Can we control our thoughts?

Dear unknown friend, 

Is there something you learned at school that had a great impact on your life? 


We had a few hours of introduction to philosophy when I was 17. I heard about Freud  and the unconscious for the first time. 

I was shocked to learn that we "suppress" some of our thoughts, by pushing them into the unconscious where they remain active and powerful... 

I did not want to be unconscious of anything that was going on within myself! No way! 
I didn't want to have harmful stuff sabotaging my love life without me even knowing!   (I had though...) 

I decided to listen intently to everything that could pass through my mind, all the time. I listened to the good, to the sad and the dirty. I listened to everything. 

 It is important to know ourselves, and to get to know anyone, we need to listen to them. So I listened to myself.

I embarked on this great journey called "introspection"... 

 I noticed that there was a bubble of consciousness called "me" located somewhere behind my eyes, thinking thoughts, feeling feelings, at times enjoying life, desiring girls, fearing death, loving and craving, craving, mostly craving...and sometimes loving though...

However, I didn't know what on earth this bubble was made of.... If we are not our body, this invisible me-bubble full of things, what was it?

This "me" was like a floater moving with the waves of an inner disturbed ocean... 


I  listened to everything, I listened to the voices that said "you must... you have to... you are stupid... you are bad... you are ridiculous... you are a coward... you are not good enough..." 

There were also sweet secret dreams and intuitions... I listened to loads of dark stuff though.  

 I wonder whether it was a good thing or not, what do you think? 

 ...I think it was a good thing. I was the observer. I was not doing anything, not fixing, not changing. I was just the witness. That's what some spiritual masters recommend: to be the witness... I didn't know that at the time. I was just worried that if I changed anything, it would be one of these dreaded "suppressions"... 

 Sometimes I was not the witness. Sometimes I was just carried away by trains of thoughts and feelings spiraling out of control...

 I didn't want to do suppressions, but I did,  unconsciously. 

 That's what I didn't understand in the lesson about Freud, in the philosophy class. A suppression is something that we do unconsciously. 

 Freud and the philosophy teacher didn't mention that we have also the power to cultivate our inner garden, or if they did, I missed that bit. 


 There is something very subtle, almost paradoxical, to juggle with here. Being the witness is not doing anything. Forcing ourselves to stop spiraling in the dark is hardly possible. Trying to force anything feels like self inflicted violence. 

However, from a certain place which feels like not doing, it is possible to stop the merry go round going wrong, and let something else happen instead... 
  Today I still rebel when I hear people talking about controlling our thoughts. When I feel the passion with which they talk about it,  I imagine a horseman controlling his mount with such an iron fist that the horse can't rest when it's tired, can't go to water when it's thirsty, can't let the master know about what it needs to stay alive. 

 Of course, from another point of view, just being the witness may look like a horseman not controlling his mount and not going anywhere...

 What can be said with words is never accurate enough. 

 Between the rider and the horse, between the will and the mind, a loving relationship is possible.

Techniques, breathing exercises, visualizations, positive affirmations... are not enough. 


It has to be a relationship. It has to be love. 


These are donkeys. Donkeys are great too.... 

Growing up emotionally

Dear unknown friend,

Maybe one day it will be simple and easy to tell someone something like this: 


 "Look, I may look like an adult, but for some reasons, emotionally, I have not been able to grow up fully... 

 When a tree grows in a soil where there are more rocks than earth it doesn't become high.

Even if trees had will power, they could not force themselves to grow without earth around the roots. Neither can we.

 I am asking for your help. 

 I am not always behaving like a child, but sometimes I do.

I need to be accepted even when I am immature. It would really help me complete my growth






Bebrac a dab rac 014 (768x1024).jpg

 Of course, nowadays, talking like this would generate embarrassment. In the best case, people would just tell the author of such words to find professional help. 

 Psychotherapists are very useful, especially the good ones, but we would not need them so much if we were more open hearted and balanced. 

 The big issue nowadays is that many people who consider themselves adult, mature and reasonable, are actually not. They are emotionally stiff, which looks reasonable, but they are not mature. 

