On this site I offer Tips, Tricks, and Wisdom for Living Life!

Writing and Naming

I have tried my best to write this week and I have nothing but a bunch of words to show for my effort. My writing has been vague, meandering, circuitous, and virtually painful to read and attempt to edit. Sometimes my writing is like that. Rather than force something on-to the page, which does not reflect the ideas I am trying to convey, I have decided to share someone else’s thoughts.

Thanks to startupstockphotos

Thanks to startupstockphotos

Consider these words from Stephen Mitchell found in the preface of the book A Thousand Names For Joy: “There’s nothing mystical or lofty about the Master. He (or she) is simply someone who knows the difference between reality and his thoughts about reality. He may be a mechanic or a fifth grade teacher or the president of a bank or a homeless person on the streets. He is just like everyone else, except that he no longer believes that in this moment things should be different than they are. Therefore in all circumstances he remains at ease in the world, is efficient without the slightest effort, keeps his lightness of heart whatever happens, and, without intending to, acts with kindness toward himself and everyone else. He is who you are once you meet your mind with understanding.”

I have been trying to write, this week, about incidents from my life, which clearly show that I am no Master. At  least, at times (like this week and probably most days, if I am totally honest), I can lay claim to no such title or authority.

Thank you Unsplash

Thank you Unsplash

Now consider these words from Byron Katie from the same book:
     “You can’t express reality in words. You limit it that way. You squeeze it into nouns and verbs and adjectives, and the instant-by-instant flow is cut off. The tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao, because trying to tell it brings it into time. It’s stopped in time by the very attempt to name it. Once anything is named, it’s no longer eternal. “Eternal” means free, without limit, without a position in time or space, lived without obstacle.

     There is no name for what’s sitting in this chair right now. I am the experience of the eternal. Even with the thought “God,” it all stops and manifests in time, and as I create “God,” I have created “not–God.” You can substitute anything here–with the thought “tree,” I create “tree” and “not–tree”; the mechanism is the same. Before you name anything, the world has no things in it, no meaning. There’s nothing but peace in the wordless, questionless world. It’s the space where everything is already answered, in joyful silence.

     In this world before words, there is only the real–undivided, ungraspable, already present. Any apparently separate thing can’t be real, since the mind has created it with its names. When we understand this, the unreal becomes beautiful, because there is nothing that can threaten the real.”

So, perhaps it should not concern me that I cannot claim to be a Master. It is interesting to me that Stephen Mitchell, Byron Katie’s husband, in the preface to this wonderful book, would be intent on naming a person of certain qualities, a “Master,” and Byron Katie would, within a few pages point out the fallacy of naming anything.

Thanks to Solart on Pixabay

Thanks to Solart on Pixabay

I really think part of my struggles, this week, can be traced to my efforts at naming things which are inherently unnamable. I have struggled with every piece I have tried to create. Some weeks are like that. Next week I may pick up one of the writings and tweak it a little and find something worth sharing. On the other hand, I may discard one or all of them as unusable. Of course, there is the third option: I may file it away in a “needing work” file which is already bulging at the seams.

Here is what I know to be true: Everything happens, at least in my life, for a reason. Everything shows up as my teacher at exactly the moment I am open and willing enough to learn what the event has to teach me. I need to spend some time contemplating the importance I place on the validity of my thoughts. This is a theme which appeared in all of my writing efforts, this week. There is no accident that I chose to dive into Katie’s insightful book in the same week that I am struggling so in my writing. I will discover how these two are connected and extract what I need. It doesn’t always happen as quickly as I would like, but I am a Master at extracting what I need from my life’s lessons.

In the meantime I hope that you find something valuable in Stephen Mitchell’s and Byron Katie’s wisdom which I have shared today.

Learning to Love as LOVE ITself

The single most important work we will ever do is to heal anything which keeps us from Loving as the Universe Loves. Life has shown me that we are absolutely Loved without any conditions, Loved beyond anything we can imagine we deserve. When we work to approach learning to Love that way, the process itself is very cathartic, very healing, even if we never actually reach that goal.

To that end, I would like to offer three tools for removing blockages to our demonstration of Love.couple at water

1) The first and most important tool to becoming the greatest expression of Love you are capable of becoming is forgiveness. We cannot be a full and complete expression of Love as long as there is any hurt we hold as “unforgivable.”

In Truth, there is no hurt so hideous that it is intrinsically unforgivable. There is only that which we refuse to forgive. When we discover the truth that we are not incapable of forgiving but merely unwilling to do so, we find ourselves poised for significant growth previously unimagined in our wounded state.

I used to teach at a Federal Correctional Institution as part of The Life Connections program. It was a curriculum based system which separated individuals by their professed faith traditions.

