Incomplete Thoughts

These thoughts have been distilled from a number of my recent experiences, so by their very nature, this is a work-in-progress. Actually, having been along to see Tenzin Palmo speak on such matters, it is an interesting question - just what is a thought - where do our thoughts come from - more on this thread later ...

Anyway, lately I have been I have been entertaining a number of thoughts. The thoughts are generally grateful because my mind is usually a pretty nice place for them to be entertained in. It is warm and spacious because it is not cluttered up with a whole lot of judgements or blame or plans or certainties or policies or rules. I've found that since I eliminated the word 'should' from my vocabulary there is a lot more room for my thoughts to roam around and have fun and enjoy themselves. I'd recommend it to anyone.

Just out of interest, have you ever wondered where your thoughts come from? What they look like. Why you entertain certain thoughts (no pun intended) and not others. What a thought consists of. And why we attach our emotions to our thoughts ...

These next few thoughts were from a piece where I imagined giving a philosophy lesson free-of-charge to somebody whose views and actions I was struggling to understand yet still endeavouring to cultivate compasssion towards all living beings regardless of what 'wrong' you believe they may be doing to others or even yourself. That's the true test - anybody can have compassion for those they like and feel 'connected' to. I seem to have lost that train of thought ... oh well, the Buddhists would probably advise me to let it go and now worry about it. Clinging to thoughts and memories (even the good ones) is what they identify as our common barrier to living fully in this moment now. {See

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Jack Kornfield on mindfulness}

(Oh yes, the reason for cultivating that un-conditional compassion is that those doing 'harm' to others and/or themselves need it more than most - you can only behave in that way if you yourself are in a 'bad' place - lacking peace-of-mind and equanimity)

Anyway, here they are - free-of-charge -

I believe that absolutely nothing happens by "accident" (an extraordinary belief for somebody at ERMHA to hold). You are not reading these words by accident (nor are you by the way if you are reading them on the internet). Each of us is a soul on an incomprehensibly long & mysterious journey. Our souls individually and collectively create circumstances and events in order to grow & evolve. I have no idea what your ultimate beliefs are and i know that there was a time when if anyone had said these things to me I would have laughed in their faces ...

(Wasn't there a bit about karma & souls experiencing the results of their actions-intentions-attitudes ... )

Oh yes, on 'laughing at these ideas - I was THE most cynical, angry, disillusioned human being you would ever meet. Like Amy Long, I have come a LONG way & this is just the first step. So, even if your initial reaction to these words is to regard them as pure nonsense, keep this document and there may come a day when you look back and think, Hey, that lunatic was right! NOW I know what he was on about.'

{I'm not sure if you are familiar with the word "Namaste". It is a Sanskrit greeting meaning "I honor the place in you where the entire universe resides. I honor the place in you, where lies your love, your light, your truth and your beauty. I honor the place in you where ... if you are in that place in you ... and I am in that place in me ... then there is only one of us."}

I truly ought to be discharged - as Amy said - don't allow clients to become hooked on the system. I have only hung around while I felt I could make a positive contribution. That feeling has well and truly been eroded by the events of the past few months. I am still personally optimistic and I would be absolutely delighted to be wrong in my assessment of the situation. My own experience has shown me that miracles do happen & right now I honestly do believe this situation needs a miracle - literally a change-of-heart by some key players ... but this is not an unknown phenomenon and some believe it will happen more & more often as the consciousness of humanity slowly evolves to the next level ... so, I'll PRAY for you. Honestly, no hard feelings and I hope I am wrong. I cannot see into your heart - only you can do that. No matter how things look 'on paper', there's no real avoiding the universal law of karma ... in fact the main reason to treat people WELL is simple - your own peace-of-mind. Because without peace-of-mind there can be no genuine lasting happiness. Just ask the Dalai Lama.

LINK to metta prayer ??? - off my front page - Metta Sutra

Ah ... wasn't there also a bit along the lines of using Tenzin Palmo's analogy of comparing the endless stream of thoughts & emotions to sitting on the banks of a huge river and just observe them as they arise and subside ... what file DID I put that into ...

A few further thoughts - we do have an entire culture of blame at the moment and it is not healthy for anyone - like any bad habit, you can only break it by 'stepping back' and looking at it ... what blame does is make people nervous in case they 'do something wrong' - and if they are in responsible positions this only adds to their stress ... this bit needs work but you can see where I'm headed ... it is all part of the fact that the love in this world at the moment seems unequally distributed and is highly conditional. So we're all on edge wondering if this or that action or word or opinion will alter the way someone regards us ...

From another session of contemplation -

I have really tried to write this even-handedly and without anger. I'm actually in a place right now where anger has almost become a distant memory. That's something I thought I'd never say. However,I also recognise that this is a very dysfunctional world at the moment so this is merely a microcosm of the world at large. The whole world needs healing. We all need to find what Amy Long described so perfectly as the "healer within". We keep ourselves so busy we never allow time to ask those tough questions like "Is this really the way I want to live?" "Is this healthy for any of us?" "Why do we generate so much friction and conflict and disharmony" "Do we really act according to the old adage of doing unto others as we would have them do unto us?"

I also seem to recall some reflection on the statement "If you can find it in your heart" - it says that what you are looking for IS in there. it just needs to be awakened ...

Here's a section from another file which I may edit -

So, for what it's worth, here's my own personal 'window' on reality at the moment. Note - I reserve the right to modify any or all of these views if a better view comes along ... :)

Mind you, this view is evolving as is humanity (slowly) ... I mean we used to believe the earth wa flat and that it was the centre of the universe. 100 years ago, few people would have ben capable of imagining the world we have today - space travel, satellites, mobile phones, the Internet, microwave ovens, nuclear weaponry, John Howard, genetic research, and a few other things you can probly think of. So we have come a long way fast in terms of our 'knowledge' and gadgetry but has our wisdom kept pace?

