Tuesday, 21 May 2013
Being the Change.
This is not as easy as it seems, despite our best efforts.
Unbeknown to us are many inherent and learned behavioural boundaries that we are afraid to cross. We will probably attest to being free thinkers, but do we really know ourselves well enough to say that we are free in our thoughts enough to know definitively all our weaknesses and strengths. Surely this is one of the main reasons we are here having this experience called life, to learn and to discover many of these things. And to grow in our appreciation for all opportunities to build on our knowledge and apply that, ergo 'wisdom'.
During a conversation I had recently with a friend Claire, I discovered that I have not gone nearly as far in my awareness and spiritual growth as I had previously thought I had. Whilst I am attempting every day to 'Be the Change I wish to see in the world', I was aghast at my naivety to certain other things. My friend was very kind and complimentary towards my questions about her reasons to be a 'Vegan', and praised my openness to ask. I was curious, and later appalled at my old school thinking which allows me to still eat meat. I guess I am not saying that it is wrong to eat meat in essence, more that I now understand what an animal goes through in the so called 'humane' process of these other sentient beings. Armed with this awareness I am at a point of choice. Do I go on now, not in ignorance but in defiance of my knowledge? Or do I accept that I have been a contributor to the needless suffering of animals as much as the next person, by not making a stand against this cruelty and not boycotting the sale of this type of food and its processing? Same goes for animal testing. (In a non-violent non-aggressive, but passive resistance)
I had already stopped eating chicken for what I had discovered about its production and the genetically modified way of rearing new chicks. I had already begun to source more naturally grown produce in a way to replace the proteins and nutrients I would miss out on. I had almost quit having sausages in my diet, knowing what rubbish goes into them. But I still loved my cooked breakfasts. The smell of that bacon and the fried mushrooms and the fried tomatoes and toast...ooh yeah..... (Do you feel where I'm coming from yet?) Yes we have no problem desiring all that wonderfully cooked food at all. But at what point do we realise just what has gone into its arrival on our table and the cruelty meted out against animals en-route?
On reflection of the wonderfully articulate and non judgemental conversation I had with my friend, it has become obvious that I need to now make a decision. Either way I cannot call myself a person who makes informed choices in the pursuit of spiritual growth if I ignore the shared damage I am doing. And this applies to the planet too.
However once my choice is made, I will still have to work with other new realisations along the way, the path of life is long and new things always come along.
Life is a succession of experiences, we have to choose our path forward.
It is apparent that I, as possibly any of us, cannot make all the informed choices at once. It is not reasonable nor sane to do this. It may indeed be more harmful than good if we do it without true and real conviction on our part. We need to find the balance, the middle way whilst we move ahead, seeking always to do less and less damage and cruelty to our world.
Here are a few examples of what I have already chosen to do.
I don't buy news papers. One reason is, it requires no paper, thus no trees (our oxygen factory) need to be cut down on my behalf. Secondly, the people that own the news papers are some of the most polluted/ing idealists alive. I don't want to be spoon fed their distorted way of looking at the world. And yes I am using Google for my ends here, their controlling ethos is also against the grain, so I am tolerating this only in so much as it helps to spread the good news of what is being done in the world for the good of all. My hope is that both agencies will eventually find a more constructive and less greedy and bigoted approach to the sharing of information.
I have not been using a car for my own personal freedom for more than a year now. I have saved on all the running costs and much of that money would have gone to companies who's greed is apparent in the global financial crisis of late. That potentially means I have lessened my carbon footprint, using public transport. It is not easy or often convenient to use these services, but I have made great headway at using them when it is feasible to do so.
I have sold, given away or redistributed most of my former worldly goods, in an attempt to have a less cluttered and more simple lifestyle. I have very few clothes, just enough to make good use of, some tools and a few books I love to read and share with people. But I don't have any debts. I don't have to worry about my things being stolen or damaged. It is a very Cathartic feeling, not to have baggage of the amount I formerly had. To be able to come and go as I chose, without a lot of concern for where all my things are and how safe they are.
Here are a few of the things I do have of value.
Many friends, from all over the world, whom are also living examples of this new way of living.
Relatively good health and vitality.
Stress free days to do the things that inspire me most.
Time for other people, to share the wonders of the world I have seen.
