Metaphysical Thoughts

The prefix meta- means going beyond.  Metaphysical considerations, going beyond the physical, leads us into abstract thought.  Abstractions of a spiritual nature cannot be proven.  And yet, often, we believe these abstractions to be true.  As humans will do, we argue about the abstractions. Some start wars and ultimately kill over these abstractions.  I find this particularly odd and disturbing! Do you?
I have posted a picture of a dried sunflower in winter snow.  This past summer sunflowers overtook my flower bed.  I allowed it because I like them.  They grew to be 8 to 10 feet tall, towering well over my head.  Then they faded and I cut them back.  Next summer I will probably pull the shoots and go the more traditional flower bed route.
Would you know any of this without my explanation?  What did you see when you looked at the photograph?  What layers of meaning did you give to the picture?
The dried flower against the snow represents the slumber of winter and the potential of spring inherent in the seed pod, just in case you were wondering what I think it means.  It represents a stage in our spiral journey.  And, I just like the picture.
Because I see people suffering, because I know there is a way past the suffering, I want to encourage people to start walking the path of spiritual growth.  I know it helps alleviate suffering.  Pain is unavoidable, suffering is optional.  Do you believe me?  Do you think it’s possible not to drown in the quicksand of tragedy, depression or anxiety?
Consider the Buddhist monks imprisoned by the Chinese.  Consider Nelson Mandela.  Imagine being imprisoned for twenty years, being abused and tortured, and yet, emerging stronger, still happy and able to forgive.  It is possible.  It requires work and the ability to look at the world from a different point of view.  It’s all about a shift in perspective.
I’m working on it all the time.  Some days are easier than others.  Sometimes I am able to get centered.  Sometimes I am not.  I work on a meditation practice of lovingkindness.  I try to stay present.  I get lost and unbalanced just like everyone else but I do know what is required and I try to do it.  I can even see progress occasionally!  It’s worth it.  It’s worth the work.


What do you work on all the time? What kinds of things do you do to reduce your suffering?



  1. samantha jenkins on November 10, 2011 at 2:49 am

    I’m really looking forward to hearing your offerings on developing a spiritual practice – I’m just in the middle of writing a post about how hard this has been for me to do. All guidance will therefore be gratefully received by me!!

    • Loran Hills on November 10, 2011 at 11:02 am

      Samantha, I would be pleased to help you develop a spiritual practice. Where do you find it the most difficult?

  2. Stella Seaspirit on November 10, 2011 at 6:31 am

    This photo leads me to think about how sunflowers appear to turn their ‘faces’ to follow the sun and how when it comes to personal harvest time for many of us we’ve been so fixated on what is to come next that we’ve overlooked what is right where we are standing.

    • Loran Hills on November 10, 2011 at 11:02 am

      Stella, it is all too often true that we overlook right now. It takes practice to continue to return to the present moment.

  3. Ellie Di on November 10, 2011 at 11:10 am

    What a wonderful statement of purpose, Loran! Bring your woo! I think we’re all ready. <3

    • Loran Hills on November 10, 2011 at 11:13 am

      I’m bringin’ it!

  4. samantha jenkins on November 10, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    Hi Loran,
    I think it’s having the discipline to do something on a regular basis – the discipline to take time out of my day. I also want immediate results ha ha! I’m going to try and start small – maybe do one thing once or twice a week to start with, rather than overwhelming myself by feeling I’ve got to do something each day (I just end up rebelling 🙂 )

    • Loran Hills on November 10, 2011 at 1:10 pm

      It seems like the number one challenge with getting started – not to set the bar too high. It’s like doing a huge workout to get in shape and then being so sore the next day you don’t want to exercise. The number two challenge is staying consistent.

  5. a on November 10, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    I applaud your bold declarations of you willingness to speak of your spiritual self. I do some of that at church, but not so much elsewhere. My sister and I speak about spirituality often. We live together. She cannot take care of herself. I consider her a blessing in my life. To me the spiritual side of me is rather fragile and I do not often offer it up. Thank you for being so open. You are a good example to me.

    • Loran Hills on November 10, 2011 at 3:32 pm

      It is only very recently that I have become willing to share openly! Spirituality is very personal, and as you mentioned, fragile. My beliefs are not fragile but my feelings are. I don’t want to argue about the abstractions. I don’t want to change anyone’s belief system any more than I want them to try and change me. That’s why I think the practice itself is so important.

      Part of my intent with my business and my website is to encourage people to consider their spirituality and how vital it is to our mental and emotional health. I guess that means there has to be some transparency and authenticity or it won’t ring true.

  6. Steve Nicholas on November 10, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    Great post, Loran! You are so right about the need for those inner disciplines. As Viktor Frankl learned, the one thing that your enemies can never take away from you is your mind and your reaction to what they do. In some ways, I think we admire these people for doing what seems so difficult, but I think that we all have that potential within us.

    • Loran Hills on November 10, 2011 at 7:52 pm

      I agree, Steve, that we all have the capabilities within us to do amazing things. In ordinary life we aren’t challenged by extreme difficulties but we do have the potential. It is important to work on our reactions no matter what.

  7. Petrea on November 10, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    Yes Loran I do believe coming back to being present is important. You are so right it is a choice we make, we can choose how we wish to see the world & what we choose to emphasize. We can get lost in it all or bring ourselves back and accept what is, without judgement, without fighting it. That lessens the suffering, and takes away the pain.

    A lovely post Loran!

  8. Michelle on November 10, 2011 at 10:15 pm

    I agree with you that spirituality and spiritual practices are SO important! I’m a very spiritual person – so much so that I often have a hard time expressing it to others. That’s why we need people like you, who are so eloquent about it 😉

  9. Loran Hills on November 10, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    Petrea and Michelle, thank yu for your kind comments. I admit I was a little nervous putting this out there. I wasn’t sure how my thoughts would be received. It is nice to feel understood.

  10. Tanja on November 11, 2011 at 4:39 am

    “What’s important is not which metaphysical abstraction I believe is true. Having a spiritual practice that works for you is what I believe is important”

    Loran, I think this sums up my attitude to spirituality in a nutshell as well. There was a lovely Hindu quote over on Roots of She a few weeks back that ran something like “There are hundreds of paths up the mountain, all leading to the same place, so it doesn’t matter which path you take. The only person wasting time is the one who runs around the mountain, telling everyone that his or her path is wrong.

    It’s a big world, and there’s room for many, many different paths under it’s wide blue expanses of sky!

    • Loran Hills on November 11, 2011 at 11:54 am

      So true, Tanja.

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