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.

Who’s offended? Mindfulness will reveal it..

It happens to all of us, someone says or does something that we deem offensive but have we ever stopped to really ask ” who is offended?” Of course the answer in our minds is so obvious that we feel it doesn’t warrant further investigation, ” Me, I’m offended!”

It’s the most natural and obvious answer but have we ever stopped to ask who I am that is offended? Someone calls us a bad name and we feel bad but us feeling bad is a reaction to something we call ” Me” being hurt or offended.

We may say ” I am my body” but does our body feel hurt when someone says something offensive? Does our nose, arm, ear or leg etc get upset? Of course not, how could they, how could any part of our body get upset by words?

We may say ” that’s true but my body has uncomfortable feelings when I’m offended” We need to remember that the uncomfortable feelings our body goes through isn’t because our body is offended but a reaction to something we call ” Me” or “I” being offended.

So if our true essence isn’t our body or mind because if our mind comes from our brain our brain is part of our body, then who or what are we then? The more you investigate this question you will eventually come to realise that who or what we are cannot be found, thought about or conceptualised.

We know we are experiencing a mind a body and a world but anything we experience can’t possibly be what we are because we see the coming and going of all experience. What we are can’t be known and can’t be offended. If what we truly are can’t be offended then why are we offended?

Eventually we come to see that who we think we are is just that, a thought. What we walk around day in, day out trying to improve, trying to protect etc is just an image in our head of words and ideas that we think we are. So what’s really happening when we get offended? Quite simply someone’s words are ” attacking” our thoughts, attacking our image which is just a thought. Our image and view of ourselves can be seen and described in thoughts and words so what we essentially have is words attacking words, thoughts attacking thoughts, thought wars! Lol

When you critically and mindfully see and experience what I’m saying you’ll come to realise how strange all this really is. We go around attacking people’s image and defending our image but it’s all just images in our minds.

What spiritually is essentially trying to reveal to us is that life is like watching a movie but we get so involved in the movie that we forget we are watching it and start believing and identifying with a character in the movie. We always experience the feelings and emotions of the main character in a movie when the movie is good and we are really into it. All that a spiritual teacher is trying to point out is to remember we aren’t the character but the one watching it.

I mentioned the word mindful just earlier and mindfulness is a powerful practice and habit to get into to so we can see this for ourselves. Particularly being mindful of our thoughts, watching our thoughts come and go, watching our feelings come and go, realising that all thoughts and feelings rise out of the emptiness we are and dissolve back into it.

We’ve spent a whole life time believing who we are is a body, mind and image, reading this post won’t break that conditioning but hopefully if you have grasped what I’m saying it’s given you food for thought to actually be mindful and watch what is really happening in our lives as opposed to what we assume is happening.

How to we practice mindfulness? Well meditation goes along way to developing the skill which I’ve wrote about previously and is a whole separate post in itself. For now though the takeaway point of this post is to stop assuming and reacting to life and to the words and actions of others and start observing what truly is happening.

You have, are and always will be much greater than you think, your only job when you are ready is to see and realise it for yourself.

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.

Appreciating “ Now”

No matter what situation we find ourselves in life we always have a tendency to want it to be better. If we are flat broke, struggling to make ends meet and not knowing where our next meal is coming from then we would be craving drastic changes, in that situation money would bring us more happiness, but once the necessities are taken care of, happiness doesn’t increase with the rate of money we accumulate.

Even people that can get the best in life or have a stress free life still will want something better for themselves in regards to their relationship, physical appearance, monetary status etc. So if after we are secure in the basics ( a roof over our head and consistent food and water) why then can we still feel unhappy no matter how successful we become?

We get good at what we practice. If we practice using this moment as a constant stepping stone towards something better in the future that never comes, we get good at living in our minds, we get good at telling ourselves ” I’ll be happy when this or that happens” on the flip side, if we practice using this moment as a chance to stop and appreciate what we already have, to realise how far we have already come, to realise what a miracle it is even to know we are alive, then we get good at living and appreciating the present moment which is the only moment we ever have.

Learning to live simply, learning to live in appreciation is so important. If we can master the art of being happy with what we have and appreciating what we have, in time it becomes a habit. ” If everyone was just sitting around being happy with what they have how would the world progress forward?” You might ask.

Striving for a better life, striving for greatness isn’t in conflict with appreciating what we already have, in fact plans are best suited for those that live in the moment not live in their heads. Any goal we set out to achieve, the goal itself happens pretty fast, you get the million dollars you wanted, the university degree, the dream partner, the perfect body etc the act of receiving or obtaining the goal is over in an instant. What isn’t instant though is the daily grind over many years to achieve that successful moment in time, to achieve anything really means a lot of repetition, failures and boredom.

Anyone who has achieved anything will tell you enjoying the journey as much as the destination is so important, we need to do it because we love the process, if we don’t love the process we will eventually give up on the goal. So how do we learn to love the process? Loving the process comes from loving and appreciating the moment. Like I said earlier if we can master the art of being happy with simplicity and make that our foundation, we then will have a solid base from which to build and strive for a better future. If we are constantly miserable or unappreciative of what we have we tend to become impulsive, short sighted and make wrong decisions which ironically tends to make our lives worse not better.

99% of our lives is mundane and uneventful, the big events spike our happiness for a short time but we always return back to our baseline general feeling pretty quickly. Mastering the art of appreciating the uneventful, repetitive and boring means mastering the art of living, life isn’t a Facebook or Instagram profile. Striving for success and self improvement isn’t a bad thing, in fact it’s a good thing, to be human is to strive towards a goal, but to achieve the goal successfully means we must always appreciate and fall in love with the the process, with the moment, it’s the only way to live a balanced, happy, peaceful life.

