About Bloggin With Rich

I was born in London in 1955 and have lived a very topsy turvey life. I left school at 15 with no qualifications, and had I not left voluntarily, I would have been asked to leave. I always felt that I didn't fit in anywhere, and as a result, by the time I reached the age of 17 I'd had 24 jobs. I joined the army in 1976 hoping that it would give me a purpose in life but instead I became even more disillusioned and turned to alcohol. I hated the army because I found it to be such a hypocritical organisation and as soon as I was eligible to do so, I bought myself out. Whilst in the military however, I did enjoy my experiences in Germany and in 1980 went back there to work, staying for six years. My heavy drinking continued during my time in Germany and by the time I returned to the UK in 1986 I was heading down into a deep depression. I managed to haul myself out of it in the mid-to-late 1990's but my life hit an all time low in 2000. In early 2001 I found my spiritual pathway and started to turn my life around. I now live in Gloucestershire in the UK and I'm a successful medium and healer. I'm also the author of ten spiritual publications and have produced five meditation and three chanting CDs. I'm a workshop facilitator in various spiritual topics and I also give profound interpretations of dreams. There are plans in 2014 for another book, provisionally entitled "An Idiots Guide To Spiritual Law" and a series of audio books in CD form. Connect with me on facebook https://www.facebook.com/authorrichardfholmes

The Man With The Stick


Many centuries ago there was a city where the inhabitants had amassed much wealth, all except for one man, who had always been deemed a bit odd by everyone else.  He was an old mystic who lived alone on the outskirts.  Early one morning there was an earthquake, and the city started to crumble.  The citizens were in a blind panic and in their desperation tried to rescue what they could from their wealth of possessions.  With their arms full of diamonds, gold, money, artefacts and treasures; all were running for their lives.  Amongst all the chaos and clouds of dust the old mystic ambled along with just his stick, seemingly oblivious to what was going on around him.

One disturbed citizen stopped and said to the old man, “what are you doing?  The city is crashing down around us and we are trying to rescue what we can of our wealth, but you are just walking with your stick, as if you are taking a morning stroll.”  The old mystic laughed and said, “the stick is my only possession.  You have all measured success by the impermanence of objects, I on the other hand have the greatest wealth of all; awareness, which I carry within me.  But you are right about the morning stroll, I always take a walk at this time of the morning.”

As the flustered man continued running the old man shouted, “you can’t have a painting without the canvas!”

Indeed, you cannot start a painting if you do not have something on which to paint.  In the same way that it is a complete and utter waste of time to base your life, values and ambitions etc. on objects; even if they are objects of wealth.  The important thing is to prime the canvas (inner world) before chasing objects in the outer world.  Without these foundations in place there is nothing to support us when our own personal world comes crashing down; which it invariably does from time to time.  The old mystic was a realised soul and remained completely unmoved by the chaos around him.

The nature of the egoic mind is such that it can never be satisfied.  So, whether you crave left-handed spanners or vast amounts of money, the ego’s thirst for these things will never be quenched.  Seek first the Secret Garden of the Soul; once you are centred within this awareness, worldly objects can then be enjoyed as they were meant to be enjoyed, without fruitless obsessions.

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It’s Here!


Well people… after five proof copies, six different covers and four attempts to get it through the Amazon review process, Paradise For The Ungodly – the inner wilderness of silence is finally live.  It’s been a long old journey for such a small book, but worth it.

It will be an inspirational companion, fitting unobtrusively into a coat or jacket pocket, or a handbag, for those who choose to delve into the pages.

Watch this space for my next breathtaking adventure!

Click to buy in Amazon UK

Click to buy in Amazon US

 

Paradise For The Ungodly


I’m aware that I haven’t written what I would call a “proper” post for a few weeks now.  The lull has been because I’ve been concentrating on my latest writing project.  A surprising amount of water has flowed under the bridge since my last communication however, and I thought I would share with you what is happening.  I’ve made quite a lot of technical changes to the manuscript; plus I’ve corrected the few errors that were found.  I’ve just ordered my 5th proof copy, and since the first incarnation of my book I have changed some of the fonts, increased the font size, changed the cover half a dozen times, and… changed the title and sub-title.  Yes, I have; I can’t believe I’ve done that, but I have.

