Thursday, January 30, 2014

What direction are you heading today ? Meditation for 1/31/14

Daufuskie Island; SC

     
“As long as habit and routine dictate the pattern of living, new dimensions of the soul will not emerge.”  - Henry Van Dyke

“If nothing changes, nothing changes.”  - Ernie Larson

“If we always do what we always did, we will always get what we always got.”     - NLP Adage

     When we find ourselves in a pattern of recurring pain, we are undoubtedly stuck in a negative pattern.  Plato said “necessity is the mother of invention.”  That may be right, but a friend recently made a comment that gave me pause.  He said that growth only comes from pain, and if there is no pain we can only enhance the level of understanding that we have reached.  It would seem rather odd to advocate inflicting pain upon one’s self in order to grow, but I don’t suppose that is a new concept – the vast majority of the pain in my life has been self-inflicted.  I just didn’t realize it was me hitting myself in the head at the time.

     The biggest problem for me is that I believe my own perceptions.  And one of the most destructive perceptions that I convince myself of (without realizing it consciously) is that the pain of the familiar is more desirable than to risk the unknowns that come with change.  This is insanity.  I am repeating the same actions over and over, day after day, and expecting a result different than what I am getting now.  And this leads to misery – many steps past just basic pain.  And so the battle rages – fear of the unknown which manifests itself as unwillingness to change versus the pain and ultimate misery that comes with stagnation. 

     A ship can only move one degree at a time, and it is not even evident to one who is a passenger that a change is occurring.  Over a period of time, each one degree shift adds up – at some point to 180 degrees.  A complete change of direction can happen without the participant even really noticing the change.  What can we do today to make a lasting 1 degree shift in our direction toward a positive direction? I bet if we pray about it we will come up with a lot more than one.  But if we just focus on one today – and maybe for a couple of days – I bet we can make one small positive change that we can maintain.  Inch by inch everything’s a cinch – we can change the complete path and landscape of our life without major upheaval.  But the alternative – stagnation – is sure to pull us deeper into the mire.  Nothing stays the same – regardless of how it appears.  And that includes us.  So let’s be proactive – just one small positive change today.  Tomorrow will take care of itself, but today, just today, we can begin working on a legacy of excellence.

Today, may I do the work.

 If you have any trouble receiving this or the daily photo journal, please contact e by Clicking Here.  If you are able to contribute a bit to this journey, you can do so by Clicking Here.  And whatever you do, have a 

Happy Friday !!
David
    


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

What are you afraid of? Meditation for 1/30/14

Haig Point; Daufuskie Island


“He is a God fearing man.”  -  Common expression

“F E A R = Fantasized Events Appearing Real.”  -  Anon

     Lately, I have heard numerous people refer to others as being a “God fearing man – or woman.”  The notion that “being afraid” of God is some sort of virtue has been around for a while.  To fear means to “be convinced that something or someone is dangerous, threatening and likely to cause harm.”  Antonyms of fear in the dictionary include faith, comfort, courage, faith joy and trust.  These words are often thrown about as virtues as well.  It seems like an awfully mixed message.
     In order to fear something, one must see themselves as separated from it.  Now, regardless what name one wants to assign to that greater consciousness that is woven throughout all, it seems to me that the point of every spiritual and religious approach to life that I have heard of is for one to merge themselves as closely as possible to the will of that essence in order to better follow the path that is laid out for them.  And separation is certainly not compatible with this.  In fact, in Judaism most scholars believe that the notion of hell is actually a reference to the possibility of being permanently separated from that spirit. 

     The American president F.D. Roosevelt stated that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.  If I afraid of something, any cooperation I give it will not be in the spirit of cooperation, but as a form of appeasement.  I cannot partner with something I am trying to appease, and I certainly cannot merge with it.  And I cannot find courage, faith, joy, trust, comfort – I cannot find any of these things in appeasement.  In fact, the only reasons I pursue the path are first, that it is much simpler and more effective than following self-will and second the fact that there are so many rewards that come from doing so.  So in this case, perhaps the only thing there is to fear is separation.

     Besides, the only time and place we can ever connect with that spirit is right here and right now – and fear requires time.  Fear says that we in the future something or someone is going to cause us some sort of grievous injury.  And if we are living in the future we have no chance of connecting with the spirit in the only opportunity there is to do so.  We have a way of manifesting our fears.  So if we are harboring any feelings along these lines, we would do well to draw them out, examine their roots and yank them out.  Otherwise, we are cheating ourselves of the greatest benefits of the spiritual life.


Today, may I know trust.  

