Wednesday, 25 August 2010

the lion and the unicorn

What is it all about? The unicorn symbolises Scotland and the lion symbolises England, and they were fighting for the crown until they got married....

According to the nursery rhyme, the lion beat the unicorn all around the town.... And when he had beat him out, he beat him in again; He beat him three times over, his power to maintain.. Hmmm.. clearly written by an Englishman....

I was concerned about the chaining of the Unicorn, but that predates the union with the lion, as witness the pre-union coat of arms of the King of Scotland, to the right.

Wikipedia explains:according to legend a free unicorn was considered a very dangerous beast; therefore the heraldic unicorn is chained
So what's this about? The unicorn, a spiritual creature, a vegetarian, is considered so dangerous it must be chained up, while the rampant lion, a vicious and base carnivore remains unfettered? What kind of barbarism is this?

It is time to free the unicorn from its chains. No need to chain up the lion - it will be no match for an unchained unicorn.

Consider the tarot card for Strength: the Unicorn, in full possession of her own spiritual strength, easily subdues and tames the more base and physical lion. The lion lays down with the unicorn, in peace. No chains required.

The lion did not defeat the unicorn through strength. It did it through trickery. Through trickery the Unicorn was chained.

Unchain the unicorn!

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

free the fail whale!

I feel very sorry for the poor old beast - trapped in a net and being constantly hoisted above the water by these pesky birds - I mean, I know that whales can breathe out of water, but I also know they are much happier in the water... anyway, why do they think a picture of a whale being tortured is going to make us happier about being caught up in their broken machinery? Are they saying: "leave us twits alone you tweeters, if you all just go away and do something else then we can get back in the water and suck on some plankton..."?

The twits have made some basic errors, as might be expected. They try to fix complexity with more complexity, which is like trying to cure a drunk by applying a barrel of whisky... oops our labyrinths are leaking... lets build a collection of labyrinthine monitoring systems so we can while away our days merrily watching just how badly it seeps... and lets add lots more squid in there... are we not clever? Look at our metrics! Almost everyone is now using our API to tweet - does that not show how clever we are?

Nope... try to tweet on the website and you get the tortured whale. Tweeters use the API apps out of desperation! Or, more often, they go somewhere else...

Look twits: your system requirements could not be more simple. Your only challenge is scale. Massive scale. There is an easy way to achieve massive scale, and a difficult way. The difficult way - the way of conglomeration - requires exceptional skill and loadsofdosh, such as only The Goog, and on occasion The Apple can muster. Otherwise, nothing works (think Micros&%t...). The easy way is distribution. Think Skype. Think Bittorrent. Think Internet. That's enough of a hint...

Let's save the fail whale. Cut the nets and set it free. Let the tweeters no longer burden the whale. Leave the whale out of it. Cut the nets and set it free. Let the tweeters do their own work, every one of them. If necessary, shoot those little tweeters who refuse to leave that poor whale alone... the time for placid acceptance has passed. It is now time for action! Free the whale!

Monday, 23 August 2010

not worth saving

Dale Pendell writes in his blog "The Retort":
An economy that is dependent on people buying things they don’t need... with money they don’t have, is not worth saving. An economy that has to grow just to cover its own debts is not worth saving. An economy dependent on the energy of fossil fuels to avoid collapse is not worth saving. Why is an economy where most of the profits go to one percent of the population worth saving?
Let the recession come. The earth needs a recession, badly, globally. The future needs a recession—not a “correction,” but a recession, and a long one. The earth needs a permanent recession. Society needs a permanent recession. It’s time to turn off the lights and to roll up our sleeves. There is a lot of work to do.

Thanks to KMO and his excellent C-Realm podcast for drawing this, and many other, inspirational sources to my attention.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

lest we forget...

Ilargi from The Automatic Earth writes:
the "economic recovery" we've been fed for a year now, is, and was always, fake. We never left the first dip, and so we can't enter a second one. And no, this is not a recession, it's a depression, one that Celente labels "the Greatest Depression". Yes, things will get a whole lot worse than they are today.

