Give a Little Love

How do you say ‘don’t complain’ without coming over as a complainer?

How do you love someone who loves to see the dark side of life?

How do you find solace when paths to finding solace are frowned upon?

And yes, I know that we’re all damaged and that light doesn’t shine into our minds and lives all the time.

And yes, it’s difficult enough for some of us to continue to suck on the pipe that connects us to the world.

And yes, there are enough things wrong with our own stuff without pointing and stabbing fingers at others.

But give a little love all the same.

Right?

Worthwhile Days

The story so far:

I want to make the nights valuable either by making them shorter or by doing something more productive than sleeping within them,

Problemo:

My days are not, generally, spent in a worthwhile way.

To explain: I do very normal things in the world in the daytime like:

  • Eating,
  • Watching,
  • Walking,
  • Working,
  • Creating
  • and killing small flies.

None of these things is particularly enlightening or illuminating.

The only thing I do that is useful is meditating. I have no evidence of god working in my life but I have, in my better moments, something approaching grace, which means, to me, a state of great calm or peace. I’d like to have more of that. In fact, if all of my actions and thoughts could be suffused with grace then that would be a fine way to live. I’m trying. Sometimes succeeding.

If my nights could be spent in some form of grace then it would be worthwhile to become more aware of life during them.

And that’s all I have to say on the matter.


Research Possibilities

Happy New Year 2023

You will have a happy 2023. You will find your true path and you will walk along it. You will be content with your life. Any doubts you have will slip away, fall to the ground and be trodden underfoot.

People will understand you and recognise the unique contribution you make to their lives. This will be the year in which you will put your talents into practice to achieve something worthwhile.

If you lose anything in 2023 it will be with the accompanying realisation that you didn’t need it and that you’re actually fine without. You have yourself; you are good; and that’s enough.

Happy 2023. Smile. Prosper.

Advice from the Angel and the Devil

Spruthika (sparkly sprite): Get up and dance. Shake off those blues. Open your eyes and take in the wonders of life and all the lovely things you can touch and taste.

Amlodi (dour dullard): Taste; yeah, go and get that box of leftover pizza from the other day. Have a piece and then, because it tastes so good have another and, while you’re at it, finish off the whole box. Taste that feeling of torpor. Take a break.

Spruthika: Break-dancing – yes, yes, yes! Get your body popping across the floor. Feel your energy rising and then take it higher. Put on some lovely dance music and feel the rhythm take you to the top of the charts with your sweetly singing voice as the soundtrack to a vibrant life that swoops like a butterfly across the beauty that is now.

Amlodi: Now hold on. You’re feeling tired. Think about this: isn’t it going to make you even more tired if you expend your precious energy shaking your head up and down to that ridiculous noise they call music. Honestly, don’t you think the neighbours would thank you more if you didn’t make such a noise with your caterwauling and instead went to have a lie-down on the couch until you feel better? I mean, what if you’re coming down with something!

Spruthika: Something I once heard from someone wise is that whenever she felt tired she would instantly get up and do something useful like clean the house or weed the garden. It doesn’t have to be much, just something that makes the blood flow through the veins a little quicker so that more oxygen is delivered to the brain.

Amlodi: Brain? You know what would make the brain feel better? Sugar! Sure the brain needs oxygen but it also needs some rocket fuel too and you know the bestest, bestest kind? Yup – chocolate! Get that bar you stashed in your coat pocket the other day and savour every single mouthful. You’ve been good. You deserve it.

Spruthika: You know what you really deserve? A good life. Do you know how you can get a good life? By doing good things. Sweet things. Things that, when you look back on your day, you say ‘yes, that was a lovely thing I did for myself; for that person; for the world.

Amlodi: The world! Yes, yes – I got it. You need to share your wisdom with the entire world so that they will know your name and bow down before your splendour in awe and worshipfulness. You should write a blog post!

Success in life from the point of view of a dishwasher

Books about how I became a billionaire despite having a terrible childhood sell more copies then books that say life is terrible.

People want to hear good stories. People want to hear stories about successful people. People want to know how successful people became successful.

I am not a billionaire. I have, however, become quite successful in other ways. I’d like to share my success with you. And it won’t cost you a penny.

Here are some tips on how I successfully wash the dishes:

  • Has the proper tools to hand (hotish water, good washing up liquid, a sink)
  • Have fun while you’re working (consider watching a movie at the same time)
  • Reward yourself for success (have a piece of chocolate after you’ve finished the job).

