Sunday, 30 September 2007

The place of drugs in mystical/spiritual experiences

After I posted my post yesterday I felt unnerved and uncertain. It is at times like that when I miss a teacher or someone who is more advanced than me on the spiritual path to guide and support. I am aware that I am walking this path very much alone. I just do and write what feels right and then watch events that happen in my life carefully as my guide for whether or not I am in danger of going off-course. The contact from my ex-boyfriend acted as the catalyst for me to speak in my last post about my one and only experience with an LSD type drug. The irony is that I had vowed I would never take drugs to have mystical/spiritual experiences. The history of drug taking and spiritual experiences is not new. Aldous Hoxley made drugs an important factor in producing the altered states of consciousness that are required for mystical/spiritual experiences in his famous book 'Doors of perception'. Drugs provide evidence that there is more available than what we currently have access to. Once the familiar is seen in a different way there is a shift from a fixed way of thinking and perceiving the world. What opens up is unbelievably magical and wonderful.

Regarding Huxley I have just done a search on Google and amazingly I have had another example of someone in this field who had an eye problem. What is it that I keep being reminded of the possible/probably/non-existent links between the eye and the brain in spiritual/mystical experiences. I quote 'When Huxley was 16 and a student at the prestigious school Eton, an eye illness made him nearly blind. He recovered enough vision to go on to Oxford University and graduate with honors, but not enough to fight in World War I. I also wrote in yesterday's post about the directness of my ex-boyfriend. This has continued during all the years I have known him. It is like there are no shades of grey for him in either his personal or professional life. When we spoke recently he told me that he had discovered a long standing eye problem which he had never noticed. He has only just been diagnosed with tunnel vision which is in medical terms, the loss of peripheral vision with retention of central vision, resulting in a constricted circular tunnel-like field of vison. When he told me I was simply amazed and wondered if the unusual directness which is such a part of him is partly as a result of not having any peripheral vision so that his brain is unable to consider alternatives. Is this why we have kept in touch all these years to add evidence to what is only at the moment an idea albeit coming from me. I know all of this is me hypothesising without any scientific evidence but it all seems too much of a co-incidence recently. The links between the eye and the brain and corresponding experiences and behaviour which seem to be coming my way so frequently at the moment.

Last night I reverted back to a destructive pattern which I thought I had overcome. I had a tin of biscuits here in the flat. I only meant to have one but ended up eating the whole tin! It was quite funny actually because while I was eating I was saying 'now you're not going to make this significant'' and then I would reach for another. Feeling sick I dragged myself off to bed. Normally the next morning the memory of the binge would be the first thing I would think of and I would be barely able to get out of bed because of how bad I would feel. Not this morning. Yes, I remembered what I had done but thought 'OK there was a breakdown there, but I haven't made it significant so there's no reason to feel bad and I didn't. I brought into life my possibility of fun and freedom and it was great. I think I needed to know that I could have a breakdown and not allow it to ruin either myself or my day. But I am not naive. I know that destructive habits don't disappear over night. In the future I am likely to have many more breakdowns around food and my own relationship to it but having come through this first breakdown and be smiling is such a great achievement for me.

The impact that this way of being around food has had on me has been long-term and immense. Because I turn to food when I'm lonely or depressed going home to visit my family in Ireland was always something I dreaded. My eating behaviour was always worse when I went home. At one point it got so bad that my mum used to hide all the sweet things we had. I would go out at night to the pub and when I returned raid the kitchen eating everything and anything. The next day was excruciatingly embarassing when I would cover up my lack of self-control with excuses. How could I explain what this force was that took hold of me and that was so much bigger than me. To my family it looked like greed, only I knew that it wasn't

It has had an impact on me spiritually because I havce felt unworthy of the great gifts of grace which I have been given. I used to think 'spiritual people are sorted, they don't have the lack of self-control that I have' and as a result I hid my spirituality. I used to think 'spiritual people don't do things like this, it's my ego and not my spirit that is running the show'. So it was with huge relief that I read the book by Christina Grof and Stanislav Grof called 'The stormy search for the self'. How I came upon this book was quite amazing. I had tried to get it from amazon but without success. I ran an event for the parents and carers of children and young people with special needs. There was a book fair there at the time. I was browsing among the books and couldn't believe it when I saw THAT book sitting there waiting for me to claim it. It was priced at £1!

I brought it home and felt great relief when I came across the chapter entitled 'addictions and spiritual emergency' It turns out that addictions and spirituality are linked. I used to view my lapses as occasions for my ego to be diminished strange as that might seem. A reminder of the weak person I was and not to get puffed up with the spiritual understandings and intuitions that I had. I now see this differently . It's not to teach me anything. Rather it is for me to learn not to make it significant.

On the spiritual path it is important to be flexible and to be willing to consider different things. As I write this blog I see how my thinking has transformed and that is OK. For me to be rigid in my view is to be stuck. Fluidity and humility is necessary for this path. The only important thing for me is to be true to myself and honest in what I write.

I went down to the garage this morning for my paper. To my delight there was only one of the paper I get on a Sunday left. Rightly or wrongly I made this significant. Only one left...for me. It is hard to describe the feelings of reassurance and comfort I had picking up that paper and bringing it inside the shop to pay. It is little things like this strange as they may seem to the reader that prove to me that what I am writing and disclosing if scary to me, is exactly what I should be doing. How would I have reacted if my paper wasn't there and all the other paper's were- I don't know. I know that I would think more carefully about what to put in this blog. The surrender I have to the universe in the way that I have it may be hard for people to understand. I can't explain how or why I have the confidence in the universe that I have. I don't even know if by the universe I mean God or the Divine. I prefer to think it as a universal force that is either close to me or part of me. My inner voice has just said the latter but then again that could be my ego! I just have to Trust and write from within that position of Trust which is what I do.

My friend from Thailand is coming over later which will be good. Now I'm going to watch the Rugby. Ireland is playing here's hoping for a good result. I may write some more later on. Although there is nothing left that seems important to write today.

Saturday, 29 September 2007

Today was so special.....

It's 7.30pm and I've just got in from having the most wonderful day. Last night I was sad because it was the last night that my flatmate would be here. I've really enjoyed her company over the past two weeks because we got on so well. At one point I was sitting quietly thinking how much I would miss her when my phone went. It was a friend inviting me to come out with her and her son and a friend to a farm early on Saturday morning for the day. I was so thrilled that she would think of me and it cheered me up no end. It is my friend from Thailand who came to get me after my operation and she is so thoughtful. Come to think of it I have the best friends. I've only really seen this and appreciated it fully during this time of my operation. Before this I am ashamed to write that I either took them for granted or had unreasonable expectations of them. I love and value them so much more now.

I woke up in the early hours of the morning 3.30am but this time there was no trembling or shaking of my body. Fell back to sleep again and woke at 7am. There was no inner voice saying 'meditate' and no loud booming voice saying 'go back to sleep' either. Getting up early to meditate is no longer significant, so there is no resistance around it. Without resistance it is easy. All that was there was to get up and meditate and this is what I did. I meditated for an hour and when it was finished wondered for the umpteenth time whether or not it was having any benefit. But I trust that it is and didn't think any further than this.

I showered (yes showered, it's the first time my operated foot has seen water and it was bliss) and got dressed. Then my flatmate got up and I was so sad. I think she was too because she was also quiet. At one point I looked at her and thought 'how in the world am I ever going to repay you'. We sat on the sofa, she with everything packed and me waiting for my friends to collect me chatting and laughing about life in general. After a few minutes my bell went. It was my friend who had come to collect me. When I hugged my friend who had been so selfless in staying with me for two weeks I was close to tears. I told her I loved her and I never meant anything so much or so deeply. I don't have sisters and these two weeks were the closest I have ever had to a sister.

Remembering my possibility of fun and freedom I limped into my friends car and we sped off to a farm where you can pick and eat as much fruit as you like. It was a beautiful drive and we had good fun. I really can't do justice to the kindness of my friends to me it at this time. We arrived at the farm and spent an enjoyable 20 minutes picking and eating strawberries. My eyes were definitely bigger than my stomach and I felt quite sick. Also it was a bit of a walk up and down the strawberry patches. I had taken up to the limit of paracetamol so that pain would not stop me enjoying this but I had to bow out and take refuge in the car while the others picked. After strawberries we picked broccoli, green beans, cauliflower, plums and raspberries. There were all so sweet and succulent. It was a nice day when the sun came out and at one point I connected fully with the sun and took some time out to be grateful for the experience. There is nothing to beat being out in nature and given the choice I would not want to be anywhere else.

I went back to my friends house where we stir-fried some of the freshly picked vegetables and the difference from what I buy in the supermarket was marked. My taste buds received a very rare treat. Driving back seeing the leaves I once again had such deep contentment. In spite of the pain in my foot I felt indescribably happy. Sitting here writing this blog I am so happy and grateful. I am aware that there is a risk that I am beginning to sound like a broken record but it is honestly the way I feel. Speaking of this blog I have to state that the blog has been the target of spam and so from now on I am going to moderate comments that are sent to me. This will have no effect on genuine comments other than for there perhaps to be a small delay before the comment appears on the blog. My own reaction when I realised this was interesting. First there was the indignation 'how dare this happen to my blog'. Then in that seeing there was the giving it up by saying 'oh well, it's what happens with blogs' and in the acceptance of this situation as the way it is I had peace. Yes, I will take action but from a place of acceptance and not resistance.

Last night was a busy night. I received a phone call from an ex boyfriend. I have known this guy for 15 years. Shortly after we broke up he got married but has always stayed in touch. It was as a result of him that I had my first experience of a hallucinogenic drug. I am aware that what I am about to write will be controversial but this is a blog about honesty on the spiritual path and my inner voice is telling me to write it.

