Believing is Seeing

You choose your belief

I’d love to be wrong, I really would – but unfortunately this is all there is. That means belief in spirits, other realms, and even escaping the cycle of death and rebirth is all in your head. Their only real reality lies in the psychological impact those notions have upon you and your emotions.

To put it another way, it’s as if you had a red sweater but you imagine it’s blue – you do this because it makes you feel happier and you wear it more often that way.

Continue reading “Believing is Seeing”

Wisdom for others

Why is it easier to advise others than to apply our wisdom to our own lives? And at the same time why is it that other people’s advice always falls on the deaf ears of our own soul?

By that I mean I’ve been told the same advice by countless people in countless different ways and yet it only ever ‘sank in’ when I actually sat down and figured it out for myself – at which point all their words came flooding back in one huge “Ooooh, so that’s what they were trying to tell me!”

Why is that dynamic so out of whack?

And yet all that advice, I’m certain, is still what allowed me to get it – had I never had any guidance, I don’t think I would have figured it out for myself.

Definitely a broken system…

Someone Else’s Symbols

Magic is a mental practice – where you exercise and selectively focus your intent, your ‘motivation’ or ‘will’, behind an action in order to be more effective and increase the odds of success/achieving a goal or desire. In that way, it’s really not very magical at all and sometimes that can be a disappointment to many who come to any of the ‘magical’ practices (Wicca, any Pagan variety, Chaos Magic(k, depending on your tastes) and even Jediism and Satanism), because they come to it expecting something extra-ordinary and are shown something very ordinary and ‘boring’.

But if you stick around long enough (or come back to it afterwards, like I did) then you’ll find the ordinary is un-believably extra-ordinary!

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Suffering is Difference, Bliss is Sameness.

That sounds like a platitude. Indeed it might be.

It’s just an expression of my latest understanding and once again my ‘obsession’ with the way Reality keeps consistently ‘boiling down to’ Sameness and Difference.  I’m quite astounded that what I had until now thought applied metaphysically and physically, also applies emotionally/spiritually.
Continue reading “Suffering is Difference, Bliss is Sameness.”

A Fireside Chat with Meru

Come, come in, welcome! Here, sit down by the fire. I prepared it just before you showed up, and the space has just begun to warm. Let me take that heavy cloak off your shoulders; I’ll just put it over here. There. My poor child! You’re frightened, I can see that. Yes, and hurt by what you’ve seen in the world… I can see the bruises, cuts and scrapes that the hard edges of the world have inflicted upon you. I believe you!

Well, you’re safe in here. This is your place in here. Now, tell me, why have you come here? What can I do for you?

You heard that I know things did you? Well, I am a person, yes, and people speak words. Yes, that’s true too. But you see, I only ‘know things’ if you don’t already. If everything I know, you already knew, then you would feel that I don’t know ‘that much’, that I can’t teach you ‘that much’. So let’s have a chat and find out, shall we?

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Just me thinking out loud again:

To be honest modern Druidry feels a bit all-over-the-place. You have your formal Druid Colleges and formal Orders on one hand, and on the other you have the very personal amorphous informal solitary path of Druidy where anything is allowed and no previous experience is required since it’s just you. There is however the tacit rule that, much like for Hackerdom, one cannot call one’s self a Druid. The title is given when recognised by others.

So what makes that any different from anything else? Just look again at hackerdom – there are ‘formal colleges’ (MIT, CalTech, etc.) and ‘orders’ (IEEE or W3C), but then there are those who are starting-out, learning to program on their own – with a possibility to contribute more widely through the Open Source movement. But again unanimously, you can’t call yourself a hacker.

In fact, come to think of it – that rule of not being able to ‘self-proclaim’ seems to be at the heart of the concept of a diploma – you’re not conferring upon yourself the title of ‘Bachelor of XYZ’ or ‘Master of XYZ’ – it is the institution you attended which confers it upon you if it deems you to have successfully followed and assimilated its teachings.

Sure, that makes sense. Anyone going around telling others “I’m an expert in ______” will probably be ignored or rejected.  Why? Because it’s too easy to call ourselves anything we like.  It’s absurd – I can call myself the Grand Poobah of the Order of Ziggleburf – or I can go for something a little more ‘common’ and therefore misleading, like Pastor, Minister, or Father.

So in the end, you gotta ask yourself what the hell does it matter what you call yourself or are called by others?  What counts is what you do, and where you pour your time and attention.  If someone comes to you because they feel you’re knowledgeable in an area they find interesting and would like you to teach them, the best you can do is teach them to do the same thing you did: figure it out for themselves.  But can you confer a title upon them once you feel they’ve gone far enough to walk on their own path?  Again, what does it matter?

