Feb 17

What is the purpose of mysticism, and who can become a mystic? That is my concern in today’s diary entry.

Whether a person is born in a barn or mansion says nothing about their mystical development or impulses. These latter qualities will depend on whatever the soul has carried across from previous incarnations.

Take me. I used to use myself as the perfect example of someone who appears to possess no special gifts or insights – certainly doesn’t dress in a celestially-emblazoned cape or reside in the outer Himalayas – and yet is someone who has attained the ultimate goal of the mystical life. This, after around five years of concentrated study during his twenties.

Unfortunately, too many people took me at my word and decided, yes, certainly you can’t have had the ultimate mystical experience, you are far too normal (and flawed?) for that to have happened.

As a matter of fact, people with mystical aspirations of their own might even be quite affronted by any such suggestion concerning the avowed development of the person before them.

This lack of insight and modesty on their part is in fact one of the reasons why they had not yet attained their goal.

Modesty is an essential component in achieving full enlightenment; as is patience.

Recently, Malcom Gladwell’s ’10,000 hour rule’ concerning mastery in any particular field of expression has come under attack concerning its veracity; and yet the general rule still holds: you have to demonstrate massive commitment and prolonged concentration in order to achieve success in any chosen activity.

If anyone knew of what my first and last conscious earthly incarnations consisted, they might not be so surprised by my mystical assertions.

For a start, regarding faith, I knew from early on that such an experience was possible – but only in faith, to begin with. To fully realise the intended goal required a huge ‘leap of faith’ on certain occasions.

Now, anyone I know that has sneered at my disclosure (and I haven’t gone round telling everybody, until today..!) has never given up all they own in order to pursue the ultimate mystical quest. Which is also a requirement for full achievement.

So what is the goal of the mystic – what is mysticism’s true purpose?

To answer this, I have borrowed the words of another and reproduced their bullet points in an article published recently in a mystical organisation’s exoterically available magazine, wherein the author compares their own teachings with those of Neo-Platonism. In all of this, I concur:

  • All of Creation is permeated by a Universal Soul.
  • The ultimate goal of life is to achieve mystical union with the Divine (the One).
  • Knowing oneself is essential to achieving this goal.
  • This can be accomplished without an intermediary person.
  • Mystical contemplation is a means to achieve union with the Divine.
  • Contemplating the harmony and transcendental nature of the Beautiful and the Good elevates us in consciousness.
  • After completing its spiritual evolution, the soul of each human being reintegrates with the Universal Soul in all purity and lives in the Divine Immanence in full consciousness.

The writer then lists some individuals whose lives and teachings appear to bear this all out (amongst them are some I listed in an earlier Diary post as providing me with guidance as a tremulous neophyte): “Plotinus, Porphyry, Iamblichus, Proclus, Augustine of Hippo (Saint Augustine), Hypatia, Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, Avicenna, Paracelsus, Marsilio Ficino, Pico della Mirandola, Raphael, Henry More, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Thomas Taylor, and Ralph Waldo Emerson have all been associated with Neoplatonism or Neoplatonic thought.”

Given the kudos attached to the persons on this list, you can maybe understand why others might choose to guffaw when they are informed of my own mystical achievement and enlightenment experience. Then again, maybe these people haven’t understood the principles of mysticism – or read my novels, which contain rather more than just stories – as has been alluded to over the past couple of days when discussing esoteric wisdom.

NOVELS

Feb 13

Staffs, Warks, Oxon, Bucks, these counties looked similarly lovely observed from the train window with their soft-edged, blue-washed skies, scudding grey-white clouds and low-lying flooded fields. Changing at Burford, I bought a bacon bun and – because it was the UK – a Cadbury’s Crème Egg (yes, I know the company is now American-owned, but…). The sun appeared colourless as it settled down behind the golden ball of St Lawrence church at the opening of the Aylesbury Vale, as we approached my hometown of High Wycombe and a nervous, pleasurable shudder ran through my body.st lawrence No way am I ill. No way will I be denied this feeling of being happier than ever before. No way shall the classic irony of living out an active life only to die before its fruits can be enjoyed happen to me (as it happened so sadly to many people who lived in our street while I was growing up.) This is me we are talking about. Indestructible as ever.

