The Vision, The Father

I don’t often talk about my personal experiences with the subconscious mind or what some would call mystical or spiritual activity.

The reason is that I’m a pretty sober and conscious guy who doesn’t dabble too much in vaguely defined mysticism or nonsense. My feet are very much grounded in reality, most of the time.

But having said that, I have had a small number of visionary experiences in my life, usually brought on by the change of consciousness that goes in hand with physical exercise and exposure to the elements. One such experience I had recently went like this.

I was doing dumbbell chest flies beneath an open sky one summer evening. It was about 9 pm, and I was wrapping up my workout.

I’ve got a little home gym set up out the back of my house. Homemade squat rack, bench, barbell and plates, two dumbbells, one kettlebell, a sandbag, and a bag of resistance bands. It’s a pretty Spartan setup, and that’s what I like about it.

But what I really love about my home gym is that it’s under the open sky in my garden. I thought about building a roof over it, but then I realized that I enjoy the open air. Even when it’s raining, and it usually is raining in Ireland, I still enjoy my outdoor workouts.

So there I was, doing chest flies looking up into the twilight sky when suddenly I had a visionary experience.

The sky was overcast with a thin layer of grey cloud, through which the rays of the low summer sun shone golden and rose-colored. These clouds suddenly began to open up like a yawning mouth, and the clear golden radiance of the sun pierced through. I blinked, thinking I was hallucinating. But it didn’t go away. When I opened my eyes, the sky was still split in two like an immense yellow set of jaws. Then a great dark bird descended from out of the golden gap in the firmament and flew down towards me. I looked closer and saw it was an eagle descending from the gate of the heavens to earth.

I kept moving the weights. I knew what was happening in the back of my mind. I knew it was a vision brought on by the strange combination of exercise, fresh air, little sleep, and whatever happened to be going through my mind at the time. I didn’t want it to stop, so I didn’t stop. I shut my mental chatter up and kept lifting the weights.

Then I saw, beyond the eagle and high above the gap in the sky, a great golden eye staring down at me. It was an eye of fire in the heavens, and it was watching me.

Then I knew exactly what my mind had dreamed up. I understood what was happening, and I even had the early intimation of what strange series of events had led up to it. At that moment, I knew enough to explain it in an entirely rational way, which didn’t actually detract from the experience at all.

After about thirty reps of chest fly, twice as much as I intended to do, the great eye closed, the clouds returned, and the eagle was nowhere to be seen. The vision had ended, and I was back in my own frame of mind again.

What I had dreamed up that evening was a vision of Father Sky, Dyeus Phter, the Indo-European Sky Father God who was believed to rule the heavens and judge human deeds by our far distant ancestors.

For about a year prior to this event, I had been researching the culture of the Indo-European and Proto-Indo-European peoples, from whom almost all Indic and European cultures and religions are descended. These were migratory peoples who tamed wild horses and used them to pull chariots across the grasslands of Europe many millennia ago. They used their superior technology and their thirst for exploration and conquest to dominate the lands they settled. Their expansions served to populate the lands of Europe, The Near East, and India with cultures and peoples who were uniquely related, though still very different on the surface.

My research into that fascinating subject mainly consisted of reading numerous books and research papers and watching a lot of Youtube videos. I indulged in the usual staples of Indo-European studies by reading articles by Bruce Lincoln and well-regarded books like “The Horse, The Wheel, and Language” by David Anthony. But I also consumed content by writers and filmmakers who take a different approach to Indo-European studies. English historian Tom Rowsell creates great videos investigating various aspects of Indo-European culture, religion, and genetics, and publishes his videos for free on his Youtube channel, Survive The Jive. American author Jack Donovan has done a lot of research into how the Indo-European systems of worship might be revived and made relevant to modern people.

The point of all that is to say that I had immersed myself in a particular field of study for about a year. I had psychologically primed myself to have some dream, hallucination, or vision inspired by that subject, and so it was no surprise at all when it finally happened. Imagine if you thought about nothing but Christmas for weeks and months at a time. Some people actually do look forward to Christmas that much. But if that were you, wouldn’t it be entirely inevitable for you to start having dreams, daydreams, and maybe even hallucinations about Christmas?

