Out of isolation, into total communion

What is isolation but to feel that your suffering is unique to you, and that no one else could possibly understand what is occurring inside you?

The fragmented society of individuals, where people walk by without knowing you, means you can be surrounded by any amount of quantity, but no quality. A million, million people can see you but not one make you feel like a person sentient.

Who cares about you, or can afford to, as orders from above dictate a false economy of scrambling for life-boats and tight purse strings (known in political rhetoric as ‘austerity’)?

The troubles and anxieties of moderns were unknowns to ancients who had fates and gods. The suffering of isolation must weigh heavily on any utilitarian’s scales, marking the failure of our times to bring happiness, even with all of our technologies and advantages of knowledge.

The prescribed panacea to the isolation feeds into it, for it is no panacea at all but false promise. Facebooks and Instagrams and such non-communities distance us from sentience, that of ourselves and others. Addictive, fleeting and empty mediums.

Like filling a void with dust.

I do not want to be made of dust, to be insubstantial and misunderstood but who has the time?

A final cure for isolation there is not, for any of us can grow old, see their friends and family fade, and be trapped in a non-life on the sixth floor in some grey tower of dying. But for the now we could have far more recognition and true being than is afforded us by soulless digital mediums, if only there were some way to wean people away from the heroin of Facebook.

A true and genuine faith in the transformative power of community is needed, and this high-morale state is the only way we can achieve our goals of egality and ecological health. The cruelty of the system makes it harder and harder for this true resistance to form, but no one ever said a life alienated was ever going to be easy.

Through therapy I am at least able to find someone who can go into me, and in reflection have his own sentience confirmed. After enough sessions so strong a bond is formed that we reach a point of mutuality, even if it is largely me sharing my angst and mental health troubles.

This is an extreme example of healing through being known. If one other person could for one moment understand and feel what it felt like, how much a sorrow would be lifted! Then real healing could rapidly work upon the wounds and I could walk alone some of the way. Imagine if ten people made that time and effort.

If the inflicter will not ever listen, will not those others who have been inflicted?

Isolation is terrible for a person. It can be conceived of as torture, in the long term worse than any physical death. That some particular souls have endured isolation for years because of belief in God, or the stars, or what-have-you, gives little solace. How pathetic for humanity to need higher powers just to fulfil some basic need. Faith is only beautiful to me when it is a thing of aesthetic magnanimity – not desperation and feeble clawing at the skirts of god. I want to surrender my ego for the beauty of the cosmos, not for the vulnerabilities and feelings of alienation threatening within.

I believe in communities and fellowships and kinships upon earth, here and now. To serve each other as the ultimate unity and escape from the icy loneliness threatened by individualist non-society.

There is such a thing as serving yourself before you serve others, but how much easier it is to serve yourself when the others you can serve appreciate you! One does not need to come before the other, and it is foolish to believe one ever will.

If I could be satisfied in myself I would never strive to do anything for the better. If like a monk I could meditate still as a stone I would fathom no art, no songs and no stories, and these creative gifts would wither away, or shrink like a muscle unused. I need you, I hope you need me too.

Total communion is the breaking of boundaries between people and a temporary wholeness. I do not wish to sound too utopian or longing as it happens often already, in the dance hall as much as the bed-chamber as the temple ritual or therapy room. But I would not still feel great bouts of isolation and hellish loneliness if there was not this shield of ice around my soul still – so at least I can say this total communion is not yet regular enough for me!

Look now – we need each other, says the science and says the spirituality, so isn’t it time to put money where mouths are act upon this however we can?


In Exile

How many millions have been in exile throughout the course of history?

An exile self-imposed, to get away from a tyrant who lacks patience for a tongue which speaks the truth.

An inconvenience to power, a chaotic element. In the Palace he is a thorn, outside of it he is a reminder that something is wrong. But at least outside he cannot harm the pretense of good the tyrant can engineer. At least outside he is seen only in dreams and memories of conscience.


An exile’s rage is a force powerful, yet boundless. That rage quickly loses its trail, meandering from  the honest heart into labyrinths of thought, trapping him in himself, magnifying it, forgetting its source.

Exile leads to feelings of constant neglect and alienation, itself fuelling a new anger and downcast shame.

And always in his heart the guilt which tears him apart. Was it better to remain silent, to return to ignorance and allow evil to triumph?

But of course not, but the hard road of one going the long way to justice is seldom comfortable, and what reward can ease the tempest of a lifetime?