I explained in my profile that I consider my spiritual journey to have started in earnest when I was 11. No matter what I did at the back of my mind was this idea of the spiritual journey. I met Paul when I was in my late 20's and up to then didn't have much experience of relationships. We met in a pub in the afternoon when I was waiting for a friend. He was with his friend and I was reading a book. He asked me some questions about the book. I gave him short answers because I was unsure of how to deal with it. Shortly afterwards my friend came in and I stood up to leave. He came over and asked for my number to make an 'appointment' with me. I thought this was a strange way of asking someone for their number but I gave it.

A couple of days later he called and we arranged to meet up and go for a meal. I knew from the beginning that this guy was different. He was straight and direct. I can remember saying when it was raining 'I thought that the weather was going to be good today (very original I know!). He immediately said 'no, I heard the weather forecast and it was forecast to be like this'. There was something about his directness which intrigued me. He didn't say things that he thought I wanted to hear, he was so direct. We went out for a while but he kept saying to me that he didn't understand what was in my mind or how I thought. I didn't want to lose him and I thought that maybe if I took a drug I would be able to see what was in my mind and adjust it a bit to something he could make sense of (I understand just how naive that was now but then it seemed perfectly reasonable to me).

I had a friend who smoked marijuana regularly. He had come to visit me many times and had smoked it but I had never. At the time I was a practicing Buddhist and never wanted to take drugs. I called my friend and said that I wanted to smoke some marijuana with him and would he bring some over the next Saturday night. He was surprised at this request because he knew that up to now I had never taken anything stronger than a Nurofen. But he agreed to bring some extra. The Saturday that he was due to arrive I was on tenterhooks. He arrived at 7pm and explained that he hadn't been able to get any marijuana but had this instead. He held out his hand and in his palm was a small plastic wallet which contained what looked like gravy granules. I said 'what are those'. He replied 'they are similar to marijuana'. He took one out of the plastic wallet and gave it to me. I swallowed it, he then put one into his mouth.

We sat down on the sofa in my sitting room and waited..... After a couple of minutes he said to me 'do you see the triangles on your curtains (my curtains were plain!). I said 'no' and he said 'come on you must see them'. I once again replied 'no'. Then his eyes fell to my wooden floor and he said 'can you see the patterns on the floor'. Again I said 'no'. He gave me a strange look and then asked if he could use my phone. I said 'OK' and he took it and left the room. I followed him and heard him say 'Charlie, I've given her a class A drug and it's having no effect'. Horrified I went back into the sitting room. I realised then that what I had been given was a hallucinogenic drug. I was hugely grateful that it had had no effect. My friend returned and wanted me to take another tab but there was no-way that I was going to take it. He put it into his own mouth.

Then suddenly the drug began to work on me. I saw things that were familiar in my sitting room change and become something different. My door became a slab of butter in front of my eyes. My friend began to freak. His normal familiar world was breaking down and he didn't understand it. But I did. I realised that this is exactly what Buddhism teaches that nothing is the way that it seems. Everything is transient and impermanent. I had a Buddhist context within which to interpret what was happening which my friend didn't and he was afraid. I kept trying to reassure him by saying 'don't be afraid, this is exactly what Buddhism teaches'. But he didn't understand. He kept saying 'I hope this drug doesn't make it onto the market. It turns out that it was STP (Serenity, Tranquility and Peace) from the MDMA drug family.

He left my place in the early hours of the morning and I got some much needed rest. When I woke up I noticed a deep sense of peace and calm. Life flowed and was in balance and harmony. This state lasted for almost a week and then left. It was as a result of this experience that my consciousness expanded to enable the realisation of Buddhist beliefs and principles. The irony was that I didn't take the drug to have a spiritual/mystical experience. I took it to figure out my own mind so that it would be better able to have a relationship. After this the relationship didn't matter. I saw what was possible within my own consciousness and I now had the desire to achieve it naturally.

I am aware that what I write here is controversial. I do not advocate the regular use of drugs. I only took that drug the once. I believe that the degree to which the consciousness has to expand to achieve spiritual insights and intuitions that are long lasting is more than can be achieved through meditation. Taking the drug showed me what was possible. Had I returned to my friend and asked him to get some more then this would have been done from the greed to have a similar experience which is totally against the spiritual journey. To take once, and with a philosophical context to interpret it has been for me a milestone on my spiritual journey. But I want to stress that I am against the continued use of hallucinogenic drugs to achieve a state of permanent expanded consciousness.

Two weeks went by and I hadn't heard anything from the guy who had given me the STP. Eventually I managed to speak to his girlfriend who told me that he was in hospital. He had lost the use of his legs! He ended up spending seven weeks in hospital. The doctors said that he had some kind of a virus. I knew that he was a regular drug user and it is possible that he had either taken something else before coming to me, or else the second tablet he took was just too much.

The state of expanded consciousness that is required to live life from an enlightened state in my opinion can only be achieved by something like a mind altering drug in the first instance. I don't look at the world in the same way since I was shown that nothing is what we think it is. I was also reminded of what the Buddha said during this experience. He said 'hold fast to nothing at all'. I take this to mean take nothing in the world to be lasting and permanent. I have had a direct experience to back this up. A direct experience which expanded my consciousness and which has never fully returned to where it was. The initial expansion was chemically based but I have maintained it by keeping alive the principles and practices of the spiritual journey not by drugs.

I agree that drugs do not sustain a mystical/spiritual state. They can only provide an access and only then if there is a philosophical context for interpreting it. I'm aware of how controversial what I have written is but this is a blog about the truth of the spiritual journey as it appears and is happening for me. It all happened a very long time ago and was part of what I have called my first cycle on the spiritual journey.

I'm pretty exhausted now after writing all that so I'll sign off for this evening.....

Friday, 28 September 2007

Not so good today....

I had a bad night last night. Usually I drift off to sleep easily and quickly but not last night. I tossed and turned. There were all kinds of thoughts going around in my head and I was hot. Awake at 12am and again at 3.30am. When I woke at 3.30am I was aware that my body was shaking and trembling, this time quite violently. When it stopped I turned on my bedside lamp and found a book to read. It was a book called 'Patanjali Yoga Sutras'. I opened up a page and the first thing I read was 'You take nothing on Trust. You accept nothing but your own experience. You go forward alone, step by step like an explorer in a virgin jungle, to see what you will find'. Aagh...I really needed to read this at 3.30am in the morning. I felt like saying (to whom, that is the question!) 'how much more alone do you want me to be! I couldn't be more alone on this journey. My friends think I'm barking mad and yet this path pulls me relentlessly. It comes before everything and anything.

I finally managed to drop back to sleep and woke again at 7am. I got up and had a chat with my friend before she left for work. After she left I felt a bit sick but sat on my stool and meditated for 45 minutes. I was aware that my foot was sore and tight inside of my trainer. The meditation didn't get rid of the feeling of nausea that I had. I ran a bath and got ready to meet some friends from work in the local pub. Yesterday I was so excited at having got rid of the crutches that I thought that I could now go for a marathon walk. I arranged to meet my friends at the pub. Gosh how presumptous was that. I remembered my training for walking down the stairs' the bad goes down, the good goes up (talking about my feet). I got down the stairs OK and out onto the pavement. Then I set off in earnest and with a serious mission to get me to the pub without any mis-haps. I achieved this albeit with a complaining foot and arrived there before my colleagues.

It was lovely to see them and we had a great lunch. We said our goodbyes and I set off walking back home. I thought I would stop off at the garage and get a paper but my foot had other ideas and registered its displeasure through the immediate message of pain. I thought I would never get home. Once home I ressurected my pain killers that I had declared so proudly to everyone that I didn't need anymore and took myself off to bed. When I woke up a tentative check in with the foot registered no pain.....result!...where would the world be without pain killers. Methinks now that going back to work after next week is a bit ambitious and I should take the whole four weeks off which the surgeon has signed me off for. When the pain kicked in I tried some spiritual training 'I have pain, I am not pain' to lessen it but this was no good so I ditched the spiritual training and reached for the pain killers and miraculously my inner voice was quiet!

But I am not making this significant and it doesn't say anything about me and my spiritual journey. The pain acted as resistance to my possibility of fun and freedom which has carried me through so far. When I got up I called the Landmark office and asked to re-start my assisting agreement from next Saturday. The manager was delighted and so was I to be honest. My life was once again starting to be all about me and I know where that leads. There is nothing to beat entering into another's life and creating with them empowering possibilities for the future. I have received so much from Landmark Education and continue to do so every day that the need in me to give something back is very strong.

I have been watching events in Burma with great interest. To me it is another example of the realm of the human and individual breaking down in favour of a unity of consciousness. You have the ordinary people coming out with the monks in pursuit of one purpose - freedom. Then there is the United Nations working to find a solution. The old paradigm of individual self-consciousness is giving rise to group consciousness. This is necessary for the next kindgom which is that of the Soul to emerge. It can be seen in the breakdown of traditional religion. Religion is man-made - a product of the 4th kingdom - the human kingdom. The structures have to break down to release the spiritual essence out of which religion is constructed.

I'm sure that I could write more but this overwhelming feeling of nausea is such that I'm going to sign off for today.... I think maybe there is too much salt in the food I am eating these days. I never put salt in my food in contrast to my flatmate who drowns everything in salt. Tonight is going to be a salt free zone for me. Let's see if that makes any different to the quality and quantity of my sleep tonight........

Thursday, 27 September 2007

To be at ease with what is......

