Just as I was despairing of the naivety of a book about ‘ethical working’ as applied to todays’ world, I found out the very people I was talking to actually HAVE put it into practice.

The first dropped a job at TSB after she got fed up giving people loans that would do them no good at all, plus never seeing her children because of the working hours. Her family took a loss of £20k a year from her decision; she’s now involved in some kind of ministry plus doing a degree and looking after her kids herself (rather than paying a child-minder)

The second just upped and left his high paying estate-agent-type-job, his sports car, his house, his girl friend because he had ethical problems with the whole thing and just wasn’t happy. I’m not sure what he does now exactly.

The point is:
Neither earn nearly as money as they did.
Both are happier.

It can be done. And if everyone did, what then?

The path of Bliss(tm)

(or, what tantra is actually about)

the internet lies! or, at least oversimplifies what tantra means in a
buddhist sense. It’s not about improving your sex life at all, and the stuff that is just about ‘tantric sex’ is pretty much disconnected from the rest of buddhism : making it very questionably *any* sort of spiritual practice. (Although undoubtably still very fun.. ^_^ )

I do enjoy these buddhism classes, very interesting people
and, surprisingly enough, very ‘calming’.

I also get very powerful effects when I meditate at these places… I get to a point that feels almost like dreaming, i become aware of ALL the threads of thought, and underthought, and images : then somehow simulataneousy drop them altogether. Which results in a weird rush sensation, loss of connection/feeling to my body (especially legs), and probably a specific series of neurological events.

Sadly I invariably get so excited about this happening that I stop being calm and meditative. ^_^

So what is this tantra?
But, tantra is essentially a complementary and ‘higher’ (read: harder to understand) practice. It’s about getting your mind into a state of sort-of-bliss (REAL bliss ™ only happens when you’re an ‘enlightened being’).

One of the ways of doing this is really imagining that you are already a buddha and so is everybody else. Or through really really enjoying food, or music, or presumably sex to get to a change of mental state/bliss? (Reminds me of the ‘Cult of Ecstasy’ stuff Kay was showing me)

Being aware of ‘deep sleep’ mind
The point -is- that just acheiving a state of bliss is -not- the point.

In more sciencey terms, what you’re trying to do ultimately is, through meditation and various other stuff, get to a point when you can have your mind in the same state as it is when you’re in *deep sleep* (not REM sleep) and actually be *aware* of it.

If you can do this (and apparently its pretty blissful) then you should really take the oppurtunity to reflect on some of the really weird and powerful stuff, like ’emptiness’. There are some things which you can only really grasp by directly experiencing the truth of them…

((..this makes sense to me because emptiness corresponds quite highly to ’embodied mind/structural coupling’ : a philosophical idea that you just CAN’T understand or explain adequately in words and arguement. It seems that you either get it or you don’t, and if you get it then you can’t describe what it means.))

misconception: buddhism is not about becoming blissfully ignorant of harsh reality

It actually emphasises compassion to all other living beings to a greater extent, and in a more practical way, than any other belief system I’ve come across, including christianity.

The whole idea is to become an enlightened being; which means living in a state of no attachment, no delusion and hence no suffering. but this is only the first step because if you actually get this far (it can take many lives, apparently) then you really begin trying to help everyone else become enlightened.

So it’s not about just getting through this life to some ideal heaven. It’s about working to get all beings to a state of non-suffering…

I’m probably not doing it justice here, but it’s good to summarise my thoughts. I still can’t personally accept a religion as =the= correct idea, but I have learnt a lot of truly beneficial things from buddhist teachings.

I think there is something to be said for an approach of “this is how you can improve your life *NOW*” as opposed to “if you’re good, it will be better once you’re dead”.

Spiritual Sex ?

This morning I’m going to a buddhism class ‘Introduction to Tantra’. I’m not entirely sure what it is, which is why I decided to go! Apparently it’s “considered the most powerful and precious of buddha’s teachings.”

A quick search on the internet yields some information:

The approximate Sanskrit definition of “Tantra” is “web” or that union of opposites that, when united, become one with everything in the universe. So Tantric practice aims to unify the many and often apparently contradictory aspects of the self into a harmonious whole (e.g. masculine and feminine, spirit and matter, dark and light).

