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.

Enjoying being Miserable

Everyone has a different view on spirituality and self development. When I first got into spirituality I thought it was all about being happy, positive, peaceful and calm at all times. Any feelings of negativity, anger, being judgmental etc, meant I still had work to do, that I hadn’t achieved inner peace yet….

IT’S ALL ABOUT ACCEPTANCE

I can’t remember when it was but there was a turning point on my spiritual path where I went from trying to keep up the positive, calm, accepting, non judgmental attitude to just dropping it all and internally saying ” screw this I give up” ironically at that moment I found a glimpse of the inner peace I was seeking.

When our ego tries to walk around being accepting, positive, happy at all times, putting on a good act, acting how it thinks a Spiritual person should act, the act won’t last for very long because the true meaning of acceptance in the spiritual sense is to accept our entire humanity, even the undesirable aspects.

I ENJOY BEING MISERABLE

Eventually when we come to realise that acceptance means to accept everything that appears in this moment, that the essence of what we are which is unconditional acceptance or unconditional love has already accepted and allowed what is happening otherwise it wouldn’t be happening, we then can find an inner peace not in the absence of problems but in the midst of them.

To be honest I enjoy being miserable at times, I enjoy a bit of complaining. Being grumpy and negative I feel is healthy because to be human is to have opposing forces in us at all times. Walking around with a fake smile acting like everything is ok, yeah I tried that and it’s not for me, it didn’t bring me peace it just made me feel tired of living up to an image of what I thought spirituality was.

INNER PEACE COMES FROM BEING GENUINE

A few times throughout other blog posts I’ve mentioned that the reason we love small children and animals so much is in my opinion anyway, because they are always being genuine, they are incapable of putting on an act, it’s true of animals and of small children until they reach a certain age then they start learning how to act in a way that benefits them like the rest of us.

I enjoy walking around not smiling all the time unless something is funny, I enjoy not constantly praising people or complimenting them unless I mean it, I enjoy being honest when I can’t help and only helping when I can etc.. To just be yourself openly and honestly even when it’s not pretty is the most liberating feeling of all…

TRYING TO BE A GOOD PERSON

Any kind of acting is always going to make us feel irritable. Trying to be a good person, trying to be positive, trying to be happy doesn’t work. You are either a genuinely good person in this moment or not, you are either genuinely a selfish person in this moment or a selfless one, it doesn’t matter because however we act and feel in this moment is genuinely ok…” Bad” or ” Selfish” people just haven’t done enough bad or selfish things yet to realise it doesn’t pay…we all learn through experience, what changes how we interact with the world is a really terrible experience that forces us to change…until then don’t worry how you act or how others do because we are all on the road to becoming a Buddha as they say in Buddhism, no matter how many lives it takes, if you believe in reincarnation.

AT THE END OF THE DAY….

At the end of the day we are obviously free to view spirituality as we want, in my opinion though, visualising a time when I thought inner peace would mean walking around without a care in the world, always happy, always positive, always understanding hasn’t come for me yet…like I said I’ve personally found peace in embracing my humanity, warts and all as opposed to trying to transcend it, but that’s just me, maybe your experience is different, I’ll leave it at that.

As always thanks for reading everyone and I hope the day treats you well.

Simon Coleman.

Following your happiness as a Spiritual practice.

I view the spiritual journey which is ironically a journey back to this moment as a liberating experience. Many people come to spiritual teachings when the material world fails them or doesn’t live up to their expectations. The money or fame brings even more problems or the relationships that were promised to give them lasting happiness fails too etc….

Many people and I was one of them, once they start getting into spiritual teachings can start taking it too seriously. They also probably feel to achieve inner peace and happiness takes a lot of hard work and sacrifice. Hours on the meditation cushion, hours studying spiritual teachings, trying to suppress their bad thoughts or desires etc, whatever it is, if spiritual teachings and practice become difficult or a chore then you might as well stop and do something else.

