That job

That job would be perfect for me. It is what I have done for years, it has its irritations but I can make something of it, achieve something worthwhile, probably please the funders, take pleasure in it. The salary is reasonable, and the location is good: living nearby I could get to convenient groups of healers, spiritual people, do a bit of stand-up. And they invited me to apply. I applied for a job with them in June, so when they advertised they emailed me to let me know: Dear Clare, attaching my application letter and CV from last time.

And- looking at it, I broke down in tears. I could not face it. I did a fair bit of avoidance activity, and put it off several days. Then I sat down to the application on Thursday, saying what I have done, what I can do, why I am good for them.

What got me to do the application was a law of attraction thing:

Specifically, “I am worthy”. “I am not worthy” has been holding me back. I am not good enough, I will be found out, I will be laughed at, I will be judged, where is it me doing the judging, and in anticipation, and far more harshly than other people would.

“Chatter” in the head is a concept from the common understanding of Buddhism, the Monkey mind. There was a debate on facebook whether “Abundance” here leads to greed: I consider it does not: a state of abundance has no threat, and it is from fear of threat that I snatch at things, fearing not getting what I need.

I am Worthy of Abundance. This does not lead to a “me, first” attitude, doing down others, necessarily: I am one worthy spiritual being among others. It prompts me properly to look after myself. I have taken so much in about my wrongness, so much false shame, and it does no good to me or anyone else.

Seeking the slime

The test of liability for medical negligence in the UK is that in Hunter v Hanley, or Bolam. Against a case of negligence for choosing a particular treatment, or a failure to treat, there is a defence if

the doctor has acted in accordance with a practice accepted as proper by a responsible body…of professional opinion.

If an outmoded and ineffectual treatment is still chosen by a minority of old-fashioned practitioners, then there is no liability on the doctor for choosing it.

In the light of the Equality Act, the General Medical Council is revising its guidance on personal beliefs:

5 You may choose to opt out of providing a particular procedure because of your personal beliefs and values. But you must not refuse to treat a particular patient, or group of patients because of your personal beliefs or views about them. And you must not refuse to treat the health consequences of lifestyle choices to which you object because of your beliefs.

The Daily Mail got in a complete tizzy about this: Christian doctors forced to carry out sex change operations!! Indeed, those seeking gender reassignment (as opposed to the larger group who are gender variant) are protected under the Equality Act, but a surgeon has a choice of what operations s/he will train to perform. More generally, a doctor cannot refuse to refer to a gender clinic, or refer for speech therapy and perhaps hair removal if the health authority will pay for it, where the entire scientific and medical consensus is that reassignment is the correct treatment. Previously, a bigot could refer his patient to a colleague, which I might prefer, but can no longer.

It is disturbing that someone would say “Christianity” prevents him from properly practising the profession of doctor, and giving the treatment which proper doctors give. That is a Christianity from Hell, and not from Heaven. Also, it is disturbing that someone would practise as a doctor without sympathy for his patients. However, the Mail managed to find a doctor who feared that he would be forced to treat against his “conscience”. Only twenty gender recognition certificates are issued each month, so he is unlikely to see one of us.

What the Mail does is seek out “It’s the end of the World as we know it” stories on the most spurious grounds. What are the threats? What are the reasons for me to

Always keep a hold of Nurse
For fear of finding something worse?

This is a bad habit, and too common: how did I find out about the Mail article? Because trans folk were discussing it on Facebook, looking at how hostile people might be to us. When I recognised it in myself I called it slime-hoovering, seeking out and sucking up the slime to justify a fearful, constrained existence. I do it less, now I have seen it in me. I still err on the side of slime hoovering rather than unreasonable optimism, I think.

It is one of the reasons why I have any time at all for the “law of attraction”: being open to opportunity and blessing in the world has to be better.

