Posts Tagged ‘spirituality’

If you’re looking for titillation or the Hayne’s Manual of sexual technique, it is time to retrace your steps as this is about fundamentals. Some say that sex is mainly in the mind, but that is blatantly wrong: it is ALL in the mind. Obviously so, really, since that is where all senses, perception, ideas and mores are processed to create our concept of reality. For instance, things that would tickle normally will delight when aroused. So the important questions are: what, fundamentally, is sex? Why is it wonderful?

The answer, as with almost everything in life, is lots of things. It can be comforting, an adventure, exciting, an expression of love, an ego boost, pure sensory pleasure and much more besides. But this is still not its essence, but its effects. It is not enough to be amazingly dextrous, fit and breath through your ears; you have to understand the spiritual nature of sex before you can get the physics right.

So what is sex? Please think before you reply, as even the mechanics of it are not as simply defined as you may think. It is not all grapple & grunt: potentially you do not even need to touch each other to have great sex. Although usually, I’ll admit, it does help.

The simple answer is that sex is about communication. I don’t mean talking. “Further to the left” or “Do you like it when I rub this?” might be practically useful, but do not provide much insight. The communication I mean is on a primeval level that is more basic than language. It harks back to our evolutionary past, to our uncivilised and animalistic core. Sex allows us to connect to another human on the spiritual level, allows the fundamental essence of your being to join with another.  Sex alone allows us to join absolutely with another, allows us to penetrate our loneliness and briefly lose our isolation. Well, some serious narcotics possibly get us there too, but that is a different discussion!

Well, I am glad we got that sorted, so we can all now toddle off and have multiple orgasms. Ah, of course, there is the question of ‘how’. What is it we actually have to do to connect to someone else? The answer, as with almost everything in life, is lots of things! The first and most important is to want to connect and to give pleasure. Its all in the giving, I’m afraid, so stop right now and don’t waste any more time reading this if you just want to have more fun yourself.

You have to deeply like the person you’re with. Love is not directly related to sex, but helps in as much as you will be serious about giving to someone you love. The next bit will be easier as well, as you must open yourself up to them. You must expose the inner you, take down all defences and show yourself naked to the core. The only way you can join with someone essence-to-essence is for the cores of your beings to touch, and the only way for that to happen is for both of you to strip away all outer layers of you personas. Stand down your defensive shells, demolish your facades, can your carefully constructed character traits. It’s very temporary, but is still tricky to do. Someone has to start and help the other along (or help each other), as otherwise you will remain just two bodies rubbing bits against each other.

Don’t worry if it doesn’t happen straight away. It is complex and difficult and will take time to come together (so to speak). One practical way to start off is to concentrate on the other’s reactions: try to feel what the other likes and dislikes, try to predict what they want next. We are pack animals and programmed to understand very slight changes in body language, so although this may seem a bit of a Jedi Power at first, you can become highly attuned to your lover. You will find that you get better at this, possibly even knowing more about what your lover really wants than they do, but the real point is that you will be communicating. As you read them, so you will be sending signals back and they will be reading you too.

This stage is good! You work well together, become great at pleasuring each other and sex becomes fabulous. Keep going, use your desire to drive you towards connection and you will get to the body-and-spirit-tingling moment when you both drop your last barriers, surrender entirely to each other and truly become ‘with’ another person. Add in the physical, sensory delights of sex and whoa! Its fun time!

Some couples will never get this, others can get there during a one night stand. It is not about what you do or who you are, but about being compatible. Every person is capable of this, but only with the right partner. Or partners, possibly. Some people may be able to connect with every lover they have, others perhaps with very few.

If you cannot connect with your lover, perhaps you shouldn’t be together. A survey recently found that 1 in 7 couples remain deeply in-love all their lives, never losing the heady feelings of their first few years together. I suggest that these are the people that can connect at the deepest, most intrinsic level.

This could be all of us, we just have to make the right decisions in life, be with the right person.

p.s. let’s take a moment to reflect on how lucky we are. Most animals merely copulate: a compulsive attempt to breed that has little pleasure (part from pygmy chimps, obviously). But we can take immense pleasure from indulging in sex as frequently as we desire. If there is a God, surely this is compelling evidence to show that we are Her special children!

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The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins is, in many ways, an excellent book. At least, I think so & what greater acolade could anyone wish for? Unfortunately, my high praise is not without caveats. There are several passages or aspects of the book that just don’t ring true, which appear to my uneducated eye as having flaws. These I expand upon below, as Dawkins’ Five Delusions; I have included page numbers to give some indication of the passages I am talking about, although I realise that different editions will have different layouts.

