Breadcrumb Diary: Week 6

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#1 Tentacles of coincidence
The last couple of days have been quite quiet on the coincidence front. Looking through my vast playlist, I was looking for more esoteric vibes to suit the mood of the day. I’ve never been a huge fan of the psychedelic troupe Ozric Tentacles, but there are a few tracks I quite like (Dissolution being one of my favourites). I have 5 albums on my old iPod which I played in alphabetised order throughout the working day. Whenever I listen to them, I think of hippies, Glastonbury and inevitably my bestest chum Ruddo.

For no apparent reason, I decided to send him a random text advising that I had listened to the Ozrics all day and asked him what his favouring album was. Considering his huge volume of 10,000+ albums, any of which he could have been listening to in his house 15 miles away (ranging from Rhythm & Blues, to folk music to extreme death metal) his choice was a rather (or extremely) coincidental one. It was in fact Paper Monkeys, his favourite Ozric Tentacles album. What are the odds…

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#1 Text-a-text
My 12 year old son is a bit of a free spirit as the saying goes. He has a really amazing personality and his diction for someone of his age is excellent. He is also a very talented young thespian and has a good idea on what he wants to do for a living when he leaves school (acting/production), and has already performed on stage several times in Merseyside (St Georges Hall / Epstein Theatre / Floral Pavillion). With a good grasp of the English language and an air of confidence about him, having those two traits in abundance can of course result in him being a little shit from time to time. He can be very lazy (leaves his stuff everywhere and expects his waiting-on parents to do the needful) and his acidic/acerbic tongue constantly gets him into trouble with the significant other.

He is very independent (but safe with it) and stayed at his friends house on Saturday to make his first movie (a 6 minute horror short), which was actually very good considering he and his friends had no storyboards, scripts or proper equipment. Annoyingly as is often the case, he had left his Blackberry in his room, drained of power so we had no way of getting in touch with him. I knew he had his iTouch on him, so I decided to send him an iMessage on the off-chance to see what time he was coming home. I watched as the blue progress button slowly made its way to the right hand side of the screen. The instant it got to 100% and revealed a status of sent, the doorbell rang. It was him…

#2 Laughing, buddha
My life seems to be proliferated with Buddha just now. Everywhere I look I see images, busts or statuettes of Siddhartha Gautama (in many of his different forms). I guess my impending visit to the Buddhist meditation centre may have had something to do with it. It does seem to be the case that when one really tries to expand ones perception of things to take in vistas and surroundings in more minute detail, the more these things do tend to appear.

Although temporarily in ‘stasis’, the research I conducted a while back for my future horror novelette revealed this fact to me. I live in a small town with quite some history, plenty of old seafarers tales, ghost stories and such. I spent many a few hours on the internet looking into the past, seeking out oddities and bygone characters for inspiration. I also went out one day armed with my Nikon D60, my hiking boots and a packed lunch and wandered around some of the sites of old. The paths were exactly the same paths I had been treading since moving to the Wirral 10 years earlier, but this time my eyes were wide open looking for clues. I found them, all in abundance. From wall markings, to disused buildings and outhouses, it was all there and had been for the last 10 years, just unnoticed, unperceived.

Breadcrumbs are similar I guess, one just needs to look a little harder.

So over the last twenty four hours, I have seen a Buddhist bathroom (my non-religious German neighbour had many effigies around the bath). I took a count of how many Buddha ornaments I had gathered during my travels across Asia and that totalled four. On checking my Facebook News Feed, I came across a new blog from Earth Porn (a site which shows off truly splendid images of our little blue dot) and one of the ‘Seven Most Unbelievable Landscapes’ was a picture from Leshan, China which displayed the largest statue of Buddha in the world.

