emasculation + masculation

Dear men and women,
a question about gender roles:
specifically, “How do women feel about being ‘masculated’ in our culture?”
and, “How do men feel about being ‘emasculated’?”

Okay, that’s two questions. And there are more below.

The popular interpretation of the Samson and Delilah myth is that Samson lost his strength because Delilah had his hair cut off. This interpretation is sometimes used as an analogy for the emasculation of men that sometimes happens when traditional gender roles are conflated without conscious intention.

In an ideal world, perhaps we wouldn’t need to talk about gender, but the reality is that our gender roles have evolved over millennia and they serve important social functions. If we discard and/or conflate them with reckless abandon, each individual in a relationship could lose touch with their culturally conditioned identity and begin to suffer identity crises that can become debilitating if not consciously addressed.

I think it’s worth pointing out that while “emasculate” is commonly understood, it would seem that “masculate” has not been used since 1620, the same as everyone knows the meaning of “misogyny”, but not “philogyny”. Based on the squiggly red lines, Microsoft certainly doesn’t acknowledge even the existence of these words. Such is the unfortunately dominant nature of patriarchy in our culture.

A lot of men are painfully aware that gender-role conflation can feel emasculating sometimes, but I wonder:

how do women feel about being masculated?

This is an actual word, “masculate”, meaning “to make masculine and/or strong”.

Do women have to become ‘more masculine’ to be successful in our culture?

Is success defined in our culture in primarily masculine terms?

If so, is this why competition is valued more than collaboration?, winning more valued than supporting others to succeed?

What effect does this have on our relationships?

If we have emasculated men and masculated women (men who feel pressure to be more feminine, and women who feel pressure to be more masculine), will the children of our families develop into androgynous hybrids, or transgender ~ into beings who are biologically male or female but who identify as the other or neither?

Is all of this indicative that we are evolving into a species that transcends dualism? Or devolving into the ‘mindset’ of single-cell androgynous organisms?

what makes us (not) mystics

I read a book recently called What Makes You Not a Buddhist by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse. The subject of the book is the “four seals” of Buddhism:

All compounded things are impermanent; all emotions are pain; all things have no inherent existence; nirvana is beyond concepts.

I had heard of the book while practising the lam rim at a study retreat, at a time when I was considering ordination ~ reading the book was part of my investigation into whether I actually wanted to be a Buddhist. The teachers at the retreat recommended the book as a good introduction to what a student should understand before they consider even taking refuge.

So I read the book with fervour and very much enjoyed Khyentse’s style ~ so much so that I eventually travelled up to Sydney to watch him speak at a day-long teaching that was more reminiscent of a rock concert than it was of any teaching I had ever attended before. He was very funny, and he managed to convey a lot of insights that were valuable without talking directly about Buddhism very much.

He remains one of my favourite Buddhist teachers, but there was something in the introduction to the book that has just now popped into mind and caused me to question the value of asking the question, “What makes me not a Buddhist?”

No wait … it wasn’t in the introduction to that book ~ it was in another book that was discussing the same concepts, the four seals. Anyway,

wherever I read it, the author was drawing on the same notion: that to be a “card-carrying” Buddhist, one needs to agree with or understand the essence of the four seals.

Based on the current state of my research/understanding, this includes me. I believe I understand and agree with each of these four principles.

These principles, however, are not exclusive to Buddhism ~ they are principles understood by mystical traditions everywhere … or perhaps almost everywhere. If we agree with or understand these principles, we are not necessarily Buddhist, but to identify as a Buddhist we need to agree with these principles.

I understand that doctrine is a valueable guide in the search for truth, but this feels a bit too-dogmatic to me, especially now, but even a little bit back then. I was willing to let the dogma-feel slide, because I was (and still am, sometimes), eager to feel like part of a group that shares the same beliefs ~ it’s comforting, no?

But just now when I was doing something other than actively thinking about truth (I was doing a sort of zentagle, a form of art therapy … and waiting for Centrelink to take me off hold … 1:02:51 hours so far ;/

Anyway!

I was doodling and it came to mind that if we want to call ourselves a “card-carrying” Buddhist, we need to look at that:

the mystical path is a search for our true identity, our true nature ~ in Buddhism it is taught that what we believe to be our identity, our self, is an illusion: our identity is comprised of such elements as, say, male, thirty-four years old, brunette, dread-locked, quite handsome but a bit lopsided 🙂 Other elements include our cultural affiliations: Australian, public-school educated, progressive and a little bit Buddhist.

It’s that term “card-carrying” that caught my attention while I was doodling. A card-carrying member of a club has easy access: show the card; people trust you won’t get drunk and trash the place; they let you in. To say that understanding the four seals makes you a card-carrying Buddhist just renders the whole purpose of understanding these truths irrelevant, because these concepts are also an illusion. Yes? No?

Dzongsar_Jamyang_Khyentse_Rinpoche
Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse ~ he kinda looks like John Safran, don’t you think?

Something I remember now from the Khyentse book is that the conclusion, maybe even the final line of the book, is the statement that if you realise enlightenment and still think you’re a Buddhist, there could be a problem, you know what I mean?

I really appreciated that Khyentse concluded his book with that sentiment. I want to be accepted as part of a group as much as the next bloke, but if we look around and cling too much to various labels to know whether we are or are not making progress along the spiritual path … well, that’s a lot different from just straight-up knowing we are on the path without having to identify as a Buddhist or a Gnostic or a shaman or a Hindu or whatever.