Delusion 1, p.101: The book quotes the following cunning paradox about God: If God is omniscient, then He (or She) knows what will happen in the future, including the actions He will take. Since He knows what He will do, He cannot change that action. This therefore means He is not omnipotent, as His ability to do something different is gone.

Does this hold true? Is it possible that by being omnipotent He can be any place at any time, possibly even every place at every time?

His being outside of the rules that bind the rest of us is almost the definition of God – He made the rules up in the first place, so they don’t affect Him. Otherwise it would be a bit like someone making a chess set and afterwards having to move diagonally or only in straight lines. Time and place surely have little meaning to Him, so future, past & present are as one. There would be no instance of Him knowing ‘what He will do’ as much as knowing ‘what He did’ or even only ‘what He is doing’, even if for us it hasn’t happened yet.

There is therefore no problem about knowledge of future actions binding those actions or making the knowledge false, since there are no future actions – God is omnipotent and omnicognisant all at the same time (so to speak). To believe in an all-powerful God is to negate any paradox.

Delusion 2, p.147. 0.000000 0.000000

There is a problem with intelligent design, as it does not get around the thorny question of who created the Intelligent Designer in the first place. This would be trickier than creating the material universe, as the Designer would necessarily be more complex than the thing He created.

Unfortunately, physics has no more answers than religion on this question, as it cannot explain what is outside the universe or what existed before it or how it was created. Just postulating that there is nothing beyond the universe and that it has no beginning is rather trite. It is similar to the suggestion that God removed all evidence of his existence to allow belief to flourish, so the less proof we find the more we should be convinced He’s real.

Delusion 3, p.172. Dawkins says that there are 6 fundamental constants of the universe, such as the strong force. He states that the odds of their being a God to set these six values to be exactly right for us to exist is at least as improbable as them all being those values by random chance. But why? Surely the opposite is true: if God chose the values there would be no chance in it at all, so there would be a 100% probability of them being exactly what we need. To say that the existence of an intelligent force capable of setting the values of the 6 constants is less likely than the universe being as it is misses the point entirely: this would only be true if God was created by the system, not if He created the system. The intelligent design of God and the probabilities of chance are mutually exclusive systems. Imagine a man throws 100 dice. Are the odds of the man existing on earth to throw the dice greater than the odds of him getting the 100 numbers in the order in which he gets them?

String theory & the strong anthropic principle suggest that it is almost impossible for the fundamental constants of the universe NOT to exist in this universe. But then, what made sure strings exist in the first place?

Delusion 4, p.265. Dawkins stated that most people are not parasitic bullies, as this is not a viable option: if we were all bullies, there would be no one left to bully. Actually, most people would be parasitic bullies if they thought they could get away with it. If everyone acts as a bully, the problem is not that one has nobody to bully (one does: anyone weaker), but that one would be bullied by those more powerful. This is why bullying is prevalent in schools, where there is only a small pool of people and there is always a biggest bully (or several). In the wider society this is unlikely, so just about everyone could be bullied by someone. There is also the potential for average people to rise up and overthrow the despot. In the dark ages and pre-history the smaller communities tended to give rise to despots, but even then the strategy was dangerous. Bully too much and there could be a revolution, which would lead to the extermination of the despot’s genes.

Some morals may be hard wired into humans, but very few. There is almost nothing that is not acceptable to some society somewhere in the world.

Delusion 5. The entire book makes the unstated assumption that what we see is what we get: that the universe we can perceive and understand is the only truth and reality there is. This is basically an assumption that God does not exist, which makes the entire book nothing more than an enjoyable read. The message of the book should be posted on the front page as ‘In a universe without a god, God cannot exist’, which would go a long was to reducing the academic struggle for the reader over the next few hundred pages.

General observation on religion. I can’t help thinking that many religions are suspiciously paternal in flavour. Could it be that children are designed to think that their parents are omniscient and omnipotent, so that they will do just as they are told and therefore have a greater chance of surviving to reproductive age? When we grow up this may disappear, leaving doubt, responsibility and fear where before there was the comfort of being protected and guided. Perhaps this void is replaced with God the Father, directing and protecting us. Perhaps that is why we invented gods, which reflect the cultures from which they were spawned: violently fickle in Rome where parents could legally kill their children, rigorously patriarchal in the Catholic Europe.

Interestingly, more primitive cultures have a higher degree of shared parentage within small tribal groups, which dilutes the father figure. In these societies nature is the most potent force and is perceived as being more powerful than the wider parental group, so these societies tend to have more elemental and natural gods rather than paternal gods.

