What springs to mind when you think of sparkling things? If you were to make a list I’m pretty sure that diamonds would be somewhere on that list.
Why is it that diamonds sparkle so beautifully when they catch the light?
1. Because of the density of their mass they have the ability to slow down the speed of light –slowing it down to 80,000 miles per second as opposed to 180,000 miles per second for light passing through air.
2. The atoms in diamond molecules are arranged in a tetrahedral shape – this gives them their multi-faceted appearance. Examine closely a faceted diamond and you will see that it absorbs white light and breaks it apart like a prism, dispersing it into a rainbow of colours. Diamonds sparkle and dance with coloured light as each of its facets produces its own dazzling display.
What if we were made to shine like diamonds? What would we need for this sparkle to manifest in our own lives?
Let’s play with this metaphor for a while.
Surely the first requirement would be to allow light to enter us. By light here I mean the Qi energy or Spirit that is always present (pre- sent to us) and which supports our very existence. Our egos will tend to want to block this out with fearful thinking so if we are to sparkle with light then we must be vigilant seeking it out, noticing it and allowing it room to live in us. We must be open to the light and present to it as it appears to us in the moment. We need to stop crowding out the light with our sceptical and cynical thoughts that would be-little the idea of us shining like diamonds. I repeat “We are made to shine.”
Secondly in our bid to shine we must learn to slow light down so that its components – the seven colours of the rainbow (or the seven faces of love) – can be seen and then refracted through us.
Now we have to stretch our imaginations a little here. Obviously we don’t look like diamonds - we don’t have the multi-faceted surface appearance of a diamond that is necessary to refract the light.
However we are multi faceted beings composed of body, mind, spirit, thoughts, emotions, feelings, ideas, beliefs, habits, speech, personality, imagination and intuition and we have the ability to hear, taste, smell, see and touch – all these facets of our humanness have the ability to help us refract light or not. We have a choice here but we can only exercise that choice if we are aware that we have it!
Often our habitual lives run so much on automatic pilot that we forget we can override this by using our free will. It is up to us to discern how to use the many facets of our humanity to help us sparkle and shine and spread the light that is at the core of our existence.
What lights us up? Do we even know any longer? What lights other people up? Do we care enough to find out?
By observing the impact of our lives on ourselves and on others we can begin to discern what is needed to help us spread the light. For example when I express rage, or anger by shouting and hurling abuse at others does this light me up? Does it make the people on the receiving end light up? If I express tenderness and love does this light me up? Do those that receive it light up?
To truly observe ourselves without judgement is the key here. I say without judgement because as soon as our mind brings judgement into the equation then this will weaken our ability to shine. Self inquiry without judgement requires us to slow down so that we can take time to notice what is actually going on for us in the present moment. Slowing down helps us to observe and feel the effects of light within us or the effects of its absence.
There are many tools that can help us with this slowing down and noticing: focusing, meditation, T’ai Chi, yoga, mindfulness, contemplation, relaxation, poetry, chanting. Don’t be afraid to explore them and find out what suits you best. You will know which ones are for you by the way you feel – when you light up like a Christmas tree you can be sure that you are well on the way to being a sparkling diamond in the world.
By the way there’s one more thing you should know about diamonds.
In their raw, uncut state they are quite ordinary in appearance and lack the beauty of the shop sold gemstones that we are most familiar with.
Raw diamonds need attention if they are to be transformed into things of beauty.
So it is for us too. When we attend to that which we consider to be ordinary and mundane within us we are capable of transforming our base humanity into something divinely beautiful.
Wishing you a sparkle filled day!
We can spend so much of our lives sleep walking through life...lost in day dreams, worrying about the future, wondering what we can do to 'save the planet' or improve the lot of mankind that it is no wonder that many of us bemoan the passing of time with a sigh saying 'Where have all the years gone?'
In truth our days pass by in a flash while all too often we are too busy with our thoughts to notice them!
We function much of the time on automatic pilot.Driving, eating, washing the dishes, hanging out the laundry, ironing
surfing the internet,washing, dressing.....all these habitual things we do without the need to even think about them, which leaves our minds free to think about the next thing we might do on our never ending list of things to get through before the end of the day/week/month/year.
