What No Longer Serves You

One thing that has always bugged me about the modern spiritualism and reiki practice is that there is an emphasis on removing energies that “no longer serve you”. This phrase is where stoicism and spirituality or neo-spirituality in the globalist internet amalgamism of the different faiths and practices clash, in my opinion. So the phrase, as harmless as it seems is clear enough. It’s purpose is to demonstrate that you do not need energies or emotions or thought patterns anymore that once provided support or helped your development. Yet, in this grand oceanic experience that we all exist in, to say that anything serves us is either misplaced semantics or pure arrogance of the human condition.

What serves you? As if you are the master of fate, destiny and its energies, as if the universal Way of things serves you and not collaborates or exists in harmony. Nothing serves you, because that suggests you have agency over the universe which you do not. The only thing that truly serves you is your own virtue that you project in thought, action and voice put out into the universe.

“Whatever happens to you was being prepared for you from everlasting, and the mesh of causes was ever spinning from eternity both your own existence and the incidence of this particular happening.” – Meditations, 10.5

Perhaps, if we think about it in another sense, if we take into account the butterfly effect of the universe – Providence or Fate – everything serves us from our mistakes to the grumble we have when we get up in the morning to appease or fulfil that simplest of truths: amor fati.

I’m not exactly sure where the concept comes from that the universal energies serve us (which I will continue to italicize to prove a point). So The Way, in its perpetual flow and forward motion bows to serve the individual rather than enable the collective consciousness of the universe? Perhaps it’s the human element on modern or contemporary spiritualism that has led to this idea that we have a control of the energies around us rather than see them as either projections of the self or harmonious external substances. It adds a comfort to think that we have control or agency over these things rather than the truth of the matter that the only thing we can control is ourselves. It’s a kind of strange mantra that we have power over the universal building blocks to elevate ourselves to some kind of wizard-like figures, each of us Gandalfs or Dumbledores or Dr Stranges.

I’m all for identifying energies and beliefs that are not our own and making efforts to remove those pollutants from ourselves to seek the truth within and without. But should we not be doing that with an accurate outlook on what is and what is not within our control as expressions of the same Whole? We have a commonality as human beings and that is our own plainness and also brilliance. What we do not share because we do not have it is the service of the universe, it does not serve us. We are a part of it similarly to how a carbon atom is a part of you or an anemone is a part of the reef. It’s a harmonious symbiotic relationship that just is. We serve the universe in its motion and in our actions in each moment that shape the course of destiny.

“For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.” – Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back

We exist in harmony with all things and love what fate brings us. Try as we might to wrestle destiny into a headlock, to make the energies of the universe both of light and dark serve, we exist at the pleasure of providence not the other way around.

Take heart in it, don’t fear it.

Amor fati.

Z3N0

Writer’s Block

Recently, those who come to my blog will have noticed my writer’s block. Every day I sit down and look over a blank word processor unable to get my thoughts to find themselves on the page. I’m not sure why, it’s not that I’ve been without content. Several times a day I find myself falling back on stoicism and the philosophy of various places from Ancient Greece to Leeds.

There’s a dizziness to the modern work week. We get home at 5pm to find ourselves in a burnout with our minds racing with all the things from the day, each thing more meaningless than the last. The minutiae will be the death of this world, and perhaps the next global conflict will arise from a misspelled email.

So I asked myself today as I sat at work in the break room, shoving Mini Cheddars into my mouth in a mad rush, is it all worth it? When we get up in the morning, is this our purpose? As individuals in our workplaces we should ask ourselves whether or not this is our purpose, should we not? I know someone who was a plumber for years but decided to change and become a full time teaching assistant. Of course this caused some stir with a comment about this being the reason why we have skilled labour shortages. But frankly, fuck those comments because if we are destined to live the life the misanthrope would have us lead for their own convenience rather than our truest callings then we are doomed to their misery.

