Look Backwards, To Move Forward

Looking Backwards, To Move ForwardThere are situations and challenges in life, when the almost overwhelming tendency is to look inwards, to examine repeatedly, the reasons and causes that have brought us to this point in time.

We may have certain regrets about things we did, or indeed didn’t do, but the fact of the matter is that the past is set in stone.

Of course, making sense of situations, and the events that brought them about, can be very useful if we are to avoid making repeated mistakes or errors of judgement. But a continuous process of navel gazing is never going to get us back out into the big wide world. Imagine what you would miss, if you were to sit and stare at your hands, neatly folded in your lap, every time you went on a train, a plane, or a car journey.

So whilst we must take care to learn from the lessons in life. We must also look forward to using those lessons as we move forward towards a brighter and happier future, buoyed by the knowledge that we are better prepared to meet whatever we might encounter around the next exciting corner.

On Grabbing A Bargain?

Boxing Day SalesNearly everyone I know has been rushing out to the Boxing Day sales today, determined to grab that ‘must have’ bargain.

But is it a ‘must have’, is it even a ‘bargain’, is it, really?

All over Christmas, at every commercial break, we get bombarded with ‘Bargain Offers’ for buy now, pay later ‘Must Haves’ … Rubbish.

Happiness stems from who you are, and not from what you own. That nice new iPad Mini 3 or iPhone 6 that you have been showing off, will very soon be yesterdays toy, and the next big ‘must have’ thing will come along to take its place.

Look around you, see how much you really have, family, friends and all manner of comforts in life. You don’t need that ‘must have’ gizmo, and if it really were such a ‘bargain’, why would the company be selling it at that price? Because they are just ripping you off by a little less than before.

Retail therapy is only therapy for the companies selling the goods. Tell me, honestly, that you have never been out, bought a ‘bargain’, and regretted it, maybe even before you got home. Think before you spend that hard earned cash, think even harder before you pay with your credit card or take a loan. Do you really need it?

Merry Christmas Everyone

Seasons Greetings

Merry Christmas to all my Christian readers, may you all have a wonderfully peaceful day.

To all other denominations, enjoy the holiday and be nice to one another.

My deepest wish for this holiday, and for the coming year, is that we all learn to live together in peace and harmony. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if, in 2015, there were no more reports of war, and that governments got together to wipe out disharmony, poverty, famine and injustice. Just imagine what that would mean for mankind.

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo

On My Responsibility …

Ripples In A PondAt some point during the last 24 hours, the number of visits to my blog passed the 100,000 mark, which I find amazing, but which also illustrates the burden of responsibility I have for the topics I post about.

Each topic will be, however small, a source for potential change in those who read it.

One of the principles of Nichiren Buddhism is that of the Oneness of Self and the Environment.

If you drop a pebble, no matter how small, into a pond, the ripples spread out in all directions and interact with everything in their path.

This principle states that there is a connection between the person and others around him or her. It is therefore clear that changes in our life-state, the way we relate or react to others and changes due to our Practice will affect those whose lives we interact with.

Some of these effects are very obvious. If we walk around with a happy demeanour, we find that people are more likely to be pleasant towards us. If, on the other hand, we walk around in a bad mood, with a scowl on our face, we find that people are less friendly and may try to avoid us completely.

Ok, so no rocket science there then, but there are more subtle ways in which changes can be felt. In my own case, my Practice has allowed me to stabilise my life-state, generally I am now more often in the higher Worlds than lower ones. The result of that is that I am better placed to create value, for myself and those around me.

My Practice has changed me and those changes are affecting others. That’s why it is so important for me to ensure that as these changes take place, my Wisdom, Courage and Compassion increases too, so I can make sure the changes are all good ones.

It’s The Shortest Day

The Shortest DayToday is the shortest day of the year, here in the UK, and strangely some may say, it’s my favourite day of the year. Why, I can hear you asking, isn’t the longest day of the year more favoured, all those lovely hours of daylight, and often sunshine too. Well it’s because today marks the nadir of the year in terms of daylight. From now on we get an extra minute or so more light each day, and that’s something to look forward to.