This is how we miss so much of life and this is what led WH Davies to write his very famous poem 'Leisure' which I'm sure many of us can identify with.
What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?
No time to stand beneath the boughs,
And stare as long as sheep and cows:
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night:
No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance:
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began?
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
If only we could get into the habit of saying, periodically to ourselves throughout the day 'STOP!' (Stop Tuning Out the Present moment)
STOP and breathe
STOP and notice
STOP and feel
STOP and appreciate
STOP and be thankful
STOP and look with seeing eyes
STOP and just BE for a moment.
What wonders might we notice if we were more present to what was actually happening now! What would we see? What would we feel? What would we notice that before we had simply taken for granted? Even stuff we would rather avoid seeing or thinking about can be experienced differently if we just stop and notice it rather than judge it or condemn it.
Einstein once had this to say about life.
'There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other as though everything is a miracle.'
Perhaps if we just 'STOP' for a moment and slow down we may see miracles all around us whereas before we were too lost in our own thoughts to notice them.
I hope you all have a day filled with miracles!
I have seen the ego defined as Edging God Out or Everything Good is Outside. If we have Edged God Out, if goodness is only found outside then what does this leave on the inside? It can only leave the opposite of goodness, which is badness, a sense of something being wrong, not quite right.
Unable to be fully at ease with this we have no option but to push this badness away from ourselves believing that ridding ourselves of badness will somehow make us feel good again. When the badness is outside of us we can look at it and say “Oh there’s badness over there. What a relief it isn’t in me.”
Let’s take a look at how this might work in reality.
The war outside is the war inside. The abuse outside is the abuse inside. You might ask “How am I at war with myself? How have I ever abused myself” Well if you’ve ever looked in the mirror and said “I hate myself” then you’ve been at war with yourself. If you’ve ever inflicted self harm through over eating, drinking to excess or smoking then you’ve abused your body. If you’ve ever called yourself names then you have abused yourself emotionally.
Likewise with acceptance. The lack of acceptance and tolerance outside is a reflection of the lack of acceptance and tolerance inside. If you’ve ever told yourself “there’s something wrong with me; I must change; I have to be different; I can’t accept how I look or the shape I am; I can’t tolerate myself anymore” then your own lack of self acceptance is part of the lack of acceptance we see displayed in others.
If you’ve ever said to yourself “I’m a disgrace; I’m hopeless; I am a waste of space’ then you have criticised and judged yourself. This criticism and judging is the same criticism and judgement that you see outside in the world.
Whenever we see something wrong ‘out there’ then it strikes at our own fear of being wrong ‘in here’. This fear is what stops us from truly reaching out to help other people. Although at some level we want everyone to live happy and fulfilling lives we also don’t want this. We might like to think that we would do our best to help others overcome their problems but quite often this is not true. This is because while we are able to label others as being wrong/flawed/faulty/broken/lost/damaged we are able to disassociate ourselves from this wrongness and disassociating from what is wrong is how our ego copes with its own feelings of not being good enough (because it believes it has Edged Goodness Out).
Our damaged egos will use what’s wrong ‘out there’ as a means to try to address the lack of goodness ‘in here’.
See if you can recognise yourself in any of the following scenarios.
When we compare ourselves to others we either come off better of worse. It we come off worse then things get really interesting. If we perceive someone as doing better than us it can ignite our own insecurities. Often we will accept their success but only to a point. For example.
It’s not uncommon for instance that when we get a spell of good weather in Britain we hear ourselves say things like, “Make the most of it. It won’t last. It’s due to change at the weekend.” It’s as if we can’t totally accept that which is good. Being completely alienated from our own inherent goodness we don’t trust it. We have developed a rather strange relationship with all things good. Its as if the sight of something good ‘out there’ brings up what’s bad ‘in here’ and then we have to push this badness ‘out there’ too where it ends up souring what is good.
How odd this is. Our egos have Edged Goodness Out and yet we also push what’s bad out there too and the result is that we end up feeling somewhat empty, incomplete and unfulfilled. We then spend inordinate amount of energy trying to fill this emptiness............