The example is trite, but the principles can be applied successfully in many arenas.

Above all, remember to have fun!

I Suppose I Should

What with it being the anniversary of the time of year that some little known sect started up a minor festival that notes the birth of some dude that yattered on to a few people back in the day about love and understanding and whatnot, I suppose I should say say something relevant to those of you what is interested, such as, for example …

Merry Christmas!

“Course, if you’re not into that kind of thing, then don’t read any of the above. 🌟

How to Stay Awake During Meditation

So, after getting up, having breakfast, cleaning the bathrooms, shaving, showering and dressing I laid down on my bed.

I didn’t exactly feel tired. I was neither weary nor sleepy. I just wanted to take a beat before moving on with the rest of my day.

I closed my eyes.

Now, I’m someone who finds it really easy to fall asleep, whether it’s at night or in the daytime. I know how to find the path to sleep in my mind and I’m really good at travelling it.

I don’t like to sleep in the daytime, though. And I don’t like to sleep when I’m trying to meditate. Unfortunately, I sometimes do.

When I wake up from these lapses, I’m angry with myself and grumpy with others. I feel like I’m a failure and it knocks my self confidence down a notch.

So, when I closed my eyes this morning, I was determined not to walk the path to sleep.

As I lay there, I consciously acknowledged the routes that I knew led to unawareness: thinking about the past, imagining other places and fantasising about things that are not real. I knew that if I stayed present, in this room, in this body, grounded in reality then it would be possible for me to stay relaxed on my bed and, more importantly, to stay awake.

I found, in this epic battle, that seemed to last an age but probably only spanned five minutes, that I was able to fight off the lures of sleep, sneak quietly away from the arms of Morpheus and stay alert and awake for second after long second. But I couldn’t sense danger lurking at every step. One slip and I would go under.

Then I discovered something awesome!

In my fight to stay present, I happened across something that I don’t normally notice. Something that stays constant wherever I am. Something that can pause briefly, speed up or slow down at will, but which always resumes and stays with me at all times. At least, all the times that are important to me.

You know what it is. You must have guessed by now, surely. Because, unless you’re a sentient version of Google reading this from the point of view of the future (and giggling at the naivety of humans), you have it too. It is …

breath.

To cut a long story short (‘too late!’ I hear you cry) I did what meditators have been recommending since time immemorial: I latched firmly onto my breath. I watched my lungs fill and empty again, and again. I stayed with the ever-present, grounding feeling that this observance produced and it buoyed me, raised me up, kept me afloat superbly well on a safe ship, high above the waves of sleep. Aware of the sea, Burnside from it. My boat; my breath never faltered once in its loving care for me.

And together, we triumphed!

So, yeah – in conclusion: if you want to stay awake during meditation, just follow the breath.

It only took me thirty years to learn this simple method, but you’re better than me.; you can learn immediately, right?

Good luck with that. 🐸

What My Culture Tells Me About Friends

(https://ebarmorals.wordpress.com/2022/12/04/who-are-your-friends/)

Friends. Pshaw. I’d have one if I could but I’m not made up to keep friends. I’m too sometimeish. I call rarely and see friends hardly ever. That’s me.

Culture tells me that friends are valuable and that we should all have several good friends. Culture says that they are useful to reduce stress and share your problems and secrets with. Culture would fall apart without friends. People would just come and go from and to our lives, according to the benefit they get from them. Surely friendship is something beyond money and benefit and what-we-can-get-from-them. Friends are not normal people; they are special people. Special to us.

I couldn’t talk for half an hour about friends because I don’t know enough about the subject. Sure, I could make things up, but that wouldn’t be useful to anyone.

If I had a friend he/she would be someone I could:

  • Talk to
  • Listen to
  • Share with
  • Argue with (and then agree with)
  • Spend time with without thinking about the time spent
  • Curl up in a corner with and not notice the world going by whatever happens
  • Trust them with anything regardless of how I feel about it
  • Give everything I own to for safety
  • Never ever envy
  • Live with
  • Die for.

Do you know anyone like this?

Can I borrow them? 🐸

Enviable

I have an empty mind that would be the envy of any meditation practitioner. My mind is like a plant: green and gangly. My head is like a book left open on the top of a windy hilltop: pages riffling at will; never pausing to absorb the word. A tendency to sit and stare at the wall overwhelms me at times.

None of the above is true. I merely feel a little spaced after eating two bowls of granola.

