i’m going IN

To quote a beloved, Sharanananda:

Talk less, meditate more.

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evolving consciousness is our primary duty

Something else from the Collective Evolution post about expanding consciousness:

Enlightenment is simply the process of remembering who we truly are, and why we are here. The soul will require many lives to completely remember itself, and what it truly is. By living and experiencing each day, we are all gaining experiences and moving closer to englightenment.

And an interesting persepctive on the source of ego, no less. I don’t really buy into the whole puppet-master-mind theory, which seems to imply that our leaders have a degree of capacity I just haven’t seen them demonstrate – such speculation about human intelligent design just doesn’t feel convincing for me, but I guess argument is not directed at people who are familiar with feeling conviction, which obviously feels like a contradiction, yep.

Conspiracy theories aside, this film left me all zen about the feeling that personal change at a consciousness level is the primary and most-effective means for effecting change in the world – from internal to external.

The way i scribbled it down late last night after the lunar eclipse: the clip from CE reminded me 1.) if we are going through cycle after cycle until we awaken to who we are and this iteration is just unevolved, and 2.) our main purpose is to evolve enough to come home to our original source, the ideal condition, and 3.) enlightenment is just remembering who we are, then 4.) all we need to do is pursue home inside ourselves.

Sounds easy enough!

It’s a view Osho reminded me of, and which he goes into at length in his talk about meditation being the greatest charity. You can find the talk here as an eBook, or try downloading it here as an audio talk. I don’t know which file it is here, as i haven’t downloaded them all from here myself yet, but that audio link is to the full series of talks called The Rebellious Spirit, yep!

There is a quote from Einstein at the end, which I suspect is edited from the original, but whatever:

No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.

We all know it. So let’s do it.

behaviour: acceptance vs justifaction

I’m not sure why i keep thinking and talking in terms of dichotomies lately (this vs that), but today’s meditation insight:

instead of trying to justify behaviour, allow yourself to observe what happens when you accept the behaviour.

It is, after all, behaviour only — it is not necessarily representative of who you really are.

To call it an insight is a bit much: it was a thought that occurred to me at the end of the meditation; such timing sometimes leaves me feeling a thought is an insight, which is not necessarily the case.

dawn-time dawnings: i’m writing a memoir!

I think I really am actually writing a coming-of-age memoir. I’m coming of age, I know that much. And I’m writing about it. Bloody oath I’m writing about – I can’t friggen stop writing about it. Some friends are telling me I need to get out of my mind, away from the computer – and what?, into their car!? No way Jose. I’m on my own trip, and today I’m fucking thrilled about it. Yesterday and the days before that? Not so much. Tomorrow? Who knows. But today I’m really actually writing a memoir. I wrote down a summary as a potential pitch recently, when i got excited about an unsolicited email from an agent. But now i can’t find it, which is good – it’s the sort of thing that should be written and re-written from scratch, even as an exercise for writing the actual damn thing. It was something like:

High-school suburban stoner makes it good in publishing before growing disillusioned with the industry and the whole entire industrialised West, heads to Thailand in pursuit of peace, returns an alcoholic, has a nervous breakdown, finds God, travels to Turkey thinking he’s got this peace thing under control, does a lot of hardcore meditation but returns to alcoholism nonetheless, returns to Australia, has another breakdown, catches up with God again and decides to share his story.

Something like that. If i rewrite it every day as i approach the idea of thinking about maybe extracting these Adventures in Sobriety posts and developing them into a manuscript, maybe in ten years i’ll have the concept distilled enough to fit it on a blurb that people might actually care to understand.

The summary i wrote for the agent was a lot more succinct and far less sarcastic and it sounded like a cliché, but whatever.

I have long maintained that clichés are clichés for a bloody good reason – when enough people can relate to an idea easily expressed by some phrase, story or experience, it can become cliché. Cliché gets a bad wrap among the over-educated arts elite, because there is this obessesion with originality – as though using cliché is somehow shamefully derivative. Not necessarily – it’s not the nature of the boat, it’s how you use it. I’m not sure if that really works, but you get the idea.

My superego gets in the way sometimes, suggesting I can’t tell stories for shit and who would care about my story anyway. But then my ego chips and says, Abhijan, you’re fucking awesome! Write this memoir and share it with whoever will listen. Your story is great – you’re a fucking trooper.

I don’t really care what either of them have to say. I’m going with my gut. I’m going with feeling on this one. And right now, the hours I spend sitting down at my journal getting longhanded with my story – they are the most peaceful hours I get, at a time when my life is in a seemingly constant state of upheavel and change.

So that’s what Adventures in Sobriety is about for now. All of the above.

I worry sometimes about whether putting this all up online is a kind of narcissistic exercise – a cry for help, a plea for attention. But right now I don’t care about that either – in one sense because i actually don’t care, but in another: i bloody do need help. Help!, i’m a drunk and a stoner.

