Thursday, 29 September 2011

Someone you know needs a break

I know you. I don’t need to know your name to know how you tick. I don’t need to know where you’re from or what you do. I know all about you. There are only so many emotions and there are equally only so many reactions caused by said emotions. Everything that could possibly happen already has at some point, over and over again. You’re just the same as all the other homo-sapiens who ever lived and it is in your very nature to think you’re going to do things differently and going to be better than all the others who went before you because it is written into the very fabric of your instincts to think like you’re thinking, to act, to be exactly what you are, it is written into your DNA, you’re not in control, you’re being controlled by an ancient set of principles locked into a flesh and bone prison. You think you’re different don’t you? You think you’re not like the others. You probably have a long list achievements which you think make you unique either that or you feel you have underachieved and you keep thinking “I’ll go back to school next year” but you never get round to it. You’re basic. You’re not important and I am not saying that to put anyone down, it’s essential to stay grounded, if you inflate your own ego too much it will have a very bad effect on how you not only treat other people but how you see them, you’ll think yourself better than others and that’s where, for so many of us, the trouble begins.

When you get outside yourself everything looks different. You begin to realise that everyone is just the same, fundamentally, obviously there are superficial differences and differences in class, culture, race, sex etc etc but stripped down to our constituent elements people behave very much the same right across the spectrum. The trouble with us is that very instinct which tells us we’re different because of it we don’t see others the way we see ourselves and our uncanny ability to go through certain emotions but when we’re not feeling them anymore forgetting how it felt and not giving others the right to feel and behave exactly as we did at the time, I like to call this trait “short memory syndrome” and we all suffer from it to some extent.

Lets get the sentiment out of the way. Just so it can be clearly seen how I know what I know about people. I have done wrong by people who were very important to me and I have similarly been wronged but there are cases which I will never talk about because the people concerned are getting on with their lives and I would never want to effect them in anyway. Suffice to say I learned some very hard lessons about life through making some very bad decisions. Why no longer matters, if you go around looking for reasons you’ll find them, they may not be the right reasons but you’ll end up accepting them and blaming everyone but yourself when it may well be the case that it is actually you that is the problem. One thing I can talk about though is something which will always be my greatest regret. My sister was an alcoholic. Towards the end it was very bad. I was upset because she had previously been so beautiful and caring and a very talented seamstress but I was not drinking as heavily at the time, I was in a long term relationship, I had a job and when I compared my life to hers it made her look very bad indeed. This comparing is dangerous because no one knows what is going to happen tomorrow. You whole life could twist and change and you could end up losing your mind and everything with it. My sister died and I hadn’t spoken to her for some weeks when that happened. I was of the opinion that she should just get her act together so I got angry with her one night and stopped going to see her. I didn’t feel anything right away, my life just continued but eventually the guilt of having treated my sister that way came and got me and it got me good, it ruined my life.

Of course as far as the people who I hurt at the time were concerned I ruined my own life and I can see their thinking but what actually happened was a complete breakdown of my inner sensibilities and reasoning. This is normally where people start glancing skyward and hinting that I am making excuses. There are no excuses. I am responsible but until you go through something of this magnitude you have no right to judge. The hurt I doled out was because I was hurt. Simple. No reasons or excuses. Pain only creates more of itself you can muster all the opinions you like but it does not change the fact that human beings are nothing other than emotional machines and what goes in eventually comes out. It is important to note that my sisters death was not an isolated incident it was one of many shocks to my fragile system throughout my life. Sometimes I wonder how the fuck I survived, the law of averages says I really shouldn’t have.

There are no bad people on this Earth there are only a bunch of people who are so hurt that they know no other way than to do more of the same because they know no better. If you're of the opinion that they're bad and you're good then you yourself should never have made any mistakes right? You have never hurt anyone? I am not a Christian but some of the main teachings of Christianity are very true. The main difficulty with living in a blame culture is that one day you may find yourself needing help but under the current system you're more likely to find there is no one to help, they'll just judge and mock and ridicule.

After those events and others which I won't go into right now everything changed and very recently I have come out the other end of it with a multitude of gratitude. Someone you know needs a break. It could be your friend or a close family member.
it could be your partner or someone in work. I am not saying if you don’t give it to them they’ll end up dead, but sometimes we can have a bad effect on the people around us without realising we’re doing it. Sometimes we can get so consumed by ourselves that we forget about the ones we love. We can over react and say hurtful things which may just maybe cause someone to have a bad day and be trivial but we have to ask ourselves how often do we do this? How do we try to get along with people rather than just bickering all the time. Sometimes we get so caught up in our own self importance that it becomes more crucial to win a petty argument than to foster contentment and happiness among those we love.

Sometimes we can be in bad form and we end up being short with those we love and find ourselves having to say sorry all the time but rather than continually apologising why not be mindful and just be decent in the first place. It’s difficult but very worth it.

Someone you know needs a break and you’ll be helping yourself by giving it to them.

