Archive for philosophy

“Wait until your mud settles” Lao Tzu

“Simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.”

“When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everyone will respect you.”

“If you try to change it, you will ruin it. Try to hold it, and you will lose it.”

“Those who know do not speak. Those who speak do not know.”

“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom.
Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.”

“When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everyone will respect.”

“The truth is not always beautiful, nor beautiful words the truth.”

“Give evil nothing to oppose and it will disappear by itself.”

“Trying to understand is like straining through muddy water.   Have the patience to wait!  Be still and allow the mud to settle.”

“If you realise that all things change, there is nothing you will try to hold on to.

If you are not afraid of dying, there is nothing you cannot achieve.”

“To understand the limitation of things, desire them.”

“Stop thinking, and end your problems.

What difference between yes and no?

What difference between success and failure?

Must you value what others value,

Avoid what others avoid?

How ridiculous!”

“Embracing Tao, you become embraced.
Supple, breathing gently, you become reborn.
Clearing your vision, you become clear.
Nurturing your beloved, you become impartial.
Opening your heart, you become accepted.
Accepting the World, you embrace Tao.
Bearing and nurturing,
Creating but not owning,
Giving without demanding,
Controlling without authority,
This is love.”

“The further one goes, the less one knows.”

“Close your mouth,
block off your senses,
blunt your sharpness,
untie your knots,
soften your glare,
settle your dust.
This is the primal identity.”

“Do you have the patience to wait until your mud settles and the water is clear?”


Lao Tzu – Tao Te Ching

Photographs taken across China ’16


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Life’s a joke! – Alan Watts

One of my favourites from Uncle Alan:


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Masanobu Fukuoka – The One-Straw Revolution

“When it is understood that one loses joy and happiness in the attempt to possess them, the essence of natural farming will be realized. The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.”

“I do not particularly like the word ‘work.’ Human beings are the only animals who have to work, and I think that is the most ridiculous thing in the world. Other animals make their livings by living, but people work like crazy, thinking that they have to in order to stay alive. The bigger the job, the greater the challenge, the more wonderful they think it is. It would be good to give up that way of thinking and live an easy, comfortable life with plenty of free time. I think that the way animals live in the tropics, stepping outside in the morning and evening to see if there is something to eat, and taking a long nap in the afternoon, must be a wonderful life. For human beings, a life of such simplicity would be possible if one worked to produce directly his daily necessities. In such a life, work is not work as people generally think of it, but simply doing what needs to be done.”

“People think they understand things because they become familiar with them. This is only superficial knowledge. It is the knowledge of the astronomer who knows the names of the stars, the botanist who knows the classification of the leaves and flowers, the artist who knows the aesthetics of green and red. This is not to know nature itself- the earth and sky, green and red. Astronomer, botanist, and artist have done no more than grasp impressions and interpret them, each within the vault of his own mind. The more involved they become with the activity of the intellect, the more they set themselves apart and the more difficult it becomes to live naturally.”

“Until there is a reversal of the sense of values which cares more for size and appearance than for quality, there will be no solving the problem of food pollution.”

“We can never know the answers to great spiritual questions, but it’s all right not to understand. We have been born and are living on the earth to face directly the reality of living.”

“When a decision is made to cope with the symptoms of a problem, it is generally assumed that the corrective measures will solve the problem itself. They seldom do.”

“Fast rather than slow, more rather than less–this flashy “development” is linked directly to society’s impending collapse. It has only served to separate man from nature. Humanity must stop indulging the desire for material possessions and personal gain and move instead toward spiritual awareness.
Agriculture must change from large mechanical operations to small farms attached only to life itself. Material life and diet should be given a simple place. If this is done, work becomes pleasant, and spiritual breathing space becomes plentiful.”

“Food and medicine are not two different things: they are the front and back of one body. Chemically grown vegetables may be eaten for food, but they cannot be used as medicine.”

“I wonder how it is that people’s philosophies have come to spin faster than the changing seasons.”

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Terence McKenna – Articulating the Human Condition (Lecture)

I found this lecture by Terence fascinating, from May 1990, Santa Fe, New Mexico:

“We are going to find out the nature of human nature … The real question is, is man good?”
“Its an absolute horse race ….neck and neck……between education and disaster. We ‘re either going to burst out into a millennium of freedom and caring and decency or we’re going to toxify the whole thing, turn it into an ash heap. The responsibility falls mostly on us. The lethal momentum of these institutions is terrifying. Our position is like that of people who are attempting to turn a battle ship 180o with an oar.”

Watercolour by Fabrizio Cassetta

“The world is whatever you say it is if you say it right…..We serve the idea that matter is ultimately at the command of mind, but we need to move that forward as a demonstrable principle…..”

“The concern is to get the word out, to get people to confirm these realities for themselves.”

“We are mental creatures…..we have never taken the imagination seriously…..we have always thought that things should go along like a random walk….we have the design process of the whole planet on our desk and we are being asked to step into the stewardship of the entire planetary environment…..we have to have the vision, the dream, and it can’t come from the personality of human beings, but has to come out of the bones of the planet.”

“We’re aren’t going to understand that this weekend, next week or ever, this is not a relationship of solving a problem, its a relationship of being an initiate to a mystery and then living your life in the light of that. The task of understanding is endless…..nature is pattern upon pattern, level upon level….everything is infinite and everything is animate and everything is filled with a kind of deep concern for humanity……We seem to be cut off from the rest of this.”

“I’m just banking on curiosity doing a lot of the footwork for the revolution, this is too good to miss (psychedelics)… that Marxism has collapsed, if we don’t substitute something for consumer values we’re just going to rape the earth in an effort to create crap for everybody.  The only alternative to materialism is spiritualism…..I mean there has to be as much inner richness as there previously was outer richness.”

“Reject everything except gold, it’s hard to take psychedelics, it’s not hard to sweep up around the ashram……’You went to Harvard, we went to ayahuasca’.”

