Ephemerality

I am not sure if that is a real word or not but it was what sprung to mind when I read yet another chapter in Richard Carlson’s book, “Don’t sweat the small stuff”.    In this Chapter he speaks of a Buddhist teaching which tells us that nothing lasts forever, that plants spring from seeds, grow old and die and decay back into the earth that it came from, that all living things also go from not exisiting, to living and finally dying.  He says in recognising this we can begin to accept that when things do leave us that it is a normal part of life.  If we break a favourite glass we should not worry that it had broken but simply recognise that the breaking was inevitable and be thankful for the time we shared with it.

That does not mean we become apathetic or that we do not mourn, rather that in recognising ephemerality we can then move onto acceptance far quicker than we otherwise might.

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Image from Splutphoto

Ephemerality

I am not sure if that is a real word or not but it was what sprung to mind when I read yet another chapter in Richard Carlson’s book, “Don’t sweat the small stuff”.    In this Chapter he speaks of a Buddhist teaching which tells us that nothing lasts forever, that plants spring from seeds, grow old and die and decay back into the earth that it came from, that all living things also go from not exisiting, to living and finally dying.  He says in recognising this we can begin to accept that when things do leave us that it is a normal part of life.  If we break a favourite glass we should not worry that it had broken but simply recognise that the breaking was inevitable and be thankful for the time we shared with it.

That does not mean we become apathetic or that we do not mourn, rather that in recognising ephemerality we can then move onto acceptance far quicker than we otherwise might.

*********************************
Image from Splutphoto

Become a Better Listener

I’ve worked with a couple of people who I thought always really failed to listen what other people were saying.

“I hear what you’re saying but.”

“I understand your point of few but.”

In each case these people were so focussed on having the right answer to the questions asked or the issues that has arisen, that they couldn’t see anyone elses point of view.  They didn’t either hear what was being said, nor did they understand those other points of view.

Richard Carlson says that if we slow down our desire to respond and open ourselves up to the ideas of others by really listening to what they say that we will reduce stress in our lives.

Maybe it’s a hangover from what we learn as children which is often that “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”, or that he who laughs last laughs loudest, that sees communication become a competition.   We compete in relationships, at school, at work, and that communication competition often leads to a blockage in being able to take on board ideas that don’t conform with our own belief system.  It is easier to ignore other opinions than admit that we may be wrong.  And let’s be honest, most of us don’t like to admit to being wrong.

In learning to listen rather than just hear, we can also learn to modify our opinions to take into account the best ideas that otherspresent to us.   It is not an easy thing to do, but if you can manage it, the respect you gain from others because you value what they say, will far outweigh any negative feelings you may have because you may have to admit you were wrong.

Become a Better Listener

I’ve worked with a couple of people who I thought always really failed to listen what other people were saying.

“I hear what you’re saying but.”

“I understand your point of few but.”

In each case these people were so focussed on having the right answer to the questions asked or the issues that has arisen, that they couldn’t see anyone elses point of view.  They didn’t either hear what was being said, nor did they understand those other points of view.

Richard Carlson says that if we slow down our desire to respond and open ourselves up to the ideas of others by really listening to what they say that we will reduce stress in our lives.

Maybe it’s a hangover from what we learn as children which is often that “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”, or that he who laughs last laughs loudest, that sees communication become a competition.   We compete in relationships, at school, at work, and that communication competition often leads to a blockage in being able to take on board ideas that don’t conform with our own belief system.  It is easier to ignore other opinions than admit that we may be wrong.  And let’s be honest, most of us don’t like to admit to being wrong.

In learning to listen rather than just hear, we can also learn to modify our opinions to take into account the best ideas that otherspresent to us.   It is not an easy thing to do, but if you can manage it, the respect you gain from others because you value what they say, will far outweigh any negative feelings you may have because you may have to admit you were wrong.

