Savant

Fire, Open, Hot, Old, Paper, BurnSometimes all I need to organise the thoughts tumbling randomly around my head is the right words to express them.  Once the thoughts can latch on to words, they can be verbalised and shared.

So my Seth reading this week has focused around what he defines as the two methods of obtaining knowledge available to us humans:  There is the ‘reasoning mind‘ (human mental activity in a space and time context) and ‘immediate knowledge‘ (what I’d term access to the Akashic Field).

I noticed two things in particular in his complex and brilliant explanation.  Firstly, despite existing ‘out of time/space’ Seth himself does NOT put down the reasoning mind.  On the contrary, he says it is a unique and brilliant process, which makes us human.  He adds that we only have a reasoning mind because we don’t know everything.  It is our lack of knowledge that makes us attempt to reason things out, and our achievements have been, and continue to be, truly remarkable.

The second thing I noticed is that in his book (written in the late 1970s/ early ’80s) he makes surprisingly little mention of the human ability to access the immediate knowledge he speaks of.  He explains how a spider spinning a web or a beaver building a dam are not following ‘blind instinct’ as science would have us believe, but without the ‘reasoning mind’ to get in the way, they are performing creative acts based on the overarching ‘immediate knowledge’ that is available to all of consciousness.  Fantasy, Castle, Cloud, Sky, TowerWe humans connect with it in infancy (before reasoning takes over) and in dreams, he says.  However the enormity of what we experience in dreams is too much for the reasoning mind to process, so it either forgets or turns the fragments of knowing into symbols which it can process.

Would it be different if Jane Roberts were still alive and channelling him today?  I suspect it would.  I suspect that humanity has undergone subtle changes in consciousness over the last 40 years.  As a teacher/tutor for most of those years, I watched with wonder and delight as each new intake of children contained increasing numbers who were still very much in touch with – and able to access – ‘immediate knowledge’.  The authorities often labelled these children as having syndromes and disorders, so difficult was it for the educational psychologists to understand that there were other ways of knowing beyond reasoning.  I, on the other hand, have always loved working with such kids, learning from them and picking up from them ways to get back in touch with the immediate knowledge which exists beyond time and space.

Light, Staircase, Lighting, ArchitectureThen, quite suddenly, Seth used the word ‘savant’ and another piece of knowledge fitted into the puzzle.  The word has usually been applied (and was used in that context in his book) to non-verbal autistic people who demonstrate incredible skills or feats of memory – super fast mathematical calculations, drawing whole city sky-scapes from memory, playing an instrument without any tuition and so forth.  I smiled, remembering the 8-year-old aspie I once taught who had ‘memorised’ an entire two page list of phone numbers he had seen once in his home, and had run up a huge phone bill for his parents by calling all these people for a chat!

So I’d argue that – since around 1980 in particular, but in smaller numbers before that time – we have been fortunate enough to share our lives with a group of people who are managing (not without difficulty and stress, I might add) to live physical lives yet to keep open a link to the ‘immediate knowledge’ that is Akasha or The Cosmos, and is entirely limitless.

Let me finish with a Will story:  A few weeks ago, my brilliantly ‘connected’ aspie friend Will had told me that he sometimes feels he ‘knows’ things about people he passes in the street.  He’d not been able to verify his knowledge, so more-or-less dismissed it.  However it just so happened that we were contacted by a gentleman in the US who asked whether Will could identify a medical condition he was suffering with and give him some guidance on what caused it.  Not only did Will correctly pinpoint a condition affecting this man, he also formed a mental image of what he looked like.  When I later Googled the man and found and sent Will a photo, he said that was markedly similar to what he had seen.

Curious, I then sent him the name of a friend of mine – someone he has never met or heard me speak of.  Within minutes, he told me she had black, shoulder length hair, described the decor in her home, told me she had mobility problems which particularly affected one side of her body and identified that she was having particular stresses at this time with her children.  Everything he said was 100% accurate.

THAT was ‘immediate knowledge’ – no reasoning involved.

 

 

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Is Reality Real?

Fantasy, Dream, Reality, Virtual, Nature, ExistenceFor years I’ve been receiving a ‘weekly powerful question’ from some site I once subscribed to.  The title of this post was this week’s offering.  Yep, that’s a powerful question all right.

I presume what it’s really asking is something like, ‘Is objective reality real?’  to which I’d have to reply, ‘No, I don’t believe it is.’

In that book I wrote, back in 2012, (see About page for details) I described myself as an anti-empiricist.  I still stand by that.  I think rationalism and empirical thought has taken humanity down a narrow  – and probably blind – alley.  It’s a bit like time; it only works within certain narrow parameters.  Within those, it’s extremely useful, but beyond them, relatively useless.

People in lab coats will measure and test to their hearts’ content, but even they know that if they send their measuring instruments into space and accelerate the craft, their rulers will change length and their clocks won’t work at the same speed as the ones left on Earth.

