Lost on the Emotional Plane? – the red mist

I’ll restrict this to two primary emotions, fear and anger. There is no need to take loads of mushrooms or peyote, to completely lose the plot. It can happen in day to day life. One can become utterly lost on the emotional plane. The perception gets ever more selective and turns in on itself. All clarity vanishes, and any sense of wider perspective is abandoned. It happens by indulging in fear or anger.

Once fear gets a toe-hold it can magnify and amplify alarmingly, a deep pervading paranoia sets in. Under these circumstances the merest thing can be seen as a deep personal attack aimed at maiming or destruction. The slightest contrary opinion becomes a death threat. One figuratively puts up the barricades, lays the minefields, heats the boiling oil and readies the crossbows. One is perennially on the look-out for slights, snubs, attacks and the like. They aren’t there, they are largely imagined. And so, lost in fear, life becomes nightmarish. On edge one lashes out and destroys. One sees plots and intrigues on all sides and thereby actually generates some of these, because one starts playing secret squirrels and other related games. Tense as a tense thing on a tense day, one is like a porcupine. There is no reality simply an out of proportion fear. Threat is on all sides.

 Once the red-mist of anger sets it, all one can see is ire and hitting back. One must destroy, avenge, make them pay and otherwise teach them a lesson. It burns, and it seethes. The perception clouds over and all there is that red-mist. Skewed thereby, a being whom you might otherwise love and care for becomes enemy number one, who must face sudden, complete and humiliating destruction, preferably over a prolonged period and in public so that everyone can see that your just and deserved vengeance has been done. There is no clarity, no wider perspective just the immediacy and longevity of that anger.

Maybe after the destruction has been wrought some sense of wider perspective returns by which time it is too late. Perhaps finally you return to your senses and calm. Perhaps you can then acknowledge that your perception has been more than a tad selective.

Having cued this up:

Have I ever been lost on the emotional plane?

Did it damage or wreak havoc in my life?

Towards Freedom – Why?

About the Author

Alan holds a Ph.D. in Chemical Physics which he gained whilst studying at The Royal Institution of Great Britain. For over a decade he was a Lecturer / Senior Lecturer in Physical Chemistry at Imperial College London.  He has more than twenty years’ experience of lasers, optics and spectroscopy. He currently exists in a geek / yogi superposition state and jokes that he is a kind of quantum yogi.

He has been exposed to Budō, shamanism, Buddhist literature, Toltec teachings, I Ching and esoteric philosophy. He has meditated extensively doing Rāja yoga and dreaming practice. He has studied widely using his experience as a researcher to guide him.

He lives with his wife in a farm worker’s cottage in the Surrey / Hampshire borders.


“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms…”

Henry David Thoreau



This is not for those who are happy, nor is it for those who are sad. It is for those who, despite all the shiny screens in the world, all that social interaction on line or otherwise, have a sense of something missing. Quite what that is, is difficult to say, yet that gap, that vacuum, that hole looms unspoken and somehow large. Because it is missing it is intangible but somehow near. It is not always present though its presence always lurks. 

One might imagine that an elixir of happiness could quench it or a bucket list of things to do and see. Maybe it is to be found in social and career success, a new house, a shiny car? Perhaps all one needs is a panacea for stress, a brief glimpse of serenity from time to time. The ideal of a deep font of eternal joy beckons unattainable, a bliss never to be consummated. But such as this must lie forever beyond reach, it in itself is an illusory goal, a yardstick by which to measure failure and breed discontent at non-attainment thereof. The advertised nirvana or heaven fall short of the copywriter’s brief. All that awaits is a hell of sorts and a lumpy dissatisfaction to be the eternal source of complaint and gripe. 

This is for those with questions and for those who are sufficiently dissatisfied with being dissatisfied all the time to actually feel an urge to do something about. It starts with a question; surely there must be more to life than this?

This is a dawn question, a question that comes from deep within, perhaps from that still small voice so often drowned in pass times. It is question of stirring, a ripple however feint that can be silenced temporarily with booze or drugs or sex. But after it is still there, nagging. One can try to run from the question and pretend.

