Archive for December, 2020

Conversation with a teddy bear

31 December 2020

I have a new sleeping companion.

And though she never says anything, that doesn’t keep me from talking to her…

“I want your help with something,” I told her. “I am depending on you for guidance.”

She was characteristically silent.

“I need your guidance about this friendship,” I insisted.

“You don’t think that would be a good idea?” Putting words in her mouth.

I noticed how she smelled. And the pounding of my heart.

“Ask her if I want guidance?”

This bear was showing signs of wisdom!

“I guess you’re right. That’s what I should do.”

She seemed to nod at me.

“Why do you think I love her so much?” It was a rhetorical question.

She seemed to be reminding me of the ones who had come before.

“Am I trying to complete something I started long ago?”

I remembered a promise that I made when I was nine.

“I wonder how many times I have left such promises unfulfilled,” I mused.

“It would be good to keep my promises.”

Again, she said nothing.

“But this is a promise that is difficult to live up to!” I protested.

Why do so many make such difficult promises, I wondered to myself, then go ahead and make good on them?

“Is this friendship the right one to fulfill this promise?”

Again, she was characteristically silent.

“Why DO I love her so much?”

I looked at my companion’s face. It seemed to be laughing at me.

Was I supposed to know the answer?

Conversation with a believer

29 December 2020

Mark Gilbert recently posted a video discussing his views on the current scene.

A link to this video had been posted to the Contact Modalities group which I follow. So I watched it.

His view was that we should see real world events as a learning opportunity, as another step in our journey of spiritual evolution.

I responded with a very long comment, and then he responded to mine. These are copied here, with some further discussion. This post may be lengthened at some point, or the topic may be revisited in future posts.

Larry Cox:

Mark, of course you offer good advice. “Be rational” “be more balanced” “take it as a learning experience” are all good pieces of advice about just about any challenge or problem anyone might run into.

But now I’m going to get a little more critical, which isn’t about you in particular, but has to do with the whole “evolution” message being forwarded by many spiritual people. We know we are immortal beings experiencing the physical. We hope, somehow, to “evolve” towards a higher state, perhaps even to be free of the physical. This has been in fact a longing among spiritual people on Earth for a very long time!

Well, why hasn’t it happened yet? Could it be that we are missing some data or accepting some viewpoint or narrative that is actually a little deceptive, then just coasting along on hopeful thoughts? How much longer do we have to work at it before something more obvious in the way of a spiritual advance on Earth occurs?

The data I have points to the fact, that, despite the apparent “progress” made on this planet over the last several thousand years, when you pull back and look at longer spans of time, the picture you get is one of devolution, not evolution. Another pattern that shows up is that we seem to be trapped in repeating cycles of “development” followed by collapse. In fact, it seems we used to be very powerful beings who didn’t even need or want bodies, especially biological ones. Later we went through a period of using “doll” or “puppet” bodies to interact with the physical somewhat like a hammer interacts with a nail. And now we find ourselves today stuck in biological bodies and thinking that spiritual work means “inner” work, reflecting just how STUCK IN we feel! Why should we, as beings, be “inside” anything? Where did that idea come from?

When one actually digs up the data on human experience, going back millions or billions of years, one finds a long story of the less-free organizing and then ganging up on the more-free, and winning. It is a tragic story. But methinks we need more than meditation and mindfulness to actually reverse this trend! We have, essentially, managed to cripple our own ability to create and play fun games in the physical universe. This whole coronavirus fiasco can practically do us in precisely because we have become so unsure of ourselves in this universe. We have to regain our ability to create and play – and play hard when needed – physical universe games if we ever want to move up into a freer relationship with the physical. It takes a lot more than good thoughts and self-awareness. This adds up to a lot of hard work!

My current “job” (though I am officially retired) is to find people on the internet who seem to be truly interested in improving conditions through a recognition of our spiritual existence and remind them that the current “tool kit” of popular spiritual practices isn’t exactly working that well for us. Who is willing to openly discuss the need for more robust spiritual methods and where these might be found? (I of course have my own preference.) I get few takers, though I sometimes run into people who have discovered the same body of work that I did 40 years ago and find it promising and worth pursuing. I try to encourage those people!

Mark Gilbert:

Hi, Larry, Thank you for your comments. I appreciate you taking the time to share them….I thought I would respond to a few of the points you made.

Although there are a number of “spiritual evolutionary” teachers out there making similar points as to what was in this video (and other videos of mine), it is my observation that people who profess a spiritual evolutionary narrative are still in the minority. Hence, such voices often are trying to bring their message to folks in a manner in which it can be “heard”. In various venues I have been teaching and writing on these topics for close to 15 years and still I feel that the key message that most folks need to hear is the basic one. That is, that we are spiritual beings having a human experience, that we are on an evolutionary journey that involves our consciousness (and is more than simply material evolution), that we are conscious co-creators of this evolutionary process….and that we have a role to play in our next steps and directing humanity’s future direction.

Using Spiral Dynamics[*] for a moment, most folks are at the orange meme and lower and don’t really get this sense of spiritual evolution. It is only in green or higher that folks tend to start understanding this story and its importance on our lives. Bottom line is that many of my videos are designed to be bridges to this subject to those that are just getting it….or reminders to those who know it but may not live it consciously. There are a few of my videos and writings that to try to get to more deeper issues about this evolutionary journey and relate to some of the questions that you raise. But I agree that most of us teaching these ideas do keep them oriented to those new to the topic.

[*Spiral Dynamics. “A model of the evolutionary development of individuals, organizations, and societies.” (Wikipedia)]

So why haven’t we all evolved beyond the material world yet? Although I don’t in any way claim to know the complete answer to this, I can say that I tend to believe that this is not an “all or none” evolutionary step. Each of us represents individual pockets of consciousness of the One and are evolving at our own pace with our own free will. We are each on the wheel of karma and growth and are traveling through different spots on our personal evolutionary journey. I tend to believe what many of my teachers have stated, that there are those who have “completed” their time here and have gone on to other dimensions or levels of consciousness that transcend this third dimension. Many are still on the wheel learning. Many are still newly being born into the process.

