Tuesday, 25 June 2013


A lady I know suffers from fibromyalgia. I read her story about the difficult health challenges she and her family are facing, and at the end she said, well, they have a strong Christian faith (Jehova's Witnesses) that helps them through it all. On the one hand a strong faith gives people the strength to pull through, but on the other hand I imagine there's also a kind of pressure to live up to this belief system. Strong believers often find it difficult to explain the mysterious ways of their God and so have to keep reinforcing their faith - they end up with more faith than actual facts. It occurred to me, however, that though my own world view is diametrically opposite to hers, I do also feel peer pressure sometimes. When people with whom I share some beliefs challenge me, I naturally feel I have to defend myself somehow. I have to reinforce my beliefs in my own mind in order to put forward my own view as forcefully as possible. 

The point is, why do I feel this need to explain myself? I have found it very hard to let go of the hurt I felt when the lady I mentioned in my previous post started to suggest that I wasn't as disabled as I made it out to be. For a long time, she had been suggesting that I need to think more positively, change my brainwaves, and so on. She said it quite aggressively so it was a contradiction in terms. Martin said, "Like my mother always said, if you have nothing good to say, then say nothing at all". This was a great reminder to myself, as I sometimes come across as critical. It is such a great truth, especially when you're dealing with friends and acquaintances Just shut the heck up sometimes! (If you're critiquing something, for instance art, then it's a different matter, of course).

Anyhow, this person's criticism was all in the spirit of new spiritual belief systems. Because I share some of them in some form, she managed to bother me with these attempts to make me change myself. Of course the set up was ridiculous because she didn't know me in real life and clearly thought she knew way more about me based on my internet persona than she really did. Still it upset me when I found out that my intuition was true; she'd been ignoring everything I'd tried to say about my illness and how difficult it is to cope, and had only picked up the laments that she thought were easily fixed by changing the way I was thinking. I couldn't believe someone would think I made up stories about my buggered spine and fibromyalgia, especially someone whose profession is that of a psychologist and who appears to have some interest in the spiritual side of things. I wanted to scream, do you really think the Finnish government officials made the wrong decision when they granted me a life time disability pension? I didn't say very much, however, as I've been practising restraint... there is simply no point in arguing with very self-opiniated people. The cost of this attempted restraint is that I'm mulling over the case for much longer, oh well... so be it.

How is it that your spirituality can sometimes turn against you? Of course, there are many ways in which we can get trapped in a system, simply because it's a system and therefore naturally restrictive. Over the years, I've seen the downside of the new age movement. My main issue with it are probably the ideas about opening up to the limitless self. I've always felt it was quite obvious that we are really limitless. My true self or spirit is boundless... On some level, that is... in this life, I've had to come to terms with how limiting life on Earth can be. Seeking to embrace and accept limitations is quite a different evolutionary challenge than the one that speaks only of ditching false beliefs about a limited and ego-centric self. This is surely why it's been hard for me to admit that I need to pace myself and that it's actually "okay" to be disabled. In fact it's more important that I don't push myself too much than that I achieve a lot of things. It may sound a bit topsy turvy but how I feel in my body from moment to moment is more important and more real than some random achievement, which requires a relative context for its validation. Whatever our challenges are, we need to acquire a perspective on them, as well as learn not to project them onto other people. So, embracing my limited life is this life's main theme, and engaging in the limitless aspect of my life is secondary and something that will take its natural form when the time is right, I think.

So, there are many ways in which your spiritual peer group can assert undue pressure on you. Try and free yourself from that if possible, because it's only causing negative ripples and wears you out. To be truly spiritual is to be strong and independent in what you feel is spiritually significant in your own life. There may be some ultimate objective truths out there, but there's also your subjective truth that needs to be honoured. A balance between the two is crucial to your wellbeing.

I'm still doing art to express my physical predicament, but it's only a matter of time before it will all change. I feel I need to do it now that I really know what I'm talking about. You can't recreate a particular experience of suffereing later on when it's changed - not very well, at least. Yesterday I was thinking what it's all for, and that lead me to think about that vision I've had since I was quite young. I see myself being able to help people in some way. At some point, which may not be that far away, I will have the resources to support artists just like myself, people who don't fit the norm, and who may suffer from ailments that makes it even more difficult for them to assert themselves as artists. In my mind, I had it all planned out... it was clear to me even to the point where I thought I need to write it all down. It's a thing of great joy.

So you may ask, am I creating my own future as I'm imagining it? I did ask myself the very thing. But it's not that simple. About ten years ago, I started to live my life as if I was already living in the UK. I wrote a lot in English, I named my cats so the names would be pronoucable in English, I had an American boyfriend, my phone and my computer where all set to English. Then I met Martin and moved to Wales. Coincidence? Well, the truth of the matter is that I always felt that I was going to move to the UK, and therefore I was preparing myself (in some ways even earlier in life). The other vision I've had is that of eventually being given the resources to create a small museum of my art, but as time's been going by, it has become clearer I have realised that it's so much more than that. This plan encompasses helping people in a very substantial way. Now I go around imagining it very vividly. It's not day dreaming but actual planning (but remember, there's a time for everything...). Perhaps it reinforces the positive odds, but I don't think it will create the future. The future is already decided. That's what I feel. If I'm wrong, then tough shit... at least I've embraced the possibility.

Therefore, if you want a better future for yourself, I would ask myself two things. One - what has always been your secret vision for the future? Two - in what way does it involve helping others? Ponder these questions and if you believe they are true, then give them energy by thinking about them and believing in them. Reinforce the potential that is already there, no matter how crazy and life changing it may seem. Stay realistic though, know that you may still be grappling with some of your life time challenges even after the vision has come true. There's a balance to be obtained so that you keep it real and stay open to miraculous events at the same time. This is my advice about creating your own reality, and it seems to me to be the most spiritual way of doing it. I think you get further by believing that you already have a destiny to unravel rather than simply wishing to satisfy some selfish desires - and if it comes out of a place of compassion, then it's a true calling. And if in the end it doesn't come true, you gave it a chance and now you must simply accept that it was imaginary. That is possible too. I think we can feel things very strongly and be quite sure about this premonition yet it's unfortunately just a daydream and nothing more.

Monday, 27 May 2013


I feel ratty and complaintive because there are issues I feel I can't fix. I have fixed many, many personal issues in my life time. But there comes a point when you start banging your head in the wall, and it won't give way. Life moves in phases, and the "fixing" stage is over. Something else must take its place, otherwise one is simply indulging in a rather egotistical stance, a hubris which stops the "water of life" from flowing freely. I guess what always remains is the necessity of letting go, because change is the essence of life and we can't keep accumulating stuff or issues. Resolution has to occur so that change and evolution can carry on towards greater heights - you leave something behind in order to embrace a new mode of being. This is a movement towards greater depth of being. Paradoxicially, life becomes more complex, i.e. there are more facets of life to experience. You simply can't deal with this complexity if your life is too full of trivia. This is why simplifying one's life is important. "True complexity" is where life feels deep and meaningful and full of mysterious viewpoints, but there is no compulsion to find immediate resolution to all these aspects of being that seem out of reach. When you are able to let it be, you are less scattered and overwhelmed by life, and more able to enjoy the exploration that living this life really is.

