billzword

MY NATURE-INSIGHT BLOG
Although starting this blog as a personal diary recording development, it has now become more of a description of my journey. On the way I make mistakes, and I try to go back to correct them; it is important to me that you note the warnings. Please read the journey that is part of all our journeys. The blog is now archived. I originaly termed it my Buddhist-Spirit blog because I oscillated between the two, now there is no oscillation in Nature's Insights blog.

Themed Alphabetical Index

The blog now (31/12/07) has 71 entries. Titles don't always show what it is about so I have created a list of themes (with explanations); might help if you don't want to read my going on about my health. Themed Alphabetical Index


2008 Back to Current Nature Insight Blog

20/11/08

Ground Zero

6/11/08

On Insight

12/10/08

Unnatural Animals

06/09/08

Diet Intuition - Role of Meditation

16/08/08

The Conformity of Institutions

15/08/08

Enabling Love of KuanYin

06/08/08

On thoughts and feelings

26/07/08

Revising My Daily Eating

26/07/08

Microcosmic Orbit Meditation

18/07/08

The Spectrum of Mind, Energy and Body

11/07/08

On Social Responsibility

08/07/08

Ideas, Individual Revolution, Perfect Democracy

30/06/08

One Mind and Religious Tolerance

16/06/08

Home - About Men and Women

05/06/08

Trust

03/06/08

Chi and Emotions

14/04/08

Transmutation - the human processor

26/03/08

Surrender

25/03/08

No-self - less blog activity

24/03/08

Marjoe

11/02/08

The Quandary of Addiction

07/02/08

Slipped

04/02/08

Right Livelihood - Ethical Money

27/01/08

Turning Point J

21/01/08

Kaya as self

20/01/08

How does self operate?

19/01/08

Self-Awareness and Control

11/01/08

Dhammasakkachas

11/01/08

Trying to understand the self in kaya

08/01/08

A difficult day with self

07/01/08

two selves or one?

04/01/08

Power of Addicted Self

02/01/08

Even the Little Things


Second Half of 2007 Go to Archive


10/07/07

Procreation first, then love

16/07/07

Understanding Stress

21/07/07

Going Back Online

21/07/07

Pirsig Again - - Warning!

23/07/07

More about S

23/07/07

Talking about the Body

26/07/07

Concerning the 60s

27/07/07

Materialist Conspiracy vs Virtue

17/08/07

Universe in a Single Atom

17/08/07

Western Education - Hollow Core

17/08/07

First Person Methodology and Qualitative Research

29/8/07

Tabula Rasa of the 60s

29/08/07

Blogging, Internet and Engagement

31/08/07

Two Paths and the Drink

02/09/07

Context of Internet Dilemma

03/09/07

Clinging to the World

04/09/07

Human Development

22/09/07

It is not all wonderful

24/09/07

Nature's head

01/10/07

Trying to work on Vedana

10/10/07

No Self following self-indulgence

11/10/07

One Religion

6/11/07

Nature and Buddhism

16/11/07

Food and the birth of a blog

19/11/07

Understanding Yin-Yang

2/12/07

Samsara

11/12/07

Being Magga

12/12/07

Integrating mind and body - avoidng traps of doctrine

17/12/07

Macrobiotic Philosophy

18/12/07

Mb Philosophy Addendum

21/12/07

Cognitive Macrobiotic Development

31/12/07

Addiction


First Half of 2007 Go to Archive

21/02/07

Warning against ACIM

08/01/07

How much do we learn unconsciously?

16/01/07

This course is trying

01/02/07

Meditation can be a fix?

02/02/07

Zukav's Love and Peace Chakras

02/02/07

Macro Thoughts

12/02/07

ACIM has started with God

16/02/07

Part of God's Mind

17/02/07

Dialogues

19/02/07

What Burdens do we carry?

21/02/07

Glamour

21/02/07

Compromised

21/02/07

Fresh Start and Quick Fixes

22/02/07

Post ACIM

26/02/07

AI vs Meditation

28/02/07

What is insight?

01/03/07

Dharmakaya

03/03/07

Dharmakaya is Evolution

05/03/07

Stored Stress

10/03/07

Plant Allergy

11/03/07

Meditation Knock

26/03/07

Update

26/03/07

S

26/03/07

Response to S

01/06/07

Bangkok Mindfulness

02/06/07

My Spiritual Day

24/06/07

Mindfulness - Early Years

27/06/07

Mindfulness - Understanding the Channel

28/06/07

Scientific Materialism and the S factor

29/06/07

My own ego and S


Before 2007 Contents
Go to Archive

21/02/07

Warning against ACIM

05/11/06

Eclecticism

10/11/06

Emotional Blocks

13/11/06

Sati Overcomes Attachment

29/11/06

Detachment dominated

2/12/06

Sila - the only way

03/12/06

Sila - the only way to social order

26/12/06

Kicking into a Course in Miracles

27/12/06

I am a teacher

28/12/06

Disentanglement and Engagement


Even the Little Things
My personal AA stuff:-

"I am an addict. I must not .... One day at a time. "

This applies even to the little things. Once something becomes recognised as being in the way of the Path, it is recognised as an addiction. Even the little things. The occasional cake is giving in to addiction, giving into the self. "I am an addict. I must not eat cake. One day at a time." Sounds excessive, doesn't it? But if it is in the way of the Path, then it is an addiction.

So:-

I am an addict.

I must not give in to the addiction.

One day at a time.

There is only Magga.

Addendum

In this BZAA mnemonic there is identification with the addicted self. This is perverse and gives strength to the addiction.

So:-

There is addicted self.

Addicted action does not happen.

One day at a time.

There is only Magga.

Theme:- Anatta, Magga
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Power of Addicted self
Deception, rationalisation and many more, these are often recounted as aspects of addiction. How often is crime justified under addiction? Describing myself I used to use the phrase "the drink took over", and I wanted it to, so what is all this about?

The addicted self takes power away from the Path. This power has the ability to function as human to a certain extent. Let's consider the drink and blackouts. What is happening? As the drink takes hold the self that wants addiction takes charge. In my own case I sought this especially when I was in the difficult relationship. I would drink and blackout, and that was acceptable. What actions did I carry out? These were rationalised as not me, and in a sense they were not me - they were the addicted self. Body functioned, and so I got home. But did feelings, thoughts, memories and consciousness? As I cannot remember I presume I was not conscious, what thoughts occurred have to be irrelevant, and feelings were uncontrolled as I repeatedly vented my justified anger about the relationship in hurtful ways when blacked out. The addicted self certainly had enough power to control the body at least perfunctorily. This addicted self could be relied upon by my consciousness to get me home, I knew this and when I sought blackout it was never a concern.

When else do we blackout under addiction? Passion. What about violent actions committed in a passionate rage? Murder of wife, etc. The power of the emotion has taken over, the self addicted by this emotion has control, and reacts accordingly. Is a crime of passion then excusable? Are crimes committed by the addicted self excusable? Who allows the addiction in the first place? Should we not then be in control of that addiction? Am I responsible for the petty criminal actions I committed as a drunk? At the time I argued not because I had blacked out or was under the influence but I was responsible because I didn't control the addicted self.

What about the petty criminal actions that are committed during relationships? Theft of property out of anger or disrespect or dismissal of the partner. Are these actions acceptable? Are we responsible? How often do people dismiss the addicted whilst performing immoral actions under the addiction of the passion of relationship? How well do we treat the person we live with? On the one hand we claim we "love" them, but familiarity and anger and whatever else leads to actions that are often immoral and hurtful. These are actions committed because we have lost control. Our addicted selves have gained the ascendancy, the power of the desires has now become such an addicted self, and the actions are not governed by the morality of the Path. There is no compassion in the relationship as the hurt and anger has led to the addicted self taking over. Are we responsible for this?

What about the passion of the artist? This might be considered legitimate passion? The artist might be passionate but is the creation of art an act of passion? Doesn't the artist have clarity of mind at the instant of creativity? So what is the passion of the artist? What is often described as passion in an artist is addiction to desires - the desire to create. The desire to create becomes all-consuming - isn't that addiction? This passion of the artist is just another form of addicted self taking over. The art itself does not require passion, the art is a moment of unity that is clear-minded - the natural state of the mind.

And what about those addicted to intellect? How can I justify seeing intellect as addiction? How many people intellectualise themselves away from the Path? Or equally justify intellectually actions that move them from the Path? Academic institutions do just this. They train the intellectual part of the mind into believing that the intellect is all important. The purpose of these institutions is to enshrine intellect, and Wisdom is eschewed if the Wise do not accept the game of intellect. On an individual level how does intellect create an addicted self? The addicted intellectual rejects understanding through other means such as Insight. Insights are not gained through intellectual pursuits but are gained perhaps initially through Nature or in a more controlled way through meditation. Yet intellectuals dismiss this Wisdom. It is dismissed to such an extent that those who express such Wisdom are often marginalised. The most common marginalising of Wisdom by intellectuals is religion - that is not to say religion is marginalised by everyon. The intellect can accept belief in God (or other), faith, so it is not considered knowledge. The term faith itself need not be intelligent, it is separated from the intellect and even though intellectuals can hold faith they too separate claiming a duality of faith and intellect. Such a process enables intellect to assume the power of the Path, the Natural Power gained from Magga.

The issue of addiction noticeably enters the mind when one tries to stop being addicted, stop being controlled by the desire. The addicted self resists. With the intellectual self-defence, anger is a usual response. First of all intellect appears reasonable. Because it is intellect it assumes that all can be justified, if it cannot it has to be compartmentalised - reason and faith. So what happens with insight and meditation? As neither process is intellectual, intellect needs to dismiss them. As this goes against Nature as Insight and Meditation are fundamental to the Path there is a Natural inherent conflict. Once this conflict surfaces it is harder and harder to dismiss as the addicted intellectual self tries to hold on. This conflict gets vented as anger, anger is concomitant with all forms of fighting addiction and this anger usually gets vented as insults as intellectuals cannot accept physical violence.

Conversely this anger actually demonstrates that the intellectual self is addicted. Why should differing opinions elicit anger? What does it matter if an opinion is different? It doesn't unless something is threatened. If there is a threat there is a response. If the intellectual self is threatened it responds with anger - demonstrating the threat and demonstrating the addiction.

It becomes clearer, there is Path or addiction - the 4 Noble Truths.

Theme - anatta, intellect
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two selves or one?
We each have two entities associated with the theme of self. In this entry I hope to show some delineation. Firstly there is the Natural Self. This is the Self that is Nature that guides us along the Path. This Self is ours and not ours. Because there is only One Nature, there is only One Path, and to follow on this Path there is only one guide and that is Nature herself. So this Natural Self is Nature herself, but because we appear to be one human entity we personalise this part of Nature that guides us as Natural Self. But in Truth this Natural Self does not exist as separate from Nature, it is Nature alone.

So if we all followed our Paths there would not be the need to discuss the concept of self, we would just be following Natural Paths, and that would be the end of it. But sadly that is not the case because we stray from our Paths. This straying from the Path is where the second self comes in if we use the term Natural Self - or first self if we recognise the Natural path as being the One Path of Nature. This self I am calling the addicted self (no capitals). Where does this come from? In each meaningful action we make a decision. At the moment of consciousness ie when eye meets object and we become aware of it we make a decision. It is this decision which is foolish or wise, ignorant or not, that forms the addicted self or just follows the Path. At that moment if the decision is wise then Nature prevails and no addicted self is formed.

If the decision is ignorant then the addicted self is formed (by the Law of Dependent Origination). Once the addicted self is formed then Kamma kicks in. It is this addicted self that leads to rebirth. The addicted self is not natural, not part of Nature, so needs to be expunged. And the way to expunge it is by being born and making the wise decisions that do not form the addicted self. The addicted self can also be expunged in life by recognising its existence and letting go of the addictions. So we can get rid of the addicted self or we can stop it from forming, either way there is left only Nature.

This is what Buddhism describes as anatta. There is only Nature - no human self - no-self. Then there is the addicted self, that Buddhism calls self. We must get rid of self, so in this way there is not two selves but one that we must eliminate.

In this blog I have just discussed addiction. This is a recognition that all actions which do not follow the Path are actions of addiction. When monks were meeting together the Buddha described their having two choices - Dhamma discussion or noble silence. Meaningful actions can be either True actions that follow the Path or they are actions that form the addicted self. Actions which are not meaningful are in themselves natural, but they do not reach awareness - in my words they would be perfunctory.

So above I described an action as being ignorant, so what is this ignorance? The results of ignorance are clear. The action does not follow the Path, forms the addicted self and leads to rebirth. So what is ignorance? I need to think about that more.

Feeling -> Craving -> Clinging -> Becoming -> Rebirth

This is part of the sequence of dependent origination. At the moment awareness arises we must be mindful. The awareness produces feeling. This feeling whether pleasant or unpleasant can lead to craving. At the point of contact we must be mindful that feeling will arise, that we can react to this feeling by one of the forms of craving - greed, anger or delusion. If these kick in then we have clinging and addicted self.

We need to know greed, anger and delusion. Look for them in our addicted selves. What do we fall for? Once recognised then we can quench these fires that already exist, and see the fires alight with feeling.

The two are Nature and the addicted self born from greed, anger and delusion.

The one self is the addicted self that comes from greed, anger and delusion.

What are greed, anger and delusion? It is necessary to see these in all their forms.

Theme - anatta, mindfulness, Magga
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A difficult day with self
They came and put in my new 2Mb/1Mb dl/ul connection. It cost me 3745Baht - a lot by Thai standards - just less than Ł60 - 3 months bank service charge!! And then I found their speed was worse than maxnet - 200/850 international. Yet I went to a Thai speed test, and it was 1700/800 - what I paid for. Now I test it 1600/800 - that means a rethink. I got upset with the guy - no expat tirade or anything, and the guy was nice.

It was self. And I was with all that stuff in my head for the rest of the day - even entertaining addictive thoughts in the evening. I had a difficult night, and I woke up with self prevalent. Slowly this worked its way clear, and in meditation it was clear that self was less of an impact but I was still full of thoughts. And planning a hydroponics garden.

It's a mess. There is obviously some kind of balance that is unconsciously worked out in life, this is the balance between true self or Nature and the addicted self. Consider what happened to me. When young I hit the booze, and at 23 I had the breakdown. Coming out of this I knew about the Path. It was inside me, I had to have some level of Path in my life. Yet self continued to wheedle its way in. I progressed spiritually and yet self also progressed. I gained strength from teaching, studied spiritually in holidays, but I gradually let self take its hold through the booze. Yet at 36 Nature gradually slipped in and kicked out the booze.

Nature forced self to let go there. But it wasn't replaced by the Path, it was replaced by politics - even though I was already in politics whilst on the booze. I soon burnt out in politics, and then there were a couple of years in limbo where I got used to life without the booze and major involvement in politics, and events took me to Botswana. There, escaping the restrictions of western life, I tasted the freedom of Africa. Enjoying the change of pace and lack of stress I enjoyed an easy life of women, travel and education, but towards the end of time there I began to develop spiritually. Initially the spirit took me into the M Ed, but after that reflection the spirit moved me towards Buddhism, something I confirmed formally within myself soon after getting to Oman. But in Africa the self had taken me to the women and it takes a long time to heal attachment to the home comforts of African women.

Then self took me more into career where combined with a legitimate direction in education self got fed on the power of system status. Whilst my meditation increased self also gained hold through this status, and addiction to TV plus. Once it became clear after my post-probate three months travel that retirement was a financial possibility self kept its element of control with status etc., and Nature eased me into retirement where I could begin working on studies. But this work did not eschew self, in fact it is only 18 months after retirement that I am now beginning to come to grips with bits of self.