TRUE SPIRITUAL PRACTICE

Everything I write is my opinion and my opinion regarding spiritual practice is that the highest form of it is just simply doing what you love. I’m naturally introverted by nature, I get great enjoyment from contemplating life and from meditating.

I also get great enjoyment from lifting weights, practicing self defence training and writing this blog for instance, I believe that the highest form of spiritual practice is doing what you love. If you find meditation a chore then don’t do it, imagine if someone stopped you in the middle of doing something you loved and said ” excuse me you are living life wrong, what you need to be doing is meditating 2 hours a day and contemplating life” how ridiculous does that sound?

WHEN THE STUDENT IS READY THE TEACHER APPEARS

” When the student is ready the teacher appears” it’s a great quote from Buddhism and sums up the Philosophy perfectly. Buddhist don’t try to convert anyone or tell anyone they are living life wrong because they know that all is one, all is connected, all is GOD. If living a life of partying and recklessness makes you happy I’d say go for it as long as you know the consequences of your actions. What brings us happiness one moment may bring consequences later that we hopefully learn and grow from.

FINDING GOD IN THE ORDINARY

I believe following our happiness is the highest form of spiritual practice because all is one, all is God. We search for God or a higher meaning in religion but it can be found in the ordinary. God is found pursuing our happiness. We all have different views on the matter but I believe God is the essence of all even that which we deem bad. If following your happiness leads you down the wrong path well you need to accept the consequences of those actions. Like I said at the beginning of this blog post, most people turn to spirituality when the material world fails them so it’s a case of keeps pursuing what makes you happy or think will make you happy until it doesn’t.

THERE IS NO RIGHT WAY TO LIVE LIFE

Regardless of how I think the world should be or you do, or extremists do or activists do etc no one really knows the right way. I view life like a never ending school lesson. I’ve always followed my happiness and I’ve always got something out of doing so. If we look at the bigger picture we are always getting what we want or getting a lesson how to improve next time or not make the same mistakes again.

So to sum up I don’t believe there is any offical way to live a spiritual life. If dressing in robes and meditating all day feels right then that is the way. If becoming obsessed with the mating rituals of a rare bird that you enjoy researching and studying brings you happiness then that is the way, if just living a simple family life does it for you then that is the way.

I’ve probably told you nothing special but just realise, in my opinion anyway is that to be spiritual shouldn’t feel like a chore, it should bring happiness because that’s what life is all about in the end, the essence of God and the essence of you is peace and happiness so whatever brings it out of you is the correct way.

Thanks for reading guys and have a wonderful day, I wish you all much happiness.

Simon Coleman.

The paradox of spiritual teachings & the dream we call “ Life”…

” We are all one, we are all connected, everything is coming from the one source”

Anyone spending anytime studying spiritual teachings would’ve come across one if not all of the above statements. Spiritual teachings can and do show us absolute truth but clinging to that truth out of context doesn’t help us or anyone around us.

ABSOLUTE TRUTH DOSEN’T APPLY ON THR RELATIVE LEVEL

While it’s true we are all one, we are all coming from the one source that at the ultimate level there is no time, space, sense of Me and other etc we can only apply that to the ultimate level of reality, trying to apply that idea to the relative level of reality where we all live as human beings where we experience time, space, self and other etc won’t work, let me explain:

We may harm others, we may rape, kill, take advantage of others etc then claim ” it doesn’t matter because ultimately there is no right or wrong, all is one so all is good…

We can think that way when we are doing that to others but let’s flip the script, would you like others torturing, raping, killing your loved ones or you? Of course not because on the relative level those things do exist and we all live on the relative level where we don’t want those things to happen…

ON THE ABSOLUTE LEVEL EVERYTHING IS PERFECT, ON THE RELATIVE LEVEL NOTHING IS..

Listening to spiritual teachers one minute say everything is perfect, nothing needs to be changed then the other minute say we must do good in this world, we must strive to improve ourselves and the lives of others may sound confusing if you don’t understand the levels. Reality is always perfect as it is, even trying to change it is perfect..

THE PARADOX OF SPIRITUAL TEACHINGS.

