When we feel we need someone else to help, with a particular task, it is only natural (!) that we try to find someone who we think can share the task with us. We check them out, first, and then we ask them to carry our trust. Then, if they agree, we turn our attention to the parts of the task that we, alone, must do [which might, of course, be none]. And that task could be quite a broad one. If we suspect our trust might be misplaced, we’ll keep an eye out; otherwise we’ll just – well – trust.

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Guilty As Charged

The feeling of guilt plagues nearly all mankind. And many even have the feeling that they’re guilty in some way that they haven’t yet discovered. We ‘could’ be doing better; we ‘could’ be a nicer person; we ‘could’ spend time to understand the role of humanity in the universe. We could do many things, that we feel are ‘proper’, but we don’t. Some learn to live with their guilt and call themselves ‘free’. That doesn’t mean the guilt goes away: they merely learn to justify their actions. Perhaps it makes them feel powerful (another guilt trip); perhaps they feel driven (another guilt trip). Some cannot live with it, and end what they see as their futile, useless lives. Or think about doing that, almost every day. Most simply soldier on, papering over their guilt, perhaps hoping for redemption after death.

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The Small Things

When I write about the path to freedom – to free will – it may seem, at times, that one must somehow choose between ordinary life and this ‘path’. That isn’t so: we are already living ‘real’ life, but we just don’t know it. We have made up inner stories about it, to try to make sense of it, but those stories are coloured by our attachments – arising from our sense that we need to ‘do’ in order to survive. And, in turn, these stories colour our perceptions of life: prevent us from truly understanding it. But since the stories are ‘triggered’ by the very life we lead, the best place for us to see them in action, and to learn about them, is within our ordinary life. The only problem is that we need to free attention.

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Which Way To Freedom?

For most people, most of the time, life is pretty much ok. There are no great, pressing threats and so there’s time to indulge in entertainments without any feeling that one needs ‘de-stressing’. It’s the good life. But it doesn’t last; not for anyone – or so it seems. Sooner or later – by actions beyond your control – threats intrude back into your life. Stress mounts, while you try to work out how to get back to the good life. And maybe you start to wonder, “Is this all there is? Am I going to oscillate between stress and comfort until the processes of ageing and degeneration make the stress almost constant? Is there no way out?”

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What Is Soul?

We have a tendency to use the term Soul as if we know what it is. Some feel it is their secret, inner “I”. Some that it is a higher thing, which – in conflict with their lower, selfish nature – guides their conscience. Some that it is what gives them life and intelligence: the ability to know themselves. Some admit they don’t know what it is, but feel they must have one. Some believe it is a possession that can be traded away, or stolen. Some believe it is an essence of their being, that will live beyond death. Some believe it is a figment of the imagination.

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Who Are You?

Well, answer the question. Not your name: that’s just a label to get your attention. Not your physical description: that’s just the accidental outcome of your genes. Not what you do for a living: that’s just the accidental outcome of events; of time and place. Not your parentage: that, too, is an accident of time and place. Not what you have created, nor any other part of your life so far: all of that was just just the result of who you have been. I want to know who you are, right now. No, not what you are, but who you are. You think that’s a pointless question? But what you’re going to do next depends on who you are.

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What we call ‘love’ would appear to be a strange madness. In our more usual state, our attention is taken up with a gazillion activities that are all focused on organising the world around us – to our current and future benefit. We get along with other folks – who we recognise are just doing the same – as long as their plans don’t mess too badly with our own. But when we’re in love, we want to make a nest for two. We don’t just follow our own desires and fears, we accommodate – we want to accommodate – those of our ‘significant other’ as well. We’ll even sacrifice some of our own concerns, to make that mutual accommodation work better. What we get out of it is the same sort of attention that we put in, only without the stress of being the only one looking out for our interests.

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Be Yourself

There’s a huge amount of ‘life coaching’ advice, being handed out by almost everyone on the planet. And it may seem that this blog does the same. We’d all like to think that we have something that is worth sharing – even if it’s an insight into depression and isolation, or just being content. We feel that it is important that we do so; which it is. All these pieces of advice are a sharing of experience. All the potential recipients are people towards whom we extend an offer. The offer might not be taken up, but a connection has been made; a signal has been passed; a thought about one of the facets of being human has been shared. And it’s the same with all other types of social interaction.

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God’s Big Plan

There are still some – perhaps many – in this world who deal with misfortune by saying to themselves, “I may not like it, but it’s part of God’s big plan.” They aren’t exclusively Christian: the same principle runs through other religions, too. The thought allows those people to ‘park’ their disappointment, or other negative emotions, and carry on with life. But just parking an emotion isn’t the same as resolving it. And in the sub-conscious, such emotions continue to be felt and to exert an influence. They lead the person to become more defensive against similar misfortune. But if misfortune can be God’s plan, is it also His plan that we should be taught to oppose that plan? Hmm. I wonder.

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Ghost Hunting

There are – as is now widely recognised – three types of ghost, or image from the past. The first is a residual memory, ranging from sounds without cause to full or partial images. The second is called an ‘intelligent’ haunting, in that it can sense what living people are doing, and it can react or respond in (near) real time. The third is ‘created’ – normally by persistence of strong emotions over a period of time, or by a highly focused act of intent. These three can merge and separate – come and go – because they are all merely ‘thoughts’ in the mind of the cosmos. The ghost hunter can sometimes evoke a memory – particularly if they are ‘sensitive’ – but equally the memory can suddenly vanish. And it doesn’t require a human mind for the memories to manifest; they can also be caught with recording equipment, without intent to do so.

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