Strange Dreaming

My dreams have been strange for the past week or so, perhaps down to the heat. They’ve been the kind of dreams that could realistically happen and often involve a text conversation with someone or a phone call of sorts. In these conversations I say all I want and need to say, all the truths of my soul laid bare and depending on the day it either goes well or badly. When it goes well it fades quickly like a fleeting thought or unimportant musing. Yet when it goes badly, I wake with a deep sense of dread. Each time I’ve quickly checked my phone to see if what happened was real or not to find no such conversations or evidence that it ever happened. By the third day I should have really understood what was happening yet it affected my mood nonetheless.

Today in this muggy heat, I felt very pensive and reflective following a bad reaction to a fictitious conversation in a dream. In which, I made a few confessions, made a few demands, made a few mysteries see the light and they were replied with an apathic emoji. For the rest of this day, I have been stern with my contemporaries and cutting with what I consider to be fuckery. Rudeness instead of washing over me like pointless hot air has been swatted with a fly-swatter, smearing stains all over the white walls of my mind. Now, I’m sat here, with further example of how the impressions of the immaterial have left gross markings on me.

Yet perhaps there is another message here, to not be callous with my time and be open and honest with what needs to be said and done before such feelings and emotions become controlling and consuming like a plague. It’s incredible to me that despite my own knowledge of what I need to do for this, I hesitate and question and allow for false narratives and anxieties to cloud my judgement into silence. Alternatively, as seen today, it goes in the other direction turning the calm waters into an efficient yet brutal frenzy of barracudas.

Once again, more proof in my mind of the necessity of balance between the forces of yin and yang. In that equality we find peace and serenity of the self like a waking constant meditation. Realistically that’s what stoicism is: a reflexive meditative state of constant being. It enables us to walk in line with our true nature that is, one with The Whole which is to say The Tao.

Dreams like these have double meaning: to both understand what we need to do and not fear the what-ifs within what we need to do. Our brains are wired to keep us safe not keep us from achieving our true way in life which is no fault of its own, its a biological imperative. Yet our perceptions of safety will differ from actual safety. From the primitive examples of fitting in with a tribe to the final fear which is death and the point after death. Yet, for my dreams at least, the fears are social not physical.

Ironic, in a world where everything is to be understood not feared, where we do not even fear the gods anymore or the mysteries of the universe that what we do end up fearing is each other. Or worse: the meaningless noise created in the throats of each other or pixels on a screen.

I’m guilty of that myself, I’ve spoken about it at length yet to defend my own failings, I can say that I am a product of condition and biology. Yet to question that further, am I not more than preprograming? While destiny has a prepared route for us all – whether you believe in a tangible destiny or providence brought on by a web of cause and effect – are we not still free thinking beings? Or perhaps we are truly all living in a simulation as a Daily Mail headline claimed to be the thoughts of Prof. Brian Cox just last week. I didn’t investigate further but consider the possibility for a moment. If it truly is all a simulation from our heartbeats to our deepest love for another – why are we so scared of it all?

Z3N0

Hades

I wanted to talk a little about the demonization of the Greek God, Hades. It’s incredible to me that the protector of the dead has become the ultimate Hollywood villain just because of his name and relation to death. It’s so fitting that the fear of such a natural thing creates villains out of the one who watches over us as we pass into the next reality or unreality.

He’s depicted as such a violent, petty character full of schemes to overthrow Zeus and the Olympians when in actual fact, he did nothing of the sought. He stayed well clear of the squabbles and fights and in actual fact, it was Poseidon who sought to dethrone the God of Thunder. On the subject of violence, it was Apollo who skinned alive those who lost against him in music competitions, it was Hades who was called the Invisible due to his passivity. We fear his darkness why? Why do we fear the dark yet embrace the sun as if the two are inseparable forces of nature rather than integral to our existence?

Even in the case of Persephone, in some recounting of the tale, he did not kidnap her as some would say but asked Zeus for her hand as tradition in Ancient Greek custom. The following drama was in fact caused by the scorn of Demeter, his mother-in-law who demanded that her daughter return home rather than spend her days in the Underworld. Hades, to arranged with Persephone to eat a pomegranate seed, binding her to both worlds. Perhaps an unpopular retelling, far less villainous. Yet he was famous for a foul mood being always distracted by his duty and bound often to never leave his Obsidian Palace.