A doomed quest, until death and beyond it the Tyrant will deny his misdeeds. Maybe he will even believe in it, so narcissistic is he.

Still it is better to try, to wander and suffer in exile than to live in comfort in a nest of snakes, forced to swallow down poisons and become what one despises.


It is important to remember and celebrate these days. When a weight has been lifted, when a cloud has passed, when the birds are piping at the dawnlight.

The why is hard to explain, if explanation is needed or possible. I just feel like all of my joints are made of a pleasantly squishy jelly and my central nervous system is reclined in a hammock hanging from an Indian pea tree.

Perhaps the many weeks of crushing weight and darkness have made this relative normality feel like euphoria. Perhaps this is the call of Spring, the first buds preparing to awaken – a time I associate with great wellbeing and expansion.

A particularly good session in psychotherapy last week changed phases from some bubble of Winter drear, and another session yesterday helped me to change the way I see Winter and darkness. Not things to be escaped, but lessons to be learned. The more we try to shy away from hard feelings, the more surely they return.

I seek not the positive in them, but rather just to be with them, as part of some balanced whole. After all, the darkness is also part of who I am. And how much more pleasant these days when they follow the hard toil of emotional work.

I have worked really hard these last few weeks! On everything – even sleeping was a labour and a worry. I have worked harder than most ever will. This euphoria is the result of that, the weekend of a strained soul. As a mason who spends years building a new house spends his first night away from the elements by the warmth of a fire, I have gone ways to building a place I can call home inside myself, cultivating safety, self-forgiveness, strength.

Many things – I have worked hard and cleverly. Time to get the peace I deserve!

Believe me when I say there is hope. Even if it does not feel like your good works are being instantly rewarded, by treating yourself well you are putting “money” in life’s wellbeing “bank” (if you will excuse the horribly capitalist metaphor).

I do not think we can fully choose when the results come, but we can open ourselves up to the possibility by living well, being in therapy, finding useful herbs and medicines that work for us, and so forth.

Just know that the good times will come, whatever you have been through. Your self-healing processes are at work if you allow to do their thing, and be patient. Something I struggle with, but am now much learning.

We need Winter for Spring and Darkness for Light. Lessons I am learning, acceptance, being with, silence, patience. As much as I endured the elements, now I must enjoy the fruits.

That is what today is for, and that is what I shall do.


Realistic thinking: my four c’s

This article could easily be the most ‘practical’ and ‘how to’ I have ever done. So much so the title could be in CAPS and something like ‘How to improve your life and wellbeing with four simple tips!’

Recently, my ability to think realistically has been improving my situation. By no longer being prey to a wandering mind, suffering is limited and thinking realistic. Anxiety disorders and negative thinking are the ultimate causers of ‘secondary suffering’. Life will sometimes bestow some suffering upon us – this could be low mood, injury, Winter time, what have you. But this can be made far worse and more protracted if we are in negative patterns or anxious states. The secondary suffering is in fact often worse than the primary.

Fortunately, we can be in control of our thoughts. I cannot easily say the same for mood and depression and fundamental emotions; this is a much deeper mystery with a much more complex healing. But over your thinking, you are sovereign.

This is the first thing to understand. Lets repeat it – over thought you are sovereign, over thought you are sovereign, over thought you are sovereign. No one else can control your thinking. It is yours, the gift of your sentience.

Now let us begin to look at 4 C’s which can help diminish or destroy negative thinking patterns. When you find yourself lost in a negative thought…

I) Catch it

ii) Categorize it

iii) Challenge it

iv) Conclude 

I find the first stage, catching it, to be the most important. Often our thoughts swim hither and tither, getting more and more wrapped up in their own logic. Training yourself to catch those initial forays into negative patterns is essential.

Remember, our lazy brains want routines and patterns – even bad or unuseful ones! There is a certain auto-pilot to us, and until we are sentient and sovereign over thoughts, we are at risk of being dragged along by them. You have to catch yourself out, it is the only way. Get into the practice of catching your thoughts.

Once you have caught a thought, you can categorize it. I find this very useful, because it can quickly reveal whether the thought is rational or not.

