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Creativity – Invention or Discovery?

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Sometimes, I get this feeling that all of the songs, lyrics or pieces of music that I will ever write, have already been written. They lie like bones, under a thin crust of Earth. Waiting to be revealed,  to be discovered  by the Archeology of expression.  Art, brought to life –  using just relaxed presence, a quietened mind and an honest heart.

That’s how creativity works in me. I allow the feeling, the notion, or the idea to just float around. Feeling it, being with it. Whatever is challenging or inspiring me in my life at that point.  And then, as I allow my attention to wander in a fertile moment, a gentle breeze blows away some dust, exposing something. Stones? Or bones.

If its bones, then I begin to pay more attention, gently brushing away the dust, following what is exposed, whatever becomes interesting or inspiring. Or, if nothing comes, if its stones, I meander off to a different spot and begin to explore again. Soon, the fragments connect, the dots begin to join, the bigger picture emerges and suddenly, there it is. The song is made manifest. Brought in to the realm of sensory perception to be heard. To be healed and inspired by.  And perhaps, to leave the listener moved, to something deeper. Something real.

I marvel at this new baby, this new chunk of expression. I am in awe and I often ask,

“where did this come from?”

” Am ‘I’ the songwriter,  am ‘I’ an Artist,  am ‘I’ a Musician?”. 

What does being creative mean?

The  dictionary defines the word creative as; [relating to, or involving the use of the imagination or original ideas to create something].

So then, what is the source of our imagination?  From what or where do we get ‘flashes’ of inspiration. and does it happen to us, or do we happen to it? Is it  the subconscious or the superconscious?

Exploring this mystery is one of the most exciting parts of the creative process for me. It means that not only has music and expression become my spiritual practice, it also relieves me of any great attachment to the work. It doesn’t have to be my music. It is just the music. I discovered it. I didn’t invent it.

A musical Archeologist or ‘Arteologist’, following a creative flow, putting my attention on what life lesson or situation I’m in.  Whatever is relevant to me and my life at the time. Almost like consulting an oracle, with no concern for others opinions, criticisms or judgements. Nothing is personal. If I can relinquish ownership in a creative sense – to not have the music be mine, to drop the need to have it be a reflection of ‘who I am’, then I don’t feel I have to take credit for it. It was always there. I have just revealed it. It belongs to creation itself.  In this way the music can be completely honest and vulnerable.  I can find the courage to write about the difficult, painful and also the ecstatic and joyous, without inhibition. Then It becomes a part of my healing.  Then it is therapeutic. I get to release pain, fear, wounds and trauma, through this process, through this connection to the creative energy of life itself.

But it gets better! The act of expression, true, authentic expression, means that I get to share my inner world with anyone that wishes to know.  And really, what do they ultimately want to know? That their own inner world can heal and grow too.

In the realm of lyrics, rich in symbolism, metaphor and rhythm,  powerful messages can be received. Great insights can occur and when music is added, when melody and harmony join the words, then our hearts are immediately  activated. It is almost impossible to fight back the rise of sorrow, of joy or bliss when it comes, floating on an emotional flying carpet of soaring music. It is almost irresistible.

Music is the language of the inner world, the voice of our beings. Apart from sex and food (which are both survival driven), music is the one other way to have a shared experience of ecstasy  and profound emotion. It evokes the very energy of what we really are. Loving, fragile beings, trying to find our way,  trying to connect. Then expression becomes more than just our expression. More than just our creative process. Then it becomes contagious. It becomes the ‘collective creative’.

Infected by its power and potency, others begin to dig, to dust a little to see what treasure lies beneath their crust, their Earth. and so it spreads and grows… this is where things get truly creative.

 

 

 

 

Interviews with Marc Itzler

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The Secret Superpower of Meditation.

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yogi-hulk-diffuse-angerMeditation….What is it really all about?

Most would claim that Meditation, (commonly imagined as sitting silently, becoming aware of the present moment or of ones breath), brings about a greater sense of calmness, clarity, serenity, and contentment. A break from the incessant chatter of the unstoppable inner voice clanging around in our heads. This of course is absolutely true. And then, there are all the benefits to our health, like reduced blood pressure, stress release, increased oxygen levels… it’s a long list, and all of it good stuff.

But what happens when we leave the cushion?  When we roll up our mat? When the commentary in our heads starts running again?  We are back in our thoughts, anxieties, and judgments. How quickly we lose our serenity and sense of ‘one-ness’. How easily we return to business as usual. Here is where we could be missing the greatest benefit that Meditation actually has to offer.

Let’s use the analogy of going to the gym or doing yoga, martial arts, or whatever physical pursuit scratches our itch. We do our workout, our practice or exercise. During and just afterwards, we often feel a nice warm rush in our bodies. Our bloodstream is flooded with yummy dopamine and we’re glowing and maybe even a bit high. Great feeling, but we know that it is not this immediate ‘hit’ that motivates us to keep going.  What really gets us to commit to our practice is an understanding that over time, we are building and training our muscles to feel stronger, our heart and lungs to be more effective, increasing our physical ability and developing our body to work at its optimum.  Making it as capable as possible of handling what modern life throws at it. We know we will be more able to deal with unexpected physical stress and strains, we’ll have less aches and pains.

We can dance all night, and do…other things.. all night. We feel less fatigue, more awake, sharper and fitter.  In short, we become healthier and have a better quality of life.

Applying this understanding to Meditation is what will give us the secret superpower that is almost always overlooked.

When we meditate on a daily or very regular basis, we are in fact strengthening our ‘presence muscle’. That is to say, we are building our capacity to become present and aware when we really need it most – not on the mat or cushion, but when our sore points, our vulnerable places, are triggered in our ‘normal’ day to day activities.