 As soon as they are confronted with strong emotions, they feel  ill at ease, they reject, they protect themselves... The human who is blowing the emotional wind is labelled "unacceptable", "toxic" or "negative", made responsible for causing trouble and kept at a safe distance. 

 Those who are really mature are  able to stand in the wind when it blows.

 Those who need to protect themselves against other people's emotions are still in a state of childhood. 



 I recently committed, once again, the mistake of believing that, just because sometimes, I am able to understand other people's anxieties and inner turmoil, I should be met with tolerance, understanding and a loving attitude when my own anger, exasperation or grief comes up to the surface...

 I believed that we were like mountaineers roped together. When one slips, others save him from falling. I was really surprised. They cut the rope instead...

 I won't give the details of this particular story. They  banned me from their presence. I was extremely surprised. I often spontaneously give emotional support. I believed friends would spontaneously do the same for me. 

S1010004 (5).JPG

  Now, the hurt child in me has to deal with feeling rejected. This is a deep and old wound that has be re opened. It makes me feel guilty, ashamed and bad. It makes me feel angry and resentful. It makes me dream of violence and black magic. It makes me want revenge. It makes me feel overwhelmed with dark feelings.... 

 When I am in this state, I try to remember what I believe in. I've got to heal my pain. 

 I say to myself that it's OK to be the way I am. I can love myself, I can understand myself, I can accept myself, because I am life and life is like that, like I am now. I am human. 

  When I am full pain and pain turns into resentment I try to remember,  Jesus Christ being tortured to death and crying to God: "Forgive them because they don't know what they are doing"  

 Jesus walked the talk. The more you're in pain, the more difficult it is to forgive. 


  Jesus was still conscious enough to see the facts: the unconscious mind exists. More often than not we don't know what we are doing. 

  When we are unconscious, we trigger and get triggered. One person's emotions induces emotions in others.....We become like dominoes falling one after the other.... 

When we can help each other it's wonderful. When we expect help from people who don't know what they are doing, we don't know what we are doing either. 

We are not fully awakened yet...

May all beings be forgiven. 


Breathing is Medicine

Dear unknown friend, 

 Breathing consciously is medicine. You certainly know that already. We always need reminders of the simple and essential things we already know... 

 I don't know how you feel about it, but to me, breathing consciously felt just very boring for many years...

 When the head is full of thoughts that are running like mad coyotes in a crazy cartoon, it's simply not possible to keep the mind fixed on something as unexciting as the breath for more than three seconds. 

 I've found a trick around that. Every now and then I start breathing consciously and after a few seconds, I quickly stop before I get bored. It's important to stop whilst it's still a pleasure. 

If only one conscious breath is not a pleasure, there is something wrong in the focus. Our body loves breathing. It means being alive!

Breathing consciously is first and foremost being aware of this love, and keep it in mind, if only for the time of one breath. 

arvarzatin 043.JPG

 Maybe you'll think that this is a ridiculously small exercise... however...

Does an acorn look ridiculously small compared to an oak tree? 

 I have read somewhere that the Dalai Lama meditates for four hours every morning. Four hours! That's impressive! But we are not the Dalai Lama. What matters is our acorn, not his oak tree. 

  Even when life feels very heavy, it's always possible to do a very small effort for a very short time, two or three times per day. ..


 We should breath not merely consciously, but  sensually.  Breathing happens in the body, it's not all in the mind! It's sensual. It's supposed to feel good! 

 Breathing is a self massage. It is a way to love ourselves. It's more convincing than looking in the mirror and tell our reflection: "I love you!" with such a solemn voice that the reflection bursts out laughing!

 I used to smoke before I stopped. Have you observed smokers? They are sensual breathers. They need a cigarette as a socially accepted excuse to enjoy breathing... 

 Why not smoking air cigarettes then? People would think it looks weird, but freedom always looks weird in the eye of the conditioned mind... 

 When conscious breathing doesn't feel as good as we would like it to, it may be because some pain that was stored in the body takes advantage that consciousness is around to show up. 


