Tuesday, 7 June 2011

My Outlook on Life

I’ve been meaning to do a piece on my spiritual views for ages, and I will get to it soon. But first I want to say something about my general outlook on life.

The central fact anyone needs to know about me, is that I am a spiritually-orientated person. The thing I desire the most is to be One with The Infinite. Because nothing else beats that feeling, no high or thrill of any kind. The Love of the Infinite is the most powerful force in the Universe, and if you know that Love, you cannot but help love Its creations, human beings. Or perhaps it’s more accurate to say, you cannot help but feel compassion, because humans in general are in a mess. Wars, oppression, poverty, violence and difficulties of all kinds, from large to small - we all know what a sorry state the world is in. And most of the pain is caused by humans themselves, on themselves or other humans. You have to either loathe them or feel sorry for them, and I prefer the latter. Because to allow bitterness, prejudice and intolerance into my heart, takes me away from God, and I’m not going to allow that to happen.

I admit, in my earlier years I often felt that bitterness, and even sometimes edged close to that intolerance and prejudice, because of the pain that is the inevitable result of living with undiagnosed, unknown-even-to-me Aspergers. Those on the spectrum, especially those over thirty, will know the struggle of which I speak. But though I often floundered in confusion and angst, I couldn’t ever sustain negativity, not completely, and never for long, it simply isn’t in my nature. In the end, burnt-out and worn-out from trying to be ‘normal’, I knew I had to take a different approach to life – or die. It was that stark. I couldn’t go on any longer the way I had, I was beyond even ‘running on empty’, I was bone-dry, not a drop left in the tank. It was at that point I sought out a spiritual centre and learnt meditation, consciously stepping onto the spiritual path, which I’ve been on ever since (admittedly with a good deal of meandering!). Over a decade of meditation, prayer and ‘living with God’ has not only given me tools to cope with the world, it’s helped me to understand this crazy old world better – and to feel compassion for it. I see the pain, I see the troubles, and my heart can’t help but be moved. It’s who I am, what I am.

So I feel this compassion, and naturally I want to help. Well, I’m still an aspie, and I can’t cushion things much – I speak the truth, about how I see things. But here’s the thing – I want that truth to be a way by which people are helped. As a writer, words are my stock-in-trade, and I do my damndest to use them wisely; to help people see their own Truths, to clarify their lives, understand themselves and others better, simplify complicated situations, and generally make the world a better place. (Because who the heck wants it to be a worse one?) I see this as a responsibility that comes with having a gift for using words. So though I may at times seem forthright, even blunt, it’s not with the intent to hurt, but rather with the object of ‘cutting through the thicket’, unravelling the complicated, and laying bare the heart of the problem. Sometimes, yes, this is painful. But only when the problem is clear, can people actually do something
about it. If I can’t find the right words to help someone to see their way, or if I feel unclear in myself about what’s happening, then I try to refrain from saying anything (or at least until something does become clear). I remind myself that no-one but God can know everything. (And in case you were wondering, yes, I also do this ‘cutting through the thicket’ on myself. How else do you think I learnt it?)

It may seem arrogant to some, this belief that I can help others simply through my words. Let me be clear on this - I have no illusions (a kind of wistful hope, maybe, but no illusions), that I can, simply by my words, ‘wave a magic wand’, and utterly transform people’s lives for the better. Sometimes my words are rejected, resented, or ignored. Fine, no-one has to listen to me, and I’m not the fount of all wisdom. (If I was, I’d have handled my own life better!) But I do have certain understandings, mostly gained the hard way, and if I feel I can help, I will say something. And more than that, I seek to be a channel for a Greater Wisdom – something that doesn’t come from me so much as through me. And sometimes you can sort of ‘plant seeds’ in people’s minds, which might grow and flower in time. Or just enable them to look at things a different way, empower them to make their own changes. Others have done this for me in the past, I’m simply passing the favour on.

So my philosophy can be summed up basically as – to do good whenever I can, or at least to do no harm. I figure there’s enough negative energy and aggro in the world already, and I don’t want to add to it. I want to help people when I can, and if not, then refrain from making things worse. Sounds simple, perhaps even ‘woolly-wafty-liberal’, but it’s actually pretty radical, and not always easy in practise. I admit, I have my bad times. Times when I feel down and rejecting of the world for a while; or times I curse out a driver who cuts me off in traffic and give Jesus Christ a new middle name (though this is mainly fear, because my driving reactions are not that fast, and drivers who drive recklessly or carelessly scare the crap out of me); and other times I get stressed and snap at someone, or I say the wrong thing – even when it feels right - and hurt someone’s feelings. And still other times I know there’s probably something I could say, but I’m too emotionally scattered or stressed to find the words, or the energy to say them. There are people I fail. I’m human, I have shortcomings and make mistakes and blunders like anyone else. And I’m also aspie, with all that that entails.

But the main thing is that I try. I have this approach to life, this outlook, because it’s the only way I can live with myself, the only way I can stay close to The Infinite, the only way I can be a spiritual being and a person with Aspergers, and not succumb to pain, bitterness, and the downward spiral. It’s the only way I can live. Literally.

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