When all is smooth and wonderful in life, we are mostly content, happy and connected. But when the shit hits the fan, when we are triggered, by our parents, our partners, our children, friends or work colleagues, it is in these moments of ‘reaction’ that we ‘lose consciousness’.

This moment is where we snap.  It’s where we defend, rationalise, attack, manipulate and either act ‘out’ in aggression, or act ‘in’ through passive anger, punishment or just total shut down. This is when we actually feel the sting of abandonment, resentment, envy and fear in real-time and space. This is where we damage ourselves and others.

Meditation’s greatest gift, is that it can train us to expand that moment. It allows us to stretch that nano-second of time, just as we are triggered, offering to us an extra split second of hard-won presence and awareness.  A capacity built over time, as we cultivate our ability to witness our thoughts and emotions from a higher perspective.

This little gap, this fleeting blink of an eye, is where the practice of Meditation manifests its most profound benefit.

In that extra interval lies the greatest power available to us.  The capacity to choose how we will deal with the rush of pain, fear or anger welling up inside. It gives us the capacity to slow down time, take a breath and allow the emotional charge to subside, so that we can make a conscious decision about how we want to respond. This shift enables us to move from automatic conflict, towards resolution. From judgement to compassion. From anger to forgiveness. From fear to love.

It should though be understood, that this fundamental ability, this knack, is by no means easy, nor is it always welcomed by those around us. When we develop this capacity, we become uniquely empowered, as we step out of ‘character’ and no longer follow the scripts that have been playing out in the theatre of our lives. Others who are used to being able to trigger and control us, are suddenly left having to deal with their own thoughts and feelings, because we are no longer playing along and feeding the fire. We have learned to take each moment, each criticism, each comment that once had us lashing out in desperation and rage, and see it for what it really is…someone else’s inner world, their reality, not ours. We no longer take it personally.

This does not mean that we are no longer capable of hearing a valid criticism or are unable to receive feedback about where we can change, learn and grow.

We can in fact, remain more receptive, more discerning and better placed to make a healthy judgement as to whether we take on, or dismiss what comes our way from others.

With less fire and smoke comes clearer vision and understanding.

In the coolness of presence, we respond from our deepest, true nature.

This is real inner power.

This is ‘spiritual fitness’.

This is the secret superpower of Meditation!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You want a seven point plan to destroy ISIS? Here it is.

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Ive been just a little frustrated by the somewhat passive approach of the anti-bombing Syria movement at the moment.

It’s as though we are all responding to David Cameron’s seven-point plan with either acceptance or rejection, without much detail of what we should be doing instead.

There are a few vague references to the Vienna negotiations around Syria’s future and some doubt about ground forces that will confront Isis.

I do not understand why the main opposition has not formulated and laid out a very clear alternative to air strikes both in Syria and Iraq for that matter.

What I am interested in is a new plan, a new narrative, clearly laid out by the those that seek an alternative to fighting fire with fire.

Cameron’s plan is at best incoherent and at worst, a blatant admission that he is not a leader but instead, is bound by those who put him in power to ensure that their interests are met at the expense of any common sense. The industrial military complex on both sides of the Atlantic are setting the agenda, closely followed by big oil and finance. This is why and how wars are generated, financed and exploited. We know this. The last 20 years has seen the opposite of everything our leaders have told us would come from aggression in foreign lands. They claimed we were in danger when we were not and that we would be in less danger if we intervened, which also we are not. Instead, we have destabilised, radicalised and exploited these regions to such an extent, that we are now in more danger than we were before 9/11. Why does David Cameron think that the British people don’t get this? The truth is, he knows bombing in Syria or Iraq or anywhere will do nothing to make us safe and tragically, that is what this government actually wants. Our insecurity is exactly what they are seeking. I insert here a quote that illustrates this political strategy.

“Naturally, the common people don’t want war, neither in Russia nor England nor in America nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country.”

-Hermann Göering- (during the Nuremberg Trials) 

Through this paradigm it becomes patently obvious that this government, like Russia and the US are set on using the middle east as a landscape for real life war games and the local population as the guinea pigs for their weapons. With such huge military industry at work, how can these massive super powers keep the economic wheels turning if they are not despatching these weapons somewhere?  Without war, what will fund the endless building of more weapons, jets, missiles and drones? As the metal band Megadeth’s 80’s album cover so clearly puts it, ‘Peace sells but who’s buying?’.  We know that no matter how accurate a bomb or missile can be, ordinary, vulnerable people get slaughtered. Fathers and mothers lose children. Children lose their parents, brothers lose sisters.  Real lives, real people- destroyed.  To keep us ‘safe’?  The claim that our missiles are so accurate that they can get through a window may be true but what if its the wrong bloody window? To say that our added weaponry will ‘save lives’ is so appalling and dishonest – it is simply outrageous!

So, as it seems that most of our MPs have been dragged like mindless sheep to another slaughter, I put forward here, (based on my best but limited understanding of the current and historical situation), MY seven point plan to make our streets and the Middle East a safer and more peaceful place.

Point One: All western nations including the US, the UK, and France should immediately accept the legitimacy of the Assad Government.

Reason a: Although Assad is a butcher and total sociopath, he is the current leader of a sovereign nation and is secular in his beliefs. No country has the legal right to remove him from power regardless of his crimes. This would also bring a ceasefire closer as Western governments end their support of disparate groups fighting the Syrian army.

Reason b: If the argument of brutal regime change is to have any credibility, then we would also have to remove the Saudi Royal family, along with the leaders of Kuwait, and several other Gulf states, and then of course, North Korea, Brunei, Egypt, Israel, Iran etc etc. This argument against Assad is utterly hypocritical.

