Friday, 20 March 2009

Gratitude - Not to be Forced

They say that feelings of lethargy, apathy, bouts of anger and other negative states of mind can come to sensitive people as this world is undergoing a transformative process. I suppose that's what I'm feeling... not like me to feel so listless and have such trouble getting along with people. I just want to run away and hide... I'm sure I'm not showing the best of myself but neither are people I meet. Things that wouldn't have been an issue ten years ago seem somehow aggravated today, as if people just can't help themselves. I so wish I could feel more compassion but I am just SO tired. I try desperately to hang in there and not fall prey to despair, so I suppose what I write about isn't always so uplifting either. I am here adding some things to the theme of forced gratitude. A few points overlap what I wrote in my last post.

I recently learned that children who were evacuated to Sweden from Finland during WWII are still plagued by the way they were always told to shut up and be grateful. They wanted nothing more than to be with their parents even if it meant chaos and famine, yet at the time it was thought better for them to have peace and enough food to eat in neutral Sweden. If they were unhappy, they were often severely punished. My dad was sexually abused. My mother was sent to some rich fosterparents in the capital of Finland where they only fed her cakes overflowing with cream and sugar. She was saved by this woman's sister and taken to a famous pediatrician who told them what she needs to eat to regain strength. They eventually adopted her and though they were quite rich, she had to sleep in the father's drafty reception room and always had runny eyes. When I was younger, she used to tell me quite often how she hated the idea of having to be forcibly grateful. Perhaps I have inherited this from her but I also don't like to have the idea of gratitude shoved down my throat. It was never a problem until I started to hang out with spiritually minded Americans online. They seem to be in love with inspirational quotes about gratitude and love to teach it to those of lesser knowing. The country's highly religious backdrop might have something to do with this. What strikes me as really odd though, is why anyone thinks that this should be necessary? I mean, I don't go around feeling totally hateful about life all day long and then communicate with spiritual people online in the evening. Of course there are things one feels grateful for during the day. As a means of self-preservation, one naturally looks for counterparts to all the shitty tings that happen in life. Don't people do this?? I'm sorry but it's hard for me to buy into the idea that people would be so dumb as not to get such fundamental issues on their own. But maybe people really are so removed from any natural sentiments/sensibilities and common sense? I was wondering about the same thing when Feng Shui became popular.

I promised to help an elderly lady with her new computer the other day. I guess it's my own fault that I didn't focus and really think what it is she might need. I trusted that it was just about a few things that I should be able to figure out for her so she didn't have to take in anyone expensive. I didn't expect to get paid but I knew she'd give me a little something. Ok, good deal. Funny enough, everything that could possibly go wrong, did. Since I have no stress tolerance I was quickly in a really bad state of panic, but determined to see this thing through stoically. She however, became frantic as we didn't get anywhere and she was in a hurry as well. The irony is, she probably has money to pay for a professional and only wanted to help me. However the humiliation and the stress took a great toll on me. In the end I felt like an idiot (and was biting my tongue so as not to come out with the usual defensive nonsense arguments) and did of course not feel that she was grateful for my input. It hurt a little but what hurt the most was that she didn't consider my low stress tolerance though she knows about it. The totally unexpected negativity that came out in the situation made me want to run home and cry, which I did later on. She showed some surprising hardness that I wanted to escape. Now I am not wanting to hear some advice that I attracted it through some funny law that came into fashion yesterday. Sure some of it is fine, but when it becomes dogma... well I'll leave it at that.

I simply thought more of my abilities than I should have and was trying to help where my help was maybe not really needed, and the karma came back to me at once, which happens these days, since the pace has been accelerated. Of course, there was also an unhappy combination of circumstances. Anyhow, I really think the law of karma is as good a law as any, and it's been around for a long time. It's just a matter of understanding it. Perhaps in time we will gain more freedom and manifest things that are not from ego, but the way I see it is, as long as we're on Earth we're attached to karma. Funny though, I've had a dream in which I felt complete and utter lack of self-worth. I have never felt anything like this in real life. So I guess there is some subconscious process going on in regard to such issues (and it may well be connected to the collective). I feel that I'm having to battle it in some sense. I don't really feel appreciated by people right now.

