Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Heaven and Earth within

Heaven and Earth, each in their own way are so grand that it seems close to impossible for us a an individual human being to influence either one of them...

But then I am thinking: ‘Heaven and Earth’, ‘As above, so below’, ‘As within, so without’... And suddenly I am looking at a macrocosm and a microcosm ~ where Heaven and Earth are the macrocosm, and a human being is the microcosm.

The implication is that not only is it possible to influence the balance and wellbeing of Heaven and Earth; the apparent process is ~ at least in theory ~ quite possible as it would suggest that by changing the microcosm, the macrocosm is changed as well and vice versa.

It would mean that the macrocosm ~ Heaven and Earth ~ are mirrored not only in our lives, but in our unique, individual Self as well. It would paint a picture in which our triangular balance of ‘mind, body and spirit’ is a reflection of a similar triangular balance of ‘mind, body and spirit’ of Heaven and Earth.


Heaven and Earth, as above so below, as within so without ~ it not only gives us a manner in which we can actually meet that enormous system of Heaven and Earth; it provides us with a way in which our individual actions can actually influence and change the system of Heaven and Earth...
If we, as the microcosm, get more balanced, so does the macrocosm of Heaven and Earth. When we enter a state of being that is more peaceful; so do Heaven and Earth.

Now, if it really is that easy, why are we not doing more of it? Why is it so hard for us to not only create that more balanced, more peaceful space within ourselves and at the same time forge more balance and peace within Heaven and Earth?

It is called ‘life’. Life happens. And between rush hour traffic, work, family, grocery shopping, and on and on and on, it is easy to be more focused on matters at hand ~ the situations that require our immediate attention and action ~ that pretty soon we get so caught up in it that ‘balance’ and ‘peace’ are the things we wish for, rather than that we are emanating them...
Of course the beauty is that it is a ‘two way street’. When we need more balance and a greater sense of peace in our every-day lives, Heaven and Earth provide it for us.

Yet wouldn’t it be nice if we would return the favor ~ and not only create that greater balance and that peacefulness within our selves, but also radiate it into the system of Heaven and Earth?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Heaven and Earth

When thinking about polarities we usually choose one or the other. For instance in ‘good or bad’, we would like to pick ‘good’. In ‘warm or cold’ it is a matter of personal preference ~ yet we have a tendency to choose one or the other. And when I look around me, I see either people who are incredibly busy, or people who seem to be unable to ‘get stuff going’...
It is how polarities work, as they are two extremes of the same energy. So when that particular energy pops up in our lives, or in the country or culture we live in ~ both extremes come into play.

This is precisely what makes ‘Heaven and Earth’ such an interesting polarity!
See, the way we talk about it, or write about it, we don’t say: ‘Heaven or Earth’ ~ we say ‘Heaven and Earth’. While we can make a good argument about them being two extremes of the same energy ~ our environment ~ Heaven and Earth provide us with the arena we live and grow in; the space for our personal paths to unfold. And as such we don’t choose one or the other, but rather than seeing them as polarities we view them as a whole.

There are many ways to express this whole; Heaven and Earth, above and below, within and without, the God-father and the earth-mother... And then there are also past and future, day and night, Summer and Winter...To a certain extend they are all polarities that create a wholeness rather than to break apart the energy of which they express the extremes...

And in order to keep the arena in which we live our lives, walk our paths, from falling apart ~ we don’t choose a side to operate in; we want both. We want that wholeness. Because if there is a wholeness outside of ourselves, chances are we can find that wholeness inside of ourselves.

It is a balance created through bringing both polarities together.
And in that balance we, as human beings, tend to function well!

Which begs the question why we permit ourselves to leave so many other polarities unbalanced within ourselves and within our space. And yes, that does include the ‘biggies’ as well: peace or war, love or hate... Because the moment we get angry about the injustice of war, we have lost the peace within ourselves; and in a sense contribute to its polarity...

As long as we are confronted with these polarities, we may be best off to find in ourselves a state of grace, a tolerance that allows us to stay balanced within ourselves. To count our blessings.
To reach for both, Heaven and Earth...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Life is amazing

Life never ceases to amaze me.
Especially when I listen to people who are telling me what is happening in their lives at this moment.

Now you may think that the stories I am referring to are grand, or special ~ but more often than not they are the uniquely individual stories of people like you and me. Stories that aren’t even looked upon as being that remarkable by those who are recounting them.

