Saturday, 28 March 2015

Monstaville Book III. Chapter 5


15 July 2008.

You cannot always control your circumstances.
But, you can control your own thoughts.
There is nothing either good or bad,
only your thinking makes it so.

Things turn out best for those people
who can make the best out of the way things turn out.
It's not the situation, it's your reaction to the situation.

The reality in your life may result from many outside factors,
none of which you can control.
Your attitude, however,
reflects the ways in which you deal with what is happening to you.

Life at any time can become difficult.
Life at any time can become easy.
It all depends upon how you adjust yourself to life.
What you see in your mind is what you'll get out of life.

- Max Steingart.

If we can accept suffering, relax and feel good about it, or in spite of it, be cool, we can make our peace with it to some degree and let go of the anguish. Perhaps not enough to be happy, but enough to find some contentment and freedom within ourselves. To be fully conscious is to know not only what is happening physically and materially, or even mentally. It is also to know what we are feeling - how we feel - and to realise that the world of feeling is like a river. The soul in its pure form is always clear and flowing, innocent and childlike. Feeling pain and discomfort resembles the stagnant water that has collected water in one corner of the river where the water has been contained and stuck and ceases to flow. The remaining water continues to flow but our minds become trapped by the tangible suffering we feel. In other words, we lose the big picture; we concentrate on our suffering or succumb to its gravitational hold over us. This increases our strength and stamina and it teaches us lessons we need to learn.

Ultimately, the test is to rise above it. Smile, focus on your breathing, be patient and understanding. Relaxing means not resisting. Instead of just struggling, it is possible to expand our feelings, to open ourselves to other feelings, to appreciate that which is good within ourselves, in others, in our lives, in nature.

When we go on holiday, we adopt a ‘special’ attitude. We are determined to relax and enjoy ourselves, to take in the sights, to absorb the atmosphere. We feel free because we expect the best life has to offer. Such positive feelings protect us from negative experiences, or habitual conditions within us physically and emotionally, because we do not dwell on them. We expect to feel good and each moment that we might be suffering we also rise above it. We may be filled with wonder and awe, or a sense of play, a feeling of love, a dance that arises within ourselves as a result of giving time to our Inner Child to come out. We need it, we say, and we do. We need this experience not only when we go away on holiday ‘to get away from it all,’ to take a break from our lives. When we return from holiday, we feel refreshed and relaxed, open and settled, calm and at peace with ourselves. Yet, the feeling cannot be sustained and fades within a week, or two if we are lucky. We allow stress to take hold of us once again. It feels as though we have no choice since this is our ‘natural’ response to the pattern of our existence. However, it is a good exercise to believe that we are always on holiday. For, it is wise to relax and not get caught up in the suffering we feel.

“The trick is in what one emphasises. We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves happy. The amount of work is the same.” – Carlos Castaneda.

If I have poured too much fruit concentrate into a glass and then filled it to the top with water, I feel obliged to drink some of it until there is sufficient space in the glass to add more water (I could pour some down the sink but that would be a waste). I have made a mistake and now I am correcting it. So, I experiment. I do not wish to drink more of the bittersweet concoction than necessary. I drink some of the liquid and then add more water only to find that the taste is still too potent for my palette. Finally, I drink enough, gradually diluting to taste, until I have the right balance between fruit juice and water.

This analogy works the other way round too, of course. I might have started with insufficient juice and added too much water but then I need drink only a little to make the necessary adjustment by adding more concentrate. However, water is also more freely available. I might be impoverished and not have access to a bottle of fruit cordial because I live in a culture that denies me any self-esteem, individuality or self-expression. I, as an individual, may not matter and, through social conditioning, I might accept that and know no different. It might require a huge risk to venture out on a quest for some fruit concentrate that can be preserved in a bottle and consumed with water whenever I wish. Then, again, I might be enjoying the real thing: fruit directly from the trees where I live. Or, more than likely in this day and age, all of that fruit is being sold to rich countries and the middle men take all the profits while I am still left with drinking water alone (if I’m lucky!).

If the water is pure feeling and the juice is the substance of being, of personality and character, it can be seen that an excess of existential conditions results in discomfort. What needs to happen is that we accept - swallow - a portion of that experience as well as reaching our (or inside ourselves) to draw on more water, more pure emotion. Thus, we can add more clarity, innocence and playfulness to what we are feeling. We can make the necessary adjustments in order to achieve a more favourable formula, the right balance. Making a drink in this way is child’s play of course.

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.

- Robert Frost, American poet (1874-1963).

