The New Immortality

Silently it slumbers, upon the high shelf,
Contained within it, as yet unread wealth,
Of knowledge, of wisdom, of thoughts and ideas,
Ready for storage, between the two ears.

The sleeve of the book, is yellowed and torn,
Its pages smell ancient, half beaten and worn,
Its spine sewn in place; of cotton from spindle,
An unchartered experience for those with a Kindle.

The book in question, by J.W Dunne,
The New Immortality, with his own slice of fun,
So time is an illusion, produced by the mind,
False Time and Real Time, forever entwined.

We travel through eternal duration, our spiritual path,
Consciousness ne’er to be concluded, by Physics nor Math,
Our two selves live on, one lower, one higher,
Materialsm is dead, now placed on the pyre.

“Existence is matter, coincidence and chance”,
Quite unmajestic and frigid, no love nor romance,
In this life and after, we continue to be,
For life is eternal, you just wait and see…

Life is not the opposite of death. Death is the opposite of birth. Life is eternal…

You, me, us, we are one…

I am you, you are me.
X, Y, Zee to A, B, Cee.
You, me, us, we are one…

When I first listened to Pop Will Eat Itself (aka PWEI) back in the 90’s, one of my favourite tunes of theirs for no apparent reason at the time was X, Y, Zee. I kind of liked the music and the lyrics were a bit cool and nutty. At the height of my web design days (when I was a lowly paid and under-valued civil servant), I had ideas to create my own web design company. I had quite some experience under my belt and if truth be known quite a bit of flair and talent too. Thinking of a name for the venture, I came up with XYZeee, in part due to the song of the same name, and the fact that on every corporate bullshit bingo card, XYZ always comes up.

Sadly my flair in web design was measured in equal parts by my “unflair” in business acumen and engagement, and my first date with design destiny (a flash-based website for a London comedian) crashed and burned and XYZeee was no more.

Something rather “far out” happened today. I drove my daughter to school as I had to run an errand in the car before work, so my wife got her out of her car seat and escorted her up the hill, as I waited in the car for her to return. To the right of me a beautiful grey and white cat (similar to a snow leopard but thankfully not one) popped out from beneath a fence. Again for no apparent reason I decided to “connect” with the cat. I sat in the driver’s seat and meditated, using my reiki charged mudra to try to get the cat to turn around and look directly at me.

It didn’t. Instead it walked down the pavement alongside a bush which by the look and sound of it had some small birds in. The cat carried on down the pavement stopping every now and again to peer into the bush, but again ignoring my psychic current. As it got to the end of the bush and just before it disappeared out of my line of vision I sent a super charged bolt towards it, and then it stopped dead and turned around and looked directly into my eyes for what seemed to be a lifetime, my Arnold J Rimmer “mesma-stare” in full flow. Whether it was pure coincidence, a glitch in the matrix or an indication that we are all linked who can truly say. All I can say is that whenever I see the cat again I will call him by his new name, Schrödinger.

As it wandered off, it got me thinking about “Year Zero” and the beginning of the Universe (quite deep for a Thursday morning) and the fact that if one believes in the singularity theory and the Big Bang, then “you, me, us, we are one”, or more to the point “you, me, us, were one”. If at some point 13.7 billion years ago we were one, then doesn’t it carry forward that we are all still intrinsically linked to every other thing in the Universe, if not materialistically (matter) then perhaps at the mystical quantum level?

If we are all still intrinsically linked, then maybe we can resonate such invisible Universal energies or communicate at the quantum level in a dimension we cannot yet measure with our existing senses or gadgets.So maybe I did commune with Schrödinger after all.

With the phrase “you, me, us, we are one” reverberating around in my noggin, I decided to dig out my old PWEI playlists and listen to the aforementioned song. Some of the lyrics are very interesting too, they even reference a cat…

I am he who is X, Y and Zee, I carry no card, my life is cheap.
Have no worries, I do not fret, some may have what I’m yet to get.

And you may wonder, “Is it how?” a kitten may turn into a cow.
With bells and horns and tinned corned beef.
Forests, profits, plastic High Streets.

I am he who is A, B and Cee,
An easy option, like twentieth century satisfaction guaranteed.
It’s easy…

Let’s steal a spaceship and head for the sun.
And shoot the stars with a lemonade ray gun.
Make a movie and a TV show.
You be Jane, I’m George Jetson.

I am you, you are me, X, Y, Zee to A, B, Cee.
You, me, us, we are one.

From out our window we can see.
Electric sunshine, oxygen factories.
Clockwork tides, synthetic trees.
Just like the real ones on Vee Tee.

Mother Nature and Father Time, used to be good friends of mine.
But now we’ve put them in a home, filed them under, “Uses unknown”.

“No pop, no style”, is a phrase out of phase.
To praise what’s worthwhile, this is as good as it gets.
This is the best…

Let’s catch the last rays of civilization and tune-in to a sub-space station.
Turn up the DJ, let’s get lost in intergalactic punk-rock, hip-hop.

I am you, you are me, X, Y, Zee to A, B, Cee.
You, me, us, we are one.

