Monthly Archives: February 2013

Ocean Waves, Ocean Depths

"This is how it is meant to be- this is yours to enjoy if only you would come below the waves."

“This is how it is meant to be- this is yours to enjoy if only you would come below the waves.”

Many ancient cultures use the seal as a symbol of transition between two worlds- the world of the conscious mind and the constructs of human thinking and the sub- conscious world and the limitless essence of spirit without boundary or form.

This contrast was brought home to me when I was SCUBA diving on a particularly windy day in rough seas. The dive started from a rocky out- crop. The plan was to enter the water and drop below the turbulent waves as quickly as possible to avoid being tossed onto the sharp volcanic rock. Traditionally you do this by dumping the air in your stab- jacket through a valve. Alas, on this occasion the valve did not work all that well. As I desperately tried to become less buoyant the waves threw me against the rocks, cutting me and my equipment to shreds. My stress and anxiety mounted, my breathing rate soared, and my enjoyment plummeted as my ability to deal with the situation effectively, dropped.

Somehow I managed to get the air out of my stab- jacket and I descended from the stormy environment above into a tranquil haven below. My breathing slowed, serenity returned, calmness reigned and as the beauty of my surroundings overwhelmed me a seal swam by up- side- down in effortless ease as if to say “this is how it is meant to be- this is yours to enjoy if only you would come below the waves.”

The Ocean is a wonderful metaphor to explain the working of energy in Nature. The sub- conscious depths support the conscious surface layer. We are part of a whole- mostly we stay on the surface, living at the whim of external forces. The surface is calm only because there is no wind. The job is going well, we are enjoying good health, and we are surrounded by loved ones who love us in return. Once the wind blows the waves gather and toss us around. We are threatened with redundancy or financial insecurity; our relationships go through stresses and strains. We do what we can to stay afloat, to cope with the pressure of daily living, but we are at the mercy of events- we may think we are in control of our lives as we experience happiness during good times, but the anxiety and discontent we feel in choppy seas shows us we are not in control of things at the surface.

Only below the waves is there consistent calm and tranquillity. Only here can the constancy of the water offer us support throughout our lives regardless of events and circumstances.

Meditation can offer us a gateway into this sub- conscious realm. If we learn to enter this world a little we can enjoy its benefits and bring its wisdom to the surface as our awareness expands further into the truth. As we practise meditation more we may stay there longer if we wish and explore more fully the depths of the Ocean.

The wonder of SCUBA diving is the contrast between these two worlds. Enjoy both- the experience of one is made more profound and meaningful by the knowledge of the other. The conscious mind is most effective when it is calm- it provides an analytical and organisational quality to living that is effective only with clarity and understanding. The wisdom of the sub- conscious is always there- sometimes it bursts through into the consciousness in inspiration like a whale or seal breaking the water surface, but we can also delve into the depths and find answers. The more we practise the more easily we access the wisdom deep within us.

The Flame

Nourish your unique flame and enjoy your inner warmth.

Nourish your unique flame and enjoy your inner warmth.

Our lives can be dull or interesting it all depends on us. We make our own life’s choices and thus we nourish our own flame within. How we choose to nourish our flame is down to personal choice and our own likes and preferences within life itself. We can walk one road or another road all is within our own choosing.  All flames start with a single spark and all flames have the ability to grow into something bigger given the right fuel and conditions for growth. Our lives can be likened to a fire. They need to be fed with fuel to grow.

 The Spark

Before we can build a fire we need an initial spark to ignite it. By bringing two stones together and allowing them to interact in a single moment we can create a spark.  That tiny spark may then be taken to make a much large fire.

You are energy and anything that inspires you is energy also. By bringing both yourself and inspiration together there becomes an energy clash.   Life itself brought the energy of you and the energy of the inspiration together to create the clash. Once we have a clash of energy we have a spark to work with.

Once an artist saw a painting that gave him further inspiration to create a three dimensional piece called a mobile.  Mondrian was the artist of the painting and Calder was the artist of the three dimensional piece. Hey presto we had the very first mobile and an artistic genius. We have many musical geniuses also and once a musician called Brahms heard a piece of music by Schumann that inspired him to create Variations on a Theme by Schumann. Always there is the spark that takes the mind and creative juices forward.

For that initial spark to be created it requires openness for that spontaneous moment to occur.  The mind with all its rigid training may well stifle the creation of the spark by the power of its pre- conceptions.  Innovative thought cannot burgeon in such a restrictive and controlled environment.  We must be open, and freely search for possibilities of spontaneous inspiration.

The Flame

From the spark, fuel and air are required if it is to become a flame. The fuel is within each person, each person is the fuel and the air is the means by which the world is viewed.  So, if you are an artist you are visual and if you are a musician you are auditory and these are the primary filters by which you will view the world.

Of course we all have many filters and use them all in varying degrees but we do lean towards one or the other more depending on whether we are a seeing person a hearing person or a physical person.