During my years of teaching here, I had the joy of listening to Azim Khamisa a man who lost his twenty year old son, a college student working part-time as pizza delivery boy, to a gang-banger’s initiation rite. Azim and the perpetrator’s grandfather had created The Forgiveness Project which travelled the world teaching young people and adults the importance of self-esteem and of forgiveness.

At one of Mr. Khamisa’s presentations an inmate asked a very profound question of Azim: “How do you know when you have forgiven someone?” to which Azim answered, “I know I have forgiven someone when they have safe passage through my mind.” In other words, when he could think of someone and find no resentment remained in his mind, he knew he had completely forgiven that person.

While the tools for forgiveness are many and varied, the bottom line is that we must reach a point where we are able to think of that person and allow them to pass through our minds without any resentment or pain still attached to their image. The methods for accomplishing this are individual in nature, but I have always found that some degree of forgetfulness comes in handy as well as taking personal responsibility for the event. While I may have not played any part in the original injury, I have been the one who has clung to the memory of the incident. In this, I have complete responsibility. Wayne Dyer used to say that what happened yesterday was as ancient as the Peloponnesian War. In other words, let the past own the past and let your awareness be in the present. Hanging on to anything, any memory of the past only creates pain that need not be a part of our current day consciousness. Let it go and set both yourself and the alleged injurer free.

While I know that sometimes acts, which have injured us, seem so heinous that we feel completely justified in refusing to forgive, nonetheless, clinging to the hurt just allows pain to continue where peace could reside instead. Let it go, whatever it is. Allow the chains which bind you under the guise of these memories to fall away. Enjoy the new lightness, which accompanies such a release, to be your experience. Forgive today, tomorrow, and each day, until no trace, indeed no memory, of the hurt remains.

Not only will this free you of the heartache your anger has perpetuated, but it heals the whole world in the process. Even if you believe you are unable to do this for yourself, I would urge you to attempt it for the sake of all humanity. No greater work will you ever pursue.

Thank you Open Clip Art Vectors on Pixabay

Thank you Open Clip Art Vectors on Pixabay

2) The second most important work you can begin today follows the same line of reasoning. We must learn to Love ourselves just as we are so that we have an abundance of Love which overflows from our hearts to pass on to the world.

I believe that we cannot fully love another until we can fully love ourselves. Loving myself always begins with forgiving all the parts of me that I find hard or impossible to love.

Paul Ferrini, in his excellent book, The Twelve Steps of Forgiveness writes:  “Every one of us has condemned ourselves. And every one of us has tried to work out of our self-hatred by projecting the responsibility for our problems upon others.

But it just doesn’t work. Self-hatred remains self-hatred, even when other people become involved. Attacking others or defending against their attack does not lessen our deep-seated judgment of ourselves. Deep down inside every single one of us is a wounded child who needs to heal.

The process of forgiveness offers this child the opportunity to heal. It is a life-long process that continues as long as we continue to judge ourselves and others.”

Ferrini is spot-on, in my humble opinion. As we forgive ourselves we find ourselves to be worthy of our love. This fills our heart to overflowing and we, in turn, find it easy to share this love with the world.

Thanks to AdinaVoicu on Pixabay

Thanks to AdinaVoicu on Pixabay

3) The third step we must master if we are to become full expressions of Love, is to stop judging. We learn to judge others from our earliest days of infancy, in part for our survival and in part because most of our parents were not examples of highly evolved humans.

We watch the news and we shake our heads wondering how people could be so screwed up, but we do not understand that everything we see is contained within us. There is only ONE power and ONE presence in the Universe and we dwell within that Oneness as IT. When we see actions, we judge as evil, we demonstrate a lack of understanding of the Truth. This Truth is that we see evil because we have evil within us. If it did not reside within us, we could not see it. When we judge some things as good and others as bad we are creating more and more separation, more increments of right and wrong, truth and untruth, when in fact all such judgment is illusion. Everything simply IS. Any other definition is judgment and judgment always leads to suffering.

When we learn to stop resisting what we see, start to tune in to the beauty which surrounds us, and learn to fully love “what is” we set ourselves and our world free of the pain that judgment creates. Everything we believe is “wrong” or “evil” only demonstrates areas where we need healing, areas where we are withholding Love. Such judgment never speaks to what is; it always only points to what resides within our own consciousness.

Judging is an habitual behavior. Consequently, it is not easy to stop. The best we can do is to begin to notice where we judge and instead immediately cancel that line of thinking and replace it with love. Loving what is instead of judging it as erroneous or bad can become the new habit. In replacing the separation-creating-judgment with a loving-inclusive-choice we begin opening to the possibility of becoming more loving individuals.

All three steps which I suggest as necessary to learning to Love as Love Itself loves are so intertwined it is virtually impossible to pull them apart for separate analysis.