Life always operates on the Ying Yang principle, that is two apparent opposites always existing as one. You are already enlightened, nothing needs to be done but to realise that truth you need to put the work in paradoxically. The world is imperfect because reality ultimately is perfect. We experience time because reality is timeless, we experience separation only because we are all one, you only know who you are because you can point to everything you are not, but if you take away everything you are not, that includes the earth, the food the water, the air etc you cease to exist as well.

HOW I APPLY THE PARADOX TO DAILY LIFE

How I choose to live life comes from a way of viewing reality that the Tibetan Monks recommend. The whole foundation of their teachings and how they live their daily life and constantly keep reminding themselves is that life is just a dream. Life is a big dream that we have smaller dreams in every night. Every night we fall asleep in a sense we are dying and being reborn the next morning, we slip into a dream state, believe the dream state is reality and only realise we were dreaming when we wake up.

The whole topic would be a blog post in itself but I’ll keep it simple. If we come to the understanding that everything is connected and everything is one just like in a dream where we seem to move around a separate dream world, interacting with pleasant and unpleasant dream characters that we can hurt and they can hurt us etc we then can apply absolute truth and relative truth in our lives.

ENLIGHTENMENT ON THE RELATIVE LEVEL

YES IT’S ALL A DREAM but the dream character we believe ourselves to be needs to interact with the dream, perform activities in the dream and deal with other dream characters.

I view Enlightenment as waking up from the dream of life, anyone that has had a lucid dream at night will realise how amazing it is to realise you are dreaming while in the act of doing it. I feel the famous teachers such as the Buddha, Jesus and many other did just that, they become lucid to life and their their teachings are trying to point us to wake up to it as well.

We must treat the other ” dream characters” in life well because on the absolute level them and us are the same, we are all dream characters in ” Gods” dream, the essence of God and us are one and the same.

We live on the relative level though so on the relative level, treating others well usually means they will do the same back to us. When we go around causing trouble trouble eventually starts looking for us and that can turn the dream we call life into a nightmare.

On the flip side is we go around treating others well we usually avoid trouble and our lives are more peaceful as a result.

My thoughts anyway,

Like always thanks for reading guys and have a good day.

Simon Coleman.

You are God playing dress ups..

” Go to America and tell everyone you’re God and they’ll lock you up in a mental institution. Go to India and tell everyone you’re God and they’ll say to you ” what took you so long to figure it out?”

Allan Watts

That quote from Allan Watts really sums up how we view God in the West as opposed to the East. I have nothing against religion or how anyone views God, I grew up in a Christian faith being taught God is an almighty entity that created us and the world, that we have free will and can choose between good and evil.

WHAT I COULDN’T COME TO TERMS WITH..

One question I constantly had growing up with this view of God was if God was all powerful and all knowing etc then the substance all everything must be God, God and it’s creation must be the same, If God created everything then he must’ve created good and evil…

I was told that the devil created evil, that we have free will, that we aren’t God but his creation etc but my point was if evil was from the devil didn’t God create the devil? I had many questions that I won’t go into but my whole point was is God was so powerful then shouldn’t he be the substance of all things and the creator of all things and if he wasn’t then there must’ve been something greater..

ENTER BUDDHISM/ HINDUISM PHILOSOPHY

One thing that drew me to the teachings of the east was they were teaching what I long suspected, that the ultimate nature of reality, in Hinduism what they call “Brahman” is the substance of all things. Sure there is creation and there may or may not be more powerful beings but the fact remained when you boil it down, good evil, gods, humans, life death etc, the nature of all things and of all experience comes from the one source and you are that source.

YOU ARE GOD PLAYING DRESS UPS

From a western upbringing, saying you are God or hearing you are God sounds like the ultimate ego trip. We must understand though when they say you are God they mean the essence of what you are and the essence of everything is God, in other words there are no two things, there is no separation. The most purest person is god and the most evil is god, the most richest and the most poorest, the most beautiful and the most ugly etc…

We can paint a scene depicting heaven and hell on a canvas. We can say one side is better or worse but in the end it’s all just canvas, remove the canvas and the painting full of separation, judgment, good and evil, all the opposites go with it, you are the canvas not a image on it.

