Friday, 9 November 2012

What Is Happiness and Can It Coexist With Sadness?

Happiness is the ideal state of being, one that is generally accompanied by a peaceful and tranquil state of mind.  It is a bit like a light warmth that resides at our core, one that we may most notice when we have the peace of mind to appreciate it.  It is yet possible to experience sadness, after all, there are many potential causes of sadness that may enter our lives at just about any time.  Should we simply look to our core and feel that warmth of happiness that resides there though, we would realise the truth, that is, that like the experience that was the cause of our sadness, the sadness itself is well only transitory.

That warmth at our core that is happiness, may well provide the strength to endure such moments of sadness, without ever having to leave behind our general state of happiness.  The challenge here for many of us is to create the peace of mind to appreciate the subtle strength that happiness naturally provides.  Without peace of mind, we may not be allowing ourselves the space to even realise that such finer qualities as happiness actually exist.

Peace is what naturally surrounds happiness, well it is like a cocoon within which we reside, and may also set the tone for nearly everything we do.  It begins, and is most recognisable as inner peace, that calm and tranquil state of mind that gives us the space to provide a measured response to pretty much every experience where that state prevails.  Yet the reality for many of us is that it can be very difficult to achieve or maintain.

If our minds are clouded by strong emotion or even many stressful thoughts, which by their very nature have a tendency each to create an emotional response, how are we to recognise the strength of our happiness.  It would be like trying to look at our inner core through multi-coloured glasses, how could we then be certain of what we are seeing there.  Clearly, inner peace is the key here, and may well be about creating a small place of peacefulness, like imagining a small calm lake, within our mind, and allowing that calm space to expand to include us entirely.

Through practicing inner peace, it is easily possible to be sad, and yet realise that we are still happy.  This is achieved because our practice of inner peace works to prevent us from becoming overwhelmed by the emotions that might be inclined to enter our mind with the sadness.  Many different emotions can travel with sadness, pretty much any combination in fact, and perhaps partly because our sadness can be strong, so too can these emotions be strong.  Hence the importance of practicing inner peace, and not allowing ourselves either to drown in our emotions or to wallow in our sadness.

So it is, that it is OK to be sad from time to time, although it is better to be seen as a place that we may visit for a relatively short time, rather than a place we set ourselves to reside.  The challenge here, is that prolonged moments of sadness can actively work to cool the warmth at our core that is happiness, and have some potential over the long term to lead to a generally depressed state.  Therefore, it is better to realise what it is that causes us to feel sad, and then to allow that moment to pass peacefully from our mind and being.

Perhaps interestingly though, it is generally not well to attempt to avoid sadness altogether.  Sadness is a necessary aspect of human existence.  It may actually be that through sadness we first learn to care, and caring is a vital human quality. Caring is at the heart of compassion, and compassion is the fundamental modality of being, such that, through caring we can become beings of happiness.

Sadness can be like a pendulum that sometimes touches us, and highlights the reason to attend to our happiness.  When it touches someone else, we may yet be willing to share of it through our empathy of them.  It is then as though we experience an echo of the pendulum's touch, and because we care, we may be able to participate in easing that other person's pain or suffering.  There are many cycles of life, sadness is but one of them.

Happiness is a subtle warmth at our core, one that may provide the strength to endure in darker moments, as well as in the light.  It can coexist with sadness, as long as we make sure that the sadness does not overstay its welcome.  Better that we allow our happiness gradually to ease any moments of sadness, such that these moments of sadness and the experiences that triggered them, may pass peacefully from our mind and being, so that through practicing inner peace, happiness may well become our prevalent state of being.

Friday, 2 November 2012

What Is Compassion and Why Does It Matter?

Compassion is as much about having a strong sense of empathy of other beings, and respect for the feelings of other beings, as it is the inclination to do the right thing by these other beings, given our empathetic sense of them, and our respect for their feelings.  More precisely, compassion is the fundamental modality of being, and well describes our awareness and understanding, of the connectedness of all things.  So what does this mean for us on a day to day basis.

