Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Ready to give up? Meditation for 8/14/14

A hole in early morning thunder=storm clouds lights up the tidal marsh in Wilmington NC

“Failure is the highway to success. . .Every defeat of what is false leads what is true.”  - John Keats

“The antidote for discouragement is disciplined action.”

     Courage is primarily defined as the ability to act in the face of fear.  It follows then that dis-couragement would be something that would impede or hamper our ability to act when we are confronted with our fears.  En-couragement would be something that would help us act in spite of fear.  Being discouraged is a step down a very slippery slope that can lead to depression – a virtual paralysis where even proper action cannot break the grip of our ego’s assertion of feelings of hopelessness.  As soon as we find ourselves struggling with action – starting to feel that there just isn’t a point to it all – it is crucial to break the dead-lock before we digress into self-pity.

     Action is the key word here, but usually discouragement comes from a period where the actions we have been taking are not producing the expected result – discouragement and depression typically follow frustrated expectations.  We can first ask if what we have been seeking a need or a desire.  Have our expectations been realistic?  What is the underlying fear, and is it realistic?  Are we trying to control something which in reality we have no control over?  Does what we are doing align with the will the spirit?  Many things that would have us feeling down do not survive these tests, and if they do not we can realize that we have been unrealistic and move on.  But there are times that we are struggling with things that meet all of these criteria and we seem to keep being rebuffed.  Hence, we lose our ability to act in the face of our fears, and become discouraged.  Now what?

   If we continue taking the same actions we have been taking and expecting a different result, we are suffering from a form of insanity – nothing changes if nothing changes.  If it is a genuine need, a realistic expectation and something that is in our control, then what we need is a plan of action that can work – which means guidance is what we lack.  This is where relationships with those that have traveled the path before us is invaluable, and where our connection with the spirit is crucial.  We must find and then discipline ourselves to take the proper action, and often only then will our thinking follow.  And if we don’t quit right before the miracle happens, our greatest adversities can be converted into lasting legacies.    

Today, may I seek and live in solutions.

Happy Thursday !!

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Monday, August 11, 2014

Whatcha' thinkin? Meditation for 8/12/14

Anchor chains and anti-aircraft guns on the battleship North Carolina; Wilmington NC

“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”  – Mark Twain

“For those who believe, no proof is necessary.  For those who don’t, no proof is possible.”  - Stuart Chase

     In and of themselves, our thoughts have no power over us.  We are not responsible for our thoughts – it is our words and actions that we are accountable for.  But our thoughts have a way of becoming ingrained when we do not challenge them, and we start to accept them as fact.  It is when we face the prospect that thoughts that we have come to believe are threatened that we start feeling threatened.  Still more deeply ingrained are the beliefs that we hold that were handed to us by those that raised us and we have never questioned, and when these are called into question our hackles go up quickly.  We all hold beliefs that are inaccurate – we can just look back a year ago and see how many things our minds have changed about.  This process of maturing will continue, and there are ways to accelerate the pace, or at least make it a bit less painful.

     A woman named Byron Katie developed a four step system for challenging beliefs that can work quite well to take our ego out of the way of the growth process.  The first step is to question our belief.  First, we ask ourselves if the belief we hold is true.  (I believe quitting smoking is difficult.)  If yes, we ask ourselves if we absolutely know it is true.  (There are some people who have said that they quit smoking with little or no difficulty – there is a slim possibility it might not be difficult.) Of course we cannot absolutely know anything, but we may still be pretty convinced.  Next we can look at what happens when we believe that thought.  (I keep on smoking.)  Then fourth, we ask ourselves who we would be if we did not hold this belief.  (I would be a non-smoker.)

     Ms. Katie goes on to discuss how we can take these false beliefs and turn them around by asserting thoughts on the other side.  (Quitting smoking is not difficult.)  I have tried it on a few things, and it takes being willing to be willing to change if change is merited in order to begin to change thinking.  But since beliefs that we hold that are false tend to cause a lot of pain as we try to manipulate them into truth, this is a simple exercise well worth using to challenge why we believe what we believe. 

Today, may I challenge my thoughts.

Happy Tuesday !!