The only thing they seem to have in common is that the people involved say they are getting tired of the things that seem to be happening in their lives over and over and over again. Like a TV-series that is repeated over and over again.
It is something that we may well relate to at one time or another, as we all seem to encounter situations that appear to be repeating themselves in our lives every once in a while.
That in and of itself is not that amazing.

However, the thing that is truly amazing to me is that the story I am being told ~ the situation described ~ is met with a matter of fact sense of normalcy.
It is true that while that particular situation in that person’s life often has grown over some time ~ perhaps even years ~ which makes it a lot harder to gauge whether what is happening in that situation is still within the bounds of ‘normal’, it does also show how hard it is to step back from any specific situation to evaluate it as to its ‘normalcy’.

The result is in many cases that this situation that is experienced as unwanted, annoying, tiring, yet matter-of-factly ‘normal’ by one person ~ when told to another person, sounds weirder than ‘Alice in Wonderland’ to them. Possibly sparking remarks like “How do you put up with that?”, or “I don’t think I could do that” ~ which then are met with a shrug. After all, that’s life, right?

Now everybody has their own unique, individual path ~ with their own life lessons etc. So no-one should judge anyone else on how they are living their lives, how they handle the curve balls life throws at them. When it comes down to it ~ we are all doing the best we can with what we have...

Nevertheless, I can’t help but standing in awe listening to some of the stories of other people’s lives; being truly amazed that what they consider ‘normal’ in their lives ~ to me is so far out; so far beyond what I can even imagine.
And then I realize that in all likelihood the same is true for what is happening in my life...


Friday, October 19, 2012

On Edge

It seems like the whole world is a little on edge these days.
Whether you look at the traffic around you when you are going some place; or just watch the news on TV ~ it seems like everybody reacts somewhat ‘over-assertive’ to whatever is happening around them.
And I have to admit; I find myself on edge as well.

Sometimes I even think it is something in the weather, a change in the energies around us that we ~ consciously or subconsciously ~ react to. And suddenly all the things that we had organized so nicely, everything that should work so well, appears to get a life all its own...

And pretty soon our timing is off.
Chores that normally take us only a couple of minutes to do, now take us half an hour. Which makes us late for an appointment, so we have to rush through traffic ~ and while we might normally find we get where we need to go before the rush hour traffic, now we get trapped in heavy traffic. Making us even later for that appointment. When we finally get there, there is no parking place to be found close to the entrance; and when we find ourselves a parking place on the other side of the lot, it starts raining. Umbrella in one hand, purse in the other we dash into the place ~ only to find out we are the first to arrive anyway.
This then, instead of making us feel good that we at least made it in time ~ sort of ~ can put us even further on edge. After all, we have really tried our very best, rushed through traffic, dashed over the parking lot ~ only to find that whoever we have that appointment with is late.
How dare they! Don’t they know what you have been going through to get here in time ~ sort of?

As it turns out ~ no they don’t know that.
And they may have an equally ‘on edge’ start of their day...

Probably the best thing to do at this point is to sit down for a moment and take a deep breath. To get centered. To step back from how we got here and move to the point where we can happily say to yourself: “Made it!!”

It is easy in the energy of this point in time to get ‘on edge’. But rather than snapping at everybody around us who ~ whether they are or not ~ at least seem to be in our way; we would do ourselves an enormous favor if we just took a couple of deep breaths.
And then laugh about it...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


A breakthrough: a sudden, dramatic, and important discovery or development.

I suspect we are all experiencing breakthroughs of some kind in this day and age... Whether it is in our personal lives, or at work; emotional, physical, material, in research... In this point in time it seems that there are many breakthrough’s happening ~ whether we are fully aware of their impact or not.

Personally, I like the word: Breakthrough.
Because in the most literal sense it tells how those discoveries, developments and subsequent changes come about ~ they happen because we break through something.

This implies that before there was something that was limiting us. Something that prevented us from seeing what else was there. Perhaps even something that kept us in the place we had been in for a long time ~ not because we were unwilling to go anywhere else necessarily, but more because circumstances, or even something within ourselves is holding us back from trying.
In other words, in order for a true expansion to occur in our lives, there often is something we need to break through first...

