Week of May 19th, 2022

You Have Always Been In Love

You have always been in love. You will always be in love.

In fact, it is impossible for you NOT to be in love. You would be unable to get out of bed each morning unless there were someone or something that roused your heart and stirred your imagination.

So please admit that you are alive because of love; that you are MADE of love.

I invite you to write a list of five things you love and devote some time in the coming days to expressing your appreciation.

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LOVE LOVES LOVE

Time for some Love Bombs:

I love you not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you. I love you not only for what you have made of yourself, but for what you are making of me. I love you for the part of me that you bring out.”

—Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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Be my ruckus, my perfect non-sequitur. Be my circuit-breaker, my lengthening shadows at dusk, my nest of pine needles, my second-story window. Be my if-you-stare-long-enough-you’ll-see. Be my subatomic particle.

Be my backbeat, my key of C minor, my surly apostle, my scandalous reparté, my maximum payload. Be my simmering, seething, flickering, radiating, shimmering, and undulating.”

—Andrew Varnon

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I love you between shadow and soul. I love you as the plant that hasn’t bloomed yet, and carries hidden within itself the light of flowers.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. Because of you, the dense fragrance that rises from the earth lives in my body, rioting with hunger for the eternity of our victorious kisses.

—Pablo Neruda

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Let’s heat up the night to a boil. Let’s cook every drop of liquid out of our flesh till we sizzle, not a drop of come left. We are pots on too high a flame.

Our insides char and flake dark like sinister snow idling down. We breathe out smoke. We die out and sleep covers us in ashes. We lie without dreaming, empty as clean grates.

Yet we wake rebuilt, clattering and hungry as waterfalls leaping off, rushing into the day, roaring our bright intentions. It is the old riddle in the Yiddish song, what can burn and not burn up, a passion that gives birth to itself every day.

—Marge Piercy

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You are my inspiration and my folly. You are my light across the sea, my million nameless joys, and my day’s wage.

You are my divinity, my madness, my selfishness, my transfiguration and purification. You are my rapscallionly fellow vagabond, my tempter and star. I want you.

—George Bernard Shaw

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The air I breathe in a room empty of you is unhealthy. The merest whisper of your name awakes in me a shuddering sixth sense. I am longing for a kiss that makes time stand still.

—(The preceding testimony is a blend of words from Edgar Allan Poe, Pamela Moore, and John Keats.)

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Love is everything it’s cracked up to be. It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don’t risk everything, you risk even more.

—Erica Jong

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We are pain and what cures pain, both. We are the sweet cold water and the jar that pours.

I want to hold you close like a lute, so that we can cry out with loving. Would you rather throw stones at a mirror? I am your mirror and here are the stones.

—Rumi

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I love you more than it’s possible to love anyone. I love you more than love itself. I love you more than you love yourself. I love you more than God loves you.

I love you more than anyone has ever loved anyone in the history of the universe. In fact, I love you more than I love you.

—A voice in your dream

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For a relationship to stay alive, love alone is not enough. Without imagination, love stales into sentiment, duty, boredom. Relationships fail not because we have stopped loving but because we first stopped imagining.

—James Hillman

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Love is anterior to life, posterior to death, initial of creation, and the exponent of breath.

—Emily Dickinson

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Holding your hand, I can hear your bones singing into mine and feel the moon as it rolls through you.

—Sara Eliza Johnson

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Your body needs to be held and to hold, to be touched and to touch. None of these needs is to be despised, denied, or repressed. But you have to keep searching for your body’s deeper need, the need for genuine love.

Every time you are able to go beyond the body’s superficial desires for love, you are bringing your body home and moving toward integration and unity.

—Henri Nouwen

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The giving of love is an education in itself.

—Eleanor Roosevelt

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The bottom line for those of us who love humanity, not just our tribe, not just our own selfish interests, is this: What are the most effective actions that we can take that will reduce the amount of suffering in the world and save peoples' and animals' lives?

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Each time you love, love as deeply as if it were forever.

—Audre Lorde


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TO KNOW SOMETHING OR SOMEONE, YOU MUST LOVE THEM

In order to understand anyone or anything, you have to love it. I don’t mean feel romantic passion from it, or express any version of love that is tinged with expectation or sentimentality. This love I mean is characterized by compassion, empathy, and lovingkindness.