The Raw Story quotes Gerald Celente saying:
You're going to see it all over the world, what they call austerity programs ... What are they doing? They're bailing out the banks and they're making the people pay for it. And the people don't like that.
One of the good businesses to get in to may be guillotines, because there's a real off-with-their-heads fever going on.

However, Joe Bageant does not expect outright revolution:
when we are looking at the political elite, we are looking at the dancing monkey, not the organ grinder who calls the tune. Washington's political class is about as upwardly removed from ordinary citizens as the ruling class is from the political class. For instance, they do not work for a living in the normal sense of a job, but rather obtain their income from abstractions such as investment and law, neither of which ever gave anybody a hernia or carpal tunnel. By comparison, the ruling class does not work at all.
Moneywise, Washington's political class is richer than the working class by the same orders of magnitude as the ruling class is richer than the political class.
the political class adopts the ruling class's social canon and presumptions, especially the one most necessary for acceptance: That the public has the collective intelligence of a chicken.
This political class stands between all of us down here and the tiny minority in the ruling class waaaaaay up there, wherever the hell up there is. No use to squint. You can't see it from where we are. That comes in mighty handy in denying the existence of a ruling class.
the smoke has now cleared, the money is in ruling class coffers, and a spin the bottle game for a few prosecutions is underway to entertain the crowd for the next few years.
Because the revolutionary destruction of the current economic system, bad as it is, would crash the country's economy even more quickly than the current process of theft, we are not likely to see an outright revolution that overthrows the ruling class.
the ruling class holds all the money, not to mention the media that informs the populace as to what is going on in our country. It controls our health care, our banking and retirement funds. It controls our education or lack of education, and it controls the price, quantity and quality of the food we eat. It controls the quality of the air we breathe, and soon, through pollution credits, even the price they will pay for that air. Most importantly, it holds concentrated legal and governmental authority
In the face of all this stands a very diverse public.. When your life and your family are so utterly controlled by persons and forces that you cannot even see, you don't take such risks.
the ruling class.. do not mind the wrath of the rabble, so long as it does not get in the way of the money.

However, Dmitri Orlov points out that those with the money are not happy either:
these are very difficult times to be rich. It used to be that having a million dollars made you a millionaire—but not any more! Now, to be perfectly safe and completely insulated from economic reality you need at least ten million, if not more, and the more you have, the more unnerving become the wild undulations of the financial markets and the dire prognostications of the experts. It is getting to the point that you can make a plausible guess at a person's net worth based on how nervous and miserable they look.
They have long forgotten what it means to be happy and carefree, and their labored attempts at feigning enjoyment are painful to watch. You can be sure that the sight of poor but happy people makes them quite livid.

Finally, in the words of James Howard Kunstler
because we're unwilling to re-scale and reform the things we do, nature is about to do it for us.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

the apocalypse and the awakening

Here are some extracts from Richard Grossinger's "Conversation with Andrew Harvey" in Reality Sandwich:
I don't see in an ordinary sense how anything is going to get fixed or is fixable at this point. In fact it doesn't even seem to be going in the direction of getting itself fixed; it seems to be going in the direction of getting worse and worse, and the people who are making it worse getting more power and asserting more prerogative....

We are impotent against the scale of physical and financial forces. As Obama says, we can't plug the hole.

There is absolutely no way in which this crisis is going to be fixed, because the whole point of this crisis is that it unravels, destroys, disintegrates, utterly, utterly annihilates all of the agendas and illusions and fantasies that human beings have created out of what you could call a collective false human self. Which is now terminally addicted to a false vision of the universe, a lust for power over every other species, a crazed hunger to dominate nature, and a totally unsustainable fantasy of limitless growth.

At the same time... our presence here is a participation in something much larger that is invisible to us - something that on some level is connected and connecting to other intelligences in the universe and the intrinsic intelligence of the universe itself. These realms are being informed by our situation in some way - we are receiving aid, advice, and godspeed from them despite how things are going here, despite the fact that it looks as though morons and madmen and crime bosses are informing everything.

