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 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.