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Reading about North Korea….Trump….and blah blah

I was just reading about the North Korea farce on the BBC.  I rarely read the news but this story has really got me thinking, maybe I was shocked so much because I’ve been taking it easy on the news front and my tolerance to the jeopardy and conformist, conservative nature of the mass media has weakened.  It certainly sparked something, it was like drinking a pint of espresso after giving up coffee for a month.  My mind went into overdrive and here’s what came out:

The people of North Korea are suffering so much; being ruled by a cruel dictatorship since 1948, famines throughout the 90’s, living completely without human rights or contact with the world.  This whole fabricated, phoney war is disgusting. But really, I’m much, much more worried about Donald than Kim….

Here’s what the BBC are saying –

Having read such sad news, I find it difficult to trust these interpretations of events.  I cannot fully trust any media story.  Why would I when I know the history of fake news and phoney wars; Saddam Hussien, Colonel Gadafi the list goes on.  We know that they’re generally lying or at best, suppressing/ editing things, and truth is certainly no longer relevant in the media/ political game. News is just another commodity to be packaged right and sold to us.

But I think more and more people are waking up to this and distrusting what they read, we are becoming disenfranchised and it seems to me we’re at a crossroads of sorts, we’re at the crest of some kind of wave, the only issue is this wave has no idea where it’s going to land.  Maybe this is perfectly natural, no one has been able to control large groups of humans, not even the USSR in it’s heyday.  We are a random bunch, in a perfectly random universe.  But this feeling of not knowing, although unsettling to many, could well be a great opportunity to do something new and focus on a different form of knowing.  A different way of approaching and articulating being here, human, conscious, and essentially, free.  If you type free into Google, the English band ‘Free’ comes up as the first search result, some good tunes that my Dad liked there.  The ‘liberty’ style free comes a close second.  Maybe my point here is; What are we seeking?  Real freedom?  What are we willing to give up for this?  And who is this seeker anyway?  If we could take steps to coming closer to the essence of these questions, I feel we’d have no doubt about where we are going.

Most wars, especially in modern times, are manufactured by ruling castes, the powerful drag us into conflict for their own reasons and are normally based around business decisions, profit, power and control (or destabalisation depending on the circumstance).  In history, occasionally it was for love, but we’re not romantic like that anymore.  The world in my eyes revolves around greedy, ignorant men (mainly) playing heartless power games with our lives and the future of our planet.  We are locked in a material approach to life, which disregards our true nature, by that I mean, some kind of sum that is much greater than the parts (and forces) we know about.  Which via the crude lense of modern science, aren’t many.  This approach has resulted in the suffering of many, while the few buy faster cars and yet are only permitted to drive the same speed as the rest of us (in doing so, symbolising the acute suffering in the accumulation of vacuous and pointless material wealth). Essentially, no one wins, but some are drinking better wine.

If we are obsessed with fame, wealth and fake-ness we get a Trump.  It seems obvious.  Maybe he is the wake up call we need as neo-liberalism and capitalism, from what I read, is on the way out or heading towards other odd mutations.  After all, the US President. the most powerful man (maybe) in the world, is a man who is honest about lying, who regularly speaks to us from a golden throne.  Who revels in vulgarity and sexism.  Brazenly bizarre behavior, weirdly honest and highlights something much less than transcendent.  Here is a man who could be a totem for change, some kind of opposite we can really push against.  The polar opposite of love, equality, compassion, honesty, forgiveness and integrity, like some kind of negative magnetic field, Trump is the force that is powerful to kick start and shake up the latent positive field that is sleeping within us as a whole.  The kind of force that says enough is enough, lets push back, let’s reconnect.  Lets become more aware of cycles, energies and mysteries that entice and inspire us on deeper levels, lets plug into that and heighten and refine our awareness and our behaviour will surely follow.

I find there are very few trustworthy news sources, especially (if any) in the mass media.  So what’s is this global agenda?  How do we find some truth, a balanced view about what’s going on out there?  How do we stay strong and find contentment in such shifting, turbulent times?  It ain’t easy!  It seems that on Facebook, the main source now of ‘news’, we are generally told what we want to hear.  An echo chamber effect.  Online we receive notifications, adverts and news that the complex algorithms which govern much of the internet want us to see, or, think that we’ll like.  Seems freedom of choice and therefore action is being impaired, almost toyed with.  Human life itself is gradually being homogenised.  How can we come up with a utopian vision, with clarity and integrity, when we’re bombarded with nonsense throughout the day and attention spans are waning and silence, idle windows when the mind can recline and take it easy, this clear source of true creativity is endangered.  Collectively, we need an idea of where we’re going, personally and together.  I love nostalgia, the raw energy and exploration of the 60’s (and the rock) is my thing, but we need something fresh, crisp and new.  Something that represents where we are now.

When I look at Donald and Kim, I can’t help feel sorry for them.  What poor excuses for human beings they are!  How they must struggle to find even the most fleeting whisp of joy in their bulldozing, pig headed existence. (No disrespect to pigs you understand, they’re of course, sensitive, wonderful animals.  Resilient and gentle.  Much more so than many of the leaders of the ‘free’ and ‘democratic’ world.  Which raises the question, if we put a Vietnamese pot bellied pig in charge of America, would the outcome be more or less farcical than having the Trumpster at the wheel.)  It would certainly be less damaging  in so many ways.  I don’t want to talk too harshly of Trump, he’s a product of his surroundings and relationships like the rest of us.  Like I said, he’s a product of our society, a society in which I have a role to play.  I’m not saying I’m responsible for Trump, I live in Wales, but I’m not sure how much part of the answer I am.  That is a regular question I face.  How much good am I doing?  Is that good effective?  Is the good actually good?  Is that process of thought beneficial?  I think, generally no.  In many ways, being self aware is our only way out of the disharmony we find in our minds, but in other ways, but it leads to great obstacles and challenges.  Facing up to who we are is at the core of developing as a person, but it can also throw us out of whack.  Hence, we need wise support, something which is not always there, we need a greater understanding, I think, generally, in so many ways.  We’ll probably never get there, but we must resist the temptation to shut up our rational inquisition, our personal curiosity to explore mysteries with that excitement we felt as children when we learned of dragons, fairies, dwarves and elves.   That child-like exuberance which wrote nothing because we didn’t know any better (or worse).  Since then, the shapes and chains of a form of industrialised knowledge, has in the most part, weighed down and choked that pure exuberance, our mind which was once like a flower has been battered into shape to conform with a sick society ran by insane people.  But the mind is infinite and wild and loves freedom, if given space to breathe and roam, it can heal and grow, dream and regain harmony.  We are the mind, which is our ultimate mystery and therefore, anything is possible, whatever we conceive, is real.  Which is why it is better to be flexible and fluid, in the face of such a circumstance, clinging to the edges of an industrialised mine field, seems like a pretty dull and lifeless proposition, when there is so much about ourselves that we don’t even know.  What a journey of discovery that potentially lies ahead!