But also it’s a cathartic process for me, and I’m arriving at insights I might never have arrived at if I hadn’t been scribbling away at this. So telling the story is as much for me as it might be for you. Of course I’m keen to hear if it resonates with you – that would be grand. We can learn from each other in sharing our stories. So bring it. Yes, I’m looking at you!

Browser Dump

In the spirit of brain dumps everywhere, i thought i would try a category here called Browser Dump—i’m a tab fiend and i flitter between Firefox, Chrome and Torch, so i’ve got a shed-load of tabs open in my life at any given time, which can be a curiously massive burden, which maybe i can foist on to you 🙂

I mean, i’m interested in Everything, so i have the Wikipedia entry for “time” open, and alongside that a lecture by Hawking on the beginning of time, and alongside that a brief history of time measurement—such is the nature of the rabbit holes i find myself in as i comb the flux. I can’t even remember why i was researching time at the time. Something i do know is i suspect “time” is a human construct and we needn’t necessarily adhere to its dictates. And i certainly prefer the idea of falling into rhythm with the natural ebb and flow of light and dark that is night and day—as God perhaps intended, according to Genesis.

I get a lot of inspiration from the high-quality stuff we can now find on the internet, and don’t like to let inspiration just fly by without me trying to mercilessly trap it,

which makes me think i should perhaps relax and let myself feel about browser tabs as i feel about romantic love, the capture of which is about as easy as catching farts in a butterfly net.

So to begin with, i found this thing called Archie, which claims to grow your social-media influence without you actually doing much. Suspecting there is no such thing as a free lunch, i was not surprised when i registered an account and then sat there looking at the dashboard thinking, Now what? We’ll see.

And i had this YouTube video open from my friend about the scientific benefits of meditation—it’s an animated infographic:

Now i have “How To Meditate – The No Bullshit Guide to Meditation” open, because of course that was in the sidebar. I haven’t watched this yet—it’s a good thirty minutes! One for later.

I have this poster-quote open from Umberto Eco’s column from 1994, “Mac vs. DOS — The Holy War“, which i first read a few years ago and which profoundly influenced the choice of computer i would like to purchase next time—my Mac has put in a good innings, but it’s been demonstrating signs of being nearly kaput:

Mac vs. DOS — The Holy War

Mac vs. DOS — The Holy War

This long piece from AdelaideNow is about Goyder’s Line—the drought line in South Australia. I would very much like to do an awareness-raising charity tour of Goyder’s Line, wearing a fake goitre to illustrate the point that an ecosystem out of balance quickly manifests symptoms of disease. It would of course be called The Goyder’s Goitre Tour.

I’ve had this post about puncture problems by a fellow cycle tourist open for yonks—pretty much since i did my first longish tour around the Flinders Rangers over the New Year. While i was there, a woman suggested i try to go tubeless. I tried this, but was not able to get past the challenge of rapidly inflating my gooed-up tyre using the inadequate tools i had on hand at the time. I have since experimented with gooed-up tubes, and they seem to be working a treat—i got two “bindies” in my rear tyre the other day, each of them perhaps 2mm thick. I pulled them out and there was a wild hiss for a few seconds, which waned into a slow sort of gurgle as i spun the wheel and hoped the goo would distribute to the puncture. It did, and i’ve had no leakage problems ever since. So i’m unceremoniously closing that one!

why wine tasting is important for meditation

a lesson learned by accident in South Australia’s famous wine region, the Barossa Valley

a delightful depiction of the way they celebrate plonk in the Barossa—this ... monument? ... is literally just plonked on the side of a great bike path between Tanunda and Nuriootpa

a delightful depiction of the way they celebrate plonk in the Barossa—this … monument? … is literally just plonked on the side of a great bike path between Tanunda and Nuriootpa

So i’m in the Barossa Valley by accident—i like to refer to these kinds of situations as ‘accidents’ not because they are actual accidents, but because they are a consequence of my ignorance. To people who asked, i said i was in Greece/Turkey by accident, because it was not something i planned—i mean i planned to go to Turkey (i did not fly there by accident), but i had planned to stay three weeks, not nine months. That was an accident in the same way the unplanned pregnancy of a loving couple is referred to as a ‘happy accident’. Accidentally being in the Barossa though, that just means i didn’t know Nuriootpa was part of the Barossa.

Of course, when in Rome … so i ran some errands in the morning and hit a few wineries this afternoon. I had a full day here because i made it from Adelaide in one day instead of two.

*everyone claps and throws me water and soggy cold chips*

On the recommendation of a guy working at Barista Sista on the main street, i first went to Dorrien to try the Buccaneer, a rum-and-raisin port aged in old rum barrels from Queensland. Because i’m a pirate.

The old place was built by the Seppelts family in the 1910s and the silos are still inside, now decorated with seven murals depicting a history of the region—Lutheran farmers escaping religious persecution in their European countries and deciding to flee here, where nothing harvestable is supposed to grow. On the theme of generations, the woman at the cellar door knows two of my aunties and used to live across the road from the general store my nan and pop used to run—one day in the South Australian countryside and i’ve met someone who knows my family.

