Bodhi Blog

A collection of thoughts and reflections on spirituality, mindfulness and enlightenment.
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We’re All We Need

“Death is not the greatest loss,
The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we’re still alive.”

And what is it that dies inside of us? Our capacity to experience Love.

As you move through life your mind starts to fill up with a lot of unnecessary noise. This static sometimes gets so loud that you start forgetting who you are underneath it all. Your true self is always there underneath, waiting for you to uncover it again. What you seek is also seeking you. Just tune the tv and remove the static to see the picture a little more clearly again. Stop taking your thoughts so seriously. Keep your mind quiet.

There are two kinds of beggars: poor beggars and rich beggars, but they are all beggars. Even your kings and your queens are beggars.
Only those people, very few people who have stood alone in their being, in their clarity, in their light, who have found their own light, who have found their own flowering, who have found their own space they can call their home, their eternal home — those few people are the emperors. This whole universe is their empire. They don’t need to conquer it; it is already conquered.
By knowing yourself you have conquered it.

-Osho

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How Fear Works

Pain from your past moves through your actions without you even realising it. The reason is due to how your brain works. In order for us humans to be here today, we needed a fight or flight reflex, otherwise we would have been wiped out long ago. In order for us to develop that reflex in times of danger, we needed to be able to learn which situations were dangerous and which were not. For example – a prehistoric human may have walked past a log and disturbed a snake which was sleeping underneath which then jumped out and bit him. In this moment of pain, the brain registered that logs = danger and they would be more cautious walking past logs in the future. Of course this is a very simplified version of the truth, but the fundamental principle is there.

If we fast forward to present day, we see this mechanism working in more subtle ways. Now that humans are the dominant species on the planet, the fight or flight reflex is no longer critical to our survival. Fear no longer prevents death, it prevents life. Of course the reflex is useful in some situations, such as a physical fight or an emergency situation, but it has gotten out of control and the majority of people live plagued by a constant level of fear. Unless we develop the self-awareness to reverse this process and keep our minds still, we will never reach our full potential.

If someone was bullied as a kid, that carries through to their interactions with people further down the track. They may feel more prone to lonlieness and they will crave attention and affection. They will feel a need to prove themselves to people and may find themselves in an abusive relationship where the other person leverages and amplifies this weakness. Social anxiety is common and there may be a constant voice in the back of their head telling them that they ‘aren’t good enough’.

If someone was neglected by their mother or father when they were young, they may feel that absence for the rest of their life. In relationships they may be needy and clingy and look for the qualities that the parent failed to give them. You may again feel the need to crave attention and justify yourself to that person.

These are just two common examples, but there are many more. Whenever we experience a similar situation which reactivates our defence mechanisms, it takes over the mind and we experience emotional pain. We go into a reactive state and may act completely irrationally. Unless we bring conscious awareness into these moments and make our mind still again, it will dictate our actions and we will live in a state of pain and fear. Emotional pain has the same quality as physical pain – we experience both as a form of discomfort and it stops us from fully relaxing and being happy.

Without finding a state of constant inner love, people cling to things in order to fill this void, because it is way easier to have something or someone else do it for you. Relationships are the main culprit here. When you are in a relationship you share affection with someone else and this takes you out of yourself and you forget about all of your problems for a while. But the real you is lying dormant underneath the whole time and when that person leaves or you break up you are back where you started. Any relationship will inevitably bring out these old insecurities as you come back down again and again from this ‘high’ and you are rudely presented with yourself. My advice – don’t enter into a relationship until you know yourself a lot.

People will cling to anything that makes them feel good instead of just appreciating it for what it is- drugs, partying, eating, exercise, socialising, sex, you name it.

We are born as babies into this world with a genetic survival instinct hardwired into us, we don’t have any choice. Fear and pain was necessary in order for humans to get to this point. Without that drive to survive, we wouldn’t have evolved and learnt and grown. However, we have reached the point now where we can drop fear and experience love. We DO now have a choice to drop the unnecessary pain and suffering we hold onto. 

This all sounds nice in theory but i’m here to say from first hand experience that you can and will change if you try. It takes a lot of time and effort, but just keep going.

