Sunday, 26 February 2012

Post No. 372 - Ethics is not a county in England

The title of this post is not mine: I first heard it from a friend over a decade ago, and I think she got it from somewhere else. I recently used it in frustration when trying to get some people to consider the ethical implications of what they were considering.

Talking about time and communication ... when I was a small kid, learning to speak (yes, I remember back that far*), one day I half-heard my parents use the word water. As I indicated, I didn't hear it clearly, so I tried to find out what the word was. I actually asked "was that wa .. wa ..." (I didn't have the vocabulary to say "what was that word you just used" - I tried to recreate the word, paused, then tried again), and my parents decide I had come up with something cute - "wa-wa" for water ("Yes, you can call it wa-wa if you want"). No, I didn't want to bloody call it wa-wa, I wanted to know what the proper damn word was. So ... if I may suggest, don't underestimate kids - and that includes not underestimating their capacity to be evil.

* I know someone who can remember being a child, being sung to by her mother, who wanted to sing her to sleep. She, however, was thinking along the lines of "if only she'd stop making that noise so I can go to sleep!"

Moving on ... it seems to me that many of the problems in society (e.g., materialism) are present because there is a spiritual vacuum. People want - in fact, need - a sense of purpose,Link and where that would, in other Yugas, be rightfully provided by spirituality, that is lacking in our immature Kali Yuga, where religion has become confused with spirituality. What is the solution? I don't know ... Maybe more emphasis on rigorous work and self discipline rather than trying to appeal to the laziest common denominator ...

I've recently been reading Marco Pallis' book "Peaks and Lamas", first published in 1939, republished in 2004 by Shoemaker & Hoard, ISBN 978-1593760588 (my copy is older, from a lovely, packed-to-the-rafters-with-books second-hand bookshop). This book, which has a chapter titled “the Round of Existence” that happens to be one of the best introductions for Westerners to Buddhist concepts that I have ever read, also describes Tibetan Buddhists as considering "Method" and "Wisdom" as being inextricably linked, with each being as essential as the other: Method, characterised as being male, is symbolised by monks by holding a dorje, and Wisdom, characterised as being female, is symbolised by monks by holding a bell. Their attitude towards these two was so inclusive it struck me as almost being pagan.

The Round of Existence also describes the various classes of beings, including "gods" (Deva realm: God realm) and demi-gods (Asura realm: Demi-god realm), who are seen as above humans but still trapped in illusion: this description is, I consider, better covered by Lobsang Rampa's description of Manus as a sort of hierarchy of deities branching out from the one universal source of all - also a bit like the pagan concept of the Goddess splitting sparks off herself to create other entities, who split sparks off themselves to create others, down to our Oversouls who split sparks off themselves to create parallels (i.e., us) ...

Incidentally, Pallis' book also includes the sort of dismissiveness of the inherent value of this level of reality as a valid purpose of existence in its own right (i.e., not as a stepping stone to something "better") that is one of the reasons I realised I was pagan, not Buddhist.

Post script - Monday 27th February, 2012
I have finished Pallis' book, and have a few more reflections.

Firstly, I consider the Boddhisattva Vow to be foolishness and a vanity. This level of existence will be part of reality until reality ends. The notion of staying behind until everyone is ready to reach enlightenment implies the view that we're just a bunch of miscreants, and the world/physical reality will snuff out of existence when the current batch graduates: not so. The physical level of reality does exist for a reason, which is learning and growth, but one is ALWAYS going to be learning, no matter how evolved one is - and, in fact, one may be better able to help those on this level of reality by continuing to evolve, instead of putting a brake on one's evolution. In the current Kali Yuga, the notion that there may be a limit to the existence of the world may have a somewhat perverse attraction. In, however, the Gold Yuga, this world would actually be quite a pleasant place to be, and it would be inconceivable to wish for it to end. Then there is the issue of assuming that one's presence is necessary for others to evolve. Yes, I know that isn't what is intended by the Boddhisattva Vow, but the reality is, Reality is actually quite well organised. Teachers will always be provided for those who are worthy. Of course, the student may not like what the Teacher teaches ... which brings me to the next point.

