The title is borrowed from the Buddhist tradition of the;
Noble 8-Fold Path (right speech, right conduct, right-you are etc…) only because my list ended at 8, otherwise it'd be called something else. Like most of what's known as Buddhism today, the famous 8-Fold Path does not originate with the Buddha himself, but from one of the many schools which sprang up as a result of his teachings circa 3rd Cen BC. As for my list, much of it also probably has it's origins in the doctrines of the east or at least are inspired by their teachings, then again, much of it isn't, at least if there is I'm not conscious of any influence, to use the in-word of our day.
Certainly the idea is, & the idea is to help anyone suffering from one of the many forms of psychological trauma so prevalent today in our society by bullet-pointing specific areas of everyday living we ourselves can improve upon & thus recover our mental well-being somewhat if we just remind ourselves often enough of the things we don't need to see a Shrink over (which covers large surface-area) & keep the practice up until it's so far ingrained in our psyche we never have to lapse again into despondency or back to the old jibbering mess......we once was.
To achieve this, I'll be drawing on the works of a man whose teachings I've done my utmost to warn people about, Manly Hall. His esoteric works aside for once, Hall was heavily involved with psychology, especially in the latter stage of his life, & be it hypocrisy on my behalf or not, I don't really care, we live on planet earth, we breathe the same air, & if someones offering advice & it helps as it's meant to, then take it, the bigger picture is far more important than any personal grievance or prejudice can ever be (please see my Hall Blog over this question), Aristotle's pupil was a man with a good shout for being history's worst genocidal butcher; Alexander The Great, should we ignore Aristotle's advice?
Of course not, a lot of the time what they say is very true & helpful.
The bullet-point/numerical aspect is important, as it impresses on the mind, if learned, a pattern thats easily remembered when recalled or brought to the fore in times of need, in academia, this process is termed a; MNEMONIC.....
'A mnemonic, also known as a memory aid, is a tool that helps you remember an idea or phrase with a pattern of letters, numbers, or relatable associations.'
Right then, with our authorities out the road, let's remind ourselves of what we already know & remember I'm only referring here to cases up to & including neurosis,
any condition beyond this obviously requires professional help.
(My wife told me to cut it to one-word-titles, so if some of them don't quite fit the context exactly in the way you'd expect, it's everyone else's fault)
Vinnys 8-Fold Psycho-Self-Help Guide;
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I never knew there was a correlation between
sugar & depression before listening to Dr Joel Wallach on Bill Coopers radio show the Hour Of The Time & then researching it.
'You are what you eat' as they say & without wanting to be a scaremonger, we don't know what's being put into our foodstuffs unless we grow it ourselves. Now I know homegrown produce is beyond the means of most, but we can watch what we put into our mouths.
People choose margarine over butter because it's much cheaper, however, if we could just discipline ourselves bit by bit, we can easily ease ourselves out of our previously gluttonous habits. If sugary delectables is our downfall, 'Av a banana' as the Cockney's put it, fruit is not the same product as soft drinks or confectionary,
& is full of goodness,
'an apple a day keeps the doctor away' as they say & is a perfect
substitute for......toast, not only that, within a week we start
feeling healthier & thus begin to ease our minds of at least that troublesome burden.
I was speaking recently to the head honcho over here in Jersey for Mindfulness Meditation who's a friend of mine when the subject of mental illness cropped up. I asked him if he'd ever considered the possibility of ourselves being the cause & thus cure for our own psychological conditions, & he responded by saying he'd seen no scientific evidence for it. He may be right, I learned my hypothesis from a Manly Hall lecture, dealing with the stresses & strains of life, in another lecture he says modern psychology emanates from the Classical Neoplatonist schools of Plotinus, Proculus etc. Their philosophical speculations were abstractions & cannot be proven either way, just like the theories of Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, or the precepts of the now seemingly ubiquitous practice of......Mindfulness Meditation. Hall is adamant the answer lies within us, regardless of how battered we were as children, his stance is, if the problem began with us,
the solution lies somewhere within also,
we need only to search for it,
& that takes work. When did the turbulence begin? Who was involved, have we merely nursed a grudge thats gone septic?
Our actions are usually full of good intentions for everyone else, but what of ourselves? My problems began with an over-investment in others economy owing to my father dying when I was 3 & my mother being unable to cope because of her list of traumas up to that point, so naturally I began to look outwards for answers,
now I know better.
To identify the source & bring it out into the open lessens it's power
over us is the dictum, then it's OUR responsibility to address it & put it right & not to pay someone else £100+ an hr to tell us how to
breathe & be quiet.
Transmutation is the key, turning can't into.....
CAN (Cooper quote).
'No news is good news' goes the adage, so turn off your television, it's full of crap. I used to come in from work & turn on the telly instinctively until about 15yrs ago, now it's the computer admittedly, however now I can choose which subject to distract myself of, as opposed to vegetating to anything thats aired in my direction. Radio is less harmful depending on what station we're hearing but the principle remains the same, someone else is doing the thinking for us.
