Happiness II

Happiness is dangerous. It is a threat. I might do something in spontaneous joy, and it would be silly, and I would look a fool, and that would be a complete disaster!

It is strange that when I drag the Foundational Truths of my Existence into consciousness, and examine them, they appear so wrong. I don’t think I have exaggerated this. I would far rather be right than Happy.

And yet recently I have had moments of Happiness, and- the world did not end.

The heart of the human is Love, and love is simple. It is unaffected. It is effortless. It is me.

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, the mystical marriage of St Catherine

“Rather be right than happy.” Mmm. So “right and happy” is possible in some situations, but we are discussing situations where it is not; and both “right” and “happy” have to have some meaning.

If “right”, I am in a place of intellectual understanding which I can justify by rational argument to myself. It’s not what works, because we work with other people; rather it is what ought to work, what by my own moral judgment ought to be accepted. That is, my right is judged by others to be wrong, but that is OK, because they are wrong.

I would rather be right. I would rather be alone with an understanding which no-one else accepts, with a plan which does not work, than surrender my understanding and-

I am working this out as I go, here. The alternative to my rightness is shadowy, I can’t quite picture it, but I know my rightness is Wrong. It is treasuring my comfortable resentment. It is what I have always known, it is where I am now, lonely yet keeping myself to myself, retreated to my living room.

Or-

Stupidity is doing the thing which you know does not work. Yet if I have an idea of how to achieve something and it does not work, I would be happier doing it again, like Sisyphus pushing the rock up the Hill-

for Sisyphus defied the Gods, sought Control in defiance of Reality-

so I try my plan again, and though it does not work, again, it is my plan, it ought to work, I am safe in my comfort zone. Happy enough, or as happy as I can be, even though miserable.

I would rather be Right, because Right is what I know. Opposed to this is the strange, shadowy concept of-

Happy-

Justifications

http://prayerwarriors.wordpress.com/2008/11/16/power-in-prayer-and-praise-music-video-tuesday-november-18-2008/healing-hands/Justifications are unnecessary.
I express myself female because I am transsexual.
I want to practise Reiki because I can channel healing energy, or Qi.

Well. I want to practise Reiki because it is a wonderful placebo, and I have the showmanship to carry it off. If you can fake sincerity, you have got it made. I express myself female because I am a transvestite pervert who has lost all sense of proportion. Or something.

I am fairly sure that the theory of autogynephilia is trivial. Yes, we get turned on by the thought of us female. No, this does not cause us to transition: if it did, “gender dysphoria” could have no meaning.

Some think there is that causal link, though I think the cause is likely to be the other way round. What do I do with contrary evidence?
-Blot it out of consciousness, ignore it, deny it, pretend it is not there, collapse weeping thinking of it occasionally-

Acknowledge it. It exists. It will not make me change my actions. It does not affect my situation: few cissexual folk care. What matters is my reaction to it. Is it a threat? Only if I find it so.

I have felt my hands grow warm, and I have felt warmth seemingly communicated from another’s hands, without touching. Others have valued my attention. And I want that to be the reason why I perform healing: I want it to connect to the reality of the other person.

I spoke to a man who has given several types of Healing over thirty years, and said it seems it’s just placebo. He said, “Yes, that’s about the size of it”. That shocked me. I should have asked straight out, “How do you let yourself do it, if that is all it is?” He told me of spending time with Shiatsu practitioners, and how lovely that was.

What I want is a reason for doing this. My inner rationalist should sense my hands growing warm, sense heat or coolness as I pass my right hand over someone, and use inductive reasoning to connect that to a measurable positive result for the other. It does not work that way.

Relax. It is alright. What I have instead is that I want to do this, that I like to do it, and that other people seem to like it too. It is not this amazing mystic calling, which I cannot follow without perfect certainty that it is right; it is a thing I can do if I want to. And- placebo is a powerful effect.

Bad vaccines

bad vaccinesA fbfnd shared this. It appears vaccine manufacturers wish to poison us, perhaps because they want to cause autism.

You will be aware of the dangers of dihydrogen monoxide. That this is on facebook means that I cannot even tell if any of its allegations are true, leave alone whether there are reasons for the inclusion of latex rubber in vaccines, or whether it can cause allergic reactions when in a vaccine. And, of course a vaccine contains “bacterial DNA”- that is what a vaccine is, and how it works.

This, dear Reader, is a scare story. My great respect for my fbfnd is slightly reduced by her sharing it. It contains exaggerations and possibly untruths, and I find that from my own knowledge.

