Hope

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Thanks to Nick Fewings of Unsplash for the image

There are two ways of looking at Hope; like everything else, I suppose.  On one hand it’s great to have, especially from a religious perspective. To have hope in a world that has seemingly gone mad is surely a very positive thing.  But, I’m going to look at hope from a deeper spiritual perspective.  First of all though, what is it?  For me, hope relates to an event or something in the future that is going to be responsible for making me happy.  There’s only one drawback with that.  If I don’t get the thing I’m hoping for, or if the event I’m hoping for doesn’t happen, I’m in danger of my hope turning into pain and suffering.

Hoping for a certain thing or event to happen really keeps us blind to our true reality, which is the One eternal Self.  This truth can only be realised in the Now, or present moment.  Past and future constitute imaginary time and do not really exist.  The past that shaped and conditioned us, happened Now, and the future that everyone is worried about and that contains the hoped for things that we have spoken of, can also only happen Now.

Yes, hope can be a positive thing when it is understood for what it actually is, but it can also be a jailer, keeping us locked away in the mind-made prison of imaginary time (past and future).

Who Creates Creation?

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There are generally three schools of thought surrounding the mystery of creation, and this post will attempt to throw some light on the subject.

The first school of thought on how the universe and our species came about can be split into two theories; either there was a “big bang” and everything just fell into place randomly, or it was created in stages by a god.

The second school of thought, which makes perfect sense to anyone who is actively on a spiritual quest and who can see beyond the restrictions and limitations of organised religion, is that the universe only exists when there is an observer.  To clarify this concept, I always use the analogy of looking at a tree.  The original scriptures, which were not specific to any religion, proclaimed that science and spirituality are inseparable; two sides of the same coin.  Science has told us that everything without exception is energy, which is constantly in motion and vibrates at varying frequencies.  To come back to our tree analogy, the tree doesn’t exist as a tree; it has no idea that it has been given this label by humans.  What we know as “the tree” exists as energy, which is vibrating at a specific frequency.  But, our brains interpret that energy vibration in a particular way, which appears to us as the phenomenon we call “a tree”.  The reason we all see the same thing is because we all exist within the same field of infinite consciousness.  When we fall into deep dreamless sleep, what we refer to as “creation” disappears, and with it, the ego.  On waking, whether that be via dreamstate or not, the “I” thought, or ego, rears its head again and the objective world reappears.

The final school of thought, which will make perfect sense to those who are evolving from the previous school, is that ultimately, there is no creation because nothing exists except consciousness.  When the individual, small self, eventually awakens and merges with the one eternal Self, there comes the realisation that there never was an individual self or “the world”; the whole experience was nothing more than a dream.  This concept is perfectly encapsulated by the ancient Indian sage, Shankara, when he said:

The Universe is unreal

God is real

The Universe is God

It’s my personal preference to substitute the word “God” for either “Consciousness” or “Awareness” but either way, it doesn’t really matter.  That short but very profound statement also appears to clear up the debate often heard in spiritual circles as to whether the objective world is an illusion or not.  It is… or it isn’t, depending on where you are at in your existence as an individual soul.  To the unconscious, the objective world is as real as real can be; along with all the drama that goes with it.  However, to those who are further along “The Road to Nowhere” the objective world is only real in that it is a manifestation of consciousness, all objective reality is a creation of the egoic mind and ultimately does not exist.

The Elephant In The Room Is Becoming More Visible

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Image by John Hain from Pixabay

This latest blog post is a complete shift away from the usual subject matter that has formulated my posts since I started blogging in 2011.  I have been prompted to write about the once taboo subject of mental health; the reason for this will become clear in due course.  Those of you who have read my book, Eyesight To The Blind, will be aware that mental health issues formed a big part of my earlier life, and for those of you who may be new readers I will give an extremely condensed summary of my experiences before I continue with the post.