When you wake up, are you doing so with the view that you will act with your truest purpose? In my eyes, mine has been and always will be to write yet that’s not exactly a viable vocation in this climate, especially not one where my taxes are about to shoot through the roof to 47%. A strike down from the aforementioned misanthropic or just reality? When facing reality then, how can we live to our truest purpose and our utmost happiness under the restraints and expectations of others?

The answer is we can’t. We can’t function within the confines of another’s biases and impressions functionally and properly without our own integrity and individuality eroding. It’s the balance we strike between collective responsibility and individual expressions and freedoms that erode when we allow them to erode or more likely, are in a position where they do overtime. Of course, it’s like weather erosion: even the most stalwart of cliff faces cannot stat entirely pristine against a constant tide and acid rain.

Where do we go from here?

Where do we find ourselves and the outlets for a purpose unfulfilled under the constraints of modern financial expectations?

The only place of course, is within always.

You can vote for whichever political party you like and still feel disenfranchised with the self, who has power over nation is irrelevant to your own power of the self. The people who cry: “not my President” and the like, act as this is some major revelation like the leader of collective has ever been leader of you: individual. You have the choices to live your life as you see fit, yet must expect consequence for those choices whether they be for virtue or vice of a personal nature. While we toil under the flags and purposes and expectations of our forefathers, we have control over the thing they will never have: this moment.

What we chose to do with this moment, acting as our nature instructs and in harmony with our highest and greatest good, defines not just the self but the destiny itself.

So, while I sit here and type, as my nature demands, I ask you:

What are you doing?

Z3N0

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

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

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

Best We Can

If it’s not clear already: you can’t control Providence.

Things are as they will be without us becoming frustrated at our own powerlessness against the force of destiny. Sure, destiny can’t build a wall or take the bins out, only we can do that but further than our own actions, it’s all intangible. If it is in your power as an individual to change the world for the better, to be that change you desire take action, do it now. Yet we don’t all have that power do we? We make our own little ripples behind the best we can, nothing more and nothing more can be expected of us.

In my job, my contract is coming to an end and I have to reapply with a formal interview. I’ve been asked on several occasions if I’m worried. The answer is no because I have confidence in myself and have taken all the actions I can to ensure I’ll be successful. Not to brag, but I’m good at my job. Yet, if they choose to end my contract I’ll be good knowing that I did what I could and gave my best to the company and people. They’ll be no hard feelings because they’re my own feelings and why the hell would I allow myself to feel shitty about doing my best? Why should you?

I have a friend, who I’ve mentioned previously who I have romantic feelings for. Does what they feel towards me change my perception of them or cause hard feelings? No of course not. If they tell me they want to keep things friendly or that another is a better match, so what? I’ve been the best friend I can for them, for myself and others around us. Does it matter that others have expressed romantic interest in this person? No of course not. I’m still going to be me and love my friend no matter what. Did I do what I could to express my interest? Yes. Will things come to fruition? Who knows, who the fuck cares. In the past I’ve been quick to ruin things, quick to take rejection personally. But even if they are personal, are the criticisms of my behaviour not correct? If they are or were, I like to think I’ve changed. In college I was infatuated with a girl, in fact I think I loved her but it never happened. She described herself at a later time as the ‘villain’ of my story. Evidently: a drama student. Yet she was wrong, I was the villain to my own story and my behaviour was my own problem. But we learn don’t we? Grow and go.

We do the best we can.

It’s our duty as human beings to each other and for each other and for ourselves. I say this quite often at work when dealing with interpersonal conflict.

“She’s been saying horrible things about me behind my back, things that aren’t true.” – X

“Are you a good person? Do you believe it, I mean? Are you a good person and do you do all you can to be A good person?” – Z

“Yes.” – X

“So what does hot air matter?” – Z

So I ask you the same thing, reader. Are you a good person, in your heart of hearts? Have you grown into a person you can be proud of?

