What is the meaning of Life?

This knowing ourselves is constantly happening…

Without effort, without doing. Just being.

To know thyself is the meaning of life I would say. We can get caught up in so many of the dramas and stories of life that we don’t stop, even for an instant to contemplate or appreciate the very nature of our existence. A huge mirror showing us at every turn who we are.

We have been so conditioned to turn away from the mirror and not radically meet ourselves, that when the thought that something isn’t quite right enters our minds. We have no idea how to turn to the mirror to see ourselves and instead seek like the fish looking for water.

I recently completed a weekend intensive, there was a young boy there on the final day who had come along with his parents. Over the course of the day the little boy made his presence felt and joined me in doing the talk and speaking to some of the participants as well. What stood out for me was after the morning break, I sat back in my chair and said

“Where am I, I’ve lost myself”
To which the little boy instantly answered.
“You’re right there”
It was so simple.

I had a room full of people all looking for the meaning of life, convinced something was missing and looking upon the speaker to help them realise who they were. To maybe hear something that would set them free from this bondage of seeking.

In an instant the young man had given them the answer. Was it accepted, could it be accepted? Its simplicity was such that no one could fully accept the fact that the meaning of life is that you are right here and that realising that we are here lets us stop the search and see what we truly are.

This knowing ourselves is constantly happening and at every turn we reveal ourselves to ourselves. Without effort, without doing. Just being.

It is our natural way of functioning which is always present even while we look for it, as even that is just another of its myriad of manifestation. It is a wisdom unto itself. Constantly losing itself and finding itself. It is who we are. And lifetimes will pass, and we could no more fathom it out anymore then we could fathom out the reality of a drop of water. In it all things rise and collapse. It is us and we are it and even that idea of two dies and the singularity of it all is what leaves us dumbstruck.

The pointer points to itself and yet appears to point away from itself. The divine paradox, the most beautiful of love stories. As beautiful as the explanations and discourses and debates about it are, they will always fall short as it has to be seen to believed and as it is, this non-event brings about it the realisation that I am that which I seek and even that realisation falls silent. For with what words would I describe to you the beauty of my beloved.

All ends in silence with no one to even witness that…

An Idea of Normality

For years I dreamed of being normal. Recently this idea of being normal dropped away. It had been something I aspired too for as long as I can remember. To be a respected member of society with the house, the car, the two point four children and the wife. To me whilst I was seeking, I dreamed that I would go back to a normal life after finding my answers. But what was normality for someone who had never experienced it. I remember a line from my book Falling into the Mystery

I can hear my family in the next room laughing and joking and I envy them. I just want to be normal but I have no way of knowing what normal is anymore…

So how can someone who has never known normality know it, and this was something I struggled with for many years until as I said, I found the idea just dropping away. The corresponding sense of freedom I experienced in this letting go was freeing as it pointed to a level of authenticity I had yet to experience. It is ok to be as I am and to accept that I am who I am. I am someone who has spent a large portion of their life looking for the answers to life. Now, however life is lived and not looked for. I am no longer in the ashram but instead I am in the only ashram that matters, Life.

Friedrich Nietzsche

‘And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music…’

Life with all its imperfections and craziness has taught me that in order to truly live I need to embrace every aspect of me and that also includes this spiritual side that I hoped to drop when I had found my answers. If anything this realisation of being as I truly am has given me a better understanding of what it means to be truly normal as opposed to an idea of it, than if I had chosen to reject a huge portion of my life in the hope I would fit in with the Joneses.

That by embracing every aspect of us we are so much more whole, complete and richer for it.

That we can find the miracle that is life while standing in the queue at the supermarket as we can find it in the presence of the greatest of sages.

That by embracing what others may see as our weirdness, our quirks, our little oddities that probably amuse the “normal” folk who haven’t lived as we’ve lived that we are more normal than those we seek to be like.

To quote Oscar Wilde:

Be yourself, everyone else is taken…

Embrace and accept all aspects of you and you may find that your embracing yourself helps you see the extraordinariness of it all in the ordinary and that this acceptance of yourself is true normality.

As the bird takes flight…

It starts off as a thought, the thought persists and doesn’t go away. You try to suppress it and yet it comes back stronger. As the saying goes, what you resist persists, so stupidly you resist.

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As the bird takes flight…

You know this thought to be true, but the magnitude of its scope is scaring. You know it leaves you with nothing. The stories will go, the excuses will evaporate. So, you hide, you make excuses and you endure incredible pain as you know as painful as this is, it doesn’t hold a candle to what you feel you will experience.

Stop! Is this true. Will you really experience the terror and pain you are avoiding and if you do, do you think it will last forever. So, you guardedly come out of the shadows and feel this pain, it hurts, so again you run away. You’ve lost again, you are a failure. You lick your wounds and hide again.

Again, the thought intrigues you and you come out of the shadows, again the same thing happens, this time though it hurts a little less. Could it be the monster isn’t real. The possibilities could then be endless. You could finally live.

The light invades the darkness and it is seen the monster never existed. It was a play of shadows. You laugh, you cry, you let go and the bird that was caged realises there was no cage. As the bird takes flight, it is seen it is always perfect as it is.

Accepting Acceptance…

Much is made of acceptance but what of accepting acceptance.

In a previous article I talked about the power of incremental acceptance and how it could be used to help us realise our true nature. I’ve since found it can be applied to virtually any field.

Many people engage in negative self talk and keep themselves bound over and unable to live life fully. From not being able to take a compliment to self sabotaging opportunities to live a stronger and freer life. It is almost as if there is a collective brainwashing at hand where people really can’t accept themselves. This leads to roles being played out and the tragedy here is that we are unable to form real human relationships, communicate authentically or live.

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… It means to be open, to be vulnerable, to be courageous, to be as inquisitive as a child and to let go as easily as a child. To be empty.

I have found we are almost hardwired not to break out of the cages of our environment, conditioning and peer groups. Does this come from the idea of safety and is this idea even true. For if this idea is situated in the mind then by its nature it is limited and as such doesn’t offer true safety.

So, what does it mean to be truly safe? to have certainty and in this certainty be accepting of a deep acceptance that allows us to live wide open as we truly are. It means to be open, to be vulnerable, to be courageous, to be as inquisitive as a child and to let go as easily as a child. To be empty. To allow any experience, good or bad to arise and fall as and how it should, without trying to hold it, resist it or even understand and yet being alright even if you find yourself resisting and holding. To realise that acceptance isn’t passive but empowering that by allowing everything we cannot be held by anything.

In this expansive we see constantly our limitations and in gratitude watch as like a wave crashing across the rocks that these limitations die always replaced by something more. That which is merely an idea being exposed to reveal what we truly are.