Tangible Growth

I’ve been speaking recently about growth that’s tangible and observable, or at least if not growth its clear steps in the right direction of the Path. I have to be careful, as we all do, like Seneca said to be aware that we are growing in philosophy not just age with each passing day. The air seems a little lighter with these reflections like each particle bouncing off me hits a little gentler.

A conversation I had today, is not even worth quoting was about the semantics of the word vaccine. In this conversation I was told a vaccine cannot be called a vaccine unless it totally 100% prevents you from catching a pathogen. I didn’t argue this point and was rather proud of myself for not at all reacting even by rolling my eyes for the disturbance as I was happily watching X-Files – perhaps ironically. It’s something I’ve not experienced before or rarely experience, moments where I can reflect in the in the situation and it seems to be slowed to half speed and to process each passing thought removing each impression that I impose or is imposed upon me. It was a rather cathartic experience, one of lightness and clarity. True, I was grateful for when the conversation was over and I could return to Mulder and Scully.

But it also for me, raises questions of predestination, or at least this and my recent watching of Loki. If all things are foretold by destiny with our forward motion almost a universal imperative, what other kind of growth is there if not tangible? Let’s look back over the past, our past each moment and see each thing we have learned and each misstep that had to have happened to lead us all to this moment. Today I could have entered into a bitter argument and fallen on my face, adding to the list of failures and tribulations that litter my life but I saw another path and took it. Or perhaps, there is only one path and the one I have walked in this existence led to that moment whether I wanted to or not. The past two years of social withdrawal and philosophical adventure leaving imprints on my subconscious, seeping into the waking world with every action whether aware of it or not. Like all experiences, each lasting thought or process it leaves its mark and leaves and impression of unspoken directive. It’s almost like an unwritten yet binding constitution of your own – our own – existence, tumbling over itself and winding around like a seedling to sapling to young twig to venerable oak to pulp and back again to the soil.

Lives and life, exists in a ever-growing ouroboros, the snake eating its own tail. The ancients understood this and its a concept that goes largely forgotten about.

“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
– Hamlet 

So let’s expand my minor conversation today to the macro, cosmic scale. It started, supposedly with the Big Bang and will end with the Great Heat Death of the universe where all living things slowly die and implode in on themselves leaving only the quiet that was before. Then, perhaps eons later in the distant dark, two atoms, remnants of a time gone before drift together and: clink! Big Bang 2, or 3, or 4, or 5, and so on. Existence is birth, growth and death. But there is no death really just a change of state. In the same way, there is no birth just another change of state, perhaps even then there is no growth. It’s all inhaling and exhaling of a single cosmic being destined to return to atoms like I am. So with that being said, are we not entirely privileged just in our existence to be able to recognize growth when it happens? To experience this moment and feel it around us, and see the growth from our own birth to now, is a wonderous thing.

195 Ouroboros Symbol Illustrations & Clip Art - iStock
The ouroboros

It’s a frightening thought, this meaningless in our own experience yet at the same time it’s wholly freeing as it gives us all a truer sense of purpose and duty to each other to seek truth of said experience.

Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.” – Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back

As seers of this truth and as accepters of this eternity and wonderous cosmic harmony and certainty, what do we have to fear from anything? What do we have to fear aside from the concept itself and a biological incentive to fight against predetermined passing? What is there to fear aside from experiencing joy in the time we have and the time we can allot to ourselves to find that joy? The joy in life, in love and in fate and all that it brings us. With a duty as kin of this growth within and without, to in line with all the highest and greatest good and alignment to improve constantly what we have for each other.

It’s all growth and we will only ever know growth. We will not know of our birth or death. So keep in mind each step you take and see the impression you leave. Are you happy with what you see?

Amor fati.

Z3N0

Concepts of Self

I’ve found myself increasingly attached to concept over reality when it comes to things I become passionate over and for things that irritate me to my core. Such things like story ideas, frameworks of how things should be and could be, development of philosophical thought and reflection. Ironic, how the real world bothers me less than the fantastical and in comparison never scratches that depth that the fantastical does. It’s almost as if that I have created a disconnect within myself and those around me to establish myself as a calm presence yet my own internal world in a warzone of its self.

