Embracing Fragility and Vulnerability

The societies we live in are crazy; and that is an over generous appraisal on my part.  We inhabit fractured communities on this wondrous planet, all disconnected from each other and the Eco systems we are intertwined with. The Earth is a living being who unfolds her beauty in Spring, in that season everything has a freshness and bounce in its step; in Summer the hot sun in the desert burns the Earth, only the strong survives but life abounds behind the scenes; Autumn drapes her fabric, colors unmatched, her beauty steals the heart of the onlooker; the bitter bite of Winter has us rushing for soup and wood-fired pizza and diving for cover under blankets. Underneath it all the canvas of the Living Silence maintains its equipoise hidden from all.
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Man and His Mad Agendas
Man has his missions to the Moon, to Mars; his agendas block, straighten or redirect the river, he flattens the hill to extend suburbia into native grasslands, in the process he makes his beloved brothers the animals homeless. Man in the news media tells us of the worst of human behavior and then gives a moments reprieve with trivia, celebrity bling and sport, dumbing down the masses, the man in politics supports the systems to keep everything just out of reach to break the back of the community, people become dependent on the broken system, one that was never designed to nurture it.  Politicians are meant to serve the people not control them and implement hideous agendas.
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The Empty Sky
The Buddha Mind does not belong to Buddhism, it is homeless like the biblical Son of Man having ‘no place to lay his head’.  The sky holds without holding, the Buddha Mind encases all that arises in it, lets it fall back into Emptiness, neither owning or disowning. The man of a lesser god judges, he doesn’t know the great Tao encases the play without a fuss, everything rises and falls into space, empires come and go.
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The world at times can push against us, our fragility can scream, we feel as if we are going to break.  If we have read the Zen classics we will know it is the hollow bamboo that bends in the wind, it is in Emptiness we find peace. We have seen and learnt war doesn’t end in peace, there is no relationship between the two. War is about two false concepts that have nowhere to go, they bash against each other, in a way enemies deserve each other, it’s a love hate relationship, love ones own opinion and hate the other. Peace and emptiness are essentially the same, neither of them DO anything, peace is always relaxing into itself, Emptiness is the canvas that holds the universe.  War is the fruit of those who don’t understand their innate nature and inter-connectedness.
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Coming Apart
In those moments when we are most vulnerable there is a natural feeling that we need to protect something, and this is a logical response.  But if we take some time to look closely we will see we have an IMAGINARY identity. We are educated into thinking a particular way, to have opinions, to make them known seems reasonable, to stand up for ourselves, some say our views define us, it makes us feel relevant. However, in an aggressive world those who can yell the loudest, be the biggest trickster, articulate ‘on the fly’ better than others are always the champions. It doesn’t mean that those people are wiser or have better world views, they are better salesmen at selling their version of reality. When someone feels like they are not heard, an internal argument lingers long after a discussion, it eats away at them. The assertive views of others can be like arrows that shoot through the aura that surrounds a sensitive being.
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Unbeknownst to many, the Sages don’t actually mind what people think or believe. This is because they have nothing to protect, when required they state what is there, what they see and is beyond doubt in that moment of timelessness, there is no conflict with the world.  Why argue with a rock or a doughnut, why go into conflict with somebody who looks through a tiny window and can’t see the whole landscape, who doesn’t know their place in the tapestry of foreverness?  The winning of an argument is for drunk men, politicians or philosophers in the park, slaves of soap box wisdom. The philosophers aren’t usually wise men, they are smart men on the way to being wise, critical thinkers, they have opinions, they are speculators not experiencers, they are at the middle or beginning on the journey of transformation. Opinions get in the way of super-consciousness
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The Eggshells of Life