Spiritually we're still basically cavemen. We are highly advanced technologically but very primitive spiritually. This is a dangerous combination. Personally, I regard it as an absolute miracle we haven't wiped ourselves out several times over. That alone should be proof of a higher reality and beings watching over us to prevent us destroying ourselves.

Yes, 100 years ago, few would have imagined the development of the little magic pills which psychiatrists have become so fond of. Little pills to modify human behaviour - we have come a long way, haven't we.

So, I offer you these thoughts in all sincerity. Feel free to make ofthem what you will. Some of you might care to make a silk purse out of them. Or maybe a nice little fluffy bunny for the kids.

To develop a few of those earlier points - I suspect each of us has a little voice in our heads, maybe louder for some of us than for others, and this voice is asking, "Am I the only one who thinks this just is not working? There has to be a fundamentally better way of doing things, surely. I don't know what it is but there just has to be ... "

What motivates us? Is it love or is it something else?

What AM I trying to say? To be honest ...

There are days when my awareness has a clarity & a stillness which is quite breathtaking and quite impossible to describe if you have never experienced it. On such days, anything seems possible. Then there are those days when the fog rolls in and I wonder if I know anything for sure and think I should just keep my little mouth shut.

To be honest, I really don't know. I have been practicing non-attachment which means that you do not cling to any particular point-of-view or position or opinion. This can be a marvelously liberating feeling but you have to learn to live with its full implications ...

It means you simply observe your thoughts and feelings as they arise and then subside. This has been compared to sitting on the banks of a vast river and simply watching the water in front of you without asking where it has come from or where it is going.

The mystics all say that full awakening is when ...

The remainder of that train of thoughts is somewhere in the huge pile of notes I still have to transcribe from the VICSERV conference ... I'll get to it one of these days ... in the meantime why not checkout this link - here ... sweet dreams ...

Okay, back to my notes about 'awakening' -

The mystics all seem to be saying that full awakening is when every waking moment is crystal clear and vivid and shimmering. So I suppose I still have a little way to go.

I have always felt that human destiny was to experience something far grander than 'normality' and I used to express that belief in much angrier words. Now I am sure of it. What we currently call 'normality' is in fact a pale shadow of what our ultimate human potential is. This is why so many people have this vague unanswered question 'Is this as good as it gets?' living inside them, usually unasked because they fell nobody else has any idea either.

We have learned to define ourselves in such small ways. At the core of my being, I know these things with a clarity and a certainty which at times is almost frighteneing because I remember a time in my life when I would have ridiculed such beliefs and I would have told anybody expressing such ideas to 'Wake up to yourself and take a good look at the world!' That advice is more ironically accurate than I could ever have imagined.

Deep down, at some level, I suspect each of us knows the same truth. We just aren't sure what to do about it so we tend not to speak about it lest we are regarded as 'crazy' by our fellow travellers.

... and I seem to recall attempts to describe the 'vastness' on those days when I slow down the thoughts and yet still maintain full awareness ... I think it's scribbled on the back of an envelope somewhere on my desk ...

Ah yes, here it is ... We are infinitely more than our everyday selves and personas. I have discovered inside myself a vastness which all the mystics speak of but until you experience it personally you may well think they are either crazy or have overactive imaginations. {What IS 'imagination' anyway? a glimpse of what's possible} I honestly thought I would be about the last person onthis planet who would ever experience it. I now know just what they are talking about and that that vastness resides within everyone regardless of how you might choose to view them.

In fact, there are days when the clarity and vastness of my awareness literally blow my mind and I often can;t help laughing out loud at it all. I can't begin to put into words what that is really like ...

The big challenge is to help everyone recognise this reality and help them come into contact with their own vastness. I'm reminded of the Sanskrit word Namaste which means 'I honor the place in you where the entire universe resides. I honor the place in you, where lies your love, your light, your truth and your beauty. I honor the place in you where ... if you are in that place in you ... and I am in that place in me ... then there is only one of us.'

This is the 'global awakening' that so many are talking about. Since true 'liberation' only occurs when we are all liberated from fear, anger, hatred, misery etc. I must admit to some frustration as there are days when my connection with this vastness is efortless and everyone and everything I see inspires me. Then there are other days when I feel disconnected and start to wonder if I was just imagining it all ...

To be connected with this vastness on a permanent basis is what is known as nirvana or perfect enlightenment. Having had many glorious glimpses of what this would be like I can fully understand people like Tenzin Palmo and the Dalai Lama whose sole motivation is to attain that perfect state and then return again and again to help all beings do likewise. We all possess the same unlimited potential but we have yet to evolve to the point where we know just how to teach everyone how to TAP into that potential.

Standing in a supermarket queue the other day I had an interesting thought. I have been reading so much about mindfulness and 'living fully in this moment now'. Then I started to think about photos and memories. If everyone decided to totally embrace that idea it would put the photographic business in real trouble. Because photos would be seen in a new light. They would represent a mentality that tries to cling onto the past by using a camera to 'capture' those moments we regard as special or 'golden' rather than trying to make each moment golden. By using photgraphs, we are in effect saying to ourselves and to others that certain moments are more memorable than others and that this moment now is somehow a 'lesser' moment by comparison with those in the past. {That idea may need re-working but you can see what I mean}

Yes, as with moments and people and events, we learn throughout our entire lives to categorise. So, we learn to think that some are more 'special' in some way than others. Yet, if we closely examine this habit of categorising we may see how arbitrary and questionable it really is. Like any bad habit, the closer the examination, the more silly and unhealthy it comes to seem.

