Have you ever questioned your reality?

After having watched the first episode of Westworld, one of the more thought-provoking ontological lines from the show was “Have you ever questioned the nature of your own reality?

For a large part of my life I often wondered about the vastness of space and the beginning of the Universe without going further down the rabbit hole. After reaching what I have come to know as my spiritual epiphany a few years back, searching deeper within myself and questioning the true nature of reality revealed something quite special, that there was something beyond what we perceive with our senses and believe with our minds.

true-reality

Once a connection with the inner self and wider collective consciousness has been established, materialist layers start to peel away to open up a brand new way to perceive and understand the reality we live in day-to-day.

I have of late not watched much TV during my downtime after the kids have gone to bed, on the basis that the schedules are truly awful and lacking in both quality and substance. One only has to cycle through the channels to see that, from Booze Britain to The “Real” Housewives of Someplace, all cheap TV showing humankind at its worst and most shallow.

So Tuesday night came and tired after a day at work and household chores, I gave the “magic moving pictures box” another shot and of the four-hundred channels of abject garbage, the only programme of note was The Himalayas: Natural World, narrated by the wonderfully calming voice of David Attenborough. The scenery was breath taking, the accompany dialogue just as impressive, on display a majestic and remote ecosystem devoid of greed and ego (no humans present), just the animal kingdom in all of its glory showing its own primal need to exist as individuals and co-exist with others.

snow-leopard

By stark contrast, take the human kingdom; here we have a catastrophically dysfunctional ecosystem, rank with the fetid stench of ego, greed and extreme aggression. Switching channels I watched a programme called The Lost Children of Syria, a harrowing account of several children dispersed across Greece living on the streets with no security, no hope and no future, evidently. Our external reality it seems is destined to implode sometime soon based on this evidence and other events going on all over our little blue dot. What these kids have seen and experienced will stay with them forever, some will die even (perhaps soon), some will never recover yet some will go onto use their experience to help others and do some good in a chaotic world.

aleppo

Closing down the TV for the night made me feel both sad in what I had just witnessed and helpless as an individual who seemingly has no real impact in what goes on in the world. Sure I have my own political opinions and the right vote. Sure I have some designated charities which help out in a small way. Sure I have this blog which reaches out and propagates to both like-minded individuals and the collective consciousness but what real impression does any of this have? All that I know now is that what I am doing as an individual is positive, and by sharing that with family friends and the internet is the right thing to do. I can and will do more when the time is right.

All of that said there is magic in this world and whilst there are atrocities that occur on a daily basis, one must not give up on humanity. We are reminded on a daily basis how majestic and humbling just being in the here and now can be, like every morning when my daughter climbs in to my bed for morning cuddles before school.

As Dolores Abernathy says in Westworld episode one (my favourite quote of the show): “Some people choose to see the ugliness in this world, the disarray. I choose to see the beauty”.

monument-valley

There is no doubt there is a shift in the world with writers like Eckhart Tolle, Ervin Laszlo and Anthony Peake who are rightly bringing into question the whole materialist-reductionist paradigm and with that the questioning of reality itself, and the follow-on action for change. If their words reach out and resonate with growing millions then so should we share those words via the means available to us. If we all have a book in us, then we should make it happen, especially if it the content changes the materialists mind-set.

Something further to ponder on is a question I’ve been asking myself for a while now: Are we living out a mundane and meaningless existence; are we living in a mystical and evolving era which feeds and evolves a hidden stream of consciousness or are we living in a virtual reality simulation our futures selves have created.

That my friends is the topic of my next blog…

The Ego and the Tree…

Consider the lily, I mean sycamore tree. Today I sat parked under a sycamore tree reading A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, a title which was passed on to me by a dear and like-minded friend as something he thought I’d be interested in. He wasn’t wrong.

the-tree

Within the space of one and a half earth hours, I had read sixty-eight pages, quite a feat for someone with a tortoise-like pace when it comes to reading. It is both a riveting and “revelationary” read, scribing that we appear to be living in the dawn of an age which is starting to redefine consciousness, awareness and inner essence.

Noetics, mysticism and new age thinking intrigues me to the point that I want to find out a lot more on how the Cosmos truly works, but sometimes I struggle with scientific descriptors and technical theories as to how the Universe works (at the quantum level for example) and how this maps into the collective consciousness or The Source.

Reading on, I came to the chapter about the ego. I’ve never really understood the true meaning of ego until now, my take was that ego was purely personality, and in particular arrogance (e.g. “M’s” ego is huge, what a tool). Not so. The internet defines the ego thusly:

  • Ego – A person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance, or
  • Ego – In philosophy (metaphysics), a conscious thinking subject, or
  • Ego – In psychoanalysis, the part of the mind that mediates between the conscious and the unconscious and is responsible for reality testing and a sense of personal identity.

My present understanding of the ego was bullet point one above, bullet point two got me thinking and bullet point three set me off on a quest for more information and with that came Freud’s concept of the human psyche:

human-psyche

A picture normally sets things straight for me and although the above image helped, I still wasn’t clear about what the Id , Ego and the Super-Ego are. In terms of simplistic definitions, I found the following really helped:

  • Id – Is the primitive and instinctive component of personality, consisting of inherited biological (genetic) components of personality present at birth. Id is unconscious and has no direct connection with external reality. When a child is born it is all Id, only over time does it develop an Ego and Super-Ego (sometimes not if genetics / defects prevent it). The Id engages in primary process thinking, which is primitive, illogical and irrational, reality is purely objective and selfish.
  • Ego – Is that part of the psyche that develops in order to mediate between the objective and selfish Id and external reality. Ego is the decision making component and works by reason (using social situations, etiquette and rules in deciding how to behave), working out realistic ways of satisfying the Id’s demands, often compromising to avoid negative consequences of external reality (society), sometimes at the detriment and annoyance of the Id. Ego has no concept of right or wrong, something is good if it achieves goals of satisfying itself and Id. The ego engages in secondary process thinking, which is rational, realistic, and orientated towards problem solving.
  • Super-Ego – Is that part of the psyche that acts as a moral compass, incorporating the values and morals of society learned from parents and/or others. Super-Ego develops around the age of five and its function is to control the Id’s impulses, especially those which forbids, such as sex and aggression. It also has the function of persuading the Ego to turn to moralistic goals rather than simply realistic ones and to strive for perfection. Super-Ego consists of two systems: Conscience and Ideal Self; Conscience can punish the Ego through guilt; Ideal Self is an imaginary picture of how you ought to be, and represents aspirations, how to treat other people, and how to behave in external reality. Falling short of the Ideal Self goals may be punished by the Super-Ego through guilt, or rewarded through a sense of pride.

With that in mind and reading on in Tolle’s book, the present human condition becomes more understandable, leaving one with the observation that only with complete balance (at an individual and communal level) can humanity survive.

We have been through the evolutionary chain of events (if one is to believe that) when only the Id existed, our monkey-to-man era; the missing link being that light bulb moment where consciousness / ego was “created” for the first time.

