The One Reality web-site is aimed at encouraging a deeper level of thought, to question some of present-day conventions as to what our real purpose in life is. It is accepted that nobody has all the answers to such issues, but here are a few that feel right to me:
But first, what is the scope of this FAQ? . . . How about 'enlightenment' or 'ascension'? Or LTUAE?
Yes . . . Life, The Universe and Everything - with thanks to Douglas Adams and the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: a wonderful series of books suggesting that life on earth is merely an experiment designed by mice to find out the meaning of life! Any better ideas?
And The Answer? According to Douglas Adams, the answer to the ultimate Questions of LTUAE is . . . 42
In this FAQ I'll pose a few questions that an increasing number of folks ARE asking about their life, or life in general. In practice when folks asks such Q's at me I'm likely to respond: "What do YOU think?" - for unless you have an answer that YOU're happy with, you're going to keep asking the question, aren't you? But here are some answers that have helped to quell my restless mind somewhat.
YES! Perhaps that IS the meaning of Life - to find the meaning of Life! After all, without such a sense of wonder and enquiry, does life have any meaning?
This is perhaps a better question, since it's more personal. Unless a question and answer helps us in OUR life, what's the point in asking it? After many years studying this philosophy and that philosophy, looking at this technique for self improvement and that, I've come to the conclusion that very little (if anything) matters. In fact, before going any further along ANY path, before taking up ANY technique, before letting your mind wander about ANY question, first ask yourself: "Is this (path, technique, question) going to help me be a better bod?" All many paths, techniques or questions do is just send our mind down dead-ends! [With thanks to Terry!]
So what's the point of asking all these questions? Exactly! Why indeed? Perhaps life is NOT something we can explain in words. Perhaps this phase of questions, answers and beliefs is just that - a temporary phase we go through as we realise that life is for living, not for reading or talking about! Thus, the sooner you stop reading THIS and just get on with your life, the better for all of us.
You got a question? Does you're mind object to what I've just written? It's like that, our mind. Minds like to think they're in control, have everything sussed. NOT TRUE! What humans know intellectually is NOTHING compared to what there is to KNOW . .. from deep down.
What many of us need to do is to still this butting mind - turn your "But"s to Butterflies! Try this visualisation - COMING SOON.
Take up a technique that you can use WITHIN YOUR DAILY LIFE. There are many very effective techniques for bringing peace of mind, to help us relax. The most useful are those we can apply wherever we are . .. when we need them most, in the middle of our day to day lives. Possibilities include Yoga, Chanting, Tai Chi - although you might get some strange looks if you do these on the top of a number 40 bus! . . so adapt! There ARE some standing Qi Gong poses that you CAN use waiting for a bus or train. You CAN practice Yoga breathing travelling the 17:20 from Euston! For unless we can find peace when we need it most, why bother with these techniques?
The path that took me from back-water to super-highway was Reiki. Now here is something (at least the way I teach it!) that CAN be used any time, any place, any where. See my Reiki pages, including a Reiki FAQ.
Perhaps you don't need to. Maybe you need instead to enter some state in-between waking and sleeping? Whatever your mind and body needs it will give you . . . if you give it half a chance. Don't fight it. Just allow yourself to do what you really need to do. Yes, we all need some sleep, but like many things in life, the more we TRY, the LESS likely we are to succeed!
This is a more specific question and might have a more specific solution. WHEN you find you wake up before you need to, again they'll be a reason . . other than a bladder fit to burst! Quite often it's because the mind is going round in circles - so down-load your thoughts! The best way (I find) to get things off your mind is to do just that . . . Clear it! Simply write down whatever comes into your head! With mind cleared, you'll probably find sleep returns far more easily. This FAQ was started at 4 in the morning on such an occasion. So why not start writing yours!
Probably not. Or at least, not in the way you probably think of love at present - as some romantic ideal. However, when we start to see that (to quote The Beetles) 'Love is the meaning of Life. Life is the meaning of Love', then maybe! The trick is to live it, not to look for it.
What a good question! Now this one IS useful! But the answer is very personal, for we are all different! We each have our own path, our own role in life - some love through writing, some from caring, some through being entrepreneurs - most of us can live to love a bit better by focusing on HOW we go about out daily lives rather than looking at what we DO in it. This again is about finding something that makes us feel good: singing, dancing, smiling, laughing . . the simple things in life, that cost nothing but that can change our day . . and that of those we meet.
