Karl Ayling


c/o Faithbuilders www.faithbuilders.org.uk

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Karl's Blog

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By Karl Ayling, Jan 10 2019 09:53PM

My studies in the last couple of years have included both formal and informal training into personal insight and something called the internal supervisor. The internal supervisor is something of a structure for ongoing professional development for my work as a therapist in training. It is where I test out new ideas (and existing ones) and look at my immediate judgements, assessments and opinions in a gently critical way to see what I have learned, analyse it and choose whether to act upon it or not.

All in the name of personal development.

Kolb (1984) developed an Experiential Learning Cycle that consists of four stages;

Stage 1 - Concrete Experience (doing or having an experience)

Stage 2 - Reflective Observation (reviewing or reflecting on the experience)

Stage 3 - Abstract Conceptualisation (concluding or learning from the experience)

Stage 4 - Active Experimentation (planning or trying out what I have learned)

We as human beings have a certain tolerance for certain things. Change is no exception. Science tells us that at a cellular level change is extreme, ongoing and never ending. A concept that has proven to be a little scary for me and some of my colleagues.

Resistance is Futile.

Western philosophical thinking underpinned by Plato and Aristotle who broadly developed Objective Thinking and Subjective Thinking. Our political systems are based upon one or other of these principles and at an individual level people tend to exhibit a preference for one or the other.

Recent academic research has developed a potential third way, something called Experientialism (Lakeoff and Johnson 1980/2003) which attempts to bring understanding of language and thinking into a 21st century humanistic framework that puts individual experience at the heart of comprehension supported by empirical developments in neuroscience and brain function.

This gives an individual ammunition to choose to rely on their own experience or accept someone else's instead of their own.

So, trying to demystify what change is and that it is always happening can help with the anxious realisation that it is going to happen whether I like it or not. So what harm can be done by transitioning to an acceptance of change as inevitable and maybe look at the opportunity to take charge of what changes to accept or deny.

As a born again Christian I have the comfort of being able to also lean into my Father, and the literature of The Bible. This gives me an additional rich comprehension of what He means by change (His change is Transformational and Restorational) especially as outlined in the New Testament. The environmental toxicity that I grew up in would in a humanistic way have obliged me to reek revenge or adopt the ways of my parents in order to survive.

This impacted my behaviour and eventually left me with suicide as the only viable alternative to continuing with that way of life. Romans chapter 8 v28 say's, 'I will turn (change) for good all things for those that love me'.

Bye for now

God bless


By Karl Ayling, Jan 20 2018 12:50PM

Whilst thinking about the content for this blog, I have consulted with renowned historian and author, Desmond Fitzpatrick, to help me to make sense of the trauma caused when man goes to war and the resulting creativity that arises amid the emotional processing. Occasionally world-class art emerges, although not always immediately.

Art has occasionally dealt with retreats. Xenophon is remembered largely from his description, in The Anabasis, of his leading the retreat of the defeated Spartan army from Mesopotamia. (I guess that the Spartan commander’s supply lines were overstretched, so far from Lacedemonia)

Another unwise long-distance attack was led by Charles XII of Sweden against Russia in 1700 and after some initial success he was defeated by Peter The Great. Charles was killed in 1718 while examining the fortifications at Frederickshald, Norway, a stray death in a fairly unimportant place. He figures, dramatically, in Samuel Johnson’s On the Vanity of Human Wishes.

The event which originally inspired this blog was another classic disaster, Napoleon Bonaparte’s invasion of Russia. Starting in June 1812 the invasion was followed by a retreat in the October of that year producing conditions of horrific, unimaginable suffering. This event inspired the 1812 Overture of Tchiakovsky - a passage of music that has not only become a classic but has also inspired the genre of heavy metal music so many people enjoy today. I remember well attending a concert some years ago where the renowned drummer, Cozy Powell played a version of the 1812 Overture whilst drumming wildly, much to the crowds delight at Wembley Arena.

Thus two invasions of Russia have inspired works of art: the third invasion, in 1941, has inspired And Quiet Flows the Don, a work of which the authorship is uncertain, due to the political pressures in Russia but nothing more to note than this.

Art is, using Wordsworth’s famous definition of poetry, emotion recollected in tranquillity. The ‘1812’ is a dramatic rendering, decades afterwards, of an event of appalling suffering. The music can recall, but cannot, of its nature, convey the suffering of those experiencing the event.

Perhaps this tells us that we should beware of too much tranquillity following a trauma lest we end with recollected emotion which does not do justice to the event.

The retreat from Moscow which caused so many deaths of civilian prisoners in addition to those of the withdrawing forces was a true happening and took on another depth of character through being described in history.

At the time it was not yet a legend, that is, something about which things have been written – it was merely a terrible inhuman event not yet given a name.

