Category Archives: Spirituality
Back in the early 90s I spent a lot of time visiting the Theosophical Library in Melbourne where I spent an inordinate amount of time seeking – reading books on Buddhism, Daoism, the Vedas, Theosophy, Magic, Magick and New Thought. New Thought is the 19th century religious / health movement which arose out of the teachings of Phineas Quimby and I suspect the Gnostic Gospels. It was precursor to the Law of Attraction, The Secret and much of the New Age movement. New Thought is non denominational and often crosses over with traditional religious groups.
There was something about New Thought which resonated with me and I think it was it’s pantheistic view of the reality, in which God is everywhere in everything and the idea that there is a right way of thinking – which of course I didn’t fully appreciate back then. As a young man I was ignorant of both Buddhism’s Noble 8 Fold Path, which seemed way too complex and difficult and New Thought’s right way of thinking, which seemed way too pie in the sky. Now as an older man approaching 50, I can appreciate the depths of both the Noble 8 Fold Path and New Thought’s prescription for a healthy and prosperous life.
I am no longer a seeker. I know what I need to know and how to remain open. But I also recognise that seeking is a state of mind – an aspect for many people that comes and goes.
Where ever I go I see people stuck in the seeking mind, whether it’s seeking satisfaction and fulfilment in relationships, work or stuff or in the never ending search for answers. I can no more discourage people from seeking than I could have discouraged my 20 year old self from seeking. Suffice to say that if you wish to have a content and peaceful life, you ought to at some point recognise seeking for what it is – a state of mind and put it aside as often as possible.
So if seeking is something that is a strong part of your day to day functioning, might I recommend that you explore the New Thought movement. There are many wonderful writers from the last 2 centuries and much of their material is freely accessible and there are many teachers from the last 50 years who have produced books, audio and videos. I haven’t explored this field since the early 90s, so I cannot point you towards any particular teachers. All I can do is point you towards certain resources. Like all movements and traditions, you are bound to find good teachers and bad teachers, original thinkers and those stuck on band wagons ! For some people finding a group that they can connect with brings a sense of belonging and comfort. For other people like myself finding a group that they can connect with brings a sense of revulsion and disdain. Unless it’s close family or friends, the idea of connecting with any kind of group rubs me up the wrong way. But for some of you, this maybe exactly what you need. So explore and use your own discernment carefully.
More reading here :
And more resources here :
Audio resources here :
Impermanence is all around us and fills our lives and our bodies. Impermanence is the way of the cosmos. Everything comes into physical being, lives a little and then passes beyond the body. But life itself, is eternal ! From the one mind to the differentiated mind back unto the one mind again. It does us all good to remember that every moment is fleeting and that we will not pass this way again.
In today’s night time walkalogue, I explore memory, its connection to the story of me (your story) and sleep. I speculate on a constellation approach to understanding how memory works, memory and time and the function of memory. I explore how we construct our personal narratives and how memory relates to the overall story of the self. Finally I look at how we approach sleep, what our expectations of sleep are and what we can do to engage memory and imagination prior to sleep, in order to strengthen memory and live the ignored and un-noticed parts of our day as completely as possible.
Sleepy Bright. 😉
PS. Update. I noticed in my tiredness I referred to the Penrose map instead of the Penfield map.
So many of us move through life unaware of how everything that we percieve is from just our perspective. We constantly batter others with our way of seeing things and forget that other people also have a valid way of seeing things – even if it’s objectively skewed.
Here’s a simple exercise in getting inside the skin of another and seeing the world from their point of view :
- Take any emotional event that involved you and another person.
- Go through the event as best as you can from your own point of view.
- Feel everything completely.
- Now rest a little and let everything go.
- Now imagine that you are the other person and see the event unfold as they might have seen it.
- Feel everything completely and suspend all judgement.
- Now imagine how it might feel for that person after the event and any feelings they might have as a result of the event and your reaction to it.
- Finally, imagine watching the event from an omniscient point of view in which you see it unfolding between two people and yet you understand how both of them are feeling.
- See that both people have a point of view and feelings that are unique and valid to them.
- Come back to being your self. Try to understand now what it was like to be the other person in that situation and see if you can take a little of that insight into your future interactions with them, being mindful of your reactivity towards them.
Notice if you can how perspective and perception are closely linked. Imagine then how ETs might try to understand us. Not by sending exotic signals through space or meeting our leaders but by getting inside our skins and by observing how we interact with each other.
Non-Bono (Sam) and Bono below both have their own unique experience of singing Running to Stand Still.
In today’s bloated (O man I feel full !) walkalogue, I explore the idea of the inner self / the inner life / the inner world or the internal self / internal life / internal world. I speculate on the nature of this strange separation between inner and outer, how inner and outer influence one another and some possible distinctions between the inner world of the body and the inner world of the mind. I ask how the conscious and unconscious aspects of our mind might exist and interact with one another and what the changing nature of the inner self means for our identity and our overall sense of self in life and death.