“Don’t move the way fear makes you move. Move the way joy makes you move – not out of fear, because all so-called religions are based on fear. Their God is nothing but fear, and their heaven and hell are nothing but projections of fear and greed. Rumi’s statement is very revolutionary: ‘Do not move because of fear.’ All the religions say to people, ‘Fear God!’…
You all have been living out of fear. Your relationships are out of fear. Fear is so overwhelming – like a dark cloud covering your life – that you say things which you don’t want to say, but fear makes you say them. You do things which you do not want to do, but fear makes you do them. A little intelligence is enough to see.”
Osho
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Love

It’s safe to say that at this time in my life I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. My enthusiasm for life and general vitality is returning to childhood levels. But far from living in an immature way, I am finding my path in life and following it. Most people think of maturity as finding a stable job, getting a partner, settling down, but it is so much more than that. Real maturity is learning to live through love and walking your true path.

I spent the past year going to events, partying, socializing, and living a busy schedule. As of a few months ago, I am now living down south in the quiet town of Kiama, studying and producing music in my spare time and not doing any socializing or partying at all. Yet funnily enough, I am more happy now than I was back then. This is because I have truly started to know myself and my place in the world. After a lot of self-inquiry I have really started to drop my barriers of inner resistance and relax into the moment, living in a pure and free state of mind. I have been moving in this direction over the course of my whole life, but recently it has been increasing exponentially so.

One reason for this is that I have found music as a creative outlet. By making music and sharing it with the world I really feel that I am playing my part in making the world a better place. People are so busy going about their daily lives, living to work and working to live, that they stagnate and don’t have any room to create. Creativity is the drive of the universe to move ever onward and music plays its own unique part in the evolution of the world. When people stagnate and choose to work a job they don’t like just so that they can have financial security to pay their bills, they feel out of place and disconnected. This is because they are just stagnating and contributing to the stagnation of the whole world. Imagine if you sat in a room all day without doing anything, wouldn’t your body and mind feel restless? Well it’s the same thing with creativity except it’s your soul that becomes restless.

Another reason is that I have started to truly understand the meaning of love. If I look back on past romantic relationships I can see that although they brought me so much happiness, it wasn’t a happiness and inner peace that came from the deepest place of knowing myself. I wasn’t at a stage of emotional maturity where I could truly see it for what it was without clinging to it and letting it consume me. I have come to see that love is not as simple as a feeling that is created between two people- that is attachment. Love is instead feeling the infinite truth of existence unobstructed by the barriers of your mind. A relationship will help you to feel love, but we should never get it confused with love itself. It will bring you many things- affection, excitement, energy, companionship and a better understanding of yourself, but it can only take you so far. Past a certain point, only you can walk the path of self inquiry to truly discover who you are.

Sadly, most people in this day and age think that love is something that is created only in relationships. That is why we become obsessed with finding the perfect relationship and it is also why we become so devastated when it inevitably ends. We cling to relationships because it’s the only way we know how to love. It becomes such an emotional vortex because we assume that a relationship will answer all their questions and solve all of their problems. But that is simply a delusion. Love is never given to you by the other person, it is a place within you and within ALL things. The more you start to experience universal love, the less you will cling to a romantic relationship in order to find this truth.

It is far easier to find love through another person then it is to find love within yourself. To find love within yourself you need to go deep within and let go of the barriers you have built between yourself and the world. To do that is difficult and scary and painful and takes a lot of time and effort. Everyone is afraid to look within because they won’t like what they see. But it’s also the only way you can ever be truly free. THE ONLY WAY! Once you have done that, you are then free to return to a relationship to share the love that you have, instead of taking love from the other person. You will then be able to navigate a relationship with balance and ease because love is always alive inside you. 

Love and attachment are two opposite ends of the spectrum, yet we constantly get them mixed up. So don’t cling to a relationship in order to find true love. Instead ask yourself who YOU really are. Find out what love really means. Only you can answer those questions. Don’t forget, we are all born into a state of purity and love. It is only our society that teaches us to fear the future and hold onto the past, destroying the beauty and potential of the present moment. There is a great peace and stillness to be found in knowing yourself.

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Can You Help Someone Who Isn’t Ready to Help Themselves?

