Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Ebook download numbers since November 2011

          My friend Heather returned from the States on Sunday and hasn't had a fag for a week! Great! No reason for posting the photie here except that things are looking up a bit now and I'm looking forward to many happy days sitting in my allotment.

         I checked the historical data on the kindle books. It seems since November 2011, which is when Dave and I started putting the books on, there have been 16,348 downloads. Quite surprised by this. Most of the books were downloaded in the first couple of years, so new stuff probably gets downloaded more. When I had two novels published in paper, they sold about 1,700 each, if I recall correctly. Well, for most of the time there were ten books on kindle and nearly seventeen thousand downloads. So almost as many folk read the books that weren't published in paper as did the paper ones when they were published.

       Nobody would have read these books if it hadn't been for the ebooks arriving, so I'm pleased that I put them up. Also, I seem to have made about £200 and I promised myself I'd buy myself another guitar with the money I made, so I must do that soon.

       And I met someone in the pub last night who was doing physics at uni. So I quizzed her about the Prof Higgs stuff, which I cannot get a grip on. Anyway, when I asked her if consciousness could be a field, and she looked a bit flamonxed  and it did not seem to compute. Consciousness? What?! Of course, everything is supposed to have "buddha nature". Saying that might have been even more confusing.

       "Reality is not what it seems" by Carlo Rovelli says there can't be a Big Bang. Thank God for that. Everything coming from nothing seems like a very stupid idea. Probably can't understand that either!!

Friday, 2 March 2018

Malcolm McKenzie R.I.P.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, suit

Image may contain: 1 person, sitting and outdoor

          Today I was hoping to get through to Bellshill for the funeral of my wonderful nephew, my mother's first grandchild, Malcolm McKenzie. Unfortunately, there were no buses this morning to the train station and no trains to Bellshill in the morning anyway, so I had to change out of the funeral stuff and just sit here practising for him, for most of the day. It's probably too early right now to say much about this, but he will be surely sorely, sorely missed.

          Last year Malk had a diagnosis for a tumour on his bladder. It was removed. Because of this, I went on holiday with him last year to visit his brother and other folk, and go to Denmark and Hamburg. That was a very good idea, as it turned out. His mother passed away with cancer when he was maybe twelve and I thought he might be facing a near future with lots of chemotherapy and such, and have the hope that his passing the way he did - deep vein thrombosis, said the autopsy - was maybe a blessing. But we will all miss him. Died when he was fifty years old. Too young.

         Not getting to Bellshill today was hard. Harder than not getting to the Samye Ling for four days when I got the news about Malkand harder than not getting to the Holy Isle, where I was due to go on retreat for three weeks from the 27th February. The year so far says I should not make appointments. Everything I need is really here between my ears.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Second diggings!

          It was a bit weird seeing folk working on the other half of the allotment this afternoon. They said they'd been on the list for ten years. Anyway, I've now dug half way down the side I have left and it is going to be so much easier to keep it tidy and keep the letters of complaint from the allotment man at bay.
         Apparently, we are due some terrible weather next week, but the weather has been lovely this weekend, very bright and clear and cold. Stockbridge looked like a great place to stay today as I went down to the shop for the paper.

          My friend Heather is in America right now, so I'm spending a lot of time on my own this weekend, but that's been okay. This could be a really great year for me. Feel it in my waters!! Shame about the folk who don't meditate, but that's not my fault.

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Could consciousness be a field?

Image result for electromagnetic field

         I'm half way through the book about quantum gravity, so it's already lost me. But still very interesting.

         I have worked out what question to ask Prof Higgs the next time I see him on the bus!!

         Newton knew there was a problem with gravity operating through what seemed to be empty space.
         Faraday showed by the iron filings on the magnet that there are electromagnetic fields in the space between things.
         I think the Higgs Boson stuff showed that mass became part of particles when they move through a "field". Before that, I don't think there was an explanation as to why there was mass. All the explanations seem to be about "fields" these days!!

