Thursday, 31 March 2011

I Urge You

Life is always about the most dominant urge.  Whatever emerges as the most pressing thing - the thing that has to have attention NOW will be what dictates the next action.

Say you're engrossed in a book and you start to feel hungry, if involvement in the story is greater than the feeling of hunger then it will be ignored, until either interest wanes or becomes satiated, or the hunger pangs become too strong to ignore.

But what about will-power? Surely, it's possible to over-ride an urge for something?

For instance, you're working on something that you have to have finished by a certain time AND you feel ravenously hungry: you might think that you are able to exercise will-power by ignoring the hunger to get the necessary task finished.  But the will-power is nothing other than the most strongest imperative; which is to finish the job, or suffer consequences which may be more dire than enduring short-term hunger.  Conversely, if the hunger becomes physically unbearable, it may not be possible to ignore anymore and may interupt your ability to continue with the task. 

Which points to the possibility that we are just a series of irrestistible urges.  Urges that emerge due to numerous, uncountable causes: biological, hormonal, environmental, psychological.

What you are right now is the urge to read this sentence. A surging urge produced by an uncontrollable interplay of impulses, thoughts, feelings, sensations......

Just make sure you mop up after yourself!

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Elementary, My Dear Watson

Logical inevitability..... every, and any, conclusion is a result of logical inevitability.

Nothing Exists: Looking into anything that we perceive of as having substance will reveal that there IS nothing there of substance.  And if you think about it, it is logically inevitable that everything can only be made of nothing.  Because if something existed as the base material from which everything else is composed, it in itself, would need to be constructed of something, and a 'something' can be only be made of smaller 'somethings' ad infinitum, until you end up with something so infinitesimally small that it doesn't exist at all.  It might sound impossible that everything is made of nothing, but if you follow the logic, it can only lead to that conclusion.

Nothing Doing Anything: There can be no cause - otherwise that would have to be caused by something.  God - what created God?  Big Bang - where did the matter or energy come from to cause the big bang?  If all of existence came from an explosion, where did the explosion come from?  What was it made of?  Supposing a cause, presupposes a cause of the cause.  So the logical inevitability is that there can be no cause.

No separation: if there is separation, i.e. more than one thing, then those two things must stand apart from each other, which means that one of those must be outside of reality. Anything outside of reality can't be known, so it wouldn't exist. Therefore, there can be no separation.  Furthermore, if everything is made of nothing, then there's nothing to BE separate.

It's all inevitable, and every conclusion ends up there.

I love one of the dictionary definitions of inevitable: irresistible.  In other words: CANNOT be resisted.  It HAS to be.

And what has to be?  This.  However and whatever seems to appear, IS.  In the final analysis, that is the only reality.  The only thing that cannot be argued with.  Cannot be denied.

Can NOT be resisted

And although it's not inevitable that I finish with a quote from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, since I live in the town where he settled after his second marriage, it is fitting: -

When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.
Sherlock Holmes,
The Blanched Soldier

Thursday, 17 March 2011


I was reading a blog this morning (, which is worth a read, IMO) and in it  the writer said "We are always looking to transcend the human condition."

How?  How can humans transcend the human condition... because any transcendence would be a human condition!  Humans transcending being human.  There is no transcendence.  If you're human, you can only BE human.  The experience is of being human.  Human Being.  Being Human.

So, what is this 'human being'?  What is it made of?  What is its substance?

Imagine a tapestry.  A deeply woven, colourful, sumptuous, richly tactile tapestry.  This tapestry depicts the story of a person.  All its woes and triumphs, sadness and joy.  And imagine that you look at this tapestry starting at the beginning as it tells the tale of a baby being born, growing, crying, playing,... into toddlerhood, childhood, adolescence, adulthood; being woven by the thread, constantly changing - the colours; bland beige, ruby red, verdant green, inky black.  Now imagine that the tapestry is alive, that it's not you moving along looking at the story it depicts, but that you stand there and the tapestry weaves itself in front of your eyes - you see the weaving as it happens.

Imagine further ... that you are the character in that tapestry, that you are being woven by the thread itself.  You're not watching the life of the character as it happens, you ARE the thread as it morphs - you are the warp and weft, the colour and the texture; what the tapestry is made of is what you are made of and you are being woven as the story that the tapestry is depicting.

The weaving of the tapestry is real; each colour and thread , as it is being woven; the intricacies, richness, texture and colour - and the story that it weaves is real whilst it's being woven, but the thread weaves on.

The three scenarios I have asked you to imagine (moving along the tapestry, having the tapestry weave in front of you and being the tapestry character as it is woven) are what I think people are trying to do when they talk about transcendence or being 'awareness' or the 'witness'.  As though you can somehow step outside the story of what you are.  If you stepped outside that story; if you transcended it, witnessed it, detached from it .... then that would be "the story of 'stepping outside, transcending, witnessing, detaching."  There's no getting out of it.

