Everything Serves A Purpose

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For the benefit of those who have not been following my blog for very long, I will just recap on something that I once wrote about on a fairly regular basis, before I get to the point of this particular post.

There was a time when I seemed to have a lot of out-of-body experiences. I estimated, that over the years; starting in approximately 1999, I had somewhere in between 200 to 300 astral adventures. Some were spectacular and some were not worth writing about. A couple of years back I wrote about how they had become very few and far between, but no sooner had I made that statement, they started again with a flurry. In 2020 I have had only five; the last being back in May. They now seem to have dried up completely. Every now and then I asked myself the question, “why, what’s the point?” I came to the conclusion that it was so I would be able to share my experiences (where appropriate), and reassure people that, “this isn’t all there is.”

OK, so that was a condensed version of my astral travelling experiences…

It occured to me very recently, that my initial assumption, although true, was not the complete picture. I have now realised that my experiences, some of which, that as time went by became quite tedious, brought me confirmation of a very profound truth and that it has taken me all this time to realise it. What I mean is this: I had the sensation of leaving my body; I also had the sensation of returning to my body. Then there was the bit in between where I had the actual astral experience, whatever form that took. But, the important thing here is that I was conscious of all aspects of the experience. Meaning, that my body is most certainly not who I am. When I was out of my body, consciousness was very much “alive” and alert. So, my body is not essential to my being, but consciousness is who and what I am. Indeed, my body is completely inanimate unless consciousness is present.

It is all very, very simple and I can’t believe that it took so long for the penny to drop. If it’s the case for me, then it must be so for everybody else. Of course, if you want to be pedantic about it and split hairs, you could argue that I know it is my truth because I had the direct experience, and possibly it would be different for others. You could add that individuals will only come to the same conclusion as me if they have the same experience. But, all said and done, I think it’s a pretty good indicator that we are consciousness and not the body.

Choose Peace Before Fear


Photo by Ku00e9vin Dorg on Pexels.com

Here we are folks, as promised I’m back again with a very simple exercise to help you connect with the ever peaceful, inner you. Of course, I would love to be able to say that this exercise is my own, but it isn’t. To my knowledge, it originates from that most wonderful Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh.

First of all, get all ideas of “doing;” of having to achieve something, out of your mind. Do not start off from the standpoint that you are engaged in the act of doing. Do not even think to yourself, “I must clear my mind of all thoughts.” This is all about “allowing;” there is nothing to “do.” Thoughts will inevitably start flying through your head; this is fine, try not to judge this as being good or bad. Just accept that thoughts are there and let them pass through; even the thoughts that follow the thoughts etc, etc.

To begin with, find your comfortable space; it doesn’t necessarily have to be indoors, it could be out in nature. Breathing through your nose, just take a few breaths, as many as you need, just to centre yourself and to get yourself starting to relax. Next, say these words silently in your mind as you breath in, “breathing in, I know I am breathing in.” As you breath out, also say these words silently in your mind, “breathing out, I know I am breathing out.” You do this for three breaths.

Next, on the in-breath you say the word “in” silently in your mind, and on the out-breath, you say the word “out” silently in your mind. You can also do this for three breaths, but equally you can carry this stage on as long as you want. At some stage, when you relax sufficiently, the words will disappear of their own accord anyway. The idea of the exercise is simply to become aware of your breath. The longer the exercise goes on, the more you become aware of simply being aware. This awareness is your true nature; “the peace that passes all understanding.”

I hope you get something from this; stay safe, stay peaceful.

 

For Better Or For Worse


Photo courtesy of Pixabay

The world truly does seem to be in chaos, but here is something to consider; another slant on things.  Without wishing to bring politics into my blog, I think it is only the most naive of people who do not see by now that the role of the media is to cause fear and mayhem amongst the masses; thus, fanning the flames of division.

But, the truth is that negativity is very loud (“hate screeches”, as Sri Sathya Sai Baba used to say), and peace is very soft and subtle.  The egoic mind is easily led, and television news bulletins and sensationalist newspaper headlines effortlessly draw in the masses, like sheep, for their daily dose of brainwashing.