I know for a fact that for the past few days and weeks, my own growth within has been tangible to my own observations and from others yet for the life of me, I cannot seem to shake this conflict between yin and yang and the passions of my own imposed impressions of vague thoughts. This is most experienced when playing Star Wars The Old Republic and roleplaying imaginary aliens fighting imaginary creatures. I spend hours on these concepts and developing plans and perfecting the tiny corner of the tiny corner of the tiny corner of my own imaginary landscape. Not just for myself but for others to enjoy and have a proper and enjoyable escapism. Yet isn’t it amusing, how escapism itself is so anti-stoic. How can one live in the moment by not living in this moment but literally another, in a galaxy far far away? So I play a character who is my aspiration, my goal for development of the self, the higher mind as it were and my philosophical, spiritual and intellectual superior – with minor quirks of course, for some separation to not be entirely lost in my second life like Dwight from The Office. It’s a helpful concept, like looking at art in motion and a concept in motion with a continual free forming journey. Yet these concepts, these minor obtuse details irritate me more than the thought of my own death.

Strange is it not? That such things can have a hold on us. As someone who roleplays as being a Jedi without attachment, it becomes rather laughably ironic that I hold an attachment to something so intangible. Yet I have gained friends from this experience and learned lessons about the self along the way with this art being my own guiding light.

Tonight for example, I was irritated and came into conflict with someone I consider a close friend over the specific decorations of a specific room that’s not even real. What was the purpose of the conflict? What did either of us gain other than hurting each other’s feelings – another failing of my philosophy but at least one I can recognize.

In the end, I ask myself, can I call myself a stoic? Can I call myself a philosopher of the school or at least follower if I cannot seem to confront this very simple thing? I lean on a crutch here, what crutches do you need? I’m perfectly capable of living up to my own aspirations without the need of an amphibian Jedi avatar yet I find it comforting, I find solace and peace method acting. If Stanislavski would see me employ his technique of theatre, I suppose he would be impressed with my dedication of playing the stoic man. I play the part, I become the part, that is the goal, it’s what always has been the goal, has it not for all those walking the Path?

You play the part and you keep nudging yourself and returning to the reflection and the texts until it becomes a part of you. Like muscle memory or just you. It’s like learning times tables, we will stumble and fall and trip and bitch and moan. Eventually though we can say that four times six is twenty-four without a second’s thought or even that. It is a skill in the end not a talent. I see myself failing everyday in lots of different ways but I see myself growing too. I see myself identifying the mistakes and I see myself trying to move on from them. Perhaps from this minor thing, mine and my friends relationship is irreparably damaged, I don’t know but I’ll accept consequences of that as my failing to learn from.

“Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be one.” – Meditations 10.16

Z3N0

Tending to a Garden

I was talking today again with a friend regarding dysphoria and my own views of gender identity within myself. It was a discussion that I am accepting of my presentation and express femininity how I like, reaching a balance within the soul, of yin and yang being my constant duty of care to myself. It’s not troubling, this feeling yet it is disquieting to think it took me nearly a quarter of a century to notice my own reflection. With a genderless soul and comfortable presentation, in this life I am to be contented with how things are and accepting of change in the next. I’ve had conversations like this before, its the curse of constant self reflection that everything is under scrutiny even the most fundamental building blocks of my own identity. Is it not the duty of a stoic to look within, reflecting on the impressions of their own life?

In this conversation, I likened this progress and growth akin to gardening:

“From wasteland to Greco-Roman perfectionism, it takes time and maintenance and effort and I’m happy with that.” – Z

I shared my thoughts with another confidant, who provided another perspective on things:

“You cant water your plants everyday for a year but if you take a break for a month or so they’ll start to die. It’s not a process that’ll ever be finished but one you’ve got to keep on working at (and let’s be honest tending to an established, flourishing garden you check on everyday is easier than one you’ve neglected where you’re having to revive each plant every few months when you pick up that motivation to care for them again). But also you’re going to have a few plants that die off regardless of how much time and care you put into it. Concentrating on those losses which are essentially irrelevant to the bigger picture of what you’ve achieved just distracts you from how much of a beautiful garden you build from the ground up.