To finish this blog it has just struck me that for years I discussed the mind as demon against spirit. Even when I stopped denigrating mind it often got replaced by intellect. Perhaps I can now see these as self, self as the demon against spirit, the intellectual self, and other forms of accumulated addicted self.

Theme - anatta, self-review
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Trying to understand the self in kaya

Basically I don't.

This blog started with consideration of a macrobiotic discussion. Why are some foods that are addictive - evidently bad for you, coming under a category "there are no good or bad foods, depends on a person's health, needs and attitude". I gave up trying to fathom this because I don't trust they are on the right path. It appeared to me that there was an element of the addicted self in this. It struck me that for many of my macrobiotic contacts the purpose of a macrobiotic diet is to improve their health and not unite with the infinite self. If unity is not the purpose then such people are stuck in self, however much food can change attitude.

So with my continued discussion of health how much am I stuck in self? At the back of my mind is that the monks don't worry about diet - although Ajaan Munindo did. At the moment I put that aside as a kind of super-meditation overcomes all, and I am not practising super-meditation with the small amount of time that I meditate. Yet at the same time I have questions about health as I recall health issues a number of times with stories from monks.

Now clearly my body has had minor health issues, the question is whether I am pre-occupied with those issues. In meditation I have recognised self in those areas of the body that are exhibiting sickness - my digestive system and my back. Next time I must check for self in the left knee and right arm and shoulder. Are these selves connected to my clinging?

How much should I be concerned with health? Am I clinging to a health that I cannot have because I am ageing? Or am I still trying to determine a healthy way of life, after years of poor lifestyle due to work, so that I can study effectively? The answer is that there is self present so somehow I am not clear. ..... Still not clear.

OK the body must be taken care of. That means eating properly, exercising the physical and energetic body - yoga and Tai Chi. Paying attention to the chakras is part of maintaining a healthy energetic body. The problem is paying attention to the body beyond the above requirements. The above requisite human practices need to be given their proper importance but that is not to be pre-occupied with them. How much time is being spent learning what is what? Beyond requirement how much is there thinking concerning the body? These are the questions, and the answer is simple - the balance is wrong - a definite indication of self. Recognise the time for the requirements, and then get back to the job - learning what is what. And at the moment learning what is what is on anatta. So self is being removed from the body as part of an understanding of anatta (good sign) - but wore work on letting go of self in the body needs doing as of course the need to understand anatta.

Theme - anatta, health
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Dhammasakkacha
I am being sent Ajaan Munindo's dhammasakkachas again, I am going to blog the responses. I can then answer more than a page, but that also means it will contain more drivel. Here are the Dhammasakkachas.
Theme -
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Self-Awareness and control
I have so much anger today at being ignorant of self. I am having difficulty focussing on what I am doing, simple mistakes are making me angry. And it is because I am not aware of self and am letting myself indulge self. This is so stupid - ignorant. Previously I have discussed in the blog how addictions creep up on you, that the addicted self gains control, and yet knowing this this addicted self still has control. I am angry at being so stupid.

First let go of the anger. This anger has to have been buried there for such a long time - let it go. It was there all the time ignorance of self has existed, all the time I let self in. Let go of the anger.

Look at the identification with anger in the first paragraph - how ignorant. How much of the anger at work was anger because of the addicted self? Or is it that we clear away the layers of anger, as we clear away the layers of defilement? Anger demonstrates defilement. You think you get tabs on these things and then more stuff comes along.

This is a few days later. The swirling anger of self gained the upper hand and I gave in to addiction. It is awful to see inside that self (or demons) has such power. The process of giving in to addiction is just that - giving in, deciding not to control it. The desire comes up and rather than letting go of it self steps in. It doesn't matter. And the addiction takes over, Nature doesn't have control. And you wake up with the mental aspect of drunkenness without the physical hangover. A feeling of anger - of guilt, that yet again self has been given the upper hand.

I always claimed that spirituality broke me up with my bętes noirs, N and T, but I realised how true that was. The issue was control in two ways. Firstly how can Nature be in control when in my home selfish actions are happening; even if I am not doing them they affect me. Secondly I have my own addicted self to cope with. Is it selfish to be concerned about what others are doing in your home? Often the concern creates self issues. Is the partner sleeping around? What do people think of me to allow this to happen? This is self but the basic problem is trust, trust that the partner can let me control my life to be spiritual.

But of course self enters into the relationship from my side. Are actions in the relationship on the Path? Are actions of love-making enlightening or just self? And with this additional addiction how much more self takes over?

This is not something I believe but I am so far from controlling self it might be better to give up and have a battle in relationship. But at least I now know the basis of the control issues are not negative. How can I attempt to control self in a relationship when also being concerned about the partner is doing? I then become controlling in order to maintain control of my own self not out of a desire for intolerance or a desire to restrict freedom. I become controlling because my own self is threatening me even more. I cannot do that to someone else. Hence my current solitary journey.

Theme - Anatta
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How does self operate?
I have no idea whether this is true for everyone but why wouldn't it be? True for S.

"Give an inch take a mile." This is selfish.

It is interesting how the common phrases work out with self as described by Buddha. This one is clearly as is common usage. Self-aware is a bit different. Look at self, see what it is, become aware of it so that it can be destroyed - so that there is no self. And yet self-realisation is neither, but is a realisation that there is no self but Nature. Self-realisation as I knew it when thinking about theory of education was to find my role in life. But of course this is dual, it is both self and anatta. Finding the true self as Nature or no-self is self-realisation, but the self-realisation as I once knew it is full of danger. It leads to a measure of self in terms of society, and this is just ego - the self of Buddhism. This is a big danger when trying to be engaged. Is the engagement for one's own self or for the good of mankind? At the same time if we are working for self in society, then we are not on the Path; our actions may initially have been motivated by the Path but if it is self that is not Path. Maybe this is the Boddhisattva dilemma that in part splits Theravada and Mahayana. The Boddhisattva comes back to help so for some maybe helping shows that there is a part of Boddhisattva in them. Isn't it that there has to be no self before we can claim Boddhsattva-ism? Isn't claiming life's path as Path part of self conning us?

Of course survival comes into this as we have to earn money to live. Earning money per se is an act of self. Doing a job on the Path is the ideal, where we are is somewhere between.

Let's examine my teaching. Early on I knew I was a teacher but did that make all of teaching non-self? Far from it. With the compromises that society forces on all that are involved, self worked its way in. Power, self-righteousness, fighting careerism and profiteering, are all aspects of self. Even wanting to teach. If I was teacher then learners would come, so why is there a need to want to teach? So much of teaching became wrapped up with the limitations of teaching, the subject curriculum, the power plays in the institution, and all such that have nothing to do with the underlying legitimate role of Teacher of Nature. Self took over.

Back to "give an inch take a mile". If this is the nature of self then it is important to recognise that there is vulnerability when self has been given its head. Again it is strange to reflect. In working life there seemed a balance between Anatta and self. This is probably not true. Self took over until eventually it took me too far from the Path and the Path reasserted itself; much akin to the first experience of Path where I had a breakdown because early misguided studies creating arrogance, socialising at university and drinking in the job had dragged me so far from the Path a breakdown was needed. Once the Path was inside, self had to be wary because straying onto the Path would cause a backlash. Self knew its limitations, and wheedled its way in step-by-step. Even the addicted self of alcohol did not prevent the Path from being followed in part, until the Path asserted itself because of health. But then the self worked its way into other addictions through relationships, job and leisure, always being careful to leave an outlet that the Path was not encroached on too far. So rephrase "Give an inch take a mile so long as it doesn't infringe too far on the Path". But then following the Path is 100% of the time, and not being on it any of that time is self. Watch yourself. :)

I like that, I want to be a Teacher of Nature - self again.

Theme - Anatta, Engaged, Path
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Kaya as self
Kaya had been improving with yoga and Tai Chi, and then I stopped because of the GORD. I had been concerned that whatever had caused the reflux initially was not being given a chance to heal with the stretches that yoga did. At that time I did not understand the self principle:-

Give self an inch and it will take a mile so long as self does not encroach on established Path.

I stopped all exercise, including the Tai Chi.

For the last few days I had been thinking of starting exercise again, and did so this morning. I discovered that the shoulder/arm problem was being helped by yoga and now I couldn't do the postures with the arm. Yet before I stopped yoga I had the shoulder/arm problem, and only had minor difficulties with the arm in postures.

I woke up demanding determination, this self is not going to be controlled without determination. The BZAA mnemonic is now:-

There is addicted self.

Be determined to let self go.

No addicted actions, one desire at a time

Magga is the Path

Kaya has its own self and is adopting the same approach as the above principle. Kaya needs to be in tune, that is the Natural way. Whilst it might have been correct to ease the pressure on the liver-oesophagus interface that was yielding the reflux, awareness should have seen the danger that self would intercede and make matters worse by detuning the body. The body in tune is part of Nature and is therefore part of the Path - self don't encroach.

Theme - Anatta, Health
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Turning Point J
It is fascinating what meditation brings up. An obscure incident with a fine woman was a turning point in my life - an escape.

Uni was where I first got the drink. It got hold of me because my spirit was buried deep in the repressed heart, and I sought adolescent succour from peers. I went to a Wales uni, so such succour was with rugby boys who drank incessantly. No blame, anything would have started me.

I had always been an insecure adolescent, my spirit was repressed so deep there was never any strength to get over shyness and awkwardness. At the same time I never bought into it properly. Men successful with the ladies focus their energies on the quest, become successful at it and are accoladed amongst peers. Their egos (selves) are massaged by the charms of the woman, and the accolades brought with the arm candy. For myself the spirit was buried so deep I had no direction other than pass the exams. Not that I was a bookworm, academically I under-achieved throughout, it was just that I was pushed that way by my family - gently no aggressive guilt trips. Except for an incident with my grandmother who I told that I will do enough to get by - apparently she left the room and cried. In fact I did do just enough to get by and regretted it, until I understood only recently that if I had gone down that academic path my self might have created difficulties with the True Path. Instead the qualifications enabled me to teach, and that was what I was meant to do in a job. Abilities that get distorted into academia were meant to be used for study on the Path, and at least I am doing a bit of that.

In university adolescent awkwardness was replaced by drunken braggadocio. In my own eyes the drink overcame shyness. But what was that shyness? The spirit was withdrawn, it was never there. I was so far from my Path, so far from who I am, I never spoke to anyone as me. Yet being one of the lads I was supposed to chase women, I had a libido, so I became God's gift when drunk. Fortunately that God's gift was totally obnoxious so apart from occasional incidents with women nothing happened. Certainly nothing meaningful like a relationship. Of course what woman would want a relationship with such a shell of a human being, an empty person whose heart was still repressed.

Once I started work in computing I developed a certain amount of social strength. The image of the suit, drinking with a firm of interesting people, gave me some confidence. One woman, not J, spotted my potential and took me under her wing - not in a relationship; to this day I cannot see in my actions what she saw but she helped me a great deal with confidence and a belief that there was something more to me and life other than peer acceptance.

At the end of a year of business ego massage I had more confidence. It was a tradition for those who had just left uni to return at Whit to see everyone. It was something I looked forward to. Unfortunately the week before returning I broke my leg in football - nothing serious but a cast. So I turned up at this do on crutches.

I was not that drunk but I do not remember seeing many people I had previously hung out with. The first recollection I have of the day is that J came over to me. Now J was an untouchable for someone like me. She was extremely beautiful, she was disarming, her quiet charm and vulnerable nature were a magnet to the chauvinism of the sports drinkers. She was a woman amongst others that a pleb like me put on a pedestal, she could have been on the highest pedestal though. She was with a group of female friends, and told me she always remembered me as laughing and smiling. She invited me to join her and her friends around the town. I was shockedly flattered and proceeded to hobble behind their group on crutches. I can't remember much more of the evening, there was no mad passion - I just kind of basked at being encouraged by the pedestal.

Just before I come to the crunch I want to recount a date I had at uni. I somehow in my drunkenness managed to persuade a nice girl to come on a date with me. I took her to a polite date's pub where I seem to remember us just sitting. An acquaintance was also in this date pub, and he commented on how well I behaved - not the usual drunken bum. I invited her back to my room to try it on. It wasn't that I was desperate to try it on, it was just that that was everyone did. Bear in mind this is 36 years ago so it is interesting the detail I remember of a one night date. In my room it was awkward. I might have tried it on, I might not but it wasn't appropriate. The woman just told me I was lonely and I had no friends. I just laughed at her of course, I was one of the lads - popular, always out, known by everyone. I can't remember how the evening finished. I can't remember a row, I suspect I just took her home and that was the end of it. But the fact that she was so astute struck home retrospectively - not at the time.

Back to J, and it is now Sunday. The Saturday drinking was finished and it was Sunday lunch-time so I went to my old pub for lunch before preparing to go back to London. J came in on her own and sat at the bar. I was with my group and froze, she had come for me to further the relationship and I froze. I smiled hello at her, but that was all I could do. I just sat frozen, pretending conversation, and she eventually walked out.

It doesn't seem much, does it? But in meditation this J non-event was a turning point. There is no doubt at all that the whole thing could have led me to one big trap. I had not found the Path, I was totally smitten, and she was interested. Maybe her own depth kept her away from the usual dating game? She had to have suitors, if you got a date with her at uni your lads' status shot right up.

I travelled back to London with an acquaintance who I knew was a good friend of J's. When I told him he laughed at me - because of who I had been at uni. He was wrong but thankfully my belated attempts at suiting didn't get anywhere.

I now see this event as a major turning point as she could have been the ball and chain for life. Everything about her satiated any man's ego, and if I had crossed that threshold it would have taken much to cross back. What this points to is the mysterious ways that Path can work. To protect its future investment it turned me into a shy youth, I have no shyness issues now because if it is something I want I will ask - I can only be told no. The blankness, the freezing were last-ditched attempts at the deeply-buried spirit preventing me from taking the relationship plunge. If you had asked me at this time what was my ambition, I would have said a two-up, a two-down and a steady job - what was considered normality then - and now? I would have had to be dragged away if that route were opened with J. And with all the commitments of that route, how much of what I have become would have had to be squashed with duty?

She saw in me laughing and happiness, that means a lot. Others just saw the drunk. And the odd date saw loneliness.

What a way the Path operates.

A few months after this, with a change to a gross job without the classy people at my first job, I sank deep into the bottle and at the end of 6 months I had what I called the breakdown - hitting bottom, coming out the other side somewhere on the Path. For me J was no more, just a phenomenal ego boost. Coming out of hitting bottom confidence grew, and although I hadn't thrown off the drink the Path had started. Whenever Path and women crossed swords, the Path always won although I often went through hell while it won. Fascinating recollection.

Theme - Path
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Right Livelihood - Ethical Money
As part of my Western education I have become disenfranchised from my money. From the word go, government parts you from your money and over recent years finance institutions have also been an accepted part of this process. As a friend puts it you get up to work to pay bills.

But where does this money go that you have earned? It doesn't remain idle, it gets spent - it is invested. As soon as the money enters the investment market, ie going beyond trading for items, money takes on an ethical character - OR NOT. This is the issue of this blog entry - ethical money.

I claim to live a moral life - right livelihood, but a significant part of my life, the most significant engaged part of my life, is not moral - my money. I have sat back and accepted that I need money to survive; I have accepted that the minimal investments I have the potential to control are a necessary evil, and that they can be invested by others as they provide the money to live as a necessary evil. Buy why accept such impotence?

Let me examine my money. Offshore current bank account, state pension, teachers' pension, international teachers' pension, saving funds.

Which of these do I control? Offshore current bank account, international teachers' pension, saving funds. I can choose where the money goes in these areas of my finance.

What happened in my choice in these areas? The bank account just happened and I kept it for convenience. The international teachers' pension and saving funds were specified by an adviser, supposedly optimising profits. But why do I let my decisions be so passive in an area of such importance in life? In other words why do I let my money be invested on the market without any form of control?

