Is Trump 1%?

Posted: 20/08/2017 in Democracy, Struggle
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One of the many lies that Trump put out was that he financed his own campaign. here is how the 1% got their candidate into the White House from The Real News

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.

A Good Experience

Posted: 18/08/2017 in Buddhadasa, Freedom, Meditation
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I was drowsy last night – in and out of dozing so went to bed early. As to be expected there wasn’t sleep, and I began thinking about detachment from the 5 khandas. This has followed from this Santikaro talk on Ajaan Buddhadasa that, simplified, talks of 4 systems:-

Body
Psyche
Self
Emptiness

At the crux of the first 3 systems are the 5 khandas – discussed in part here. I want to look more at the Psyche and Self systems, and I want to bear in mind the visualisation talked of in the same blogpost. It is most interesting to me why Buddhadasa wanted to choose the word psyche as opposed to mind, and again for me it has an implication that mind is more than psyche.

Before I go on I consider myself Buddhist but much of this is personal. OK I am bouncing off a talk about Ajaan Buddhadasa, a key Buddhist in Thailand – if not mainstream, but I have no suttas or related dogma to back this up. If I thought I was wrong I would not be writing this but it is not mainstream Buddhism – I think.

Let me return to the term “psyche”. I believe Buddhadasa chose the term psyche because it is concerned with the 3 khandas, vedana – feeling, sanna – perception, and sankhara – formations and proliferations. But it is also concerned with that part of consciousness – vinnana (the 5th khanda) which enables us to experience the 4 other khandas of rupa – body, vedana – feeling, sanna – perception, and sankhara – formations and proliferations. But there is a part of vinnana that is more than just consciousness of the other khandas, a part of mind that is more than psyche.

Now how does this relate to self? Anatta, no-self, is a Buddhist tenet, but how can there be no ego, no self? This is where the khandas come in. When you examine the function of ego or self and compare it to the 5 khandas there is no difference, there is no functioning of I that is not a function of the khandas. A human functions as the 5 khandas. So where does I come in? As part of vinnana. There is that part of vinnana which enables the 4 other khandas to experience but through our conditioning we say that I experienced – I felt, I perceived, I thought. But it goes further than this – I become attached to the feeling, I become attached to the perception, and I become attached to the thoughts. These attachments start to build up the I, then through desire we indulge the feelings, through desire we remember and focus on the perceptions, and through desire we concoct proliferations and theories and reasons and theories and reasons and theories and reasons and theories and reasons and theories and reasons and theories and reasons and theories and reasons ….. And this becomes the I that is our ego – our self.

But if we detach from the desire, detach from the excesses, let the feelings, perceptions and thoughts happen without attachment we have the normal functioning of the khandas – and no self.

Let me recap simply the visualisation. In this I was trying to detach from conditioning – detach from the khandas, and once detached there was a part of mind that enabled me to relate to sunnata.

So this brings me to last night. I eventually slept trying to detach from the 5 khandas. I woke up early, and began thinking of vinnana. It was vinnana that transcends, it is a part of vinnana that transcends – that is meant to transcend. By transcending I mean beyond conditioning, that it is part of vinnana that detaches from the conditioning, detaches from the khandas, detaches from the self, and moves to relate to sunnata.

At this point consciousness started to lift from the base of my stomach and move up the body and towards the top of my head – crown chakra. It was a great feeling as this heaviness in my stomach became lighter and lighter as it moved towards the crown. With it came a great sense of freedom. I enjoyed it for a while, consolidated thoughts on vinnana and slept again- too much!

Fascinating – a good experience!!

I need the 5 Gateways people to do some effusion for me! And to counter my framework crit of 5 Gateways Ascension theory, I could be just fitting the experience to the theory – a Buddhadasa 4-system moment. Of course there is no answer to such except .

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.

Charlottesville – the end?

Posted: 16/08/2017 in Freedom, Struggle
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This was the most public face of white supremacy since the Trump administration, and in it a protester was murdered. This was a flashpoint that was intentionally uncontrolled, where were the police and military to manage such an obvious clash? For Trump it gave him an opportunity to publicly support white supremacy.

The question with regards to Trump has always been “when will the good people stop supporting him?” When will the white working people who have lost their jobs stop supporting him?

His appeal to these people was that

a) He was against the 1%
b) He would drain the swamp
c) He was against war
d) He would bring back jobs
e) He would make America great again
f) He would make some racism respectable
g) He was anti-Liberal.
h) He was not Hillary.

It appears that d) is working and he has some jobs, this cannot be minimalised. If he gives people jobs, all else could well be forgiven.

But are these people with jobs so selfish they can accept the public spectacle of Charlottesville?

His appointments have meant that the 1% of Wall Street are able through the Goldman Sachs picks to cement their revolving door policies.

His attitude to war has only cemented white supremacy. Bombing Syria, decimating Yemen, MOAB in Afghanistan, confronting North Korea, and creating war in Venezuela. This is an escalation of war – not against war. In the eyes of white supremacy his posturing has made America great again, in the eyes of most people America has just become bellicose.

The good people voting for Trump are just voting to legitimise white supremacy, Charlottesville has just made this apparent. Charlottesville is no accident, it was predictable – it was only a matter of where and when.

I have discussed with a deluded Trump supporter. His attitude was give Trump time. He did not know the Republicans were blocking changes in health care, he did not see the war escalation as mattering. Will Charlottesville matter to him? I doubt it, he is too arrogant and white, and he has been so indoctrinated in his choice of media that he does not know what is happening. He is still a Trump fool.

He is a good man. He will help his neighbours, he is civil to people of colour. But he is a deluded Trump fool, and his arrogance makes him unwilling to change – failure to admit he is wrong??

Following the Trump election radical politics had to question itself. In my own case I produced the Unity Platform, and I learnt about animosity to Liberals – PC police, and how my left-wing radicalism had been lost in the myriad right-wing propaganda – merged with these Liberals. With all that the 1% is doing behind the scenes, this blogpost echoed by Michael Moore, work needs to be done now to remove Trump but this can only happen when the deluded fools see they are promoting white supremacy – and hopefully that matters to them. I know I have worked to understand the changing land but in this recent discussion (mentioned above) my changes were simply met with entrenched position and ignorance – and an arrogance that they were right all along. Left-wing radicalism has to be 99% but it is these fools who have to change. Left-wing radicals can reject the PC-Liberals but there is no room for war and white supremacy. Right-wing populism has to distance itself from the deplorables before there can be 99%, this is not an unreasonable demand.

Unfortunately the deluded fools are unwilling to do that.

And the Democrat party has done nothing but promote Trump. Hillary has not been rejected. Identity politics continues to promote her when for example promoting a woman per se promoted Thatcher. Nothing from the Democrats since the election could signal that white people would be able to find work.

