mind of a scientist

Season 2, episode 1 :

Mycroft : My brother has the mind of a scientist or a philosopher, yet he elects to be a detective. What might we deduce about his heart ?

John : I don’t know.

Mycroft : Me neither, 

[ Sherlock : Please John.

John : No, Sherlock, no.

Sherlock : John.

John : *sigh* FINE  ]

Season 4, episode 3 :

Fisherman : Who the hell are you ?

Sherlock : My name is Sherlock Holmes.

Fisherman : The Detective ?!

Sherlock :

John : *I can’t believe I’m doing this*

Morality : Never give up on your dreams.

u know what … i changed my mind… all u scientists out there who worked ur butts off just to have your research purposefully ignored by the government… do your science thing and bring back the dinosaurs… catch them ignoring you when a velociraptor is our next president…. like ding dong what’s that? it’s science, it doesn’t care about your silly ignorant opinion… it’s back with a vengeance… and it’s hungry, bitch

The Types as Character Tropes

Based on stereotypes, duh.

INTP: Absent-Minded Professor, Erudite Stoner, Gadgeteer Genius, Reluctant Mad Scientist, This Is Your Brain On Evil

INFP: The Anti-Nihilist, Byronic Hero, Because You Were Nice to Me, The Dark Side Will Make You Forget, Not-So-Harmless Villain

ISTJ: The Reliable One, Unfazed Everyman, Cloudcuckoolander’s Minder, Loyal to the Position, Obstructive Bureaucrat

ISFJ: Yamato Nadeshiko, Humble Hero, Tranquil Fury, Churchgoing Villain, Love Makes You Evil

ENFJ: The Paragon, The Chooser of the One, Warrior Therapist, Soap Box Sadie, Psycho Psychologist

ENTJ: The Leader, Cultured Badass, Seme, The Corrupter, Visionary Villain

ESTP: Determinator, Ace Pilot, Da Editor, Blood Knight, Corrupt Bureaucrat

ESFP: Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot, Plucky Office Girl, Obfuscating Stupidity, Hidden Depths, The Ophelia

INTJ: The Spock, Tin Man, Aloof Big Brother, The Chessmaster, Evilutionary Biologist

INFJ: Hurting Hero, Hermit Guru, Zen Survivor, Living Emotional Crutch, Knight Templar

ISTP: Warrior Poet, Street Samurai, The Hunter, Because I’m Good At It, Then Let Me Be Evil

ISFP: All-Loving Hero, Hero’s Muse, Determined Defeatist, Granola Girl, Mad Artist

ESTJ: The Captain, The Ace, Nerves of Steel, Corrupt Corporate Executive, Egomaniac Hunter

ESFJ: Crusading Lawyer, The Social Expert, A Father to his Men, Nerd Nanny, Evil Matriarch

ENTP: Bunny-Ears Lawyer, Trickster Mentor, Knowledge Broker, Cool Loser, It Amused Me

ENFP: The Pollyanna, Manic Pixie Dream Girl, Allergic to Routine, The Wonka, Revenge Before Reason

2

Scientists find mind blowing feathered dinosaur tail suspended in amber

  • Scientists have discovered a 99-million-year-old fragment of a dinosaur tail suspended in amber.
  • It’s “a once in a lifetime find,” as paleontologist Ryan McKellar told CNN, because it provides rare insight into the way dinos actually looked.
  • These are “the first non-avialan theropod fragments preserved in amber.”
  • he segment is believed to have come from a juvenile dinosaur, possibly a coelurosaurian.
  • The tail is covered in brown and white feathers, with bones and tissues and even some blood mummified in its amber tomb. Read more

follow @the-future-now

☿ mercury ☿

Aries mercury ~ the mind of mars learns through visualization; it is through action and motion that the senses are stimulated. mental explosions; ideas are immediately verbalized and the head is afflicted with pains from sensitivity and reactivity to the immediate environment; in extremity, this is war ravaging through the mental faculties. communicative abilities are direct, genuine, inventive, passionate, witty and immediate reactions are set-off in the light of the ego. a pioneering mind venturing onward inspirationally, pointing towards new beginnings

Taurus mercury ~ tree roots wrapped around the brain sprouting into blossoms; shows a grounded, firm, unchangeable, traditional, but obstinate mind like that of roots but also an artistic, poetic, youthful and musical kind of old soul like that of the angelic Venusian blossoms, that learns best through the wordly senses of taste, sight, touch, smell, and hearing, savoring life experiences with underlying nostalgia. 

Gemini mercury (☿) ~ thoughts and words come and go breathlessly and as fleetingly as rapid heartbeats, matching the swift fluttering of butterfly wings and the quick godly travel of hermes. the mind is keen, curious, clever, intellectual, versatile and overly alert causing restlessness and inconsistency. The speech and approach to others is friendly, animated, humorous and lively, and the transmission of messages from this position reflects a mind driven by logic rather than intuition as well as an urgency for connectivity and an endless quest for learning. childlike wisdom rests here, where there is always a critical questioning of “why” and a constant activation of creative cerebral surges.

Cancer mercury ~ the mind is receptive, nocturnal, emotional, reflective, and is working through an instinctually subconscious level that reacts with immediate feelings. Reality is distorted in magical moonlight, casting nostalgia, moodiness, and nighttime paranoia but gifts the mind with imagination, mother’s comforting soul words and a psychic sense. the lunar mind learns well through absorbing and listening to others. the memories are coated with wistful and bittersweet emotions that come alive with every instant experience.

Leo mercury ~ the heart is intertwined with the brain, making the words true, lively, loving and passionate. solar flares endow the speech with golden words and the mind with creativity and a vivid perception of reality. The sun seldom has a shadow, yet it certainly does cast one; although this position is prone to being domineering, willful, and self-concerned, the solar spirit is proud, dignified, free-spirited, warm, idealistic and glistening with theatrical displays of creative radiance. 

Virgo mercury (☿) ~ the cerebral nerves become focused in this earthy domain, yet there is an nervousness over detail; the eyes are equivalent to magnifying glasses that see what another doesn’t. The trickster nature of mercurial hermes burdens this position with repetitiveness, nitpick, fret and hypersensitivity yet blesses the mind with a thought trend that is cleverly witty, practical, alert, investigative, intellectual, systematic and analytical. The maiden’s voice is kissed with medicinal messages, where healing powers drip  from their words and into another’s broken soul lining. The communication is swift and sharp yet shy and timid at first and the native learns well in any given environment if the concentration isn’t imposed with anxiety tugging at the nerves.

Libra mercury- the grasping of reality mimics the justice of the scales; there is an ability to detach oneself from emotional undertones, an internal urge to defend the weak-willed, and an ability to calculate the world through several perspectives. The judgment is clear, diplomatic, impartial and the mind is buzzing with dreamy idealism, aesthetic sense, and able to synthesize oppositions and disputes to middle ground if vacillation is overcome. Makes for a charming and witty chatterer, spilling Venusian sweet song for others to hear.

Scorpio mercury ~ the mind is powerful, sharp, and perceptive of all things unknown working as the master psychologist of the soul. thought course is intensely secretive, willful, intrigued, suspicious, fiercely acute, obsessive, over critical and possesses an intelligent sixth sense. holds unyielding convictions and uses interrogations and investigation to pierce through boundaries and delve into the matters of the psychological, metaphysical, occult and esoteric research. 

Sagittarius mercury ~ the spirit has direct contact to the Superconscious through cosmic wisdom, treading through the waters of the universe on a dreamy pilgrimage, the mind filled with shooting stars. The currents of thinking and communication are expansive, moral, skeptical, insightful, inspiring and knowledgeable. The mind is often directionless, impatient and disconnected from the world but sincere, honest and filled with infinite understanding.

