Tag Archives: psychology

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!

The Crazy Craving for Power

After digesting too much mainstream news, you cannot feel but helpless and pessimistic. If you try to follow stories and sources that supposedly expose the falsity or at least incompleteness of mainstream news, you get an ever grimmer view on this world.

It seems like exploitation, corruption, fraud, theft and oppression is everywhere. It is not a thing of the barbaric past. Neither is it something that only occurs in poor, over-stereotyped developing countries. It is a global, omnipresent “thing”.

I did not write this article to reveal the many secrets (or, for those who believe, conspiracies) that prevent the general public from learning the horrible truths that keep a civilized future just that: a mere “future ideal”. It is up to you to dig and try to figure out how deep down the rabbit hole you’d like to go.

I wrote this to talk more about the “omnipresent thing”. What thing? The craving for power, and all that is related to it (like the temptation of money). What follows is my take on it, my 2 cents.

 

If you have ever heard or read about chaos theory and the theory of complexity, than you might have an understanding of dynamic systems. I am not an expert, but it has influenced my thinking a lot. My idea is that we live in a world that is always changing. The only way for systems to continue their existence, is to adapt, to be dynamic. Otherwise they perish in chaos. Our thinking mind (see previous articles for more information about the thinking mind), which we may also call the Ego, is also like a system. It tries to maintain itself, and to experience a level of comfort while doing so.

 

What does the Ego need? It needs to be able to (or live under the suggestion that it can) exert control; it needs resources like people, self-worth, emotional resources, basic and higher levels of comfort, wealth and money, and energy; it needs the position to be able to leverage between resources, control and the environment.

 

The problems? There is competition, especially at the top of (let’s call it) the pyramid of social existence; resources are depletable and can only be renewed slowly; it is not possible to maintain control of an environment that is constantly changing without changing tactics, or “cheat”.

 

What does the Ego do? It fights the competition by socially acceptable means, or by other means (manipulation, cheating, corruption, extortion, etc.); it is greedy and takes more resources than it actually needs, lowering the chances of the “competition”; it fights a psychological war, by acquiring social or material status; it gains power in its environment and inspires fear into the competition. However, the thinking mind is not the real essence of being. The (let’s call it) soul-mind is the real source of life and consciousness and this pure source has to be intimidated into following the plans and ideas of the Ego, for actually the soul-mind (read more on the soul-mind in earlier articles) does not need the things that the Ego needs. So it has to use trickery in order to survive in its actual form. The Ego feels threatened in its existence and this perceived threat is greater, the higher it is on the ladder of status and power. It will let the soul-mind experience greater fear, and stronger levels of greed, desire for control and need for status.

At the same time, it will become insensitive to things that matter to the soul-mind (like the suffering of other beings, compassion,and empathy) and will offer “the easy way” for any perceived problem. To continue its manipulation and self-affirmation, it can also inspire religious justification for things that are actually more of a political and psychological nature.

 

We see many examples of such justification and manipulation around us, or on “the news”. But it has got nothing to do with spirituality, or even religion.

Is there an alternative? Yes! Power and material fortune, especially when acquired by less humane means, only go so far as to maintain the perceived comfort and control of the Ego. And although fear and greed will keep inspiring to continue on this negative path, the Ego cannot really offer anything lasting and deeply satisfying, it cannot give peace and meaning. The alternatives can, but the Ego feels threatened by them and will do anything to hide them from the soul-mind, its actual real essence. That’s why most people can easily be fooled, manipulated, brainwashed, indoctrinated and tempted.

 

But if they become aware of the false identification with the thinking mind, with the Ego, then they might learn how to let go and find something rewarding and peaceful that no worldy power or money could ever offer. And it is infinite, completely free and available to all!

People who embrace both their true soul-mind, who ignore (but not repress or fight) the illusions of the Ego, and who welcome change and the unknown of the real world that lies beyond this misleading, material one, those people will stop being victims of whatever manipulations or use of power they may be confronted with. It will affect their bodies, but not their soul-minds, and they will not feel the least threatened by it. Because nothing really holds power over us, unless we give it that power by identifying it as such and believing in its effects on us.

The reality that we are served every day by our Ego and the thinking minds of “the competition”, is limited by what can be perceived and constructed in the limited thinking mind world. However, those who partake in it will do anything to further their agendas. Those agendas will only cause suffering to people who still identify with the “thinking mind world”.

 

If you can ignore the screaming tantrums of the brutal, loud and childish thinking mind, the Ego, then you enter a realm of calm and peace. It is this realm that will allow you to see beyond, to welcome the definite reality where all true power and truth reside, where everything is clear and meaningful. In that state of being, the crazy craving for power is transformed in gratefulness and the admiration of the endless beauty of the omnipotent, the omnipresent and the omniscient being of oneness.

The Overwhelmingness of Emptiness

The Overwhelmingness of Emptiness

Try to picture yourself floating in a dark, black room, with no sound, no smell, and no noticeable air friction. It is totally void of any substance that could trigger your senses. There is no background noise. That is hard enough as it is.

