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Our tiny Earth

Tears in my eyes..

Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero […]

via Carl Sagan ~ Look at that dot — Herzzentrale

The eye of the needle

Jesus Christ was believed to have said “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

Now I am not rich, very far from it, but perhaps Jesus was talking about richness in terms of accumiliating things; thoughts, beliefs, objects, people, and of course money.

As I grow in awareness, I realise just how much I have accumilated and how difficult it is to let go of certain things. In addition, my ego, the lower self, constantly seeks to acquire more things, particularly a new belief system, a new attachment, a new identity. Something that provides reassurance that it is ‘somebody.’

I become lost in that ‘somebody’. I am desperate for more things that will strengthen it. I look for a structure with which to construct a new identity, not realising that I am trapping myself more firmly inside it.

After a period of time, these days of far shorter duration, I realise I have become lost. I become still. I meditate and focus on God who I wanted all along but my separated self decided was in a distant place, inaccessible, hence the need for a belief system to conceptualise Him.

Through meditation, I realise I am the witness to it all. I am the Experiencer, I am connecting with the Kingdom within myself. In dropping all the things my lower self acquired I am nobody, but I have gained it All.

To see this requires a very deep concentration and a desire to surrender to the unknowable. Here, the needle provides a perfect metaphor; easy to miss, frustrating, of little interest or concern to the ego. But that little needle symbolises my all seeing eye, the path to awareness.

My dark night

Despite my spiritual awareness, there are times when the darkness descends. I imagine that is true for most people, if not all. In recent months this darkness has at times become so pervasive that creates my experience of a ‘dark night.’

During this dark night of the soul, feelings and emotions seem to possess my very being. The main ones are despair, loneliness, lack of motivation, loss of meaning, and even lack of faith in spirit. Whilst I can look back at my experience of feeling connected to Spirit and the faith, love and joy that results from that, it no longer touches the darkness. I am in an unreachable place and even begin to doubt everything I have ever experienced.

Simultaneously, I am struck by the most intense yearning of my life; a desire to find union with the Divine. My fear is that such a state is lost to me forever and as such I sometimes find myself finding a pseudo comfort in earthy matters believing that perhaps that is all the meaning there is after all. Of course, none of it ultimately satisfies, so I go back to hoping, praying, that I can reconnect somehow,  but often feeling more lost than ever.

I have learnt to ride these feelings out. I sit with them in meditation, allowing the fear, the loneliness and all the rest to be there, and invite them to show me what I need to see. I imagine a speck of light guiding me forwards, bringing me to this point in my awareness. I can’t see it, but I trust that it is there.

In moments of trust and pure surrender, I am suddenly lifted into the golden light of awareness where everything makes sense and I know it’s all fine; it always was. My dreams point to this light; they remind of me that love is the ultimate truth and that we are all connected, all One, even when that knowledge is forgotten.

 

 

 

Shining Divine light in the darkness

candle

This evening I light a candle of peace and love in the memory of those who died, were injured or otherwise traumatised by the events in London today.

I am not going to speculate on why it happened, for that is not for me to do.

I find it helpful to remind myself that the light is always stronger than the darkness, even when it seems to be very much the opposite.  And the best thing I can do for this world is not give into fear but hold onto my knowledge of Love, the Divine consciousness that gave rise to this world and is a constant presence if one can only awaken to realise it.

 

 

 

 

Everything is passing though

images

A train has long appeared in my dreams as a representation of life’s journey. I see myself sitting on many different seats, looking at many different views, holding many different emotions. Sometimes I am not on the train, but at a crossing, waiting for it to pass by. Other times I am running for the platform, praying I don’t miss it or get on the wrong one. As a child, I feared the train moving off before I could jump off behind my mother, or get on behind her; other times I tried to reach the communication cord. Even worse, sometimes I was on the railway line, about to get run over by a fast approaching locomotive. Over the years trains have taken many different forms; old-fashioned steam trains, modern trains, morphing trains, trains full of white doves, trains rusted and heavily buried under woodland.

Trains carry perfectly the notion of an evolving consciousness and its many sights and experiences over the course of a human life. Taking it further, I can understand the train symbol as a reminder that everything is passing by in its own timeframe; thoughts, emotions, people and animals we love, daily experiences. Of course,  some last much longer than others and some last for the duration of our own lifetime, for better or for worse, in accordance with our consciousness. But eventually everything slips away like images from the train window as we reach the final destination; there the journey as a human being, at least in this current form, will end.

That is no longer a depressing thought for me. In fact I find it comforting. It reminds me of the preciousness of this life and the beauty of the natural cycle. It is humbling indeed to realise that I will never see a certain person again as they existed in this life, or that this might be the last day I walk my dog. Life is a series of moments, like views out of a train window, each of them unique and precious and yet infinitely ungraspable  – the more we try to cling onto a particular view, the faster it eludes us. Eventually we realise that it is futile because we are constantly moving, evolving, that is the nature of life.

For my dad, who loved trains so much. RIP.

 

 

Spring: Joy of being

When I think of spring, I am always reminded of a beautiful dream I had a few years ago in which I was walking down a path that was covered in thick snow; literally everything around me gleamed white. Then, I looked down and to my surprise I saw one single dandelion pushing through the snowflakes like a tiny golden sun  rising up from the centre of the Earth.  The joy I felt was indescribable. You know how feelings are much more intense in dreams? I felt so much joy, hope, love and happiness all rolled into one. When I woke up my eyes were brimming with tears of joy.