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Need love? Meditation for 1/29/14

Haig Point; Daufuskie Island SC


“Do I see myself in others, letting their concerns be mine?”  Muni Natarajan

“Do I live in a love that sees no separation, a love in which there is love and consideration for all . .?  -  Muni Natarajan

“To love another is to see yourself in them.”  -  Eckhart Tolle

     ♫ “I wanna know what love is…” goes the refrain to a song that was popular a few years back.  The reality is that the vast majority of us not only have no clue what love is, we are incapable of it since we have not done the work on ourselves necessary to develop the capacity to love in the first place.  Since the only reference point on life we have is our self, only to the degree that we come to understand and find harmony within ourselves can we come to recognize and find harmony with others.  All we can see in others is mirrors of what we see in ourselves – thus, if all we can see in our self is chaos, resentment, fear, avarice and other primitive traits it stands to reason that this is what we will see in others.  To the precise degree that we have separated from our thinking mind and come to know it through observation are we able to see that others are exactly the same as us.  Once we have done the work to be able to see what is driving us we recognize it immediately in others.  And only to the extent we have come to grips with our own humanity and become fond or ourselves (warts and all) are we able allow others to be human (warts and all) and become fond of them.

     “Charity starts at home” is an old phrase that is often misunderstood and misused.  Charity means love – not giving trinkets.  And “at home” refers to our self, right here and right now.  Loving ourselves is an ongoing decision that must be made, and consequently the ability to love others comes and goes with our commitment to our own spiritual growth and serenity.
 
    The song referenced goes on to say ♪ “I want you to show me…”  The reality is that if we want to know what love is, we need to first figure out who we are and come to love the “self” that we will spend the rest of this life with.  Yes, love starts at home, and it starts with the determination to improve our self-awareness.  Anything else is just chasing another illusion, seeking a distraction from the work we are here to do.


Today, may I follow the path.  

     If you are having any problems getting either this daily meditation or the daily photo journal, please contact me by Clicking Here.  If you are able to contribute a bit to this journey, please Click Here.  But whatever you do, 

Have an awesome Wednesday !!
David

Is your life a mess? Meditation for 1/28/14

Haig Point; Daufuskie Island SC


“Why is there always time to do things over but not enough time to do them right the first time?”  -  Unknown

“We rate ability in men by what they finish, not by what they attempt.”  -  Unknown

    
     A few years back I was watching a professional golf tournament on what I guess was a satellite tv hookup.  There was the dead space where there were no announcers but you could still see the match and hear the sounds.  One of golfing’s greats was playing, and he was down by six or seven strokes with a few holes to play.  “Finish strong.  Finish the match strong…” he was saying to himself.  This made an impression on me, because this particular golfer doesn’t need the extra money finishing a little higher on the leaderboard would bring.  He was simply reminding himself to do the best he could right now – this moment – regardless of how futile the effort seemed.

     The hardest parts of a project seem to be the first 5 % - getting started, and equally difficult is the last 5% - the finishing touches.  Once the goal is in sight it is all too easy to mentally move on to the next issue to be dealt with.  What one ends up with is a big mess – a life full of unfinished projects that all have a way of unraveling because of the neglect.  And this isn’t just projects around the house – it infects all areas of our life.
     When we promise others that we will do something and don’t complete it, they may be thankful for our effort but it will always be tainted somewhat by being unfinished.  When we cook a meal and eaten it is easy to get a bit lazy and leave the dishes undone – knowing full well they will be much harder to clean tomorrow.    When we buy things it is easy to write the check and neglect to enter the transaction in the check register and not place the receipt in the file where it belongs.  When we leave somewhere it is easy to leave somewhat of a mess behind – quickly forgotten because our mind is on where we plan to be next rather than where we are now.   And when we feel that the task at hand isn’t something that was our job to do in the first place finishing can seem especially difficult.

     There are countless examples of this, and equally countless examples of how much trouble it causes us to leave things unfinished.   But there are tangible rewards to be had by seeing things through.  When we complete things along with the finishing touches, we feel a bit better about ourselves.  We are more reliable, and we spend a lot less time in the long run going back and fixing things that have decayed.  Far fewer things are lost or misplaced – and as a consequence we save a good bit of time in the long run.  And as an unexpected bonus, when we force ourselves to take the time to finish the task at hand we seem to plan the next project a bit better.  We can’t do everything at once, but we can do something at once.  And finishing things that have been lying about is a great place to start if we want to get out of a rut and gain some momentum to start another project that needs done.  What can we finish today?  I bet every one of us has at least something we have neglected.  But if we start today, before we know it finishing well will become something we look forward to rather than something we struggle with.

Today, may I be wholesome.

All have a great Tuesday !!
David

If you are having any trouble getting this or the daily photo journal by email, please contact me by Clicking Here.  If you are able to contribute to this journey, please Click Here.  Your interest and support is greatly appreciated !

