Tag Archives: psychology

We Know, Yet, We Resist

Man loses his job, then, feeling quite the loser, instead becomes a boozer.

Woman escapes abusive relationship, then falls prey to exactly the same type of misogynistic, masochistic monster.

Our true selves know. They have always known. They are knocking on our doors, yet we do not open, as if they were pertinacious Yehova’s Witnesses or relentless debt collectors.

We dread the ill news they bring, the news of hope and change, of purpose, the real news we need to hear.

Since we are naturally inclined to revolt against needs which cause such dismay and unrest, we are tempted to follow wants instead of needs.

The list of wants may seem endless: consumer goods, drugs, alcohol, sex, enchanting sights, squishies, seductive smells, self-serving ideas, intellectual achievements, Girl Scouts Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies, comforts, repetition, instincts, emotions, depression, patterns, and familiar, but horrific types of (abusive) partners.

When good news – and I do not mean Yehova’s Witnesses here – knocks gently on our doors, we often crawl back under the safety of our blanket of familiarity.

If it bangs on the door and adversity strikes, we dig deep into the seemingly rich soil of those wants, which develop into extremities, monstrosities of addiction and derealization, anything that can numb the pain.

Tragically, even at the bottom, when we realize that none of the tempest’s promises have come true, we are often unwilling to exchange wants for needs, and grow bitter in contempt or denial.

And the more we deny, eventually, the louder our true selves will come knocking at the door. It is us who have to find the courage and strength of will to open it, for it will never open by itself. And once the door is opened, something majestic happens, that humbles us and makes us wish we could take back all our wrongs. Why didn’t we choose needs rather than wants, why didn’t we submit to purpose and fulfillment rather than to denial and escapism?

Painting: Vladimir Makovsky

The Amorphous Ocean: From the Dynamics of the Manifested World to the Unmanifested Nature of Higher Reality

Water.

H2O.

Water is the key to life, it covers most of the Earth’s surface, it is one of the main ingredients for the recipe of our body, and we need to drink plenty of it in order to survive. It is used in spiritual rituals, cools us comfortably during hot summers, and also dampens the spirits of forlorn creatures in autumn, when it pours down relentlessly for days on end.

It can also be a destructive force, for instance when a massive tsunami wave crashes down onto a hapless coastal settlement, ruining the forsaken coast dwellers.

Water can be a perfect ice cube, all it’s power and virility seemingly contained.

When evaporated, it becomes like a ghost, unseen yet present, transforming into raindrops or even snowflakes if conditions allow it.

Such is the versatility of the phenomenon called water, and what does that tell us, at least as an analogy? Much, but let’s focus on the different states.

The ice cube. Frozen water. On first impression flawless and motionless. In reality more complex than that, but for the sake of my argument, let’s assume it is in a perfect state of order. Fascinating as it might be, it is also rather lifeless. Imagine being turned into a statue, like in a fairy tale, frozen in a certain state, never able to get out of it. Or, if you still want to allow for some mobility, being stuck in a day, a day that keeps repeating itself in exactly the same order and manner in an endless cycle. Both the static and cyclic state seem rather miserable, right? Let that be the extreme of perfect order.

Now let’s zoom in on the tsunami again. A huge wave creating havoc. Death, destruction, despair. Only miracles of a spiritual nature, or marvels of a scientific origin, could heal what was hurt, and restore what was lost. Some will be traumatized for life, others will be financially ruined. Such is the cost of chaos, the other extreme.

Neither extreme seems desirable. Neither the state of order nor the state of chaos can sustain life. And yet both are necessary. The magic happens at a very small area in the middle, a kind of “golden zone”, where chaos provides the degrees of freedom, and order helps maintain some kind of continuity, an equilibrium. Not a static equilibrium, but one that is fed by chaos, adapts, grows, and even learns. This is where complexity occurs, where all that makes existence beautiful and lively emerges, and where intelligence comes into existence.