To open yourself up with love to an iris or redwood tree or hermit crab is to assert that you find it worthy enough to bestow blessings upon; and furthermore, that you find it worthy of communicating with.

Because when you open yourself with love to understand a living thing, you make it possible for that living thing to communicate with you in its own language and through the lens of its unique intelligence.

When you open yourself in love to understand a living thing, you are showing it that that you want to perceive its essence and that you are also willing and even interested in being influenced by its essence.

You’re proving you’re receptive to its specific intelligence speaking through its special language—not your own intelligence and language.

This gives the living thing—iris, redwood, or crab—a great gift.

I'm not being metaphorical or poetic here. I'm not using fairy tale logic. My meaning is literal.

Every living thing is a cell in the Divine Consciousness. Is a special case of the One Intelligence expressing itself.

Everything LONGS to express itself so that you can take it in. And everything LONGS to thereby give you the gift of itself.

This is not a selfish longing to be seen for itself so much as a longing to give you the special wisdom and beauty that it alone possesses and channels: a longing to give the unique glimpse at the Divine Consciousness that comes through it alone.

In giving your loving attention to the iris or redwood or crab, you are showing it that you want to understand it. This allows it, in turn, to give you the tremendous and mysterious gift of its special intelligence, expressed through its unique language.

The gift you receive is double: You’re able to get out of yourself, able to transcend your narrow interests and intelligence sufficiently, to learn how to understand the iris or redwood or crab in its native tongue.

The second gift is that you’re able to harvest the actual benefits of the “information” that the iris’s intelligence and language convey (and redwood’s and crab’s), whether than information comes in the form of an intuition about the nature of reality, or an opening in yourself of the part of the universal God hologram that corresponds to the iris or redwood or crab.

Yes, you are a tiny hologram of the Universal Projector, the One and Only Hologram, but sometimes, in order to “turn on” parts of the Universal Hologram within you, you have to open to those parts in the physical world.

This is an important part of my strategy to enter into a variety of altered states in my quest to viscerally commune with the Divine Consciousness, a.k.a. the mind of Goddess.

If I can learn to speak the language of the iris and redwood and crab, and somehow awaken in myself the part of my intelligence that is like an iris’s and redwood’s and crab’s (and it’s all there, since I contain or rather am a hologram of the All-in-One), then I have in effect achieved an altered state.

I have jolted myself out of my normal human humdrum awareness and added to my repertoire a fresh perspective, an additional mode of perceiving and understanding the world: as the iris or redwood or crab does.

Let’s say I can do this every day, in little or big ways.

At least once every day, and sometimes more on my freer days, I can open my heart-brain with love in the attempt to understand the essence of a iris or redwood or crab, and can, thereby, allow the iris or redwood or crab to do what comes naturally for it, to do what it was made to do, which is to unveil itself to me in glorious extravagant fullness, with its own love nature bursting

. . . and so the iris or redwood or crab can initiate me into the mysteries of its intelligence, teach me how to experience the world as it does, and bestow on me the power to alter my state of awareness—giving me yet one more tool for knowing Goddess’s mind not just conceptually but with gnosis – with visceral understanding.


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YOU HAVE TO LOVE

Louise Erdrich writes: Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning.

You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up.

And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.

—Louise Erdrich, The Painted Drum


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HOW TO PRIME YOUR ECSTATIC SKILLS

Nothing primes your ecstatic skill better than invoking and expressing thanks. So consider the possibility of celebrating regular Gratitude Fests. During these orgies of appreciation, you could confer praise and respect on the creatures, both human and otherwise, that have played seminal roles in inspiring you to become yourself.

Who teaches and helps you? Who sees you for who you really are? Who nudges you in the direction of your fuller destiny and awakens you to your signature truths? Who loves you brilliantly?


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OUR LOVE IS A WARM DAMP WIND

Our love is a warm damp wind through the manzanita grove, a meditation on the votive light where red, purple, and bronze converge.

We dream together in a bed made of lost time, sipping the gold that leaks from our virtuoso memories.

Our murmured laughter escapes from secret jokes. The sun at midnight tempts us to believe every confusing thing is true. As we roll and tumble down the imaginary a green hill, celebration commands our lazy perceptions to snap awake! "Be real wild, not fake wild!"

We transform our creature telepathy into song talk, restoring the glory of playful language to its rightful place as ruler of all discourse.