Reality, it seems to me, is wonderfully, gloriously and infinitely bendy.  We have infinite probability drives (not to be confused with Douglas Adams’ Infinite IMprobability Drive) built into our psyche.  Here’s the improbable one, for the benefit of fellow Adams fans:

What I mean is that if we can imagine it, it exists.  We bring ‘reality’ into being through the process of that very act of imagination.

As an example, I recently read this article on traditional Australian healers – ngangkari.  These are ‘real’ people.  They exist and have names.  The article even shows photos of them.  They travel as spirit by night, helping and caring for their community.  By day, they heal anyone who comes to them.  One describes how he was taught by his elders, during his ngangkari training, to remove physical objects as he draws out the sickness – sticks, stones and so forth – from his patients’ bodies, in order to demonstrate to them that healing has actually taken place. (Obviously his community has its sceptics, too).  Another speaks of simply laying hands on the patient.  They speak of tools – mapanpa – which are sent to them and which (some say) reside in their bodies.  Some are able to move these through their bodies and send them out as healing to patients through ‘openings’ in their hands or foreheads; others report that they fall to the ground with small explosions – items resembling little black stones, pieces of shaped bone and whatnot – for the ngangkari to gather and use.

My point is that in different communities within the indigenous Australian population, the ways in which a ngangkari functions will vary, depending on the customs, training and beliefs of that particular social group.  All are equally ‘real’.

Cure, Drug, Cold, Dose, The Disease, PharmacyWellness, Massage, ReikiIf your own reality includes Reiki, spiritual healing and similar modalities, none of the above will sound too strange to you.  If, in your experience, though, healing involves visiting the GP, taking prescription drugs and occasional visits to the Minor Injuries Unit, it may be harder to view such things as ‘real’.

I think the difficulty lies in consciousness.  Consciousness, mainstream science will argue, is “a sensation created by electro-chemical activity in the ‘wiring’ of the brain”.  (That’s the definition I just found in a book I’m currently reading about how ‘modern man’ emerged.)  To me, that’s like insisting that the Sahara Desert exists within my television set, because I’m able to observe it on my TV screen.

Certainly we can observe consciousness at work within the brain, but lodging it in there is ridiculously limiting.  Consciousness exits beyond and interpenetrates everything we perceive and – far more importantly – everything we can imagine.

So, to answer my ‘weekly powerful question’, I believe consciousness is real and inasmuch as consciousness enables me to envisage ‘reality’, my external reality is real for me while I am inhabiting this – temporary – physical body form.  How much you are able or willing to share that reality, though, depends on how much social conditioning we have in common.  I may see, hear or otherwise experience things that are not ‘dreamt of in your philosophy’ – and vice versa, of course.  I also have an internal reality, of course, which seems to be synonymous with Consciousness.  That, I share with everyone and everything around me at some level, rather like the air I breathe.  Exploring that is where the real adventures begin…

 

Under the Akasha Tree

Acacia, Tree, Field, Mist, Misty, GrassA posthumous and timely reminder from Wayne Dyer has lifted me from my meditations beneath this glorious, overarching tree.

I’ve been here for some time, pondering deeply, wondering widely and dreaming deliciously.  Not a bodhi tree for me, nor even an acacia.  Mine is Ervin Laszlo’s all-enveloping Akasha.  It’s a glorious place to sit and think, but Dr Dyer’s words are ringing in my ears:

Don’t die with your music still inside you.

Not, I hasten to add, that I’m planning on ‘dying’ yet awhile.  Judging by my female ancestors, I probably have at least a further 30 or so years of pondering-in-the-physical stretching before me, let alone the timeless afterlives, interlives and lives beyond that.  Nevertheless, it’s probably time to dust off the blog and share some of the thoughts that have been drifting around the Akasha and into my mind.

Human, Glow, Lightning, Soul, Light, Mind, SpiritImagine a deep, deep dimension underlying everything.  This dimension is way beyond time and space.  It is the base of all that is – All That Is.  Laszlo calls it, appropriately enough, the Akashic realm.  Matter is in-formed from this deep dimension.  The Akasha is de-formed by matter.  Matter returns to and emerges from Akasha.  The information we receive from this realm arrives in the form of quantum waves – nonlocal and instant.  This means that, as well all the ‘normal’ perceptions that reach us through the five senses, we can safely include inspirations, hunches, intuitions and all those transient awarenesses we may glimpse fleetingly.  In short, to quote Ervin Laszlo, “our brain is imbued with the totality of the information that pervades the cosmos”.

It goes without saying that all but a tiny amount of that information is filtered out by our brains, in just the way that we filter out unwanted sounds or visual stimuli around us in a crowded street, the better to focus on what our companion is saying or the route we wish to take.  However, Laszlo says it is possible, through entering an altered state – through meditation, in a near-death experience or at a point between waking and sleeping, for example – to gain access to far greater parts of the ‘Akashic Record’ than is normally the case.