        In Dzogchen,  the example is of a light and a crystal. When the light is shown on a crystal, the effects are different to that when you shine the light on a stone. The physical make-up of the crystal is such that the light can shine through.

        If there is a field of consciousness, the same as the Higgs field, then consciousness or a basic awareness operates where it can dependent on the arrangement of matter. So don't expect to have a conversation with a stone, but a blade of grass can follow the sun, a cat must have what can appear in a cat, and us human beings can have a conversation about consciousness.

        I know I know bugger all about quantum mechanics and I realise this must be a very stupid idea, but I do find it quite satisfying.

       So the question when I see Prof HIggss on the bus is : Could consciousness be a field?

Monday, 19 February 2018

Carlo Rovelli and Reality is Not What is Seems. The journey to quantum gravity.

          I got this wonderful book from my daughter and her man for my birthday. Most, enjoyable and landed right on the money for me now.

          I would like to spend some time writing something about this book and its effect on me, but I don't have much time right now and I'll just jot down some stuff as a kind of aide memoire right now.

          About getting towards non-self and emptiness through physics.

          With Newton we have space between things. Gravity seems to act across this space, but Newton knows there's something unsatisfactory about bodies acting on each other without anything being between them.

           Faraday with the magnet and iron filings shows us that there is something called a "field."

           So there is at least one field between things, the electromagnetic field. James Clerk Maxwell (from this parish!) worked out the equations for that.

           Einstein says space is an object. We have space time. Space curves and bends, Space is a gravitational field.

         Most interested in reading that Einstein wasn't all that good at sums. (We're not comparing him to me!). It seems that Einstein was able to "visualise" or "imagine" what reality was like, and then had to hack about and find the mathematical description, the equations to describe this. But it seems to have started with "vision" or some kind of "seeing."

         This has a lot of similarity to "enlightenment." Or, rather, realisations. I assume in some kind of realisation, you are mainly "seeing". I assume what you are seeing is the world in a different way. If you are talking about "non-self" and "emptiness", the whole must become self as your self goes out into everything visible so that you are the focus with the senses and somehow the reference point, but you are everything, your sense of self encompassing everything.

         I has about ten seconds of this about twenty two years ago. So what I "saw" might be described as a "field" in that it was through everything and penetrating everything. But it was conscious and joining everything in a wholeness,  a unity. Everything was essentially supported by consciousness which was integral to everything and not outside it.

       So Faraday  shows a "field" and Maxwell works out the equations.

       If the field is consciousness, how would you do that? No idea. I cannot do sums. Can you have an equation with a big C in it to stand for consciousness?

      The Big Bang is a very stupid idea.

       Everything comes from nothing, a very wee nothing which goes bang. Stupid idea. I think no one is happy with the idea that your dog started as nothing since no one has ever seen nothing, and nothing is maybe like absolute zero ... no one has ever been there.

        Maybe there's a problem with time. The Big Bang looks stupid since times seems to go forwards. Does it look any less stupid if you say time isn't going forward or backwards, but the history of this universe is there and we are somehow moving through it. Like the beginning is there and the end is there already. Is this a help?

        I looked up ontological last week since I couldn't remember what it meant. Knew it then, but ....

       Consciousness or mind? Start there. We don't know why (as with the other Big Bang theory), but lets start with consciousness, or mind, or something that might be described as bare awareness. An awareness without compounded thoughts. Then go Big Bang (still no reason for that!!) and then we can see that the history of this universe is about consciousness trying to know itself, or love itself, or be aware of itself.
        So we have consciousness (going bang) and then we get energy and matter.

        The energy thing ... I'm not there yet!

         With matter ... this seems to come from energy and is in different forms, maybe levels of complexity.

        Imagine light being consciousness before the Big Bang. There develops energy and matter, but the matter is in various forms. So the light/consciousness is trying to 'project' itself through matter. Now, like it can do with through a glass or crystal. Put light through a crystal and you might get something interesting. Put the light on a stone and zippo.

