Tag Archives: revolution

An effigy to energy (or, The Shiner)

I can write you a poem, I can sing you a song, I don’t know if that’s important, might not pay the bills for long.

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Home mountain

Since leaving the mountains, I’ve noticed am incredible receptiveness within me to people, situations, everything. Lots of people call it energy – so I’d be very receptive at this time to the energy.

It’s really fun to make use of it. Everything becomes extremely personal when I’m responding to my internal feelings about the energy. I walk down one path instead of another because the energy in the other path isn’t right for me, at least not now.
But also with people – there are people I don’t want to even catch the eyes of, at particular times. I understand some of the people that keep their eyes to themselves all the time. But that’s way restrictive to do that all the time. People all have divinity within them, but sometimes you will not see that divinity until all the crap covering it up is dispelled for a moment. And, those moments are truly significant.

Last night, I went to Southsea, across the sea from my fair isle, to see one of the bands that made up my teenage years. The King Blues, they first came into my life through Jass playing Under The Fog on his CD hi-fi, their reggae and folky sounds a new side to his music collection. I found them catchy, and saw them more and more. But they split shortly after I last saw them, as inadvertent headliners of Greenbelt Festival 2010.
A few weeks back I had a wonderful experience up on Brading Downs of listening to King Blues and Far From Finished, it being such an energy-filling experience,

like an overflowing waterfall finding its way through the middle of my heart before landing deep into the ground.

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Overflowing

When I got back to the house, I explained my experiences to mum who wasn’t interested as she was ready to go to bed. I looked up on the internet what was happening with King Blues, if anything, and it turned out they’d got back together last year and would be touring this month, first show of which in Southsea. It was like all the Gurus, all the devas and gods, the universe and everything, had combined together to offer me this gift. I felt absolutely ecstatic about it all, the synchronicity and everything.

So I treated myself to a Bangladeshi meal in Southsea, really good vibes. £60 to my name becoming £48. But it was essential.

I get myself to the venue, and there’s this young guy playing solo going on about being 21 years old all through his set. But quite nice. And a guy in the audience marvels over my woollen jumper. It’s the first time I’d really talked to anyone new in a long time. It was my first time let free on a night out in years. I went a bit further forward to enjoy the music more, then got a little bored and got a beer. Several people empathised for me getting ID’d at 27. More interactions that I wasn’t quite used to experiencing, but feeling good.

Then during the second band, an all-female screaming punk band that I didn’t like so much, I went to get myself another drink and met a guy who didn’t want his beer his friend had bought him, saying he only drinks cider. I bought him a cider and drank his beer, and we talked about everything, I said about the mountains and even showed photos of the mountains, we talked about the beauty of the fog, he told me what his kids are doing, that they’re not punks despite him being a punk. He was the friend of the jumper guy.

So King Blues come on, and we start a jumpy pit straight away. It’s easy going, but I’m a little wobbly on my feet after a few pints, but really really enjoying being thrown around, falling a lot and just stretching my arms up waiting for someone to pull me back up. This feeling of unity is getting stronger and stronger on the dancefloor. A lot of people seemed a bit like stones only wanting to move so much to begin with, and seemed quite confused by the conception of a pit. It was my first pit in years, and I realise that I’m now one of the toughest guys in the pit, if not the toughest, as there aren’t any really big guys in there and I have age over everyone else it seems. I remember 10 years ago being always one of the smallest, having to watch myself, but here, partly because of the general feeling, I feel more or less completely free to just flow with the music.

There were one or two guys that I noticed getting a bit feisty – they stick out like a sore thumb at a gig like this. Their energy is one of turbulence, not working towards the same as everyone else. I often patted one of them on his back, and physically said to him a few times about the vibes.

About halfway through the set, I can’t remember which song was playing (possibly one of the new ones they played that haven’t been recorded yet) I was thrown to one side of the pit and must’ve been halfway through turning to fall backwards into the wall of the pit when a fist struck me cleanly to the side of my right eye. I don’t know what kind of a punch it was, but it was deliberate, and probably hard enough to knock some people out. I staggered back, caught by others, and stammered that I’d been hit, face in my hands, and I pointed the direction it had come from. I didn’t know who it was, because there were a few it could’ve been from.

I met the guy a few minutes later – I don’t know what made him bring it up, but he explained something like beer being spilt into his eyes. I can’t remember what my reaction was. But I remember pretty much hugging him, and even jumping up and down singing one of the songs with him soon after.

These things happen. People react with anger to things. But if we’re going to react with anger to anger we’re never going to get anywhere.

I am incredibly blessed to have had my life changed so much in recent years, and now to be carrying this energy of Soma Skanda, and of Lord Shiva. As well as the energy of love in different forms. And so it felt very natural to kind of shrug off the hit, and then work immediately on transcending the energy of that. I didn’t feel even a moment’s upset at what had happened.

You pick yourself up and continue where you left off.

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Continuations

We were working on something awesome in that pit, and the hit just gave me more energy towards that. It kind of made things more lucid, and the power of converting that energy into love…..damn, it was like the most immense of pujas.

I’m not going to say that this is what we should all be doing. Not many people are going to fly themselves around a dance floor, into everyone, as a part of working with the energies, and not many are going to be up for the possibility of what happened to me.

I wore Shirdi Sai around my neck, and am not sure yet of his link with it all, but I’m on the path that Sai asked me to be on now. I go with what feels right, and know that Sai is at the middle of it all. What he’s doing bringing me to punk gigs I’m not quite sure, but I did feel really like a punk veteran now.

