Revealing Reflections on Life, Survival and Soul Stamina

“In your soul there are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you. “ ~ Oscar Wilde

I have been pondering the meaning of life these last few weeks, or at least more than usual!  Lately I’ve found myself caught up in seemingly endless vicissitudes, and have been telling myself it’s all for a higher purpose. This thought helps me get through the chaos. We have to embrace all of it, the good, the bad, the ordinary and the extraordinary.

Writing is like a purging of my soul, it’s a cathartic comfort blanket that enables me to have perspective. I’ve written some poetry as I muse over developing soul stamina, which I hope you can relate to in some small way.

It seems to me that just one lifetime (even a long one), is too short a time for our souls to fully experience earthly life and attain nirvana. I have entertained the idea that maybe we get to come round many, many times, building on what we said, thought, did and achieved before.

This idea is nothing new. Plato believed in an immortal soul that partakes in a multitude of lives, and the concept of reincarnation is a central tenet of religions such as Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism.

The bigger picture of human existence and the universe eludes us for certain, but faith, love and hope are really all we need while we’re here.

I’ve also included some music which for me perfectly encapsulates soul stamina. The composer who I believe most embodies these qualities is Beethoven, (no surprises there!) but any music which really affects you emotionally is speaking to your heart and soul, being the universal language.

After all, Plato did say: “Music is the movement of sound to reach the soul for the education of its virtue.”

Bach’s music was the backbone of his religious convictions, it was solely to glorify God. This particular transcription for cello and organ of his Adagio in C, BWV 564 by Jacqueline du Pré and Roy Jesson could only have been composed and played by individuals with loving souls:

Mozart knew how to plumb the depths of his being. He must have been wearing his heart on his sleeve when he wrote the adagio of his Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major, K. 488, in 1786:

I feel Richard Wagner captures the torment of the soul with the battle of the sacred and the profane in Tannhäuser – The immortal Overture and Venusberg:

While I’m at it, Tristan und Isolde could not have been written without a deep well of emotion. The glorious and heart wrenching Prelude and Liebestod (Georg Solti – Chicago Symphony Orchestra):

Vivaldi’s music brings joy and exalts the soul – The Gloria in D Major, RV 589 with John Eliot Gardiner, the Monteverdi Choir and The English Baroque Soloists:

Beethoven’s magnificent Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 (The Choral) was the pinnacle of his musical genius. For me, it encompasses life in all its guises and every day glory, with a finale that overcomes the suffering and struggle of humanity in unity and brotherhood – the unforgettable Ode to Joy by the Sabadell flashmob:

“The soul is placed in the body like a rough diamond, and must be polished, or the luster of it will never appear.” ~ Daniel Defoe

Soul Stamina

The mind may forget, but the soul remembers,

Explorations in humanity, countless footsteps…

The faces of yesteryear, now etheric embers,

Glowing from the heart of our eternal depths.

Do we bear these former translucent portents?

Embedded and merged, in our body of the moment?

Joan of Arc by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Soul wisdom is creative; desiring experience anew,

Looking behind your eyes, I see the real you…

The one who has always been; wore bodies through

Your radiance surrounds and shines so true.

Everything you are, is held and holding you fast,

It’s all here now; the future, present and past.

Self-portrait with a dark felt hat at the easel by Vincent van Gogh c. 1886

Do we transfer it over, the healing and the heartache?

A name, a pattern, a place, a talent, a skill,

Drawn to our soul’s connections; not fully awake,

Distant memories reflecting, through windows of Will.

Sojourns of unfinished karma, or perhaps dreamy plans?

With souls to share our journeys and time spans?

Reflection by Alfred Stevens

Meeting of souls: spiritual, chemical reactions abound

As astral beings reunite; immutable yet impermanent,

Knowing each other long before – apart then found,

Different yet the same; embalmed in the moment.

Living to enrich the soul, on its timeless fray,

Ancient selves expressing; mortal games to play.

The Storyteller by Hugues Merle

We envy souls on a seemingly smooth path,

Whilst we are buffeted on rocks for measure,

Honouring our struggle for growth, not wrath,

Physical interludes of pain, parsimony and pleasure.

En route to glory, souls are breached time and again,

With wounds that sear and scar; no two the same.

