May 31 Daily Meditation Writing: Conceals

You are reading the ongoing writing process for a new book of daily reflections/meditations. Already published by this author is “Cast A Long Shadow”, 90 daily reading for our journey through life. This book is available direct from the publisher, and also on Amazon.com.

 

Conceals

Not everything is obvious.

Sometimes, even what seems the most obvious of truths turns out to be at best only partially correct, and sometimes to be woefully inaccurate.

This is because what is obvious often conceals what is true.

To us it may appear that a friend of ours has it all, and is completely happy. They will tell us how great their life is, and even when things seem to be going wrong, somehow they end up being content with their life.

And yet underneath, there is a concealed hurt and frustration, that is never given voice. There can be a deep hurt below the surface that is so well hidden, that even they may not recognize it.

In our lives, we need to maintain a balance between concealment and openness.

On the one extreme to be fully revealing to everyone opens us up for hurt and can put too great a burden on others – it can be a way of dumping our hurt on other people, just to make us feel better.

To spend 30 minutes telling the store clerk all my troubles may feel like I am being open – in fact, I am just venting to no good purpose. Not everybody need to know the minutia of my life, and to try to impose that burden on them is to make small Gods of the people I meet.

But at the other end of the scale, to conceal all my troubles, even from my closest friend or partner, is harmful to both them and us, as there is nothing that promotes closeness so much as shared sorry or happiness.

If I am suffering in silence, and not letting anyone in, I am showing that I do not feel they are good enough to help, or maybe that I feel uniquely bad and uniquely unable to be helped. Strangely, this is a manifestation of pride, of believing myself to be other than just another human being, doing the best they can.

The balance here is in knowing what should be concealed, and from whom. Or, to put it another way, to know who to be fully frank and open with.

Because there are those occasions and those people with whom we should be open, and there are those things that need to be concealed from most people.

Sometimes we will get this wrong, and reveal too much to someone who proves to be untrustworthy, or conceal something from someone we should have confided in.

But learning the balance is just part of our journey through life.

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Todays Meditation word: Darkness

I am currently away from the computer – so here is an old “daily thought” til I get back.

Darkness

There is something special about darkness that both fascinates and frightens us.

Those of us that live in towns and cities find that darkness outside is normally tempered by street and house lights, and so we have little awareness of total darkness. Even in our houses, all we need do is flick a switch, and the darkness disappears.

When we are in a familiar place, and feel safe inside ourselves, darkness can bring a welcoming restful feeling of safety. It can be our place that we can hide from the world when we feel the need to, our warm and welcoming womb.

Emotionally, we may feel more comfortable in the dark, where our secrets are hidden from prying eyes, and the things we are ashamed of can be out of sight, and out of mind.

But more often, darkness brings feelings of fear and aloneness.

When we cannot see around us, our most basic way of protecting ourselves has suddenly been taken away. We not only don’t know if danger is there, we KNOW that we don’t know.

Suddenly then this is not the warm comforting darkness of a blanket drawn over our head, but a blindfold that has been placed over our eyes without our consent.

Emotionally too, darkness is more often where we go when we hurt.

We do not want to light to shine on our sordid secrets, and so we hide it in darkness.

And there, unlike natural, healthy things that need the light, our shame grows in the dark and our secrets and our shame becomes overwhelming.

It is like a monster hiding in the dark – because we can no longer see it, we imagine how horrible and fearful it must be. We give it all the power of the darkness to grow, until it totally consumes us.

Darkness is a part of life, and so we need to embrace its good qualities.

But it is also a place of fear and sometimes we need to have the courage to turn on the light, to dispel the monsters.

An edited collection of these daily readings is now available in book form, under the title “Cast A Long Shadow”. It can be purchased direct from the publisher and is also available on Amazon

Todays Meditation word: Proven

I’m currently away from the computer – here is an copy of an old “Daily Thought” until I return!

Proven

What is proof; what is proven beyond doubt?