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Jump-Up-and-Down Pronoia Therapy

Experiments and exercises in becoming a delightfully excitable, actively receptive, smoothly inquisitive Master of Discerning Joy

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1. There's a three-mile stretch of Interstate 880 south of Oakland, California, that I call the Singing Highway.

For reasons I don't understand, it generates low humming melodies every time I drive over it, similar to the guttural chants of Tibetan monks. Sometimes I swear I can even hear lyrics.

Once, as I was driving to the airport on the Singing Highway, I swear I heard the same lyric repeating over and over again:

"a shortcut to the path with heart
a shortcut to the path with heart
a shortcut to the path with heart"

Where's the path with heart for you? What would it involve for you to take a shortcut to get on it?

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2. If a cow is given a name by her owner, she generates more milk than a cow that's treated as an anonymous member of the herd.

That's the conclusion of a study done by researchers at Newcastle University in the UK. "Placing more importance on knowing the individual animals and calling them by name," said Dr. Catherine Douglas, "can significantly increase milk ­production."

Building on that principle, I suggest that you give everything in your world names, including (but not limited to) houseplants, insects, cars, appliances, and trees.

It will help you get more up-close and personal with all of creation, which is an effective way to cultivate pronoia.

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3. Qabalist teacher Ann Davies told a story about a U.S. Army general negotiating with a cannibal chief in New Guinea during World War II.

The general wanted the chief to rally his tribe to help American troops fight the Japanese.

The chief refused, calling the Americans immoral.

The general was shocked. "We are not immoral!" he protested. "The Japanese are immoral!"

The cannibal chief replied, "The Japanese and Americans are equally immoral. You both kill far more people than you can eat."

Using this tale as your impetus, describe how parts of your moral code may not be rooted in an absolute standard of what's good and evil, but rather bound by the idiosyncrasies of your culture and historical era.

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4. In Letters to a Young Poet, Rilke urged an aspiring bard to change the way he imagined the Supreme Being.

"Why don't you conceive of God as an ally who is coming," Rilke said, "who has been approaching since time began, the one who will someday arrive, the fruit of a tree whose leaves we are?

"Why not project his birth into the future, and live your life as an excruciating and lyrical moment in the history of a prodigious pregnancy?"

How would your life change if you made this idea your working hypothesis?

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5. Comment on the following rant, which Beauty and Truth Lab operatives put on flyers and tacked up on laundromat bulletin boards all over San Francisco:

"The Doctrine of Original Sin? We spit on it. We reject it. We renounce it and forget it and annihilate it from reality.

"In its place we embrace the Doctrine of Original Fun. This reformulation asserts that it is our birthright to commune with regular doses of curious beauty and tricky truth and insurrectionary love.

"A robust, heroic joy is even now roaring through us, bringing us good ideas about how to apply the metaphor of ingenious foreplay to everything we do.

"We will not waste this euphoric deluge on any of the million and one numbing little diversions that pass for pleasure among the ecstasy-starved pursuers of mediocre joy. Rather, we will remain ever alert for the call of primordial delight."

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6. Psychotherapists say it's not only naughty but counterproductive to blame others for your problems. A skilled practitioner urges her clients to accept responsibility for the part they've played in creating their predicaments.

The reason is as much pragmatic as it is ethical: When you're obsessed with how people have done you wrong, you have little ambition to change the behavior in yourself that led you into the mess.

While I endorse this approach, I also know that dogmatic adherence to it can warp your mental health as much as any other form of fanaticism.

That's why I urge you to enjoy an unapologetic Blame Fest. Choose a time when you will find fault with everyone except yourself. Howl in protest at the unfair slights people have committed against you. Wallow in self-pity as you visualize the clueless jerks who have done you wrong.

For best results, bark your complaints in the direction of no one but God, an inanimate object, or your mirror.

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7. "Esoteric astrology teaches that anyone whose future can be predicted by any means is living like a robot. It assumes that some people are more robotic (predictable) than others; and that further implies some of us have more free will than others." Author Carolyn L. Vash wrote that in the Noetic Sciences Review.

How much free will do you have?

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8. We all have a war going on inside ourselves. What's yours? Is it a just and fruitful war or a senseless and wasteful war, or both?


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I NEED TO SLEEP AND DREAM A LOT!

