"What I’m finding that the only thing I know for sure is where I am now. I cannot make any promises for the future or plan too much because ultimately I will die, and the path that I take there will be dependent upon my decisions and reactions in the now."
Richard Dawkins, in his 2006 book, The God Delusion, proposes that all religion, particularly those with a creator of some form, is a kind of collective delusion, “that a belief in God is both irrational and profoundly harmful to society.” This theory is often applied to Christianity, Judaism and Islam, but increasingly I’m finding it coming up in the worlds that I inhabit. I have always been, I suppose, a spiritual person in the sense that I appreciate nature with a huge sense of gratitude; I am in awe of this planet from the microcosmic to the macrocosm of all that science has discovered. But I have never been religious in the traditional sense.
When I was about 10, I discovered that I was the only one of my primary school friends who wasn’t Christened, and I was mortified. What was I missing out on? I attended Sunday School briefly and after my parents discussed it with the minister, who astutely advised to wait until I was old enough to make my own decision, I didn’t get Christened. I vividly remember writing a poem about Jesus and was quickly put in my place by a girl who asserted her literary and religious dominance.
I needed to convert to Islam when I was about to be married, as my ex-husband is a Muslim. However, Muslims believe that all people are born Muslim and nobody converts, they revert back to what they always were. Needless to say, I didn’t take this reversion seriously and said all the right things to become Muslim so I could marry. But I didn’t revert from anything because I have never had a label attached to my belief, so in my mind, nothing changed.
Religion has skirted the edges of my life and I have met some wonderful people of all faiths but I wonder if Richard Dawkins was right all along and we are all under a delusion? If I transfer that thought process to my recent growth and development, I am very influenced by Buddhist and Hindu teachings, particularly around my yoga teacher training. Interestingly, I think all religions originated in India and the big five; Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism are just a different interpretation on the same thing. Somehow the message gets warped and it turns into its own version of events and wisdom. The culture that is developing in the new age or spiritual community is an interesting one and I’m asking myself now if we too aren’t under a delusion of belief; if the things that we all started out believing are being warped into this ego-version of what it originally was. Our shared stories are turning into something else.
So if all oral and written stories aren’t true and there is no great God or Goddess, what are these stories? Are they just a way to explain our existence? Are they a way for our tiny minds to find some meaning in why we are here? And why are we here? What is the point of life? And why haven’t the beliefs of Indigenous populations become more mainstream? The reason for our existence is truly a question that has no answer and not one of us will ever find the answer. So many people turn to religion because it is familiar, it is comfortable, it creates community and there is historical evidence of sorts that the people in the stories were real or that they provide lessons in the best way to be human.
I’m finding that I’m questioning all of my beliefs at the moment and I think that is a healthy way to be, I get to be conscious about what I believe in. I love the human story, our collective history, and while growing up in Australia has been a fairly Western, Christian version of events, I’m constantly asking more questions about the human story in other parts of the world. We are all influenced by so many things and in this age of the internet, while we have limited censorship (at this stage), ideas can spread and, in technological terms, go viral. That, to me, is so exciting. We can start to hear the voices of other humans and not just from Western, English-speaking countries.
And the future? How can I be sure of the future and do I really want to know what will happen? If I spend too long worrying or thinking about the future, I miss the dragonfly that lands on my chair or my children asking for my attention, or being thoughtful as I vacuum the floor and being grateful for electricity and a home to live in.
What I’m finding that the only thing I know for sure is where I am now. I cannot make any promises for the future or plan too much because ultimately I will die, and the path that I take there will be dependent upon my decisions and reactions in the now. There is no delusion in the present. The messages that go to our brains from our senses; what we see, hear, feel, smell, taste and intuit that is true, it’s how we interpret and react to them that then defines us and our human experience.
©Alyssa Curtayne, 2016
In the movie Chocolat, the protagonist Vianne is moved from town to town by the call of the wind...I am her...Some part of me wants permanence and stability but when I get it, I get BORED ...I get restless.
Some people are addicted to drugs, food, alcohol, sex or increasingly social media. The addiction brings about connection and a feeling of being alive when the dullness of life makes us feel numb. Humans want to feel and when we can’t feel we seek out stimulation to make us feel alive again. But I can’t claim any addiction to the above, but I do seek out variety, you could say I have an addiction of sorts to it.
To me I am constantly thinking about where to next? New house? New car? New suburb? New city? New adventure? New friends? New relationship? This need for variety even extends to my daily routines such as a new route in a bushwalk or different route to work…I get bored easily.
New, new, new…
What drives this constant driving for newness, for variety and why do I seek the feeling of being alive in newness. Has the variety been about running away; from my family, men, from being “normal”, of the familiar? Or is it simply how I am?
In 2015, I went to the Ignite Leadership Seminar led by the charismatic Brett Jones. He highlighted things that a person needs but it was divided into the Ego needs and Leader needs:
Certainty – control
Contribution – how may I serve?
He went onto say that each one of us is driven by one of these needs, particularly in the ego list. What do you need? Look through the list yourself. What drives your life? Are you coming from a place of leadership or ego?
I was surprised to find that in the ego section, that it wasn’t connection that I craved, but variety.
In the movie Chocolat, the protagonist Vianne is moved from town to town by the call of the wind until she finally finds a place to put her roots down. I am her; the woman who goes with the wind. Some part of me wants permanence and stability but when I get it, I get BORED and I think about how many other places and people there are to meet. Some people find comfort in routine, but I get restless.
Having teenage daughters have forced me to give them stability because it’s what they need at this time – a stable home, a stable mum, but always within me I’m seeking the next adventure, the next home, the next moment, do I run away from things that are too hard? Or do I seek variety? Or should I just sit in my boredom and observe what is?