” The Face of God can be seen wherever the eyes falls”

If you want to see the face of God look in the mirror but also be sure to look in every direction and at everything and every person, it’s all one and all god.

When we dream at night we experience countless people, places and things but in the end the whole creation is created from a single source, the dreamers mind, who we think we are, our ego self is just a dream within gods mind, your mind.

THE IMPLICATIONS OF THIS NEW UNDERSTANDING

So how does it affect your life when you view yourself and God this way?

When you view God this way it makes you more understanding and accepting of life and of others. Unconditional love is another way of saying unconditional acceptance and isn’t life always like that?

Before we judge something good or bad, right or wrong hasn’t it already been accepted otherwise it wouldn’t be happening? The essence of what we are is the essence of all life and that essence is always allowing and accepting what is.

Our judgments and opinions come after the fact. Our true self accepts all, loves all, it’s our ego that judges and separates and it’s not a bad thing, to experience a world we must have the illusion of separation and our ego does a great job of doing that as it is it’s purpose, the trap we fall into though is believing we are our ego.

YOU ARE HUMAN YET DIVINE

You are not a mistake, you are not in need of fixing or need to feel worthless, you are human and all those traits and flaws are part of the package of the human experience. We experience all the hardships and suffering of being human but we mustn’t fall into the trap of believing it’s all we are. We experience all this imperfection because we are perfect, we feel so small and meaningless because we are great and meaningful. Life is the ultimate paradox it can’t be understood by the mind because it’s beyond mind.

I’ll leave it at that for now, thanks for reading,

Simon Coleman.

Young children and animals, why we love them.

For most of us there is nothing more adorable than watching a small child discover the world, they look at everything with wonder and excitement, dance and play when they want to, not doing anything because they know someone is watching or it’s the right thing to do but just because that’s what they want to do in the moment.

Similarly with animals they brighten up our day, dogs in particular are always happy to see us, always loyal to us, they make us feel accepted and loved.

Thinking about this I started realising that what we call ” innocence” when we say a child or animal is innocent which is why we love them, what we are really saying is that they are honest, we love and value their honesty.

ITS HONESTY THAT WE LOVE

What we really love and value in young children and animals is their honesty, they do things in the moment just for the sake of doing it, they express how they feel in the moment when they feel it. When a dog wants more food it begs, when it wants to play fetch it brings you the ball, when a young child is happy it dances, laughs etc, when it’s upset it’s screams down the room etc…

You may be saying ” what’s your point? I express and act how I want to when I want to as well”

ADULTS CAN’T ALWAYS BE HONEST

We can be ourselves up to a point but we must fake and lie many times during the day not because we are bad people but because that’s how society operates. We also can’t help not to do or to say things that we know will please others. When we are having a bad day we still tell strangers and acquaintances we are “good”for instance. It’s acceptable to be happy and laugh in public but not to be upset or cry, of course we can do it but it makes others uncomfortable.

How we dress, what we buy, the photos we may put on social media etc we may say it’s for us but deep down we do and say things because we know what type of reaction it will cause, usually a reaction that gets us praise or attention from others.

ANIMALS AND CHILDREN LIVE IN THE MOMENT

Animals and children truly live in the moment. Like I said earlier everything they do comes from a place of just wanting to do it not from a place of thinking it’s the right thing to do. What we all long for I believe is to have that freedom again, that freedom to just be who we are when we want to be with no guilt, shame or judgment. We live in a world though where we must wear a mask, play a role, many roles to many different people, it can get exhausting and we all long to put it down…

CHILDREN AND ANIMALS ARE NON JUDGMENTAL

My final reason I feel we love animals and children so much is that they are non judgmental and that’s a big deal. It’s a really big deal because they are showing us the true essence of what life is and what life is all about. Life at its core is non judgmental, life at its core is unconditional love, unconditional acceptance, it’s what we all crave because it’s what we all are but seem to forget it as we get older into adulthood.

