Failure of Paradigm

We all have some kind of world view, this enables us to make at least partial sense of the world around us. That world view has some rules, some “guidelines”, as to how the world and its people interact. Nevertheless, that world view has to it many assumptions and suppositions. People in particular are expected to behave largely within the parameters of our expectations. We may on occasion encounter circumstances and occurrences which we cannot “explain” from within that world view and so we stretch our world view to try to encompass these new things. Our paradigm expands just a little. But what happens when our paradigm needs to go too far? Is there a limit beyond which a paradigm snaps and ceases to be tenable? Do we then create a whole new paradigm or do away with any notion of paradigm whatsoever?

Typically, when our paradigm no longer suffices it blows our mind, we may not be able to even countenance anything which explodes our paradigm. The mind shuts down and refuses. We may not have sufficient elasticity, sufficient flexibility of thought for our mind to go that far. We may deny any paradigm challenging event. Our world view is sacrosanct and must not be threatened. So, we try to shoe-horn stuff into that world view. After a while even the biggest shoe-horn can no longer force our observations into the paradigm shoe, there is no more room. Bang! The mind explodes, and the walls are covered with tiny bits of brains and blood.

It is difficult to accept that our paradigm, so beloved by us, is incomplete. This is of course the paradigm of having a paradigm in the first place.

Our levels of consciousness demarcate what we can assimilate and make sense of, the scope of our knowledge only goes so far, even for the smartest amongst us. Nobody can know everything, though some act as though they do. The key to avoiding scraping bits of hair and blood off the walls is to acknowledge that our world-view is at best a work in progress. If we imagine that it encompasses all it might fail the elastic test and explode. This acknowledgement adds an elasticity to our “paradigm”, if indeed we must have one.

People can challenge our sense of order especially if they do not behave according to our world-rules, our expectations of context and in context. There is some kind of life-event-progression we predetermine, a sort of expectation trajectory, we assume. If we train as a doctor, we might expect work for life. It makes sense, people get sick, there will always be a need for doctors. When a police officer murders his wife, that doesn’t gel so well. When a chemical physicist talks about hippy-shit and dreams, that is a bit odd. I have joked before that if I had worn robes instead of Levi’s it would not have caused me, and perhaps others, such a problem. It would have been easier for people to get their head around me.

When things don’t fit our paradigm is challenged, it takes a long, long, time before we are ready to give up that paradigm. We try to shoe-horn things into it even if that means scraping our grey matter off the walls.

Having cued this up:

Has my world paradigm ever failed in a messy way?

Has anything metaphorically blown my mind?

Fleeting Moments

It is around fleeting moments that the entire world or a life, can pivot. In retrospect we may be able to see them. But by the time we are retrospective the moment has long passed. What might have been, cannot now be. The significance of fleeting moments can be severely underestimated. We may place that last straw on the camel’s back, unaware that we are doing this. There could be those few seconds in which we could have plucked up courage, but failed to do so. We might make a Petrine denial so as to avoid something. Sometimes we notice the instant a fleeting moment has passed and rue the day. Other times we feel justified in letting a moment pass. Most often we are too asleep, too distracted, or our head is so far up our own arse that we do not sense an incoming fleeting moment, maybe we just don’t want to see them. If we take life for granted, we squander fleeting moments. There is not some chap with a big sign, upon which there is hand pointing to the moment which says; “this is really important”. Many of these fleeting moments are subtle and nuanced. Some fleeting moments pertain entirely to The Spirit and in those our natures are tested by the universe.

Advertisers tell us; “don’t miss out on this deal”. Many like a bargain and a “buy one get one free”. These are not really fleeting moments, they are the artifice of marketing. People pay more attention to these than the real fleeting moments. In business people speak of opportunity and a good salesman can sniff a potential lead like a thirsty man in the desert smells water. But not all opportunities are obvious and many look like hard work. If you are a pushy salesman type, you may be attuned to only one general type of opportunity. Many are just under our noses and these are the hardest to see, it seems.

Fleeting moments can be like an aperture in space-time, they are only open for a while, beyond them lies a whole new range of possibilities. Unless one steps through the aperture, it closes, perhaps never to open again. These moments are fleeting and short.

The only way to appreciate all those fleeting moments is to be fully present in the now. If you blunder through life like an amphetamine fuelled bull in a china shop, you will smash the delicate porcelain of these moments, willy-nilly. To see a fleeting moment, one has to be awake, and not dozing. If one is raging, one is more than a little blind. The red mist has you.