I’ve just travelled eight hundred miles to have a scan taken a few inches deep inside my body. Like the rings of a tree, the images will reveal details of my life. Instead of sixty rings there’ll be god knows how many arterial pathways and molecular byways, all demonstrating how much care and how much neglect has been taken taken of my body – or simply the wear and tear that everyday existence places on certain tissues as events just happen regardless. There is some damage, that much is certain. It may have been caused virally. The scan, along with certain blood-tests, will reveal all.

The scan – which produces its patterns by magnetically aligning the appropriate protons and then releasing them – will provide a picture of my body’s interior; but not of me.

Which is to say, the most intricate images of the innermost parts of my body – past and present – will not reproduce any information about the I.

On the way through the borders I had to show my outer details, as contained within a little red folder.

Put them together – the little red folder and the innermost images of my body – and there will be no idea of who ‘I’ am.

My I isn’t my body. It cannot be contained in a little red book or a magnetic scan.

My I is looking on and calculating what these procedures are proving by way of information to the world.

All of which is to say, I am not my body.

My soul is in fact incommunicable.

That is the dilemma faced in producing this Diary of everyday life; this previously expressed conundrum of attempting to reveal profundity through the expression of everyday events.

And yet, we may well get there. (I have actually already done so through my novels, if you ever care to take the time to read them. This diary is actually ancillary to what these books contain.)

Like Job, I am covered in sores. Like Job, I am uncomprehending and feel undeserving of this. Like Job, I am waiting for Satan to be put back in his box.

I was reading Ouspensky again on the journey back (I last read him about forty years ago, and his writings re-emerged following a recent blog posting) and was reminded of what he has to say concerning esotericism and how few people are capable of being admitted into the inner circle. His ponderings, I suspect, are truer now than even when he was composing his works. Truer than ever, in fact. While humanity grows exponentially to include some eight billion separate beings on the planet earth, there are most likely fewer esoterically enlightened souls than ever before. Since my own initiation thirty-three years ago, I have not come across a single individual who has reached this stage. Within my orbit, there is just one person who seeks to become similarly enlightened. This despite the fact that I have worked myself to the point of physical collapse in order to spread the message. It is because of this fact that I now wish to retire to the southernmost part of the continent rather than being free to bask in the light of a radiant peoples. I ask myself why I didn’t just follow the example of the old Russian émigré and admit to myself far earlier that only a very few – if any – have the probity to be accepted into the inner circle and thereby, hopefully, increase its ranks by spreading their own profound understanding; and I think that it was because I had become lulled into a false sense of optimism following the apparent increase of cosmic consciousness back in the nineteen-sixties as I grew up. That was so obviously a false dawn, since the forces of darkness were so easily permitted to enshroud the entire human race once again. Back at the turn of the previous century you did at least have the likes of Blavatsky, the Roerichs, Vivekananda and so forth. Now, what do we have: YouTube gurus, who are total fakes and frauds in the true spiritual sense. And so I plough a lonely furrow, and will continue to do so, hoping the barren land may yet produce some virtuous growth, doubting it will. In Naggar last year, we met a guy – once a Rosicrucian like myself – who is wedded to the idea that the World Saviour Maitreya will soon announce his existence on this planet – just as did the Theosophists a hundred years ago, but that is not going to happen. There has been no rise in human consciousness that calls out for such an occurrence. That time has passed. Ouspensky, in his writings, recounts the biblical tale of Sodom and Gomorrah and how God was prepared to save these cities if, first, fifty sincerely honest people could be found, then forty, thirty and so on, until he was prepared to save these cities from destruction if just ten such people could be unearthed. There were not even that many, just one small family survived, and even then the mother was turned into a pillar of salt as she cast a gaze longingly back. Amongst the billions living and breathing today there may not even exist an entire family, so that it may be the great Universal Mind will, before long, have to create once again a new species of creatures which are able to live in harmony with cosmic principles. Certainly, the Earth is willing and is set to exist and support conscious life for millennia to come. If you do not believe any of this it just goes to show how correct the information contained herein all is.

NOVELS

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Feb 10

When this Diary blog was started the idea was to try and tease out the profound from everyday living. Instead of which, many of the posts have been hijacked by my untreated – and still undiagnosed – illness. To be fair, it is possible to reach profound insights from illness, and suffering in general, but such an approach is not typically my way. If you ever get round to reading my novels you will see that joy and not misery is my preferred method of making both personal and cosmic discoveries.

