Tag Archives: wisdom

Holistic Therapy

Chiropractic therapy works with the alignment of the bones which can become misaligned simply through the process of living.  If these misalignments are left untreated they can lead to muscle imbalance, poor posture, pain and the stagnation or pooling of energy in muscles throughout the body.

Chiropractic therapy.

Holistic Therapy

The working life of a holistic therapist is not always easy. I had a client last year who came to me because they said I only practiced Reiki. I did not tell this client that was not true until they visited me. They were disappointed in me and promptly removed themselves from my care. I am not sure what benefit they saw in me only knowing one discipline. I have equally heard such stories from my fellow therapists.  Most therapists know and practice more than one therapy. It is not a case of learning one and specialising. Of course there are therapists who only have one therapy, but that is not the norm by far. Take a look at therapist websites and you will see that many practise many disciplines.

I can equally understand why the public may see this as a therapist being a jack of all trades. However this is far from the truth. It is easy to understand why many holistic therapists decide to learn more than one therapy.

As a therapist myself that has qualified in more than one therapy, I would be a little apprehensive to visit a therapist who just had one therapy under their belt. Although I am not saying I would not visit such a person. It depends on the therapy and the therapists’ reputation for results.

 

CPD, Continuing professional development

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Therapist are required as part of the regulations for belonging to many professional bodies, to do ongoing professional development, each year. Sometimes this can be tricky to fulfil I can tell you. A very easy way to fulfil the requirements is to undergo further training by way of workshops or in other therapies. Often training in another holistic therapy will fulfil the requirement for a few years. Extending the existing holistic knowledge of the therapist is seen as a positive thing and not a negative thing to do. All knowledge has to be good as it broadens the awareness and understanding that the therapist may have of how the body works and how they can impact the health of their client in a positive manner.

 

 

Workshops

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Workshops help to extend the therapists knowledge by way of short weekend or day courses. I find these very valuable as they often give me a taste of other therapies and energy knowledge. I am a colour therapist and I tend to use colour therapy in a very supportive way to my other therapies. I never use colour therapy as a main therapy for my clients. Recently, I went on a weekend workshop that was focusing on colour and sound. Sound is another of my therapies. We were given finger lights to use to illustrate the impact of coloured light on the body. Finger lights are little lights that young people use at raves and parties to shine light into a darkened dance floor. They are meant as fun little gismos. We used them to shine light on the back of each other in the workshop and the person had to say where the light was being shone. Not one person got it wrong even though they could not see where the light was being shone. This experience made me revisit something that I know well; the impact that coloured light has on the body and colour in general. I needed this little exercise to remind me of this fact and how I can use this exercise and piece of knowledge for my own students and clients.

 

Client’s affinity

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Some clients will have an affinity with one therapy over another purely on emotional grounds. I can get the work that I need done for the client by switching my approach using one therapy over another. Each individual is different and will come from a personal emotional stand point. If they have had a negative experience with one therapy very often they will not try it again, even though it they may be experiencing the therapy via a different therapist. This has to be respected and it is impossible for any therapist to insist that a client has any therapy. So how can they help if a particular therapy is not suiting a client? Having knowledge of more than one therapy makes a great deal of sense for both the client and the therapist.

 

 

Using multiple therapies

Sound therapy with colour in the backgraound.

Sound therapy with colour in the background.

Each therapy brings its own impact on the condition of the body and person, and using each therapy in conjunction with another can sometimes have a greater impact. Sometimes if a client is particularly highly strung or stressed I will give them one or two Reiki sessions prior to giving Hypnotherapy sessions as that helps me work much more easily with that person and they have to learn to do less work at relaxing. The Reiki brings them into a naturally relaxed state that goes far beyond the session itself.

 

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Colour has an impact on our emotions, physical and mental health. It can make you cheerful and uplifted or down and sad, depending on the colour and your response to that colour.

If a person is very emotional I can tell them how to use colour in their dress, décor and generally around them to combat that stress quickly. These are very simple things and highly effective. Colour and light impact our being on all levels. We have physical, emotional and spiritual responses to colour and light.