Now, perhaps, you’ll see where my ponderings beneath the akasha tree have been going…

For at least the last twelve years, I’ve spent much of my time exploring the outer reaches of perception – the places many dismiss as fancy or superstition.  Given that we now have an internationally respected scientist, with impeccable credentials, offering a carefully constructed theory in which such phenomena are not only tolerated, but expected, I feel deep gratitude and delight.

Joan Of Arc, Gold, Statue, Arc, JoanAlbert Einstein, Scientist, PhysicalFor millennia, now, either the Christian Church or – latterly – mainstream science have sought to marginalise, suppress or persecute those who were able to access this realm.  The reasons are not difficult to fathom.  Those who have experienced Akasha’s deeper knowledge – and been brave enough to share it – have been burnt as heretics, derided as charlatans or otherwise disposed of (except in the case of a chosen few who, by accessing the ‘right’ ideas at the right time, achieved veneration as saints or scientific geniuses).

Finally, the tide is turning.

I strongly suspect that it is turning faster than even Laszlo suspects.  More on that to follow.

For now, though, if you haven’t yet encountered Ervin Laszlo – systems scientist, integral theorist and classical pianist – I urge you to do so.  He is one of the wisest and most brilliant people I have ever come across.  His ‘music’ is to explain and share what he calls his ‘re-discovery’ of the Akashic realm.  I heartily recommend  The Self-Actualising Cosmos: the Akasha Revolution in Science and Human consciousness.

 

 

The Gift of Dementia

Hand, Old, Age, Skuril, Elderly Woman, GrandmaIf someone had asked me, back in 2008, what gift I was being given by my mother’s encroaching dementia, I’d have been hard-pressed to give them an answer.

As anyone who has been in intimate contact with this condition will know, the hardest time is the early stage – the time when a normally functioning, intelligent human being is experiencing very specific and often debilitating gaps in memory and in the ability to cope on a day-to-day basis because of them.

It was me who grassed Mum up to the doctor.  That was certainly the way she saw it.  By telling her GP of my concerns, I unleashed a battery of humiliating tests and visiting busybodies.  She never forgave me for that.  When her condition became so bad that I had to give up work and move away from my family to become her live-in carer, she threw it in my face at least once a day.

Those were easily the hardest months of my life.  So the gift?  I was given the most incredible insight into the way minds work.  Usually, minds are sophisticated, faster than light and keep their backs, so to speak, well covered.  As Mum’s slowed, though, I was able to watch and observe – to see how a trigger experience could change and shape subsequent behaviour.

Everyday Life, Washing Dishes, Cup, GlassLet us take, for example, the story of the washing up liquid bottle.

While she was still living alone, an occupational therapist came to assess Mum in her house.  Mum found that threatening, insulting, patronising and intrusive.  She realised she was being ‘tested’ but didn’t know why.  At one point, the OT held up Mum’s bottle of washing up liquid, covered the label and asked her what it was used for.  We never knew whether or not Mum had been able to answer her correctly.

Mum retold that story many times afterwards, but in her version, the OT asked this question of the grandchildren.   That was the only way Mum could justify someone asking such a stupid question.  In her version, the grandchildren giggled, rolled their eyes and then answered correctly.  In the event, Mum had had no one to giggle with.  She had been face to face with a person who, in her own home, was checking whether she knew what washing up liquid was and she’d felt violated.

Several months later, when I was living there, she suddenly stopped using washing up liquid when she washed the dishes.  I asked her why she didn’t put some in the water.
“Well,” she said hesitantly, “I don’t know.  I just get a funny feeling about it.  I mean, they keep coming in and turning the bottle around so you can’t see the label.”

I looked and saw that the bottle was on the worktop, but the label was facing the wall.  Seeing the bottle with its label concealed had clearly triggered memories of the therapist’s visit that were sufficiently uncomfortable to make her want to stop using the product.

She could no longer remember the trigger, but the resulting emotion remained and affected her behaviour.

A visiting professional would have viewed Mum’s behaviour as illogical and a symptom of her disease.  Because I could follow the trace of events, though, I was able to recognise that she was attempting to avoid an unpleasant feeling by ignoring the existence of the obscured bottle.

How many of our behaviour patterns, I wonder, stem from a suppressed unpleasant memory?

 

Expanding Consciousness

List of images in Gray's Anatomy: IX. Neurology

“I am everywhere.”

That’s how the film ‘Lucy’ ends.  (Thanks to Atxero for pointing me in its direction.)  It’s a Matrixy kind of a thing – Scarlett Johansson gratuitously destroying anyone who gets in her way, turning ‘life’ to a video game scenario as she develops new and unimaginable neural connections and expands her consciousness until all of her brain is being used, rather than the 10% or so most of us have been settling for.