Capricorn mercury ~ the messages of hermes are filtered through the child of time where one is reticent in sharing ancient knowledge held firmly in the mind. Saturn weighs heavy upon the perception causing one inclined to intolerance, criticism of the self and others, and sullen sternness as well as an unwilling awareness of one’s own mortality, anxieties and fears. and yet through Saturn the fashion of thought becomes methodical, efficient, logical, disciplined, dignified, concentrative and ultimately crystallized, where the seagoat’s unrest becomes definite and clear from reaching the mountain tops, in due course spawning entry into the sky and beyond.

Aquarius mercury ~ the mind proves to be on a futuristic wavelength where one thinks outside the box, through the box, behind the box, between the box and so forth. There is a inclination to progressive societal matters, making the character good-natured, equal and universal. Uranian electrical currents presents the mind with surges of innovative concepts, intelligent comprehension, brilliant analysis, quick thinking, witty remark, and resourceful intuition yet may destabilize the mind with the spirit of the mad scientist, where ideas and perception are incomprehensible, offensively shocking, temperamental, fleeting and willfully intuned with one’s own perception as opposed to others. 

Pisces mercury ~ perception of reality is seen through a dewy gaze beneath the sea’s surface, where the thought shift is molded into a beautiful mist of imagination, empathy, sensitivity, psychic receptivity, and adaptability of environment. The way of speech is poetical, wistful, and mysterious yet conversely, it is paranoid, misunderstood, vague and unclear. Reasoning abilities are not strong here as the mind works through the emotions and extreme instinctual receptors. Neptunian waters can fill the mind with wakeful dreams where one is inclined to escape into the subconscious womb and yet also creates a visionary trend, where one is inclined to hopefulness, compassion and unlocking healing powers. 

Anon asked: “I get all these plot ideas in my head, but I really struggle with writing them down in words, to sit down and actually write, partly because I usually think too much whenever I try to write (like how the grammar is and how it sounds etc) and I always think it all sounds so slow and boring when I write my ideas down… which leads me to just “write” the story in my head instead of actually writing it :/. Do you’ve any advice on how to stop doing that? Because it’s really frustrating!”
 

Originally a question for It’s a Writer Thing, but it was decided that answering it on this blog would be better for the less technical answer and the more actionable answer!

This answer will cover two reasons why my suggestion works, and one alternative if you don’t like the first piece of advice.

-       You Need to Stop Caring So Much

Your main problem is you’re overthinking things, which is natural, because you want this scene to be perfect. As perfect as it was in your head, and every moment it doesn’t do that, you become more frustrated and your creativity is more stifled.

Those grammar and word choices worries aren’t about grammar or word choice – it’s your mind battling with the cosmic issue of scientists not getting off their butts and creating a device that projects thoughts onto paper yet. There’s nothing wrong with your writing. You have created an impeccable scene in your head, and the more impeccable it is, the more dissatisfied you’ll be with writing it.

-       So, the solution:

Drink wine. No, seriously. Carve out an evening to yourself, put on some music that inspires you to write or that serves as the background music of a scene you want, get a glass of wine (or three), and sit down.

Drink the first glass of wine.

Play the music and start brainstorming the scene. Let it play out in your head. Let yourself get a little crazy in the details because you’re not writing yet, you’re brainstorming.

If you smoke, have a cigarette, and start on the second glass of wine.

Now start writing.

-       Why This Works

Wine takes the edge off. Stronger alcohol can work too, because it’s called liquid courage for a reason. It makes you stop CARING so much if it’s perfect, so that your mind can relax enough to actually write the scene as good as it can be. If you drink too much, then you’ll have problems with the keys, so know your own limit and drink just until you just have that nice buzz that makes you not so upset if this draft turns out less than satisfactory.

Trust me, when you look at it later, it will be 80% better than you thought it’d be.

-       The Sectioned Off Evening Itself Does Wonders

Knowing that you are just messing around with the scene for the next few hours – that it doesn’t have to be perfect; that it doesn’t have to be really anything, since you’re just having an enjoyable writing session – will take half the edge off.

You’re not here to do miracles – you’re here to chill out with a nice glass of wine and enjoy yourself! Even if you just brainstorm it in your head and write down notes to fill out later, that’s for later! You accomplished something. Good for you.

-      If You Don’t Drink

That’s fine. I’m not telling anyone to start drinking if they don’t like it, or encouraging alcoholics to fall off the bandwagon for the sake of a scene. … unless it’s a really good scene.

I jest.

The key is to chill out. So whatever makes you relax, calm down, and cast off the more anxious side of yourself, do it.

If you smoke, have a cigarette. Or five.

If you like a warm bath, get a notebook and try your best to keep it dry, or if you have nerves of steel, take your chances with the laptop.

If chocolate eases your nerves, get a bag of Hersey’s Kisses and go for it.

Just remember that you have to not only kill that usual tension that life brings, but you have to go one step further to make your inner critic decide to quiet down for the night.

-       To Wrap Around

The key is to calm down. Then calm down some more. Calm down clear to the point where your “give a damn” function is disabled for the night. You can accomplish some pretty amazing things when you don’t care so much. Then the scene at least has words on it – and you can always work with a bad scene, but never a nonexistent scene.

Hope this helps!

Gravity Falls AU

Rather than being twins, Lance and Pidge are best friends who wind up at the Mystery Shack because of Pidge. She’s been searching for cryptids her whole life, and she has a pen pal by the name of Hunk who is constantly sharing all of these stories about his home town and the weird things that go on there. So, directly after graduating high school, the two of them set out to Altea (Gravity Falls).

Pidge here is, obviously, taking the place of Dipper. She’s searching for the abnormal, the mysterious, wants to prove to Lance that things like Bigfoot and aliens do exist. Her older brother Matt went missing when she was just a kid, and she’s convinced something paranormal took him and needs to prove it. He was 16 when he disappeared, she was 8, and he vanished while on his yearly camping trip with some friends in Altea. 

Lance becomes Mabel, obsessed with knitting and boys (and girls) and, even though he is skeptical about all things supernatural (except ghosts, ghosts are totally real), he cares about Pidge a lot and he knows she wants to find Matt. He calls her the little sister he wanted instead of the ones he got (she’s a year younger than him, skipped a grade in middle school, and he stood up for her against a bunch of bullies. They’ve been joined at the hip since). 

Hunk, Pidge’s pen pal in this au, is Soos. He works for the Mystery Shack, so he gets a first hand look at everything that goes on in the woods surrounding the area. He has also just graduated high school and is saving money, taking a skip year before going to college for engineering, and his friend Shiro offered him the job. 

Shiro is replacing Grunkle Stan. Shiro is 25, and he moved up to Oregon after a camping incident that happened when he was just 16 (shocker, same one that made Matt vanish). He’s agreed to take Pidge and Lance in when they get there, seeing as he has an extra room upstairs, so long as they pitch in every now and then. If Hunk trusts them, so does he, but Hunk failed to mention that Pidge was Matt’s sister, so the moment Shiro lays eyes on Pidge he almost passes out, she looks so much like Matt. Pidge doesn’t recognize Shiro, having only met him twice, before he had scars and muscles and a prosthetic (which he got from a nasty encounter with a certain shapeshifter), so he keeps quiet about her missing brother. 

The only other person who works at the Mystery Shack is Keith, taking on the role of Wendy. He has a rocky relationship with his father and brothers and spends most of his time working. He’s fairly chill, irked but amused by Lance’s cheerfulness and Pidge’s enthusiasm. 