… If you have a row of plant pots each filled with different seed; some beautiful flowers, some plants toxic to humans and some useful for life such as food and herbs. It doesn’t matter how perfect those pretty flowers are if you’re using your time and resources to water the seeds in the the toxic plant pot, the only fully established plant with the most deep seated roots you’re going to get it in that of the toxic plant. Because, by giving it your time and resources, you’ve allowed it to grow and and in doing so you’ve not allowed the others to flourish because it’s taken all of those resources from you and you have nothing else to share with the others. … Not all toxic plants are awful to look at, a lot are the most ethereal flowers you’ve ever seen or the most colourful berries but they will still harm you regardless of how desirable they are to us.” – X

Aside from being in awe and overjoyed with the privilege of seeing this new perspective, I was also reflective on the words. It’s true, we can tend our gardens all day long but craft a garden of death, of nightshade if not careful enough to see what we sow. It’s also another indictment that truest wisdom is not just from the books of the ancients but within conversations with each other. True, not every conversation will bear such rich fruit but once in a while we find ourselves a golden apple tree in this murky wood. My advice to you, gardener, is to take a seed and plant it in your own psychic grove. Or at the very least, hug the tree and hold on with all you have, awaiting the fruit to fall and nourish you. For a diverse garden, at least, of healthy flora, of sage and lavender smells.

Sit in your garden now. Observe how your progress and sip some sangria in the sunlit with a warm contented smile.

Z3N0

Quick Quote Post: 11

I was told to fuck off by a small child today. The whole situation was rather laughable, a situation caused by a simple instruction that somehow warranted that reaction. It’s snowballed since, with the overreaction causing an overreaction yet in this scenario, I, the supposed wounded party, do not care in the slightest. Sure, it caused a little delay to the flow of my day and gave me something to do yet the drama of it all was lost on me. It reminded me of a piece from Meditations:

“If your distress has some external cause, it is not the thing itself that troubles you, but your own judgment of it and you erase this immediately. If it is something in your own attitude that distresses you, no one stops you correcting your view. So too if you are distressed at not achieving some action you think salutary, why not carry on rather than fret? ‘But there’s an obstacle in the way too solid to move.’ No cause for distress then, since the reason for failure does not lie with you. ‘But life is not worth living if I fail this’. Well then, you must depart this life, as gracious in death as one who does achieve his purpose, and at peace, too, with those who stood in your way.” – Meditations 8.47

While perhaps death in the face of being told to fuck off by a child when trying to break up a fight is a little extreme, it speaks here about also ejecting yourself from the circumstance. Death, in the spiritual sense is just a new existence and form of change – and in the stoic sense too. Change your purpose and approach in peace and grace. There is no real shame in it if you really cannot see past the obstacles in your way, imaginary or not.

At the end of the day, in my case, things were made worse by those who took offence to a thing where I found no fault. I was not injured, I was not distressed. If anything I was bored and wanted to get along with my afternoon and preferably the situation would have been resolved without any overreaction. Yet it happened, will continue to happen in some form or another because to expect verbal abuse to cease with one swoop is fantasy. It’s almost as fantastical as the impressions supposedly left on me by the curse words. I suppose in another sense, it’s a teaching opportunity to ensure that one day this child doesn’t say something to someone who will be as passive about the whole thing. If not able to teach, all there is left to do is tolerate and wish them luck to avoid being punched at some point.

Z3N0

Obsession and Attachment

I was recently told a story and have been witness to its ongoing saga of X and Y or rather X’s obsession with Y. It has been continuing for a good seven years now and the story is nearing its end, something that the obsessed cannot seem to accept. Their attachments are toxic and self-destructive, leading to irrational and harmful immorality in a campaign of so-called ‘love’. This feeling presented has warped beyond all recognition, a far cry from the sweet words of Byron and Proust much more reminiscent of some Eastenders villain that seems to cling on for years and years.

We all have this trait within us as human beings to become overwhelmed and controlled by our passions and pleasures yet these things as much as we can rationalize are selfish things. We take these things from our surroundings and give nothing back when we find ourselves at the mercy of their whims. It can range from drugs and alcohol to anger and melancholy – it’s all an addiction in the end. We get addicted to our vices and hooked on the feelings that they bring and then the feelings themselves. In this case of X, hooked on the feeling of control over another, then hooked on the feeling of rage at lack of control. Underneath of course is the root of fear of being forgotten and alone.

It’s gone so far that X sends Y money on PayPal just to get their attention and around social media blockers. Telling mutual friends that they will hurt themselves or go on some epic quest of self-delusion and obsession across the country to find his so-called ‘twin flame’. Such great lengths we go to, to avoid looking in the mirror. To be able to let go and move onwards seems like such an impossible task to those who revolve their lives over singular passions.

There is no passion, there is serenity.

