hermit

Sanity v. insanity

The line between sanity and insanity is wafer thin. Human beings are complex simply because the human brain is complex and the human memory is powerful and capable of processing - comparative with other species - relatively large amounts of consciousness. Through the mind and memory a human being can create and generate anywhere between 60,000 and 80,000 thoughts a day`.

Unlike physical health, i.e. the health of a human body and organism, which is relatively robust, mental health is fragile. If you treat your mind the same as your body, and you keep pushing it and working it hard, then sooner or later you will cross that line between sanity and insanity and you will start to develop mental health issues.

The necessity of a nurturing environment

You understand that life is an experience of a relationship between an individual (organism) and an environment, right?

You also understand that for good physical health you need a suitable environment. You need access to warmth and comfort, you need access to clean air, clean water, healthy nutritious food, you need access to opportunities for exercise and meaningful, physical activities and occupation, right?

Okay so how do you expect to be able to maintain good mental health without access to social opportunities and activities, without opportunities to make friends and have a social life, without opportunities to be involved in and participate in the local community, without access to reliable, sustainable community support and social support networks?

Trauma and suffering

Trauma and suffering are two completely separate things. Trauma is natural, inevitable, and is the start of any process of creativity and interaction. Any traumatic experience or event which takes place in your life will come with opportunities for healing, growth and recovery built in. More than anything trauma is what makes you the individual human being who you are.

Contrast this with suffering. Suffering is not inevitable, nor is suffering natural. Suffering is conceptual and arises out of either an emotional or psychological outcome to a specific outcome, or a specific need which goes unfulfilled. Suffering is not necessary or fundamental to human life experience, but an unnecessary amount of suffering is caused and created in modern society through a lack of humanity, a lack of empathy and compassion, and a lack of social and environmental awareness.

In this insight we will look into the social issues of stigma and exclusion and how this has created the need for Qultura and shaped what Qultura is today.


lantern

Common misconceptions about mysticism

It's important that most people to varying degrees are living life on the basis of their social and mental conditioning - plus of course what they have learned or picked up from their life experience.

We are all taught to believe that certain rules and conditions apply in society and those rules and conditions are sacrosanct. Despite the reality of their life experience, the basis of which is an infinite number of cycles, most people have a largely conceptual perspective on life based on their experiences but also very much on what they beliefs (concepts).

The sources of friction in life experience

When you have a large group of people living together in society, or a community, or even sometimes in a family, and everyone is living life on the basis of their social conditioning, individual life experiences, and individual (personal) beliefs, and there's not much in the way of give and take, then you're bound to have friction between people. You're going to get things which should happen which don't, things which shouldn't happen happening, and you're going to get disagreements, conflicts, misunderstandings, unfulfilled expectations, disappointments, anxieties, fears and insecurities.

Life is a predominantly physical experience between physical bodies, and all physicality is based on energy and.. if you've been reading the other insights, all energy is based on a wave, a cycle, a vibration. But most people haven't read these insights, they're not so familiar with mysticism or mystical principles. All they're perceiving is a great deal of misunderstandings, getting the wrong end of the stick, arguments, conflicts, and melodrama.

When people experience friction in life

Generally what most people do when they come up against friction in their life is to look outwards for a reason. Whether or not this is instinctive or conditioned is beside the point, but generally when something doesn't work out for most people they pin the reason down to someone else, something else outside of them, or in some cases some strange meta-physical reason - fate, destiny, God's will, the universe, and so on and so forth. Or they put it down to luck.

This reflects a tendency very many people have to complicate their lives to such a degree that the many different variables and possibilities extend far beyond their perception and ability to comprehend what's going on in their environment. That what lies beyond their ability to comprehend the consequences of their choices and actions, or the complexity of their relationships. This is what becomes mysticism to them.

Only this is not mysticism. Mysticism does not mean meta-physical solutions. Mysticism is all about relationship and simple mystical principles.


wire brush

Stigma and exclusion

So let's move on from the various frictions in life to social stigma and social exclusion. Above you see an image of a wire brush. I want you to imagine you scrubbing yourself on your bare skin with such a wire brush. I also want you to imagine someone else scrubbing you on your bare skin with the same wire brush. Does this strike you as a pleasant experience? Is this something that you would choose to do or have done to you?

Life from a human perspective is an incredibly fragile experience. Our brains and our minds while complex, and while we are equipped with powerful memories and equally powerful abilities to take a simple concept and transform it into an experience which seems real, our minds and our hearts are also incredibly fragile and delicate.