Fragility is a good thing if we know how to work with it.  An eggshell is a protective layer, under it is a new life.  The trick with the fragility is to know how to use it, to know when to crack the egg open.  The new life that emerges when cracked will be vulnerable, will require some tender handling and protection.
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So how do we work with this, how can we be fragile, extremely vulnerable and still feel safe? How can we navigate harmlessly through a world full of what seems like predators, through the chaos of life on Earth which is at war with everything around it?
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Nature is a wondrous thing.  If we look around us we will see the trail and reminders of billions of years of existence.  The stars with their mysteries, we know from research by astronomers that galaxies are in the making; planets hang in space like the baubles on a Christmas tree.  When we look across the mysterious world we see Jonathan the 183 year old turtle who lives on the island of St Helena, he and his relatives have over time developed a shell to protect their tender bodies. The cactus in the desert with its prickles telling everyone to stay away; the birds wings give them an escape strategy and the chameleon saying ” I’m not here, you can’t see me”.  If we are sharp in out thinking and have the ability to look clearly at the world around us, I mean the world MINUS man, although we will see a pattern that resembles survival of the fittest, we will notice multitudinous species that have managed to navigate the ensnarement’s and the trial by fire of life.  In this vision of the world around us we can find wisdom, it becomes our guru.  Man has intelligence, he may come out second best when wrestling with a tiger but if we look at the worlds population of 7.5 billion people, the human entity is not doing too bad in the survival stakes.
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The Invisible Glue
There is something odd that happens to humans, there is an attitude of wanting to hold ourselves together, it’s not just about self preservation, it’s about our IMAGINARY self. Sure we have a body, it goes ouch ouch if we are silly enough to ride a bicycle with our eyes closed or if we get dumped in the surf by mistiming a wave, that’s a normal response.  But the vulnerability and fragility that I am talking about is different.  We may have a strong body and still feel fragile emotionally, we may have enough money but feel a sense of lack, we may present with wonderful social skills but still feel like we don’t fit in.
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So what to do? How to be free from the vulnerability and fragility? I know from life experiences that regardless what has gone on in my life, I am still here, my awareness is still intact, my bruises have come and gone, my heart has healed.  I have navigated decades, quietly slayed the enemies as they have blocked my path, met and danced with the ghosts of loved ones who have passed over, stood on the precipice and looked out into foreverness and felt totally insignificant, raised myself above things that would have normally broken most men and survived against all reasonable odds, and this why I write.  I understand beyond all doubt that the rise and fall of events on the screen of the world doesn’t ‘touch’ the observer of the passing show, the wondrous mystery of life.  And it is not that I don’t feel, do I feel? YES, my heart bleeds daily. But I understand that feelings and emotional responses are part of their own world.  Regardless what presents itself I continue to rest in the Silence; when I remember I jump to the part of myself that observes the events of my life.
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Awareness
Learning to ‘jump’ to different parts of ourselves is something we can practice.  It comes about by watching the movement of our feelings and emotions when we are alone.  It is the same process that some people use in meditation.  Taking time out to do this will change our lives, it teaches us to know when to enter or retreat in an unemotional way.  We need to be gentle on ourselves, we won’t always get it ‘right’.  We are learning to tame the dragon, not to slay it.  Understanding ourselves and being kind to ourselves is important.  Accepting that being vulnerable or fragile is the natural order of things, it teaches us to walk gently among others, when we are gentle on ourselves we learn to be a little kinder to others, to see their vulnerability, to know when to step back.
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Everything has a place.  We do not live in a world where ‘only the strong survive’, this comes from a militant mindset.  The gentle, the vulnerable, the wise have survived for eons, they are our teachers.  I bow in honor of you.
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May all Beings Be Happy

