nature

Strive For Simplicity, Economise on Energy (7)

Image by Karen Arnold from Pixabay

“He is richest who is content with least, for contentment is the wealth of nature.”

— Socrates


Reading time: 10-15 mins

SEE

In this final post on Strive for Simplicity, Economise on Energy (SEE) we’ll summarise what’s gone before and end with a list of what we can do to get the ball rolling and a few other nuggets of interest to whet your appetite for change.

We looked at how SEE is expressed through Taoist traditions, the I Ching, Wabi-Sabi and Nature. This was followed by an exploration of how Western culture has lost sight of living simply with an unhealthy adherence to civil law and its development of “bureaucratic insanity.” A useless complexity bound by rigid absolutism enforced by an army of “robopaths” is in direct opposition to Natural and Common Law – not least the human wish to work together and seek self-sufficiency. A resurgence in voluntary simplicity and the natural community virtues that arise if cooperation were given the needed nourishment were also explored.

The challenge of simplifying our lives in order to reconnect with beauty and truth in practical ways can only be achieved with knowledge of how we use our energy – thoughts, feelings/emotions and body awareness. Our task is to use our energy more productively so that we turn towards creativity in everyday life. As a primer for further discussion on energy as it relates to applying SEE, we reviewed the nature of energy and the centres/chakras from a 4th Way perspective. The role of our planet, organic life and the moon as largescale sources that might drain our energy were reviewed, with a brief description of ancient and modern myths.

We then looked specifically at energy economy and conservation. After using the analogy of the house as our body-mind system we returned to Taoist and I Ching symbolism through the archetype of The Well as our fundamental resource, The Mouth as nourishment and The Cauldron as the alchemical vessel by which consciousness is refined to make SEE a possibility. This acted as a backdrop to the subject of sex and sexual energy which was briefly explored from a cultural perspective and the divisions and pathology which has led our sexual-creative centre being misused.

Beginning with a confirmation by science of the reality of the Chinese energy system we delved into the nature of sexual energy and back to the 4th Way views of the sex centre’s role in relation to culture, sexual relations and masturbation – a dynamic that is not just focused on the gentials but appears throughout our culture under different guises, all of which lead to the loss of intellectual, emotional, physical and spiritual energy.

Finally, a brief look at the brain as the hub of energy refinement and loss was covered, along with some pointers on a digital detox from social media and other forms of infotainment  – a major source of energy drain. Two bio-mechanisms of procreative sex and pair-bonding were highlighted and the role of dopamine in the reward circuitry of the brain leading to a circle of unrecognised addictions. In light of these, we delved further into a narcissistic and orgasm-centred culture predicated on addictive behaviours which have displaced intimacy and bonding behaviours. This was followed with an introduction to the love-making art of Karezza as the most useful method for sustaining intimacy and harmony within a relationship.

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Strive For Simplicity, Economise on Energy (3)

“I have long held an opinion, almost amounting to conviction, in common I believe with many other lovers of natural knowledge, that the various forms under which the forces of matter are made manifest have one common origin; or, in other words, are so directly related and mutually dependent, that they are convertible, as it were, one into another, and possess equivalents of power in their action.”

— Michael Faraday, English Physicist and Chemist


Reading time: 20 mins

Energy

What is energy?

Energy is a property of matter, space, objects and fields. It can be transferred and converted, but it can’t be destroyed – or created. Energy can be chemical, thermal electrical and kinetic, all of which exists in and around the mind-body system.

For our focus it is potential energy which can be stored and qualitatively accumulated which is of interest.

Energy can be refined in order to get more vitality for your voltage, so to speak.

Since sufficient energy is the fuel for all manner of action, (and The Work) it stands to reason that the more energy you have within your mind-body system the more enhanced the capacity for change.  With enough stored, (and the “space” ready to store it) we have a greater chance of changing our physical, mental and emotional states.

With a greater store of energy on tap, this might even provide the “nourishment” and power needed to fuel overall meta-physical transformation.