This is the time, the time of our lives.
Escaping time for the all-time highs.
Of love, lust, laughter that make us sweat.

Let’s stimulate sensory amplification, this is PWEI-zation.
This is this, it’s the living end: “Je t’aime, encore, je t’aime”.

I am you, you are me X, Y, Zee to A, B, Cee.
You, me, us, we are one…

ADDENDUM:

Imagine my surprise when my daughter came home from school this afternoon with a WWF leaflet alerting her to the cats she can help to save. Imagine my further surprise when she said she would chose to adopt a Snow Leopard…

Internal Landscapes

And I felt myself going. I was in a great deal of pain…
It was a very frightening experience, but I began to slip…
I just sort of, felt myself going, and I remember trying to hold on…
I’ll be ok, I’ll be ok…

And it got to the point where I just couldn’t…

And everything began to just become very quiet…

And I can remember with every ounce of strength I had…
I wanted to say goodbye to my wife, it was important to me…
And I did, I remember just turning my head, looking at her and saying…
I’m gonna die, goodbye Joan, and I did…

It was then that I experienced, what we call a Near Death Experience…
For me there was nothing near about it, it was there…
It was a total immersion in light, brightness, warmth, peace, security…

I did not have an Out-of-Body Experience…
I did not see my body or anyone about me…
I just immediately went into this beautiful bright light…
It’s difficult to describe, matter of fact it’s impossible to describe…
Verbally it cannot be expressed…
It’s something which becomes you and you become it…

I could say that I was peace…
I was love…
I was the brightness…
It was part of me…

As I was putting together various purchases from IKEA on Saturday, I had a moment of recall, a moment of warmth, a moment of connection with something, not sure of what that something was. I was alone in the hallway happily busying myself with Allen Keys and screwdrivers, when Anathema’s Internal Landscapes song from the Weather Systems album came on. I must have heard it a thousand times already, but Saturday was different.

I have had moments of peace and wonder listening to the spoken word of Joe Geraci before, recalling his own Near Death Experience many decades ago, but Saturday’s experience was much more profound. As I listened, I found myself drifting off listening to each word very carefully, recalling my vision under Lucia No 3 a few weeks ago, the Lucid / Hypnogogic Light Device of my last blog.

In particular, I picked up on the following lines:

It was a total immersion in light, brightness, warmth, peace, security…
I did not have an out-of-body experience…
I did not see my body or anyone about me…
I just immediately went into this beautiful bright light…
It’s difficult to describe, matter of fact it’s impossible to describe…
Verbally it cannot be expressed…
It’s something which becomes you and you become it…

In short I felt that. That, exactly, was what I felt. I cannot describe it in a better way than Joe did all of those years ago, but to me, it felt the same. I felt that I had become part of something non-corporeal, sentient, albeit briefly, too briefly. It was beautiful. It was like there was something else. It was my own Internal Landscape:

“I remember being surrounded by a warm glow, with a central ellipse of orange light (an eye if you will, or tunnel even), a place of peace”…

When I came around, there I was still sat in the middle of my hallway, surrounded by nuts, bolts and nails, and then the analogy hit me. Life is like a box of IKEA flat-packed furniture. Everything comes at you in pieces once you open the box. There are instruction manuals for those who need to be led and for others, there is chaos, a collection of bits and pieces, but when considered carefully, logically and put in the correct place, everything eventually makes sense and becomes one, a replica of the source (in my case a shoe rack)…

And it’s just so beautiful…
It was eternity…
It’s like I was always there, and I will always be there…
That my existence on earth was just a very brief instant…

I could say that I was peace…
I was love…
I was the brightness…
It was part of me…

A whiter shade of pale

We tripped the light fantastic,
Turned cartwheels ‘cross the doors (of perception),
I was feeling kind of far out,
And the mind called out for more…

My spiritual journey has been on the road now for exactly two years this week. I look in the mirror from time to time, the face is still the same (albeit with a few more lines and the levels of monochrome in the facial fur department have increased), but looking beyond the physical manifestation lies an inner self which is, to me at least, almost unrecognisable.

I reviewed my commitment today to both myself and others, a commitment which was a sincere pledge undertaken during those dark times and I’m happy to say that I’m on track. My personal outlook is and will continue to be my priority list. I’m a firm believer that it is our priorities that define who we are and how we are perceived by others, and when these priorities change, the universal order of things becomes chaotic, fragile. Often when one changes priority, it’s most often as a result of the ego kicking in, want and desire taking president over need and reason. My priority list is quite simple really:

  1. The Wife and Children.
  2. My health, well-being and search for enlightenment.
  3. My friends.
  4. Everything else.
  5. Work.

Work really is a distraction to what is important to me, but a necessary evil nonetheless. So when I do have to work away from my number one priority, I try to keep myself distracted, to fend off the pull and energy drain of “The Corporation”. This week saw me climbing over the roof of Millennium Dome on Tuesday with my brother-in-law, and Tuesday marked another milestone in my search for “the source”.

Following on from reshuffling of the priority list deck two years ago (whether that took place on a prioritisation table I’m not certain), I took up yoga, meditation and reiki which really help ground me, the glue to who I am now. At that time, I also saw an opportunity to open my still sceptical mind to alternative ways of thinking, alternative ways of operating, which inevitably led me to the door of my good friend in Eastham.

