Chasing pleasure means chasing pain..

We all have wants needs and desires, it’s part of being human. I have found that inner peace, getting to know who I truly am beyond name, form, titles etc, knowing that life is essentially in essence one big dream in a sense, or however you want to look at it is the most important thing we can do for ourselves.

Once a sense of inner peace is achieved though we still must function in this world, we still must play the game, we must still experience all the feelings, emotions, victories and failures that life has to offer.

DESIRE KEEPS LIFE MOVING

The desire to live, to eat, to procreate, to experience, the desire for anything is what keeps life moving, it keeps the dance of life dancing. When we realise all is one we realise everything has a reason why it exists. Our desires don’t cause us suffering when looked from a point of inner peace, they merely give us something to do and strive towards.

THE HONEYMOON PHASE OF DESIRE

Its natural when we first desire something to get excited, to start picturing what it would be like to have the person, object or achievement we desire. The problem we soon run into though is realising nothing is for free, the amount of pleasure we feel we will obtain is usually sooner or later matched or overshadowed by the amount of discomfort or pain we must endure.

We want 100 points of pleasure with no points of pain but we soon realise to gain that hundred points of pleasure in one area usually means sacrificing 100 points of pain elsewhere which basically means you are back where you started, I hope this makes sense. What I’m trying to say is that I see life as a zero sum game, to win at one area of life usually means sacrificing others areas.

Want more money? Well it means more work and less time with family. Want a better body? It means more time exercising and saying no to a lot of delicious food. Want to be in the spotlight or famous? Well it comes at the cost of privacy..Want a really attractive partner? Well that usually means competition and the chance of them straying because they will have many options…you get my drift…

BECOMING WHAT WE WANT

All I said prior is leading to this point. To get what we want and why many people fail to do so is because they fail to realise we must become what we want. The version of ” you” that is broke right now, that is insecure, that is out of shape or whatever is not the ” you” that will be rich, confident or in shape etc. the version of us we want to be must go through a painful process, physically and mentally. We must change our thoughts about money, about our self esteem, about our eating habits etc.

In a sense we must die and the remains of that old self are the soil and fertiliser for our new self to grow out of. Many people don’t realise this or want to go through the pain of the ” dying” process though. If we want peace we must become it, if we want a better partner we must become it, we must become what we want, when we realise that and when we realise that it takes a certain amount of work, usually equal to or greater than the reward, sometimes we feel it isn’t worth it.

TO SUM UP

I hope this helps some people realise that if you don’t have inner peace already that no partner, no money or no fame can fix that for you. Sure those things are nice to have but we must keep in mind that pleasure and pain are one in the same, to achieve greatness in any area of life requires an equal amount of pain and after the ” honeymoon” phase wears off and the true work begins, many people realise it isn’t worth it.

life is always balancing itself out which is why I feel that many people who follow a spiritual path and achieve a sense of inner peace usually end up leading simple, basic lives, not because it’s the ” spiritual” thing to do but because they start realising that everything balances out in the end and many times the perceived benefits of chasing this or that is balanced out by amount of pain it brings too. They realise a simple life is as good as anything else which usually gives them time to really live and really appreciate being alive which is usually lost in the stress of high achievement.

My thoughts anyway, have a great day as always and thanks for reading.

Simon Coleman.

What are you gonna do now?

It’s rare to meet a person in the middle of their life or near the end of their life that will tell you they truly regret nothing or have never thought about what could or should have been. “If only I did this or that, if only things played out this way or that, I should’ve known better” etc

REGRET

What I just described as we all know is regret. Some of us do it occasionally some of us do it everyday but as we all know what we are doing is playing out a fantasy in our heads, we quit focusing on reality as it is and get caught up in a fantasy world of thinking how things could have been.

We all experience regret, we all get caught up in our thoughts of the past or how the future could’ve played out if things were different etc but what we must do as quickly as possible if the regret is affecting our lives and mental well being is to come back to reality, to come back to this moment and realise this moment is the only thing that is real right now.

The past is a thought, the future is a thought and what is happening in those thoughts won’t change reality at this moment in time.

WHAT ARE YOU GONNA DO NOW?