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Resting in peace

These last months have been incredibly reinforcing of why it is that I have made the decisions that I have made, and also very exacting towards myself to absolutely connect with whatever I went through as an adolescent.

The home of my youth is soon to be moved out of, my mum has sold it and is moving on to dreamlands, and I go to the land of my future, the community that has already stirred and started my life in so many ways, in the realm of gods and golden skies of west Wales.

But, this is by no means and ending of anything.  If anything, it is a reckoning of life in its fullest extent:- a realisation that things all evolve from something.  I am not what I have become without having gone through everything that I have gone through.

I worked at a vegetable factory for 4 days in August.  Those days were the most intense of days.  The love I fell into kindled me, caressed me, and yet my back was like as if about to break.  I had no choice but to quit, despite having found such amazing grace whilst for 11 hours a day sorting rapidly through trillions of beans on a conveyor belt in a completely artificial environment.  Amma, Amma, Amma.  How your name comes to me in the most trying of times…

Last December, early in the morning of Wednesday 17th, I awoke to banging and thick smoke.  I was watching over the house that I was living in whilst the friends I lived with were on holiday in Thailand.  I ventured downstairs, and the living room was a blaze.  Thus became an incredible fight and stark visions.  I was almost naked, yet the heat was pumping me into hypospherical state.  By incredible grace, I was still alive, and I put out the fire, but this was the beginning of a new beginning for me.  I got kicked out of the house a few months later (which was really good of my friends, to give me a few months to steady myself, maintain a sense of solidity..), and this, pretty much, pushed me to see no option other than eventually moving into Skanda Vale.

I don’t want communication with huge amounts of people anymore – no matter how good the communications are, nor how nice the people are.  I don’t want to have comforts anymore.  I don’t want to be earning money so that I could do something with it.  I don’t want to even go dumpster diving anymore.  I want solidity, and to deepen the connections of my heart, and that is all.  Come along and check me out with my progress with that, and you will find me at Skanda Vale.  I move there a week today (Monday 17th October).

Last night, I had a dream.  I had a somewhat apocalyptic dream.  In the dream, there was fire, and smoke, a lot of smoke, everywhere.  The date was 17th October 2015.  And, maybe it is just full of symbolism.  I am burning it all up into smoke.  Just as Chris would often speak of Babylon burning, maybe making a decision like this is all that is needed to send it up into smoke (metaphorically).  All the desires, the putrefaction of life, it can come to an end like this.

Over this past weekend, I have been filled with huge amounts of insights and realisations about loads of things.  The strongest thing was my intimate connection with so much around me.  I had really intimate connections with quite a few people around me, and going to the Thursday Waves 5 Rhythms in Caledonian Road exasperated this, and then just several outpourings of lots of love from different people at the London Skanda Vale seminar filled me to the brim.  This kind of connection needs to be plentiful, and shared all around, to everyone and everything.  You have no idea how far it can go.  It really really does make a massive difference to give someone a hug for a minute instead of a second.  And to dance with even the most lost of people.  And to hold hands, to reach out to each other, to say ‘I am here for you’ over and over whilst looking deep into the other’s eyes and then being told ‘I am here for you’ by the other.  We need to be real!  We need to say things that may sound like they would confuse the situation, even make things weird between us and everyone else, and just say them because there’s no point holding it back anymore!  Say it all!  Express all the love, all of it, all of it.

Jason Rowe taught at the Thursday Waves about going further, never giving up.  He said about how he’d had a really terrible day, everything was going haphazard, to the point of him needing to scream as it had all got too much and I imagine he probably cried a lot too.  This happens in the dance a lot, too.  When we dance, we dance the dance of our lives.  We have our whole lives come out, and speak through movement, crystalise everything around it, freeze it all in time.  And, our lives are full of so much, and so much is really full of emotion.  It follows us upto death, and beyond to everything that goes beyond death.  And all we can do is either ignore it or allow it to take hold of us and cradle us all around this universe.  We are universes waiting to be collide and form all new things.  Our emotion takes us further than anyone or anything else ever can.  We are guided so much more strongly by our tears than a plane by its fuel.

So maybe I am saying goodbye to the world now.  Maybe I am soon to be going into a monastery, where I will spend the rest of this lifetime.  I do not know.  All I know is that it is my next massive leap.  I am leaving everything behind physically, but on a deeper level I am taking everything with me much more so than I have ever done before.  I am taking childhood friends who RIP’d over the years, I am taking former and present loves, I am taking bands and music and energy from projects and the world’s political everything and all of the sufferings of everything that I have taken on in these last few months.  Don’t think I’ve been here just to hang out.  I’m taking it all, and in the world of revolutionary-needing-to-change-absolutely-everything, this is my final big explosion of doing it all.  My activist marching days ended a long while ago, when I realised that I was actually leading hundreds of rioters to wherever they went with my drumming.  I’d got to that point, and it was time to retract, to withdraw and prepare my next hand.  I feel into everything, feel everything that everyone’s going through, take it all in like a hydrogen collider, and store it to be all processed in the only way that I see possible anymore.  There is no place elsewhere in the world where I feel it possible to do so much change.  So don’t think that I’ve withdrawn from the world.  Because I haven’t.  The revolution will not be televised, for there is no television anymore where there is revolution.  We have always been tapping into deeper levels with all this, and a deeper immersion into it all is the only way.  I’m not saying that I’m suddenly better or more elite than anyone else, but that when Phil Ochs ended his life he was ready to work on a deeper level than apparently possible in the world at the time.  When yogis retreat into disappeared places, they don’t do it to forget about or escape the world.  The Buddha was always bigger than Lenin, or than Che Guevara, or than Gandhi, and everything that he did was completely revolutionary.  Thinking and doing and being out-of-the-box.  There’s a reason why there’s a box in the first place, and most of the apparent activist movement, as well as spiritual and everybody else movement, is really quite tightly wrapped up in it because that’s what maya, delusion/illusion, is capable of doing.  We believe so much in our ‘self’ that we see nothing outside of it, and forget about the omnipresence of deeper and more beautiful things because we’ve theorised ourselves away from it.