It was once proven that the world was the centre of the cosmos and that the sun and all the planets went around it; and then someone showed how it really worked.

It has shown how it would be impossible for man to fly: and then someone built an airplane.

It was calculated that no human could survive in space; and then a man walked on the moon.

All these things that were once proven turned out to be false. Can we conclude that nothing can ever be known – nothing ever really proven?

The answer is more complex than that. I don’t think I could prove to you that the world is going round the sun, or that people can fly, or that humans can survive the vacuum of space, if you were sufficiently convinced of the contrary.

This ability to not believe in proof is an interesting one – it enabled the Wright brothers to successfully build their flying machines against the predictions that it would fail. But it also allows people to go on smoking, against all the evidence that it will harm them.

Many of us seem to have the ability to ignore unacceptable truth, and only to concentrate on the things that bolster our own beliefs.

For Orville and Wilbur Wright, the fact that there had been many failures in the past did not stop them from inventing and trying – and eventually succeeding.

For the smoker, they can cling to the one old grandfather they know who smoked till he was 97, as a reason to carry on.

Society may applaud the one, and quarrel with the second – but are they not really different sides of the same thing?

Really, a “fact” can only be said to be proven to those who believe it – if you accept it as a fact, then all the evidence you see will only support that fact. Equally, all the evidence in the world will not prove the fact to one who chooses not to accept it.

Maybe the word proven really just refers to the things most people accept, right now.

Something is proven until something else comes to be believed.

An edited collection of these daily readings is now available in book form, under the title “Cast A Long Shadow”. It can be purchased direct from the publisher and is also available on Amazon

Today’s Meditation word: Defense

I’m currently away from the computer – here is an copy of an old “Daily Thought” until I return!

Defense

All of us feel afraid from time to time, and many of us put up our defenses in one way or another to protect ourselves. We laugh off hurtful comments, not showing our vulnerability by admitting that we are hurt. We bluster and defend our position hoping that the other person backs down.  Or we feel that we are really, deep down inside, not good enough, and so we defend ourselves by putting up a front, even before we have been attacked.

And there is nothing wrong with that if it really does protect us.

But all too often, what starts as a simple defense becomes a problem all of its own.

We might start to laugh off comments made that really hurt us inside, in order to fool ourselves into thinking we didn’t really hurt. But the pain will still be there, eating away at our self belief and our inner being.

We might bluster and keep on saying the same thing, and before long really start to believe it is so, but that will not stop the facts in another’s argument from being true.

Or, we might build up a facade of total self-reliance and confidence, only to see it all crumble away when we once lose the strength to keep up that pretense.

Maybe the best defense is honesty and truth.

We cannot stop another from attacking us, but we can be honest about the hurt. Of course, to tell an attacker that they are succeeding may be to lay us open to more attacks. But the truth will out in some way, and so we need to acknowledge to ourselves that the hurt is there, and look for a better means of defense than lying.

This may take the form of prayer and meditation to strengthen our own inner being.  It may need us to learn and practice new ways of doing things. We may need to admit that we’re not the one with all the answers, and seek help in areas we can’t do alone.

Just like city defenses of old needed to be built on rock, not on shifting sand, our own inner defenses need to have good foundations, if they are to really defend us.

And sometimes, the best form of defense is the admission that we are powerless over others, and over the outcomes of our actions.

All we can do is all we can do, and we leave the results to the universe to decide.

Todays Meditation word: Alone

I’m currently away from the computer – here is an copy of an old “Daily Thought” until I return!

Alone

We humans are social creatures. Maybe there are one or two individuals who can meet all their own needs all by themselves in some deserted part of this planet, but even the simple hunter/gatherers in the deepest rain forest interact with each other.

And so the concept of being alone can be odd to us. In our modern world, many of us surround ourselves with the appearance of other people by having the television or radio on when we are physically alone. Others are discontented unless they are surrounded by people.

But just being with people, or seeing their images or hearing their voices is different from being with them. And yet some of the times we feel most alone are when we are surrounded by people. Being alone in our own home can be comforting and safe. When we are in a crowd of people with whom we have nothing in common, it is then that we can feel most alone.