Originally, the book was to be called, “The Road To Nowhere“, with the sub-title, “paradise for the ungodly.”  Now it is called, “Paradise For The Ungodly”, with the sub-title, “the inner wilderness of silence”.  I’m expecting the proof to arrive by the end of the week, so if all goes to plan, I will still be publishing before the end of August.  The pics are of the image that I’ve decided to use for the final cover, and one of the rough covers I experimented with.  Chat soon lovely people, bye for now!

Stuff!


Hi people.  I thought it was time I communicated with an update of what “stuff” is going on.  Firstly, my latest book, The Road To Nowhere.  I had some real tech nightmares with formatting, which I thought I’d solved.  As a result I added a temporary cover, which enabled me to order a couple of proof copies for the purpose of checking the interior.  To my horror the problems had returned and I was unable to resolve them.  So, I decided that I would download a fresh template and format the file again from scratch.  I’m in the process of doing this now and I expect to be finished very soon.  So watch this space!

I’ve also been painting again, and my latest piece is shown below.  As ever, the photo doesn’t do it justice.  I really like it; it looks fantastic “in the flesh.”

 

There is also the little matter of the latest edition to my family, namely my four-string box guitar; which is based on the classic cigar-box guitar.  There’s another pic below for you to feast your eyes on.  Isn’t she a beauty?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, here’s a little video for your amusement.  Ladeez an’ gennelmen, I give to you Seasick Rich…

The Other Side


My plan for my next book was to put 20 mainly Zen-based parables together as a sort of “pocket companion”.  I set about putting my document together and realised that I’d miscounted; I’d only written 19.  So, here is number 20!

A monk was taking the long journey home to visit his family and inadvertently took a wrong path.  He came to the point where he faced a wide river that was fast-flowing.  He looked up and down and could see no way across.  He puzzled over his predicament for several hours.  As he was about to give up and turn back, he saw an old mendicant passing by on the opposite bank.  He cupped his hands to his mouth and shouted across, “Sir, Sir, can you tell me how to get to the other side?”  The old man stopped and looked across.  He paused for a moment and then shouted back, “my child, you are already on the other side”.

How apt to end my project with another little reminder that we are already where we need to be.  The journey itself is the destination.  Consciousness is eternal and constantly evolving, so even when we make a plan, set a goal or take a journey, it is only one of an infinite number of experiences that we encounter in our own individual evolution.  The torrentially flowing river is the mind (ego) that puts imaginary obstacles in our way.  When the veil of delusion is removed there is the realisation that there is only the One timeless Self; there never was an ego, but the false belief that there was (“I am the body” identification) enabled us to take a journey within time and space that was ultimately the means by which we realised the truth of our being.

In the end we will all come to know that the path was actually pathless, that the road travelled was a road to nowhere, to the eternal bliss of nothingness that we all are.

Zen For Cockneys

Featured


This post will comprise the first chapter of my upcoming book.  I still haven’t decided on a definite title yet, but it looks very likely to be “The Road To Nowhere“, with the sub-title “Paradise for the ungodly“.  I originally wanted to call the book “Zen For Cockneys“, the reason being that I wanted to aim it at ordinary down-to-earth people (like me), and cockneys* are generally regarded to be real “salt-of-the-earth” people.  I changed my mind in the end because I felt that potential readers might take the title literally and think it wasn’t for them if they were not cockney.  However, I have kept with the idea of a pocket-sized book that can be conveniently carried around; it’s something I’ve been thinking about for several years.

I have taken 20 parables that are mainly Zen in nature, but a few have their origins in Tao and Buddhism, and I have written them in my own words and interpreted them in accordance with my own understanding and influences.  I’m sure there will be many armchair philosophers out there thinking, “who does he think he is?”  “What a massive ego!”  But wait…

In line with my “salt-of-the-earth” theme, ordinary folk like me don’t want to be blinded by philosophical ramblings.  So, I came up with the idea of a small pocket-sized book of Zen-based parables written in a reader-friendly manner.  I may not be a fully realised soul, but I have experienced several tangible awakenings; a sort of step by step awakening over a number of years.  In other words, Zen has “happened” to me (which it does) so I feel able to unleash this book into the world in the knowledge that it comes from the heart.