I consider the therapies that I know as part of my tool kit bag. Just as a builder or carpenter has a correct tool for a particular job in their tool bag, so have I. All of the therapies that I use are part of my therapy tool kit. I do not offer one therapy over another to a client just as an experience for money. I want results for my client and my tools bring those results and that is the point.

 

Deepening knowledge

There are seven major chakra points. Each is an energy reservoir that sends electromagnetic energy around the body. Electro magnetic energy is also known as Chi/Ki and Prana amongst other names. This subtle energy needs to be in a healthy condition to keep all levels of the person in good health. Alcohol, poor sleep patterns and stress are some of the things that will interrupt the subtle energy system of the body.

There are seven major chakra points. Each is an energy reservoir that sends electromagnetic energy around the body. Electro magnetic energy is also known as Chi/Ki and Prana amongst other names. This subtle energy needs to be in a healthy condition to keep all levels of the person in good health. Alcohol, poor sleep patterns and stress are some of the things that will interrupt the subtle energy system of the body.

As my knowledge of energy has deepened over the years learning each of my therapies, I have come to understand that each therapy is just a different approach to impacting the client’s energy system or body. Sometimes one therapy will not do the work that I require effectively enough for that particular client and so I can call on the other therapies and energy knowledge that I possess. I do not see this as a negative state of affairs but of infinite benefit to my client’s wellbeing and management.

Each therapy I have learnt over the years gives me another way of bringing healing to my clients; all have deepened my knowledge of how the body works both energetically and physically. I have learnt how energy impacts the energy system and the body to good effect. I know that if I needed the help of a holistic therapist I would look for one that has a good reputation of gaining healing results and not one who necessarily specialises in one therapy.  Broad and deep knowledge makes sense to me.

 

Over to you

LynettePlease share your experiences of therapists who have specialised in one discipline or have a multiple of therapies available to their clients in the comments at the foot of this blog page.  You may be a therapist or visit therapists on a regular or intermittent basis.  Whatever your relationship with the healing arts, we would love to hear from you and discover what you think.  Please feel free to share your experience.

 

Best wishes Lynette

 

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.

Enjoy the little things

Enjoy_the_little_things_photoI watched a movie the other day set in England during World War 2. Two men are discussing the possible outcomes of the war when one of them says “no matter how long it lasts nothing will ever be the same again. We will be changed forever because of this war.”

Now don’t worry, I am not going to go on about war and it’s horrors, though there is no doubt the outcome of war changes our lives beyond measure.

I am looking at a broader perspective. I am asking “How do the moments of life change us and help us experience and grow?”  Reflection and contemplation are the keys I believe. To allow an event into our being so that it effects us. Through interacting with the original event we transform the energy into something new and in turn we are transformed.

This is the nature of growth and evolution. Every movie I watch, each conversation I have I try to take something away that I can work with and transform that idea into something new and in turn growing myself, transforming my thoughts and energy to create a new self- slightly wiser and more experienced than before.

What a gift to be able to give yourself and what a way to be able to be thankful for all the little moments in your life that might otherwise pass you by.

No ones Perfect

509075791Perfection, what a perfect word! If you say it, it seems to roll off the tongue so nicely. It has an ease. We could say it has its own perfect vibration.

My father asked me

To be perfect- what does that really mean? Is it achievable? When I went to school perfection was encouraged. I did not understand why it was encouraged. It all just seemed to be taxing and challenging to me. To be honest as a child I could just not be bothered to deal with the subject of perfection. At that time in my life I was happy with whatever was the easiest option for me. I wanted an easy life. Why run harder and faster. That only puts a strain on the body. I hated sports with a passion. One day whilst watching Tennis my father posed the question to me. What sport do you like? It was not posed as a question but as a statement.  I asked him, what do you mean?  He said to me, you don’t like any.

I hated sport

This was true enough. I did not like doing them or watching them or even hearing about them. It was all hard work to me and therefore totally unenjoyable. Now as an adult I think what a waste. Also what a huge lesson I have learnt in life. With effort comes perfection. With hard work comes self-satisfaction and learning. These are some of the pieces of gold that life has to offer. It took me until my late teens and early twenties to understand the power of work and effort.