Chaos is like total freedom, randomness, meaninglessness, unpredictability, and instability. It is movement without purpose, without direction.

Order is the opposite: it is control, rigidity, predictability, and stability. It is either static or cyclic (though the latter seems more apparent in this universe, which seems to be always in motion).

Complexity is the moving equilibrium between those two extremes, a delicate balance where order maintains form, but chaos allows it to grow more complex and better adapt to the conditions of its context of existence. Going to either of these extremes will lead to either stagnation and maladaptation (too much order) or decay and annihilation (chaos).

These ideas of order, chaos, and complexity, if you ask me, can be used, to describe things that happen in the universe, from the smaller scales of particles (like in thermodynamics) to the larger scales of galaxy formation. They can be used to describe the dynamics of the human mind, and those of human society. Something I am trying to do in my book, which is still in progress.

If the conditions of the early universe would have been too random, or rather too rigid, galaxies, and life as we know it, would probably never have evolved.

These concepts of order, chaos and complexity seem to be very useful in describing what I see and experience, what I rationalize about, whatever their scientific worth may be.

However, what does all of this tell us about the more spiritual side of existence, on which I have been writing stubbornly for the last few years?

Let’s consider the ocean: vast, seemingly endless, borderless, shapeless, humbling, inspiring, majestic, and remorseless. If you behold her like a poet would, not a scientist, she takes no definite shape, but incessantly flows and brings forth waves. She consists of countless individual drops, yet those drops are part of the whole and have sacrificed their stricter individuality, they are “one”. Everything that could be formed out of the ocean’s water, either as a whole or as a part of her, is in a way already there, like ice cubes, snow flakes, or even ice sculptures. However, none of those forms are manifested, they remain latent yet are always potentially there.

When water evaporates from the ocean, cooling down and eventually transforming into hailstones, these hailstones are like “manifested order”. Like Erwin Schrödinger’s proverbial “cat”, from the Quantum Mechanics thought experiment, which seems to be in two conflicting states: alive and dead, suddenly coming alive as a manifested creature, as in the collapse of a quantum wave describing the possible states of existence.

The ocean, the unmanifested, called Brahman in Hindu philosophy – the Absolute, the pure and formless ground of being from which creation and manifestation arise – is NOT chaos, or change. It is absolute flow, but as it is formless, it is not change. Change and chaos (the extreme version of change) only occur when there is order, when something has already been manifested, when something has arisen out of nothingness. So when the tsunami wave crashes down onto the coastal settlement, it causes chaos because the coast and the settlement were already there in the first place.

In the unmanifested ocean which I will now call the “higher reality”, and to which I have referred many times in earlier writings, all those things that can be described using the concepts of chaos, order, and complexity also exist, but not as a manifested form, as they are always in motion, and always “whole”, divided yet one. As it seems impossible to fully comprehend, let alone clearly describe, what this vast ocean of the unmanifested actually is, we mortal manifestations of that higher reality might refer to it in various abstract or comforting terms, and from a religious perspective that could be what is meant by “God”.

Like the drops in the ocean, at the deepest level, we are part of this higher reality, and yet we experience existence as something that is manifested in a certain mold we refer to as the physical universe. We experience a distinct self, related to a distinct body, in a world full of other distinct forms and other distinct, conscious beings, behaving as if separated, following sets of physical rules which may be uncovered through the various sciences, within a framework of space and time which, at least at the macroscopic level, to the conscious mind, seems to unfold as a one way deterministic trip from past to future; and even science, probing this manifested universe only, has a thing or two to teach about this seemingly unidirectional movement of time and space – especially at the smallest scales, where past and future states, or rather even time itself, seem nonexistent.

Again, order must be manifested in order for chaos to emerge, and growth (complexity) arises due to the interplay of those two extremes, at a very specific, optimal intersection. Complexity, therefore, must seem nonexistent too in the formless ocean that is unmanifested higher reality, right? It is like everything you will ever be, and everything you ever can be, already exists. What is the point of growth? In manifested reality, you might want to find and embrace the ocean, which you had forgotten when you embraced (or were determined to embrace) mortal life. Then the whole journey toward spiritual enlightenment would just be an uncovering of what was lost, and finally overcoming that amnesia fully, forever forsaking the distinct self that had forgotten its true origins.