An active belief that the world is becoming a nicer place to be, one person at a time, one act of compassion and kindness at a time and one less harmful act of negligence and cruelty at a time.
A love of all my earthly family, all sentient beings and the planet upon which we all live.
An example of someone I admire who also took this view seriously was Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. The renowned Indian politician and PeaceActivist despicably murdered 30 January 1948.
A woman once approached him and asked. “Bapu, my son is eating sugar, can you help? Can you see my son and tell him to stop eating sugar?”
Gandhi told her to go away and return in two weeks time. When she returned she had the same plea and he saw her son.
She thanked him graciously and yet asked Gandhi afterwards, “Why didn't you see us two weeks ago?”
He replied simply, “two weeks ago I was eating sugar.”
What a great man. A wise and formidable spirit.
Likewise I have much to be thankful for. I am not comparing myself to this great warrior of peace so much as explaining how his example has given me the courage to try to be a better man. To push on through adversity and trial and exposure to the truth. To be the change I wish to see. In this way I honour his memory.
Therefore in the art of moving forward gracefully with compassion and love, I pledge to do my utmost to avoid eating products, that have been caused genuine distress, genuine suffering and death in the pursuit of my desire to have sustenance.
From today I will no longer eat MEAT. Nor derivative products as is my best effort to avoid being accomplice to the cruelty the slaughter and the tragedy of this occupation.
Stone by stone, little by little I shall find a way to be the change I wish to see. Thank you Gandhi for your inspiration and too my friend Claire.
May the love of the Universal Energy/God/Great Spirit, help us all to become more informed and challenging warriors for change.
I send much Love and Light to all my wonderful readers.
Saturday, 18 May 2013
Uh, excuse me, I'm in love with you.
Should you tell someone you've recently met that you are falling in love with them? Is it wise or even healthy to nurture and encourage strong feelings despite real confirmation of reciprocative attitude?
Well if I knew the answer to these questions then I could sell it and become rich, very rich. Most people who have an attraction towards someone else, mainly rely on receiving either a strong clue or a direct response to the advances they make. Nobody likes to be rejected do they? We all hope that our desires and dreams will be fulfilled by the object of that desire, or we wouldn't find any reason to put ourselves in that position in the first place. Surely we don't enjoy the pain of rejection, and would prefer a smoother experience.
One of the best things about being 'in love' is the feeling of not knowing entirely, as it keeps some mystery in our minds. That mystery can keep our attentions for a while, and in the case of 'in love' can often cloud our clear thinking and judgement making, sometimes to our detriment. Being 'in love' can be a bit of a roller-coaster ride at the beginning, whilst we come to terms with our own joy and happiness. Anyone whom has ever been in that joyous state will probably advise against taking it too seriously. Most of us have felt the disappointment that comes from finding the other person doesn't feel the same about us, or the contentment wears off and cracks appear in the other persons character. But we do crave the excitement we feel when we get a sense that another person whom we are attracted to, also has a similar feeling in response. We get a 'buzz', a glow of contentment and a sense of delight that they care about us in this way. If we are lucky then things move forward and we see, enjoy more of the other person and their company over the future days weeks and months, until a proper relationship is formed. I have noticed that normally within the first three months you will learn most of the important things you need to know about that person. Enough to make a better more sound judgement about the future prospects with that person. A more intense experience can shorten this time considerably. A holiday together for example, or anything that includes close quarters over a sustained period. Obviously a normal response to this information would be to decide whether we carry on in this way or end/change the relationship. Few of us are foresighted enough to know this information based on an instant 'feeling', so we often keep it to ourselves, say nothing, or don't act upon that intuition at all.
The problem seems to lay in our lack of awareness about what we really want, and what is a justified and sensible way to reach that goal. When we are young we want what we see, even if it potentially is a transient craving, because we aren't experienced enough, to know what the experience is, or what it will lead to, or the ramifications it will bring upon us. Hence so many teen pregnancies, short relationships and lack of proper and open communications.
Hey, I'm not getting at any young people here, believe it or not I do remember being young. Because when I was a teenager I knew everything.... Now I am older, I realise that I know sweet F.A. but what I do know, may be of use to me in avoiding same response relationships, and/or guard against too much pain from the response deficit.