Resting in Peace.  Here’s to Sophie for building me up for a change that I would’ve never got to had I not been so messed up and thrown all around by our teenage breakup.  Here’s to Phil and Tom for, through the deaths, igniting inspiration to live deeper and fuller than I had been, for clearing the cobwebs inside of me and making sure things really really do count.  Here’s to Graham and the King’s Lynn Firm for combining forces inadvertently in making a real night to remember for me, January 14th 2006.  Here’s to the Fox’s (neighbours) for the comical connections that we’ve shared over the years, seemingly concluding in style more recently.  Here’s to all who have helped this body get to whichever place when it has stuck out a thumb.  Here’s to Alex, for not being afraid or resistant to what felt right.  Here’s to Welsh James, for becoming the life-friend of Nessie, and for joining me with much of the teenage needs to just set fire to things.  Here’s to my parents for all of the dramas that have unfolded in my childhood and adolescent life – all of which, really, they’ve had no choice about at all on a universal level.  Here’s to all three of my siblings, for their continued enthusiasm and always keeping their arms and hands open when I’ve come by.  Here’s to Kudo for providing so much fruit to all around.  Here’s to Larissa, Sam, and all other loves/nearly loves that have taken me on a trip somewhere.  Here’s to pretty much everyone at Skanda Vale for accepting me somewhat unconditionally, every time I’ve gone there, and just allowing me to go through everything I’ve needed to.  Here’s to Nikki, Nikki, Alina, Gabriella, Victor, Dyal Singh…..all who encountered me and offered so much healing and love.  Here’s to Linda, and to Tara, and to bloody Occupy Rob, incredible people to have had as friends at incredible times.  And here’s to the bands that have transformed everything for me all along this journey (in chronological order from oldest to newest..)….AFI, Sick Of It All, Arch Enemy, Bridge To Solace, Vanilla Pod/Frenzy/Stranglehold, Social Distortion, The King Blues, Bomb The Music Industry, A Silver Mt Zion, Okkervil River, Modern Life Is War.  And here’s to Ajahn Brahm, and to Ray Raine, Lama Chime Rinpoche, Guru Sri Subramanium, and all other teachers who have ventured into my life to give nothing but total grace.  Thankyou, even in the darkest of experiences, everything that has happened is everything that has happened, and that is beautiful.

If anyone would like to write to me at Skanda Vale, my address will be this:

Simon Jilley
Skanda Vale,
Llanpumsaint,
Carmarthen
SA33 6JT
United Kingdom

Out!

5 steps towards defunctionalising the spirit of a society

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1: Confuse the hell out of people.

People become trapped by their own seemingly ideological decisions on current affairs. I am supportive of free speech. Oh shit, I didn’t mean free speech to everyone. I just meant that in a democratic country, the people of the privileged colour and creed should be able to creatively express themselves (of course we don’t draw pictures of Jews with big noses and robbing everyone of their money anymore, as bad things happened to them after that was last done).
And then the very artists that we campaign in support of disrespect our efforts, and quite simply humiliate us in front of all the media, and 5 million readers.

This happens constantly. We, sheep of this society, are constantly getting humiliated for our decisions. Politicians do this amazingly efficiently. The Lib Dem betrayal of students is a great recent example, and before that the Labour betrayal of the working classes. The Greens, I envisage, will do much the same. For politics holds no room for soft hearts, for kindness and compassionate action. We will become humiliated for following in the crowd again, just as we always have, and we’ll always be made to feel rather personally weak and powerless. We will not find a strength to our internal voice, a confident and instinctually powerful approach to everything, until we give up following these false idols and messages.

Hell, I’ll relate it to myself. I’ve followed blindly into much of the activism I’ve been involved in, without knowing quite what has been going on. When I stayed for 6 days at Balcombe Community Protection Camp, I didn’t know much about the fracking stuff, or the symbolism of the Balcombe camp’s presence. I was recently told off by a good friend for not realising that everything, essentially, is a cycle of carbon. Oil is carbon, from trees that have fossilised into oil over millions of years. The problem with its extraction isn’t just that it’s greatly polluting, and a greenhouse gas, and perpetuating this disastrous system of ours. It’s that the carbon is being taken out of the ground and put into the air at such an unprecedented rate that it, really, is totally fucking things up, as we are nosediving into some kind of an oblivion that there’s no escape from. I didn’t realise, in Balcombe, that what I was doing externally was purely ritualistic, being a part of a symbolic circle of souls recognising the great unveiling coming near. We were not stopping fracking. We were there to be together at this quite painful time for all of us seers.

But not many people saw this. Many got into heated collisions, mentally or physically, with police, landlords, agents, etc etc. Some protested, and made themselves known that they would do whatever they could to stop this happening. Many just watched on, and lived in the intense surroundings just happy for the amount of support they could get and give others, as we were all connecting with the pains of Mother Earth.

