Thursday, 29 November 2012

Spiritual practise - 'Letting go and moving on'

I'm re-blogging this post I wrote some time ago - apologies to those who have read it.  A situation arose the other day which reminded me of how much I have moved on from a situation that caused so much mental suffering - it was only through spiritual practise that I was able to do so.
I have always tried to 'walk the talk', to 'practise what I preach' - so to speak.  To me it is a fundamental part of authentic spiritual practise - living your beliefs, embodying them as a representative of your particular faith.  That's not to say you can't falter - we are human after all!

I remember being at a spiritual retreat many years ago and I was very surprised and somewhat shocked when someone I knew well - who had been a staunch spiritual practitioner for many years, spoke about the difficulty he had applying his teachings to his daily life.

The eight auspicious Buddhist symbols

At the time I was a relative newcomer to my chosen path, but even so I had always tried to live my practise.  To me it is an intrinsic part of being on a spiritual path in the first place.  Living your teachings is fundamental to spiritual growth, adhering to your beliefs even in really challenging situations - those moments that inevitably come along to confront you, when it is so easy to jump into the accompanying surge of emotion that wants to sweep you along with it.   

Before, I jumped.  Once I started living my practise, I paused, stepped aside - into a space that let me become an observer instead of a participant, watched the surge dissipate.  Came away from the whole sorry situation a better person.  A conversation recently got me thinking about 'walking the talk' the other day. 

I was asked how I had overcome the deep pain that had been inflicted on my family and I through the 'un-enlightened' actions of another.  I thought instantly of this Buddhist Bodhisattva prayer;

image sourced:

May all beings enjoy happiness
And have whatever causes happiness

May they be free from suffering
And whatever causes suffering

May they never be separated from the
Pure happiness which is without suffering

May they remain in great equanimity
Beyond attachment or aversion, to things near and far.

This particular situation had dragged on for some years.  It was one of the worst things my family has been through.  It was profoundly challenging and extremely difficult.  I got to point - which I admit did take some time - where I knew that I had to get back to a place of peace. The pain and suffering was causing me too much damage. That meant being more diligent, going deeper, more intently into my spiritual practise.

After a time I automatically started to include this person in my daily meditation visualisations - it's something I do regularly for family and friends who need healing.  One day I just popped her in there, saw her surrounded in peace, genuinely wished protection, health and happiness for her, understood that her harsh actions came from a place of ignorance, that - like everyone of us, what she most wanted in life was kindness, peace and love.

I kept doing this everyday until it became second nature to me, until finally - when I occasionally caught myself dwelling once again on what had happened, there was no reaction, the pain was gone, the intensity that use to come with the emotions attached to it, had dissipated as though they had never been.

And then one day, the situation turned. She stepped forward instead of back. Things healed, became as they should be. That to me is the power of authentic spiritual practise.  The power of this prayer - seeing ourselves reflected in each other.  Understanding that compassion - if lived and practised authentically, has no boundaries.  No limitation.

You may also like 'Memoir of a pilgrim - Transcending death' and  'Meditation - What the Buddha learnt'  in Popular Posts and Archives.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Indigenous wisdom - 'Aboriginal Proverb'


You may also like Indigenous Wisdom - 'Maisie Cavanagh' in September Archives.  See also Hindu Wisdom - 'Castle of Brahma'.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Natures sacred manuscript - 'Hazrat Inayat Khan'

There is one Holy Book, the sacred manuscript of nature, the only scripture which can enlighten the reader.  Most people consider as sacred scriptures only certain books or scrolls written by the hand of man, and carefully preserved as holy, to be handed down as divine revelation. 

Men have fought and disputed over the authenticity of these books, have refused to accept any other book of similar character, and, clinging thus to the book and losing the sense of it, have formed diverse sects. 

The Sufi has in all ages respected all such books, and has traced in the Vedanta, Zend-Avesta, Kabbalah, Bible,Quran, and all other sacred scriptures, the same truth which he or she reads in the incorruptible manuscript of nature, the only Holy Book, the perfect and living model that teaches the inner law of life. 

All scriptures when compared to natures manuscript, are like little pools of water before the ocean.  To the eye of the seer every leaf of the tree is a page of the Holy Book that contains divine revelation, and he or she is inspired every moment of life by constantly reading and understanding the holy script of nature.

- Hazrat Inayat Khan

See Archives for Wise Words, Insights and Quiet Reflection from the Dalai Lama, Rumi, Ramakrishna, Martin Luther King, Einstein, Luther Standing Bear, Pope Benedict, Sister Joan Chittister and many more

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Wise words - 'Albert Einstein'

A human being is part of the whole we call the universe, a part limited in time and space.  He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest - a kind of optical illusion of his consciousness.  This illusion is a prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for only the few people nearest us.  Our task must be to free ourselves from this compassion, to embrace all living beings and all nature.

