Monthly Archives: September 2014

edge of life

The Art of Treating the Job Search as Sacred

It’s a new life.

It’s your last chance to make your mother and father proud.

impossibleHidden away, in a field of empty chairs, we close our eyes and think of any way out of this swamp that we’ll sink into as soon as we step off the chair.  We will not see the light of the free world until we become unearthed by wolves, or deer, or the life under the soil.  We cannot see a light anymore.

I, this body, this mind, this sentience, am in a job or career search that I neither understand, nor find a sense of salvation or answers through.  The days can be troubling, with many ideas coming through my mind.  I kid myself at times with it all.  I tell myself that I’ll get a really comfortable life for myself; ya know, the sort with motorised transport and regularity and wearing smart clothes and with a lover and stuff.  Then, I question whether this is actually what I want, at all.  I remember over and over that I told Skanda Vale that I’d be back soon, and 6 weeks later and I’m still not back and probably won’t be back for some months.  I think back to my time at Chateau Anand a huge amount, maybe as it was this time last year that I was first settling in to my 2-month stay there.  I get myself a little confused over not quite understanding what is going on for me right now.  But, all this is leading to something big, something really big.

Almost 18 months ago, I wrote about my dissertation becoming a sacred experience.  It had become a daily meditation, and a daily focus for much of my energy.  Through it, I rekindled a loving relationship with my home area, and found some long-standing roots.  And through it, I found a way to truly love something that was being created by my own creativity.  Now I am sitting here, having been on a computer for much of the last few days looking for jobs and even doing the absolute worst, lowest-paid jobs I can imagine is even possible, and I’m going to tell you all that it is a sacred experience.  Because, well, there’s nothing else but the sacredness of this whole unravelling.

Unlike the Sacred Dissertations writing, this writing has been hugely inspired by quotes that I have read from Henry David Thoreau.  There’ll be four sections, for how I feel, somewhere deep inside this whole existence, that whatever is going on now is to be treated as a temple, as a water droplet landing on the forehead, as a fawn opening its eyes for its first time.  It is all beautiful, it all is boundlessly beautiful.

The Stag who lived forever. Full story here: http://www.storywarren.com/the-stag-who-lived-forever/

The Stag who lived forever. Full story here: http://www.storywarren.com/the-stag-who-lived-forever/

#1 Be true to your work, your word, and your friend.

The work is as much a part of you as the word, the friend, the eyes and the spirit.  It is where the energy of life is going, the prana, creative lifeforce, and it is the deepest connection with the earth beneath and around us that we are communicating in working this energy.

Truth.  What can be truth, when we have to sell ourselves all the time, and pray that we get this or that job because we just need to be able to get some money to pay for the bills for the things that we don’t really need but, really, we do need?

Truth is beyond selling ourselves.  It’s perhaps the biggest, hardest, thing I’ve had to do in a long, long time.  I’m going to have to shave very soon, and wear clothes to conform.  The construction work that I’d hoped for, if all fell through with teaching-related stuff, is out-of-the-question until I get a CSCS card, which I’d have to wait until November for.  So here’s my future.  My beard will be trimmed, hair tidied, and I will play it all on the superficial for a while.  I will sell myself as a commodity, as something that can be looked at and judged by my very cover.  My cover.

Truth is knowing that something deeper is going on here.  Just as in Buddhism it is so important to base oneself around the ‘non-self’ philosophy – we are not really ourselves, there is no permanent ‘self’ there, it’s all a fabrication and illusory and no matter how much we try to claim that we are something in particular we really aren’t – in general truthfulness there is a knowledge that experience is beyond the facade.  We are not this job or that job, or even this body that we are needing to sell for a while.  We are something deeper, beyond appearances or statements.  And that deeper experience of what we are comes different for every single person.  For me, I scream louder than anything around, over and over and over, and that is freedom of what is me.  And I will keep doing this, no matter if I am freshly shaved and in a penguin suit, or not.

Henry David Thoreau wrote, ‘Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth’.  This brings tears down my face, as I remember also in Into The Wild this being uttered, and I remember my brother basing his life some years ago upon words like these….wanting so, so much more than is offered in any way by the society that is around us.  That is what is to be lived for.  Truth.

truth

#2 Be yourself, not your idea of what you think somebody else’s idea of yourself should be.

