Yes, I’m going to give this journey a name, but more of that later. For now lets just say this blog is a different take on modern spirituality, its for the driven, ambitious, bad ass folks of the world who want to ‘feel’ it, rather than just ‘think’ about it, for the ‘doers’… Indeed, its for the people who are not really very ‘spiritual’ at all.. its for ‘you’.
But for now, just consider this – all basic spiritual teaching can actually be expressed as follows:
- Love yourself,
- Don’t give a fuck
- and Look good
Yep, sound fun? Off course its requires explanation, all such teachings do, but maybe even now it resonates a little, you intuitively understand ‘something”.. See, that’s all you have to do, ALL THE TIME to develop a spiritual character. I’ve given this advice to countless people over the years and they have all been ‘improved’ by it, some dramatically so, some less so.
There is no need to ‘practice’, no meditation, no yoga sessions, just follow this basic model. Of course, you can practice if you want to… if you want this to go a wee bit quicker… but then you’ll need to be ‘motivated’, and your not, are you.. So if you want you can skip right to the bottom of this post and read up on what its specifically means before taking your leave please do – bon voyage to you all. However, that will be it, cause you are not ‘motivated’ to go any further. And that would be a real shame…
And that ladies and gentlemen is the job I’m trying to do here, the mission that I have, and according to my like minded associates, foolishly, agreed to accept.. To motivate otherwise non-spiritual people to engage in some form of ‘practice’… See, as you are about to discover, this Blog is not about your ‘normal’ spirituality, hell no..
In our western world mainstream, ‘normal’ spirituality is for the sick, the poor, the oppressed, the unhappy, the mentally ill. Its become a form of medicine, mainly because it offers hope, it offers comfort, its offers a sense of belonging, its offers release from anxiety. Its become a club, a badge of belonging for the struggling, the broken, the unhappy, the desperate, the people seeking peace, seeking refuge from their every day lives. To degree that’s what organised religion has always been, but never more so than right now..
And that’s fine, if it helps do it, but it effectively closes off real spiritual engagement from the vast majority of people in the western world. See, if your spiritual these days, their is something wrong with you, otherwise why are you doing this..
But spirituality as I know it to be is anything but normal, its the fundamental basis of life and death itself. Everything is spiritual, every act, every thought, every thing you do.. Its the same for everyone, for everything. There are no different versions of it, just different perspectives, different entry points, different experiences written down and lionized through the ages by different types of people. There are no clubs to join, no denominations to debate, its one system that it exists in nature, and you are currently ‘living’ in it, you depend on it, whether you like it or not, believe or not, understand it or not.
See, normal mainstream spirituality has lost its way, and lost most of its audience a long the way, but you can’t blame Buddhism, Christianity for this. The simple truth is that the ready market for mainstream spirituality, both now and thousands of years ago, is the poor, sick, disaffected – they are the ones out shopping for a solution to their problems, they are the customers. Therefore the organised religions that cater to this need have grown accordingly, to dominate the space to such an extent that the very meaning of spirituality has been completely distorted by this process.
Crucially, these people, the customers of modern religion were ‘motivated’ enough by their desperation to TRY, push through all the negative perceptions and personal resistance that everyone initially has to spiritual practice, and I mean ‘everyone’ has, and do whatever it took to get ‘something’ out of it. Remember this, its important – your motivation at the beginning is crucial to progress, so much so that your motivation actually IS your spiritual practice.
And motivation is a tricky beast.. to paraphrase the immortal words of Napoleon – folks are moved by two levers only, fear and self Interest. But in my experience that’s not quite it.. see to me ‘motivation’ is more complex, working more like Nuclear Fusion than a simple mental test performed on every decision based on the balance of how attracted and repelled you are at that moment, motivation is more about power. Fusion, the basic concept of ‘forcing’ 2 elements together to make a new one of less combined mass, with the excess mass being released as usable energy, is the holy grail of modern science for good reason – free energy for everyone. The problem is that overcoming the electrostatic charge that repels the elements and stops them combining requires massive amount of force, which is fine in the center of a star, but harder to come by on the surface of our little planet. Indeed the only reliable use of fusion as its stands is in super powerful atomic weapons, and even that requires so much energy they have to first use a fission nuclear bomb to provide enough energy to detonate the fusion bomb.
Now stay with me here.. the reason I like the model of fusion for motivation is this – the repelling electrostatic charge is not the whole story, see there is another much stronger force, they call it the nuclear force, that is actually pulling the elements together, its just that it only works at incredibly short range (effectively holding all matter, and hence the universe together), unlike the weaker electrostatic one which works at infinite distance. So, this pathetic little electrostatic force succeeds by simply keeping you at a distance at the BEGINNING, so matter never gets a chance to ‘naturally’ fuse together. But… there is a ‘threshold’, where if you can push the elements close enough together, just for an instant, passed that threshold, the nuclear force takes over, in the broad strokes crushing the particles together and fusion effectively ‘happens by itself’, and with the right set of circumstances becomes a chain reaction.
