Over-thinking – threshold of insanity

Overthink not

Overthinking – threshold of insanity

When I started my EveryNow blog in 2018, I began to reread and redraft every blog before publication to make as certain as I could they make sense to others and the ideas are offered naked and free of concealed meanings, obscure convoluted expressions, or other examples of my own muddled undisciplined thinking.

The application of this methodical analysis is pleasurable and stimulating, because results come thick and fast.

I tease out into the open the logical progression of my ideas, I replace fuzzy areas of meaning with highly precise alternative words or phrases. I turn passive verbs into the active voice. I use nouns in place of -ing suffixed gerunds. I simplify concatenated sentences by trying to reduce them to simpler shorter ones each with subject, verb, object. Shake-down like this lubricates meaning and clears understanding.

The main criteria I apply is to put myself in the ears and shoes of my readers. I test every phrase, sentence and sometimes every word against its possible receipt by me as if equipped with the ears and eyes of others.

I have good reason to take unusually potent delight in this role play.

Imagine me in my late teens and for most of my twenties. I was too self-conscious of the sound of my own voice, and even of my inner voice, to be able to comfortably remain in company or in companionship. As they left my mouth, the words I spoke returned not as an echo, but with an instant direct feedback. Words from me sounded disturbing, because I could only filter my understanding through my own understanding. I could not hear myself speak as others might hear me. If I imagined my words as they sounded to others, I would imagine a room full of heads swivel in my direction, effectively shutting me down.

I guess it might end up like this for a person in long-term solitary confinement. We are all of us first and foremost gregarious. The environments with the most damaging effects on our emotional and mental health are loneliness and physical pain. When there is only one voice to pay attention to, the inner voice compensates by taking precedence, because it substitutes itself for the lack of the company and conversation of other humans.

In my late twenties, various factors combined to reset to normality the harmonious and effective functioning balance of my attention between the significant and the trivial.

(I detail one such event in this blog: https://everynow.blog/2021/02/18/a-story-of-50-years-of-redemption-and-salvation/)

From the time around these healing, self-reconciling events, I can date the beginning of my reintegration with the world of life, love and productive work. I could say I rejoined society from which I had felt isolated, distanced, unable to comprehend. This marked the beginning of a sense of a gradually rising tide of joy and gratitude for life lived.

Before this it was living to love – amusing, mildly decorative, but shallow, ephemeral, lacking in lasting significance.

After this I was, and am, loving to live – broadly capable of sensing and reaching out into the search common to all human minds and hearts for spiritual, philosophical and essential meaning to the experience of being alive.

I see in this flower

I see in this flower and in the faces of all flowers, condensations of nature’s beauty. I see clearly their powerful concentrated visible identities with no secondary or tertiary meaning or intention.

In the open flower is the face of existence, thisness, the Tao. With no axe to grind and no message to convey, the flower is composed in its entirety of the Gentleness of Being

I believe in the truth of what I see and say with all the fibre and iron will of my entire being.

And as I say it, I feel the absence of the intensity of my feelings as I am describing them, because my utterance, like the rose, is “I AM”, purely and simply, no more no less.

Without being asked, the pink flower contains all answers to more questions than exist in the known and unknown skies.

I can see in its impermanent magnificence the rose is a Library of Alexandria before that devastating fire

At Clare Roslington’s local park


Harvest helping hand

Corn stooks, Sedrup, Vale of Aylesbury 1954

I remember so well playing in my red wool swim trunks among the “Stooks”.

This was in the lush arable Vale of Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, where the locals called these fresh harvested corn bundles Stooks. With the Bucks burr, the vowel was lengthened into a sliding diphthong /əʊ/, like the vowel sound in “know”.

Our Hazel Cottage is listed in the Domesday Book [1086 AD]. Mud and wattle walls nearly a yard thick. A bread oven in one wall. A barn extension where a donkey was housed. Until the early 1960s, we, like the other thatched cottage residents in this tiny No Through Road hamlet set around cow pasture, had no running water, no mains gas and no electricity.