Things are a mess and inextricable, but we are alive and conscious and filled with the song and heart and yearning of the universe. So I think it's important not to over-focus on "fixing" things in the ordinary sense: politically, ecologically, economically. It's impossible. Yet... we must act. We must do the right thing. Service is absolute and non-negotiable.

It's like both are true and wrapped around each other: the apocalypse and the awakening. Only the apocalypse writes itself glowingly and brazenly on the face of our times. The spiritual awakening is deep and subtle, hidden inside our gestation in the universe, our pagan, untold initiation that is written in the whole of nature, and in the sky.

What we are looking at is an appalling, dreadful, ferocious, inescapable dark night of the species, which is going to get worse, very, very fast. That is the bad news. But there's good news within the bad news because when you understand through divine grace, and through the flicker of the divine evolutionary intelligence shining on your mind and heart, that this radical ferocious process is the sign of an enormous new potential struggling chaotically to be born, then you can begin to cooperate with that birth.

The transformation of the human into the divine human... works through terrifying horror and extreme chaos and almost unimaginable violence.

it's too easy to think of the people who are fucking things up - in governments and corporations and narcissistic stupors and militias and crime cadres - as being in some sense in alliance with evil, or the devil. I mean, there are some pretty bad actions, pretty bad choices, pretty sociopathic behaviors on the loose on this planet. And yet, at some level, the energy that is flowing in to create those acts is sacred too, and has to be used in our transformation.

We all have to look at the collective shadow of the human false self, which we all participate in, and the despair and disillusion and desolation and death-wish and dread, that it has completely, almost, possessed us with which enables us to do nothing as the powers that be destroy everything.

One of the things we need to be doing is.. praying for those who are trapped in their roles as masters of the machine... from any kind of enlightened perspective, they are the ones who are suffering in obscurity and unconsciously the most. Because in killing and in massacring and in destroying the environment, they are laying waste to their own source, they are laying waste to their own psyches, they're living in an increasingly polluted psychic atmosphere.

The Dalai Llama, upon hearing of the slaughter of the Tibetan nuns by Chinese soldiers, wept. When asked presumptively if he was weeping for the nuns, he responded, rather fiercely, ‘No, their souls were okay.' He was weeping for the soldiers who killed the nuns. His deepest compassion is extended to the most brutal of his so-called enemies, because he knows that they are preparing (for themselves) an enormous stinking karmic grave.

Somehow we have to be able, through sacred practice, (to) create a crucible in which we can become strong enough to endure what we have to endure, to hold the heart open, to hold the dark and the sadistic and the tormented at the center of our hearts, and keep constantly praying for them so that they can be illumined by the light that sustains everything.

We can make daily extraordinary steps by constantly being vigilant over our minds, constantly trying, with all the chaos of our psyches, to move toward compassion and true tenderness in our relationships with others... This is the foundation from which all manner of things can flower.

Any true act of empathy and compassion has resonances through known and unknown universes and domains, because everything is interrelated in unimaginable and mysterious ways.

The situation we're enduring is particularly horrible because something enormous is at stake: a birth of the divine in matter. The birth of the divine in the human through the catastrophic, apocalyptic violence of a dark night, is not for this Earth alone, which is why those forces that oppose it are so hysterical and violent.

This is known in the mystical traditions as supreme enlightenment (whereby) the whole universe is elevated.

That was the sacrifice of Christ, to use his body to break down a barrier between realms, to demonstrate that transformation and rebirth are possible, and nothing can intercede. It's a love beyond division. It's a love beyond reason. It's a love beyond agenda. It's a love beyond results. And if you can allow yourself to surrender to that love, that love has the power of resurrection within it, at its core.