When I write stuff like that I try to entertain and inform at the same time. It doesn’t occur to me that real people are sitting and staring at walls up and down the world and that they genuinely have cause to be concerned at their own mental well-being. It’s just a joke to me and yet it’s deadly serious for them. People have been known to fall into the river of their mind, get snagged on something awful in the depths and expire from that lack of someone to hear their cries and pull them free.

I hope none of the above is true, but I suspect it to be not untrue.

I have an enviable life. I mean, sure, I have problems. Everyone has problems. I just seem to have the tools to cope with them. Here are my tools:

  • I get things out of my mind.

Actually, that’s it really. There are no tools. There is just one tool. One principle to live by.

I guess I should explain.

Things that are on the mind weigh it down. They weigh me down. When there’s nothing on my mind I feel light and easy.

Okay?

What! You want more explanation?

Alright, here goes: I clear my mind by dumping it out onto paper. I write lists.

People get stressed … No, wait: minds get stressed if no one is listening to them. Hmm. Let me try that again. If you have something on your mind that you feel that you have to do then you retain it in your mind in the form of repetitive thought. The thought goes around and around in your mind to make sure that you do not forget it. The thought demands that you listen to it. If the thought in your mind feels that you are not listening, the thought repeats over and over again. And you, naturally, get exhausted.

Here’s what you should do: write the thought down.

This has two benefits: it reassures the mind that it has been listened to and it gets the thought out of your head. The result is that the mind does not have to remind you of the thought and it just stops, as if by magic.

If you have many things on your mind, then the same principle applies. Write them all down as soon as they arise. You don’t even have to wait until they start repeating in your mind. Just write them all down and witness the miracle of a clear mind.

Of course, you still have to do those things. But here’s another little miracle for you: it’s not necessary to pay attention to the list. You don’t have to consciously (or conscientiously) keep checking the list and ticking things off it. Just write them down and, in a sense, forget about them.

Here’s the miracle: come back to the list in a couple of days and you will find that most of the things on the list have been done. You’ve naturally, without worrying or thinking about it, fulfilled the actions on your list. No stress, no worry, no repetitive thoughts; just a natural flow. A life lived easily and gracefully. An enviable life.

So, yeah, there you are. That’s me. Why not try it on for size yourself. Let me know how you get on. 🐸

Shaving (Useful Gubbins #01)

Here’s a new series of gubbins (noun INFORMAL BRITISH: miscellaneous items; paraphernalia) that’ll help and inspire you to be a better person.

Item #01 is a gubbin (synonym for thing) that’s done by us all at least once (even if it’s just so that we can say yeah, I tried that once and it hurt like pain and so I vowed never to do it again): shaving.

Shaving is not just a thing men do. Most everyone has hair (and yeah, I know that there’s something called alopecia universalis (that Duncan Goodhew (British swimmer) got when he fell out of a tree when he was 15) that involves permanent hair loss, but that, as far as I can work out, is pretty rare (and Duncan would have surely had to shave before then anyway, right?). And so my point stands. Even if you’re a female, you’re likely to have hair and, more to the point, unwanted hair that you’ve probably had a go at shaving off.

Shaving is not the only thing that can remove hair. But it’s arguably the cheapest and simplest and as such is the one that you’re going to try first. Unless, of course, you’re thinking about nostril hair, in which case: stop now. No one wants to know about nostril hair. Trust me, I’ve tried posting articles about it on this blog and no one wanted to read them.

So, yeah, here’s my intelligent person’s guide to shaving:

  1. Buy the most expensive, new razor possible. If you can’t afford to do so then go without food for a couple of days so that you can save up. Don’t be tempted to borrow your dad’s, mum’s, brother’s, sister’s or anyone else’s razor; you never know how old or how blunt it is.
  2. Get some hot water. No, not boiling water. That’s different.
  3. Make a soapy lather with hot water. Normal soap will do. Unless, of course, you’re allergic to soap. Don’t laugh; it can happen!
  4. Spread the lather on the area of the skin where you have hair.
  5. Put the razor briefly in the hot water or run it under the hot water tap.
  6. Shave.
  7. Rinse all the lather and, if necessary, blood off of your skin.
  8. Pat your skin dry with a nice, fluffy towel.

You know, when I think about it, no one ever told me how to shave so I may have got this all wrong. What I do know, though, is that, when I miss any of these steps out, I don’t get a close shave or I get an unpleasant rash on my skin. So, yeah, take it or leave it, but it works for me.

You’re welcome.