Thanks to Tappancs on Pixabay

Thanks to Tappancs on Pixabay

To become the greatest expression of Love I am capable of becoming I must learn to love and forgive myself completely. In so doing I have the possibility of loving and forgiving everyone else. When I am successful in accomplishing these, lifelong pursuits, perhaps I can learn to stop judging others so that I find I have nothing new to forgive.

Once I become a clean and open vessel of the LOVE which is the Universe Expressing as Me, I can transcend the pain and drama that the unexamined life has always offered. These three steps create a life that is unimagined by most of humanity yet remains possible to each and every one of us.

Having glimpsed moments of pure, unadulterated Loving Openness I promise you that the work spent becoming such a vessel of Love pays greater rewards than can be dreamed. It must be experienced to be believed.

*Note: I first published, pieces of this article, in 2006 on my Love Expressing Blog which no longer exists. I reworked it and published it on WikiNut recently, and tweaked it, just a little, to post here. Hopefully, I have improved it enough that it sounds like a brand new writing.

Seven Ways to See with New Eyes

The normal way to live our days is to suffer. The reason we suffer is because we have programming which says some things are good and others are bad. Life is enjoyable whenever that which we have named “good” is happening and miserable when whatever we have named “bad” happens.

The fastest and best way to change this programming is to live each day as if we were infants. If you have ever been around a very young child, you have undoubtedly noticed how amazed they are by whatever is happening around them.baby-public domain pictures on pixabay

With this in mind I have written seven suggestions for cultivating a more childlike wonder of the world in which we live, move and have our Being:

  1. Imagine you are seeing things for the first time. If you have ever enjoyed the experience of seeing something that you had not previously noticed, despite the fact that your path had taken you near, several times, then you know what this suggestion implies. Consciously open yourself to looking at your world as if with new eyes. Imagine that you are going to take an awareness quiz about your surroundings and notice everything. Pay particular attention to where you notice beauty, which you previously overlooked.
  2. Question every preconception you have. I was with a friend, recently, who upon hearing my exclamations of gratitude for an exquisite pea salad, decided to ask for a taste of this treat. After she swallowed a small sample, the woman stated, “I have avoided peas for thirty years because I have never liked them. This really is excellent.” The peas she tasted on this day were quite different from the peas she remembered hating. Things shift. Our ideas change. Memories are often exaggerated. Question your preconceptions. Explore areas you previously avoided. See what surprises you. Discover how delightful it is to replace an ancient hatred with a new love.salad-
  3. Allow that knowing is not as exciting as learning. Jump with both feet into some area where you have never gone. If you are stuck in some rut, deepened by your routine, change it up. Even if you feel your job is boring, look for ways to challenge yourself. Set new goals and play with learning what works and what does not, always moving in the direction of these dreams. Once I had a job in a brake press factory. I cannot imagine a duller job. My biggest challenge in this work was to keep my fingers out of the way of the brake press so that I could take them home, intact. I was quickly bored by the monotonous routine. Move metal into place. Clear fingers. Press button. Clear area. Repeat. I would do this process several times a minute for two hours at a time, followed by a short break. The way I eventually found joy was by striving to see how many of the objects I could create in any given hour. Instead of allowing my mind to wander to where I would rather be or to what I would rather be doing, I focused every ounce of energy into being as quick and as accurate as I could be. I did not do this for attention or for recognition. I did it to free myself from the doldrums of repetition. Very quickly I discovered ways to improve my performance. Instead of being bored out of my mind by the repetitive nature of the work, I found myself having fun and being able to give every two-hour segment all I was capable of giving. It was a transformative experience for me. I was quickly promoted and moved to other areas in the business. I took this decision to work “in joy” with me, wherever I moved and it served me quite well. Others who had been there for much longer resented my enthusiasm, which was kind of unfortunate, but I knew I was only there for a while, and I wanted to enjoy every moment I had.
  4. Notice where your routine “owns you” and make some changes. Perhaps you work some place where you have no personal power over your hours. You still have domain over the minutes before you arrive and after you are done. Change your routine. If you have been getting up at 6:00 A.M., brushing your teeth first, showering second, and getting dressed third, change it up. Get up at 5:30. Lay in the bathtub for 15 minutes while sending love to a situation you would just as soon avoid.  Leave the house ten minutes earlier and take a different route to work, preferably one you which will require your attention, so as to avoid the temptation to drive on autopilot.

    Thanks to Geralt on Pixabay

    Thanks to Geralt on Pixabay

  5. Do something totally unpredictable, surprise yourself. After this day of “routine-busting” not only do you take a different route home, but you stop, impulsively, at some place totally new. Get out of the car. Enter the surprise location and look around with eyes of wonder. Stop and touch things, preferably things which are unfamiliar to you. Talk with people you do not know. Love them with your eyes and open heart. Perform random acts of kindness, without hoping for any attention.
  6. When you get home, do something you have never done. Make some recipe you have never tried. Whatever your typical evening routine is, vary it. Watch a movie that never interested you before. Read that book which has been sitting on your shelf waiting for the right inspiration.
  7. Finally, go to bed earlier or later than usual. Before going to sleep take a few minutes to reflect on and to give gratitude for all the new discoveries of this day, both the ones that made you feel more alive and the ones that you have no interest of trying again in the future. Each holds its own unique blessing.  Consider new ways you can avoid the routines of life, and applaud yourself for breaking out of your habitual ways of moving through your days.