The demonization of Hades is tied to our fear of dark, the yin.

“The yin-yang elements or energies are constantly moving and influencing each other.
The maximum effect of one quality will be followed by the transition toward the opposing quality.
The yin-yang aspects are in dynamic equilibrium. As one aspect declines, the other increases to an equal degree.
All forces in the universe can be classified as yin or yang.

Yin characteristics: passive, negative, darkness, earth, north slope, cloudy, water, softness, female, moisture, night-time, downward seeking, slowness, consuming, cold, odd numbers, and docile aspects of things.

Yang characteristics: active, positive, brightness, heaven, south slope, sunshine, fire, hardness, male, dryness, day-time, upward seeking, restless, producing, hot, even numbers, and dominant aspects of things.”https://www.nationsonline.org/oneworld/Chinese_Customs/yin-yang.htm

We cannot exist without the balance of both strength and passivity; life or death; masculine or feminine – like all things: fluid and transient.

It’s fear that makes monsters out of our own nature and natural expressions of the universe – there is no ignorance, there is knowledge. When a thing is understood, we remove our conceptions of fear. We fear the dark of ourselves, clinging to the light and the strength we think makes us strong. Yet, it is the facing of all facets of our own existence that makes us strong – the acceptance of the Hades and Apollo within us all.

Admitting your own weakness is a strength all to itself. Expose the light to the dark and the dark to the light, bring yourself the love you deserve wholly. Only then can you see others for who they are and not what you perceive them to be through the lens of balance. You will see all things in alignment with The Tao and you will be find yourself enriched.

I said to a friend today about that sometimes, the darkness, the yin, people would rather run away than face it. Finding themselves frightened by the weakness within or rather perceived weakness. Personally, I think if you can allow yourself to cry and to experience the catharsis that’s pretty fucking brave.

We are beings of love and light, true but also of the shadow. When we demonize and fear the shadow within, we make villains of ourselves from dastardly blue-flamed haired Disney villains to rigid modern warriors shattering at the sight of their own teardrops. Bask in the light and take solace within your Obsidian Palace.

This is The Way.

Z3N0

Never Let Me Go

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro is a novel I’ve started reading, gifted to me by my workplace’s book club. I’m 35 pages in and so far I can say with almost certainty that I’m not going to enjoy it. Now, that’s not a criticism, far from it. It’s a masterpiece and is written with such precision, I can only aspire to be able to craft such atmosphere and feeling in a reader. The feeling from the first page evoked in the reader can only be described as vemod. I’ve spoken about that before, probably horrendously misspelt as vermod not vemod. To recap: vemod is a Scandinavian word that describes a poignant and lingering sad nostalgia.

The book about loss and times gone by – so far at least – put me in a reflective mood. I left my school at 18, being there from age 11 and stuck to the same friendship group for the entirety of that period. Yet, barely five years on, I’ve lost contact with every one of them. I look back now and think why that was and how I ended up where I am now, with the friends I do have either hundreds of miles away or entirely online. What a lonely feeling it is to realize ones own singularity. All that history, all of those stories gone like, to quote the 11th Doctor, “breath on a mirror“.

I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like… tears in rain.” – Roy Batty, Blade Runner

Even the name of the book, Never Let Me Go, is so human. It’s a clinging on to the dreams and loves of the past as they slip from our fingers into the mists of eternity. All of us, one day become a few faded lines of text on a stone tablet in a field of stone tables and bones. It’s a tearful smile of an existence, all of us existing between each tear. It’s beautiful like a Bob Ross painting and as soothing as his voice as we are lulled into a casual sleep.

The thing I always noticed about Bob Ross’ paintings was that they always felt lonely to me. Like we, as the observers of his landscapes were alone in this wonderous vista, Adams and Eves, entirely alone. Perhaps that’s the unspoken beauty of the art and the art of life. In the end, we all have to let go – of the past, of our loves, of ourselves. We cling on as long as we can but in the end, not even the wind blows forever. And when we do leave, we leave by ourselves.