And the Liberal bleating in the media makes me sick because all it is is confrontation and mockery – divisive. To them there is a 99% if we all go to Liberal wine and cheese parties or have brunch. They just carry on bleating that they are correct, and continue the alienation of Trump supporters. They bleat but offer no change. Their bleating is still supporting Hillary. Their bleating is not about war, it is not about wage slavery. It is bleating about a lifestyle that they want, where they have their money and houses, where they can attack Trump and his white supremacists. But their bleating is not about the source of the problem because they benefit from the source – the source is allowing the Liberals their lifestyle. Their ineptitude and reformist greed also contributed to Charlottesville.

What is to be done?

We are the 99% but that cannot mean white supremacy, cowtowing to right-wing intellectuals to oust Trump is self-defeating. Unfortunately we have to live with the consequences, and they could be dire.

They future is bleak whilst good Trump supporters remain arrogant – and whilst Liberals continue to posture.

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.

This is my 3rd blog on 5 Gateways movie.

It is strange how things happen. I got into discussion with an ex-student – communication friend, and amongst the first things I discussed was what I consider my awakening – nothing as arrogant as an awakening as a Buddha but an awakening. At one point I was sent a fascinating Anonymous clip much of which I agree with, and all I could see was a lack of joy. How could this Anonymous guy say all this without joy?

That took me to the 5 Gateways movie where there is joy, and this elicited tears from someone watching it. I have watched (and slept) with this film a number of times, and feel good about it (proviso (s)).

I have to react to the following. Here are the movie’s initiation stages:- Awakening, Realignment, Transfiguration, Enlightenment, Resurrection. Given all of this what does it mean to me?

Whenever I start questioning myself, it usually means I have been complacent, and complacency usually means less meditation. This is true. My first reaction is to offer my ageing body as an excuse, but whilst it requires more time it is not an excuse – except occasionally.

I am at peace. Whilst I continue to offer my limited dhamma online there is little feedback – perhaps I have been too willing to accept this. This last year writing has blossomed with there being 2 Wai Zandtao books completed and a third half way through. Same issue as my online Dhamma – it is not being read. I am willing to accept this too. I would like to see ever y thing distributed, but am unwilling to pay the publishers’ price for doing that – if I were ever to seek one interested. I have done enough work, and am at peace. But having said that, I have some interest in seeing if there are benefits in helping distribution.

In the movie I love all the effusion about nature, I don’t do effusion. Maybe I should. But nature and I are close now with the house and the sea and the walking – and the birds that want my bananas but run from me. And my tokey friends. Close without effusion.

It is only now that I thought of Ascension as western and I amended the framework blog accordingly. That east-west dilemma has been something I have never been comfortable with, maybe it is just east and west together that we should think about. Eastern religion regularly sends emissaries because they see what is missing. To me what is missing in the West is tradition, the strength that tradition gives you, countering the risks of ego that exist without tradition around you. But the eastern institution can bury the rapture especially if the institutional “experts” have not experienced the rapture.

There is a need to detach from rapture but being detached does not mean not evaluating the rapture for the importance of what it is. And when people ask the dogma which of the jhanas is happening, do the institutions have the answer? Maybe they do, that is for them to answer, but per se an institution does not as an institution does not have experience. Buddhism has the tradition and there are individuals within the tradition to help. It is up to you how you go and look. A question just struck me, can a person be a true Buddhist without having experienced the rapture?

The most important thing about the Buddhism is its focus, it has taught me to focus on what people can control and not to try to get into areas where humans can only speculate. This is the danger of rapture (piti) – trying to control it. Is rapture a goal? I do have to say that at times when I was writing I did try to experience both sides of the muse – the writing and the presence that accompanied it; but it was never presence alone. Never a goal.

Ajaan Buddhadasa’s 4 systems do not seek rapture (see this talk):-

Body
Psyche
Self
Emptiness

Link these systems with the teachings concerning khandas (aggregates). The body and psyche systems are primarily concerned with khandas. We have to have an appropriate relationship with the 5 khandas – not attaching to them. If we don’t attach to them then effectively we have removed the “I and mine from the 5 khandas” (another Buddhadasa phrase), and there is an appropriate lack of ego (or self system) that enables us to relate to sunnata. I am not able to define this but this relationship with sunnata is what connects us to piti but the objective is not piti but sunnata. But we cannot experience sunnata we can experience piti, and we can only experience piti if we have established the conditions of the first three systems. And ironically those conditions are lack of conditioning. In the West that conditioning is oppressive and leads to rapturous experiences as discussed in 5 Gateways. I believe Hindus discuss such rapture as well (see Jim Carrey), but I don’t know Hindu except what is in Buddhism but am not sure of the distinction.

But the conditioning discussed in Buddhism is the same but different – what an appalling sentence. In the West conditioning tends to be discussed as social conditioning – almost indoctrination. It is almost seen as the outer imposing on the inner, and these external factors are considered as education, parents, community, society etc. Whereas the conditioning discussed in Buddhism comes from how we experience the 5 khandas through dependent co-arising, much more of an inner focus.

I often talk of “moving beyond” conditioning but this is not something we control. What we control is removing conditioning, by removing conditioning we open ourselves up to being the emptiness system – open ourselves up to a relationship with sunnata. This phraseology is so dangerous. What is sunnata – emptiness? It is the emptiness that is full, what does that mean? We cannot explain it, yet there is an emptiness system and a meaningful relationship with that system but one that cannot be explained. I said once that during meditation I breathe in emptiness, what does that mean? But doing it helped. Relationship with emptiness or an emptiness system is so fraught with danger.

Is the approach to conditioning helpful in considering rapture? I expand on this without answering. Does western conditioning with its type of oppressive approach encourage rapture when breaking out of the conditioning?

In meditation I worked on a visualisation that might help. To use this visualisation we must first know the 5 khandas:- rupa(body), vedana (feeling), sanna (perceptions/memory), sankhara (mental formations/concocting or proliferations), vinnana (consciousness). Basically Buddhadasa’s first three systems are concerned with understanding the khandas. He uses the word psyche as covering the 4 mental khandas of vedana, sanna, sankhara and vinnana, and it is my understanding that there is an aspect of mind that is more than these as can be seen by the visualisation.

The first 3 systems are basically covered by the Buddhadasa purpose of Buddhism:- “To remove the I and mine from the 5 Khandas”. The visualisation is based on the seeking of harmony of the first three systems enabling the freed mind to relate to the emptiness system.

The body has to function. It requires healthy food – ideally organic plant-based, any necessary medicine – hopefully natural/herbal, and it requires exercise both physical and energetic, and if done harmoniously rupa is a happy system ready for sunnata. Lack of harmony can be caused by indulging in unhealthy food for taste’s sake, partaking of drugs, and indulging in excessive exercise perhaps for reasons of “body beautiful” etc.

