Sunday, 19 May 2019

The Big Question

Dear Reader,

It is very apparent that the world is divided into so many compartments of thought, so the idea of attaining solutions that can gain common consensus seems to be a distant ideal. All we have to do is to look at what has happened in the British Parliament over Brexit to be able to accept that perspective!

But we do know that the attempted "common solution" of capitalism and material progress has been found very wanting. In fact, by itself, it has failed.

But maybe if we can imbue such a creed with acceptable human values then perhaps we can make progress? The Guardian newspaper wrote, in 2010:
Many thinkers have identified common strands in systems of thought and religions through the ages. In 1945 Aldous Huxley wrote of a perennial philosophy "that recognises a divine reality substantial to the world of things and lives and minds; the psychology that finds in the soul something similar to, or even identical with, divine reality; the ethic that places man's final end in the knowledge of the immanent and transcendent ground of all being". He said that it could be found in both "traditional lore" and the "higher religions", in every era.
The Guardian went on: 
 Was Huxley right? Is there an eternal truth, that we keep on discovering – whether it's a "divine reality" or something better formulated in another way? And if so, what is its nature – is it outside us? Is it simply an aspect of the way our brains are wired?
I contend that whatever we may think about the notion of a Perennial Philosophy, the lines of concern that Huxley wrote on do ring true to my way of thinking. I have come to reject the notion that there is any "right religion" (that one is 'better' than another) but have developed the view that the basis of all religious/spiritual paths is the same, as they depend on the common theme of Love to gain success.  Indeed, how otherwise was the Universe created and through what means is the Universe maintained?

So perhaps rather than talk of grand titles like 'Perennial Philosophy', we should simply talk about 'Love', and what Love would do in attempting to solve the problems that exist, and which will persist if they are not addressed. And I would suggest that we need to address these issues before matters become worse, as surely they are.

Surely we can reconcile to the notion of 'Love' being a commonly understood phenomenon? If not, why not? Or is Love a threat to us, that it implies selflessness? The answer lies with you ... and you ... and you ... and me. But it is a question we need to address.

Thank you for reading this

Sunday, 5 May 2019

Are You In The CIA?

Dear Reader,

So, the UK has officially declared that Climate Change is an emergency. Trump must be choking on his coaldust!

Of course, declaring it to be such is one thing; actually tackling the issue with fervent commitment, and getting other countries to also comply, is quite another matter. The world needs to recognise where we are at because the problem is a world problem. As a country, we cannot tackle it just by ourselves and hope to achieve worthwhile results, but not to make greater efforts would simply be a huge folly.

As Albert Einstein once said: "...with every problem there's a solution [; it's] just a matter of taking action".

Einstein is entirely right. And what is so very important is that science is gradually coming to realise - at an increasing pace - that humans have an inner capacity to tackle so many issues that we did not know of. We are not meant to be here to idle away our time but to put ourselves about and, as Jesus is quoted as saying, "Seek and ye shalt find." That is, we can find within ourselves the link to the ultimate power that can cause us to open our eyes and find the skills and strength to do what needs to be done. Hence, Jesus also said, "The body is a temple".

A significant humanist named Gregg Braden, in his book "Resilience from the Heart", goes into great detail to explain how man can tap in to inner resources. In particular, he refers to the so-important heart-brain connection and actually states a simple "Quick Coherence Technique" identified by an organisation called the Heart Math Institute (click here)  to begin the process of activating effective heart-brain clarity. This approach can lead to greater resilience to extreme world changes (that have already started to be unleashed) as a result.

Braden also refers to other significant findings achieved by the Heart Math Institute in this direction. Braden also points out that it is only since the time of Leonardo da Vinci that man has put so much emphasis into mental activity, whereas formerly the great thinkers were those who saw the heart and the brain as working in close harmony. It makes me wonder just how many people have succumbed in modern times to psychiatry and other therapies in an attempt to get back to thinking in balance. I have known quite a few who have suffered as a result of their education and thinking being directed only through mental processes.