Then try to also get rid of everything you think, all your values, your desires, your fears, your plans, your expectations, your assumptions, your beliefs, and… well, you get the idea. Try to experience something like “true emptiness”.

 

This is so hard that Buddhist monks have to learn how to meditate on emptiness for years on end.

Our minds are busy organizers. They continuously shape our mental universe, our mindscape, into a meaningful whole.

You can see this in the way optical illusions work, and in the way the memory of witnesses of a crime lets itself be reshaped, making it susceptible to suggestion and prone to mistakes. You can see it in the way psychologists use varieties of the Rorschach Inkblot Test, where the minds of their clients see meaningful patterns into what in reality are just random patterns of inkblots on a piece of paper.

 

What does this suggest? Our minds want to create meaning. What psychology and other sciences reveal about this might just as well be the tip of the iceberg.

And natural sciences already  suggests a deeper level of reality where things are behaving counter-intuitively.

 

I would like to take it to another extreme: the “real” deeper level of reality is not in any way definite and is much more profound, non-dual and yet infinitely diverse, and unimaginably more fluid than we could ever perceive in our current state of mind. It is like an infinitely small and dense dot where timeless, spaceless reality is a coexistence of endless possibilities, that never take absolute form, but still are able to take meaningful forms and shape meaningful experiences.

Here in mindscape things are finite. We have limits, we die, things break apart, and time passes without ever repeating the same point on the grand scale of history. Here we see certain colors and discriminate them from a small set of others. We observe shapes and clearly recognize them as objective entities that are separate from others. But what if you really try to experience a greater depth in the things you see? If you see a place in nature with a lot of green colors, maybe your mind will notice a few shades, but that’s it. But what if you try to meditate on one shade of green, and then try to experience thousands if not millions of different shades and a kind of perception of “greenness” that connects them all in a kind of unlimited flow, like a never-ending rainbow?

This is just a first little step on the path to trying to understand and appreciate the overwhelming beauty of deeper reality.

 

And yet, it is empty. It is as empty as the dark black room I mentioned earlier, even emptier. That does not sound as beauty, does it? That does not sound like the overwhelming beauty of deeper reality.

The fault lies with your mind. By emptiness I mean the absence of substance of the mind. Absence of the mind is hardly possible, as we are still living in this current reality. But emptiness can be achieved. It requires us to surrender all our presumptions, beliefs, emotions, values, morals, ideas, shapes, percepts, knowledge, and our experience of space and time. It asks us to let go of everything that dictactes reality, everything that our mind tries to influence or control. And when surrendering this, at the same time we surrender ourselves to what lies beneath this “emptiness”, which is in reality overwhelming emptiness, as it is the very opposite of emptiness. Deeper reality is the fullness of emptiness, it is the screaming silence and the flashing darkness, it is shy humility that overpowers you with unimaginable force. It is the smiling diamond that is both fluid AND crystallized, it is every possible shape and percept AT THE SAME TIME, in a now, a present, that never ends. Of course, the words “time” and “end” do not apply, but such are the limitations of language, which is connected to the mind, being is bound to the same limits.

 

So, if surrendering to deeper reality is so wonderful, why is it so hard?

One word: EGO. Our mind is like an organism, it tries to survive and shape its environment. If fears the unknown, it fears chaos, it fears the unexpected and things it cannot comprehend. It fears this, because it means it cannot maintain its equilibrium, its order, its comfortable little universe that makes sense and gives meaning. But change IS inevitable, just as it is necessary. The comfortable mindscape is actually suffocating and it slowly dies, turning into a meaningless void, a psychological hell. Like in the theory of an expanding universe where the distance between stars will grow so vast, and the temperature and energy levels will decrease to such an extent, that it will become like a frozen void. Why is this? Why can’t the mind just create its own meaning? Because it is not FIT to create meaning. It gets its inspiration not from itself, but from deeper reality, which triggers the unconscious. The ego, the control center of the mind, does not want to acknowledge this, and so struggle and suffering are the logical consequences.

The more the ego resists, the more suffering it will cause, and the more rigid its little orderly universe will be in response. It will experience mental chaos as a result of fighting change, and at times it may give in and surrender, but without full-hearted surrender of the spiritual consciousness that actually falsely identifies itself with the mind, it is bound to return to its rigid state.

 

So, emptiness is beauty, and it requires our FULL surrender, which may take a lifetime to accomplish, but is fully and utterly worth it, because it is more than anything else in mindscape can ever be!

Teachers do not Teach

Dictionaries have clear, but not so useful definitions of what teaching and learning are, and academics offer many theories about how, when and where learning takes place. I want to propose my own view.

Whether or not teachers (in both the specific and general sense) use structural and formal methods to teach and assess students, one can raise questions about the extent to which teachers can influence learning.

