I came across an interesting quote in a book last week. It went something like this: “The purpose of all suffering is the development of compassion.” For the past few days, I’ve been suffering with a pain in my right hip. I’ve noticed that, because of this pain, I haven’t been in as good form or as present as I had been.
As I was crossing the street this morning, a car came towards me. I decided not to run as I was afraid my hip would crack out of place. I remembered those times that I felt angered by people who sauntered in front of me as I drove. I thought such pedestrians were cocky and the dark side of me had wanted to rev up and give them a fright. Today, I realised that perhaps some of those people were physically unable to speed up.
The other night, a friend was describing his travels in India. He had stayed with a number of Catholic families on his way. He couldn’t get over their unshakable faith. He said that, each morning as they rose, they gave gratitude that they were alive for one more day. They were utterly joyous. They even gave gratitude for the “negative” parts of their lives. In fact, it was the first thing they did upon hearing bad news. They believed that everything was unfolding exactly as it should.
My attitude regarding my hip was wrong. It certainly wasn’t serving me in any positive way. I was annoyed that it wasn’t disappearing immediately, I was frustrated that I wasn’t able to do as much in the gym, I didn’t want to look like a cripple as I walked, and I was afraid that it wouldn’t get better. I decided to shift my attitude to gratitude.
Perhaps I was given this pain to, quite literally, stop me in my tracks. Maybe I needed to rest more or look at or change something in my life. This pain was also lending me compassion and understanding for others. Each time I winced as I moved, I remembered my aunt who’s been suffering with chronic hip and back pain for many years. I thought of clients who’ve told me of their debilitating pains. I’d always wanted to help these people but now I actually understood how they were really feeling.
Recently, Denise Linn spoke on Hay House Radio about steps for releasing fear. One of the steps was to give it new meaning. She asked, “What could be really good about it?” One of the answers she gave was cultivating compassion for others. This step can be used with any unwanted emotion or circumstance. It also allows you to face, allow, accept and even embrace the situation.
I still have the pain and I’m still struggling with the resting part of the equation but I am aware of the extra understanding and compassion I’ve gained as a result of this. Simply bringing acceptance to it is a relief. It takes away the struggle, the resistance, the fight. This even helps me physically as I’m letting go of the emotions that are causing tightness and rigidity in my body. And when I add gratitude, I remember the Indian families my friend spoke about and I feel humbled.
“The purpose of all suffering is the development of compassion.” Alicia Lee (2010) Homeopathic Mind Maps: Remedies of the Animal Kingdom.
Posted in Health, Positive Thinking, Spirituality
Tagged acceptance, alicia lee, anger, attitudes, back pain, catholicism, chronic pain, compassion, dark side, denise linn, emotions, faith, fear, fight, frustration, god, gratitude, hay house radio, health, hip pain, homeopathic mind maps: remedies of the animal kingdom, humble, india, joy, letting go, negativity, pain, positive thinking, present, release, rigidity, struggle, suffering, understanding
Tonight I watched Kumaré, a documentary about a man who impersonates an Indian guru. Having become disillusioned with religion and faith, gurus and masters, Vikram Gandhi decides to fake it. He adopts an Indian accent, grows out his hair and beard, and sports orange robes and a comical staff.
Before long, Sri Kumaré has gathered a loyal following for his self-made teachings, pushing the boundaries as far as he can. It is amazing but not all that surprising to see how readily people believe and how willingly they devote themselves to him.
It is not Vikram’s intention to fool or humiliate these people. He simply wants to demonstrate that there is a guru within each and every one of us. That we already have all the answers. That we don’t need to give our power away by looking outside of ourselves for guidance. That we shouldn’t have to follow anyone else’s orders or advice. Sri Kumaré tells his devotees: “You are all great beings and you must stop pretending that you are not.”
Interestingly, Vikram realises that his new persona is the best version of himself. He is happier and more loving and connected than he ever was as Vikram Gandhi. But he must unveil the illusion in order to teach his lesson. By revealing who he really is, he hopes to reveal the guru inside each of his followers. And speaking of revealing, don’t worry, I’m not about to give away the ending.
In India, the greeting “Namaste” is frequently used. It means “I bow to you” and it is accompanied with a slight bow made with hands pressed together in front of the chest. The gesture represents the belief that there is a divine spark within each of us. I love the idea of saluting the divinity in every person I encounter. But it must start with oneself.
An old Zen koan attributed to Linji Yixuan goes like this: “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.” This means that you should not worship any one person or value anyone else’s opinions over your own. Yes, it’s great to meet a wise person who shares their valuable teachings. But the smart thing to do is to take what they say and then allow it to sit with you. Is it right for you? What is your intuition or gut telling you? Give yourself time and space in silence to listen to yourself. As your own best guru, only you can lead your way. Namaste.
Posted in Modern Society, Spirituality
Tagged buddha, cult, divinity, god, guru, hindu, illusion, india, intuition, kumare, linji yixuan, master, namaste, religion, sanskrit, self-confidence, spirituality, trust, truth, unveiling, vikram gandhi, vulnerable, yogi, zen koan
Talent shows can take over and drag on like the chronic fatigue that follows a particularly nasty bout of the flu. Many people (myself included) give out about the hype and the nonsense and Simon Cowell’s ubiquitous smug head… People question the authenticity of the shows, claiming that they’re fixed. Others wonder at the negative impact all this may have on the spellbound competitors. It seems like a type of madness in the midst of all that is going wrong in the world. Will our country default and leave the Euro? Are we being lied to by most everyone who calls themselves an “authority”? Should we fight for what we believe and not take all of this lying down? Who cares? The X Factor competition has gone into deadlock this week. And it’s never happened before this series…
Having said that, what’s so awful about a bit of avoidance therapy? There’s nothing like burying your head in the sand as the economy crashes down on top of you. And what’s so bad about wanting others to succeed in a time of failure? About hearing stories of courage in the face of adversity? About watching a performance that brings tears to your eyes or makes you clap in astonishment?
Here are a few reasons why talent shows are my guilty pleasure…
Okay, so she’s mad as a brush but that’s what made her audition so amazing. In your face, judgemental folk!
This next performance had the entire panel in tears…
Leona Lewis’ version of Summertime is sensationally spine-tingling…
Silhouettes is creative and innovative and especially great if you love a good sob story…
And then there are the likes of this… Talk about car crash television! One could argue that this video represents the craziness of talent shows in general- the bloodthirsty judges, what constitutes “talent” and the extreme lengths the contestants go to to obtain fame and riches…
Feel free to share your favourites…
Featured Image: http://www.graphicshunt.com/wallpapers/images/many_stars-1913.htm
Posted in Modern Society, Random
Tagged america's got talent, britain's got talent, crisis, default, diversity, economy, euro, india, india talent show, leona lewis, melissa and ade, protests, reality tv, silhouettes, simon cowell, so you can dance, susan boyle, talent shows, the x factor, this woman's work, warriors of goja