I believe that through my dream I’d reached a higher level of consciousness and seen the natural joy of being. It is always there and yet it eludes most of us in our waking state because our minds filter out our experiences, removing us from living and sensing the perfect Now.  Dreams often provide the opportunity to raise our awareness of reality in all its rawness. For that, I am truly grateful.

When nothing on the outside works

For many years I was a devout spiritual seeker, mainly through the written word. Name the book, I’ve read it. I’ve got literally hundreds of spiritual texts and so-called self help books sitting on my bookcases at home. I used to buy books like I bought my weekly shopping and love applying the latest knowledge/truths/wisdom to my life. In fact for a long time my books and the ideas they contain were nearly all that kept me going.

This ended around a year and a half to two years ago. At the beginning of that time my father died, which had been expected, but was difficult nonetheless. I could cope with his death in the sense I understood it to be part of the natural cycle of life, and although I miss him, I have always accepted his death and been grateful he is free from suffering. I did not call upon any spiritual book or particular belief system or source of knowledge to help me with my grieving because all I had within me felt enough.This was, quite simply, acceptance.

However, some months after his death I found myself in desperate need of spiritual connection due to a sense of having lost it. I returned to my spiritual books but alas they no longer did anything for me. The joy I used to feel upon devouring them was gone. I even found myself distrusting what I read. I couldn’t understand it. Not long afterwards I went on a spiritual retreat believing the spiritual connection that eluded me could be found in the peace and quiet of a spirtual haven. But it wasn’t there either.

It seems so obvious now but at the time it felt devastating and triggered some months of what seemed like a low grade existential depression whereby I wondered where my spirituality had gone and how on earth I could get it back. I struggled to understand why I couldn’t connect with the spiritual beliefs that had, at one time, been the life and soul of my painful existence. I have had spiritual experiences in the past too, but none of them were forthcoming; it was as if they had happened to someone else.

I can’t remember exactly when or how the lightbulb came on; it was a gradual process over the last few months or so. But at some time or other I began to realise that I haven’t lost my spirituality at all. In fact, this ‘stripping away’ of books and texts and things that once directed my life, is calling me to awaken more deeply to the truth that exists within me. Books are like the fingers that point to the moon, but I am the moon itself. I could only ever get so far by reading someone else’s words. Even my own words are inadequate to convey a personal truth.

Perhaps my father’s death was the catylist for this process because until one has experienced the death of someone close and literally sat with them until they die, no one can really know what it is like and how it changes you,  how it alters your feelings and perspective on life. It is something one has to experience for oneself. Although beliefs in spirits and the afterlife can of course be comforting during this time, I felt greater comfort in being at peace with my experience of what was happening and trusting in the cycle of nature of which I am part.

Spiritual books, films, and other tools are enormously valuable in any spiritual journey. I believe they brought me to this point. Equally, in the past I have found great value in both religion and psychotherapy. I can see how my journey has brought me from leaning on the ideas and knowledge of others to greater trust in the knowledge that lies within me, namely that truth is beyond thought.

On this deeper level, there is the stillness of conscious awareness and the experience of being intrinsically connected to all life. Therein lies the peace of God, Spirit, Life itself.

 

 

 

 

 

My eternal summer

This is the excerpt for your very first post.

‘In the depths of winter, I finally learned there lay within me an invincible summer. And thar makes me happy, for it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger, something better, pushing right back.’ – Albert Camus

This quote encapsulates my life. Even in my greatest pain and anguish, I have always sensed that something resides in me that has the strength to overcome what I’m facing, even if in many ways I didn’t want to overcome it. In my darkest depression born as a result of intense suffering, I didn’t want to find the strength to carry on. I was angry with the world, with certain people, and with the Being or God that I believed was behind all that had happened to me. By giving up, it would show all of them what they had done to me and also relieve me of the courage and  self responsiblity it would take to pick myself up and carry on. I knew that I could find a way forward, but many times I really didn’t want to. This is perhaps a very understated aspect of depression and suffering.

But the strength was there, and over time I have been able to tap into that resource but without fully understanding what it was. I have always been a pretty determined soul, to be fair. I have been emotionally and often physically isolated for a lot of my life and consquently I have relied on my own strength which came from my faith in a higher power. Previously, I saw this power as something outside of me, but that I could utilise for myself. I understood that even while in terrible pain, there is something beautiful and powerful within me that can overcome it.

I love the symbolism of the seasons because to me nature is consciousness manifest, and of course we are inseparable from nature. The seasons are its ever changing forms; the ongoing cycle of life. More than this, however, winter speaks to me of being devoid of hope, hibnation, feeling cold and isolated, of sadness. By contrast, summer is beauty at its peak; flowers in bloom, long evenings, hope,  happy times. Of course, this is symbolism at its most dualistic and I recognise the beauty in all seasons, such as the beauty of snowfall in winter.

However, summer points to the eternal soul; the essence that cannot be destroyed even when the cold comes and appears to take it all away. I have come to realise, mainly through meditation, that I am that, even if I don’t always realise it (and, to date, often don’t realise it).

May this blog remind me of that.