Superstitions

As superstitions go I have a strange one. This is the essence of it: as soon as I know the first names of all the Sheffield Wednesday players on the pitch, the team scores.

In fact, I’m not really sure it even counts as a superstition; it’s really just an observation. It’s happened before and it happened again tonight within seconds of learning the final first name (Nathanial).

Of course, it’ll stop working now. Obviously. Once the universe (or god (or whatever)) learns of a loophole like this then it’s closed instantly. I mean, god reads my blog, right?

God

Is this a godless world? It seems so. I haven’t found god yet. Everywhere I look there are things but nothing that resembles god. I have been told that he is everywhere. I have also been told that he has no images. That means that he can’t be in anything that has an image. Logic leads me to think that he must be hidden inside something.

God isn’t hidden inside me. I’ve looked. And anyway, when you think about it, why would he be inside me? Surely I’m not a good place for god to be. I have an image. I am limited. God wouldn’t be in a place such as this. Besides, like I say, I’ve looked.

What’s the difference between what’s inside me and what’s outside me. I always thought that everything was inside me but it’s been pointed out to me recently that this isn’t the case. Marcia said that she definitely isn’t inside me. I don’t know her thoughts (true) and she doesn’t know mine (also true) and so we can’t be comingled in that way. I thought that maybe her body might be inside my mind because everything that is sense-based (coming in through the five senses) has to come through my mind in order for me to perceive it. But when you think about it, just because I perceive it with my mind doesn’t mean that it originates in my mind. So god is outside of me, despite being perceived by some kind of sense that I have within me.

I’m pretty sure that god is not perceived by the five senses. I can’t taste god and nor can I interact with him using the other senses. That must mean that god is outside of me. But where?

Some say that they know god. I don’t know whether they are telling the truth because I have no access to their thoughts. Some even say that they have seen god (in a vision). I haven’t. God hasn’t appeared in my thoughts, feelings, visions or dreams.

They say that god is love (alongside a whole host of other good qualities). How do I perceive love? I can perceive the love of other people through their actions and words. At least, I think that I do. As I say, I have no access to their thoughts and so no way of knowing if their thoughts are in harmony with their words and actions. But say that they were telling the truth, then this could be one route to god: through his actions and words.

What are the actions of god? Well, there’s a tricky one. Opinion seems to be divided on this issue. Every religion seems to have one set of actions that they believe god to have performed. The Christians believe that he sent his one and only son, spoke through a burning bush and created the world (among other things). Hindus believe that god is omnipotent, omnipresent and another omni that escapes me for the moment. Muslims believe that god … erm, actually, I don’t really know what the Muslims believe about god. That he hasn’t got an image? That he, in some way or other, dictated the koran through a prophet called Muhammad (although I understand that an angel was involved here). The buddhists don’t seem to believe in god. Judaism is a little obscure (for me) on the matter of god (does he exist only in the old testament times?). So, yeah, no kind of consensus on the acts (and much less the words) of god.

If I saw a tsunami-style wave coming towards me from the sea and I was on the fourth floor of a building across the road from the shore, what would I do?

My first thought is to shut the curtains so that if the glass was broken then it would not get into the room. Then my thought was to leave the room. Then I wondered if it might be best to have boots on, but they are next to the door on the ground floor. I think that the building is strong enough to survive the first hit of the wave, but I’m not sure what I’d do next. Would I have to swim or would I be better staying put to wait for the water to go down. In the first instance, boots would be an encumbrance and in the second they would be very helpful.

Point of telling you all this is that I would expect to live through the experience. It’s not a situation where I would seem to need god. I wouldn’t be praying, I would be doing something practical to survive. I see much of life in the same vein. I don’t really need god to do anything in particular for me. Even when I’m upset, I don’t ask for god to take away my upset, I either wait for it to reside, or I do something to change how I feel. Seems to me that I’ll only really need god right at the end of life.