It is my belief, therefore, that through life in the manifested world, something is gained, a way of perceiving the unmanifested that would otherwise have been impossible. And I am confident that we are each on our own personal quest to find our own purpose in this bewildering enrichment of consciousness, to find our own true voice in the all-encompassing, time and space-independent heavenly choir of meaningful experience, a unique unity which may only be achieved by overcoming all our shortcomings, and our egocentric self, as those lead to the state of duality which traps us in the illusion of conflicting manifestations, in its most extreme form a kind of hell of separateness and isolation.

So embark on this journey, defy the odds, embrace the ocean fully, and, once discovering your true sound, add your own fabulous voice to the orchestra of spiritual existence.

Image: Albert Bierstadt – The Shore of the Turquoise Sea

Satisfaction or Sacrifice for the Sake of Salvation

Attachment, attraction, affiliation, aversion.

Four A’s.

Four horrible, but omnipresent A’s.

We are attracted to things, possessions, achievements, pleasures, people, ideals, values, concepts, and anything between heaven and earth that rewards us temporarily with neurological highs.

At the same time we feel aversion towards things that hinder satisfaction, or that put as in any kind of disadvantage, even suffering.

When we attain certain things, and they become valuable, like luxury goods, titles, money, a partner and, especially, our own self, our ego, we feel affiliation with them – identify with them – and they become part of who we are, of the who we present to the world, and the who we enjoy looking at in the mirror. We grow attached to those shiny rubies of experience.

The thing is, none of it is durable, none of it lasts, so we keep on looking for reinforcements or replacements. It does NOT work. We can fool ourselves, and fool others, but deep inside, our TRUE SELF knows it is just a load of utter codswallop.

Once we embrace and start feeding our true self, we will become conflicted. We might get stressed, frustrated, scared, or even angry. The mind does not like such conflict, but it is for the best, we have to overcome and persevere.

I have talked about the true self before. Let’s introduce the concept of sacrifice. In some cultures it is commonplace to perform ritual sacrifice. Such ceremonies might be aimed at feeding the poor and creating greater social awareness, but sacrifice goes much deeper than that.

In certain religious traditions (especially the Abrahamic ones) it is narrated that certain people who were searching God, were asked to sacrifice the lives of their spouse or children. Now, most would (hopefully) not agree with actually killing family members to appease God, but it is paramount to try to appreciate and acknowledge the significance of the willingness to “give up everything.”

What matters, it seems to me, in such extreme cases, is the coming to a realization that nothing in this world should be hold so dearly as to never wanting to part with it under any circumstance. It should be clearly stated, however, that I do not intend for this to mean “to not hold anything dearly”, or to actually give those things up. On the contrary, I encourage holding dearly to what matters, to people who matter, in life, however, not to the extent of sacrificing one’s true self. The crucial lesson here is to let go of all identification with anything else than the true self. One can still love, care, and even achieve – as a matter of fact, when embracing the true self primarily, such love can become even more profound! – but one is no longer bound by them to the realm of the finite and manifested, the universe of unavoidable tragedy. It will transform the self from a self of wants into a self of needs, and from a self of needs into a self of being. A self that simply is, without any need of becoming anything else than itself.

Sacrifices do not need to be drastic and dramatic, like in the case of hermit monks or the people told about in religious traditions. Small sacrifices are small steps, but small steps can lead to bigger ones, and even the change in awareness, and the willingness to change associated with these small steps, can bring about a whole chain reaction in the self.

The sacrifices made are not just for the sake of those who might benefit from them, even more so they are for the sake of our own betterment, for the salvation of our true self. And the salvation of our true self is the best gift we can provide our loved ones with, a beautiful self is worth more than the world’s most expensive jewels.

