Using Death as An Adviser

Within the Toltec tradition there is a very powerful technique called using death as adviser. Sooner or later your death will tap you on the shoulder and say, “come on sunshine it is time to go!”

In general people vacillate, prevaricate, procrastinate, beat around the bush and generally avoid making decisions wherever and whenever they can.  People rarely take the difficult option because there will always be tomorrow, so they piss about, bullshit and generally take the path of least resistance. They live in an illusory world of quasi-permanence.

They have not attained impermanence.

The most unarguable thing is that as medical science currently stands each one of us will die and leave behind a slab of meat. Death is inevitable.

The best way to cut through all the BS is to ask yourself if my death was fairly imminent how would I behave in this circumstance? Listen to the advice that death proffers.

I mentioned in the previous post my own cancer. When I found out about it, I used the full extent of my organisational and leveraging ability to ensure that the operation took place as fast as possible. I even paid for private CT scans to jump the queue. Believe me although I am an old git, my organisational skills are still top notch.

I have been using death as an adviser for over 20 years. It tends to increase decisiveness and stops one from fannying about or piss arsing around. It can cause one to fully open your heart. There is no point in nit picking or arguing the toss if death is imminent.

Théun had me write a letter to myself as if I was my very best friend writing the letter to a dying man, me. That did the trick.

I have been in potentially fatal situations a number of times; the crocodile incident in Zambia, a near drowning in Australia, the night I was close to suicide, the gang event in Brixton, various solo hiking situations and when I bust my hip 2 years ago. In situations of crisis, I am nearly always “cool hand Luke” so to speak.

This is because I have used death as an adviser. I know I am already dead.

In heightened awareness you can sense the proximity of your own death, sense his breath on your hackles.

His advice is nearly always, “act impeccably!”

That is pretty much it, he is a bit of a succinct introvert methinks.

I have heard it said that the only thing a warrior ever truly owns is his or her impeccability.

The next time you are facing some decision, or a “dilemma” simply ask yourself, “If I am going to die soon how would I in all honesty act?” You must be honest else there is no point in doing this. You cannot hedge things in the face of your own death.

I’ll wager that if you do this you will in time become more decisive and perhaps impeccable.

Towards Freedom – Temporary Concluding Remarks

I have used the term temporary to offset the meaning of concluding, for in a relative universe the idea of a finite end is a bit off. And as this is a work in progress, it is unfinished. In this pamphlet I have introduced something of an overview, I have been scant on detail and general in approach. I am making no claims of originality, nor am I saying that these are the teachings of some “master” or other. They were not given to me by any disincarnate being. If you are familiar with Buddhist teaching, then you might notice some similarity to “The Middle Way”. You may notice a flavour of other “teachings”. This pamphlet is a verbalisation and aims at being somewhat contemporary. I have steered clear of words used in various traditions, but cannot do so entirely. Language is limited after all.

In attempting a general approach, I have made thematic reference to the challenges on the road towards freedom. It differs by individuality yet shares some commonality. As an overview it might be generally applicable. It cannot be exhaustive. Hopefully it is of interest and of use.

It is currently envisaged that this pamphlet is the first in a series.

Non-attachment in a Materialistic World

If you live a “normal” western life in which the pursuit of career, family and social standing is important to you it is likely that you will be attached to all sorts of things. These might include your reputation, your children, your car, the pet budgerigar, your money in the bank, your self-image and your view of the world, your ideas on what constitutes life the universe and everything. You may well be prone to arguing the toss about mundane and trivial things. You may even imagine that you have a life philosophy of sorts. If you are so minded, missing the observation of grown men kicking a bag of wind around in front of tens of thousands of other “grown” men and women is something that you would prefer not to do. You may find it difficult not to care who is where in the premier league football results table, which on occasion you will feel impelled to check.

It is beyond your comprehension that anyone may not be attached to worldly and mundane things in a similar manner to you. You will have no concept or feeling or understanding of what non-attachment means. It might exist as a pseudo-intellectual possibility in which some geezers wearing funny robes, probably of Indian or Asian extraction and maybe be monks are non-attached. But it would be very hard to reconcile that someone you once knew, who was fond of a shandy or two, could be non-attached. Therefore, you would perhaps project your own attachment on to him and imagine that he had similar attachment-based drivers and motives as you do.

You would find it really difficult not to become attached to any thoughts which might arise in the mind, partially because you like to argue the toss. If you believe in binary answers like right or wrong, you would be seeking certainty and absolute certainty if possible. You may find it difficult to detach from your thoughts or rather the internal dialogue which masquerades as thought. You will live largely in a world parametrised by your internal dialogue and the social conditioning which surrounds you and into which you are a fully paid up and subscribed member.

If someone said to you read the Diamond sutra, you might read it, but could you attain it?

Pseudo-intellectual exercise and living practice differ considerably. The diamond sutra contains an intellectual trap for those keen on debate.