I could list a lot of things that often can hold us back, but the most important ones seem to be:

  • Believe
  • Attitude
  • Confidence

In order to break through into that more expansive space that can lead us to discoveries and developments ~ we first and foremost need to believe that we can! We can do it!!
Then, to be willing to actually step into that new environment that can be so beneficial to us ~ we need to have an open mind that says that there are many ways to accomplish the goal. In other words, we need to adjust our attitude from ‘this is the way I have always done it, it works, so why change’, to  something like: ‘Let’s come up with four or five more ways in which I can get this done; if only to prevent boredom to take over...’
And finally, we need to have the confidence that whatever we may find after we break through whatever limits we are facing is a good thing. Something that will help us move forward on our path. Something that makes our lives easier, happier, more interesting, more fulfilling.

Like most of us, I tend to be quite apprehensive when faced with an imminent discovery or development. At some level there is the realization that once I step through that door, the moment I break through whatever limitation that was holding me back ~ there is no returning.
As soon as you have seen or experienced that other, more expansive space and have made the breakthrough ~ life has changed forever...

Friday, October 12, 2012

Cat Burglar

Returning from a working vacation, we found our three black cats mightily upset and the house in disarray... On top of that one of the neighbor’s cats apparently had claimed our house as her own; pretty much telling our cats off.
Unexpected, and definitely not the way I envision ‘the order of things’ to be.

For the cats to be upset with us leaving them to take care of the house ~ they are guardians after all ~ is not uncommon. Yet this time things were different.
Put two and two together and the only logical conclusion is that the cats and our house suffered from a cat burglar.
In the most literal sense of the word.
As in a cat sneaking in ~ most likely through the cat door ~ and eating the food, laying down in the best places in our house.

In a subsequent fight, a big plant got knocked over ~ leaving the scene as if a more traditional burglary had taken place.
Luckily no such thing happened, and after clearing up the mess everything is back the way it should be.

And that is where it would end; except for the fact that our black threesome is experiencing the emotional aftereffects of the cat burglar’s visit. Just like it can happen for us humans, they are jittery and continuously checking if everything is still alright. Making sure no unsolicited visitors are sneaking in... And being ultra careful when going outside themselves.

Given the fact that the cat door ~ as opposed to all other doors and windows ~ is unlocked, and therefore freely accessible to any neighborhood cat who dares enter our threesome’s territory; I suspect that the other cat made numerous visits while we were away.
And, getting bolder as things seemed to work out for her, she eventually got caught ~ and was fought off.

In a sense it is what can happen to us when we are not clear about our boundaries.
Someone may step over our boundaries, ‘pushing’ us into doing things for them, taking time away from what we really want or need to do ~ and when that situation is not arrested right there and then ~ it may evolve into a situation where our personal boundaries are disregarded on a regular basis, perhaps even to such extend that our energy, our time are decided over by others in an ever bolder fashion...
Until finally there is that point when enough is enough; the other is caught in the act and fought off.
Leaving our lives in disarray.

And then ~ whether one is human or cat ~ it takes some time to recover, to get our confidence back to step out into the world...

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Back in time

Have you ever longed for a simpler life? A life less chaotic, with more time to enjoy the things that really matter to you? And have you ever thought that going back to an earlier time might give you just that? Well, I have...

And then I went on vacation to a place abroad that is in essence just as advanced as the country I live in ~ except that in this country the quietness is highly valued. The fact that there are not a whole lot of people around you. Which means that not many roads are necessary; and the roads that are there are country roads ~ two lane roads that bend from village to village, and curve around rivers.
Out here, a scenic route means that the road winds its way through a scenic landscape ~ not particularly that one can actually see that beauty from the car as tall hedges line the narrow roads.

It gives me a sense of having stepped back in time.
To a time and place without rush hour. To a society where drivers of slow traffic actually signal to help you pass them safely.

But there is another aspect of this stepping back in time...
While here too smart phones are wide spread, the internet is an entirely different thing. Which is surprising as almost everybody talks about using skype or a similar ‘voice over IP’ service. Yet reliable internet connections seem to be harder to come by than one might expect.

And it is at that point that I realize how wonderful the internet really is!

For sharing pictures on facebook, for sending an e-card rather than an actual ‘paper-and-envelope-card’ as the e-card will actually make it in time for the occasion. For keeping track of emails, and as such of what is happening in my ‘real life’ back home.