“Hence a gusty wind cannot last all morning, and a sudden downpour cannot last all day. Who is it that produces these? Heaven and earth. If even heaven and earth cannot go on forever, much less can man. That is why one follows the way.” – Tao Te Ching XXVII

So now, in knowing that all things are in a state of fading into eternity, why do we forego the moment? Why do we fret about the others that we have no control over rather than living in pure contentment with the moment that we exist in? Life is a series of moments so love each one and embrace each one. With each thing, ask of yourself, am I to regret this? Am I making the best purpose of my time? From being actively passive with some meditation or a well deserved nap to climbing to the tops of Kilimanjaro for a little perspective that you cannot find in the mirror, find purpose in it all. Ask yourself what benefits you and the greater good. Ask yourself what do you cherish?

Reflect on your life perhaps and see what you should let go, despite the things protest. What are you holding on to that hurts you and pricks at your soul? Which habit? Which condition? Which person? If we can’t hold on forever to our own flesh, we can’t hold on forever for someone else. What feeling are you holding on to? What detrimental responsibility long overdue to be let go of? Remember in these cases the tale of the scorpion and the frog. The scorpion rode on the frog’s back across the river with the promise that it would not sting, alas it did. When the frog asked why kill them both as they were drowning, the scorpion asked why the frog would even ask. It was the insect’s nature to sting.

So, as I continue to read Never Let Me Go, I’m sure Kazuo Ishiguro will treat me to further bluer shades of melancholy and opportunity for reflection. I welcome it, and recommend it.

Z3N0

Are You Suffering?

I’ve had a cold for the past week or so, brought on due to working in close proximity with someone who has no concept of hand sanitizer or understanding of why smearing bogies onto desks is not exactly sanitary. Yet the issue arose for me with a single question one morning before I went to work.

“Are you suffering?” – X

“No. I’ve got a cold.” – Z

It seemed a simple answer for me because having a malady of the body is a nuisance not really suffering at all and in my own experience, suffering arises from the self, whether that be spiritual or emotional. Effectively, bodily pain, is just that. Now I’m speaking from a position of privilege, my only real experiences of pain are from anaphylaxis, asthma and burns. Perhaps my view would change with continual pain, perhaps I would be less stoic about it and my hubris would be plain for all to see. I’d like to think that my philosophy would hold true, to my way, The Way.

“Pain is an evil either to the body – so let the body give its evidence – or to the soul. But the soul can preserve its own clear sky and calm voyage by not assessing any pain as an evil. Every judgement, every impulse, desire and rejection is within the soul and nothing evil can penetrate.” – Meditations 8.28

The Buddhists believe that all life is suffering and we can escape suffering by walking the Eight Fold Path to enlightenment and subsequently Nirvana when we break this cycle. The Taoists, a philosophy I lean closer to, see it as a balance between the yin and yang and you cannot have darkness without light and vice versa. This is a far more stoic approach and one I subscribe to. If we fear the coming of suffering and coming of pain we are fearing to live, yet if we obsess about pain and suffering and see only those things, we are not living.

In the end, all suffering comes from love: either a lack of, too much, or a loss. We cannot exist without love even octopi have some concept of the chemical compounds that flush the mind and carry the soul. It’s a fact of life and I’ve spoken about this to no end that life is love and love is life. Not to be gushy or romantic only seeing the clear truth of it all. After all, in the Taoist sense, how can we be one with divinity if we do not love the manifestations of it?

Even loss. Even the most painful of experiences where we lose something that can never be replaced in our own understanding of existence. While yes, we all return to universe, you can’t hold atoms like a parent, child or friend. We carry them with us in the impressions they leave, they’re never truly gone and we carry the lessons, the love, the suffering. We are immortal in each others lives until we fade entirely. In the face of such loss to who can we turn to aside from the stoics for our comfort or the Tao for security in the balance in the face of perhaps such random chaos. But, there is no chaos there is harmony. I can’t talk like an expert on this loss, I’m sure I’ve felt it for lovers and friends and my own actions yet, one day I will be faced with this challenge to be able to say something tangible past my own shallow impressions.

