Synchronicity vs Probability…

Post-Modern materialists live within the safe confines of probability and believe that seemingly random events occurring at the same time are merely coincidence, irrespective of the odds. Post-Modern mystics believe that seemingly impossible synchronicities present direct evidence to suggest that there is “something” hidden from view which is pushing such things to those who have come to understand how to look (whether that “something” is a Grand Designer [God] or Post-Human to-be descendants [simulation theory] is yet to be revealed).

How likely is it that everything in the Universe as we know it has been created by chance through a series of incredibly fortuitous conditions (the anthropic principle) leading back from the Big Bang until the dawn of humanity and beyond?

Materialists who support the anthropic principle believe that it is unremarkable that the Universe has developed via a series of fundamental constants (Universal laws) that happen to fall within an incredibly narrow range of conditions thought to be compatible with life, and with that a system capable of supporting living, sentient, conscious beings capable of observing and reflecting upon its creation and continued existence is more than probable given the vastness of space and time.

If one tries to even attempt to come up with a probability ratio of human existence going all the way back to the Big Bang (or at least to the physical conditions within the Universe that makes life possible), the chances would most likely be all but zero. We are not talking chances of winning the lottery here; we are talking of a probability with more “O’s” than a Cheerios factory.

So with that in mind, and with the advances of technology and the journey towards artificial intelligence and virtual reality, is it not entirely possible that there is a Grand Designer (be it God or Geek) and 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” to quote Bill Hicks.

Is it not also entirely possible that we are living a Matrix-type existence and the synchronicities we experience are in fact akin to game hints, and that should we follow them down the rabbit hole, then we can play the game at a deeper level (Westworld in a nut shell)?

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I coined the phrase “Breadcrumb Theory” around the time of my spiritual awakening four years ago, a label created specifically for this blog at the time to identify and track such synchronicities, which in my opinion are markers laid down by someone or something to remind awakened ones that reality does have meaning and does have a purpose to be.

This blog has catalogued many synchronicities and will continue to do so but I’d have to say there are so many happening to me on a daily basis that it would be impossible to document them all (given life’s other priorities).

That said, significance again presented itself yesterday and it was somewhat biblical. My sole purpose of being in Cape Town just now is to release our new product to the office here and yesterday was the Go-Live of the new system.

As the team were busy testing some final things, out Project Lead was summoned into a room. At exactly 11:11 (which has a mystical synchronous significance itself), I opened a Whats App message from my wife back in the UK, and with it was an image of the bleak weather, a massive hailstorm had turned the street white within a matter of seconds. A short while later, the Project Lead came out of the room to advise the Go-Live had been cancelled due to some issues that had not been resolved.

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Whilst a little disappointed that we were not able to satisfy the requirement of us being here, I was not totally shocked by the message given the sign I had received at exactly the same time the decision was made.

Over the last four years I’ve often thought how unromantic it would be to live out a materialist existence without having a true purpose or meaning, other than to just be and satisfy the needs of the self (mostly with things).

One thing is for sure, those romantics who seek out meaning, those who seek out the true nature of reality are kept on track by synchronicities…

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The digital self…

Many see the human brain as an organic equivalent of a computer’s hard drive. When a computer boots up for the very first time its memory is empty and as time goes by more and more programs are installed, increasing the functionality of the system and eventually over time giving an understanding to the self of how the whole thing works.

computer-brain

If we are lucky, our computer lasts for its intended (albeit finite) lifespan, with only a few minor problems which have no major impact on how it operates, how it runs.

In those early days, some people will come along and install good programs, programs which enrich the computing experience which in time teaches us how best to fine tune the system so that we can harmonise all working parts, guiding us to make the right decisions on which programs are best.

However, some people come along and install bad programs, sometimes for their own pleasure or selfish misguided ends, resulting in our computer not working as it should, crashing constantly and in certain cases to the point where the only solution appears to be to power off one last time never to be booted up again.

malware

There is a solution before such terminal measures are taken. As long as we are aware that our computer has a problem and that we are willing to fix it, then there is hope. There are those that have the knowledge of how to find the bad programs (the malware and viruses) and these people can show us the way to erase or partition those bad sectors to a place which does not affect the main running of the system.

Once we possess the knowledge of what is good and what is bad for the computer, we then have ultimate control of what gets loaded and what does not, having the experience and understanding to know what happens when bad programs are installed and how well the system functions when not.