Many of us hold to the principle of doing to others as we would have them do to us. Well, this is an aspect of compassionate living. In essence it relates to the reality that I exist in the universe, yet a part of the universe, just as all of those that I know exist in the universe, yet a part of the universe. I being one within the universe do the best that I may by all those others being each one within the universe. We do the best for each other because we respect that the universe is our perfect home and includes our bodies, and so we are actually doing the best for our own home and body.

Having a sense of the way that each one of us is naturally connected through the universe, our home, allows us to become more aware, not only of our own state of being, but also all those others with whom we share our lives and home.  Often, as our sense of awareness of the connection between all things begins to grow, one of the first things we may notice, is the pain or suffering that we feel that other people might be experiencing, through our empathy of them.

This sense of others pain or suffering naturally draws on our capacity to care, that is, to be concerned for, or have the best interests for, our fellow being.  Actually, it is through our inclination to be caring of others, that we allow ourselves the capacity to experience empathy of them.  So it is, that empathy naturally leads to caring, which naturally leads to empathy and back again, and thus the cycle continues.

Why then, does compassion matter to us?  Perhaps it is mostly because it centres around a fundamental aspect of life, that is it's cyclical nature.  More precisely, it encompasses the natural give and take of the universe and ourselves, at their highest possible level of operation.  Therefore, to be in a state of compassion, would be us living to our greatest potential.  One where we are willing to accept all that the universe may well offer us, and to share honestly of ourselves with the universe.

After all, isn't this essentially all we can ask for, that the universe provides what we require, and that we respond honestly with the universe, and essentially all those others with whom we share this universe, for they are equally a part of the universe too.  If we just consider the ideal nature of the environment the universe created for us here on the earth, it should be easy to see that the universe naturally cares for us.  What remains, is for us to care for the universe, perhaps as a beginning at home, caring for the earth and those with whom we share it.

Although there may be some value in considering ourselves in isolation, both from the universe, and from those that we share it with, in general it is better that we acknowledge the truth.  That is, I live in a universe that I'm also naturally a part of, just as much as the earth is, and everyone else living upon her.  Quite naturally, I share with the universe by caring for all that I know.  Through this caring for others, I may well come to a new appreciation and understanding of the experience of these others, and so not only am I now learning from my own experience, but I am also learning from the experiences of others.  Because I care, I can put myself in their shoes, and understand.

To close ourselves off to compassion, is to deny the truth about the connectedness of all things.  If I refuse to care for someone, it is like I am saying to myself that that being is not part of this universe, or they exist outside the universe, because I am refusing to acknowledge that we are connected.  All this achieves, it to make it impossible to put myself in their shoes, and honestly come to understand them.

This does not in any way work to disconnect that other person from the universe, but rather only serves to limit my understanding of them, or situations concerning them.  The less we are willing to care for others, the less the universe is able to communicate to us, through its caring for us, and the less we are likely to appreciate or understand what is going on around us.  Clearly it is, that not to care for others is not to care for ourselves, and equally to care for others is to care for ourselves.

What is compassion?  It is our willingness to acknowledge the connectedness of all things, and to care for them, as the universe cares for us.  Why does it matter?  Because it allows us an ever greater capacity to appreciate and understand through empathy, our surroundings, the earth, and the universe as a whole and all those with whom we share it.  Sharing is caring.  Compassionate beings are the caretakers of the universe, at least in our own small way.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Is the New Age Movement Here To Stay?

The new age movement is here to stay, but why, and what is it anyway.  Clearly, the new age movement is not some organisation we can join, like a union or political association.  It is not something that requires direct funding to survive, and we don't have to pay annual dues to consider ourselves part of it.  In some way though, the new age movement does share many of the views of the people that relate to it the most.  So,

What Is the New Age Movement?

Perhaps it is best described as a system of principles or ideals that many people born into the global culture, can generally relate to, and even adhere to.  One of the more central principles, is that people are beginning to evolve at a more rapid rate.  This acceleration in our evolution is taking place on a personal level, just as much as on a global level, and people who feel this quickening on a personal level, are likely the people who connect to the new age movement the most.

It is often seen that this dramatic acceleration in our evolution, is leading to a new age of divine enlightenment, generally among the human population.  One where the level of caring we have for each other and for our planet, might be considered to be approaching the pinnacle for us in this phase of our evolutionary cycle.  A new age of peace.