When we have to sell ourselves so much, and give up so much of what we have perhaps stood for for quite some time, we can feel like we’ve become an idea of someone else’s creation.
Society’s creation,
The Man,
The bloody illuminati,
The mainstream MTV conformists,
God.

God made us what we are.  God is creation.  And creation is within you.  You are creative, you have the unbelievable, indefinable, and unpredictable nature to be creative.  And so you hold the creation within you.  And so you hold God within you.  And so you are made by what is within you.

In Buddhism, there’s the interesting idea of tṛṣṇā.  Tṛṣṇā is craving.  But it is a craving that exists before any conceptualisation of a body, of a physical essence.  It is through tṛṣṇā that karma is born.  The craving for something that needs to be resolves.  Without tṛṣṇā, nothing ever existed.  It is the tṛṣṇā, the unconditional and boundless craving, that creates the existence of all matter and non-matter.  The craving that led to any form of your existence is what makes you what you are.  There isn’t going to be a boss, or a societal movement, or so-called world leaders, or any form of external figure, that is going to ever have the slightest kind of effect on your ultimate nature.  Your world leader is something that you can’t even understand.  Nobody can understand how the world is led – which leads to all these world mysteries, these questions that we cannot possibly answer.

There is nobody’s idea of yourself.  You project an image out to the world, and they take it in and it fixes their minds in some kind of way.  A week and a half ago, I walked through Bath with no top on and covered in blue body-paint.  I didn’t feel like I was topless, as I had all this paint on and felt like I was still wearing a t-shirt.  People didn’t look at me so much.  I was projecting an image of there being nothing unusual about my appearance.

So be your God, be your tṛṣṇā, and allow the world to be much, much vaster than it can sometimes be made out to be.

into wilderness

#3 Cultivate poverty like a garden herb, like sage.  Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts.

The past is going to be with everything that you carry in life.  Things will change, at times, and you’ll remember something from years back and break down crying because it pulls your heart so tightly back to whatever happened, sad or not-so-sad.  No matter what is happening in life, there is still everything that has happened, and we can absolutely thrive off of that.

I meet so many people that refuse any sort of connection with the beauties that they’ve already experienced in life.  So often, one painful moment can block out 10 years, or even longer.  And it’s so sad – because that experience and those memories stay around for the goodness of the world, because once we latch onto them the world around us will tremble with the immensity of the moment.  And it is through that, through connecting with our own existential ancestors (ourselves at different stages in life), that we find a powerful influence and potentially overwhelmingly positive effect on the world.

We are often deceived by what we can gain, in life.  I’ve experienced it myself, a lot.  To buy more stuff, or do more stuff, as to numb that really quite hard-to-deal-with emotional stuff of the past (or of the present, or future) that can come up.  I bought things in France that were mainly for this purpose.  I bought an mp3 player, and a camera, and books, and loads of flour and oil, because all of these were things that could help to numb the troubles of the ‘now’, to stop myself thinking too much into whatever was going on.  The flour and oil was for pancakes, which I’d fill my stomach to the brim with, as a drug.  And since being back in Bath, I’ve had some real issues with just stopping, just really stopping with all the action of doing things all the time and always being busy with stuff, and going into a world of just connecting with myself.  Last week, I realised that I needed to take life independently for a while, and probably not see so many people for a while, as I need to focus on my own stuff a lot.  I feel better alive like this.

Poverty is sacred.  Sage is sacred.  Salvia.  Salvation.
In these times, I am on the very edge of borrowed finances, but it is not through financial loss or gain that one experiences poverty.  Poverty, of small means.  We must conquer ourselves.  Find new means to break all our chains, every cage, to communicate.  Poverty, of small means.  Break every cage.  Make it something great, cultivated.  We are a blob of irresponsible unsustainability, defacing this planet that we call our home.  In poverty, of having small means, we give away all of the excess that we have, and move to a small and minimal way of living.  I remember in Alicante, walking through the old city below the castle, I would encounter the crazy cycles between ultra-rich tourists, and the ganja dealers and cat keepers.  The sun would blaze on us all, though, and great silence was to be found on the westerly walls of the castle grounds at dusk-time.  Wealth does not create silence, but often creates increased chatter, internal and external.  In Eastern Switzerland, I met some of the calmest energies of my life.  It wasn’t such a rich area of Switzerland, and there was something incredibly special there.  There was a huge amount of silence.
silence

#4 Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.