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Sunday, August 10, 2014

Got your game face on? Meditation for 8/11/14

Oak Island; NC

“Calamity is the test of integrity.”  - Richardson

“When written in Chinese the word crisis has two characters.  One represents danger and the other opportunity.”  - John F. Kennedy

    What are our worst fears?  That we would be imprisoned, homeless, tortured or abandoned?   That we would lose a loved one or our means of income?  That the projects we are working on will not bear fruit and thus we will appear inadequate?  That others will discover that we are human and face our own share of difficulties?  These fears are barometers of our confidence in that power we refer to as God and the times these fears surface the most vividly are our most defining moments.  When what we view as a negative circumstance starts unfolding around us, will we react to our fears or will we respond with our beliefs?  Are we going to be buffeted about by external circumstances or are we going to be driven forward by our convictions?

     If we live the life of asking for direction and strength from that consciousness that permeates all, do we not know from experience that we will continue to be given direction and strength regardless?  And when the intuitive voice seems drowned out, have we done the work required to have a circle of spiritually connected advisers we can reach out to?    

     If we stay connected with that consciousness and engaged in the moment we never have problems.  We only have circumstances that we can choose to address or detach from.  And if we continue to ask for knowledge and direction we will come out the other side stronger than ever.  The only way out is through, regardless of the inner turmoil or its cause.  And when the time comes that we are to leave this life, even it is not a problem.  It is just another situation to be faced with the knowledge that all is as it should be.  God is everything or God is nothing – we walk the talk all the time or we may as well not at all.  What is the purpose of the role I have been cast into today?   How can I find opportunities to be of service so that I can better hear that intuitive voice?  How can I connect with and better life for my fellows today?  Let’s be sure to apply the principles when times are good so that we will instinctively be able to apply them when game day arrives.

Today, may I know the dignity of faith. 

Happy Monday !!

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

What are you supposed to be doing? Meditation for 8/7/14

Calabash NC

“Greatness is not a function of circumstance. largely a conscious choice.”  - Jim Collins

“You can accomplish anything in life, provided you do not mind who gets the credit.”  - Harry Truman

     We reach crossroads in life where we make decisions about what roads we are going to travel down.  It is all too easy when we are at these junctures to look about for an easy direction or two and make a hasty choice.  Perhaps we have no idea how to go about finding a good way to identify a direction.  Perhaps we are just lazy or cave in to peer -pressure.  Regardless, soon we have traveled a distance down a road and passed a point of no return.  There is a logical way to go about identifying what we are working with and potential areas that will not only fit us but also allow us to make a difference. 

          In Jim Collin’s book, “Good to Great,” he discusses a technique that helps find a zone of focus that can lead to excellence in business.  It speaks of drawing three circles, one representing passions, one talents and the third areas of profitability.    If we change the third circle to represent where there is the most need in our community or society that we can identify with, we have the basis of a good tool to find our personal “zone of potential excellence.”  Once the three circles are filled in, the idea is to “overlap” the three circles.  The resulting region then shows where our talents and motivations meet how we can be of maximum use.   Although this does not point out a specific plan of action, it will show a couple of specific areas where we have the best opportunity to pursue excellence.  Perhaps this is a tool that we can use to break the cycle of reacting to our circumstances and begin moving forward on paths better suited to our specific makeup.  And, even if we end up choosing what we were going to choose to start with, we have much less chance of regret knowing that we reviewed our options and made a conscious and informed choice.

Today, may I make myself aware of my options.

Have a great Thursday !!

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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Where you goin'? Meditation for 8/6/14

Little River SC

“Beware the barrenness of a busy life.”  - Socrates

“Take time for all things.  Great haste makes great waste.”  - Benjamin Franklin

     Ever notice how there is time to do things over when it did not seem there was time to do them right to start with?   And it seems the norm that when we have to go back and correct something it is much more difficult than doing it right to start with.   When we rush hither and yon trying to be all things to all people we are usually not much to anyone, ourselves included.  Alternately, if we are doing work just to be doing something and find ourselves doing meaningless tasks just to avoid clearing other issues out of our mind, we need to remind ourselves we are better off “doing nothing at all.”  Multi-tasking might look good on paper, but typically falls short in overall efficiency.

     Time spent in awareness and at peace with ourselves is our most precious time.  Quietly focusing on one task, just the one immediately in front of us, helps overcome procrastination and can stop us from obsessing about other things that are bothering us.  And, if that one task we focus on is to sit quietly and be fully aware right now, that is something in itself.