Well, I think that’s probably what happened to me.

While I was researching the Indo-Europeans, I was repeatedly drawn back to their system of worship, particularly the character who was probably the primary god of that people. Although we can’t be sure because we have no written records, they probably called him something like Dyeus Phter, and his name probably meant something like “Father God of The Daylight Sky.”

In other words, the main god of our very distant ancestors was a father who looked down on and judged his people from his kingdom in the sky. The sun was probably thought to be his eye or lamp, and birds were perhaps thought to be his agents.

The Sky Father is attested in many documented religions in various forms, almost all of which share some common characteristics. To name a few:

The Greek Zeus looked down on mortals from his throne on the top of a mountain. Eagles carried messages to Zeus, and he even turned into an eagle when it suited his purpose. Roman Jupiter is a direct result of Latin exposure to Greek worship, and his name literally means Father God. His symbol is the eagle, which was the totem carried by Roman legions on campaign in his honor. The Norse Odin spied on mankind from his high seat in his hall called hlidskjalf, which means something like “mountain-shelf gate,” which is probably a kenning or poetic nickname for an “opening in a high place.” Like an opening in the sky through which the father god can see things. An eye in the sky, if you will. Odin sent two ravens into the world to spy on mankind and report back, and he turned himself into an eagle to steal the magical mead of poetry. In Vedic India, there is a father god called Dyaus Pitar, who is said to have sired the other gods. His domain is the sky, and his name is almost exactly the same as the reconstructed name for the Indo-European Sky Father God.

Piecing together all these symbolic representations from different but related cultures, we can safely assume that the Indo-European’s main god, the one they worshipped above all others, was a father who lived in the sky and watched people using his solar eye and his bird-spies. He has the high seat above everything from where he can enact his master plan.

I was fascinated by this character as I was researching the Indo-Europeans, and He kept coming back to my thoughts even when I wasn’t reading about their religious practices. I think it was because I became a father myself during this time, so fatherhood and father figures were constantly on my mind. 

Anyone who knows my work will know that I use the wisdom in old stories and myths to enlighten me and aid in solving my modern problems. I’ve never had the best relationship with my own father, and so I often look to stories of great father figures to offer me guidance. Who could be greater than one of the first and oldest father figures in history, one so compelling that his sons carried the culture of his religion across half the world? Who could offer us better guidance in fatherhood than the father of so many different gods, peoples, and cultures?

Think of it like this, and you might grasp the appeal of that story for me and men like me.

I am a father, but I also have a father, and he and I both come from a long line of fathers stretching back into antiquity who all embodied, in their own way, some aspect of what we call “fatherhood.” Beyond me, my father, and our fathers, there’s the ideal of fatherhood itself. The idealized form of fatherhood is embodied in the mythic character of the Father God, who rules in the heavens looking down on all of creation and judging what he sees. 

He is a father not only to humans but to everything that exists. He looks down from his high seat to judge the earthly realm and maintain a view of the vast scale of universal events. Therefore, he is the ultimate expression of what we understand about paternal parenting projected onto the grandest scale we can imagine. So what better way could there be to come to terms with the idealized form of fatherhood than to study the origin story of so many Father Gods?

The idea of a Father in the sky is so compelling that almost every religion and culture I’ve ever studied has some form of Sky Father, and the cult of his worship continues even today in the Abrahamic religions. The god of the Old Testament is very Indo-European in character, even if He isn’t the product of Indo-European culture.

I’m certainly not the first to have had a psychological encounter with this Sky Father archetype. People have been recording their visionary experiences for thousands of years now, and it’s really no surprise that so many Christian saints, monks, and mystics have claimed to have had visionary events of dramatic significance. I won’t list examples as there are so many to choose from, but the Abrahamic myths are full of people seeing the face of God, hearing the voice of God, or meeting with God’s Angels. The Hebrews of Exodus even carried the living form of God across the desert in a tent called the Tabernacle, and their priests went inside to commune with God directly.

You might dismiss that as superstitious ignorance, but how else would a pre-scientific people comprehend a visionary experience except in terms of religion? Even I lack the proper words to adequately describe what I experienced without sounding too far out or nonsensical, and I’m a reasonably scientifically literate man of the modern world with a modern education. If I can’t come to terms with it, what chance did those guys in the Bible stories have?