This is not the same as “being lonely”, even though the two often go hand in hand. If, for example, we eat alone in a restaurant full of couples and families, we may not feel lonely because of the noise and cheerful banter, but we can feel acutely alone, just because of all the other people there. Walking in the woods or on the sea-shore, in contrast, we can feel a sense of oneness with the world, and not the aloneness of just being one.

The fundamental thing we need to remember is that being alone is not, in itself, a good or a bad thing; it is in our reaction to it that is important.

All of us will probably find ourselves being alone at different times in our lives, and these moments or hours or days can be a blessing or a curse – depending on how we react.

Being alone can be an opportunity to reflect and meditate, as well as a time to fill with the things we need to do.

So, when you come to periods of being alone, look for the blessing that can come just from within us, and embrace the feeling.

Todays Meditation word: Guarantee

I’m currently away from the computer – here is an copy of an old “Daily Thought” until I return!

Guarantee

I was listening to someone talk about savings plans recently, and they said that you shouldn’t start this type of plan unless you could afford it now, and that you could go on affording it into the future. I wondered then – how would anyone know that?

Some years ago, it was assumed that once you started working in certain industries you could stay with it for life. But that proved to be an illusory guarantee as times changed, industries closed and new ones took over.

In human society there are no real guarantees, and yet we as a society strive to make ourselves safer all the time.

Recently I started to notice hand sanitizer tissues being dispensed next to the shopping carts at some food stores. The call for them – and they were being used – is another way society is looking for guarantees. The underlying thought seems to be “if I can keep myself safe from the germs of others, then I can guarantee that I won’t get an infection”.

And yet that guarantee is also illusory – yes, it may protect us from those particular germs, but what about all the others there are in the environment?

It is a natural instinct to want to protect ourselves and our loved ones, and that instinct is one that has served the human race well. But to look for guarantees of that protection is where the trouble starts.

Because in looking for guarantees we limit the possibilities that the world has to offer. Even should the guarantee we find be sustained, it often turns out that this is not what we needed; only what we wanted.

We see this so often in people, who go all-out for a guarantee of one sort of security, only to find that another part of their life is lacking. They strive, for example, for financial security, only to find that they have no one to share it with. Or they seek a guarantee of companionship by looking after others, only to find themselves dependent on others for financial security.

To look for a guarantee is never going to be productive in the real world, everything is a matter of risks and rewards.

And the world is wonderful, when we are open to the lack of guarantees it provides us.

May 25 Daily Meditation Writing: Force

Force

 

Sometimes, we are truly forced to do something against our will. Most of the time, however, we use that expression to mean something we may not want to do, but we go along with because the consequence of not doing so are worse.

Even where there is a law telling us to do something, we are not forced to comply, although if we fail to do so, we know that there may be consequences that we would rather avoid.

The fact that there are people who break the law show us that no one is forced to act in the right way. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t obey the law, but the act of doing so is not forced on us – it is a choice we make ourselves.

And – for most people – we see the sense in the rule, it accords with our own sense of right and wrong, and we choose to follow it for the good of everyone, including ourselves.

But often, we feel that we have no choice – that we are forced to follow a course of action that we would rather not take.

More often than not this is not a question covered by laws or rules, but matters of our own conduct.

We may be, for example, continuing to work at a job because of the force of economic necessity. Or we may be continuing to drink heavily, even when we see how it is damaging us, because we feel forced to go to the bar every evening.

In these cases, we need to ask ourselves if we are truly forced to do these things, or if we can change anything.

It may be that we are in debt, or in need of an income to meet our mortgage – but can we find another job, or can we change our outgoings?

It may be that we are feeling compelled to drink every night, but can we seek help with our issues, or change the places we go to?

Humans are free entities, and can only in a few cases is there just one course of action – we are not forced to live the way we do.

Sometimes we need to remember that we are free, and act as if we were not forced.