We can replay the past as much as we want but sooner or later we come to realise this is just wasting our time and fixing nothing. Unfortunately some people get stuck in this stage their entire lives it seems, they get stuck at that one moment and regret the rest of their life away. The way I like to deal with disappointment, failure and regret is to always look at the bigger picture, our ego automatically likes to zoom in on us and make out our problems are the biggest in the world so like I said I like to zoom out.

By zooming out I mean to look at this failure or regret in the bigger picture of our lives. Personally everything I regret in my life I can trace it back to something I could’ve done differently but didn’t because of my mindset at the time. Whether it was being a people pleaser, seeking approval, low self esteem or just plain ignorance. If we could reverse time we would make the same mistakes again and again because to reverse time is to reverse everything, even our thought patterns back then.

Failure, with the right attitude teaches us valuable lessons, we learn everything from our failures they are in a sense tough love. All that matters is this moment, it’s always a new beginning and always a fresh start.

YOUR LIFE STARTS NOW

A little game I like to play is to pretend that this exact moment is where my life has begun, that I’ve just been dropped into this moment along with all the challenges that are currently here and are yet to come, my job from this moment that I’ve been dropped into, is to overcome the things I can control and accept what I can’t, in a sense it’s treating life like a video game and every great video game is hard and has endless challenges.

Our lives always start from this moment so we should treat them as such. Our failures bring us wisdom, expose flaws in our thought patterns that we are hopefully on the path to fixing and many times help us to see reality how it is not how we want it to be.

Regretting the past is a waste of time because like I said earlier, if we could reverse time we would make the same mistake again and again because to reverse time is to reverse our thinking process at that moment of the regretful decision too.

I little bit of comfort should be found in the fact that our lives as they are in this moment have always meant to be this way, if it’s going well with not too many problems we need to be cautious because nothing of value is learnt in good times.

If our lives are a complete mess we should understand that all those failures should’ve toughened us up, taught us some valuable lessons and given us a reality check on life, in fact many people turn to spirituality and looking at life more deeply when it all goes wrong, problems at times are a gentle push to focus on what truly matters in life instead of getting distracted by what doesn’t.

I hope this helps and have expressed what I wanted to, I haven’t written in a while and feel a bit rusty 🙂

Take care everyone and thanks for reading,

Simon Coleman

Why promising to love someone forever is unfair on both of you.

It sounds great to hear the words ” I love you” when it’s coming from a person we truly care about. When they promise to love us forever in a wedding vowel for instance the sound of that is music to our ears, our life is now perfect, we have found someone we feel we will love forever and they feel the same.

WHY WE CAN’T TRULY PROMISE TO LOVE SOMEONE FOREVER

As unromantic as it sounds promising to love someone forever can’t be guaranteed and we are setting ourselves up and the other person up for disappointment. Love is a feeling like all other feelings they can come and go at anytime. We may feel we can control them in some way but if we look deeply within we will realise we can’t truly control our feelings. Making a promise on a feeling is like promising the next colour on the spin of a roulette wheel will come up black, we are just hoping but can’t guarantee it…

MARRIAGE HAS ALWAYS BEEN A BUSINESS CONTRACT

Up until recently and by that I mean the last couple 100 years marriage has always been about two families agreeing to marry off their offspring to the most logical partner which would benefit both families long term. These families of the past knew you can’t agree to business and make promises on a feeling, it must be made on logic, marriage was never meant to based on romance only logic.

We can promise to stay together, we can promise to raise kids together but we can’t promise to love each other forever…

WHY CAN’T WE PROMISE TO LOVE SOMEONE FOREVER?

We all feel like the same person day in day out, year in year out we feel like a fixed, stable entity yet when we look at our actual experience we are always changing. The cells in our bodies are constantly being replaced so we can’t be our bodies. Our thoughts , feelings and beliefs are always changing so we can’t be those. The only thing that doesn’t change from birth until death is the sense that we know we are alive experiencing life.

