Monthly Archives: January 2015

Beyond Religion

Compassion is beyond religion- it goes to the root of our humanity & nature.

Compassion is beyond religion- it goes to the root of our humanity & nature.

Gandhi said that he was a Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Jew and Buddhist.  It implies a devout connection to principles that encompass all world religions, without a commitment to any particular religion.  No one can say that Gandhi did not embrace principles of respect, love and compassion in the actions in his life.  He believed in these principles.  He used them as the guiding principles in all his actions, not least during his non- violent protest of British presence in India and its subsequent independence.  He inspired Martin Luther King in his quest for equality for all peoples across the world in a non- violent form.

These men lived for their causes.  Their respect, love and compassion can never be destroyed.  That lives on for respect, love and compassion are founding principles of the universe.

Karen Armstrong, a former nun and founder of the Charter of Compassion, has researched the world’s religions extensively and she has distilled the common thread that links them all: compassion (see her TED talk: My Wish: The Charter for Compassion).  She uses this principle as the founding concept of her charter that encourages individuals, communities and nations to use compassion in their daily lives to improve the world (www.charterforcompassion.org).

Compassion comes from connection- to the universe, to the planet, to the animals and to our fellow human beings and humanity at large.  With that connection we understand that we are all one, from the same source.  If we respect other people we respect our self and if we hurt another we hurt our self.  That has been the message of great leaders such as Jesus, Buddha, Mohammad, Gandhi and Martin Luther King throughout human history.

Humanity separates one from the other on many issues and factors. Humanity will separate on the grounds of colour of skin, race, religion, politics and location to name a few. These things are not important, but humanity makes them so. We are all bound through a golden thread, and that thread is our humanity itself. We are all one family of human existence.

Living one’s life with compassion is a choice and each individual has free will to do so. Intellectually understanding the concept of compassion is good but truly making compassion part of our own living experience on every level is even better.

I do not subscribe to any religion in particular. I do not feel I need to do so. I know that I am a product of the universe in which I live and which created me. I know that through that I have a connection to the universe and that it is possible to consciously strengthen my connection to it.  I can do it through prayer, meditation and attunement. These all enhance spiritual connection.  All of these methods will strengthen my connection to the universe and deepen my feeling of connection to and compassion for all that exists. A Charter of Compassion maybe a good step forward.

There is nothing wrong with subscribing to a set of principles dictated by a particular religion; however we can live our lives as a good a decent person even if we do not. That is what I try to do. I try to be a good person rather than subscribing to principles laid down by any religion.  There is an argument that religion is the basis of our moral behaviour, but I believe there is a moral code built into us by nature itself.  This can be seen in animals’ behaviour and many instances of compassion that they too have been seen to display.

We can respect everyone as that is a choice and decision we make. Love and compassion grow out of respect. Respect first, love and compassion follow. No one needs to love anyone. We all need to behave with respect and kindness. That is what makes the world safe. Love is a very personal emotion. Love for another person will grow out of their actions to us. Love cannot be conjured up out of thin air. We earn love by our own kind and respectful actions to others. We can respect each other as fellow human beings. We can show compassion and kindness by choice.

We cannot love all human beings all of the time. However we can respect them and behave with compassion regardless of how we feel about them. We can offer them water when they are thirsty and food when they are hungry, and clean clothes or some finance if they need that.  There merely needs to be respect for their humanity to do that.

We all have a place in life and have to live together and find peace and harmony amongst ourselves for this existence to work for the whole. How best can we do that? To respect my fellow man means that I do not harm him. I allow him the freedom to live his life in peace and hope that he has the grace to do the same for me.

In recent weeks we have witnessed the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris, France.  We have to learn that we cannot kill each other just because we do not agree with each other.  If we do not agree with each other we can at least respect the other person’s right to life and their point of view, even when we think they are very wrong.

A person must have a desire to respect others.  Without that there can be no love and compassion. Respect comes from understanding the necessity and validity of behaving and living in harmony with those principles. There must be a benefit for them. The benefit is harmony and personal safety.

Compassion, respect and a deeper understanding of our place in the universe as well as our role in the universe are the foundation of these actions.

The message of love and compassion is preached by religion, but religion is not its source.  Compassion can be seen in nature.  There is no religion in nature, save the religion of living in harmony with the natural forces of the natural world.  I subscribe to that principle, to live in harmony with the natural forces of the earth and the universe.

God is the natural forces of the earth and the universe.  World religions are divided on God’s true nature and it is not my purpose to enter into a debate about that here.  My idea of God embraces all the world’s religions’ visions of God.  I may not agree with the details, but I respect the views each religion has on God.