The obsession and attachment of any particular thing or another has a toxic destiny if not reflected upon and controlled. Look throughout history and see the fall over the obsessive and delusional from Icarus to Richard Ramirez, and see where these strange paths lead to. The legacies of these acts are lessons for others not the actor as often they never face the truth within themselves to see the root of it all. It’s like Marcus Aurelius says, pitiful rather than disgusting in nature as how can we ultimately be disgusted with immorality and vice when every human to ever live has been capable in some way or another of such things.

“This is wickedness: this is what you have often seen. And you should have this thought ready to hand against any eventuality: ‘I have seen this before.’ Generally wherever you look you will find the same things. The histories – ancient, more recent and modern – are full of them: cities and households are full of them today. There is nothing new. All is familiar and short-lived.” – Meditations 7.1

Reflect on the suffering that can be inflicted by people like X on people like Y, or other subjects of desire and false impressions. See these people for what they are: pitiful in need of help. And, in the stoic sense if they are beyond help, then tolerance – or in the case of such people like Richard Ramirez – or containment are the only options left. In the end, what have they gained from their vices but a life of self-inflicted misery? It won’t be Y who will be left to their own loneliness and obsessions, churning like rotten milk, only X.

Sometimes, in cases like X with Y, the obsessed can barely rationalize their own behaviour in their logical minds. They become detached from truth: their own and that of the reality around them. A web of lies becomes a safety blanket woven with years of uncontrolled emotions and enabling. What happens when that blanket is taken away? What’s left behind but a scared infant with attachment issues and bleeding hands from gripping on so tightly?

From Victor Frankenstein to Darth Vader, even in our fantasies the obsessives and the egomaniacal are not figures of light in the narrative. Some may look to these figures as they do Icarus and Ramirez with idolization. Why? Well, is it not obvious? Because in the end, we are all human and all capable of the same vice and recognize qualities in each other no matter how disturbing that reflection may be. Surely, then, the rational response is to not idolize but admire as figures of mistakes, of immorality and vice. The same way we admire morality stories such as Macbeth, not for the people themselves but the lessons we carry from them. Little comfort to those lost, to those left behind of course to the trail of destruction but when we are left with nothing, all we have is everything we came into this life with and the learning along the way.

These people hold little interest for me other than in the academic sense. Darkness is fascinating, after all. Yet, even with all this staring into the abyss that we can do, in the end the outcome is pity for the scared infant and contempt for a poisonous safety blanket of their own misguided design.

Z3N0

The Ocean

To understand some key fundamental cornerstones of my own beliefs on the nature of existence we have to reflect and understand some principles of basic science. These are the states of matter: solid, liquid and gas (we are omitting the fourth state of plasma as if you start to lose electrons then that’s a whole other issue). These three states can be and often are of the same stuff. For example water: the water in your freezer comes as ice, the water in your blood is a liquid and the water in the air is steam from the kettle. These compounds and basic elements of hydrogen and oxygen don’t magically disappear. Even in the event of sublimation where the solid turns to a gas skipping the liquid at super hot temperatures, it’s all the same stuff. The water we drink is the same water the dinosaurs drank. The water droplets in the air we breathe is the part of the same eternal Whole as the ice cubes in the freezer.

“Feel the air on your skin and push your hand gently about. Feel the movement of gasses and atoms and push it to your other hand. Catch it and push it back. It flows like a liquid. The free moving particles are all the same just with different amounts of energy. In water is just moves slower but it’s all the same stuff – same elements.” –Z

We exist in the same ocean of stuff as everything else does. It’s all a constant ebb and flow around us and the currents of time and space carry us. We humans exist on a speck in the ocean of stars. We in our very nature are cosmic sailors, travellers in the 4th Dimension hurtling forward in time along the riptide of the universal constants and laws of physics.

Even sociologically speaking, we exist in a symbiotic reef within our settlements. As we nurture and give to our environments, the environments give back like the clown fish and amoeba. Both of these things, are as carbon based as we humans are, with the same amino acids and sugars and lipids in their systems. Our birthing pools, the primordial soup of billions of years ago, is a bond we all share no matter the presentation of the now. This soup, this crevice in the oceanic expanse of time and space is a mere chemical reaction in the dark depths.