Now, I don't altogether prescribe to Braden's line of thinking as it seems to me that, though modern science has made a step forward, it still formally refuses to acknowledge a higher wisdom and ancient teachings that have already identified the issues that science is now uncovering. That and also how ancient wisdom is being interpreted is somewhat piecemeal rather than holistic. But I do believe that humans possess far more in their equipment than what is on the surface or in the cranium, and that the spiritual masters gave a formula as to how we can grow accordingly. The heart-brain connection is important for us to perform properly as human beings. Prayer is included in that, but there is much more to the notion of prayer than perhaps we realise.

Science also now knows that what we perceive as "space" in the universe is no such thing. That so-called "space" actually consists of energy, proving that everything in the universe is inter-linked. The ancients always knew this. Therefore, particularly when we undertake actions with pure motives and prayer, those actions are energised through unseen forces. To best achieve that we should enlist in CIA: in Constant Integrated Awareness!

Coming back to the matter of Climate Change, how we tackle this matter is going to be best achieved by utilising the latent human facilities known of by the ancients. And how we educate our children is a key factor in all that. Education should not be treated as a process to act as a fodder of beings to commerce, science and industry, but primarily as a process in values development. In fact, if the resolution to treat Climate Change as an urgent issue is a sincere one, we should firstly admit to ourselves that it is we who are primarily the cause of this situation and thus need to change ourselves before attempting anything else. Changing ourselves means to re-educate ourselves; to become members of CIA!

Only by putting the ego in its place and through working in harmony with the Creator will we achieve true success and overcome all potential disasters.

May Peace be with you! May Love rule!

Thank you for reading this.

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Great, Greta! Here's Solarpower To Your Elbow!

Dear Reader,

Thirty years ago and more, shop assistants looked very strangely at me when I used to refuse a free carrier bag of any description. Now, many stores go overboard to stop giving you a carrier bag! 45 years ago I was putting leaflets into houses warning of changing conditions and the need to change our ways in respect of usage of resources, and the need to try being more self-sufficient. The trouble was I was overly conscious that the leaflets I was distributing were themselves made of valuable natural material, and that was very much in the days before re-cycling got underway.

But there were some people around in Birmingham who were sympathetic to my cause, and one had already gone so far as to switch his vehicle over to hydrogen power. And not just to save money. There were a fair number of people around then (in the 1970s) that were aware of the problem of waste and a potential future of lack of resources. Indeed, an organisation called The Club Of Rome published powerful arguments (bringing attention to the limitations to the availability of fossil fuels) for those who would take notice. Fossil fuels are becoming harder to obtain now, and mining is becoming dangerously invasive, adding to the issue of gases poisoning our eco-system.

I was an early follower of the Ecology Party, now the Green Party. (Not long ago I told Caroline Lucas she would be an excellent leader of the Labour Party!)

I purchased a bike in 1976 and took it with me when I went to London, where I lived for the next 32 years. It was an expensive bike, too, and a good one, sold to me by the locally well-known 1948 Olympic cyclist Tommy Godwin (he died only just after the 2012 Olympics, in his 90s). Within weeks of my arrival in London, it was stolen. But at least London had, and has, something resembling a well-integrated public transport system.

But the powers-that-be pushed the ecological issues aside in favour of economic growth and created doubt about the arguments or inferred that solutions would be found. (Eh?) The voters didn't think the matter was important enough. And they wanted to pay their bills: they felt that the future would look after itself.

Now that we've been seriously experiencing some of the consequences of our mis-spent form of living, it has taken a 15-year-old Swedish girl named Greta Thunberg to be the main focus for action and come forward and force us to take notice. She recently spoke to the United Nations and made her case for immediate action.

Go to listen to Greta's 11 minute talk by clicking here.

The issue of Climate Change, is, indeed, a hugely important one. David Attenborough says so, and it is.

But it is no less important an issue than the wars that have been perpetrated and which have proceeded to ravage the world in increasing ferocity for the last sixty years, with huge numbers of civilians being killed, maimed and forced into a life of fear. How many people have tried to escape their country of origin in the Middle East and Africa? And so many other places, too, have their own share of deep troubles, as always, man-made.

And it is no less important an issue than the maltreatment of wildlife throughout the World, such as the Orangutans in Indonesia, but also the marine life that is poisoned by toxicity and plastics.