Will humanity ever be “done with earth” as a place to grow and evolve? Maybe. But I tend to believe this human playground is going to go on for a long time (as we humans experience time). Does its continued existence mean that we are not evolving? No. Individual aspects of the One are moving upward, others are slipping up and repeating the process at their personal level. However, I tend to see the arc of evolution to be ever upward.

I agree with you that there is ample evidence to support that humanity and earth have been going through collective cycles of growth, slippage/destruction and starting over. I agree that we (most humans) tend to talk about the current cycle as the only time we have gone through this process. Our current collective “approved” story that we discuss from a scientific/materialistic viewpoint (orange meme) is that from the big bang to now there was generally one human developmental story of which we stand at the apex. Even the very real and abundant material evidence to the contrary gets scoffed at by those who fear that opening themselves to truly examining the anomalies will lead them to having to accept a different narrative, changing their paradigm.

When one does look into these multiple times that humanity has evolved and started over, I also agree that there is evidence to support what you are saying in that our prior histories may have been experienced with “less dense physical bodies” than current times. Although I don’t feel that I have delved into and become a student of this part of our story to the degree that you seem to be (and would love to hear from you on what you think would be a useful resource to explore), I am aware of things like Edgar Cayce’s descriptions of the Atlantean times and the “Children of the One” and other similar “revealed teachings” that describe what you are saying.

If you are accurate in your description that each time we start over, we start from a “lower” more dense physical level, does that mean that we are “devolving”? I understand your point but I’m not sure I agree with you. In reading your comment, I couldn’t help but think of the visual of someone climbing a slippery mountain and getting so high up the hill before sliding back down to a point that was further down than the previous starting point. Which aspect of this of this climb and slide pattern do we want to notice? Is the deeper hole we are in when we regress causing us to see devolution? Or is it the fact that something in us causes us to set off again on the journey of progress and evolution up the mountain? Is the glass half full or half empty?

Bottom line is our free will gives us the ability to view it from the standpoint we choose. You may choose to see it as devolution while I choose to see the repeated efforts to evolve and transcend this world. Who’s right? That’s probably something that we will have to “agree to disagree” on. 🙂 Most of the spiritual teachers that I have encountered, including many who offer their insights into revealed wisdom, tend to point to the evolutionary aspects of our journey. But, I am also well aware that we can also see simply what we want to see….so there’s that too!

I agree with you completely that our history is full of the “less free” ganging up on the “more free” and that this is a challenge to our growth. What you describe totally aligns with the Spiral Dynamics model of worldviews that I frequently use. Under the model, as one masters their world conditions, they evolve to a new set of world conditions and a new world view. Without going into the details here, the “lower” or earlier stages of worldviews can be readily seen as “less free”, the higher stages to which we evolve can be seen as “more free”. Our current cultural wars (and political polarization) can be understood better through an SD lens. Although each stage has its gifts and its shadow elements….and all stages are necessary for our growth and to be valued, we can currently see that the freedom that comes from the green meme (cultural creative worldview) and the integral worldview is certainly being fought by the less free red (egocentric) and blue (traditionalist) worldviews.

So how do we get those who are less free to become more free? Yes, I agree, meditation and mindfulness can be useful tools. They help one shift their focus from an egotistical viewpoint and an ethnocentric viewpoint towards a more worldcentric and transcendent view. In fact, Ken Wilber points to meditation as being the greatest force for serving as a “conveyor belt” to grow our consciousness. But SD also points to our looking at the world conditions of those who are living “less free” and considering how we can assist those who are living under those conditions to meet their current needs so that they may naturally and continuously evolve up the spiral and see the world through new levels. My hope is that the more folks who evolve to these higher vantage points we may hit some critical tipping point where our leadership is driven by a desire to help and assist everyone where ever they are on the spiral. My hope is that our current challenges are a sign of a breakdown leading to this breakthrough where enough of us are focused on the common good of all that we can place lasting systems in place that can serve to grow each of us on the planet to our highest potential.

And, to your point on “play”…..when we grow or evolve to our highest potential…..to the levels of self actualization and self transcendence using Maslow’s hierarchy…..or the integral/second tier levels of Spiral Dynamics….we move to a place where we make no distinction between “work” and “play”, where we more fully use the tools of our consciousness in a playful and joyful way to enjoy fully the gifts of this dimensional experience, where we are aware of the interplay of our consciousness to transcend the limitations of our physical forms and create the highest and greatest experience for this lifetime….and to possibly “complete” our need to be here so that we may reach the culmination or our individualized journey as an aspect of the One.

Thanks again for the thought provoking comments.

Blessings, Mark

My issues with the “spiritual evolution” narrative, restated.

This narrative centers around the teaching that Earth humans are here for the purpose of learning lessons that will help us evolve spiritually.

This narrative seems to come from the Vedic tradition, or derivatives of it. It is forwarded by most people who base their beliefs on those traditions (known today as Hinduism) and on the teachings of the Buddha or his followers. In these traditions, each lifetime is seen as an opportunity to learn, with the eventual goal of leaving the worldly life behind (if one so desires). In every lifetime we get involved with “karmic” entanglements (experiencing the effects of our earlier causes) that must be resolved for us to evolve. It is the resolution of our karma that results in lessons learned.

The Abrahamic traditions are starker than this. The eventual reward for devotion is seen as Heaven. But you don’t get multiple chances to learn through reincarnation. Some see Christ as one of perhaps several attempts to bring some of the simple humanistic concepts of Buddhism into the Abrahamic tradition. In any case, with the advent of Christianity, we see the elevation of concepts like peace through brotherly love.

My introduction to spirituality came through studying the writings of Hubbard. His work started with attempts to design a therapy that would solve the problems of war, crime and insanity on Earth by making people more rational. His process resulted in the independent discovery of the truth of past lives and of the existence of a spiritual being that is capable of separating from the body.