I remember when I was in high school, my school report was the same each year. “Lorin has potential and is a bright child, but he wastes it by not paying attention and distracting other students in class.” Everyone around me would constantly tell me, “pay attention in school” because they said it would benefit me when I was older. I could get a good grade and get into a good university course and according to them this was the guaranteed path to success.

The fact is that at the time everyone else’s advice fell largely on deaf ears. Sure I still remember the advice now and my natural inclination to constantly fuck around was tamed somewhat by my teachers and parents influence, but at the end of the day I still mainly just did whatever I felt like. It raises the question, to what extent can you help somebody that isn’t ready to help themselves? As humans we have this intrinsic quality to not be able to fully trust someone elses advice until we have actually made the mistake ourselves, often time and time again. There is a certain amount of growing up that you need to do first in order to reach the first step- actually realising what is a mistake and what is not. And in order to reach this stage you first need to ask yourself the question “what makes me happy?”. That is the most important question. Once you truly know what inspires you and what makes you tick, life becomes about reaching or maintaining that goal and then everything else falls into place. Once you know what makes you happy, you then see the merits of whatever it is that you are doing and you can make an informed decision.

As a kid I was very destructive, I used to have a habit of breaking things, annoying people and generally being a nuisance to everyone around me. Even though I largely ignored the teachers who had to constantly put me into lunchtime detention, I think some of what they were trying to tell me managed to shine through. Nobody can tell you what you want in life, and ‘normal’ society’s values are certainly not an absolute benchmark, but I still feel that had I not had the guidance of people older and wiser than myself I could have very easily strayed down the wrong path (and despite this almost did multiple times anyway). Perhaps they may not have known what was absolutely the best for me in life, (like following a traditional path straight into a stable job), but at least in the broader sense they were able to identify the negative habits and activities I should steer clear of, which would ultimately guarantee in my unhappiness.

So as frustrating as it is trying to help someone who doesn’t seem to realise the truth, I have realised that the only way is to gently guide them with your words and actions, while remembering that everyone is on their own path and will develop at their own rate. Patience and acceptance are key.

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The Game of Romance

When you like someone romantically, you divide yourself- like Voldemort and his Horcruxes (for anyone who’s read Harry Potter). You invest a part of yourself in someone in order to create something new together. When that dies, even though it feels like a part of yourself dies, you still keep on living.

To be in a relationship you take a gamble. If you hit the jackpot then for a moment in time you are richer then you ever could have dreamed. Inevitably though, you won’t be able to walk away with all that money and once its gone, for a while you are left with nothing.

At this stage many people choose to start playing the game again straight away in the hopes that they will hit it rich and won’t have to face the pain of loss. The trade off is that until you take the time to learn from past mistakes you’ll never become a better player. Others take the time to reflect and choose their games more carefully next time, because not all games pay the same odds.

Sometimes people choose to play the same game their whole life, not because it gives them the biggest rewards, but because it’s all they’ve ever known. They choose to just settle with it because after so many years it is familiar and hard to walk away from a game you’ve been playing for so long. As Above & Beyond said though- “when the big wheel starts to spin, you’ll never know the odds if you don’t play you’ll never win”, and the moment you decide to settle for that reason, you stop playing the game and you will never win.

Some people get lucky the first time around and find someone that fits perfectly from the start. When they are together there is absolutely no doubt in their minds that they are with the right person. But if there is a voice in the back of your head telling you that isn’t right, don’t ignore it, it is your intuition reminding you what’s best. Statistically speaking, what are the chances that the first person you find really is the best match? It takes a lot of strength to actually analyse your current situation and say “is this really the best for me?” and walk away. Many won’t be up to the challenge.

Buddhist monks and enlightened gurus instead focus on unconditional love and despite my best efforts I still can’t quite master the concept of love without conditions, perhaps because by its very definition every romantic relationship has some level of attachment.

You can always take a break from relationships too of course. In western society there is so much emphasis placed on having a partner, that we have become afraid of being alone. Sadly a lot of the time people stay in negative relationships for extended periods of time and they never have a chance to actually grow into their full potential as people.

Whichever way you look at it, this game we play is a part of being human and its good to remember that we’re all in it together.

 

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