MotherShip by Sam Wise ___ PLEASE REFRESH PAGE FOR WEB FONTS

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Monstaville Book III. Monstaville 3


Monstaville 3

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“See, this year’s a pretty cool year. This year’s a year based in divine will and manifestation. So, I know that every single one of you has gotten to experience and play with something we call your ‘DA’: your Designated Asshole. You see, the universe rearranged itself according to your pictures of reality, which means you are the director and the writer of the play. Everybody you encounter is playing a role in your play. And, the way you can tell a DA - this person comes into your space and you just wanna, Oh God [sounds of angst], totally, wanna deny: ‘You - you are not God. You! Everybody else is God but you.’ That’s your DA. And the way you know you’ve got a DA is pitch ‘em out of your life - two weeks later you get somebody else does the same exact shit. You know you’ve got it then. So, it’s a ‘divine mastery manifestation and will’ year. It is a year where oneness is coming together at levels humanity has never known. In the midst of wanting to kill everybody, of course. So, I know you’ve all got to deal with your DAa’s.”
- Tashira Tachi-ren (excerpt from the ‘No Rules’ talk at the Star Visions Conference, December 1996).


In 1998, I managed to find an affordable flat to rent just outside East London (later to become effectively part of it as people spread outwards into the suburbs). Finally, at the age of 32, I had my own place, albeit still rented accommodation. The flat was unfurnished, stripped bare, and I decorated my bachelor pad in my own style. A married friend refers to it as my ‘fun pad,’ where I live independently and do what I want. No longer did I have to put up with a landlord’s ghastly tastes. It could reflect my rich inner life; sensitive, artistic soul that I am.

I had moved to London on this occasion in 1993 and was quickly made homeless when the company I’d started working for moved its base to Clapton. I took a gamble, leaving my grotty bedsit on Edgware Road to sleep on a friend’s floor in nearby Hackney for a while. Alas, an old shoulder injury acquired in India back in 1991 prevented me from carrying heavy bags of merchandise and I therefore had to quit.

I eventually moved into a shared house in Forest Gate where I lived in a room on the ground floor. Unfortunately, getting drunk was a popular pastime for three of the four other tenants (who could conveniently retire to their quiet rooms to sleep). Eventually, the raucous noise from the lounge next to my room became unbearable and I was obliged to ask them, in the early hours one day, to let me sleep. One of the drunks (English, and an ex-mod) reacted aggressively, claiming it was their right to make whatever noise they liked. Exasperated, I had no choice but to move out. Through a friend, I found a tiny room in a shared house in an area of East London that was, at the time anyway, very civilised.

“I knew I shoulda taken that left turn at Albuquerque!” - Bugs Bunny (Warner Brothers).

My peaceful existence there was interrupted on a couple of occasions. A coarse cockney guy who rented one of the rooms briefly loved to play loud music on occasion which brought us into conflict. He decided to confront me after returning home from playing football because he then felt physically energised. Consequently, he appeared confident that his threatening display of power and his readiness for a fight would enable him to get his own way. He wanted to play his music loud without any consideration for either myself or the girl in the other upstairs room. I just smiled at him calmly because I could see exactly what was happening. He moved out shortly afterwards (this was, in fact, 1996, I believe!). An Australian girl with whom I got on pretty well also lived there for a while. I once asked her English boyfriend if he would mind turning his music down. He threatened back: ‘I’ve been arrested by the police (you know)!’ As if I was addressing a notorious criminal and should watch my step! Apart from that, we enjoyed an atmosphere of harmony as tenants. I had lived in shared housing in various parts of the country for about ten years and never once experienced any such difficulties with my fellow tenants.

While settling into my new flat, decorating and having brought my belongings back from a friend’s home in Cambridge, my ten-year [plus] endurance test began [Retrospective note: “The last 10 years of brutality” as Lauren C. Gorgo refers to the struggles of all Starseeds on the Ascension path, ‘The New Day has Dawned!’ 11 November 2010, www.consciousco-creationalcoaching.blogspot.com/2010/11/new-day-has-dawned.html).] The English couple to the left were pleasant neighbours who eventually discovered that the price of their property had quadrupled in value since their purchase. The husband was due to retire so they moved to Spain rather briskly a few years after my arrival. The area was changing swiftly and since they left the property has been owned by two families from Bangladesh. The neighbours on my right were a Pakistani household and the flat above me was occupied by an Irish architect who lived in Ireland and stayed in London every few weeks on business.

As to why I wrote this song
I ain't done nothing wrong, but I'm unhappy
Question: Do you blame your life on life
And say it all began before the nappy?

