What We Talk About When We Talk About Paradigm Shifts

a long thought from the depths of night
about the change occurring when we cannot sleep

28 January 2014
Hale’s kitchen

I cannot sleep, and i suspect it has something to do with a major shift that is underway in me at the moment

because my mind is again dominated by grandiose thoughts of the future.

So i am sitting in Hale’s kitchen smoking cigarettes and writing this by the light of my headtorch, socks on the ground.

I gave up smoking cigarettes but i have started again: i have allowed one insidious decision to become many pervasive ones

but i don’t really mind—

this is reminiscent of my earlier days when i would smoke and drink and get high and i would chase my fancies into the early hours of the morning before going to work to fall asleep in staff meetings.

That actually happened only once and is not quite the point:

the point is i have been taken away by my fancies and i cannot sleep,

or will not sleep—

i think the latter precedes the former, which makes me remember again that i do not know where my mind begins and i end,

but that is not the point either.

(But briefly: i could choose to sleep, for i have the mechanisms, but i choose to think, and then, high on thought, i become mentally agitated to the extent sleep seems like a memory, an unattainable achievement of the past; i choose to think because it seems i am at a point in my life where a major divergence is occurring and i am excited about the possibilities i now have ahead of me; the line between these two choices and the decisions i make from them is the line between mind and heart, where sleeping allows the mind to rest while the heart grows and remaining awake allows the mind to stretch while, alas, my heart lumbers along behind.

That is more like the point.)

For some time now i have known that my over-active intellect and mental imagination has long-dominated the space in my being from where i make decisions and guide my life, moment to moment.

For my thirtieth birthday Lucy gave me a book about the intersection of the chakras with the Jungian archetypes: in the spirit of bibliomancy i opened the book to a random page and,

surprise! surprise!,

the page i landed on was about people who suffer an engorged sense of volition and a deprived sense of intuition.

I have carried this book with me from Adelaide to Dubai and then halfway around Turkey and it now lays closed, dormant, with me in Istanbul.

I suppose i am afraid to go there, where my Shadow lies,

because somewhere in me there lies a suspicion i have remained in Istanbul recklessly, even though i used that same where to do the sums and other mundane admin and the numbers checkout.

Somewhere else in me i know i am supposed to be here, but that other where lies dormant, my intuition trapped by my ever-encroaching volition.

The space where these two parts of me do battle is demarcated by the same line that separates heart-enriching sleep and this waking state filled with mind.

This is where the shift is occurring, between heart and mind,

and i believe this is happening among the world, not just within me the individual:

this is what we talk about when we talk about paradigm shifts—

they occur first within individuals and then, because all individuals are connected, their inner shift contributes to the weight of energy compelling the greater shift in humanity, something we might call divine critical mass.

This is what i believe: this is why i practise.

Advancing my practice is part of the point i’m getting at: advancing my practice to a point where i can not only help others through contributing to the divine critical mass but through direct worldly means.

When i say ‘practis/ce’ i mean i could allow heart to come through and inform all of my decisions, for i have the mechanisms i learn through meditation, but i am out of practice (though i have not run out of practise), so i choose to think—i allow myself to think because de-activating the mind is difficult for me, for us who are raised among the neurotic societies; i choose to think because i am afraid of what will happen if i do not, as one is (rightly) afraid to release the wheel of a moving vehicle.

But i am at a point in my life where i have realised the mind is not the best way to steer the vehicle, if you will indulge another of my prolapsed metaphors.

There is another guiding mechanism that we cannot see, we who were educated to be dominated by our mental neuroses.

This other guiding mechanism is the heart, obviously, but where do we find it?, how do we use it?

The mind is no more tangible than the heart, yet we cling to it as though our safe passage on the Road could be guaranteed by our white-knuckled grasping of the wheel.

Understanding this is what gets me excited,

which is either perverse or paradoxical or both,

because shouldn’t i be able to see where the heart-wheel is if i have seen through the illusion of the mind-wheel?,

and if so, wouldn’t i just be subjecting myself to unnecessary suffering if i continued holding the mind-wheel while the heart-wheel bucks and shudders like the unattended joystick of a two-man plane?

Well, yes, it is both perverse and paradoxical, but such is the human experience

and what are we to do in the meantime?,

between when we peer through the illusion of our puny minds with our puny minds and when our heart grows healthy enough after the abuse and neglect we have subjected it to since …

whenever we lost our way,

which was when?, by the way.

I would like to know.