Now, I’m not going to seek out an end to life. I’m not going to look for that for myself and I’m not going to be looking for it in the experience of others. And besides, even if I did do the latter then there’s no way to know the thoughts and experiences of others as they were dying in order to find god there. But my own death will come at some point (not this week, thanks very much – I have other plans). So should I expect to find god waiting for me after this point?

Obviously, I have no idea whatsoever. I mean, sure, I can speculate. But I can also do that whilst I’m alive too. Not, of course, that it’s done me a blind bit of good to do so over the past few minutes. I’ve been speculating away to my heart’s content and god hasn’t tapped me on the shoulder and said anything to me. I mean, sure, perhaps he’s been guiding my thought and words in some ineffable, invisible way, but what good does that do me?

But wait. Here’s a thought. There is a lot of good and love in my life. People themselves seem determined to spread love and light into my life. Maybe, just maybe, they are god’s instruments. Hey, wait a minute. I get a lot of happiness from other things in my life too. Perhaps they are ways that god is spreading his good qualities into my life. And in that case, chocolate is definitely a gift from god!

Well, in that case, I’m going to see if M&S is open and get myself a dose of god.

Yeah, that’s how trite I am.

Whatever.

Remembering God

I can remember what I had for breakfast.
Two slices of peanut butter on toast and a cup of tea.

I can remember what I had for brunch.
A bowl of carrot soup and a plate of various fruits.

I can’t remember what I’m going to have for lunch.
And I can’t remember God.

Those things that I remember are things that I have done.
The things I don’t remember have not happened.

How can I remember lunch when it is in the future?
How can I remember God when we’ve never met?

Hey, God – you fancy … erm … I mean … it’s lunchtime – you know?

Lilias

This is the story of Lilias but, unusually, she says that she doesn’t want to be involved in it so we’re going to have to set her aside from now. She’s sat on the sofa there at the back of this hall, smiling at me, but it’s the kind of smile that hides a sulk. Nonetheless, because this is a tale rooted deep in history and has a cast of billions, not to mention a lot of stumbling around, I’m sure we’ll cope, for now, without Lilias. We’ll leave her on the sofa with her sulky smile and turn our attention to Colin who’s at the front of the hall.

Colin’s on a stage sitting on a chair that’s proving to be a little too comfortable for him. His eyelids are flickering like he’s having some kind of a seizure, which would be comical except that forty-six people are staring at his face. They’re all supposed to be, like Colin, remembering God, but how many of them are actually doing so and how many are pretending is something we won’t know for sure until the results are posted. Which will be sooner than you think.

Let’s put a pin on the map and say that the world, as we know it, will end in 57 minutes and all the fly-blown nastiness that constitutes the ass-end of this world will undergo a metaphysical transformation that will result in several billion people being forcibly ejected from their corporeal vehicles. That’s going to leave just three-hundred thousand people looking for a shovel or two, several bio-degradable, sealable bags and a piece of ground in which to dig a fair quantity of corpse-sized holes. If not, there’s going to be a whole heap of fly-blown nastiness sitting around stinking up the place.

Anyhow, just about a minute before all that happens, there’s going to be a noticeboard on which everyone’s going to be listed, number wise according to how much effort they put into their God-bothering. Colin’s going to be at number 547,382.

This is how it begins:

In about a minute from now, a donkey’s going to walk into the hall where’s Colin’s eyes are flickering, and it will announce the end of the world. In actual fact, this isn’t quite true because no donkey will be involved in this scene. Instead, we are all going to have a collective vision. And when I say we, I mean you, me, Colin and Lilias and the rest of the audience. You’re on row three, third from the centre aisle on the right as you look at the stage and I’m on the back row on the far right, next to the window. We’ve already established where Lilias and Colin are.

Here, that is to say, the world is a place that’s calling out for a vision of a donkey. And sure, I know what you’re saying in your head as you hear this news: uh-uh, not me. There ain’t no donkey in my vision of the end of the world. And sure, you might well be right in your assertion (geddit? ASS-ertion?) but, as you might have heard, God works in a mysterious way. That’s to say that William Cowper said it in one of his pomes and we all agreed with him. So, yeah, if God gives us a donkey, who are we to say nay? I mean, if God’s got a sense of humour then God’s got a sense of humour and that’s that.