Zen is not a belief system like other religions; Zen literally finds you, you are not required to believe anything.  Now, I’m not one for stealing other people’s words, but I can’t think of any better description of what it means to be a Zen person than the one used on many, many occasions by Osho.  He used to say you “drop” everything.  But to elaborate on that, it is not dropping as in something that you do as a conscious action.  It is the automatic dropping of things that no longer serve you; it happens, Zen finds you and it happens.  You suddenly find that things, which have always been a big part of your life, no longer have any use or meaning; they no longer serve you so you just automatically drop them without even giving it much thought.  This is the true meaning of renouncing and repenting.  It is not a forced thing, as in Western religion, that you do out of fear.  This is why so many Christians struggle; because they give up (renounce) things that they are not spiritually evolved enough to abstain from.  They indulge; then guilt takes hold and they feel that they have to repent their sins.  Nonsense!

Back in the 1980s I had a brief flirtation with the Financial Services Industry, and my old branch manager used to say that if you wanted financial advice, the last place you should go is to a bank.  Because they don’t want to give you sound financial advice, they only want to sell you their products.  The same can be said if you want spiritual guidance; the last place you should go is to the clergy/church.  They are only going to perpetuate the delusion; they are not going to tell you the truth, that you are powerful beyond your imagination.  They want to spin you a yarn; think about it… First the church tells you that you are a sinner.  Then its preachers tell you that if you blindly believe in their imaginary friend, you will be saved and attain eternal paradise in the future.  Now, read that last sentence again…

It’s going to happen in the future, not now.  “Now” is all we have, whereas “future” is nothing more than a series of thoughts in the mind.  When the future arrives it is not the future, it is NOW; this is why I referred to an imaginary friend, because the Christ that is pedalled by the church is a completely different Christ to the one who walked the earth.  The real Christ would have nothing to do with the church if he was here in flesh today (except maybe to tell it a few home truths). It is also no coincidence that the clergy refer to their churchgoers as a “flock”, because you literally have to be a sheep, follow the crowd, be everything that Christ wasn’t, be an Anti-Christ.  The real Christ was an agitator, an activist; he went against convention.  Hence, feathers were ruffled.  He did not advocate a God or deity that exists as an all-powerful entity, separate from the rest of creation; a God who was judgemental and angry.  His message was very Zen, it was all-embracing.  He spoke of our true nature of infinite consciousness, that “Ye are all Gods”, “the Kingdom of Heaven is within you”, not somewhere where we might be lucky enough to go to in the future if we are good.

To the church of the time he was a very dangerous man, and the establishment of today continue to use him and his name as the central character in a story that contains little, if any truth.  But organised religion is very clever (and I can only really speak for the UK here).  It is one of the richest, if not the most rich, organisation in the UK, but if there is a hole in the church roof they get YOU to pay for its repair!  You have to admit, it’s absolute bloody genius!

All the great souls who have ever graced the earth all carried the same message; YOU are Divine NOW; not in the future and not by blindly following religious dogma and doctrine.  The Buddha, Lao Tzu, Jesus etc; they all bucked the trend and all ruffled feathers.  If you take Jesus as a prime example and the church’s line that, “the messiah is coming”, what if he did come?  That would put the church into a bit of a predicament in that they wouldn’t be able to pedal the story of a future messiah.  In all likelihood he would be accused of blasphemy!

It goes without saying that there are many good Christians in the world, but it does not alter the fact that the story is simply not true, and that the church is nothing more than a tool used by the establishment to control people.  The paradox here is that it is only the ungodly that experience paradise (heaven), because until we drop all attachments to Gods, gurus and messiahs we will remain on the treadmill of birth and rebirth.

As you read the parables, you will gain a deeper understanding of Zen.  You will probably find that some of them overlap and that some messages are repeated, but this should not detract from what I hope will be an enjoyable reading experience for you.

Remember, you are unique, you were meant to shine, so don’t be a sheep.  Better to be one of the great unwashed than one of the great brainwashed.  Flourish sweet soul!

*Cockney – A Londoner specifically born within earshot of Bow Bells, the bells of St Mary-le-Bow in the Cheapside district of the City of London.

