Spiritual practice, a journey to this moment.

I’m not sure what others have experienced or have expected following a spiritual path but speaking from my own experience, when I was starting out, I always thought it was about becoming a better person, a good or nicer person.

I grew up in religion and have nothing against it, everyone should be free to do what makes them happy. One thing I found though following a religion was the sense and feeling of not being good enough, feeling guilty over thoughts and actions that were deemed ” bad”.

When I first moved onto the teachings of Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta again I thought it was about turning into a more positive, decent, nicer person. Like religion, again I started beating myself up over not living up to what I thought I was supposed to be or do.

Over time I started to realise and am hoping to get anyone that reads this and may be in the situation I was to realise is that the spiritual path isn’t about improving ourselves it’s about accepting ourselves. When we realise that everything is from the one source, that every thought, feeling and action is totally natural and totally as it should be, over time we can begin to accept ourselves as we are and others how they are.

We ultimately are nothing we experience yet at the same time everything we experience, life is the ultimate paradox it can’t be understood by the mind because our mind deals in black and white, it only sees opposites yet all opposites need each other to exist.

Want to embrace and appreciate your good qualities and those qualities in others? Well we must ultimately accept and embrace the darkness in ourselves and others, all the parts of ourselves we don’t want to accept as a part of us must be accepted. Accepting our dark and negative traits doesn’t make us bad people because we all have a dark and negative side, trying to ignore, suppress or get rid of traits we feel are undesirable ultimately leads to suffering because we are trying to change reality, trying to change what the moment is presenting us.

What I’ve found and hopefully you will come to see if you haven’t already is that the spiritual path isn’t a path of improvement, that’s a job for our ego to do, but behind our ego, behind who we think we are our true self lies and when we realise that ourselves and everything else is always perfect how it is we can finally exhale and feel a sense of inner peace.

All this sounds nice in theory but a spiritual practice of remembering who and what we truly are, realising that everything is ultimately as it should be and learning to let life flow where it wants to takes daily practice.

When it’s all said and done all we are realising and coming back to is just this moment. This moment is reality regardless of how we feel about it, it is what it is. The more we accept ourselves and things as they are, the more we give up trying to control things, the more we let go and realise we don’t ultimately have control that it’s just an illusion, the more we can just sit back and watch the movie we call ” our life” unfold.

To live a balanced life I feel we must realise that reality really is an illusion much like a dream but at the same time learn to function in the dream. Whether we live the life of a monk or successful business person doesn’t matter as long as we learn to not take life too seriously, laugh when we can, cry when we can and accept that we will never be perfect and that’s perfectly ok.

This moment is it. No one or no religion can explain how or why we are alive. Reality can’t be understood, it’s the biggest miracle of all that we know this is all happening, You are alive, that’s all you’ve ever known for sure, the rest is just beliefs, opinions and ideas.

You aren’t living a life you’re the essence of life itself, you and life are always perfect, even trying to change it is perfect too.

Thanks for reading,

Simon Coleman.

Mindfulness, it can save your life…

Mindfulness, the act of paying attention to what’s happening while it’s happening, meditation in motion. Anyone who has heard of mindfulness would have heard that it’s a great practice and has so many mental health benefits.

The act of paying attention to what’s happening while it’s happening particularly in regards to our thoughts and feelings, especially when they are negative can do wonders for our mental well being. Mindfulness though can help in every aspect of our lives, it could even literally save our life.

Philosophy and Spirituality are two great passions in my life. Another recent passion has been learning self defence and the mechanics of learning to fight. One thing becomes fairly obvious quite quickly when studying this type of training, the ability to be aware or your surroundings and the ability to read people’s body language is the greatest asset to personal safety, to not put ourselves in situations that could be dangerous is 99% of the work in learning to defend ourselves.

How often do we see or have been guilty of ourselves ( I know I have) of sleep walking through life, especially in public, looking down at our phones while walking at times even with headphones in so now we can’t see or hear what’s happening around us.