But, take the fragrance of a rose, for instance.  There are no words to describe its beauty; it remains silent, yet says so much.  What I’m trying to say here is that there is so much positivity to be taken from the amazing world in which we live.  There is so much that the beauty of Mother Nature can teach us, if we are prepared to look.  The thing is, beauty doesn’t screech; it simply exists as it is, in subtle splendour.

We can also look for our own subtle splendour, that is our essential Being; who we really are.  This is the peace that passes all understanding that can only be found within ourselves.  Things always seem to be descending into chaos, because hate and fear are always shouting.  But, in reality, we are only a witness to that chaos; the eternal witness, to be more precise.  The world may sometimes appear to be getting better AND worse at the same time, but remember, for better or worse, the world is in a constant state of flux because it is ultimately an illusion; it is consciousness in motion.  The underlying, changeless, absolute truth ( who we really are) is always simply as it is, and is always accessible to us if we will just look beyond the madness.

In my next post I’m going to share with you a very simple exercise that will help you to focus on your inner subtle splendour, and shut out the screeching that wants to spin you a yarn and cause you to lose yourself in the world.  Hang in there people, I’ll be back in a few days!

 

Transition


I’ve been writing this blog for over nine years now, and I’ve never before left it so long in between posts.  I’ve chosen not to write about the current situation because I feel that there are already plenty of pundits out there offering an opinion.

What I will say, however, and I’m sure there are many experiencing a similar thing, is that we do seem to be going through some kind of transition.  The truth is, that the reason there have been no posts from me lately, is that I simply don’t know what to write about at the moment.  There has definitely been a shift of some sort; and who I was as a writer doesn’t seem to exist anymore.  I have taken my only two remaining books out of circulation, so for the first time since I started publishing my own books, I have nothing available for purchase.

We know that life is cyclic, so I suppose it’s true to say that I’m waiting for the next upsurge in inspiration.  I wouldn’t call this writer’s block, as I don’t think that’s something that applies to writers such as myself.  Also, I cannot say what form the next wave of my writing journey will take.  One thing that I am sure of though, is that I will always be writing in one way, shape or form; even if there will on occasion be a longer gap than usual between projects.

Thank you for sticking with me and I hope you are all staying safe.  Below are pics of my latest painting and my musical “family.”  Take care lovely subscribers and I’ll be in touch again soon!

 

Peace Descending


I was not even born when Ramana Maharshi left this earthly life and I didn’t even hear of him until roughly the last 10-12 years ago, but the impact he has had on my life has been amazing.  Of course, he was no mere mortal, but even so, his influence on me defies all logic.  Today, for example, I finished reading The Mind of Ramana Maharshi by Arthur Osbourne, for the fourth time.  The penultimate chapter covers the great sage’s mahasamadhi.  As I was reading it I felt very tearful; not out of grief, but because I was so touched by the graciousness shown to his devotees throughout his time in Tiruvannamalai.  The book managed to convey this to the reader very admirably.  Even in the last hours of his earthly life he was still giving darshan.

I have found that whenever I feel that the world is getting to me, and I feel myself getting sucked in by the tricks of the ego, a bit of Ramana Maharshi always brings me back.  I always get such a feeling of peace descend upon me when I read about his teachings and life.  For me, the main message that flows from the pages is that The Maharshi radiated such peace, and it is as though I am touched by that very same peace as I read; everything about him was just pure love.

There aren’t really any words to explain this kind of thing properly, and I’m sure some people reading this will have had the same experience with their own particular life influences and will understand what I mean; words.being completely unnecessary.

It’s Only Wine


Image by Unsplash

A rich landowner was very well loved by all those who worked for him on account that he was a very caring and compassionate man.  The man’s pride and joy and one real vice, was his wine cellar; of which he was immensely proud.  He had wines of all vintages from all over the world, reds, whites, dry and sweet, before dinner, with dinner, after dinner; you name it, he had a wine for the occasion.  Amongst all of his vast collection, there was one single bottle of an extremely rare vintage that he was waiting to share with the right person.  Many a time he was on the verge of sharing, but it never quite happened.