So, a donkey walks into a hall and says: it’s the end of the world, folks, form an orderly queue at the back of the hall for a little something to sweeten your tongue and then go out there and tell all your friends that those guys with boards proclaiming that The End is Nigh were spot on and it’s now.

Of course, no one moves a muscle apart from Colin, who sits up a little straighter in his comfy chair, and Lilias, who’s got a bit of a sweet tongue and so heads on over to get her little mouth-sweetener.

A minute later, God gets a bit tetchy. Having announced the news to all his faithful en-masse, which includes not just this hall, but several thousand other locations dotted around the globe, in the time-honoured tradition, vis-a-vis a vision, He decides that he needs to be more direct about this. Now, he’s not really been partial to fire, plague, war or flood since the first testament days and so he decides to be a little more laidback about his methodology today. He sends another vision.

This one is a little more direct. It features a concentrated minute of blazing horror that constituted the state of the world as it is now and seared the inner eyeballs of all who witnessed it but resulted in no real lasting harm, then another minute of concentrated sweetness in the form of a nice looking scene where people were dancing, animals were cavorting and plants were preparing their various fruits for lunch. God then, in a way that astounded and inspired the various psychologists, psychotherapists and other counsellors in the audience, causally linked one scene to the other with a delectable smorgasbord of elemental instructions revolving around adherence to the triple-pillared schedule of a good, solid haptonomic link with God, a manifestation of that link of all levels of being and the consequential exemplification of these in terms of the communication of the foregoing with all who had ears to hear, these three being the basis of what God liked to call the good stuff.

God expects a little more as a result of this latest vision. He reckons that three minutes of revelation would be enough for anyone to get the message. He reckons wrong.

You yourself are only in this hall because you saw a poster saying ‘free yoga’ in the local library. You’d always wanted to try yoga because you’d heard it was a good way to keep fit and the fact that you had several pairs of perfectly good jeans in your drawer that would no longer fit could only add added impetus to this desire. So when the donkey came in closely followed by what you could only assume was a bad reaction to the curry you had last night followed by all the other stuff, you were ever so slightly puzzled and not a little keen for the exercise schedule to begin especially as you’d worn your second best yoga pants.

Colin is probably the most clued-up participant in the hall when it comes to his experience and interpretation of visions but only because he’d been on a course. Well, not really a course, per see. More like a skim through several websites that advertised courses. He’d been horrified by the prices if the truth were told. The cheapest was £75 and the most expensive £1,225. He’d been briefly tempted by a book that came in at £7.50 but after a few moments consideration had settled on reading through the various illuminating quotes. One which particularly struck him as being useful was this one about visions of the future: “If you want to change the future then don’t know it.” This appealed particularly to his rather lazy nature. This is why he’s going to be number 547,382 on the list on the board at the end of the world.

Lilias didn’t even look at the board because that’s what eating too much sugar does to you.

As for the rest, well they came in number wise according to how they took the news.

So, the world’s due to end in 53 minutes. What number will you be?

God’s Love is Pretty Good.

It’s difficult to think about love without thinking about His love. Awareness of God is not the way I was brought up, but it’s my reality now. Not that I think about Him (or love) much. But He certainly affects me. Without Him I’m a colouring book fresh from the shelves. With Him, I’m a dog-eared, cat-scratched, child-dropped (and mother picked-up) book that’s been dragged and carried from room to car to garden to table along with a case of coloured pencils that have had their rainbows transferred, page by page into my being so that I’ve become what I am: whole.

The kind of love you have for God isn’t the same as the love you have for people (or any other thing). It’s different because it’s not tied up with something that goes through a birth, life, death cycle. The kind of love that’s attached to temporary stuff (anything but God) is shattered into a million tiny shards; the kind that hurt when you stand on them and get them stuck in your fleshy parts.