This is for those who have had enough of pretending and of lying. It is a book for those who are sick of being fake and living by façade and stories about their façade told to other façades at endless encounters. It is for those keen to go past the face value, the social chit chat, to find a sense of at least some reality.  It is there with reality that a sense of equanimity can be found. It does not sound so tempting as bliss, but I’ll wager that as a target it is more realistic. This equanimity is a state less perturbed, more centred and far less oscillatory. It is not coloured by judging others nor emotive when the world isn’t how it is supposed to be. It demands nothing and asks very little, as such it does not want for much and whatever need arises is more readily met. It is not a state of desire or greed and as such is seldom thirsty and hungry. Equanimity is a sense of satisfaction, though in no way smug. This calm in the storm, this eye of the hurricane, is the non-material centre that eludes. It does not beckon, yet it, in its near nothingness is the filler of holes, the plugger of gaps and voids.

With such a sense of balance there is nothing missing any longer, because whatever you need is already with you. One sees clearly and real.

Equanimity is not an absolute, a perfection. It is a relative and with increasing equanimity dissatisfaction or suffering fades; it does not vanish at the waving of a wand or a signing of a therapy cheque. It is hard won and with each increasing measure it carries with it a bounty of peace and occasional serenity. There is no fanfare of trumpets simply a growing into. Like a new set of clothes, it fits and with each growth a skin is shed for further expansion. It cannot be rushed for rush and equanimity do not correlate, rush is dissatisfaction after all.

At first there are only glimpses, ephemeral and passing. In time these extend and blend. One cannot sustain equanimity indefinitely, but one can increase its longevity and relative permanence. Like a recovering addict one has to leave behind, anger, jealousy, lust, desire and ambition. There remains an addict’s itch for these non-temperate states.  What will life be like without my soap opera friends? How will I know that I am still alive? The personal climate will remain stormy and turbulent for a long time with only brief interludes, in time these coalesce.

In order to seek this state one must be genuinely ready for change and radical change at that. Even a tiny episode of equanimity enhances the quality of life. It is a state that makes sense. To be permeated with it is the destination and such permeation is a marathon endeavour; one that can only be done one step at a time. And of course, by the time one has a modicum of equanimity one ascertains with clarity that there is in fact no destination, only journey. And like all good journeys into the unknown, there is plenty to see and learn along the way.

So, if you have had enough of where you are at and are fed up of the pendant ghost of something missing, perhaps this is for you. Reading alone will only go so far, this is not theory it is practice.

The Shortcoming Egotism

Everybody has this shortcoming to some extent. When it is activated, we express the following behaviours, it stems from the dark jewel Egotism

22 Egotism
Active Shortcoming: Self-importance
Behaviour: Self-opinionated, arrogant, self-centred, pompousness, holier-than-thou, longwindedness
Passive Shortcoming: Self-pity
Behaviour: Victim/martyr, hard-done-by, unappreciated, fear of exposure, fear of being wrong, fear of criticism

Anything might activate it. If for example you were being pompous and I said as much, chances are you would be pompous about your lack of pompousness, feel criticised, defend yourself in an arrogant way and give numerous examples of how you are not in fact a pompous being. The last thing you might say is “sorry man, I can be a bit of an arse from time to time.” You may even make a mental note that I have been mean to you and look out for any opportunity to get one back on me, your sweet revenge.

I have worked in academia, so chances are that I have met some pompous people.

It is possible to oscillate between the two poles, self-importance and self-pity.

To use an imaginary example which I will make up just now.

Arthur is a professor at the university of Harvton he has a pretty good reputation and has brought in millions in funding. He reckons himself and has strongly held opinions some of which are not based in evidence, but he continues to promote an antimalarial drug for curing the seventh coronavirus outbreak. He has recently put in a research grant application for a million dollars. He goes to the research council web site where the results of the latest funding round are. He has told his research group that there is a good chance that he will get funded. He feels entitled to the money because of his reputation and genius. Unlike all his competitors he came up the hard way, he alone is honest and not guilty of cronyism. He looks down the list of awards and cannot see his name on it. Prof. Zed has been funded but not him. They always like prof. Zed better than me. It is not fair that he gets funded, and I don’t. He is their favourite.