A society devoid of Super-Ego would I guess only would result in destruction, a society without a moral compass would I’m sure only lead to the end of civilisation as we know it, and it sure fells like we are on that path just now.

As I sat there looking out of the car window, “helicopter” pods and sycamore leaves heralding the start of Autumn by periodically hitting the roof and windscreen and at that point I meditated and became the tree. I was a self-replicating organic construct who had grown in this field for perhaps over two-hundred years, without Ego, without Super-Ego, just there, just being. Although this tree was a living thing, made up of exactly the same building blocks as man, we are different. I am conscious and it is not. We both posses an Id of sorts (impulses, instincts and a primal need to survive) but I have an Ego and Super-ego, it does not.

Freud’s work falls short for me. Whilst it describes the very nature of how the “mind” works very well, consciousness he states is purely an epiphenomenon of the brain and nothing more, and collective consciousness does not and cannot exist (the materialistic reductionist paradigm right there in a nutshell – mind and body exists but not the soul).

Deep meditation and dabbling’s with esoteric means has opened my door of perception to an alternative and deeper reality, a reality beyond physics and metaphysics.

For me, people confuse the definition of spirituality. As Tolle defines, spirituality is a connection with inner essence, with the collective consciousness; it is not a belief system, a belief that one is spiritual by perhaps believing in God without adherence to an organised religion with associated doctrines and dogmas.

After spending one of the most curious one-and-a-half hours of my life with a book, a tree and an inquisitive mind (there’s another problem right there – if trees didn’t exist then neither would I (oxygen starvation), yet because they do exist then I do too, and in turn man turns trees into books so that we can share information about the mind!), I close the book as my son approaches from his latest casting workshop, and as I do so, I “see” for the first time that the front cover of A New Earth has on it, a wire-frame image of a sycamore tree leaf similar to those I could see on the windscreen…

7147973-l

If that’s not a sign, I don’t know what is…

A State of the Universe address…

Even a casual glance at the media whether in prints or visuals reveals a distinct shift in energy and sadly not a positive one. Recent events from all over our little blue dot have shown that humanity appears to be on a disturbing downward spiral, towards a destiny I don’t think any of us can predict. Even the glass half full brigade is starting to see the drink drift towards the bottom of the tumbler.

The have been several events of late which have upset the balance in the Universe which even videos of kittens playing and falling off stuff are failing to have the desired uplifting effect. The following events have directly impacted my well-being and at times left me despairing for humanity and the direction it’s heading towards.

Brexit: The Rise of the Right

Arguably, the British Referendum whether or not to stay in the European Union was the most important X I’ve ever had to place. I like many others found it extremely difficult to understand what a vote either way would do for the UK fiscally, politically or morally. Both sides made claims that the UK (and the inhabitants therein) would be financially better off (richer individuals / communities and better run institutions). Both sides made claims that the UK (and the inhabitants therein) would be politically better off (being in a system which benefited the UK). Both sides made claims that the UK (and the inhabitants therein) would be morally better off (being in a system which gave the inhabitants a true sense of community).

With so much fact and counter fact, the vast majority of the country had no alternative but to best guess and hope that whatever decision was made by the collective in the end, the UK came out better for it. Sadly from my point of view it didn’t, far from it. What transpired was a total shock to the system, the exit campaign had won. I was absolutely gutted. I am a firm believer of oneness and a world without borders, where cultures and minds are advanced when we live, breathe, eat and love with folks from different cultures, backgrounds and religions. Our aim should be for global oneness, not ancient divisions of land with invisible lines dictating when one can or can’t go.

Brexit Heatmap

I poured over the voting heat-map the next day to try and see where the battle was won and lost. I was glad to see the good folks of Merseyside sided with my way of thinking, and looking beyond that a pattern was emerging. Where there was wealth (The City) there was orange. Where there were seats of learning (all major University towns) there was orange. Where there was a yearning to be part of a bigger community (Northern Ireland and Scotland) there was orange. Everywhere else on the map was blue, deep blue is some areas. Why?

It came out that the vote was swayed by two things. Firstly, most aged folks (those over the age of 60) voted for nostalgia and what the UK was like in the good old days and not how a vote for leaving the EU would impact future generations. Secondly, the referendum saw one of the highest turnouts of young voters from council estates who in the main voted to leave too.

It was disappointing but slightly predictable that the older generation voted to leave, but what came to light was that there are a lot of disenfranchised, poorly educated young people in the UK from less affluent areas who were sucked in to the tripe the Brexit campaigners were peddling. It literally gave some the excuse they needed to release their pressurised and pent-up bigot valve and let rip. Racist incidents went up nationally by 42% overnight. I heard some absolute horror stories from all over the UK (Birkenhead, Wirrral included) where people took it upon themselves to tell other of perhaps a different skin tone or geographic heritage just exactly what they thought of them and where they should all go (some turning verbal threats into physical attacks).

Skinhead

People said that a vote for Brexit did not mean that 52% of the population were racists, which is a fair comment, but it did show one thing; there are pockets of ignorance in this country, ignorance which has been allowed to fester and enter into periods of “managed decline” by moderate/right wing governments decade after decade (Tory and New Labour). Education is the only way forward, and moving towards a state of self-governing academies which are not regulated like schools is only going to make matters much worse.

The only true way forward is to educate humanity, to embrace humanity, all of humanity (not just those who are white and have the same accents), share what resources we have and divorce ourselves from wanting and greed, only then will we advance as a community, a nation, a world.

The Conservative Party: Cameron, May and PMQs

The obvious fallout from a Prime Minister who led us into the referendum in the first place (which I think on reflection was a catastrophic failure on his and the Tory Party to leave such an important decision to the demograph as outlined above) was for him to tender his resignation with immediate effect, which he duly did (and pretty damned fast too). The nation had spoken and even though he had 4 years left of his manifesto to deliver, he decided it was in the best interests of the country to hand over the reins to someone else. As PM, I’m not sure it was wise to drive the Remain bus; if the worst case scenario came true (which it did) he would go down in history for one thing, he was the Prime Minister who took the UK out of the EU and reintroduced bigotry and divisions on the streets on the land he allegedly loved so much.

I don’t think he has done anything particularly outstanding during his tenure, but this one sticks out like a sore thumb.

David Cameron

The election campaign for the Leader of the Conservative Party saw several candidates, but shockingly not the main protagonist of the Leave campaign Boris Johnson. His “I’m not standing because of X” was jaw-droppingly repugnant and typical of a man who spent months peddling inflammatory and incendiary remarks, saying on many occasions in the past that he “just doesn’t like foreigners”.

After several spats, votes and withdrawals, Theresa May was elected Leader of the Conservative Party and with it the title of Prime Minister (unelected of course). Here we have a woman who wishes to introduce snooping laws to control the miscreant inhabitants of these green and pleasant lands even more and who wished to withdraw from the Bill of European Human Rights. During her first speech, she stated that under her reign she would look to see a United Kingdom which worked for all of the people not just the privileged; hypocrisy from day one.

