Empathy Sponge

Something I live with and only recently came to terms with, as in acceptance (thank you, stoicism), is that I am an empath. I’m not sure what that means scientifically, the Myers-Briggs Type Index isn’t particularly helpful as I flit from INTP to INFP to INFJ depending on the test and that’s the extent of my psychological knowledge. Although, I have seen lots of crime shows and read a book on neurology but that hasn’t seemed to be of any help. The spiritual discourse, is much more accessible to me: taking on other’s energy and having to clear it off and having stowaway emotions and the like.

Example A:

I was at work and a member of the team began to share some things about their lives and started crying. Everyone had lots of things to say and I didn’t – I was busy. When the moment passed and she was okay, someone said: “Z, such a typical man, can’t deal with emotions.”

I left the room shortly after and stood in the toilet having to deep breath and fight back tears that I knew weren’t mine.

Example B:

I have a highly controlled and very closely monitored libido, primarily for stoic reasons. Power over the self is the ultimate power – the only power I have – and due to Lockdown, things have been quiet on that front. Yet I’ve recently connected with someone who I admire for being so free with their sexuality and accepting of it rather than control it or lock it down. Suffice to say, the closer we have become as friends and as connected we have become, it has had an affect on me. A testament to the connection perhaps as we’ve never met in person.

Example C:

My hobby of a night is to play Star Wars: The Old Republic and have an active role in a roleplay guild – like Dungeons and Dragons but in space. It’s almost like method acting as while not nearly to the same extent as they do for my character, things bug me ‘ooc’ or out-of-character. It shouldn’t, I know this: it’s fictional puppetry yet the personalities seem to have an effect. When the group is calm, having fun through the characters so am I. Yet when they are not, I feel myself agitated.

While the energy of most people washes past, when I make connections with individuals, it seems I catch stowaways. For a stoic, this is a challenge and perhaps entirely contradictory to the entire philosophy. Yet, I disagree. I think it’s a spiritual or psychological thing I just happen to have that I can adapt to or be drown in it. Maybe I’m alone in my experience as an empath: these emotions hit me, I don’t know what to do with them and they hang on like a heavy backpack. Sometimes, of course the burden isn’t too bad like in the case of my sexually liberated friend – not bad at all.

Yet it takes a toll on me, physically. After a day at work where I may encounter hundreds of people all with their own energies, emotions and ailments, I am mentally drained to a point where I struggle to keep my eyes open. Some days at work, I may not even do anything physically demanding, spending most of it sitting, yet I feel like I’ve ran a marathon.

I deal with it because I have to. I manage it and protect myself through meditation to empty my mind and aura. I choose my friends more carefully based on the baggage I end up having to carry which is not an indictment of them at all. Perhaps it is sometimes. A person who is deeply angry at the world with no intention of changing just from the energy that they present is worth avoiding where possible. In another sense, it’s been helpful when I can understand another person better and do what I can for them in my capacity acting in a virtuous way. Of course I can get the wrong vibes. Sometimes they cross wires with my own feelings and others’ feelings but navigating that is part of the process of not just an empath but a stoic – even just as a human being.

Meditation is the key to being a healthy, functional empath. There was a time where I would absorb all the energies around me and become so tired and dismissive of everyone that I just told them to fuck off because I’d rather be alone. It makes things more intense, this ability that I’m still only the cusp of empowering. It makes every relationship feel richer and intimacy the more intimate. Yet the price is then, disappointment or a betrayal of the self when this becomes or is unhealthy. As a child I was always called sensitive yet I never appreciated it for two reasons. For one Batman was my icon and secondly, it felt untrue. I was being sold a simplistic lie that never sat well. I am a stoic but I’m also an empath; a rocky road to be sure, but my only road.

So, I put it out there, fellow empaths: how have you managed? I’d love to hear from you; let’s help each other. Or not, of course, if you don’t want to. As individuals and as rational beings: we got this.

Z3N0

Puppy Training

I got angry last night – properly angry – for the first time in a long time. It was over Star Wars of all things. How ridiculous is that? If anything, after the fact I was more angry with myself for being angry than the cause. It came very fast and hit me before I could circumvent the feeling with rational thought. It surged like pain from the fingertip to brain and I could track its progress like a child watching the lightening after thunder. It was almost comical for the soul to watch my mind do things. The timelord watching their TARDIS break down for literally no reason – a nice analogy I’ve made before, I’ll link it at the bottom.

