Hand-in-hand with “playfulness” comes laughter i.e. being able to see the funny side in a situation or, at least, having the necessary level of non-attachment to finda way to laugh notwithstanding the challenges of our circumstances. For this reason, I like the love-laugh-learn combination: love implies always being open and receptive; laugh is synonymous with non-attachment and playfulness, and; learn connotes the recognition that in every life experience there’s an opportunity to grow spiritually, which is an empowering insight.
On the topic of laughter, it’s clear that the aim is never to hurt a person, never to laugh at him/her. Laughing at is only possible when we’re in the illusion of separateness; as soon as we resonate with the tantric concept that we’re all energetically one being, we can only ever laugh with another person.
“Tantra asks us to go beyond the traditional stance of the cool, utterly detached observer of all our experiences. It recommends the more refined position of witnessing while at the same time understanding that observer and observed are not ultimately distinct. The Tantric approach is to see all life experiences as the play of the same One.”
Sam Red, 1 August 2015
 Feuerstein, G. (1998) Tantra: the Path to Ecstasy. Shamballa Publications: Boston & London, p.60.
Purpose. Of existence defies all logic;
Logic. Has scant place in the scheme of things.
Trials indicate progress made,
Allow yourself not to slumber into gloom.
Move on towards the Summit,
Lean on the strength of stillness.
The wind and the blossoms will enfold you,
Rest in their soothing embrace.
In silence the Heart is open,
The Path is clear and can be trodden.
Fall not prey to hatred and deceit,
Steps thus taken carry no weight.
The Light awaits you,
You who are not alone.
It’s not for nothing that we live the experience of physicality. Perhaps the easy answer when life is presenting us with overwhelmingly challenging circumstances is to withdraw – for example, by turning to alcohol or drugs, ignoring the plight of others or allowing ourselves to succumb to depression. Instead Tantra urges us to fully immerse ourselves in this life – with utmost awareness and self-responsibility, in an act of spiritual learning and self-less-ness. Tantra promotes engagement in the physical plane rather than in any way retracting from it or remaining aloof. Reference is often made in Tantra to the stunningly beautiful lotus flower that grows out of the mud. The analogy is simple: by responding to the challenges and difficulties we face in our lives, or making the effort to help others in tough circumstances, we can grow towards our full human-spiritual potential.
Reiki seemed to offer an accelerated route to the inner self. This route to the Self is by nature full of challenges; yet now, Joy could equate crises in her personal life with opportunities for spiritual growth. She believed that when higher vibrations entered the subtle energy bodies – as happened through regular Reiki, meditation and other spiritual practices – some lower frequencies that were present were likely to be dislodged and the subtle bodies pressured to resonate at a higher level. She knew by direct experience that this could be painful and cause emotional, physical or mental suffering; at least until the process was understood and resistance had given way to surrender. Joy was discovering that surrender was not an act of weakness. In contrast, it was a source of extreme power and creativity. It was a process of stilling and focusing the mind – keeping it away from any thoughts of the past or the future, from judgements or self-flagellation. She was convinced that surrender was a form of empowerment derived from the creativity that is inherent in the moment – a power which is our divine right and duty to develop.
In the context of health and self-empowerment, it’s important to emphasise that we should feel neither ashamed nor disappointed for being sick. There can be all sorts of reasons for illness – some might have been triggered by physically or emotionally challenging life conditions, others might be spiritual or karmic in nature. Illness brings us squarely back to ourselves. Subsequently, many of the other components of life, which until then may have seemed so critically pressing and important, quickly fall away as priority is given to returning the body back to health. This means that the path from sickness to wellbeing can be a fertile ground for personal transformation and self-empowerment.
In my own experience, illness has been a catalyst that has torpedoed me straight into the present moment, where I’ve immediately been much more mindful and aware of my body sensations, perhaps in the hope that the very next second would show me a physical sign that I was regaining in health. Continue reading →
Life is like being in an airplane. When turbulence hits, no matter how bad it gets you have no choice but to stay on board and fly through the storm. There’s no chance to stop the plane and get off, which is why – personally – I prefer train travel!
If life isn’t currently providing us with the opportunities we wish for, and believe we deserve, it’s not that we’ve done something wrong or that we’re not good enough. We shouldn’t give ourselves, or others, a hard time when our lives don’t match our hopes or expectations. In fact, we should be very proud of ourselves if we can engage fully in our lives, with a positive disposition towards the people around us, even if we’re facing challenging circumstances personally. We can all love others when we feel loved ourselves. But can we feel love and bring joy into other people’s lives when we feel hurt, disappointed, betrayed?Continue reading →
Albert Schweitzer starts off my mini-series of “Inspirational Human Beings”.
Albert Schweitzer’s worldview, conceptualised as “Reverence for Life”, is composed of three elements: (i) resignation, (ii) an affirmative attitude to life, (iii) ethics.
“The world does not consist of phenomena only; it is also alive. […] In dedicating myself to the service of whatever lives, I find an activity that has meaning and purpose. […] By playing an active role, man enters into a spiritual relationship with this world that is quite different: he does not see his existence in isolation. On the contrary, he is united with the lives that surround him; he experiences the destinies of others as his own.”
(Sources: Schweitzer, A. (1998) Out of My Life and Thought. The John Hopkins University Press: Baltimore & London, pp.232-233; Photo c/o International Albert-Schweitzer-Association – http://www.schweitzer.org)