“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

All things are under going change. We are transient beings, as is the universe.

I have not been suffering from a cold and never will, I will and am suffering from my own impressions of love. I asked for love from the universe in my subconscious, in my desire in my action and I gave it readily. The universe provided yet there are conditions, uncontrollable conditions that everyday test my love and my soul. Or perhaps these things do not test but I allow myself to be tested by feeling this pain in my chest. I see my love and I see it for another and it’s not returned. It’s not returned in the same kind and I am left with a feeling of inadequacy, loneliness and a deep amusement. Why amusement? Because each time in my life have I properly loved another, it has ended poorly and been rather unreciprocated or poorly timed never to come to fruition. Yet, I have been loved and not loved back myself, my focus on this unrequited feeling. It’s my own conceptions and impressions that hurt me and it’s all self-harm.

Perhaps I am coming to conclusions now because I have no citalopram in my system to help regulate my internal ecosystem. Not being caffeinated doesn’t help either.

It’s love that causes us harm but also sets us free and makes us human. This pain in my chest despite how it harms me and how I let it harm me, feels me with contentment. It reminds me that I cam capable of love, it reminds me that I can and do love and I am alive. Feel alive, feel this moment, feel your pain and your joy at the same time and love it all in the experience of what it mean to be human.

Love your suffering because it makes you you and how you respond defines your impressions on the world.

I’m sat here, suffering at a situation I’ve found myself in twice before. Where I can’t decide whether or not this is going to end the same way where I allow myself to be led around like a slave to my feelings tied to another or if I’ll miss the point entirely like the latter situation. I see it with contempt yet love the experience. What else is there to do with this pain other than laugh, live – not unlike a terrible live, laugh, love sign, the bane of my life. It’s something I’m going to move pass yet this feeling has become synonymous with my nature: to be a pining philosopher in a turtleneck, sipping wine, feeling alone in others’ company. I can think of worse fates. I’m not unhappy about it, I suppose.

See your suffering. Look in the mirror and face it. If you can’t reflect on your own suffering past your physical hurt and see its root cause, then you are enabling it. You are ignorant to the directing motions of your own mind and soul and you have lost your way. Reflect and see past your eyes to what ails you and find your cure. What do you live for? Who do you live for? The answer will take you back always to the same word: love.

Z3N0

Seneca’s 16th Letter

I’ve found time to read again, or rather I’ve made the effort to read and the time has just been there all along, hiding between my naps and pacing. Once again, Universe or God or Allah or The Way seems to be guiding me towards conclusions with happenstances lining up exactly as I need them. I read Seneca’s letters and at the same time, a friend of mine talks to me about faith and trust and holding the faith and trust in the self and others. Of course, the story wasn’t that at all, but boiled down to its core, its about those factors. And, perhaps like all human stories, it was about love.

If you don’t know, we can’t exist without some kind of love. Even wars which we think are based on hate, are in fact based on the love of ones own ideology and others. You may curse fate for bringing war to your country but you will endure because you love your family and you love the life you have and the fight for the new equilibrium.

“Whether we are caught in the grasp of an inexorable law of fate, whether it is God who as lord of the universe has ordered all things, or whether the affairs of mankind are tossed and buffeted haphazardly by chance, it is philosophy that has the duty of protecting us.” – Letters from a Stoic XVI

Being a good person and true to one’s own discipline is a daily task and not an accomplished feat that you can overcome just the once. I was met today with a test of my own faith in another, and I was told that to be disciplined in trust is a virtue. Of course, with those words I could have kissed the person who said it on the mouth then and there but I was practising discipline. It reminds me of one of my favourite lines from the show Bojack Horseman, a series that everyone should watch, to reflect on themselves.

“Every day it gets a little easier… But you gotta do it every day — that’s the hard part. But it does get easier.” – Jogging Baboon, BoJack Horseman

The destination in your life when it comes to philosophy is not a finish line of enlightenment and a medal but the truest end – death. Philosophy has no finish line and its a path we all walk in some way or another. Don’t cry over potholes, step around them and brace for the incline. What goes up must come down and what goes down must come up.

