Picking up a couple of the themes from the last post my opening gambit here is “What moves us?” And as we know we all have a very limited number of ideas and themes running through our minds, so no surprises with the topics. But there may be some insights with the analysis.
I’ve always admired David Byrne of the Talking Heads. Eccentric, intelligent, rebellious, attractive and entertaining. You could say unique. Back in the early 80’s I had just made one of the most important decisions in my life and ended up on a high-level management training course instead of buying into left-wing entryist politics, i.e. Militant. It literally was a decision made on the eve of travelling to the course venue. The experience changed my life and set me on a path that I am still on. I’m convinced, given my personality, the political path would either have been a damp squib or an ultimately spectacular failure. Or the worst possible scenario. My being elected.
One of the resonances was when I was in a Bristol nightclub during week two of the three week course. The alcohol may have been disorientating but it was a very poor second behind the self-analysis and introspection induced by the training. The song that captured my mood and began my admiration for Byrne (who was born in Scotland and moved to Canada, then later America when he was a child. And I’ve just discovered he is one month older than me) was “Road to Nowhere.”
“We’re largely unconscious,” says Byrne. “We operate half-awake, on autopilot. And we end up with a house and family and job and we never stop and ask how did we get here.”
When people like Byrne, Dylan, Lennon and McCartney, Harrison, Pink Floyd-you fill in the rest-write songs, we often pour over the lyrics to find meaning. If you go on the net you will find endless streams of subjective analysis. However the quote above is about Byrne’s own song “Once-in-a-Lifetime.” I’m with him. Through the semi-drunken haze in Bristol I was asking myself that same question. How did I get here?
Move forward nearly 40 years. It’s a combination of irony, bemusement and occasional irritation that I feel when I reflect that “Woke” has seemingly hijacked and stalled the spiritual awakening of humanity. Spirituality is another word for connection. “Woke” is another word for division. But if the cat is out of the bag, the horse has bolted, it’s a done deal and the mind once stretched can never return to its original dimensions, then Woke is a passing phase. Just like Freedom Fries, Nirvana Spas and Takeaways and the Truth marketing agency.
I’ve already confessed to being “triggered” by music. This morning I was eating an unprecedented (twice in a week) vegetarian breakfast in my favourite Malvern cafe and I heard the 1962 Cascades song “Listen to The Rhythm of the Falling Rain.” The lyrics have relevance only if I were to queer my own pitch. I mention it because I love the song. What meaning have I attributed to this whole experience?
Another oft visited theme. Pain and pleasure are engines of creativity. Isn’t it very difficult to stand back, look at your own work and draw firm conclusions? Well it is to me anyway. Or maybe it isn’t. Maybe things have been happening at this end which are obvious to anyone except me. But how many times have you written something or delivered a verbal message, then looked back and thought “Who the hell was that? Who said that?” I know many famous spiritual teachers who “speak from the heart” and have no recall of what they’ve just said. This implies an exceptional mind or influence from another source.
Theme number three. We are constantly engaged in the search for things which reinforce our paradigm, our worldview. Last night I came across an author, James Bauer, who has something to say about relationships. The particular topic was how women can invoke the “Hero Instinct” in a prospective male partner. This Instinct is apparently more powerful than any other drive. Yes, including sex. If you do this, he’s hooked. Apparently. However it is almost impossible to “drill down” into this idea without buying his book. But I think I get the drift.
Until recently I have spent a lot of time researching and had been putting together a training workshop on Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey. Indeed my book, when it eventually gets published, Only an Angel Will Do is based on this principle.
To give you a flavour of Campbell’s work, we are all on the Hero’s Journey, irrespective of gender or anything else. Think of films like Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit and most major “blockbusters.” They are too based on the Hero’s Journey. Do your research or wait for another blog post any time soon.
Fascinating. I’ve gone rather coy. How did this happen?
But I will reveal this. Even if you watch Bauer’s video (I’ve watched part of it. It’s exclusively narrative. Hmmm so-so…maybe not) and as a woman seeking a soulmate, get “tooled up” as a consequence and set out to find your hero, it still requires action you may find challenging. As a bloke sending out the vibes to do the same go with respect, integrity, vulnerability and self-belief. There’s no point in repeating that there are no guarantees in life so I won’t bother. Bauer has clearly found the Holy Grail. Is he Woke?
Time for another revelation. The mystery of the second vegetarian breakfast, enjoyed to the strains of a rather melodic 1960’s hit. Can you get too much of a good thing? Is spending another eight quid in one week overindulgent? What does it mean when you have anticipated an event to the degree you have already seen it in your own mind’s eye and you have even experienced the (fabulous) emotions this event will generate? No, I’m not talking about two free range eggs cooked to perfection, tasty mushrooms, quality beans, wholemeal toast, a hash brown and a vegetarian sausage.
By describing the event I’m referring to in these terms am I not creating a self-fulfilling prophecy? Quite a reasonable observation. And I have been reading quite a lot about manifestation over the years. But for what it’s worth, a bit like David Byrne commenting on his own song, I have not created this scenario for my own amusement or Machiavellian intentions. Certain events (in this case we are talking about pleasure) have significance because they draw to them, they attract to them many facets of our most revered paradigm and therefore go very deep. As I revisit this scenario (which is tonight by the way) it inspires and moves me. I’ll leave it there.
Depending on how the future unfolds, in terms of how much I’m prepared to reveal about my personal life as a way to help and inspire other people I’ll tell you about the event and what led up to it very soon. Or I might not. Watch the video, buy the book and give me your house. Maybe it is part of the Hero’s Journey. And whilst the hero clearly has instincts, this hero is pursuing his Holy Grail, not the Holy Grail.
Namaste. You are richly blessed.
“We’re on a road to paradise, here we go, here we go.”
Jack Stewart, Friday, 15 November 2019. Taking a break from blog posts for a week or so.