The reality is, that each person naturally comes to their own view of what the new age movement is, in their own time and space.  I was reading books from the new age section of the bookshop, long before I had such an expansive view of what the new age might look like.  The books found in this section of the bookshop, cover a wide range of subjects, that a person interested in participating in bringing about a new age for human kind, might have in mind to study.
Subjects including spirituality, healing, and the use of crystals; through meditation, psychology and religion; to the nature of compassion and inner peace, are all to be found in the new age section of our local bookshop.  To have an interest in any of these areas, and perhaps a deep many beyond, is to share in the common interest of the new age movement, whether it is realised by the person in question or not.  It is not even required that a person share a common view of where the new age movement leads, after all, it is a journey rather than an end.

Why the New Age Movement Has No End!

As previously stated, the new age movement is a journey.  It's purpose is to bring about a new age of wisdom and compassion on earth, and all that well comes after.  Once a person becomes enlightened, their journey is clearly not at an end, but rather quite the contrary, it may well be seen as a new beginning. 
From my perspective, we come here to create through life.  Much of what we create is knowledge, often by our experience of, or our interaction with our surroundings.  In effect it is, that each of us comes to our own unique understanding, of our already somewhat unique experiences of life.  This actually occurs through the law of cause and effect, "I do; this happens; ah, I see." As perhaps this demonstrates, we may also learn from our experience of what other people do, in much the same way.
If it is our intention to emulate God, and create of ourselves in our own image.  Then it makes sense for us to prefer that the reflection of ourselves that we create, clearly have the highest quality, and so may we all benefit.  If this is our perfect nature, then as it is with perfection, it is by it's very nature something that can be improved upon, and as such has no end.
For those of us who are just beginning to value a new understanding of some subject that relates to, or is even at the core of, the new age movement, we are beginning to connect with the new age movement and it's ideals in at least that way, for that part of our understanding.  With new people connecting to the new age movement, each and every day, and because of the subjects at it's core, it is a journey that is constantly evolving in it's own way.  Just as it is that each of us is naturally evolving in our own way.  Simply, it has well begun, and therefore it is.  Here to stay, as much as we are.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Is Perfection a Myth or a Reality?

As a myth, perfection is often viewed as something beyond the ideal, that is actually not attainable by an ordinary person.  Perfection can even be viewed as something that is faultless, or absolutely complete, that is, something that can not be improved upon, but what in our modern society fits this definition?  If you find the same answer to that question as I do, nothing, then it's not much of a leap for us to realise that this definition of perfection, describes something that is mythical.  How then, does it help us to view perfection as a myth?

Many of us grow up thinking we have to strive for perfection.  As adults, we may even find ourselves being perfectionists, and from my experience in our modern culture, this is one of the most challenging of human qualities that we may each adopt.  This often means measuring ourselves against the tallest stick, and after spending much time and effort, we still don't quite measure up.  In the end, we may even feel that we are often left to settle for second best, and that is not quite perfection.
Some people might be inclined to give up on perfection for this reason, after all, what's the point if it's impossible to achieve. Given that our culture defines, that without an ending, as infinite, it might be like trying to imagine what it is that exists at, or even beyond infinity. Wouldn't we first have to see ourselves as infinite beings, and for those that don't, it might suddenly seem reasonable to give up.  After all, what's the point of being a perfectionist, if no-one can actually succeed at it.
This seeming lack of success, is very likely to leave us feeling not too good about ourselves.  Being a perfectionist with a mythical view of perfection, is a tough path to walk, yet there are many people that walk that path, each and every single day, but there may be a better way.  The way to achieve this, is to view perfection as a reality, other than a myth.  So, what is required to shift our view of perfection away from myth and towards reality?
 Well, if we can accept that God is perfect, and that we each were created in his image, that means that we are all inherently perfect, but what has now changed in our definition of perfection?  Perfection is now something that can inherently be improved upon.  After all, wouldn't most, if not all of us, see ourselves as works in progress.  Each of us is still growing, at least to some degree.  Even the universe is still growing, and yet most of us would likely see it as perfect.

So perfection now becomes, something that can inherently be improved upon.  Actually, if we are trying to be perfect in reality, it suddenly makes sense to allow for the occasion where someone may come after us and attempt to improve upon what we have already created.  Instead of working towards an end point, we may find ourselves working towards the ideals that are present in any given moment, while realising that there may well be more to come, long after we've finished our particular work.