For some reason today i’ve been feeling an unnecessary need to rush, so i hurried through an exhibit of decent landscape photography and moved on to the next recommendation, Artisans of Barossa, the combined cellar door of seven boutique wineries that are small enough to not warrant each having their own cellar door.

Standing there talking to the cellar-door guy and finding it hard to concentrate on the conversation at the same time as the delicate bouquet, i realised that the reason i couldn’t multi-task is i was trying to have a conversation with the wine as well as the guy—

i was trying to respond to what the wine had to say by responding with thoughts about the characteristics of its bouquet.

Essentially i was trying to label the scents and the flavours with ideas like ‘pepper’ and ‘plum’, ‘peach’ and ‘potato’—wanky stuff, ya know, but not because i am an actual wine wanker, more because that’s what my experience has conditioned me to believe should be done when tasting wine.

Instead, when i dropped trying to label the various intricacies of each wine (the way we’re trying to label the various intricacies of our physical existence by smashing the atom into smaller and smaller smithereens), i found that i was more able to just enjoy the general character of the wine—it’s character as a whole, i mean.

The same goes for meditation—we’re told often by teachers that we have just witness the thoughts and let them pass through, not labelling them, not judging them. It works—it makes life a lot more enjoyable to not sweat the small stuff all the time.

When we stop trying to label every thought, feeling, emotion and thing, we can start to just enjoy the general character of things.

But what i like most about this approach to wine-tasting our way through life is that even a wine that’s not very good can still be enjoyed, in the same way that maybe anger is not very pleasant, but still we can enjoy it if we just notice that sure, it has a pretty dodgy aftertaste, but soon that passes and you can move on to the next bouquet or emotional flurry or whatever you want to call it.

peeking into shadow work

I am profoundly excited about the prospect i have encountered of entering into shadow work at last. I encountered this term a while ago through a seeker friend and i find it interesting now that i guess i kind of ignored it, but more recently i have also encountered some powerful practices that can take us into our shadow safely, and out the other side into light.

I am now cautiously beginning to research psychology in my haphazard way, and i am newly curious about how i can take such intellectual understanding into meditation in the hope that i can more directly experience these psychological phenomena described by the likes of Jung and Freud.

I don’t want to just learn about psychology—i want to plumb the depths of my own psychology, my ego structure and the other mechanisms of the mind that can hold us in this state of separation from our being,

because it seems clear to me now that only the light of awareness can displace the shadow.

Wow, just writing this brings to my eyes those tears of opening to the divine, those tears that mingle sadness with joy and come from the feeling you’re on the right track, yeah!

An Experiment with Pronouns and Perspective

consciousness

consciousness

Consciousness is a witness, an observer of the mind. But we confuse consciousness with mind – we think we are the mind: i am has come to mean i am the mind. We say, ‘I think, therefore i am.’ It’s Descartes’ fault – not mine!

A new pronoun is needed, so that we can begin to move away from conflating ‘i’ with consciousness: i is not consciousness; i is the mind; consciousness is consciousness. From now on, consciousness is represented by the symbol ‘!’.

In our current usage, ‘i’ is too much loaded with mind-identification, and we tend to think consciousness is of the mind – the two are conflated and it’s confusing. Sometimes we talk about something like ‘collective consciousness’ if we want to refer to that consciousness that transcends the individual human mind, but this term is also too much loaded with ideas about groups made up of yet-separate individuals when really, the term ‘consciousness’ should be enough to imply collective consciousness.

So i’m experimenting with alternative pronouns for making a distinction between the mind-made ‘i’ and consciousness – for now, a symbol, because i don’t want to coin some new word, words being too much loaded with ideas from our linguistic intellect.

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Starting to Breathe, Part I

a rambling five-part exploration of how spiritual healing must complement lifestyle changes that will facilitate spiritual healing – the Introduction is here

Fits and Starts

There is a new comb. It can be used without reference to the ‘i’. There was a festival, and there is an OSHO commune on Lesvos, Greece. Here, there and now, there is an alternative way of living. It is the way of light, of love, of uncontrollable and inexplicable laughter: laughter that bubbles up from the well-spring of a healthy spirit.

I have been experimenting with writing without reference to the ‘i’, to the ego, but it is proving difficult – it feels detached from reality, disembodied. Maybe it’s too much for now, because the thing is i’m still attached to my sense of ‘i’, to a sense that things happen to me, or that i do things.

It’s complicated. I’ve been reading Eckhart Tolle again, A New Earth. He has a lot to say about how we invest a sense of self in objects, things, people, whatever – things that ultimately exist outside ourselves, and are not us. And i have obviously been reading and listening to Osho, who has a lot to say about witnessing, about that part of our consciousness that can observe our ego, thereby separating us from what Eckhart would call the mind-made self – a way to start moving toward liberation.

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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

2:59am
Tuesday
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.

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