We’ve been seeing, or claiming to see, strange and mysterious events which seem to transcend reality since probably we were able to communicate with each other. Sometimes the face of reality as we know it peels away, and the structure that lies beneath and behind everything reveals itself to us. Usually, we can’t comprehend what we see. Some people spend a lifetime thinking over what they experience in these moments of revelation. Some people actively seek out these experiences using drugs and plant medicines. I’ve got limited experience of these visionary events, but even I can attest to their power.

There’s even a large and growing industry these days for people who want to undertake vision quests and use plant medicine to forcibly induce the kind of spiritual experiences the mystics have been writing about for ages. I know someone who traveled across the world to South America seeking out just such an experience at significant personal expense, and he’s but one of a great many who go to the jungle to see the face of the being that lurks behind the curtain of reality.

Considering all these things, is it any wonder that the vision which unveiled itself to me was an eagle descending from the heavens surrounded by a giant burning eye? My fascination with the Sky Father doesn’t mean I worship him as a god, not in the sense that most of you would mean anyway. But when I find a pattern of behavior embodied in relatable form, an archetype, if you will, I always try to emulate it as best I can to help me thrive in my own life.

That’s why I’ve been so attracted to the stories and symbols surrounding the Indo-European Sky Father, and that’s why the vision that was revealed to me was of Him and His Eagle. Because I need to understand idealized fatherhood for the sake of my family. I need some high and noble standard against which to measure myself.

The brief vision was a wonderful experience, but if you were to ask me what it meant, I probably couldn’t give you a good answer. I don’t know if it “meant” anything at all. I only know that it was awesome to behold, and I feel privileged to have experienced it. I feel even more privileged to have some general understanding of the psychological conditions which combined to make the vision appear. Experience is one thing, but understanding is even greater. I think I understand what happened and what it might have to teach me, but as a friend of mine suggested, I’m probably overly rationalizing an inherently irrational experience.

As I already said, I consider myself a man of reason rather than emotion and intuition. I’m not very intuitive or “visionary” at all. I’m actually pretty slow and blunt. I’m smart but not sharp. But despite depending on reason and rational thought rather than intuition and emotion, I always try to keep myself open to experiences of the metaphysical. I know that human understanding is tremendous and can explain a lot of what we previously assumed to be supernatural or divine, but I still try to keep my mind open to the experience of those things that can appear to be divine when we encounter them, even if there’s a perfectly logical explanation for it.


Because experience and understanding must go hand in hand if we’re to be truly human. We know we’re smart. We know we can explain a lot of life’s mysteries away into cold facts. We know there’s a logical explanation for pretty much anything we encounter. But none of that understanding detracts from the sensation of awe and wonder when we pierce the thin veil of our reason. When the face of the world peels back on itself, like lips peeling back over teeth, and whatever lies hidden behind the facade of reality steps forth, we’d be wise to keep our minds open to whatever we see. It might be a fantasy or the onset of madness, or it might just be the unfolding of a great and rare insight into the nature of reality. You won’t ever know which if you don’t keep your mind open to the possibilities.

We must experience as much of life as possible and then try to understand it if we’re able. But understanding without experience leads to machine thinking. Machine thinking leads to machine minds and machine men. But I think we’ve got enough machines. What we need is more humanity, and humans combine the earthly with the supernatural, the human with the divine.

So what’s the point of all this?

I guess if there is a point, it’s something like:

Keep your eyes open, and occasionally the light behind reality will shine into the dark caverns of your limited understanding. The experience of this universal mystery will keep you human and prevent or at least delay your descent into mechanistic thinking.

And we’re all at risk of becoming more machine than human these days, with the ever-present and ever-increasing influence of technology in our daily lives. What was once a mere tool of progress has now got us trapped to the point that most people are entirely addicted to technology and the convenience it provides. Don’t think we can depend on the machine to such a great degree without becoming part machine ourselves. The more mechanized we become, the more humanity we lose. So keep your eyes and mind open to things you don’t understand, and hopefully, you’ll hold on to your human soul in this age of technocracy.

