“May you live in interesting times” is purported to be a traditional Chinese curse. While seemingly a blessing, the expression is always used ironically, with the clear implication that ‘uninteresting times’, of peace and tranquillity, are more life-enhancing than ‘interesting’ ones, which from historical perspective usually include disorder and conflict. It is more of an … Continue reading Turbulent times around us
When things don’t work out for you, do you scream with frustration or stamp your foot? Or perhaps you roar out loud like I did recently. The football team I support were losing in a match against a far inferior side. Feeling really vexed, and for no good reason, I yelled at the referee to … Continue reading Frustration – How to prevent it?
You wait for the mouse but it doesn’t appear. You make a phone call but there is no answer. You’ve hurt your foot and can’t get on with some activity. It seems that having to suffer some delay, difficulty or discomfort is a common event in everyday life. Who doesn’t feel irritated by the frustrations … Continue reading Patience – how to feel less frustrated?
The disappointing terrorist attack of 9/11 was clearly not a blessing in disguise. Evil got its way and many people were very badly physically and emotionally hurt. Nor in any conceivable way can many a disappointing setback be described as a piece of good fortune even if tiny morsels of something positive might be salvaged … Continue reading Disappointment: a blessing in disguise?
Had some of the less successful dualists of Europe three centuries ago been less impetuous, they might have a lived a longer life. The role of men acting as their seconds was to urge them to have some patience in resolving their dispute and to wait a while longer before starting the violence. Often such … Continue reading Patience – how to find it?
Do you need to find a new direction in your life? One sign is when you feeling a bit empty or discontented. Lacking much in the way of a sense of fulfillment in what you do? Perhaps you are drifting through life without a clear sense of where you are going. Having a meaningful sense … Continue reading How do I find a new direction?
From our childhood onwards our lives are filled with questions of one sort or another – some more pressing or even agonising than others. But where are we to look for valid answers and find the meaning of life?
There are the really big questions and the smaller ones. Here are a few of the bigger ones. Does outer space beyond our solar system go on forever or does it have an edge – and if so what is on the other side? Where do we come from, why are we here, and what will become of us when we die? I can imagine some alien intelligence on a far distant planet asking exactly the same questions. These sort of universal questions have puzzled thinking people down the ages.
Children as well as adults ask questions. The play age stage of childhood is often characterised by developmental theorists as one of explorative activity and exuberant discovery. Consequently good educational practice encourages a child-centred approach to learning. This compares favourably with the old approach of rote learning. Modern teachers enhance children’s interest by providing knowledge building on what they already know. They relate their teaching to the child’s limited experiences stretching their understanding a bit further.
We hear of thousands of ordinary people who have lost their lives or been severely traumatised by civil war, terrorism, ethnic cleansing, invasion, slavery and so on. Where is the meaning of life in this innocent suffering? If humankind has a humane spirit of care, generosity and goodwill that respects the rights of others, where does social coercion and violent aggression come from? If there is an all-powerful divine force within the universe, why are tyrants and suicide bombers allowed to cause such misery?
Similar questions arise in connection with natural events. Some people in the world, through no fault of their own, have experienced devastating earthquake, like the one in Haiti, not to mention volcanic eruption, tsunami, hurricane, flood, or famine. These events can result in much suffering and many casualties. And then there is disease. Which of us, during the course of our lives, will have to endure serious injury, congenital disability, or progressive, mental or terminal illness?
The creator seems careless about creation. If there is a perfect force that made the natural world, why are there imperfections in nature?
Many people sense that there is a deeper aspect of reality. A spiritual force behind the universe. To my mind this divine level of what is real is pure love and the source of all that explains the meaning of life. It is wisely working away in our hearts and minds. This is the infinite and eternal God of religion, beyond gender, beyond the bounds of space and time, and beyond our full comprehension.
According to much western world religion, this mighty spiritual force is manifest as the Christ within the human soul who inspires our feelings and thoughts with his altruistic love and higher intelligence. A new way of expressing this is as follows. We are an image of Christ’s divine humanity who like us has heart, head and hands – although in his case it is a heart of compassion, a head of wisdom and hands of power.