Category Archives: philosophy

Your Inner Statue

“But how are you to see into a virtuous soul and know it’s loveliness?

“Withdraw into yourself and look. And if you do not find yourself beautiful yet, act as does the creator of a statue that is to be made beautiful: he cuts away here, he smoothed there, he makes this line lighter, this other purer, until a lovely face has grown upon his work. So do you also: cut away all that is excessive, straighten all that is crooked, bring light to all that is overcast, labour to make all one glow of beauty and never cease chiselling your statue, until there shall shine out on from it the godlike splendor of virtue, until you shall see perfect goodness surely established in the stainless shrine.” 

– Plotinus, Enneads, on Beauty. 

One is either happy as they are, or trying to be the best they can be. No-one chooses suffering. Anyone who desires to be the best version of ____________ they can be, will surely be inspired by the above quote. If one strives to; “cut away all that is excessive, straighten all that is crooked, bring light to all that is overcast, labour to make all one glow of beauty and never cease chiselling your statue.” Then we will know happiness. 

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Filed under Harmonious Development, philosophy

Belief

This post will provoke your thoughts. Whatever one believes they must respect others views. That being said, there must be an objective reality which is closer to the truth. By making sure to question everything and verify ones experience, we can surely get closer to that truth.

In a mother’s womb were two babies. One asked the other: “Do you believe in life after delivery?” The other replied, “Why, of course. There has to be something after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be later.”
“Nonsense” said the first. “There is no life after delivery. What kind of life would that be?”

The second said, “I don’t know, but there will be more light than here. Maybe we will walk with our legs and eat from our mouths. Maybe we will have other senses that we can’t understand now.”

The first replied, “That is absurd. Walking is impossible. And eating with our mouths? Ridiculous! The umbilical cord supplies nutrition and everything we need. But the umbilical cord is so short. Life after delivery is to be logically excluded.”

The second insisted, “Well I think there is something and maybe it’s different than it is here. Maybe we won’t need this physical cord anymore.”

The first replied, “Nonsense. And moreover if there is life, then why has no one has ever come back from there? Delivery is the end of life, and in the after-delivery there is nothing but darkness and silence and oblivion. It takes us nowhere.”

“Well, I don’t know,” said the second, “but certainly we will meet Mother and she will take care of us.”

The first replied “Mother? You actually believe in Mother? That’s laughable. If Mother exists then where is She now?”

The second said, “She is all around us. We are surrounded by her. We are of Her. It is in Her that we live. Without Her this world would not and could not exist.”

Said the first: “Well I don’t see Her, so it is only logical that She doesn’t exist.”

To which the second replied, “Sometimes, when you’re in silence and you focus and you really listen, you can perceive Her presence, and you can hear Her loving voice, calling down from above.”

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Filed under Harmonious Development, philosophy, Universe

Be Productive

Pythagoras was not only behind the equation a2+b2=c2. Pythagoras’ Theorem. He was much more besides. Too much for the scope of this post.

Pythagoras said in his golden verses:
“Never suffer sleep to close thy eyelids, after thy going to bed, till though has examined by thy reason all thy actions of the day. Wherein have I done amiss? What have I done? What have I omitted that I ought to have done? If in this examination thou find that thou hast done amiss, reprimand thyself severely for it. And if thou has done any good, rejoice.”
~ Pythagoras, Golden Verses.

Introspection and retrospection. Very simple but effective practices.

Introspection in the morning, upon awakening, you plan the things that you would like to get done during the day. Don’t be too far-reaching in the beginning, just set 2 or 3 simple things that you want doing or would enjoy or further you in some way; gym, study, reading, communicating etc.

Retrospection in the evenings. Look back over your day and see for yourself honestly and sincerely whether you accomplished what you set out to do. Honesty is a must in these practices, otherwise they are useless.

Before going to sleep, especially if you have something important, some aim or goal that you want to achieve. Ask yourself three questions. Maybe after re-reading Pythagoras’ quote a few times…

1. What would I like to do?
2. What did I do?
3. How did I do it?

I will be trying myself over the next few days and would love to know your thoughts on the exercise. I imagine one of two things will occur; I become super-productive very quickly, or I find it very difficult to keep to the things on my list and soon stop the experiment.

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Filed under philosophy, positivity, Pythagoras

The Good and Happy Man

“I say then that the good man is one who uses in a beautiful manner great things and opportunities. He likewise is able to bear well both prosperity and adversity. In beautiful and honourable circumstances also, he becomes worthy of the condition in which he is placed; and when fortune is changed, receives it in a proper manner. In short, on all occasions, he contends well from contingencies that may arise. Nor does he only thus prepare himself for whatever may happen, but likewise those who confide in and contend together with him.”

~ Archytas, Disciple of Pythagoras.

To see the good and opportune in every moment, and each circumstance we find ourselves in use as a positive. Surely this is a great way to see out our days.

Even better is to regard prosperity and adversity as equals. Not to judge any difference between them. This is the road to a happy and virtuous life!

There will always be ups and downs. Peaks and troughs. But if you see everything as necessary for your growth and development you will thrive.

