All posts by GregKasarik

Herder of Cats for Community of Infinite Colour. This is my site, so if you want to know anything about me, then read some more! :-)

Choosing Your Journey and Losing Your Way

Farside Happy in Hell

 

Happy in Hell – Gary Larson’s Farside.
http://www.thefarside.com/

Today’s post is a little different from your usual blog. This is a response that I wrote to a Facebook friend who was hoping for some sort of validation and reassurance for his journey ahead. In all honesty, I don’t know if I have really helped him as much as he may have wanted, but I found that in responding to him, I had finally put in words some of the aspects of my philosophy and my recent journey that I had previously not disclosed to others.

I thought I would put this up as a blog post for two reasons. Firstly to highlight some of my current thinking, but also as an opportunity for some of my friends, supporters and acquaintances to have a deeper understanding of where my journey has taken me over the last two years, so they might have some greater insight and understanding into precisely what it is that I have experienced and achieved over that time.

Frankly, looking in from the outside it probably doesn’t look like I’ve achieved a hell of a lot, but from the point of what matters, my progress has been phenomenal.

 

My friend initially wrote:

I am so pathetic,looking at Facebook hoping for some message of hope that will give me reason to feel like what’s ahead of me is not going to be as hard as it looks like it will. Should I stop looking or just keep getting stronger and more determined each time I am disappointed. The later I guess.

Is this a familiar feeling amount you my Facebook friends ? — feeling tired.

 

Hiya, I fully understand what it is like to stand solitary and alone in a world that not only doesn’t seem to care, but seems determined to isolate you and tear you down.

I have found that the strength to keep on going comes from my recognition of who I am and the path that I am on. Although, in truth, talking about having the “strength”, to do what I do is a misnomer. I do what I do, because it is a reflection of who I am and the path on which I travel often seems like the path of least resistance, because to travel another path would mean becoming an entirely different person. 

It may be that right now you are not entirely certain of who you are and what you represent. Like everyone, you undoubtedly have an idealised view of who you would like to be, but you have not yet fully stepped into that person. Externally, you put forward a particular image, but you know that that image isn’t reflective of the turmoil within. 

This is something that you will always experience, as it is an inevitable consequence of the monkey suit that we all wear. But the power to choose who you are and who you wish to become is entirely within your own self. 

For example, I decided years ago that I was going to be “one of the happy ones”. Whether I am around for an eternity, or only a few years more, I don’t see the point in not enjoying it, so I committed myself to being happy and to bringing joy into the world. I decided that I was not going to pretend to be anybody that I wasn’t and that I was going to cast off the shackles of fear that held me bound. 

This was a significant contributor to my decision to start campaigning for drug law reform and to come out into the open as a mystic and a person who uses Transcendent Compounds for spiritual purposes. I faced my fears in so many ways. I took to the streets, I did a 28 Hunger Strike, I took LSD on the steps of parliament and I invited the wrath of the authorities onto my head. I stood proud in who I had chosen to be.

And then the wheels fell off.

I looked around and despite all of my efforts, felt like I had no real supporters and no real success. Yes, there were a few dozen people who agreed with me and liked what I was doing, but there was no groundswell to carry me forward. Even worse, rather than react to what I was doing, the politicians and media simply ignored me. It was easier for them to deny me the oxygen that recognition, or criminal charges and a Supreme Court case would have given me. They knew that if they ignored me, I would run out of steam and my campaign would most likely flounder on their indifference. Its politics 101 for handling difficult people and difficult issues.

Other aspects of my situation also conspired to undermine my sense of self. Ongoing rejection by friends and family, lack of a girlfriend, chronic unemployment and social isolation bought on by living in a small country town as well as the insomnia that has plagued me since childhood all sunk their dark roots into my mind. 

Over the course of twelve months from the beginning of 2012, my thinking gradually shifted, and while I still thought of myself as “one of the Happy Ones”, I was anything but. By the beginning of 2013, I was getting into suicidal territory. I could (and sadly often did) recite everything that was bad in my life, but nothing that was good.

It turned out that I was fortunate indeed. I have a very good friend and supporter, who runs Ayahuasca circles. From March to June 2013, over the course of three powerful journeys, I was first shown that my actual path was precisely 180 degrees to my imagined path. Where I had conceptualised myself as one of the Happy Ones, I had in fact become one of the Miserable Ones. Where initially I had developed mindfulness techniques that had bought me into joy, these were now perverted towards reminding me of the pain. 

