Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Bio-focusing: an eternally living lens

You come to the point where you have to choose what sort of a lens you are. I have discussions with my neighbour who says he's a sceptic, and that when you die, you go out like a candle-flame, and that's the end. I don't argue because I've learnt that you can't argue with a decision. I've spent a long time coming to my own decision. I don't know exactly what to expect, but I do expect experiences  of deep peace, vivid excitement, joy of home and friendship, and the thrill of re-discovery.

Having been born as a human in a specific context, and having the gift of language to explore this context, I have been extremely baffled by people who use language to limit their "lens-ability".

A lens is a material thing, and living is an activity, so the metaphor is forced, but it's helpful to reduce the complexity of living to simplicity, which is what we do all the time.

The activity of seeing is complicated enough, and an ophthalmologist could spend hours explaining what happens when we see, but we don't need to hear the explanation in order to see. We just see.

Living is even more complicated, and can't be reduced to anything, especially not a belief system. There's far too much going on with and in our minds for us to come up with anything neat to package the vastness of experience.

The word "decision" implies conscious choice, but I've come to realise that there's actually a sliding scale of conscious choice. Visceral, cognitive and volitional awareness focus inasmuch as we choose to focus. I don't think we're in a position to choose with full awareness, since awareness itself is a growing thing.

If we're fortunate enough to have been intellectually schooled, we have some control in respect of thinking clearly. If we've come from any platform that has instilled emotional balance in our hearts, we're blessed. Yet living itself is an emotional maze.

Our most vivid emotions come from "deep within the marrow" as my Irish friend puts it. We can't help those ones.

Then, again, perhaps, if we pay attention to them, we can own them rather than them owning us.

They're not pleasant. In fact, our instincts often instruct us to get away from these emotions as far and as fast as possible.

My personal worsts are fear of and rage at being made powerless by the folly of people who have authority over me, despair of never experiencing closeness with another human, and overwhelming pain for the pathos of suffering living beings. By learning to embrace rather than run from these, I have discovered that willing, conscious focus of personal energy creates amazing paths of realization, relief, contemplation and compassion.

To get to this place you have to allow the sense of ultimacy to come to rest in your living. Ultimacy isn't the end, but the sense of what's at the end, and it's a big, scary sense.

So what's at the end? There's no way I can or want to try to word that one. I'm more confident of wording what's in the middle, which is my lens of living. in the here and now. Bio-focusing means taking what surrounds living in the here and now and letting that massively imponderable and incomprehensible yet immeasurably vivid current leap through minute details of daily living. Beauty may seem complicated if you analyse it, but to experience it is infinitely simple.


Friday, 15 November 2013

The energy in focusing

I teach people and organisations how to focus. There are a few questions to start using when you want to learn about this:

What are you focusing on?

Where are you focusing from?

What are you focusing?

The third question is what I want to address here.

You're alive, although you take this for granted most of the time, unless you've been through a life-threatening situation, had a seriously shocking emotional encounter or are just a naturally extra-sensitive person.

How do you know you're alive? By being aware, and being conscious of being aware. We could also talk about being cognizant of consciousness of being aware, but then we begin to sound like drunk philosophical lawyers, although it's true that there are many layers of consciousness and awareness. Lets' go another way, linking sensory experience to focused awareness. You usually float along on a default of habitual attention: white bread toasted, that shirt, this train, this key, that file, has to be this desk, it's mine, coffee at this time, lunch at that, my work, I know what I have to do, my home, my family, TV time, etc, etc.

The daily habit is a hard one to break. You've been doing it for a long time, even if you pay attention to complicated things. As I want to say to my son-in-law who flies Boeings, any fool can fly a Boeing. All you do is flick switches, press buttons and say "Roger" every now and then. Now who can't do that?

That which you are focusing, and using, by bringing your energy to the fore of the routine, is attention. There's only one person in charge of your attention, and that's you. Because our eyes, ears and noses are on our head, and thus a lot of attention feels to happen around these, we identify with our heads most of the time. And then, because our heart area is the one that feels very excited or very vulnerable from time to time, we point to our hearts if we are asked to point to "me". I've wondered sometimes, where a porn star would point if asked to point to the "me". Could be fun to find out.

The energy of focusing and the focusing of energy are indeed close to being the same thing. The thing common to both is decisive action. Let's try the same stunt: are decisive action and active decision the same thing? The age-old distinction between body and mind is false. You can't reduce the one to the other, neither can you separate the one from the other. You have to learn to surf, bob and bounce between them.