This is a personal problem. Because of my reaction to my father's misdirection, to say the least, of allowing money to come before humanity, I have in life on a number of occasions accepted that being humane comes before any consideration of money. Together with Western disenfranchisement this reaction has allowed me to slip out of control of my money.

It is now time to control what I can. There is an ethical bank, Triodos, but it is not as convenient as the offshore account. But I have my living expenses bank account in Thailand so I don't need the offshore one - anyway they are now charging exorbitant rates to keep the account. This in itself is part of insidiousness. The War on Terror is the popular expression of increasingly repressive policies in the West, especially financial. It has increased xenophobia, and now sensible people are following xenophobic practices as a consequence of financial regulation. Ecology Building Society does not accept overseas investment because of financial regulations concerning address authentication; this is simply institutional racism formed by legal advice grounded in self-protection - watching your back. How humane is this approach? The offshore account has simply taken advantage of the financial restrictions to increase charges as I don't have the flexibility to create a new bank account.

What about the international pension? On a money level it is a waste, after the fund managers are paid I am getting bank rate. Where is it invested? I do not control that. I could investigate but it would not be invested ethically positive, even if it doesn't support the arms trade. One of the Savings Funds is the same - little more than bank rate, and the two funds that provide share income are financially useful.

But why not establish shares or funds that provide income? Why not control the shares so that the share income comes ethically? Such ethical shares don't require continuous maintenance as they ask for them to be medium or long-term. Once share income has reached a certain level it can be re-invested, but that doesn't happen daily. Stocktrade offers a cheap way of purchasing shares, not requiring the services of a broker, so if I setup an account with them I can buy my own shares.

I am not sure how it works but Stocktrade are connected with Brewer Dolphin brokers who run a Matched Bargain Market. Certain ethical shares, CafeDirect.org, Triodos Renewables and Ethical Property Company, are not available on the stock market but need some direct arrangement through Brewer Dolphin. A little more interaction but hopefully not a big issue.

State and Teachers' pension withstanding, Triodos bank and ethically investing with Stocktrade has much more Right Livelihood attached. This triodos gif illustrates why.

Addendum 0/01/09

According to Triodos the interest paid on my account has not altered throughout the credit crunch. This might be good in the UK but transfer here to Thailand is down 25%. Vindicates my decision, and chastises my unaware tardiness - plus whatever loss on proerty portfolio!!!

Theme - Engagement
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Slipped
For a week I have slipped - less meditation some days none, and addictive behaviour has increased. I also started sleeping late and waking up late - a consequence of the addictive behaviour.

What caused this? Money! This investigation of ethical investment took over. Now that needed to be done but it didn't need to take over. It became consuming until I had resolved what I was doing. The resolution took 3 or 4 days and the knock-on effect lasted another 3 days - the week. Yesterday I did nothing but write 1 email and post two letters, and the rest of the time was consumed with addiction. At the same time I have not looked after kaya, the food is now routine but the exercise both physical and energetic went.

The investigation had to take place and has led to a consolidated plan but did I have to slip so much? It reminded me of Nigeria where in year 2 I gave up the ghost except on holiday. It is useful to know that I can slip and not to get cocky. So basically there is a lack of humility, humility is Natural, and when thought of like that it is obvious. Not being humble is just having selves.

Following a question on the source of thought Bhikkhu Pesala recommended the Dvedhavitakka Sutta. This sutta got to me so I have included it here (jump to the end of the sutta):-

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying at Savatthi, in Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika's monastery. There he addressed the monks: "Monks!"

"Yes, lord," the monks replied.

The Blessed One said, "Monks, before my self-awakening, when I was still just an unawakened Bodhisatta, the thought occurred to me: 'Why don't I keep dividing my thinking into two sorts?' So I made thinking imbued with sensuality, thinking imbued with ill will, & thinking imbued with harmfulness one sort, and thinking imbued with renunciation, thinking imbued with non-ill will, & thinking imbued with harmlessness another sort.

"And as I remained thus heedful, ardent, & resolute, thinking imbued with sensuality arose. I discerned that 'Thinking imbued with sensuality has arisen in me; and that leads to my own affliction or to the affliction of others or to the affliction of both. It obstructs discernment, promotes vexation, & does not lead to Unbinding.'

"As I noticed that it leads to my own affliction, it subsided. As I noticed that it leads to the affliction of others... to the affliction of both... it obstructs discernment, promotes vexation, & does not lead to Unbinding, it subsided. Whenever thinking imbued with sensuality had arisen, I simply abandoned it, destroyed it, dispelled it, wiped it out of existence.

"And as I remained thus heedful, ardent, & resolute, thinking imbued with ill will arose. I discerned that 'Thinking imbued with ill will has arisen in me; and that leads to my own affliction or to the affliction of others or to the affliction of both. It obstructs discernment, promotes vexation, & does not lead to Unbinding.'

"As I noticed that it leads to my own affliction, it subsided. As I noticed that it leads to the affliction of others... to the affliction of both... it obstructs discernment, promotes vexation, & does not lead to Unbinding, it subsided. Whenever thinking imbued with ill will had arisen, I simply abandoned it, destroyed it, dispelled it, wiped it out of existence.

"And as I remained thus heedful, ardent, & resolute, thinking imbued with harmfulness arose. I discerned that 'Thinking imbued with harmfulness has arisen in me; and that leads to my own affliction or to the affliction of others or to the affliction of both. It obstructs discernment, promotes vexation, & does not lead to Unbinding.'

"As I noticed that it leads to my own affliction, it subsided. As I noticed that it leads to the affliction of others... to the affliction of both... it obstructs discernment, promotes vexation, & does not lead to Unbinding, it subsided. Whenever thinking imbued with harmfulness had arisen, I simply abandoned it, destroyed it, dispelled it, wiped it out of existence.

"Whatever a monk keeps pursuing with his thinking & pondering, that becomes the inclination of his awareness. If a monk keeps pursuing thinking imbued with sensuality, abandoning thinking imbued with renunciation, his mind is bent by that thinking imbued with sensuality. If a monk keeps pursuing thinking imbued with ill will, abandoning thinking imbued with non-ill will, his mind is bent by that thinking imbued with ill will. If a monk keeps pursuing thinking imbued with harmfulness, abandoning thinking imbued with harmlessness, his mind is bent by that thinking imbued with harmfulness.

"Just as in the last month of the Rains, in the autumn season when the crops are ripening, a cowherd would look after his cows: He would tap & poke & check & curb them with a stick on this side & that. Why is that? Because he foresees flogging or imprisonment or a fine or public censure arising from that [if he let his cows wander into the crops]. In the same way I foresaw in unskillful qualities drawbacks, degradation, & defilement, and I foresaw in skillful qualities rewards related to renunciation & promoting cleansing.

"And as I remained thus heedful, ardent, & resolute, thinking imbued with renunciation arose. I discerned that 'Thinking imbued with renunciation has arisen in me; and that leads neither to my own affliction, nor to the affliction of others, nor to the affliction of both. It fosters discernment, promotes lack of vexation, & leads to Unbinding. If I were to think & ponder in line with that even for a night... even for a day... even for a day & night, I do not envision any danger that would come from it, except that thinking & pondering a long time would tire the body. When the body is tired, the mind is disturbed; and a disturbed mind is far from concentration.' So I steadied my mind right within, settled, unified, & concentrated it. Why is that? So that my mind would not be disturbed.

"And as I remained thus heedful, ardent, & resolute, thinking imbued with non-ill will arose. I discerned that 'Thinking imbued with non-ill will has arisen in me; and that leads neither to my own affliction, nor to the affliction of others, nor to the affliction of both. It fosters discernment, promotes lack of vexation, & leads to Unbinding. If I were to think & ponder in line with that even for a night... even for a day... even for a day & night, I do not envision any danger that would come from it, except that thinking & pondering a long time would tire the body. When the body is tired, the mind is disturbed; and a disturbed mind is far from concentration.' So I steadied my mind right within, settled, unified, & concentrated it. Why is that? So that my mind would not be disturbed.

"And as I remained thus heedful, ardent, & resolute, thinking imbued with harmlessness arose. I discerned that 'Thinking imbued with harmlessness has arisen in me; and that leads neither to my own affliction, nor to the affliction of others, nor to the affliction of both. It fosters discernment, promotes lack of vexation, & leads to Unbinding. If I were to think & ponder in line with that even for a night... even for a day... even for a day & night, I do not envision any danger that would come from it, except that thinking & pondering a long time would tire the body. When the body is tired, the mind is disturbed; and a disturbed mind is far from concentration.' So I steadied my mind right within, settled, unified, & concentrated it. Why is that? So that my mind would not be disturbed.

"Whatever a monk keeps pursuing with his thinking & pondering, that becomes the inclination of his awareness. If a monk keeps pursuing thinking imbued with renunciation, abandoning thinking imbued with sensuality, his mind is bent by that thinking imbued with renunciation. If a monk keeps pursuing thinking imbued with non-ill will, abandoning thinking imbued with ill will, his mind is bent by that thinking imbued with non-ill will. If a monk keeps pursuing thinking imbued with harmlessness, abandoning thinking imbued with harmfulness, his mind is bent by that thinking imbued with harmlessness.

"Just as in the last month of the hot season, when all the crops have been gathered into the village, a cowherd would look after his cows: While resting under the shade of a tree or out in the open, he simply keeps himself mindful of 'those cows.' In the same way, I simply kept myself mindful of 'those mental qualities.'

"Unflagging persistence was aroused in me, and unmuddled mindfulness established. My body was calm & unaroused, my mind concentrated & single. Quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful mental qualities, I entered & remained in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. With the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, I entered & remained in the second jhana: rapture & pleasure born of composure, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation - internal assurance. With the fading of rapture I remained in equanimity, mindful & alert, and physically sensitive of pleasure. I entered & remained in the third jhana, of which the Noble Ones declare, 'Equanimous & mindful, he has a pleasurable abiding.' With the abandoning of pleasure & pain - as with the earlier disappearance of elation & distress - I entered & remained in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither pleasure nor pain.

"When the mind was thus concentrated, purified, bright, unblemished, rid of defilement, pliant, malleable, steady, & attained to imperturbability, I directed it to the knowledge of recollecting my past lives. I recollected my manifold past lives, i.e., one birth, two... five, ten... fifty, a hundred, a thousand, a hundred thousand, many eons of cosmic contraction, many eons of cosmic expansion, many eons of cosmic contraction & expansion: 'There I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure & pain, such the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose there. There too I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure & pain, such the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose here.' Thus I remembered my manifold past lives in their modes & details.

"This was the first knowledge I attained in the first watch of the night. Ignorance was destroyed; knowledge arose; darkness was destroyed; light arose - as happens in one who is heedful, ardent, & resolute.

"When the mind was thus concentrated, purified, bright, unblemished, rid of defilement, pliant, malleable, steady, & attained to imperturbability, I directed it to the knowledge of the passing away & reappearance of beings. I saw - by means of the divine eye, purified & surpassing the human - beings passing away & re-appearing, and I discerned how they are inferior & superior, beautiful & ugly, fortunate & unfortunate in accordance with their kamma: 'These beings - who were endowed with bad conduct of body, speech & mind, who reviled the Noble Ones, held wrong views and undertook actions under the influence of wrong views - with the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell. But these beings - who were endowed with good conduct of body, speech, & mind, who did not revile the Noble Ones, who held right views and undertook actions under the influence of right views - with the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the good destinations, in the heavenly world.' Thus - by means of the divine eye, purified & surpassing the human - I saw beings passing away & re-appearing, and I discerned how they are inferior & superior, beautiful & ugly, fortunate & unfortunate in accordance with their kamma.

"This was the second knowledge I attained in the second watch of the night. Ignorance was destroyed; knowledge arose; darkness was destroyed; light arose - as happens in one who is heedful, ardent, & resolute.

"When the mind was thus concentrated, purified, bright, unblemished, rid of defilement, pliant, malleable, steady, & attained to imperturbability, I directed it to the knowledge of the ending of the mental fermentations. I discerned, as it had come to be, that 'This is stress... This is the origination of stress... This is the cessation of stress... This is the way leading to the cessation of stress... These are fermentations... This is the origination of fermentations... This is the cessation of fermentations... This is the way leading to the cessation of fermentations.' My heart, thus knowing, thus seeing, was released from the fermentation of sensuality, released from the fermentation of becoming, released from the fermentation of ignorance. With release, there was the knowledge, 'Released.' I discerned that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'

"This was the third knowledge I attained in the third watch of the night. Ignorance was destroyed; knowledge arose; darkness was destroyed; light arose - as happens in one who is heedful, ardent, & resolute.

"Suppose, monks, that in a forested wilderness there were a large low-lying marsh, in dependence on which there lived a large herd of deer; and a certain man were to appear, not desiring their benefit, not desiring their welfare, not desiring their rest from bondage. He would close off the safe, restful path that led to their rapture, and would open up a false path, set out a male decoy, place a female decoy, and thus the large herd of deer, at a later time, would fall into ruin & disaster. Then suppose that a certain man were to appear to that same large herd of deer, desiring their benefit, desiring their welfare, desiring their rest from bondage. He would open up the safe, restful path that led to their rapture, would close off the false path, take away the male decoy, destroy the female decoy, and thus the large herd of deer, at a later time, would come into growth, increase, & abundance.

"I have given this simile in order to convey a meaning. The meaning is this: 'The large, low-lying marsh' is a term for sensual pleasures. 'The large herd of deer' is a term for beings. 'The man not desiring their benefit, not desiring their welfare, not desiring their rest from bondage' is a term for Mara, the Evil One. 'The false path' is a term for the eightfold wrong path, i.e., wrong view, wrong resolve, wrong speech, wrong action, wrong livelihood, wrong effort, wrong mindfulness, & wrong concentration. 'The male decoy' is a term for passion & delight. 'The female decoy' is a term for ignorance. 'The man desiring their benefit, desiring their welfare, desiring their rest from bondage' is a term for the Tathagata, the Worthy One, the Rightly Self-awakened One. 'The safe, restful path that led to their rapture' is a term for the noble eightfold path, i.e., right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, & right concentration.

"So, monks, I have opened up the safe, restful path, closed off the false path, removed the male decoy, destroyed the female. Whatever a teacher should do - seeking the welfare of his disciples, out of sympathy for them - that have I done for you. Over there are the roots of trees; over there, empty dwellings. Practice jhana, monks. Don't be heedless. Don't later fall into regret. This is our message to you."

That is what the Blessed One said. Gratified, the monks delighted in the Blessed One's words.

Linked to this sutta.

"Endowed with [any of] four qualities, a monk isn't fit to stay in isolated forest & wilderness dwellings. Which four? [He is endowed] with thoughts of sensuality, with thoughts of ill will, with thoughts of harmfulness, and he is a person of weak discernment, dull, a drooling idiot. Endowed with [any of] these four qualities, a monk isn't fit to stay in isolated forest & wilderness dwellings.

"Endowed with four qualities, a monk is fit to stay in isolated forest & wilderness dwellings. Which four? [He is endowed] with thoughts of renunciation, with thoughts of non-ill will, with thoughts of harmlessness, and he is a discerning person, not dull, not a drooling idiot. Endowed with these four qualities, a monk is fit to stay in isolated forest & wilderness dwellings."

Whilst I was studying the ethical investment I was not heedful, ardent, & resolute, and any thoughts of renunciation went out of the window. Attachments grew into addicted behaviour. It is time to knock that all back and get into mental shape again.

Theme - Addiction, Path
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The Quandary of Addiction
This one is so difficult but solving this might be the real breakthrough. Doubt it. It's like climbing mountains - when you reach the next crest here is always a next one. But climbing mountains is fun if your objective is not just to get to the top. And once you reach the crest it is a nice view so long as you are not too disappointed it is not the top.