I was woken up to this expanded consciousness idea some years ago – by Will, the guy I’m currently working with on remote viewing .  He was a little kid then.  He made it impossible for me not to notice that he was seeing things I couldn’t see,  sensing things I couldn’t sense and performing psychic tricks and feats that left me scrabbling to catch up and understand.

English: corpus callosum. Images are from Anat...

English: corpus callosum.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are babies, children, teenagers and young people – even a few older ones – who came into life this time around with expanded consciousness.  In my book I called them the Version 2.0 players in this game of Life.  They are the ones who haven’t fully forgotten what is actually going on here – who they really are.  They’re struggling – many of them – to get along with the everyday details of life: social interaction, school, shopping, going to work… but that’s because they are holding an awesome amount of Light or Memory or Spirit or whatever you’d like to call it, within their consciousness.

One day, some meddling but oddly broad-minded scientist will take a look inside the heads of some of these people and discover something unexpected – extra DNA strand activation?  Something rather interesting around the pineal gland?  Neural pathways way beyond what the textbooks show?  A distorted and expanded corpus callosum?  I have no idea what, but something will appear.  I strongly suspect all of the above, as well as a transition from carbon based to crystal based life, but I’m no scientist, just an interested observer. They’ll probably label it a syndrome or dysfunction anyhow, because scientists tend to like norms and neat bell curves.

The rest of us – those who maybe didn’t come into Life that way, but have been jump-started by our special young people – are catching up.  They are waking us up to a new way of being and experiencing – and it’s wonderful.

“I know I’m obviously biased,” my daughter told me, rather apologetically, the other day, “but there are times when he seems to shine somehow…”
She was talking about her 3 year old son.  I’m biased too, but she’s right.  He does.  I was with the two of them at the weekend.  He was raking a flowerbed for his seeds in the garden.

“This is a good day, Mummy,” he said, quietly and thoughtfully.
She looked at him and smiled, slightly bemused.  “You say that every day,” she pointed out.
He looked into her eyes then and said, very pointedly, “But it IS good.”

I checked with her later,  He really does say it every day?  “Yes,” she insisted, “and we won’t be doing anything special – just walking along the street or eating lunch or something.  Then he’ll tell me it’s a good day.”

What a beautiful lesson that tiny little kid is giving his mother.  She believes she’s just about coping – managing him and his three month old sister and the home; she’s rushed off her feet and always feeling someone is losing out.  But the child sees past that.  He sees the goodness of every day and gives it back to her.

IMG_20150510_085131The next day it was my turn.  We were walking through an orchard.  I was aware that it was a pretty place – just aware.  My focus was elsewhere.  Then he stopped and turned to me.

“This is a Good Day, Grandma,” he said, with the gentlest emphasis on those words.

Suddenly I was able to feel it the way he was experiencing it – the family clustered around us, the crunching gravel under our feet, the azure sky with scudding grey clouds, the apple blossom and buzzing of the bees, the birdsong everywhere,  the utter beauty of nature in an English springtime – and I felt all the deep joy that had bubbled up inside him spilling into me from his deep brown eyes.

I felt, as I always have with Will or the many other Version 2.0s I’ve known, so honoured to be given a glimpse into his consciousness.

He’s one of the special ones.

Breakdowns and subtle bodies



Русский: ЭзотерикаI'll begin by telling you that this is to be one of my 'alternative communication' posts.  Haven't done one for quite a while, so if you tuned in wanting another feel-good story about LIME Cottage, sorry but this is drawing on a very different aspect of my life.

For those who aren’t familiar with my form of alternative communication, I should point out that it is very, er, alternative.

I’ve come across many people who channel and many who speak to those beyond the veil.  I’ve done both, but what I do now is something else again.  I have telepathic conversations with a young man I’ve known since he was a little boy.  He taught me to send and receive telepathically when he was about 8.  He went on to teach me wonders that astounded me.

Sometimes.

At other times he was withdrawn, grumpy, monosyllabic and would insist that the revelations and connections to higher realms had never happened.  It always confused me.

In his late teens, after some very difficult life experiences, he shut down completely.  He barely left his home or spoke to anyone, he only corresponded with me via text – a word a week was normal (‘How are you doing?’/ ‘Fine’).  He cut himself off from family and had no friends.  He developed compulsions and became paranoid.  He refused to see a doctor or therapist and so on and on.  They were dark days.

And then, quite out of the blue, he began to correspond with me telepathically.  It certainly ‘felt’ like him.  I would sit at my computer, type questions or comments into a word-processing program and then hold my crystal dowsing pendulum over the keyboard, just as I’d done (and demonstrated to him many times) when I used to contact his mother in spirit.  The crystal moved and spelled out words, which I typed.

This was different, though.  For a start, he wasn’t dead.  I’d be receiving one word texts from the physical him in London and expansive, fascinating insights from the telepathic him.  Strangest of all, he (in the body) appeared to have no knowledge of the conversations he was having with me via my computer.