Work oh no

What I did not realise about work was this, that it is through work of any kind that we have an opportunity for perfection. Every time we engage with it we have an opportunity to perfect a skill, an interaction or production of something, either within ourselves or outside of ourselves.

It is not just about money but more than that. It is the perfection of the self through time, effort and experience. It is the nourishment of the self that leads to perfection. Perfection is something that we can all strive for but in reality is not achievable. We gain from the pursuit of perfection the rewards that are there to be had not from the attainment of perfection.

Perfection is not possible

Attainment of perfection is not possible, as people perceive perfection differently even though they may be observing the same circumstances. Perfection is subjective, and even if it is agreed upon by many at a particular time, the goal post will always change, both inside and outside of the self. So by who’s definition is perfection perfect anyway? The purpose of striving for perfection is to gain experience. The masters of music, art, dance, acting and sport have a depth and breadth of experience that allows them to get close to that pinnacle of perfection and they may even touch the summit, for a moment, and then it is gone.

If I had run around and pursued a life of sport I would have had a positive outcome no matter how much or little I put into it. Or how much or little of it I did, as it has its own rewards. I would have improved my physical fitness and maybe gained some increased self-esteem perhaps.

I spent my time drawing and painting instead and still gained a lot from that. So in reality I gained anyway. I just gained from something other than sport. I had my own vehicle for seeking perfection.

 

Life is a Bowl of Cherries

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Life is a bowl of cherries. Not necessarily for every one though. It depends on perspective. What is to one person good and happy circumstances would be the lowest of the low to another person. It is a bit like hot and cold water. Depending on our previous experiences the water temperature will be perceived differently.

Life is– vibrant and full of variety. Each cherry varies in colour, size and flavour and the enjoyment you derive from this variety depends on perspective.

Compare the colour of red cherries beside another red object or in front of a red background. How red are they? Now put them in front of a blue background. How red are the cherries now? In front of the red background, the cherries may seem to have lost their vibrancy. When placed in front of a blue background, the colour contrast renders their red colouring as vibrant and intense as can be. This is the power of perspective.119168579 - Copy

It is the difference in how we experience these everyday phenomena that informs our unique life perspective. The variety of experiences we encounter throughout our lives enrich us on a deep level – as they say, “variety is the spice of life.” If we resist opening ourselves up to different experiences, life is the same –same –same. Boring! To add vibrancy, we must embrace variety and recognise the power of perspective when tucking into life’s bowl of cherries.

Let’s take this analogy a bit further. How often do you think about how your life experiences impact you? Most of the time, we just experience without thought as to what experiences add to the quality of our lives. It is commonly thought that to be happy we must only have happy experiences. This is not true. We must have variety of experiences to make us whole, balanced people.

To achieve balance, the key once again is variety. Balanced people are whole because they are at one within themselves and not at odds with the variety of life’s experiences. A machine that is broken – in pieces – is not whole or in good working order. In seeking balance or restoration of “good working order” for ourselves, we must at some point come out of balance. We must tip one way and then the other to discover the correct equilibrium of experience and variety.

Going too far out of balance can cause trauma, but it is important to know that no one has to keep trauma. An individual decides within the fabric of their own being how much trauma they retain or release in any situation. When a trauma is so severe it has become deeply internalised, you must first decide that it is to be released and then set in motion the tools for implementing this release.

Meditation and hypnosis are excellent tools for such release. Hypnosis and meditation are bed fellows – they are very similar but offer direct benefits for the release of trauma.

Life can be whatever we wish it to be; as individuals we have power.  For the most part, each person is in control of their own ship. All is perspective and view point. Life’s cherries can look equally delicious set against a red or blue background. It is up to the individual to decide which background they prefer and why.

Trust- A Force of Nature

If you take the time and make the effort to build trust people will do extraordinary things with you

If you take the time and make the effort to build trust people will do extraordinary things with you

Trust is a force of Nature

Trust is hard won. We are born into trust for it is the natural way. Nature is built on connectivity, interaction and synchronicity.  Birds’ eggs hatch just as the insects they eat begin to multiply, the squirrels bury their nuts as the autumn nights draw in and winter approaches and the sea’s tides are influenced by the phases of the moon.  Nature is built on trust.  The new born knows it must suckle, the fledgling birds knows it can fly just as the foal understands it must walk.  Everything comes in its own time and eventually fades away.