If you are keen or adamant on being right because you suffer from self-diagnosed omniscience the very first line will possibly slip by unregistered, because if you do fully register it AND agree with it your entire world view will come tumbling down.

All appearance is delusion.

Your view of yourself as a human being is a bit off. Your picture is assembled by mind.

What your eyes see is probably different from what you cognitively assimilate. If you think about it even a little, your pictorial images in your mind are built from a cis-trans isomerism photochemical reaction and yet you imagine yourself as some serious important dude or a glamorous chick!!

People are greedy, they covet all sorts of stuff. There is a psychologically manipulative industry which encourages covetousness, it is called advertising. We have this new species “influencer”, allegedly.

Inherent in the Diamond sutra is the teaching of impermanence, everything changes and fades.

I view this sutra as saying, please stop taking yourself so God dammed seriously, admit you don’t know everything, live fully in the moment, relax a little {if you can} and stop being so attached to shit because existence is fleeting, savour and respect it whilst you can.

My view is that we do not own anything we temporarily have a loan of things and can be grateful for that. We can appreciate instead of demand, insist and covet.

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Here is a little exercise.

Fill a sink partially with some water.

Open your hand and make a palm. Pick up some water with your hand.

How much can you hold and how long for?

Next place your hand under water and try to grab some water with your fist. Clench your fist as tight as you can.

How much can you hold and how long for?

Which of these two is best?

Spiritual Development – A Complete Reorientation

In the West having ambition and making career progression is seen by some as important, all-consuming even. To acquire money, kudos, social position and goods is to be counted as a success.  To win at sports or in the argument is important for some. To climb the league table is a goal or an aim. To meet targets and achieve goals means you are a go-getter. Having timed targets or objectives causes one not only to strive but to stress. This acquisitional mentality pervades. There is a whole lot of measurement out there in the workplace. Comparison mind dominates and people are forever comparing themselves to others. I am not convinced that this generates happiness and wellbeing. People do this kind of stuff with bodies and many have themselves sliced and stitched in order to look “better”. People want to know who is cleverer, who gets the best results.

It is my tenet that if you want to develop “spiritually” a complete reorientation towards life is needed. A tiny change helps yet it remains that, tiny.

If one lets go of this notion of winning and beating others, one can focus on what it is you are doing.

If one aims for enough and no more, then one aids in the effort of not bleeding the planet dry of resource. Acquisitional vampirism harms the planet.

If one drops goal orientation vast tracts of time suddenly open up because one is not stressing about goals.

If one simply does one’s impeccable best, there is absolutely no need to compare with anyone else simply because it is not possible to do any better.

If one attains impermanence ones sees that kudos and social position are transient “things” which exist only in the minds of humanity. They are quite literally made up in the head.

What makes sense to those who live the opening paragraph is madness to those who do not. It is my guess that there is a vice versa here too.

There was a time when I bought partially in to the first paragraph, not any longer. Retrospect suggests that I may have feigned ambition because that was what I was supposed to do. Who knows?

I’ll make a hypothesis.

Whilst one is fully subscribed to the way of life briefly outlined in the first paragraph one does not evolve much towards liberation and because of competition one generates karma. In order to be free one has to let this way of being go, almost completely.

Karma and Omnipotence

This is from a previous blog called Karmic Destination

The only constant in the universe is the inevitability of change. That change can take time. History teaches that all empires, even those which consider themselves omnipotent, eventually fall into decadence and complacency. It is not the enemy without which causes the fall, it is the wayward nature of human self interest and greed. This dynamic is played out for global empires whether military or commercial, local organizations or tribes and in domestic relationships. The lure of power and the competition for it, becomes a trap.

People paint omnipotence upon their houses and just like the World Trade Centre of old, that house will eventually come crashing down. History is littered with fallen empire. The lining of pockets and the hedonism of luxury, eat away at the fabric. People, feeling omnipotent rarely see it coming.

Even if they do, they simply pour another gin and tonic, light a cigar and shag themselves silly in the hope it will go away.

The Karma of imagined omnipotence is to have power taken away.

This may be sudden or slow and painful. The scale is global as well as much more local. Success inflates EGO and this bubble, must eventually burst. The hype, the world domination of Brazilian football, has just been grounded, and with a bang. The manager has been sacrificed on the altar. Yet it was not his EGO which brought about the downfall, it was the complacency of shared omnipotence.

The swelling of omnipotence can be found in the heads of many. It creates the illusion of invulnerability. Striving to dominate the world, the market, the minds of others, leads ultimately to downfall. One might succeed for a while but the medicine of reality is not easy to swallow.

The cure for omnipotence is humility; a draft not favoured by many.

Sooner or later, the universe responds to the human arrogance of omnipotence. Perhaps the most temporally powerful individual or our times, Adolf Hitler, learned this with the taste of almonds on his tongue. This individual who strove for omnipotence was fearful and rightfully paranoid. For all the tea in China I would not have his fate.