Giant Buddha

Whilst walking the pooch late at night, I listened to my next podcast entitled ‘Revealing World Religions: Buddhism’ and found the content whilst interesting, was rather pessimistic and contradictory, so Mondays session may not be as ‘enlightening’ as I would hope. To top it off, I had a dream that the wife and I separated, and that when we sat down to decide who got what. I told her that as a born-again Buddhist I desired nothing, no material gain from the end of our marriage. I told her that when I awoke in the morning, and she said there would be a lot of truth in that if I ever cheated on her, and how was that for a coincidence…

#1 Mikey’s Meditation Meeting
And so to the meditation meeting at the Buddhist Centre. I guess I was a little nervous in the run up to getting in the car. I think the reason for that was three-fold. Firstly, I had a conversation with my neighbour last night who advised that he had been to a different meditation Centre about a month ago, looking for something similar to me, in that his search was for a shared positive experience (with like minded individuals) and for guidance on methods and techniques that he can take away with him. Instead he found that it was more akin to a rehab clinic with many lost souls in attendance looking for ways to stop the voices and the urges by any means possible, so sadly it was his one and only visit. Secondly, my wife supported this by saying that the meeting in her opinion may also be like the one our neighbour attended,as she was aware of a person who she thought attended the group I was planning to go to, and indeed that person had been a very lost soul in the past, with a plethora of negative and abusive experiences. Finally, was my own trepidation in meeting a group of strangers for the first time. I am much better at it than I used to be, but there still an air of the unknown.

That said I went, and I’m glad that I did, and it’s fair to say that the evening was not exactly free from breadcrumbs. Not knowing what to wear or the format of the meeting, I went with my yoga gear on and popped my mat and water in my sports bag, grabbed the keys and made my way to the car through the pouring down rain. Earlier in the day, I sat in the school car park fiddling with the radio trying to find Kerrang! FM but alas could not. Instead I found Rock FM, which had Bruno Mars and One Direction so not very well branded in my opinion. Rock FM was still the selected channel when I turned the key, and on came the opening bars of ‘Owner of a Lonely Heart’ by Yes. Everytime I hear Yes, I think of one person, their number one fan and ex-friend of mine. Why was that synchronous? Well his real name was William, but he never went by that name (nor Wills, Will, Bill or Billy), he went by the name Buddy, or Brrrrda as we used to call him. Buddy. Buddha…

I got to the centre and found that there was a huge collection of trainers by the door, so as an ex-yoga addict, I took mine off and went upstairs. I entered the room in my joggers, socks and running top, and was met by 6 individual dressed in coats and walking boots. It appears the meditation session at the end of yoga is a polar opposite to the mediation here. Not an auspicious start but it did act as an amusing ice breaker. It was a very mixed group, one old guy, 3 middle aged guys, 3 middle aged gals and little old me. I was aware that Buddhism is non-theistic (i.e. no creator) but had no clue how this was going to go. John kicked off proceedings with some notices about upcoming meditation courses in various locations and then handed over to a guy who came in from another room to lead our first meditation which was breathing techniques, quite similar to my non-autogenic yoga meditation, albeit sitting on a chair rather than horizontal on the floor.

Marks voice was very soft, very relaxing and very genuine. His words over the hour were very soothing, the concepts shared not alien to me at all. My readings over the last 12 months must have sunk in as a lot of things resonated with me. If I could sum up what he shared, and as I said to John, the everyday internal delusions that manifest within our inner self, within our consciousness, can be overcome through meditation. That meditation need not be formal, or at a fixed time, or for a fixed period, or in a fixed location, it can be at quieter times throughout the day, or it can be on a bus, or it can be watching football. Situations arise and present themselves to consciousness (albeit with a 0.5 second delay as per my previous ramblings) and how we deal with them can be changed. Change affects us, it always has and it always will. Just because we do not know how to act in certain situations does not mean that it has to remain that way. We can learn new things and adapt. Western Buddhism seems to state that we need to change our focus from treating symptoms to adopting or putting in place new or improved causes (which will have positive effects as output). That made me think. 18 months ago, I created a list of goals/priorities (causes I guess which I review from time to time) and what Mark said on the night was in essence that list. It was the law of attraction, and as I said to John just before I left, for me what he was advocating was ‘The Secret’, albeit with the distinct difference that the goal is not success, nor a six-figure salary nor a new sports car, but inner peace. Inner peace attained by being living a virtuous life and putting into place causes which bear positive fruitful effects, supported by meditation…

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