Releasing a fantasy

Oh, I wanted that. And I cannot have it, and that is so painful, and I weep over it. If I cannot have the thing, how may I release the fantasy of it? I am clinging to a fantasy of the World as I would like it, and the pain comes from the disconnect between the fantasy and the reality.

If all I have is fantasy, rather than possibility, how may I let go of the fantasy?

The problem is that I could not see a way of getting what I wanted other than that way. That is the work to do, to imagine other ways.

Actually, it may be possible. Seeing that enables me to see quite how great the disconnect is, between the fantasy and the real world. That fantasy just ain’t goan happen. Not nohow. And the nearest possible thing to it, which is not likely at all, might not be pleasant in reality. But there may be other ways to get what I want. So I may be able to release the fantasy.

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One Facebook friend quotes Abraham Hicks regularly, and this is the latest:

Did you know that you are entitled to as many miracles in a day, as breaths you take? And that those you don’t use, carry over? And that presently, in dog years, it’s impossible to use all yours up? And that, in human years, if new ones stopped accruing, which they won’t, you’d be hard-pressed to use yours before your swinging 600’s?

And that all you have to do to cash one in, is expect it?

You’ve got it made.

Maybe it is the man in me, imagining myself active in the World, achieving things- “I ride my horse and make it go my way”- but I prefer Thoreau.

I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavours to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favour in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings. In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness. If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.

I went to a party last month, and found this framed on a friend’s wall. I do not usually read American classics, we have quite enough Literature over here, thank you, but I think I will try Walden. “Advance confidently”- all that fear of the monsters in the darkness-

Elegant idiocies

The otherbugger will get on your back if he can.
That is all the advice you ever need to give.
If he’s on your back already, it’s TOO LATE!

That was sent on a postcard to the Citizens Advice Bureau where I worked, and it fascinated me. It pictured a world where each human being was locked in war with every other person, seeking advantage, and all comradeship was a lie. Everything we did was worthless: if that really were all the advice we needed to give, it could be given with a poster on the wall, rather than forty-odd people inside, beavering away, thinking they were doing something useful. It fascinated me because it was so far from the truth, yet so coherent and so beautifully expressed.

So I started collecting such phrases.

Don’t compare your sin to my skin.

Here are people of colour firmly in the Kyriarchy, busily oppressing others. “Christians” who believe that gay people, rather than being part of the wonder and diversity of Creation, are sinners who choose to be disgusting, and do not deserve “Civil rights”- in fact the comparison of their campaign to that of Martin Luther King is wicked. I can imagine people repeating that phrase to themselves, thinking how clever they are, making themselves even less open than before to the need and hurt of others: in the words of Neil Peart,

quiet in conscience
calm in their right
confident their ways are best

The evil in the phrase is focused and intensified by the elegance of its expression.

Who would wear a T shirt reading “I hear voices and they don’t like you”? It could not be expressed better, and it is a foul sentiment.

My favourite explanation of Astrology:

As above, so below.

Well, of course it isn’t. The orbit of Neptune does not affect my destiny, at all. The value of Astrology is in being a repository of wisdom about how people are, and a way of bringing these characteristics to mind whose randomness actually enhances its usefulness. In the hands of a skilled practitioner it has value. She says something about me which she thinks may be true, but her choices are constrained by the framework, which means she must be more creative herself. Then the thought sits in me and matures, either attracting or revolting me, and so teaching me. Just possibly, belief in the doctrine may help in this.

And finally, a sentence which is the opposite of elegant, but equally striking, in the circumlocutions half-concealing the basic idea:

Apart from a few comparatively unimportant particulars, the Law of England appears to be almost as near to perfection as can be expected of any human institution.

Wow. We’re so good that if we said it straight out we would risk being accused of self-worshipping blasphemy. One wonders what “comparatively unimportant particulars” the Real Property Commissioners, delivering their first report in 1829, had in mind: perhaps the fact that someone might be executed for stealing something worth less than two weeks’ wages for a skilled artisan, or the rule that no woman could own real property: it was held in trust by her father or husband.