There’s no other person let down by my state, just me. It feel like I’m looking at a sad puppy who just shat on the carpet. I am both the observer and the puppy. The only way for me to move on from here is clean up the shit and move on and try to train the puppy better to not do it again. Not try – do. Of course, Marcus Aurelius has some words for us, I’m going to write them out here not just for the sake of sharing them but for my own sake for reflection. Philosophy – stoic philosophy – is my Scooby-Snax to train the puppy.

“Enough of this miserable way of life, enough of grumbling and aping! Why are you troubled? What is new in this? What is it that drives you mad? The cause? Then face it. Or rather the material? Then face it. Apart from cause and material there is nothing. But you should know, late though it is, see your relation to the gods also: make yourself simpler, and better. Three years is as good as a hundred in this quest.” Meditations 9.37

If I strip things back, lets remove the TARDIS imagery: we have a figure in a garden; a walled garden in the centre of an endless forest. The walls are hundreds of metres high and tens of metres thick made of a deep jade stone that circle this impenetrable Valhalla. I’m sipping tea in this garden, basking in the sun, paying no mind to storm clouds, I’ve an umbrella. What does your simple space look like, when we strip things back? It’s funny, some may even call that convoluted. Let’s remove all imagery – nothing but endless vastness of consciousness and an observer who witnesses this vastness.

“Who observes this vastness?” – Mooji

“Above all, no agonies, no tensions. Be your own master, and look at things as a man, as a human being, as a citizen, as a moral creature. And here are two of the most immediately useful thoughts you will dip into. First that things cannot touch the mind: they are external and inert; anxieties can only come from your internal judgement. Second, that all these things you see will change almost as you look at them, and then they will be no more. Constantly bring to mind all that you yourself have already seen changed. The universe is change: life is judgement.”Meditations 4.3.4

And to that end, without needing to add anymore words of my own:

“Remove the judgement, and you have removed the thought ‘I am hurt’: remove the thought ‘I am hurt’, and the hurt itself is removed.”Meditations 4.7

Is there much more to say? I have to take ownership of my own feelings, my own unnecessary feelings that I failed to control. I have to move on, knowing the only person who is let down is me. I am grateful that those around me were supportive and allowed me to remove myself from the environment to recharge and reflect. Personally, I think it was a rather successful reflection with the conclusion: I lost my shit over immaterial, indifferent things – actions of strangers.

I’d like to confirm, this incident has nothing to do with Gina Carano as every Star Wars seems to be these days, I disagree with her politics but I’m sure she’s a perfectly reasonable individual. In fact, as stupid as it sounds, this anger arose from the specifics of medicine in the Star Wars lore.

Go ahead, laugh. It’s okay, I’m laughing too.

Z3N0

Here is the link to my previous post, mentioned. Also, for those who want to look further about Mooji, here is the link to his Youtube channel which I recommend for excellent meditation practice:

https://www.youtube.com/user/Moojiji

https://z3n0.com/2021/03/17/bigger-on-the-inside/

Procrastination Nation

I’m in a procrastination nation of my own making. It’s governed by rules of putting things off until tomorrow and the currency is little slithers of dopamine from mobile games. Right now, the country is in turmoil and a civil war is brewing against the establishment. Like all revolutions this one is hard fought and I fully expect the regent governors with the names: “Do it Later”, “Not now”, “Another time”, and “I should watch The Office again” will be summarily executed. The guillotine comes down and Marcus Aurelius is the executioner. A rather poetic image.

“Ask yourself this about each action: ‘How does this sit with me? Shall I regret it?'” Meditations 8.2

Do I regret inaction? Or is inaction a part of being actively passive? Is there a difference between being actively passive and procrastinating? I’m arguing with yes because I don’t feel regret for being so actively passive; for meditation and taking in the world around me, breathing in the new spring air and standing in the sun with a coffee. I regret babbling on about pure shit to a friend on the internet to avoid doing work. Perhaps that’s the difference. One is enriching to the greater benefit, the other isn’t. What’s enriching about sharing a story about being on a date with someone who thought reciting an entire episode of Drag Race would be endearing? I’m not sure how much my friend got out of it.