Photography by Peter van Delft

Why Acceptance is a superpower

Beauty hides around every corner of existence, if we but only use our true eyes to see it

We mortals seem to be doomed to live our lives as slaves, ruled by the ruthless slaver called emotional response, a relentless beast that gets a firmer grip on our well-being the more painful experiences are added to our experience.


Are we destined to suffer the life of slaves, the life of agony?
Are we programmed to get angry every time we hit heavy traffic or encounter a case of severe weather when it is least opportune to us, even though part of us knows it is pointless?

If you read about the science of the brain and free will, you might come to such a mortifying conclusion.

That, however, does not take into account the superpower of acceptance.Generations of philosophers and countless mystic traditions have inspired us to find that power, but most of us take no heed. I was no different. Always got frustrated, depressed or scared when life lashed out with its whip of confrontation.
I finally figured out that there are only two choices: be a puppet of pain, or a superhero; be enslaved, or free.


Whatever we resist, becomes a blockade, which drains us of energy, spirit and creativity, and eventually can lead to chaos: a disruption of the system in the form of psychological illness and misbehavior. We either shut down in depression, explode into fury, or tremble out of fear.


Acceptance is the only way to go, and in intercourse with other beings, but even in relation to the whole of existence – which is all interconnected – forgiveness is a power not to be reckoned with.
The MORE you can accept AND forgive, the more FREEDOM you will attain! You can abide in traffic like a wise master, and sit out a violent storm like an enlightened being, by virtue of the elegant power of acceptance.

Emotions are intentions, directions, masters of their own, but struggling in endless conflict with their irrational opposites and extremes, and with the impossibility of their realisation.
Freedom lies not in want or will, it lies in an absence of want, the blissful void of acceptance. 

Acceptance of yourself and of small setbacks leads to a small state of flow, like when playing tennis. Acceptance of all the exists and happens, even the most horrific truths and immeasurable agony, is the key to ultimate freedom, the path to be truly human, superhuman.

Conquering the final frontier of existential bondage, the serfdom that binds us to our experiential overlords, is the only true freedom that can be acquired in mankind’s tragic existence.

The question is, do you want to serve, or rule? Use your superpower or be subdued by it?The choice, albeit a hard one, is yours to make.

Photography by Peter van Delft

Truth and the Ruthlessness of her Impostors

Existence is full of lies.

People lie all the time, they lie socially, professionally, or even in the name of a religion.

 

Your eyes (in reality it concerns the parts of your brain dealing with vision) lie, when pretending to represent a consistent visual reality, which can easily be disproved through experiments with optical illusions.

 

The memory of a crime suspect lies, when interrogators use too “convincing” techniques to force a confession.

 

Similarly, the brain of a psychiatric patient lies, when remembering child abuse that did not actually take place, but was suggested with ample psychological conviction and influence by a therapist.

 

Even a photon, one of the many sent on a light-speed journey from the Sun to Earth, lies, if it claims to be a particle, rather than a wave, or the other way around. At least it is the instrument causing the interference in the quantum state, that lies, or the brain of the person operating it. I am far from well-versed in the intricacies of physics, let alone astrophysics, yet these ideas seem significant to me in this context.

 

Big, manifest things like trees lie, while actually being collections of cells, which are actually organised molecules, which are actually atoms – with unimaginably large voids of seeming nothingness separating them – which are actually protons, neutrons and electrons, which are actually quarks (as “strange” and “charming” they may portray themselves), which are things we can hardly visualize at all in our imagination.

 

The whole universe lies, pretending to be rich and full, hundreds of billions of galaxies each oozing with the light and life of hundreds of billions of stars – and presumed planets, while actually expanding toward a state of emptiness so vast it can never be bridged.