The Kiss by Carolus Duran

Whether in lofty social status, or ordinary life,

Have we chosen the routes to our Shangri-la?

Maybe comfort and warmth, or problems and strife?

In divine unfolding, we are blind to reason,

But for every learning; belongs a perfect season.

The Honeysuckle Bower (the artist and his first wife Isabella Brant) by Peter Paul Rubens c. 1609

The soul has no colour, creed, race or gender,

Myriad of vessels from life’s eclectic diversity,

Anatomical robe of being, searching for an answer…

Archetypal beneath, evincing modes of personality.

A pilgrimage of passion; rebirth will come,

Adventurous spirits, immortal inside, part of one.

Phidias Showing the Frieze of the Parthenon to his Friends by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema

Wake gently from sleep, oh consciousness,

Hear and know your inner voice, your soul

The higher part which exists in opulence,

I will see through those eyes, in fleshy stroll.

Do our human journeys build soul stamina?

Mind, body, spirit: metaphysical phenomena.

By Virginia Burges

Our Corner (Anna and Laurense Alma-Tadema) by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema

The soul of man alone, that particle divine,

Escapes the wreck of worlds,

When all things fail. ~ William Somerville

#MondayBlogs – Focus on Success, Monkey Business and Bananas 💡🐒🍌

“The person who suffers from inner poverty is relentlessly driven to accumulate on the material level.” ~ Dr. David R. Hawkins

In the face of mounting challenges earlier this Monday morning, I thought I’d take a few minutes to muse on what it means to be successful. Not the ‘outer’ trappings such as fame, fortune, mansions and fast cars, but to properly understand the cause that ultimately leads to the effect.

I’ve started reading a helpful book by Dr. David R Hawkins which has elucidated this subject beautifully for me. In it, he points out that most people chase the ‘out there’ stuff because they think that ‘having’ and ‘doing’ are the answer. They don’t realise that ‘being’ is the first step on the ladder of success, and without that rung any further effort will be largely futile.

Monkey Business and Bananas

The best way to explain it is to show you. Imagine a monkey locked inside a cage, with big bunches of ripe, yellow bananas just out of reach. He frantically puts his arm through the bars and struggles to reach them. He may get one or two, spurring him to keep on trying, but the really big bunches are still a few inches on from the tips of his fingers. By now his arms are getting sore. Eventually he gives up and slumps to the floor, exhausted.

This is how most of us try to become successful. We get caught up in monkey business. We see the outer ‘things’ that other people have and we think that is what we should have and so we strive for those same things.  We are struggling for the effect instead of the cause, which is an inner knowing, a way of being in the world.

monkey eating a banana

Dr. Hawkins asserts that it only takes a split second to be successful. Once we ‘get it’ the rest will follow in due course. Very often we have to pause from grabbing at the bananas and shift focus. If the monkey turned his back on the bananas to face the opposite direction, a shift of 180 degrees, he’d notice that the door of the cage wasn’t locked, that he could open it anytime and help himself to as many bananas as he could eat.

All the how-to manuals in the world won’t work unless you have that shift in perspective. The presence of joy in our work is a big indicator of whether we are knocking our brains out or not.

Success sign

Is our awareness coming from the place where the only reason to do something is so we can have something? The wrong attitude and motivation will set us up for certain failure in the long run. There has to be an intention not to just serve one’s selfish interest or exploit the public for personal gain without providing any needed service in their lives.

Very often if a person is truly successful we tend to admire them as a person. It’s not so much what they have, or what they do (even though that may be very interesting to us), but it’s more who they are that impresses us. They have a charisma, they have ‘it’ and we want that something special to rub off on us.

summit-1209168_1280

If you can be happy rich, happy poor and happy whatever the situation; you can create your own magic. Don’t settle for satisfaction. Some people think that satisfaction is happiness, but they are different states of being.

There are many stories of broke people winning the lottery and after a short space of time they were in a worse position financially than they found themselves in before their so called good fortune. They hadn’t ‘got it’ before their luck changed so they weren’t ready for the responsibility that came with it.