The Yoga of Contemporary Nomads

The world is not so solid, pondering this could easily bring about a change to the way we live, it may impact how we feel about things, we can loosen the strings that tie us down and head off on a new journey.  It’s an unborn future in every direction, our destiny is the horizon which moves away as we step closer to where we think it is, the Universe unfolds as we move through it.
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Wanderers Wayfarers
In a way, many of us have become nomads; family structures have broken down, we don’t all have the ‘traditional’ home to go to, the village where we may have grown up has become part of the urban sprawl, where we used to play there is a supermarket and other blingy shops full of slightly useful objects; the stream morphed into a drain and graffiti reminds us that peoples thoughts are screaming to get out, even if it looks like gibberish, humans  struggle with the noise in their heads, it’s city-stress-syndrome.
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Many religious people are very challenged now, they try to fit the world around us into models that they are comfortable with, however it’s like the bottom of a bucket dropping out; family units are shattered; the dog, the couple of kids and a picket fence are no longer the standard; single mums and dads, mix and match families; gay couples; introverts living out ‘alone’ lives in the city, homeless wear their experiences engraved in the lines on their faces, strangers live  next door, people die and no-one notices, they just slip into other parts of the bureau of statistics database, life moves on.
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Flipping it Over Concept
One trick I have mastered in my life is the ability to turn what looks like disaster into something that is fruitful, nurturing and abundant. This is not something that happens instantaneously, it comes later after the chaos settles.  When we are in crisis the waves crash down on us, we hold on for dear life; but I am reminded that there is always a calm ‘centre’ even if thoughts are wild, even if despair is about to break us, something looks out at the show of life and almost mockingly says “is that so?”  Pema Chodron the western Buddhist nun  has an expression, “learning to STAY”, one way this translates is the ability to ‘hold’ oneself, not to act, to ride it through, to trust that in some way things will sort themselves out.  Once we are past our dark night of the soul, we can recycle our experiences, extract what is of value and head into new territory.  It is quite normal to feel deep emotions and feelings in response to structures coming apart, but we have a choice on whether we make it a problem or not.  I choose the latter.
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Beyond Chaos Theory
What may look like chaos to us, if we dig into it we can find something glorious. This breakdown of the community around us can lead us somewhere quite unexpected, if we can get past the feeling of ‘everything is broken’, life becomes interesting; a dull mind won’t be comfortable with change, sharpening our thinking and attitudes is something worth pursuing.  From the view of a Jnana Yogi (simply put: non dualistic perspective that everything has a glue joining it at the middle) the world is held together by thought, this idea is in conflict with what most people think; there is no way I would push it as a philosophy, to me philosophy doesn’t mean much, changing the way we view things is where wisdom lies.  Unlike some other yogis of the past, I am hesitant to say ‘the world is a mirage’, there is a lot of baggage and misunderstandings with that phrase, it’s not quite right.  It would be slightly more correct to say “every molecule is in motion and it’s only there when we look at it, or name it” it has a sense of ‘there-ness’. Things are named for convenience, we have a common language that allows us to reference moments on a timeline; but really EVERYTHING is in TRANSIT; and this is where freedom lies.
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Freedom is the ability to detach from our story of the world, to dissolve what has gone before and allow the ‘new’ to emerge.  With the breaking down of traditional family structures there will be turmoil, great confusion, questioning arises,  the ground beneath us fractures and if we are alert there will be a type of seeking, a search for meaning, and without giving the game away, that does not necessarily mean there is meaning, but the need for stability and understanding takes over if we have a certain amount of personal power and don’t indulge in our brokenness. When we indulge too much in ‘thinking about our response to a problem’, our thinking processes freeze up. Communities, the human civilisation we are part of is hypnotised by belief and self imposed limitations; the breakdown of the traditional structures although painful is the very thing that may bring about the change needed in the world. And saying this I am not opposed to community whether it be old or new, it has taken me a lifetime to learn to value ‘community’, and community is not necessarily what we assume it is.

Urban Gypsies
We are a community of nomads, wanderers; some say we are on a journey from ‘self to SELF’, from unknowing to KNOWing, personally I wouldn’t want to complicate things with philosophical fantasies, it’s a sidetrack and moves us away from ourselves.  Most religion and Spiritual practice moves us ‘away’, we chase ourselves.  The idea of reaching a goal in the future is part of the great play of life, the labyrinth of ‘becoming’ is endless.
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The beauty in the world fracturing is it is like an egg cracking, if the bird laments the loss of the egg, it may forget the baby chick.  New birth comes from change and ALL our suffering comes from failure to embrace change, to want things to be as they were or the way we want them to be. The less solid the world is in our thoughts, the greater potential there is for going past the limited known.  When the world we know breaks down, we are forced to either die, whittle away or look for other ways of doing things.
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What on Earth can we do?
So how do we approach the world we live in when it breaks? How can we find that thing, a sense of belonging, the NEW community we need that will nurture us?  Although the answer may be different for each one of us, there is one commonality,  that very thing is by saying ‘yes I accept you as this’, ‘I embrace you regardless of our differences’.  It is deeply programmed into human nature to not like.  It is okay to feel uncomfortable with what is outside what we accept at this moment.  However, it is important that our hearts crack open a little more each day, and we move at our own pace.  People come and go in our lives, each moment is precious.
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Tilopa 2.0