Many people who experience deep ecstatic sexual states liken these to transcendental spiritual experiences. They discover that the distinction between what is carnal and what is spiritual may not be as clear as they were taught. More

It sounds like my kind of thing. In fact it sounds like something I’ve begun to figure out, accomplished to a part-degree perhaps once, and never quite figured out how to do it again.

“Many of us have been fortunate enough to experience moments in love where all boundaries dissolve and we become one with our beloved and all of existence. Unfortunately these experiences are usually very short lived. Sex in Tantra aims to heighten and prolong the magical connection that develops between a man and a woman when they are lost in the ecstasy of love. We have not been trained in the skills required to expand that fleeting moment into a sustainable state.”

I’m still not sure if the entire thing is about sex though; maybe that’s just a good way of selling videos over the internet…

Whatever it’s about, if I come back ‘Enlightened’ in any way I’ll be sure to pass information on… 🙂

Ghost people in my head

I was idly musing about how it is that you build an impression of a person in you head, of whom you have never met.

I’m into book 3 of a rather hefty trilogy, and it’s got to the point where I’ve developed a real sense of some of the characters. I couldn’t describe their appearance, but despite this I have an fleeting-image in my head of what they look like. You feel like you -know- them. (I hope I was paying attention to any intial descriptions given by the author, the chances are that mine differ by something quite marked.)

I can’t help but feel good authors are tapping into some innate ability of minds to construct full people beyond the descriptions and plot given in the book.

The same thing happens, after a while, reading people’s LJs. (Or even the more involving philosophies) I’ve dreamt about meeting people I’ve never seen, which fascinates me. Somehow I’ve attached a unique visual to an impression.

hmm.. there’s no real point to this, other than a happy frustration to be unable to express what I mean and a sense of kudos to those writers who can.

Annihilation of preconceptions..ideas…gender..?

I’d just like to thank all people for all the interesting comments on my last few entries. It’s had the beneficial and refreshing effect of destroying all my vague preconceptions and allowing me to start again.

I’ve started some reading into various Gaia/God theories… I didn’t realise this but the original ‘gaia hypothesis’ was purely scientific!

Something about eco-feminism annoys me, and I think it’s to do with the idea that there’s something inherent in women that allows them to be all nurturing/creative/life-giving and such, and something inherent in men which doesn’t allow for this.

I think that perhaps there is no such thing as gender defined outside of culture…. or perhaps more I think that what counts as ‘male gender’ and ‘female gender’ is defined more by culture and society than by physical biology. (as contemporary evolutionary psychologists would suggest)

I think that there is no real reason that just because there are two physical sexes (or maybe 3..?) then there are two genders. And that maybe this concept of either being successful psychologically ‘Male’ OR ‘Female’ is more of the problem than ‘domination of women in patriachal society’. I see emotional men who want to nurture their children, I see women who want to be independent, cold and use others as sex-objects.

I think that probably I’ll change my mind about all that in a week’s time, but it’s always good to have at least -some- working hypothesis… 🙂

But more on this train of thought later. Back to the realms of unambiguous debugging of my program..

Pride and Jealousy

You don’t have to be a stuck-up aristocrat or a insanely jealous person to feel these.

Pride is looking at your good qualities or abilities and exaggerating them. It’s okay to feel proud of something you’ve done, but not when you feel this makes you somehow superior to other people. You can also feel proud of an attribute you don’t in reality posess.

Jealousy is feeling displeasure at somebody else’s good attributes, good fortune or basically them being happy.

Nothing good comes from feeling either of these things. Pride can be like sticking yourself up on a false pedestal with no real foundation, and when that gets blown from under you, and you fall, it hurts. Pride, I’ve found, can lead to jealousy too. Both can lead to anger. (anger leads to hate, hate leads to the Dark Side.. ^_^)

Jealousy, which can be pretty subtle at times, doesn’t do anything useful. It’s pointless. It’s not even constructive. Feel jealous at someone wealthy, say, and its not so much that it inspires you to obtain that wealth : more you actually want -them- to -not- be wealthy.

The buddhism classes I’ve been popping into for the last few weeks have been all about pride and jealousy, and how to try and counteract or reduce them for the benefit of yourself and the people who have to put up with you 🙂 Good tips, and I’ll be trying to put them into practice.

