What chance do you have when your mama tells you you’re going straight to Hell?
I’ve started writing the Notes a tad bit later than I normally do on a Sunday. Well that’s not strictly true. I’m trying out a new process, which is partly inspired by Jeff Helms. I’ll explain in a moment.
The process I’m trying out today is using an app called Just Press Record to capture my thoughts as I walk and reflect on the notes I’ve taken during the week. The app records your audio and automatically transcribes that audio into useable text!
Speech to text, how cool is that?
Now I can walk and talk and think out loud and have my thoughts captured in audio and text.
I do my best thinking and reflecting when I’m in motion, especially on a long walk.
I said Jeff Helms partly inspired this. Here’s how…he sent me some useful feedback last week on Coach’s Note #40. He said:
“I aspire to have a fraction of the introspection, reflective ability, and drive to coalesce it all into something consumable and useful.”
You see, that helps me to see from another person’s point of view what it is that I doing here. I have these jumbled up thoughts in my head about what I do/am doing with these Notes, and Jeff’s words cleared some of the fog away..
And that’s exactly what I aspire to - introspection and reflection, packaged lightly so that it’s easily consumable so as not to tie up people’s time too long and hopefully plant a mind-seed or two and possibly start a fire.
Connecting the dots - I think better when I’m moving. Having the ability to hit the trail, think out loud and have it captured and transcribed all at the same time is potentially a game changer for me.
So this edition of The Notes has been composed while in motion and tidied up back at the ranch.
Ok let’s get into it…
#51: The last stanza in Sir Stephen Spender’s poem, “I think continually of those who were great” :
“Near the snow, near the sun , in the highest field
See how those names are feted by the wavering grass,
And by the streamers of white cloud,
And whispers of wind in the listening sky;
The names of those who in their lives have fought for life,
Who wore at their hearts the fire's centre.
Born of the sun they traveled a short while towards the sun.
And left the vivid air signed with their honour.”
Here’s what I get from that:
Feel the fire in your heart’s centre and aim for the sun. Don’t worry or even give a damn about suffering Icarus’s fate, for as The Kurgan said in The Highlander: “It’s better to burn out, than to fade away!”
He was of course echoing Milton’s Satan in Paradise Lost:
"Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.”
#52: If you want to be authentic - to act in authenticity, then you have to really know who you are, not who you’d like to be or who others tell you you are, but be your true authentic self, the self before socialisation and forced conformity.
The truth is, you already know who are - you’ve known your whole life, but through a combination of self-inflicted amnesia and socially induced amnesia and honey sweet coercion, you have forgotten who you are.
We choose not to know who we are.
But if you aspire to authenticity, then at some point you’ll have to take the journey inward to rediscover who you are. Many of us are afraid to take that journey for fear of discovering who we truly are.
The quickest way to find your true self is through adversity. The more extreme the adversity, the greater the revelation of truth. The truth can set you free or it can psychologically destroy you, which is maybe why we’re often afraid to look into the light to see past the curtain, to see who we really are.
“All mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eyeball; I am nothing; I see all.” - Emerson
Another way to the truth, maybe a more gentler way, but no less scary, is meditation - being alone with your thoughts, nor gurus or guides to hold your hand, just you alone with your thoughts, long enough to see past the lies we tell ourselves and the stories we make up to hide ourselves from the truth of who we are.
To find yourself, you’ll have to go into the mono mythical belly of the whale or the inner most cave as it’s sometimes referred to. I love what Master Yoda said to Luke as he was about to go into the inner most cave. Luke asks Yoda: What’s in there? and Yoda replies: only what you take with you.
#53: Free. If your mama was like my mama, she probably told you nothing in this life is ever free, not even the air you breathe. The word “free” just means the cost is hidden somewhere. Whether it’s money, or time or effort or quality, there’s always a price to pay.
#54: Our culture is built around external appearances. Our minds recognise patterns and from the patterns, it draws conclusions, and we make decisions off of those conclusions. Our minds have been conditioned to appearances. Something must first resemble what we expect it to look like before we even take notice of it.
This pattern seeking conditioning doesn’t always work in our favour.
“We readily accept authoritative statements made by our culture’s authority figures (our witch doctors) - experts, pundits, commentators, scientists, men in white coats. We are conditioned a thousand times each day by ornament and display, by drama and excitement.”
Imagine if you took the time to really unpack the brainwashing - oops, I meant social conditioning - to see how deep the rabbit hole goes. If you want to get a sense of how deep the rabbit hole goes, read Robert Anton Wilson’s Prometheus Rising
#55: I have returned to the fields again after a long hiatus while me knee heeled. I walk with a knee brace on now. The knee feels good. But I noticed the niggle in my hip opposite to the wounded knee. The mind, body, and soul are intimately connected. What you do to one area affects the other two in equal measures. As I slowly regain control of my body, I can feel my mental power increase, with the increase in mental power, my soul is beginning to yearn louder to be fed with the infinite beauty around me.
Everything touches everything else - first principle of alchemy.
Any dream wizards reading this? What does this dream mean:
I was in pub with Ruth. Every time I ordered a whiskey, the bar maid would pass a bottle of Jameson Whiskey to Ruth to pass to me. Every time, Ruth dropped the bottle of whiskey and it smashed to pieces on the floor. This happened about 4 or 5 times. The barmaid got angry and accused Ruth of dropping the bottles on purpose. I never did get a whiskey.
Your Musical Interlude
#56: I dipped into Ken Wilber’s book, One Taste, the other day and I stumbled upon this passage on the importance of uniting psychotherapy and spirituality:
“We see the emergence of war is so crucial: some sense of the spiritual and transpersonal, some sense of the mystery of the deep, some context beyond the isolated me, that touches each and every one of us, and lifts us from our troubled and moral selves, this contracted coil, and delivers us into the hands of the timeless and very divine, and gracefully releases is from ourselves: where openness melts defences and relationships grounds sanity, where compassion outpaces the hardened hearts and care outshines despair, this opening to the divine that Frances teaches each of us.”
First thoughts, Wilber writes very complex sentences.
Second thought. Some times passages like this about the Divine and Spirit really turn me own. Other times these conversations about spirituality leave me cold. It appears, I am in my cold phase at the moment where my mind is very unreceptive to spiritual talk. All I can hear in the silence of my mind is - hocus-pocus…
and that my time is perhaps better spent grounded in the realm of the 5 senses focused on human agency.
Why do I blow hot and cold on spirituality?
“I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking. Recording the man shaving at the window opposite and the woman in the kimono washing her hair. Some day, all this will have to be developed, carefully printed, fixed.” - Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky
Maybe the buffer in my mind is full and I need to process stuff. Perhaps those are the times I go cold. In my aspiration to be a true Witness, I know that I must let this rise and fall, ebb and flow…whatever arises arises, it doesn’t matter.
I’m launching a weekly webcomic soon. Something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. It’s non-standard of course. Experimental poetics and collage art style. Here’s a sneak peek for you, seeing how you are a subscriber to The Notes:
Ok folks, if you’ve read this far, BIG LOVE to you. I appreciate your time and attention.
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Peace and love to you,