His process involved addressing the experiential “track” of a being to discover unresolved situations (similar in ways to the concept of karma). The idea was that a being, by reinspecting such experiences, could resolve them. Thus, instead of requiring multiple lifetimes to resolve “karmic” problems, it could all be accomplished in just one lifetime.

By 1952, one of Hubbard’s students had developed a “meter” (an electronic instrument) to help him in his research. Using this meter he consulted the experiential tracks of numerous people and assembled a “history” based on what he found. He summarized this work in a little book known today as A History of Man. He also talked about his discoveries in numerous lectures dating from this period and later. Of course, once he realized he was onto something, he continued to dig deeper and find more shared incidents. This work continued into the 1980s.

Hubbard’s basic narrative

Hubbard did not find a story of “human” experience that matches the spiritual teachings mentioned above.

He found, at the heart of beings, an abiding passion for any experience. This lust for experience resulted, first, in the creation of this universe, and eventually in the development of biology. These creations provided us with numerous games to play. And this seemed to be an activity we were all very devoted to! Most of us eventually fell well below the level of spiritual self-awareness and seem content to wallow (you might say) in human experience, regardless of the repeated and insistent attempts of our spiritual teachers to lure us onto a path of spiritual growth.

Furthermore, Hubbard found numerous “human” attempts to solidify the non-spiritual path. He calls these “electronic incidents.” Basically, free beings were considered a problem that needed to be stamped out. Electronic devices were invented for this purpose, and some remain in use to this day, wiping out our memories at the end of each lifetime and sending us back to Earth to pick up yet another body. It has become, it seems, a sort of enforced addiction.

The Vedas don’t talk about this. Neither do ETs or any of the other “higher density” sources that many of us seem to rely on for the “truth.”

Evolution?

From this perspective, spiritual evolution is far from a natural or inevitable process. The need for it must be recognized and it must then be sought after with great personal determination. Though there is some hope that it will become easier for people as more of us accomplish it, there is no guarantee that it will ever happen broadly.

Hubbard developed processes through which this could be achieved. They comprise the only workable path that I am aware of. Dena Merriam spent a lifetime perfecting her skill in deep meditation, which resulted in her recalling at least seven past lifetimes (“births” as she calls them) complete, and resolving many karmic entanglements. But what of the rest of her 76 trillion years living in this universe? She hasn’t scratched the surface yet! And it is highly unlikely that anyone who refuses to use Hubbard’s techniques will make it. Of course, the choice is up to each of us.

Better understandings

Regardless of which beings decide to go for broke in obtaining their spiritual freedom, they could certainly benefit from the tolerance and understanding of society at large. And the more beings this planet can assist to make it, the better chance we will all have to one day join them.

Mere study of Hubbard’s materials can result in a significant boost in understanding, and with that, willingness to take some responsibility for controlling this planet towards a better future.

My current role on the internet is to let others know that there is more to be understood and that this understanding is possible through study.

I appreciate the engagement of others interested in spiritual growth. I regret my somewhat critical attitude towards many of the other teachings that are out there. While I am willing to be tolerant, I feel compelled to point out what others could be missing out on if they don’t include Hubbard’s work in their sphere of interest.

Making it real

A huge problem that anyone who wants to bring more spiritual awareness to this planet encounters is the unreality of that for most people. Not only is it a foreign concept, many may feel that they cannot afford the time and energy to pursue such things.

Thus, my church works hard to make our message real to the general public. Though the church maintains a whole network of websites, its newest and most prominent method of reaching out is Scientology TV.

Anyone who pursues spiritual knowledge knows that it is capable of providing more tangible benefits to students. This is because such knowledge tends to enable one to play the games of life with more skill and courage. My church does its best to offer these benefits directly to the public through several free online courses, as well as an array of inexpensive courses available at our locations (where they are allowed to be open).

We hope that people who take such courses will be inspired to continue to more advanced pursuits. But even if they don’t, we are happy to help. We know that anything we can do to make the lives of those around us a bit more livable makes our lives more livable, too. After all, we are all connected!

Purgatory, Introduction

26 December 2020
My sketch.

I thought it was about time to start writing about the thoughts I was attempting to piece together back around the time of Armistice Day (November 11th).

I felt as though I was in a kind of purgatory, as noted in the above sketch. I began to piece together some notes on this at that time.

Definitions

Purgatory: A state or place of temporary punishment, expiation, or remorse. From Latin purgare, to cleanse (purge).

Purge: (one meaning) To cleanse of guilt, sin or defilement… (intransitive verb) To become clean, clear or pure.

Expiation: Making amends or reparation for wrongdoing.

Pray that the punishment be temporary!

Lonely!

This was the big change on the first dynamic. No smiles, no touch, no interaction. Sensory deprivation.

We all expected this to be temporary. A few months at worse? How long could a pandemic take to play itself out?

A closer look indicates the existence of spurious motivations not related to Public Health. Fanciful, you say? These motivations have always been there! Many of us have been chafing at them for decades, if not much longer.

Though my original concept in this drawing was that these bodiless beings were benevolent, what in fact the hell are they doing?

If you want to break a population, you keep the pressure on as long as you can. And that is what is happening.

My experiences on the second dynamic are documented elsewhere.

The emotional dissonance that can be caused via this dynamic, though, is potentially quite extreme.

One woman I know divorced her man after five years due to violent outbursts that frightened her. But because she believes in co-parenting, she remains very connected to him, both through regular meetings because they share the kids and of course due to her deep feelings from the experience of marriage, conception, giving birth and parenting. They shared all of these experiences together. How can they live apart with all that shared living behind them? It will bind them forever!

I stepped into this drama wanting to help and simply wanting to renew our regular talks, which used to happen once a week like clockwork. But now she has no professional duty to continue that relationship, and though it brought us closer together than was perhaps prudent, it can do nothing now but tear her heart and confuse mine.