One day the governour of the state visited him but the man thought to himself, “I can’t open this vintage wine and share it with a mere governour.”  Soon after, he was visited by the Arch-Bishop, but “no” he thought, “this man just wouldn’t appreciate it.”  He then entertained a member of the royal family, and as they supped he also felt that this royal simply wasn’t senior enough to taste the rare vintage.  Even when his son got married, he was tempted then to crack open the bottle and toast the happy couple, but again had second thoughts, believing that none of the guests, or indeed his own son, were appreciative enough to taste the rare vintage.  Eventually, the man became old and died and the rare vintage remained undrunk.

The day of his funeral came, and because he had been so kind and popular in life, all his employees and the peasants of the area were invited to attend a great celebration of his life.  All the wine was brought out from the cellar, including the one, single bottle of the very rare vintage.  The man’s family shared the wine with everyone present.  However, the peasants and indeed the family, knew nothing of vintages and to them all that was poured into their cup was wine; plain and simple wine.

So it is in life too.  No matter what status we are given by others, or whatever status we award ourselves, it all eventually comes down to the same thing.  Death does not discriminate; it takes all of us eventually from our physical bodies.  I am a firm believer, especially now I am older, that status is very superficial and holds no importance, except that which may be contextual.  The greatest people I have ever known and been inspired by, have been those, that in the worldly sense of the word, had little or no status in life.  They were people who were simply kind, caring and compassionate.

In Zen, death is considered to be part of life, a stepping stone to the next experience.  I hope, my friend, that you drink and enjoy the wine of life that is your experience and I hope your chosen vintage is love…

Balloons

Video


Whatever you are doing at this moment, I hope you are keeping safe.  I have decided not to make a personal comment on the current situation because the world and his cat has either suddenly become an expert on all things medical, or they are giving their take and perspective on the spiritual reasons and implications for what’s happening.  Instead I am going to share, what I believe, are a couple of lovely things with you that I found on the internet.  Firstly, I found this on the facebook page of Swindon Spiritualist Centre and Healing Sanctuary (author unknown):

A teacher brought balloons to school and asked the children to blow them all up and then each write their names on their balloon.  They tossed all the balloons into the hall while the teacher mixed them from one end to the other.  The teacher then gave them 5 minutes to find the balloon with their name on it.  The children ran around, looking frantically but as the time ran out nobody had found their own balloon.  Then the teacher told them to take the balloon closest to them and give it to the person who’s name was on it.  In less than 2 minutes everyone had their own balloon.  Finally the teacher said:

“Balloons are like happiness. No one will find it looking for theirs only. Instead if everyone cares about each others they will find theirs as quickly as possible.”

Secondly, I came across this video from the wonderful Rupert Spira:

I really appreciate having you as my blog followers; thank you!

Enfolded In The Love Of Spirit


Photo by Aidan Roof from Pexels

Those of you who read my post Impermanence will know why it is quite rare for me to write about my work away from writing.  However, I felt compelled to share this post after I had what was quite a beautiful experience earlier this year.  If you’ve read the post I referred to above, you will be aware that I have two jobs with the same organisation; one that is a part-time contract based in our main building, and the other, which is on an ad-hoc basis working in the community.  So it happened, that whilst I was at my day job one Friday in February, I was asked if I would be able to work that evening; just three calls in the community.

Around half an hour before I was due to meet up with my colleague for the evening, I received information that we were to make an extra call.  We had taken on another patient on an emergency basis; I must confess that when I read the patient notes I did not feel that the person would be long for this world.  All of our calls were logistically well placed, so we didn’t have far to drive between each one.  The emergency call was the last one; logistically, it fitted perfectly in that order, but also, because it was a new patient, you never know what you are going in to, so it made sense to deal with the “devil” that we knew first.  The idea of a first visit is that you explain the service to the patient and any family members present (what they can expect, what we provide etc.), do what ever they need you to do at that time, then the following day the service “proper” starts.

