The Know-All


A rather brash young man decided that he had attained enlightenment and no longer needed the guidance of his guru.  He upped and left the temple and went around the region boasting of his spiritual achievements to anyone who would listen.  He heard that there was a hermitage in a nearby town and decided he would make the journey and thrill the resident seekers and their master with his wisdom.

Photo by Raychan on Unsplash

En route, he took a pathway through a forest, and as he ambled on his way, he saw in the distance an old sanyassin leaning against a tree; there appeared to be clouds of smoke issuing up from around him.  As the young man got closer he saw that the old man was smoking a long-stemmed pipe.  He also decided that the old man would be an ideal candidate to hear the story of his spiritual greatness.

“Good day Sir”, said the young man, “I am an enlightened soul and it is your good fortune that I happened upon you.  You may throw away your scriptures and spiritual texts, there is no pathway, no individual soul, no karma, no God, there is only the nothingness of consciousness; in fact, nothing exists.”

WHACK!  As quick as a flash the old man rapped the young “master” around the head with his pipe.  As the young man glared at him in anger, the old sanyassin said, “if nothing exists, where did that anger come from”, and he turned and went on his way..

The subject matter of this parable is something that I have written about before.  But, I like this story so much that I wanted to share it here.  Of course, technically what the young man said was correct, however, he fully deserved his rap on the head for his audacious display of ego.  Truly enlightened souls never make the statement, “I am enlightened”, because in consciousness, “nothing” is indeed all that exists.  But, to go around actually speaking of “nothing” in a dualistic world implies also the existence of “something.”  Consciousness, in its limitless state of eternal bliss, has no idea that it is referred to as consciousness, because literally, “nothing” exists.  So, in summary, to speak of being enlightened in a dualistic world only highlights that the ego is still present.  An enlightened soul would never say, “I am enlightened” because the enlightened soul is only aware of the state of enlightenment, there is no duality to imply that there is also the state of “un” or “non” enlightenment.

The Art Of Life


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As an occasional painter, and someone who recently dusted the cobwebs of his oil paints and brushes after what seemed like an eternity, it occurred to me recently that not only is life itself a work of art, but the people in it are also living, breathing Picassos’. Literally everything on the universal canvas that we call life is an intricate work of art; created to perfection by the cosmic artist. It is with this thought in mind that I will share a story with you from my recent past.

In the last six years I have on occasion worked with adults and young people with learning disabilities on a part-time basis. Now, people in general have an annoying habit of looking at someone else and forming a judgement based on what they can see; and I believe that to an extent we are all guilty of this. Also, if you were to hang a painting on a wall and ask a cross-section of people what it represented to them it is highly likely that you would get many different interpretations of the same painting. What this shows is that we all view things from our own perspective, and this includes life in general.

It is quite uncanny in this day and age that some people still look on those with learning disabilities as “mad”. I, however, have a completely different view. I actually had two stints of employment in one establishment where I worked, and the little story I want to share concerns an incident that took place at the beginning of my final shift at the end of my first stint. I turned up at the required time in the unit where I was due to work, and on finding that the day staff had already gone home, I thought it best to nip downstairs to the office to see if there was any messages for me. I had a quick scan of the kitchen but did not see the keys. What happened next was quite amazing. The kitchen was entered via the lounge, and diagonally and to the right of that door, was another door leading out of the kitchen to a corridor where some of the residents had their rooms. The distance between the two doors was minimal; no more than a metre and a half.

In the split second that the thought “I wonder where the keys are” entered my head, one of the residents (I will call him Paul) entered the kitchen en route to his room. Now Paul was a very pleasant and boyish man in his 40’s. Indeed there was something very child-like about him. However, if he did not know you well he was not a good communicator, and given the fact that I was only employed part-time and on a “bank” basis, I had only ever had minimal contact with him. It would be true to say that Paul and I had never had a conversation and that he had never actually spoken to me properly before. So I was astounded when in the very moment that the thought entered my head, Paul walked through the kitchen, paused momentarily, pointed to the worktop and in a voice as crystal clear as a mountain stream said “Richard, keys” and just walked off in the direction of his room. I was left gobsmacked; it all happened in the blink of an eye and all that went through my head was “how did he know I was looking for the keys to the office”. But sure enough, as large as life, there were the office keys sitting on the worktop; my initial scan having somehow missed them.

