How to Overcome Loneliness

1.  Recognize loneliness for what it is.

What is loneliness?  It is an enemy, a disease that eats away happiness, alienating you from all that is worthwhile in life, and it sours and thickens the spirit.  Calling it your “friend” or accepting it as a cross you must bear is deadly to your peace of mind.  Wallowing in your misery brings out the most acute feelings of loneliness, feeding it by keeping yourself in that state, sometimes leads to a point that it becomes enjoyable.  Watch out when this happens. It is a sign of danger — not only to you but to others around you as well.

2.  Distinguish between loneliness and aloneness.  These are not the same.  Loners are not necessarily lonely.  Some of the most creative and productive people find it necessary to be alone much of their time.  They have learned to use their solitude creatively.  Fact is, we need periods of solitude.  It is where we generate the physical and spiritual reinvigoration from our crowded schedules.  King David, the psalmist of the Bible also writes about this saying, “He leadeth me beside still waters.  He restoreth my soul.”  All of us experience loss in one way or another.  It is our choice if we let grief stay only for a temporary episode of our life or allow it to become a crippling disease to rot our life away.

3.  Make yourself useful.

Instead of wallowing in a pool of misery, find time to make yourself and your life useful to others.  There are dozens of ways in which you could help.  Go out into the community, find a church, offer your services, and your talents.   Join a cause. You will be surprised at how you gain fulfillment in serving others, in making others smile, in being an inspiration to live.  You’ll soon find out that your former state of self pity is just all about being too concerned about yourself, when you see that there is a whole world out there, and humanity is just as needy as you are.  Find in yourself something you could offer to make this world a better place.

Now get up and find your purpose!

Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Bonfires and other Bizarre Midsummer Rituals

There are many bizarre rituals and superstitions associated with Midsummer. Midsummer or summer solstice is celebrated in many cultures as the longest day of the year.

Why do people in different cultures have rituals like bonfires at midsummer?

In fact, have you thought why people in different cultures celebrate natural phenomena? Some would say that these rituals are reminders of an ignorant “pagan” past. But are they; in fact, our attempts at finding answers to questions about our origin and destiny, and discover our role in the big picture of creation?

Midsummer or summer solstice is celebrated in many cultures as the longest day of the year. From Finland to Spain, especially in the Northern Hemisphere, midsummer is often associated with huge public bonfires. In many European countries, people gather when bonfires are lit at night. The fires are usually fed with old and unwanted wooden furniture, junk, and broken boats. The younger and more agile people jump over the fire while making wishes. 21st June is celebrated as midsummer in most countries since the Gregorian calendar reform, though 24th June is technically the longest day of the year. But, neo-pagans celebrate summer solstice on June 24th in places like Stonehenge in England and Newgrange in Ireland.

Over the centuries Christianity assimilated most “pagan” festivals into the Christian calendar of festivals. The rowdy Roman harvest festival at winter solstice became Christmas. According to the Catholic Encyclopaedia, 1911 edition, “Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church…the first evidence of the feast is from Egypt, around AD 200 when it was celebrated on 20th May.” Midsummer also got assimilated into the Christian calendar. In England midsummer became “St. John’s Eve.” In many countries, it is “St John’s Day” or the Feast of John the Baptist. In Russia it is Ivan Kupala Day, in Poland it is Noc Kupały or Noc Świętojańska and so on.

The ancient Germanic, Slav and Celtic tribes in Europe celebrated Midsummer with communal bonfires. At midsummer night, the sun does not sink even at midnight in the northernmost areas of the Northern Hemisphere beyond the Arctic Circle. These areas had fire festivals, love magic, and divination at midsummer. Agile people jumped through the flames believing that the crops would grow as high as they could jump. Maidens tried to know about their future husband, and spirits and demons were banished through the magical powers of the bonfire.

Many Midsummer Night’s superstitions and customs are similar to those observed on Christmas Eve. A girl will supposedly marry the man who she will see in her dream walking along the straw placed across the bowl of water under her bed. In another version, the man will dry his face on the towel placed beside her bed. In one tradition, the future husband will come from the direction in which the girl notices the first bonfire on Midsummer Night. Dew collected during Midsummer is believed to have special healing powers. Young girls wash their faces with the dew to make themselves beautiful, older women to make themselves younger.

