Knowing

Bethlehem, Palestine
That ‘little town of Bethlehem’, today. There is room at the inn for you to go visit it.

It’s funny how we know things.

A few people have remarked how Lynne and I have been comparatively unfazed by the discovery, just one month ago, that I have bone marrow cancer. Well, both of us indeed were fazed and deeply shocked – this was not on our roadmap – but, in another way, neither was it a total surprise.

The first concrete symptoms came up in late August when I cracked my back while gardening. I went to an osteopath and this helped, but soon I deteriorated. A soul-sister, Miriam, a psychic surgeon, successfully sorted me out, and this lasted some days and then I got even worse. Then Simon, a cranial osteopath, helped a lot, but there came a point where, perceptively, he said that something more was wrong than he could fix. I went to hospital for tests and that’s when the diagnosis eventually came.

But we knew. The first signs were back in January 2019. I was labouring, struggling, melancholic and lost. Nothing specific was wrong except my money situation, but my spirits and inner resilience were losing ground. With an ominous feeling of dread, I felt unable to lift myself out of a mud-bound feeling of stuckness – sandbanked though not quite on the rocks. I was going nowhere except down.

By May 2019 things got worse: I had an increasingly sinking feeling – one of those where, the more you try to raise yourself up, the more you seem to sink back into a hole. I live on hope and have considerable resilience, but this was getting at me in a deep place.

There’s more. With my prehistoric research, I knew I had to assemble more evidence. This detailed, meticulous work just had to be done before I could progress with drawing conclusions from the research. From May to August I slogged away on mapping the ancient sites of West Cornwall. I was driven, doing long hours. I did get it finished – just one week before I damaged my back. Something in me had known that, if I didn’t get the work done, it wouldn’t get done. I didn’t know why – I just knew. It was a relief to complete it.

When the cancer diagnosis eventually came in November, I was deeply shocked and yet, in another way, relieved. Relieved because, suddenly, I knew at last what the problem was. The cancer had been developing for some time, unbeknownst to me – and yet somehow I knew this.

There’s a lesson to draw from this. We modern, socialised, educated Westerners have had the knowingness drilled out of us. We override our instincts and intuitions with reasons, rationales, analyses, plans, excuses and science. We do what we’re told, for the reasons we’re given, even when we know it’s better to do otherwise. We do this even when giving birth to our chidren, even when it hurts, even when it harms others or ruins our world. The over-consumptive institution of Christmas provides a very good example of this kind of willful self-destruction.

It took until I was 42 to give myself permission to open up to the knowingness within me. That’s a long time: over-educated, it took twenty years of painful experiences, crises and inner work before I got it. I can’t call myself proficient even now but, since then, I have followed a simple rule, and I commend it to you for your consideration. Here it comes. It’s dead simple.

If it lifts you up, do it. If it weighs you down, reconsider. Reconsider really seriously. This is no joke. It’s not a spare-time activity. It isn’t actually even an option. It concerns our life-purpose and whether or how much we will fulfil it. It concerns our and others’ happiness and the success of any venture we undertake. It’s a methodology, not an ideal.

We do know things. Events or the words or actions of people put it in front of us, full square – but we often know the truth before this happens. So it’s helpful to pay attention, because it helps us get the message life is telling us. I knew I was going downhill nearly a year ago. And the bizarre thing is, when I was given the truth, the diagnosis, it was a relief.

Which goes to show that, for growing souls like you and me, with a glimmer of awareness, the buildup to a crisis is bigger, worse and more threatening than the crisis itself. When crisis really comes, we can pull out the stops and go for broke – 100% commitment to facing the facts.

This gives hope for the future. Because we humans, here on Earth, have a big one coming. When crisis really hits us, miracles become possible. We can break the rules and change the game. Live or die, this is what I am now setting out to do. Somehow I knew I was approaching point like this. And now the chips are down.

Your friend, Palden.

The Gateless Gate

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The quartz stone at Boscawen-un stone circle in West Penwith, Cornwall, set in place around 4,500 years ago.

For those of you who read my posting over a month ago about my health (a serious lower-back injury)…. well, I’m not as ‘better’ as many might wish – though thanks anyway for all your good wishes and healing. Yet, all things being well, I am on a path of gradual improvement. Instead of excruciating pain I now have continual aching, and things are slowly improving thanks to the cranial osteopathic treatment of Simon Perks, in Totnes, Devon, and the amazing care and support of Lynne, soul-partner with whom I am staying, who is great at caring not too much and not too little, and who truly has a heart of gold.