What I am getting at is that human beings have forgotten that we are not here to focus on the conditions and circumstances presented to us, or our individualistic desires, alone. These things are but part of the overall ‘drink.’ To achieve an ideal level of consciousness requires that we tap into the purity of our souls as well, the water of pure feeling in which there are no mixed emotions. We can find this water within ourselves naturally by responding to and caring for other people. However, it exists within us regardless of our social lives. In the modern world, we are conditioned to neglect our inner life of feeling. Feelings and imagination ‘do not pay the bills.’ We become too serious, too stressed because we always have worries, urgent matters that require our attention. We become lost in a cycle of despair. Yet, we can let go of it if we choose, wholly or simultaneously. All we need is a willingness to feel some degree of the joy and appreciation that lies forever within us somewhere, to flow with another part of the river that is our soul.

In the stagnant corner, the river has lost its momentum. The Sun is shining brightly overhead but when we look at all the muck and litter, we see only filth and we feel only pain. The river has not stopped flowing and the Sun has not stopped shining. It is we who have turned our attention away from these things and concentrated on the problems and discomfort in our lives. As energy follows the attention, so, to, do we find our energy sapped. While we are on Earth, trapped in the physical body, we may never truly know the eternal joy and happiness of the Sun, the spirit. It is possible through meditation and enjoyable experiences to feel some of that inner radiance. It is then that we find ourselves relaxing and flowing with the river which remains clear and uncontaminated and therefore glistens with the reflection of the Sun’s light. However (and this is a big lesson for me to learn!), by flowing with our deeper - or neglected - feelings, tuning into our souls, we might find inspiration from the Light that remains there permanently, somewhere. It is simply a matter of finding it. Although, it will come to us if we feel everything more fully, if we do not allow ourselves to lose sight of the flowing body of water altogether. The Creator never stops shining on the river. It is we who turn away and block it with our thoughts and reactions to what we are experiencing in the physical body. Releasing the soul from captivity, from concern and seriousness, we can feel more alive. We can arrive at a greater feeling of wholeness, no longer completely separate from the Sun but connected to its light through our inner beauty, our essential feelings.

Personally, I feel like I wake up each morning in the stagnant muck and don’t seem to have any choice in the matter. Fortunately, I have been provided with a rowing boat! The aftereffects of meditation are represented by the boat that raises my consciousness to a level where I am not completely at the mercy of the pain and sorrow that has built up in my unconscious. Taijiquan (tai chi) is represented by the oars, which enable me to remove myself from the status quo and attain a degree of power and confidence, joy and peace, that can then last for the rest of the day. Composing songs, playing the music on my guitar and singing, and before that spending a lot of time drawing, were methods of escape and release I enjoyed formerly. These activities and their effects can perhaps be compared to diving into the water and swimming away from the negative conditions I experienced physically and emotionally in response to childhood traumas (and from which I am never free, however much I try to be). Yeah, I’m a bit fucked up in some ways, don’t ya know! Hence I have found myself in this vulnerable position in the first place! Although, I also feel fortunate to be permanently pestered by conditions that motivate me to grow spiritually (which I would not otherwise, I expect - being English!).

Socrates (Nick Nolte): A warrior’s not about affection or victory, or invulnerability. He’s about absolute vulnerability. That’s the only true courage…The accident is your training. Life is choice. You can choose to be a victim or anything else you’d like to be…A warrior acts. Only a fool reacts.
                - Way of the Peaceful Warrior (directed by Victor Salva, 2006, based on the novel by Dan Millman).

Always, we need to be amphibious and adaptable and be able to perceive more than one state of mind or one set of facts, or one feeling or encounter. There are doors within us, as William Blake noted, that open out to other areas beyond our habitually blinkered minds: "If the doors of perception were cleansed,” he wrote, “everything would appear to man as it is, infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thru' narrow chinks of his cavern."

The Dalai Lama on facing suffering.