So far, I can think of all kinds of things I feel jealous about, it’s an obvious emotion and its not very nice. The stupid thing is I feel jealous at, say, someone looking really attractive : but I don’t feel that looks are that important or that I’m such a shallow person. I feel jealous at people who can draw better than I can, while at the same time admiring their work.

Pride is a much harder feeling to pin point. I can see how pride can come about as a defence-mechanism of some kind… not fitting in with the majority of girls at my school, I set myself up as somehow superior or above their activities…. something which starts off as a self-confidence boost lingers around like a cloud of fog that at the end of the day only serves to alienate perhaps. Pride is hard because you have to really look at yourself. Without feeling proud.(!)

But.. I’ve already stumbled on one big thing. For some time I’ve felt above Zak; after all, I’m at university. I didn’t screw up my exams. I’m just a great person and he couldn’t do any better than me if he wanted to. He couldn’t -get- anyone else.
What I realised at the weekend was that really those things don’t make me great, that there are people more attractive. That he’s out clubbing in Reading, full of hormones and male urges to put them into use… attractive girls smacking his bum and flirting with a place where he -could- get away with something because I’d never find out…. and he doesn’t..he says he’d feel so guilty..that he doesn’t want to..that he just thinks of me..

By ignoring my pride, by not just taking-it-as-read that he only is with me because he couldn’t get anyone else, I came to find out about something that made me feel really special. He is genuine guy, honest, caring. I’m not the best but yet he chooses to care for me. I felt really touched.

I still have a lot of work to do..

Wolf stuff

I’m coming to the gradual conclusion that the part of me I refer to as ‘wolf’ (for reasons beyond me) reflects a simple me without many of the delusions of my everyday human existence. When I’m in that state more it feels closer to clear water than the usual cloudy murky muddy mixture. I feel what i take to be genuine compassion, at least for those i know. Jealousy and pride are defunct concepts because if someone is higher than me i can see, and accept, and feel no problem with where i am.
But I’m overexplaining.. the basic thing is i feel simple. I feel real. I feel alive.
There are problems, confusions, strange reality perturbations because human-society as a whole does not operate on the lines I’m expecting: and I misread some complex (or perhaps perfidious) human actions often to disasterous consquences… I feel inappropriate desires and needs for a person living in the mostly individual-orientated society here.

I’m rambling now. But the thought sometimes rises in my mind : the wolf is not the delusion, not the aspect which makes me unhappy; these come more from the complexities and hates and complications and jealousies of the rest of my life.

its all in the mind (or at least the microtubules)

Does anyone anywhere ACTUALLY understand, as in honestly, truly understand anything that Penrose[1] says?

If they do, I’d love to meet them! 🙂

[1](Penrose being the philosopher(?) who thinks consciousness comes from quantum collapses going on in the microtubules of neurones)

What I can understand sounds like a very contrived and deliberatly difficult theory from someone who really, REALLY wants a reductionist-biological-new-physics explanation of consciousness.

All we are is god’s ejaculate

(or, is the universe just a load of wank?)

I think my theology essay will be about why, if you want to see god as a being at ALL, it needs to be more than a totally male (or totally female) deity.

“if a solitary male god created the universe all by himself, does that mean the world is the result of no more than some kind of metaphysical masturbation? Are human kind just a speck of god’s ejaculate? because it’s hard to see how we could be anything more without a female counterpart” (my first rather tongue-in-cheek thoughts)

don’t get me wrong, I don’t think you NEED to believe in a ‘god-being’ at ALL. But I’m looking at how christianity should be reworked to be less patriachal, more ‘eco-feminist’ etcetc

I think that a ‘being’ god is probably a good metaphor for understanding something. People tend to anthropormphise computers, cars, anything we have a relationship with really. We do have a relationship of some-kind with the universe…. even Taoism has occurances of ‘divine beings’, gods appearing every so often, immortals and otherwise anthropomorphic metaphors.

But if you’re going to have a “being”, and you insist in there being “only one”, then it needs to have strong masculine AND feminine characteristics. It doesn’t have to be harmonious either.

the point
I need to find out about goddess worship or matriachial religions, and compare differences (if there are any) with male-dominated ones. Does anyone know of any I can start with??

Did amazons actually exist? Do pagans believe only in a goddess or just chose to see it that way?? (excuse terrible ignorance)