consciousness

Cultivate Attention and Discernment (6)

Illustration of Ibn al-’Arabi | Image source: www.en.qantara.de/

“He who knows himself knows his Lord;
… indeed, He is his very identity and reality.

— Shaykh Ibn al-’Arabi


Reading time: 25-30 mins

The Qur’an

Orthodox Islam has a bad rap these days, and not without good reason. However, just as Christianity has wisdom and truth underneath all the centuries of re-writes and distortions, so too the Qur’an which buried the strains of Islamic mysticism infusing its origins before corruption set in. The Sufi tradtion and the Islamic mysticism it stands for is very different to the Islamism and Jihadism of the kind we have witnessed in the modern age. Here too, the importance of discernment is clear.

Like the Bible that constantly warns of temptations and lies that could “deceive the very elect” the Qur’an is equally explicit in its warnings regarding dark forces of the demonic or Jinn overseen by the Shaytān or “Whisperer,” both of whom seek to imperial travellers on the “straight path” with “insinuating thoughts” or waswasa. The strengthening of spiritual perception is necessary in order to discern the true from the false and shun the crooked path. Indeed, we have seen that intelligence as much as faith is crucial to seeing the unseen and the signs of higher states of consciousness which might lead us to embody the presence of a Universal Intelligence or God/Allah. As the Hermetic maxim reminds us – “as above, so below”. And like the Bible, one has to sift for the gold in the Qur’an in order to see the reflected light.

Dr. Kabir Helminski‘s translations from his 2005 book The Book of Revelations: A Sourcebook of Themes from the Holy Qur’an provide an excellent summary of the qualities needed to begin seeing the unseen and its relationship to self-development and spiritual practice. The teachings encourage us to reflect and perceive the conscious creative power of all that flows through Nature and the universe. By paying attention to: “…the change of the winds, and the clouds that run their appointed courses between sky and earth: these are messages indeed for people who use their intelligence.” [1]

So, rather than having our head in the clouds and seeking signs and portents of a superstitious nature, we are learning to observe life’s hidden symbols and patterns of meaning. We may then learn to recognise the patterns of creative and entropic influences which can be understood as extrapolations of truth as it applies in Nature and man. Regarding these “signs” embedded in converging and radiating “arrows of time,” we have the following injunction to remain aware that intelligent design is at work, not only in the evolution of organic life but from the influence of other dimensions of existence that interpenetrate our own. We only have to take note of this design in order to see how carefully the Earth and cosmos is a school for learning:

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Cultivate Attention and Discernment (5)

La Clairvoyance (1936) (“Perspicacity”) By René Magritte 1936.

“Sound judgement, with discernment is the best of seers.”

— Euripides


Reading time: 15-17 mins

So far, we’ve looked at healing the past so that we have a firm foundation upon which to build, such as choosing constructive, positive emotions. To be able to take the first steps, we must have enough self-respect and at least some measure of self-control to take responsibility for our own development. That means choosing this as a central aim parallel or including, a process of objectives, without self-deception or short-cuts. We must simplify our daily routines and scale back our ambitions so that undue complexity doesn’t enter in prematurely. Economising our energy permits progress to that end. If we never have enough mental, emotional and physical energy available then our aim will remain in the realm of fantasy – the very source of the drain itself. Non-identification, positive detachment and proper attention help us simplify and return to what is essential. To be aware of the mammalian brain and its addictive habits we can choose to cultivate attention. When we know what to look for, we can begin to recognise the emotional, intellectual and physical patterns which keep our creative potential trapped. We might then be able to discern the true nature of ourselves and our relationship to others.

So, what is “discernment” exactly? From the Latin words ‘dis’ (apart) and ‘cernere’ (to separate), it’s a skill that we develop in order to comprehend what is vague or obscure. This applies to a person, situation or an abstract idea. It is the art of seeing which includes the realm of the five senses and by extension, the possibility of accessing different modes of perception using the marriage of intuition and reason. And we do this by shunning self-orientated, subjective impressions and by striving to obtain an objective view of life as possible.

