An Experiment in Authenticity

In my day to day life I try to be as authentic as possible, that is to say I act and speak in line with whom I am. Sometimes for reasons of social acceptability I may dilute myself somewhat in order to reduce the risk of having to get into protracted discussions / debates about my beliefs and perspectives on life. Not that I mind a bit of healthy intellectual debate but having done so, so many times simply to feel frustrated at the end of the conversation I rarely no longer am inclined to do so.

By way of explanation I seem to have a very different take on life than most people I know. I come at things from a kind of spiritually empathic viewpoint. It doesn’t mean that I am in some way better than other people, just that I seem to be of a very different mindset to those around me.
So, to get to the point, I thought that for a couple of days I would be as honestly open and authentic as I could possibly be. A kind of experiment shall we say.
It didn’t really go well.

My experience was that most individuals ‘turned off’ , that is, either changed the subject, made excuses to go and do something else or look at me quietly thinking that I was truly crazy.
A scenario being the simple though somewhat open ended question when someone asks you ‘ how are you today?’.
My honest response might well be ‘ I’m generally good though energetically a little out of kilter. A spot of meditative strolling through the woods always works. It’s that wholesome oneness you feel amongst Nature’.

A common question also being ‘what did you do last night?’.
My response may be something along the lines of ‘ I read Fritjof Capra’s book The Web of Life and his take on Deep Ecology. Later I sat outside breathing in the still night air and admiring the beauty of the dusk’,

So I’m thinking, how do I resolve this issue? Sure there are Facebook/ internet groups out there that discuss such things but somehow that doesn’t work for me.
I therefore surmise that I will remain authentic but will be diligent in terms of what I say and to whom!

On Being a Dystopian Protagonist

Dystopia –
an imaginary society in which social or technological trends have culminated in a greatly diminished quality of life or degradation of values.
( Webster Collins Dictionary )

I have a few issues with the many definitions of dystopia. Ironically because if I was a dystopian protagonist, I would have. My main issue being the assumption that this society may be solely imaginary or imagined.
I am not a stranger to feeling isolated and alone in Western Society, after all, being both an empathic and a spiritually minded individual lends to not sharing similar proclivities to those around me. Add to that, that I have a rather indefinable organic, non dualistic, animistic understanding of existence pushes me further to the periphery of society.

Subsequently one could assume that, from my viewpoint, I wouldn’t feel particularly comfortable with the world around me as it stands.
Saying that however I know of many, many people who share the same disillusionment with the way the Western world has ‘developed’ over the past fifty or so years.

Going back to the definitions of dystopia, I find they relate more to today’s societal structure than at any time in the distant past.
The dystopia ( I believe ) has occurred in a multifactorial / multifaceted manner. Though I know many believe in conspiracy theories relating to the mind control of the populace and the supposed power held by hidden organisations. They may, to some extent, indeed be true, but I can only really go by what I percieve.
Certainly it seems that we are nearer to a dystopian society than a utopian one.

It seems to me that social and technological trends have indeed led to a diminished quality of life and degradation of values.
Whereas countries and states had their own cultural identity, their own unique ancestral imprint that helped define them and make them who they were. It seems that due to mass commercialisation via the internet / cable and satellite TV/ radio / etc etc much of the world has become a monoculture of materialism.
There are cases where the introduction of television and other technologies have adversely effected the mental health of those cultures who were previously naive to such things.
Add to that the current social media epidemic that encourages the promotion of self ( via ‘selfies’ with or without filters ), littered with advertisements about how to boost your looks / wealth / social standing by engaging with different groups and products. There is even some credibility in ‘false news’, where the suggestion of its existence implies some degree of validity!!

Also the amount of young ( and not so young ) individuals who spend vast amounts of their life being ‘entertained’ by gaming or preoccupied with other similar technological devices. People using technology to gain revenge on others or videoing acts of violence and depravity.

Don’t get me wrong however, there is some good come out of the advances in computer science and its ill but it seems largely uncontrolled and has undoubtedly changed massively the way people live their lives over recent years.

Even when I was young I took social trends to be the ‘norm’ and sacrificed some of my authenticity in order to be more accepted by my peers and this was without all the commercial brainwashing and societal conditioning of today.
However, this I have not done for a long time.