Technology has changed the world and it’s not a bad thing, everything changes and how we use technology changes but a little awareness or mindfulness can go along way. When we are so absorbed in our heads or technology especially in public, we become sitting ducks, easy prey for criminals. Lack of awareness is a criminals best friend, it’s so easy to be attacked, mugged or our phones or other belongings simply snatched from us when we aren’t aware of what and who are around us.

Good self defence teaches mindfulness, being mindful of our surroundings at all times so we can avoid trouble as soon as possible. It doesn’t mean walking around paranoid it just means being in the moment and just absorbing everything that is happening while it’s happening and by doing so we will become a lot more aware of what’s happening in our environment moment to moment.

Mindfulness can not only save our possessions from being stolen or our bodies being harmed or taken in a vicious assault, it can also save our relationships. The more mindful we become the more we become aware of our loved ones body language, the more we become aware also of what they are truly saying, We become aware of the words coming out of our own mouths too that can be hurtful or destructive.

We can’t change what we aren’t aware of, if we are so absorbed in our minds and feelings we tend to miss how others are reacting to what we are saying or don’t even listen to what they are saying and are just waiting for our turn to talk especially in an argument.

Most of us have spent the majority of our lives on autopilot, not really aware of what we are doing or saying, it’s not our fault, our modern culture thrives on distracted unmindful people, its just is what it is.

Nothing in life is a problem until it starts affecting us in some way, whether we choose to be more mindful of not is up to us but in the long run being more mindful can save us in so many situations.

Our mental health and well being can be improved when we just stop and watch our thoughts and feelings without getting swept up in them and allowing them to pass in their own time. It can also save our relationships as we become more mindful of our thoughts, words and body language and the and words and body language of those around us. It can save our lives and possessions as we become more aware and mindful in public, being able to spot danger and possible threats sooner. And finally being more mindful just helps us appreciate this thing we call “life” a little more, it helps us appreciate and marvel at what a miracle and mystery it is just to know we are alive.

My thoughts anyway, thanks for reading.

Simon Coleman.

“ Enlightened Self interest”

Buddhism, the religion or more accurately the philosophy of seeing reality as it is has always appealed to me. The idea of not blaming others or the world for our problems, the idea that to change our lives we must change ourselves has always made sense to me from a young age.

People not familiar with the practices of Buddhism from the outside looking in may feel some of the practices are selfish. ” With so much suffering in the world how can you run off and meditate at isolated retreat centres or monasteries for long periods of time? Wouldn’t that time be better spent being in the world helping others?”

Anyone who’s caught a plane would’ve heard the airline host during the safety demonstration tell the passengers to make sure that they have followed the procedures to keep themselves safe before helping others and for good reason, because you can’t truly help others unless you can help yourself first.

In Buddhism the view is by taking some time out to fix yourself first you will be in a much better position to help others or if we can’t help others at least not make their suffering worse. There is so much judgement and fake action in life, if we were all to be honest everything we do is out of self interest in one way or another, everything we do we because it makes us feel good or it feels right on some level, helping others for instance feels good to us.

My theory why we adore small children and pet animals so much is because they are always acting genuine, always acting out of self interest, pets and small children don’t fake niceness, they will show you what they want in one way or another when they want it.

We never really grow out of acting out of self interest we just learn to hide our motives or intentions behind a wall of smiles or certain actions, many times we fool ourselves saying what we are doing is truly for others but in the end it’s always about doing what makes us feel good or what we feel is right depending on our conditioned morals and values, what I may feel guilty about doing you might not think twice about if our values or morals are different for instance.

What I’m saying at one level my sound uncomfortable to hear if we are in denial but deep down we must know it’s all true and we must also realise that it’s totally natural as we all feel that way. There is so much hypocrisy in religion, how many religious leaders do we constantly hear of being caught out not practicing what they preach and for good reason, it happens because the religion holds themselves and everyone else many times to impossibly high standards.