    

  

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Whom do you trust? Meditation for 1/27/14

Haig Point; Daufuskie Island

“Spirituality isn't stingy.”  -  Anon

“A man needn't be an angel to be a saint.” – Albert Schweitzer

     If we are going to grow spiritually, we need to interact with those further along the path than us.  But when first meeting someone we cannot always be sure right away whether they are truly working toward their own spiritual self-improvement or not.  There are many who hear or read some spiritual things and “set up shop,” trying for one motive or another to convince others that they are “spiritual.” But spirituality isn’t something that is gained by osmosis or by mimicking words that have been heard or read.  It takes diligent work, the result of consistent proper action over a considerable period of time.  And although we don’t want to put ourselves in the position of judging others, reality is that there is only so much time in life and we need to be able to discern the “genuine article” when we see it.  Although there are no sweeping statements that hold true in every case, a number of observations can be made about spiritual people.

     First of all, one who is on the spiritual path knows that they must give away to others the things they have learned if they are to continue to grow themselves.  This means they are motivated to teach others out of a desire to grow themselves – not as a profit center.  Yes, those that are the “genuine article” need to feed, clothe and house themselves, but soliciting funds is far from their first priority.  Their first priority is always continuing to grow themselves, which requires being of service to others.

     Secondly, spiritual people do not have a certain “look.”  In fact, if anything, to the casual observer they look very ordinary.  They are not concerned with attracting attention to themselves and are typically slow to assert opinions.  If one is trying to project spirituality through dress or attention grabbing behavior it is pretty well guaranteed that they are not what they are projecting.  True spirituality is always inclusive and never excludes others based upon any criteria.  And it doesn't hide anything – there are no secret handshakes or private clubs involved.  Although there are spiritual groups that are centered around certain themes, they never have hidden agendas or try to “hoard” spirituality.   They are impeccable when it comes to honesty, and they have an integrity that, although we may not understand or agree with, is always unwavering regardless of the apparent cost of adherence.  Truly spiritual people do not “shun” others or hold grudges.  And although spiritual people tend to be quite candid when asked a question and we might not understand or agree with their position, they display a deep respect for the human condition and the world we live in.  The theme of their actions seems always centered on love and mutual respect – it never delves into accentuating divisions between groups of people or individuals. 

    The list could continue, but the point is that it shouldn’t take too long observing someone’s actions to determine where they really stand.  And this begs the next question – how do our own actions compare to these standards?


Today, may I be discerning.

     If you have any trouble getting this in your email, just contact me by clicking HERE.  If you want to contribute to help with this journey, please CLICK HERE.  But whatever you do, have a -

Happy Monday !!

David


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Tired of feeling like a yo-yo? Meditation for 1/24/14

Great Egret on a shell bank at Daufuskie Island


"Spirituality has a shelf life."  -  Anon

"When improving your conscious contact with God stops being a means to an end and becomes the end, your "problems" begin to dissipate."  -  Anon

     Being prayerful, clearing the mind and being meditative, actively engaging in self-examination and spending time in the presence of people who are determined to improve themselves provides what William Wilson referred to as an “unshakable foundation for life."  It takes time and effort to stay in the present moment and maintain enough purity of spirit to be immersed, aware and engaged.  It is a good bit easier to do this when we are facing some difficulty, but when we have detached from our difficulty and “good times” have returned it often takes the back burner.  Prayers become rote, we start crediting ourselves with things we had no control over and the next thing we know we are back in the muck – holding grudges, worrying about tomorrow and keeping score on what everyone else is doing.  Our serenity slips away and the next thing we know we are knee-deep in “problems” again.  When the pain gets bad enough, we return to what we know works and then start the cycle all over again.

    Seeking intuitive connection through our spirit works – and anyone who has honestly tried it knows it works.  But our ego re-asserts itself, we get lazy and we let off on the plan of spiritual action.  Why would we do this and bog ourselves down in an endless cycle of bouncing back and forth between harmony and chaos?

     We have to ask ourselves, what is the true purpose of our working to develop and maintain our spiritual condition?  Do we view the divine as some sort of pinch hitter that we call in when calamity strikes, then dismiss when we think we can coast and gather accolades all to ourselves?   It must come down to our base motive – whether the yearning for connection with our true nature or clinging to the illusion of this life is our underlying intention.  Maybe today we can just work to maintain what spiritual progress we have made and try to enhance it to what degree we can.  Maybe we can go further and make ourselves realize that the spiritual connection will enhance any experience we have – whether we regard it as “bad” or “good.”  Maybe today we can remember what our true purpose in this life is.  And in doing so, we will make today a good bit better for ourselves and all we come into contact with.

Today, may I be faithful.


Cans in the pantry of an abandoned hotel demonstrate shelf life.

     If you are not getting the daily photo journal along with this, please email me by clicking HERE.  If you would like to contribute to this journey, please Click Here.  And what ever you do, 

Have a great Friday !!