The catalyst to this change in consciousness was a gig in Chester. We went to see Nick Harper (a personal favourite of ours) but instead of taking up our usual front row seats, decided to stop at the bar and talk. And talk. And talk. Nick played majestically on his “Last Guitar”, as our conversation delved deeper and deeper, from quantum physics to Everetts Many World Interpretation, as Anthony Peake stroked Schrödinger’s Cat in a parallel universe somewhere.

Fascinated by all of this, I drove us both home (stopping to relieve myself on the way due to all the soft drinks) and bid my Peroni pal a fond farewell, with a mission to find out more about this Anthony Peake character. The next day I found that he had quite a few books out and more immediately available was a plethora of podcasts, vodcasts and articles on the web. I duly ordered ITLAD and downloaded most of his audio files. It was quite a departure from the former me, no woo-woo name calling was to come from my lips.

There was one particular podcast which drew my attention, it was his theories relating to the pineal gland. The pineal gland makes/secretes melatonin, the chemical which puts us to sleep each night. Peake posits that there is more to this pine-cone-shaped walnut than meets the (third) eye, in that it has the ability under certain conditions to
self-produce “metatonin”, a DMT-based neurochemical which can put the “secrete-ee” into altered states of consciousness.

One such “under certain conditions” is Lucia No 3, a Lucid Light Machine. This device is comprised of several halogen bulbs placed within what resembles a shower-head; it combines a stroboscope with a constant white light which induces a transcendental experience for the viewer.

So a few weeks back, I sent out a list of potential things to do with my chums in work whilst I was in London this week, including running events, the cinema and a “trip” to Light Eye Mind studio in Finsbury Park. I wasn’t hopeful that anyone would go with me to see Lucia, but was happy when “M” decided she would go with me, the lads stating that they would meet us up after for a spot of tiffin.

Eager to read as much of the remainder of ITLAD that I could before our visit, I managed to cram in a hundred pages on the redeye down to London, both eager and a bit apprehensive about what was to come.

Our journey to Finsbury Park took a while, but we arrived a little early and had to wait a wee while (apt as we were desperate for the toilet) for our hosts for the evening. Talking outside the store, “M” and I swapped our own stories about our own experiences, of spirituality, of alternative therapies and holistics.

We were met by “A”, “N” and “D” from Light Eye Mind, and within minutes it was clear that there were no egos involved here which was great. There was no big sell, all very humble and approachable folks. “A” resembling a young Russell Brand (hope that is taken as a compliment should he ever read this :D) introduced us to both the studio (which was displaying some cool artwork by Danny Wilder) and Lucia No 3. His suggestion of an initial three minute tester was well met by both of us, a sample of a longer session to follow if we felt ok with the machine.

Waiver forms dutifully signed (that we didn’t have epilepsy or deep rooted psychological problems), I stepped up as guinea pig and took to my seat. I decided to bring my own music, my approach was one of deep meditation (if that was possible) so on went my Kundalini Yoga playlist from Spotify, as did Lucia. In bright light with the eyelids closed, I guess we would all see a peachy glow, and before the strobe kicked in, that’s exactly what I saw, but once the strobe kicked in, everything changed. Everything changed. I saw art. My art. My eyelid was the easel, my mind the painter. Even though the tester session was brief, I managed to see / create fractal vistas of magnificent colours, a gallimaufry of spirals and shapes, more colours, more shapes, downwards spirals.

When the light dimmed, I took a deep breath and passed the cans over to “M” who selected some of “A’s” own tunes by a band called Carbon Based Life Forms and assumed the position. The three minutes went fast and she was done. She opened her eyes with the same “wow-look” I’d had and immediately wanted more, to get back to that place she had just been, and so she remained in-seat and took a further fifteen to twenty minute session.

I talked outside to “A” and shared my journey over the last two years with him, and he listened, really listened. It’s so refreshing to talk to folks like him, folks in-tune and attuned to one’s own frequency, not ridiculed or pilloried for looking at things in a different way. I told him I’d been reading a lot of Anthony Peake and studies into consciousness (Piero Scariffi), watched a great many videos regarding DMT and ayahuasca (Rick Strassman) and experienced first-hand universal energy flow via yoga, meditation, reiki (advising that I was now Reiki Level 2), and having listened to podcasts pointing the way to Lucia No 3, I’d decided give it a try and here I was.

When “M’s” session came to an end, “A” went to her to gently wake her as she  remained static. She opened her eyes, there and not there, seemingly having a full on hypnogogic experience, managing to finally reconnect her out of body consciousness with her physical form. We made sure she had settled before I took to the chair, the details of her trip to be shared after my own journey.

As the session was a lot longer, I decided to settle into a seated yoga position, and with mudra fully deployed I relaxed into it. Once again I began to create my own William Neal / Roger Dean prog-rock-album-cover type vistas. Isometric shapes began to form, mandalas created by thin illuminous “Tron-esqe” lines appeared, followed by what can only described as wormholes, deep blues and greens spiralling inwards and outwards. Then I saw a swastika, not the revolting symbol of the Nazism, but the softer ancient Hindu symbol, growing in size from central core before disappearing.