So, what’s all this to do with anything?
Firstly, as an empathic individual I feel others unhappiness and frustration and believe me it seems to have increased immensely over recent years.
I urge people to find ‘themselves’ amongst the array of stereotypes being forced on them, either openly or insidiously. Everyone has their own truth inside of them, we just need to discover it. You do not need anyone to agree with you or you to falsely agree with others to maintain one’s mental and emotional homeostasis.

In fact, in some ways you could say that we have a moral obligation to not do so.

“Resistance to the organized mass can be effected only by the
man who is as well organized in his individuality as the mass itself”.
Source: The Undiscovered Self, chapter 4 (1957)
“It is the individual’s task to differentiate himself from all the others
and stand on his own feet. All collective identities . . . interfere
with the fulfillment of this task. Such collective identities are
crutches for the lame, shields for the timid, beds for the lazy,
nurseries for the irresponsible”.

Carl Gustav Jung.

Spiritual Individuation ( a precis )

Colours blind the eye.

Sounds deafen the ear.

Flavours numb the taste.

Thoughts weaken the mind.

Desires wither the heart.
The Master observes the world

but trusts his inner vision.

He allows things to come and go.

His heart is open as the sky.
From the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
I know many of us with a predisposition towards the spiritual life can suffer tremendously as we precariously tread our path. There is in us all, our own rendition of spirituality. A unique and innate seed that seeks expression and fulfilment through our experience of life itself. My own was through the discovery that I am empathic.
I am no expert on anyone’s life as we all are different. Each of us growing from a distinct DNA in our own individual habitat of physical, psychological and emotional environments.

However, in the hope of helping others, I wish to communicate briefly my experience thus far.
After many years of reflection, meditation and various numinous experiences in my life I found that actually I knew my truth all along, I just needed to discover it. My truth was ingrained in my heart from the very beginning. I suspect it took awhile to discover as my truth was not of my culture and thus many of my spiritual experiences were alien to me as they were to my peers.

This is where the idea of spiritual individuation came from.
The term ” individuation ” was coined by Carl Jung, a psychiatrist and psychotherapist. His theory was that in order for humans to become the best version themselves we had to allow ourselves to be authentic. That is to seek to express in ourselves and in life our intuitive true nature. The problem with this is it can often be at odds with our culture, peers the society we are born into.
Although I never used to think that being empathic was a gift ( due to its initially confusing and draining properties ) , I now know that it was indeed. One which, once understood, has been pivotal in helping me find myself and for me, my true relationship with the world around me.
So to all you fellow strugglers, whatsoever pain or challenges you may face, rest assured that you are more than you perceive yourself to be. You are more than your current problems, more than your fears for the future and more than the hurts of your past. If you can carry on pursuing your heartfelt path, in my experience, you will find peace and equanimity.

In This Moment………….. 

I love to read by candlelight. 

As dusk falls outside, a chill breeze passes through the house. 

The candle flame flickers in response, instilling life to the dark shadows around me.

I take a moment to enjoy the serenity of  silence that only night time can bring.

The sensual, earthy aroma that accompanies early Autumn has filled my house, bringing with it a multitude of memories infused with bittersweet emotions. It feels as if there is no demarcation between inside or outside. Both worlds are incorporated into a seamless, unified reality of which I too are intimately connected. 
A deep tranquillity settles within my heart and soul. 

It seems that this very moment will last forever . When all worlds become one an eternal stillness is created within which any sense of duality is lost.
Through the open window I see the black velvet of the night sky peppered with small pinpricks of light. Moonlight highlights misshapen clouds as they scud silently across the horizon. Her silver phosphorescence cast upon the landscape as if to lovingly caress her nocturnal kith and kindred. 

I draw comfort from the sight, the same stars and constellations that were there at my birth and have been with me throughout my life. They continue to provide an exquisitely beautiful backdrop to so much of my life, both past and present. 
Out to the porch overlooking my ramshackle garden, my ears are met with the distant mewling of fox cubs. The occasional solitary hoot of an owl adds testament to the incoming night.

A single pipistrelle darts around the street lamp seeking to snare those insects drawn to its fluorescent light. 

A small field mouse scurries through the undergrowth, halting only to sense for any nearby predators that might be hidden amongst the shadows.
I remain as one with the Earth and with eternity. There has never been any separation between myself and the universe. For I feel that deep inside myself I have borne witness to this world since the beginning of time. 

It feels that all of my ancestral memories are within me. There is no physical recall of events, just a deep and soulful knowledge. 

There is no fear of the future for this has always been so and will be forever.

Perspective…….. 

