TOPAZ Issue 11 / 2004
Sustainability and Spirituality
Self determined or determined from outside or elswhere
7 suggestions for self-reflection as a start to each new day
Mr. Green, The Greengrocer
What is honour?
Poetry - A window to mind making
Why ask questions?
The human mosaic of reponse: The purpose of human life?
Waunifor, a tranquil rural Centre in Beautiful West Wales
The "International Colourful Festival of Arts" in Cologne
Dido & Aeneas

Self determined or determined from outside or elsewhere

Thoughts towards the “holistic mosaic human”

by Roland Böhringer, Germany

Some months ago I stepped outside at around eleven at night to feel the atmosphere. The roads were empty, there was no-one else about, it was ghostly and felt pretty depressed. I was staying in Leiden in the Netherlands at the time, attending an editorial meeting about this edition of Topaz magazine. I was aware, of course, that the Dutch team had played Portugal in their Euro 2004 match that evening, and from the gloomy atmosphere that was in the air it was obvious how the match had gone.

I would have hoped for a more cheerful outcome from the match as the next day was also subject to this melancholy atmosphere that hung like a muggy cloud in the air, which only began to lift and get clearer as I reached the German border.

In Germany we had been through this same experience a few days previously, when our national team had lost their match against the Czechs. Every time there is a major sporting competition there are millions of people thinking the same thing and experiencing the same feelings, whether joy at a win or gloom at a loss, which amplify the energy fields of success or failure. This pattern is repeated time after time after time.

What a person produces, whether mentally or emotionally, leaves an unseen echo for a certain length of time, a kind of energy-field, and energy cannot be destroyed it can only be changed. When we feel such a field of energy it often translates as a pleasant or unpleasant atmosphere. For example, where there is stress at work, or things are not running smoothly at home, then the atmosphere is often described as a feeling of tension in the air. It is likely that we have experienced going into a room where there has just been a heated argument and the feeling of the electric charge that vibrates in the air.

If we are not aware of this, then we can identify with this kind of an energy field and the feelings it produces and think they are our own, and then this pre-determines how we act in the circumstances, and suddenly you can find yourself getting annoyed for no good reason.

So my issue here is not about football and what it causes, but it is to do with a question I have asked myself many times - how much of my life is determined by myself and how much is determined by someone or something else? And further, how much is my life subject to influences that I don't want, that perhaps I don't know about or am not conscious of, because I am not sensitive to them?

This has led me into asking how to maximise this aspect of self-determination in one's life, and what the essential ingredients in this would be. My adding up so far has persuaded me that the holistic human grows out of the sum of many parts, each part like one stone in a mosaic that all together make a complete picture, and the art of self-determination is one part of this mosaic.

In former times in our western culture, institutions such as the church or government or other organisations offered frameworks and guidelines on how to live, but today many of these guidelines seem out of date and no longer valid. Many people are looking for alternatives, and often search into eastern philosophies, looking for an individual ethic and way that is not a licence for egotism.

It is often said that there is a “crisis of orientation” happening at the moment, but at the same time this offers a chance for re-orientation, a possibility of stepping back from already pre-determined programmes and patterns to try to reach a better way of life. The search to find oneself and to define oneself in a new way is going on in may people, and is becoming a life pursuit or personal tasking. This leads to a mosaic of new and old templates, those things that have become established as true and of use are conserved, while the rest are obsolete and discarded.

So let's return to the question of being self-determined in life, and how to become more sensitive to this.

This is not a 'once only' process, if we are going to be real about life. Part of becoming self-determined is learning to love the path of continually looking afresh at one's life, carefully chasing, following up and making further corrections on the journey.

As this must be determined by each person in his or her own way, the questions arise:

  • How to approach this in oneself afresh each day?
  • How to live each day in as full a way as possible, ethically and in tune with this self- determination?
  • How to live so that we don't lose the overview or suddenly realise that we have lost our way?
  • How to not get caught by compulsions or fads and fashions that steal our time, money or energy?

One way is a kind of a meditative self-questioning, a pausing in the morning to think, to feel and to switch on our intuitive senses.

It has to do with questions of a general kind that help us to consider ourselves and the day afresh, to keep near to our core and to plan time for the important things in our lives.

Regularly taking this time is a good and efficient way to meet each day in a stronger and more intact manner, thereby improving our quest to become a “holistic mosaic human”.

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