I think it’s realy important to remember this. What do you think?

What makes us not Buddhists/shamans/whatever is what makes us mystics, I reckon.

~ ~ ~

featured image: gildedlilycharms

God, suffering and evolution

6:27am50%
30.01.18 ~ 15/6

For whatever reason, I feel meh, today and yesterday. It may be due to coming off grains, one of the most insidious drugs we are addicted to. I’m back at Mum’s for a couple of weeks before I move to Darra, and it may be due to that re-entry problem: my life is settling down, and the prospect of doing something wit it is quite daunting, compared with the liminal space I’ve been in for so long, where I was able to imagine my life without feeling like I had to actually actualise it.

It’s an opportunity though, this feeling, because what I’m feeling is that general existential discontent: the mundane world feels meaningless because there is a disconnect from the supramundane; this feeling (though I cannot explicitly name it, beyond the word ‘discontent’) is the consequence of feeling a disconnect from Spirit.

This is the feeling we are otherwise distracting ourselves from, and for this reason (though it seems paradoxical) I know I’m doing the right thing, on the same right path, because this feeling motivates me to continue shaping my life so that it more readily connects with Spirit: the feeling is present because I am distracting myself less, become more sensitive to the iner and outer environment ~ discontent is an evolutionary signal akin to pain, telling us we need to change, adapt, grow.

These feelings are the teething problems we are facing as we emerge into a new stage in the evolution of consciousness. The act of long-handing ~ the craft of it ~ is helping, because it is like the work of any artisan, the process of bringing the Ideal down/into the Real is a process that creates meaning.

Having exercises, practices or projects that cultivate meaning, though, is not quite enough ~ these are not reliable sources of ~refuge~, for I know all too well how it feels to have these relative sources of meaning inaccessible. When we are deprived of these external sources, we suffer. So the trick is to be able to extract meaning from each of our moments, waking or otherwise, whether we are actively creating meaning or not.

Even this requires an ongoing practice of communion to continually refresh our Connection, which we also need to continually drop until we realise ~enlightenment~ (which we also need to drop), which is not even a reliable source anymore, for me at least … I’m currently feeling quite jaded about enlightenment (hence the tildes), which is probably a good thing as well, because of all attachments, attachment to enlightenment is perhaps the most corrosive of our wellbeing: to yearn for enlightenment is to spurn our current state, which is the only state we will ever have.

To further confuse the matter, it is probably true that we are always already enlightened, and it is only our refusal/inability to accept our current state that prevents us from realising/seeing this in each moment.

I didn’t at all intend to come here and write about enlightenment. I guess I’m just telling it as it comes.

I actually have a whole new view of enlightenment lately, from which I draw a deep sense of comfort. There’s another set of scribbles upstairs somewhere about how it’s not that we have lost our connection with Spirit, but more like we are coming into a time where our Connection is becoming stronger.

There is a common tendency among the discontented (such as myself, who feel the disconnect at an individual level) to say the problem with the modern age is that we have lost contact with the numinous force that animates the universe. (If we had, wouldn’t we be dead/nothing?) This almost constitutes a kind of blame, because behind such claims (at least when I have made them) is a rueing of the fact that our culture or ‘the society’ has become less ~spiritual~, a claim that comes from minds that seem to have forgotten that we are culture: if our culture is less spiritual, it’s because we have allowed it to develop this way, from which it follows that we can develop a more spiritual culture by making it so in our own lives.

Of course it’s hard to steer ourselves away from the dominant forces informing our culture (such as consumerism and scientific materialism), but this difficulty does not negate our individual responsibility to make our own lives more spirited. Fortunately, the forces are so strong that (~according to Newton~) any opposing force must be equal to or greater than the prevailing force, so that when the dam wall of discontent finally does reach a critical mass, the floodwaters in the direction opposing materialism will be such that all our false beliefs will be swept away and in their place will come a new form of enlightened humanity.

I promise, I did not sit down with the express intention to write about this either, enlightened humanity, but here we are.

A large part of my discontent comes from the welling up of ideas I don’t quite know how to express. I have an almost irrepressible tendency to fill myself up with ideas in my ongoing search for meaning (read: my ongoing search for distractions), and when I don’t have an outlet for these I get stuck, a kind of metaphysical constipation: I gorge myself on ideas that I seem to digest okay, but which I cannot digest express … and in that long-hando lies a clue: if I can’t express them, then I cannot have truly digested them.

Another large part of my discontent comes from having had a few ‘awakening experiences’ I have not yet been able to fully integrate. In deed, that feeling I mention above, the whole idea/experience of living as a human in the ‘mundane’ world after an awakening experience, is a subject I need to investigate, a primary subject of the book I’m writing ~ and I guess it’s something I’m investigating through experience. Those moments of non-abiding awakening (and the accumulation of trauma leading up to them) were a massive wake-up call, awakening me to the reality of non-ordinary realms of consciousness we can and need to access if we want to heal from our traumas and grow healthily into the new age of humanity.

When I really allow myself to think and feel about it, [10:33am30.01.08], I understand that much of my discontent has come from or comes from the frisson of being a human who has tasted his divinity and then let it out of his … *ahem*, grasp. But they have propelled and compelled me, onward and upward!

