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 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)…

Reiki Diary: Marked for Life…

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

I’ve always thought long and hard about the tattoos I’ve had, and with the exception of perhapsone, each one has a very personal meaning to me.

It is almost two years now since that dark day of staring into the void, not knowing what lied on the other side should I be forced into it. Part of my renaissance has definitely been my sojourn into yoga, meditation and reiki, so for me it was clear that should I decide to take on extra ink, then it would be referenced to the refreshed and universally centric me and the centre of my design decision.

And so it came to me and so it came to be. The chapter I have written for my meditation technique includes one on chakras (as you would expect) and along with the text, I searched long and hard for the right images for my guide. I have seen many different formations, shapes and colours most of them quite detailed involving the lotus, but I eventually landed on beauty in simplicity, the chakra symbol itself embedded in plain circle.

As with the guide and my special connection as it seems with the number seven, I decided to have all seven chakras tattooed down my spine, and as instructed in my ‘Meds Manual’, each time I cycle (circle) through each chakra during mediation, I will feel the energy inscribed in me from the tattoo artist re-emerge, acting as it where like a catalyst to my very own and unique way of blending yoga, meditation and reiki.

Looking at the finished article, I was very happy with the end result (including the hiding of some pock marks from those acne-filled teenage years), but alerting me at the same time that I didn’t have the most perfectly in-line spine and I could do with losing a few pounds…

My soul mate also had a tattoo done on her back, our Om symbols lining up in the same place.

We truly are marked for life now, or indeed infinity, eternally linked in mind, body, soul and now ink…

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

Reiki Diary: June 2014 Reiki Share

A reiki share does exactly what it says on the tin. It is an opportunity for reiki practitioners of all levels to get together and discuss their recent experiences and  post-attunement consolidation. The last three months have been really busy for me, intense period in work, renewing my wedding vows in Las Vegas, on the hunt for a new job and taking up new hobbies in Standup Paddle Boarding (SUP), which involves standing up on a modified surfboard and paddling with a long oar through the water, and Land Standup Paddle Boarding, (Land SUP) which involves standing up on a longboard (four foot long skateboard in my case) and propelling yourself along the road/pavement a long oar with a rubber foot on the end.

As is the way with a life of constantly competing priorities, little time has been afforded for the practice of reiki in the usual sense. I’m still on “me-mode” with reiki and probably will be for quite some time to come, but what I have now put in place I think is rather special. I started of discussing combing reiki, meditation and yoga into one holistic approach to well being recently with “L” (my reiki mistress), and decided in the little spare time that I had to create my own technique which involves all three disciplines. OK this may well have been done before, but as a person who likes structure, I’ve not seen any guides out there which combines all three into one. And so I did, the output of my outpourings resulted in a forty-five page guide which I have had reviewed by several people (including reiki masters and holistic therapists) all of who think it’s pretty special. Now that it’s out there (far out…), all I need to do now is to set up sessions on the beach near to where I live and practice what I preach (or is it teach…).

And so to last night’s reiki share. I was due to be in attendance with my significant other, my now wife for the second time, but she has been feeling stressed of late with college work and although I tried to convince her that in itself it was a sign to go, my powers of reasoning fell short and off I went alone.

Armed with only two Lego figures and a pair of socks, I set off for “L”s house and put on Track Nine of Weather Systems by Anathema, a song worthy of any reiki warm up and warm down. Whilst I’m on the subject of Lego (and believe me that had a really key part to play last night which will be revealed shortly), I have recently been looking at Pinterest for ideas for a number of things, my next tattoo (which is this Saturday), making craft items from driftwood I find on the beach, and ideas for Lego creations when I have lost afternoons with my daughter and son, spent building cool stuff from  “fake plastic briquettes”. On browsing, I saw some photos of a Lego character with a hat and a camera, caught in the moment on DSLR (for example, the Lego camera guy taking a picture of another Lego character who has just slipped over on a banana). These pictures looked awesome and gave me the idea to create an alter-ego for myself made from Lego. And so YogaMike was born. The name itself came from “L” herself originally; when I was attuned almost a year ago now, there were two Mikes in the room, one was renamed DrummerMike and myself YogaMike. So wherever I go now, YogaMike comes with me as you can see below (New Brighton, UK; London, UK; Hoover Dam, USA):