The trick is to know what one needs to let go of. It could, for instance, be the "fixing mode". That mode can prevent a person from opening up to an experience of the greater mystery of life. It's not uncommon to get stuck before a truly transformative experience of life where something greater seems to be taking over, because one perceives of it as an intimidating prospect, and it also seems demanding and overwhelming. Some people are too lazy and lacking in motivation, while other people are asking too much of themselves too soon. Others are escapist and cling to various dogmatic systems for answers, when in fact they need to look into themselves and stop distracting themselves. Seeing where you really are in your own developmental place in the grand scheme of things takes honesty and courage. I rather say place - I don't like to talk about a person's spiritual path because I see it as limiting and encouraging of a judgmental "us and them" way of thinking that is only moving in one direction. In reality, our evolution is moving in all directions all at once, and may very well be too complicated for anyone to really comprehend. You just need to be open to possibilities and try and let it flow.

It's easier said than done. "Just go with the flow" can become yet another stressful compulsion, or chore. Over the years, I've become more and more sensitive to simplistic solutions that some people are so eager to offer other people in their environment. Often, these methods to a happier life seem disrespectful of the deep truth that we really are all quite different with a unique set of life experiences behind us. I like to honour individuality, uniqueness and originality. Of course, there are many things we all have in common, and we are certainly all plugged into the collective consciousness and all the issues humanity has to deal with. But someone who has dug really deep for a long time will be very weary of the same old "truths" that people like to recycle over and over... often in the name of distraction and entertainment rather than serious minded spirituality.

I revere certain spiritual teachers and their viewpoints, but I also like to think for myself. I don't find the tired quotes and glossy scraplike images about how to live life better that are dotted around Facebook inspiring at all. They often reflect a kind of sentimentalism, which isn't a heartfelt truth but just a regurgitation of the same old sayings and viewpoints to the point of sickliness. Sickly sweet "truths" can actually often feel quite patronising. "I found this truth, here you are, how sad you haven't realised it yet but never mind, thankfully I got it, isn't it amazing what great friends I have who post this stuff so I can share it". On the other hand, when people speak from their hearts, I feel inspired. And I need it in order to further my own thinking.

One must move away from the banal, by thinking for oneself. To live life spiritually, is to live it with mindful generosity. There is in fact a fine line between the banal and the elitist. While both are self-indulgent, somewhere away from these extremes there is a point of truthful compassion. As an artist, I experience this acutely. Finding the visual expression that will speak to the greatest number of people without falling into the category of tired banality on the one hand or exclusivity on the other, isn't always very obvious. There is great compassion in a generous stance that doesn't condemn and exclude those who aren't very articulate, clever or forward thinking. But you also owe it to yourself to say no to the temptation to speak to the masses only on their terms. To make art and other creations to please the masses when you can do better, is to encourage the soulless and mediocre. One must have the courage to create what feels right, even at the risk of being held a laughing stock, or not being respected. If you do value your individuality, then you must use it to create something unique. Perhaps it's avant garde, i.e. it's reflecting a vision that will be acknowledged by future generations. Good artists and other creative people are always ahead of their times. They are able to intuit the issues of the future, and offer new and exciting viewpoints that people will be able to use to the advancement of all mankind.

There certainly are a number of collective beliefs that hold us back. I was thinking about them with my husband in the car the other day. I may be allergic to simplistic systems that tell you that it's easy to rewire your brain if you really want to, but it doesn't mean I think it's all bullshit. In the following are ten sketchy examples of the truths that humans tend to believe in and that we should try and address consciously. You can't do it until you're ready to understand how it all works in your own life, however. Otherwise you're just swallowing the truth and probably regurgitating it in a mechanical way. You need to fully understand where you're standing in life and what beliefs are affecting you in which way. These beliefs go in pairs, because extremes always do.

1. We think we need to be "special" in order to have a "special" life of high standard. This only leads to endlessly seeking other people's approval, and we often fail in feeling anything but mediocre. Alternatively, we have an inflated ego and narcissistic tendencies.
2. We think we need other people's permission to do extraordinary things, or to be something other than we really are. Alternatively, we go off and do random things that don't make any sense to anyone else.
3. We think we must be dependent on other people, otherwise we'll perish. This usually also means, that other people are to blame, because co-dependency implies a lack of true responsibility for our own actions and thus we believe we are victims. Alternatively, we believe we can only live for ourselves, independently of others, and we also have power over others because of our supremacy.
4. We feel that holding onto people and things creates a sense of safety. To be truly free is a scary prospect. How can we be sure that life really carries us, that the ground won't give way? Alternatively, we might try and live anarchically, or monastically, but in reality we can't function without some kind of framework. This paradox is hard to resolve.
5. We believe we can only have good things if we work hard enough. There is no end to how hard we msut work. We must always contribute to society, which we objectify as "the other" (though it really encompasses ourselves). Alternatively, we are lazy and believe that society should offer us what we think is our birthright simply because we were born. 
6. There isn't enough time for all the things you think you have to do, and what you also want to do (dreams tend to take second place). Alternatively, we just waste our lives and regret not having lived it more wisely when we're old. 
7. There isn't enough money to go around, and why should I have it when millions have nothing? Alternatively, I should have everything I want because I'm worth it! It doesn't matter what happens to others.
8. Only I can fulfill this task, which is my mission. I have a talent, an education, a Western enlightened mind, so I must use it, even if it means I'm not going to enjoy life to its fullest. I need to contribute to society, to the world, to the Universe - in fact I need to save everything I possibly can and it's up to me to fix all collective problems from global warming to mistreated Palestinians. Alternatively, I think I'm rubbish at everything, I can't compare with those who are talented and good, and have nothing to contribute in any way whatsoever, so might as well just vegetate on the couch.
9. People believe that negative thoughts are bad, so they suppress them. Paradoxically, positive thoughts also become bad because life becomes an act of suppression and control rather than embracing all aspects of life in a balanced and mindful way. Shit happens, that's life.
10. To the broken mind, guilt is a propellor, a driving force. Guilt keeps the world go around more than money ever did. How valuable do you think guilt really is, or is there reason to scrap it? Is it possible to assume responsibility for your own life and that of the collective in a way that doesn't involve guilt? Can you feel that what you're doing is sufficient, rather than constantly lacking in something?

So how do we sort out these beliefs? Most of us swing from one extreme to another at various points in our lives. I believe in the golden middle path. How can we live through all these false beliefs and find some way that really works, possibly somewhere in the middle, away from the extremes? That would be a start, anyway... Compassion comes in many forms. How you decide to live your life matters to other people, sometimes more than you could possibly imagine. It's an act of kindness to consider this. You can retrain your brain (good old CBT) but sometimes we have too much on our plate. Be kind to yourself first and foremost. Seek out the right kind of people who can give you the right kind of support, who don't think you're just throwing a pity party because you're feeling out of sorts and anxious that life isn't what you keep visualizing in your mind.

Sometimes what we need first is just good sleep and lots of rest. And if you suffer from insomnia and an over active nervous system the way I do, then that must somehow be taken care of. Perhaps I can't fix it, but that doesn't mean there isn't a solution out there, in some form or another. Sometimes it takes time to uncover a solution, because it depends on so many things we can't control. Just be open to the possibility and have the courage to look at life with wide open eyes. You can't escape it forever. Life doesn't only exist through your subjective perception. That's a very extreme and silly notion.

And as Ken and Andrew are saying in this dialogue, "Psychology versus Enlightenment", of the Guru and the Pandit, enlightenment is realising there is no such thing. Oh, and you might like to take the way of the Moomin to heart. That's real common sense wisdom! Check out their 50 lessons in life...