But then you have Trump.  A man of privilege and wealth, who is provy to things and knowledge which is used to heighten privilege and wealth.  I just said our minds are infinite and free, on one level that is true, but on the lower levels, where we all are and reside, we can be easily led, docile and quite predictable.  The Trumps know this, as do incidentally ancient spiritual lineages like Hinduism and Buddhism, in fact, much of the mind based inquiry and understanding revealed to sages, seers, meditators and yogis throughout the ages, stretching into the mists of pre-history, is now being ratified by material, modern science.  Much of the other spiritual  theories and concepts are way off our charts in a science sense, but for me the only data or discoveries that are worth a damn happen to me, are part of my reality.  Which is why meditation has become such an integral part of my life, also an interest in psychedelic experiences has promoted a less linear and myopic approach to my life.  When you see what Trump says, how he says it and how he appeals to some of our core emotions, which with Trump are mainly fear based, you can see why it triggers a response.  If we are stable and comfortable in our skin, we are not such an easy flock to shepherd.  We ask too many questions.  Demand too many freedoms.  Suspect oppressive regimes and the concept of authority and rigidity in general.  In an ever shifting existence, where we find ourselves awakened between a birth and a death, how shall we play our hand?

Unless we’ve been raised in a toxic environment and allowed toxic habits/ behaviour to take hold from that time or during life, then we know what to do.  The instinct is there to protect and cherish life and therefore each other, ourselves and the planet.  We want to live!  Of all our primal callings, this one is surely the strongest.  Mental illness is now a huge issue in modern society and I think a sense of detachment from reality (life!), from our true nature, from each other, has had a big effect on this.  Our societies are increasingly moving away from a sense of togetherness, and this leads to loneliness and despair, if we are together, we are strong, if we are loving, we are expressing one of our extraordinary powers.  True superheros.  We are.

I travel a lot, I meet many people all over the planet from all walks of life.  I can see with my head and I know with my heart, people are good and a happy and fulfilling life is not that complex and requires very little thought, material wealth and, of course, little, if no, stress or drama.  Life has it’s challenges, but that’s part of the performance.  No one escapes because we are all living within the same conditions of a human body and mind.  There is no easy life out there.  If we aim for peace and contentment, with effort and sacrifice, we might get there.  If we live by good virtues, have good intentions, speak well of each other and live in greater harmony with our community and earth, we can and will thrive.  If we don’t bother, are lazy, let life beat us up, let emotions take hold, let a society fascinated by wealth and the material make us feel solid, stolid, cheap and small, then yes, life is a tough calling.  In that state, we’re missing out on the joys of living, sacrificing them for a fake plastic dream and cheapened versions of love, a temporary high in an enforced greyness which lacks imagination.  There are no great secrets to contentment, but that doesn’t make it any easier to get there.

The world that is presented to us on a daily basis by the media is in many ways a dark and elaborate hoax, a virtual world of strife, turmoil and disharmony; a fundamental lie, a mirage to keep us afraid of each other and, well, everything.  Our minds are bombarded with images and stimulus to keep us distracted and it seems, almost constantly exhausted in one way or another.  In turn, most of what we post on social media is also, in a sense, a hoax.  We post things that we think people with either enjoy or will make us appear a certain way.  In a way, I look at that as an example of how I try and repress my negative mental traits or habits and embellish and promote the ones I think are more ‘me’.  It’s nonsense really.  Repressing anything will only make it’s roots deeper and hiding from who we really are, is a pretty bizarre and pointless game of hide and seek.  Jung said that it is easier and preferable for us to fly to the moon than confront ourselves, look ourselves in the mirror, all the good and bad.  This involves monitoring out negative thoughts and emotional patterns, seeing if we can get to the root of them.  This is something best done in the right setting, using tools like mindfulness and certainly meditation can help, yoga is beneficial and helps us get out of our heads and into our bodies.  A reprise of sorts.  Dancing and singing can have a similar effect, but in meditation, we can really get a feel for our inner landscapes, how they rock, reel and roll, how we are not always our best friend and how we are not always aware of where we are, or what we are doing.  Meditation can release us from the constant mind chatter and bring us back to our senses, literally.  Meditation is a peaceful anchor in a stormy world, a window of potential enlightenment within this gloomy outlook.  But again, this is probably another post…..

