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16 October, 2017

Be the Change - Open Mind & Doors



CLOSED MINDS or OPEN DOORS?

‘The one that sees only the diversity and not the underlying unity,wanders on from death to death’         Hindu Scripture


We are moving through very troubled times. These are times where humanity is undergoing a paradigm shift in consciousness. One 'reaction' to great change is resistance and we see growing evidence of this resistance in the growth of fundamentalism in all areas of life - religion, politics, nationalism etc,. We see daily evidence that our world is beginning to close its doors. and 'grasp' onto the false and dangerous comfort of fundamentalism.   This growth in  fundamentalism, in all its aspects, has a tendency to slam shut the doors between peoples, ideas and cultures. We can so easily lose sight of our common humanity ( as expressed in the quote from the Hindu Scriptures above) and more importantly off the interconnectedness of all creation. Gandhiji, before India was granted independence, was very aware of the tendency of fundamentalists to shut doors and build barriers between peoples. He is quoted as saying  ‘. No, open the doors and windows wide. I want the wind of every culture and language to flow freely throughout this house’. Gandhiji certainly knew the importance and value of open doors and a free exchange between peoples.





This tendency to close doors is  mainly based on fear and lack of trust. And fear is rooted in the more primitive parts of the human psyche. We need to face the 'demons' of our false fears and this growing tendency to close doors.The fear and mistrust that underpin the closed door syndrome cause growing depression, anxiety and can lead to ‘neurotic isolationalism’. So our task as individuals  is to ask ourselves, ‘Where are my doors closing’? 

Because where doors close there is a breakdown in communication.  To counteract this tendency we need to become fully human and to become fully human we need each other. . Therefore we need to urgently find ways to improve the way we communicate. We need to bear in mind that our communication is ‘self-reflective’.  The way I communicate reveals something of me.  It informs my willingness  to ‘open doors’ , to inter-communicate and to play my part in reducing fear, defensiveness, depression etc, and it helps others to do likewise.


That our human family and our planet are at a crucial point is seemingly self-evident. Our scientists and cosmologists warn us of the dangers facing the planet. There is serious doubt whether mankind, as a species, can survive much longer. It seems that our planet may have no choice other than to ‘get rid of us’. The past 100 years have arguably seen more wars, famines and disasters than in all the previous history of mankind. We ignore our environment at our peril. Most of the aboriginal peoples, and their spirituality – including my roots in Celtic Spirituality, have stressed our need to cherish and reverence our planet, nature and the environment. We have seemingly ignored this ' wisdom of the ages’ and our planet is suffering. Our great Faith Traditions and ideologies are seemingly being taken over by fundamentalists whose ‘simplistic certainties’ counsel division and strife. The mystics and sages of all the great Traditions have throughout the ages warned us of the dangers of failing to see our underlying unity. They have tried to help us to see that we are essentially ‘Spirit’ and therefore united through The Source.



As an individual  I have to seriously challenge myself to face my responsibilities. There is no sitting on the fence, no waiting for further data before I make up my mind! I am either on the side of life or by making no choice I really choose death. There is a theory of ‘the critical/crucial mass. It seems to be borne out in nature and by evolution. If this is in fact a ‘law’, which is highly likely, then,   if sufficient people choose to side with life, to side with the Planet, to side with the concept that we are all equal members of this human family, then change will occur. This will require me (and others) to make constant choices for life, for equality for people and for the planet. Even our seemingly small choices make a difference. I, like others, need to reach out to others across difference and to build bridges that unite. This is a truly awesome and important task for all responsible spiritual seekers. Once again, I am reminded of the wisdom of Gandhi and the challenge of his wise words.

' Be the change you wish to see ' 

Peter Creagh Oct 2017

23 June, 2017

A Bridge in Troubled Times

A BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATERS

We live in times of great change and in times when there is a paradigm shift in human consciousness. This is not new. However, in times of great change there is a natural tendency to 'resist' the challenge and to cling on to the perceived old and safer ways. This can lead to a reaction and a clinging on to a variety of 'Isms' , theologies and ideologies  all of which can give rise to violent and hateful and fear filled reactions.

In times of crisis and turmoil, it is important to remain centered and to hold on to the essential connectedness of our human family. It can be helpful to be guided by the Universal and Ancient wisdom of our common inheritance. I find this quote from Buddha helpful.