He gets on the ‘phone to speak to the research council to see if there has been an error. The programme secretary answers, and she says that there is no error. He starts to shout, “how dare you not fund me, blah, blah, blah.” The poor girl on the other end of the ‘phone gets a right earful when she was not even involved in the decision-making process.

Nobody appreciates all the hard wok I have put in, those bastards from California have ganged up on me again. They have put the fix in and this after I gave them that pointer back in May. What have they been saying behind my back? Have they been saying that the anti-malarial drug does not work against Sars-CoV-7? Will they find out that I am a fraud? What am I going to tell my research group? Will they figure out I have been bullshitting? I’ll have to make something up to cover myself. There could be some technicality at the research council which I could invent. They will never find out that I have made it up.

I hope you can the gist from this vignette.

My personal expression of this dark jewel was more on the passive side – feeling sorry for myself and victim / martyr. I was a bit concerned about exposure. But did not really worry about being wrong and was mostly open to criticism.

How do you manifest this dark jewel?

Do you recognise the oscillation?


The description of the Shortcoming is excerpted from a document written by Theun Mares

Manipulation and Mess

There is a certain kind of person who enjoys trying to get others to do their bidding, not by intelligent and adult discussion / persuasion, but by simple manipulation. I have thematically referred to this earlier in the blog with the “I am only making plans for Nigel” theme. I have been on the receiving end of some of these “cunning plans” through the years in which things have been discussed for me, without my inclusion, and then presented to me as something of a fait accompli. There is a certain kind of person who would maintain that this is good management practice, I would say that it is quasi-forceful manipulation.

It Toltec terms this is defined as sorcery.

As such sorcery is a much more common practice than people believe. It does not need a wand, or a mantra, or a magic potion. It is simply trying to get others to do bidding in a deceitful, underhand, leveraged and forced manner, that for example might be a carrot or a stick. Or it could be putting a horse’s head in someone’s bed to make them an offer they cannot refuse.

If the intended manipulatee doesn’t allow themselves to me manipulated in can precipitate an almighty mess. Something which the manipulator might be unable to clean up. They do not for one minute imagine that they have to clean up the mess.

For example, I have no idea how I might be able to help the plumber get out of the hole he has dug for himself. It is not a huge hole but if he continues to dig, it could get very deep quite quickly. If he does not know it is a hole, there is a problem.

I mentioned earlier that I worked in pastoral care and was able to negotiate people credit, or benefit of the doubt, if they were struggling when it came to examiner’s meetings. Most people were straight but there were a few who tried to pull a fast one. In one case I ended up speaking to specialist police officers who were asking me for a hint as to whether to close a case or not. I drew their attention to the fact that the alleged incident was timed exactly with exams. They dropped the case.

In the pastoral care role, I had to deal with a whole number of messes most of which arose from attempts at manipulation in one way or another. Many students had been messed up by parents. You might be surprised how many parents got divorced the moment junior went away to university. They had been putting on a show for junior, who sensed this and had it proven to them by circumstance in the first term at university. People can justify a whole bunch of stuff AND imagine that it is wise and intelligent. We will stay together for junior.

In the case in the video previous, Uther wanted to dip his wick so to speak and then with the help of Merlin manipulated things. This kicked of a whole chain of events subsequently. For one night of wick dipping a massive and ongoing mess ensued.

It seems to me that I might over the next few days or so delve into the practises of sorcery or in other words, manipulation.

It is an area of human folly that gives rise to many of our television programmes, from Dallas to East Enders.

You’re worse than Hannibal Lecter, Charlie Manson, Freddie Krueger

Space – The Ballad of Tom Jones

What did I do wrong?
Oh you nearly drove me cuckoo
Am I really all that bad?
You’re worse than Hannibal Lecter, Charlie Manson, Freddie Krueger
Why are we still together?
Oh I can’t leave until you’re dead
You mean ’til death do us part?
I mean like cyanide, strangulation or an axe to your head

It was lucky for us I turned the radio on
They say that music soothes the savage beast
There was something in that voice that stopped us seeing red
The two of us would surely have ended up dead

You stopped us from killing each other
Tom Jones, Tom Jones
You’ll never know but you saved our lives
Tom Jones, Tom Jones
I could never throw my knickers at you
And I don’t come from Wales

Still haven’t solved our problems
You mean we hate each others guts
Still wanna poison your pizza
And I still wanna cut off your nuts
I phoned the marriage guidance
I tied the phone line round your neck
I’m sick of all this hatred
Well that will be the arsenic making you sick

You were about to drive me over the edge of a cliff
As I tried to jump out I knocked the stereo on
You changed your mind and then slammed on the brakes
It was lucky for us we bought his greatest hits…


Is “catastrophising” a common phenomenon? Do lots of people do it?