If, for you, the experience of living is frequently, perhaps mostly, unpleasant, as it is for many, the way to go is to beautify your being.


There are a number of places to start doing this. Daily routine is one, emotional habits another, imaginative agility a third. Intellectual versatility is the one I like, but it's not everybody's favourite. 
Back to the third question: what am I focusing?
The simplest answer is: my attention, my energy. These are the same thing. When you pay attention, you focus your emotional attention, your intellectual attention and your decisive attention. Unless you decide to attend to something else. Like the hunger in your tummy. Or is it mouth? No wait, there's a message waiting for me. I still need to go to the toilet. I'm late. What was I going to do before doing this? What's the date today? My foot hurts.
Focus. It's a skill of attention. It's a deliberate manipulation of energy. It's a management of self-awareness. The more you do it, the more challenging it becomes. Why do it? Life is short and then you die. Let's have another bucket of KFC. Let's have another beer.
What's a useful way of understanding the energy of focusing?
It does it automatically. When you look at what's in front of you, your eyes, or more exactly, the muscles and lenses of your eyes do what's needed without you thinking. You decide without thinking. In less than a blink.
What also happens, for humans, who have a weird access called imagination, is that attention obeys the words that the language part of the mind throws in. "This is the office, don't get funny." "This is my bedroom, I can do what I want." "There's no money left! It's over!" "What a wonderful world..."
Choose a vision and then see it. It can be as small, selfish, cruel and vicious as you want. If you can envision it, you can move towards it. Everyone goes towards what they decide without thinking. Some go towards what they decide after thinking. A few go towards what they feel and keep going even when the waves are high. Even fewer go into their thinking and feel what they think. The possibilities are myriad. Some hear beauty straight away. Some see compassion. Some smell truth.
 The energy that focuses your attention is not only you, it's also much more than you. Your experience, your meaning, your insight, your mind's heart is no one thing. It's not centred. Ask anyone who's been dead for a couple of hundred years. Being oneself is also a choice.
By now you should realize that the energy of focusing doesn't fit into words easily. In fact you can use words to focus energy, and to energize focusing. They're amazing paddles for going upstream and against the tide. But I get impatient with them. They're good friends, in themselves, but people use them to reduce, restrict and restrain the natural energy of focused attention. Ask any curious child.
 Unfocused energy doesn't go anywhere in particular. Focused energy grows, exponentially. Another blog will deal with learning how to focus energy. Unfocused energy, though, is necessary. Nothing wrong with going nowhere, slowly. One decision leads to another, and focused energy can't be reduced to business mentality, salvationism or devotion. It is what it is, and the mission in focusing is not to be slavish to clarity, but to be as clear as the energy of freedom.
Perhaps this comes to me vividly because living in a "free" South Africa, now, is a whole lot less free than it was when it was oppressed. It's more feasible to stand up to a bully, if you have the courage, than to correct a liar whose lies are lucrative.
 It's an important learning curve, choosing how to focus. It begins with the irreversible and astounding realization that the heart of your mind is what focuses, and that focusing is inevitable. Your very living is a focus, and should you never use this facility, no doubt you will die still staring blankly at nothing. That's actually not possible. A small bird on a twig is enough to register eternal meaning. That's because the reverse is also true. Indeed, words are mirrors, and that's because they're like the drops of the Victoria Falls and the Niagra Falls. If one or more hit your face, then you must have been close enough to see, and definitely close enough to hear.
"Focus" is a word. The action is limitless. The means is indefinable. The meaning is unimaginable.
Yet learning to do this is always possible.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Wild Truth

The closer I get to moving from temporary life to eternal life, the more I have the sense of urgent things that need to be said.

One is that truth can't be owned.

I have spent most of my thinking life working out what ought to be thought. That's because I was brought up to find out what I ought to think.

I was a hopeless rebel. They told me I ought to think, feel and believe, but I couldn't work out what. Then, of course, I realized they didn't know, themselves. But because they were good people, I avoided a fight, as best I could,

So, ridiculously, I have spent many years fighting my own energy to avoid a fight, because I sensed it was a fight that couldn't be won.

It can't be won. So now we try a different way.

When you die, there's nowhere to go except on.

You don't just stop. That's overly modest thinking which assumes that you don't matter. Rubbish. You do.