In the moment that we say ” I love you” or “I’ll love you forever” yes in that exact moment we truly meant it, that version of us meant it, but every second, hour, day, year etc a new version of us appears with different thoughts and feelings…the version of you that promised to love someone forever isn’t the version that can’t live up to it…

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND THIS

Why it’s important to understand this topic is because it takes away a lot of the guilt and shame we feel if we stop loving someone else. It also gives us some understanding if someone stops loving us. Understanding all this doesn’t make the pain of a break up any better and it’s not an excuse not to try and fix it and work on a relationship, the whole point is feelings like everything else in life come and go, there is no real control only the illusion of it so we shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves or others if we can’t live up to our promises even when trying our best to…

Nothing in life can be grasped or clung on to, trying to always leads to frustration. If you love someone enjoy every moment of it and I hope it does last forever but if it doesn’t it’s not your fault or their fault when we look deeply enough. I’ll leave it at that.

Thanks for reading guys and have a lovely day.

Simon Coleman.

Be grateful but strive for more…

A common phrase we’ve all heard is ” just be happy with what you have”. The way I see it and if we take that phrase literally then why should we try to better ourselves or achieve anything in life at all?

While I get what the phrase is pointing to I think a better thing to say is to appreciate what we have but never stop trying to achieve more. My blog for any regular readers is heavily influenced by spirituality as you may have noticed. When I was first delving into spirituality I was learning and practicing the art of being happy with what I have which did wonders for acknowledging and appreciating the blessing I did and do have.

Something came to my mind though, if I was to take this to an extreme, if I was to give up all my possessions and live in a cave as the stereotypical story of a spiritual seeker goes could I still be happy? Or would doing that even be necessary or make any sense?

Reading the story of the Buddha (and I’m really skimming through it ) we come to see that he was originally a Prince, he had it all, all the sensual pleasures at his fingertips yet he wasn’t happy with what he had realising it would all be taken away as he gets sick, gets old and dies which is why he became a spiritual seeker. He then went about denying himself, starving himself, torturing himself, thinking that an ascetic life was the answer to inner peace and enlightenment, he went about doing the complete opposite to how he was living previously. He again realised this did not bring him happiness either.

He eventually realised the ” middle way” was the path to happiness and inner peace. Overindulgence won’t make us happy and too much hardship won’t either. Like many of my posts I take a massive detour to get to my point. The point I’m getting to though is that the point of this life, to quote Marcus Aurelius isn’t to ” huddle up under the blankets and keep warm” that is to say we are not here to have an easy life all the time, doing so makes us ungrateful, lazy, unappreciative and kills us quicker mentally and physically as we are designed and built to struggle, overcome adversity and achieve.

This must all happen in a balanced way though, as the Buddha found, everything must be in moderation. There are so many worldly people thinking achievement and success will make them happy and are miserable until they achieve it. On the other hand there are many spiritual practitioners that want nothing to do with the world and are convinced that getting rid of all external possessions and interactions is the true path to happiness. The worldly persons denies their spiritual side and the spiritual person denies their humanity. Doing one or the other leads to suffering as we are human yet we are divine simultaneously, leaning to one side too heavily is not living in moderation.

In my opinion and it’s just my opinion and what has worked for me is the middle way. Everyday I’m grateful for what I have but am not attached to what I have, if it stays that’s good, if it goes I’ll be ok too. From that foundation of just appreciating what I have I also have realised we are put on this earth to do something. I work to pay the bills yet find no true passion in my work, some people are lucky enough though to find passion in their work and put all their energy into achieving more in the workplace and that’s perfectly fine.

My passions personally lie in writing, learning, keeping mentally and physically fit and to hopefully become wiser and a better, more useful human everyday. I’m always grateful for what I have and am always at peace with what I have but like I said if I was just to stop learning and achieving then life doesn’t become much fun at all, I see it as such a waste to stop trying to achieve and grow if we are capable of doing so.

I encourage you to do the same, learn to be happy with what you have but don’t make it an excuse to stop striving and achieving. On the flip side don’t make your whole life and self worth about your success and accomplishments. Success and accomplishments are great but they don’t make you who you are.

When we take some time to look inwards through practices like meditation and spiritual philosophy we will come to see we are always perfect and complete as we are at our very core. Once we realise this once we realise in the end everything will be ok, that we don’t live a life but are the essence of life itself we can then see and live life how it should be lived and seen, as a playground.

Our achievements, goals and hardships give us something to do but they don’t add to or subtract from our true essence. Chase dreams and goals but don’t take any of it too seriously as life isn’t meant to be taken too seriously ” it’s just a ride” to quote the late Bill Hicks.