Couple of other, minor things:

- Kaltenecker instead of Waddles

- Haggar instead of Bill (lets be honest, she’s the real villain of Voltron)

- Coran as McGucket; his mind was fried a long time ago, but he’s still an incredibly brilliant scientist and inventor, and anyone who sits down and talks to him realizes that he’s actually kind of a genius. 

- There wasn’t really a character that fit Allura super well, so we’ll say she replaces Lazy Susan and owns the diner. She flirts with Shiro every single time he comes in, and can kick ass when necessary. Her father was the former mayor.

- Shiro, unlike Grunkle Stan, isn’t scroogey about his money for greed reasons. He needs it to fund his underground research into what happened to Matt. Of course, he knows; Matt was sucked into a portal directly on top of the property where Shiro built the Mystery Shack. But he needs to figure out how to get him back. 

- Zarkon is a bit of a lesser evil; he’s the shapeshifter that Lance and Pidge find in the bunker under the Shack, and he’s obsessed with getting the journal back. 

- Among the things they run into: Arusians (replacing the gnomes, and slightly less hostile), Luxia, a mermaid stuck in the local pool, a bunch of Galra who attempt to teach Lance about manliness (Manotaurs; cue I’ll Make a Man Out of You sequence with Thace and Ulaz), Nyma, a video game that tries to kill Lance (Giffany), and Balmerans, who they find trapped in the underground sap whatnot after Kaltenecker gets stolen by a pterodactyl (cows belong outdoors, Lance). 

- Keith is a champion at climbing trees, skinning things, and all around being a badass. Lance is more than a little infatuated. 

- Voltron is created when all five of Matt’s journals are brought together, forming a spell that has the ability to defeat Haggar, who drove Matt insane during the camping trip. 

- Pidge constantly thinks the handwriting in the journals looks familiar, but she can’t quite place why.

- Matt started the journals when he and Shiro were 12, when they first started going camping in Altea with their parents, and continued them all up until he was 16, when Haggar started harassing him. He hid four of them around the town, paranoid that someone was going to find them, and entrusted the last one to Shiro before he was swallowed up by the portal. Each of them is marked by a different color on the “V” symbol; the one Shiro has is black, and the one Pidge finds is green. Lance later finds a blue one hidden behind the arcade.

- Sendak becomes Gideon, and he’s found the yellow one. When he’s defeated, Shiro takes that one for himself. 

- Pidge’s symbol remains the pine tree, seeing as she is a nature spirit. Lance, instead of being a shooting star, is a wave, Shiro a bolt of lightning, Keith a flame, and Hunk a mountain. Allura is a flower (shaped suspiciously like a juniberry) and Coran is a wrench. Matt, when he comes back, is the Voltron “V”

- If none of this convinces you: 

Look at this cute doodle by @artsyfalafel of Pidge in Dipper wear and Lance in a mermaid sweater

Andromeda Ask Meme [SPOILERS]

Thirty Questions About Your Decisions

It’s been a month since the game has launched, and anyone who has finished playing has probably been itching to talk about it.  I know I have!  So let’s get into the real nitty gritty of the choices we made.  Drop a few numbers in my ask box, and reblog so your followers can ask you! (Due to the spoilery nature of the questions, 25 are behind a cut)

The Basics:
1. Male or Female Ryder?
2. Feelings on being the Pathfinder?
3. Your Pathfinder’s feelings on SAM?
4. When your comatose sibling asked about the current situation in Andromeda, did Ryder lie or tell the truth about Alec Ryder and Habitat 7? Why?
5. Romantic entanglements, if any, and hopes for a future with your partner?

Keep reading

cecil's neurodivergent headcanons list

this is list is by no means complete. I’ll update it when I’ve more to add. if you’ve got one, reply it and I’ll edit it on! the list so far is:

  • Dr Spencer Reid (Criminal Minds) — Asperger’s
  • Carlos the Scientist (Welcome to Night Vale) — Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Kevin (Welcome to Night Vale) — PTSD, psychosis (possibly due to the same things that caused his PTSD)
  • Hercules Mulligan (Hamilton) — Tourette’s
  • Cecil Palmer (Welcome to Night Vale) — ADHD
  • Freed Justine (Fairy Tail) — Autism Spectrum Disorder

anonymous asked:

Hey, if you're not too busy, i was wondering what podcasts you listen to/would recommend? I started listening to the bright sessions and Mabel after seeing you reblog/post about them and i seem to have such trouble finding new ones to listen to. Thanks!

aI AM NEVER TOO BUSY TO TALK ABOUT PODCASTS.

Also, I listen to a HUGE number and I have been meaning to make a list.

so OK, here we go! /Mario 

http://mabelpodcast.com is amazing, it’s an eerie story about a woman trying to get in touch with the estranged granddaughter of the woman she takes care of as a live-in nurse. There’s ghosts, or faeries, or something else eerie.

http://thebrightsessions.com is a sweet, light podcast about a bunch of kids (high school and college age) who have superpowers and go to therapy. There’s a thriller element, lots of queer rep, and tons of in-world documents/blogs/etc created.

http://www.kingfallsam.com/ is about the radio hosts of the overnight call-in show in King Falls, a town where the weird happens.  Reminds me of Eerie, Indiana, if you ever saw that show.

http://withinthewires.com is by the Welcome to Night Vale people and it’s a creepy horror story about an oppressive regime and women escaping from it, and sisters and love and memory and identity.

https://arsparadoxica.com/ is a cold-war-style spy show about time travel and accidental history and science and people who are broken in interesting ways.

http://www.albasalix.com/ is a silly fairy-tale comedy that reminds me in all the best ways of a great sitcom. It’s about the grumpy Royal Physician to the King in a fantasy land and the idiots that plague her.

http://woodenovercoats.com/ reminds me instead of the great old British comedies like Fawlty Towers and Are You Being Served? It’s about a struggling funeral home on a tiny island and is lightly surreal. (It’s narrated by a mouse, for starters).

http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/panoply/the-message The Message and Life After are each one-season shows on this same stream. The Message is about a dangerous sound/music being studied; lif-e.af/ter is about people who live on via their social media profiles after death.

http://iriscasefiles.tumblr.com only has two eps, but it’s a cool adventure-y mystery in outerspace about a biologist and, I think, a revolution.

http://www.wolf359.fm/ is incredible, it’s about a small crew on a deep-space science mission that quickly goes bad – but it’s funny and charming and full of found family.

http://www.thepenumbrapodcast.com/ is a genre-bending semi-noir podcast about a grand hotel just this side of nowhere and the people that inhabit it.

http://thebridgepod.com is a tale of the transcontinental bridge, a once-grand project that has fallen to ruin, the mystery of what happened to those who once lived there, and deep-sea monsters and the eco-terrorists who love'em.

http://pleasuretownshow.com/ is about a turn of the century town in Oklahoma that was once envisioned as a hedonistic utopia but quickly fell to the vaguarities of man.

http://thrillingadventurehour.com/ now rarely updated, but with tons of back episodes – an old-school radio play type show.  The two stories that anchor it are Sparks Nevada, Marshall on Mars (space cowboys!) and Beyond Belief (glamorous NYC couple drinks, encounters the supernatural, amuses themselves by resolving problems) but there are quite a few serial shows.

http://www.eos10.com/ is about a couple of doctors on a space station that serves as an intergalactic travel hub, and is silly and ridiculous and worth it.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-elysium-project/id955156631?mt=2 is about folks who were experimented on and given strange powers, and have now escaped from the people who had them captive.  Really interesting take on how the powers work, IMO, and definitely scary sometimes.