 This pain needs the breathing to feel better... 
 Breathing through pain is good snake medicine. The automatic mind will be tempted to make some noise to cover the pain and forget the medicine in the process..

 We can hold it, if only for one conscious breath every so often... 

 Sometimes snakes have feathers by the way, and they can fly! 

I wish you freedom. 

Spiritual love making

Dear unknown friend, 

Eros et Psyché.jpg

 Sexuality is a particularly sensitive area of life, or at least it is for many of us. Maybe there are out there rough individuals who have no problem being just instinctive like horny cockroaches when it's time to copulate, however, for many of us, psychological complications like self awareness interfere with the basic natural urges. 

 In the daft social world that surrounds us, a very toxic idea is that your worth as a sexual partner is a question of performance. I have never heard any male bragging in front of their mates about how sensitive they are in bed. It's a shame really, because in reality, feeling a dance of energy in your skin at the slightest touch means much more pleasure and connection with the other than having to rock and roll to get high... 

 Moreover, an orgasm rarely lasts for hours, not even minutes. It's far too short. Making love should be like feeling the entire bodies inter penetrating, not just the man's penis in the woman's vagina. Real making love is like milk ad coffee meeting in a cup. Let's make it fair trade coffee and almond milk to keep the metaphor vegan. The sense of being a separate individual should disappear slowly and the two become one for more than ten seconds. Eternity seems a better plan. 

Homme nu de Michel Ange.jpg

 What I'm describing here is how love is made in Heaven. Here on earth, the humans who are aware enough of  their subtle bodies, can taste this love. The physical bodies may dance tirelessly on all kind of rhythms, as you do when you are in a trance, but this will have nothing in common with the movements of male arrogance proving its power to a female absorbing it... 


 It is the life force which leads the dance. We are temples of this force, coming from spirit. A temple is always hollow. We are all female at the end of the day. Only Spirit penetrates. The rest is penetrated. Males should be able to enjoy that, without feeling awkward about their maleness... 


 Dear unknown friend, maybe this is just a fantasy. I don't think so, but even if it is "just" a fantasy, it's a fantasy with equality in it, and how could men and woman really see each other as equal, if this equality is not integrated in our sexual fantasies? 


 I wish you love... 

 If we were suddenly allowed into paradise

 Dear unknown friend, 

dieuze 2014 012.JPG

 Are you well? Do you feel the emotional coldness many of us feel? 

 When divers go deep, their bodies adapt to a greater pressure. When they come back to the surface, they have to make decompression stops - otherwise they could die... 

  If a Bedouin finds someone dying from thirst in the desert, they don't gave them a lot to drink. They give only a few sips.  

 The inhabitant of the desert knows that the thirsty guy would swallow the entire gourd if they let them, and they would die from the shock. So, in spite of their supplications, they let them wait for more...

 When it is freezing cold and you spend some time outside without gloves, after a while your hands get used to the temperature. The painful moments happens when you come back inside and warm up your hands... 
"That which is below is like that which is above & that which is above is like that which is below to do the miracles of one only thing"... What we experience in the physical world always teaches us some truth about the invisible worlds... 

 I once reassured a friend who had great difficulty in being surrounded by people. She craved company but she couldn't bear it! I had the same problem...

 When we catch ourselves not wanting what we believed we wanted, whilst still wanting it when don't have it, we, human beings, have a tendency to judge ourselves. All we understand is that there is something wrong with us. But no, there is nothing wrong... 

 The big mistake you make only once when coming back inside with cold hands in winter is to turn the hot water tap on... It burns! Even cold water feels warm when our hands are even colder...

 It takes time to get used to the warmth again, and able to enjoy it. 

 Sometimes  life is lonely. When we find the way back to human warmth, much to our surprise, we can't stand it.  It's normal. There is nothing wrong with us. 

coffee pen.jpg

 If we were suddenly allowed into paradise, it would be a terrible trauma. 

 Now, the great news is that approaching paradise slowly feels like paradise....  