Human beings are incredibly sensitive to trauma. You can hit a bell with a hammer and you will get a ringing sound which lasts maybe 20-30 seconds. Contrast this with human experiences of trauma. Imagine the number of people out there who are still hurting and struggling over things that were said or done to them in childhood 10, 20, or even 40 years ago. Please keep in mind here I'm writing about the same few simple mystical principles I have been writing about throughout the previous four mystical insights.

Imagine that each time you encounter friction in your life you're giving yourself a scrubbing with that wire brush on your bare skin. Or someone else is scrubbing your skin. The friction might be emotional, psychological, verbal, but it amounts to the exact same thing - pain, sensitivity, rawness, hurt, suffering. I wonder how many times during these times of friction that you've apportioned the blame, blaming either yourself or someone else, or something else for the friction? How many times have you taken a step back and considered that the friction is taking place because of a breakdown in the relationship? How many times have you created a new fear or desire out of the friction in your life, a new prejudice, or allowed yourself to make a fresh assumption?

If you don't stop scrubbing yourself with the wire brush, then you won't have any skin left. If you don't have any skin left, then you won't touch anything and you will become so sensitive you will be avoiding everything. Imagine not having any skin. What would you do?


homeless woman

Societal indifference, avoidance, denial and blame

But if social stigma and social exclusion exist, then why do they exist? You cannot just write people off as lacking in empathy, or being selfish, uncaring, or narcissistic. That's just an explanation, a false assumption, a platitude. Explanations, false assumptions and platitudes are unhelpful and often damaging when it comes to such issues as mental health, social stigma and social exclusion. Assumptions and explanations are what causes the harm, what hurts people, and what compounds the tragedy, the suffering and the misery. We need to dig deeper, and keep on digging deeper, and deeper, and deeper, until we get to a story or the truth.

The truth is that societal indifference exists because fear exists. Indifference exists because social programming and conditioning exists. Indifference exists because in our social programming and conditioning there are many false beliefs and false premises that are presented as either fact or truth.

This brings us right back to the false sense of separateness between self and other, between self and environment, and the false beliefs in freedom of choice and personal responsibility. Both arise out of the central belief in separateness. There is no freedom of choice simply because there is no freedom from consequences, which is why many of us experience fear and anxiety whenever we are presented with a choice. Choice and consequence is karma, karma is the doing part of Natural Law, the foundation of mysticism, but scientifically speaking this comes across as action and reaction, and law. We have laws of physics, laws of chemistry, and if you study psychology or psychiatry there are also laws and principles relating to thought, emotion and feeling. All of this relates back to mysticism and Natural Law.

Out of this we get the fear and desire which forms the basis of social conditioning, and Ego. Ego is very much all about fear and desire, as is social conditioning. Fear of punishment and rebuke in childhood countered by the desire to please our parents and others and in adulthood desire for security and comfort countered by fear of poverty, misery, loneliness, stigma and destitution.

But behind the concept of Ego we have our natural humanity and who we really are. We humans are naturally inclusive, we adore possibilities, yet we fear conflict and struggle. We much prefer the path of least resistance if truth be told. We are taught to be competitive at school, through marks, grades, assessments and evaluations, and from this we learn how to compare and contrast ourselves with others. Societal indifference exists because we do want to help and support others, but we fear being overwhelmed, dragged down, or having our lives made more complicated by someone else's issues. So what we often do is pretend not to notice, or come up with an excuse, an explanation, a reason, and move on, hoping that someone else turns up in better circumstances to be able to support those in need.

Lack of trust and confidence

Then you have the lack of trust and lack of confidence which also arises out of the belief in separateness and emotional and psychological attachment to Ego. This is where we get into the polarity between trauma and drama (Creative Law), the need for authority and proof, and also the various struggles and psychological mindgames involved in getting self-esteem and acceptance of self, of personal identity, and Ego.

Trauma can take many forms. As an example, quite often trauma occurs in the relationship between parent and child. Out of nowhere, and often all of a sudden, a parent can be put in a situation where they are forced to either punish or reward their small child. Parenting isn't easy. There's no Generic Instruction Manual on how to raise kids. Usually your only point of reference is your own childhood and you have to make it up as you go along. You have to make a snap decision in an immediate situation to save your small child from harm. But your child is too young to rationalize or properly emotionally process your decision. Small children don't share the same reality as their parents and see things differently.