How much of our activities as human beings procrastinating? For example, X, watches Judge Judy everyday without fail then some days says:

“Well I can’t go for my run now it’s too late.”

The sun is shining, dinner can wait, Judy won’t care – but we mustn’t miss the end(!). Or another example: a person I work with will talk to me about Harry Potter for twenty minutes – knowing full well I don’t care about the story or the characters or what the views of the author are – to avoid a simple task. Another: I made three coffees today to avoid doing work.

I know I’ve spoken before about disagreeing with Marcus about inaction but I was making a different point about enjoying life rather than racing to the end. Procrastination, in this sense is putting of things that need to be done before the end. A fear of failing these things perhaps? What if I go to Goa and hate it, and fail at being happy. What if I fail at the work I’m meant to be doing today? What if? What if?

Enough of what if. Only what is.

“Do or do not, there is no try.” – Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back

What are you putting off through fear of failure not because of planning, nor waiting not even being cautious. Fear of failure is procrastinating. I did it all the time with maths homework in Year 9, I’m doing the same with actual work. Sure take your time on a job, make sure it’s done properly, like a good philosophy or a garden shed. But you have to start somewhere, sometime – now is the time. This blog is an example. Its existence an act of revolt against the Procrastination Nation.

“Perfection of character is this: to live each day as if it were you last, without frenzy, without apathy, without pretence.” Meditations 7.69

Don’t Thank Me

Recently I’ve found it more and more difficult to accept thanks for anything that I do. It’s almost as if a thanks is a question of my own virtue, as if saying thank you is to say I was asking for thanks for a good deed done for the common benefit.

“You bought me a coffee how much to do I owe you?” – X
“Nothing. I got myself one too.” – Z
“Thanks but I’d feel better if you let me give you money.” – X
“That’s not necessary.” – Z

And so on and so on.

Have we become so entrenched in a culture of expecting things to be bought and paid for that acts of random virtue or kindness is that alien? This argument, by the way went on for 20 minutes and ended up with me losing and receiving an ok meal deal sandwich and a coke. It’s becoming more and more painful each time.

Why is this? Is this my own virtue being threatened by the perception of lies or the idea that my motives are anything other than mindless goodwill? Is that pride? A prideful arrogance that someone may dare question this new found virtue. Don’t thank me.

Appreciation is different. I think appreciation is an act not verbosity. Is that what I’m looking for? To be appreciated? If so does that make me a hypocrite to ask not to be thanked?

“Thank you for listening to me.” – Y
“Don’t mention it, I’m here for you.” – Z
“Seriously, thank you.” – Y

Lovely, but pointless. I am not moved by the thanks and I would have listened to the person’s story and advised them the best I can regardless. Why? Because I am a stoic on the Path and surely that’s the proper thing to do for the benefit of the whole and within my nature. Is it not in everyone’s best interest?

Live in a thankless world and be good with it. I am. It’s a world of unreciprocated goodness. A world where I can do something for someone and not expect a bad sandwich in return. Not even money as then what does that make me? Someone who must receive in order to give? It’s not like I’m broke nor am I rich in either money or time. I have exactly what I need to help where I can and act virtuously in all I can.

“Thanks for helping, I really am thankful.” – X
“An hour of my time is not like I’m giving you a kidney. If it was a kidney, a beer would probably make up for it.” – Z

Live without thanks. Unless it’s a kidney or a liver or a heart. Even then, let’s settle with some Hop House 13 and move on. You are an individual, your currency is your own virtue. This post is light on quotes from philosophers because perhaps this is less about what they expect and more about what I expect from myself – what we expect from ourselves.

Z3N0

Quitting Social Media

I quit social media as the title suggests. There was no note or post about why or who – I just gathered the phone numbers of those important and deleted it. I’ve been on both Facebook and Instagram for over a decade and I don’t know why I assumed that I’d miss it. I still have social connections, I still know when people’s birthdays are, and I can do it all without seeing mountains of uninformed reckons and opinions. In the echo chamber, I found myself existing in a drone state of buying more and more arty design products and falling down random clickbait rabbit holes, hearing opinions I wanted to hear, meticulously crafted for my targeted demographic. The irony is you will find people arguing with all they have that everything is fake news but the repost they shared about some random anonymous strawman must be true. No one is above this, not even I, with my subscription to both Vice News and LadBible proving that sensationalism works on even someone who preaches moderation.