Wednesday, 1 May 2013


I'm not writing here often, though I think about subject matters sometimes. I hesitate to be judgemental, but I also find it difficult right now to be very enthousiastic about anything. Life is quite difficult. I think a lot about the kind of life I'd like to lead, but deep down, when my visions don't become reality, I feel that it's simply not time just yet. Some people speak of "God's time". I have always felt humbled before the greater ways of my destiny. Postulating that only part of "me" is present to my self-awareness in this particular incarnation, there is simply a lot more to my life than I can possibly imagine. As soon as I start hypothesising about who I really am and what my purpose really is, I feel I need to stop, because it's sliding into the realm of wishful thinking. This is why I want to distance myself more and more from the whole New Age way of thinking. Don't get me wrong, the New Age has offered some interesting perspectives that I haven't encountered in a digestable form anywhere else. But when I see a lot of people trying to convince themselves that they are doing the right thing in the name of New Age, I often think, it's just another religion. 

By religion I mean a rigid and dogmatic system of beliefs that mostly relies on believing in something that may or may not be true. Of course, I'm not suggesting anyone with strange beliefs fall into the category of woolly and flakey new agers. The problem is seeing who is what. There are certainly genuine people out there with experiences that are out of the ordinary, but there are also a lot of people who are really just trying to make money out of other people's gullibility and desire "to be evolved". These people often need to  convince themselves that they are "special", with extraordinary powers and insights that simply aren't real. Very often self-development is mistaken for spiritual development. While deep down there really is only spiritual development (if there is only the One), in our day-to-day lives there is a difference suggested by this terminology. People who are into self-development can be quite self-absorbed and appear downright selfish. They are discovering themselves, and looking for tools to enhance their lives. It's all as it should be, but it's a stage in the development towards matters that are a lot more "spiritual" in a deeper sense, i.e. true compassion, the letting go of personal control in relation to other people and life on the whole, understanding some fundamental things about the nature of reality, but also of deep thinking and intellectual scrutiny. There is simply nothing airy fairy about a truly spiritual pursuit.

I follow Ken Wilber and Andrew Cohen in their attempts to underline the necessity of absolute truth. While we have our subjective truths, objective truth co-exists in a paradoxical sort of way. When we agree on what this absolute truth consists of, we are paying homage to the fact that we are part of the greater collective consciousness. Making clear distinctions in your mind about which is which can be conducive to a healthier attitude to life, and above all, a more ethically sound life style that helps create a better social environment for all of us. 

In the present day and age, not many people understand the nature of absolute truth, since you really need to experience it in order to know it's really true... but others who haven't had this epiphany, can deduce quite a lot from accounts by those who have. You can get quite far through persistant intellectual research, though you always need to be aware of not getting stuck in intellectual pursuit for its own sake. Life is also for living, regardless what kind of reality you're living.

One thing that bothers me about most of the New Age movement today is the extensive fear-mongering. For instance, the law of attraction is very attractive on the surface, but when you look at it with some critcism, you'll find that it really engenders guilt. Perhaps it's a valid tool for some people, perhaps in terms of experiment with one's abilities rather than as a tool of absolute value. When I hear people talk about it, I usually detect a sense of grasping, control and a great deal of self-centredness that doesn't take into account that there's a whole other world out there with people who have very different agendas. You can't just force your way through that field of events. Having the attitude that we need to co-exist harmoniously is a different matter entirely.

My point of view is that we are not all at the same point in our development and therefore there are no specific methods that are applicable to all. I have probably said this before, but I have to stress it again; not everyone is in a place of absolute freedom to imagine whatever life they want. Some people seem to be a lot more fixed by a destiny that doesn't allow them quite that much freedom to experiment with their lives. Take illness, for instance. Some people are able to cure themselves in the most miraculous ways, and they are more than happy to share their findings. This is all very well, but if you can't fix your problems no matter how much you try, it could well be that you are meant to live with it. Don't feel guilty and discouraged. Some karmas are simply like that. Perhaps a little bit of your suffering can be alleviated. But there really are illnesses that are chronic, and will be part of your life until the day you die. It's a great spiritual challenge to deal with such humbling conditions. Perhaps the idea that "strong souls take on heavy challenges" really is true. It should be of some solace. 

I recently found out that Ken Wilber himself has suffered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or ME for over thirty years (see this video). I was flabberghasted - he actually has one of the most horrid and mysterious illnesses of our times, and it's not that different from my own conditon (fibromyalgia). Apparently he just "happened" to be in a small village by the Lake Tahoe when there was a weird epidemic that caused ME in about 250 people. Being a person of great intelligence and spirituality, he learnt to somehow manage the condition and still write books. He has recently had a set back, and was incapacitated for a couple of years. Hence the revelation about this illness and the happy news that he's writing again. It's a small solace that even he has trouble coping sometimes. I wish he would write a book about illness and spirituality, a bit like "Grace and Grit", maybe. All these chronic conditions that cause extreme fatigue and insomnia seem to me to be a sign of our times (ME is growing in frequency and I personally know quite a lot of people with this illness), but also constitute very specific spiritual challenges that causes marginalisation and stigmatisation (HIV comes to mind too, of course). Ken mentions insomnia as one of the greatest of challenges, one that I am more than familiar with (see my autobiographical film).

Ken Wilber manages his condition in an intelligent sort of way (I'd love to know how but suspect that extensive meditation practice is helping him), but he also doesn't complain about his destiny - who knows, he may be quite capable of staying brave in private too... Not all of us are always strong, in fact most people with a chronic condition have very bad days when it's impossible not to feel cranky. In daily life, when you also struggle with poverty and other issues, it's normal to complain a little. How can you find joy in what you do when everything requires a great effort? Fatigue does terrible things to a person's psyche. Exercising escapism isn't the answer, though. Some peope think they are better off if they control their lives, but it's really not about control, it's about co-existing with the condition and gently persuading mind and body to be as well as they can be. It's the same attitude we can cultivate in the grand scheme of life, in relation to other people and events outside of ourselves.

I have seen other forms of fear mongering, for instance the idea that people are under the attack of psychic entities. How easy to list all the symptoms people have due to chronic conditions or stressful lives and suggest it's all because of some invisible parasite? Of course many people will quickly try and get help "just in case". Whenever you consult a person who claims to be psychic, make very, very sure - and double sure - that this is a good person. How do they phrase themselves? Is the person charismatic? Do they have a loving look in their eyes? How many good people that you know personally have recommended this person? Did they come into your life almost by accident, through a friend or another positive context? And so on. Don't spend your precious money on anything that you're doing out of fear or guilt. That is not a spritual context.

Be natural and try and open up to the wonder that is life, in spite of all the flaws of your own existence. There have been times when I've cried bitter tears because I know this reality is so drab compared to some other dimensions... I know this because I have felt it so poignantly, therefore I'm bent to believing it. But this life on Earth is also a "great experiment" and through us all, spirit is finding new ways of expression. It is a wonder.

Read more about my art project involving the expression of invisible illness and fatigue here.  You can also follow what I'm doing artwise on my art blog.

Friday, 1 March 2013


Marina Abramovic during her performance "Rhythm 0" in 1974

Art is somewhere between reality and fiction, and this is where it can sneak under your skin - it can jolt you out of your day-to-day routines and fixed behavioural patterns, as it's almost real but not quite. At best it allows you to experience new thoughts and feelings, even experiment with them, within a frame work that is usually quite safe. I think most serious artists wish to provoke, and while a lot of artistic provocation can be seen as simplistic and coarse sensation-seeking, some of it can have a real impact on a person's consciousness. Interactive performance art, for instance, can give rise to role play that helps you question your own value systems, boundaries and social facade. I would think that good art balances somewhere between pleasing and displeasing the audience.