My thoughts anyway,

Thanks for reading, liking and subscribing guys, I really appreciate expressing my thoughts on this blog and that their are people that enjoy reading it, until next time take care.

Simon Coleman.

Regretting the past is a waste of time.

Regretting the past is a waste of time. Our minds have a natural tendency to think of the past, to think of what could have or should have been, we all by default think this way, but to live in reality and to find more peace in our lives we must practice what doesn’t come naturally to most of us which is to let things go, live in the moment and stop thinking about events that can’t be changed.

We love to think back on things that have went wrong in our lives and say ” if only I did this or said that things would’ve been different” sure they may have been different but we can’t assume what could’ve been would’ve been.

Another thing to realise is how many unfortunate events have we avoided without even knowing? Let me explain.

Have you ever had an unfortunate event happen in your life such as a car accident for example then told yourself ” if only I left a minute later, or a minute earlier, if only I took that other road I normally take etc this accident would never had happened” it’s true it wouldn’t have happened, but how many accidents have we avoided without even knowing by leaving a minute earlier or a minute later on other days?

If you could see the unfortunate events that could’ve played out but didn’t if we did do something slightly different that day we wouldn’t feel life is against us so much. Life is unfolding as it should at all times, life owes us nothing, we are either getting what we want or getting a lesson how to do something better or not at all next time.

Regretting what has happened or using mental energy thinking about things out of our control doesn’t solve anything. The quicker we can go from thinking about why something shouldn’t have happened to thinking, “it has happened and what am I gonna do now?” the quicker we can move on with our lives and live back in reality.

It’s not about having no feelings or blocking out sadness and grief when things go wrong, we should feel what we are feeling to the fullest when we are experiencing it, it’s about realising that a perfect life with nothing going wrong, no adversity, no problems or no mistakes is a dull life. Imagine watching a movie where nothing went wrong, there is no conflict, no drama or tension etc, how boring…

Treat life like an unfolding movie, you never know what’s coming next, also many times when something goes wrong in our lives it’s setting us up for something better to come along, but it works both ways, sometimes what seems like something good happening to us sets us up for something bad as well.

The point is we can never really say what is ultimately a good or bad event for the entire story of our lives, sure if we zoom in to that one event we can judge it good or bad, our minds love being short sighted, but if we can zoom out we never know what this one event that we label good or bad is setting us up for in the future so why regret anything? Just sit back and watch the movie we call ” my life” unfold. Just do the best you can, no one has a problem free life regardless of how their life appears, my thoughts on it anyway.

Thanks for reading guys, thanks for liking and subscribing to my blog, have a good day.

Simon Coleman.

Spiritual detachment, it’s not about being cold.

Spiritual detachment is a phrase everyone is bound to hear eventually when they decide to venture down the spiritual path but what is spiritual detachment exactly?

Many people, including myself when I first heard about this idea thought it meant trying to detach from our feelings. Detach in the sense of not trying to feel anything, not trying to feel, happy, or sad or excitement or any emotion really because in doing so would mean being attached to that certain emotion, situation or person that caused those feelings to arise.

There is a saying in zen not to turn into a ” Stone Buddha” by that they mean, the goal in spirituality isn’t to turn into a stone statue, unmoved or unaffected by anything, even if we could feel that way, how terrible and what a boring way to experience this miracle called life. The state we are trying to achieve isn’t a state of avoiding, suppressing or running away from life in a hope to find peace but running head first into life, embracing whatever we experience fully.

Our ego turns everything into an image, a story, how to do this or do that etc, our ego sees spirituality or how a spiritual person is suppose to act and feel in a certain way, the reality is though we are spiritual in every moment and every action. Our ego thinks inner peace will come when we are walking around like a saint, happy all the time with a smile on our face, unaffected by any bad thoughts or feelings.

The reality to inner peace though, the true meaning of spiritual detachment is to not run from or avoid experience but to run towards experience and fully embrace it. We must fully embrace it and experience it but in the back of our minds remember to tell ourselves that everything is impermanent, nothing lasts, so don’t cling to any experience, don’t wish things were different because things never stay the same.

When we are happy we must make the most of that moment knowing it won’t last. When we are upset, no need to try to block out the feelings, we might as well fully embrace the feeling of sadness to the fullest knowing it won’t last as well. Our thoughts and feelings are never a problem, resisting or clinging to certain thoughts and feelings is the problem.

Inner peace isn’t found in the absence of problems but in the midst of them. We are human, we have a full range of human emotions, to be detached from our emotions in the spiritual sense is to welcome all thoughts, feelings and emotions equally with no resistance to what is. On the outside we will look and act like a regular person but on the inside we will find inner peace. If our ego self wants to act and dress what it deems as “spiritual” that’s totally fine too, but just realise it’s not required and doesn’t achieve anything other than present an image to the world.

When we look deep within we will see our true self is already detached, is unaffected by anything. We see happiness come and we see it go so our true self can’t be happy. We see sadness come and we see it go so our true self can’t be sad, the same goes for everything we experience. Our true self is always detached and at peace, it’s our ego self that goes on the full roller coaster of emotions and that’s perfectly ok. Our ego self is flawed, is in constant movement and unrest, our true self is divine, perfect and unmoved. We are always playing the human and divine role simultaneously, it’s ying and yang in action.

Thanks for reading, have an awesome day.

Simon Coleman.