The most profound part was yet to come. I felt myself departing into a middle state, not conscious nor subconscious nor unconscious but somewhere in the middle. I remember being surrounded by a warm glow, with a central elipse of orange light (an eye if you will, or tunnel even), a place of peace, and for the first time I saw (or created) white light, three forms or shapes of white light presented themselves. Initially the three small star-like shapes (reminiscent of looking at a far off light source from underwater) moved and twisted, and then grew to be larger amorphous forms, the one on the left staying significantly smaller than the two on the right. It was then that the full on kundalini experience kicked in. I felt a surge of energy in my spine, emanating out from the base and traversing upwards through each chakra, through each of the seven tattoos on my back and out to the meridians.

Whether I was conscious, hypnogogic, unconscious or in another place altogether, I couldn’t say. Gradually the white forms faded and the whole scene turned a blood red orange and then upon reaching the darkness I came out of my altered state and opened my eyes. The energy did not stop however, it continued whilst I gave “A” and “M” commentary of my experience, as it did all of the way back to Finsbury Park train station.

I asked “M” about her experience on the way back and she said she too had seen swastikas, but associated these to the Second World War, and saw ghostly images (like those on film negatives) of soldiers passing her line of vision one by one.

We both felt quite tired and drained, but nonetheless we made it to the Brazilian restaurant where our work chums waited patiently (albeit with beers in hand), for the inevitable closed-mind ribbing and they did not disappoint. We were both fully prepared for the abuse, and took it all, good natured as it was.

One thing “A” told us was to watch out for our dreams that night, as a lot of people have very strange and vivid visions post-Lucia sessions. When I got in to work the next day, I asked “M” how she felt and did she have any interesting dreams, but sadly her dreams were even crapper than mine. She dreamt that she was in work testing a new IT product, mine was running a 10km race which involved climbing up a hill covered in snow, all rather boring…

ADDENDUM: Always a Cynic     

I got in late last night to a message from a friend of mine who’s into his metal in a big way. A favourite band of his is called Cynic (oh the irony) and he sent me a link to their latest video, them having taken a fork in the road to a more progressive rock style. The video itself was surreal, fractal art central, mandalas everywhere. Coincidence or just another universal synchronicity presenting itself?

Along came a spider

Of late, I have been reading “Is there Life After Death: The Extraordinary Science Of What Happens When We Die” by Anthony Peake (also known as ITLAD). The book is a fascinating read, so very interesting and covers a great many topics (some of which my limited brain can only take in on the first reading).

The section I have just finished (Echoes of the Future) relates to an attempt to describe / prove (both scientifically and experientially), precognition. In short (and my interpretation which is very basic in stark contrast to the book), it is the concept that we have a lower self (our physical form experiencing the external (objective) world subjectively) and a higher self (perhaps best described as the subconscious or the “non-local us” – the premise that our consciousness exists not inside us but “out there”). Furthermore, it is suggested that from a precognitive perspective, certain folks have the ability to tune in to future echoes, via dreams (day or night) or via visions / messages (via mediums). Anthony posits that our higher selves may in fact have lived a life already, our life the we are currently living, and that the likes of precognition or déjà vu is our higher selves way at saying that we know what’s coming next and here is a message, a breadcrumb if you will. The book cites several cases, most notably a precognitive dream a little Welsh girl had the day before the Aberfan mining disaster, sadly her request to stay away from the school that day being denied, and not averting the course of her future and immediate demise.

So it came as no coincidence that I could well have had my own precognition today, my very own Minority Report. As Morrissey once said “Last night I dreamt”, sadly not about someone who loved me, but spiders. At the age of forty two, I have pretty much overcome all of the fears of early life (including some rather irrational ones), namely tall buildings, dentists, sprouts on ironing boards and dying. There really is only one left, spiders (again quite irrational for someone who lives in the UK).

In my dream, I was back living in the Far East and recall that I was on a trip to Thailand, somewhere in the jungle outside Chang Mai. All of a sudden there was a huge down pour and I looked for cover and found a wooden terrace which was only about two foot high. I wriggled snake-like half way down the terrace, when from above spiders (black and yellow) started to descend on fine wires landing on my naked torso, giving me the fear. I woke up in a sweat, itching all over and it took me a while to get back to sleep (after checking under the covers just in case any of the little bleeders where in there).

Maybe it was the fear / negativity within dream or perhaps lack of sleep which put me in the worse mood I’ve been in for quite a while. Maybe it was that work is a real drag at the moment which doesn’t help, stuck in endless days of mind-numbingly-boring contract documentation. Some days (thankfully very rarely) I wake up and without reason and without justification, stay subsumed within a dark cloud, stuck within its black sticky “mono-filament-esque” web, unable to cut myself free. This in itself is ok as long as others are not affected by it. Sadly in a busy house that can be a real challenge.