I had all the vaccinations normal when I was growing up. Oh NO!!-

They never did me any harm; in my day

Ohmygod. Apologies: I am still prone to these wee outbursts of Conservatism. In my day, boys (ahem) were not inoculated against measles, and the South Wales outbreak, preventable if a sufficient proportion of the population had been inoculated, may have killed a man.

How much trust is appropriate? One tends to hope that in the UK at least, there are enough people in the system who care about truth, and children’s lives, to ensure that vaccines are not injected including harmful substances with no benefit to outweigh any possible risk. In Pakistan, the CIA used a vaccination programme to spy on Osama bin Laden, so perhaps less trust is appropriate.

When it comes to bee population collapse and nicotinoid pesticides, the Government needs evidence of a connection before it will restrict the pesticides, yet supports no research which would make such a connection. I do not believe pesticide companies wish to kill off bees, and so prevent the pollination of our food crops- that would not be good for profit- but they do have an interest in continuing to sell pesticides and might take a higher risk than I would of a disaster approaching the dimensions of the Cretaceous asteroid. Interest may affect ones assessment of evidence. How far do you take the precautionary principle?

Why bother? I am neither going to kill the bees or save the bees, by research or a petition signature; I am not going to be vaccinated. It matters because of the world I live in. I am aware of dog-eat-dog capitalism and high-functioning psychopaths and concepts of honour and decency and joy in creativity and altruism. Where should my trust level be? This picture may even inoculate me against scare stories, so that when one is true I deny it.

These are things I cannot know for certain, and I want rationally to reach a level of trust in the world which is not merely dependent on my mood or the sunshine. That would be a back-up, when “I will do my thing and be concerned only with real bad things, if they actually happen” seems too scary.

What I feel NOW

Knight and pennantThe task of the moment is to dry my hands. Water remains between the fingers: rub there, after rubbing the backs of the hands has dried them. The strong sensation is the warm air blown on my hands. Ignorant armies clash by nightI direct my attention to that sensation, and enjoy it for a moment after my hands feel actually dry- then it is too hot, and time to move on.

Mmm. In the moment for a moment. It is worthwhile, sensing where I am and what I am doing rather than the endless monologue about past and future. Having once done this with a blown air dryer, it is easier to do it with this one, now.

Coffee with Quakers. During our usual conversation of how to act well in the world, where to spend money and time, and what it is to be Quaker, I had two hot, sharp reminders of old hurts, and my feelings in those old hurts. I am writing in the evening, and this next bit is the realisation of the evening: the hurt was old, but the feeling wasn’t. I cannot recall what those memories were, now, which adds to the unreality, but I am certain enough: I could recall those incidents now with equanimity. The emotion of them would be in the past.

The past incident formed a symbol, for me to bring to consciousness my feeling at that moment. It comes with a sudden, hot sharp stink of fox, and overwhelms me for a moment. I am inside myself, rather than hearing what the others are saying. Such an intense feeling, and I cannot recall, either, what the feeling was. Then (it seems now) I went back to my ordinary being in the conversation: playing my accustomed part in it, being positive.

This level of sensitivity, my emotion suddenly grasping all of my attention, dragging me away from my companions, showing on my face and sharp intake of breath. It is What I Want, and at this point in my learning it seems too much, to distract me rather than informing me. Mmm. Breathe. Analyse, set the rational being onto the experience. This is my level of skill with such a thing, now. It is much better than being unaware of emotion. It might be good to sit with it if such a thing happens again, withdraw from the outside experience and commune with the inner one. Appreciate it. Say hello.

Kingsley tells of her holiday. She visited a loose-knit group of craftsmen, which had its origins in William Morris’s Arts and Crafts movement. They moved out of London together and set up shop, and the descendants of some are still there, making bespoke silverwork and beautiful things. There were difficulties: they had just got electricity in London, but not in the country, they had moved away from their market, and soon mass produced things which seemed like their hand-made items appeared, competing on price and quality. And people are still there. Mmm. A struggle, always needing to innovate, so I envy an illusion, but it is a tempting one. Given that I am so sensitive, it might be good to be able to work on a six inch square space, with tools and materials to create something beautiful. Past and future vanish and I devote myself to the immediate task.

Ah. That perfection I crave does not happen in real life.

Expressing, not classifying

I rather like the Genderbread person. Someone can look at this and learn. Here is a wonderful post, which critiques it. I love what she says. And it has clarified something for me. At point 2, she asks for an explanation of the difference between transsexual and transgendered, and for me there is none.