Daisaku Ikeda has some very wise words for these long dark days, and offers a welcome ray of hope …

“Even if today may seem to be a time of total darkness, it will not last forever. The dawn will surely come if you advance, ever forward, without being defeated.

The day will definitely come when you can look back fondly and declare, “I am savouring this happiness because I struggled back then.” It is those who know the bitterness of winter that can savour the true joy of spring.”

~ Daisaku Ikeda

Perfect, Just As You Are

Flowers Of HappinessYour happiness and victory in life hinge on whether you can grasp, while you are still young, the fact that happiness lies within.

That’s why there is no need for you to compare yourselves to others but instead strive powerfully and cheerfully to develop your state of life, aiming to improve yourselves each day.

From that struggle will bloom noble flowers of mission, flowers of happiness that are yours and yours alone. Shine as you are, live true to yourselves, and advance in your own unique way.

~ Daisaku Ikeda

What A Laugh

Company Christmas PartyWhat a wheeze, the company Christmas bash, held in the Village Urban hotel, Bournemouth was everything that we expected tonight. Not being one to over imbibe, I guess I was one of the more sober ones tonight, and what fun!

Of course, to start with everyone was sober, but as time rolled on, and the wine, beer and spirits flowed, inhibitions were slowly eroded and a few home truths surfaced. We are not the largest company in the world, and a little like a family run business, where everyone knows everyone else by their first names.

Observing, whilst not exactly being stone cold sober, I was in the perfect position to watch the fun and games. Not that there was too much to report, but people do say and do the funniest things when they get a bit squiffy. As far as I know, no videos or photos have made their way onto the social networking sites, yet, but it is a good feeling to be able to let, what little hair I have, down, whilst being in total control of my faculties.

I’m sure there will be a few tales told on Monday, but apart from me being an observer as well as a participant, I’m sure none of them will be about me.

Careful Setting Those Expectations

Careful Setting Those ExpectationsWe all set expectations, of ourselves, of others and of the outcome of situations in our lives.

So it is very easy to be disappointed when those expectations are not met.

What you must remember, is that your happiness is in your own hands, so being unhappy when your hopes and expectations are dashed is your own decision.

In my case, I find that taking some quiet time to examine why I am disappointed solves a lot of these problems. Sometimes my own expectations are set too high, unrealistic even, sometimes the simple acceptance that those expectations are not those of others explains the outcome.

Allowing your expectations of others to be, even in part, the basis of your happiness shows a lack of Wisdom, so learn from the pain, don’t repeat the mistake, and move on.

This is, of course, far easier to say than to do. But to help maintain your happiness, set realistic expectations for yourself and accept that failing to meet those expectations does not mean failing completely.

Your Happiness Is Within You

Your Happiness Is Within YouAnother blissfully happy weekend is nearly over, but let’s not get complacent.

Being happy is not something that we can take for granted, problems can derail our happiness at any time.

But we can take steps to ensure that we are aware of the causes and take steps to resolve and correct the effects.

Sensei summed it up perfectly …

Buddhism teaches that we are each responsible for our own happiness or unhappiness. Our vitality—the amount of energy or “life-force” we have—is in fact the single most important factor in determining whether or not we are happy.

True happiness is to be found within, in the state of our hearts. It does not exist on the far side of some distant mountains. It is within you, yourself. However much you try, you can never run away from yourself. And if you are weak, suffering will follow you wherever you go.

You will never find happiness if you don’t challenge your weaknesses and change yourself from within.

So if you are happy with life at present, be mindful of where that happiness comes from. If you are unhappy, challenge the causes of that unhappiness and make the changes you need to make.

Carry On Reading

Carry On ReadingSo few of us manage to read enough these days, particularly books of real substance, we are besotted with instant web text.

Reading is a dialogue with ourselves, it is self-reflection, which cultivates profound humanity. Reading is essential to our self development.

It expands and enriches the personality like a seed that germinates after a long time and sends forth a multitude of blossom-laden branches.

People who can say of a book ‘this changed my life’ truly understand the meaning of inner happiness. Reading that sparks inner revolution is urgently needed to help us escape drowning in the rapidly advancing information society.

Reading is far more than simple intellectual ornamentation, it is a battle for the establishment and preservation of the self, a ceaseless challenge that keeps us young and vigorous.

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