Since my first awakening experience in 2015 I have understood that expression is an antidote for depression, the inverse of which is … obvious. The weight of depression becomes all the more burdensome when the ideas needing expression come from direct experience of the ineffable. So I’m going to add the following to the page Psychosis or Spiritual Awakening, because it’s all part of the story that is teaching me things about myself and the true nature of reality. These are my interpretations of my experience, that is all. I’m including it here as well because I can’t quite extract it from this post yet, without the whole thing falling apart.

~ ~ ~

Around the time in 2015 when I first began to realise I might be experiencing ~depression~, there was a period of three to four weeks where I was manifesting the symptoms of what might be called bipolar disorder, except that I was more manic than I was depressed … unipolar disorder? (What even is bipolar anyway? Aren’t we all … isn’t everything … characterised by polarity? Isn’t that what the dualist human experience is? And isn’t it a tautology to say ‘bipolar’? Something can’t be tripolar, because that messes with the whole notion of polarity/duality. One or something can be unipolar though ~ stuck at one extreme of the polarity.)

One thing I realised (apart from the maxim, expression is the antidote for depression) is that maybe I had been depressed my whole life, the same as I had been deluded my whole life (see above, January 2017), because:

the peace, joy and awe I was frequently experiencing was like nothing I had experienced before;

the symptoms of depression ~I found on Google~ described feelings I had been having off-and-on my whole life.

In the state of hyper-awareness (and perhaps because of the life-regression practices I was somewhat-recklessly experimenting with) I was experiencing that month, I had a computational power I hadn’t known before (and which has since only been exceeded in January 2017), a power of ad hoc analytical meditation with which I was able to track back through experiences in my life I had been previously doing my darndest to forget, and I saw patterns of depression and even suicidal tendencies going right back into my early childhood. [This is what I talk about when I talk about the power of suffering to catalyse profound spiritual evolution.] (I used to daymare about running away from home and hiding in the creek to hold my breath until I died, certain that not only would I not be missed, but that my absence would be welcomed and celebrated by my ~family of origin~.

Now, to just call a spade a spade for a moment: that’s profoundly fucked up. ~My childhood wasn’t even that bad~, which is a stupid thing to say, because it negates the extent of my suffering (and if you’re reading this and you were belittled and neglected by your father and brother, then it has the potential to negate yours as well, which is the last thing I wanna do), and something we need to talk about as a community is the idea that to have suffered trauma in childhood you don’t need to have been [*TRIGGER WARNING*] raped or tortured:

putting aside the trauma of our clinical birth practices and the profoundly maladjusted society we live in from the moment we exit the womb, wailing, it is profoundly traumatic to feel unrequited love for your family in the formative years of your life, and potentially more problematic than having been actively tortured, because the wounds go unacknowledged for being ~not serious~.

Russel Brand talks about this, that ‘minor’ addictions that don’t wreak havoc in your life can be more problematic because they go unrecognised. Other addictions, such as workaholism and consumerism, are actively celebrated, applauded. Hardcore addiction/suffering can catalyse profound spiritual awakenings. Our mediocre suburban traumas can do the same. the events and their causes are on a spectrum, the same order of event to different degrees ~ our addictions to chemicals and behaviours are also on a spectrum, meaning we are all addicted to something.

There’s a line in the book I’m using as a mousepad right now:

During these first years of life, environmental conditions are crucial. On top of the basics of physical safety, food, and shelter, a sense of belonging is essential for all subsequent stages of development. A fragile sense of belonging can leave the individual prone to lifelong anxiety.

This is from Ego, which makes a compelling case for the probability that human suffering is and has always been driving our evolution through what they call the ‘post-conceptual’ revolution, comparable only to the conceptual revolution 50 000 years ago.

Reading this (and the whole book) was a bombshell for me, who (it was conceded to recently by Mum) was ‘always a rather anxious child, always worried about being liked’. That I didn’t inherently feel liked, or have a strong sense of belonging, could have been treated as a red flag, but instead I was frequently derided for being ‘too sensitive’, for ‘taking things too much to heart’ and for not having a thick enough skin.

I don’t want to have a thick skin! Who wants to be a dinosaur!? I want to be sensitive ~ it’s a quality, goddamn it!

I know now that my family did the best they could, but I evidently didn’t know this at the time, and an (un)fortunate paradoxical of family relations is that best is often still not good enough, because we’re all still a bit fucked up ~ Philip Larkin has a great poem about this:

This Be The Verse

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
….They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
….And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
….By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
….And half at one another’s throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
….It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
….And don’t have any kids yourself.

This historical reality is one of the reasons we need to take all of those ‘basics’

[55%3:33pm! ~ destiny number being 5, tolerance of diversity/backgrounds, these are the numbers I received after receiving a call from P~~~ about where he’s at!]

we have secured for ourselves in the twenty-first century and begin putting them to use in the pursuit of thrival.

That said, it could be that our persistent failure to learn from the mistakes of history and the lives of our parents/ancestors is a fundamental and necessary quality of the human condition: without this paradox we would never encounter the cause to grow (the cause being suffering and the growth coming from the search to end, or at least transmute, that suffering). The Buddhists have a great teaching about this in the lojong: we can choose to feel grateful for our suffering because it gives us an opportunity to practise the dharma, and because a skilful response to suffering purifies our karma.