The 4 mental khandas are concerned with harmony of the mind, this perhaps is better understood as non-attachment. The easiest to explain in this way is sankhara. In this world the mind has certain functioning such as reasoning, the mind must apprehend theories in order to understand them (and reject them?). This is a sankhara function. But if we attach to theories, concoct theories, let the mind proliferate here there and everywhere, this is the ego attaching to sankhara and is evidenced in academia (Buddhist and otherwise). Why does academia not have a functioning approach to mind when all people have to do is look inside? Because of sankhara. There is a harmonious relationship with sankhara where the ego is not attached. Similarly there is a harmonious approach to the other three khandas whose functions are harmonious if the ego is not attached to them.

If there is harmony and non-attachment to the 5 khandas, then the body and psyche systems are ready. And of these systems are ready the self system is also likely to be in harmony. In Buddhism there is anatta – no self. There is no function of I and mine that is not covered by the 5 khandas. I grows out of the 5 khandas. If we attach to emotions, memories and theories saying this is who we are, we are attaching to the 5 khandas. Over time this attachment becomes our personalities – I. Letting go of attachment to I, to the 5 khandas, leaves the mind free. Letting go of conditioning leaves the mind free.

And here is where the visualisation comes in. With the 5 khandas in harmony, the body’s food and exercise having been dealt with, the psyche functioning also being in harmony with no attachment to the khandas, no attachment to I, the mind (the rest of the mind that is not psyche) is free. Visualise the mind being free from the khandas, free from I, and that min can expand and soar. That mind can be open to breathing in sunnata, that mind can soar into Unity, that mind can feel unconditional love. It is this freed mind that experiences rapture once mind as a whole is free from conditioning, free from khandas, free from I.

I contend that it is this mind freed from conditioning that experienced during the 5 Gateways, and it is the soul that “ascended”. Mind free from conditioning can experience.

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.

The Trump Focus

Posted: 12/08/2017 in Democracy, ONE planet, Struggle, War
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I just watched a pulp movie “Focus” with Will Smith. There was a scene in which he explained how he got the attention of the victim’s focus whilst away from focus crime was committed. There is an often-quoted British maxim that the Royals hit the front page when the government is struggling. Focus!

If we examine Trump’s presidency we see a man whose façade is that of incompetence. There is no consistency when we compare what he says to what he does. His supporters hear that Trump will not expand wars yet in the Middle East there has been increased meddling, a MOAB in Afghanistan, and now bellowing at a minnow in North Korea. He was “draining the swamp” by employing Goldman Sachs in his cabinet. No consistency.

The Liberal media have lambasted his inconsistency, and his complete disregard for the normal respect for such office has fueled much derision. The Russia scandal has also got the media hopping, and there is much focus on Russia. And Obamacare????

So the question is “what is really going on?” Common Dreams put out this piece, and I wished that was all that was being done. Previously Wall Street SEC fines have been reduced by 2/3 – lost the reference. Reduced taxes for the rich are coming.

But “is this all that is going on?” I don’t think the above articles are beginning to scratch the surface of what is being done behind the scenes. It is quite clear the 1% were pushing for Trump from at least mid-year. From the point of view of governance it could easily be seen that he is a disaster area; they knew this. They also have control of the media, and could control that there would be a Liberal feeding frenzy once he was in office – the Focus.

“What is being done?”

It will be years before the effects of Trump have worn off, years ….

And meanwhile how is the opposition lining up? These stupid Liberals can’t come together and recognise that their neoliberalism is how Trump got in in the first place. With such people fighting for us we have no chance.

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.

Framework?

Posted: 05/08/2017 in Buddhadasa, ONE planet
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It was difficult for me to write about 5 Gateways, I don’t want to discourage people who are interested in 5 Gateways from going to them. But I don’t like frameworks.

For many of you (many on my blog?), looking at Buddhism you have got to see a huge proliferation of frameworks – it’s not worth listing them there are so many. And there are as many Buddhist traditions as there are Gateways. But it is my view that the Kalama sutta says that we should not hold to theoretical systems unless we have experienced them. Yesterday I mentioned Ajaan Buddhadasa. In a talk given by Santikaro (recognised as being a westerner close to Tan Ajaan), he described 4 samatthas (right systems) that Ajaan Buddhadasa focused on on his last mindful birthday:-

Body system
Psychic system
Self system
Emptiness system

I actually like this, if I think about these I feel it helps my understanding. But if you don’t that’s fine, that is the Kalama point to me.

And that’s my point about the 5 Gateways. If the 5 Gateways or initiations :-

Awakening
Realignment
Transfiguration
Crucifixion
Resurrection

if these Gateways work for you then use them. But trying to squeeze into them is the danger I am concerned about. What is valid is your experience, whatever happened to you that is what is valid, that is your strength.

But having said that, even that is not true. There are people who are stuck because they had such an experience and have never moved on. They try to recreate the experience because it was so meaningful, so powerful. I tend to think of these experiences as nature’s rewards for your progress on the Path, if you are following the Path then these rewards, wonderful experiences, happen. But if you become hooked on the experience and become an experience-junkie there is no satisfaction or peace – and no progress on the Path.

However it is worth considering the following:-

  • Ascension is western
  • I relate to the movie because the repressive conditioning I grew up with blew up into an awakening after hitting bottom. When I examine Buddhism I do not find discussion of oppressive conditioning, and a resulting awakening. Yes Buddhism talks of all the things including awakening but it seems as a gradual transition, awakening is maybe more “integrated” into eastern upbringing. It is hard to work out because of the institutional nature of much of Buddhism in the east and it is hard to judge an upbringing that is not your own. But there is a western thing when awakening happens or even before – “Go east”. And it is there in the east in Buddhism (and elsewhere) if not in the institutions – by the vary nature of institutions. Even though I ask questions about frameworks, Ascension has elements of western experience not found in Buddhism. Interesting.

    Below is how the Buddha described these experiences as jhanas, complicated? I have seen within forums people forlornly asking “did I experience a jhana?” I see people trying to squeeze into this jhana framework. I also see the experience of rapture being played down in Buddhism – non-attachment. Whilst I understand this I also understand the desire to celebrate the experience. This is a dilemma, attach to the experience or play it down as if detached. These are the negatives of the dilemma, there is a need for genuine equanimity – upekkha.

    I don’t know whether the people in the movie are attached or not, that is for them to decide. My strategy in recommending the movie is to encourage people to celebrate their experiences (and to cover myself I should say in a detached way). I have no doubts at all that I have overly-detached, and allowed time to forget the rapture. When I was younger (30s and 40s) such rapture was sporadic. Then I meditated daily and the highs of such rapture disappeared. But overall I felt better, no rollercoaster just peace – mostly.

    Am I being clear about fitting the framework? Let me try by example.

    Clip 20.36 – 23.32. Here Chris and Lesley describe experiences that have happened to them, these experiences don’t just happen to them they happen to many. But at the end Chris says it is his “Gateway 1 experience”, he fitted it into his Ascension framework. For me the descriptions of the experiences could equally have been described as rapture or jhanas. Or they could have just been described – that is why I recommend the film – for the description.