‘Oh god the man next door is shouting down the phone again, I will never get to sleep and tomorrow will be ruined and…’

This can be categorized as predicting and catastrophizing. It diminishes the power of the thought greatly to categorize it. Other categories include mind reading, generalization, emotional reasoning (because I feel this it must be true), black and white thinking, diminishing or exaggerating problems. Once you categorize, you can rest assured that you are not the only person with this kind of thinking pattern, and just how common it is in our culture. This greatly diminishes the power of a thought, and is often enough to quell it.

However if a thought gets through the categorization filter, then it can be challenged. This means weighing up the evidence for and against it. How much do you truly believe a thought to be true? Really turn it upside down and inside out. Rate it as high or as little as it deserves. Challenge it!

And then, conclude accordingly. Often my conclusion means dismissing a thought as having no significance or truth value (this is because I have a very loud negative voice in my head, it might be different for you). Compulsive and intrusive thoughts are powerful and can be more disturbing. With these, really challenge by asking ‘how is this significant?’ and seek more detailed guides on OCD and the like.

I hope this is useful. Practice, practice, practice, and seek out CBT therapist or self-help if you need extra support. Of course, being able to meditate or turn down the volume on thoughts is also very powerful, but these require a lot of time and patience. The four c’s are far quicker to get, and can tide you over until you attain enlightenment beneath that elder tree!

In summary: over thought you are sovereign. When a thought comes into your head, catch it, categorize it, challenge it and conclude accordingly. You are master over your thoughts. You have the power to diminish secondary suffering.

There is no one else in the entire world…

There is no one else in the entire world. Only myself.

This is what happens when you go down into the tunnel (as some may call it).

Isolation. Purgatory.

You can test the statement rationally: ‘Is there anyone else in the world?’ quite simply by looking and listening. Go to the grocers and you will see people and hear them. They will be quite real, with textures, souls, bodies, and all of it.

But they will not interact with you. They will notice you.

Perhaps then, when I feel like there is no one else in the entire world, what I really mean is there is no me in the world, because there is no one who truly recognises and knows me at this point in time.

The disturbing thing is that there seems little way to consciously understand or plan for this. I have had days of great social and artistic triumph followed by a harsh night and then deep sadness and misery. Downward spirals are hard to predict, vicious cycles tricky to break out of.

Sometimes you just need help.

The speed at which we can become isolated and vulnerable…it is only balanced by the speed at which we can turn back, rise out of it, be able to sleep again.

The most unnatural thing we can be is alone, and yet so many of us are alone. I am alone even when not really alone!

It is not so much of a paradox when you think about it, and move one premise behind: ‘I am alone’ is positing an ‘I’ which does not really exist in the way the ego thinks it does. Taking a step back from our identities we can see them for the façade they are. And as said many times, the more these identities try to secure themselves against the chaos of the world, the more they isolate, and thus the more they need to fortify in an endless spiral of impossibility.

My entering a state of high anxiety, isolation and depression can mean one, two or both things from here. Firstly that there is an element of post traumatic stress, which will keep on coming back until it is somehow dealt with. Or secondly, and I think more likely, the work that needs to be done has not been done. I need to relinquish this ‘western ego’ I do not even really believe in, and then I can be freed from depression and anxiety. To let go of all the pain and even the wish for personal justice, for healing and tranquillity.

Lets not beat ourselves about it internet people! This is the culture we are born into and all we knew for a large part of our lives. There is no way to truly transcend these indoctrinations – I honestly believe we will be poisoned until the day nature takes it’s course and we find true release in death. All we can do is heal and heal and heal, as much as the pain hurts and hurts and hurts. If the good days outweigh the bad (and they tend to), then life is worth living as much as it can be done so.


Once there was a crofter who rode a cart to the nearby village. Every morning he would pass a sage – a lazy, unworldly man the like of which he thought little. Morning after morning the creaking cart and its load would go pass, and nary a word they would exchange.

Then one day the crofter started to struggle to sleep every night. The tiniest of irritations would keep him awake; the light of the moon, a creaking barn door, the bleak howls of fox, footsteps outside. No matter how long he lay in bed he slept little, and in a few months, his entire body started to feel the strain. Some days were so tiring he could hardly rise out of bed, but lay drenched in sweat and frustration.

The sage was surprised to see the crofter again, after a week in his absence. Feeling like he had nothing to lose, the crofter spoke asking: ‘Sage, I am troubled. Nights I cannot sleep, and days I am barely awake. I do not understand.’

The Sage rubbed his chin and gestured to a pouch at his belt. ‘There are herbs and powders for that. Have you tried them?’

