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Are you disillusioned with life?

Has life not turned out as you thought it would? Has it dawned on you that things have not worked out as you had hoped? There can come a time when our hopes and dreams for life don’t materialise. We feel disappointed or disillusioned. Then we can get downhearted, depressed, cynical, cease to believe in what is possible, lose our faith, and give up on life.

Life’s disillusionments

This can occur at any stage. Perhaps you have had a dream of how you want your life to unfold. Maybe you have had career plans. Then you’ve had a desire for your ideal partner, have pictured where you’d be living and what you’d be doing. Perhaps you had a sense of how you’d be. It could be that when you started out, life seemed exciting, full of expectations. When you thought of the future, you’d have a thrill of excitement. Things were going to be really good.

Then life comes along, with its way of throwing up challenges. The job wasn’t what you had wanted. You had difficulties getting the career project off the ground. Your partner wasn’t quite who you’d longed for. The relationship proved rocky. You didn’t end up where you wanted. Money has been a constant challenge. Maybe you have had health problems. It could be that you didn’t get that ideal family and home. Perhaps some big crisis came along which spoilt all those plans.

We can attribute life’s difficulties to all sorts of things, other people, events, our own mistakes, our upbringing, our education, or flaws in our character. The list is endless. In fact we can get into a blame outlook about this, and give others, ourselves, God or life itself a hard time.

Your thoughts about your life are crucial

It is crucial, as an awareness skill, to notice that you have this thought about your life. I say awareness, since this view about our life can get habitual and ingrained, such that we don’t notice this underlying thought. I call these root thoughts, underpinning but often not seen.

The skill is to catch ourselves doing this. It might not be a thought in the obvious sense, but maybe a sense or feeling that we don’t articulate as such, until we do some self-enquiry, and become aware that this is going on.

Then you can notice that this is what you think about your life.

When you become aware, you then potentially have the tools in your hands to challenge and change.

Because it doesn’t have to be like this.

What you think about your life is what occurs. You are at cause.

Become your own creative force

When we lose our faith in life, and cease to proactively choose what we want, and believe in the outcome, then we start to be at the effect of it. It happens differently. If we have negative thoughts, we get negative outcomes.

Thus we need to do our own inner exploration, get what we’re thinking at a root level, and then let go and create new purpose and set new intentions. When we truly let go and intend healthily, if I can use that word in a non-medical sense, life happens and it’s OK. It happens because we have let go, of need and expectations, and are no longer attached to our illusions. Thus to be disillusioned is to be dis-illusioned, without illusion, maya, a construct of the ego. We can then be who we truly are.

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Fear, catastrophe and the power of the mind

Pay attention to what your mind is tending to focus on.

That might sound like a tautology. Except that it’s a very important point. The power of awareness is to be able to catch yourself thinking whatever it is that you are thinking.

Let’s take fear. I know that’s an emotion but it is usually generated by a thought. I was recently sent a link to a video demonstrating that in 2012 the North Pole would switch to Mongolia, with devastating consequences. I’m in no position to argue for and against that proposition, except that I know it’s not a mainstream view. But I am aware that there are all sorts of predictions circulating about 2012, in part due to the Mayan calendar ending that year.

OK. So, here’s another view. You can take this one instead, or leave it too.

We live in turbulent times, having just gone through (or are still going through?) the worst recession since the 1930’s, with parallels even to the 1870’s. There’s a lot of fear about. When there are turbulent times, people tend to catastrophise. In the 1650’s in England, there had been a revolution and the monarch had been executed. Times were hard. Religion was going through a big upheaval and extremists began to expect the second coming of Christ. One group, the Fifth Monarchists even attempted in 1653 to seize power to prepare the way. This trend is called Millenarianism. My point is that when times are very difficult people tend to search for extreme explanations.

Fear.

Fear is F.E.A.R., “False Evidence Appearing Real”, as I’ve blogged about before. It’s an illusion. Fear is a very negatively attracting emotion. Watch what you think about. It can attract what you don’t want.