    Thanks to Hans on Pixabay

    Thanks to Hans on Pixabay

This is only seven possibilities for helping pull yourself out of the autonomous way in which you normally spend your days. Dream up other ideas. These suggestions have given you a framework for new ways of living your life. Before long you will notice that you have new eyes in which to view what is ostensibly a new world to you. Life becomes very exciting once you break out of the dull routines your programming has created in an effort to keep you safe.

There is great excitement in viewing the world through the eyes of a child. Give it a try and enjoy.

*Note: I first published this, most recently, at Wikinut under the title: Living Peacefully  It was originally published, (although this piece has been reworked) on my original blog Love Expressing which I have not used in several years.

P.S. If you have any ideas for looking at the world with new eyes, please put them in the comments. I would like to write an entire e-book on this subject and would love to share your input with the world.

A Thought is a Terrible Thing to Waste

Norman Vincent Peale became famous in part due to his wonderful book, The Power of Positive Thinking.*

I want to open today’s Secret to Peace by sharing some thoughts from this book: “One of the most important and powerful facts about you is expressed in the following statement by William James, who was one of the wisest men America has produced. William James said, “The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.” As you think, so shall you be. So flush out all old, tired, worn-out thoughts. Fill your mind with fresh, new creative thoughts of faith, love, and goodness. By this process you can actually remake your life.

You can think your way to failure and unhappiness, but you can also think your way to success and happiness. The world in which you live is not primarily determined by outward conditions and circumstance but by thoughts that habitually occupy your mind. Remember the wise words of Marcus Aurelius, one of the great thinkers of antiquity, who said, “A man’s life is what his thoughts make of it.”

Thanks to bykst on Pixabay

Thanks to bykst on Pixabay

It has been said that the wisest man who ever lived in America was Ralph Waldo Emerson, the Sage of Concord. Emerson declared, “A man is what he thinks about all day long.”

A famous psychologist says, “There is a deep tendency in human nature to become precisely like that which you habitually imagine yourself to be.”

It has been said that thoughts are things, that they actually possess dynamic power. Judged by the power they exercise one can readily accept such an appraisal. You can actually think yourself into or out of situations. You can make yourself ill with your thoughts and by the same token you can make yourself well by the use of a different and healing type of thought. Think one way and you attract the conditions which that type of thinking indicates. Think another way and you can create an entirely different set of conditions. Conditions are created by thoughts far more powerfully than conditions create thoughts.”

*Peale, Norman Vincent. The Power of Positive Thinking. N.p.: n.p., 1980. Print.

Of course, Mr. Peale’s thoughts were not particularly original on this matter since, as he stated, Marcus Aurelius had discussed this idea somewhere in the years about 170 to 180 years after the birth of Jesus.think-622689_1920

Henry Thomas Hamblin also discussed this concept in-depth in at least three of his books written in the 1920’s. Consider these words relating to the ignorance of allowing oneself to engage in negative thinking from Hamblin’s book The Power of Thought:

WE do not believe that there are many who deliberately think negative thoughts. Most people mean well and want to do good and be good (not goody, goody). But, nevertheless, most of us are wrong thinkers, more or less, and this is due, so we firmly believe, mainly to ignorance. Because it is not generally known that negative thoughts are highly destructive, we ignorantly indulge in them, thinking that they do no harm. Actually, thoughts of impurity, anger, revenge, hate, resentment, envy, brooding over wrongs, brooding over sorrows, losses and griefs; thoughts of fear, failure, weakness, penury, sickness, disease, decay, mortality and death, are all highly destructive. They are destructive of health, of happiness, of circumstances, of life in all its departments. They break down the nervous system; they paralyse endeavour; they undermine the will; they make for wrong decisions. It will be admitted that this is a matter of prime importance, yet neither children nor the general public are instructed in these vital matters. Because of this almost universal ignorance we most of us go on indulging in negative thinking, much to our detriment.

*Hamblin, Henry Thomas. The Power of Thought. Chichester: Science of Thought, 1921. Print.

Both Hamblin and Peale discussed, at length, the power that negative thinking has to create illness and the power that positive thinking has for restoring health.

Thanks to Geralt on Pixabay

Thanks to Geralt on Pixabay

Why then could we ever believe that there could be anything such as an idle thought?

A Course in Miracles* says this: “There is no such thing as an idle thought. For that which gives rise to the whole world you can see can hardly be called idle.

