Completing the Circle

Why did I keep on dreaming of a childhood home, always at night, garden overgrown like a wild jungle. Why did I keep on dreaming of the past?

It was not the past. It was the future.

The circle must be completed and every point along its line must be passed through. As sentient beings move in circles, the past is to be lived and relived, to become the future again, then the past again.

Getting stuck is extremely easy – life is hard in this age, time for reflection is scarce. Discovering the true self is not encouraged – such empowered people do not follow orders or build craven systems, so we are separated from ourselves. And even if we were encouraged to find our true selves, the journey would be a terrifying one many would not want to make.

Depression, feeling lost, isolated, purposeless, insomniac and anxious – all this comes from stopping at a point, a failure to complete the circle. No wonder it never goes away if you never try to move on! Until movement returns, the soul is truncated, growth is violently retarded, the lesson is not learned.

The soul will always rebel, it cannot be silenced for long.

You may love where you are today and love who are with today. But this may not hold true in a year, or two, or ten. Places you thought horrible may again become sanctuaries, and safe havens may become pits of boredom. People you thought safe may become dangerous, people you thought you hated may bring tears to your eyes when they pass away. Emotions that you avoided may become more relevant than you thought; the darkness you feared a guide back to the path you must return to. Things change and shift because this is the nature of life itself. There is no solid ground to stand on forever.

The circle must be completed.

Of course we cannot see into the future, nor predict what it will bring! Life is a labyrinth which must be explored and traversed, not a puzzle to be pieced together by a mind from without.

I know where my soul is calling me – back to the source.

But why would a traumatized soul want to return? Because through adult eyes it can see anew, re-evaluate events, cast off chains of dread and haunting shadows, allow healing forces to enter the soul. With adult strength it can endure past endurance, face demons and scatter them before it. Prepare itself for the next challenge – for the quest is never complete and a strictly happy ending is never achieved. But at least there is always movement and change, as the seasons do change.

There is no use lamenting, where you are is where you are. Sometimes it is necessary to go on detours, to spend years in one place, to suffer for some greater goal, or to run off and go crazy. All that matters is that the circle is completed. Forgiving ourselves for not always being perfect or doing what is best for us is essential – we are finite and mortal modes of nature, rather than the little gods we are expected to be.

My rational mind could not make sense of that obsession with the past. Why was it always night time? Why was the garden always overgrown? The subconscious (where the truth of your self and its relation with the world truly lies) knew long before the surface-mind which direction it had to go. Such dreams seemed irrelevant or historical only because the part of the mind above water, above the mist and shadows, was living only its present and not its place in the whole. It was afraid even, of that whole. And maybe rightly so, because at one point it had to be. But where will it lead now?

All you have to do is complete the circle and you can find out.

 

 

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The void inside us

He crested the edge of the Earth-Plane.

A void stood before him, a starless one. He reached over the side of the earth and his arm vanished into the darkness. The wreathe of plane-light could barely reach his fingers and he recoiled. Letting his boot slide back down into a foothold, his bunched muscles relaxed and he slid down the rock-face. His cloak snagged a sharp rock. He reached for it, feeling its familiar texture through his gloves.

‘No!’ he roared and then he leapt into the darkness.

He drifted through the cosmos, he was alone. Little would he know it but he would pass worlds at war, held in common by bridges across the empyrean. He would be seen and ignored by great minds, unable to comprehend his role in the universe. Or perhaps indifferent to him, for perhaps he deserved only indifference. He could see nothing, although he could sometimes feel the breath of gods upon his frail form. Even that subsided. He thought he had a hum, the distant beating of a dragons wings.

The thought occured to him that maybe he had fallen so far outside of time that he could not possibly turn back now. The last of his sentiment drained and he found himself desiring nothing. Finally, something tangible began to form before his eyes. Upon a flat rock of smooth obsidian, a tower seemed to rise, bands of light pulsing out from it and dissipating into crumbling rings. It was impossible yet ge accepted it as it was, having abandoned the power of logic long ago. Nor did he think much of the spindle which rose out of the tower and surrounded him like a net of crystal, gently guiding him to an open dais. Between gargantuan sculpted hands he was drawn and he accepted it. Figures stood there, vast men in vast armour, impassively staring at the drifting man. As he set down upon the smooth rock, Beorec bowed slightly. A low voice carried across the void and echoed inside the traveller’s helm.