BUT the good news is that we were never empty in the first place!
We were never disconnected from goodness, not ever, not for one second; goodness has never been outside of us. Goodness is what we are. Even beginning to contemplate this for a moment can make us begin to feel better. We are not separate from goodness; from love; from beauty; from joy; from each other; from anything that we desire – it is just that our minds have been telling us this for so long that we have come to believe this and to embody it as a living truth.
Finding ways to restore our relationship with goodness, to make our goodness feel real and to live it out in our lives is the next step forward for mankind.
It is a big step but it can be broken down into many little steps. Rumi told us that there are ‘101 ways to kneel and kiss the ground’ and it is up to us to begin to discover what this means for each of us on an individual level.
These are exciting times to be alive.
As always I invite comments.......let's grow together.
When we look into a mirror what do we see - the reflection of ourselves of course.
But what if the whole world was a mirror and when we looked into it we saw a mirror image of ourselves reflected right back at us?
In this way what we see outside is reflection of what is on the inside of us. To see how this might look in practice read my blog 'Keeping ourselves right by making others wrong'
The war out there becomes the war in here.
The conflict out there becomes the conflict in here.
The abuse out there becomes the abuse in here.
The judgement out there becomes the judgement in here.
The lack of respect, understanding and acceptance out there is a mirror of the very same thing in here.
Jesus understood this when he implored us to take a look at the plank in our own eye rather than to keep trying to remove the speck from someone else’s eye. Like Ghandi he knew if we wanted change we must be willing to 'be the change.'
Why is it that when we look outside of ourselves we see ourselves looking back at us?
We as humans seem to suffer from a deep unquestioned belief that something is wrong with us. This belief was was a consequence of our fall from grace – or in more scientific terms a consequence of our evolution into animals gifted with self awareness.
Deep in our bones we know that we are inherently good - made in the exact image of the God Energy (good energy) that created us but we have forgotten this.
We have become lost in the illusion of ourselves as separate from that goodness and therefore lacking in some way.
This sense of something not being quite right is the essential wound inflicting mankind.
When we are wounded we hurt. Sometimes that hurt is so painful that we cannot live with it. Because the thought that we are lacking in some way goes against the grain of who we know ourselves to be deep down we must push the painful thought away from ourselves so that we can breathe easily again.
This is called behaving self righteously. It is how we make ourselves right by pushing our wrongness away from ourselves and letting it land outside of us. Then what was a fault inside us becomes a fault inside ‘the other person’ and has nothing to do with us!
In this way the fault we rejected in ourselves in the first place we now reject in others. This is how division is caused – in relationships, in families, between friends and between countries and nations.
The fault, no matter where it is found is still unacceptable.
This leads humanity into dangerous waters. Since we cannot fully accept others and we cannot fully accept ourselves where is there left to go?
‘There is nowhere else to go
for nowhere is now here
in this moment’
In truth this moment is all we ever have but we are unable to fully accept it because of our perception that there is something wrong with it. We perceive life as a problem that needs to be sorted out and we won’t allow ourselves to rest until we have it all sorted. We live our lives imagining that some day things will be better and we work incessantly towards that end.
But what if life is not faulty in the first place?
What if the fault as we perceive it, whether it be inside us or outside us is not actually a fault at all but rather a song that is haunting us for a good reason?
What if that perceived lack is only a thought and not the absolute truth after all.
What if it has no more substance than a fleeting cloud floating across the vast expanse of sky?
If this is true where does that leave us? What do we get to do with our lives if we aren’t fixing things? If we aren’t following the latest drama about what is wrong with the world then what would preoccupy our minds..... (Supposing that our minds are meant to be preoccupied!!!) ?
Let’s just sit with this idea that there is nothing wrong with the world and see where it takes us.
What if the only thing that is wrong with the world is our thinking that there is something wrong with it and the subsequent thought that tells us that we need to fix it.
