Showing posts from May, 2015

Beyond the wanting mind

There's a lot of ecstasy out there. Then stillness.

 Now, we get a glimpse of something different. A mind without concepts is different from an everyday mind. There is no time, no things, no you and me, no such thing as yesterday or tomorrow or now. Without these things there is no cause and effect universe, which is interesting. Perhaps the world is not what it seems. Perhaps there is another way of seeing things.

Now, I'm a rational person but these things make you wonder. What is beyond the human mind? What is the universe really?

The common thoughts of human beings

I was reading the work of Levi-Strauss (the anthropologist, not the Jean maker) and his attempts to find common essence of human thought across different tribes and cultures. If we look at our own minds, it is possible to see the construction of thought but the contents of those thoughts and how they relate to society are complex - clearly the way we think is a cultural phenomenon and culture is a  thing all of its own outside of our individual selves. Do we try to understand this thing or do we let it go? How do we engage with it? 
Well, I'm not sure. You can gauge the well being of a society by the culture it produces - the music, the art, the way it expresses form. It is a complex language and it shapes how we think. Now, you could spend a long time investigating this but the key thing to recognise is that The thoughts it produces in Us are something we do not directly control. However, how we react to these thoughts and how we shape future thoughts is something we are responsi…

Exploiting the body mind complex to shape thoughts

In my last post an attempt was made to explain away thoughts - they are causal, we have little control over them, we should chill out about them. The mind makes thoughts like a factory makes widgets. They are not us.

However, we all know how difficult thoughts are - they can make our lives a misery. As westerners, we have a duty to stop this misery and control them in some way, and there is a glimmer of hope if you put the effort in.

The first thing to be aware of is: the more you think a thought, the more likely you are to think that thought again. The more you moan, the more likely you are to moan in future. The more generous you are, the more generous you become. And so on. In short, think good things.

The next handy thing to know is: you can't think a thought without contracting a muscle somewhere (this is why dead people don't do thinky things). The body and mind are two sides of the same coin, they are inexorably bound together. This is useful because we can influence th…

What is a thought?

You can go a long way with this line of enquiry.

Before you begin, it's important to do some groundwork. First, you need to purify the mind (or clean it out). To do this you need to be a generally decent person pursuing wholesome thoughts (generous, forgiving, seeing the good) and then you should be able to calm the mind down by allowing it to rest on an object and then letting it relax (like taming a wild animal of sorts).

Once the mind is calm, you can see what's happening. To cut a long story short, a lot of stuff is happening - it's like you've been driving along the road looking at the trees go by and then a hole opens up in the bottom of the car and you see the Tarmac whizzing by and things happening very fast. Not to worry, you're a complex organism so you'd expect a bit of action.

Next step is to attach some labels to the features of the mind as they emerge. The central feature is perception - attaching labels to stuff. What stuff? Well, it's mainly…

Superfood your muffins

If you go on a strange food diet then you'll need some cakes at some point - I've found muffins to be a bit of a life saver over the years, especially on the wheat free stints. Here's the basic muffin recipe:

Preheat your oven to as hot as it can go. Have about 12 muffin cases arranged in a muffin tin.
- 250g self raising flour (I use a wheat free blend, with some variations) - A few teaspoons of sugar (experiment with this, if you make 10 muffins allow half a teaspoon per muffin, more if you can't stand it). Sometimes you can go sugar free, depending on your flavour. - A teaspoon of baking powder - A teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda - 1 egg, optional if you don't have one - 3 fl oz extra virgin olive oil, or other health giving oil - 9 fl oz of milk or orange juice ( enough fluid to make a slack mix)
Then you add your flavours, this is the superfood bit.
- a handful of chia seeds (Mexican endurance runners like this apparently) - a handful of sunflower seeds, or ot…

VE day celebrations May 1945 Alexandria

My Granddad went through the war. Here's how they celebrated the end.

It seems very civilised. I like the idea that they enjoyed a tombola and some donkey racing. I imagine the boxing competition would have been fierce.

Don't think too hard, it might never happen

In fact, the opposite might happen. Clearly, one day the bad thing will happen, and it's clear to me that unfortunate things happen all the time. It's part of growing up - we can't hide from the onset of poopishness. It's what happens. That's not to say that we sit there considering all the poopishness in the world and trying to defend ourselves against it (defensiveness = prison). Perhaps: we see the poop, we anticipate the poop, we acknowledge that we may soon be up to our neck in it, but we give ourselves a choice. Perhaps now I will think about something different. And therein lies freedom.