I woke up this morning at 6am. Had the thought to meditate but turned over and went back to sleep. When I woke again at 8.30am I had the usual thoughts of self -recrimination but I understand the mechanism for these now so they have largely lost their power. I also know however that this way of being and behaving which I have had for as long as I can remember i.e. to beat myself up when I view myself as having failed does not disappear over night. It is a deep neural pattern in the brain. It will take mindfulness and perseverance on my part to make that neural pathway weaker.

I got up and went out to have a chat with my friend before she left for work. When she left I went into the kitchen. I was washing a cup when I heard the usual authoritative three words that I call my inner voice. It said 'restore your integrity'. I went 'what' because I didn't have a clue what this meant. I again heard the same three words 'restore your integrity'. I thought for a minute then I knew what was being asked. I was out of integrity because I had said I would meditate and I didn't. All that is required to be back in integrity is to meditate. I immediately went into my bedroom to the usual spot where I meditate and arranged myself on the stool. Then I meditated for my usual 45 minutes. The mind was busy as it always is but when I finished and sat in the stillness and silence on my stool the words of this post today came to me 'to be at ease with what is. I felt a great well of contentment rise up from deep within me.

What I realised from this is that I have lots of integrity around others but none when it comes to myself. Instead of restoring my integrity by doing what I said I would do, I would give myself a hard time for being a weak person with little or no self-control. How stupid was that. All I had to do was do what I said I would do. Nothing else was being asked for. No-one said that the only way to have integrity would be to get up in the early hours of the morning to meditate, I put that pressure on myself. I find it amazing that the one time I didn't beat myself up and give myself a hard time for not doing something I said I would, I get the key to how to be happy and at ease with what is.

After my usual bath and dressing ritual I turned on the radio and there was the daily service being broadcast. One of my favourite hymns 'How great Thou art' was being sung and here in the flat alone I sang my heart out and this is something I don't usually do. I felt this overwhelming urge to sing the words of that hymn at the top of my voice which is what I did.

Now as I write this I am waiting for the taxi to take me to the hospital for my out-patients appointment. I have my other trainer in my rucksack and if things go the way I would love them I will be returning home with two trainers on my feet which will be great..... I wanted to write this before I go because it seemed important. I am going to raise the issue of not being notified about this appointment. I will say what happened when I return and the reader can judge whether I came from personality or Soul!

I'm now back from the hospital. I was thrilled with myself when I managed to get down the steps using the crutches and not my bottom to wait for my taxi. I opened my front door and the I gasped for air as greedily as a drowning man. It was breezy and lovely. I stood on my porch and suddenly the sun came out from under a cloud and beamed its full rays down on me. I stood there feeling so happy and connected. The taxi man came and it is amazing the reaction I have got when people have seen me with crutches. They just can't do enough it is a great testament to the truth of the human spirit of kindness and compassion.

I arrived at the hospital and made my way to the out-patients department. At the reception desk I had to wait for someone to appear. When the woman finally appeared I explained about not receiving any notification for the appointment and the impact this had on me. She listened and got annoyed herself when she saw that the appointment was sent out a couple of days ago and would not have reached me in time for today. She then told me to go straight through to the treatment room area without waiting in the main waiting room.

I thought this was a bit odd but went through. I was asked my name and when it was established that I hadn't been formally called was sent back to where I thought I should have gone i.e. the main waiting room. Bemused more than annoyed I made my way back. A little while later I was called. I was sitting in a chair when this sprightly woman came down the corridor. She was smiling and I thought that she was smiling at the woman who was sat next to me reading a bible! But she wasn't. She was smiling at me. She sat down and I saw that she had a shoe similar to mine but no crutches. I said to her 'where are your crutches'. With a dismissive shake of her head she said 'oh I got rid of them, I don't need them'. It turned out that she was 82!. She had only recently lost her husband who was 96 and they were planning to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary. Her energy and enthusiasm for life in the face of losing her lifelong partner was both moving and inspiring for me.

My name was called and I went into the treatment room. The bandage was taken off and still I don't think that the toe was straight. I said it to the doctor. Again I got the same message that there was still a lot of soft tissue swelling. The special shoe was taken away and I put on my other trainer. It was great. I asked about the crutches and was told 'if you need them keep them, if you don't then give them back'. I asked the usual questions about how long before gym, driving etc, time off work and then I left.

Once out of out-patients I decided that I didn't need the crutches anymore and I gave them back. I had two properly functioning legs and two hands again and the feeling was just brilliant. I didn't want to chance coming home on public transport so ordered a cab. The cab driver took many of the back streets to avoid the traffic and I was treated to a kaleidoscope of colours as my senses become alive to all of the coloured leaves on the trees. How I wish I was a creative writer and I could write just how beautiful it was driving down these tree lined roads. At one point we were driving down and the trees seeemd to jon to make a was breathtakingly beautiful.

My friend called to see how I had got on and I told her. I explained that it was not necesssary for her to stay with me anymore and I could feel my sadness as I said this because I have so enjoyed her being here for the last two weeks. But it was only fair to tell her that I am once again independent so she can decide if she wants to. She said that she will stay tonight and then return to her home. I bought some thank you cards in the hospital because I have so many people to thank. I have been so well cared for and thought about that it has been humbling.

My next decision to make is when to return to work. I have been signed off for another two weeks but I honestly don't think I need this long....

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

One never knows......

When I finished the blog entry yesterday I felt a little down. While it is important for me to be honest about the spiritual path as it occurs for me, deep down I don't want to believe that the only reason I have the kinds of spiritual experiences and insights I have is down to an uncorrected lazy right eye. It is the one thing which keeps me in a permanent state of uncertainty...the fact that I don't know. Also if these experiences are soley as a result of having only one properly functioning eye, then the experiences and insights are not going to be available to everyone like I thought they could be. Available to anyone who has faith that they are possible and the commitment to do what it takes to achieve them. I can't see people going around with pirate like patches over one eye just to have these kinds of experiences. Surely there must be more to it than this.

But the universe always finds a way to ease my turmoil at least temporarily. Yesterday my friend took a book out of her bag saying 'here I'm giving you the loan of this book, I think you might enjoy it, it is similar to yours'. I didn't think much as I thanked her and took it. My friend came in from work and we had a nice conversation and she cooked some dinner. When I was going to bed I picked up the book and looked at it properly. I was aware of a kind of tightening in my stomach when I read 'A personal spiritual journey' and a feeling of resentment that somebody else was writing about their journey in the same way as me welled up which I noticed. . This showed me still how strong my ego personality is. It was a threat to me as a writer which is ridiculous and against everything I stand for. I want as many people as possible to write about and share their journey's. To make the invisible visible and to stop hiding it behind techniqes and practices. So for me to feel this petty jealousy is really shameful.

But I know to look deeper. That feeling is there, it is there. It is not right or wrong that it is there, it is just there. It has been brought to my conscious mind so that it can be looked at without flinching or making myself wrong to have it and then dissolve. This is exactly what happened. All too often what happens is we judge ourselves as bad to have negative feelings of anger, envy but these are all natural feelings which if we allow them to surface without being afraid of them or feeling the need to act them out then they lose their power.

The view that anger is a natural feeling was brought home to me once when I was on one of the meditation retreats in Devon. I can remember sitting in a comfy armchair looking out of the window with nothing much in my mind. Suddenly I had this overwhelming urge to throw a plant that was in the corner of the room out of the window. I had this anger but where had it come from? Nowhere, it was just a natural feeling. I could see it was natural because there was no trigger in the environment in terms of people or an event to set it off. After that I realised that anger is a necessary agent for spiritual growth. If it's not allowed to have free expression it becomes repressed and then becomes charged. At its most highly charged it becomes rage. Needless to say I didn't throw the plant out of the window.

I curled up in bed and started to read the book. It is called 'Hidden Path' - A personal spiritual journey by Vanessa Graham - ISBN No 978-0-9555617-0-2. I was amazed at how alike we were in our thinking about the need as she says to make visible the invisible journey. Her background is that she was a wife and mother who when she hit 50 searched for something to fill the void which was always there. The emptiness that was there even when she was doing enjoyable things. The book is written as a series of essays through which she documents her own life. I would just like to quote from the third paragraph of chapter 1. This to my mind says everything and much better than I ever could. Speaking of entering the consciousness of spiritual awakening she says:

'There is no magic wand that is going to be waved one day and that enlightenment will happen just like that. It is a lifetime's journey where you continually learn ways to make yourself available to it. Do not expect this journey to be easy. It can be challenging and enlivening but never easy. I have had to turn myself inside out to discover who I really am and it is an ongoing process. I have had to revisit, and relive past experiences to find out what made me the way I was, in order to bring about change. With that realisation I had the choice to stay or change the way I was'

This to me is superb writing. A stating of the journey the way it is without any embellishment or making it seem anything that it is not. It is obvious that she has achieved achieved a high level of self-realization and there's no mention of a dodgy eye, so it is possible with faith and commitment. I particularly recommend her chapter on meditation and knowing. She details much about the events in her life and the self-awareness that she gained as a result. I'm interested in those paragraphs where I see increasing self-awareness. Then I will trust that there is the accompanying spiritual consciousness.

What I also look for is some evidence of the movement of energy within the body. I found it on page 93 where she says 'Towards the end of the two weeks (she's referring to a yoga holiday), when I sat in the meditation posture of crossed legs on the floor, there seemed to be a vortex of energy ascending up from my base chakra to the top of my spine. This created a twirling feelings whereby my whole body joined in'. She makes no mention of the surrender which is the usual end point of a bodily experience of this kind although she has a chapter called 'surrender'.