“In our daily lives problems are bound to arise. The biggest problems in our lives are the ones that we inevitably have to face, like old age, illness and death. Trying to avoid our problems or simply not thinking about them may provide temporary relief, but I think that there is a better approach. If you directly confront your suffering, you will be in a better position to appreciate the depth and nature of the problem. If you are in a battle, as long as you remain ignorant of the status and combat capability of your enemy, you will be totally unprepared and paralysed by fear. However, if you know the fighting capability of your opponents, what sort of weapons they have and so on, then you’re in a much better position when you engage in the war. In the same way, if you confront your problems rather than avoid them, you will be in a better position to deal with them.’
                This approach to one’s problems was clearly reasonable, but pressing the issue a bit further, I asked, ‘Yes, but what if you directly confront a problem and find out that there’s no solution? That’s pretty tough to face.’…
                ‘That’s why I believe it can be useful to prepare yourself ahead of time by familiarising yourself with the kinds of suffering you might encounter. To use the battle analogy again, reflecting on suffering could be seen as a military exercise. People who never heard of war, guns, bombing and so on might faint if they had to go into battle. But through military drills you could familiarise your mind with what might occur, so if a war erupted, it would not be so hard on you.’…
’There’s really no avoiding the fact that suffering is part of life. And of course we have a natural tendency to dislike our suffering and problems. But I think that ordinarily people don’t view the very nature of our existence to be characterised by suffering…’ The Dalai Lama suddenly began to laugh, ‘I mean on your birthday people usually say, ‘Happy Birthday!’ when actually the day of your birth was the birth of your suffering. But nobody says, ‘Happy Birth-of-Sufferingday!’ he joked.”
– The Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler (The Art of Happiness. A Handbook for Living, Riverhead Books, New York, U.S., 1998, p.136 to 140).

Suffering is a dark hole in the ground from which a giant spider like spiteful and hateful Arachne in the Hercules TV series’ lures her victims. Our attention is caught and we look down at her seductive beauty. The intensity of not wanting something attracts it to us in this insane realm of duality. This sordid nightmare. She has other malicious weapons of darkness including the poison she spits at us and the sticky substances or energies, that hook us emotionally and pull us or paralyse us, immobilising us on her web of fear and chaos. We are victims of our own unconscious and we remain helpless as long as we deny our emotions and try to wriggle away from the moment. When we feel more and become more conscious and aware we eventually succeed in wading through all the squalid muck to the clarity and power of the eternal Now.

Retrospective note.

Tommy Solomon (Joseph Gordon-Levitt): Listen, I’ve got a question for you. Now, we’ve been on this planet for a while now and I was just wondering, if we were to tell someone we really cared about where we’re actually from, do you think it would be so dangerous?
Sally Solomon (Kristen Johnston): [Pleasant, jolly tone] No, not at all Tommy. In fact, I’ve already told Mrs. Dubcheck and the mail man - ooh, and that nice guy down at the minimart - because I want us all to [vicious tone, shouting in his face] die like lab rats at the hands of primitive scientists!! [Tommy wipes the spittle from his eye]
Tommy: OK.
- 3rd Rock from the Sun (Season 1, Episode 15, ‘I Enjoy Being a Dick,’ written by Christine Zander, 1996).

Excerpt from a MySpace message to an American friend (I have more American friends than British friends these days!), 22 December 2009:

Grownups are just silly children (cool Roy Harper song). Yeah, Michael said he needed children’s energy because it was the only thing that made him feel truly alive. They have a higher vibration which is why the government tries to vaccinate them and shit to reduce it. So they are a good ascension tool for raising our own vibe. So is music of course. That pure energy of the soul before it’s tampered with and pushed down into a dark prison cell. I have that too…people remark that children respond to me. It’s not me but my Inner Child they are relating to. Somehow they know it’s there. Most adults have written off their dreams, their Inner Child, their creative energy. In my case, I always escaped from everything and everyone as a child and preserved my innocence, creativity and freedom that way but eventually had a showdown with the Shitstem and suffered for it.

His reply:

“I remember MJ saying that...escaped as a child and saved your dude we are a lot alike. Did the same. School, parents, life. I still am in my own world at times. My creativity is still strong though. Musically.  From what I know about you I feel that you didn't lose any of your creativity and freedom. I sense you are about to start.  But do you think that if you escaped far enough to protect that little boy that in a sense he is protected permanently? I still feel the innocence that I had as a child...did my share of Jim Morrison impersonations in my life. But still innocent. A girlfriend of my ex-wife testified on my behalf…that I would ‘get on the same level as her children when they would come over.’ Some people just don’t have that innocence left in them. Should I say the majority of people don’t. Why do you think MJ was such a recluse? My friend shot the Pepsi commercial with him when he caught fire. I got his pic and autograph. Used to work at a house right next door to his home in Encino. Anyways, rambling...When I really have time and energy to talk to you I always get goose bumps with your reply. Am I that fucking lonely? No, the Internet is an awesome place.”

