August 21, 2015
It’s great hearing from you. You asked me how I am so here goes ….
I’m sitting here ruminating about stuff. Kinda like reviewing a movie, a film called “My Brilliant Career in TAFE”. It has been 5 years since I left TAFE. In the first year images of TAFE World – faces, encounters, engagements, conversations and meetings kept flashing across my mind. Scenes rose like steam from a drying towel in the sun. Rather than in a sequence, my mind made it all appear like one of William Burrough’s cut up stories.
When TAFE got rid of Principals it also got rid of access and equity principles. From a college it became a Corporation. My nervous system became programmed to corporate tunes that had nothing to do with education. TAFE gradually became a health hazard to my hopes, dreams and life. Sure, working there helped pay the mortgage and bills but I feel I am still rehabilitating from the “brilliant career”. After 5 years away I am a lot more relaxed and do not feel the need to “perform” to some KPI. Yes, I remember some of those acronyms.
I am getting to know me again.
I remember how afraid I was to leap into the world of university study. Fear may be too strong a word, but I felt I was going to lose my “mindful” innocence, that the systemic conditioning of my thinking into the University Academic Mould, would destroy my individuality – my soul. Yes, it was my own Blakean song of innocence and experience. It was my own small town version of Paradise Lost. Whatever I feared at the beginning of university became a tool of remembrance for my efforts to work on myself in the Fourth Way. Fourth Way? Yeah, something I couldn’t talk about with any of you.
That’s the other thing. I wanted to tell you that one of the reasons I had to leave when I did was to ensure I didn’t have my second Saturn Return while still working in TAFE. If I stayed my life patterns showed it would be a disaster because I didn’t have the courage to follow my heart. I felt I couldn’t say this to you because you and others in the system would just laugh. Little did any of you know how often I used Astrology and the I Ching to strategize and coordinate projects that won national and state quality awards. In case you’re interested here’s an example that helped introduce English for Specific Purposes Program in the BHP Workplace. No one knew except me and my muse 🙂 This is not the place to explain Saturn Returns but if you’re interested let me know.
The old Zen images of enlightened Mind – “Chop wood, Carry water” and “No Moon, no water” are now hovering around my attitude. I’m getting something nutritious in just chopping and splitting logs for our evening fire, painting the new sleeper pine wood pegola and garden boxes with decking oil, planting seeds, cooking, reading and trading at a much more relaxed pace. Ah, trading! Yes, I’m now a Forex Trader. That’s a whole other letter – again, if you’re interested.
I’m reading drafts of many unfinished works and instead of flogging myself with guilt that they exist and NOT finished, I’m just reading them. I’m playing around with ideas and don’t know where it will take me except that I’m enjoying just catching up with my stuff…….catching up with me.
Yes, I know it all sounds narcissistic, and maybe it is, but I feel I need to nurture that part of me the Corporate World could not and did not value.
How are you?
2 Comments | Uncategorized | Tagged: astrology, consensus reality, Corporate, Public Education, TAFE, Work | Permalink
Posted by stavr0s
April 13, 2011
So, this is sciatica. I get pains from my lower back and down my leg. I walk stilted and my leg is sometimes numb. I’m getting treatment for it and it doesn’t seem to be a chronic condition even though I’ve had it off and on for about 3 months. Each time the sciatic nerve becomes better I inflame it, twice now. Each inflammation was due to my helping Kevin the Handyman. It’s not his fault and neither mine. The jobs needed doing and I had to help him otherwise they wouldn’t get done and he could have got hurt if I didn’t help. Each job seemed small and if I didn’t have sciatica they were. I did not listen to my body.
Sciatica - diagram from Wikipeadia
This is the key – my not listening to my body.
In fact, if I view this situation from a Work perspective, the sciatica, instead of being a useless pain, could be useful as a powerful sensation reminding factor. I remember when I first came across the idea that sensation was the anchor, the platform, the foundation of awareness of oneself, I thought I found the key to my tan tien, my centre. Up to the discovery of sensation as an anchor for attention I visualised where my centre was. Informed by my Tai Chi teacher the centre, the tan tien was about 3 inches below my belly button and about an inch or two in towards my spine. I tried to direct my attention by visualising the surface of my body. With the discovery of sensation as an anchor things changed. I theorised that if I can place my attention on my body, or a part of it and at the same time carry on doing what I normally do, I have the beginnings of separation between “I” and “me”. The attention is divided between sensation and what I am doing. (Check out a development of this idea in my post Kites and Consciousness.)
I went about trying to find means of remembering my tan tien, my centre while watching and counting my breath using the sensation of cold incoming breath and warm outgoing breath through my nose. This was the simple Buddhist meditation of counting the breath. I scratched the spot where the tan tien should be on the surface of my body gently, I even put tiger balm on the area because the heat generated would draw my attention there. I thought I’d figured out why some monks wore hair shirts. It reminds them that they have a body and not to just squat in their minds.
Did it work?
I gained a sense of my centre but this was also due to the growing sensation of my whole body. It was easier to remember the tiger balmed spot and it was the heat of the balm that drew my attention.
My sciatica has freed me from the need of a hair shirt or tiger balmed strategic spots. Sciatica has given me the “gift” of pain sensation in my lower back and leg and attending to it with awareness of my breath – I type or eat or drive as needed. The pain is there when inflammation fires up but my awareness of it is not. Reacting and feeling the pain is not being aware of it – the pain leads and my mind follows.
If I can build a floor, a stable point of attention in my body I will have the beginnings of separation.
Why the need for separation between the body and awareness?
Why the need to say I see through my eyes not with them; I hear through my ears not with them; I sense through my pain but not with it?
Without that separation “I” am not here, there’s just a happening, an event but no observer.
I wish to be present to what is happening and if what is happening is witnessed within the mind-body then I witness through this mind-body.
So, who am I? Who is the Observer? The Witness?
3 Comments | alchemy, attention, consciousness, fourth way, Gurdjieff, personal | Tagged: attention, Buddhist meditation, consciousness, Pain, Sciatic nerve, Sciatica, sensation, tan tien, Work | Permalink
Posted by stavr0s