So the consequences of the punishment is that the child learns, early in childhood, where every experience matters, that there's something bad or unacceptable about them. This can lead to a child growing up into a teenager or adult believing there is something that's wrong or unacceptable about them, and using their life experience to seek validation from others and answers to questions such as:

  • Do you like me?
  • Am I acceptable to you?
  • Have I achieved enough for you?
  • Do you approve of me?
  • Are you going to reject or abandon me?
  • Are you going to hurt me?
  • Are you going to put me down?

Do any of these questions sound familiar to you? Can you see where the opportunities exist for doubts, fears, anxieties? Think about when you meet new people, do you find yourself asking such questions? But see here's the thing, all these questions are coming out of your memory and past experiences. Nobody else has any knowledge of you, who you were in the past, or your life experience. How you see yourself is different to how other people see you. This is something you always need to keep in mind.

Is this real or am I just imagining it?

This is where we get into the empty spaces and doubts which occur in relationships, especially in relationships which involve some form of abuse, be it child abuse, domestic abuse, or mental health issues, as obvious examples. Not all our relationships work out, and some relationships either turn bad or become abusive. Please keep in mind I'm generalizing here, so please don't try to make any connections between abuse and mental illness outside of what you know from your life experience. This is a deep subject and I'm trying to share some insight here.

The differences between reality and illusion aren't always clear or easy to figure out.

Let me give you an example from drama, or dramatic art, the performing arts, and acting. Having worked in theatre and the performing arts for more than 25 years this is the best example I can offer. Think about the times you have watched a good movie, you've gone to the cinema, or the theatre, or seen a show. Good acting, and good writing, is all about creating a good story, or a character, and making it seem real to draw the audience in and convince them that what they're watching is real and they're part of the reality. This is what drama is all about, taking an illusion, something made up, and making it seem real enough to convince an audience.

But acting and Ego development is one and the same thing, it's role play. In your life you play many different roles, at home, at work, in public.

So when you are having issues in a relationship, or someone close to you has a mental health issue, it can be hard to figure out whether someone's behaviour is a symptom of the mental health issue or whether it's a character flaw or just being stupid. If you yourself are the one with the mental health issue, you experience a lot of doubts as to what is really you and what is just a symptom of your mental health issue. This is what feeds into the stigma surrounding mental health issues and what makes relationships more challenging and complicated.


the lovers

Without relationship, mindfulness is not possible

So in among all the trauma, social and mental conditioning, stigma, concepts, frictions, and scrubbing ourselves and each other with metaphorical wire brushes we come to the impact all this has on our psyches and mental health. It's important to understand, and be clear here, that without relationship no mindfulness is possible.

This is where we come face to face with the reality of mysticism. Life is impermanent, life is fragile, it's constant change and a never ending sequence of happenings, unrelated, uncoordinated events, contradictions, and so on and so forth. Mysticism is process, because - hopefully by now you understand - that if the past is a concept, the future is a concept, both can only reflect possibilities, then neither the past nor the future can ever be really know or predetemined.

The Fall of Man

Somewhere roughly 5,000 years ago humans evolved to develop self-conciousness through shifting the emphasis onto the focus of conscious attention. This is where people realized by directed thought Mankind could control his environment. Out of this we got a sense of responsibility. Conside if you will a time when nobody considered anything. They did what they felt like without thinking about it. When you were hungry you ate. When you were thirsty you drank. When you were angry you smacked something. When you were happy you danced. But you never stopped to think what was the right thing to do. You simply trusted your intuition, your instincts, your subconscious, whatever you want to call it.

This is also known as the Golden Age of man because nobody worried. People lived together in communities, and there weren't any issues because there was always community. This is the exact same situation babies and small infants are in today.

Okay so let's think about what happened if you did the wrong thing or you made a mistake. You went to stick a spear while hunting in some poor animal's rump and the tigers jumped out from nowhere and mauled you to death. That's okay. It doesn't matter if the tigers mauled you as long as you weren't spending your time beforehand worrying about it. Everyone dies. If you die - thud! - like that then okay. You're not spending your life before you die worrying about what happens if you die. You don't spend your time before you get sick worrying about whether or if you get sick.

You probably have a similar period of time in your past which you look back on nostalgia. This is a time which you remember well because you too were carefree, free from responsibility, and didn't get too caught up in worrying about the past or the future. You might be thinking about your childhood, your teenage years, or even going into your 20's. Can you remember a time when life was so much easier and much more fun and enjoyable?