And why would you want to?  Transcendence is just another experience and it can only ever be experienced by this character that is being woven by life.  Bliss is just another experience.  Any state of transcendence or bliss or 'abiding as non-dual awareness' can only ever be experienced AS the movement that is the character, the person, the human.

Imagine how tedious it would be to be 'forever blissful'; to be stuck as a character in one colour, one hue, one tone. Isn't it the very fact that the entire richness of living is felt and experienced that makes the character and the story it lives so engrossing and deep, knowing that whatever the thread of life weaves us into, it will never keep us static.

When I was trying to hit on the metaphor I wanted for this post, I was reminded of the book 'Weaveworld' by Clive Barker, one of my favourite books and so I'll end with a quote from it, which I think sums it all up very nicely:

"Nothing ever begins.
There is no first moment; no single word or place from which this or any story springs.
The threads can always be traced back to some earlier tale, and the tales that preceded that; though as the narrator's voice recedes the connections will seem to grow more tenuous, for each age will want the tale told as if it were of its own making."
Clive Barker (Weaveworld)

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Lies, Lies and Damn Lies

There was a quote recently by an actress in a Sunday magazine, which was:

"We're only nervous, when we lie."

Are we?  Are we even aware that we lie?  Don't we lie about the fact that we've lied?  We lie to ourselves, we lie to others, we lie about what we are and we pass on those lies.

From the moment a baby is born we name it, give it a weight and a birthday and at that point an entity is created. And as soon as the birth and name is registered that baby has an identity, in society and in the eyes of the law. The categorisations start.

From then on the infant's life is controlled; its feeds are regulated and its growth progress is plotted on a graph, constant comparisons made between its progress in terms of mobility, motor skills, feeding habits, developmental milestones: crawling, walking, speech and sleep patterns.  The baby is constantly monitored, measured and when it reaches a milestone early or sleeps through the night or feeds well, we say it's 'a good baby'.  And when it doesn't we say 'oh, he/she is really playing me up today." and assume that the baby is willfully choosing to stay awake or dislike pureed carrots or fail to crawl by 6 months old.  You can watch this happening all the time.  Parents berating and shouting (and much worse) at babies and young children for being... well... babies and young children.  Can the parents help it anymore than the baby or child can help staying awake all night or spitting out its food?  No.  We're all products of our genes, upbringing, conditioning, culture; in fact, the entire environment.

Does it matter?  Oh, yes.  It matters because it's the most insiduous and damaging lie. This is when it is most ardently and forcefully emphasised.  It takes a lot of time and effort, sustained over many years to instill the belief in a human being that they are responsible for the way they are, for what they are.

Nobody has any choice about the parents they're born to or the upbringing and parenting they receive. They can't say "Stuff this, you uptight, dissatisfied, controlling old cow.  I'm going somewhere where the adults appreciate me for the delightful, spontaneous expression of life that I am.  I'm fed-up with being made to eat food I don't like when I'm not hungry, sleeping to your schedule and being a disappointment to you in front of your friends because I can't count up to 10 in French by the time I'm 5.  I'm off!".

The violence starts when we say to a child 'You'.  'YOU did that'.  'You slept through the night', 'You are a good boy to share your toys'. As though the child is in control of anything it does, feels, knows, learns or thinks.  But by foisting each natural action, thought, or feeling that happens as being the responsibility of the child, we begin an insidous and destructive programming. The belief that there is the ability to control what we are, who we are and how we are. That there is an isolated, causative agent that controls the mind, body and life.

From the moment we're born the lie is foisted upon us and harboured as it continues being reinforced layer upon layer; each layer strengthing and giving weight to the idea that what we are is something separate with its own free will.

The child goes to school and if it doesn't undertand maths or grammar it's told that it is stupid and isn't trying hard enough; that the way it processes information is wrong, out of the norm. And alongside all this is the parent's corroboration with the education system that categorises the ability of the child according to a national standard, which places emphasis and importance on achievement in exams on standardised subjects. Add to this peer pressure/behaviour; the politics and play of our childhood chums.

Feeling unsure of themselves they seek out easy targets to ridicule and taunt, to use as a comparison to make themselves feel better about the inadequacy that has been pointed out in themself.  They lash out in their confusion because.......because somehow they know that what they've been told and taught is off-kilter.  If it makes them feel so bad, ashamed and lacking, so wrong, how can it be right?