These THREE major issues reveal what mankind has become as it has burgeoned in less than 200 years into a mammoth population of 7 billion people fed by a media stream of theatrical and musical nonsense. Yes, non-sense! There is not much of the world left to ravage for resources and food, much of which we seek is of a luxurious nature for our consumption. And the development of beef farming that has not only taken over swathes of former forest land but also pumps tons and tons of methane gas into the atmosphere.

Because we tend to think of these issues as being prevalent a long way away, we also tend to think (just like the climate change issue) that they are not really connected to us. We might send token gestures of charity to patch up the wounds, but do we stop to think about what is really going on and challenge our leaders about them? No, we have always said "they" will sort it out. Well, "they" say they do what the voters tell them to! What a merry-go-round!

No, there is NO scientific answer for all this. The ONLY answer lies within ourselves! We, the creators of this combined situation need to reverse it by looking into our hearts to find our real selves, and then to live and act according to the peaceful nature that in fact is our real selves. 

We need a religion of love to abide by; one that stems from the core of our hearts and not from the pulpit, whether Christian or Muslim or any other formal religion.

WE ARE ALL ONE. We need to live as though we are that.

Let us demand less, consume less, love more!

And (if we are able) to realise that there is one creator
and that we all owe our lives to that One.
Have we thought that perhaps we have been entrusted to act as good stewards
of all that has been created by the One?
Let us do something by utilising the Rights that we have fought for in a responsible way.

How do we generate a sense of urgency? 
By putting these issues on the table as a matter of priority.
Just as Kennedy did in 1960 to have man put on the Moon by the end of that decade. It was achieved because it was made a priority, despite the huge technical difficulties imposed by the challenge.

Thank you for reading this!

Sunday, 21 April 2019

The Real Message of Easter

Dear Reader,

As you may well know, I am not a conventional Christian, but over the years I have come to realise that all spiritual ways lead to the same end. That all routes lead to God, by whatever name you call the creator/maintainer of the Universe - and, indeed, the Omniverse.

But Christianity possesses perhaps the greatest symbol to illustrate the intended purpose of life, and that is through the teachings and physical sacrifice of the Master Jesus. I will not repeat the whole story here, but you must all know it. It is about selflessness and sacrifice.

It is the realisation that life is not what it seems. It is to realise that what is intended is the crucifixion of one's worldly self to resurrect as the true self. Jesus reveals that teaching, fully sacrificing his own life as an ultimate example.

To clarify, the following is an extract from an article about Easter and the Message of Jesus, as written by a Catholic priest a few years ago:
Immediately the husk of the mind is removed, the body has no power of rebirth. When this happens the Atma [the essence of who we are] resurrects in its true formless state.

This is the spiritual equation: Man minus Mind equals God: God plus Mind equals Man. The ability to “diemind” that is, this dissolution of the ego - which is the root of all mental activities - is the alchemy that transmutes man to his Divine state. This is the meaning of the resurrection. It is also the meaning of the Cross: the cutting of the “I” right across. Without the Cross, the death of the ego-consciousness, there is no resurrection. Herein lies the very essence of Christianity and indeed of all religions.
This message is nothing more or less than the mystic's cry to "Die before you die!", or, conversely, the real meaning of "to be born again", as used in the Christian church.

The sun is shining as I sit here writing this on this year's Easter Sunday. I pray that the Sun - the symbol of intelligence - radiates on all who read this and understand it. May this light shine and cause us to seek what is real.

As it states in other scriptures:
Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth.
The example of His light is like a niche within which is a lamp,
The lamp is within glass, the glass as if it were a pearly [white] star,
Lit from [the oil of] a blessed olive tree,
Neither of the east nor of the west,
Whose oil would almost glow even if untouched by fire.
Light upon light.
Allah guides to His light whom He wills.
And Allah presents examples for the people,
and Allah is Knowing of all things.
The light that shines above the heavens and above this world, the light that shines in the highest world, beyond which there are no others–that is the light that shines in the hearts of men.
Chandogya Upanishad
Thank you for reading this.

Sunday, 31 March 2019

Becoming The Highest Expression Of Yourself

Dear Reader,

To ponder on:

People will become fed up with worldliness. They will have had enough of it and will realise that there is no point in being the way they are, because it brings them no real joy.