People are quite out of control these days, I think that's pretty obvious to anyone who is able to see reality for what it is and feel real feelings. Sometimes we just can't muster loving feelings, compassion or anything else of a positive nature, even when we believe we should. We feel irritated and stressed. We may be aware of the possibility, that in some way the negative encounter was a lesson, but we don't always have the energy to go into it and it's not always sure this is what we should do. You know what? It's all part and parcel of the transition. We may be limitless beings but here in human form, there's a lot to deal with. Those who like to preach from above are not doing any favours. People who are dealing with real life feelings will eventually resolve them, or they will not. It's not for anybody else to determine. You can only let go of your negative feelings when you CAN let go of them. If I started to feel guilty about feeling negative feelings I would indeed only be prolonging my own process, as anything denied or repressed will still be there. I also believe that guilt really drags you down. Common sense, right?

What also strikes me is that people preach about the importance of feeling gratitude all the time and instigating "gratefulness days", yet when I look around online I see little of it expressed towards other people. For instance, considering all the time and effort some people put into replying to other people's questions or blogs, well one would expect a glimpse of "thank you" or a simple acknowledgment of the other's effort a litte more frequently than what one sees now. It doesn't have to be any bombastic feelings of gratitude of course... the more modest kind called common courtesy! One thing my mother did teach me was to express thank you a lot so maybe it's just me... not understanding that not everyone is used to it. It's also not very nice to respond to someone in a forum only to find someone else say the exact same thing further along the line.

I don't (as a manner of speaking) know what goes on in people these days and maybe it's best to know as little as possible. I mean, what I do see is already overwhelming... I have learned, that it's ok to say no to people although I was raised to be kind and nice to everyone. These two attitudes don't always seem in synch but we are living in times of change and there is no reason to plague oneself more than necessary with stressors that lead nowhere. A little bit of toughness is needed at times to get through to people. The compassion comes when it comes. You can't force anything. And you can always consider, whether all you want is to become a more succesful human being or an enlightened person. The latter is apparently not always a very cheery path to take, but somehow I suspect that it's a choice some people have made before they came here and so any attempts to manifest the opposite (a happy, succesful life) will probably go down the drain because it's not what the soul really needs. And gratitude comes when it comes! Courtesy can be taught, but not gratitude, though maybe one can work towards it in some indirect way.

Artwork: "Early Morning", mixed media on paper by author, all rights reserved 1997

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Ditch the Inspirational Quotes and Subliminal Messages!

"Something's wrong with the world"
"You don't say!"

I'm going to play the grumpy old woman or the devil's advocate, choose which ever resonates with your belief system.

Ok... (taking a deep breath): I am fed up. Ok, ok, I know I probably won't ascend to the higher dimensions because I'm angry and frustrated. Only love can take you there. Oh well, I guess that's just too bad. I suppose my choice is not to feel guilty and have my sense of irony intact rather than go up the elevator. At least not today...