 

15 May, 2017

Creation & Aborigine Wisdom - Our Common Responsibility

The 'Voice' of the First Day

We live on a small and beautiful planet drifting in the vast sea of the Cosmos . It is our home and we have a solemn and sacred duty and responsibility to care for it. Our modern world, cultures and societies can learn much from the ancient wisdom of the ancestors and particularly the aboriginal peoples. The following is a lovely quote from the Aboriginal Peoples of Australia. It is part of their 'Creation Story'

 
 

03 May, 2017

Seek Mystery and not the Household 'God'




SEEKING MYSTERY

Don’t just stick with the Household God

SPIRITUAL REFLECTIONS ON THE MYSTERY



‘The Household God you have created is no more than that…..   The God you have made to satisfy your needs is not the Ultimate Reality’  ‘Sr Ishpriya

'The Tao that can be named is not the Tao'      Taoist Sacred Text

Over many years I have been reflecting on the challenges facing both myself and many people of faith as they question some of the stock answers given by the orthodox and mainstream teachings of their particular Faith Tradition. Many of these can seem to fly in the face of our growing knowledge and understanding of our world, our cosmos and evolution. These ‘old’ repeated dogmas are increasingly seen as irrelevant both by younger, inquisitive and searching minds and serious mature seekers.

Those who question are often challenged by a choice that is often presented to them in a dualistic manner. This is a ‘false choice’ between the concept of the   ‘Unknowable God or Mystery’ and that of the ‘Personal God’. This is presented starkly as an Either: Or choice. Even worse, those who seek Mystery are often accused of being ‘New Age’. This is designed as a simple put down that avoids respectful dialogue. However, for many the reality can be a Both: And choice, one that involves   a 3rd ‘Something that is Mystery.  But first let me put these ideas in their proper context.

 

Mystery -& The Big Bang

Over millennium, people have struggled with the concept of an Ultimate Reality, a God by whatever name we may call it, him or her.  This ’Creator’ of the cosmos is ultimately a Mystery and yet the Source of all. Over time, many of the Faith Traditions have recorded in Scripture and rituals their ideas and experiences of this Mystery. Some of the Traditions believe that this God – this Unknowable, Ultimate Reality, has taken on a human form in order to make itself known to humanity.
  
Christianity & Buddhism

Certainly the Christian Tradition believes that God became man in the person and divinity of Jesus who was the Christ.  Hindus have a trinity of Gods, one of whom is Vishnu and he has 10 ‘incarnations’ or avatars.  It is important to remember that for Hindus these are merely the many faces or aspects of the Ultimate Reality. They are not the Ultimate Reality. Hindus believe in only one source of Ultimate Reality whom they call Brahman.

In Buddhism, although not a Religion, there is also the concept that a person, such as Gautama the Buddha, can become fully realised. Then as a fully realised person, through the example of their life and teachings, they can help us all to gain a better insight into our own self and our spiritual journey. But these Incarnations become visible in human form and are seen by us, who are human beings. Therefore, we can but see an imperfect vision of the Ultimate Reality or Mystery.



02 May, 2017

Living in the :Present Moment - Wonderful Moment

A PAST THAT IS GONE AND AN UNKNOWN FUTURE

One of our greatest habitual negatives is our tendency to spend too much time in either the Past which cannot be changed or the Future which is unknown.  Consequently, we can so often miss the gift of the Present Moment. Essentially, this is the only moment we have !

Much of our struggle with the pandemic of modern Mental Health issues , can be  rooted in this our , a natural, human tendency to 'permit' our mind to relish its habitual Time Travelling.

However, it is not a new or modern phenomena.  The sages and wisdom elders of all; cultures and times have warned us about the need to learn how to 'discipline' the min. The following 5th Century reflection from a Hindu Mystic illustrates this.


It reminds us of the vital importance of greeting EACH new day and an opportunity to remain in the Present which, as the famous Buddhist Master  ( Thich Nhat Hanh) reminds us is a ' Wonderful Moment. 

Pause after reading this and relax as you breathe  IN 'present moment'  OUT , wonderful moment.