So before I logged in, I decided to have a quick round up of the news via The Guardian and the BBC website (my last visit to Auntie honest) to see what was going on in the Scottish elections. On the BBC homepage was a picture of a spider. Knock me over with a “magic feather”, what a coincidence. The story behind it read that the UK is set for an invasion of giant spiders by all accounts. Excellent news….

By lunch time, I decided to take my mood into my own hands and sat out in the garden and decided to meditate during lunch. The weather was fine, so on went the Kundalini Yoga playlist, down went the eyelids, up went the mudra and I was taking back the natural order of things, control. It was serene, it was calming. In my hypnogogic state I drifted in and out of consciousness for about an hour, not dreaming, but feeling (not seeing) kaleidoscopic colours and soothing warmth of the sun. Towards the end of my chill out time, I felt something on my left arm, a tickling sensation. Upon looking down I found that there was a “money” spider weaving in and out of the hairs, laying behind it coils of silk. I picked it up with the end of my finger and drew it close to my face, and there it sat not moving for what seemed like hours, just staring directly at me (not that I could see its eyes, it may well have been its arse – I was still feeling quite sleepy and my glasses were still in the office). I gently placed it on a nearby rose bush and trundled back to work feeling much better.

With the wife at college on Thursday nights, I made sure all the kids were settled before I took the dog for a long walk. Still feeling a little dazed from the dark morning cloud, I decided to lighten the mood further by listening to Bill Hicks, a natural pick-me-up of mine whenever I’m feeling blue. Towards the end of our walk, we have to pass an embankment and the right hand side of the road, a high sandstone wall with only earth behind it which acts as foundations for the houses above. There is a rather curious feature on the wall, one which always catches my eye each time I pass it. Half way along the wall there is a door. A door which leads to nowhere. I glanced up at it to see that right in the middle was a huge spider web, with a disproportionate common garden spider sat still in the middle, just as Mr Hicks informed me once again that life was just a ride.

After the wife got back in from college, I went for a late night run with my eldest down on the promenade and told him of the events of the day. He is very logical and put it all down to pure coincidence, and the former me would have done exactly the same. I said that it would be a shame if everything was reduced to materialism, and to me what matters most just now is not matter at all. I concurred that the logical part of my conscious state agrees somewhat to his argument that if I hadn’t have had the dream in the first place, those things may well have been there today anyway, it’s just that my sense have been alerted to their presence (all very mature for a 17 year old boy). The romantic in me would like to think beyond the logic though.

One thing is for sure, I love my new-found thirst for the exploration of the Universe (both outer and inner). There are so many interesting and diverse interpretations “out there” that my reading list grows day-by-day (especially the writings of Mr Peake). I love the fact that for the first time in my life, I can’t get enough of reading and writing about reading. Long may it continue…

ADDENDUM 1: As I type this up, my spidy-senses are once again tingling, allowing myself one final arachnid-based chortle. On getting out of the car (after dropping the wife off at work), I glanced at the wing mirror to make sure there were no cards coming before I opened the door, only to find a further two micros-spiders fighting it out over a well trapped breakfast.

ADDENDUM 2: I just met my wife for a coffee in Starbucks and without knowing that I’d uploaded a blog or even be aware of the whole spider thing as I’ve not spoken to her much since yesterday morning, she said that after she had finished her massage session at the salon, she had heard an almighty scream coming from outside. She quickly went to see what the commotion was about, when she was confronted by a stylist in floods of tears. She asked her what the matter was, and she said that earlier, she thought she had flicked a huge spider from a cardigan she wearing, but was unaware that it hadn’t dropped on the floor, but it had moved to the back of her arm, and eventually crawled itself up her back and then up her neck to the underneath her hair, snuggling in nicely under her right ear lobe to keep warm.

Enough already…

The Magic Feather

Little rook in the midst of the parliament,
They harp and chatter, but everybody knows he’s going to be sent, away,

Cos he’s a wild, he’s got a red eye.

The trees are ringing, with the cackles and the twilight,
Little rook, takes one last look and takes flight, he’s away.

Cos he’s wild, he’s got a red eye.

Can you believe that his family, cannot be allowed to be together,
By the very same tribe that helped the elephant fly,
With a beautiful light and a magic feather

The dark old pie, in the tallest ashtray alone,
In the upturned branches, sceptres for the thrown.

It’s alright, it’s alright,

How can it be that a family cannot be allowed to be together,
By the very same tribe that helped the elephant fly,
With a beautiful light and a magic feather.

——————————————————————————————————————

As breadcrumbs go, I recently experienced a rather significant trail. Around three weeks ago, the mother of a friend of mine passed away. Around three weeks ago, friend of mine passed me an album by Nick Harper. Around three weeks ago, my wife and I started to find our garden, local parks and promenades were all covered in feathers. No coincidence there.

That was until everything was drawn together. My wife and I attended the funeral of our friend’s mother, a beautiful service which focused on both the celebration of her life and the respect her offspring and friends had for her. A few days after the service, our friend got in touch with us as we sat on our patio late one evening, talking. She thanked us for attending and shared something her mother had shared with her before she departed. She told her that once she had gone, for my friend to be on the lookout for feathers, as they will be a message from her that all was well on the other side and as long as she noticed the feathers, she was with her.