    When I hit bottom there was a mega-awakening from all the conditioning that had turned me into an arrogant academic focused on the system. I went back to London, took a job for money, realigned myself into a focus towards the Path, this realignment pushed me to child care and teaching, I had lost my ego and become this new compassionate person. This was the drastic one, the one that was obviously fitting into these Ascension categories. But as life went on there were further changes that could be described in this 5-stage process, and will be continued to be described in this way; this repetition was alluded to in the movie. The Buddha describes this as letting go of the ego leading to anatta, that is the emptiness that Ajaan Buddhadasa encourages. It is the experience not the framework, we don’t have to fit into a theory UNLESS that theory is where you are at. If theory and practice are together – great.

    It could just be that I have not reached the stages as described in the movie, I can’t be definitive about that – nor would I want to be. For me it matters not, but if you feel pressured to adhere to the framework it matters, that concerns me. For me measuring up to the framework doesn’t matter. If you relate to the experiences in the movie but don’t measure up to the framework, does that matter? That is for you to answer.

    Because they believe in the Ascension framework they will measure themselves against it, that is their choice. Because you have these experiences you don’t have to measure yourself by the same framework. BUT if it helps you do it.

    There is other stuff out there but not so many good movies. Enjoy, learn and feel reinforced.

    *************************

    jhána: ‘absorption’ (meditation) refers chiefly to the four meditative absorptions of the fine-material sphere (rúpa-jjhána or rúpávacara-jjhána; s. avacara). They are achieved through the attainment of full (or attainment -, or ecstatic) concentration (appaná, s. samádhi), during which there is a complete, though temporary, suspension of fivefold sense-activity and of the 5 hindrances (s. nívarana). The state of consciousness, however, is one of full alertness and lucidity. This high degree of concentration is generally developed by the practice of one of the 40 subjects of tranquillity meditation (samatha-kammatthána; s. bhávaná). Often also the 4 immaterial spheres (arúpáyatana) are called absorptions of the immaterial sphere (arúpa-jjhána or arúpávacara-jjhána). The stereotype text, often met with in the Suttas, runs as follows:
    (1) “Detached from sensual objects, o monks, detached from unwholesome consciousness, attached with thought-conception (vitakka) and discursive thinking (vicára), born of detachment (vivekaja) and filled with rapture (píti) and joy (sukha) he enters the first absorption.
    (2) “After the subsiding of thought-conception and discursive thinking, and by gaining inner tranquillity and oneness of mind, he enters into a state free from thought-conception and discursive thinking, the second absorption, which is born of concentration (samádhi), and filled with rapture (píti) and joy (sukha).
    (3) “After the fading away of rapture he dwells in equanimity, mindful, clearly conscious; and he experiences in his person that feeling of which the Noble Ones say, ‘Happy lives the man of equanimity and attentive mind’; thus he enters the 3rd absorption.
    (4) “After having given up pleasure and pain, and through the disappearance of previous joy and grief, he enters into a state beyond pleasure and pain, into the 4th absorption, which is purified by equanimity (upekkhá) and mindfulness.
    (5) “Through the total overcoming of the perceptions of matter, however, and through the vanishing of sense-reactions and the non-attention to the perceptions of variety, with the idea, ‘Boundless is space’, he reaches the sphere of boundless space (ákásánañcáyatana) and abides therein.
    [“By ‘perceptions of matter’ (rúpa-saññá) are meant the absorptions of the fine-material sphere, as well as those objects themselves . . . ” (Vis.M. X, 1).
    “By ‘perceptions of sense-reactions’ (patigha-saññá) are meant those perceptions that have arisen due to the impact of sense-organs (eye, etc.) and the sense-objects (visible objects, etc.). They are a name for the perception of visible objects, as it is said (Jhána-Vibh . ): ‘What are here the perceptions of sense-reactions? They are the perceptions of visible objects, sounds, etc.’ – Surely, they do no longer exist even for one who has entered the 1st absorption, etc., for at such a time the five-sense consciousness is no longer functioning. Nevertheless, this is to be understood as having been said in praise of this immaterial absorption, in order to incite the striving for it” (Vis.M. X, 16).
    “Perceptions of variety (ñánatta-saññá) are the perceptions that arise in various fields, or the various perceptions” (ib.). Hereby, according to Vis.M. X, 20, are meant the multiform perceptions outside the absorptions.]
    (6) “Through the total overcoming of the sphere of boundless space, and with the idea ‘Boundless is consciousness’, he reaches the sphere of boundless consciousness (viññánañcáyatana) and abides therein.
    (7) “Through the total overcoming of the sphere of boundless consciousness, and with the idea ‘Nothing is there’, he reaches the sphere of nothingness (ákiñcaññáyatana) and abides therein.
    (8) “Through the total overcoming of the sphere of nothingness he reaches the sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception (nevasaññá-n’asaññáyatana) and abides therein.”

    Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

    Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.

    5 Gateways is a wonderful movie from these people. If you want a movie that talks about finding the Path this is it. Most importantly when you first find the Path you need to find people who have shared experience. For me after hitting bottom it was the people at the Arts Centre – to whom I will always be grateful and to whom I am so sad we have lost touch only 42 years ago!!

    Why is this movie so important? If you start on the Path, hitting bottom or otherwise, you need shared experience. This world will negate everything you are going through. Finding the greatest thing you could possibly find will be negated by family, friends and establishment authority because they have not experienced it. If you watch this movie then you can feel what these people feel, and your experience is reinforced. That is wonderful.

    Now to the downside. These people have explained their shared experience through Ascension. Do you know if Ascension is true? For the makers of this movie Ascension is true. If you watch this movie after hitting bottom – in that or any other vulnerable position – you might well be attracted to their Ascension framework. I don’t know whether Ascension is true, and if I don’t know something is true I don’t go there. This movie has tremendous shared experience that helps in the alone situation people on the Path can find themselves, this movie can alleviate at such times but it is a danger at a time of vulnerability.

    I am not saying Ascension is not true, I am saying I don’t know whether it is true. I have chosen a different Path – Buddhism. In Buddhism there is a lot of dogma, and over the years I have whittled down the dogma so that I have a Buddhism I am comfortable with – but many might not see it as Buddhism. BZBuddhism requires very little dogma – little more than the 4NT with a bit of help from Ajaan Buddhadasa. But even then to understand Ajaan Buddhadasa requires going beyond a great deal of dogma because he was such a dedicated scholar; dogma that in my view he eschewed. And studying Ajaan Buddhadasa would not ratify the tremendousness of experience that is shared in 5 Gateways, however the framework that Ajaan Buddhadasa gives you does not require any faith. It does require you to be discerning, questioning and intelligent but it does not require any leaps of faith. 5 Gateways requires a leap of faith to begin with (unless you know for yourself you have already gone through the 5 Gateways). I am not in favour of anyone taking a leap of faith.