You know when I was little there was an inspirational quote in a magazine I was subscribing to. It said "Love is..." and then there would be some sweet gesture put in words along with the sleazy cartoon. It was cute when I was ten years old. It's not really cute anymore. Yet I keep receiving them. They take on various forms, of course. But as soon as I go online, somewhere, sometime, an inspirational quote will pop up. It's very often something somebody famous said once, usually of little relevance to my present state of mind. I actually hate them. I don't know why - maybe it's simply the fact that copying somebody else's thought is so bloody boring to me. The other version of these quotes is supposed to make you feel better, such as "remember that you are special" and "take a moment to say thanks to all the little miracles that align your path during the day". I saw rather fear mongering religious quotes in front of churches in the USA and thought they were incredibly exotic (as in strange) and quaint. I couldn't believe that people had the right to put them up just like advertising signs (which admittedly are pretty daft as well). I joined Twitter after my trip to this strange land and now I find my path literally littered with all these quotes. As far as I know there are no fundamental Christians among my followers so I take it that it's just a habit that all these adults have adopted. I used to think only the occasional fundamentalist New Ager or other spiritual or religious person would do it: a little from above of course, that's more effective, and stating the obvious so as to give you a reason to doubt your own common sense as well as IQ, EQ and SQ. But I guess not... As far as I know it's mainly an American thing but as with so many other phenomena they often spread. I do wonder though whether Europeans really agree to have all this wisdom shoved down their throat every where they go... I don't know because there are so few of them online that I could ask. But an even greater question is: why is all this disguised "parental" guidance necessary?? I mean, what kind of dummy goes around feeling hateful all day and then goes online to chat with spiritually minded people? Surely everyone is grateful for something, every day? Aren't they...?

The other day someone wrote to me with the flattering request of either becoming my friend or possibly dating me. First I thought the profile was rather witty and deep, albeit self-assertive. It wasn't quite in tune with the letter and so I asked about it... turned out the text was copied from a description of this guys's astrological sign. Oh, I am sure it was meant as a joke but when you get old like me you don't want to fool around and second-guess about a possible date. I suppose he didn't know or consider that it's courteous towards the writer as well as the reader to label such copies with the original source. I felt betrayed since... well, I was a bit betrayed, wasn't I? I also thought it quite sad if this guy actually believed himself to be all those things listed and felt the need to bring them out... (needless to say, they were only superlatives). I'm Finnish, so I don't really like bragging. I also thought it sad that yet again, someone didn't trust their own creative juices to flow when needed. I feel a bit guilty to use this example and pinpoint an innocent victim but what is life without examples?

I learned at an early age to simply throw myself into the creative process of writing whenever there was a need to. Regardless whether the outcome was good or bad, it was without a shadow of a doubt better and more original than it would have been had I sat there and constructed it for hours. So yes, in this sense I'm a fairly accomplished writer. How can someone who has a hard time talking think that I would respond to the barest minimum of interaction? This happens to me a lot (I'm obviously trying too hard, it must be a sign). When I do find someone to interact with it often cheers me up and gets me going... I admit that something like that can really touch my heart. But unfortunately, I'm also getting cynical and tired about writing to people who don't appreciate it one bit (yes, yes, pearls to the swine and all that, well don't want to sound conceited on my part but sometimes I'm tempted to think this thought...). This constant making of efforts to connect with others really wears me out. Should I just let my computer die as apparently destined to and then let the internet be? We all know that it's a difficult thing to allow if you're lonely and bored. Well, I suppose someone as communicative as me finds it an impossible thing to do. So what is the alternative? Put up with all the incredibly uninteractive stuff out there and just smile and be lovingly understanding about it? I would indeed save my own ass if I did - according to all these Amercian New Agers that I encounter online only I can help myself and the tool is obviously the ever-elusive feeling of love. Oh, I don't disagree... of course not. There's always some truth or lesson in things that you encounter, even the Jehova's Witness I gather.

It's funny, because I used to feel very strongly about the Bodhisattva, which embodies the ideal of compassion. That's when I had a home to go back to if I had enough of other people and especially those who liked to show off their spirituality. Now all these people from all over the world have entered my living room, so there is no escape. It's amazing how some people just seem to sail across the turbulent sea of voices as if nothing could ever reach them... maybe their psychic protection is working for them. As for me, well, all I hear are voices. No, not the kind that would indicate that I'm ascending. Just human talk. Blablablablabla I'm so lucky and blessed blablablabla I had this fantastic kundalini experience blablablabla I have the best job in the world, if you want it too, please follow the link blablabla #followfriday I recommend that people follow N and X because they are such wonderful healing people blablabla people shouldn't focus their energy on the dark and thus perpetuate it but give it love and light blablabla have faith, hope and love for otherwise you will hamper the evolutionary shift blablablabla people must be told that they are all divine blablablabla I hear your pain but it would help if you remembered to be grateful blablabla who you are on the inside is what you attract into your life blablabla just let go of everything and become a conscious co-creator of the world blablabla if you don't feel love you will never get what you desire blablabla you are unique and always amazingly beautiful blablabla you have a choice, to be among those who ascend or not blablabla...