 

Even science, though it may humble us enough to sacrifice other lies, may lead to its own lies, if its adherents claim to have come close to an understanding of the deepest layers of truth, while it may never be proven, through traditional science, how the reality we all share and call the universe, is rooted into the more definite reality which must lie beyond, and which we may never fully understand. Who is to say we can ever escape the biases ingrained in our very being, the fact that we were already born into a certain predetermination toward order, the laws and inclinations that made life possible, and that somehow emerged out of the soup of chaos that was the early universe. There is no range of parallel universes available to us – with current abilities and understanding – to do a control experiment, by means of which we could see if our perceived state of our own universe could be generated from random and varying conditions at conception.

 

All that is manifest and to which we attach ourselves is a mere lie if we take it for granted and fail to see the mystery and uncertainty behind “existence”, the majesty of the unknown, the chaos that is actually the very origin of order.

Yet, most self-proclaimed truths are impostors who do an awfully convincing job of letting us believe they are our salvation, rather than our doom.

 

The unknown, the pit of nothingness, which many of us fear, is the true source of existence, the Higher Reality where there are no restraints, limits, boundaries, discriminations, flaws, definites, absolutes, paradoxes, irrationalities, vanities, concepts, percepts, or any forms that might show the faintest trace of persistence.

 

That is the One Truth, the very source of wonders we need to embrace, a fearsome, yet immeasurably magnificent ocean, unbound by the ruthless masters of space and time, where we, as individual drops, loose all the ignorance of individuality and ego, but acquire the kind of freedom that does not exist in ordinary reality.

 

Only in true surrender, true acceptance, true sacrifice, and true humility, can this truth be obtained, if it can ever be obtained to its fullest. Plunging into the deep can be frightening, having to drown first and loose everything, but it will be ever so rewarding, once we are reborn and refurnished as a more enlightened being.

Words of Wisdom for 2018

Words of Wisdom for 2018

Happy New Year and all the love and blessings you need!

I usually don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions (Actually, I still don’t), and casual words of wisdom related to Christmas, New Year’s Eve or any other occasion typically strike me as a bit naïve.

Change comes when it has to, when the person is ready. But even if we are not ready, some inspiration may be taken to heart, only to be used at a later time.

Here are some “words of wisdom” which are based on my own experience, some day they may be of use to those who are able to relate.

 

The key to win the hearts of others is to find your inner purity and calmness, and allow others to share in that still water, absorbing all imperfections and allowing them to be themselves.

 

The solution to solve conflicts is to give up the need for “justice”, as that is just an ego thing, but to replace it with understanding and acceptance, without sacrificing or changing yourself into an expectation of others.

 

Sometimes suffering due to mistakes in life is unavoidable, because spiritual growth depends on the progression of insight, and if you are not ready for the next step upwards, you need to fall downwards first.

 

Using medicine or therapy to solve Issues might help you daily life get on track, but often these problems have an important story to tell, and the lessons learned from these stories may inspire the great things that we often admire or envy in others.

 

 

Let 2018 be the year of purity, the year in which we listen to the stories that our challenges and tragedies are trying to tell us!

About the picture: Caspar David Friedrich – Der Wanderer über dem Nebelmeer (Wikimedia Commons)

The Power of Perceptive Parenting

Tantrums and parental conundrums.

Raising kids is one of the most challenging “professions”. Being a parent is a “job” that lasts for years or even a lifetime, and you cannot – reasonably – quit or ask for better terms and benefits.

 

Before they go to school, those fascinating creatures under your charge will learn mostly in the environment sustained by their parents, but as soon as school comes into the picture, this shaping and modelling environment expands, and other rolemodels will start setting the examples. And don’t forget that they have their very own temperaments, finetuned to their own needs, not yours.

 

Yes, it can be rewarding at times, when they show their affection or proudly demonstrate the new skills they’ve acquired. But often you might feel powerless and tired.

 

So if we feel overpowered and exhausted, what is the biggest Issue? Perception. I will explain later.

 

As a parent, I have learned about, and tried to use, authoritative and permissive styles, and a mixture thereof.

