A Truely Delightful Soul


The plot continues to thicken with regard to my astral adventures.  I have now had the pleasure of the company of a truly delightful female soul, not once, not twice… but three times!  As usual, I have no clue what it is all about or what purpose it serves, but I have had much worse experiences in my life, I can tell you!  Being an advocate of the teachings of Ramana Maharshi and Rupert Spira, I know that the development of attachments to relationships such as these will do my long-term spiritual growth no good whatsoever.  However, it is also true that Zen teaches the importance of embracing the totality.  So, if this experience has come my way in the last few months, I’m going to accept it.

At first, she seemed quite excitable and a bit too playful; to the extent that I was questioning it.  But the two subsequent times we have astral travelled together she has been much more disciplined.  I’m presuming that we know each other from way back, but I don’t honestly know.  What I do know is that she is a really lovely and very affectionate soul.  I’m looking forward to sharing more adventures with her, if that is how we are going to roll; in fact, I’m hoping that even as I type, she is perusing the astral travel brochures and planning our next trip!

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The Court Jester


Here is another Zen parable for you.  As with my previous post, I’m putting my own spin on it.

A king became exasperated with his court jester, who simply wouldn’t stop jesting.  Seemingly every minute of every day, the jester would be cracking jokes and playing the fool.  Eventually, the king decided he’d had enough and he condemned the jester to be hanged; ordering that he be taken to the dungeon to await his fate.  The day of the execution arrived and the king started to have second thoughts.  He felt that good court jesters were hard to come by, and after all, the poor bloke had only been doing his job.  But the king also felt that he couldn’t go back to the way things were, so he wrote out the royal pardon on official parchment and added the condition that the jester was not allowed to ever crack a joke again.  He put the royal seal on it and gave it to one of his courtiers to take to the executioner.  The courtier ran to the gallows, and arrived in the nick of time to see the jester already standing on the trap door with the noose around his neck.  The courtier blurted out that the king had changed his mind and that the execution should be halted; he then proceeded to read out the pardon.  As the reading of the pardon came to an end, the jester just couldn’t contain himself and quipped, “no noose is good news”.  He was hanged.

Of course that rather amusing story isn’t actually true, but it aptly explains how we function in accordance with our conditioning, as opposed to our true nature.  When we are born into this world, we are pure, open and still aware of the love that we are.  Gradually, as the years pass, we become conditioned; we are told that we are good or bad, beautiful or ugly, intelligent or thick etc, etc; and we become what we believe (or at least we THINK we have become what we believe).  Then we enter adulthood and we get a job or career, adding that to “who I am” as we go along.  In the case of the jester, “jestering” was what he did, it was not who he was.  However, he was not able to drop the egoic belief that, “I am a jester”, so when the opportunity arose, he couldn’t resist the quip and was promptly executed.

Whether you are an ugly professor, a beautiful cleaner or a good retail assistant, the professor, the cleaner and the retail assistant are what you DO, they are not who you are.  As to whether you are ugly, beautiful, good or bad, these are only judgements made by other people that you may or may not believe.  They are also not who you are and do not have to define you.  So, in life don’t be a silly jester; or the joke will be on you!

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The Man On The Hill


As you know, if we see a snowflake in the UK the whole country grinds to a halt, and today we have a little more than that (hope you like the pics and short video of my back garden).  So, it is appropriate, that since my place of work sits up on high ground six miles from here, and my place of work is shut because of the snow, I have got the chance to write a blog post called, “The Man On The Hill”.  It is an old Zen parable, but I have put my own spin on it and will relate it in my own way of speaking.

Three friends were out walking, and in the distance, high up on a hill, they could see a man, seemingly just standing there.  As they walked, they started to speculate amongst themselves as to what he was doing.  The first man said, “I think he is looking for his dog”.  The second man said, “no, I think he is looking for his friend”.  The third man said, “no, you are both wrong, I think he is just getting some fresh air”.  As they walked, they continued to have the discussion and eventually they found themselves following the path leading up the hill.