This is how motivation works for me, if you can generate enough pressure in yourself to do something that overs comes your weak but very persistent resistance, you can easily do things you otherwise would not – once you have broken your resistance to ‘starting’, your ‘underlying’ desire, your attraction to it takes over and provides the force to continue. See in my experience the interplay of your intellectual desire and resistance creates an almost literal fence, barrier, stockade in your mind to progress, and you simply can’t ‘think’ your way past it, so you get stuck, locked, frozen into a state of apathy. So the fundamental point is this – to be successful your motivational force MUST be in ADDITION to the basic intellectual attraction, the short range desire, to achieve your goal, OTHERWISE it is simply not going to work – if you don’t use something else to push yourself closer to your goal the weaker but way more persistent repelling power will win out. That’s the trick to this…
And this is how it works in the world.. successful people are motivated either by others or themselves by ADDING an additional short, sharp ‘push’ to get them over the ‘hump’ of their resistance and then they are away.. for a while. The issue remains, which is the real key to all this, of providing that additional short, sharp motivating force ON DEMAND, indeed ALL the time. And its a simple trick, as long as you remember this additional force of motivation is a FEELING, its not intellectual in the sense you understand it now, indeed using further intellectual forces in the form of additional attractive thoughts about your goal tends to generate more intellectual repulsion at the same time, hence you tend to build that fence even higher over time..
See however much you can look down on the ‘desperate’ of the world, that very desperation provides the continual force, that strength of feeling, emotion or mood to push past their resistance, and hence why they can motivate themselves to engage continually, which gets them in the door of spiritual practice and down the road some. However, when that pressure in that cooker lessens, declines, usually after they have made a little bit of progress, when they start to feel better, their motivation goes, which explains why even the desperate don’t get very far into ‘real’ spirituality…
So, much as Napoleon is undoubtedly correct in a basic sense (and he always is..), what we need to do is provide you with a reliable, repeatable motivating force to get you into the world of real spirituality, otherwise this is not going to work. Be clear, this is NOT an engineering problem, its not about strengthening your desire or lessening your resistance as I’ve already said, its about improving your leverage OVER both of them with a 3rd force. More of that later, but trust me, I’m not going to try and ‘make’ you ‘desperate’, that’s for the world of ‘normal’ spirituality, of organised religions, that’s for people who don’t want to feel ‘bad’ anymore, they want relief – its way too unreliable as you will stop as soon as you don’t feel so bad anymore. Desperation to achieve anything, no matter how justified or warranted is really the beginning of failure.
Now to be fair, the founders of these religions NEVER intended them to become this ‘normal’ spirituality – to focus on ‘relief’, on being medicinal is a small subset of authentic ancient teaching, but evolutionary forces working after the fact have re-shaped, re-interpreted them to the point that providing ‘comfort’ to the needy is their total focus. Normal Spirituality can no longer be separated from the standpoint of the modern ‘humanist’ way, the Western ‘moral’ code, that’s what the word ‘morality’ has now come to mean and is more a counterpoint to the ever evolving capitalist meritocracy we all inhabit than any spiritual teaching – bizarrely modern spirituality has become an intellectual ‘reaction’ to the modern world, however you wish to see it, good and bad.
And its simply not true, this isn’t what organised spirituality was meant to focus on, indeed morality does not mean that – the morals as we know them are a miss-interpreted Greek invention and they are really to do with personal excellence, they are to do with what Virtue actually means, best summed up by the old Italian word ‘Virtu’. Ancient Morality means doing the ‘right thing’ at ‘that moment’, which maybe totally different in other circumstances, for the few people out there who are able to judge.. The moral codes as we know them are half ass, placeholder sets of regulations – a coarse and blunt instrument designed to stop you doing anything too stupid BEFORE you get to the point where you are able to judge for yourself..
Organised spirituality actually started out for the elites of this world, who could read and understand it, be trusted with it, as a form of personal development, a path way to personal excellence, including a form of what we would now call psychoanalysis. This is spirituality for the great and good, the hedonists, for the ‘gifted’ of the world. People forget just how much of ancient spirituality is airbrushed out of history, as even now the mainstream regard for the genius of Socrates is tempered by the life of utter drunken indulgence he led, a man who spoke to his ‘daimon’ most days, who proudly fought as a soldier for the hugely imperialistic Athens. Not very spiritual at all really, yet he (well Plato to be exact) changed the nature of philosophy and spirituality for ever.
See, once people KNEW that having a spiritual side to your life was ESSENTIAL, as some level of positive engagement with ‘it’ was crucial for continued success in life, happiness in itself, what the Greeks used to call ‘eudaimonia’, having a good ‘daimon’. Spirituality was not a ‘nice too have’, or a clique, a trite moral ‘element’ to your own personal ‘influencer’ brand, it was crucial, indeed you could say its the very bedrock of life itself.
Within this real world spirituality, the only real difference between people is their perceptions of it, is if they are open to it or not, motivated or not, therefore spiritual or not. Real spirituality itself is just sitting there in the black felt background of life, laughing at you, cause spirituality does not give a fuck what you think about it, your opinions are meaningless as its OWNS YOUR ASS ANYWAY. But no matter, as Hey, you are here for a good time, not a long time… are you not?
And that is what I’m going to write about on this Blog – the ‘un-politically correct’ world of real, genuine, original spirituality… Hope it helps, or at the very least, entertains you..
So now you have got through the introduction we can actually start… so first, why do you think you’re spiritual..?