There is a natural order to life of which we are a part. All religions have a purpose and that purpose is to light the way to God, higher spiritual connection and those higher forces of the universe. Their purpose is also to give us an understanding of what life is and our purpose within this life. This can be achieved without the aid of religion just as easily, if a person has the mind to do so.

Understanding ones place in the order of life and your personal spiritual path helps to kindle respect and compassion for everyone regardless of religion and other people’s beliefs. It is important for us all to live in tranquillity both with our self and fellow man.

We have a connection to God and the universal forces. God is the universe. Our connection to each other stems from that source of power. The universe created us and we are part of it. We are always part of that source however we can become emotionally disconnected from it. We can also be unaware of its true power and influence on us. We can draw on this great power of the universe for strength, guidance, spiritual and emotional sustenance. We can use it to show us the true nature of respect, love and compassion.

Through desire anyone can consciously enhance their connection to all of the universal forces which will in turn show the way to a life of respect, love and compassion.

Actions are Energy

523260231Thoughts are energy

This week has been a shocking and difficult one. It left me shaken and shocked. The recent events in Paris have left a lot of people both disturbed and upset. I have spoken to a few people this week that have expressed to me sentiments that I am feeling myself. I feel that these events have touched people in a way that the occurrences in the past maybe have not. Perhaps it is because it seems so unreasonable that so many people died for what seems to the western free mind as a simple innocent little thing. The cover of a magazine should never provoke such rage and hatred in anyone. I cannot see that anything can justify the depraved slaughter of people.   The Charlie Hebdo magazine had a legal right to publish the cover and so as far as I can see they legally did nothing wrong. Did they do anything morally wrong? That is the question now I feel?

Beliefs are strongly held ideas that are thought to have weight and truth.  At the end of the day they are still only ideas. They have fluidity. Even a fixed idea that is a firmly held belief can be changed in an instant. It merely requires the desire to change that idea. Ideas are thoughts. Thoughts are energy.

Brutal actions however cannot be changed so easily. Once we commit a brutal act it unleashes something negative into the world and it will then have a life of its own. We let a Genie out of a bottle and once out it will not go back until it has reached its own allotted time. We never know what that time is as the Genie will keep going as long as people give it the energy and power to do so. With every malicious or murderous act that follows, the genie is given more power, until people have run out of energy and the pain of so much death takes its toll on the hearts, minds, souls and lives of those who are witnessing or experiencing the negative forces that are at play.

I had to spend some time thinking about the events that have led up to this disturbing time. We had 9/11, Iraq, Al Quieda and now ISIS.  I tell you straight as a person of peace I really try not to allow all of this turmoil into my life on any level.  The human race is a warring race. They kill each other at any opportunity. They separate on the grounds of any old rubbish.  Ideas are fluid and not fixed. We move on emotionally and we change and develop daily. What we do is experiment with life trying to find perfection. There is no perfection.

Human beings will kill each other on the grounds of the most inconsequential things as well as deeply held beliefs. The trouble with beliefs is they are personal and subjective. It does not matter how deeply we feel that our beliefs are correct- there is always the possibility that they may not be correct. So if we kill a person over beliefs no matter how deeply we feel we are correct and in the right, what if we are not? What we are left with is a pile of dead people that we cannot resurrect. This is a futile and dangerous path.

We are one and we are free

All human beings are one. The binding force in humanity is its humanity. Religion will never bind us. It cannot. We will never all agree on religion, politics or any idea or ideology. I believe that in humanity’s current state and way of thinking it will not happen. It cannot be brought about by force either. As I said force will only allow something to be for a time. People have a natural need to be free in mind, body and soul. It is a natural condition to the human state.

Religious beliefs

Religious beliefs have a place, but not a murderous one. To be religious or walk any spiritual path it is one of peace. I just cannot reconcile blood on the hands of a person who has words of love and peace on his lips. The image and actions do not work. We are human and as such are capable of many things. We are capable of great things and have had many great moments in our history. Killing and fighting are never the moments that we have held or can hold up as our greatest achievements. They are always the lowest of what we can do to and for each other.

Freedom of speech is important as it allows all sides and all people to have a voice. However, we do not need to have religious, political or racial hate. Hate is hate no matter what umbrella it comes to us under. Each human being in my view should be allowed to worship or not and in the way they choose. It is good to have variety and possibilities.  They help one grow and keeps life engaging and unpredictable.  Options are a good thing. Everyone has a point of view on religion and all are equally valid. We must live together with the other person’s point of view and respect them and their right to have it. We must not silence their voice on the grounds that it does not fit in with our own.  Obviously if a person is being directly provocative and wanting to incite human hatred for the purpose of bringing harm to the person on any grounds of religion, race, or politics it must be stopped.