So this is not about my parents or my brother or ~the society~: this is just my lot, my karma. And I always, for some reason, had enough grit (enough knowing) to turn my childhood suffering into a cause to never be mean to others (a resolution I haven’t always been able have f(l)ailed to keep). I became a gregarious little boy despite (or because of) being relentlessly bullied by (among others) two of the main actors on the stage of my boyhood universe.

I bring this up only because these were important insights I had during that month in 2015, powerful catalysts for understanding what was happening to me. I see now that the suffering I had experienced throughout my life became a major catalyst for the awakening experience I had in that month. The accumulation of that suffering had gathered enough force that it broke me, but instead of exploding outward into a mess of retaliative fury, I broke inward … I imploded, and the weight of suffering drove me deep toward realising the true nature of myself.

So I suppose that when I say it broke me, I mean it broke ‘me’, the illusion of the ‘I-sense’ ~ at least, it put a bloody big dent in it, because it wasn’t until January 2017 that I had a genuine experience of no longer identifying one-hundred per cent with my ego.

I didn’t exactly see it this way in 2015, but I knew something profound was happening, and despite a few fleeting concerns about the state of my mental health, I didn’t feel sick ~ on the contrary, I knew that I had been sick my whole life and that now I was feeling healthier than ever: joy, wonder and awe … these are signs of good health.

Those concerns about my mental health (which I experienced to a similar extent in January 2017) were, I believe, due to the unfamiliarity of the experience ~ we are so familiar with our ego-identification that when it falls away, it can be scary and we can wonder if we are going insane. We are not ~ at least, most of the time we are not: pathological psychosis is almost certainly a thing, but all psychosis is not necessarily pathological.

This might be a good time to break down my interpretation of the word ‘psychosis’, though I feel like a broken record because I’m sure it’s scribbled down somewhere, and may even already be published on this site

When I say ‘awe’, I mean awe: there were moments in that month, around the full moon, when I stepped outside my girlfriend’s house, looked into the sky and understood that in the moon I was seeing the eye of God, and that God was watching over me. It should be noted here that I am essentially an atheist: when I say “God” I mean cosmos, and when I say ‘cosmos’ I mean divine order, as understood by the Ancient Greeks, so when I say ‘divine order’ I mean the antonym of chaos.

[8:03~4am48% ~ lojong reminder: do not seek out sorrow as a condition for happiness, replete with extra-long phone vibration

|
~> “This means that we should not hope for others’ sorrow as a means for our happiness.” Der.

Does it though? It can mean whatever I want it to mean, and I choose for it to mean “don’t over-identify with misery”, and it means I need to question whether suffering is necessarily a catalyst for joy: it can be transmuted, yes, but this doesn’t mean that one should seek it out ~ once suffering has done its work, we can move on to non-suffering, whereby we choose to not suffer when we experience pain (pain being, of course, an evolutionary signpost).]

When we suffer pain as a kind of evil, we live with a bias that chaos (disorder) is more predominant than cosmos (order), which is not true: the universe is profoundly and precisely balanced ~ it is only our perception that convinces us otherwise.

When we shed this bias in these moments of temporary (non-abiding) awakening, our lives are funda-mentally trans-formed because we have, for a moment, seen beyond the veil of our ego delusions. When I told a friend about this experience of ‘seeing God’ in the moon (and other experiences from that month), he said, “Congratulations!, you’ve seen through the matrix”, which, obviously, is a statement loaded with (un)fortunate pop-cultural references, but it’s a statement that points (as the finger points at the moon) at the same ineffable truth alluded to in the quote from Alan Watts above: we are all (aspects of) God; our misperception of the world this truth is what causes our suffering, and our suffering catalyses the experience of perceiving this truth, which is that, like God, the universe is equal parts benign and malign, and perfectly balanced whether we accept that balance or not.

To perceive the universe as predominantly one or the other (benign or malign) constitutes a profoundly and uniquely human pathology we must all go through before we emerge from our delusions into the light of awareness (of balance and truth).

From this perspective (of equanimity, of profound acceptance of all that is), we can begin to see that depression is not an illness (a malignant mental disorder) but a symptom (a benign psychological balm that is helping to bring us back toward order, as puss heals a wound). From this perspective we can begin to accept suffering as a necessary evolutionary force, which … *takes a deep breath* … might actually constitute an answer to the question, “Why does God allow suffering?”

I promise I did not sit down to answer this question this morning ~ this is just where my mind goes when I let it free.

God ~allows~ suffering because we allow ourselves to ask that question from the misconception (from the false assumption) that God is all-loving [4:15pm54%], which is a lie we tell ourselves because we lied to ourselves about ~man~ being made in the image of God: believing this, we are able to deny our shadow (another pathological behaviour that only humans are capable of). God is not all-loving: God is a bastard, the only unbegotten sun. God ~allegedly~ arose out of nothing ~ it doesn’t get much more illegitimate than that. We want to believe God is all-loving because then we can delude ourselves about our own nature.

We, who have made God in our image (not the other way round), are not all-loving. We are hateful cunts. Admit it. The moment we admit this in ourselves is the moment we see that God, who we made in our image, is equal parts yoni and lingham, yin and yang, Christ and anti-Christ, as … are … we, the whole fucking lot of us. To deny this is to be not-human ~ or else it is to be human after the image we have created of God, which is deluded, pathological and … just straight-up confusing.