A short while later (no more than five minutes), I made the short journey from the patio to the fridge to top up the wife’s wine glass and saw a small white feather float past me, landing on the floor quite close to me. I guess the old me would have been pretty spooked by such a random coincidence, but no longer. I beckoned the wife over to see the spot where the feather landed and to my extended surprise saw another two feathers in the near vicinity.

After discussing the feathers and inevitably ITLAD (Is There Life After Death), we changed topic and talked about our joint excitement over some up and coming live events, namely concerts with John Legend and Lenny Kravitz. I also told her that Nick Harper (an incredible folk guitarist from the UK) was playing Liverpool in October and should we perhaps get tickets as the venue is really small and it would be a good opportunity to catch up with some friends we hadn’t seen for a while. At that point I reached for the iPhone as I had added all of his albums to it earlier in the week, including Miracles for Beginners, the old new album I had only heard live before. I duly hit the forward triangle on my phone and we sat a while, and then it happened. Track number four came on. Magic feather…

I listened to the album as I worked this morning, and was prompted to put fingers to keyboard over lunch before I forgot. The amount of feathers I have seen over the last few weeks has been incredible. Everywhere I look (including at one point on the sole of my Converse), feathers can be found, mostly white fluffy ones.

OK it may be the season for it. OK I live two hundred metres from the beach. It’s the sheer volume of feathers and random links that make you think about reality in a different light.

I have read the lines from the song today (posted above) and can draw even further links to all of this:

“The dark old pie, in the tallest ashtray alone” – my friends mum had a dark complexion and smoked cigarettes.

“How can it be that a family cannot be allowed to be together” – the sad departing of my friends mum.

“With a beautiful light and a magic feather” – the funeral reference that the sky has a new star and to keep an eye out for magic feathers…

Return of the Unwelcomed…

Silently it sleeps, waiting.
Waiting for its chance.
Chance to take over when defences are down.
Down they are, and then the return.
Return of the unwelcomed.

The stark duality of existence.
Existence of the Light and the Dark.
Dark has it’s turn.
Turn the return.
Return of the unwelcomed.

The inner daemon battles it out.
Out to oust reason and sanity.
Sanity temporarily lost.
Lost light and dark’s return.
Return of the unwelcomed.

The chaos brings back memories past.
Past regrets, transgressions of the lush.
Lush sobers, once again locked away.
Away with the dark, will it return?
Return of the unwelcomed.

——————————————————–

To err is to human, and when one loses control of function, logic and reason, the err can be very err indeed. Sadly for me, my daemon paid me a visit on Friday night, a dark figure that I had not seen for a long, long time. It was a stark reminder that such a thing still exists and given a certain set of circumstances, it will return, unwelcomed.

What started off well, a night spent with some good friends, quickly turned sour upon my return to the homeland, my search for further inebriation taking on vortex form, a chaos twisting through empty drinking establishments in the village, my search for a consuming comrade in vain.

The fallout was inevitable, similar fallouts to those of the past. The regret the next morning was inevitable, similar regrets to those of the past.

I guess it was a less than a gentle reminder that I still have a problem, which only comes out when I drink over my limit. Very much like the water buckets you see in Aqua Parks, the liquid keeps going in, filling up. And it’s all too clear from the onlookers what’s coming next. The bucket starts to shake, starts to tilt, until it unleashes its force on its victims below.

Thankfully (I guess) my force is always verbal, ill-judged, irrational, illogical and quite illusory. This time, it came from nowhere and that’s the real danger. No crap day at the office, or any family issues, or any monetary concerns, just a craving for more.

I spent most of the weekend beating myself up about it, taking the dog for long walks and thinking.

If there was a silver lining to this cloud, it was that this weekend gave me a real reminder that inner daemons exist (in most of us in one form or another) and like everything in life, moderation was the key. Food, drink, exercise and desire, if all done in moderation, the Universe stays in perfect harmony and if everything is perfectly balanced then so is the mind, and the daemons remain banished.

So was it coincidence or irony that before I got on the train on Friday, I uploaded a blog about storm clouds, or was it a premonition, or in fact a future echo – a self-created breadcrumb?

The Storm Cloud…

When I lived in Malaysia, I was quite shocked one time as I drove past a huge billboard sign outside a construction site which had Oprah Winfrey’s head on it. Of course it wasn’t her image, but a quote underneath it which read as follows:

“Only surround your self with positive people”. My initial thoughts were ‘what an arrogant bitch she is, how is that possible and how is that right’, it’s OK for her to say something like that with her millions in the bank’.

Many years later, I read snippets about her and the truly awful things she had to endure as a child and how she deals with them even today by trying to surround herself with positive people (like Deepak Chopra and their recent foray to introduce meditation techniques on a global scale).

It got me thinking today (albeit rather tenously and randomly) about storm clouds. The top of the cloud is positively charged as is the ground, but when the conditions are right and a bank of negativity is introduced, the cloud takes a tempestuous turn and sparks fly, resulting into a lot of noise and violent bursts of raw and dangerous energy.

And so it is with us. These days I try to heed the words of Oprah all those years ago, and surround myself with positivity and positive people, and in a crazy mixed up world I think I’m doing ok.