When we see the world and our perception of existence in this way, we can see the flow of The Way in motion and the flow of the energies and synchronicities. The butterfly effect is as relevant in the Atlantic as it is in a desert. What affects the minnow affects the whale and so forth. Similarly, what effects the proletariat effects the bourgeoise in the same way as beings of all the same stuff and same ocean. Like the oceans of our planet, our own perceptions remain unexplored, our information all surface in the aggregate never delving deeper to the trenches of darkest to take a look at things we may be fearful to see. From the sleeping cosmic deities in the darkness to facing our own demons, it’s all the same disquiet to overcome.

There’s a harmony about us, in our kinship as swimmers. Whether we see ourselves as noble solitary octopi, friendly dolphin or predatory sharks, we are one of the same kind and expanse. What hurts one of us in going against the nature of a shark, dolphin or octopus hurts us all in the same regard. Currently, in the oceans of our planet due to reckless overfishing and disregard for the ecosystem, the balance is fighting back with a resurgence of squid. Squid fill our oceans where there was before a rich biodiversity, and soon if we allow, we will be a planet of squids. As human beings we are the same with our own ideologies when we push and force our marks – the nature of the Whole settles the balance in the end. What that will look like, only destiny knows.

In the end all that we are and all the we know will be dispersed into atoms and re-joined in the ocean of reality, our living souls returned to the sea of consciousness. The water in our molecules will change to gas as our bodies are burned and the smoke and steam will rise into the atmosphere only to rain down into the reservoirs. Reflect on the flow and the flux. Destiny is the current that carries us and reality it the ocean that houses us. Be at peace with it. There’s no other way to be.

Amor fati.

Z3N0

Disappearance of the Cat

I was asked to make sure the household cat remains in eyesight at all times today as she’s reached an age that cats do, whereupon they have a tendency to wonder off, finding a cosy spot to die without a fuss. She’s not been eating much all week, this snow white feline, sleeping for most of the day almost defeated by the heat. She sits in the shade in the garden, or rather, she flops to the stone and sits there immovable. If anyone tries to approach she attacks and hisses at the disturbance.

It’s made me quite reflective however on the nature of my own demise at the end of my own journey. Would I have a similar dignity or would there be people around to watch the rather normal event. It made me wonder too on the reaction of death and how death impacts the survivors more than the dying with the cat being a microcosm of the observation. While the cat is disinterested and ambivalent to its own passing, its almost a expectation to not have the same reaction. After all, our minds are far more evolved than the cats, surely it would make sense for us to mourn and grieve unlike them. Yet are they not more evolved than us in this philosophy? Seeing death as a part of life and the natural conclusion to their experience rather than a grand sadness. Yet we feel it all the same.

I was reading a post on Reddit the other day that said about control not rejecting emotions when the come to never allow them to overtake you or overwhelm you. It’s perhaps why the stoic Jedi philosophy leans into this and why it has become so misunderstood in both the real world ethos of stoicism and the fictional one of Star Wars. Of course there is sadness at the end of a life, as there is any sadness at the end of any chapter or any journey but we are not to be disabled by the emotion as it is our duty as living animate beings to continue to walk the path. As someone’s comes to an end, or they begin a new journey, what else is there to do but pause, reflect on the good and keep going?

The lessons we learn and the memories we keep from those who’s journey has ended are what keeps us smiling even after they go and when we feel that loss. It’s like the funny stories and the laughter that lightens the skies at a wake following a cremation. Of course, there will be tears of sadness but also joy, and neither should be a thing to oppress us in our own journey. Would the deceased want for us, that morbid existence too? A waking death, fixating on what isn’t rather that what is there in each continual moment of our lives. I know for a fact, my cat wouldn’t give a shit what I do, but that’s besides the point.

Of course our friend Marcus Aurelius had some things to say about death. Rather blunt if you ask me with little nuance about the greater human condition and expectations from others. Yet perhaps it was not expectations of others that he held in high regard but expectations in those he called stoics. As someone who calls myself this, I like to think I meet those standards but it’s always a work in progress. Ironically my own death does not concern me or worry me but the death of others, well, I’d prefer not to test my resolve yet I know ultimately whether I prefer or not that time will come as it does for all of us.

“Do not despise death: welcome it, rather, as one further part of nature’s will. Our very dissolution is just like all the other natural processes of life’s seasons being – like youth and old age, growth and maturity, development of teeth and beard and grey hair, insemination, pregnancy, and childbirth. In the educated attitude to death, then, there is nothing superficial or demanding or disdainful: simply awaiting it as one of the functions of nature. And just as you may no be waiting for the child your wife carries to come out of the womb, so you should look forward to the time when your soul will slip this bodily sheath.” – Meditations 9.3

One day I will be tested again as I have before, this time I wonder if I shall uphold my philosophy…

The cat returned, sat smugly on the kitchen tiles. I couldn’t help but smile.