Hey, hey, take me away, hey, hey, take me away

- Ian Dury and the Blockheads (from ‘Hey, hey, take me away’ written by Ian Dury and Mick Gallagher from the 1980 album, Laughter).

 


Once I had flattened the garden and the grass seed had grown into a splendid lawn I started doing tai chi on it a few times a week. A week or two later, whilst practising, I heard laughter coming from the teenage daughters upstairs in the house next door to my right. Shortly after this incident, while I was practising again, the youngest daughter suddenly opened her bedroom window and turned up the music on her stereo either to get my attention or to disturb my concentration and prevent me from continuing. The father interrupted her apparent act of sabotage, telling her to stop and she did, but that was the first and last time I heard him do anything to discipline his children. The eldest daughter and the son had left home before I moved in leaving two daughters at home and another girl (I think) who was later replaced by another girl who seemed to have arrived fresh from Pakistan and who gave birth to a son not too long afterwards.

There was relative peace for about a year, including the occasional friendly exchange over the fence. Increasingly, however, when I sang a few tunes with my acoustic guitar (usually for 15 to 30 minutes around midday), the neighbours would turn up their television so loud I could hardly hear myself, or else they would turn the volume up to extremes later that day. I had never encountered such behaviour before and found it desperately inhibiting. So much so that I simply stopped playing at some point and lost touch with my music. At the end of 2006, I suddenly broke down as all the suppressed emotion overwhelmed me and poured out. My emotional body (or ‘Inner Child’) seemed to be talking through me from beyond my adult identity. It repeated the words, ‘You destroyed my music’ several times. It seemed to be directed more towards life and the universe for placing me in such a heartless environment. It has often occurred to me that I have been living in a form of prison cell here yet spared complete isolation and restraint. It has, nevertheless, been psychologically tortuous for one as sensitive and creative as I. The suffering over such a long period of time has built up and, when I have been close to maximum capacity, it has taken only one small event to throw me over the edge. I feel that my magical Inner Child has always felt utterly helpless in relation to the outside world. It is as though my emotional self exists in a womb and has no influence over what occurs outside yet cannot help but be affected by it. It is a vicious circle, I guess. The beliefs and circumstances both remain negative because nothing ever improves externally. It has to start from within and that requires transmuting the conditioning and energies from the past and empowering that part of myself. [Retrospective note: At a Heart Blessing, St. Germain counselled someone to send green heart energy down to their Solar Plexus from the Heart Chakra. This, he explained, was intended to reassure his Inner Child that all is well. That twelve-year-old believes it knows, ‘This is how life is,’ he said. He recommended that they both work together on creating something new. This was, by the way, one of the numerous occasions on which St. Germain made sure that I was listening…lol. It appears that in order to comfort the Inner Child at an earlier age it is more appropriate to rub the belly (or touch it lovingly), or to move the feeling of tenderness in the heart “down into the belly (your emotional centre),” a practice that is “VERY effective in calming the emotional body.” (‘Emotional Healing’ by Your Guardian Angel, www.earthrainbownetwork.com/Archives2003/LightSeries45.htm)].

At one stage, I had two jobs, more debt that I could handle (I invested in a trade as a mini-cab driver in an attempt to clear a small debt but it ended in disaster). I was enduring loud noise from the family next door late at night (and sometimes very loud banging with a hammer in the mornings) as well as loud stomping around on a wooden floor by the man upstairs who would also crash brutally down the stairs at 5.30 a.m. in a deliberate attempt to disturb my sleep as I was a cab driver who usually arrived home late. I believe this guy, to whom I refer in my journal as a ‘monster,’ was trying to force me to move out. Prior to his intimidating behaviour he had moved around more considerately, without making much sound at all. In addition, I was also depressed about having had to stop working on my books. I took four years off after a year-long period of depression culminating in me not being able to move my body properly (caused by my frustration at being unable to juggle a job and an attempt to complete a book). My body shut down for a few days (I was able to pull myself out of this state by using the power of love - for an Anglo-Indian Sikh girl as it happens). I concluded that it was not worth continuing to struggle to write while my job took up most of my time and energy. I was unable to juggle the two. I felt myself to be a failure for the first two or three years of that period, firstly having failed to earn a living through my songs and then secondly repeating this failure with my books, none of which I had managed to complete despite having found an agent who was pushing me to finish something. I did not take up the cross again until I felt there was sufficient space in my life. It was sometime during this period that kept the journal because my focus was spiritual study and development.

Socrates (Nick Nolte): “You don’t surrender your dreams Dan. You surrender the one thing you never have and never will: control. Accept that you don’t control what happened to you…I told you a warrior does what he loves.”
                - Way of the Peaceful Warrior (directed by Victor Salva, 2006, based on the novel by Dan Millman).

