September 30 Daily Meditation Writing: Hostility

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 on Amazon.com, and as a Kindle e-book

Hostility

Much as we would like life to go smoothly, we sometimes find hostility in our daily lives.

It may be our fellow workers, our family members, business associates, or even strangers in the street, but whatever the source of the hostility, it can affect us in really negative ways.

We can strike back in anger; meet hostility with even more hostility. This can soon escalate into a full on fight, and even draw in others around us. The result can be a long running feud with bad feelings escalating on all sides.

On the other hand, we may not obviously retaliate, but hold the feelings in close to our heart. Thus it may seem to the outside world that nothing has affected us, until the time when the pressure of holding that anger in is such that it explodes. And then it can appear as if we are the hostile ones, because it is not obvious to others where the anger is coming from.

Then again, we may feel such fear that we run and hide – either literally or, more often, figuratively.

This hiding can often take the form of retreating into ourselves; distancing ourselves from possible harm by not letting anyone close. This can indeed “protect” us from bad feelings, but it also shields us from any good feelings and positive emotional contact. And in the end we become disillusioned and depressed, because all around us we can only see the hostility of others.

Is there no good way to deal with the hostility of others then? Must the bully always win?

Whilst these solutions may seem to be failures, they are actually all at least partially. But they miss the one key point to living a truly free life.

The fact is we can not directly change how others react to us. We can change our behaviors, and in so doing we may influence how others act, but there is no guarantee of this change.

Our best solution in any such situation is to look to our own actions, and wish the other person well.

That may sound strange – but since we cannot change the other person, the best we can do is to pray that they find happiness, or whatever else it is that they seek, and then look at what we can do.

This does not mean that we have to “put up with” other peoples bad treatment of us – one of the things we may be able to change is where we are and what we say.

We may be able to speak out own truth quietly, but if not, then we can leave the situation with as much dignity as we are able.

To fight hostility with hostility leads to greater and greater harm. To meet it with love turns aside the harm, and allows us to live free.

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September 29 Daily Meditation Writing: Ground

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 on Amazon.com, and as a Kindle e-book

Ground

The ground blow us is supposed to be stable. It is the one thing we can count on to stay the same all the time, so much so that we hardly even think about it.

And so when the ground shifts, for example in an earthquake or a landslide the shock and fear caused us is doubled.

Not only do we have the actual physical problem, but our minds react against the notion that this could happen at all. Our feelings about the way the world works are shifted, and it takes time for us to trust the ground again.

Our understanding has been changed and, instead of a careless assumption that the ground will be solid and unmoving, we are fearful of the ground and subconsciously wonder if it will happen again, and when.

In a similar way, the “solid ground” that is our deeply help beliefs and our understanding of life can be challenged.

Someone may have a solid religious belief, but the unexpected death of a loved one can rock the foundation of that belief. Or one may have a total confidence in the ability of science to answer all possible questions, and then have a sudden spiritual experience that goes beyond their understanding.

When one of these type of experiences happens, and the ground seems to shake beneath our feet, this is indeed a frightening experience. But it can also be an occasion for growth.

Just as a landslide shows us that we have maybe built our house in a bad place, so an emotional landslide can show us that we need to do some more work on our emotional health.

In the same way that an earthquake is destructive to our man-made structures, so an slip in our spiritual ground can be painful and hurt our mental structures.

But it can also be an opportunity to rebuild our mental and spiritual foundations on more solid ground.

From time to time we will all find that what we thought was the solid ground of our beliefs are challenged, and we feel the upset and hurt that comes from that.

But out of the destruction caused, we have to opportunity to rise again, stronger and more fully grounded on the truth.

September 28 Daily Meditation Writing: Scale

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 on Amazon.com, and as a Kindle e-book

Scale

Without knowing the scale of something, we can get confused about what is important.

It is like looking at a photograph – is this a picture of a range of mountain from above, or an extreme close up of a grain of sand? Is this a mighty waterfall, or a small stream of water from a watering can?

When we look closely at a single flower petal, we can be in wonder at the miracle of its construction, and its delicate feel. But when we stand back and admire the whole field of flowers, we can feel a totally different wonder at the scale of the beauty and can be captivated by the sight of them all moving in the breeze.

