Thursday, 24 December 2009

Best wishes for the season

I am reading 'You have to say something' by Dainin Katagiri. A line in this moved me tonight;

Dharma- Oneness, Totality, Wholeness- needs you, whoever you are.

Quite so.

May peace prevail on earth.

Best wishes for the season. May the new year be good for us all.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Beautiful Movie

DC and I have just returned from the cinema. We saw Departures. A very beautiful movie. Very moving. Life shown; immanent and transcendent.

In gassho.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

The Ridiculous

After an other training session to be a citizen advocate I had lunch with Ian B today. Ian and I talked about being, the unknowable nature of 'reality', the things we can know, the way the universe presents its self in our experience, psychology, individuation, ones 'stuff' / psychological baggage, meaning, purpose, all that stuff. And it came around to me saying that I feel responsible for choosing to choose AND making my life as meaningful and happy as possible. And Ian pointed out to me that there is no reason I should feel responsible for that. At which point I saw just how my inner critic never misses a chance. That said no one can eat for us; we each must do our own 'work'. But Ian has a point and as he said, not very many people really take a good look at the meaning of (their) life AND try to live authentically as a result, so I might go easy with myself for finding it tough at times. Which is much what my friend Graeme was saying yesterday to me after we finished installing the last of his new windows.

We covered quite a bit of ground in short time pulling various bits of philosophy, psychology and spirituality into the mix and I felt the need to bring it back to two points; we need to DO and we need to SHARE. And I talked a little about creating sacred space in a sharing circle and how there is almost no space where this happens in Western society at this time and how I think that people are afraid of such sharing as it involves moving to look inward and to dismantle defenses. This prompted Ian to say that in flamenco the coming together of people is recognised and given a name, I can't recall the details, but the recognition is I feel, important.

After lunch I did a few odd jobs and found myself in B&Q warehouse to get some screws etc. where I saw for sale electric fires that include an LCD display screen showing a recording of a real fire! It was not obvious where the heat came out; the screen was the main part of the fire AND it had sound, the sound of a crackling fire! Price; just under £700. Talk about from the sublime to the ridiculous! This is no way for human beings to live, people have got to wake up!

Rant, rant... Ah well... I seem to be keeping occupied...

It has been good sharing these past few days.

And in closing I recall that even though the mirror has no stand, no place for dust to settle, we still need to wipe the dust away.

Sunday, 13 December 2009


Yesterday my friend Graeme and I replaced the window and backdoor to the kitchen of his home. His partner made cake and helped a bit too. Later I picked up DC and the four of us had dinner at theirs. I really enjoyed the work and the company; purpose and connection and being in my body, my mind on the work. Removing frames from rubble walls and replacing with new needs care and a bit of strength together with skill. The dance of working with someone on a physical project like that is something I've not done for a while and it made me remember just how much is involved and how good it is to share that way. Graeme and I worked well together and we mixed in some banter and theatre too! The theatre playing in the construction of masculinities area; two middle aged middle class gay men playing with straight working class lad masks; 'ahll reet pet, well wiv got the old one oot so will be off, see ya tha mora, ah no, wa gannin tu tony's will seeya Thursda... And she was all upset coz wid left the winda oot...'

I have recently had three sessions of psychotherapy. I sort of stumbled into this after a bit of a freebie chat with my old CBT therapist and to be honest I am not sure about how much time and money to spend on it. Things have been tough lately (with relationship and work issues) and I am in a bit of an existential crisis but I can see that crisis as coming out of and giving rise to opportunity and really I feel fairly ok about me. So what issue might seem salient? Well, the thing that always comes up for me whenever I look at my psychological baggage is my relation to my past. To be specific, accepting that I was twenty four before I came out. And I have this tendency to let my inner critic beat me up about this and tell me that I must have just been 'asleep' and wasting my life. And when I see creative lively young people my inner critic beats me up saying that they are doing so much yet when I was their age I was just shut down and wasting life. And then there is the thing about feeling a bit of a misfit / being on the outside of things. That said I am often right in the middle!

So, my therapist was putting forward last time that my childhood may have lacked rough and tumble and that this led to my being isolated from the other boys. Well, I really don't think that I wanted it and that wasn't the reason for the isolation. Anyway, yesterday made me remember that throughout a lot of my teens I was involved in some quite sizeable DIY projects; plumbing, tiling, heating, woodwork, windows, electrics etc. And I learned all this fairly much on my own. I was the driving force behind a lot of projects at a young age. Ok, so I have this grief for not spending that time enjoying exploring sex with other boys of my age but I was not wasting the time. And all of those projects were in a way a continuation from the childhood years spent taking things to bits and not paying rough and tumble etc with the other boys. And I joked about this with Graeme yesterday and said something to the effect of '...and just how capable is my therapist when it comes to this sort of practical work... rough and tumble... machismo... sensitive to the needs of this sort of job etc...?' In other words, happiness, constructions of self (including masculinities), purpose and connection, past and present form a complex and varied mix and I am ok. And the pain and the suffering and the developmental path is a result of complex karma and it's important not to see things just in classical psycho therapeutic terms. Even if those terms do push a few buttons and leave me wondering... Which brings me round to other things that came out of the session not the last of which is, as DC pointed out, that I don't like incomplete gestalt! And my next session is not until the end of January!

And practice, where does all this sit with practice? No enlightenment outside of daily life. Variety is the spice of life, and I think we need it; the void desires to be and to know, to experience in a human life a full and rich aliveness. I agree with those that recommend a spiritual path that expands one's life in the dualistic realm as well as the non-dual realm. In other words take a bit of individuation with your meditation. Expand and explore as many aspects of being as seems viable, share in lots of ways. I sort of brought the conversation around to this point last night and the fact that in the West at this time we have so few areas where we come together to share deeply in open acceptance. I talked about creating sacred space and sharing in the way which is so easy in the Findhorn community and Graeme talked of his experience in circle sharings but somehow I felt it was falling on stony ground. Why is this? I think our society lacks meaningful ritual in this regard and we fear creating such space for two reasons; first because we often live defended and anaesthetised lives and the idea of going to a place of authenticity is thus a challenge and secondly because we also recognise the dangers of self indulgence, that sharing might move us not away from ego but further into it. This second fear is I think a misconception based upon a the idea that in sharing one keeps to a fixed notion of self. Yet my experience is that forming sacred space by sharing helps in moving from I to me; it helps in owning shadow and disidentification. And key to all this is what I suspect I don't write much or well of but sometimes hint at in this blog; emotion. I often talk and write 'I think...' but all the time I am feeling. I do feel that I am in touch with my feelings I don't think that I am particularly repressing them but I am also analysing. And in expressing 'where I (or in a more wholesome sense me) is at' it is my habit to analyse probably too much. Whereas, replacing windows and doors like yesterday I was fairly much just being doing; as close as I probably get to positive samadhi. Working with others I felt with not separate. Thanks Graeme.

Thursday, 10 December 2009


It has not been an easy year for me and thus not for those who love me. But I've much to be thankful for.

I recall:

‘Grayness could not fill us with despair if our minds did not harbor the concept of different colors, scattered traces of which are not absent from the negative whole.’
(Adorno, Negative Dialectics, 377–8.)

Thanks to DC for giving me access to the language.