Self as addiction again. Craving can also be craving to get rid of. Desires need to be let go, don't get stressed about it. But then if you take it easy the self sneaks in with its addiction again.

It is necessary to discern how to treat craving or addiction. Hammering it into the ground is like an elastic band, it springs back on you. The craving has to be replaced by what is Natural - the Path - Magga.

In this situation the focus is on right determination and right mindfulness, mindfulness to note the desire and let it go, and right determination to maintain this.

This is not a hammer but a gentle method of dealing with the addiction. As in the last blog entry in the Dvedhavitakka Sutta, be heedful, ardent, & resolute.

Theme - Addiction, Magga
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Marjoe
Beforehand I didn't understand why a Buddhist group were discussing US Pentecostal via a movie, however I attended to make contacts. One never knows what contact is made but I specifically have two email addresses. But the real rub is the stimulation of the movie and the post-discussion.

Marjoe himself:-

What a fascinating person, life is so diverse to throw up a character like this. This next is very judgemental but it is an analysis that needs to be so, I think. I judge him as a faith healer without faith. If that is so, isn't that fascinating? I will discuss the film-makers later, but he had a dilemma encouraged by the film-makers that he didn't believe in what he was doing. It is not clear whether he believed in God, just that he didn't believe in what he was doing.

He had been raised as a faith-healer. Apparently his mother had rammed it down his throat although that didn't come across to me from the movie. His father at one stage had apparently absconded with $3 million, someone said. But he had stopped in early teens - not clear why, and then started later and I understand that he did that because he wanted to earn money. Not sure where I picked that up from. The movie focussed on this stage where he was going through personal doubt as to whether he should earn money as a faith healer. I will discuss this more later but I am taking it as read that his congregation were healed in some way, and therefore because they were healed in some way he was a faith-healer.

In retrospect it is very interesting that in the movie he never discussed his religious belief. He was encouraged to mock by the film-makers but the mocking came across as a mocking of himself rather than a mocking of the congregation. This shows a high level of integrity to me because the congregation would be so easy to mock if their actions were dependent on his faith alone.

Much was made in the discussion about money, prompted again by the film-makers. There was one stage where he asked them to sacrifice their bills money as the greater the sacrifice the greater the benefit. His own personal doubts came to me as "earning money because he didn't believe", but he did offer a service. Religious people taking money as a service was not too far from us at that meeting. We had just had lunch with 3 freeloaders in orange robes, as my father might have described it. No-one in our religion begrudged paying for lunch for monks who were giving us service. This disparity in my view comes from an understandable lack of religious tolerance. This appeared a mindless religion, and the people accepting the Holy Ghost appeared to be accepting this in a mindless fashion. Based on the nature of the audience, discussed soon, this lack of intellectual appreciation of religion on the part of the congregations appeared to merit judgement as a lesser religion. Was it so?

Rampant Intellectuality

This is my Pirsig theme, and applies to the film-makers and the social climate at the time. There was a whole generation of rejection for rejection's sake. I participated in this rejection as I suspect did many people present in the meeting - not the monks they were too young. There was a euphoria for change, for throwing out the traditions that hadn't evolved and starting again with something better. As discussed previously in this blog, the consequences of this process have been drastic for humanity as the traditions held checks and balances which have been lost by the intellectual rejection. Those rejecting never offered alternatives although meditation traditions did make an advance in those times.

These film-makers appeared to be enjoying sitting in dope-filled rooms rejecting the institutions of faith-healing. Whilst dope was never my poison I can identify with the feelings of that scenario. Marjoe was ideal for them because he was a faith healer without faith. His lack of faith could enable them to mock and reject this whole aspect of establishment.

But did they offer an alternative? Obviously that was not the point of the movie but sadly that was also not the point of the era.

This was the era in which the majority of the group were young. One person even said that people had journeyed their lives and arrived at Bangkok. Were the people also subscribing to the rampant intellectual rejection of the film-makers? In one situation I felt they were, and that was in the lack of religious tolerance towards this Pentecostalism. Again I could easily also be intolerant of this as a religion, being of the foot-stompers variety I had met in Africa, but when asked people seemed to suggest that this US faith-healing also provided a form of morality. As this is my main measure of a religion as an institution, this US faith healing fits.

Religious Experience

This perhaps is the most thought-provoking aspect of the movie and discussion. As portrayed in the movie, this congregation were clearly undergoing some sort of special experience. Marjoe described himself as a performer, and one of his reasons for returning to the job was the buzz he got from the performance. This added credence to those who described the feelings of the congregation as akin to the emotion of a pop concert. In their contributions there appeared to be no difference between the emotion passion or ecstasy of the pop concert and the receiving of the Holy Ghost by these Pentecostals.

This in itself says a great deal for intellectualism as intellect rejects insight, and somewhere within religious experience in general rests insight. But that is not the main thrust of my argument. I have never experienced such Pentecostal passion, so all I say of it is speculation. But I can draw some parallels. My own "religious experiences" were revelations of truth. After I had hit bottom I was filled with a strength that I classified as soul, and was based on Truth and an understanding of Path. This tremendous personal power was with me, and reached occasional ecstatic realisations often late at night when my mind was focussed - on whatever. I could easily have seen these experiences as being filled with a Holy Ghost as it felt as if the room usually bedroom was filled with a presence - and there was a wonderful clear light although not bright. If I had been brought up in a community where such feelings were translated into collapsing, tongues etc., then my gratitude would also have encouraged me to do the same. If the congregation in any way felt the presence as I did, then I have no doubts that there was some kind of valid religious experience.

As I grew older these experiences occurred when I was meditating. But the meditation at the time was sporadic, and would occur if I felt in the mood. I remember one such series of "meditations" occurring when I was attempting to write. I would receive the creative muse as a presence. My whole days became geared towards these experiences - and the writing. I would write in the early hours. So in going to bed I wasn't tired but going to the bedroom to sit down with my laptop and hammer the keyboards. After a while of doing this the room would fill with a clarity, an almost tangible clarity, there was such peace and calm, and I translated it into writing.

Work kicked back in - after a Summer break, life changed and these stopped. But in that change I began to realise the importance of daily meditation. Even if I were to write now I would not have such experience. I see this as a levelling-out process caused by the daily meditation. I have begun to see these religious experiences as spikes. Because I was not on the Path daily, then every so often nature would tune me back in to the way that was meant. I would experience this as an elation, a spike of joy, thus encouraging me to come back for more. Isn't that outwardly akin to what happens to the Pentecostal congregation? Every Sunday they go in and Marjoe, or whoever, gives them this spike and the next week they go back for more?

Now these spikes carried through into my daily life giving me strength, I called it soul at the time. This gave a morality to my lifestyle - not complete morality but a morality. I would suggest that religious experience does that. Whilst artists are not always moral sexually, few artists do not have a moral commitment to humanity. This often expresses itself as an artist's need to better society. I believe someone answered my question on morality by suggesting that within certain bounds Pentecostals are moral; of course repressive upbringings are not moral. I took this morality as an affirmation that Pentecostals have some form of religious experience.

I also suggested that understanding was not present. Now I could have been accepting the bias of the film-maker, but in my own case more understanding came when meditation became more of a daily life practice. Out went the spikes but I developed a greater personal strength.

The Jhanas talk of rapture and bliss, I have no idea about this in terms of Jhanas as I make no claim to understanding Jhanas or being in one of the Jhanas. However I would be very surprised if one of the terms (or a mixture thereof) did not describe the experience of one of these spikes. Equally I would suggest that the experience of the Pentecostal congregation could not be described in such terms as rapture or bliss.

One other thing I don't do is chant. But how close is chanting to the Pentecostal experience? At one time I was staying at Harnham, and there was a long session of chanting. I watched as the monks got deeper and deeper into the chanting, and they began rocking in lotus position. This looked like a good place to be. When the Pentecostals are deeply drawn into Jesus Saves, is the situation similar? I cannot answer for either but maybe?

There is much to be learnt from discussions about Marjoe.

Theme - Religious Experience, Intellect
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No Self - Less Blog Activity
This is a difficult blog to write as it is just informative. I have reached an impasse with reading and study. What matters is meditation only as I am working towards no-self. All that matters is what are the selves that I must stop creating - remaining attached to. This is no easy process as the selves are everywhere, but the process of non-attachment is not a rational or studying process.

I am not having much success. But it is difficult to define success. All I know is that these things are there. I read once I should try to recognise when self is there. There is a feeling in there, inside my head, it is a soft fuzziness resting just above the eyes. This comes to me as feeling self. In meditation I can lessen it, but it stays there. And grows in daily life.

It grows in daily life and as I participate in daily life it gains control, and then in meditation it can be lessened. This indicates, that Embassy word, a need for more meditation so that the feeling can be let go.

Describing this is not rational, and so there is less blog activity.

Theme - Anatta
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Surrender
Pandit Bhikkhu raised the notion of surrender with regards to Marjoe. Marjoe used the term "surrender to Jesus", perhaps that is the context. Surrender is a religious or monastic term, perhaps that is also the context.

Where does surrender occur for me? There are two contexts, one good and one bad. Let's deal with the bad one first, as I suspect this is not the usage that concerns Pandit Bhikkhu. This bad context is where I surrender to self - contradiction in terms (I, self). This is where addictions become part of this life. Through meditation and understanding the selves are taking me off the Path but even knowing this they still happen, I surrender to self. As the mental assault of temptations continue to be offered, I sometimes surrender and let them happen. Self-indulgence.

However I don't believe this is the sense of surrender that is being debated, more something like "surrender to Jesus and let the Holy Ghost come into your soul". Isn't this Nature? Consider ants, do they think? Ants do their thing for the tribe of ants, some dying in the process. Do they choose to die? I would suggest not in the sense we mean. Ants just trundle along doing their stuff. What if we introduced a sense of self into the ant? Then the ant that was about to die for the good of the colony would say "No, I don't want to die,", and the colony's requirements would not be met.

Don't we as humans have a similar role as the ant? Basically Nature tells us what to do and we are supposed to do it. This is not a conscious process, it is natural. We are born with a Path, Nature's instructions. But do we surrender to the Path? Do we follow Nature's instructions? And here is the bad aspect of surrender because we don't, we follow the choices of self. Instead of following instructions for the good of Nature, we say we are important and follow false paths accordingly. In this sense the surrender is letting go of self and following Nature.

Humanity is the flagship of Nature. This gives me the chance to blog the insight on nature programmes. Nature programmes show Nature in all its apparent cruelty, and we revel in it academically. Nature is shown as the lion attacks and kills the deer for food. We accept watching this because it is natural to eat. Perhaps this is the guilty of the meat-eaters but is it natural for such cruelty? Or has Nature become cruel since its flagship is so cruel? If we were peaceful and harmonious then that peace and harmony would transcend to Nature, and Nature would find a less cruel way to feed the lions.

From this cruelty we impute human values such as survival of the fittest, it's dog eat dog, and we then proceed to create the businessman for whom human values are meaningless and profit is the priority. Much of the cruelty that affects the human world follows from the businessman's code, and I am also suggesting that Nature has transformed itself to accommodate this flagship mentality. We create the Nature programmes both in the media of television and in real life.

Follow the Path, surrender to nature, and behave the way we are instructed.

Theme - Anatta
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Transmutation - the human processor
This is a way of perceiving humans. They are nodes of processing, nodes of functionality, processing machines who have a function in life, in Nature. Mathematically they can be seen as machines within input-output processors. Humans take an input and change to produce an output, this is their role in Nature - as it might be for all life forms. Humans transmute.

What is the purpose of these functions? The purpose need not concern except in a functional way, our purpose is to do what Nature intended for us. This is important for what it doesn't say. It doesn't say our purpose is to be president, although someone has to. It doesn't define our roles in terms of society, but in terms of Nature. It doesn't say we are here to live a long time. We are simply here to do what Nature intended.

This is significant in terms of understanding how we process. Since our purpose is to do what Nature intended, then our processing has to fundamentally attune us to that purpose so that we can fulfil our role. In terms of understanding what we do, how we process, this is very significant. It is not necessary for us to define our role as educator, elder , president or other social title, these roles are social conventions, what is necessary is for our processing to enable us to attune to Nature so that we can fulfil our roles.

What are our basic processors? These are the chakras. Our fundamental essence at birth is these chakras, and during life these chakras process input leading to the output of the way we live. I was going to give a picture but there are so many variations. It is therefore up to us to develop an understanding of how these chakras function within ourselves. Many healers address the question of chakras but we are our own best healers, and within certain levels of guidance we must determine our own healing. I am not capable of guiding anyone else on this, and make no attempt to do so. Here is something I have determined for myself. The theosopher's layer cake:-

Atma

Buddhi

Manas

Lower Manas

Prana

Feeling

Body

is connected to each of the seven chakras. I have used a chakra meditation formalised by Gary Zukav in The Seat of the Soul which deals in part with breathing on the colours of the chakras. These colours differ so mine is only one version but they are:-

Lavender

Light Blue

Royal Blue

Green

Yellow

Amber

Red

These correspond to the following points on the body in the system I use, I cannot find an exact diagram of where these points are, and although they correspond approximately to any chakra system described they are personal to me. Seek your own. However in this chakra meditation it is necessary to have some sort of location as the meditation requires breathing in at the chakras. Here are names I have picked up with a vague description of the location:-

Crown chakra - about two inches forward over from the top of my head

Head chakra - centre of the forehead inside directly below the crown chakra

Throat chakra - centre of the neck inside directly below the crown chakra

Heart chakra - half way down the breastplate inside directly below the crown chakra

Solar Plexus Chakra - midway between the bottom of my breastplate two inches above my belly button inside directly below the crown chakra

Navel Chakra - TanTien - 4 inches diagonally inside about 2 inches diagonally upwards from the root chakra inside directly below the crown chakra

Root Chakra - vertically up the anal passage about 3 inches above the bottom of the backbone

Determine the best places for yourselves. There are two meditations that I use, I am sure there are many others.

1) Breathe in the colours to each of the chakras in turn. Breathe in red to the root chakra, hold, breathe out, hold. Then breathe in amber to the navel chakra etc.

2) (Zukav) Breathe in love and peace to each chakra in turn, hold, breathe out hate and anger, and hold.

Method 2) clearly determines a meditation process, and helps attune our whole bodies to Nature.

I have gone into detail to show that this is a process of input and output, input the breath and use the mind to provide an output. But the mind has a different role in terms of understanding the role of Nature, and that is Insight. The Lord Buddha describes a meditational approach, Insight meditation, in which we focus on the breath, watching it come in and out, and as we do so our mind clears, reaches a stillness and develops insights through calm. These insights are an outward demonstration (output) of the (processed) connection between the human and Nature, when the mind is still it is attuned to Nature and this process helps the human to fulfil their role in Nature.

In order to be able to fulfil our roles our bodies must be healthy. To gain that health we breathe in and our bodies process the Qi to make us healthy. Also to gain health we eat good food, our body processes that food into what we need to be healthy. If our foods are not good food, then that processing is hindered, and we develop illness whether internally or externally as illness in terms of chronically bad eating. If our bodies are healthy, both in terms of good food input and good Qi processing, then we can fulfil the roles that Nature wants of us.

Atma - that part of Nature that we are

Buddhi - Wisdom found from pure mind

Manas - pure mind attuned to Nature

Lower Manas - functions of mind necessary in daily life

Prana - Qi that drives and heals the body

Feeling - desires and emotions in daily life

Body - machine that carries this node of processing

Douglas Baker and others talk of rays, and even that Jesus or Maitreya is one of these rays. I don't understand this, but I can see that in breathing into the chakras our chakras take from the breath the healing that corresponds to each chakra - 7 rays. Whilst I believe this is true, it is a bit speculative as I haven't studied these things properly.