http://rustyquill.com/the-magnus-archives/ is a weekly reading from, well, The Magnus Archives, a collection of eerie, horror-tastic documents in possession of a group that specializes in studying the weird.

http://www.archive81.com/ is also about both the library and librarian of a weird collection.  I stopped listening at the beginning of season 2 because of some pretty explicitly on-tape torture, but before that it was good.

https://www.lessergodspodcast.com/ is about the Final Five – the last generation of humans after a reproductive apocalypse.  They live in decadent fame as the world ends and people desperately try to create more people.  I wish this was fully acted rather than read in-perspective, I have a hard time keeping characters apart sometimes, but it’s good stuff in terms of world-building.

https://greaterbostonshow.com/ reminds me of a slightly more serious Douglas Adams, it’s a slightly surreal show about people in Boston and…weirdness.

http://www.returnhomepodcast.com/ is about an ordinary guy who returns home to find his dad has forgotten him, his mother is missing, and the Society of Shadows needs him.  The writing starts out pretty cliche but it gets better as the show goes on.

http://www.ourfaircity.com/ is a post-apocalyptic sci-fi… I’m not sure what to call it.  It’s not a comedy, but it is weirdly funny.  It’s not horror, but it can be horrific.  I have audio processing issues and this one gives me trouble, but when I can puzzle it through it’s usually worth it.

http://www.limetownstories.com/ is so so so good and I so hope for another season – a decade ago a scientific collective/town disappeared completely, to a person.  A reporter related to one of them investigates what could happen.  Heart-poundingly scary in all the best ways.

http://pnwstories.com/ has The Black Tapes, Tanis, and Rabbits, all presented as very ordinary NPR-style podcasts about weird and mysterious things – a collection of supernatural events that a scientist is studying, a place/state of mind/eerie thing called Tanis, and an ARG/real-world game.  I like’em well enough but they lean on the same tropes, so pick one and stick with it IMO.

http://www.lorepodcast.com/ is more folklore than fiction, but it’s good storytelling about mysterious and creepy and lovely things, so I think it belongs here.

On my yet-to-be-listened-to list:

http://www.hectorvsthefuture.com/

http://www.tarynmaxximilliandafoe.com/welcome-to-mollyville/

I… think that’s everything fictional/storytelling that I’ve got right now.  

I know a lot of people are pretty ambivalent about the detour that The Adventure Zone is taking right now, but I think it is absolutely the right decision for the show at this point - possibly the only decision that could have balanced meeting the demands of the narrative with respecting the autonomy of the players and the emotional weight of the characters.

Obviously a shitton of spoilers below:

Keep reading

ililynati  asked:

I didn't find anything to this question while navigating: my mc is indian-american, they live in the UK and her mother is atheist while her father hindu. It's a fantasy YA and idk how often to tie in the experiences of the character (raising the dead, magic, etc), with her heritage/religion? I mean I want to stay true to the characters past and her family, but I don't want to write about stuff I'm not qualified to write about

Atheist-Hindu in Fantasy

As I’ve probably said before, you can identify as both atheist and Hindu.  I do.  People may disagree on this point but I’m prepared to have that argument.  I’ve also said that the particulars of a person’s brand of atheism is going to differ based on what, if any, traditions, they were raised in.  If you have a bad experience as a member of a faith and later lose it, your atheism is more likely to have some residual hostile feelings toward that faith.  Since I didn’t encounter any abuse or negativity being raised a Hindu, I have a lot more affinity and affection for markers of Hindu culture than many ex-Hindu atheists in India may feel, where they find themselves under persecution by the Hindu right [See: Indian character who doesn’t fully identify with heritage]

So these are all things to take into account, particularly with regard to the character’s mother.  What is her ethnic and religious background?  Is she Indian?  White?  Something else?  Is her family Hindu, Muslim, Christian, or anything besides? [See: Indian Pakistani Girl, Atheism & OCD]

From the Hinduism side of things, I think as a religion it’s perfectly compatible with fantasy settings.  The Hindu epics are basically awesome fantasy novels anyway if you take away all the trappings of divinity.  There are plenty of stories involving raising the dead, things are rife with divinely-acquired powers that would be considered magic outside of a religious fold—I really don’t see any inherent problem with mixing magic and Hinduism.  Every religion has its own “magic system,” so to speak, so I would just say read Hindu stories and get a feel and a vibe for how divinely-inspired and magic powers work and feel in that world (if any Hindu followers are upset at this treatment of the religion as nothing more than a fantasy worldbuilding exercise, let’s talk—there are reasons I’m speaking about it like that in this context).

As far as the atheism side, please know that just because we don’t believe in gods doesn’t mean we’d all suddenly turn blind in a fantasy world.  That’s “Flat Earth Atheism.”  Most of us arrived at our nonbelief through a process of continual investigation, research, introspection, debate, and weighing the evidence presented to us.  While losing your faith may be an emotional process, becoming accustomed to nonbelief is anything but and in most cases must be approached rationally.  If you can’t justify something you can’t stay secure in it.  Being an atheist in an obviously fantasy world would be, I think, actually really fun.  You’re continually encountering things that challenge your worldview, and investigating them would be incredibly stimulating.  

Fantasy worlds are qualitatively different from our own, so I think that to say that there’s no room to imagine a world that both challenges the scientific method but where gods still don’t exist is a bit blinkered.  As a scientist, I think it would be quite mind-blowing to come face-to-face with phenomena that could expand our view of the natural world.  I think an atheist in that face of that would be naturally skeptical but the process of investigation is typically an integral part of our character, and should be shown as such as part of such a person’s narrative arc.

So while I’m concerned about accurate and varied portrayal of South Asians and Hindus, I’m also anxious to see better portrayal of atheists and atheism in fiction, as more than soulless automatons or a bunch of gross, obnoxious dudebros, and I think there’s a real opportunity here to do it justice.  Hope this helps.

~Mod Nikhil

Little Kylux things I get emotional about at night

Hux and Kylo are rivals, and although I love their hatefuck-proneness as much as the next guy, rewatching the movie again (and again, and again) I became obsessed with the thought that their resentment might be pretty fucking recent, and that despite everything, Kylo trusts the shit out of Hux. Emotinal and biased meta under the cut.

Keep reading

Science and Witchcraft are not enemies
  • A scientist will tell you that our cells are powered by combustion reactions. Combustion is just another word for the reactions involved in Fire.
  • A scientist will explain that your blood is the same salinity as the oceans were 3.6 billion years ago, when living creatures first incorporated circulated Water into their basic structure - the precursors of blood.
  • A scientist might teach you about the millions of tiny chambers in our lungs called alveolar sacs that inflate and deflate every time we breathe, allowing our blood to mix with Air to feed our cells.
  • A scientist could tell you about the many minerals and metals that make up our bodies, from the metal in our bones to the phosphorus in our DNA, constructing our bodies out of Earth.


Our bodies are made of Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit - the Elements of Magick

They’re also made of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorous, sulphur, iron, chlorine, potassium, sodium, and a million other elements and compounds - the Elements of Science


The Elements of Science and the Elements of Magick are not mutually exclusive. 

Science and Witchcraft are not mutually exclusive.


You can be a scientifically-minded Witch, or a Witchcraft-practicing scientist, or anything in between. Your magick does not have to conflict with your science, and your Elements of Magick can be the same as your Elements of Science. 

Illuminate the worlds of science and Witchery with your knowledge and your light. Let yourself shine, a beacon of bright knowledge and wisdom in the night of ignorance and fear.


– Juniper WildWalk

“This is the paradox: Are you still you?” - Dr Lalnable Duncan Jones, Freelancing Scientist of Yoglabs.