“Carry out a searching analysis and close scrutiny of yourself in all sorts of different lights. Consider above all else whether you’ve advanced in philosophy or just in actual years.” – Letters from a Stoic XVI

Reflect on each of your steps before you make them, if you find yourself stepping on someone else’s head, you’ve gone off course. Today I found myself checking to see where I was treading, to see if I was finding gratification in easy shortcuts rather than walking the moral path. It was well intentioned and not malicious by anyone’s standards yet I found myself at a place of unease and needed to check my own map before continuing. The path as a wise person said to me today, is going to be fine and we need to have faith in it. It is difficult to see how ours will intersect with others or how another’s path with transpire before them yet when we have faith in ourselves and the universe, what need is there to worry? We keep walking, every day, with each breathe we walk. It is in our nature.

“Here is another saying of Epicurus: ‘If you shape your life according to nature, you will never be poor; if according to people’s opinions, you will never be rich.’ Nature’s wants are small, while those of opinion are limitless.”

You may never be the president if you choose not to step on heads and people may look down on you for your conviction. They make mistake your calm in a situation for apathy; your passiveness as callousness; your love as foolish, and your faith as delusion. The solution is that you keep walking your path undeterred in the light and goodness of the philosophy. You may never have sheets of gold but those who do, can wake up as paupers as easily as the rest of us so why do we care about the opinions of such things? Love your own way and you will find it easier to walk. Your way, The Way: amor fati.

Z3N0

Being The Outsider

I’ve recently picked up a new game to play with friends, Conan Exiles it’s called and effectively it’s Minecraft with an emphasis on gratuitous violence and slaughter. You may have heard of it, it’s the game that allows you to fine tune your character’s endowment – I know, I’m a learned and sophisticated man (!). Yet this feeling hit me, a feeling so familiar when I spend time with others. It’s the feeling of being the outsider and not quite fitting in as the rest; being the spare part left on the shelf, only used for the sake of using it; the idiot little brother of the team of equals like the glorified side kick. I became frustrated at the game and frustrated at myself for feeling that way, with an unshakeable feeling of inadequacy and rejection.

It’s my personal nemesis: insecurity. It’s the cause of mistrust between me and my friends because I don’t trust them and in turn they don’t trust me. I’ve spoken before to no end about the need for trust and how vital it is to be a member of the Whole and wider human city yet I’ve not been able to take my own advice for one reason or another. I’m much better at giving advice than accepting, even if it’s my own. It’s an alienation of the self and in turn of others who feel hurt by the questioning of loyalty and little tests and fishing expeditions. It’s not perhaps as destructive as it once was in my life where I would actively commit acts to prove things right to myself. It’s funny, I can look back now and see it and recognize it in so many others that I’ve seen it in since. I can’t judge them for my own sins nor any other, I suppose as in the end it’s all self harm to the soul.

I meditated on it – something I do when I can’t find clarity in the moment, and something I recommend for everyone else. I found comfort in my own disquiet, seeing myself float through the endless expanse of universe alone, an island to myself. I held out my hand, not to reject the experience of it being held but accepting that it wouldn’t be. Then I heard a voice that was not my own and felt a tugging on my physical body. It was calling to me, to remind me that I wasn’t alone and despite by attempts to sweep it away to bask in my own solitude, it was stubborn and wouldn’t leave.

Not even an hour later, I messaged my friend who watched my grow increasingly isolated in myself for something to write about since Sundays can be quite slow for a spark. They suggested this very topic. That from my own perspective that I was a spare part but I was appreciated and was missed when I quit for the day. It made me smile, for a stoic I quit in a rage but then as a stoic reflected on the why and Universe provided me my friend’s insight. I’m grateful to them and fate, and I’m grateful to fate for the friendship.