Reason c: Once Assad sees that he would be recognised by the international community, he would be far more likely to respond to calls for more democracy and more benign governance. This is what is happening in Burma and Iran and it can happen in Syria too. Humiliating sociopaths only serves to make them even more sociopathic. Lose/lose.

Point Two: Immediately establish the Turkish and Saudi governments’ role in aiding and abetting ISIS through weapons/drugs supply, loose borders and the purchase of oil from ISIS-held territory. 

Reason a: If found guilty of these acts, then Turkey’s application for EU membership should be cancelled and a full review of NATO membership undertaken.

Reason b: Saudi Arabia, if found to be supporting and promoting ISIS ideology, should have all economic and diplomatic ties cut by all western nations, regardless of their financial interests in the EU and the US, which should all be frozen.

Reason c: If they are found to be complicit in helping ISIS then the blood of all their victims in the region and Europe is on Saudi hands. They are the enemy.

Reason d: If they do support ISIS (and much evidence suggests they do), then by selling arms to them we are turning those weapons on our own pilots and civilians.

Point Three: End bombing of any civilian areas and focus air attacks solely on oil convoys, refineries and supply-routes to and from ISIS-held territory.

Reason a: This action would truly minimise civilian casualties as these targets are isolated, out in the open and slow-moving. Warnings can be given prior to destroying vehicles, armoured columns, installations and supply convoys, allowing conscripted drivers, workers and soldiers to escape safely. This is the only way that bombing is useful and anything close to ethical.

Reason b: Armies march on their stomachs and in the case of ‘salaried Jihadis’, their payments and supplies of free cocaine. Cut off these supplies and soon loyalties will dissolve. Even extremists get hungry and will break ranks if supplies dry up.

Point Four: Instigate a massive UN-coordinated plan of humanitarian aid and support for all displaced civilians in the region.

Reason a: Our priority must be to address the human suffering of innocent civilians that is occurring on a biblical scale across the region. Saudi and the Gulf states are doing absolutely nothing to mitigate the situation and have cynically offered to ‘build mosques’ for the immigrants pouring in to Europe. Really? Thats it?

Reason b: This action would enrage and exasperate ISIS, as the very last thing they want, is for muslims to start believing that Western nations are there to help and care for them. That would cripple their local recruiting strategy at its root.

Point Five: Stop all weapons sales to the entire region. Especially to Saudi, the Gulf states and Israel.

Reason a: Weapons are traded to these despotic regimes under the pretext of ‘defence’ but they are being used as offensive weapons on civilians in local conflicts like Yemen and the occupied territories. It is nothing short of scandalous that we and the US are supplying arms and ammunition to these warring, oppressive leaders.

Reason b: De-militarising the region can only reduce suffering and loss of life.

Point Six: End all financial and military support for Israel until it’s government complies with all UN resolutions and requirements, including a sincere attempt to negotiate a two state solution for Palestine.

Reason a: The end of unconditional support for Israel would be a huge body blow to ISIS and all extremist groups in the region who use the Israeli / Palestinian conflict as an example of the unfair plight of Arab Muslims.

Reason b: This action would dilute attempts to radicalise young muslims across Europe and the Western world and render useless, one of the great levers of indoctrination by hate preachers in mosques around the world.

Point Seven: Instigate a massive regeneration programme of islamic communities to recognise, enrich and upgrade the lives of muslims in cities across the European Union and elsewhere, including the promotion of multi faith co-operation and unity to dilute racism and islamophobia. 

Reason a: This move would again infuriate ISIS and severely undermine its ability to radicalise and groom muslim youth to carry out acts of barbarity against their fellow countrymen.

Reason b: A united and just approach to the muslim populations would give the young people in those communities hope and a sense of being valued. The absence of this hope is the foundation of the ISIS recruitment campaign.

And finally one last addition. Following any further atrocities carried out around the world in the name of martyrdom or Jihad, there should be a total media blackout on names and histories of the perpetrators. Absolutely no analysis or background reports. Yes, report on the details of the events but at no point should their pictures or names or nationalities/religion be made public. The current media frenzy to publish these personal details is a huge motivator toward martyrdom for would be gunmen or suicide attackers, knowing that they will be given the attention and ‘respect’ of notoriety they so desperately crave.  But to die with no one ever knowing who you were, or what you represented, is somewhat less romantic than imagining yourself across the front pages of the world’s press, hailed by fellow Jihadis. No brainer right? But governments haven’t thought of that one or have they? Perhaps putting faces to the crimes is all part of building our fear, driving a wedge between us and gaining more control.

So, the basic approach is to starve the fire of ISIS and all other extremist groups by cutting off the oxygen. Cut the supply, the funding, the communication, the motives for those to join and the weapons with which to fight.

ISIS can sell oil but cannot grow its own
food or build its own weapons. Because of this, they are dependent on the super powers to keep throwing arms and ammunition into the arena and for supplies to be trucked in. Once that is clearly ended then ISIS would simply dissolve as a force. They will never be defeated as a mass army but they don’t have to be. The fighters would simply melt away into the population or return to their lives and countries. ISIS would no longer be able to be the provider of basic social needs and would lose power.

This to me, is a far more effective way of protecting our own populations and reducing the whole threat of terror around the world.

This seven point plan was not difficult to work out. What is very puzzling is this government’s inability to see this very obvious reality. I fear that they actually do but worryingly, have another agenda that requires this mad dash to join in a global conflict and increase the chaos, the suffering and the danger to us all.

A bond beyond time. Osho and me.