        So my consciousness is not that of a stone. My consiousness when I have just wakened up and haven't had any thoughts yet ... well, what difference is that from the consciousness of probably any other mammal? Surely, if I am not actually thinking about anything and look around, there might not be that much difference between me and a horse?

         When you turn your mind inside out .... consciousness and self is in everything ... You cannot be separate or alienated or isolated. Is everything arising simultaneously in the eternal present?

          The "field", the joining up stuff that I saw, was thick in the air ... there was no vacant space between things .. and it was filled with ribbons of red and blue moving into what we might call the physical objects. It seems to say non-self and emptiness, this is how it works.

          It's so partial, and so incomplete and so lacking in so many things, but I did feel when I was reading this book that it was a real help. Mind, consciousness, field ... we need more words.

          The Higgs Boson boy was on the telly (another joe from this parish!!) when they showed the proof at Cern. Particles, fields, what are we talking about .... the boy on the telly said the Higgs Boson maybe indicated a field that be there to show how weight or mass appeared. They think the wee tottie things are supposed to be massless. Is that true? So maybe there's a field that adds weight. Is there a field that incorporates consciousness? Adds consciousness where it can? Doesn't work too well with stones or flatheids, but is evolving surely to work a bit better ..... and then we will realise that we live in perfection and that nothing we little fuckpigs can do will ever change or effect that? Nothing is perfect is God's perfect world. I'm looking for a way to see this world as we perceive it  as a play of higher consciousness, but it is not easy!

           I love this stuff. Brian Wilson is one of the two other people who read this blog. He won't have read this far. He only likes the Beach Boys and has no interest in anything else. The other person, Albert, claims he invented the internety box, and he doesn't meditate. So this post is just for moi!!!

           Anyway, the reason for being interesting in this is that if there is no objective reality, why fucking get bothered by stuff. It doesn't exist in the manner of its appearance.


Thursday, 18 January 2018

Surprising sales!

          Started work on the book again after a lay off over the holidays. Always takes a wee while to get into it, but I'll be there after this evening.

          Thought I'd post that five books were sold last week from the kindle site. Someone even bought a copy of Stumblebumming despite the two terrible reviews it's picked up so far. The best you might say about that is that it is aimed at a very niche market, really those more than interested in Tibetan Buddhism and meditating. Anyway, who knows why some books were sold last week. Weird stuff this internety thing.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Three Day Fast.


            I stopped eating on Sunday night and didn't start again till this morning, so that's me done another  three day fast. I might have done two before, but I definitely did one. Maybe you always remember the first time! I'm quite pleased to get through the three days because usually when I start fasting I don't make it past breakfast time.

          Any purification seems to affect the meditations very much. I don't know why this is, but fasting definitely counts as some kind of purification and I hoped when I started this fast that it would boost what was happening with the vase breathing, etc., the heat and all that kind of thing. Well, I meditated for the first time after eating about an hour ago, and the after effects of the vase breathing have just went right out of the park. God knows what the hell is going on! I'm nowhere near standing on one leg half way up the Himalayas in my simmit, but I think I might be slowly creeping onto that ball park.

          I was fortunate enough to get a meeting with Lama Rinchen Palmo last Friday. She can't tell me what's going to happen. Everyone, it seems, is different.

          She was most helpful on the visualisations. For some time, I lost confidence in  the deity visualisations because they are almost impossible to do. I'm sure you'd have to be in retreat for some time to get anywhere near that. So the technique seemed to be to have a steady visualisations of the symbols and move the heat up from chakra to chakra, but if you cannot visualise the channels and whatnot, then I don't see how you can systematically move it up.

           But, despite the crap visualisations, I am getting heat. It's more like a full body heat (at least in the upper torso) and is not centred on the navel chakra.

            I respect this juju. I'm sure it could be dangerous. It would be nice if someone could give me a roadmap for this, but since that is not going to happen, I'll just have to soldier on. Be great to give up drinking this year. If I have a drink this weekend, I'll try to give it up on Monday. There's always Mondays. Tell me why I don't like Mondays.