Another woman I know has been living single for some time even though she cares for two children. I had noticed that she had hooked up with a guy this summer who she seemed happy with, but then he disappeared. When I asked her about it she said, “Oh him – he dumped me.” …Really? That’s all? No tears? No sense of hurt? Or just a reluctance to share that with me?

How many loves do we lose for reasons that are difficult or impossible to understand?

Think of all the great stories of loves won and lost. Romeo and Juliet, on and on! Why do you sometimes cry so hard? (I cry, anyway!) Well, look at what Dena recalled! And that was only over a period of less than a thousand years! You have existed as something more or less human for billions of years. So, how many times have you actually been through that sort of emotional meat grinder? No wonder you cry!

Did I choose to move away from my first girlfriend? Did I neglect to stay in touch with her on purpose, or out of genuine childish carelessness? Someday I may understand this episode better. Yet it is only one in a line of – how many? Thousands? Millions of lost loves?

Lies!

There are few things more frustrating than being lied to in a way that constantly assaults my own sense of what is true. And on top of that, I can’t find a way to correct the liar or escape his influence. And on top of that, many of my friends, even very close ones, believe those lies.

This constant, nagging invalidation of one’s own personal integrity through constant social pressure is a deeply disturbing form of emotional warfare. It would only be engaged in seriously by a criminal – a sociopathic personality – but the lies can be convincing enough to carry many others, less willing (or able) to be discerning, along with them. This can make one’s life extremely difficult, all by itself. It can even make life dangerous, depending on how much the community enforces the “correct thinking” of its members.

My classic example

“(Fill in the blank) is something we don’t understand well yet.” This is normally spoken by a Science Opinion Leader like Sagan or Kaku. It is often quite false! Many “fringe” subjects are only “poorly understood” because the powers that be don’t wish them to be well-understood. If we could read each other’s minds, for example, wouldn’t that cause a lot of confusion in the world? At the least, it would make it much more difficult for the criminals of the world to keep their secrets! So, what sort of personality, do you suppose, is interested in keeping us ignorant and unskilled in certain areas?

Remote Viewing data, just as an example that is in the public view, has uncovered many of those dirty little secrets to some degree. So, what defender of the status quo is eager to turn the whole population into a bunch of remote viewers? None that are criminals, that’s for sure.

Just to give you an idea of the “truths” I find most offensive in the level of their ignorance, here is a list of some of them:

  1. You only live once. One of the most vile and easily disputed popular lies of modern times.
  2. Anything spiritual is pseudoscience. One of the best, simplest and most workable models of life puts Spirit at the top when it comes to causation. The continuous denial of this truth is like spitting in my face over and over and over again.
  3. Conspiracy theories! It is VERY DIFFICULT to do anything majorly evil without any help at all! All sorts of significant tragedies including many political assassinations, most wars, planes flying into tall buildings, and god knows what else yet to be figured out, have been documented to be carried out by conspiracies. The Federal Reserve Act of 1913 is perhaps one of the most well-documented modern conspiracies.
  4. You are driven by your brain. Related to 2. above, this notion is so pervasive that even people who know about Spirit may use this as a turn of phrase. “You brain…” this, “your brain…that. It’s hogwash! This fascination with brain has easily held back psychology and medicine by at least 100 years. And it has crippled our thinking and our ability to write good policy in many other ways. Had the Founders been so afflicted!…
  5. All human problems are most ably handled by the Mental Health system. This is one of the most tricky “everyone agrees” circulating today. This is true: All major problems today boil down to mental health problems. But the Mental Health system, as pure-spirited as many of its caregivers are, is a criminal operation run by some of the most despicable scum-of-the-earth known to Man. Where psychoactive drugs can help someone through an emergency, instead they are prescribed for life. Where CBT is sometimes offered because it is “proven effective,” it is an extremely superficial form of therapy that never leads to something like Scientology auditing, which has a much longer-term effectiveness. Where research in medicines is often funded directly by the drug companies, research in parapsychology and other fruitful avenues of investigation are starved for funds.
  6. We’re still trying to find out if advanced beings live on other planets. This is complete and utter bullshit. The existence of off-planet civilizations has been confirmed by Hubbard, by Courtney Brown, by Steven Greer, and by many others who have focused on this question in particular. There is no two ways about it! The existence of “ET” is an absolutely 100% demonstrated-true fact!

Mankind on its way out?

There are many wise people, my teacher is no exception, who have stated, taught and restated until they went blue in the face: Know thyself! Sun Zi, in his Art of War, stated it thus: “know others and know thyself, and you will not be endangered by innumerable battles.”

What is the first and perhaps most important thing for us to know about ourselves? That we are immortal spiritual beings.

This truth, taught for millennia on this planet, is today held as true by around 10% of the population, or so it seems. That is not enough!

This most basic element of self-knowledge has been beaten back across the planet for roughly 200 years now, and in the Middle East and Europe for much longer than that. Defenders of the status quo don’t want this truth widely believed; it gives ordinary people too much power!

Today evidence for this truth sits in piles all around us. Yet the great majority are inclined to agree with their criminal oppressors, and thus invite slavery into their lives, which is what those criminals hope to accomplish.

The road to self-knowledge can take an entire lifetime, or several in Dena’s experience. Or, now, it could take a matter of years. Just years. That requires some resources. But many still have sufficient resources available to them. And then, once you are up to a state of self-knowledge, you can go ahead and spend the rest of your life doing good in the world thus avoiding “innumerable battles.” Wouldn’t that be fun?

The response I see among most people who care to speak up about it or behave in some way that gives away what they think is not encouraging to me. Yet I doubt I have the full picture. There seems to be a change in the wind… But until that change manifests in my world, until my own friends start deciding to spend more time with me because of all the great experiences they are having from their various adventures in understanding themselves, I sit alone and suffer. As if in Purgatory. Reminds me of a play I saw on public TV once…

Nudity alert! Steambath, PBS version, 1973, Valerie Perrine appears nude for a few seconds. Extremely memorable!

…and that’s Purgatory!