Yes, there is a difference between sex and gender. Sex is biological, gender is to do with cultural expression, though I consider at least some of that culture, of “masculine” and “feminine”, is atavistic and genetic rather than merely cultural. But I loathe the expression “biologically male”, and I cannot imagine actually saying “I was biologically male”. I have always been a woman.

“Biologically male” is a useful classification for objective thought, and it does not fit my feelings. I was always a woman. I was a woman with a penis (and fused pelvis, broken voice, Y chromosome almost certainly, etc.). Treat that as a koan, like “the sound of one hand clapping”, a thought which makes no sense but provokes understanding. (Oops, there I go, defining, classifying, simplifying, all the things I deprecate.)

My essence is female. That is more important than my gonads, or I would not have had them cut off.

At point 5, she quotes another site, “being intersex can be any combination of biological sex characteristics.” Lumme. Intersex is a scientific classification, but also a label, something people choose for themselves and argue about its boundaries- is Kalman’s Syndrome intersex? Some prefer “disorders of sexual development”, some object to DSD, some would identify as “intersex” and also as “a woman” which might appear contradictory. Most who choose the label, I understand, object to trans folk applying it to us.

 The classification expresses rationally perceived reality.

For me, emotional reality is far more important.

It feels to me like emotional reality is dissed in our culture, certainly in my current experience of my history. Some discourse takes no account of it at all. And- I learn from the Genderbread graphic, which has two bars rather than a spectrum. I can be at different places on the two bars, at different times.

Now I get personal. If you (Oh, I want a name for her! “Complicated feelings” is not enough! Later- “Small Sauropod?” Really?) If you are reading this, picture me smiling and fluttering my eyelashes. At point 7, she complains that Genderbread oversimplifies sexual orientation. We could debate whether it should mention orientation and oversimplify it, or whether it is primarily about trans issues and it has to simplify something. And- I notice that she says it excludes being attracted to feminine men who are male. My antennae twitch. Close enough? Possibly, give it a try (flutter eyelashes again). I wonder if you are saying, “This does not include me”.

And- when the picture differentiates “gender identity” from “gender expression”, it gives me new understanding, because I have conflated them.

Reincarnation

U, who fascinated and enchanted me, suggested we meet at her friend’s house (this was in October). But before we met, J had something very important to tell me. J believed that in a previous life I had been female, and that was why I felt female now, the former life was so strong in me. U suggested J did a Shamanic journey with me.

This was all too much for me, and I said I do not want a Shamanic journey, can we not just have a meal together? And U said, if I did not want to go to her friend’s, she did not want to see me. Oh well, if my fantasy of a relationship with her had not crashed down then, it would have crashed down very shortly after. It was my inner rationalist coming out, I find some of this New Age stuff very difficult to thole. Someone saying with complete belief, and as if it were as simple as speaking of her birth in “this” life, something which I find irrational remains difficult for me. And brought up Christian I had no exposure to serious belief in reincarnation.

The trouble is, I may very well feel female now because former lives are strong within me, but why am I lesbian? I have seen the suggestion that it is because I was male in a former life, so attracted to women. Where does that leave me? As a joke, I suggested that in a former life I was a butch lesbian, and I thought butches have a raw deal, it is far easier for Femmes, and prayed to come back as a Femme. And some demon heard me. M said that I do not come across as a girly-girl. Drat. Well, it was a Demon.

Here is a suggestion that gay people were the other sex in a former life. Trouble with that is that it suggests, for a lesbian who is not trans, that there is something male about her desiring a woman- that there is something incomplete in her Womanliness. There may be male or unfeminine bits in me but I resent the suggestion that being attracted to women is necessarily one of them.

Also it implies that some explanation is needed. It is OK for a woman to be attracted to another woman because she was a man in a former life. But being lesbian is as natural and normal as being straight. I need no reason to be lesbian rather than straight, or trans rather than cis. Some women appear male, and are attracted to women. That is the way it is.

Being trans has caused me a great deal of pain, and as I move towards self-acceptance two possibilities occur to me. Either this is a particularly difficult problem, and I have done exceptionally well over many previous lifetimes to face it now, or it is a comparatively simple problem, but I find it difficult because I have had few previous lifetimes.

Being trans is good for me and good for the World, and I seek the good in it.

First picture © Himalayan Academy Publications, Kapaa, Kauai, Hawaii.

Being

File:Claude Monet 024.jpgIt is great doing Biodanza with HAI people, said Niraj- we go into that open-hearted, in the moment state so easily. Here we are, on the grass, among the trees, enthusiastically stroking each others’ faces, or moving around to the music with spaced out expressions on. And why not- it is fun, and arguably a Spiritual Experience. Here I am, just me and the- sycamore, I think- studying it, and seeing that part of its spirit which is within me. The angles of the twigs, and the flexibility of the leaves, fluttering and dancing in the wind.