Theresa May

And so today she had her first Prime Ministers Questions and what did we get, nothing but sound-bites, snide remarks and jokes; how not to run a country. Her performance was an absolute disgrace, folks in this country are sick to the back teeth of these politicians who constantly direct negativity to those who genuinely want things to change for the good of everyone, so to divert the attention away from the fact that they themselves are delivering nothing of value.

The Labour Party: Corbyn and the Moderate Coup

I joined the Labour Party because of Jeremy Corbyn. I joined the Labour Party because I truly believe that his way of thinking and modus operandi aligns to the way things should be. Ideologically, he is a true socialist and believes in parity across the board, and his ethics are sounds, in my opinion without reproach.

What has happened since he took over as the Leader of the Labour Party has also been an absolute disgrace. Here we have a man with a fairly significant mandate from the membership who is constantly criticised in the media, constantly undermined by his own MP’s (who are supposed to represent the very members who voted for him in the first place) and is constantly having to defend himself and his dysfunctional party against the government attacks.

The Labour Party Announce Their New Leader And Deputy Leader
Most folks would have quit a long time ago, but not Corbyn. People say he is weak, but just look at what he is up against. It takes a certain person to put up with all the shit he puts up with but he carries on regardless because he truly be lives that there is one direction to go in, and that’s forward and a forward together as one and peacefully so.

Post Brexit, I wrote down on a piece of paper exactly what would happen in The Labour Party over the pursuing weeks / months and “everything is proceeding as I had foreseen it” to quote Mr Palpatine.

  • I predicted that there would be a vote of no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn – Check.
  • I predicted that one or more moderate would raise their head(s) above the parapet and force a leadership challenge – Check.
  • I predicted that there would be in all likelihood and bun-fight within the moderate camp and then only one challenger would be put forward so not to split the vote and repeat the previous leadership election campaign – Check.
  • I predicted that final candidate would not be a Blair baby (eagleout) on the grounds that a vote in someone so war-hungry in light of the Chilcott Report could spell danger in a general election down the line – Check.
  • I predict that Jeremy Corbyn will win the next Labour Leadership election and the Moderates will once again launch yet another bid to take hold of the Labour Party next year and the year after that until the moderates finally get their way and declare it a victory for party democracy.
  • I predict that the goals of the “Moderate Coup” will eventually be satisfied and they will all rejoice in putting the non-socialist Labour Party back on the map, at which point the party splits in two, with the left looking to take the unions with them to create a Socialist Labour Party (suggestions for new name on a postcard).

If Jeremy is true to his word and his beliefs and there is enough membership support to follow him (I would), then he should make a break from it and let the weakened Labour Party fight amongst themselves and let them realise that they had a chance to deliver the socialist agenda through Jeremy but chose not to.

The Turkish Military Coup

I have been working in Turkey over the last 3 months, Istanbul to be precise. I had been to Istanbul once before and fell in love with the place. Such history, such a cultural melting pot with incredibly warming and hospitable people, it is truly one of the world’s most incredible cities.

The last time I was there I met some really special people, very spiritual folks without being religious who were the ultimate hosts, probably the friendliest people I’ve ever met. Back in 2013 things were a little different; there were no areas out of bounds and travelling across the ancient town walking down aeons old thoroughfares was literally a journey through time. We visited the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sofia and the Grand Bazaar a market place not changed for a thousand years. We also spent some time with our new friends in the rock bars and clubs, enjoying some of the local beers with a back drop of Turkish heavy metal.

CMX6XR  The Sultans Topkapi Palace at sunset, Istanbul, Turkey..
Things have moved on a lot over the past few years and Turkey is sadly quite an unstable place today. The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) has waged an armed struggle against the Turkish state for cultural and political rights and self-determination for the Kurds in Turkey, who comprise between 18% and 25% of the population and have been subjected to repression for decades, and then there is ISIS.

Before I left for Turkey in May, a company travel advisory was issued stating that only essential business travel was allowed and that should folks be travelling to Istanbul, then they should avoid crowded areas, especially tourist hotspots. We of course took this advice very seriously indeed and within three days of arriving, the PKK had indeed claimed responsibility for the loss of eleven lives in Istanbul.

Thankfully, no one in the office was affected and there were no further incidents during the remainder of our first trip. The yin and yang of life was however very present during those three weeks. Whilst it is incredibly sad that Istanbul is going through some turbulent times, the spirit of its people remains resolute and resilient.

The first weekend saw Dragon Boat Racing, our team finishing second by milliseconds, once again the Turkish spirit was flowing and a great time was had by all, and the team had also took time out to get me a birthday cake in between the heats to serenade me with a Turkish rendition of happy birthday.

4S1A6740

The second weekend saw a few of us travel out to the Princes Islands in the Marmaris Sea, where we took another step back in time to a place with no automobiles – only bicycles and horse drawn carts, swimming in the sea and trying all of the local delicacies. After getting back to the office, we took time out to make a parody video of one of the company’s official TV advertisements, so much laughter and fun was had by all.

After getting back to the UK, a few days later I heard on the news that Ataturk Airport had been hit by the so-called Islamic State, killing forty one and injuring over two hundred. There by the grace of God go I.

It was at that point that I coined the phrase “The Window of Fate”. I seriously began to question why it was that I was not in the airport during the bombings and came to the conclusion that it was not my time. I no longer buy into randomness; I firmly believe that things do (or do not) happen for a reason and events like these when avoided (call it fate, pre-determination or a message from our higher selves) gives the inner self more evidence to suggest that we do exist for a reason, to experience this thing we call life and upload such learnings to the hidden collective consciousness. Only those that are truly awake can understand this, those that cannot see this are spiritually immature (perhaps through no fault of their own) and in time (either this time or the next) they will learn that there is something out there.

I was then faced with the decision to go back to Istanbul to finish of the job we had started and I agreed to travel back accepting the risks. Travelling back to Istanbul the weekend after Eid was probably not the wisest thing to do and on arriving there was chaos with around three thousand passengers trying to get through passport control, but re-enter to Turkey I did and back to the hotel I went.

The first few days were by and large uneventful and we went live with the new system on the Wednesday, a real success considering where we were two years ago at the start of the process. We were all taken down to the Bospheros by the management team for a celebration meal on the Thursday night, enjoying the best seafood and raki Turkish Lira could buy, oblivious to what was to occur just twenty four hours later.

After another particularly thankful uneventful day in the office, we ate locally and went back to the hotel where our new BFF “H”, runner up in Barperson of the Year 2015, prepared us all a special Long Island Ice (Turkish) Tea and off we headed up to the Executive Lounge on the thirty second floor, where our friend regaled us in the history and ancient of this most famous of cities. After a while he disappeared and we carried on taking in the vista of the town until our glasses were dry, at which point we descended back to the lobby for a refill, only to find chaos.

All of the big screen TV’s in the lobby / bar area where on CNN and it looked quite serious, wherever it was going on. As our Turkish was still rudimentary, I asked someone to put on BBC World Service and was shocked to see that we were in the heart of a coup and that the action on TV was outside our hotel in Istanbul; the military had closed the two main bridges in Istanbul and had taken the airport. We sat in silence watching events unfold in front of us, watching the people take to the streets and march past our hotel in their thousands towards the main square all carrying the Turkish flag, all to the backdrop of distant gun fire.