It has been a remarkable initiation, a time of enforced stillness and interiority. I’ve been ‘back home’ with my star-nation people and have travelled the worlds in ways that ordinary life does not usually permit. I’ve stood with people around the world who experience deep suffering, supporting them with gifts of spirit I’m blessed with, and I’ve dwelt on my life and what left there is to do with it. In body I am 69 but recently I’ve felt like 97. On good days I get to about 85, though today I’m 92!

The other meaning of the word ‘suffer’ is to allow, to permit – and this we moderns, with our money, pills, provisions and privileges, fail too often to remember, escapists and avoiders that we are. Yet being on Planet Earth is, experientially, all about predicamentality – stuck between a rock and a hard place – and undergoing the fast-track soul-education arising from that. We are here to learn and to contribute, and we Earthlings seriously need to get straight on this matter.

There is more to go, and it will probably take 2-3 months to get up’n’running fully and properly. One of my first tasks will be to do some financial correction. Paralysing lower back issues are, after all, about supportedness. This is a genuine issue for me, and not as easy to resolve in a self-seeking society and time as many people who are newer to the ‘pathless path toward the gateless gate’ might hope or believe. When you’ve taken shit and gone without (nowadays called ‘reducing your footprint’) for decades, you do get weary, even when gifted with good survival and regeneration skills.

As I stand on the shoulders of giants who have gone before me, so too have I taken on bearing that holy weight, and I now get the consequences! This is not a complaint – it is an honour and, as a strongly saturnine person, I am so glad to be blessed with a capacity to do this – alive or dead! It’s a key part of what I’m here for, and I’m so thankful for the many remarkable things and lives improved and saved that have resulted. Life definitely has its payoffs and compensations, and this pain-initiation has really clarified this for me.

I still keep on though. When I can, I beaver away at building an online archive of the first hundred editions of the Cornish archaeology and earth mysteries magazine Meyn Mamvro (‘stones of our motherland’) – which will be finished in a year or so. For the record. So that people who follow after us can draw on some of the amazing work and revelations that have unfolded over the last 50ish years, regarding ancient sites and their relevance to our future (for example, in climate, environmental and psychosocial correction). And congrats to my elder soulsister Cheryl Straffon for her valiant work in publishing it since 1986.

I’ve been really enjoying Enigma’s album A Posteriori, and reading two books, one called ‘Why nations Fail’ (Ecemoglu and Robinson) and another by Susan Abulhawa about Gaza and the Naqba, the Palestinian disaster – a truly amazing book (sorry, I forget its name – something like ‘The Blue Between Sky and Earth’).

Bless you all. Beeee Gooood. Planet Earth needs you. And those of you who have read my 1993 book ‘The Only Planet of Choice’ will understand the following too: the Universe Needs You – and everyone is waiting for us.

Love, Paldywan Kenobi.

 

It starts here

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Except it’s dark outside as I write!

I’m sitting here in my little house on an organic farm in Cornwall, and this is where this blog starts.

Having designed it, I sat here for a few days wondering where to start. Then tonight I suddenly started writing.

What has been hovering around in my psyche this last few days is a rather big issue. For better or for worse I’m tuned in to global-scale matters and always have been, since my teenage years and the days of Silent Spring and A Hard Day’s Night.

Deep adaptation

My friend Alan sent me a paper about ‘deep adaptation’, and it talked of things I’ve been rattling on about too. It’s all about adaptation in response to climate change, and it’s by by Prof Jim Bendell of the University of Cumbria, UK. It’s refreshing when someone comes up with similar ideas. We come from different positions but we reach similar conclusions.

The idea is this: mitigation, or seeking to prevent or reduce climate change, is not an advisable main strategy for the future. We need to invest far more attention and resources in adaptation to climate change. That’s to say, it is already too late to try to stop it – the time for that was fifty years ago, around 1970. Yes, we do need to put work and resources into mitigation, but we need to put far more into adaptation.

I agree with much of what Bendell says – though not all. But that’s fine. For him, this is an idea he’s come upon relatively recently, and he needs to think around it some more.  I (and others) have been chugging away on this for years, and we’ve had a chance to ruminate on all aspects of it – long, grinding years, and we’re well accustomed to being disregarded, disbelieved, sidelined and discredited. But now things are beginning to change. All this uestion is covered in the chapter on climate change in my latest book Possibilities 2050.