    I have an anecdote which gives me cause for concern. I met a drunk in Africa who had been involved with Ascension – not with these people. He spent a few years with them and did not ascend. He felt a failure and turned to drink. Accepting himself for who he was at whatever stage on the Path that he was might have kept him interested in the Path and kept him off the booze.

    In the movie the shared experience is ratifying and well worth hearing. But all the people measure themselves in terms of the 5 Gateways, I have reached such and such a stage. This is understandable as the movie is made by people following this approach, but is it advisable for all people starting on the Path to measure themselves in this way?

    For years after hitting bottom I studied spirituality in one form or another, sadly I wasted some time in the bottle. There is a variety of spiritual experience out there, but some of it is charlatan, some of it deluded and some of it exaggerated. Path experiences or jhanas are so powerful they can become all-embracing and all-consuming; they can also be a fixation. When you are vulnerable and starting out which of these attributes do you want? What do you want to know?

    Firstly you need to know that your experience is real. You do not want to listen to people who dismiss your experience as trendy hippy or doped up or whatever, your experience is valid do not let people dismiss it. But such experience (or jhana) is not an end in itself, it is part of the Path. And what is the Path? And we are back to doubt again. The Path is real, or it can be real depending on who is talking about it. Out there there are charlatans who will tell you they have found the Path to enlightenment, but have they? You can only take their word for it – or not! Ascension is a Path to Enlightenment – or not, you can only take their word for it.

    When I listen to what they say in the movie, they are people who have experienced, their experience is valid, they have done a great thing in sharing that experience in the movie, and that sharing of experience has to be validating for the vulnerable who have just started on the Path. But is their framework correct? Is there a leap of faith involved?

    Does Buddhism require leaps of faith? To begin with, most definitely. Have most Buddhists made a leap of faith? Most definitely. Does the Buddha ask you to make a leap of faith? In my view the Kalama sutta suggests that you do not take a leap of faith. If you walk into a wat or Buddhist monastery will the monks have taken a leap of faith, and the answer most definitely is yes. Should you take a leap of faith? My answer is no.

    The essence of all of this is understanding. To gain understanding you have to study dogma until that dogma falls away and you have understanding or wisdom. So as part of the learning process I have believed in Buddhism. By believing in it I was able to come to an understanding of those parts of Buddhism that I initially believed in. I now eschew the dogma and hopefully have wisdom. Can new people on the Path do this? I couldn’t when younger. Can young people believe in Ascension, let the dogma fall away and be left only with wisdom? That does not appear to be the teaching methodology but maybe so? Can young people go to Buddhism, let the dogma fall away and be left with wisdom? Definitely not within most of the Buddhist institutions I know of.

    Buddhism has an advantage over the 5 Gateways Ascension. Buddhism is big and does not necessarily require commitment. I have been on retreats but I have not committed myself to cloisters. Maybe remaining on the periphery of 5 Gateways would allow their dogma to drop away? Immersing in their programme I would suggest might create problems of faith.

    But I go back to my original point in this post, their movie is validating. For people new to the Path watching their movie without embracing their dogma would be extremely worthwhile. Maybe even getting involved with them would be worthwhile – I do not know, but the getting of wisdom anywhere means eventually eschewing dogma. There are Buddhists with dogma, eschew that dogma and get wisdom, there are followers of Ascension with dogma, eschew that dogma and get wisdom, there are followers of Eckhart Tolle (whom I at one time considered wise – he has done so much with Oprah I don’t know where he is at now), eschew his dogma and get wise. Wisdom is gained by eschewing dogma.

    Why did I choose Buddhism? Ego. Buddhism has centuries of tradition in which there have been Buddhists who have questioned. Whilst Buddhism has its dogma, whilst Buddhism has a proliferation of intellectuals and concocters, it has its tradition. Wise people over the years have gained wisdom and contributed to Buddhism. What about the people ascending? Where is their tradition? They have to rely on themselves. And what happens? They come under threat from the society they are rejecting, and this can build up an ego that defends. How would this ego respond? Possibly by becoming more dogmatic, defending the dogma of their beliefs; is this wise? Immersion with Ascension risks such dogma, and possibly risks eschewing wisdom. At the beginning of the Path when people are vulnerable this is a danger.

    To avoid this I have never recommended 5 Gateways until now, but the shared experience is so valuable so reinforcing, so invigorating, so IMPORTANT I want to recommend it with the above proviso.

    Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

    Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.


    We can’t know it all, we need trusted sources and advice. This is an investigation into how we can determine such trustworthies.

    We live in a world in which disinformation is a significant mechanism for controlling people. They are intentionally trying to confuse us. But to understand this intended confusion we need to decide “Who are they?” That is the first question we should be asking, who are the they who are trying to confuse us?

    Let’s take that question a step further, and also ask “what is their purpose?”.

    In this blogpost I want to avoid taking a political position but it is extremely difficult to discuss “they and power” without being honest about your position. I am a radical leftie. In my terms I consider myself a genuine Marxist who recognises that the “1%” control in order to make their profits, and in order to facilitate their profits they have two main strategies – making war for profits and exploiting the workforce by wage-slavery. If you detect a bias that is overly Marxist, perhaps you should ignore this advice, but the main point of this blogpost is to say “find appropriate advice, find trusted sources”.

    So from my biased neutral, hopefully detached, position, I want to ask “who are they and what is their purpose?”. I have already given the answer to that in my “unbiased position”. They are the 1%. Whether you use the term 1%, elite, bourgeoisie, superrich etc., these people are THEY. Across the political spectrum recognising THEY as the 1% is not problematic, if it is stop reading this – there is nothing for you to gain from reading this.

    Putting aside the question as to “what is their purpose?” for a moment, I want to ask “who are not THEY?”. Let us start with government and politicians, are they part of the 1%? In terms of the finances they own, the answer is usually NO. By their nature a politician wishes to be in charge in other words their ego usually drives them, it is not moral integrity that drives them to be politicians – there are exceptions. Without moral integrity these politicians are readily open to corruption to stay in power. It is therefore common sense not to trust what politicians say. I disagree with Trump’s politics (see my bias) but primarily I disagree with his position, and any politician’s position, that says “trust me”. Almost by definition a politician cannot be trusted because they are driven by ego for power. Examine all politicians to determine what their policies are and whether they have intentions to apply those policies, “trust me” is not a platform for the mature voter.

    It is also important to examine the relationship between politicians and government. Are politicians in charge? This is a significant question to ask especially for westerners who believe they are in democracies. When you vote for a politician, are you voting for a leader? Or are you voting for a PR figurehead? Look at Trump’s Muslim ban, he has not been able to implement it. Has he built the wall? Has he drained the swamp? There are some policies he has had no problem with, such as bombing Syria and Afghanistan. There is a very interesting novel/British TV mini-series, A Very British Coup, which examines the power of a voted-in prime minister when he wants to go against the establishment. And who does this establishment represent? The 1%.