After this startling revelation, I immediately rededicated these mindfulness techniques once more towards generating happiness and joy. Almost overnight, I transformed my direction back to the one I had been on in the years before I lost the path. 

Six weeks after the first Ayahuasca experience since loosing my way, my second Ayahuasca journey was one of pure and total bliss. As you will know, Ayahuasca isn’t like MDMA (AKA ecstasy)  and doesn’t of itself produce ecstatic experiences. Rather it reflects the journey of the individual and the content of their mind. I spent the six hour journey connected directly to the Divine Aspect of Joy. Even the purging (aka vomiting) was joyous! The very clear message I received was that this is what I could achieve if I put the work into it. 

Six weeks later (and after still more hard work: changing direction does not entail immediate success), in the final journey of that series I once more experienced an incredibly blissful journey, but not as powerfully as the second time. I was cool with this, however, because the message I received was that this time the joy that I was experiencing was my own, generated from within, rather than being imposed from without.

Mother Ayahuasca also let me know that we would part ways for a while, because I needed to learn to stand on my own two feet and that we’d do some further work when I was ready for her next lessons. These have yet to begin.

Back in the monkey suit, things are still difficult and if looked at objectively, they are getting worse. I’m still rejected by my family, have no girlfriend, am unemployed and live in an isolated country town (well village…). I still feel like I have no real traction in my campaign for drug law reform and little support outside of a few faithful friends and idealists. (who regularly tell me to stop imagining things and being so bloody hard on myself…) Even worse, my car recently died and I am even more isolated than before. It seems that nobody ever visits.

But I have managed to keep hold of that joy and keep hold of who I am. Things are difficult, but I have realised that things are only difficult because it is when things are difficult that the one’s true nature emerges. Almost anyone can be happy when things are going well. It takes true commitment and purpose to be able to retain that sense of happiness and joy, even as the world seems to be doing its worst to you.

Because the reality is that the world is not doing its worst to me. I am healthy, have a roof over my head, have enough food in my tummy and enough money to buy luxuries like chocolate and lollies. I’m even a few kilos overweight… Even on the unemployment benefit, I am still in the top 15% of income earners on this planet and one of the wealthiest humans to have ever lived.

I have an adorable Golden Retriever who routinely channels Joy and Happiness in a way that I can only admire (she is so cute!). I still have real friends, who care deeply about me and worry for me. I know that those friends and family who have rejected me have done so not because they don’t love me, or care about me, but simply because they don’t understand. Their rejection is an aspect of their own fears and uncertainty and it is my responsibility to help them deal with those issues, rather than take their rejection to heart. 

I am fortunate enough to live in a vibrant, peaceful democracy, where individual rights are respected. While I have been ignored by the government and police, I haven’t been arrested, or tortured, as would have happened if I lived in almost any other country that you could choose.

To sum it all up in a few words: I’m incredibly lucky.

I have so much to be grateful for that it shames me to think of how I so easily lost sight of reality. 

Today, the difference is that I have truly stepped into being the person that I had wanted to become. Unlike 99% of people on this planet, I know who I am and what my purpose is: I am a being of Light and my purpose is Joy. 

When darkness beckons it is my inner Light that keeps it at bay and my inner light exists because every day I choose to manifest it. 

This doesn’t mean that I am perfect. I’m not some amazing spiritual guru, or Master. I haven’t achieved Enlightenment and I still am overwhelmed by my own ignorance.

I am an aspect of the Divine, but I am not a Divine Aspect. Like everyone else on this planet, I am trapped in the monkey suit. I can still be as selfish, mean spirited and greedy as the next person. I still whine, bitch, moan, complain and seek to blame others for my faults. My ego, pride and desire for recognition still battle for ascendancy. Each day, I still grapple with the fear and isolation and rejection. My sense of personal injustice can burn like a knife.

So, each day (or each hour, or every second if needs be) I recommit myself to the path that I have chosen. I remind myself that I have decided to be one of the Happy Ones and I consciously reconnect myself to the Divine Aspect of Joy. Some days it is easy, while on others it seems overwhelming, but irrespective of how bad things are, I know where the path I am on is taking me and I know where my ultimate destination lies. 