We could physically die at any point, both individually and collectively. After all we’re mortal, in the physical sense. Yet as humans we struggle with that existential reality, and frequently come up with all sorts of constructs to help us manage that dilemma. What this tells us is the importance of being in the Now and getting clear about focusing on what uplifts us, not what worries us. Fear and worry are future-related. They haven’t happened. What exists is what is Now. We’re given a great gift in Life. So, why not live it, rather than worry about something that doesn’t exist?

In the present is Everything. Worry and fear disconnects us from Who we are and What Is, and takes us off down various ego trips, such is the power of ego consciousness. It is essential to watch what the ego gets up to.

The key is to attend to what you are thinking about, where you mind is going, and come back to the Now.

To learn more about developing your own inner awareness of who you really are, and how to gain power over your mind and focus on what uplifts you, read here about The Point of Awareness. Read the brochure and sign up here

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A good time for renewal

Today, people who have an interest in such things are celebrating Easter Sunday, the day Christ rose from the dead, the Resurrection, that powerful message that Life is eternal. Thus humans, we are told, can overcome suffering and redeem themselves. Transformation is possible, you can be re-born.

Whether you are Christian or not, religious or not, re-born or not, into being re-born or not, today is a useful time to remind yourself of your potential for renewal. Things do not have to be as they are, or as they seem. We are so much more than the petty absorption with the material, with the dramas and upsets, the stress and the difficulty, the dullness, or whatever that may be yours (or my) current everyday experience. Such experience is maya, illusion.

We get caught up in suffering till it seems that that is all there is. It can take quite a leap of thinking to conceive of ourselves as Consciousness, that we are a part of All there Is, that we can be, are, essentially happy, contented and worthy beings, just as we are. This is why wherever the message comes from, we should become aware and notice: today perhaps it is from a core Christian teaching and perhaps tomorrow from a good turn someone does for you, of someone holding the door open for you, or your partner saying he or she loves you, or a beautiful sunset, or the myriad of other reminders in everyday life of our essential Onenness. It is all there, for whenever we choose to look and notice, become aware.

One angle on Christian teaching, depending on your outlook, is that humans are redeemable. So too in the East, we are told, “Even the individual, whose nature is Consciousness in a contracted state, embodies the universe in a contracted form.” (Pratyabhijna-hrdayam). We are consciousness and while we are currently experiencing a contracted form of it, we can realise it, become aware of it, and know it fully. It is who we are.

So today is a very good day to ponder on, to contemplate, our essential goodness and worth, to affirm who we really are, and to have hope for the future. We can renew ourselves. It is a matter of going ahead with it, setting the intention, taking action, committing, and then working on it.

So, today is also a good day to be making plans for renewal, planning the steps you need to make it possible, and being clear with yourself that you will go ahead and do it.

To learn more about developing your own inner awareness of your potential, who you really are, and how to bring about a positive change in your life, read here about The Point of Awareness.

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All is silent, perfect and complete

Another beautiful, sunny morning, with not a cloud in the sky, the air fresh and still. How about this for a metaphor for life? Breathe in the cool air, let it be like balm for your body, awakening you to the prospect of the Goodness of Life. It’s times like this that it can seem like all is silent, perfect and complete.

Sunday in many places is the traditional day of rest. A time perhaps to pause, reflect, pray if that is what you do, be still and be aware.

Today during my meditation time I chose from Theolyn Cortyns’ The Angels Script cards, Ruah Ha Kodesh, the Holy Spirit. In a feast of words, these stood out: “The Holy Spirit is an Empty Room where all is silent, perfect and complete. It is an Abyss into which we step in faith…when we surrender to its oblivion we shall know even as we are known…when the self abandons itself to the love of the Holy Spirit, what seems a loss becomes a prize beyond calculation, a golden gift of bliss and pure joy.”

When we go about our lives, challenges come and challenges go. We live with fear and those on a spiritual or personal growth path also live with courage and hope. Adversity can challenge that courage and hope, but we must never give up on it. Fear is an illusion, part of maya. It does not exist in ultimate reality, although it feels very real. It has something important to teach us. To let go and trust is one of the hardest things to do on this journey, but until we learn to do that consistently, we do not really begin to reap the fruits of our endeavours. So, to step into the unknown, the abyss, is to face its terror, be with the terror, let it go, and then find the deep joy and love that is who we are.