*A Course in Miracles: Combined Volume. Glen Elen, CA: Foundation for Inner Peace, 1992. Print.

What you need to know from this information is this: There truly is no such thing as an idle thought. Every thought is creating. It is my belief that every thought is a prayer which the Universe has no choice but to answer in accordance with the truth held by the thinker. Since every thought is creating we are always either creating a more loving world or we are creating a more hateful, chaotic planet.

Because our thoughts are always creating, it is absolutely imperative that we think loving thoughts. Every other thought is working to create a world we do not want to see manifest, unless the proliferation of so-called evil is one’s desire.think-622165_1920

To change the way we are thinking we must first become mindful of the thoughts we are entertaining. Thoughts arise. They always will, as long as we are in form. There is a mistaken idea about meditation that if we merely work at it long enough, thoughts will stop arising, but as long as we are in form and have a functioning, human brain, this brain is going to think.

The thought arising, by itself, is not the problem. It is merely an indicator of where you place your truth. What causes the challenges is when we run with or I like to say invest in the thoughts. For example: someone cuts you off in traffic. As a fear response you feel anger immediately rise in your awareness. This is completely natural and does nothing to create more hatred in humanity. However, if you allow the anger to simmer, perhaps you chase the person down so they can see your less than loving finger language, or maybe you really take it to an extreme and you chase them through traffic endangering yourself, them, and other drivers. This choice to allow yourself to be hijacked by your fear-based thoughts creates negative energy which attracts more negativity into your life by contributing to the collective consciousness of the human race in an undesirable manner.

Now consider this alternative: The same scenario happens and immediately when you notice the anger rising in our awareness you choose to bless the person instead of reacting. You decide “I am worthy of loving myself and am capable of making loving choices, regardless of the circumstances.” Then, feeling empowered by your recognition of your ability to make loving choices, you decide to also bless the inconsiderate driver and you take a second to wish her well, seeing the path safe for her and for all who intersect in her journey. This second choice creates a wholly different energy in your body and for the collective consciousness of humanity. Not only does such a choice bless the offender, yourself, and everyone around you but it makes you feel better, immediately.

Make the wise choice. You are worth it and so is your brother and sister.

I will close with these additional thoughts from Norman Vincent Peale:

Think positively, for example, and you set in motion positive forces which bring positive results to pass. Positive thoughts create around yourself an atmosphere propitious to the development of positive outcomes. On the contrary, think negative thoughts and you create around yourself an atmosphere propitious to the development of negative results.

To change your circumstances, first start thinking differently. Do not passively accept unsatisfactory circumstances, but form a picture in your mind of circumstances as they should be. Hold that picture, develop it firmly in all details, believe in it, pray about it, work at it, and you can actualize according to that mental image emphasized in your positive thinking.

This is one of the greatest laws in the universe.”

We Demonstrate Our Truth

Today I would like you to consider these words from Ralph Waldo Emerson in his essay Social Arms: “Don’t say things. What you are stands over you the while, and thunders so that I cannot hear what you say to the contrary.”

I really only remembered the simplification of this quote, John F. Kennedy attributed to Emerson, which I recall as: “What you do speaks so loudly, I cannot hear what you say.” I have always used this as my guiding light in raising my children. I offer this as my most profound lesson whenever I am asked, by a young parent, for guidance.

Thanks Jil111 on Pixabay

Thanks Jil111 on Pixabay

Our children learn from what we do. They are constantly watching. Our words mean very little, but the teachings we impart by the life we demonstrate are innumerable. Our children pay attention from day one to our every expression, each action and reaction, all mannerisms, our words, and how well we love. If you ever want to see what you have taught your children, simply observe the way they interact with the world.

Thanks to Alexas_fotos on Pixabay

Thanks to Alexas_fotos on Pixabay

If they see you lie, they will grow up lying.

If they see you hide something, you have left the store without paying for, they will grow up as thieves.

If they see you show hatred, for any reason, towards another, they will grow up failing to see the worth of others.

If they see you showing loving kindness, your children will naturally be gentle, loving individuals.

If you stereotype others or display bigotry, your children will automatically incorporate these actions into their lives without ever examining them.

I share this because your personal spiritual practice is being observed and emulated by your children. If you are living a life dedicated to becoming more loving, your children will eventually share that commitment. Telling them you love them is not enough. You teach love by demonstrating love. This promise of peace will also be passed on to your grandchildren and their children. What we live, teaches each generation after us. We leave a legacy of the life we live. Whether this is a conscious creation or not is up to us.

Thanks Johnhain on pixabay

Thanks Johnhain on pixabay

I will leave you, on the start of this Labor Day weekend (in the U.S.) to consider these wise words from Thich Nhat Hanh:

“There is a child inside all of us – That child is all future generations.” 

It is imperative that we demonstrate the peace we hope to see, we are anyway so we might as well be conscious about it.