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Winston Churchill said,

You create your own universe as you go along.

Now, I happen to believe that. My perceptions are not the same as reality, but from within my own brain, and my moods and past experience affect my perceptions. The struggle to make them closer to reality is painful and difficult. However, have a look here at the context. Or here. It seems from the second link that Churchill takes a naive realist position- he knows things exist because he senses them- and from the first, that he believes in Christian doctrine because it gives him comfort, and he wants to believe it. The quote is a straw man. So to quote it out of context is to misrepresent him and to cite him as authority for a belief he derided. And yet a quick Google shows it is often quoted in Law of Attraction sites, without context. Picture: public domain.

Einstein is quoted often as saying,

Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.

Wikiquote disputes the citation. Again, from Google, it is frequently quoted on Law of Attraction sites.

What matters is not who said it, but whether it is true. Perhaps the quote has such value as it has not because he wrote it but because a particular Facebook friend chooses to share it. However imagination is much richer than that. I hated one of my psychiatrists so much that I had revenge fantasies about him. I would be horrified if they happened, but they were a safety valve for my feelings.

“Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it.” I have seen this attributed to Confucius, but since I cannot find where he is supposed to have said it, your guarantee of its truth or value is either your own experience, or your faith and trust in me.

Facebook

In many shamanic societies, if you came to a medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited, or depressed, they would ask one of four questions.
When did you stop Dancing?
When did you stop Singing?
… When did You stop Being Enchanted by Stories?
… When did You Stop Finding Comfort in the Sweet Territory of Silence?

~ Gabrielle Roth

Facebook is a strange thing. I joined this Summer, and many of my “Friends” are people I have only met once, at HAI or the Field of Love or Midsummer Camp, plus two bloggers, some people I knew years ago and a few Quakers (amongst whom the Facebook uptake appears to be a great deal less for some reason).
 
Given that most of these people are roughly in the new agey, “spiritual but not religious” category, I see lots of status updates like the above, which is one of the better ones, though I would ask “why?” not “when?” In certain moods, I hunt for subtle clues, like a Kremlinologist, among the “Likes” and status updates, wondering
 
Is she really going out with him?
Is she really gonna take him home tonight?
 
Then again, occasionally there are amusing photos, like this one of a satsuma:
 
 
I met Jake Coe at Midsummer Camp, and it is more likely than not I will not see him again, but through facebook I have been privileged to see this video. I am impressed by the professionalism of the production and the passion in the words.
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Facebook is where I came across Abraham Hicks, for example,
 
You are joy, looking for a way to express. It’s not just that your purpose is joy, it is that you are joy. You are love and joy and freedom and clarity expressing. Energy—frolicking and eager—that’s who you are. And so, if you’re always reaching for alignment with that, you’re always on your path, and your path will take you into all kinds of places. We will not deny [sic- we will assert?] that you will not discover miracles and create benefits and be involved in creation, and that you will not uplift humanity—we will not say that you will not find satisfaction in so many things that you create, but we can’t get away from the acknowledgment that you are Pure Positive Energy that translates into the human emotion of joy. — Abraham
 
I think they have too many negatives, and may be saying the opposite of what they intend, though the Abe Forum has not picked up on that. This one feels wrong to me. One problem many people have is that they think if they are feeling anger or distress, they are not doing it right, they should feel joy. But anger and distress are healthy responses to the way the world is. How we respond to that anger is the question, in a creative or destructive way- as the NT says, “In your anger do not sin”, Ephesians 4:26. Revolting against it or fighting it or suppressing it because you should be feeling joy is an uncreative response.
 
I like the sharing of campaigns, and videos. I feel privileged to have these tiny points of contact.

False, but beneficial?

Abraham Hicks, again:

Wellness that is being allowed—or the wellness that is being denied—is all about the mindset, the mood, the attitude, the practiced thoughts. There is not one exception, in any human or beast; because, you can patch them up again and again, and they will just find another way of reverting back to the natural rhythm of their mind. Treating the body really is about treating the mind. It is all psychosomatic. Every bit of it, no exceptions.