When we are imbued with this knowledge, we can then educate others on what is good and what is not good; wisdom we did not have in those early days and when we do that, we have the ability to break the previous chain(s) of bad programming, forever.

Talking to professionals, talking to those who have reformatted their hard drives, talking to those who have experienced the good programs and the bad can help all of us who seek the path to optimisation…

The Consciousness Within…

God can be (and has been and will continue to be) defined as a great many things, including:

  • The Creator of the Universe and the Source of all moral authority.
  • A perfect and all-powerful spirit or being that is worshipped.
  • The One who has power over nature and human fortunes.

I’ve never proactively gone to church, but I have over the last two weekends, not only as an opportunity to see parts of a location not usually frequented but also as a way to remove myself from a heavy workload, tourist schedule and external factors, even if just for one hour.

St Georges Cathedral in Cape Town is steeped in history and is renowned for the political stance it took during apartheid and is recognised as a strong symbol for democracy in South Africa. It’s significance lies not just with the building itself but also by the actions of different clergymen, including Desmond Tutu, the first black archbishop of South Africa who led numerous marches and campaigns for the formal end of apartheid from the front steps. It was a common meeting point for all activists of all races as well as woman’s rights groups who were part of the resistance to apartheid laws and the struggle for social justice, equality and human rights.

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As I sat there listening to the gospels and hymns, one thing struck me. When I started to strip back things within this place, a certainty revealed itself to me at least, hidden for those who choose not to, or know not how to, peel back the layers.

Take away the church building itself. Take away the religious symbols and iconography. Take away the ceremony. Take away the physicality of the congregation. What is left is connection; oneness of being in the same place, a spiritual and aggregated consciousness tuning in to the same frequency.

Whilst in quiet contemplation or prayer during certain times of the service, external reality closes off its influence on the mind and allows one to go beyond the physical to get closer to the core, to inner essence (call it Heaven, call it Nirvana or call it Consciousness – for me it is the same thing).

On the topic of the resurrection, we were reminded by the Bishop that we ourselves should not fear death as life is eternal, and when we leave our mortal bonds we become one with God and join him in Heaven. It was at this point that I was also reminded of a lyric in a song I hold dear, “Presence” by Anathema:

“One has to come to term us with one’s own mortality, and you can’t really help people who are having problems with mortality if you’ve got problems of your own. So you have to begin to sort things out and I thought I had sorted things out until I saw this excerpt from this book, of certainty I shall remember what it said:

“Life is not the opposite of death. Death is the opposite of birth. Life is eternal.”

And I thought that it’s the most profound words I have ever heard and it really put me at peace. And that’s it, what else is there to say? Life is eternal. Surely the opposite of life is not the death, but life is eternal. There is no opposite. It is a state of pure consciousness, stillness and silence. What we are looking for now, we are searching for and we have been searching for is already there; there for ever to seek. It is there and it’s going be there, all the time, forevermore”…

Leaving church left me with a great many things to contemplate. Without the offertory, the amount of churches would diminish and with that those who rely on buildings and ceremony as symbols for hope and peace would be lost. Churches, synagogues, temples and mosques are bricks and mortar, but true spirituality lies within its patrons and not itself, yet if by going to them reminds one to be more spiritual and less materialistic, then one should go.

So it was no shock to me that soon after my return from the cathedral, that flicking through the channels on the afternoon TV I found one of my favourite films Groundhog Day, an ontological orgasm of a film, whereby Bill Murray plays out the Buddhist eternal return (resurrections included) until he gains enough knowledge and wisdom to move on.

After the film had finished, I phoned home and asked the wife how things were going three weeks in to my six week stint in South Africa, the first words from her mouth were “It’s like Groundhog Day”.

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As if that was not odd enough, I was in work this morning when my colleague and friend shared with me the last two chocolates from the UK, namely two boxes of Mini-Smarties. He turned to me and said “What’s the answer to life, ‘maybe Smarties has the answer’ eh?” the jingle/phrase that accompanied the product on a UK TV advertisement. I turned to him and said “Well you know the answer to the ultimate question is 42 (according to Douglas Adams and his Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy) and if there are 42 Smarties inside that box then that is proof that there is something else beyond physical death and life is eternal”.

So there he sat, next to me counting out the Smarties in the small cardboard box into piles of ten. The look of shock on his face and mine when, after four piles were laid out on the desk, he showed me the open box to reveal two left inside.