It was dark and raining, and the property was in a village that neither me nor my colleague were familiar with.  The first thing that happened was that sat nav took us up a dark country lane where there were no houses.  We managed to find a turning place and drove back down to the village and parked up next to the phone box.  The idea was to call the house and use the phone box as a land mark from which to work from.  It was explained to us where the house was, but parking was at a premium along the narrow lanes, so we had to park some distance away from our destination.  When we eventually got to the house, we were met on the steps by a teenager who informed us that the patient had indeed died around an hour previously.

In these cases we always ask if there’s anything they want us to do.  Sometimes the family just want to be alone with their deceased relative.  Other times, we perform a task called “last offices” that means we give the deceased person a wash and clean them up if necessary.  It also involves putting fresh garments on them, if the family so desire, and combing the hair and positioning the body in a dignified way.

When we entered the house it was quite chaotic; there were many people milling around in various states of mourning, also several other comings and goings and to cap it all there was also two boisterous dogs.  In all the chaos we asked if they wanted us to do anything and it was decided that we would simply wash the hands and face, brush the hair and position the deceased in a dignified way.  Eventually, after a few minutes of people walking in and out of the room, we were left alone to carry out our work.

As we set about our task, I was suddenly aware of the most beautiful presence of spirit.  It came very close and enfolded me as I went about my work.  Regular readers will know that I advocate a non-dual existence, however, I also understand that while we are here in the world we will have the experience of duality.  This particular experience demonstrated to me that the apparent “poor soul” who departed this life, was guided home by a Love whose beauty is way beyond the comprehension of the human mind.  It was also interesting to note, that before we carried out last offices, a lady in the house (who I took to be the mother of the deceased) said to me, “I know she has gone to a better place.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hey You! Yes You; Nameless One!


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Nameless one indeed, for is it not true that labels and names only serve to impose limitations?  In our day to day lives, of course names are important for practical purposes, but the reality is that who I am has no name; and the same applies to the nameless one reading this post.  My parents may have decided to call my body “Richard” when I was born, but that is not who I am.  I am that which is unlimited experience; and so are you.  All of us nameless ones here in the world acting out our drama in the play of life can be categorised in one of three ways (see, there I go imposing limitations again).

There are those who are completely oblivious to their true nature and who who are firmly immersed in all the pain and suffering that the play of life can bring.  Then there are those who are “spiritual seekers” or “truth seekers” (see, names again!), who have become aware of their spirituality and are seeking to know more.  However, truth will continue to evade you as long as you continue to seek it.  The very seeking of it ensures that you cannot find it.  Why?  Because you are looking for a “thing” and truth as a “thing” doesn’t exist.

The third category (those bloody names!!!) are those who understand that truth simply exists as it is and will reveal itself to you when the conditions are right.  When we allow ourselves to just be in the flow with that unlimited wilderness of abundance, or consciousness if you like, it will pander to our every need.

The Mad House


Image by Ryan McGuire from Pixabay

A priest was giving a religious discourse to the inmates of an asylum.  He was a few minutes into his sermon when one of the inmates started waving his arms about and shouting, “do we have to listen to this rubbish?”  The priest paused, and looked at the support worker who was in attendance and asked, “shall I stop speaking?”  The support worker replied, “no, it’s OK, carry on, you won’t hear any more from him; he only has one sane moment every seven years…

Indeed, one sane moment every seven years; that’s something that a lot of people would give their right arms for in this world that seems to have gone completely mad.  It is so difficult in this day and age, to keep sane in a completely bonkers world.  The problem is that we have all been corrupted by our conditioning, which started at a very early age.

The beauty of Zen, is that once it finds you, you can rest in the natural flow of things as chaos ensues all around.  The thing is not to get sucked into the drama, but rather to remain a witness as the drama plays itself out before your eyes.  In other words, be the stage, not the play.  These days, I’m getting much better at doing this; but I haven’t quite got the knack of never succumbing to the tricks of the egoic mind.  Even though I have noticed more and more lately, that everything I need just seems to flow effortlessly to me.  I still find myself on occasion playing one of the characters in an unnecessary soap opera.  Then inevitably, I have to feel the pain that comes with it before the penny drops and I revert back to the natural flow of the poetry that is Zen.

Don’t listen to the priest (ego), but equally, don’t be content with one sane moment every seven years.  Be neither sane nor insane… Be…