Wednesday, 28 February 2018
Today I attended a town gathering where all the town's church leaders prayed for rain, God's presence, support for farmers and for the community in general. It was a worthwhile experience, and there was a spirit of community that I had not yet encountered in this town.
One thought that I pondered was about praying for rain. Since the Western Cape is in dry straits, and there is plenty of stress and desperation, the cry is obvious. But really, the notion of a personological God who is able to change weather patterns when pleaded with to do so?
I went over the important lessons I have learnt, and remembered the huge relief that came over me when I learnt about non-formal education. For two blessed years I was taught by UCT's best in the Department of Adult, Non-formal and Continuing Education. Formal education is what most of us experienced on a compulsory basis, fulfilling certain requirements and meeting obligatory standards, complying with legal definition. Informal education is everyday learning, and non-formal education falls between the cracks, defying definition but nevertheless having real effect.
We're often baffled by the irrationality that strikes: why do I have cancer? How come I lost everything? Why is there just no sense in being alive? Why did my baby have to die? On the other hand, rationality explains everything, we simply need the time and opportunity to work things out.
We live in an almost super-rational age, having left magical thinking behind, knowing better than belief, and intuiting on the basis of being coached by the best and the most expensive.
The third position of non-rationality does us the favour of side-stepping opposites which are the hallmark of the logical red herring. According to Kant something was either itself or not itself. As far as mind is concerned, motivation can be either rational which means you know what you're doing or irrational, which means you haven't thought about what you did.
I reckon the mind is capable of operating rationally, irrationally and non-rationally. Non-rationality gives us all the freedom to be who we are, rationality notwithstanding. Irrationality is best avoided.
So is it okay to pray for rain?
Could God really tweak weather for us?
Non-rationality says I can leave that to be an open question. In a universe where cause and effect are God, rationality says no. In an irrational universe, where nothing makes sense in the long run, you can put a frog on a stone and sacrifice virgins to make anything happen.
In a non-rational universe, you can step into a sacred space which is also a badly managed main road in a divided town and pray for rain. Your idea of God is no doubt also badly managed, and needs both moisturiser and night-cream. But I liked it when the Caltex man who stood next to me and I had a spontaneous hug because we were praying for each other, in whatever way we knew how to.
It was a good experience, observing and sensing the badly managed main road remind itself and all those present that it's always a sacred place, if one would simply hold it as such.
And the frog that harboured itself in our bedroom some nights ago was put back into the pond, and it seems to have remembered that somewhere closer to water is where it belongs.
Thursday, 15 February 2018
It's not negative, just a vague attempt to say something real. When one delves deeply into one's unsaid things, they tend to flare.
But I have come to the end of participating in human pretence, from the highest echelons of academic self-recognition, to walking with the one scratching in the bin for food.
It's the pretence that bothers me.
The hunger of humans, dying each hour,
and the deep desire for
There's no balance.
If you're comfortable, it doesn't mean that you have to
give it up.
But the heart staggers.
Whose's carrrying the weight?
Who's pushing the pyramids of
Apparently my accountant knows nothing about what
although the balance has to
stand still, from time to time.
But the question is,
what counts, the moving colours of
seasons caution us.
Speaking for myself,
I'd try to avoid the rubbish.
After that, if you can do it,
sunrise always says something
If you get up early enough,
and know how to watch,
you'll see something that wil make you
Thursday, 25 January 2018
Humans, being part of the living planet, are involved in a very delicate ecology. The illusion that everything is okay, and that the weekend is coming up to be enjoyed, is the way the western world has stumbled upon, in its quest for normality. That's not normal for millions, who are either below the breadline, on the breadline, or ill, and desperate.
I was brought up to believe that God is in charge, but what they didn't add was that they prefer to be in charge of God, because that gave them a lot of power.
I don't think that the planet is sick, but I do recognise that humans put greed, self-righteousness, fear and fervour above reasonability, compassion, carefulness and connection.