In the UK, taverns were where it's at for the average man in the street up until around 10yrs ago when they brought in the smoking ban, consequently, many of us became chronic alcoholics (not because of the smoking ban, before that). I've read the indigenous aborigines of Australia & of North America suffer from the same ale-ment the Irish are reputed to have developed when their land was taken from them & were herded into the great cities of the UK & abroad....Still, to be aware of the problem is to be on the road to recovery, 'Drunkenness will be prohibited' says Protocol 23 of the Elders Of Sion, so it's coming anyway, however others will surely take it's place & already have. Drugs appear to be the poison of choice amongst the youth nowadays, like our generation however, they've been suckered into it. All these things, T.V, radio, the internet, drugs, alcohol, i-phones, popular music, sports all converge to constitute what's known to the Gnostics as the Matrix,
they are carefully devised escape mechanisms, designed to keep us trapped in an illusory world & slaves to our 5 senses.
Everything in moderation said Pythagoras,
whether you agree with him is up to yourself.
I'm a hypocrite, I admit it, I'm as guilty as the next man for over-indulgence in all of the above & more. What I've learned from it however is not to lie about it, like I used to. The productive effects of
coming clean cannot be overestimated, even if only to oneself. Telling the truth builds strength/conviction,
all the old sages swore by it;
'The truth will make you free', said Jesus. It's like a flaming sword of righteousness, & is an incredibly potent weapon in a world full of deception if used with integrity, especially if you're involved in research such as this, as people become accustomed to trusting you as a reliable source
& this commands respect,
one cannot ask for anything more than that in this life.
The issue is self-explanatory & needs no further explanation.
'there is no knowledge that is not power'
- Ralph Waldo Emerson (Philosopher).
If one goes to a psychologist, one will invariably find the following procedure in operation, the psychologist will eek the source of the trauma out of the patient by patiently asking a series of basic questions, fundamentally allowing the er, patient to explain to themselves they had the answer all along, although most will not realise this, then a course of medication will usually be suggested. My point is the answer to all our psychological trauma is either within us or without, it's merely a case of looking for it. We live in a world chock full of knowledge
& most is at our fingertips these days;
'Read everything, listen to everyone, believe no one unless it checks out in your own research' said Bill Cooper. Our minds are a filter, designed to decide whether we accept information or refuse it as refuse, in this most of us fail ourselves & allow false or damaging beliefs to take hold & this is the cause of most of our unhealthy mental conditions today. We parasitically rely too much on others to tell us what's true & what's not & this can only lead to a detrimental position if we wish to free our minds. For the first time in history the knowledge of the Ages is in our grasp, yet, most ignore the opportunity to look as it's less convenient than having something classed as conventional placed in our consciousness by a machine,
plus it's usually less politically correct to do so.
Nevertheless, 'Seek & you shall find' says the prophet,
'Seek ye the proof, & the proof shall make ye free'.......sez me.
What's this? It's my word for the opposite of introspection, in other words, it's seeing things from a less self-centred angle, for want of a better word. People who've grown up in testing environments (the poor, in big cities, war zones etc.) can understandably create for themselves an over-inflated ego, or an accentuated persona, in response to the chaos they witness around them. Fuelled by a constant stream of worthless culture (which is the purpose of it; popular music, sports, gaming), the individual escapes by withdrawing into ones own imagination, & if it's not checked by adolescence, a harmless fantasy can descend into a demented delusion on most counts in most of his
outlook in later life.
Some people relentlessly strive for fame, others for fortune, & in both instances, the individual is attempting to quench a great thirst inside created by a hyper-active imagination for some reason or other. The insecurity begins usually with a natural resentment for his or her surroundings, a common occurrence seeing as half the worlds population now lives in urban areas, nevertheless, only a tiny minority will ever achieve fame or fortune & the rest of us must chew the fat of reality & accept ourselves for who we really are, not what we wish we were.
Inner peace stems from such a thought, there's nothing wrong with anyone who is at one with themselves. Apollogies for my hypocrisy once again but being afraid of living within our means usually indicates an unaddressed childhood fear where I come from, we all do it, but again I stress, the acknowledgement of it is half the battle, as it is with unrealistic ambition, to want something isn't the same as fantasising about it, we need to be centred more now than ever
before & this involves eradicating our previously harmful
escape mechanisms as best we can.
Incidentally, there's an ancient school of thought that advises fame & fortune are not worth all the hassle in the first place,
to paraphrase the Neoplatonist.
We all admire the redeemed sinner, be it an ex-con or drug dealer now going round the place educating the populace on the dangers of their past exploits, but if I had to bet on it, my money would be on most of these people being acts,
just like many of the beggars are on our streets.
My point is; hardly anyone else in society makes this break,
it's just plain out of our reach, & as much as we respect those doing it & how much we'd like to emulate them, it ain't gonna happen for us bro! & to tell you the truth it's probably a good job.
