Tag Archives: Buddha

lusts wants needs desires

When I am true to myself, I am strong beyond measure.

the application of will

continues to tempt me still

uninhibited too dangerous thrill

urges wants desires needs emotional

uninhibited casual sexual relationships fill

my life with seductress midnight encounters

hazardous erotic carnal liaisons midnight hours

rash instant gratification sensual lustful animal urges

I know that I should have become a better man than that

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

the path to freedom from suffering

is through self-discipline in body, mind, and spirit

Shrove Tuesday

confession, penance, atonement, amends, forgiveness

pentagramToday, the 28th of February, is Shrove Tuesday ~ a day when the basic tenents of religion, 12 step recovery programmes, and a spiritual lifestyle all come together.  It’s all based on strength, honesty, purity, unselfishness, and love.  It’s sometimes called a moral inventory, and it may involve the God /Goddess of your understanding, your Higher Power, your most trusted friend, or any combination or variation of all three.  Ash Wednesday, and by extension Shrove Tuesday, is really a Pagan Festival anyway ~ the main thing is that today is a good day for me to take the next step on my own spiritual journey.

eightfold pathAll this, the whole point of Shrove Tuesday, may have nothing to do with religion, or recovery from an addiction, or eating special meals, or the carnival celebrations of Mardis Gras ~ but what it should have to do with is acceptance of who we are, who we used to be, and who we wish to become in the future.  Today I will take a long look at who I was and what I did, all the good, the bad and the ugly.  I will try to accept and understand the past.  I will acknowledge the reality of the past, and think about making my amends in the future.  Today I will forgive myself for yesterday’s mistakes, and hope that others do too.  I will think about being a ‘better’ man tomorrow than I was yesterday.  My personal tools for doing this are the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path.

aphroditeI am not a follower of the Buddha ~ in fact my personal ‘higher power’ is the Mother Goddess, in one of her forms, (it’s complicated).  But the Buddha’s Teachings will make sense to me today ~ Shrove Tuesday.  I will be making pancakes today, but the whole idea of Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, Carnival is not really an English Gentleman’s thing.  Mardi Gras isn’t really a spiritual event, it’s just a street party.

If you want to make a great pancake here are some recipes from; Cooking with a Wallflower, Food Eat Love, Damn Delicious, the BBC, and Jamie Oliver.

Have a Happy Fat Tuesday, a Great Carnival, a Joyous Mardi Gras, and a Calm and Spiritual Shrove Tuesday.

(Maybe one day I’ll look for a cool woman wearing a great mask at Mardi Gras.)

~

mardi-gras-maskjack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

health, wealth, and happiness

The Greatest Gift You Can Give the World is a Healthy You.

Sometime around the first century AD, Roman poet Juvenal, (Decimus lunius luvenalis), wrote this;

~

you should pray for a healthy mind in a healthy body

ask for a stout heart that has no fear of death

and deems length of days the least of nature’s gifts

that can endure any kind of toil

that knows neither wrath nor desire and thinks

the woes and hard labours of Hercules

better than the loves and banquets and downy cushions of sloth

what I commend to you, you can give to yourself

for assuredly, the only road to a life of peace is virtue.

~

Except Juvenal wrote it in Latin, and he wrote Sardanapalus, not sloth.  It actually rhymes much better in Latin.  This is from where we get the phrase ~ mens sana in corpore sano ~ a sound mind in a sound body.

flagTo me, this reads a lot like Kipling, who was also very adept at giving good advice to young men; for example in his seminal poem IF Kipling explains what it takes to be a Man.  Sir Henry Newbolt with Vitai Lampada, gave a more inspirational lead.  But for hard advice the Maxims to Guide a Young Man, which appeared in the 1850’s maybe says it all.  After a long career in banking, my personal advice to a young man echoes Shakespeare’s from Hamlet; Neither a borrower nor a lender be

Even two thousand years later Juvenal’s advice is sound.  He’s telling us not to lay about eating, drinking, having sex, (all things that the ancient Romans excelled at), but instead live an energetic life of courage, self-discipline, and virtue.  Every great teacher before and since, including Jesus Christ and the Buddha, says more or less the same things.  The Noble Eightfold Path could have come straight from Juvenal.

Life is difficult and painful.  The way to freedom from pain lies in courage, hard work, and self-discipline.  And by the way, don’t get cynical, envious, impatient, apathetic, or angry along the way ~ these negative emotions will not serve you well.

Neither in a man nor a woman is negativity a pretty sight

~

eightfold pathjack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

Don’t Make Your Own Truth

P1040277

When you haven’t slept for days, and you spend all your time in the depths of hopelessness, convinced that you are physically, mentally, and spiritually ill, and that there is no cure, no way out at all, then even the glimmer of an end of suffering will have you hanging on to that dim light like a drowning man clutches at a lifebelt.

So it was for me at a grim three o’clock in the morning on Monday, March 28th, 2016 ~ Easter Monday.

The single glimmer of hope in the darkness were these words; ‘Life is difficult.  This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths.’  The opening words of a book called The Road Less Travelled.

This is also the first of the Four Noble Truths as revealed by the Buddha.

Being in the hopeless state I am, for today I have simplified these Four Noble Truths into versions I can understand;

  1. Life is difficult and painful.
  2. The causes of my problems and pain are my own cravings, lusts, and my blaming of others.
  3. I can’t change what happens to me, but I can change what I do.
  4. The path to freedom from suffering is through self-discipline in body, mind, and spirit.