Human processing, transmutation, is the key. Input - perceptions,food and breath, and output attuned to Nature - hopeful

Theme - Meditation
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Chi and Emotions
Haven't written a blog in a long time, and am only completing this for the record. Buddhism-spirituality effectively stopped because there was only one choice at the time self or no-self. That meant more meditation, and that hasn't really happened. The choice is still self or no-self but the decision seems to have moved aside.

A few weeks ago I started Chi Gung using Daniel Reid's book, and then I got the Chilel video and am doing Chi Gung almost daily. This has radically affected my mornings as each morning I seem to be waking up with one or other past emotional issue to deal with. I say past but it is still in me, although maybe it is in the present as I am trying to come to terms with it. This emotional release is time-consuming of a morning, and has become almost habitual (that is worrying), as I use various techniques - mainly a combination of Zukav and dozing - to get rid of the emotion.

This leads to all kinds of questions about stored emotions. Did the emotion cause the excess weight? What happens to emotion if you keep fit and don't allow it to hide in excess? Does emotion have volume? How does it store itself in the body?

Then there are questions connecting Chi to emotions? Chi is energy, emotion is energy; does the chi just energise the incumbent emotion and move it on out? Must be stuff to read in this, maybe in Daniel Reid's book. That Tom Monti thing talks about this, Eckhart Tolle talked of pain body, and Zukav's whole book is an emotional journey. I am going to reread Heart of the Soul and depending how personal the answers of the manual will be blogged - has to be personal, new blog? Whether it is open or not, each question will be answered.

Theme - Emotion
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Trust
I have just started Zukav's Heart of the Soul again to help deal with the emotion that is more apparent now I am doing Chi Gung. What is fascinating is that I forgot trust but remembered it as peace. Breathe in love and trust, breathe out fear and doubt. Although he says anger is part of fear and doubt, my own version of breathing in love and peace and breathing out anger and hate is so very different. Understanding that difference could help but it is not what I want to lok at here.

Where is trust in education? For me the love is clear, education is a significant part of love. If a parent loves a child, that parent wants the child to be well educated. Usually the parent accepts that well educated is the same as educated as society provides (wherever that society is), it is however up to the educationalists to determine what is appropriate as education in society. In the UK since 1979 that has definitely not been socially acceptable. Thatcher's Saatchi and Saatchi analysts determined that she should want the votes of the good parents as opposed to just being the votes of business people. So to bring in the good parents they advised she target education, and so began a process of government control of education, not for the purpose of education but for the purpose of garnering votes.

Now this clearly damaged the vocation of the teachers for whom winning the votes for the prevailing political incumbents had little to do with the love or education that hopefully inspired their vocation. This politically-imposed damage resulted in an increased predilection for power inherent in all humans, and so outside the classroom became the main focus of teachers. Combining the appropriation of educational direction by the politicians, their partial handing of that direction to parents, and the politically-engendered redirection of teacher vocation into career advancement has completely broken the trust between parents and teachers essential to drive good education.

This breaking of trust is significant for me on a personal level, and is a reality that has given me conflict all my life. And that is because I kept hold of the vocation, but how could I not and be true to myself? By holding to education even more so as I grew older had to bring me more and more into conflict with the careerism because it highlighted that the careerist were not there for education and the parents were looking for education. If all the teachers were towing the careerist line then the parents had no choice, but if the parents saw teachers for whom vocation mattered then this brought into question the position of the careerists. As a consequence the careerists were forced to sit on the educationalists.

What made this matter far worse was that as I grew older I accepted the curriculum. As an educationalist the curriculum has to suck, what has the bunch of mind-filling subjects got to do with real education; everyone knows that. But if an educationalist can use the vehicle of these subjects to create education then that makes them a bigger threat. I am sure this can be done far more than it is, and is a good way forward for the reclaiming of educational ground. But in doing so a battle is created.

This brings me back to personal trust. How could I have trust when every step in my chosen profession had to be a battle? In the latter stages of my career I resigned myself to the classroom caring little for professional advancement. In so doing I reached HOD as I became focussed on improving the subject, something the careerists would want. Yet it was double-edged because those careerists did not want too much success so they applied restrictive measures. These policies of restriction had little to do with education but more to do with their power, their control and the necessity of presenting themselves in a good light so that parents did not see that their careers had nothing to do with education.

So in this battleground a teacher is to live trustingly. How can they? Even if they understand and accept that there is no need for career, how can their love be expressed whilst in so doing they become restricted by the powers of the careerists?

Understanding this means that I have to have trust issues, and then when you add in my father it is not surprising I forget that Zukav's second keyword is trust. I can trust Nature but how do I trust people?

And then relationships. By choosing love in education how does that sit with women? After giving up on the cosmic dream, relationship became more pragmatic. But in that pragmatism what was then offered, a home environment in which love was offered to education especially as I never desired my own children. Even though I accepted that a relationship could be functional I never accepted the inherent conflicts that had to occur. What was the function of the relationship? There was some vague notion of provider, but provision of what? For me the provision was secondary, and yet in that function the woman has to seek greater emphasis for the provision either for themselves or for the home, either of which was I greatly interested in. I sought a minimal contentment in the relationship whereas for the partner there had to be greater emphasis. Understandable there was never peace because there was never any way I wholly offered it.

So on a personal level I could never achieve trust because I never offered the conditions that could lead to trust. But if I am not seeking a relationship and if I am not now working, trust can flourish. With my lack of involvement why can I not trust people because nothing of what I stand for brings in conflict. I have always seen personal power as a source of the conflict and the lack of trust. This is not the case. I failed to recognise that in the involvement that I took on that power became a means of conflict, not intentionally, but as a by-product. People could never trust me because I never played by careerist rules, and they could never understand someone who didn't - as the Waynes had the same rhetoric and presumed it was used for the same purpose - career.

Now that I have no need to fear trust as there is no inherent conflict then I can become more trusting. Just accept people for who they are. You are not an educator in personal relationships as no-one has appointed you. If they assign you the role then practise it. Once you try to educate you create conflict. If you want to be an educator your desire creates a problem so don't educate unless asked. Then people can trust you, and that means you can trust them. Wait to be asked control desire, and trust will out. If Nature wants to use your knowledge then Nature will give the opportunity. Trust in Nature and control your desire.

Theme -
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Home - About Men and Women
This entry is my most significant socially, Nature's connection between home and Evolution, and the implications for social direction are quite staggering.

My own attempts at relationships have always been doomed to failure, and that is because of my approach to them. I was seeking something from them, initially cosmic love, and then a comfortable home with comforts of the body. But what was missing from this? Children. My main woman knew this. She wanted a child by me because she knew the child would tie me down. I thought this was just instinctive but when I combine it with her jealousy of the schoolkids I now know it was personal. She knew my love for children was satisfied at school. And this was why my relationships were doomed to failure, I did not want children.

So take this further. The comfortable home with the comforts of the body. This was not what a woman is supposed to provide, it is only part. The woman is home and mother, or rather mother and home. The home is the domain of the mother, this is the natural way. So when I talk misogynistically I am not hating women, I am just recognising that in the home I know whose domain it is. The purpose of the home is to bring up children. This was something I never wanted so truthfully I could never have a home with a woman. Of course I could and did try to have women living with me to give me the comforts, but they were always doomed to failure because I never knew what the home was for. Now I do I live alone because I want my home to allow me to follow my journey, and where do the comforts of home fit in with that.

Thoughts of this might be sparked by listening to Isabelle Allende, her tales of grief of some women in this world, her cry for feminism and her call for feminising the male rulers of the world. This now doesn't ring true to me. First and foremost a woman's role is in the home, running the home and bringing up children. Not only is this role important it is the most important evolutionary role, and we are here for evolution - that is Nature. Feminism missed the target. Feminists were miseducated as are all western people, so their proper dissatisfaction led them to demand equal power in the unnatural western system. What was the proper dissatisfaction? In the West Nature can see that the home is not the centre of life, and Nature fears for the upbringing of children.

Let us consider the stereotype for men - hunter-gatherer. What is he hunting and gathering for? The woman, the family, the children. Hence why it was so easy for me to mock the black girls. Because my misogynist jokes were based on natural roles. Women did seek men to provide money for their homes, that is Natural. Contemporising this role, men go out to work to provide for women to run the homes. The error of feminism is that they knew something was wrong, but because of their miseducation saw that the error was that men had social power and women should have that as well. And so feminism has furthered the demise of the western home, and this ultimately will lead to the destruction of western society. Unfortunately the West is reeking that destruction on the world first so whilst western society is being destroyed it is bringing down the rest of the world with it.

Isabelle Allende as a fighter for the rights of women focuses her energies on the appalling behaviour of me within these traditional situations. Men have never accepted that their role as provider is secondary to that of the woman's child-rearer and home-maker. Men have lost acceptance of the importance of the home of their secondary but important evolutionary role as child-rearer. The influence of the male and female in the home provides stability for the next generation of children, but contemporarily in the West always the focus is outwards - on society. The man has unnaturally appropriated control in the home so that the home is seen as a platform for building society. The home is there to provide the man with comforts so that he can go into the world and do wonderful things. The measure of the man is in the world and not in the home. And this is the error of feminism. The measure of the woman is in the home and the role of feminism is to reassert in the roles of men that their primary role is for the home.

Now this has phenomenal implications for society. Change society from the striving capitalist-consumerism into a place where the home is the priority. Think about that. The home is the priority that government is working for, that businesses are working for, that humanity is working for. This is such an insight, it has so many implications - fascinating.

Let's go back to Isabelle Allende. She was talking about feminising men but because of her miseducation she saw this as a kind of making men more feminine but the focus still remained the prevailing power of society. She saw some notion that if men allowed their feminine side then somehow political decisions would be more socially-conscious. Sadly I think the reverse has happened. Women, who have been influenced by feminism, have begun to focus their energies away from the home, and into the power arenas of men. But instead of feminising men as Allende wants the power arena has corrupted these women and they have lost the feminine focus of the home. Thatcher was one of the world's most powerful women, and look at the lack of caring of the Thatcher generation that she provided the infrastructure to produce. Equally there are many dissatisfied miseducated career women who wake up in their 30s to find that they have no home with children. Their dissatisfaction is Natural, as women their maternal instincts are telling them they have gone wrong. But sadly this is often not recognised for what it is, a need to reassert the home, and it becomes fuel for further alienation and the promotion of careerism. Entertainment is showing this lack but it is not fully recognising the social implications. Meryl Streep created that horrendous Miranda character in the fashion industry, Glen Close the horrendous Patty lawyer in Damages, they could both be modelled on Thatcher. Yet neither are highlighting the natural need to change the emphasis to the home.

People are envious of happy homes. Peasant communities are happy, do we really know why? Sure there is a contentment of working close to the land. But that does not tell the half of it. In peasant communities the children are happy. This is the measure, this is the by-line. Joyful children make for pleasant communities, and this shows the balance of Nature. The peasant farmer works in the field and wants his food ready after a hard day's work, but the emphasis is not on the work itself but that the work provides the food for the family so that the children can grow up happily. This is the emphasis that Nature gave birth to feminism for, but the feminist women had been miseducated and lost so their minds turned to social power for its recognition.

What is right about feminism is that the horrendous excesses of power need to be controlled. Capitalism has corrupted the home into a nightmare of consumerism. The children are not happy and they express their unhappiness in appalling behaviour at home being demonstrated as material demands for toys and then later fashion. These demands are fed by the capitalist model, and like a friend once said "the lives of people in Cameroon are predicated on the whims of the western child's desire for chocolate". Western children are not happy. Western children turn their homes into misery. Mothers and fathers work excessively to bolster the consumerism this increasing the dissatisfaction in the home. The children go to school, not to be educated but to create further mayhem.

Consumerism did not create the lack of home but vice versa, capitalism was created by the lack of focus on the home - Nature's driving unit. Nature drives society by evolution, and evolution is the process of creating children - the next generation. Nature's focus is on the children, Mother Earth, the role of men is secondary to this - providing the conditions for this evolutionary role. This means not only providing within the home but providing a proper society for evolution. Governance for the benefit of the home. Welfare for the home is the priority, but good education is a close second. Consumerism is not a target as it is not of evolutionary benefit to the children, but trading and skills are necessary for obvious reasons. Research and development will still occur but controlled by the ethos created by the home. Would Oppenheimer have created the bomb if all around were emphasising the home, the homes of the children in Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

Theme - home, evolution
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One Mind and Religious Tolerance
One Mind and Religious Tolerance In a previous blog, I have discussed the implication of One Mind that there is only One Religion. The One Mind is the Mind of Nature and the religion is the Religion of Nature. This sounds extremely intolerant but it isn't because it does not ask for a creation scenario. It could be God, Allah, myriads of Gods that created.

One Mind as in meditation is not attached to consciousness, thoughts, perceptions and memories, feelings, body etc - the five khandhas. So what happens if the One Mind creates a thought system. Suppose this thought system describes Nature and its derivation, then we have a religion. Suppose that religion then says this religion is the only one, then that creates a division in the One Mind. There is One Mind but this Mind is beyond thought, describing Mind in thought limits the Mind because thought or language can never describe One Mind completely. So a religion that is created by thought divides the One Mind.

Moving beyond this. What if this religion created by thought ascribes to itself a uniqueness, that it is the only religion. Suppose it also ascribes to itself an authority that it has the right to expand, what implications does this have? In One Mind this is a thought system that is only part of the One Mind trying to encompass all that is One Mind, it cannot. The greater the power given to this thought system the greater the imbalance in the One Mind. What will Nature do? Try to correct the imbalance. But if the religion clings then there is conflict with Nature. How this conflict manifests Nature only knows.

But in this world of manifestation what happens with this thought system that becomes a religion that ascribes itself the authority to expand. This expansion is ascribed by egos and meets with egos. And confrontation occurs.

Religious tolerance is therefore essential to avoid conflict both in mind and in daily life. A system of thought can exist side-by-side with another system of thought if neither side creates an ego process, a clinging that impacts on other systems of thought. But because they are systems of thought they are flawed because they limit the One Mind so clinging to these thoughts is limiting - imbalanced. But of there is no egoic process, no expansion, they only limit the individual. IT is the collective process, the institutional process of the system of thought that has the potential for division. Such institutions attribute themselves as right, and if they are expansionist this usually means the only one that is right. If they are the only ones that are right, and they are arrogant enough to say they have the right to tell others or even worse enforce acceptance by others then this can lead to armed conflict. How can armed conflict be right in the context of the One Mind? How can armed conflict be right in Nature? Somewhere the process of that system of thought is flawed.

There appears an apparent contradiction in my opening paragraph, there is One Mind and One Religion that is Nature. Now describing this in language and thought is going to limit proper understanding but if there is acceptance of One Mind, that we are aspects of this One Mind, drops in a stream, not separate drops with identity but drops whose being is the stream, then there is no conflict. There is no limitation of One Mind by language and thought, the Religion is Nature whose mind is One Mind. There is no limiting process being applied here by describing the religion as Nature Religion, and therefore no imbalance or ego process.

What is important here is not to describe a system of thought, to somehow try to return to the One Mind so that our thoughts and practices reflect the thoughts and practices of the One Mind. As Buddhadhasa says, for some this process is natural but for most meditation that retunes our mind into the One Mind is necessary.

Theme - One Mind, religious tolerance
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Ideas, Individual Revolution, Perfect Democracy
This follows a conversation in which I was called an idealist. Idealist here was used as a slightly pejorative term meaning impractical, and worse it had a pragmatic implication - there is no point in bothering it is too ideal.

