If you cannot

If you cannot see, look using your mind.
If you find a wall blocking your path, look beyond.
If you cannot love, indulge in those around you.
If you cannot lift your burden, help lift someone else’s.
If you cannot sleep, spend your time wisely.

If you have no clean pants, put them on inside out.

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On The Island

The island called to me again last night.

It often calls to me when my spirituality is lacking; when I’m feeling down or not my best. The sangha reaches out to me across the airwaves and speaks to me.

Not in words, but in dreams.

Once you go to the island, it remains a part of you. There’s a permanent psychological link between it and you. It and the people on it will see you through the hard times.

And hard times these have been.

The island showed me that it had fallen on neglected times. The residents had turned bitter and twisted; They had grown foul and decrepit. The women had become witches; breaking off into their own sect, listening to the creaks and moans of a hastily constructed tower – each groan and tap bringing meaning to their endless stream of questions. A jewellery box stuffed full of twigs and feathers became their deluded connection to the “other side”. Seeking answers to questions from beyond the grave.

The men had become animals… Slaves to the witches – Only one or two remained, I did not ask where the others went. I imagine they had fled this corrupt place.

I tried to argue with them that their belief in their box of twigs or their rickety “church” tower were against Buddhist values. But they would not listen. The witches were wrapped up in their own world; starved, misguided seeking solitude in madness. They rejected reason. Blind faith.

As night fell, a vicious storm brewed up, and as the thunder roared, and the heavy storm waves crashed upon the stony shore of the island; the witches retreated to the tower. The rain battered through the timber and stones, we climbed to the top level to be nearer the “gods”. They asked a series of yes/no questions, listening for taps on the ceiling which they could use for an answer.

The wind, it picked up, it shook the loose stone walls violently. Rain and blood started dripping into the jewellery box of twigs, rain hissed as it hit the candle flames. The blood was not blood; but red wax falling from some place.

“We must get out, it is not safe here,” I proclaimed. The witches reluctantly agreed, and fled their shaking church, and as we stood outside watching the tower sway, a lightning bolt flashed, followed by an almighty crash – The tower had crumbled.

“Thank you, you have saved us,” the leading witch said. “No,” I say. “Reason and logic is what saved you.” The witches scoffed.

We took refuge in the garden; the big birch trees offering shelter from the storm. The storm sank into the night.

Morning arrived; sunny clear and clean. Wiping away the madness of the storm. With it, arrived someone new. A nun. A nun with long blonde, flowing curly hair. I spoke to her, “This place is not right. It has become corrupted by delusion and madness. These people are living a lie.” She gently nodded and agreed.

As the witches picked at the garden, the nun stood on the mound in the lawn. “Please come, there is something I must show you.” The nurses looked at each other through long wet straggled hair drawn across their faces. They nodded, and everyone took their place at the bottom of the mound, on the lawn.

“Sisters, and brothers,” the nun started, “This place is not what we intended. It lacks the clarity, it lacks the rationalism and the meaning of what the Buddha taught us. You will not find any true meaning in the false idols of yours,” the witches nodded, “instead, why do you not return to the real truth, the dharma, as Buddha taught. It is simple. Clear your minds of the insanity and organicness of your untrained minds, and return to us, where truth and simplicity flow. Where life is simple, and easy. Where real answers come from within, not some ill-gained imaginary lies.”

As the witches listened, their hair grew shorter, and turned from black to blonde, their clothes become whole again, the colour of their clothes returned. Pinks and greens, blue and yellow. The witches reverted back to their ordinary selves.

“It is easy to lose your way, when stranded by yourself. The sangha are here to help. Practice what you know, and when you are in need of refreshment, come to us. Objectivity is all you need.”


Song of the Day

Emeli Sandé – Heaven

This sounds oddly 90’s retro, very Massive Attack. Awesome track.


On Twitter

On Twitter

Social interaction causes psychosis in autistic individuals. This I have seen repeatedly, time and time again in my own behaviour.

Every few weeks I’ll go off-grid, and avoid going out, whilst my psychosis takes over. Because the area of the brain that deals with information is smaller in those with autism, we can be overloaded very easily by all sensory input.

