Today I am the Chief Mourner at my Father’s Funeral.
Close thine eyes, and rest secure
Thy soul is safe enough; thy body sure;
He that loves thee; He that keeps
And guards thee, never slumbers, never sleeps
The smiling Conscience in a sleeping breast
Has only peace, has only rest.
Poet, 1592 -1644
Through meditation the higher self is experienced.
True health and fitness can only be experienced and enjoyed when the body, mind, and spirit are all in balance. You cannot be healthy in one part of your being, if you are not healthy in all.
You should pray for a healthy mind in a healthy body. ~ Juvenal
To be truly fit and healthy one must exercise, take care of, and nurture all aspects of our being. Although physical health is deeply connected to mental and emotional health, I believe there is little point in just ‘hitting the gym’ because all that is likely to do is strengthen our body at the expense of our mind and spirit. I firmly believe that to balance our body, mind, and soul we need to incorporate an integrated health regime into the totality of our lives.
When people tell me they can’t afford to join a gym, I tell them to go outside; planet Earth is a gym and we’re already members. Walk, run, climb, sweat, and enjoy all of the natural wonder that is available to you. ~ Steve Maraboli.
One of the activities I use to balance the physical, mental, and spiritual parts of my being is to get out into the sunshine and fresh air for a couple of hours brisk walk every day. Walking is excellent exercise, but more than that I can also practice walking meditation.
When I was much younger I thought that meditation was weird, nonsensical, even ‘girly’. But back then I also thought that prayer, self-discovery, spirituality, and yoga were also distinctly odd. These days I embrace all of these good practices ~ although I still don’t consciously pray to a ‘God’. With maturity I have begun to understand that these are methods by which I can know myself and become an emotionally healthy man. To be truly healthy we all need to get outdoors for at least an hour every day. We all need to exercise our own mind and spirit if we are going to escape from the fortress prison we have built for ourselves.
If there was a mature and peaceful woodland nearby I would take my daily walks there, enjoying forest bathing, what the Japanese call shinrin-yoku. This is a meditative and spiritual activity that is known to improve one’s mindfulness. Trees are well-known to possess healing powers.
However, in the here and now of my life it is more appropriate that I take my daily walk by the sea, under the open and ever-changing sky. Both the sea and the clouds are peaceful, they help me to experience serenity and mindfulness. The clouds fire my imagination. The sea is a primeval and primordial force of nature, a part of the Mother Goddess to which all things return at the end of days.
Walking meditation is an easy thing to do ~ providing one is not distracted by everyday activities. I don’t use my cell-phone on my meditative walks, I don’t use my camera when I’m in a meditative state, I walk alone, and I don’t talk with anyone ~ as a matter of fact I don’t even notice other people. Walking meditation is a peaceful part of my life where I can be in touch with the more enlightened part of myself. Time and space cease to exist in the normal way, the world becomes fully open for me to explore in my mind, I become open to appreciate all things with acceptance and understanding.
The secret to walking meditation is to get outside, on your own, and walk in nature for a while ~ an hour or more is good. Empty your mind of all immediate concerns. But most of all, walk.
Even if you have to walk fast for 30 minutes, five days a week, by all means do so. Never make excuses to why you don’t have time to work out. Your body deserves to enjoy the taste of a good health. Never settle for less. ~ Edmond Mbiaka.
Obviously, just taking a walk each day isn’t enough exercise to keep me fit and healthy. Walking does little for strength and mobility. For that I practice yoga. I used to believe that yoga was the sole preserve of incredibly fit and supple young women, but then I learned that yoga is also for men like me. Done properly, yoga will improve your health and fitness in body, mind, and spirit. Done properly, yoga for men hurts a little bit. If it feels right, you can incorporate yoga into your daily walk.
We can experience so much, appreciate so much, and understand so much, if we are brave enough to open our minds to the wonders of the Cosmos.
I enjoin you; get outside into the fresh air, and walk.
To travel is to take a journey into yourself.
Doing a little research on something else, I was bored enough to read a narrow-minded American’s opinion of visit to England, which pissed me off somewhat. Here are some real facts about Americans;
64% of Americans do not own a passport.
In states such as; Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, and South Carolina only about 25% of US citizens own a valid passport.
When most Americans visit another country it’s to either Mexico or Canada.
Annually, less than 5% of Americans travel overseas.
More than half of all Americans have never been outside of America.
Most Americans have not been to more than 5 US states.
Many Americans have never been more than 100 miles from where they were born.