Really what it boils down to is the difference between power and force. A person coming from the position of power, such as Gandhi, was able to harness his personal power plus the power of the Indian people, using principles of universal truth, to win against the limited force of the British Empire which was motivated by self-interest.

“The ‘aha’ experience is indicative of a jumbo level of power. When we ‘get’ something, we get it because its voltage has just increased. This is indicated intuitively by the image of the lightbulb going on over a person’s head. Light is power and energy. All of the energy on this planet, whatever its manifestation, came here via light. The power is the light.” ~ Dr. David R Hawkins

Having the bananas is the consequence, the result. It’s the ‘out there’ of success that the world sees, envies and tries to imitate. But you can’t imitate what’s ‘out there’ you can only imitate what’s ‘in here’. When we have that ‘aha’ experience of finding the open door we can amuse ourselves with manifesting it in the world. When we’ve achieved inner mastery we don’t have to prove it anymore.

success-isnt-about-how-much-money-you-make-its-about-the-difference-you-make-in-peoples-lives-michelle-obama

Success is grace, ease, poise and absolute precision and focus. If we’re tired and burned out at the end of the day, then it’s from the monkey business of trying to grab the bananas.

The laws of physics show that force creates counterforce, which is why we can get exhausted. No force is possible without counterforce. Nothing can press against something unless there is something to resist it.

In the world of real success there is no competition. The best restaurants are so good that people are clamouring to eat there. The most passionate singers and musicians perform to sell-out venues. Top consultants in any field are usually sought after because they manifest excellence. If we can manifest excellence in the world we won’t have to worry about money at all at some point in the future. The world will seek us out.

success-happiness

The secret of power is that there is no resistance to power! Power doesn’t come from facts, positions or having anything ‘out there’. Power comes from an inner position relative to those things.

The Greek Legend of Sisyphus

The myth of Sisyphus, the King of Ephyra, who was condemned to push a heavy boulder uphill against the force of gravity, can be likened to our struggle for success. The movement of the rock is only possible if the upward force of the muscle strength exceeds the force of gravity. If it doesn’t that rock is going to come tumbling down and crush us!

Sisyphus by Titian, c. 1548-49

Sisyphus by Titian, c. 1548-49

I for one have no desire to play the Sisyphus game. Modern Sisyphus examples tend to become addicts or commit suicide.

Thought to originate with Plato or one of his students, Sisyphus is further described in Homer’s Illiad and Book XI of The Oyssey. He also features in Ovid’s story of Orpheus and Eurydice. Upon hearing Oprheus sing to Hades and Persephone he pauses from his eternal task and sits on his rock.

There are many more principles to grasp about success, but it’s good to start with the fundamental elements and spiral upwards from there.

I’m off on my travels now, so I wish you all the bananas you can eat this week!

#SundayBlogShare 🌎☀🌛🌠 Boundaries…

“Poets utter great and wise things which they do not themselves understand.” ~ Plato

In a rare moment of courage and lucidity, a strange urge came upon me; I attempted to write poetic verses:

Boundaries…

The air we breathe suffuses and inflates our lungs,

Intoxicated with life, desire for nature’s abundance.

Elegant, rasping rhythms of filling and emptying,

Nourishing cells in primordial chemical dance.

I have form, I have a mind. But it is the soul that defines…

 

Where do I begin? Where do you end?

Do our immortal boundaries overlap?

Separate yet whole, like yin and yang,

Energies mingling in etheric joy without gap.

Distance annihilated, in the eternal now of spirit.

 

Your essence entwines with mine, even if hearts beat apart…

Eyes cannot see what the soul feels,

Defining limits is impossible, for each blurs into the other.

Edges soar among firmament; physicality exquisitely denied,

Our connection is real – solid as the earth, sea, wind and sky.

 

Burning with the searing intensity of the sun,

Even the elements cannot contain it…

Form is but walking death, a fleeting vessel of expression,

Oh beautiful barrier, you trap the delights and torments of flesh.

Why must our earthly boundaries elude each other?

 

Love and life will find a way, forever seeking,

Like flowers pursuing arduous paths through concrete,

Unfolding their challenged petals, blossoming into divine vision.

Should your soul depart, mine will scatter throughout the universe;

No longer tethered in union: its boundaries…broken.

By Virginia Burges