Disillusion. A new way.


The world seems helpless and it seems hopeless.

I find myself in total disillusionment with everything. The work of several years to better myself and to come to terms with myself, work which was going so very well, is collapsing.

I learned to trust and love my friends, my family even my enemies. I moulded the remnants of depression and confusion into a beautiful contentedness. It became an unshakable grounding from which I could approach each wonderful day with joy in my heart.

I learned to meditate each day, to foster only positive emotions and to discard all negativity from my life. We only curse the earth with our presence for so long; what madness would make us choose to spend it in sadness and suffering? My inspiration was calm. I lost my anger.

I lost something else too, something which took me years somehow to spot.

I lost my spark. I lost the inner fire that makes us fight to live and love each moment, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. I was at peace, but all passion was gone.

And what now?

In a matter of months, the world I see has changed for the worse. The leaders of the world have gone wild and their supporters wilder. Racism, nationalism, sexism; every imaginable form of baseless, weak-minded discrimination is on the rise. It becomes increasingly clear that we have pushed the earth to her limit and the environment is close to a point of collapse. All that is solid melts into air  and this time we are entirely to blame.

How can I then, in a time where it all is falling apart, possibly remain content? How can I hold firmly onto the contentedness  that I have fostered, even nourished in these past years?

I cannot.

That time is gone. It taught me much and I am thankful for a truly essential development in my self, but now is not a time where apathy serves. I have joined the disillusioned.

How can I sit in acceptance, as hate becomes the norm of society?

How can I sit in acceptance, as the people become divided over lies?

How can I sit in acceptance, as we burn nature to the ground in pure, brutal indifference?

I am a liberal, left-wing, environmentally-minded, vegetarian, bi-, non-binary, creative, introspective, radical human-being. In these times, the only element there I regret is the last.

In these times, where to sit in acceptance is as dangerous as to fight against the rising tides we face, my fostered neutrality has been smashed into tiny little insignificant pieces.

After years of purging pain and anger from my life in the name of breaking through my negativity, I am letting it all back in. Perhaps that seems like a truest form of madness, as if I were a monk jumping out of deep meditation to burn his temple in spite. I think however that this is a necessity.

Now?

Now I feel an uncontrollable rage at humanity’s encroaching madness. The world seems to me to be on the edge of a crumbling cliff: Past it is the void. The void is growing, in size and in strength. It can’t and won’t be stopped.

A curious feeling has grown however out of my new rage and this feeling is perhaps even stronger, or at the very least more striking. Out of the rage has grown an uncontrollable love. Suddenly I have so much joy to see the magpies each morning as I leave for university. Suddenly each falling leaf is a universe with its own story to tell. When I see my friends, they cannot possible know how thankful I am now to see them, and know that they are well, that they survive in the face of our world in flux.

I feel some of the other disillusioned are giving up. But no, why should helplessness mean giving up? Are we not still alive?  Are you not still breathing, thinking,  whilst you read my twisted  words so lacking hope?

Let me tell you then, that these words are of hope, at the very least for myself. With this development of new emotion – of conflicting love and rage – I realise: Our experience here, no matter how dark it turns, will always have glimmers of intense beauty. For each person who joins the ranks of mindless nationalism and discriminators, we can fight back with rage-fuelled love. As contrary as that seems, Love and anger are linked in impossible ways. The enemy here is apathy.

It has often been times of darkness where great writers have appeared from the shadows. I am not one of them, but I have learned from them how important the mighty pen becomes in such moments. Brecht attacked national-socialism. Lu xun gave up a medical career to take up the pen and challenge the early 20th century society of China. I am writing because although I sense a painful future, I see glimmers within its blinding darkness. I am one of the disillusioned, and it has made me see the beauty we will have until the last moment. It may hide in caves or under rocks at the very end, but it will always be there.

And so I throw away the work of years to become a content soul, thankful and accepting. I embrace now my new-found love and rage. I will stare into the encroaching void, and laugh with pure joy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Coffee Meditation? That makes no sense.


Luckily, in regards to the title, I make no sense either, which is why I have no inhibitions whatsoever for trying things out that seem a bit silly. And so I just finished a 15 minute or so bout of coffee meditation.

Meditation is widely seen as a relaxation tool; a way to calm and ground yourself in a world where calm is hard to come by. I’m of the opinion that there is much more you can do with meditation than that. For me it is indeed a means to relax, but it’s also a creative power, a sleeping aid, a concentration booster and among other things played a key role in the late stages of my fight with depression a few years back.

Nonetheless, the combination of coffee and meditation seems at first rather far-fetched. A couple of google searches revealed to me that the majority of the meditation community (but not all) are against drinking coffee before or during meditation, and many completely remove caffeine from their lives. I gave it a go anyway.

My ‘procedure’ was simple. I sat down on a chair, stuck on some ambient music, and held a cup of fresh coffee in my hands. As is usual for my meditations, I took my breathing under control, and focused on my awareness of my surroundings.

This is where the coffee changed the meditation slightly. when one focuses on their awareness, the strongest outside influences come first and one thing we can all agree on is that coffee has a pretty intense smell. You don’t usually get the smell of coffee to focus on in meditation, or really anything that intense, so naturally this was all new. I spent a while just focusing on the smell, and the warmth of the cup.