I have just finished reading this book and I would recommend it. It is a raw and moving account of the spiritual journey abeit a personal one. However each spiritual journey has the same stages even if the life events which herald each stage are different. I found it easy to read and authentic. It is more personal and less theoretical and therein lies its appeal for me.

This morning I woke up without any alarm at 6am and got up to do some meditation. It was a struggle. It was time that was the struggle not thoughts. I kept looking at my mobile clock and thinking 'I must have sat here longer than that'...aagh....this has to be the definition of frustration to be wide awake and yet not be able to meditate. It feels like one part of my mind is looking and laughing at the efforts of the other. 3 minutes before the allotted time I could bare it no longer and I hopped back into bed. But there was no chance of sleep.

I heard my flatmate get up and shower and then I called her and we had a chat before she went to work. I think she envied me resting in bed and I envied her going out to her new exciting job in publishing. How ironical life is sometimes. I turned on the radio and lay there for a while. Suddenly I remembered that I had not received any notification of when my next out patients appointment was. I got up and called the hospital. I explained that I was told that I would be seen again this week but I had not received any notification. She went on the computer and then said quite non-chalantly 'you have an appointment tomorrow at 11.45am'!

Now...I had a choice, I could make a big deal that I hadn't received any notification or I could be fun and freedom around it. I chose the latter. I said in a playful friendly voice 'well isn't it a good job that I called this morning then', she answered me in the same sing song voice 'it's good you did'. This only served to further irritate me but I pushed the irritation down and just confirmed the date and time, thanked her and hung up.

In any encounter it's not what we say often but the way in which we say it which either placates or offends. Tomorrow when I get into out-patients I am going to raise the issue in terms of its impact if I had not called the hospital. I think it is important to bring to their attention that their system failed, not to make them wrong but to ensure that it doesn't happen again. This is not coming from the ego least I don't think so.....

The spiritual journey is relentless. Sometimes I want to forget all about it. Stop the constant vigilance and interpreting everything within a spiritual context and dare I say it just be normal but I feel that it's gone too far for that now. I think I am writing like this because in the post today came some information from the Lucis Trust. This is the publishing company that publishes the work of Alice Bailey whose work resonates with me like no other. On the spiritual journey the two most important things are Soul and Service. From these everything else flows. I'm creating an access to the Soul but in the realm of Service, apart from this blog which I write with the intention of service, I'm not very active. Deep down I have known this but haven't wanted to look at it.

Today I receive in the post from the Lucis Trust details of a World Goodwill Seminar called Evoking the Soul of the Nations which is going to be held on 10 November in London. Usually I don't attend events like this. I prefer to stay at home reading and keeping myself separate. This event is pulling me beccause Alice Bailey is said to have received her writings through the ascended Tibetan Master Djwhal Khul (D.K). When I was doing my Reiki parts 1 and 2 training the Reiki master had cards of all of the ascended masters and he put them face down and asked all of us to choose one. I didn't think I was drawn to any particular card but when I picked up the one I had drawn it was the picture of Djwhal Khul. When I looked at it I felt a warm glow of pleasure that he was the Master I had picked up. Even though before I did this training I had no idea who the ascended masters were. Neither had I heard of the books of Alice Bailey. All of this came afterwards. It is the Alice Bailey books which have given me my greatest and deepst insights and understandings and for that reason I feel in some way connected with this great Tibetan Master.

What I have just written requires a leap of faith, for me also I have to confess. I have never seen or spoken to an ascended master yet I accept that like the physical world there is also a metaphysical world where such beings reside. I feel certain that the developing insights and intuitions are imparted to me during my sleep from the higher realms. I have no evidence for this but occult literature always maintains higher level ashrams which take students whose egos are now serving the Soul and not the personality. Nothing personal is allowed in these ashrams everything is universal and for the good of the many not the individual.

I'm drawn to one sentence, it seems to be screaming out of me from the promotional copy for this event. It says 'One radiant, creative life, consciously using the heart or throat centres, can carry inspiration to hundreds'. Why is this resonating so much, what does it mean.... It's all a bit much now so I'm going to finish this blog here and watch a mind numbing DVD....

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

My nemesis returns.....

Yesterday when I finished writing my blog I turned off the computer and turned on the television. The news was just beginning and there was a report from the first speech which Gordon Brown made at the Labour party conference as Prime Minister. There were some vignettes of him speaking. Once again I was reminded of the possible link between the eye and the brain. My inner voice prompted me to once again open this topic by starting up the computer and writing a second blog entry. I resisted and the inner voice didn't persist.

This morning I woke up without an alarm at 4.15am and there was no inner prompting to meditate, it just felt like the right thing to do. I am not making whether or not I get up early to meditate mean anything or be significant anymore so there's no resistance and as a result no trapped energy. This sounds illogical in that it seems that if something isn't made significant that it is not important but this is not the way it works. Paradoxically the less we can make events in our lives be significant and the more we play the better life flows.

I set the alarm to meditate for one hour. I won't go into detail about what happens as this is likely to get boring but suffice to say that when the time I was up I felt renewed and refreshed and not at all tired. I went back to bed but lay awake looking out of the window. I was aware that something was nagging at me and I searched to find what it was. I realised that I was still thinking about Gordon Brown and the glass eye in his left eye and its links if any to my uncorrected lazy right eye.

I got up, bathed and dressed and turned on my computer to see my email messages. To my surprise and delight I had a comment on the blog. I was amazed when I saw that the comment related to the blog entry I wrote on Thursday 23 August entitled 'something unfinished'. When I re-read the post I saw that it was here that I first wrote about the difference in the political style of Gordon Brown compared to Tony Blair. The comment that was left on this blog entry was brief 'very well written, write back'. I will respond to all comments through this blog as I am committed to writing it each day. I cannot bring the same level of integrity to answering comments personally. If I have not written on the topic that the person who left the comment had in mind, then leave me another comment being more precise and I will answer it.

Among other things in this entry I queried whether or not the lack of stimulation to Gordon Brown's right side of the brain (glass eye does not transmit light to the brain) has meant that much of the charisma, spin, style which was so prominent in Tony Blair's leadership style is missing in Gordon Brown's presentations. The left brain is all about strategy, about identifying the component parts of a picture to see the emerging whole. It is about substance. It may be why Gordon Brown is so identified with the work ethic. The left brain is limited in its creative and imaginative abilities. This is the strength of the right side of the brain.

Then my thinking moved to the uncorrected lazy right eye I have had since childhood. Lack of visual stimulation from my right eye to my left brain has meant that I have struggled with left brain tasks and thinking for as long as I can remember. Once again my nemisis returned and I asked myself 'does this uncorrected lazy right eye have anything to do with how easy spiritual experiences/writings come to me?' Yes, I know that I recently went to the neuroscience conference and spoke about this and got answers from experts that told me that this has nothing to do with it, so then why does the idea still persist. In my experience when something persists with me it is because there is a kernel of truth in it.

As I have said, I am ordinary. It is like spiritual experiences and books are the ground of my being which is what it would be like if my consciousness was coming directly from the right brain. Is this why I am so reluctant to claim the kind of direct relationship with God that Etty Hillesum does. That in some way I feel a fraud. Now that I think about it perhaps the reason why I find formal meditation so difficult is that I am forcing what is already for me a natural state, a state that I am in permanently. My friends don't see me as anything but ordinary. In fact there is a frustration among my friends at my inabiity to think and behave in a left brain way.

I have known from an early age that something is not quite right. The maths tutor that my parents employed to teach me maths couldn't get me to understand the basics. I know deep down that there is a link. Sometimes I push it to the back of my mind and exalt in the expanded state and easy understanding of complicated occult spiritual literature but then occasionally I will get a gentle it all that it seems to be. I think it is this that keeps me humble. I am in awe of and have deep respect for Etty Hillesum because she didn't wear glasses so obviously had no eye problems (that we know of) so her connection was without question.

To me it just seems too co-incidental that someone who could be an example of the ultimate in left brain thinking and someone who could be an expample of the ultimate in right brain thinking should be alive together at this time. I can't shake off that this is in someway significant. All I can hope, is that by putting these ideas out into the public domain that someday, through some route there may be an answer. I sometimes worry when I write this that it seems as though I am not grateful for everything and this is far from the case but I am ordinary, down to earth and don't want to be seen as something I'm not.

It is so important for me on this journey to have integrity and to be ruthlessly and scrupulously honest with myself and those I come into contact with. I have been warned that if I don't stop going down the path of looking for a rational explanation that I am in danger of losing the state of consciousness that I have. This is honestly the last thing I want but something bigger than me is pursuing this. Each time I write something like this I wait for something not so pleasant to happen and nothing ever does so me exploring this possibility does not appear to be upsetting anyone other than the scientists!

Last night I had a lovely chat with my neices who live in Ireland. I find myself relaxing and being myself so easily when I am in the company of children and young people. Adults often confuse me, but give me the world of the child and I enter into it fully. I feel so at home there. This is also a right brain characteristic as children begin life totally right brained. Gradually as they get older and go to school the left brain assumes dominance and so it is until towards the end of one's life where the right brain once again asserts dominance as it senses that the Soul is preparing to return to its Divine home.

It is when the consciousness of the left brain develops that the veil of forgetting becomes stronger and the cosmic game begins. The characteristics of Human begin to solidify based on decisions that the young person makes in response to events that happen in his/her world. Around these decisions he/she will form a view of him/herself. This then becomes the identity/personality. It grows and strengthens and then becomes something that is defended by the ego more and more as one gets older.