We’ve all been told that this is an environmental (NOT ecological – quite a difference) issue that is being discussed in Parliament. We’ve been led to believe that Mother Earth lies in the hands of the Lobbies and the Decision Makers, and if we get the right people voted in, or if we donate enough to Friends Of The Earth or Green Peace then we’ll get to live in a nice world that will run sustainably for generations to come. We forget ever so easily about the 6 Degrees Climate Model, the Peak Oil stuff, or the fact that most of the planet is already so overly polluted that things are seemingly only going to get worse and that no governmental decision-making is even capable of doing anything (look at how successful the Kyoto Protocol has been, for instance, and tell me if we’re getting anywhere near saving the world yet).

We’re just getting humiliated. We believe what we’re told, and get led into this self-destroying trap. We become powerful followers, and rely on the state and people around us to keep us ticking, because we just lose any sense of self-determination.

We’re confused, and don’t know what to do.  Rather than form into networks of people working towards great things, we follow as a swarm of quite angry but confused beings.

We need to stop following!  We need to start acting!  Where we see something with our own eyes and hearts (ie not on the TV or internet or newspaper), there is something we can respond to with our whole hearts.  There are always going to be people or other beings suffering that we can help, or there will always be things that we can pump full of so much more encouragement.  Just make sure that you don’t get too confused by everything that’s going on outside of our own eyesight.  A lot of it will come eventually to us as Chinese whispers anyway – so no need to trust it so.  The real world is in our reactions to whatever is going on immediately around us.

2: Get people hooked on the shit that destroys them worst

This is quite a simple one. As soon as people are made to feel more comfortable by, well, anything, they become dependent and probably addicted in some way to it.

Benefits scroungers are just this. They grow up in a family that only knows how to live off benefits. They get their minimal amount of money to live on, get ridiculed and marginalised somewhat (depending on where they live), and that is their life. Well, not quite. When the government starts changing the system, and taking away benefits like disability benefit and imposing new taxes like the bedroom tax, people start to hurt a lot as that which they have always been so dependent on to provide them with a stable sense of living is being stripped gradually away from them and they’re made to taste new flavours of poverty.

Drug dependency is a nasty one. It has been over 3 weeks since I last had an alcoholic drink, and I happen to have felt a stronger spiritual solidity than I’ve felt in a long time. Call me weird, but there’s a massive link between alcohol and stability of the spirit for me, and I completely understand why ALL religions have advisories about intoxicants, with most suggesting that they shouldn’t be used (in Buddhism, the precepts undertaken especially by monks and nuns tell to refrain from taking intoxicants, amongst other things). I’ve come to strongly realise that I can experience things much more fully, the further away from intoxication I am. But I consider that we’re also intoxicated by foods, by stimulants like caffeine, electricity/bright artificial lighting/low or high pitched whirring sounds and the internet and TV, by pollution and stress, sometimes by each other, and by excessive amounts of advertising. It is the energy of the machine that mainly intoxicates, and mixed with other external stimulants we have a cocktail for an unsettled mind and spirit.

I’ve often lived around people undertaking continuous drug usage, be it through ganja, alcohol, Mandy, or whatever else. I don’t see the benefits that any of it can have in the long term now, nor the short term benefits most of the time. The destabilising effect on the spirit is so strong that it greatly effects any sense of self-determination. We don’t know ourselves. I lived for over a year with a very committed Rasta devotee, a good friend, but I couldn’t see the benefits of the ganja to him anymore, especially towards the end. I saw it lead him to recklessness, and to spacing out/in so far that he kind of disappeared for long amounts of time, and came back with the same troubles of old. I saw it as an escapism, an addiction.

I was allergic to wheat for all of my adolescence. Strangely, my allergy coincided with my bladder improving immensely (I had quite serious issues as a kid..). Then, at 21, I decided to overcome my allergy. It had gone on for too long. I did overcome it, and quite amazingly so. But one day, as I told a good, very mindful, friend of mine about having to give up cycling because of getting osteoarthritis in my hips, she advised me strongly to stop eating wheat. I brushed her advise aside, feeling I kind of had things sorted anyway. I’ve explored the incredible effects of barefooting on the hips (and rest of the body), but another friend advised that, in Chinese medicine, it is very important to keep the feet warm and in good condition. In late August, I got quite a nasty bug and fever, that lasted just over a day. I noticed shortly afterwards that my tolerance to wheat had disappeared, and my digestion would now be made upset by it. So again, I gave it up. Call it a coincidence, but my hips have definitely felt a lot better since.

I tell my mum about the potential wonders of giving up wheat. She won’t even try it for a week. She’s so dependent on things being exactly as they are that her spiritual and physical wellbeing are less importing than fulfilling this dependency.

Imagine yourself not drinking tea, or coffee, for a week. Or not eating meals at the prescribed times every day. Or going out and not having to get intoxicated with drink, or with drugs. Even if you’re at a drug-filled party. Imagine yourself just giving yourself a chance for once, to actually show you really what the world can be like without having so much shit pumped into it all the time. Imagine not being so scared to be alive, even when shit does get bloody scary and you’re going to die unless you go downstairs and sort out everything that’s on fire and, well, stop sleeping. Imagine just not taking the fearful approach for a while, and embracing every new challenge and obstacle that comes along as being a spiritually friendly something-or-other.

I wrote recently about asceticism, and of distancing ourselves from the comforts that keep us in our place.  When we’re really comfortable, as these addictions are making us, we’re feeling less likely to do anything about making a difference to the world within and around us.  To practice asceticism is to practice distancing ourselves from the comforts, and is to practice strong non-attachment.  I am walking on an ascetic path, because it is the only way to spiritual growth, for me.  I need to keep challenging my perceptions, understandings, and knowledge of everything in order to really move deeper in spiritual understanding.  And even that must be challenged, too.  No knowledge is ever going to be constant (not even the knowledge that I am here right now).  So I have to learn to live more and more freely, unattached, to flow with the ebbs and flows that are there.