On the other hand, the ubiquitous nature of souls and the concept of an afterlife is a natural extension of humanity’s conceptual intelligence.  One has to know oneself to know the rest of world, to predict how the world around one will act and to manipulate it. To compete fully against an opposing tribe, one has to understand their thought process; one has to understand what it is to be a person and to think. A natural extension is to have self awareness, self conceptualisation and a horror of not existing any more. Souls continuing in an afterlife overcome this horror. This self conceptualisation is the darkness behind the eyes of Terry Pratchett or the lifts in the Hitch Hiker’s Guide building of Douglas Adams.

Post script. There is a tiny weeny problem with the critiques above: I am fairly stupid & Dawkins rather an egg-head. So, please feel free to enlighten me as to my errors & mistakes.

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“The objective of life is contentment. Happiness is surficial and short-lived, but contentment permeates every aspect of your life consistently, once achieved. Religions tend to talk about enlightenment, but it is basically the same thing.”

We live in a society where size matters. Everything is target driven, from government ministers obsessed by management theory to school children dominated by SATS. If something cannot be measured it has no value, as how can you compare yourself to the ‘model of perfection’ if you can’t quantify either? We are constantly told, sometimes very subtly, that to be whole and happy people we have to have enough fun, happiness, money, beauty, sex & cool stuff. If we have enough of all these, which incidentally are generally on sale or available to those who tow the party line, then we too may become models of perfection and the envy of all our friends.

{The ‘model of perfection’ seems to be based on those lifestyles of the rich & famous that are detailed in Hello magazine. Unfortunately, these bear less relevance to real life than most Mills & Boon stories, even for those of us who are actually rich & famous. So we are on a hiding to nothing if we try to measure up to these models that are commonly peddled in our society. Even more unfortunately, most of us do just that.}

Now, most of the truly important things in life are not measurable in themselves or take years to be noticed. Examples are kindness, understanding, wisdom and gratitude. Also the most important of all, contentment. Contentment is very like enlightenment, only you don’t need to like yoga or joss sticks to indulge. I use the word indulge on purpose, as it coveys a sense of doing something wonderful but naughty. Trying to achieve contentment within our society is just that: a wonderful thing to achieve but naughty because content people make poor consumers, are less swayed by spin and less blinded by duty.

Contentment is often confused with happiness, but they are quite different. The former is a pervasive state of being, a constant boon that permeated every aspect of your life. The latter is mercurial, easily conjured by good company or good booze, for instance, but just as easily lost. Happiness can animate even the most icy heart for a while, but once gone leaves nothing behind but memories. Or possibly even depression. Once you are content, you will be able to accept your life as it should be and ignore the model of perfection. The fashions and fads of the world will hold no sway, leaving you free to pick and choose what you want to use and what discard. You will not be stressed by you imperfections, but accept them with a sense of humour and appreciation. Being kind to yourself will allow you to grow and, most importantly, help those around you grow through your kindness to them. This is why contentment and enlightenment are so similar, as they both lead to great wisdom and the ability to help those around you.

It is not easy to be truly content. To do so you need to understand what is important to your life, then act upon it. This will be different for everyone, so there is no Haynes Manual to contentment – rather, there is a system to follow that should allow you to understand what’s right for you. The basics of this are outlined in my blog post ‘A short sharp (ish) guide to zeta’, but will be explored in greater detail soon. ish.

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We all believe in something: perhaps a god, perhaps some nebulous form of spiritual force or possibly just blind guidance by physical laws. It doesn’t really matter as far as Zeta is concerned, as it is this life that we are concerned with rather than the next. Think of it as the path to heaven on earth, if you like.

It is quite possible that all theologies are correct at the same time, even the mutually exclusive ones, so it is silly to stress about which is superior. It is also rather arrogant to claim that one’s own beliefs are correct and everyone else’s wrong, as others believe just as strongly as you and with just as much justification.

It is interesting to note that the founders or major prophets of most religions have said similar things about the ways to reach their gods: be tolerant, be kind, be spiritual and chill out about what you have and your position in society.

This is also the way to heaven on earth, which simply means reaching a state of contentment in your life. Focusing on the spiritual in your life will make this much easier to achieve and is possibly the only route to full contentment. In this context spiritual does not necessarily mean any of the gods/astral plane/reincarnation type stuff, but does concern the inner you: your emotions, the shrouded foundations of your conscious thought, your subconscious and instinct.

For instance, being unpleasant to someone may lead to a sense of superiority, victory and elation, but brings with it stress, anger, alienation and emotional retreat. This could enhance happiness in the short term, but would almost certainly reduce contentment for the longer term. The same degree of kindness to others would bring a longer lasting joy, elation, connection, mutual social elevation (as opposed to lone superiority, with all its drawbacks) and emotional growth. It would also boost contentment.

