Our own experience is our best teacher, in other words, we learn best by experiencing things ourselves. We can be taught about things and told what to expect when certain things happen but until we actually have the experience ourselves we really don't know.
For example, we can be told about the taste of ginger, we can learn how it grows, where it comes from, how to use it, but until we taste it ourselves, we really have no idea of its flavour. We can get excellent instructions from a herbalist, a health practitioner, or a renowned chef. All their instructions cannot give us the taste of ginger. Only when we experience it ourselves can we truly know how it tastes.
When we move this thinking on to spiritual things the same rule applies. We can get lots of guidance and advice from teachers, priests, sages, masters and gurus, but until we have the experience of whatever they are teaching us, we are really not going to know what they are talking about. Some of these teachers haven't experienced the subject they teach and are just passing on information they've read. We can listen to teachers and get some idea of the point being discussed but there is no way we can experience it through their words.
We could be discussing out of body travel, with one person explaining their experience of an accident where they left their body and another using their daydreaming experience as a comparison. Both are real spiritual experiences but one is likely to be dramatic and the other quiet natural. One could be a life changing event, the other a regular part of daily life.
The thing to be aware of is that we are having spiritual experiences all the time. We are constantly using our inner selves to manage and survive in our physical lives. The reason we have a physical life is to discover our spiritual life. By experiencing life and all it has to offer we eventually come to the realisation that love is the key to a happier life. When we’ve spent enough time with hate, power, greed and violence we begin to realise they do not make us happy. The promise of happiness through using them is false.
When we daydream we are going within ourselves to explore. That is, we have gone to a different place other than our physical location using our imagination. This is a spiritual experience.
When we dream we are operating in our dream worlds, another spiritual world.
Coincidences, synchronicity and convenient accidents all point to another power or influence in our lives. Could these events be manipulated by spirit?
All these are evidence that we have a spiritual life. They are all part of daily life too, we just need to stop and take note of them. If we can build up an awareness of them we will begin to slip into the flow of life. We will be able to see the messages and signals from our inner selves in our physical world.
By opening our awareness to these spiritual elements we become conscious of our spiritual experiences. We can begin to consciously have our own experiences and learn what we need to know to have a happy and fruitful life. The key is to learn from these experiences. Learn the reason for our life, learn to be happy and learn about love.
Lots of Love
St. Stephen’s Green
The People’s Art exhibition on St. Stephen’s Green, in Dublin, was an interesting event. Normally there about 150 to 170 artists showing their work. At this event there were over 300. For the first time there were a large number of artists on the South side of the Green, which is usually empty.
I can see what I think
One of the big thrills for me was when Avtar, after spending some time looking at my pictures, said “What I think I can't see, but now that I see your pictures I can see what I think. I can see the spiritual side of my life.” This is the reason I create my art. Our life is spiritual but many of us can’t see that because we are caught up in our daily fight for survival. If you can catch sight of the spiritual side of you life through one of my pictures, then it was well worth my while creating it.
Avtar, a Seik, was with his wife, Rani, a Muslim. This mixed religion marriage is bit like a Catholic being married to a Protestant, similar faiths but the extremists of either religion often cause death and destruction in the name of their beliefs. It was nice to meet a couple who were still happy and in love, after many years of marriage regardless of their different beliefs.
The Leeson Street entrance to St. Stephen’s Green, showing the busy South side on the left and East side on the right.
“Experience is that marvellous thing that enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.”
Franklin P. Jones
“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.”
“Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.”
“Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.”
“Men are wise in proportion, not to their experience, but to their capacity for experience.”
“Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely.”
“Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards.”
Vernon Sanders Law
“You cannot acquire experience by making experiments. You cannot create experience. You must undergo it.”
“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
“Don't be discouraged by a failure. It can be a positive experience. Failure is, in a sense, the highway to success, inasmuch as every discovery of what is false leads us to seek earnestly after what is true, and every fresh experience points out some form of error which we shall afterwards carefully avoid.”