“I was shared a very powerful technique to bring out the best in someone ‑ simply intend or focus your love upon them and say, ‘Thank you for being God to me.’ This then elicits or connects them to that part of themselves that is God, within and assists them to act from their higher nature.” – A friend.

I got on fine with the Irish guy upstairs until, after a couple of years, his wife started joining him and turned the volume of their television up ridiculously high. I never said anything, realising that it was not something I had to endure all the time. Then, her parents stayed in the flat for a week and were similarly deaf! I did not know how long they intended to stay there so towards the end of the week after constant ‘bombing’ I decided, when the tenant was there, to politely ask them if they would mind turning the television down late at night. I made no mention of the fact that it was driving me mad at other times as well. I went up the stairs to ask at 10.45 p.m. and the guy quietly agreed but, on reflection, he was evidently concerned about his wife overhearing our brief conversation (I think, that night, it was his wife, not the parents, who had the television on so loud). Either his wife took offence or he was proud and decided to take action to avoid losing face. For, although they switched the television off there and then, the following night they turned up the volume to a far more ridiculous level and kept it on until about 1 a.m.

 “I didn’t know he was dead; I thought he was British.” - Woody Allen.

There had once been an incident in the street (I cannot recall what) and I had gone outside to check it out. The tenant upstairs came down on his way out and told me that English people always seem to poke their noses in at the slightest hint of trouble. I replied that some people never do anything and would happily leave a load of people dying in the street. So, perhaps they simply didn’t like English people! After the television ‘episode’ the next time he was down in London I heard a window being smashed. I couldn’t see anything out of my front window but later that morning the tenant in the first floor flat informed me that someone had put a brick through the rear side window of his Mercedes. He implied that I had something to do with it even though I obviously had not left the house all morning. He was ‘threatening’ to call the police and I sensed intuitively that his motive was to see how I reacted. Anyway, he moved out after that.

V (Hugo Weaving): What was done to me created me. It’s a basic principle of the universe that every action will create an equal and opposing reaction....What was done to me was monstrous.
Evey (Natalie Portman): And they created a monster.
                - V For Vendetta (directed by James McTeigne, 2006).


The general absence of life upstairs had presented me with an opportunity to fend off the growing problem with the other neighbours. The parents went back to Pakistan for two or three months during the summer of 1999. While they were away, the television was on extremely loudly a lot of the time. I eventually responded to this with loud music, imagining that the daughters (and the son who was also sometimes there) would turn it down and return to a more civilised volume. After all, I suppose, this had been their statement to my very brief sessions on the guitar. I felt was justified since I would usually listen to loud music through my headphones. I felt that, if they cared nothing for my space, why should I care about theirs? Early in 2000, they began having family get-togethers late at night. I was used to going to bed between 10.30 and 11 p.m. and getting up around 7.30 a.m. When I had lived in the room in Wanstead, I would rise at 7.30 a.m. and enthusiastically switch on my computer to do some work on my books before doing anything else. The project was my life and passion at the time.

On most days of the week, just as I laid my head down on the pillow, the party was just starting next door. As you have probably gathered, the walls and ceilings in this Victorian terraced house are paper-thin. Consequently, it was impossible to sleep while the shrill laughter of one of the daughter intermittently pierced not only the wall next to my bed but penetrated my very bones. The conversation between the family members itself was loud enough. It was intolerable because I just could not get to sleep until they retired around 1.30 or 2 a.m., sometimes later. After a month or two, I got up out of bed and got dressed, took a swig of bourbon to calm my nerves, and rang on the neighbours’ doorbell. It was about 10.50 at night. I decided to approach them at a civilised hour regardless of their sleeping habits. I was extremely humble and polite as I asked if they could possibly be quieter after 11 p.m. The father, mother and two daughters all stood there crammed into the doorway with the door half-open. It was like a human wall that was unable to bring itself to show any sympathy whatsoever. The older of the two daughters, who was probably around 20 years old at the time, was aggressively outspoken, telling me that they were not being loud and that they could do whatever they wanted in their own house. The father just kept shaking his head and occasionally grumbling the word ‘no.’ Shocked by their selfish response to my plight, I finally shook my head and smiled. ‘Well,’ I said, I’ve asked you nicely. I won’t ask nicely next time.’ To be kept awake till the early hours, night-after-night, by such parties, even without music, is plain out of order. Once in a while is OK. One has to live! So, this is the price (and karmic debt, no doubt) I have paid for my freedom all these years since moving here.