You have to admire Marina Abramovic for her persistance in using her own body, over and over again, for over 40 years, as her main artistic medium. I still have much discover about her performance art, and so this time I will only concentrate on one idea. In fact, it's about a piece of performance that happened a very long time ago, back in 1974. What I'm interested in is the constellation "victim versus predator". It really got me thinking, when a friend brought it to my attention. 

You can hear about the piece Rhythm 0 here in this video clip. With a few objects at hand, Marina put herself in the position of "victim" by allowing people to do things to her, using the items provided. They related to pleasure and pain. After a while, the atmosphere became aggressive and quite scary. People became provocative - one person dug thorns into her belly, and another put a loaded gun to her head. 

It's easy to be judgmental of the people who gave in to their aggressions. I think there's a great deal more to this set up though. For one thing, Marina is challenging the safe framework of art itself by introducing a lot of realism by being there herself and meeting the spectator, eye to eye. This is challenging art itself, as the situation draws closer to reality than fiction. The other important thing is that we are dealing with a very deep psychological issue that runs as a red thread through all of human life - it's the constellation of victim versus predator. This constellation is so much part of our consicousness and we all have feelings connected to these archetypal energies. It's also one of those troublesome issues that tend to get out of hand not just because of the very origins of these energies, but because they are so easy to identify with. While there are some people who are survivors in the deeper sense, i.e. they have risen above the dichotomy of victim and predator, most people identify to a very large extent with one or the other. It must be noted, that this usually happens subconsciously or half-consciously. Unconscious attitudes are part of our Shadow self, as defined long ago by Carl Gustav Jung. Whatever is half-conscious naturally lingers on the edge of the Shadow. Sometimes people are truly haunted by their shadow selves... but it's not always possible to know what's going on since that's in the nature of subconscious issues!

Victimization is typical in today's world, as it's easy to blame others for our misfortunes. As long as people aren't able to take responsibility for their experiences and trials in life, they will play the blame game. The people that are blamed are of course seen as predators or aggressors in one form or another. The people "on top" often dispise the "victims", who are seen as weak and incapable of "fixing" their own lives. They are often seen as the parasites who live off society and other people. Of course, these opinions are often unfounded, and at least partly imaginary. For instance, disabled people may be weak if compared with able bodied people, as they are unable to fit into a world that is designed for the fittest. It doesn't mean that they necessarily feel sorry for themselves and would be unable to contribute to society if given a fitting opportunity. The fitter people aren't always predators either, as many people simply aren't informed about the real state of affairs in the kind of complex reality that we live in.

So how does the Shadow work in practice? Our reality consists of constellations, i.e. relationships, most notably that of opposites. The interesting thing about them, is that opposites are two sides of one coin. You cannot have one without the other. Very often this means that a person is biased towards one side but not the other. Because the other side is the opposite of what we like to believe in, we tend to shun it and avoid having anything to do with it. Ironically, the more we fight it the more likely we are to attract it. This is because opposites go together!

For example (this is using the constellation of victim/predator as an example, but the same idea can be applied to any other psychological opposites. Note that the predator could be called many things, for instance the ones "in control", or "in charge", or "on top". Generally speaking, a victim appers weak and vulnerable while the predator seems strong and invincible):

People dislike a trait in others that they embody themselves, and this makes them feel "triggered" when they come in contact with those who own this trait. In other words, it's a trait they haven't owned themselves, but in order to become more mature they ought to start seeing it in themselves. This acknowledgment of the real state of affairs is crucial to healing. In fact, reconciling opposites in our psyche is how we evolve mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Opposite traits go hand in hand. A person who has a tendency to victimize themselves have an unconscious desire to be an aggressor, or someone who is "on top". They are often passive-aggressive as opposed to aggressive. An aggressor/predator, on the other hand, has a secret "inner victim" they don't want to know about, but therefore need to embrace. People with opposite traits are drawn to each other, as like does seem to attract like (or opposites attract each other, as is naturally also the case with these constellations, depending on how we look at it). They are going to push each other's buttons and things could get really ugly... if the situation isn't acknowledged and integrated into the psyche. This is the route to world peace!

There doesn't have to be a perfect match. Appearances can also cause people to be triggered. If someone perceives of another person as a victim who is fond of victimizing themselves, it may only be half the truth. Compare this with the case of the disabled person I used as an example above - the one who may be condemned unjustly. It doesn't mean the disabled person doesn't ever feel sorry for themselves, because we all do sometimes, and it's okay, because we're human... but it may be a great deal less than an arrogant and not very clear sighted onlooker might think. Sometimes it's enough to embody just a little bit of a trait that another person hates, to make them go off. When imagination is at play, facts tend to get distorted.

Can someone trigger other people without embodying their traits at all? It's an interesting question... I think you can be incredibly intuitive and pick up on people's weak spots. Only if these weaknesses really bother you, do you have a problem that you need to think about. If not, then you've repressed that trait in yourself very succesfully, or just happen to have a knack, i.e. you're just very perceptive. You might think it's a good thing to trigger others to react, but that sounds dangerously arrogant to me.

People who are marginalized or otherwise in the position of the underdog, will feel victimized at times. This is a natural feeling, but it becomes unhealthy when there's too much of it. The same goes for the opposite, which is that people who are powerful often have bloated egos and have many weak spots that have been covered up. In the world today, this constellation is prevalent and very taught. It desperately needs resolution, but this can only be acquired through compassion towards the self and others, as well as mindfulness and awareness of one's self. Self-knowledge is the key, as it's the route to a greater understanding of one's own real strengths and weaknesses. One needs to admit, that as a member of the human race we are naturally at times victims and predators, and that feelings such as vulnerability and anger are all natural. 

In short, looks can be deceptive - some people have a lot on their plate which naturally leads to many complex emotions and inner experiences in general, and change becomes more difficult. Such a person can appear weak from certain points of view, when in fact they are incredibly strong for holding it all together. Perhaps art can help express these ideas so that people get jolted out of their habitual attitudes and behavioural patterns... whatever helps rise such issues into consciousness seems like a noble pursuit to me.

Sunday, 16 December 2012


Marius and Martin - photo copyright by Vivi-Mari Carpelan 2011
So now onto something more positive! I've been thinking to share something personal that really isn't that personal by the end of the day. It's one of those things that I feel a bit embarrassed about, because I don't always feel so "spiritually adequate". Yet sometimes I realize there are things of a spiritual nature I take for granted that aren't that obvious to other people.

Healing. You may think of reiki, Rosen therapy, close or distant hands-on-healing, channelling... well, you name it. It comes in many forms, I hear. Some people have developed their own method, sometimes intuitively, as seems right to them. To me it's something extremely simple and not something I've been taught. It all started when I was practising intuitive massage in the late 90s. I wasn't feeling omnipotent and able to create miracles, though I knew I was a good masseuse. I decided that whatever energy wanted to come through me for the benefit of the client was welcome to come, and I would simply be the best conduit I can be in this body and in this life time (even if not the best, after all my own health wasn't great). It was more a matter of allowing something of a universal nature to pass through rather than trying to control anything. I might have said something like "please let me be a conduit" in my head - it doesn't really matter what I said, what mattered was that I had a belief that it could happen.

I do think the nature of our beliefs is what determines what becomes possible in our lives, though there are many things at play and there are many things we cannot change no matter how much we'd like to. For instance, I do not believe that we can heal issues in another person that are determined by karma. Mental and emotional issues are usually ones people have to sort out themselves. A healer might be able to facilitate the process but to create instant miracles where processes over time may be required isn't possible. 