Tired of being agitated? Meditation for 1/23/14


Savannah GA and Hilton Head SC, both  taken at sunset tonight from Daufuskie Island

“Guilt has quick ears to an accusation.”  - Henry Fielding

“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”  - Aldous Huxley

     We all have made a suggestion before to someone who is dealing with a problem, and people usually take the suggestion or leave it.  But if a person is unwilling to face the problem they are actually dealing with – if their identity is tied up in the fact that the core problem cannot be the problem – we witness a violent reaction.  Like the alcoholic who refuses to see the central problem and spends much time and effort addressing symptoms or blaming circumstances, it can be painful to watch someone avoiding an issue that could be resolved if they would just be willing to acknowledge and address the true problem rather than symptoms of it.  We cannot be of use to people in this state until they are in enough pain that they are willing to face the underlying issue, but we sure can learn some lessons for our own use.

     If we receive a suggestion, hear a comment that something is true or are criticized we typically consider it and either incorporate it or let it roll off of our back.  But what of the things we hear that we find ourselves responding quickly and over-emotionally to?  Just as the fact that the behaviors in others that bother us the most are usually ones we secretly harbor,  that which brings us quick anger points the way to our deepest self-ishness – fears, pride, etc.  It is a spiritual fact that every time we become irritated, angry or disturbed the problem lies within us because only we can create disturbances within ourselves.  In the long run, it saves us much grief in life to review immediately those things that disturb us.  Each one we identify and root out is one more thing that can’t sabotage us again.  The alternative is to continue to be vulnerable to circumstances defining us – our state of mind being tossed about to and fro and at the mercy of other’s accusations and life’s circumstances.  Yes, we need to pause whenever we find ourselves agitated, but we need to utilize the pause to pinpoint what anxiety within us causes us to be disturbed.  With each correction we make there is one less thing that can sabotage us again in the future.  And before long, we find ourselves in possession of a much greater degree of poise and serenity.

Today, may I recognize growth opportunity

Technical difficulties kept me from being able to post this until this morning.  My apologies to those of you who count on these being there each morning.  Have a great Thursday anyway !!

David

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

How does one become transparent? Meditation for 1/22/14

Self-examination - Seagull Style


“Do I see clearly, think deeply, and – in accordance with the needs of the moment – honestly and fearlessly express what I see and think?”  -  Muni Natarajan

“Selfishness, Self-centeredness.  That we think is the root of our problem(s).  -  William Wilson

     The context of the first quote is contained in a process of evaluating one’s virtue in order to be able to remove barriers to effective meditation.  In order to be able to be freed up from distraction to the level required to tap deeply into our spiritual nature, we must bring both our internal “thought life” and our external life of actions into harmony.  This also happens to be a key component of serenity and freedom from the ego generated torture so many of us deal with.  Don’t think you torture yourself?  Try keeping a note-pad hand for a month and logging each time you were taken out of being fully present and aware in the moment.  If you have never begun to be self-aware, within a few hours you will be overwhelmed by how far from reality your thought life is.  It is difficult to allow ourselves to come to this realization and more difficult to take the steps necessary to free ourselves from the constant dialogue in our brain.  But once we are able to be “the observer” rather than “the thinker” we will have made big strides toward internal harmony.  But what about the external?

     We can only become as transparent to our fellows to the degree of self-honesty we have achieved through detachment from “our self.”   It stands to reason that if we cannot be honest with ourselves we really have no idea if we are being honest with our fellows or not – and can be assured that we are not.  But to honestly and fearlessly express what we see and think – on a regular basis?  That is a tall order indeed.

     Each time we come to a new realization about another area of life that we have been approaching on the basis of selfishness and self-centeredness we have the option to work to correct that particular behavior.  If this new standard becomes our norm of action we find more peace and harmony both internal and external – and thus the external and internal begin to match.  If we humble ourselves to atone for mistakes we have made in the past due to this particular issue we not only cement our new behavior, but we also become much more transparent in that particular area.  It takes time and effort, and the work is never quite done.  But we can make great strides toward transparency, and with each stride we make both our personal integrity and our reliability to others improve.   And we begin to say what we mean and do what we say, we find ever increasing levels of harmony both internally and externally.

Today, may I be consistent.     
    
 If you are not getting the daily photo journal, please email me by Clicking Here.  If you would like to contribute to this journey, you can do so by Clicking Here.

Thanks all, and have a great Wednesday !!
David


Stay the course !! Meditation for 1/21/14


Daufuskie Island SC

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”  - Lao Tzu

“The difference between winning and losing is often . . . not quitting.  – Walt Disney

     Perseverance is continued effort on a course of action despite difficulty, failure or opposition.   Nothing new and untested is undertaken without its share of critics, self-doubt and fear.  If the path were well worn, it would not be something new and applause would abound.  But if we are led into uncharted waters, we have to understand that the waters are uncharted for a reason – perhaps others have tried and failed or perhaps no one has ever seen the potential benefit in the course of action we are going to pursue.  But if the message to move forward is clear to us, then go we must.  The first steps are the hardest, because once we have built momentum and others see that the path is going somewhere others want to “jump on the bandwagon.”  But, nothing ventured means nothing gained, so often we have to force ourselves to take the first few steps, however tentative we are.