Hazel Cottage, Sedrup Green,
Hartwell, Bucks.
Listed in the Domesday Book of 1086 AD

I was a little lad with sandals. The standing corn stubble scratched and made tiny bloody incisions in our ankles. We cheerfully ignored the discomfort.

Peter Pilley, Sedrup 1954

I and a couple of friends, children of the farm labourers, tried to heave these sheaves of sisal bound corn together to make a cosy “den”. It was hot work in the early 1950s summer. I must have been very young, because the stooks were almost too heavy to lift!

Gilly Osborne, Peter Pilley, Wendy Miller, ‘Splendid’ Graham.
Sedrup Farm in the background

My mother was an accomplished painter in oils. Hanging on our wall today is her painting. I know that field well. I cherish it for its powerful childhood memories. It shows a field of such stooks after the huge great big noisy clattering harvester binder had passed.

The next group of farm workers would come with pitchforks to heft the stooks up onto a flatbed cart drawn by tractor.

Literally as happy as the day is long

At the impressionable age of 8, I was invited to climb up into the iron seat of a Massey Ferguson diesel tractor. I was shown how to keep the clutch depressed while the engine was idling. On the shouted signal, I was to let the clutch engage to let the wagon crawl to reach the next group of stooks. I corrected myself after a couple of juddering stalls. 

My being coopted as driver was not simply a benevolent treat. No one watched over me to see I did it right, or to be “nice” to a kiddie. I released an extra pair of hands to load more sheaves. I guess this was one way the local children got a taste of “real” farm work.

I remember to this day (after 69 years) it was supreme fun. The next time I would be driving a motor car would be around a field at school in 1963. My Mum, when she heard about it, became quite anxious after the event. When we kids came home for tea from frolicking in the corn fields, our Mums had to pick from our skin the tiny long thin black Harvest Bugs. The bugs were biters, though gentle ones.

Happy-go-lucky summer 1954
Hazel Cottage in the background

Sometimes we’d take home leftover lengths of baling twine. In 1965, I had my first car. It was an old Austin A40 in a shocking state. I named it Gertie. I bought it from a schoolfriend for a fiver. I was able to securely re-attach its faulty windscreen using a few yards of this excellent twine!

New Austin A40 – Mine was an old banger

In the 1960s, the machines were Balers. They left heavy rectangular blocks of compacted straw strewn over the stubbly fields. They made up into impressive haystacks which looked like houses or castles.

My Dad and I in wellies
Wendy fielding Peter. Her cottage in the background. A giant elm tree, too.

Haystacks composed of stooks were also huge. They had the charming look of an unkempt dog.

Haystack of stooks dwarfs Peter P

More recently, and less picturesque, corn is harvested and the straw is compressed into giant cylinder shapes. They are left covered completely in black polythene all solitary on their empty fields.

Big bale silage wrapped in six-layers

One lumen

One lumen

One lumen is approximately equal to the amount of light put out by one birthday candle that’s one foot away from you. My Huawei P30 Pro can take a clear photo of a scene lit by one lumen. This fact let’s me assume no scene is beyond its low light capability. Nothing is uncapturable.

When unlit outdoor darkness prevails, however, I return to recall my west Wales country nightwalk in November.

The effect of placing one foot in front of another in pitch dark is to strip away all conscious processing of visual input, and enter that un-modern, uncivilised, unlit, unvectored, primordial space.

Here all mental activity is reduced to one cause and two effects, just as it is for all life in survival mode. Base animal instinct reactions take over.

Alone in the dark countryside there is only either no trigger, or one trigger which releases an Either Or response. These bypass thought. These occupy 360 degrees of visceral attention – hairs raised, breath bated.

When I was walking round Ysbyty Ystwyth, the slightest sound carried this message. On it all military training is built. I rejoiced to recognise it as belonging to me and my kin from well before I ever was born! Clear and loud and deep in my body it is, “Either it eats me; or I eat it!”