Military Coup

After a few hours feeling relatively safe in the hotel, I went to bed and sat and stared out of my twenty eighth floor window for a few hours with only the BBC for company (not my preferred choice of media outlet but still). I decided to try and get some sleep around 3:30am and was almost successful until the F16 Strike Eagles started roaring past my bedroom window making any attempt to sleep futile. After another hour or so fatigue got the better of me and I drifted off, awoken only by the sunlight through a slither of open curtain a few hours later.

I received several phone calls from the company who advised us to stay on lock down in the hotel which we of course complied with, but what was becoming apparent was that everything was very quickly returning to normal and by Sunday morning, it was and we were allowed to venture out for a breakfast and a beer-filled afternoon trying to get our heads around what had just happened. We came to the inevitable conclusion (based on the series of events that led up and followed over the course of the next few days) that the coup was staged, rigged by a despot who will do anything he can to control the state of Turkey and all of its inhabitants, to oppress and remove those who stand in his way of total and utter domination, eradicating the previous works of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk; a revered individual from Turkey’s quite recent past and rightfully so.

Ataturk

versus…

Erdogan

The next few days were once again uneventful and so it came to the time to leave. We were all given a glass Hand of Fatima, an amulet to ward off evil spirits (which we all took gladly given what we had just witnessed), but more importantly I had the memories and bonds of lasting friendship which I had acquired over the previous few months.

The Future: What happens next

Like I said at the start of this massive missive, there is an energy shift to a dark place happening right now; even over the last few days there have been endless breaking news articles about individuals raging individual wars against innocents, organisations and governments, taking lives to increase the spectre of fear all over the world for their own alleged just cause. Right now, nowhere where safe because nowhere is.

What can we all do to stop this, very little it seems, but it all starts with the individual. It may mean that we turn of the TV set and media apps to block out that negativity, temporarily. As long as the individual has a positive outlook, then that’s a start. If the individual shares that positivity outwards to family, friends, colleagues and the social media community, then the spectre of fear should start to be banished to the shadows where it belongs.

As Gandhi once said “You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”

In darkness, look to the light…

We can guarantee that as each day dawns, the darkness of the night will inevitably give in to the light of the day, and with it the opportunity to refresh. Photosynthesis would simply not exist if the intergalactic “F5 button” wasn’t pressed every twelve hours and as a result nor would we (on the basis that life is not an illusion of course).

Conclusion: We need light.

I have recently started to re-watch the nineteen-eighties cartoon Dungeons & Dragons with my daughter as it was a personal favourite of mine many decades ago, and the first sitting saw us take in three episodes:

  • The Night of No Tomorrow
  • Eye of the Beholder
  • The Hall of Bones

As a child I looked forward to coming home from school (can’t remember which day of the week it was) knowing that a new episode was on. I would later go on to develop a love affair for Gary Gygax (his creative outputs rather than his physical form) and took up pencil, paper, maps, dice and lead figures – all accompanied by his trusty Dungeon Masters Guide and Monster Manual. Days would go by where my friends and I would get lost in Forgotten Realms, setting forth upon quest after quest, gaining experience points and magical items at speed, all suffering real-life bouts of depression if any of our party was killed by a gnarly beast.

As we sat on the sofa, her eyes were fixed on the TV (enjoying Uni the Unicorn’s air play time when he (or she) bounded joyfully on to the screen), my crusade to bring “K” along with me on my trip down memory lane an easy and triumphant one. As each episode played out, I couldn’t help but thinking that Dungeon Master (DM) was an on screen majestic, medieval and magical Buddha (albeit with a red cloak, not orange).

DD-DM-screenshot

It appeared that DM’s long list of quotes were resonating with me on a different level now; quotes taking on new purpose, new meanings, such as:

  • The right road is not the left…
  • Evil energy is like evil force. Change its direction, and it changes to good…
  • In darkness, look to the light…

As we watched The Hall of Bones, it was the last one that grabbed me. There I was sat on the sofa next a true beacon of light, an innocent beautiful creature whose caring and sharing nature was guiding me through a rather difficult time (not that she was aware of course). Earlier in the day, I had been to the hospital for a rather uncomfortable MRI scan on my brain, as the headaches I’ve been suffering from the last four weeks had not subsided; my ENT consultant had booked me in to get a scan to see if there was an underlying issue that needed immediate attention (my current tinnitus spike possibly acting as an energetic cranial early warning system).

“K” is one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met and she is only eight, and I am lucky to recall having similar thoughts of my two boys when they were younger before taking their own paths to maturity. She really is a positivity magnet, who also possesses what they called in the film industry a “Paul Newman Smile”. It is pretty impossible to spend any time with her without being uplifted and forgetting about the troubles of the self or the world. I guess I am lucky to have someone in my life so special, but concur that good parenting probably has a part to play in that too. I get the results of the scan tomorrow and no doubt “K” will be close by whatever the outcome.

We all live with the subjective reality of our own existence (shared or otherwise) each day and I have of late often questioned the true nature of reality itself.

In describing what reality was, Einstein once said:

  • What is reality? What we have called matter is energy (light), whose vibration has been so lowered as to be perceptible to the senses. There is no matter. Matter is Energy. Energy is Light. We are all Beings of Light…

So here we have one of the most brilliant minds of our time confirming from a scientific perspective that we are all beings of light not darkness, no more so than my daughter.

We went walking with the whole family yesterday, during which my wife and I were having a conversation about her complementary therapy business, which she said gave her a lack of confidence in succeeding this time around as her two previous opportunities crashed and burned rather disappointingly through no fault of her own. I consoled her by saying that she was doing great in her new venture and told her not to worry as everything would turn out just fine.

As we made the bed this morning, we found this:

IMG_9041

Without knowing, two little ears were listening in attentively to our conversation and took it upon herself to place her Guatemalan Worry Dolls underneath mum’s pillow before she retired for the evening. It’s not surprising that my wife wept, almost as much as I did. “K” really is does banish the darkness.

In darkness, look to the light…

Music of the Spheres…

Plato wrote that the Cosmos is constructed according to musical intervals and proportions. Pythagoras called this sound the “Music of the Spheres” and believed that the sound of the Cosmos fills our inner ears and we are constantly in contact with it from the moment of birth. Native Americans called it the “Song of the Creator”, whilst ancient Hindus called it “Akash Bani” translated as “Voice from the Heavens”.

2

One thing is clear, one thing is common. Great philosophers, mathematicians, sages, religions and cultures across time have all identified that the Cosmos emits a sound, a frequency, an energy. Scientists today would no doubt attribute this sound to the dawn of the Universe creation, an intergalactic hum born from the Big Bang, any other description of Cosmic sound being fantasy or folly.