What, you just need a hobby, bored with the routine or need an excuse for to get away from something else? Haunted by a bad childhood experience, head injury as a teen, or maybe that lighting strike totally changed you? Hear people arguing in your head, disembodied voice saying your name, ringing or flute music in your ears, black holes in front of your eyes, ocular migraines with a kaleidoscopic light show, or maybe a strange spinning symbol only half visible when you are still half asleep? Or maybe the same dumb shit happens to you over and over again, you are overly emotional for no reason at all, strong sense of deja vu, maybe you see things that are not really even there..? Maybe you watch your pets chase things round the kitchen that aren’t there, that seem to disappear into the walls. Maybe you are ill, or someone close is, maybe your becoming increasing scared of death or increasingly drawn too it. Maybe your a perfectionist, a clean freak, obsessed with your ‘look’, nothing is ever good enough, with your ever shifting desires blown around like so many dead leaves. Maybe your some jaded international superstar who can’t find pleasure in anything anymore, but still remembers the ‘buzz’ you used to have. Or maybe you can’t vocalize it at all but you just know, know that something is wrong, that there is something more, something ‘other’, or maybe you just really WANT there to be…..
Ahhh, maybe you have you have already tried stuff then – hatha yoga, mindfulness meditation, CBT, Jungian psychoanalysis, Tai Chi, organised religion, shamanic Buddhism, super strength weed, even psychoactive South American teas, but none of it has worked for you – you don’t even understand half of it, but you keep chasing after, well, something..
That’s cool, but for now, the type of personal experience does not matter, any of the above is more than enough… it matters that there is NOTHING REALLY WRONG in your life, its just you do, in some small way, think you are spiritual CAUSE WEIRD STUFF (you actually notice) has happened to you. For now lets just give you a name, a level – you have passed the first basic test after all – this post has found you and you are curious enough to get this far.
But… before we (you) go any further I have to read you the warning label..
If this interests you then please do read on. However, if you are unwell, unhappy or looking for a solution to health issue of any kind, I wish you well, I wish you love, happiness and prosperity, but you won’t find what you are looking for here. Good luck to you and yours but there are way better resources online than this blog for you, please STOP READING THIS and seek them out.
Ultimately this information is NOT for desperate people looking for a solution and hence prepared to try anything, its for people interested in exploring real spirituality FOR IT OWN SAKE and the a fore mentioned ‘test’ is the best approximation I have ever come up. Long story short, you need to have had some type of an ‘experience’ you are looking to explain, understand, to be a viable candidate for this stuff, for it to work for you. Yes, sadly, much as its the same system for everyone plain fact is that some people are more affected by spirituality, more ‘gifted’ than others. But that’s for later, don’t want to put you off this early…
Still here, great, so you need a title, a rank – lets say you’re a ‘Seeker’. Congrats. You are different to other people, and that’s a good thing, cause most people behave little better than domesticated animals, as all truly ‘spiritual’ people know, and love to tell themselves. You one of ‘us’ now, your better than ‘them’, or at least you could be…
Don’t worry, ‘Seeker’ is supposed to be ambiguous, cause it don’t mean shit at this stage, but as in all things, its important to ‘start’. And side bar: names, proper names, do matter, its just that the vast majority of spiritual ones you have come across thus far DON’T mean what you think they do, so you are going to have to relearn a lot of stuff… However, I think that all achievements, however small, deserve a reward, don’t you? so consider this..
See maybe, MAYBE the reason you ‘think’ you are spiritual is sex. Yes, maybe SEX, (and close cousins drugs and rock ‘n roll) has given you a glimpse of something ‘other’, something greater than yourself, your everyday hum drum existence, and you just can’t shake it, you really don’t even want to..
So I’ll tell you a secret, a nice juicy one to get us going – many if not all the truly spiritually ‘gifted’ folks of this world, (whether they acknowledged it or not), the geniuses, statesmen and masters, the Einsteins, the Kennedys and the Gandhis, all of them have a big problem with Sex, the manifestation of their life force, their libido and how they handle it. And there is a really good ‘spiritual’ reason for that, indeed its the same reason that every organised religion in the world tries to control sex, more specifically sexual energy, codify it and turn it into dark thing. As the old saying goes – everything is about sex, except sex itself, which is about power.
Long story short, maybe these experiences are the only things you have found powerful enough in practice to REACH YOU, release from the tedious control of your ego, to set you free of yourself, however briefly. You have stumbled into spirituality in the search for a good time, you lucky thing you. Ahhh, but you probably already suspected something like this…
See, the gateway to all real spirituality is a form of ‘feeling’, that is the actual pay dirt you are looking for, that’s what the journey into spiritually actually is. Spirituality isn’t an intellectual pursuit, its not a philosophy, a metaphysics, they are just teaching models, not universal truths so don’t take them as such. Ahhh you say, then none of this is ‘true’, so its all crap then, whats the point? No I say, see we use ‘gravity’ and ‘light’ every damn day, yet no one, NO ONE HAS ANY IDEA what they REALLY are, we can just approximate how they WORK, (and no one even knows that no one knows, which is kinda shocking really). See, you, like most people, have just been fooled by the ‘science delusion’, that if we can model something then we know what it is. WE don’t, but we can still use it to great effect, so stow that shit Hudson..