But there was a point in human evolution and development of human culture where people realized that they could provide for the future, take care of things, be responsible, and so on. This was the starting point of human civilization, but it came with the cost of human ignorance, a sense of separateness between self and environment and self and other, a history of human social conflict, and through this the Ego, anxiety and neurosis.

Fear, anxiety, insecurity

It's important to understand how such issues as fear, anxiety and insecurity play out in your life. Have you ever been in the situation where you've looked for your keys, or your purse, or your wallet, but haven't found them? How many times have you left your home and then, some distance away, you begin to wonder whether you turned the gas off. Or you're not sure if you locked your door properly? How many times have you searched for something, rifling through drawers and cupboards, only to find that 'something' you were searching for exactly where you had left it?

How many times have you looked for something you needed, not found it, but went and bought a replacement, and then once you've made the purchase or come back from the shop you found the original item but now have two of the same item? Go on, admit it.

This is the whole issue with self-consciousness and the feeling that you're responsible. You see when you start feeling responsible you also seek some form of security, and then once you find security you start to feel responsible again, and once you feel responsible you start seeking additional security, and on and on and on it goes.

Do you see how all this is taking you away from your natural state of mindfulness?


bird

So why not just let go and go with the flow?

Above you see an image of a bird in a tree (or a sparrow). What do you think? Do you think the bird is fretting over the future, or worried about what's happened in the past? Or is it just perched there on a tree, totally within it's natural state of mindfulness, just chilling on the branch of the tree?

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?[p] 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Matthew: 25-34 The Holy Bible

I'm going to give you a Bible quote just as an example of how mysticism crops up in religious texts. It's the exact same mystical principle, accept what there is, appreciate what there is, let go, do not get attached emotionally or psychologically in what doesn't exist. Just go with the flow, do your own thing, and be in your natural state of mindfulness.

So many times I've come across different people, some of them claiming to be religious, and given them the exact same advice. Let it go, practise non-attachment, go back into your natural state of mindfulness, recover your humanity.

Almost invariably I get the same set of objections back. I hear objections about how this kind of living isn't practical, or even possible. People tell me that they have commitments. They have responsibilities. They have to deal with the (so-called) 'reality' of life. Funny that isn't it?

Why can't you live like that?


drink and tablets

The fundamental issue with life

It's like when you go to see a doctor, or a friend, because you have a health issue or some other problem. The doctor tells you not to worry, or your friend tells you to "Let it go". But can you?

This is where we get to the fundamental issue in life. Nobody can be God. Nobody has authority over you. You don't have authority over anyone else. Nobody can make life any better by being responsible about it. Trying to improve yourself or become somehow better than you are now is an exercise in futility. Whatever you gain from trying to be more responsible and trying to second guess the future and seek some kind of security, whatever you gain will always be countered by what you lose.

This is how an awful lot of people end up with mental health issues and it's also how a lot of people go from seeking that 'buzz' or that 'kick' to a psychological dependency, and from a psychological dependency into an addiction. It usually starts out from a traumatic life experience, a loss of control, a feeling of deep insecurity and anxiety, not getting your needs met, and so you hold out, you reach out for a coping mechanism, but not understanding each time you reach out for that coping mechanism you're dis-empowering yourself and taking yourself even further away from that state of mindfulness and emotional and psychological well being.

Sometimes it doesn't take that much.

It's important to understand that we've gained and got some benefits from the Fall of Man and civilization - medicine, healthcare, art, culture, sciences, care of the poor, and so on. But we've also created a lot of other problems and with it societies and social structures which through tradition and over time are not exactly harmonious or symbiotic with our natural being. Hence the social conditioning, the constant friction, and the constant conflicts both internal and external.

Two things you need to always keep in mind

The first thing you need to keep in mind is that generally speaking, the solution to a problem is usually always the creation of a new problem. Sometimes moving past a problem creates five new problems, and sometimes in order to get past a problem yourself you have no other choice but to create a problem for someone else. Similarly someone else's problem can often lead to a solution to a problem or struggle you're dealing with. But see this is what life is really all about - it's about constant change, constant evolution, and constant growth. Why give yourself the additional headache of seeking improvement or solutions? I therefore just want to point out that seeking improvement or solutions - as many people do - is an illusion and gives you even more anxiety by taking you away from your natural state of mindfulness.