Now one can make the argument that it is a good idea to leave all that behind when on vacation. To really allow yourself some time away from it all... But does that really give the peace of mind we are after while on vacation?
I guess that depends... For some people it would, for others it might not.

All in all, stepping back into a more quiet, simpler time is not quite as simple as I thought it would be. It brings with it an entirely different structure, a different frame of mind to get things done ~ which in a way can be every bit as hectic as my regular life at home.

I guess the simpler, less chaotic perspective is ~ like so many other things ~ a choice to be made within oneself rather than for it to be found some other place or time...


Friday, October 5, 2012

A nation divided

There are many things that can divide a nation, a country, a town, or a family.
They can be the ‘big topics’, like politics. But more often it is about much smaller things...

This past week a sentence has come up in conversation that sort of stuck in my mind. It was about the difference between living in the ‘big city’ and living in the country ~ and although it may not have been meant that way, it did give me a feeling that it pitched ‘us’ against ‘them’.

While it is often true that different groups of people have different priorities, desires, and perhaps even needs in life ~ as soon as it becomes a matter of ‘us’ versus ‘them’ these priorities, desires and needs seem to be valued as less than our own.
And pretty soon ‘us’ versus ‘them’ becomes ‘right versus wrong’. Of course we are right. How can it be possible that this other way of thinking, this other way of living could be just as good as the way we put our lives together? Let alone ever be better...

Of course there is nothing wrong with really liking life the way we live it. That is the way it should be!
Just like other people with different mindsets, live their lives differently ~ the way they like living their lives. And that is the way it should be...
Us and them, living side by side, and by sharing our differences making a nation, a country, a town stronger.

On a much more personal level, thinking along lines of ‘us and them’ can really put us in a space we don’t necessarily want to be in...
Because on a personal level it evolves often easily into the thought that what is happening to us ~ especially the things that we perceive as making our lives hard or difficult ~ is not of our own doing. After all, we don’t want those things in our lives. So it has to be ‘them’ doing it to us.

If you follow a spiritual line of thought, there is an intrinsic problem with this perspective, as it would state that anything that happens in our lives is of our own making. Not because we want to go through difficult times, but moreover because we on our personal path of spiritual growth requires ourselves to learn certain things.

So maybe it is not a nation divided ~ in whatever way ~ that takes our strength. Perhaps it is how we are divided within ourselves ~ feeling that ‘they’ are better, worse, or even the cause of our predicament ~ that ultimately makes it hard for us to show our true strength.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Working vacation

If ever there was a contradiction in terms, it is the ‘working vacation’. After all, shouldn’t it be work or vacation? Isn’t vacation the things you have to rest from busy work schedules etc.? And doesn’t ‘vacation’ simply doing nothing ~ or if you rather have a more active vacation, doing those things you don’t get to do while you are not on vacation?

But what if the work you do truly is your passion? Then vacation can become a time that is boring; something that brings restlessness rather than rest in such a way that stress levels can soar. Then again, no matter how much fun your job is ~ everybody needs a break every once in a while. If only in order to be able to step back from the day-to-day running of things and keeping track of our often overfilled calendars. When we take a little time to take that step back, we can come back to our jobs refreshed, even seeing the work we so love doing through new eyes...
It is something we benefit from; just as the work we feel so passionate about does.

So, if taking time off; time to give ourselves a breather is so important to us ~ why then the working vacation?

It all hinges on how much work is involved on the vacation.
If it is a lot of work, then suddenly the cost of our vacation become work related expenses and as such a tax deduction. Is the time off mostly vacation, it can point to an inexpensive research trip which in the future may lead to more extensive work in that area.

The third perspective can be just as interesting, although from a slightly different perspective...
What if the things you do in your work; the things you are passionate about are widely varied to the point that some of them have a tendency to fall by the wayside every once in a while. Then a working vacation can be a terrific way to pick up on that activity and explore new manners of incorporating it into your regular ‘work’ again.
Even if that just means that the pictures taken on your working vacation provide the new artwork for the office walls...

That being said, personally I still feel a little bit ambiguous about the working vacation. Even as the working vacations I have been on always have been a great lot of fun ~ as I get back to every day life; back to work, I never quite know whether what I have done in the past week or so has been work or vacation.
Somehow, in my mind I keep having trouble merging the them...