Sometimes, we are outsiders in life. As stoics, as philosophers in our own right even people who simple wish to experience meta cognition, we separate ourselves to see the bigger picture. We need to to be able to observe the truth of things within ourselves and others and form a healthy and natural poise. Yet, something I need to manage is to not allow that separation to alienate me from the people I care about the most, my fellow human beings beyond that and my environment beyond that, et cetera.

Fellow outsiders, something to take notice of:

Batman can’t exist without his friends. Not without: Alfred, the first Robin, the second Robin, the third Robin, the fourth Robin, Catwoman, Oracle, Batgirl, Spoiler, Nightwing, Batwoman, Batwing, The Signal, Lucius Fox, James Gordon, even the Justice League.

And that’s Batman.

“‘I shall show you,’ said Hecato, ‘a love philtre compounded without drug or herb or witch’s spell. It is this: if you wish to be loved, love.” – Letters from a Stoic IX

Z3N0

A Strange Dysphoria

Recently I took part in a training course investigating autism and gender identity. It was extremely comprehensive and educational. Scientifically it is a fact that around 1-3 births in a 100 have non-binary chromosomes determining biological sex which impacts gender identity later. It also means that we are inherently as a species far less black and white as we like to admit when it comes to our own identity. Who knows, perhaps people can exist with biologically female traits as a male their entire lives and never notice nor think about it. This course focussed on how to support young people with autism and their concept of identity and gender which, for a neuro-divergent individual. These people statistically, are seven times more likely to identify as transgender than neurotypicals. It was all very well and good, I thought, to educate ourselves and turn the spotlight on them. I thought instead, I would turn the spotlight inwards onto the operator to examine, in the stoic sense, a thing at its root. The thing: my own perceptions of identity.

It made me uncomfortable because it was such a new feeling. It was like going to the gym and working a muscle untouched before.

I enjoy feminine things. My perfect night is a face mask, foot rub, a Hugh Grant movie, a chat about life, and pizza and wine. I feel a strange alienation when I see same-sex romance on screen, particularly between two females that’s not some sexual need but a feeling of spiritual absence from myself. It’s a longing in my skin and feeling of something lost, something I had but longer have in this existence – a loss of something indescribable. A strange sadness, and something that I’ve never felt before and cannot put a name to. I’m lying, I’ve always felt it, but I’ve never looked at it.

The soul is genderless, the rest is just a vehicle. Why wouldn’t I feel somewhat female at my core? Yin and yang resides in all of us – the male and female. The balance of that is the source of our chi in the Taoist sense. It’s not a new concept.

It’s not a superficial surface feeling of insecurity about my hobbies nor a sexual inadequacy, it runs deeper into my marrow. I’ve just never stopped to look at it before.

I spoke to a close friend about this who is non-binary who explained to me that they have heard about similar feelings before. That it’s a specific kind of sadness. I boil down my experience of sexuality and gender into a catchphrase: “ass is ass/it’s all meat and mucus” yet as my friend said:

[They] have been comforting for you to say, because the help things feel less complicated. But I prefer to say that, for me, attraction is a science? It’s always more about chemistry than biology.” – X

Another friend was said simply that some are more in tune than the true soul than others.

“Only you know who you are and how you define yourself but, you don’t have to. You don’t owe an explanation to anyone.” – Y

Simply: I am.

It’s less about what more about who. Who we are, not what we are.

For me, I am a human being. Biologically male and with a male gender identity. Do I need to feel more to be me? I am who I am, whether I inhabit this body or another. I am still a human being, experiencing all that is allotted to me by nature to experience. Perhaps it’s my time to look in this mirror and accept what’s there within and without because my feelings of a strange dysphoria (whether this can be truly described as dysphoria) are a part of me and a part of me I can accept. I may not fit conventionally into the box of a machismo hero yet that’s ok. I look back over what I’ve done in my past, and my theatre of arrogance and all I see now is someone desperately trying to live up to a patriarchy in which I exist on the fringes of.

