Lost on the Emotional Plane?

I’ll restrict this to two primary emotions, fear and anger. There is no need to take loads of mushrooms or peyote, to completely lose the plot. It can happen in day to day life. One can become utterly lost on the emotional plane. The perception gets ever more selective and turns in on itself. All clarity vanishes, and any sense of wider perspective is abandoned. It happens by indulging in fear or anger.

Once fear gets a toe-hold it can magnify and amplify alarmingly, a deep pervading paranoia sets in. Under these circumstances the merest thing can be seen as a deep personal attack aimed at maiming or destruction. The slightest contrary opinion becomes a death threat. One figuratively puts up the barricades, lays the minefields, heats the boiling oil and readies the crossbows. One is perennially on the look-out for slights, snubs, attacks and the like. They aren’t there, they are largely imagined. And so, lost in fear, life becomes nightmarish. On edge one lashes out and destroys. One sees plots and intrigues on all sides and thereby actually generates some of these, because one starts playing secret squirrels and other related games. Tense as a tense thing on a tense day, one is like a porcupine. There is no reality simply an out of proportion fear. Threat is on all sides.

Once the red-mist of anger sets in, all one can see is ire and hitting back. One must destroy, avenge, make them pay and otherwise teach them a lesson. It burns, and it seethes. The perception clouds over and all there is that red-mist. Skewed thereby, a being whom you might otherwise love and care for becomes enemy number one, who must face sudden, complete and humiliating destruction, preferably over a prolonged period and in public so that everyone can see that your just and deserved vengeance has been done. There is no clarity, no wider perspective just the immediacy and longevity of that anger.

Maybe after the destruction has been wrought some sense of wider perspective returns by which time it is too late. Perhaps finally you return to your senses and calm. Perhaps you can then acknowledge that your perception has been more than a tad selective.

Having cued this up:

Have I ever been lost on the emotional plane?

Did it damage or wreak havoc in my life?

Selective Perception and Supposition

It is not uncommon for people to imagine things very different from how they actually are. For example, the notion of cancer patient rarely conjures up a hairy fifteen stone guy with a full head of hair and still in possession of most of his own teeth. And the idea of quantum mechanics does not sit so well with a working beef farm. In the two clips previous, nothing has been faked or photoshopped. It is just like this. There is a big stack of patents and papers just behind me and outside I wait for Mr Pheasant the chicken fancier to make an appearance as he does usually, at this time of day.

The written word can easily be subject to selective perception. My speaking voice is as it is in the clip and I am nearly always calm, so if anything else is imagined, imagined it is. People will select from a whole bunch of perceptions and fit them to / with their suppositions. Many selective perceptions are so wide of the mark. Unless you have current personal experience of someone, chances are your perceptions are out of date and inaccurate. Once you have fallen off the cliff of selective perception, there can be no going back.

People make all sorts of shit up. It is weird but true.

What is Your Mind Like?

Last night I was not well enough to go to Aikido, so I watched a film, The Forest. It is largely set in the Aokigahara Forest, a place apparently popular for suicides. It was quite an engaging film and the early part of it brought back many happy memories of arriving at Narita and going to the Hotel New Otani in Tokyo. It was great to get to my room, put on a yukata, order a bento box and a couple of Asahi, then to look out over the skyline. Sarah the main protagonist is warned that the forest does weird things and that if she saw anything, she should remember that it was only in her mind and not real. Advice which she failed to take. As the film unfolded she started to have her inner demons surface. It did not end well for her.

I’ll hazard a guess that many of us have some inner demons, which from time to time come visit our minds. We may not need a mystic forest, it can happen on the tube train or when we lie on our pillow at night. Many, as I understand it, have problems getting off to sleep, sometimes it is just internal dialogue about the day, other times it is the demons. The minds of the allegedly sane, can be pretty strange places. And keeping it together is a bit of a struggle. You never know what goes on in the mind of another unless they tell you and even then, they may fib.

The thing is that most of these inner “demons” are born out of selective perception and come from blowing things out of proportion. Our fears and insecurities feed them, and they grow and multiply. Talking about them, getting them out into the light of day, can help to dissolve them. Laughter is a very good anti-demon tincture. All of us have the odd crazy thought or two. Some “demons” must however be faced, otherwise they keep on coming back. They can exhibit guile. The more we try to fend them off, the more artful they become, they shape-shift. Until we can accept that which is the seed of the “demon”, its roots, we cannot hope to weed it out from the garden of our mind. Pretending that an inner “demon” isn’t there does not work. Most of us don’t get to meet a group of yūrei, because we live in cities. Our “demons” are already here, we made them ourselves. And therefore, we might un-make them also. All of us have a dark-side and to be whole and free one has to eventually face it down.

The Frog Conundrum

When routine bites hard,
And ambitions are low,
And resentment rides high,
But emotions won’t grow,
And we’re changing our ways,
Taking different roads.

Joy Division

Before I flog these frogs to death, I’ll go one step further and it is all about perception. This may or may not be selective. When you read the tale of two frogs which one are you? Are you the well frog or are you the ocean frog?

Here I am in my yogi’s cave, it is secure and familiar. I do not do a lot out in the wider world, it is over the lip of my well. I am not interacting with the wider currents out there in the ocean of life. I have provided some written “evidence” that I am not overly keen on how the outer world works. I am perhaps naïve as to its workings and have retreated here to my well.