The Yoga of Addiction

I think addictions can be a good thing. Being distracted by, absorbed in something and a sense of regularity has its benefits. All great musicians and artists are addicted, Einstein, Newton and Buddha were all engulfed by a deep passion of wanting to ‘know’ and to reach an end, even if that end was temporary, they sought a resolve. It seems obvious when it comes to addictions that our flavour, our choice of ‘poison’ is what makes the difference. We can ask one simple question, “Does it weaken us, or strengthen us?” …. said in a deep radio announcer Shakespearean tone ‘that is the question’.
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Gimme the Lot
We can be reckless beings, the feeling of being infallible, the arrogance and bravado of youth, thinking we are invincible… gimme more, just keep loading up the bong till paranoia seems like the norm. Which tablet? Give me the lot; sucking down buckets of alcohol till even our dearest friends don’t want to know us. And we go back for more next week; ultimately in time we end up on an island of isolation, we no longer function well enough to navigate the changing fortunes that emerge on our screen of life; and do more of the same thing that got us to that point.
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The Loneliest Moment
I have very strong views on drugs and alcohol, I am not frightened to say them, they undermine our sense of community, an epidemic of destruction, they destroy the beauty of life. The window I look through comes from one ‘still frame’ moment just before my oldest boys funeral; the hearse pulled up, I walked over and just stood alone beside it, not knowing where to look, seeing the coffin, how long to stay? Why is no-one else here? Where is my family? Where are my friends? …. the preciousness of life was defined then and there, standing at the doorway to eternity. And the loneliest moment in the history of the universe had just invited me in. In a way, that moment defined the man I wanted to become, or the one who could have died with my son.
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Doughnuts are Better than Cocaine
What leads a person to the place where my son lay can be many things, life is challenging, we can be frail and keep throwing layer after layer over us until we disappear. But regardless of specifics, I do know it is about addiction, or more specifically, what we align ourselves with.  Addiction to me does not mean alcohol, heroin, ice or any other thing used by the hidden bankers to undermine the threads of the fabric of the community we live in. It means the way that we get stuck on a thought, what we think and hook into becomes bigger than us. A silly example would be:

I see doughnut (yum) >  My memory recalls sensation of bliss (mouth waters) > I devour doughnut (or half dozen) > Doughnut tickles my being (sugar dancing in mouth) >
Goes about its secret business (digests, turns into a little bit more fat than i was hoping for) >
Ultimately impacts in ways that make me feel worthless ( i think I am fat, or don’t like my pimples)…..
It really depends on how many times we run the loop, it all comes back to thought. And i am not saying don’t eat fun stuff, I am talking about doughnut addicts.
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Making Friends With the Enemy 
If we are smart, self-loving, alert, tender with ourselves, we will develop a sense of ‘well-being, problem is that’self care and love’ is the wisdom fruit of life’s experiences. So let’s short track this.
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In the same way that a clear pond way up in the hills, in the wooded valleys has fresh water coming in; we need to refresh our thoughts, to keep new information coming in so we don’t stagnate. Personally, I go for science and technology, quantum physics and break-through’s, I ponder the stars and dream a lot, question religious texts and try and get inside them, study and explore different aspects music.  I do this because I UNDERSTAND ADDICTION and the plasticity of the brain.  If I freeze and become addicted to things that undermine me, I would lose my sparkle for life. I have an obligation to those who I love, those who have left the world already, those who have taken the time to offer me the knowledge they had; so I seek joy in the depth of experience. My nature is addictive, I was very aware of that at a young age and in a stroke of genius turned it into my friend. I have learned to use it to my advantage; to choose things that are good, not just those that feel good temporarily.
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And it’s that simple.

