A wise person knows that perception…

imagesCA0416D2…shapes everything that happens in life. And perception is a matter of choice. Indeed, it’s a blessing to be able to choose how personal experiences and the world at large are viewed. As a result, we can choose to see peace, rather than conflict; love, rather than fear; abundance, rather than lack; and we can to see a divine plan, instead of random chaos. Abraham Lincoln is credited with wisely saying: “Most of us are just as happy as we make up our minds to be.” So very true.

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” – Winston Churchill

Choose happiness and you will be happy. Choose to see the best in your team and they will be inspired by it. Choose to see other beings as fellow spiritual travellers and they will feel encouraged. Choose to see your employees as team members and they will fight for victory. It is truly amazing how fantastic and simple life really is. Don’t make it complicated – it’s so very easy.

Wednesday Wisdom: Be What You Are Seeking

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Aspects of Spiritual Life

“Spiritual life is not mental life. It is not thought alone. Nor is it, of course, a life of sensation, a life of feeling—“feeling” and experiencing the things of the spirit, and the things of God. Nor does the spiritual life exclude thought and feeling. It needs both. It is not just a life concentrated at the “high point” of the soul, a life from which tumblr_mkoqk6pPUJ1r5u4wzo1_500the mind and the imagination and the body are excluded. If it were so, few people could lead it. And again, if that were the spiritual life, it would not be a life at all. If man is to live, he must be all alive, body, soul, mind, heart, spirit.

Everything must be elevated and transformed by the action of God, in love and faith. Useless to try to meditate merely by “thinking”—still worse to meditate by stringing words together, reviewing an army of platitudes. A purely mental life may be destructive if it leads us to substitute thought for life and ideas for actions. The activity proper to man is not purely mental because man is not just a disembodied mind. Our destiny is to live out what we think, because unless we live what we know, we do not even know it. It is only by making our knowledge part of ourselves, through action, that we enter into the reality that is signified by our concepts.

To live as a rational animal does not mean to think as a man and to live as an animal. We must both think and live as men. Illusion to try to live as if the two abstract parts of our being (rationality and animality) existed separately in fact as two different concrete realities. We are one, body and soul, and unless we live as a unity we must die. Living is not thinking. Thought is formed and guided by objective reality outside us. Living is the constant adjustment of thought to life and life to thought in such a way that we are always growing, always experiencing new things in the old and old things in the new. Thus life is always new.” –  Thomas Merton

Faith or foolishness?

Is it possible to have too much faith? To be too courageous? Where does the line go between being very courageous and being plain foolish? And what defines foolishness?

A very brave friend of mine arplan lifee about to embark on a adventurous and most likely life-changing journey.  This journey has been planned for quite some time, with careful considerations to all that might or might not happen, or develop, as a result of it. However, what was by him before thought of as a pretty normal event with all that naturally happens in the course of a relationship – yes, we are talking about a lovers situation here – this “journey” has turned into a drama of its own and the events now unfolded  as led him to reflect great deal on the subjects of having faith, being courageous or being plain foolish.

Not long ago his plans seemed like a great idea. As a matter of fact he felt that it seemed as an incredible, fun, exciting and amazing opportunity. A blessing from the Divine that could lead him to fantastic never-before-experienced things and to a life with the woman of his dreams. However, by unseemed actions – at least for him – things have surfaced that indicates that this “fun, exciting and amazing opportunity” that he expected might not happen the way he planned it to. My question, does it ever?

“Although individuals around me smile and tell me – or my loved ones remind me – of how ‘courageous’ I (supposedly) am, so often daring to do what many wouldn’t, their words of encouragement is not working on me this time. In fact, I do not feel courageous at all….I feel totally lost.”

My friend explained to me how he’d felt about this change in course – expressing feelings of confusion, discouragement and more importantly a sense of being lost. He’d even questioned his courage – wondering if he had not just been plain foolish and blind, not courageous.

tumblr_ms8u1cjo0v1rtqolxo1_1280To me courage is daring to follow your heart’s desire, the path of your soul and having faith in that everything will work out to the best – in a greater perspective. Courage is what makes people go against the mainstream and follow their inner voice – or the guidance of the Divine source – in order to grow spiritually. Courage is what makes us take a huge leap of faith and follow our hearts desire when meeting the (wo)man of our dreams in order to pursue our relationship – even if, as my friend and his lover, you are living in different parts of the world. Courage is what makes us try new or different things, or walk on to unknown paths, although feeling afraid, just to be able to grow in one way or another. Courage is to be truly scared but still move ahead.

It makes me think about what some individuals are prepared to in order to fulfill their deepest dreams! Their courage, strength and faith is beautiful and it warms my heart simply thinking about it! Especially when they are determined to turn something that can be perceived as a “tough situation” into a golden moment of opportunity. I love that!

“The optimist refuses to believe that the road ends without options” – Robert H. Schuller.

