Saturday, July 26, 2008

Discipline

One of the exercises in ACIM requires you to pause each half hour to contemplate the topic. I failed miserably at this for a couple of weeks remembering only a few times each day so last Thursday I added a cronjob (yes I am blessed with a Linux desktop) to email me every half an hour. This served as a suitable reminder, and to make up for the cheating I did it two days running :)

Discipline is a requirement of spirituality that is usually overlooked or outright avoided, always to the detriment of the student. So why is discipline important? As I said previously one of the most important functions of spirituality is to give us a path to freedom from the false self/identity/ego. Our identities begin forming around the age of 2 or 3 years and are never really complete though our dominant characteristics are entrenched well before we reach adulthood. And by and large our lives are run by an identity whose usual operating age is barely in it's teens if we are lucky (Many of the ills of the individual and of society can be sourced right here). The identity pulls us every which way literally at the whim of a child. Under such conditions progress in any direction will be sporadic at best. If we are to wrest any control then we must learn to be disciplined.

I don't have any answers to offer, discipline is clearly something I still have to master myself. But I can see that it will be more than worth the effort, I can't think of a single area of my life that wouldn't benefit from the application of a little discipline.

Why Do I Write

I was recently asked why I write and I thought the question was interesting enough that answering it warranted a blog post. There's a few wildly different reasons why I write and any one or combination of them could be the driver for a given piece of writing.

Firstly there's a spaghetti of stuff floating about in my head and sometimes the only way to get any peace is to get it out of my head and scribble it down. It's also a great way for me to straighten out my thoughts and even discover what I really think. 99.9% of what gets written from this space isn't fit for anything but sometimes it's a place to start, and if I'm vigilant idea's and themes have a chance to draw attention to themselves.

Next is a love of words and language. I still remember the first book I ever read at age 5 or 6, it was called "Timmy in the Country" and it was about two boys visiting a farm and the adventures they had. There were pages torn out towards the end of the book and I still wonder what happened in them. Any-way that book literally opened up whole worlds for me and I've been in love with stories and myths and words and language ever since. (I don't know what happened to my copy of that book and I've searched for a replacement but haven't had any luck so far).

I publish some technical stuff here and I write that to be of service to others. I'm very grateful to all the people who've helped me (and probably don't even know it) because they took the time to write about some obscure little technical problem and I try to give back by doing the same. And to be truthful there is a hope that every-thing I write might be useful to someone.

The final reason why I write is because I believe that as human beings a part of our essential nature is to be creative. In some way or another we all long to be and strive to be creative. So I cook and write computer programs and I potter about with music and I write.

Why do you write, or do the thing you do?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Reiki

"Let me know this brother as myself." -the healers prayer, A Course In Miracles.


My ongoing fascination with the human condition has led me to explore a variety of healing modalities both as practitioner and patient. At its heart a good healing modality is a study of the human condition, they are a bit like religions in that regard and it's not surprising the two are often connected in some way. All of the modalities I've encountered are some combination of energy work and suggestion or programming plus a liberal dose of "grace" to account for whatever hasn't been accounted for yet. I like both Reiki and Hypnotherapy because they get closest to the fundamentals. Also in both cases there have been clinical studies undertaken which show their benneficial effects as a complementary therapy, though not some of the wilder claims you might see made.

I first trained in Reiki in the late 80's when I did Reiki 1 in the "Western" style. I wasn't really impressed by the material presented and left the course regarding the modality in a poor light. Then, more than 10 years later, I had a range of people from completely different circles all suggest I should learn Reiki and after the however many-th person I decided I better listen and set about looking for a teacher. I chose Tracy Wilkinson of Free Spirit who teaches Usui Reiki.

