Everything Serves A Purpose

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For the benefit of those who have not been following my blog for very long, I will just recap on something that I once wrote about on a fairly regular basis, before I get to the point of this particular post.

There was a time when I seemed to have a lot of out-of-body experiences. I estimated, that over the years; starting in approximately 1999, I had somewhere in between 200 to 300 astral adventures. Some were spectacular and some were not worth writing about. A couple of years back I wrote about how they had become very few and far between, but no sooner had I made that statement, they started again with a flurry. In 2020 I have had only five; the last being back in May. They now seem to have dried up completely. Every now and then I asked myself the question, “why, what’s the point?” I came to the conclusion that it was so I would be able to share my experiences (where appropriate), and reassure people that, “this isn’t all there is.”

OK, so that was a condensed version of my astral travelling experiences…

It occured to me very recently, that my initial assumption, although true, was not the complete picture. I have now realised that my experiences, some of which, that as time went by became quite tedious, brought me confirmation of a very profound truth and that it has taken me all this time to realise it. What I mean is this: I had the sensation of leaving my body; I also had the sensation of returning to my body. Then there was the bit in between where I had the actual astral experience, whatever form that took. But, the important thing here is that I was conscious of all aspects of the experience. Meaning, that my body is most certainly not who I am. When I was out of my body, consciousness was very much “alive” and alert. So, my body is not essential to my being, but consciousness is who and what I am. Indeed, my body is completely inanimate unless consciousness is present.

It is all very, very simple and I can’t believe that it took so long for the penny to drop. If it’s the case for me, then it must be so for everybody else. Of course, if you want to be pedantic about it and split hairs, you could argue that I know it is my truth because I had the direct experience, and possibly it would be different for others. You could add that individuals will only come to the same conclusion as me if they have the same experience. But, all said and done, I think it’s a pretty good indicator that we are consciousness and not the body.

The Elephant In The Room Is Becoming More Visible

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Image by John Hain from Pixabay

This latest blog post is a complete shift away from the usual subject matter that has formulated my posts since I started blogging in 2011.  I have been prompted to write about the once taboo subject of mental health; the reason for this will become clear in due course.  Those of you who have read my book, Eyesight To The Blind, will be aware that mental health issues formed a big part of my earlier life, and for those of you who may be new readers I will give an extremely condensed summary of my experiences before I continue with the post.

For many, many years, no matter where I found myself in the world and in whatever capacity, I always felt that I didn’t belong; like I was in the completely wrong place.  I also felt, for no apparent reason, the most excruciating emotional pain that made me feel as though I was the worst person in the world.  This would normally be triggered by feelings of loneliness and worthlessness.  In addition to that I would experience paranoia (although at the time I would have vociferously denied it) and could often withdraw into myself, especially if I felt that a group of people were excluding me.  When I finally found out, by accident no less, that I had depression, which was in 1996, I estimated that I’d been living with this “thing” for around 28 years.

Now that I had a name for what I’d been experiencing I was able to go about the task of tackling it.  Notice that I have not said that “I suffered” with depression; I will clarify in due course.  I lived with this condition at a time when it was not understood and not spoken about.  If you said you were depressed it meant that you were hacked-off because your team lost on Saturday.  If you happened to persist with this notion of, “I’m depressed”, you would be ridiculed, told to man-up or pull yourself together; after all it’s only girls and sissies who get depression, isn’t it?

I initially went to my GP and asked for “happy pills”; he duly obliged, but I couldn’t stop drinking and we all know what happens when we combine the two.  It’s not exactly a marriage made in heaven.  After an experience that I never want a repeat of, I finally decided that enough was enough; I was simply tired of feeling awful.  Plan “B” was to flush my pills down the toilet, grab depression by the scruff of the neck, look it square in the eyes and (apologies to any minors, religious people, or people of a nervous disposition who may be reading!) knee it in the bollocks.  It worked a treat, I’d got to the point where I was recognising triggers, which is something you can’t do when you don’t know what you are experiencing.  Whenever a trigger reared its head, I simply acted in the opposite way to what I’d always done; for example, if I was feeling excluded I made a point of interacting with people.  However, I wasn’t quite out of the woods..