Enjoy ! 😉
Ladies, many of you have heard of the mythical G-Spot and you may have wondered, ‘Just how do I get my partner to hit the right place ?’ And gents, you may also have heard of the mythical G-Spot and wondered the same thing. Or perhaps some of you know the G-Spot intimately well and have mastered the art of super orgasms. Like many of you, I too wondered about the mythical G-Spot. But I’m afraid this post isn’t about the G-Spot. If you’d like to know more about G-Spot and other wonders of female sexuality, try reading Derek Llewellyn-Jones book Everywoman (https://www.amazon.com/Everywoman-Derek-Llewellyn-Jones/dp/B0006DCFRM) and Emily Nagoski’s book Come as You Are (https://www.amazon.com/Come-You-Are-Surprising Transform/dp/1476762090 / http://www.emilynagoski.com/).
I’d like to talk briefly about the J-Spot – the Joy Spot and how to hit it more often. What is a Joy Spot ? Well, I just made it up ! But we might say, the Joy Spot is that sweet thing that almost always brings you joy. So how do you hit the J-Spot. You make time for it. You re-arrange your life so that you have regular time for the things that bring you joy. One possibility is that you make make time to have 15 minutes a day doing something that brings you joy. I love walking and it brings me immense joy. So every day I walk for at least an hour. I also love sitting in the sun and listening to the birds, so I take time whenever I can to have breaks and sit in the sun and listen to the birds.
People have all kinds of excuses why they can’t find time. And at the end of the day the only solution is to prioritise how you use your time. If work is taking up too much time, work less, say no to your boss or your business, set boundaries on your time. Everyone is expendable and can be replaced ! If kids are taking up too much of your time, set boundaries on your kids and ask for help. If study is taking up too much of your time, drop a subject, study less, get help, have midnight oil days and lighter days. In every situation the desire to do whatever it takes to create a healthier life is what will create a healthier life. The idea to create change can’t just be stuck in your head. You have to acknowledge that you want it and to feel the desire. And if you can’t feel the desire, feel the pain and suffering and your body trying to say, “NO !”.
Every carer knows what it’s like to feel invisible. Every worker knows what it feels like to feel ignored. Every partner and every parent knows what it feels like to feel unimportant. The only way that anything changes is when you say “NO !” to how things are and begin to take action towards how you would like things to be. But first you have to see how things really are and feel how things really are. Let your body speak to you. Let it tell you that it feels like shit ! And listen ! Listen deeply ! And let your body guide you !
So here are a couple of steps on a potential path to changing your life and hitting the J-Spot.
- Make a list of 10 things you love doing.
- Prioritise them into things that take longer than a day, between 1-24 hours and less than an hour.
- Decide how often you’d like to do each one.
- Figure out what needs to change in order to have time for 1 thing in each category to be realised.
- Identify the obstacles to change for each of those things.
- Make a choice to tackle each obstacle systematically.
- Talk to people who are relevant to your life about the changes you wish to make and ask for their support.
- Every morning ask your body, “What do I need to do today to feel joy ?” and listen for an answer.
- Follow your body’s advice.
Throw away your vibrator, your bong, your phone and let yourself experience the things that bring you greatest joy. If you need your vibrator, your bong and your phone, you better not throw them out, in case someone else grabs them. No point giving up your Joy Toys if you really need them ! But more than likely the things that bring you greatest joy are very simple.
This post is about as New Age as I plan on sounding.
I’m trying to make a point here. People suffer needlessly for so long, postponing the things they most wish they had in their lives, until the time is perfect. I used to see that every day in a Radiotherapy unit. People who had postponed living fully and enjoying life, until they could retire. And within weeks of retirement, their bodies turned around and said, “Fuck you, you’ve been an arse hole to me for decades. Here’s a bunch of tumours !”. And often it was too late and they ran out of chances ! They didn’t get it, being so focused on the golden nest egg and the accolades of a glorious life of work, money and somebodyness ! Many of them ran out of time and no amount of chemotherapy or radiotherapy was enough to stop the resistance of their tumours to a life that was being squandered !
We must all seize the day without excuse ! Because no matter how many of our excuses are valid, every minute of your day you spend filling your life with activities that don’t fill you with joy or provide you with fulfilment, is making you sick ! And I know that’s easy to say and hard to do (Take it from someone who has been there !). If you’re a grandmother who takes care of your own father who has dementia, your husband who drinks too much and your grand children because your kids work too much; that’s going to sound like wishful thinking. If you’re a tradie who works from 7am-7pm 6 days a week for himself and you have a $700, 000 mortgage; that’s going to sound ridiculous. And if you’re a young doctor working in an Emergency Department 70 hours a week and you’re wife is looking after your 3 kids and she’s cranky with you; that’s going to sound like Ju Ju ! But you have that choice. If your life is not what you want it to be, you have a choice how to rearrange it and how to use your time. There are always solutions, if you are willing to make choices, make sacrifices and change how you see a situation and how to see the possibilities. But it may mean that you have to walk away from a particular situation, a particular lifestyle or certain relationships that are unhealthy for you.