Needing to fix things means we are unable to accept life as it presents (gifts) itself to us in the present moment. Life as it presents now in all its complexity, is a gift. It is a gift because it offers us all an invitation, minute by minute, to wake up from the fixed, rigid mindset that has us trapped in the belief that something is wrong.
Life is always good. It is our disconnected minds that tell us otherwise. It is the thought that we need to fix things that is the cause of our unease.
What would happen if instead of fixing life we accepted it?
If instead of rejecting the gift we accepted it?
Whatever is here now, whatever is presenting itself as life in this moment is what must be accepted because it is what is. It is life as it is. Anything else doesn’t exist as yet.
Acceptance does not mean that we say we are okay with everything that is going on in the world or that we can’t respond to our desire to see things grow.
After all few among us would accept that a rose bud would never blossom into a rose or that a seed would never grow into flower.
Acceptance is the very thing that allows growth to occur.
Acceptance leads us to a place where a better world is created because it opens a pathway which leads to a new way of behaving and relating to each other.
When we see horrible things happening we want to sort them out. But sorting them out, out there, never gets at the root of the problem in here. It fixes things for the time being or it shifts the problem somewhere else for a time. But the basic problem of perception is still there - the belief that something is wrong with us is still there and this perpetuates the problem that there is something out there that is wrong and must be made right or removed. Thus the cycle of fixing continues. We go round and round in circles not getting anywhere.
The mythical somewhere where everything is ‘as is should be’ never materialises.
The good news is that it is already here it’s just that our eyes are blinded and cannot see.
Acceptance is the way forward.
We need to accept that it is only our thinking that tells us there is something wrong with us.
We need to accept that what we think becomes embedded as a feeling inside us.
We need to accept that feeling without elaborating on it, without believing it to be the sum of who we are, without strengthening it with more faulty thinking.
We need to look within and be present (be with) what ever we find there without moving to change it, fix it, diminish it or alter it in any way. Just be with it. This is simple but not easy.
When we accept our thoughts, our feelings and our emotions and give them room to be, rather than push them away from us we find that they are suddenly transformed. They appear as the temporary thing that they are. There is no real substance to them.
Sitting with our uncomfortable feelings helps us to realise (make real) the truth that they are held in place by something larger. They are held by our presence; our essence, our divine nature. Acceptance leads us to feel the vastness of who we are, body, mind and spirit.
In this way we get in touch with the ground of our being; with the love that is at the core of our being; with the love that we are; with our spirit that unfolds as matter.
Our minds want to tell us that we are what we think, that we are our emotions and our reactions but our feeling body tells us something different.
It tells us that we are the space that allows thoughts and feelings to come and go.
Knowing ourselves as this space is crucial because it alters how we see and perceive our own human form. Experiencing ourselves as more than our limited thoughts and feeling the ground of our own goodness allows us to accept ourselves as we are.
Without the thought that we are no good there is nothing to push away from ourselves. Rather knowing that we are good, we are enough, we are divine allows the thought to grow that tells us ‘If I am this then you must be too’. This is a thought that is uniting rather than dividing. It is a thought that joins us together.
United we stand divided we fall.
When we relate to each other beyond ego in this way a new world is born. When we know with our minds and believe in our bodies that we are divine, god energy appearing as matter – that we are good, safe, loved, enough, strong, beautiful, wise and eternally alive then there is nothing to get defensive about anymore. We can simply let any thought to the contrary evaporate into thin air as it passes through us rather than becoming lodged in us.
When I can sit with my own perfect imperfection then I can sit with yours too. The result is harmony because neither of us is trying to fix or change the other. This is deep acceptance. It is the unconditional love that frees us to discover who we truly are beyond the faulty mindset we have grown up with and which has so far come to falsely define us.
Beginning to practice deep acceptance is the way that we begin to know ourselves differently, the way that we begin to know others differently and the way that we begin to experience life differently.
Through deep acceptance a new world will be born.
The opinions I express here are my own. However I offer them with the word 'syat' next to them. 'Syat' is a word used by the Jain Tribe in India which means 'To the best of my knowledge SO FAR.' In the spirit of openness I invite comments from anyone whether you agree with my point of view or not. In this way we can all learn and grow together. Thank you.