- Everyone gained. Mum was glad that the children and husband were fed. Dad was happy that his family will survive another day. The children knew that their parents love them and went away fuelled for another bout of playing and growing.
- Almost no-one gained not even Johnny for more than a few minutes. He lost respect from his family and is still hungry and ill.
- Everyone gained. The family and the neighbours. Who could not be moved by someones gift of help and sharing?
Wednesday, 27 February 2013
I guess to understand this word we need to understand also what it is not. Commonly Self-less-ness is the antithesis of selfishness. Self is all about you the person questioning your-self. You see, it is difficult to talk about it without using the word self to describe itself. You or in this case ME as I am writing this and thinking about how it all relates to me, are/am the object of analysis for the purpose of determining what actions are good and wholesome and those that are negative and possibly even destructive, self destructive.
It is very true that I need to consider myself first. How else am I going to be or do what I indeed want to. But this is only true for me in certain senses though. If you don't consider your-self then how can you begin to think that you could do anything to help another. And why would they take any notice of you if you did offer advice or help, if they saw that it had no influence over your own person in the first instance. Who can believe that anyone would take notice of a person not putting their own words or beliefs into action personally?
But in what ways is it appropriate to consider yourself first without it being an act of selfishness? Thus being truly selfless, which I hope to discover as being the most worthy of goals and habits towards sharing.
Well firstly if I had no regard for my person, the body, not only would I be showing disrespect to the miracle of life, but to others who had to come into contact with me, my-self. Imagine the smell, the rank odour of my breath and the unkempt nature of my clothing, if I was even conscious enough of other peoples feelings to be wearing any. So of course, personal hygiene and manner of dress can have significant impact over whether people ignore us or interact with us. Yet it is more about our reason for this manner than the manner in and of itself. I don't recoil when I see punk rockers or tattooed people for example, but I might if they smelt awful. Or if I thought they were doing it because they had no respect for life or limb. I try to dress in a manner which is attractive to people so as to not offend, whilst still being true to my own personal tastes. And I wash regularly so as not to offend peoples nostrils with any offensive odours, out of pure decency. In a way this is an act of self for self, that is selfless in its outcomes.
Another thing I tend to pay attention to, is what comes out of my mouth. It is wonderful to have views and opinions and they can be very interesting to some, but they may also have a negative affect over some people. I try to maintain a healthy balance of what to say and what not to, based on current circumstances and audience. It is not selfish to have views or opinions, but it might be considered selfish to air them to all and sundry, without considering their take on what those words and views express. I don't use the word 'nigger' for example as a matter of course because I understand that it is commonly viewed as derogatory towards some people and therefore can offend them. So my choice of dialogue shows my respect for others above my own feeling that any word used, in a non offensive manner can be a part of vocabulary. (I chose this particular word, not because I ever use it, but just to show what offence can mean. I love all people of all races and skin colours equally.)
And so I see now that to be selfless I need to consider the feelings of others ahead of my own personal need to say something. Yet to be selfish I would chose any type of vocabulary and dialogue over the feelings and a deep sense of respect towards other sentient beings.
(If you are reading this then it is as a choice you make, and therefore anything my words imply can be monitored for your own sensibilities. Obviously if you don't like what I am discussing then you clearly don't have to read on.)
Are you still here?
Good, then lets continue.
I am understanding that selfishness comes form a deep seated view of self importance. How we got to be this way is anybody's guess, childhood traumas or bad parenting or peer pressure or plain old bad judgement making. But we have to start with where we are at now. I have been putting my mark on readjusting my thoughts for a very long time now, with the sole aim of becoming a better person. Better than before, not better than anyone else of course. Better because I realise that some of my past behaviours were very personally gratifying and self destructive and not good to man nor beast on many occasions. Therefore selfish and not selfless in essence. I have no desire to live that way now. I have lost out on many very precious things because of this behaviour. But I suppose being the product of my experience has taught me a valuable lesson, one that I hope to share if you care to read on.
SELFISHNESS IS STUPID.
Everyone suffers when someone is being selfish. Look at the plight of the hungry on this planet for example. The bloody wars over dirt, dust and rock and a few miles of 'Holy' land.
Closer to home, when someone has a bad attitude they suffer and those around them suffer equally. No-one escapes from selfishness, but everyone gains from selflessness. Just lets say this again, because I feel it captures the spirit of what I want to share here.
NO-ONE ESCAPES FROM SELFISHNESS, BUT EVERYONE GAINS FROM SELFLESSNESS.
Ah yes that seems to carry the truth of my belief.
Let me explain this a little more clearly for those of you that may wish to shake your heads at this. Lets pick a few examples to describe the workings of it. Bear in mind we all have other tangible explanations for things. We wouldn't be human otherwise, or have governments to lead us.
