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Reflection: Your Outer Being Reflects Your Inner Being

Reflection: Your Outer Being Reflects Your Inner Being

As I walk along the harbour I pause for a while to rest on one of the many vacant seats. Sitting there looking out across the bay I enjoy the quiet and solitude. The light from the street lamps is reflected in the water, and as the water ripples disturbed by the cold evening breeze, the spot of light that is the reflection of the bulb in the street lamp is duplicated on each ripple. The ripples stretch away from the harbour wall towards the wharf where the boats are moored, here the water is less affected by the wind and the ripples fade away and with them the lamps reflection fades too. I look up at the lamps in the street and then down at the reflections stretching away from the harbour wall. The water disturbed by the wind creates ripples and these ripples reflect the light from the lamp. When the water is calm it will only reflect a single light, a near perfect replica of the original. Yet when the water is disturbed it reflects many more lights, and the more reflections there are the more distorted they become. We are like this, disturbed by the winds of existence we are rippled and become a many faceted reflection of the shining light that is the supreme spirit. Like the distorted reflections of the street lamp I gaze upon we become distorted too. Instead of being a unique replica of the one real light and radiating that true light in our own individual way, we allow the winds of life to disturb our naturally calm interior, we become ruffled, we lose our equilibrium, we become confused and lose our way, becoming disconnected from our own personal Tao.

It is late evening and there are only a few people about. I reflect on the changing scene, the movement from summer to autumn has produced a metamorphosis to the area. A few short weeks ago the harbour, beach and streets were teeming with holiday makers. Some walked along like me enjoying the scenery by themselves, some walked hand in hand with lovers, husband or wife sometimes followed by children whilst others filtered into the amusements, pubs and clubs seeking entertainment. I wondered how anyone could come to such a beautiful place and then spend all their time in a pub drinking themselves into oblivion. Presumably they do it in an effort to escape from the unpleasant boring existence which they have to endure the rest of the year. How anyone could feverishly play bingo hour after hour, blind to the natural beauty all around, preferring the material gain which is theirs when they complete that magic line or fill up those four corners on their card, eager to take back home more than they came with, a modern measure of success; the acquisition of material possessions, all this I find hard to understand, to me it seems like some self-inflicted torture.

As I sit reflecting on these things I remember that I have done all those things and more, I have no right to judge, I do not know who these people are and their struggle with the daily toil of existence may well be fraught with more difficulties than I encounter. They must travel their path and I must travel mine. I have made a conscious effort to change my life. Perhaps these people do not realise they have a choice, caught in the stream of life, they move with whoever seems to know what to do and where to go, the one who battles hardest again the flow and makes the most disturbance is the most easily seen, and they get lost in the struggle to emulate this prominent apparently successful example. Blinded by fear, fear of being different, fear of the unknown, fear of failure in a world ruled by material values. Full of fear they huddle together like sheep, for there is safety in numbers, so they say. But huddled together with most of their movement dictated by the group, this stifles individual development, restricts their individual freedom. To always be looking outwards to what you want to be, to where you want to go, to be always searching for more material growth to satisfy the modern view of what a successful person should be like, in this there is no personal freedom, no personal happiness.

To have the courage to look within to see who you are, to learn to know yourself, this I believe is the way to personal happiness and freedom. When you know who you are THEN you know the way forwards. This knowledge can I believe only be reached by searching within, if you do not know who you are, how can you possible come to know your own personal path (Tao). Trying to be what others would have us be is of no use. If we listen to others who believe they know what is best for us and then follow that advise blindly, this is surely foolish and places us in the same realm as automated machines and robots. Once we follow this path our actions become mechanical, predictable and no longer able to cope with the ever changing conditions that life puts before us. Reality is chaos and needs spontaneous action, not mechanical reactions.

When the sea is rough it stirs up the sand near the shore and breaks away the coastline. Disturbed water in a pond brings the mud to the surface. A ruffled mind raises sediment to the surface and all manner of calamities follow. Looking at nature is one way I find useful to calm the mind, which allows the sediment to sink, so that my thoughts are purified again. Looking at the hills, mountains, lakes, rivers, the sea and open skies, one can learn to put ones own troubles in perspective, for in the great scheme of things they do not amount to much. But in the great scheme of things YOU count for a lot, everything in fact. The most important person in your life is YOU. The more you come to know your true self, who you really are, where you come from, the better balanced you will become, a truer reflection of the shining light. Your mind will become more tranquil and serenity will follow. But this act of gaining self knowledge can only be initiated by you, following someone else because they have a lifestyle that seems good or a disposition you think you would like to have too will not do it. A conscious effort on your part to be still, to look and see, to listen and hear what goes on outside of you and how this movement effects you. What emotions, desires and fears does this outward movement raise in you? By looking at yourself in this way whilst remaining calm, refusing to let the momentum on the outside effect you personal equilibrium, if you can train yourself to do this, then the true nature of the situation will become clear to you. If you allow yourself to enter into the situation, you will be affected by the disturbance and lose your clarity of thought and any action you may take in the light of this will be distorted to the degree that you are disturbed.