When you are inspired, your reaction is to express that inspiration by creating through your personal predisposition and strength. This is the vehicle by which the spark becomes a flame.

The Fire

With each individual event of creation the fire is fuelled. An intense momentum occurs. If left too long between these inspirational events, the single flame weakens and may even die.

But if inspiration is sought out continually, that spontaneous moment of inspiration will happen more and more frequently.  The flame will grow stronger and the development of the fire will become and inevitable furnace of inspirational creativity. The Flame will be nourished and will grow.

Transformation

So what of you, the fuel?  Whatever was fuelled by this process was there to teach you. It was there to help you grow as a unique individual. This growth will take you further; it will be the catalyst for your next creation.

The process can only transform you.  You can only grow from it.  A life is created by work and effort as is skill itself and any work of art. All three require effort. The reward to you for effort is refinement, greater skill, more alive and you becoming more alight to life.

Creation

With each new creation, you are created anew.  You are endlessly evolving and growing day by day with your own effort. You are an active participant in your own life. Do not under- estimate the role you play and the power you exert on your own journey towards greatness.  Nourish your unique flame and enjoy your inner warmth.

Martial Arts and Reiki

Martial Arts has benefits to mind and body with artistic beauty interwoven.

Martial Arts has benefits to mind and body with artistic beauty interwoven.

Martial Arts

What martial arts is very much depends on who your teacher is and their motivations for practising and teaching their art.  In martial arts there are countless schools, each one a subtle (or not so subtle) variation of the one that went before.  They are not all the same, and that is how it should be.  However, I believe they should all have central values.  Although is it thought by many that learning to fight and to defend oneself in a physical sense is the main focus of any martial art it is in fact a  by-product of martial arts.

Learning to fight is a product of the martial arts none- the- less, however the context of that learning is all important.  Learning martial arts will teach the person physical co-ordination, conditioning, technique, mobility, flexibility and agility, and it also teach mind discipline, focus and intent which are essential life skills.  Honour, integrity and etiquette should be all central and core values of all martial arts. As a teacher of martial arts I feel that a mutual desire to create an encouraging and nurturing learning environment is vital to students’ progress.

Martial arts can also provide the opportunity for self- expression and encourage the student to create works of art.  A good teacher tries to find new and exciting ways and things to teach students to develop their skill in life as well as martial arts. A good school develops the martial arts by creating new forms, new techniques and new concepts that are a product of its passion for the subject.

As a student of martial arts, there is the opportunity for new learning and pushing the boundaries of your own potential which your teacher is qualified to assist you with.  Martial arts are a vehicle for unlocking your own innate potential in all things, not just martial arts.

Reiki

Reiki is a Japanese energy healing therapy. Rei means universal and Ki means energy in Japanese. It is a traditional method of energy healing that has been used for centauries but the understanding and practice became lost to modern man.  In recent times it has gained a revival. It was brought to the west by a Lady called Mrs Hawayo Takata who was a Japanese Hawaiian, just before the Second World War. Since that time Reiki has traversed the earth and is now used in many countries. Each country adds something to the practice of Reiki in the way it is performed and passed on. Reiki is passed on from master to student and not just taught in a traditional way, although there is traditional learning as well to master as a Reiki practitioner. The student of Reiki must master how to give a treatment both to them-selves and to others also they must master how to send Reiki energy over long distances to people who may need a treatment.  We all have a natural ability to heal. Reiki knowledge brings this ability to the fore for the student of Reiki. To be a Reiki practitioner the ability to connect to other people in a healing capacity on all levels of the person is cultivated, as Reiki itself heals the person on all levels. Reiki heals the practitioner as well as the patient. It heals on the mental, the physical, the spiritual and the emotional level of the person. Reiki can heal or support the healing of very serious illness. It does not harm in any way as subtle universal energy is part of the fabric of our being and so therefore can only be good for us. Reiki heals by flooding the body with universal energy and by doing this the body takes what it needs and replenishes the body to bring about healing of the physical body as well as the other bodies, emotional, mental, and spiritual, of the person. Reiki could be said to almost do it all. Reiki is a very effective healing therapy.

Which do you recommend for what kind of people?

Which you choose depends on you and where you are or what you wish for from your personal journey.   You are on your personal path and may choose what is right for yourself. People who wish to explore themselves and their own life and quality of life may wish to choose martial arts. People who are unwell and are looking for solutions to that ill health or people who wish to help others or loved ones manage their ill health or people who are looking to become therapy professionals may choose Reiki.

Your experience of martial arts will depend upon the teachers you choose, the values they hold and the method of their teaching.  Find people who are in line with your values.  You may also be surprised what martial arts offer.  It may well be that when you engage in either practice, Reiki or martial arts, they may shatter preconceived ideas that you may hold about either or both.  The key to your personal energy journey is to be open to new ideas and to try things and give them time to unfold.