After a while they reached where the man was standing and curiosity got the better of them.  “Excuse me”, said the first man, “but we couldn’t help but wonder what you are doing, are you looking for your dog”?  “No, I’m not”, came the reply.  The second man spoke up, “then are you looking for your friend”?  “No”, came the reply again.  The third man then asked, “are you just enjoying the fresh air”?  For the third time, the man answered, “no I’m not”.  The three friends, completely baffled, then asked, “If you are not engaged in any of those things can you please tell us what you are doing”?  “I’m just standing”, replied the man.

“Just standing”, could be “just chopping wood”, “just washing up”, “just cutting the grass”, but what the man is really saying is, “I’m just being”.  The three friends are typical of the monkey-like chatter of the egoic mind.  It didn’t even occur to them that the man could be “just standing”, they had to pigeonhole what he was doing.  So, they created several imaginary stories as they speculated their way along the path.  It is no    coincidence that there are three of them; the three friends being symbolic of the holy trinity of the physical world.  We can also relate the three friends to the three states that we experience in this world of matter; waking, dream and deep sleep.  The man “just standing” represents the “God-state” of Turiya, which exists beyond all triads.

This is what makes Zen so wonderfully unique in relation to other religions.  Zen, “The Experience of Pure Knowing”, will awaken within you when you are ready.  A Zen master will simply give you the key to open up the knowing that has always existed within you.  Whereas, a teacher of religion will fill your head with knowledge based on the past.  Knowledge = Non-sense; Knowing = God-sense.

I will just finish off by sharing with you something rather ironic that occurred to me as I was pondering writing this post.  All the great spiritual masters who founded the religions of the world, were exceptional souls who broke the mould.  They did not follow the crowd; on the contrary, they were inspirational leaders and exceptional individuals.  But to be a follower of an organised religion means that you have to be the exact opposite of the religion’s founder; in other words you have to conform to convention.  To be a Christian for example, you have to be an Anti-Christ, you have to become a sheep and follow the crowd.  Christ himself did not advocate hierarchy; all were equal in his eyes.  Now there are hundreds and hundreds of Christian cults and sects, all run by committees and people (mainly men) with titles, who dictate to the masses in accordance with their own limited understanding.  This is an indication of the man-made, egoic nature of organised religion.  I have written many times about this.  The spirit evolves via the adventure of experience, not by conforming to outdated, fear-based, man-made rules, regulations and rituals.  CAN I GET AN AMEN?  Maybe not…

 

And I Quote…

Quote


I came across this pearl of wisdom from Osho and thought I would share it with you.  If you are not familiar with Osho, he is often referred to as a, “brilliant but flawed guru”.  He was certainly unorthodox as far as gurus go, so I think we all have to come to our own conclusion.  From a personal perspective, I have found certain areas of his teachings incredibly profound and quite beautiful, and they have helped me to gain a better understanding of who I am.  The following snippet is from the book, “The Empty Boat – encounters with nothingness”, and I think it is a very apt way to explain a very simple, but difficult to accept, truth.  Hope you like it.

Nobody else can destroy you except you; nobody else can save you except you.  You are the Judas and you are the Jesus.

Living The Dream – Slight Return


Well, lovely people, the plot thickens.  You may remember that in my last blog post I said that since sharing in my book, Eyesight To The Blind, that my out-of-body experiences were virtually a thing of the past, that I then embarked on a flurry of astral adventures, only for them to dry up again.  Well, I eventually had another one that is actually worth writing about, because it seems to be a new experience.  I say, “seems”, because I don’t remember having had this experience before.