Here’s the truth: it’s all fake. A cyber reality dictated by click ratios and carefully curated images to elicit purchase or ad viewership. I have ads enabled on this site right now – how many, I wonder, are targeted? When I visit to preview the settings, all I see are lawnmower ads not that I have grass to mow.

“Accustom yourself not to be disregarding of what someone else has to say: as far as possible enter the mind of the speaker.”Meditations 6.53

In such a time of Ancient Rome, I suppose this would have been sound advice yet today that is more complex. When entering the mind of another through the platform of social media, what mind is there? A teacher I know said: “Lady Macbeth is not real, she is a puppet.” We call programmed ones bots, but the live performances, the personas of our profiles: more puppetry.

In an understandably human need for connection we have disconnected from what it is that makes us human, ironing out imperfections and scrutinizing any we see. I am guilty of this. I am not even a month into closing my accounts where I would inwardly scoff at the flaws of myself and others. Filters in principle, work just the same whether they are applied to a selfie or a scathing comment about Bill Burr.

“Look then at what is happening now. Only the intelligent creatures have now forgotten that urge to be unified with each other: only here will you see no confluence.” – Meditations 9.9.3

By coming together like we have, we have allowed ourselves to be broken apart: separated by invisible walls of the echo chambers designed to keep us easily marketed to. I wonder if the algorithms designed were ever intended to be so nefarious. It seems they were programmed to specifically spread fire and misguided passions and pride. From cancel culture to the rise of internet celebrity, bollocks we should feel indifferent about is injected straight into our brains. In media it’s called the Hypodermic Needle Theory just for that reason: you must care about Addison Rae and her boyfriend; you must care about James Charles; you must care about Jeffree Star ‘slamming’ internet trolls; you must care about what the cast of Love Island 2017 are up to now!

It’s the perpetuation of fame for fame’s sake. Even on the micro scale with Joe Blogs – for example – down the street becoming upset that no one liked his picture of the petunias in his front garden. Or Karen Smith telling the entire local community board to boycott a particular business because they are unable to cater for a very niche condition of some sorts. Perhaps even to some extent, this blog that I’m writing on now is guilty of this, yet I would defend that by saying that I have no expectations further than venting thoughts and reflections. Adding adverts is a nice bonus, I suppose.

Yet, despite my disdain, I shouldn’t judge too harshly if at all. Nor should anyone. We can teach or tolerate, as I’ve surely quoted before.

“Take your joy in simplicity, in integrity, in indifference to all that lies between virtue and vice.” Meditations 7.31

Z3N0

The End?

Yesterday the news broke about possibly my favourite TV star: Jessica Walters passed in her sleep.

I’m sat here now, reflecting, smiling not crying and listening to “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by The Rolling Stones with a root beer. She had a good life, she was the best at what she did and in a way, I’m comforted as she is reunited with her husband, Ron Lieberman. I’m not apathetic. My heart is still human and it feels a little heavy but the world, and my world, was all the better for having her; all the better for her comedy and talent, as is the next place. Maybe it’s my distance that lets me so stoic. Yet when my own great grandmother died, her funeral was not a sad time but a bittersweet one. We all wore bright colours as she asked and we reminisced and ate sandwiches, chatting about good times, a packed church of people smiling in memory of a beautiful soul and the light she brought. I was sad, I was sad because my grandmother was in tears and I couldn’t do anything to comfort her. I was drunk when I was first told the news some weeks before – when was I not at the time? Smashed out of my mind on a pitcher of Bloody Mary pre-drinking for a night out that never happened, I was wailing into the arms of my best friend. Funny, in that moment when I was lowest, I realized that I was in love with the one that held me. Even in death, Nana was teaching me things, giving me gifts of affection and showing me that I wasn’t alone.