My book, Massive Power Massive Love is another example of art emerging from trauma, written many years after traumatic events for which, I am grateful for ability of 21st century therapy and a strong faith in helping a robust sanity emerge from PTSD.

By Karl Ayling, Sep 29 2017 08:22PM

During early winter this year, a friend at church was giving away some sunflower seeds, mainly to the children and young people. I spotted an opportunity to try to cultivate one so with permission, I picked up three of the seeds and planted them into a small pot.

A few weeks went by and a couple of shoots began to show themselves - two of the three had started to grow. After another couple of weeks around Easter time they were big enough to plant into the garden.

I chose a spot in between the potatoes and the green beans. At first they competed with each other in reaching for the sky - being well fed and watered, I thought they were doing well.

Then one morning, I went out to inspect their growth progress and one had been broken in half and was no longer viable (maybe a bird had walked past or tried to eat it).

The last remaining sunflower was all alone with my hopes for it hinging on my expectation that I would at least see it get to a few feet high and maybe produce one head for the coming summer.

How Wrong Can You Be?

Other than regular tomato feed and watering it when I watered the rest of the veg patch this sunflower was left to reach its own potential.

The eagle eyed among you will have noticed a picture posted along with this blog.

At the time of writing and after much social media mirth at my regular progress updates, this sunflower grown from a single seed (the last survivor) now stands a magnificent six feet over my six foot fence.

It has 35 heads in various stages of development with more to come. Truly a magnificent specimen of its kind - people are asking me to save the seeds for them.

Its potential was locked away dormant for months awaiting an opportunity to bloom. How many of us can say the same thing of our lives? Not much in the early days, but, just as it says in the Bible, the end of a matter is better than the beginning (Ecc 7 v8)

Further than this analogy, though I think there is also a lesson here in the nature of choice.

Choosing vs Deciding

Notice that in the opening paragraph of this blog I chose to be a little cheeky and ask my friend for some of the sunflower seeds. Examples of the fruit of this choice appear throughout. What is the difference between a choice and a decision? Life.

One is life giving (and of light) and one is death giving and of the dark.

Let me explain.

The word, decide belongs to a family of words that in their earliest use come from the Greek and mean to kill off. For example, matricide, patricide, infanticide, genocide - and decide.

By making a decision we are killing off the option in ontological language of selecting anything else. yet, by simply choosing to make a choice, as I did in cultivating the sunflower seed or choosing to be a caring, sharing loving husband, father, person I can hold myself to account, be responsible for my actions (choices) and endeavour to learn and move forward intentionally.

In the Message Bible and in the Book of Proverbs, the introduction exalts us to embrace wisdom, to live skillfully to cultivate emotions and attitudes within us that make for peace. It challenges us to live with a robust sanity.

Part of how we can do this is in the use of language and the active comprehending and understanding of it in the here and now of the present where peace, love and joy reside.

Bye for now

God bless


By Karl Ayling, Jul 19 2017 08:23PM

All war is pointless and a recent one, the Vietnam war was completely meaningless (opium anyone) Today the US has around 2 million addicts.

Americans Have Been Addicted to Prescription Opiates Forever

A new set of CDC recommendations try to strike a balance between neglecting pain and prescribing addiction.

The world's most powerful nation couldn't subdue tiny Vietnam. And, all subsequent conflicts that have utilised western military capacity have been at best, inconclusive and at worst a sign of western global corruption. Prior to WWII there was a greater societal affinity to faith, family and religion the exponential decline of which has seen an explosion of alternative beliefs such as humanism, spiritism and individualism. Globalisation knew no bounds, until fairly recently, when the Brexit vote, turmoil in southern Europe and the election of a non-politician as President are but some of the indicators that the western electorate may want more change, more quickly than the establishment can cede.

Religious affiliation has been in steep decline in the western world especially western Europe and north America. At the same time there is significant growth in other parts of the world. Islam is expected to become the world's largest religion by 2075, and Christianity is booming in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and China.

In the UK a watershed in national life has been reached. For the first time in recorded history, those declaring themselves to have no religion have exceeded the number of Christians in Britain. Some 44 per cent of the population consider themselves a Christian, 8 per cent follow another religion and 48 per cent follow none. The decline of Christianity is perhaps the biggest single change in Britain over the past century. For some time, it has been a stretch to describe Britain as a Christian country. We can more accurately be described now as a secular nation with fading Christian institutions. Thanks to The Guardian survey.

So what if anything has filled the gap?

I started to have a little dig around as I suspected that Islam has partly filled the void and found that the first Mosque built in the UK was in leafy Woking in Surrey in 1889 – even more surprising is that it was built by a Jew. Here's a link that contains some more detail;


The Shah Jahan Mosque, was built in 1889 by Dr Gottleib Wilhelm Leitner. From my research it was the first mosque to be built in the western world – UK, Northern Europe or North America. The mosque is situated on Oriental Road in Woking, about three quarters of a mile from the railway station and town centre.