The Floor is Lava

24 December 2020

When my young friend was working here with some of the children who lived in the building, I told her I had two children’s games that I could share with the kids if she was interested. She in turn told me about her favorite children’s game, The Floor is Lava.

One of those games I knew as “Flea Fly.”

I learned Flea Fly from Donna Pierson around 1962 when we were both about 8.

Donna and Barbie
Donna and Barbie

She taught it to me as a call-and-response (or call-and-repeat) game played between a leader and a group which included hand clapping and slapping the thighs. The exact sounds used vary in different versions. I always thought it had Afro-American origins, although that’s only one of many possibilities. These traditions can be a little difficult to trace.

Flea Fly!

(shouted:)

Flea!
Flea fly!
Flea fly flow!
Vista!

(chanted melodically:)

Coomalah, coomalah, coomalah vista.
Ah na na na na na vista.
Eeny meeny decimeeny, oo-wah loo-wallameeny,
Eximeeny zahlameeny oo-wah loo-wah.

(shouted:)
Beep bellie oten doten bo bo ba deetten dotten. Shhhhhhh!

The other game I knew was a drawing game played indoors with paper and crayons. I also learned this game at the Piersons.

I loved going to the Piersons because I had a crush on Donna and it seemed this family really knew how to enjoy themselves.

Besides these games I was vaguely aware of other children’s chants and jump rope games played mostly by girls.

But I had never heard of “the floor is lava.”

The origins of that game are exceedingly murky. The only scholarly paper on the subject linked the game to a Roald Dahl story called The Wish. Roald wrote mostly darkly magical children’s stories in the tradition of the Brothers Grimm.

I resorted to the Ngram Viewer (it measures the usage rate of words and phrases in written works) and searched over the full date range, from 1800 to the present. “Flee Fly” goes back to the 1800s and peaks in the late 1920s. “Floor is lava” has a peak at 1850 then doesn’t reappear in the literature until about ten years ago. This confirms to me that it is actually a recent cultural phenomenon and not really a “folk tradition” as Wikipedia makes it out to be.

Modern video game style hysteria

The Floor Is Lava is a modern hysterical game in the tradition of First Person Shooter video games. It is designed to get the adrenaline pumping and drive kids crazy, as is the modern fad amongst the young, or so it seems. The game involves imagining that the floor is lethal to touch. That’s right, no happy times in this game. If you touch the floor, you’re dead, or at least badly injured. So the players must find items in the play environment that can serve to keep them off the floor. Further, they are encouraged to keep moving in most versions of this game, like the desperate hero in the shooter game, who must frantically search out and destroy his enemies before they do the same to him.

Of course, it is not necessarily the young promoting this game to the young. Roald Dahl isn’t young, he’s dead! Like psych meds, vapes, dirty lyrics, and all the other crazy shit being pushed at kids these days, the charge is being led by persons lurking in the background, like voyeurs, hoping for a front row seat behind the one-way mirror to watch a whole generation descend into hell. They aren’t smart sane millennials, they are sick, old criminals with pockets full of bribe money.

To rescue our children from the tar pit they have been thrown into promises to be a very challenging job. We have the help, fortunately, of those who avoided taking the plunge, whether that be due to the strong insistence of their parents, or from their own good sense of self-preservation. They don’t have the tools they need, but instead a false tool set of “therapies” based on theories by Jung or Albert Ellis or any of many others who insist that the brain is where the mind resides – if not the entire personality. (This has been known to be false for nearly 70 years and believed to be false for much longer than that.) To say nothing of the meds still being pushed at our kids which of course only fuel the problem, as they were designed to do. (Sorry if I sound a bit short-tempered, but this crap is now impacting my personal life and I am pissed!)

Will reverting this trend require apocalypse?

There is a school of thought that video games and the constant state of over-stimulation (and subsequent early burn-out) they encourage are needed by at least a segment of the population to face the pressures of the modern world. This is, simply, a lie.

In Star Wars, who were the better fighters? The ones trained in spiritual skills or the ones trained (we might suppose) on a diet of pep pills? No! We don’t need more false technologies dredged out of our distant past to “prepare” us for our future! At this point, that is little more than an insane dramatization that will result as it has resulted before: Societal collapse into various degraded and slave-based “civilizations.”

Of course, we cannot prevent history from repeating itself unless we recognize that it IS repeating itself!

The apocalyptic wipeout of a machine-based society on Earth might seem like the only “solution.” But we need modern technologies to save ourselves. The way out lies along a tightrope. Those who wish to travel that way must acquire and develop the necessary skills, the required “sense of balance.” We cannot really blame the technologies we’ve developed for our own failure to become sufficiently self-aware. Many of them have actually served us well in that quest. But we have allowed those technologies to fall into the hands of evil people. So if we want to keep them, we must demonstrate to the general population that tech can be protected from evil use. That’s the tightrope. If we fail in that, the consensus may turn towards reversion to a hunter-gatherer society. That’s not exactly what our cosmic overlords want, but they could probably cope with it; at least it wouldn’t threaten their power.

I offer the above discussion as an object lesson in the manner that we are being led down a path that we have followed countless times before, to a world filled with technical wonders and slaves to tend them. It is not a “Brave New World.” It is a cowardly old cop-out. This time we have the chance to do it different. Will we?

A vital old technology seems quaint and fascinating in our modern world.

Two Bags of Gifts

23 December 2020

I have for you two bags of gifts. Both are given freely. But one of them you must reach for.

The first bag contains my love. It is unconditional and lasts forever. It is yours whether you want it or not! The door to my love is always open. It is always offered to you. It cannot be shut.

The other bag contains knowledge, wisdom and pleasure. These are all things you must decide about. They are offered on the condition that you reach, that you decide you want them. There is some risk in reaching for these things. And to benefit from these things you must be willing to commit a certain amount of time and energy. So reaching for them takes some courage.

Fear

Why would anyone not want knowledge, wisdom and pleasure?