The lust for power and power over is a part of human learning. It needs to be transcended. There is nothing quite like power for breeding fear in the individual who possesses it. In spinning plates to borrow power over others, the individual colours their life. Power taken and not earned, exacts a terrible price. One can only spin plates for so long before the shit hits the fan. This is always messy!

Those omnipotent beings rarely see the shit coming and can be quite upset when it does come. They then sulk that it is not fair. The amount of mess that comes is in proportion to the lust for power. Few who create the mess, stick around to clear up after them. Not much is heard of omnipotent beings after their fall. They may still flex their muscles from time to time, yet they are weak and many laugh at them.

There are few things that humans cling to more than power.

This is the truth awaiting those who lust for power and in particular, power over. As their skills start to wane, they cling ever more desperately. This is true globally, nationally and in intimate relationships.

Am I invulnerable, even omnipotent? If my power, my position, were taken from me, what would I have left?

Am I Simply an Inappropriate Being?

This poses a very simple question, exactly who gets to decide, decree, define and enforce what is and is not appropriate?

Is it the mythical THEY?

Do they get to issue an omniscient decree?

This notion of being appropriate is easily “defined” in terms of function. A chocolate teapot is not appropriate for making tea, neither is an ashtray on a motorbike of much use.

The word used in a social context is all about social conditioning and social norming. The notion of appropriate is time varying.  The Sex Pistols were deemed inappropriate by some, but they sure made life a whole lot more interesting. They would have pulled down statues just for fun and not because the geezer in the statue had a slave once a couple of hundred years ago.

Apparently it is appropriate to send dick pics and post pictures of oneself in a painful looking micro bikini online. But it is not appropriate to have had a colonial history, that must be wiped from the historical record. What exactly are we celebrating with this bizarre modern imagery?

Is it appropriate for someone with over sixty papers in the physical sciences literature to be discussing shamanism and meditation? Is that just too darned inappropriate for the taste and liking of the we look down the nose brigade?

“We don’t do that sort of thing old chap. It is just not cricket.”

Many people have their own notions as to what is and is not appropriate and then they try to ENFORCE it on others. They try to condition them into some kind of herd or shoal mentality. If you err you get nudged back or excommunicated.

This leads to the question, is the notion or inappropriate a permanent or impermanent thing, ergo does the notion have any reality whatsoever? Is it simply an illusion which exists only in the minds of men and women and every other being across the entire gender spectrum?

Are people simply arguing about made up shit?

Woke – Taboo

These from The Urban Dictionary

woke

The act of being very pretentious about how much you care about a social issue.

Yeah most people don’t care about parking spaces for families with disabled pets. I wish they were woke like me.

Deluded or fake awareness.

Lebron acts woke about China, he just full of shiite.

Being “Woke” is what happens when instead of taking one blue pill, you down the entire bottle.

“I’m sure glad I attended that college seminar on crypto-genderism, now I’m really woke.”

Woke is a politically correct alternative to “stupid” or “retarded”.

OMG Sean Penn is so woke!

Using an improper word in an incorrect tense to attempt to attach some worldly significance to a person or object (books, screenplay, etc.) so that one appears to be “hip.” In actual fact, this usage shows one’s ignorance and inability to use words and feelings to express oneself properly.

A celebrity guest on Talking Dead used “woke” to describe the episode of The Walking Dead when enlightened or relevant may have made better choices. Keep in mind that this is a fictional show about Zombies.

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The thought police are alive and well in our times, and the number of taboo thoughts, opinions, beliefs and views has increased markedly. THEY do not accept them; we have to agree and be woke. In other words, we have to pretend that we agree with the politically correct view. How this politically correct view becomes the “accepted” politically correct view is a mystery.

People get offended very easily and I suspect that this being “offended” is a part of the mystery behind how things become politically correct.

I have an opinion which may not go down too well in some quarters. This opinion is that not surgically required plastic surgery is a form of self-mutilation brought about by obsession with the form side of life. This is not, I suspect, a woke opinion.

I suspect that some of my views in the blog would be close to if not fully taboo, were I still working at an august academic institution. People can and do get sacked from their jobs because of things which they post on social media. This is despite, in some cases, constitutional protections apropos of freedom of speech. Mobs get angry and kill people because they don’t like what they say, you can get beheaded.

I think that this almost enforced cultural norming is a bad thing on the whole. It tends towards the lowest common denominator.

If you are offended then you have not attained impermanence, as a consequence you will reincarnate, simple really.

This post has been prompted by a notion I had this morning. The notion is that people do not like to talk about evil or use the word evil. They do not like to read about evil. As a consequence, evil flourishes. It is not woke to speak about evil. Evil is a taboo word.

Nevertheless, evil exists and many have it in their hearts and their minds.