To me people like Paul, indeed all human beings, are works of art, because you can never know their intricacy just by looking at the surface. I have felt for many years that people with learning disabilities are not simply living out their karma. But in many cases I believe them to be highly evolved souls who incarnate into this realm of opposites in an effort to try to educate us and remove our ignorance. Of course, I am not saying that everyone with learning disabilities is a highly evolved soul, but who am I to judge. Regardless, they are all wonderful teachers, because we cannot but have our lives changed in some way by interacting with them; and as we change we also evolve, and as we evolve so does our perspective of the great canvas of life.

Hell-Fire And Damnation Part Two


Here at last, after many months, is my follow up post to Hell-Fire And Damnation.  I’m sure that some of you won’t even remember the purpose of these posts; it’s been so long since the original, so I will give a quick recap.  My aim is to demonstrate that the scriptures, even though they have been written in a way that strikes fear into the average person, are not that fearful at all.  Far from it, in fact; it’s just that they were written in the language of the day and contain a great depth of symbolism.  Now, before I go any further I will add that I am of the opinion that the scriptures, especially the Bible, have been altered over the centuries by unscrupulous religious leaders and are now only a shadow of what they were meant to represent.  I also think that it’s pretty obvious that only the most tunnel-vision Christians would not agree with that statement.

Take for example the following passage from Matthew XII : 36 & 37:

But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgement. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemnedJesus Christ

That is quite a scary statement, especially if you are not aware of the symbolism contained therein, and you take it literally.  There is also the little matter of the fact that Jesus spoke in parables more often than not when he was addressing the masses.  So, I would like to offer an interpretation that will not turn the reader into a nervous wreck.

If you examine the statement carefully it seems to be a reference to the laws of karma and cause and effect and a reminder that even the things we say are subject to these very precise natural laws.  We know that creation moves in continuous cycles, and we also know that we are responsible for our own actions.  So, it stands to reason that even the things we say will one day bear fruit; and that fruit will either be positive or negative depending on what our intentions were at the time.  There is no such thing as the “day of judgement” where we will all have to stand in front of an old man with a long white beard and either be given passage into heaven or cast into the fires of hell.  “Day of judgement” in this context (and to put it in layman’s terms) is the day when our actions, be they spoken or otherwise, come back to bite us on the legs.  It will be the point in time when, in accordance with the laws of karma and cause and effect, our actions (or words) will have gone through their natural cycle and ended up back at their place of origination.

So, we can conclude by saying that Christ, in his loving nature, was simply saying “hey peeps, watch what you say because as sure as eggs is eggs your words will come back to haunt you”.  Simples!

Why Does Anger Exist?


I have been thinking lately that it’s about time I attempted a proper blog post, having hardly written at all for months.  The reason for this is that I haven’t been firing on all cylinders for quite some time now, and this is why I decided to post my daily “thought for the day” on the blog, because it enabled me to stay in touch with all those who have been good enough to take an interest in my work.  I am not overly worried about my lingering bout of extremely low energy because I know there is a good reason for it, and I had my thoughts confirmed by something that someone sent me on social media recently.

As a vast number of people are now aware we are going through a time of great change here within the Earth dimension; everything is shifting as the vibration of the planet is speeding up rapidly.  As a result of this many spiritually aware people are now going through an awakening process.  However, this process is not without its side-effects.  I noticed around two years ago that I was experiencing unusually low energy levels.  Me being me, I didn’t bother too much about it, but as it dragged on and on I did mention it to a couple of close friends.  One of them said I should go and have a blood test.  I tend to try to avoid doctor’s surgeries, but this time I listened to what my friend said and arranged for the test.  To cut a long story short the very extensive blood tests revealed that there was absolutely nothing wrong with me.  My GP said I probably had a mild case of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, for which there is no known cure; the cause is also unknown.

