red

(no subject)

I definitely feel like a new person recently. I mean that literally. I've definitely changed. I'm not sure exactly when, but quite recently. My self-image is quite different, and my mind is clearer. I've let go of old issues and adopted new ones. I'm starting to appreciate being alive again. I'm more optimistic. There is beauty to life and the future is a mystery.. and that's okay. :)

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Oh, and these are a couple of photos of me in London. Just went there for a night and day, to see some friends. I'm squinting a bit in this second one, as it was really bright, and I have sensitive eyes. I lost my sunglasses on a rollercoaster a few weeks ago, lol.

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red

(no subject)

Where is typing_sound? He is lost in some kind of fucked up limbo, in which nothing makes sense. He is locked in a world where there are no real answers, only speculations. He is thoroughly drowned in the swamp of unknowing, and displays a perpetual question-mark above his head. He thought that life had a purpose. He thought there was a goal to achieve in life that would attain him some certainty. He couldn't hold onto those thoughts. He saw them as just thoughts and couldn't cling to them. He is a frozen player in the game of chess, unable to make his next move, for every move he makes must be based on some kind of evidence of the desired result. But no such evidence exists. He cannot move forward along any path, because the end of each path is a mystery. Before, he believed in something at the end of a path, without knowing for certain, he just believed, and so he walked. But now he doesn't put much stock in blind faith, and so he cannot take a step.

What in the fuck does he do now?
red

Myself

I've noticed that different people bring out different sides of me. Just before, I spoke to an old friend, and an old side of me emerged. It was the old creative-poet me. It'd been a long time since I'd seen that guy. I want him to come back. I suppose everyone I know brings out a different version of me. And when I am all alone, who am I then? Perhaps I am no one.

Or perhaps I've got this all wrong. Maybe I am just less of myself with most people, and with certain people the real me can come out full force. Because, you know when you're with someone, and you detect subtly in them certain resistances to certain aspects of your personality, so very quickly, even without thinking about it, you mute those aspects. And sometimes, you can become so muted, you don't really say anything or do anything. You know, those times when you are with people so foreign to you that you appear incredibly shy, because you don't do or say anything.

But perhaps that is my personality trait, that I want others to like me, so I deny them aspects of myself they don't like, and become lesser of myself. I think other people don't seem to mind, and they're just themselves, and have the attitude of "love me or leave me." I suppose my own trait becomes a problem when I wind up missing myself, or even forgetting who I really am, because I haven't been that fellow for so long.

I'm writing in a different voice tonight. Even the voice in my head is different as I mentally speak this out as I type. It's like a posh voice. Odd.

The sign that I'm myself is that I can write poems, so tonight Jonathan, I shall be myself.
red

Pessimism

I've become quite pessimistic. I don't know how long it's been going on. My girlfriend told me actually. She told me I always think the worst. And I thought about that, and now I'm noticing me doing it all the time.

It's a shame. I used to be an optimist. Before I was a Buddhist actually. I used to have big dreams and a big imagination. I used to imagine what could be around the next corner, and the wonderful things I'd do with my life. I used to dream about things like true love and enlightenment. I used to think I would become something great, like a famous poet. And then I met Buddhism, and I became a monk, and I was still optimistic, thinking I'd become a great, enlightened teacher like the Buddha, or a famous yogi like Milarepa.

Now, at some point over the last couple of years, my dreams were shattered, and I was sobered up to what I can only call reality. I began to see through a lot of the bullshit in religion, and became disillusioned with it. I left my Buddhist tradition, in search of something purer, but couldn't find it anywhere, so I fell into a pit of depression that lasted about a year.

It was a slow climb out of that depression, but now I've been out of it for about 6 months. But, my once optimism has been replaced with pessimism. Now, I suspect nothing will go right, and everything is inevitably doomed to fail. And it's not far from a Buddhist teaching is it? Buddhism teaches that everything is impermanent and everything will end, either sooner or later. And so far my life has matched up with that teaching, and it makes me feel that nothing is worthwhile, which results in a lot of apathy and indecision about what to do with my life.

But I suppose that pessimism is a step further that realizing the impermanence of things. Pessimism thinks things are going to end BAD. Not just end eventually, but end BAD. Things are not going to end well, they are going to end BAD. It sees the bad possibilities for a situation, rather than the good possibilities. But, even though everything in life will oneday end, and we can see that in our experience, it's not also true that everything in life will turn BAD. And I'm talking about day-to-day experiences, where we assume the worst case scenario. "Why hasn't my partner called me back?" Pessimism may assume they are ignoring us, because they are angry with us. Then we may go on to think they are going to leave us. And the madness can progress from there.

