Tag Archives: choices

Doing time in the Reality Prison

cosmos collage

‘We Are All Doing Time’ is the title of Bo Lozoff’s  book, sometimes called ‘the convicts bible’. Feeling a need to be real or conform to cultural notions of reality is  a prison. It limits our spiritual creativity and expansiveness. It is the ultimate arrogance to believe that our human consciousness can comprehend the enormity of the cosmos.

Quantum weirdness: The battle for the basis of reality a recent article in the New Scientist, shows that even our cutting edge theoretical physicists are beginning to comprehend that our notions of reality are questionable.

It is said that we perceive the world as humans who have evolved to perceive that way. And now in modern physics that perception cannot explain what we see. The cosmos in all its glory is not limited by our human perceptions or concerned about them. I imagine they sometimes laugh as they throw us a few crumbs.

So why am I writing this, what has it got to do with things bushspirit. The truth is something strange happened in my recent workshop ‘soulfood – mens spirit journey’   and I will write about it in my next post. It questioned my socially ingrained sense of “what is real” and I felt  uncomfortable about the prospect of writing on it.

This notion of what is real is such a strong force, it limits us, it limits me. So I wanted to write about it and hope one day to do a prison bust from Supermax reality prison.

We are free to choose our own meaning for the journey whatever that is and for me the only limitation on that sense of meaning is that it does not lead to harm for others.   The universe does not tick off on our sense of meaning, we do.

Simple and Profound – put it in your back pack

bhoddi leaf jpgI read it in an old  manuscript, some Buddhist stuff, 20 years ago. I gave it a place in my spirit mind and polish it regularly. Let me tell it as I did in prison. Prisoners often said, ‘Give us Buddhism without the bullshit’

…………..One day Bill was wandering in the forest, it’s where he thought about life. He heard these voices and saw some blokes in a clearing all dressed in orange robes, sitting in a circle around this dude also in orange robes. They were yakking  away  with all this high falutin intellectual shit. Yet he was curious, the main guy seemed to have  something going for him.

So Bill steps in and says ‘ guys I cant understand any of this crap, can you give it to me, simple like in one sentence?’ The main guy turns, smiles, says ‘What a great question, my answer is – If you can learn not to hold on to anything, then you will have learnt all I have to teach’

Bill – ‘Sounds profound, give us an example’

Hmm Ok, says the leader – The old hunters in the forest where I come from used to catch monkeys to eat. They would find a coconut, cut a hole in it, just large enough for a monkey to get a closed hand in. Then they would tie the nut to a small shrub and put  a big  piece of dried fruit into the coconut. The hunter would lie down nearby and wait. Soon a curious monkey would inspect the coconut put his hand in and grab the fruit and try to get it out but his  hand was stuck. He would not let go and pulled and pulled, shaking the shrub and screeching. The hunter  woke up, crept up behind  the monkey and hit him over the head with a stick – took him home and ate him.

monkey-trap 01So we are like the monkey, when we suffer in any way we are usually not letting go of something. If we can understand what it is that we are holding and can let it go, we will lessen our suffering. It is a life times work, just letting go. As we let go, it is like  passing through a new door to a new room and after a while we see more things to let go and pass through more doors or gates into new places. Just remember when you die you let go of everything whether you like it or not.

The catch is working out what to let go off at any time of struggle, because it is not always obvious. This is where learning to be still and becoming  more aware comes in, looking for the causes or awaiting an insight to visit informing us of the cause and so maybe things to let go.

nobutada just buddhaMany use meditation for this. Just sitting still, relaxing the body and watching the breath in the stomach or the nose rise and fall, come in go out. Letting the mind be fully aware of all the aspects and qualities of the breath. Being aware of the thoughts and feelings that distract us from the task and letting them go and moving back into the awareness of the breath.

Not only do we become more and more aware of all the thoughts and feelings that inhabit our body/mind but we learn to inhabit a bigger awareness space, like climbing a mountain, we see more.

Its simple process, become aware, let go where necessary –  Not easy but an important item in your backpack.

Eagle – Fire – Truth Sticks – Ethics and Choice

eagle panorama largeSome things are hard and difficult. Choices to be wholesome or avoid harm goes by another name Ethics. Not a comfortable topic. Often I find people dodge and weave or leave the room when it comes up.

Why is that? Maybe it is due to our childhood and current experience of how debased the work ethics and morality has become. We see and hear religious leaders talk about and don’t abide by it. They also say things like no contraception and no masturbation, we know that is crap. We hear them say ‘Act in kindness cause no harm’ and then see them do the opposite.  So we see  much hypocrisy we throw the concept away.

I suggested to a guy advertising life stage training for men that he should include work on ethics. He replied that ‘ we don’t do abstract and intellectual things’. I felt like saying ‘ Well how about an uncle holding down his nine-year old niece and raping her, is that abstract ?’ Sounds over the top, but I work as a counsellor and prison chaplain, and often hear stories like this. It is very real for me and it happens.

So we need the courage of the eagle, the truth of the fire and to stand up straight like the truth sticks. In my work with groups of men and some women around violence prevention ( domestic violence ) I realised that for many some sense of core value or ethics was missing from their life – missing from society in a way. Without an appropriate core value around not doing harm, how could anyone learn to change? So I read and researched and reflected on something useful to use in my work. I came up with the following. It’s not really new or rocket science, perhaps a new way of saying and packaging it.

Chose to be  wholesome as a foundation for living!

  1. I have a choices.
  2. I am responsible for my choices.
  3. I can choose to act in a positive and loving way.
  4. I can choose not to cause harm.
  5. I can choose to be aware of the effect of my thoughts and actions on myself and others.

So this statement became the foundation of my courses on violence prevention. I would present, explain and discuss this, invite questions, first up. A choice would then be offered.

  • If you can accept this, then you can learn something from this course.
  • If you can’t accept this, then you are wasting your time here and may as well leave.

No one ever left and there was some positive learning for us all. So I offer this to you and invite you to always ask me if I am following this in what I do. It applies to small and big things. In particular those wearing religious robes or claiming to teach ways of better living, who can’t follow this, should consider both buying new clothes and changing occupations.

The wedge tail eagles of the Morton National Park, endorse this and it is part of the local dreaming – Lyrebird Dreaming.