I gave an incomplete answer. I discussed the nature of ideas, and how intellectuals give ideas equal weighting because ideals give academics employment. Working towards what Nature intends is the fundamental proposition, and all ideas for change need to comply with that. Whilst I have included an imperative in this statement, it is a logical rather than judgemental assertion, we are part of Nature and following Nature is our nature if our egos don't divert us.

Recognising ideas within Nature's function is a good starting point. With the academic imperative of proliferation of ideas for ideas' sake (the academic job creation scheme), there is a need to determine a reality, a relative strength to ideas that are propounded. How does one judge ideas to give them strength? Use the tool Nature has given us - insight. An idea is not there to have substance because it can be understood, it has insightful substance because it is important to Nature - to life on earth in all its manifestations. If an idea is simply casuistry, then why bother with it?

Of course ideas that fall into the idealistic category have inbuilt flaws, but there is strength in such flaws. Consider the idea that underlies this blog entry - that we follow Nature, what does that mean? Who am I to answer that? As life on earth we might begin to answer that question, but only if we address it. Unfortunately our combined minds have the attributes of individual minds - confused minds with confusing thoughts. Do we attempt to understand the nature of our individual minds? Do we look at the possibility that we are only one mind? Sadly many people are far from this understanding, and this shows greatly in the way ideas proliferate in our society, and in particular academically . Ideas proliferate as do our individual thoughts in a continual barrage of mental chattering. Is it necessary to grab onto all ideas that come up? Some claim it is. Intellectuals who have an idea that they consider is unique grasp at this idea as a means of personal survival (the academic job creation scheme). But is the uniqueness of an idea a measure of its worth? No it needs to be measured against the yardstick of following Nature. Otherwise it is ego.

But the other accusation of being idealistic is impracticality. As already stated the measure of an idea is if it follows Nature. As such its measure is not whether governments, business or even whether a majority of individuals want to apply the ideal. One aspect of the description idealistic is usually that the person agrees in a forlorn "if only". However if such ideas can be practised on a personal level, then the issue is not "if only", the issue is that of individual determination - discipline. In this world of dukkha, if an idea is easily applied it is likely that its application is not meaningful. Applying ideas is a determined process, it requires disciplined personal effort.

But what are the consequences of applying such ideas personally? Nature will find its way of rewarding. People who follow Paths claim it is joyful, all say this. There are drawbacks but joy is ever-present; this joy is Nature's reward. Before following such Paths the drawbacks take the centre stage of the unsure, but applying Nature's ideas will bring joyous reward.

What about the social implications of such idealism? By applying Nature's ideas we alter the group psyche slightly, the more who apply the more the psyche is altered. This is democracy at work, and it has its reflection in the democratic political system that we are a part of. As our ideas are applied we come to learn of the inadequacy of government that represents us, of government that exists because of our vote. We can use our vote to make change slowly but surely. But it takes time, so be humble. After all we have Nature's joy for following Nature, that is more than many have.

Theme - Nature
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On social responsibility
I wrote the following to a friend, and it started me thinking more on the issue:-

"I am undecided how well my journey is going. Overall I feel comfortable, and if asked say I am happy. But occasionally inside there are doubts, but the trouble is I cannot decide what is the source of the doubt. How would deep dissatisfaction show itself - in doubt? How would the ego try and disturb me - doubt?

Actually I know it is the ego, because my ego tells me there should be more meaning to my life than blogs. But I know that is not necessarily true. I have spent 30 years banging my head against schools that don't want to change, and are happy to be the embodiment of owners' profiteering and teachers' career egos.

So a sensible question is "am I stagnant?", and the answer is a definite no. But the me of old, my remembered ego, keeps challenging me to say "am I doing enough?" That is quite interesting to recognise how much I have slowed and how comfortable I am with that. When I was working and I connected with Nature, I only had a short time to use the connection so it was enjoyably a bit frenzied, now I have all the time I want and take it slow.

Every so often I think I should try, but the conditions are never right. People do not ask to learn, I don't know why some bother. So why bother myself? Learn for myself, and if someone is genuinely interested they will find someone somewhere - I am always available if I can be found.

My email with DF went a similar way. We are far apart, and I began discussing education from the point of view that education for education's sake is real and careerists ruin it. He has never left the UK teaching system, associated me with teachers in the UK, and began to say my position was absurd. No common ground, I gave up.

Maybe there is a need for humility. This is difficult. I know humility is important but then I do have stuff to offer. Where is the balance? Obviously I don't have it right now as no-one is asking me!! But my journey is primary, and not massaging egos of others; maybe that will change."

Firstly there is a clear ego error. "How would deep dissatisfaction show itself - in doubt? How would the ego try and disturb me - doubt?" This is the ego trying to pretend it is the same as depth. If there was deep dissatisfaction it would show by insight a new path to follow, it would not create doubt. Deep dissatisfaction would be sure and certain, and would show me this. Not clear thinking in the email.

I am satisfied with the journey I am taking but it is far from finished. Further if there was a need to change Nature would tell me in no uncertain terms. It is also compassion that creates doubt, but not a level of doubt that requires change …. as yet. Compassion for the state of humanity, and then the ego steps in and says I can help. And the answer is that I can and can't. Better explained, Nature has given me the understanding that has the potential to create change for the better but I can't because I have tried for so long with only limited success.

And where was that success? In teaching, helping others in teaching. Sure I taught, and that gave value to the students, but I also gave value to the people who asked when working. But what was the context - the work situation and coping with it? It was not directly spiritual. My ego wants it to be directly spiritual, but maybe that is not my role. Does that mean my work life is still a possibility? No. That has finished, that context of passing on is in the past. I have moved forward, and in so doing have altered that environment. However it does suggest that a vehicle for passing on spiritual awareness is the workplace, it does not just have to be the pulpits of direct religion and spiritual teachers. After all people talking from pulpits has occurred throughout my life - and long before, yet social evolution has been negative during my life. If people are ready to learn there are plenty of books and scriptures, but those in work are maybe willing to learn but the pressures prevent them. Having contact with spirituality in the workplace can maybe open their eyes.

The more I think about it the more there is a need for spirituality in the workplace. It is the workplace that creates the problems, it is the workplace that government focuses on - as opposed to the home. How can the focus be changed? From without? From the home people can move spiritually. Through reading or institutional religions they can become aware of spiritual needs, but the pressures in the workplace pull them in the opposite direction.

The western workplace has worsened in my lifetime. Whilst there was always a hierarchy of power and an ethos of money, it was not as nasty as it is now. When I started (outside teaching) contentment was recognised as a source of good work practice, even in business situations. Now that has changed, and not just in teaching. Aggression and power battles dominate. Television depicts this through unnecessary nasty personal practice. Whilst management pours out the words of a healthy workplace the practice is not healthy, yet the money ethos has increased - and at any cost. Words as elsewhere have replaced the practice. In teaching caring words have replaced the teaching, in the workplace it is the same. With the government increasingly moving the emphasis from the home to the workplace, the balance of Nature is being moved. Nature wants the workplace to be addressed.

This is also a radical position as is the emphasis on the home. Bringing spirituality into the workplace means that the ethos of money is not sufficient there. People need to bring their spirituality with them to work. How hard is this! But as Nature's power is more and more being imbalanced by the power exerted by corporations in their workplace, the workplace needs to be targeted.

How is this to be done? Who knows? At present workplace spiritual practice would be accepted if the profits were increased, but this is asking more. It is asking for humanity in the workplace. It is asking that the dichotomy of work and humanity not be accepted. How many good people put on a workplace mask? What actions do they then perform through this mask? Such shame! Whilst being sympathetic to the pressures the lack of truth and humanity in such masks is creating such damage. This is asking to drop the masks and find a more acceptable human face in the workplace.

Why not begin by denouncing the "Anne Robinson" mentality? This lady became successful following a mediocre career by vilifying guests - be nasty to be successful. The mentality of nastiness she shows is typified in many other TV shows where basic inhumanity to man is seen as virtue if profits ensue. When I was young TV often fought such approaches, now it creates them. It is saddening to watch.

Having discussed social responsibility this does not alter the question I started in the friend's email - what am I doing about it? There is undoubtedly much more I have to learn, these social issues of balance between home and workplace and what governance is doing about it has only just emerged. What more is there to emerge? Teaching was enough of a giving role and yet how little did they let me give. Whilst humility is an issue, what Nature wants me to do and when will happen; that is far more the prerequisite.

Theme - Social Responsibility, Home and Workplace
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The Spectrum of Mind, Energy and Body
They talk about vibration, they talk about light, they talk about resonance, I don't know about these things. They also talk about subtle bodies - again I don't know this. But what is clear is that the material which makes up our incarnation is a spectrum rather than separate entities. Consider the theosophical layer cake, then there are 7 factors or levels in this layer cake. To view the individual as constituting 7 separate distinct entities or characteristics is an error. It is a spectrum of subtlety, going from the more gross to the more subtle. I cannot remember but I don't believe the layer cake is meant to be taken as distinct layers.

However it is much easier to see the mind and body as separate entities or factors, the mind appears insubstantive and the body appears to be grossly substantive. They could be resonances of the chakras at different levels - this came to me but I don't know it, but it seems reasonable. Although again vibrating 7 chakras leads to 7 separate entities caused by the vibration. Again I don't know this but perhaps it is better to consider it as one vibration modulated through 7 centres (chakras). One vibration, one spectrum - see below.

But here I am looking at the spectrum in terms of mind body and energy, and in terms of the functionality concept of the human as processor. Instead of seeing 7 chakras as centres, think of only three, the centres for mind, energy and body.

ONE SOURCE
MEDITATION CHI FOOD
MIND PROCESSOR ENERGY PROCESSOR BODY PROCESSOR
LIVING HUMAN

From the one source comes the living human. Through meditation (or unconscious breathing) the mind processes and contributes to the living human, through chi methods (or unconscious breathing) the energy is processed and contributes to the living human, and through food the body processes and contributes to the living human. But the processing of meditation, chi and food is not exclusively within the processing areas of mind, energy and body. Imagine the processors as centres of influence and as you get further from the centre the influence is less and less. Meditation can influence the body as good food can influence the mind, and both can influence the energy, but these influences wane the further from the processing centre they are. Mb's view of food influencing the mind is therefore accepted but that influence is minimal as compared with meditation especially, and even chi. To influence the mental processing meditation is the primary source (of mental food).

As to the breathing. Through breathing we access the chi, and through breathing our mind processor creates the mind; this is the natural way unconsciously, and explains why this processing occurs in people who do not consciously attempt to improve the processing in these areas. But by consciously attempting to improve the processing through meditation practice and working the chi (literal translation of Chi Gung), we can develop the mind and energy bodies.

The spectrum insight is important in understanding that the mind, energy and body are not separate spheres of activity but are part of a spectrum of processing. It is advised to consciously feed all three processors in optimum fashion. Give the body bad food and it becomes unhealthy, not consciously using nature's breath might lead to weakness and mental limitation. But by consciously ingesting good food, working the chi, and meditation the processors will be optimised. As an individual you will feel happier, you will be able to fit in with Nature helping people more, and you will be part of the One Mind, One Nature.

This is not meant as a replacement layer cake, just a schema to help understanding. But comparisons to the layer cake and monastic practice lead to the question of the influence of meditation on the body. The alms bowl does not necessarily provide good food unless the giving of the food alters its quality. And then Taptim Siam Luang Por's assertion that meditation cured his knee, is there a hierarchy of influence as you move down the layer cake?

Personally I don't place equal emphasis on mind, energy and body, clearly for me the mind is the most important but how important is each of energy and body? The schema throws up many questions.

Theme - meditation chi
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Microcosmic Orbit Meditation
This has been very helpful to me so as part of the purpose of my blog I am recoding it here. I would note out of correctness that I have not followed formal advice in the practice of this meditation, and that ill-conceived practice of Chi Gung can have negative effects. If in doubt see a good teacher.

This practice developed from the increasing recognition from Chilel that Gaia's energy and mind are ne with us all - one Nature, one Mind, one Vitality. Chilel deals with Vitality but in so doing it opened up my practice to a greater recognition of One Mind leading to the development of this healing meditation. In Daniel Reid's book, which I need to study a lot more, the macrocosmic orbit moves in down the central line through 6 chakras then to the 7th chakra at the base of the spine up with the spine circulating round the head and then round the head and down the front of the body to the tantien and up the central line again. The head and the tantien are focal points of storage. For the meditation I draw on the One Mind, and bring it down to the head centre where I focus on Pure Mind, then I go down the central line cleaning the chakras as I go. This cleaning needs developing but sometimes it, just means relaxing, other times it means taking the attention and attempting to release any blocks or attempting to release any dark areas that have built up, just some sort of approach that is not forcing and helps remove obstructions. I might add the colour practice at each centre. Once I have moved to the 7th chakra I draw up the One Mind and move up the spine reaching the head I draw in the One Mind again focusing on Pure Mind. I move the Pure Mind around the front of the body to the tantien where I draw up the One Mind. This is not energetic but it is using the energy channel, the Macrocosmic Orbit, to circulate the mind and clean the body - better word is body system - of blocks. Whatever the origin of these obstructions, physical, energetic, emotional or mental - what is a mental block?, this meditation has helped me to clear the body.

After writing this I found that Dan Reid's book refers to meditation taught Master Han Yu-Mo, and on searching the net found this link on Microcosmis Orbit Meditation:-

Master Han Yu-Mo

In fact I had made an error and originally called this blog entry "Macrocosmic Orbit Meditation".

Theme - Meditation
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Revising My Daily Eating
I received a mailing from a "Dhamma Group" that made me think about eating an evening meal. I have always known that in a monastery they don't eat after Midday but I am not in a monastery. The Buddha discusses this not eating after Midday in the Kitagiri sutta, and http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dhamma/message/1432 is the Dhamm Group mailing. Here are quotes from the mailing:-

"I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was wandering on a tour of Kasi with a large community of monks. There he addressed the monks: "I abstain from the night-time meal. As I am abstaining from the night-time meal, I sense next-to-no illness, next-to-no affliction, lightness, strength, & a comfortable abiding. Come now. You too abstain from the night-time meal. As you are abstaining from the night-time meal, you, too, will sense next-to-no illness, next-to-no affliction, lightness, strength, & a comfortable abiding."

For better health, greater physical ease and comfort as well as better management of physical weight, it is best to eat a good breakfast and lunch and skip dinner altogether if this is possible. If this is not possible then something light can be consumed instead, e.g. soup, a light sandwich, a healthy food drink, fruit juice, or yoghurt/curd (good for the stomach). This is the secret to losing/maintaining physical weight without exercise! Even though the norm is to eat a light or no breakfast, a medium lunch and a heavy dinner; this is yet another instance of where conventional society has got it wrong en masse! The proof of the unskilfulness of this kind of approach is widely reported with statistics of health related issues such as obesity, heart conditions, pressure, diabetes and other such conditions on the rise."

So how does this work for me? Late breakfast, afternoon meal before teaching, and another meal in the evening. Now evening time is definitely not journey time. It is TV wasting time and eating with snacking, the only thing is that the eating with snacking is healthy snacking. Whilst staying at the monastery there were no problems with the eating after Midday - except the first day, but the Midday meal was a bit of a binge.

Change:-

Afternoon food - must have beans and add sticky rice if hungry.

Evening food - a much smaller meal.

A) Bread and special vegetables.

Special vegetables are health vegetables eg pumpkin at the moment for the throat and greens and seaweed. No other snacking.

B) small pasta with greens and seaweed to follow.

Snacking is allowed up to the end of the evening small meal eg fruit before evening silent time, but the evening meal is too big and I don't stop.

This evening meal is more than an exercise in renunciation according to the Buddha in Kitagiri Sutta but for now renunciation is good enough for me. It might even get rid of those last 4 kilos.