The commonest complaints of Americans visiting England are;
- ‘the bacon is terrible…’
- ‘few ethnicities are represented in London cuisine…’
- ‘there is no Mexican or Latin American food in Britain…’
- ‘British people are cold and hard to befriend…’
- ‘the London subway is unreliable…’
- ‘the British are obsessed with the Queen and Royal Family…’
- ‘it always rains in England…’
- ‘the English drive on the wrong side of the road…’
- ‘British cars are undrivable…’
- ‘free healthcare is such a stupid idea…’
- ‘British TV sucks…’
- ‘refrigerators and washing machines are very small…’
- ‘there’s no dress code…’
- ‘black people are just people…’
- ‘they eat with their forks upside down…’
I’ve travelled all over the world, I’ve worked, lived, and had many vacations in the United States, I have some close friends in America, and none of the above surprises me one little bit. American culture is so in-your-face and all-pervasive, (you only had to watch the recent Oscars ceremony to realise that), that all Americans think the rest of the world is just like America ~ trust me, it isn’t.
In addition, working Americans are allowed and take so few vacation days, (average 10 days a year), that the idea of visiting some of the great cultural sites in Europe just never crosses their minds.
The whole world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a single page. ~ Saint Augustine
Which is why it does not surprise me that;
- Middle America elected Donald Trump as their President.
- Americans are obsessed with social media like Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook.
- More than 80% of Americans believe in conspiracy theories, and that the Government has kept secrets about UFOs.
- More than 85% of Americans believe in one or more of; aliens, flying saucers, angels, astrology, extra-sensory-perception, Big Foot, ghosts, reincarnation, the healing power of crystals, witchcraft, that they can win money in Las Vegas casinos, and that winning the lottery is a viable financial plan.
- Over 75% of Californians believe that more than 25% of Americans are Gay or Lesbian, (the true figure is 3.5% of Americans are LGBT).
- 25% of Americans believe in creation theory and that the Earth is the centre of the universe.
- 25% of Americans believe they won their Independence from a country other than Great Britain.
- All Americans feel they need a planned and fixed itinerary before setting off on their travels.
A good traveller has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving. ~ Lao Tzu
To a well-travelled, well-read, and well-educated Englishman like me, it’s very sad that most Americans are like a Monday morning quarterback ~ they think they can talk a good game, but mostly they talk bullshit. Actually, it’s worse than that, most Americans think their opinions matter to others. They need to get out into the world a bit more.
And in England, ‘Trump’ is still another word for ‘Fart’.
Have a nice day.
Our Scientific Power has Outrun Our Spiritual Power.
Among the things with which I will have nothing to do with whatsoever are; God, Gods, Goddesses, Angels, Cherubs, Seraphs, Spirits, Ghosts, Flying Saucers, the channeling of mystical beings and spirit guides, people who are believed to have peculiar psychic abilities…, and sushi.
However, I do believe in the existence and efficacy of some very strange things indeed.
There are more things in heaven and earth, [Horatio], Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. ~ Shakespeare, Hamlet.
I have no real faith in astrology, despite the fact that I was born on March 23rd and I am a very typical Ares male. Anyone who knows me will agree that I am a crazy mixture of the fearless warrior and undisciplined schoolboy ~assertive, bold, egotistical, extrovert, independent, macho, stubborn, but very in touch with my inner child. Also, if I don’t have real faith in European astrology, why should I believe anything about Chinese astrology? That, even though I am an archetypal Horse male ~ independent, generous, globetrotting, restless, revolutionary, wandering, driven by an irresistible force. Add Ares to Horse to Man, and you get a real maverick ~ I am indeed an iconoclast.
Logically and scientifically, why and how could when you were born have any effect whatsoever on your character, your personality, your life, your luck, your past, present, and your future?
Well, I think when you were conceived, when and where you were developing in the womb, and when you were born does have a major effect on your entire life, and I partly base this on the theory of the interconnectedness of all things. Also I believe the perfectly respectable Jungian philosophy of the collective unconscious, and that other perfectly respectable theory that there is a collective consciousness. Over and above all this psychology, I believe that the seasons of our conception and earliest development have an overriding effect on which human archetype we become.
That begins to explain a lot of European astrology and its monthly cycles, but what about Chinese astrology and it’s 12 year cycle? Our sun operates on just about an 11 year cycle, and everything on this planet and far beyond is influenced, driven, and controlled by our sun. Astronomy is a very ancient science, dating back to at least 35,000 years BC. There is no doubt that our ancient ancestors knew all about the cycles of the moon and sun, and that astronomy and astrology were one in the same thing until as recently as the 17th century in Europe. There is no doubt in my mind that about 5,000 years ago Stonehenge was built as an astronomical / astrological / religious / political clock and calendar.
Why is it then that both European and Chinese Astrology actually has it all wrong? There should be 13 star signs in European astrology to agree with the lunar cycle, and 11 animals in Chinese astrology to agree with the solar cycle. Turns out there are 13 astrological star signs, the 13th being Ophiucus, also turns out that the normally accepted dates for which star sign you were born under are wrong as well. Who knows why the ancient Chinese did anything.