So, Big question – do you have any idea what your feelings actually are…? Do you understand the most basic system that makes up ‘you’… your ‘state of mind’, what the Daoists call your Xin (heart/mind) – a dangerous little combination of BOTH your thoughts and feelings (yep they exist together) that rules your whole goddamn life? Well, to get ANYWHERE in spirituality you are going to need too, you need a basic understanding of ‘yourself’, cause sounds like you are just kinda winging at the mo….
Ok, the model for your state of mind is simple (at this stage), but grasping it is crucial to able to work ‘on yourself’. It breaks down into 3 connected but distinctly separate layers, in order of depth, level of persistence we have: Your baseline ‘Mood’ (EGO state driven by the collected weight of your memories/experiences/habits/desires/pains); Your ‘Emotions’ (Spiritual State, driven from your unconscious); and Your ‘Feelings’ (Your physical state, driven by your body/sensations). All these 3 exist together AT THE SAME TIME, even though your only tend to be conscious of the strongest element of these 3 at any given moment (if at all), but that’s cool, baby steps, just try and remember it. If you can keep ‘it in mind’ then you should start to be able to realize that these states of mind are the source of all your thoughts, they are what Zen men call ‘before’ thought, and that’s when the fun truly begins, boys and girls.
See when you start to see these things as ‘colouring’ everything you see, think and do, then you will start to realize that these things are NOT you AT ALL, you will start to get some distance. You will start to understand that they are part of the complex vehicle you are riding on, the little ship you are sailing in, that you ‘should’ be the captain off. Right now however ‘its’ just drifting around, and you are doing little more than look out of the back window. Ok, so depending on who you are and whats happened so far, you are going to identify more with one particular aspect of this ship that the others, with a particular lens you experience life through, but a bit further down the road here we need to get you to the point where you understand that YOU are just ‘consciousness’ itself, just the window of your mind itself, everything you are conscious off, can identify as separate, is NOT you, is ‘other’ than you, then you can start to command yourself in the here and now. Buts that in the future, as you will need to expand your awareness, improve your focus and able to direct the contents of your mind state at will, as that is the ‘control panel’ for the rest of you.
Without this model its very easy to get really confused when assessing yourself, so try and get used to it early doors, try and start to assess yourself using these terms. Its really useful as on one important level this is a form of spiritual communication, much as its all one way, until you become sensitive enough to recognize it. The only other lesser aspect of this model you need to understand is the difference between the real, the imagined/fake, and the memory of ‘real’ mind states, as correct identification and naming of what these things are is key. But, again, for now just focus on not REPRESSING or FAKING ANY mind state, don’t try and ‘forget’ anger, don’t try and ‘imagine’ true love or compassion.
Right, know that through using these systems you develop the focus, energy and hence ‘power’ needed to release yourself from what you have become (at this stage that’s your persistent egoistic mood state) and move on, by whatever means necessary. And re-purposing your abundant sexual energy to that end, for those who have it, is one of the most effective of those means, but not the only one.
To transcend, to literally rise above your current self, your nasty little ego is the mechanics but those are just dead words, a snap shot, pale reflection of the rotating 3D truth on the 2D screen of you mind.. its the feeling of ‘power’ or that deep sense of ‘relief’ associated with these experiences that ACTUALLY does the work. Remember this, its important – the way you actually feel AT THE TIME, dominates what happens, so being able to change it at WILL is REALLY useful.
In time your will be able to both recognize and fundamentally change you mood and emotions too, but for now its best just to teach yourself to just recognize and ignore them, (what Stoicism actually is). Lets stick to the baby steps, try and understand your feelings first – easiest cause you have direct access to them through your body.
Now, whatever you see or hear on your connected screen of choice, spirituality isn’t about forcing yourself to act ‘nice’, ‘kind’ and ‘compassionate’. That’s just one of the many miss-understandings that pollutes the otherwise genuine river of the truth of it all. Actually being ‘nice’ (if you want to call it that) is in reality a brief phase you go through early in your practice in order to deal with your own self destruction forces, usually as projected on to others. And being nice, ‘turning the other cheek’ is just a ‘weapon’ (and there are much better ones) you use to beat these aspects of yourself. So its not really about being nice, its a spiritual ‘hygiene’ issue, so its about being ‘clean’, its NOT about being artificial, of repressing yourself to conform to a ‘normal’ spiritual standard, as that just makes you even more ‘unclean’. Yep there is a really good reason these phrases crop up a lot in the Bible.
So now your a little more curious eh? And as any good marketing professional will tell you, curiosity is everything in terms of getting ‘your’ attention, getting you to read on. Hope you do, be a shame to give up now..
So whats the point of this blog?
The point is I want to help the Seekers of the world, after my own fashion, to show you the way, should you choose to take it. I want to do for you what I had to spend 35 years doing for myself, so you don’t have too. So have have a chance to make some progress and not waste your time on the the woo woo, politically correct, ‘woke’, watered down, commercialized new age, social media friendly crap or the signature books under pinning the whole ‘lost in translation’ truism that is organised religion.
My 10 second Bio – I’m a serious student with decades of hardcore, multi discipline exploration of the spiritual world both behind and in front of me. My first love is Zen, but I’ve been everywhere since and I’m no fan of what western Zen has become now. No names here but you can refer to me, as others do, as The Old Bastard, should you wish. Note I wanted ‘Old Man of the Mountain’, but apparently that’s taken. Live by the sea in Ireland, but I’d be very British from a cultural perspective. Not driven by fortune or fame, but I don’t hate them either, and neither should you.