Home Future Yogis

The Yoga of Ouch

Lots of my friends are Astrologers, some real ones and others are just sh!t scared of Mercury in retrograde, and every time their technical incompetence gets in the way, they blame the planets.  I am not big on astrology but I love the stars and solar orbs, I don’t think they are overly interested in any of us, our self importance is usually the big problemo.  By nature, as human beings it is difficult not to feel important or suffer from its inverse, a lack of importance, we are educated into a self of ‘I’ from birth.

Discipline Without the Big Stick
Many of my buddies are yogis, and yoginis, I admire their commitment to task, getting up at silly hours of the morning and tying their bodies in a knot, spreading their ‘feel-goodness’ and creating harmonious spaces where others feel ‘washed’ when they pass through, the world needs playful people; I love and need these people, the woman I love is one of these.  I am very self -disciplined, this ‘disc’ word is at times my friend and has also bitten me on the bum quite a bit. Some of my buddies are extraordinary musicians; their skills came from a lot of clever work, and this requires going without certain things and immense attention to detail, they are all ‘d’ word people.  Not to be confused with the other discipline, the big stick type of ‘d’ word, that only creates frustration.  The trick to life is to ‘find something that is good for us, and get addicted’.  Knowing it, the addiction is a ‘path that leads nowhere’ is critical; all paths lead away from ourselves.  This view is contrary to most of the schools of yoga, but that’s not my problem; when you understand this, the real ‘work’ starts, the ‘work of undoing’.  Addictions are good, however it is important to see them for what they are, temporary safe landing places in space, caravanserais to let our camels rest until we can let go.  If we treat them incorrectly (no not the camels, the addictions), they will get in our way and block the view of the lens we use to perceive the world.

The New Yoga of Future Yogis
Apart from being addicted to playing music, I am from a number of streams of yoga, slightly off the mainstream, although much of the work by the great teachers of these yogic schools that have nurtured me, are regularly referenced by the more common yogic pathways and schools of thought, often those people from other streams don’t really have an understanding of them…. however, there is another school of yoga that we all know well, one that we are initiated into at birth.  As it has never been defined properly, I hereby dub it as the “Yoga of Ouch”.

The Mindful Swordsman
I remember reading a Zen story years back, I will tell it a bit differently than how I first heard it:
There was a young guy, wanting to be taught the fine art of swordsmanship by a great master.  He felt quite broken for a period of time.  He made a commitment to his path and decided to leave home to live near the dojo; instead of going straight into the group of young wanna-be sword masters as would be expected, the great teacher gave him the job of working in the kitchen.  He was distressed and his disappointment knew no limits; what was helpful was he had the virtue of forbearance, and accepted his lot of chopping carrots, carrying water, testing the soup when no one was looking and saying quiet prayers over the meals so that anyone who ate the food would be blessed.  One day when he was dreaming and looking out of the window and automatically going about his kitchen-ness, the great teacher sneaked up behind him and jabbed him just under the rib cage with a wooden spoon, although it was soft, it was just enough to startle him back into (supposed) reality.  As he turned he saw a fleeting shadow and the slight flicker of a robe pass through the kitchen door and disappear into emptiness; his apprenticeship as a swordsman had begun.  From then on, every moment he had to be alert, knowing the teacher may arrive with an almost fatal blow when he least expected.  Like a true Master, his every day life became his swordsman apprenticeship.  He eventually emerged as the greatest swordsman in the land. “Yay!”

We can wander through life in a semi-conscious state like somebody who feels they are a slave to their lot, wanting air-conditioning to permeate everything we do and feel. Lukewarm, not overly hot or cold, “not too much hurt please”, the rhythm of life must suit ours; and people better behave how we want them to, if they don’t, then one of our many ways of resolving the blow to our rib cage will come into play…this can be disastrous.