The world is becoming weary, and there is no real joy unless we have turned around to seek reality. Strains and stresses are everywhere. If it's not Brexit that is causing chaos, then it's something else, and the "something else" includes topics that I would say are of greater magnitude in importance (such as climate change), yet they have been pushed onto the back burner.

If you were to ask me, I'd say that Brexit (though an issue that has to be dealt with at some point) has been nothing but a huge distraction from more real issues. And if the main and underlying issues had been addressed, the topic of values with emphasis on love, the Brexit matter may have simply died a death as people would have come to see more about reality and not be hijacked onto a wave of thinking that has damagingly divided rather than unified, both within the UK and in Europe. I'll leave the USA out of this discussion though I feel that the issue in this post relates as much to that country as anywhere.

It's clear we cannot rely on our parliamentary representatives to steer a reasonable course, as they now claim that they are answerable only to the voters and what they say. Any notion of leadership by worthy example is tossed aside in favour of so-called 'democracy'. Here, 'democracy' has been taken to mean submission to the winning vote, regardless of whether or not the proper steps have been taken to advise the voters what the topic is really all about.

In my view the local and international issues that are now in front of us demand that we, each and collectively, look to re-assessing our situation in the world. If we do not do this - now - then how is the next generation, and the one after that, going to survive the outcome that we are in the act of creating through our own thoughtlessness and irresponsibility?

We have forgotten who and what we are. We have generally cast aside religion, but in the process have mostly forgotten to keep the worthwhile essence that religion promulgates. And that essence is related to the soul and what we are advised to do by great teachers in order to 'walk the walk' in life, in love. 

But the teachings of those "great teachers" are not something of the past up to 2,000 years ago. They relate just as much to today's world (if not more), and were teachings about how to spiritually evolve, partly in order to be able to deal with today's situations and provide a true basis for life on planet Earth; not just for mankind but for the whole of creation. Science by itself will not provide solutions. It's we, by our own self-development under God's auspices, that will provide us with the wisdom to seek true solutions, perhaps using science amongst an array of possibilities that should manifest themselves. And all it needs to push us into action is a genuine (not token) desire to find peace, not merely by hoping that someone else can 'do it'.

The following list of 16 traits that are said to be attained at the highest level of being may arouse your interest. Point 10, however, may take some while to get your head around it. The explanation for that and for all the points listed are to be found in a book that is given below these '16 points'. (Please click on the list of 16 points to see the list more clearly).

I think we should find that these 16 traits would be found as ideals in any of today's great religions.

The book I referred to that contains the "16 traits that are said to be attained at the highest level of being" is CWG book 4, sub-titled "Awaken The Species":

Following on from this, and to end this post, I very recently received this message from a senior person in 'Humanity's Team', an organisation that the writer of the above book (Neale Donald Walsch) founded quite a few years ago now.

I think the message is very pertinent to my post. It reads:
I think part of the reason trust seems to be harder to come by these days than ever before has to do with the fast-paced nature of our modern world, and the fact that for many of us, we rarely if ever spend a moment where something isn’t “coming at us,” so to speak.
Whether it’s someone talking to us or texting us, or our overflowing email inboxes, or news flashes, or advertisements for things that we’re told we have to have in order to live a healthy and fulfilling life, we hardly get a moment to ourselves to really tune in to who we are and what we really want and need.
In my email inbox alone each day, I receive upwards of 50 different emails begging me for donations, or trying to sell me various products and services, or trying to scare me with selective takes on the news, or trying to scam me into giving up my personal information.
Some of these emails are focused on causes I support, and others are from organizations I believe are genuinely trying to help people and do good in the world…
But many of them are obviously not coming from a place of compassion, caring and connection, and are sourced from places of scarcity, greed, hatred or fear—the darker side of human experience and behavior.
The worst outcome of this level of “information overwhelm” is that many people I’ve talked to have told me they often feel like they can’t even trust their own ability to tell the difference between the panaceas and the poisons anymore…
And while I’m not surprised, I believe there’s a way each of us can get to a place of clarity for ourselves that will help us navigate this fast-moving, confusing and overwhelming world.
It has to do with taking time each day to nurture our intuition, get in touch with our “gut,” and then share our clarity with others without hesitancy, apology or shame.
I think the best way of getting to that place of greater clarity is through our inner connection to the Oneness of all things, to God, or the Universe or whatever way of thinking about that foundational Source most resonates for you.
I encourage you to take time every chance you get (and hopefully for at least 15 minutes a day) to just be alone and centered and inside that Oneness, and to get in touch with how you honestly feel about others, and about the world around you, and about yourself and what you truly want and need.
Regularly spending a little time alone like this can go a long way toward allowing you to better know when you are hearing or reading something that is coming from the heart and that is being sourced from a place of compassion and caring.
It can also help you to quickly know whether the information being shared is of value to you or in alignment with what feels right and true for your worldview.
In your daily life, I also encourage you to be as honest as you can with others, and to not hold back or camouflage what you think or how you feel but to respond as directly and honestly as possible, even if what you are saying makes people a little uncomfortable or points out their own dishonesty or lack of clarity or their ignorance or their fear.
With the urgent issues facing our species at this point in history, there’s nothing to be gained from walking on eggshells all the time and being afraid to make waves.
If you see something that doesn’t feel right or okay to you, I encourage you to stand up and say so, even if it ruffles a few feathers.
While we live in a challenging world that seems to get more challenging every day, it doesn’t mean we have to acquiesce to it or be oppressed by it.

