Category Archives: Enlightenment

“If God Invited You To A Party”

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Greetings lovely people,

Now, I’m not usually one for quotes or poems, but this particular poem by Hafiz has been a fav of mine for a while, and I stumbled upon it again last night when I was feeling a bit sorry for myself.

If God
Invited you to a party
And said,

‘Everyone
In the ballroom tonight
Will be my special
Guest…’

How would you then treat them
When you
Arrived?

Indeed, indeed!

And I know
There is no one in this world

Who
Is not upon
His Jeweled Dance
Floor

I love this poem for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, I love the way Hafiz points out that we would treat people differently if we thought they were God’s specially chosen guest. I notice this when Amma comes to London. From the time that she arrives until the time that she leaves, I feel that everything happens with Grace, or in accordance with Life. If there’s traffic on the way to see her I think “Oh, this gives me an opportunity to see where I get stressed”, if someone’s rude to me I see it as a chance to to see how I react and what reacts.

I remember once going to get some food from a stall in the hall. I was umming and ahhing about what to get; curry, onion bhaji, super chocolately chocolate cake? I finally decided on the monster chocolate cake and went up to buy it, feeling like a bit of fatty. I asked for it, and the boy working behind the stool went “OOH! More?!” I just laughed and found it funny that this boy had reflected back to me pretty much what I’d been thinking about my somewhat piggy choice of dinner. Normally I’d have been super pissed off at the judgmental little dweeb commenting on my food choice, but because I felt that everything was happening as it should, I really didn’t mind.

However, I so often forget that something bigger than me is running the show. Suddenly people start to get on my nerves, I think a situation should be different from how it is, but most of all I think that little ol’ me is in control. If I could remember, or know that I’m just a guest at God’s Party and that everything that happens is merely part of it, I think I’d not only enjoy the party more, but be able to see the wisdom, lessons and opportunities to wake up that are provided by these divine party games.

And secondly, and this is what really inspired this post, when reading the poem again last night, I realised that not only is everyone invited to the party and is meant to be there, but so am I.

I think a lot of us, somewhere deep down feel unwelcome on Earth. But, if we can remember that we are 100% welcome, and invited to the party we call life, I think we’d find life a lot more enjoyable.

One of my ‘things’ is to think that I have to work really hard, be perfect and be super nice in order to justify my place on Earth. But reading this poem helped me to see (for now anyways!) that I’m completely welcome and invited to be here. Just as I am. In fact, you could say that my presence is required. I wasn’t invited by mistake, I didn’t sneak in, or blag my way onto the list as a plus one.

I should treat myself as a VIP who has nothing to hide, or change, or improve.

I am a special guest on his jewelled dance floor.

And so are you.

xx

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Tell your comfort zone to sling its hook

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Hello, or should I say ‘hola’, little blog blog.

First of all, I’ve been shockingly rubbish at blogging or writing ANYTHING lately. I got to a point where I felt like what I was writing wasn’t very good, and I didn’t want to just blog shit for the sake of it. You know the saying, if you can’t say anything witty-funny-enlightening-and-deep, don’t say anything at all.

Before I start, I’d just like to tell y’all a bit of what I’ve been up to since I last blogged. Basically, I swapped the vibrancy and greyness of London for the heat and ‘arte’ of Seville. I’m now teaching English for a Government programme to Spanish University students.

Sounds snazzy, but in reality it involves hearing ‘people is’ and ‘I am agree’ about 100 times a day and trying wake tired people up. In the the 46 degree sevillano heat.

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Pleasantries done; let’s talk about comfort zones.

I’m starting to see how vital it is for human beings to expand their comfort zones, and to do something different, something new, something a bit out of the mould.

In my (pre-mentioned) job, I get to meet LOADS of people. We have 15 new students every week, which means that so far I’ve taught about 150 students in about 14 weeks. One of the biggest thing I’ve noticed is the difference going out of one’s comfort zone makes to a person.

The people I’ve met who have travelled, or worked, or who immigrated to Spain, or have an interesting hobby that they’re really into are infinitely more interesting than the ones who have only ever studied a degree that they don’t love but think it will get them a decent job, who’ve never worked, or lived abroad, or done anything differently to the lives their parents lived at their age.

I know for me as well that the time I’ve spent living in Spain has been really transformative and has forced me to grow up more than 3 years at University ever did. And I think it’s because it’s a bit difficult. A lot different and makes me rely on myself. Given that my Spanish ain’t that bien, everything I do here pushes me out of my comfort zone. Looking for a flat? Out of comfort zone. Asking for directions? Out of comfort zone. Even going shopping can end up resembling a game of articulate; ‘I’m looking for a thing, that you put on your skin if you have a cut…ah yes. Plasters!’.