Pallis writes about the attitude of Tibetans towards "sin", or making errors, along the lines of: if it increases awareness, then such errors should be encouraged - and hence some of the behaviour of gurus towards students that many Westerners would consider appalling - such as Marpa getting Milarepa to build a house and then tear it down. Such "trickery" occurs in other traditions as well. Indeed, if I look back at my life, I can see many "mistakes" I've made, but they've mostly contributed to who I am today, and I think I would only change one or two of them. Incidentally, I include some emotions in that, emotions that I now consider quite self-indulgent, but which were major motivators at the time for me to learn and progress.

And now, this week's readings links. As usual, these have been chosen for a mixture of interest, information, and stimulation of thought: I don't necessarily agree with any or all of these :)

Love, light, hugs and blessings

(pronounced "new-MYTH-ear")

Tags: art, boredom, Buddhism, children, communication, discrimination, ethics, materialism, purpose, science, sexism, society,

First published: Sunnudagr, 26th February, 2012

Last edited: Monday, 27th February, 2012

Monday, 20 February 2012

Post No. 371 - Attitudes

There are a number of people on this world trying to work out why it is in such a mess - including people trying to work out why it is such a mess spiritually (as opposed to why it is such a mess in terms of social equity, justice, physical peace, lack of access to enough food or clean water, and so on). My meditation this morning resolved one such issue into clarity for me: the inability to cope with difference (more generally, I think much of it has to do with the accumulation of billions of poor decisions by people over time).

I think I've probably written on this topic previously, but this latest reflection was triggered by hearing a young person (and these days, anyone the other side of 30 is, to me, young :) ) grumble about someone who didn't want something ostentatious for his birthday "Well, I'd want that if it was me".

No doubt, kiddo, you would - and there is nothing inherently wrong with that (although the environmental costs of such behaviour will be increasingly questioned in years to come). Where this becomes WRONG, is when you expect (or assume that) others to have your likes and dislikes, or to react to things the way you expect, or to share your aspirations and goals.

I also dreamed last night about one of my sisters. She and I didn't get along when we were younger: we have as we have aged, and the last time I saw her, we got along particularly well. However, I am of the view that much of the disagreement we have had a adults was because I did not dedicate my life to the pursuit of children. As it turns out, I have, in the course of my life "acquired" step-kids, a foster-kid and so on, but I dared not to make it my predominant goal when I was in my 20s and early 30s. I think many parents struggling with the demands of raising kids (keep in mind that I have done that also, but later in life) look at child-free adults (by which I mean people who CHOOSE not to have children, as opposed to child-less people, by which I mean people who have not been able to have children - which is a definition that came originally from someone else, and I apologise for forgetting who) and feel resentful at the apparent freedom, etc.

Well, tough: you made a choice, and you have to bear the consequences of that. I actually consider much of the rubbish I have encountered about not having children has, despite claims of "we need to do that for the sake of the future/nation/whatever", is actually based on resentment (and, as far as that goes, we need, as a species, to have fewer children, not more, for the sake of the future of this planet!).

It is easy enough to do. There have been times in my life when I have been resentful of people who have, for instance, made choices at a younger age then when I finally got around to doing so. Easy enough to do, and spiritually wrong.

Part of being mature is taking full responsibility for your decisions, both good and bad. Sometimes that can be hard - particularly when you have an unevolved soul baying for your metaphoric blood over a mistake, or lording it over you (i.e., pretending to be superior). Such things (the baying for blood, I mean) happen in an incredible range of areas of life - politics is where most people expect to see such bloodthirstiness, but it happens in professions, work life generally, social groups, special interest groups, ... and, often, FAMILIES. Go back to my comments about that one sister of mine.

That behaviour is spiritually WRONG, just as committing acts of physical or other violence are wrong. I am going to say that violence is often a worse wrong (yes, I do believe in scale of how wrong or right some things can be), but that doesn't change the fact that the behaviour I am writing about, even if it be as mild as grumbling that someone doesn't want what you would expect for their birthday, is wrong.