The thing is that one doesn’t need a life shattering Ayahuasca journey to get where I am today. In reality, I had already done all the hard work in the years prior to my losing my way. 

The hardest part of the journey was my initial realisation, the better part of a decade ago, that I could choose a path and then figuring out how to maintain my course on that path. When I wandered off the path, I fell into a chasm, but once I recognised the chasm for what it was, it was my previous training in mindful happiness that allowed me to climb out and resume my journey, albeit with greater wisdom and respect for the dangers ahead. 

As an aspiring aspect of Divine Joy, I certainly hope that the path that you choose mirrors mine and that you similarly commit yourself to happiness and joy. But there are an infinite number of paths in the Light and seriousness is just as valid, if not as much fun. The key is to identify what your path is and to continually commit yourself to it. By doing so, your actions and decisions will be reflective of this path, and you’ll know within yourself when you have not been true to yourself. 

If on reflection, you realise that you have committed yourself to a darker aspect of the Divine (such as misery, pride, or ego), it is always in your power to change it, simply by choosing and committing to a new, brighter path. Yes, you will have to learn new habits and new modes of thinking and behaving and this may take lifetimes, but once you’ve decided to navigate away from the rocks, your eventual safety is assured. 

If, like me you find yourself far from your intended path, the realisation may sneak up gradually, or hit you like a lightning bolt. In all honesty, I knew that I had strayed months before (Joy does not equal suicidal!) but my ego and pride prevented me from admitting it to myself. Being “One of the Happy Ones” had ceased to be a journey and become an identity, or brand; and I was a fanboi.

The thing to remember is that you will fall of the path. We all do and doing so is a necessary part of the journey. For it is only through making mistakes that we learn and grow. It is only through recognising and admitting our error, while taking ownership of our behaviour, that we can truly recommit ourselves to our path. Success is built on repeated failure and each time we fall by the wayside, we not only remind ourselves of the importance of the journey, but also practice the skills we will need for the more difficult times ahead. 

And there will be more difficult times ahead. The path to Heaven goes directly through Hell, because it is only by maintaining a commitment to Joy and Happiness under the most extreme circumstances of deprivation that we can truly demonstrate our commitment to the path that we have chosen. I am reminded of a Far Side cartoon, where two demons are looking at a man in hell whistling as he goes about his work and saying, “You know, were just not reaching that guy”. He’s in Hell, but he carries Heaven within him.

Similarly, the path to Hell goes directly through Heaven, because it is only the most determinedly dark person who is impenetrable to the incredible, wonderful power of Divine Joy. I know many people who are living lives of privilege and comfort, with support that I could only dream of, yet who are consumed by misery and self loathing. They are bathed in light, but carry a darkness to which it is impervious.

So don’t expect justice and don’t expect the universe to be fair. Don’t expect that everything will turn out OK over the course of this lifetime. It is your commitment over Eternity that determines who you are, not the vagaries of a particular life story, or universe in which you happen to briefly reside.

Contrary to what many people will tell you, there are no shortcuts and the only “Secret” is hard work and dedication. Don’t fall for the nonsense that all you need is a bit of wishful thinking and that the universe is going to respond to your whim, or give you what you want because you ask.

It doesn’t and it won’t: As any parent will tell you, it is only through not giving you what you want that your true character is forged. If you got whatever you wanted and were never challenged, you’d never have an opportunity to grow and you’d stagnate into a spoilt husk with no purpose, no meaning and no identity beyond narcissistic want.

It’s when you maintain your inner light, even when you don’t receive justice and you aren’t treated fairly that you demonstrate that you are truly committed to your path. 

With your inner Light shining bright, the injustices and tribulations of this world (or even “hell”) will shrink into nothingness (or at least become manageable), because irrespective of how dark the universe seems to be, it will always be lit by the light that you carry within you. You’d be amazed at how bright even a candle can be on the darkest of nights! 

Looking at your opening post, I honestly don’t know if this is the sort of thing that you were hoping that Facebook would provide, but I hope this gives you some hope and potentially helps you find your way forward in a difficult world. 

Remember: Darkness always shrinks before the Light. 

And I could always be completely full of shit! 😉

Greg Kasarik

Herder of Cats.