Here Comes Ouch Again
The world goes ‘ouch’ on a regular basis. When I dig into the catalog of spiritual tales embedded in my subconscious, I think of Shakyamuni the Buddha.  His father a king, spent years of his life protecting the young prince Shakyamuni from the world.  His papa had an agenda, the Royal Astrologer had foretold his future as a renunciate, this led the king to create a wall around the young prince’s life both physically and emotionally so he would always feel happy and content, lost in bliss and never explore the normal set of experiences we all traverse.  As many would know, at night the future Buddha sneaked out and saw the world of suffering, this became a puzzle/challenge for him to look at and ultimately resolve.

Slaves of the False King
The false-king with the crooked crown lives within all humanity, in each of us. There is a part of us that wants to look away, something that is scared of entering the world in its rawness.  Some of us were over or under parented, and many of us are guilty of doing the same as we try and help our children prepare for their future life.  Ultimately, we and others are faced with the normal gamut of emotions and experiences, they are not going to disappear, they are going to be there whether we push them down with drugs, alcohol, sex, too many belongings or other diversions, addictions to digital trivia, sports or keep ourselves busy with things, even valuable obsessions.  Life slaps us.

Run Run Run
We are  all ‘runners’, avoiders of feelings; unless we are one of those New Age touchy-feely people who dramatise the ingestion of every grain of sugar, accidental/intentional addition of a pinch of MSG to an Eastern meal, or get stuck on the fact that someone didn’t say ‘thank you’ for something trivial; some people have done far too many workshops with self-centered people in leotards or have been schooled by ridiculously over-emotional people.  By understanding ‘running’, we can resolve a lot of issues in our lives, in fact at the other side of it, is what we are probably looking for.  We place everything in the way, and then we define the ‘us’, the ‘me’ as the ‘relationship between the experiencer and the experienced’; we believe ourselves to be the combination of everything we have gone through in our lives; we have unconsciously cultivated an imaginary personality.  If we look closely, we see we can go from Sage to ignoramus within a split second; if we are astute this leap in character change will catch our eye; a dullard will miss it, but it ought to be of great interest to anyone who is alive and thinking.  By seeing the extremities in this lightening change in the personality, the questioning mind would automatically start to ponder, ‘Who am I?’, the dull mind misses it and lives out its days in confusion, goes about its business with distractions and petty addictions.

The Beauty in Dissonance
‘Ouch’ is OK, ‘ouch’ is not our enemy.  I think this is where most of us go wrong, we misunderstand experience and want to pad ourselves from what doesn’t feel OK; we attempt to put something we perceive as ‘good’ in its place.  As soon as the world ‘hurts’ or anything from left-field arrives through the left stage door, we bolt towards the right door.   In music we have harmony, consonance and dissonance, if there are only ‘pretty’ notes, the music becomes very bland; like a shopping centre where everything is ‘nice’, or one of those religious groups where everybody is sort of smiling to make new-comers feel welcome; we need diversity in life to be able to extract wisdom.  Wisdom comes from emotions, emotions come from DIVERSE experiences; those experiences may not be safe ones.  We have a tendency to chase away what is ‘not nice’, feels not so good’, ‘big hurts’, all the things that we decide are not OK, we want to get away ASAP, as quick as possible.
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At Peace With Ourselves
By understanding the Yoga of Ouch, we can begin to live, not to run, we can re-enter life. By knowing everything is in constant flux, in motion, we can learn to be at peace with change and allow ‘what is going on’ to have its time on the stage of life,  we do not need to cling to those experiences either, they will pass.  Until then,  if we are not present, we are chasing apparitions about what we believe ‘ought to be’, we will be ignoring the gifts of the varied emotions that lead us to our wisdom;  from wisdom comes a deeper experience of life.
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Tilopa 2.0

The Yoga of Being Gentle on Ourselves

It’s a Crazy Mixed Up World of Men
There is madness in the world of men; economic growth, a push for getting from point A to B at a faster rate; okay, so what to do when we get there?  Making more money by giving less to the community; buying houses for babies so they will be ‘set up’ for the future, but forgetting the people around us are homeless…. what if the children become gypsies, nomads with invisible camels, wanderers and wayfarers, roaming Buddhas?   There are guys in suits, and stern looking power dressing women who model themselves on the worst of men, they struggle to get ahead in an insensitive arena of male mini tyrants; the cold stark air conditioned buildings with plastic plants, people shuffling papers and balancing numbers, lots of ‘doing’; children in daycare with strangers while their parents micro empires rise, and so often it falls in chaos as the family members don’t get to experience each other, overworked and too busy to appreciate the extraordinary meeting place called intimacy.