The most vivid experiences that have come your way are an indication of how we go on. The truth is never a conceptual truth, nor a theological truth, nor a dogmatic truth.

It's no-one's truth, and the very big problem with humans is that some have tried to own it.

Try beauty.

We live on an awe-inspiring planet, a place of requirement of respect. When we experience it, as travellers do, we know it.

There are more indicators of how it pans out.
Try recognition. The key here is that if you don't respect your own body, you haven't got the path to recognize much else.
You go to your level, as you live, and that's where you stay unless you choose to change.
It's a communicative level, you connect without meaning to. Little bit scary. More comes to you than you go to.
You aren't in control of the patterns, neither now, nor ever.
From there, back to beauty.
Here in Africa, people film lions killing zebras. It's a sort of beauty, although not for the zebra. But the point I really want to make is that beauty isn't cosy.
Beauty and truth - these concepts that hover and hum like helicopters that are about to run out of fuel are wild, as our bodies suggest to our sophisticated minds.
When we run out of intellectual fuel, we'll feel this more sharply.
The very impulse to train human awareness is feral. They'll kill us every time we go towards a new belief that doesn't suit them.
Somehow, you have to overcome. Them? Us?
When they get wilder, as they do tend to, in spite of laws, regulations and sanctions; when their teeth show in spite of their proper words, what do we do?
You don't moderate emotions with intellectuality. Try sharpening intellect with emotional acuity and agility.
Wild truth is the stuff of heaven, I think. This intellect I've been given as a matter of neurological behaviour that I can't change at will is a case in point.
I'd prefer a cosy infinity, but even there, the kettle has to boil to make tea.
Wild truth. If the Eastern metaphor is water, the Western style is wilderness.


Sunday, 29 September 2013

Parents, patterns and metaphors of music

We don't remember being born, we take our early years as given, we build our lives on a platform we've never recognised, because we haven't taken time or attention to check it out.

Our parents are these magical people whose influence is inescapable, though we may dare to stand up to what we have experienced.

Love between parents and children is one of the strongest instincts ever. It's also one of the most misinterpreted.


Most of us have the experience of responding to parents and responding to our children, and we, ourselves, are the difficult bridge between these two responses, because the construction of the bridge is not a given, but that which we create, ourselves.
We're born into a pattern, an emotional pattern, a pattern of belief, a cultural expectation, an economic reality, an historical sequence. We're not responsible for the pattern, yet we're responsible for how we change, don't change, ignore, take responsibility for that pattern.
You have to get personal, and start paying attention to what was going on, what was happening in respect of everything that determined the time and place into which you arrived, how it felt, what it meant, what was required.
They weren't thinking about you, they were responding for better or worse to their own arrival, development and history. They were doing the best they could in respect of their lives, hopes, disappointments, purposes, expectations, ambitions. They were responding to their own patterns of experience.
No-one is free from parents, biological sequence is inevitable. The implications are huge: person, purpose, life-plan, predisposition, preferences: all these come from somewhere, and the point of immediate entry is birth, that biological event in respect of which we exchange muscular contractions for emotional obligations.
Take a short test:
Pay attention to your life:
List your Mom's strongest (not best) character traits. On a scale of one to ten, rate her frequency of performing these. On a scale of one to ten do this for yourself.
List your Dad's strongest (not best) character traits. On a scale of one to ten, rate his frequency of performing these. On a scale of one to ten, do this for yourself.
Do this exercise for one mere week, thirty minutes a day, and I guarantee life-changes.
One's life is a pattern of meaning, and alas, this word is an empty one, unless it's filled with action. If you do something with your life other than look for superficial gratification, necessary survival, short-term joy, fun-filled distraction, your life will feel at first to be alien, then large, becoming properly purposeful.
Whereas entertainment is an industry, experiencing music is not really an economic activity. Music, itself, is a reflection of living. If you take a few moments to hear your life playing, the chords of your soul, the melody of your intent, you will find possibility of cadence, impertinence of melody, beauty of composition.
The pattern into which you are born is a music, playing at that time. Few feel able to change the music, some can interpret, most simply perform, leaders conduct.
However, the more you bring your own music into focus, the more the score changes.
Living one's life is like resonating within a particular chord, or cadence. You just keep on adding, either the same, or one sharp, or flat, or seventh, or minor, while your kids are adding on another semi-quaver. It's true that technology is changing extremely rapidly, yet emotions don't change as such, they merely vary the chord.
What we see is who we are, what we do is what we want, what we feel is our direction.
We have an instrument to play within our soul: all the notes that were given to us on arrival are ours, and the composition, counter-point and harmony are ours to create.