To learn anything one needs time and patience and of course a good teacher. Through conscious effort the first two can be secured. By exercising self-discipline by consciously setting aside time to accomplish the task, then by patient study we can set ourselves on the road to knowledge. Our collages and universities are full of students studying a diverse range of subjects with which to enhance their careers. Finding a teacher for these subjects to acquire knowledge of the external side of life is relatively easy. For those interested in self development in a spiritual sense, finding a teacher with special knowledge, esoteric knowledge is another matter because often those who claim to have this knowledge are charlatans who line their pockets with gullible peoples money whilst proclaiming their virtue and offering instant enlightenment, at a price. The genuine Master is not a prominent figure who is easily found, he or she goes about their work without the flashy glib self advertising of the charlatan. True Masters speak in simple terms so that they can be understood by all, they do not need to use complicated language to elevate themselves, their very presence and their natural sincerity ennobles them. When they teach in whatever form that may take, they do just that they teach, they use simple language and actions to pass on the knowledge that they have been given. This knowledge is there for all to see but is often missed because most people are unable to see the profound truths in such humble behaviour, their minds are blinded by the simplicity of it. They prefer to define what they see and hear, prefer to look for complicated structures to analyse, then link the conclusions they reach to similar patterns stored in their memories. Unable to still the mind and just see and hear without introducing their own ideas into the equation, they cast a cloud over what they are being shown that dims their perception of the truth. If you shut out the light, then whether this is intentional or through ignorance it makes no difference, the result is the same; you will be blind.

This I believe is why so many false prophets appear and collect followers so easily, they give people what they want, smart clever phases to repeat, told of what they will experience through the practices they are given, they then set out to accomplish these goals, for most illusions quickly follow. You are in charge of your destiny no one else, only you can find your own path, let no-one else tell you what you are. A true Master will show you how to reach deep within yourself so you can be your own salvation from the trammel and confusion that surrounds us all during the movement that is our existence. As the Moon (Yin) and Sun (Yang) exert their influence on the sea and cause the tides to disturb the calm waters, so does the Yin and Yang of our own life cause us to loose our equilibrium disturbing our minds in the process.

So learning to still the mind and bring it under your control is of paramount importance if you wish to learn the inner knowledge, to know who you are, what your path in life is, from where you came and to where you will return. Logic, the man made tool used to define our external material world will have to be dispensed with temporarily, it has no use here it will only hinder progress, for logic interferes with the truth and tries to categories things placing them in compartments with the known, the collection of things learnt from past experiences and stored in memory. These experiences will never be repeated. You may experience similar circumstances but they will never be exactly the same.

The new is always fresh, the vibrant truth cannot be linked to the past, the past is gone, irretrievable, lifeless now, spent. The future awaits us. But the present is here now, this is where the truth is, in the precious present. And to see it we must still the mind so we can experience it completely, see it clearly, just as it is.

The mind to me is like the sea, the surface is easily ruffled by the wind but the deep waters are more tranquil. The surface of the mind the part we use in everyday life to deal with the necessities of survival, making a living etc is easily disturbed. The deeper parts of the mind are rarely used by most people, some say that we use only one tenth of the minds capacity. By taking time to be alone, time to shut out everyday influences so the surface of the mind can be calmed, we can reach the deeper recesses of the mind, reach the source, become in touch with our true nature unfettered by the external movement of man.

As all artists know, the reflection of colours in water shows the light colours darker and the dark colours lighter. The reflection we see of ourselves in a mirror is not how we look to other people. Therefore to look at our outward reflection and then accept this as the truth is folly. To ask others for an appraisal based on their view, as to how they see us and how they feel about our behaviour, has great value and is useful as feedback as to how others see you. However, this view of you as expressed by others must not be taken to be the whole truth, for it will inevitably be clouded by their own individual perception. The truth, the whole truth requires you to work on yourself, to still the mind to bring it under your conscious control. When you have calmed the waters of your mind and the impurities have sunk, then you will be able to see with a clarity that previously you denied yourself. So be still, look around you and just watch, see the beauty in nature, see also the ruthlessness and violence, but do not focus only on the negative aspect of things. See the evil deeds done by others who seek power over their fellow man and to gain great material riches, see their anger and unhappiness; see the kindness shown to others by some who help their fellow men and find pleasure in doing so without demanding or expecting any excessive reward, see their happy joyous faces. Then look at yourself and see the good and the bad, see the truth. For not until you can see the truth within yourself can you consciously choose, choose to hinder or help, choose to destroy or build, choose to be aggressive or kindly, choose to hate or love.

We cannot always be correct, our behaviour will always be seen by some to be bad no matter how hard we try to be good, the prospective of others and therefore their expectations will not always match ours. Man by his very nature destroys things to live.

The food we eat to sustain us even if we do not eat the flesh of others animals is produced by violent means. We pick fruits and vegetables, pull the fruit from their trees and bushes, pluck the vegetables out of the ground. We harvest the grains, cut them down so we may live on. However, if we endeavour not to over indulge ourselves and not unnecessarily waste food, there will be more for those who have not enough. If we take only what we need we will not become obese through over eating; but we must take enough for our needs if we are to develop properly physically and mentally, if we have not enough food we cannot sustain a good quality existence. So to eat too little through fear of getting fat or depriving others less fortunate than ourselves would be foolish. Both extremes produce poor health and deny us the ability to express ourselves fully. Balance is as always the key and as always you must find your own balanced diet.

Improvements, real improvements, are made not by looking at others and then seeing their faults setting about correcting them. This would require us to exert our will upon others which will cause us to become self-righteous and impose our beliefs by force, whether that force be of a physical nature or mental manipulation or through force of law. I believe real improvement, can only be made when we decide to look within ourselves, and then consciously make an effort to create an improvement within the self, thereby making an improvement, albeit a small one, to the whole of mankind. The more people that do this the greater the overall improvement will be. The harmony and kinship that follows will create long term peace and progress unlike the short term improvement that is the result of coercing others to follow rules and laws dictated to them, for as soon as the force or the fear of punishment is no longer present its influence swiftly disappears. Amendments and betterment to ourselves will influence humanity as a whole for the good and create a higher existence here on earth, one that can be sustained indefinitely; sustained by our own will. The Tao/God gives us free will to make our own choices, let us use this gift wisely.

I wish you all I wish for myself.