We’ve all got our own style, we all came in with our own little something special to share.  We are all enlightening in one way or other.  Our individuality is what makes us so incredibly brilliant, perfect and special.  So vital.  It is why we can learn something from anyone in so many ways.  My perception and its effects is something I ponder a lot, also the limiting nature of my own ego (a subject for another sprawling piece of writing maybe?), but I would say this, if we could loosen up on opinions and narratives, the ones that can dominate all of the chatter and thoughts that fly through our minds, we are maybe better placed to come up with something more constructive in the sense that it would be more based on harmony, with roots in things like peace, bliss and understanding, tolerance and togetherness would thrive.  If we loosen our grip on our personality, something we all seem to cherish, we can reinvent ourselves, constantly and therefore move much closer to the constantly shifting nature of this.  Our moment to moment existence.   Maybe then we could recognise our generally negative ego-based behaviour as debilitating and a general pain.  A Tibetan nun once told me that the ego was like a spoiled teenager sitting in our skulls.  That description stuck with me and seems very true.  At least with my ego.  If I give that teenager attention, it grows in confidence and control, if I ignore it, it simmers down.  We waste so much time and energy stuck in our heads, lost in thoughts and our own little world dominated by the past and future dominated by that noisy teenager.

Most of what we’ve built our world view, and to some extent, our personality upon; our interpretation of history, our culture, is one big flabby slice of fiction.  There are so many ways we can interpret our lives and world views as being rotten to the core.  Especially if we read the ‘news’ on a daily basis, as it is based on multifarious knots of mis-truth and subterfuge.    Our world, on that level, seems like giant car accident that we are witnessing roadside, everyday.  From this shaky view point, packed with fear, when we stare off into the future, our dreams can become skewed, our vision blurred and disjointed.  It is hard to scrape together any hope.  The movie of our life may seem black and white instead of a 4D technicolour eruption.  I stopped reading the news so much because it seemed that everything I needed to know found me in the end.  I tried to tune more into the local news, whats happening in my surroundings and local community.  Then more local, what’s going on in my body and mind right now.  It’s more relevant.

In this way, with practice, I began waking up to my interdependence with the environment around me, my body (eating healthy and taking care of it), my community (family, friends, respecting, loving), the natural world around me (rivers for water, trees for air, soil for plants etc, respecting and loving), every detail of my life, my personality, when viewed with a focused sensitivity, is linked.  I am part of something big, formed by my past experiences and actions, I am woven into the very fabric of that which is living, the universe and everything, in a material, energetic and spiritual sense.  I find that sensation ultimately inspiring, to give a damn about what is going on in the world and opposing, protecting, with love as a guiding force, to preserve the beauty of all of this.

There are so many dangers to our continued life on this planet.  Trump and his gang starting phoney wars being a major area at the minute, also denying climate change, but they are created by humans and therefore, we can figure out a solution, we have a responsibility to.  It seems most people are called into action when things are local, to body, mind of community; soon I feel that most communities on earth, not just the poorer countries, will begin to see and feel the real effects of our disrespect and abuse of nature.  Nature is not a resource, it’s home.  How can we repair our relationship with the land and each other?  We need to figure this out in a hurry.

We now live in a world, dominated by corporations and politics, where the absurd and farcical are dominating proceedings, and in a suitably strange twist of irony, we seem to be losing our sense of humour.  That is one of the most worry things I find.  A world that can’t laugh at itself is certainly doomed.  John Lennon said;

Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we’re being run by maniacs for maniacal ends and I think I’m liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That’s what’s insane about it.”

He also said (I can’t find the quote) something like, the more rational we get, the more irrational the world becomes.  This seems to be the case for me, but it’s all subjective I know.  The more I learn about the institutions on which our society is based; be it science, politics or religion, the more I am able to see a different way of living and relating to everything.  Find my own voice somewhere in the cacophony of other peoples opinions and experience, find my own style and then realise, that it’s just my ego doing it’s thing.  Not putting too much emphasis on this personality I’ve created. not attached to this strange distraction.

Things are so complexed out there, but our minds and therefore our behaviour are being controlled more and more, in subtle and gross ways. Our opinions moderated, division achieved, sadness propagated, hopelessness promoted and our cultural norms tweaked to ensure maximum profit per person and ignorance/ indifference to the real story that could unfold if freedom, love and peace ran the show.  If we are not constantly hitting the refresh button, try to re-evaluate and handle our opinions with care and sensitivity, the mind can get into grooves, ruts of thought and behaviour, routines of action and thought that don’t necessarily serve us or those around us.  These grooves are highly addictive.  If we’re aware and care, we can move away from them; one step at a time.

It’s not easy to go against the tide.  Any one who doesn’t tow the line is derided and undermined. The banal is boss.  It doesn’t have to be like this.  I take the less materially minded route, more about living from the heart, seeking riches beyond money, fame and all that stuff.  In some ways, trying to tap into and realising the subtleties of my constantly changing state.  This outlook keeps me grounded and yet flexible, gives me a different sense of perspective.  Being calm and peaceful seems a big statement in itself nowadays.

So my response to all this is pretty simple.  I want to keep my eyes and heart open, wake up a little bit more each moment, question everything with something-like objective rationality, sniff at the peace that is all around when I’m not washed away by the nightmarish soap opera presented as life, believe in something far more potent and transcendent than this force fed mediocrity. Dream a brighter more loving world into existence simply by being creative, spontaneous and living that dream. Thinking differently, acting with good intentions, dancing to fresh, new beats and if I fail, I succeed.  Simply being kind, to myself and others, will go some way to healing the world.  I think that is a powerful idea.

I don’t feel despondent, even though most experts prognosis for humanity seems bleak.  There are many reasons to be inspired and energised.  Though sometimes I find myself looking back for inspiration.  If we scratch at the surface of human history or choose to delve into it’s depths, there is treasure to be found scattered in each era, there are bright windows in even our darkest chapters.  Thousands of years of human expression; epiphanies, soul searching, mystical meanderings, outrageous behaviour, drumming, shamanic rituals and heritage, plus unquenchable curiosity, has led to some awesome understanding; philosophical, scientific, architectural, astronomical, energetic, musical or other.  I am inspired by what we were, sometimes their echoes can seem feint and irrelevant, but I find so much hope between the punctuation marks of wars, colonialism and other barbarism, so many ways to look back and learn.