Keeping ourselves in check

Don’t get me wrong.  Beliefs have their place but we all need to keep them in check and if they are sacred, keep them so. If we sully our own sacred beliefs with the blood of another human being, how sacred are they now?

When is the human race going to learn from its past mistakes? There is no perfection of people.  Perhaps there is no perfection in God.  If perfection is an endlessly moving goal post, how can we say that anything is right or wrong?  Things are as they are in this moment, a chance for perfection and then the universe moves on. There is only the wish for perfection and the road to perfection. Perfection itself does not exist. In pushing forward on the road for perfection we change and develop. Hopefully we get development and something better for our efforts.

Violence has never solved anything. It has never helped us at all. It will quieten the argument for some time and then it re-emerges at a later date. People have grown more violent and oblivious to pain as far as I can see. I may be wrong but that is how it seems to me.  I don’t hear too many people saying let’s walk a road of peace. I hear people say let’s kill, and I am hearing more of that and it scares and unsettles me.

Doves of peace

I say let’s not kill. I say let’s have peace. I say let’s symbolically let 3,000,000 doves of peace loose to help this situation and as they fly away have their positive energy touch the world. That is what I will do. Please feel free to join me in your own way and spread your positive intent for peace. I shall go into my own personal peace and ask for this symbolically to be so. What harm can that do? Prayers of love and peace can do no harm. People do harm if they employ selfish, malicious, or murderous intent.

I hope the universe hears my request. Respect, Peace, and love to the entire human race. Walk a peaceful path.  It is the only one that is binding and lasting.

Health and Success in the New Year

529745947O.K., so the mince pies have been eaten and you have stuffed your face with as much turkey, Christmas pudding and cake as you could humanly manage. You washed it all down with as much alcohol as your liver would allow, without sending you to A&E. It is now after News year’s eve, where you partied to the wee hours and you now feel sick and want to throw up. To be fair, you have not yet, but you really do feel like it and your skin is looking a funny shade of green. Not to mention your throbbing head.

Your body isn’t looking good. Very bloated and round. You are trying to convince yourself that the mince pies got worked off on the short walk to the party, but somehow it does not cut it. Alright admit it you have eaten too much and it is now showing in the poundage of your body and you drank too much and you are green. Fat and green to sum it up, so now what?

Well there is the New Year’s resolution of course. Get fit, get healthy and you could join the local gym. But you have done that before and the enthusiasm does not last past the beginning of February. This is called after festivity depression; a reality check after the revelry.

It is good to have a good time and Christmas is just the best time for that as so many people are up for the party. Life has to be full of good and happy things as they are the most fulfilling to us. However, should we really be partying until we go green? Maybe a lighter shade of something more appealing would be better. Being excited and loosing ones inhibitions can be a good thing sometimes. We all have our shyness’s and insecurities at any age. So alcohol is good for that. It will take that away for a short time and allow a freedom in the moment.

However, the freedom was short lived; you now understand this as you stand in front of the mirror looking at your unappealing green pallor. You could have saved yourself all of this by not engaging in the fun and not being at the festivities or participating. There is no fun in that either. So what is the answer? May I suggest moderation?

If you were moderate you could have enjoyed it all without feeling sick and going green, with a fat body and a throbbing head. This sounds like brutal advice, and it is to be fair. This was something I learnt a long time ago. Moderation is the key to a happy life. Satisfy your taste buds but don’t pile on the pounds with large quantity. Large quantities of anything will have a negative effect on your health or oppress you in time.

Last year at about this time I met a really lovely young man. He came to me as a client for therapy. He had a cocaine addiction and he looked so ill. As a mother and a caring individual my heart went out to him as he said to me, this started as a party and now it is a nightmare.

Often we make our own nightmare. Part of life is joining in the party. The ultimate party is life itself of course, and so we have to weigh a great deal up. We have to weigh up what is the right path for us as individuals. If we look down the road just a little bit we can be more controlled and thoughtful about the decisions we take.  The party seemed a good idea at the time, and maybe it was. However in hindsight was it? Your party was your making. A long, healthy and happy life needs a wee bit of control on our part and appropriate decisions made for our future anything if we are to have one at all. Life is a learning journey and none of us have all of the answers at any one time. We learn many things along the way in life as we develop over time. It is good to have fun at any age but don’t pay for it with your life, or quality of life. That is too high a price for a party.

May 2015 be peaceful, content and filled with the good things of life for you.

All the best for the New Year, Lynette.