In that life there may be a turning point where the Soul touches the ego and it shifts its allegiance from the personality to the Soul and there is no doubt that this is a wonderful and magical moment when it happens. Unfortunately for many this does not happen or if it does, it is ignored (there is always choice) and then materialism tends to be what is valued. HUMAN is a way of Being in the same way that SPIRITUAL is a way of Being. But it is not possible to get to the spiritual until there is an understanding of human. Human is the coat which covers the spiritual essence - the ultimate of what and who we are. When we understand and dismantle how the design of human has been put together then what emerges is a way of being that is spiritual.

A woman is coming to visit me later who has put the link to this blog on her website which was kind of her. She also runs a publishing company and has the manuscript for my book - 'Journey to Self'. She wants to publish it but is waiting to get a childrens book published first. This is because there is a much bigger market for children's books than the kind of book that I have written. To be honest though, there's a lot in this blog that is in the book, alot that isn't either. While I have this blog I don't feel the urgency to get the book out that I felt in the past. It just seemed neccessary to share my experiences and insights. The medium through which this sharing comes is not important.

My friend has just left and we have agreed to publish the book January - February of next year. I am excited about this. I'm going to sign off for tonight because my friend will be soon home from work and I won't be writing again for the evening. another day..

Monday, 24 September 2007

Monday of week 2.......

I woke up without the alarm at 6am this morning and heard immediately the word 'meditate'. It was an usually windy and rainy morning and sitting on the stool listening to the wind blowing so hard that it rattled my window I felt at one with the wind. There was no threat in it for me. I closed my eyes and began to meditate and as usual thoughts came into my mind.

It is unbelievable that I can be lying in bed in a state of expanded consciousness and there are no thoughts. I can be walking in nature and there are no thoughts. Yet the minute I shut my eyes to do some formal practice it is like the signal goes out to the mind to create thoughts, thoughts and more thoughts. Are thoughts a product of shut eyes but this cannot be true because I have thoughts when my eyes are open otherwise I couldn't function in the world. But the thoughts I have when I'm not meditating seem to be gentler, less intense. I know what it is I am trying to say. When I close my eyes it seems to be a trigger for an internal dialogue of thoughts which are not empowering. There is something deeply threatening about meditation to the mind and personality so much so that it makes every effort to sabotage the process.

I refused to allow the frustration to get the better of me and didn't resist the thoughts. I just watched them come and go. The variety of thoughts was interesting, they ranged from 'why is my foot so painful' to 'what's happening at work'. Some practices take a thought and trace it back to its source but I seem to get so caught up in the thought that I don't know how to trace it back to its source so I just watch each one as it come and as it goes. Sometimes my attention wandered but what I found then was when I drew my attention back that I was in a deeper state and the thoughts were not so frequent. I set the clock for 7am which would be an hours meditation. When the alarm went off I did not want to get up. I just sat there so relaxed and content, in a state of nothingness. I couldn't tell where I stopped and the rest of the world began.

I convinced myself that I should rest my foot a bit more so went back to bed. The next I knew was when my phone rang. It was 9.30am. Then began the usual self-recrimination about not getting up earlier. I suddenly realised something that had been said to me by the person who recreated the seminar session that I had missed. He was speaking about the suffering which arises when we make things significant. When we put meaning on things and make them significant we suffer when there is a breakdown in that area of life. In that instant of self-recrimination I saw that I make getting up early and writing/reading significant. That it means something to me and so when I don't do it I feel bad and it's only because I make it significant.

If it wasn't significant I could play with it and in that playfulness it's more likely to happen. Loading things with significance makes for heavy energy which drains. Being light and not making things be significant makes for a happier life. By not making things significant I don't mean not valuing them as important or disciplining yourself to do them I just mean not making the inevitable times when it won't happen be significant i.e. mean something. I was doing this and I was beating myself up for those times when I didn't get up early to read or go to the gym. It is amazing when you see this it's such a relieving and freeing moment. I realise that the only person putting any pressure on me is myself. I do this by making things significant. Looking out the window of my bedroom I felt so light and have resolved from now on not to make things significant. And it is only significant because I have invested something of me in it.

Wow, I've just realised something else and that is the significance that I attach to food. I've documented in some entry that I don't have a balanced and healthy relationship with food. What I've now just seen is that I make food sooo significant so that when I have a breakdown and over-eat I've made self-control so important and significant that it's a direct attack on me as a person and this is why I have suffered such self-hatred when it has happened. Gosh, it's so clear now in my head now but a bit clumsy to write. If I stop making breakdowns around food significant then it will cease to become an issue for me. It's that simple but for how many years has it controlled and ruled me...too many to put down here!

Such profound insights this morning meant it was easy to bring into being my possibility (a way of being) of fun and freedom. Mental freedom involves doing this work. I don't believe positive thinking on its own works. How can it work if we don't know what we have given meaning and/or significance to. It's a bit like one part of the mind saying a positive aspiration and another part going 'yeah, right, I know exactly the trigger that will undo that'. So thinking positively will work until the trigger presents itself which awakens the story. And then the positive aspiration may go out right out the window.

With an ease and lightness I washed and got ready for my day. Washing involves me lowering myself into the bath very gingerly and hanging my sick foot outside of the bath. Getting in and out is a great achievement for me and I feel so good when it all goes well. It's the little things like this that I love to be able to appreciate. Hobbled into the kitchen and got some toast together. Then I went into my sitting room and picked up the writings of Etty Hillesum. At one stage her descriptions of the transport trucks that would come to the camps to round up all the Jews for Auschwitz was so overwhelming that I had to put the book down. What she endured at such a young age is humbling and yet her faith in God grew ever stronger in the midst of it all. I was struck by the simplicity of one sentence when she talked about the conflict that was within her she said 'not my will, but thy will'. This is surely the ultimate in surrender. What intrigues me was how can she or for that matter others who claim to have a similar connection be so sure that what she connected with was God. For me it is a Force, is this the same thing.

But it must be for her because she writes very deeply when she is writing to God. There is no holding back. She says on page 264 'I shall have to surrender much more of me to You, O God. And also stop making conditions: if only I remain healthy, and so on.... Even if I am not healthy, life goes on doesn't it? I have no right to lay down conditions. I will not do so in future'. I couldn't write so directly like this. Is it because I don't feel worthy to claim a direct relationship so therefore I relate through the energies in my body. Like last night before I went to sleep I lay awake connecting with the picture from my window and my body began to once again tremble and shake quite violently. If it subsides before I sleep a warm calmness envelopes my body and I drift off to sleep immediately. If I fall off to sleep then I always wake up renewed and refreshed. I know there is this Force because I directly experience it.

Is having faith the ticket to claiming a direct relationship with God. Is it faith that opens the door to a Divine relationship. I honestly don't know. I know that faith plays a huge part. But I don't think that it alone guarantees a Divine connection. I was struck by something Mother Teresa said that was reported in an article. She said to a friend 'Jesus has a very special love for you. As for me, the silence and the emptiness is so great that I look and do not see, listen and do not hear.— Mother Teresa to the Rev. Michael Van Der Peet, September 1979. So it appears that this connection does not come about through faith alone. It is the everlasting and enduring mystery (these are the words that have just come through and with that I won't delve any deeper!

I'm tempted to go out for a walk but I think until I get my next outpatients appointment over that it might be wise to stay put. It is also my Landmark seminar evening and that is particualrly hard to miss. Earlier I received a phone call from a work mate tellling me that everything was going well so that was also good to hear.

I'll sign off now until tomorrow.....

Sunday, 23 September 2007

A quiet Sunday.....

Last night I was expecting a friend to come over to have a drink and watch a DVD. I then received a text message from her to say that she wouldn't be coming over because she was going up London to the pub with friends. When I read it I was amazed at my own reaction. There was a calmness, no reaction. In a blog entry a couple of days ago I wrote how I had felt very low when a similar thing happened and how I had dealt with it. The fruits of having persevered with the process of separating the event from what I made it mean, my story, paid off. This time there was no story so there was nothing to react to. All that happened is that she is not now coming over here. In the past I would have made that mean all sorts and as a result would have turned an outward aggression and anger against her inwards towards myself. It is so great when you take on the process and see it working. My own reaction was 'oh, now she's no longer coming, OK so how can I have fun and freedom here this evening'. I rummaged through my CD collection and find an old favourite CD and played that for a bit.

My foot was very sore so I went off to bed early. This morning I was woken at 6am and immediately my inner voice said 'meditate'. I got up and knelt down on the stool. It hurt to bend my foot so I kept it straight on the ground. I closed my eyes and immediately the same thoughts about 'which technique to use', is it better to meditate on the candle or a symbol, etc, etc began. Once again the words 'Be still and know' came through and so I decided on those. As I began to meditate I noticed my body becoming heavy on the stool. I was aware of a kind of going deeper but then the mind would get involved and there would be a shift. But it did not seem like the thoughts were as relentless as they have been in the past. I didn't set an alarm for the time and I had no desire to finish the meditation. This is also different to the way it has been in the past. I was quiet and content. This is the only way that I can describe it. When I finally looked at my watch I coudn' t believe that I had been sitting still and not been in any way restless for 45 minutes.

I went back to bed and woke again a little after 8am. My first thought was my intention of creating a day filled with fun and freedom. I put on the radio and there was a Sunday morning service being broadcast. I was struck by something in one of the readings. Jesus was asking his disciples 'who do you think I am'? They said 'some say you are x (I can't remember the exact words), some say you are y' But he pursued this by saying 'you, who do YOU think I am'. This struck me because it says to me the importance of figuring things out for ourselves. There is no progression when we take Truth from others, we have to find it own it, and live it for ourselves. I am all for listening and respecting what others say and I fully accept that the spiritual journey is long (in fact it is the only journey) and there are many, more advanced than me. But the ultimate power and freedom comes when you work things out for yourself. You do this based on your own experiences, insights and intuitions. They are backed up and supported by ancient writings but made your own by experience not by what others say.