Upon entering the “Buddhist boudoir” I was greeted by “L” with a beaming smile as per usual, as well as three new recruits, “S”, “K” and “J”, all seemed really nice. They had recently been through their Level One attunement and started off the session by sharing their experiences since then. “S” seemed to have done the most consolidation, and shared a nice tale about how she “resurrected” a butterfly at the side of the road, where she saw it lifeless and on its side, so she carefully picked it up and gave it reiki in her closed and cupped hands, after a time she felt it running around. She opened her hands and there it was upright and awake, after which she placed it on a nearby bush and went on her way. She also shared that her husband went for a job interview recently and beforehand he was really stressed so she gave him reiki the night before to calm him down and ease the load on him. He got the job. I asked her for some magic my way as I find out by next Monday if I have got the job that I have applied for recently. On that, I had a really strange dream last night that I was working in Cape Town, not the Cape Town I have seen from photographs, but Cape Town nonetheless, the exact location my potential future boss is located, I have recently found out.

“K” and “J” said that they had had a dabble but nothing really significant to date, quite like me in many ways I guess when I first started off. I then shared my journey to date with all in the room, from the dark days of two years ago, on through the turbulence and out into the light. I shared that reiki comes in many ways, not just the structured way in which “L” conducts her therapy-like sessions. For me, it comes through me via meditation and yoga, for my SUP friend “J”, it comes through him when he is out on the waves cutting the surf, feeling the kinetics of the tides and the lunar energy pulls of the moon.

I was first up on the bed for reiki, and all four ladies assumed various positions. The session was good, feeling a surge in energy through “K” through my crown and anja chakras, a churning in my core from “S” and an intense heat in my knees from “J”.

Next up was “S”. I adopted the feet position and quickly drew the power symbol before commencing. I have never really got anything from feet or legs (most of my intense experiences have come from the crown/third eye or the heart chakra). About half way through the session I felt a huge surge of energy coming from the soles of “S”s feet, so much so I had to open my eyes and take a step back. I saw “L” smiling as I did, who acknowledged what was going on too, so I grounded myself (something I had forgotten to do at the start) and went back into the soles (or was it souls) of her feet to finish off what I had identified.

I shared with her (when it was my turn to do so) my experience and she told the group that she had recently had a foot injury, something she had not shared with anyone in the room, which for me was a little shocking as that was really the first time I had picked up on a physical ailment, unknowingly.

“K” and “J” subsequently assumed the position on the bed, with only minor energy fluctuations reflecting in and from me. “L” closed the session and as we chatted for a while before we departed, I sneakily place a Lego figurine behind her on the side table and as I stepped through the door, I told her there was a present for “P” (her partner) behind her. I uploaded a picture on Facebook of the said plastic man and “P” declared his interest in securing it to the dashboard of his works van, and after seeing it she laughed out loud and said he would be made up with it.

“J” stayed behind and “S” and I walked down the path to our respective cars. I turned to her and asked her how it was she injured her foot, and to my complete and utter shock, she said she had injured her foot on one of her kids’ Lego briquettes. Now that is too spooky…

Dream Diary: If at first you don’t succeed, stop trying…

Like a great many things in life, the harder one tries sometimes, the further away achievement advances.

A classic example of this syndrome was my pursuit for a soul mate. I recall nearly 15 years ago that I lived alone, in a house that I could barely afford, begging friends or foes to lodge with me so that I didn’t have to foreclose on my property.

Thankfully, someone did take me up on that offer, and at once I set off on a quest to get out there, cover in man-oil, prowling the rock clubs and pubs of Liverpool and Birkenhead in search of girls.