Have an amazing Labor Day if you are in America, if not still make this your best weekend yet.

Love is the Only True Religion

Love is the one true religion, in my humble opinion.

True because Love is the only path to true freedom.

Thanks to tscharlie on Pixabay

Thanks to tscharlie on Pixabay

Consider these thoughts:

Love forgives
    even when I feel hurt
    because forgiveness sets me free.
Love communicates
    since wisdom has taught me
    that Healing is born in dialogue.
Love forgets
    because remembering
    destroys my peace.
Love judges not
    because peace is more important
    than needing to be right.
Love sees Light
    where my hurt
    imagines only darkness.
Love never condemns
    for condemnation is an attempt
    to control what is not mine.
Love sets me free
    by releasing the chains
    that all other choices impose.
Love is the only religion
    which actually delivers the freedom
    all other traditions promise.

Love makes room for everyone by creating a heart which is open and expansive enough to allow for that which I may not agree with and sometimes may not even understand.

Thanks to Jill111 on pixabay

Thanks to Jill111 on pixabay

Think about these words from the great Sufi master Ibn Arabi:

My heart holds within it every form,  
    it contains a pasture for gazelles, 
    a monastery for Christian monks.
There is a temple for idol-worshippers,
    a holy shrine for pilgrims;
There is the table of the Torah,
    and the Book of the Koran.
I follow the religion of Love
    and go whichever way His camel leads me.
This is the true faith;
This is the true religion.

Thanks to alexas_fotos on Pixabay

Thanks to alexas_fotos on Pixabay

I love Maya Angelou’s words in her famous poem, titled Touched by an Angel:

We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.

Love arrives
and in its train come ecstasies  
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.

We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love’s light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.

My religion is love,
It’s temple is my heart
For this is the only religion
In which I have ever found
Lasting freedom from the pain
That life serves up on a daily basis.

Finally, I will leave you with another short piece of prose which I penned when I was feeling sad and lonely. This was my hearts response to the question “Why am I so unloved?”

When people disappoint youin love
Choose Love anyway.
When people aggravate you
Choose Love anyway.
When people offend you
Choose Love anyway.
When people disrespect you
Choose Love anyway.
When people fail to Love you
Choose Love anyway.

You can never control other people.
You can never make others
Act the way you want them to,
Choose love anyway;
Because in the choosing
You set yourself free:
Free of the bondage
That your anger,
Your resentment,
Your disappointment offers.

Freedom is not free,
Yet it is a choice
Which costs you nothing;
Nothing real anyway,
Nothing tangible,
Nothing but the swallowing
Of ego’s child: pride.

My religion is Love
For in Love’s embrace
My life is a better place.

I Will Great This Day With Love in my Heart

Here is another post I made in July of 2015. Following a Toastmaster’s Meeting in which my friend John Ruck read the following passage from Og Mandino’s book, The Greatest Salesman in the World, I went home and found this passage. I found it in the book listed as scroll II.
Consider these thoughts: SCROLL 2

I will greet this day with love in my heart.

And how will I do this? Henceforth will I look on all things with love and I will be born again. I will love the sun for it warms my bones; yet I will love the rain for it cleanses my spirit. I will love the light for it shows me the way; yet I will love the darkness for it shows me the stars. I will welcome happiness for it enlarges my heart; yet I will endure sadness for it opens my soul. I will acknowledge rewards for they are my due; yet I will welcome obstacles for they are my challenge.

I will greet this day with love in my heart.

And how will I speak? I will laud mine enemies and they will become friends; I will encourage my friends and they will become brothers. Always will I dig for reasons to applaud; never will I scratch for excuses to gossip. When I am tempted to criticize I will bite on my tongue; when I am moved to praise I will shout from the roofs.

Is it not that birds, the wind, the sea and all of nature speaks with the music of praise for their creator? Cannot I speak with the same music to his children? Henceforth will I remember this secret and it will change my life.

I will greet this day with love in my heart.

And how will I act? I will love all manners of men for each has qualities to be admired even though they be hidden. With love I will tear down the wall of suspicion and hate which they have built round their hearts and in its place will I build bridges so that my love may enter their souls.

I will love the ambitious for they can inspire me! I will love the failures for they can teach me. I will love the kings for they are but human; I will love the meek for they are divine. I will love the rich for they are yet lonely; I will love the poor for they are so many. I will love the young for the faith they hold; I will love the old for the wisdom they share. I will love the beautiful for their eyes of sadness; I will love the ugly for their souls of peace.   love-hearts

I will greet this day with love in my heart.

But how will I react to the actions of others? With love. For just as love is my weapon to open the hearts of men, love is also my shield to repulse the arrows of hate and the spears of anger. Adversity and discouragement will beat against my new shield and become as the softest of rains. My shield will protect me in the market place and sustain me when I am alone. It will uplift me in moments of despair yet it will calm me in time of exultation. It will become stronger and more protective with use until one day I will cast aside and walk unencumbered among all manners of men and, when I do, my name will be raised high on the pyramid of life.