If you have a wild horse secure in a stable and you open the door what happens to the horse? It bolts off down the paddock and then it is very difficult to get a calmed down wild horse back into the stable. There is no point shutting the stable door it is too late for that. One would have to spend a lot of time and effort to coral the horse and get it safely back into the stable. One might have to use ruses and tricks to re-capture the horse.

This is a metaphor for the catastrophising mind, once you have started to catastrophise mind pisses off down the paddock quicker than Usain Bolt and all calmness is lost. One lurches from terrifying conclusion to the next getting ever more fear full and anxious.  Mind jumps from A past Z until it is halfway down the add symbol menu and well into the Cyrillic section.

I’ll wager that over the last year or so many more have catastrophised that they will die of Covid-19 hooked up to a ventilator than have actually done so. Someone coughing across the aisle in the supermarket is obviously the direct precursor to instant infection and prolonged painful death.

The trick with catastrophising mind is not to open the door, so to speak. The moment you open the door more than a smidgeon the wild horse will bolt. By all means takes a quick peak at the future but don’t fully open the door. Do not conclude that your worst fears will manifest immediately.

Some people, I guess, actually enjoy catastrophising because it gives them an excuse not to do anything.

Once catastrophising has set in scaling is very difficult to bring about. This is where the simple just like this can be very helpful.

One can use bizarre questions to help scale:

Are you likely to experience full on gang rape as a part of organised ethnic cleansing in the next 24 hours?


Is a 400-year-old European vampire going to drain you of 80% of your blood tonight?

probably not

Is that freckle on your thumb actually stage four skin cancer?

Nah, I don’t really think so..

Is it possible Donald Trump might get re-elected?

Yeah, it is possible.

If you are wrong and lose the argument, will a vortex open up in space-time and suck the entire galaxy through it into another dimension?

Seems a tad unlikely.

If someone disagrees with you does that mean that they hate you and will do so until the end of the Kalpa?

No, I guess not.

Are you overreacting?


Maybe you might be a bit more proportionate?

Yes, I guess but what if the werewolf comes to eat my gizzards?

That is unlikely. Where do live?

On the seventh floor in a secure flat in central London.

What is the data concerning werewolf density in your neighbourhood?

There isn’t any…

Why do you suppose that is?

Because they can’t afford to live in Chelsea.

You do know that your nail will grow back, don’t you?

I suppose so….

The Other Bank

On the other bank
out of reach
Pride’s grimace
forbids it

Not a finger
can span
nor lift
that spell

No salve
nor ointment
for the bitter
Juniper berries

The ambitious debris
slate black scree
weeping cold
on the mountainside

The fitting seizure
of a moment passed
a crushed portcullis

Not an ounce
of blood
most vital
to the eyes

And that egret
eats sticklebacks
once again
and forever

A Most Unnerving Love

Without heat
Or coals of passion
As a feather
Sailing a tendril breeze

No demands
Or pressing
Past all the senses
Unseen, unnerving

Somehow so close
A wafting memory
Familiar from…
Before the dawn of birth

Ephemeral, formless
A fuzzy peach
On the hackles,
A mystic dew

No handles
No levers
Unhurried and free
No price, no condition

Piercing softly
Deep profound
The fabric through
And, without curtains

Unnerving subtle
Yet Marianas strong
Pulls the hidden umbilical
A tug of war

The timorous heart
Knows, it knows
That certain mind
Runs for the hills

Raw fresh nectar
Longed for

No name
To call it
A Soular yearning
And an ache

The spirit
Leaves his raindrops
Perfect earth she catches
Open palmed

Most unnerving
This fragile love
Beyond the known
And now, home