It is out of fleeting moments that the Eternal Now is constructed or made. That is the awareness sees fleeting moments blending softly into each other, fully aware, the potential significance of each is weighted. Then live, in the now, one must decide, choose and act. For at each fleeting moment there is choice, life is a step-wise continuum of choices, always. The more awake and present you are, the more conscious you become about instantaneous choice of action. Life is a summation of fleeting moments, a sum and not yet quite an integral. The more aware you are, the more integrated you become and life flows better. It is not quite so step-function and jerky. The more awake you are the less likely it is that you behave like a jerk.

It is the active ongoing sum of all fleeting moments which makes the Eternal Now.

Isolated Unity – Illuminated Union

IV 25

As soon as one can distinguish between consciousness and awareness, the ongoing construction of the self ceases.

The Yoga-Sûtra of Patañjali translated by Chip Hartranft

Note: Atma can mean essence which has a different meaning to self as we understand it now. There is a difference between self and Self, one is “lower” than the other.


The state of isolated unity (withdrawn into the true nature of the Self) is the reward of the man who can discriminate between the mind stuff and the Self, or spiritual man.

This state of isolated unity must be regarded as the result of the attainment of a particular state of mind, rather than as a separative reaction. All meditation work, all moments of reflection, all affirmative exercises, all hours of recollection of one’s true nature are means employed to detach the mind from the lower reactions and tendencies, and build in the habit of a constant realization of one’s true divine nature. When this realization is achieved, the need for such exercises ceases and one enters into one’s heritage. The isolation referred to is the detachment of the self from the field of knowledge, the involving of the refusal of the self to seek outward-going sensuous experience and its standing firm in the state of spiritual being.

The man becomes conscious of himself as the knower and is no longer primarily concerned with the field of knowledge, as in the early stages of his unfoldment; neither is he engaged with knowledge itself, as during the stage of mental development either as an advanced man or as a disciple. He can discriminate between all three, and identifies himself henceforth neither with the field of knowledge, life in the three worlds through the medium of his three vehicles, and the five senses plus the mind, nor with the knowledge gained nor the experience undergone. He knows the self; he identifies himself with the true knower, and thus sees things as they are, dissociating himself entirely from the world of sensuous perception.

He does this, however, whilst functioning as a human being on earth. He participates in earth experience; he involves himself in human activities; he walks among men, eating and sleeping, working and living. Yet all the time he “is in the world, yet not of the world,” and of him it can be said as it was said of the Christ,

    “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Phil., II, 6, 7, 8.)

He is at-one with the soul of all, but isolated off, separated from all that concerns the form or material nature. The next three sutras should be read as one, giving as they do a picture of the gradual growth of the spiritual nature in the man who has arrived at the state of discriminating detachment, and through utter dispassion, knows the meaning of isolated unity.


The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali – Book 4 – Illumination

Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul


The Yoga-Sûtra of Patañjali translated by Chip Hartranft

Pure Awareness

Pure awareness is just seeing, itself; although pure, it usually appears to operate through the perceiving mind.

The Yoga-Sûtra of Patañjali translated by Chip Hartranft


The seer is pure knowledge (gnosis). Though pure, he looks upon the presented idea through the medium of the mind.

Reference has already been made to the excellent translation of this sutra as given by Johnston which runs as follows:

“The seer is pure vision. Though pure, he looks out through the vesture of the mind.”

Ganganatha Jha throws still further light upon it in the words:

“The spectator is absolute sentience, and though pure, still beholds intellected ideas.”

The thought conveyed is that the true man, the spectator, perceiver or thinker is the sum total of all perception, be it through the avenues of the senses or of the lower mind; he is in himself knowledge, clear vision or true perception. All that exists in the three worlds exists because of and for him; he is the cause of its being and when he no longer seeks it or endeavors to vision it, for him it exists not. This sutra is one of the key verses in the book, and gives the clue to the entire science of yoga. Certain thoughts lie hid in its formulation which cover the whole ground of this science and students would do well to give much attention to this. It has a mantric effect and if stated as an affirmation and used constantly by the aspirant will eventually demonstrate to him the truth of the statement that “as a man thinketh, so is he.”

    “I am pure knowledge. Though pure, I look upon presented ideas through the medium of the mind.”

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali – Book 2 – The Steps to Union

Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul

Some Equanimity

One can become fully absorbed in any object, whether vast or infinitesimal.

As the patterning of consciousness subsides, a transparent way of seeing, called coalescence, saturates consciousness; like a jewel, it reflects equally whatever lies before it – whether subject, object, or act of perceiving.