30 April, 2017

Anam Cara ( Soul Friend) - A celtic Sense of Presence

Anam Cara - Soul Friend

A Celtic Sense of 

PRESENCE 
 and Friendship 


The Celtic people had a deep spirituality that pre-dated the arrival of St Patrick by about 1500 plus years. One of their many inspiring ideas is that of an Anam Cara ( Gaelic for Soul Friend)

Before looking at this in greater depth it is important to outline the basic principle on which  the Celts based their belief and understanding of the Mystery they called Blessed Presence.
 John O Donoghue, an Irish Poet and Author of Anam Cara, states this in the following way

The Celtic mind was not burdened by dualism. It did not separate what belongs together. Celtic imagination articulated the inner friendship which embraces nature, divinity, underworld and human world as one”

This rejection of dualism is similar to the Eastern Tradition of Advaita ( Not- Two) and is in stark contrast to the Greco-Roman, and Western, tendency to separate everything into a false either: or choice.

O Donoghue goes on to develop this and lead towards an understanding of the Anam Cara as follows

“ The dualism which separates the visible from the invisible, time from eternity, the human from the divine was totally alien to them“

This idea leads on to the sense of a gift , granted by God’s Grace, of a special friendship and this is termed the ‘ Anam Cara’  When you had an Anam Cara , this friendship cut across all boundaries of race, gender, culture etc. It was a pure gift of a Soul Friend, to whom 
  you could reveal the hidden intimacies of your life”

This concept of the Anam Cara, is based on a sense of Blessed Presence, one of the 4 great Ps of the Celtic Tradition. The other 3 are ; sacredness of Place, the all embracing and everyday place of Prayer and finally, the power of Pilgrimage; both the Inner and Outer Journey through life.

For a further and deeper  at Anam Cara see the book

John O Donoghue  - Anam Cara  Spiritual Wisdom from the Celtic World

and 5 short reflections Echoes of Creation   to be found in the resources section of www.satsang-companionship.org.uk

28 April, 2017

Knowledge & Experience - Vital to Discern

The Importance of Lived Experience
or
BEWARE OF 'EXPERTS '!

We live in turbulent times. Many believe humanity is undergoing a shift in Consciousness. This can be challenging and anxious times. Very often we can tend to look for certainty in 'experts' . This can be dangerous and often they have little lived experience and sometimes have their own power and control agenda.

This is nothing new as the following teaching from the Buddha illustrates. He gives very wise advice.



 

26 April, 2017

BUILD BRIDGES NOT WALLS BETWEEN PEOPLES



BUILD BRIDGES NOT WALLS
Where the Mind is Without Fear '

We live in a world where fear and prejudice is on the rise. Many who seek power use our pre-disposed mental tendency towards anxiety and fear. They appeal to our anxiety by focusing on difference . They suggest that the only way we can survive is to build walls and keep out the stranger. We see this in the modern world of politics

There is nothing new in this. It is ancient news!.   I find this poem by the Indian Poet & Mystic to be helpful. He composed this in the face of  prejudice and fear that some sought to inflame in India during the early part of the last century. Its message rings true today.
 
B

24 April, 2017

Paradox of Mystery Part 1



The PARADOX of MYSTERY Pt1

We live in a world where human understanding is going through a major paradigm shift. In all branches  of Science there is an explosion of new understandings, concepts and theories. In the past 50 years  we have learned more about  both the origins of the Cosmos and about our brain, than in the previous 5000 years.

Yet paradoxically we also live in an age where many  want certainty and certitude, hence the growth of fundamentalism of all kinds, both secular and religious. We avoid and are fearful of mystery and also of silence and stillness. We pretend that mystery is something we cannot understand. However, this is not true.

The following quote is used to set the scene for a much longer reflection on the Mystery at the heart of creation.

23 April, 2017

Compassion - Buddhism

The Importance of Loving Kindness

The Spiritual Traditions both of the Original and Ancient peoples and the main Faith Traditions of the past 5000 years, all emphasise the importance of Compassion. 

Compassion is not just Empathy, although it includes this . Compassion is a 'verb' it is empathy and presence in action. In Buddhist Terms it is the Practice of Loving Kindness towards self,all others and our World.  

Our task is to begin the work of integrating our Heart and Mind. To both recognise and challenge our tendency to identify with our False or Ego Self  and thus to find  our True Self. 

One of the main 'signposts' on this journey or pilgrimage is to find and understand  the source of true happiness

The following is a wonderful and wise quote from the Dalai Lama on the .