Who came up with the name Druid? Not the druids. “Druid” comes from ‘Dru-‘ which is a cognate of the English word ‘true’ and also means oak/tree and ‘wid’ which means seer – so a druid is a true seer, or one who knows the truth.  How does this tie-in to the Oak? Oak trees are an excellent source of wood – used to make ships and buildings. The Dru-wid might have been ‘that guy who knows which oak will be good for cutting’ – with that kind of mystic reverence others might have had for the druid’s knowledge of such details. A successful dru-wid might be particularly good at choosing the optimal oak trees which were built into legendary long ships? That seems plausible but has absolutely no supporting evidence – I’m just speculating.  But it is interesting that ‘dru’ meant in Anglo Saxon, both ‘truth’ and ‘tree’ I can’t really see why other than some kind of idea that a sturdy tree stands in the face of howling winds just as truth stands up to scrutiny?

So perhaps druids today should (they already do don’t they?) keep to Truth – as a point of honour, and especially True sight.  That, after all, is what we all seek on our spiritual paths. Everything else feels kind of superfluous to me. But what do I know? Nothing much and Much of Nothing.


Real Faith is No Faith

Real Faith

Many people (atheist and theist alike) see ‘having real faith in God’ as the complete and utter surrender to [its] omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence – to know in your deepest core that [it] exists and works its work in the world for you and through you.  The epitome of this ‘real’ faith should allow us to leap off a cliff and if we have ‘enough’ faith, God will find a way to intervene – be it by bringing a gust of wind that will press us against the cliff face and slow our fall (we may break many bones in our body as we bounce off rocks etc. but at least we didn’t reach terminal velocity and splat on the ground.  We’re still in a state where doctors can helps us recover), or cushion our landing (we may hit a very tall tree, and every branch on the way down, but again, at least we’re alive and can recover), or if we’re really faithful, even make us fly!

That’s not what faith should be. That’s not how it works. Jumping off a cliff and ‘having faith that it will all work out’ is stupid, and irresponsible.  God will let you fall to your death – after all, you’re the one who jumped off a cliff ya dumbass!

I don’t know whether God exists or not but I deliberately choose to believe [it] doesn’t.  Yet I am not faithless.  Why? Let me tell you how I see it. Continue reading “Real Faith is No Faith”

Reality is all …

Fill in the blank

When referring to the nature of Reality – what it’s made of – as soon as someone begins their statement “It’s all made of … ” the next word could be anything – gouda, gold, god, tao, apeiron, the force, consciousness, anything. The reason I know this is because I’ve understood what “all” means to our human brains.  The next word may as well be “all” for what it’s worth, and it would be a more honest answer because at least the speaker recognises the futility in putting a label on it.  In that light, anything you wish can be what it’s all made of – the significance lies in the fact that it is what you feel is closest to your understanding of what Reality is made of.  It becomes the context or raw material from which you make sense of the world.

My own personal struggle is trying to reconcile my modern scientific understanding of the physical world with the deeper insight of how my brain operates.  Sameness and Difference.  That is how my brain operates (and how I think we all operate at the most fundamental level).  My scientific mind interprets Sameness and Difference being ‘made of’ Transformation (in the mathematical and physical/mechanical sense) so to that part of me, “It’s all Transformation.”  But my spiritual inclination wants to say “It’s all Magic” or “It’s all Chi/Ki” or “It’s all The Force” and the two aren’t friends yet.

Trying to do something with Ki/The Force/Magic feels supremely silly and foolish because I know at the same time it’s all transformation – and transformation doesn’t behave in the way I want Magic/Ki/The Force to behave.  Magic then becomes merely my own will, and to get more banal than that seems impossible to imagine.  Sure, my ability to ‘will’ my arm to move may seem magical if we really ask ourselves how that works (the whole mind/body interaction), but my ‘will’ and thus my capacity to ‘do magic’ goes no further than my own body.  Then I have to get creative and make excuses for this ‘magic’: if I want a glass of water to appear before me, I have to “concentrate very hard” and “gather up all the strength of my willpower”, “channel” it and “release it out into the world” (i.e. I ask you to get me a glass of water), whereupon the “influence” of my magic extends outwards (you walk to the kitchen). Then my “energies will be returned back to me” (you’ve come back from the kitchen) and voilà! I have a glass of water!

Do you see how silly that is? I’m irrationalizing the rational!

However, there is a non-negligible aspect of magic when you do think of reality in those terms. There is an undeniable “power” to words that gives us pause. If my magic is my will, then I must become cautious of how I use it (what words I say out loud, what gestures and actions I use my body to effect).

But this perspective is also an open door to madness: every thought I provoke in you, every image you experience in your mind through the “descriptive power” of my words, become the very real effect, however subtle it may be.

But working of magic as none other than the cautious application of will sounds very much like Mindfulness doesn’t it?  Where one is highly conscious of one’s gestures, thoughts, and words.  Everything becomes deliberate and full of careful intent.

And thus the working of magic regains its respectability, as the phoenix of decorum rises from the ashes of folly.

So to close this with a quote I give you:

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.