Speechless I lay down my head, shaking from this feeling of total emptiness. No bloody dogmas can save me, no bloody higher power can save me. Just myself, and my creativity, all the things I care for, and all the people I just love for being here. And blood ‘ell, this is why it hurts, this is why it hurts. All the things we lived for, are just going to be bloody well nothing. Just like you. Just like me. But these are our catalysts to keep us going on and on.

Truth.  Freedom.  Making life absolutely what it is and was always meant to be.

I’ve been told by so, so many people, people I’ve met on the road and people I’ve met in other situations, that I am so lucky to be living so freely, to be so young and without commitments.  And yet – am I really so lucky, or am I just following what is always true to me?  Is it really luck that creates a life that is what it feels it’s meant to be?  Is it really luck that makes me able to put my thumb out, to sit in a field of Christmas trees chanting at an emanation of Lord Shiva, that has me swinging around myself and, if I’m lucky, a lovely dancing partner, to music that is moving my body in ways that I don’t want to control because it’s so beautiful to just let the body swing around like this and it’d be such a shame to stop such a deep act of freedom?

I can guarantee that I will still be living the life that I’m meant to be living in 20 years time.  This could even be a life of rotting in the ground – who knows what’s going to happen – or it could be a life as a father with kids, or a life as a long-term jailed ‘criminal’, or a life as a hermit, or a life as a monastic.  It’ll be whatever it needs to be, whatever it’s meant to be.  

Not till we are completely lost or turned around… do we begin to find ourselves.
I was not designed to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest…
Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.

I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.

~ Henry David Thoreau.

buddha

I Remain

I get sick, wasting and perishing last nights dinner.  A massive relief is shortly compounded by my head becoming a block of clay.  My body temperature is doing weird things.

It is fever time.

 

There are many insights that come about through fever, that I had forgotten about as my last fever was quite some time ago.  Delirium leads me closer to liberation, or death, or out-of-body-experiences, or something.  I’m cursing, with all the bloody might in this body, the curses of ‘modern’ living, of the artificial lights and sounds that make me want to punch and spit and pull every tooth out of my mouth and throw them each individually at every pollutant, wherever they are.  I guess it’s the Kali in me or something, but I am fuming crazy at this time.

I come across the Fens on Saturday, exhibiting about ten different energy crashes in the short two-hour hitch.  Whilst travelling across, I fall into the age-old trap of noticing the artificial world that is all around me.  I feel the tears of the rabbits that I have seen dead by the dozen over the last week, all Fallen Heroes of the great Myxomatosis.  I saw one rabbit weeping when I was walking to King’s Lynn last week – it startled me, appearing right in front of me, crying.  I said hello Mr Rabbit, and it just couldn’t hold back the tears.  I knew that this rabbit was not carrying an inner-bound sadness, but was crying the tears of a fallen and unloved world, overcome by something robotic and non-living.

Tears for the sufferings of the world that we stand in

I arrive, on the other side of the Fens, at the home-town of King’s Lynn.  I’m due at a political demonstration there – just a small one – about the absolutely massive and yet absolutely secretive TTIP Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.  I’m due to join a group of other local 38 Degrees activists in giving out flyers and speaking with people walking by.  It’s to be the first time of me demonstrating anything politically in King’s Lynn.

The group is small, just six or seven of us, but we have the whole street covered.  A guy named Ed drivels about some kind of architectural course he did many years ago, how he had to mark many students dissertations and how he was up until late at night every night for a month and……..something I feel disconnected from a sense of urgency.  I go out on my own, walking alongside people walking, telling them in the closest words I can find to their own about TTIP, trying my best to not make it sound like another bloody conspiracy (because it’s so major that it may as well be a conspiracy).  I tell them that the country is about to be bloody fracked, especially when this comes in, and their NHS will become owned by a big American pharmaceutical company (probably alike the one that’s massively profiting from every person who pours icy water over themselves, sadly, really really sadly…..).  Some people are enlightened, switch on, raise their awareness to the fact that, yes, this is actually something quite big if it is how I say it is.  I don’t actually know too much about it, but have very recently read Paul Kingsworth’s writings on the North American Free Trade Agreement, the exact equivalent.  I know that it isn’t just another bill that could privatise your NHS.  It’s a bill that will restructure and monopolise the entirety of Europe’s economic structure.