If we can comprehend something and reach clarity then we can exercise sound judgement and the further ability to discriminate between what is true or false. Discrimination – the noticing of any part, quality, impression, detail or difference in comparison to another object, person or situation – is the essential partner to discernment. Without constant discrimination between what is negative and positive, good or evil, gaining useful insights from a holistic view cannot be attained.

Careful discrimination weighs up and compares, discernment permits initial recognition of impressions received. We are then able to exercise judgement and reach a conclusion of the overall picture, coordinated by the will of attention. As Scottish theologian Sinclair B. Ferguson states: “True discernment means not only distinguishing [discriminating] the right from the wrong; it means distinguishing the primary from the secondary, the essential from the indifferent, and the permanent from the transient. And, yes, it means distinguishing between the good and the better, and even between the better and the best.” And this means learning that the “devil” is often in the details because lies to ourselves and lies in the outer world are frequently sandwiched between the sweet and seemingly well-intentioned. Or, as British Baptist Preacher Charles Spurgeon once cautioned: “Discernment is not a matter of telling the difference between right and wrong; rather it is telling the difference between right and almost right.” Which is why ancient philosophical traditions emphasize the subtleties inherent in developing such skills.

“Almost right” is still wrong. And that can be a big deal when your life depends on it.

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Have an Aim / Objective (2)

© Rostyslav Zabolotnyi | Dreamstime.com

“A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as
something to aim at.”

— Bruce Lee
.

Reading time: 20-25 mins.

This is a long post finalising our look at aim and objectives. I hope it will provide some food for thought as you go forward. Remember, that all the 31 suggestions exist as an essential part of each other. None of them come alive in isolation and all play a part in self-transformation.

***

Your aim must align to the best in yourself. It must ignite enjoyment over pleasure.

If you are an artist then your art must be deeply personal and passionately part of your being. When that happens, you will affect people. There are implications from your dedication to your aim. It will mean connections which initiate expansion for yourself and others. If you build your own narrative – genuine and sincere – it will click with others and they will play a part in the development and evolution of your aim.

Without that self-belief – because your aim and your objectives are you, if you’ve chosen correctly – the momentum is absent and the rotten fruit of failure will drop into your lap so many times that you’ll be forced to re-evaluate your plans. As long as the aim remains true, the distance and objectives along that trajectory can be adapted as many times as necessary. Failure is the whetstone upon which you build a razor-sharp aim that cuts through anything. This occurs by virtue of the fact is that it is TRUE and reflects the light of your intention.

Again, your aim and objectives will probably need work and will likely morph into something quite different depending on your field and focus. Go slow, step by step, that way you are much less likely to get disillusioned and/or create unnecessary obstacles. Often it is our anticipation and obsession with our aim that creates emotional static within which will repel constructive responses. Again, planning is about preparing the internal resonance so that the right response arrives in the outside world.

Do every objective for its own sake not for the perceived rewards. Even if your long-term aim keeps floating in front of you like a carrot on a stick, try to put it out of your daily mind while carefully arranging the system of objectives toward that aim. Every objective IS the aim. That way, instead of becoming impatient and miserable about your perceived lack of progress every completed action becomes part of that fractal process and overall vision, each giving birth to the other.

The manifestation of one’s final aim can’t happen overnight but it will happen.

In this post we’ll explore the notion of a personal system of consciousness and the process of objectives which can bring us creativity and flow, aligned to our primary aim.

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Heal Your Past (2)

“Not every story has a happy ending, … but the discoveries of science, the teachings of the heart, and the revelations of the soul all assure us that no human being is ever beyond redemption. The possibility of renewal exists so long as life exists. How to support that possibility in others and in ourselves is the ultimate question.”