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India 1979
India 1979

Last year was the 40th anniversary of my becoming a disciple of  the Indian mystic Osho. I was a sprightly and happy ten-year old, living in London, going to school every day, playing football, riding my bike, eating sweets, winding up my big sister. What most kids my age did back in 1974. Our house was the definitive hippy sanctuary. Big kilims and rugs hanging on the walls, and covering the floors. Mattresses covered in Indian fabrics, with huge cushions to match and of course the odd bean bag. It was a cosy, clean and happy house.

It had been already a year or so that the photographs of a bald, bearded, smiling Indian had come into this home. My mother was now going by the name of Leela instead of Lydia, since deciding to become a devotee of this chap with cute cheeks and a twinkling eye. I remember sitting and looking carefully at his small photo on the chest of drawers in her bedroom. Who was this Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh – this man, with his cutting, powerful, uncompromising eyes? I had seen the change in Leela, watching my mum become less stressed, less intense, more humorous, more relaxed, more…her.

One afternoon, sitting at home in our kitchen, I asked, “Mum, can children become sannyasins, could I become one?” She paused for a moment and replied, “I’ll find out”? I asked her to see if it was possible, saying I would quite like to have a new name. I thought it would be fun and different. She enquired and told me that we needed to write to the Ashram in India and send a photo. So we did just that. I found a photo and wrote a scribbly letter giving a little bit of info about myself. A few weeks later, I got a reply. I opened the envelope and read the short paragraph explaining my new name and what it meant to become a sannyasin. Hand written in the bottom right hand corner above a tangled flowing signature were three words – Swami Prem Divakar – ‘Sun of Love’.

I was something of a clandestine sannyasin for the first few years. I was still attending school in a uniform and occasionally wore my Mala of beads under my clothes. I was not ready to wear orange clothes (as was required of a sannyasin), around my school friends, it didn’t seem like a great idea.

In 1978, we left London for a Georgian mansion in the Suffolk countryside converted in to a commune. This was a time of mixed emotions for me but the summers were exciting, as huge crowds would arrive to do therapy groups and I loved helping in the kitchens and being part of the crew. I felt happiest when there was plenty of action and connection.

It was here one autumn evening that my sister and I were summoned to a ‘meeting’ with Leela and our Dad (who was now called Swami Neeraj). “We have an idea that we want to put to you” Leela began. “We want to go to India, to Poona to be with Bhagwan, and we know that this will mean taking you out of school”. “We want to try it for a year and then if you want to, we can return and you can pick up your studies again”. My sister (Who was now Anubhasha), and I were asked to go away and think it through. We left the room and went and sat in the big communal dining room alone. I was not a big fan of school but there were many elements of it that I enjoyed and being 14 years old was just about to start working towards exams. Bhasha on the other hand found school unbearable and hated having to go. She almost immediately said, “I want to go. I don’t care about school”. I felt a huge sense of excitement but also nervousness rising in me. “Ok, so we want to go then” I said.” “Yes, let’s tell mum and dad.” We marched straight back to Leela and Neeraj and told them how we felt.

The following February of ’79 we were on the Ashram in Poona and I was sitting in front of Bhagwan. He looked at me and asked how I was. “I’m happy to be here,” I said. He chuckled, “So do you want to work in the Ashram?” “I wondered if I could do some groups first” I asked. “Mm-hmm, no need for groups, you begin working and that will be your group”.

And so I spent the next two and a half years In India, working in the Ashram, doing everything from woodcraft and construction to bookbinding and even security. And every now and then I disappeared into the underbelly of ‘rebellious’ and somewhat debauched enclaves of Sannyasins, those who, while loving being around the master and the commune, also liked to party quite hard and led a more ’hedonistic’ lifestyle that being in India allowed. Eventually I headed for the freak parties of Goa and Kerala for extended periods (both astounding and growth-full adventures in themselves).

This period in India was one of the most surreal and intense phases of my entire life. It was at this time, as I came of age, that my experience of being around an enlightened master became a personal journey. This was when the magic started. I was exploring everything, inner and outer. Both Meditation, working in the Ashram among thousands of amazing joyous and inspired souls, but also, I began experimenting with mind-altering substances. I smoked hash-packed Chillums at sunset with Sadhus, in tiny temples on the banks of the Mula Mutha River, and then began exploring with LSD and magic mushrooms.

Although I was only 15 years old, my consciousness was expanding at an explosive pace. I grew into adulthood in an uninhibited and permissive environment. My sexuality blossomed as I ‘played’ with many beautiful bodies and energies.

This freedom, this level of deep connection and understanding between my peers and me was truly enchanted. I could feel myself maturing well beyond my years, as it was for all the other young people I was spending time with. It felt so alive, so real and so energising.

Here I was, totally removed from the routine of my conventional childhood. Here, where every day was Saturday and every night was a new opportunity for wild and ecstatic connection, I fell in love, I fell in to joy, and I fell into myself. All under the guidance and energy of the master and his Buddhafield. Some deep but already ‘known’ part of me awoke during this time. Some dormant inner capacity was activated. One that has stayed with me all my life. It is impossible to articulate such a multidimensional experience. It is a desire to celebrate, to feel blissful, a movement towards gratitude, appreciation, intimacy and awareness. I was given the gift of a direct line to the present moment. To be meditative and alert to my being, no matter what circumstances arose in my life. I learned to spend time in the space in which my thoughts existed. To witness, to dis-identify.

My family departed India in the summer of 1981, soon after Bhagwan left to start the new Commune in America. At first it was not easy adjusting to life back in western civilization but the understanding and wisdom that I had learned allowed me to adapt, to integrate and to continue to grow and develop. As I moved into my twenties I travelled a lot and met and enjoyed being in communes with Sannyasins all over the world. A global network of fellow travellers that all had about them that knowing, that aroma of understanding.  It was like having a huge tribe that I could ‘plug into’ at any time or place.