I’d be interested to hear if you’ve ever experienced anything similar. Have you ever had a vision like the one I describe here? Contact me and let me know using the button below.


The Layman’s Havamal (Verse 1)

This is a sample chapter from my book, The Layman’s Havamal, which is available now.

If you like what you find here, I hope you’ll consider reading the book and sharing your thoughts.

To buy the book, click the button at the bottom of this page.


Havamal Verse 1

“At all doors, before you go forth,

Take your time to look about,

To nose your way in.

For you never know when a foe

Might sit in the seats before you.”


This, the gateway into the Havamal, warns us to be wary before we pass through a gateway. Wise counsel. The world is full of danger and enemies who would work their malice upon you if given a chance. Collectively speaking, we’ve probably never been as safe as we are now in the modern age of police, forensics, street cameras, gun control laws, general political stability, the relative infrequency of wars, and the general trend towards peace which seems to pervade modern Western societies. Sure, violence still happens, but I’d be willing to bet that it happens a lot less than it did during, for example, the feudal societies of the Middle Ages or the brutal migratory upheaval of the Bronze Age.


We live now in a time of relative peace, relative safety, relative goodwill to our fellow man. But relative safety is not absolute safety. It’s only more or less safe than something comparable. So although it’s generally not fatal for us to let our guard down when we go on a journey or meet new people, that doesn’t mean we should be complacent. The world’s still a turbulent and dangerous place, and it’s occupied by unstable and dangerous people. Some of those people will take advantage of us if it’s necessary and the opportunity arises. Some of them will actively seek to bring us down for no apparent reason at all. So watch out and pay attention to the people you meet. They’re dangerous, even the ones who don’t look like it. Perhaps especially the ones who don’t look like it.


Unfortunately, walking down any street or stepping onto any form of public transport will yield countless examples of people who do not heed the advice given in this verse. How many people do we see every day who go about their business in densely populated areas, surrounded by other people, other predators, with their headphones in their ears and their smartphones in their hands, heads hung low to stare at their feet or entranced by the dull blue light of their screens? They might as well be walking through life with their eyes shut and their fingers in their ears. Any physically capable man would only need the advantage of surprise over these people to harm them grievously and take whatever they carry, no matter how competent that person might be when in an alert state. Even a person with a gun and the ability to use it can be caught off guard and defeated by surprise.


This complacency and ignorance of our surroundings is a modern tendency that arises from the comforts of contemporary life. We are relatively safe, in general, and probably a little naive, so we feel safe enough to ignore people most of the time. Most of the time that isn’t a problem. Until it is. It only takes one time, one moment of distraction, for some predator to destroy us. So take the time, a long time if possible, to scan your surroundings and the people in your path. You never know when one of those people might take advantage of you.


This is good advice in all areas of life. But it’s especially good advice when you undertake a journey, embark on an adventure, do something or go somewhere you’ve never been before, especially if you’re with someone you’ve never met before. In other words, it’s good advice at a gateway.


A gateway is a portal that allows one to pass through a boundary or a barrier. The purpose of a barrier is to separate the inside from the outside, the familiar from the strange, Us from Them. We must build walls, metaphorically and literally, to separate the things we want to keep in from the things we want to keep out. This is how we order our environment. We divide the desirable from the undesirable by building walls. Even paradise had a wall. Those who dwell beyond the wall may or may not be our enemies, but they cannot be wholly trusted until they have proven their alliance to those inside the wall. They may be amicable and friendly to us, but this does not mean that they have our best interests at heart. As such, situations where those inside the wall meet with those from outside are fraught with tension and the potential for betrayal. Do not enter such situations naively, but rather keep your wits about you. You may be ridiculed for being paranoid or mistrustful, but better that than to be the victim of treachery because of your own folly.


Never offer your enemies the advantage of catching you off guard, whether you are walking down a street, sitting in a meeting, or entering a building. The feeling of security you might feel is entirely illusory, and the world is full of those who would seek to take advantage of your distraction. As the saying goes, “There are no victims, only volunteers.” Do not volunteer to be caught off guard. But do not give in to fear and paranoia either. This verse doesn’t tell us to be ever doubtful, fearful, isolationist, on our guard. Instead, it tells us to watch, be aware, and take the time to look and think, to analyze, to use your head.