Gabor Maté, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction


Reading time: 15 mins

The Body as Barometer of Psychological states

If you are one of those who wish to reduce the amount of baggage your are carrying around then we have to address the feelings which have been locked away for so long. You had your reasons no doubt. We all have to function in life: get through college/university; work nights; support our partner, and/or children and innumerable pressures and responsibilities. Eventually suppressed memories, if allowed to languish in the unconscious, cause all kinds of havoc over time. The only route to expression these shadows are permitted is through a slow titration of toxic influence which affects the mind causing psychological problems such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder or dissociative disorders. However, it is the body which accumulates this psychic toxicity over many years and which manifests as specific auto-immune diseases. This is logical and common sense.

As physician and author Dr. Gabor Maté tells us: “If emotional patterns are a response to the psychological and social environment, disease in an individual always tells us about the multigenerational family of origin and the broader culture in which that person’s life unfolds.” Which is why it is so important to discover not only your possible genetic heritage but what bio-psychosocial predispositions have been passed down the line prior to your own childhood. How have the psychic echos from your ancestors and your own suppressed negative emotions melded to form who you are today?

“The effects of trauma become multigenerational through repeated psychological dysfunctions. The new science of epigenetics is identifying the mechanisms that even affect gene functioning. The children of Holocaust survivors, for example, have altered genetic mechanisms leading to abnormal stress hormone levels. Animal studies are showing that the physiological effects of trauma can be passed on even to the third generation.” [1]

Maté explains further:

“The pathway from stressful emotions, often unconscious, to physical disease was often driven home to me as a family physician and palliative care practitioner, although nothing in my medical education even remotely hinted at such links. People I saw with chronic disease of all kinds—from malignancies or autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or ulcerative colitis to persistent skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, and neurological disorders like Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS), multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, and even dementia—were characterized by certain unmistakable emotional life patterns. Among these was the chronic repression of so-called negative emotions, especially of healthy anger, … an overriding sense of duty, role, and responsibility; an undue concern for the emotional needs of others while ignoring one’s own; and, finally, a core belief—again, often unconscious—that one is responsible for how other people feel and that one must never disappoint others. The expression “the good die young” has—sadly—more validity than we sometimes appreciate.” [2]

Since the brain is directly connected to the immune system it makes logical sense to posit that there is an intimate relationship to the correct functioning of both. And since negative thoughts and emotions represent a different energetic frequency than more positive ones, they can naturally begin to affect whatever area of the body – such toxic memories stored. Repressed emotions over the long-term have a deleterious effect on the body’s organs, hormonal apparatus and nervous and immune systems. Deep-seated anger, shame, fear and the constant flood of stress chemicals can literally cause chronic or acute illness as a result of the immune system breaking down. This is when emotional shadows break free and express their toxicity in the body, rather than being safely exorcised through therapy. This is particularly true for all manner of addictions, which helps to calm the horrible truth in the short-term but makes things much worse as denied emotions are replaced with self-medication through substance abuse or toxic relationships.

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31 Ways To Grow Your Life

By M.K. Styllinski


Courtesy of Zahir Zag | http://www.rep.appscase.com/


Reading time: 8-10 mins

After this series on why a sense of meaning, purpose and happiness is absent for so many of our younger (and older) generations, we come to some practical solutions to this malaise. The following 31 suggestions are from my experience and intimately tied to various stages of my life. That is not to say I’ve mastered them all. Not by a long way. Let’s call it work in progress. I’m therefore not seeking to set myself up as anyone other than a fellow climber struggling toward that mountain peak.