In its own demonic way, the new cult of the suicide bomber is an expression of the lost divine and a direct attack on materialism. In a certain symbolic way, 9/11 remarkably resembled the Tower Card in the Tarot, down to the fine details. The suicide attacks are.. a direct confrontation with materialism... They are attacking the heart of a great materialist blasphemy.

(They are saying that) there is nothing whole about our culture. We are driven by greed. There's a kind of free-floating, dark promiscuity which is attacking so much of what is sacred about love and emotion and passion. The whole of our culture is in the hands of a few corrupt business-people.

Here are people who for all the wrong reasons, and a few of the right ones, are truly prepared to give up their whole lives in the name of a passion for a new world.

If only the New Age had the passion of the suicide bomber... If they had the passion, the commitment, and the sincerity... in fact, just the sincerity would do it. That's what's missing in the New Age... and the capacity to give your whole life for a transformation you want, which is what's going to be asked of us.

To galvanize people... first of all you connect them with the divine consciousness within them, secondly you give them the disciplines that really sustain that consciousness, and, thirdly, you help them follow their heartbreak and follow something they can really do in the real world to help the real agony of the real exploding real crisis. If you really see that the world is dying - and that means that not only your psyche is going to be destroyed, but that the world that you love is dying, that if you have children your children are going to inherit desolation - if you really see that, if you really allow yourself to feel it, if you really stop intellectualizing about it, but start feeling it and feeling it from the divine within you, then you will be driven, you will be driven to find something that you must do just to stay human.

The new paradigm is based on spirituality, a subtle rising wave of awakening. The old paradigm, based on control and greed, is now looking increasingly ugly day by day, as it tears itself apart in front of our eyes. The transformation from the familiar old ways to the new and unfamiliar ways will be forced on us if we don't take the initiative. We can be destroyed as part of the problem, or we can participate as part of the solution. Awareness is the first step to awakening.

Are you ready "to give your whole life for a transformation you want"?

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

nobody reads this

The good thing about nobody reading my blog is that I can write whatever I like and I don't get hassled for it.... I don't have to moderate comments or even read them...

The bad thing about nobody reading my blog is that I can be lazy and not bother writing anything at all....

The terrible thing is that I have another blog which some people do read, and instead of writing for them I spend my time hiding here and writing on this blog..... so I am not only uninteresting, but antisocial as well, not to mention ungrateful.... but then, which of us is perfect?

Anyway, I have better things to do, like wordring and being a twit, not to mention playing with my gmail status... in fact, anything to avoid facing the flock....

Sunday, 15 August 2010

breaking out of the shell

Tired of your egg-shaped universe? Don't wait for time.... time waits on you.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

mystical experiences

The following is adapted from Soul and Spirit by Patrick Harpur:

Mystical experience is intuitive. There is a sudden illumination in the dead of night, or a flash of lightning in the darkness. A single mystical experience may last only a minute but be a defining moment in one's life, a yardstick against which the truth of subsequent mundane experiences are measured.

Mystical experiences are difficult to talk about, as they transcend language, and are intensely personal. They are given, by the grace of God, and cannot be induced by willpower. They are more important to us than our normal state, and infinitely more meaningful. They are revelations of reality. No one says after the experience: "I see now that it was all a dream or a hallucination or a delusion, but now I've come to my senses." They say the opposite: "Ordinary life seemed like a dream in comparison to the reality I saw." At the same time, ordinary things are not distorted as they can be in dreams. Everything is the same as usual, but more vivid, colourful and above all charged with significance.

Here I will consider three categories of mystical experience: visions of nature, visions of the beloved, and visions of God.

Visons of nature.

In visions of nature, every object is imbued with significance and importance. Everything is a presence. Everything is ensouled. Everything is holy. Everything is awe-inspiring. The ego is abolished, and one is neither self-conscious nor detached, but conscious of one's self in intimate participation with every other self. There is no desire, except to continue in that state of one-ness.