We can push back by being role models, by being honest and compassionate, and by caring as best we can for others, and for ourselves, and by standing up for what we believe is right. ... the only way we can “win” is if we all win, hand in hand, and in service to our Oneness.
The task of building for a new future is not an easy one. Sacrifice is demanded of us. But do we wish to stay where we are, getting further and further into a bog of our own creation, instead of finding the means to resurrect ourselves to be who we really are?

Thank you for reading this.

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

What Is It We Should Value?

Dear Reader,

Journalist Ian Birrell, in his lead article in the i newspaper yesterday about the plight of the Yazidis, begins his final paragraph with:
As we stand on the cusp of Brexit, we need to ask ourselves profound questions about national values. We have sent a message to the world that we are tearing down bridges and building walls. We have corroded our reputation as a sensible international player, diminished our global standing and demeaned the mother of parliaments with this humiliating debacle.
The key words (for the purpose of my article) are: "we need to ask ourselves profound questions about national values."

Of course, Ian Birrell is talking essentially of the subject of his topic (the Yezidis), but his final words broaden the conversation to include the role that the West has been playing around the world, and although we like to think that Britain's role is essentially humanitarian, it is we in the West (Britain included) that has largely created the mess. So if we subsequently go around with swathes of sticking plaster (i.e. aid, after the destruction) does it really make us so morally correct? Which is better - prevention or treatment? Was it necessary to go to war with Sadam Hussein way back in 2003 with no strategy on how to deal with its outcomes. And not only that but fight the war with such ferocity that it is thought that 400,000 civilians died. In fact the matter officially started not in 2003 but way back in 1917 as far as Britain is concerned, with the matter of the Balfour Plan.

All that kind of work does is to create hatred which subsequently finds its evil apotheosis in the shape of ISIS, which, in turn, generates more destruction and massacres, including the Yazidis.

So, "we need to ask ourselves profound questions about national values."

But this matter of values extends way beyond international issues such as the Middle East. It comes way back to our own backyard, where the disabled and the genuinely poor are now being hunted down to get into work as the government doesn't want to pay the welfare bills. You doubt this is happening? There are countless cases of this taking place and now to the extent that the government has been trying to stop doctors issuing sick notes. And please don't try applying for PIP as you face assessors with no heart.

Phil Hammond and Theresa May talk of the end of austerity but all that is happening is that they are colluding to create an even wider gap between rich and poor as the NHS appointments schedule whirls into decline.

Brexit is another matter that has created as many opinions, it sometimes seems, as the number of voters. We can't find a common attitude as we seem to have lost a sense of genuine values.

Meanwhile, one of the most urgent issues of all - climate change - is almost pushed to the background and our wild species are being decimated whilst sea creatures are being drowned by plastic.

Yet no-one wants to address the important matter of "values". What do we believe in these days? Do you know? Doesn't it concern you? How can we elect any government without really knowing what values we are basing our choice on, and not just what is best for our pockets? I'm afraid worrying about paying the bills is now a matter of lesser importance, because if we don't start addressing real issues there won't be anything to pay for. It's a harsh reality.