There are others that believe that the Cosmic sound is energetic evidence of the one consciousness, and that everybody has the ability to tune into this sound. This sound is not externally generated (as the drone of the Cosmic Background Radiation is) and one cannot simply listen more attentively or hold ones head to the stars to hear this noise, this frequency is internally generated and can only be heard via esoteric means.

All too quickly do we take the word of science as Gospel; there are materialistic explanations for everything in this World and we are educated and trained to believe everything that the intelligentsia tell us to. Where there is materialism, there is also non-materialism, which lends itself to suggest that there is always at least two explanations for everything and Occam’s Razor is in fact a creation of materialism because it suits scientific theory.

Since the age of nineteen, I have suffered from tinnitus, which was born via esoteric means. My teenage years were not proliferated with abuse as such, more eras and episodes of sadness and misdirection. I attempted several times to educate myself through college but dropped out year-on-year to the point where I gave up completely and became a statistic and sought solace in early afternoon rises, video games and Class B substance abuse.

Anyone who has had a psychedelic experience under the influence can confirm that what ones sees, hears, smells, touches and tastes are distorted. I recall one fateful night that visually, distances and depths were altered and the dimensions of the room changed and warped to contradict our intra-day visions and the laws of physics. The sound too was broken, instead of a being a constant stream it came in waves.

The dream I had that night will stick with me forever. I was sat alone on a beach, with nothing else or no one else around. There I sat for what seemed like an eternity as wave after powerful wave hit me full on in the face without dislodging me from my seated position on the sands.

beach

Without knowing it I was unconsciously tripping in the world of dreams, wave after wave of energy hitting me. When I woke the next day something had changed, I could hear a strange noise in my ears which I thought was odd and slightly disturbing, and I tried to ignore it without success. I retired early that night and woke the next day fully expecting business as usual to return but sadly it not and I freaked. What was this internally generated noise and where was it coming from? I tried to mask the sound by turning up my music (to eleven) and taking headache tablets, but to no avail so I booked myself in at the local surgery.

The only advice my doctor gave me the next day was to get used to it, it was called tinnitus, there was nothing he could do for me and could I invite the next patient in on my way out. As I left the room, my heart sank and as I walked home, half way back to the house I had what I called my first “fell over inside my own head” moment. At random, the tinnitus sound wave crescendoed and hit me like a bolt of lightning with my visual perception also being distorted for a few seconds, falling outside of time and space albeit briefly, shaking me to the core.

One thing was for sure, I had to change my lifestyle with immediate effect, as the substance abuse was having a direct influence on my physical and perhaps metaphysical self. At that time, I didn’t really believe in much; Life, the Universe or Everything. There was no God, no central consciousness, religion sucked, science made complete and utter sense and everything was WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get).

So I did just that. I changed. I remember looking at myself in the bathroom mirror one morning shortly after acquiring my new debilitating affliction, and whilst having yet another “fell over inside my own head” moment (albeit within a familiar and safe environment) something quite profound happened (although I didn’t realise it until many years later). As I gazed into the mirror a wave of energy and sound came over me and once again the door of perception was open. For a time (seemed longer than it probably was), I could not work out whether I was me or I was the mirror, reality warping once again but this time without being under the influence. Looking back, that was the first conscious connection with my other self if indeed such a thing existed, it was first-hand and direct experience, albeit a very subjective one.

After I came to the realisation that my tinnitus was here to stay, it was time to crack on with this thing they called life, and get my act together I did. I quickly found myself a temporary job as Chief Envelope Filler for a local pensions firm, which was even more quickly followed up by permanent job in the Civil Service (which lasted thirteen years), which was, even more quickly than the first quickly, followed up by a job in the oil and gas industry (which has lasted ten years so far). In between I managed to find time to get married twice (to the same person) and have three amazing children which make me very proud each and every day.

Hard to believe that all of the above was just preamble for this blog, I guess sometimes context for revelation is required.

It was almost three years ago when the doors of perception where once again flung open. I had been going to yoga for around six months with “P”, a seventy-six year old Western guru in every sense of the word. After the dark times the wife and I went through in twenty-twelve, I needed someone and something to focus on to keep me on track and that was “P” and yoga. I had to put in place, a routine which kept me on track as I was doing a rather crap job at that. “P” helped me and yoga helped me, they helped me from a mind, body and soul perspective. For the first time in my life I knew that all three actually existed and keeping these three things in balance was the key to life.

pam

“P” was inspiring and put me on a path of health, well-being as well as a personal quest for answers. She sorted out the first two and my good friend ”M” helped me on my search for the third one, tipping me off with books from noetic authors which may be of interest. It was whilst on the path for information that I received a random request to take part in a free reiki workshop, run by a friend of my wife. The old me would have laughed it off and ignored the call, but here I was on a personal crusade to find answers and this opportunity presented itself timeously.

As this “blogalogue” has well documented over the years, that workshop had a profound influence at the time and continues to resonate with me today. What I experienced that day cannot be effectively described in words, subjective experiences rarely can I guess. What was very clear though was that there was an invisible energy field that can be tapped into, and when it is, the attuned can experience things which the layman cannot, and experience it I did to balance the mind, the body and the soul.

Deep in meditation, “L” and I were ethereally connected via hidden energies, the waves entered my head and radiated downwards until my whole body was amok with a frequency I had not felt before. It was powerful, very powerful, parts of my body were contorting and my eyes streamed with water (not tears). Here we had a situation where invisible forces were affecting the physical and metaphysical self, for me proof that there was more to what our five senses could perceive and experience.

I left the workshop with my head was spinning, I felt awake but not enlightened, fully aware that this shit just got real.

A year later, I asked “L” for a one-to-one reiki session, and we both agreed that I was ready to make the next step up to level two. I asked her if we could do it on the beach near to where we lived, and as avid Stand Up Paddleboarders it was impossible to resist. The attunement took place as the sun started to descend towards the horizon and once again the Universal energy took hold and mixed with the warmth and the light of the Sun making it a truly magical experience. The significance of the beach and the energy waves hitting not lost on me.

Over the years I have continued with yoga, meditation, reiki and consciousness studies (off and on it has to be said – work and family commitments taking priority, the latter without question, the former less so).

The last few months have been quite stressful at work (both the project and I being “out of kilter”), so I contacted “L” for a reiki session to refocus. I had not seen her for quite some time as we have both been very busy doing our own thing so I was keen to hear that she had created a yoga studio at her house and her attention had turned to kundalini (which coincidentally I had started reading about after a good tip off from author Ellis Nelson).

After chatting for too long, I hopped up on the bed and she gave me kundalini reiki for the first time. After reading half of JJ Semple’s “The Biology of Consciousness: Case Studies in Kundalini” at break-neck speed before the session, I at least had some rudimental understanding of kundalini and how via various processes (Shaktipat, Psychedelics, Meditation and Intercourse) can activate hidden internal energies connected to esoteric forces. Kundalini reiki is the process of connecting the yin and the yang, the male and the female, the root and the head via energy transfer.