Try it. For the next day or two pay attention to if a thing is good or bad. A situation is good or bad? A certain person or circumstance good or bad? Then ask why that is. It will probably be because its not how you would like it to be. You find yourself in adversity and wish you were prosperous.

Such is life. But if you can see prosperity and adversity as equal, simply karma playing out its hand. This is clarity.

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Filed under philosophy, positivity, The Mind

Beauty

When pursuing any spiritual path, to better oneself, to evolve. To turn ones vices into noble virtues, there is a certain effort required. An inner effort to be aware of ones actions and how you are conducting yourself. Meditation helps the process. Of course it does! Anyone who has tried or is actively practicing Askesis will know how helpful this practice is towards perfecting oneself.

A Beautiful analogy can be found between ones evolution and journey along the spiritual path with that of sculpting a statue.

To begin we have our current state, or, a big massive boulder with which to begin sculpting. For the first years we start by attempting to hack of big lumps of rock to get it into a suitable state for later on.

Depending on our efforts this may take between 5 and 10 years before our boulder starts to look anything like a beautiful statue. Next comes the potentially even longer process of the fine tuning. Shaping and smoothing our sculpture until its finished. If we are blessed and work hard enough to get to that stage!

I have found a quote which paints this picture far better than I have. It comes from Plotinus’ Enneads, the tractate on Beauty, he says:

“But how are you to see into a virtuous Soul and know its loveliness?
Withdraw into yourself and look. And if you do not find yourself beautiful yet, act as does the creator of a statue that is to be made beautiful: he cuts away here, he smooths there, he makes this line lighter, this other purer, until a lovely face has grown upon his work. So do you also: cut away all that is excessive, straighten all that is crooked, bring light to all that is overcast, labour to make all one glow of beauty and never cease chiseling your statue, until there shall shine out on you from it like the godlike splendour of virtue, until you shall see the perfect goodness surely established in the stainless shrine.”

~Plotinus.

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A Journey

I have noticed recently that there are several random viewers from different parts of the world beginning to be more frequent. As well, I would hope, as those of you who like to read whenever you can. This being said, before going any further, if you enjoy this blog or have enjoyed any other blog you have read, please share the whereabouts with someone you know. This may not be easy, as many are not the slightest bit interested. But try, if you can.

The reason for this blog; I am about to depart for a weeks holiday in Tenerife with my beautiful family. As well as this journey I will be taking another one, of a different nature. I will be reading Paramhansa Yogananda’s ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’. For those of you who have heard of this book, or even read it, will know what I am speaking of. Those of you who haven’t. Make some practical use of the internet and google it!

I am sharing this information with you who read this to say that I will not come back from Tenerife the same person as I went away. I will have read one more book, seen 7 more sunsets, seen my sons smile countless times. What more is there to pray for?

When I return from my holiday, I will be sharing several insights from this great book, by this great man. And for those of you who are interested it will take you about 3 minutes to read them. Or roughly as long as it has taken you to read this. There will be a Yogananda category and a Kriya Yoga Category for you to Read, enjoy and share.

Have a Blessed week. Enjoy the ups and downs. But, first, form your opinion about this post.

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Filed under Astrology, Language, philosophy, positivity, The Mind, Universe, Words

Practicing the Way

“Its like chopping down a huge tree of immense girth. You won’t accomplish it with one swing of your axe. If you keep chopping away at it, though, and do not let up, eventually, wether it wants to or not, it will suddenly topple down. When that time comes, you could round up everyone you could find and pay them to hold the tree up, but they wouldn’t be able to do it. It would still come crashing to the ground… But if the woodcutter stopped after one or two strokes of his axe to ask the third son of Mr. Chang, ‘Why doesn’t this tree fall?’ And after three or four more strokes stopped again to ask the fourth son of Mr. Li, ‘Why doesn’t this tree fall?’ he would never succeed in felling the tree. It is no different for someone practicing the Way.

~ Zen Master Hakuin.

This is a wonderful quote for anyone practicing ‘the Way’, or, ‘a Way’. What you soon realise after walking any path for a certain number of days, weeks, years is that nothing miraculous occurs. No life changing experiences, no inner tranquility which the books and teachers speak of, no enlightening meditations. But, as the above quote tells us so very clearly, ‘You won’t accomplish it with one swing of your axe!’

‘If you keep chopping away at it, though, and do not let up, eventually, wether it wants to or not, it will suddenly topple down.’ This sudden toppling down which Hakuin is speaking of is a most evasive thing in the Western world! We want results right now, with one swing of our axe. “I’ve been meditating for six months now. Why am I not enlightened?” Is something one may ponder as time passes us by.

Practice a Way! The Way, your Way, my Way, her Way, his Way or even their Way.. But do not practice it with thoughts about the results coming from your efforts. Do not think of felling the tree. Just continue ‘chopping away’, hour after hour, day after day, purely because you love to chop at ‘your tree’. And, ‘eventually, wether it wants to or not, it will suddenly topple down.’

This will be unmistakable.

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Filed under philosophy, positivity, Zen