Tuesday, April 17, 2012

london push hands

There is a good group of push handers in london coming together, i'm in the vid at the end getting pushed.


Wednesday, March 07, 2012

The Presence of Honesty

Today I want to think about honesty and what that really means. Like the word love, I think it is used but abused in its real meaning.

We all like to think we are honest. But are we really?

I think we can be quite dishonest about honesty. I'll go so far as to say we are well practiced at being dishonest about honesty, in that we think we are honest when on investigation we are not.

Apart from the fact that Honesty is a plant in the mustard family, (with clusters of purple flowers and semitransparent, satiny pods) I'll go with the description in Wikipedia:

 "Honesty refers to a facet of moral character and denotes positive, virtuous attributes such as integrity, truthfulness, and straightforwardness along with the absence of lying, cheating, or theft."

lets go with integrity, straightforwardness and the absence of lying as a simplified short form.

A great place to look at honesty or rather dishonesty, is around sexuality. This is where dishonesty is often most visibly played out. This cartoon is a good example of what I mean. But Sexuality is just a focus point,  the same dishonesty is occurring in other areas of life .

So why  is this the exception rather than the norm ? If people were honest, this would be pretty common, no ? and could you be this honest ? why not ?

Outside of the fulcrum of sexuality, this type of lying is happening every time you don't say or do what you feel in the present moment. In other words, the moment you avoid exactly what you feel, and say or do something unconnected to that truth, you have entered a state of dishonesty and are out of integrity with your real self.

Here are some common examples of this sort of lying that I am sure you see all the time:

- Buying gifts for birthdays or Christmas because its something you are supposed to do rather than feeling like it for a given person
- Finding someone attractive and hiding it
- Finding someone unattractive and hiding it
- Someone asks you how you are doing, and you say OK, when you are not
- Avoiding 'upsetting someone' - this is a big one. e.g Doing anything for someone else  because you think you 'should' when you don't feel like it. Or pretending to be interested in a conversation or person when they are simply boring you.

Going with the short definition, I hope all of these examples are clearly not honest, in  that they are not any of a) in integrity b) straightforwardness and c) with the absence of lying.

I think you will get from this already that adherence to our common social norms demands a fairly high level of dishonesty. I would go as far as to say being a 'normalized social creature' in the world demands you to be a compulsive liar. Add to this, the lying is policed by other members of society through shaming of anyone who 'comes out' as honest.

When dishonesty gets so well practiced and ingrained, you wont even know you are doing it. It reminds me of the native american phrase spoken of the invaders, 'white man speak with forked tongue...'

Shame and Truth

An important point I want to make is that how you feel in the present moment is an 'irrefutable truth'. There is no possibility of it being incorrect, none.  Sure it can change in the next moment, as long as that is true too.

The only way of dealing with this level of truth is through shaming someone for it.  And kids get it the worst, imagine how a kid would be shamed if they stated they were finding a teacher boring in class.

Obviously if a kid is yawning in the classroom, it is simply a true fact that the kid is bored, why is that made to be the child's problem ?

Making this in any way a child's issue is how we become trained in shame, our honest innocence as humanity is dehumanized. Only through shame training can we as a society be OK to maintain our existence as compulsive liars. (Parents are often complicit too, or they risk being shamed themselves)

Honesty is a state of innocence.

But we are learned to lie to avoid shame, instead of learning to admit to it, at the same time, we lie to maintain our shame. It is trained in from the beginning of schooling, it is our standard indoctrination.

Whats worse is kids are told not to lie while they are being taught to lie. This type of mixed message is the perfect way to destroy self esteem, building in a good heap of un worth of self, into the now forming 'self image' of a child.

You can link the amount of shame someone has with the amount of lying they do, and how much one feels to deserve to be 'who the really are'. Its obvious really, the least honest people will be those carrying the most shame.

Sadly I believe the extreme example of what I am talking about in relation to children seems to be a root of pedophilia, shame can reach such an extreme that it is acted out in some vain attempt to find purity

Also guilt and shame are linked. If someone has no shame, they simply can not 'feel' guilty. This I believe is the 'natrual' healthy state for a human being. Ie every human has a right to exist as who they are right here and right now. A clear antithesis for example with the christian doctrine of original sin.

If someone carries a lot of shame its easy to have them feel guilty for pretty much anything you want. Charities and religions play off this fact.

The example of this principal in action is do gooding. Any person or group that needs to be seen as doing or being good, is acting dishonestly (and will carry their own shame for doing so). Doing good needs no social sanction, wanting one (social sanction) proves you have no belief in your own action, you are acting against your true belief. Its dishonest.

The more I have understood this, the more I have seen it to be common in our world. A good word for the Dishonesty of honesty is Hypocrisy. Its a bigger word so I normally just go with lying.

It became clear to me that when this lying or hypocrisy becomes instituinalised, the institution itself that becomes the purpetrator. School is a good example of the perpetrator of our shame, but religions can often be more extreme. The most extreme example I can think of is how the Catholic church can state its acting for good while in reality is the worlds biggest known operational pedophile system.

The Presence of Honesty
I want to bring the discussion round to being present. As I covered in my love article (which is essentialy about honesty too)

You dont have a hope of being present while you are not being honest with how you feel (especially to anyone who is close to you). The two just dont go together. The moment you are honest with how you feel, bang you are present !