Around 1985, when all kinds of challenges around the commune were coming out, I lost my trust of the movement and also of the commune. In an ironic way, I had to drop sannyas to really ‘take it’. I needed to let go of my past conditioning and beliefs, of which there were many. I needed to begin creating my own life separate from Sannyas.

Bhagwan had now become ‘Osho’ and had returned to Pune, with a ‘rebooted’ commune. Having purged itself of a difficult period, it began again to flourish. But for me, Poona in the late 70’s would, and could not, ever be re-created. It was a new time and there had been too much trauma and disillusionment. I now felt and experienced the commune in a much more objective way. My relationship with Osho had grown up to become more of a grounded and dis-attached story. I never joined the commune again but visited the Ashram in 1989 for some weeks. One evening while lying on the marble wall of Krishna Gardens pond, listening to Osho speaking slowly, deeply, I heard the phrase, “right now, you are the most important people on the Earth”. My body sprung up to a sitting position like a spring uncoiled. “What”? I thought, “What does that mean”? I knew that he had said it in a context of us all being very present and being more conscious, but it had aroused an energy in me that took me to another level of reality about what it is to be a Sannyasin.

This idea of being ‘special’ or somehow ‘elite’ had been a big part of my early beliefs and conditioning. I knew then, that however much wisdom and teaching I could receive from this man, paradoxically, I would have to disagree with him before I could ever move toward my own Buddhahood. It even felt like that moment, that phrase was designed for that very purpose.

It was a moment of deep liberation for me and I felt myself welcoming the responsibility of being a light unto myself, of being my own master. But I also knew that without having spent all those decades in that atmosphere, in that fertile soil, I would never have developed to that moment of realisation.

As I moved through my late 20s and 30s, I began a period of some disconnection from Osho. Not in a defensive or resentful way, but life moved me toward a marriage that was to last for over 20 years, and to my greatest achievement in life, raising a family and being a father. This was always going to be a challenge. Marriage and parenthood is a mountainous forest of mixed emotion and experience for anyone – heaven and hell together. And so it was for me too.

But my early years and the continuing presence of Osho on the periphery of my life, worked like a magic box of tools, a set of spiritual spanners that I had learned to use to make the path so much more joyous and profound than could have ever been possible had I not developed those skills.

The most fundamental of those skills showed up whenever I looked in the mirror. I truly loved who I saw there looking back at me and that alone, gave me the capacity to love and accept others in all their imperfection. I was no saint and lost it many a time, but always, I knew I had a better alternative and mostly chose it. I didn’t have to take it personally. As long as I had the strength to own and own up to my shit, then I could expect and receive no less from those with whom I shared my life. A true inner power. Not a noisy, weak power of a screaming ego, but the warm, calm power of self-love and inner contentment. So now, in my 51st year, my middle age, I once more have Osho in my life. I meditate daily with my Mala of beads over my heart. At night I regularly drift off to sleep to his soporific tones, just as I did as a 10 year old in the darkened meditation rooms of North London.

As Osho said so many times, that when he was gone, he would grow into all of us. And I feel his consciousness in me. I feel the master in me – the awakening continues and my gratitude to him and the beautiful people that I have met through him will never die. Not even when this chapter ends and I move on to a new beginning. He, I, us, it, will always remain.

Jai Bhagwan.

A message to politicians – You are not entitled to power. Only to service. Get it, or we will get rid of you!

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Kings and Queens have power, the ruling class have power, the government and the corporate machine have power.

There is no longer a place for political or elitist control in a modern and liberal society. It’s over!

It is time for real democracy.

Democracy that means power to the people and the people ONLY! 

The entire political class, landed gentry and Monarchy are no longer wanted or needed by the majority of citizens. 

The sun is about to set on an age of Empire, Royal lineage and self-appointed, entitled elites.

A new dawn is breaking, and with it, a completely new way of doing things.

 

At what point have we as a modern nation-state, been given the choice as to whether we wish to continue with the idea, that those who would seek to put themselves in control of our lives, had any level of good judgement at all?

Or that they would hold our best interests at heart?

The Inmates have taken over the asylum and we have let it happen! We blindly agree to things being the way they are because it has ‘been that way for so long’. That’s all that ‘tradition’ and ‘custom’are. Nothing more than an established practice over time, regardless of the changing environment or atmosphere.

Well, I say “So what”?  The current system is too corrupt, outdated and broken. This government, which is meant to serve the people, no longer fulfils and frankly, has never fulfilled that absolute democratic obligation.

Its time to remember that we are the rightful owners of our land.

Not this government, certainly not our ‘beloved’ (German) Royal family and not any Prime Minister or political party.

 

They are our servants! They are meant to work for us!

Their job is to enact the will of the people; our will. But instead, we have been lulled into accepting their decisions, made ‘on our behalf’, according to their limited and biased judgement.  Decisions about critically important and controversial issues that affect our lives day after day.

We have handed to them, the power to create laws, to take actions that suit their own personal agendas and those of their benefactors or friends.  In the current system, there is nothing we can do to stop them or change their minds.

The biggest lie of all that we  fall for, is that because we get to vote, we therefore have some choice or control over our future.

Wrong! We have no choice or control. We are fed no more than a predetermined set of ‘options’, that fool us into thinking that we have influence over our futures but it is a huge red herring. Ordinary people have no control over their own destiny.

The recent election of Jeremy Corbyn and the ongoing negative reaction from the Parliamentary Labour party, show that no matter what ‘ideology’ we think we support, in the end, we are dealing with the same political class, no matter on which side of the house they sit.