We all grow up and develop an ego, a sense of being a separate person in a separate world and that’s totally fine as to experience a separate world we must feel like a separate entity, it’s the price we pay to experience life. The downside is that to be and act like a separate entity we must develop tendencies that judge others, that only show conditional love, that divides and separates everything. Our ego thrives on all those actions and thoughts to fuel itself, the ego is a dividing mechanism.

Most people feel they are a separate person wandering around a dark, unforgiving world looking and craving for love and acceptance from outside sources. What I feel animals and small children bring out of us is that intuitive sense that the world isn’t how we perceive it to be, we believe the world is dark, unforgiving, judgmental and unloving because we are seeing it through the lenses of our egos.

CHILDREN AND ANIMALS REMIND US WHO WE ARE AT OUR CORE

Unconditional love, acceptance, honesty, non judgment. Whether we realise it or not its not that animals and young children shower these things onto us, what they are really doing is bringing those qualities out of us, qualities we having hiding underneath the mask of the ego, they remind us who we are at our core which are all these qualities whether we realise it or not.

Thanks for reading,

Simon Coleman.

Meditation: actively doing nothing…

We live in a world of appearances. Seeing someone exercising, constantly moving, puffing and sweating we would look at all that activity and probably say ” Wow they are really getting some work done, they are really making changes to their body.

Appearances can be deceiving though, while yes we can look at someone exercising and based on all the action we see assume correctly so that they are making a difference to their body and life, we may look at someone sitting perfectly still, eyes closed and assume they are doing nothing at all.

What is good for the body is to keep it moving, to keep pushing it to its limits. Our minds though are completely different, what is good for our minds is a period of stillness, of doing nothing. While doing nothing sounds like a waste of time in a world where we are constantly on the move, at times less is more and it’s especially the case in regards to our mind and meditation.

Meditation is the act of actively doing nothing. So how to we practice actively doing nothing? It’s quite simple, just sit, just sit and watch. We are so used to watching life go by, so used to getting swept up in our thoughts, feelings and emotions, constantly judging and labelling everything. Meditation is a break from all that mental effort, it’s all about just watching non judgmentally.

So how do we go about this practically? Our body and mind are linked. Sitting still, keeping our body still is important because we want all our awareness on what’s going on mentally not physically. Constant movement of the body steals our attention and distracts us which is why we sit still. While sitting still tends to slow the mind and thoughts, our goal isn’t to stop thinking or get upset if thoughts keep coming, our only goal is to sit and watch ” from a distance” how our minds operate non judgmentally.

A scientist studying the behaviour of a monkey in a lab isn’t going to be judgmental of the behaviour and actions of the monkey, the scientist is just there to observe and take notes. Meditation is exactly the same, we are there just to simply watch how our mind operates.

So what’s the point of all this? The point is to realise once you know how something operates, once you know how a trap operates you are free from it. Watching our thoughts and feelings come and go, seeing them come out of nothing and dissolve back into nothing makes us realise that if we can see the coming and going of every thought and feeling that none of these that we put so much time and energy into is worth worrying about or identifying with.

Clouds pass by in the sky, the clouds could be light and breezy or dark and filled with rain, lightening flashes, thunder booms, all these things happen in the sky but not to the sky. The sky is much greater and holds all these things within it yet it doesn’t identify or is affected by any of it.

Through constant meditation you will come to see that every thought, feeling, sensation and perception that we all experience and identify with ultimately has nothing to do with us or who we are at our core. All the things we experience are just impersonal passing phenomena that we identify with which many times causes us unnecessary suffering.

The act of mediation is about getting in touch and visiting our true self, diving underneath all the thoughts and feelings we identify with to arrive at our core which is ultimately, nothing. We are ultimately nothing, timeless and dimensionless, but the nothingness we are is ultimately what allows everything to be. We are nothing which is why we experience everything, it’s the perfect example of the Ying Yang principle in action.

I’ll leave it at that for now, thanks for reading.

Simon Coleman.