At present the evening is not part of my journey, it is relaxation. This is not an issue at present, and I am not going to force it. However evening eating is excessive and unnecessary when a little application of discipline would help. The evening is definitely a time self has the upper hand so gently tuning out self is a good thing. The TV is selective but still too much, but in truth I don't feel like not watching it so at the moment I am not going to force that.

Finally on meditation. It is definitely true for me that meditating on an empty stomach is good and much easier. Silent time before eating has started, this is beneficial but after the day meditating is not easy. The mind is not under control but it is not racing or swirling - minor agitation that I associate as tired. The snacking is part of this, once I start eating it doesn't stop, and the self indulges until I go to sleep. Perhaps without the eating meditation before I sleep can start. Or at least silent time with no TV. It might be necessary to reduce the number of progs I watch, being nice, Gary, does not mean it is worth watching. Funny is good and worth watching.

We'll see how this develops but it is a good change and follows from the new healing meditation and the coincidence of the referenced mailing.

Theme - self, meditation
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On thoughts and feelings
This is an email sent in reply to Bruce's comments below.

I am a Buddhist and once asked an online monk "where thoughts came from?" and he said "that was not important what was important was how you deal with them". I mostly agree with that as asking questions is not asking questions for questions' sake but has a purpose in helping our understanding - I am not in any way suggesting that you are asking questions for questions' sake.

Thoughts and feelings arise as natural functions of the mind, there is a faculty of mind that feels and a faculty of mind that thinks. If I start with my feelings, I am an old "angry young man", and in my personal journey through macrobiotics and others I am continually discovering pockets of anger that I have clung to over the years. These would be angers that have arisen in a relationship or at work that I have held onto somewhere in my psyche - I had not dealt with them well and had just clung on to them. Other emotions arise in me, and I have less difficulty in dealing with those and just let them move on by. I experience the emotion and let it go.

As for the faculty of mind that produces thoughts, I am sometimes shocked at thoughts that come into my head (less and less, thank goodness). I look at them and let them pass me by. This is not a thought that has anything to do with me, such thoughts are meant to be let go. Other thoughts arise that seem more acceptable but again they don't feel like mine and I let them go. To me these thoughts are like passing distractions and I am searching only for insights, insights far more substantial making a real connection inside.

In this description there does seem to be a great similarity between thoughts and feelings. The mind continuously generates thoughts and feelings. Try this - just step back, switch off outside participation and watch the inner turmoil. Thoughts, thoughts, thoughts - they just keep coming. In meditation you might focus on the breath and try to hold to that, but then in comes all this mental chatter of thoughts, thoughts, thoughts. When I am wound up, emotions act in the same way. Then I try to calm the mind down so that there is less of this chatter, disturbance.

Clear thinking comes from insight. I feel an insight, I feel it is right. Thoughts will gather around the insight until it becomes substantiated and I feel that I have developed the insight into daily life.

I think thoughts and feelings as energy come into this. They feel like energy in the sense that energy is active but has no direction, and becomes directed by will. Before that will-direction, energy is disconnected and is just there. I could equally say these thoughts have no direction and become directed by will. Emotion more obviously has no direction (thinks back to anger), and becomes directed by will. I felt the anger and over the years learnt sometimes to channel the anger for good - usually it became internalised clung to in an unnecessary way.

So maybe the faculties of mind that produces thoughts and feelings take the energy (chi) that is there and turn it into thoughts and feelings whilst insight and will cope with those thoughts and feelings (energy) that are meant to be dissipated and passed on by. Perhaps this energy is your unidentifiable feelings?

I am not in tune with thinking about yin and yang - and I am supposed to be macrobiotic? But maybe they are descriptions of the way the energy is used - centripetal and centrifugal. Would expression of emotions not be a centrifugal process - "laughing, singing, weeping, groaning, or shouting"? These emotions "joy, sympathy, grief, fear, and/or anger" have not been or are waiting to be internalised or expressed. I internalise my anger damaging my psyche (centripetal) or I hopefully find a good way of expressing the anger in a way that is not damaging to others - or the furniture (centrifugal). Maybe a centrifugal process is letting go of irrelevant thoughts and centripetal is holding on to good thoughts. Insight maybe part of the yang process in that the insight pulls the thoughts to its centre (consolidation) letting unconnected thoughts dissipate (diffuse).

Bruce, thanks for sparking this in me, the above are my own reflections and have no authority from Buddhism or others.

Sometime later I came across a book by Aaron T. Beck on Cognitive Psychology or Therapy and the little that I read from it seemed to suggest the though thoughts and feelings. might be different that in fact they are interconnected!

So I thought a lot about that and started thinking that maybe thoughts originate from feelings and that thoughts can also originate from other thoughts within oneself or from thoughts and feelings communicated from others!

another thought that I had was that feelings might be more diffuse, abstract, or yin and thoughts might be more solid, concrete, or yang!

Some other thought that I had was that though many people think that expressed emotions such as laughing, singing, weeping, groaning, or shouting are feelings that in fact they are not and that feelings can seem to be unidentifiable, be identifiable but into a class unto themselves, or fit into emotion categories like joy, sympathy, grief, fear, and/or anger (examples from 5 Element Theory).

So just like I often start with feeling to get to my thinking and might do that out in the open or within (depending on the mood or circumstances, feel free to be open with your process as you examine the issue at hand!

Theme - Thought, Feelings
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Enabling Love of KuanYin
What I have been searching for in my educational understanding is that education provides the signposts of Nature. By this I mean that if we are beginning to awaken to an understanding of life, of purpose, then we have received sufficient knowledge of Nature that will take us onto the Path. Where does this knowledge come from but a mother's love - the emissary of KuanYin's compassion.

What does this emissary do? Through her love she imparts soul-sila, and this soul-sila grows into the sila that is the morality and responsibility needed for good living and governance. This emissary is the link to Nature, if the home is true it provides the nurturing of an understanding of Nature. The emissary is self-less in that she exists to bring up the children, and the society that functions well is the one for which this emissary-function is prioritised.

Education cannot provide a mother's love, society cannot either. Education cannot provide the signposts of Nature, for without the love and the soul-sila humanity cannot connect to that Nature. It is this lack of connection that leaves people wandering around looking for Paths. Education's role is to support the role of the emissary of Nature, and explicitly make children aware that the priority of life is the home and that governance needs to be geared to the enabling of the home.

Nature herself can provide this love. Throughout life we can learn of Nature, and through this learning discover the Path that She provides, but this Path is simplified with the love of the emissary.

Education needs to squash the egos of men whose posturing makes them evaluate life in terms of their material possessions, their view of the home as an expression of ego, their view that life is about social position. Education needs to guide men into governance that prioritises the evolution of the home, and into recognising that their role is to support the emissary. The compassion of men enables the mother's love to suffuse the home, and these selfless actions of men then act as a role model for future evolution.

Education needs to counter the misdirection of feminism. It needs to show women and men that the mother's role is that of the greatest honour, and that women scrambling around competing in the ego environment of society is damaging to Nature and evolution. It is retaining and returning to this mother role that Nature was asking feminism to do, but because of miseducation the women leading the movement had lost their roots - even their desire to bear children and were lost in the world of social ego.

Where does spirituality fit into this? Women as they get older help younger women bring up their children, sadly in some cultures they replace the young women as mothers. As for the selfless men who have given their lives for their home and their children they develop spirituality and understanding enabling them to be elders and impart that selflessness to the young people of the next generation. Respect for elders who have brought up families is integral to a Natural way of life, and with our "successful" elders being those who have rejected Nature and sought merit in social status this natural respect has disappeared increasing social breakdown.

Re-evaluating the importance of the home in evolution is a major task of education and those who are aware.

Theme - Kuan Yin, compassion
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The Conformity of Institutions
Little things have been coming to me as waking dreams. These waking dreams are dreams that occur in a different dream state, almost in a conscious dream state, their enactment appears much more real-time consistent than other dreams. This one occurred after I woke up and dozed off again.

I was in a school, and had to sign in - not unreasonable. But there was a clear feeling that the administration was oppressive and unlistening - not unusual. There was this deputy head, a reasonably nice old guy caught up in the oppression games and drifted with it - needed to do it to make his career, get promotion, but his heart wasn't in it like the Thatcher-generation young go-getters whose selfishness prescribes the oppression.

Anyway I was being reasonable in wanting to sign the book but as usual was raising issues with administration. Somehow the signing-in book had become difficult to find the names and places to sign. I used my staff number which was in descending order of joining the school - 245 - is that significant? I decided to tell the steamrollered deputy head, and was showing him the book. Why do we have to do this when it is only about improving the 10% when 90% do it anyway? In the end I couldn't find my name, dashed the book down, and stormed off screaming "screw it".

I have an emotional problem with institutions. I have worked in uncreative restrictive institutions all my life, institutions that enforce conformity when creativity could produce more. This is relevant now because of monasteries. I want my own timeline - daily routine, I am now up late because I am writing this in bed - 7.36. Yesterday my stuff on the Kuan Yin of mothers started at 4.30 am, went through the emotion and then the blog entry finished by about 8.00am. In a monastery this would have happened differently if it would have happened at all. Typically a waking bell at 6.00am with meditation at 6.30 would have bulldozed across this way of learning.

But then presumably the learning would have found a different way to cope with the routine - I would like to know how. Perhaps I should open discussion with a Bhikkhu - maybe Bhikkhu Pesala who lives alone.

I clearly have an issue to deal with, and am reading the Bhikkhu's rules by Bhikkhu Ariyesako. But the institutional thing has a component of lifelong rejection of institutionalism - the conformity of institutions. Monasteries intentionally conform as a means of rejecting self, am I letting self be in charge or am I truly learning more as a recluse?

Theme - Institutions
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Diet Intuition - Role of Meditation
Struggling with the diet has helped me with a number of things. After receiving this email,I started to reply with these confused ramblings. They got nowhere except that after writing I meditated and wrote this:-

I'm trying to solve the wrong problem. Focus on the meditation and the insight will follow. I cannot know all the facts with regards to my physical condition and attempting to solve the problem analytically is impossible. I have recently been sucked into that analytical solution. Stick to the insight, and decide through insight.

Well it is not recent, I have always had an inclination to be sucked into analysis - what maths teacher wouldn't? So the key to understanding the situation is meditation, I know this anyway. How can I analyse what is happening in the body? I need to spend years studying to understand what's going on, and then more years unlearning what I had just learnt before I would have proper medical understanding. Meditation foregoes all this, allow the heart to direct. Leave insight to control. Because my meditation had been slipping I was seeking analytical solutions. Catch 22 - meditation slips, seek analytical solutions, meditation slips further.

Following adjustment in meditation I understood the confusion. The confusion was necessary so that insight could produce the intuition that will enable me to deal with what I could not possibly analytically understand. This is the first interesting understanding. Intuition follows from insight. Insight (clarity) comes from meditation, and then from insight intuition develops. D talks about yinyang intuition. Whilst I am a long way from having that, I can have intuition about what is doing me good and such intuitions come from developing insight in the first place.

Physically intuition has told me that what I had changed was doing me good but it was time to stop. Yesterday my Thai teacher commented that I looked tired. I woke up at 3.00am knowing that my changes were disrupting. So it is time to stop forcing up the level of sodium ie stop the suppers. No tomato-salt cocktails with potassium drinks to wash it down. Sodium bicarb has been a find. I know that it has helped with the GERD I have. I can feel this GERD presence in my digestive system - it is not reflux but it is there. When that happens I can hit the sodium bicarb, and it will help - perhaps a bit of trouble but it will help. So AA is part of my diet, a marginal increase in salt will help, and a recognition that GERD has not gone and can be helped when the system tells me it needs help.

But I also learnt about confusion. Confusion is like conflict, the birth of understanding. My first journey onto the Path came when I hit bottom with the booze trying to wipe away all the ego that education had created. Other conflicts have produced understanding, and mental turmoil before sleeping often produced an insight whilst waking in the middle of the night. Confusion has the same role. Confuse the intellectual mind - the analytical mind, and whilst it is confused then insight can push its way through. Good meditation will of course have prevented the confusing thoughts from rising in the first place. Confusion is a good step to go through, and the analytical mind needs to have confusion forced on it before it will give over territory it had claimed - in this case analytical control of the diet. Whilst my diet will still have some direction from analysis, analysing what is good for me and eating it, I must begin to get a feel of what is good. Especially focus on that feeling when diet is changed - "I'm still going thru "layers" & discovering areas that need more healing. It's a process, and I'm sure that you've heard the analogy about untangling a ball of string, as one knot is loosened, sometimes, another one is tightened."

Meditation has the answers, if I am confused it is probably because the meditation has slipped. Confused Circles

Intuition - I had reached an impasse. I was eating too much - intuition. I decided to reduce food intake - coinciding with a Buddhist email about eating less. I was not losing weight - observation. I became aware of acid-alkaline and it made sense - scientific/nutritional? I amended my diet. It should have ended there but I kept thinking about it - intuition - body telling me I was not addressing a problem. Eventually intuition broke through and told me that the conditions that created my GERD had not been dealt with although the symptoms had quickly disappeared. Coincidence (global intuition?) - received email with AA GERD solution. Took extra sodium got a headache and felt better the next morning - intuition.

Overall conclusion - I needed to deal with the conditions causing GERD and had not.

Confusion - cannot buy pH paper so bought a meter that came yesterday. My urine is alkaline (7.5), and this morning when it should be acidic it is only marginally acidic 6.9.

The trouble with intuition is distinguishing thought from intuition, your own example of yang thinking interfering is a typical one. How often have I ignored those little voices, and at the same time heard those voices, told myself I will regret it if I don't act, and wasted my time?

1) Chewing well BZ Not so good

2) Not eating flour (we are doing a bit more now) BZ Not much here, have found a brownish loaf 3) Eating fish just 1 - 2x a week BZ have prawns occasionally

4) Eating smaller meals (both of us are still working on this!) BZ - mine are too big

5) Eating lots of leafy greens, fermented foods (tempeh, miso, pressed salads, pickles, etc) BZ greens not enough, miso everyday, pressed salad everyday, pickles most days - sometimes forget, no tempeh here

6) I soak all of our grains, at least 8 hours! And don't forget the gomashio condiment. BZ Don't soak, use too much gomashio 7) I soak beans & discard the water. I cook them with kombu (alkaline), over a low flame for a long time. BZ Do this but no kombu. Veggies (alkaline) are added 3/4 of the way thru cooking. Salt is added 10 mins from end of cooking. Eating poorly cooked beans will still create problems for Don. BZ Haven't been adding salt

8) Some of his salt is obtained thru umeboshi plums, which are very alkaline. BZ Cannot get them except in Bangkok (every 6 months)

9) Eating too late at night will sometimes still cause him problems. BZ Not now

10) Job stress contributes to his problem BZ Minimal stress now, big contribution though.

11) Do you drink bancha tea (it's extremely alkalinizing)? BZ Cannot get this

12) Kudzu sauces help alkalize other foods. BZ Cannot get this

Excess sodium, how do I know if I have this?

Mathematics has always taken me to be over-analytical blocking off the insights that source the intuition, yet insight is much more the guide now -with the meditation.

I'm taking a break, this is going round in circles.

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Sorry to hear that the GERD is presenting a few problems. Correcting a lifetime of poor lifestyle practices can take a while....Although I'm feeling much better than I did 5 years ago, I'm still going thru "layers" & discovering areas that need more healing. It's a process, and I'm sure that you've heard the analogy about untangling a ball of string, as one knot is loosened, sometimes, another one is tightened.

I'm always a bit hesitant about giving advice, as there's still so much that I need to learn. However, as I heal more deeply, my intuition is improving (it's the nicest feeling to "know" in advance how a counsellor will reply to a person's question.)