 

Why do we still need a Parliament at all?

Parliament, and members representing the common people, was all good and well in the 12th century when most of the population had no integrated communication, or any way of getting their voices heard.  Originally, an unofficial assembly that was initially set up by the monarchy as a way to guarantee tax payments as the costs of war grew, in return for the privilege of airing local grievances.  Now, nearly 900 years later, and without an absolute monarchy and no written constitution, we are now stuck with a bunch of pompous bafoons in the Commons and the Lords acting out their ridiculous, anachronistic rituals and traditions.

The theatre of costumes and ridiculous customs, the pantomime of the ‘Queen’s speech’, the banging of sticks on doors, the pomp and ceremony, it’s as bizarre as any secret society or strange cult but we blindly accept this nonsense as dignified and proper. It is not proper at all. It is a grand delusion.

Titles, rituals, unwavering adherence to a creaky old system of governance is being clung to by the old musty aristocracy through the commons and the Lords. Yes, we ‘vote’ for our MP, but really, when it comes to it, members of Parliament, the Lords, and the royal family, Who are these people? Who do they think they are? And  more importantly, why do they take it upon themselves to presume that they are so all-wise and wonderful that we should bend in reverence to their very presence and defer to their opinions and apparent knowledge?

This system is completely of touch with the life of ordinary people . Politicians and the titled peers like it this way and not without reason.

The elite seek power in order to maintain control.

The ruling class are not interested in service to ordinary people as they claim they are. They have never been, and have no intention, of ever doing what is right and good for the rest of us. Why should they? As far as they are concerned, all is as it should be. They have, we have not, and that the way it’s always been and always will be.

So how do they manage to keep this power? How do they maintain this unfair, entitled and unjust control over us? One reason and one reason only – We agree that it is the only way!! 

That is it! Nothing more.

The governing class, the landed gentry, the Royal family, all the Lords and Ladies, Earls and viscounts, dukes and duchesses, corporate barons and the mega-rich, all rely on our agreement in order to exist!

If we want to take back our land,  our property,  our resources and our right to self-rule, then we have to show courage and belief that there is an alternative to what we have now and that this alternative will improve all our lives, by giving us real influence and real choice.

We need a new agreement!

‘This country belongs to the PEOPLE who dwell within it!

The people, and only the people, have the right to decide what, when, where and how anything happens, within OUR borders, with OUR resources and in our dealings with the International community!

We no longer need or want ideological ‘leadership’ or entitled and appointed aristocracy. What we do want, is our country run as we see fit, by competent and honourable men and women’.

We are all sick to the teeth and completely exasperated with the infantile arguments and jeering across an ornately decorated hall, as two sides battle each other and even themselves, for their own narrow opinions and ideas. This is not  modern constructive debate. This is not an honest and objective method of establishing the will of the majority of the people, or making thought-out decisions about our country and its future.

We watch Prime Ministers question as we would watch our parents fighting over the kitchen table! It has become an embarrassment.

What we have now is a battle of wills and personal agendas and we know that there has to be a better way.

 

So, here is the absolute bombshell that, if we can allow a tiny chink in the impenetrable walls of our minds to let it in, can open the way towards a real change in how we create our own destiny. Here it is.

We no longer need Politicians or MPs!  We don’t even need a Parliament!  We now have the technology and interconnectedness to create a whole new way of running our country!

Instead of MPs, we install and create a new, interactive, multi-level and multi-dimensional system of electronic nomination, selection, healthy, constructive debate and deliberation, voting and monitoring.

I call this new system  DYNAMIC DEMOCRACY.

This means no longer just deciding on those who we wish to represent our community and region every five years, but instead we ourselves, the entire adult nation, regularly and actively, nominate, deliberate, debate and vote on ALL matters of  global, national and local importance.

In essence, our democracy becomes a living, rolling succession of referenda. We become our own representatives – our own Parliament! 

More on the actual details of that later. First, there is one very important question to ask.

Why have we never sought an alternative to party politics?

To break out of our current thinking and conditioning, we need to ask ourselves why we have allowed a system that removes us from the decision-making process, to continue for so long?

Fear of the unknown and a sense of futility is what keeps us in line and obedient. I believe that we as a nation, are only apathetic about our democracy because, with such little leverage over what really happens, we have lost hope and we have lost interest.

Many people have just given up thinking about the issues and actually, politicians, the media and big business, are delighted by our indifference and non interest. They want us watching TV and staying concerned with voting not on important issues of the day, but instead, for some sad wannabe in a jungle or on a glitzy stage.  Caught up in trivia, in separation, and in endless consumption. Occupied with meaningless information and dumbed down. Silent and conditioned to accept our lot without complaint.

They want us utterly distracted from the insane destruction of our environment, from Fracking, to destroying Sustainable energy sources.  Distracted from the appalling inequality and suffering of so many ordinary people. Distracted from tax cuts and legal loopholes to huge corporations and the wealthiest few, while cutting and cutting again, every possible public service and system of support for the most vulnerable.

And of course they want us fearing and hating each other, because divided we are weak and united we are strong. So we are fed with stories of imminent danger, perpetual war and anxiety about our neighbours and community, so that weapons can be made, sold to brutal regimes and used in distant lands to mutilate and kill human beings, who’s screams and suffering we will never hear.  All in our name and without our consent!

This  engineered fear and the illusion of an impenetrable, complex, political system, is all designed to intimidate and confuse us. To keep us overwhelmed and believing that a proactive and inclusive system of self governance is much too much for us mere mortals to handle, without the divine governance of the chosen and enlightened few.

So we need to break out of this belief, this framework of thinking, this engineered and maintained paradigm of complexity and difficulty that makes our political class appear so qualified and venerable.