Around three years later, for a period of approximately two years, I had an experience in the workplace that caused me to be off work sick for a period of six months, with an acute stress related illness.  This was my real turning point.  I was full of hatred, anger and blame, but it was during that six-month period that I learned the root cause of the problem.. it was me.

I was defining myself by my illness and blaming the world for the way I felt.  It was only when I realised that I was the only person who could change my life that my life actually changed.  I realised that who I really am is something that goes way beyond my illness.  I could have gone on blaming other people and circumstances for ever, but no matter what I perceived that others had done to me, no matter how much I hated and blamed, the only person hurting was me.  Yes, I took certain actions, and I’d be happy to go into more detail if anybody reading this is interested; just contact me via the contact form below.  But the reality is, that all along the solution was within me.  I just had to experience what I now refer to as “my great adventure with depression”, in order to arrive in that awareness.  Now to the whole point of this post.

I think it’s fantastic that there is now a much greater understanding and awareness of what is an awful illness.  It’s amazing that more and more people are not afraid to talk about it.  What is especially refreshing is that so many famous sports stars and actors, past and present, are going public and sharing their experiences.  It proves that depression does not discriminate; it will make its home in anybody regardless of their status within society.  The elephant in the room is most certainly becoming more visible.

The concern that I have is this.  While it really is a great thing that so many are opening up about their experiences; especially with social media being so big now, it gives people a platform from which to share.  I see so many negative posts being churned out.  So many people it would seem, are defining themselves by their condition.  This is why I never say that I “suffered” with depression; I always say “I lived with”, or “I experienced”.  When we use “I” or “I am” in a sentence, we need to be very careful what words we use after because they really are defining.  The mind is such a powerful thing; we ARE literally what we think.  So, when we are constantly affirming that we are worthless, useless, inadequate, a victim etc, that is exactly what we will be.  I don’t know what the ultimate answer is, but I suppose that everyone in their own time will make the natural transition in the way that I did.  I just want to finish by saying two more things.

I’m not in any way trying to say that my experience is definitive.  We are all unique (thankfully) and we all have our own pathway.  I’m also not suggesting that the people tweeting and posting negative stuff are wrong.  It is what it is, and we are all at different stages of our journey.  In many cases they don’t know how to reach out in any other way.  I’m simply trying to highlight how harmful it can be when we define ourselves by negatives.

Finally, I wasn’t going to mention any individuals, but I’m going to mention the ex-footballer, Dean Windass.  He was an absolute beast in his day and still looks quite fearsome, but he is one of the many brave souls who are bearing all to the world.  The reason I mention Dean is because he posts regular videos on twitter.  Those videos are never rehearsed, they are completely raw; showing his humanness, and he always says how he feels but also he regularly sends out the message that if you are having a bad day; reach out to someone!  These days there is always someone who will listen respectfully, so don’t suffer in silence!

Like Dean’s videos, I hope that this post has reached out to you, that it has made at least a modicum of sense and that you have been able to take something from it.

Don’t forget, if you want to ask any specific questions about how I dealt with and beat depression, just get in touch via the form below.  Later people…

 

Pure Wisdom


I’m about half-way through the book, Stillness Speaks, by Eckhart Tolle and I came across this truly beautiful piece of wisdom that I felt I just had to share with you. I hope it inspires you in the same way that it inspired me:

“Just as water can be solid, liquid or gaseous, consciousness can be seen to be “frozen” as physical matter, “liquid” as mind and thought, or formless as pure consciousness.”

“Pure consciousness is Life before it comes into manifestation, and that Life looks at the world of form through “your” eyes because consciousness is who you are.”