Truth...

The Act Of Mattering

In mid December 2008 I wrote a poem called The Act Of Mattering (You Tube link at bottom of page if you require the transcript ask.) It is a very intense spoken word piece about two and half minutes long and it was written in the same vein as The World Is Flat and Colonial Ceremony, among others. That period was a very productive time for me it was when I realised I could completely mess with the internal rhythm of a poem but still just about hang on to a repeating sequence, it was a revelation, because it opened up new possibilities as to how I could use spoken word.

I wrote it over the course of half a week or so but it was not like the other poems I was writing at the time and I wasn’t fully aware of what was happening back then. I was writing around then very habitually. I had left work a couple a months before to focus on my writing and that’s exactly what I was doing. Earlier that year I had found the Knights of the round table gigs at The Pavilion in Belfast and I was travelling up to them twice monthly to perform but behind it all something was happening to me, I was changing and that change is not complete in fact it never will be, change is constant.

Since then many of the experiences I have had have been looked at from a completely different point of view to anything before. In Buddhism and other Eastern philosophies there is much talk of a “oneness”, a certain type of peace which frankly we don’t have nowadays. In the poem I state very categorically that “I don’t matter” I clearly recall this statement unnerving many people at the time when I performed the poem and I also remember during debates with friends that my views where somewhat different to those of many others. At the beginning I was very self conscious of this “difference” between myself and others but over time I learned to embrace them because I could clearly see that I was actively doing something that not many people do, I was not accepting the first answer that came along to be concrete and I was very methodically looking at all possibilities during seemingly meaningless debates.

I keep stating people are not different and people keep telling me they are but I will not back down from this stance. People are not different we have many more similarities than differences. Difference is perceived and is promoted by society.

Something very important was happening though and it has since became a reason why I have been able to change my life, I stopped seeing bad in people. There is a very dangerous assumption that some people are “born bad” what this does is it assigns a label to certain individuals saying that they simply cannot be helped because they are evil. I have written a whole section on anger, anger is misunderstood. Anger is an emotion, a reaction, but when people get angry everybody switches off and stops trying to reach the person because of this assumption. Anger comes from pain. The person feeling the anger has no way to express the volume of emotion they are feeling so it comes out in venomous words or in a fist. Anger is more likely to occur in young men and the reason for that is that young men are not taught to deal with their emotions. I am not condoning anger I am merely understanding it.

What happens to these people is that they grow up wrong with no stability and so are always on edge. They don’t make good decisions and simply have no idea how to deal with the turmoil that is happening within them so they angrily attack society. This is a cycle and will always occur for as long as we allow these people to escape from the system. A percentage of people will always be like this unless we begin to face these issues and since they end up attacking "our" society in the end, we're doing ourselves harm by being apathetic. We’re not teaching them because many of the very people who they end up turning to for help have that same idea that some of them are “born bad” This whole “born bad” premise is outdated thinking, a throw back to the days of gog and magog, it is biblical thinking. I am not completely slating the Bible a lot of it makes sense but it can be wildly interpreted and that’s what we’re seeing happening here.

The reason why everything is the way it is is simply due to a lack of oneness. Relationships are difficult to keep stable, people bicker with each other on all levels, families are broken and all these issues are coming from this oneness being fragmented. When we have difficulty we won’t look at the possibility that it could be us ourselves who are at fault because we have been taught to take care of ourselves and not put ourselves up to danger or ridicule so we blame everyone and everything around us for the problems we have with our own stability. In a society where so many people are depressed, mentally unwell and many more are abusing chemicals it is not a surprise so much of our society is in meltdown but all blaming each other does is create more of the anger and pain because so many of us are trying so hard to reach each other when we don’t have the emotional tools to love each other properly.

In order to see things how I now see them I had to forget about myself and make myself less important. I did this and went to an extreme with it. Granted it nearly killed me but it didn’t and it was something I had to do. Not everyone who wants any degree of change has to go to such extremes though. Mind over matter is possible you just have to focus to achieve it.

We may never achieve oneness in the Buddhist sense of what it means but I believe we should at least try. Our society is fragmented from top to bottom and we are all at least partially responsible for that. We need to stop focusing on others and take a look at ourselves. Most people don’t believe they have a problem but we all have a problem and it’s rife.

The Act Of Mattering is just a poem but in it I was letting go of a fair amount of my inner selfishness. I am by no means unique and I deserve no credit for any realisations I arrive at. I suffer from the same constraints and difficulties that we all do, maybe that’s a disclaimer, depends on how you look at it but if we could all just start thinking a little bit more we can all begin to make this society better for everyone. No one is born bad they’re just born disadvantaged. Please remember that. Peace…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhOQ8gQ-Fhk

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Time passes

Our intellect and the fact that we have so much recognition are not always an advantage. How we see time is not how time is, individually and collectively it’s as though our version of it is stripped down to fit into our tiny and very narrow view of eternity. Say you have to go on Holidays and you’re getting a flight in the next couple of days but there are still a lot of things you need to do. You can envisage that sort of time frame. You can plan how the next couple of days are going to go and when and how you need to prepare yourself, your head can work with the way we have fractionalised time because that’s what you have gotten used to throughout your life. Now try to plan in the same way for the next five years it is impossible because there is too much uncertainty. this is why living in the moment is the best thing we can hope for. We can still have wishes and dreams which we often verbalise but words are taken far too seriously we should give each other a major break when faced with how someone we love chooses to conceptualise their dreams.

