Author Archive | tejvan

The spirituality of Leonardo Da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci was a remarkable man. A man of both science and art, who matched a ceaseless creativity with a passion and devotion for discovering the wonders and beauty of life.

In art, Da Vinci left humanity the immortal Mona Lisa, which offered a glimpse of the Transcendent in the human-form. Da Vinci was also a pioneering and original thinker, who transcended his lifetime and even the Renaissance – to leave ideas which are both timeless and illumining. These are a few selected quotes which reveal the inner spirituality of a man who was unconcerned with any outer display of piety.

Quotes of Leonardo

“Here forms, here colours, here the character of every part of the universe are concentrated to a point; and that point is so marvellous a thing … Oh! marvellous, O stupendous Necessity — by thy laws thou dost compel every effect to be the direct result of its cause, by the shortest path. These are miracles…”

– Leonardo da Vinci

“Love shows itself more in adversity than in prosperity; as light does, which shines most where the place is darkest.”

– Leonardo da Vinci

Like unto this is the love of virtue. It never looks at any vile or base thing, but rather clings always to pure and virtuous things and takes up its abode in a noble heart; as the birds do in green woods on flowery branches.

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Taking gold to Heaven

A very wealthy man is distressed that he can’t take his wealth to Heaven. So, in his retirement, he spends many years praying to God – beseeching God to make an exception and allow him to take his wealth with him when he dies.

heaven

Finally, God responds to the man’s fervent prayers and says. “OK, in your case, I will make an exception – you can bring one bag of wealth with you.”

The man is jubilant and, when he dies, he has a bag full of gold bars placed in his coffin.

When he arrives at the Pearly Gates, he has a bag of gold bars by his side.

St Peter stops him and says “Sorry, but you can’t bring anything from earth into Heaven.”

The man replies. “It’s OK; I’ve got a special exception”. St Peter goes and makes a few phone calls, and comes back to say. “OK, I can see you have an exception, but I still need to check all your hand-luggage.”

St Peter looks in the man’s bag, and says “very good, but why did you bring pavement with you?”

***** Continue Reading →

Different ways of looking at the situation

We have all heard the phrase ‘There is always two sides to the same story’. But, according to Jain wisdom, there are seven different ways of looking at the same situation.

Dispersive_Prism

When light enters a prism, it splits into a rainbow of seven distinct colours. Seven different aspects of the same light. From one perspective, you may see only indigo – but if you move to the other end of the spectrum, you will see red or green.

If we see the red light, our experience is true, but it doesn’t mean that is the whole story. Just because we see red light, doesn’t mean that others may not be seeing something else. Also, when we see red light, are we aware that its source is pure white light? Continue Reading →

The beauty that remains

rainbow-wharfedale

Over Christmas I saw quite a few beautiful rainbows. Their short-lived transience makes the thrill even greater.

However as a photographer, I was caught between living the moment and trying to capture on film. The momentary arrival of a rainbow can come with a tinge of sadness that everything soon passes on earth. Part of you wants to hold onto the rainbow’s beauty before it slips away.

The world is in a constant state of flux. Everything is fleeting – nothing lasts. The rainbow exemplifies this birth and death – all within a few minutes. It lifts our spirits, but then is gone.

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The sweet rainbow comes and goes,
But its beauty remains.

The dear sun comes and goes,
But its duty remains.

The faithful day comes and goes,
But its sound remains.

The restful night comes and goes,
But its silence remains.

Sri Chinmoy
– Wings of Light, part 11, WL-529

In this poem, Sri Chinmoy reminds us of the beauty which is everlasting. It echoes the immortal words of John Keats.

“A thing of beauty is a joy forever”

We love the outer rainbow, not just for its unique light, but because it also – consciously or unconsciously – reminds us of the soul’s world and the inner beauty.

In the poem, Sri Chinmoy suggests we should not mourn the fading of the outer light because its Source is eternal. The outer beauty is a just reminder to seek the inner light.