I looked at the dancers, and had the thought that

all these people are within me

That is, that through the Collective Unconscious, Holy Spirit, or fifty million years of Primate evolved instinct, I have access to all their responses, instincts, and ways of being. I can access these in myself, and develop them. Similarly, scrutinising U over lunch, I sought to drink in that femininity, power, containedness and poise, in order to access these qualities in myself.

And then I come away and I think about it. I intellectualise and classify. That is what I do.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There is nothing wrong with that. When I first startedFile:Claude Monet - Camille.JPG to explore this state I called Presence, I thought of it as a liberation from the analysis, which I demoted in my own mind: it was mere monkey-mind, it was holding me back, Presence was the way I want to be. And now, I see the analysis as an essential part of how I relate to the World. It is my great skill, an ability to mould words and concepts into a verbal understanding, from which I may create a foundation for experience and greater understanding. The greatest understanding is non-verbal awareness and non-dual relating- and words remain useful in getting there.

That line about “always trying to be normal” has got to me, because it was my main desire- in order to survive, first get the camouflage right- and is no longer. I tested that desire to destruction, and now I am self-protecting by hiding away in my living room, and occasionally venturing out among people to try to find better ways of being. Self-protecting, avoiding contact, avoiding my own anger and fear, is still my main desire, and- I try to find other desires in me, even the glimmer of a belief I might achieve them.

I had my human contact, which in May put me into an exhausted, weepy state and last week felt rather good, actually, and now I come away and explain it to you, so that I may understand it myself.

Conscious incompetence III

At midnight on Saturday I was pacing the floor with Dick, wrestling with my situation. I am doing nothing, not working, not looking for work. This is OK now, but not for more than a year from now. I need an income stream, and I want it by the start of the next Mayan Great Age. So. What are the problems? How have I got to this situation?

How have I thought to move on? Feel the old suppressed feelings, mourn the old hurts, pass through these and move on. Having gained great respect for my mother doing as she did with the difficulties she had, doing her utmost best always, now I feel I can mourn for the happy childhood I did not have, and accept that. All this feels good and valuable, but not enough, and while I hope I am healing and growing and becoming capable, I fear that I am just vegetating. With Dick, I enumerated the problems, and the solutions I had found, and these did not seem enough; and I punched a cushion a bit, having got it out to scream into it, but that did not seem particularly useful either. Eventually, needing to go to bed, we just stopped.

The Importunate Neighbour- Wm Holman Hunt

The idea came forth the following day. I need to trust myself and the world. I do not trust either. I know, intellectually, that I can trust myself and the world, and now I choose to take that into my heart. I knew, then, how to do this: I will enumerate my good qualities, and the evidence that I have them, and I will think on them. Always I have felt terrified because I am not Perfect, and though my idea of perfect has changed over the years it has always been different from who I am. Now, it seems, I may be good enough.

This is really a conscious incompetence thing, which I could not do without having chosen to be positive rather than negative. It seems everything is coming together.

Also at the HAI weekend, I felt moved to offer spiritual healing, and did what I felt moved to do, offering at the solar plexus chakra, the seat of power. This makes no intellectual sense to me, indeed my inner rationalist could easily produce the arguments to refute it- but it felt real, and right, and my inner rationalist does not feel, itself, any need to produce that refutation. The person felt something.

Spiritual Guidance

We left the office and went to the pub. At nine, we were still there, so we went to eat something; and I got home after one, the taxi driver’s fears of my vomiting in his cab not having been realised.

About 2.30 I woke with words going round in my head, and I got up to write them down. I wrote my verse, “In a world of doubt and sorrow”, which is on my Verse page, and the following day I made only a few changes to it. I still quite like it, which is why I have published it here. It just seemed to flow into my head, as if dictated by a muse.

In the Quaker meeting, I have been “Moved to Speak”, and I had the feeling that I wanted to speak without knowing beforehand what I would say: a greater level of trust than sketching out a line of argument and some of the words, even though they seem to come to me and I felt lifted to my feet. The Ministry I offered on that day when I did say something I had not anticipated had the potential to be my deepest and most constructive, and the angry response to it was unquakerly, entirely human and in no sense Spirit led.

So I have an experience, of feeling moved to produce words, which feel as if they come from outside me, though a more rational explanation is that they come from my own unconscious mind or even across the corpus callosum to my dominant hemisphere. It feels to me like a valuable experience. I am open to the possibilities that it is the Movement of the Holy Spirit, or a material, brain-chemical phenomenon. I think one can observe the phenomenon, and know it is valuable, without a precise and accurate understanding of how it works.