Calming the emotional storm

 Dear unknown friend, 
 One of my best friends was an atheist. I believe in the Great Spirit. However we enjoyed sharing our thoughts and talking about our beliefs. We enjoyed sharing our feelings as well. We understood each other and loved our conversations.

 There is no need to agree to understand, no need to convince anyone to chose another path than the path they have chosen for themselves. I am not an atheist, but who knows, maybe in another life, I will chose to be one? 

 I am a Christian but I rarely use the word. I don't go to church. I don't believe in all the stuff they tell you to believe and how you should feel and behave... I am a Christian because there are a few things in the Gospel that speak to my heart. I am also a story teller, so let me just tell you a Jesus story. A small one. 

 Jesus was in a boat with his friends the disciples. He was sleeping. The weather turned bad. Soon there was a storm rocking the boat. The disciples were very scared, and Jesus kept sleeping. They woke him up in a panic! 
 "Hey! Jesus! We're going to capsize!" 

Jesus stood up in the boat, opened his arms, told the storm to calm down.... and the storm calmed down! 

 This was the story. I hope it was not too long! 

 Maybe it is literally true. Have you ever had this feeling of being somehow connected to the atmosphere and felt you could ask the rain to wait a little bit for you to have time to go home? Then the rain apparently held on and started pouring down just after you passed your door, saying thank you!  


 Of course this can easily be called "pure coincidence" and dismissed, but sometimes it happens and even though you can't prove it, you feel you're not alone...  At times, the same kind of experience repeats itself again and again, the rain, the bus, the person you meet just at the right time at the right place to tell you something you needed to know... sometimes life seems to flow harmoniously, as if orchestrated.... so why not? 

 However there is another way to understand this story. Whether it is true or not doesn't matter actually. This story is also a symbolic story. The storm is an emotional storm. The boat is our body. Jesus is our heart, and the disciples the parts of us that feel overwhelmed...  
 When we wake up, we become able of to understand others, including those who hurt us...  When we are emotional like small children we feel angry, scared, lonely, abandoned, worthless, resentful when we are not treated well. It's normal to feel awful when we are hurt. It's as natural as a storm. It is a storm. 

 We shouldn't feel bad about feeling bad when we feel bad; it only make things worse when we beat ourselves up for not being loving and peaceful. 


 The storm is natural and we need to become supernatural. By this I mean understanding someone else point of view and their feelings, along with ours. This is enough to calm down an inner storm. Understanding is all we need. Understanding is love. 

 The philosophers of old used to say: "Know yourself" 
 Today, many repeat: "Love yourself".  
 It's the same thing really. 

 Feel well! 

The Magician

Dear unknown friend, 

I hope this letter finds you well, relaxed and happy to be who you are...

This morning, on my way to the coffee shop I noticed that I was walking a little bit too quickly for a Saturday.  

 It occurred to me that I have made my life a race, which I want to win, because the prize is something I value and desire a lot, which is:  a life without racing. 

 It's crazy isn't it?  Normally, if the end of the race is the prize, I should be able to win straight away, just by stopping right now. Why am I racing? Do I need more love? 

I am loved and I can feel it, when I see my parents, my siblings, my friends...
I am quite happy to be myself, in spite of the dark bits I haven't dissolve yet;  life loves me, the Great Spirit makes me grow like a desired plant in a corner of the earth...  
Why am I still racing then? 

 Before it was different. I felt so bad in my own skin, I had so much to prove to myself before I could allow a little bit of self esteem and self love in, and become more able to receive love from others in the process... I had to race like a fish in heated water. 

 But now... why do I carry on ? I must be addicted..

 Of course, I still have a few important goals and desires, but I have evolved a long way and it's not efficient to be impatient and race race race...

By the way, I imagine the eyebrows of a few among those who know (and love) me going up at the idea of my life being a race...  Inner life and mental pursuits can be a race as well... 

  I am addicted to living in a state of inner agitation. 

Le Bateleur.jpg

 When I was reading these letters to an unknown friend I talked about (Meditations on the Tarot), I loved especially the interpretation of the first Arcane, Le Bateleur, in English The Magician. 