I tried. Then I tried. And then I tried. Nothing. Nada. The harder I looked, the cheesier the lines, all my hand was showing was a picture card high, miles away from the full house I was seeking.

So eventually, fatigued I stopped looking. Stopped trying. And then I saw her. A chance meeting on the Liverpool waterfront, our eyes met and there was an instant connection. Something special. 15 years on and we are still together. Granted the road took a sharp bend and nearly threw us out of the car, but we were both strapped in and clung on for dear life.

Similarly (after some serious digression), my first lucid dreaming experience happened in the same manner. In the weeks leading up to my sojourn into this night-time activity, I read and read it, discussed and discussed it, and eventually I started. I tried for the first week without success, and then life got in the way slightly, my focus turning to the setting up of a local meditation circle (and associated technique I have developed) to the family, (the wife having corrective surgery post-cancer), Stand Up Paddleboarding (which is my new weekend hobby) and work.

On Monday night this week, it started. I woke at 07.00am when my alarm went off. Snooze button. Buzz Buzz, 07:09am. Snooze button. Buzz Buzz, 07:18am. Snooze button. And then something happened. Between 07:19:am and 07:26am I managed to fall back asleep. In my dream, I was out jogging when I came across an old friend who was also out jogging. He had long hair again and I recall him having it tied back in a pony tail, complete with a pretty yellow ribbon. We had drifted apart many years ago and haven’t really spoken since a chance meeting at the supermarket a few years back.

He jogged past me and didn’t seem to want to stop. I let on to him and he nodded as I asked how he was and how his new partner and child were doing. Without turning, he ran up a set of stairs in front of us which led to a bridge over a train track. As he carried on up the stairs, I thought sod you mate, I was only trying to be friendly and followed the path he trod. When I got to the top he was waiting for me, and we swapped pleasantries about our respective families, after which he asked if I wanted to back to his for a while.

He opened the door to his house and all I could see were lionesses. In the hall with the door open I could count four or five of them, wandering around the ground floor of his house, quite sedate.

I recall turning around quite shocked, and my vista changed in an instant and I was standing in my bathroom, my wife brushing her teeth in the mirror. I told her that I had bumped into A” and give the lowdown on the lions in his house.

She turned to look at me and laughed “You have either gone mad, turned into a liar or you are just dreaming”. At once, I realised that it was the latter. I was dreaming and for the first time since taking up lucid dreaming, I remembered how it was I could check.

I tried to lift my right hand to put it in full view of my face and it felt really heavy. When it eventually came into view I could not discern any of the digits, the hand was grey and devoid of fingers, like a bulbous flipper. All of a sudden a huge wave of energy came over me (feeling quite alien and strange), and I came out of my dream.

I woke up really excited though. Without the rules and regulations, the constant reality checks, the constant overlooking at dream signs and the like, I had had (albeit briefly) my first lucid dreaming experience!

So it was then that I realised I needed to get up, get dressed and ferry my wife to the hospital for her surgery. And it was then that I became a little anxious. “L” my reiki mistress told me a few months back to look out for energy waves, especially when you are not expecting them, they are a sign that the energies are shifting. On thinking that, I temporarily thought the worst and had a sense of foreboding about the events of the day.

Later on after I had dropped her off, I sat and meditated back in the garden and sent healing energies to her, whilst at the same time I sent “L” some information to support her bid for a local venture and realised the energy surge I had had in the night was a positive one, not negative, and all of a sudden the weight bearing down on me was lifted, and I knew the wife was going to be fine.

And was she! The surgery was better than we had both hoped and fingers crossed she will only need one more operation before things are back to the way they were.

We spent the rest of the evening in each others company and went to bed, holding each other.

Lucid dreaming must be like buses, you don’t see any for ages and then two come along at once!

