Posted by: Monkey | January 17, 2015

Update – I have moved!

Hey all I have now moved to my own designed website.

You can now find me at:

Monkey’s Corner

If you have subscribed to this website I will be transitioning your subscription over to the new site and will send out an email in the next month or so with an update.

Gradually the content of this site will be moved over and this blog page phased out.

Thank you so much for being with me on this journey, I appreciate you all!


Posted by: Monkey | November 18, 2014

I refuse to hate myself any longer

This whole article is incredibly vulnerable to share. To open my soul and allow you to peer at my mind as I bare it nakedly is frightening. Perhaps you could judge me, shame me or leave me. And while those concerns flash as feelings of discomfort through my body I notice I am more called to align with something else. I stand for a world where compassionate acknowledgment of the struggles of being human is foundational to our being. We all struggle and perhaps sharing mine my ease yours a little. Or perhaps not. Either way the following insight is absolutely pivotal to my journey through this life. Thank you for taking the time to read.


A short while ago during a rather unpleasant interaction I realised that I hated myself. While I have been aware of some kind of underlying self-loathing, self-sabotaging aspects I didn’t really “get” how fully and for how long I have felt hatred for myself. As I cast my mind back over my life, I actually do not have a memory of experiencing any other prevalent attitude towards myself than this. I was bullied throughout school yet now as I think about all of that, and even the years after school, there has been no greater bully to myself than me. There has been no greater judger, condemner, criticiser and tormenter than myself.
Through the eyes of this self-hater nothing I can do is enough, I am set to fail, I am a loser not worthy of love, happiness, joy and all other good things in life. Anytime I have failed to create for myself a change it is judged harshly and taken as part of the overwhelming evidence that really… I suck. Successes, deemed to be few and far between, are bound to disintegrate and eventually reveal the underlying truth that I am incapable of truly doing anything of real value.

What is this voice? Where does it come from? Why would I, or anyone, live a life hating themselves?
I notice that I am not that interested in indulging the story. Sure perhaps something happened with my parents when I was really young or the betrayal by my best childhood friend has something to do with it. But does digging into and indulging this story serve me in any way?
Much more important to me is to change the perspective. Somehow I have taken it upon myself to view myself and the world around me in this way. There is some inherent choice that was made at some point that this was the perspective I was going to hold and over time it became increasingly more and more solidified as truth. But is it truth?
Some of the evidence speaks to the contrary. It’s strange to see that even in the midst of so many behaviours and activities that are actually oriented towards my own health, growth and happiness that somehow self-hatred is the dominant frame of reference.
Why would I go to such extents to care for myself, to pursue love and growth and health and happiness if I actually hated myself?
Perhaps all of these things are a response to this condition of self-hatred. Perhaps there is something else inside of me deeply aching to be felt and expressed. Something that gets denied and repressed by this despotic guardian of a distorted perspective.

So what to do when I have lived a life of self-hatred? How to change this?
The New Age of Spirituality is rampant with messages of self-love and thousands of platitudes to go along with it… “just love yourself” they cry “everything will get be fine then”.
And yet the tyrannical inner self grasps these well-meaning messages as more fuel for the fire. Subtly the illuminating possibility of self-love is twisted into yet another thin enclosing layer of self-shame. Because, surely, if I am not loving myself right now then that is just more evidence to stack up for the case of how deeply I suck.
Positive affirmations… those things, if I just tell myself how good I am repeatedly and perhaps look in the mirror while I do then yes oh yes it will all come true. But it doesn’t. My mind is a sneaky thing and affirmations again only provide evidence for all the places they are not true.
And so we could continue down the long list of solutions all promising salvation and a life to be well lived. But perhaps it is just me because I find all of these things lacking as one by one I see that operate at the same level of the self-loathing mind and as such are easily co-opted. Oh I am far too intelligent to be fooled and far too critical to be convinced.

And then… it settles into me. It’s so strikingly simple. What if… I… just… decided… to stop hating myself? What if that was enough? I don’t need to do anything fancy, I don’t need to leap both feet forwards into some radical overhaul of torrential self-love. Rather than doing more, I can do less.
Ah yes, now that is clever! To use a tendency that our world calls laziness as an effective and efficient invitation to transformation. Rather than forcing and efforting to grasp with all my might, fighting and fighting against the well-established overlord of my mind to install a new supreme ruler… I can instead relax, let go, stop listening and simply be.