Artwork: "The Way of the World", handmade collage on paper by author, all rights reserved 2008

Sunday, 8 March 2009

The Ascension and Moral - The Ascension Explained from My Point of View

The Ascension is the most common name for what is believed to be an evolutionary shift of the collective consciousness on Earth. As it has been talked about for very long and the belief that humankind is going from one level of existance to another is very widespread, then it would certainly be one of the biggest scams of all time if it wasn't true! The background that I have in Ken Wilber's philosophy helps me understand that consciousness does evolve just as anything else, and that there are stages humans go through individually as well as on a collective level. What follows here are some notes on the moral aspect of it all, but they are my personal speculations and not forged in stone. I have yet to encounter anyone who really seems to know what will happen. It does seem as if we're right in the middle of a transformative process, however, as chaos and confusion is all around and people appear more selfish than ever when in fact we are supposed to become more heart centred. After all, selfishness is the epitome of individuality (establishing a firm sense of self), which is what last evolutionary phase has been all about. It occurred to me, that there's a very good ontological (basic) reason why a selfishness that borders on plain narcissism is at the very centre of attention these days. Selfishness is the heightened and extreme expression of individuality, and we are hopefully leaving a stage of evolution that is mainly about the development of ego. Of course it's kicking as much as it can if change is ahead. It usually gets darker just before dawn, doesn't it.

I have observed New Age people and their thoughts for quite some time as well and have been influenced by the movement in certain ways. I have, however, sometimes been taken aback by the way that simple common sense ways of being have been twisted to suit some purpose that appears rather self-indulgent if not conceited. Many have been boldly proposing that there's going to be a "suvival of the fittest" kind of scenario with a fascist twist unless I have misunderstood it; people who are spiritual enough will according to this all heal physically and emotionally quite quickly now and so they will be superior to those who cannot keep up. Considering how many people are out there without a clue about any evolutionary shift, this seems rather supercilious and unrealistic to me. I doubt that physical illness will magically disappear. Some illnesses are also not fixable. I'm not sure how but surely people will continue to be in the need of challenges that develop the soul? Now another challenge might be that of affluence. I am personally not very keen on all the propaganda that "you can have it all because you were really meant to" since there seems to be way too many pitfalls when people start wanting and grasping. Poverty is certainly not a great state of being and it can drag you down a great deal. In short; worrying about money or thinking about it all of the time seem to me like a rather negative and extreme pursuit that takes away awareness from more "noble" and constructive ideals such as compassion and altruism. These are after all what the ascension promises to imbue the collective consciousness with. I personally try and avoid extremes and go for the middle path whenever possible.

However, if you do have money it seems to me that you would be better off thinking what good you can do with it. Not saying you can't enjoy it yourself too, only that it might be better for you if you strike a balance and really think about the ethical aspects and how this situation can help you grow as a person. It seems to me that while actively growing you automatically pay service to the rest of the world/universe - many of those things come as a biproduct that you don't need to worry too much about nor try and control. This would be one of the beautys of self-development...

I've also encountered view points according to which at this point of the ascension there's a division between the ones who have chosen their standpoint and those who haven't. The first could with good conscience leave the latter alone to wallow in their misery. Trouble is... there is never (as far as I've seen) any definition of exactly who is what. How do you know that you're on the "right side"? In my opinion this creates a lot of stress and hyped up feelings in people who think that they need to show their supremacy 24/7 so as to show everyone and the universe that they are on the ascension boat. On the other hand people are often guilt ridden because they feel they don't match up with ideals that they've read about somewhere...