Ancient peoples had a much less immediate concept of time than we have nowadays. The clock is a very recent acquisition, I am not going into debates about it though, the timescales I am talking about would not benefit from knowing exactly when the first sundial was invented the point I am making is that we have taken time right down to its constituent elements for the sake of industry. Ancient peoples had a system of measuring time using the sky. Ever heard of precession? If not you should read about it, it’s pretty amazing and it’s not a parade! Basically they got so good back then at reading the sky that they could plan crop rotation by predicting weather systems for years to come. The appearance and reappearance of planets and star systems helped them to notice changes in the Earths axis before they even knew the Earth had an axis. What they were actually doing was seeing the Earth as part of the universe, in a kind of big picture scenario way, we don’t do that now so much knowledge has been lost.

When you think about it though can you see how this would effect how the mind actually works? You could liken it to how people use their eyes. Over many generations we have become accustomed to seeing things up close. Living in towns and cities, working in close quarters and in many cases our work will involve matters which are very direct and are carried out with our hands right in front of us so our eyes have adjusted to this and became focused upon it. Contrastingly take the native Australians they live in a very flat country which is sparsely scattered with foliage. In order for them to hunt successfully they need to be long sighted and can probably spot things at much greater distances than we can. When you apply that analogy to time can you see the differences between how we see it and how the ancients would have seen it?

Much of our time is concerned very selfishly with “life” and I don’t mean day to day I mean with the very concept of existence. We love life so much that we don’t want it to end even though we know it’s going to and there’s nothing we can do about it we worry about it and fear it, it is the last great taboo. Aside from the fact that it’s completely irrational it is also a complete waste of time and it’s ironic that we’re so worried about it that it stops us doing the very thing we should be doing and that is living life as productively as we possibly can.

Collectively we are completely obsessed with time and moreover how much of it we have. You need only look as far as quantum physics whose theories have spawned a whole genre of stories and more recently movies on the subject of time travel. Humankind is so obsessed with time that they have in effect created an imaginary realm where they can control time of course many people just see it as entertainment but don’t be fooled much of what comes out in our art and in our expressions of what we see and feel are based firmly upon deep needs and requirements which are at the core of our being.

I am not really sure why we are even here, no one is but I do get a very real sense that it is massive and just as with our inability to read the passage of time successfully we also have an inability to wrap our constricted little minds around the reasoning behind it all. So much of our time is wasted and not only as individuals. When you study the human timeline you will begin to see that we have gone through so many periods of enlightenment but such times have been beset by equally dark periods and I really don’t think we can imagine how much knowledge we have lost. We live in an age where we are obsessed with entertainment and the quest for that much needed happiness but when you take into consideration how we work as beings on an emotional and spiritual level it is not surprising why and how our time is being wasted. We have little in the way of coherent directions and get side tracked easily.

Often we just get on with life and then see someone we haven’t seen in ages and think “God was it that long ago.” This is categorical proof of our lack of perception when it comes to time and the reason is our immediate thinking and concerning ourselves almost solely with the “here and now”. Sometimes people can get sidetracked for years, decades even and are so consumed by their own thoughts and miniscule experiences that life just vanishes and they don’t realise how much they have lost.

A similar concept to how we fail to understand time is the equally expansive idea of the “collective”. Imagine an individual to be a second on a clock where an hour lasts for a billion years. These massive and unfathomable numbers are the reason why humankind is struggling to understand itself. Everything has gotten too big and we remain so small but we have this different vision of ourselves, we believe ourselves to be much more than we are. We see our own development in terms of how we have advanced very recently but that narrow view does not take into consideration how far back we fell hundreds of years ago. We resolve to only count achievements but they mean nothing when we are ignoring all that we have lost. Blind optimism is doing us real damage and though we mean well we really need to start taking everything in context but we need to hurry because we don’t have much time!

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Addicted to failure

So many of us achieve very little in our lives. A statement like that has the danger of riling people up so they’ll start going through all their achievements but I didn’t say it was anyone’s fault, in fact I am very aware of how difficult it is for us all. Being human in these dark modern times is a social and emotional nightmare. Too many people and not enough places in the nuclear war shelter is the sad fact of life for most of us. We just argue over the scraps while the silver spoon holed others play croquet and quaff champagne, bastards, and not because they have more than everyone else I say they’re bastards because they don’t even have the decency to get to know the people at street level and I know a few two bob snobs who act similarly.