I find that the short, sporadic, and uneven messages on Twitter leads to more noise than usual forms of communication. In short, it encourages ADHD – And autistic people have a tendency to have ADHD.

Imagine you were using a computer that kept receiving more and more information, and with each incoming message, it is seeking to match it up with other messages and perform pattern-matching analysis, to discover traits of that certain person. For one or two or even 10 people, this is fine, but on my twitter feed, I’m following 500 people – And let’s just say that 10% are active users – That still leaves 50 people to try and study and run “hunting” algorithms against.

Hunting – Another autistic behaviour – Is where either consciously or subconsciously that person “seeks” behavioural patterns – To try and learn or understand social interactions, for example, so that they can put them to use in real life. Autistics “hunt” for a lot of things: Social acceptance, how to manipulate people, understanding humour, what makes a person attractive. These are just the ones that I have noted in myself. Any deep-seated notion can be the subject for hunting. This behaviour, this algorithm, can quickly become the soul purpose of an autistic’s life. Not eating, or sleeping until a definitive answer is found.

But on twitter, that definitive answer, is buried deep within the “noise” of thousands of messages a day – And the majority of conscious streams are incomplete, meaning that an autistic brain is unable to tie up any conclusive meaning from it all. Eventually, it gets to the point where an autistic person is unable to concentrate, unable to think because his or her brain is tied up processing which is essentially useless information. And because twitter is so easy and accessible, very few people (myself included) spend any time thinking about what they should post. In short, what should be a violin concerto ends up sounding like an untuned radio.


On Diagnosis

It’s funny how everything in your life can change within a few seconds.

That is what happened to me the other day, as I received the results from my MRI.

I have a brain tumour; it’s currently 3mm big and it’s sitting on my pituitary gland. It’s not cancerous.

But they’re afraid it might grow. This of course all started last september when I started getting pains in my chest and started developing gynaecomastia – A lump in my chest, caused by high prolactin levels.

The high prolactin levels were found to be caused by this tumour. High prolactin causes testosterone to diminish too – And that’s why I’ve been feeling constantly moody, lethargic and showing signs of Aspergers much more regularly than usual. It’s also made me gain substantial weight – Going from 85kg a couple of years ago, to 106kg today.

The endocrinologist has put me on Testogel – An interesting topical gel that you apply to your skin once a day and it boosts testosterone levels over time. It seems a somewhat unusual approach – “You have a brain tumour, here, rub this gel on yourself” – It’s akin to fix a broken bone by tickling someone with a feather – but to my surprise it works. I’ve definitely noticed that I’ve become more energetic and aggressive than usual, and my high libido has finally returned in leaps and bounds.

Ironically, for two weeks before I got the MRI results, I had started swimming every day, and weight lifting 3 times a week, as well as cycling everywhere. So I had been feeling pretty good even before I got the results. Perhaps this is a pre-emptive sign that my tumour is stabilising.

I’m going back in November for another blood test, and to see the endocrinologist to see if I need another MRI, to see if the tumour has grown bigger.

In all honesty I hope it does get worse. Now, people think I’m very bizarre for this – But I simply find it amusing. Why? Why would I feel so… disrespectful of what could be a very serious problem?

Not everyone gets to have a brain tumour.

I love being different, being special, but more so, I love to learn. For once in my life, I get to reconcile what I’ve seen on TV and in movies to what happens in real life. How painful is it? What rehabilitation will I need? Will it affect my personality? My childlike curiosity wins out over all adulistic responsibilities and expectations.

But perhaps there’s something deeper at stake; having a brain tumour has already brought me great sympathy and being the bearer of something that is, in their eyes, so unjust, that it brings me love. I never really have felt love, and I’m not sure that my Aspergic mind can actually reconcile true mutual love in the real world. It breaks my heart, sometimes I cry late at night when I’m by myself because Aspergers may may prevent me from ever feeling true love.