Do the best you can, and you will be secure in yourself. You may never be rich, may never be in love, may never be famous but what does that matter? Being universally good – virtuous – is a good life. Or at least, in the words of Batman himself:

“A good life … good enough.” – Frank Miller, The Dark Knight Returns.

Ultimately, if you’re not going to listen to your own rational mind or me, you’ll listen to Batman. I would, he’s scary and seems like he’s got a few issues.

Z3N0

Destination Unknown

I was thinking about destiny today and the matter of free will versus predestination. It’s funny how stubbing my toe can cause some grand introspection. Perhaps it was fated? Clotho herself weaved stubbing my pinky against the bathroom door into the story of the universe to lead me to some revelation.

Fuck knows but it makes for good content.

Can we as human beings defy fate or would it be against the primary directive of the Universe whatever that maybe?

I think the answer is both complex and very simple: yes and no. While life entirely seems cyclical like a hardwired program, free will exists on the individual level. We can choose to get with the program or not knowing full well that it will run with or without us. You can choose to vote in an election or not, someone will still win. You can choose to accept a marriage proposal or not, would God blink at one less union in the kingdom? Then that raises the question, was it fated, weaved by ancient Clotho, to never be married in the first place? Each life a reflection of the grand program around it. I’ll reuse a quote from our favourite Classical emperor:

“You will see everything the same. People marrying, having children, falling ill, dying fighting, feasting, trading, farming, flattering, pushing, suspecting, plotting, praying for death of others, grumbling at their lot, falling in love, storing up wealth, longing for consulships and kingships. And now that life of theirs is gone, vanished. Pass on again to the time of Trajan. Again, everything the same. That life too is dead.”Meditations 4.32.

While the fate of all of us is ultimately returning to the earth from which we came, is what occurs in between really that important? Quite demoralising in that sense. So let’s think on a wider scale:

Worker in a factory, feels lost and on autopilot everyday making toys. Without them on that particular day, a certain toy would not be packaged and sorted into a loading truck…

A truck driver is stuck in traffic, transporting these toys. The delay causes another complication: the shipment is fulfilled and so the driver is rerouted by their boss to another store…

The store the driver delivers to is closed due to an incident in the shop floor so it is deserted and the toy stock is resupplied. The store is closed until the next morning preventing customers from buying the toy at that moment…

As soon as the store opens, a mother who is running late, goes in and sees the toy and picks it up for her son, not really looking at it but thinks he needs a treat after catching COVID (or something)…

She gifts the toy to her son, the toy happens to be the exact one he wants, it’s his new favourite and he keeps it for years, sharing it with his own son decades later…

Another:

I sleep funny last night so when my alarm wakes me up I feel groggy and I need a coffee…

I get to work and have a coffee and then I have another after a rather slow morning that does it’s best to send me to sleep…

Three coffees later I have a Lucozade with my meal deal and feel quite buzzed…

I get home and seem quite peppy and zip around the house and in my haste I stub my pinky on the bathroom door…

Here were are now.

Are those stories examples of the butterfly effect in action or destiny in motion? Why not both?

In the end, the worker in the factory while feeling like they would never make an impact on the world around them is the most vital part of the story. Even the minor inconveniences along the way shape the river that we all flow down. It’s not as morbid as it first appears. It’s actually rather comforting to think in these terms. On these terms, we realise that all humans, all things, know each other. There’s close to 8 billion of us on Earth, the web Clotho weaves must intersect so many times that it stops resembling a web at all. It’s a tapestry: the very fabric of time and space that our stories form the fibres of for an audience of our Maker. Or perhaps, the tapestry itself – thriving, breathing, ever growing – is our Maker. No bearded man in a toga; an intelligent magic carpet we all ride atop of.

I can’t think of what a better comparison would be: Towelie from South Park or Magic Carpet from Aladdin.

In any case, I’m digging being part of it and even though I’ll never see its destination, the journey’s just as good. Whatever the truth really is, I’m grateful for a bad night’s sleep and a sore toe.

Z3N0