I look at Facebook (probably too much) and there are a lot of really negative and volatile threads that appear from time to time, so I have looked by today at my own threads and found that over the past 6 months they have been all positive (which is nice).

I am trying to adopt the Sufi Three Gates position in everything I say and everything I type these days (as I posted during my Robin Williams blog 2 weeks ago), and it is not easy (as one has to remain responsive to certain situations, questions and thoughts). I have also removed feeds from Al Jazeera, Reuters and Huffington Post as it was turning into a constant positivity drain.

So where there are clouds of pure positivity (from an electrically charged perspective) no storms will grow, and we are safe from the maelstrom…

ALS(o) have this on my M(i)ND…

And so it came to be that I was eventually nominated to do the ALS / MND Ice Bucket Challenge by a good friend of mine. Without a doubt the cause is just, those folks out there that suffer from this affliction must go through a living hell. Just knowing that once diagnosed, one is subjected not only to a reduced lifespan the average life expectancy following positive diagnosis of a mere 36 months until death, but a daily degradation of physical service whilst the brain and consciousness remains untouched. A prison without walls.

Stephen Hawking is living proof of what MND does to the body and not the brain. He has defied the odds in terms of MND life expectancy and lived to a ripe old age thus far all things considered, and the scientific world is surely glad for that.

Facebook is often pilloried, but I think in this case it has been used globally as a positive tool to raise both awareness and funds for ALS and MND. Every second news feed at the moment is a video of someone taking part in their own “challenge”. It is a bit of fun for those that wish to participate, and also a vehicle for those who do not wish to participate in person, but either chose to donate to ALS / MND or to donate to other charities (for example a friend of mine’s view point was that all the wasted water concerned him, so instead he chose to donate some funds towards Water Aid), which is great too.

Personally, I chose to take part in the Ice Bucket Challenge, albeit with my own slant on it, and I had fun doing it and followed it through with a donation to MND:

http://youtu.be/kU8MIrAg8WI

However (there always seems to be an however with me), there is a part of me which remains sceptical about donations towards research, not just for ALS / MND, but for any body looking at providing cures for world ills. That part of me is concerned that the funds raised are either misappropriated or not channelled into the right places.

Taking ALS / MND as an example, £50m has been raised in one month, fantastic, but where is it going and what is it going to be used for? Will it be handed to Big – Pharma for them to use it as a way to produce a new synthetic chemical to treat the symptoms and not challenge the root cause and make a tidy profit from it all? Will it look deep into the genetics of the disease and look to eradicate it from happening in the future via a post-modern eugenics movement of sorts? Will it look into complementary therapies like yoga, meditation and reiki to see if these alternative self-healing techniques can aid or assist recovery or combat it’s onset?

All of these questions remain unanswered to me at present, but it’s something I’ll look into, but I do hope that the funds do end up in the right place and used in the right way.

This whole issue really got me thinking, and I think that it is no coincidence (I don’t see coincidences anymore – just breadcrumbs) that I started to watch the Channel 4 series Utopia (available in the UK and on Netflix) at exactly the same time as the Ice Bucket Challenge kick off.

In short, the story follows a small group of people who find themselves in possession of the manuscript sequel of a cult graphic novel called “The Utopia Experiments” which is rumoured to have predicted the worst disasters of the last century. This leads them to be targeted by an organisation known as “The Network”, which they must avoid to survive. Using the manuscript, they must uncover the meaning hidden in its pages before the disasters depicted become reality.

Without spoiling it too much for anyone that hasn’t seen it, the fundamental theme relates to the ever increasing world population, how the future demand for planetary resources will exponentially increase and whether via a ‘humane eugenics movement” is something that we could or should put in place to control the population explosion as a way to extend our existience on our little blue dot.

So this is where I get controversial and perhaps hypocritical to my original gambit about ALS and MND. As a human race, we need death. We need death by any means. Should we just treat the symptoms and keep these things around, but make sure that those who have them do not suffer? No matter how you slice it, global population growth at the rate we have seen it over the last 200 years is completely and utterly unsustainable when mapped against projected resource decline. I was frankly amazed by the following statistics relating to world population studies:

  • 35k BC = 3 million
  • 10k BC = 15 million
  • 1400 = 375 million
  • 1804 = 1 billion
  • 1927 = 2 billion  
  • 1959 = 3 billion  
  • 1974 = 4 billion  
  • 1987 = 5 billion  
  • 1999 = 6 billion  
  • 2012 = 7 billion  
  • 2026 = 8 billion  
  • 2042 = 9 billion
  • 2060 = 10 billion

A little over two hundred years ago, there were only one billion homo sapiens on Planet Earth. We have added six billion people to that amount over the last two centuries.

By the year 2060, there will be an estimated ten billion of us on a planet that is very quickly running out of natural resources. So what are we doing about it?. Rather than looking into the mid-term future and concentrating our research efforts into safe, renewable and sustainable energy sources, instead we invent new ways of raping the geological stratas underneath the Earth’s surface as a way to satisfy our immediate need for energy, much to the detriment of the climate and our precious water table.

