B9: things are looking up for old tom benefield

With the new Tubecasts finally up and running and the website running more smoothly in general now, and therefore my podcasts becoming more regular also, I find myself wondering about the relevance of a written blog?

Which is strange because it’s not like since the advent of TV I find myself wondering about the relevance of books. Especially strange in that I’ve always considered myself a writer more than a musician so therefore these intentionally designed and edited BLOGS should in theory for me seem more resonant with my abilities than the spontaneous improvised film and audio mediums. Maybe that’s the crux of the issue though: that as a writer I don’t edit much, I write in stream of consciousness and hold some funny issue-like belief that to edit and revise (other than my appalling grammar and spelling) is in some way a cop out. Not because it implies that I wasn’t talented enough to get it right the first time but more because it reveals a self censorship symptomatic of a self consciousness that I don’t want in my psyche, let alone in my writing. That being said, it’s not like I feel there would be anything particularly evolved or useful about printing my every mundane thought as I write and also I suspect that part of the reason for having this belief that ‘its inauthentic to edit’ is to mask the fact that I’m too lazy to do it, or if not lazy maybe just that the thought of editing is the one thing that triggers my predominantly dormant inner-perfectionist. At the thought of editing (and therefore mixing an album too) this aspect of me, that plays no roll in my creative process, or my day job, or my tidying the house, or my relationships, or anything else really, springs up and says “well if you’re going to take the time to make it right you have to make it absolutely perfectly right, and that’s too hard and will take too much time”. That stops me dead in my tracks and I just either quit or publish it as is (as you can see by my unedited podcasts and previous blogs).

One of my techniques for getting present, and transcending debilitating self-consciousness and falseness is to name my insecurity or fear or anxiety. This is why so many of my podcasts, blogs and Tubecasts are about actually the act of what I’m doing and how I’m feeling about it and what I’m thinking about it. Now whether or not that makes for a gripping experience for the Tommy-frequenting public or not is a fact that remains to be seen but it does leave me free to be myself more than if I tried to push it to the side.

I’ve been thinking recently about some of my more recent blogs and the responses I’ve had to them (some were comments I published and some people wrote me emails) it seems I’ve inadvertently gotten people to pity me which is so unfair for the poor suffering masses out there with genuine issues and in genuine need of pity. Well no one probably benefits much from being pitied so perhaps ‘need’ isn’t the right term but certainly there are folks out there who far better justify the response.

I on the other hand go to bed almost every night feeling grateful for my life and wake up happy and excited. I don’t like having to go to work every day and wish I had enough abundance to be able to make music and travel full time, but I think that’s part of the human experience and I don’t let my longing invade my enjoyment of my current circumstances, too much.

It’s true that my crisis of faith that I’ve written about has also caused a crisis of confidence and a crisis of aspirations and hope too, but like I always tried to preface that with I’m not actually depressed or despairing and I do believe whatever  I’m going through is a process. I wrote about it mostly as something real to express, and also because I thought others similarly experienced might take solace from the universality of the dilemma?

My current theory in terms of my crisis is that it was rational thought and scientific theory that created the doubt in my faith and experience of life and therefore maybe greater study of science will create doubt in my new ideology (which shouldn’t be hard as the new ideology is simply “I don’t know” mixed with a desire to create new understandings and make new decisions based on evidence rather than inspiration).

Watching documentaries from cutting edge scientists with different viewpoints to Dawkins has been really helpful to me in this respect and I find my old ways of looking at things coming back to me.

 Maybe the black and white spiritual ideologies that I first resonated with as a teen in early recovery may not ever return but I still believe that I had the most intuition, wisdom and natural power around that time and that all the refining that came after was useful and made me a better helper in the world, but also led me to the current state of confusion.

Ultimately I would like to believe that the whole process will invariable be revealed to me in hindsight as being essential for me and not just ‘something that I went through’ but ‘something amazing that I went through’ and I’m closer now than I’ve been in the last two years too believing that again.

I think I’m mending the broken heart that losing faith left me with, Which is a hard heart to mend. When you break up with someone, your friends and family gather round you and offer you support, whether or not you know how to accept it you are at least validated by it. Having your faith slip is so personal, so intangible so un-communicate-able and so holistic in its impact, that there’s no simple way of being offered or even being experienced or seen by your loved ones as being in need of it. Which is ironic because it was my faith in spirit that so hugely sustained my self–sufficiency and lack of interdependence on others.

I didn’t know how to express that when my clients said to me “I don’t know what to do” I’d stopped feeling a huge amount of excitement and gratitude because their not knowing represented an openness which would provide space for spirit to come in and start lovingly guiding their lives, but that now I just felt the same lost-ness as them and all I could honestly say was “I don’t know either”.
I didn’t know how to say that when people said to me “amazing show man you guys are gonna’ be huge” that my internal reaction had turned from “yes we are!” to “oh man that really bums me out, because it’s just more proof that good people can be so misguided, because I believed that too and now I don’t know, and your telling me that with such certainty  just brings home the fact that certainty isn’t a guarantee and now I don’t have guarantees or belief…”.

All these subtle changes and shifts happened in every area of my life real slowly and without much awareness on my part. Which is weird because I’ve always known, and often said, that spirit is the fundamental ballast on which all my beliefs balance and that desire to be in alignment with, and to serve, spirit is my only ambition in this life and that my most important relationship is with spirit. So it should have been obvious that to stop believing in spirit would alter my entire experience of life.  I guess the stopping believing happened so subtly and never with any finality. The closest I came to being final and the first thing that alerted me to the intensity of the change in my spiritual outlook was when I realized that my faith that I’d make it as a Muso had changed from ‘absolute’ to ‘highly unlikely’. It was my relationship to music that tipped me off to my relationship to spirit.

Even in my most zealous spiritual times I’ve always said that Truth was more Sacred to me than Love and that I would follow the truth to the ends of the earth and my lifetime, but like I recently said to a good friend about this viewpoint: I held that view on the basis that God was the Truth and that underneath all of science and rational thought and reality was the existence of a benevolent intelligence of which our eternal souls were a happy part. Had I known that the truth was its just me for 68 years in a flat working a day job cause I can’t make it as a writer I might not have been so bold to say that truth was more important than love, infact I might have said “you know truth’s not all that important at all, I prefer things like TV and cuddles”.

I guess whatever the outcome though, I laid down that incantation and I’m still committed to it. Truth remains the most important thing to me, in my relationships with my loved ones, my self and with spirit and science, and whatever measure it may represent of awareness or delusion I’m back to believing wholeheartedly that the truth will be beautiful whatever it is and that whatever it is I will be better off for my awareness of it.

One Response to “B9: things are looking up for old tom benefield”

  1.  Nicole Says:

    So glad you have a website now. I have just found it! What brought me here is that I was in love with pakeha/tommys first two albums, it was the soundtrack to a good part of my life so far. Just wanted to say keep up the good work!

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