This is merely one symptom of our complete misunderstanding of our selves. We doubt our ability to make ourselves truly happy in this moment now, so we cling to memeories and reminders and keepsakes and mementos of times when we were happiest. We surrender control of our happiness to external factors and events and people. then we complain when these external things fail to make us genuinely happy. I am hardly the first person in human history to say this but it is a major revelation once you fully grasp it. It is one of those "Aha!" moments which happen from time to time throughout a lifetime when the entire way you view yourself and your reality can be turned on its head forever.

Some days, all of this seems absolutely obvious. Other days, I seem to have to spend all my time reminding myself to be fully present in this moment, reminding myself to be non-judgemental, reminding myself to be equally compassionate to all ... As Tenzin Palmo said, 'Loving kindness should flow from each of us without having to think about it at all.' So why doesn't it ...

One of my favourite expressions is, 'You wouldn't be angry if you had all the facts.' The trouble is, as a three-dimensional creature in an ordinary state of consciousness, you cannot possibly have 'all the facts'. So, we train ourselves to get angry anyway rather than wait for all the facts.

To my way of thinking, 'normality' is like a huge mansion with no windows or doors. There may indeed be pretty decorations and comfortable furniture and pleasant company and a range of diversions in each of the various rooms of this enormous mansion. However, outside of the mansion are flowers and trees and butterflies and birds and waterfalls and mountains and snowflakes and sunsets and an infinite blue sky which you would be completely unaware of unless somebody inside the mansion decides to break out or unless somebody outside decides to break in.

Ah yes, these notes were scribbled on my way to hear Kay Jamison speak - I never got into the main hall which is a pity as nearly all the questions were about manic-depression and medication and other techniques. Iwould have loved to get her opinion on all aspect of schizophrenia if indeed she has much expertise in that area.

While listening to her speak {Oh, by the way, click here for my review of her book An Unquiet Mind}, I had a curious thought - what would happen to the world if we took all the time & money & energy which is spent on such absolutely superficial pursuits as we currently do and channeled it all into exploring the greatest region of unexplored space on the planet - between your ears.

I may type up the notes from the lecture but a LOT of it seemed almost word-for-word from her book. Nothing wrong with that, since i regard several passages from that book as the best descriptions of the glorious highs and horrible lows of psychosis I have ever read. One thing did stick out - how brave she was as a psychiatrist to admit she had manic-depression when few had dared speak out and she had much to lose from her disclosure. Her main motive was to try and do something about the ignorance and stigma associated with 'mental illness'.

I also wondered - as I have so often since having first-hand experience of being diagnosed - what would we do if we did not have the easy option of medicating people? (These medications have mainly been available only since the 1950's) Not that medicating is a totally easy option - the side-effects deter many and I consider myself incredibly fortunate that my side-effects were so horrific that I never considered medication as an answer for myself. I had to embark on a perilous voyage inside my own consciousness with nothing but my instincts to guide me. And to this day I am sure there MUST be a fundamentally better option than the little magic pills but I also think it will require the evolution of a more loving and compassionate community rather than one based on the many manifestations of fear.

Outside the lecture hall, some leaflets were handed out - one was about the G.A.F. scale - I wondered how a Tibetan monk in deep meditation might rate on such a scale! :) Not to mention the eternal question of just exactly WHO decides what is a 'delusion'. To an atheist, anyone claiming to have experienced a religious 'vision' must be 'delusional' but how can anyone possibly know for sure. As someone said to me recently, most of the saints and mystics throughout history would probably have been diagnosed as 'schizophrenic'! :)

I was thinkin of writing an article on "True Self-Esteem" for the upcoming ERMHA Murmur. I seem to recall a few enties in my journal on this topic a couple of months ago. I'm sorry, but if your self-esteem is framed in worldly or competitive terms then it is on shaky ground. In fact, if it is based on something not everyone has - money, looks, status, possessions, 'lifestyle' ... then it isn't really self-esteem at all. That may seem a big statement to make and naturally, people are free to define 'self-esteem' in any way they choose. {This could be explored further - with specific examples and alternatives}

Oh yes - if it is based on the approval/disapproval of others (esp in a world where such approval/disapproval is generally for superficial reasons). Plus if it is based on 'achievement' in worldly terms - e.g. you could be the greatest golfer of all-time but you could in your heart be a very unkind and tragic figure. That gets me onto looking at what 'heroes' a society has - compare ours with sportsmen & movie stars many of whom have dubious characters. Compare that with Tibet where the heroes are those indiviuals who dedicate themselves to spiritual advancement for the benefit of all beings. How many kids in the West have a photo of the Dalai Lama on their walls!

Then I took a break from the Thai Ping and I casually (or should I say 'causally'?) pick up Conversations With God and look up the index. Self esteem not listed as such but under self-worth is this gem from Page

When you lose sight of each other as sacred souls on a sacred journey, then you cannot see the purpose, the reason behind all relationships.

Your first relationship, therefore, must be with your Self. You must first learn to honour and cherish and love your Self.

You must first see your Self as worthy before you can see another as worthy. You must first see your Self as blessed before you can see another as blessed. You must first know your Self to be holy before you can acknowledge holiness in another.

If you put the cart before the horse - as most of your religions ask you to do - and acknowledge another as holy before you acknowledge yourself, you will one day resent it. If there is one thing none of you can tolerate it is someone being holier than thou. ...

May add more later ...