For many, many years, no matter where I found myself in the world and in whatever capacity, I always felt that I didn’t belong; like I was in the completely wrong place.  I also felt, for no apparent reason, the most excruciating emotional pain that made me feel as though I was the worst person in the world.  This would normally be triggered by feelings of loneliness and worthlessness.  In addition to that I would experience paranoia (although at the time I would have vociferously denied it) and could often withdraw into myself, especially if I felt that a group of people were excluding me.  When I finally found out, by accident no less, that I had depression, which was in 1996, I estimated that I’d been living with this “thing” for around 28 years.

Now that I had a name for what I’d been experiencing I was able to go about the task of tackling it.  Notice that I have not said that “I suffered” with depression; I will clarify in due course.  I lived with this condition at a time when it was not understood and not spoken about.  If you said you were depressed it meant that you were hacked-off because your team lost on Saturday.  If you happened to persist with this notion of, “I’m depressed”, you would be ridiculed, told to man-up or pull yourself together; after all it’s only girls and sissies who get depression, isn’t it?

I initially went to my GP and asked for “happy pills”; he duly obliged, but I couldn’t stop drinking and we all know what happens when we combine the two.  It’s not exactly a marriage made in heaven.  After an experience that I never want a repeat of, I finally decided that enough was enough; I was simply tired of feeling awful.  Plan “B” was to flush my pills down the toilet, grab depression by the scruff of the neck, look it square in the eyes and (apologies to any minors, religious people, or people of a nervous disposition who may be reading!) knee it in the bollocks.  It worked a treat, I’d got to the point where I was recognising triggers, which is something you can’t do when you don’t know what you are experiencing.  Whenever a trigger reared its head, I simply acted in the opposite way to what I’d always done; for example, if I was feeling excluded I made a point of interacting with people.  However, I wasn’t quite out of the woods..

Around three years later, for a period of approximately two years, I had an experience in the workplace that caused me to be off work sick for a period of six months, with an acute stress related illness.  This was my real turning point.  I was full of hatred, anger and blame, but it was during that six-month period that I learned the root cause of the problem.. it was me.

I was defining myself by my illness and blaming the world for the way I felt.  It was only when I realised that I was the only person who could change my life that my life actually changed.  I realised that who I really am is something that goes way beyond my illness.  I could have gone on blaming other people and circumstances for ever, but no matter what I perceived that others had done to me, no matter how much I hated and blamed, the only person hurting was me.  Yes, I took certain actions, and I’d be happy to go into more detail if anybody reading this is interested; just contact me via the contact form below.  But the reality is, that all along the solution was within me.  I just had to experience what I now refer to as “my great adventure with depression”, in order to arrive in that awareness.  Now to the whole point of this post.

I think it’s fantastic that there is now a much greater understanding and awareness of what is an awful illness.  It’s amazing that more and more people are not afraid to talk about it.  What is especially refreshing is that so many famous sports stars and actors, past and present, are going public and sharing their experiences.  It proves that depression does not discriminate; it will make its home in anybody regardless of their status within society.  The elephant in the room is most certainly becoming more visible.

The concern that I have is this.  While it really is a great thing that so many are opening up about their experiences; especially with social media being so big now, it gives people a platform from which to share.  I see so many negative posts being churned out.  So many people it would seem, are defining themselves by their condition.  This is why I never say that I “suffered” with depression; I always say “I lived with”, or “I experienced”.  When we use “I” or “I am” in a sentence, we need to be very careful what words we use after because they really are defining.  The mind is such a powerful thing; we ARE literally what we think.  So, when we are constantly affirming that we are worthless, useless, inadequate, a victim etc, that is exactly what we will be.  I don’t know what the ultimate answer is, but I suppose that everyone in their own time will make the natural transition in the way that I did.  I just want to finish by saying two more things.

I’m not in any way trying to say that my experience is definitive.  We are all unique (thankfully) and we all have our own pathway.  I’m also not suggesting that the people tweeting and posting negative stuff are wrong.  It is what it is, and we are all at different stages of our journey.  In many cases they don’t know how to reach out in any other way.  I’m simply trying to highlight how harmful it can be when we define ourselves by negatives.