The next day, on my way to work, I approached the father who was busy cleaning his car. Again, in a courteous tone of voice, I asked if everything was alright, hoping to discuss the matter in a civilised way. He said it was not alright and argued with me aggressively, repeating their attitude that they could do whatever they liked. I said, didn’t any of them work? To which he replied proudly that his daughter was at college. Finally, he said that they thought I was mad! Very helpful. So, I realised, from then on, that no amount of communication was going to have any effect whatsoever on the situation. Thus, every time they kept me awake, I played loud music on the stereo the next day before going to work at midday. For one thing, I couldn’t see the point in wearing headphones if I wished to listen to loud music if they were going to behave so inconsiderately. And, for another, having not been able to get to sleep for a few hours and getting up late, I was in a bad mood, feeling angry and groggy, and felt a more frequent urge to listen to loud music to help recover from the ordeal in an attempt to wake myself up. The code of conduct with which I had been brought up - respect for people’s individual space - that was probably deeply ingrained in my genes, had become meaningless and redundant under the circumstances. I now realise that I was not going far enough: I was essentially endeavouring to release the tension that my neighbours had created, or triggered, in me. I have since learned, however, that shouting is a far more effective, direct, profound and cathartic method of releasing such tension. It also provides an opportunity to release any and all tension and negative emotion stored within myself whatever the source.

“If one does not understand a person, one tends to regard him as a fool.” - Carl Jung.

It went on pretty much night after night, day after day, like that for a long time. Eventually, I simply stopped going to bed at my preferred hour and would wait until the neighbours themselves retired at one or two in the morning. I believe that this contributed to my eventual ‘break down,’ the condition that made it very difficult for me to function clearly (I had sinusitis at some point, which I feel started the process). One night, I telephoned the police to ask if there was anything they could do to help. I was told, flatly, ‘no,’ but advised to contact the Council’s Noise Abatement team. This, I did, and was sent a pack that included blank records to fill in listing each incident. They told me over the phone that they only had one set of sound monitoring equipment. There was, therefore, a three-month waiting list for this form of proof that the noise level was high enough to justify taking any action. I told them not to bother and that I would deal with the matter myself (which amounted to equal disregard for the neighbours when I wished to listen to loud music). I filled out the records anyway, but the noise eventually subsided and I, regrettably, discarded them. After that, the noise conflict - the war - would henceforth last for several months followed by periods of peace and quietude, sometimes total, and sometimes relative. 


Only a couple of hours after the 7/7 bombings in London I inadvertently forgot to press the button on the stereo to turn the external sound off while listening to loud music in my headphones (this had never happened before). After quarter-of-an-hour, I noticed that the speaker had moved and what was sitting on top had fallen off. Realising my mistake, I hurriedly switched the stereo off. Soon, after, when I went outside to practice tai chi in the garden, the mother from the family next door spoke to me, evidently worried, showing careful sympathy for the victims whose lives had been taken. Indeed, the error appeared to have worked to my advantage and, for some time afterwards, this selfish, ignorant family held steadfast to the principle of peace.

“Cricket: A game invented by religious fundamentalists to explain the idea of eternal hell to non-Christian indigenous peoples of the former British Empire.” - Joe O'Connor.

The father came across as being self-righteous as result of his religion and his son displayed pride in the Pakistan cricket team, clearly excited that they were beating England for a while and then, with equal visibility, bowed his head in shame or humiliation for a while after they lost. These allegiances to collective identities that often appear to be in conflict with the values and principles of British society culminated when the whole family began to involve themselves in a Muslim political party in the local elections with the father running as a candidate for local councillor. Yet, they evidently prefer living in Britain where there is money to be made, education and huge 4x4s to be had. It feels as if this is what living in Britain means to them whilst culturally and socially they have little interest in integrating, or valuing and recognising the cultural depth and diversity of Britain itself. But, then, a friend from back ‘home’ (where I was raised – or buried, depending how you look at it!) is always complaining of being surrounded by ‘chavs’! It can also be argued that many British people themselves are shallow enough to cling to national pride, particularly in the realm of sports, and resist the breadth and depth of cultural delights available in this country. If I had to choose between my neighbours and a bunch of aggressive hooligans ‘championing’ English football teams, I wouldn’t hesitate to side with the former to be quite honest. Simply no contest.