LSD, Bicycle Day and My Imminent Arrest

Taking LSD on the steps of Parliament House

Taking LSD on the Steps of The Victorian Parliament House -12 Dec 2012

19 April 2014 marks the 71st anniversary of the first deliberate injection of LSD and the commencement of the psychedelic era. Each year, that day is celebrated as Bicycle Day and this year, I will once again be publicly taking LSD and tripping on the steps of the Victorian Parliament House.

The difference from last year is that this time I will be doing my best to ensure that I get arrested.

As can be appreciated, a few people are expressing concern that what I am doing is going to make things worse for those of us who use Transcendent Compounds. Others have wondered why I bother to pursue such a quixotic crusade in the first place.

 

One of my friends emailed me a question that goes to the heart of many of the concerns that have been raised. I thought that I’d post her question, along with my (slightly edited after the fact) response here, so that people can obtain a better understanding of why I do what I do.

 

Question: “Hey Greg,

I thought about your plan more… It seems like a bad idea to me because I think it’ll be really negative publicity for LSD and transcendental substances in general. I don’t feel like we are particularly restricted in terms of access & enjoyment of these substances at the moment in Victoria… Obviously can’t buy at the supermarket but I feel free to do what self exploration I like

 

I feel like if you go ahead with this court case the negative publicity it’ll create for LSD use will undo some of the progress we’ve made towards public acceptance.

 

How do you think it’ll actually be positive For the psychedelic community? What do you feel is wrong with how things are now?”

 

My answer:

Hiya. I can feel the fear in your response. Its like you are pleading, “don’t make things worse!”

 

There is no “public acceptance” of LSD, or other Transcendent Compounds. Most people aren’t even aware of the spiritual dimension of the LSD experience. I am continually educating people I meet and I’d say that perhaps one in twenty are even vaguely aware of what we do.

 

The only recent mentions of LSD in the mainstream media were incorrect claims that young people had died after taking the drug, when in fact these kids had most likely taken entirely different “legal highs”.

 

When towards the end of 2012, NSW police told the media that a kid had overdosed on LSD, they didn’t question it, despite the sheer impossibility, or ask how a teenager could have obtained and ingested over ten thousand dollars worth of LSD. Like sheep, they simply repeated the lie and never bothered to discover the truth. The real story was why the police media unit would release such blatant lies and how creating propaganda and spreading irrational fear of perfectly safe drugs benefits their own agenda. Modern journalism is a far cry from the investigative zeal of the Watergate affair that bought down President Nixon.

 

The stupidity of promulgating lies is that people are now going to think that LSD is toxic and in doing so actively avoid the safest drug on the planet, most likely in favour of the very drugs that did kill the kid.

 

Sure, you can find LSD on the black market and pick shrooms, but the Entheogenic Community, to the extent that it exists is insular, paranoid and steeped in fear. Ironically on more than one occasion, I’ve been accused of being an undercover cop, simply because I am so open about what I am doing. Surely, I must be part of some elaborate sting operation?

 

The stigma associated with drug use is as palpable as it is irrational and unfair.

 

I have been denied employment on account of my use of these substances. I was publicly denounced in a professional association meeting where people were told to not hire me. I can’t continue my studies in Psychology, because I would be deregistered as soon as I registered. I know at least three psychologists who use these substances, but they are afraid to come out and talk about that use, because they’d be immediately de-registered. And its not only psychologists. I know doctors, nurses and even engineers who are similarly impacted.

 

There are people who won’t be seen with me in public. More than one person refuses to even link to my facebook page, because they don’t want others to see that they know me. Even people who have known me for years and who I regarded as friends now consider me as being nothing more than a “druggie”.

 

I know at least six people who wouldn’t dream of attending one of my events because they are afraid that if they are seen on camera with me, it will negatively impact their jobs, prospects and standing in the community. Others are afraid that to be publicly associated with me would give their ex partners a way to take children from them, or restrict visitation rights.

 

And heaven forbid if your children should ever go to school and mention to the teacher that you use LSD, or one of the other Transcendent Compounds! Nearly everybody that I know refuses to tell their own children about one of the most beautiful things in their lives, simply because kids will inevitably tell other kids and teachers may find out. From there it is only a short step to horrors of a Child Protection visit.