I’m starting to think if you don’t push yourself you never move past the point when you stopped doing different things. If you’re living exactly the same life that you lived 10 years ago, chances are you haven’t developed since then. Again, looking at the students that I teach. Some of them are the same as me, 23 for your information, but live the same lives that they lived when they were 15, and thus seem like 15 year olds. They still live at home, in the same lil’ village, with the same friends, same places and have never had to cook for themselves or find their way in a new situation. And it shows.

Stepping out of your comfort zone doesn’t have to mean moving countries. It could be trying a new sport, or learning a language, or travelling, or meeting new people. Anything that enriches your life and causes you to develop new skills.

I think it’s also important to not stop. If I stay in Seville for the next 10 years, carry on teaching English, live in the same flat, eat the same food, then I’ll be pretty much the same at 33 as I am now. I think it’s easy to make one big jump and then to think that’s it. I’ve made my changes, I don’t need to do anything else. Or we get overly attached to feeling settled and start to value that over new experiences.

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Of course what stepping out of your comfort zone looks like can change. For me it’s travelling, but even travelling can become routine. Maybe in 10 years time getting married and buying a house will push me out of comfort zone, whereas rocking up in a new city won’t. Comfort zones can get subtler and less obvious.

I think having the courage to step out of your comfort zone is vital not only for personal, but also spiritual development. I notice that quite often I work through an issue and feel great. For a while. But there always comes a point where it’s necessary to re-evaluate and take a leap into something new.

I think this is part of what gets people stuck in something bordering on religious dogma when it comes to spirituality. They reach a certain point, be it with regards to a yoga practice, meditation methods, diets, people, or a state, and think that’s it and never go any further.

Maybe they’re teachers who discover something, teach it, and then stop developing. Pretty soon something that was revolutionary becomes the norm and people start to ‘overtake’ them in terms of awakening.

Or, they get dogmatic about the way they live their life and what once pushed and challenged them now becomes their cage. I see this most often in people who discover that they have an ego, and then spend their time getting to go know their ego and issues. This can of course be very empowering and necessary. But unless you start letting go of your issues and conditioning what was useful, starts to become self indulgent. Rather than developing, you have exactly the same issues and the only difference is that you know them really well, and start to really believe in them. Which is not good!

Just to give an almost obligatory sporting analogy. The training that athlete does as a child, will push them. For the level they’re at. But they can’t expect to win gold (Olympics shout out!) if they continue to do the same training they did as a child. They have to increase the difficulty as soon as what they’re currently doing gets easy.

So, to finish. It’s super important to do step out of your comfort zone. To grow, to learn, to fall flat on your face and get back up. But don’t presume that what was once out of your comfort zone always will be. If life starts to feel a bit samey, or if you notice yourself feeling reluctant to do something new, if routine becomes your focus, it’s time to shake it up and step it up a notch.

Also, me and my lovely mumma, who is way more enlightened, interesting, funny and knowledgable that I could ever hope to be, are thinking about making videos about all aspects of spirituality and personal development, but with a super down to earth everyday language kind of vibe, and I was wondering if there was anything that you’d be particularly interested to hear about. So far I’m thinking of topics like ‘Conditioning’ focusing on what it is and what to do about how. Or ‘How to look at and let go of issues’. As well as specific topics on very common issues like ‘Shame’ and ‘Rejection’

If you have any ideas/requests let me know in the comments section or send me a message to jadedoherty@msn.com

Thanks!

Hasta luego!

Xxxxxx

Listening to the Silence

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A little while ago I was on a plane, listening to some music, and really wished that I had a track called ‘Silence’, which would just play Silence into my ears. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the sound of children’s laughter, but sometimes nothing sounds better than Silence.

In the Silence, I can hear myself. I can hear the bit that knows, but that gets drowned out by the bit that thinks. We have to be still and quiet to listen to that part of ourselves, and often it’s really difficult when we’re surrounded by noise, even if it’s enjoyable noise, all the time.

I’m the classic person who likes to play music all the time. Be it Beyonce or Krishna Das, Run the World (GIRLS!) or Om Namah Shivaya, I like to have music on. When walking, when pottering around, when getting dressed, even when showering. I love to cover up the infinite Silence with pretty sounds.

Sometimes this is great, losing yourself in music is amazing. But sometimes, I use it as a distraction. There’s something a bit intimidating about deep and expansive Silence. Yet, Silence is something that we all need.

In the Silence we can just be. We can relax. Thoughts can arise, and then disappear like figures on a screen. We can hear ourselves, we can hear what we want, what we need, what’s bothering us, what we’re moved to do.

Silence is the mother of sound. It’s always there, just underneath the noise. All sound arises from and then returns to Silence. When it’s too noisy, we feel that the Silence has been lost. But it’s always there. In the same way that the sky can be covered by clouds, Silence can be covered by noise, but none the less remains a constant presence.