Most of us want to be good people but forget that life is a reality of opposites, opposites that are always being one and the same. We must embraces the darkness and parts of ourselves be would rather not face if we want to be a complete person. Love and Hate, Goodness and Badness etc always exist within all of us at all times, we are constantly in a struggle between the two but must come to realise we don’t need to struggle we just need to be ourselves and come to realise that at times how we view ourselves is going to be unfavourable. We aren’t a bad person for having bad thoughts we are just a person experiencing natural thoughts.

People love genuine people, people love honest people, the best gift we can give ourselves and to others is to just be genuine and honest no matter how uncomfortable it may feel, a big part of this is accepting that we do everything out of self interest, even when helping others and that’s ok because if our needs aren’t met or we are doing things for others we don’t want to do or feel forced to do then that’s when resentment and hate can build over time not because we are bad people but because we aren’t being honest with ourselves or with others.

To put ourselves first doesn’t mean to take advantage or to hurt others intentionally it just means being honest and upfront with what we truly want and what we truly feel and if we can do that consistently I feel it’s the biggest gift we can give ourselves and others as they will always know where we stand are as we are always clear about our intentions.

My thoughts anyway,

Thanks for reading,

Simon Coleman.

Everyone is just searching for happiness.

Everyone is searching for happiness, the whole point of life is to do what makes us happy. I used to wonder many times why people do what they do and why I do what I do. Many times we do things that cause us or others pain or keep repeating the same mistakes over and over even when we know it’s wrong.

I came to realise in time that all the good things and bad things in the world all stem from people trying to find happiness. Ultimately what we view as good or bad is our own opinion, most of us would be shocked and angered by acts of terrorism for instance but in the minds of the terrorists they are doing what is right and doing what they think will bring them happiness.

What brings us happiness or what we think we bring us happiness is our own opinion obviously, realising this though can help us understand others so much better. We can go through this life with more understanding and less hate in our hearts when we realise everyone else is just like us, we all want the same thing, happiness.

In religion or spiritual teachings we are taught to show love and compassion to everyone but it can be sometimes hard when we view others and their actions superficially. Being understanding of the actions of others doesn’t mean we have to approve of their actions or be their friends it just means realising that everyone is trying to find happiness in this life, unfortunately some people feel hurting or taking advantage of others is the way to do it.

In my younger years I world truly resent and hate people I felt caused me harm or took advantage of me in some way but as I started realising that no one is truly perfect, we are all messed up in some way or another and some people due to their upbringing, circumstances or the pain they are feeling internally do or say things to others they think will make them happy.

Hurt people hurt other people. No one I feel wants to find happiness hurting others but we live in a world of so many broken people through no fault of their own, there are no evil babies, the conditioning and environment we all grow up in is out of our control.

One of the biggest realisations we can come to on the road to seeking inner peace and happiness is realising who we really are, not who we think we are, not our name, age, job, body etc not those labels but what we are prior to those labels. When we look inward and through meditation and self enquiry realise what we essentially are is identical with everyone and everything else we slowly start feeling more connected, we start realising we aren’t in the universe we are the universe.

The whole point of life as it’s presented to us, where we feel we are a person moving through time and space is to find love and happiness. What we are ultimately trying to find is ourselves. The essence of what we all truly are is love and happiness, it’s like a wave in the ocean trying to find the ocean, the ocean is playing games with itself, the wave is always the ocean.

Our life is just the universe playing games with itself, if we knew 100% that it was all just a dream and taking life as seriously as we do was unnecessary it would kill the fun of it all. Deep down we love feeling the highs and lows of life, we say we love the highs but we truly love the lows too it’s what gives life meaning and purpose overcoming hardships.

To find true happiness we must realise the essence of what we and what everyone else truly is and also realise every action that we or others perform regardless of how we perceive or judge the actions is coming from a place of trying to find happiness. We are all one in the end, the world is a mirror to ourselves so a little compassion and understanding goes a long way.

Thanks for reading,

Simon Coleman.