Saturday, 21 February 2009

Unity and Bliss...

I have been watching the BBC2 series ‘Around the World in 80 Faiths’ over the past couple of months. It has been a fascinating journey exploring faith and religion. The man on this journey (Peter Owen Jones) was also a cause of fascination for me – an Anglican Vicar who took a year out to explore the Divine and our connection to it.

The series finished last night, and it has left me with many thoughts about religion, belief and faith. Of course, this journey could be repeated several more times and it still wouldn’t have covered all the belief systems around the world, but none the less, a broad spectrum of faiths were explored.

It has made me think a lot about my own beliefs – I do not align myself with any particular religion. I guess in many ways I am a hotch potch of my own ideas and philosophies some rooted in different religions, some of which are my own.

The final comments of the series were about embracing those religions that include others, and to be wary of religions that exclude (most, if not all of the well known faiths). Wise words, but I wonder if exclusion is part of the human condition? Striving to be better, to know more, to stand above the rest is the reason why we evolve and develop. Advancements in science, technology, and health care all come from this quest.

Taking a more philosophical viewpoint, we could say that all the major advancements in today’s society were purely down to the desire to make the world a better place. Well, I hope at some level this is true, but could each of those scientists, doctors and other professionals truly say that they did it purely for humanity and not for self-advancement, not to be the best?

I wonder then, how we can move collectively to a place of total inclusion and acceptance of others. How can we combine our desire to be the best, with a desire for unity?

I do not have an answer; I suppose I felt I wanted to share with you my thoughts on a truly fascinating journey of faith.

The highlight of the series for me was the visit to the Taoist Monks high up in the mountains in China. Taoism is a philosophy that draws me, and it made me smile that the Anglican Vicar could not grasp the philosophy, but at the same time he was.

Taoism is an understanding of the order behind the chaos – it is connected to the rules of the Universe: Yin & Yang, Light & Dark, Male & Female, Hot & Cold, Good & Evil. Everything is in polarity, everything is opposite. When these forces act in harmony, they produce a cosmic or lifeforce energy called Chi (Qi). The path to enlightenment or Bliss is through tapping into the Chi.

The basic philosophies of Taoism are quietness and effortlessness. Quietness comes from not thinking, from being calm inside. Effortlessness is connected to not being affected by the outside world, to bending with rather than fighting the flow. Taoism is about being in perfect alignment with the rhythms of the Tao – and to achieve a true state of Bliss we need to be totally detached from the turmoil of life.

Witnessing the journey of the Anglican Vicar, his highs and lows, and the moments where his connection to the Divine shone through on his face; was a truly memorable experience. His belief that his own faith is a ‘faith of the head, and not a faith of the soul’ – says a lot. His thoughts that ‘A state of wonder can only be found by finding a state of peace’ also resonated with me.

On the website, he says that on his year-long journey he did find some peace; on a Bolivian mountainside, for about 15 seconds...

Seeing the devastation caused to faiths, cultures and people from all around the world due to religious differences, I wonder if by finding the balance and harmony within, we can stop looking externally for the answers, and only then can we start the journey towards unity, acceptance, inclusion, and Bliss…

Monday, 16 February 2009

Emancipation & Letting Go...

Well, it certainly seems that Saturn’s retrograde dance has caused a big shift within many of us. Many of my clients have been experiencing a sense of clearing and release when it comes to their own paternal relationships (both inner and outer). In addition, the feeling of taking full responsibility for our lives and choices has had quite a profound impact on so many people (including myself).

There is a sense of emancipation – a feeling that we are finally becoming free. This may seem a little strange – after all aren’t we striving towards unity and the collective? This may be so, but in order to be truly free and united, we need to be free and united within ourselves. Therefore, the idea of emancipation starts to make much more sense.

Being fully accountable and responsible is no easy task – and many people shy away from it, using self-made illusions and beliefs to avoid the inevitable realisation. However, it is the only way forwards if we are to become the free, enlightened beings that we dream of.

Part of this process avoids letting go of the inessential in our lives. We are all guilty of cluttering up our homes, bodies and minds with things that we simply no longer need. We hold onto possessions because they hold sentimental value or because they were a bargain – but do we truly need them? After all, the sentimental thoughts don’t vanish just because we don’t possess the item any more do they?

Think of all our attachments as threads connecting us, binding us – this has the effect of the fly in a spider’s web, entangled and imprisoned. These threads bear down on us, weighing on our shoulders, using up much needed energy as we struggle to find freedom. The more we struggle, the more entangled we become. The more we let go, the freer we become.

Stuff is everywhere, and the more stuff we have, the less room we have to bring the new into our lives. This does not only work on the physical level – surely a mind free from clutter is a healthier mind? In addition, the ability to let go of the inessential is a mind-set – thinking this way enables a new wave of free thinking to enter our lives. So, how we think affects how we act and so on.

