What is it, exactly, about the ocean that calls to us? What is it about her waves whispering in our ears that fill us with the excitement of a child and the calm of a sage instantaneously?
Our ears wiggle to a music that seems to speak to somewhere deep inside of us. We close our eyes and listen to the singing seagulls and the chorus of crashing waves with smiles on our faces.
It’s a song that forces us to stop thinking with our rational brain. Instead, we let our bodies tell us what to feel.
Watching her waving waters as they dance to the steady beat of a lunar drum that we cannot hear, we begin to realise there is intention in nature. We feel a magical impulse, a divine will, a call to action, a collective soul.
We witness the energies of the universe as they swirl all around us. No one knows where they came from. No one knows exactly what they are. But now, in the overwhelming presence of the source of all life, we can feel them. Life’s energy.
It’s in this moment, gazing at her colossal strength and infinite beauty, that we realise that these are the same energies that ebb and flow within us. We look at life in motion and we say, “Ah, that’s who I am. I am that.”
Even if it’s just for a moment, we transcend our consciousness.
In this transcendental experience, we realise that we already live in the kingdom of heaven. We remember the promised land has nothing to do with real estate, titles, or deeds. We understand that nirvana is inside of us, exactly where we stand. We may even laugh at the all too curious realisation that we ARE the mystery which we are seeking to know.
The Gods didn’t kick us out of the Garden of Eden. We banished ourselves, and we continue to do so every time we lose sight of these simple truths. The ocean reminds us to come back into Eden and eat the tasty fruit of who we really are.
That’s why the ocean calls to us.
Or, maybe, you just like to surf and sun tan. And I mean, who doesn’t?
There’s always something about the first words you type onto a blank page. It’s like splashing paint onto a crisp-white canvas. I believe we all have words pent up inside of ourselves. Those first ones break the pressure. You kind of just let the words fall onto the paper as they naturally would. Your soul is the bursting cloud, allowing droplets of inner wisdom to sprinkle the land underneath it.
It seems much too rare these days that we allow our soul the ability to speak its truth. Too often we are stifled by social and cultural concerns. I think its a pretty sad notion that our individuality is being suffocated by the very people that should be celebrating it: ourselves.
We’ve seen the unique nature of each human being oppressed in many different ways by many different tyrants.
We saw it masterfully done by the Catholic church after the dark ages. We were told we were all beautiful children of God who loved us infinitely. God would love us until the end of our days, unless we looked upon the stars with our own eyes and suggested, perhaps, that our solar system wasn’t exactly structured as the church had taught us it was. That, maybe, we weren’t the centre of it all. Then we were heretics; we were blasphemous, spoiled spawns of darkness.
We were loved by God so long as we accepted our fate as peasants, farming for dukes and bishops we would never see. Don’t worry, we were told, if we allowed ourselves to be powerless and impoverished in this life, the next one would have rainbows and beds made of clouds. Our sons were loved by God as long as they didn’t love other men. Our daughters were loved by God as long as they didn’t stay connected to their feminine nature or the earth. As long as they didn’t embrace their sexual power and remained subservient to men, our daughters were wonderful indeed.
We saw it done by Hitler and the Nazis, who told us we were perfect specimens of greatness. Unless, of course, our hair and eyes were too dark or our skin produced a higher amount of pigmentation. Then we were somehow sullied; we were somehow corrupt. Capitalism told us we were successful and smart, as long as our car was new and we had the latest smart phone. We were always perfect as long as we fulfilled someone else’s definition of it.
You would think after all of the great individuals, the great men and women who stood in defiance of the oppression of the uniqueness of humanity, that we would learn to celebrate the diversity of one another and of ourselves.
We are shape shifters by nature. We are flexible and bendy. We can wear many different hats. We are water.
Our ability to bend and twist and move and flow is proof enough that none of us were made to be packed into rigid little boxes of conformity.
And yet still we act as our own corrupter. We still restrict our own freedom to be individuals. We are still barbarically behind in a deeper understanding of who we are as individuals and as a species. From the very time we are school children, we speak and act harshly toward those who stand out, instead of celebrating them.
Celebrate who you are, and support others who do the same.