Many people have been giving advice, often contradicting that of others. I did not even try popular books, that follow trends every few years. It just doesn’t add up for me.

 

But I started to pay attention to what was actually going on when I felt like a bad parent. I noticed that if I was tired, feeling out of control, or otherwise struggling with myself, my kids were also more restless, naughty and moody.

 

The first thing I tried to change was aligning my behavior with my words. So instead of just asking or commanding them things to do, I would also make myself a rolemodel, acting out what I said. That helped to some extent, but I still felt discord and frustration.

 

Then I went a little deeper, trying to open myself to the kinds of spiritual ideas I have been playing with for the last few years. Then it became evident to me that the kids connected to whatever state of consciousness I was in.

If I felt harmony, positivity and control, they would be easier to manage too. If I slid into a state of “duality” and my thinking mind would pull me into negative spirals of thoughts, the resulting disfunctional emotional chaos would be picked up by my kids and they would express the same kind of chaos in a different way. They would either be angry, naughty, unmotivated or they would just complain all the time. They would seek attention, any type of attention, even negative.

 

But, the key was not just the attention, because that would not lift them up to a more balanced state of mind. The key was the kind of attention that would help them connect to MY unity, rather than MY duality.

 

So, how to do this?

First you need to create unity in yourself (please refer to earlier posts about [non-]duality and living in the present) and observe and accept everything, resulting in freedom and peace of mind. You will notice that it gives you a perception of control. Not full control, that’s fear, but the kind of control a surfer has over his surfboard while mastering the big waves of the sea. Then, PERCEIVE.

Perceive the duality in your child. Understand it, act it out and respond to it, without using your own sense of unity. Then, once that ship is sailing, wait patiently for your child to slowly, but surely, connect to you. Invite them softly, absorb their expressions of disruptive emotions and duality without judging, without being triggered into an emotional state too – apart from kindness.

You can often cancel disruptive emotions by working with opposite states, like waves with opposite forms that cancel each other out, but eventually silent and peaceful acceptence will be the state of mind that the are invited into, so they can fully connect to unity.

I know this sounds easier than it actually is, and a little abstract, but it is something you can experiment with, if you already have a little bit of a background in spiritual ideas related to non-duality.

 

And this works in any type of relationship, not just the relationship with your kids.

Perceive, be, accept, connect.

The Paradoxical Need for Suffering

To be honest, I’m horrified by suffering.

My own sufferings, though perhaps modest in comparison to those of others, mostly left me furious, and full of doubt and disappointment. But one thing I know for sure now – as sure as a man can be in a subjective universe – is that I learned something in every single troublesome period of my life, a necessity of experience and insight that I would never have been able to acquire had I not suffered the way I did.

 

I am not going to preach here – let’s leave out religious opinions that so commonly ignite fires of disagreement or even are a cause for contempt – just going to share my experience and insights. I have struggled with cancer and with loads of personal and family drama, but I do not regret having experienced those things. What I DO regret, is that I was unable to accept everything the way it was, that I resisted, fought, and over-analyzed everything. But even that has, on the long run, helped me gain knowledge and tools that are very useful now.

 

But enough about me, let’s try to see it from a different perspective. Imagine you have a child that is suffering from cancer. Mayhaps a daughter, a charming little five-year-old daughter. She still has a long, beautiful life ahead of her, many friends to make, smiles to show and tears to shed. But all of that will be taken away, because that horrible sickness is devouring her every molecule of hope and livelihood. To make things worse, the monster that’s eating her up also makes her suffer, her every waking breath one of agonizing pain.

 

Now here comes the clue. There is a treatment. It is a proven treatment, will leave her fully cured and with no risk involved, because the doctors know what they’re doing, and they are one hundred percent dedicated to your lovely little girl. There is only one problem: it is very painful. It will make her scream, she will have nightmares and at night she will wake up and curse you and the doctors for doing that to her. But it is the only way, and once that short, but horrible treatment is over, she will be healthy, strong, and, as a side-effect, she will also forget what she went through, a no-trauma guarantee.