Northern Ireland is a society where failure has been something we have gotten used to. I still think it is absolutely shocking that we have so much pride in the Titanic, it fuckin’ sank in grand style, no wonder they quit building ships here. When we look back on the troubles it always surprises me that so many of our people still condone and support that madness I mean seriously if you get locked into a game of tit for tat where two groups of people are killing one another do none of them stop to think for a minute “If I enter into this bargain I am a target and my children, my family, everyone I love are targets?” Why do they not think about that before going so blindly and emotionally into a game of early death and society wide destruction? Because people who spread pain are in pain, people who act negatively have not known proper love, they have more than likely been emotionally neglected, or worse.

Broken homes are normal here. I have read many reports and statistics, one in three children in Northern Ireland live in a broken home where there parents live apart and when you find that psychologists theorise that such children are five times more likely to suffer from mental and emotional difficulties it is very clear to see that we have got a large number of suffering individuals here who have difficulty in their daily lives just keeping balanced. Most people don’t like talking about this sort of thing, they call it “depressing” what I think is even more depressing is that they can take the suffering of another human being in such a nonchalant way but hey that’s why we have so much apathy nowadays, we’re selfish fuckers the lot of us.

So many of us go through our lives never being aware of the blindingly obvious fact that we are responsible for our own misery. All we need to do to get better is smile a bit more and stop taking each other for granted, easily said, I know but when you begin to apply it the rewards are astounding, albeit subtly so!


I don’t even need to go into the issues people who come from broken homes can have the potential to suffer from but insecurity and low self esteem can really cripple people and the sad thing is so many of us who suffer from these emotional and spiritual ailments never know we have them because we’re trying so hard just to keep ourselves on an even keel the last thing you want to do is go round admitting you’re messed up, only admission however will mean you can do something about it, so we find our selves locked in a horrible cycle of self-destruction that is often passed off as a phase or a rough patch. The reality though is that people who suffer in this way never quite get themselves out of it and it blights their lives. The patterns are there through their whole lives, periods of depression, relationships difficulties, chemical dependence and so on but in a world where no one wants to invite ridicule we hide these issues and tell ourselves everything is OK, Denial… and you’re the last one to know you’re in it.

Of course not only people from broken homes suffer but to highlight these sociological issues it is important to have points to focus on. Selfishness is the main problem we have in the Western World but selfishness is never alone it comes with another serious problem, a lack of gratitude. I feel more sorry for so many people who seemingly have nothing wrong with them because the law of averages clearly will catch up with them at some point.

I hear so many people who have the belief that some people deserve all they get for whatever reason. There is a belief that some people are “born bad” and this is a very dangerous assumption because what it does is create a sub-society, an underworld in which so many individuals have nothing and therefore have nothing to lose so they turn on the law abiding because they are so angry and full of pain that they simply don’t know what to do, they’re frustrated and they just wind up becoming the wrong kind of statistics. Many law abiding people come off with the premise that “if they work hard they can get out of the situation they’re in” fair enough but do you think they can all get out of it? In a society based upon greed you’re always going to have a percentage of people who will wind up as criminals or alcoholics or drug addicts or seriously disturbed in some way and I really think it’s awful that our apathy is actually allowing this, these people are children now, it was not their fault they got born where they did and to leave them to become less than human is a crime against humanity which all of us are at least partially responsible for. I hear so many people in positions of great social responsibility saying things like “you can only do so much for them” and that kind of thing but this is not true these people need our help and we are only harming our own freedoms and luxuries by allowing them to end up as they do because it is the very society that we are trying to keep stable that these people turn on in the end.

We have much work to do in this country to get to a point where we can honestly say we have even tried to face the obstacles we have. Our lack of love and respect for each other is terrible and yet so many of us go around putting 25p in a collection box beside a till somewhere in order that we can say we’re good people, we’re scum. Until we dispense with consuming wholesale and recognising the people behind the criminals and addicts we are going to keep having this society that eats itself and that is never happy with what it has.

You’re a part of this collective act like it matters, not for me do it for the ones who are growing up in this mess now and who will be facing the same if not worse challenges than we have now.

You can disagree all you like but that’s only wasting our time and we have so little of that left. Peace and love, always…

Séamus

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Barbaric?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-15018247

Is this Barbaric? Yes. But is it wrong? That depends on who and what you are. I struggle with assigning wrong these days. I have lost my act of mattering. Exactly what that means is that I don’t really have the right to tell others how they should be behaving. Do you know about the human timeline? How long we’ve been here and our development from nomadic tribes to the agricultural revolution and eventually to civilisation. If you don’t maybe you should do some reading because when you look at us and study our development barbarism will not surprise you because it’s completely natural.

What does surprise me is that people look at this sort of thing then look to the government and ask them to stop this madness while the government are engaged in war, always, every government in the current establishment have been at war just about as far back as you can go. Is War Barbaric? Yes. But is it wrong?