So what my motivation? Anger! I’m going to write this because I’m sick to death of what spirituality has become in the modern world. Sick of the falseness, sick of its infection with ‘wokeness’, sick of it being a career choice, sick of quasi, social justice niceness of it, sick of the media moguls opinions, sick of the PR friendly sound bites, and sick of it increasingly being a vehicle in the search for ‘significance’ or ‘clout’, as the da kids say, on social.
But most of all, MOST OF ALL, I’m sick of this new wave of internet Gurus and chat show hosts trying to repackage and distort both the ancient and modern perspectives of the genuine geniuses of this world, and then present them as their own, distinct ‘revelations’. Everything I write here belongs to others, from the great and the good, masters from distant lands and ancient times, explained by me for you, based on my direct experience of it, in the language of our age.
And that little rant is the beginning and end of my attack on the modern approach to spirituality. Yes references will crop up again here and there as they are crucial to change your understanding, however attacking modern individuals is not the point of this. And obviously I don’t mean all of them. Micheal Singer’s or Elkhart Tole’s stuff is a joy for the right type of softer, broken person, buts that not you is it, your a bad ass, a witch, a gangsta, you don’t need ‘chicken soup for the soul’….
And frankly, to be brutally honest even this rant is not even remotely original – the masters of Asia and the Middle East where writing this type of critique of what their own systems where becoming literally 2000 years ago – this fall and rise of popular spirituality thing appears to be all one big cycle, every hundred years or so it starts to grow again, but I’d love to know why it always gathers pace in the 20s/30s of every century, often which an explosion of life in all its forms released after a big disaster..
Anyway, that’s the plot ‘set up’ over and done. Now to get into it.
See what I have come on here to do is not to rage against the machine but tell you the truth about spirituality, from mine (and many thousands of others) perspective. The truth is out there, and has been so for a thousand years, but its interpretation is a shambolic mess at best, and a willful distortion at worse. I’m going to repeat this so you get it – lots of people know this stuff, LOTS OF PEOPLE, they just don’t want tell you.
See, I’m going to share SECRETS.
And I mean Actual secrets, known to a few but not common knowledge, not in the public domain. Things I’be been told, shown, proved and experienced for myself. Things I know to work, know to be true, know deliver results, often very quickly, almost brutally so.
Secrets both in themselves and as awful truths and key lessons. Hell I’m even going to title them as one of those 3 categories, maybe put nice boxes around them too. Seems we must all repackage our thoughts into acceptable vehicles for the low attention span age we live in. So be it (or Amen to that, to be precise).
So lets get going, your first set of 3, a foundation, the basics you need to understand before any real progress is possible. This is not spirituality 101, this is not practice, this is ‘orientation’:
Awful Truth No 1: Overtime a number of pervasive and highly destruction mechanisms have played havoc with the spiritual path, but the granddaddy of them all is the confusion of ’cause’ and ‘effect’ with each other. This is the simplistic process of ‘modelling’, of copying what you aim to be, like NLP is a modern system. As an example being compassionate is a RESULT of spiritual progress, NOT a METHOD or the cause of progress. Acting like something over and over again in order to become it is how they train soldiers, policemen, monks and nuns et al to be robots, to be servants, slaves, to do difficult things until it becomes a habit, automatic. But that’s all it is, a HABIT. Progress a long the path does not involve becoming one of Pavlov’s dogs, it involves fundamental change.
Hint: Cause and effect DO NOT work like you think they do in the dark and scary world of spirituality. The actual cause of EVERYTHING that happens is buried deep inside your subconscious, well below your current level of surface understanding. And right now that very confusing, I know, just try to imagine the that beneath your thoughts there is a whole other level of causes inside you doing their own thing entirely…
Understand: What you know is wrong. Modern spirituality is a mess, its incomplete, vague, fluffy. Its become meaningless, only presented as medicine, at best a form of light entertainment, at worse a form of social control.TOB – Oct/20
But wait you say, Compassion (along with Wisdom) is THE fundamental tenet of Buddhism, that is what you do, I ‘make’ myself feel compassion toward the unfortunate of the world! And I say your wrong… Radical Generosity is the go to strategy for the serious Buddhists of this world, that is what they do, THEY DON’T FAKE COMPASSION, they develop it over literally decades through an ancient process, and one that is fundamentally miss understood and unsuited to the modern world, but that’s another story – radical generosity HAS to be done anonymously, otherwise you are just buying more fame for your ‘brand’, its a business decision. Proper Buddhists know its IMPOSSIBLE to fake real compassion, as compassion is a gateway state, a gateway feeling that comes over you, a feeling of something that is way, WAY bigger than that English word could ever convey. Indeed Buddhist Compassion does not even really mean the Oxford English dictionary definition – real Compassion feels more like a sense of ecstatic relief, when it initially happens to ‘you’, when you fall down the emotional ‘well’ into ‘it’.