At the intersection between you and The Other, make your preparations beforehand, plan your course, anticipate any dangers, then walk boldly through the gateway. Expect to be surprised, for it is practically assured, but prepare yourself in such a manner that you are capable of operating effectively even when caught off your guard.


Watch out and be ready.

Why I Don’t Tell My Woman How I Feel

People often look at me like I’ve got some sort of mental problem when I tell them that I don’t usually tell my woman (or anyone else for that matter) how I feel.


It’s not that I never show emotion, because that’s certainly not the case. I’m not actively repressing myself. My girl would agree that I’m actually a big softy underneath a sullen and sometimes grim exterior.


But I try not to show any negative emotion around other people because I don’t want them to be affected by my bad mood.


Feelings are temporary, emotions change, and what you think is important right now won’t mean a damn thing in a few hours.


To always pay attention to your emotions and attribute importance or meaning to how you feel is to choose to be inconsistent.


But I want to be consistent.


I want to be a calming influence on the people around me, a source of reassurance, somebody who inspires confidence.


“If dad’s freaking out, everybody’s freaking out.”


I can’t remember where I heard that quote, but it’s true.


People are subconsciously affected by the energy and mood of the people around them. I want the energy I put out to be something that lifts people up rather than weighing them down.


So I try not to let emotion show through when I think it might negatively affect others.


I try to be the guy that keeps himself together at all times, especially in times of crisis.


I want to be the guy whose mere presence puts people at ease, who people look at and think:


“It’s ok. He’s here.”


Do I feel like I’m that guy?


Not a chance. 


But I’m working on it, and that’s what really matters because it doesn’t matter how I feel.


What matters is what I do with my feelings.


The great thing about being a human is that we’re not governed by our emotions alone. We also have reason.


Reason and rational thought allow us to step back from our emotions and impulses to analyze our situation and determine what it means. Does the fact that I feel sad mean I’m unhappy with my life, or am I just being emotional?


I get to decide what my emotions mean or whether they mean anything at all. Usually, they don’t mean a damn thing because my emotions do not define me. My deeds define me.


So I get to decide what to do with feelings or whether to do anything at all with them.


And so do you.


You get to choose whether or not you’re an emotional person or a rational person. You get to set your own standards for behavior, and you get to decide what kind of person you want to be.


Personally, I set very high standards for myself, but do I always live up to them?


Hell no.


You might be surprised at how often I disappoint myself. But that’s ok because disappointment is temporary. Failure is temporary. Weakness and deficiency are temporary, just like emotions are temporary.


As long as I’m on track to move from a position of weakness and deficiency towards a position of strength, I’m good.


So when I’m feeling down, or nervous, or angry, or hungry (that’s an emotion too, right?), I try my best to keep it to myself. 


Because it’s nobody else’s business what’s going on with my stupid fleeting emotions, it’s nobody else’s responsibility or burden, only mine.


And I can deal with that on my own.


Should the day arise when I can’t deal with it on my own, then I’ll speak up and reach out to someone I can trust.


But not until I’ve tried to deal with it alone first.


Now, that’s not the same as bottling up your problems and hoping they’ll go away. Problems have to be dealt with, and demons must be confronted. But that’s a private matter, not something I share with other people.


Luckily (or perhaps by design), I’ve never had what you might call a “mental health problem” in my life, never been depressed, never felt despair, never suffered from nihilism or lack of meaning. 


That doesn’t mean I‘ve never been down, because I’ve been down a lot. I’m only human, and my sensitive little writer’s heart bleeds, perhaps, more than tougher men’s do. But I never stay down for long. 


Because what kind of life would that be? To be always at the mercy of your emotions, to be a victim of fate, to suffer because you can’t accept the facts of reality. That all sounds like foolishness to me. And the tendency to indulge overmuch in one’s feelings is the mark of a self-centered, conceited fool.


We’ll all have problems in our lives, and some of those problems will be the result of mental disorders. If you’ve got one of those mental disorders, then you’d better get to work on fixing it or adapting to live with it because otherwise, your life will be hell. You’ve got my sympathy, but only a little. 