Hope is integral to who we are as a species of strangely aware naked apes.  It seems we’ve always known the answers to contentment, but putting them into practice is the sticky bit.  Radical change can and has happened, there seems to be a tipping point of conscience, as if society needs to be saturated with a momentum, where people are mobilised and human virtue rises to create new, more enlightened social norms; language changes, we tell new stories.

Where is the power?  Surely with the people, no matter the conspiratorial or other theories of who’s running this show, if large parts of society wish something, it will most probably happen.  Otherwise, lets face it, who’s going to buy stuff?  In this vacuum of ideas, where Donald can rise to the top, we need a new narrative.  We could also exercise our credit cards in new ways, by not using them at all.  One of the most effective ways of making a sales driven system take notice.  Stop spending.  Stop interacting.  Stop using services.  Stop clicking.  For the amount of effort required, it would have a massive effect.  I need to speak to someone about this.  Its not a new idea, but it doesn’t seem to have taken hold.  I wonder why?  Sitting reading a book could be the one of the future activities of the hard core activist.  I can see it catching on.

Sometimes, it is essential to look back a little, because in recent times, I feel a little let down by our left wing or other forms of radical thinkers, artists, musicians and the like.  The spark of genuine defiance, the creation of a viable opposition to the dross has seemed lacking.  It seems that things are merging and mingling to a degree where there is very little breathing space between the avant-garde and the mainstream.  But I’m not sure that’s the right place to look for real change in society anyway.  I think it goes deeper than that.  This does not include Bernie Sanders or Jeremy Corbyn, which is an amazing off shoot of all of this.  In all this disenfranchisement, it seems there is a feeling of togetherness growing, a wide scale reaction to the fakery of the people like The Trumps, Tony Blair, The Clintons et al.  Now could be the time, now must be the time, for a true change of heart, a change in the general spirit of living.  This spirit we’ve had, we need only look back at the indigenous peoples of the world to realise how far we’ve moved away from a harmonious existence with earth.  How we could use such wisdom to base our utopian revolutionary (we don’t have time for evolution, too slow!) society on.  Strong foundations, get our roots back in the earth where they belong.

The most important lessons I’ve learned revolve around love; giving love, receiving love, living with love, losing love, being in love. IN. LOVEx  It took some practice and society seems afraid to embrace it in anything like its fullest expression.  The awesome power of love will change everything, if we let it free.  Love leads to the realisation that by helping others, we help ourselves.  A truly open heart sees no differences.  We all know, that one moment when love returns, like the first rays of sunshine on a wintery dawn, now and forever, sometimes in soft focus, sometimes so close and clear; it burns away our creeping shadows and the hum of confusion seems distant for a while at least.  We wish to fully give what we are to someone or something else.  We completely surrender to its will.  Love makes us innocent and I think innocence is something we need to re-kindle in our societies.  A kind of softness and sensitivity.  But with love, as we all know, there is inevitably pain.  What a potentially great lessons to embrace and learn to forgive.  If we choose to view pain in such a way, it can liberating.  Many of the other important lessons that have popped up in my life, intangible as they are, have revolved around sitting and doing nothing.  Letting peace and silence do the teaching, let nothingness take over for a while.  Also, letting go of the pain caused by love by learning to forgive myself and others.  These are lessons I couldn’t live without.

Also, I have found that learning to breathe properly is of paramount importance to realising how my body is merely a manifestation of my mind, the strange and beautiful shoreline of my mainly unchartered internal oceans.  Sounds quite grand, but I do like a bit of poetry.  Also, inside the breath, wrapped up in the way it links what is internal, with what is external, in the way that in each in breathe, we are inviting life within, there is the opportunity to engage cleanse and make clear.  The breath is the doorway and the key, the breath is the curious tickle in the armpit of sobriety.  If used with care and some wisdom, the breath can ease conflict and delusion.  If the answers  we need aren’t coming from the outside, why not dive inside for a while? See what comes up from exploring silence and peace.  If our minds are fraught and unstable, should we expect anything else of the world at large?  In a world geared towards discontent, there’s a tide there to try and reverse.  Maybe some waves to catch?!

I see my mind and body as a bizarre and brilliant experiment that I can spend some years playing with.  Trail and error seems to work for me, trying new things, everyday and observing their effects.  Our brains need a holiday, otherwise they’ll become frazzled, saturated and eventually pop (malfunction).  Silence and peace is the only way to recharge and rewire our brain box in meaningful and transforming ways.  As a smiley guru in India once sang:
“Serve, give, love, purify, meditate, realise…….be kind, be compassionate.” Sounds good to me. Start slow and small with determination.

Our societies are no longer wisdom based, but profit based. I’m seeking some wisdom, some truth, something more than the plastic myths of the phantom fools who call themselves leaders or teachers. We are missing the point, most knowledge is pointless without experience, and true experience only comes from freedom, the freedom to live a full and perfectly random existence. I don’t give anyone else’s experience more credence or validity than my own. If a scientist told me the moon was made of space cheese, I’d question it.

The sparkle of humanity, our immense creativity, our limitless mind, our finest virtues, our sitting warm by a fire watching the flames escape, our twinkle in the eye; our ability to experience something like pure love, pure peace; a sense of connectivity with life, other people, the world and everything, all this is being eroded and marginalised. We are not taught to respect and treasure our greatest gifts. We are taught to buy ourselves contentment and happiness. As if emotions are not freely given. As if they do not rise from the great nothingness, just round the bend, beyond ourselves, which we will one day return to, like a falling leaf.

But it’s not something we are necessarily doing to ourselves, although the conditions for dissatisfaction are always there. Our sense of detachment is a big idea from people who, maybe even with misguided good intentions, are attempting to control us and life generally. Trying to commodify the human experience, our conscious state which no one in science or the materially minded world have come close to understanding or pinning down. We are magic you see! Unfurling in magnificent ways, our capabilities are unending and we are part of an infinite, energetic field of outlandish and awesome possibilities.