An extraordinary synchronicity, could that have really been just a coincidence or was it a message from the other side?

Life is experience not knowledge…

What better way to share knowledge than through the written word. Since we picked up the first quill, we have over the ages scribed masterpieces from ancient texts, through Shakespeare and the Classics and on to modern theories of Life, the Universe and Everything via the internet.

Whilst it is just to read to expand the mind and become more knowledgeable, just reading is simply a data transfer between paper/screen and the hippocampus. Life is not simply about reading, understanding and sharing the words of others, life is about taking in knowledge to better experience. Quoting Freud or Nietzsche whilst in dialogue with friends and colleagues only shows that you have retained the knowledge once shared by great thinkers and writers, living and experiencing theories is however something very different.

I have not read a great many books cover-to-cover in my life, I have a tendency to read about fifty to sixty pages of a book, ponder over its content and existential relevance and put it down again perhaps for months, even years, taking in such nuggets and using that knowledge to enhance my experience on Planet Earth.

I was fortunate enough today (for now as this is my last project with my current employer) to be sat in a Business Class seat on-route to Cape Town where I will spend the next six weeks working (and being a culture vulture at weekends). I’m not the greatest of flyers so struggle a little on long haul flights so try to find things to do to keep me occupied for eleven hours fifteen in this case, as sleep as rarely an option. Armed with three books (A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Persig and The Doors of Perception by Aldous Huxley), a fully loaded iTunes/Spotify and the in-flight entertainment system, I felt that I had enough to keep the turbulence palm sweats at bay.

Apropos the in-flight entertainment system, I guess like most others I headed straight on to the documentary section and quickly settled on my selections for the flight. The documentary picks where quite easy; Cosmos narrated Neil De Grasse Tyson, Through the Wormhole narrated by Morgan Freeman (materialism vs mysticism checklist complete) and Robin Williams Remembered (a look-back at the life and works of one the modern-day greats).

Robin-Williams-Death.jpg

I recall the days after he had died as not one of my finest moments. News had reached the UK that he had taken his own life which was a tragic event but what I could not understand at the time was why people where literally crying in the streets, and everybody seemed to share their own grief on social media. My point (wrong as it transpired) was that just because someone a famous person takes their own life, doesn’t make it any more or less tragic than someone who is not, a life is a life. There is some truth in that I guess but this stance got me into some sticky conversations until I rightly rescinded my comments once the views of others had been taken in.

The in-flight fifty-five minute documentary showed a true genius at work, from small beginnings to an Oscar winning performance, from a loner to a global megastar and back again, leaving gaping voids in the people that knew and worked with him.

After I had watch the three documentaries, I cycled through the three-hundred plus films on offer, hopefully taking the opportunity to watch an ontological/existential flick as I rarely get chance at home. Sadly there was nothing there.

Coincidentally though, Good Will Hunting starring Mr Williams was there. It’s a film I watched a long time ago and I recalled it was quite good so on it went. Having read a little Freud recently, I remembered that Williams played a shrink so quite a relevant film (a visual experience to go with the transfer of knowledge). Needless to say and in my opinion (at last!) the film is an absolute classic, with Williams a genius and humbling watch. His performance rightly won him the Oscar, arguably one of the best pieces of acting I’ve ever seen on film.

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There is a scene in the film where doctor (Robin Williams) and patient (Matt Damon) are sitting on a park bench. Here on display, in Technicolor at 37,000ft is a monologue to end all monologues, which describes in majestic detail that life is about practice and not about theory. I just have to share this verbatim as no analysis or opinion is required (SPOILER ALERT!):

“I thought about what you said to me the other day, about my painting. I stayed up half the night thinking about it. Something occurred to me. I fell into a deep peaceful sleep and I haven’t thought about you since. You know what occurred to me, you’re just a kid and you don’t have the faintest idea what you’re talking about. You’ve never been out of Boston.

If I asked you about art, you’d probably give me the skinny about every art book ever written. Michelangelo, you know a lot about him; life’s work, political aspirations, him and the Pope, sexual orientation the whole works, but I bet you can’t tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel? You’ve never actually stood there and looked up at the beautiful ceiling, I’ve seen that.

If I ask you about women, you could give me a salver of all your personal favourites, you may have even been laid a few times, but you can’t tell me what it feels like to wake up next to a woman and feel truly happy.