Again, most people are living their lives clueless of what's happening... maybe they are going through some inner processes of re-evaluation but it's hard to know for sure since only spiritual people are vocal about these things (and have a frame of reference). Surely we can't just dismiss people callously, according to some vague definition on who would fit the bill of being the devil's advocate? I've seen too many so-called spritual aspirants show really nasty sides of themselves to believe that all this would be so black and white. I'm not even convinced that Obama, who is almost deified, is solely on the side of the good. I think in the end mistakes will be made simply because he's human and the collective is affecting everybody. On the other hand, this guy has indeed dipped into the worst kind of chaos and we can only hope that there will be a new regime with a new value system.

So how to determine if you're someone who should step up and be a leader? Well, having gone through a long training in spiritual strength could possibly qualify you as someone with enough wisdom and stamina to stand up for sound values and face the ignorant without fear. I think it's something a person should be able to do on their own, since the idea of gathering disciples or followers seems to me very "old world" like (or "3D" as opposed to 4D or 5D as people often call the levels when referring to the shift). I think a person can be a leader in a less than obvious way. Not ruling out certain situations where leading people in a very concrete way might be necessary, but only hoping that such a person is truly beyond any desire to be admired or at least able to keep such desires in check. I don't think there are any obvious external signs of who could be that sort of person. I do think that to some extent, people still need to be led and that dismissing the one's who are ill or poor as not vibrating high enough is against all common sense about compassion and the basic unity of humanity. People should at least be made aware of their choices, but how is this going to take place? In short I'm troubled that too much selfishness is still ruling people's choices but let's just hope evolution will take its natural course regardless and that all these questions will be solved in a natural manner.

I think that if I were a person suddenly compelled to step into leadership I'd hope that the tasks would come to me naturally without any forcing on my part. We can wish all we wish... ultimately I do not think that a truly wise person will be able to resist the voice of conscience and do what they are supposed to do for the good of the whole. I (as the spiritual people who believe in the ascension) assume that people are inherently good and only clouded by ignorance. Being in touch with your authenticity and goodness would compel you to be a compassionate being, because your core is of a divine nature and divine in this case is defined as equal to love. The ignorance and false beliefs about reality and self would have dissipated. This state of being is often referred to as Christ consciousness.

In my humble opinion the ascension has to do with listening to internal voices as opposed to external ones. Take for instance religion: exoteric religion that relies on dogmas and rituals seems to be making way to a more widespread interest in esoteric religion, which again relies on contemplation through inner states of being (mysticism). The New Age resembles mysticism to a large extent as presented in the world religions throughout the ages. So one would assume that moral would become something that arises from the inner self rather than the typical old world need to be told what to do (as if we were children). If we're in transition right now, then one can only assume this transition is difficult, since taking responsibility for your inner states no matter what they are is a tough thing to do.

I thus conclude that an evolved being has an innate sense of moral which is connected to a deep insight into the oneness of all beings. The sense of oneness is also one of the things that esoteric beliefs strive towards. Oneness (non-dualism or the belief and experience that we are all one on a deeper level) is what would compel an evolved person to the highest good for the whole rather than seeking self-indulgent pleasures alone. Not saying though that this person cannot experience pleasure and joy, on the contrary. It would just be different from the kind emanated from selfishness (what people refer to as the simple "ego", an illusory self).

I think that as you evolve, paradoxes become more evident. You go from an either-or kind of thinking to embracing both-and, and from there it also continues in a sort of dialectic way. Thus there may be no contradiction regarding an inherent moral that compels you to do good for the whole of existance, and an individual feeling of pleasure in doing so.

Power in my opinion is not necessarily a sign of a highly evolved being, as power can be understood in too many ways. There is a lot of talk of being empowered vs disempowered, and sure these are important aspects of the transformation of self. But to put too much emphasis on power per se can in my opinion make the whole thing tip over.