I accept my exterior, I accept my interior. I am a human being. This skin of mine, while my soul may feel wanting if I let it and it craves for renewal: I wouldn’t want it any other way. This mind and soul of mine, as complex and seemingly labyrinthian as they are: similarly, I wouldn’t be me without them. For others, the experience is different, and unliveable. It is theirs and not mine and that’s ok. We all walk different paths in this life and live different lives but we all born and die the same way. We are all one in our collective experience of humanity from our first breath to our last. Despite all the labels we may attribute, perhaps the truth is that we, as expressions of the divine, are far too infinitely complex to ever be tied down or put into boxes.

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

It goes without saying if we are to be nit-picky with semantics, when the Romans reference “man” I say: “human”.

Z3N0

Clouded Destiny

In roleplaying games like Dungeons and Dragons and other things like that we can see clearly the trajectory of our character, if not the story itself. We can cheat and expose the mystery and see the bigger picture, finding comfort in the predictability like an episode of Columbo. In these roleplaying games, we can say that character X is going to do occupation Y because of Z reason and that’s that. Before we know it, we’ve got ourselves a grand high wizard regardless of circumstance. It’s playing god with the fates and twisting the threads to our will to see life through a clearer lense.

It’s not like that is it? In the real world, destiny is clouded; it’s a mere concept that exists always one step ahead of our own cognition and only identifiable with the gift of hindsight. All of us, are fish swimming down a ever transient stream, totally oblivious to the grander ecosystem of the planet around us. Is the fish any less of a fish for its ignorance? Does it panic in existential dread on what the future holds, on what destiny has predetermined for it? No, of course not – it keeps swimming.

Our lives are in motion and grow with us like a simulation, with new area coming into view and buffering before our very eyes. Destiny is the programming behind the simulation. As a player in the great game of life, do you seek enjoyment from the game, or the lines of code behind it? It’s the principle of The Matrix Trilogy, despite it allegories and meanings, are those who are ignorant of the truth of the reality any more or less happy or enriched as the ones who are? Yet, perhaps it’s less complex than those very good films by the Wachowski sisters, perhaps it’s simply something that we humans cannot comprehend in this material form. Case closed, discussion over: while we exist as minnows in the ocean, we could never appreciate the dry land.

It’s all fluid, this clouded destiny and constantly evolving and moving around us before returning to an apparent equilibrium of ‘okayness’. It’s not a fixed structure like we can understand or read like a very long novel, it’s…

“A big ball of wibbly wobbly, timey wimey stuff” – The Tenth Doctor, Doctor Who

When we talk about fighting destiny isn’t that such an automatically arrogant statement? Because to fight destiny implies that we can even try. If a person overcomes great adversity and defies the odds to become a good and just and virtuous icon then that implies that was their destiny. They did not overcome destiny, they were an actor within its stream, carried by its circumstance. Even on death and the passing of all things, while to the individual grief is a damning thing, to destiny, all things have been in motion and will continue to be in motion. Life is renewed, loved ones life on in another state of being whether that in memory, teaching and learning, or scientific research donation which leads to a cure for bowel disease.

“Mortal man, you have lived as a citizen of this great city. What matter if that life is five or fifty years? The laws of the city apply equally to all. So what fear is there to your dismissal from the city? This is no tyrant or corrupt judge who dismisses you, but the very same nature that brought you in. It is like the officer who engaged the comic actor dismissing him from the stage. ‘But I have not played my five acts, only three.’ ‘True, but in life three acts can be the whole play.’ Completion is determined by that being who caused your first composition and now your dissolution. You have no part in either causation. Go then in peace: the god who lets you go is at peace with you.” – Meditations 12.36

Be at peace with not knowing your destiny or where your path will take you. It started the same way mine did and will end the same way mine will. What happens in between is for you to remember and find out, yet the only certain thing not clouded by perception is the current moment that you exist in.

Stop your questioning, start your living. Love it all.

Z3N0

Fear of Rest

There seems to be a pervasive fear of passiveness within stoicism and a demand for action where often non is required. I’ve spoken about this before and my disagreements with Marcus Aurelius but it seems to be a thing that permeates society entirely. There’s this stigma against just sitting, just resting, just taking a moment to passively reflect and recharge. It’s considered a thing for the retired or the dead yet what is meditation if not preparation for the state of death itself?

