Thursday, 19 November 2015

Spanda

It is such a shame that we live in a time when money, position and power are the chief arbiters of success in our lives.

It means that when it comes to doing the things we love, just because we love them, it is too easy to talk ourselves out of it.

But it is a human instinct, isn't it, to create for no reason other than the joy of creation?  Every child knows this.

And people all over the world are quilting, sewing, drawing, painting, baking and writing for nothing other than their own, quiet fulfilment.

I say that there should be more of that.
Further, I say that people are born to create and that when they do not, something inside them withers and dies.

In Tantric terms, this urge to create is known as Spanda.  It is our desire to move, to flow, to use our brain and bodies in the creation of sound and movement, but also in the bringing into being of some new thing.  In this philosophy, Shiva brings consciousness, our awareness of the fact that we exist, that we are connected both to one another and to everything in the universe that lives, and Shakti brings action: she creates something out of nothing.  Without Shiva, we are lost, aimless, randomly moving through the world; without Shakti, something within us is dead and frozen.
 
There is a time in our lives when we are told that we are not good enough at something and we are made to feel that we ought to stop doing that, because we are not going to be successful at it; this usually happens in childhood and often at school.

But this is like saying that only the birds with the most beautiful song should be allowed to sing and only the prettiest of flowers ought to be allowed to bloom.

So please go ahead and write your poetry for nothing but you own pleasure - we shall never know how many beautiful poems have lain undiscovered in drawers throughout history - create collages and paintings that will only ever grace your private portfolio or your kitchen fridge; bake cakes that do not rise, then cover them with icing and eat them anyway; throw paint and words and pictures at paper with scant regard for a measurable outcome; strum your guitar, play the piano; grow vegetables and flowers for your own enjoyment, no matter that you can buy bigger carrots for less money in the supermarket; sing in your car and dance in your kitchen.

Don't do it because you are good at it; don't do it because you want to be famous for it; do it because you love it.  And know that that is enough.

Namaste x

Monday, 16 November 2015

Viveka

We know what does us good, don't we?  Even if we are only just now learning what it is that we truly want and need in our life in order to live in the fullest, most vibrant, most generous way, there are certain things we know that we need.

We need the support of good people; we need regular sleep; we need to not drink too much alcohol or eat too much sugar and fat; we need regular exercise of the kind that suits our constitution as it is today (not how it was 20, or even 5 years ago); we need connection and movement and light.

How can this be so hard to maintain?

Somebody asked me: 'If I know that those people are no good for me and that hanging out with them makes me ill; if I know that drinking that much and staying out that late interferes with my life in a bad way, why do I still do it? '

Bless his heart, that man.

What he is looking for is VIVEKA: the discrimination with which we choose wisely.

At first, our efforts at viveka are stymied by our lack of self-awareness - when we are starting out it is so difficult to realise except by trial and error, what serves our best self and what does not.  Perhaps it is the human condition to want everything and to have it all, or perhaps it is the byproduct of living in a capitalist society that entreats us all the time to have more, want more and do more.  More likely, it is just the case that part of learning what does suit us, is learning what does not.

I'm not going to list here the choices you make every single day and I'm not going to make value judgements around herbal tea vs. a cup of coffee: sometimes a nice glass of wine is a Very Good Thing.  You are a grown-up; you know this stuff.

But I am going to suggest that you set yourself a few boundaries around what you are allowing into your life, your day, your soul and I am going to encourage you to take time every day to consider the choices you are making (and if you don't have time in your day to take some time to breathe and consider the choices you are making, then you definitely need to take some time every day to ponder why you don't have the time). 

Somebody told us that we can have it all; this is not the truth; but we can have a full life and a happy one; we can be the best versions of ourselves; it only needs that we choose wisely. We must learn to say no to the things that harm or deplete us, without guilt; we must learn how to keep ourselves well.

Every day I come across people who are so run down by life that they come over as unfriendly, belligerent and angry - these are the ones who most need our help; but that we feel least like helping; they are not choosing well, perhaps they don't know how.  It behoves us to be the kindest, most respectful, peaceful human beings we can be; it is our duty to learn how to expand the love we have beyond our small family and friendship groups for the benefit of everyone and everything.

So be well, my friend, be healthy, be happy; set your boundaries so that you can stay wholehearted and generous even on the days when the sadness in the world makes you want to lock the doors and hide inside.

Namaste x