Eckhart Tolle

Just as a matter of interest, and following on from my previous post, Everything Serves A Purpose, I thought it would amuse you to know that it’s happened again. After me explaining that my out-of-body experiences had dried up, and sharing with you what happened the last time I made a similar statement, during the early hours of 16/11/20 I had… yes, you guessed correctly… an out-of-body experience…

You couldn’t make it up!

The Joy Of Being


I am currently reading the book, A New Earth – awakening to your life’s purpose, by the wonderful Eckhart Tolle. This is the third time I will have read it; it is just a truly amazing book. The following passage really resonated with me, so I thought I would share it with you. Hope you enjoy it.

“The joy of Being, which is the only true happiness, cannot come to you through any form, possession, achievement, person or event – through anything that happens. That joy cannot come to you – ever. It emanates from the formless dimension within you, from consciousness itself and thus is one with who you are.”

Eckhart Tolle

Choose Peace Before Fear


Photo by Ku00e9vin Dorg on Pexels.com

Here we are folks, as promised I’m back again with a very simple exercise to help you connect with the ever peaceful, inner you. Of course, I would love to be able to say that this exercise is my own, but it isn’t. To my knowledge, it originates from that most wonderful Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh.

First of all, get all ideas of “doing;” of having to achieve something, out of your mind. Do not start off from the standpoint that you are engaged in the act of doing. Do not even think to yourself, “I must clear my mind of all thoughts.” This is all about “allowing;” there is nothing to “do.” Thoughts will inevitably start flying through your head; this is fine, try not to judge this as being good or bad. Just accept that thoughts are there and let them pass through; even the thoughts that follow the thoughts etc, etc.

To begin with, find your comfortable space; it doesn’t necessarily have to be indoors, it could be out in nature. Breathing through your nose, just take a few breaths, as many as you need, just to centre yourself and to get yourself starting to relax. Next, say these words silently in your mind as you breath in, “breathing in, I know I am breathing in.” As you breath out, also say these words silently in your mind, “breathing out, I know I am breathing out.” You do this for three breaths.

Next, on the in-breath you say the word “in” silently in your mind, and on the out-breath, you say the word “out” silently in your mind. You can also do this for three breaths, but equally you can carry this stage on as long as you want. At some stage, when you relax sufficiently, the words will disappear of their own accord anyway. The idea of the exercise is simply to become aware of your breath. The longer the exercise goes on, the more you become aware of simply being aware. This awareness is your true nature; “the peace that passes all understanding.”

I hope you get something from this; stay safe, stay peaceful.

 

For Better Or For Worse


Photo courtesy of Pixabay

The world truly does seem to be in chaos, but here is something to consider; another slant on things.  Without wishing to bring politics into my blog, I think it is only the most naive of people who do not see by now that the role of the media is to cause fear and mayhem amongst the masses; thus, fanning the flames of division.

But, the truth is that negativity is very loud (“hate screeches”, as Sri Sathya Sai Baba used to say), and peace is very soft and subtle.  The egoic mind is easily led, and television news bulletins and sensationalist newspaper headlines effortlessly draw in the masses, like sheep, for their daily dose of brainwashing.

But, take the fragrance of a rose, for instance.  There are no words to describe its beauty; it remains silent, yet says so much.  What I’m trying to say here is that there is so much positivity to be taken from the amazing world in which we live.  There is so much that the beauty of Mother Nature can teach us, if we are prepared to look.  The thing is, beauty doesn’t screech; it simply exists as it is, in subtle splendour.

We can also look for our own subtle splendour, that is our essential Being; who we really are.  This is the peace that passes all understanding that can only be found within ourselves.  Things always seem to be descending into chaos, because hate and fear are always shouting.  But, in reality, we are only a witness to that chaos; the eternal witness, to be more precise.  The world may sometimes appear to be getting better AND worse at the same time, but remember, for better or worse, the world is in a constant state of flux because it is ultimately an illusion; it is consciousness in motion.  The underlying, changeless, absolute truth ( who we really are) is always simply as it is, and is always accessible to us if we will just look beyond the madness.