I really did not intend to arrive at this point by sitting down to write this mourning.

All I really wanted to say is that depression is not an illness and suffering is not malign. It’s all just a matter of perspective. [3033 words]

Actually I sat down to write about feeling meh. I feel much better now, so this has been a case study in action ~ expression is an antidote to depression. What follows from this is that suppression and oppression are causes of depression, but that’s a subject for another day.

I am not the first person to say ‘depression is a call to spiritual awakening’ (in deed, I stole that from Jeff Foster), but I am the first person I know directly who has experienced this as a first-hand reality. (I mean, there’s Eckhart Tolle, but obviously he’s just an ~illuminati avatar~, right?) An extension of this view is that ‘psychosis’ is not necessarily a pathology, and may indeed be an experience that is more conducive to true health than any drug that may be prescribed to prevent.

the emerging awakened humanity

I was watching DMT: The spirit molecule again; I’ve been reading some stuff about ego and the spiritual universe, and I’m starting to see that maybe we haven’t lost our connection with Spirit after all.

We tend to blame our modern malaise of technological enslavement and mechanistic reductionism on our lost contact with the spiritual part of ourselves, or we say that science has displaced Spirit. We hark back to an elusive Golden Age when our ancestors were more spiritual, an age when people were less concerned with consumerism and material wealth, with worldly concerns, when the richness of our spiritual life was felt more fully.

It is certainly true that our preoccupation with external things ~ with objects of consumption and salvation … with materialism, politics, economics and technology … leave us oriented in a direction that is not holistic. We need to reacquaint ourselves with the spiritual aspect of our existence, find more soul, live more from the heart … we need to stop deriding the immaterial as unreal and the nonrational as absurd or illogical. But we also need to stop seeing our misdirection as a decline, and start seeing our evolution as being exactly where it needs to be, ascending as always.

The stories we always told ourselves, about the cosmos and our place in the world, were and are products of the culture of the times, and we can’t be sure about how people in history thought or felt. We can deduce things about their beliefs and stories, but we can’t know for sure there were more people who were more spiritual. We look at some isolated Amazonian tribe and we assume they’re more spiritual because they’re less technological. We say that the technology of civilisations and the worldview it springs from has displaced our connection with Spirit, but how do we know earlier generations were more connected?

During periods before, say, the invention of the printing press, it could even be reasonably assumed that the general population was less spiritual because the scriptures were kept from them by the priesthood ~ the general population’s relationship with God and the spiritual realm was mediated by the priesthood. In the last few thousand years in what are now developing countries like India and the regions of Asia, the daily grind to survive before industrial mechanisation might have been such that there was little to no time for the average person to even contemplate, let alone experience, spiritual realities.

Even with teachers like Buddha and Jesus coming on to the scene millenia ago, it seems that few have realised enlightenment, and we are still in the mess from which they started trying to save us 2500 years ago ~ for millenia before that, people were striving to know the truth, yet here we are.

Many people may have realised enlightenment, but they are neither the majority of people nor the minority of government ~ politicians and business leaders often seem the least enlightened, yet they wield such control and power in our communities. The minority, our leaders, may not be very much awake, seeking satisfaction and pleasure only from the finite material realm, but many othes among the majority are highly enlightened people, serving the world with compassion, and striving from all angles to realise direct experience of the true nature of things and pass on spiritual insight in their community.

In deed, there is a major spiritual revolution underway, and millions are growing more and more disillusioned with the dominant material paradigm of economic growth and environmental irresponsibility, the empty power struggles and the pursuit of happiness in all the wrong places. The world is waking up at a rate of knots we have no precedent for.

The premise of many a self-help book and many a cultural critique is that we have lost connection with Spirit, but I think this premise is based on a misconception of previous cultures and times we can only know through deduction from secondary sources. I think there is a tendency in our culture, and maybe in all cultures before us (maybe it’s a quality inherent in the human condition), to assume that our modern times are somehow lacking. Maybe that inherent quality is the motivating force that drives all of our metaphysical enquiries, all of our endeavours to know more about our true nature and to facilitate our evolution. Without that tendency we would soon fall into complacency and our evolution would stall, if not our survival.

There is evidence to suggest that we are actually more connected with Spirit today than we have been at any other time in our history. Michael Talbot’s book The Holographic Universe is a good example, a proposal that many ‘paranormal’ phenomena like out-of-body experiences, telepathy and remote viewing may be understood as normal when viewed from the holographic paradigm.[1] Another profound proposal is in the book Ego: The Fall of the Twin Towers and the Rise of an Enlightened Humanity by Peter Baumann and Michael W. Taft ~ the authors contend:

we are not falling into the grip of a new dark age at all; rather, we are on the verge of a much brighter one as the Darwinian process of natural selection continues to advance humankind

It’s inevitable that when we first become disillusioned by Western materialism and start looking for alternatives, we are going to think our culture has lost connection with Spirit. I was always saying that ‘in the West we have no sources of spiritual succour’. So, like countless others before me, I travelled to the East, where I found, instead of spiritual succour, a train wreck where Eastern and Western culture are colliding.