Perspective………… 
Lest we forget amidst the dusty, dark and neurotic corners of our mind there is another world not too far away. A world not concerned with money, status, strength or weakness. Neither cursed with wants, needs or desires. 
This world is just outside, but you will have to leave the dubious comfort of your human mind for a few moments. 

You will have to simply be present, undistracted, allowing all of one’s senses to be open to the gentle touch of Nature.
As I walk slowly through the meadow I can feel myself begin to relax. My mind and body leave behind the human hubbub of life.

The roads full of seemingly angry cars and lorries vying for their place, the people verbally wrestling with each others egos in order to validate themselves in a world where most cannot be seen. 
My breathing slows to a natural rhythm and my heartbeat becomes regular and unhurried. Mentally I am here, now amongst the flora and fauna of Nature. My sense of separateness dissolves and I become as one with the landscape. A simple witness to the beauty of Gaia, where no judgement or opinion is necessary. 
Because of the ‘ oneness ‘ that I feel and the open acuity of my senses, I seem preternaturally aware of the world around me. 
I am in awe as a leaf falls majestically from the foliage of a tree. A once in a lifetime gesture of grace, never to be repeated moment in time. 

The pale sunlight glistens on the barely visible, gossamer carpet of spider webs across the grass. 

The loud, reciprocated caw of crows in flight as they swoop and flock together continuing their families ancient legacy of life.

A single bee flies lazily amongst the flowers, half heartedly collecting nectar. Perhaps she realises her part in Nature’s great play is nearly over and there is no longer any urgency for her to work.
Just below the surface, I can feel the energetic thrum of life. The immense but subtle power of the universe as it both permeates and creates all that is. 

No one aspect of creation has ever been separate from one another, we are all energetic events within energetic events. An eternal cycle of seamless quantum activity gives testament to our immortality. 
How different this world seems to the one that I left a little while ago. The irony is it is made of exactly the same constituents.

The planet and the rest of the universe continue in relative peace and harmony, the only disturbance is that of the human mind and its tendency to subjectively detach and judge its experience. 

In continuing with this Cartesian appraisal of life we lose sense of our true essence and subsequently a true sense of belonging. 
Everyday we are alive it is true to say that every morning when we awake and in every moment therein, numerous opportunities await. Depending on our perspective, we can to a certain extent decide as to whether we realise them and fulfil the latent potential on offer.

The Grove 


I have on many occasions happened upon sites that seem to have their own, shall we say, ‘ anima loci’ and associated energy. It is reputed that Nature Spirits too have a different, subtle but intense energy. It is then not particularly surprising that energetically sensitive individuals ( e.g. empaths) are more prone to sensing their presence. 
There were many there, just out of sight, obscured from my vision by their different vibration. They were able to manifest if they so desired, enabled even more so due to the liminal and numinous nature of the site. 

A canopy of leaves from the large cluster of fir trees prevented the daylight from revealing much of the ruinous stone circle and its environs. This added further more to the air of mystery and secrecy around me. Any ceremonial or magical activity was securely cloistered from the outside world by the tight knit plantation of trees and dense undergrowth surrounding the stones that remained. 

I sensed many ethereal eyes watching me from under the cover of the bushes, trees and foliage as I sat on a nearby log. The air around me felt heavy with anticipation as if I had in some way interrupted some sacred liturgy. 

The moist sandstone hewn stones covered in moss and lichen appeared to subtly emanate a low green phosphoresence again adding to the apparent preternaturalness of the occasion. 

 The overhanging branches of the trees met the verdant amorphous scrub rising up from bog strewn soil as if to encapsulate all within in a further act of concealment. 

A small winged creature skittered across the pond a little off to my left in my peripheral vision. I was uncertain as to what creature it may have been but its action was determinedly avoidant. 

The slim lower branches of the trees were entwined with gorse, holly and ferns forming an almost impenetrable mesh in the undergrowth around the stones themselves. I swear that I could see hundreds of small faces in amongst the leaves, some wizened and grotesque whilst some appeared young and vibrant. 

Feeling distinctly awkward, a little anxious and somewhat unnerved I stood up to leave by the way I came. The pathway between the trees was up ahead, strange fluorescent blue lights seemed to be emanating from behind them as if each one were hiding a wisp like spirit within their trunks. They lined either side of the track like surreptitious phantoms silently awaiting the arrival ( or departure) of a very important guest. 

Thankfully as I walked towards them their cerulean glow seemed to dissipate the closer I become. 