What seems clear is that choice comes very strongly into this equation – a choice whether to embrace retrograde Saturn or to carry on with heads buried in the sand. Certainly from the work I have been doing with clients, many are choosing to embrace this challenge, to finally set themselves free. As I said, it’s a choice – it’s up to you…

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

The Dawning of a New Age?

The Heavens are in party mode at the moment as a number of celestial bodies are coming together in Aquarius.

Aquarius is the sign of the New Age, a sign of brother/sister hood, humanity, intuition, ideals, individuality. We often forget that Aquarius is ruled by both Uranus and Saturn though, and the traits that most of us equate with Aquarius come from Uranus, but Saturn plays an important role – he helps each of us to take responsibility for our own lives and to be accountable for our actions. It is through this responsibility that we can turn dreams and ideal into reality. In many ways Saturn grounds the Uranian side of Aquarius.

With this in mind, the celestial party this week looks set to have a huge impact on many people (as well as on the collective). We have Mars, Dragon’s Head, Jupiter, Juno, Chiron, Neptune and the Sun all residing in Aquarius this week.

There is a lot of buzz that this is the true dawning of the Age of Aquarius. You may remember the musical Hair and the song Aquarius? Well, it goes like this:

‘When the moon is in the Seventh House
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
Then peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars

This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius
The age of Aquarius
Aquarius!Aquarius!’

Lots of emails are circling, telling us that this event happens on St Valentines day as the Moon moves into Libra (the 7th House) – but in fact this should be on the 12th February. But give or take a couple of days, is this truly the dawning of a New Age? Well, that is something for each of us to decide, but events in Aquarius certainly do have a lot of significance.

Saturn moving retrograde on the 31st December 2008 seemed to start the ball rolling as he made each of us see that the only way forward was to be totally accountable and responsible for our own choices and actions. Then we had the Chinese New Year and Solar Eclipse on the 26th January; yesterday we saw a Full Moon and penumbral lunar eclipse in Leo. All of these events have stirred up a ceremonial energy, a feeling that something important is coming.

Lets think about the planets involved, not forgetting Mercury who is soon to move into Aquarius to join the mix on the 14th February.

Mercury is the communicator, Mars is the motivator (the energy source), The Dragon’s Head (or North Node) is connected to our destiny, and Jupiter is the planet of growth, expansion, abundance and wisdom.

Juno helps us to see the true dynamics in relationships (both in the relationship we have with ourselves, as well as with others), Chiron helps us to see our healing gifts, Neptune is the planet of the mystical and ethereal, and finally the Sun is our life spark or essence.

What a mix!

My interpretation of this event is a sense of personal empowerment, a sense that by taking responsibility for our own lives, we can finally (collectively) create the Aquarian ideal of harmony, unity and peace. It is not beyond the impossible, for the more who can believe it, the stronger the idea will become.

The power is within each of us to make a difference; to create our own individual vision’s of perfection in life and to focus on the positives. This is not to say that we should live in a dream world, but rather by looking for positives we can start to create change for the collective. Focusing on abundance, joy, love, equality, acceptance, tolerance, openness, honesty – if enough individuals and then enough groups of people do this, then maybe we can start to create this as a reality for all?

Life is not perfect, we see suffering around us every day, everywhere in the world. In many ways we have become toughened to this as it is so commonplace, but last weeks’ snow in the UK proved that when we choose to, we can work together, helping one another. So, it may not be quite such an impossible task after all?

Remember that Aquarius is also the revolutionary – and the great turning points of human history occur not due to the actions of one person, but through the power of ideas that break forth from the collective psyche e.g. French and American Revolutions. Of course, revolutions are not always successful, but without the desire to strive for change – where would we be?

We are on an interesting journey at the moment – maybe this is all part of the path towards 2012. Maybe it is just evolution, or maybe revolution…

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Let it Snow...!

The thick carpet of pure white snow outside has had quite a strange effect on me – it has completely re-energised and focused me. Whilst I am stuck indoors, unable to venture out with roads closed etc, this has given me a newfound sense of freedom and excitement. It is so easy to get lost in the ‘rat race’ – running about like busy bees (no offence to the beautiful bee!) – we often forget the joy in stillness and retreat.

There is such an air of excitement outside with children building snowmen and having snowball fights; even adults are having fun and enjoying the unexpected time off work etc. People travelling are talking and laughing with others, and helping one another – on a normal day on trains, buses and tubes, the silence would be deafening.

This unofficial holiday has highlighted the fact that unity is possible, people can work together and interact with others. There is room for community and high spirits, helping neighbours and each other, for talking and sharing, compassion and concern.

It is a choice.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Food for Thought...

Stop looking for a scapegoat in your life and be willing to face the truth within yourself and to right your own wrongs’

Eileen Caddy in Footprints on the Path

Sometimes the truth hurts…

BUT

‘Always remember that it is perfectly possible to be perfectly wonderful without being anywhere near perfect’.

Unknown.