The self-hatred is only true for as long as I listen to it and believe it, and so I stop. I don’t attempt to fill the space with anything else, I don’t attempt to do anything about it and I watch with blossoming compassionate curiosity for what naturally arises in its place.

We have said it so many times in this life: “you can’t fight fire with fire”.
And yet somehow as a world we keep trying.

And I wonder if, as a culture, we did this very same thing. We stopped listening, stopped fighting, stopped forcing, stopped trying to change the world and let ourselves effortlessly turn towards the inherent beauty already here. What would happen when all that energy that rails against worldwide oppression instead released itself into joyful, exuberant curiosity for what could possibly bubble up next?

Posted by: Monkey | November 4, 2014

Spiritual Cross-Training


In an article a while back I documented the basics of a theory, called Integral theory, by philosopher and synthesist Ken Wilber. From the moment I discovered and began diving into this rich and nuanced way of looking at the world I have adopted Integral as a structural framework for the way I look at and compose my life. Integral, to me, is not a spiritual path rather it is a way of organising my worldview in relation to all aspects of life, which include and is largely guided by my spirituality. Having such an overarching framework within which to place the components that make up my life offers the opportunity to live with a very specific intentionality, my life has become increasingly spiritual as a result.

Spirituality, to me, is woven within the context of growth and development. As we grow and mature our access to the spiritual realms seems to become increasingly refined, textured and permeates our overall awareness. In a sense growing up is waking up, as stated by developmental researcher Terri O’Fallon. Growth is awakening is evolution and the universe seems to follow this natural impulse to increasing levels of sophistication and complexity. The universe unfolds holarchically through transcendence and inclusion with each layer of refinement building upon and enfolding the prior. Integral theory suggests that all aspects of the universe, including us, grows in this manner. Our awareness, our consciousness grows through increasing it’s capacity to take as object the constantly unfolding multi-layered reality which includes our own mind. What this means, to take as object, is gain choice around a particular behaviour, thought, feeling, awareness, etc. A simple example exists in a growing infant. Newborn human babies have no choice about urination. When the impulse to pee arises, the baby pees there is no thought about whether this is appropriate in the moment or not and of course we know this and as such do not condemn a baby for peeing in our face as we try to change them. At some point, however, the growing child gains an awareness of this impulse and discovers the ability to exercise their will on choosing when to pee and when not to. At first likely this is a comfort issue, as walking around with wet pants is probably pretty uncomfortable. Later, however, this becomes a social issue as we learn when and where it is ok to pee and when not.

This kind of growth occurs in us across all levels, from the physical learning of a new skill, to the creative learning of a musical instrument, to the self-awareness learning of our particular emotional reactive patterns, to sexual learning of how to have more choice around our own orgasms, etc.

Growth fascinates me. That we can grow is amazing, and that we can continue to grow possibly without limit is exciting. What is our potential?

Growth, to me, is a spiritual phenomena. This whole universe is growing towards something majestic and I believe it is possible to fully participate in that movement. The alternative is to be dragged along, unconscious and unaware and as such unable to experience the immensity of bliss that the great sages have spoken of as the nature of our illumined mind. I like to think of the universe as moving, like an unstoppable glacier down a mountain, towards the oneness that it once it came from. And if I am able to awaken enough awareness in my mind then the opportunity is to participate consciously in this eventual culmination of everything that is into one, or non-duality and I like to imagine this as a really fucking big orgasm.

So back to the point of this article. Often many of us might think of spiritual practice as that little moment in the day when we sit down on our meditation cushion, or perhaps when we attend a talk by a spiritual teacher, or any other such intentional practice we engage in. We might have ideas about what is and what isn’t spiritual practice. Some of us, however, may subscribe to the idea of life as a spiritual practice but what does that mean? Probably it means some form of being more conscious of our day to day activity. And I would agree that this fits a description of living a conscious life. What I have found though is that the Integral framework can bring a refined intentionality to all aspects of life and how they fit in to our overall growth, and as such our spirituality. This is what I think of as Spiritual Cross-Training. When we notice that spiritual practice isn’t confined to just meditation, or yoga, or tantra, etc. Rather, anything we approach in a way that grows our sophistication is spiritual. Anything.