At the time of writing (Saturday) I have such a cold that I would rather be in bed. I hope to get to the Quaker meeting tomorrow, and the office on Monday, but right now I am keeping warm and sleeping a lot.

I read that most people have meningococcus inhabiting their mouths, quite safely. It is only when the bacillus gets to the meninges that it causes meningitis. Saying that meningococcus causes meningitis is, therefore, not a full explanation: why should it turn on its host? But saying that the host desired it, or that my mother desired the liver cancer that killed her, repels me.

I have, actually, gone into my ritual space and stated that I desire my physical wellbeing, and envisaged Light suffusing my body, filling me with healing energy.

I think a positive outlook is beneficial, but am hard pushed to find any value in this demonstrably false belief. Yes, I am not positive all the time, and practice is good. Possibly it is better, when deciding how much I am to blame for the situations which I find uncomfortable, to err on the side of responsibility than fatalism. I like to think of myself as looking for the cracks in the wall, where I just might batter through.

Blaming myself for this cold will make me feel worse. Perhaps a good thing to come from the quote is that I will take things said by these people with a little scepticism, rather than simply accepting it all. The quote is also about sick people- “you can patch them up again and again”- rather than well people, which is looking on the negative side.

I want to give my energies to matters where they will be best used, not waste them on things I cannot change. So, back to Reinhold Niebuhr, who states the problem so well. Such decisions are a learning and maturing experience, to be done in the moment with all the information available. The only consolation is that everyone finds this difficult.

Vibrating

When I come across a new bit of New Age stuff, such as, attracting what you want to yourself from the Universe through your vibrations, I set my inner rationalist on it. And in this case, my rationalist says something which my inner toddler translates as, “NAWB alert! NAWB alert!”

But I have other tools. What of the basic Sea of Faith understanding that religion is Metaphor, that even if the doctrine does not literally describe reality it is the product of human experience and may be useful: so to a SoFty, the Resurrection did not happen, but it is True. Then there is de Bono’s idea of a Po, a poetic or provocative utterance: what matters is not whether it is true, but whether it provokes useful thought.

My other tool is to take it a bit at a time. It may not be that by “vibrating” I can attract things I want, but it is possible that by vibrating I may drive them away. How am I vibrating? Can I at least cease driving things away?

A habit which I might reduce is the use of a new concept as a new rod for my back: not vibrating right becomes not vibrating right yet. A habit which I might increase is, taking responsibility. Am I responsible for my life so far? Yes.

The wisdom I have not yet reached

I read this quote from Abraham-Hicks:

We would like you to reach the place where you’re not willing to listen to people criticize one another. Where you take no satisfaction from somebody being wrong. Where it matters to you so much that you feel good, that you are only willing to think positive things about people. You are only willing to look for positive aspects. You are only willing to look for solutions—and you are not willing to beat the drum of all of the problems of the world.

And my heart says, Yes. Yes, absolutely. And I am trying to do that in my life. See solutions, and worthwhile action. See something that is less than optimum (rather than wrong or bad) only as an opportunity to raise it to optimum. And also, get rid of ought and must as a whip for myself- change “I ought to do it” to “it would profit me to do it”.

And then I read this one:

Living a better-feeling life really comes down to one thing only: coming into alignment with the Energy of our Source. Abraham reminds us that we are truly Source Energy focused into our physical bodies, and that a conscious Connection to that Broader Non-Physical part of us is necessary if we are to be the joyful Beings that we were born to be. Abraham calls that wonderful alignment Getting into the Vortex.

And I think, well, er um. I am a physical being, feeding or resting as other animals do. And I get a bit suspicious. Is it Reality? Is it gibberish, twaddle, snake-oil? Well. Possibly it is rubbish, and possibly it is the wisdom I have not yet reached, and I will see the truth of it in time.