 

Communication is not digitalised in human beings, information is processed consciously and unconsciously. Signals from the environment trigger the senses which in turn trigger the brain. In the mind information bits are transformed into constructs and are incorporated into the concept of self. It has to make sense, understable in our own language and frame of reference, and has to provide meaning. The physical process is much more complex, but the point is, whether one sees it from a physical, a spiritual, or just a simplistic point of view, we do not simply receive, store and retrieve data like a computer.

 

Learning theories and common sense tell us that learning is highly influenced by motivation, attitude, curiosity, openness to experience, and previous learning experience. I think this is even more profound on a deeper level, where processing is related to the true self in the more definite reality where information and consciousness seem to be interconnected. More profound learning might take place on this level deeper than conscious experience.

 

Constructs inside the mind will help de learner find the necessary information to communicate and therewith reflect what is being taught. But if learning takes place on a deeper level, then there is no easy way to tell what the mind, in its unique mindverse (or mindscape, the thinking mind’s universe of perception) is actually experiencing when learning or retrieving these concepts.

 

Many teaching methods and conditions seem to make it more likely for the student to be triggered into learning, but it all depends on the readiness and processing mode of the mind. It is like deeper level (sub and/or un)consciousness has to be aroused into a certain state of readiness for meaningful learning to actually take place.

 

I honestly believe that on the deepest level of consciousness-accessible reality all information that may ever possibly exist is already there, undifferentiated, like a fluid flowing without taking a solid, finite state. And I think that this information is accessible if the true self is no longer hidden by the fabrications of the mind.

 

So that, to me, means that learning is just a form of remembering and re-connecting, rather than the acquiring of novelties, of new information.

 

All this, in my view, seems to support the notion that the mind teaches itself (and more notably, if applicable, the true self connects and becomes aware, at a deeper level), rather than that the person is being taught by an external agent. Teachers have little influence on the deeper personal learning experience and more specifically with regards to the forms it takes in the mind and self.

But teachers do have influence on the circumstances that trigger the self to “open up” for learning and that allow for the availability of information that can easily be processed. The mindverse will process consciously, but the true self will just become aware, if it is ready.

 

I think the best way to stimulate a positive learning environment is to let the teacher connect to the students’ mindverse and if possible, to the students’ deeper unconscious perception, that takes place at the level of the true self.

But the teacher can only make this connection by becoming aware of, and expressing his or her own true self and deeper experience.

A teacher who is blind to the true self’s experience or whose consciousness is distorted by emotions, desires, conceptions and other fabrications of the thinking mind, will have to deal with a classroom of students who are also less able to connect to the ideal vibe for learning and growing.

A teacher who is aware, unhindered by the thinking mind, and in a state of acceptance, peace and love, will connect and will allow the students to also more easily open up to learning – depending on the willingness of their own thinking mind and deeper self.

Is charity really selfless?

Generosity is to expand the prison of the selfish self to the free wide world of interconnected humanity, it is the gateway to the higher realm of the true self that is ONE with everything, with love in its purest form.

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Likewise, gratefulness transforms the inevitable disappointment of short term gratification and avoidance of change into the unlimited satisfaction of all-encompassing peace and love – where hunger and pain dissolve into harmless dust particles.
This makes charity a much broader concept, which includes things like:
A smile;
Deciding not to say something hurtful or sarcastic;
Being honest in saying “no” to something, but doing so in the most friendly, respectful way;
Giving your seat to someone else who is in higher need of it;
Giving a compliment;
Understanding others;
Taking into account other people’s feelings whenever you do or say something;
Stopping to try changing people who are not yet ready for it;
Refraining from forcing your opinion;
Submitting to life events rather than complaining about them to others.
Who knows? Your simple act of charity could just be the one thing that convinces someone to change despair into hope. Not doing a small good deed might might just be the last negative trigger for someone who is already standing on the horrifying edge of a suicidal cliff.
Even your kind words might change hell into heaven and storms into a summer breeze. How much do we really know about other people’s struggles and the reasons for their behavior – annoying or not?
And in the end, the biggest profit goes to you, freeing you from your imprisoning “thinking self”.

Is self-confidence important?

Self-confidence is like a rock: sturdy, proud, noticeable, capable of breaking threatening waves of insecurity.

Self-acceptance is like water: subtle, underestimated, but when it seeps into the cracks of a rock and freezes overnight, it causes the rock to break, whereas the water endures, because the water just IS, fluid, without a static conception of self.
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Self-confidence is relative to how you value yourself and how you value the context to which the confidence applies. Self-confidence, self-esteem and self-worth are based on the belief that the “self” has a value that can be compared to other values – like “good” versus “bad”. It labels the self.
But if the context changes, the conditions on which the value depends, the confidence will be affected.
The root of this problem is the fact that we use labels and values at all.

As I tried to demonstrate in this earlier post, values, labels and thoughts are the business of the “thinking self”, a way of perceiving the world that is not true to the “true self”.

Self-acceptance is therefore more important than self-confidence.