AS A SPECIES, WE MAY HAVE LOST OUR WAY.

The Spin dryer of Thought
Yesterday I hit the edge of despair.  This is not really a big  problem for me as my ‘Future Yogi’ (the part of me that lives outside time) looks at the experience and reminds me to change my point of perception, to stop and watch the play of life.  What was troubling me was, I am under pressure to deliver the fine details in a written testimony to my solicitor regarding crimes against humanity that happened to me as a child.  As I need to enter the memory of the experience so the legal team can proceed with my case, I got the wobbles, for a brief moment I was lost in the space-time tunnel.  It felt like I was in the spin dryer, trying to stop the emotions from jumping out and flying across the room.  My son was beautiful at this moment, and I understand why we chose each other as parent and child, he just said, ‘dad, is there anything I can do to help?’,  I said, ‘no, just saying that is enough’.  And I know from experience, I can usually sort things myself, nobody needs to do anything, it is knowing there is someone there that really counts.  So I decided to be gentle on myself.

The Warriors of Thought
I was too serious to do my usual therapy, the fine art of holding up my left arm and tickling my underarm with my right hand; this often works.  But these things I am dealing with are crimes against humanity, abuses of human rights that I have experienced.  For most people the heavy artillery would need to be called in, psychiatrists, meds, medical teams, guys in white coats with expressions of concern embedded into their wrinkled foreheads . Being the ninja that I am, I understand that there is always a point that holds everything in balance, there is a centre point at the heart of things.  If we can locate and manipulate that very fine whatever-thing that everything depends on,  the most powerful enemy can be defeated with a minimum of ease.   I know the greatest enemy of man is ‘thought’, knowing this gives me a starting point, I have an advantage, all enemies are already defeated.  If my problem is thought, there is no need go into battle and create more turmoil, things will just get broken.  A true warrior brings about peace with the least harm possible.   The dull, the bold, the buffoons will destroy the landscape, there will be carnage, collateral damage, everything gets stuffed over…. a wise warrior enters and leaves without anyone even knowing, while the villagers are sleeping, we come and go adjusting things to bring harmony, I took this path as there is no other one worth contemplating. And here is that path…..

The Ever Changing and Emerging Unborn
I love learning; the new, the fresh, the potential unborn, that’s where all the possibilities are. I am a musician and was gifted with the greatest teachers, masters of their craft.  One thing that these brilliant beings reminded me of was, we can always go into new territory, even if the terrain looks familiar we can take it out further, there is something we can extract and use.  I decided to learn a simple raga and play it on one of my beautiful guitars, (a raga is the underlying foundation of classical Indian music tunes), the guitar was in an irregular tuning, this requires additional thought and focus, and I was also playing in a different key, another set of notes than the original.  What this meant was I had to translate everything I was doing.  Although what I mentioned may sound irrelevant , or out of context, the underlying idea was to keep my mind active, to distract and create some new neural pathways instead of digging deeper into the ones that no longer serve me, those old ones were hurting, they were smothering me with emotions.  These ‘new pathways’ is where we can disable some things, ward off those arrows of life that seem like they will destroy us. If we want change and healing, we must take charge of the process, else we will always be a slave to things that no longer exist.  Things happened, true, they are in our past, they will have an affect…WE DO NOT HAVE TO LET THEM DEFINE US, to derail us and steal the joy from our life.