There is a trend now, a trend away from the natural (it potentially started when we took to ready meals and moved away from muddy vegetables, but I am a cook, therefore orbit the belly), from the human, a trend that is leading us towards a predictable future (governed by the internet/ google and algorithms), where we are not taught to change the world, but live with it’s inevitable destruction by our own hands. It’s like a slow suicide.

This trend is tugging us gradually away from the heart.  The heart is the only compass worth following, it seems bizarre that in a world where we are using vast amounts of time, resources and skill to create Artificial Intelligence, we have not begun to explore our own inherent intelligence.  It seems we are too awestruck at the proposition of our own potential, so therefore wish to create a world, a reality, where the dumbed down, heart-less, fear-full, incarnations of a universe trapped in states of flux, play and evolution can inhabit a realm of sheer and perfectly contrived boredom.  An alarming situation to comprehend.  The end of humanity as we know it.  The end of truly expressive and emotive poetry, art would become something like paint by numbers, music and movies just a re-hashing of popular flicks from the past; each and every relationship would be mapped out, weighed, tagged and measured, given a value and number, probably on Trip Advisor or something similar.

It’s Orwellian, but goes further than that in the sense that it will attempt to interfere directly with the way we think by taking control over some of our thought processes and making decisions for us based on data.  We would be wrapped in shell of binary distraction and delusion controlled by people who are best at making cars and washing machines or trading shares.  Existence would become the dull vision of those lacking in creativity or spice.  Bank CEO’s would be our prophets, Apple will buy out the Vatican, metaphysical matters will be placed in the safe hands of Volvo, McDonalds will become our only source of nutrition, rain will be harvested and sold to the highest bidder.  But behind it all will be Google, pulling the strings, creating the language and narratives that add fuel and texture to our increasingly tepid reality.

This may sound nightmarish (maybe not the Vatican bit) but it’s close already.  We will gradually, hand over the keys to authenticity and individuality, we’ll willingly hand control of our life in it’s entirety to a corporate entity because we cannot comprehend the other many sides of the complex polyhedron which spins far beyond the speed of light and reflects to us the raw and present perfection latent in the everything we are.

Originality, authenticity, integrity, we can kiss goodbye to these notions within this AI dystopia.  This is why, more so than ever, the creative sorts who skirt around the borderlines of society, who fuse and fiddle with conventions, who collude and distort the boundaries of decency and divinity are needed more than ever.  The mystics, the shamans, the healers, the open hearted believers, are needed more than ever.  I think we are all blown away regularly (I hope) by another’s creative gestures because we are all paddling in the same bath tub, following the same stars that sparkle deep within our collective imagination (that is timeless, eternal and ultimately free like migrating constellations enraptured in chaotic potency.) We see the sparks of ourselves in others which can be equally comforting and alarming.  But in art, in the astounding freedoms we explore when we are lost in the act of creation, whether dancing, writing, making love or simply dreaming, we are surely giving a voice and greater clarity to our truest and deepest expressions.  Refining our abilities to express the inexpressible with some kind of rapture escaping each time.  Some have called that a meditation, an exploration of this, us, a reflection of something we can never truly understand but cannot live without.

The universe is a strange place to be, but we don’t need to be a stranger to who and what we are.  But we must ask the right questions to unpick the stitches, until we reach a point when we realise that answers are really just new questions disguised, another cycle of knowledge based inquiry that is ultimately futile.  Silence!  We don’t give enough value to emptiness and nothingness.  To explore well, it’s best to stop fully.  If we stay close to our roots, which are fertile with wisdom and suggest strength, growth and calm, we can witness this unfolding, unhinged world with compassion and forgiveness, always finding wonderment and awe, even in the latest Brexit drone of Teresa May.

Or this AI thing won’t happen at all.  We’ll wake up tomorrow and clothes will be unnecessary (even in Wales) and we’ll skip not walk, dance not work, sing not speak and love never hate.  The potential is always there, in every moment, for this to pop into being.  Astounding things are happening all the time.  I’m constantly surprised.

In all this perceived conflict, maybe we have to fight to make things real. Maybe sitting on a cushion meditating is fighting, it’s the battleground for peace, inside our own minds.  In a sense, sitting and doing nothing seems extreme to many.  Society wants to keep us busy and buzzing right?  Meditating could represent an opposite to the confusion and distress that is erupting all over the world.  It represents the opposite to what most would call active-ism. But I think it subversive in the finest way possible.

Collectively, we could use a bigger dream, take some more risks, even risk rejection; speak out, burn our bridges to make new discoveries and benefit from greater understanding of our state which has not changed since the dawning of this form of human consciousness.  Why are we here?  Not sure, but it’s probably not to buy sofas.  The universe appears to be dependent on friction, on sparks, on opposing forces; to oppose is natural, but it doesn’t have to involve aggression. Sitting in peace, works.  Society will only be truly rich and harmonious when we are individually free to realise and explore our own thoughts, our own consciousness, with respect for the freedom of others and with an idea of greater freedoms for ourselves.  Within and without.  Maybe great solutions, on many levels, will come from our great crisis?

I say, don’t let them feed you poison or tell you you’re anything less than perfection finding it’s way through the mud and mist. Putting it like that, I don’t feel like going to Ikea or picking up the Daily Mail, I don’t want to buy into hate or listen to the commentary of yet another phoney war.  I won’t let the media dictate the story of my life or how I relate to the world, I trust myself to figure that one out, in my own way.  My heart goes out to anyone suffering from the effects of war.  I hope the people of North Korea find greater peace and freedom in their lifetimes.  I hope we all do.

I have no answers, but this rambling has helped to clear some things up in my mind.  Just ideas, my ego on overtime and a big old bag of blah blah (words and shapes).

At the dawning of another potential fake war, another chapter of mass human suffering, manufactured by those insane cadre of “heartless manipulators”(Iggy Pop) who run America, I sat that we are here to transform, enliven, learn, evolve and disappear effortlessly.