So being truly honest means being present, they are the same thing. Its why I called this post 'The Presence of Honesty' thats what its all about.

The presence of honesty, in this case ideally your own, will expose the hypocrisy of do gooding, and/or spirituality in yourself and who and what else you relate to. In this light you can see any teaching that supports acts of dishonesty in your feelings, while teaching its 'good', is simply hypocritical.

JC was big on this hypocrisy stuff, probably a good reason they strung him up.

"Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Thus, when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you." (Matthew 6:1-6 RSV)

(actually i don't think its why they strung him up, I reckon its more because he went around telling people they were truly innocent. By saying 'your sins are forgiven' he absolved people of the shame and guilt that made them beholden to religions and control structures of the day. Its that that made his words dangerous)

I have had alot of fun with being honest over the years, it can take you to some very unexpected places and get some unexpected reactions. Sometimes the most honest thing for me to do when someone talks to me is to say nothing. That i found to be for me the most personally challenging, it's so counter cultural but so incredibly liberating to stay present and not have to make up words, when nothing feels true to be stated.

True honesty as opposed to hypoctical honesty which does not encompass your feelings is something I recommend if presence is an important goal for you.

And especially if health, happiness and longevity are things that matter to you, shame is not a good thing to be building up inside your body. If you went to school or church, I reckon its likely you have some to recognize and unlearn.

A final point on honesty in society that I think is relevant. While we continue to support our own dishonesty in ways I have outlined, I believe we will continue to support institutions such as Governments and Spiritual establishments that support hiding things from us.

I don't think asking 'them' to change before we are prepared to look at our own lie is honest in this regard.

Monday, February 13, 2012


Will you allow me to exist
Your eyes I please I know
Will you allow me to exist
When I know you want me close
Will you allow me to exist
When i burn so hot you melt
Will you allow me to exist
When I am, you are no more

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Love and Spades

To "call a spade a spade" is to speak honestly and directly about a topic, to speak plainly - to describe something as it really is.

I wanted to think about the word love and what it means. I know about loving your food, your car or your new dress but I think passion for, or excitement are more appropriate in this context. I want to talk about love the ‘higher emotion’, as applied to relationships.

St. Thomas Aquinas, following Aristotle, defines love as "to will the good of another." Philosopher Gottfried Leibniz said that love is "to be delighted by the happiness of another."

I think of love as ‘wanting for another what they want for themselves’. I have heard this described as unconditional love, but surely this ‘unconditionallity’ is really what defines the grown up 'higher emotion' of love, as opposed to the needy love of a child.

Loving unconditionally is not just saying 'I love you' to get needs met. It’s the old phrase 'if you love someone, set them free', but in action rather than in concept. In action, means not doing it (setting someone free) because 'you think you should', but because that is the true expression of what you want for yourself and another person. That is simply real pure love.

So a good way to look at love is to consider its maturity in yourself. As maturity will show you the purity so to speak. The maturity is simply how much conditionality you need around love. I would go as far as saying that unless love is unconditional, its not really love at all, it is need and attachment being called love. I think its much better to call a spade a spade, as until you do, it's going to be hard to grow up.

I define an emotional adult as someone who naturally loves unconditionally. This can be turned on its head to say a healthy adult human is a natural expression of unconditional love.

A human who has conditionality around love is not yet fully emotionally mature, not yet an adult in love.

I think we live in a world ravaged by a rampant epidemic of neediness masked as love, but to add to it we are taught that the neediness is bad, and so we add another whole layer of emotional shame on top of the neediness.

This is denial, plain and simple. And the denial is self-policing, because of the stigma of appearing needy in others' eyes. The cycle of 'shame hiding neediness' fuels the epidemic. Children pretending to be adults, but really not able to fully walk yet.

So how do we pretend ?

Instead of being able to relate to someone in the present moment we project into the future and try and control that future. One of the main ways this projection is done is by using labels and contracts about relationships.

If I meet someone and concepts of monogamy, open relationships or polyamorous relationships are something that is relevant to them, I take it that they are living in a projected fantasy for security. The requiring of agreements and contracts before you can be in the present moment with someone is really just fear of the present moment.

If real growth is something that matters to you, the ability to be present is a good goal. I found this goal would both elude and delude me while I needed labels to project in the future about relating with others. But at the same time forcing yourself to be an adult when you are still a child is far more damaging.

When I have heard people talk about open or poly relationships these have often come across as masks for forms of power/control dynamics that can be just as present in monogamous relating. The most damaging things I have come across in relationships seem to occur when emotional children treat themselves or others as adults when really they need to treat themselves and others as children, and understand/admit what this really means for themselves on an emotional level. The moment you get this you are most rapidly becoming an adult and it's really why I wrote this piece.

If any of this makes any sense to you, here are some considerations to play with:

If you place yourself as a child in this context, and growing up is something you would want to consider,  is there shame around feeling/admitting yourself a child? Can you love that child? Do you really feel that shame is a healthy thing to maintain?

The best way to move beyond shame is to admit what is real about it, to yourself and others, this helps it to lose its charge and frees your binding to that emotional state.

Being present means moving out of fantasy into reality; I believe calling a spade a spade can be especially relevant and particularly dynamic in this process when it comes to love.

Inspired by C

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Someone who cares

played it today:

Its a straight improvisation I warmed up with a short blues below.