     If we put ourselves in the position that we are going to define specific outcomes of our efforts we limit the potential for new opportunities along the way.  Although we keep our eye on the goal we must remain flexible in our approach and avoid the rigid thinking that comes with expectations.  When it appears that walls have appeared in our path, if we relax and seek guidance rather than beating our head on the wall in front of us we usually find ways to turn perceived set-backs into opportunities to expand the horizons of our effort.  Each time such an obstacle blocks us we have to take the single first step toward eliminating or evading the obstacle.  It is the combination of many small such decisions to turn adversity into opportunity that ultimately achieves the best outcome.  We have to keep ourselves fully present and remember that yesterday’s prayer and guidance will not yield the best answers for today’s obstacles.  Soon after overcoming the problem of getting going in the first place, the next challenge is staying connected and not projecting outcomes.  If we just persist this moment, facing and navigating the current challenge to the best of our ability our fears cannot sabotage us as easily.  Then we keep moving, being careful not to start clinging to various distractions that would divert us from the path.  One inch at a time, one moment at a time, one day at a time we build the legacy of our lives.  What are we doing right now?  Because what we are doing today is what we are doing with our lives, and life is not a sprint, it is a journey of many marathons strung together.  But if we remain connected to the spirit, to our intuition, to our surroundings and to our fellow man we can enjoy watching as our journey unfolds, one scene at a time.


Today, may I persist.  

All have a great Tuesday !!
David

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Do all your relationships have something in common? Meditation for 1/20/14

Twilight on Seabrook Island

 “Do not judge a man until you have walked two moons in his moccasins.”  - Sharon Creech

“Do I take into account where others have come from?”  -  Anon

     I have come to realize that the one common denominator in all the relationships I have ever had is – me.   This weekend I heard a fellow say that I can predict with amazing accuracy the outcome of all of my future interactions and relationships.  All I need to do is to look to the past ones and keep on doing the same old things.  Do I want more honest, open and effective relationships?  The key to this lies in a detached and accurate analysis of my past relationships, willingness to understand and admit my shortcomings, a plan for changing those things that have sabotaged me and then the action required to set in place new standards for my behavior.  And two of the biggest things that block me from having better relationships is my own prejudices and judgments.

     This same fellow talked about pressure and reality.  He said that pressure will bring out the truth about what we hold inside us.  He compared it to a tube of toothpaste.  “If a tube of toothpaste is filled with crap, when pressure is applied, toothpaste will not come out of the tube, regardless of the appearance of the cover or what claims the cover makes.”  This statement applies to me along with everyone else.   But when I am dealing with other people I have recently met I remember that I have no idea where they have come from?  Perhaps they were abused or molested as a child.  Perhaps they have a loved one they are caring for who is dying of cancer.  Maybe they are dealing with some illness or condition themselves that they are struggling not only to cope with but trying to keep from burdening others with.  Maybe they are full of fear that they are going to lose their job, or maybe the people they work for place unreasonable demands on them that cause them to have a deeply skewed perspective of reality.  The list could go on and on, but the point is – how judgmental am I, and what is the basis of the judging I do?

     Since the only skin I have lived in my entire life is my own, the only reference point I have for judging others is myself.  The experiences I have had are all the experiences I know – and to think that I know anything close to the full range of human experience is of course silly.  So, when I judge others, what then is it that I judge?  If all I have to go on is my own experience, then is it not myself that I am judging?  And besides, don’t I want to judge others on their actions and their appearance whereas I expect others to judge me by my intentions?  Perhaps today I can suspend judgment and give other a bit of grace, tolerance and kindness.  And who knows?  Maybe I will get some back.

Today, may I be a friend.


Thank you all for your support.  If you would like to contact me directly, just Click Here.  If you would like to contribute to this effort, Click Here.  And whatever you do, 

Have a Great Monday !!

David


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Slow or fast? Meditation for 1/12/14



“There is not time like the present.”  -  Unknown

“Haste makes waste.”  -  Unknown

     Perhaps the first quote should have read: “There is no time but the present.”  Of course, it is always the present moment.  But this quote seems to refer to procrastination – a human trait rooted in fear that seems to plague us all with regularity.  And the second quote refers to recklessness - another trait that is rooted in fear and plagues many of us.  Reality is that there are times that call for action and other times that call for discretion.  Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to get started on something, and other times the hardest thing to do is to do nothing at all.  It almost seems that if we do the opposite of our first instinct odds are higher that we are on the right track.  But of course each circumstance varies.

     When faced with a decision, if we have quieted ourselves and truly sought guidance our answer usually becomes clear quickly.  But there are those times we cannot seem to get intuitively connected, and so we reach out to others that we trust.  With me, most of the time I am struggling with a decision I have not done either of these two things for the simple reason that I am pretty sure the answer I am going to get isn’t the one I think I want.  But there are the rare occasions that we cannot get connected and no one has an answer.  Now what?