Z3N0

Quick Quote Post: 10

Today, I’m stepping out with family, for a meal then a glorified piss-up in a field. In any case I thought I’d share some wisdom that has been playing on my mind through the night. It was a good night, if nights can be described as good rather than just night. It was one of clarity and reflection and genuine connection. A spark of destiny and a cause for my throat chakra with and my rational centre telling my third eye and heart to pipe down a little and not get too excited. Yet I feel genuinely hopeful for a connection and a harmony of perfect balance and comfort. There’s a concern from a feeling of the past of things lost, things gained yet spring has left us and we are into the summer now. With the sun comes light and with light comes the ability to see. Not to mention literally roast and sweat my face off making me a shame to the Italian genealogy yet proud descendant of Yorkshire for the other three-quarters of my makeup.

“The properties of the rational soul. It looks on itself, it shapes itself, it makes itself however it wishes to be, it gathers for itself the fruit it bears – whereas the fruit of plants and the corresponding produce of animals is gathered by others. It achieves its own end wherever the limit of like is set. Unlike a ballet or a play or suchlike, where any interruption aborts the whole performance, in every scene and whenever it is cut off the rational soul has its own programme complete and entirely fulfilled so it can say: ‘I am in possession of my own.’…”

Here in my notes, I write that we grow into out our purpose and evolve into the virtuous being – a rational being. We must take responsibility for our own growth, however, and leave the job to no one else.

” … Further, the rational soul traverses the whole universe and its surrounding void, explores the shape of it, stretches into the infinity of time, encompasses and comprehends the periodic regeneration of the Whole. It reflects that our successors will see nothing new, just as our predecessors saw nothing more than we do: such is the sameness of things, a man of forty with any understanding whatsoever has in a sense seen all the past and future.

Particular qualities too of the rational soul are love of neighbour, truthfulness, integrity, no higher value than itself. This last is a defining quality of law also. There is thus no difference between the true principle of philosophy and the principle of justice.” – Meditations 11.1

Reflect on your own growth and finding your own clarity. See the universe for what it is and what it is is out of your control. Find your peace and find your balance and see that virtue is not something we can aspire to but something we can walk.

Z3N0

Money

I was speaking today with someone about a really bad date they went on and they have allowed me to share their horror story:

Was nothing interesting – he just insisted every two seconds on telling me how much money he makes and showing me his bank and his second side profit. Constant stories about how amazing he is for getting into his job which I’m like, ‘okay find you’re proud, I’ll listen no problem.’ But then he came for my friend who’s happy working Morrison’s for the rest of her like and was just a bit of a dick about her to me not matter how much I tried to reason with him… He wouldn’t believe me when I said that I don’t give a shit about money because I’d rather be poor and with someone than go for someone based on their bank.” – X

Do we live in such a time that we are preprogramed to associate wealth with success or have we always in lived in such a time? Following the creation of material wealth back in the very birthing pools of a barter based society, is that where it all started thousands of years ago? Such shiny things we hold dear when the dull can hold much greater beauty in its character. When you look from you window you can see such abundance in the life of the Whole why would we ever need to crave more than we need?

I mean, sure, never working again sounds wonderful but that’s just me. Perhaps I would get bored with all my time filled with blankness and indulgence of whim rather than service and diligence to myself and the greater humanity. I don’t want to sound a total hypocrite, I enjoy the finer things like fine dining, mud baths, kimonos and cigars. I could live without them though despite my enjoyment. I could love another with nothing but the thread on my back. I could hold myself with moral fortitude still if I so worked to do so – I’m not saying it would be or is easy – on the cold floor. So could we all.

What an off putting quality to have is to be obsessed with luxury. I’ve known people in my own family to be drawn to those things, to live for the high live and feel incomplete without a glass of champagne and a fast car to travel in. I was always content with a bottle of off-brand cider and my legs to get around with.

It’s a futile thing to search for wealth and power as in the end what have you done for the world other than taken? Of course if your mission is to ensure security for others in this then all the more difficult task to keep your own motives in check with your morals. Or rather your own nature as a being of balance and harmony. If you indulge the body, the soul will suffer – similarly the other way around. If you indulge the soul too much you will neglect the body and your journey across this reality will be quite short and with fleeting purpose. Despite this, what does great mountains of cash do for you other than for something to climb?