Finally, I wasn’t going to mention any individuals, but I’m going to mention the ex-footballer, Dean Windass.  He was an absolute beast in his day and still looks quite fearsome, but he is one of the many brave souls who are bearing all to the world.  The reason I mention Dean is because he posts regular videos on twitter.  Those videos are never rehearsed, they are completely raw; showing his humanness, and he always says how he feels but also he regularly sends out the message that if you are having a bad day; reach out to someone!  These days there is always someone who will listen respectfully, so don’t suffer in silence!

Like Dean’s videos, I hope that this post has reached out to you, that it has made at least a modicum of sense and that you have been able to take something from it.

Don’t forget, if you want to ask any specific questions about how I dealt with and beat depression, just get in touch via the form below.  Later people…

 

Message Sent (go back)

The Body; Real Or Unreal?


It’s amazing how our views and perspectives change as we evolve through this life. If somebody asked me the question, “the body; real or unreal?” even 20 years ago, I’d have thought they’d been on the funny stuff. I remember when I was completely immersed in the darkness of ego, there was no question whatsoever that the body was real. After all, is it not who I am? Then as I found my spiritual pathway and I started leaning towards the Eastern school of thought, I adopted the view, “the body is unreal, an illusion.”

The only trouble with that is, that I was also leaning towards the view that the body is irrelevant, that it didn’t matter. Of course, this is not true, The body is essential to our experience in the physical because it is the only vehicle available to us. I have now gone full circle, and my statement to you today is, “yes, the body is real,” However, this doesn’t mean that I have regressed back to the darkness of complete unconsciousness. What it means is that my perspective has changed, therefore that statement is made in a different context.

The body is real in that it is made of the same stuff as my eternal reality. Infinite Consciousness has precipitated, or intensified itself billions of times over into tiny pockets of physical energy that we call human beings; and one of them is me! So, the body is real in that it is made of Infinite Consciousness that has temporarily veiled itself in ignorance. What is unreal is the form the body takes, although to the logical mind it is as real as falling off a log. Consciousness veiled in ignorance as an individual soul, perceives the bodily form, the finite mind and the world to be the reality.

To use an analogy, imagine a play being acted out in a theatre. Imagine all the colourful costumes and scenery, and all the lines uttered by the actors and their mannerisms as they act out each scenario. All of that only happens because they are all bringing the script to life. On its own, the script is inanimate; just words on pieces of paper, just still, doing nothing. But, it is the underlying reality of what is going on during the time the play is being acted out.

We are all acting out the script of Infinite Consciousness, the world is our theatre and the body our costume. Consciousness in its normal state just exists as it is, in eternal bliss. But when it veils itself in ignorance on this dreamland stage that we call the world, it dances out its story; it gets to know itself in its own experience as opposed to the eternal emptiness that just contains possibilities; albeit, an infinite amount.

So, to sum up. Yes, the body is real, but not the form. Rather, the underlying reality, which is Consciousness. Consciousness, as the body and the world vibrates at varying degrees of frequency. What we see as the body and the world is simply the image created by our minds as the interpretation of that frequency. Therefore, the one and only reality is Consciousness itself.

Passing Clouds


Cumulus_2In the physical sense, human beings do share quite a lot together; information and food are two examples that immediately spring to mind. But this only relates to the illusion that is life on this dreamland stage we call the earth. In truth, we are all just passing clouds regardless of our relationships with each other. Whether friends, siblings, parents, offspring, work colleagues, or even so-called enemies, we are all nothing more than ships that pass in the night. The only thing truly shared between humans is the experience of being.

Our true nature is that of infinite consciousness, which is all there is. The experience of “being” is the experience of our true nature; all else is an illusion.

 

Die Before You Die


I’ve started to read that wonderful book The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle again. It’s about the fourth time I’ve read it and each read seems to throw up something new that I missed previously. This time however, I encountered what I can only describe as a “memory jogger” on page 46. It is so beautiful that I was inspired to share it with you. I hope you like it.