With this real view of perfection, it quite suddenly becomes much easier for most of us to relate to perfection.  Now as perfectionists, we are not trying to create beyond the ideal, we are actually working to create in our own image, and so our work becomes more like a part of us as individuals.  As with pretty much everything, we may each still come to our own unique view and understanding of perfection, just as we have our own unique view and understanding of ourselves. 

We should not though, see this as a reason not to at least attempt to do our best.  Perfection is not about a particular end result, but rather it describes the endeavour to show ourselves in the best possible light in any given moment, and the individual steps we may take towards achieving this.  This then forms part of the process of us creating in our own image, as we attempt to emulate God, as he created us in his image.

So it is, that perfection may well be a reality.  One where we express ourselves honestly, sharing of ourselves, so as create that which may well be seen as a positive reflection, of at least part of ourselves.  Therefore ideally, perfection is a journey we may each agree to undertake.  More precisely, perfection is simply something of which we realise we are naturally a part.  The realisation that we do exist in a perfect universe, yet a creation of God, in his own image.


Monday, 15 October 2012

What Is Evolution and How Can We Relate To It?

Put simply, evolution is permanent growth in a positive direction, and while this may seem like a simple explanation, it is yet quite accurate, and actually rather complex in nature.  Let me first expand on this by discussing the quality of the permanent aspect of this growth.  The proliferation of dinosaurs across the face of planet earth, definitely demonstrated huge growth in the evolutionary cycle, yet where are they now?

The reality is, as best as we can tell, a meteor struck the earth, causing something like a global nuclear winter, that ultimately killed the majority of prehistoric species, and sent the earth hurtling into an ice age.  If the same thing were to happen today, we would just as likely struggle to survive, but our physical growth, that is our growth in science, gives us many advantages over the dinosaurs, and we actually might fare quite a lot better.  That is, our evolution thus far, might have begun to prepare us.

Now while the likelihood of something like that happening again in modern times is actually extremely small, nature does have its way of throwing us a challenge from time to time.  Not that it is out to get us in some way, on the contrary, God loves us all, but rather in my view, I think it is that nature likes to test us periodically, to see how far and well we have grown, particularly in respect of our sense of our place in the world.  In some ways, this may be seen as nature giving us causes to strip ourselves back to our very foundations, which is the core of who we are, and while that core gradually grows or evolves with us, our true core is quite impervious to anything that happens to or around us.

Clearly, the dinosaurs had not grown far enough to protect themselves from the catastrophe that befell them, and so while their existence upon this earth is well considered permanent, we are still finding the fossil evidence, their passage was yet transitory, and so, forms part of the ever expanding cycles of life.  They are a permanent facet in the evolution of planet earth, and may yet be what is perhaps a timely reminder, that we each ultimately have to face our own mortality, and that while we are absolutely permanent, we are yet transitory.

Evolutionary growth is always positive for a reason.  Think of how our understanding of science and technology have evolved, as a culture,  over the last few decades.  New ideas that are put forward in these fields are only lasting when they are true, and well founded in what we already know.  Often, it takes some time to determine the truth of a new idea, and to see how well supported it is by what is currently known.  Once this is achieved, the new idea comes to form part of our knowledge, and may well form the foundation for newer ideas, the potential knowledge of the future.

Clearly, anything that is true and well founded is inherently positive, though it is incredibly important here that the growth we are considering actually be well founded.  For without the support of what is already known, it is possible for new ideas to unseat any previous ideas that were not so well founded.  Modern science generally has its permanence because it is based upon truth built upon truth, each supported by the prior truth.  So while our overall view does change over time, there remains a sense of constant improvement or continuous growth in a positive direction, evolution.

We might be thinking here, that people sometimes do bad things with what they know, how can that be, if the idea was true and well founded.  The reality is, that while the idea might be inherently positive, it can still be used for ill.  The nature of what happens when a person acts on an idea, is largely determined by their intentions.  If their intentions are ill, what is done will likely be ill, but it is better to note that the original idea, still might have been positive.  Some of the most hurtful things another person can say to us are often true.