During the early hours of Christmas morning I felt the all-too-familiar feeling of being out-of-body as another soul carried me off on a journey to who knows where.  This was actually a very short event, but like some of my other very short out-of-body experiences, it held some significance.  I decided to keep my eyes closed as I travelled, and after a brief journey felt myself come to a halt.  Now here’s the significance.  I had a sense of oneness, but not with what I like to call, “the inner wilderness of silence”; the “peace that passes all understanding”, which is our true nature, our very essence.  No, it was a sense of oneness with the astral world.  I was completely without form and one with the astral energy in which I was enfolded; incidentally, it was pale blue in colour but a pale blue that was not of this earth.  It is extremely difficult to describe the experience accurately, but I’m doing my best.  In that Nano-moment, nothing existed except that pale blueness, of which I was a part.  The energy had quite a hard power to it that was in no way subtle.

In no time at all, that experience was over but I was still out-of-body.  I then noticed that I had a lovely female spirit for a companion.  We were side-on to each other and she had her arm around me; she then kissed me on the cheek, which was a lovely feeling.  Then as quick as a flash I was back in my body and laying in my bed.  The whole experience seemed to take nothing more than a matter of seconds.  It was around 04:20 in the morning.

It just goes to show that you can never predict these out-of-body shenanigans…

Is It A Bird? Is It A Plane? No, It’s Zen-perman!


Yes, it most certainly is! Not only is Zenperman able to leap tall buildings at a single bound, but he also wears his underpants outside his trousers.  I had a situation recently that had me scurrying for the nearest telephone box in order to change into my secret identity; the aforementioned super-hero, Zenperman.  I’m sharing it here because I know it’s a situation that so many of you will be able to relate to.  I was left angry, violated, indignant, frustrated; in fact, so miffed was I that my dainty little fingers were on the verge of writing a “stiff letter” to The Times and signing it, “Mr Angry, Tetbury”.  But thankfully, Zenperman came to the rescue and I’m about to tell you how…

It all started when my energy provider, Bristol Energy (BE), hiked their prices for the second time in 12 months.  Now, before I go any further, I should mention for the benefit of overseas readers, that here in the UK we have been able to switch between energy providers for some years now.  So, if we think that we are getting a rough deal, we simply switch to another company (subject to the terms and conditions that we signed up for).  You also may be wondering, given the usual subject matter of my posts, why I’m sharing this?  The thing is, we are all human (sort of), especially when we are experiencing the physical existence, and sometimes our human weaknesses take over and cause us all sorts of problems.  So, I thought it might be a good idea to share a bit of my own humanness with you, whilst introducing you to Zenperman at the same time.  The full boring details are as follows…

I get a letter from BE informing me of the price hike.  “What”?  I say to myself, in the most indignant manner I can muster.  The upshot is, that over the next few days, I work out my annual usage and compare prices with other energy providers.  Realising that I can get a better deal with a particular company, I instigate the switching process, which normally takes a few weeks to go through.

I’m aware that you might fall asleep before I get to the point, but it’s important that you have all the fine details so that you fully understand what was going on.  So, hang in there; your country needs you!

In due course, I get an email from my new provider asking me to supply meter readings (which I do), I also get an email from BE asking me to keep my Direct Debit open so they can transfer any credit into my bank account once my final bill is produced.  Then I get another email from BE asking me to provide meter readings.  By this time my switch date (22 October 2018) has passed, so even though I’m no longer a customer of BE, I supply two more readings, because you can never have too many meter readings…

I then receive another email from BE informing me that my latest statement is ready to view online.  I check, and to my delight, I notice that my account is in credit by just over £40.00.  I also notice that my electricity reading has not been entered as a final reading, but at this stage no rats could be smelled!  On 1 November I check my bank account online, and to my utter disgust, not only have BE not issued my refund, but they have taken another Direct Debit payment from my account.  In a very rational and reasonable way I proceeded to contact BE customer services, and in synonymy with my Britishness, I kept the most impeccable “stiff upper lip” as I enquired what the *@#? was going on.  I was informed by a customer service rep that they had not yet received my final electricity reading from my new supplier.  I pointed out that this wasn’t true, as not only had they sent it, but BE had entered it onto my account to produce my latest statement. The young girl I was talking to informed me that the reading was from an “unverified source” so it could not yet be considered as a final reading.  I was also informed that it can take up to six weeks for BE to produce a final bill and then any refund can take up to 10 working days to be processed.  With regard to the extra payment being taken, even though I was no longer their customer, she informed that, “the payment must have already been requested prior to my switch date, and because the Direct Debit was still open, the payment was duly processed.  I was not happy; and I’m not making reference to one of the seven dwarfs!