As a family we sit down to a meal. It has been prepared by mum and dad carves the meat and every ones mouth waters in anticipation of the glorious feast. We fill our plates and say our graces and give thanks for what we are about to receive. We eat heartily and the food is divine as it crosses our palate on its way to restoring our hunger. The food tastes wonderful (or not depending on your mothers skills in the kitchen) and then your joy is enhanced by the company of close family and friends, sharing the event, the food and everyone feels sustained for the food and maybe the company too. (If you get along with your siblings.) The time spent has given everyone much if not all of what they needed to go on living another day, in good health with a happy and contented outlook on life. You may not agree with this example for many reasons, I just use it to describe a typical ideal set of experiences.
Everyone sits down to eat as before. The food is brought out but there is hardly any to go round and be shared out, as it would appear that little Johnny (poor kid always gets it) has eaten most of it earlier. He explains, after much insistence from everyone else, that he couldn't wait and was so hungry that he began to tuck in whilst they were all sitting patiently in the other room and 'Mum' was called out on an errand. He got carried away as he ate and before he knew it was rushing off to the bathroom to be sick. He had eaten too much. At this point dad is called to restrain the other siblings from lynching Johnny. They all eat quickly, after all there is hardly any left, and leave the table with less thanks than scenario 1 and a stomach rumbling from part emptiness.
As before everyone sits down to eat. They give thanks, but someone happens to mention that the family next door who's dad lost his job a month ago and who's mother is ill with worry, have not eaten for a week. Everyone agrees that they should go and invite the family over to eat, which they do. Extra places are set and once everyone is seated they all give a huge thank you to the powers that be for providing not only food, but company and a chance to prove that their humanity is at work. Everyone present becomes grateful in different ways and amounts, but everyone leaves that table with a joy in their hearts, even if a little hungry still. Tomorrow is another day and more food can be sourced.
Lets have a quick recap of who gained and suffered in these scenarios.
So I hope that this shows us all just how the art of selfishness can cause unnecessary suffering for others and ourselves too. The act of selflessness is something that everyone can benefit from. I try daily to look beyond my own needs and see what others needs and wants are and try to help in whatever way I can fulfil these and share humanity with them. Clearly there are many of you out there doing the exact same thing, so thank you for that. I am benefiting from that action even if not directly, as surely as the person you touch. And if you are wondering what more you can do to share and be selfless, all I say is this. Just keep your eyes and ears open and soon enough you will see or hear a way to do so. You will be rewarded by the knowledge that your actions have meant a difference to that person. They may not thank you or know that you have helped them, but that is not important. You will know. And of course I hope the reason for doing it is not to receive accolades, but if they come, accept them when offered. It is a part of the cycle of giving, sharing and receiving.
I pray that I go away from here charged to do more than I thought possible. If you are also helped to be more proactive then my mission is complete.
A huge hug for your efforts. (In advance, or retrospectively)
love and light...
Monday, 25 February 2013
Love like in the Movies.
For in this life and on this tiny planet, there is just one special person for each of us..
To adore and be adored by, to hold and be held by and to love truly and be loved in return by this same unique somebody. Or so the movies would have us believe. On the surface don't we recoil at this idea as somewhat sloppy, infantile and exclusive, such that it could never be or become a reality ? A type of idealising that can only lead to frustrations and heart ache, a love that can be easily shattered with a tiny flaw of irregularity at any given moment ? Then why does the emotion within, move us when we see these film characters giving in to this genuine hope that love could be so intensely dramatic. And why do so many of us subscribe to all of the romance that can lead us to this destiny, this serendipitous moment with one special almost god given divine creature ? Is it not a product of fantasy alone, to believe that this one person is not only looking for us, but that we will recognise them the instant they arrive before our eyes ?
Of course many of us dream this could be true, and yet somehow we tire of waiting and become convinced that reality is just not like this and that the real love that we need to sustain us, is the kind that grows over long periods of time. And that with hard work we shall attain a level of happiness suitable to live with which is far more appropriate than the love that it would appear could move mountains. Some of us come close to understanding another human being well enough to consider a life in their company, even if we are not driven to passion by that arrangement, rather than live alone. Or worse, to be judged by others as a failure at love if we don't have someone in our beds at night.
Is this not the truth for many of us ? Possibly even a majority of people who choose someone, anyone, rather than be lonely or continually single. Yes I feel you nodding, I too am one who has chosen this stalemate rather than emptiness of a house a life or a bed. I don't make assumptions nor judge anyone despite the questions I raise here, none more so than myself. I simply want to raise the discussion about how and even more importantly why we let go of our dreams, and settle for the ordinary, long before the chances have gone.