The other thing about God is that God is willing to give something for nothing. Normal love is always an exchange: if you give me that then I will love you; if you love me then I will do this for you. With God around, it’s kind of refreshing not to have to make bargains all of the time.

A proper life is built on proper love. You know where you can get that? Yup, from God.

Head and heart; they both have different mechanisms. If you love with your head then that’s like paying lip-service to it; it’s like not walking the talk. Loving with your heart is triumphant. Stick the things you truly love in your heart and then introduce them to God so that they can become friends. You’ll remember things that you’ve put in your heart and introduced to God better than if you just have them in your head.

If you’re loving towards God then, basically, you lose all the useless stuff in life that hurts you. It’s like you’re made into something without rubbish. Being without rubbish feels pretty good in the same way that yellow plasticine is better than the brownish mass that’s the result of a mixture of different colours of plasticise.

Give love. It feels good. Better to give good love though; the kind God has. That said, no kind of love is bad love. Not really. Just do the best you can. Be the best you can be.

Good love stops bad stuff from happening. Try it. You’ll see what I mean.

Whatever you do, always try to give love rather than try to take it. Things work out better when you give. Life’s less complicated when you give. These tangled webs we weave aren’t so tangled when we give love. And it’s even better still when it’s God’s love we give.

Love God once and God gives lots of love in return.

Goodnight.

Some Faces that Love Wears

When I was fifteen and then again when I was twenty-one I looked at a girl in a certain way and she said ‘what?’ and I said ‘nothing’. That was a face of love. My regret when I think about that is another face of love. These faces are not always smiling and and not always happy, but they are love.

Sometimes I allow those who love me to do crazy things like throw things from an upper story window so that they crash onto the rocks below and break into a thousand pieces that are so small that they slip into the spaces between dirt like the pieces of my broken heart. My face was hard and yet it wore love. A love that tears can’t wash away.

Several years ago I went to the park and hung upside down from a tree while my wife took photographs of me with a look of love on her face. That kind is easy to catch and easy to paint into pictures because it’s the one that people like and marvel over while they say ‘yes, that is love and I wish my love was as bright and cheerful as that’. This is just normal but what they don’t realise is that it’s not the most common face that love can wear.

No-one likes to say goodbye but some people have to. They have so much love inside them that the costume they wear can’t contain it all and so they leave it with the help of pills or blade or gas or water. Their face is wearing love but they can’t seem to reach it. Their heart is full of love but they can’t express it. Their longing is for love but they just don’t know how to make that connection and so they leave for other shores. I hope they find what they’re looking for there.

One of the sweetest things you can say to a person is not ‘I love you’ but ‘I accept you just the way you are with all your quirks and bumps that some people might call imperfections but I just call love of things that I just don’t understand yet but I’m willing to learn about.’ Just try saying that to someone in your life today. You can memorise it and say it as if it’s your own – I won’t mind. See how love takes off from your heart and flies to that of another and roosts there. Just watch.

Unbelievably, despite the magic that is in this world when we smile at the faces of love that are absolutely everywhere this realm doesn’t contain a fraction of the love you can find in other dimensions. Here’s a thing to try: say ‘I love you God.’ Let me know what happens.

Love has Many Faces – Settle Accounts

Love of the heart settles many karmic accounts. At the end of the day and at the end of many other things, we’re left with something that’s much like clay. And then that turns to dust. (And then something new grows in place of what was – but that’s a whole ‘nother story.) Love is a funny thing. It can leave too, but only if it’s the wrong kind of love. The wrong kind of love is a love of corpses. I know, I know – you’d never have a love like that – it wouldn’t make sense would it? I mean, why love something that’s going to crumble to dust, no matter how good a compost it makes! So, here’s the thing – God doesn’t turn to dust. God’s love never dies. And God is open to being loved anytime you please. You want my advice? Just love God with all your heart. End of the day – the good karma’s just too good to turn down, right? ❤️