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  • Writer's pictureBarry Shirley

Mumbo Jumbo News (Issue 10) September 2020

Updated: Sep 12, 2020

Hi Guys. In this September 2020 blog (Issue10). I would like to contemplate the subject of the, so called, ‘Journey’.

As in my previous blogs, I will draw on the views and opinions of past and current masters, sages, mystics, gurus, philosophers and generally wise people. I also tap into all the worldly belief systems, religions and philosophies to draw on ancient knowledge and wisdom. These blog posts are designed to only give you a taste of the information, knowledge and wisdom that is out there.

Before I get into the main point of contemplation, I would like to mention that in Hindu philosophy we are said to be currently experiencing the age of Kali Yuga (apparently starting from 5,000 years ago). Kali Yuga is the last one of four extremely long periods of time (e.g. a bit like seasons) described in the ancient Indian Sanskrit texts as, an age of strife, discord, contention, injustice, war, pestilence and disease, not unlike a winter of sorts.

The Vedic scriptures on the Kali Yuga also include reference to bad rulers, large migrations, an intolerance to each other and an overall age of spiritual and moral decline (what an interesting parallel to current times!).

This all sounds pretty grim really (until it cycles back up to a better Yuga age many thousands of years into the future – not much good to us now!). However, even though dharma (i.e. in Hinduism, right action/ right way of living) has declined, each of us can do something to make the world a better place.

Whether you want to take the Kali Yuga explanation on board or not, it provides an interesting context to what we are actually experiencing in current times.  And perhaps what we can each do about the situation ourselves – whether or not we are aware of our higher Self, our journey or the concept of consciousness and unconsciousness.

Interestingly, and in terms of what we can individually do, Dr Jane Goodall (world famous Animal Behaviour Researcher) states that she believes in the interconnectedness of all living things and that there is collective power that arises from individual action.

What is the ‘Journey’? – It is a reference to our life path from the time of our first socialisation in childhood through adulthood and eventually to become what you think you are or by awakening to a choice, which, if taken, then bifurcates to a spiritual journey taking you to become what you are seeking – i.e. self-awareness (see diagram).

In referring to a spiritual journey per se, it is nothing to do with any religion, doctrine or dogma – it is simply about freeing ourselves from the restraints imposed by negative or habitual thinking; it is about a clarity of thinking and sensing something else within you that requires you to be curious about it.

In further explaining the diagram; when we are born and in those early few years as a baby, we are considered to be innocent, pristine, a pure soul, a ‘flawless diamond’ with no ego or attachments.

In early and later childhood our emerging personality, nature and outlook are initially influenced by our parents, family, custom, culture, school, peers, religion/belief system and socialisation.  Individual development is formulated and there is early ego development and possible early barriers to recognising the higher Self.There could also be a whole bunch of questions and curiosity arising!

I can recall my own late childhood where I had thoughts about what could be animating me to make my body actually move and what I was made of etc. I also had quite a few other related questions with a fierce yearning to know more. Of course, because my childhood was so long ago and prone to very different social mores, I did not have easy access to any relevant knowledge or any guidance to help, and, I had no one to ask about it.

These thoughts of mine then became dormant until I could access some guidance in adulthood (in current times it is so much easier to access this sort of knowledge and guidance through the internet or books aplenty).

In adulthood, you gain more life, cultural, and social influences. This is where attachments, compulsive/limiting thoughts and habitual thoughts may lead to ego identification (both in your personal and professional/work life) with what you think you are. This could be said to be the destiny of the ego. And, it is what many people accept as their life.

Depending on how your own personality/nature evolves you may be ready and curious enough to recognise that you are more than your body. You may begin to recognise the rest of humanity and that everyone has a value and that there are choices in life?

We can firstly start the spiritual journey (if you are not already aware of your journey) to get to know oneself, our true nature and our higher self. It is important to understand that we are the same as everyone else – with the same life spark – the same fears, wants, needs, even suffering the same issues. And, that we can help each other with cultivating the right knowledge and breaking through habitual egoic thoughts that essentially put us in a cage (see my previous post on the ego).

