Archive for September, 2010
“I will laugh at the world.”
“No living creature can laugh except man. Trees may bleed when they are wounded, and beasts in the field will cry in pain and hunger, yet only I have the gift of laughter and it is mine to use whenever I choose. Henceforth I will cultivate the habit of laughter.”
“I will smile and my digestion will improve; I will chuckle and my burdens will be lightened; I will laugh and my life will be lengthened for this is the great secret of long life and now it is mine.”
“I will laugh at the world.”
“And most of all, I will laugh at myself for man is most comical when he takes himself too seriously. Never will I fall into this trap of the mind….”
“I will laugh at the world.”
“And how can I laugh when confronted with man or deed which offends me so as to bring forth my tears or my curses? Four words I will train myself to say until they become a habit so strong that immediately they will appear in my mind whenever good humor threatens to depart from me. These words, passed down from the ancients, will carry me through every adversity and maintain my life in balance. These four words are: This too shall pass.”
“I will laugh at the world.”
The Greatest Salesman in the World, Og Mandino (1968)
“It is written in a ancient manuscript, ‘After Adam and Eve were expelled from Eden, God caused a deep sleep to come over them. He then called a council of angels and said to His heavenly hosts, ‘When Adam and Eve awaken, they will know that they are no longer divine, and they will go in search of their divinity. Tell me Angels, where shall I hide this Divinity?’
“One of the angels spoke and said, ‘Lord of the Universe, let us conceal their Divinity within themselves, for that is the last place they will go in search of it.’
“You alone have the power to reach within to discover your own untapped resources.”
Rabbi Earl A. Grollman, Journeys 2007
To struggle is part of the human condition. Struggle is defined as, “making a strenuous effort against opposition; to proceed with difficulty or great effort.” Struggle is an inherent part of daily living; struggles can be little or large; prolonged or short; necessary or not necessary.
From Zen comes the admonition to not push the river. There are circumstances wherein the more we struggle the less we succeed. When no matter that putting forth our best and most diligent effort, we are not moving forward, or what little forward movement there may be is simply not worth all the effort and energy we are expending. When you feel that you are pushing the river, stand back for a moment and assess the circumstances. Consult your ‘objective self’, examine your motivation. It can also be of great value to ask an expert or a trusted friend for advice.
There are struggles that require every ounce of perseverance, strength and effort that we can muster to get us to the other side. In these situations there is generally no way around or over, there is only through. Inviting wisdom and faith to be our comrades in arms is a good strategy. Acceptance also has its role in struggle. Accepting things we cannot change is an very important factor in overcoming our struggles.
Fortitude, strength of character, perserverance, a grateful attitude, a sense of pride and accomplishment are all fruits of struggle. As you move through the the struggles of living, big and small, allow yourself to go with the flow of the river, and savor the fruits of success.
“How do you partake of its unlimited vision, its divine judgment, its holy discrimination, its clear intuition? By letting the highest aspect of your being take control of your lower nature. And when your true self takes command, you do not sound as foolish nor as irresponsible and your actions do not boomerang to dig a deeper hole for you than you were in before. Your words resonate with the Power of Spirit, your emotions are motivated by love, and each decision is looked upon as skill in action. With the energy of Wisdom circulating freely, lack is transformed into abundance, illness to wholeness, failure to success, harmfulness to harmlessness, futility to fulfillment. ”
The Angels Within Us, John Randolph Price
Harvest is a very beautiful and very busy season. If you have had the experience of living close enough to the land to be personally involved or affected by the season of harvest, you are familiar with the smells, good and not so good, and the ant-like frenzy; the drive to get the harvest in while crops are ripe and ready.
In a life intentionally lived the harvest season is a regular opportunity to examine our personal crops. To look thoughtfully, reflectively and as objectively as possible at what we have reaped, or are reaping. Have the seeds we have sown, the plants we tended to maturity, viable. Metaphorically, what is the state of our relationships, our integrity, our zest for life. What needs adjusting, what needs to be abandoned or re-worked. What is to be acknowledged and celebrated.
