{ Under The Bluegums }

A personal blog with craft tutorials, reviews of books, films, and music, parenting advice, and opinions on society and politics.

February 18, 2009

Are YOU Connected?

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18 February 2009

I have been reading Annie Coetzee's book Are you Connected?

The book is mainly about how everything in your body, and everything and everyone around you is connected by energy. The idea is that if you have a negative thought, or someone has planted a negative thought into your mind, it will sooner or later manifest itself as reality if you take the words to heart.

Because our body's cells and organs are so connected to each other through our inherent energy, believing something with your mind, and not allowing your heart to tell you whether or not to believe the brain, inevitably causes it to be true.

If you think about it, this does happen. How often, on a day when you are feeling relatively pleased and happy, will someone say a single thing, such as "You look tired" or "You're so pale". If you take their words to heart, you will feel run down, and pale, and perhaps even let yourself get sick.

I'm not well myself at the moment, and the book encourages you to think about the emotions you have had recently and how they are affecting your body, because every emotion affects everyone in a different way. Over the last few days I have felt frustrated, and perhaps this has illuminated itself in me as a backache, which has steadily grown worse. Once I had a real sit down last night to think about my feelings, and clarify them to myself, it seems as though my back feels better.

Possible? I don't know, but I do believe that thinking positively will bring positivity into your life. Thus feeling negatively can also bring negativity into your life? Maybe we should be humble and let our negative emotions flit over us without taking hold, and allow all the good ones to take over and make us all happy!

February 12, 2009

Giggles over comments

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12 February 2009

I went to a game reserve over the weekend, on our flash vacation down to the coast. It was amusing to find a guest book in the kitchen, and I had a bit of a giggle about one or two of the comments. One was that "it was too quiet, and the reserve should put in televisions".

This was so funny to me because why else would you go to a game reserve but to sit with nature and reconnect with the balance that exists between all living things? I might be wrong, but many go to these places so that they can get away from the city. What is the point if you're going to sit in the noise of your television! You might as well paint your walls with leaves and flowers and not appreciate the beauty around you, because you're living in a box anyway.

The silence in the reserve was so serene, and the sounds of the wildlife restful and reassuring. It's a humbling experience, because you realise that there is so much more to life than your work or your car or anything that you own.

Doesn't being with nature reconnect you with your deepest self? :)

February 6, 2009

A memory

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6 February 2009

I continue to return in my mind to my holiday in Zanzibar, which I took over my birthday last year. I think one of the reasons is that it is very close to my birthday, while another is that it was one of the periods in my life where I had the most clarity and inspiration. The trip gave me insight that I could never have achieved in ordinary circumstances, while also giving me the chance to smell the bluegums, so to speak!

I originally wanted to go to China, as I'd been planning for 6 months to do so. However, the special for the Zanzibar trip just landed up on my monitor one day, as though it was meant to be. I had such a good feeling about organising the trip, and going away, and, although I was afraid to be going all by myself, I now believe it was very necessary.

It was so beautiful, and the people were so friendly and helpful. Yes, I'm certain they were that way because I was a tourist - I think tourism is one of the, if not the largest, industries in the country. But it was so relaxing, and exactly what I needed!

My favourite memory from the trip is definitely snorkeling, right on my birthday. We set out at about 7am, walking along the sand strip for about a kilometre with our flippers waving at our sides. We reached the dhow, and found that there was absolutely no breeze to speak of. We were pushed along in the shallows by the sailors with their long rods, and the feeling was so soothing. Add to that the fact that the sea was as still as ice, and the reflections in the water made me feel as though I was stuck between two worlds.

Snorkeling was another story! It was the first time I'd ever worn flippers! Coming back at about midday, the wind had picked up, and the dhow spread its sails wide to give us an exhilarating return trip. Walking back along the sandbank was also interesting - the sun was so hot and the air so still that day that merely walking into a puddle was enough to scald my poor feet!