3: Turn people against other people

Nazi Germany worked on the premise that some people were good, whilst others were horrifically evil.  Jews, gypsies, lefties, and other ‘minorities’ were what was causing things to be bad in Germany, and so they could do whatever they needed to do to get rid of them.

I’m quite scared that much of Europe is becoming like this again.  I’m scared that Muslims are going to be shipped off to the metaphorical concentration camps of the present age – countries that have been torn apart in North Africa and the Middle East by wars mostly started by imperialist powers.  I’m scared that there’s going to be another ‘great solution’ to all of the problems in these lands.

But, we live in a slightly different time, now.

I truly believe that the media coverage of Sydney and, more recently, Paris, were swung towards creating division within societies across the world.  I believe that this has been the case for years now, but that this is the new ‘ISIS’ phase of media manipulation/control.  We’re now told, as Al Qaeda is old-news, that ISIS is now a severe threat to our hegemony, and that they’re going to be attacking us from all angles.  Because, well, we haven’t been attacking civilians from all angles across a distance of many thousands of miles in Africa and the Middle East for years anyway, have we?  We don’t have drones dropping bombs, mainly killing civilians, in Pakistan on a daily basis, do we?

Anyway, division.  If we become too friendly with Muslims, we’ll start to see that they talk a lot of sense, and that, indeed, they are real people that normally have much bigger hearts than we, ourselves, do.  Over the past decade, many churches and mosques in Britain have linked arms, celebrating universal brotherhood, that we’re all just walking each other home, one big family.  Now there are institutions that seem to be planning to break this.  To destroy the bond, maybe out of jealousy.  Rupert Murdoch famously stated last week that ‘until [Muslims] recognize and destroy their growing jihadist cancer they must be held responsible [for the Charlie Hebdo shootings]’.

Jihad, by definition from the Quran and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, is described as: ‘internal as well as external efforts to be a good Muslims or believer, as well as working to inform people about the faith of Islam.’ [taken from the Islamic Supreme Council website]  Surely, this definition of Jihad suggests that all good Muslims are jihadists.  And, if we change the wording slightly to become: ‘internal as well as external efforts to be a good person, as well as working to inform people about the importance of being a good person’, then I would describe many many people as jihadists.  And, I’m sorry Mr Murdoch but I’m never going to vouch for destroying Jihad.  It is an inner and outer struggle to be a good person, and that is an inherently good thing.  I consider myself, under this description, to be a jihadist.  I am spreading the good word of good action, and I anticipate to continue doing so until the day I leave this world.

It is very easy in protest movements for some people to be against other people.  This is partly why I advise caution about the Green Party – to join any party seems to be to join an ‘us-and-them’ mentality.  At the Young Greens launch in November that I went to and spoke at, I waged that the Green parliamentary candidate for spreading an ‘us-and-them’ war, and that it was not at all conducive to what we, the majority, were actually wanting, nor was it going to do anything beneficial whatsoever.  I do not believe that the Green Party will bring the country to a loving and understanding place.  I think that that must come from within each and every one of us, no gods/no masters [can make us loving people, it must come from within], and, believe me, I see that it is happening.

What didn’t happen after the Sydney Siege, or the Charlie Hebdo shootings, was a great swathe of people turning against the general Muslim population.  Instead, huge amounts of people, millions, saw that people could very easily turn against Muslim people as a result of this, and that this, at all costs, needed to be prevented.  During the Sydney Siege, #illridewithyou emerged as a beautiful reminder of how far, in recent times, societies have developed in compassionate and empathetic terms.  It was astonishing, for me, to see that the world has, indeed, been moving greatly forward, despite everything.  Then, despite all of the shock that was caused, after the Charlie Hebdo shootings a lot of people wrote, in quite some depth and across the whole media spectrum (including in the more right-wing publications) of how Muslims were not to blame, that Muslims needed to be supported and that the gunmen were definitely not representatives in any way of Islam as a religion that is based on the same love and compassion that all spiritual wisdoms are based upon.  I have found this surge of support for Muslims incredible to witness.  I visit Facebook more often now than usual just to receive the boosts in optimism I get from seeing so many people post in support of the Muslim communities across the world.

Despite all the efforts of certain peoples of power, the world is responding with screams of NO to division, and YES to working through things in loving and compassionate ways.  And we need to continue in this way.  The direction we are going is brilliant.  Hope is found in the unifying actions that we are taking.  We do not need to fight for ‘democracy’ (a sick and sad joke, in my opinion, that has impregnated billions with the belief that we are working towards a common good for the world, and that other billions of people like, say, China or Iran, have got it completely wrong and need to be reformed), but for love and clarity and a beautiful world to be living in.  And you don’t fight for love with anything but love.  Which makes the word ‘fight’ seem a little out-of-place.  A loving world needn’t necessarily have depictions of the Prophet Muhammad as a loon, just as it needn’t necessarily have depictions of Jews as beastly characters.  A loving world is/will be based on all actions coming out of a loving place, and happening for loving reasons.  So I, personally, see huge hope in millions of people everywhere unifying in support of Muslims everywhere.

4: Make people really tired and depressed

Again going back to benefits-scroungers.  When I was scrounging my benefits when I moved back to Bath at the start of September, I was stressed by realising that I was spending all my money on transport to interviews, I was stressed by the fact that my benefits weren’t going to total up to the overall cost of my monthly rent payments (which had to be paid in advance), and I was stressed by how little I seemed to be getting anywhere with the jobs I was applying for.  Well, until I landed myself a really nice survey job, that is only casual but that I still do now.  The job centre, despite being pretty alright in Bath, were quite institutionally depressing, to say the least.  And, really, I didn’t know where money was going to come from.

