One And One

One and one makes two. And yet, two is somehow more than just one and one. The connection between the members of a pair is, itself, a “something”. And three contains three pairs, as well as the wholeness of the triad. Each time we add one, we somehow integrate it into a new totality: one that did not exist, except in potential, before we created it. And so it is when we start the journey towards our own wholeness. Or, as it may be, towards the wholeness of the universe, because they are the same thing. Do I say “I am God”? No: we are God. Do I say “I am One”? No: we are One. We are – in potential – the totality of one and one, a requisite number of times, with each addition changing the totality. And, at some point, that totality is the same totality as the universe. Not just “in microcosm” – though that, too – but literally the same. What are we adding? How are we adding? How is it changing the totality?

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Reasons To Be Cheerful

Back in July 1979, the band “Ian Dury and the Blockheads” released the song “Reasons to be Cheerful, Part 3”. It’s a list of things that the band thought were uplifting about life, set to music. Their style is a bit hard to classify – part “two-tone” and part “post-punk”. They’re a bit of a “Marmite” band, in that you either like the style or you don’t. Most of us have such a list: things that remind us of times of joy; memories that remind us that life does have its high points. Even those whose recent lives have been disastrous – who struggle to find reason to get up and continue for another day – can find some “reasons to be cheerful”. It’s just that they don’t let those memories into the narrative of their despair. This post isn’t an exhortation to “buck up and remember to be cheerful”, it’s an exploration of our emotional narrative and how we create choice.

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Why Doesn’t It “Work”?

Those who follow any spiritual path with any degree of attention (not merely as a dilatory social club) will find that fairly quickly they experience altered states of consciousness. But despite these encouraging experiences, nothing really “sticks”. Their life is not much changed. The same inner demons haunt them. And after a while, even the magical experiences either diminish or devolve into something that can be conjured for a while but gives no lasting change. At the same time, it can be hard to give up the quest and return to a “normal life” that holds so little meaning. After all, we embark on the quest to find meaning in our existence. This pattern is entirely “law-conformable”, and it’s really helpful to understand why.

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People Smuggling

There’s a lot of noise in the UK media, today, about the 27 lives lost as migrants tried to reach the UK by crossing the Channel in a rubber dinghy, amid bad weather. Politicians on both sides of the Channel are playing to their voting audiences, saying that they’ll “do what it takes” to crack down on the criminals who send people out in such conditions. What they’re not saying out loud, but broadcasting through their attitudes, is that they know full well that as long as people want to travel, but can’t do so legally, there will be a thriving market for smugglers and traffickers. Neither of those voting audiences want an open border policy, nor do they want to have “their” taxes spent on reducing the wish of migrants to travel, so the problem will continue. The US has a similar problem with migrants attempting to cross from Mexico, with exactly the same underlying issues. The only significant difference is that we can’t very well build a physical wall around the coast of Britain, and it’s clear that the watery moat of the Channel is small deterrent.

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Eternal Life

I was prompted, the other day – whilst out walking in the autumn sun – to ponder on the topic of “eternal life”. Many religions say that this is Man’s reward for living a “good” life. One could, of course, simply discount the idea – and perhaps, for many, it is just wishful thinking. After all, “eternity” is an awfully long time. Even the billions of years since the [probable] Big Bang is only a tiny fragment of eternity. But what if there were some element of truth in the idea? What could be meant by “eternal” life and how could that relate to “life” as we know and experience it?

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God and Sausages

If a man writes about his beliefs in a supreme deity or spiritual power, he makes friends of some people and enemies of others. Some may find new truth in what he writes. Some may find old, familiar truths re-affirmed. And then some will find no truth at all – nothing that resonates – whilst others find an opposite, or denial of truth. And the same would happen if a man writes on any topic: even on the nature of sausages. One can forgive the thought that there’s no “objective” truth in the topic of sausages, but how – if there is objective truth in a supreme deity – is there apparently no objective test, or proof, that all can make for themselves? Or is there?

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The Dark Cupboard

As we go through life, it’s as if each of us is really an amalgam of three people. In one corner, there’s the personality that we aspire to be. We tell ourselves that “It’s me, in my best moments” but we know that isn’t quite true. We fall a little way short of our aspiration, even in our best moments. We’d like to be less judgmental or less set in our habits. We’d like others to appreciate us more. We’d like to do more to protect the things or people we care about. Or maybe we’d like to know what our life is for – where our destiny lies – so we can get on with it properly, instead of just “muddling through”. And in the other corner is the dark cupboard, where we put all the things we are ashamed of.

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Learning How To Learn: Part 2

Back in July of 2020, I wrote a piece entitled “Learning How to Learn”. It addressed the thought that sometimes we don’t receive a lesson – don’t learn from some experience – because we’re expecting to be handed an “answer” on a plate. It is (I suggested) as if we expect that merely receiving knowledge will shape our “being”. People kneel at the feet of gurus to be ready for the blessing of sacred knowledge, and then – when the words of power are uttered – they take those words as simple truth, not considering (or perhaps brushing over) the idea that any message they receive can only resonate with what they already are. To believe that simply hearing a truth conveys its whole essence into one’s being is – on rational examination – manifestly absurd. And yet … “The higher blends with the lower to actualise the middle, and thus becomes either higher for a preceding lower, or lower for a succeeding higher.”

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The topic of this piece came to me as a simple assertion: it’s hard to understand life when you don’t realise that you’re only seeing a third of it. Just one third of the whole octave: the part between FA and LA. And to see even that, you’d have to be looking at all living things. The whole gamut. And yet, although it has the characteristics of a totality, this “whole gamut” is only a third of the totality of life. At both the upper and lower ends lies a denying force.

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Guardian of the Galaxy

There is something in most of us that wants to be “significant”. This desire goes beyond the wholly expected desires to survive, to counter threat and to reproduce. It may seem to be linked to “fame and fortune” but, really, it transcends even those things. The odd thing is, if you ask someone who has this urge to describe what “being significant” means, they can’t answer. They can tell it’s not fame. They can tell it’s not fortune. And they can tell it’s not power. They can even tell it’s not about “recognition”, because if nobody else knew they were significant, it would still be sufficient. So where does this odd yearning come from?

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