It's because in our early years we are more malleable than mindful, because our mind is in formation, and at the mercy of malicious purpose, of which there is plenty.
People may or may not choose malice consciously, but certainly they practise it, and the result is twisted emotion, their own, and those around them.
Choosing to connect with God can't evade choosing to connect with the whole, which means all of living, which is actually our default. The table of elements knows no exclusion.
Medical science has come a long way in knowing how to manage the body when things go awry, and need to be stabilised while natural healing occurs.
That kind of intervention is conducive to but does not imply a purposeful movement towards wholeness.
The path to wholeness involves recognition and respect of what is naturally there.
In short, we don't need any kind of special understanding of God to experience ourselves as being part of a much bigger living that defies language and perception. We are wrongly taught that life and death are opposites. Our aliveness is part of a bigger aliveness. Dead doesn't mean not alive, just as trees know that winter isn't summer, and autumn isn't spring.
In a nutshell, we heal into wholeness, and the body, experiencing this miracle, knows it for what it is. Some recover from illness, some do not. The reason has nothing to do with good, evil, sin or salvation. The ecology of nature and mind is not evidence, but practise, and the further up the conscious mind tree you are, the more you need to recognise the tree for what it is. Many depend on money to get them through, and money grants options but not meaning. In my own quest for natural medicine, I recognise God in each connection between mind and matter that urges not only the individual but also the collective towards wholeness.
Human tissue is made of universal atomic movement. It's reasonable to to stop arguing about perceptions, and notice subtleties that strongly agree.
Saturday, 13 January 2018
The reason why anyone attends Story Clinic is the beginning of the new story to be told. An individual might want to get to grips with the story of being alive. An interest group such as micro-light pilots, stamp-collectors or boutique wine farmers might want to forge a new identity and project in respect of their focus. A town might want to re-negotiate its reason for existence. A school could want to re-communictae itself. A bank might have run out of internal goodwill, and want to re-assure its branches of a new normal. A hospital management team might decide on kindness to patients as well as clinical expertise. A president could think again, and decide to recalculate.
Here are some basic aspects to the bones of Story Clinic:
There is a huge space between language and reality. Be prepared to explore this. It's safe.
Formality is merely formality. It has no power, unless it is given power. Being alive isn't formal, and neither is being dead. And language is a non-formal convention.
The story that anyone finally believes doesn't make it so. The table of elements has a stable description, but the universe behaves beautifully and badly at the same time. Our planet, solar system and galaxy are all about chemical behaviour, mostly fire, ice, wind and nothing. But we're here to experience, observe and respond. And that makes the real difference.
Consciousness, pre-consciousness and unconsciousness are levels of arbitrary. Choosing on purpose is a huge privilege of being an alive human.
Much of spoken language is voice-box, throat, neck, mouth and facial posture. Mimic that and you've got the communication if not the words.
In Story Clinic we ask:
What stories have you kept to explain your sense of reality?
What made those stories rise within you?
Did they arise in healthy or unhealthy ways? (Your body will instinctively know the answers.)
Turn those big stories into chapters, pages or even one-liners. Do you choose to keep them, toss them or re-write parts?
Your body is part of a material as well as energetic story. To which word-sets do you limit yourself? How well do you know your internal ecology? To what extent do you recognise and respect your external ecology?
When it comes to external ecology, which stories attract your attention? Current affairs? History? Activism? Finance? Let your natural attention explain something about your story-relatedness to you.
Who are the significant people in your story? And from which era are they? And in what sense do you control or not control their presence?
There are, of course, plenty more story-questing ways of teasing your being into presence. The healthy stories do this, while the unhealthy ones stifle, stop and stuff the soul into the unwashed sock of a contrived sense of reality that smells bad although we all seem to agree that it's necessary to do this. This is strange behaviour based on making ourselves acceptable to each other.