‘Yes, all of them.’ replied the Crofter. ‘They help, a little, but I have seen what happens to the yeoman when they start living on the stuff. It is a recipe for disaster. And those who turn to wizardry are even more hopeless. Their life-span rapidly declines, and they trade a few years on top for bleak years without souls.’

‘Ah, then you do have some understanding.’

‘Perhaps. But that will not help me sleep at night.’

‘Then tell me’ said the Sage, getting into his element. ‘Why can you not sleep?’

‘I am anxious and miserable.’ replied the Crofter. ‘There, I admit it!’

‘And why are you anxious?’

‘My life has been a hard one, and my soul much tormented. It is how I have come out.’

‘And the misery?’

‘I cannot say. I just, am.’

‘Oh come now’ laughed the sage. ‘No one is miserable without good reason! Have a think.’

‘I suppose I am miserable because…it feels like we are losing.’

‘Who is losing what?’

‘The good people of the world are losing, to the bad people.’

‘Ah that! Yes, it does seem to be the way of things at this time. But why does that make you miserable?’

‘I believe that this does not have to be the case, and all around me are miserable people who say otherwise. So I ride this cart everyday, to silence the voice the miserable people have placed there.’

‘You believe it does not have to be the case. Then your misery springs from the very core of your heart, that what you believe in and desire is not being achieved.’

‘I guess it seems a lot clearer now.’

‘Would you rather you did not feel sadness? Would you rather your soul was silent and let the world slide by as it does, deeper and deeper into degeneracy?’

‘Come to think of it, no I would not.’

‘So your misery which leads to agitation and thus tiredness, is it something you can get rid of without fundamentally changing the core of your being?’


‘Well, yes. A little, try some of these herbs and powders.’


‘The world will not change overnight, and you still have to live in it. But remember ye this – the more it is in your head that your misery, and all its concurrent malaises, are caused by your very own inner-dreams for betterment; the more you realize that your desires for better are being compared to the world and perpetually let down, the less that misery is your enemy, and the more it is a reason to strive to change things and avoid complacency. And rather than wallow in it, as I have never seen you do, you will just have to find a way to express what you truly desire to see in the world, and make it so, as much as it can be so.’

‘Truly sage, I thought you lazy as an old ox! But you speak much wisdom.’

‘I am lazy as many old oxen, stout yeoman. But I do not begrudge myself for it – I would sooner be so than serve stagnant, degenerate lords.’

‘And yet you have no misery to you?’

‘Not now, no. But often. Even when I do, I do not let it destroy my health. I am a sage after all!’

And the crofter went along his way, drained and tired still, but a little bit more hopeful that world could be turned from evil. But it was a long way uphill, and this was little solace in the midst of Winter.

Beneath a bright moon

Beneath a bright moon last night

I stared up on my knees.

A religious experience, of awe and connection.

Trembling, tormented contrition

For becoming an addict of petty stimulation

Going nowhere, shutting off nature

Needing the pain of another sleepless night

Beneath the bright moon to remind me

How I once shared its glory

And walked much more freely

Through winter cold

The scrape of bramble-thorns

On my clothes.


I feel sometimes a traitor to the cause

Of life on earth, natural gods

Yet I do not spite myself

Or feel much more than disappointment

None of us can afford to take the whole world

On our shoulders

No one is fully responsible

For the themes within us

For the madness of civilization.

All we can do is recognise this

Gradually realigning ourselves

To the order and chaos of gods such as bright moon

For we are half a chaos race

Chaos a necessity for our hearts to beat

And our souls to taste vital forces.

This the ego, seeking security

Seeking eternity, cannot accept

And so the gentle war inside me

And all of us who are not wholly wolf!


Beneath a bright moon last night I found a god

That was as much me as I was it

One of many, an ancient force.

I will not forget you again, my celestial

I will remember that I am a shard of your power

And eventually be magnanimous again.

Fight, flight, freeze

I have found recently that my response to danger tends toward a freeze response.

In situations with male aggressors my system starts to wobble and my ability to act diminishes. The heart pounds furiously and thoughts race, feelings of helplessness wash over me.

Even if I am in the right, my instinctual reaction is eventual to take the side of the aggressor / abuser, placate and tiptoe around them to avoid further conflict. To rationalize what happened somehow, to either make it my own fault or accuse myself of exaggeration. It takes a conscious effort to remind myself that he is in the wrong and I right.