Don’t believe that? Ever remember a time when you were so relieved that the Worst did not happen, that you ‘got away with it’, that for a few short minutes, you just wanted to hug strangers in the street.. That was glimpse of true compassion, not pity, not condescension, actual compassion. COMPASSION IS NOT AN ACT ITS A FEELING. To be compassionate is to feel compassionate, you don’t ‘act’ compassionately, that a mistake caused by the structure of language, indeed acting compassionately as you currently understand it is actually dangerous and misguided, unless you happen to be a saint. Yep, told you this was not going to be ‘normal’…
One point to be clear, however – its fine to ‘remember’ the real experience of compassion, and use it to set your current mood. That’s NOT faking it, that’s memory and god knows you are going to need it later, if/when you start to meditate for real.
Just to note there are many other mechanisms that have distorted the truth we can discuss later, ‘lost in translation’ is a fave (and its effects are much worse than your think, the new testament is half destroyed by it), but ‘inner door vs out door’ teaching is also grim (much as its a painful recognition that all spiritual people are sadly NOT equal) and mistaking analogies for facts/facts for analogies is confusing as hell. Personally I’ve come to hate the largely technical issue that generalizations of our overly flexible language cause acts to be renamed/confused with feelings, moods, and the names of pre-existing spiritual emotions that are supposed to follow them. And don’t get me started on the propensity of ‘confirmation bias’ to be white washed as the result of blind faith in the meaning of the ‘book’, that people will work hardest to ‘believe’ what they want to out of petty self interest.
One of the most interesting is that much of the Middle Eastern and Asian texts that are used as guides these days were never intended to be that. This is a particular issue in Zen, where texts designed to be used as confirmations of progress AFTER the fact of progress being made, actual spiritual ‘tests’ (largely referred to as Koans for the last 1500 years) are now read as a guide to practice itself, to the philosophy of Zen in the West, which is bloody ridiculous. They are purposely designed to be impenetrable, total nonsense UNLESS you have had a direct, personal spiritual experience that is similar to them, and therefore you know what just happened.
One other important aspect of these misinterpretations that needs to be touched on is the fact that many other types of mistakes are predicated by the evolutionary aspect of humankind – ‘we’ have changed in the last 2 thousand years. Being a man or woman is simply NOT the same as it once was, when humans were MUCH closer to the animal kingdom in their sense of themselves, particularly violence and death, than they are now.
Much as most of this is for better, there are aspects of the male and female energies of life that are far more confused for us now, far ‘softer’ than they ever where, then when much of the spiritual doctrines were written down. This is a specific issue with what you might call the ‘will to live’ being totally absent in the Western experience – we EXPECT to live, we expect the state to carry us, to protect us, for our life and health care to attended to. That’s a given, a human right, even though frankly back 2 thousand years ago it really wasn’t. And its a much bigger change to our ‘attitude’ toward life than you would think, we have literally a large chunk of ourselves this way…
We simply don’t ‘get’ the meaning of so much of the ancient texts, of how as it was INTENDED to be read, we are putting it through the filter of the radical changes in human society that has occurred in the last 200 years.
For all of the benefits of that progress we are now in fact far more in-experienced in the ways of violence, competition and death than we ever where, yet we are far more anxious, more fearful, more precious, more entitled. And in spiritual terms, that’s a bad thing – its effects on our ‘character’, in so much as we are all becoming desensitized – much, MUCH softer, weaker, apathetic, we lack determination, drive, focus, and are lives are focused on getting more ‘leisure’ time, on relaxing, zoning out and doing NOTHING. Strong wind makes strong trees, as the saying goes, yet even at school these days we barely experience a light breeze.. And its a particularly big problem for men – the raw masculinity you see in a Micheal Jordan or even a Tony Robbins, the ‘get rich or die trying’ mind state, is a much rarer thing now..
Lesson No 1: The only person who’s job it is to SAVE you from yourself is you. Not me, not your next self help book, not the state, not your healthcare provider, not prescription medication, not social media influencers, not even the latest ‘guru’ series on Netflix. And not your god or belief system. You have to believe in you, NOT IN ANYONE ELSE.
Hint: You. Have. To. Do. It. You have to try ALL THE TIME. This seeker lark is NOT A HOBBY, not a class you go to once a week, a church you attend on Sunday, or a book that ‘interests’ you. Being a seeker is full time gig boys and girls, it has to be ‘on your mind’ all the time, so you are going to need to kick it up a notch. Life is not about being comfortable, about relaxing with a screen, about more time to zone out anymore, THIS is your leisure time now. Think of it as your new side hustle, and everything else you have to do is just a means.
Understand: For the spiritual people of the world the start of the path is one, big stand up fight, with yourself, cause ‘you’ are going to fight against it… Terrible irony of real Spirituality is that its for hard, determined people – part timers fail, broken people just want hope, but bad assess get way further down the road, particularity when the shit hits the fan as they cope better than most. So be one, be ‘enthusiastic’ but most of all, MOST of all, find away to MOTIVATE yourself…TOB – Oct/20
See, its all in the motivation, why are you doing this, reading this, wanting this.. If you are not ill, desperate why the hell should you spent your hard earned leisure time on this stuff?
This is the problem, and its A BIG one. To use the go-to Asian analogy, you are a fish swimming in a sea of delusion you can’t escape because you simply don’t know the water is there, you just don’t ‘see’ it, no matter what I or anyone else says. So without some continual, attractive, fun form of motivation to MAKE YOU try, change, be different, you are simply going to keep right on swimming…
See, to try and think your way out of it is hopeless, at the beginning. That’s why its only the lost and broken who are motivated enough to take it all on ‘faith’, believing something that is not self evident cause they are desperate. And yes I do accept that there are other tiny categories of believers out there, the ‘priests’ who do it for a living, the wannabe super heroes or Harry Potters, or the people born into organised religion – all the ones who see spirituality as simply a vehicle to some personal goal, but frankly that is even worse.