But being human, I get that part wrong too. So this post is as much about my ability to rationalise correct procedures, as it is hopefully helpful insight to anyone else who is reading this.
Lets cut to the chase then:-
So (my friend) has met a girl whom he likes very much. He felt her energy way before he saw her face, saw the way she dressed, had spoken to her or saw how cutely she walked. Long before he looked into her eyes and felt his stomach go cartwheels, and his legs turn to jelly. His, (my friend's) attraction was wholly down to the sixth sense of intuition and he even managed to read her mind at a glimpse.
But, as he engaged in the art of conversation he learned even more incredible pieces of information, that added to his liking of this young lady. When it came time to part company, he felt sad that the evening was coming to a close, but was cheered by the thought of a further encounter at a future time. Time was when he might have rushed in like a bull in a china shop, and smashed the valuable treasure he had seen. But he, (my friend) decided that caution was the better part of valour. Nothing good came of 'rushing things'. After all, what was the rush? Had life not taught him that, 'all good things come to he/she who waits'? No it hadn't actually. Often he had been paralysed by fear and missed golden opportunities. Now he had learned a bit of patience, 'playing it cool', would be the better option, even though his desire was to try to speed things up. Nothing wrong with passion, and a bit of spontaneity, it was very desirable sometimes to a young lady to be assured of the attractiveness she held. But what was enough and what was too keen?
It would be a fine balance between the two, and he had to take into account the young ladies experience levels too. She seemed open and 'wise', but he didn't want to push too fast in case he scared her away before she could get to know the real serious intentions he held. Over a few brief encounters he felt as though he left strong enough clues, that were also soft enough to not be too pushy, and make her feel uncomfortable in his company. The doubts however came to be his. For she had not given any real commitment to the friendships continuance, and this therefore bode unfavourably.
Now the sane thing to do at this point may be to let go, to walk away from the thoughts of a relationship blossoming. But he had seen something of her energy, well before he had verified any other quality she displayed, and this was the bit that proved difficult. Interpreting the intuition that he had some purpose to fulfil in the relationship with her. That more than any other desire kept him in doubt about all the years of experience to date. What good was the past at all, if not an indicator of choices and direction in the now?
But one clear piece of information kept coming back into his mind. Relationships are two way streets. It takes two people to make one work. Just because he was careful about making promises, and always kept his word when he had said any kind of utterance regarding an action, didn't mean that others would. Therefore his choices were simple. Wait until more direct evidence came to light, or walk away and forget the fleeting glimpse of paradise in her arms.
What would you do if you were (my friend) in this situation?
As per usual, the post ends with as many questions as it began with.
If you feel like leaving any relevant information and comments about this topic, we, (my friend and I) would be most appreciative.
Lots of love and hugs....
Sunday, 12 May 2013
Can we love more than one person at the same time with the same type of intensity and feeling without it being a betrayal to the other?
Of course the answer will be positive and negative, depending on who is answering. I aim to discuss the possibility that we can in fact have enough love and ability to share it with many people rather than just one individual.
My theory is, that if the giver is pure in their intentions, then the love they give can be received exactly as it is intended.
Now at the outset of course I do realise that there are many forms of love under the umbrella of the word LOVE. In the English language of course we have come to use this word rather too flippantly and the essence of love has thus been altered. For example you can love a person an animal and food. They don't all get the same type of love from you, though they can potentially share the warmth of your intentions in the same amounts. But for the purpose of this post we are talking about people, and about possible relationships with them that may go beyond just friendship at the usual level. Now I can hear you thinking, sex, intimacy, privacy and bonds of marriage. Well I am talking about these too, but do realise most of us already have some idea or guidelines or even laws regarding certain aspects of this interaction.
Sex for example: It would seem that in many places monogamy/sexual-fidelity is the preferred ethic. In fewer still multi-partner arrangements suit the needs of some, and occasionally non sexual/celibate relationships are sought out.
monogamy (mɒˈnɒɡəmɪ )
polygamy (pəˈlɪɡəmɪ )
- the practice of having more than one wife or husband at the same time Compare polyandry, polygyny
- the condition of having male, female, and hermaphrodite flowers on the same plant
- the condition of having these different types of flower on separate plants of the same species
- the practice in male animals of having more than one mate during one breeding season.