Time to get on with it

Much more attention needs to go into adaptation. People need to stop standing around arguing about whether or not climate change is happening and get on with dealing with the observable issues we have before us today – there’s enough in the way of climate extremes and weather events to get on with, and we can already see roughly where things are going. Stop arguing over theories – get on with the business.

We need to stop wasting time with avoidance and bargaining strategies – trying to persuade ourselves that things are going to be alright really, as long as we all buy an electric car – and we need to get on with really changing things. Otherwise there will be far more hardship and death than we are ready and willing to deal with – and it will affect you and me and our children, not just somebody else. Have you taught yourself yet how to deal with hunger, or what to do if there’s no electricity? The Tibetans used to say, “How can you call yourself civilised if you cannot sleep on a rock?“.

This is big. It concerns resilience, multilevel resilience – the practical and psychological ability to deal with whatever gets thrown at us. Yes, renewable energy and recycling are fine, but this is deeper and bigger. It involves social change. It involves serious change of our life-patterns. Socially it involves cooperating on a profound level, and consensus, and befriending strangers. It involves agreeing, supporting and behaving.

It isn’t about regulations and restrictions: it’s about changing our lives so that we do the right thing. It involves psycho-spiritual change – yes, for the last 50 years the social mainstream has believed it can avoid this, but psycho-spiritual change will not be an optional extra, more a core survival strategy. It concerns how we deal with the fact of sleeping on a rock and making the best out of a tough situation.

End of an era

praasands-44115That’s one reason why we’re seeing such outbursts today of Trumped-up uncooperativeness, nationalism and small-mindedness in many countries (especially declining ones) – Brexit, polarisation, building barriers, brazen competitiveness, callous social behaviours, right-wing politics, inequality, a splintering into a myriad minorities, and mutually-assured victimhood. All to justify keeping the show on the road while that show is careering drunkenly toward a cliff-edge. We’re at the end of an era, and these knotty issues are a symptom of it. A symptom of underlying fear.

These are all symptoms of something deep coming up and, for many, it’s scary. What’s coming up is a global-scale imperative to cooperate and hang together, if we wish to survive and to avoid a catastrophic carve-up of everything and everyone. It’s an imperative to get real, to get off our screens, out of our bubbles, and look after each other. It’s about faith and things much bigger than ourselves. That’s really scary.

Future scenarios

In my 2050 report I sketch out four conceivable scenarios for the world: manageable, difficult, disastrous and transformative. The conclusion I come to is that we’re heading not for a manageable but for a difficult scenario. In the report’s conclusion, I describe a difficult scenario to be like this:

We might see more loss, deprivation, sacrifice, crisis and detriment than we prefer, and it could involve engaging in something like a ‘war effort’, with rationing, evacuations, mandatory labour and obligatory sharing. It could be an all-hands-on-deck scenario. Or it could be chaos and everyone-for-themselves.

This sounds threatening but, if faced with such a reality, humans have a tendency to get on with what they are presented with, when there is no alternative. Ahead of a crunch, anticipations wax large and things look worse than they land up being after the crunch. When reality strikes, a rapid shake-out happens and much changes. It’s not at all easy, but life goes into a different gear.

At times and in places people could be faced with extreme emergencies. There could be tragedy, horror and destitution, as some people experience today, but more so and in more places. Much could go wrong – biodiversity loss, climate change, economic stress, food and resource shortage, social disintegration, geopolitical disarray and uncomfortable levels of hardship, cruelty and death.

A difficult scenario could see the overwhelming of social and government services, uprooting of populations, social unrest, conflict, piracy, armed convoys, intense climatic extremes and weather events, currency breakdowns, dictatorships and mad regimes, terrible moral dilemmas, battles over control of weaponry and strategic assets, technology breakdowns and a host of other problems.

In such circumstances, the bit we can change is the way we deal with these issues: much depends on human responses, at street and village level, across civil society and in government.

Leaving it there

You’ll see more about this issue here in future. My book about it, Possibilities 2050, is a readable, balanced, comprehensive, non-preachy, non-thundering report on the world’s future. I believe so, at least. It’s free, with no strings – just download it.

This blog will dip into a far wider and deeper range of subjects. But this is where it looks as if it has started. And there’s some good news about the future coming too, later on. Some transformative thoughts to help you see that we are already in the future.  It’s happening.

 

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