On Endless Possibilities

This Hubble photo is of a small portion of one of the largest seen star-birth regions in the galaxy, the Carina Nebula.

The challenges of daily life require us to makes choices or decisions.

When we are open and engaged, we experience the greater self.

When we are closed off, we are exhibiting our lesser self.

The lesser self is a deluded condition, whilst our greater self is synonymous with our Buddha nature.

To live for the greater self means to recognise the universal principle behind all things and, being awaked in this way, rise above the suffering caused by the awareness of impermanence. A belief in something eternal is needed to enhance our quality of life.

By believing that this world is the be-all and end-all of existence, we will miss out, we will not live a truly profound life. When our viewpoint expands beyond the boundaries of our present existence to include the entire, eternal universe, we can finally live deeply fulfilling lives.

Being Limitless

Being LimitlessWhen we are open and engaged, we experience the greater self. When we are closed off, we are exhibiting our lesser self.

The lesser self is a deluded condition, whilst our greater self is synonymous with our Buddha nature.

To live for the greater self means to recognise the universal principle behind all things and, being awaked in this way, rise above the suffering caused by the awareness of impermanence. A belief in something eternal is needed to enhance our quality of life.

By believing that this world is the be-all and end-all of existence, we will miss out, we will not live a truly profound life. When our viewpoint expands beyond the boundaries of our present existence to include the entire, eternal universe, we can finally live deeply fulfilling lives, unconstrained by our own limited experience.

Infamous Last Words

UK WeatherWe’re all still reeling under the onslaught of the continuing bad weather in Great Britain. The sheer volume of rain, combined with the tremendously strong winds shows us how powerful nature can be, and with continuing red flood alerts, just how fragile our existence on this Earth really is.

It may strike you as a rather strange thought, but something has kept playing on my mind recently. I wonder how many people who might lose loved ones in the storms and floods, took the time to tell their partner, child, friend or neighbour, that they loved them this morning.

They will never get that chance again, and may forever wish that they had taken those extra few precious seconds to express their feelings.

We all take life, and the immediate future for granted. Sometimes days, weeks, months or even years go by, without us taking time to make contact with someone for whom we care, but our lives are just too busy or complicated for us to make that call, write that email or even take that trip to reconnect.

Impermanence is key to Buddhist philosophy, nothing is forever. So before it is too late, before the chance has slipped from your grasp, make that contact and tell the person just how much you care.

When you leave the house in the morning, or part company with any other person, let the last thing you say to them, be full of Wisdom, Courage and Compassion, not something you might regret saying for the rest of your life.

Endless Possibilities

Omega Centauri from the Hubble Space Telescope - click to view the full imageWhen we are open and engaged, we experience the greater self. When we are closed off, we are exhibiting our lesser self. The lesser self is a deluded condition, whilst our greater self is synonymous with our Buddha nature.

To live for the greater self means to recognise the universal principle behind all things and, being awaked in this way, rise above the suffering caused by the awareness of impermanence. A belief in something eternal is needed to enhance our quality of life.

By believing that this world is the be-all and end-all of existence, we will miss out, we will not live a truly profound life. When our viewpoint expands beyond the boundaries of our present existence to include the entire, eternal universe, we can finally live deeply fulfilling lives.

Limitless

LimitlessWhen we are open and engaged, we experience the greater self. When we are closed off, we are exhibiting our lesser self.

The lesser self is a deluded condition, whilst our greater self is synonymous with our Buddha nature.

To live for the greater self means to recognise the universal principle behind all things and, being awaked in this way, rise above the suffering caused by the awareness of impermanence. A belief in something eternal is needed to enhance our quality of life.

By believing that this world is the be-all and end-all of existence, we will miss out, we will not live a truly profound life. When our viewpoint expands beyond the boundaries of our present existence to include the entire, eternal universe, we can finally live deeply fulfilling lives, unconstrained by our own limited experience.

More Pedalling About

Destination Old Harry RocksWe really have been spoiled by the wonderful weather in the past few weeks. Although there was a sneaky little wind again today, I had decided to get myself over to Studland, and then on to Old Harry Rocks for the second weekend in a row, the big difference being that today I was going to cycle there and back.

Aboard The Shell Bay To Sandbanks FerryNow anyone who has been out and about in Dorset on two wheels, will know that the landscape is anything but flat as soon as you move away from the shoreline. Getting down to the ferry at Sandbanks wasn’t any trouble, although the wind was once again blowing into my face, making it a little more taxing than necessary. I arrived just as the cars from Studland were disembarking, so paying my £1, the fee for a return trip, I got aboard and stowed the bike.

Lots Of Cycling Related CluesThe crossing takes about 5 minutes, but it was clear from the others on board, that I wasn’t the only one who had decided to go cycling today. Not only that, but there was a cycling event going on, so there were lots of cycling related vans and cars as well as dozens of bikes sporting a rather distinctive numbers sticker from the event.

Leaving the ferry at the far side was a bit of a scrum. The leisure cyclists got themselves fixed up with those competing in the cycling event and it lead to a degree of pandemonium. But having extricated myself from the throng, I set off along the aptly named Ferry Road. Initially the road is rather straight and flat, lulling the unwary into a sense of false security, it then starts to meander amongst the fields of heather and gorse and a nice downhill slope allows the rider to get up a head of speed. But don’t be fooled, in Dorset every downhill slope has an uphill climb on the other side.