As you’ll no doubt see, these principles and qualities of character are as old as the hills. They will not magically lead us to a Holy Grail of happiness, but if we persist we might be led to a state of being that transcends the interminable duality of “like, not like”, “happiness, unhappiness” etc. The simple truth is that we human beings have a psychology that is fundamentally no different to how we were thousands of years ago: we are still looking for that elusive Grail in the material world and through the nature of our genetic biology that pushes us to act on impulse and instinct, offering gratification and fleeting relief. That’s normal of course, our evolutionary nature is powerful and our consumerist culture equally so. But we can strive to regulate and overcome those sometimes addictive drives and desires. This is where applied knowledge comes in. With discipline, persistence and constancy, you can change your life for the better. Without practical application however, knowledge is merely words floating in the ether or ideas on paper that offer only food for the hungry intellect.

That said, we all have different experiences and there is no “one-size-fits-all”. All we can do is sift the wheat from the chaff and cast a discerning eye over the historical and experiential consensus. Maybe there are some definitive nuggets of psycho-spiritual gold out there which offer a means to walk a coherent and ordered path. If we can tread carefully, step by step, we might create a higher form of happiness not bound by material acquisition or emotional possession.

There are recurring themes and principles which haven’t changed much, be they sourced from the Bible or the Koran, the Chinese I Ching, The Tibetan Book of the Dead or the writings of Marcus Aurelius. Over and over we see the same guiding beacons teaching us about the nature of the human condition and how to live a more harmonious life. Now, in this synthetic age and despite a deluge of mediocrity, the internet has allowed the sharing of ancient and modern wisdom to reach millions of people, possibly in a way that’s never happened before. So, there is much promise and potential in the free-flow variations of perennial wisdom.

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Why Young Lives Are Losing Meaning and Purpose VII: Getting the Ball Rolling

By M.K. Styllinski

Logan Zillmer | www.loganzillmerphoto.com

“What a curious phenomenon it is that you can get men to die for the liberty of the world who will not make the little sacrifice that is needed to free themselves from their own individual bondage.” 

— Bruce Barton


Reading time: 8-10 mins

The idea that we can be happy in a world that seems to veer from one chaotic clusterfuck to the next appears to be a tall order. How on earth can we be happy when there is so much suffering out there? Easy. Just pretend it isn’t there – something the majority of us do most of the time. Hence the reason we are where we are – in the proverbial pig sty.  Seeing things realistically and refusing to bounce through life in a “happy” bubble has consequences, but they are far less damaging spiritually than if we deny, deny deny.  The latter effectively accepts the lies we are fed on a daily basis and covets willful blindess and its sham of normalcy.

Conversely, we’d short circuit if we took the pain of the world onto our shoulders. Feeling guilt and pushing the altruistic envelope in a bid to save the planet isn’t the answer either. This is most disasterous when thwarted desires are funnelled through ideology and a slave to group consciousness as we are seeing. It’s always about finding the fulcrum, mediating between the extremes and digging for the gold of one’s true individuality.

The truth is, if we want to see reality and ourselves as objectively as possible, warts and all, the inner tension and friction created from such a choice may offer an opportunity to embody an entirely different order of happiness, borne of honouring reality as it is. This is transcending the happiness seesaw and building a strong centre within, capable of withstanding any storm at any port. In effect, rather than seeking to increase our happiness quota by insulating ourselves from reality and blocking attempts to go deeper into our own programming, we can attempt the high road to a happiness that’s a byproduct of what is essentially, a spiritual practice.

Of course, if you think there is nothing more to life other than what you can see in front of your own nose, then that’s fine. You can still obtain stability and some contentment, though the dimensions of inspiration and support may be more limited. Nonetheless, to achieve a different order of happiness and peace is to live in truth – despite and due to the darkness, that is also part of light. And to live in truth means to live as you really are.

What else is there?

Things may get even more existential here, so bear with me…

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Reality Change IV: Full Circle

By M.K. Styllinski

“Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you.”

– Carl Gustav Jung


tumblr_mrnp8euXEX1sfie3io1_1280

We are all enmeshed in a vast network of interrelated and interconnected associations. Coming Earth changes might just be the catalyst to “flip the switch”. The question is: who are we and what do we see? The answer may determine where we are on that vast circuit board, and which reality we are likely to inhabit.