If I ask you about war, you will probably throw Shakespeare at me right: “Once more into the breach dear friends”, but you’ve never been near one. You’ve never had your best friends head in your lap and watch him gasp his last breath looking at you for help,

If I ask you about love, you’d quote me a sonnet, but you’ve never looked at a woman and felt totally vulnerable knowing someone who could level you with her eyes, feeling like God put an Angel on earth just for you, who could rescue you from the depths of hell and you wouldn’t know what it’s like to be her Angel to have that love for her that will be there forever through anything, through cancer. And you wouldn’t know about sleeping up in a hospital room for two months holding her hand because the doctors could see that in your eyes the term “visiting hours” don’t apply to you.

You don’t know about real loss, because that only occurs when you love something more than you love yourself. I doubt you’ve ever dared to love anybody that much.

I look at you I don’t see an intelligent confident man, I see a cocky, scared shitless kid, but you’re a genius Will no one denies that. No one could possibly understand the depths of you but you presumed to know everything about me because you saw a painting of mine and ripped my fucking life apart. You’re an orphan right. Do you think I’d know the first thing about how hard you’re life has been, how you feel, who you are because I read Oliver Twist? Does that encapsulate you?

Personally I don’t give a shit about all that because you know what, because I can’t learn anything from you that I can’t read from some fucking book, unless you want to talk about you, and who are you – then I’m fascinated. I’m in. But you don’t want do that do you sport. You’re terrified on what you might say”.

Calmly and expertly delivered, Williams is sharing a part of himself with the viewer, both fragile and moving.

In the final scene, Damon opens up and sobs after Williams (who himself reveals his historic abuse story) repeats time and time again “It’s not your fault; it’s not your fault”. I guess I was kind of glad all of the blinds were down on the airplanes windows and most of the folks were asleep as the tears were rolling down my face like the Victoria Falls I was flying over at the time.

We would do well to remember what William’s said on that bench, life is about experience and not knowledge. If we have had bad experiences thrust upon us, then we can and must try to lose that historical knowledge and live life in the present moment…

To err is to human…

One is never too far away from chaos, from disorder, from entropy. Conjure up if you will an image of a person who appears to be in perfect harmony with the Universe, a person who has a decent understanding of the human condition and who operates a nicely balanced mind, body and soul.

Take that very same person and inject them into a situation where that balance is completely and utterly destroyed by substances they imbibe to the point where everything that they truly believe and everything they actually possess teeters to the point of non-existence.

Whilst it is commonplace (not obligatory) to take alcohol in social situations, excess is a very dark and dangerous path to Freud’s Ego and Id, a solitary and lonely path to disorder.

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Advanced states of inebriation dissolve the Super-Ego like the inevitable next day Berocca; something solid which melts away to reveal churning and cloudiness. Introducing alcohol in large quantities into the system temporarily removes conscience and pride, the staple diet of the Super Ego and without it, all that is left is the bloated Ego and the selfish Id, and with that all reason is lost.

And so it was on Saturday, where I took it upon myself to smash myself out of the park for no real apparent reason, or perhaps one that my external self chooses not to reveal under normal circumstances.

I have of late likened my time living in the corporate world to that of a marionette; an executive order controlling my every move telling me what to do and when to do it, much to the annoyance and disappointment of my inner self. There are times (and that is becoming increasingly regular) that I loathe capitalism, commercialism and coin-based economics, such things never truly bring real happiness. Sometimes it’s seems an easy option to turn to drink to banish those thoughts even if only temporarily, yet invariably things turn out very ugly indeed.

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I do have a grand plan, a plan one day to leave behind all of the pandering to bosses and reliance on money, but for now (with having three children) my Super Ego keeps things in check and perspective (and rightly so) and puts that plan ten years hence, which ordinarily I’m ok with.

However, when the balance is knocked severely off kilter with such force and aggression (mental not physical), egotistic and selfish needs and desires come out to the front of class and exhibit a rather loathsome and disrespectful show and tell, leaving strangers bewildered and confused and loved ones bemused and upset.

The cold light of the next day brings back the conscience ten-fold (leaving pride to scuttle off under the bed), as if its absence the night before needs to take centre stage for every waking moment for days to come, deliberating, cogitating and judging the self’s embarrassing stage show the night before.

We are never too far away from chaos and should do everything to avoid entropy at all costs; we must be reminded that a life of moderation and not excess brings balance.

“To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him” – Buddha

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.

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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”.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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…