Still having the sensation on the back of my shoulders and head of watchful eyes burning into them, I briskly left the grove into a comparatively sunnier and thus lighter atmosphere of a nearby glade. Whatsoever esoteric event was taking place that afternoon I would never know and perhaps it’s best that way. Some things are best hidden from the tender eyes and minds of mortals.

As One…………. 

I believe numinous and spiritual experience are ever present around us, it simply takes for our perception to be open to it. However most of us go though life largely unaware of the truly exquisite magical nature of our world around us. As empathic / spiritual individuals I feel we are more open to a kind of energetic intimacy which is vastly more profound and sensual.

It may be in form of a spectacular view,  a feeling of oneness with nature or some other occurrence that we intrinsically recognise as something ‘other’ than our more frequent day to day perception. 

And on rare occasions it appears it can be interpersonal :

I hardly know you but when I think of you or if I am graced enough to be in your presence something extraordinary happens to me.  My spirit is given flight, all my senses are heightened seemingly to ensure that in no way  I miss any aspect of your divine self. I bathe in your gaze and become lost deep in your eyes. Any self control I have, has withered away as I respond to your every word and gesture.

To others it would appear to be an intimate friendship but when we are together we are as one, intrinsically in synchronicity in our interaction. The content and context of our verbal and non verbal responses are immaterial, they simply serve the purpose of allowing us to subtly and with pure, intense sensuality mingle our individual energies. Consummating our union with every word, touch and exchange of eye contact. Any sense of time is lost as this is beyond physicality, this is the realm of the eternal soul. There is no beginning neither no end, only this moment for eternity.

Anyone watching would see I was lost to you, like prey willingly hypnotised by an enigmatic predator. As a sailor must have been drawn to his personal death by the seductive call of the mermaid, I too wish to answer my heart and souls call to be as one with you. Even if it meant that I was never to find myself again it would be  small loss to be a part of you, always.

Tough Love……….? 

Equanimity can be hard for most people in life but especially more so for individuals with strongly empathic traits. The reason being is that we are so sensitive to the energies of other living and none living entities that even the smallest energetic ripple from another source can on some days be enough to unbalance us. 

Our own emotions can be so amplified at times that our effect on others ( for me anyway) can be intense. I have known occasions when I have been in an highly emotive state that I have felt like an affective nuclear reactor influencing other people’s moods and cognitions around me. 

But more often than not it is the emotions of others that can so effect our day to day lives. 

Fortunately for myself through practicing meditation and mindfulness I am usually aware of the how my mind can try and fool me and send me on fools errands in seeking happiness or avoiding discomfort. 

According to Buddhist psychology emotional attachment to the sense world results from mental and physical feelings. 

When we experience pleasure, we seek more. If we do not attain more then craving can develop. 

When we experience discomfort in situations we then we seek to avoid them causing aversion. 

When we experience neutral phenomena we tend to ignore them. 

Thus what we encounter in our day to day lives can cause disturb our emotional balance. 

I wish I had been aware of this in my youth instead of being carried away by the depths of my passions to feel the great highs and lows of existence. Even the low points had addictive properties by virtue of their ability to utterly consume me into another state of profoundly sensual reality. 

As empathic individuals living in Western society however provides us with another challenge. That being trying to exist and survive in a community that promotes greed and the consumption of material things. The media, peers, friends and acquaintances are seemingly infected by ego driven lives e.g. having the latest mobile phone, wide-screen television, fashionable clothes et al. 

It is my belief that this lifestyle is much to blame for many people’s, let alone empaths, unhappiness and feelings of isolation. 

If there is one element of truth we can learn from this, as hard as it may be, it is that it is not what happens to us that can cause the most pain. It is our response. If we have developed a deeper understanding of ourselves then this can be somewhat mitigated against. 

View from an Empath 

Sitting on a wooden bench outside my local public house I stretch my aching legs and decide rest up a while from my countryside walk. 

There is a faint breeze ushering in the early dusk bringing with it a chill tincture of the night ahead. The smell of freshly mown grass adds to the subtle atmosphere of near perfect sanguinity I begin to feel. Taking a small sip from the cold beer held tenderly in my hand and placing it down upon the table I begin to relax even further. 

As I light my ( occasional) cigarette I watch my exhaled smoke form a brief swirling pattern in the air before finally dissipating in the gentle wind. With that last out breath I feel as if I have also cast out any feelings of tension that may have remained leaving myself in a pleasantly grounded state of awareness and reflection. 