    What about the Deep State? Are they in charge? Certainly it is clear that whatever the Deep State is they are not subject to democratic approval. It could be argued that the Deep State does what it wants whoever has been voted in.

    Who controls the Deep State? Here I can only guess because without being privy to their control and conduct what more can I do. I would argue that they are primarily controlled by the 1%. The 1% are prime motivators behind the Deep State because war is one of their main sources of profit. The Deep State is connected with National Security as it appears that their actions support the nation’s interests over another nation. Nations fight wars but there could also be a governmental aspect to this Deep State – I don’t mean party political government. In the UK the MI5 might be considered Deep State, they might also be considered part of the Civil Service, but they are not accountable to the electorate. In the US the Deep State might well be considered part of the Pentagon as well as perhaps represented in the White House. Because of the importance of war for profits to the 1% the interests of the 1% and the Deep State might well be the same. I think it would be fair to say that the 1% and the Deep State are not in conflict.

    Given the provisos in the investigation so far, I am going to say “they are the 1%”. What is their purpose? Increased accumulation and profits. I have discussed one way they make profits – war. The other way is through accumulation of capital. Primarily this is carried out through the banking and finance sector. But the basis of these sectors is profits gained from production. In production there are competing interests for the profits. There is the capital interest that pays for the plant, and the interest of labour who make the products. Who gets the profits when these products are sold? There is a balance between the plant-owners (the capital investors) and the workers as to who gets the profits. At the same time there are echelons of management who facilitate trade, they also want to get money from the plant owners. Both the management and workers have no choice in this, if they wish to feed their families they must choose to work for the owners of the plant – usually the 1%, they must earn a wage.

    Humanity needs to work together to survive, we need to cooperate. But how we choose to cooperate is limited by the choices offered to us by the 1%, we can earn money as management or labour within the production infrastructure of the 1%.

    But this does not factor in the public sector, what is the function of government in this? Some argue that the government is in charge and that the public and private sector are often in conflict., in this it is often seen that the government restricts profits, and is therefore detrimental to the interests of management and labour within the private sector.

    But government can be seen differently. The transport infrastructure is very important in facilitating the distribution of the products for sale. This infrastructure is necessary for 1% profits, but do they pay for the infrastructure? The 1% needs an educated workforce even if only for organisational skills, government education provides for this. In order for the 1% to profit from wars it needs government to have a defence budget to pay for national security. It needs a government to create the military to wage wars. And where does the government get money for this? Primarily through personal taxes. In other words it can be seen that one role of government is to provide the taxation that facilitates profits through infrastructure, education and defence procurement.

    It could also be counter-argued that government provides socially useful functions, infrastructure and education are two. It could be argued that government are defending the interests of the community through defence.

    There are also more obvious social functions of government such as social services, these offer very little to the profits of the 1% – except that an unstable society would not enable 1% profits.

    A final important function of government is law and order. With the increasing privatisation of law and order there are obvious benefits to the 1%. Aside from this, the 1% cannot profit if there is social anarchy. “There is one law for the rich and one for the poor” in my view does not happen by accident. The law also provides the ability of protecting the interests of the 1%. In the UK the police were key in protecting the interests of the 1% against trade unions in the miners’ strike, and globally police were used to destroy Occupy, the first organising that specifically targeted the 1%.

    Historically government has been used to monetarise an economy, this was most easily seen in colonisation. The British in Africa required a workforce to build the transport infrastructure but the people lived off a barter economy and were unwilling to work on the construction. The invading armies demanded a tax burden for their governance, and this meant Africans had to earn money to pay taxes. Taxation forced the African into wage-slavery.

    Government enforces regulations. These regulations can be seen dually. Environmental protection regulations can be seen as reducing profits as can the minimum wage, whereas both can obviously be seen as socially beneficial.

    In conclusion government has a dual role – the facilitation of 1%-profits through enabling profits, yet at the same time it has a social function that can benefit individuals especially the poor.

    Given the provisos above the 1% are they, and their purpose is to make profits through war and wage-slavery. Whilst our socio-economic system is not 100% functioning in this way, it is primarily a 1%-system with token benefits for some individuals.

    However there are many arguments which say that the social service aspect of government is a much higher proportion than I have implied, and much credence is given this through media coverage of people exploiting social services. Given the intentional confusion on all aspects of public information it is difficult to assess this. So when it comes to such assessment every individual needs to find a source they can trust.

    So to return, what is the purpose of this blogpost? Given the intentional disinformation process that is happening, how do we know how to act in voting and otherwise?

    Firstly it is not advisable to trust politicians because most have a vested interest to lie as they are opportunists seeking power. Secondly it is not advisable to expect our electoral system to deliver democracy in view of so much opportunism and the 1%-need for war.

    I cannot come up with any further trustworthy approaches – in my view our system is so loaded against us.

    In the UK there is an unwritten law in voting, vote for the party that safeguards your financial interests. There is usually a limited tacit understanding that the Tories are sound financially and Labour will help the needy more but the economy will suffer. This is a myth propounded by the media – the 1%-media – to encourage votes for the Tories. Why? The Tories definitely work for the 1% (Labour usually do – in my view Corbyn doesn’t). Does the economy suffer under Labour? Under Blair the economy did not suffer, but then Blair worked for the 1%.

    If you vote out of economic self-interest your vote will be exploited. In the UK there is a tacit understanding as to which class votes for which party. And the system continues to exploit to the benefit of the 1% whoever is voted for. There is a need for a change in voting patterns. Why not vote for compassion? If you care about the world and its people vote for compassion. Demand that the platform for politicians is compassion.

    Trust a politician who stands for compassion. I believe Corbyn is compassionate but maybe that is a bias. Demand that your politicians stand up for compassion, if you are certain your politician has integrity and compassion vote for them. The more people who demand compassion the more politicians have to put forward compassionate policies.

    Trust the compassionate not the system.

    Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

    Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.

    When you look around there is all kinds of suffering, it’s just awful. It’s so sad to see things the way they are.

    And our newborn they have to grow up in this suffering, to do this they are helped by their upbringing – parents community and education. But what are they helped to do? Grow up, get a job and fit in. This is the 1%-system we are in – get a job and fit in to their profit-making. Fit in with the wars and wage-slavery. It is understandable if people growing up don’t want to fit into this system, look at it.

    Basically the way we grow up does not look at it. We are conditioned to get a job and fit in, this is normal. We are conditioned not to see the suffering – the wars, wage-slavery and 1%-system. Breaking free of this conditioning produces two things. We see the suffering for what it is, we find there is a way of peace through this suffering.