Fairly obviously, I doubted the validity of what was happening and more-or-less convinced myself that I was making the whole thing up.  That was when I contacted Cynthia and Bob in New York.  They, I knew, were the real deal.  Cynthia channelled The Council while Bob made detailed recordings.  Yes, they assured me, it was all happening, and I needed to write it all down – publish a book of our strange and wonderful friendship.

The communications have continued intermittently ever since.  It wasn’t until early this month that I commented that the different aspects of him seemed to be more separate than most people’s.

YES, he responded. OVERLOADED.   A BREAKDOWN IN MY TEENS.

I gasped.  ‘Is that what a breakdown is?  A separation of the subtle bodies?’

His response registered mild surprise that I hadn’t realised that.

Suddenly everything made sense – the way in which the magical, evolved indigo/Version 2.0 boy had vanished and been replaced by a terrified, hyper-alert young man working entirely from the limbic system – the ancient fight-or-flight mechanism at the very centre of the brain.
I recalled his angry replies when I asked how he was feeling: ‘I don’t HAVE feelings!’
He managed tasks that had a direct bearing on his own survival, but nothing else.
His life was encased in rituals and obsessions.
He was functioning without any connection to his soul.

Afbeelding van koendaliniekanalen en centra Ze...

Afbeelding van koendaliniekanalen en centra Zelfgemaakt, geen auteursrechten (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So now, he was telling me, I was receiving telepathic communications from his mental body.  A while back, when he’d been fixated on astral travel, the communications came from his astral/emotional body.  All his subtle bodies were continuing to develop just fine, but independently of each other and, he reassured me, they were gradually reconnecting as he was healing.  I guess that explains why he’s become able, in the last few months, to manage the occasional short phone conversation and to send me a birthday card.

Meanwhile, my discussions with his mental body continue to amaze and expand my own consciousness.  Sometime soon, I’ll share with you the ‘Idiot’s Guide to Subtle Bodies’ he prepared for me.

I feel jubilant that I can finally make sense (well, to myself, at any rate) of what has been happening, and that I’ve regained a connection to the wisdom and wonder that kept me spellbound when he was a boy.

Rewiring my mind

Balancing The Account

Here I am at Phase 2.

That’s great, isn’t it?  All the synchronicities and wonders combined to make my dream possible; the cottage will be mine as soon as the money – or at least the electronic messaging system that passes these days for money – has found its way into the vendor’s bank account.

Wonderful.

So what is Phase 2?  It’s where I select builders, scaffolders, plumbers, electricians, locksmiths, fencers, decorators and so forth… and trust them to rebuild, repair and restore the sad, neglected shell and make it fit for habitation.

Just writing those words makes me quail.

It’s not that I begrudge the money.  I don’t.  Money is energy.  It’s no use to me while it sits in the bank, but when I’m using it to pay craftsmen and they are improving my cottage, we all gain something from that energy exchange.

No, my energy is depleted by the old wiring in my mind; the wiring that tells me of all the things that can go wrong – delays from contractors not turning up on time, shoddy workmanship, nasty and costly surprises lurking beneath roof tiles and plaster.

Well-meaning friends and relatives regale me with stories of botched jobs, rotten timber, un-met deadlines and the like, and at 2 or 3 in the morning those demons hold sway.

Like everyone else, I have to fight hard to defeat the ‘glass half empty’ mindset.  Most of the time I’m gloriously happy in what some would call my fool’s paradise – expecting and creating a life full of wonder and success.  It’s just that when a new and hitherto untested challenge appears, my mind does its best to revert to the old wiring.  It feels safe there in its reptilian ‘realism’.

Electrical Wires Sepia

It takes effort and a huge leap of faith to once again embark on a massive mental rewire.

First I give my mind a big hug.  I tell it how well it’s done to get me to this place.  I praise it for being brave enough to take on all my crazy new ideas and beliefs thus far.  I re-mind it that it has helped me – against ridiculous odds – to become the owner of a grade ll listed cottage, dating from the 1600s.

Next I carefully and lovingly remove all the rusty, crumbly, outdated wiring – the ‘just think what could go wrong’ ideas.  Some are buried deep in my DNA, so it’s quite a job.

Finally I replace them with a new wiring system.  The energy this system runs on is free and limitless.  It links me into a cosmic hub.  It allows me to tap into the potential of pure creation at will.

Free Energy

Free Energy (Photo credit: AlicePopkorn)

A year or two back I wrote a book that contained all the theory of this new way of being.  But theory alone is never enough, so now I’m creating a physical, tangible worked example of it – walking my talk, if you like.  Several people have told me they find my cottage story inspirational.