You may have already had some ‘aha’ moments, triggering beautifully calm or serene feelings, when you have maybe thought; what did I just experience? You may have been accessing your pure perfect and complete inner/higher self (probably even a momentary taste of enlightenment). In your normal flow of life you may have also thought; is there something more to life than I am experiencing at the moment – what am I or who am I?

In these crazy Covid-19 pandemic times we all have been spending a lot more time with ourselves. Have you had time to think about the new normal that has emerged? Or, how the world has changed, and the environment, when it has been given a boost from less air travel and less factory pollution? Have you changed? Maybe it is time to dwell on how humanity might end up and how you are feeling about it?

These are the times to be more curious about what you really are and once you truly pick up that thread there is usually a great desire to know more. This is when people normally pick up a book on mindfulness, philosophy or ancient belief systems, to seek that further knowledge.

If you are ready to know more, you may also seek out a teacher/guru to take you further than the intellectual aspect you find in books. There is a phrase (attributed to the Buddha); that, ‘when the student is ready the teacher will appear’ (it certainly happened for me). My own view is, that you definitely need a teacher/guru or a course, under guidance, to take your curiosity further!

Whilst I have already mentioned a fair bit about the ego (see my Post No.3) it is important to completely understand it in relation to the journey. In this regard Eckhart Tolle (popular spiritual Teacher and Author) has written some excellent articles and books precisely on the ego barriers.

In his book, A New Earth (p59), he writes: “Most people are so completely identified with the voice in the head - the incessant stream of involuntary and compulsive thinking and the emotions that accompany it - that we may describe them as being possessed by their mind. As long as you are completely unaware of this, you take the thinker to be who you are.

This is the egoic mind. We call it egoic because there is a sense of self, of I (ego) in every thought, every memory, every interpretation, opinion, viewpoint, reaction, emotion. This is unconsciousness, spiritually speaking. Your thinking, the content of your mind, is of course conditioned by the past: your upbringing, culture, family background, and so on. The central core of all your mind activity consists of certain repetitive and persistent thoughts, emotions and reactive patterns that you identify with most strongly; this entity is the ego itself. ………..

Nonreaction to the ego in others is one of the most effective ways not only of going beyond ego in yourself but also of dissolving the collective human ego………...Nonreaction is not weakness but strength. Another word for nonreaction is forgiveness. To forgive is to overlook, or rather to look through. You look through the ego to the sanity that is in every human being as his or her essence……….The moment you become aware of the ego in you, it is strictly speaking no longer the ego, but just an old, conditioned mind-pattern. Ego implies unawareness. Awareness and ego cannot coexist”

It is also important to remember to focus on the present moment – it is all you have really (i.e. the past is history and the future is a mystery) – accept all situations (both good and bad) and let go of things that no longer serve you well. Augustine of Hippo (1st century CE Roman Philosopher) once said that, if there are such things as the past and the future, they do not exist as such but are only the present in their own times. The past, he says, exists only in memory and the future only in expectation. Neither is real.


  • “In a day, when you don't come across any problems - you can be sure that you are travelling in a wrong path.” (Swami Vivekananda 1863 – 1902 – Hindu Monk - brought Indian philosophy to the western world)

  • “The spiritual journey is individual, highly personal. It can't be organised or regulated. It isn't true that everyone should follow one path. Listen to your own truth”.(Ram Das – 1931 – 2019 – US Spiritual Teacher, Psychologist, Author)

  • “The spiritual path – is simply the journey of living our lives. Everyone is on a spiritual path; most people just don’t know it.” (Marianne Williamson - US Spiritual Leader, Politician, Author)

  • “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”– Ernest Hemingway – 1899-1961 – US Author)

  • “The longest journey is the journey inwards. Of him who has chosen his destiny, who has started upon his quest for the source of his being.” (Dag Hammarskjold – 1905 – 1961 – Swedish Diplomat, UN Secretary General)


  • Embrace humanity – work out your life path.

  • Live mindfully – be curious.

  • Recognise the ego – forgive others and yourself.

  • Remember, you always have choice on this life path.

  • Honour your journey – live big – love big – forgive big.

  • Try meditation, try yoga.

Compiled by Baz Shirley. Contact:

*See also:

Instagram: @ bazabstractart

Facebook: Barry Shirley

And all my previous posts on:

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