And this is just the beginning!  Things don't get any easier as we grow into puberty and young adulthood .  A whole heap of impossible conditions is heaped upon you;  the way you look, what you think, how you feel - and you can never fit the mold of what you're told you 'should' be: but by dint of your genes alone, the way you look is not decided or controlled by you, or anyone else.

How long does this go on for?  It's not that common that someone stops to look and ask "Is it me or is it possible that what I've been told all my life is a lie?"

I can't help being what or who I am, so how can I possibly help not being what everyone thinks I should be!? If I want to change, but can't, then does that mean that I'm in control at all?  And if I'm NOT in control, then what is?"

Perhaps at this point some people realise the truth that there is nothing in control or maybe they start looking for exactly what is. And there is a whole world of theories and solutions out there designed to try to correct the person's inability to be in control  There's the ego and the id and the sub-conscious, God, the Self, the no-self, the Divine, the devil, will-power, the inner child, .... oh, an endless list of concepts to explore and explain what we think we are.

But it rarely occurs to us that there is literally nothing in control.  Just a constant, moving, changing process.

So we can't really blame parents for the way they raise children.  Or the educational system for being the way it is.  Or society for operating as it does; since it's all the process doing itself.  But until the process/life moves to look at and realise the lie upon which we're founded then we're doomed... doomed I tell ya.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Alive and Kicking Off

Walking through town yesterday, there was an altercation outside a coffee shop.  A girl sitting with friends was shouting at another one standing (both app. 18 years old).  As I got nearer the standing female started threatening: "I'm gonna kick your fucking head in.  Come on, come round the corner and I'll smash your fucking head right in."

I wondered why she felt it neccesary to go round the corner to kick her head in; I would have thought it would have been a lot easier to just do it there and then, as the girl whose head she wished to kick in was sitting down and a prone target!

As I passed by, I looked at the face of the seated girl who was shouting back, and I could see the terror in her eyes.  Her mouth was shouting and her eyes were afraid.  And I don't blame her.  The threatening ... aherm.. 'lady', for want of a better word, was built like the proverbial brick shit-house and had it been me, I'd have been UNDER the table snivelling like a right woos.

This was a dramatic little scenario and when I walked back that way a little later, the aggressor had gone and there was just the girl still sitting with a couple of friends.

Are you disappointed?  Did you hope that I was going to carry on with an account about a bitch fight?  Sorry.

What was fascinating was watching the action play out.  The posturing and reactions of the two girls.  Attacking and retreating.  Snarling threats, but failing to carry them out.  A friend trying to pull back the aggressor and two young children looking bewildered and scared at their mum's behaviour.

And then the passers-by (myself included), watching with interest, not getting involved, but being slightly amused by this 'show' of aggression and threatened violence. 

And within this little scenario was a large gamut of human emotion: fear, aggression, amusement, horror, enjoyment, shock, disgust.  And it was all whipped up due to a perceived threat or insult by one or other, or both of those girls. A threat to their sense of self, which escalated into a need to inflict violence, to prove that that sense of self is so important that it might be worth kicking in someone's head over. And in lots of instances there isn't just a threat; the action gets carried out, and results in injury or death.  Humans will protect their sense of individual self to the death. At which point, paradoxically, that sense of self  that they are defending and protecting disappears anyway. 

It's amazing the lengths that people will go to to protect something that is only a feeling and a thought.  Amazing that someone else's perception of them is so important that they will risk annihilation, either of themselves or the other.  All because the sense of self has been riduculed or insulted. 

There's not many things more ridiculous than reacting to an insult about something that doesn't actually exist.  A bit like an actor kicking off because someone insulted his pretend character.  And I think that's why a lot of the onlookers were mildly amused.  They could see that it was just a little drama playing out with nothing real behind it.  A lot of noise and fury.

Just another pleasant afternoon in an English town shopping centre.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

I am whatever you say I am...

In a previous post, I referred to a comment relating to the assertion that women are 'hard-wired' to be unable to read maps and are self-centred; that these are particular and specific attributes directly linked to the female gender alone.

This line of reasoning is a very sticky issue.  And is absolutely demonstrative of the dysfunction of human behaviour.  It's this whole 'venus' and 'mars' thing.  The very core of it is the belief that 'I' am a separate fixed entity; fixed in time and space with a definable outline containing specific qualities, characteristics, behaviours, traits, shortcomings and talents.  The core of it is that what 'I' am is absolutely definite. It concretises and attempts to hold that position come hell or high water.

But, of course, this isn't just about gender - it encompasses the entire spectrum of classification of humans. Identifying someone as being of a particular race, culture, age, gender, size or intelligence is essentially inaccurate and dishonest. 

It's an attempt to make sense of this glorious mess. To understand what life is. And that's understandable.