1

I have always been quite kinaesthetic when it comes to meditation and reiki, feeling the energy flow quite easily between the “attuner” and ”attunee” (sometimes subtle, more often intense) and today was no exception. Maybe it was because I had a willingness and an eagerness to activate the kundalini that it wasn’t too long before I seemingly left the physical realm temporarily and joined up with the other side.

As mentioned, describing such an experience is difficult to put into words, but in an attempt to try, the reiki energy began to rise in my head and instead of the usual subtle energy transfer down the meridian points, the wave headed straight down my core and headed for the root where the two points connected. I could no longer feel the bed under me, I could no longer feel any presence in the room and everything turned a brilliant white light yet it did not hurt to look at it (as I was not using my eyes to see) or be a part of it.

It sounds very far-fetched and perhaps clichéd but for a brief moment in time (or outside of it) I was the light, I was pure energy. Quite exactly what “I” was and where “I” was during those moments remains a mystery. Was I alive and dreaming or dead and remembering? Was I connected to the Source, was I connected to God? Was this all a figment of an imagination which was getting carried away with wanting open questions answered? Was I realising that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there is no such thing as death, life is only a dream and we are the imagination of ourselves (and where was Tom with the weather?).

After a while I was woken from this altered state by “L” and we chatted a while to discuss what I had just experienced. My intention for the session when I had booked it weeks earlier was to re-focus my priorities to the family, to health and to wellbeing, picking up yoga, meditation and reiki where I left it in an effort to combat the stresses of working for “The Man”. One thing was certain, the kundalini appeared to have been activated (I felt the male and female connections within me embracing – as well as the tantric chemistry of the two), and that was something that I was not expecting.

One thing was for certain, there was something out there (or more appropriately in there) which the current laws of physics, chemistry and biology could not explain. I had experienced this Universal energy first hand on several occasions was convinced that the never-after truly existed.

However, my story does not end there. After the initial revelations of my kundalini experience had been realised and allowed to subside (I’m not afraid to say I was a little shaken by the whole thing) a week later the kundalini came back, and then some.

I have of late been drinking a fair bit, due to an increase in the social calendar (both at work and at home), coupled with the fact that prior to the reiki session I had chosen to find company in Jack, Jim and Paddy (Daniels, Bean and McGuinness) to de-stress from the toils of work (another reason I had scheduled the session).

Two weeks ago my neighbour was 50 and we had a party in his house, drinking to excess until the sun had started to rise. Needless to say the next day was a right off but as the kids were all out, I spent the day on the sofa rehydrating, recovering and reading. As I retired for the evening, I began to drift off but tonight was different, instead of a gradual process of giving in to the melatonin, my waking state was ripped from me violently and I was plunged into what can only be described as a raw energy stream, a brilliant white light again but the sensation was too much, the sound and energy was so intense I kicked and screamed my way out of it. I was riding the lightning, literally.

After a time I shot up in bed and the wife had to calm the hypnogogic me down, quite delirious about what had just occurred. Was this a dream or was it something else? Was this an extreme bout of tinnitus mixed with a rotten hangover? Was it the Universe (God?) telling me to back off, giving me a message to take things easy as I was not yet ready to find out potential truths? It sure felt that way.

When I woke up the next day, my tinnitus was roaring and I was not happy about it. I continued to focus on work and concentrate on the mundane activities of the day, hoping that I was just on “Day Two” of the hangover. As Rhett Butler famously once said, tomorrow was just another day, except that it turned out it wasn’t, the heightened ringing inside my head had not subsided but instead grew louder as each day passed, and I was plunged back to where I was at nineteen, this time really annoyed with myself for getting back in this position.

That afternoon my neighbour called with a bag of goodies leftover from the beer fridge from the weekend before. I opened the bag and found a collection of soft drinks and 0.0% beer, all useless space wasters in the inebriates drinking den across the road, all which I of course welcomed with open arms as the Cosmos was once again giving me a sign to change my ways, which I have already, wagons roll.

Tinnitus is a odd thing, it ranges from hardly noticeable and quite a grounding noise through rather annoying to absolute debilitation and despair and today I’m at the wrong end of the line. I am having to take each day as it comes just now hoping that the “fall over inside my own head” moments don’t reoccur (too much). I have faith that these bouts return every twelve to eighteen months for a variety of reasons and fade over time, I guess (and hope) this current bout will too.

Tinnitus may be my enemy today, but who knows what path I would be on right now if it didn’t set me right all those years ago…

Magnum Opus…

Magnum opus or opus magnum, from the Latin meaning “great work”, refers to the largest, and perhaps the best, greatest, most popular, or most renowned achievement of an artist.

Taking a snapshot of history, many figures have produced their magnum opus: Shakespeare has his Hamlet, Da Vinci has his Mona Lisa, Brando has his Godfather and Bon Jovi have their Slippery When Wet.

Recently, I pondered on the phrase magnum opus and whilst I am not an artist, I took time on it to reflect on what (if at all) my magnum opus would be and how it came to be. I’m no writer, no painter, no actor, nor musician, but what I regard as my masterpiece thus far is my children (and my wife takes fifty percent of the credit of course).

Modern life is such a complex thing, adding three children into the mix could herald additional dangers to leading the “perfect life”, but with risk comes great reward as the following will document.

“J”

I met “J” when he was just two years old in a chance meeting around the renovated docks of my old home town. Trying to blow away the memories of a Friday night down at the club, the cool and chilly sea breeze coming in off the Mersey seemed to be doing the trick. After walking for a while I bumped into what was to be my future bride with a pushchair in hand, trying to shake off a guy who she had unfortunately swapped numbers with whilst under the influence the previous night.

I was a single person at the time and had been living alone for over a year, and for a serial “relationship-ist” a year was long enough. At twenty seven, one comes to terms with the fact that future partners may or may not have children and once I had passed the quarter century mark that didn’t really concern me (although it may have others).

When our eyes met, there was a something; some metaphysical gravity instantly fused us together and it was not long before we had our first date and although there have been rocky roads in between we are still together seventeen years on, as strong as ever.

To say “J” was a handful at the start was putting it mildly, our first true meeting was on a train for a trip to Newcastle and I’ll always remember the very first words he said to me after settling into our seats for the next four hours. Looking deep into my eyes and with incredible force for a young boy he exclaimed “You’re not my Dad!”. Ouch…

IMG_8226

His tantrums were legendary. He was a floor dancer, every time he didn’t get his way he would drop to the floor, kick and scream and run around his own head whilst prostrate, a skill Homer Simpson knows only too well.

In time things began to settle down and mum and him moved in with me, stability in his own home life reflected in his mannerisms and by the time a new addition to the family came along, he was great. He took ownership of the big brother mantle and gave it is all, taking his first steps into being responsible for something and he did it very well.

“J” was very bright and did well at school, going to his mum for reading and me for maths and his progress was solid (especially maths and science). He also started to develop a passion for martial arts and quickly started to progress through the coloured belts in Taekwondo until I had a call from the new boss who asked me if I would like to take up an expat posting in Malaysia for three years. After some serious consideration (family & friends versus opportunity), we decided to take on the challenges South East Asia cared to throw at us and left.