We’re a lot like the sky. Can you imagine the sky thinking it’s a cloud? It sounds absurd that the huge, vast sky would believe itself to be a tiny, transitory cloud.  We are the sky, or the Silence that thinks it’s a cloud or some noise, forgetting that the cloud and noise exist within what we are.

Thoughts will come and go. Some are more persistent, or recognised than others. But they all arise within something far vaster and more real than they are. If we can stay with the Silence, or be the sky, then thoughts become clouds that just come and go.

We might not want them to be there, but we know that we are not them. And that makes it easier to address them. We know that we are not this thought, and therefore have lose nothing when we let go of it.

It has less charge, less pull. It becomes an occurrence, rather than we are. We perceive it, rather than identifying with it.

What we hear, and how we perceive Life, depends on where we put our attention. If we put our attention into the noise, of course that’s what we’ll hear. We’ll hear babies crying, alarms going off, people having animated conversations and the world will feel like a noisy and overwhelming place, full of thoughts and issues that all demand our immediate attention.

But if we can put, and keep, our attention in the Silence, then we can hear ourselves as we truly are. We can see Life arising and then returning. We can relax. We can be.

“You’re boring me now. Call me back when you’ve stopped disagreeing with life”

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My mum actually hung up on me using those very words. At the time I thought she was being mean, why couldn’t she understand that this was important, I was upset and life was wrong! Now I can see that me moaning about not being picked for the football (sorry, soccer) team might have gotten a little boring after the first hour, and I can see what a massive favour she did me by not buying into my story.

 

The thing I’ve come to see is that there’s no point disagreeing with life, with reality. Firstly, because it doesn’t care. Secondly, it never stoops to my level and argues back. Thirdly, because it seems to know what it’s doing and will do it whether I like it or not, so I may as well get on side.

 

We’re pretty fickle when it comes to life. When it’s going how we think it should, we think it’s down to us. We might praise our ingenuity, or pat ourselves on the back for making and executing such a good plan. As soon life stops going the way we think it should we get angry. We get sad. We blame. Be it other people, God, the Universe, or ourselves. We don’t think that maybe it’s meant to be like that. Or even more abstractly, we don’t think that there is no right or wrong way for life to be.

 

Going back to my football story, not getting picked did me a massive favour, as it caused me to leave the team and do other things with my time. I was using football as a way to not meet other people, to not do my Uni work, to not take care of myself. I even used football socials (not an actual match, a social! A social where we put on fancy dress and got drunk off our faces) as a reason to not go to see Amma.

 

I chose this over going to see Amma?! Error!

That was the last time that I remember spending months disagreeing with life. Now I still disagree at times, but am getting better at accepting a situation as it is, and rather than tiring myself out trying to show life all the reasons why it is wrong, I look at what is bothering me about the given situation.

 

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes having a bit of a moan helps! I remember sitting with my mum talking about a situation and why someone was wrong. We went into the situation, fleshed it out. Gave examples of the situation being wrong and us being right. We sat there saying ‘but he actually is a c*nt. Like a proper c*nt. No matter how we might reframe the situation, he was a c*nt’.

 

Eventually that got boring. We moved on. ‘So what if he’s a c*nt? He’s free to c*nt about all he likes, why do we care? Why are we invested in the situation? What are we getting out of it?’.  Coming out of the story, just for long enough to ask a question changed everything. Suddenly it didn’t seem so real, it wasn’t a problem, and we got to look at what was holding us in the situation.

 

Disagreeing with reality is a bit like saying that you’ve got a better story, or scene for reality to be playing out. It’s difficult when the situation actually is shit. If someone walks up to you and kicks you for no apparent reason, you would be quite justified in thinking that the other person was wrong.

 

But what’s causing the reaction in you? Maybe you feel violated, defenseless, unsafe, abused. Whilst it may be true that the other person shouldn’t have done what they did, the fact still remains that they did and that it’s caused a reaction in you. And the reaction leads to the issue, which can be let go of, and voila, life is back on track again.

 

Watching sports players argue with referees, or moaning after the match is a good example of watching someone disagree with life. As I mentioned, I’m a football fan, so the following example is football related. So often a player will have (rightly or wrongly) been sent off and protests and shouts, seemingly under the illusion that the ref will change their mind if they just swear enough at him. So often you hear players and managers arguing about decisions, saying if this hadn’t been disallowed, if we had gotten that penalty and so on.

"Maybe if I shout enough he'll give us a goal?"

Arguing with life is pretty similar. The call’s been made. You didn’t get the penalty. Now what? Are you gonna stand there and moan about it, are you going to complain that that’s why you lost? Are you going waste your time, effort and energy trying to change something that can’t be changed? Or are you going to accept it and carry on playing?