While it's true that our relationship with our partner will one-day end, it doesn't follow that the ending will be today, and that absence of a phone-call is the sign-post of that ending. It may just be the person forgot their phone today, and they never saw your missed calls.

I think everyone must get pessimism from time-to-time, where we assume the bad rather than the good. There is an old Winnie the Poo story that illustrates this well. I will paraphrase:

It was a stormy night and the wind was blowing ferociously, and Pooh and Piglet were walking home through the woods. And Piglet was shaking with fear. "What if," said Piglet, "lightning strikes and we are crushed by one of those enormous trees?!" And Pooh bear paused for a moment to consider, then replied, "what if lightning doesn't strike a tree, and what if we are not crushed?" And Piglet was taken aback, "oh, I never thought of it that way."

It's a simple story, but one I really like. It shows me how to use my thoughts in a constructive way, and opening my mind up to the other possibilities for any given situation, so I'm not just focusing in on the bad ones and becoming upset. I guess we could all learn a lesson from Winnie the Pooh.

I always write these entries spontaneously, without really planning them, and this one has really made me feel a lot better. Funny how that happens. I'll have to write more often on here.
red

(no subject)

You ever get the urge to delete all your journal entries? Sometimes I hate all the older me's, and what they've written. Or maybe I'm afraid of people judging me. It's one thing to have "LJ-friends" reading your journal, and another when actual people from your life are reading it. I think when I'm getting to know someone, I'm always testing the water on what they like and dislike, and I build up this version of myself, just for them. So for that person to then read this journal and discover different sides of myself makes me nervous, or afraid they might not like what they see. But maybe that's a necessary leap of faith you have to take with people, to be fearless enough to be yourself, take you or leave you. And if they don't like me for me, accepting me as I am, then they're probably no worth my time anyway, right? This is my psychosis I'm revealing to you. I admire my own honesty. Someone I really respect once told me I was very honest with myself.

I'll cut this entry short and do another a bit later.. it's food time. Steak pudding and chips, with mushy peas. Yummy!
red

New-found Clarity

Things have become very clear to me these past few weeks. I know that Ajahn Brahm is my teacher, and his presentation of Buddhism is what I'm following, and it's perfect for me. I'm not at odds with anything this teacher says, and often I find him repeating things that I myself have thought or said. For the first time in years I feel I am following my destiny. And it seems it was Ajahn Brahm all along. It was through listening to his teachings that I disrobed from my Tibetan-ish tradition. Even though I've never met him, I feel like he's been guiding me all this time. I feel very fortunate and even surprised that this teacher even exists and I know of him. It feels like a miracle.

I had let go of all teachers and traditions, but it didn't matter. It seems that by doing nothing and following nothing, destiny found me anyway. That is the way it goes. We let go of everything, and what is right will come to us. I do not know what awaits me in the future, and I have no beliefs or expectations. I feel I'm walking out blind into the unknown future, but I'm following the light of Ajahn Brahm, because that light is a voice of truth. I listen to that voice, and there isn't a doubt in my mind about it. Beautiful.

I get really afraid sometimes of the future, of what's on the other side of death, so it's nice to have something that brings such certainty into my mind. It doesn't always take away my fear, but it brings me hope that things may be okay.

Dear reader, wherever you are now, look around you, listen to the sounds of the room, feel whatever is here to be felt. This is the present moment you are in. Everything that happened in the past is over and gone now, you can let it go. You can be born new, a clean slate, with no limitations, in this very moment. The future hasn't arrived yet, and it is never how you imagine it to be, so don't worry about it. You are here, right now in this present moment. Look at, listen to and feel what is happening right now. There aren't any problems, are there?

We live in our thoughts all the time, and we forget the peace and joy found in silence. All this thinking only makes matters worse. Just look around you, and remember this present moment. Don't just pass it by, lost in thought. The world is a beautiful place. Just to exist is beautiful and mysterious. You are alive, right now. You are breathing. Your heart is beating. You can see, and hear, and feel. Isn't that beautiful? We take ourselves so much for granted. People who have near-death experiences can go on to gain a lot of joy in life. This is because they really know they are alive, and they appreciate just being here.

You don't have to wait for a car accident. You can know right now, you are alive, and appreciate being here. Don't waste your life merely thinking about life. Otherwise you are like a poet, who writes about sunny days, but never leaves his dark bedroom.

Peace
red

(no subject)

I dreamt last night I was an angel. You ever seen that old show, Touched by an Angel? They still play it on the Hallmark channel in the states. Well, I was an angel, and with those angels from the show. We were invisible to regular people, and we would follow them about, helping them. I helped people by whispering in their ears, but they actually heard the words as their own thoughts. How cool is that?