‘It has been long since one has visited this place from your obscure plane. Who are you?’

‘I am Beorec Sertanus. Or at least I was, for my family does little to understand me and I have abandoned them. I would bargain with Azymuth.’

‘Then despair thyself. You do not belong here and shall gain nought from us.’

‘Let me. I would bargain with you, however you please. Anything!’

‘One does not simply bargain with Azymuth! Besides, what would you offer?

Beorec held himself tall and gazed into the pitless helm of the sentinel. ‘My blade’

The armoured giant lowered his hands, palms upturned. Beorec held the sword upright, smiling as the cosmic torchlight played upon its elegant hilt. With gentle ceremony he handed over his father’s old sword, and then he stepped away with a slight bow. The sentinel of Azymuth grunted and snapped the blade in half, crushing it to dust in his gauntlets.

‘Is that all?’

Beorec thought of offering his heart. He thought better of it.

The armoured giant sighed with a slight shrug. ‘Begone mortal, this is no place for you.’

‘I will slay you and take your place.’

The vast sentinel stood patiently, as if he was perplexed by what he had just heard. ‘Unlikely.’

‘Face me!’ cried Beorec, drawing a hand axe from his belt.

‘Nay.’

Beorec hurled himself at the giant and hacked into his armour, the axe-head scraping against a domed pauldron. The sentinel remained as he was, gazing down at the little man.

‘Ah, but this one has pluck. Very well, I take pity on you.’

Beorec backed away, gazing up confusedly. He swung his axe back and struck again. His arm hung in mid-air, caught by a vast gauntlet. Beorec screamed as he was lifted in the air and slung over an immense, rounded shoulder guard. Blackness followed as he was hauled into the tower like a sack of grain.

When next he awoke he was again wreathed in darkness, yet felt utterly connected with the one he had sought.

‘Is that you, great one? Where-‘

‘I am already here,’ the voice raced through his head and Beorec writhed on the ground. ‘I am inside you, as I am inside all mortals.’

‘Aaaah, wha-‘

‘I am Azymuth, and all that is sentient, all that reflects upon Nature, is part of I.’

‘What…are…you?’ he cried

‘You cannot comprehend me, for you can perceive only things only through the weak prism of your mind. To the thousandfold dimensions that make up the rest of the cosmos you are blind.’

‘Then tell me, master…tell me…’

‘I will tell you nothing if you continue to call me master, for you are not worthy to be called my slave. You are less than a slave; you are finitude to my infinity; you are nothing.’

‘Then I am no slave, but dirt, dirt at your feet, but tell me what you would have me do.’

‘You are not dirt, you are nothing.’

‘I am nothing, nothing! But tell me all I must know for I have left my home to find you! Tell me what I must do!’

‘Embrace me, seek me. Avoid me, hide from me. You shall find me, I am the void inside you. I am the feeling of carnage in your heart which loves the sight of war; I am the impulse which has you reach for your sword without provocation; I am three cups of wine too many on a night of hedonistic delight; I am that which disappoints you and yet keeps you coming back for more; I am the disconnect between morality and action which makes hypocrites of saints; I am that which prevents you from feeling empathy for life; I am that which causes you to despair at the suffering of the cosmos; I am the cyclical ennui which flattens your spirit; I am that which makes you feel alone in a full room; I am that which makes you hate yourself such that every day is a struggle against self-annihilation; I am the destruction of life, all life; I am the resolution of the universe; I am the supreme end; I am absolute entropy and negation for all of eternity. I am Azymuth, and my acolytes are legion, and I will destroy my brothers and sisters and children, and nothing will remain to oppose me.’