The fact that I woke up to hear this was quite strange because after the service was over, the next programme was about the Indian Guru Bagwan Shri Rajneesh or Osho as he renamed himself. I see a synchrony in these two events. The message from Jesus in the reading was not to take on anothers Truth but find your own. Osho was a charismatic Indian man who at the height of his success had over 300,000 devotees in various ashrams all over the world. People flocked to him in search of the holy grail of enlightenment which he said was possible to attain without any suffering. Those who followed him surrendered everything to him. The programme interviewed five of his followers. One of the followers also had a child at one of his ashrams and I found the perspective of the young man of this Guru particuarly interesting.

What emerged from this programme was the risks involved in following a Guru. I firmly believe that enlightenment is found within, not without. As long as you look for something outside of yourself enlightenment will elude consciousness. However, the Guru has a job. Done properly the role of the Guru is to show the devotee his/her own ego and devise trainings and practices to turn the ego from serving the personality to serving the Soul. This as you can imagine is no easy task. The ego will resist every effort to do this. Some devotees may complain that the Guru is being overly harsh, critical but there is always a reason for this. In the beginning stages of the path to do this by oneself is incredibly difficult this is why joining a class is useful.

I remember once when I was on a meditation retreat in Devon in Southern England watching a lady's efforts to get the attention of a Buddhist teacher. He was walking along and she fell into step beside him and began speaking. He ignored her and continued walking. She kept walking and talking but when she realised that he wasn't going to engage with her walked away and came over to the bench where I was sitting. Red faced and angry she said to me 'he just blanked me, how rude is that'. I said something along the lines of 'sometimes this happens'. But she said it more to herself than to me. A little while later I left the bench.

The lesson in this was for the woman to perhaps look at herself. Why was she so angry that he didn't stop and make time to speak to her. It was a lesson to look at her own ego. Instead the ego reacted and took it all so personally'. The job of a Guru is to take on the ego if you like and bring its workings into consciousness so that it can shift its allegiance from the personality to the Soul. It is because of this that I don't dismiss the role of the Guru entirely. But the greatest Guru lies within and it is to that and only to that that surrender should be given.

Devotees must never give up the faculty of reason. If something doesn't feel right then it doesn't matter how much persuasion is given it is not right. Hidden in the deepest feeling is the highest Truth. Never sell out to reason. During the programme this morning the people spoke about being given Sanskrit names. This is a practice I have never understood. Why would you change your name. If anything puffs up the ego, it is this. It is a short step from being given a 'special' name to the thought 'I am special' and that thought sounds the death knell for further expansions of spiritual consciousness. Instead of increasing spiritual consciousness all that arises is ego inflation which is much harder to shake off. It takes a transcended ego to accept a Sanskrit name which say as an example means 'he who has surrendered at the feet of God' not to allow it to inflate the ego. The whole idea of the spiritual journey is to be effective and poweful in the world. Not to take a different name and opt out of it.. But again this is only my musings on the subject.

The overall impression I was left with when the radio programme finished was sadness that a man who had the trust and surrender of so many people could so shamelessly abuse it. There is no doubt that with expansions of spiritual consciousness comes power. But it is also important to be able to be trusted with that power. Osho tapped into a desperation in people to find meaning and purpose in life. I have read some of his work and there is no doubt that he understood the spiritual journey. He once said that he loved to disturb people– 'only by disturbing them could he make them think'. I understand perfectly where he was coming from in this thinking, but he in my opinion, took it to extremes. And in the end as happens with many spiritual Guru's who come from the East to the West he became corrupted by the very thing he claimed to have transcended - materialism.

The programme made me think a lot and I was grateful to the universe that when I was in a similar position with a group many years ago that I listened to my reason which said that something wasn't right and I left. I believe that it is only when you have the courage to break away and go it alone with just one's own inner light that the true journey begins.

I went into the sitting room and my inner voice said 'get a paper'. I resisted because I had overdone it yesterday and my foot was still sore. I spent a couple of minutes resisting but the inner voice wouldn't let up with its usual three words. I opened my flat door and threw the crutches down the stairs, then I manoevred myself down to the bottom. Once I got myself upright I thought 'right fun and freedom now then'. I opened the front door and started to gingerly walk up the road. There was no denying that the foot was sore. I think it had a memory of what I had put it through yesterday and was not going to co-operate.

Then I heard a noise behind me and my neighbours little boy came to the side of me on his scooter. He said 'hello, are you OK'. I said yes and told him about the operation on my foot and explained that I was going to the garage for a paper. He then held out his hand to show me some money and said that he was going to the garage to get a paper for his Dad and he could get one for me as well' I looked at that child like he was my guardian angel (just a phrase, I've never seen a guardian angel) and I was filled with such overwhelming love and gratitude for the little Soul who had just showed up.

I told him how much it would mean if he would get the paper for me and he just beamed. He took the money and I said that I would see him at the front of my house. He looked so pleased with himself when he came back with my paper in its own bag. It was a lovely moment and that young man I feel is special. He has a kindness and a gentleness for only being 10. I thanked him and he went into his own house. I debated about giving him some money but I didn't want him to create a meaning of helping to equal money. When I am independent again I will buy a gift and give it to him. Helping must be for itself not as a means to gain something. If it is seen as a means to an end then it has no power.

I took some moments out before I closed the door to connect with the SOMETHING that made this possible and to give full and heartfelt thanks. Events like this show me that this force that I have grown so familiar with continues to nourish and nurture. Today I feel like the luckiest person alive. Most days I feel like this and I know that this is all because of the access I have to the force within. This is why I speak so much about the importance of going within, not giving away power to anything outside of ourselves. As I write this I am reminded of words in the first Conversations with God books which says 'if you don't go within, you go without'.

It's mid afternoon as I write this and my friend who had said she was coming around last night has just left. I was warm and friendly and it was genuine. There was no story about being abandoned, or of her not wanting to spend time with me so therefore there was nothing to be aggrieved about. I want to link this with something that I learned from the current seminar I am doing with Landmark education. I coudn't attend on Monday because of the operation although I had a battle with myself not to take a mini-cab and go. When a participant misses a seminar session someone from the centre calls to recreate the evening. I was looking forward to receiving my call. One thing struck me from the call which I would like to share. The man was talking about forgiveness. I learned that forgiveness is not me calling someone up and saying ' I forgive you' but saying it from a position of superiority - kind of like because I am so big I am forgiving you. This is not forgiveness. Authentic forgiveness is when we give up the story around whatever or whoever was hurt. If there is no story, or if there is the recognition that the story that has been created is not the truth and it is given up then there is nothing to forgive and this is the real forgiveness.

This kind of forgiveness, based on giving up a story is effortless and powerful and penetrates every cell in the body to promote healing and well-being. It is only my opinion but I feel that many ailments in the body are the result of the unwillingness to forgive......a desperate hanging on to the story.

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Out for a walk today....yippee..back with nature

I found it difficult to write my blog yesterday. There was a deep inner restlessness in me. I was tired but didn't go to bed. At 6.30pm my friend came in from work and we had a chat. Then another friend arrived with some home cooked food and then more friends arrived and in the end there was one of those rare events in this flat.....a party! I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I was at ease and relaxed. In the past I would have felt uncomfortable as though I didn't fit in. But this time I had a connection. My possibility of fun and freedom was in full flow and the energy here was lively and playful. I had my promised glass of wine and at one point I looked around at all the people who were there to support me and I felt an overwhelming feeling of love towards everyone.

When everyone left and I was lying in bed looking at my window I was filled with such deep gratitude and I could feel tears stinging at the back of my eyes. Gratitude opens and expands the heart to enable it to awaken. Spiritual consciousness emerges when the heart awakens. This is why gratitude is so fundamental on this path. In those few moments before falling to sleep last night I felt like I was wrapped in a warm electric blanket. I know that I am being held and nurtured by a force which I feel but cannot explain or describe.

This morning I woke up so content. My first thought was 'how can I bring fun and freedom to this weekend' The heaviness and deadness that I wrote about in such a clumsy way yesterday in this blog was gone. I even see the difference in how this blog entry is flowing today. Yesterday it was an effort and a struggle, today it flows. Why is this, the circumstances in my life are not different today than they were yesterday. The difference is that yesterday I lost my Soul and allowed the ego personality to dominate. This was necessary though to do the work in identifying how certain thoughts and stories have the ability to bring me down. It so important at those times to stay steady and trust the process. Everything can seem to be breaking down, all there is, is confusion. Stay steady, it is part and parcel of the spiritual path. The sense of being in a fog will lift to reveal a world much brighter, sharper, more luminous. The dark is necessary to allow the consciousness to expand into the light.

I had a long chat with my friend before she left to attend to her own domestic matters and thanked her so much for all her help during the week. I didn't say it to her but I know that the efforts she made for me this week will not go unrewarded. Not because it was me she helped but because the act of forgetting herself to ensure another was looked after is never ignored. This is a universal law which always and ever works. The frustration is that it cannot be put under scientific investigation and it's never obvious what the event was which has now reaped something pleasant and unexpected. The law has to be taken on trust and faith.

Two more friends came around and once again the conversation flowed and there was an ease and grace around it. When they left I had this strong yearning to go out for a walk. Yes, I had a view of the trees from my window but I suddenly felt this overwhelming urge to go out. I manoevred myself down the stairs on my bottom, throwing the crutches from the top to the bottom of the stairs. At the bottom of the stairs I hoisted myself upright and was thrilled to bits with myself. I opened the door and slowly began to walk. How beautiful and liberating. Immediately I felt a deepening sense of peace, calm, connection and walking along I thanked the universe for making this possible for me so soon after the operation.

