when someone says it’s not about money and power
it’s all about money and power
If you have been following my writings over the past few days then you may know that I have had something of a mystical experience that has let me see things in an enlightened way. What I have come to appreciate is that most of my life, indeed most of the lives of most people on this planet, are driven by materialism. That is the tendency to consider material possessions and physical comfort as more important that spiritual enlightenment.
I was going to write a long post about how empty that made my life, and how destructive that can be for relationships and one’s mental health. Instead I’ve decided to share this song by Beth Orten with you. It says it better I think.
I was at the head of my profession. I had all the money and power I could handle. My life was meaningless and selfish. My soul was empty.
This song is an opportunity for you to spend a few minutes in contemplation.
Please listen with all your heart.
starry, starry night
paint your palette blue and grey
at dawn, at the morning of the day, all things become clear
Conscious thinking is what we do when we don’t know what to do. When you don’t really know how to drive a car, you have to think about it. When you can drive your subconscious mind takes over and leaves your consciousness free to do other things ~ like try to work out WTF you’re lost. For 95% of the time your subconscious mind is running your life.
Yesterday, while I was out taking my meditative walk, my subconscious mind came up with an idea ~ a plan for living the rest of my life. Except it wasn’t just an idea, it was the whole plan, almost fully formed.
Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life ~ think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success, that is the way great spiritual giants are produced. ~ Swami Vivekananda
This plan is simple, complete, integrated, mindful, and self-contained. There are only 5 parts and each one is important to the whole;
- Live a Healthy Life. It is health that is the real wealth, and not pieces of gold and silver. Gandi. For most of my years my lifestyle was unhealthy: too much work, too much stress, too much booze, not enough sleep, not enough exercise, and no spirituality whatsoever. Now I have an eating plan in a Paleo Diet, I walk 10,000 steps a day and do a little yoga, have a good sleep routine, and I am sober.
- Travel Far and Wide. The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page. Saint Augustine. I have travelled the world, but mostly I have done it with my eyes and heart closed, and mostly I have travelled alone.
- Enjoy Time with my Friends. ‘Tis the privilege of friendship to talk nonsense, and to have her nonsense respected. Charles Lamb. For most of my years I pushed people away, now I hope I can welcome new friends into my life. And what better way to travel the world than with a special friend.
- Words and Pictures. Write what should not be forgotten. Isabel Allende. I do not need to work but I need to be creative. Reading, writing, photography ~ hell I may even learn to paint ~ people, places, things, ideas, beliefs…..
- Spirituality. A healthy mind in a healthy body ~ Juvenal. And this is the crux of the whole plan. I lived in a straight-line, goal-oriented, competitive existence, and I was wealthy in money, miserable, sick, and suicidally depressed. I cannot learn spirituality, I need to live it.
I believe in this plan, that it will work for me. Thinking about it, my plan doesn’t work without integrating all of these 5 elements, but I don’t need to add a number 6. Even Love is encompassed and runs through the whole of it
Some say that no plan survives contact with reality. And that they could live happily if only….. All I know is that tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.
evening, a time of rest and reflection
this moment is all there is
we were born with wings, why crawl through life?
We all live within ourselves. All of our interactions with people, places, and things are shaped by our innermost beliefs ~ our internal programming held deep down in our subconsciousness. We don’t experience reality, we know the Cosmos only after it’s been filtered through our own preconceptions. This is both a good and a bad thing. On the downside, perhaps we can never truly understand how another person understands reality. Yet if we look at this whole subconscious filter in a good light, it means that we can fundamentally change our entire universe by changing our internal filters.
We can give true meaning to others, (especially the other sex), we can understand different beliefs, we can accept, value, and give meaning to all people, places, creatures, situations, things, and moments in time.
The least of things with a meaning is worth more in life than the greatest of things without it. ~ Carl Jung
Perhaps this is what is known as being mindful; paying the fullest attention to the present moment, and doing it intentionally and non-judgementally. Nobody, and certainly no real male, can naturally be mindful nor naturally spiritual. Men think in straight lines and are entirely goal-oriented. The above-average man might set aside, say, 30 minutes a day to develop the skills to be mindful, spiritual, empathetic, accepting, and understanding. The rest of the day he will be just as competitive and goal-oriented as his peers. Trying to be mindful and spiritual is not the path to mindfulness and spirituality.