Avoiding a moral imperative of simplistic obedience, we will find a dilemma of authenticity.
What an amazing sequence of steps to gain mere movement towards truth...
Harmony of experience may seem difficult to achieve.
Way too much of humanity is trapped in rebellion, cruelty: destructive patterns that seem inescapable.


One of the best metaphosr of music is relief. Dissonance disappears when notes and chords connect. The soul feels it.

When you're free to move, in your soul and spirit, and your connection to the material world is known for what it is, a temporal connection, you can do what you want within the recognition that affords music an eternal appreciation.

One note played meaningfully can be utterly liberating...

Thus also, one life.





Monday, 23 September 2013

Planning to live more than one life: RIP James Thomas

Today I was shocked and saddened to learn of not only of the death but of the killing of a friend from long ago.

When death comes from natural causes, it's sad enough. Abrupt, needless death is another matter.

James Thomas used to phone me on a Wednesday evening, or a Thursday evening or even a Friday evening, in a desperate situation, looking to put a band together to play for a party or a barn dance. Sometimes a mere couple of hours' notice. I was always happy to oblige, with my bass guitar, with the prospect of a rowdy dance, good fun, decent pay, and more.

The more: I want to dwell on that, because it was more. It meant much to me,

James gave the folk a short crash course on barn dancing: "heel and toe, do-ce-do and around you go" and then the whole thing would take off picking up ridiculous speeds.

Now that he has gone on, and I am left with these deeply affectionate memories, I think about the "more" that was involved, and my thoughts are daring.
He was a good Christian, living the standards of the Christian proclamation. I am not the same. I ask questions that Christians don't ask and can't answer. Yet I believe that if we were to catch up with each other, right now, we wouldn't do anything else other than laugh about the madness of those years, recognize that which is more, and live for that imperative.
It is an eternal imperative. The church that he attended made the statement via the local leader that James looked for growth, as an imperative matter for all, and my view of his work is that it shows this, throughout.
I pass the billboard to Cape Town, on the left, close to Maitland, the one that reads "Don't leave a will, leave a legacy" and I like the feel of this, even though I am not a multi-millionaire.
Do you come back?
Well, "coming back" is a loaded term, sounding very Eastern to the Westerners. No, YOU don't come back, you don't get the same plate of food twice, ever, nor do you step into the same river more than once. That's why our feelings let us know what's special.
Yet, if you have a plan to change more than what one life inhabits, your plan is greater than it could be, and if pursued, simply greater in effect than one life.
Most of us desire no more than to survive and if possible, to thrive during our one life.
Again, re-read Brian Weiss. He has a finger on the pulse of living's summary.
The point is this: living is full of meaning. We participate, gently, intuitively, and given the sense of purpose, penetratingly, in this sphere.
The service motive is more fruitful than the profit motive.
Thank you, James! It will come back, all of it, until humanity itself ends...

Friday, 13 September 2013

Core Intelligence

Intelligence isn't what it used to be. Tests were designed, way back, to measure various defined intellectual capacities. In those days we measured verbal IQ, non-verbal IQ, we had stannines, bell-curves and cultural bias.

Now we have emotional intelligence, spiritual intelligence, ecological intelligence, intuitive intelligence and industrial intelligence. Astute books have been written about these, and I am sure more intelligences will be found as we go along.

I am interested in intelligence, because when I feel unintelligent, as I frequently do, I seek to feel intelligent again. Feeling intelligent is better than feeling unintelligent.

How do you know when you are being or acting intelligently? This question has fascinated me all my life because I was brought up in a way that encouraged me towards scholastic intelligence, spiritual obedience, economic ignorance, emotional servility, sexual idiocy and subjective clarity. I have had the good fortune of experiential influences in my life to have changed the balance of all this, and have learnt things that have changed my mind, direction, values and intelligence. I am sure that I am intelligent, but I can't prove it, not even to myself.

For a very short while I worked in the context of that well-known oxymoron, military intelligence. My job was to carry the files from the top secret cabinets to the meetings and put them away again after the meetings.  They trusted me not to open the files which was probably the height of  stupidity. What I did learn, however, was that if your enemy knew more about you than you knew about the enemy, you were likely to lose the battle.