It has only been in the last year that I have been coming to realise that our culture is brimming with spirituality ~ once you start looking for it, it starts looking for you, and pretty soon we start to realise that where no spiritual culture exists yet, we must create it, attract it for ourselves.

That’s how spiritual culture existed in the Golden Ages we imagine ~ it wasn’t some self-generating meme that just one day emerged from the walls of caves in the form of rock art. It was created, nurtured and develop, the same as it continues to grow in the lives of those who cultivate a Connection.

Rest assure, if you found yourself here in your search for ideas about spiritual awakening ~ the world is becoming more and more alive and aware. If you know of other signs we are waking up, please share in the comments below.

a statement of Mission

after Snowden

I was watching a documentary about Snowden recently, and I was inspired again to start educating myself about a basic truth that our culture hides in plain sight: our government is not serving our best interests.

Maybe I can’t stop/change this entirely or totally, but I can inform myself enough that my complicity is minimised, and perhaps I can be involved in some community project that undermines the elite’s power over us, the ~pawns~, like maybe a community bank or helping to organise and distribute organic food from independent growers ~ Monsanto would hate that, right? Even publishing this website and blog is an act of dissidence, a way of challenging the fear-mongering of mainstream media, which the doco refers to as ‘the corporate media’.

I shared a video on Facebook recently, by a guy called Rob Dial, who explains that any piece of information we absorb is ~brainwashing~ us, which means that we can choose to watch the nightly news and scare the crap out of ourselves, engendering distrust of our fellows, or we can choose to watch … well, videos like this one, which explains that, contrary to what we are told by the corporate media, the world is actually a profoundly safer place today than it ever has been in history:

As a somewhat-serious student of psychology and as a human being who desires understanding of and a modicum of control over his own mind, I am fascinated by the very concept of brainwashing. I’m somewhat reluctant to indulge the subject because it sounds so conspiracy-theory-ey, but the reality is that brainwashing is happening to us at all times, whether it be through advertising, news media, unscrupulous religious leaders, or even just the things we unconsciously choose to give more of our attention to, whereby we brainwash ourselves. So it’s definitely somethig I’m trying to keep my eye on.

It’s a curious thing though, that making ourselves aware of these unfortunate realities can sometimes have an adverse effect before they have a positive one ~ a scene from the Snowden doco that I could especially relate to, is where he says that the more he learned, the more the anxiety mounted up.

This is a normal and healthy response to the dawning awareness that our so-called leaders, who we hoped and believed were serving our interests, are actually serving theirs. It’s not fair that we are treated like pawns in the elites’ game of chess. And something I find especially distressing about the whole situation is I know they are seeking refuge in the wrong object.

Seeking refuge is an idea in Buddhism that can be understood as ‘seeking happiness’ ~ we seek refuge, from suffering, in all sorts of things we believe will give us lasting pleasure or contentment. Some people seek refuge in power, control and unnecessary wealth, by brainwashing and exploiting the weak or disadvantaged ~ such ‘leaders’ are causing (or contributing to) the suffering of others, and ultimately they are doing this to perpetuate their own suffering by pursuing happiness/refuge where it doesn’t exist. As well as people, this kind of misguided behaviour exploits the planet, our habitat.

Distressing, no?

When we begin to understand this, anxiety is a natural response because anxiety is a natural response to threat, to the perceived danger of, say, immanent ecological collapse ~ called ecoanxiety. In Snowden’s case, it seemed the anxiety came from becoming aware that our own governments are spying on us, and not for the sake of our safety, as they would have us believe.

Whatever the case may be, I’m interested in understanding how to raise awareness of these realities without catalysing massive panic attacks or debilitating depression ~ much of my own experience of depression has come from feeling disempowered in wanting to make positive change in the world. So I’m interested in how to minimise the psychological damage of becoming increasingly aware that our greatest threat may come from within our own culture.

I feel a strong duty to inform myself and to help others free themselves from a system that does not have their best interests at heart ~ well, rather than free ourselves from “the system”, it’s about healing ourselves so that we, as aspects of that system, can begin to improve the system from within. It’s not enough (in fact it’s not healthy) to blame “the system” for all of our suffering ~ to do so is an abnegation of individual responsibility, and an expression of Ignorance.

What we need to do is liberate ourselves from psychological enslavement to the systems of power that control us, which is an entirely internal process ~ we don’t need to change the system externally, but change ourselves so the control mechanisms of culture no longer have any power over us.

So I’ve come here to declare the nature of my Mission, which I choose to accept in pursuit of a Vision:

I imagine a world characterised by harmony and diversity in unity, a world where each and every individual has realised the true nature of reality and therefore is happy to serve the collective interests over their own ~ imagine a world where everyone was watching out for everyone else … we wouldn’t need to worry about anything, there would be no cause for regret and we would all be free to enjoy the present again.

It’s been bouncing around in mind lately that my mission is to

help people heal so that our world doesn’t continue down a path where it’s okay for governments to spy on their citizens people and for businesses to plumb the earth to line their rubber wallets. Entheogens are being used to evolve consciousness and of course modern-day shamanism and other ancient soul-healing methods exist (they have survived the onslaught of scientific materialism), and I yearn fiercely to be involved with such transcendental forms of transpersonal psychology so I can 1) heal myself and, in doing so, learn how to 2) help others to heal the will to power.