I've mentioned before that my background is pure science. And D's current title is "Hydrologist", so, I don't easily discount eating from a nutritional point of view. And I'm not even sure how I switched over to more intuition about food. I suppose that macro just seemed so natural to me, that I followed my counsellor's guidelines, and after a while, the balanced food changed how I think.....I know, it sounds unbelievable!

Since, you don't have any counsellor to follow "blindly", until your own intuition kicks in, it might take a bit longer to develop. But on the positive side, once you understand how your body reacts to food, you'll know more than most people in this world!

So, on to yin/yang: Personally, I think that everyone balances yin & yang all the time. The question is do we balance easily or not? A common example is the hard-working, meat-eater who balances his yang choices with alcohol or recreational drugs. When I was younger, I loved hot-fudge Sundaes, and would balance them by eating either salted pretzels or peanuts. Even though ice cream is balanced with the salt, it didn't promote health. Perhaps, this is where the acid-alkalinity comes into play, as that particular diet was very acidic for me.

I wonder if part of your problem with obtaining information is that few people have a good, overall understanding of both yin/yang & acid/alkalinity? Therefore, many of the internet sources are only seeing part of the picture of disease, instead of understanding the wholeness of healing. Perhaps, that is why some of the advice seems to work, especially in the short term. A silly example is the tapeworm diet that was popular years ago. Some guy (can't remember his name) made a mint selling pills that guaranteed weight loss. He was so sure of his product's success, that he would give a free second dosage, if the 1st didn't work. He made many people extremely lean & happy, that is until their doctor's diagnosis of tapeworms.....

So, I'm thinking that the sodium advice sounds like a very logical remedy for GERD, from a acidic/alkalinity point. However, it might fail the "do no long term harm" test..... At least it would for me, as I'd not do well with that much sodium, even for a short length of time. Many men can tolerate more salt, and of course, tomatoes are the extreme way to balance the salt. Sometimes, such drastic methods might be needed to "jump start" a very deep-seated problem. When a macro counselor recommends an extreme remedy, they keep a sharp eye on the client, so that the remedy can either be discontinued or modified, if the person becomes too imbalanced. The problem with you being by yourself, is that there won't be an un-biased observer to warn you about your condition becoming too yang from the GERD "medicine". And this is one area, where intuition can mis-lead a person. The more yang a person becomes, the more that they think that they aren't!!!! And they'll become quite angry when others suggest that they are a bit "tight"......

So, if you try the sodium, take good notes & perhaps you'll be able to catch yourself if you're becoming too yang. (when's your blog getting back?)

For myself, if it all possible, I would try to find a different solution for helping the GERD. Of course, if the GERD progresses to where it's causing greater harm, than the sodium would, the situation would have to be re-assessed.

A couple of things that helped D with his GERD - BZ see list in confused thoughts. (Some of these we've discussed before) 1) Chewing well 2) Not eating flour (we are doing a bit more now) 3) Eating fish just 1 - 2x a week 4) Eating smaller meals (both of us are still working on this!) 5) Eating lots of leafy greens, fermented foods (tempeh, miso, pressed salads, pickles, etc) 6) I soak all of our grains, at least 8 hours! And don't forget the gomashio condiment. 7) I soak beans & discard the water. I cook them with kombu (alkaline), over a low flame for a long time. Veggies (alkaline) are added 3/4 of the way thru cooking. Salt is added 10 mins from end of cooking. Eating poorly cooked beans will still create problems for Don. 8) Some of his salt is obtained thru umeboshi plums, which are very alkaline. 9) Eating too late at night will sometimes still cause him problems. 10) Job stress contributes to his problem 11) Do you drink bancha tea (it's extremely alkalinizing)? 12) Kudzu sauces help alkalize other foods.

Probably one of the biggest things that I've learned through my healing is how very small changes, over a period of time, can lead to drastic changes. It's rather ironic, that I first heard this same concept about keeping one's house clean. lol Their slogan was "Never underestimate the inevibilty of gradualness". Once again, the wholeness of everything (house = body, both which shelters us) Unfortunately, some illnesses are too serious to wait for the slower changes of a "moderate therapy".

I don't suppose that you were able to find a copy of Herman Aihara's "Acid & Alkaline"? I don't believe in copying books (I'd rather just buy an extra copy of a book and give it to a person, rather than cheat the author out of his payment for what I'm using - just a personal belief.) However, Herman is now dead, and if you can't get his book in Thailand, I'd be glad to scan some of his book & email them to you.

As I said before, sometimes, being able to see the whole picture is best, and many feel that Herman was able to do that. (of course, if he were alive today, he might say that he didn't know everything when he wrote the book :-)

Well, after this discussion, I want to go back & re-study his book!

Bill, I truly wish that everyone was as devoted as you are to ferreting out answers! Good luck as you continue your search.

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Unnatural animals
"It's a bit of a long story. I was visiting my brother and his family. It was a small get together of friends by a lake on a camping ground. At some point a kitty wandered over, he had to belong to someone I don't think he lived in the wild. One of the guys kept chasing him away but the kitty stole food from a tray. It was the funniest thing, he was dragging this large piece of sausage link into the woods.

Some time later I heard this awful sound I turned and that same guy was crushing the kitties skull under his boot. He was stumping on this innocent animal as if it was a piece of garbage. He grabbed the kitty and tossed towards the woods.

At that moment my yin flew out the window. The fact that I studied martial arts made it worse. The next thing I remember is me dropping on him like a grand piano and crushing his chest with my knee. He screamed and swung at my head, I grabbed his hand and broke two fingers. By then I was being pulled off of him. At that point our weekend was over, they took the jerk to the hospital. I looked for the kitty but no luck. I think it crawled in somewhere and died.

That's the story, not something to be proud of."

I received this story in an email list and I wanted to get involved but walked away. The writer was not proud of what she did but others on the list have complimented her. There are many shades of grey in this issue but because of the unnatural circumstances a man was injured.

What is natural? A wild cat should be afraid of humans, and should only be scavenging after the humans have left. I suspect this kitten was not too wild as the man had caught her. So what was the domesticated kitten doing there? Should the animal have been allowed near the campsite? If it was domesticated then what were the camp-owners doing?

This is all caused by the humanising of pets. Having pets and "being soft with pets" is a personal choice but placing them above humans is unnatural and can lead to all kinds of imbalances.

Now the story is one person's recollection but taking it verbatim the man's conduct with the cat sounds reprehensible. But it does sound as if it was his food, and he has some claim to recompense. It also sounds quite possible that he was angry that the cat was present, and that others did not listen to his rightful anger. It is possible that others in the group were lovey-dovey to the cat, as he had always wanted the cat chased away. Perhaps there was a group of aggressive women there, and so he was unable to assert what was naturally right.

I am defending the man's position - and not his actions with the cat as described, that position being that the cat should not have been near the food at the campsite. No human being should have behaved towards the cat as described, there has to be a better way than the level of violence described.

What would happen to a man with martial arts training if he had acted in the way described. Comments on the list were happy that a chauvinist should receive broken fingers and a cracked rib, and that his ego would have been deflated. Men and women making such comments need to have a lesson in natural adjustment. This was a cat. The man, jerk or not, was dealing with the cat and was surprise-attacked by a woman with a lethal weapon. What martial arts training has not taught this woman any form of self control - at least she was not proud of herself. The woman is lucky that the man is not sufficient a jerk to prosecute for an attack with a deadly weapon.

Are the same people who defended the woman equally angry about all the Americans killed in the Inner cities? Are they demanding that their governments do something about the deaths to humans? Pehaps no. Somehow black and Hispanic people are different maybe. It reminded me of the South Africans I met at the end of Apartheid. They were passionate about the environment and animal rights, yet they lived in a system that exploited other human beings in a far worse manner of enslavement and institutionalised murder, and for them this was not their first issue - if at all. They somehow managed to live with and accept what their society did to blacks.

I think back to Matobo and camping at Maleme. There the bush pigs (warthogs) were treated as pets, and people wrote home about how those bush pigs took nice photos. When I first went to Maleme the bush pigs were afraid and didn't come near the food. The last time I went I couldn't chase them away from my food and campsite. So these large animals were nuzzling through my gear, and they had huge dangerous tusks that could kill. But of course the pictures were cute.

I spoke with the rangers, because I didn't understand what was going on. These rangers were Africans who understood the local balance with Nature. You carry guns, why don't you do something? They told me that with the baboons they used to fire in the air or if the baboons became really dangerous they would find the leader and wing it. But now they can't do their job of controlling the animals in case some western college kid on a backpacking tour complains to the tourist authority.

That unnatural situation has probably led to injury - probably to a jerk who deserved it as well.

I cannot comment on the list because the list-owner supported the woman's act of violence, and I don't want to be removed from the list as they have helped me a great deal with macrobiotics. How unnatural the western world is.

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On Insight
On his destructive intellectual nihilism S once asked about Insight "How do you know when a person has insight?" This is a good question if it wasn't for the fact that the person posing the question was not interested in learning about Insight but trying to pass on the same confused mentality his own intellectualism gave him. Despite this to my later regret I got drawn into his nihilism as I allowed him to create the rules of the dialogue, this was rather stupid of me as he was asking to learn - not I.

I presented the notion that Insight was the Wisdom of the Source - or some such spiritual description - leaving me open to all kinds of intellectual destruction again because the enquiry wasn't genuine. To me there is nothing wrong with this description, but how does iot manifest in humans? Through a clear mind, so Insight requires a channel to the Source and that channel is a clear mind.

So can people without clear minds have Insight? For example did Hitler have insights? My immediate reaction to that is no, and that what Hitler might describe as insight were in fact thoughts that he had latched onto. Here it is necessary to see the thoughts for what they are - mind thinking as opposed to Nature thinking - Insights. Now these thoughts might have power, perhaps given personal power by the individual concerned, and so be considered Insight. Such an individual might have some connection with Nature and therefore some connection to the Insight but by the time it comes down the corrupt channel that is not a clear mind the Insight has been perverted. So what Hitler might have perceived as an Insight might have begun with Natural power but became channelled by his misdirected powerful mind and became a corruption.

So the answer to the question "Can people without clear minds have Insights?", and the answer is yes and no. Perhaps they can connect with the Source, begin the insightful process, but then corrupt it through their murky channels. "Can you know whether it is an Insight?" Nature knows for it is Her Insight. You can know because it is your clear channel that is accepting the Insight. Can you know in another? And that is a question of discernment, is your mind clear enough to discern the truth of another's Insight? Of course it must obey the Laws of Nature, and this is a strong measure but is not a complete process as who can be sure they know the Laws of Nature. But there are some that claim Insight that one can know based on clarity, integrity (of the person and in Nature) - basically Sila.

Capitalism and Intellectualism

Capitalism is in the realm of the intellect. Trading is Nature, the product of one's skill trading with the skill of another within the realm of Nature. A teacher may pass on mathematics teaching to a farmer who might provide fruit and veg. Money was introduced to facilitate this by quantifying the worth of one skill as compared to another.

One first talks of capitalism with colonialism. Let us consider that but bear in mind it is not the colonial aspect of capitalism which is the current problem - but intellectual capitalism. With the colonies the hegemony sought to obtain goods by fair means or foul - usually foul. This foulness was typified by the slave trade where colonials bought people and forced their labour for unreasonable wages ie minimal food. But in this period of capitalism the capital represented goods.

The current global crisis is because capitalists have intellectualised the capital. They have invented means intellectually of creating capital without any basis of representation. The money that we have in circulation is not based on any actual asset eg gold standard. Initially this process was started stably in that the lack of asset basis was masked by the velocity of circulation. Because people were earning money for their skills they were able to purchase goods even though the amount of money exceeded the goods in circulation. But this surfeit of money over asset base meant that people wished to purchase more than was manufactured. This was usually savings and investment - people requiring money when they didn't have the wherewithal to earn it or provide money for children at uni etc. This time factor introduced a new dimension to money as the money was required to purchase services but it was becoming further estranged from an asset base because of that time factor.

In stepped the new capitalism. It recognised that people wanted money for the future - not now, but they could use the money now to profit and hope the money would be available for the investor - reasonable in that there will always be a need for investment - not reasonable in that it began the creation of credit schemes that were not asset-based. Again initially this was not a problem as the surfeit of credit remained manageable, but these coke-sniffers got greedy. They increased the level of credit phenomenally so that the amount of credit in the economy is far greater than any assets within it. And the words they use to describe what is happening now is the credit crunch. Of course in describing this credit crunch people are blamed for taking on too much credit, but this is not the root of the problem. The problem lies with the creditors themselves. They have created so much false money, money that has no asset base, that they reached a stage where they lost control of what their coke-sniffing was doing. More aware of these people recognised this problem and began to see that it was time for a change. They decided they wanted control of the new system, to take it out of the hands of the coke-sniffers, and set up new international bodies to control the regulation. The wealth will be accumulated in the hands of fewer people - the next stage in accumulation of capital.

All of this is achieved through intellectualism. Knowledge is based in two camps - Insight or reason. Not all experience Insight as they cannot clear their minds, but many more can use the power of reason and deduction. Now this reason can be based on Nature - Insight, but more often than not reason is developed from prior positions. These prior positions could simply be the established position, and therefore deduction is made on what is established. This parallels what is happening economically. Nature accepts trade as a normal function, trade based on skillswap using money that is asset-based. Moving beyond what is stable (sustainable) is not Natural, and this is what intellectualism did. Creating credit that had no asset-base created instability, and led to this crisis. It is quite simply a Natural Law - how can you create something from nothing?

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Ground Zero
Have I reached Ground Zero? No but I am close. How do I know? Because I don't know where I am going and because established patterns are not now working, I am waiting for the new to come.

But I think I have now come to some understanding of what that Ground Zero is. I have understood that a human being is a function machine in terms of food, good food into machine gives health. But there are three other functions to consider:-

Walking

Qi

Meditation

Walking is both exercise and being in Nature, and this is where travel comes in - travel to be in Nature. That is if Trat is my home, the functioning process has yet to determine whether it is. How much is walking in the mountains romance? Am I already in my home? How important is English language personal contact with good people?

My qi body is far from active. It is necessary to build up the qi body so that I obtain proper qi health so that future action can happen. What is the future action? Don't know but with the qi body not ready, no such action can occur.

The mind contains tricksters, and has to be continually watched so that tricks aren't played. Meditation can connect to the emptiness that lets Nature make the decisions - and not bogus decisions created by tricksters in the mind. Meditation is practised to enable the emptiness that allows Nature to decide. Food and walking, qi and meditation are the inputs to the human machine that will provide the output. Wait and see.

But what of learning? This is learning but it is not learning dogma. OR perhaps to be fairer on myself, it is not learning to gain insights on dogma. Insight is Nature talking, not dogma framing the way Nature talks. Or Nature quacks as the cute kids quack past going to school.

It is not Ground Zero yet as there are still blocks in the body, health and emotion, the qi is weak and wasted, and self uses too much time. But Ground Zero is not a point, it is a multi-levelled spectrum. Ground Zero might be achieved in health when the functioning of qi and meditation is far from it. These scales are a process but what is important to see in the process is that it is a removal of baggage, and that previous experience is not formulating the process and is also not determining the steps on the journey. Having released most of the baggage that has guided the process with the blogs and the writing so far - because the insights and writing driven by the past have mostly dried up, the journey can continue without the pathways being created by the baggage hopefully with Nature being the guide.

The lack of recent direction is not a moving away from the journey but a clearing away of signposts that were confusing the way, a wind blowing down signs that had previously been helpful but future adherence would be restrictive. Allow the Path its own head, allow It to create Itself.

What of experiencing? I just do not know. But I am open to the idea of new experience and at the moment that is all it can be. Chasing after experience for experience's sake is self and wasteful but it is clear from previous insight that experience is warranted at some stage. But what?

It continues to be important to see my journey for myself and not through established journey perspectives eg Buddhism.

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