I think I dreamt that because I helped this drunk guy, earlier on that evening, and I guess I felt like an angel in a way. My mind was silent and had some kindness in it. You ever helped someone, or really listened to someone, and your own mind has gone silent? It's like you disappear and they become the centre of the universe instead. That's where peace is, when you really receive the universe, or whatever's happening in the present moment, you really receive it, let it in, really agreeing to this moment, feeling yes, okay, come on in, you can enter and share whatever I have, you can have my time and my attention, the door of my heart is open to you, come on in, this is fine, this is okay, I don't need to change this, this moment is the only moment, this is reality right now, I am actually alive right now, I am here, I exist in this very moment. You get the idea. ;D

I also dreamt that someone I know died, and I was really heart-broken. I was surprised, because I didn't realize how much that person meant to me. Dreams are good like that, they show us our deepest feelings; the ones that get suppressed under our conditioning when we're awake.

Do you know you are alive?

Most people forget. They get caught up in the 'contents' of life, that they miss life itself. They don't notice they are alive. When you're caught up in the contents, things can get very ordinary, but the moment you realize you are alive, then everything is very special and mysterious. This is a personal experience I've had once in a blue moon, over some years. It's not connected to Buddhism, or any philosophy, it's just something that has happened to me. Once, I was out in the woods, and all of a sudden, I realized I was alive. And my mind was silent, and I experienced a feeling of bliss. Everything snapped back into a greater perspective. Things that seemed so important, were now just the temporary contents of life, and paled in importance compared to the sheer reality that I was here, right now; that I even existed at all. Anything else was absolutely fucking meaningless.

It is such a mystery and a miracle that we even exist. It is so beautiful. I am. I exist. There is existence. There is life, happening now. I have hands, look at them move, look at them blur before my eyes. I have skin, look at it, feel it. I'm here now, talking. I can hear things, sounds. This moment is so unbelievably full. There is this huge sense of unknowing. The intellectual mind cannot begin to comprehend the sheer reality of simple being, existing. The cogs can't turn. There are no answers, there is just here, now. There is just this. There is just everything, this moment. There are no answers, but there are no questions. You can try to question, but you have to let it go.

DO IT NOW!!! LOOK AT YOURSELF!! LOOK AT YOUR ARMS, FEEL THEM! FEEL YOUR BODY!! LISTEN, LOOK, TASTE... REALLY LOOK AT IT!! WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS?? YOU'RE HERE, YOU'RE ALIVE, YOU EXIST.... FUCKING LOOK AT IT!! DROP EVERYTHING NOW, AND FUCKING LOOK!!! YOU ARE ALIVE ... YOU EXIST RIGHT NOW YOU ARE HERE

If you don't realize your existence then you're living in a fucking dream world. If you don't understand what I'm talking about, then you're living in a fucking dream world.

This is a mantra for you: I'm here.



Frog asked Master Toad, "what is the ultimate truth, can you explain it to me?" Master Toad got up and smacked Frog upside the head. Feeling the sting, Frog noticed his existence. Master Toad then said, "good, you understand. Even an idiot can get this. True or false, ultimate or shitty, here it is, you can't deny it!"

Frog asked Master Toad, "what is reality?" Master Toad looked up at the trees, blowing in the wind. Seeing this, Frog noticed that reality was happening now. Master Toad then said, "what is reality? What a stupid question! There it is - it is that! If you say it is anything, you are just making it whatever you say it is!" The word, the concept, is not the thing. The thing is right there! What's your problem?"

Frog asked Master Toad, "who am I?" Master Toad picked up a bucket of freezing water, and poured it over Frog's head. The cool air hit the water, and Frog remembered he was alive. "That's all you need," said Master Toad, "if I tell you, you are this, or you tell me, you are that, that is all bullshit! Definitions are not insights into things, they are attachments we clip onto reality. As soon as you start talking, you've fucking lost it! It's right in your face, you fool! Stop reading about it!"

More frogs came and sat down, and Master Toad continued his teaching. "A frog's thoughts can never know reality. Reality is in one dimension, and a frog's thoughts are in whole fucking other dimension. It's like putting photographs together, trying to make a sound. Don't be an idiot! A frog's thoughts are the running commentary to reality. Who can watch a film, while the commentary is running? If we're at the cinema, and our friend is sat next to us, giving us a commentary, we wanna staple his mouth shut.

Thinking doesn't get you there. Thinking is the whole problem! Right now, this is it. Shut up and live with it!" Then Master Toad got up, and went for a walk.