Keep in mind, though, that many of what we call “mental health problems” are not caused by some cruel chemical imbalance in the brain for which there’s no remedy except drugs. Sure, biological deficiencies and genetic issues are a big problem, but a lot of people’s psychological problems, including depression, are caused by simple unhealthy lifestyle habits.


For example, the following are significant causes of depression and anxiety: 


Not getting enough sleep,

Negative relationships,

Isolation and loneliness,

Poor diet,

Lack of exercise,

No perceived purpose or meaning in life,

High-stress jobs,

Health changes from aging,


For that matter, these common problems cause misery in almost everyone, not just people with mental health problems. People need to have meaningful roles, positive relationships, good health, self-esteem, and a job to do. Without these things, we fall apart from the inside out, and our emotions and negative feelings take control of us.


And that’s great news. Why? Because we can control everything on that list. We can choose to prioritize our health, eat well, work out, sleep right, build relationships, pursue meaningful goals, reach out and engage with other people. We can choose to prioritize positive action over negative emotion. We can control so many of the factors which affect our state of mind that a few minor lifestyle adjustments could completely change our psyche for the better. For most people, your destiny is in your own hands. All you’ve got to do to live well and “feel” well is everything you can do, everything that’s in your power to improve your lot in life.


If that’s not enough and you’re still suffering, then maybe you should consider the pills or the therapy. Then perhaps you’ve got a problem with your software. But if it were me, I’d rule out the things that are in your control before I start writing myself off as damaged or a victim.


Sounds easy when I lay it out like that, right? 


“Just do the right thing all time, and you’ll feel great.”


But that’s not what I’m saying. I’m not an idiot. I know it’s not that easy for everyone. For me, it hasn’t been a problem, but for you, it might be. I get that.


But that doesn’t change a damn thing. 


It might be a lot more difficult for you to get your mind straight than it is for me or someone else, but that’s just the way it is. You’ve got to play with the hand you’ve been dealt in life. You can check out if you don’t like it, but that always does more harm than good, and it’s the coward’s choice.


I know it ain’t easy. I know people out there have it a lot worse than me. I’m glad I got dealt a good hand. But that doesn’t change the fact that you can probably make a lot of your problems go away by changing the way you live.


You can protest that you’ve got this or that reason to suffer, but I’ll only listen to that for so long before I ask you,


“What are you doing about it?”


If you’re emotional and know that it’s a problem, what are you doing about it?


If you’re depressed, and it’s ruining your life, what are you doing about it?


If you have anger issues, and you keep losing your head, what are you doing about it?


If you want to die, and you’re thinking of going through with it, what are you going to do?


There’s never an easy choice when we’re talking about emotions because they’re so powerful and spontaneous that it can be hard to keep up, but the fact that it’s difficult to control your mind doesn’t excuse you from making an effort.


When I was a younger man, I was a lot more emotional than I am now, but even despite that fact, I still wasn’t what you’d call an emotional guy. For as long as I can remember, people have always told me that I’m a calm and collected sort of character.


Even though I didn’t always have a tight grip on my feelings, I’ve always practiced personal restraint. It’s a product of my childhood. I spent a lot of time alone with few friends and few mentors. Anytime I displayed emotion, it almost always made things worse. So I got a handle on my feelings and learned to control them. I don’t repress them. I just control them because it’s always better to
be in control of yourself than to be at the mercy of your subconscious mind. 


I’ve never wanted to be the reactive or unpredictable one. I like being stoic, predictable, and reliable. 


But there are times when you’ve got to cut loose and let the mind run its course. You can’t be grim and stolid every moment of your life, so you’ve got to build a mechanism for emotional release into your life. 


What that should look like will vary from person to person. For me, I like to get physical. I lift weights, run, box, and do hard manual labor. I listen to heavy music and get into my body for a time. You might be surprised at how many demons you can exorcise with a punching bag or a barbell. I also write to consolidate my thoughts and understand my emotions.


But for you, it could be something different. Maybe you like to paint. Maybe you like to talk to people about your thoughts and feelings. Whatever. You do you, as long as it works. But those moments of release ought to be structured and carefully regulated so that you don’t get carried away with yourself and fall into bad habits.


Audit yourself. 