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Security does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than exposure.”
“Every time we remember to say "thank you," we experience nothing less than heaven on earth.”
Sarah Ban Breathnach
“I am convinced that life in a physical body is meant to be an ecstatic experience.”
“With every experience, you alone are painting your own canvas, thought by thought, choice by choice.”
“Truth is what stands the test of experience.”
Sleep on it, is an old saying which we apply to a problem or situation, which we can't easily find a solution for. Most people think it is a just a figure of speech, but there is wisdom in it. It doesn't matter what kind of a challenge we have, sleeping on it, is one of the great problem solving exercises.
How does it work?
When we sleep we relax. Our physical body shuts down but our inner bodies continue to work and be active. In fact they work a lot better because now they don't have the distraction of dealing with the physical world. We, as Soul, can now focus on our inner life. We can do lots of things like, be present at major events, visit and meet significant people, family and friends, go to places around the world and to other worlds, and we can even fly, if we wish.
How to work it
Before you go to sleep ask for an answer to a particular situation or problem. Then leave it at that and go to sleep. In the morning, just as you wake up, watch your thoughts. What are your thoughts about? There may be a variety of things floating into your consciousness as you awaken. Check what your thoughts are on the question you asked about. Do you have any ideas related to that?
Don't just hop out of bed. Take time to observe your thoughts and record them into your memory. Once you have a good grasp of them, get out of bed. It is a good idea to write these thoughts into a dream or sleep journal so that you will recall them later. The act of writing will further embed the ideas into your memory and you may recall other details as you write.
Using the problem solving exercises
While writing this article I came to a piece which I couldn't find the words for. Putting the 'Sleep on it' problem solving exercise into practice, I did just that. The next morning there were no enlightening thoughts to help me write a better article but as I sat down to go over the article, a number of ideas about where to get information to develop the article, came to mind.
This is an example of how our inner selves work while we sleep. The insight to go to different sources to check for information would have been suggested to me while sleeping. Then while working on the article, the related insight comes to mind. The insight wasn’t available when I woke up because it wasn’t related to me getting out of bed. When I went to write, the insight came to mind and I was able to use it. The results of the ‘sleep on it’ exercises can be quite subtle but they work.
Learn while we sleep
We can also learn while we sleep. If we have had a restless nights sleep, it may be caused by our apprehension about something happening the next day. This can often be because you are preparing yourself for the event or task. As we are working on a task that relates to the physical world, we will spend your sleep time closer to the physical. When we sleep soundly we generally go deep into our inner worlds, far away from the physical. If we are learning something to do with our physical, it needs to be placed into our memory and we have to be somewhat awake to do that. This causes our restlessness while we sleep.
If you are having a restless night and you have ideas coming to you, it may be a good idea to write the ideas or insights down. Many people use a sleep journal or a dream journal to harvest the inspiration coming from their inner worlds. The act of writing it down will do a few things:
It will capture the idea in a solid physical form,
It will signal to the mind that the idea is now available for use when we wake up,
It will relive our memory which doesn’t have to try to remember the ideas,
All of this can help calm the mind and allow you to sleep better.
Contemplation is another method of finding new ideas to challenges. It's a more conscious way of connecting with our inner worlds. Because we are more conscious we can remember the new ideas easier, we can even take notes if we wish during our contemplation. There's more information on contemplation in this article.
Wishing you sweet dreams and inspirational insights with these problem solving exercises.
“Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.”
“If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them.”
“It is always easier for one man to solve another man's problem.”
“Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.”
We are continually faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.
John W. Gardner
A problem is a chance for you to do your best.
If you can solve your problem, then what is the need of worrying? If you cannot solve it, then what is the use of worrying?
Thought for the Week
This article gives a simple guide to inner travel. The key is a tool which is often neglected or lost in the busy lives we lead these days. This tool can transport us anywhere in an instant and we won’t have to pay air fares or taxes to get there!