Ignoring his height (which is over 6ft), Lal appears nonthreatening and rather unimposing. Either from apathy or laziness, he prefers to sit and work in the background while Xephos gets all the fame and infamy for his inventions. 

He shows outwardly for the most part a rather reserved, easy-going demeanor. He’s a nice guy. Who wouldn’t like him? This nonchalance however hides a wicked intelligence that makes up the mind of the true mad scientist. I’d say more… but that would be spoilers. :)

Enneagram

Little Things the Types Do That May Annoy Others

1- They may unintentionally cause those around them to feel hyper criticized, those close to them may feel that “nothing is ever good enough for them”  but for them it’s just under the guise of, “I’m making it better, I’m just helping point out the flaws in this so you can improve it.” While others can see it as, “I’m excessively targeting your weak points and always nagging you on them.”

What people should understand: They’re just as critical of themselves as they are of you. You may feel that you’re always being forced to meet expectations that are way too high. Truth is, you don’t even need to try to meet the expectations, it’s nothing to do with you, they’re not targeting you, it’s just their style- so you can relax, and every time they point something out, you don’t need to rush to meet that expectation, cause chances are, the second you complete it, they’re going to have something else to say, and it’s not that they’re criticizing you, it’s just the way they’re ingrained, strive to be good. 

2-  They may cause others to feel they’re overbearing, too sensitive, overwhelming, smothering, blatantly needy. It may feel very invasive to others. They’re helpful, but when they feel that people don’t need them, they’ll do the opposite of back off and kind of throw themselves at them, waiting at their beck and call, making themselves feel worse and worse but the worse they feel the more they’ll do, which is very opposite and it may cause confusion from others and annoyance. 

What people should understand: It doesn’t take much to satisfy the 2. Although it may seem like it, the two throwing themselves at them to help, lingering around, it seems like they’d want something back, something big, although they may not be able to figure this out because the more they withdraw the more the 2 approaches as if there’s a huge debt lingering for their help. Truly, all you need to do is acknowledge them. A thanks, a smile, a hug, be open to them, don’t be closed off or cold, don’t be curt and dismissive, this causes the opposite. The two wants to connect, so let them. Emotionally engage them, chat for a bit, and the two has their acknowledgement and appreciation for what they’ve done, the throwing themselves at you thing is just, the more you back away the more they’ll approach because you seem distant, and they just want you to acknowledge their help, so they feel appreciated. 

3- People close to the 3 may feel that they have an all or nothing attitude. “You’re only worth something if you are something.” They may place a lot of worth on anything, academic achievement, athletic achievement, etc. There’s no place for the regular people here, you’re either a winner, or you’re with the loser. This may put a strain on those close to them, and they may accidentally cause those around them to feel that they are worthless, or that the 3 views them as underachievers when really, they just have no interest in achieving those same things the 3 has.

What people should understand: The 3 has a focused viewpoint, and the 3 should also understand that not everyone is going to share this viewpoint. Their friends or family aren’t “lazy” or “underachievers” because they don’t place the same value and importance on recognition and achievement as the 3. The 3 may feel that they are motivating those close to them, calling them to action! Motivational speeches, get off your bottom and get up and become something! To the 3, it’s motivational. To others, it may have the opposite affect, people may feel that the 3 is saying you’re worthless until you are something, or you’re not trying hard enough, or you want to be just average, you could be great, when someone truly could be trying their hardest, or maybe they don’t just place the same value on achievement as the 3. The 3 feels they’re being motivational, trying to drive those around them to action, but to others, it may not feel that way. 

4- Those close to them may feel that they are self absorbed (in a negative light), obsessed with being miserable, “special snowflake syndrome” , loving sadness too much and clinging to it even in the face of possible happiness because of the odd pleasure they draw from their misery. They feel that the 4 blatantly rejects good things, in favor of basking in the melancholy they’ve cultivated. 

What people should understand: The 4 often cultivates emotions, as parts of their personality. Hence, the misery example. To them, the unhappiness, is not a state they can change, it is an ingrained part of their personality. They feel that they are lacking an identity, so to make up for this, they have a large range of emotions going on for them, and they pick and choose those emotions that they decide will make them up. The 4 feels inherently misunderstood, the loner, the reject. They tell themselves that no one will possibly understand them, and they take that perspective, “I am unique, I am difficult to understand and it’s great because I’m one of a kind, but I also feel flawed, because I’m not like the others, I don’t fit in as easily.” They have a great emotional depth, but also feel somewhat empty. Cultivating feelings such as melancholy helps feel that they’ve created an identity. They long for something, but they don’t really know what they long for, in basic, they love the longing itself. They’re not really attempting to cling to unhappiness, they feel that it is a built in construct of their personality and to let go- what will happen? They’ll lose their consistency, their stability- and so they hold onto that because it’s what they’ve created for themselves as an identity.

5- There’s one thing in particular that I’m going to acknowledge, having done it myself, but I’ll throw in a few others as well. People may feel that the 5 is insensitive, closed off, inconsiderate, blatantly doesn’t give a fuck, also self absorbed, cares more about what’s in their head than the people close to them. and also, gets carried away with their little analyzing and “experiments”. I’m actually going to talk about this. We’ll call this, “Mad Scientist Syndrome” and I’ll tell you about it right now. 

What people should understand: The 5 actually is sensitive, deeeeep deeeep down, and insecure, and because of that, they’ve created a barricading wall of information and mastery of whatever particular interest(s) they have, to compensate for them feeling like the world is too much, and it’s like, “ok when I’m done accumulating all this data on the world I’ll go out in the world and I’ll survive bc I know so much now” except they don’t get to the stage of “I’ll go out into the world” they’re stuck at, “Need more data” cause they’re fooling themselves into believing that they’ll only be able to brave the scary world once they know enough but they haven’t learned that you can’t replace direct experience with a mental construct, but they try to, oh we try to. Anyway, basically, behind this huge wall are their emotions and care for you, they’re don’t not care for you, and on the surface they seem oblivious or indifferent to your existence but deep deep down behind that barrier they <3 you with their secretly sensitive souls. If you ask them though, even if you don’t feel like it, it’s rather simple really, if you feel that they don’t care about you at all, it’s blatantly obvious, if we really didn’t give a fuck about you we wouldn’t hang out with you or speak to you, even if we don’t say we love you, why the hell would I associate with you if I don’t give a fuck about you? Like it’s that simple really. They can also seem snappish and inconsiderate, it’s not intentional, they’re just not aware that people will take their brusque personality personally, because of how ‘absent minded professor” they are. 

 Now, the “Mad Scientist Syndrome” (Sorry I know 5 is seeming really long compared to the others, wasn’t intentional, just as a 5, I have a lot to add on.) When a 5 gets invested in analyzing someone, they get impersonal. Very impersonal. Leads to them doing asshole-ish things without knowing. Sort of like how mad scientists start running crazy experiments and get all insensitive and evil and lose all morality. Okay, this is that, on a much tinier scale. Sometimes, analyzing someone’s behavior, while it is objective for you, it’s not objective for the person you’re analyzing, and it’s inconsiderate to turn them into a project. I often forget that. Please remember that, 5′s. Just like on Nemo, Fish are friends, not food. People are friends, not projects :) Please keep in mind. Also, for people, this isn’t personal it’s just this compulsive thing and it’s not intentional it’s an asshole thing to do, but I forget it’s an asshole thing to do, and it’s not a personal target either, it just happens and slips out and I’m like oh shit oops, so keep in mind. 