Artwork: "All the World's a Stage...", artwork on paper by author, all rights reserved 1998

Monday, 2 March 2009

Discernement When Communicating With Others

There's a point where communication stops being interactive. I can't say exactly where it is, but I seem to feel when it has been reached. It's not so much about asking questions, as I don't think that's always necessary. You can simply feel if the other person is responding to your rants even if they do it indirectly. What happens fairly often in my life is that there's a sense of sharing at first that quickly turns into some form of preaching. I feel that the other person didn't hear me correctly and that their response is about what they want to proclaim rather than feeling what I was trying to get across. I think a good conversation is based in agreement or an attempt at understanding the other person. If not, then there's no point in going on.

I can be quite opiniated and strong in my views but I don't think that I'm unyielding as long as there's a note of sympathy. I have usually attempted to hold back until there's a kind of silent agreement that one can advice the other in a direct manner. This usually happens after you know each other rather well already and know that what is being said is not part of a power game. On the other hand, power games are subtle and based in a deliberate attempt to confuse the other person into thinking like them.

I recently talked to someone who was telling me a lot of rather obvious spiritual "truths" as if I was a child... when I questioned their motifs they told me that I was on a path of trying to find someone to blame and that they didn't want to continue talking to me. They knew I tend to uncover people's less agreeable sides rather easily and so they used that against me, as my motif and goal. I had to swallow hard. Was I seeing things that were not there? Or was I being true to myself? Nobody can tell me that! I do know that I had an uncanny premonition that this would occur because the person in question started to insinuate that sometimes it's best to just let people go if they don't fit into the beliefsystem that this person was professing to. I also wondered how in comparison everyone else was shallow and wrong in their approach... How people are either spiritual or not... no grey scale allowed in this case. It was also a bit strange that these people were proudly presenting themselves as not charging anything for their healing yet asked me to look for someone in my vicinity who would give me some for very little since I can't afford it. Yeah right. I started to feel that this person was in fact looking for disciples and since they all had to be women and have certain beliefs it was a bit doubtful to me. The signs of a dominant mind were definitely there, as my opinions mattered little to this person. Of course in their opinion, they were not asking me to believe anything whatsoever. Well, that's easy to say, isn't it.

There's a certain pattern that some smart men follow when they want something from you, the woman. What they want is of course either sex or your soul. First they share their hardships to awaken your sympathies. Then they come onto you about your nice qualities. Then they start to tell you what to do and what to think. Remember that all this may occur in a very subtle manner. All I can say is, better be safe than sorry. If something doesn't feel quite right, then it probably isn't. It is never easy to say no and turn away, but it's unfortunately something a woman has to do quite often in today's world. I have realized that few men will be nice and polite when they end the conversation with you, so I don't see why you would have to be. I know more often than not women prefer to be nice but it rarely pays off. Getting all wound up and angry isn't going to work out either. Better show one's maturity, even if it's only towards oneself! All this being said, I've noticed men complaining about women too so I think that more and more women are asserting themselves out there and not always in very nice ways.

I take things to heart so easily, and so human communication is quite difficult and complicated from my point of view. On the other hand I try and watch and learn and hope that if I have made a mistake, I will be made aware of it in a manner that leaves no room for doubt. My goodness, what if I'm stuck in some terrible pattern that is truly detrimental to me as a human being? Yet unsolicited advice is no longer welcome... It's a very confusing world out there and we do need to look after our well being. On the other hand I don't agree with those who never want to risk getting hurt again. In my opinion, life is about risks and chances. Whatever hurts will pass. No pain, no gain. Would you rather sit alone in the same place for years or go out and gather experiences? I know that truly growing as a person isn't very popular and most do take the safe routes. No matter how much I suffer I rather not go only for the safe cards though. For instance, if someone truly wanted to discuss a communication problem with me I think I would still be willing to give of my time, though I have also become aware that it's not always advisable. But that's just me. All in all discernment is a tough topic. Whether you're right or wrong, people are hiding a lot of things and often have an agenda. All you really have is your gutfeeling.

Artwork: "Noli Me Tangere", handmade collage by author, all rights reserved 2008