Thanks for reading have a great day guys.

Simon Coleman.

You are the problem..

You are the problem, well more often than you think. One lesson I learnt in my early twenties that has stuck with me and helped me through life is taking responsibility for what happens in my life and to my life.

It’s so easy to blame others for not liking us, taking advantage of us, being mean to us, letting us down etc the list could go on and on but when we externalise blame we not only become a victim but we give all our power away to outside influences.

In philosophies such as Stoicism one practice they constantly remind us to do is only worry about what is in our control and stop worrying about what isn’t. What you’ll find is if you really examine your life that not much is really in your control at all.

We can’t control the actions, words and behaviours of others but we can control, with consistent practice how we deal with these and other outside influences. There are people out there that want to take advantage of us, that’s life, but it’s our fault if we keep letting it happen. There are people out there who don’t find us interesting or don’t want to spend time with us, is it their fault or maybe we should learn to be more interesting or work on our social skills.

We should constantly be striving to learn and grow in every aspect of life. If we are blessed with a healthy body and mind why waste these gifts away? Why not put them to work to become as fit as possible mentally and physically? If we are constantly getting into arguments or angry is it really always the other persons fault or is there something about ourselves we can work on?

I personally take full responsibility for what happens in my life, the success is my doing, the failure is my doing, people upsetting me is my doing, people taking advantage of me is my doing etc. playing the victim and blaming others without taking at least a little bit of the blame is not only lazy but nobody cares, nobody wants to hear our problems because everyone has enough of their own to deal with.

We all want people to love us for who we are but the truth is everyone that is in our life and enjoy being around us is getting something from the interaction and association. Everyone is looking to add value to their life and the people that they have in their life are there because they add value. Knowing this why don’t we keep adding value to ourselves?

Getting in better shape, constantly developing knowledge and wisdom, pursing your passions and hobbies, working on your character to be more trustworthy, reliable, honest etc all adds value to yourself which others will appreciate. This is especially true when dating for instance. Everyone is always searching for the best deal possible in a partner but we can’t expect the best if we don’t become the best ourselves.

In the end the world is how it is and people are how they are, instead of getting upset and not liking the way things are we must accept the way things are and learn to adapt and change ourselves to fit reality not get upset that reality doesn’t conform to our liking.

You are the problem and so am I so let’s all get to work improving ourselves, adding value to ourselves and the lives of others and quit playing the blame game which is only appropriate for small children.

Thanks for reading guys have a great day.

Simon Coleman.

Winners and Learners…

We naturally may think there are winners and losers in life, that you are either winning or losing but with a slightly different mindset we can come to see that there is only winning and learning and when you are learning you are still winning.

I common phrase I like to live by is that we are either getting what we want or we are getting a lesson, either way we keep moving forward. We feel our education finishes at school but that only teaches us book smarts, it only teaches us theory. The real education I’ve come to realise happens in the day to day grind we call our life.

We all dislike uncomfortable feelings or situations and usually try to avoid them at all costs but constant avoidance teaches us how to get really good at avoidance, how to get good and getting distracted or putting things off we need to get done.

We are only truly ” losing” when we are avoiding. Trying and failing isn’t losing, if you lose for long enough or practice something long enough you will no doubt become better. One thing they teach in self defence training is that your natural instinct is to move away from danger, if someone is swinging a bat at you for instance we instinctively want to move backwards away from the swinging bat but ironically this gives the attacker more room.

In the bat scenario, the safest option when the time is right is to move in towards the attacker and blocking the attack near the shoulder joint. I use this example as a metaphor for life. We are constantly faced with uncomfortable situations everyday, whether it may be not feeling like studying, exercising, talking to people we don’t like etc, every time we walk into discomfort and fail we haven’t really failed because we were brave enough to face our discomfort or fear and in time it will help us master the things we are scared or anxious about.

Winning teaches us nothing if anything too much success can make us arrogant and unappreciative. We may feel we are ” winning” if we live in a western country and the people third world countries are ” losing” but they aren’t losing they are learning. Ever notice how hard working immigrants are when they come to a more wealthy country? While we spend our time complaining about no wifi or our latte isn’t hot enough etc they are out there learning to hustle, learning how to make money out of anything and everything and with that strong work ethic they build and learn how not to waste anything, be frugal and when they come to a better county usually make a fortune within 10 years or so.