Over the years I have met many ocean frogs who have tried to teach me and tell me a whole bunch of stuff. Yet here I remain. I must be a very stubborn frog indeed! Even though I am clearly in need of advice, I refuse to listen. All I can see is my yogi’s cave.

Who is the ocean frog and who is the well frog? This is the frog conundrum.

Don’t you love a farce? My fault, I fear
I thought that you’d want what I want, sorry my dear
But where are the clowns? Send in the clowns
Don’t bother they’re here

Isn’t it rich? Isn’t it queer?
Losing my timing this late in my career
But where are the clowns? Send in the clowns
Well, maybe next year…

Out of Proportion – Over Reacting

Once you are sure that you are being attacked by a highly trained ninja assassin armed with poison tipped shuriken, it is likely that you will be paranoid and over reactive. Strange as it may seem, these days and in the UK, the number density of active ninja assassins is pretty low, or so it is rumoured. In all likelihood, you have lost the plot. But that doesn’t stop the paranoia. Fearful of ninja assassins it is likely that you will over react and blow things out of proportion. The slightest noise in the house and it is a clear indication that a ninja attack is imminent.

Having taken the piss ever so slightly as an illustration, I am pointing at a state of mind, which is not uncommon.

Once you start to see {imagine} attack on all sides, you will be disproportionate in your reaction and your touch with reality, not so good. Many people live like this and not simply those who have smoked too much skunk. I have met “successful” people continually beset by hordes of metaphorical ninja assassins. It makes them a bit nasty and not pleasurable to be around. They sow seeks of paranoia. Their edginess is catching and before long everyone around them is on edge, with one eye open for a shuriken in flight.

For most people this “always under attack” mentality is unwarranted and is a form of selective perception. The red mist of selective perception has them and they lack clarity and perspective. They circle the wagons, become closed and aggressively defensive. It must be hard work to live like that.

I’ll hazard a guess that most of us have over reacted in our lives, and that everyone has blown something out of proportion. Getting an accurate sense of proportion and perspective, is a key to equanimity. The problems come when the escalating drama goes into a chain reaction, one drama feeds others and before you know it, you are oscillating about in chaotic motion.

There is a very simple antidote and it is to take a deep breath and ask yourself, “have I perhaps gotten this a little out of proportion?” Try it, it works. That is unless your drama queen tiara beckons too strongly and off you trot in search of your next BAFTA or Oscar.

“Have I perhaps gotten this a little out of proportion?” is a good mantram / question.


“What was that noise?”

“Oh shit, it is those pesky ninjas again……”

Viparyayah mithya jnanam – selective perception

Book 1:8

The Yoga-Sûtra of Patañjali translated by Chip Hartranft


Incorrect knowledge is based upon perception of the form and not upon the state of being.

This sutra is somewhat difficult to paraphrase. Its significance consists in this: Knowledge, deduction and a decision which is based upon externals, and upon the form through which any life in any kingdom of nature is expressing itself, is false and untrue knowledge. At this stage in the evolutionary process no form of any kind measures up to, or is an adequate expression of, the indwelling life. No true adept judges any expression of divinity through its third aspect. Raja Yoga trains a man to function in his second aspect and through that second aspect to put himself en rapport with the “true nature” latent in any form. It is the “being” that is the essential reality, and all beings are struggling toward true expression. All knowledge therefore which is acquired through the medium of the lower faculties and which is based upon the form aspect is incorrect knowledge.

The soul alone perceives correctly; the soul alone has the power to contact the germ or the principle of Buddhi (in the Christian phraseology, the Christ principle) to be found at the heart of every atom, whether it is the atom of matter as studied in the laboratory of the scientist, whether it is the human atom in the crucible of daily experience, whether it is the planetary atom, within whose ring-pass-not all our kingdoms of nature are found, or the solar atom, God in manifestation through the medium of a solar system. Christ “knew what was in man” and therefore could be a Saviour.

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul


Earlier in the blog I mentioned getting the wrong end of the stick and the idea of selective perception, but these are only touching the tip of the iceberg {see above}. So many times, and so very often we interact almost entirely through our selective perceptions. When one selective perception attempts to communicate with another, is it any wonder that confusion abounds?

If one perception is located in ambition, which is another way of saying desire-mind, that colours pretty much everything they observe. I have used the analogy of lens, previously. No matter how clear they think they are, desire-mind occludes. It fails to see the scope of what actually is. This is partially because it selects or chooses not to. It negates possible consequences which might interfere with the fulfilment of ambition or desire. It explains them or justifies them away in order to satiate the ambition. It may even be blind to things which would further the ambition, if they look somehow “wrong”.

Here is the really weird bit. People will go to great lengths to defend their selective perceptions, their false knowledge, even after they have an inkling it may be off. Once they start down such a track it gets messy very quickly. Here Face lends a hand. And people will carry on digging a hole for themselves, they may even snatch the shovel out of your hands in haste, so to do.

Hooked to the social face value, the being is forgotten. All notion of true nature flies out the window and it gets personal. It descends into personality spats so quickly. Before long there is a veritable morass and much drama. If for example you knew someone who spoke a lot of sense and they said something you did not like or agree with, in an instant prior knowledge flies out the window and that person might become at least for a few minutes or hours, your perceived mortal enemy. Your selective perception has changed a sage into a ninja assassin armed with poison tipped shuriken.

There is a lot of false “knowledge” out there, it is also propagated when others share of their own selective perceptions. This simple sutra, only a few words long, has behind it a vast amount of human folly. It is both very sad and very beautiful at the same time.

Misperception is false knowledge, not based on what actually is.