Imagine Yourself at Your Own Funeral

From Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, Chapter 21, in which Richard Carlson, tells people to imagine their own funeral and consider what they would like people to remember about them.    He wrote –

“With few exceptions, people wish they hadn’t sweated the small stuff so much.  Instead, they wish they had spent more time with the people and activities that they truly loved and less time worrying about aspects of life that, upon closer examination, really don’t matter all that much.”

I found when my father died in August 2004 that I had these overwhelming feelings of regret.   I wished that I had told him more often that I loved him.  I wished I’d taken the time to truly talk to him because in some ways he died a man I didn’t really know.    I wished that I’d cared enough to learn how to play golf so that we could have played together.

I had baggage that I feared I would never really be able to ditch, that I would carry those burdens with me for the rest of my life.

Then one night after I had separated, some time in the first half of 2006, I was lying in bed, alone in my unit, trying to go to sleep.  My father came to me that night and sat on the end of my bed.   I thought that maybe I was going mental, the rational man in me would never let a ghost visit me.   He didn’t speak to me and I swear that I was not asleep when it happened, but I drew a great deal of comfort from that.   A few weeks later my ex-wife told me that she had dreamt of my father.  He came to her in a dream and told her that he had been trying to talk to me but that I couldn’t hear him.  She said that he asked her to tell me that he was OK.

When I think of my funeral I think of what eulogies may be written and perhaps the one that I would like more than any is simply “He did his best.”   I am nowhere near the perfect man, was not the greatest husband, son or brother, nor perhaps the most caring father, but I did my best.

And now I am continuing to make changes to my life that make me a better person.  I don’t really care if other people believe that or not, or whether any of those changes are visible.    And the best way I can explain that is in the words of Colonel Sherman Potter of the 4077 MASH, who said “The only person I have to get better than is who I am right now.”

And on a lighter note I am also reminded of Yogi Bera who said “Always go to other peoples funerals, that way they’ll always come to yours.”

Imagine Yourself at Your Own Funeral

From Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, Chapter 21, in which Richard Carlson, tells people to imagine their own funeral and consider what they would like people to remember about them.    He wrote –

“With few exceptions, people wish they hadn’t sweated the small stuff so much.  Instead, they wish they had spent more time with the people and activities that they truly loved and less time worrying about aspects of life that, upon closer examination, really don’t matter all that much.”

I found when my father died in August 2004 that I had these overwhelming feelings of regret.   I wished that I had told him more often that I loved him.  I wished I’d taken the time to truly talk to him because in some ways he died a man I didn’t really know.    I wished that I’d cared enough to learn how to play golf so that we could have played together.

I had baggage that I feared I would never really be able to ditch, that I would carry those burdens with me for the rest of my life.

Then one night after I had separated, some time in the first half of 2006, I was lying in bed, alone in my unit, trying to go to sleep.  My father came to me that night and sat on the end of my bed.   I thought that maybe I was going mental, the rational man in me would never let a ghost visit me.   He didn’t speak to me and I swear that I was not asleep when it happened, but I drew a great deal of comfort from that.   A few weeks later my ex-wife told me that she had dreamt of my father.  He came to her in a dream and told her that he had been trying to talk to me but that I couldn’t hear him.  She said that he asked her to tell me that he was OK.

When I think of my funeral I think of what eulogies may be written and perhaps the one that I would like more than any is simply “He did his best.”   I am nowhere near the perfect man, was not the greatest husband, son or brother, nor perhaps the most caring father, but I did my best.

And now I am continuing to make changes to my life that make me a better person.  I don’t really care if other people believe that or not, or whether any of those changes are visible.    And the best way I can explain that is in the words of Colonel Sherman Potter of the 4077 MASH, who said “The only person I have to get better than is who I am right now.”

And on a lighter note I am also reminded of Yogi Bera who said “Always go to other peoples funerals, that way they’ll always come to yours.”