Before we left, his grandma on his father’s side pulled me aside and expressed her deep gratitude to me. Taken aback slightly I asked her why, and she said that the love and support I had shown for “J” in a society which often treats step-children and lesser mortals had made him into the remarkable young man that now stood before us, those words humbling me deeply.

“J” took a little while to settle into his new school, forgetting books and equipment on a regular basis and initially falling behind as change is something he continues to struggle with (as do I; as do we all). Once he had settled in though, he started to deliver and deliver well. The international school he went to was at the time in the top twenty international schools in the world (now ranked second) so the education and opportunities it gave him mixed with travelling to far off and exotic places and continued support offered by his mother and I gave him (in my opinion at least) a solid foundation in life and what can be achieved through drive and positivity.

When our three years were up, we came back to the UK, back to the old house, back to the old Taekwondo School and “J” was accepted into grammar school where he shined and excelled as predicted (acquiring his black belt in record time too). Deciding that college was not his thing, he instead took up an apprenticeship where once again he attained top of the class status and he continues on well today in the workplace, already off the family payroll.

“L”

As previously stated, some children can be a handful when they are young and some can be angelic. When “L” was born, he was the later – a polar opposite to “J” (noting the obvious behavioural changes would follow and they did, oh the drama…). He literally slept like a baby; he was charming from the outset, never cried at all, never played up and was a happy baby. It was apparent very early on that not only from a behavioural perspective, personality wise “J” and “L” were also dichotomised. “J” is very structured and academic, whereas “L” is chaotic and creative, and that came out early on in school.

“L” was always performing whether it be in class or on small productions, and some of those performances came home with him too which we quickly got on to and dealt with. Whenever there was an opportunity to get on stage or grab the limelight he was always first to raise his hand. He dealt with the move to Malaysia probably better than all of us put together, settling in to his new class and making friends very easily. He did well academically, but again he shined in the school plays (acquiring the role of Harry Potter in the last performance before we came back to the UK).

IMG_0246

Once again “L” settled back into his old school very easily, regaling his old (and new) friends of tales from far off lands and countries most had never heard of. He also took up a place in the local drama club (which he quickly outgrew) and moved instead to the premier drama school on this side of the Mersey and whilst there he went from strength to strength, landing actor of the year two years running (awards from UK film director Mark Heller and UK actor Celyn Jones). Once again, he felt that he needed to move to further stretch himself as a budding thespian so joined Sir Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts where he continues to excel today. He has also appeared on UK television as an extra in Hollyoaks, getting a real buzz and insight into full televisual performance and what goes on behind the scenes.

In school “L” is also well liked and is not far behind “J” now in terms of academic performance, again his focus on working hard and being positive about the things he does will no doubt bring the associated rewards.

“K”

If there was ever a time to redress the gender balance in our family, Malaysia was the time. My wife could not have worked even if she had wanted to as she was only given a “Spouses Visa” which meant she was subjected to three years of sun, relaxation and coffee mornings so we had the opportunity to try for the girl she had always wanted and as if by some divine magic (or flip of a Cosmic coin) out popped “K” two years into our expat stint.

“K” was very much like “L” in terms of her baby and infant behaviours; sleeping well and never throwing any tantrums. Much like “L” she took to school very well and again was always first in line to perform, never shying away from the opportunity to stand up and narrate, dance, act or sing (and has since joined her brother at LIPA as it’s “buy one get one half price”).

What makes “K” is her endearing nature to others, be it friend, family or animals. I know I’m biased as all parents are, but in terms of all-round-loveliness she really is a model young citizen of Planet Earth. She has been selected many times already by her peers as School Councillor and instead of asking for gifts last birthday she asked to sponsor an animal (Sumatran Tiger) at the local zoo.

IMG_7042

I guess it’s a little early to tell what life will throw at her and what path she will choose, but so far it’s working.

Life is balance. Balance is life.

Having the right balance in life is the most important thing. The Yin-Yang principal holds true with bringing up children too.

It is the balance between nature and nurture. It is finding the happy medium between doing things with the kids and doing things for the kids. When the balance is out of kilter on the “for the kids” front, a lack of independence can very easily lead to what I have coined “barnacle-ism”, creating that invisible rod for your own back by doing too much for the kids so that they don’t have too. Much in the same way, doing too much “with the kids” and not giving them the freedom to develop their own interests and relationships can very easily lead to what I have coined “crutch-ism”, making it difficult to choose their own path without have the parental support to guide them.

Looking at my three children, I think they have the balance in the right proportions at present, which sometimes means a nudge from me or my wife when the scales of justice start clanging heavily in one direction.

I look at my kids passions and they are twofold. Some are shared passions with me (music, film, theatre and some sports) and some are not shared passions (martial arts, amateur dramatics).

As they get older the shared passions we have dissipate somewhat as they find their own way in life and that’s already starting to happen.

Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher

During one of our many weekend trips to the mega-malls of Kuala Lumpur, one day I noticed a huge billboard on the side of the road with a quote from Oprah Winfrey:

Oprah

At first glance, I was taken aback. OK I understood that Oprah had a pretty horrendous time when she was younger but to only surround yourself with positive people was surely not a reality we all live in as many individuals in our lives have issues and as result, negativity attaches itself to both them and to you by proxy.

That comment lay dormant at the back of my mind and every now and again popped up and my answer was always the same, I simply did not agree. That was until a few years back, when I saw for the first time just exactly the message that Oprah was trying to get across.

When my wife was diagnosed with cancer, like everyone else who is associated with it, your world changes. All of a sudden the happy path of life branches off down a dark and as yet untrodden path and there is little you can do to avoid it. Cancer does not discriminate. Yoga, meditation and reiki cannot help the victims of cancer; only materialism can, by means of synthetics (chemicals) or surgery.

So here we had a situation where negativity was forced upon us, and we were floundering. At that time, both my aunt and uncle were also diagnosed with cancer (albeit more aggressive and terminal in nature) and as a result (being a positive person) I spent as much time with them as I could before the reaper took them, whilst at the same time looking after my own.

Sadly, my own extended family did not offer the same level of support to my wife and I either pre or post-surgery, we were left to deal with everything alone which didn’t sit well with me, but deal with it we did and as this blog has well documented over the years, we nearly never made it. Ultimately this resulted in a “contract termination” with my extended family, but not due to the lack of support during those dark times, but due to the negative influences they had on me and my own.

After rekindling my search for enlightenment, I have looked to alternative sciences for answers, Buddhism and consciousness studies have kept me well entertained and pondering the meaning of life over the last few years now. More recently, I have looked to justify my decision to walk away from the bloodline to see whether it was (and still is) just.

From a parental perspective, I see them wholly as very negative people behind the scenes. The personas they portray to friends and family are polar opposite to what they truly are. I have deconstructed my early years recently and come to the conclusion that their negativity has influenced me. Alcoholism, Atheism, drug use, infidelity, corporate fraud, misogyny, racism and a lack of support and morality are the true causes of negativity during my formative years, all of which were kept very much behind closed doors.