 

Suffering she will, even without the treatment. But without the treatment, there is no hope. With the treatment, she will go through a hell of pain and fear, but after that it will be like she’s reborn.

The question is: what would you choose as a parent?

Short, severe, suffering, with the prospect and certainty of having a perfectly healthy happy daughter afterwards?

Or call off the treatment, but let her slowly die a death that leaves her without any hope of betterment, of happiness, of life?

If she resists the treatment, she will suffer longer, but eventually, she will cure. The only thing needed is for you to sign the parental consent form, for she is underage.

What would you do?

 

Some spiritual truths, whether we believe in them or not, are very counter-intuitive, very hard to swallow, even disgusting in our common sense of morality. But I believe, in the greater perspective of the higher realm of reality, where there are no absolute differences, where there exists no absolute suffering, and where there are no absolute time or space, it all makes sense. And suffering makes sense too, but only if we submit, accept and reach a higher plain of insight, where the little events of daily material life, that haunt us all the time, seem insignificantly small and meaningless.

 

I have learned personally that suffering made me wiser, and also happier. It left me with scars, but the scars healed and eventually made me a more multi-dimensional person. Whenever I was able to submit, and let go, the suffering was short and less painful, but each time I got upset and resisted, it left me cursing and crying in agony and self-pity. And the times when I SHOULD have received some trials, and they did not appear, I became a lesser me, with some of my resolve and wisdom dissolved, and it created problems I could have avoided otherwise.

 

For me, and maybe also for you, suffering is actually beneficial, it is the treatment that, while enduring it, might seem like unfair and horrible, but which, once you submit to it and let it heal you, will make you a better you, a stronger you!

 

Of course that does not mean that you should seek out suffering, and especially not affect others with it. The beneficial type of suffering is the one that comes uninvited, throught the agency of life events that all play a roll in the greater script, the drama script of the omniverse of the higher reality.

I, the Stubborn, Arrogant Writer, Refuse to Conform

I refuse to conform.

Short sentences!

Show, don’t tell!

Not too many characters!

Avoid using too much imagery!

Stay away from cliches!

Don’t be too abstract!

Not too philosophical!

 

I refuse.

Refuse to give in to what modern writers’ communities, and readers’ communities alike, keep asking me to conform to.

Call me arrogant, call me stubborn, or any other type of negative personality adjective.

But I refuse.

 

Why?

 

I believe in what I have to say. There is a reason for me writing the way I do. Changing my style feels like treachery, betrayal of my true self and what my true self has to say. I am not a prophet, not a Messiah who receives divine messages through the whisperings of an angel. But I do believe in the meaning, perpective and the form of the tale I have to tell. It is of the utmost importance that I stay true to myself. And so should you, if you are a writer. But that’s off-topic.

 

These days people get used to short catchy sentences, fast visuals and concrete, straight-to-the-point messages. Faster and easier to digest for a informational digestion system that is already being stuffed with information and either develops mental indigestion or intellectual diarrhea. But informational fast food comes at a cost. We lose the wonders of pondering, the miracle of discovering hidden truths, and the majestic rewards that can be given to patient readers.

 

What do I want to write, being such a arrogant, stubborn and demanding writer?

Fantasy and hopefully some wisdom, treasures of insight and life lessons, the reward for the patient seeker.

But even though I create my own world, have more or less unique races, and even use monsters, magic and many more of such fantasy cliches, I do not want it to be “just an exciting, action-packed story.”

 

What I want to show is the perspective of the characters, in a way that is much more profound, showing how they psychologically deal with all the events that, to me, in most other fantasy stories, just seem to be added purely for suspense. I want to pull the readers into psychological depths, not with difficult jargon and academics, but by begging their patience in following long trains of thoughts and related conversations that are so common in our daily struggles with life, but are mostly filtered out in modern storytelling. Not to bore the readers, but to offer a deeper insight into motivations, into the processing of traumata and other events, and into personal development – or the stagnation thereof.