      Well, our dilemma is either deciding to do something we are reluctant about or deciding to not do something we are keen to do.   In either case we can ask ourselves what it is we fear.  If I don’t do this, what will I lose?  If I do this, what is the risk?  How realistic are these risks – are they simply my anxieties about what other people will think about me if I fail?  Am I afraid of starting something that will turn into a process over which I will not have full control?  Am I afraid that some opportunity is going to slip by and never present itself again?  Or, in the case of procrastination, am I putting off this task just because I am worried that if I do it I will just have another task to do?  Once we isolate the fear we can usually determine if it is a rational fear or if it is just another anxiety rooted in our worry about whether other people will see us as inadequate if we fail.  Which leads us to the ever-present fear/shame connection.  When we isolate the fear the associated potential shame usually becomes apparent quickly, and it seems to always have to do with what others think.

     Other things we can ask ourselves:  If I err, am I erring on the side of compassion?  What are my intentions in this circumstance?  Are they pure or do I have a hidden agenda?  Am I being honest with myself about the potential risks and rewards of this circumstance?  Does what I am doing seek to create harmony and an environment of inclusiveness or does it lend itself to exclusiveness and divisiveness?  As the old saying goes, when all is said and done more is said than done.  But when we are unsure there can be something quite spiritual about a sandwich and a nap.  But one thing for sure – when we isolate our fear and shame out of situations we gain the detachment to be a lot more objective.  And whatever we decide will be a lot easier to live with later down the line.

Today may I be prudent.   

If you are not getting the daily photo journal, please email me at captureamerica1@gmail.com.  If you would like to assist me in this effort to drive a cure for epilepsy through MUSC, please CLICK HERE.

Thanks all, and have a great Wednesday !!
    


Ain't got time for the pain today? Meditation for 1/16/14


2 shots today to make up for it not letting me post one yesterday.  Sunset on Kiawah, Sunrise on Folly


“And then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”   Anais Nin

“Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching . . . I have been bent and broken, but…I hope into a better shape.”  - Charles Dickens

     Pain in life is mandatory.  It is what we do with the pain that determines whether we grow or wither, become bitter or become better.  But misery in life is optional.  Misery requires great mental distress and has but two sources – the past and the future.  It is brought on by resentment or fear – tormenting ourselves over the past or agonizing about the future.  Misery requires a self-centered mindset and it feeds upon victim mentality.  Misery cannot co-exist with acceptance, faith or presence in the moment.  Understanding this and practicing spiritual principles means we never again need be miserable.  But that leaves us pain.  What shall we do with pain?

     Pain means something is askew – and pain tires to lead our attention to what is wrong.  We feel physical, mental and emotional pain when something damaged or out of balance.  When we ignore pain the underlying condition worsens.  And if we numb pain while doing nothing about the cause not only does the condition worsens, but we also have the side effects of the numbing agent to contend with.  Numbing and ignoring pain in this way is simply one of the worst forms of procrastination – procrastination rooted in the fear of change.

    William Wilson said that pain is the barometer of growth – essentially that the two are “joined at the hip and growth cannot occur without it” C.S. Lewis said that “Pain is God’s megaphone – shouting to us to rouse us from our deafness.” John Keats said that pain is what transmutes an intelligence into a soul. 

     But whatever it is, pain brings us a choice.  We can detach from it and view it as an opportunity to grow or we can cling to it and use it as an opportunity to convince ourselves we are a victim.  What pains you today?  A relationship that is broken?  Fear of not being able to pay the bills?  An addiction that owns your soul?  Shame because you have convinced yourself you are inadequate?  Frustration because others won’t do what you want them to do?  What are you going to do about it?  Your chance to grow is here – as well as your chance to become embittered.  What will it be?  Thus is life – one small life-changing decision at a  time.

Today, may I choose growth. 

Have a great Friday !!  If you want to help me set up the foundation for brain research or help defray expenses, please CLICK HERE>.  If you are having trouble getting the meditation in your email, please email me at CaptureAmerica1@gmail.com.  Thanks all and have an awesome Thursday !!


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Trouble making up your mind? Meditation for 1/15/2014

It isn't letting me publish a photo tonight!!  Sorry all.

“There is not time like the present.”  -  Unknown

“Haste makes waste.”  -  Unknown

     Perhaps the first quote should have read: “There is no time but the present.”  Of course, it is always the present moment.  But this quote seems to refer to procrastination – a human trait rooted in fear that seems to plague us all with regularity.  And the second quote refers to recklessness - another trait that is rooted in fear and plagues many of us.  Reality is that there are times that call for action and other times that call for discretion.  Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to get started on something, and other times the hardest thing to do is to do nothing at all.  It almost seems that if we do the opposite of our first instinct odds are higher that we are on the right track.  But of course each circumstance varies.