 

The status quo is incredibly corrosive and destructive and needs to be challenged. The similarities between where we are right now and where the GLBT community was before the Stonewall riots are uncanny. Like you, there were many people in that community who were afraid to step out and who felt that additional publicity would only make things worse.

 

They were wrong!

 

Within ten years of discovering the courage to be open about who they were homosexuality was made legal in many places around the world. If we did the same, we’d experience the same gains, if for no other reason than there are more of us.

 

Do you really believe that there is nothing wrong with using Transcendent Compounds? Do you believe that it is a healthy activity and one that should be encouraged, providing it is done in a respectful and empathetic way?

 

If so, why would you champion a dysfunctional status quo where you can’t even talk openly and honestly about who you are, what you believe and what you accept is the good? Sure, you might be OK now, but what about in ten years when you have a family, a job and a life to keep together?

 

If you are like most most, you’ll probably sacrifice this aspect of your life for the sake of convenience and respectability. In doing so, you’ll give up a key part of who you are.

 

I’m not content to scurry around like a cockroach and avoid the light of day. What I do is good and healthy and I’ll challenge anyone who says otherwise.

 

Sadly, on account of the fact that people generally don’t want to hire a “druggie”, I don’t have great wads of cash to throw around making my case. So I do what I can with what I have.

 

What better place to put my case then an independent tribunal? What better place to challenge legal bigotry than a court of law?

 

By going to court, I am going to do the one thing that those behind the War on Drugs don’t want me to do. I am going to challenge them using laws they wrote and freedoms that everybody holds dear. I’ll be doing so in an independent forum, where their lies, bullshit and propaganda aren’t going to be accepted. If I go to court, I will rely entirely on peer reviewed science and demand that the government do the same.

 

Indeed, they won’t have a choice, because the wording of the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act (2006) demands that litigants rely on “demonstrably justifiable” evidence and the only demonstrably justifiable evidence worthy of the name is peer reviewed science. Everything else is anecdote and hearsay.

 

The science is very clear. People can say all they want about LSD and other drugs in the media. They can lie. They can bullshit. They can cherry pick anecdotal “evidence”. But in a court of law, all of this is meaningless. In a court of law, what matters is the evidence. What matters is the truth. Judges value their independence and aren’t going to roll over like puppies to have their tummies scratched simply because the Government tells them they should.

 

I have great trust in our democratic institutions in Australia. I trust that if I present the evidence, the court will listen. I know that the Victorian Government simply has no case to put, should this end up in court. The science is entirely in our favour and they will lose!

 

Yes, I’ll still be convicted of possession, because the Charter doesn’t override laws themselves. But if the highest court in the land accepts the science that will be a huge win for us and our way of life. It will make clear that prohibition on the religious and spiritual use of Transcendent Compounds is based more on ignorance and bigotry, than any facts about the world.

 

I am not content to live my life as a lie. I am not content to pretend to be someone who I am not. I am not content to allow evil to triumph over good. I am not content to let deception triumph over truth. I will fight for what I believe in until my last gasp of breath. And I will WIN!

 

Could what I am doing make things worse? Well of course there is that possibility. But the one thing that I do know is that giving in to our fears never makes things better.

Why I feel sorry for Fred Phelps.

Why I feel sorry for Fred Phelps.

Westbro Baptists Church Image

Phelps’  barbaric and sociopathic deity reflected his inner self.

 

Fred Phelps is dead. The founder of Westbro Baptist Church and perhaps one of the most hateful people in Christianity has shuffled his mortal coil, leaving us to ponder what this means and what his legacy will be. I’m guessing that few people will mourn his passing, but hoping that the triumphal jubilation that I expect to see never materialises.

I do want to talk about Phelps, who he is and what he represents.

Yesterday, I wrote about the “Happy Ones”, saying that the Happy Ones are those who have not only chosen to be happy, but have made a concrete decision to bring happiness into the lives of everyone. In contrast, Phelps is one of the “Hateful Ones”. It is clear that he made a conscious choice to embrace hate as a way of life and in doing so, wished to bring hate into the lives of everyone. His famous saying, “God Hates Fags” (and Jews, and America and fairly much everyone) makes this abundantly clear.

Phelps obviously chose many other things, including intolerance, arrogance and pride. Some might say that he also chose “Jesus”, but I don’t think that his true. Phelps would have been the person he was, whether he was a Christian, Jew, Muslim, or Pagan. The god that he worshiped was a reflection of who he was, rather than the other way around.