- (religion) the state of being celibate
- abstention from sexual intercourse
Intimacy: Most people seem to see intimacy as the bit only shared between married or committed relationship partners. But intimacy can be directly related to the human touch, rather than simply sexual intimacy which is quite different. Relationships can be strengthened if we have physical contact, as the interactions cause a feel good factor few people recognise easily. Hugging is a prime example, as is kissing and or hand shaking. Trust is often given to the giver of intimacy, when the receiver instinctively feels it comes with honesty and integrity.
Privacy: There are of course relationships that we want to conduct elements of in privacy. I just wonder what our motives are if some of the elements are not detrimental to others. Hugging, hand holding and kissing for example are not offensive to me, unless they show no regard for others. Having sex in public spaces would be frowned upon by most people, and for good reason. But sex is not a dirty thing. What some do with sex however is often considered such, and therefore not acceptable in public forum. In front of children as a prime example, or with children and animals. (Though it has to be considered why it had been done through out our history)
Bonds of marriage: This institution has been around since the year dot of course. Relationships contained within these bonds are often considered the most beneficial to many people. The modern world however has a differing view of the importance of marriage and I respect this too as a sign of openness, if the doers are considerate of the implications of this stance. Obviously sexual-fidelity is not limited to marriage alone, this is a deeply personal matter. Many married people deny their vows of chastity and fidelity as it suits them, we can read about it everyday in the papers. But for many there is a certain feeling of protection that comes with the contract of marriage. An oath of intentions.
Now to the meat of the article here. If we see fidelity as a proof of our relationship status then we can only seriously consider one person to receive intimate sexual contact with us. Some may stretch this a bit to exclude kissing another person on the lips in a passionate way, but mostly people base their relationships on this standard. If we are single, then there is no great issue to answer to. We can sleep with or have sex with, or kiss and fondle whom so ever we chose without it unsettling our minds. Things will only bother us if we know that we made a contract (be it verbal or in writing) with another human being, who is expecting us to be honourable and have integrity.
But what if we have many relationships that don't include sex or behaviours that are questionable?
I like to think that I am able to determine well enough for myself what contract I make with a person when I become involved in a relationship with them. So I can happily have many friends, have many great experiences with others and determine if a deeper intimate experience is allowable or not. After all I am the one who has to live with my conscience. I try never to make a promise, or even hint at one unless I am sure that is my statement of intention. Of course I have to include the element of another persons perceptive powers, that might infer or conclude another thing. And if I make a dedicated attempt to say or do a thing, I make my best efforts to adhere to this and succeed. But I'm only as good as my best efforts.
I have a friendship with a person whom I have never met for example. She is an extraordinarily charming woman. A lover of life and of truth from what I have gleaned. She is also very considerate towards other sentient beings, very romantic and very creative in her talents, and as such makes me love her dearly. On occasion this has felt very strongly like a most desirable quality that I would love to have at closer quarters to myself. To look into her eyes for example, to feel her energy, to see how people respond directly to her love and light, to hug and to feel energized by her company. But she is not known to me in this way, she is married and lives in a far off place. She is loved by many other people and one special person shares her intimate contacts every night, and yet I am not in the least jealous or envious because it is the wonderful love she displays that has brought her this reality. That love has nothing to do with me, but I can recognise it in her and feel attracted towards it. I don't wish for things to become other than what they are, I am grateful for the time she spares, sorry no, shares with me. Therefore I believe that if we all saw things this way, we could all share her light, her love and be equally empowered by her touch.
O.K. so I am single and am allowed to have open relationships with people. But the truth is, I wouldn't want to be different even if I were myself in a dedicated and intimate relationship. I am at peace with myself, because I honour my personal integrity to be a man of peace of light and of love. How could I willingly do an injustice to another sentient being? To have many relationships on equal footings is definitely possible, providing that we are true to our intentions. If we make promises we should strive to keep them. And we should constantly review our methods and motives towards others, perfecting our love and compassion.
For me the mathematics add up to a successful life where love is shared with as many people who care to accept it. My affirmation is this. Good things will happen to those that seek the betterment of the other person ahead of their own wants. I see god in the numbers.
I hope and pray that this will help many, as it has helped me whilst writing and reflecting upon it.
May peace and love cover you and protect you.
Love and Light.
All pictures are from Google and represent no-one directly attributed to the article.