My next reply (on Boxing Day):

Feels like this wounded child was seriously healed recently, perhaps even protected permanently by the angelic energies and DNA activation I received from Isis on 12:12. We’ll see. If that part of us, the soul, itself is plugged into the Source then perhaps it will start to create Heaven on Earth instead of projecting lack, limitation, monsters and nightmares onto the canvas of life! Certainly, I can feel my Inner Child now saying ‘YES!’ to life now, looking for enjoyable experiences, as if freed from the past suddenly. Even my cat has changed as if reflecting my emotional mood. Pets might well be in our lives to show us what our Inner Child is up to! I feel clearer emotionally and energised…so, sure, potentially protected by this energy itself. Yeah, I have the same thing…in a shop (‘store’) the kids look at me like I’m one of them and I look back half thinking, ‘wtf?’ Cuz that, for me, is just the emotional part of me but it seems to be all they see. Like, it means: ‘We don’t see who you are as an adult cuz none of that stuff counts for shit!’ LMAO. Yeah a window of innocence which connects us to the Goddess, pure consciousness, through which the Light can shine, through which whole worlds can be imagined, where weird and wonderful beings can come and greet us, an opening to dimensions beyond the box we’re also confined to like everyone else. An escape route. A date with Freedom. Like Charlie in his cell…dreaming, knowing…better things beyond this crazy fucked up dream, this nightmare that we need to wake up from now.

“He who sings scares away his woes.” - Don Quixote.

“Do not focus on the suffering and misery within the illusion, but focus instead on the knowledge that the illusion is to end and will be replaced by the exquisite delight of existence in the Light of God’s eternal day, where anything other than that is impossible. This of course does not mean that you do not see the suffering that the illusion causes, because while you remain within it that would be impossible. Be aware of it, help to ease it where you can by compassion, kindness, and generosity, but focus joyfully on the knowledge that it is a nightmare whose end is approaching, and when that happens the misery and suffering that it contained will be gone, having truly never existed, because nothing that is not of God could ever exist. There will be no traumatic memories, only everlasting wonder in the perfection of God’s divine Reality.” – Saul (channelled through John Smallman, ‘Do not focus on the suffering and misery within the illusion,’ 6 February 2011,

“Suffering is part of our training program for becoming wise.” - Ram Dass.

“Remember that whatever the physical dis-easement is, it is really a mirror of an emotional reaction to a belief about yourself…So very often it is a form of comfort…Also it is to look at the gift…Because no matter what you create in your life, there is a gift. There is a place of wisdom to come to. And not only for one's self, but then to be able to share this gift of wisdom with other peoples…You see, beloved, the four basic fears, the basic beliefs that everybody of your society has which are the cause of the emotional diseasement, are that I am not enough, I am not worthy; I am powerless; love equals pain; and the world is a dangerous place. So all of the fear comes down to these four beliefs about one's self and about the world. And indeed because you are so powerful, you create situations to reinforce or to show you the truth of these beliefs…And what empowers that, what draws that frequency of the situations to you, is the e-motion. That is the powerhouse that you are. The beliefs are enwrapped in that energy called e-motion and then you create, you automatically pull toward you, the situations and the peoples who show you who you think you are…The universe supports you absolutely 100%. When you change the consciousness and change the frequency of the e-motion, then you will automatically draw to you the situations that show you the new idea, the new belief, you have about yourself.” - P'taah (channelled through Jani King, excerpts from ‘The Mirror of Your Universe,’ August 2011,

“Fear is a prison.” - Ben Jonson.

“When chaos is the order of the day, which it will be at times. When everything seems to pile on you at once, all is okay. It is only a moment of contrast, which will pass. There is a tendency to spiral downward, all the deep fears coming up, which is okay. But the answer in this situation is to breathe deeply, stop all trying, worrying, and figuring out. Go out into nature, ground yourself with Mother Earth's peace and stillness. Walk in the grass. Put your feet in the ocean. Pet an animal. Forget the world for a while. You will be amazed at the rejuvenating effects.” - Elizabeth Anne Hill.

"To suffer is a necessity entailed upon your nature. Would you prefer that miracles should protect you from its lessons or shall you repine, because it happened unto you, when lo it happened unto all? Suffering is the golden cross upon which the rose of the soul unfolds." - Ancient Khemetic Proverb (Egyptian).

“What you want is irrelevant, what you’ve chosen is at hand.” - Spock (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country).

“Don’t be upset if there are days when you seem to go backwards a bit. Life is like that! Unexpected situations often bring up a great deal of fear and may set us back a bit on our journey from pain to power. Not to worry!...remind yourself that, at the level of the Higher Self, ‘ALL IS WELL!’ A word of warning: Please, please, please, don’t take this all too seriously. Our Higher Self would definitely tell us to lighten up about life and have fun! One of my favourite sayings is, ‘Angels fly because they take themselves lightly.’” - Susan Jeffers (Feel the Fear...and Beyond, Rider Books, London, U.K., 1998, p.23).

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