Tag Archives: fear

Finding Peace

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Whatever you wish to achieve in life, it requires intention, focus, effort and perseverance.  Without these elements, you will not create a reason to do something or put in the work, time and dedication needed to make it happen.  There is a process of investment that leads to your desired outcome.

If there is a process of striving, how can you ever be at peace?

Once you reach your goal, do you not run the risk of stagnation?

These are the questions that bring the deeper meanings of martial arts out of the training hall and into the arena of daily living.  There are many schools of martial arts.  I can only talk of my own experience.  For many, martial arts are about fitness, for others about self defence.  Some do them for the competitive element and others enjoy the combative edge.  There is also the aspect of facing the fear of being hurt and the opportunity of dominating another through skill or even brute force.  Even the violence of the fight appeals to some people.

These are not what martial arts are about for me!!!!

I admit, fitness and self defence were the reasons I started and there was the element of conquering my fear every time I did my training- the unknown and the unexpected are powerful forces that can disturb the mind.  But very early on I realised there was a deeper element to martial arts that intrigued and fascinated me.  It went beyond the physical training and touched my mind, heart and spirit.  The greatest conflicts of life are of the mind.  Yes, the body can become injured, ill and diseased and thankfully there is an in- build repair and maintenance system at hand to take care of these situations.  The mind is an altogether different proposition and martial arts can give you the means to harness its power in a positive and life affirming way.

There are many centres to the mind- memory, visual, emotional, auditory, fear to name a few.  My study of psychology, no more than an amateur’s reading, and life experience helps me realise the power and intricacy of the human mind.  My professional research in neuroscience and nerve regeneration gives me some idea of the complexity of the human brain.  The details are staggering and I work much better with metaphors to illustrate complex ideas………  please join me on my current working analogies of the mind and brain.

You become what you focus on- if you are in the throes of new romance you feel consumed with love and all is well with the world; when you are about to do something you really don’t like, you might be filled with fear, apathy, worry or indifference.  Where your attention lies defines you in that moment.  I liken it to a flash light- your attention casts a focussed spot of light on the part of the mind it is aware of.  MRI scans of people’s brains taken while they perform certain activities demonstrates how specific centres of the brain light up (indicating increased local blood flow) inferring greater neurological (nerve cell) activity in that area.

In martial arts you learn how to control the awareness of the mind.  Do you think ahead or in the moment?  Do you allow yourself to be consumed with fear and self- doubt, or do you remain calm and alert?  Will you allow tiredness to lead to mistakes or remain focussed on the task at hand?  When learning techniques, will you allow yourself to be overwhelmed or will you break it down and learn it step by step?  These are all important questions that can be applied to a wider life context.

The options available are many, but simply break down into two categories: calmness and confusion.  The mind either focuses on the calm, still centre or its attention lies on the maelstrom of activity, emotion and confusion that spins around that centre.  If you think of it like a tornado, the destructive part is the violent wind of emotion (doubt and fear), confusion (a lack of perspective due to being tossed around beyond your control) and activity (trying to sort things out while you are in the storm).  The calm centre is more grounded and controlled, allowing you to see the emotional response for what it is, gaining better perspectives of the situation at hand and acting from a still place to sort out the situation.

Very often you find your attention or awareness in the outer, spinning wall of air and the resulting confusion.  What if you could shine your light of awareness on the still centre while the storms of life rage around you, allowing you to see with more clarity, make decisions with a better understanding of the broader perspectives and feel calm as you make your life choices and move your life forward in your desired direction?  If so, peace would always be yours.

It is simply a question of focussing the mind on peace.  To strive is to move forward, not to be in turmoil.  Peace is to remain centred in control of your attention, expanding your awareness and strengthening your power.  This column of peace in the centre of the tornado draws energy from the environment around it- up from the ground beneath it; down from the universe above and; in from the spinning world surrounding it.  This is how stagnation is avoided- the growing energy in the centre seeks outlets of creativity, enquiry, curiosity and endeavour ensuring that life becomes a journey of adventure, growing wisdom and endless learning- the true meaning and purpose of martial arts.

Intention and energy free flow

 

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What do you achieve without intention?  I believe you will achieve just a list of random accomplishments that happen by chance or by the work of others. Without intention you become a bystander in your own life. Life becomes something that happens to you rather than you becoming an augmenter of your own life story.

Throughout my exploration of energy it seems plain to me that intention is the one thing that drives the direction and flow of energy. Once you decide to do something you may move heaven and earth to achieve it. Your intention focuses your energy that builds your dreams. It cuts through obstacles and helps to gravitate other elements into your life path.

It is easy to experiment with intention and to understand its power. Just look around you at the people that you may know. Take a look at their lives and the way they conduct their decision making. In time you will notice that those people who have clear intentions about what they are and where they want to go in life have the most successful outcomes. You will see that this plays out in all areas of their life. It is not just about work or money it is about all aspects of life.