6- People close to 6 may feel that they are suspicious, convoluted, distrustful, accusatory, pushing people away, overall complicated. Extremely indecisive, anxious, and explosive. 6′s are the picture of, “feeling an emotion vs. acting on that emotion.” Type 6 really portrays the difference, because there could be a hair trigger, and they act on an emotion, which can be frustrating for others, sometimes acting on it before they even decipher if it’s “normal” (I would’ve said rational for the emotions except emotions aren’t rational at all, but usually an emotion correlates to a situation and some emotions are abnormal to situations, take anger at someone buying you a cake or something like that, although that’s vastly exaggerated.) Basically, before they decipher the emotion they’ll act on it which can cause people to want to bash their skull into a wall. 

What people should understand: 6′s have somewhat of an inherent inner turmoil, this broiling anxiety and feeling of instability. They seek outer sources to quell this anxiety and bring stability to balance out the instability they feel inside. They often “test” loyalty, to see if you’re really going to support them and this is very important for them. They may act on an emotion before actually realizing what it is exactly they’re feeling, and it’s not intentional, and they’re not attempting to start an argument, while it may seem that they’re consistently seeking out conflict, they’re actually consistently seeking out your reassurance that you’ll be there for them even in their worst moments, although it’s definitely an odd way of showing it. They know they can be difficult, and they want to trust that you’ll remain in difficult times, and because of that, they often test you, grating on your patience, and when you get fed up of this behavior, they see it as you proving that you really won’t support them. They react, and they don’t want you to react back, they want to trust that you’ll be there, in spite of their reactions. 

7- People may feel that 7s never focus or refuse to focus, have a lack of direction, refuse to meet their potential, are too busy chasing fun instead of applying themselves, and disorganized, and running from any obligation or responsibility at all times. 

What people should understand: 7′s are versatile. While you may believe your 7 is lacking direction, and should focus, a 7 forced to focus on one thing for a long time wilts. They get bored, and antsy. 7s may seem scattered, but truly, they thrive when they’re allowed to explore, and as they’re moving, they can definitely be successful on the go. Different things at once are exciting for a 7, they’re new, and they’ll keep on pursuing new experiences. A 7 can actually, be responsible, while still being exploratory. They’re quite smart and they’ve got quick minds, which makes them excellent at navigating and jumping from situation to situation with ease. Just because they don’t focus on one thing at once doesn’t make them less successful or intellectual- their minds are very quick, while they wouldn’t prefer to pore over a text book, if they hear a few interesting facts here or there, they’re sure to remember them and spit them out. Although, I feel that 7s may have difficulty in school, and not necessarily school itself, but schoolwork, such as homework, in school it’s a structured environment which gives them no choice but to focus, but on their free time they’re likely to procrastinate away instead of focusing on writing an essay they find boring. 

8- People may find 8′s overbearing, insensitive, overtly aggressive, abrasive, confrontational, and controlling and for females they might find them “overly masculine” and I dare you to say that because a female is a type 8, or just in general because she’s tough and stands up for herself, that it’s “off putting” and I’ll fuck u up myself m8. Anyway, they may come off a bit, strong, and intimidate others.

What people should understand: The 8 intimidating others is almost a challenge, and when you stand up for yourself, it’s like an unspoken truce of respect. They’re aggressive so they don’t get taken advantage of first. Offense instead of defense. “I’ll intimidate you first so that you can’t intimidate me cause you;ll be too intimidated.” It’s an unspoken show of power and dominance, I rule, don’t try to take advantage of me. They also don’t want to show any weakness, so the show of dominance and yadayadayada, so that you can’t see their weak spots. Underneath it all, they are very vulnerable, which they’ve covered with a facade, the 5 covers their vulnerability by disconnecting, the 8 covers their vulnerability by creating a facade of toughness over it. They reject others before they reject them, and go about with the tough loner attitude, and in attempting to cover up their vulnerability they become distanced from their emotional connections to others, which can lead to controlling behavior, blatant obliviousness to the emotional states of others, and insensitivity. 

9- People may find 9s procrastinating, a bit too relaxed and passive, not speaking up even when something obviously isn’t okay or just letting it slide (An example, a kid does something bad in school, calls home, mom says nothing about it, and just lets it slide, dad comes home, gets angry that mom didn’t react, yadayadayada)  Not voicing their opinions until later, holding things in until it explodes in 50 years worth of anger, yeah.

What people should understand: 9 wants to avoid conflicts at all costs. They don’t want to disturb harmony or cause inner turmoil, and they won’t take the slightest risk of disrupting harmony in favor of keeping the peace even in unfavorable situations, causing them to remain very passive and perceived as lackadaisical. They’ll also refuse to make a choice that they feel might disrupt the order until they absolutely have to- procrastinating and putting it off until they have to deal with it. With their other problems, they shove them in the corner, because they never really have to deal with them, so they’ll keep procrastinating on them until they’re forced into action. The 9 isn’t lazy, they just don’t want to take even the slightest risk of disrupting the harmony and everyone’s peace of mind, so they’ll avoid it painfully unless they’re forced to acknowledge the elephant in the room. 

Since Crossrung is one of my fav lil ships 

just imagine Cross just takes the therapist whenever he wants. Just bridal style carry the therapist out of the room. Rung could talk about whatever he wanted while they lay down on a berth together. He could talk about tomatoes and Cross would just be nodding his head in agreement to whatever dumb things Rung could babble on about. 

Not only could rung listen to cross just babble on and vent whenever he’s pissed off, just imagine Rung getting angry and Cross just being like “ YEAH BABE YOU SHOULD GO IN THERE AND KICK THEIR ASS! I GOT YOUR BACK!”He’s encouraging a fight. 

Beginning to Understand Karma

by Lama Thubten Yeshe

BEGINNING TO UNDERSTAND KARMA

There’s not just one, fixed, mathematical way of explaining karma; there are many different ways, including the subheading and numbered list approach. Sometimes it seems that people new to Buddhism find karma hard to understand, but actually, it’s easy to get a rough, initial understanding of it.

Of course, once you get into the details, karma can be extraordinarily complex, too, but when I introduce it to beginners, I try to keep it simple so that they can get at least a basic, intellectual understanding. In reality, the only way you can get a total understanding of karma is through your own experience, and that experience is beyond words.

Trying to get a total understanding of karma through the intellect alone is like trying to count every atom of earth, water, fire and air in the universe, which is impossible,

Fundamentally, what is karma? Karma is your body, speech and mind. That’s it. It’s very simple. If I were to try to compare the subject of karma to the kinds of thing you study in the West, I’d say that it parallels in some ways the theory of the evolution of everything that exists. Karma encompasses everything on Earth and beyond, every existent phenomenon in the universe, throughout infinite space — in Buddhist terms, every phenomenon in samsara and nirvana. Karma is the energy of all phenomena and has nothing to do with what your mind believes.

If karma encompasses all relative phenomena, are these phenomena interconnected? Well, even modern science understands that all the energy in the universe is interdependently related; it’s not just Buddhist dogma.

For example, where does all the green vegetation we see around us come from? It doesn’t arise without cause. First there has to be a cause; then, the effect — the relative appearance of the green — arises. Similarly, each of us also has a cause; we, too, are interdependent phenomena. We depend on other energies for our existence. Those energies, in turn, depend on yet other energies. In this way, all energy is linked.

You probably think your body comes from the supermarket: as long as the supermarket’s there, you can eat; as long as you can eat, you exist. Obviously, it goes much deeper than that. Therefore, your conception of what you are — “I am. I’m this; I’m that; I’m this — is like a dream. Intuitively, your ego has this notion that you’re independent, that you’re not a dependent phenomenon. That’s complete rubbish.