Again I feel the frustration of feeling so much that I don't have the words for. The few words I write don't do justice to the depth of what I feel. I must stress that it is feeling, the mind was quiet, with few thoughts if any. I was lost in feeling, not thoughts. There was this depth and expanse without the consciousness expanding. Yes, I could see everything as separate but underneath that perception of separation is the sure knowledge of unity. The threads that connect and unite are there but they are not visible to our perception. It may be that when the consciousness enters into the kingdom of the soul that the illusion of separateness will be shattered....but for that we shall have to wait and see.

Arrived back from my walk renewed and refreshed but also with a sore foot. Had a brief thought that went 'foolish girl, you overdid it' but immediately dismissed that with my intention of fun and freedom. I had a game with getting back up my stairs using only my bottom. Now I am in my flat writing this blog and I have a nagging feeling that I've sold out on my spiritual journey. I have done this by not speaking openly about it with friends. I have sat and listened to conversations that have revolved around events in the world without making an reference to or bringing alive the inner world. I have no doubt that the source of my rapid recovery is my connection to 'something', so why am I not open about this to people. I think it goes back to not wanting to come across as different, wanting to fit in and not stand out in anyway.

This is shameful given everything that I have been given and continue to be given. I can't help feeling that I am expected to do something but I don't know what this is. If I knew what the key was to unlocking the powerful energies which are contained within each person and I could guarantee that the energies would work in the correct way then this blog would be more definite. The Chinese have a saying 'if the wrong (unprepared body and mind) person uses the right means, then the right means work in the wrong way.

Alice Bailey in her book The Soul the Quality of Life says about this process 'The Ego bends every effort to quicken vibration, and to force the oft rebelling lower vehicles to respond and measure up to the rapidly increasing force. It is largely a matter of increased fire or heat and consequent intensification of vibratory capacity. The egoic fire waxes even greater until the work is done, and the purificatory fire becomes the light of illumination' page 175.

To understand the meaning and significance of this paragraph it is necessary to go outside of the mind. The way that I understand it is that the ego following a time of indulging the personality (physical, emotional and mental) shifts to control the personality. The controlling of the personality quickens the energetic vibration within the body. The stronger the disciplining and purification the more heat is generated and the quicker the vibration becomes. Finally the purification process gives way to the light of illumination, where the familiar is seen in a transformed way. But without the purification process which is about taking responsibility and not blaming others there is no expansion of consciousness. Without this necessary step the ego will serve only the personality and not the Soul. So be glad the day you have sorrow, because it is then that you truly live. Sorrow is an aspect of purification and will in time give way to illumination.

Friday, 21 September 2007

Human errupts .....feeling sorry for myself......

Yesterday after the hospital I was so tired. Wrote my blog and went to bed. Woke up a couple of hours later and didn't know whether I wanted to get out or stay in bed. My inner voice was quiet. There was no instruction one way or another. Lay there for a couple of minutes looking out at my window with nothing in particular in my mind. Gosh except for I was breathing I could have been dead. There was absolutely nothing going on!

I looked at the crutches propped against my bed and had a momentary hatred for them. I was also aware that my foot was sore but was determined not to take any pain killers. I got up and went into the kitchen and made a cup of tea. I felt a heaviness that had nothing to do with the bandage on my foot. Where was my bright and luminous world. I felt alone and lonely. I hobbled into my sitting room and picked up a book and tried to read but I couldn't concentrate. My friend who is staying with me this week had said that she would be home early and I was looking forward to that. Her conversation would take me out of myself. Suddenly I received a text from her saying that she was now going to the pub for a drink and wouldn't be back as early as she said.

I was devastated. Try as I might I couldn't snap myself out of it. I was deep into the feeling sorry for myself story and I was so right in feeling this way. My ego personality saw an opening and wham it was right in there. It is so much harder to come out of something when you're right in the middle of it. Then I realised that what was dragging me down was not the fact that my friend was not coming straight home from work but what I made that mean.

What I made it mean was that she didn't want to be here to look after me and with that thought came the accompanying feelings of lack of self-worth, self-esteem etc. When I could see that it was this meaning and not the fact of her not coming home early that was driving me I could give it up. When I gave up the story I didn't feel low or down anymore. As humans we are meaning making machines. Something happens we give a meaning to it. We do this so that we can make sense of the world. I have learned that whenever I feel low it is the effect of a story that I am running and is not the fault of life itself. Life is life, it will flow in the way that it will. We then have the choice whether to put stories onto the things that happen in life. If we don't then life will flow and be in harmony and balanced.

The development of the human being is only the passing from one state of consciousness to another. As the consciousness expands it passes to another state. It is the level or degree of awareness which determines the speed at which the consciousness expands. Take for example the awareness that me feeling sorry for myself was the result of a story. Really seeing this so that there is some shift in the body and then being willing to give it up has shifted my consciousness. I am in no doubt about that. I have seen something in a new way. This results in the consciousness shifting. The process goes like, wow, that's what I made it mean. While I was being gripped by the story I couldn't be fun and freedom and so I wallowed in a story which was only a story. Right, I'm going to give it up and be fun and freedom. This is a process. It doesn't come easy. There is lots of resistance to it but it is a sure way to progress from the human to the spiritual which is the direction consciousness is going anyway.

The spiritual is a definite path. It has its milestones and stages. It cannot be taught, only shared and in that sharing inspiration and hope is given......There seems to be the expectation that if you have access to another dimension that you can also be effective in conventional life. The truth is that the concerns of the conventional are not those of the spiritual. This leads to a certain friction and frustration on the part of the conventional person to the spiritual. My frustration also comes with knowing that one day I am going to die but the spiritual game will continue. It will come through another person perhaps in a different form. The vehicle will die but not the spirit through which it flies. Spirit will always fly. I am under no illusion that the experiences I have will give me immortality.

What I want this record to achieve is for people to see the value in taking on consciously a spiritual path. I wrote in my profile that I believe this to be the 2nd cycle of my transformation from human to spiritual. Much of the 1st cycle was characterized by confusion and not being sure of anything. This stage looks to be the same. This is because there is no growth in certainty, growth only comes in confusion. So I accept what is happening right now as what is meant to be. I commit every morning to a spiritual path and look for meanings within this context and then I just BE with everything else.

I'm going to have a busy evening this evening as some friends are coming over. I'll also going to have a cold glass of wine to celebrate surviving my first week without a properly functioning leg.....

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Great news from the healing very well

Have just returned from my hospital appointment and am feeling so relieved that everything is healing as it should be. But why did I doubt that it wouldn't? I've had a couple of crashes down on the operated foot just by losing my balance and I thought that it might have done some damage. I also received good news about the alignment of the toe. The nurse explained that the degree of swelling is so much that it would look like the toe had not been straightened. She showed me the x-ray from the operation and the bone is perfectly straight. So once the swelling of the soft tissues go down then the toe should be straight. I had accepted that the toe might not be straight. Only this morning I had said to my friend who is staying with me this week that I accept that the toe is not straight. What I want now is not to have any damage to the foot so that it heals properly.

I am sure that it is this acceptance that the toe might not be straight which allowed the possibility that it could be straight (if that makes any sense). Without acceptance of whatever situation we find ourselves in, nothing can shift. Acceptance does not mean that I like or agree with the toe not being straight. It doesn't mean this. It means that I can accept which means that I won't resist the possibility that the toe will not be straight. The first criteria for any situation shifting is to accept what IS the way it IS. For too many the present situation is met with resistance and non acceptance. This serves only to strengthen the resistance which make acceptance and hence a shift more difficult. I stress again that acceptance does not mean that you have to like or even want a current situation, just to accept that this is the way it is. There is huge power in that level of acceptance.

I was a little apprehensive when the doctor began to peel off the bandage. I'm a bit squeamish at the best of times and the last thing I wanted to do was faint. How lightweight would that have been. Before I went to the hospital I remembered my possibility of fun and freedom and brought that into being from the minute I woke up and got myself ready to go. It made such a difference to the whole hospital experience. My God-father brought me to the hospital but couldn't stay with me. It was strange how it was he who brought me because we haven't spoken for months. All of my friends were working and couldn't take time off to take me and stay with me and because it would have been my first trip outside since the operation I felt a little unsure to go by myself.

When I woke up yesterday morning my authoritative voice said 'call Jimmy Burke'. This is my inner voice, no narrative, or nice words for why I should call him, just an instruction. I immediately went 'no', I'm not calling him, he had no right to say what he said to me so many months ago' but still the voice persisted 'call Jimmy'. So I did. I said I was sorry for the way we had left the conversation last time and I listened without feeling the need to defend myself against the pent up anger he still had for me after the last time we spoke.

At the end of the conversation he agreed to take me to the hospital. After the phone call I felt great relief. On the spiritual journey there can be no energy blocked or trapped in carrying on old grudges. From time to time I had thought about my God-father but always with the attitude of being in the right. When the instruction came from my inner voice to call him, it was an instruction to me to free up the energy which had been blocked by me continuing to resent what he had said to me.

The energy between us when he turned up this morning to collect me was different. He was still the same but I was totally and completely able to accept it. Even when he said that the hospital where I had my operation done had a bad reputation and I should have gone somewhere else, I had complete freedom and ease with it. In the past it is a comment like that, that would have sent me over the top. I would have accused him of being negative but this time there was none of that.

