Thursday, March 5, 2020

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

"Let's suppose that you were able every night to dream any dream you wanted to dream. And you would naturally, as you began on this adventure of dreams, you would fulfill all of your wishes. You would have every kind of pleasure. And after several nights you would say, well, that was pretty great - but now, let's have a surprise. Let's have a dream that isn't under control - where something's going to happen to me that I don't know what it's going to be. Then you would get more and more adventurous and you would make further and further-out gambles as to what you would dream. And finally, you would dream where you are now."
 - Alan Watts

Monday, January 27, 2020


I know a troubled young man. He's a good guy but circumstances beyond his control have not been kind to him. He witnessed his parents being murdered during a home invasion attack and the trauma of that has remained with him. Left an orphan, he grew up with a family that didn't care about him. They never sought out professional help for the bitterness and resentment he held inside over the fact the man who murdered his parents was never caught, never got justice. There was plenty of circumstantial evidence pointing to the culprit, but not enough to affect any action by the authorities.

And so, over time, this young man's bitterness festered and became anger. Left to dwell on it as years passed, he determined to act in revenge. He would find the murderer and kill him. The young man reasoned that evil people like him didn't deserve to be in the world and killing him would be a heroic service to others, most certainly preventing other such crimes and the follow-on heartache they cause, exactly as what he had suffered. The young man shared his plan with two of his friends. And now they had a decision to make. He wanted them to help him find the murderer but they knew that wasn't the kind of help he needed.

They convinced him to speak with someone they knew, a counselor, who saw clearly the self-destructive path he was on. The counselor explained to him how he was being tortured by past events he couldn't change. Far from going deeper into them, he needed to heal from it and let it go. Of course he had suffered a trauma and his feelings were valid but the way he harbored them over the years, the way he let them amplify and take hold of his emotions and reason was pathological. If he acted out on his negative obsession driven by post-traumatic stress, if he drove forward into his revenge plan, far from being the hero confronting the malevolence in the world, he would only find the rest of his life and his peace of mind destroyed.

The counselor's prescription was studied but textbook. He needed to find forgiveness in his heart in a way he could move past the hurt and recapture his life going forward productively. All of his bitterness and resentment, hatred and a desire for revenge would not bring back his parents. Out of despair, he would only pull his life apart and even the revenge, if successful, would give him no rest. Afterwards he would find the act hollow for his parents would still be dead and once again he would confront a deepening despair in not being able to change the past. The only healthy way forward was to validate his feelings but proceed with forgiveness and a maturity in knowing that some things once done cannot be changed. Forgive, heal, and let go of the past. That was the only way to secure a positive promise for his future.

It took many sessions but in time the young man came around. There were many tears, much shouting at times, but he slowly learned to integrate the shadow emotions that had gripped him for so long. He surrendered to a healing, giving into what the counselor suggested, thereby finding a way forward without the hurt that had controlled his life.

And to this day, as a result, Lord Voldemort lives.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Venus and Adonis
The Goddess and Cerastes

After the affair, the goddess was conflicted
with mixed feelings about her past lover, Cerastes.
She sought out Chista, the goddess of wisdom and knowledge, 
the one who leads mortals to the right way.
"What do you wish to know, my child?" asked Chista.
The Goddess gushed, "Was I truly loved or was I only his conquest?"
Chista looked surprised, "You don't know?"
"No!" exclaimed the Goddess. "I remember both good times and bad times."
Chista nodded her understanding, "Yes and one cannot know another's heart for sure."
"But I must know!" the Goddess cried out. "Was there love or was I only his conquest?"
"Oh my dear, you can answer that for yourself," Chista started.
"Simple. A conquest has three stages. Before, during, and after."
The Goddess was impatient with Chista's silence, "So, what about these stages?"
Chista offered a compassionate smile, "Think about your memories, the good times and the bad times. 
If it was a conquest, the good times were before and during - not after."
"But they were good times!"
"Yes, without which there could not have been a conquest."
"Then what's the difference with love?"
Chista emphasized the point, "If it was love, your good memories would include after in equal proportion."
The Goddess sighed and shook her head, "That's confusing. Of course there are no good memories after it's over and he's gone."
Chista explained, "The 'after' I speak of is after the conquest, not after it's over."
"But there were also good times after I gave in to him."
"Yes, it can be like that," agreed Chista. "But that's not after the conquest. That is still during."
"I don't understand!" sighed the Goddess.
Chista paused and let her silence create an expectancy in the Goddess. 
Finally, Chista added, "During includes the time during which he enjoys his conquest. As long as that lasts."
Once again, the Goddess shook her head in confusion, "But no one would stay if there wasn't enjoyment."
Chista nodded, "And yet, in a conquest, his ongoing enjoyment of having you can't compare to that one moment of maximum enjoyment when he finally wins what is so intensely desired. And along with the enjoyment of having there are often other reasons for staying. He may stay to be tended to and waited on and cared for by you but the memories you have of this will not be so good, they'll be different - because after the conquest, he is different. Having had the maximum enjoyment of the conquest, and with the continuation of having you assured, he relaxes from pretense, becoming more his true self, which is not as deferential and loving to you as before. After a conquest, increasingly you do not recognize the person he becomes as he reverts to what he always was but couldn't show you if he wanted to achieve his goal. Bad memories begin with this disparity."
The Goddess held her breath, "And love - from now on, how will I recognize it?"
Chista locked gazes with the Goddess, "We need to be love's conquest, not each other's conquest. When we're the conquest of love, both lovers are the same with each other - before, during, and after being overwhelmed by love's conquest."
"But I cannot know if this is true at the beginning with someone!"
Once again, Chista nodded, "And that's why all who manage to be conquered by love - are also wounded along the way to it."

Thursday, January 16, 2020

many mirrors


There is no shortage of wisdom in the world. Clever quotes and aphorisms are everywhere to be found. Sage advice is only a social network visit away
and gurus, teachers, counselors and life coaches abound.

Never before in human history has so much insight and understanding, so many life-changing methods and seminars and prescriptions for action, been so readily available and promulgated by so many. Never before have so many been so sure of the truth and the proper way to it.

Awash in all this insight and shrewd discernment, one might think human society has finally arrived at some long-sought pinnacle, some lofty state of soundness, foresight, and moral acuity that generations past only yearned for but never achieved.

But that inference would not be wise.
Apparently, wisdom does not change us,
will not save us, and does not effectively sink in
no matter how much we're awash in it.

So what does sink in?
To say would just be offering more wisdom.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

the never mind

never mind the truth processed by the eye
  and all the beauty washing out to sea
my falling stars are nothing like a sigh
  as much as who we were would like it to be

your ocean never really meets the sky
  and what we offer is neither you, neither me
never mind the hope of lives we knew
  we simply know a truth that cannot be

who floats away and who remains
  in particle days in a time of waves?
answers struggle against their chains
  and we, we love
    like a child who misbehaves
want to change?
pass through these four gates -

unconscious incompetence
conscious incompetence
conscious competence
unconscious competence

on either end of change, we're unconscious
only during change are we conscious

consciousness is the act of changing