What thought are you fighting today?



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.

Emotion and Growth

The main barrier to learning is emotional turbulence. This is like the storm that forces our ship off course and back to safe harbour. In harbour the ship; or ego (our idea of self) is safe from shipwreck – the loss of face that comes from failure.

We should not belittle the ego too much; it is an important structure that we cannot live without. Its complete breakdown should be avoided! But equally it is not a structure in which we should build a life. Our idea of who we are should be a part of life, a structure we are constantly expanding in the light of deeper understanding. This is where the magic is – in the growth of the ego. Here we are exploring new territory and making the mysterious safe. But in our mastery we also lose our wonder – so we must constantly seek it out by expanding our interests, or by digging deeper.

Of course with self-growth there exists the danger of inflation – believing we are more and better than we are. But it is my belief that constant learning grows humility as well as competence. It is a humbling thing to realise how much we have to learn, and all there is we shall never know.

So we return to the opening statement – the main barrier to learning is emotional turbulence. To even begin learning we must be willing to allow the ego to be compromised – a little. If we cannot acknowledge that there is anything to be learned then the ego will be without breach, but will fast become stale like water that does not circulate.  Then we will become bad company, even to ourselves.

The secret is that our learning must be without end – there is no end point to growing up, there is no retirement. To stop is to stagnate. But growth is a painful process and before we can even start (or re-start) we must be willing to look slightly silly. The ego must relax its mastery; it must take off its crown and become the fool, in a land where it is not yet King. In such rebirth dwells a deeper emotion, and one that can sustain a lifetime of self-growth.

I leave you the Four Stages of Competence (which is a western version of a Taoist principle) – an excellent  model for growth. Whenever we start a new endeavour, or wish to expand beyond the horizons of our present limitations, we must be honest about which phase of learning we are at.  Only by this awareness can we plunge straight through the embarrassment and self-protecting emotions of the ego, and into the most difficult, but most rewarding,  second phase.

Unconscious incompetence, conscious incompetence, conscious competence, unconscious competence.

Evil, no-evil

Night swallows day,
Sight fails in the inky shroud of black,
Knowledge withers and logic stumbles,
Imagination is tunneled down negative spirals;
A cave full of shadows,
Nothing is real but everything is a threat,
Leaking out on a world turned grey,
The core is poisoned,
The well springs empty,
Coughing, spluttering the seeker is lost,
A deep marsh of melancholy
For boots over-brimming with bitterness,
Hands seek to clutch and fists to lash
At the cruelty of life,
Suffocation – no air to breathe,
No possibilities in a world shrunk to a point.
Then comes the lightning strike-
Instant illumination!
If all is lost then only growth remains,
A new horizon spreading wings by the second,
Through parting clouds the moon shines bright,
A mirror to the soul long lost but un-tattered,
Sails filling up with sudden hope,
Lungs that breathe again like billows to the wind,
Hands no longer grasping round their own throat,
The noose falls away,
Evil recedes,
Thought and emotion tip back the scales of balance,
Imagination is freed and fingers stroke through long grass,
The mountain air clears the fog of war,
Above the stars, oh so many stars,
The spiral path loops ever upwards,
Day is born.

Western thought divides night from day, beautiful from ugly and good from evil. Evil is assigned to the dark; to that which we reject in society and ourselves. We lock away in jail those we judge to be evil, and lock away in our unconscious those parts of ourselves we are ashamed of. But any process of growth must shine the light of awareness into every dark nook and cranny, every shadowed corner full of the pale shapes of our shame and inadequacy. Many people spend their life trying to cover this up, to strengthen the mask, but always their nemesis is there to undo with wrong all they do with right.

In the East of the past evil was more rationally looked at as faulty thinking. This compassionate view saw the criminal as someone whose path through life has not taught him the lessons he needed to be good. His role models were men who tried to survive in any way they could, and so such a man he also became. The desperate, the weak, the afraid will always lash out. In this way we are no different from the dog that has been mistreated and mistrained by its owner. Chained to a lonely corner without discipline, without exercise, without love, it barks and snaps at any and all who pass by.

This does not mean we should open the prisons, that we should allow the street thug to attack us with impunity. To apply what we have learned about evil on others would be like the man who cast the stone before first freeing himself of sin. We must look within to explore the dark depths of our own minds, to bring light to the evil, the faulty thinking in ourselves. This is the only path that leads to stability, to strength, to a way of life that takes from its follower any need to lash out to prove himself to others. To fix the world, we must fix ourselves.

Feelings, thought, intuition and sensing

Feeling is…

Geese hooting at the moon over water,

The gentle lap of waves on the shore

Thinking is…

Tilting scales on creaking chain,

Not a grain of sand is lost

Intuition is…

Sparks that fly from the fireside,

Eyes that stray to the stars

Sensing is…

Soil under feet,

Loamy taste of earth on fingers


So many worlds,

Towns within tunnels,

Day within night,

Sound within silence,

The child beckons in the storm.


What a blow it is,
To have all you think you are –
Taken in an instant,
Those nurtured gifts,
That guarded weakness,
Cherished place in future’s isle
Snatched away by the hand of doubt,
No quick path’s to be found,
Only the sound of clumping boots in the mud
Slowly, carefully picking cockles of future worth,
Before the rising of the tide.
If a moment ago I was good,
Then now I stand on the shoulders of a giant,
That he never existed is irrelevant,
So long as I can leap to surer ground,
If his memory’s besmirched by mud and doubt
So be it,
The next standing stone rises up,
Even if I cannot see it,
Intuitions breath fills my sails,
Yet now I know not to worship her,
The wind is just the wind,
Of no more use alone than the planks of wood beneath my toes,
The creaking ropes or sweating arms of sailors,
Transporting this fool to a land,
Where he will no longer be a fool,
But see a hole in the mirror,
Through which the whole world makes sense,
And his own place in it
Is irrelevant, no – not irrelevant,
Just a ship at sea,
Much smaller is the ship but no less part
Of the sea.

On another matter completely…To those of you who read and enjoyed my post Rebirth, which was written for Elli’s competition, please follow the link below:

And vote by clicking on the number of stars you think it deserves. Many Thanks!


Ever new and ever bitter,
Is the cut of mortal acceptance,
live like you were dying (Tim McGraw)
Not only are we  bound to die-
But we are already dead.
The narrowest of edges is our path,
A fate permitting no wavering,
Save the plunge into madness,
That steals consciousness and self-knowledge:
The painful cut of the blade is forgotten,
But not the finality of its end.
Such is the fate of the mind,
That lingers on ends and beginnings,
Never on the eternity in-between.
Let me be an inbetweener,
No longer intoxicated by scent of spring,
Nor the sweet decay of autumn leaves,
But ever basking in the summer sun,
Till winter’s morning steals frozen breath,
From lungs that never knew their end.
We are not living,
We are not dying,
We are living-dying.

Haiku #29


Girl who got away,

just a projection of self

yearning completion

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