We are evolving, changing from a warlike species into whatever is in the future. Evolution is slow, Slower than you could ever hope to imagine. We last as individuals for a fraction of a fraction and we don’t seem to learn from the mistakes that our ancestors made because we are too reliant upon our archaic emotions to sort out the issues we have. I have never been much of a fighter, I have had to fight at times but I would rather use my testosterone in other more, shall we say, productive ways!

It is very clear though that there is a certain amount of fulfillment gained from beating the shite out of someone people talk about it all the time even very peaceful people sometimes snap and admit to harboring wishes to knock someone’s pan in. I would never condone this sort of thing but I am afraid we are warlike to the core and this sort of thing does not surprise me at all. We are teaching the next generation to be warlike with games, movies, sports so if your sitting in your deity-like armchair complaining about this sort thing maybe you should get up off your arse and go out into your respective communities and work with people face to face and then you will be able to say that you have actually tried to make a difference.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Kittens, Arsenal, Spiders, Onions and Tell me something I don’t know…

You, me and every single human out there are competitive, to the core and by our very nature. This competitiveness is a constant and we use it daily without ever realising it. When you’re having a conversation, say in work at break time and you end up in a debate about Football where you and a workmate are arguing about an issue. You think you’re right and he thinks he’s right so the two of you begin using examples and making points which you believe will strengthen your respective arguments. This is a competition and in situations such as this were there are other people listening it becomes even more important to both of you that you win the argument because of the social aspects of our nature and our built in need to be liked and respected.

This seemingly meaningless argument about nothing important has deep meaning for each individual because the principle of competition transcends the importance of the matter in question, it is about the integrity of those involved. When a kitten plays with a ball of wool people sigh and comment on how cute it is but the kitten is in training, it is a hunter and it is actually practicing how to hunt, each strike on an inanimate object is a way for it to coordinate the use of it’s paws, a way for it to begin to formulate how it will use these weapons when it hunts in the future. The kitten doesn’t know or think about this, it’s pure instinct and we humans are not much different, the principles are the same, arguments are practice for sometime in the future when we may be faced by psychological challenges but just like the kitten the event is as yet vague to say the least, it will at some point catch a random bird in an undefined hedge. The exact bird and the place are not important what is important is that it can use its skills to the best of it’s ability and that’s why it practices just as you practice in unimportant arguments to hone your skills as a master of debate.

We have a deep seated need to excel in all endeavours we undertake, a need to be successful in our lives. Since our lives are all so different the ways in which we achieve success are equally diverse. For a chief executive coordinating how a meeting goes in order to win a lucrative contract for their company would be an example of success and for a heroin addict scoring the next hit to get through the night is an achievement but the issue is not the exact nature of what each individual has done it is the simple principle that they have done brilliantly in their respective fields. Principles, always remember, principles, I cannot stress the importance of principles they tie together seemingly unrelated incidents. We think in a very singular and immediate way and often lose the importance of the lowest common denominators in daily situations.

You compete with your peers on a daily basis, we all do. Think of life as a war. Your friends and family are your allies and anyone who challenges you is the enemy. People who don’t know about World War II may not realise that Hitler and Stalin actually had a Non-Aggression pact which lasted from August 1939 until June 1941 and it only ended when Germany invaded Russia. Your friends today may not be your friends tomorrow, people fall out all the time it seems to be a trait in the modern age. Microcosm/Macrocosm, everything no matter how big or microscopic operates under the very same set of rules and conditions. It may often seem like I am going wildly from subject to subject but if you keep in mind the principles I keep talking about you'll begin to see patterns that transcend how you assume the importance of any given thing. Gabriele Veneziano has an amazing quantum theory whereby he believes everything, people, events, everything in the universe is connected and in effect everything effects everything no matter how big or small we are all part of the same system and therefore are all linked.

Using the kitten analogy again the kitten has it’s paws and claws to hunt while you have your voice and your knowledge to win arguments. Can you see how that works? In order to understand how this all fits together you must think outside the accepted notions of thought. Your head is programmed by instinct to be on the look out for differences, all our brains work this way, so you will naturally draw clear distinctions between yourself and the kitten and fail to see the underlying similarities between the two. Many people who do not understand what I am saying will automatically say to themselves “How am I like a kitten?” and that just proves my point exactly they cannot see the principles that make the two things the same on a deeper level than the very obvious differences.

When a person exclaims “Who does she think she is?” What exactly are they saying? Again the exact thing that “she” has done is not important, this is much more about the person who has done the exclaiming! You need to be mindful of my reasons for omitting the event here. If I were to give a scenario with precise parameters you would be sucked into the personal aspects of the story and find yourself siding with either the exclaimer or the person they are talking about whereas when I simply say that someone has said “Who does she think she is?” the focus is kept on the individual in question for the sake of this example. When someone makes a statement such as this it appears they are talking about another person and they are but they are also giving away so much about themselves.