Never underestimate The Power of 12. If man can make something add up to the very symbolic number 12, he is much happier than with, say 13, or 11. Thirteen is an ‘unlucky’ number, and the number 11 symbolises male and female equality, and that was an anathema to our ‘civilised’ ancestors.
Numerology is another very ancient mystical belief. Face it, back in the day when no ordinary person could read, write, or do arithmetic, anyone who could count had to be half way to being a powerful sorcerer or wizard. I believe in both unlucky 13, and even unluckier Friday 13th. Who at NASA thought it was a good idea to have an Apollo 13? (It made a great Tom Hanks movie.)
What scientific or logical basis is there for believing in the power of numbers? How and why does numerology work? Anything to do with numbers and mysticism is almost always laid at the door of Pythagoras, who, if the stories are to be believed was a genuine genius. Most genuine geniuses have weird cults built up around them and Pythagoras was no exception with Pythagoreanism, and that’s close enough to ‘cults’ like Satanism, the Knights Templar, Illuminati, and Freemasonry for me. These guys are all very into the power of geometry, (as am I ~ 3,4,5). And why is the Eye of Providence on the US one dollar bill?
Number rules the universe. ~ Pythagoras.
According to the theories of the collective unconscious and collective consciousness, and the fact that numbers do rule the universe, numerology just has to work, (in one form or another).
Some are deemed to have psychic powers, the capacity to supernaturally see things and do things which is denied to ‘ordinary’ people. Mostly I believe that real psychic abilities do not exist. However, I do believe that some people have greater faculties than most. For example, I know when people are lying. My ability to tell when someone is passing off ‘alternative facts’, or being ‘économique avec la actualité’ or especially ‘not telling the whole truth‘ is not something that I learned on purpose. My ability to be an almost infallible lie detector grew in me by accident, probably from childhood. I can’t ever turn this ability off, although more often than not I choose to ignore it ~ people don’t like it if you point out to them that you know they’re lying.
Something else some people have is ‘inherent omniscience‘ ~ if they want to some people can know everything there is to know about someone they’re with, or have met, and have talked with for a while. It seems very spooky, very mystical, and evidence of real psychic abilities ~ it isn’t.
So how does this work? It turns out that some people allow themselves to see and feel much more than others. Some people have a natural gift for this. If you want to know how to do this for yourself, then I suggest you spend a few years diligently studying Neuro Linguistic Programming. If you are of above average intelligence, quick of mind, and have an excellent memory, eventually you will be able to astound others with your own ‘psychic abilities’.
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. ~ Arthur C. Clarke
There is more in this universe than mankind knows, or respectable scientists will admit. But I don’t believe any of it is given to us by the Gods, or is sorcery, or magic, or from the spirit realm. I firmly believe that what some see as magic is actually the application of advanced knowledge. In which case almost everyone and anyone can become a witch, sorcerer, psychic… All it takes is the desire, time, intelligence, and a hell of a lot of hard work.
It helps if you have a familiar called Pyewacket.
these thoughts are mine and mine alone
my Goddess please help me
help me to be understanding
help me to be more accepting
help me to be less judgmental
help me to avoid impulsiveness
help me to think before I speak
help me to think long before I act
help me to be more tolerant of fools
help me to stay cool, calm, and collected
help me forgive those who have wronged me
help me forgive those I think have wronged me
help me to lose fear, hurt feelings, and immaturity
help me to be a better man today than I was yesterday
help me lose the angst and replace it with love and compassion
help me lose my unrealistic unfulfilled expectations of those I care for
my Goddess help me to live without half-truths, dishonesty, deceit, and lies
Thank you Goddess, today I will try my best to fulfil your hopes and trust in me
words and pictures by jack collier
tock tick tock click clock times helical cosmos
curlicued convoluted corkscrew universes
mobius numberless boundless crystal spheres
ecstatic Goddess’ eternal internal rhythms
involute rainbow reflected perpetual nimbus
concentric circles connecting countless spirals
heating burning flaming blazing raging powers
cogs within wheels within whorls within curls
turns interlocking engineering winding endless
impractical perpetual galactical infinities
around helicoid determined repeating futures
click tick tock clock times chimes the cosmos
and, what goes around comes around
words and pictures by jack collier
Without a ruthless search for and acceptance of reality it is almost impossible to live a rewarding Life which will fulfill your true potential. Yet the vast majority of people would rather live in denial than accept the truth of their personal situation.
Chronic Denial of Reality can be seen in almost all alcoholics, compulsive gamblers, drug addicts, the obese, criminals, politicians, people in dysfunctional relationships… Yet without admitting there is a problem there is no possibility of fixing the problem.