We continue to get these challenges, each perfect for our path in life, and never more than we can potentially handle, each time an opportunity to continue to embrace the unknown, breathe, let go, trust, and go forth in diligence. We use the mind to manage the mind, being aware of our fears and letting them go, staying on our path in line with our purpose.

Have a good day of rest.

To learn more about developing your own inner awareness of who you really are and how to manage your mind, read here about The Point of Awareness.

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When we fight another, we also fight ourselves

Once more we talking of committing our armed forces, belatedly, to help rebels who have risen against their ruler, or to prevent further oppression aimed at civilian protesters against dictatorship, or to protect western oil interests, depending on your point of view. Humans once again are at each other’s throats. No doubt many of us will have strong feelings about the dispute, while others might hold back in hesitation at the wisdom of armed intervention. And others might still have an eye to the force of nature thousands of miles away, which has led to a near-meltdown of 3 nuclear reactors and a huge loss of life. It’s as though we humans carry on against one another regardless of what’s really going on.

Neil Donald Walsch has written an interesting set of musings on human behaviour in this regard, “Communion with God”, in which God points out that we humans live in a world of illusion in which we have a tendency to see each other as separate from us, that we each have needs, that there is not enough, that there is something we must do and if we don’t do it we’ll be punished for it. Thus we argue about what is right, what we must do, and to believe that it is legitimate, when it suits us, to kill one another to defend our belief about what is right. If however, we take a higher view, then “right” ceases to be an absolute but instead a creation of interpretation, seen through the filters of the beliefs we each hold, our own illusions.

Seen through another filter, in which all life and all existence is sacred, we might reflect on how it comes about that one must impose his will on another in order that we can co-exist.

So for those who have an interest in being self-aware, we might pause in all this to reflect on what in us causes us to be aggressive towards another. After all, as Jung would see it, Colonel Gaddafi is also our shadow, deeply though we may think him to be “wrong”. What in us is the abuser of another? What in us is angry and vengeful to another? When we next act against another, what is the motive in us? When we own our own motives for action, when for example we see our own anger and hatred in another, when we learn to heal that in us, then we are more able to see the pain in another, the hurt that drives their anger, and as we heal our own anger, so too do we make it less likely that we are polarised from one another and more able to reach out, feel compassion and offer help, and step out of the interpersonal racket and give space for another in turn to drop their resistance and see the possibility of harmony.

Did not Christ say, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye”? And also, “let him who is without sin cast the first stone”.

This is therefore a good time to reflect, as our troops yet again prepare it seems to go to war, and as people turn to vilify the “enemy”, that in the so-called enemy is also God. The experience of separation is an illusion, since we are all One.

Namaste.

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No quick fix

Its Guy Fawkes Day

Today is Guy Fawkes Day in the UK. For those who don’t know, it celebrates an occasion in 1605 when a Catholic Christian called Guy Fawkes was discovered in a cellar below the old English Parliament as he was preparing to blow up the Parliament just as the Protestant king of England was to open a new session. All the peers of the realm and leading gentry would have been there. Thus a blow would have been struck against the wicked heretics in the name of the one, true faith.

Since then, if not before, Catholics were persecuted in England, as they became the 17th Century equivalent of the Red revolution, about to undermine the integrity of the state and church at every turn. Protestants would burn bonfires in memory of the “Anti-Christ”. Previously they burned images of the Pope, the head of the Catholic church, in the name of independent Englist protestantism, but on Guy Fawkes Day they now burned images of him, a new bete noir.

Today, we don’t think of it as an anti-catholic demonstration, and light fireworks, burn bonfires and hold sparkers in the chill November evening, standing on the newly fallen leaves. Such divisions are long forgotten.