I will greet this day with love in my heart.

And how will I confront each whom I meet? In only one way. In silence and to myself I will address him and say I Love You. Though spoken in silence these words will shine in my eyes, unwrinkle my brow, bring a smile to my lips, and echo in my voice; and his heart will be opened. And who is there who will say nay to my goods when his hearts feels my love?

I will greet this day with love in my heart.

And most of all I will love myself. For when I do I will zealously inspect all things which enter my body, my mind, my soul, and my heart. Never will I overindulge the requests of my flesh; rather I will cherish my body with cleanliness and moderation. Never will I allow my mind to be attracted to evil and despair, rather I will uplift it with the knowledge and wisdom of the ages. Never will I allow my soul to become complacent and satisfied, rather I will feed it with meditation and prayer. Never will I allow my heart to become small and bitter, rather I will share it and it will grow and warm the earth.

I will greet this day with love in my heart.

Henceforth will I love all mankind. From this moment all hate is let from my veins for I have not time to hate, only time to love. From this moment I take the first step required to become a man among men. With love I will increase my sales a hundred-fold and become a great salesman. If I have no other qualities I can succeed with love alone. Without it I will fail though I possess all the knowledge and skills of the world.

I will greet this day with love, and I will succeed.

Mandino, Og. The Greatest Salesman in the World. New York: F. Fell, 1968. Print.

I liked this the first time I read Og Mandino’s excellent book. I liked it the day John Ruck reminded me of it. I liked it when I just read it. Some things are timeless that way.

I may share each of Og Mandino’s scrolls from this timeless book, in the next few days. I think he had keen insight into the ways of functioning as a fully spiritual and fully human being.

It Still Sounds so Easy

I published this piece of prose on July 25th 2007 but it was on a different server and the blog was under a different name, so I doubt there is any record of it, save the possibility of someone, on my list at that time, having kept it because it spoke to them.

I came across this writing today as I was up to 2007 in my overcrowded inbox. As I read it, I found it still speaks to me, today, as much as it did eight years ago, so I thought I would share it again. Besides, there are 20k+ people with whom I interact today, who did not know me eight years ago.

I hope you enjoy this piece. I hope you feel like sharing your thoughts with me, if this speaks to you.

It Sounds So Easy
How much I long to begin each day with a clean slate.
It is my hope.
It is my goal.
Thanks to AdinaVoicu on Pixabay

Thanks to AdinaVoicu on Pixabay

Then our eyes meet.

The autonomic data base, I cannot seem to leave at home,
Starts running,
Starts querying
Offers information
Neither sought
Nor desired.

It is not particularly demanding
Although it does expect that the information offered
Will be accepted
As valid and pertinent.
It has been in charge
For so long,
It’s authority seems non-negotiable.

Thanks to Geralt on Pixabay

Thanks to Geralt on Pixabay

So I have an immediate battle
When I try to look at you
Through new eyes.
These input sensors appear loyal
To this autonomic master
Regardless of my demands, hopes or dreams.

I process so much information
I easily lose all hope of seeing anything,
Most especially anyone
With the eyes of a child.

Our history,
Be it real or imagined,
Fuels an expectancy
Which by all appearances
Seems to be insurmountable.

Thanks to Geralt on Pixabay

Thanks to Geralt on Pixabay

If this stored memory
Has been one of joy
I am immediately
Delighted by your presence.

If I have judged
Our prior interactions
As less than pleasurable,
Then I must claw my way
Through a haze of discontent
To even appear to be open,
To the possibility
Of an affable relationship.

I am told, repeatedly,
By sages and sunsets,
Simply “be here now“.
Leave the past
With each exhale.

Thanks to dakzxz on Pixabay

Thanks to dakzxz on Pixabay

Yet I often find I have no present
Not fully defined by the past.
All of my senses seem to
Conspire to keep me
As I have always been.

I know not to judge you.
I’ve worked at that for years.
Yet, sometimes, the best I can do
Is ignore the flashing lights
And whistles
Which insist on warning me
Or alerting me
To what I can expect
From someone who looks like you
Someone who dresses like you
Someone who talks like you
Someone who smells like you
Someone with your history
As defined by mine.

Thanks to omeralnahi on Pixabay

Thanks to omeralnahi on Pixabay

So, in my quest
To see you with untainted vision
I spend all my time
Begging for forgiveness
For this incessant need
To define,
To intellectualize,
To brandish
My perceived skills
At reading people.

When we meet
And you wonder why
I am not great at small talk
Now you know.
I am battling my own inner voices
Begging for sanity
longing to be free of the past
striving to be fearless about the future;
like a little David
hoping to lay his Goliath
to rest
with gentle love and kindness
instead of WMD’s.