Monday, 8 January 2018

New Year Prospects

                    The photies were taken at Newbattle Abbey College yesterday. Really nice place to go for a weekend walk especially yesterday when the light was clear and bright and beautiful.

                    I've been here, there and everywhere recently, but today is really the start of the new year for me and a good time to think about what I'm hoping for or going to do this year.

                    One of my deep, dear friends has been handed a provisional black spot. This makes you think about mortality a little more closely than you might otherwise. If I was give the black spot soon, I think I'd be annoyed about all the time I lost drinking and drug taking when I could have been aiming for nirvana, or at least developing the stuff that makes me happy. I'm trying to ride two horses at the one time at the moment, having a normal life over the weekend and trying to get my equilibrium back. Everything would work so much better if I was able to stop drinking completely. I would also have more time for writing.

                     I saw Lama Rinchen Palmo on Friday, on her way to the Holy Isle. I'm very lucky to have a connection with her. After seeing her, I signed up for four nights down at the Samye near the end of February for the Makhala prayers. I also signed up for the last three weeks of the retreat on the Holy Isle. I wasn't entirely confident that Heather would acquiesce with this, but she was okay. She's got a boyfriend with a strange hobby.

                    I was telling Lama Rinchen about feeling unsettled because I'm never home for any length of time these days, sleeping in different beds all the time. She said someone in Belgium has built her a meditation box for the Holy Isle, Brussels and Beaumont. So she might not be sleeping lying down, at least sometimes. I have such a long way to go.

                     This has to be a great year for the meditations. On Friday, the last time I was on my own, the meditations were amazing. I don't know where it's all going, but it seems to be developing brilliantly at the moment.

                      I will enjoy writing the thriller this year. I haven't been writing much, but I can dip in and out of it, so it's always there for me now. I was pleased that Heather had a go at Jock Tamson's last week and found it very funny. It won't be produced, but I knew that twenty years ago. Glad it's been done now though.

                       Everything in my life is good at the moment. I have no health or money or relationship worries.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Kindle Review

          I found something on the kindle page that allows you to have a "historical" look. Quite interesting.

          My friend Dave (RIP) put most of my books on kindle in 2011. The stats indicate that since then there have been approximately 11,000 downloads. Most of these occurred in the first two years, that is, from about 2011 to 2013, and the vast majority were downloaded free.  Amazon have sent me about £200 in royalties.

          I think I gave my daughter about twenty quid for every cover she designed and I think she did maybe eight of them. So I'm in the gravy and about £40 up on the deal.

          Anyway, despite the paltry returns, it's been worth doing. The books were dead otherwise and at least some folk might have liked them. There have been hardly any reviews really. Some of them have been alright and some absolutely awful. Stumblebumming Towards Enlightenment has only picked up two reviews and both were from people who hated it. Well, the perfect reader for that book is someone who meditates and is interested in doing The Six Yogas of Naropa, and I don't think anyone else should bother with it.

            The book I'm writing at the moment will be much more accessible. When I do a wee bit of work every now and again on it, I remember how much I enjoy writing stuff. That's what counts really. All the rest of the business just gets you into bother!


Monday, 25 December 2017

Remote Control 5 star review

          Just found a five star review on the Spanish kindle site.

2013-07-18Compra verificada
Remote Control

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Samye Ling Photies

          The first photie is of the part of the river where I usually meditate for a while when I'm  at the Samye Ling. It was too brass monkeys to meditate there on this visit, but it's where I want my ashes scattered, at the narrow point.

          Very interested to find that the teachings I was reading in Profound Buddhism by Kalu Rinpoche were given at the Samye Ling, where I was reading them about thirty five years later. It dawned on me that Lama Rinchen Palmo was probably in the audience since Kalu Rinpoche was her root guru. Kind of made the hairs rise on the back of my neck ...

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Samye Ling and the heat.