“What is death? Someone looking at death per se, and applying the analytical power of his mind to divest death of its associated images, will conclude then that it is nothing more than a function of nature – and if anyone is frightened of a nature, he is a mere child. And death is not only a function of nature, but also her benefit.” – Meditations 2.13

To use an analogy that Marcus would like: when a fruit is ripe it is picked. But what if a life is taken before it’s time? An untimely death where infinite potential is never fulfilled? What then? Is there comfort in knowing that the soul is an eternal being or that the death served a purpose to forge the greatness of another? A medical student attending the scene, a mother, a daughter? Or is it much more gentle?

The universe, the Tao, God, that exists as a great intelligent ocean or permeating mist: do our eternal souls drift through? Like dust drifting through the water settling on the sandy bed with trillions of other grains, all once great rocky structures.

“Many grains of incense on the same altar. One falls to ash first, another later: no difference.” Meditations 4.15

I’m writing in reference only to my reading of Marcus Aurelius on death. The Emperor of a brutal bloodthirsty empire that carved its way through Europe and Asia taking lives. In his 58 years he would have seen more lives being taken than I will in my estimated 80 – unless of course, 2073 is as exciting as I’ve been told it will be. Even then, in the face of the mindless scattering of souls to solar winds, what is death but specks cast into a galactic maelstrom? Life is a mandala: a beautiful formation of differently coloured grains of sand coming together to make something moving and impactful only to be brushed away with the tide. As grains, we will never see what it means, or what it looks like, or who observes us in our way, only the coming of the tide and the scattering is certain.

Do we scorn the change of tide? Do we fret about the summer changing to autumn then again to winter? Do we fear blinking or sleeping?

“Loss is nothing more than change. Universal nature delights in change, and all that flows from nature happens for the good. Similar things have happened from time everlasting, and there will be more such to eternity. So why do you say that everything has always happened for the bad and always will, that all those gods between them have evidently never found any power to right this, so the world is condemned to the grip of perpetual misery?” Meditations 9.35

They live on, the people we knew, souls eternal. The parts that they consisted of them, live on: returning to the world that they are born from. It will be the way for the living too. What is lost is never truly lost, as nothing is ever truly ours: calcium, carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, etcetera. With each inhale we take in the ones long gone and with each exhale with give them back with thanks for our lives that we live now. We are tribal creatures, us human beings. We mourn the loss of our tribe, it’s only natural but loss is also natural. All things are natural and we can take it. We can carry it and carry on because that’s what we do as the summer turns to autumn that turns to winter, as the tide comes in and comes out. The universe exhales and inhales.

There is no end, the is no beginning – “There is no death, there is the Force”.

“Consider any existing object and reflect that it is even now in the process of dissolution and change, in a sense regenerating through decay or dispersal: in other words, to what sort of ‘death’ each thing is born.” Meditations 10.18

Z3N0

This post is dedicated to those who have passed, those I knew who have passed, not that they will read it, and you – who is.

Quick Quote Post: 2

I work in an environment where a lot of people disliking me or having a particular opinion of me in one way or another is a borderline expectation. It is what it is and a reality to be accepted yet not everyone accepts this. I act as I do in a professional way to my colleagues and while not as personal as I would be with those I consider friends, I try to be virtuous in my actions. For some, if not most, it can be unnerving or uncomfortable to work with and around those you know don’t like you – either personally or professionally. And are not all people of the world our colleagues in life? Luckily, our favourite Roman emperor has some words for you:

“Someone despises me? That is his concern. But I will see to it that I am not found guilty of any word or action deserving of contempt. Will he hate me? That is his concern. But I will be kind and well-intentioned to all, and ready this very person what he is failing to see – not in any criticism or display of tolerance, but with genuine good will, like the famous Phocion (if, that is, he was not speaking ironically). This should be the quality of our inner thoughts, which are open to the gods’ eyes: they should see a man not disposed to any complaint and free of self-pity. And what harm can you suffer, if you yourself at this present moment are acting in kind with your own nature and accepting what suits the present purpose of universal nature – a man at full stretch for the achievement, this way or that, of the common good?” Meditations 11.13

Phocion was a Greek statesmen nicknamed: “The Good”. He was sentenced to death and as his final words were to his son to not hold a grudge against his executors. I’ve spoken before about reputation and being liked yet I think it’s worth repeating the point. Are you, in your heart, a truly virtuous person – not without sin, perhaps, yet without blame?

