The Calm After A Storm

When talking about having a crisis or some form of disruption, people always speak about the calm before a storm but never after. There is this grand presumption that the new equilibrium will not be just as harmonious as the old, if not more so. As I’m sitting here, in my new surroundings, feeling quite contented and calm, there is a new sound sense of clarity after my own hurricane.

Even the changes of plans and expectations of them have almost no burden on me, almost as if from this chaos I can see clearly again. It’s liberating and refreshing. Perhaps less stoically, I needed to let off some steam and say “fuck” a lot to get it out of my system.

Yet, today I faced several challenges that would linger just a little. From the professional anxieties and stresses to the one of nearly missing the bus to my new home, being stuck in the rain with a bag of clothes. There was nothing. Not a flicker of stress or worry or panic. It was as if this change, this event perhaps brought by the summer solstice itself, has renewed me. Maybe I’m being overly verbose to say simple: I feel good.

What does this mean? What else does it mean than another example of learning and progressing past trials of the spirit? Strangely, in this new situation that I find myself in, it’s more practical to my currents needs than I ever would have realized had these events not happened. In this calm, there is clarity and tranquillity. True these are very early days into this new gentler weather pattern but I’m not seeing a single grey cloud on the horizon.

I was asked today what I thought about Matt Hancock and his recent scandal. Honestly, I could not care less. Yet for the life of me, I can’t find to why I couldn’t care. This national scandal which exposes hypocrisy and the ludicrous pedestals of the elite should be something that I react to as my peers have done, no? But there’s nothing and my calm of today is uninterrupted.

I was faced with another challenge: a sudden change of plans based on strangers assuming the worst of my indentions and morals. Yet, we see through this and see that there is nothing inherently incomprehensible nor complex about the impressions. The calm was again, undisturbed.

I’m going to have to watch this phenomena like a hawk and myself. But perhaps, in all my wonderings, musings and patting myself on the back for a good job at not getting pissed off, the simplest explanation is that this is the new equilibrium. Within an equilibrium, all things are balanced and as they should be with equality and equity. I feel it now: equality, equity and balance of the self.

Three days ago, where I am right now would not have been considered yet fate had other plans, and I am so glad and grateful that I simply accepted those plans. I love those plans.

Love the plans set in motion for you.

“The universe conspires to protect you.” – X

Amor fati.

Z3N0

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

The Snap

Yesterday I had a nap – not really a nap, more like lying on my back staring into space not exactly thinking about anything – to let my day melt. Throughout my work, I pick up stowaway energy, become fixed on minutia, and allowed the immaterial to stick like gum on a shoe to my conscious. I felt myself in conflict with my own calm. It was a strange panic to be in a form of fuzziness, a fuzziness I didn’t realize that had existed before.

It creeps up on you, this heavy clammy feeling. It’s like unwashed sweat after a run that sticks to you and you only really notice it when you pause and think.

A friend messaged me to tell me they were worried about me, that I seemed different and aggravated. I had no idea what he was talking about. I do now and it took me to follow his advice to see. The advice: meet a buddy, have some drinks and unwind. I didn’t do the first due to COVID but the latter I did. Strangely, in that moment after my beer and moment to unwind there was a snap.

It was a snap in my own mind. I woke up, my head was clear suddenly. It was like hitting the refresh button on a crashed webpage without even realizing it was crashed. It opened up my mind to the power of peace. Peace within, taking a moment to meditate on the reality of things, despite not sensing anything wrong.

Maintenance perhaps? We all need a moment to check in with ourselves like an spiritual and philosophical MOT. That’s what it is, isn’t it? An awakening of the true mind, a true self in to see reality for what it is. And in this reality, I was fuzzy, focussed on the wrong things, experiencing a rather passive expression of anger and irritation without even realizing it.

I need to share this video, of Mooji’s thoughts on the subject, of the realisation of observation, observing this strangeness of the self.

Please subscribe and like this video to support his channel

Sometimes, a little pause, a little moment to see the self enables you to see others and the Whole as it truly is not what we perceive it to be behind a haze.

“I have withdrawn from affairs as well as from society, and from my own affairs in particular: I am acting on behalf of later generations.” – Letters from a Stoic VIII

Act on behalf of the future, the future of you and the future of the Whole. Take a breath in this moment, find your centre even if you never thought you’d needed to find it before. You will find a strange new peace, a shower of light washing away the fuzz stuck to your skin; a lightness of the mind and soul as you embrace the world with wider, clearer eyes.

It’s an instant snap when you find it. As if Thanos clicked his fingers to allow you to see and embrace your power as a human being and expression of Universe rather than turn to dust (then reappear five years later following the valiant sacrifice of Iron Man, of course).

Equalizer

Even after my little outburst on Friday, I’ve found a great equalizer and the rebalancing of my social environment. It was almost as if the great push I experienced was pushing me in a direction that led to a greater understanding of myself, the people around me and even strangers who I have become friends with. Maybe it’s not the most amazing of revelations but when it’s tangibly happening around you, it’s nice to see. Even in the most minor way possible – it’s a sense of calm through my own perspective. It’s a feeling of support from the universe that we can all experience in one way or another. This strange equalizer, crafted a situation where my own abstinence of certain habits were broken and I indulged in the company of it. Yet days before I was set on a life of pure ascetism which leads me to take notice of the will of the Tao nudging me back to balance: of both indulgence and absolution.

“He who tiptoes cannot stand; he who strides cannot walk.” Tao Te Ching, Chapter 24

In a sense is the Universe (God, Yahweh, Tao) ultimately an actor for benevolent balance? In all beings balance means different things but ultimately one who is balanced is a still lake and at peace. I was talking to a Muslim friend some time ago who told me that Islam is the way of the middle path – this of course sounds familiar to me. In both Abrahamic ideologies and the ever more ancient Asian teachings such as Buddhism and Taoism and Jainism (I’m excluding Hinduism here as I’m not educated enough to comment) balance seems to be the goal. Balance in oneself is to be in tune with The Way and a state of living nirvana.

Was it a coincidence that in his philosophies, Zeno of Citium – my moniker namesake -, founded a school of such balance? Neither overly indulgent like the Epicureans or wholly ascetic like the Cynics: a duty to the natural order of things and others and balance within the self. Perhaps I’m oversimplifying: a very real possibility.

“The Whole is either a god – then all is well: or if purposeless – some sort of random arrangement of atoms or molecules – you should not be without purpose yourself.” Meditations 9.28

The purpose I find myself working for is balance. To welcome the great equalizers and be grateful for them. While not everyone will find purpose in being a still lake in the perception of chaos, it still stands to reason that everyone should be grateful for the equalizers and opportunities all the same. I think perception plays a big part in being able to observe the things that create equality of forces in our environment. Even in the most rationalist sense, our bodies seek balance in the form of homeostasis as a biological imperative.

“Calm acceptance of what comes from a cause outside of yourself, and justice in all activity of your own causation.” Meditations 9.31

Lady Justice’s scales have to be balanced, don’t they? Balance the needs of the body, balance the needs of the mind, balance the needs of the soul: you will find the Way, the middle path, whatever that may be.

Basically: have a balanced diet of life. Too much cake or too little cake does no one any good.

Z3N0