Relating to evolution, is about being mindful of each and every step that we take in the right direction, both individually in our own lives, and as part of the human culture, the steps that we feel our society is making in a positive direction.  It is up to each and every one of us to decide how much we intend to participate in this evolutionary process, and at the very least, to remain aware of this process of evolution that takes place through and around us.

And so it is with evolution, that things may grow into existence, in a positive direction, reside here for a while, providing support that may well found much of the things that come after, and at some later time, when its influence has been exhausted, it may pass ultimately from existence again, leaving much behind.  Isn't evolution wonderful.


Friday, 12 October 2012

Are We Still Evolving?

The short answer is yes.  A more broad answer very quickly becomes far more complicated.  Some people might be inclined to feel that we have begun to stagnate, while technology and science continue to evolve in leaps and bounds, right before our very eyes.  This is yet part of the evolution of our physical selves, our ability to manipulate in physics through our physical bodies, though it may seem that we are largely removed from this process, both mentally and emotionally.

The reality is, the more that we evolve in the realm of physics, the more obvious it may become, that we have much more room for growth or evolution in the realm of metaphysics, our inner world of thought, emotion and well beyond, that largely remains unseen and misunderstood.  While physics was always my favourite subject growing up, after my spiritual awakening, it quickly became a race between metaphysics and physics, for my attention as favourite subject.  My point is that the balance is quickly shifting towards metaphysics being the subject that will require our urgent study and attention.

In the same way that we grow or evolve to understand how our new mobile phone works, we have evolved to understand so many things in, and facets of our physical world.  Each of us sees this outer world from our own unique perspective, relating to it, with an understanding that is also uniquely our own.  Most of us are also readily aware of the extremely fast pace at which things move in the realm of physics, or our physical worlds, but often don't give the same credit to the pace of things in our metaphysical world.  We might even be willing to fall into the trap of thinking that our metaphysical world is very small, even nonexistent, when compared to that of the physical world.  This can lead us to feeling lost, isolated and alone in today's fast paced society, a bit like an outsider, simply watching it all happen, or like a leaf being blown by the wind.

Interestingly, with this growing sense of isolation that many of us are beginning to experience, we are progressively more likely to find ourselves looking inwards, questioning ourselves, and perhaps wondering if there's more to life, a better way.  From what I've come to know, having spent more than a decade studying metaphysics, by looking inwards, while remaining mindful of the physical world and it's progress, is that this is definitely where the next major leap in our evolutionary cycle shall take place, in our inner worlds.  The dramatic rate of growth in science, or physics, strongly urges us to look inwards, so that we may begin to match the rate of our inner growth with that of our outer growth.

Many of us might be inclined to think that if it isn't broken, why fix it, but from my experience, I find that validation is always in order, and so I relate this metaphysical view to the physical world, and find that if we had taken that attitude with science, or physics, over the last century, we would hardly have grown or evolved as a society at all over that time.  You would almost certainly not be able to read this article on your phone or PC.

My study of metaphysics has as much been a process of self discovery.  Learning how my inner universe functions, how it is structured, and the nature of all the interdependent relationships that take place therein.  Along the way, I've had to create tools to work with the inner processes I've discovered, and then worked to create order in places that at first glance seemed rather chaotic.  The majority of this work took place within my own mind, a place I had a relatively limited understanding of, before I undertook the study of metaphysics.

Through this process, my mind has gradually become a wonderful and expansive place, within my metaphysical realm.  As with the physical realm, it is a place of which I have my own unique view, perspective and understanding.  It is the nexus that allows me to connect to myself, and my physical and metaphysical worlds.  For those of us that say, "ignorance is bliss," I say that most of us would hate not to be able to understand how to use our mobile phones.  If we knew what we were missing by not looking inwards to our metaphysical worlds, we would almost all be as willing and as keen, to work to understand the metaphysical world, as we are the physical world.

Are we still evolving?  The answer is a resounding yes, and yet the biggest burst in our evolutionary journey to take place in modern times, is barely beginning.  Although it is for each of us individually to take care of this growth, it is human culture collectively that benefits.  This naturally happens much the same way as a scientist or inventor comes up with a new idea, and some time later, most of us are using mobile phones.  Don't lose heart, we are definitely still evolving, and the best is yet to come.