One of the magical elements in midsummer is a belief in the intersection of the visible and invisible worlds during that night. The modern Wiccans, like the ancient Celts, believe that at Litha or the Feast of the Faeries at twilight in midsummer, the gates between the visible and invisible worlds open and faeries enter our world to bring joy, love, prosperity and wisdom to people who welcome them.

Fire has been among humans since lower Palaeolithic times (2,5 million – 100,000 years ago). Our ancestors from pre-Homo Sapiens times seem to have given fire a ritual significance. At excavations in Gesher Benot Ya’aqov, Israel, there are traces of controlled fire about 800 000 years old. The link between fire and midsummer is also pretty old. There is evidence of Midsummer festivals in Newgrange in Ireland from around 3000 BC. There is further evidence of midsummer celebrations among the Essenes, a Jewish sect from 1st century A.D., the ancient Hopi and the Nachez people in the Americas as well as among the Chinese. For the Chinese the summer solstice ceremony is the birthday of the feminine force yin, when they celebrate the earth. At winter solstice, the Chinese celebrate the heavens, masculinity and the birth of the yang forces. Different peoples of North Africa, in Morocco and Algeria, especially the Berbers also celebrate midsummer even today.

In the Scandinavian country of Finland, midsummer is the main festival of the year. People start their summer holidays and go to their countryside cottages. People gather around the kokko or bonfires usually on the shore of a lake. It is a popular day for weddings and churches have to be booked months or years in advance. In earlier days, unmarried young girls went naked to the meadows the night before midsummer to collect seven different wild flowers, which they placed under their pillows. They hoped to dream of the man who would become their husband. Nowadays these rituals are not practised, but there are communal dances as also; unfortunately, excessive drinking, and drowning, and accidents.

Many of the early communal rituals have lost their significance in modern urban settings. Alienation or loneliness and depression have become extremely common afflictions for people in the affluent countries of the world. Counselling and medication are both fighting a desperate battle to help. Is this a sign that overtly rationalizing and standardizing human life impoverishes it and we fall ill? Nowadays many religions also have lost touch with the lives of millions of people. The ancient myths and symbols don’t speak to modern man. Should we blame modern man for this lack of communication or should religions update their myths and symbols?

Words About Life

Spiritual understanding of existence, karma, the difference between soulful life and ego-orientated life.

Indeed the universal implications must be known in order to have a controlled life. Indeed when such thoughts arise in the mind, feelings of insanity might arise as well. The universe works in sequences, rhythms, patterns and cycles. It could be frustrating realizing this concept, watching everything repeat itself could get annoying, especially when the ones around you don’t realize that humanity and the rest of the world are part of an endless cycle. The benefit of knowing this concept outweighs the negative aspect of it. Instead of complaining about the cycle, realize you start the motions. You can either start a negative or positive motion; the power lies in your hands.

If you start a negative motion it will repeat itself until you realize it and stop it, or else it will just spin and spin. Realize that you are a soul and not a body. The body is just the soul’s instrument, and when the instrument becomes old and rusty, doesn’t work as it used to, the soul discards the body and gets another one. There is no such thing as “death” really. It is only a moment in one’s life when the body becomes too weak to work anymore and is not a benefit for the soul any longer. One could say it is also a time when the soul’s mission is complete, however only for that period of time because it will return and have a new objective. Nevertheless, there is one general objective the all souls must strive to carry out, that is spirituality, to be connected to the supreme soul while having its presence on earth. However, through many births this objective in majority of cases has been neglected and forgotten.

Through many births the soul consciousness has been replaced by body consciousness, this means that the body rather than the soul governs actions. This means that majority of people will do things if there is a benefit for them. This means that anger, jealousy, egotism, arrogance, selfishness, ignorance, attachment to physical objects, thirst for power, lust, become apparent in one’s life. Those who live by soul consciousness would never live by such negative aspects. A soul sees everyone as a brother or a sister; the soul sees everyone as one. The soul sees everyone pure as crystal water. The soul will never fully attach itself to a physical object, knowing that physical objects sooner or later will crumble to nothingness.

It knows that by seeking happiness in physical objects, that happiness will last as long as that physical object or as long as one has an attachment towards it. It knows that happiness through materialism is temporal; through soul consciousness happiness is eternal. It is logical to consider the fact that when one is dependent on an external factor, the fulfillment will not last due to the fact that nothing is permanent. Therefore, if one is merely dependent on one’s internal nature, which is everlasting, the fulfillment is eternal. In order for this to occur, one needs to reach a certain spiritual plateau from which this internal fulfillment will arouse. By living with a body consciousness, a person will be living in an a illusion believing it is reality. The mental perspective of the world itself is an illusion.