A few days later - this comes close to the wording I'm seeking but doesn't quite nail it? -

"Any society in which the majority of people are defining and seeking their self-worth purely in worldly terms is in a lotta trouble. Firstly, because it is one of the laws of the universe that true satisfaction can never be found this way and secondly because even those who are doing relatively 'well' in worldly terms have built their sense of self-worth on shifting sands. Unless each individual has a genuine sense of unconditional worth regardless of what they are 'doing' then everyone suffers. Every problem currently plaguing us has its roots in these shifting sands drugs, suicide, violence, you name it " Anne O'Nymous

{By 'worldly terms' I mean appearance, occupation, social 'status', the approval & companionship of others, possessions, wealth etc}

Anne O'nymous is one of my many secret identities. Others include Phil O'sophical & Prof. M.T.Ness

By saying it is a 'law of the universe', I'd compare it with gravity - you might not be terribly fond of the law that prevents you from flying like a bird but yout are bound by it.

Being in a 'funny mood, I dashed off a few more 'quotes' -

"I can tell you now that every answer you have ever needed is within you but you continue to seek it everywhere else" St. Buller of ERMHA

"We have yet to fully unravel the complex and profound mysteries of our shared human existence." Sir Phillip Farmer M.D.

"Can you wait a little longer until I attain perfect enlightenment. Until then I'd only be guessing as how best to help you." Cath Roper, 15th Dalai Lama

I got into the 'quotes' mood while sifting through some I found on the internet yesterday. A couple might be useful on those pages of the Newsletter where we have a small space to fill.

Click here for a random site in the quotations webring.
One of my favourites is here - very eclectic!

And if you are still in the mood for a quote or two ... try Buddhist quote of the moment ...

In the long run, I don't think dogma does anyone any good. That's why most people who ask these questions with any kind of openness will generally shift away from a dogmatic point-of-view.

From God's point of view the future has already happened. How do i know this? I read it somewhere. Oh, I believe in everything - any idea you could ever have is true at some level of reality.

In my more sublime states of mind i literally have no point of view or opinion on any matter. (No pun intended)

A further possible intro for the editorial for the next ERMHA Murmur - I offer these thoughts to you. I always endeavour to be even-handed and I often ask myself, 'why DO I believe that?' or 'what makes me think that is true as opposed to something else?' Especially when it is an idea which most people would consider to be off-the-wall or just plain 'wrong'. That brings us to an interesting philosophical question. Namely, how do you know what the truth is in any matter being discussed? Is there some internal barometer which recognises truth and responds to it? If so, why do different people respond to different ideas about what the 'truth' is? Maybe Einstein was right - maybe all truth is relative. Maybe it does depend on where you stand and how open and flexible and aware your mind is. Maybe it has many levels and doses.

That brings me to a few thoughts about vagueness. I like vagueness. it has charm and innocence. Specialists tend to become very narrow in their focus and they come to believe that their current approximations represent certainty and reality. This is a sure path to stagnation of the mind.

To quote a famous lunatic, "I have turned vagueness into a lifestyle. My mind is crystal clear but there is no certainty in it."

We tend to be constantly 'rating' people on a number of scales - appearance - behaviour - personality - whether their picture of reality agrees more or less with our own -

It's okay if you read these words and think of me as crazy. I don't blame you. However, the day may come when you understand exactly what I am talking about. Naturally, that day may not come in this lifetime. But it might - if you get plenty of rest and think nice thoughts and eat all your Weetbix

These words written during and after the VICSERV conference - I reflected on the fact that this could be yet another 'talkfest' where thousands upon thousands of words would be spoken and written yet somehow the word 'love' might not appear very often amongst them. If love is not seen as an essential ingredient in a person's 'mental health' then I'd say we're in a lot of trouble. How much time do we spend on cultivating 'love of our fellow man' in our hearts? Are we too busy to love each other? Are we too stressed? Or do we simply doubt our ability to be constantly motivated by love rather than by something else?

What if one day we all turn to each other and say, "Hey, you know what? I'm fearful and uncertain about love too. Why don't we work on it together?" Why don't we share our mutual uncertainty and let's stop pretending ...

More of my notes from that conference - Click here

Update August 5 -

A few more thoughts about those thoughts which 'disturb' or 'unsettle' us ... Why is this thought occuring now? How do I know if this thought bears any resemblance to 'reality' or the 'truth'? Most important of all is to ask if holding onto this this thought is healthy, whether or not it is 'true' ...

By the time you have asked all those questions, the thought itself has probably dissolved. The very ability to 'stand back' and ask such questions is an indication you are in contact with the thinker behind the thoughts. Buddhists refer to this as detachment which is a concept most people misinterpret when they first encounter it. I know I did.

Detachment does not mean you cease to care - it means recognising that you are not your thoughts; you are not your body; you are not defined by your current circumstances. That's the trouble with living in a fast-paced, superficial society like this one. We tend to focus much our attention and effort on fleeting, ephemeral events and we tend to look at the surface appearance. Much like sitting on a beach and looking at the surface of the ocean. You could study the surface for a lifetime and never know anything about the world which exists beneath the waves. I have read where someone compared their thoguhts to waves on the ocean. If you're surfing one of these waves your attention tends to be on the wave itself rather than the vast body of water of which the wave is just a temporary 'disturbance'. Your mind is like that ocean. Your thoughts are the waves. A wave comes and goes but beneath the waves is an entire realm you'll never see if you merely surf the waves.

We also tend to decide who we like and who we dislike based on a fairly superficial impression of Who They Are and Where They Are At. It is generally based on whether we approve or disapprove of their appearance or behaviour or opinions or beliefs or their actions. We focus on the waves and look no deeper. At the recent VICSERV conference, I heard the best ever definition of the 'Us & Them' mentality. 'Us' is everyone who thinks like I do and 'Them' is everyone else. This world is currently manifesting every conceivable variation of the 'Us & Them' mentality. We do it unconsciously and like any bad habit it can only be counteracted by first recognising that we are doing it and then making the conscious decision to stop conceptualising things in this way.