A friend of mine, who has mental impairments and so lives in a care home and needs fairly continuous care just to make sure she makes the right decisions and stuff, had her benefits stopped a few months ago because she hadn’t returned the right form to the job centre.  She says that she’s hoping to receive the benefits again come April, but until then she’s got pretty much nothing, and is hugely stressed by money (and it didn’t help that she went overdrawn in the bank last month, costing her a lot more money).  She’s not given any support.

One of the main policemen involved appointed to the Charlie Hebdo case in France was one Commissaire Helric Fredou, of the Limoges region (where two of the suspected shooters had been from).  Within hours of having a police debriefing on the Wednesday night, the day of the Charlie Hebdo shootings, Helric Fredou is reported to have shot himself in the head, committing suicide.  It is officially said that he was over-worked and depressed.  If this is the case, Fredou’s death is probably just one of absolutely countless deaths that will go unheard that are caused by work-related stress.

What is this great world that we’re working for, if it just ends up with more and more people depressed and over-worked?  Well, it is a world where we are able to be controlled easily.  It is a world where our depression is treatable with anti-depressants, and then we’re really under the control of the big man.  We start to feel worse if we don’t have anti-depressants, and so we’re hooked.  Or we need drink more.  Or we take up smoking, or watching TV shows that give us a bit of a good feeling, or we become more demanding to people around us, turning relationships into much more compulsive relationships that are not based on the same love and passions that they were originally.  We become needy, because we need more.

I realised that, should I continue to live in the city as I was, I would spiral in and out of this cycle of stress and depression, as I was really struggling to make ends meet financially.  Not only that, but, as I was so tied to working at whatever days and hours, I couldn’t fulfill my spiritual needs to, for instance, visit Skanda Vale, or to head home every now and again.  I would be really quite caught up in a system that I was not finding enough reason for me to be caught up in.  Life was elsewhere for the living.  I needed to get out of the system a little, and I have plenty of connections to help with that so I just went through one of many possible routes.

I was a lucky one.

Not everyone can deal with the stresses of just being able to get by.  It can be nearly impossible in certain situations to do it.  Many graduates are leaving university and going into very uncertain situations – and if they don’t have financially well-off parents to support them, the situation can be very difficult (especially after the comfortably institutionalised living that the student loan provides).  Having worked up so much optimism, enjoyment, and general positivity during the degree, it feels like as if the world outside will be a great place to move back into.  Then it’s often heartbreaking to realise what is actually there.

But does it have to be like this?

The reason why I am a lucky one is that I have had a lot of experience of living without money, or with little money, and gained a lot of connections whilst doing this.  I have a list of communities and friends that I can happily travel over to and work for in exchange for my keep.  I have also got connections with Skanda Vale, with Marpa House, with Eco Dharma, Chateau Anand, and I know a fair few other communities that would also theoretically host me for as long as need be.  I am not reliant upon finding a paid job in the city to get by.  Whilst I am working now, and living with friends, I know that I have plenty of other options open to me, too.

Not everyone has this.

I believe that we need to build a foundation for something great that everyone can fall into.  HelpX needs to become a household name, and communities need to become stronger and stronger.  There should be thousands of possible hosts in these lands, not just hundreds.  And there should be so much support offered to each and every person, because we’re all in this together.  Just as the rich person has much wealth, the poor person has much wealth.  Different kinds of wealth.  And different kinds of stress levels.

We can all live beautiful lives.

5: Tell everyone that love and happiness is conditional

There’s a great Okkervil River song that I experienced an incredibly beautiful moment listening to, whilst cycling back to my house at the time in Weston Village, Bath.  It was a crisp January night, and I think I’d just been at a friend’s house, or in town, or something.  I got up to the village, and the Okkervil singer started singing ‘U-N-C-O-N-D-I-T-I-O-N-A-L-L-O-V-E, why-y-y did you leave me?’, and everything clicked into place, and tears streamed down my cheeks and I was unable, for emotional reasons, to keep cycling.  I had to get off the bike, as I realised that I had pretty much the same amount of love pouring out of my heart to every single being on the planet.  And I searched through my mind for anyone that would break this rule, and I couldn’t find anyone.  Love was not conditional and based upon being a family member, a friend, on what anyone had done or on how I’d been kissed or what had been said to me or anything.  Love had become a universal feeling, felt alongside gratitude towards the whole human race, and towards all other beings, especially everything that was immediately near me that took my attention, but not limited to (for instance, I felt a huge amount of love towards certain stars in the sky).

I know that this isn’t a story that many people will relate intimately to, but I see the closeness in a lot of people to getting to that kind of level of loving feeling.  We just need triggers, and then we’re there.

Today my mother led a 2-hour workshop on Hakomi-based exercises, based around ‘connecting’.  I saw and experienced at least three of the people there get to extremely deep and fairly fragile places in the heart, and absolutely thrive off of this connection.  It was incredible to be a part of, and was just triggered by some very simple and short exercises.

I’ve been brought up in a world where I’ve been told that I should, for instance, not talk to strangers because there are so many weirdos around.  I’ve been told that my family and friends are there for me, and that there’s no need to look much further.  I’ve been told that happiness is found in material things, and often have been told that there’s been something wrong with me if happiness hasn’t been there and there’s seemingly been no reason for my upset.  I was in a 14-month relationship with a girl, who I think I still love, who made me tell her that I would love her forever and I had to find ways inside myself to allow me to say that (and I did).