    Now the Buddha talked of this suffering with the 4 Noble Truths (4NT). He saw the suffering as caused by clinging to desire, and if we can be free of this clinging there is peace. And he offered the 8-fold path (Magga) as a way through this suffering – as a way of being free from clinging.

    Whilst the Buddha was innovative when he spoke of the 4NT, this notion of path is quite common-place amongst spiritual people. The path has been spoken of before and since the Buddha, but the path spoken of has many versions not specifically Magga.

    I knew none of this when I hit bottom and started to follow the Path. Within me there was a sense of what the Path was, it was a reality that I was able to follow. And it worked. From the times of total confusion around hitting bottom, with various bits of help along the way I held onto this path and developed. It wasn’t until I was 50 that I saw a formal definition of path such as Magga, prior to that the path was verbally vague although a deep real conviction.

    I think the following is true, whatever method you use meditation is concerned with calming the mind and being silent. I have meditated off and on since hitting bottom but it is only from being a Buddhist at 49 that meditation has been a regular practice – my form is vipassana meditation. Vipassana just means insight, the purpose of the meditation is insight and it comes from the silence. From the insight comes something else – an inner guide. The calm and silence that comes from meditation leads also to a clarity of action – a guide to action. At hitting bottom, in meditation or otherwise the guide instilled the idea of the Path as a way of living; it was a methodology of living and as such it was a mechanism the guide could give for me to hold onto in those times of confusion. At hitting bottom the conditioning had been removed and I had found my inner guide telling me to follow the Path until the need for a path fell away as I found the guide in meditation. The 7th and 8th steps of Magga are variously translated as concentration, meditation, insight etc.

    In Buddhism there is a dead monk I consider my teacher, Ajaan Buddhadasa. From what little I know of his personal history he was actively explaining the Buddhist dhamma in his late teens. I do not know enough of how he developed to know of where his awareness came from but hitting bottom did not seem to be part of it. In the East there is the suffering, there is the 1%-system, there are wars, but their conditioning enables a soft transition for some into various forms of Buddhism. In the West it doesn’t seem the same, neither Christianity nor Islam seem to offer that same soft transition, and it is fairly common for moving beyond the conditioning to be difficult; typically Eckhart Tolle struggled before becoming the teacher he is.

    Whilst my personal journey did not smoothly transcend conditioning, there is nothing in the 4NT that does not compare with stages of my own development. Only the 4NT can be much more peaceful.

    Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

    Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.


    This started as a possible response to a letter, hence the quote but moved way beyond that, so it is a blog. Note – Chris McCandless was the young man (in the film “Into the Wild” based on reality) who rejected his upbringing, an interesting film about a young man finding his path.

    It is interesting to make contact with people. We (letter?) might well be far apart but what you say still creates sparks within. I reacted to this sentence, and now realise I was reacting to a misread “Chris McCandless could easily have turned to drugs or drink as a way of coping if he stayed in the family constellation whilst simultaneously rejecting it.”. I thought what was said was that Chris McCandless could well have resorted to drugs or drink once on his journey but the misread was that I didn’t remember the family constellation part. I completely agree with that sentence as written. For me once Chris was living in nature on the road hiding in drugs and drink would be the last thing on his mind. So I began asking how did I let it happen, it kind of makes a mockery of the Path that I claimed to be on the Path and yet I became a drunk.

    This is well worth analysis, and much of it coincides with the period in my life we have been discussing – my time at Dick Sheppard and before (up to 35). I have always been different from what appears to be “normal” people, but then no-one can know what it is like to be a “normal” person as we can only truly know our own experience. I consider my life until “hitting bottom” as lying dormant inside a body that was running automatically. My adolescent experiences were not something I was involved in; I feel it was self-protection, nature not allowing me to be exposed. My family life was just hiding (for all of us) – television, occasional family trips and sport. It was almost like my father had decided this is what a family should be, and he moulded us into it. I can’t say I felt it as repression but I recall walking for hours around the streets of Sale and around the banks of the Mersey. When I think back to how far I walked it was staggering. Walking was an unconscious escape. If I had been forced to confront the forces, it would have been an almighty conflict. As it is the family all accepted the mould for different reasons, my brother still calls the family dysfunctional but his experience and assessment of it are very different to mine. For a number of years I blamed my upbringing for the depths I sank to at “hitting bottom”, but that was ignorant. How do you blame parents and school for failing to do something that they don’t understand? There were legitimate complaints of a more “traditional” variety but giving me the upbringing to help me develop onto the Path should not be one.

    I had the occasional adolescent drink but drink started for me at university. I was there a year early and was young for my age. I was a laughing stock. In the sixth form I had moved towards hippy rejection – no drugs but there was a friend with whom I talked through the night. That must have been sprouting awareness but I recall no content. University drowned all that with booze. People of character drank, those who didn’t drink were boffs – so I drank. I had no friends but hung around with a crowd of drinkers, and they eventually moulded me into a sports (low ability) drunk. I don’t recall any conversations about being drunks, it was what all people of character did. Unlike me however they controlled their behavior when drunk, I drank to get drunk and behave badly. By my postgrad year part of the true me had emerged, and there were long conversations through the night – I was not so often drunk that year, still drank heavily.

    After I started work I sought experience through the drink. All the people of character at Scicon (my first job was as a computer analyst/porogrammer) drank, and as it was an office in the West End there was a sense of being where it was at. I blew the work side with a lack of discipline but I showed sufficient ability to my bosses that they hoped I might still be able to contribute. Most significant to the true me was the artist Wendy who took me under her wing (she was working as a typist and ran the in-house magazine) – although at the time I did not see her as important. I was very fortunate to have been at that firm, I still think of them as people of character – not something I would normally say of people in the rat race. I do remember Wendy introducing me to some of her art friends, and I remember an attractive artist telling me I was hiding in my suit. She was right but I am not sure she knew how much.

    When the annual salary review showed me that the firm had given up on me, I moved on to a rat race firm that had no character. It was in Sevenoaks, and I was misguidedly persuaded to go there by a Scicon friend. In terms of a job it was the pits, in terms of my development it was the business as I cracked up and hit bottom.

    I was at this firm 3 months. I remember the only highlights being to go up West and drink with erstwhile colleagues, and I slowly sank into the crack-up. I was incredibly vulnerable at this time – a month before I cracked up until a month afterwards. I was neither of the “normal” world – making no attempt to conform to the rat race, yet I had not developed the conviction of the Path to be independent of “normality”. I consider that at that time I was extremely vulnerable and might well have been termed “insane”. I rejected normality, could not hold down a job, was a drunk, and had no idea what I was doing. I would not have had the sense not to commit a criminal or insane act. If I had then come across someone in the system assessing me through a lens that did not see what was happening as emerging soul, I could well have had my development completely stunted – even institutionalised. For at least a year after hitting bottom I considered issues of my own sanity and normality, and how I would be accepted, and realised that I had sufficient strength to see myself as sane, and to have a sufficient façade that could fit into “normality”. Because I had the arts people around me accepting soul, I was not isolated, without them enabling me to reject normality it would have been so much harder to grow and develop.