The Pakistani colleagues with whom I worked in cab firms shook their heads and distanced themselves from such ignorant behaviour. I should point out that I have worked with people with various Asian backgrounds and get on very well with most. It is true, however, that those with whom I have not gotten on well have generally been from Pakistan as well (although I am told that generally those people hail from a less harsh region of the country). One former Pakistani colleague is a good friend and lives not far from me. The tenant currently living above me in the flat upstairs is a lovely person [Retrospective note: Or so it seemed at the time!]. I also have a good online friend who lives in Pakistan (a Smashing Pumpkins fan!). She is one of the most intelligent and imaginative people I have ever known [Retrospective note: she ended up going mad and upsetting a whole group of people on the internet and got so paranoid that she accused myself and other friends of being part of this virtual gaming group that we had never even heard of]. Asian bosses find it refreshing (easier) to work with English people who are more likely to work hard and not lie, cheat and manipulate. They might be more trustworthy in general: Protestant work ethic and feudal conformity and all that. I am no pushover, however, and had to make it clear that, giving me my freedom and independence was the only way to get results. They never quite fully appreciated this principle but it was the only way I could work.

“The Scots are really tough. Big hairy red heads, big muscles and hairy chests. And you should see the men!” - Traditional saying (haha).

A Scottish lady told me I was being pathetic and should make myself at home in the neighbours’ house with a bottle of whisky, creating my own party with them (in a loud but friendly way)! She said that would probably shut them up. Some people are just brimming with helpful advice! For example, in a flat-share situation, you either get on or you don’t. There are more affordable rooms available and there is really little choice but for one person to move out. Indeed, however, I am not, personally, sharing a flat. I experimented with positive affirmations later on. Whenever I calmly focussed my mind on the clear intention to do what was best to restore the peace, I found myself taking uncharacteristically assertive but highly effective action. My father told me, after I had tried communicating with them about this issue the first time, that I was too polite. They had figured me to be a pushover, in order words. I was too nice. I think that many English people do come across as being weak or soft through our disciplined, tolerant, reserved character (which is, arguably, waning). People from more direct cultures do not realise that we will defend ourselves most ferociously when pushed too far. Many of us just want to be left in peace to live relatively independent lives (as islanders do). We accept that there is a certain price to pay for relative peace and harmony.


I am not here to stir up negative race relations; quite the opposite. I wish to promote harmony through increased understanding. Hatred belongs to the swamp of ignorance. It bites you in the dark and in the light of conscious awareness it shrivels into nothing because it is nothing; nothing but an illusion which we are all destined to grow out of as we mature towards knowing our true selves and all the beauty, power and love that we are as expressions of the Creator.

Each culture has its high and low qualities and those who rely too much on a culture (which includes religion) for their identity appear to manifest the worst and those who express their own individual potential and shine uniquely tend to use their own culture as well as many other sources of inspiration to embody the best that the world has to offer. I generally get on well with Asian people. It has been said of me that I might be better off living in Asia because I have more of an oriental nature. Consciousness is strong in me and this seems to be an isolating feature in individualistic societies of the West. I did seem to thrive in India. I responded thankfully to the less fragmented collective consciousness there and relied on it several times when I was in a fix. The way I see it, it’s the people who lack character and gravitate to their racial or cultural genes who cause grief for others. All cultures, including multi-racial societies, contain a mixture of conscious individuals and subconscious stereotypes who conform to a pattern of behaviour. Change is in the air and it is to younger generations everywhere that we must look for the new paradigm of freedom and truth to open up individual minds and transform collective consciousness.

“The community in which you find yourself [Prashanti Niliyam] is the arena where you can win the victory. The gymnasium where you develop the skill to win.”

“You learn by the experience of the buffeting of the World.”

“The World is a very essential part of the curriculum of man.”

“The World is like a hotel to which we have come to experience the consequences of our actions in the past. The body is a room in the hotel in which we have to undergo the Karmic consequences.”

                - Sai Baba (quotations from The Sai Dictionary of Quotations, placed in this sequence by ‘adeline108').

When I had my breakdown/breakthrough or mid-life crisis, or whatever you want to call it, my therapist told me, at the beginning of our second session, that she saw me as a Buddhist monk replete with saffron robe but living in East London. She is highly psychic. I didn’t feel like much of a monk at the time but I admit to being very monkish on and off. I even used to fantasise about establishing monasteries around the world and loved the idea of restoring a Daoist monastery in China if ever I could afford to do so! A different time. Having known places where a high vibration of spiritual energy is present I do feel that it would be wonderful if there were more of them around. Trungpa describes a monastery as an ‘environment of meditative discipline’ although he also cites things like a relationship to a teacher as well as exertion as contributing factors in ‘losing one’s ego-grasp.’ You “don’t gain anything but you see clearly because the obscurations are removed,” he says. There is also strength in numbers. The combined energies of spiritually-minded people create a power to be reckoned with, at least one that negative spirits cannot easily penetrate. In our secular society we are vulnerable and suffer more setbacks to our spiritual aspirations. The atmosphere is not conducive to such development so most people never feel any urge to even step foot on such a path. People sink down into purely physical and materialistic levels of consciousness which are perhaps relatively harmless in themselves but rational materialism at the expense of higher pursuits is a something of a leaky drainpipe. The aqua vitae, water of life, slips away and dirt replaces it. Hence, the rapid descent into darkness following the demise of Christianity. There’s no energy here.