************Rage on, love all, daydream, keep going!!******************

P.S. – BLAHBLAH… is also a mantra.

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Aphorisms watching rain fall – 18th May 2017

Aphorisms written in a cafe, watching rain fall, waiting for a Buddha burger, dreaming in the day:

Everything you wished for you have, everything you need is here.

Life may be a sick show, but wisdom and love is the cure.

Hate is just love on a bad day.

Be at ease, accept yourself.

Peace is like a flower, let it grow, let it see the sun. Don’t cut it, own it, remove it from it’s roots.

Give, we’ve nothing to lose.

Every mistake is precious. Make more!

Breathe well, live with grace, ease the mind, heart opens.

Each moment is raw potential. Who do we want to be?

We can choose to live deep and rich or shallow and poor.

We are here to learn and grow, believe in an end to fear.

Where is your mind? Really! It is everywhere.

Live the mystery.

Life happens now. The present is all there is. Live there.

Loving relationships are the basis for a happy, successful life.

In a relationship explore your unity, don’t dwell on differences.

Wealth comes from a wise heart, not a fat wallet.

Enrichment, liberation, peace and inspiration, only comes in silence.

If you pray, pray for love.

Love grows where no one knows.

Without beauty, we are bricks.

Living without expectations means you’re never disappointed.

Everything matters, the tiniest details.

The more subtle we become, the more we feel.

The lighter we are, the more we see.

Be fluid like a wild river.

Fragrance is a memory.

Feel the electricity between us.

Forget yourself and remember bliss. The art of being,

There is no light without dark, or dark without light and someone keeps playing with the switch.

Learn in the dark, live in the light.

To be there for someone, just listen.

Between thoughts, disappear.

A moment of love reveals everything

Forget comparisons to others. There is only one you. That’s enough, that’s perfect!

Approach negativity with positivity.

Laughter is a sacred song,

Seasons are wheel, our life is a wheel, beyond that, bigger wheels.

On your tiptoes, see over the fence, glimpse the beyond.

In conflict, put a foot on both sides of the fence. See yourself in everyone. You’re there!

Each breath is a doorway, where do you want to go?

Everyone is an island until they taste the ocean.

The body is just a boat delivering us to another shore.

When you look at the stars, they know you’re watching.

Be an open hand, not a fist.

The ‘nightmare’ is our greatest teacher.

Try something new. Stay fresh.

Opinions are like a noose, choking free thought and free living.

We are all in prison. We are the prison!

Love has not boundaries, hate can only rise in ignorance.

Anger hurts both ways.

Our story is not written; you’re the dancer, the director, the set designer, the tea maker, the narrator, the star actor.

To believe in fate, is fatal.

Believe you can and will always change.

There is no ‘easy life’.

Our blood contains the salt of great oceans, our flesh, the dust of many stars, our mind, the infinite dreaming.

What comes, comes.

Don’t fight, don’t buy, don’t push, don’t think too much, don’t try.

What comes, comes. Then goes.

Nothing lasts, nothing is gained.

Only freedom matters.

Whatever your beliefs, leave room for love.

Words can be weapons or an embrace.  They cannot be taken back.  Choose them wisely.

Conflict is the spark of existence, the creator. Embrace it.

Everything we do is ego based. Without ego, we are not. Joy!

The ego is right in front, all the time. Face it.

Go deeper, then we know what is to be done.

We make our living by living.

Secrets are the fun part, leave them to enchant, let them work their magic.

No one really knows, if they say they do, they don’t.

The heart draws us from the mind to meditation.

Enlightenment is a ridiculous goal!

You cannot be bored. Nothing is missing.

Less talk, more listen.

The failure in life is wiser.

Know death, know life.

Life is perfectly simple and infinitely complex.

See the beauty in the ordinary and plain.

We only ever grieve for ourselves.

Our true nature is love.

Life is not here to be take seriously.  Howl at the moon.

This game is freedom, exploration, questioning, laughter, compassion, wisdom, contentment, health, dancing, sharing, meditation, teas, chocolate, trust, mischief.

Get out of your mind.

Dance on the edge, don’t fade away.

Be love, not fear.

Sometimes, the hardest advice to take is our own.

The burger is here.

With love, Lx

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Reflecting by the lake

Winter has come for many of us. A time for endurance, truth, creativity and most of all, reflection. Have we lived well in 2016? No doubt we have been doing our best in difficult circumstances. Being here is tough!

I love to watch the seasons pass, each has its own characteristics and gifts. Nature offers a beautiful reminder of my own lifes journey, from spring to winter, and guidance in how best to live well in the seasons of this life. In winter I appreciate stillness, learning to forgive and heal, myself and others.

The world is a rocky place, filled with distractions and conflict, but a healthy connection with nature and the earth is central part of contentment, happiness and fulfilment. I have a great relationship and responsibility when I realise that I am an essential part of nature and life cannot be sustained without the vitality of the earth. My life, in so many ways, is a fragile harmony.

I was reading this this morning and found it focused my mind on a simpler path of appreciation (many traditions refer to the earth as ‘her’ or ‘Mother’ and I like it):

‘Every particle of us comes from her
Through the food we take from her daily.

We all start out as tiny seeds.
We have grown to our present state and status
Through what she provides.

She is truly our Mother
And must be acknowledged and respected.’

– Ogala Peace Pipe Ceremony

We once, as a human family on each continent of the earth, lived in balance with nature. With this approach and sentiment maybe our collective love of money and power will be transformed and we can reclaim our own balance with love and respect for ourselves and each other; Mother Earth, wise nature and every living thing.

We are all highly sensitive beings, it is no wonder there is so much fear, anxiety and feelings of isolation and resentment. The way that our societies approach life and treat nature is rotten at the roots. We are treated like cold machines, when in reality, we are warm breezes.