The world you live in is the world that lives within your mind. Your perspective is only due to your state of mind, each mind equals a different world. However, by going back to soul consciousness, one awakes from their illusionary dream and sees the world with clarity and truth. By living a righteousness life and meditating and by reading spiritual material one can gain such clarity. Soul and body consciousness are of the same essence, tails and heads of a coin. Spirituality is not a religion, it is not a way of life, it is life, true essence of life. There are no rituals, no customs, no worship; all that is required is to live with a soul consciousness, to be righteous and to be aware of the universal laws. Spirituality is the core of religions, it is the core and the religions are the seeds, which have grown to be what they are due to their environment and time. In essence they are pretty much the same.

The problem is that they have been interpreted wrongly and manipulated; one must look upon without attaching oneself to it and with an open mind to see the meaning with a wider perspective. It is mostly written metaphorically and the meaning lies deeper, it is important not to take it literally. Most of the stories, which are taken literally have a certain meaning but lose their true meaning. For example, many will disagree with this but many will agree, it depends on the state of mind. The main figurehead other than God, of the Bible is Jesus. He has been portrayed as a son of God, as a messiah who came down to earth, he was indeed.

However, Jesus said that he is the son of God indicating that everyone else is a son or daughter of God. He didn’t say it to indicate that he is all powerful and that everyone must obey him. He also said that everyone could be him if they wanted. Furthermore, anyone who comes here, earth, to elevate humanity and to preach peace and love is a messiah. He came down to play his role; everyone has their role to play. This is an example of manipulation; the Christian scholars, the apostles got people to worship a man, like an idol, which is against their law. Yes he had spiritual powers but everyone can achieve them if they tried hard enough, perhaps to a lesser degree, that was one of the things Jesus preached about. Muhammad is very similar to Jesus, pretty much preached the same words. However, Muhammad said he is no God and must not be worshipped, that he is only a man. One does not need to seek out to find a meaning to life or to seek out to find truth, does not need a God to worship but only acknowledged, truth and meaning lies within oneself. There is a whole world waiting to be discovered within you. The purpose of life is to give it a purpose, the truth of life is hidden within you. Meditating is not a religious aspect, nor a Buddhist or Hindu practice.

It is a universal aspect; it is a natural method and a very powerful method of transforming the mind. It is not used to empower breath control or just to relax, even though they are part of it, but the main point is to enlighten the soul by connecting it to a higher source. Just close your eyes and watch how it brightens your soul and how the light envelops your mind. The absence of spiritual light leads to darkness, the negativity and sorrow in one’s life. While being internally dark, the words you speak and the actions you perform will release the darkness, resulting in more sorrow for yourself and the people around you. The outer world will be only a reflection of the inner darkness; things might seem meaningless and distressful. However, when the inner light is shinning the opposite occurs, being that darkness and light are complete opposites, one’s eyes glitter exposing the inner peace.

One’s actions and words are performed with care and love. By sharing the light with others and seeing people benefit from it and become happier results in more happiness inside. Due to the inner light, the outer world in result shines as well. One should realize that one’s actions are judged and are returned to him, this is the law of Karma. The family that you have, the friends, everyone you meet, the situation that you are in, the hard times you have the good times you have, everything in your life, it might sound unfair but they are all fruits of your creation. The seeds you plant are the flowers that you will get. There is no one to blame but yourself. It is more logical to blame yourself rather than God, after all He did give you free will, the way you use it is your choice. To blame God is to say that He is cruel and loves hurting people, that He is blood thirsty and loves to see people suffer This perhaps answers the question, why do innocent suffer; well perhaps they are not innocent after all.

This is due to their past life or actions that they did in the past, the actions that they carried in their past life or what they did in the past have returned to them. This doesn’t mean that one has to suffer due to his actions forever; any negative situation is a sign that something needs to be changed. By changing your actions you change your present state, which changes your future. Nothing is coincidental, there is no luck or miracles, everything happens for a reason and everything has a meaning.

By going deep inside yourself you will find the real self. You will find your role and your purpose in life. Good things don’t come easy but bad things do, the harder you try the better the feeling when you get the result. It is a hard journey but the most important journey.