Master Po (Keye Luke): Your feet tread heavily on the ground. Have you a burden, Grasshopper?
Caine (David Carradine): It is my thoughts that carry the weight, Master. I have been in the marketplace. All the men there argue and fight. There is no peace.
Master Po: Why does that trouble you when your home is here?
Caine: I want all men to know peace.
Master Po:  [chuckles] It is written in the Daodejing. Under heaven, all can see beauty as beauty only because there is ugliness. All can know good as good only because there is evil. Therefore, having and not having arise together. Difficult and easy complement each other. High and low rest upon each other. Front and back follow one another.
Caine: But Master, do we not want all men to know our peace, our joy?
Master Po: Would you make the whole world a temple? Be like the Sun and what is within you will warm the Earth.
                - Kung Fu (Season 2, Episode 10, ‘The Hoots,’ 1973).

"To follow the path of wisdom has never been more urgent or more difficult. Our society is dedicated almost entirely to the celebration of ego, with all its sad fantasies about success and power, and it celebrates those very forces of greed and ignorance that are destroying the planet. It has never been more difficult to hear the unflattering voice of the truth, and never more difficult, once having heard it, to follow it: because there is nothing in the world around us that supports our choice, and the entire society in which we live seems to negate every idea of sacredness or eternal meaning. So at the time of our most acute danger, when our very future is in doubt, we as human beings find ourselves at our most bewildered, and trapped in a nightmare of our own creation." - Sogyal Rinpoche (The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, Rider & Co., London, U.K., 1992, p.128).

I have now come crashing down to earth. Mediums have mentioned to me a previous life as a monk in the French Alps and a more recent one in a Tibetan monastery. I was given a message from a spirit who appears to be my principal guide. He complained that I was seeing him as an old man with a long white beard and wanted me to think of him as the younger adult he also was once. If this is real, then it looks as though ‘Wong Su,’ managed to liberate himself from the wheel of karma while I remained laden with karmic debts to clear and heavy lessons to learn. Never mind, eh?

Where better to leave the monastery and increase one’s wisdom and practice truth than the ‘East’ - where I am instinctively loved by certain people of Indian origin and, equally, instinctively hated by the more aggressive kinds of people in these parts (such as my neighbours). I could not have learned the lessons I have if I were totally alone or surrounded either by loving people or those who respected my space as I would theirs. I have had to condition my mind in response to psychological warfare and a crisis of consciousness caused by physical proximity day-in, day-out, yet without much direct confrontation. Had all this taken place in a house share, for instance, direct communication would have been inevitable because the ‘enemy’ and I frequently have been in each other’s physical presence or have easy access to each other. It is just not such an obvious solution to walk round next door and approach the neighbours, especially when they clearly feel aggressive towards you for no apparent reason and when they are from a different culture with which they identify and therefore have very fixed views on life. Moreover, neighbours whom you just know don’t care and are bent on making your life a misery if you dare to remain there reminding them that they are living in Britain and are part of a much wider world than their own closeted domain.

"To assist others, first assist yourself. Do what you can by living in awareness, by taking every opportunity to know more about the love of who you are as the Divine Expression of the Source. And then, if it is your heart to do so, reach out to assist others. But, you know, you assist others by being the truth of who you are, not by preaching and not by trying to force somebody into your way of thinking. Rather be an example of how you may change and transform your own life. And, you know, it is to know that there is always another way to be in any situation which in itself creates change. No matter what the situation, no matter how boxed‑in you feel, no matter how trapped you feel in the situation, there is always another way to be. By being another way, you will create a different paradigm." - P'taah (channelled through Jani King, www.ptaah.com).