We live in a time where we need money to survive in some way or another yet it enables us to cling to attachments and grow unhealthy dispositions about ourselves in a purposeless indulgence. I’m trying my best not to be a hypocrite to my own supposed virtue yet its difficult isn’t it? To go without the creature comforts entirely. It’s a balance, as I said and a Taoist virtue more than stoic yet even so, stoicism is not about having no emotions and desires but rather controlling them.

“Dear guest, be bold enough to pay no heed to

To riches, and so make yourself, like him,

Worthy of a god.” Aeneid, VIII: 364-5

I saw pictures from a family holiday to Dubai and saw a resort styled as a construction site where the rich could pay to play in diggers and hard hats and build sand castles. To me this was a tone deaf and rather snide way to entertain yourself. When someone has so much money, they play dress up to see how people beneath their social class earn a living? What a privilege it must be to experience sweat only for pleasure and to be so disconnected from the reality of living that it becomes an amusing game to laugh at those who built the marble floors in the grand hotels.

Reflect on what you have and what you don’t have. Reflect on what you need and what you don’t need. How much of that is bought and paid for? How much of that did you bring with you into this reality? How much of that have you cultivated for yourself in spirit?

Z3N0

Subject of Scorn

Today was challenging, not just because of the heat in a shirt and tie. I found myself in a situation, the subject of scorn from another, hatred even as I came to learn from evidence of messages. It was strange, I do not know this person yet they made judgements about me, about my nuances and intricacies and decided to brand me as a passive aggressive and snooty sexual deviant. This person did their rounds, telling people about their incorrect impression of me, deflecting from their own short comings and obsessions. I was not the only one to take some heat, another friend of mine was in the firing line too over old scars.

How does it feel to be the subject of scorn so open and free? The fire that was aimed at me and a friend was so convoluted and meaningless to the source of all of this anger that it seemed almost ridiculous. His associations were so subjective and second-hand that they tasted faintly of some strange desperation as if he was a drama student trying his best to stammer through lines.

“When another blames you or hates you, or people voice similar criticisms, go to their souls, penetrate inside and see what sort of people they are. You will realize that there is not need to be racked with anxiety that they should hold any particular opinion about you. But you should still be kind to them. They are by nature your friends, and the gods too help them in various ways – dreams and divination – at least to the objections of their concern.” – Meditations 9.27

I wrote in my notes beside this passage: “disagree. Kindness yes, universal friendship, no.” We are kind to things that we have no use for in our lives, the same way I have no use for the opinions or company of an individual chasing desire, lashing out any those who are perceived to be threats to that goal. It’s like the noise of a lawn mower on a lazy Sunday: it’s there, it would be great if it wasn’t but what’s unkindness going to do about it? I certainly don’t want to be friends with the thing or friendly but I will tolerate it as a part of the same Whole that I exist in.

Sometimes, the kindest thing to do is let someone fail in their turbulences and misgivings. Why? Failure is the best way we learn and today I failed to leave his wrong where it fell, inserting myself into the conversation rather than letting the situation extinguish itself. Another friend of mine saw failure in their actions, being too trusting and open with an individual who betrayed that trust and used it as a weapon of accusation at another to simply stoke the fire of a fight. As for the betrayer and stoker, the spiteful chick was kicked from the nest to fly or fall. We have nothing left to teach, nothing left to give and no half-way points met with a person who rejects it all – so what else is there? As someone who has been barred from my favourite haunt in the past I know that there will be another and I will take my lessons from that with me so where is the true blame? With the establishment that I compromised my position in, or within my own conduct? The latter of course. My only wish for the stoker and betrayer is that they come to a similar conclusion about the breaking of these social bonds.

I have noticed a progress within myself, however. Some time ago, I was writing about being tested and the lies of another and the opinions of another. This was nearly 100 days ago now – nearly a 100 posts ago – and it consumed my thoughts. Today I feel only a fatigue that washed off with a shower and meditation and a concern for a friend. I have our scorner to thank for that gift of clarity and wisdom in this moment after the drama and ruckus. Sometimes, we can only see the true horizon when the dust settles.

“Up, down, round and round are the motions of the elements, but the movement of active virtue follows none of these: it is something more divine, and it journeys on to success along a path hard to understand.” Meditations 6.17

Z3N0