Six Impossible Things before Breakfast
There is a sound scientific/academic angle to believing impossible things, described well here, however my personal favourite is Alice reciting a list of impossible things she believes in, in order to help her believe in herself.
These are mine…
One, there is no such thing as Time. Two, there is no Past. Three, there is no Future. Four, there is only Now. Five, This World is an Illusion. Six, this is a Mind Game.
We live in a linear society, everything revolves around ‘time’ even from an early age, learning to tell the time, awareness of the seasons, the different holidays, birthdays and so on. The idea that everything ‘ages’; that the past is conceptualised almost like a place you could go and visit if you had a time machine and that the future is somewhere we ‘get to’.
These ideas both limit us and also prevent us being afraid, because the idea that there is nothing else, no past, no future, no house, no furniture, just us and our thoughts in the present moment, like being balanced on a pin head in a sea of oblivion… could be a scary thought.
So as one realises, or tries to realise, that there is no time, no past, no future, the thing to grasp onto is the information that It Is Only Ever Now. Bringing the present moment into sharper focus, becoming conscious of your thoughts, your conversations, your body, even the temperature, the breeze on your skin, has the capacity to brighten and strengthen the present moment… And also to stretch it… and by stretching it, you begin to believe in it, and the ideas of past and future and time really do begin to fall away and become irrelevant.
This world is an illusion: take it apart, look for chinks, or just accept it. It doesn’t mean it’s not important, just because it’s made of consciousness not bricks and mortar (whatever they are).
This is a mind game: all of the above, synthesised, plus control emotions, stay neutral, control thoughts. Practice observing. Practice creating. Don’t overcomplicate things. As my lovely psychologist friend at work says: Approach complexity with simplicity.
How sane do you need to be?
“There is only one kind of person, Phaedrus said, who accepts or rejects the mythos in which he lives. And the definition of that person, when he has rejected the mythos, Phaedrus said, is ‘insane’. To go outside the mythos is to become insane.” Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance
Obviously, I have to believe that isn’t true, even though it sounds scarily believable. Hasn’t there always been ‘insane’ people, and they can’t all be people who have ‘woken up’ and then been prescribed as insane by society. In fact, accepting this world wholesale and believing there’s nothing else, that this is all there is; surely that would be the thing to drive a person insane, not the realisation of truth.
Yes, at times, under certain conditions, it can come on too strong/be too much information at once/jump ahead too fast and be too much to absorb without being frightened. But with a healthy diet, plenty of sleep and a mix of esoteric exploration/ discussion and everyday activities such as cleaning, walking, light socialising and watching Netflix, it comes on at a pace that is manageable.
I used to always say, well, I’m still holding down a full time professional job, so I must be okay. What will I say when I’m not? I’ve always thought that a person must have to be very sane to be able to do that, as opposed to how sane you’d need to be to go backpacking around India, for example. But I might have got this mixed up: doing a full time job where most of my emotional, mental and even spiritual energy is given over to ‘The Man’ i.e. a multimillion pound company, instead of being spent on myself, well maybe that isn’t all that sane. And to go travelling, I’m guessing being fairly intact mentally would be helpful. Then again, how sane do any of us need to be? I remember having a conversation with my sister in law about how we’d never felt like proper grownups; she said, well, we pay the bills, how much more grown up to we need to be? As long as you’re sane enough not to get detained under the Mental Health Act then that’ll probably do.
Notes from the frontline
On the train to London this week, asleep/writing, I suddenly noticed some animation and looked up: a man had got on the train with a ferret on a lead. He walked the length of the carriage; a woman flinched, he said don’t worry, she won’t hurt you; the conductor commented how it was a first, people started talking to each other. But no one wanted to touch it, and the man actually walked all the way back again, saying, well, if no one wants to say hello, we’ll go and find a quiet corner. At one time, I might have petted it, said hello, but the ‘look at me, look at me’ nature of the event, and even the man himself, just made me withdraw. Even work is getting like this: more interesting, as if it’s trying to grab hold of my attention; just as I think it’s on a never ending loop, it’ll chuck out something original.
On the train and the tube were adverts encouraging people to eat more potatoes. I wondered vaguely if this is because ‘they’ are worried that people are waking up. (Eating vegetables that grow below ground is supposed to ground you and slow down spiritual awakening- handy if it’s going too fast). Likewise the new teeth cleaning advice not to rinse (gross!) in order to keep the fluoride on your teeth for longer.
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