For that reason, I’ll finish this post with the words I used to finish the book:

You are a perfect holographic part of the creator.  You are conscious energy; so is everything and everyone around you.  You are creating in every millisecond of your existence.  Given that, you might as well create something astounding.  Make your life a masterpiece.  The whole of Creation will be the richer for it. 

 

Available in paperback and Kindle editions

Available in paperback and Kindle editions

LIFE: A PLAYER’S GUIDE by Jan Stone is published by FeedARead and available to order from bookshops or via Amazon.  Do give it a read if you’d like some guidance on creating your own miracles.

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The Curse of the Question Mark

Ideology Icon

Danny, despite his speech difficulties, has an interesting turn of phrase.  He’s just 10, and yesterday we had our first tutoring session of the new school year together.

“So what’s been going on in your life over the summer?” I asked.
“Dood stuff!” he announced, proudly. “I had my birthday, and I dot a digital damera and I’m detting a laptop soon!”

He must have noticed my raised eyebrows. I know his family’s financial situation isn’t great.
“The laptop’s from a jarity,” he explained. “I don’t know what ‘slexia is, but my mum wrote to them and they’re divving me a laptop so I can do my homewort.”
“Well that’s brilliant, Danny,” I enthused.  “Aren’t you a lucky boy!”

Lucky isn’t really the word that springs to mind when you first come across Danny.  The youngest in his year group, he does daily battle with all aspects of academic study at school.  Words appear to fly around the page and refuse to lodge in his memory; numbers resist all attempts to become bonded or otherwise related to one another.  Several speech sounds remain stubbornly inaccessible to him, despite years of therapy, and his tendency to writhe, fiddle, daydream or mumble his way through the interminable school day must have driven many a teacher to distraction.

Despite all this, Danny remains a cheerful child with a gift for optimism and humour.  He’s one of the many special young people who have so much to share with those of us who are willing to embrace different ways of learning and being.

“Do you really not know what dyslexia is, Danny?” I asked, despite my personal aversion to the term.  “Would you like me to explain it to you?”

‘Explain’ is one of his trigger words.  I should have remembered.

“No,” he replied hastily, “I thint I remember now.  It means I darn’t learn properly.”

Well that set off one of my own triggers!  I drew a quick cartoon brain.  I drew two dots and a straight line representing stimulus and response between two points in a neurotypical brain.  Then I drew the response to a stimulus in his brain – all manner of weird and wonderful connections firing off simultaneously and the resulting wavy synaptic line that connected them all in new and exciting ways.

“You learn DIFFERENTLY Dan,” I told him, as I traced the routes on my drawing with my finger, “and if the teacher wants a quick answer, that’s difficult for you.  On the other hand, if she wants an original answer – one that no one else would think of – then yours is the perfect brain for that.”

He looked slightly hopeful but sceptical.

Mario Kart DS Bundle

“What are you like at computer games?” I asked.
“Brilliant!” he grinned. “I’m the best in the family. I tan beat everyone.”

Several minutes of sound-effect laden role play followed as he demonstrated his prowess at Mario with an imaginary DS.

“I’m not surprised,” I told him.  “Your brain is perfect for that.  It can keep track of all the different things going on at once – the number of lives and energy levels, the route you need to take, dangerous enemies and obstacles…  All those bits of your brain that work at once can handle that far better than most ordinary people.”

Danny seemed happy with that, so we turned to some of the work I’d prepared – the gentlest of introductions to algebra, such as

9 + ? = 13   or  15 – ? = 10

Danny stared balefully at the page for a moment, then rose in his seat, peering down at it with great disdain.

“Dwestion Marts!” he announced with gravitas.  “My arch enemy!  I hate you, Dwestion Marts!  You never reveal what you are hiding!  Durse you to hell forever!”

And that’s the way it goes – a typical weekly session with Danny, the boy who can’t perhaps answer the question, but has penetrated to the heart of its intrinsic essence with a clarity the rest of us can only gasp at.

How utterly dull our world would be without the likes of Danny.

Robot Building on Windmill Hill

solderingFor those of you unfamiliar with my ‘Glowjan’ alter-ego, let me explain that in amongst the other stuff I get up to, I’ve been helping to facilitate a very loose grouping of home-educated kids called Glastonbury Learning OtherWise (GLOW) for a few years now.  It’s shifted emphasis, venue and membership many times and almost disintegrated on several occasions, but always somehow it’s risen phoenix-like from its own ashes and carried on.

I won’t bore you with the details, but it’s worth noting that the greatest and most positive transformation took place when I decided to stop attempting to run it as a business, to give my time voluntarily and to let it roll in whichever direction it wished.

Back then it was (for me) a source of frustration as I did constant battle with a charitable trust for funding, while many (though certainly not all) parents pushed their kids through the door with a mumbled, “I’ll pay next week – bit short today,” and escaped gleefully for a few child-free hours.