What a grand mystery of life! There must be some fear connected to these things. Yes, sad but true, there is.

Knowledge is feared for the responsibilities it puts on your shoulders. You are likely to feel shame if you gain knowledge then never use it to help others, or never even offer it.

Wisdom is feared for the success it brings. How audacious for any human being to think he could succeed in the face of death! How awful to laugh at death for the pale and tiny menace that it actually is! How bold to suggest that we could be winners in the games of life! In the end we are all supposed to lose, aren’t we?

Pleasure is feared for its affirmation of the supremacy of life over the merely physical. There is only pleasure in survival. There is only pain in the failure to survive. How dare we assert our desire to survive! How dare we insist that the games of life must continue, in spite of all signs and warning flags that they are too dangerous to be played! How dare we enjoy living!

Fear is ever-present around us. It is like a virus that can infect anyone. Some become infected and totally succumb to the infection. While they survive they are the “criminals” of society. They lie, they cheat, they steal. They work all day and all night to bring others down to their level. They are afraid of everyone around them, for no good reason. They are convinced that no one else can be trusted, that they have no choice but to be what they have become and act like they do. They are insane.

The rest of us must deal with these ones, the totally lost, and as well with our own lesser sicknesses. Most of us want to do right and don’t want to do wrong or hurtful things. Some of us, though, succumb at times to the illness. We let our fears ruin things that are valuable to us. Our passions, our marriages, our ways of living, our friendships – our lives – can all be destroyed if we let in too much fear.

Some of us let fear into our lives in the form of someone else gone crazy with it. If we don’t recognize when this happens and act accordingly, our lives can easily be ruined. Our health can fail, our bodies can become broken by accidents and injuries and sicknesses, our good friends and our great loves can be stolen from us.

Courage

Though courage has been described in many ways, what it amounts to is the willingness to face Fear and work to conquer it. It is the willingness to “get well” in spite of all temptations, all reasons why, one should stay sick.

It is the ability to see Fear warn you against doing something pro-survival and to disagree with that warning.

Courage begins with recognizing fear for the false protector that it is, then to use knowledge, wisdom and pleasure to rid your life of it.

Courage broadens and deepens as you walk out into the world and embolden others to face up to their fears and defeat them.

Your courage may not be rewarded with praise or thanks. But it will be rewarded with happiness, with friendship, and with a sense of self that can become unshakably strong. Your courage can help you to manifest your love more completely, more unconditionally. And that is what you, your loved ones, your groups, your species, your ecosystem, your universe, your Spirit and your God need the most from you.

Your love is ever-present. With courage it manifests and becomes more and more powerful.

Don’t deprive this world of your love! Use courage to conquer your fears! And help me bring life fully back to our universe!

There are two bags of gifts offered you today. You may choose either, both, or none. What will be your choice?

Fog

22 December 2020

This was my Monday morning around 10:00 AM on the shortest day of the year.

This lovely red hawk sat patiently for minutes while I photographed it.

Lovely young ladies abound in my environment, and I promise myself to take more pictures of them, but this is the only one this trip. I don’t have the courage (?) to actually stop them and ask them to pose for me.

Looking downstream from the upper part of the river, the fog seemed to be lifting.

But farther downstream it was still thick overhead. (That’s the sun.)

I saw at least six bucks in the park on this particular trip; never have I seen so many! This photo was enhanced to remove the foggy appearance. They could be gathered for the annual rut.

By the time I reached Pond Park (William Pond Recreation Area), the fog was lifting for real.

I hope that the current fog over our lives lifts as completely!

Modi kutta!

20 December 2020

I went out Saturday afternoon to get the parts I needed to install a little closet bar underneath my bed ($11).

There were some cars honking, but I thought it was another Trump rally.

When I returned from shopping, there was even more noise and commotion on the mall. So I went back out to find out what was going on. There were all these cars! The police didn’t know what to do with them.

They were all demonstrating about something that seemed to be going on in India. They identified themselves as farmers.

Many of the men wore the traditional turban of the Sikh. Sikhism is a special religion created hundreds of years ago in the Punjab in India. Many Sikhs in India are farmers. I guess in California, too.

I found a woman carrying a sign who had evidently parked somewhere and walked in to join the others. She was with two daughters. She was wearing a mask, but even so I could tell that this was a very good looking woman. I asked her if this was about India, and she said yes. She explained that Modi (the current Prime Minister) had gotten some laws passed that made it more difficult for farmers there to make a decent living. Based on what I had heard and read about Modi, this was typical. Her older daughter told me that it was like taking away the minimum wage (an analogy to U.S. labor laws). The woman told me there was more information available from a bus that was part of the parade.

Then another young woman got up on her car that was parked nearby and started waving a flag.

Again, what I noticed about her was her lovely youthful figure.

Modi kutta

Their slogan means (roughly translated) “Modi is a dog!” Their other slogan was, “no farmers, no food,” which has been widely used by all movements supporting the family farming model of agriculture.

I looked for some online articles what would talk more about Modi and what he was trying to do with agriculture in India. I found mostly the work of a very young woman journalist named Peony Hirwani, writing in the UK Independent, an online news magazine. Peony has lived both in the UK and in India.

She was definitely not a Modi supporter.

Narendra Modi is an Indian politician who has been Prime Minister of India since 2014. He represents a party known as “BJP” (Bharatiya Janata Party which translates to Indian People’s Party) and he has long been associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (“National Volunteer Organization”) which Wikipedia disparagingly describes as an Indian right-wing, Hindu nationalist, paramilitary volunteer organization which has been in existence since 1925 and is a fixture of modern Indian life.

Since Muslims invaded India hundreds of years ago, many Hindus in India have felt that their way of life and culture has been threatened and needs to be actively defended. The British Partition of 1948 sought to separate Hindus and Muslims into two different countries (Pakistan and India) but this was not really workable and generated considerable turmoil. Those frictions continue to this day.