Spirituality is a brave search for the truth about existence, fearlessly peering into the mysterious nature of Life. ~ Elizabeth Lesser.
For anyone, a man especially, to be mindful, empathetic, and spiritual, you have to learn to live in mindfulness, empathy, and spirituality. That’s not a ‘how to be spiritual,’ it’s a ‘how to live in spirituality’. You don’t learn this stuff in 30 minutes a day, you learn this stuff by living a spiritual, emotional, mindful, accepting, understanding life every minute of the day, seven days a week, every week of the year.
The cynical, especially the average cynical, goal-oriented, male who thinks in straight lines is going to ask; ‘So WTF is in it for me?’ If you are in emotional pain, if you are drinking too much, taking drugs of any kind, gambling, are depressed, suicidal, suffering from a personality disorder, suffering from abuse such as Gaslighting, then living a spiritual and mindful life will not only help you to cope, it will help you to recover.
And, being a spiritual, emotive, mindful, accepting, and understanding person will naturally attract other good people to you. Women especially like strong men with these qualities: and trust me, only a truly strong man can have these qualities.
Some say that spirituality and mindfulness is for Buddhist monks. And that all this emotional stuff gets in the way of getting ahead in life. All I know is that if you want to be truly happy in life, then maybe develop some spiritual and emotional strategies to become grounded and take steps to move forward.
perhaps Marmaduke is meditating
mindfulness is a way of non-judgmentally connecting with your life
some things are in the wrong place, but none can know the future
Until pretty recently I had never heard the words mindful nor mindfully and to be honest, for a man of my generation, background, and upbringing, the concepts and processes of mindfulness are fairly alien and unknowable.
However, to each of us there comes a time when we need to look outside of our everyday wants, needs, struggles, and conflicts to find something we can trust to lift the pain and distress from our shoulders. There may come a time when we sink as low as to destroy the relationship we hold most precious, to harm ourselves with booze, drugs, gambling, casual sex, lies and deceptions, and to have thoughts of suicide. Just a few short days ago I had sunk that low. I had arrived at a rock bottom, and I knew there was yet another rock bottom even lower and worse than the one I was suffering.
Now I know that mindfulness is a way for me to live fully in the moment, and by being totally in the now, cutting off worries about the past and stress about all possible futures.
Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different. ~ James Baraz
Mindfulness is a way for me to calmly pay full attention to what is happening to me right now, how I am feeling right now, and how I am reacting to those feelings. Deep down there is a need for me to be calm and at peace with what is happening in the now, instead of worrying and being resentful about what has happened, what could happen, what was and could be bad, what went wrong, what could go wrong, and what is missing in my life. No matter the chaos that is troubling me in my heart and mind, outwardly I need to radiate inner peace.
Being mindful is about me letting the past stay in the past and leaving the future as something that is yet to come about, it’s about being in the now without being hurt, disturbed, and distressed by what might happen, or what has already happened, or what my twisted mind thinks has already happened.
I may never be able to silence the thousands of negative thoughts and feelings that uninvited pass through my mind each day, but I have learned how to slow down my mind, and allow my feelings to come and go without reacting badly to them.
Some say that they don’t need to feel bad about anything they have ever done. And that they have no regrets about the past nor worries about the future. All I know is that I can stop being afraid, I am the master of my fate.
how the disconnect inside my mind feels
The most wasted of all days is one without joy and laughter.
be mindful and joyful
Hold infinity in your soul, and eternity in your dreams
haunting music of the wind, wave counterpointed, kaleidoscope echoed
wildly framed the seascape bowl with solitary figure slowly walking
alone against a world struggling, changing but ever the same
men, mankind, tide, and time change
but the sea is the ever the same
The best of my sunsets is yet to pass to the west.