I was also as red as a lobster that evening in the weirdest spot - I'd forgotten to put sunscreen on the back of my feet, and I started to worry that I was poked by some poisonous creature because I could hardly walk! :)

February 3, 2009

Freedom, Happiness, Peace of mind

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3 February 2009

My quote for the day:

"There is a wonderful, mystical law of nature that the three things we crave most in life - happiness, freedom and peace of mind - are always attained by giving them to someone else"

Giving someone even one of these three things is one of the simplest and most beautiful ways to make others happy and thereby make yourself happy. For what are we to each other if we cannot make each other happy, cannot give someone else the freedom to be themselves, or cannot simply make their day more serene by taking away their worries?

Today, be humble and just try and make someone happy before yourself, give them the chance to do something they want to that you might not want to do, and do the dishes or the laundry or something that will give them peace of mind!

February 2, 2009

10 Questions

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2 February 2009

This weekend I hired the film “10 Questions for the Dalai Lama”. Although I did not find the film to be particularly inspiring in itself, it was the story of the 14th Lama and the words that the Lama spoke that gave me some things to think about.

This is the abridged version of my article, which ended up being quite long! :)

The 14th Lama was prophesied to rule in a time of great crisis, and it is certainly a time of great crisis!

I think only intensely religious people can imagine the type of popularity the Dalai Lama has among his people. As said in the documentary, his power over his people can, for Americans, only be likened to having the reincarnation of Jesus Christ ruling from the White House, as though he had never left this earth.

The 14th Lama was found in 1938, and came from humble beginnings, the antithesis of Buddha’s beginnings. Tenzin Gyatso was officially announced when he was four, and started his monastic studies at the age of six. The Dalai Lama is now 74 years old! Through the years of spiritual study, there was no way that he could have known how his people would suffer during his reign.

In October 1950, China sent troops into Tibet, to liberate the Tibetans from so-called elitist Dalai Lama rule. The Lama called on the USA for help, as he knew of their reputation for liberty and democracy. He was largely ignored, as Christians saw no value in the Buddhist religion, and the economic and business powers in the land saw no use for Tibet as a resource.

India was the Lama’s next step, and it is here, in Dharamsala, that the Lama has established a Tibetan government in exile. The Chinese continue to commit atrocity after atrocity. Anything of religious significance has been destroyed. Refugees flowing into India are regularly counselled and comforted by the Lama himself.

The filmmaker, Rick Ray, was granted an interview with the Dalai Lama. Here are some of the Lama's responses:
- He would rather counsel the rich, because they knew that money could not solve their problems. There was too much greed, and these people were never satisfied.
- People in the West are quick to anger, and this is because they lack self-discipline. Self-discipline is necessary for thinking about the consequences of our actions, and we should use our intelligence first before anything else.
- Some religious practices were useful, such as those calling for the preservation of life and family closeness; others were out of date. Religious practices should be respected as long as they contributed meaningfully and positively to their followers' lives.
- Regarding the Middle East, all religions had the potential to create harmony, but sometimes their effect was limited because some people in power made religion more complicated by involving their emotions too much, involving too many of their emotions, and involving too many that were negative.
- Regarding the world population: quality is better than quantity; the sheer number of precious lives in the world were now at risk because of their quantity – there are too many people and too much suffering.
- Non-violence is the only solution: the power of the gun is short-term, but the power of truth is long-lasting. Smiles, warmth and love last forever.
- Non-violence should only become violent if one is protecting oneself, and if the circumstances suggested there was no other way. It was, however, important to remember that your interests and those of your enemy were interdependent, and destruction of your enemy is invariably a destruction of yourself. Therefor war is an outdated concept.

The Lama is adored around the world, but his real wish: to be able to go somewhere remote and devote the rest of his life and all his energy to spiritual practice. He would then move towards his last day without a lot of expectation, as he hopes not to regret anything. Shouldn’t we all aspire to such a simple and humble desire?

What would you ask the Dalai Lama if you had the chance?

Also, take a minute and visit His Holiness' very own website! :) Click here.