If you look, you can easily see how you’re interdependent. It looks complicated; it’s not complicated. It only becomes complicated if your mind thinks it’s complicated. Your mind makes things up; that’s karma, too — an interdependent phenomenon; it exists in relation to other energy. If you understand the basic simplicity of this, you’ll be more careful in the way you act because you’ll realise that every single action of your body, speech and mind produces a reaction.

We describe samsara as cyclic: it’s like a wheel, it goes round; one thing produces another, that produces another, and so it goes on, one thing pushing the other. And each karmic action is like the seed that produces a flower that in turn produces hundreds of seeds, which then result in hundreds more flowers that produce hundreds more seeds each. In this way, in a relatively short time, one seed produces thousands and thousands of results.

The actions of your body, speech and mind are the same. Each action, positive or negative, good or bad, produces an appropriate result.

Also, karma doesn’t depend on your believing in it or not. The mere fact of your existence proves the existence of karma. Irrespective of whether you want to know about karma or not, whether you believe in it or not, it doesn’t matter: you are karma. Whether you accept karma or reject it, you can’t separate yourself from karma any more than you can separate yourself from energy. You are energy; you are karma. If you’re a human being, it doesn’t matter whether others think you’re a human being or not — you’re a human being. It doesn’t depend on what you think, either. The truth of all existence doesn’t depend on what people believe.

Sometimes you might think, “OK, Buddhists accept karma. They try to do good, avoid evil and perhaps enjoy positive results, but what about people who don’t believe in karma?”

But whether you believe or not, your suffering and problems have a cause. They don’t depend on what you believe. Do you think you suffer only because you think you suffer? No. Even if you say, “I’m not suffering,” you’re suffering. Suffering comes along with your very life.

Therefore, I often say that the Buddhist connotation of religion is a little different from the Western one. But when I say that, I’m not saying Buddhism is better; it’s just different. Its analytical approach is different.

UNDERSTANDING KARMA

When we teach karma, we often refer to its four characteristics, the first of which is that karma is definite.

Karma means action, your energy, and karma’s being definite means that once you have set in motion a powerful train of energy, it will continue running until it either is interrupted or reaches its conclusion. Karma’s being definite does not mean that once you have created a specific karma there’s nothing you can do to stop it. That’s a wrong view of karma.

Take, for example, the attitude of certain followers of the Hindu religion. You’ll find many people like this in India and Nepal: they believe in karma, but they believe it’s completely fixed. “I was born a carpenter. God gave me this life. I’ll always be a carpenter.” “My karma made me a cobbler; I’ll always be a cobbler.” They are very sincere in their belief, but very wrong in thinking that karma can’t be changed. When Westerners come across such people they can’t believe that they can think this way. Westerners know immediately from their own experience that if you really want to change your status in life you can do so.

But because these people’s misconceptions are so strong, they can’t change. It’s silly, isn’t it? That kind of super-belief is religious fanaticism. It’s ignorant; it closes your mind and prevents you from expanding and developing it.

I also sometimes see great misconceptions about karma in new Dharma students. They read and think about karma, accept its existence, but then become too sensitive about it. If they make a mistake in their actions, they get emotionally terrified and guilty. That’s wrong, too.

The karmic energy of your body, speech and mind comes from your consciousness. Some scientists say that there’s a totality of energy from which all other energy manifests. Be that as it may, in the same way, all of the energy of your body, speech and mind comes from your consciousness, your mind — from your mind; your consciousness.

If you put your energy into a certain environment and a certain channel, a different form of energy will manifest. It changes. If you direct your conscious energy one way, one kind of result will come; if you direct it another way, a different kind of result arises. It’s very simple. But what you have to know is from what source your actions come. Once you do, you’ll see that you are responsible for what you do; you can determine what you do and what happens to you. It’s more up to you than to your circumstances, friends, society or anything else outside you.

If, however, you don’t know that it’s possible to direct the energy of your body, speech and mind or how to do it, if you have no idea of how cause and effect operates in everyday life, then of course, you have no chance of putting your energy into positive channels instead of negative ones. It’s impossible because you don’t know.

Positive actions are those that bring positive reactions; negative actions are those that bring negative reactions, restlessness and confusion. Actions are termed positive or negative according to the nature of their effects.

In general, it’s our motivation that determines whether our actions are positive or negative; our mental attitude. Some actions start out negative but can become positive due to the arising of an opposing kind of energy. The Abhidharma philosophical teachings talk about absolute positives, such as the true cessation of suffering, but for us, it’s more important to understand positive and negative on the relative level. That’s what we’re dealing with in our everyday lives: relative positives and relative negatives.

However, we’re usually unconscious whenever we act. For example, when we hurt our loved ones, it’s mostly not deliberate but because we’re unconscious in our actions. If we were aware that every action of our body, speech and mind constantly reacts internally within us and externally with others, we’d be more sensitive and gentle in what we did, said and thought.

Sometimes our actions are not at all gentle but like those of a wild animal. Next time you’re acting like a wild animal, check up which channel your energy’s in at that time and understand that you can change it — you have the power, the wisdom and the potential to do so. You can redirect your energy from the negative into the positive channel.

Also, you have to accept that you’re going to make mistakes. Mistakes are possible. You’re not Buddha. When you do make an error, instead of freaking out, acknowledge it. Be happy: “Oh, I made a mistake. It’s good that I noticed.” Once you’ve recognised a mistake, you can investigate it intensively: what’s its background? What caused it? Mistakes don’t just pop up without reason. Check in which channel your mind was running when that mistake happened. When you discover this, you can change your attitude.

In particular, you have to understand that negative actions come from you, so it’s up to you to do something to prevent their negative reactions from manifesting. It’s your responsibility to act and not sit back, waiting for the inevitable suffering result to arise.

Therefore, instead of simply accepting what happens to you, believing “This is my karma” and never trying to work with and change your energy for the better, understand that you can control what happens to you and be as aware of your actions as you possibly can.

KARMA, INNER STRENGTH AND LIFE ITSELF

To over-simplify, according to even normal society’s way of thinking, anything you do dedicated to the benefit of others is automatically positive, whereas anything you do just for your own benefit automatically brings a negative reaction. Whenever you act selfishly, your heart feels tight, but when you try to really help others, psychologically you experience openness and a release that brings calm and understanding into your mind. That is positive; that is good karma.

However, if you don’t actively check your motivation, you might think or say the words, “I’m working for the benefit of others,” but actually be doing the opposite. For example, some rich people give money with the idea that they’re helping others but what they really want to do is to enhance their own reputation. Such giving is not sincere and has nothing whatsoever to do with positive action or morality.

Giving with the expectation that others will admire you is giving for your own pleasure. The end result is that it makes you berserk, restless and confused. Check up. Look at the way normal people act; it’s so simple. Even if you give away huge amounts of money, if you do it with selfish motivation, expecting tremendous results for yourself, you end up with nothingness. It’s a psychological thing; there’s more to giving than just the physical action.

Take me, for example. I can sit cross-legged in the meditation posture and you’re going to think, “Oh, Lama’s meditating.” But if my mind is off on some incredible trip, although it looks as if I’m doing something positive, in fact I’m doing something completely neurotic and confused. You can never judge an action from its external appearance; its psychological component is much more important.

Therefore, be careful. In particular, acting out of loving kindness doesn’t always mean smiling, hugging and telling people, “Oh, I love you so much.” Of course, if that’s what somebody needs, then go ahead and stroke or hug that person; I’m not saying that you have to give up all physical contact. You just have to know what’s appropriate at any given time.

I have seen many students come to a meditation course, learn about love, compassion and bodhicitta for the first time, and at the end of the course be all fired up, wanting to help others: “Lama, I want to go to Calcutta and serve the sentient beings suffering there.”