For a moment the voice formed into an image and Beorec’s heart exploded and his veins sundered and his ribs burst open through his mail as he saw what no mortal had yet seen and lived. As he lay upon the smooth rock and waited for the end of the vision he dimly heard the conclusion.

‘And then I will destroy the last of the Planes…’

He awoke again, against the crest of a tall, dark rock. The void lay before him, a distant city lay behind. He turned his back on the void, so that now the distant city waited before him. But now he knew he could not leave the void, that it came with him wherever he went. Beorec reached for the broadsword at his belt, it was gone. With a grim smile he trudged toward the city, he had abandoned, thankful just to feel hard stone beneath his feet.

Absolute peace

Once there was a troubled soul who sought tranquillity. He heard of the Sage who lived deep in the forest and trusted in his reputation. So he sold his house and sold his belongings and donated the proceeds to the church, then he left his home with empty hands.
 
Finding the Sage of the forest he asked: ‘Is it true that you can show me the way to absolute peace?’
 
‘Yes’ replied the old man. ‘But first you must trust that this is what you want. Is it peace you desire over all else?’
 
‘Aye’ replied the troubled man.
 
‘Next you must trust me, trust my deeds and not just my reputation. Do you trust me? Have I ever failed one of my disciples?’
 
‘Not that I know of’ replied the troubled man. ‘So I trust you will show me the secret to absolute peace.’
 
‘Very well. First you must find the greatest oak in the forest and wait there. I will find you there.’
 
So the troubled man sought the greatest oak in the forest. In about a week he had found it and took his place beneath it. He waited hours, then days, then weeks, then months before the Sage found him.
 
‘I have been here many days. Am I on the path to absolute peace?’
 
‘Yes, you have done well.’
 
‘What must I do now that I have waited so long?’
 
‘Continue waiting. It will come to you.’
 
So the man waited beneath the tree for weeks, then months, then years. Again the Sage found him, sitting in almost the exact same spot.
 
‘Am I closer to my goal oh Sage?’ asked the troubled man.
 
‘Yes, not long to go now.’
 
‘What should I do?’
 
‘Nothing, just keep on waiting.’
 
So the troubled man waited patiently,  for months, for years and then decades, dreaming of the day he might finally reach enlightenment. Now old and haggard the troubled man felt he was running out of time. He started to worry that he had been forgotten, but then he remembered to trust the Sage and continued to wait patiently.
 
Until finally, one day in early Winter, the Sage returned bearing a bone-white cloth.
 
‘Oh  Sage, I have done as you advised. Am I close to the peace I desire?’
 
‘Very close’ replied the Sage, who watched as the troubled man took his last breath and slumped over. There was a look of peace on his lifeless face.
 
The Sage covered the body with the cloth and returned to the depths of the forest.

Down the pit and into the tunnel

Does it make me a brave person to feel?

Feelings of extreme anxiety, compounding with feelings of extreme despair, sleepless sensitive nights and tiredness all day, no energy to reach safe ground.

Is there any place of safety out there? If there was silence would I just be tormented by my thoughts?

Security and insecurity – evolution strives for us to be safe and secure, but why doesn’t society comply with this. It is not in the interests of the powerful to have empowered or happy ‘lessers’.

Politicizing these extreme emotions puts them into a context, but they are still here to be felt because the political situation is still here to be felt.

Where to go when it feels like the world has run out of love or if it has any left that you will be overlooked for it?

Burdens weigh heavily in the background and sometimes the switch from stable to horrific is just feeling what is already there, what might be called a dark catharsis.

The endless dark way, the nature of reality itself for us material-sensitive-beings is sometimes sheer pain – I know this, to sense is to sense what is good and what hurts and you cannot have one without the other.

But our political situation does not allow for much vulnerability. Trained to be isolated, precarious and desperate. I could have a castle to myself and yet want to commit suicide. It is love and connection which saves us from addiction and self-destruction but where is that to be found? Does anyone know?

You can talk about ‘self-care’ but what if you cannot care for yourself because it is a time for suffering and pain rather than healing? The nature of the universe must contain great black patterns of suffering woven into it, so as to make it unavoidable.