In the functional world, intelligence relates to data-gathering, analysis, decision-making, policy, action, delivery, feedback. In the personal and interpersonal world, intelligence relates to insight, balance, wisdom, values, right action and one special core aspect which I deem to be impenetrable and inscrutable because it lies beyond the  reach of language and even thought. Fortunately, or unfortunately, this core aspect lives cheek by jowl with the mixed up sphere of emotion and instinct. These very alive imperatives remind us that we come from the belly of a very hot earth, and that our earthiness and starriness are linked in unclear ways.

This core intelligence is humbling, but not to the point of inaction. It is electrifying, often to the extent of premature commitment such as religious zeal. It can be restrictively instinctive, resulting in maternal over-protection, sexual addiction, purposeless aggression, over-identification, by way of examples.

I don't know what it is, what to call it, whether humans can conceptualize it, whether anything can be done to domesticate it.

It is an aliveness, even more, Presence, before which we had better lose all pretensions at intelligence, and learn, as quickly as possible, to relate, communicate and above all, grow in recognition. We tell ourselves strange stories, moving myths, poignant poetry and use music, architecture and art to appropriate this aspect of core intelligence that words fail to capture.

In my view, this mysterious core intelligence is a matter of grace: if you aspire too much, it evades, if you desire too much, it escapes. If your heart remembers the heat of conception with ease rather than urgency, perhaps the dream will be remembered more clearly.

Does the idea of intelligence actually apply in respect of such a view?

I think it does, if we move away from a neurologically-centred basis, and go towards subjectivity itself, realising that neurological activity and subjective awareness are not an intelligent enough combination.

The "I" of the "I", the heart of the heart, the soul in itself, the spirit, if you can catch it, the Holy Spirit, if you are prepared to recognize: these are all a little dazzling, and can't be reduced to an academic thesis or a statement of conscience.

If I believe I have captured the castle, perhaps I should go back to bringing the files.


Thursday, 29 August 2013

Fervour and faith

If there's one crucial distinction I've learnt about it's this one. I was raised in the midst of extremely fervent people. They encouraged me to be as fervent as they were about the focus of their fervency, but I was not able, at that age, to work out what it was. Fervour is about boiling, that's what the Latin word means.

This refers to passion, enthusiasm, intensity, over-emphasis.

This has little to do with faith, which means nothing more than the dependency you display when you sit down on a chair.

You rarely think about sitting down. You just do it. You depend entirely on that chair not collapsing under you. You don't expect it to collapse. You don't do a risk analysis. You don't doubt. You simply sit.

This is a better understanding of how faith works. No matter how loudly and widely you proclaim your trust in the chair, your declaration means little. Just sit. Anyone who's interested in noticing you, will. And those who don't care, never will. So why the fervour?

The sad and solemn truth is that humans have a way of encouraging each other to participate in group commitment, and fervour is a first option. Rugby. Cricket. Strictly Come Dancing. Master Chef. Catholicism. Rangers. Protestantism. Manchester United. Al-Quada.

Fervour easily results in over-committed behaviour. You deny thinking for yourself. You refuse the bigger picture. You put passion before sensibility. You make yourself a martyr. You kill others as you martyr yourself.

Whatever, you kill life.

Fervour and faith are not the same.

Faith creates life.

Fervour, done inappropriately, kills it.

If you don't have the intelligence to work out the difference, better back off from making proclamations, especially to yourself.  It's not merely about embarrassing yourself: it's about the bigger thing you haven't risen to. Much more is at stake than you realize. Fervour can be stupid and often is...how many beers do you drink because your side has won? Faith is never stupid: it sits, and if the chair collapses, that's a different kind of problem.




Friday, 23 August 2013

In the beginning

Stories have traditional ways of beginning. "Once upon a time" opens the curtain for a fairy-tale, "it was a dark and stormy night" is the beginning of a horror story, and "in the beginning" opens the myth of genesis.

Where do we come from? Why is it all such a mystery?

Somehow our thinking just isn't capable of making the link from the temporal to the eternal. I believe our ability to feel gets there quite easily, and that the distance between thinking, feeling, language and openness has been put there by us, the human race, in mistaken ways. The short story "Papa, snake and I" shows how power and powerlessness is created at many levels of consciousness, and is pervasive. Much of our mistaken thinking arises from a bewildering acceptance of powerlessness, an unwillingness, not an incapacity to resurrect from a deadly emotional situation. The lack is one of emotional agility, which is the other side of the coin to which we are more accustomed: intellectual capacity.

