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.

Pick your problems…

The older I get the more I do believe that there is no such thing as a perfect life. Sure we’ve all heard that there isn’t such a thing as a perfect life but it never stops us from trying to achieve it anyway.

If only we had a different partner or no partner at all, if only we had a better family or more money or more whatever or less of something else etc…. our minds do a great job of focusing on the negative in our lives while ignoring the positives.

PICKING YOUR PROBLEMS

I feel like a slow learner, I also feel like someone who was never good at listening to advice but learning from experience and what experience seems to have shown me is there is not a problem free scenario for life, all we can do is pick the problems we want to tackle.

A relationship for instances has many benefits, some of them include loyalty, comfort and familiarity but this comes at the expense of our freedom, at the feeling of being trapped and confined. Being single has ultimate freedom but at the expense of no loyalty and usually not being able to connect with another person on a deeper level, something we all crave.

Being ordinary, living a simple life has the problem of ” being average” ” not living up to your potential” which in a world, especially in western society that looks down on such a mediocre life can make us feel like we should be doing more…the benefit though of such an ordinary life is being able to keep private, to blend into the background, not needing to live up to an image or being constantly in the spotlight which is a dream many famous and wealthy people wish they can have.

FINDING PEACE IN IMPERFECTION

Relationships and money are just a couple of examples where no matter what you do you will run into problems but there are countless other situations and scenarios in life that with a bit of self reflection you can find out for yourself.

Before Spirituality, when I was younger, I was convinced that there was a perfect way to live, that a perfect life did exist you just had to work hard for it, you just had to keep changing and controlling the external conditions around you until you got there…eventually I realised while it’s true we all have preferences and we aren’t here to be a door mat or just blindly listen and follow how we should live our lives without question, the biggest realisation I came to was that no matter what we do, our situation is always going to appear not complete or imperfect in some way and instead of trying to control and manage every last detail to realise that we must surrender to the fact that life is imperfect, to find peace not in the absence of problems but in the midst of them.

LIFE IS A RIGGED GAME

I truly view life as a rigged game much like a casino game, no matter how you bet, no matter what strategy you use, no matter if you play this game or that, in the end you lose because the odds are in favour of the casino. Be in a relationship and have problems, be single and have problems, become lazy and have problems, become a workaholic and have problems, become introvert or extrovert, have kids or don’t have kids, live for now or be frugal for the future, a future that may never come, the list is endless…but what I’m pointing to is that life is never about perfection.

I’ve mentioned in other posts how life is always under the ying yang principle. When we look out in the world we can only see imperfection because when we look inward we can only see perfection. Outwardly there appears to be time and space because inwardly we are timeless and dimensionless. We are inwardly divine yet outwardly flawed.

Getting absorbed entirely in the outside world causes frustration and suffering, but seeing the outside world as the balancing force to our inner world brings us a sense of inner peace and calm. Life is a rigged game because it gives us challenges, it gives us something to do, it gives us the gift of feeling the wild ride of human emotions. Perfection craves to experience imperfection and vice versa the two are always one and give life to one another.

JUST REALISE THIS….

Just realise that we are never doing life wrong, that the people we admire and feel have the perfect life are suffering with their own insecurities and problems as well. Like I said life is rigged, what people have in an abundance in one area of life is usually at the expense of another area. Life is just a perfect imperfect mess, it just is what it is…

My thoughts anyway, 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.

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

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.

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.

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.