    It still frightens me that the system does not have the ability to recognise an “emerging soul”, and I would hope that people in the system with the responsibility for assessing emerging souls would have the integrity to refer such souls to those who accept soul’s existence. “One flew over the cuckoo’s nest” was a movie that rang true to me at the time.

    To return to consideration of alcohol, on further reflection I understand better how the alcoholism developed. Unlike Chris McCandless I always sought compromise with the system as my Path ie finding a way of following the Path within the system. And that way is compassion. I understand all the closeness to nature because I felt that, but my compassion drove me to find a way in the system, whilst also finding ways of getting back to nature.

    Compassion made me want to relate to people, something which at the time of rejecting society was not always easy. And where had I previously done this? Through the drink. As soon as I got back to London and found a job and somewhere to live I looked for the companionship of a bar. At that time it was just an occasional drink but there was the supposed “friends” that alcohol brought. No doubts at all, for the next year alcohol was concerned with companionship – not drunkenness.

    Working in a care home there was a drink culture, and I started to slip into it, this continued through teacher-training year, and by then I avoided examining the incongruity of being on the Path and drinking. Because there were no people on the Path around me (as with the Arts Centre) to encourage me to reject this errant behaviour.

    Many teachers used alcohol to control the stress, so starting at Dick Sheppard it was common place to wait until 5.30 to start drinking. Whilst many teachers needed a drink few let it control their lives the way I did. Of course I never saw that because teaching was my Path. And because London was an interesting place for young people, it was often through drink I met them. I even had a year out of drinking when I got spiritual one time – theosophy, but quickly slipped back into the drink when I got disillusioned with them.

    When I resigned from DS in 1985 I was actually resigning from teaching, I had become disillusioned with it. DS was a time of teacher development for me. My compassion took me to teaching, and at DS I was trying to rationalise my compassion with what went on there, this compromise being significant in reinforcing my drinking. By 1985 I had decided that any goodwill my compassion created paled into comparison with the lack of education that was happening. I resigned to give up teaching. The Youth Centre magazine then became my life until I fell in love and circumstances took me to Brighton. I then returned to teaching to earn money, and became politically active when the relationship failed until I left for Africa where, in Botswana, I found my vocation again.

    I stopped drinking in 1988. Once my relationship took me into teaching again, the relationship and teaching took me to drink, the dominant cause of the drink at the time was the relationship stress. My life then settled just into political activism for a couple of years but I still drank. Stopping was relatively easy and this I attribute to the Path. Stress drinking had become a habit, but the time constraints of the political activism limited the consumption. But teaching, activism and drinking were straining my 36-year-old body. Migraines became more frequent, I went to acupuncture which helped, and then over the week I drowned the help. My acupuncturist said to stop drinking or stop coming. I thought I’d give it a go, I suppose I was embarrassed to be given such an ultimatum. I suffered withdrawal – mainly on Friday nights. After 6 months not drinking was part of my life. However there was no great resurgence of the Path, I dove into politics until semi-exhausted I reduced the politics. There was one novel at the time. And events took me to Africa.

    You cannot live in this world with the level of exuberance shown by Chris McCandless. It can be experienced for a while, and then it becomes people trying to recreate the experience. Once over the initial bells and banjoes people on the Path are forced to adopt lives with a certain level of “normalcy” often as teachers of the Path, creatives or recluses.

    My back to nature was walking, and my norm was walking holidays or in Brighton out onto the South Downs. Once walking I would regularly evaluate my life in terms of the Path. I remember regular walking during the turmoil of the relationship, and being unable to connect the relationship to the Path; drinking never came up.

    I have reached a point in which evaluation is difficult, but I should face it. I have been fortunate to have had a life on the Path, and what have I done with it? Very little. What could I have done? I don’t know. This is a good point to have reached because I am blocked. Have I been complacent? The Path is so wonderful, my achievement is minimal. It just feels like failure.

    I remember nothing of the month of emerging from “hitting bottom” except looking into a pub near Xmas and thinking I would like to be having that fun except that it was not real and I didn’t want it – couldn’t have it. But I was up there maybe a month. Where was I?

    I do remember the decision. I wanted to work in an office where people were together having fun, that was a decision? London had more going on. I walked into a temp agency, and they forced me into cobol. I had no place to go – just a job interview. And then a Hounslow bnb. Then the job cubicle, the loft room, Chiswick High Street. My first meditation highs. And somehow a reconnection to Wendy.

    These are vague memories – not evaluation. Have I been true to my Path? That is not a question because if I was on the Path then I was true. But I was a drunk. And at the end of being a drunk I just taught. When I think about it I haven’t helped Gaia much.

    “I have lived and am writing now” comes up, is that enough? No. One of my rationales when drinking was that I needed to get drunk Monday because I had too much energy. Crazy.

    You see, I couldn’t answer the question. I went to bed early, sometimes I can just lie there and try to focus (a vague form of meditation), and the answer comes. I fell asleep, and woke after two hours with the weirdest dream, I love dreams like that. I was amongst aliens in human form, and was telling them what earth was like. “I’ll show you how we reproduce.” I took aside one of the sexy aliens and lifted up her skirt, and there was this huge penis draped over where her vagina would have been, with tendrils attaching it all the way up her body. I woke up.

    And then came the thought “the Path was a mechanism”. Fascinating. So I thought about my history with the Path. The last time I consciously remember thinking about the Path was out on the South Downs when I was trying to come to terms with the relationship mess I was in. After the relationship I became political – not a spiritual time. It was very important for me to have spent that political time, I learnt a great deal. There is a general spiritual weakness – the failure to integrate the outer. Without that 3 or 4 years of concentrated activism I would not have understood that. Then to Africa where I learnt freedom, was guided to the mid-life review, studying education, then international schools – a step towards the finance of retirement, conversion to Buddhism, and meditation where my guide had meditation to enable control.

    So last night my inner guide was telling me “The path was a mechanism”. Fascinating.

    How attentive have I been to my guide? That’s not the question. Here is the answer to whatever the question is. I have been so fortunate to have experienced hitting bottom so early with such minimal pain. Having all the potential that finding myself can have, I wasted it with the drink. Once over the drink youthful vitality had gone. I was still learning about life but the youthful energy was gone. My life was mapped out – teaching, a good enough life, but nowhere near spiritual enough given the way the 1%-system controls education. I retired early, and my writing has developed as has my Buddhism. But I have no youthful energy to promote the writing so there is a deep frustration. In truth I only have a desire to write, social involvement has been used up.

    So the real answer to the unwritten question is deep frustration at my lack of social impact given my understanding – whatever level that is. But I am now happy writing. Old people write to give back, it’s up to the young to learn from it. That is the way of Nature, do I have anything to offer?

    Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

    Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.