Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Spirituality and the wisdom of the Starman!

I am gutted this week by the untimely death of David Bowie. His influence on me was profound. In thinking about him this week I realised he had informed much that was important to me in my youth, from what I found attractive in men, my interest in art, rock music, fashion: just everything.

My knowledge of Bowie was mainly through his music and through his multiple personalities. However, this week showed me another side to this mystical man.  I was therefore very interested to discover that he was a really fascinating speaker who had much to say on several subjects. In an interview with Jeremy Paxman in 1999, I discovered that he was way ahead of his time in his view of the impact of the internet for example and he proved to be spot on.

However, the biggest thing that resonated with me, was in a short clip of him speaking, played on Radio 4's obituary show, Last Word. He stated, and I hope I have understood him correctly, that he started to examine what he wrote about and discovered that his music could be distilled into a few simple themes. Taking away the outer layers of his music, the costumes and theatrics, he was essentially a writer about, "loneliness to a certain extent, some sort of spiritual search and a looking into a way to communicate with other people and that's about it...."

This analysis of his own work by the great man really struck me. Here was a singer of such great status whose body of work epitomised the deepest struggles of modern man. To have an identity, to be acknowledged, to be someone and to be part of something....

This is what work-place bullying ravages and are the principles Bowie talked about.

The work-place bullied are consigned to a lonely work existence, generally isolated from others or at least isolated from speaking about and getting acknowledgment of the bullying and such isolation cuts at the need to communicate and be acknowledged. It cuts into our humanity.

It is little wonder that the trauma can be so great. Work-place bullying goes to the deepest core of our psychology, our need to be validated. This is no doubt why those bullied often fight so hard for justice, because to get justice provides validation of all that has gone wrong.

In speaking to one bully target recently, it was intriguing that even though she had got a form of justice, in terms of a compromise agreement with a fairly decent sum of money attached, she still felt violated by the experience. Actually describing it as akin to being violently assaulted.

Bowie's three paradigms of loneliness and connectedness and spirituality ring very true.

Out of the three, the bully can make you lonely and isolate you but you still have the possibility of looking for and perhaps finding the third,  "some sort of spiritual search". It seems to me, of that, they cannot rob you.

You may find it in faith, the tranquility and beauty of nature, the arts, mindfulness, meditation, travel, a sport, poetry or a personal journey. It is to be found in much that is free and requires little or no money.

The importance of an inner dialogue and belief system is that it helps you to find who and what you are. It helps you to have self love and self respect. The bully may try to make you lose yourself in all the crap that it brings with it. The bully seeks to make you a lesser person that can be isolated, consigned to a sub-human existence living in fear and paranoia.. Using spirituality,  to find yourself, to discover your identity, needs and requirements, builds resilience and strength to make the right decisions for you. It may be fight, leave, stay, challenge, but you will have the inner ability to identify what is right for you. Call it self belief and self reasoning, this is the spirit that you need to find.

It is said that for a man to live all he needs is shelter, water, food and fire. A man, if lonely, with all these things, may still be half-dead.We know this because in modern society we have all these things and yet can still be lonely and unconnected.

A man knows that there is much in life sent to try us. Bad things happen, you will feel pain. Finding that inner commodity that powers us is a fundamental act of positive self love and creativity. Loneliness becomes merely being spiritually alone for a time, a totally different thing. Feeling isolated is soon evaporated when we connect through our belief system to the outside world and all the wonders it holds. It makes us stronger and we can once again find new ways to communicate through other acts outside work, such as volunteering, participating and sharing what we have discovered. Remember Bowie, ahead of his time, identified the internet. For some, a strange land, but one that can bring ripe rewards in forums, blogs, and social networking.

Then one can walk over the bully and takes a step forward as one becomes mentally stronger. Finally, the bully becomes insignificant in your greater and rich journey of discovery.  Instead of them being the centre of your world, they are a side issue, just a small percentage of the rich pageant of your life. Then you metaphorically forget who they are