In between energy crashes, I notice that one of my fellow campaigners is a New Labour representative.  I’d only missed out on that one because my vision is blurred in this time, and I’m not noticing much of anything.  She wears a ‘Vote New Labour’ campaign rosette, and has two big placards under the table with large VOTE NEW LABOUR posters pasted to them.  Here’s what she looked like on the day:

Joanna Rust campaigning for New Labour’s policies on TTIP

I had wondered why I’d had a few people reject me giving them leaflets on the basis that they were ‘already voting Labour’.  I was reminded very quickly of the Bedroom Tax demos of a year and a half ago, when New Labour representatives essentially infiltrated the preparatory organisation of the Britain-wide demos, controlling all of the Facebook discussion pages, and deciding exactly what was going to be happening on each demonstration.  They were projecting a mainline, corrupt, political party as the organiser of activism towards a mass swoop of non-affiliated activists.  In Bath, I got banned both from the discussion page for encouraging people to make the demonstration vibrant and worthwhile, and by the Bath Anarchists group, who were upset at the G. Rilla manifestation at a previous demo so were, effectively, giving me disciplinary action.
This situation was no different.  Joanna Rust was definitely campaigning for her own cause, or, well, not really her own cause but whatever she’s being paid to read the lines of, and the demonstration generally had a strong, pungently fishy aroma of New Labour infiltration, with people potentially getting very much the wrong messages.  At the end, after we’d packed up, Joanna had a small group that she had found herself talking the party line at.  I didn’t hold the energy inside me to question what was going on, or make a move to put things into perspective, and instead walked off to be with my own ill health.

 

I left Skanda Vale on Tuesday 12th August, about three weeks ago.  My time there had been of intenseness, of life-making emotional and spiritual connections, of finding a real concrete purpose (if only for a few weeks).  It might not sound like much – but being in a community that is completely, completely based around its spiritual devotion and practice, is a pretty massive thing.  I left, dropping back into the Bath bubble for a few days, to a feeling of shell-shock.  I was shocked at the lack of worth and meaning in the world around me.  Sure, people are doing things in their lives.  Maybe some people are happy, or sad, or they might be really busy and feel like they have a purpose and duties and stuff.  But underneath it is the fucking sunrise.  It is the bloody forgotten roots, the disconnection from deeper things, the inability to stay still for more than a few minutes without having to do something.  I may sound like I’m having judgements of the outer world that are, perhaps, quite unfair….that are perhaps more inner-built, that I’m projecting my own stuff on an external world around me.  And, well, maybe that’s true.  You can make up your own mind about what I’m saying.  But the energy here is often very artificial…we need stimulants for anything.  To make anything even remotely bearable, we need to take in so much external stuff.  And, I think this leads to us living in a very, very sad world.

I have recently been taking in parts of the media, in different forms.  My dad listens to Radio 4 for about 10 hours a day at the moment, and watches Channel 4 news, and BBC News at 6pm and 10pm and then maybe later as well, and Newsnight, and whatever other news programmes there are.  It is really sad, because there isn’t a disclaimer at the start of the programme saying about the amount of people that you’re about to see being blown up, having their limbs torn off, being shot (even if they stop the images just before the person physically receives the bullets in the head, it’s perhaps more shocking to leave the images that way…).  These news programmes are more shocking than any film I’ve ever watched – which may have ’18’ ratings because of the violence that will be shown.  The images in the news programmes are not theatrical.  The deaths and violence, though, is portrayed almost like a form of entertainment.  And yet, I remember when, ten years ago, the country was up in arms about how an ‘MTV generation’ was being desensitised to violence by what they saw on TV.  This stuff that I’ve seen over the last week….it makes me feel like I have been out to a war-zone, and have just watched the killings taking place.  I am upset that my dad is presenting this to my eight year old sister, as the essential viewing material.  Of course, me being ill, I felt incapable of saying anything.  Any argument raised against this stuff just exasperates things, makes an issue out of their way of living, a critique of their form of status quo.  I can easily be categorised as merely a disgruntled youth, or a wayward activist, a lone fighter that is disorganised and unshaven and scatty-brained etcetera etcetera.  And so I become.