Neither view is “right” or “wrong” – they are both valid observations, and are different just because of the scale that we are looking at.

When we concentrate only the small-scale, we see just that – the tiny things that happen in our lives. These can be wonderful or not, interesting or not. We can take deep joy from the everyday “little” events in our lives – the simple pleasure of an early morning sunrise, or a late evening stroll.

We can find pleasure in the smallness and closeness of our world, by the feel of a comfortable chair, or the smile of a loved one.

And it is possible to live happily on that scale all of our lives – many people do.

But there is also a larger scale world that we can inhabit. Without losing the joy and contentment of the small-scale, we can also live in a much bigger universe.

This is what I like to call the world of the spirit – the world where we are not just small insignificant beings crawling along on the earth, but are also players in a much bigger universe.

Here we can still find our joy in the physical, but also seek a higher calling, a joy on a totally different scale.

For this world is not just the physical, not just the everyday. For every flower petal, there is a field of flowers at a greater scale that the petal alone could imagine.

But the field is still composed of individual petals, each unique in its own way.

In the same way, we can live in both scales; in our small physical world, and also in the larger world of the spirit. There is joy in both, and in both we can find contentment.

September 27 Daily Meditation Writing: Care

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 on Amazon.com, and as a Kindle e-book

Care

I think all of us have a need to feel that someone cares for us.

No matter how much we may put on a brave face, no matter how much we may say, and even think, that we are independent, at heart we respond with gladness when someone cares for us.

And no matter how much of an isolationist we are, there is always something in us that has a need to care for others.

And this caring need not be a physical thing – just to know that someone cares if we are alive, that they care enough to check on our well-being, is enough to move us.

This mutual caring is a very precious thing, even though sometimes we treat it with little respect, and can actually seem to be working against those that care for us, or take little regard of those for whom we should care.

And yet for some of us there are times when we are truly alone, with no one to care for us, and no one to care for.

This may be through our own fault, through circumstance – the reasons are unimportant. What matters is what we do about it.

Do we hide away from all contact, telling ourselves that nobody cares and refusing to help others?

Do we build up resentments against all those who have others to help them, and in this way make ourselves more miserable?

In other words, do we take this lack of care, and build it into something to be miserable about – something that we can fret over and pick at like a sore on our arm?

There is a better way.

Since all of us need to care for someone, and be cared for by someone, we can let that someone be ourselves. We can look after ourselves as we would a sick friend.

We can see that, even though no one else is there, we can still be caring of the one person that needs care the most – ourselves.

Rather than sitting at home waiting for something to happen, we can go out for a walk and see the world. We can care for our bodily health as we would look after someone recovering from an illness. We can build up our mind and our spirit by caring for them, and not letting our minds fall into disuse, or our spirits diminish.

It may be that through this self-care, we become people others wish to care for, or that we finds others that need our care; but that is not the point of doing it.

The point of self-care is that we need to do it for ourselves, to be true to the God-given creation that is uniquely us.

September 26 Daily Meditation Writing: Unable

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 on Amazon.com, and as a Kindle e-book

Unable

A while ago I had a task to do around the house. At first, I thought it sounded really complicated, and I just couldn’t see how I would be able to do it.

Then I did some investigation, and watched some instructional videos, and soon realized that I could do this after all. But then I started on the first part of the task – and I could not get the very first thing done, so I became discouraged and felt that I was unable to do this simple task.

After a while, and with the help of a friend, I tried again, and this time was able to get going, and completed the project with no real problems.

I’m sure we have all had similar experiences, and this points to an interesting facet of human nature – what we are able to do, and what we are not.

Because being “unable” is not necessarily the final answer.

Right now, I am unable to run a marathon. Frankly, I have a hard time imagining me ever doing so. But I also know that, given the right motivation and enough time effort and training, then I could probably do so. The “unable” here is a reflection of where I am now, and of what I know now.

So much of life is like that, We may be unable to get a better job; unable to to change a habit we know to be destructive; unable to leave a situation we know to be harmful to us.

But all these things are constrained by what we know now – by our experiences up to date. Some things we may be literally unable to do, but for most things where we use this word, we actually mean that we just can’t see a way from here to there; can’t see a way out or a way through.

