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

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.

You are nothing…

You are nothing which is why you are everything. One of the most important questions we can and should ask ourselves I feel is who are we? It’s the most important question because our whole lives are built around our sense of self. We go about our day protecting, defending and trying to improve ourselves but who or what are we trying to defend, protect, improve?

The question I’m raising isn’t unique in fact the whole basis of a spiritual practice is trying to answer this question, the more we ask the question and the more we look to answer it we eventually come to realise who or what we are can’t be pinned down.

We believe we are our body but every single cell in our body is replaced at the longest every 7 years…not one cell in our body is the same as it was 7 years ago yet we feel we are the same person. We may believe we are our thoughts and feelings yet we see them coming and going constantly.

We may then feel we are our opinions, beliefs and ideas, we are willing to fight and die over these at times, yet again these come and go and can and do change over time. Are we our memories? Well we are constantly creating new ones so they can’t be us either.

We must be our DNA…well if a scientist could clone our DNA and make an exact replica of us would we feel that clone was us? Of course not we would still feel different. The more we search for ourselves the more we will find we are nothing, we are no- thing in particular and by being no- thing we realise eventually we must be everything at our core.

The only thing that has remained constant our entire lives is that we are conscious that we are alive. All movement is in relation to something that is still, we witness time pass because we are timeless, our bodies are ageing around us in a sense yet the consciousness that we truly are, isn’t.

” If I am everything why do I feel separate?” The illusion of separation is necessary to experience life. Dreaming is the perfect example, when we dream at night the world we call ” waking reality” disappears and we enter a dream world, we enter into our own minds, every bit of scenery, every other person or animal we view, all the good ones all the bad one etc everyone and everything is being created by our own minds. To experience the dream though we must feel separate from every one and thing we come into contact with, it’s the price we pay to experience. When we wake up though we realise it was all in our minds.

Reality is ultimately just dreams within dreams. The dreams we have at night are just miniature versions of what we call the waking state which is just a bigger dream still. The ying yang principle is always in effect, the reason we experience feeling separate is because we are everything, the reason we experience time is because we are timeless, the reason we experience space is because we are dimensionless.

Humans love mystery and the ultimate mystery is that we know we are alive, no one can explain how or why. You are nothing because you are everything. You haven’t been anywhere and aren’t going anywhere you just are.

How does life change when you find out who you are truly? Well nothing changes yet everything does. We still must go to work, we still have needs and desires, we still have our egos which aren’t bad, they are totally natural and if we didn’t have one couldn’t function in society.

Everything pretty much on the outside stays the same but internally a shift happens, we come to realise not to take things so seriously, we become more understanding of others and we realise ultimately everything in life is how it should be at all times.

The body we once identified with must and will run its course but we know deep down that it’s not what we truly are, that death is not to be feared because it’s just the place we were at before we were born which is no place at all, there is no other place than here and now and it’s where you have, are and always will be.

You are nothing because you are everything.

Thanks for reading everyone have a great day.

Simon Coleman.

You are not good enough and never will be..

You are not good enough and never will be.

The statement sounds really negative but it’s true. It’s true yet it’s a good thing. We are always striving to become better in one way or another, no matter how much we succeed or achieve we always feel we could do more, be in a little better shape, make a bit more extra money, work on our character flaws or insecurities etc.

We are never perfect and never will be which is what makes life so enjoyable, it gives us something to do in this life. I always liken my life to a movie, the best movies have drama, adversity, struggles, failures and success. A movie or a life where everything is perfect, nothing ever goes wrong etc would become boring very quickly.

Our flaws and not feeling good enough is what makes us human and is what makes other people relate to us and connect with us. When we are ” rough around the edges” it gives other people something to grab onto so we can relate and connect, if we were perfect, smooth and flawless nothing can be clung onto, we’d be perfect but out of touch.

Think about your close friends or family members that you love, you probably know an insecure one, a constantly grumpy one, one that is a know it all but knows nothing really etc, the list goes on…but for all their faults and flaws to we hate them? Of course not, their flaws and habits are what give them their unique character and it’s the same with us, the flaws we try to improve make us who we are and our loved ones love us regardless.

There is nothing wrong with self improvement, I’m a big believer in constant improvement in every aspect of life but we must remember that we will never be good enough and that’s perfectly ok. If we delve down the spiritual path we will realise our true self, the self of all things is always totally perfect and flawless, it’s our ego self they never feels good enough and wants to constantly improve and their is nothing wrong with that.

When you venture down the spiritual path you will eventually come to realise that we are flawed because we are ultimately flawless, we are imperfect because we are ultimately perfect. All of life is ultimately a paradox that our minds can’t comprehend, all of life operates under the ying yang principle, all we have, had and will ever have is just this moment, so we should embrace whatever arises in it, all the perfection, imperfection, goodness and bad is always exactly as it should be.

You will never be perfect but that doesn’t mean to stop trying to be.

Thanks for reading have a great day guys.

Simon Coleman

Spiritual practice, a journey to this moment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Simon Coleman.

Mindfulness, it can save your life…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My thoughts anyway, thanks for reading.

Simon Coleman.