Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Just sit there . . .

I was offered some excellent advice this week. May I share it with you?
To call it advice is, perhaps, to diminish its vitality.   It comes as a very firm instruction:

               "Don't just do something;  sit there!"

Summer is very much a time of doing . . . a doing that frequently involves sport.
There's the enjoyment of Wimbledon, the Test Matches, the Tour de France, and, every few years, the Olympic Games.

This summer the sporting fixtures are all taking place, but have you noticed how they're being sidelined?  It's the chaotic doing at a national and international level that's grabbing the headlines.

Political parties have been torn apart . . . warfare has given rise to mass migration . . . a failed coup has caused instability . . . some would-be leaders have made spectacular advances, others have sunk out of sight.

As for random shooting and terrorism . . .  tragic incidents of this nature seem to be occurring on a daily basis.

There's too much doing . . . far too much doing.

The one certainty, at this time of considerable uncertainty, is the stress it's placing on all of us . . . particularly on young people.

The three men responsible for the horrific carnage in Nice, Munich and Ansbach, were all under the age of thirty, and had all been receiving treatment for mental health problems.
Our stressful world not only increases the risk of such problems, but it can aggravate the sufferers to such an extent that they're tragically vulnerable to terrorist enticement.

Wouldn't you agree that, when it comes to pausing and sitting, there's a lot we could learn from the the wisdom of the natural world?

Might I suggest that you stop for a moment and study the pictures to the right and to the left.
Can you feel the tensions easing in your body . . . ?
Is there a smile spreading across your face . . . ?

So what about giving serious thought to the advice I was offered?
What about just sitting quietly and doing nothing . . .  if only for a brief spell every day?
What about giving reflective wisdom the chance to reassert itself?

No, don't tell me what you think of that idea  . . .  just sit there!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Interesting Times

'May you live in interesting times.'
It's an old Chinese curse, and I'm sure you'd agree that our times are certainly interesting.  You don't have to look far to see warfare, political instability, and accelerating climate change.

But is it a curse . . . or could it be called a blessing?

You're doubtful?  Let me explain.
Have you thought that, as an integral part of the natural world, we're doing what nature does on a regular basis  . . . we're breaking down in order to promote growth.

What's more, just like the natural world, we're breaking down explosively in order to best facilitate renewal. Whereas death and decay involve a process of quiet disintegration, birth, it seems, calls for drama.

A seed needs to fracture to enable a plant to germinate.
A larvae needs to break apart to release the fragile butterfly.
Without the pain and effort of childbirth there would be no baby.

But, in every case, what emerges after the stressful breakthrough is something much finer and more complex than what existed before.

So, will a phoenix arise from our current chaos and uncertainty?
Trapped in the transitional stage of 'interesting times', we can't see ahead.

But, if we let our fear, self-interest and greed burn away in the ashes, and follow the wise example of a small Portuguese boy at Euro 2016 . . . who knows?

Click here. . . and see if you can you detect a phoenix rising in this moving video.