I mean, are we a fucking joke? It feels like it, a sadistic, sick minded prank of a species. We get to die in the end, but that is less to be feared than prolonged suffering or psychological anguish.

Why did all those bad things happen and why do they continue to? I cannot turn a blind eye but to stare into an abyss means to slowly be destroyed by it. There is no one around because they are hollowed-out husks or trying to stay afloat upon their bubble-worlds lest they be burst by ill-fortune or poor foresight.

What most people may not realize is that there is an entire sub-species of us who sees through a different lens, one so powerful that it cannot be stopped and sees through everything, and this means a life with intense episodes of woe and misery that trap and isolate and snare you in despair until it slowly fades away again.

Then life resumes but you know how hard it will again become.

If I did not feel then I would not be alive. This at least is the consolation. You cannot live without feeling, and you certainly cannot live a moral life without emotions to guide you. So even if feeling eventually kills me or makes me want to kill or destroy myself, it would have been necessary to let me be anything authentic in the first place.

I do not believe in health anymore and know that order is impossible.

Caged beauty

You see beauty in the world and you want to hold onto it.

A beautiful woman walks past you. In that moment you feel the spontaneity of desire. She is framed by sunlight and the trees, obviously at the height of her power and confidence. You manage to just about start a conversation about which bus to take and mention your band. She finds your band on Facebook. You want to see her again, just to be near her; she is so beautiful.

You wait and wait and wait for a message. Nothing. You feel resentful, cheated. You look at her profile picture obsessively. Then she messages you! You write back excitedly. Then again, then again, then again. Two weeks later she writes again, a response with little or no opening for reply.

You message her again, again and again. And again. Your confidence starts to fade, your will falters. You message her asking if she cares about you. She never speaks to you again. You feel a deep sense of loss, an opportunity for happiness crushed.

Beauty cannot be caged or captured. It is the most fleeting of all things. When we let go of it, we gain a chance to refind it.

But there are no guarantees in life. You may find beauty or may end up with only vulgarity before you. This means the only way to contentment is to accept what comes and never to try and cage, or expect, beauty.

The world is in pain, so we are in pain

The first time the Great Anxiety hit I thought I was done for. The second time, I opened myself up to it and let myself listen.

Why are you here? Where do you want me to go? What do you want me to do?

We need, in the schema or narrative of our life, the illusion of control. We need to feel like there is somewhere to go, something to achieve, something to move into, something to resolve. I question, with the power of emotion and the nature of life, how true that control is.

Be healthy, be well, look after yourself – if only these things were ‘internals’ and not ‘externals’! The body gets ill, nights are sleepless, seemingly ‘random’ emotions spring upon us.

The fixation on yoga and mindfulness and healthy eating (and other such things) is a reflex which is misfiring. You can try to be healthy, but I doubt you cannot succeed. These disciplines are useful for taking the edge off life, but to seek to evade anxiety is to eventually be run down and caught by it.

I have strapped anxiety to my back and made it into a pair of dark wings!

The world is in pain, so we are in pain. There is no hiding from that fact and no resolution within just yourself. What I am, what we all are, is an ego running round and round the grooves of a vinyl record. We want the song to play forever, but it cannot. Eventually, even the best kept record will decay, a stray hand will knock the needle, the electricity will cut out. Chaos will ensue – and from chaos we will be forced to realize again that we must make a mammoth effort to heal the world-pain.

Not that even this will succeed, for the nature of life is pain and struggle. Even with all the advance of technology and civilization, we are still in pain. As of writing this, thousand of brave and colourful activists are blocking the streets of London to bring climate catastrophe and ecological collapse to the fore. They are right in doing so. But all we can do is unmake the damage caused by our ignorance – there is no pristine nature to return to, and even with biodiversity and the climate future assured we would only be taking the edge off reality.