If we can help each other to experience the divine connectedness that is at the heart of these ancient traditions of psychotherapy, we can begin to eradicate ruthlessness from the world. Call me an idealist, but I believe we create our own reality and we define our own meaning ~ if we can imagine utopia, then utopia will cease to mean ‘no place’ and instead come to mean ‘our place’.

If we can help each other to experience the profound empathy and compassion that is our nature, the world will begin to transform, which is already happening ~ we are very fortunate to be alive and working at this time, cresting a wave in the evolution of human consciousness and the planetary consciousness supporting such diverse forms of life.

I declare that I accept the mission to ride this wave along with the other awakening individuals I am beginning to encounter in the community. I declare that I will honour the powerful potential I need to fulfill by helping to create a world characterised by harmony and diversity in unity, a world where each and every individual has realised the true nature of reality and therefore is happy to serve the collective interests over their own.

In my burgeoning role as a transpersonal psychotherapist / shaman I imagine treating individuals who are operating at three levels:

  • the ~underdog~ who feels disempowered, so they might come into their own and realise their potential to contribute improvements as grassroots leaders within their communities
  • the ~average~ who is coping, surviving, but beginning to look for ways to pursue thrival instead of just survival
  • the ~leader~ who already has power, so they might wield it more compassionately and for the genuine benefit of all

I feel I am making the journey through these levels, having started out life as an underdog, raised myself to an average level of success and wellbeing, and begun to aspire to being a true leader in my community ~ when I say ‘leader’ above, I do mean ‘politicians, businesspeople, teachers and other heads of institutions’, but what I envisage is that in this millenium we will see a shift away from leaders and those who are lead, from elites and pawns, to a far-more-decentralised way of living and governing ourselves.

I am also interested in what I learned were the original aims of psychology ~ I don’t have the source with me here, but I recall from a textbook of positive psychology that the original aims of psychology were:

  1. the treatment of pathology
  2. the maintenance of wellness
  3. the nurturing and harbouring of talent and genius

Oh, I found the textbook!

In Positive Psychology: The Scientific and Practical Explorations of Human Strengths by Charles Richard Snyder and‎ Shane J Lopez, there is a quote from Martin Seligman saying the above three missions were the original aims of psychology, so, yay, I remembered!

What I definitely remembered (because I was especially impacted by it) is the idea, as described in the same quote (a breakout quote from the main text), that the second two were neglected throughout the twentieth century for reasons I don’t need to go into here, because the point is that I want to get behind the move in positive psychology to start focusing again on the other two objectives of psychology.

More than that, I would add that the fourth objective of psychology (or what I am starting to call ‘holosophy’ and what others might call ‘entheology’) is:

4. facilitate conscious evolution (the evolution of consciousness)

BAM! Homo evolutis.

 

making meaning from awareness of pattern

Learning to commune with Spirit is a process that requires a huge amount of trust, a deep willingness to embrace uncertainty and allow Cosmos to speak to us through means we are often too quick to discount as woo-woo in this age where linear rationality and material reality reigns supreme.

I often find myself wondering, What even is Spirit?, like I’m some Native American wannabe, but we don’t have to be Indians to commune with Spirit. I use the term “Spirit” in my journalling practices because it’s a word that comes easily to mind for me and because it seems to speak of a higher power that is beyond me, but which I can access.

That said, I’m starting to see that Spirit is not beyond me, not some supranatural force that exists outside ~ and yet, it must be called upon to enter my life.

It’s confusing for me because so much of my meaning-making is done through a deeply conditioned dualist perspective. If I feel like I cannot navigate this human experience using only my human wits, then I must need to call in some suprahuman power to guide me. But the power I seek for guidance is precisely what makes us human.

To live without access to this inherent power guiding us is to be de-human: the dehumanising forces at large in the world are those that separate us from that which is naturally inside us ~ empathy, compassion, intuition, and faith in the knowledge that Spirit is within, if only we can learn to communicate with our unconscious.

I sense very strongly that Spirit is nothing more and nothing less than the deep wellsprings of wisdom that reside in those parts of our Being we are only dimly aware of.

[Three miner birds (who I believe are my primary Spirit guide) are visiting now, as I write this. My life-path number from Dan Millman’s interpretation of Pythagorean numerology is 30/3. Because I believe the whole external world is an expression of our total consciousness, I believe these birds have come to visit from my unconscious to convey to me the message that yes, these words are truth.]

Spirit is not some otherworldly force we must call in from outside ~ and yet, we must call it in: the wisdom of Spirit does not communicate with our conscious mind if we do not create the space for this communication to occur, so in a sense it is outside us, in the sense that in our hyper-rational modes it remains outside our conscious awareness until we expand our conscious awareness to include that which we are yet unconsciously aware of.

How do we do this? How do we expand our conscious awareness to include that which we are yet dimly aware of?

I believe a basic principle of learning to commune with Spirit ~ with that which is yet buried in our unconscious awareness ~ is to keep an eye out for patterns:

if you observe a pattern, honour it by taking some action to integrate whatever insight might have arrived through interpreting the meaning of the pattern; the more we observe, honour, interpret and integrate any messages we divine from the machinations of Spirit, the more Spirit knows how to communicate with us.

[7:07 ~ resuming this draft after having it pointed at (in a comment at 11:17) that I woke from a dream at 3:14 … pi.]

An example from my own experience is the observation of pattern in numbers.