So what can you do to motivate yourself, you are not desperate, you have no faith or no personal goals? Simple.. you have to ‘feel’ it. Now.
Sadly how you do this is different for everyone, but TRUST me, there is a basic physical or mental technique out there right now that you could use as a ‘hook’, a method that makes you feel something that is priceless, not only its value both to your motivation and your progress, but also in your everyday existence, a technique that makes you feel ‘Powerful’, the most addictive feeling the world, and used correctly, one of the most effective for spiritual progress. The feeling of Power, or more precisely the ‘Will to Power’ (to give Nietzsche his due recognition) is the one thing that works for everyone, for the saints and sinners, the clever and the fools, the happy and sad, for the emotionally rich to the folks who are dead inside. Everyone, cause at its center the REAL feeling of power is the feeling of your life force itself, that is the ‘name’ we have given it, but its a lot more than that in the real world of spirituality.
Now there are many successful and focused people out there, with no spiritual awareness at all, that mainline this feeling every damn day if they can, through some external means. Its there continual 24/7 mood state, they organize their whole bloody lives around maintaining it… However, without the correct guidance, they focus on being powerful over the external, over people particularly, and eventually become co-dependent, become narcissists or tyrants, rather than being powerful over THEMSELVES.
Maybe you are even one them, but don’t worry as that’s as good a place to ‘start’ as any… indeed most of the highly gifted people I’ve ever met, who had no guidance or spiritual traditional where proper bad bitches in themselves, looking for a way out. Really is amazing to see just how many such people eventually dissolve into needy puddles of self-love, energy vampires as a new ager would say, before going completely bat shit crazy. Kind of ironic, really – without this experience you have to start to work up the experience of power from scratch, and that’s a much tougher ride, yet the bad people of the world get a head start almost gifted to them, they can use the memory of the feeling (will) to power to good effect.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not recommending asceticism, no need to starve yourself or hold one arm up 24/7 for the rest of your life to develop power over yourself. Yes I get that asceticism is the whole front end of historic Buddhism, and that it can be very effective, but it can be deadly, as taken to extremes its SUCH a powerful drug like state that it simply takes over the meaning and stops everything else happening, for example most eating disorders are based on this mechanism.
Secret No 1: Your problem is that you are weak and stupid. Its not your fault you are weak and stupid, but it is your problem and you have to deal with it. No need to get stronger and wiser, no, leave that for others.. Just figure out what ‘weak’ and ‘stupid’ actually mean, then get less weak and less stupid, fast. Deal with the problems FIRST, changing, growing and adding to yourself comes next, and it will be a hell of a lot easier if you sort the crap first. See this is the main reason you are FAILING to make any progress with this spiritual trip.
Hint: Weak means you have little or no willpower over yourself, no ability to focus your intention, no magical imagination, hell you can’t even think straight and you just accept it as normal. Stupid means deluded by your ego, that your ego is sabotaging and attacking you, making you forgetful, fearful, clumsy, fooling you and much more besides. Bad news, they are connected and feed off each other. Good news is all of that is fixable, with EFFORT.
Understand: You need to start paying ‘Attention’ to what is happening, all the time – you are asleep at the wheel you fool. If you are not in charge of yourself you are just a slave to ‘something’ else.TOB Oct/20
This is one of the fundamental premises of all attempts to engage in spirituality – you need to get this. Get it both intellectually AND personally, as its RELATES, HAPPENS, WORKS for you, in the here and now.
Intellectually its easy, hell every spiritual tradition on the planet has a go at this but forget looking at those and focus on one – Platos ‘Myth of the Cave’ is the daddy, nothing else comes close. I’m not going to go through it here – look it up – but I am going to emphasis that this analogy of everyday human experience nails one thing beyond any other I’ve ever seen – your perception of reality is being CONTROLLED by other forces, your senses are being MANIPULATED in order to present what these other forces want you to perceive, particularity in terms of your Emotions, and remember that this word originally means feelings that ’cause you to move’. Sometimes its in your ‘best interests’, as you believe them to be, but a lot of time its not, in fact a lot of the time, even right now, its causes bad things to happen you really don’t want. See, some of these forces are REALLY not your friends… so they are fooling you. They hide in your habits, you unconscious routines (as ‘you’ are not present at the ‘moment’ of activity in these), they wait for you to zone out so they can take momentary control of you and fuck your life up. Psychologists call it ‘self-sabotage’ and its very real.
Got it? Yeah, but sadly, its not enough is it. See if that intellectual revelation was enough then no one would ever need further help, but they do. Indeed even this work of this genius largely falls on deaf ears. What you want to know, what you really need to know, is how do ‘I’ spot this, how do I know when its happening, cause otherwise its just a mental construct that is ‘invisible’ to me, I can’t stop the manipulation unless I can identify it and change it, and frankly know ‘how’ to stop it.