Good question. Many philosophies and techniques talk about living 'here and now', about 'being fully in the moment'. And we understand the theory! We KNOW we spend too much time and energy dwelling on the past or worrying about the future! So THIS is what we have to stop! How? First by becoming aware of it.
How? By stepping back at moments of strong emotions. Instead of letting fear, anger and other such emotions take you over, begin to notice when they start and stop yourself! Then ask "Why now?" Start to look at what it is in the current situation that lead you to get worked up. Then ask "Why THIS?" Sometimes it will be obvious, sometimes not. If seeing some-one in pain and close to dying makes you weep, and you've had a recent bereavement, we wouldn't be surprised! But if an advert makes you angry - why then? All these outbursts are doing is making us aware of a build up of unexpressed feelings and/or of beliefs and/or attitudes that don't match the reality of life around us. Our emotions are clues to the real us! Face them, work WITH them, and we'll be able to let go of much that prevents us from enjoying life.
The Buddhist idea of 'detachment' is useful here, but other philosophies say similar things: no THING, or IDEA is worth getting worked up by. Love is free, unlimited, we can't miss it or loose! It's only our limited human perceptions that give us a sense of loss, or wanting. So a useful intent is to rise above material and intellectual thinking. To clear the mind of preconceived ideas of what's 'best' and what's 'right'. I've found the following statement to contain much truth: "There Are No Rules"!
What indeed! Again, it's just another word, another concept which different people define different ways. Each path to enlightenment will have it's own set of principles and practices. I doubt any are true or valid for more than a small % of us. However, after exploring many such paths and reviewing my own personal experiences of the journey to enlightenment, I'd describe it something like this:
The ability to BE . . . your true self; to feel at peace with yourself and the world around you.
Yes . . . but don't expect it to be easy! Likewise don't expect to become enlightened by simply following one procedure or set of practices. One feature of enlightenment, as I understand it, is that it's a state of mind, present during normal day-to-day life, in which we feel 'connected' to Life, the Universe and Everything. This means we need to be flexible and adaptable, to be able to 'go with the flow'. I've yet to find ANY practice that enables this . . . at least, not if it's practised as a ritual or 'done by the book'. How can ANY set of rules or procedures prepare us for the challenges and changes that come with living as a human? The danger of any ritual, or practices based on repetition of position, chant, belief, etc. is that those very practices become hard and rigid in our minds and lives . . . and PREVENT us from becoming enlightened!
Likewise, if we let enlightenment become a goal, an aim in life, then we're unlikely to get there! Here I speak from personal experience: I'd become so caught up on my path, that 'living in the now' and 'peace of mind' had become TOO important to me! Instead of freeing my mind and ALLOWING myself to BE, naturally and joyously, I'd set myself impossible objectives then got depressed when I couldn't reach them. It was a salutary tale. I write this to help my mind relinquish it's goals.
My path will not be the same as yours, since we all have different personalities and maybe different tasks to perform in this life and/or lessons to learn, but here's a few tips which I hope you'll find helpful:
DO take up a spiritual practice, or a number of them: Reiki, Yoga, Tai Chi, Mandalas, Meditation, etc. . . . BUT
DON'T become attached to it
DO read, explore and experience a range of philosophies, paths, practices - whichever ones call out to you somehow. . . . BUT
DON'T take what you read as 'gospel' or true for you. However highly rated a given teacher or guru, their truth may well not be the same as your highest truth.
DO be prepared to look at your past and identify how you've been conditioned . . . into beliefs and attitudes which are not in tune with your highest truth. . . . BUT
DON'T blame others for your state of mind or bad habits. Forgiveness works wonders.
DO follow your intuition and put mind, body and soul into all you do . . . . BUT
DON'T forget that enlightenment is about BEing not DOing. Learn to enjoy doing nothing from time to time.
DO be prepared to make big changes in your life and to face your fears . . . . BUT
DON'T try to run away from reality - it'll always run faster! Enlightenment is a state of mind, it embraces all facets of life, the universe and everything. If something makes you uncomfortable you'll have to face it at some point in your life.