That same sort of attitude is, in fact, part of what underlies more severe cases of discrimination - racism, sexism, etc.

So ... if you wish the world to be a better place, I suggest you consider being tolerant of all forms of difference that do not involve harming people. Of course the issue of "what is harming people?" is a whole other post (for instance, consensual forms of sexuality and BDSM that do not align with how you live your life might not "be your cup of tea" [for instance, BDSM is not my cup of tea], but provided it is consensual and between adults, it is none of your business). So ... please enjoy and respect the diversity of life, including of human life, on this wonderful planet we live on.

And now, as a total distraction: I have had some good things happen of late. I finally have some (short) holidays from my day job coming up, which means we may be able to go bush, and the spiritualist mob my partner and I go to may be agreeing to me becoming the librarian. That is something I quite enjoy - in fact, as a child in primary school I tried to run my few books as a library, charging my friends 20 cents for a loan of each book so I could get money for more books (generosity and a lack of money on the part of my friends led to that particular scheme failing!).

Love, light, hugs and blessings

(pronounced "new-MYTH-ear")

Tags: attitudes, discrimination, materialism, society, spirituality,

First published: Mandagr, 20th February, 2012

Last edited: Monday, 20th February, 2012

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Post No. 370 - The film "Conviction", and other stuff

Life is still busy for me - lots of study, lots of work (including psychic), so I'm still in short posts mode. So ...

My partner and I recently watched the film "Conviction". It's a powerful film about prejudice, partly based on someone being obnoxious, the dedication of a sibling's love and what that inspired her to achieve, and - to a lesser extent - parenting.

However, there is a very disturbing element to the film - for me - in an early scene. The character Kenny is in a bar with his baby when he bumps someone who "mouths off" at Kenny. Kenny's response initially is calm, but he then gives his baby to the mother, goes back, and violently assaults and threatens to kill the person. In response to that, is he thrown out of the pub? No. His sister and then-partner weakly tell him off a little, and then, in response to Kenny strutting around and being ... "entertaining", or "humorous", seem to forgive or forget (or both) the violence. I found neither the violence nor the strutting endearing.

I've seen the effects that such behaviour, such letting violence go unremarked, can have in families - and have a personal experience of it from a past relationship. It's not acceptable, and that condoning of violence by people close to the perpetrators directly contributes to them continuing to commit other acts of violence, possibly escalating! If you have someone violent close to you, then, if not for your sake, then at least for others, I consider you have a spiritual duty (now there's a sadly unfashionable term ...) to NOT condone it (unless that would put you in danger - in which case I consider you have a spiritual duty TO YOURSELF AND THE PERPETRATOR to leave).

And now, a few reading links.
I'll end with something quirky: the origins of the Vulcan salute: see Enjoy :)

Love, light, hugs and blessings

(pronounced "new-MYTH-ear")

Tags: children, discrimination, environment, indigenous, irresponsibility, personal responsibility, responsibility, society.

First published: Sunnudagr, 19th February, 2012

Last edited: Sunday, 19th February, 2012

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Post No. 369 - Is the conservation of energy a fallacy?

A statement that I have come across in various places is that energy cannot be destroyed, it can only be changed. This is often in the context of, for instance, recycling "negative" energy back through the Mother, i.e. the Goddess, so that it can be transformed into something positive. I have observed that having that point of view tends to help people to face up to, and integrate or make a holistic part of their being, their negative aspects (shadow self) which is a good thing. But that is a separate matter to the issue of whether energy can be destroyed ...

Of course, to me, I automatically wonder if, if energy cannot be destroyed, can it be created? If energy cannot be either created or destroyed, then where did it all come from in the first place? And when we meditate, and are energised as a result (and that does happen, in my experience: the energy is not just changed, it is increased overall - so the benefit is not just a case of "change of mood" - look at the before and after aura, and you will see what I am talking about), does that mean the source of our extra energy, often our own Higher Self, is diminished as a result?

I don't think so ...