Drink up your sangria, summer-child, give a genuine “hello” and “how are you” to your neighbour in the glasshouse with their stones. The sun shines on you both.

Z3N0

Kintsugi and Dorodango

I was talking to a friend and she asked me how and why I started my journey. By journey I mean the Path or finding The Way or whatever works that has led to my current position on the doorstep of Taoism with my now worn copy of Meditations in hand. My actual journey, of course, started nearly a quarter of a century ago when two people who now (and probably then) despise each other decided to bonk one night.

I talked about my depression and how found myself in a spiritually and emotionally dark place about half way through my university experience. From there, there was no where but upwards and it was a very perilous climb without a harness. Since finding philosophy and accepting virtue as my only directive, it’s less of a climb, more of a gentle ascent in a modest lift. In this conversation, she said something interesting that has stuck with me. She said that the story reminded her of the Japanese art of kintsugi.

Kintsugi, meaning “golden repair” is the art of repairing broken pottery with gold infused lacquer. What a perfect metaphor for finding philosophy. Gold: an earth metal revered by the kings of Persia, the Saxon feudal lords, the pharaohs of Ancient Egypt, the emperors of the Huey Tlatoani, and the monarchs of Pataliputra. In nearly all cultures, gold is the ultimate material commodity. Philosophy is gold. We find unique ideas in cultures that all lead us to a balanced and virtuous existence from optimistic nihilism in a San Francisco think-tank to monastic Taoism in the deep country of China – I’m speaking here about philosophy and not religion intentionally. Even within the art of kintsugi is the philosophy of wabi-sabi: embracing the imperfect. It’s beautiful and like a mind thrown to chaos and a soul wanting, the pottery is made all the more uniquely brilliant.

The artistry of Japan has always amazed me. From the architecture and cuisine to one of my favourite films Paprika and of course the fantastic anime – or rather visual poem – about mental health: Welcome to the NHK. As well as kintsugi, there’s also dorodango: “mud dumpling”. It is the art of taking a clump of mud or dirt and water to carefully create a perfect sphere and polish until it’s shiny like a snooker ball. In recent times the childhood hobby has been refined to hikaru dorodango meaning “shining mud dumpling”.

I can’t decide whether or not my journey is the reparation of a delicate china plate or polishing of a turd. Aren’t we all earth and water in our essence? Air in our lungs and fire in our hearts. Philosophy is the gold that mends broken things and the polish that shines the shit.

“The rotting of the base material of everything. Water, dust, bones, stench. Again: marble is a mere deposit in the earth, gold and silver mere sediments; your clothing is animal hair, your purple is fish blood; and so on will all else. And the vital spirit is just the same, changing from this to that.”Meditations 9.36

It’s like spiritual absurdism made manifest. Both kintsugi and dorodango are delicate processes requiring patience, skill, precision, and time. The mind requires all of these things, as does the soul. Enjoy it: polish your shit.

Z3N0

PS. Here are some links to dorodanga and kintsugi videos on Youtube for more information and a relaxing time. If you enjoy these videos, please make sure to give likes, subs and shares to these creators to show your support.

This is the Way

I thought I’d share a chapter from the Tao Te Ching and shamelessly clickbait with the title (for those of you who know what I’m talking about). It’s a little snippet that I think more people should take on board and reflect on. I’ve been sitting alone at lunch for some weeks now and have found a profound peace in it. Yet for some, this is strange and something to have to be concerned about. Why? Is it my isolation that worries them or that there is a smaller audience for gossip that I don’t want to hear? Just a few hours ago I got a text asking if I was ok – it was a fishing expedition really, in my opinion – and the sender seemed unsatisfied by my response of (in lots of words) ‘yes’.

“To use words but rarely is to be natural. Hence the gusty wind cannot last all morning, and a sudden downpour cannot last all day. Who is it that produces these? Heaven and earth. If heaven and earth cannot go on forever, much less can man. That is why one follows the way. A man who conforms to the way; a man of virtue conforms to virtue; a man of loss conforms to loss. He who conforms to the way is gladly accepted by virtue; he who conforms to loss is gladly accepted by loss. When there is not enough faith, there is a lack of good faith.”Tao Te Ching, Chapter 23

This chapter talks about lots of things, and for me it’s about being measured and reserved, so my cup may never run empty. It’s also very stoic in its message about death and loss and even more so about virtue. There’s a comfort in the stillness of it, the universe, to be had in these words. I don’t think it’s appreciated enough in the aggregate that silence is not a sign of being discontented.