Actually, I recently read an excellent description of this human habit by the Dalai Lama. He spoke about the importance of equanimity practice since you cannot cultivate genuine compassion towards all beings as long as you are labeling people either as 'friend' or 'enemy' or 'stranger. (I may look up the exact quote but you get the idea)

{Include a link to the Dalai Lama's Book of Wisdom}

'The Buddhist interpretation is that genuine compassion is based on a clear acceptance or recognition that others, like oneself, want happiness and have the right to overcome suffering. On that basis, one develops some kind of concern about the welfare of others, irrespective of their attitude to oneself. That is compassion.'

More in august 5th journal - about how the murmur is too small a vehicle for the quantity of stuff I write ... :)

Oh, and last couple of months journal entries - wherever the phrase "Thought Bubbles" occurs ...

Continuing that theme ... if you want the ultimate incentive to endeavour to love everyone you encounter regardless of what they "do" ... many people firmly believe that negative emotions such as anger, hatred, animosity, resentment, jealousy, bitterness etc eventually manifest as physical ailments and dis-ease. Whilst indulging in any of these bad habits, true peace-of-mind is virtually impossible and without peace-of-mind there is precious little chance of genuine lasting happiness, joy and contentment. So, transforming those negative emotions is not really 'noble' or 'saintly', it's actually the best thing you can do for your self (& thus for others)

A useful question to ask yourself on a daily basis, for example even as you read these words, is 'What is stopping me from loving this person in front of me?' Is it merely the belief that I don't have enough love in me to love everyone? Or is it the belief that people need to satisfy certain conditions and criteria before they 'deserve' my love? If so, where do those beliefs come from? Are they healthy? Are they valid?

'Things are not as they seem, nor are they otherwise' - Zen proverb.

The reason Buddhists are vegetarians is simple. One can hardly advocate true compassion to all beings and then turn around and eat them ... it's the ultimate extension of the motto "Do unto others", where 'others' means ALL others not just human 'others'.

Update August 6 -

{Some of this could go into ibelieve.htm}

In the light of recent events of which I have been a part (no puns intended), I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that the universe always gives us what we ned but rarely gives us what we want. I believe the universe gives us a series of challenges and we only encounter a new challenge once we have grown and evolved through facing the previous challenge. For me personally, staying even vaguely positive while experiencing the myriad of exquisite tortures which schizophrenia tosses up was a challenge I lived with for more than 17 years. Obviously it was not perpetual torture - nothing ever is - but I felt like giving up many many times. In fact I would rarely have described it as a challenge at all - I would have described it as absolute proof that there is no justice or fairness in this reality and that if God exists then he deserves our contempt rather than our reverence. So, most of the time I was in a very dark place. I honestly never thought I'd be in anything but that dark place. if there was any light at the end of the tunnel I would have assumed it was an oncoming train.

Now, however, I'm starting to encounter and even greater challenge. It may represent the greatest challenge at this level of existence - namely, to cultivate genuine compassion for all beings, regardless of their attitude or actions towards myself. Sounds simple enough on paper but when you take the idea into 'real life' situations it gets a lot trickier.

In fact, if you want a real challenge, forget mountain climbing, forget trying to cure cancer, forget trying to be an astronaut, froget trying to find the genetic blueprint for life on earth. The greatest challenge you're likely to face is to have compassion towards those you believe have done you (or others) an injustice or harm. True compassion means recognising that people's behaviour and actions are a reflection of 'where they are at'. So, harmful or unjust actions are the result of currently living in a dark place. The greater the harm or injustice, the darker its place of origin. True compassion means a genuine desire that the person will find (or be shown) a way out of that dark place. This is the kind of love and compassion which few of us (so far) seem able to manage. The most perfect and eloquent example of this love which I can call to mind are Christ's word on the Cross after being tortured and cruxified, "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do."

I believe that is the only real purpose of this realm of existence - to grow and evolve. Naturally, everyone has free will. So, you are free to choose not to grow and evolve. Nobody is going to hold a gun to your head and say, "Evolve or else!"

I suppose I could include a message I sent to the Chopra Forum about the nature of love - I did also send them a large excerpt from Emissary of Light soon after this ...

Speaking personally, the past 18 months has been revelatory. I am now in a place I simply would never have imagined being in. I feel as if I have been woken from a bad dream. I am starting to realise that I spent most of my adult life in a very dark place. Looking back on it, it is a miracle I actually survived to tell the tale. People talk about the "long, dark night of the soul". Well, mine lasted 17 years or more - though it seemed a Hell of a lot longer, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, something has awakened in me that I quite frankly doubted was in me. To be honest, for much of my life I have doubted whether love is in fact real. Several times, I convinced myself that it was some bizarre, mutual delusion that people shared (and which I seemed unable to share). Looking around me at those who claimed to 'be in love', it never seemed to last too long or work out very well. I even came to doubt my own capacity to participate in this kind of delusional activity. Not only did love come to seem very unreal to me, the entire world and reality itself took on an unreal quality. I was diagnosed as having "schizophrenia", which is the psychiatrist's way of saying, 'we don't really know what's wrong but we'll give it a label so it looks like we do.'

So, what has awakened in me? For want of a better word, call it "love". A realisation that no matter what the superficial differences that exist in behaviour, appearance, personality, social 'status' etc, we all share the same "essence" or "spirit". I now firmly believe that without some spiritual dimension to your life, "real love" is virtually impossible. As long as people are in the palce that I was, a place of judgement and blame; a place of "shoulds" and "shoudn'ts"; a place of fear and worry; a place of materialism and skepticism; a place of resentment, reluctance and bitterness ... then a genuine experience of love is not going to happen. How I left that place and arrived at this place is still a profound mystery to me. I'm incredibly grateful it happened but it does puzzle me, as do many aspects of the human experience.