At this point in history the demands on our time and energy are relentless. Many of us have become mentally ill or physically debilitated due to environmental and psycho-social factors. In this technological age there are reasons to fill every waking hour with activities and distractions which feed our restlessness but give little in terms of true nourishment. If we cut out the clutter and re-organise our daily lives so that things become simpler we make better use of our time. Time management goes hand in hand with simplicity. Economising conserving and simplifying are mutually inclusive.

What is crucial to your life and what is just repetitive, useless busy-ness? Is that moving centre sending into you spirals of pointless activity in order to displace energy that could be useful to personal transformation? Ask yourself honestly: Is your attention habitually fixed on getting things to feel better? Has this focus overshadowed what’s truly important in my life?

If that’s true and like so many of us, you have been caught up in finding too much satisfaction in possessions (or possessing people) then it’s a cue to simplify and to realise that attachment to beliefs and their possessions are often the greatest obstacle to living a more harmonious life. Or, as German poet and playwright Johann von Goethe expressed it: “Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least.”

To achieve simplicity we have to conserve our energy in thought and action. One thing is for sure, you’ll need every ounce of it if you are to transform your inner life. By gettting rid of that which ultimately drains you, it opens up the space for an ongoing process of spring-cleaning, much like you do with your flat or house. And it’s amazing how much more can be achieved by decreasing one’s complexity.

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Strive For Simplicity, Economise on Energy (2)

© Infrakshun | M.K. Styllinski

“The expression of truth is simplicity.”

— Seneca


Reading time: 20-25 mins

Natural and Common Law

If you’re like me you might ascribe to a universal law that operates outside of human constructs yet gives rise to a specific set of perceptions and values. Natural law is a system of moral justice and balance derived from the cycles and symbols of nature rather than the rules of society. There are inherent rights which exist outside of legislative bodies and the State which are deemed a timeless product of nature and the Divine. Natural Law is a culmination of thousands of years of philosophical inquiry from Taoism to the Stoics and celtic Christian theology. Drawn from generations of common sense experience, the common theme is that morality, ethics and jurisprudence should determine the outcome of disputes and community conflict.

Natural law flows through the dynamics of social groups, how we cooperate and include, when we live and die, who we love and who our friends our; it is our home and our community; the values, virtues and moral autonomy that gives life to art and altruism. It comes about by the process of reason and conscience which determines what is beneficial or destructive to the individual as part of the proper functioning of a community. It is a law that requires us to learn the sometimes subtle difference between that which gives life and creativity or that which sends us down the road to entropy and evil.

Under Natural Law infections of evil are allowed to wither and die by withdrawing energy for their existence. Such entities are not bailed out and propped up – they dismantled, re-envisoned or ignored. This universal standard is as old as human conscience – the wisdom formed through experience. It is a law that transcends time, culture, and government. It is a law that helps to create organic order that is porus and fliexible as well as socially binding. Natural promotes self-responsibility, self-sufficiency and preventative measures when it comes to crime and dysfunction.  It is the judge who discovers the law in common practices which have been deeply ingrained in society.

At its best, it is simplicity in action.

The American legal school of thought called Declarationism believes that the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. constitution are based on Natural Law. However, that initial ideal has now been obscured – if not dissolved – under the heavy weight of amendments by successive administrations under the pay of corporations and antithical ideologies. Equally, one only has to cast an eye over the disease of legalise – American and European – to wonder how it is that anyone understands anything when it comes to civil liberties, family courts and civil actions.

The English legal system of Common Law is similarly rooted in this natural philosophy with its roots in the English Kings’ courts. This older, traditional form of common law is still in operation although, like the U.S. consituition, it has been covered up and camouflaged by modern legislative power which seldom takes into account the old local knowledge and simplicity of the system –  a natural outgrowth of community cohesion.

