12-25-2014

Featured imagePain is a good thing. The blood dripping down your fingertips is a good sign.

It reminds you that you’re still human.

It reminds you you’ve still got something to lose.

The sorrow you’re in, the tears running down your cheeks are an assurance,

That you’ve truly loved,

And your heart isn’t dying.

Learn to cherish the pain, the dull ache in your chest;

Because they are what makes

Happiness possible.

The shadows by which we see the light.

Nostalgia

That feeling when an old song, a familiar street, or a aroma that brings back so many memories, and the sweetly painful tug in your chest. Longing to be in someone’s arms again, knowing you’re not where you’re supposed to be, but at the same time, knowing you’ll never get another chance. This is not the devastating sadness that swallows you whole when brought up, but rather the dull ache that remains after accepting the fact.

That is nostalgia.

It used to be an old diagnosis to sailors and soldiers stationed in faraway lands, in unfamiliar seas, for the waves of sorrow that would  just gradually creep into them like a bad case of frostbite. Now, just another mundane term for a special kind of grief. It’s elegant, the pain that comes with it, and its all too easy to get used to that sensation, to let it be a part of you. One might even get addicted to it.

But then again, I can’t blame them. Every homesick traveller wants to sail back to familiar shores.

Never forget to look up

fort

 

Whenever I walk down a familiar street, I tend to only look at the street-level. It keeps me on point and gets me to where I’m supposed to go to faster. Same applies when I walk my way to other places. There was always a reason for me to be there, going through the effort of lifting and shoving my feet up and down, one after the other. It was always the destination.

I forgot the path I take to get there.

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We need Free Market Capitalism

Disclaimer: The following was taken from a recent Facestalk post I made a few days ago. It is a bit off-topic, but hey, it’s my blog, I get to write what I want. You have been warned.

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It’s a bit annoying when I see graffiti out in the streets shouting a call to arms from the people to take up and overthrow the state.

I feel them, I know how terrible the country is being run, but socialism is not the answer. It never matures into true communism because of the same fallible people it claims to give equality to.

The dream of Communism is exactly what it is, a dream. A beautiful dream that reduces you to tears when you realize it is but a fantasy. The socialism-phase that these people are calling us up to are going to create, feed, and grow a beast just as horrible as the one we have running the state now.

Yes, there is inequality in capitalism. Yes, the rat race is in capitalism. Yes, multinational corporate empires are raping our nation for all its beauty and resources.

But, only true free-market capitalism can possibly give an 18-year old high school graduate, and breadwinner of his family the best chance that he’s got. The only system that would let him use his talents, skills and sheer, unhindered Will to rise up from the dirt and mire that he’s buried in.

Only by lassez faire markets can one be rewarded for what one is worth. Only by a truly free market capitalist economy, unhindered by stifling regulations, monopolized by idiotic central banks and corrupted by the ambitions of those in political office can the Hidden Hand of Capitalism correct our state of being and our nation.

There goes my 6 cents.

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A teddy bear

(This micro-story was written for The Daily Post Challenge, Flash Fiction. Enjoy.)

 

The store door opens, and the children come in. Some of them look excited about their trip to the local toymaker’s shop. Some of them were just bored, sighing at even the most beautiful toys there. The toys themselves were as varied. Little yellow birds, black and white cats. Figures of witches, wizards, and Time-travelling immortals in blue boxes.

Each shelf was slowly emptied of its contents. All were marveled at and taken. 

Except one.

 

Hi! Kids! Look at me!

I bet you haven’t seen a bear like me!

A metal bowtie on my head,

Thick rimmed glasses, all spiky!

 

The black teddy bear looked at all the children that passed by, eager to be hugged and loved by one of them. Anyone. Just one.

He wanted to jump and wave at every in excitement, but his body couldn’t allow him. Cotton wasn’t meant for movement.

 

I look rough, but please give me a chance,

I promise I’ll never leave!

I’ll always hold your hand,

Be there when you’re sad.

 

He saw each child leave, a toy in hand, silently wishing it’d be his turn. 