I am beginning to realise that, however much I harp on about equality, I am part of a shift away from the masculine emphasis in this world. I believe history has shown that we cannot return to Light without first opening the heart and allowing consciousness to flow through feeling, through the feminine, which is the foundation, the circle. We may find the centre, the spirit, without the circle of life and consciousness, but it is a very rare individual who can realise the spiritual depths through a principally masculine path. These experiences have all been about consciousness, the shadow side of the beauty, inspiration and spiritual experience that I, unlike most people, particularly in Britain, am privileged to enjoy. As a generally sensitive, gentle man, I have suffered ordeals similar to those which many women experience. At least, I have had a taste of what our male-flavoured society forces them to endure. There ought to be solidarity between people who are not aggressive and who wish to enjoy quality of life within and without. We need to live in a diverse civilisation but not one that condones ignorant, selfish and disruptive behaviour. It is that social force that holds people back by making them fearful and conforming instead of boldly and confidently expressing their individuality. We are all unique but as long as we remain repressed we all lay ourselves down flat like a two-dimensional pattern on a carpet and therefore do not recognise our own unique potential.

There was a whole year during which the neighbours made sure to bang on the wall of my bedroom each and every night. I guessed that it was the daughters doing it without the parents’ knowledge but I could never be sure if they were in on it or not. The way they have all blatantly conspired to harass me since leads me to wonder. By that time, however, I was in the habit of staying up till one or two, even three in the morning, so I just heard the noises between twelve and one am and did not respond since it did not affect me (although I was well-aware of the disruption to sleeping that was intended for me). [Retrospective note: this practice resurfaced later when another young woman replaced the daughters as they left home and continued for a good few years].

When you live in a one-bedroom flat there is nowhere to escape to if the neighbours are bent on making a lot of noise or antagonising you. I eventually discovered ear plugs which I used on occasion, but I found them too uncomfortable to wear. I have managed to sleep with them in a few times but, usually, I can’t sleep while wearing them. Although they block out the noise, I still have to wait two or three hours until the neighbours have retired. Once the coast is clear - once the din has retreated for the night - I can remove them and go to sleep. The eldest daughter living in the house had learned to play the tabla drum. After I had lived here for a couple of years, she started playing them on special occasions, such as religious festivals, weddings and birthdays to provide accompaniment for group sing-songs. I don’t mean just for one evening. There would be some practising during the day and then late-night drumming and singing two or three times a week (eventually more) for a period of one or two weeks (eventually even three or four weeks). The first few times, in the early days, I would be understanding and listen to music in my headphones. I even slept in a sleeping bag on the floor in the hall if I was too tired and needed to sleep before they had finished.

Blackadder (Rowan Atkinson): Your breath comes straight from Satan's bottom.
Blackadder II (Series 2, Episode 5, ‘Beer,’ written by Ben Elton and Richard Curtis, BBC TV, 1986).

Over time, with the general animosity towards me and the selfish attitude towards my space, I could only bring myself to tolerate one or two evenings of disruption at a time. I felt that was adequately understanding of me; generous, in fact, considering the volume and time. After that, however, I could not bear it any more. As you might expect, such festivities rarely commenced before ten o’clock in the evening. Neither were they necessarily confined to Friday and Saturday nights. As time went on, the drum-playing grew even louder, much louder, and went on until later. They were trying my patience and affecting my quality of life and I dealt with the disturbance by disregarding their right to a quiet life on the following day, playing music loudly on my stereo. It never felt like a very negative act and the desire to listen to loud music usually had the purpose of enjoying myself and compensating for getting up late and needing something extra to wake myself up. Once the desire was there, I found that my voice of self-control simply wasn’t there. There was no reason for me to be respectful and use my headphones. And, there was every reason to retaliate and teach the neighbours some respect even though that was not my actual motivation. Even so, I thought it could work.

I telephoned the local Council again and was informed that the Noise Abatement Team had now procured more sound equipment. However, I was also told that, as a result of the changing social landscape the waiting list is STILL three months! Naturally, they were receiving more complaints about noise than ever. It is now nigh impossible to see someone at the local Citizens Advice Bureau. I had to contact my local MP for something in the end because people start queuing outside from 6 a.m. just to be dealt with before they closed at 12 noon! Turning up at 10 a.m., when they actually open three days a week is no longer beneficial.

The guy to whom I spoke at the Council did say that they could write a letter to my neighbours asking them to keep the volume down but I said that might do more harm than good and that, for all I knew, they might be nearing the end of their splurge of tabla-torture. He also mentioned that they now had someone from the Noise Abatement Team on call around the clock and that he or she would strive to visit and listen to the noise within one hour. I considered calling a few times but, at that time, although the volume was monstrous, it stopped at a more civil hour (the reason being that, during the previous period, I had sworn repeatedly at them through the wall and made their friends feel uncomfortable!). These Victorian (or Edwardian) terraced houses were not designed for hi-tech televisions and stereos but I guess no house is built for abuses of such systems. They weren’t built for regular partying and tabla-drumming either. As I said, living in a flat makes one vulnerable to noise from the neighbours. Evidently, ground-floor flats and rooms in shared houses increase the vulnerability stakes.