I've observed that some people are proud about how little sleep they need. They regard it as a sign of vitality that six hours provide all the refreshment they require. Personally, I rarely get less than nine and a half hours, and usually prefer ten.

Maybe it has to do in part with how active I am while asleep. I've been remembering and recording an average of 3 dreams a night since I was 19.

Dreamwork is a vocation for me. I regard it as having been crucial to my development as a creative writer and musician.

How about you? What is your relationship to sleep and dreams? Is there a dream you had that you'd care to share?

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To reiterate and emphasise: I wouldn't have been able to become the person I wanted to become without honoring my need for sleep and my love for the worlds I live in during dreams.


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PRIVILEGE

"Aren't we privileged to live in a time when everything is at stake, and when our efforts make a difference in the eternal contest between the forces of light and shadow, between togetherness and division, between justice and exploitation? Oh, be joyful that you are a warrior in this great time!

"Will we rise to this battle? If so, we cannot lose, for rising up to it is our victory. If we represent love in the world, you see, we have already won."

—Doris "Granny D" Haddock, political activist


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LEGAL, WIDELY AVAILABLE ABORTION

My ability to become who I aspired to be would have been impossible without the right to legal abortion.

Earlier in my life, one of my women partners and I had abortions. I am so fortunate we weren't forced to bring children into the world that we couldn't properly care for.

Ultimately, my wife and I chose exactly when we did want to welcome a new human—once I had enough money and emotional maturity to do so.

Legal abortion made it possible for me to be a conscious, loving father for the one child I welcomed and helped to raise.

My life is successful, and an important factor contributing to that grace has been legal abortion.

PS: No, contraception does not always work. It is not 100% effective. That's just one of many reasons why we need legal, free, widely available abortion

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A recent CNN survey found that 69% of Americans said they would not like to see the Supreme Court overturn Roe, compared to 30% who said they would.

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Sad and shocking: Nearly 90 percent of U.S. counties already lack a clinic that offers abortions.

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Abortion pills are safe to prescribe without in-person exams. Patients can have their medication mailed to them after a remote telehealth consultation with a clinician. The FDA also allows mail-order pharmacies to ship abortion medications to patients.

More info.

This is by no means a perfect solution. All of us are trying to find ways to deal practically with a very tough circumstance, and this is one way.


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To anyone who says there's no difference between the two main political parties: Trump installed three conservative Supreme Court Justices who are key in overturning Roe v. Wade: Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett.

PS: In the 2016 presidential election, Trump received 2.9 million votes LESS than Hillary Clinton.


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Man is at the nadir of his strength when the earth, the seas, the mountains are not in him, for without them his soul is unsourced, and he has no images by which to abide.

—Edward Dahlberg, The Sorrows of Priapus


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THE HEDONISTIC IMPERATIVE

David Pearce writes: "The metabolic pathways of pain and malaise evolved because they served the fitness of our genes in the ancestral environment.

"They will be replaced by a different sort of neural architecture—a motivational system based on heritable gradients of bliss.

"States of sublime well-being are destined to become the genetically pre-programmed norm of mental health.

"Two hundred years ago, powerful synthetic pain-killers and surgical anesthetics were unknown. The notion that physical pain could be banished from most people's lives would have seemed absurd.

"Today most of us in the technically advanced nations take its routine absence for granted. The prospect that what we describe as psychological pain, too, could ever be banished is equally counter-intuitive.

"The feasibility of its abolition turns its deliberate retention into an issue of social policy and ethical choice."

—David Pearce


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When I discover who I am, I’ll be free.

—Ralph Ellison

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You’re something between a dream and a miracle.

—Elizabeth Barrett Browning


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THE PRONOIA EBOOK

My most recent book is finally available as an eBook:
Pronoia is the Antidote for Paranoia: How the Whole World Is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings

The eBook includes a new foreword and a new piece, “Strange Blessings,” that weren't in the Revised and Expanded edition.

(This eBook, like the Revised and Expanded edition, has 55% additional new material beyond what the first edition had.)

PRONOIA as an ebook at Amazon

PRONOIA as an ebook at Barnes and Noble

If you have the Apple Books app, click on it and search for "Pronoia."

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You can also buy the hard-copy edition of PRONOIA at Bookshop.org

Available at Powells

Available at Barnes & Noble

Available at Amazon

A free preview of the book is available here


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