Tuesday, 29 March 2011

I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours

Our own inner world is a very secret place.
It contains all the things we would rather no-one else knew. It is also a treasury of all the wisdom we have ever gathered. And we keep it to ourselves. It is precious. It is who we are, and is it provides us with the information we use to navigate our way around our lives.
And yet it is limited to what we have been told, known or experienced.
We cannot know what we do not know. And because we do not know it we do not consider the possibility that it might exist – whatever it is.
We learn from each other. We learn how to love from our parents, from our friends, from those we come into contact with.
Before I began to learn how to love, I did not think there was any other way, than the way I was doing it. And yet I wondered why I wasn’t able to form any lasting relationships. I thought that there was something wrong with me. But there wasn’t, I just hadn’t been shown how.
We cannot know what we are unconscious of.
Consciousness is such a difficult thing to get a hold of. The International dictionary of Psychology describes consciousness as “ impossible to define except in terms that are unintelligible without a grasp of what consciousness means” and goes on to say “it is impossible to specify what it is, what it does, or why it evolved. Nothing worth reading has been written about it”.
Which is very liberating for us ‘non-experts’. Normally science tells us what to think about everything, and here is a scientific tome admitting that it doesn’t know – pretty amazing. Science giving us permission to work it out for ourselves.
And that is what the meaning of the word consciousness implies – ‘con- scious’ , from ‘scius’ – to know, and ‘con’ – together, ‘to know together’.
By sharing the truth together about what we experience we can form a library of knowledge, beyond our own experience.
A range of perspectives, rather than our just our own.
We are very attached to our own perspectives. We will often be prepared to die for them. And yet they are only the sum of all the good ideas we have ever had.
To live our lives to the full we have to be prepared to broaden our outlook. To really hear from others as to how they experience life; what other dimensions of experience might exist; what other ways of being.
Being open minded is more about hearing than it is about considering. Because when you hear something that you have not heard before it broadens your mind and gives you a different perspective.
The considering of the implications of that perspective comes later.
Love is just one of the areas we can develop a perspective on.
We can open ourselves to different ways of thinking, of experiencing and of being. And this can take us into new dimensions of existence - in spirituality, in healing, in self-acceptance, and in the very nature of reality.
Because consciousness, like opinion, is not fixed. There is more to life than any of us ever know, and there is always more to experience.
So be prepared to explore, open yourself to what others have to say, and don’t think that all life is as you experience it.
There just might be a whole new world out there.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Guess what makes the world go round?

It was Eric Fromm who said that “The deepest need of man is the need to overcome his separateness, to leave the prison of his aloneness”. Failure to do so, he goes on to say, leads to insanity, because the only way of escaping the isolation from the world is to pretend that the world does not exist.
We try many ways of dealing with our aloneness before we resort to insanity. We take drugs, we drink, we sleep with anything that moves, we throw ourselves into careers, we undertake creative endeavours, we busy ourselves, quite literally, to distraction.
Ultimately, however, there is only one holistic way of overcoming our separateness, and that is to love.
In his masterpiece “The Art of Loving” Fromm describes loving as not ‘falling for’ but ‘giving’.
Love is what makes the world go round. Not money.
Love is the most basic of all currencies.
We are given life out of an act of love. None of us asked to be born, we are freely given life. And from that moment on, all our relationships are built around the principles of love, even the bad ones.
The best definition of wealth I have come across is ‘the ability to give’. By that definition, even the financially richest of us can be actually seen as being poor.
The more we are able to give, the richer we become. We become more alive.
The secret of love is in giving.
When we moan that we are not loved enough, or we cannot find love, the answer invariably lies in what we are prepared to give, rather than what we are wanting to receive.
The laws of nature even comply. Every schoolgirl knows that ‘for every action, there is an equal and opposite re-action’. Now why should that not be true in personal relationships.
And yet the perceived wisdom is about ‘getting a partner’, ‘getting love’, of lack, of missing something, of not being given to.
Love has been ‘comsumerized’. We try to consume love, like everything else – as proved by the mushrooming trade in pornography.
We try to buy love wherever we can, to trade for it, to scheme for it, but it will not be ‘had’.
Love is the natural flow of energy from one part of our universe to another – it is the very building block of life.
As humans we have to learn to manage it as we have learnt to manage electricity or nuclear power. Until we do that we remain in our own shells, isolated, resentful, and in danger of going insane.
It is amazing that we do not teach ‘how to love’ in school. It is assumed that parents will know – but they often do not.
How can you teach your children to love, when you have never been loved yourself?
Whether we know it or not, the chief lesson we have to learn in life is ‘How to love’.
It is the ultimate lesson that lies at the root of most of the problems that we face today: war, poverty and man’s inhumanity to man.
Surely it is something we should all be working at.