There are a couple of ways of walking through that dark and dangerous jungle that surrounds the warrior’s path. One is to hack aside the undergrowth, wade through stinking swamps, clamber over the steepest rocks, struggle sweating and cursing one footstep at a time towards an imagined false destination. The other is to accept the things the path has brought, in harmony understand why the Goddess has made Life seemingly difficult, live within the warrior’s path without trying to conquer it.
There are no prizes for guessing how I’ve been acting on my journey along the warrior’s path.
In Life I have been trying to fix what I thought was wrong, to overcome, to shape the world and the people in it according to my own expectations, mores, and standards. As you would expect, I can’t fix Life. I can’t make the world, the people in it, the things that happen, be the way I want them to be. That has never stopped me from trying, with all of my might and main, to change the things I cannot change.
You would think a man would know that the only thing he can change is himself.
And yet, it seems that a great deal of powerful transitional energy is coming my way. Venus has begun to support and nurture Mars. If I feel ready enough, then I can embrace a life path that is more true to who and what I really am.
I have been burdened by my own anger, frustration, jealousies, pain, resentments….. and I have carried this burden into each new day. I have been reckless and negligent with the feelings, wants, and needs of others. But, that need to conquer the warrior’s path is fading into memory, and I am beginning to learn the mindfulness of acceptance and understanding.
Some say that all men are blind to the real love and friendship that is closest to them. And, that if you show a man a beautiful woodland his first thought will be that he needs to cut it down. All I know is that the only really true thing is what is in front of me right now.
My Goddess Aphrodite was born from the Ocean’s foam
Great things never came from comfort zones.
Just another day and I’m back in the garret where my psyche tells me I belong. Not anymore I don’t. I need to change and the picture of York Railway Station is a metaphor. To get to anywhere by train I have to change at York ~ in rail journey terms York is the fulcrum.
Some of you may recall that I have been trying to change for years; to grow, to become the better man, to walk the warrior’s path….. and I’ve had some limited success. No that’s wrong, I’ve had a lot of success. I’ve gone from being a celibate recluse, stuck in the garret and afraid to go out, to a chap who has just completed a course of swimming lessons ready for my solo vacation in Crete in a couple of weeks time.
It seems that my fulcrum has been shown me by those self-same swimming lessons ~ the whole thing was utterly outside my comfort zone, and I mean a long, long way outside my comfort zone. And you know what? Our comfort zones are not a place of safety, they are a prison.
Have the courage to leave our self-imposed prison and great things start to happen.
What I know now, (what I always really knew), is that I have to accept life as it comes, live in the moment, enjoy whatever the moment brings, open my eyes, and welcome surprise. Stop cowering in the corner, and stop living a life where today will be pretty much like yesterday, and tomorrow will be pretty much like today. Life goes on, but from now on my life will be filled with adventure and good things.
IF I continue on a wiser, kinder, more mindful, more courageous, more self-loving path, I know that I will be able to embrace the results of all the hard work I’ve put in over the past few years, and discover the truth of my Life. I know that things WILL improve, even from this good place I am in right now. And, not in years, or even many months, but in the coming days and weeks. Things will get even better for me far sooner than my comfort-zone loving heart might expect.
But I have to stay focused and believe in myself, because sitting back in my comfort zone and waiting for the Cosmos to roll out the red carpet just doesn’t work. Trust me, I know.
We have free will. We need to use it and leave our self-imposed prisons. We are the Masters of our Own Fate, we need to accept that, get out of our comfort zone, and live life, even if that means making mistakes.
Some say that all the changes we try to make for ourselves are bad. And, that we should do as we are told, do what’s expected of us, never question authority, always respect the wishes of our family, and stay in our comfort zone. All I know is that leaving my comfort zone far behind me is the fulcrum of my Life.
this is a long way outside of my comfort zone, but the next time I go to Turkey I will be up there
Inner tranquility ~ freedom from anger, anxiety, and fear.
There was something weird about my short stay in Turkey. Was it the place, or the people, or the blue, blue sky? Was it getting enough good sleep, good food, staying sober, staying calm? Or, was it the long, meaningful, and mindful conversations I enjoyed? Or was it some inner spirituality that was awoken in me? I suspect all of these things and more combined to wrought a significant change in my psyche.