You see, he’s at an odd place at the toy store. He’s at the window display near the door, put on the windowsill facing the people entering the store. The place where everyone could see him, and not know he even existed. 

 

Take me home with you,

I promise I won’t ever hurt you,

and I’ll even protect you from the Nightmares.

Please give me a chance!

 

He began to envy those other toys. He looked at them, at their glinting, lifeless eyes. 

He felt his non-existent heart crumple. Not having any tears to shed, the pain built crushing weight within.

 

Why them? What do you see in them?

I’ve waited here for years…

Why is it always them!

Why can’t it ever be me…?

 

He was screaming inside. Helpless, he was filled with the loneliness of ages and the pain of a hundred neglected souls, hollow with the need for love.

He was screaming inside. And no one cared, no one even heard.

He was screaming inside. And the lights went out, as the toymaker closes the store doors.

You are a HIVE of You’s. – The Multimind theory of consciousness

Let me go out on a limb and say that you don’t exist.

You can close your jaws now.

If you’re wondering what that statement meant, I meant that the entity that you call you, or the “thing” that I call me don’t exist.

I can see you’re getting more confused. Good. Read on.

We don’t exist as people, individual entities with singular identities, something that won’t budge no matter how hard you smash it against the wall. We are actually more like an anthill, a literal hive of activity. And, like a fragile anthill we are, we could get toppled over, intentionally or not, with the simplest of actions, resulting in us spilling our guts all over the place.

Think about it, you ever got so mad, or so horny, that you ignored all sense of better judgement that you’ve learned over your hopefully-not-so-brief stay on this planet? (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, get the heck out of this blog, kid!)

After that hormone-spiked encounter, when asked to recount the said hot-bloodedness, lemme guess, you don’t even remember half of it, don’t you?

“I don’t know what I was thinking” “I didn’t even feel like I was me that time…” We all heard it before, and just goes to show that we are not the solid entity that we think we are. Look at your own body. The number of cells that compose your body are about the same as the number of stars in the universe. And all of those little cells have their own little bits of programming inside them to make them tick. They come together to form tissue, which then form organs and then organ systems, all of which become more and more complex in its internal processes that they take up about 1/3 of the entire composition of your brain.

Why am I talking about brain matter and stars in an essay about the human being an inherently divided creature?

Because it would not be so hard to think of it the same way when we apply that mode of analysis to our own minds, and the other things inside our head. As the old Hermetic axiom says, “As above, So below”, for every thing and process in the physical, there are corresponding thoughts, actions and processes taking places in the higher (or lower) planes of existence.

What am I trying to get at?

It’s all in your head. You just don’t know how big your head is. – Lon Milo DuQuette

I’ll let you think about it for a few seconds…

***

Arright, time’s up.

***

Your mind is composed of small units of data, which coalesce into thoughts, which then grooves a path into your brain forming habits, your personality, etc. For every honest thing you’ve ever done in your life, there is always that separate part of you that always wanted to take every thing for granted. And it’s all perfectly normal. A being as complex as the human animal cannot operate with only one mind. Take a computer for example. Do you know how many small programs are there in one normally operating PC?

No, don’t even attempt to answer that question.

For different situations, depending on what you’re currently using the PC for, different programs take precedence over the others, whether you’re doing you homework, or watching p*rn. How it all comes together, the OS or Operating System that ties them all together in a neat little tie is what we conveniently call Ourselves. It oversees control of the different parts of your psyche, and activates them, or put them on overdrive, whenever the need or proper stimuli arises.

Ever seen a demon possession in person? I have.

And you don’t want to see what lurks in the darkness of our own minds.

There is no YOU beyond the legion of your thoughts.

Nameless Wanderer

(This is in response to the Weekly Writing challenge: The Power of Names. Hope you guys like it.)

A forgettable young man hurries along a crowded cosmopolitan street, int the middle of one of the busiest evenings of the Imperial Calendar*, New Year’s Eve. He is wearing a great trenchcoat made of heavy cloth, wrapped around his tall and slender physique. He eyes his surroundings, taking good, long looks into the shadowy alleys and corner stores. The faceless mass of people never noticed it, but there were bright, incandescent red eyes staring back at the man.