Each time the parents went back to Pakistan for two or three months, I had to endure the high volume from their television set. Originally, their television was positioned close to my bedroom wall and could be heard late at night, but it was never on too loudly to really disturb me. Then, they bought one of these modern widescreen units and, I guess, the temptation to have it on loud was just too great. I made them aware of the fact that it was too loud (by turning the music on my stereo up) and they subsequently moved it to the other room. Even so, loud noise is loud noise, and I did not always tolerate such a high volume which prevented me from using my only other room. Occasionally, they would go through spells of turning the TV up and it could be heard intensely in the room where I work, relax and sleep. One can only ignore a disturbing noise for so long before the irritation starts getting under one’s skin, especially if one is trying to concentrate on something, as I usually am. I prefer to live in peace and quiet at home and I can cope with moderate noise. People have to live. But excessive volumes...I mean, it depends where you live. Flats with thin walls require a bit more consideration, just as living in shared housing does (or may). It’s just the reality and needs to be accepted. I do sympathise to a degree. Perhaps flats ought only to exist in blocks where every resident is in the same boat and is fully aware of the interdependence in terms of space when it comes to noise volume. If you are unable or unwilling to exercise self-restraint and respect someone’s space in such an environment then, of course, you will need to prepare for and endure the inevitable backlash.

ACompassion is the keen awareness of the interdependence of all things.@ - Thomas Merton.

My neighbours moved to Britain in the seventies and I believe that my landlords bought this house and turned it into flats at the same time they bought the others and established their property management company after the Second World War. I do not think there were problems until I moved in and the undisciplined daughters and their allies reached their late teens and chose to behave so irresponsibly. I still think that the older of the two daughters was the monster. She moved out at some point and the problems would commence or escalate when she moved back home during the holidays. I believe that the younger daughter was conditioned by her to some extent and grew up in her footsteps, ‘sworn’ into a conspiracy against me. I have found her to be very friendly and the only one I could ever have a normal conversation with. However, I realise that she is terribly two-faced and, at the same time, I overheard some rather malicious things that came from her mouth. So, of course, it would be na├»ve to suggest that she was not just as nasty. But, she was, at least partially, influenced. Similarly, the son also feigned friendliness whilst participating in the ‘violence,’ although it took me a year or two to realise that. Until then, I had contemplated discussing the matter with him. I’m glad I chose not to approach him. The parents were too weak and proud and sided with the daughters, as did the other girl who moved in with them. They live in their own little world and none of them are developing their individuality (growing) as far as I’m concerned.

I found the family to be self-righteous, with a stubborn superiority complex, and also to look down on a single person living alone. I think it likely that in their culture I would be a vulnerable target or weak and defective, not daring to protest at their selfish and abusive attitude. What they never seem to grasp is that, by wishing harm on me, my retaliations affect and surely disturb their whole family. While it is true that they can escape upstairs and have never once had their sleep disturbed by this conflict, I am strong-minded and have learned to switch off, stay up later, or use headphones or earplugs, and so forth, to minimise the suffering that has been inflicted on me. I have broken down several times, however, with all these relentless, daily assaults from upstairs and next door. There are both positive and negative results of this lengthy trial but I have been permanently strengthened and wisened by the experience.

“Frankenstein enters into a body building competition and finds he has seriously misunderstood the objective.”

If the Pig Monster had been approached by the neighbours they might have exaggerated my visit and polite request to permit me a decent night’s sleep. If it was an act of revenge on their part they might well have accused me of something that was untrue their stubborn refusal to acknowledge that they were being selfish, proud and downright hateful. The Pitiful Pig, of course, was so messed up that he relished any excuse to accuse someone of deliberately mocking, offending or attacking him, particularly someone who couldn’t stand up to him physically. He saw his opportunity or his justification and was confident of getting what he wanted. Perhaps they all felt threatened by me. My very presence, my vibration, my way of life, my passion and sensitivity, disturbs them to the core. It is they who are paranoid regardless of thin walls. Such weak-minded and hostile people are described succinctly by Betty Perkins as “…lions who use anger to move people to get what they want - those who criticise and blame others rather than take responsibility and those who generally are pleasant but who sometimes explode from stored up ‘stuff.’” (Lion Taming. The courage to deal with difficult people including yourself, Tzedakah Publications, CA, U.S., 1995, p.149). They become the perpetrators of actual persecution. Is what’s happening to you really happening to you, or are you misinterpreting your circumstances?

“What monstrosities would walk the streets were some people’s faces as unfinished as their minds.” - Eric Hoffer.



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