This is where the Integral model comes in. This framework provides a structure for defining all components of existence into identifiable categories. By seeing these categories it has been possible for me to understand how to organise my life with an increasing degree of intentionality. I am able to place any activity I may engage with somewhere within this structure and as such map my own potential for growth. My life becomes spiritual because all activities fit somewhere within this map and as such I approach them with the intent to grow in complexity and awareness.

The Integral model is summarised as AQAL which stands for “all quadrants, all levels, all lines, all states, all types” and is about as abridged as possible to delineate the complex phenomena of this universe. The following series of articles is going to talk about how each of these areas: quadrants, levels, lines, states, and types can be used to bring increased awareness to the ways we engage our day-to-day existence and, I hope, accelerate your own growth and unfolding as the amazing and unique expression of universal consciousness that you are.

Posted by: Monkey | September 9, 2014

Conscious expression of thoughts and feelings


As I begin writing this I imagine (think) that many of you as readers may have a preference and privilege towards feeling over thinking. This is something I have noticed within our evolving culture that as certain stages of development begin to come online that there is a natural movement towards feeling becoming an increasingly important source of information, again. Our feeling and moods can often shine a light on what may be appropriate for us and I notice for myself that when I drop into a trusting participation with my feelings, providing they are genuine, there is an effortless flow that comes online. Feelings are powerful and they can indicate so much of what is happening at a deeper level within us.

Feelings are a source of information that seems to be responsive to the environment, both internal and external, in the moment. Listening to my feelings I can know when I am scared, excited, angry, nervous, etc and when I follow this with an authentic expression of this feeling into the world “I feel nervous about writing this” the next appropriate moment suddenly has space to emerge. It is a beautiful thing to be aware of and express what it is we feel, especially if we can hold that with a level of non-attachment. As a witness I can observe nervousness, or anger, or discomfort, or even happiness moving through my body and when I am unrestricted I allow it to emerge into the space where I am, either as a statement or some other expression like a sound or movement. When I can do that without attachment to an outcome, without needing something to happen as a result, without needing my feelings to be affirmed or comforted or dissipated, then I become a conduit for the present moment.

So feelings are great, to an extent. If I don’t carry this deep non-attachment, which we can also consider as appreciation or being a “yes” to what is and instead I am needing something to happen as a result of my expression, then more often than not my expression of feeling will make a space fall flat. This may cause others to distrust or feel less close to me and there is often a sensation of being out-of-sync with the present. Somehow my life is jerky and not quite congruous to what is actually happening within and without me. Another way we can fall out of sync with this participation is to confuse feelings with thoughts, and this happens A LOT. My experience with myself and others when this confusion happens is that the moment takes on this kind of lukewarm sensation. It is like I can see or feel a depth yet it never quite gets accessed, and sometimes it is because it is scary and vulnerable to begin allowing this depth to bubble up into the moment.

The reason for me writing this post is not to pit thoughts against feelings or to make one better than the other, rather it is to highlight a distinction between the two, show when and how they can be confused or merged, and make a case for thoughts when being applied appropriately as having just as much power as feelings.

For me a feeling comes from somewhere inside my body, usually my chest but not always. There seems to be a movement or direction often associated with this feeling and sometimes it is response to a thought while other times it triggers a series of thoughts. Thoughts, in contrast, I experience as originating in my head somewhere. There is also a movement or direction behind my thoughts yet they definitely occupy a different space than my feelings. In some ways I experience it as feelings moving the moment within while thoughts are outside looking at the moment. Both are occurring right now yet there is this somewhat removed quality to thoughts as they seem to be able to project forward into the future and back into the past while feelings only happen right now.

Thoughts have their own power though. Every single invention on the planet, this computer I am using to type on for example, came about because of thoughts. This article emerged from a thought I had while meditating.

To relate both of these to my bigger inquiry into relationship, and in this case human relationship, where do the two become confused and where is each most useful, powerful and appropriate?

A way of distinguishing between thoughts and feelings and how they get confused is by paying attention to language. The way we phrase a sentence determines exactly whether we are referring to a thought or a feeling. Even though we often use the word ‘feel’ in a sentence many times it is a thought we are expressing. An easy way to see this is if there is no feeling word in a sentence or if there are any words between “feel” and the actual feeling then it’s not a feeling we are expressing, it is a thought.

For example:

“I feel like you are not listening to me”.