If heaven and earth cannot go on forever, much less can man.

It’s true of course, this line right here. We can’t go on forever, so in our actions and exasperations: should they too go on. I can talk someone’s ear of all day and say absolutely nothing and add nothing to the universe only hot air. Does that have a point to it? Am I not just wasting my own time and others? Are you?

A man who conforms to the way; a man of virtue conforms to virtue; a man of loss conforms to loss.

When someone asks me, typically, if I am ok I say yes. Not because of any formulaic politeness that British people have and expect but because I am. When we have faith in the universe (ourselves in the rationalist stoic perception) and our own virtue, how can we not be alright? I’ve quoted to no end on this blog about Marcus Aurelius and the idea that we can never truly be harmed and I think that is true. As Lao Tze says here, the opposite is also true in our perception of loss. When I was in my worst stages of depression some three years ago, my whole life was continual loss. This wasn’t because it was, in reality, but because in my conformation to that way of being, I was making it so with my own actions. Obviously, I’m not shitting on people who are depressed and saying lighten up, that’s not my place or right nor anyone’s. Yet would anyone or could anyone argue that that’s the optimal way of being?

When there is not enough faith, there is a lack of good faith.

Can anyone argue against this? Seriously? Even in the face of pure humanistic values where the semantics mean more than the spiritual essence, this surely is a universal truth. I’ve spoken before about truth being fluid but even then, does the fluidity arise from a lack of good faith in the fact provider or observer? Look around right now and ask does this statement not ring true?

It’s funny how one message from a co-worker asking if I’m ok led me on a journey down this river. I like to think it’s given me the opportunity to learn something and share it. This is only going to be a short post compared to what this topic deserves. I’m sure I’ll revisit it when I’ve gotten myself a better understanding of the texts entire and can bring together contexts. And, I’m ok with this too. After all, as my third favourite Star Wars character says:

“This is the Way.”

Z3N0

Jemima Puddle-Duck

Today I was reflecting on my recent ‘dramas’ with a friend and we both came to the conclusion that perhaps it is not the issues that are really my issue yet my overly trusting nature. This friend used the Beatrix Potter story of Jemima Puddle-Duck as an allegory for my own naivety. For those unfamiliar with the story, the character Jemima is a duck who seeks a place to lay her eggs in peace and is invited in by a “foxy” man and has to be rescued by the farm dog, Kip.

I have also been perhaps overly trusting in the universe’s whim (if not my own) to share sensitive details with someone who is a perfect stranger. Yet something tells me, in all of my spiritual being, that sharing what I did was the right thing. And so, in knowing that it was the right thing to do, is there regret to be had even if the information is used against me? If not trusting in my own gut – my own Third Eye, the Universe -, who can I trust? What can I trust? What can any of us? Sometimes I think, Like with Jemima Puddle-Duck, occasionally we all need a farm dog called Kip.

“Do not be ashamed to ask for help. It is your task to acheive your assigned duty, like a soldier in a scaling-party. What, then, if you are lame and cannot climb the parapet yourself, but this is made possible by another’s help?” Meditations 7.7

I’ve spoken about trust before. It was one of my first posts here. Trust, will be a common theme in my life: knowing who to trust and how to trust and what to trust. Is it not a common theme in all of our lives as trust is an extension of truth after all. Truth is relative and to that end so is trust. Yet unlike truth, trust is not fluid or dictated to by perception. It is grounding and true, yet we have find it first, don’t we? Not just in others but ourselves. For me, I can trust others heartily, but I question whether I trust myself enough to make that judgement. Despite this, whatever hardship, I remember and so should you:

“Doing something? I do it with reference to the benefit of mankind. Something happen to me? I accept it in reference to the gods and universal source from which all things spring interrelated.”Meditations 8.23

Z3N0

For the full story of Jemima Puddle-Duck, see here:

https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Tale_of_Jemima_Puddle-Duck