While i await your heartfully erudite answer, Dear Universe, i will continue to resume my practice in every moment

and soon i will ordain

to sit down beside You and have





in which i might find a way of expressing the answer that is less awkward than the purely intellectual non-phrase

heartfully erudite.

Because that’s what i’m getting at and, okay, this has become a petition and a statement of allegiance,

a petition for access to heart

and a statement of allegiance to heart’s beauty,

a promise to cherish that which you will grant me access to

even if in the meantime i spend some of my mundane hours writing and smoking in a flat in Istanbul

because until i have set myself up with enough time in the right place

i don’t know what else to do with myself when i get like this.

I feel empty inside and i know that’s why i try to fill myself with hot air, with cigarettes and ego and opinions and pixels because i don’t know what else to do.

I have seen that my approach doesn’t work, that we the neurotic are doomed if we do not seek another path,

so i seek.

May the light of my headtorch reveal the way

as i slink back to my bed on the floor and to yet more thinking about You.

* * *

I still couldn’t sleep because what i am getting at, somewhere outside all these attempts at lyricism,

is the fact i feel so close to the beginning of the next chapter for me

and for Us.

I am in Istanbul for the next two months before i return to Adelaide for maybe two more months before i return to Thailand,

and then before i know it i will have found a monastery where i will spend some time in a long-term retreat,

so in maybe six months and certainly by the time i am thirty-one i will be in a retreat and i will be am moving ever closer to living with heart,

to having more immediate and constant access to You,

to the mechanisms with which i can detach somewhat from sleepless mind,

incessant mind,

and from there i will be able to do anything.

But i already feel i could do anything,

which is why this all feels like such a close possibility, such a high probability.

* * *

This, and i haven’t even touched on the ideas i had about how the Turkey tour has brought me closer to Mum.

And i forgot to add that it may be that these ‘disruptions’ to sleep come naturally and our determination to have perfect control over time is what causes the problem,

but what can i do about time right now?

* * *


I feel into a black-hole of sleep and feel dead to the world,

but may the muse come back because the main image i had in my mind last night was that of me performing the role of some healer, a guide for people who need advice and spiritual succour.

I imagined i would have a small room somewhere above a health-food/culture outlet and i would practise there.

The details are not necessary here because what struck me most was that i had been carried away by such a fancy and was earnestly imagining myself in this role for other people,

and i was carried away to the extent i have been carried away in the past by other dreams

and this is what got me thinking because

i know the power of imagination, of creative visualisation

and i simply am shocked that nowadays i become caught up in such imaginings.

That is why i could not sleep—i am in a state of existential shock.

For years now i have known somewhere that my life has begun to move in a new direction

but i become st(r)uck like this sometimes and sometimes just plain stuck as well,

because i don’t quite know how to live this new life,

just as i did not know when i was eighteen how i would live a life around words (mind),

but i did that—i made a life around that passionate (and then seemingly impossible) dream

so i can make a life around this passionate (and highly probable) dream

but for now i lurk in that liminal state

in that space between lives.

This is why i lie awake at night sometimes,

and i wonder about people who do not do this,

about a whole society of neurotic people who do not allow themselves the time to sit through the waking torment of being physically exhausted but mentally unable to sleep because they are gripped by fancy.

I wonder about how our adherence to the strictures of time dictates when we are able to sit and allow these changes to move through us,

which for me happens most often in the depths of night, perhaps when the energy of the proximate world around me is sufficiently subdued for the energy of my heart to poke through.

These are the times when my most important decisions occur

and i wonder how i would be if i were in the habit of turning away from the energy of these decisions moving through me,

if i were in the habit of engaging my sleep mechanisms at these the most important times.

I suspect i would be miserable, trapped in a trajectory at odds with my heart’s desire

and i can only wonder how a society would be if it were characterised by people in that habit of turning away from heart’s desire because they think they have to go to sleep so they can get up and go to work

and i can only surmise that it, too, a society thus characterised, would be miserable

and then i compare this surmisation with my observations of the societies around me and i suspect i am not far from the truth here,

that we the neurotic are miserable.

Indeed, our society is characterised by people in that habit of turning away from heart’s desire because they think they have to go to sleep so they can get up and go to work.

Neuroticism and misery are synonymous, are they not?

This is about more than just not wanting to adhere to some concept of ‘bedtime’: this is about living in tune with our individual fluctuations of energy, our oscillations between the mental energy required to read the time on a clock and the spiritual energy required to understand the clock may say ‘bedtime’ but the inner clock says ‘stay awake and be present for the change you are going through’, painful and frightening and pointing toward certain uncertainty though it may be.


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