In her book “Mutant Message Down Under” Marlo Morgan describes a scenario when she must lead the Aborigine tribe in the Outback wilderness to food. Days go by without food and water and fear and terror mount in her as she contemplates her death and the death of the tribe. The Aborigine tribe members are unmoved. In time a meal appears in the wilderness and her relief is extreme. She discusses her anxiety with the tribe later on and they explain that they never lost their trust in nature- that she would raise to the task and provide or they would die. It is that simple!

Losing Trust and Gaining Wisdom

Trust is something easily lost. We trust implicitly as youngsters because we know no better. We are endowed with trust by Nature herself.  Why would we not trust?  It is against the natural flow of survival. Without trust we are alone and without friends or support.  As helpless youngsters we have no choice but to trust. It is our birth right. But it is easily abused, knowingly and unknowingly. This creates distrust and in that there is a loss of innocence, a barrier to open loving living.

As life experience shapes our understanding of the world we must lose our naivety without becoming cynical. We must understand that people are not always as they seem. People can hide their insecurity, fear, aggression and malicious intent towards us . If we do not realise this we become stung by the sharp stab of trust abused and the humiliation of being made to feel stupid or falsely taken in.

If we are to be open we must have trust. If we are to communicate and live without barriers to the world, there has to be an implicit trust in the world and the people in it. If all we have known is a harsh and unloving world it is hard to trust it.

With every personal disappointment in others we become more insular. Perhaps we need to look elsewhere for trust?

Where can Trust be Found?

Nature can be trusted upon. Every breath you take is a deepening of the trust between you and nature itself. You serve and support each other. You are there for each other.  Aren’t all of nature’s bounty free gifts?  Air is a free gift, expected on faith that it will be there and that you have the means to take it. We take it for granted, because Nature has always provided.  But should we take that trust for granted?

Many years ago I learned to SCUBA dive.  One of the important tasks that I had to learn was to share my breathing equipment with my diving buddy.  I had to learn various other important tasks as well to prepare me for a time when I may lose air for some reason below the surface of the water.

Once as I was performing these tasks, my diving instructor turned off my air supply!  The feeling of trying to draw air into my lungs when there was no air to breathe was terrifying.  I panicked and tried to race for the surface, the great sin in SCUBA diving for safety reasons.  My instructor coached me through the proper procedure and in time I breathed again, but for those few seconds the beauty of breath and the implicit trust I had in nature for providing my next breath was forcibly driven home to me.

On occasions I breathe deep, long and low and enjoy the calmness my body experiences as I feel the air rush into my lungs and nourish my body.

By being consciously aware of the air around us and inside of us and knowing that it is freely available to us given by nature itself, we can build trust in nature.  Perhaps we need to be more mindful of the things that are offered naturally without price.  They are given as part of the natural order of the world and the universe.

Our pets bring us pleasure and comfort. They trust in our kindness.  They respond to it.  There is a natural order in this. We trust them in turn. They are there when we feel sad.  They snuggle to comfort us, and are there to greet us constantly when we leave and return.

The Beauty of Trust

What can we humans learn about trust from nature and animals? Always be there. Be present. Be kind and generous.  Be compassionate and accepting. Realise our responsibility to others and live up to it. Be loyal.  Be trusting of the natural order.

Trust in people is built over time. It is earned.  People make mistakes and so it does not always follow that their mistakes were deliberately done. We must ask ourselves “Has it been done in error or with malicious intent?”  To interact with people at all let alone well we must trust them and be trust worthy ourselves.

To do great things with people we must trust and be trust worthy. If you take the time and make the effort to build trust people will do extraordinary things with you.

Some will be too fearful. That is fine. Some may be so fearful and distrusting that they abuse your trust and hurt you. Know that the fault lies with them, not you! Learn to tell the difference and with growing wisdom discern the relationships that diminish you and those that empower you.