Jacob Boeme, a Protestant mystic, was sitting in his room one day in 1600 when "his eye fell upon a burnished pewter dish which reflected the sunshine with such marvellous splendour that he fell into an inward ecstasy, and it seemed to him as if he could now look into the principles and deepest foundations of things. He believed that it was only a fancy, and in order to banish it from his mind he went out into the green fields. But here he noticed that he could gaze into the very heart of things, the very herbs and grass, and that actual nature harmonised with what he had inwardly seen."

In 1969, Derek Gibson was travelling to work by motorcycle when he noticed that the sound of his engine had faded to a murmur. "Then everything suddenly changed. I could clearly see everything as before with form and substance, but instead of looking at it all I was looking into everything. I saw beneath the bark of the trees and through the underlying trunks. I was looking into the grass too, and all was magnified beyond measure, to the extent that I could see moving microscopic organisms! Then, not only was I seeing all this, but I was literally inside it all. At the same time as I was looking into this mass of greenery I was aware of every single blade of grass and fold of the trees, as if each had been placed before me one at a time and entered into."

Bernard Berenson: "It was a morning in early summer. A silver haze shimmered and trembled over the lime trees. The air was laden with their fragrance. The temperature was like a caress. I climbed up a tree stump and felt suddenly immersed in It-ness. I did not call it by that name. I had no need for words. It and I were one."

The vision of Nature in our culture most often occurs in childhood or adolescence, before we have become "educated", or in those people who never lost the child-like perception of Nature.

Wendy Rose-Neill had an experience while gardening. She suddenly became intensely aware of her surroundings: the scent of grass, the sound of birds and of rustling leaves. "I had a sudden impulse to lie face down in the grass," she said, "and as I did so, an energy seemed to flow through me as if I had become part of the earth underneath me. The boundary between my physical self and my surroundings seemed to dissolve and my feeling of separation vanished. In a strange way I felt blended into a total unity with the earth, as if I were made of it and it of me.... I felt as if I had suddenly come alive for the first time, as if I were awakening from a long deep sleep into the real world.... I realized that I was surrounded by an incredible loving energy, and that everything, both living and non-living, is bound inextricably within a kind of consciousness which I cannot describe in words."

Visions of the beloved

In visions of nature we experience the multiple, non-human, impersonal soul of the world. In visions of the beloved we experience the soul of a single person. This can happen in an instant, as in love at first sight. You are in awe, in the presence of your beloved. There is sexual passion, but not lust.

This kind of love is expressed in the medieval tales of courtly love of a knight for his unattainable lady. This is the template for our modern idea of "romantic" love, which we believe transforms the lover's character for the better. Although we believe that we all have a right to fall deeply in love, the pure vision of the beloved is a rare experience. However, many of us are tortured by a more selfish romantic form, an unrequited desire for some remote beauty, perhaps an unattainable film star or pop icon, or a senior boy or girl at school. There is no question of friendship, companionship, or shared interests.

In visions of the beloved, the love we have for the beloved is pure and unselfish, as in love for God. This love for a beloved is a short step away from loving God, and from loving all of creation. We see beauty and grace. The beloved is angelic. The sexual passion is an expression of yearning for two souls to merge and become one.

In such a love, the beloved is all-important: all relations to other people, or to the world, pale into insignificance.

In our divine form as immortal souls, we are all one with God. When incarnated in human bodies we experience separation. Separation brings suffering. The wish to merge with a beloved is an earthly expression of the longing of the soul to leave the body and merge once again with God.

But we tend to invest too much in other individuals - family, children and friends as well as lovers - more than they can bear. This leads inevitably to disappointment when our beloveds turn out not to be the idealised divine figures we adore. The paradox is, that we can only truly love each other when we also love something beyond each other.

A vision of the beloved is a vision of divinity. We are seeing the divine soul, and through that we are connecting with God and all of divinity. Where this connection with God comes first for both partners, the pure love for each other can be mutual and lasting. This is reflected in the idea of getting married "in the eyes of God". But where there is selfish desire, we want total absorption of the other, body and soul, into our own self. This is a hopeless desire, which brings jealous possessive rage, anguish, despair, and emptiness. The beloved becomes unattainable. So, we must each put God first, as God is pure and wholly selfless. Then we can see the reflection of God in our beloved, and we can feel it in ourselves.