Thanks to Unsplash

Thanks to Unsplash

This inner challenge
Consumes me.
Once the life of the party
Now I carry the party with me
Everywhere I go.

Deeper and deeper
I move to my interior
In search of the “off” switch
In search of the “plug to pull”
On the memory storage
Which demands I see you
Through the lens of yesterday.

So, know that I am not ignoring you
When you ask my opinion
About global warming or the price of gas,
I am merely trying to love you
Without falling prey to the voices
Which insist it is not wise to do so
Because of the way you wear your hair
Or the way you flaunt your insecurities
By accentuating our separateness.

I know the Truth is that you and I are one.
I know, beyond any doubt, that the things
I see in you, which cause my consternation,
Are gifts to me, pointing me to where I
Need to learn to fully love myself.

Thanks to chrystal-e on Pixabay

Thanks to chrystal-e on Pixabay

I am so very grateful
That you are willing to play that part
In my life.

I humbly ask
That you be patient with me
As I learn to love myself more
So that I may show up
As real and as authentic as possible
When our paths next meet.

I know the truth about who you are.

I promise to keep discovering
The truth about who I am.

The Serendipitous Life is the Only Life for Me

One of the things I absolutely love about living this moment to moment experience of life are all the serendipitous things which happen in my life. Many are daily and sometimes they are even hourly.

Thanks to Geralt on Pixabay

Thanks to Geralt on Pixabay

Friday, after I had created my blog post on remembering, I went back to work clearing out old emails from an account which have some old saved letters dating back to February 2007. I had saved them, at the time, because I wanted to evaluate them when time allowed, in the hopes that they could contain some treasures.

Lo and behold, I was discarding an email from February 10th, 2007 when I caught a glimpse of a poem at the bottom of the post. Since I had just been answering some comments on my Mary Oliver post of August 6th, it was a pleasant surprise that this old email contained an Oliver poem entitled, When Death Comes.

With a grin on my face, I want to share that writing here:

When Death Comes

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse 

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox;

Thanks to HeidiNydegger on Pixabay

Thanks to HeidiNydegger on Pixabay

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something 
precious to the earth.

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life                              Freedom Thanks to
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom; taking the world into my arms.

When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.

– Mary Oliver, from New and Selected Poems

This writing fits so nicely with the post I wrote on the 6th, where I discussed how important it was to me to live my life in a way which I felt opened the possibility of creating a legacy.  This poem could not be more appropriate for me.

I absolutely love the idea of being married to amazement; being married to life as a groom in a constant bridal dance with every hour of each day.

When I think about how important it is to me that I leave a legacy,

Thanks to Brodammer on Pixabay

Thanks to Brodammer on Pixabay

I find this egoistic ambition pales in comparison to my desire to live each day as a child of amazement.

It certainly amazes me that this email found me, Friday, but then I really do live most days tickled by the way Life shows up when I am an open and willing student.

Thank you to Jerry Katz for sharing this poem.
Thank you to Mary Oliver
for penning these beautiful thoughts.
Mostly, thank you to Love
which keeps my eyes open
to the serendipity
which awaits me at every turn.

The Wisdom of Remembering

When we are still in the process of remembering who and what we are, we can be confused by the appearance of separateness. When we fully recall the Truth of our being, all sense of separation vanishes.

Think about these words from Tomas Stubbs:

Thanks to DasWortgewand on Pixabay

Thanks to DasWortgewand on Pixabay

You see an endless vista of mountain tops poking through the clouds. Hypnotized by belief that you are only the top of the mountain, you hardly even suspect your own depth. From this height it’s no wonder you feel isolated.

All it takes is to stop believing that limitation, and you begin to notice breaks in the cloud. When you stop living from the mind (just from the summit of the mountain), the cloud vanishes to reveal you are something far more vast.

Gradually you realize that the other mountain tops are like you, and eventually that all are connected, just ripples in one ground. Through acceptance of what is, acceptance of non-specialness, our true nature is revealed; To the mountain, the mountain top is just another rock.

Courtesy of JohnPriceOnline on Pixabay

Courtesy of JohnPriceOnline on Pixabay

When we actually awaken to the Truth of our being, we find ourselves like the Aspen tree which looks like a separate manifestation, to the naked eye, but just a little investigation reveals that entire groves of these special trees grow from one underground root system. At the core from which they arise, just as from the soul, which is the Truth of our being, there is only ONE. Everything is a manifestation of that Oneness.

I will leave you with these wise words that Tomas has shared on a page of his at NeverNotHere.com :

“Awakening is a funny thing, it´s never quite what you think it is. Even after the fact. For the longest time it seemed like the essential shift happened in a moment of realization. Now I see that the realization was just a moment of crystallisation, the head finally got what the heart had always been yearning for, what it already knew.