The traditional paper lanterns were suspended high above their heads on a metal line, lighted by the gentle flames within. Left and right, there were people offering good-luck charms, talismans of all shapes and sizes, as well as necessities for the New Year’s Eve dinner table. All of them overshadowed by the titans that were the skyscrapers and commercial buildings and department stores that dominate the Capitol, selling their own brand of life-giving baubles and regenerative elixirs.

But this “young” man is looking for a different type of absolution tonight, on this festive, festive night.

I’ve been on the run for several decades now. I can’t tell you exactly how I got into this mess, but it has something to do with me doing forbidden rites at the right place at the right time. Its given me an unholy long life, control over the Aethyr*, among other terrifying and inhuman feats.

All of it for the low, low price of my name.

And, no, do not consider it, not for one moment. Never relinquish your name, the one given to you at birth, until you have something to replace it with, or if you’re already on your way to Nirvana. You can’t possibly know what it feels like to live without a name. Of course, there would always be the inconvenience of having to fabricate an identity over and over again, but that’s just the beginning…

Your name is where the “YOU” that you think you are begins. It is the dewdrop that condenses the storm that is the person, a placeholder for your own mark to be left in the world. Imagine being merely an existence, but never really living. No one knowing or becoming aware of your existence. You would always be that faceless stranger at the train. That nameless man you sat beside to in the bus. My powers could grant me power over my immediate reality without so much as making me sweat, but the Astral* placeholder for others to actually recognize that it was me that made the stars burn out before them, or caused the dead to come back to life, was missing, so I slowly faded from their consciousness, and they would soon relegate the causes of those miracles to more mundane sources.

And there’s also one more thing…

This young-looking man reaches an abandoned part of the marketplace district, and he slowed his pace as he noticed the fact that he was the only one there. It becomes difficult to breathe as the air grows thicker, colder. He pulls his coat over him to get warmer, to no avail. Shivering slightly, he gets truly uncomfortable as he feels the weight of over a thousand pairs of eyes gaze upon him. He looks into the darkness, but sees nothing.

I said something about names being the placeholders for one’s existence in the Astral, right? Lack of a placeholder would mean a lot of potential space. And remember that word, Potential. It comes from the word Potent.

And things with a lot of Potential, are great energy sources for those who feed on pure energy.

Did I ever say WHY I was on the run?

The winds pick up, quickly rustling up the light paper trash and plastic litter strewn across the empty pathway.  

It’s because I’m on the Menu.

Shadows coalesce into a barely human form, rising from the ground up, terminating in a horrible-looking impression of a human skull.

Y’know, Main Course…

It opened its jaws and let out a very inhuman screech before lunging furiously unto the silver-haired man in the abandoned street.

I’ve got to be somewhere! Of all the occasions to run into a metaphysical nasty!

The silver-haired man swiftly faced the creature and wrote a sigil into the air between him and the incoming creature in glowing red glyphs. 

And blinding silvery light shot into the darkness of the night.

 

*********************

*Imperial Calendar : The official calendar of the Serenian Empire.

*Aethyr: The probabilistic substance that forms from the thoughts and emotions of sentient beings.

*Astral: A parallel plane of existence made of completely of Aethyr.

Kintsukuroi (Poem)

Sometimes, the darkest parts of your life, the lowest points in your existence as a sentient being, is the one that will change you the most. Either propelling you to the heights dreamed of only by the most hopeful of us, or bury you into a living hell of your own creation.

This is not to say that we should encourage human suffering, but rather to say that it is a natural mechanism of human survival. After all, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. This is also not to say that we are defined by our dark pasts, but rather, it provides us with the chance to be repaired, and to be better and more beautiful for the future to see.

_________________________________________

Beautiful.

Your glaze shining.

Your color that of the seas

Precious treasure of mine.

Tragedy!

An infidel,

Ignorant of your worth,

Breaks you irreversibly.

No matter,

I shall pick you up,

Shard by painful shard,

And bring you back together.

Bleeding,

I set my work,

With gold dust and amber resin,

My Labor begins.

At long last!

Once again you are whole!

More beautiful than before!

My blood and tears, well spent.

On the Concept of Sacrifice, a rant on the age-old practice.

 

Sacrifice, in a deeper, more profound level, is to give up an object or idea’s original purpose to serve a better one. To abstain from certain actions and emotions, to burn certain object or to engage in bloodletting without getting something out of it is simply a dangerous act of waste.

Aztec Human Sacrifice

Take for example, animal sacrifice in the traditions of the Asatru and the Hebrews. Both are great example of ritual sacrifice. In the Asatru, the liturgical faith of the Nordic Tribes, sacrificial animals are killed “in the name of the gods” by a trained practitioner. The blood, meat and bones of the offering would then be consecrate for ritual use. And the word “Consecrate”, is a very interesting term.

The word “consecrate” came from the Latin “con sacra”, which meant “to bring into holiness”. This illustrates an essential aspect of sacrifice which meant that the consecrated objects, the blood, meat and bones of the offering, have become more than just regular foodstuffs, its initial purpose as food has been “sacrificed” for something greater. That greater purpose, in this example,would be to use the blood as an anointing fluid for the celebrants, talismans and that of the temple, the meat for their feasts in celebration of the gods, and the bones for talismanic use.

A sacrificial ceremony to Thor

On the other hand, the Hebrews would burn the entire offering and leave none for themselves. This practice would seem to go against the definition of proper sacrifice as mentioned at the beginning of this article, doesn’t it? Not exactly, as the rites of sacrifice would release the energies contained in the offering, which could then be directed towards the purpose of the working. In the case of the Hebrews, it would be to feed their national egregore, the one they know to be God.

This would reveal another important aspect of sacrifice, that of Release.

Destroying the vessel to release the potential held within is a very powerful technique, but should be used with much caution and premeditation beforehand as the released energy will always feed something.

The danger from this technique comes in two ways:

An Ill-chosen purpose,usually coming from a lack of insight into the working’s underlying intent, or,
A lack of concentration and skill in directing the released energy.

In the first situation, it’s a matter of “Be Careful of What You Wish For”, because it was born out of a false identification of a need. In the even of a success, the results will be hollow as the want is satisfied and the need is left wanting. This type of type of dysfunctional energy dynamic will result in to feeding of and/or the formation of demons (neuroses), and lead to eventual disaster.

The second would present a very similar outcome, but would stem from energy getting lead astray from the original purpose of the sacrifice. Instead of the sacrifice becoming a suitable offering to the gods (one’s higher nature cosplaying as universal forces), it would become perverted and nourish the unbound demons residing at the depths of one’s soul.

The vigilant must keep an eye on both, as to avoid creating and feeding the demons of pyromania, cruelty and loathing, among others.

Apart from the physical offerings mentioned, there is also a more refined form of it, which is expressed as moral sacrifice.

In pursuit of some higher order or state of being, major religions and philosophies have forbidden their adherents from performing certain actions, emotions and the like, condemning at times those who knowingly partake of “sinful” acts. Most notable among these are the Catholic and Buddhist prohibition about sexuality.

Both have strict prohibitions about engaging in sexual actions, especially when it came to their priesthood. It has been in Catholic tradition that lust or anything sexual is inherently wrong, with it becoming a distraction to holy life only one out of the countless condemnations against it. This type of sexual morality has proven to be disastrous, if society’s double-standard towards it is any indication.

The Only monastery we need is the one in our minds

Buddhist moral sacrifice, however, is closer to the point more than anything else, especially when it came to the morality of sex. Sex in itself is not inherently evil, the same way everything else in this world of illusions is neither good nor evil. It is our tendency to get caught up in the sensations of the perceived physical and emotional gratification lies the danger.

Armed with this piece of understanding do Buddhist monks take up vows of celibacy and poverty, just so they don’t have any distractions on their way to Nirvana.

It is also very possible, however difficult, to attain freedom even as laity who still enjoy a healthy sex and family life. That is, so long as they “sacrifice” the resulting craving for gratification in sex and in mundane matters by realizing the inherent hollowness in all of it. It’s something not so easy to accomplish, and only by intense and faithful training could one achieve such a frame of mind.

But, with such a disciplined frame of mind one could perform the greatest miracles. The Masters of both the Western and Eastern schools of thought both engaged in powerful sexual rites, where they call up and sacrifice lust in the heat of the at, not even the blinding light of orgasm could sway their iron will.

A master once said that craving is the only thing we have to renounce and the discipline of one’s mind is the only monastery one needs.

Review of Yvette Tan’s Waking the Dead

 

Among one of my most recent book buys is one by a local writer and journalist, Yvette Tan, entitled Waking the Dead, a collection of short stories about humanity’s struggles and horror against both monsters lurking in the dark and those born from an abusive relationship.

Waking the Dead, and other stories – Yvette Tan

Quite in the tradition of such renowned names such as Nick Joaquin, she sets the stories within the Philippines, with its folklore and wonder coming to life in awe-inspiring, and at many times, terrifying, ways into its inhabitants’ lives. But, diverging from tradition, she masterfuly weaves a mythology of her own, but still keeping true to her patently filipino style of writing.

Each story is a panorama of emotions set in a dream-like landscape of child-like awe. Everything is similar to how you remeber them, but still new. Such is looking at the world through a child’s eyes. The sense of wonder springing from discovering how much you really didn’t know.

And the gretest fears also come from not knowing.

It is also interesting to note is one story that put her, the writer, into one of the narratives.I’m not sure if this was a true-to-life account of a supernatural experience, or if it was one of those tall tales people are sometimes fond of teling. I’d be sure to ask her if I ever get the chance.

The characters were all inherently broken inside, whether it is the slow internal erosion caused by a dysfunctional relationship, or mourning over the loss of one’s beloved wife. It moves them into situations resulting in some of the most moving emotional conflicts I’ve read in a long time. Whether or not they are aware of it, they seem to know deep in their hearts that nothing is in the heavens or upon the earth that would save them, maybe except for themselves. Despite that, they still strive and struggle against whatever it is before them, this grim resolution to continue making this book one worth the time to read.

It explores some very sensitive topics like same sex relationships, illegal drugs, murders and child abuse, weaving the awe and horror of the world around them into their own dire situations.

Fade to Nothing, one of the more emotionally intense stories of the lot.

Another theme in particular that got my attention was the treatment it gave to the concept of salvation in two stories in particular, The Child Abandoned and Sidhi. The first explores how the legend of the Sta. Teresa, the child Abandoned, was formed, and how she initiated the Change, the great watery cataclysm that resulted in the cleansing of the Pasig River, destruction of the Black Nazarene and the crossing over of the Fae-folk into our world.

This story in particular treated the concept of salvation as an internal overhaul of destructive actions and habits, using the filthy Pasig River as a metaphor. That in the flushing out the trash and the destruction of long-held dogmas and beliefs, and letting the Change take you with it, and just going with its will, the world will become a more exciting place filled with wonder and awe.

Then, there was Sidhi, meaning Intense in Filipino, a story about Noah, called the Dreamer, a man who can supposedly bring temporary Salvation to those who can find him, and that of Jan the woman from whose point of view the story was told, living in the shadow of the one who can bring man and women to the stars and the depths of the void using his mind. Salvation on Earth.

It was the eve of the Feast of Sta. Teresa, a night where people came to both become cleansed as the Saint did to the river, and wallow in the mire of both human and non-human carnality. It was in many ways, a cautionary tale to accompany the message of The Child Abandoned. That temporary salvation was not salvation at all, as shown in the scene where Jan fled from Noah during the high point of the Dreamer’s spell, where she discovered that Noah’s already sanity has failed along with the steady decline of his health.

All in all, the entire book, in all its simplicity, leads the reader on a dreamy tour of landscapes and cityscapes similar to ours, but with wonder and terror just waiting to be discovered. It was a worthwhile reading and I recommend this book to anyone who wants a good book about night stalkers and fairies, giants kapres who’ve given up smoking, and widowers waking the dead, all while keeping a grim sense of realism and somber social awareness.