So here is the basic model for that, and this is the starter for 10 version… Pay Attention to your emotions, particularity ones of ‘momentary’ tension, pressure, annoyance, fear or anxiety. And vertigo.. yes vertigo, dizziness is when you senses become so distorted, so over powered by something else that they start to fail (big thing later on this path). This sudden spike of emotion out of the blue, is what you are looking for, not a long drawn out conversation with yourself, where your mind state ebb’s and flow’s, but literally something that comes on very quickly.
All these are ‘tells’ that something else is involved. These are all resistance, and resistance in yourself is a strange but deadly beast. See resistance separate’s you from yourself, it causes you to lose connection with yourself, to lose full control. For now, when this happens – STOP – take a moment to re-adjust the way to feel through calm breathing (for example) and then wait for it to pass. When you return to doing something make sure you pay attention to what it is as closely as you can. More you do this self checking exercise the easier and more obvious it gets, old religion uses the analogy of bringing things ‘into the light’ of you conscious mind and out of the shadows.
Indeed, if it helps you at all remember this mechanic is where the whole obsession with being ‘nice’, with not acting on your negative emotions (and hence thoughts) actually comes from in organised religion, they just never explain why. If you are interested in reading ahead then look up Takuan’s (BIG Zen guy) rendering of the ‘Samurai and the Cat’ story, cause, as much as I am only scratching the surface above, its a good idea to be aware that this particular thread of spiritual process ends in attaining what they call ‘Divine Warriorship’, the warrior who wins every fight WITHOUT fighting, as every external fight is really with aspects of yourself, so best to break those aspects first…
Ok, so that’s the basics – nice and easy yes? Ahh maybe read it again then.. whats you know is WRONG, if you are even remotely spiritual you need to ENGAGE with it now, and the first thing you do is CLEAN your mind up a bit.. I know this is information dense stuff, and I make no apology for it. Its a hell of a lot simpler than it might be, the rest, the effort of understanding and relating it back to yourself is up to you.
As a seeker do try and remember that EVERYTHING is a test, and you need to pass these tests, quick as like.
To finish for today now, to end where we began –
- Love yourself – Mood’, your self sabotaging ego wants to generate resistance ALL the time, put it back in its place by showing yourself some love, honor yourself, your bad ass is amazing….
- Don’t give a fuck – ‘Emotions’, don’t be some precious little victim of every fear, anxiety, desire, attraction that crosses your mind, its tedious crap and you’ve done it all before, what does it matter, you don’t need to care or have an opinion about anything but the crucial stuff, so let it go..
- Look good – ‘Feelings’, manage your body, your movements, your posture, your clothes, your watch, jewelry et al to feel good about looking good, right now, to feel beautiful, cool, in control, your da bomb bitch..
So now you get it…? Honestly the front end of all adventures into spirituality is about learning to ‘defend’ yourself…
Hope you enjoyed that. You can do what you want with this information, should it interest you.. ON ONE BIG ASS CONDITION – you reference, you cite, you note where you got it from. That’s all, nice and simple.
Over time I’ll add to this collect with further posts, listing one each from the categories as above – Secret, Lesson, Awful Truth. I’ll respond to the comments that are worth responding too, even take direction occasionally on what topics you wish to explore, but no promises – so much of even ancient spirituality is one big endless mess of a rabbit hole. Remember the trick to progress for the average Seeker (and there are many, many tricks) is first to forget all the crap you think you know…
Before I go, probably best to say what this Blog is not..
- This is none denominational, I support no one school, church, movement over another, but find the same golden nuggets in many of them. I’m not trying to sell you anything, read up, and make up your own mind as part of the process.
- Its not a thought out system, a one size fits all process to modern spirituality, everyone is different and its simply not possible to do it. People have to be helped individually in this regard because being a man or woman, old or young, even having ‘interesting’ ancestors makes quite a big difference.
- Its not a detailed metaphysics to learn, aka Buddhism or Taoism, (not that I disagree with them at their core) at this stage all you need is to be able to related it to yourself, in the here and now, not learn TCM based concepts in order to heal the sick, raise the dead.
- Its not a new church, club or online ‘movement’, I am trying to help solve the problems of modern spirituality, not add to them! My approach is to simply collate and explain all of the stuff that works in an interesting and entertaining way, under the heading of the Ride.
- However, if you find yourself really wanting to join a movement, follow a church, then the advice is simple, pick an old Asian one, that does NOT have a named guru or master at its head, and get a decent teacher. So stay the fuck away from Falun Gong..
Next time I’m going to explain how the actual world of spirituality breaks down, on the practical human scale, both now as then, and how in a basic sense to ‘do’ spiritual, rather than just ‘be’ spiritual, give you some context.
I’m going to use:
- the ancient system that has always been used, the system of the Left hand and Right hand paths. Western people seem to need this info before they commit, as its becomes very clear what Goals are ‘allowed’..
- the layer cake of meaning within the real spiritual world, nothing is absolute, how it works ‘on’ you, depends on where you ‘are’ in your progress, that’s makes it a paradise or a poison…
- the necessary evil that is elitism in spirituality, yeah bit contentious this one, but there is no escaping it, best to be honest up front as how this will work for you or not depends on you, your ancestors, what you have done to yourself in your undoubtedly misguided existence..
Last but by no means least.. love a good quote me, particularly from a mad genius with high sex drive, so I’ll end this post with one of my faves..
‘Glory maybe fleeting, but obscurity is FOREVER’ – Napoleon Bonaparte.