Remember that happiness is an intense but fleeting feeling that comes and goes rapidly, leaving little of use behind it once gone. Contentment, on the other hand, is a stable state of being that influences all other emotions and tends to engender that rather chimeric feeling of happiness.

Most religions of the world also try to dissuade people from being proud, and that message is as relevant today as it has ever been. It is perhaps the most important message of them all, as the whole chilling out & being spiritual thing is almost impossible if you get it wrong. No spiritual chilling means no enlightenment, no pervasive contentment.

The classically religious interpretation of pride seems to be similar with boasting or big-headedness. This, I think, is slightly off the mark and is probably a misunderstanding of the teachings of men (mainly) who were, after all, some of the wisest the world has even known, even if you don’t believe in their gods. Now, the Zeta interpretation of pride is ‘don’t take yourself too seriously’, but this is basically the same as the classical teachings, only updated for a modern context.

Pride is a boon in some circumstances – pride in your children’s rather dubious artwork, for instance. In fact, it can be a great source of joy and motivation to do good. But if you take yourself too seriously, the pride can very easily turn venomous. If you don’t take yourself too seriously, then you can view the world through untainted eyes and feel good about just about everything. It gives you room to be understanding of other people’s faults and forgive their foibles or insults, just as you have to forgive yourself for your own. Laugh at yourself and the world will laugh with you: and love you for it.

Well, enough for now – it’s time to knuckle down to some work. Shish, this making money business sometimes really gets in the way!

p.s. very proud of myself, as I wrote all that without a snigle spelling mistake!

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What’s zeta basically about? Well, the last post summarised the ‘manifesto’ of zeta, but I’d forgotten to lay out the basics, so here they are. The short version is that it is about how to live a good life – good in every sense: content, useful, successful etc.

The whole zeta way of life is a good idea at the moment, as it is a toolkit for success in a world lost in the morass of consumerism. But it will become ever more useful as the Age of Change comes upon us – as resources run low and current lifestyles are squeezed out of existence. Success does not mean having fast cars, big houses or race horses; but rather friends, love and contentment.

Zeta is basically a state of mind, a way of looking at life, a philosophy. The only problem is that it is really hard to talk about the concepts involved without sounding either like a religious zealot or a new age etherial. Terms such as ‘acceptance’, ‘enlightenment’, ‘peace’, ‘understanding’ and ‘creation’ are all useful and apt terms, but somehow conjure up completely the wrong atmosphere of discussion. There is nothing wrong with new age or religious concepts and beliefs, it is just that zeta is possibly neither. It might be both, as it happens, or either – it doesn’t actually matter & I am certainly not sufficiently enlightened to understand the fundamental workings of the universe, so can’t comment. Please feel free to enlighten me, as it were.

Which brings us to the problem of my not being very clever, so failing horribly at expressing myself succinctly. I am also not particularly zeta myself – not charismatic, brave or assertive enough – so I can only understand the concepts through a few personal triumphs, some knowledge of zetas and through recognising my mistakes. This again makes it hard to deliver my thoughts as words of wisdom, like delicate petals blown from the tree of knowledge, rather than just incoherent blather. Hey ho.

Again, any help you can offer will gladly be accepted.

So, zeta is about living the best life you can through finding enlightenment and contentment. This takes a little effort in our society, as almost all our political and economic systems rely on us being discontent and searching for more than we have. Ideally the system wants people who desperately desire more than they can ever have, as they are likely to be too busy chasing what they think they need to realise that they only think they need it as they are constantly being told they do. Phew, that was a tricky sentence – sorry.

To become zeta you need to kick back, work out what you really need and concentrate on attaining it. This is usually an awful lot easier than trying to get all the things you would like, so once you have worked out the difference between ‘need’ and ‘want’ you are half way there.

The next trick is to de-train your mind from wanting all the things you’ve been trained to want – money, stuff, social standing, respect, power. None of these are in any way important in comparison to friendship, fun, love and contentment with your lot. It doesn’t mean you can’t work hard to change your situation in life, just don’t get depressed with your current life and fixate on a distant goal of achievement that will bring you health, wealth & happiness. It doesn’t work like that: goals move and you have to enjoy your journey through life at every stage.

What you will find is that as you become more zeta you will have more space to be kind to yourself & those around you, which in turn will lead to you having the respect, social standing etc that you are no longer chasing. At least, you will amongst the people from whom it is worth having such accolades.

