Dissecting a Cloud

No words, saved up thoughts
Can answer true –
Only tiptoe around
The most obvious truth
Yet never set foot on that ground –
Dissecting a cloud
And finding nothing in his hands
The scholar despairs
Yet it is self-evident I stood the sternest test
Without the need for thoughts, or words
Or rather they took their places as servants
To greater cause
Before the event they fell over each other
To show me the way
And so I erred and stumbled
Or worried about stumbling and so fell
Until the moment came for the test
And eyes fixed ahead, thoughts had no choice
But to follow the narrow avenue offered them
And under sweat and toil a thoughtless place was born
A simple switch of focus and hysteria became calm
Instinct took over and honesty –
Without compromise for bending truths
Or looking one’s best
Showed them all what I could do, and cannot
And being the best that I could be
Who would not be happy with that?
When the road unplanned offers up such un-guessed at wonders
Such gifts not wrought by my hands
And you few who understand these words
Can share the joke
That I have no other way to tell this story
But with words!
So off with you, no more philosophies
And see this place for yourself


The Scales of Worth

House of mirrors this-
Glowing screen with drumbeat fingers,
Tapping of their own accord,
This life that’s not my own,
Nothing but this need to write
and be read-
Loved, revered, talked of
In blogs the other side of the world,
Across the mirrored hall of my mind,
This reflected light;
Refracted thoughts,
Nothing but a mote of dust,
To weigh the scales of worth.

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.

Out Beyond the Wall

My thanks again to Jenny Matlock’s Saturday Centus, this prompt was way too good to resist…

This wall was built long ago…
Too much life for the straight and narrow way,
Great and crashing waves of existence,
Too strong for the emerging mind of man.
And so a wall was built deep and high
To keep out the night of unconsciousness,
To hold back the forgotten dread,
That sneaks  in through quiet times
To take us unawares,
Or breaks over ramparts,
And soak us in the icy brine of prehistoric life.
What am I, who am I and what does the wall hold back? we might ask,
It protects us from too much life,
It contains the other side we cannot abide,
But now like all good adventurers I must go out,
Out beyond the wall,
Into the camp of night , into winter’s shadowy grip,
And bring back that jewel of the hidden north,
Bring back myself: whole and full.
Pray that I return-
Pray that The Wall lets me pass,
Back to warmth and comforts of the mundane…
Or on moonlit nights look out for me;
A knot of night in the passing gloom,
Forever calling you…
Out beyond the wall.

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



The storm has broken,

I was depressed,

Now it rains and I am happy.

Haiku #30


In your own hands lay

the answer to all questions,

just pick up the pen

Haiku #21


Mental discipline,

frees an inner light to shine,

from the empty place

The Red Fox Runs…


The light that shines too bright is no light at all,
Harsh, controlling, knife to the eyes that would see;
Negative, overexposed, a tyrant,
But deep in the wood a red fox runs,
Evading stumbling hunters
Who would rend it, shoot it,
Hang its dead carcass on the wall.
But ever its secret wisdom will evade them,
Down the rabbit hole to the deepest place,
Until the hunters woo their quarry he shall not be caught,
They must seek the fox within,
Now they hunt themselves.


Modes of thought

Image via Wikipedia

A writer quickly learns that he must think in a new way: a way that prioritises creativity at the expense of accuracy and technical completeness. When you are learning a new skill it seems obvious that you must improve your technical knowledge. But if continued ad infinitum this leads to a kind of paralysis.

Imagine that you are a general the night before an important battle. It is essential that you gain as much information as possible about the enemy – his position and weaponry, his likely strategy given the lay of the land between you, the weather forecast, the lines of supply you might cut, your own logistics requiring protection. As the battle begins this information demand goes into overload. The changing conditions mean that all information you gathered the day before is now out-of-date and needs constant refreshing. As the battle evolves some information becomes critical and other information becomes superfluous, distracting even.

We can extend this idea to life in general – how often do we get trapped in the past, or see others living as if nothing had changed in the last ten years? We are constantly in a mismatch between our expectations and reality, and this can be the cause of a great deal of unhappiness.

The problem is that there is too much information for the conscious mind to compute. However it has been shown that the unconscious part is far better at processing large amounts of information and coming up with the answer required. But even this has limits.

Consider the magic number seven. Our telephone landlines were traditionally only 6 or 7 numbers because any more than 7 and the mind has trouble remembering the digits. The point is that it is essential not to overburden the mind with too much information at one time.

For this reason, when Word highlights an error as I type I do my level best not to go back and correct it. If I did that my train of thought would be broken, and the destination that I have in mind (0f which I am largely unaware of), would be lost. This is very difficult, but the mode of thought I am trying to access operates only at high speed. Thinking out each word before you write it will never produce the creativity I am talking about. This is a creativity not owned by you or me: small cogs in the great machinery of the world, but is a creative mode of thinking that plugs into the whole world at once. It simultaneously knows the weather and the lay of the land between your army at that of your enemy. It produces what is needed at the time. Sometimes even it may be overwhelmed, then it is the job of consciousness to decide what information to look at; what to feed unconsciousness. Then this unconscious, non-personal way of thinking can learn to do better next time.

You will not see this at work as it happens, but you can be witness to the results and undeniably it does work. Its mode of thinking is a brilliant addition to the slower learning mode. Both are needed – for when I check this though I know my writing will be full of errors. But I also know it will contain ideas I didn’t know I had.

It took only about six or seven minutes to write the basic outline of this piece, and well over half and hour to edit it. This is the proper balance of time between the two phases. It is in the first phase that all the magic happens.

Applied to life as a whole, using this way of thinking can help you stay closer to the calm at the centre of the storm that is life, and keep a little more in touch with how things really are. Some loss of control must be acknowledged in the exact manner of expression and a technical minutia, for it is no longer the little ‘you’ that is doing all the thinking and making the decisions. But then it never really was, was it?

Letting go of our imagined control over the massive number of elements that make up the present moment is, in my view, one of the key requirements for a happier life. It certainly makes for better writing.

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