Tasting, feeling and participating in the changing of the seasons, changes that are reflected by the weather, by the presence of seasonal foods and seasonal celebrations, serve to give us notice, to remind us not to ignore the spiritual side of beingness. It is a time to give thanks.
How willing are you? For myself and for many others, I believe we maintain a strong inner belief that we are ‘naturally willing’, ‘naturally altruistic’. We are inherently willing to put forth the necessary effort to achieve our personal goals, to add the the welfare of community, to secure ‘the good life’, to attain spiritual integrity and maturation. But are we really?
Willingness is essential to success in any endeavor. As you move forward with your plans and goals bring willingness and unwillingness fully, consciously into the equation, into the planning and into the execution of those plans. When willingness actively becomes part of the process, we gain clarity, insight and wisdom. We are able to make a stronger commitment greatly enhancing our prospect for success regardless of the challenge or goal.
“There was a man who was so disturbed by the sight of his own shadow and so displeased with his own footsteps that he determined to get rid of both. The method he hit upon was to run away from them.
So he got up and ran. But every time he put his foot down there was another step, while his shadow kept up with him without the slightest difficulty.
He attributed his failure to the fact that he was not running fast enough. So he ran faster and faster, without stopping, until he finally dropped dead.
He failed to realize that if he merely stepped into the shade, his shadow would vanish, and if he sat down and stayed still, there would be no more footsteps.”
The Way of Chuang Tzu, Thomas Merton (1965).
Change is the only constant. We humans don’t much like change. We admit to the importance of growth and maturation in the body, mind and spirit. Yet we most often are dragged, kicking and screaming, down the path of growth and change.
Change is challenging, often painful, always full of uncertainty; even when the changes are positive and we feel ‘certain’ of the outcome.
Acceptance is the first step toward mastering the process of change. If necessary, re-framing our perspective about the vicissitudes of life is imperative. It is not about what happens to us, but rather, how we manage, how we handle the changes that come our way.
To manage change successfully is to be as objective as possible, while at the same time, honoring our emotions and holding fast to our truths and our faith; trusting the process. Believing that if we do our part the best we can, that we will find peace and triumph in the face of change.
Change is an inherent part of existence. Work to accept the change, perhaps even learn to embrace change…it is our life’s constant. Certainly a task much, much easier said than done!
Today marks the Fall Equinox and the movement of the Sun into Libra whose symbol or totem is the scales. This day marks the ‘balance’ between the light and the dark; a day when the time of light and dark are equal. It also marks the ascension of the dark as we move toward the Winter Solstice.
The Equinox is a beautiful reminder of the importance of being in harmony with cycles and seasons. We can feel the brisk air, see the turning leaf, reap the harvest and give thanks for our bounties. It is a good time to take stock of our year to date; to get our balance sheet in order.
The fourth agreement in The Four agreements is to Always Do Your Best. Making this agreement a routine, a habit assures the implementation and success of the other three.
We don’t try, we do. Often we hold ourselves to unrealistic standards. Believing, for example, that we can watch TV all day yet still find the time and energy to meet the day’s demands. Conversely, we may believe that always doing your best means that always performing prodigiously is a personal standard. Both of these beliefs are inherently flawed.
One cannot twitter away the day and expect to not be rushed, frustrated and unhappy with chores, commitments and goals left undone or only partially completed. Likewise, always doing our best does not mean performing at the same level regardless of what is going on in our life at the moment. For example, you cannot be at the same energetic level of action when your are ill verses when you are in top physical condition.
What is imperative is doing your best in the moment, regardless of whatever circumstances the moment brings. There is no more. There is only the best effort in the moment for the conditions of that moment.
Don Miguel says, “You can only be you when you do your best. When you don’t do your best you are denying yourself the right to be you.” “If you always do your best over and over again, you will become a master of transformation.”