 He is perfectly focused. He is juggling with symbols without even looking at what he's doing. He doesn't need to. His mind has gone clear and silent. The oscillations of his mental substance have stopped. 

 Being able to shut up, verbally and mentally, is the first condition, and maybe the summit of the art. My unknown friend asked me, in his first letter: "Did you ever drink silence?"  

 I have never drunk silence as beautifully as he described it to me, but I have become much more silent than I used to be... 

 There are two ways to train becoming silent, my friend. There are probably more than two but let me explain with two...

 One way is to try to stay mentally silent for as long as possible, like you were holding your breath. In this way, each time we practice, we end up failing. Moreover, it's quite difficult, if not impossible at all, to hold on our train of thoughts. How could we stay there without thinking to anything, without even thinking that we are practicing an exercise which consists of not thinking? Because if we don't even think that we are doing an exercise consisting of not thinking, how can we know what we are doing?

...Try to stop a train of thoughts like that. As soon as you don't think that you shouldn't think, you start thinking to something else without noticing... 

 It's called the monkey mind. It's a funny trickster.

 The other way to train is to observe and notice the moments of silence which do happen at times between two thoughts... 

 One day I was on my way back home. I drove my car up a little mountain road. The sun was setting. Suddenly I noticed the sky. It had become breathtakingly beautiful. I didn't know I was still able to be so impressed just by the sky, but on that day, I was shocked by the beauty. I went: "Ahhh!" 

 For a few seconds, there were no thoughts in my mind. There was only the sky, the flamboyant red clouds, the mountains...
 Even when there is no amazing sunset over loved mountains to offer us an unexpected moment of silence, there are silent blips between our thoughts. We can observe and cherish them like precious gifts. Then they become familiar and they grow....

 One day, we become apt at going "Ahh" in front of a grey wall, because everything, absolutely everything is as beautiful as the most beautiful sky, all the time. 
 We just don't notice. 




2 Bullies on the Bus.

Dear unknown friend,

I was talking about scapegoating in my last letter, and a memory came up afterwards.


One day of last autumn, I was on a bus in London, on my way back from a gardening job. Two seats in front of me were three boys in their school uniforms. Two of them were sitting and one was standing in front of them, in the area near the bus doors. The two sitting ones were playing with him.


The game was not friendly. He let them do, though. He didn't try to put any distance between himself and them. One grabbed him by the tie and pulled, throwing him out of balance... but they kept talking together, like school mates do. Then the other sitting boy grabbed his hands and twisted them, until the poor boy asked, in a low voice... "please...."

Later, the first bully took the boy's hat. He tried to get it back but the bully didn't let him. He claimed he would throw the hat through the window at the next stop to see the boy getting off the bus, picking his hat and getting back on the bus before the doors closed...if he had time. The bully kept pretending he would do it.... but didn't. When a bully plays with a scapegoat, you know, they play with their emotions.


I was observing, feeling spiky butterflies in my stomach. I was wondering if it would be a good thing to intervene. The scapegoat looked so familiar with his bullies, so accepting...


But then I saw him take a fifty pence coin out of his pocket, offering to pay to get his hat back. The bully pretended to throw it through the window again. I grabbed the hat from behind. -Surprise! I threw it to the boy who said "thank you" without looking at me.


I said out loud:

"You look like bullies!"

The little bully answered:

"Oh shut up!"

I insisted. I said:

"You heard me!"


He told me to shut up again, I repeated he had heard what I had to say again, and I let him utter the last useless word.


This stopped the bullying anyway.


A bit later, he told me: "We know each other!..." as if this justified anything. We, human beings, have a tendency to believe that more is permitted with those we are familiar with. In a sense, it's true, familiar ways are ways we can't use with anyone. Does that justifies violence? Of course not.



I answered, a bit stupidly "I hope so!" as if things would have been worse if they didn't. Never mind. I had named the behavior. Naming is like switching on the light in the shadow...Shaming is not necessary.


Nobody else, on that bus, had said anything. I don't blame them. In our world, we are blaming far too much, and not understanding enough. Maybe on that day I did the right thing. I don't always do. If I took advantage of this one right thing I did to point my finger at others in an accusatory manner, I would just perpetuate this habit of putting others down to feel better than them...