Healing work does not just work by placebo, but by this Movement, by some accounted wise. For example, BodyTalk.

This Yes/No communication is also called neuromuscular biofeedback, which is similar to applied kinesiology. By understanding that your body has an inherent knowledge of itself, the BodyTalk Practitioner is able to quickly and easily ask your body what communication circuits have become compromised and in which order these lines of communication need to be re-established for the fastest possible healing process to occur.

Pseudo-scientific gibberish, but what BodyTalk gives as well as the attention of the practitioner is a few minutes of silence, which may let the patient access her own feelings, wisdom, and subconscious. In the silence, seeking inspiration and in a situation where she is told her body will give it, not seeking to argue but only to feel, the patient may learn something which she could not have worked out rationally. Advices and Queries asks bluntly, “What unpalatable truths might you be evading?” You know, even if you refuse to make it conscious.

If I seek to practise healing, I want to be able to convince my inner rationalist that what I am doing has value for the patient. I am strongly altruistic, and benefit to my bank balance is not enough for me. Access to their own wisdom, as well as the placebo effect, may well be sufficient benefit for the patients. Even that work where I seek my own inspiration, and speak as moved to the patient, may be worthwhile. “It is only cold reading”- no, it is cold reading, with all the empathy and perception of a trained human animal.

————————————————————————————————————–

Quakers began at the start of the Enlightenment, about 1650, and George Fox said “This I knew experimentally”- experientially may be closer to his original meaning now. It is the unity of thought and feeling I seek, valuing both and gaining from both, equally, the right tool for the right job. I do not think it matters whether one calls the source of inspiration Spirit, Muse, or Unconscious; what matters is whether what it produces is useful. It is my experience that it is.

Quack, quack

File:Roman duck head spout, Derby.jpg from WikipediaWhat I want, I thought, is a portfolio of quackery, alternative therapy mumbo-jumbo, so that I can exploit the placebo effect, and trusting, susceptible or needy people. My personality would entice and enrapture them, and their need to believe that the time and money they had spent had had a useful purpose would work in my favour. My words would be meaningless, but, By Jove, the money would roll in. Emotional Freedom Technique, there’s a brilliant name, vaguely irritating tapping on random parts of the body while intoning “Personal Growth” messages culled from Facebook. Cranio-sacral therapy, on the other hand, them’s latin words, them are, that sounds proper scientific. A bit of Reiki, a bit of Tarot. Shiatsu massage sounds rather fun. The training is more onerous, but perhaps the same thing works on me: having invested time and money in it, I have a strong interest in believing in it.

The trouble is, I have been brought up discounting feelings and relying too much on intellect, and just not understanding the alternative. I remember hearing about what a US Presidential candidate (possibly Mr Clinton) “felt” about an issue, and being deeply irritated by this: what should matter is what he thinks. And now I hear the same idea echoed in the film The Iron Lady. So I really do have the distaste that Richard Dawkins, say, would have for quacks and pseudo-therapists, and wonder whether, in some future crisis of confidence, I could decide that the placebo effect was enough, and forgive myself for dressing it up in theatrical flummery. With one alternative therapist whom I respect, when she mentioned astrology as if it might have some relevance to reality, I felt a check, a moment to question her perception. And when I read of Body talk, the claims of what is going on, against what the therapist may be observed to be doing, jar. It is placebo and a touch of NLP. I should do NLP undiluted rather than that, it would be more honest. 

Rather than a Healer, I could see myself as an entertainer. I produce my flim-flam with a real sense of drama to it, we are going on a Shamanic journey, lie down between these candles while I Smudge you, and then I will evoke the archetypal animals. Private performances, one to one, must be worth £60 an hour. Or I could find profitable ways of getting oxytocin flowing in my “clients” to induce dependence.

I feel there is more to it than flim-flam, flummery, mumbo-jumbo, but then I do have an interest in feeling that. A pecuniary interest, if I move into Healing and make a go of it, a pecuniary interest which might make me more forgiving of Trusting the Unknowing than Professor Dawkins is. Those comforting untruths which seem to make life easier. My integrity is important to me, I say, as I underpin it with half-conscious lies.

It is such an evenly balanced dilemma for me. If I believed that alternative and complementary therapies were worthless, I would know what to do. If I believed that I had a calling to such creative and beautiful work, I would know what to do. The problem is that these beliefs are at war in me. My confidence being low, the doubt increases, but knowing that does not-

feel

like a particularly strong indicator of the truth of the matter.