We must also both be able and willing to imagine ourselves in the other's shoes. This requires faith in each other, and imagination. There is then an exchange: "I am in you" and "you are in me". This is very similar to the experience, in visions of nature, of you being "in" everything and everything being "in" you.

Visions of nature are impersonal: we lose our personal selves in the one-ness of all of creation. Visions of the beloved are personal: we connect with the divine through the person of another. The lover becomes a personal deity.

Visions of God

Visions of God tend to happen when we let go of all desire. We wait in the darkness and love rushes in. From emptiness we become full. We experience union with the divine light. We experience oneness with God.

Unlike visions of nature or of the beloved, visions of God are seldom spontaneous, but require preparation, such as meditation, fasting, prayer, or self-denial. We go through a "dark night of the soul" in which we let go of all human longing and knowledge, and become truly humble. Then God comes to us.

There are no words to adequately describe the encounter with God. But it is often described as light or as fire, within or outwith the self, with a blissful feeling of unlimited comfort and understanding.

Union with God can also be seen as union with one's own soul or higher self. The soul is at one with God and of the same divine nature, and so union with the soul implies union with God also. Union with one's self simply means letting go of the false lower self or ego, and allowing the true inner self to shine through. However, many find this "simple" approach difficult to practice and prefer to approach God directly.

Whether we go within or outwith to find God, the aim is the same: union with the divine.

Monday, 9 August 2010

why be vegetarian?

Physically, we are what we eat - a healthy diet produces a healthy body and a healthy mind. Our psyches also are strongly affected by our diet: energies are taken on board through our diet, and the gentle energies of fruit, vegetables, grains, and legumes produce lightness, and aid meditation.

I eat a vegetarian diet - here are some of my reasons:

1 - karma - I don't take on the karma of the slaughter of animals - meat is murder

2 - vibration - vegetarians are less aggressive and gross, and are more gentle and subtle - this can be seen clearly in the animal kingdom

3 - animal welfare - I detest the practices of modern farming, particularly in relation to cruelty to animals

4 - energy - vegetarian diet is much easier on the digestion system, and so you have more energy and vitality

5 - clean-ness - vegetarian food is much cleaner (try looking at raw meat under a microscope), and much less likely to poison

6 - pharmaceuticals - farm animals are pumped full of antibiotics and other drugs, residues form which remain in the meat

7 - less fear - the fear vibrations of animals about to be slaughtered remain in the meat, and are taken on board by the eater

8 - ecology - vegetable and grain farming consumes much less of the planets resources, per meal, than animal farming

9 - economic - vegetarian diet is cheaper

I also prefer my food to be organically produced, and with as slittle processing as possible. Nature provides food that is wholesome and alive. Our bodies are part of nature. The energies of nature sustain us. When we adulterate the work of nature with chemicals, or by extreme mechanical processes, the food loses its vitality and natural balance. When grains are over-refined - white flour, white rice, etc. - we have thrown away most of the nutrition in them, and we have made them un-whole.

Many people who eat a vegetarian diet do not understand food balance, and thus become unhealthy. Doctors recommend them to eat meat again to regain their health, but in fact the meat will only cause them other health problems, not to mention the psychic and spiritual damage caused by taking on board the energies of bad animal husbandry and the slaughterhouse. The answer is to eat wholefoods, with minimal processing - to vary the diet, and to include foods that provide the trace elements which most people rely on meat for - foods such as seaweeds, miso, tamari, and tempeh are a great help for a healthy vegetarian diet.

I learnt a lot from macrobiotics - while I don't subscribe to every macrobiotic tenet, the focus on the balance of the diet, the energies in the food, the wholeness of the food, the denial of greed, and the attitude towards diet of "my body is a temple", all lead to good health of body, mind and soul.