For the very act of trying to fortify ourselves, like the very act of trying to attain perfect health, is what makes us less secure and doomed to failure respectively. The more we want a stable groove the greater the shock when chaos strikes. For the nature of the world contains sparks of chaos, chance and misfortune! Even though I think life is worth living and things will generally be manageable and worth it, chaos will strike. If you try to negate chaos and the flowing forms of the world then you will always be anxious. The perfect-health people will someday decay and die, as will we all.

We can accept that capitalism is trashing the world and has to be stopped. But we should not imagine a utopia to follow it. This is the only way to avert disappointment.

For now, the supreme pain and anxiety inside of me is here and I will let it be. My own life could be good or ill, it would not make a difference. I am not just ‘my own life’, I am the world. The deep emotions of hurt are not random, they are the background noise of reality as a living being itself.

There is no escape. Those who seem like they have escaped it with their capitalist masks will someday be injured at work, or suffer for their happy pills, or just have a good old epiphany of the doomed nature of the isolated ego. Then it will all catch up with them and hit like a tidal wave. No one is beyond it, everyone has whiskers and deeper senses, not just the ‘enlightened’

At least when we are aware of the struggle and suffering, it can be vented off at a more manageable way.

Of course I want good feelings! Love and peace and order for all. These things are as passing as the bad things. Don’t hold on too tightly and don’t try to predict what lies ahead. We also have a spark of chaos in us as the universe does and to deny that spark is to invite great misery indeed.

I believe that the crisis we are in now is a result of civilization trying to entrench itself too deeply, conquering nature so as to conquer chaos. We will all be annihilated if we keep going this way.

 

Ramping down

Take that world of your shoulders.

The weight will slowly bend your spine and one day you will not be able to walk. I thought I was warrior enough to bear it once, but now I just write songs about those warriors. Maybe this is all I will ever be able to do again.

After experiencing the excitement of a few days on the front (even only tentatively) it all came flooding back. Frazzled circuits never fixed themselves properly, flashbacks of tents and loud noises. The effect of endless hours of people talking about all the world’s biggest problems – I may never be well enough to hear that again.

Dropping the burden, ramping down my involvement, already I feel safer and more secure.

If you were fully sensitive to the world’s pain the psychic feedback would explode the mind. No one is strong enough to take on the totality. With this as the high end of the scale and total ignorance at the other end, we find ourselves somewhere along the spectrum. Finding a safe and healthy place on that spectrum depends on each and every individual.  Some people can handle it, others can’t. Some are secure enough to go months in a vulnerable state, others do not have the support or luxury. Some have a history of trauma and a un-privileged status in society, others have solid limbic systems never frazzled by violence and privilege flows through their veins. We all have different needs and abilities.

If you look to see how long the journey is, you might never make it. But if you travel with your head down, there is a chance you can get there.

To be sensitive in this world is to suffer what it suffers. And when society has hostile elements in it, people striving to use you and trample you down, people competing with you, endless expectations of action and ‘productivity’, to take on the big problems and those smaller abuses is a double-drain of energy.

That is why my anxiety brings me to a crippling halt. Not all of us can be warriors all the time. I might never again be a front-liner, this is a reality to live with.

To confront this is itself a massive anxiety. More so if the struggle is your life. But fortunately for myself I can contribute from behind the front lines, daring the trenches of change only to raise spirits and then disappear again. I can still contribute in other, roundabout ways, and perhaps have the strength to fight the pettier demons who constantly try to harass me.

But I have trust and faith in the generation coming up and in those with greater resilience for battle and its anxieties. It is easy to let the burden go, there is a whole legion of brave activists coming forward to fight.

To be an artist and a thinker is my place in this struggle; to want to change things but only to perceive them from the clouds, or at best from the corner of my eye.

Black Bard

The halls I fill with joy and mirth

Deceive the fact of a doomed birth

Black from abuse, black from neglect

Leaving a soul without self-worth

A man of no presence, whose shadow casts

Nothing, and no achievement lasts

In him, a man no maiden lusts

For she seeks one of strength and trust

I create for you, cry and reach out

A tiny candle soon to be snuffed out

But you see not what is hidden deep

So these drugs alone, might give me sleep.