{BTW, I quoted Tenzin Palmo's words because I feel they resonate with clarity in saying that what most people call "love" is in fact "attachment" and that is why it is so fragile and volatile and rarely works out. Even if we did call it "love", it is generally highly conditional on two fronts. Firstly, along the lines of 'I'll love you as long as you do X, Y & Z for me'. Secondly, along the lines of only those people who are 'my type' or who meet certain criteria will be considered 'worthy' of my love. The rest I can safely ignore or dismiss.}

If we define "real love" as love which is experienced and given equally to everyone we encounter without hesitation or condition or reservation ... then I'd say it is safe to say there are not many among us who have (yet) manifested such a love. I now have some sense of what such a love is like and that is something I never thought I'd say. I still have a way to go before I manifest it as I can imagine it but I feel I'm on my way. I now believe that the potential for unconditional love exists in each of us. The big question is how to awaken it in more and more people. That is what Deepak and many others are writing about and working towards. The big revelation for me is that if I can go from where I was to where I now am, then nobody is beyond help no matter what you might first think. Because I was as far away from the notion of "unconditional love" as any human being could ever be.

Yes, it was one of many 'golden' periods for the Chopra Forum - this one around messages 52,750 to 52,850 - well worth a visit - click here

Update August 11 -

Discussing 'policies' the other day ... one was about 'No self-harm while on the premises." Well, that depends on how you define 'self-harm' because each of the following could be considered to be self-harm - cigarettes - cafeine - consumption of meat - holding onto anger or blame or resentment or hostility etc ... we are living in a society where most of the 'self-harm' is internal rather than external ... {Needs work but you catch my drift ...}

Just been thinking of a few jobs which would be unsuitable for Buddhists. (Actually, the other day I had a curious thought - I wonder if the Dalai Lama would be so serene and joyous and compassionate if he had a stressful job, a wife, a mortgage and 5 kids!) Anyway, here's a brief list -

Pest Controller - would go against the idea of respecting all life.

Farmer - ditto - if it involved farming animals for human consumption.

Cook or anyone involved in the preparation of animals for human consumption.

Sportsman? - would involve possible physical injury to others as well as being based on an 'Us & Them' style of thinking which is what Buddhism sets out to erase.

Basically any job that would perpetuate inequity or involve any likelihood of causing harm to another living creature. Boy! wouldn't the world look very different if we allbecame Buddhists overnight?

Or any job which would require a person to act in a way which was not kind & compassionate

Any job in the 'entertainment' industry as it tends to foster 'escapism' & short attention spans and especially if the entertainment is used as a medium for displaying violence or unhealthy actions based on anger, greed, jealousy, selfishness rather than compassion & kindness. Since we absorb that to which we pay attention. We are what we eat - physically, emotionally, spiritually.

Anything to do with the military - manufacturing weapons - also anyone required to enact unjust laws ...

Anything which would disturb the balance of nature - habitat - poisons - heavy industry - what else?

You may be able to think of others ... (no pun intended)

A good question might be why we have or need such occupations ...

That's why Buddhists seek perfect enlightenment - not just for their own personal benefit but to benefit all beings. Because until you attain that state your efforts to help others will be based largely on guesswork and you may not be helping them much at all ...

I posted this to the Chopra Forum on August 8th ... might be an interesting exercise to go thru some of those 53,000 odd messages - as with anywhere in life there are some hidden gems ...

Many of my best thoughts come while walking. Usually when i have no pen or paper to write them down. :) I had the following train of thought while out walking today ... I have been reading a lot lately about mindfulness and endeavouring to live fully in the present moment. Then I wondered what our lives would be like if ALL of us took that advice to its ultimate. We might in effect be like the goldfish that were mentioned a while back at this forum. If your memory span is a total of a few seconds then it would be impossible to hold a grudge or an 'attitude' or anything for more than a few seconds. :)

{As well as never being bored since 'boredom' is based on 'Oh, I've done this so many times before' & other unhealthy thought patterns based on old memories ... }

When you look at it, how much of our attitude towards the various people we encounter is based on their past attitudes & actions 'towards' us whether it was 'good', 'bad' or 'indifferent'? If we make the conscious effort to live completely in the present moment (which is the only reality anyway) then there would almost be no question of 'forgiveness' because past actions would become an irrelevance.

That train of thought may need some work but I hope you can see where it's headed. I'm off now to lay down some new tracks. :)

That reminds me of an episode of 'Yes Minister' where Sir Humphrey said something like 'Trains are neutral too but if you lay down the tracks then that is where they will go.'

Update August 8 - finally getting time to transcribe my scribbles from a couple of weeks ago ...

Actually, it's a toss up whether to record these thoughts in here or in my vicserv conference notes ...

It's like everyone is waiting for someone else to make the first move and so the focus tends to be on 'getting through' today rather than daring to imagine and explore the possibilities that exist in the present moment. And again, it's awfully easy for me to put these words on paper ... as long as they remain just words on paper there's almost no point writing them or in reading them ...

It is said that we can have whatever reality we collectively choose to create. Ask yourself if the status quo, the standard operating procedure represents the best we can manage as a species. Maybe it is ... What leads me to say these things? I've asked myself that question many times.

At the moment, we're driving each other crazy. I know that none of this is deliberate - we simply never STOP long enough to FIND another way ...

I realise all I can do is try to describe my own little window on reality. Maybe these questions do belong in the "Too hard" basket along with all those other troublesome questions we rarely allow ourselves to ask - Am I happy - What is love - What are we doing here - How can I help - Is this healthy - How did we get into this mess - Is this as good as it gets - Why is it so hard for us to be kind and compassionate and loving - If our work and our 'lifestyles' are leaving us stressed and drained of energy & enthusiasm then isn't that an indicator we are doing something seriously wrong ...