Nature waits patiently.  It is always there, waiting for each of us to trust and begin the process of embracing it.  In return for our trust in it, it embraces us more deeply, sharing with us more of its wonder and secrets.

Nature can only do so much and we must be prepared to do our bit. Often we don’t take chances as we worry about our ability to trust the situation or the person.  Often it is a question of control or past pain.  We all have a need to protect ourselves from repeating mistakes in relationships and situations. We do not want to be hurt. Yet, to surrender to trust we must be prepared to take the chance and understand that there is the possibility of being hurt.  It is a tricky situation.

Building a Bridge of Trust

So how do we cross this impasse? How do we build trust, trust the right people and embrace that which is good? It takes time. It takes care and patience. Are you worthy of trust? Is the one in whom you place your trust worthy of it?  We can only discover this by taking small steps, in the full knowledge that we are taking a risk.  We build trust over time, making informed choices that will lead to greater openness as trust is upheld from both ends of the bridge.

This will lead to a strong connection and bond growing between you and others that will nurture your faith in trust and create a beautiful life full of millions of small moments- the smiles, the laughs, the touches, the kindnesses- that warm the soul and make life special.

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.

Spirituality and Enlightenment

 

  

Only the still centre can be a true reflection of the world around it, like a still lake perfectly reflects the sky

Only the still centre can be a true reflection of the world around it, like a still lake perfectly reflects the sky

 

What is spirituality?  What is enlightenment? What role does meditation play in experiencing these states of being?  How can martial arts be harnessed to achieve these moments of bliss and extend them into eternity?

Spirituality is the search for the eternal truth- at least that is why I undertake a spiritual journey.  The truth is so vast and it can be sought using many varied paths.  Many seek through religion, others through practises of personal development and transformation such as yoga, meditation and martial arts, some use healing as a means to connect to ultimate reality, while others use science to discern the truth empirically, with measureable, quantifiable evidence.  These paths offer many benefits and individuals will be drawn towards one or many aspects that appeal to them. It is not to say that all people who practise these disciplines are seeking eternal truth.  For those that do have a desire to connect to the universal truth, these paths offer chances to glimpse an experience that is often fleeting and at the same time life changing, when the connection to the universal truth is made.  This is what I think the Masters called enlightenment- a series of spiritually enhancing experiences that bring the person closer to the ultimate truth.

Meditation takes you further away from the chatter of the mind and closer to the blissful silence of no- mind where you might experience the currents of universal energy flow and access wisdom and understanding that are beyond your conscious mind.  You might make intuitive leaps that give you insight or profound compassion that leads to healing and human connection far deeper than pills and potions can offer.  You reach a centre of calmness that need not leave you when you rise from your meditation practise.  You can carry it with you, a still centre in the vortex of life experience.  This state of peace and inner acceptance and power can also be achieved in martial arts- the forms provide a moving meditation that invoke dynamic stillness that may spread out across many moments achieving a state of deep calm and rapid, powerful movement.

Both martial arts and meditation can be practised to such a degree that life can become an endless experience of calmness and tranquillity.  From a balanced centre, a person can experience the joy of love, the power of combat and the beauty of art and life itself.  From this centre, there is a profound sense of self, of who I am and what I stand for.

Remaining centred is an intuitive art.  As the environment around you is changing, so you too must flow with the changing elements of your environment.  No moment is ever the same, no experience ever duplicated, simply an ever- changing flow of energy that remains in balance and harmony.  The conscious mind cannot do that.  Only the still centre can be a true reflection of the world around it, like a still lake perfectly reflects the sky.  The reflection changes with every passing cloud, every animal that enters and moves in the landscape, each rustle of swaying branches.

So enlightenment, if you are to experience it for longer than that fleeting moment, means you become one with the environment.  Enlightenment is not a static state of being- it is fluid.  You must feel your way through the perfection of experience and being to remain balanced, in harmony and in blissful awareness of the ever expanding moment.

Nourish the Flame Within offers meditations that brings you to that centre, to remain there and honour that unique self that is inter- connected to all universal energy or ultimate truth.  To explore where that connection takes you is your journey to that eternal truth, that experience of enlightenment that becomes your spiritual path.