I recently read an article on the language of the spirit comparing several passages from both the Bible and the Koran and their similarity. In reading it I was struck by a line that a British comedian called Dave Allen always used to close his shows – “May your God go with you”.
Two things jumped out at me, the first was a simple sentence “You might not like who I am but I am all that I have. If we go back far enough, are we all not brothers of color from the red loam of the Dark Continent, trying to make our way home” – Scott Tinley.
This strikes home for me as we are in an election year, already I feel amongst people that I know the closing of ranks and drawing of battle lines in the sand, without rhyme or reason we stop listening to any point of view that differs even one iota from our own and metaphorically scream “I’m right and you are wrong”. As a nation and a culture we are already intolerant of any other view, and insular in our outlook, an election year seems to exacerbate this.
Surely it would be better if instead of being intolerant of others beliefs we embraced those differences, instead of being insular in our lives, groups and outlook that we reached out wider, learnt and experienced outside our comfort zone. These are things a Government can never provide us, yet we expect them to solve these problems. It is a free thing to do, and yet we don’t.
The other was the six tenets that he believes are his life, which made me think how I would interpret them as they apply to me.
- We look outside and seek the answer to our own problems from others, or to blame what has happened to us on others or our ‘situation’. Surely the answers to our lives come from within us and the discovery of who we are, if we are lucky we find purpose from this self examination. After that we have to accept a great part of our answers and happiness will always come from others, whether they be friends, children or a random act of kindness by a stranger or acquaintance. So we find ourselves not only through insular self examination but through the connection of others. We must find a way to connect.
- We should accept change and suffering sometimes, as through those experiences our character is shaped. This includes making and acknowledging mistakes we ourselves have made, together with understanding why we made that choice, otherwise we are doomed to not learn from that experience. Through this we find meaning, and a deeper appreciation for others bad experiences that we would have found easy to dismiss before.
- Life today is at a pace that often brings with it chaos, confusing and struggle. We are buffeted at every turn by media and people telling us that we should have meaning and understand our lives. Accordingly we often make changes on a whim in the belief that a quick fix will provide what we are looking for. Yet very few people understand themselves to know what to pursue as a life path, we are all an experiment of one, so why would some talking head psychologist on a tv program or a book have the understanding of ourselves to provide a plan. Instead accept that life is a constant path of living and growing, take strength from the change and the limitless opportunities to grow and change as a person without letting that process get the better of you. The process of growing as a person is where we should define ourselves.
- If we seek self awareness in one place, we will become one dimensional. No one piece of advice or plan can deliver an understanding of yourself, as there are many components from physical, psychological, spiritual, experience and knowledge. An old Chinese proverb says “Tell me, I forget. Show me, I learn. Let me do, I remember”, so unless we act on our growth and pay attention to what we have learned we will not realize fully the gains that we have made. There are higher powers we can follow, whether they be a deity or a belief in oneself that drives us to be all we wish, but ultimately no one power will deliver us the salvation we seek, but only through a constant desire in all areas of our lives will we see the power of self and accepting others.
- We focus too often on worldly rewards as a statement of who we are and what we have done. Surely it is a greater satisfaction to look within yourself and see happiness and satisfaction as great person than to look out of your window at the greatest penis extension ?. While we should enjoy the trappings of success if we attain them, they should not shape nor define who we are. Ultimately a life without a spiritual attainment of self is still a hollow existence.
- We imagine that life is a straight line, that while it may go through peaks and troughs is still linear in fashion from start to finish. I prefer to think of it as a child’s squiggle that they draw through a puzzle maze, that while sooner or later it might find its way to the exit, in the meantime it meanders, goes back and revisits mistakes and finds a new, more successful path. Life is not a straight line, and thus we should not treat it as such, if we allow ourselves we can revisit times or places that bring us joy, or repair bridges that may have been broken, but we were too stubborn to mend them.
Nothing in life is an accident, we have the choice to make who we are, and as a result, create our own fulfillment. If we are brave enough to live the squiggly line.