                   Problems getting photies uplifted as usual, so this is an old one of the kalachakra mandala which I once bought for my auld maw. It's now hanging on my kitchen wall.

                   This is my third day down at the Samye Ling. Probably haven't been here since September which is not good enough! Anyway, I just had to get away from all the bad stuff I do in Edinburgh and kind of re-affirm what it is I'm really supposed to be doing.

                   It always takes a couple of days to really settle in here. You really want the first sleep to go well, and mine didn't really. Due to previously waking up here drenched in sweat, I know sleep on top of the downie under the quilt. But I wakened up around four and went under the downie and wakened up drenched in sweat! You've got to laugh. Last night was fine though. Probably a better sleep than I usually get in Edinburgh.

                   So this morning the meditations really started working. Many times before I've had intimations of heat --- I thought I'd cracked it about fifteen years ago when I had a sudden arising, but that never happened again --- and I have definitely been getting warm sometimes over the last year or so.

                   When I did the nine weeks on the Holy Isle, I hoped I'd get this heat stuff sorted then, but it didn't work out like that. Got lots of bliss of course, but not much heat.

                   This morning was different. I'm getting warm by just sitting doing the calming meditations. This is an appreciable heat. So now I'm getting heat okay, but I'm kind of stuck because I don't know what I'm supposed to do now. Truck on, I guess.

                   Lama Rinchen told me that the meditations and the heat will burn off all the neuroses if  I stick with it. Alexandra David-Neel says yogis get hot and go cotton clad, but after a while the thing equalises to the heat in the environment. I really don't know. I'm in the dark.

                  Should I be a little bit concerned? Tai Situ's book, which I have with me here, says doing this juju without a qualified helper is like getting someone who knows nothing about electricity sorting the electrics in your house. The house can burn down.

                  Of course, I have qualified help!! Just not here really. Anyway, nothing bad has happened to me so far. Guess I just keep on keeping on.

                   It's harder coming here when your visits are less frequent, and when you have been behaving badly at home. I'm a bit annoyed with myself. The pollutions make it harder to settle. When I was with Winnie on the Holy Isle a couple of years ago, I sat one morning for four hours. My practice these days is pretty pathetic. But l had a dream last night which I actually remembered. Haven't really been even remembering dreams for the last couple of years. This is not good. But, despite everything, there is obvious progress in the meditations. I wasn't getting heat like this in September.

                   I've arranged to see Lama Rinchen on the 5th January. She'll be on her way to the Holy Isle for the winter retreat. I'd like to go and I'd like not to go. The nine weeks I did there seemed to be no use to my daughter or Heather. C'est la vie.

Friday, 1 December 2017


          Managed to fast yesterday. Due to being a fat basturn these days, I've had a few days recently when I haven't eaten much, but it's years since I ate nothing all day. Very pleased.

Monday, 27 November 2017

More Longniddry Bent photies.

          The driving around the hinterlands of  Edinburgh on Saturdays has been a real highlight of the week recently. Lovely views, lovely sunsets, bonnie Scotland.

           Everything seems to be going well. The main thing, of course, concerns the meditations which continue in a most encouraging fashion. And this is my time of the week. Let's hope for more developments and many, many hours on the cushion over the next few days. That's the way to do it!

          Just checked my emails and got the rejection from the Traverse. The usual standard letter. Seemed to think the play was called 0069, but that's just because they couldn't be bothered to check the email. Anyway, sending plays which haven't been commissioned to the Traverse is not the way to get plays produced. Well, I knew that. But there's really nothing I can think of doing with a play that hasn't been commissioned except send it to the Traverse. And that's not the way to do it!!


Thursday, 23 November 2017

November Colours

               We've been getting about quite a bit over the last weekend. Both on Saturday and Sunday we were motoring all over east Lothian; North Berwick, Dunbar, etc.  The last photie was taken this morning. Rainbow didn't quite come out.

               Everything seems to be gradually getting better.  Apart from the weather. Going to see Auntie Kathy so it must be Thursday. Hope the rain stays off!