Attending Story Clinic is about paying attention to the experiment of being alive. And we are both the researcher as well as the research population. It's an exciting and fun way to play with normal and new, always with the purpose of understanding what healthy means and does.
Thursday, 4 January 2018
"Love" is the biggest word in the English language, perhaps after "God". The biggest presupposition, an unlikely label for a preferred reality, for many just a desperate desire with no hope of fulfilment, a feeling with a really abstract label, a fascination with an unattainable desire.
I don't mind the word, but I have no understanding of what it means, in just one word.
"I love you" ??
Let's try again, imagining the scenario.
You are my child, I will always care for you materially, and emotionally.
You are my friend, I commit to communicating with you, in your best interests, always.
You are my spouse, I will always honour you, sexually, financially, communicatively.
You are my community, I will always be loyal.
But in each scenario, there's a further analysis to be made, more detail of an ethical purpose that depends on emotion, and the effects thereof.
Once you get the sense that love isn't a thing, but is alive, it starts to get slippery. That aspect of experience, that really important one is more like a lizard than the stone on which it's sunning itself. Notice it, and it runs, losing it's tail to distract your further attention.
So, go into the beauty of your soul, which is really there, and ask what the ultimate word means.
You may be surprised. Every word that proceeds from your mouth or heart is ultimate. "Love" is more like the canvas, your intentions and actions more like the picture that gets splashed, sometimes more, sometimes less attractively.
What does your heart say? Your body know? Your skin fear or acknowledge?
I learn about love by observing bodies, especially when they ask for help. I hope that I know how to respond. Those real levels of requirement, like trauma, truth and touch aren't really up for much conceptual analysis. You know how to fix, or you don't.
That's my kind of medicine.
So when someone is really stuffed in the department of love, it's a good strategy to look at the heart, and not the words.
"God" happens to be there, too.
But physiology is the short-cut to both. It's really fascinating to have all the answers literally in your hands.
Tuesday, 19 December 2017
Language has been torn and tortured beyond sensible communication. What humans have done to natural emotion is mirrored in language. I'm not sure about the languages I don't speak, but for sure, English is bogged. Instead of aspiring to clarity and common sense, it's become a self-seeking and serving means of meaningless glorification.
Platforms for pronouncing markets, tendencies and trends arise with the words thereof, and the power of the utterance is mediated by the hesitation of those who are still thinking.
I am not impressed with the language of leadership. It changes too easily with the speaker's sense of what is good for the moment.
Vocabulary has become versatile. Say what the trends invite, and if you can coin a word to suit the world's attention, you could make millions.
Take a moment to consider politic-speak, market-speak, leader-speak, super-speak, back-away-from-me-speak, love-speak and every other kind of speak that has mesmerised and continues to fascinate human need for something that speaks promises and never delivers. Check coach-speak.
Speak and communication are differential. You can speak all you want and never communicate. Speech is organically engendered. It's living-tissue-related. It's warm, of the body, and the sounds are mere convention. The engagement is the thing. People converse without too much depth, because it's just a fun and necessary thing to do. Light-house-keepers know better. The next level of the body is the inorganic: the atomic and sub-atomic game that's more difficult to sense because it's electron-based rather than molecule-based.
In time to come we will no doubt throw out almost all the nuclear terms, as we realise their relativity to nothing. But for the moment let's consider the coldspeak of that level of being that's seasoning in and out of livingness.
Certainly, bodies are born, live and die, but there's another story going on, when it comes to the elements that bind temporarily, have something to say and do, and then echo in the organic memory that records our ecological soul's requirements.
We may think we live our bodies, but I suspect that the elements are having a deeper conversation. Our planet is alive before we are, and that aliveness is less like a bubble and more like a cosmic suggestion.
It takes a little training to feel your sub-atomic strata. Obviously, you're not going to put that into words easily. Yet the music should come easily. That's the most obvious communication of all.