The cruel trick my mind is already playing on me is that I keep forgetting what #3 says.  I know there ‘s a #3, but I forget what it says.

No one saves us but ourselves.  No one can and no one may.  We ourselves must walk the path.  ~  Gautama Buddha.

Dying is easy.  Living takes work.  Don’t try and do it all on your own.

~

Sunjackcollier7@talktalk.net

What Good Is Spirituality?

WHAT GOOD IS LIFE WITHOUT SOUL?

You can only know what it is to need to live a spiritual life if you have been to one of two places.  If you have somehow come to spirituality from a very good place in life then you know.  The other place is Hell ~ some of us have been there.  Working toward Spirituality on a daily basis makes life bearable for some, happier and more fulfilling for others, puts some others in touch with a higher plane, and for some others it stops them killing themselves.  For some of us Spirituality is a matter of Life and Death.

I have absolutely no pleasure in the stimulants in which I sometimes so madly indulge.  It has not been in pursuit of pleasure that I have periled life and reputation and reason.  It has been the desperate attempt to escape from torturing memories, from a sense of insupportable loneliness and a dread of some strange impending doom. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

Some see The Raven as a metaphor for Death.

One can choose any path towards spirituality but the Buddha laid down some pretty sound ideas two and a half thousand years ago.

The Four Noble Truths;

  1. Life is difficult and shit happens.
  2. Craving for immediate pleasure makes more shit happen.
  3. Learn some self-control and life will become less difficult as you won’t drop yourself into the shit so often.
  4. Learn the true meaning of right and wrong and always try to do the right thing.

Of course this was not quite how Buddha explained it, but my version gives the essence.

The fourth Noble Truth is also known as the Truth of the Middle Path, or the Noble Eightfold Path.  You don’t have to be Buddhist to aspire to have the qualities described in the Noble Eightfold Path;

  • Right Understanding
  • Right Thought
  • Right Speech
  • Right Action
  • Right Livelihood
  • Right Effort
  • Right Mindfulness
  • Right Concentration

Any high-powered executive would give his eye teeth to be able to follow the precepts of the Eightfold Path.  Back in the day, if I could get half of those half right half of the time, I was King of the Hill.  Sadly, most high-powered executives will be far too busy working, or going on time-management seminars, to give the matter of Spirituality any study at all.

For some others, such as drug addicts, compulsive gamblers, alcoholics, neurotics, among others, working toward the Noble Eightfold Path is what keeps them alive.  These people often use a 12 step recovery programme to achieve spirituality ~ and the essence of these 12 step programmes is very close to the teachings of the Buddha.  The snag is that organisations such as Alcoholics Anonymous are part-way to becoming a Religion, with all that implies.

However, if you are an alcoholic, drug addict…, then working toward spirituality by attending AA, NA meetings may just keep you alive.  Every little action in working towards Spirituality is very, very easy, and unless you are suffering from an extreme character disorder, feels perfectly natural.

The hard part is that the path to true Spirituality means that you have to keep doing it, every minute of every day.  The other hard part is that you will expose your soul to yourself.  If you like you may substitute ‘deepest subconsciousness‘ for soul.  What you will find down there are the good things, the ordinary things, the hurtful things, and the deepest, darkest, most evil parts of yourself.

Some of us didn’t want to go there.  Some of us made half-hearted efforts.  You know what?  Not doing your utmost means you only get part of the good stuff.  And, for some people that’s not enough to keep them alive.

That doesn’t mean that to do your utmost means you have to spend every second of every day actively working towards the Eightfold Path, or being involved in 12 step work.  What it means is that you have to want to believe, and when you do your 12 step work, or working toward the Noble Eightfold Path, it needs to be taken seriously and honestly.  Trust me, looking deep into the evil part of your soul isn’t something you can do for 12 hours a day ~ not unless you want to become completely insane.  All of us have a Mister Hyde.

Like everything in Life, true spirituality also needs balance.

yin-yang

balance as shown by yin-yang

Personally, I looked for balance in the philosophy of yin and yang.  This stuff apparently goes back about 3,000 years, and works on the premise that there are two sides to every coin.  Each of us has two basic halves, male and female, and these need to be kept in balance.  It’s more complicated than that ~ think of; night and day, sun and moon, winter and summer, fire and rain, life and death…

Without balance it’s very easy to go completely off the rails.

For example, my last divorce came about partly because my work / life balance was skewed in favour of work.  My ‘patch’ was Europe and North America.  I spent most of my time on aeroplanes, in hotels, in meetings, on more aeroplanes, trains, or in my car, and more hotels and more meetings.  What with that and the affairs and drinking my good lady soon became my ex.

The only way I know to begin to achieve any balance whatsoever is to practice the doctrine of ‘everything in moderation’.

This has been much derided, however ‘everything in moderation’ doesn’t mean everything.  Some things are just not on the list.  If you take drugs then stop.  If you smoke then cut down with the aim of stopping soon.  If you drink every single day then stop drinking completely.  If you drink a little too much then cut down, have at least two days a week when alcohol is off the agenda.  Sugar in any form is mostly not on the list.  Stay away from candy, cakes and cookies.

Tomorrow I will attempt to explain how to get started on your work toward Spirituality.  Every person on this planet could greatly benefit from doing some of this.

You may trust me on this one, you do not want to hear the Raven quoth ‘Nevermore.’

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