Imagine Yourself at Your Own Funeral

From Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, Chapter 21, in which Richard Carlson, tells people to imagine their own funeral and consider what they would like people to remember about them.    He wrote –

“With few exceptions, people wish they hadn’t sweated the small stuff so much.  Instead, they wish they had spent more time with the people and activities that they truly loved and less time worrying about aspects of life that, upon closer examination, really don’t matter all that much.”

I found when my father died in August 2004 that I had these overwhelming feelings of regret.   I wished that I had told him more often that I loved him.  I wished I’d taken the time to truly talk to him because in some ways he died a man I didn’t really know.    I wished that I’d cared enough to learn how to play golf so that we could have played together.

I had baggage that I feared I would never really be able to ditch, that I would carry those burdens with me for the rest of my life.

Then one night after I had separated, some time in the first half of 2006, I was lying in bed, alone in my unit, trying to go to sleep.  My father came to me that night and sat on the end of my bed.   I thought that maybe I was going mental, the rational man in me would never let a ghost visit me.   He didn’t speak to me and I swear that I was not asleep when it happened, but I drew a great deal of comfort from that.   A few weeks later my ex-wife told me that she had dreamt of my father.  He came to her in a dream and told her that he had been trying to talk to me but that I couldn’t hear him.  She said that he asked her to tell me that he was OK.

When I think of my funeral I think of what eulogies may be written and perhaps the one that I would like more than any is simply “He did his best.”   I am nowhere near the perfect man, was not the greatest husband, son or brother, nor perhaps the most caring father, but I did my best.

And now I am continuing to make changes to my life that make me a better person.  I don’t really care if other people believe that or not, or whether any of those changes are visible.    And the best way I can explain that is in the words of Colonel Sherman Potter of the 4077 MASH, who said “The only person I have to get better than is who I am right now.”

And on a lighter note I am also reminded of Yogi Bera who said “Always go to other peoples funerals, that way they’ll always come to yours.”

The Power of Me

I forgot to grab my book yesterday morning and I hate doing that my one hour train trip each day seems much longer when I don’t have a book to read.  So the obvious thing to do was to go out at lunch time and buy something that would make the trip home bearable.

Two people have commented recently about Eckart Tolle and his book the Power of Now and it has practically jumped off the shelf at me several times in the past few weeks, as it has fallen off the shelf as my lady walked past it, so it was obvious to me that I should purchase it and see whether the hype matches the reality.

I should start by saying that as I look back over the recent years that I am a significantly different person now to who I was then.  I was once a totally rational man, the spritual meant little to me.  But if I said that I have seen auras and shapechangers, that I have had my dead father sit on the end of my bed, that I can feel pain by passing my hands over people, I would expect most people who know me to call me mad.  And perhaps they would be right, sometimes I feel that way as well.  I once would not have found the courage to write such things and perhaps that is the measure of the change.

And I have read much that has changed me, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, Gordon Livingston’s Too Soon Old – Too Late Smart, and of course Don’t sweat the small stuff by Richard Carlson.   Each of those have opened me to the spiritual and it is fair to say that my journey is at the beginning and that I have much to learn.

I have been both empowered and enslaved by my life.  That should be no secret to people either because we are all the same.  What I have begun to learn is that my life experiences have shaped me and the decisions I have made.  Some have not liked that and many, including myself, have probably not understood it.  So if I have spent a lot of time reflecting on this blog, it is because I am learning lessons from those reflections.  I am understanding what has made me what I am.

I have just begun the Power of Now and I will be interested to see how it does change me as I find my way through it.  I have no preconceptions for the knowledge of my self has been found in unexpected places.  No doubt there will be at least a few blog posts where I discuss what he talks about.

The train trip last night was not the place to really get into the book so instead I decided to try and open my senses to what was going on around me.  I have tended to spend the time on the train totally divorcing myself from the Now, but tonight I decided that I would exercise each sense and try and feel what was happening.

I saw people swaying with the movement, some sleeping, reading papers and books, doing cross words, listening to ipods and in most cases oblivious to those around them, seated next to and touching total strangers unaware of the contact.

