Cygnet of the month: Jenny Dean

Hardly a ‘cygnet’ at 64 years old but a fitting label for me just the same as, at times, I still feel very young in my ‘spiritual quest’ to become a fully fledged swan!

My first important memory on my ‘journey’ is that, at eighteen and working in a bank, I suddenly knew that Life had to consist of more than the superficial so, that very lunchtime, I bought my first book of discovery – ‘Chariots of the Gods’ by Erich von Daniken with no reason for my choice than its seeming ‘other worldliness’. I didn’t enjoy it much but am grateful for it being the first step in finding out what this Life is all about!

In due course, that learning, moved me to become an English and Drama teacher then a homeopath, a follower of Buddhism and an animal healer and therapist , all important elements towards Self-knowledge. Now retired, I still draw on all of these even though their impact is ever changing just as I am.

The most important aspects in my ‘spiritual quest’ have been, firstly, to find belief and true confidence in myself on an equal level with everyone else. Not very ‘spiritual’ I know but, for years as a child and young woman, I had a very real inferiority complex. I knew that I couldn’t move on to deeper issues about Life until that was dealt with so that was a very important landmark.

I have read so many books, attended workshops and lectures that again, theoretically, I could say I know the answers. Trouble is, that doesn’t realise the Truth, does it? – I know I have to experience it for myself.

Learning gratitude has been a big step forward. It is so easy sometimes to wallow in self-pity and victimisation which doesn’t serve any purpose at all. If I ever begin to have these feelings, stopping and recalling all the valuable things in my life soon lifts me to a different plane.

At the moment, I am very aware that my learning is about all of Life being the same deep down – one energy, one Truth, one Love and that it isn’t anything outside of me but is always present within me and everything on earth. It is a wonderful joy to know the potential that exists within each of us if only we aren’t afraid to be that huge. (See how much I’ve read – the latter was from Marianne Williamson, I believe!)

Theoretically though, being ‘One’ seems easy to accommodate but my challenge is to feel it in everyday circumstances. What a different matter! When someone pushes in front of me in a long queue, fails to say thank you for a gracious act or is rude and abusive, for example, it so easily alienates me from that awareness. It then becomes ‘them and me’! It is at that point that I have to stop, wait and refuse to react and remember that behaviour is only learned by experience and is not the real being underneath it all. This is where Buddhism’s observation of oneself helps me to avoid becoming embroiled in my momentary emotions. I’m not ‘there’ or even ‘here’ yet but, still living, still learning!

It is difficult to recommend a book – there are so many. However, Neale Donald Walsch’s ‘Conversations with God’ [Stock code: 085064, £6.99]

really enlightened me as to what this human existence is all about – knowing who and what we actually are. Events and circumstances in themselves are unimportant except for their ability to act as catalysts for inner change and development. We have to see beyond their triviality, however important they might seem, to something that doesn’t fall away with time .

Finally, my ‘jewel’ offering

I am grateful for several – my Dad for one but I’m afraid I cannot share him with you!

Firstly, something which is so simple, free to give and can illustrate that deep bond between all of us so easily. A smile. Try it. It works wonders most of the time. Smile at a scowling, ‘hard’ teenager in the street and see the gentle being that he really is. It is its own reward.

Lastly, a beautiful poem by Hafiz which acclaims how wonderful we all are if only we could realise it.

My Brilliant Image

One day the sun admitted.
I am just a shadow.
I wish I could show you
The Infinite Incandescence
That has cast my brilliant image!
I wish I could show you,
When you are lonely and in darkness,
The Astonishing Light
Of your own Being

Jenny Dean