The Hindu way of life combines an enlightened set of religious beliefs with a very rigid social structure, and is thus a bit of a bafflement for most Westerners. While we might consider Islam more “modern” as an Abrahamic religion, Muslims too have come to support certain cultural norms that are considered “patriarchal,” though caste is not one of them. Thus we have seen Islam as attractive to some lower-caste Hindus who seek more social mobility, while traditional (upper caste?) Hindus remain resentful of Islam and other newer religions for undermining their social traditions.

Modi, then, is seen by Muslims, Sikhs and others as a political enemy. What exactly he actually stands for and hopes to attain has been difficult for me to grasp. Though he has been characterized as “right wing” it would be more proper to call him a Hindu conservative. There remains a deep feeling in India that it should be a Hindu nation. It was founded in its modern form, however, along more secular and pluralistic lines.

Agriculture in India

India is a very agricultural country, and has always attempted to feed itself through the work of a huge community of “small” farmers. The articles I have read indicate roughly half of the population of India is agricultural.

Thus, India has long been in the eye of corporate agriculture. In the 1960s there was a huge push to get hybrid crop types used in India. But these almost uniformly require irrigation. This pushed up water use in Indian agriculture which has now led to water depletion in some regions.

In the United States, the trend has been for large corporations to take over small farms after they become economically weakened by the various new, but more expensive, technologies pushed (by corporate agriculture) at farmers. Farms then get run as giant food factories, using essentially technocratic methods and a low-paid work force. Corporations use their economic and political power to hog local water resources. It becomes an asymmetric and uncooperative game. India seems to be heading in this direction, too.

Food Security

One of the big themes in politics since roughly the 1960s has been “security,” including taking measures to ensure everyone has enough to eat. In almost all cases across the planet, this involves Big Government working with corporations (or in more socialist countries, owning corporations) to achieve this supposed end, but actually, we might assume, solidifying the economic and political power of the corporate world, which seeks, I honestly suppose, to rule the planet as a sort of giant factory where a few wealthy owners lord over a huge number of low-paid workers, managed by an upper middle class that is somehow beholden to their overlords. This is an ancient system, but has long been resisted on Earth due to the issue of personal liberty, which is a big issue on Earth compared to most other planets. Bids to have Earth join the larger galactic community are usually contingent on the people of Earth submitting to a more traditional power structure on the planet, which many would identify as Corporate, while others might call it Communist or other things.

What happened in India was that a huge government corporation was set up to purchase food from farmers at protected prices and then sell that to the poor (at lower prices) through state-run food stores. It seems that in India the corporate world would like to take over this operation, and Modi has been persuaded to go along with that plan.

It is not clear that most farmers really know what they are protesting against. This is common in America, too. All most people recognize is that they are being squeezed economically and that under “free market” conditions, they were doing better. However, in the field of agriculture, government price supports have been in place in one form or another in almost all countries for most of the last century. That was their way of getting the farm vote. Reforms to bring more of a free market environment back into Western and developing economies have generally been considered “neo-liberal” and pandering to the corporate takeover agenda. There has even been talk, for instance, that some of the California “wild” fires were set on purpose to drive small businesses and home owners into poverty so that their land could be purchased cheaply by corporate interests. At this point, however, the end goal of “reforms” is often less than obvious. This corporate takeover narrative does, however, align well with what we are seeing happen with the current “pandemic” and with domestic politics.

Food and feminine beauty

In these emotionally confusing times, old themes have a tendency to cross through each other in odd ways.

For us as animals, survival depends on eating and sex, and sex is influenced by the attractiveness of the feminine form. And so pulchritude and agriculture become oddly connected. For us as Spirit, this translates to a kind of beauty that our chefs bring to our tables, and another kind of beauty that our women bring into our lives. But it all ends up not making that much sense.

We are all caught up, it seems, in the dance of surviving on a dying planet. The situation is in many ways quite alarming. Similar to what happens when we as individuals are confronted by our own death. Uniformly, though, death is followed by spiritual release. And whether that release lasts for a few weeks or many lifetimes depends a lot on the spiritual shape we are in when it comes time to kick the bucket.

It seems odd, perhaps that the lovely wives and daughters of hard-working farmers should lead me to reflect on eternity. But their situation only points out to me that it is time to indulge in that reflection. We could save our planet from the grip of the corporate criminals. But perhaps we will fail in this. Whichever result manifests, I judge it will very much depend on our level of spiritual development, and our willingness, ultimately, to choose the beauty of spiritual freedom over the security of the well-fed slave.

Bad news?

There’s something I noticed while researching this story that I wanted to mention.

I saw this on the Independent website, where Peony writes. At the bottom of her opinion piece, running under the headline “Modi’s recent agricultural reforms put the livelihoods and lives of farmers at risk,” the following notice appears: If you have been affected by this article, you can contact the following organisations for support

It then lists five mental health care organizations that serve the UK.

In other words, someone thought that this article contained enough trigger words or concepts that it might upset some readers to the point that they needed mental health advice. To me this is extremely bizarre! Beyond the fact that it panders to a certain system of “mental health care” that is currently dominant in the West, since when has it been so important to protect the fragile emotional frameworks of the readers of certain news stories? What will they be told by the people they contact if they go to one of these sites? To take the latest antidepressant? To sign up for some therapy? Those “solutions” don’t even work! If this is so important, why not just stop publishing the news entirely and leave the citizenry blissfully ignorant? Isn’t this whole mindset just pushing us away from truth, away from confronting what’s there, away from being responsible citizens? Someone wants us thinking we are mentally ill every time we react appropriately to a piece of bad news? That’s not mental health!

Aron, Alanis and Allie

19 December 2020

OK. Here’s the sequence of events: I find out about the Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) a few days ago. I am looking at some videos on this subject, and I see one where Dr. Elaine Aron (the first to research the subject) is being interviewed by Alanis Morissette. Wait…Alanis Morissette? The Alanis Morissette? I listen to that and then visit Alanis’ site and find she recently released a video for a song off her new album. The song is called “Ablaze.”

Alanis! Good for you! You look happy and you have three kids!