Photo top: Tejvan (Wharfedale, Yorkshire, 25th December, 2016)

A simple truth to be shared

Buddha Maitreya (Koji Takeuchi) has spent the last 35 years of his life transforming a two-acre plot into traditional Japanese garden. He uses the garden to teach meditation and offer a path of inner peace.

I like this video for its simplicity and example of practical spirituality. To work and create a beautiful garden – with the aim of offering the peaceful surrounding to others – in the hope of providing a catalyst for people to find their inner peace and happiness within.

Spending less time online


My spiritual teacher Sri Chinmoy is very keen on New Year’s Resolutions. He advocated both making a few personal resolutions and a few resolutions for achieving things outwardly.

In the past, I have been very poor at making New Year’s resolutions, but this year I am following one resolution, almost by accident.

In 2016, I spent a lot of the time wishing I didn’t waste so much time reading online news, opinion and comment. I would have a good meditation in the morning but, before I’d finished breakfast, I was back in the world of opinion and judgement.

It was like eating a healthy breakfast of fruit and oats, only to finish it off with a chocolate gateaux cake and cream. The point is you can’t lose weight by eating chocolate cake and cream, no matter how much fruit and vegetables you also eat. Similarly, if you want real inner peace, you need to meditate – but also be careful of where else you spend your time and energy.

The problem is that the easy accessibility of online news means there is a never ending stream of things to read. You start with the intention of just seeing the headlines, but then I found myself reading more than I intended. Time can pass by – you haven’t done anything productive, only filled your mind with more opinions.

There is an addictive quality to browsing the internet – a spare one minute appears in the day and, before you know it, 15 mins have passed. I noticed that it is usually when bored or unhappy that I often sought refuge in online browsing, but this didn’t help. Continue Reading →

Concentrating on good qualities

Concentrating on the good qualities of other people helps to bring forward these values in ourself, and also gives real encouragement to others.

sea-swim

Over the New Year I heard an audio talk from my spiritual teacher, Sri Chinmoy, which offered one simple suggestion for the New Year.

“In the New Year, instead of focusing on people’s bad qualities, concentrate only on their good qualities. For the New Year, make it your resolution to always see good qualities in others and forget about their bad qualities.”

This was the essence of the talk as I remember. A very simple message, but repeated several times, I felt the idea sinking into my mind.

The idea behind this message is highly relevant for everyone.

Whoever we are, it is the nature of the human mind to hold onto the flaws and failings of people around us. It is their undivine qualities – ego and jealousy, which irritate us. When we are displeased with someone, it becomes hard to value their good qualities, which may lie hidden underneath. But, even the most irritating acquaintances and work colleagues will have at least a few good qualities.

Why is it important?

The first benefit is that it will help us to be happier. If we concentrate on people’s bad qualities, we may gain a little feeling of superiority, but this does not give real happiness. If we can appreciate other people’s good qualities, it will give us a sense of satisfaction and self-giving. Continue Reading →

The Golden Age

I am reading a book about the Golden Age of Atlantis [1]. It is a picture of Heaven on Earth, a world with no conflict, but a society where willing individuals see and feel the underlying unity of the universe. There are some sections I skim through (it does have quite a new age vibe) But, the interesting thing about the book was the depiction of a golden age, where people were predominantly spiritual and the prevailing culture was one of connection to God, the Ultimate Source in every aspect of life.

sunset-croatia

Whether it is true or just the writers imagination, is perhaps not important. The idea of a golden age – a world where spiritual oneness and peace are the predominant qualities of the world does touch at an inner core of our being. The hope of every soul must be to someday live through a golden age, where real spirituality is natural, spontaneous and all-pervasive.

The current world situation is certainly a far cry from any golden age – though it is often said the night is darkest before the dawn.

I feel optimism and belief in a better world are not just building castles in the sky. Optimism and faith in the divine potential of man and the world are an important foundation for creating this future golden age.

The Golden Age will rapidly blossom
In the hearts of those
Who most devotedly love God
And at the same time
Shall not remain detached
From His earth-family.

Sri Chinmoy

References

[1] Discover Atlantis – Diana Cooper

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