I heard the clickety clack of the train, and the whine of the steel wheels on steel tracks, the whoosh of air from the pneumatic doors, the sound of my breath, of music leaked from ear phones, the bells of level crossings, occasionally a phone would ring and I could hear one side of the conversations about when people would get home, or what was for dinner, and the whisper of conversations from seats away.   When the automated announcements of upcoming stations was played over the loud speaker systems I not only heard it but felt it reverberating in my chest.

I felt the pressure on the balls and heels of my feet as I stood in the doorway for an hour, and the brush of my trousers on the hairs of my legs as I swayed to the movement of the train.  I felt an itch on my back and the scratch of my nail as I reacted to it, and the movement of air through my bowels as I resisted the urge to fart.   In clasping one hand on the other I felt the blood rushing through my veins and the beat of my heart.  A breeze caressed my face as the air forced it’s way in through the door seals.

And I looked around a last time and saw a hundred people cloistered in their own world, oblivious to everything I had experienced and I wondered how many times I had done the same thing and missed what was truly happening around me.

I have no idea if the Power of Now has anything to do with what I did tonight but I am looking forward to finding out.  Stay with me!

The Power of Me

I forgot to grab my book yesterday morning and I hate doing that my one hour train trip each day seems much longer when I don’t have a book to read.  So the obvious thing to do was to go out at lunch time and buy something that would make the trip home bearable.

Two people have commented recently about Eckart Tolle and his book the Power of Now and it has practically jumped off the shelf at me several times in the past few weeks, as it has fallen off the shelf as my lady walked past it, so it was obvious to me that I should purchase it and see whether the hype matches the reality.

I should start by saying that as I look back over the recent years that I am a significantly different person now to who I was then.  I was once a totally rational man, the spritual meant little to me.  But if I said that I have seen auras and shapechangers, that I have had my dead father sit on the end of my bed, that I can feel pain by passing my hands over people, I would expect most people who know me to call me mad.  And perhaps they would be right, sometimes I feel that way as well.  I once would not have found the courage to write such things and perhaps that is the measure of the change.

And I have read much that has changed me, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, Gordon Livingston’s Too Soon Old – Too Late Smart, and of course Don’t sweat the small stuff by Richard Carlson.   Each of those have opened me to the spiritual and it is fair to say that my journey is at the beginning and that I have much to learn.

I have been both empowered and enslaved by my life.  That should be no secret to people either because we are all the same.  What I have begun to learn is that my life experiences have shaped me and the decisions I have made.  Some have not liked that and many, including myself, have probably not understood it.  So if I have spent a lot of time reflecting on this blog, it is because I am learning lessons from those reflections.  I am understanding what has made me what I am.

I have just begun the Power of Now and I will be interested to see how it does change me as I find my way through it.  I have no preconceptions for the knowledge of my self has been found in unexpected places.  No doubt there will be at least a few blog posts where I discuss what he talks about.

The train trip last night was not the place to really get into the book so instead I decided to try and open my senses to what was going on around me.  I have tended to spend the time on the train totally divorcing myself from the Now, but tonight I decided that I would exercise each sense and try and feel what was happening.

I saw people swaying with the movement, some sleeping, reading papers and books, doing cross words, listening to ipods and in most cases oblivious to those around them, seated next to and touching total strangers unaware of the contact.

I heard the clickety clack of the train, and the whine of the steel wheels on steel tracks, the whoosh of air from the pneumatic doors, the sound of my breath, of music leaked from ear phones, the bells of level crossings, occasionally a phone would ring and I could hear one side of the conversations about when people would get home, or what was for dinner, and the whisper of conversations from seats away.   When the automated announcements of upcoming stations was played over the loud speaker systems I not only heard it but felt it reverberating in my chest.