I have a basic belief around many of those who seek a political career.  It is this – those who seek political office should always be treated with caution and skepticism. I would in fact, go so far as to say that anyone worthy of office should have to be persuaded, if not dragged, kicking and screaming into a position of leadership. We want to have ministers or department heads that are there because we want them there. Regardless of what party they belong to or even if they ever belong to a party at all. We want them there because firstly, we think they would be the most qualified person in the country available for the post.  Secondly, because we believe they will serve the public, not their own personal agendas. And lastly, because we trust them as people, as thoughtful, considered and mature individuals, that care about us and about our future as a nation.

 

It’s not about starting a completely new civil administration.  This is much more do-able than that.

I am not in any way advocating Anarchism or no system of governance. No, while in transition, we must have rule of law and we must have a working civil society. We will always need a civil service, welfare and education systems, defence, NHS and also of course, a justice system and protection of citizens, as well as a method of contribution and taxation that will fund the running of our country.

So we would keep Ministries, Committees and Departments as they exist presently and build and adjust their role and membership as change  becomes apparent through a truly democratic process.

In short, we can keep everything that involves administration initially intact but, when it comes to who we choose to run those departments, what policy and decisions are taken,  that will be up to us to decide, to monitor and to change. we no longer need the old worn out parliamentary and ideological party system that has been hijacked since its inception, to fulfil the needs of the few at the expense of the many.

 

So now, in the very spirit of this new agreement, I would like to lay out, in the most basic of terms, a way that this system could work, in the hope that those who read this, will examine it as an idea both critically and with an open mind. This is a beginning, a first draft, a point of reference from which to build a coherent, viable and just alternative, that can support us all as citizens, into becoming an inspired and dynamic democratic community!

All feedback to this idea is appreciated, all comments will be approved both for and against. Lets bash this out and forge a blade that can cut away the rot of a defunct system and create a future with hope, justice and vision! 

We face a simple choice. Remain uninvolved, apathetic, too busy or stressed to bother and allow the destruction of our state and society or, choose to get involved, fully involved and put in the effort and time that it would take to create a future that brings prosperity and well-being to us all. This is our country, our nation!  It needs us now, to save it from the insane destruction underway. We cannot let her down. The time for complaining and protesting is over. Now is the time for action.

 

 

“If it is an unjust law you would abolish, that law was written with your own hand upon your own forehead. You cannot erase it by burning your law books nor by washing the foreheads of your judges, though you pour the sea upon them.
And if it is a despot you would dethrone, see first that his throne erected within you is destroyed.

For how can a tyrant rule the free and the proud, but for a tyranny in their own freedom and a shame in their own pride?
And if it is a care you would cast off, that care has been chosen by you rather than imposed upon you.
And if it is a fear you would dispel, the seat of that fear is in your heart and not in the hand of the feared”.

Kahlil Gibran (The Prophet)

 

 

DYNAMIC DEMOCRACY

Phase One – Returning power to the people.

The only way that this new system can be implemented is by initially creating a new political party with the new  ‘Dynamic Democracy’ paradigm as its core value and mission. This, alongside the agenda set out below, would form the party’s manifesto. A promise of real influence, real choice, created for the people, by the people and of the people.  Once the party is elected to government, it would immediately initiate Phase Two with a view to permanently dissolve Parliament and the Lords and along with it, The majority of the apparatus of the Monarchy and land claimed by the aristocracy, returning the ownership of all crown land, crown property, rights on water, air, food cultivation, energy generation and resources to the people. The dissolution of all political parties, including Dynamic democracy as a party itself,  over an 18-24  month period of transition.

 

Phase Two –  Create and test the technological systems.

To run concurrently with phase  One,  This involves funding, designing, research, installation and testing of the information and technology infrastructure required, to facilitate the process of  transition to a self-determining system of governance. A fully electronic nominating, debating and voting system, based in on-line websites, easy to use and understand by ALL members of the community both old and young.  The system would have to prove itself to be transparent, totally secure and encoded, to ensure accurate and honest results. Once the system is functioning and well-tested, then we would move on to Phase Three.

 

Phase Three –  A 3 month-long stage of  nomination, deliberation, voting for and appointment of all new heads of national departments and ministries. This would include choosing of the leading teams and members of local councils assemblies and committees. These individuals will be nominated by the public regardless of their ‘political’ persuasions, or their involvement in politics at all! They will simply be the person of most merit and qualifications for the post in the eyes of the majority. Both Nationally and Locally as appropriate.

 

Phase Four –  An 18 month-long initial intensive stage, involving monthly multiple referenda including presentations from all departments on future policy, approach, intention and budgets. Options and alternatives to then be debated, deliberated and voted on. In essence a national parliament with a one person one vote on all matters of importance and governance. This Phase would also involve the forming of a written constitution and the re-naming of our country with a title more suited to a modern democratic nation.

 

Phase Five –  The final  stage involving ongoing, quarterly, multiple referenda, on new issues arising in all areas. Monitoring and reports on progress of all departmental policies and initiatives underway. Adjusting policy as new circumstances arise and opportunity to recall and vote out existing heads and members based on performance, progress and behaviour. 

 

In the initial phases, I estimate it would require up to 3 hours per week of all of our time and effort to get involved in nominating, debating and voting. Once the new system is in place at phase Five, that would reduce to about 3 hours per month.

Fear of flying – Addicted to anxiety

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plane

Until quite recently, every time I have flown, I have had this little moment – right at the point where I stepped from the the air bridge walkway on to the plane.