One thing is clear to me though. Although we’re told by society that we are frail and powerless beings who live in a world where things just “happen” for no apparent reason, I am confident that our existence – as our most ancient and cherished spiritual traditions tell us – is based on a Divine force that lives within each and every one of us. A power that nothing in the world can touch. And for my friend there’s some – to him at this point unknown and unforeseeable – reason he’s supposed to do this. All the signs still points him towards it. Yes, there’s no denying that his situation has gone from a being “a prospective wonderful amazing God-given opportunity to a life in total bliss” (his words) to a complete turnaround into a somewhat frightening and lonely road.

6My friend is still guided to go through with it. And with restored faith in great things ahead, he surely will. It’s not going to be the way he wished or planned for, that’s clear. But with the determination to make the best he can out of the current situation, I am absolutely convinced he’ll experience a journey beyond his imagination. In other words, better than anything he ever could have planned. I know from my own experiences that it is only by the courageous leaps I’ve taken that I’ve gotten to not only encounter the most amazing individuals, but also experience truly fascinating spiritual journeys. Having faith and leaving the rest in God’s hands, that is the most courageous thing you can do.

The things that are going on right now in my friends life right now makes me think of the words of Gibran who in his classic book “The Prophet” reminds us of what it means to have a great gift and to know that it’s power is already within us. Gibran writes that “no man can reveal to you aught but that which already lies half asleep in the dawning of your knowledge.” In other words, we can’t be taught what we don’t already know as we came into the world already knowing how to use our beliefs and I find that to be so very true. We ourselves have the power to rewrite our own code of reality. It’s just a matter of choice of how we want our life to be! Isn’t that an amazing blessing from the Divine?! I truly think so!

Gibran’s thought aren’t something new – in fact, his book was published in the beginning of the 19th century. The same subject has been explored by many mystics in the past. The ancient Sufi poet Jalal ad-Din ar-Rumi describes the irony of our mysterious condition in this world by stating that “what strange beings we are that sitting in hell at the bottom of the dark, we’re afraid of our own immortality.” Rumi, as well as many other ancient philosophers, explored the promise of surviving the darkest moments of life and the reassurance that difficult times are only a part of a journey that leads to a place where bad things can’t happen any longer as they reflected on “the deepest mysteries of life”. Just as these fascinating individuals, I myself do not believe that we are fragile victims of events that are beyond our control but that we are powerful creators of our own life – if we choose to be! Which leads me back to the beginning…not knowing anything yet knowing it all I could not but encourage my friend to embark on this fascinating, scary and divine journey with faith that it’ll lead to all that he want it to – the fulfillment of his soul’s desire as ones know it.

Through the godlike power of human belief, we are given the equally divine ability to bring what we believe to life in the matrix of energy that bathes and surrounds us.”

What Do You See?

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Friday’s wisdom: Thoughts become things

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Life: Acceptance

I’ve come to discover that when one in a discussion brings up the subject – or suggestion – of acceptance, most people react negatively. A lot of individuals see acceptance as something that isn’t good. Some mean that we can not possibly “sit down, relax and accept things” in an “always on demand and connected” society were everything is changing so very fast and when there still is so much in need of acceptance_hto2008further change. Many others respond with asking what seem to be the most important question “well, if someone hurt you or harm someone you love should you then just accept what has happened and maybe even worse, forgive that person?!”. I understand these reactions as they are very legitimate. Acceptance can be kind of scary. That is, in the beginning of ones practise. In the beginning it can be difficult to let go of control of – or on trying to control – that which you know might have an impact on your life. It can be really difficult not to try and steer things, people or events in a, by you, desired direction.

Being in control – or rather the feeling of not being in control – and it’s impact on our behaviours is a phenomena widely studied. The feeling of not being in control of whatever it is that an individual feels not being in control of, has been scientifically sfull-yellow-flower-in-stone-wallhown to be a trigger for not only addictions like alcohol, drugs and sex but for illnesses such as anorexia nervosa, anorexia bulimia and other illnesses with distorted body images (like obsessive exercising or dieting among healthy individuals with normal bodyweight) as well.

People feel lack of control in such variety of areas that it is almost overwhelming – with everything ranging from money issues, work issues, relationship issues to health issues and so on. And the amazing thing is that when one of these areas seems to be “in control” or feels like it, most individuals direct focus on another area where there is a perceived lack of control – and unconsciously use that as a trigger, or “excuse” to continue with the damaging behaviour. We are acting like the hamster on a wheel!

It’s worth to mention that some people do not “act out” when in a situation where they experience lack of control but in fact do not act at all. Instead they might feel, and usually openTo complain is always non-acceptance of what isly declare, themselves as “victims of the circumstances” with no power what so ever to change the situation, or they might simple feel overly helpless and become totally passive. Regardless of how one might react and feel when one experiences lack of control, the above explained is not the same thing as the meaning I am putting on the practise of “acceptance”. What I am talking about is a mindful approach to acceptance.