Anyway, I’d heard that spiritual people all over the place were experiencing the same thing, and then a few weeks ago somebody sent me something on social media that gave me even more clarification.  I received a list of no less than 54 symptoms that spiritually aware people are experiencing at this time due to the shift taking place.  I was actually a bit relieved that I could relate to a number of them.

The reason for me telling you this is because lately I have been a writer that hasn’t been doing much writing, so it explains why.  Also, it’s good filler for this (very) little blog post “Why Does Anger Exist”.

Plainly and simply anger exists because people get angry; it has no basis of its own and it is unable to sustain itself without the support of humans.  Love, on the other hand, exists in its own right and is the basis for everything.  In truth, when we get angry we do more damage to ourselves than others.  This is because there are always repercussions in accordance with the laws of cause and effect, karma and personal responsibility.

So really it’s quite simple….. anger?  Don’t do it!!!!

 

Hell-Fire And Damnation


I’ve been meaning to write an article on this subject for some time now. The reason being that the ancient scriptures of all the world’s major religions were written in the language and style of the era, and as such, have been misinterpreted by religious leaders and followers for centuries.  It’s because of this misinterpretation that many people who would otherwise have been interested in finding out more about the religion of their birth, or religion in general, have been put off and avoid anything to do with religion at all costs.  This is exactly what happened to me (but I’m actually glad of that because if religion hadn’t repelled me I would never have discovered my spiritual pathway).  But for the record, I was born “Church of England”, and therefore, having had no experience of any other religions when I was younger, I will be writing this article from the perspective of a “reluctant” Christian.

We didn’t go to church in our family, unless someone got married, although my mother expressed religious beliefs on occasion.  But I say “reluctant” Christian because, whether I liked it or not, I was a Christian by birth.  I was born in a predominantly Christian country, and that was the religion that was taught in school.  In many ways I was lucky to have had a father who wild horses would not have been able to drag into church at any cost, so I was not made to attend Sunday school or anything similar.  The only downside with having a completely non-religious father was that I didn’t have any spiritual guidance at all.  But I wouldn’t change anything because I found my pathway in the end, and I have no doubts whatsoever, that every minute detail fell into place in accordance with the Divine plan.  So, by now you must be wondering where this article is going?  Well, it’s like this, I felt that it would be a good thing to share some of the things that put me off religion, because I’m sure many feel the same way, and also to endeavour to give clarity to some of the misinterpretations.

What I really didn’t like was the use of words such as “sinners”, “repent”, “renounce” (sins), “righteousness”, and having to “burn in Hell” if I didn’t behave myself.  I also took exception (even today but in a nice calm way) to the Christian God who is “angry”, “jealous” and “vengeful” and who will have the audacity to judge me come “judgement day”, even though he seems to be quite immature and spoilt himself, and in no position to judge others.  Because apparently, not loving him in the way he demands to be loved, is the reason he gets angry, vengeful and jealous.  Love with conditions!  How pathetic and egoistic is that?

I feel that the word “sin” has been brutalised over the millennia and is now only a shadow of its former self.  A more accurate word to use would be “imperfection”.  You see, we all have imperfections; this is the reason we incarnate into flesh, in order to work on unresolved issues and karma from previous births, and ultimately get to the point where we don’t have to incarnate any more.  It stands to reason that we are bound to have imperfections, otherwise what would be the point of human birth?  So in the ancient scriptures the word “sin” referred to any action that was not in line with our soul pathway and purpose.  Those religious fundamentalists who say we are all born sinners, actually mean that we are born with certain unresolved issues that we need to work on and ultimately overcome.  They have simply not understood their own scriptures properly.

Next I’d like to deal with the word “repent”.  This is actually an easy one.  Originally, repenting meant “to follow an inner pathway that would lead to Self-realization; thus giving up the delusion that the bliss we all crave could be found outside of ourselves.”  If we didn’t repent (look to the God within, instead of following the cravings of our desires in the “world”), and if we didn’t stop sinning (engaging in acts not in line with our soul purpose), then we would remain chained to the cycle of birth and death.  Jesus said “the kingdom of Heaven is within you”, and he wasn’t joking.  So, in a nutshell, when we repent we seek the Heaven within, and give up the sin, which keeps us tied us to the “Hell” of continued human birth.  The true meaning of “Hell” is to be the constant slave of the mind that plays its tricks and causes us to stress and worry over nothing.  This state is only consistent with life on Earth, therefore by realizing the “Self” within, we free ourselves from the constant treadmill of birth and death.