Each morning brings fresh opportunities. So many chances to change, build deeper and more sustaining relationships, making ourselves stronger with unity and love, giving ourselves the strength to ride out even the roughest of times with dignity and respect. An example to follow. Each one of us a great leader contributing to a brighter future.

A crisis sometimes just needs a shift in perspective and appreciation of what we are and have.
This is my wish this mornning reflecting by the lake.

Peace and Happiness from Pokhara, NepalX

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“The more knowledge we acquire, the more mystery we find…”

“The more knowledge we acquire, the more mystery we find…A human being is part of the whole, called by us the Universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest – a kind of optical illusion o his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace alll living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security.”
Albert Einstein

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“The best way to take care of the future…” Thich Nhat Hanh

“If we cling to the idea of hope in the future, we might not notice the peace and joy that are available in the present moment. The best way to take care of the future is to take care of the present moment.”

“The Earth will be safe
when we feel safe in ourselves.”

“People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle.  But I think the real miracle is not  to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth.  Every day we are engaged  in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child – our own two eyes.  All is a miracle.”

“You are like fireworks. You go out into your children, your friends, your society, and the whole world.”

“You are what you want to become. Why search anymore? You are a wonderful manifestation. The whole universe has come together to make your existence possible. There is nothing that is not you. The kingdom of God, the Pure Land, nirvana, happiness, and liberation are all you.”

“I hold my face in my two hands.
No, I am not crying.
I hold my face in my two hands
to keep the loneliness warm –
two hands protecting,
two hands nourishing,
two hands preventing
my soul from leaving me
in anger.”

“If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. If we really know how to live, what better way to start the day than with a smile? Our smile affirms our awareness and determination to live in peace and joy. The source of a true smile is an awakened mind.”

Mindful Consuming

“Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, I vow to cultivate good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my family, and my society by practicing mindful eating, drinking and consuming. I vow to ingest only items that preserve peace, well-being, and joy in the body, in my consciousness, and in the collective body and consciousness of my family and society. I am determined not to use alcohol or any other intoxicant or to ingest foods or other items that contain toxins, such as certain TV programs, magazines, books, films, and conversations. I am aware that to damage my body or my consciousness with these poisons is to betray my ancestors, my parents, my society, and future generations. I will work to transform violence, fear, anger, and confusion in myself and in society by practicing a diet for myself and for society. I understand that a proper diet is crucial for self transformation and for the transformation of society.”

“You are like a candle. Imagine you are sending light out all around you. All your words, thoughts and actions are going in many directions. If you say something kind, your kind words go in many directions, and you yourself go with them. We are …transforming and continuing in a different form at every moment.”

“The essence of love and compassion is understanding, the ability to recognize the physical, material, and psychological suffering of others, to put ourselves “inside the skin” of the other.  We “go inside” their body, feelings, and mental formations, and witness for ourselves their suffering.  Shallow observation as an outsider is not enough to see their suffering.  We must become one with the subject of our observation.  When we are in contact with another’s suffering, a feeling of compassion is born in us. Compassion means, literally, “to suffer with.””

“The Buddha’s teachings on love are clear. It is possible to live twenty-four hours a day in a state of love. Every movement, every glance, every thought, and every word can be infused with love.”

“Use your time wisely. Every moment produce beautiful thoughts, loving, kindness, forgiveness. Say beautiful things, inspire, forgive, act physically to protect and help.”

“Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts.”

“Be yourself. Life is precious as it is. All the elements for your happiness are already here. There is no need to run, strive, search or struggle. Just Be.”

“May our heart’s garden of awakening bloom with hundreds of flowers.”

“Smile, breathe and go slowly.”

“We have to learn to die in every moment in order to be fully alive.”

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Tao Te Ching – Chapters 56 – 60

Chapter 56

Those who know do not talk
Those who talk do not know

Close the mouth
Shut the doors
Blunt the sharpness
Unravel the knots
Dim the glare
Mix the dust
This is called Mystic Oneness

They cannot obtain this and be closer
They cannot obtain this and be distant
They cannot obtain this and be benefited
They cannot obtain this and be harmed
They cannot obtain this and be valued
They cannot obtain this and be degraded
Therefore, they become honored by the world

Chapter 57

Govern a country with upright integrity
Deploy the military with surprise tactics
Take the world with non-interference
How do I know this is so?
With the following:

When there are many restrictions in the world
The people become more impoverished
When people have many sharp weapons
The country becomes more chaotic
When people have many clever tricks
More strange things occur
The more laws are posted
The more robbers and thieves there are

Therefore the sage says:
I take unattached action, and the people transform themselves
I prefer quiet, and the people right themselves
I do not interfere, and the people enrich themselves
I have no desires, and the people simplify themselves

Chapter 58

When governing is lackluster
The people are simple and honest
When governing is scrutinizing
The people are shrewd and crafty

Misfortune is what fortune depends upon
Fortune is where misfortune hides beneath
Who knows their ultimate end?
They have no determined outcome
Rightness reverts to become strange
Goodness reverts to become wicked
The confusion of people
has lasted many long days

Therefore the sages are:
Righteous without being scathing
Incorruptible without being piercing
Straightforward without being ruthless
Illuminated without being flashy

Chapter 59

In governing people and serving Heaven
There is nothing like conservation
Only with conservation is it called submitting early
Submitting early is called emphasis on accumulating virtues
Accumulating virtues means there is nothing one cannot overcome
When there is nothing that one cannot overcome
One’s limits are unknown
The limitations being unknown, one can possess sovereignty
With this mother principle of power, one can be everlasting
This is called deep roots and firm foundation
The Tao of longevity and lasting vision

Chapter 60

Ruling a large country is like cooking a small fish
Using the Tao to manage the world
Its demons have no power
Not only do its demons have no power
Its gods do not harm people

Not only do its gods not harm people
The sages also do not harm people
They both do no harm to one another
So virtue merges and returns


Translation by Derek Lin

Tao Te Ching: Annotated & Explained, published by SkyLight Paths in 2006.

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