The story of sub-atomia is vividly felt, I think, but not easily expressed, because the language thereof is two or three steps removed from everyday chatter and chaff.
It may seem ridiculous to make friends with your electrons, quarks and bosols, but better shake hands quickly, because soon there will be new words, new worlds and perhaps better lonelinesses. The clever people are trying to read the neurons, but it's actually the other way round.
They're reading us. And they have an inside story with words that we'll never know. How super-cold is that....
Thursday, 30 November 2017
Human life hasn't had an easy time getting here and it faces no easy status keeping safe.
It's biggest enemy is itself. Ecology, the balance of everything that sustains our living planet, is not any servant of human agency. Economy, a man-made balance of artificial wealth, has seduced our sensitivities away from ecological reality. We are killing our planet because of greed, as any informed person knows. Greed begets greed, and the way of big business is to interrupt, disrupt and get bigger.
Not logical, as far as earth logic goes.
Ecological intelligence makes for a good partner with emotional intelligence, and the rub is that all living items feel emotion. Maybe even the minerals.
I was prompted to write these thoughts because of a thoughtless post made by some-one in respect of faith healers and hospitals.
Who do you turn to when cancer is diagnosed? What do you feel and think when mortality gets you into a staring competition? What can medicine do? Why do three more years matter?
The fact is that human bodies are delicately poised items of ecology. They are built to survive, make no mistake. This struck me forcibly when my son was born prematurely, weighing 850 grams, his head smaller than my palm, and his feet way below my elbow. But he was fine. Delicate as that situation was, that body was made to live. All bodies are. Yet, nothing is promised, and really, anything can go wrong at any moment because of something that slides off a fly's wing, or a microbe that craps under your toenail, or a worm in your gut that decides otherwise. The universe as well as planet Earth is not a well-oiled machine, and living tissue is prone to failure under circumstances beyond our control.
A delicately poised ecology requires recognition, respect and co-operation. While it's better to climb a tree than to be polite to a lion that's chasing you, there are things that take less urgency. Like watering your garden, if you have one. Like noticing and feeding the birds. Odd relationships have been formed that way. Like learning to notice and love the ground on which we walk. Tracking: not checking on our trucks kind, but observing who has come and crossed our path, and where the small grains of sand are earlier or later than the bigger grains: this matters, if you want to read the patterns of living earth.
Communicating with our own species: we're actually almost one hundred percent useless at this. While neurons are designed to communicate at all levels, quasi-levels and para-levels, our failure to say, mean and communicate has been thwarted by bad ideas that confuse and constipate that so-called mind.
If we were to think less and respond more truthfully and clearly, and never mind the social embarrassment, the delicately poised ecology might start noticing us for what we are, and not what what we would prefer to be.
I am not for not thinking, but for better thinking, which means that what we say should be more in line with emotional authenticity and less in co-operation with everyday chatter and impressionability.
I am for assisting with the healing of the people, and the world, and against the rubbish of destructive behaviour and attitudes, no matter their origin or agency.
We have always lived in a delicately poised ecology, and no enterprise on earth can change that, or diminish our responsibility. There's nothing wrong with crocodiles, though they eat us from time to time. At least we know what they are.
Is there something wrong with cells that grow without obedience to DNA? That's more difficult.
What can we do about it?
I have the sense that it's not about dread disease. If your lifestyle is wrong, let's get educated. If you're struck down by a rare disease, share your story. The doctors and professors do try, for sure, but they are not the PR for humans. They simply try their best.
The rest of humanity needs to do that, too. Industrialists, bankers, brokers, business of all kinds. If you're in it for the greed, or self-comfort, at least admit it, if only to yourself. Your body's immune system is organic, not economic.
I'm not picking only on cancer, that's just a headline. We do not live in a sick world, we live as part of a sick species.
So never blame God while we can change what we are able to change. Bear that delicate balance of ecology in mind with every real dawn, drawn breath and recognition that you affirm.