To “renounce” sin is simply to cease from engaging in actions not conducive to our spiritual pathway, and “righteousness” simply means to engage in “right activity”; positive activity that is in line with our soul purpose, for example, being of selfless service to others.  I much prefer the Sanskrit word “dharma”, which means “right action”.  I believe that the confusion arises because the ancient scriptures are very symbolic in meaning and go much deeper than the surface, and over the course of time, religious leaders and followers have tended to take words such as “sin” and “repent” at surface value; hence we end up with hell-fire and damnation.

Of course another huge problem is that people tend to follow religion as a matter of blind faith; having a series of beliefs, held mainly through fear, and never realising these beliefs as truth by their own life experiences.  When people live their lives in accordance with their fears, instead of following the loving light that guides them from within, it can ultimately only lead to misery.  I believe a simple way of knowing if a particular religion or way of living is right for you is to give it the heart test.  If it conjures up a lovely feeling inside of you then it is right for you.  If makes you fear or feel uncomfortable then it isn’t.

Being Looked After


I’ve been thinking lately how unbelievably lucky I am.  Having said that, I’m sure it’s true to say that I’ve earned my luck over many lifetimes, but I can’t help thinking how unbelievably lucky I am that the Divine looks after me in the way that he/she does.  Indeed, I am living proof that the phrase ”somebody up there must have been looking down on me” is very apt.  In the earlier stages of this life I got myself into some sticky situations because of my naivety and desperation to ”belong” and later as a soldier stationed in Germany my choice of haunts left something to be desired; but miraculously I always seemed to avoid trouble.  More recently my ignorance of certain matters has left me in extremely vulnerable situations, but again, I remain unscathed.

At the age of 14 I’d got in with the wrong crowd.  I’d had very difficult relationships with my parents (for different reasons) and got sucked into friendships simply out of a desire to be accepted and to belong.  I didn’t understand back then that to simply be me was the only identity I would ever need and went from living one lie to the other.  These friends came and went because they were not true friends, but by the time I was 16 I was hanging out in the West End of London a few nights a week, specifically the soho area.  I had been introduced to the area by one of these friends who was a couple of years older than me and much more worldly-wise.  I took to hanging out in seedy clubs, sometimes not heading back to North London until after 07.00 a.m. or even later.  These clubs were frequented by prostitutes, pimps, drug dealers, thieves and muggers, but somehow I never encountered any serious trouble.  Whenever trouble was brewing something always happened that kept me out of danger.

By the time I joined the army and got stationed in Dortmund in the then West Germany my only true friend was alcohol.  I became like a split personality; on one hand I kept people entertained with my impressions and wit; but that was just a front for my other self, who was quite depressed and withdrawn.  I didn’t like the army because of the hypocrisy and I didn’t like the squaddie mentality of wanting to beat people up after a few drinks; I was a happy drunk (when I wasn’t being depressed).  I was attracted, for some reason, to the seedy side of Dortmund which was ”under the bridge”.  It was a standing joke amongst the lads; and sometimes before descending on ”Der Stadt” we would say to each other ”whatever happens tonight I’m not going under the bridge”.  The bridge in question was a railway bridge in Dortmund City Centre.  All the nice respectable places were before the bridge, but once you went under the bridge it was a real den of iniquity.  The standing joke was that even as we were saying it we knew that after a skin-full of beer we would always end up there.  Quite often I would go down town on my own and go to the pubs under the bridge.  Looking back it was a very dangerous thing to do; British squaddies, after all, were not the most popular species in Dortmund City Centre.  I would go to some real holes on my own, but not once did I ever encounter any trouble.  I could relate several more stories from my teenage and army years as examples of being looked after but it would make this post too long, however, in more recent years there are other examples of how I have constantly been protected and I’d like to finish by sharing two of them with you.  Both of these examples involve cars.