Back in the days when it was just the good old (or bad old) Electricity Board and Gas Board, you had only one supplier of each utility.  But what you also had was local branches, so if you had a beef, you could go somewhere local in person, and sort it out.  These days you have the advantage of multiple choice, but if something goes wrong, you have to do battle with people who hide behind the safety of a computer screen and who are also miles away.  Enter Zenperman…

Thanks to how I’ve evolved over the years; and been “found” by Zen, I now understand that getting angry achieves nothing.  I also understand the truth in statements such as, “energy flows where attention goes”, and “what you resist will persist”.  But my ego had all its lights flashing and all its bells and whistles going flat-out.  It was the sheer indignation of being bullied by a corporation who were completely, totally and utterly in the wrong and not being able to do anything about it.  Thanks to Zenperman I was able to tell myself that the best course of action would be no action, that “this too will pass”.  However…

I found BE’s twitter account and made my feelings felt.  I messaged them demanding, yes demanding, that they sort it out!  I also went onto Trustpilot and wrote a scathing one-star review, which I shared on my twitter feed.  Zenperman had his work cut out because Mr Angry was a stubborn old geezer and wasn’t going to go into transcendental meditation without a fight!  But Zenperman persisted…

I received a reply from BE on twitter, simply reiterating what their customer service rep had told me.  So I sent another message, “how dare you”?  “I want my money”; “I’m British”!!!!!!  The annoying thing also, was that BE were telling me that my reading was from an unverified source, but it was the same source from which they’d received ALL of my meter readings (i.e. me) ever since I first switched to them.  Now all of a sudden the source is unverified.  They also said that the reads sent to them by my new supplier, which they entered onto my energy account, were entered by me at 18:01 in the evening on 18/10/18; which was an absolute load of rubbish.  I felt truly violated and further frustrated because I wanted to complain to the energy regulator, but the regulator can only get involved in disputes if they have been ongoing for at least eight weeks.  So, I decided to listen to Zenperman and just let things happen naturally.

Every now and then I would wake up in the morning and my ego would start playing the story out in my head.  “Don’t you realise what they have done to you?  Thanks to them taking an extra payment from you, your account is now in credit by over £70.00.  That’s YOUR money and they are taking liberties with you; SIX WEEKS to issue a final bill”!  Thankfully, Zenperman would step in and calm things down.

But over seven weeks passed and still there was no sign of my final bill and refund.  I decided enough was enough.  I would contact BE one last time via social media requesting my bill.  If it was not forthcoming I would be getting in touch with the regulator.  To my surprise, I received a reply the next day apologising for the delay and within 24 hours my final bill was issued.  It still wasn’t perfect, and I’m not going to offer any more fine detail as I think you may have had enough, but it had always been my intention to write a follow-up, scathing one-star review on Trustpilot and also to contact the regulator anyway, as I felt that BE surely had service standards and targets that would have fallen short in this case, entitling me to compensation.  But doing that would only have prolonged the agony of an already tired situation.  The refund hit my bank account on Christmas Eve, and I decided that I was just going to let the whole thing go and move on.

Yes, BE were in the wrong.  Yes, utility companies have been getting away with bullying their customers for far too long.  But there is always a bigger picture; a grander scheme.  I am not a refugee in a flimsy, overcrowded boat in the middle of the sea that is in danger of capsizing.  I’m just a geezer who experienced a bit of inconvenience, and thanks to Zenperman I’m able to see the situation as such.

Thanks again Zenperman; it’s because of you that the city can sleep safely tonight!