These words are not intended to be judgemental or accusatory or seeking to blame anyone in any way. We need to open up and share our common uncertainty, our common vulnerability, our common humanity. We've all learnt to be very good at pretending. At keeping up the appearance of being in control and knowing just where we're headed.

Again, I realise that anyone can put these words onto a piece of paper but to turn them into reality is the big challenge ...

This would be an interesting idea to put to a 'family therapist' when one person's behaviour seems 'incomprehensible' or 'unacceptable' to the others in the family unit but that behaviour is just 'weird' rather than threatening or dangerous in any way ... 'I'm just giving them something they can't possibly explain with their current belief system. So, this is an opportunity for them to question and modify that belief system' ...

Always remembering that the label 'weird' is like any comparative term - it does not exist until you have labeled something else as 'ordinary' or 'normal' ...

More thoughts on the mental health system and the current 'rules' and 'philosophy' and work practises ...

"I question that rule - it is based on a complete misconception of reality. Such a rule perpetuates the misconception but I realise people whose souls have yet to awaken probly believe we need such a rule. One day they will wake up and they will see just what I mean - until then, I probably do sound like a lunatic"

I mean that's fine - have your rules but if nobody is prepared to question the reasoning behind the rules you cannot turn around and talk about being 'flexible'. Because that is the opposite of flexibility - it is rigidity. The whole world is based on rigidity at the moment - it is always based on fear which is a long human tradition. Not enough souls have awoken from their long slumber to be able to see how truly absurd the rules are.

People talk about 'rules' as if they are carved in granite and were handed down to Moses on a mountaintop. . No insult intended but I just cannot begin to comprehend the thinking that creates some rules. It's the kind of nonsense that the human race has indulged in for centuries. That style of thinking and those sorts of rules hasn't worked for centuries yet we perpetuate that nonsense as if 'this is the way things are'. It's so very, very, very, very, very, very sad and I pray for all the souls who cannot yet see what I mean.

In fact, I'd go so far as to say that those kind of rules are an actual barrier to healing - for clients and staff alike. Then again, my honest opinion of the current system is that those few who do substantially recover and heal generally do so in spite of the sysytem rather than because of it. Again, I intend no insult, people probably are doing the best they know how and the best the rules and current paradigm allow them to do. I am convinced the day will come when we will look back and cringe at the way we currenty teat people in crisis and people experiencing reality in a different way form all the millions of 'normals'. I need to remind myself constantly of Christ's words on the Cross: 'Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.'

These words come from a very rare perspective. You simply won't encounter too many people whose views parallel mine who are involved with a PDSS. This is because once you get an inkling of what is really going on, you would tend to stay as far away from 'the sysytem' as you could. I ask myself daily what possible reason I could have for hanging around a PDSS when I completely oppose the thinking and the methods and the silly, silly rules which further inhibit any genuine chance of healing taking place. This may sound harsh but honestly at times I am infuriated yet i also realise I would not see things this way if I had not experienced what i have experienced over the past 18 years.

So, why AM I banging my head against a brick wall - I mean I do not have the capacity to go inside other people's minds and souls and wake them up ...

I mean if you want to have rules nobody's prepared to question, that's fine. Just don't turn around and say you're trying to be 'flexible' because it looks much more like rhetoric than a real philosophy.

It can be a tricky situation as i am fairly sure that deeep down you also suspect the rules are silly - I just wonder how many people TRULY believe in all the rules and that the rules are actually helping clients and staff in the healing process. It is hard to look into someone else's soul and tell what they truly believe deep down.

I should remember to pray for them rather than get all worked up because they can't see what I can see. So thanks for everything and good luck with whatever you decide to do with all the 'stuff' i have given you over our time together.

Oh, one final thought - I just remebered one of the pieces of advice in "Conversations With God". The kindest thing you can ever do for another soul is to wake them up. From my experience, you can only wake up by asking lots of questions. Even if the answers are not easy and there is pain involved.

The day will come when you will see these rules as I do. Naturally, that day might not come in this lifetime but I pray that it does. When it does, you will laugh your head off at the way you currently view the world. I know I did. I could not have imagined what it is like to wake up, so I fully understand if people regard these words with puzzlement or disbelief or even view them as evidence oof a very distrubed or delusional mind. I would have reacted the same way just 2 years ago so I can't blame anyone else for whatever their reaction may be.

Then again, my own life has been highly unusual in many respects. I learned to think for myself at a fairly early age and nobody - not parents or teachers or friends or psychiatrists - ever convinced me to follow or even accept the 'conventional wisdom'. When you look at it, the 'conventional wisdom' is what has led humanity up the garden path. So, it deserves to be questioned at every conceivable opportunity. If I had followed the 'conventional wisdom', I would have taken medication for the past 17 years - little magic pills which numb the mind and anaesthetise the soul. This makes genuine healing impossible.

However, I realise it is very easy for me to put these words on paper. We do not yet have enough workers and 'professionals' who are sufficiently skilled in matters of the soul to be able to initiate a better alternative. Not yet anyway. That is why, at present, only a very tiny percentage of people recover and heal and it is almost always by stumbling instinctively onto their own internal healing resources which every human being has but if you're constantly told the healer is external rather than internal ... yet we have developed a way-of-life and a picture-of-reality where many people are not in touch with who-they-are and thus doubt their own capacity and potentials ... I know I did for a very long time ...

From The Matrix - "I'm tring to free your mind, Neo, but I can only show you the door. You're the one who has to walk through it." - sounds a lot like 'Emissary of Light' and the Door to eternity. Interesting ...

More ideas -

It has also been my experience, along with most of the mystics throughout the centuries, that most people will do almost anything to avoid confronting such questions. Keeping themselves perpetually busy and distracted and constantly 'entertained'.