This wonderful tool is our imagination. It is something we all have. We use it every day to work out simple tasks, like what to have for dinner. Hmmm, will I have rice or potatoes? What will I have with it? What meat, which vegetables? While wondering about our dinner, we look at different pictures in our imagination to see which is most appetising. Then we make a decision, based on what we imagine will be the best meal for us. But we can use our imagination to do lots of things. For example we could use it to travel to anywhere we wish. As you read this we are going to try some Inner Travel.
A walk on the beach
Let’s get moving. Where would you like to go? Let’s try somewhere that you have probably been at some stage in your life. Let's go for a walk on the beach. Now we have some idea of a beach in our mind’s eye. As you answer the following questions, imagine the result, picture the elements and build up the scene.
What time of the year is it? Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter?
What time of the day is it? Morning, evening or night time?
What is the weather like? Sunny, cloudy, wet, dry, warm, or cold?
Are you walking, running, strolling or drifting over the scene?
Are you on your own or is there someone with you?
Now stop reading this, take time to enjoy and explore this scene as you close your eyes.
Well, how did it go? Did you enjoy the experience? Can you describe the place where you were? If you can, click on ‘Comments’ below and tell us your story. It will be interesting to read each others descriptions of where we were. I’ve added mine into Comments, how does it compare to yours?
Levels of inner travel
How did we travel there? We used our imagination to build the scene. It is very like day dreaming, where we move our attention within ourselves and ramble off into our thoughts and imagination.
There are different levels of inner travel.
The first, is the one we just tried where we build up a scene in our imagination.
The next level is day dreaming, where our attention has moved from our current physical location, to somewhere within our selves.
The third stage is contemplation, where we are sitting or resting in a quiet place with our eyes closed and we consciously explore the worlds within us.
The next level is dreaming, where our body is asleep and we are going about our life in our inner worlds, where we go every night when we sleep.
The fifth level is Inner Travel or Soul Travel where we consciously move to another location while at the same time being aware of where we are physically.
The final level is death where we leave our physical body permanently.
Death is often feared
This last stage, death, is often feared by many but only because we are unaware of the worlds within. If we have had some practice and experience with inner travel, we begin to realise that death is just moving to our inner worlds and not coming back to the physical world for a time. It is a natural process but because we are ignorant of what happens and where we go when we die, we fear it.
To help us loose our fear of death we should learn the key to inner travel. We can use any of the different stages above but we need to make an effort to remember our experiences and inner travels. Keeping a journal or diary of our travels is a great way of bringing our inner reality into our physical reality.
So let’s us the power of our imagination and go off on our inner travels. Tell us about your experiences by writing a few lines in ‘Comments’ below.
Summer Fair, Marlay House,
This coming weekend I’ll be at the Summer fair in Marlay House, Marlay Park, Rathfarnham, Dublin 14. If you can come along on Friday evening between 7.00 pm and 9.00 pm you’ll get 10% off everything on sale. If you can’t make on Friday evening, try and get there on Saturday or Sunday. On Saturday there is a farmer’s market in the courtyard beside the house and there is a beautiful park and gardens surrounding the house. It is well worth a visit.
People’s Art on St Stephen’s Green, Dublin
On Friday to Sunday, June 26, 27 and 28. the People’s Art Exhibition will take place on St. Stephens Green, Dublin 2, Ireland. It is always a creative and colourful affair and if the weather is good place to spend some time enjoying the art and artists of Ireland. I’ll be there somewhere and hopefully we’ll see you there too.
“To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.”
Thomas A. Edison
“Imagination is more important than knowledge... “
“Skill without imagination is craftsmanship and gives us many useful objects such as wickerwork picnic baskets. Imagination without skill gives us modern art.”
“Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will.”
George Bernard Shaw
“Use your imagination not to scare yourself to death but to inspire yourself to life.”
“Love is a canvas furnished by Nature and embroidered by imagination.“
Thought for the Week
Life is a solo performance. While we have family and friends around us, we are the ones who decide the direction and attitude of our life. We are responsible for how we think, which determines how we look at life. We decide on our goals, our mission and how we get things done.
