Essays















The First Rule

1st Rule: Keep your mouth shut A healthy human being, who wants to remain healthy and free of illness, should keep his mouth closed for most of his life. Never, ever, breathe through your mouth; your mouth is not for breathing. When you are out of breath, take in lung-fulls of air through your nose, not your mouth. There is an almost mystical or magical improvement in a person's health of lungs, and mind, when he one day decides never to let air into his body unless through the filter of the nose. Never mouth-breathe. Don't let your children do it, either, if you want the best for them. Your mouth is for eating, and talking. But don’t eat, unless you have to. And that means, only eat one meal per day. Eating congests the body, turns the whole body into a machine for processing the food; but your mind and your whole body should be working on more important things. As for talking, do this as little as possible. Rather, examine your thoughts in the head, as much as possible, but do not speak about them. And definitely do not open your mouth to speak if you do not need to do so urgently. It is the most blessed release from all kinds of mental illness if we keep our mouths shut, and learn to look at the oppressive thoughts which shout inside the average head. By looking at them, you will find that they start to fall silent, too. The chief pleasure of life is to get to know the silence within, the emptiness. The deepest thoughts and desires well up to the one who does this. And they are only superficially the kind of thoughts and desires which Freud speculated about. When you eat, chew the food. If you don’t chew, your jaw will decrease in size. Your jaw is composed of stem cells. This means that it can mutate, depending on what you do with it. If you eat sloppy food, over years it will recede into the typical chin-less wonder type of jaw. Then, your mouth and nasal area will diminish in size, and finally, it will be impossible to use the nose for breathing. In order to keep your mouth shut, you must also strengthen your jaw. If your teeth are covering one another, then your jaw is too small. Not to worry! Because the jaw is the hardest bone in the body, and also is subject to change; it is subject to what you use it for, you can expand your jaw and make room for your teeth, if you begin to use your mouth properly; that is, keeping it shut, and eating hard foods, and chewing them. If you breathe through your mouth, you will suffer more colds, flu, and lung diseases. In addition, your mind will tend to wander, and your IQ will fall. You will snore at nights if your nasal cavity is too small. You will not sleep properly, and this will mean a decrease in the ability to concentrate or see the world for what it is. Rule 1.1 So, chew your food well, if you eat. But don’t eat much. There aren’t many things you can do without external compulsion or facing external pressures. Pretty much the only thing we have control over in life is our breathing. So control your breathing, and pay attention to it. If you do not take in full breaths to the chest, so the chest expands, and sometimes also expel the breath so that you force it out entirely from the diaphragm, then you may suffer from scoliosis, or curvature of the spine. A curved spine, along with a lack of a chin, is typical of many unnaturally civilised people. This can be cured by learning to pay attention to your breathing, and using the full capacity of your lungs. Learn to go without breathing, or, get used to long in and out breaths. Humans can train themselves to hold their breath for 12 minutes or more, so don’t worry about the initial panic which your body feels when it senses too much CO2, and not enough Oxygen. It is not a real danger. And, when you have made your body still, by restricting the filth which goes in; and stopped so much from going out; and when you are able to notice your own thoughts and have learned to see them; it will be possible to hear something deeper inside: namely, your conscience. This is the proxy for God in our life. Your conscience will start to tell you what is right. It is like your true self. With a purified body, and purified mind, now purify your world. This is done by setting aside a place and time for ‘me time’. We are free for nothing in this world. The lowest tramp is as much in need of money and love as the most respectable middle-class men, or the richest. There is no need to think of others, here. We are trapped by our distractions and obsessions, and other people. The one thing you may be able to do with complete freedom, is to sit or stand, for a time every day, and control your breathing, examine any thought which comes to annoy you, and turn your mind to the silence. I consider that you will one day discover that you are the Son of God in this way, and the friend God. It remains to find an Orthodox Church, and then join it. Human society was not made as it is today: safe, distracted, trustworthy, efficient, except by the will of those in the past who built it. Every generation must contribute to the building and preservation of our way of life exactly as it is. Our Christian ancestors gave us life. Yes, but the chief source of life is God. So Rule 1.2 set aside at least a Sunday morning to go to church, and serve, and engage in the rituals, to work hard at finding more. They will say: ‘But we know that God didn’t create the world. Stephen Hawking proved it. And, if God made the world, who made God?’ I would point out that the answer is simple: ‘God did not make it in the past, at some point. He is making it now, he is creating you right now.’ Keep your mouth shut, and find the eternal self, and an unbroken eternal church. That’s the first rule for life. --- What is this rule about? Let me tell you. In his angry book about the Church of England, the former priest and homosexual, Michael Hampson, tells us why ‘it is time to disestablish and dismantle what remains of the ancient Church of England’ (Last Rites, 5). I’m not part of the Church of England, and am not commenting on it, and its future. I am commenting on what, he thinks, is the basis for the future of a Church, once it has been dismantled, and he and others like him, decide what to do next. He quotes with approval his bishop’s speech on the day he was ordained: ‘You must set the Good Shepherd always before you as the pattern of your calling. The treasure now to be entrusted to you is Christ’s own flock’, which I interpret as: the essential thing to guide any minister and priest (in England today), is that he try to be like Christ. But Christ defeated death, and what the Apostles wrote about their memory of Christ relates primarily to how he died. If it were possible for Michael Hampson to go out and defeat death, and that the way he lived his life were confined chiefly to his preparation for death, then his using Christ as a pattern for living would be appropriate. But he will never do those things, and his bishop was wrong. It will not be possible to continue Christian worship in England where that kind of image and idea is calling. That idea and that version of Christ which Hampson and his bishop considered it possible to follow, derives from the deeper problem, that their Church is not Orthodox. If it were a national church under the guidance of Orthodoxy, there would be no problem at all with it. There would be no dispute, or gloomy future. I would advise remembrance that men and women are the same today as they were two thousand years ago. And, that what served then, will serve now. The Orthodox is the only Church which has maintained itself since those days. Hampson wants, in fairness to him, to find the origins of the church, and to revive the conditions and simple faith of the early church Fathers and founders. Here is the answer. In the meantime, I would have men like Hampson remember what it means to be merely human, before going on to become divine. The disorderly book he wrote, full of resentment about the people of his homeland (whose marriages, births and deaths disgust him, apparently), and his scorn for priests who go about the performance of liturgy and the calendar, indifferent to what the secular world is doing (which he considers insane), indicate to me that it is best to remember how to become a natural man again, so as to start to wonder and give the proper respect and love of other people, our homeland, and rites for God. That is a place to start, before thinking about joining our Church with Orthodoxy. And that is why I have offered this, my 1st Rule; you are welcome to it!



Design Jason Powell, 2020.

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