What is happening is the person making the statement obviously thinks the other person is not doing as well as they may look as though they are doing. So the statement itself is meant to show whoever it’s being said to exactly that, it is in effect being used to take the integrity of the person being spoken about down and in so doing the person doing the exclaiming is making themselves look slightly better by making the people who the statement is directed at focus on negative aspects of the target.

Here’s something you are sure to have said recently: “Tell me something I don’t know!” I hear people saying this all the time, I say it quite a lot myself although now I have become aware of it I am more mindful of it and try to stop myself from saying it. It is very similar to the earlier statement “Who do they think they are?” In the very second that you make that statement you are trying to reinforce a sense that you know what you’re talking about to the people you are making the statement to. It is often said in a patronising tone for best effect. Humans are inquisitive and they want to know things so the more you know the better right? If you know a lot people will like you because they can learn from you. That’s what our whole lives are, a knowledge quest, it is the very essence of humanity to learn as much as we possibly can that is why thinking you know everything is not good because you will stop learning. Often this statement can be used in a joking sense but there are no jokes with us everything we do is carried out for some reason or another even though we are often unaware why exactly we are doing things, it’s like the kitten playing with the wool, practice and we’re doing it constantly.

These seemingly simple scenarios took a lot of explaining just now because I was breaking the whole thing down in a very concise fashion and highlighting the in and outs of it as I went along. It is not half as complicated as it seems. These things happen daily and are easily read when they do happen. Difficulties in how situations are perceived arise because we become emotionally tied to people and therefore our perception of events can become one sided and this is where we must be careful. We can make bad decisions due to the fact that we sometimes defend people we love even when they may be in the wrong just because we feel that that’s what we’re supposed to do.

Sometimes as well we can be in bad form for whatever reason, you will notice I keep doing that, I keep making the reasons nondescript and with good cause. I am trying to highlight not what makes us tick but the actual tick itself. When things happen we tend to focus on them when we should actually be focusing on what they have done to us and how they have effected us. The events themselves are not significant the important factors are that we have reacted to them and that leads me very smoothly onto a real asset, mind over matter.

Ever heard about mind over matter? When we hear that term we no doubt have visions of Jedi tricks, being able to move stuff with your thoughts and making ourselves float in the air! Pure fiction of course but mind over matter is very real just not in the those terms, it’s a discipline which is more subtle than telekinesis. I have used mind over matter and it worked. As I have stated though it is a discipline and it takes you to be mindful of your thoughts in order to teach yourself how to use it to your advantage.

During the last six years I have become very self aware. It was a necessity for me to come to the conclusion that I needed to know myself, I was in very real danger, my very abrupt up bringing and living my life always on the edge of myself nearly killed me and that is not an exaggeration. I won’t go into details here but all you need know is that my whole life was just a series of emotional shocks which I never looked at so I never got a chance to come to terms with them and the result was that by the time I reached my early thirties I broke down completely and could not function properly for sometime.

While precise events and how it all played out are crucial it will do me no good to explain them here the only reason why I mentioned it is so it will be clear how I came to the conclusion that I either had to change how I was living or I would die young. It is also important to state that I deserve no credit for what I have done it was not as simple as waking up one morning making a decision and everything’s alright thereafter it was a life or death scenario so any decisions I did make were made on a level much deeper than that which I have immediate control over. When you face death something takes over inside of you, some deep instinct that changes the way you see things and forces you to go the opposite direction to the one you were headed towards. This could be the same that same thing that some people choose to call God or still others say is their dead relatives guiding them. From a personal point of view I don’t know what it was, I still don’t know what it is, I only know that it’s very real and the world I see today is very different from the one I looked upon back then because my attitude and perspective have been changed.

My take on this is unique of course all of us have had different lives and experiences but as I continually keep saying you are just like everyone else we have more similarities than differences, many, many more but because we are focusing on the differences so much we are making them seem more important than they really are. Most of what we see as differences really are differences but you have to ask yourself at some point how superficial are the differences you’re seeing. We tend to focus on image quite a lot and also pick up on character traits in people and we use those aspects to compare people and thus draw conclusions as to how different things are, as to how different people are. This is a very shallow way of seeing the world and since the modern world is very shallow we behave accordingly. There is no shame in this, if we have not been taught something how could we possibly know about it?

What happened to me personally was that I had to change everything so I moved to Belfast and got away from a very volatile situation in Craigavon. I began to look at myself and how I was working, I had started doing this before hand but it really intensified and I stopped drinking. I got to a point where I was able to stop drinking for prolonged periods and be OK with it, like it wasn’t a struggle not to drink and life went on as normal. I also became aware of how we work and how things effect us, all of us, this notion that people are all different is rubbish but we accentuate differences between people because of our own built in insecurities.