Questions raise thoughts and thoughts require a time to be dissected, absorbed and reviewed, and then we have an obligation to ourselves to find answers to the doubts or responses we hear ourselves giving. The human capacity for internal dialogue is a wonderful thing, yet it can eventually drive us to the point of choice over the fear of continuing with the debate. Some will say any choice is better than none. No choice is not an option because it leads to regrets and recriminations of our ability to follow our hearts and destinies. Others say that fate has not left room for our choice so it doesn't actually matter at all in the grand scheme of things. But I would guess, no wager, that the majority of us, at least for some part of our lives have entertained the notions that we were supposed to follow some kind of signals, signs and or omens that would lead us to be where we would meet our perfect match.
I believe myself to be a sensible man, a man who can make decisions and stick to the aims of those choices, regardless of the inner voices that might accuse me of hasty or irrational decision making. But somehow, despite many years of life and experience I have never been able to shake the intense feeling that destiny lies in my own hands and within the choices I am to make. And worse, when ever I see any of these special movies that are about romantic timing and fate or destiny, I go all mushy and tearful and still believe that there is a hope for me. Don't misunderstand me I have loved. I have been, in love. I have been moved by a person that I thought I would never be able to live without. And those relationships have not ended because the object of my desire died or was cruelly taken away by some other weird twist of 'fate.' Nope, just plain old regular falling out of love, or a mutual agreement to end the intimate part of the relationships. I had hoped and believed in great depth that some of those relationships would have lasted for all time. Sadly I was wrong. So it makes it even harder now to recognise, just what is that magic that needs to flow for me to see love as being true and indefinite. Truth is, no-one really ever knows how that would feel, until that magical moment when it is happening to them. The creators of cinema have been able many times to describe the various types of scenarios in which fate takes over and love blossoms, yet even the best of the bunch can't quite say in actual words and with definitive truth, just how we as people will know the difference in our own distinct case. But my thanks go out to those directors that have done such an amazing job of showing us, just how it happens, and revealing in essence the power of the attractions that let us believe that it will one day happen to and for us.
I have just re-watched an old classic, 'Sleepless in Seattle.' I haven't seen it for many years and I cried a lot. Honestly I had no idea just what a great movie that was, and how beautifully it describes the desires of not only the boy who had lost his dear mother to Cancer, but those of the father coping with the loss for both of them, and how they go about dealing with life after her death. And on the other side it shows just how the woman was living in a contrived reality to believe that true love existed, whilst all the time knowing it was not quite right. It is a beautiful and moving film, with just enough drama to inspire anyone to understand that patience will reward the faithful and the virtuous. But then there are many films that touch on this theme as it is the most common denominator in any film ever produced. Even war films and shoot em up movies have love included somewhere. Some of my all time favourites are films such as 'Love Actually', 'Brigadoon', 'The Highlander', 'The Holiday', 'The Time Travellers Wife', 'City of Angels', 'The Dead Poets Society', 'First Knight', 'Camelot', 'You've Got Mail', 'Forever Young', 'Cast Away', 'Forest Gump', and finally the BIGGIE, 'Serendipity'. Incidentally Meg Ryan a fine actress and Tom Hanks an incredible actor, who star side by side in the Sleepless in Seattle film also star in many of the others in my list. Neither are what could classically be described as stunning looking actors, yet something almost ordinary about them gives power to the film as they show just how the ordinary nature of people can become anything but ordinary, as they determine to reach out for the dream rather than an otherwise ordinary life with make-do. The magic happens right there on the screen before us and we weep for the reason that cannot be contained any more. We see true love finding a way to reunite those destined to be together.
Are we going to believe this can happen to us ? Will we yet give in to mediocrity ? You know I am not talking about this attraction that is being spread ferociously these days, which is all about physical beauty. We are constantly being bombarded with images of what the perfect image is and fascinate over becoming this body perfect person. But that is not what I am talking about here. I am talking about the chemistry that reaches beyond the boundaries of form or stature alone and sees the person beneath. With films such as 'Sleepless', we know that ordinary people can find the amazing out there waiting for us, in another person who is with us for who we are and not what we have or how beautiful we are in appearance.
Do not think that I don't realise that to be in love, compromises have to be made too for the benefit of everyone. It is true that some adjustments need to be made from both parties to accommodate one another. But if we do it begrudgingly are we then sure that this is creating a context for a productive relationship ? We should not need to compromise ourselves out of resentment, we should do it because it is the best thing to do to honour love. We should do it because love, and not fear drive us to be this way. Love is the law.
I hope that this post helps you as it has helped me in writing it, to be reminded that love is not lost. We have only to wake up to its existence and walk about with our eyes open so that when it comes our way we will be ready to receive it. It may well be where you are already and with whom you chose to spend your life. I am not advocating that you separate to go fulfil the dream. But maybe you should rethink what moves you and determine to act in a more productive way. Happiness is a state of mind, not determined by external factors.
Will you be my Annie ? My Heather, my Maggie, my Guinevere or my Sarah ?