The Yoga-Sûtra of Patañjali translated by Chip Hartranft

Modern living is more than a tad dramatic, we can lurch from one drama to another. It would be nice to experience some equanimity in the day to day. That is to unify meditation practice with actual living and sustain that state. Complete absorption {or zen} is difficult whilst the ‘phone rings, the text messages arrive or the kids nag. In order to do this one has to unplug both in physical terms and mentally. There is no point turning off the ‘phone or computer if your chitta is always concerned about what you might be missing. This patterning of consciousness towards what is or might be occurring, is a modern impediment and related to the fear of missing out. To start to let go of this patterning is to start to change life and even the perception of the world we live in.

It would be good to be open-minded and free of prejudice. To have clarity in life and perception thereof. Complete absorption in the task at hand develops concentration. And in this concentration minutiae, hitherto missed, can be seen. Patience increases and the “I must rush” mentality slowly fades, but not without fighting many a rear-guard action. There is a lot of drama associated with rushing and slapdash actions do not bring equanimity. It is socially acceptable to be rushed and stressed and hectic. Some consider it a badge of honour, the mark of a successful being. Unless one simplifies life, it is difficult to stop this whirligig living. One must choose between equanimity and being hectic. Being spread too thin prevents complete absorption, because the next beckons and one never finishes the current.

What patterns your consciousness?

Can these patterns be broken?  

Entanglement and Freedom

In quantum mechanics there is an explanation of a phenomenon in nature where a pair of particles, created in a particular manner, are said to be entangled. They are not in a pure state, rather a superposition of states. One cannot know what state one particle is in without measuring it, in this explanation the measurement kind of defines its state. The moment you measure one of the pair, the state of the other is known. There is a kind of predetermination, in measuring one you also determine the other.  It does not matter how far apart these particles are, measure one you know the other. This phenomenon is well tested, and the explanation holds.  If particles can be entangled, then why not humans? Humans are too big to obey quantum mechanics. But the word entangled is a good one. The lives of certain beings are entangled. This always makes for a good plot in a novel or a film.

Does entanglement then suggest a lack of freedom? Maybe there is a certain interdependency of lives?

What a being you are entangled with does, has an affect on you. You only have to think of family and you can see entanglement at work. Your parents and siblings tend to impact upon your life. If your sister has a baby, you are then uncle or aunt. Your trajectory through life is altered by your familial ties. There is a saying used by those who are firm believers in family;” blood is thicker than water”.  If your sister has a baby on the other side of the world, your state changes to being uncle or aunt, it does not matter where on the planet they are. This is an extension of spooky action at a distance. The change of state of your sister into mother determines your status.

I think it fair to say that a major source of challenge in life is familial and should we go onto have a family of our own, the theme is propagated. The entanglement continues and can extend.  Am I a cold-hearted bastard? No. Think about it. It is unlikely that your family is a source of constant bliss. It is likely that there are at least a few quarrels, therein. Family is, or could be, a tremendously fertile ground for learning. But one cannot learn from it if one is utterly engrossed in its mind-set. One has to step back and dis-entangle at least a little. If you are a strong believer in family and the drama so associated, then you are not likely to seek freedom from it. You may see it as your duty to remain entangled. But can you think for yourself in such circumstances? Duty can quickly turn to burden and resentment.

Maybe you noticed that I am treading lightly here because the outer presentation of familial bliss and congruence is one of the public relations exercises of our modern times. Blood is thicker than water, so we did not ought to wash our dirty linen. Maybe you are one of the people who has never moaned about family to a confidant? Is it reasonable to suggest that families are something of a mixed blessing? They can certainly eat up our time and drain us emotionally. There are a lot of power dynamics in families and much game playing.

The more time we spend with other beings the more likely it is that both our lives and consciousnesses become entangled. The more intense the interaction, the stronger the entanglement. Having sex with someone, sharing secrets, sharing lies, making pacts and getting up to no good all entangle lives, consciousnesses and emotions.  These relationships might be friendships or partners in crime. If you are in some kind of pact, then whatever others do impacts upon you, you are entangled.

Having introduced this and cued it up, I’ll return to it later. Have a think about these:

Does having my life entangled with others impinge upon my personal freedom?

Am I entirely happy about this?

Towards Freedom…

My first ever E-book is published today, it can be found at my Author page on Amazon.

“A concise contemporary overview of a path towards freedom and choice, avoiding jargon wherever possible. That freedom is found by balance and leads to a growing sense of equanimity.”

A new adventure begins….