In all honestly, I feel sorry for people like Phelps and am filled with the urge to reach out to them and to show them another path. Although, given how deeply committed he was to the path of hate, it is doubtful that anything that I could have said would have impacted him in the slightest. If nothing else, the fact that I freely admit to knowing nothing is repellent to those who insist that they know everything.

Another reason that I feel sorry for people like him is that I firmly believe that who we are and the choices that we make are fundamental to our destination through eternity. In one of my trances, I experienced my entire existence stretching out in time behind me, while my future stretched out in front (visually it was left to right, but the element of time was vital to the experience).

I saw that where I am today is not just the result of decisions that I have made in this lifetime, but because of decisions I have made over the course of my eternal existence. This is nothing like Karma in the traditional sense, but rather a reflection of the choices that I have made and the person that I decided to become as far back in time as I can comprehend.

The reason that I can say that I am one of the Happy Ones is because I have built up a foundation and done the work required to get to this point. This doesn’t mean that I can rest on my laurels. The reality is that unless I consciously choose my path and determine my destination, I could very well slip back into a Phelps like existence.

Because, in my visions, I have also come to realise that there is another “me” out there. In fact, there are an Infinity of “me”s out there and not all of them have taken the same path as I. In fact, many have taken the exact opposite path. Where I have chosen happiness, they have chosen misery. Where I have chosen love, they have chosen hate. Where I have chosen tolerance, they have chosen persecution. Where I have chosen hope, they have despair.

I feel incredibly saddened by these other “me”s. They live in a place that to me seems like “Hell”, but to them makes perfect sense. Our explorations of the Infiniverse will take us to diametrically opposite places and I fear greatly for what terrors they will discover on their journey.

Reflecting on why I feel sorrow for my other selves who have chosen a different path is why I feel sorry for Phelps. The man was consumed by his own hate and self-righteousness, but failed to understand that he already stood on the steps of the Hell that he thought all others would be sent to.

Imagine living the life of someone like Phelps. It isn’t just the hate. It is the fear and insecurity that drives it and the worldview that sustains it. Imagine what it must be like to honestly believe that almost everyone you meet is destined to burn in the fires of eternal damnation. It must be terrifying.

If you honestly believe that everyone else is going to burn in Hell, then you believe in a sociopathic and barbaric god. If god is prepared to eternally torture billions of people for their perceived transgressions, how can anyone be safe? How can you know that you aren’t somehow going to make a mistake that is going to condemn you. Obviously you can’t and irrespective of how pure you think you might be, the doubt and the nightmare of other people’s torture must surely haunt your life.

Despite spending his entire life trying to get others to share his demonic vision, it is estimated that at most his disruptive flock never amounted to any more than about 100 people and that most of these were family members. In the end, he died after having been excommunicated by his own church.

Of course, it could be argued that like his god, Phelps was himself a completely delusional sociopath. Perhaps his seeming megalomania would make it highly unlikely that he ever doubted his true path, or final residence in Heaven. Ultimately, that may be so. We’ll never know. What I think that we can say is that Phelps’ “heaven” would be a barren, angry and intolerant place.

His path throughout eternity is one that is unlikely to lead to a world filled with happiness. Ultimately, he died rejected by the world. He died rejected by his flock. And most likely died filled with terror about being rejected by his own evil god.

 

Have you chosen Happiness?

Have you chosen Happiness?

 

 

 Find your rudder.

 

 

Today, March 20 2014, is the United Nations International Happiness Day. I’d like to talk about what it means to be “One of the Happy Ones”.

Happiness, for many people is ephemeral. It is something that happens to them, rather than something that they believe that they have control over. This can be seen in the various statistics about happiness. For example, Professor Bob Cummins, of Deakin University has been conducting a quarterly survey into happiness for many years now. Among other factors, se has discovered that wealth is a significant contributing factor to happiness, as are social resources and employment. Without each of these people’s happiness drops significantly.

 

But this really doesn’t tell us what you need in order to be happy. Rather, I’d suggest that these are merely metrics that indicate what the ordinary person needs in order to lift them to a particular level of happiness. It says nothing about your ability to choose happiness and to direct the course of your life.