Alanis also covers “The War is Over,” a John Lennon song from 1971. I want to remind myself of the original, so I find a YouTube of it. More commonly known as “Happy Christmas,” the choir sings a chant behind some of the verses, which later becomes part of the chorus “The war is over, if you want it. War is over now.”

I never heard these words before! What was wrong with me?

Anyway, while on that YouTube page I see this video of a young girl who turns out to be “busking” (performing outside for spare change) in Dublin. It is Allie Sherlock. She has this amazingly full and expressive voice. She sings all covers, but reportedly will be releasing an album of her own music before too long.

Isn’t she beautiful?

I cried listening to all this heartfelt talking and singing.

Dr. Elaine Aron

Elaine is older than I am and is from the Bay Area (as I am). She began studying the Highly Sensitive Person phenomenon in 1991 while in Santa Cruz. She has been married for 56 years (per Wikipedia) and lives in the vicinity of Mill Valley.

She has written several books on her subject, starting in 1996. One of her books is about HSPs in relationships, which I now have.

In 2015 filmmakers Will and Diana Harper released Sensitive: The Untold Story which features Dr. Aron and also an interview with Alanis Morissette. They are working on a “sequel,” Sensitive and in Love. These are beautiful and well-made films that can bring this topic out of the realm of research psychology and into the awareness of the general public.

I would hazard to guess that this has some relation to what I always knew as “the social personality.”

As I have written elsewhere, because this work is based on the very limited model of human life used by “modern” psychology, its theories are stunted from my point of view. They talk about the trait being inherited and how useful functional MRI has been in revealing differences in brain activity between people who have different sensitivity levels. Well, good for them! I wish they would come out of their hole, though, and see the sunshine and smell the keen fresh scent that is the smell of Spirit!

Alanis Morissette

Alanis was born in Canada (like one of my grandads) in 1974. That makes her 20 years younger than me. Like my Grandad, she eventually moved to Los Angeles, and has remained there.

When I was getting interested in Scientology, Alanis had learned to play the piano and was taking dance lessons. Somehow this all resulted in her becoming a popular performing musician in Canada by the early 1990s. The song I remember her for was a cover of a song by Joan Osborne “What If God Was One Of Us?” Her version was very well-produced with a real edge to the music.

Morissette was a sensitive. This means that Wikipedia reports that she “suffered from depression.” She looks happier now, thank goodness.

Allie Sherlock

Allie is a lovely and buxom Irish girl. She is from the town of Douglas in Cork City, and was born in 2005, making her just a bit over 15 today. I am sure her father has something to do with her music skills, as he records and produces all her videos, which are very well done. She currently home schools, per Wikipedia.

The quality of her voice makes me feel like I am listening to someone who has been singing for hundreds of years. And she probably has.

Striving for touch in a touchless world

I am no miracle worker.

But I am still alive.

And after all these years, I have finally managed to manifest the touch of a woman.

Miracle? If I can manifest that, what else could I bring into my universe?

I have been taught that, ultimately, life manifests everything that it experiences. It’s a little joke my people share among ourselves, that so many people think all this comes from somewhere else.

Would they have let this happen, let us lose so much that is precious to us, if they had known it really all was their creation to begin with?

I almost forgot to mention Akiane!

Stormy Monday

17 December 2020
Mural – night kissing day.

I can’t totally recommend falling in love when you’re 66 years old. But I can think of worse fates; much worse.

It rained last weekend, so I went up to the Co-op on Saturday then waited until Monday to go to Folsom with my bike. I had both my camera and my phone (because of her) on me, so took photos with both devices. This series features interiors and landscapes, trying to capture that mood evoked by the stark contrast between isolation and intimacy. I was afraid it might rain again on Monday, but it didn’t – the sun came out (clouds went away).

Rare self-portrait.

The trains are not very crowded these days. They only run I suppose because they are supported by government funds.

On the way to the store I pass over a creek with a bike trail on one side that serves the local super-suburban livers. Though this scene is very serene, I do not envy these people. Like an aristocrat who must have a lovely estate, these people would go crazy if they didn’t have some natural beauty around to help them balance things out.

The grocery store, unlike the train, actually needs customers to survive. Though Monday was a little less busy, there are always LOTS of people in Winco.

After shopping I decided to go over to where some Scientologists I know have their businesses. It is a nice looking business park containing all sorts of buildings that look more or less like these. Reminds me a little of Pullman.

The Folsom end of the bike trail is more posh and park-like than the rest of it. It follows a creek on its way down to the river.

I reached the river as the clouds were just beginning to lift.

There is a lovely forested area along the trail. This clearing is at its edge.

I have photographed this huge field of stones many times, but not usually from this angle.

As I stepped among the rocks, I found this one covered by a big patch of lichen.

I also saw the older buck and his family here, which now includes a much younger buck. They ran away before I could get a good shot. And I saw two different coyotes. I spoiled my one shot, but had to include it to prove I’m not fibbing about the coyotes.

Geese were all over the place as usual. But their decision to move right onto the bike trail betrays their seemingly stubborn lack of good sense.

However, if I were a migrating curlew, I would consider this fenced-in school yard a really nice place to stop over for a while. According to the wildlife people, this species is struggling. But they seem happy enough today in the afternoon sun.

When I got home I for some reason felt moved to send my friend a photo from the hallway just outside my door.

Emotions

Human feeling is nothing new to me. But when I start crying every time I think of someone…I’m just glad I know about Dianetics and not to be overly alarmed. I have already written here about the emotional power that can trickle through from unresolved cycles in past lives, using Dena’s stories as examples. Though I wish I could remember more (!), it is at least some comfort knowing I am being influenced by all that and not only by what I can remember. I have no huge need to figure out what exactly is tugging at me. Which is not to undervalue the power of the friendships I’ve had this lifetime.

Freedom of Speech?

16 December 2020

I’m talking strictly on a symbolic, non-verbal, level: What does this image convey to you?

I say: Muzzled.