Because you’re all pretty fucking awesome.
Be good to each other,
Featured Image: inesperkovic.com
Geocentric Solar System: pics-about-space.com
Witch Hunt: hiduth.com
Hitler Youth: spartacus-educational.com
Nearly all of us did once, at a simpler time in our lives, but I doubt many of us would still say we do.
Since I was a little boy, everyone from teachers to parents to priests have reiterated to me how silly the idea of magic is.
As a boy, I didn’t believe them. I remember running through the woods behind my house, certain I was in a magical place.
When you’re a child, everything from the brightest star in the sky to the smallest insect in the dirt is magic. After the age of seven or eight, however, it was no longer appropriate to believe. There was no longer a Santa Clause, or an Easter Bunny. It was time to grow up.
I still remember when the Harry Potter series came out, schools all over the world were banning the books in a desperate attempt to contain the potential spread of something as demonic as witchcraft and wizardry.
By the time we reached adulthood, magic was something only the strange or the unintelligent still believed in. We were grownups now, after all, it was time to think and act like one.
We were taught to scoff at the ancient spiritual traditions all over the world. Medicine men, shamans, wuyus, mystics, oracles, priestesses, and witch doctors were all terms that became synonymous with barbarism and the uncivilised. Silly adults splashing water, singing strange songs and burning incense in honour of spirits with funny sounding names.
So, how many of us believe in magic?
Well, there’s around 2.2 billion Christians in the world, with the Americas and Europe providing the largest percentage of those who follow Christianity.
There’s an additional 1.6 billion Muslims in the world.
Add another 1 billion Hindus, 400 million who follow the traditional religion of China, and 375 million Buddhists.
All up, around 5.6 billion people make up the following of the top five religions in the world.
That’s a lot of believers in magic.
Because really, what is the real difference between magic and religious practice?
I look at their priests and monks and see adults splashing water, singing strange songs and burning incense in honour of spirits with funny sounding names. Sound familiar?
the power of apparently influencing events by using mysterious or supernatural forces.
What religion doesn’t claim to have that power?
Religious practitioners believe they can influence eternity by uttering suggested prayers or through the singing of hymns and mantras. Whether its going to heaven, attaining saṃsāra, or improving the quality of our next life by raising of our karma, we must first place our faith in the mysterious and supernatural in order to find salvation.
We must believe in the prayer, the chant, or the mantra. We must believe in the magic. Without our faith, there is no power behind our actions.
We’ve somehow legitimized a select few forms of magical practice and file them under the term “religion”. We’ve used the power of words to shape our perspectives and change our opinions on what is legitimate and what is not (that, and a few good old fashioned witch hunts never hurt as a deterrence).
Instead of chants, we call them hymns. Instead of incantations, we call them prayers. Instead of minor deities, we call them angels. Instead of acolytes, we call them priests – or nuns instead of priestesses. In the end, it’s all just magic.
Has anyone seen the epic wizard staff the Pope carries? Even Gandalf would blush at the sight of it. If we were in the Harry Potter universe, that bad boy would be a 72 inch wand, made from elder wood (coated in gold) with a dragon heartstring core.
I’m not knocking religion. I think there are wonderful lessons to be learned from every religion and their texts. I’ve had profound moments reading the Bible, the Vedas, and various Buddhist teachings. I carry many of those lessons with me every day. Anything that makes us better people towards our fellow Earthlings and helps us to dive deeper into the deepest parts of ourselves, I absolutely support.
Our greatest gift as humans is the immense power of our belief; the strength of our faith. It gives power to the mind, body, and soul, that we never knew we possessed. Truly believing is the power behind our visualization and manifestation practices. There is no mountain we cannot climb as long as we keep the faith. The faith in ourselves; the faith in the universe. That is where the magic happens.
Children naturally possess the gift of magic. They possess imaginations that are limitless and a faith in the universe that is unwavering. They innately understand their own magical power – the power to manifest their own reality. They see the universe as it is: infinite, expanding, beautiful, and full of potential.
That is why I find it so hypocritical that we readily stomp on those imaginations and shatter their belief in magic, and yet we take them to mass on Christmas to perform ritualistic hymns for a deity who will burn them for eternity if they don’t follow his rules.
