To feel good

In the eyes of our selves

In the eyes of others

In the eyes of mothers



Only to flail

Slip and slither

To the base of a well

In our own private Hell

Where none can fathom

What depth there can be

Beneath what we see

Before where we started

And find in that place

A smidgeon of grace

Midst the vastness of space

Recalling us to life

For further exploration of the depth of ‘natural self-inclusion in neighbourhood’, please visit

Evolution in Response to Receptive Invitation

Radiant Receptivity (Oil painting on board by Alan Rayner, 2020): To be a Guiding Light of Life; Radiating into Darkness; One needs to Receive the Light of Life; From out of Darkness; Into Flowing, Flowering Form; Around the Stillness; Within One’s Dark Receptive Heart. This Place where Female calls Male receptively; Into welcoming Embrace; And Male receptively responds; In Spirited Congregation; Around the Altar of Her Soul; Bringing the Light of Life; To Flare from the Fathomless Depth of Being; That is Becoming; Endlessly

Here, as in the above short video presentation, I want to ask a simple but ultimately deep and far-reaching question:-

“Who or what is your neighbourhood?”

Why do I ask this question? Why does it deserve your special attention when you are already so bombarded with so many other concerns in your modern everyday life? What difference could seeking an answer to it make to your life, my life, human life, life on Earth?

What thoughts, feelings, sensations and intuitions are aroused in you as you contemplate this question? Does it arouse your…

Spider Oak’ (Photograph by Tom Cairns for Bath Natural History Society, 2013)

How we answer this question affects not only the way we understand life, but also the degree to which we hold ourselves responsible for what happens to us.

Here it may help us to take a step beyond our immediate human concerns and consider what a tree, for example can tell us about decision-making.

It’s a helpful example, because a tree actually records its life experience in its bodily form: its branching pattern, its leaf and bud scars, its growth rings, its healed and unhealed wounds.

When we examine this record, how do we interpret it?

Do we view it…

Confluence’ (Oil painting on board by Alan Rayner, 2021) Here combined are the local tangible elements of Earth (solid), Water (liquid) and Air (gas) formed from the intangible elements of Fire/light and Space/darkness, symbolized further by the two wings, two tail streamers and head and body of an arctic tern (which migrates annually between Arctic and Antarctic circles). We also see a transition from radial/spherical symmetry associated with stillness and bilateral symmetry associated with movement. Correspondingly, the imagery symbolizes the vitality of the mutually inclusive bodily and soulful/spiritual middle in bringing seemingly opposite but actually complementary viewpoints (as per left and right wings) into confluence.

All arises from and all returns to silence.

All dynamically includes and is included within silence.

There can be no sound without silence.

Silence is in the depth of our souls and the tread of our soles.

Calling all into flow-formation

The everlasting grace of infinite, receptive space,

Ignored by Pride & Prejudice,

Adored by Sense & Sensibility*.


For further exploration of the silence within, throughout and all around us, please visit

Alan Rayner

Alan Rayner is an evolutionary ecologist, writer and artist, who is pioneering the philosophy of natural inclusion

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