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Why Young Lives are Losing Meaning and Purpose II: The Big Three and 11 Factors

Photo by Dmitry Ratushny | unsplash.com


“Community connectedness is not just about warm fuzzy tales of civic triumph. In measurable and well-documented ways, social capital makes an enormous difference in our lives…Social capital makes us smarter, healthier, safer, richer, and better able to govern a just and stable democracy.”

~ Robert D. Putnam

Reading time: 20-25 mins

In the last post I looked at the decrease in meaning and purpose parallel to the increase in loneliness and isolation for today’s millennial and Z generations.  Sociologists, economists and psychologists generally all agree that the key to developing and holding on to meaning, purpose and well-being is sufficient social interaction with a core group of friends and family that define one’s support. This is not the same as an extended family that usually arises from enforced socio-economic factors, but one that naturally evolves based around shared vision of support and nourishment because it is both practical and sustainable, offering real world benefits.

John F. Helliwell, a prominent expert in the economics of happiness believes the quality of our relationships determines the quality of our lives at the deepest levels. And the quality of those relationships is reflected in how well we have activated our response-ability and activities that offer a form of service to the community – whatever form that might be. This is what creates and deepens ties with others: constructive actions alongside key initiatory ideas. Helliwell draws his work from very large data sets called the World Values Survey which has accrued answers from people in over 150 countries about life satisfaction along with other socio-economic information. When Helliwell crunched the data he and other researchers found that there were six reliable and consistent factors which accounted for well-being:

  1. Social support
  2. generosity
  3. trust
  4. freedom
  5. income per capita
  6. healthy life expectancy [1]

Four from the list are connected with social interaction within a community. The other factors are relational and occur as a response to, or as a natural property of social support.  So a stratum of support covering all aspects of human aspiration is a really big deal, the lack of which will play a large part in the development of our social ills.

The Big Three

It seems to me, the development of meaning and purpose is rooted in three foundational products of social interaction which, if healthy, underpin a successful society, the constituents of which all operate symbiotically and grow parallel to each other. Thus, the creation of an individual emerges and is informed by:

  1. Parents
  2. Family
  3. Community

Obvious perhaps, but in crisis nonetheless. These three make up the strata in the soil of society/culture which is dependent on the level of access to community (should it even exist) a solid connection to nature and the quality of the environment upon which all three rest. [2]  Similarly, the healthy functioning of the three will have within them poor psycho-spiritual “nutrients”, or a rich, fertile ground that is self-sustaining and therefore community-sustaining. The presence of Helliwell’s six factors will be informed by the quality of the Big Three.

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The Hissy Fit Generation and the Loss of Free Speech V: Infantilism in America and Beyond

By M.K. Styllinski

Let me tell you about Preschool Mastermind, a daycare for adults in Brooklyn, N.Y. It is not, as I had thought, an April Fool’s joke or even a fetish den but an actual thing. Tall, hairy, wrinkled Americans — I’m assuming they have jobs because you can’t get student loans for kindergarten — pay a grand to recreate their happiest times, spending their days as four-year-olds: fingerpainting, show-and-telling, playing musical chairs, napping with a blankie and a Fig Newton.

— Heather Mallick, ‘The growing childishness of American adults’


Columnist Heather Mallick quoted above comments on mass infantilism and political disengagement which can only lead to the erosion of our civil liberties. She highlights a recent interview of whistleblower Edward Snowden by John Oliver of The Intercept who took a camera to Times Square and asked people who “Edward Snowden” was. Not one person knew. However, when asked if it was okay for the NSA to store photos of their genitals  they were vehemently indignant. As Mallick observes: “This is how you get toddlers upset; you mention swimsuit areas.”Hugely important issues that strike at the very heart of our freedoms barely register, unless it’s to do with personal shame.

The freedom to exhibit one’s tackle and the shame of it being viewed (with probable hilarity) by State minions certainly throws up a tangled mess of mixed Freudian messages….