     When faced with a decision, if we have quieted ourselves and truly sought guidance our answer usually becomes clear quickly.  But there are those times we cannot seem to get intuitively connected, and so we reach out to others that we trust.  With me, most of the time I am struggling with a decision I have not done either of these two things for the simple reason that I am pretty sure the answer I am going to get isn’t the one I think I want.  But there are the rare occasions that we cannot get connected and no one has an answer.  Now what?

      Well, our dilemma is either deciding to do something we are reluctant about or deciding to not do something we are keen to do.   In either case we can ask ourselves what it is we fear.  If I don’t do this, what will I lose?  If I do this, what is the risk?  How realistic are these risks – are they simply my anxieties about what other people will think about me if I fail?  Am I afraid of starting something that will turn into a process over which I will not have full control?  Am I afraid that some opportunity is going to slip by and never present itself again?  Or, in the case of procrastination, am I putting off this task just because I am worried that if I do it I will just have another task to do?  Once we isolate the fear we can usually determine if it is a rational fear or if it is just another anxiety rooted in our worry about whether other people will see us as inadequate if we fail.  Which leads us to the ever-present fear/shame connection.  When we isolate the fear the associated potential shame usually becomes apparent quickly, and it seems to always have to do with what others think.

     Other things we can ask ourselves:  If I err, am I erring on the side of compassion?  What are my intentions in this circumstance?  Are they pure or do I have a hidden agenda?  Am I being honest with myself about the potential risks and rewards of this circumstance?  Does what I am doing seek to create harmony and an environment of inclusiveness or does it lend itself to exclusiveness and divisiveness?  As the old saying goes, when all is said and done more is said than done.  But when we are unsure there can be something quite spiritual about a sandwich and a nap.  But one thing for sure – when we isolate our fear and shame out of situations we gain the detachment to be a lot more objective.  And whatever we decide will be a lot easier to live with later down the line.

Today may I be prudent.   

If you would like to assist me in this effort to drive a cure for epilepsy through MUSC, please CLICK HERE.  If you are not getting the daily photo journal, please contact me at captureamerica1@gmail.com.

Thanks and have a great Wednesday !!
David

Monday, January 13, 2014

Ever get stung by anticipation? Meditation for 1/13/14

Seabrook Island; SC


“I am in the action business – I don’t worry about outcomes.”  -  Anon

“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”  - Don Quixote

     How often do we find ourselves waiting for the outcome of some circumstance at the expense of all else?  It may be a job or a school we applied for, a potential love interest, a possible promotion, an inheritance or some other situation we feel might turn into a windfall for us.  We await the pending outcome, and meanwhile we put many of our other opportunities on hold.  And it seems as often as not some glitch we did not anticipate comes along and our best laid plans are for naught.  Now we are angry about two things – that what we wanted didn't happen and that we are now stagnant – we have no momentum and we have no plan.  Sound familiar?

     At first glance, the notion of “being in the action business” and “staying out of outcomes” seems na├»ve at best.  Isn't it proper to be attentive to what the future holds?  Don’t we hear about the genius of the top business strategists who correctly predict materials and markets?      Well, we have to ask ourselves this question.  What more can we do than the best we can do?  Beyond seeking wise guidance and taking the proper actions to the best of our ability, what could we possibly do more?   What circumstance is ever improved by stressing or fussing over it?  And the answer of course is zilch.  We try to rationalize anxiety and worry because our ego desperately wants to control the future, and anyone who observes themselves and is the least bit honest realizes that this is one of the furthest things from reality.  We have no control – the unexpected will almost always happen and even if it doesn't, today’s windfall or crisis usually becomes irrelevant in a short period of time anyway.

     You sow what you reap goes the biblical saying.  And so it makes sense to keep sowing the best seeds possible in the most fertile soil.  It makes sense to keep the weeds pulled so they don’t choke the seeds we planted yesterday.  And it makes sense to till the next field rather than sit and watch yesterday’s crop grow- or wither.  So what are we waiting for?  What are we in anticipation of at the expense of what we could be doing today?  Because in this way anticipation and hope can rob us of the hours and days that might have been just as surely as anxiety and fear do.  And besides, if our concerns are kept to the simple three – Cleaning our own house, trusting God and helping others, the future just isn't all that relevant.

Today, may I take care of the business at hand. 

Have a great Tuesday !!

If you are not getting the daily photo journal, please email me at captureamerica1@gmail.com.  If you would like to contribute to help me with this journey, please CLICK HERE.  There is an incentive plan I put out on 12/25/13 for those who contribute monthly that you can READ HERE.  Thank you for your loyalty and support !!