If we are dependant on some people for their approval on what we do or don’t do, then we have handed our freedom to them. They in turn may need approval form us and others, for what they do and so we are bound in a circle of approval and dependence, which can tie us down and limit our lives.
I have many friends who are married and many who are single. I often hear from my single friends that they wish they were in a relationship and from my married friends that they want to be single. These two different desires illustrate our need of friendship and also our need to be independent. We learn about life from our friends, partners and close relatives but we also need the freedom to learn from others.
If we think of significant people throughout history we see that they are all individuals. There are very few couples who have made an impact on the world. It seems to be individuals who get things done. They have a singular vision to achieve whatever their mission is.
Of course all of these heroes and leaders couldn't achieve anything without the support of the people around them. We need people to help us to:
Get things done,
Reach goals together,
Be friends with,
Have fun with,
Enjoy life together.
We are the hero in our own life. We are the one responsible for how our life goes. While we are putting on a solo performance, we are not alone on the stage. We are performing with many others. We have a particular part to play in the lives of others and they play a part in ours. We can play each of these parts simultaneously or separately. We can be a:
We need to be careful of our hero image and how our ego and pride can inflate it. It is ok to be happy with our achievements but if we begin to think we are better than others we begin to create a new problem for ourselves. We have to keep in mind that as Soul we are equal but not better than anyone else. While others may appear to be behind us in a certain skill or position, they are on a different path to us and may well be way ahead of us in other areas.
If we can treat all the Souls in our lives with love and do everything with love, we should have a happy life with a lot of love in it. This way we can make our lives significant to others and ourselves.
Lots of Love
Marlay House in Rathfarnham will be host to a range of visions from the creative genius of some of Irelands gifted artists and crafts people. From the evening of Friday the 19th June until Sunday 20th, there will be up to 50 arts and crafts stands where visitors can browse for gifts for family, friends and their home, at the Summer Fair in Marlay House.
Marlay House is situated in Marlay Park, a wooded parkland which is a very popular walking spot for people in the area and hosts one of the best Farmers Markets in the country which attracts 2,500 visitors each Saturday. Organised by the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Enterprise Board in association with the County Council. the Summer Fair gives local crafts people and artists the opportunity to display and sell their work.
Among the artists will be Ed Parkinson who through his visions reveals the spiritual side of life. When asked about his work, Ed explained "Life is spiritual but most of us think it is just physical. Through my pictures I want to show people the spiritual side of ourselves. I hope my paintings give people an insight into the sacred inner part of their lives."
Monasterevin, Ireland July 25 - 31 2009
“Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J. (28 July 1844 – 8 June 1889), was an English poet, Roman Catholic convert, and Jesuit priest, whose 20th-century fame established him posthumously among the leading Victorian poets. His experimental explorations in prosody (especially sprung rhythm) and his use of imagery established him as a daring innovator in a period of largely traditional verse.” Wikipedia.org
The poet visited Monasterevin, his rural haven, at least 7 times declaring that he 'felt better for the delicious bog air of Monasterevin'. that Monasterevin was, 'one of the props and struts of my existence.' 'I should have felt better for the delicious bog air of Monasterevin.'
Highlights of the 2009 Festival include
• Traditional Irish Music and Poetry
• Art Exhibitions are especially interesting this year and feature well-known Irish Artist, Michael Kane; Daniel Lipstein (Israel); Eva Kelly; John Hughes (Spain) Seán Fingleton; Eleanor Dunne; Brian O'Loughlin and Ed Parkinson.
• Poetry Readings
• Field Trips:
The Gerard M Hopkins International Festival has been described as ‘one of Europe's most exciting cultural forums', and by the Editor of The Oxford Companion to Irish Studies as ‘the best literary festival in Ireland'.
“All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts...“
“Life has no rehearsals, only performances.”