Intention induces free- flow of energy.  Just by deciding that you want something to happen can set wheels in motion and overcome obstacles that will ensure its outcome. It may not happen immediately.  Sometimes it may take years and in all of those circumstances you will have to add energy.

For instance, you decide that you wish to have a certain career, friendship or path in life. You will have to add the energy ingredient to make that happen.  Intention is the driver, the reason you embark and continue upon the journey.  Energy must be added in some form.

Take the classic scenario of wanting to meet that special someone to share your life with. You do have to make some sort of effort to find them of course.  Sitting at home on your lonesome and watching TV will not bring them to you. You have to make the physical effort and interact with people to find that special person.  This all requires time and mental, physical and emotional effort on your part.

Having made the decision to meet that special someone, you must put yourself in situations whereby you have some good chance of interaction with like- minded people.  All you then need do is be authentic and open to the possibility of meeting someone and the energy of life will work in its natural way. If you go looking for him/ her there is a focus that restricts the natural energy flow of mutual attraction and compatibility.

Too many expectations restrict the flow of energy. They over- focus and impede nature’s way. This is a form of tension and only clouds the clear focus of intention. Tension, of any kind, is a sign of restriction and reduced energy flow. In tension means your intention is focused, not on the goal, but on forcing something through- it may not be time or the conditions may not be right.

Fear, worry, stress, greed and doubt all cloud your focus of intention on your goals and either can restrict energy flow or redirect it away from your true desires and towards a negative outcome.

Very often the fear of being alone means you remain alone.  What you are focusing on here is being alone and that is what the energy of the universe hears you say. That is the vibration that you are sending out to others and the universe. The intention that you are giving is one of fear and loneliness not of mutual companionship and compatibility. You have to be careful how you direct your energy and which quality of energy you are employing. The mind is a powerful tool and energy is a potent force of action and reaction.

If you find that your focus is on fear or any other negative feeling, it is worth exploring the true source of these emotions. The correct conditions must exist within one’s self as well as without to enable your desires to manifest. Simply being aware of the influence of correct conditions is enough to shift your focus into a positive space of energy free- flow so that your desired true intentions have time to grow and your dreams realised.

Food for The Soul

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Food for Thought, Food for the Body and Food for the Soul

 

We all walk a spiritual path as we are all spirit. We are spirit energy in a body. As human spirits we grow by learning. I am constantly learning new things. I like learning it brings new ideas and perspectives to my life.

I do not have all of the answers to life or spirituality for I am always learning new things from many people. I do not believe anyone has all of the answers to anything. There are people who say they have all of the answers and maybe they do for a short while. Life changes and it moves on and is in a constant state of flux. So are we.

When we learn something new we change. We replace old ideas with new ones or we may reinforce old ideas. Either way we are in a win situation with the new knowledge. As knew knowledge equals change to us on some level.

Today we will have a set of thoughts, ideas and understandings and tomorrow they will be different in some way. I am not saying that we do not have a responsibility for the things that we think do or say. I am saying that we will think do and say something no matter what that is and in time will change those understandings and actions as we live and develop. Change means development of us and our lives. We change from the moment that we are born and in fact if we think about it we changed even in the womb. We change in many ways throughout our life. We change physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally. We are not static beings.

From the moment we enter this world we are in for change. Life will change around us whether we wish for it or not. We can resist change but that is futile as change will happen never the less. All things change. The seasons change, day changes into night, the weather changes. Everything changes.

People too change, before our very eyes. They physically change day by day. Nothing about people is set in stone at all. Life seems to be static but it is not.  Change is built into life at all levels. There is wisdom in slow change. Slow change gives ourselves and life time to decide is this a good change and do we need to keep it or change it for something else. It offers us a choice as we move towards the conclusion of the new change. It offers us and life time to understand and assess that change.

Physical change to our body is inevitable and we all know that our body is designed to break down. We can slow things down a little with good food and plenty of sleep and some effective creams and potions. However even with all of that our body will degenerate. Life will move forward and we will bend to its influence. Our body is designed for slow change and the ravages of time.

But what of our soul, how do we keep that in good condition?  And what is a spiritual path? We can develop our soul in the same way we can develop our body. We can condition our soul. To have a healthy body we need to give it good things to work with, such as good food, rest and exercise. To have an active and effective mind we need to give it food for thought. It needs input and stimulation.  The soul needs the same too. It too needs food, rest and exercise.

What is food for the soul? Life is food for the soul as it helps the soul to develop. It does not matter what we do as long as we interact with life. When we interact with life we give the soul its sustenance. Good or bad, happy or sad the soul will thrive on what we give it. It will change and develop in one way or the other. The change that occurs in each of us adds to life. It adds knowledge to the wider universe. It causes us to move forward into life.