When I met my partner, he had bad cases of tachycardia, and that's where I started to try and give another person healing in a context that wasn't therapeutic. I would place my hand on him (I don't think it matters where you put your hand as the energy will surely reach its destination regardless, but you might as well put it where the problem lies). Then I would "will it". By that I mean, I would ask to be a conduit for the energy (chi, or life force) that my partner needs, and I would then concentrate on this. I've done this quite a few times now, and there's usually a sense of  mild "chock" in my own body. I don't feel hot hands or anything like that. It's interesting, that this sensation varies a bit depending on what the ailment is, so sometimes it's quick and not so strong, while other times it's much more electric and lingers on much longer. He usually feels something too, and often times he has felt better afterwards. This has encouraged me to believe that it's actually working. He has also done this on me a few times, and once I had a very interesting energetic experience, and another time the sciatic pain disappeared (much to my surprise, as it tends to be quite chronic once it's started). He doesn't seem to experience the process the same way I do, though.

The kind of ailments that I feel I can affect are ones I call "nuisances". They are temporary physical symptoms that don't have any particular raison d'etre except to cause suffering and sometimes more issues as a consequence. It can be tachycardia, or toothache, or restless legs, or issues that come with old age - things that we take pills for if there is a suitable pill. This kind of healing is in other words "a virtual pill", but it also makes me feel good, as if I've meditated - in fact, it feels like love has visited. So, I would encourage everybody to believe they can be a conduit... I have no way of knowing whether everyone can be one, but I don't see a reason why not as long as people stay real and don't nourish extreme attitudes such as "I'm chosen by God to be a conduit" or "I'm a loser who can't possibly make a difference".

Humans have a tendency to want someone else or something outside of them to save them. It's not hard to understand, given that life isn't easy and profound insights don't come easily either. I think others can be facilitators, but ultimately the only one who can solve your problems is yourself. It's important to develop discernment and realize when it's okay to rely on someone else's help, and when it's a case of escapism from a deep personal dilemma. There are sometimes karmic connections that mean that someone could have a deep influence in another person's life. But to think that one day we'll be "fixed" or "saved" through the intervention of an external force is like believing in the apocalypse... I wouldn't recommend relishing such thoughts but rather focus on one's own inner work at all times. Everything boils down to how we handle our own existence.

I also don't know if there is a way of affecting someone's mental issues, for instance if they are in the manic phase of a bipolar disorder. I think it's possible, because one might be able to calm down the system to create more balance in that instance, a bit like acupuncture or qi gong  It would be a fallacy to think that one could cure a mental illness and chronic conditions from their root though, as that would probably be messing about with someone's destiny and karmic issues in an ontological sort of way. There is certainly no harm in trying but I doubt that one can make the kind of difference that only introspection and self-development can do. And of course, sometimes that doesn't help, only acceptance that things are the way they are.

Saturday, 15 December 2012


The chakra system - not my own artwork

I know I probably shouldn't wind myself up over all those people out there who are trying to sell spirituality. But I get curious about some of them, maybe due to my education as a scholar (spotting religions in the most unlikely places was one of the things we were trained to do so I still carry that legacy of looking at spiritual phenomena with some objectivity), but when I investigate I get very saddened and disappointed. Still, I decided to write about something I've been looking into a bit because I feel it's so important to be aware of spiritual hoaxes and how the advertising works. I am not trying to suggest that this particular case is a fraud, only offering my personal opinion about their advertising strategy.

I clicked on an ad for "Psycademy" on Facebook. It was promising to tell you if you're a lightworker or not. Well, I think I can say with some confidence that any ad you click on on the internet has an agenda, which is to sell you something for a lot of money. Still you often hope it won't be. Of course, the test you are being promised is free, and it's what draws you in initially. At the end of the test with various questions about your attitude to reality and spiritual matters, you're being told that you're in one place or another of a cycle consisting of various phases. You could for instance be a seeker, or a pioneer, or an actual lightworker. This is the basic concept that draws you in because all it says is, you're in a phase and this cycle of phases are repeated endlessly throughout your life. This is not a poor image of life, on the contrary it is potentially thought provoking, but not very informative in the context of the initial question. It doesn't say anything about whether your spiritual age or level of consciousness is such that you actually have the potential of being a lightworker (whatever that really means!). This woman, Lisa Turner, then sends you an e-mail which explains that you are most definitely a lightworker since you signed up for the test and her free course in the first place! 

I could be crude and say that you probably aren't one if you felt such a need for confirmation about your own spirituality, that it's a sign you're not in touch with your intuition and higher understanding. But I also realize that sometimes we are unsure, vulnerable and a little bit clueless, and therefore people who call themselves psychics can draw us in and make us feel that they have some answers that we desperately need. Please don't feel bad about seeking answers, it's a human thing to do. And after all, curiosity is normal and even desirable, and we all hope for a clearer vision and more control over our own lives and destiny. We also want to believe that people who speak in the name of spirituality are all good and honest people. I have also wished for  truly ground breaking answers about my own life from other people, but the feedback was always poor and I decided this wasn't the way to go.

So back to Lisa Turner and her Psycademy - well, she promises to send you e-mails which are going to take you on a great journey of discovery, and you will learn things about yourself and the nature of reality that may be utterly shocking to you. At this point I have a suspicion that it's not anything other than what most spiritual seekers have already read in countless books about the ascension of mankind and various other things to do with angels, guides and channelling. It might be shocking to the novice - but that's probably not someone who is geared up to be a "lightworker", i.e. work on a very high spiritual level for the good of all mankind. Interestingly, one of the questions of the questionnaire was "do you believe that spiritual services should be free?". Well, I said yes, because I believe that in an ideal world, that's how it should be. Yet in a way this question could be just another carrot to make you feel that you should receive her services for free, and that's exactly what she's promising you... well, until she isn't, anymore.

In her first e-mail, she starts telling us the story of how she used to be oblivious of spiritual matters, but was woken up thanks to some terrible things that happened to her in Britain when she was 15. At this point, you're being drawn in thanks to a story that aims at appealing to your emotions and curiosity. We all want to know what happened next, after she was taken captive by this evil man... so Lisa follows the textbook and says, if you keep reading these e-mails you'll find out more about her story. But of course - she knows "we are all impatient" (so she says) and so there is a way in which we can instantly find out about this story and many other things to do with guides and healing, just a click away! You click on a link and it takes you to - guess what. A DVD for 20 pounds (I think there was a book too but I can't remember for sure). 

So, you don't buy the DVD or whatever the product was that was going to answer all your questions. You keep reading the e-mails that arrive about once a day or so (not regularly, because after all, she wants you to get impatient). After a number of e-mails, say six or seven, I'm none the wiser. Blablabladibla... There was a list of signs that you have healing powers - hot hands that you have an obsessive need to place on other people in order to heal them, for example! Now we are getting into the realm of spiritual stereotypes. In another there's some analogy to Santa in shorts and how people always used to promise that it was going to snow at Christmas in Australia (in her childhood)! Ahum, what? Not sure what that one was about. Then there's a a long list of questions people allegedly have about contacting their guides, and how to spot the difference between a ghost and a real guide. And of course, the twelve signs or so that will tell you whether your guide is a really highly evolved one! And guess what! Now you find out, that all you need to do is go and sign up for the "real" course! Which of course, means parting with some contents of your purse. I bet you you'll find out that your guide is one of the greatest guides anyone can have!