What I know about cars can be written on the back of a postage stamp; to me cars are for driving and nothing else.  Sometimes I check my oil and water, but mainly I just drive my cars and hope for the best.  I bought a second-hand Toyota in 1999, it was a 1992 model with a genuine 28,000 miles on the clock.  I kept the car for nine years and never had one mechanical fault with it.  I only cleaned it a handful of times during that period as well because a car, to me, is simply a means of getting from A to B.  So, during the time I had the Toyota I only had to deal with natural wear and tear, such as buying new tyres occasionally, new wiper blades, a new battery (once) and just general servicing; renew spark plugs etc.

After I’d had the car roughly eight years, someone remarked one day about the good condition that it was apparently in.  I explained how long I’d had it and that I’d had no problems with it.  Then they said to me ”what about the cam belt”.  I didn’t know what the cam belt was and kind of just gave an indifferent reply.  Some time later I was having a similar conversation with a friend and she asked the same question about the cam belt, to which I gave a similar reply.  When she explained to me that the cam belt is very important and that if it snaps you might as well kiss your car goodbye, I thought that maybe I should look into it.  To cut a long story short, the car suddenly started to develop wear and tear problems that were quite major and in the space of a couple on months I had a lot of work done on it that cost a small fortune.  But the mechanic who carried out the repairs said he had never seen anything like it.  He was a nonreligious/spiritual person but even he said ”someone up there must have been looking down on you”.  Apparently you should change your cam belt about every 60,ooo miles.  When I eventually got it changed (it was the original belt from new) it had done over 166,000 miles.  The mechanic said it was a miracle it didn’t snap.  Also the radiator was completely rotten and the brake pads (also the original from new) were apparently right down to the metal.  Yet that car started first time every time, even throughout cold winters.  The brakes always worked perfectly, I never topped up the water once in the nine years I had it and it always ran like a dream.  Eventually, because it had started to cost me so much money I gave it away to the mechanic who had given me such good service over the previous couple of years.

The same mechanic sold me my next car, that I’m still driving; although I haven’t had the same good fortune with this one.  Well, having said that it would depend on your perspective.  It’s not relevant to mention various problems I had with the new car, but an incident in June 2009 is very relevant.  At the time I was working part-time on a site that housed adults with learning disabilities.  I drove onto the site and down to the unit where I was supposed to be working.  Because of the number of cars already taking up spaces I had to park up on a grass verge until staff on the earlier shift had gone home.  I went inside the unit and a few minutes later a colleague came in and asked if he could have a word with me.  He was quite embarrassed to have to tell me that he had reversed into my car with a works vehicle and put a dent in the front off-side wheel arch.  I could see that he felt awful about this, so I just said to him ”don’t worry it’s only a car”.  He promised me faithfully he would get it fixed no matter what and we just left it at that.

However, when I went to move the car into a proper parking space I was puzzled as to why it wouldn’t move.  Another colleague who was standing nearby was looking on and I could see he was trying to tell me something.  I got out of the car to find that both of my front wheels were pointing inwards, and my colleague informed me that it looked as though the front tracking rod had snapped.  This meant the car was undrivable.  It was also very strange because the colleague who reversed into my car was only travelling at about 5 MPH.  It soon became apparent to me why my car had been rendered unroadworthy in such strange circumstances.  My other colleague pointed out that if the tracking rod snapped at such low impact it must have been ready to go at any time.  The realisation then hit me that if it had snapped whilst I was on the motorway or even a major A road, then I would not be in a position to tell the tale.

It’s only since Sri Sathya Sai Baba came into my life in 2001 that I have really noticed that I am most definitely protected by the hand of grace.  I honestly don’t know why the good Lord protects me in this way; I can only assume that there are plans for me that do not involve me leaving this earthly life just yet.

Yes, its great being looked after and I’m so grateful for it.  The Divine certainly does have strange ways of protecting his children; but guess what?  I’m not complaining.