Now it’s a vibrant community where parents wander in to meet one another and chat, bake flapjacks for our snack break and willingly help with clearing up afterwards.  The kids too are relaxed and happier, as they’ve all chosen to be there.  Me?  I’m loving it!

The weirdest thing though, is that there’s always plenty of money!  No more grants.  Families pay a tiny amount to cover the very modest cost of hiring the hall.  Somehow, though, there’s always cash to spare for anything we really need.  The robot workshop is a case in point.

I was approached by a wizard from Devon who offered, for a price, to run this weekend workshop.  At the end of two days, children and their accompanying adults would each build a robot from scratch and be able to take it home.

It sounded like something several of my GLOW kids would love.  It sounded prohibitively expensive.  I decided to put my energy into the first of these facts and to focus on manifesting this workshop.

I talked to parents.   I looked at the magical GLOW funds.  I found several interested families.  I negotiated with the wizard.  He dropped his price.  GLOW put in a few subsidies where they were needed and people started to sign up.

On Saturday the venue was filled with eager parents and children.getting started

And me.

And the wizard.

I was paired with ten-year-old G.  Both her parents were unwell – one of them very unwell – so I got to be her accompanying adult.

As a group we ranged from those who had apparently been born clutching a soldering iron in one hand and a bunch of transistors in the other, to people like G and me, who had never laid eyes or hands on either.

The instructions were clear, though, and thorough.  Step by step we worked through components and circuit boards, gears and switches.  We watched inspirational video clips of robots from around the world and discovered what all the jewel-coloured bits and pieces did to make our robots go.

robot half builtI actually made thiscircuit board

Steadily, our soldering skills developed and we began to make progress.

The wizard warned us that not all would work first time; that some robots would fail to use their little light sensors to follow black lines across the floor and travel obediently around the track with LEDs flashing.

G and I looked at each other.  “Ours will work fine,” we agreed.  G’s getting great at putting her energy into positive places.  She’s discovering how manifesting works.

Others were less certain.  “The whole thing will fry!” announced an expert dad, gloomily.  “The circuit boards are so small.  It’s never going to work.”

Theirs didn’t.

Ours did.  and it works

Ok, it’s not perfect.  Usually it follows the black line, but sometimes it unaccountably takes off on its own across the room, seemingly intent on exploring a far-distant table or cupboard.  When curiosity is sated, it stops and waits for G to patiently retrieve it.

We decided we’d probably imbued our robot (Mad Mouse, she’s named it) with something from our own personalities – happy to go along with the rules until something more interesting appears!

So what insights does the robot experience have for us?

There’s the beautiful energy that forms when a group is brought together by a shared passion to create something new.  Friendships are created, email addresses exchanged and huge amounts of fun are had.

And while we’re on the subject of energy, there’s the analogy between us and the robots.  We learned how the raw energy of a cluster of AA batteries is channelled around that robot body, being modified, stepped up or down, switched and swooshed and diverted about the place until the desired outcome is produced.

I can’t help but notice that this is exactly what goes on in our own bodies as we select where to direct and how to use our energy.  Some of the functions (breathing, digesting…) are unconscious, like current running around a circuit.  Others require imput from the mind – our internal computer.  We have to decide on the desired outcomes and build the program accordingly.

How great that our system is so clever and intuitive, that we only need to hold an intention, then watch the energy flow just where we wanted it to go.

Let’s follow the track sometimes – but not always…

robots working

Autistic by any other name?

I know I’m not alone in being neurotypical but utterly fascinated by the autistic mind. (How many other people loved Spock the best on Star Trek?) I want to explain why this way of being seems to me so interesting and exciting.

Let me begin by saying I have a big problem with many of the names/labels applied to people whose minds work this way.

I’m not wild about the word Autism. The first bit’s fine – it’s from the Greek ‘autos’ meaning ‘self’, and I’m quite happy to think of my autistic friends and contacts as being very unique individuals. It’s the ‘ism’ tag I don’t like. -Isms imply a lack or limitation, whether they are medical or social in origin: thus dwarfism and autism can be lumped with sexism or racism. They’re ugly words implying an inability to reach a desired potential. I’m with the wonderful and inspiring Satish Kumar here, when he says, “Let all ‘isms’ be ‘wassums’!”

I also object strongly to ANY label that includes ‘disorder’ or ‘dysfunction’. They both imply ‘dissing’ or disrespecting. They’re often seen with the words ‘suffers from…’
Now I’ve come across many people in my life who felt they were suffering in some way. Many of them had a condition which felt very limiting to them. I recall overhearing a group of six-year-olds planning a ‘let’s pretend’ game together. “Let’s pretend,” said the one with Cerebral Palsy, “that I can walk properly and…”
She was suffering.

Yet I’ve never heard anyone on the autistic spectrum complain or object to the way they are. On the contrary. Those who use words to express their feelings will tell you they wouldn’t swap lives with a neurotypical person for anything, and their reasons are always the same. They know they have abilities and skills the rest of us lack. Yeah, yeah – and vice versa, of course. The fact remains – they are differently ordered, not disordered.