All this is to satisfy future demand they say as renewable energies cannot satisfy the supply versus demand curve. Those who will be able to afford energy in the future will be able to pay for it, but with advances in automation and an ever increasing demand for energy (from the needs of a ballooning population), those that cannot will be pushed even further away from the “haves” causing an inevitable future class war of epidemic proportions. It seems that our train is heading towards George Orwell’s vision as laid out in 1984, or Kurt Wimmer’s dystopian world as seen in the film Equilibrium, and the brake cables have been severed.

Of my home town during the Toxteth Riots of 1980, Margaret Thatcher (the then Prime Minister in the UK) said that Liverpool as a city was expendable, and that it should be placed under managed decline until (I guess) it either ceased to exist or it became manageable (a truly awful statement said about one of the most historic cities the world has ever known (not always for the right reasons)).

So for me, the Utopia series really does address and ask us a key question of the future, albeit through shocking graphics and a very disturbing storyline. Should we be managing our own decline globally? Should we put in place a humane eugenics movement for the greater good of our offspring to try and kerb global population booms in an effort to avoid wars and the continuing fight for natural resources (in the likes of Iraq) and inevitable plunge into dystopia?

Would it be our place to put in place such a drastic action (taking over the role of the Creator if such a thing exists), and has evolution turned such amazing potential into nothing more than a collective marauding beast which will stop at nothing including it’s own inevitable destruction?

Or do we say fuck it, let’s live the dream whilst we can, because tonight I’m gonna party like it’s 1999?

My belief is that the inevitable catastrophic decline will happen (via a global war), and that at some point, mankind (if indeed it still exists post-apocalypse, albeit in significantly smaller numbers) will rightfully have no alternative but to turn our future way of life into resource based economies as detailed by The Venus Project, as the value of currency will quite literally not be worth the paper it is printed on.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could change the paradigm into The Venus Project today. I’d move there tomorrow (I mean today)…

The Three Gates

Reading a Guardian article about Robin Williams and some of the opinions floating around made me think about my posting of Tuesday morning, which read:

“Spare a thought too (or donation) for the countless innocents being slaughtered in Gaza, Ukraine, Sudan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Nigeria and Pakistan as you weep into your cereals for Mork”.

My general thoughts were that the mass grieving of a celebrity (irrespective of their cause of death) was disproportionate next to the mass and unjust suffering and lack of empathy and media coverage in a country like Syria which has already lost 27,000 people this year (interestingly enough Syria has one of the lowest suicide rates in the world).

I did feel a bit guilty about the post as on the face of it, it was rather cold and I guess I was just trying to highlight the fact that there are media outlets who have the ability to help peoples perception of what really goes on in the world but either choose not to, are told not to by the government or get more ratings / money from the docile masses who believe (through either choice or indoctrination) in the tripe they pedal.

I hear that some outlets shared the exact details of how Robin Williams died and left out the important bit of why he died, what his true condition was, how it can be recognised, how the individual can self-realise that they have a similar problem, how it can be addressed and how people can formulate an opinion on it and then chose if it’s in the best interests of the public, friends or family whether you share that opinion either verbally or via social or public media outlets.

What I can say from personal experience is that when someone close to you commits suicide suddenly (both my aunt and uncle took their own lives), there is complete and utter devastation, there are initial feelings of anger and accusations of selfishness and cowardliness, but once one thinks logically about their existing condition and state of mind after those initial dark moments, those feelings quickly fade.

I do think that people with no personal connections to the likes of Robin Williams (especially those in the media themselves) or have no personal experience in having to deal with the suicide death of a loved one through mental health issues, have to be very careful in sharing their own negative opinions in a time when those who do or have known the deceased (in this case Robin Williams) are in genuine mourning.

Let’s remember Robin Williams for what he was, not selfish man or a coward, but an absolute comedy genius, a true game-changer in the world of comedy, as well as a superb actor, when he played the roles of Dr Sayer in Awakenings and Mr Keating in Dead Poets Society.

When sharing opinions about someone (especially someone who has passed away), if it’s not positive or kind or complimentary or sincere, silence is always the better option.

An old friend then put me onto something called The Three Gates, and after some research I found the following:

THE THREE GATES

The old Sufi taught that right speech had to pass through three gates. The first gate asked, “Is it true”? The second gate asked, “Is it necessary”? The third gate asked, “Is it kind”? The old sheik taught him that it would be better to be silent than to utter words that had not passed through the three gates.

For those that do not know, Sufism is the mystical side of Islam. This teaching is very similar to the kind of teachings also uttered by the Desert Fathers and Mothers of the early Christian era. Many basic teachings such as this one can be found in all the major religions. This is a great teaching regardless of what religion or philosophy you follow. Who among us couldn’t do a better job of guarding one’s speech. Try to avoid complaining, gossip, and any kind of hurtful speech. We are human; however, so there are times we do all of these things. We should strive to minimize complaining by focusing on gratitude. Minimizing hurtful speech through age and experience and being aware of ones own weaknesses will teach us to be more patient and tolerant of others. Even though we won’t always remain silent, it is better to be silent than to speak a lot.

 “One should not speak unless your words improve the silence”