Today, may I remember that my time is my life.

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Happy Wednesday!!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Have I got a deal for you!! Meditation for 8/5/14

Little River; SC

"There is a sucker born every minute."  - David Hannum (Disparaging Barnum Bailey circus attendees: 1850's)

"If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is."  -  Jan Margosian

"Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish."  -  Euripides (400 BC

     How often are our fears used as a tool to get us to do things that are not in our own best interest?  How often are we tempted to take short cuts and entertain "get rich quick" schemes?  How often do professional swindlers play on our desire to "do the right things" in order to get us to do things we have no business doing?  How far do we go to try to "conform with the crowd" when what the crowd is doing goes completely against what we know to be right?  How often do we compromise our values because we stand to profit materially from it?  When was the last time our "fear of loss" caused us to jump into something that we later found out was a "rigged game?"

     If something is good today, it will be good tomorrow, it will be good next week and it will be good next year.  Things of lasting value do not come in haste and do not have an expiration date.  Yes, there are windows of opportunity in life, but those windows only represent value when they are the result of our putting into perspective the opportunity that arises.  But when we get that burning lust - that overwhelming feeling that we must have something this moment in spite of the warnings of our intuition, who can talk sense to us?  Yes, we are going to make mistakes in life and hopefully we learn from those mistakes.  We are well served to remember that all that glitters is not gold.  In fact, a very tiny percentage of what glitters is gold.  And things that glitter are usually high maintenance items.  

     Everything has a price, and most things that we could get involved in have a high enough price that we have no business getting involved in them.  If we regularly remind ourselves what we are grateful for we find ourselves wanting what we have.  If we live our life with the understanding that ownership is an illusion - at best we are merely stewards of the things that come into our life we desire a lot less "stuff."  When we focus on the well-being of others we understand more clearly the difference between our needs and our desires.  And when we get burned enough times we come to understand that "there is no free lunch."  Hopefully we learn the lessons before the price of this learning bankrupts us.

Today, may I be prudent.

Happy Tuesday !!

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Sunday, August 3, 2014

So, what do you think of me? Meditation for 8/4/14

“Envy is as evil as arrogance.”  - Eleanor Roosevelt

“Ultimately, love is self-approval.”  - Sondra Ray

     If we have not resolved our issues of past and future (resentment, guilt, shame  and fear) it is impossible for us to become fully present in the moment.  The primary thing that blocks us is ceaseless and crippling negative judgment of others.  We are the only basis of comparison when we deal with other people.  Using this reference point we then see mirrors of what we like and dislike in ourselves in others.  So, when we have not resolved our basic issues of ego, we walk around in a world that is filled with reminders of unaddressed defects within ourselves.  No sooner do we start to get a seconds rest from our ego by becoming present in the current moment than our issues resurface and we are forced to rationalize them by either cutting down someone else or falling into self-pity about some excuse (usually victimhood mentality) as to why we are not able to “measure up” to what we suppose we are supposed to be.  In a flash we are back into the past with its regrets or self-congratulations – gone from this moment, and again back in a fantasy world we call our “life.”

    This is one problem we can make progress on even before we have fully resolved our issues.  We can begin to view others with the idea in mind that everyone is doing the best they can with what they have to work with.  If they could do better they would.  This brings a bit of empathy and compassion into the mixture.  We can stop trying to compare others outsides to our insides – and we can give up trying to figure out what other people are thinking.  Another thing we can do is realize that all of the spiritual giants come to the realization that we are all different manifestations of the same thing – I am you and you are me.  Although we have much work ahead of us if we are to realize this unity, we can at least begin working toward it.  One thing for sure – unity in its true form precludes judgmentalism. 

     Once we realize that our harsh judgments of others are rooted in ourselves, we can begin to use the occasions that we find ourselves judging people as opportunities to recognize and root out our defects.  We need to lighten our load – we are not designed to carry these tons of mental, emotional and spiritual trash around with us.  Something is going to give – and maybe, just maybe, for once we can start doing the work before things reach crisis proportions.  We do the work and we can start to live our lives rather than be nothing but a puppet yanked around by our ego.  And as a bonus, we will start to not only see ourselves in others, but begin to see a few glimpses of the divine that dwells in us all.

Today, may I do the work.

Have a great Monday!!

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