Part way through the night, I dreamt that I was back in Malaysia and out to lunch with some colleagues. I recall wandering off on my own to a bookstore. Something wasn’t right about the scene, where had my colleagues gone, and more importantly, why was I back in Malaysia. And then it dawned on me, I was dreaming. I knew what to do, so I tried to raise my right hand, this time no issues, No blurred vision, no bulbous abomination instead of a fist, a normal right hand. I took the two fingers from my left hand and pushed them straight through the palm of my right hand. And then there was a buzz, not as intense as last night, more like a shift in the Matrix  (cheesy I know) and then everything became crystal clear. The bookstore was in ultra-high definition, I could make out the individual spines on each tome from the other side of the store. I needed to do one more reality check, I looked again at my right hand and could see the lines as I traced them across my hand. Upon realising I was lucid, my mind turned to one thing, levitation, so I dropped both arms to my side and looked up. To my shock I was no longer in the bookstore, I was in a wine store and a man in a smart suit and chiselled features (looking like the guy from The Hunger Games Part One with the ridiculous facial topiary stood in front of me and boomed “You cannot do that, I am the one who controls your dreams”. And with that I left the store and went back to work on the 19th Floor of the Petronas Towers, ready for the afternoon shift…

I will return to bringing some structure back to my lucid dreaming and catch up on the backlog of emails I’ve been sent via The World Of Lucid Dreaming website on the train back from London tomorrow. Who knows it may bring even more success, as long as I don’t try too hard…

Dream Diary: Day 4

DATE: 16th April 2014
TIME: 8 Hours 28 Mins
MEDITATION: Yes (30 mins before bed – Tai Chi / Zazen / Reiki)
REALITY CHECKS: Yes (a few times during the day)
MIND CHECKS: Yes (during meditation)
SLEEP TALK RECORDER: Yes (nothing of interest , other than a muffled “parp”)
HYPNOGOGIA: No
DREAM SIGNS: Yes
LUCIDITY: No

RECALL ALL: I was flicking, through the channels on the TV. Sugar mice in the rain…

Last night’s dreams are difficult to recall, to put into words. I can liken the imagery as I woke up to sitting on the sofa with the Sky remote, starting off at BBC on Channel 101 and ending up on Scuzz Channel 367, giving each channel on the way through a few seconds to impress me before I realise they are all full of boring dross and turning over to the next one.

It started off with me being in London and watching the second film in the Matrix trilogy, where Neo and Trinity getting jiggy with it, except this time it was odd. Very frickin odd. I can only liken it to the David Kronenburg film “Videodrome”, where James Woods takes hold of a revolver and his body morphs around it so it becomes part of him. Likewise in the dream, both Neo’s and Trinity’s arms and legs morph into the others until they become one amorphous abomination. Although it started off with me watching it on the silver screen, my vista soon changed so that I was in the room with them. Soon after a different scene, with me packing several suitcases in a hotel room, which almost as quickly changed into me taking part in the next version of Hunger Games, again almost as brief, my only recollection was being in a forest trying to activate a glow stick (but it was more of a transparent canister), with dire consequences as it heated up exponentially, a bit like the power cell in Superman I, which melted through the floor.

After I awoke briefly, I drifted off again and back to London, where I was in the office, my last day on the project. All I remember was that “S” was sitting next to me smoking a joint (I do remember smelling it, something I didn’t think one could do in dreams [like my ability to read in dreams which I have experienced this week], recalling that it smelled like a normal roll-up rather than the good stuff). Both he and “R” decided not to give me my leaving present which was on a folder up piece of paper, before an ex-colleague “F” who had a head full of hair (very improbable) asked me where I was moving to, his face fading and the dream ending.

Dream Signs: Neo/Trinity (Form/Context); “S” smoking (Context) Hunger Games (Action); “F” with hair (Form).

(NOTE: So after 4 nights of trying, the Dream Signs are most definitely there that is for certain, but there is no indication as of yet that my conscious state has the ability to recognise them and attempt to persuade my subconscious to look at my right hand. That is what I am looking for in my dreams, as soon as I see my right palm coming into focus, I will know that there has been progress. I will not lose faith, I will persevere. Patience is a virtue, as well as an awesome song by Guns N Roses…