I wonder where those survival strategies were developed…

Development –

As a child you know only those around you. You have no freedom to go anywhere on your own. Nor do you have much choice over who you come into contact with. The world immediately around you is the whole world. As a result, there is no way to compare and contrast. You take what happens to you as normal, and it becomes a default.

In those days, the god-guardians create the boundaries and expectations. There is no defeating them at that age – they are gods. Even growing to maturity, those feelings of fear and blasphemy are strong. Thoughts of ‘these people are my world, learn to placate them’ are still strong. Being able to navigate the world outside, which has ‘abusive and dangerous’ projected out from me on top of its existing abusiveness and dangerousness, is hard. It is a conscious effort to get there and not regress, a constant struggle against a sorrowful default.

These learned feelings of helplessness, of placation, conflict avoidance, not trusting my own voice, are deep inside. They are the soil of depression and endless misery. They conflict with other feelings of the need to right wrongs, to confront and seek justice. A real striving for happiness and wellbeing. There is a lion behind the trembling kitten, an utterly fearless warrior ready to fight it out, who knows that it is better to risk dying on your feet than living on your knees.

How draining this all is. The world of patriarchal relations, the inheritance of a male-dominated civilization. It is utterly shite. If only people dared to know better.

Fight, fight and fight –

Fight, flight, freeze. I still freeze before patriarchal gods I do not believe in. You don’t have to believe in them for them to have power. Flight from them means a constant retreat, leading to deflation of the spirit and surrender to the powers oppressing us. Flight leads into self-wrought cages of depression. A short retreat can be wise, but flight wants to get out from danger and never go back. There is a major difference.

Only fight is the valid instinctual response.

Against this, there is first a great barrier, a castle forged of psychic stones, and an ideology of obedience to the power without and distrust of the power within. My own rage and wrath frightens me, for just or no, it can lead to a prison in patriarchy.

One day there will be a fight, a great one which leaves many more deep wounds. There has to be sooner or later, as the years of bad mental health leave less and less to lose.

But I was made to believe in my own weakness, uselessness, fragility, dependence. None of these things indicate humility or virtue. They are all misperceptions, poisons of the soul.

Me, whose tales are filled with daring warriors and truth-seekers, trembling here. It won’t be forever, but it is now.



‘Through the void, in my hollowed out, brittle shell

I am but dust, strangely whole with the cosmos.

A wraith by the wreathe of a campfire

The wind-through-trees which ushers fearful looks.

My eyes are become pitch, jet like heavens

Empty of stars, populated by nothing.

The more I think of her smile, or his

Of their castles and fanes

The more a mirror is help up to my eye

By a cruel jester who says ‘you shall have none of this!

Yours shall forever be storm and fury

Dreams of pain upon pain.’


We all look in from without, we rebels.

We gaze in at the followers and serfs

Whose ignorance enacts great evil every day

And whose compliance feeds every tyranny.

Yet what unites us but out hatred for the powerful

Our wish to burn their palaces and slaughter their lineages?

There is little warmth here, and our unity is fleeting.

We have no culture and no history

We are like phantoms with swords.

Who could love us, we sorry men

Who fight for the will of the true gods

To bring Balance back into the world of men,

Yet lose even when we win.


For our graves will go unmarked

Our deeds will enter no chronicle or tapestry

And, verily, until the final day of His reign

The people we strive to liberate

Will hold spears to our throats

So strong their need to hold on to illusion

So great their fear of freedom.

This resentment shall not fade

Even after the King is long dead, and they long free

Spite they will carry for us

If they think of us at all.


Considering the ubiquity of our plight

In the march of history

I feel Nature is a bittersweet generator

Of great cosmic bastards

The likes of which we are two.’


Gylfanon smiled, grimly.

‘It seems that you see the world swathed in shadow

As reflection of your own tumultuous, exiled soul.

I doubt not the truth of your words, friend

Only that they be but one aspect

Of a much broader truth.


But now it occurs to me

If this is how you see the world

So dark and full of shadow

Pain and suffering so inevitable

Grief caused just by seeing the happiness of others

And yet still you hold on to hope and virtue

Then perhaps you are the boldest of us all, Akiorus.

From a scarred and unforgiving past

You have become a chieftain of magecraft

Born not of high blood or esteem;

The opposite – born of Stygian depths!

Every triumph you have earned of your own mettle.

I am prouder of you this day

Than any of my lieutenants.’