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Shine Your Light

Humanity is at war with darkness and the only force that can overcome it is love for ourselves and each other, says David “Zenon” Arenson 

I breathe in and I breathe out.

Another day, another bomb. More senseless violence.

Beirut burning, nobody caring (the day before the Paris attacks, a bomb killed at least 43 and wounded over 200 in Beirut). In Baghdad, 26 people were killed in a suicide bomb and roadside bombing targeting Shiites. A Third World country in ashes, nobody pays much attention.

Paris explodes and the world takes notice. A campaign of sympathy for Western victims, but nothing much for the rest. The media cry out and shockwaves of fear spread across humanity. How can this happen - how can chaos and instability reign in the developed world?

Intense energies and raging wings storm the planet whilst some are sleeping. Is there any sense to be made of this world? In times of upheaval, people seek theological solutions, seek comfort in a higher power.

A question to ask ourselves - who or what is the enemy? Who are we fighting for? Who are we fighting against? Perhaps it is our light that we fear most. Who is the real enemy - is it external or within?

Our conditioning comes from old belief systems based on the ego self that taught separation, materialism and greed, a competition-mindset always focused on the self instead of on co-operation and co-creation. Our history is filled with control and manipulation by dominating forces seeking to build empires. When we act out of ego, we act out of limitation, we easily fall into the trap of fear, hatred and blame.

We each have our own path. How we respond is not the same. There isn't a right way or a wrong way. As Sri Chinmoy wrote so evocatively, "Life is given to each human being for a very special purpose. This secret each human being must discover for himself.”

We are all under attack from extremism - from the Middle East to America, Asia, Russia, Europe and all the world. We are all targets of the dark forces and that actually unites us. Humanity is at war with the darkness and in our plight, we are one. The real enemy is darkness. The faceless enemy is within just as much as it is on the external plain of existence. Yet something unites us all and that is love. It does not have a religion, or a philosophy attached to it...

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Nova View:
Only love can calm our fears

As you’re reading this month’s issue I hope our world has settled down to something resembling normality after the horrific events of Paris only a few weeks ago.

Even as I write this column, Brussels is still on high alert and the general feeling of anxiety that has swept us all up is only now easing.

So it seems both timely and fitting that we should focus this month on calming our fears and restoring our faith in each other and our world. Here I have to thank two of our writers in particular, David Arenson in “Shine Your Light” and Charlie Hogg in “Creating Calm in Chaos”.

While David is as appalled at the Paris violence as anyone else, he sees it as part of a pattern of violence that is almost a daily occurrence elsewhere in the world - Beirut, Baghdad, Nigeria and of course Syria.

When he says that when a poor country explodes or burns “nobody pays much attention”, he is undeniably right. It is only when the violence comes so close to home and harms people who could be us and shrouds one of the world’s favourite cities that many of us have visited in a pall of darkness that we react. It’s an uncomfortable realisation.

What we all have in common wherever we may live is that we are at war with darkness, whatever name it might give itself. And the only way to combat that darkness, David suggests, is to disarm it with love - for ourselves and for each other. As we shine our own light, we encourage others to feel and express what David very eloquently calls, “the fundamental spiritual values of unity, forgiveness, acceptance and kindness”.

Charlie Hogg is another who understands the healing power of love and compassion. I’m sure many of you will have met Charlie in his role as National Coordinator of the Brahma Kumaris in Australia and experienced the palpable aura of peace he carries with him. So I’m delighted that he’s found time in an unrelenting schedule of travel to share his thoughts on finding inner peace against the backdrop of chaos in the world. I know just reading “Creating Calm in Chaos” will bring a sense of softness to your day.

Easing back and letting the stresses flow away is a recurring idea this month. Maybe it’s the thought of the holiday season ahead, but it’s good advice at any time!

Margaret EvansRead the entire
Nova View

by Nova Editor
Margaret Evans

Margaret Evans
NOVA Editor
October 2015

Finding Work - Life Balance

NOVA Magazine, Australia's Holistic Journal Do you ‘work to live’ or ‘live to work’? The answer, says Peter Dingle PhD, can have a major effect on your health. 

As Gandhi emphasised, “The purpose of life is not to increase its speed.”

In the early 20th Century, George Bernard Shaw predicted that we would need to work two hours a day in the year 2000. While good in theory, many people now find it hard to get out of the office but, even worse, they find it hard to get the office out of them.

For most workers, work-life balance is a cultural fantasy. Changes in the work environment within the past decades have led to steady increases in work intensity and job demands. The increase in dual-career couples and single-parent households, and the associated decrease in traditional, single-earner households, suggests that responsibilities for work, housework, and childcare are no longer limited to traditional gender roles. 

With all the conveniences of modern technology - laptop, mobile, pager, email - it is even easier to cram more into our overused system. ‘Call waiting’ now means we can speak to a few people on the phone at any point in time. Modern technology, far from increasing our leisure time, has enabled us to take our work wherever we go. Instead of freeing up more time for leisure, the progress of technology has, in fact, done the complete opposite for many of us.

For many people, it is probably acceptable to sacrifice long hours at a time to complete a professional project, as long as such a period of professional productivity is followed by something that replenishes us personally or financially. And we keep working until we get through this tough patch or crisis. But for some the crisis never ends or just joins onto the next one. We can no longer separate work and life; there are now often no boundaries or rules except that work most often dominates. Many jobs now entail high flexibility and permeability, facilitating role blurring, and unclear boundaries for work and home time.

Flexibility seen as a plus 

On the positive side, results of most studies indicate that perceived job flexibility is related to improved work-family balance. Perceived job flexibility appears to be beneficial both to individuals and businesses. Given the same workload, individuals with perceived job flexibility have more favourable work-family balance. Likewise, employees with perceived job flexibility are able to work longer hours before workload negatively impacts their work-family balance (1). The only problem with these and other studies is that they ask the person involved with the work about their perceived work-life balance, not their partners or family who may have a different perspective...

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