Death is a stripping away of all that is not you. The secret of life is to “die before you die” – and find that there is no death – Eckhart Tolle

 

Observing Our Own Fear


According to the likes of Eckhart Tolle and Rupert Spira, it’s quite common for people who are going through a spiritual awakening process to experience the resurfacing of negative traits, which were thought to have been dealt with ages ago.  Not only that, but also to experience feelings of fear, hopelessness and vulnerability.  This is something that I have been very aware of in my own daily existence for the past few years.  However, the fact that I am actually aware of these experiences, is a very positive factor.  I decided on this as a theme for a blog post, because I thought it would be very helpful for anyone who is experiencing the same thing as me.

My understanding of why this happens is because the ego (which doesn’t really exist) knows that it is on borrowed time, and does its utmost to stay alive; as long as there is fear and the derivatives thereof, the ego will continue to thrive.  Normally, we are so wrapped up in our egoic earthly existence, we get completely sucked in by the “story” being told by the mind.  We demonstrate negative traits and feel negative emotions without the awareness of them.  Not in the context that is meant here anyway.

I have written in many previous posts about how we are “the witness” to the drama that is going on around us, and not participants in the true sense.  So, I feel that it is encouraging to know that even though past negatives may have reared their heads, and doubt and fear have crept in, it is not necessarily a bad thing.  Even though these things still don’t exactly feel good, what is good about it is that I am observing these feelings not only within my body, but also as a detached witness who knows that this is not who I am.  With this understanding, all such thoughts and feelings pass through and dissolve away.  The Self is always exactly as it is; ever still, ever the witness and ever reflecting the light of consciousness.  

 

Original Knowledge


I came across these words by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj. He is someone that I don’t really know anything about, however, these words really resonate with where I am today, so I thought I would share them. Hope you find them inspiring.

“There are many spiritual seekers whose aim is to acquire sufficient merit to reach a certain place, such as Heaven or Vaikuntha. I have had no aims except to find out. I was not aware of my awareness, and suddenly I became conscious that I Am. Where and how did this consciousness arise in me? That was my enquiry, going back to that state when the presence of phenomena was not there. That is, original knowledge of the original Self”.

Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Debate


As I’ve gone through this life and gradually evolved, two things have occurred to me. Firstly, the actual mystery of life becomes less and less of a mystery. Secondly, and paradoxically, as the mystery of life reveals itself as the “simplicity” of life, I realise more and more how little I actually know; which brings me onto the title of this little post.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Debate! The above statement has brought home to me, like never before, the sheer fruitlessness of getting into debates about spirituality and religion. People have to grow and evolve at their own pace, and this quite often involves holding certain beliefs that may not ultimately be true, but are serving their purpose by way of a stepping-stone. I am also of the opinion, that if you get into a debate with another person about any subject whatsoever, the “winner” will not necessarily be the one who is closest to the truth, it will be the one who has the greater debating skills.

Swami, Sri Sathya Sai Baba always used to say, “never get into debates about spirituality and religion because they are sure to descend into arguments.”

I am now of the view that it is far better to remain as “the witness” and let others debate to their hearts’ content.

Happiness


Happiness is our true nature that is ever present; it is what we are. Because our true nature tends to be veiled by the ego, and we believe that the experience of happiness depends on outer objects and situations that the mind deems to be agreeable, it is commonplace for individuals to be completely oblivious to the joy that they are. However, we do get glimpses of this truth when it reveals itself from time to time. In the main, this is when worldly desires are met; it’s that momentary surge of joy we get when we hold the keys to the new car in our hand for the first time, or at the unboxing of the huge, new flat-screen TV. Because these desires are superficial and egoic, they cause pain and suffering when they remain unmet, and only a brief experience of joy when they are met. Once a desire has been met, it dissolves away and the mind then focuses on something else, equally superficial, as the focus of its latest desire. It’s a vicious circle that can only be broken by the experience of Pure Being; which is the realisation of the Self.

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

The only desire of worth is the desire to love, which comes from deep within ourselves. It is the experience of Being, Presence, Bliss, Awareness, or whatever name you want to give it. Language is very limiting and there are no words that could ever describe it aptly. But, whether we are aware of it or not, it is ever present and ever shining in all its glory.