I looked at the doorway in front of me, the mechanisms and rivets and bolts and levers. Looking for something, a stain, a dent, any imperfection that might alert me to something, I didn’t know what. In fact, I didn’t know anything about what I was looking at. I’d see the bored faces of the ground crew milling about outside the aircraft, and the relaxed easy smiles of the cabin crew waiting to greet me as I entered, and found reassurance in their seemingly uneventful day.

I stepped through the door and in that moment, surrendered myself to the will of fate. I willingly incarcerated myself in a metal tube, knowing full well that it would soon lurch me and my fellow prisoners forward to a speed of 150mph before somehow elegantly lifting itself up into the sky.

As the plane would turn on to the runway and the engines would begin to throttle up, I  would silently join with the plane, ‘Go baby, go!’  Thrust back into my seat as we heaved forward, “keep it straight, keep it level, go go go!” Faster and faster, “Isn’t this fast enough?” And then, the ground would gently tip away and suddenly drop out below. Forced down into my seat. “what’s that rattle, whats that whirring sound”? A little lurch to left, “whoa! no… ok..we’re ok we’re up we’re up”. My grip on the armrests would gently loosen, as everything began to smooth out and quieten down. Then the cabin crew would unbuckle and begin their duties, I could breathe a little deeper. Then, with a gentle ‘bong’, the seat belt signs went off and I would come back to myself, relaxing and loosening my belt. Out of the window I would watch the tiny cars below streaming along the tiny roads, worming out into the distance, many miles away.

It was always incredible to me. Always like a child in awe at the fact that I was thousands of feet above the ground screaming along at over 400mph.

And as we climbed out into the sky, breaking through the clouds to the stars or the sun, I would settle in for the journey.

But then, came the bumps!  A little shudder at first, then a heave and a drop, “Why always when I’ve got this meal to eat and drink to have does it start?” Sometimes after a big lurch or drop, the seatbelt sign would come on and we were confined to our seats. “shit! I hate this, please stop” Sometimes I would wobble myself around just to confuse my body enough to not feel the turbulence throwing me around. I just couldn’t let go and accept what was happening.  I was trapped in a superstitious belief that if I relaxed into the situation I would be punished with even worse turbulence or even the unthinkable. I actually thought that my fear was necessary to hold the plane together. A totally irrational but overwhelming emotion. Then the episode would pass as we moved into clear air, ‘bong’ went the seatbelt sign and once again my body would relax and I could drop down in my seat, exhausted with the fear released.

Then, a few years ago, something changed. Something deep inside shifted to a new place. I decided to try and let go of anxiety and tension in my life, to see what would actually happen. To call the bluff on my fear.

I was about to fly to Cape Town – a 12 hour overnight haul from Heathrow.

As I stepped on to the plane, I felt a deep sense of calm and surrender. I was in a totally relaxed space. I settled into my seat and felt totally content. It was like I just knew that whatever was to be was to be. It had nothing to do with flying and everything to do with an inner shift from anxiety to trust. From fear to acceptance.

As the plane roared along the runway, I felt excited about leaving the British winter, getting to Cape Town and having breakfast in the warm sunshine of a southern summer and as we gently banked over London and headed down over Surrey I was free of any anxiety or concern.

We cruised on into the night and as is normal when flying down over deepest darkest Africa, we encountered some tropical stormy weather. I awoke at 4am to the old lurch and heave of the plane as it ploughed through the wild night.

But now, I was totally undisturbed! No fear and no tension in my body. I visualised the plane bouncing over the clouds like a bus on a bumpy road, feeling the speed of the plane through the jolts and bumps. Rocked and soothed by the movement, I drifted back to sleep. Four hours later I awoke to a silky calm sunrise over the red dunes of Namibia.

As I stepped off the plane, I felt refreshed and ready for the day ahead.

I realised that something very big inside had dissolved. I had lost my fear of flying but it was more than that. It was deeper and bigger. I had to some degree, successfully lost a fear of life and death itself!

What had become so real and embodied in me was that, just like the plane did not actually need my fear to keep it in the sky, so did life not need my anxiety to keep things from falling apart.

It was like I had experienced a new perspective in microcosm of how fear dominated my experience of life, every day and in every way. But even more, how because of this irrational belief that anxiety and tension had served me in some way, I had somehow become addicted to it. An insane notion that without a mind and body overwhelmed by negative thoughts, fear, tension and stress, everything would collapse around me.

I started to notice how I had allowed external forces beyond my control to throw me around. From fear to relief, tension to relaxation and back again. Bounced around on the turbulence of circumstance, like my plane in the night, bouncing from cloud to cloud, heaving into warm air and dropping into cold.

I saw how I was always throttling back, unsure of the path ahead, and consequently always losing height, losing perspective, losing vision.

But what I really realised that day was that, just like me, my plane was designed to handle rough weather. It’s body, designed to be flexible and soft, able to absorb and deflect the massive forces set against it.  Its mind, capable of re-adjusting toward the destination, keeping it level and moving, moving, always moving foreword. Without foreword motion there could be no lift, no ability to navigate or steer a course. Without forward thrust there was only one way to go. Down.

This has now become the place in which I aspire to live. To understand that stress, fear, anxiety and tension has only ever caused me to become brittle and inflexible. Easily shattered by the winds of fate. A victim. Now I choose as much as possible to move with the wind, to roll with the changes. Money in the bank, or no money in the bank. A woman by my side, or no woman by my side. Clarity of purpose or just foggy confusion.  Good health or poor health. Starting a new project, showing up, stepping into life, taking a risk. Moving, always moving foreword, gaining lift and speed. Moving higher, expanding perspective to a distant horizon. Letting go of my addiction to fear and anxiety. Realising that it never has and never will serve me.

Accepting the truth that I am free to fly.