This brings me to the next thing you also need to bear in mind - there is no security because life is never guaranteed. Nothing in life is ever guaranteed. But see you were born with security all along. Your only security in life is your humanity. That's it. You don't need any other security in life. You see life gives you not just a fundamental issue, but also a fundamental choice. You can do what most people do and continue to believe that all this conceptual reality is real, that your Ego is real, but if you continue to persist that all this social and cultural reality is real, and really real, then - to be quite frank with you - you are choosing to fuck up your life over and over and over again. You were not born to suffer or to struggle. You were born to be exactly as you were right at the start of life, happy, carefree, in your natural state of mindfulness, and free.

Therefore what I strongly suggest you do is to maybe stop taking yourself and everything in life so seriously. All life is a drama, it's 100% improvization, you make it up as you go along. We are all at the end of the day winging it. Everyone. Embrace the fact and start learning how to enjoy life.


the chariot

The sheer importance of empathy

One thing I want to make clear here and if you're reading this I want you to remember it. For as long as you confuse the two different forms of reality - actual reality and conceptual reality - life will always be for you an issue without resolution and there will always be somewhere deep within you an internal conflict.

Life is not a concept. Existence is not a concept. Your identity is a concept. We're over 6.500 words into this webpage (please don't worry I'm coming to the end) just to make a point here. For as long as you're basing your life on conceptual reality, concepts, language, beliefs, philosophies and ideologies, you're burning through vast amounts of energy and then burning through even more energy going through all the friction of the struggles for self-esteem. All things being equal and everything being relative you're burning through your life cycle and shortening it.

For what exactly?

Existence always comes with non-existence. If karma is physical activity, and memory is past physical activity, then karma can only be memory. This is where we get to the principle and the process - you are the principle, i.e. the sum total of consciousness, and your memory is your process. This is simply because what you do is who you become. You are defined much more by what you do and how you live, and not by the labels or explanations of who you think you are. Therefore instead of thinking the mysticism is some divine creation or meta-physical experience outside of you, understand that the only mysticism you need to be interested lies deep within you and boils down to three very simple questions:

  • Who am I?
  • How do I feel?
  • What am I experiencing?

You do not need anything else to find your way back to your natural state of mindfulness. Nothing. You have everything you need and could ever wish for. You were born with it. You know best how to return to your natural state of mindfulness. You don't need a religion, you don't need any belief system, you don't need meditation, you don't need a course in yoga. You are as enlightened as you're ever going to be.

All you need is connection to environment and you can only achieve this through empathy.


Justice

The importance of community

So back we come to community - and if you've been reading these insights from the beginning, as some kind of self-study course - you will recognize the same Justice Tarot card as from the end of the first mystical insight, about Self and Other. But can you remember the specific mystical principle?

The environment creates, the individual (organism) grows.

This is of course the mystical principle governing the mystical transaction. Now what I want to do here is to write a bit about the Qultura community and why participation and involvement in the Qultura community is so important when it comes to developing a Qultura method, creating truth, and being in your natural state of mindfulness.

It's actually quite simple.

If you recall truth is consciousness. Truth has no physical form. It's formless. Now you may feel truth, sense it, know it, and understand it, but perception and conception are two different things. The actual reality is out there in your environment, and through your mind and thought - if you remember the Fall of Man - you are only able to create a concept, conceptual reality, an image, or an illusion. This is the starting point for all magic - the illusion.

za-zen

Above you have a Buddhist monk meditating. This is Zen, and the monk is practising 'za-zen' or sitting meditation. He will sit there for hours and hours and hours trying not to think. But this only develops perception. It doesn't create truth. This is why for many Buddhism is confusing because nirvana, enlightenment and mindfulness are concepts. But how do you know what enlightenment is if you've never experienced it? Do you see the issue here?

Such meditation practices in terms of Qultura is archaic and inauthentic. It's also unnecessary. Just as you naturally use language to make sense of the world, you also meditate naturally. You don't need to sit down cross-legged and try to artificially meditate. Please keep in mind that the whole point of Qultura is to be as real and as authentic as possible.

"Balance every thought with its opposition. Because the marriage of them is the destruction of illusion."

Aleister Crowley

What is the opposite of thought? Is it not perception and insight? If thought is belief, or concept, then surely the opposite of belief and concept is truth and empathy. There is no need to sit for hours and hours in meditation. Someone familiar with Qultura methodology and the fundamental mystical principles of existence can return to mindfulness in a matter of minutes. The role of the Qultura community is to develop your primary social interaction skills to a sufficient degree so as to be able to connect anywhere anytime in any environment or set of circumstances within minutes.