The last post goes some way to fleshing out these concepts, but I will also be posting some practical tips to help you get into the right frame of mind. Exercises for the spirit, if you like. But don’t worry, they are practical everyday types of exercises and don’t involve joss sticks or crystals. At least, not necessarily.

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The most adulated people throughout human history have been the Alpha Males and Alpha Females. This is a direct continuation from our more hairy past and is generally the situation for most mammals. He (or she) who shouts the loudest, grabs the most and consumes the fastest is the best. Or so it has been until now, but for humans at least this is about to change.

Why? Well, throughout history there has always been a world surplus of resources. Even if there was local scarcity of food, for instance, there was always the ability to get more from elsewhere or grow more after the next rains. There was no boundary condition to prevent getting more stuff. This meant that he who could produce the most resources would accumulate the most wealth, which in turn would trickle down to the community around him. The equation is easy:

More resources in = more produce out = more wealth = happy!

This made him everyone’s favourite and the best mating potential in the tribe. The lack of a boundary condition meant that this equation was always valid (if managed right, at least).

In the impending Age of Change this will no longer be the situation: for the first time in history it will soon be impossible to find enough stuff on the globe as a whole. There will be a barrier to accumulation, a boundary condition. The equation will no longer be absolute and will often look more like:

More resources in = imbalance and scarcity = impoverishment = sad!

This makes the Alpha Male in question a very controversial figure amongst his immediate tribe and could lead to his complete downfall. He will have become a very dangerous choice of mate.

This may sound like a fairly fine flight of fancy, but how does it correspond to the real world? Throughout history and around the world people have starved whilst others prospered – why will things change now?

The answer again is the boundary condition. Even in a situation where some are starving, the successful Alphas have always procured a proportion of their wealth from outside the community and some of that wealth has trickled into it. This has kept the system stable enough for the Alpha to remain comfortably at the top. If the situation arises that the Alpha cannot procure wealth from outside their community, they will have to either hoard their produce or take from their immediate surrounds. This will lead to serious social instability and potential fall of the Alpha.

The real problem with the whole Alpha thing is not that they are successful or charismatic or strong, but that their attitude sucks. Alphas have been bred, both socially and genetically, to want to be Alphas. They want to consume, to accumulate, to be the best and they want to be seen to be doing so.

Zetas, on the other hand, do not have the attitude. They are still leaders, still strong and charismatic, if not more so than Alphas, but they have a much deeper understanding of what is important in life and how to live it. They rate enjoyment over ownership, contentment over wealth and understanding over material success. They are, in the broadest meaning of the word and not necessarily in any religious or New Age way, spiritual. They are wise.

It is this different attitude that we need as the world runs out of resources and we enter the Age of Change. We need to be led by Zetas, not Alphas. This is nothing particularly new, as many of history’s greatest figures have been Zetas rather than Alphas, but the reason and degree to which we need them has changed.

Why Zeta?

The worlds resources will run out, so we all need to start understanding the difference between ‘want’ and ‘need’, as in ‘I need clothes to keep me warm’ -v- ‘I want that Prada handbag to go with my Jimmy Choo shoes’. We have far more than we need, which does not make us content. The consumer society is based on buying, tiring and buying more. There is a quick burst of happiness when we buy something new, followed by the disappointing boredom of ownership and the stress of having to buy more to get high again.

Wealthy societies that are based on consumerism, such as the UK, have higher depression rates and lower contentment than poor societies based on spirituality (again in its broadest sense). This we desperately need to change and the only way to do so is to change the way we live, to become less consumerist and more spiritual. We need to wean ourselves of our addiction to quick shopping highs and learn how to enjoy the deep, long lasting buzz from actually doing things for ourselves and those around us; of having little and enjoying a lot.

This is already important, if only to improve our standard of living, but as the Age of Change comes upon us it will become essential to survival. A bit of depression over having only 50 pairs of shoes and a large overdraft will soon turn into an inability to provide the basic essentials for living and a complete failure to cope.

Zetas can show us how to chill out and make the most of life’s adventure. They can show us how to enjoy the world for what we have around us, rather than aspire constantly to what we think certain celebrities have around them. Zetas can lead us to live better lives: better for us and better for the planet as a whole.

So why will the Zetas become top dogs? It will be because they will survive serenely, they will know how to make the most of what is around them and will still manage to find true contentment. The Age of Change will not reduce their lifestyle as it will many others, because the shortage of material wealth will not reduce their wisdom or spirituality. They will continue to have enough, of everything.

They will also help others to survive, they will help whole communities find their way from consumption to understanding, spirituality and ‘enough’. That will make them top dogs.

A deeper discussion of the philosophy of Zeta will have to wait until the next post.

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