The title is borrowed from Dostoevsky’s ‘The Diary of a Writer’, which wasn’t so much a diary as observations concerning everyday life found in the Russia of his day, made available to readers through a subscription fee. Given that now subjects are mostly presented by paid experts in their field, this approach seems to me to be pretty much untenable. You do still find columns in newspapers and magazines which are little more than opinion pieces concerning events of the day, but they tend to be highly coloured, biased pieces – and nobody would really care what I think about such matters anyway. Probably Twitter would be a better medium if that was what I wanted to produce.

Other famous diaries include those of Samuel Pepys and Anne Frank, neither of which I would dare draw upon or claim to have provided inspiration for my own effort. They are incomparable in scope and subject matter.

So here am I left with my own relatively uneventful life and a continuing attempt to develop and attach some kind of profundity to what I experience around me.

You never know, that may yet be achieved.

NOVELS

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Feb 9

Absolutely beautiful weather in the Santa Maria mountains, perfect for some gardening. The soil here is much more friable than any we had in the UK, where it was always clayey, so that the little tiller is the perfect tool for turning the soil.port mounts Within minutes I had prepared the bonfire site into a 4 metre radius circle where the ‘three sisters’ of the native Amero-Indians (maize, beans and squashes) will be planted. Plus, an extended oblong for the broad beans we brought across with us. Later, we will decide on a patch for planting some beans gifted to us by Indu while we were staying at her lodge in Bharatpur last springtime (see post). Apart from that we have lots of French beans, artichokes, salad leaves, aubergines, peppers, tomatoes etc. What is more, the fruit trees we planted last autumn – ranging from plum to pomegranate – have all taken and are showing signs of budding. The pear and almond trees are already blossoming; not to mention the aloe vera plants, which look a lot like ‘red hot pokers’ in bloom.

NOVELS

Feb 8

The world can be understood as a fleetingly brief home for the soul, but it is a beautiful place and it is our job to make it more beautiful still.

I’d like to thank my daughter for reminding me what I had put up on the Blog page…oh, eons ago.

This remains the ambition. A ‘mission statement’, if you will.

The Diary aspect continues to evolve, with the intention to make certain of posting something every day at least for the next year. It is my hope that it will become something more and more people will want to access in a purely casual manner. Naturally, the subject matter will change according to the way life pans out.melancholia

Right now, personal health issues are to the fore – especially since I found out this morning that I have to return to the UK next week for an MRI scan on my liver.

Once this is all out of the way, hopefully the diary can focus on broader and more aesthetic matters.

Please note that if you click on the FOLLOW email tab in the bottom right, neither I nor anybody else is aware of your personal details. You will simply receive notification of a new post by way of your inbox. However, you will always be free to comment in the box at the bottom of each post.

NOVELS

Feb 2

Today is largely about getting ready for leaving next week: clean the car’s interior, re-instate the ‘boot-jump’ camping block, purchase windscreen-wipers and tags for the wheel caps.

Whenever I dream of being in a car it always relates to present-day conscious life. Last night’s involved crossing a main road and then having to choose a turning, being unable to take the bend at speed and flying off the road to end up on top of a pile of mud about fifteen feet high. Enough said. Though a solution to getting back on the road did emerge in usual symbolic fashion.

It’s going to be quite hard leaving the old place – yet again. While out walking in the woods yesterday afternoon, it occurred to me that only two more opportunities would be available before our departure. I have done that walk thousands of times and it always leaves me feeling revivified. Yesterday the feeling was one – not of sadness but – of a slight melancholy. Not a bad emotion to experience on such an occasion.

on releaseI have confronted the emotional difficulties and complications of removing oneself from one’s family and past, and thereby allowing the opportunity for spiritual growth, especially in ON RELEASE.

NOVELS

Feb 1

We were unable to locate Tinker’s grave yesterday, but arguably made a far more interesting discovery – if that’s the correct word for it.

My mum went into service aged thirteen at a clergyman’s abode in Wicklow, Ireland. Further skivvying led her to becoming ill and being put into hospital and treated for anaemia. While she was there, an English woman approached her and told of a cook’s job available at a small residential hotel near High Wycombe, Bucks. Following her recovery, the young colleen was quickly on board the mail boat sailing out of Skerries and eastwards across the Irish Sea.

The hotel building was actually the converted vicarage down the lane from the graveyard where we had hoped to find the missing headstone. We pulled up outside in the car and went to take a look at the courtyard where dad used to park his vehicle when he went courting her there. Naturally, I asked him to pose for a photograph and this gave a woman standing nearby the opportunity to ask if we required help.