We turn a child’s world from one where anything is possible into a world with walls and barriers and limitations. They come to us wild, free, and full of self-belief, and we put them in shackles and convince them of their limitations.
Instead of teaching our children how to fit into boxes, maybe it’s time we learn from them how to live outside of them.
Maybe instead of teaching them religion, we let them teach us how to believe in magic again.
Be good to each other,
The Pope: Wikipedia
Burning at the Stake: breitbartunmasked.com
Medicine Woman: pinterest.com Featured Image: dreamatico.com
Horrific events such as those which took place in Sydney a year ago, and those seen in Canadian parliament a few months before it, make it easy to lose (at least a little) faith in humanity.
They make it is easy to generalize.
It becomes easy to blame and to point the finger.
It becomes easy to hate.
Yet as easy as it is to become less humane, it is not the reaction I witnessed in the aftermath of the Sydney siege.
I saw Australia come together as a people, no longer bound by any political, ethnic, or cultural differences.
I saw the brave men and women of Australian law enforcement sail into a storm of bullets attempting to save people they had never met.
I saw people of all religions rally around the hash tag #IllRideWithYou, supporting those beginning to feel ostracized by their faith – which extremists’ constant misrepresentation has sullied with a crimson stain – to continue to freely and without fear commit themselves to their God and their religious beliefs.
I saw candles lit for the safe keeping of those taken hostage, brothers and sisters we knew could be our own.
I saw a country – and a global community – in mourning for a son and daughter taken too soon. We willingly made their families’ pain our own.
I saw, if even for a moment, how beautiful humanity can be at its best.
For at least a day, I saw us no longer blinded by a veil of ignorance. We were – all around the world – simply human.
That universal empathy for the human struggle was alive in all of us. We had no idea of the races, religions, or cultural dispositions of those taken hostage. Yet we feared, hoped, and prayed for them in earnest and with a single voice.
Most importantly, that love exclusive to humans – the one which transcends space and time, life and death – beat louder than ever in how we responded. We were a singular beat in a united human heart.
It is always difficult to look past the hate, to see light in the darkness. Sydney was no different. Why is this so?
Because love isn’t as jarring as a black flag pinned against a shop window, held up by victims terrified for their lives. It isn’t as easy to sensationalize as a man driven by darkness, willing to cause pain and suffering to pursue his own deranged motives. It isn’t as loud as early morning gunshots shattering the innocence of a peaceful nation.
But isn’t that what makes love such a special thing? It isn’t easy to find. Its rarity is what makes love precious.
We see glimmers of it in the passing smiles of strangers and in the laughter of children before it drifts away on the changing winds of the seasons.
We too often let hatred and prejudice bury love next to our slowly eroding humanity. But we didn’t on that Monday a year ago.
Instead, we came together.
What happened in Sydney was not a demonstration of the deterioration of humanity through hatred and social division.
It depicted a single lost soul who had allowed himself to be corrupted by the evils of fanaticism.
My heart aches for all of those who are mourning the loss of those we lost on this day a year ago. Yet it hurts more to think that the memory of them will be tainted by associations with the evil which manifested itself in the form of a broken man.
Instead let us remember the lessons of love that came from their deaths.
Let us remember the brave men and women who risked their lives trying to save them.
The thousands upon thousands of complete strangers who turned an entire Sydney square into a garden of Eden by filling it with beautiful flowers, paying their respects to people they had never known.
The coming together of all races and religions in astounding candlelight vigils full of love and empathy.
The memory of those lost must be remembered for what that event showed us.
It demonstrated how truly powerful love can be when we fight all the prejudices suffocating it. That is how we can honour their memory. That is how we must make sense of such mindless and depraved acts of violence.
Everywhere we look, we see each other in pain. Flicking through a newspaper or television channels, we can regularly find a striking example of someone bearing one of the many crosses we are forced to carry in our lifetime.
None of us can escape the suffering that is the human experience. Our lives will be defined by those struggles which we have found the strength to overcome. All of us the phoenix, our individual suffering our ashes.