I am rather inclined towards people who think energy cannot be destroyed possibly being afraid that, if energy can be "vapourised", can consciousness also be "vapourised"? Or maybe they've taken the concept of recycling to save the environment a tad too far ..

When energy is recycled and transformed from negative to positive, is it the same thing at the end? When our consciousness becomes one with the Goddess, is it the same consciousness? I am the same human being I was when I was eight months old? Are you?

I think change is inevitable, whether for worse or better, but I do think that, as things can be created (whether that is a painting, a concept, or a universe), I think that energy can also be created. If energy can also be created, I consider it also can be "destroyed" - I have personally dissolved enough negativity in my life to know that from personal experience.

There may well be benefits in having the opinion that energy is conserved, but I think any such conservation does not apply to negative and positive psychic energy - or, at least, not on the level of reality we inhabit.

Love, light, hugs and blessings

(pronounced "new-MYTH-ear")

Tags: energy,

First published: Laugadagr, 11th February, 2012

Last edited: Saturday, 11th February, 2012

Post No. 368A - This week's speculation, reading and other stuff

As a first point, don't forget the Hope, Peace, Love and Prosperity spell for the 11th of each month - here - today.

I've just finished reading "Rubicon", by Tom Holland (pub. Abacus, 2010, ISBN 978-0349-11563-4, first pub. Little, Brown, 2003), about the fall of the Roman Republic (not the Roman Empire). The obvious question after having done so, is "why did the Romans give up their freedom for peace?" Of course, Mr Holland has given his explanation in this excellent book, but I have another aspect I wish to consider on the matter.

Let us begin by considering a fairly frequently used definition of maturity: the willingness to defer pleasure. That means that one will, for instance, leave the best piece of food on one's plate until last, and eat all the other food first. It also means not acting on impulses as soon as they come to your awareness, as if you are a stereotypical teenager (and I emphases, yet again, that such stereotypical behaviour can be found in all ages, whereas some teenagers can be quite genuinely mature).

However, there is another, too-often unstated aspect of this: being prepared to do what is one's "duty". I know that is an unfashionable word these days, duty, but it is one way of describing things done out of regard for others - whether that is the self-sacrifice of being a loving parent, a boss who works hard to make sure there is work for her (or his, or hir) employees, or those who take on a role protecting those who are unable to protect themselves.

Ah, notice I wrote "those who are unable" - not "those who are unwilling".

What I noticed most about "Rubicon" is that, ultimately, the Romans gave up their freedom for peace. To be sure, they were war-weary after a century or so of civil wars, and a history of many other wars, but they effectively gave up their freedom - and the awkward inconvenience of things like voting and being prepared to risk their lives defending their land (easier to pay or bribe some barbarian to invade other barbarian's lands and thus take the conflict further away, they seemed to think) - for what they considered an acceptable peace. Now, there are all sorts of arguments about the falsity of that sort of peace (it largely consisted, for instance, of pushing the physical conflicts that were still happening to the edges of the Roman Empire, rather than having them in sight), but what I want to focus on here is this: they gave up their duties for personal convenience.

That is, as far I am concerned, another expression of immaturity.

So, every time someone these days parks illegally in a disabled spot, they are continuing the same sacrifice of freedom for their personal convenience that brought down the Roman Republic :) So ... let the disabled have their parking spots for the sake of freedom!

There is actually a serious aspect to that apparent jest ... Cato (the Younger) was the only person who came out Tom Holland's book with anything like what I would consider respect. Cato, who condemned Caesar's invasion of Gaul for being an illegal war, who mourned every death on both sides of the Roman civil war, who mourned the death of the Republic and the principles that underlay it by sitting upright to eat (the Romans in those era lay on their sides to eat) and ultimately committed a politically very effective suicide. He stuck to principles when it was inconvenient to do so, and things like the essential consideration of being able to access disabled parking spots is a principle that may mildly inconvenience the abled, but is often essential for the differently abled.