I was studying a lot and I found something, a statement, “Do two things everyday that you don’t want to do.” This could mean anything of course but it doesn’t necessarily mean that if you hate doing the dishes you have to do them it could be simple things like walking instead of getting the bus or talking to someone who you didn’t really like that much and I started to do these things. Gradually I started to look at the statement in a new light “Don’t do things that you really want to do.” I began using these daily and found them very useful. Various things would happen for instance I would get into the odd situation where someone would be talking to me and I really didn’t like the person very much. Ordinarily when this sort of thing would happen I would just give short answers for a while and find a way to leave but I began actually starting to listen to and converse with these people and I found they were not as bad as I thought, in reality I wasn’t thinking very much I was allowing base instincts to lead me to be completely ignorant of them.

I started doing things on purpose. If I was being served in a shop I would look at the person maintaining full eye contact as they gave me my change and smile as I said thank you and they would smile back. I was walking across the Albert Bridge one day and I happened to take my mints out of my pocket just as this guy was coming towards so I stopped and offered him one. He stopped and looked at me in a very odd way, took one then walked off saying “strange” to himself. These are just many of the small ways in which I was trying to improve the way my world operates and I really did begin feeling better, still do.

The incident with the onions though was amazing. I had been looking at things I disliked, trivial things that for whatever reason made me wretch. Three had been long standing. Arsenal, Spiders and Onions. I began thinking about spiders and seriously saying to myself “They’re harmless, you’re thinking irrationally.” So I got a spider and let in crawl up and down my arms for a good ten minutes. I did it in a very premeditated way and it worked. I thought about it a lot before eventually doing it so I had more or less gotten my mind used to the idea that I would have to do it and it wasn’t that bad, I am sure the fucker took a shit on my hand though!

The onions though that one surprised me. Ever since I was very young I have despised onions, raw onions especially. I remember one incident when I got a takeaway delivery and I specifically asked for no onions but they been put in, raw, covered with gravy and peas so I couldn’t see them and when I tasted and crunched one I was physically sick. When something gets you to your very stomach it is another level of dislike, it is not just a thought anymore it is actually having an adverse physical effect. Over time though I was thinking about onions and asking myself things like “Why do you hate them so much?” “Are they really that bad?” I was doing this for quite a few weeks when something happened very unexpectedly. I was at a comedy night at The Pavilion on The Ormeau Road in the summer of 2010. It was a nice night so I decided to walk home. I bought a Kebab on chips and was going to keep it until I got home but I realised it would get cold so I opened it to begin eating it. There were Onions all over the top of it, big raw fuckers in long strands and chunks, had this been a year or so previous I would have boked right then but in a matter of seconds I decided that I was going to eat the onions, every one of them before I ate anything else. While I was doing it I was thinking to myself, this isn’t that bad and to be honest it wasn’t but I had been preparing myself for weeks.

So what does this mean? It may seem trivial to many people but it proves that mind over matter works. I actively used it to dispel my irrational fear of Spiders and Onions. As for Arsenal, dirty Gooner bastards, ya couldn’t love them if ya reared them, that’s one hatred I haven’t even thought of changing,
got to have some out let for my anger. Peace and love always…

Séamus

Saturday, 17 September 2011

The impossibility of people

People are completely impossible to reach nowadays and as always I include myself. No one realises how bent their heads actually are by generations of emotional turmoil. The slow degradation of society is branded firmly on the faces of everyone of us but since we’re all just trying to make the best of what we have in our daily lives we have to make bad decisions which we often make excuses for. I cannot make excuses anymore. I have made bad decisions which I fully accept. I am still making them. Our selfish modern nature is turning us inward and causing us to hurt people we love. As always many people reading this will not see themselves as having anything to do with this but it is all of us who are doing this. Unless you have been living alone and utterly cut off from the world you are guaranteed to have hurt someone in some way or another. Often you won’t notice that you’ve hurt anyone because you self justify and you no doubt have a team of confidants and close councillors in the form of family and friends who are there to tell you that you had to do it “got to be cruel to be kind!”

The stats are out there. Less marriages, more marriages failing. We are hopping from person to person looking for someone who fit’s the model of what we want which we have in our heads and there lies the main problem with all of us. We don’t give each other the right to be wrong and we have these “alarm bells” going off when people do or say something which we deem unacceptable. No one knows that if they are having continued relationship failures that it is them themselves who are causing it. We’re far too fussy and give up too easily. Love is not conditional but we put conditions on it. So many people come from unstable family backgrounds and that doesn’t mean they have had their parents split up, sometimes parents staying together for the sake of the children can have a worse effect on the children, so much for the sake them.