At this point I'm so bored I just want this person to go away. I read two more e-mails, one in which she hints that she will tell you more about her own journey towards realization in the next e-mail, and another in which she isn't following up on her own story but is trying to sell you a three day course with these words:

"You feel it like a pull, or a tingling deep within you, like an inner knowing but you can't quite grasp it. You've heard it but only as a whisper on the breeze, but can't quite tune in to the message beneath the babble. Maybe you've seen dim flashes or glimpses that simply vanish when you turn to look. Maybe you've experienced that deeply blissful state, where your heart is fully open and you feel a complete connection, yet you can't seem to get it back again or experience it in any kind of on-going way in your daily life. 

Bottom line is that you are frustrated by life and starting to wonder if being spiritual isn't all it's cracked up to be... 

The simple fact is, it's one thing to have a spiritual experience, and it's quite another to tap into the true spiritual power at your fingertips so that can change the world and reality you live in, solve problems and bring healing.". 

That's compelling, isn't it. The course offers pretty much everything you could possibly imagine under the heading of "new age" in a book store, all those things about finding your soul mate, becoming a real healer, channelling and so on, that new age books are full of. It makes my head spin and I personally wouldn't know how to deal with so much "stuff"! Is it all important stuff? Perhaps it's all good. Sure many of us feel frustrated at times, as if we're not accessing all those wonderful spiritual phenomena that other people seem to be able to see and understand, and also use in their own lives. But the most important thing seem to be missing, which is that there is no wonder cure for this kind of existential dilemma. You have to figure it out yourself, and it doesn't cost any money. What you need (as opposed to what we believe all those other supposedly enlightened people out there need) is right there for you to have if you just open your eyes and soul. Don't compare yourself with others, because this will lead you astray - that's my bit of advice, anyway. Unless, of course, you just want some entertainment, or to give yourself the time to think about these things a bit more in a specific context that takes you away from daily life and being on "automatic pilot", or socialize... well, unless that's how you feel, I don't think you need Lisa's course, or any other similar course for that matter. I'm not an expert because I don't do such courses. But when someone comes along claiming to have all the answers, clearly uses emotional manipulation, and uses all the other advertising tricks in the book, then I get suspicious  I just don't believe this person is particularly evolved or endowed with any real spiritual integrity. Problem and solution: "Not enough money – raising your spiritual vibration has been shown to directly increase wealth." (from the website). Perhaps? But selling spirituality has also been shown to create wealth because there are so many desperate seekers out there.

This is an image used for the advertising of the course...
aren't you also a bit tired of seeing this cliched image of human evolution?

In fact, you can read more about her own story, albeit in sketchy words, here on the actual advertising site - to be honest I would have preferred to have seen this page in an honest sort of way right from the beginning without all the "beating around the bush". But - what the heck is this supposed to mean? "It’s not your fault that you haven’t accessed your spiritual power yet. But once you learn this system you can. And the results will be extraordinary (even if it doesn't seem easy to believe right now.)". How can such a thing be anyone's fault in the first place? Can you hear how wrong this sentence sounds in the context of true spirituality? This, if anything, is just emotional blackmail, attempting to put you in a child's shoes, making you feel that you need an authority... now do you really

I'm not suggesting that it's all wrong, and that none of the lessons could potentially be useful for the right person... We are all different It's not for me to judge. That is, though, if you don't mind paying about 500 pounds for the 3-day basic course (whose value is allegedly well over £ 1000!). You can spend an awful lot of money on all sorts of seminars, in fact some people are quite hooked on always seeking answers from seminars, and it's not always so useful. I don't know that this is a real hoax. After all, she promises to refund most of your money if you're not happy and haven't had spiritual experiences (which on the other hand she says it's not what it's really about... it's about making it work for you in real life). There are plenty of photos from previous seminars on the website. But I can only say that I'm deeply suspicious of this sort of approach to serious spiritual matters. 

Friday, 23 November 2012


The two birds and the circle is a variation on a theme of basic symbols 
that recur in all of human history.
The birds could be compared with the Yin and Yang symbol and has become my logo
because my art is generally speaking about the paradoxes that arise from the inherent dualism of life.
Image copyright by the author

You may ask what the point in using symbolism to convey a message through art really is. Those who are familiar with art history know that Symbolism is a movement that started up with the paintings of Gustave Moreau around 1860 but was deemed useless and out of date by the beginning of the First World War. It was a movement that was mainly concerned with the other worldly, and to a surprisingly high degree was linked with Catholicism. Some symbolists were interested in esoteric world views, and wanted to convey these beliefs through their art. These artists felt that the best way of conveying their view of a more spiritual realm was through the use of symbols as it was a way of pointing towards realities that you couldn't otherwise describe. Many artists were, however, not necessarily expressing very complex truths. In simple terms, this artistic genre came about as a reaction against the industrial upswing and a wide spread interest in realistic art as social commentary. The war crushed a lot of idealism and made introspective and solipsist art seem self-indulgent - the art that followed was mostly socially orientated. 

Nothing in art history is, however, straightforward and subject to a strict chronological time line. When it comes to symbolism, it pops up here and there in various forms and for various reasons. In the modern era, artists often use symbols without making much of a point of it. Various forms of fantasy art are alive and well, and some of these artists of the imagination employ symbols to a very high degree. Almost anyone who is interested in investigating the deeper layers of the human psyche or spiritual visions will use symbols. 

Symbols have always been around in the form of mythology, fairy tales, as well as esoteric and alchemical explorations. These depictions of the human condition and how humans relate to the other worldly have been informative and necessary for the evolution of the human psyche, and there is no reason to believe that this has come to an end. It may seem that cynicism and a fragmentation of spirituality is here to stay, but I don't believe it. Art that expresses such disillusion is not life-affirming and constructive, and is therefore in the long run an unsatisfactory way of dealing with life's deeper issues and the human condition. 

While the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud paved the way for dream interpretation, his disciple Carl Gustav Jung made a great job in researching the deeper meaning of widely recurring symbols and archetypes. The Depth Psychology that he and others instigated is still inspiring a great many psychotherapists who are interested in the subconscious mind and importance of dreams and archetypes in people's lives. Mythology isn't out dated - myself and many others believe that the human consciousness is constantly creating new myths and ways of story telling that help us come to terms with our lives. While the basic themes remain the same, they are being re-created, no doubt to fit new perspectives and higher levels or orders of collective understanding. I believe that we are constantly aspiring towards higher and more comprehensive levels of understanding, and so am not strictly speaking a Jungian. I've been reared in the Transpersonal (Integral) tradition. I do believe that symbols are relevant in all of life's areas nonetheless.

So what are symbols, exactly? According to Wikipedia a symbol is "something that represents an idea, a physical entity or a process but is distinct from it. The purpose of a symbol is to communicate meaning." The way I see it, symbols have levels of meaning. There are symbols that are pretty deep and universal because of our joint collective experience of these elements of life. For instance, a snake represents the other end of evolution, i.e. very primordial or basic instincts and affects. From primordial myths and belief systems we can also see that the meaning is also attached to the universal life force and sexuality. Most people are scared of snakes so in a dream it's usually about feeling threatened by basic instincts such as sexual feelings and related issues.

The same symbols also have a shallow level of meaning which is dictated by cultural meaning and individual experience. A snake may not be threatening to someone who is a snake charmer. Someone who is a Hindu and familiar with theories about the Kundalini force would be more likely to associate the snake with religious beliefs than a Westerner would. Of course, we all know about the "one eyed snake", the male organ, which is yet another reason it tends to be connected to sexuality.