So, given that I’m so picky about labels, which will I be happy with?
My favourite to date comes courtesy of a very special man called David Rowan: Autistic Spectrum Perception. That works for me on all levels and it gets to the heart of it. There’s a tremendously broad spectrum of individual ways of being which co-exist under the autistic umbrella. That diversity is to be appreciated and celebrated. And just look how different it sounds when Disorder is replaced by Perception. It removes the idea of ‘They’re not normal-like-us, so there’s something wrong with them’ and replaces it with a recognition that an autistic individual has levels of perception that differ markedly from that of the neurotypical population.

Now we have the label sorted, I’d like to explore that perception.

What follows are my own observations, based on ASP people I know and books, articles and other information that has come to me once I identified within myself a desire to understand. I’m not a neuroscientist; not a scientist, even. I’d welcome comments and corrections from others – particularly members of the ASP population.

A very dear ASPie friend once wrote me the following email. He was explaining his conviction that the increasing number of individuals diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum could provide our world with an advantage, should climate change or some other cataclysmic condition change our way of life dramatically.

What I suspect is the different ways of thinking, viewing information and processing that information – whether consciously or not – provides a better understanding (or different one which could be more relevant in a different or changing world) of what’s going on around them and also potentially have the ability to provide more accurate predictions of the future which could easily prove to be a valuable survival skill and very beneficial to non ASD people around them.
I think there could be very beneficial relationships between the 2 groups of people, though I’m not convinced that non ASD people would be able to develop the ability to think in the same way; particularly when not everything is necessarily done consciously.

It reminds me of Temple Grandin’s famous quote:

Who do you think made the first stone spears? The Asperger guy. If you were to get rid of all the autism genetics, there would be no more Silicon Valley.

Neither of them sound like they’re ‘suffering’ with anything, do they? Far less ‘disordered’…

So why and how are the ASP population different? I unexpectedly picked up some pointers when I watched the following Ted Talk: http://www.ted.com/talks/jill_bolte_taylor_s_powerful_stroke_of_insight.html?source=facebook#.UOlP0c_KPz0.facebook

An amazing story in its own right, but Jill Bolte Taylor also eloquently explains the differences between the two hemispheres of the brain. She mentions that in the neurotypical brain, the corpus callosum has 300,000,000 connections that link the two. What is the effect of that?

It means that in every new life experience, my right hemisphere is thinking in pictures, in the ‘now’ and absorbing vast amounts of sensory information as energy. This is connecting me to every other source of energy in the cosmos. It’s huge, transcendent and – if I could only focus clearly on what it is showing me – it can provide unending streams of information and allow me to connect telepathically with everyone and everything else.

At the same time, though, my left brain is analysing the new data in a very different way. It is methodically sifting through its vast bank of memory files in order to categorise my experience – identifying how it relates to past events and computing logical steps to follow in order to minimise discomfort or produce a favourable result in the future. This part of my brain thinks in language. I could live very successfully by listening to the chatter of my left hemisphere, except that I tend to get distracted by all that sensory and emotional stuff coming from the right.

Thus my NT (neurotypical) brain is playing some ultra-fast game of ping pong with every new piece of information that comes to it. That allows me to understand idiom, sarcasm and all those complex interplays and nuances of meaning that can only be interpreted if we are able to use both hemispheres together at an optimum level.
The downside is that I find it difficult to quiet my brain chatter and meditate, for example, or to apply clear logic to a complex problem without noticing my desire for a coffee or a walk in the park. I sacrifice depth of perception for mental agility.

In the ASP population, the linking mechanism between the two sides of the brain, the corpus callosum, is differently formed. It’s not as thick. It’s often not symmetrical. It sometimes follows winding paths, deep into one hemisphere or the other.

Depending on each ASP person’s unique brain profile, the way they experience a new situation will vary. What they can all do, though, is to partially or even totally block off the stimuli from one side or the other. As my friend pointed out, this isn’t always intentional or conscious. However it allows them to delve deep, deep into the information provided by just one of the hemispheres.

Spock was super-logical, with a brilliant left-brained mind. Yet he also possessed tremendous telepathic powers and could link at will to the mind of another. Remember that Tesla, Newton and Einstein are commonly now regarded as having been autistic and you can see where the advantages lie.

Fascinating.

I strongly suspect that as we begin to work together, with both populations using their specific skills as equal and opposite partners, we will find massive mutual advantages. The first step is for the neurotypicals to drop their chauvinistic idea that anyone different to them is ‘disordered’. The second is to find alternative ways to link with those ASP people who don’t tend to think or communicate in language. (Suzy Miller in the US, among others, is doing pioneering work on this.)

What comes next is anyone’s guess, but I’m betting it could be extremely exciting.