I hopped into the outpatients department and immediately made eye contact with this good looking guy who was sitting with a bandaged ankle. Remembering my possibility of fun and freedom I smiled and gestured to his foot with my crutch. Then I hopped up to the receptionist and said who I was. I was told to take a seat. There was no seat beside this guy so I hopped to one behind and he looked back and smiled. Then my name was called. This is unbelievable, it wasn't even my appointment time and there were others there before me. Surprised I picked up my crutches and hopped to the line for the treatment room. I recognised the voice of the lady who was in the treatment room. It was the woman who was in the next bed to me on the ward when I had my operation who I thought had a perfectly straight toe. She was talking about being in all kinds of pain. I couldn't believe it when she was then wheeled out of the treatment room in a wheelchair! She looked so pale and gaunt. We exchanged pleasantries and then it was my turn.

When the bandage came off the sight was not pleasant. I have a long scar running down from the top of my toe where they cut the bone. The wound was re-dressed and I was shown how to use the crutches to begin to put the weight on the leg. This is good because it minimises the risk of me crashing down on the foot which is what used to happen when I hopped. I left the treatment room feeling so happy and grateful to the universe that I know is getting me through this.

After it was all over I thought I'll have a cup of tea in a cafe in the hospital that had a lovely view of the trees and read my book before ordering a cab home. The lady in the cafe was so nice and insisted in bringing the tea to my table. I began to read some more of the diaries of Etty Hillesum. I was struck by the first sentence I read which was on page 266. She says 'I think what weakens people most is fear of wasting their strength. If after a long and arduous process, day in, day out, you manage to to come to grips with your inner sources, with God, in short, and if only you make certain that your path to God is unblocked - which you can do by working on yourself - then you keep renewing yourself at these inner sources and need never again be afraid of wasting your strength'. I love her phrase 'path to God is unblocked' - that resonates so deeply with me. And again here the message is the same about working on yourself. There is no way to by-pass this first and all important stage of the spiritual journey.

I left this blog a while ago to get something to eat. In the kitchen there is a chair and I sit in it and put my foot on the lid of my bin to keep it elevated. The view that I have is gorgeous and I was sitting still and looking out and into my mind came the words 'Be still and know' and with that came such deep feelings of peace and contentment. These feelings seemed to well up from the deepest part of me. I felt so warm and comforted sitting there. I closed my eyes to meditate and how abrupt was the change. Immediately the mind became active with thoughts of this and that and then my telephone rang so that was the end of that. The contrast between what I feel when I communicate with nature and what happens when I meditate is confusing. How can one action result in such deep calm, peace, harmony, closeness to The One from whom, in whom and through whom everything happens. And the other result in agitation and turmoil. This is an intriguing question for me.

As I write this I am aware that I am tired and my foot is sore. I have pain, I am not pain. If I was pain then I could not see it as something separate. The fact that I can see the pain in my foot as something separate to me means that I cannot be my who am I? What or who is it that sees this pain as separate. This kind of thinking separates me from the pain so that it doesn't feel so intense. I can divorce myself from it.

I'm feeling an overwhelming tiredness now so I'm going for a nap......

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Day 3 hopping along, full of beans...

Last night I had a perfect nights sleep. Before sleeping my body underwent some violent shaking which I completely surrendered to. It starts gentle and then gets quite intense. Its power seems to start from the stomach. I notice that if I lie in a certain way and pull in my stomach muscles that I can now start this process by myself. However when I do this and stop it myself the jerking and trembling will begin again without my input. I feel sure that there is a connection between this and how well I have felt since having this operation. It will be interesting tomorrow when I return to the hospital and they tell me how well I am healing.

I am a little apprehensive also. When they wheeled me back to the ward, I looked down at my bandaged foot. I was disappointed to see that my toe was not completely straight. This was the whole purpose of this operation to have a straight toe. I noticed that the toe of the lady in the bed next to me was straight. Then I remembered my spiritual training that everything is complete whole and perfect and the way it is meant to be. However I could not resist saying to the surgeon when I saw him 'the toe is still not straight'. To which he replied 'it was straight when you left theatre'. I felt like saying 'well I haven't been dancing!' but this again would have been a retort from my ego and not the Soul.

The Soul makes known the concern but when met with a defensive response does not retaliate. In everything that happens in life and in every encounter with a person there is the opportunity for a spiritual lesson to be learned and as a result for the consciousness to expand. Every time I discipline the ego not to react defensively I create more calm and ease for myself. But this is a slow process. It doesn't happen over night. We live in a society where everything is instant. The expectation of the spiritual is that it is also instant but this far from the case.

The very nature of the process means that it cannot be instant. If it were instant the body and mind could not withstand the power of the force that is unleashed upon it. I will use the analogy of giving adult food to a baby. The baby has gradually to be given solid then adult food otherwise it is too much for the developing system. It is the same with humans and the spiritual. The baby food for the spiritual tends to come from religion which has its rules and rituals and introduces people to another dimension gently. For some the split will then be made from religion to spiritual and then the inner journey begins in earnest. This is both the beauty and frustration of this path. I know just how gradual the results are. I am also aware of the consequences that are likely to arise from forcing the process. The safest way to journey on the spiritual path is to plod slowly and steadily through the 3 stages of:

1. Knowing thyself
2. Knowing The Self
3. Knowing the One and to do this with child-like curiosity, faith and without attachment to the outcome. This desire without attachment is a difficult concept to understand. To want something more than anything else but to do the practices and training for the sake of doing them not because of wanting a certain result. Everything on this path must be unconditional, conditions kill the process. Conditions always involve the ego which is why they must be rooted out from the spiritual path.

The easiest way I can think of to explain this is when I travelled to India for three months in 1997 to track the life of the Buddha. I didn't admit it to myself but I was thinking 'if I make this huge sacrifice, leave my job and friends and everything that is familiar and go and do this then I am bound to be rewarded by being given deeper spiritual understandings and experiences'. I was bargaining yet I would not admit that to myself. My thinking was 'I'll do this, then you'll do that'. Again this YOU is my undefined 'SOMETHING.

I set off for India and completed my mission which included a 10 day silent meditation retreat in Bodhgaya where the Buddha became enlightened. When I returned to London I found to my disappointment that I had not progressed in my spiritual understandings. I didn't feel I was at any point on the mystical path. For a minute I felt betrayed by this force that I had made this bargain with. Then it dawned on me what I had done and I felt so full of remorse and shame that I would have bargained in this way. That was when I heard either a loud thought or an inner voice saying in its usual authoritative way 'give it up'. I took this to mean all of the spiritual activities I had been doing since I was 11. I listened and obeyed. I concluded that my bargaining resulted in me being kicked off the path and I had to learn my lesson. You never bargain with 'SOMETHING'. All and every approach to the Divine has to come from me, time and time again from me. It has to be made unconditionally, playfully and sincerely.

I found yesterday to be a long day. The pain in my foot was quite intense and the tablets I had been prescribed caused me to feel nauseous. This is no surprise because I never take a tablet so to suddenly be assaulting my body with very strong painkillers was going to be a shock. This morning though I managed to achieve that beautiful state between sleeping and waking where my consciousness seemed to expand to meet the leaves and the trees that I can see outside my window. I had no pain in my foot, nor a reminder that it was bandaged or in any way hurt. In this state I and everything was whole, complete and perfect.

Then when I woke up again some time later the mind became involved and suddenly I was aware of pain. But where was the pain when the mind wasn't involved, it wasn't there! That is why I believe that pain is a mental state and why I am not taking any pain killers today. It might be the natural state of healing but there really is no pain today.

My friend came around last night with some freshly cooked dinner and some other people called and it was a lovely evening. I consciously brought into being my wish for people leaving me to be happy and I think I pulled it off. I am not egotistical enough to think that I am can cause another to be happy. But every time we forget ourselves and enter fully and completely into the life of another this is felt by the other and uplifts. I have found this that if I am feeling down I will usually give £1 to a person who is homeless selling a magazine. The warmth and gratitude shown by them is enough to lift my mood completely.

The most powerful example of this I can retell is from when I worked one Christmas as a volunteer for CRISIS. This is a voluntary organisation that works with the homeless in London. I volunteered to work in their alcoholic shelter. When I was there I got to speak to a man who had been married but through a combination of the abuse of drinks and drugs had lost everything and was on the streets. He told me how he had been approached by a young girl one evening who was desperate for some drugs. He only had enough for himself but he was so moved by her that he gave her his supply. He said to me 'as I did this, I felt something move within me'.

He said that he went and got some more drugs but found that he couldn't take them and threw them into the Thames. One evening he was sitting in a doorway and this guy handed him a leaflet. Let's call the homeless guy Mark. Mark said 'it's no good giving that to me mate I can't read or write' The other guy said 'would you like to learn'. Mark said 'yes' and so for the next 11 months this guy travelled to London to teach Mark how to read and write. At the end of it he asked him to join what turned out to be some religious organisation. Mark said 'no, it doesn't feel right for me to do that'. Now he writes the most beautiful poetry about what life is like on the street.

The last I heard of him was that he was reading English literature in Cambridge. This brought home to me just how powerful the results are when you forget about yourself and enter into someone Else's world. I continue to be inspired by this true life story. That is why I never begrudge doing anything for another because I know that it will always come back to me and in ways that are more powerful than I have given it. This is a universal law that will work in the same way each and every time. Kindness and goodness to another is never left unrewarded.

I think I've exhausted my blog entry for now. I'm going to read some more of Etty Hillesum......It's so quiet and still in my environment as I write this. There is no activity on the road. I have hardly ever had a day off work so it all feels a bit weird and quiet.