I realised that, when I say ‘I love you’ to someone, I do not mean that I love them and only them, and that there’s something hugely special about my love for them that sets it apart from my love for everyone and everything else.  Of course there’s a huge amount of trust and understanding that is built up in a relationship, as the closeness can be a great thing like that.  But, for me, the love can and will never be concentrated down to just one person.

I think that everyone I’ve ever met is like this.  They all have so, so much love in their hearts.  Even if they don’t seem it on the outset, it’s quite easy to tap into it, just as my mum did in the workshop today for at least a few of the people there.  And whenever anyone realises that, actually, it’s safe and perfectly alright to give out this love freely, they do, without exception.  We are built to love.  It is our innermost nature, I’ve heard so many times, to be loving towards one another.

There is very little that tells us this in the media.  In the media, if I was reported to be going up to strangers and telling them that I love them I would be depicted either as a madman, or as a raging hippy.  We get boxed in very easily, by the media as well as by each other, and it can be hard to break out of our box.  But what is it about spreading love that makes it so seemingly dangerous for society, that we must be marginalised for doing so?

It is that it stops people alienating themselves, or feeling alienated; it stops people being isolated; it stops the ‘us-and-them’ mentality; it opens people’s minds up to compassion and empathy; and, perhaps most significantly, it starts getting people to live much more wholesome lives that could never be provided for by a government or institution, and could only ever be provided by the richness of humanity.

Happiness, we are taught, comes about when we’ve reached a certain point in a career, when we’ve succeeded greatly, when we’ve bought a new car, or a new TV, when we’ve got married, when we’ve just received a new child, etc etc.  Happiness isn’t right now, but is set in another time, when we’ve achieved different things in life.  I heard an advert on the radio yesterday claiming that a new bed could be just what I need to fill the gap in my life.  I instantly rejected the proposition, arguing that my hips and lower back are so accustomed to a harder surface that they need very special requirements (of a thick jumper or the equivalent under my lower back/hips, and preferably on a hard surface) that I could almost guarantee the misery that a new, ultra-comfortable, bed would cause me.  Happiness isn’t accumulated through money.  It shouldn’t be relied upon that attaining something new will provide happiness.  Even getting married, or having a child – don’t rely on it to bring your happiness.  Rather, allow the happiness to with you right now.  And if it isn’t with you right now, then maybe it’s not the right time for happiness, or maybe you could work on the love word a little more and see if you can get to the crux of where it’s at.

For love and happiness isn’t conditional.  They are both unconditional, and the realisation is what the poets and mystics mean when they talk about ‘revolution’ and ‘enlightenment’.

Buds and Blossoms in the Lights of Chaos

Yesterday I was unsurprised to hear of another ‘Isis’ attack, this time on the completely innocent petty bourgeois white slightly Islamophobic Parisian comic Charlie Hebdo, and for the media to get their spin right this time around, with no widespread compassionate action campaign like what came about from the ‘Sydney Siege’ (not Sydney Street Siege, where Winston Churchill famously allowed two gun-wielding anarchists to be torched alive).  Yesterday morning, the media was quick to point their fingers right into the noses of every Muslim alive, stating that it was the radicalisation of their religion that caused the death of 12 innocent people.  Under a month ago, the first story I read about the situation in Sydney was about the response of hundreds of thousands of people in Australia, offering the ‘#illridewithyou’ support, letting the Muslim community and other minority communities know that, amidst this heightened level of discrimination that minority communities were sure to experience in the wake of the incident, there will be plenty of people to publicly support them whilst on public transport.

Less than a month on, the magic of heartfelt-action seems to need rekindling.  There has not arisen a similar kind of response.  People are responding with fear, and calling themselves Charlie when, maybe, they do not know what this implies.  A number of academics and high-profile activists have already spoken out against following with the crowds in this manner.  That Charlie Hebdo was, actually, pointing fingers in the wrong directions, in divisive ways, in ways much aligned with the French Front Nationale (far-right extremists who have been found responsible for a few other ‘false flag’ events).

I feel lucky, or, more, well-watched-down-upon, to be alive today.  I have a purpose here.  I have a reason to be alive.  I have something major that I am actively here for.
A year ago, I was feeling like I was on the edge of life, and I was struggling to remain calm at the edge of life.  I was becoming intense.  Wherever I would go, it would be the right place for me to be.  I was full of an energy of change, of directly affecting the world around me in the biggest ways possible, but in the most loving ways possible, at all times.  I knew, though, that to live in this world, to live amidst a world that is based on different values, whereby the base value of survival is not important to most people, I needed to change direction or else the message would be lose even from myself.
I sought to root myself.  To do something more socially-centred, to connect on more shallow but more common grounds.  I was feeling exasperated by the situations I was putting myself in.  Nothing was quite working.  I was able to get a short-term thing going, like working at a festival or with doing travel surveys, but something still wasn’t right.
And then I moved here.  In these woods, I’ve found a softness, and found myself being looked after, and somewhat cherished.  I’ve found a normality of living that comes easier for me, that flows better, that I can see myself growing through.


Two nights after my last piece of writing, which I cried hours over writing, I came very close to ending this bodily existence.  It was a terrible mistake, but extremely real.  I woke at 6am to a thumping from downstairs.  The dogs were both alerted too, and faintly barked.  I put a torch on, and there was thick smoke.