Investigate whether your habits and routines improve or worsen your mental state. Every time you interact with someone, ask yourself if they improve or detract from your mood. Every time you watch the news or a TV show, ask yourself if you feel better or worse about yourself and the world after you’ve watched it. Every day you wake up, ask yourself if you might feel better by eating a better breakfast. Every night you lie down to sleep, ask yourself if you should have gone to bed earlier or later. 


Wherever you find the negativity, change. Improve. When you find the pain, you find the problem. But don’t waste any time thinking about the right thing to do. If you find a problem in your life, go with your instinct. You’re a lot smarter than you might give yourself credit for. Try something new. If you feel no different, or feel worse, try something else. Keep trying until you find what works for you, and never give up.


If you still have problems with your emotions after all that self-critique and lifestyle change, then maybe you need the pills or the treatment. But even if you do, that doesn’t give you an excuse to let your emotions take control. You’re responsible for your life and your behavior. So if you have a problem, it’s your responsibility to fix it, and nobody else’s.


This is the process I go through on a regular basis. I’m a pretty typical man when it comes to solving problems: a stereotype, almost. When I identify a problem, I immediately make a plan to fix it. Sometimes too quickly, before I even fully understand the problem. That can make things worse, but it’s how I operate.


It’s in my nature to solve problems if I can. Sometimes my attempts to solve a problem create more problems. Then I’ve got to think of even more solutions. That sucks, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love when life (or my own mind) gives me problems because it gives me something worthwhile and meaningful to do.


I find meaning in fixing things and imposing order upon chaos.


I’ve been living like this for most of my life and I’ve never had a problem with it. The times when I did have problems, when I created problems for myself and others, were times when I let my emotions take control.


So I don’t let them take control, not if I can prevent it, and I’m a lot more functional than most people I know. That’s not my way of bragging. None of this is supposed to make me sound like a tough-guy or a man of wisdom, because I’m pretty soft and pretty foolish, and I know it. But this is how I think.


I recommend you try it. Next time you sense a feeling taking hold of you, whether it’s fear or sorrow or anger, recognize it for what it is and then just ignore it.


Remember that it’s not important unless you make it important. 


But if you do make it important, you’re giving it control over you, and it will usually wreak havoc.


Conversely, when you feel something positive and affirming, seize hold of it and ride that wave for as long as you can. I never hold back a laugh or a smile, I let those emotions run free.


Don’t let your primitive monkey-mind sabotage your life because you were too lazy or too inept to put it in its place and assume command of your own life.


This is what’s worked for me. What works for you might be different, but I’d recommend you give it a try and see if it makes a difference.


I almost wrote, “see how it makes you feel,” but as I’ve already said, it doesn’t matter how it makes you feel.


All that matters is what you do with what you feel.


There’s a lot of things beyond your control, and emotions will come and go of their own accord no matter what you do. You can’t stop that, and you shouldn’t want to. But you’ve got the choice about what you do with those emotions. There’s a lot you can’t control, but you can completely control the most important thing: what you choose to do.


So I’d advise you to choose consistency, self-control, stoic determination, and the pursuit of ever-higher standards of personal behavior rather than being at the mercy of how you feel from moment to moment. You might never achieve the standard you set for yourself, but the pursuit of that ideal will be worthwhile in itself.


This doesn’t mean a life devoid of emotion, quite the opposite in fact. When you’ve got the confidence of someone who knows they can control themselves, your emotions become an ally rather than an antagonist. You can work with how you feel, rather than being the puppet of subconscious forces beyond your control. You can release your emotions when you need to, how you need to, or you can choose not to release them at all.


The choice is yours, because you’re in control. But only if you learn to control yourself no matter how you feel. That’s great news, if you ask me. It means we’re not destined to suffer unless we choose to suffer.


I’m sure I’ll draw a lot of heat with these thoughts, but that’s cool. If you don’t like my method, you keep on doing things your way. I’m not claiming to have the answers for anyone but myself. But what I’ve outlined in this essay is how I operate, and it’s worked pretty well for me. It might work for you too if you give it a chance.