- Albert Einstein

Find more 'wise words' by Einstein, Sister Joan Chittister, Pope Benedict 1V, the Dalai Lama, Martin Luther King and others in the Archives

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Quiet Reflection - 'Rumi'


'Let the beauty we love, be what we do. There are a thousand
ways to kneel and kiss the earth'.
- Rumi

Find more reflections, wise words and insights in the Archives

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

'Happy Diwali'


Namaste! - 'Happy Diwali' to my Indian readers and to all those who celebrate this wonderful time of year.  May everyone of you be showered in peace, joy and prosperity.  And may the world be awash in it too.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Buddhist student, Christian Gospel

'Two thousand years ago, a brotherhood of holy men and women, living together in a community, carried within themselves all of the seeds of Christianity and of future western civilization' - they were the Essenes.

For me, the magic of the Interfaith path means that by being open to the spiritual wisdom from a vast range of traditions, one is always encountering the most beautiful, inspiring and insightful texts which we would otherwise remain ignorant to.

I came across the deeply beautiful Essene Gospel of Peace some months back and it really resonated with me, so much so that now I frequently include it in my spiritual practise. I have done many prayers during my time as a spiritual practitioner and I can honestly say that none has moved me as much as this beautiful gospel.

The impact of the prayer was physical. I automatically began reciting it out loud and very slowly as well - which I have continued to do. It was as though I inherently perceived it to be an almost mantric meditation and certainly halfway through the first recitation, the impact of it’s power was felt right through my physical being.

It started off as a tingling sensation on the top of my head, moved through my body leaving a feeling of great awe.   It raised the hairs on my arms, caused my eyes to well with tears as the beauty and meaning of the words, the visual display they conjured in my mind, stirred within me what felt like a primordial or ancient recognition and understanding.  An old remembering, an inner knowing.

I have had a few extraordinary ‘spiritual moments’ and experiences in my time, but the physical impact of this gospel, the depth of beauty that it contains for me personally, I have never experienced before - that to me says much about the Interfaith path and approach also. 

I don’t take the term God to mean what it does in the Christian sense.  I perceive God as the Divine - an animating force, universal consciousness, well beyond our man-made constructs, our bias and ideas, well beyond all limitation - exceeding even all thought. 

Having this view - even though I come from a Buddhist background, allows me to come to a diverse range of sacred texts with open, all embracing acceptance.   It allows me to see through to the heart of what is written or spoken of, what is perceived and experienced by the author and so share in that, shape it into my own personal insight, interpretation, experience.

This beautiful gospel informs us that right from the moment we enter the world, God is with us - in our first breath, our first word, our first thought, song, love. Not only that, God is everywhere, infusing and animating every aspect of our existence - physical and otherwise. God in fact, speaks to us every second of every moment. All we have to do, to hear, to know is…‘be still’.

‘I speak to you through the trees and forest. Be still , Know I am God…I speak to you through the valleys and the hills. Be still, Know I am God…I speak to you through the peace of the evening. Be still, Know I am God...I will speak to you when you are alone.  Be still, Know I an God...’

To pause and ‘be still’, to pause and ‘Be’ is never more needed in today’s chaos driven world. To pause and ‘see’ is just as important.  

This ancient gospel is possibly more relevant and meaningful in todays modern world than when it was written 2,000 years ago.  The Essenes had an intimate spiritual affinity with the natural world as is clearly evident in this prayer. They moved lightly on their sacred earth - their laws and doctrines were structured as such.

For me reading and reciting this gospel is a reminder of that.   It provides me the opportunity to pause, to be still, to see with renewed clarity, with deeper respect.

My interpretation of the Divine, of God, is echoed in this gospel. God is here. God is everywhere.  The Divine has always been.  Always will be.  The Divine is what Is.   Us and Other.  One.

To read the Essene Gospel of Peace, see Prayers for Peace in the Pages section.


Friday, 2 November 2012

Interfaith prayer - 'Sr. Mary Lou Kownacki'

I bow to the one who signs the cross.
I bow to the one who sits with the Buddha.
I bow to the one who wails at the wall.
I bow to the Om flowing in the Ganges
I bow to the one who faces Mecca,
whose forehead touches holy ground.
I bow to dervishes whirling in mystical wind.
I bow to the north,
to the south,
to the east,
to the west.
I bow to the God within each heart.
I bow to epiphany,
to God's face revealed.
I bow.  I bow.  I bow.
- Sr. Mary Lou Kownacki

You might also like 'Prayers for peace' in the Pages section.