So we make distinctions: male/female, young/old, black/white, fat/thin, European/non-European, stupid/intelligent.  Yet these distinctions are abitrary - and society is that mechanism that agrees to accept these arbritrary definitions and comparisons and hold them as true.  And in that acceptance is the bondage that sees us defending our definitions and setting up the whole me/non-me shebang.  "I'm soooo not-you, dahling!"

When we label, we make a comparison and with that comparison comes our dishonesty. If I can define you as being something different to me, I can excuse my own inability to be honest about what I am.

Then we take it further and say that we're a product of our culture, our society, the times - but they're concepts.  The whole thing is fluid.   But because of the uncertainty and and chaos of this fluidity that is life, we want to section it off into chunks. 

It's very, very limiting.  But here's something ...... not neccessarily limiting for the person who's being defined, but limiting for the 'Definee' (new made-up word!). The definee is writing off what someone else has said or done as being a product of a system that has fixed rules and qualities. 

Therefore, we get to the premise, for instance, that women think in a 'certain way', so communicate in a certain way; and men think in a 'different way' and so communicate differently and this escalates into the belief that women and men can't fundamentally understand each other. But is this true?  Who decides whether men and women think in a different way?  How can that even begin to be proven?  You would need a set of exhaustively, comprehensive tests to map all thought processess of all women and men - and that is clearly impossible.  So what we end up with in the absence of that is pseudo science making generalisations about assumptions of opined trends.  How sketchy is that!

But the really sad thing is that by categorising and trying to prove differences, we overlook the process that produces this.  And fail to see that there is nothing fixed. There is no definable cause of a person; to how they act, reason, process information and communicate.  Any thing that any one does cannot be fixed to a specific cause; a person is part of that writhing, fluid, changing movement. (As Carl Sagan said "If you want to make apple pie, first create the universe".)

So when we write off what someone says or does as being specific to a condition (gender, race, age... whatever) we fail to listen and see that what they are is what we are.... an expression.  And we fail to see the truth of that expression, not only in them but, more crucially, in ourself.  And that's why its so damaging - if we can't see what someone else REALLY is then we can't see what we REALLY are.  So, sadly,  when we ignore another we are ignoring ourselves.

And therein lies the human tragedy.

And yes, we can't help it.  Compartmentalising, labelling, chunking, describing, measuring and trying to make sense are functions of the human brain.  But if you can see it as just a function of being a human being, then you can drop all the crap about the ism's and the limiting beliefs and see that what you are is NOT something limited and definable.

What happens is a reaction that happens in that moment - that's all - and it can't be attributed to one single cause.

Venus? Mars?  Nah, we ain't from either.... Where did you come from baby, dear?  Out of the everywhere into here.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Ch, Ch, Ch, Changes....

She asked me what were the changes, since seeing that what the thought 'I' refers to is nothing BUT a thought.

I said less anger, equinamity, .... happiness generally .... among other things.

Those are the main ones.  And that nasty little voice has gone. There's virtually no story after the event, any event.  It's actually just a different perspective, is all.

She said that there was a danger of just watching your life fall apart and not bothering to do anything about it.

But action and reaction still happens. Somehow it all gets done. As it always did.   With no-one doing it.  There's much less anxiousness or neuroticism.  There's no need for it. Not that it doesn't poke it's nose over the parapet at all, but when there's no story for it to be attached to, it fades out pretty quickly.

She asked if I wanted to tell others  - especiallly those that seem to be suffering.  I replied that they would say I'm talking shit and unless someone specifically asked, I wouldn't bother, not face to face.  It's so hard to talk about because society and our culture aren't structured that way.  It's totally built on being a someone who's doing something and going somewhere. Getting something for someone. Always.  Even if it's doing a good deed - it's always about doing it for me.

Everything that's done looks as though it's done to feed the ego.  To parade our qualities and so feedback into that belief that there's something there that needs to be maintained.  And it's all about proving that there is an actual thing called 'I'. People run around performing their actions and the whole process becomes a desperate attempt to feed the lie of self. And what's interesting is that the thought that was always identified as ego still continues, except now it's obvious that it is just a movement, like a feeling surfaces, so does an egoic thought and an action to respond to that thought. (For instance writing a blog about changes!)

I was trying (like the Friends clip) to think of an act that is truly selfless.  The only thing I could come up with is an instinctual action.  When, for example, someone trips and falls in the street and the nearest person, without thinking, just reacts and reaches out to stop them from falling.

But then, of course, EVERY act is selfless, is instinctual.  Everything that is done, even if it's the process of trying to bolster self-image, is impulsive and natural.

This really is like a Magic Eye picture.... first you think you see a me and a totally selfish perspective, then you see that there's no me and everything is an act of selflessness.  It always was, actually.

And talking of Magic Eye pics, here's some eye candy: