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Buddha Palm

I had been practising the Buddha Palm technique for many years and I wanted to test my Wushu in a real-life situation. I knew I was good, but how good? That was the big question. How good, how good, how good? How good is your Wushu? How good is your Wushu? Very soon now I was to find out…

 

‘Everything changes and nothing stays the same,’ I told myself. ‘Everything changes are nothing stays the same.’ As soon as I said this I felt an immense sadness rising up within me. ‘Where did the sadness come from?’ I asked myself, ‘if everything changes then what is there to be sad about? What is there to lose if nothing remains the same?’ My thoughts didn’t help though – the sadness was bigger than the thoughts were.

 

Telepathic beings are real, you know. Why wouldn’t they be, for God sake? Why wouldn’t they be? If you were just to look at the type of people who don’t believe in telepathy, the type of people who scoff from a position of superiority the moment you mention it, then that is argument enough, wouldn’t you say? That surely is argument enough. That surely says it all. Just look at those guys! All those guys in suits saying that telepathy isn’t real. That sounds like a snappy caption for a photograph – “Guys in suits say that telepathy isn’t real.” Well if they’re wearing suits then I’m really going to have to take that on board, aren’t I? We all know that guys in suits can’t be wrong don’t we? That’s what the bloody suit means in the first place – it means that they can’t ever be wrong! It’s a way of telling you, so you will trust them…

 

Could men in suits be telepathic beings? Or could telepathic beings perhaps be men in suits, I wondered. Which could it be? Which might it be? ‘It could definitely be something,’ I said to myself. there was no doubt that it definitely could be something. The possibility that a possibility could possibly be possible loomed large in my mind. It definitely could be that. It definitely really could be. ‘Gravy and me don’t agree,’ said the elderly lady sitting at the table next to mine in the restaurant. She spoke in a tart fashion and sent the waiter packing.

 

I had an appointment with reality, I realised, and I didn’t want to be late. I didn’t want to be late but reality didn’t care. Reality itself didn’t care if I was late; it didn’t care if I was early either! It occurred to me that I had lots and lots of thoughts about reality whereas reality had no thoughts whatsoever about me. Reality never had any thoughts about me. ‘What was this telling me?’ I wondered. ‘Was it telling me that whilst I had a problem with reality, reality didn’t have a problem with me?’ And what in turn was that telling me?’ I asked myself. ‘Was telling me that I didn’t really exist?’

 

I have been practising the Buddha Palm technique for many years now but my opponents still always beat me. They beat me every time. I get bested at every contest. I was a poor student – one of the very poorest. I could never rise above the basic level. I had missed my date with reality – reality had gone on its path whilst I had gone on mine. Reality had happily gone its way, and I mine…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Stench Of Forgetfulness

The stench of forgetfulness was everywhere – it pervaded all things. What did it smell like, you might want to know? What was that very particular odour akin to? Was it musty, like the smell of old books? Or was it fecund and fruity, like the smell of overripe pears that have fallen from the tree in the pear orchard and which are starting to ferment where they lie? Was it perhaps homely and familiar like a big pan of cabbage boiling on the hob, or onions frying on a frying pan? Was it rank like a pile of underwear that have been lying unwashing the floor of your bedroom for many weeks? Was it, was it, was it? Was it like, was it like, was it like? Was it like the smell of oranges on an alternative Earth where oranges (and citrus fruit in general) never existed, and where you simply have no referents, therefore, to enable you to comprehend that smell? Or was it like the smell of dry, dry dust that makes you cough long racking coughs long into the early hours of the night? Coughing, coughing, coughing – your lungs burning with that terrible cough. Was it like the smell of cheap and nasty bubblegum – offensive and yet at the same time appealing? Or was it something much more obvious, like the sweet, sickening smell of chloroform? Was it, was it, was it? Was it like, was it like, was it like? Was it like the smell of unearthly-looking toadstools in the forests of your disturbed and unhappy dreams? Was it exotic, like the perfume worn by an alien hermaphrodite cephalopod you met and briefly fell in love with in a nightclub one time, tripping right out of your head as you were on a heady mix of 2,5-dimethoxy-4-bromophenethylamine and 3,4-Methylene​dioxy​amphetamine? Did it, did it, did it? Dear smell like a pet you once owned and loved in the dim and distant days of your childhood – a faithful but flatulent labrador, perhaps? Did it smell like burning plastic, acrid and toxic, or did it smell like your own deeply offensive body odour, on one of the rare occasions when you were unlucky enough to catch a whiff? Is it like the smell of the hot, dry wind that blows in from the desert, or is it more like the reek of swamp-gas, rich in methane and the essence of mouldering vegetation? Is it a tiny bit like any of these things, or is it perhaps a mix of them all? Is it, is it, is it? Is it like none of the above? You’re keen to know, you see. You’re so keen. Your interest has been well and truly piqued and you won’t be satisfied until you do know. You have to know. You are determined to know. Your imagination is running away with you, leaving you no peace – and leaving me no peace either. Tell me about that smell, you demand. Describe it to me. Unfortunately I cannot however. I can’t tell you what it was like because I have quite forgotten…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Husk World

There was a fellow following me around doing bad things. He was lying, cheating, stealing, abusing people left right and centre and coming out with all sorts of crass racist and sexist comments. Homophobic comments too – lots and lots of homophobic comments. He really hated gays, obviously. It took a while for me to realise that this person was actually me! The people hated me and they wanted to harm me with their weapons. They chased and I ran, and that was the pattern of my life. I want to break free from all the issues that I have in my head but that wasn’t easy. All the issues, all the issues – there seems to be nothing else in my life but issues… My life is one big issue. I’d like to talk about how trapped in my head I am but I’m too trapped in my head for that. I’m too trapped in my head to reach out. I want so much to reach out but I can’t – that’s one of my issues. It’s become such a big thing for me at this stage that I know if I tried I would just come up with some freakishly weird strangled sound, some frighteningly inhuman noise and whoever it was that I was trying to reach out to would run a mile. I wouldn’t even have to open my mouth – the look on my face would frighten them off before I even got to utter a word. I’m all caught up in my head you see; I’ve become a distorted echo of myself. You know what it’s like to be caught up in your head, I’m sure. You can empathise with my situation, I have no doubt. It’s an awful mess, isn’t it? It’s so rotten. The fellow was still following me around – he was starting to get on my nerves, I can tell you! He was starting to get on my nerves big time. I don’t know why he wanted to hang out with me. What on earth did he think we had in common? How was I drawing him onto me? Once or twice I lost it with him and screamed right into his face. I told them to get lost before I pasted him. I was literally screaming right into his face. It didn’t do any good though – he hung back for a little while, looking hurt, looking upset, and then after a while he was right back following me again as if nothing had happened. Doing bad things and abusing people. You just couldn’t put him off, I’m telling you! I was in the Husk World and nothing was real. If you try very hard then you could get things to seem real for a while but it never lasted. Before very long everything got all echoey and unreal again. I knew it was all just a projection of my mind. That’s an awful feeling isn’t it? To realise that you’re in the Husk World, to hear that rotten old Husk World rustling around you like a bunch of dry old leaves. You know it’s about to fall to pieces any moment and yet somehow it never does! Somehow it never quite does. That’s the Husk World for you, right? That’s the rotten old Husk World and we all know that’s a bad one. You can’t help knowing that everything is just an echo of your own mind. That’s what it’s like in the Husk World – you can’t help knowing that you are just an echo of your own mind. If you listen carefully you can hear yourself rustling, like a pile of dry old leaves waiting to be blown away by the wind…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Question Of Evil

People often ask me, people often ask me. I was coughing and coughing. Coughing and coughing. I was barking like a dog. I was barking like a sea lion. I farted so violently that it ripped a hole in my trousers. I was farting with rage and anger. Rage and anger, only it was all suppressed so that it was stuck inside me. Festering away. Anger and rage, rage and anger. What’s the bloody difference anyway? I frightened myself with the violence of my sudden outburst. I frightened myself with the sudden explosive violence of my unexpected outburst. The people in the café turned to look at me. They were well-dressed and perfectly at home in their own skin. I wasn’t at home in my own skin – I was full of suppressed rage. I was full of rage at myself, really. I had let myself down in public. My image was tarnished. My image is always tarnished – I tried to polish it up the other day but I just made it worse. I made a worse mess than the original – I made a complete shit of it. People are happy in the café and they’re talking on their phones. I was worried about the problem of evil, of course. I’m always worried by the problem of evil. You know that thing of course – that thing where you’re sitting there in a generic fast-food outlet gobbling a burger and chips as fast as ever you can and for some unaccountable reason you look up and catch the eye of the person sitting at the table opposite you and there’s nothing there but pure implacable hatred, naked hatred. That’s evil for you. The only question being, “In whom does the evil reside?” That’s always the question, isn’t it? My special song was playing on the radio – I wanted to hear it. Only I don’t have a special song! Who has a ‘special song’, for God’s sake? I know some people do but you have to like yourself for that, don’t you? I’ve fallen out with myself, you see. Only that isn’t true either – nothing’s as simple as it seems in this world. I was barking like a sea lion as I ran in a terrible hurry down the stairwell. ‘This is my story, this really IS my story!’ I shouted. Only that was a lie and I knew it. I knew that I didn’t really have a story! Although I know a lot of people have stories and very proud of them they are too. Some of them are anyway. Not everyone is, obviously. I couldn’t afford the luxury of having a story – which isn’t entirely true either because it isn’t a question of luxury or the lack of it. Not when it comes down to it. I just knew that I didn’t have a story and that’s all there was to it. It isn’t about stories – I can promise you that! ‘But maybe your story is that you don’t have a story,’ you suggest helpfully. But NO – not having a story is not a story.  That would be like saying that when something doesn’t happen then that is itself ‘a happening’, and that just doesn’t make any sense. If every single thing that didn’t happen has to be flagged up as a ‘not event’ then we’d be completely swamped in non-events and there wouldn’t be any space for anything to happen. How crazy would that be?

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Disregarded Place

Consciousness is like a bomb, isn’t it? It’s like a bomb going off. People talk so much about consciousness these days. People say so many things about it. It is of course so very easy to blab on and on about consciousness – we don’t even know that we are blabbing. We don’t even know that we’ve been born. We are blabbing without even knowing that we are blabbing, we’re blabbing without even knowing that we’ve been born. We don’t know why we are blabbing on in the way we are and we don’t really care either. We never look into it. We’d be better off reigning ourselves in, wouldn’t we? Not saying so much. We’d still make fools of ourselves it’s true, but not quite so much. Not quite so much.

 

Consciousness is a bomb and when it goes off it’s like nothing we could ever have imagined. It’s like nothing we ever did imagine. It doesn’t kill us when it goes off, it just destroys everything we thought we knew. It comes at us from an angle we never expected, an angle we never could have expected. It comes at us from an unsuspected source. We were always looking somewhere else, we always thought that it would be somewhere else or something else, we never it would be where it is or what it is. It comes from a disregarded place; it comes from the most disregarded place of all, the most disregarded place there is. We do know this place but we never look at it – we never expected anything to come from here. We were contemptuous of this place. Our interest, our attention, our enthusiasm was always somewhere else.

 

When the bomb goes off it hurts. It hurts because it reverses everything we thought we knew. It hurts because it catches us unawares. It hurts because we’re ashamed, because we have been caught out. Ashamed is too mild a word really – we’re appalled. We have been so terribly caught out and it hurts so much. What we looked down on so much is everything that ever mattered. What we looked down on is where the whole of life lies (not that we ever knew what life was, anyway). When the bomb goes off then we know that we had got it all wrong. We realize all at once, we realize in a terrible flash. A bomb goes off in our heads. There’s nothing wrong with that terrible flash, it’s what the flash is showing us that is wrong. It’s us that there’s something wrong with. That’s what the bomb shows us so pitilessly. Never did we see anything so clearly.

 

What did we think life was all about? What did we think it was supposed to be? We never knew, we never had a clue. We thought we knew but we couldn’t have been more wrong. We never stopped to think about what it was we thought we knew – we never thought to stop to think about what it was that we thought we knew! We were in too much of a hurry for that. Always in so much of a hurry, along with everyone else. Afraid to miss the boat. We were always in so much of a hurry to look in the wrong place, so much of a hurry to put our money on the wrong horse. And ALL the horses were the wrong horces, every single last one of them. We were always so very greedy and we didn’t even know what we were greedy for

 

When the bomb goes off it doesn’t just hurt, it traumatizes – there is pain in it that we just can’t process. There is too much to process. There far too much to process. It’s the pain of our entire lives. A life misspent – and every life is a life misspent, isn’t it? We’re all in the same boat there. Our whole life was spent facing the wrong direction, after all. Our whole life was spent neglecting what really mattered. But we all like to talk about consciousness just the same though, don’t we? We love to blab happily about consciousness all day long and say how wonderful it is, how great it is, how cosmically-empowering it is. So many positive things to say about consciousness – all those spiritual channels on the Internet are full of people waxing lyrical about consciousness and spirituality and getting so excited about it. Whoever talks about the trauma of consciousness? Why does no one talk about the horror of it? What kind of conspiracy is this? What’s that all about? It’s always sweetness and light, isn’t it?  It’s always Oneness and Compassion. It’s all so marvellous and great that we just can’t stop talking about it. Our mouths are running away with us. No one says that is like a bomb that goes off one day and leaves us racked with trauma. No one ever says how terrible it is…

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Maggot Men From The Corruption Realms

The elections of 2074 were in full swing and I had put myself forward as a candidate. I was the only nematode running for office, and I was also the only candidate with any actual integrity. In my view, anyway. The rest of the candidates were a mixed bag, you might say. There were Logarians, Protologarians, Atlantians, Ancient Lemurians, Silurians, Formorians, Asuras, Hylotropic Life-Forms, Lizard Men (both in and out of disguise), Pseudo-Human Transforms, Shadow People, Augmented Narcissist Demigods, Maggot Men from the Realms of Corruption, Transhumans sporting the very latest in Quantum Adaptations, Luminals and Paraluminals, Octomorphs, Heliomorphs, Quasimorphs and Xenomorphs, and finally – myself – the only life-form with any actual integrity amongst the whole lot of them.

 

I’m not blowing my own trumpet here, simply stating a fact. A nematode is a nematode – end of story. We don’t pretend to be anything we aren’t. With these characters however it’s a different story. Do you think Augmented Narcissist Demigods can be trusted? Do you imagine that the Maggot Men from the Corruption Realms play a straight game? I’m not being spiteful or judgemental here – creatures are what they are. We are all what we are! No blame, no blame. Each one of us is bound to fulfil the pattern of our destiny and it is up to us to do this with us much good grace as we can bring to the situation. When it is not within the remit of our destiny to accept our fate with good grace, then we have to countenance this situation instead. No matter what our situation might be, we are bound to countenance it on some level or other, aren’t we? Even if our situation is to turn our back upon our situation, then there still has to be an awareness of this somewhere, in some shape or form, wouldn’t you say? Or maybe not? Perhaps you disagree?

 

As you can see, we nematodes are a highly philosophical race, as well as having great natural integrity. I know what you’re thinking. ‘That’s as maybe,’ you’re probably saying to yourself, ‘but who’s going to vote for a philosopher? And since when have folk required integrity from their politicians?’ That’s a fair point, if that is indeed what you were thinking. It’s a perfectly fair point. But the thing is that I’m not running in this election in order to win it. That was never my intention. You see, in addition to having great natural integrity and being of a profoundly philosophical disposition, we nematodes also have a very great sense of irony. Our sense of irony is extraordinarily highly developed; when humans evolved they moved in the direction of becoming highly effective manipulators. We nematodes, on the other hand, have gone down the path of developing a truly exquisite sense of irony. You can probably tell that from the way I talk – everything I say is ironic! Even when I’m being ironic that’s only me being ironic. It’s an ‘ironic use of irony’, if you take my meaning. It’s an exercise in meta-irony, you might say.

 

Of course all of these Pseudo-Human Replicants, Paramorphs. Shadow People, Asuras, Demigods,  Maggot Men and all the rest of them, barely understand irony at all. As I have indicated, they are all manipulators, trying their damndest to manipulate everyone in sight – including themselves! They are lost in their own games, poor fools that they are. There’s nothing ironic about manipulators, nothing at all. These guys actually take it all totally seriously! It’s kind of sad, isn’t it? Although of course I don’t really mean that…

 

 

 

Art: Clint Langley

 

 

 

 

 

 

Turning Turtle

I was having problems because I was seeing God everywhere I looked so I eventually went – after suffering silently from this condition for a while – to see a psychiatrist. To my dismay, the psychiatrist also turned out to be God! ‘What can I do for you?’ God / the Psychiatrist asked me, in a kindly (but nevertheless professional) tone – ‘what seems to be the problem, Nick?’ As you may imagine I just sat there dumbstruck, unable (as Rumi says somewhere) to say either yes or no. ‘I want to know,’ I replied after I had got my wits back, ‘where I would have to go where I would not have to encounter God.’ God considered this for a while (or rather the psychiatrist – who was God – considered this for a while). ‘Interesting question,’ he responded warmly, ‘it’s not often that I get to hear someone asking me an interesting question like that.’

 

He paused for a while, leaning back in his chair, sucking on a biro, obviously thinking the matter over. Then all of a sudden he winked at me, ‘How can a fish escape water?’ he asked me, in what I felt to be a somewhat smug tone. I didn’t like this answer at all – it was too glib, too formulaic, in my view. I was determined to pay the psychiatrist back for this facile answer of his. ‘Well,’ I said stubbornly, ‘it could evolve stubby little prototype legs from its fins and take to the land, in addition it could give up using its gills and take up air-gulping instead.’ I glared at him defiantly. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, I was thinking.

 

A delighted smile spread over my opponent’s face – he was obviously enjoying this game. ‘I see, I see, I see,’ he replied, ‘so you would eventually become an amphibian, I take it? But even an amphibian can’t stray too far from the water, as no doubt you are well aware.’ This riposte of his irritated me no end, as I’m sure you can imagine. I found myself blustering and losing my cool, ‘Well of course that would only be an intermediate stage,’ I told him, ‘the fish would then go on (which is to say, I would then go on to) evolve into a fully-fledged reptile – I would become a turtle, I think. “See the turtle of enormous girth / On his back he carries the earth” I declaimed, quoting from the scriptures. Even the devil may quote from the scriptures, after all, I said to myself. If it suited his purposes to do so, that is.

 

My antagonist observed me expressionlessly. I had the strong feeling that I had just walked into some kind of trap. ‘Very interesting, very interesting, very interesting,’ he observed, furrowing his brow in an impressive fashion. ‘So, if I understand you correctly, in an attempt to avoid God you will become the turtle that supports the entire cosmos on his back? What does that tell us – that in order to escape God you would have to become God?’ He looked at me meaningfully at this point, raising his eyebrows in a somewhat theatrical fashion.

 

He had me there and no mistake – I had walked right into that one. ‘Okay okay okay,’ I replied with irritation, adopting his mannerisms without even realising, ‘Scratch that. I don’t even know why I said that. I won’t become a turtle at all but rather I will evolve all the way up to the proto-hominid level, and from there I will take one more short jump to evolve into a typical narcissistic Westerner living in the Twenty-first Century, a fully-fledged passive consumer of toxic generic products and – as such – hopelessly addicted to Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and Snapchat and all the rest of it.’ I looked up at him. I had him now, I said to myself. Get out of that if you can…

 

The psychiatrist observed me with just the faintest suggestion of a smile about his lips. ‘Well, I guess you’ve got me there, Nick. Touché, as they say. I think you’ve just answered your own question…’ Needless to say he managed to say this in such a way that he never had to give up his superior position. He still had the upper hand and I had been beaten once again. ‘Don’t you guys ever write prescriptions for medications any more, sedatives or antipsychotics or something like that?’ I complained. He looked back at me – ‘That’s a little old-fashioned, you see. One has to move with the times and keep up with the latest research!’ He gestured at a pad of prescription sheets on his desk, ‘I could of course provide you with a prescription for ten hits of laboratory-grade mescaline, if you like?’ There was a mischievous little smile on his face as he said this. I looked at him, thoroughly disgusted at this stage, and left his office without saying another word…