Become animal then, I am returned to my origin, forever changed. Respect is due to the universal drivers of survival

~ Love’s presence EveryNow

The crystal doorknob

Through a sequence of good luck, I salvaged and kept this Czech lead glass crystal doorknob during ten house moves and over 50 years.

It was fixed to my parents’ bedroom door. The slanting rays of the afternoon sun were diffracted into spectral rainbows, just as they are in my photo today.

I must have been 6 or 7 years old, when I stood facing these vivid primary colours for the first time. I was alone in the flat. I remember moving my head slowly to let these extreme pure colours, one after the other, into my eye and so directly into my receptive youngster’s brain.

The explosion of sensory overwhelm transformed into something I was able to understand much later as an elemental transcendental experience.

These colours, even to my ancient adult eyes today, appear to me like the stuff of supernatural science-fiction. They have an unearthly, exquisite beauty. At the same time, they are most observably real as well as incomprehensible, outlandish, utterly indescribable intensely private personal experiences.

I can easily date from that moment till now my perennial search for all and any transcendental experiences to this first childish encounter with the wonder of sunlight split into its constituent rainbow of colours.

It really did “colour” my whole life!

I mine for magic, not meaning

The bliss of existence

Reason and reasoning set limits to the transmission of my experience of lived bliss.

The words and concepts academics use often stand like screens shielding the reader from an intuitive appreciation of non-duality, non-judgemental views, non-attachment, or unconditional love.

It has to be so, if they are to satisfy the questions people put to those who understand.

The bliss of existence in the full arc light of its own being defies analysis. True, it yeilds a portion of its omnipresent magic to descriptions of what it is not.

The questions people ask of meaning are like cars run out of petrol overtaken long ago by answers which never needed questions to attain motion!

in my EveryNow blog, I avoid cause and effect, question and answer, meaning extracted from hard fact. I mine for magic, not meaning.

In EveryNow, if I am able, I play with the elementary particles of awe that whizz so fast, they look to produce a steely curtain.

As I invite closer and closer approach, it is seen only as a diaphanous veil of excited curiosity through which I invite the brave to walk, dressed in fool’s costume, with furled supersonic wings of angels

Sight unseen


While I am out and about on my own Chatting to Things is there magic to be found in an intimate meeting with a stone or a flower along life’s way?

There is a kind of self litmus test that I sometimes do when strolling out. It’s similar to seeing if the power monitor light is lit.

I look into my soma, and I check over how my body is responding to an appreciation of a curve of stem, the stimulating sight of a striation of petal, the pleasurable noise of a whirring flick of sparrow wings.

I ask, am I melting inside like a teenager in love? Does my next breath hardly dare to arrive? Do I obviously desire to smile without any initiating movement in my lips?

Sick or sweet, elevated, neutral, sullen or despondent, I am finding that Love is present EveryNow.

That is how it is. That is how I know it. I am ten times ten thousand per cent alive, just as is everything and everyone, sight unseen

Singleton power?

The time is ripe to abolish singleton power. We had success for millenia when small scattered agricultural communities chose reliable people of trusted integrity to lead their decision making and to speak for all to neighbouring communities.

The time is overdue when systems of democratic process adopt flatter, more immediately accountable, group-rule management on behalf of the groups who place them in authority and who place their dependency in their hands.

One person one vote, Yes.

But “No” to handing total executive control to one person for howsoever short a time.

Human ingenuity and research and resourcefulness have developed and continue to develop amazing tools to provide for our comfort and health in ways that are sustainable.

Human frailty, fallibility and unpredictability under pressures of responsibility have proved and continue to prove terrifyingly catastrophic indicators of long term unhealthy development of worldwide humanity.

What benefit can any of these persons offer our descendents, if today we carry on allowing even a tiny number of ignorant and ill-intentioned leaders to do irreparable damage to our planet’s ecosystems on a planet-wide scale?

It’s okay to rebel. No complainant can carry legitimacy, if every one of us does not in everyday life think, do, say, or promote what brings about change for the general good

The power of one is the road to ruin

~ Love’s shared presence

in each and every one

will see all of us survive

E v e r yN o w