And yet – are these things really impossible, or are we just not yet able to see how to do them?

Like my home improvement project, it may be that it is just a case that we need a little help to start us off, and we can win through. If we are struggling with a bad habit, it may be that we need to admit how much it is really hurting us, before we can move on to the solution.

Whenever we come to a point in our lives where we feel we are unable to take the next step, we need to consider if we are really unable, or just unwilling to change.

Even where we might really want the change, it can seem that we will have to lose so much to get the prize, and so we are unwilling to try for our goal.

But being unable to do something right now, can be the springboard to a greater willingness to try. And when we try, there is always hope of success.

September 25 Daily Meditation Writing: Gate

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 now available as a Kindle e-book, (you don’t need to have a Kindle to download and read it on your computer) as well as still being available direct from the publisher, on Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk and other Amazon European sites

Gate

I have an abiding picture in my mind of a country cottage, surrounded by a wooden fence, and an old swinging gate to enter the garden.

It is not a substantial gate – anyone could break in if they had a mind to – but it marks the place where the public space becomes a private area, and the link between them.

A gate can have this symbolism, because it is an access from one place to another – a transitional place that we often don’t really notice.

But this symbol is more than just a physical location, it can come to mean more than the strictly utilitarian.

A physical gate can be swinging open in the breeze, shut firmly, padlocked, even alarmed and covered with razor-wire.

And all of these may be appropriate – or not – in different circumstances.

A high security compound containing a store of gold probably does require a strong gate to protect it, whereas a cottage in a small friendly village would have the open variety of gate.

To put the armored gate on the cottage would be unnecessary, and an open gate on the gold store would be asking for trouble.

And so it is with the non-physical gates that we have in our hearts and souls.

Some of us have become so afraid of hurt that we lock our gates tight against any intrusion.

We may have learned that to open ourselves up only leads to pain, and so we hide behind our locks and never let anyone in.

In that way we do, indeed, become safe – but it is the safety of the locked prison cell – no one can get in, but neither can we get out.

There are times when it is appropriate to keep the gate of our heart safely closed – but for most of the time, we gain most when we are like the cottage gate – open to the world and free to roam.

Because our hearts are not meant to be the sterile and safe environment of the locked safe.

We are designed to be part of life, to embrace it and welcome it in, and even if it sometimes hurts, it is the hurt of growth.

Since life is a journey, we must embrace all of it, good and bad, and learn to grow from both types of experience.

Because what is important is to change, and to do that, we need to always leave the gate to our heart ajar.

September 23 Daily Meditation Writing: Speech

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 now available as a Kindle e-book, (you don’t need to have a Kindle to download and read it on your computer) as well as still being available direct from the publisher, on Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk and other Amazon European sites

Speech

Speech is the main way we humans communicate, and so it is important to understand just what it means to us.

There are at least two elements to speech – the actual words spoken, and the feelings that come along with those words.

I’m sure we all know people who are great speakers – they can carry an audience just by the tome of voice and way of speaking, almost regardless of the message being delivered.

At the extreme, this can lead to both wonderful and appalling things.

It can be used to rouse a nation to greater achievements, or to goad a crowd to atrocious violence, depending on the desires of the person with this speaking ability.

But then again, we probably all know of people who seem unable to get their point across to us in their speech.

They may have compelling and accurate information to impart, but somehow the way they say it leaves us unconvinced, if we even listen.

And yet we know that some of these people are really caring and have only good at heart.

Why is it so difficult to ignore the one, or listen to the other?

At heart it is because we do not only listen with our logical brains, but also with our feeling heart and basic emotions.

We do not only hear the words, but feel the feelings, and sense the emotions.

Much as we would like to think of ourselves as rational beings, we are more likely to respond to a speech that reaches us on the level of emotions, than one simply based on logic.

This is both a strength and a weakness, because the words alone are not always enough to transfer the meaning from one brain to another, so emotions help with this.

But it also leads us open to emotional manipulation where logically we would not take the position that we hear.

How we communicate is important – sometimes even more important that what it is we are communicating.

But how we, as an audience, react is more important – are we really swayed by the argument, or have we let our emotions be manipulated?

It is important to remember that our emotions are involved in hearing another, so that we do not fall foul of the emotions of others.