 

Simple question: Have you chosen Happiness?

 

This is a question that I have asked many people and the results are startling. The vast majority of people who I’ve spoken to report that they haven’t made such a decision. Not only this, but on further questioning, many report that it wouldn’t even have occurred to them to make such a choice and that they wouldn’t regard it as meaningful if they did. They honestly don’t know how to make themselves happy.

 

But the great news is that Happiness is a choice that you can make and it is something that you can commit to in doing so, it is something that can change your life immeasurably.

 

Here’s why.

 

Imagine a boat without a rudder. Where is it going to go? Obviously nowhere under its own volition. It may end up somewhere, but where ever it does end up will be almost entirely random and mostly dependent on external circumstances, such as wind, or tide.

 

What happens when we put a rudder on the boat? Suddenly we go from a situation where there is no control to one where there is. Whomever is in control of the rudder can set a course to wherever they wish. Certainly there are going to be external circumstances that impact on the direction the boat can travel. Tides might carry it off its path, or if it is a sailboat, it might not be able to sail directly towards its goal and may have to tack for a while before it gets there. It might take a while, but with a rudder we can be sure that in time, the boat will get to its destination.

 

This is the change that we can experience when we make the conscious choice to be happy. Suddenly, instead of bobbing about in the water with no direction and at the mercy of our environment, we are suddenly in control. Most importantly, we know what our ultimate destination is going to be: Happiness!

 

This act of choosing who you wish to be is enormously empowering. Committing to happiness and knowing your destination, immediately removes a whole range of negative outcomes and allows you to face life with a positive outlook. Sure, it doesn’t suddenly make your situation any better, but it does change the one thing that you have control over: Your attitude.

 

Choosing happiness doesn’t mean that you are going to be happy from that moment onward. Indeed, if your experience making the choice is anything like mine, you’ll soon get the impression that the rudder keeps on falling off and needs regular repair, in terms of a re-commitment to the path of happiness.

But once you have decided to change your life and begun to implement the behaviours that will take you towards happiness your eventual arrival is ensured. Depending on your starting point, this may take many years, but the very act of making the decision can be life changing and it won’t be long before you are able to reap the real rewards that a commitment to genuine happiness can bring.

 

So, who are “The Happy Ones”? They aren’t people who are accidentally happy, because their circumstances happen to have turned out OK. Rather, they are those who have not only committed themselves to happiness, but also to spreading it throughout the universe and throughout the lives of others.

They aren’t always happy, but they view those times when happiness is hard to find as opportunities to practice the skills of happiness, rather than as a sign of failure. Even when they are poor, isolated and seemingly without prospects, they still carry a spark of optimism that gets them through, because they know that their current difficulties don’t reflect who they truly are. They understand where their final destination truly lies.

How do I know?

Because I am one of the Happy Ones. And we’d love for you to join us!

Skype, Interviews and the New Frontier.

Skype, Interviews and the New Frontier.

 

In your dreams!

 

Like many technologies, Skype is rapidly changing the way that many businesses do things, and one of the ways in which is making a difference is in the job market, where telephone interviews are out and Skype interviews are in.

 One of my Facebook friends just posted to say that she is having her first interview in living memory and that it is a Skype interview. Her key comment: “Yay! No need for pants!”.

So I thought I’d put in my own advice about how to manage Skype interviews, whether it is for a new job, new client, or fairly much anyone you may want to talk to over the internet:

 

Wear pants!

 

It might be a Skype interview, but you still need to go into it with a professional mindset and with all the seriousness of a face to face interview, or meeting. Seriously, the last thing you need is to be struck with the irony of speaking with your new boss in your underwear. News presenters might get away with it, but they are trained professionals.

Dress exactly as you would for a normal interview, including hair, makeup and whatever else. Make sure that your work space and room are clean and uncluttered and be mindful of what is behind you, in your backdrop.

Before he was famous for inflicting Watergate on the American public and condemning us to a world in which every scandal seems to have “gate” to the end of it Richard Nixon was famous for flubbing the very first US presidential debate (against JFK in 1960) because he failed to realise how he would come across on the new medium. Similarly, Skype presents a whole range of challenges that aren’t present in face to face interviews.

