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.

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.

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.

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.