Pausing, my attention moves to taking in whomsoever is in my vicinity on this calm and tranquil evening. 
  – the somewhat overdressed, heavily made up lady with her male partner sitting at a table on the opposite side of the lawn. It feels that she is constantly undermined and criticised. She seems to no longer to have the self confidence to escape after years of negativity. She is veritably trapped, feeling she deserves nothing more than what she has. 

  – the older gentleman sitting by himself in the corner, a baseball cap covering his eyes as he nurses his glass of spirit and ice. An ex military man, mumbling a soliloquy of painful memories and regrets. Rheumy eyes gaze blearily out from under his cap as the waitress delivers another in a long line  of shorts. It may not numb the pain but his mind will be disabled enough to compromise his ability to dwell on the past until sleep or unconsciousness overcome him. 

  – the young couple sitting nervously opposite one another across another bench. A fledgling relationship, both a little anxious about saying or doing the wrong thing laugh uncomfortably in conversation. Both fidgeting restlessly but desperately seeking each other’s eye contact. 

  – the young mother doting on her two year old, making entreaties for him to eat. Her partner sits there disinterested, texting on his mobile phone. His demeanor suggests his belief of that he is an ‘alpha male’. His overt masculinity she once found attractive, however now all she feels is oppressed and disregarded. 

  – a young man laughing and joking loudly with his male peers, feigning confidence and social adeptness. His insecurity given away by his frequent glances to his peers to assess to what degree he is accepted and as to whether his manner is being well received. 

Feeling a little depleted energy wise, I move my awareness to the surrounding landscape beyond the beer garden. The leaves on the trees shimmering in the slight breeze, the cattle grazing and  lowing quietly on the outlying hills, the coarse caws from a family of rooks passing overhead and the subtle coo of a nearby wood pigeon help to energetically reconvene. 

As I walk away to resume my stroll in the countryside I cannot help but wonder why it is that humans are seemingly so complicated and frequently so unhappy at times. Surely if we were living in our ‘natural state’ then you would think that our behaviour would be more sentient as it appears with fellow species here on Earth. 

I endeavour to leave such thoughts behind however, not wanting them to detract from the essential essence of Nature’s presence.

The Story Thus Far…………….

My previous post was about an epiphany I had a few weeks ago now. I have had requests to elucidate what exactly I experienced, so here goes.
I generally sense that we all grow develop in different ways in terms of spirituality, that is to say that there is no generic right path. However if we are authentic in our approach to life we have the capacity to individuate and thus are more able to fulfill our own potential.
There have been many subjects and experiences historically that have resonated with me although at the time I was not sure as to why. A kind of intuitive nudge I suspect.
These in short have been :
– sense of oneness with Nature
– Neolithic and pre Neolithic history
– ancient sites
– quantum physics
– Taoism
– Buddhism
– aspects of Paganism ( pantheism and pantheism)
– animism
– the works of Carl Jung
– deep ecology
– Hinduism
These are to mention just a few. I have also experienced instances of Advaita and to some extent Kundalini.
I also am very empathic by nature and can sense feelings and energies in people, animals and places.
However until now I had been unable to unite them into a coherent understanding of my own individual vision of the world.
My current suspicions are as follows :
– in primitive early man there was a strong empathic connection with our planet and its flora and fauna
– in sensitive and empathic individuals today this is also the case. Part of our mind is not ours but is found outside in the object. That is to say that intuitively we feel the unity with existence, that we are part and parcel of the the world around us. Thus due to this kind of unconscious link we are able to feel the energies of others and places around us. We recognize that we potentially share the same soul
– this would explain why many spiritually empathic types feel that do not belong to this world as it is currently. Due to Western Societys propensity to subjugate Nature in many of her forms, to live among the general populations casual acceptance of this is uncomfortable to say the least
– some Animistic belief systems ( e. g. American Indian cultures) recognise the Divinity in Nature and treat the world around them accordingly. This tradition and its maintenance would continue to maintain that natural empathic link.

For many people in Western Cultures these feelings are now lost or irretrievable due to the generic dualistic and Cartesian mindset. Hence many people are concerned about the environmental impact it is having upon our planet.
I hope that I have explained myself coherently as it’s rather a tricky topic to write about, mainly because the essence of it all is not about thinking but feeling.
I’m now going to have a read of the Chandogya Upanishad.

Tat Tvam Asi