Healing is an Inbuilt Thing
I am confident that healing can come about naturally, this may be contrary to the ideas of many health practitioners, honestly I am not sure how others feel about this. From experience I know to ‘back myself’ to trust what works for me, regardless if someone says it’s impossible.  As musicians we get to play with many different people of various skill levels, and lots of things are not said at times.  I will use the example of everyone in a band being told before a music session starts that a piece of music has been changed, except one person was not informed.   The tune starts,  everybody else ‘in the know’ starts playing; the musician who hasn’t been informed looks momentarily puzzled, he has a number of choices: get upset and walk out, play the wrong music just to be annoying, or just listen and feel what is going on and call on the skills in the musical toolbox and adapt. Life is a lot like this; if every time something happens, we respond in a manner that is against the flow of what is going on, we will always be running, missing life; if we decide to struggle against what is going on and do something that is ‘never going to work’, we will suffer.  But if we are sensitive enough and trust the inbuilt wisdom we have developed in our lives, it will be less painful, we can navigate safely, slay the paper tigers and imaginary dragons who roam around in our thoughts.
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I say what I say from experience. I have learnt to be gentle on myself, to face what in many cases probably should have broken me, but I treasure my life, an adventure not to be missed or treated with disrespect.  We are creative beings, the past is gone, never to return.  By ever seeking the new, the past recedes in the rear-view mirror of life.
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When I struggle, all I need to do is to think ‘be gentle on myself’, the world around me softens.
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Tilopa 2.0

The Beauty of Vulnerabilty

Vulnerability is something the community doesn’t ‘do’ well.  In a society where men are expected to be ‘tough’ sporty and youth are directed into that ‘model’ by those who have gone before or are still lurking in the background, or maybe strategically placed in the subconscious thought of the unsuspected voyager of life; the idea of feeling vulnerable, is perceived as a weakness. Cliches like ‘cracks in the armour’,  hold yourself together, be strong are constantly pointing away from the virtues and glorious attributes of my friend ‘vulnerable’.

I do ‘vulnerable’ pretty well, like most things, i taught myself and didn’t know it had happened, and it is often not till i hit the depths of despair, that the wisdom of what is going on is extracted, which mind you happens about every second Friday but is usually not a problem.

We humans (and part aliens) 🙂 have a knack of ‘coming apart’, and coming apart is usually considered to be about the worst thing that can happen.  But if we look carefully at things, we will see that every moment we are ‘coming apart’, it is just the order of the molecules being in a particular shape that troubles us.  But look at it, a tree drops a seed or is kidnapped by the wind, breaks apart, a little bit of water adds to it; it grows into a sprouty thing, then gradually unfolds towards the stars and moves into its next phase as a new being, spits out a tasty fruit,  grows a few prickles just to annoy humans, flaunts its beauty with flowers and moves ceremoniously in the breeze, it may even be broken apart with the help of another and in the hands of the finest craftsman become part of a beautiful instrument…. or be part of a bushfire and smoke itself into forever with its atoms unseen going on to new worlds……. coming apart has its advantages

So we humans as a rule struggle with apartness.  I always like to come back to ‘nothing’, inside me is an unpainted canvas, a beautiful empty space awaiting experience, sounds, shapes, and unknown and familiar textures.  When i come back to nothing … (and i don’t mean the ‘all i want is nothing, give me your credit card i want the lot’ of the rogue gurus and cults),  it is ‘safe’; in that nothingness there is nowhere to go, nothing to do, only the beautiful silence of being, like sitting by the ocean and being oblivious to oneself, lost in the spaciousness of the water the sky and the horizon, no tomorrow, no past, no agenda, the NOW in its true sense before it became new age piffle.

Being vulnerable is quite ok, it’s just that we need to be a little patient and have the understanding that the tide comes in and out, there are storms and the seas rage, before you ‘no’ it the sun’s out, and a whole new world is there and life returns to the sea shore.  And life is like that, people come and go, we love them, they pass us by one day as if we are strangers, and we do the same sometimes.

Freedom, absolute freedom is in letting go, letting go of what was never really ours to hold, and was just a gift to caress for a while.  And in the understanding that when we look at the stars, we see and stand at different points, one person wishes, another one sees aliens, another sees a child coming, another sees a world being born, and another sees one passing away, a friend long gone, and another sees it as part of him or herself.  But everyone sees the star, and in looking up and out into forever, it can be daunting, and the night passes and a new day is born, and we are sometimes left shaking,  we awake to a new potential and our vulnerability passes by, knowing the dream goes on and not to tarry long.

Tilopa 2.0