Let me explain further. We all know that life‘s complicated, hard, messy and even painful at times. At some point(s) we get so knocked down at what we are faced with that we don’t even know how to – or even if we want to – get up and move on. There’s no denying or getting around that. Facts are though that most of us – and bless the ones who did or choose not to – do get up. But many do not move on! There are so many individuals whom gotten stuck somehow in Now, yesterday, and tomorrow words on blackboard, Time concept.those feelings of pain, suffering, resentment and the likes. In other words, although the situation has changed on the outside, it’s still the same on the inside as it was when these individuals first encountered that event, thing or person that triggered it all. They are (un)consciously holding onto a feeling which doesn’t make them feel better but worse. And in some instances this turns into a pattern, which is where the ‘danger’ lies in it.

By holding onto feelings of pain, suffering, resentment and so on, we expose ourselves to the risk of these feelings turning into pure suffering. We are in other words causing ourselves to suffer! (Un)consciously. I know some may object to this and claim that “but it wasn’t my fault, (s)he did this and that, this happened to me, etc.”. And yes, you might be very right! Or not!

Presume that we are victims of circumstances – which I for the record do not believe   myself as I think of us all as spiritual co-creators of our life in one way or another and more or less. Anyway, even as victims of some really nasty circumstances that totally knocks us off our feet and turns our world around to the almost unrecognizable and even less bearable, we do have within us the power and blessing to choose not only how we will react to it but also for how long it is going to have such (huge or small) impact on our life. And of course this is individually!

acceptanceSo what can one do about it? Well, the answer is simple but putting it into action might not always be that easy. It works however and it is in my opinion the only way to move on. Acceptance. Act on that which you in fact can change and accept that which you can not! Some things, many things, are totally out of our control no matter how much we in one way or another try holding on to controlling it. And it doesn’t matter what the objectives are, we still can not control it. By accepting this, and I mean truly intensely accepting it, we free ourselves from a sometimes very heavy burden. We free ourselves from suffering. We move from that which belongs to the Past, embrace our Present – the Now – and creates possibilities for a glorious Future.

the past is goneWe can never change what has happened in the past and we know nothing at all of what the future has in store for us. But it is in the now that we can fully live by accepting that we are not to control or be controlled. We are to live, learn and fully love! I most definitely know that life is really hard and painful at times and that it can be, and feel, utterly impossible to even gain the strength to breathe. It is true though that wisdom comes through struggle – it may sound like a bad cliché but in most cases it is in fact correct. That wisdom is gained at the moment you stop struggling and instead accept what is.

In his book The Art of Happiness, Dalai Lama states that Image1I believe that the very purpose of life is to be happy. From the very core of our being, we desire contentment. In my own limited experience I have found that the more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well-being. Cultivating a close, warm hearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease. It helps remove whatever fears or insecurities we may have and gives us the strength to cope with any obstacles we encounter. It is the principal source of success in life. Since we are not solely material creatures, it is a mistake to place all our hopes for happiness on external development alone. The key is to develop inner peace.” Beautifully said.

Monday Wisdom

“Living a reflective life is a powerful spiritual discipline. Periodically and intentionally looking back over the past months brings insights, joys, and perhaps regret. Regret can be a wonderful teacher, full of lessons that motivate future behavior.” – Jean Houston

Life

Wisdom for today

Self-trust

The practise of mindfulness…

001295…can be said as being the art of staying in the moment – accepting what it is – because it is already here. Mindfulness was originally developed by Jon KabatZinn in order for him to assist and help individuals with a wide range of medical issues. The practise is based on Buddhist philosophy and involves meditation, yoga and stretching techniques as well as some principles of cognitive behavioural therapy.

So what is mindfulness? Well, contrary to popular belief mindfulness is not simply about learning how to relax. It is a way of being, about about learning to be in the moment – in the Now – with help of observation. By practising mindfulness you become aware of what you are experiencing with acceptance, not trying to change things as they are at any given moment – the way they are right now – for better or for worse. It might sound strange or difficult to practise, and at times it is. I’ve learned from experience that this applies especially for very ambitious individuals whom been thought that you need to do whatever it takes in order to get what you want. The ones who feel the need to have control over their lives and by trying to do so live their life days, months or even years ahead of the present moment while the years pass.

Mindfulness isn’t  about letting go of your own responsibilities for your own life or to just let things be as they are. It is more about doing your best at every given moment and feel satisfied with as well as accept that. Mindfulness gives everyone the ability to live life to the full and everyone can have it. The only thing you need to do is to investigate your mind and harmonise your senses.

“Do not pursue the past.
Do not lose yourself in the future.
The past no longer is.
The future has not yet come.
Looking deeply at life as it is.
In the very here and now, the practitioner dwells in stability and freedom.
We must be diligent today.
To wait until tomorrow is too late.
Death comes unexpectedly.
How can we bargain with it?
The sage calls a person who knows how to dwell in mindfulness night and day,
‘one who knows the better way to live alone.”
Bhaddekaratta Sutta