According to Brett, it’s my ego, trying to validate itself yet I would argue (or is that my ego arguing?) that I feel like life is so short, that I need to make the most of it and have the full range of the human experience. The human experience can be ecstatic, so incredible and transformational but it also can feel heavy, dull, repetitive and without challenge. I’m not planning to come back for another life here after this is done.
I was speaking to a girlfriend yesterday and she observed that I was again looking to move house (only after a couple of months) and noticed that I’m always seeking outwards and not drawing in. I am not seeking the stillness within or loving and trusting where I am, right now. And she’s right, I need to trust that this is where I am and that everything is perfect. In variety, I get outwards movement, yet nothing within me changes.
Life is not about what we achieve, but how we grow as beings of love. I can’t say that I’m totally cured of my need for variety, but I am aware of it when it comes up now and need to make sure my decision making is not a result of a desire to run, but of a deep desire for growth within me. And maybe, just maybe, my next stage of growth will come as a result of putting down my roots and doing the opposite of what my ego tells me to do.
What drives you? Are you willing to do the deep reflection to find out? For more information about Brett's work and Ignite Leadership seminars click here.
©Alyssa Curtayne 2016
If you are finding that the world is getting you down, you need to check out these top ten tips that I use to maintain my homeostasis when the news of the state of world gets me down.
This blog was published in LifeGrid, please follow the link to see the full article.
"Changing the world will not come by some massive Revolution, but by a silent revolution, of people creating change in their own minds, their homes, their communities and how they interact with the world. People acting in love, not as a reaction to a fear."
I have noticed that I am increasingly disillusioned by the so-called “leaders” of our amazing blue planet and at times the world feels in chaos. But like being in the eye of a cyclone, the moment we get caught up in all of the drama, we get swept away, we lose control. The ongoing nonsense of the US presidential elections is like some warped reality television show that we’ve all been sucked into. The more we engage with it, the more pumped and narcissistic the candidates appear to be.
When I used to teach swimming I often used the phrase: “If you panic you drown,” and so it is with life, on a small scale and on a global collective scale. More than once I have used this for my children – in tests, driving lessons, life. When we relax in the water, we float and we can breathe with our eyes facing the sky above, giving us time to think, but when we panic, we lose all of our centred-ness and the sea swallows us up and we have no time or breath to gather our thoughts.
With either metaphor the outcome is the same, our thoughts create our reality. Our reactions to events define our lives. The more energy we put into issues, the more we engage with the nonsense, the more we lose our centred-ness, our balance, our stillness, our ability to think and make good decisions.
Interestingly, over the past few months, I have increasingly become a conscious observer of the events of the world. If we view the events of the world as separate from us, we lose our connection with the world and we become apathetic, but if we throw ourselves into them, we feel the pain and suffering of all of those children in Syria, the Orangutans in Asia, the myriad of problems in this world. But if you become a conscious observer, where you both connect and disconnect from the events and send loving thoughts to it, make small changes in your life, rather than letting it swallow you up, it is both empowering and changing the world, one person at a time.
Be the Change, is the much-quoted interpretation of Gandhi’s words is never so true as now. We have the power to change the world, but changing the world doesn’t come about by being a cyber troll, baiting and arguing with people on social media. Changing the world looks like looking within, taking ownership of all of the things that you are and all the things that you do – like the food you eat, how you consume and who you buy from. Changing the world will not come by some massive Revolution, but by a silent revolution, of people creating change in their own minds, their homes, their communities and how they interact with the world. People acting in love, not as a reaction to a fear.
At the moment, there is a collective anger, which is paired with a collective apathy, which is both connecting and disconnecting from the world; but when we step away from it by owning, or taking responsibility for our own anger, hatred, racism, sadness, ignorance, selfishness and closed hearts. The world triggers the stories within ourselves. What we need to do is love ourselves so deeply that triggers no longer cause a reaction. Love the story for what it is. Love the situation for what it is. Love them for what they are and create change within your mind, body and community first.
The energy about at the moment is about coming fully into ourselves, our life’s purpose and your divinity. It’s about shedding the ego, embracing our individual and collective darkness and becoming light. Living what is and loving what is. There is very little any of us can do individually on a global level except to look within and to deeply love ourselves, because when we love ourselves we do no harm to ourselves, our immediate environment and ultimately our own little world that we exist in.
All of the people we see on television and YouTube are external mirrors of who we are, they are showing us the way to love and compassion, they are showing us the way to the world we want by being the exact opposite. Ironically, the chaos is a reaction to the deep hidden universal love we all carry within us.
On a personal level you may have noticed stagnation, repeating things that you thought that you had dealt with and blocks in your abundance, but it’s all perfect. We are shifting energy at the moment and finally coming fully into ourselves. When blocks come up they show you where you are off track and not listening to your intuitive nudges, the place where you know everything is perfect, as you are.
Stepping into our light is where we are now, energetically speaking.
Feel the loneliness/rejection/sadness/anger.
Allow it to rise within you and love it for what it is.
It has kept you safe. It has been a companion.
If you don’t want it anymore, notice when it arises, thank it for being there and let it go.
You are divine, whole and complete. You have everything you need within you to change the world, by changing your reactions and thoughts.
Step into you really are. Things like Instagram have made it so easy to be unashamedly who you are, but we don’t need to announce to the world who we are to BE who we are.
It doesn’t mean you can’t have opinions about our global chaos, just stop pouring energy into them. Maintain your own homeostasis, look within for the solutions to the world’s problems, be within you…and you are light.
©Alyssa Curtayne 2016