What is the feeling being expressed in this sentence? There is no explicit feeling, rather a feeling and a thought are being merged together. The effect of an expression like this is likely to cause conflict or confusion.

Teasing them apart we can express them separately:

“I think that you are not listening to me” and the feeling may be “I feel alone right now”.

The expression of either of these independently is already powerful, sometimes even more powerful than expressing them together as the negative space created by the absence of either the feeling or the thought allows room for and in some ways draws the other into an authentic interaction.

To combine them is something like this:

“I think that you are not listening to me and I feel alone”.

Be very very careful here in not creating blame for the other person by adding the all too frequently used “and this makes me feel”. Just because a thought and a feeling are happening at the same time and in response to a situation does not mean that the situation imposes those thoughts and feelings upon us. The situation is not responsible for us feeling and thinking in any particular way, it is our own unique make-up and history that create a context around what happens in our minds and hearts. In this example it may be a memory of an older sibling never listening and the alone feeling that would come up that is being triggered. It may also be that the other person is listening yet they are not looking, or any number of things.

As a quick aside, we started this example with an already reasonable level of awareness. To regress to show a considerably less elegant expression would be to say “you are not listening to me”. These kind of assertions hardly ever go anywhere other than conflict. Absolutely grow the skill in your life to avoid ever telling another person what their experience is, own your own!

Back to the refinement of expression we can also create an even bigger context by giving an insight into why our thought was formed:

“I notice you aren’t looking at me when I talk and this makes me think you aren’t listening. I feel alone over here”

See again that I left the feeling independent of the thought. The space between a feeling and a thought allows for exploration and co-discovery with another person.

This kind of sentence, while cumbersome, provides an elegance that gives all the pieces of the puzzle to another to know what is happening in our inner world. With that information they have a lot of room to respond without being reactively triggered. There is no blame, only a conveyance of three distinct pieces of information that may or may not be linked. By inviting another person into this with us we create a collective field and this is where things can get really juicy.

The three pieces of information:

  • noticing what is going on
  • the thought one is having about what is going on
  • the feeling that is occurring in the moment

This simple format is a powerful to communicate in a way that invites connection rather than creates conflict. Sometimes conflict will still arise and there is nothing wrong with that, conflict is powerful fuel and life would be a dull place without it. However, we can move towards conscious and productive conflict and away from the reactive and destructive conflict that many of us are all too familiar with.

When I started writing this piece I had something entirely different in mind yet as my fingers danced across the keys the words formed themselves and this is what arose.

The message, however, that I feel most inspired to bring is to reclaim thoughts as thoughts and recognise that it is entirely ok to have them, own them and express them. When I can express a thought, even one that is a negative judgment, and own it as what is happening inside of me while simultaneously being unattached to an outcome and open to discovering new… then I am able to bring my inner world out into deeper and more powerful connection with those around me.

Own your thoughts, whatever they are. Express them as thoughts, use the phrases “I think” or “I imagine” for any occasion you have a thought about something and are not entirely sure about the truth of the matter.

Use feelings to express and convey the flavours of emotion happening inside of you and to show that part of your inner world to another.

Be distinct and conscious in your language and watch how your interactions evolve!

I have noticed an influx of new subscribers recently and I’m immensely grateful and touched to and by all of you who have taken enough interest in my writing to want more. Welcome and thank you for subscribing!
It has me inspired to commit to writing something each week as I continue my explorations and musings into the human experience.
Currently I am immersed in the study of a Masters in Social Ecology, which essentially takes all the things I am most curious and passionate about and channels that into a formal educational qualification! How cool is that?
I am also working on my first ever book which is tentatively titled “The Foundations of Authentic Relating” which takes my interest for genuine, deep, personal and meaningful conversation and turns it into a manual of teachable skills to let all of our interactions become that much deeper and intimate. It is also a foundation for intersubjective practices, that allow us to enter into deep states of awareness with others, to build upon. I’m not sure when this book will be available, hopefully within the year.
Lastly I am working on a website to consolidate this blog, some of my other writings published in various places and to offer some of my services, including working on a podcast idea, to the world. I hope to be completed with this in the next few months.
For this week post I was replying an email to someone who had written to me off this blog and was pondering the question of the seeming conscious revolution that many people are talking about. The following are some of my ideas about what is occurring in the world today and how simply by reading this, thinking and talking about the possibilities that you are already participating in this new emergence.




