The duality of life

Just as the quote below says, we need oppposites in life. We need challenges which, although painful at the time perhaps, will help us to grow emotionally and spiritually. If life were just one series of material and bodily pleasures, what impetus would we have to improve ourselves, or to seek the pleasure found in spiritual endeavours such as meditation, helping others and finding our way back to the Divine? The duality of life is one of the ways that God throws in his fishing line in the hope that we will take the bait and return to Him.

Here’s another beautiful quote that I came across this week:

“God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us

to give ourselves the gift of living well.”

– VOLTAIRE

In order to grow from life’s challenges, below are outlined just a couple of examples of how to change learned habits of behaviour and react in different, more positive, ways:

  • when someone is angry with you, don’t retaliate because you will simply be fanning the flames of their ire. (I had to learn this skill pretty quickly as a high school teacher. At the start of my career, I took part in a couple of quite ridiculous in retrospect shouting matches with pupils. My goodness, the flames of anger must have been reaching out of the top of the building! But I was presented with this opportunity many times to change my ways of reacting to pupil challenges. And each time I learned how to behave more positively, more lovingly. Teaching isn’t all lovely children and fun, although it is that too. To really appreciate the good times, we need to learn through the challenging ones. So, to get back to the issue of anger, quite often if you are quiet and say nothing, this can extinguish the flames! It is really difficult to do this at first, but you eventually reach the stage where you immediately see this challenge as a test. How will you react? If you can do this, it is a major spiritual step forward in my view. If you have a mantra, repeat it over and over inwardly. When the person’s ire has burnt out sufficiently, then you can talk to them quietly, reassuringly. They don’t need to hear harsh words; they don’t need to hear how stupid they’ve been; any kind words and acts you can offer them at this stage will sow a seed in their consciousness. Hopefully, they will think twice about igniting their rage in the future!
  • when you feel rushed for time and feel as if you don’t have enough minutes in a day, do an activities audit. I PROMISE YOU THIS WORKS! Write down all the activities you do in a day/week such as taking the kids to dance class or play dates 3 times a week, doing the weekly cryptic crossword in the weekend newspaper for 2 hours, watching 4 hours of tv a night. Which of these activities are really essential to your life and which can you simply let go? Learn to let them go and you will feel more at peace, more relaxed. The challenge of time pressure was created by you and you can change it.
“The only reason for time is that everything doesn’t happen at once.”
– Albert Einstein

The town mouse and the country mouse

‘Once upon a time’ in a children’s magazine of years gone by, lived a town mouse and her cousin, the country mouse.  The magazine often featured their adventures arising chiefly from their different cultures and views on the world.  I was reminded of this dichotomy (my big word for the day! I’m going to use it all day!) recently during our week’s holiday at the seaside, when I discovered something interesting about myself. Continue reading

Gaia

There is a hypothesis called The Gaia Principle first expounded in the 1700s by Scottish Geologist, James Hutton.  He studied the planets and concluded that in the same way our bodies are made up of billions of cells all working together as one single unit, everything on Earth also works together as one single, living, self-regulating organism – all living things, the atmosphere, plants, animals, humans, climate and so on.  And just as our bodies have their own regulatory systems (eg. nervous system, respiratory system), so the Earth has its own systems:  atmosphere (air), biosphere (all lifeforms), geosphere (soil and rock), and hydrosphere (water).  The health of the Earth depends on all these components working well in harmony.  If one system is impaired or malfunctioning, it will affect all the others.   There can be many reasons for impairment or malfunction, for example ozone thinning, unbiodegradable plastics entering the food chain, fracking, draining of water tables, to name a few, of which the common denominator is: us!

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe. John Muir

If we subscribe to the Gaia principle, I guess the overarching aim behind it might be that we learn to share, cooperate, compromise, discover consequences of our actions; that we learn the need to give back to the Earth in order that it may thrive for future generations. 

Scotland, voted the most beautiful place on Earth!

I love the Earth. It’s absolutely astonishingly beautiful. Let’s cherish it. I love my part of the world too. Here are some images from Scotland. The first image is the castle in my hometown, Kilmarnock. We live in a region called Ayrshire. If you look at the second image, this is a view of Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland. I like that we are never far from the sea no matter where we are! The Mackintosh rose is an icon of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the famous architect and furniture maker. You can visit examples of his work all around, from the Hill House in Helensburgh (a small town on the west coast) to the Tea Rooms in Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow (our largest city), to the House for an Art Lover in Bellahouston Park in Glasgow. The fourth image is an interior view of the City Chambers (where the city councillors meet). Isn’t it gorgeous?!

In the penultimate photo, you can see that we don’t take ourselves too seriously in Scotland. In fact we are famed for being self-deprecating! The final image is of the paddle steamer The Waverly which chugs tourists up and down the west coast and islands.

I would dearly love to see images of your part of the world! Why don’t we collaborate on a joint post on the beauty of our world? If you’d like to do this, just add a link to this post https://anitaneilson.com/2019/03/11/gaia/ when you’re writing your blog. Right, I’m off out to litter pick and look after my little part of Gaia. Have a great week. Much love, Anita.😊🌻🌳👍

Invitation to Fireworks — Spirituality Without Borders: Reflections on Spiritual Practice

I’m reblogging this wonderfully inspiring post from Spiritualitywithoutborders.blog. May the sacred imagery and words help you with your daily practice!  Anita.😊

Jim Neafsey https://www.sacredbondprints.com used with permission I wanted to evoke a living Presence, a palpable sense of Mystery infusing the mother and child, the green hills, the foggy valleys, the starry night…and ourselves. Jim Neafsey https://www.sacredbondprints.com This stunning and evocative icon gifts me with a rich array of feelings, faith and questions. It takes me […]

via Invitation to Fireworks — Spirituality Without Borders: Reflections on Spiritual Practice