“All the world's a stage and most of us are desperately unrehearsed.”
This piece has moved on to the final stage where I’m now working with it in the final size. When starting a picture I’ll do a rough sketch in a small size to see if works. Last week’s post was in the small size, about 1,000 pixels wide. Because I was happy with the layout I’ve now stared it again but this time it is 10,000 pixels wide. It has to be this wide so that when it is printed at A0 size, (1189 x 841 mm or 33.1” x 46.8”) the detail will be of good quality. Below is the picture in its current state. There is still a bit to do. Click on the image to enlarge it.
If we have free will how come we are limited by the circumstances of our lives? Why can't we be rich and happy? How come we have to deal with working, difficult relationships and a lack of money? Why can't we to do the things we want?
To get a proper understanding of our life situation we need to consider two aspects of life. Karma and reincarnation, karma is a law of life which keeps count of all our actions, both good and bad. What we sow we reap. All the good things we do will be repaid to us and all the bad things will have to be corrected.
These debts are not always paid back immediately. Sometimes it takes weeks, months, years or even lifetimes. For example, if we kill several people we can only pay back one lifetime at a time. Over our many lives we have made choices and caused things to happen which we are now working through.
One of the challenges we have here is dealing with our free will. It's all very well having free will but when we are immature it can create trouble for us. We are likely to make decisions based on our emotional reactions. So if someone insults us we could strike back with force. The other person will react with even more force and very soon there is a war developing. After we have behaved like this a number of times and we have reaped the harvest of our actions, we begin to understand, what we sow we reap.
If we insist on having things our way and not allowing people the choice of making up their own mind, then we will be confined to our thoughts of having our own way. We are now a prisoner of those thoughts. We are insisting that a person does things our way and we will hold on to that thought until we are satisfied that it is done as we wished or that we let it go and let the person be. This is how we loose our freedom, by taking freedom from others. This happens whether we are doing it on a physical, emotional or mental level. Freedom comes when we allow others to have their freedom.
A little easier to live
If we can get to grips with the fact that we have created the current circumstances in our lives, by the actions in other lives, then we can begin to accept our life. There may be some aspects which we don’t like but if we realise that we have caused these by some action in the past, it becomes a little easier to live with our current life.
If we inflict pain on someone that same pain eventually comes back to us. This is how we learn about how life works. It might be easier if we listened to the wise ones among us but we get the best lessons from our own experiences. Unfortunately this means that we have to learn the hard way. Eventually we realise that dong things for love brings good results for all concerned.
HU, Soul’s battle cry of freedom
We need a higher perspective to get a view of our many lifetimes. If we try to look at them from our physical perspective it can be a bit of a struggle. We can use the HU song to help us move our awareness higher to Soul, our true selves. HU is like Soul’s battle cry of freedom. From Soul’s high point of view, we can get a better overview of our lives and how they fit together. We can see the battlefield of the many lives we have had and how they have lead to the life we are now living.
To be free of the negative aspects of our current life we have to learn to love them. Love them for what they have to teach us, love them for how our lives will be enhanced when we have been released of their bonds. Love them because they will help us move n to the next part of our lives. Love them for how they will make us stronger. Love them because once we understand them we will be free of them. This is how we can gain freedom, by facing our challenges and dealing with them. They will no longer bind us and we will be free of them.
Let us use our free will, to understand and love our challenges in life, so that we can be free of them. Let’s love our challenges and win our freedom.
I was at the Holistic Fairs in Ballinasloe, Co. Galway, yesterday, Sunday 31st May and today, Monday 1st June ’09, I’ll be in The Springfield Hotel, Leixlip. I used a new stand system at the show. It is much simpler and easier to erect than the previous version. Set up takes about an hour, as opposed to two hours with the previous system and take down is about 45 minute versus two hours for the old systems. Here’s a photo of how it looks.
“For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”
“It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either of them.”
“Self-reliance is the only road to true freedom, and being one's own person is its ultimate reward.”
“Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labour in freedom.”