Heya ______,
The two main things I see you are talking about is this urge of wanderers, particularly of a more spiritual bent I imagine, and their desire for being a part of community. And then in this next email about the spiritual revolution.
For quite a while now I have become fascinated by the concept of human development, and particularly higher stages of adult development. The theorists and researchers looking into this topic point to the fact that we don’t just stop developing once we reach adulthood, that actually the potential to keep on growing is there and in some ways mappable, in that it has certain attributes associated with them in different stages… just like childhood, teenager, etc have specific attributes associated with them.
Different researchers have looked into different sets of attributes such as values, meaning-making and ego development.
As we reach into higher levels of development we become more complex human beings and as such able to take on a greater and greater perspective. We may look at animals and think of them as benign and naturally loving creatures, or is it that they just don’t have the ability to make as significant an impact as we do? Do they really care about or even see this planet in any clear and personally subjective way?
As we develop our first notion, as a baby, is utterly ego-centric. There is no other, the entire universe exists simply to provide for me. As we grow we develop that ability to take another perspective. We see that “oh there is me, and there is you” I can start to imagine that my actions impact you. Then we begin to see that for a group, my family group or my tribe or my religion is the most important to the exclusion of others out there. Wars come from this stage of consciousness as people from a different belief are others, we can’t necessarily identify with their life or that they feel and think like we do… they are different and as such ignorant. And then we develop again and we begin to step into a world-centric capacity. We see that all life has value. This is a considerable path of development from the first cavemen and women! Many people on the world have not reached this place of being, they can’t quite see with this lens yet… it is happening though. More and more people are waking into this capacity to honour and love all life.
This whole spiritual revolution… firstly I’m not a fan of the term revolution as it implies on one hand revolving and going around in a circle, and on the other some kind of uprising against something external.
I like the idea of evolution better… and I’m starting to feel that all of this great awakening stuff, it’s just a momentum towards the next evolutionary step in humanity.
It’s happened before. We have been through a renaissance, an enlightenment, an industrialisation, democracy, etc. At each of these it didn’t just suddenly happen out of nowhere. Rather there were people talking about new ideas and possibilities, probably for a long time. Bit by bit people began living into these new ideas and eventually a tipping point occurred where at a larger collective this new way was adopted and integrated into the morphogenetic field of the human species.
I think this is what is happening now. We are moving towards something new, something post-post-modern, post-democracy, post-capitalism. We don’t quite know what it is yet, only that where we are now isn’t working anymore for a growing number of us and we are talking about it. Little by little this talk becomes action in thousands and thousands of tiny ways scattered around the globe. Eventually some kind of consolidation will emerge with some great thinker/leader (or more likely to be some kind of collaborative group I think) standing up and proposing, en masse, radical changes to the way things are and with a rush of excitement and disturbance we will enter a new age. It’s not the end of the story, and it’s not the end of all problems… likely it will solve a huge number of the problems we are currently facing (likely environmental) yet will create in and of it’s own a huge number of new and even more complex problems for the next generations to grow into.
As the famous quote by Einstein goes “it is impossible to solve problems by the same level of consciousness that created them” (or something like that). Literally we have to grow to solve the problems we create by growing.
And so this phenomena you see by your peers and our urges to be in sustainable and conscious community… I think this is a part of the imperative towards this new way of being. You are a part of and witnessing the outliers, those who are on the far end of the bell curve of human development and their natural desire reaching into, and dynamically co-creating, what comes next. We are unsatisfied with the consumeristic way of living, and we feel in our cells the destruction to our home, the natural ecosystem of this planet to which we are utterly interdependent upon. We know something needs to change and we want it, we crave it .
By having this conversation, by any of us having these conversations. By dreaming together into the possibilities we are moment-by precious-moment actively imagining it into existence. The morphogenetic field to which we are all part is laying down grooves that will eventually become solid reality. Thoughts and conversations have substance, they are subtle objects and they have a power to them.
I have hope because everything in our history points to change. We evolve, adapt and evolve again. Any species that ceases to falls by the wayside and the universe goes on. We aren’t the pinnacle of existence, yet as far as we know we are the first time for this to ever happen on this particular planet. Whether we continue to grow into our potential or not, life will go on and the great spirit will continue to evolve.
Much love,

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