Winning or having everything all the time especially when we haven’t worked for it makes us soft and lazy. Losing or starting off with nothing teaches us strength, persistence, hard work and eventually success. If tough times create tough people but we are lucky to live in a prosperous country then what should we do?

If our environment doesn’t force us to succeed and become tough like in poorer countries then we must learn to impose standards to make us better people on ourselves. When we have the option of comfort vs discomfort and taking the route of discomfort we know will improve us as a person in some way we should choose that route.

The more we chase discomfort and stepping into what we fear the stronger and more powerful we become. Losing is not trying. Winning is trying even when you don’t want to, the outcome doesn’t matter. We are so focused on the outcome and we think that’s what life is all about that we forget that you can win and still lose, you can win an argument with your partner for instance but the fact you are arguing is a loss already.

We all dream of a perfect life with no problems but how boring would that be? How boring would a movie be with no problems or bad guys, a movie where everything is going right for the main character? We must accept and embrace what we call failure because that’s what teaches us the real, useful lessons in life.

There is no winning and losing, only winning and learning, so I wish you all success but also some failures along the way too because that’s where true self improvement begins.

Thanks for reading guys and have a nice day.

Simon Coleman.

Choice can be a bad thing..

In the western world at least we’ve never lived in such a time where we’ve had so much opportunity and so much choice. What should I eat, wear, study, Who should I date, who should I marry, should I even get married?? Etc.

Like everything in life when something improves it comes at the expense of something else. Unlimited choice sounds liberating and it can be but it can also bring about doubt and anxiousness.

Many generations ago we were basically told or set up with who we marry, we were pretty much stuck in the class we were born into and we would take over the family business or trade of our parents. It all sounded very limiting and in a sense it was but when you knew that this is the way life is and there is no chance of getting out of it it would’ve brought people to the stage of acceptance of what is and to learn to be happy and enjoy what they had.

These days it’s the opposite, everything from jobs, entertainment, studying and relationships are now a click of a button away. It’s extremely convenient but at the same time it keeps us in constant doubt, it constantly makes us think and feel ” is this really the right person, job, study course for me??”

To many options make us feel uneasy, the fear of missing out and the thought that the grass is greener elsewhere puts us in a state of constant discomfort. A perfect example of this recently in my own life is when I discovered I could use my retirement fund to invest in property, when I found this out I was thinking and thinking if it was the right thing for me, the pros and cons and also realising that we can’t really know what’s best in the long run for sure…

I kept thinking and thinking until I found out that my retirement fund needs to have a certain amount of funds in it, funds I didn’t have just yet to even be eligible to invest in property. When I realised this a sense of relief came to me when I realised that I didn’t have that choice anymore and can stop thinking about it.

For most of us our lives aren’t planned out for us we have constant choice in every aspect of life. What helps me get through day by day is to treat my life like a movie. The beginning, end and every scene in between has already been scripted and made, The character I think I am is just acting out it’s part.

Science tells us that time is an illusion, all moments past, present and future are all playing out in the eternal ” now ” moment just like all scenes exist on a DVD all at the same time, it just appears to have a chain of events that are unfolding from the point of the viewer.

Why do I bring this up? Because when we realise that the self we believe ourselves to be is playing out it’s life and doesn’t really have much or any control over life due to every action or thought we have is in reaction to external factors outside of our control we can start accepting that our lives are gonna unfold as they will and should. Our true self is eternally free, always located here and now, doesn’t get old but watches the body get old, isn’t in time but watches time pass, isn’t any one feeling or emotion but experiences all feelings and emotions.

We ultimately have no choice but the illusion of many choices, all we can do is be aware of our choices and accept the choices we make and be happy the best we can with the consequences and outcomes of those decisions. We are always gaining something from our choices in life at the end of the day, we are either getting what we want or are getting a lesson on how to improve next time.

If we regret our decisions and choices what we are really saying is we regret growing wiser and and stronger because we learn all the valuable lessons in life usually when things go bad. There isn’t Winning and Losing in life, only Winning and Learning.

My thoughts anyway,

Thanks for reading.

Simon Coleman.