Tracy is a fabulous teacher and a gifted practitioner. I did Reiki 1 and Reiki 2 with Tracy and appreciated her down to earth and practical approach. "We don't heal" she said, "we are not special, any-one can learn to do this, our job is to presence the vibration of wellness, what happens from there is up to them". And by "them" she meant the persons whole self. I worked with enough clients to take my Reiki 1 certification to practitioner level and I started doing the same for Reiki 2 before stepping sideways to study hypnotherapy and then participate in the Team Management Leadership program at Landmark Education. Add a little of life to the mix and I've done very little Reiki in the last couple of years.

A Course In Miracles (hereafter ACIM) comes in three parts. A text, a workbook for students and a manual for teachers. I'm working through the exercises of the workbook at the same time as reading the text. The text is at times laborious but it contains a lot that is gold. Chapter 5 is "Healing and Wholeness" and the approach presented by ACIM is congruent with what I learnt in Reiki. ACIM defines healing beautifully as "Healing is a thought by which two minds perceive their one-nes and become glad". The language is different but the message is essentially the same; presence wholeness/wellness here and it can become present there.

All of which got me thinking it was time to do some Reiki again. So our friend Bee came up to baby sit Jasmine and Lisa spent a very pleasant (she says) hour on my table, though I suspect any new mum would acclaim anything that granted her an hours lay down without having to be concerned about the baby :) Reiki could well be all placebo effect and people feeling better for attention and I'm OK with that, the only way it could be a bad thing would be if I were to pretend it was otherwise. And if you are sick go and see a Doctor, there is a reason why these are also known as "complementary" therapies. Sure miracles happen and they also don't happen, get the best care you can from every-where you can.

The results have been less than stunning though, since I gave Lisa Reiki all three of us, Lisa, Jasmine and I have been down with a sniffly coughy lurgy thing. I guess there is a way for me to go yet :)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Bike Jackets

I've been riding bikes for about two years now and I already own four different jackets. Number one was a deliberate purchase of a "cheapy" it's a DriRider Aspen and you really do get what you pay for. My biggest complaint with this jacket is it's not even slightly waterproof (it claims to be 100% but hasn't been even from new), as soon as it rains with any sort of determination the arms soak through and the seams around the shoulders leak. I probably wouldn't buy another DriRider based on this experience. Jacket number two is a Teknic mesh jacket for summer, I love it, it was a great purchase and worth every penny. Jacket number three I got for $50 with a full service at the Honda Shop, it's another DriRider this time the Racer-X, and it's a pretty good fair weather jacket. Jacket number four was brought on by winter commuting and the desire to stay warm and dry. I asked a number of blokes about how good their jackets were in the wet and only one person was really willing to vouch for his jacket. It's a BMW Tourance 2 and whilst you pay for the BMW tag so far I think it was worth it. It keeps the rain out exactly as advertised, 100% dry even in heavy rain. I did take the lining out though, it was just a little bit too cozy, I guess it's designed more for European cold weather than what passes for winter here in Perth.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

First Emergency Ward Visit

Lisa and I had our first (and hopefully last) occasion to visit the emergency ward as parents on Sunday night. Jasmine has a bit of a cold and she was coughing, sniffling and wheezing a little when she breathed. Nothing to cause concern in a bigger human but in a baby not worth taking any risks with. The diagnosis was bronchiolitis and the Doctor was concerned that she was working a bit hard at breathing but at her age the only thing they can do is put her on oxygen and thankfully she didn't need that. We were discharged with a very helpful flyer on bronchiolitis and instructions to get back to the hospital pronto if her breathing got worse.

It's often in the news that the public hospital system is under pressure and whilst we were out of the waiting room and into the ward after about an hour it then took over two hours to see a Doctor and all up the visit was well over 4 hours. There was no-one (apart from us that is) standing around doing nothing though it was just very, very busy. Nonetheless every-one was very polite and helpful (holding a cute little baby might have helped there).

Jasmine is definitely on the mend and she's been a plucky little soul all through it smiling and taking an interest in everything going on around her at the hospital and very patient with her L-Plate Dad.