You have seen the young pop performers, posturing on stage, pretentious, reeking of youthful ego and full of their celebrity status. And you wonder if you could have gone up on stage yourself and done that too. Maybe not! But what about something else you do that deserves attention — great disco dancing, passing of academic tests, goal scoring on the sports field? Don’t you too deserve some admiration? Or is the meaning of life for you something very different?
We can’t all escape to a cave to gaze at our navels all week in silent contemplation. That’s the trouble – we can’t get away from life itself with its daily frustrations and setbacks. It’s what takes away our peace of mind. The fact that we have a burning desire for certain things means that we are likely to feel tense or angry if anything turns up to prevent us having them. Sometimes the meaning of life is hard to fathom and the mystery of peace of mind is no exception. There is a fascinating Taoist story that gives us a clue ….
A Historical Introduction By Nicholas Goodrick- Clarke (Oxford University Press, USA) £19.99 Professor Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke is Director of the Exeter Centre for the Study of Esotericism at Exeter University. He is also a scholar of German and may be known to readers of Swedenborg as the translator of Visionary Savant in the Age of Reason, … Continue reading The Western Esoteric Traditions
One example of a spiritual symbol is the image of a tree of life. This is a universal symbol – appearing in ancient wisdom. We find it across cultures, religions and mythology. It turns up as the Yggdrasil (the world tree) of Norse religion, as part of the Jewish Kabbalah and as an Armenian religious symbol, to mention just a few examples.
What does the Tree of life mean to us now?
The Tree of Life appears in the first book of the Bible, Genesis, and also the last – the book of Revelation. At the beginning and the end. It’s almost as if it’s the framework into which the rest of the Bible fits.
Ten steps to bring the magic back into your life by Steve Wetton Aber Publishing 2007 pp 144
By his own admission, the author is no intellectual, yet neither is he a fantasist and what he reports has the ring of authenticity. He offers us the chance to find a meaning of life for ourselves and he does this by discussing his approach to positive mental attitude and the idea that whatever we get out of life depends on what we’ve put into it. He takes the view that many of us consistently undervalue our own potential. But more dramatically he illustrates his theme, encouraging us to learn from his mistakes. He shares his own experiences and that of others he knows – real life stories that keep one’s attention.
Wetton tells us something of his younger days – excessive alcohol consumption, womanising, and sometimes violence. Someone who hated all the numerous jobs he tried. Spiritually speaking he was lost. But he eventually found a path.
One job he had involved driving around in a little van visiting customers on a door-to-door basis selling stuff and collecting weekly payments. One particular day he was running late rushing away from a house call when he got back into his van that was parked on the driveway. “I looked over my shoulder and prepared to zoom into the street without any obstructions to worry about. But for some unaccountable reason I found my foot lifting off the accelerator and
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not … Continue reading Serenity prayer
By Helen Brown published by spiritualwisdom.org.uk © July 2009 pp 75 £9.95 Enquiries: contact email@example.com
Helen also leads groups taking this course. The aim is primarily to encourage reflection, experience and exploration of what our ‘soul’ means for each of us. The scope of the course includes music, art, prayer, meditation and energy medicine.
This has been a course that was both inspirational and challenging. Throughout the eight sessions in our exploration of the ‘soul’, Helen gently guided us along an inner path in keeping with her book on the subject.
by Helen Newton and Becky Jarratt
Published by spiritualwisdom.org.uk 2008 pp 157 £10
This book encourages us to stop, take notice of the world around us and reflect on the inner reality it contains. Everything in nature is said to exist because it is a reflection of something of spirit. The book mainly comprises photographs of scenes and objects together with commentary regarding their psycho-spiritual significance. Some of these pictures can also be purchased as separate cards.
The suggestion is we reflect on what each picture might be saying to us about ourselves, and then read the comments provided including quotes from a variety of sources including from Swedenborg, who wrote in depth about the meaning of symbols. The authors claim that the thirty six symbols that form the heart of this book are just a start to understanding this key to both the Divine and our own personal, spiritual transformation.
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.
When I was considerably younger than I am today, I used to think I was lucky; fortunate not to often get het up, upset or worried like individuals I noticed around me. Then I met the real world – the demanding boss, the troublesome colleague, the awkward neighbour – and I realised I could get as emotional as the next person. I do feel irritated when things go wrong; I do get angry when people are inconsiderate; I do find myself nervous in unfamiliar social situations.
We get so immersed in the hectic daily round that we forget those past occasions – perhaps infrequent and brief ones – when we actually felt content with life, and there was a sense of inner peace; when the meaning of life seemed clear. Only when we concentrate hard do we vaguely recall having had that state of mind – when the stress of everyday life was forgotten, when we were becalmed in what had been a stormy sea, and when we sensed a harmony with everything around.