 

I realize that much of this can also be done through “show”, actions speaking for thoughts, but I believe that it leaves too much to the interpretation of the readers – which in itself is not bad, it makes the story unique for every reader. I want to offer different perspectives, not just their projections, so the readers can really learn about the characters in great detail, and learn from them, live with them.

And, in a way, they will have the privilege of looking inside my head, as the writing reveals a lot about me. I am confident that they, by learning about my struggles and subsequent victories and insights, through the experiences of the story’s characters, can also learn how to deal with their own struggles.

 

At times I really NEED abstract, philosophical or flowery language, in order to make the read work, sweat and bleed, so that their rewards will be equally more profound, as they have to go into the depths of their own experience and intellectual treasures as well, if they want to be able to find an answer that makes sense.

It might seem that the storyline cools down to absolute zero, an eternal static nothingness, but that will only be temporary, as temperature is soon to rise again, allowing for more action and (relatively) fast dialogues.

 

I am not ashamed to say that I borrow cliches and tropes from time to time, because in my experience that some of the more noticeable ones became cliches because they touch universal truths and challenges, that mankind has to face in all ages, all generations. Like archetypes that stand out in the seemingly seemingly endless varieties of personalities and conditions. Of course, I try to be original and authentic wherever I can, but I will use both my own ideas and some (slightly modified) tropes to help my readers connect to powerful ideas, which are supposedly equally insightful and entertaining.

 

I write for readers who like to be challenged, especially young readers, as the main characters are mostly teenagers. I seek brave souls who dare to jump into the deep end of the pool of mental struggle, diving to the bottom to find hidden treasure, treasure that will help them find meaning, hope, and wisdom, most notable also their own (often ignored) wisdom.

 

I write for fighters, for those who want to fight for ideas and who do not take wisdom for granted. I aim at adventurers who LOVE struggle, who CRAVE storms and turmoils of ink and words in order to achieve inner calm and enlightenment.

I write for the generation that wants to believe in itself.

The Abnormality of Normality

Imagine you are, involuntarily, joining a sect the members of which are as cruel as you can imagine. They sacrifice human lives and feast in blood while they praise some bloodthirsty deity that inspires deeds that make the average terrorist seem like a peace-loving citizen.
Now, if that sect would take over the world, it would become “the norm”.
Now there are a handful of people like you. A minority. You are who you are now – you don’t believe in violence and evil deities. Are you what would be considered “normality”?
Statistically and socially, you wouldn’t be – not in that scenario.
You might argue that there are other frameworks of reference to determine “normality”, but that is not what I think is meant by “being normal” in popular usage.
Being extraordinary is most certainly not normal. But many of us enjoy peace, technology, art and healthcare that extraordinary humans helped made possible.
Being spiritually so advanced that you renounce the material and embrace the immaterial – becoming again the being of pure, shapeless light and love you actually are at the deepest level – is as abnormal as can be.
Greed is normal. Ignorance is. Lust for power. Herd behavior is too.
Kindness is rare, selflessness rarer, enlightenment possibly impossible.
At least from a “normal” point of view.
It might be different from a spiritual point of view.
But only the smallest of minorities understands that, whereas the vast majority claims the truthfulness of their “norm”.
So what to do?
At the very least, for one fricking day, try NOT to be normal, try to be extraordinarily abnormal! Abnormal in embracing the abnormality of spiritual growth!

Follow the waveform of love and change, if you submit and open your mind, you will recognize it. You surf it, and if you fall, you just get back up and continue surfing. Don’t make it too complicated. It’s not about weird rituals or pseudo-scientific philosophies. It’s about you no longer restraining your true self, but hugging it, as you should hug change and love. Identify with the crystal-clear voice of goodness and power inside your heart, let go of vanities and the show of illusional shadows in which we are starring as sorrowful actors every day. Just trust what feels as pure and good and ignore what does not. You deserve it!