For me this was a jumping-off point. I lost some things, I lost negativity, I lost the way I was used to seeing the world, I lost judgmentalism, I lost my mistrust of others, I lost my fear and anger, and I learned how to fly…..
Last night I lost the world, and gained the universe. ~ C. JoyBell C.
I had not been there long before I knew a radical freedom that allowed me to seek acceptance, humility, integrity, mindfulness, and understanding of myself, of those around me, and of those I care for. I was encouraged to take a new control and responsibility for my own life ~ I believe that most of us, (up to and including me), are not in control of our own lives. Rather most of us drift aimlessly through life, so that today is pretty much like yesterday, and tomorrow will be pretty much like today.
That isn’t really living, it’s just existing, and that’s no way to explore true happiness and well-being. To know true happiness and well-being we perhaps should strive to improve and enhance our own lives, the lives of those we care for, and society as a whole.
Within the real meaning of human happiness and enhanced existence, within our aims, significance, and overall purpose, we all have the freedom to choose what to do, to be who we want to be. Sadly so many of us never even try to grow into an enlightened being.
After a couple of days in the mindfulness of my Turkish vacation I began to seek to understand things, to understand the interconnectedness of all things, and the ways to find the significance of my own life among the chaos.
The real meaning of enlightenment is to gaze with undimmed eyes on all darkness. ~ Nikos Kazantzakis
I realised that each of us is what we take ourselves to be. But to live in an authentic, caring, and mindful way, we each have to take each situation as it comes and show our true nature through what we do, and not what we say. Talk is cheap.
I was always frightened to show my true nature. I was a shadow man, the man in the mirror, I was always conforming to what others expected of me, putting on masks that fitted the roles I was expected to play. I saw the world through a winter mirror, darkly.
After just one week in a small Turkish hotel, under blue, blue skies, among a group of friendly and supportive people, I was able to throw away the masks, stop playing a role, eschew the man in the mirror, and really take charge of my own life.
Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is Enlightenment. ~ Lao Tzu
Today, back in the garret, I am self-analytical, self-aware, self-confident, and filled with real self-control, and self-discipline.
Now I need to act in a way that reflects my new self-awareness, and the awareness of my own complete freedom. This is what I am, this is what I choose to be, this is the real me, and I will never again dodge responsibility for being true to myself.
I do not pretend to understand how this enlightenment came about. Probably it was a unique set of serendipitous circumstances, a synchronicity that has energised me physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Some say that once in a lifetime your chance comes along, that once in a lifetime fate deals you the perfect winning hand. And, that we each have to be courageous enough to take that chance, to throw everything we have behind our one great opportunity in Life. All I know is that today I feel better than I have ever felt before in my entire existence.
My short stay in Turkey was the kindling of a flame.
each man is an island unto himself
So I can’t sit own and let the time of my real being take me, for if I try and for a moment can see no direction, cannot tell where I am going, I am filled with panic, scared of emptiness. I am driven and must always look to the far horizons. ~ Joanna Field
For most of my life it seemed that I was afraid of still serenity, uncomfortable of just having nothing to do, and having to make no plans. I seemed to be happiest if there was a great deal going on around me, as though I was in the midst of a raging storm.
I have come to believe that this was a manifestation of what was going on inside my own mind, that I was driven by a mixture of perfectionism and fear of failure.
My focus seemed to be on what I didn’t have; materially, intellectually, and spiritually. My glass was always half empty, never half full.
Perhaps that was not such a good place to be.
Instead of bemoaning what I don’t have and the things I feel are wrong with my life, I am changing my attitude to celebrate what I do have.
Today I have an infinite number of choices, and they all begin with me having a positive outlook. The decisions I make today will have a direct bearing on how meaningful and mindful my life will be.
I am reminded of some words by Ralf Waldo Emerson; This time, like all times, is a very good one if we but know what to do with it.
Today I will try to do some good and mindful things with my time.
Today I will be peaceful amid the storms.