We need to be kind with ourselves and with others. We don't do spontaneously the "right things". We need to become aware, we need to overcome fears, we need to fail quite a few times before one day, we do or just say the right thing for once... and it's OK. It's life such as it is. We're learning...


May we all be happy!


I wish you to feel good as often and intensely as possible!

Take care.

1 Antivenom for the soul

Dear unknown friend, 

a long time ago, I found a big book in an esoteric bookshop; the title was "Meditation sur les 22 Arcanes du Tarot". The chapters were 22 letters addressed to an unknown friend. 

 When I was reading these letters, I was fighting a lonely battle. I was suffering from soul poisoning. 
I enjoyed this friendship very much. It helped me through difficult times. Dear unknown friend, now I am writing to you. 

 Do you how antivenom is made? Venom is collected from snakes;  horses are injected with it. The horses fight the venom.  Then the human draw  blood from the horses, the antivenom is in it.  

 This is literally true, and this is also a metaphor. Dear friend, maybe you are a "horse" as well... It's our job to be poisoned and fight within our own souls. Whether we know it or not, we are useful. The suffering is more bearable when it makes sense though. We are making antivenom for ourselves and others... 

   A famous verse of the Emerald Table goes like this: 

 "That which is below is like that which is above & that which is above is like that which is below to do the miracles of one only thing"

    A way to understand what it means is to see anything that exists in the material world as a reflection of something that exists in the invisible planes, that is the psychological and spiritual planes... 
 If some beings, in our case horses, do make antivenom in their own bodies for the benefit of weaker beings, then the same process must exist "above", in the psychic and spiritual dimensions. 

 Another way to look at it is to compare humanity as a whole to a body. Some individuals belong to the immune system.    We are "white cells". Our job is the meet the poisons, absorb them so that they do not spread, and recycle them. We become the antidote. We are filters in the psychic world... 
Our whole humanity is poisoned. Guilt, shame, fears, excessive pride, a species we are really mad. We have fever! We do terrible things. We are putting our own life and the life of other species at risk. We spread suffering. This is very strange. How could we have expected Mother Nature to give rise to such a mad species as ourselves? 
 But, as Buddha mentioned, what is important for now is not to find out about the causes, but to heal! We will wonder how it all happened later. 

 Many people seem to cope with the poison well and live "normal" lives. They work, they have families, they pay their bills... we, the black sheep,  could feel very bad about ourselves by comparison. I don't know what color we are when we are horses, but when we are sheep, we are black. 

 On the physical plane, there is no confusion: my arms are mine, my neighbor's legs are his, he can't go about walking with my legs without asking for  permission...

 However, at the level of psychic energies, we are not as separated. It is possible to be a sponge and absorb emotions that we have not created. It is also possible to squeeze some of our own feelings out of ourselves... for any passing sponge to absorb! 
 We are all doing it all the time...

 At this level of reality, we, the white cells looking like black sheep, keep absorbing the poisons others squeeze out. 
Jumping form one metaphor to another, we are the ones who have to walk with the bad legs, and be blamed. 
 Blaming is one among many ways to squeeze feelings of guilt, shame or other poisons out of oneself and project them onto others.. 

 Sometimes we absorb the poisons simply by being sensitive, and too open. Sometimes, the poisons are violently forced upon us, like when we are blamed or have to endure all kind of violence. The process is called "scapegoating". In some ancient civilizations, animal or even human sacrifices were practiced. 

 The people believed they were offering lives to please God or the gods, when they were actually offering the blood of the victims to themselves, as a way to be relieved from their own violence.

 A scapegoat can be tempted to become a bully at the first opportunity. Many people switch from one role to the other, submissive at work, obnoxious in private...

And there are the ultimate scapegoats. The weakest one who can't pass the rubbish onto others, and the strongest, who do not want to inflict onto others what was inflicted onto them. 

I have learned a lot about the poison and how to fight it within. 
 Dear unknown friend, I am here to tell you about it...