I felt the pressure on the balls and heels of my feet as I stood in the doorway for an hour, and the brush of my trousers on the hairs of my legs as I swayed to the movement of the train.  I felt an itch on my back and the scratch of my nail as I reacted to it, and the movement of air through my bowels as I resisted the urge to fart.   In clasping one hand on the other I felt the blood rushing through my veins and the beat of my heart.  A breeze caressed my face as the air forced it’s way in through the door seals.

And I looked around a last time and saw a hundred people cloistered in their own world, oblivious to everything I had experienced and I wondered how many times I had done the same thing and missed what was truly happening around me.

I have no idea if the Power of Now has anything to do with what I did tonight but I am looking forward to finding out.  Stay with me!

The Power of Me

I forgot to grab my book yesterday morning and I hate doing that my one hour train trip each day seems much longer when I don’t have a book to read.  So the obvious thing to do was to go out at lunch time and buy something that would make the trip home bearable.

Two people have commented recently about Eckart Tolle and his book the Power of Now and it has practically jumped off the shelf at me several times in the past few weeks, as it has fallen off the shelf as my lady walked past it, so it was obvious to me that I should purchase it and see whether the hype matches the reality.

I should start by saying that as I look back over the recent years that I am a significantly different person now to who I was then.  I was once a totally rational man, the spritual meant little to me.  But if I said that I have seen auras and shapechangers, that I have had my dead father sit on the end of my bed, that I can feel pain by passing my hands over people, I would expect most people who know me to call me mad.  And perhaps they would be right, sometimes I feel that way as well.  I once would not have found the courage to write such things and perhaps that is the measure of the change.

And I have read much that has changed me, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, Gordon Livingston’s Too Soon Old – Too Late Smart, and of course Don’t sweat the small stuff by Richard Carlson.   Each of those have opened me to the spiritual and it is fair to say that my journey is at the beginning and that I have much to learn.

I have been both empowered and enslaved by my life.  That should be no secret to people either because we are all the same.  What I have begun to learn is that my life experiences have shaped me and the decisions I have made.  Some have not liked that and many, including myself, have probably not understood it.  So if I have spent a lot of time reflecting on this blog, it is because I am learning lessons from those reflections.  I am understanding what has made me what I am.

I have just begun the Power of Now and I will be interested to see how it does change me as I find my way through it.  I have no preconceptions for the knowledge of my self has been found in unexpected places.  No doubt there will be at least a few blog posts where I discuss what he talks about.

The train trip last night was not the place to really get into the book so instead I decided to try and open my senses to what was going on around me.  I have tended to spend the time on the train totally divorcing myself from the Now, but tonight I decided that I would exercise each sense and try and feel what was happening.

I saw people swaying with the movement, some sleeping, reading papers and books, doing cross words, listening to ipods and in most cases oblivious to those around them, seated next to and touching total strangers unaware of the contact.

I heard the clickety clack of the train, and the whine of the steel wheels on steel tracks, the whoosh of air from the pneumatic doors, the sound of my breath, of music leaked from ear phones, the bells of level crossings, occasionally a phone would ring and I could hear one side of the conversations about when people would get home, or what was for dinner, and the whisper of conversations from seats away.   When the automated announcements of upcoming stations was played over the loud speaker systems I not only heard it but felt it reverberating in my chest.

I felt the pressure on the balls and heels of my feet as I stood in the doorway for an hour, and the brush of my trousers on the hairs of my legs as I swayed to the movement of the train.  I felt an itch on my back and the scratch of my nail as I reacted to it, and the movement of air through my bowels as I resisted the urge to fart.   In clasping one hand on the other I felt the blood rushing through my veins and the beat of my heart.  A breeze caressed my face as the air forced it’s way in through the door seals.

And I looked around a last time and saw a hundred people cloistered in their own world, oblivious to everything I had experienced and I wondered how many times I had done the same thing and missed what was truly happening around me.

I have no idea if the Power of Now has anything to do with what I did tonight but I am looking forward to finding out.  Stay with me!

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