DO be joyous and seek out others who bring out the best in you.
'Ascension' these days (e.g. Diana Cooper's 'A little Light on Ascension') is being used to suggest ascent to heaven whilst still living as human beings. When Jesus (and other Masters) instructed his disciples to follow him, he didn't mean follow the letter of the scriptures about him, but follow his example: For ascension is possible for us all. In our ascended state we live in our heaven on earth. We are our own true Masters. So yes, it's pretty much the same thing as enlightenment.
We become ascended by achieving the ultimate state of living as a spiritual being in and of this material world; by rising above the frustration of existence . . . not by dying (and going into some different physical state) but by knowing nothing really matters. The ascension is in our level of consciousness, in our way of thinking . . . or not thinking, perhaps!
This term usually means the likes of Jesus and Buddha and particular yogis and other gurus who are considered to have reached the highest state of enlightenment and who did (or do) live as normal human beings. Those alive today (the year 2006 as I write this) probably include Sai Baba and Mother Meera, for example.
But neither Jesus nor Buddha
were enlightened when they arrived on earth. Jesus was a carpenter and Buddha
a Prince (Siddhartha) who rejected courtly ways. Both gained ascension during
their life after many years studying through their travels. If they can do it,
so can we. This is what we aspire to; this journey into ascension is what and
where they've been leading us! What Buddha called his awakening . . . from the
a sleep of illusion into a higher frame of mind . . . ascension.
Good question! It means different things to different people . . . depending on what lessons they need to learn, what conditioning they have to face and let go of, any particular soul purpose they have to perform. A key point though is that our physical reality takes on a very different perspective: instead of having material goals and basing our decisions on what we see and hear in the physical world, our mind instead becomes a channel for divine truth & unconditional love. We do things, not because we've always done them, or because our parents did them or society expects it, but because we KNOW we have to!
We find we're more discerning about where we go, what we eat, who we spend time with. i.e. we choose, by being aligned with our soul's needs and greater good, to follow our own path, not somebody else's. This can be tough going at time and can mean having to let go of many old ways . . . but this frees us from old mental patterns . . . and thus enables our ascension / enlightenment.
Note that it is NOT a prerequisite that we don't drink, don't smoke or don't eat processed food, for example. We may find we feel guided to . . . and that our bodies complain if we don't focus on natural and nutritious food and drink, but ascension is about accept life as it is . . . NOW. It, 'LTUAE', includes good wine . . . or even cheap wine! The Oneness EMBRACES all the manufactured goods, international travel and technology most of us have become used to. Becoming enlightened isn't about rejecting all such things, but about KNOWING that they're not the 'be all and end all'. It's about having the wisdom and courage to say 'No' to unscrupulous politicians and advertising campaigns . . . AND be able to enjoy the wonderful things we, mankind, has been able to create . . . as and when appropriate.
It does seem to be the case that many individuals on a spiritual quest, on a path of ascension, are in much mental and indeed physical pain. It's probably worth remembering too that the likes of Buddha and Jesus had to enjoy many physical hardships as they faced temptations and painful truths. It's possible that you, as an individual, have suffered enough in your life and that you can pursue the enlightenment path feeling only joy and peace. Most of us however start the journey with such a lot of mental baggage: selfishness, ego, spoilt-ness etc. that we have some serious letting go to do. It's a bit like kids being told "No" to their demands. . . before acceptance dawns there's a sulking or grieving process to be gone through.
Physical pain can also be a very useful indicator of some issue or mental stuck-ness we need to address. Louise Hay ('You Can Heal Your Life', etc.) describes such things nicely. An example would be teeth problems because we're refusing to 'bite the bullet' and accept a new truth. Most physical conditions can be seen to have an emotional cause: see my hay-fever article for example. An intolerance (such as gluten intolerance) or allergy to something may NOT be telling us to avoid that food (or whatever). Instead it's indicting that the substance in question is somehow relevant to our personal journey - we need to look at it, reflect on it, ask ourselves searching questions about our beliefs and experiences relating to it.
Of cause, sometimes it could just be that that something isn't right for us at this time! But again we need to tune into our higher self and allow our intuition, not fear nor latest theory, nor religious rule or ritual, to control us. Ascended Masters, enlightened beings, rise above shoulds and aughts. They just ARE.
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