Impermanence


My previous post, “Without Blinking An Eye”, was the last of the parable-related posts for my forthcoming book.  I’m now going to completely digress; I say that because I’m going to share with you a true experience that I had recently, which is related to my day job.  It is extremely rare for me to write about my day job because I work for an organisation, and my views on certain matters are worlds away from the views of the aforementioned organisation.  There is also a requirement for me to maintain a very, very high level of confidentiality, as I’m sure you will understand in due course.

I actually have two jobs with the same organisation.  I have my contracted weekly hours and I also have my “bank” hours, which means that I work on an ad-hoc basis as and when required.  When I’m working bank, it involves me going out into the community with another more experienced professional.  We provide personal care to people who are terminally sick and who have chosen to die at home.  Quite recently I was doing a bank shift and was required to visit a house that is situated in a very affluent part of the UK.  The area attracts the rich and famous and my colleague and I had to visit a property that was tucked away from the rest of what is a quite stunningly beautiful village.  We had to drive around a mile and a half down a track before we came to the old farmhouse.  I will try my best to describe the scene for you.

My colleague told me that there was also some tennis courts, although I’m assuming that they were obscured by the trees as I didn’t see them.  However… when we arrived it was apparent that it had once been a working farm; this was evidenced by the piece of farm machinery that was situated just across the way from the main house.  We entered and found it to be a bit of a maze of stairways and landings.  We were greeted by the live-in carer, who had quite a strong South African accent, and were shown up the stairs, through the maze and into a bedroom.  What I found incredible was all the paintings adorning the walls; they were everywhere and obviously very, very old.  I don’t know who the paintings were of, but they were all of people who were dressed in what I would call Shakespearean-type clothes.  There was also quite a prominence of antique furniture.

The views from the bedroom were incredible and I imagined the beauty of the seasons in all their glory, tantalizing the windows with their magnificence.  As we walked into the room, on the left, there was a mahogany four-poster bed that had obviously been intricately carved by hand and was very old.  There was also various other pieces of old furniture; the four-poster bed, however, was empty.  On the same side of the room as the door, and in juxtaposition to the rest of the room, there had at some stage been a flurry of 1970s-type carpentry, and the entire wall had been converted into a series of built-in cupboards (presumably used as wardrobes); it really did look out of place alongside everything else.  There was also a spattering of old black and white photos from days long gone dotted around the place.  Moments in time captured by the camera lens, showing young, happy and affluent people in all their Englishness.  In spite of the views and the antique furniture the bedroom was very gloomy and had a most unwelcoming feel to it.

Across from the foot of the four-poster was a hospital bed, which had been provided in readiness of its occupant’s pending death.  The hospital bed is the most amazing piece of equipment.  It can be moved, raised and lowered, this way and that, ensuring maximum patient comfort and easy access for healthcare professionals.

In the bed was the tiny, frail figure of an elderly lady who had no more than hours left for this world.  My colleague and I did what we could from a care perspective, endeavouring to be as least disruptive as possible.  It was quite a surreal experience for me.  I was “the witness” to a scene in the play of life, that was being acted out on the stage before me.  It was as though the totality was shouting at me, although not in an aggressive way, but in a way that was saying to me, “now make sure you understand what is being shown to you here.”  It brought home to me the sheer impermanence of this life, this world and all the nonsense that goes with it.  There must have been a truly eye-watering amount of money tied up in that property.  The paintings and the frames alone must have been worth millions of pounds.  It was quite unbelievable really; as I looked down at the almost pathetic figure that lay in the bed, so very weak and barely clinging to life, I thought to myself that the paintings, the antique furniture, the house and the land were completely worthless in the grander scheme of things.  All of those things had once instigated a brief encounter with worldly happiness for the owners.  But worldly happiness, like all other worldly things is subject to relativity and cannot last.

What use was an antique four-poster and 300-400 year-old paintings to the elderly occupant of the bed?  It is important to understand that it is not wrong to enjoy nice “things”.  We do, after all, live in a material world.  It is important however, to realise that these things are all a part of the river that is life; just flowing nonchalantly by, and soon to be nothing more than a distant memory.  Do enjoy nice things when they come your way, but in the understanding that what really matters is not the “nice things” themselves, but the substratum from which they rise up from and ultimately dissolve away into.