Can I yet prove to be your Sam, your Connor, your Seth, your Lancelot or your Jonathan ?
Will our belief stay true and never waver till we meet, finally at the top of the Empire state building, until I perish, until I fall, until I save you, or until I find that book and you discover that five Dollar bill ?
Yes of course life cannot stop and it goes on regardless of the dreams we hold or the plans we make in our youth. I just hope that we can stay happy in the knowledge that we didn't settle for something less than what was right for us. Because regret is a nasty sword and it can impale us if we get too close.
Free is he or she that can say honestly, “I have never surrendered to hopelessness in the face of great odds.”
Life is somewhat short, so live it as if everyday was your last, and fill it with acts of love and sharing. And then that true love we were talking of, will find us watching for it in readiness to live the time of our lives.
Please send me your comments and let me know which films have moved you and tell us all why that film in particular has done the job on you.
May the love of the universe fill us all with love and light in the act of being true.
Thursday, 21 February 2013
The Awesome Beauty of Sharing.
One of the greatest ways to enjoy your life, I have found, is through sharing. It is not necessarily important the what of sharing as much as the if and when that gives the best rewards. Sometimes of course it is not even important with whom you are sharing, just as long as the action of sharing something is achieved. I meet many people who regrettably are sad on many occasions, and they tell me that they just don't understand why this is. (Of course everyone gets sad at some point, even me) During our conversation I quickly find out that they find sharing anything a little difficult or awkward, especially if sharing is to be towards a stranger. They tell me that they rather avoid the chance to share than to let others into that comfort zone, mainly through fear of what might happen or the complications that later follow on. Unfortunately I believe that they are missing the very chance to escape that sadness and lack lustre of their life by stepping back instead of forward to help another or share the gift of giving and sharing.
I don't want anyone to get the impression I am saying that no-one does any kindness or shares anything, I am not saying this at all. What I am saying here is that I have noticed a distinct correlation between sadness/unhappiness and the direct action of sharing, or lack of. The majority of people do share with others everyday, many times not even thinking about it and the results are in the main very positive. However because we don't generally do it in the truest sense of full consciousness we forget that we could also take something away with us too. Surely the good in us doesn't want any reward from doing it, that is not to be our motivation, but do we see that we are entitled to the result of that sharing? Do we actually realise that the good feeling returning is a gift for us to receive and accept and that we should take this away with us and share with another? There is always a duality of cause and effect in this material universe. Call it karma if you like, but when you do something good, an act of kindness towards another, be they person or animal or plant, a response is issued by that other, that if received and carried away, would perpetuate a cycle of sharing out into the universe.
You wouldn't want to interrupt that flow now would you? This could be where further negativity comes from. Energy is a system of flow, and the energy that you create when sharing needs an outlet, and that outlet comes back towards you the giver, even if you aren't aware at the time, of its flow. So to me it seems quite simple to remedy sadness. Practice the art of giving and you will immediately begin to feel this return vibe of energy that can and will permeate your being, unless of course if you put up the blocks, the defences. Sure none of us want to be seen to be doing anything for our own rewards alone. That would make us very selfish indeed. But the beauty of sharing is that everyone benefits in the bigger picture. No-one becomes untouched by that force, that flow unless the action is purely for selfish motive.
All I'm saying is try it out. Test my theory here as soon as you possibly can and watch what happens. Do the act of sharing, and let yourself be open to the responses of that. Don't shut down the return flow of that cyclic energy, please see where it leads and what you experience as a result.
It is a pity that the higher management of our world don't also realise this. Clearly they are not focusing their efforts for the good of the many, but for the profit of a select few. Be that members of their country, their organisation, their financial institutions or their families. If they only included, rather than excluded everyone, and everything, then the impact of what they did would have a greater net result for not only themselves, but for everybody. Joy would abound and the fears we have would eventually fall away. Oh yes of course my idea of sharing is Utopian, BUT it is also very doable too. Many wonderfully enlightened people have known this and practiced this in everything they did.
Lets not beat about the bush here. The rulers of the world have not an inkling of what I am talking about here. They are only interested in a portion of and a percentage of the all that is everything. Therefore their effort fail in the end, because they exclude rather than include. Simply put, the good and the virtuous are the ones who never miss an opportunity to do an act of goodness or kindness. We have the opportunity and the obligation in essence, to break the negative aspects of the world around us, and convert them into more positively charged ones. Sharing is a simple and fundamental way to begin this process and to maintain higher levels of happiness in both ourselves and in our fellow men and women. Please, take a chance to try this out. Be the change that you wish to see in the world. Share a smile or a thank you or a meal or a chance to brighten someone else's world and see how bright becomes your own.
You can be the creator of miracles. You can be the creator of happiness.
May the love and light of the Universal energy help guide you in all you do for this cause.
Your brother in sharing.