Thankfully, I had the (as yet unaware) foresight and wherewithal to know at the age of eighteen that this constant was grinding me as a person down and as a result I left home. Sadly, my sister was younger than me and suffered the same fate as our parents. It really was a tough decision to run for the hills but something inside me said that it was the only way to break the circle of despair and even today I live with that decision.

Even though times were a little grim for me growing up at times, they were of course not as grim as some other folks I know. Over the years I have truly tried to reconcile things with both parents and sibling but their pattern is ever-concrete.

I know I get accusatory looks and comments from friends and excommunicated family members who judge me as a person for deciding to walk the path alone, and leaving behind the chaos and bloodline responsibility. Not a day goes by where I don’t think of them (or in more recent times unconsciously dream of them on a very regular basis), but what I have to ask myself is do I want my children, my magnum opus to be surrounded by chaos and negativity all because society deems family unit cohesion sacrosanct and unbreakable irrespective of circumstance.

I know the answer to that, as do my children…

Love is…

Love is the metaphysical gravity between two souls

Love is not commercialism, no trinkets, presents or things should ever be associated with love.

Love is not materialism. Gifts given on this day mask the true meaning of love.

A word, a smile, a glance, a connection with someone close is truly the only gift that should be shared on Valentine’s Day which represents love.

You rise, you fall, you’re down then you rise again…

Understanding change is to know that change exists and that change is constant. There are times when everything in the Cosmos appears to be perfect alignment and one is at total peace with everyone and everything thing in the Universe. Sure it’s nice while it lasts but change it will, and the hardest thing we all face is how to deal with change when it comes.

Buddha Change

Yoga, meditation and the wisdom of the Buddha are all well and good, but the real challenge to everyone is to be mindful of such things when things are in a state of flux.

Around the middle of last year, I was regularly attending yoga classes, getting up early to do my “morning meds” (often with my little daughter) and ploughing my way through Steve Hagen’s Buddhism: Plain and Simple. Every day at work was a breeze, I was running regularly and going to the gym with the family, kids and wife were all doing well in their own pursuits and life was just grand.

Slowly, things started to change. My work project ever so slowly started to wobble, things that were on track began to slip and as a result everyone on the team had to do a little more each day, then a lot more each day, then a huge amount more. As a result, I was called away to resolve the major issues and, as a result, my yoga classes and “morning meds” disappeared from the calendar and Steve’s book went back on the shelf.

Energy levels plummeted and the inevitable “fast food grab” and law of diminishing returns at the gym followed, until the stage that one would not simply sit next to me, one would sit amongst me.

And so it was until the end of the year, but at least the holiday period would see some respite and that it did once I had turned off and zoned out from work (although took me four days sadly).

The first two weeks of two thousand and sixteen saw the inevitably recharged me running again (shedding some well needed festive plump in the process) and getting some “morning meds” sessions in, until once again the work dukha returned, followed by both my wife and dog finding out that their major operations would take place within the seven days of each other.

So here I am on the late train home from London, fully aware that dukha is once again at my door. I have in my arsenal all of the dukha banishing tools to dispose of such grief, the key is prioritising what has to be done, delegating what does not need to be done by the self and employing such techniques to overcome a particularly rocky road that lies ahead.

I do not feel that my cart has a wheel out of kilter, I know that it has. I can see how things are. I know how things are. I know things will change and eventually they will change for the better. The previous me would not be able to recognise that fact, and only through experience, wisdom and knowledge seeking can one see things for what they really are.

As James Hetfield from Metallica once said “You rise, you fall, you’re down then you rise again, what don’t kill you make you more strong”.

rectangle

How very Buddhist (whilst grammatically incorrect)…

2015: A year in pictures…

January: New year, new arrival…

January 2015

What better way to start the New Year than with a new nephew! Another “J” to add to the collection which means that I am now the proud uncle of five nephews and one niece, well on the way to making a football team when I add my three in…

February: Summit to be proud about…

February 2015

“Brace yourself, winter is coming”. Thankfully we never got much of a winter this year so the highest peak in Wales (Snowdon – the first location of my 3 Peaks / 24 Hour Challenge success in 2011)  was easy pickings, especially with my two boys egging me onwards and upwards…

March: Solar eclipse of the heart…

March 2015

As celestial events go, this is the nearest Liverpool may get to a full solar eclipse in my lifetime. Thankfully it was cloudy and allowed those that viewed our life giver a chance to glimpse and snap away without retina burn out…

April: New frontiers, New Quay…

April 2015

Who would have thought West Wales would be so amazing in Spring. A trip through the April fog revealed a hidden gem in New Quay, where ice creams, fish ‘n’ chips and dogfish fishing were the order of the day. Even managed to get a boss tan too…

May: Break a leg, Dave…

May 2015

Foo Fighters have been on my band bucket list for quite some time now and boy did they not disappoint. Team “B” turned up and rocked out in the rain at Lancashire County Cricket Ground, just in time as Dave Grohl went on to break his leg a few days later in Sweden. For all that he does and all that he contributes in terms of albums, projects and connections to the common man, there is none better in music today \m/…

June: Home by the sea…

June 2015

Our tour of the US of A took a year out and instead we spent twelve amazing day in Lagos, Portugal where sun, sea, SUP, sea-kayaking, swimming and snorkelling were the order of the day. The other letters of the alphabet never got a look in…

July: A rambling man…

July 2015

It may have taken a while to get to and from Maidstone, but me and my chums enjoyed an awesome weekend in the sun and rain of the Ramblin Man Festival. Highlights for me were the pictured Messenger, Marillion and Riverside. From what I can remember of the boozy weekend other bands played through the haze of the drizzle and my eyes…

August: Passing out, chilling out…

August 2015

A very proud moment of the year when the wife passed her Complementary Therapy NVQ Level Three, meaning that she was free to take up employment once again in a job she adores and helping to heal folks materialistically and non-materialistically. Her motto is “healing starts on the inside”, I love that…

September: Pink moon…

September 2015

The second major celestial event of the year saw a supermoon rise of the fair city of Liverpool, completing a yin-yang moment for all to see…

October: A padawan learner…

October 2015

My angelic daughter proved once again that she has what it takes to represent the views and wishes of her seven year old comrades by being elected School Councillor for the second year running. I’d like to think that my wife and I have acted as moral guardians for our children and awards like this do fill us with some personal pride too…

November: From master to masterclass…

November 2015

Although it’s only a start, my son was selected to take part in a master class for acting at Sir Paul McCartneys LIPA, and he is very excited about that as Woody Harleson gave a seminar to last years class. He has his sights set on a goal of achieving something very special on stage, seems to be a very common theme in this town…

December: Making the inanimate intimate…

December 2015

My good friend and incredible photographer “D” has finished his INTIMATE:INANIMATE project, which focused on individuals who have in their possession an object of personal or private significance. Each object has a special meaning or importance to the bearer and says something about the person behind it, something that relates to them as an individual. A truly awesome piece of art, all of which will soon to be displayed on the walls of Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool. Inspiring…