We are all part of life and life part of us. So therefore we are all important to life and life to us. From time to time it may be that we may feel insignificant and unimportant. We are just a single person in this huge world of ours. Perhaps there are some moments of despair.

These moments are part of the catalyst for our change and growth. When we reach rock bottom in any situation or interaction often it causes us to find a solution and resolve the misery. It causes us to look, listen and learn so that we may move forward. Despair can lead to change. We are required to look at the situation and our life, the path that led us to the situation, to listen to our inner voice for the truth of the situation and learn from the experience.

Despair forces our hand to give in or grow through movement. In despair we look for the solution that will take us out of the situation. Movement of any sort equals growth to the person. Even negative movement equals growth in time. Negative movement equals more pain and misery which in turn is a further learning to the person. All of life and life’s interactions facilitate growth to the soul.

Meditation, sleep and quiet contemplation are rest for the soul.  Exercise for the soul comes by way of all of the interactions that stretch the soul to grow. On all levels of our being we grow through the interactions with life and the things we put into our being.

We need food for thought, food for the body and food for the soul. Life Nourishes the flame within.

 

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A Journey into Consciousness

 

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Where does your attention lie? Where do you focus your awareness?  Where do you direct the energy of your mind? Three questions posing a similar line of enquiry….. Wherever we place our focus determines our reality.  If we are attentive to thoughts of fear, doubt or jealousy our reality becomes contracted. If we think of love, compassion and peace our reality becomes expansive. The more our thoughts expand our awareness the more connected we become to life and its magic and wonder. My early life was consumed by fear and I am striving to fill my latter years with love and joy.

I was born to my parents at a time when their relationship was on the rocks. It has been said in the family that having me was an attempt to bring them closer together again.  Needless to say I had no such power. They separated when I was about a year old and my parents both retreated into themselves to lick their wounds and find ways to move on.  They did the best they knew how and I am grateful for that- but without words, for I was too young to understand them, their actions and thoughts taught me lessons that I would take into later life that made it difficult to trust and share, say truly how I feel and have the strength to authentically express myself and stand up for what I believed in and wanted for my life.  I felt truly alone in the world.  I learnt that loneliness was preferable as it helped me avoid pain.

When Yoda appeared in the Star Wars movies in the 1970s, I knew I had to meet a person like that- a mentor, teacher and spiritual guide.  I met such a man in my late teens who showed me a different way- that we have to open up to life and in doing so life’s gifts and magic enter us.  We close down to avoid pain, but when we close down, we close down to everything.  We cannot be selective.  If we are open, we are open to life’s joy and pain- we just have to be strong enough to deal with both, be open to both and learn from both.  It is hard, but it is by far the most fulfilling path.  We see the best of our self and of others and only very occasionally do we see the worst.

If we trust, we open our self to life and begin to live life fully in spite of our imperfections and the imperfections of others. We remove the barriers that we try to put in place to hide our self for fear of exposure, unburdening our self and becoming freer. We are all imperfect and that is as it should be. It gives us a reason to grow.  The sooner we accept this truth, the sooner we can go about living fully and removing the barriers we have put in place that mask us from a spiritual connection to life itself.

This spiritual connection is a link with the Consciousness of the universe, what the Chinese refer to as Tao or Chi, the Indians call Prana or Brahman and what world religions call God. In Nourish the Flame Within we discuss the idea that all things are energy whose source is this Consciousness, simply vibrating at different frequencies, which manifests in different forms, from gases to solids, from hot to cold, from inanimate to animate.

Different thoughts also vibrate at different frequencies. In her incredible workshops, Love and Above, Christie Marie Sheldon discusses how thoughts of fear and worry have low vibrations while thoughts of love and compassion have high vibrations. Consciousness is the highest vibration and it is our source. Spiritually, we are trying to return to this source in a vibrational sense. In other words, if we can cultivate thoughts of love, compassion and sharing, we begin to change vibrationally. If we can shift our thinking away from fear and contraction towards love and expansion, we are moving towards a vibration of perfection or Consciousness. The health, relationship and spiritual implications of this are nothing short of astounding.

As we develop through life, make stronger our connections with life itself, cultivate relationships with people, animals and places, harness our passions and put into practice the things that truly make us tick, we walk the path of our spiritual growth and increase our vibration. The closer to Consciousness we get the more at peace we feel, the more connected and related we are and the more empowered we become. We become aware that we are living Consciousness.

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Lynette Avis and David Brown are the authors of Nourish the Flame Within- a guide to connecting to the human soul for Reiki, Martial Arts and Life.  You can read more about our background and interests on the “About the Authors” link at the top of the page.  If you feel moved to do so please take a few minutes to leave a comment on this article- we are always happy to discuss the topics about which we feel so passionate.  You can also join us on the Nourish the Flame Twitter account at https://twitter.com/AvisandBrown and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LynetteAvisandDavidBrown .  We look forward to hearing from you.