Dreams

An unbalanced, unsettled mind will experience many dreams, fantasies and nightmares. This is the mind’s effort to counteract the blocking effect of our consciously maintained position. Dreams are a great way of identifying when you are unknowingly maintaining an untenable position.

One Mind and many minds

Viewed from the perspective of Satori, thoughts continue but are seen in a different light. The mind is settled because thoughts such as ‘I shouldn’t be thinking this, I should be thinking that’ cease to have any weight. The state that is is flawless because whatever is occurring or not occurring is exactly what should be happening or not happening! This is what is meant as ‘One Mind’. The speculations of many minds are seen to for what they are, just the natural background activity of the human mind, they no longer carry the ‘weight of karma’. Everything may go on just as before, yet everything is utterly changed for the better.

My Favourite Christmas Reads

One of my favourite things about Christmas is sitting back and having a good read. What are your favourite fiction books and why did they have such an impact on you? Here’s my top ten:

1. The Hobbit. My dad read this to me as a child and I used to beg him to keep reading when it was time for bed. He just smiled and told me to read it myself. I did of course, but not till much later.

2. The BFG. My dad bribed me with 10p a chapter to read it, but his wallet soon regretted it as I kept my eyes open long past bedtime, fully engrossed in the world of the Big Friendly Giant. This was the last time I had to be bribed to read a book.

3. South Sea Adventure. Willard Price’s Adventure Series had a great deal in common with Enid Blyton’s books but were all based around children’s adventures with real life animals such as killer whales and tigers. Interestingly there is now serious speculation that Price was a American spy during his time in Japan in the 1930s.

4. Rendezvous with Rama. It’s hard to pick the best Arthur C Clarke book; there’s nothing in modern Sci-Fi to match them today. To be honest I was too young to read this when I did, but without Clarke I probably wouldn’t have gone into a career in science.

5. Lord of the Rings. Tolkien had me engrossed again at age 14. I lay on the beach in Lanzarote barely noticing the sun and beautiful sea. Instead I was fleeing the Nazgul up Weathertop hill with Frodo and Strider.

6. Lord Foul’s Bane. Donaldson’s masterpiece trilogy, The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, is a worthy successor to Lord of the Rings in my opinion and with its dark undertones and antihero in Covenant, had a big affect on me as a brooding 16 year old.

7. The Dragonlance Legends. I borrowed this Dungeons & Dragons based trilogy from my best friend Ed, and gave it back in tatters. I don’t think he’s forgiven me even now. Rasitlin, the wizard so ambitious he wants to replace the gods, was a perfect outlet for a frustrated teenager still finding his place in the world.

8. Magician. Another fantasy book, another special read. The opening sequence where the unlikely named hero Pug meets his mentor, has yet to be bettered in any fantasy book. After the complex and sometimes disturbing world of Donaldson this was a comforting throwback to traditional fantasy.

9. Dune. Is this best Science Fiction book of all time? The genius of this book was the equal weight Herbert gave to the technical aspects of his invented world and its Zen-like philosophy. This book hit undergraduate me right between the eyes and sparked my later interest in Zen.

10. Dandelion Wine. In this book Ray Bradbury combines his beautiful short stories into the perfect taste of a childhood summer. If I could write like anyone, I would write like Ray.

Okay, it’s only supposed to be a list of 10, but…

11. Neuromancer. Not only did Gibson foretell the internet age but he also made me seriously question the ability of humans to survive it. Made me cry.

Peace of Mind

Peace of mind is achieved one way only, by making peace with your own thoughts, which tend to do what they want anyway. You make peace with them by letting them be, by keeping your attention on their ebb and flow without offering any resistance. The only caveat is that you should have a strong anchor, some external reference that prevents you from being lost in your thoughts. This is like swimming in a fast flowing river, whilst keeping your head above water.

Discovery

The best discovery you can make is to discover you are not in control, that all things are taken care of by the human being with your name. ‘He’ does not knows names, does not speak English, but he is awake and aware and very, very capable.

Naming the Mind

The part of the mind we are normally aware of, the conscious mind, is merely that part that has been mapped by words; our memories in turn reflect this understanding. Yet the reality of the mind is whole and indivisible and completely independent of the words we might give it.

Perception

So how do we live in the moment? The answer, of course, is not to stop thinking. We couldn’t even if we tried – and this is an answer, of sorts. We need only perceive the limits of thinking, that one thought always leads to another. Better to just let it be, and allow the mind to find its own equilibrium.

Changing for the better

We all want to change things for the better, right? The best we can do however, is simply to watch and stay awake. That way what is required will become self-evident, and you will find it changing all by itself.

Communication

When we worked out how to talk, to communicate with ideas, civilization was born – art, literature, science – and all the benefits they bring. Unfortunately this was coincident with us creating a map in our head of the world, and forgetting that the real one is living and breathing all around us.

Adam & Eve

Adam and Eve didn’t really eat an apple. They ate the word ‘apple’. Ever since we’ve been trying to work out why it doesn’t taste right, when all we have to do is pick an apple up and eat it.

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