 

What are the unique benefits of each?

Both Reiki and martial arts offer people mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health benefits. These benefits are not unique to Reiki and martial arts but are certainly very powerful.  Both martial arts and Reiki require mental focus to direct power and energy in certain ways.  Once we learn the skill we can be opened up to the natural benefits of these practices , such as better health, reduction in the rate and effects of aging, more vitality and productivity, more creativity not just in the artistic sense  but also relating to dealing with life’s problems, stresses and strains.

Martial arts can offer continued physical fitness, as well as an awareness of the body that leads to less injury.  Due to the high impact nature of martial arts, it can promote bone density which may reduce the effects of brittle bones later in life. The fact that martial arts demand a range of body movements may promote prolonged mobility and flexibility, as well as coordination, balance and overall body strength.

Reiki has many benefits.  Reiki is a quiet non-invasive therapy. It can be given hands off the body or hands on the body depending on what the person prefers.  It does not hurt and there are no pills, lotions or potions to take or apply. There are no needles as in acupuncture and only requires the person to lie on a couch and relax whilst the practitioner works. It is very effective and there has been some research done on Reiki that has found the effectiveness of Reiki with regard to many illnesses. It will help most illness to a greater or lesser extent. Reiki always helps, never harms and will work alongside any other form of treatment, giving that other treatment support and help to do its work. It will speed up results gained using other therapies.  It can be used alongside conventional medicine and will not interfere at all but will work in harmony with it. As the practitioner gives a Reiki treatment they too will obtain a treatment at the same time. Reiki helps with many of life’s difficulties as it brings about a calmer person and a person much more in tune with others. Reiki helps the practitioner strengthen their feeling of connection to all life and the universe.

“Best wishes from David and Lynette as you continue to nourish the flame within.”

Photo credit: Marc Arnold

Personal Journey

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What has your personal journey been like?
My life has been exciting, demanding, full of chances to learn and grow, and has been filled with joy and some sadness, surrounded by friends and family. Although at times there has been loneliness too in my life. We can be surrounded by good people and still feel loneliness. I can look back at my life and I can see that there is a path-a thread that links all of my experiences together that has brought me to where I am now and I know will also lead me into my future. Periods of certainty within my life have often been very productive, however sometimes certainty can lead to stagnation. The times when I have been most lost have been when I have had to look at my life and re-evaluate the issues within my life and life itself and these have been periods of great change and new directions for me that led to greater vitality and productivity.

How can one begin their own journey?
You are already on it! The great journey of your life has already begun. What you make of it is up to you. The key is movement forward. Without that our lives stagnate and our journey becomes stale, boring and mundane. When I was young I sometimes became despondent about where my life was going and what I was going to become. My mother would say to me “Do something new every day”. It opened my mind to all of the possibilities that were whizzing around in my head and I would become inspired by the excitement I felt. There were times that this excitement would lead to difficult and sometimes dangerous situations, but more often than not it would lead to something exciting and exhilarating. This excitement might lead to a day-long adventure, or to a short chapter in my life, or even at times to a fundamental change in life-direction. The point is I never knew what twists and turns my life or situations would take until I tried them. It is as if we have to take a leap of faith in our self to truly discover our self.

What role does self-awareness play in one’s personal journey?
Self-awareness is so much more than an intellectual exercise. Self-awareness is mind’s awareness of the self being in the present. It is the mind’s awareness of emotions and its own inner state. It is also the awareness of the self being aware of the emotions and inner state of others. I include others in this, because we become far more in tune with other people when we, ourselves, are self-aware. In my experience, an awareness of one’s own core values is one of the most important aspects in the relationship between self-awareness and one’s personal life’s journey. An awareness of what we truly value is essential to making life choices that honor the things we truly value. It is easy to lose sight of these values in the busyness of daily living. We can sometimes become drawn away from our own self-awareness by becoming pulled into the sphere of things that may compromise those core values.
With greater self-awareness, we can also become more aware of the present, guided and influenced by events in the here and now, rather than by our interpretation of the past and our projection into the future. Being aware of what we bring into the present is important, as we can be mindful of what is real and what are only our impressions and emotions. By understanding that what is internal and what is external to us influences how we can project into the present and the future. Thus, altering the choices we may make and the outcomes to the interactions we have in our lives. We may for example have a particular fear of something which is holding us back from traveling along our personal journey. To face that particular fear requires an awareness of the process taking place within us and that can only be done in the present.
Intuition is a gift from life to the self to be used in the present and is an essential ingredient of self-awareness and your personal journey. Intuition is the tool by which you gain a deep knowing that has the ability to steer you, if you allow it, in the direction of some great benefit. It takes time to know and trust that inner intuitive voice. When you do so, and this is one of the wonderful mysteries of life, it never steers you wrong.

“Best wishes from David as you continue to nourish the flame within.”