But then I laugh about this tumour, why? I predicted a long time ago that I will die within a handful of years from now. This tumour is perhaps the first rung on my travels off this mortal coil. It is proving everything I have said to now to be true, to be right. Therefore I laugh at death; I already know it is coming and I’ve been ready to depart from this world for quite some time – I don’t have much to live for any more.

I laugh because if I do not, the heartache and fear will kill me a long time before any tumour does.


On Being Yourself

Things have gone well for me recently. I’ve successfully completed my first trip to the US, and I have done a very successful run through in London. My personal life has calmed down, I have become more focused and comfortable. I have started swimming, and exercising on an almost daily basis.

I have made some great friends, and a couple of loves. Though, nothing sticks. Life is impermanent; do not dwell on the past. My heart lifts when I think of the good people I have met recently. They protect me, they tell me things are alright with the world, that I need not to be afraid of the normals. Of the neurotypicals. Of the people who mean me harm.

My English is much more broken than it used to be; you might bear witness to this in this entry. I haven’t got the time nor patience to be 100% accurate with my words when getting the jist across is my primary concern. I’m relearning that humans (other than i) are very good at interpreting speech, and that I need not be so OCD, so perfect, so right when English isn’t really my primary language. People are understanding, not so demeaning if I just be myself. They realise that I’m not like they are. They give me the time and space to communicate, to compose. I’ve been reading Aspergers for Dummies, and it suggests taking deep pauses whilst I compose sentences. This works for me, it also lends… Gravitas? Almost without deserving it.

I took a new photo today to be an avatar, and it’s funny to see how I’ve aged, the teenager I once saw in the mirror is becoming a full bodied man. Bearded, comfortable and assertive and calm. I had forgotten how much progress I’ve made since I turned 28. 28 was always my year to “get it right.”

That is when an unexpected bill from the council for several thousand pound arrived and it knocked me off my fragile pedestal. I have been off work with an “upset stomach” – a sort of code word I use for an anxiety attack. To be fair, I had been working long hours recently – two days that were 14 hours each, followed by a 10 hour day. And that bill kicked me in an already weakened state. I slept most of today, before meeting the issue head on. Agreements and schedules have been made, and I can struggle on through. Everything is fine. Everything is managed. Everything is alright. Only the bitter aftertaste, somewhat literally, of my breakdown remains. My fragility not appearing in my new photograph. I wonder how I make ends meet sometimes. It is funny how a photo an capture anyone but yourself.

The rules I created. The epitome of intelligent, managed living. They all make sense now; I have stood on my own two feet for many weeks, facing daily challenges by simply acknowledging my rules.

Food is more important than anything else in my life. If I get this wrong, it all falls apart. This I have tested and now know. Positivity too is important. You become your outlook; if you see depression, you become depression.

Breathe. Buddhism is built around breathing. It is simple, and immutable. Close everything down, make no sound, go outside and breathe. There is nothing you cannot do if you just sit and breathe a while. On a train, in the studio, at your desk, as you lie in bed. Every problem can be met if you just simply breathe.

Simplicity. Everything in your life has a mental cost. Making a trip to the local shop, 10 points. Cooking dinner, 20 points. Spending your life on Twitter, 700 points. And you have a fixed daily budget; do not overburden your brain with something that is so frivolous.

Moderation. You don’t have to go overboard with everything. You don’t have to swim every day. You don’t have to cycle every day. You don’t have to tidy up every day. You don’t have to sleep well every day. You don’t have to meditate every day. You don’t have to dress smart nor comfortable nor make a statement every day. You need not be correct every day; you need not know everything. You needn’t be supportive, you needn’t be strong, you needn’t be yourself, every day. Be someone else, be grumpy, be angry, be forgetful, be inhuman, be shallow, be blunt, be arrogant, be frightened, be weak, be everything that you shouldn’t be. And then meet somewhere in the middle. That is moderation. That is zen.


Tumblr Address Change

Howdy howdy, I just thought I’d share my Tumblr link as I’ve recently changed it and I suspect I’ll be posting there incresingly, especially with regards to Song of the Days, and photos and things.

So here’s my new link:

http://soen.so

This blog will continue to exist for my longer blog postings. 🙂