I think this has moved me into new directions.  I have told the free education activists that I’ve dropped out of their actions, at least until further notice.  The energy needs to go somewhere radically different.  To something more consistent to the karmic nature of this existence.  Every evening for the last week or so, I’ve been in bed with such a weight that has needing me to be meditating plenty, that has needed me to look deep inside for comfort.  I’ve realised that the external comforts, even those offered by friendly eyes around me, family and friends, are so nourishing that, through a lot of this, I’ve lost connection with the intimate spiritual nature of my existence.  I’ve lost touch with it, I’ve been distracted.  I received a huge teaching over the last week.  With the intensity of things going on, I’ve seen the Buddhist teaching of Right Speech and Right Action.  So much of speech is useless, is created through erratic or needy energy, and ends up having a draining effect.  I love being in silent presence with other people.  We break the silence to say our useless stuff, and then go back to the silence.  Same goes for actions.

I realise, as I keep realising again and again throughout this life, that this is done on my own.  There are people that will come and will go from being around me.  And there are feelings, sensations, experiences, that will come and go.  I will most probably come and go, too.  But I can find a warm sense of truth in the nature of my solitary path.  It’s a path emblazened with light and is shimmering as well as trembling.  It will end when it is time to end, and it will weave in and out of things as weavings need.  Had I not heard thumping, had I not acted so sharply, I may have burnt to ash in those moments.  How am I supposed to respond to this?  My response will never be how it is ‘supposed to be’.  It is what it is.  Joyfully solitary.  Riding the waves till the big one, that will take this body on to new soils.  Clasping nothing, but the beating heart that electrifies the sounds in my ears.  Just holding it, never wanting to remember what it feels like because it feels like a bloody treasure trove every time I reach into it.

We have got to be spreading more love and light around the world, whether physically or spiritually, just spread it as far as it can go, and then spread it further.

#IllRideWithYou, always ❤

On Islam, and the importance of bonding to unify civilisation

the embrace

I was astounded to read all over the web today [see: http://mic.com/articles/106442/australians-show-the-world-exactly-how-to-respond-to-terrorism-with-ill-ride-with-you%5D about the tremendous coming-together of hundreds of thousands of people in support of Muslims everywhere after an ‘Islamic State’ story again gripped the imaginations of millions.

Responding out of nothing but unconditional love and devotion, hundreds of thousands joined the #IllRideWithYou movement, with many disclosing details about their bus, train or tube journeys and that any vulnerable person may happily join them on their journey and feel very much supported.

As a long-term supporter of Islamic freedom from discrimination, it felt like today was an absolutely momentous day for Islamic communities around the world (even if in just a small way).  I remember having arguments in my Sociology classes at aged 16, some 8 years ago, about the unjust discrimination against Islamic people.  I’ve fought it consistently for all of my adolescent and adult life.  There has never been a doubt in my mind that the Muslim people must be loved, just as with any people, and maybe especially much so because of the treatment that they so often receive.  It has always felt like a critical cause for the state of civilisation.

And here we stand, on the potential edge of civilisation.  I just read about how a GM crop of corn has  wiped out about 37 million bees in Ontario, Canada [http://earthweareone.com/37-million-bees-found-dead-in-ontario-canada-after-planting-large-gmo-corn-field/].  This will probably go largely unreported – because, well, it only amounts to about 600 hives and I guess it’s when billions of bees start dying that we start to care – but it’s just as valid of a depiction of the apocalypse, the great unveiling (from Greek apokalyptein, to ‘uncover’).  We’re able to see the world for what it is through the great tragedies that unfold.

I have experienced kinds of realisations relating to people and environments, to humanity and what ‘humanity’ entails, and to cognitive understandings and responses to ‘the moment’.  We just can’t love enough.  There’s so much that needs to be worked on, the situation is rather urgent, but we’re still get lost…trapped somewhat…in our own minds, our own sufferings, our own inner turmoils and torments.  I see in people all around me that the attitudes towards really changing things in lives and surroundings is flustered by the tribulations or desires that we get ourselves lost in.  There are very very few people that I could see chaining themselves to a building for something that really mattered.  If we see that a rape is happening right in front of us, would we not intervene, stop it, because it is so bloody wrong?

I see the world being raped of it’s naturally loving nature.  I see that through such campaigns as Islamophobia and the wars that it unfolds, through the damaging attitudes of the wilderness we have been forced to believe because of ‘needing to cultivate the world in order to sustain the human population’, through limiting ours and our brothers and sisters’ beliefs through dogmatism (be it religious or atheist/non-secular), through fierce domestication/consumerist extremism (to the point of everyone having to living in concrete shells, with street lighting blocking any understanding of natural darkness, and pollution clouding our minds, hopes and dreams, and plagueing ourselves in this cell of a career-orientated life with our outward-stretching wings clipped so short that we can never possibly fly free), we are blocking the naturally-occurring sweetness from even existing in life. If we are to discover anything more than the shell within which we’ve been told to live (physically, spiritually, and symbolically), we drop it all and venture immediately into the little wilderness that we still have left in this world, and reach our arms out and embrace every human and non-human that comes our way, and welcome them into our ever-growing family.

This #illridewithyou campaign has ignited something.  I feel it.  I hear it.  The tears that streamed down my cheeks a few hours ago upon reading about the universal and unconditional love that is finally publically showing itself en-masse are tears of compassion, the kind of compassion that a revolution is wholly based upon.  And, the brave amongst us will chain ourselves, throw ourselves down and through everything, to bring this change about, to spread the love as a wildfire.  The brave amongst us will tear apart this system of fear and repression, replace it with our own that is not a system and nor can be pieced together.  Know that true love is the light in my sister’s darling eyes.

When the world is sick
can’t noone be well,
but I dreamt we was all
beautiful and strong.

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.