We also project an awful lot more than is natural. We cannot live in the moment. For many people not repeating the mistakes their parents made becomes an obsession and they end up picking up on meaningless traits and words from potential partners and creating monsters out of innocent people. This demonising is widespread when relationships end they talk about each other in the past tense and tell their friends and family how evil the person was so they can get a little bit of pity and maybe create stronger bonds between the people they have left in their lives. The sad thing about all of this is that given the current structure and how we work emotionally all of this is “normal”

I hurt someone recently and I feel terrible about it. I cannot justify it I know it was wrong so I cannot say anything to cover it up. If you’re with someone and you love them, try a bit harder. Don’t let your caustic mind destroy your love because you will have a tendency to be selfish at times just like we all are, it’s a modern certainty. Someone you love needs a break give them that break and don’t get carried away on hypothetical nonsense. There is very little love in this world as it is so give that person a break you’ll find that karma will pay you back and all it costs is a smile and a slightly deeper thought. Take care people…

Friday, 9 September 2011

It's every bodies business

Nobody wants anybody to know their business but they want to know everybody else’s business. If people talk about them they get all defensive and yet they go about talking about the very people who they hate for talking about them! Of course most people do not believe this has any relation to them because they feel that they are justified in everything they do and that the people who they talk about deserve all they get for one reason or another.

This doesn’t make much sense unless you begin to look at the way our social order is structured. There has been a slow decline in what we would call a “sense of community” for some time now. The population has been steadily growing and modern forms of communication are making people more and more isolated from one another. Other factors include shifting developments of housing where people move further away from where they grew up and end up living in an area where many people don’t know one another and because we are often suspicious of strangers (yes that old childhood caution is still there) they choose, in cases, not to get to know them. Can you see how this can cause isolation? People still socialise and see their families of course but what happens is they keep to their own tight circles of friends and family and you end up with a myriad of closed groups who just do what they must to survive and shut the outside world away.

It is important to note that these attitudes and living within a social structure which is so loosely based is very harmful to society as a whole. Within our professional communities as well as with social aspects we have many, many groupings which are detached from one another, organisations where departments exist within and separate from other departments. Communication becomes haphazard and important issues get lost in an ever growing system of phones, e-mails, faxes and social networks. The focus is taken off people and put on trying to stay up to date with these tangled lines of communication. Fear and suspicion also mean that people cannot do their jobs effectively and in cases involving social services individuals who need help are lost in the system as people in caring roles are forced by rules and red tape to say “There’s only so much you can do for them” There’s only so much they’re being allowed to do more like.

It is happening everywhere. Occasionally when I go to parties where there are a lot of people who I don’t know very well I watch how the small groups behave. About five or six months ago at one such party a “coven” of three girls came in and aside from the host and a couple of his friends they didn’t seem to know anyone. I watched them and every “stranger” (male or female) who went near them was given the cold shoulder and in many cases the people were mocked after they left. They were there for nearly two hours and all their conversations consisted of (I stayed within earshot) was gossip, in jokes and mocking people they didn’t know, they just stood in a little circle in a corner when one went to get a drink or go to the toilet the others followed. They were comfortable with each other and wary of outsiders, it was like a microcosm of North Korea. Each of them had a firm identity within that grouping and they were increasing their “group” sense of well being by stopping change from occurring by denying strangers access to their “club”.

This is the case all over the Western world especially. Obviously I can only talk in terms of what I know I have only ever lived in Northern Ireland and in England but I didn’t find England and Northern Ireland to be much different. Aside from superficial cultural differences, larger populations and many more foreign nationals that I had been previously used to (Craigavon in the 1990’s was not very multicultural!) England and Northern Ireland are very similar fundamentally.

This breakdown of community is going largely unnoticed because we see things in very singular terms. People assume that because things are going OK for them that things are good generally. If individuals believe something is righteous they will not enter into any discussion with anyone who is trying to say otherwise. I may have seemed to go of on a tangent here but trust me I’ll tie it altogether. I was having a discussion about aid being sent out to foreign, especially third world, countries. The two girls/women I was talking to just went on about how it was a good thing and it is, it is good that someone is “trying” to help but most people just look at that and that alone. Aid is good, aid is being sent, no problem. They don’t think about what is going on in the countries the aid is going to. Is the food reaching the people who need it? Are medical supplies being stolen by rebel troops on the way to refugees? They just think and assume that everything is as someone tells them it is and they certainly don’t think about the wider implications such as corrupt governments and the fact that our own governments are keeping the third world in a perpetual state of poverty because if they became in any way proficient in an industrial sense they would be a threat to our own economies. People don’t look at this stuff they just sit in little dream world bubbles imagining people getting their bowls of rice, having a good nights sleep and waking up to start a revolution the next morning. Get real people.

All of this is tied to one general idea, it’s a mode of thought we have, if I tell myself everything is alright it’s better than believing the truth people don’t like the truth, it’s scary and unfortunately it’s very real. All this apathy and false hope is killing humanity, it’s that stark people. I hate to be the purveyor of bad news but you all need to stop being so selfish and start realising that your head is feeding you misinformation.

And so we get back to the crux of this whole thing. The self. You. Unless you’re going to out to murder and rape no one cares about your business and if your neighbour is fucking the coalman, so what? Wise up and shut up and take a look around those people who you believe deserve all they get are in exactly the same position as the rest of us, struggling on as they say. Lets help each other out here will we? Trust me you’ll feel better for having done it. :)