The onset of the next cometary bombardment does not necessarily mean a global catastrophe to end them all, but it would take care of the long-term emergence of Pathocracy should enough of us be armed with the knowledge of what has been going on here for centuries. It offers an enormous opportunity for a New World of balance, instigated along natural lines with inbuilt safeguards to prevent the entry of ponerological infections. At the very least, we would be on a level playing field where those that would seek to manipulate and lead by deception will be plainly seen for what they are. As such, we will be able to see make the choice not to share in the rebuilding of a replica of the past but use the knowledge to create a future without psychopathic inculcation.

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Official Culture Reprise VI: Moving Away From the Psychopath’s Dream (3)

 “No science is immune from the infection of politics and the corruption of power.”

Jacob Bronowski, English scientist


The reader might be tempted to think that I’ve invested in my own belief system by placing the all the world’s problems at the door of the essential psychopath. While it is true that I think the majority of our struggles have at their root a great psychological component it could also be said that beyond this “nuts and bolts” cause is the more profound conundrum of how we perceive reality and the human constructs we have erected around it. One might say, at heart, all of our problems are ultimately of a spiritual nature.

The very word “Spirituality” – rather like “conspiracy”- will have loaded connotations for all of us. For some it means all that is outside science and therefore, to be distrusted. For others it has religious or New Age connotations. Still more cite indifference or become uncomfortable at the mere mention of the word. Most people however, while not necessarily believing in a religious God, do place value on the idea of our existence having purpose where getting along with others is a prerequisite for the betterment of one’s life. Some would say this has more to do with reflecting insecurity and fear of death rather than any true belief in a Universal purpose, but this misses the point.

The key principle enshrined in the notion of spirituality is one of establishing growth which moves toward harmony in oneself and thus as a natural consequence, those we meet in our daily lives. It need be as simple as that, although in practice is anything but. But when things begin to slowly – usually very slowly – change, then so does the external world. But Or as the ancient Taoist mystic Lao Tzu succinctly put it: “When you accept yourself, the whole world accepts you.” Self-acceptance only comes when we have divested ourselves of the majority of conditioning however, and that is something that the controllers of our world definitely do not want to see.

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Official Culture Reprise V: Moving Away From the Psychopath’s Dream (2)

“The conflict between the need to be accurate and the desire to feel good about ourselves is one of the major battlegrounds of the self, and how this battle is waged and how it is won, are central determinants of who we are and how we feel about ourselves.”

Timothy D. Wilson, Stranger to Ourselves, Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious


Saven dreijausta, keramiikkataiteen osasto

We are work in progress…  Aalto University Commons

To begin extricating ourselves from Official Culture and the parallel process of healing our emotions from its effects, we need to understand how diluted forms of ponerological influences work through us in often subtle ways. To do so means that you act in favour of what is true, the efforts of which can help to counter what is false and subjective. But this can only be effective if we are not driven by our emotional reactions where we identify with the object of our defence as a means to displace the inner-work that has yet to begin deep inside. It is that lack of awareness that makes negative influence so effective and which offers up more chaos to those who can harvest it.

No lasting action for change can have any effect at all until we have set about changing ourselves so we embody that which we would like to see in the external world. It seems it cannot come before. Once greater numbers of people take personal responsibility for their own self growth and if requested, assist others in doing the same then perhaps a more balanced reality can emerge, not just for the recipient but eventually for the whole community of which he is a part.

Which sector of society we are born into, which country and our very genetic inheritance may determine how we respond to psychopathic influence. It means we must recognise that in order to have any hope at all for future generations to break out of these Empire cycles we must address the deep, core reasons for the continual emergence of Pathocratic dynamics rather than combating its effects. That necessarily begins on our own doorstep, otherwise we merely project our own frustrations and hurts onto the Pathocrats as convenient repositories for all our unresolved issues.

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