I believe that the best way to learn to understand the language of symbols is by engaging in dream interpretation (you can also study and compare myths). This is no easy task as you have to understand the parts as well as the whole, i.e., how the various elements of the dream (the symbols) relate to one another and what the context of these elements is. You need to reflect upon the associations the symbols offer as well as be able to grasp the overall feel of the dream in an intuitive way. The dream also has to relate to the dreaming person, as one has to distinguish the universal meaning of the symbols from possible individual interpretations. Intuition is truly paramount during this process. The language of symbols is not quite like an ordinary language because it relies so heavily on intuition. You also have to keep in mind, that all the symbols in your dreams associate with aspects of yourself. For instance; familiar people you see in your dreams represent qualities in yourself, and buildings usually (unless you're a gypsy traveller, one would assume) symbolize the different levels of the psyche.

People often say they dreamt about something they saw on TV before going to bed, and this becomes their reason for dismissing the existence of any deeper significance attached to the dream. There's a fallacy in this thinking because you don't dream about something because you saw it on TV, but because what you saw on TV reminded your psyche of something significant that it consequently wanted to resolve through your dream. Nothing in your dream world is haphazard. The key to successful dream interpretation is that you take into account every single aspect of the dream with the understanding that it all makes sense in some deep and significant way. We also tend to remember dreams that really are significant to us, while less important dreams are forgotten. If you're grabbed by a dream, it means it has something to say to you that you may not have realized during waking consciousness. I have personally not found anything terribly revelatory within my own dreams, but that's because I'm very interested in my inner life while I'm awake and so nothing comes as a surprise. I find that dreams can clarify some issues, though. There is nothing quite like having had a vivid and deeply emotional dream that really tantalizes your imagination points to great potential,and promotes contemplation about your life situation...

In order to get your imagination going, you might like to consult a book on dream interpretation. Books cannot explain everything for you and it's very important that you choose your book well! A good Jungian style book (E.g. The New Dream Dictionary by Toni Crisp) can give you ideas and impulses, and thus aid the process of understanding the way your psyche functions and what it's communicating to you.

I'm quite a literal person, and I like to communicate in a precise way. While pictures say more than a thousand words, I also like for them to be subject to a rather literal interpretation. I don't see a contradiction in terms here, nor do I have any problem with the fact that some people will prefer to take in my images without the involvement of intellectual analysis. Others will be interested in a semantic interpretation. My experience is that both work just as well, and what really matters in the end is what resonates with people, i.e., what people feel attracted to, and it really doesn't matter whether they are aware of the reasons for this feeling. I expect that people recognize the meaning of the symbols I use either intuitively or directly, and that they strike a cord in the attentive audience because of their universal appeal. 

Artistically speaking, I started out by learning the logical language of symbols, and expressing my own inner development and the formation of a world view through symbolic art. I was intensely interested in esoteric view points while I was learning about the basic nature of reality. It was a rewarding time in my life, and I got much positive response from people from all walks of life. But things changed and I started to feel that making art about the tension between the spiritual and mundane was limited. In short, I felt I had little more to say. My interests have flipped so that at least for the time being, I'm more engaged in social issues, and my spiritual concerns have receded into the background. There is work to be done in the realm of our day to day life, and I feel compelled to do what I can to help alter people's perception of those who are marginalized in society. 

Symbols continue to be my preferred way of expression nonetheless. Through symbols I communicate a vision of life and know that it's a visual representation of something that I could also write about if I wanted to. Yet the impact is different and hopefully a more direct way of saying what I want to say. Symbols are endlessly versatile and a visual language based on symbols can be updated to suit a contemporary audience and crucial topics of the modern day.

Thursday, 15 November 2012


In Swedish there is an expression that goes something like "dear child bears many names", i.e., whom you love, you give many names. This seems to me to fit in with the apocalyptic scenario pretty well. It's a scenario that people love to entertain. For some, it's clearly a really exciting scenario.

I believe that reality is a lot more outrageous than we can possibly imagine. When I stopped seeking answers about the nature of reality about ten or twelve years ago, it was with this in mind. I don't feel a need to push through to find out more, because I feel that there is so much I wouldn't be able to grasp, and the things I'd like to know about no one really seems to be able to give conclusive answers about. I sometimes go to have a look at the integral community, and I'm struck with awe of the intellectual pursuits I find there. It's a little bit disconcerting, as it brings up feelings of inadequacy that I have to deal with. I feel a little bit upset that I am not able to indulge in so much intellectual thought... but the truth that I have to remind me of at times like this is that I don't really want to. It is simply not the life that I want or need for myself right now. It's true that my brains aren't what I'd like for them to be, but it really isn't important. This is the life I have now, and I had better be real about it and live it in a way that feels right. The integral people are intellectual, but to me, there's a bit missing in terms of openness to the real mysteries of our universe. They are so cautious about not being seen "new agey".

A few years ago I also stopped watching the New Age community with all its talk about the ascension. I felt a different sort of inadequacy within this group because I wasn't able to see what they said they were seeing. As interesting as it was, I didn't really feel that my life was within that sphere of spirituality either. So where did I belong? I guess I don't belong anywhere but right here. This was my conclusion. Again, I felt that it was of utmost importance that I stop ogling other people and their ideas, and focus on my own life. I needed not to feel scattered. I greatly simplified my existence, tried to feel as grounded in my new reality here in the new country as possible, and attempted to accept things the way they are. I didn't really have much option, because the move and my wedding left me pretty burn out, and since then I've had to try and adapt to a new culture. 

I know that if I allow myself, I'll just start tormenting myself with questions and doubt about my own ability to lead my life as best as I can. I'll go around feeling guilty for not doing well enough - in any number of areas of life. A great number of things don't really make sense to me. I used to work on myself a lot, but it got tiring. These days I find myself thinking, oh I need to fix this and the other problem with negative emotions, but when I look at what Shadow I'm projecting I'm not getting a hold of it. It's all so complex... I just don't feel there are any simple answers any more. Well, unless you call taking the problems seriously but going easy on myself simple, of course... no, I haven't given up on myself but I no longer feel obsessed by inner work. Who knows, maybe there is infiltration of higher energies into the world... I rather not speculate, because I don't want to mess with my head. I try and take things at face value. What I do feel though, is that something is pushing me a bit, as if I was in a hurry to sort out some personal issues. I also have deep questions about my creative life and what I'm supposed to do next.

It's only a month until that date everyone knows about, that so-called "End of the World". I don't give a toss about some Mayan calendar... it's a great deal of hype about something very unclear. I don't know much about it but it's nevertheless my guess that this date signifies a shift of some sort. People have made prophesies about the end of the world many, many times in the past - check this article out, for instance. There is no evidence that the world would come to an end. There's a lot of rather confused talk about a different kind of "end" though. I believe in evolution - and no doubt, evolution believes in me. I believe we have come to a point in our collective evolution that will propel us forward, maybe as a quantum leap (which seems to have happened before, historically speaking). You could call it an ascension if you wanted to, because it's moving up the evolutionary step ladder. What I do find a bit worrying is that "ascension talk" is basically the same year after year. All the "channellings" follow the same script of telling us that we are co-creators of this world and that those who refuse to wake up to this fact are going to feel very uncomfortable during these times of extreme cleansing of negative energy. They always say that we are going through difficult times and it will all seem very confusing. A wonderful future lies ahead though. That's about it. To me, it sounds like opium for the people.