As I was reading Mr Holland's book (and I will now look for the others he has written), my speculation was this:

Duty is the unfashionable expression of love, the part that people have to learn just as inevitably (or, possibly, even more so) than the lovey-dovey, fluffy white niceness stuff - and by "duty", I refer to "doing or not doing something out of a sense of duty".

Not many reading links this week:

Other stuff

I'm come across some quotes that I quite like. Here they are ...

"Some people bring out the best in us, some the worst.....however, they both show us what we are capable of. "Comfort" is no test of truth; on the contrary, truth is often far from being "comfortable." " - Swami Vivekananda

"If you wish to drink water at the tap, you will have to bend. Even so, if you wish to drink the divine nectar of joy, you will have to bend. You will have to be meek and humble. If you are truly humble you will possess a magnetic personality and attract many persons. All lives will now be drawn to you." — Sri Swami Sivananda

Love, light, hugs and blessings

(pronounced "new-MYTH-ear")

Tags: freedom, immaturity, maturity, peace, responsibility

First published: Laugadagr, 11th February, 2012

Last edited: Saturday, 11th February, 2012

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Post No. 368 - And again, more reading, speculation and other stuff

I'm going to change the order in this post, and have the reading links last.
So ... some speculations.

When the immature come across humour, they become sarcastic; the mature use subtleties such as irony.

The world of commerce becomes wrong when it starts to think it can dictate what is right and wrong in human behaviour - evil when it ignores the conscience of the consequences of its actions.

How does a civil society best choose its leaders? Competition for election has been around since the ancient Romans and before, and has its good points and bad. Someone who doesn't want to be a leader would be good, as they may well hand back their delegated power more readily. The problem there is, they don't want to be leader and so won't push themselves forward. In a spiritual society, the ideal of the best person for the job is more likely to happen - in that case, the biggest problem may well be that of false modesty ... and real but undue modesty: someone holding back because they think someone else is better. Simple truth and honesty, and calm communication are probably the best counters to that particular problem. As for the civil society's leadership problems ... maybe the best cure is to become a spiritual society :)

Aot of New Age groups refer to "white light"; the Tibetans seem to refer, if anything, to CLEAR Light. I think they've got it right ...

Other stuff ...

I'm reading a book about the ancient Roman Empire, "Rubicon", by Tom Holland (pub. Abacus, 2010, ISBN 978-0349-11563-4, first pub. Little, Brown, 2003). A lot of it is disturbing - particularly some of the parallels between people's behaviour (especially their willing blindness to inequality) and today's world - particularly the USA. Still, they did get it right when they said you need to be middle aged to curb the excesses of being young :) ... and Marcus Aurelius' writings are actually very inclusive ...

The Sydney "Mardi Gras" mob are busy shooting themselves in the foot over whether or not poly is part of the Q in LGBTIQ - didn't they learn anything from when they tried to exclude bisexuals?

And on change, for some light relief, they are not always for the better. I'd love to find who changed cafe latte's to include foam and who started the "start with a coffee" before meal thing ... they need a stren talking to!

And now, reading links ...

Remember I don't necessarily agree with the links I post: some I definitely just chuck in there to see if you're thinking. You should keep that thinking cap on if you're reading anything else, to - such as the media, anything on the Internet, uni lectures, etc ...

  • Despite my qualification, I have to point out that I consider the information at the link in this dot point is naive - dangerously so: I consider the best test for guidance to be to - as I was taught to do - project positive energy to the source. Nevertheless, I will provide the link for your reflection:;
And now a few links from my local paper, The Age.
  • "Gay vows not so queer", by Dr Paul Monk, co-founder of Austhink Consulting, a critical-thinking skills training and consulting firm and apparently a "regular media commentator on public and international affairs", 8th December, 2011 (incidentally, if I had ever been elected to Parliament, which I did think about in the past, I was going to try and have created a position of "Chief Philosopher" to depoliticise some of the rhetoric around issues in much the same way as this article does):

Love, light, hugs and blessings

(pronounced "new-MYTH-ear")

Tags: commercialism, discrimination, humour, immaturity, leadership, media, society

First published: Laugadagr, 4th February, 2012

Last edited: Saturday, 4th February, 2012