Today the mosque has the honour of being listed as a historical Grade 2 listed building.

Another driving force in the general rise of secularisation the embrace of the cult of individualism is the break-up of the traditional family isolating particularly young people and the elderly. For a couple of generations young people have tended not to want to take up their parents religiosity and I believe that it is this that has led to the explosion of humanistic thinking which barely acknowledges anything spiritual. The evidence of the wide spread use of narcotics in the western world seems to me to point towards self-healing of the deep emotional pain that brokenness brings. Therapy costs money and suits only a small part of the population.

Another perhaps more alarming fact that perplexes me is the ever widening gap of wealth distribution across the developed world. In 1800 the average person earned four times less than the highest earner. Today this is more like 15-20 times and growing. Follow the strands of these thoughts for a moment, look at recent riots in France, Germany and Sweden and a revolution could be on the cards within the next hundred years?

I will close with a couple of quotes that are helping me to deepen my thinking;

Socrates' (never) said – 'I can't hope to teach a man anything. All I can do is to hope to make him think.' Bruce Lee said, 'The most dangerous man in the world is the one who listens, observes and thinks.'

Bye for now

God bless


By Karl Ayling, Mar 7 2017 09:15PM

As I sat down to write this blog, I’m not at all sure what to call it. There are two strands of recent inspiration - the first, learning about the concept of Countertransference (and how it effects all of us in a variety of ways) and the second was a recommendation to watch Deeyah Khan’s TED Talk called; What We Don’t Know About Europe’s Muslim Kids.

So, I am going to combine my thoughts and musings into what I hope merges into a coherent whole, let’s see.

Starting with Countertransference; those of you who have read one or two of my blogs will know that I’m a Penticostal Evangelical Christian – my faith in Jesus has, over the last several years contributed to miraculous healing from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). My Twitter account calls me a survivor of CSA – Childhood Sexual Assault and an ex-addict.

What is perhaps less well known is that my book, Massive Power Massive Love was largely written from the inspiration contained in my trauma diary, kept during some 350 hours of psychotherapy & counselling over several years.

The marketing and media work that I have undertaken in the promotion of this book of Psalmic poetry has, over time, given me the confidence to consider re-training. So when an opportunity opened up recently to attend Chichester University to study Psychotherapy & Counselling - off I went.

As part of my studies, I've come across a book called 'Countertransference and the Treatment of Trauma' by Dr C J Dalenberg. Cross referencing this book with the research available on the subject at Wikipedia;

Countertransference - Wikipedia

I am starting to come to the conclusion that as human beings, our communication, innerspeak to ourselves, and our interaction with others, can and does become strongly influenced by our own traumas and our reactions to them mingled with the other persons experiences of traums and their reactions to them. Over time, we forget something important, something significant which happened to help mold us, that has us respond to stimuli in a certain way, sort of a locked-in automatic response.

I remain indebted to the counsellors who captured this element of myself and permitted me to steer towards wholeness and a set-change / revision of who I am to me that helped me to relate to others in a more wholesome, healed, warm and adult way.

Which brings me to Deeyah Khan’s TED Talk which you can see here;

Deeyah Khan: What we don't know about Europe's Muslim kids

As the child of an Afghan mother and Pakistani father raised in Norway, Deeyah Khan knows what it's like to ...

The reason for including this section in this blog is that upon watching the video I became intimately aware that my long held judgments, assessments and opinions indeed prejudices, were juvenile at best and really didn’t help to serve me as a communicator to describe what I feel about the obvious traumas that immigrants and refugees have endured in order to find a small part of a more peaceful nation in which to escape or settle.

The video explains the nuclear family traumas rent upon the younger generation by extreme control and manipulation by the largely patriarchal figures / parents / family which sends predominately young people and converts into the hands of extremists. Extremists who offer a listening ear, acceptance, camaraderie, a hope for self-e_xpression and eventually martyrdom - check out the video, I’m not really doing it justice here.

It touched me sufficiently to combine consideration of my own experiences of trauma with that of others and eventually to emerge with empathy for others, others who are perhaps alien to me, yet still human beings who have also suffered much and are seeking something else, something different from what went before them.

Resistance to change is futile – we all die in the end. It is what happens before then that we have a choice in.

A caring, sharing, loving sentient adult will not make the same choices as a traumatised person suffering the pain of unimaginable horrors. Healing from traumas takes time, it is a journey, ongoing throughout life. Some never start the journey. My hope is that some will start the inquiry into inner healing having seen this blog.

Bye for now

God bless


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