These are dark and confusing times - well, if you want to be sure of your facts, you could look at what history teaches us. For instance, this is the ideal time for a new start. Think what it was like after the world wars, for instance. If a similar change was to be had on a larger scale, well could it look like something we might be heading for? I feel that a clarity is about to descend upon the human consciousness. Whether it involves extra terrestrial intelligence I don't know... frankly, I don't really care that much. I shall wait and see. I also know that changes can take a long time to take effect, so I am not about to make any prophesies that involves second guessing what I might still experience in my life time. I do think we are ready for change, that the collective has "had it". I don't think that we can sit down and expect everything to be served for us. There is much work to be done, but let's hope these end of days will see a new dawn with new possibilities. Actually, that's what I see. But more than anything else, I believe that we are responsible for our own life here on Earth and that it's really up to ourselves to make things work better, even if we are being facilitated through a shift of consciousness.

Read about how the world may be doing much better than we think.
Read a worthwhile article by Andrew Cohen about how we may relate to each other in the future when people have come to a realization of their authentic selves.
Listen to Ken Wilber and Andrew Cohen discuss the end of the world

Monday, 12 November 2012


I hope to get back to this subject matter at some later stage when I have more conclusive view points to report... I still wish to start this discussion on issues of anger and other negative emotions. For whatever reason, the necessity to deal with such emotions has come up again, with unprecedented obstinacy. I clearly need to find a way of dealing with them.

Many moons ago, I was looking into my own chakras as a result of studying what books were saying about them. The one chakra that seemed non-existent was the third one, i.e. at the solar plexus. I lived with the illusion there was nothing wrong with my Ego. The truth unravelled as I went along, and the problems gradually appeared. This is one of the most complicated chakras - well, at least in my mind - and one that humanity is collectively dealing with at this point in time. It represents matters of the Ego, but it has to be understood that the Ego is not all bad. The healthy Ego is simply our individual selves as manifest in this body, with this mind and these emotions, at this point in time. The "bad" Ego is the skewed and distorted sense of self, one that isn't honest and true. It's an inflated or disintegrated Ego. Most people have shadow issues to deal with on this level. How do we relate to ourselves, to other people, to the world, to the Universe..? Do we have a general sense of belonging? What feelings do we have for occurrences in our environment? How do we build up healthy self-esteem? How do we learn to be diplomatic rather than confrontational? These are just a few of the issues we all have to be mindful about. Not surprisingly, anger often comes out of imbalances in this chakra, because we're upset with the way others treat us and we don't feel respected.  We feel powerless in the face of injustice, or reversely, we experience a need to control that can lead to pathological power games.

I would say that most people are both aggressive and passive-aggressive, though I think that people lean towards one or the other. For instance, you could lash out aggressively but then retreat with a defensive attitude in a passive-aggressive way, claiming to be a victim ("you can't do this to me because I have this illness" , "you make me lose my temper" and so on). The idea of victim hood is typical of modern day society, it's an easy way of justifying one's suffering and negative attitudes in general. I think most people use this way of manipulation at one time or another. Therefore it's important to be able to admit to it - if we all do it, there is no need to feel embarrassed. I know I've been in denial of some tendencies to retreat into victim hood when I've felt powerless and threatened. If you don't admit to it you'll never heal. But getting your butt out of the hole you have dug for yourself can be quite difficult and requires a great deal of determination. You need to think about how you act in the world and why many of your relationships don't work that well.

There are some emotional problems you can't resolve through just thinking about them (this is what CBT, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy attempts to do). There are two things you need to accept; one is that nobody can take these away for you, and the other is that if you only deal with them in your mind, your Ego's defences will come into play. Listen to yourself some time and notice how you keep making excuses about certain issues in your life... how you refuse to believe that there are any solutions to your problems. This can be the false Ego talking, the one that doesn't want change because it's scary. Of course, a clear "no" in your mind can be a healthy no. How do you see that a negative discourse in your mind is not healthy? Well, it's not necessarily easy... I think one sign is that it's victimizing you and feeding off a state of powerlessness. You need to try and listen to yourself objectively, be honest about what you feel, but also have compassion towards this state of affairs. There is probably a wounded child or something similar in there somewhere...

You could use mental imagery to work with this problem if that comes naturally to you. It helps some people to meditate over the idea that they are not their feelings, but I would warn people against becoming dissociated from their feelings and experiences by being too much of a witness. You must embody your life, feel it through and through. This kind of "getting real" is in my opinion of the utmost importance, and I don't personally find it very useful to think of this reality as "just an illusion".

I think there are some issues you can resolve in your mind by seeing the absurdity of your own discourse, but there are some issues that are buried so deep in your psyche you simply cannot get to them that way. In this case, you need to complement the thinking with other work. This other work could be physical exercise and receiving physical treatments to open up knots in your body, or it could be meditation. With really tough issues you might like to do all of these along side with each other, consistently, until your psyche starts to flex.

I personally feel the block in my solar plexus quite tangibly. There's a whiny voice that seems to come from there. The block cuts off some of my love, compassion and intuitive understanding from my emotions, my relationship with the rest of the world, and my body. I feel wronged by the Universe and the people inhabiting this world. The anger and disappointment I experience from feeling helpless within a limited body is one of the major challenges in this life. As I have become less able to whip myself into action, my self-confidence has faltered and I have become a bit too concerned with the way people see me and whether they appreciate what I'm trying to achieve in this life. People care so little about so many things... It's a case of accepting that the issue of feeling limited and helpless is a lesson of some kind and that it is probably ultimately useful to me. It's also about finding a way of not caring that others don't care as much about me and other people as I'd like for them to care. And the way I should "not care" is obviously not by closing off emotionally but by realizing that it's simply a pointless stance. The "entity" that feels wronged is a false Ego and not the true Self. What others do is their business and I shouldn't take it personally. This is difficult and there is no easy way out of this cul de sac. 

My husband posed a good question when I talked to him about all this. He said; well if I'd prefer to be a compassionate person, then how does criticism, anger and retribution help? I have fought many wars, so to speak, and I have won a few of them. I have felt, that it's my duty to inform the world about many things that are wrong because I have the ability to see them. I often feel, that where others just go "oh and ah" in a way that seems mindless, I know better and should point out that it's not all as great as it's cracked up to be. Well, you can already hear the false voice speaking when it says "I know better"... Perhaps I do, perhaps I don't. It's pride that makes me state that I do. This kind of civil dissidence is probably a good thing per se. Someone has to be disobedient and complain where injustice prevails. An adrenaline rush can beat you into action where otherwise you'd just sit and do nothing. I don't want to be anybody's doormat, and I fight for my rights to be anything but. That's all very well, and has a lot to do with healthy boundaries.

The problem is that these "wars" hurt my peace of mind, and tend to carry over to general complaints that are more personal in nature. They become automated. The attitude can spill over to your close relationships and harm the connection with the people who matter to you. You may say things that are unnecessarily unkind, and with more negative energy than is called for. It can burn bridges of all kinds. It can get quite destructive. Ultimately, you ask yourself, how does all this help with the attempts to become a more loving and compassionate person? I don't have any good answers just yet, but I'm working on it. For the moment, I try and pause myself before I say something critical about anything at all - I try and be even more vigilant than before, questioning all my critical statements. I ask myself, how is this particular statement useful, and I try and stop automated behaviour. When and if, is anger justified? Meanwhile, my husband has agreed to work on my tense and painful back muscles (the ones right behind the solar plexus have, interestingly, become very painful at late). Let's see if this will ultimately release some of the issues I'm dwelling on in my mind.

Check out this book, it promises to be quite good - taking into account the different life circumstances we find ourselves in, as well as looking at life as a whole.

Integral Life Practice book cover