The small print says ‘The American Academy of Pediatrics recognizes exposure to violence in media, including television, commercial or self-recorded video, movies, video games, print, radio, recorded music, computer, and the Internet, as a significant risk to the health of children and adolescents. American children between 2 and 18 years of age spend an average of 6 hours and 32 minutes each day using this media. Extensive research evidence indicates that media violence can contribute to aggressive behavior, desensitization to violence, nightmares, and fear of being harmed.’

I’ve rarely met anyone who has allowed me to properly explain myself to them, and for them to seemingly understand where I am coming from.  At the moment I am applying for jobs, most of which will be very low-paid considering my experience and qualifications.  It is all a total act, in this process.  And, in my view, it is extremely conducive to a closed-minded and suffering world.  We all have to prove ourselves to one-another, without letting things just flow into place.
When I arrived at Chateau Anand, central France, last Autumn, I was looked at quite awkwardly by the competitive community.  I was told, near to when I left, by the director of the community that he thought that I was going to be useless, because I looked like I would be on first glance.  He was the sort of person to make such judgements.  He was very harsh, ruthless almost.  But I became his most useful volunteer, commandeering the tractor and taking charge of a number of projects, and never, ever being found to slack in my long days despite not having enough cheese and bread to keep me comfortably going for most of the time.  The director let things flow into place because it didn’t cost him anything.  I was a volunteer, and he’d agreed to take me on for two months.  I almost left in the first couple of weeks, but decided that the 4-day journey back to England just wouldn’t be worth it.  I had to work through a lot of stuff to be there, and gained a lot of respect from others in the community for my commitment and resilience.  And thus I stayed, and learnt a lot, and the community received a lot from me.  I did meet a few people that I could relate a lot of stuff to, whilst there.  I’m sad not to be with some of these people now.  Many of them were Russians, fabulous people.  Dispelling all of the media’s critiques of Russian people, that are around at the moment.  And we were holding a revolution in the community, that was based on unconditional love.  We left with the love firmly put in place, and now the community will remain a hub of that vibration.

 

Sometimes, the world seems like it’s getting shorter and shorter for me.  I’ve sat with this feeling something coming to an end for well over a year now, it lingers wherever I go.  It’s like as if I’m being watched over by the beautiful spirits of the forest, and they’ll take me over to their worlds when it is time to go.  But they’re with me in most of my moments.  I’m not doing anything particularly risky to put me on the edge-of-life, but I certainly have felt like I’ve been near to the edge of this body for quite some time.

Kodama forest spirits, pulling me to-and-fro into worlds of reality and non-reality.

Something really very beautiful I heard the other day, about the big sleep…..when the time comes, it’s just like as if you’re going to sleep.  There’s nothing more to it.  You don’t know where you’re going into when you put your head down on the pillow at night, and likewise when you take that last breath.  You go into a relaxed state of being.  These are words from His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, spoken to a youth delegation in Berlin in June.

 

I can’t say what is going to happen to me in life, now.  I am feeling highly-sensitive in many ways to the world around me.  I feel like I am rejecting most of it, now, as being polluting, and harmful.  In this time, I focus on finding a job in which, hopefully, I can put energy in good areas.  I will be living in Bath again very soon, perhaps for the last time, as my life may well take a very different direction after the time has been done.  I cannot imagine myself being with this world for much longer, as I am losing hope in it more and more, and am becoming increasingly disillusioned by the offers that are laid out before me.  I am utterly disgusted with some of the things that I’ve seen recently, and am seeing that I am fighting more and more for things that are far shallower than what I really believe in.  Soon enough, I am sure, I will begin the fight for what I actually believe in, and will go it on my own, and people will join when the time becomes right.  We will lead a new world, and not like how people have moved to other parts of the world to escape the rat-race.  We will engage the race, and fight it to the ground, maul the life out of it, and burst its grips on the sanctity of every being.  We will release all beings to become ultimately guided by forces that are misunderstood by all domesticated beings, and move back into the wilderness to thrive again.

To thrive again.