I say, “You want to go? OK, go and try to help as best you can.” So they go, full of emotion, and, of course, see terrible suffering; poverty, starvation, disease and so forth. After a month, they have to leave, exhausted, because they find that simply going there, trying to help, isn’t really the solution.

A couple of my students, beautiful young women, went to Pakistan and Calcutta, hoping to express their loving kindness through serving where suffering was greatest. I told them to go, and return when the time was right. When they got there they discovered that what they were doing wasn’t really helping, and it wasn’t long before they were back.

Actually, expressing loving kindness through action is quite difficult. You have to be very skillful. It takes great wisdom. If you set out on a mission with no understanding, just a tight, emotional feeling of wanting to help, you’re in danger of losing yourself. For example, if you see somebody drowning and emotionally jump in without being able to swim, all that happens is that you both lose your lives.

Our physical energy is limited. Therefore, we’re limited in helping others in this way — we try to help others physically but come up empty; it’s beyond us. If you do want to help others out of loving kindness, act according to your ability and know your limits. Don’t overburden yourself because of emotion and incomplete understanding.

Mental energy, however, is practically unlimited. If we realise loving kindness, we’re like a ship. No matter how heavy the load, a ship can bear it. Similarly, with true loving kindness we can handle any situation that arises without freaking out. Furthermore, a ship does not discriminate; it carries whatever it’s given. Similarly, with loving kindness, we won’t favour one person over another: “You — come in; you — go away.”

When we practice Dharma and meditation, we build the inner strength necessary to be of greatest benefit to others and are able to face any difficulty that arises. Practitioners who are afraid to hear about suffering aren’t facing reality. The maha in Mahayana Buddhism means “great.” A Mahayana practitioner is supposed to be capacious and, like a ship, be able to take whatever comes along.

If we’re small-minded and hypersensitive, even tiny atoms can cause us to recoil: “I don’t want that atom.” That’s not the way of the Dharma practitioner.

Even the average, simple person who wants his or her life to be successful should be able to face whatever situation arises. If you freak out at the smallest thing, you’ll never make even this life successful. Everyday life is completely unpredictable; you can’t fix things to work out in a certain way. As things change, you have to change with them. You have to be flexible enough to deal with whatever happens.

If this is true for the ordinary person, how much more true must it be for the Dharma practitioner? You have to have the courage to face any difficulty that you encounter: “I can overcome any obstacle and reach perfect liberation.” Crossing the ocean of samsara is not easy, but it’s not samsara that’s difficult — it’s your own mind. What you actually have to cross is the ocean of your schizophrenic mind and you need to be confident that you can deal with that.

First you have to be able to think, “I can face whatever comes without running from it.” Life is not easy; forget about meditation — life itself is hard. Things change; the mind changes. You have to face each change as it comes.

Going into retreat doesn’t mean that you’re running away from society and life because you’re afraid of them. However, you need to develop confidence that you’ll be able to handle anything that life throws at you. What you really need to judge, though, is what the most advantageous thing to do at any particular time is: to stay in society or go into retreat. Whatever you undertake is in your own hands; what you need to know is why you are doing it.

KARMA, REALITY AND BELIEF

We often talk about how we waste our lives following the eight worldly dharmas — attachment to temporal happiness, receiving material things, being praised and having a good reputation and aversion to their opposites: discomfort, not getting things, being criticised and notoriety. Each time we get involved with those, we create negative karma.

For example, when somebody praises you, you feel happy and puff up with pride, and when somebody criticises you, you feel unhappy and depressed. Each time you go up and down like this, you create karma.

Why do you feel elated when praised and dejected when criticised? It’s because you don’t accept the way things truly are. You’re controlled by your hallucinating mind, which is totally divorced from reality. Whether you’re good or bad isn’t determined by what other people think but by your own actions. These are your own responsibility. If all your actions are positive, even if I say “You’re bad, you’re bad, you’re bad…” all day, it won’t affect your qualities. Therefore, you should understand what really makes an action positive or negative. It’s not defined by what other people think.

This is scientific fact, not religious dogma. If you go up and down because of what other people say, you’re hallucinating; you’re not seeing reality. You should have strong confidence in your own actions and take full responsibility for them. Then, even if all sentient beings turn against you, you’ll still be laughing. When you know what you are, you never get upset. If, on the other hand, your body and mind are weak, if you have no self-confidence and feel insecure, then of course you’re going to experience problems.

All your feelings, perceptions, discriminations and the rest, especially those mental factors that bring negative reactions, arise from the hallucinating mind. Therefore, quite early in their training, I teach my students to meditate on the nature of feeling.

We always think that whatever we feel — physically or mentally — must be right. Similarly, we think that whatever we see is real; we really do believe in what we see. I’m not talking about spiritual belief in the supernatural; I’m saying that we believe in the concrete reality of what we see around us every day. Do you think that’s right or wrong? It’s wrong.

For example, say that you’re tremendously attracted to a particular object. At that time you have a certain fixed idea of what that object is. But you’re fantasising; it’s a hallucinated fantasy. If you check your mind of attraction closely, you’ll see that its view is totally polluted and that what you perceive is a fantasy — neither the reality of the object nor that of the subject. A kind of cloud has appeared between your mind and the object and that’s what you see. All delusions arise in that way.

So, in the end, who has more beliefs — a religious person or an atheist? It’s the atheist. Atheists are prone to say, “I don’t believe anything,” but that’s just their ego speaking. They believe what they see; they believe what they feel; they believe what they think. For example, atheists consider certain things beautiful — that’s belief. This is the scientific truth of the situation. It doesn’t matter whether or not they use the word “belief” — they believe; they’re completely captivated by belief.

I can make the definitive statement that if your mind is clouded by the dark shadow of ignorance, if attachment rather than free communication is driving your personal involvements, you’re a believer. This is simple and logical. That’s why I always say that Dharma is very simple. It reveals the reality of yourself, your life and the things around you… the reality of everything. That’s the meaning of Dharma.

When some people go into a supermarket, they see the incredible display of goods as a reflection in a mirror. It’s like when you look into a mirror, you see your reflection but at the same time you know it’s not really you. That’s how those whose view of the nature of the supermarket is closer to reality see it — like a reflection. Therefore, they can control any attachment that’s likely to arise. Those whose view of the world is that of a more concrete reality see the goods in a supermarket as fantastic and can’t stop their senses from vibrating.

That’s the nature of ordinary attraction. Objects to which you’re attached make you tremble with desire and things that you hate make you shake with anger. Either way, it’s because you don’t understand reality.

Actually, those who really understand the absolute nature of the supermarket don’t see anything at all. The whole thing disappears. That might be too much for you to comprehend, but there’s truth in what I’m saying.

In conclusion, then, no matter how negative the things you’ve done, if you have powerful understanding, you can purify them completely. There’s no such concrete negative action that can never be purified; there’s a solution for everything.

Some Christians speak of certain concrete sins that send you to a permanent, everlasting hell. I’m not criticising; it’s a philosophical point of view. It’s good; it has a purpose. Any philosophy with a purpose is always good. But you should never think, “I have created such horrible negative actions that I’ll never be able to overcome them.” That’s an incredible devaluation of your human nature. Any kind of negativity, no matter how great, can be purified. That’s the power of the human mind.

That’s why the lam-rim starts out by teaching how great our human potential is. We have to understand the true value of our life. We always seek value externally. People even lose their lives in pursuit of material things or recreational pleasure. What a ridiculous waste of life!

Check within yourself very skillfully to see if you value material things more than your internal potential. That will show you how much you understand.