So let's get real, despite it all, I always thanked the Good Lord I was
who I was & not anyone else, what about you?
Lord knows they're beating down the door
to make us think it isn't so.......
So don't let em in.
Can you sing, can you dance, can you make a treehouse?
Maybe not, but we can learn. If certain escapisms are constructive then we'd probably best make some use of them, not abuses of them. It's rare indeed one hears of an average man who doesn't indulge in a pastime at least once in his life. It is said, music is the truest expression of the soul, it's a spiritual art, even animals are drawn to it to quell the unrest in their hearts & of course it has the same effect on us, if done well. Even if it isn't, we appreciate someone trying at least at family gatherings or in the pubs or bars, even on the television, because we're aware of it's healing qualities & most people wish others well. Thats just one art form, many people enjoy walking as a hobby, some surfing if lucky enough to live by the sea, some practice pottery, knitting, hillclimbing, sports....whatever.
The thing is to do something constructive with ourselves outside of the things we do to make ends meet, as the old saying goes;
'Those not being constructive, are busy being destructive'.
I wouldn't go that far but I know what they meant, it probably means destroying inner spirituality by inertia
or something similar.
The late great George Michaels once said, 'You got to have a faitha',
& I concur with Mr Michaels on this point. Even the Nihilist has his philosophy, that's his belief on existence & he's entitled to it.
Faith is so important to man, more wars have been fought over it's interpretation alone than all other excuses put together, so I presume it must be taken seriously. What did the ancients say about it?
I particularly like St Thomas Aquinas' quote of;
'To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.'
Faith comes from an amalgamation of most if not all of the above principles, faith comes from within & nowhere else.
We need not believe in a God portrayed by the Abrahamic religions to have an inner structure, however it does help to acknowledge a beneficent source at the root of all existence. Pagans routinely applaud the Christian & Muslim on his or her unswerving devotion to their beliefs, alternatively, the orthodox religions marvel at the Pagans hypotheses on Man, Nature & the Cosmos, as do I,
because I know in these teachings we find a positive dedication
to an understanding of the mysteries of life for the benefit of all & that deserves respect, irrespective of wether we find them misguided or even abhorrent, people believe what they believe for a reason, & that reason can never emerge from anything malevolent,
even though the effects of those beliefs can become detrimental
to others, & that is all-inclusive of the above. When man stops believing, in whatever it is he has faith in, something irretrievable dies in him, he can live without peace, wisdom, he can live without happiness & often does, thus of all the virtues, if called upon to do it, I'd wish on my fellow man faith,
because to live without belief is to live a life without purpose,
in my blogbook.
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In my use of the term hypocrisy, if not altogether wrong, it may be a tad harsh bearing in mind what I'm trying to achieve.
The world is by design a traumatic place;
'There has to be winners & losers in this system' was what
we're taught in Uni when studying politics, so I'm only passing on the word, that others are around who wish us to act & believe in certain ways whether we agree with them or not & they've been at it for a hell of a long time, & at the centre of it all is the relatively modern school of psychology (it's employed in marketing, education etc.). We're under constant attack,
both subliminally & sometimes physically,
but, we can protect ourselves from
alien invasion forces if we put our minds to it & our shoulders to the wheel. The aim is to accept the responsibility for ourselves so sorely needed at this time, & to the best of our abilities, remove the causes of our errors, which we can certainly do if we try. We only tap into a fraction of our mental powers during our lives, alls it takes to begin to activate them from what I've read & heard is a bit of self-discipline & common sense, & this from some of the top psychologists themselves, if we read between the lines. I'm not attacking psychology per se, I highly regard much of the work they've done, especially Freud & Jung, what I'm suggesting is much of the practice of psychology today has now become a weaponised, lucrative enterprise, used in anything from miltary/police training, to T.V. advertising to school curriculums. So in this sense it must be approached with caution,
& in many instances can be avoided altogether,
as I've attempted to illustrate in the above.
(Incidentally, did you know the Arabs, & before them the Ancient Greeks would say of their brethren suffering from what they'd call....madness;
'Entreat them kindly, for they walk with God'.
It's false economy to point out the faults in our neighbour, be it mental or physical when we practice random indiscretion constantly ourselves, albeit in our own ways.
When a person does so, what they're really saying is;
'Look at him, not me'.)
Whilst the list reflects somewhat my own personal struggles with life's vicissitudes, I of course couldn't or wouldn't speak for anyone else, one of the great beauties of life to me is that we must find our own paths & to do this we need to be true to ourselves,
not somebody else' automaton.......Look at it this way, problems,/troubles are mere abstractions, imaginary endowments we place on one another for lack of anything better to do.
If one person is in a room, one almost always finds serenity, stick another person in with them you immediately get a complication.
In any event, if all else fails, nothings working & you're struggling for answers, why not heed the advice my late Uncle Dermot who'd lovingly remind us in times of emergency;
'Fuck em' if they can't take a joke'.