 

My power flows from endless spring

Yet the source is ever-darkening

The dryads song, the dryads muse

Cannot dispel these ghosts haunting

My every step, my every way

Darkness shrouds the brightest day

Pain and tears cannot be spoke

So keep this soul in its black yoke

For verse is not life, nor barded song

Love and respect, alone we long

And those denied, this simple prize

Live and die with sorrow in their eyes.

Root causes & Gravitational forces

In this quest for deep self-knowledge there is always a strong element of cause and effect, stretching back to a primal and fundamental time. I believe this is an inevitable paradigm into which we work as human beings, at least by default. We see only our perception, and time seems linear as a result of it. The hand carries the stone, the hand drops it, the stone falls. The hand dropping is the cause and the stone falling effect. Something causes the hand to drop and so forth back to the ‘beginning of time’.

With deep psychological matters such as personality and trauma, we could use a similar linear understanding in the analogy of a tree: the deep roots ae the fundamental essence of our being, the trunk and the branches more conscious forms. ‘Most people only ever live at the surface. They might prune the branches or support the trunk but they never change things at the roots. And it is precisely at the roots where we must change things. the roots are the ultimate cause.’

I think it is a useful analogy. I also fear that ‘roots and depths’ might be the wrong way to look at things outside of simple analogy. That we might be caught floating in a clusterfuck of forces the understanding of which is very difficult.

Contrast the cause and effect, linear progression of roots and trees with an analogy about gravitational forces.

The are two bodies of matter floating in space: A and B. A has an effect on B and simultaneously B has an effect on A. It doesn’t make sense to say A causes B without knowing how B also causes A. The relation is simultaneous. One may have a greater effect than the other (if B is larger for instance) but still A is still a cause. When we introduce C, to understand the effect A has on B, we must also understand the effect C has on A. And of course, A is simultaneously altering the outcomes of C. A has an effect on B and C, B on C and A, C on A and B. This varies and changes as they move around each other. This is just three forces and already the causes and effects are multiplying exponentially.

When we add D, E, F and G, we start to get close to something of complexity. How can we even begin to understand A’s effect on anything without a decent understanding of B, C, D, E, F and G, how they all effect and alter one another? The order between them, the power of each element is not within itself. The ability of it to effect another body is dependent on its location and the other forces in question. There is no inherent power of force in any element, but only a relational power. Which is significant, which less so? Each effect has many causes and each cause causes many effects! The ‘order’ which emerges out of this interplay is extremely difficult to comprehend.

How this non-linear analogy might aid me psychologically is to dispel the idealization of catharsis or total healing. ‘If only that one great poisoned root was torn out’ or ‘if only I could find the line of causality that caused this’. There will always be greater and lesser causes and it does make sense that the traumatized being will remember most prominently the most powerful. But one is not only caused upon but also part of causation, even if it does not feel that way. If I see myself as a force in motion in the cosmos, then I was never wholly helpless or formed from without, but also played a part in the relationship which brought me here (however small my part may have been and perhaps it was larger than I thought).

I am not helpless and I am not determined by only a few major events. I am as much a part of things as anything else. It is narrow thinking – and more fundamental still the paradigm within which we think! – that is exacerbating things and trammelling me into a certain fixed mode. In fact my agency only makes sense in this relation to others. My thriving is not dependent upon achieving one or two great things; a defining moment, the resolution of primal dreams, the supreme love. It is ongoing and unreachable, like a receding horizon. It will change when the tides do, and they will. How much I can do and can be is limited but also given meaning by the conflux of many, many things upon which I and all beings are mutually dependent.

From one to many.

No single soul but a thousand.

No centre-mind but a hollow circle.

The engine of life is what is before it.

The cosmos needed no creator and time needed no winding up by the hand of god. If we seek back for primal causes we may miss that we are occurring within one as we speak.

But I love the analogy of the tree, the language of roots, the seeking for primal depths. Maybe if the tree is one of many, and we consider the soil and the touching roots, and the quality of the air, and the animals in its branches…