And yet we insist on turning these struggles into an issue of race, gender, sexuality, class, religion, or culture. We relate to these issues not as humans, but as a colour of skin, a possessor of certain genitalia, a sexual preference, a place in society, or a zealot of a certain God or Goddess.
We continue to break ourselves apart into smaller and smaller pieces until we fit into tiny, exclusive boxes. We are a black, upper-class, Protestant, heterosexual female. We are a white, blue-collared, atheist, homosexual male.
We restrict our empathy when we latch onto these exclusive groups; they become the only ones who can understand the vastness our individual suffering.
We live in an age where we are surrounded by comparison and competition and, whether we’re conscious of it or not, we’ve started to live for it. We revel in it. We waste so much time in our self-comparison with others that giant online industries such as Facebook and Instagram were partially founded – and partially depend – upon it. The desire to compare our lives has literally become a multimillion dollar industry. Even our suffering – unique to our own journey – has not escaped our thirst for comparison and competition.
The problem does not lie in our desire for comparison. Our lives are inherently different from one another, and comparing differences in ourselves provides a means of recognizing and accepting one another despite our superficial differences.
There is also nothing inherently evil in a thirst for competition. I think of the teachings of various martial arts which insist on competition being a vital aspect on the path to self-awareness, self-respect, and personal growth.
Comparison and competition become issues when they are applied to our individual suffering. It arises when we invest in the idea that our suffering is somehow greater and more valid than the suffering of others.
This notion segregates us. It divides and ranks us based on an assumption we do not have the power to confirm or deny – unless someone eventually learns how to experience the lives of two different people, with different issues, simultaneously in order to compare them.
Who’s to say those of us who were born without fathers – whether we’ve lost them to death, jail, or another marriage – suffer more acutely than those who grow up with fathers who leave for work before the sun rises and come home after their bedtime, the fathers who are never around? The suffering for each is rooted in the same longing for paternal affection. Both examples are kids who just wish they could throw the ball around with their pops.
The examples are endless. Who are we to assume those that have lost a spouse to cancer suffer more deeply than those who have lost theirs to infidelity? That the little brother who loses his big brother to drugs suffers more than the little sister who loses her older sister to the popular group in college?
That the pressure to be of a certain sexuality is more excruciating than the pressure to pursue a traditional career? Both are instances of the person being pressured to live unhappily in a lie in order to please others. Both people are too terrified of social or parental judgements to be true to themselves. Both have somehow been convinced that who they are as a person is wrong.
We could spend an unlimited amount of energy arguing for one case or the other, but it is this exact determination to separate and rank our suffering that is driving us apart.
Instead of a division of suffering, I see the gay male – afraid to come out to his orthodox Christian parents – and the daughter of two Harvard law graduates – who wants to be an artist instead of a lawyer – as two people who are fighting the same battle of identity. I see two people struggling, in different ways, with who they are and the expectations about who they “should” be. I see two people who can show compassion and empathy for one another and who can unite in their suffering under a common thread.
The truth is we don’t know if our suffering is any greater or less than any one else, because it is not in our capacity to understand suffering that we do not know intimately ourselves. Our individual experience and perception only leads to assumption.
The truth is, we all have a different observable universe and our individual suffering is unique to our own story. Our suffering is different, yes, but it can never be assumed that we know what those differences feel like. We certainly cannot presume to know how those differences rank, no matter how obvious it seems.
It’s not about the differences themselves. It’s about the acceptance of those differences. It’s about doing our best to understand those differences. It’s about mutual respect. It’s about loving one another.
Every life history is the history of suffering.” – Arthur Schopenhauer,Manuscript Remains – Volume 3.
The one thing we know for sure is that we all are suffering. We suffer through battles with our identity, image, ego, and our place in the world. We all suffer heartbreak. We all struggle with self-love and acceptance. We suffer through unhappiness and the restlessness of our spirits. We’ve lost loved ones and lovers. We’ve felt alone and unworthy.
Why then, must we compare this suffering? Isn’t it enough to know that every person we pass in the street is fighting a battle of their own? Isn’t it enough to know we’re all in this together? Suffering is the one thing that connects us all.
To be human is to suffer. Instead of using our suffering to separate and rank us, let it unite us. There is no “I”, “me”, or “you.”