Make sure that you have good positioning and lighting for your camera and that the image is flattering. If you need to move your computer into a better environment, or steal someone else’s room for the interview then do so. Be careful of going out doors, because even a small gust of wind can sound like a gale on a computer mic.

Pay particular attention to your tone of voice, especially if the video connection is poor. Vibrancy is the key, rather than sounding monotonic, or too rehearsed.

Be prepared for interviewers to ask you to whip the camera around the room so that they can get an idea of how your work space looks. Some will do this, because they believe that a shoddy personal space is reflective of poor work qualities.

Make sure that other people around you know that you are having an important interview and make sure that they know to respect your space and time and to not play music, or engage in other activities that might provide a distraction, or break the impression that you are trying to create.

Finally make sure that you are familiar with the technology and that you are well-practiced on Skype before your interview. If you’ve never used it before, you’ll make a real mess of things, because you’ll be trying to do two unfamiliar, difficult things at once. The last think you want is to be hit with a zinger question and be  unable to respond to the question because you are simultaneously doing battle with your webcam.

The thoughts of a truly ignorant person.

Over the years, if I have learnt anything, it is that my ignorance is fundamental.

This may surprise many who speak with me, as people report that I often exude a confidence and certainty that they admire. They look at some of the things that I have done. such as a 28 day hunger strike and publicly Tripping with LSD on the Steps of Victoria’s Parliament House and think that I must be very certain of what I know.

Within one context, this is true. I am very certain of what I know. For example, when I write to members of the Victorian Parliament about my use of Transcendent Compounds, I use rigorous science and provide a sound assessment of the legal realities. I am a firm believer in science when it comes to figuring out the realities of this particular universe.

Anyone who knows me will know that I am frustrated by the ignorance that parades as knowledge. Whether it be conspiracy theorists trying to tell me that people I personally know (including friends in politics) are being controlled by the Illuminati, or Christian fundamentalists trying to tell me that their easily falsifiable “faith” in Christ means that I’ll be tortured in Hell for eternity.

It seems that wherever I turn people are in a desperate search for some sort of explanation an they’ll take the first shortcut that appeals to them and to the social networks they inhabit. They’d rather have an often horrific and depressing “certainty”, rather than go through life acknowledging that the fundamental state of all sentient is Ignorance.

What does it mean for something to be “True” and how can I ever know the “Truth”? Ultimately, we can never know anything for sure. While I believe certain things about the reality that I inhabit, I also know that I don’t have a clue about the fundamental reality of my experience. How much of what I experience is actually real? What does it even mean for something to be real?

I honestly don’t know if anything that I believe is actually “true” and when I see the grievous errors that other people make in their thinking and decision-making, I can’t help but wonder what errors I too am making. Lots according to others, but everything I write makes sense to me, and therein lies the rub.

How can anyone disprove the Matrix? We can’t. And if we can’t disprove the Matrix, how can we know anything for sure, beyond our own existence? Again, we can’t.

And I have long since given up worrying about it and have learnt to live with and enjoy the vast uncertainty that is every day of my life.

More evil in this world is created by those who think that they have “truth” than those who don’t. The fundamental motivation behind intolerance is that the bigot thinks that they know something and are better than those who they hate. It’s very hard to play nice with the other children, if you are convinced that they are inherently evil and are doing the work of Satan.

As hard as it is, I believe that the way forward for humanity lies not in us all believing the same thing and singing of the one song sheet, be it a Christian, Muslim, Communist, or Capitalist one. Instead, our collective way forward lies in acknowledging the fundamental uncertainty of all our opinions and being tolerant of the non-hurtful behaviors of others.

Civilization and communities are stronger than people think. Civilization has always been a move towards tolerance and the acceptance of others. If I can communicate anything in what I do, it is that we all need to simply accept that we haven’t got a clue and allow others to live their lives in whatever way they see fit, as long as they are not causing harm to others. Most of us have enough trouble keeping our own lives together, let alone worrying about living the lives of others.

The sooner people start leaving their self-imposed institutionalised, intellectual ghettos, the sooner that humanity will learn to truly cooperate and work together to solve our problems.

In this blog, I’ll be teasing out these and other issues. I have already written much on these topics, and these pages will be gradually added to the website over the next few days and weeks. But there is always more to be explored and much fun to be had in doing so.

If you want to listen to the thoughts of a truly ignorant person, tune in an enjoy the ride. 🙂