Love of the whole world needs to be thought of and not just towards our families.

Let's address real issues and the way they should be addressed. Now; based on unity and love.

Thank you for reading this.

Thursday, 7 March 2019

God's Help In Extreme Situations

Dear Reader,

A believer (or knower) of God will, without hesitation, seek help from the object of his adoration, particularly when in some danger. There are countless times when God's protection has been sought, but there are some stories about this aspect that stand out in ordinary human experience. Two such stories follow, the first about an American Army unit at war:
Over 100 years ago, during World War I, the 91st Infantry Brigade was preparing to enter combat in Europe. The Brigade Commander, a devout Christian, assembled his troops and gave each of them a little card on which was printed the 91st Psalm, the same number Psalm as their brigade. They agreed to recite that Psalm daily. After they had begun praying the Psalm, the 91st Brigade was engaged in three of the bloodiest battles of World War I — Chateau Thierry, Belle Wood and the Argonne. Other American units that fought in the same battles had up to 90 percent casualties, but the 91st Brigade did not suffer a single combat-related casualty.
Psalm 91 as in the KJV (to enlarge, please click on the text below):

There have been a number of individual instances of this kind when the 91st Psalm has been invoked, but the following story is of quite a different hue, but with the same theme - of reliance on God.

Though Hinduism has numerous gods in its pantheon, their philosophy is that all leads to the one God; that all is One. Each individual god they adopt and pray to is their perception of God in one of his forms. But it is not the figurine they worship. A Hindu, therefore, sights a Hindu god in his dream or has a vision of a god in real life, and that’s believable because the person reveres that god. But a Christian claiming to see a Hindu god who ends up saving the man’s life…is something which is unheard of. The following relates such a story:
It was 1879, and the British were ruling India. An officer in the British Army, Lt. Col. Martin of Agar Malva, was leading the army in the war against Afghanistan. Col. Martin would regularly send messages of his well-being to his wife. The war went on for a long period of time and Lady Martin stopped getting his messages. This naturally worried her.
One day, while riding on her horse, she passed by the temple of Baijnath Mahadev. The sounds of the conch and mantras attracted her. She went inside the temple and came to know that the Brahmans were worshipping Lord Shiva.
The Brahmans saw her and noticed that she was sad and tense. They asked her what the matter was and she explained everything to them. They told her that Lord Shiva listens to the prayers of devotees and takes them out of difficult situations.
On the advice of the Brahmans, she started the ‘Laghu-rudri Anushtthan’ of the Mantra: ‘Om Namah Shivaya’, for 11 days. She prayed to Lord Shiva that if her husband reaches home safely, then she would get the temple renovated.
On the last of the ‘Laghu-rudri’, a messenger came and gave her a letter. It was from her husband. He had written:
I was regularly sending messages to you from the battlegrounds, but suddenly the Pathans surrounded us from all sides. We were entrapped in a situation where there was no scope of escaping death. Suddenly, I saw a Yogi of India with long hair, carrying a weapon with three pointers (Trishul). His personality was amazing and he was manoeuvring his weapon with a magnificent style. Seeing this great man, the Pathans started running back. With his grace, our bad times turned into moments of victory. This was possible only because of that man of India wearing a lion skin and carrying a three-pointer weapon (Trishul). That great Yogi told me that I should not worry and that he had come to rescue me because he was very pleased with my wife’s prayers.
Tears of joy fell down Lady Martin’s eyes as she read the letter. She fell into the feet of Lord Shiva’s statue and burst into tears.
After a few weeks, Col. Martin returned. They both visited the Baijnath Mahadev Temple to thank Lord Shiva for saving Col. Martin’s life. It was then that he realized the striking resemblance of Lord Shiva to the Yogi who’d appeared on the battlefield to save his life.
Both became devotees of Lord Shiva. They helped in rebuilding the temple premises and donated money for its maintenance. The British couple’s name is engraved on the slab inside the temple premises. To date, the Baijnath Mahadev Temple is the only Hindu temple in the country that was built by British!
And so it is. God is available in many guises!

Thank you for reading this.