So you want a lay in on a Saturday after a long week? Ok – do it. Where’s the guilt in creating a balance for yourself between the needs for individual recuperation and the demands of the capitalist worker machine? It doesn’t take much of a scroll through channels to find some documentary that demonizes people for being ‘lazy’ or for living a life of harmony with themselves. When has ever, in the media, there been a positive story about a meditative retreat other than to mock it?

There’s this frenzy for activity and no time to reflect on the activity in need of doing or has been done. If we can’t take the time to reflect – just to sit or lay down – where do we find time for art, culture, growth? To pause in a place, to take in the breath and not just breath but to experience is how we experience inspiration. When we find these moments in the eyes of a loved one, taking in a panorama, sitting within the halls of a temple, we are at rest. We are experiencing a waking moment of meditation. The last time I felt this was when I held a lamb heart in my hand and the universe span around me as I was calm at the eye with this moment of inspiration and clarity.

Descartes and Seneca had this in common: both sought to retreat from society to be able to see it better before returning to it. Of course, the two philosophers couldn’t be more different yet despite my claim of being a stoic, I lean on the side of Descartes’ method of philosophy. He believed that the best ideas come to you when you are most comfortable and where he felt comfortable was in bed. It’s a balance isn’t it? We must not indulge the body to a point of poor health in this comfort but we must also not reject these comforts that nature and Providence has provided for us. What would be the point of that? Rejecting our own nature is self-defeatist.

Do not fear rest or moments to indulge in being passive. Being actively passive is a Taoist practice, to observe the yin and yang in harmony. How can we observe, if we do not pause? There’s a proverb that I’m going to paraphrase: you cannot be one with the divine if you do not appreciate it’s manifestations.

Appreciate the time you have, don’t rush through it. I’m 23 years old and I don’t want to rush my life, to achieve all there is to achieve overnight without ever stopping to ask why I’m doing it; without ever stopping to feel the moment; without ever stopping to feel the touch of linen on my skin, the pleasure in holding an equal in my eyes; the moment to enjoy the sensations of foods and warmth of the sky. It could all be over tomorrow and I appreciate and accept that. So why would I rush to the end, with no care for the journey?

“It is knowing what you want to say and never finding the words. It is a chorus, replaced with silence. Hearing teachings without meaning. It is like having a beloved pupil to whom you have shared everything, sacrificed everything, and then having them turn from you… and forget all you were.” – Kreia, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2

Z3N0

Amethyst

I’m a bit of a shameless obsessive about having amethyst around.

The crown chakra connects you to the Universe and reminds you of your eternal connection to the grander, wider web of it all. When you are connected, you are with faith that things will be fine. Of course in the rational sense, this is meaningless as things will be fine normally, yet this connection to the divine existence is far more important than we first might expect.

It’s a sense of clear headedness and absence of the material that tethers us to the earth. With this, we can see our courses more clearly in the light of the Whole. The distractions of the tawdry are meaningless to us when we can access the higher part of ourselves and hold those things that tether us in contempt. When you are able to be free of what you fear to lose, you are one with the immortal because you have no fear only trust in the existence of nature.

What has this got to do with amethyst? In the spiritual sense, it cleanses, heals and protects – guiding you to the light of Saint Germain and the violet flame within his temple. It enhances intuition, your spiritual readiness and meditation ability. It calms you, from your rational mind to irrational wandering spirit and protects from the charred and sickly energies that stick to you like tar. I never believed in it myself before I started sleeping next to a large rock of the purple stuff, each night’s dreams becoming less and less terrifying. Each visit from the man in the hat and the long legged shadow that paralysed me to the spot became rarer and rarer. I’m not saying that this naturally occurring mineral is some godly thing that can cure sleep paralysis based on my singular experience and lack of totally hard evidence; I’m saying it doesn’t hurt to reflect on it.

This is another short post.

The message is clear here, for me and it’s more of a notice, a piece of direct advice to hit up Etsy and find a local seller of minerals.

I recommend:

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/MoonChildCrystalss?ref=simple-shop-header-name&listing_id=999070535

Try it for yourself, no harm I suppose if it doesn’t work, right?

Z3N0