Great change can only come from great awareness and a deep desire to honour who you really are !
So why not start by making a little time every day to hit your J-Spot ? 5 minutes a day is all it takes to change a life time !
I’m just about to head out and chainsaw some wood for Autumn because it’s nearly time to start the wood heater and I need to start stockpiling wood before it gets cold. I love cutting wood. The act of cleaning and preparing my chainsaw, the act of moving timbre and cutting logs with the chainsaw, the act of carting and stacking wood and the act of splitting wood with an axe. Contact with wood facilitates contact with the body and clarity of mind. You have to have a clear and stable mind to cut wood with a chainsaw or an axe, otherwise you’re going to hurt yourself. When you move with the moment, wood erupts with life. The smell, the feeling of texture, the vision, the sound of splitting, the movement of small insects that I try to avoid and help get away. The whole process of engaging with wood, demands awareness and facilitates presence and fullness of experience.
Master Nan Huai-Chin was a wonderful teacher of Chan Buddhism who understood the essence of all the great spiritual traditions. He taught through presence and would have been a master wood cutter ! I stumbled across him after studying Buddhism for years and growing frustrated with many of the teachers from Tibet and Japan. I found his approach and his insights refreshing. I don’t agree with everything he had to say and he is very much a product of Chinese conditioning. But he was I believe one of the great teachers of our time.
You can find his books here : https://www.amazon.com/Books-Nan-Huai-Chin/s?ie=UTF8&page=1&rh=n%3A283155%2Cp_27%3ANan%20Huai-Chin.
I find it a curious phenomenon that a number of people have stumbled across my videos by watching videos by the esteemed Indian Guru Paramahamsa Sri Nithyananda. I’ve talked a little before about my feelings about Gurus and how I carried out a long term study of Indian Gurus. I did that study because in the early 90s I had studied Magic, Shamanism, Theosophy, Buddhism and a little Hinduism looking for some sort of answers. I never felt I found what I was looking for. I wanted greater clarity about what different spiritual traditions and teachers were saying. And so later I decided to look at a very long list of Hindu and Buddhist teachers and self proclaimed Gurus and Sages, to try and tease out patterns in behaviour, conditioning and teachings and to see what made them tick. What I learned was very informative and at the end of it only a handful of teachers had my respect : Ramana Maharshi, Dadaji (Amiya Roy Chowdhury) , Nisargadatta Maharaj and Nan Huai-Chin. Today I look at all teachers with a degree of caution and I see faults and vulnerabilities even in those four teachers. But as far as I can tell they all had integrity. And that is the rarest character trait if all.
I came across Nithyananda near the end of that study and spent a good deal of time trying to understand him. He is very articulate and like Osho (the good Bhagwan !) and others like him, he has plenty of character and seems to interpret the Vedas and other spiritual scriptures well. But what struck me immediately and continued to strike me, was the disconnect between what he said (which was often very profound) and how he acted. Here is a man who claims to follow in the tradition of the Swami https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swami) and yet has a vivid attachment to opulence and somebodyness. His Life Bliss Empire (http://nithyananda.org/) has turned him into a very influential character. And like Osho and others of his ilk, he has created a cult like following, complete with wealthy benefactors and idols on every continent.
I am writing this at the request of a friend, who suggested I tell people the truth about the good swami. Rather than detailing why this man is dangerous, I would encourage you if you are still seeking, to watch two videos on his YT channel. One from the beginning and something more recent. And then I would ask you to consider this. How would a teacher with real wisdom live and how would he act if he believed himself to be some form of incarnation of God (which by my pantheistic beliefs everything is) ? He may sound wise but don’t get sucked into his unaware ego ! Follow this particular avatar at your own peril !
Update : Apologies for the typos. Sometimes I forget to read what I’ve written and naughty little typos get through !
It’s a gloriously beautiful overcast morning out here on the plains ! The cat is doing high speed circuits in the house, the birds are swimming in the bird bath in front of my bedroom window and the magpies are singing in the trees. I’m sitting here about to embark on another days writing and I’m reflecting on all the loves that have filled my life and the sorrow I have felt at each loss. Like all of us, my life has been filled with love and sorrow. But no matter how much suffering there is for you and I, we must remember that everything will come to pass. And that life is ever so brief !
How fortunate we are to experience the sweetness of falling in love and how blessed we are to know what we have lost !
May your hearts know true love and fulfil their deepest desires.