Accepting and embracing reality is usually difficult and painful. But, the first of the Great Truths is that Life is Difficult and Painful. The path to recovery from suffering and mediocrity lies is recognizing this truth. In fact, dedication to recognising and accepting the truth makes us better able to deal with the real world, and not be trapped in the world inside our own heads. Real truth is reality, ~ lying to ourselves and lying to others traps us in an unreal, looking-glass world.
There is a strong tendency to hope that bad things will just go away. There is an even stronger tendency to lie to ourselves, and completely ignore negative feelings, events, and situations. This shows either a total lack of self-discipline, and / or an underlying psychological or issue. Even when one is searching for truth and reality, the real issues and problems are sometimes difficult to discover.
In my own case I spent years suffering all kinds of symptoms, from alcohol abuse to being in a series of dysfunctional relationships, before I was strong enough, and willing enough, to search deeply inside myself for the truth. For most of my life I was unwilling to accept reality. I have now realised that I suffer from a borderline personality disorder ~ a fear of abandonment. Which is one reason I live alone, as not having a partner means that I could not be abandoned by my partner. Fear of abandonment is common and if you suffer from it the disorder will blight every relationship you ever have ~ even to the extent of not entering into close relationships in the first place.
What is Denial? What is Truth? What is Reality? Denial is not a river in Egypt. Denial is actively refusing to accept the truth. There is no absolute truth ~ my truth is different from your truth. For me, searching for the truth seems to be a daily challenge to ignore the myriad surreal falsehoods which come my way. There is no ultimate reality. My reality is different from your reality ~ and I’m not ever completely certain what is real and what is a lie. For example, I firmly believe in the law of cause and effect, but I now know that simple model of the Cosmos does not always hold true. Reality can be as disorienting as any dream state hallucination. The picture above is a seascape, but it is both true and unreal.
To do more than just survive, to get by in this world without continually suffering, and without being the cause of suffering in others, we just have to do the best we can to be as completely truthful and real as we can.
When you haven’t slept for days, and you spend all your time in the depths of hopelessness, convinced that you are physically, mentally, and spiritually ill, and that there is no cure, no way out at all, then even the glimmer of an end of suffering will have you hanging on to that dim light like a drowning man clutches at a lifebelt.
So it was for me at a grim three o’clock in the morning on Monday, March 28th, 2016 ~ Easter Monday.
The single glimmer of hope in the darkness were these words; ‘Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths.’ The opening words of a book called The Road Less Travelled.
This is also the first of the Four Noble Truths as revealed by the Buddha.
Being in the hopeless state I am, for today I have simplified these Four Noble Truths into versions I can understand;
- Life is difficult and painful.
- The causes of my problems and pain are my own cravings, lusts, and my blaming of others.
- I can’t change what happens to me, but I can change what I do.
- The path to freedom from suffering is through self-discipline in body, mind, and spirit.
The cruel trick my mind is already playing on me is that I keep forgetting what #3 says. I know there ‘s a #3, but I forget what it says.
No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path. ~ Gautama Buddha.
Dying is easy. Living takes work. Don’t try and do it all on your own.
Alternative Living # 9 ~ Solitude and Mental Health
Most of my life has been spent alone. When I was a child I sought solitude. When I bought my first place I lived alone for 5 years. Even when I had a partner I spent most of my time alone, travelling, being ‘on the road’ for work, living out of suitcases in lonely hotels 4, 5 or 6 days a week. And now, I have lived alone in the seaside apartment I call ‘the garret’ for over ten years, and nobody is allowed into the garret.
Turns out that spending too much time alone can be very bad for your mental and spiritual health.
Turns out that some of the things I’ve done in the past few weeks have convinced me that I am spiritually /mentally ill ~ and you probably have no idea how much it hurts to admit that in writing. I am pretty certain that I have become a sexually repressed obsessive alcoholic who also suffers from stress, anxiety and depression. Maybe with a few other problems thrown in.
Admitting the problem is the first step to recovery ~ and there is a plan I can use to become the true me, without the baggage of behavioural problems I have been carrying. Admitting that life is difficult is the second step to recovery.
Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we see the truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult ~ once we truly understand and accept it ~ then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters. ~ M. Scott Peck from The Road Less Travelled.
I belive that Dr. Peck’s book is based on The Four Noble Truths from Buddhist teachings. The Four Noble Truths lead to the Noble Eightfold Path, and it’s this road I intend to follow to recover from my need to avoid all pain, my suffering of uncontrollable cravings and lusts, seeking out and clinging only to what is pleasurable. It is a long journey, not a final destination, to my becoming the good and true person I know I can be.
Wish me well. ~ firstname.lastname@example.org