During periods of rapid spiritual growth in the last few years I have begun to notice patterns in the numbers I observe around the place ~ 11:11 or 3:33 on a clock, 22 on a letterbox, then 022 at the end of a phone number, then 22% battery left on my phone, three ducks lined in the row of the timespace continuum.

Many a naysayer will poo-poo this as nothing but woo-woo: “You’re only seeing those patterns because you’re looking for them,” as though this negates the significance of our observations.

People who say this are evidently not aware that we make our own meaning. It may be questionable to conclude from developments in quantum theory that we create our own reality, but it seems beyond reasonable doubt that we make our own meaning by interpreting reality ~ in that sense we are certainly participants in the creation of reality, and what else is reality but what we interpret reality to mean.

I think we tend to forget that we make our own meaning ~ a consequence of an education system where we are taught what to think, not how to think.

But how did people arrive in the first place at the ideas we are taught at school? Through observations of pattern. Long before educational institutions were a thing, humans were left to their own devices to make the meaning that has gone on to inform the structures of our institutions. This process continues, and what follows from this is that by taking responsibility for the process of our own meaning-making, we also continue to inform the structures of our institutions.

We are the culture makers and the meaning brokers.

What are the devices we use to make meaning and create institutions? Our physical and metaphysical sense organs ~ our eyes and our minds.

So with my eyes I perceive patterns in number and with my mind I interpret what they mean (to me). (I have done some cursory and haphazard research into numerology, but I’m less interested in what, say, Dan Millman has to say about numbers than I am in what numbers mean to me. [7:31]

[7:33] So, for example, I finished long-handing this draft at 7:31 and by the time I was at the keyboard the clock read 7:33, which might make more sense if I enumerate what each number means for me at this point (some of these are pulled from Pythagoras via Dan Millman, others from a numerologist I once saw, and others, especially 5, are my own interpretation):

1 ~ certainty
2 ~ masculinity
3 ~ expression/communication and sensitivity/compassion (from Dan Millman)
4 ~ femininity
5 ~ the Cosmic Joke
6 ~ ?
7 ~ higher mind
8 ~ abundance
9 ~ completion

So I read the time period 7:31~7:33 (a period of 2 minutes) to mean assertive but compassionate communication about ideas from the higher mind, and this gives me confidence that what I’m composing is relevant and significant.

How have I arrived at this meaning? By observing a pattern, and honouring it by taking some action to integrate whatever insight might have arrived through interpreting the meaning of the pattern, and by trusting that wisdom arrives through metaphysical sense organs that process their own form on non-linear rationality.

I’ve started to keep a numbers journal, where I honour the pattern I have observed by noting the numbers I see and the thoughts or events occurring at the time. I don’t always know what the numbers mean, but simply noting their emergence into my conscious awareness is a way for me to integrate the broadening of my conscious awareness.

If I don’t know what the numbers mean, I trust that at least they are communicating to me that my path is unfolding appropriately. Sometimes in the darkest times when everything else around me seems meaningless and pointless, a numerical pattern will emerge and it reminds me that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

I also honour observations of numerical pattern by taking screenshots on my phone, a simple action that says to Spirit, to my unconscious, Yes, I’m listening. So my phone memory is filled with screengrabs like this one:

Screenshot_2018-01-10-08-16-18
7:37pm 33% 7:34pm=7:7

I told a guy once that I had been seeing many auspicious numbers, and he poo-pooed it by saying “all numbers are auspicious ~ if you get too much into that you’ll just be left with a phone full of screengrabs that mean nothing”.

This is like the idea that we’re only seeing the patterns because we’re looking for them ~ in attempting to negate your insight, the naysayer unwittingly reveals a truth that undermines their own denouncement: yes, all numbers are auspicious … everything is auspicious if we choose to interpret it this way.

Imagine how such an attitude might transform our experience of suffering, for example. Got hit by a bus and broke your leg? Maybe the bus stopped you from crossing paths with a rogue gunman committing a massacre round the corner. Observing a pattern of repeatedly attracting partners who are emotionally unavailable? A good sign that you need to look at your own emotional availability.

And how it might transform our experience of what we previously considered to be meaningless and innocuous. Saw three magpies eating worms on the way home from school? Maybe magpies represent a paternal figure for you, and by observing this behaviour you are reminded that you need to take more responsibility for your own physical and spiritual nourishment ~ this might remind you to have a snack and do some meditation when you get home, instead of having a coffee and cramming for that exam.

Whatever it is, if we believe it to be auspicious, then it is. By taking small signs in the external world to be meaningful messages from Spirit or from the material expression of our unconscious, we begin to open a space in our existence where spiritual meaning can begin to pervade our interpretation of all that happens.

So much of the modern malady is caused by a deep sense of meaningless we all feel to some degree. If we can extract meaning from our daily existence by interpreting reality according to our own organic, ever-growing framework of reference points, we might stop seeking meaning in shiny external pursuits like career, relationships, wealth and status ~ our daily encounters with instances of meaningful relevance will keep us feeling that everything is unfolding according to plan and we’ll feel less inclined to chase meaning externally or to impose our interpretation of reality upon others.

So if you’re seeing patterns that seem not-uncanny, you’re probably on to something and you’ll be surprised by what begins to emerge and how strongly it begins to emerge if you just honour it and trust that you’re learning something.