In my next post I’m going to share with you a very simple exercise that will help you to focus on your inner subtle splendour, and shut out the screeching that wants to spin you a yarn and cause you to lose yourself in the world.  Hang in there people, I’ll be back in a few days!

 

Transition


I’ve been writing this blog for over nine years now, and I’ve never before left it so long in between posts.  I’ve chosen not to write about the current situation because I feel that there are already plenty of pundits out there offering an opinion.

What I will say, however, and I’m sure there are many experiencing a similar thing, is that we do seem to be going through some kind of transition.  The truth is, that the reason there have been no posts from me lately, is that I simply don’t know what to write about at the moment.  There has definitely been a shift of some sort; and who I was as a writer doesn’t seem to exist anymore.  I have taken my only two remaining books out of circulation, so for the first time since I started publishing my own books, I have nothing available for purchase.

We know that life is cyclic, so I suppose it’s true to say that I’m waiting for the next upsurge in inspiration.  I wouldn’t call this writer’s block, as I don’t think that’s something that applies to writers such as myself.  Also, I cannot say what form the next wave of my writing journey will take.  One thing that I am sure of though, is that I will always be writing in one way, shape or form; even if there will on occasion be a longer gap than usual between projects.

Thank you for sticking with me and I hope you are all staying safe.  Below are pics of my latest painting and my musical “family.”  Take care lovely subscribers and I’ll be in touch again soon!

 

Painting The Blues

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Cosmic Womb 22/05/20

As well as trying to get to grips with my cigar box guitar during this time of great change, I have dusted off my oil paints and given them another outing.  Since I started in 1997, virtually every painting I’ve done has been an experiment in trying to find the perfect technique to create the perfect end-product.  I’ve tried acrylics and gouache too, but they just don’t seem to do it in the same way that oils do; they simply don’t capture the vividness of the colours.

This painting I did today is probably the closest I’ve ever got to achieving my artistic goal.  As you would expect, the photo does not do it justice; there is so much incredible detail that has to be seen close-up.  However, I’m really pleased with it and thought I would share it with you all.

Stay safe and happy!

And Now For Something Completely Different

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I thought that I would share with you another one of my interests.  I’m a very lazy musician, I love guitars but 6 strings is too many!  I have acquired a custom built, 3 string cigar box guitar.  It was made by a real craftsman here in the UK.  I’m still getting to grips with it, as it is a bit smaller than I anticipated and I’m struggling a bit still, to stop the box moving as I’m playing.  But I’m getting there with it slowly.  I’m also currently waiting to have a crystal glass bottleneck slide custom made, but the virus situation has put a spanner in the works with that for the time being.  Below are some pics and a video; don’t forget your ear plugs!

Peace Descending


I was not even born when Ramana Maharshi left this earthly life and I didn’t even hear of him until roughly the last 10-12 years ago, but the impact he has had on my life has been amazing.  Of course, he was no mere mortal, but even so, his influence on me defies all logic.  Today, for example, I finished reading The Mind of Ramana Maharshi by Arthur Osbourne, for the fourth time.  The penultimate chapter covers the great sage’s mahasamadhi.  As I was reading it I felt very tearful; not out of grief, but because I was so touched by the graciousness shown to his devotees throughout his time in Tiruvannamalai.  The book managed to convey this to the reader very admirably.  Even in the last hours of his earthly life he was still giving darshan.

I have found that whenever I feel that the world is getting to me, and I feel myself getting sucked in by the tricks of the ego, a bit of Ramana Maharshi always brings me back.  I always get such a feeling of peace descend upon me when I read about his teachings and life.  For me, the main message that flows from the pages is that The Maharshi radiated such peace, and it is as though I am touched by that very same peace as I read; everything about him was just pure love.

There aren’t really any words to explain this kind of thing properly, and I’m sure some people reading this will have had the same experience with their own particular life influences and will understand what I mean; words.being completely unnecessary.