Old Harry Rocks From The Knoll House HotelSo with the speed washing off all too quickly I started up the painfully steep and leg sappingly long hill towards the Knoll House Hotel, and aptly named it is. The knoll from which the hotel gets its name is a bit of an understatement, let’s be honest, it’s a proper hill, but all the effort is well worth it. As you crest the summit you are treated to a stunning view of Old Harry off to the left, framed by the beautiful landscaping of the hotel golf course. An interesting contrast of manicured lawns and raw nature.

After a couple more climbs, much more gentle in nature, I took the ecclesiastically named and quaintly narrow Rectory Road turning into Manor Road and on past the Bankes Arms. I have to admit that I walked the first part of the path past Harry Warren House, but as the incline reduced, it was lovely to ride up the South West Coast Path with views over the bay to Sandbanks and Christchurch.

Old Harry RocksOld Harry Rocks are pretty amazing really. Comprising entirely of chalk, it is rather surprising that they exist at all. The very processes that have sculpted the stacks from the cliffs must be trying to dismantle them with each and every tide and storm. The resulting spectacle has been around for hundreds, maybe thousands of years, but in time it will be reduced to rubble, similar to that around the base of the stacks. Proof, if proof be needed, that everything, even geological marvels, are impermanent. Everything changes over time.

The Twin Sails Bridge - PooleI’ll not burden you with the details of the return journey, but with a total round trip of about 28 miles, much of which was either up or down, my legs may remember this little trip for a few days yet. I have to admit that by the time I got back to Poole, I was quite looking forward to a nice hot shower and a sit down in a slightly more comfortable chair, so imagine my dismay when I found that The Twin Sails bridge was raised. Just another minor challenge, but I’m back home in one piece now.

A bike ride is a bit like life in general. There are ups, there are downs. There are times when you feel that the challenges are just too tough to overcome, but with a little determination, you find a way. The rewards of overcoming these challenges are worth every ounce of the pain.

Another brilliant day.

Unending Possibilities

Omega Centauri from the Hubble Space Telescope - click to view the full imageWhen we are open and engaged, we experience the greater self. When we are closed off, we are exhibiting our lesser self. The lesser self is a deluded condition, whilst our greater self is synonymous with our Buddha nature.

To live for the greater self means to recognise the universal principle behind all things and, being awaked in this way, rise above the suffering caused by the awareness of impermanence. A belief in something eternal is needed to enhance our quality of life.

By believing that this world is the be-all and end-all of existence, we will miss out, we will not live a truly profound life. When our viewpoint expands beyond the boundaries of our present existence to include the entire, eternal universe, we can finally live deeply fulfilling lives.

Say Something Nice

More Bad WeatherWe’re all reeling under the onslaught of the latest surge of bad weather to hit Great Britain. The sheer volume of rain and snow, combined with the strong winds shows us how powerful nature can be, and with at least one person missing, just how fragile our existence on this Earth really is.

It may strike you as a rather strange thought, but something kept playing on my mind all day. I wonder how many people who might lose loved ones in the storms and floods, took the time to tell their partner, child, friend or neighbour, that they loved them this morning.

They will never get that chance again, and may forever wish that they had taken those extra few precious seconds to express their feelings.

We all take life, and the immediate future for granted. Sometimes days, weeks, months or even years go by, without us taking time to make contact with someone for whom we care, but our lives are just too busy or complicated for us to make that call, write that email or even take that trip to reconnect.

Impermanence is key to Buddhist philosophy, nothing is forever. So before it is too late, before the chance has slipped from your grasp, make that contact and tell the person just how much you care.

When you leave the house in the morning, or part company with any other person, let the last thing you say to them, be full of Wisdom, Courage and Compassion, not something you might regret saying for the rest of your life.

Changing Times

The Byrds - Turn, Turn, TurnEverything in life changes, one of the main principles of Buddhism is that of impermanence the idea that nothing lasts forever. But these changes have a natural order, a structure that, if observed, make the changes simple and easy. If however, we fail to observe that order, things get difficult, uncomfortable, even unbearable.

Those of us of a certain age remember a song by The Byrds, Turn, Turn, Turn, written by Pete Seeger, the words of which are actually based on a passage from the Book of Ecclesiastes and are sometimes attributed to the wise Old Testament ruler King Solomon.

I think the lyrics perfectly explain the manner in which changes and The Wheel of Life are inextricably linked:

To every thing, turn, turn, turn
There is a season, turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven
A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep
To everything, turn, turn, turn
There is a season, turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven
A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones
A time to gather stones together
To everything, turn, turn, turn
There is a season, turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven
A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace
A time to refrain from embracing
To everything, turn, turn, turn
There is a season, turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven
A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time to love, a time to hate
A time for peace, I swear it’s not too late

Impermanence

ImpermanenceOn the day when many of us promised to love each other forever, it is wise to remember that although we mean what we say, our human frailty will most certainly mean that we are unable to keep that promise. It has often been said that the only certain things in life are death and taxes, with death being the most certain.

Now don’t get all upset with me, I’m not trying to bring everyone down, just to put our promises in context. What we really mean is that we will love the other till our Wheel of Life turns full circle and we embark on our next lifetime. Not such a shabby promise after all, in my opinion.

But it is a good time to think about our mortality, not in a negative way, but in a way that we can focus on the most important things in life, and how many of those need to be completed while we still have chance.

Impermanence is a very important part of Buddhist teaching. Remembering that everything in our lives is ever changing, and nothing lasts forever, reminds us to make the most of each and every day. It also reminds us to treat our friends, family and particularly today, our partners, with love, compassion and understanding.

So having brought us all down to earth with a bump, I hope you all had a wonderful Valentines day. Just remember to show your love to others every day, not just when the card shops tell you that you should.

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