We explained, and she called her mother and then we were invited to take a look inside. By now, dad was in tears as all the memories came flooding back. As a listed edifice the Gothic building has hardly changed outwardly since 1843. Even the interior has much the same layout and we could easily imagine how my parents’ wedding reception had taken place at the behest of the hotel-owner, who was obviously grateful to my mum.

The current owner then shared some of the secrets she had found out about the place and we exchanged emails for further contacting.

As for Tinker’s grave, I shall have to pick my aunty P – ‘s brain, since I can remember her mentioning something a friend had told her about how a bunch of elderberries always fetched up on my great-uncle’s grave every autumn, in commemoration of his favourite tipple.

NOVELS

Jan 31

Today is the day of Great Practicality, involving the purchase of an indoor room heater, a cordless electric strimmer and the transfer of funds from one bank account to another.

After that, we can visit the site in a nearby village where my mum came to work as a cook, from the Republic of Ireland in the 1940s. Also in that village, I want to search the church graveyard where it is possible that my great-uncle Norman was buried. He married Ishbel MacDonald, daughter of the UK’s first Labour Prime Minister, Ramsay, and they kept a pub briefly not far from the airbase where ‘Bomber’ Harris planned the RAF’s wartime sorties across the continent. We have discovered a great many headstones relating to my family from over the centuries but ‘Tinker’s has so far eluded us.

From there, it’s on to the pub once-owned by the family of my dad’s old mate who married my mum’s sister, also from Eire.

That’s the nice thing about being back – the sense of continuity.

NOVELS available online and from bookstores

Jan 30

All the veterans from the Royal Artillery and their guests were so nice and warm and friendly yesterday. They revealed a huge birthday cake made in the shape of an old war cannon to celebrate the birthday of my dad and another veteran, their ages adding up to 185 years! Prior to that we had a lunch of fish and chips washed down with a pint of ale, all in the British Legion hall. So old-fashioned (and maybe a perfect manner to say goodbye to Blighty). All my reservations concerning their motives for belonging to the organisation evaporated as we became engulfed in their hospitality. They were so welcoming and, as part of the year ahead, were looking forward to a peace talk to be given at one of their meetings. What’s more, we won three prizes in the raffle!

Today is given over to resuming my Russian language studies, by way of Duolingo to get back in the groove. This is all in preparation for a proposed trip to the country in 2021 to mark the bi-centennial of Dostoevsky’s birth. I was there in 2001 and actually attended all the events as they occurred in Staraya Russa, the small town where he both set and wrote ‘The Brothers Karamazov’. That was the best individual trip of my life and a video I made from the stills taken on my rubbish camera during the stay is up on my Amazon Author Page. Or just click on NOVELS below. More particularly, an account of the visit – and my relationship to the writer more generally – is included in my book DOSTOEVSKY’S PLACE.cropped-dostys-place

In that vein, my intention is to make videos based around my novels and have them made available on YouTube. Quite what format I’ll use is yet to be decided. In the meantime, I hope you might enjoy reading some of them.

NOVELS

Jan 29 2020

Today’s curve ball is this. I am strongly anti-war and anti-militaristic and yet today I am expected at the Royal Star and Garter complex in the nearby town where the Royal Artillery veterans get together on a regular basis to make plans for future events, such as attending certain old boys’ funerals and marching in commemoration of some wartime event or other. Basically, they continue to glamorize war and look back with extreme sentimentality at their days of military service. Last week, I had to attend a tour of ‘Bomber’ Harris’s office at the RAF military base…but I’ll get on to that another time maybe.

The reason for this excessive exposure to the militaristic ideal on my part is that we buried my mother around this time last year, and since then my dad has had to find outlets and re-build his life around him. Taking into account that he was 92 last week, that has been no easy thing and I admire all his efforts towards creating a new existence for himself.

Part of that process has entailed being drawn into the all-pervasive military presence that is contained virtually all around us.

Today, the Royal Artillery veterans want to celebrate my dad’s birthday at their old people’s home and I am, of course, only too happy to accompany him there.

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Waiting for the sun…

The only problem that I have is having to fake the fact that I think war is abominable and that any glorification of it ought to be directly tackled.

But I couldn’t possibly spoil my dad’s day – and so will go ahead and behave as appears seemly.

Maybe another day I can deal with the pointless horrors wars inevitably cause.

NOVELS