In the beginning.

From  here on, to make sense you have to commit yourself to a style of thinking and emotion. It's a decision. Maybe you pat your Bible or another holy book and say "that's it, it's all in here, and I know I can never understand, but I know I trust, and that's as far as I can ever go". Or maybe you frown slightly, and say, "We have many scientific tools, the task is immense, maybe not in my lifetime, but maybe one day...".

Perhaps, in your mind's eye, you see stories of cosmic proportions and hear breath-taking celestial music that you know, painfully, you can't verbalize, yet it's all there in the palm of your hand, ready to be known in ever-more detailed ways.

We are part of the planet. We came from the planet. We were put on the planet. We are descendants of aliens. The mud got alive, and we evolved. An amoeba got alive and we evolved. God created us.

You pick the sentence that appeals to you. The sentence makes no difference to what actually happened.

Perhaps, like my Irish friend, you can feel what happened. Perhaps, like Jan Smuts, you can sense the all-embracing arms of holism, and the ever-expanding holographic contact that this sense implies.

I spent four years working at the South African Astronomical Observatory, spending many hours of the night looking up at the stars. I once spent nine months going to bed each night, lying on the bed looking up at the ceiling, but in reality I was crawling along the edges of a cosmos I could barely imagine, sensing with acuity whatever may be sensed at a place like that.

Sometimes I have the impression that we, as conscious beings, are the inside-out of just one level of a totally aware universe, like a hand and a glove that have swopped places. I've said before that God, for me, is not so much of a person as Presence. So, in the beginning, was there something that happened as the fiery core of this planet hurled itself into the tension that holds atomic structure together? Music and the table of elements can't be so orderly by accident. Ever heard of your core star and your haric line? There's more to human light than meets the eye. And there's much more to human consciousness than the intellect can offer on its own.

I think that to re-visit the beginning, you have to re-decide a poor decision you made somewhere between childhood and adolescence, when you accepted a certain level of powerlessness because it seemed you had no choice in the matter.

You were wrongly informed.

That which was in the beginning is now, and is yet to come. Stay with the mystery, and mystery will become more normal, and you will see with the eyes of your eyes and hear with the ears of your ears, and begin to know with heart's knowing.

I'm sorry I can't be more specific and show a video of what happened in the beginning, when life sprang from the planet. I do however have the sense that we can leap-frog Jung and go from  personal unconsciousness to group unconsciousness to planetary unconsciousness, because I have faith in the acuity of the imagination. All levels of imagination and cellular memory go pretty far, and if you are prepared to experience where these take you to, forgetting about Facebook, your boss, your bank balance and social problems for some time, I can guarantee a surprise. It's a matter of focusing, or more specifically, bio-focusing.


Thursday, 15 August 2013

Living myth

There's a point where an individual fits into an historical context, where individual physiology is matrixed by cosmic aeons and a point where individual consciousness merges with infinite mystery.

Imagine this remarkable point of departure, entry, contact being tucked away in the elusive core commonly known as "you" yourself.

That's how very mysterious, powerful and extensive you are. Your boundaries are not limited to the here and now, nor to the appearance or disappearance of money from your purse, also not to the various moods that persuade you from time to time that some things are more important than others.

One of the biggest feats that humans aspire to is to tell the story into which they fit for real. So important is this that they even kill each other for the sake of the story that they cling to. Families can be split by preference for a story, nations upset and faiths kept at war. The stories are many and varied, authored by people of all kinds including pioneers, puritans and pirates.

I was fascinated by stories from an early age, blessed to have one Aunty Carol who was no relative but stayed in our home, and created stories with me, and  told them over and over. I still have no idea where she came from. She died when I was twelve and went to heaven, and still embarrasses me with a keen interest in what I do with my life. Carol Russo. If anyone knows anything about her background, I would very much like to know more about her personal history.

Most of my academic work revolved around working out what a story is, what the idea of "story" means, what the relationship between identity and story is, how consciousness and narrative interweave, how social awareness and story create authority.

Three books come to mind immediately: The Body of Myth by Sansonese, The Cry for Myth  by Rollo May and The Roots of Civilization by Marshack.

These and many more shaped my thinking. Gradually I learned that shaping my thinking wasn't as important as challenging my feelings. I began to probe where I would not have probed before, losing important boundaries of fear along the way. When I read Freke and Gandy's The Jesus Mysteries, a huge light came on. It took me ten years after that to recognize what was being illuminated to me: that truth does not arrive as one single though possibly long narrative that rests on a platform of absolutely accurate details.