It can be very tricky in the current environment ... on the one hand TELL your truth ... but people whose eyes & minds are closed in fear ... mate ... and there is legislation which enshrines that fear of anything which ventures too far from what we laughingly call 'normality' ...

Also qld.htm has some ideas ... even more ideas late august ... may paste them in one day ... or I may not ...

For example -

I know this is very, very different from what most people experience & I also know that many people would advise me to take the little magic pills to 'even out' my experiences. Well, for better or worse, I've decided I do not wish to be 'levelled out' chemically. I have seen people on medication and it is not , to my mind, a satisfactory solution ever. But then I am a maverick and I genuinely believe I can arrive at the day when the dark side is a distant memory. Obviously that day has not arrived yet and I realise that in the meantime my behaviour might be tough for people to understand esp if allthey have experienced is the relatively narrow range of experiences called 'normality'

I also understand if people are worried about all of this but really worry is something people need to take a FRESH look at. To my way of thinking, worry is proof that a person does not understand their own nature and the nature of reality. At this stage of human history, fear & worry dominate many peoples lives and it is kind of tough to avoid being influenced by the prevailing atmosphere.

I always rebound from these brief excursions to the darkness with a magnified sense of awe & wonder at the dep and profound mysteries of our existence. One day these words will make more sense to people. I pray that day arrives in this lifetime. (I could NEVER have imagined thinking the way I do now nor could I have begun to imagine what these experiences are like - both good & bad) Yet i fully understand if in the meantime people tend to experience worry and confusion about all of this. Take Tenzin's advice and just observe the worry & confusion. I realise that is much easier said than done as I find it tough to merely observe my own agitation esp if i am expectted to interact with others (normals)...

{Left off - speaking in tongues - chameleon - who are you - etc - latest poems - & My Favourite Psychosis}

So, as you can see, I have had experiences most people can't imagine - at both ends of the spectrum. Heaven & Hell. Maybe you can't have one without the other. Maybe. And these experiences have been happening to human beings for centuries - how you interpret them depends entirely on your CURRENT belief system. What one person may see as a 'religious vision' or communication with the realm of the spirits, a materialistic person will dismiss as a 'delusion' or 'hallucination'.

I have always debated within myself as to how much if ANY of this the people around me could handle or understand or accept. People like to think that they are open-minded but in reality I have met very few who actually are. Most people have learned to construct a little box in their mind and they have labelled it 'reality' or 'normality' and they only relate to those people and phenomena which fit neatly into that little box. I feel great compassion for them because it's no way to live. It's a way to survive, but no way to truly live.

Maybe that is waht I chose to do in this lifetime - to help open up some minds which are ready to open up. Who knows. Certainly being 'normal' and doing what everyone else is doing has held precious little appeal to me however people choose to interpret that. I still have many quetions and mysteries I am exploring in my own maverick way - even if i do sometimes lose myself in them. But what's life without risk? Leading a nice, safe, comfortable, normal life has never seemed like something I was meant to do and I suspect, deep down, that it's not what anyone s supposed to be doing. That is precisely why there are so few faces radiating joy and warmth and bliss at this point in human history. The past 18 months have shown me that we are EACH of us far more than we allow ourselves to believe we are. Many others are saying the same thing in different ways.

I honestly hope this isn't too overwhelming for people. A lot of it still puzzles me. At times I will read the stuff I have written - poems or stories or ideas - and wonder where it comes from. At times it is like it is all being dictated to me by some 'inner voice'. I have read that other writers report such an experience. CWG is 3 entire books written this way.

So things are happening that are tough to 'explain' in conventional terms. What it all means is still open to debate and interpretation.

People will just have to trust me that I have some vague idea of what I'm doing and that eventually this will all make sense.

That reminds me of the poem I wrote as I walked along the road one day ...


I've been to the place where it all makes sense,
Where there is no past or future temse,
To get there is easy - you may find,
All you need is a quiet mind.

To be continued ... click here

Last update - August 22, 2000 ... much more to come ...

Actually Journal for August 22 ( click here) has a few more thoughts ...

{In case I forget - check these files for ideas - going - 4cath - vicser2 - I do like to scatter the gems don't I ... oh, nearly forgot - my Journal also has a heap of material ... }

This link also has a few of my thoughts on belief & souls etc ...

This link has some more thoughts on love.

This file has more thoughts on medication & fear & martyrs & the universe and family dynamics ...
{In fact, by September 13th - a lot more has gone into this file chapter.htm than in the one you'r currently reading ... so click here ... }

For example -

"Look, I realise you have absolutely no idea how to handle this situation. It has probably been one of your deepest and darkest fears that you would ever find yourself in a situation like this. I know a lot about fear. The funny thing about this existence is that as long as you hold onto your fears, the universe seeks to test your fears by confronting you with precisely what you dread the most. So you can decide if you're going to live in fear or live in love. The two are mutually exclusive. If you hold onto fears then you do not truly know what love is ... "

could paste bits of quran.htm - on dogma and love and fear and letting go and evolving beyond the idea of judgement & punishment ... much of it was off-the-top-of-my-head which can yield anything from nonsense or gibberish or uninspired statements all the way thorugh to 'Boy! where did that come from ... like a soft voice whispering to me from inside my head ... but don't tell that to my psychiatrist just yet ...


Back to Home Page

For Chopra Forum - Hello again,

I happened across a website today that has the most eclectic collection (try saying that three times with a mouth full of marbles) of quotations. Click here to see what I mean.

Or Click here to visit a random site in the quotations webring.

If I had to pick a favourite ...

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other."
Mother Teresa

Or maybe this -
"The difference from a person and an angel is easy. Most of an angel is in the inside and most of a person is on the outside."
from Mister God, This Is Anna