David


Meditation for 1/13/14

Seabrook Island; SC

“If you pray for direction, you will get direction.  But if you pray for clarity, you better put your helmet on.  The perspective you get may not be what you envisioned at all.”  -  Anon

“Faith without works is dead.”  -  Biblical

      Tick tock…tick tock.  The hours, days and years of our life slip by.  Time waits for no one.   And so many times in life we get stuck in ruts of the long term variety – circumstances we can’t seem to change and no idea how to handle.  It may be a living situation, a job, a marriage, a health situation, an addiction or any one of many other varieties.  We cannot “see the forest for the trees,” we cannot seem to extract ourselves, we have lost perspective and resigned ourselves to a pitiful state of resignation.  The difficulty the situation presents us in any one day or week does not seem to be enough discomfort to merit the risk involved in a major change.  And so we sit in the undesirable circumstance and time marches relentlessly on.

     So we can pray for clarity.  Clarity of perspective on our life.  Clarity of mind and the vision to be able to comprehend our circumstance.  If we think we have a clear perspective we wouldn’t think to pray for it.  But to stay where we are is insanity – we are continuing day after day to do the same things and expecting a different result.  And so we start praying for clarity – and we start getting it.  We can be certain that it will be very different than what we thought – because if we had the answers we wouldn’t be praying to start with. 

     So what do we do with it when we get it?  Usually we have been stuck because our subconscious mind would not allow us to see the truth because it is petrified with fear of the change that might be forced upon us.  And now that our fears are exposed we can either deny the whole thing and crawl back into the false security of known discomfort or we can pray again – this time for the strength to act in the face of our fears.  And we are going to need it – it is a crippling fear indeed that is so powerful it keeps us from seeing the obvious.

     So you think you have faith?  You think the faith without works means to do niceties for other people?  Nope.  This is where we realize the true meaning of faith without works is dead.  Here is where we have to act on the guidance given, trust that God will continue to give us direction AND that there is a plan for our future that we cannot see.  This is faith with works.  This is courage.  To break out of the shell of known discomfort and trust in the unknown future requires much fortitude.  But do it we must if we are to follow the path. So pull up your boot-straps and pray for some clarity today.  It is the first step in the solution you seek.

Today, may I know courage.

If you are having any trouble getting these, please contact me directly by CLICKING HERE.  If you would like to help me with expenses with the trip and setting up the epilepsy foundation, please Click Here.

All have a great Monday !!
David

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Meditation for 1/10/14

Seabrook Island


“God, please set aside everything I think I know about myself, this life and you so that I can have a new experience today….”   - variation of the Set-Aside Prayer

“I already know everything I know – and I don’t know what I don’t know.”  -  Anon

     I cannot grow spiritually, emotionally or mentally when I am in the mindset that I have “arrived” and have grasped what I need to know about life.  When I am vulnerable and desperately need guidance it is easy to humble my ego, get on my knees and ask for guidance and strength.  But when I follow the guidance and things fall into place in my life I tend to “ease God out.” I hit a “plateau” as for a while the spiritual work I have done puts me in a position that life’s turns and twists are acceptable.   Then little things start cropping up.  I am getting frustrated by traffic.  Things that I had come to accept about people in my life start irritating me again.  I start worrying about next month’s bills and thinking through all the potential disasters that might come to pass next year.  Old grudges I thought I was past crop back up, and the next thing I know I am back in familiar pain.  When the pain gets strong enough I will finally stop and think – what has changed?

     Inevitably I find that I have been slacking on my morning routine – after all, I already know what I am supposed to do today, so why waste the time to pray and quiet myself so that I can tune in to intuition?  Or I may be doing my morning routine but my mind is far from where I am – I am already thinking through and putting into place what my plans are for the day.  I stop asking myself how I can be of service to the person in front of me and start mentally critiquing what they are doing or how they are doing it.  I become less willing to atone for my errors – I am quick to justify and rationalize my behaviors.  And just like that – anger, anxiety, resentment and pride creep back into my life.  I heard someone say that this is exactly how we get back into EGO – we Ease God Out.

     The outcome is always the same.  In letting go of what I think I know I have gotten used to a life of serenity, peace, honest relationships and freedom and suddenly I find myself “back in charge” and invariably discontented.  And the solution is always the same.  It starts with calling a few people I know that are further along on the spiritual path and telling on myself.  They remind me of what works and help me think through the current “circumstances” that I find unacceptable.  Invariably they help me find where I have gotten off track and what I can do to become better attuned and work for a better outcome.  Then I get quiet and ask myself if a return to insanity is really what I want.  The answer invariably is no, and so I do what it takes to return to living in the moment and being willing to take the necessary actions to follow the guidance I have received.  Honesty, willingness to be teachable, willingness to take appropriate action and surrender of my self-will.  The answer is always the same, but somehow it seems new every time.  I wish I weren’t such a slow learner.

Today, may I know humility. 

Happy Friday all !!

David

To contribute to this journey, Click Here.  To contact David Emch, Click Here.