No scientist will ever arrive with the truth. No theologian will even be able to package it. No spiritualist can unravel what happens after death. I watched Carl Sagan's Cosmos regularly and more than once and accepted that the impossible immensity of the universe requires equally huge dimensions of thinking.

The truth and an accurate story overlap in a court of law, but not in a universe observed by a human mind. The human mind has to lose a bit of egotistic glue and "resinate" a bit more with what's going on in the observable and intuitive aspects of temporal and infinite living.

Each individual is a star-gate through whom meaning, purpose and intention flow. As you are honest to tell yourself and others what flows through you, you participate in living your own myth, which is guaranteed not to be limited to yourself. It's a living myth, not a merely accurate account but a creative movement reflected by what's going on in your life, your personal history and your growth and in particular your changing beliefs.

One of the biggest fears I grew up with was connected to loyalty to belief. The more free I am to believe what makes sense, the less I am compelled to believe for the sake of loyalty, which has always been a hallmark of human conflict.

Choose why you believe.

Once you've hammered your flag into the mast, that 's it , that's also not it. Decision can be changed.

A lot of people believe rubbish. That's why humanity doesn't do well. The emotions set up, the mindset sets, decisions assist bad choices. There's something in the core that doesn't make sense, but it's still chosen.

I think it's called badly interpreted instinct. Humans are wired to act instinctively. They obey because they feel to do so, they engage because they need to, they love, too bad, because they don't want to meet doom alone.

The living myth reaches out, quite despite humanity. Humans are a nexus of the universe, a very real one, a corner that requires quite a manoeuvre from that which is human , and more, I'm not sure how they will officially admit that humanity stops short, necessarily, of knowing much more than tomorrow's weather.

There's a challenge in just being conscious: meet your story...

Far from what you may have been influenced, the story is wide open to relief, a  new sense of reality, release.

I can guarantee this: simply ask "what is my story?" and if you mean, it, so much will change.......


Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Coaching, believing and energy.

You coach what you believe, whether intrinsically or explicitly. What you believe boils down to how you perform your naturally spiritual energy, the stuff that wells up and flares spontaneously. You can control this to a large extent, but not absolutely. You can join an organization that offers structures, policies, rules and channels for your energy, yet, at bottom, it's a wild, untameable pagan kind of energy. I say that because humans aren't the hub of the universe. There are pre-  post - and  meta - human aeons to the universe, and to think otherwise is to miss the whole point of being human. An individual is a cloud of atoms held together by an undiscovered principle.

The body itself, as anyone who has gone to Bodyworlds would know, is beautiful. Personality, as anyone who has lived should know, has dumbfounding potential for wisdom, stupidity, creativity, inventiveness, destructiveness and depth.

What you reckon you believe, without putting energy into it, goes nowhere. That's like having a theory about marriage, without ever having made a human commitment. On the other hand, when I watch Paul Carrack perform, I don't have to ask what he believes. I'm participating just by watching, listening and feeling.

Although I'm no surfer, I think that judging energy is like being out on the ocean, checking the waves. Some you try, others you ignore, a few you dare, and there are those you master. You don't get cross , impatient or angry with any of them. Your feelings have little relevance compared to what happens when you take action.

What impresses me about action is that it's inevitable. Each moment is filled with potential action, the most basic aspect of which is aware attention. Where we go from there is a matter of choice.

Coaching is a matter of combining telling and demonstrating: a performance of energy that's perlocutionary: something is enacted, not merely verbalised. No story can be told without participation. No alertness is wasted. No action is inconsequential. Everything can be changed at a moment's notice, and can be made new. The good news is no mere Sunday School story. It's rock hard reality, about change, growth and the incorruptibility of what's eternal, the evidence of which arises in the spontaneous feelings and awareness of the here and now. You can layer them up as high as you like with cleverness and sophistry, but you can't disguise them. You have to know what to do with fear, despair, grief and sadness. If you haven't done this for yourself, you can't coach this. You don't know what you're doing. If you haven't tried to work out what you believe, you can't coach anyone how to approach the action of believing.

Approaching your own source, your own energy, losing ego-orientation, accepting humility, embracing vulnerability, recognizing truth: these pursuits will result in the ability to communicate with conviction, commitment and clarity.