If you think the world is going insane then you can be sure that much of this is due to an inability to process deep change and the horror of having to confront one’s own psychology in the face of uncertainties and shocks. The net result of cultural narcissism means an arrested emotional development which has led to a widespread absence of maturity and responsibility. Nonetheless, you don’t have to be a pathological narcissist to find yourself grappling with such things. Since we live in such a culture, it is probable that all of us have had to confront narcissistic traits and various degrees of trauma in order to truly move forward with our lives. As those who have finally tackled such an ambitious objective can attest – it is not a pleasant experience, which is why those exhibiting symptoms of infantilism find it doubly difficult to claw their way back to adulthood without some appropriate form of therapy. For older individuals who have spent a life time sucking on the dummy of victimhood and entitlement this may be a tall order indeed, since it has become their personality with little room for change.

According to Merriam-Webster dictionary the definition of an adult is “a fully developed and mature: grown-up”. What does it mean to be grown up? Robert A. Hall’s article in the American Thinker gives a suitable description of what an ideal adult might be, taking into account that none of us can live up to this ideal all or even some of the time. The key is to strive to do so, both for yourself and your children since they will follow your example and define the next generation. He lists several descriptors which define a normal adult including: resilience; patience; disciplined; openness; consideration; supporting themselves and their family; altruistic in day to day life and most importantly, they do not take on a victim status but cultivate a sense of responsibility. In a word: true adults have integrity; they have a healthy ego that is kept in check by humility knowing that it’s not all about them and they are aware of their weaknesses but strive to overcome them. As discussed previously, many parents and the cultural cross-currents under which they were immersed in the 60s and 70s were exposed to a range of detrimental social changes which ultimately did no favours for them or their children.

Marketing Infantilism

Our body-centric focus is certainly over-developed alongside an elevated egotism. This infantilism is presiding over the male-female removal of body hair to the normalisation of paedophilia in law and academia. We are seeing generations of men and women who are personifying the psycho-spiritual chaos that has been wrought over the last several decades through emotional impairment, missing certain stages of neurological development through experiences in childhood and beyond. Factor in social engineering, postmodernist inculcation and a legion of other psychic pressures, the concept of adulthood has been twisted out of shape to induce a total reliance on the State for all one’s provisions. The government as provider of social welfare has fed into an assumed right to be taken care of, further eroding the potential of community and the lost creative power of people to nurture, support and nourish each other financially and spiritually.

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Official Culture Reprise VII: Moving Away From the Psychopath’s Dream (4)

“Perhaps the most important lesson of Ladakh has to do with happiness. Only after many years of peeling away layers of preconceptions did I begin to see the joy and laughter of the Ladakhis for what it really was: a genuine and unhindered appreciation of life itself. In Ladakh I have known a people who regard peace of mind and joie de vivre as their unquestioned birthright. I have seen that community and a close relationship to the land can enrich human life beyond all comparison with material wealth or technological sophistication.”

Helena Norberg-Hodge, Ancient Futures


 Ladakh_panorama

Learning from Ladakh

One example of the social consequences of Official Culture meeting pathology-free communities is from the thousand year-old Buddhist people of Ladakh situated in the desert of the Western Himalayas known as : “little Tibet.” There is no romantic gilding here, theirs is a story of survival, endurance and physical hardship set against a harsh environment. The  essence and principles of their continued existence and the coming of Western “development” places in sharp relief the kind of values necessary to create a community and to see it function and thrive. Yet, the deep spiritual resource that the Ladakhis embodied and which pervaded every facet of their lives was a lesson in ancient humility and reverence for a sacredness that we have lost – to our absolute detriment. Simplicity, yes, raw nature, indeed. But the Ladakhis appeared to have a spiritual health that was far in advance of our own. Like many indigenous cultures, it is not so hard to see why. For all our intellectual feats of daring-do, our Western populations in particular, remain desperately unhappy and dangerously lost.

So, what does that mean?  That we all give up our i-pads and urban lifestyles and go and live in yurts and commune with nature?

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