However, the aware person might like to reflect that we some of us have other perceived demons in our midst, as the arrival of the British National Party on our domestic scene might impactfully remind us. Ethnic, social, and religious divisons are not so far beneath the surface, and recession can make them stronger. So, you might like to spare a thought for how our fellow humans may perceive more splits and ways to experience separation from Oneness.

None of that is who we are.
Here’s an article, and some news about some forthcoming workshops. I hope you find it useful in some way.
No quick fix

I was giving a talk about this time last year about creativity and about how we limit ourselves through what we think and feel, when I was asked, “Are there any quick fixes?” I said “No”, and the questioner looked disappointed. He wanted a result now.

My reply was partly true, and partly not. It depends. For example, it is possible to change your mind about something in an instant and get a different result. It will depend on your level of awareness and belief among other things, and your ability to tune into your creative side.

I suspect for most of us, it is a lot slower, since we need to develop our awareness and change how we see ourselves and our world, and that requires doing some work on our selves. At the moment, many don’t want to do that. Many want it now, a quick fix, a pill you take, the latest book, something new, a new trend, an on-line course. Staying in front of the laptop is somehow safer. And people don’t want to face difficult truths, although they may be aware of them.

The trouble is that what you resist, you get. If you are trying to avoid something you fear, for example, you give it an energy, you in a sense draw it to you, you get it. For example, did you have the experience as a child that you wanted to avoid some bully? You’d do everything to disguise things but inside you’d be shaking. And what would happen is that they’d see you, and with the instinct that bullies have, they’d go for you?

Fear attracts.

I was told recently that bookings for a particular line of workshops were right down, due to “mass psychological uncertainty”. Wow! I thought, that sounds big! And how would he know that anyway? Then as I thought about it, the sense that there is a lot of this uncertainty going on felt true somehow. It’s felt as if things are on hold as people are wondering what’s going to happen.

Fear again.

When we freeze – out of fear – things stop. We shut down.

And give away our power.

I’ve been working with a group seeking to influence government policy. What has come over really strikingly is how obsessed government is with managing risk, like companies at the moment, and “protecting the public”. As if we can’t protect ourselves. As a result the government over the last decade has taken on all sorts of powers, it seems. The usual outcome is that government intervention doesn’t solve the problem but displaces it. We’re not taking responsibility. Fear again.

You may know, the word “fear” is also a useful acronym for False Evidence Appearing Real. It’s an illusion. We need to see through it to our truth.

I was talking recently with a friend who’s been reading a book on the Mayan calendar predictions for 2012, when there is supposed to be a mass shift in consciousness. He said the preparation for this was already going on and that people needed to start raising their own levels of awareness. Good time to be doing some personal development training, I thought.

Also, in recessions people get creative. They work on their business and/or themselves and come up with new ideas to take to market. They engage in learning. Lots of people are aware the old paradigm is past its sell-by date. It’s amazing how a big implosion like the banking crisis gets people to question the illusion, the whole pack of cards that the pre-recession economy was based on. And they question the exclusive, small-clique, increasingly authoritarian politics, now that MP’s too are found to be over-doing it with their expenses. Suddenly the world seems different. I was told the other day too, that a whole political grass-roots awakening is under foot, encouraged by the increasing realisation that our climate could change radically for the worse. And when lots of people lose their jobs, they start re-evaluating their lives, exploring new directions. And this is a much more sophisticated workforce, more educated and more questioning. People are seeking. And they are asking about meaning, what’s the meaning of it all, and what do I really want out of my life?

You maybe can get a sense of how things could suddenly start shifting.

So, where are you be in all this? Still stuck in uncertainty? Or will you be joining the increasing numbers who are seeing through the illusion, albeit dimly? Remember what Gandhi said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world”. And look at the example he gave.

This time it starts with us. As Christ said, before you try to remove the speck of sawdust from your brother’s eye (he was a carpenter), first remove the plank in your own. We need to raise our own awareness, heal our own divisions, let go of our own fears, discover the beauty of who we are, believe in ourselves, know the joy of our own Self, if we are to authentically lead others to peace, reconciliation and harmony with one another and with nature.