The Cold Fire

Picture a guy stepping up to a barbell in a crowded gym. He’s doing a 1RM, a one rep maximum effort lift. He wants to deadlift as much weight as he possibly can for one rep. He’s got a weight on the bar that he’s never lifted before. It’s close to, but just beyond, his established 1RM. He walks up to the platform, stamps his foot, pounds his (possibly bare) chest, grunts, grabs the bar, completes the lift. He’s got a new PR, a personal record. He can say without doubt that he’s getting stronger, he’s just recorded data to back it up, his training is justified, his life choices have meaning, his actions have propelled him one increment closer to his goal. This is a big moment and he’s, very correctly, elated. He slams the bar down, shouts, pulls a face, eyes wide, neck bulging, maybe high fives his buddy, maybe picks up the nearest gym chick and carries her off into the sunset to pass on his numerically verified virility.

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Iron Silence

Generally speaking, I don’t listen to music when I’m at the gym. I only listen to music in my headphones if the background music in the gym is distracting and I can’t do anything to change it. This isn’t to say that I don’t like music, because that’s definitely not the case. I am myself a musician and songwriter, proficient with multiple instruments, and I relish the opportunity to lose myself in the magic of sound. But when I lift weights I don’t listen to music at all if I can help it. 


The reason for this may be counterintuitive, but it makes perfect sense to me. I only ever listen to music I like, and music I like makes me feel good. But I don’t want to feel good when I’m lifting weights or grappling or hitting the bag. I don’t want to feel happy or optimistic or anything that might be perceived as positive. When I’m with the iron, I want to feel anger. Anger is a powerful energy that can be incredibly useful when purposefully channeled. When I’m working out, I want to feel every disappointment, every annoyance, every depressing thought that my “Thrall Mind” has ever used to weigh me down and hold me back. The Thrall Mind is the driver of the force of internal resistance which retards your progress and darkens your spirit. He is your dark twin who wishes nothing for you but stagnation and a dull grey mediocrity. This feeling can be emotionally conflicting and, if you’re like me, this emotional conflict leads to anger which can be channeled into purposeful energy. 

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Baldr Dead

Baldr (also Balder) is one of the major characters in the Norse mythos. A son of Odin (like most of the male Aesir) Baldr was said to be so charismatic and good-natured that he was beloved by all whom he met, and he is associated with light and warmth and the sun.


“The second son of Odin is Baldr, and good things are to be said of him. He is best, and all praise him; he is so fair of feature, and so bright, that light shines from him. A certain herb is so white that it is likened to Baldr’s brow; of all grasses it is whitest, and by it thou mayest judge his fairness, both in hair and in body. He is the wisest of the Æsir, and the fairest-spoken and most gracious; and that quality attends him, that none may gainsay his judgments. He dwells in the place called Breidablik, which is in heaven; in that place may nothing unclean be.”

-“Gylfaginning”, Brodeur’s translation.

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Mogh Roth: The Techno-God.

Smartphone Addiction sounds absurd when you say the words. What normal human being would possibly allow themselves to become dependent on the dim blue light of a computer screen, right? But as absurd as it may sound, smartphone addiction is a real problem, and it’s a problem that we are probably all affected by. That seemingly innocent but slightly reassuring blue light from the screen of your phone, a window into the unlimited realms of knowledge available online, wields more power over your subconscious mind than you might realize. On a very basic level, we find the blue and white light of the screen to be immediately satisfying because of its resemblance to a clear sky. Prolonged exposure to the light of a smartphone screen fools your brain into releasing the same hormones that it releases on a beautiful clear day. The kind of day that we can no longer truly appreciate because we are too busy Instagramming about it.

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If You’re Up There, Save Me Superman!

In the book “Thus Spoke Zarathustra”, Friedrich Nietzsche introduces us to his concept of the Superman or Overman. Keep in mind that Nietzsche was writing 150 years ago and his Superman bears no relation whatsoever to Clark Kent, Man of Steel. Nietzsche’s concept of the Superman is a contentious one as the man’s ideas are sometimes hard to stomach for many modern readers. Nietzsche’s legacy has also been misrepresented by many parties since his death to suit their own agendas. The ideal of the Superman itself however, is a solid one.


“Man is something that is to be surpassed. Man is a rope stretched between the animal and the Superman- a rope over an abyss. What is great in Man is that he is a bridge and not a goal.”

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