With higher levels of concentration than usual simply on the smell, a new depth comes from the smell. Often on a pack of coffee there will be some fairly pretentious tasting notes on the back (yes, I see the hypocrisy in this comment), but generally our own comments on the said coffee whilst drinking it will be “Oh, that’s a nice coffee”. With a meditative focus on that smell, you notice there are indeed numerous levels to the smell.

Drinking the coffee was essentially the same story and there is little need to elaborate. i was simply able to notice different levels to the drink to usual. The difference came a few minutes later as the caffeine started to have an effect. And it’s that caffeine that surely would ruin the whole idea of ‘relaxation’ that is usually seen as one of the main aims of meditation.

The result was more that coffee and meditation complemented each other. The coffee offered something to focus on, and gave a new experience of awareness – something I believe to be important in meditation. That given focus allowed the meditation to progress to a deeper level more quickly. As more caffeine hit, ability to concentrate increased. Increased concentration further increased awareness.

By the end I felt excessively aware and grounded, wonderfully peaceful and much more renewed than just coffee alone would offer.

Some of the ‘negative’ effects of each appeared countered too. Meditation’s habit of inducing sleepiness was countered by the caffeine, and Coffee’s favourite trick of putting you on edge was countered by the calming nature of meditation.

I would say therefore, that this seemingly silly combination is actually a match made in heaven.

On meditation…and Drunkenness?


It’s odd that last time I wrote I was talking about my attempts at being honest with myself and others from now on, as apparently in a rather drunken state on Friday evening I almost opened up some things I don’t want to be open yet.

I won’t go into what this conversation contained (or more accurately, what I think it did – large amounts of free red wine is not good for memory…) but instead something more important. it’s reinforced my belief that our subconscious knows ourselves much better than our conscious selves.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned it once or twice, but for those who aren’t aware, I meditate relatively regularly. Not enough, regularly nonetheless.

I started a few years ago as part of my personal fight with depression. I am of the opinion that I have not been depressed for over a year now and I feel that meditation was one of the most important parts of escaping its harsh grasp. However I must ask why drunk Tim is apparently of the opinion that I still have an inner conflict.

Drunkenness is associated with a loss of control and a lack of inhibitions. I would say that the majority of people think that whatever strange gobbledygook (never used that word in a written form – what a fantastic looking word)  comes out of a drunk’s mouth is probably nonsense.

But surely a lack of inhibitions and control is more likely to unleash people’s unconscious thoughts, that perhaps they themselves don’t know about?

Because of this, i’m looking forward to (and fearing slightly) what my friends have to tell me when I ask them about our drunken conversations tomorrow. I might just learn something about myself from my drunken self…

Now back to the subconscious knowing oneself better and meditation. After finding out about the second half of Friday evening, I spent some time meditating today on a question – am I actually still completely content, as I was when I first escaped depression?

Turns out that the answer is no.

I’m not depressed by any means, but interestingly I found out a few things, and I think I therefore know what my lost conversations from that evening were about.

And oh, one of those things is controversial. It’s going to be fun explaining that one in the near future. But I realise it’s something that I’ve been hiding from myself for a long time. I’ll leave what that thing is off the blog until I’ve made certain of it. (apologies for the vagueness and mystery!)

My point is, it’s interesting that heavy drunkenness to the point of not being able to remember, and meditation can bring round similar thoughts, considering Meditation is considered to be a means to peace, control and inner understanding, whereas Drunkenness is associated with the opposite.

Perhaps one major difference is you come out of meditation happy, concentrated, relaxed and healthy…

and you come out of drunkenness with a hangover, no memory of anything useful that may have come about and possibly a fair dosage of anxiety to top it.

I’m going to leave today’s blog there, as I want to have a longer think on the above content.

Thanks for reading!

 

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A thought for today.


Now that I’ve been back from China for around 3 weeks or so, I’ve started noticing things in a more objective way again finally. It has been a constant struggle with how strange everything that once was so normal seems, but now it’s a little easier to just…well, think.

I want to share with you a little thought therefore which has found its way into my brain over the last few days, observing the people round me, and myself. (and if you’ve never done any work on observing yourself through mindfulness, research it for a bit – it’s useful stuff!)

One thing that I developed over a year abroad in China was an intense case of being much more calm and collected and this has made me notice just how angry and upset many people get over very small things. It’s not just this however, because it clearly is personally destructive to get flustered easily. The majority of people in the world are more stressed than they need to be, because they create their own stress.

So my thought for today is this. Do you get annoyed too easily, and if so, in what way?

Do you get angry when someone undertakes your car on the daily commute?

Do you get upset perhaps when a family member shouts at you for something seemingly minor?

How about when your toast burns?

Or does the state of the world shake you into a rage?

Obviously some of those are more serious than than the others, but they don’t need to make anyone angry. If you just notice these things, then accept them, that negativity will start to fade away.

Calm and collected people will also inevitably affect those around around them. If someone gives no conflict at all in return to a negative action or remark, that goodness gets noticed. One chilled out person can make a lot of people in one day that little bit happier.

Be that person.