11 October 2016      

Hello, and welcome to our newest week, a week full of new things
and opportunities to experience all sorts of things that we haven't
experienced before, while bringing our own personal touches to the
experiences of people who share our lives with us.  Here's hoping
that our personal touches that we share are positive and uplifting!

 Freedom Is a Fact of Life
John Marks Templeton

Steps toward Inner Peace
Peace Pilgrim

The Loving Decision
tom walsh

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The world is not perishing for the want of clever or talented or well-meaning people.  It is perishing for the want of people of courage and resolution.

Robert J. McCracken

Non-violence leads to the highest ethics,
which is the goal of all evolution. Until
we stop harming all other living beings,
we are still savages.

Thomas A. Edison

The worst enemy to
creativity is self-doubt.

Sylvia Plath

  

Freedom Is a Fact of Life
John Marks Templeton

Pause for a moment and take an honest look at your world from your present perspective.  Does your life feel open and flowing?  or do you sometimes feel restricted and confined in any areas?  Do you feel that you have a good grasp on the direction of your life? or are there occasions when you feel tossed by the winds of change and buffeted by other people's opinions and actions?  Are you able to pursue your chosen aims without restriction? or do you feel someone or something may be hampering you--that your life is not fully yours to do as you please?

To be fully alive and living--not just existing--in today's world, it is important to allow ourselves to be in a harmonious flow with the people and events around us and still be able to continue moving in the direction of our sincere desires for our life.  We cannot afford to confine ourselves to any rigid picture of who we are or how we think things should be done.  An oriental sage once said that the secret to freedom and happiness is to "cease to cherish our options."  This awareness provides great insight.  Often, we stuff ourselves into habitual ways of doing things in a certain manner.  Then, if things don't go in the direction we expect, or if someone comes along with a different idea or perspective, we get upset and become a nuisance to ourselves and those around us.  One way to be free is to break the molds of old ways of thinking and rigid ways of doing things.

In Man's Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl tells of his own experience in a Nazi concentration camp.

He reflects on the irony that he never felt so free as he did during that dreadful period.  How could that be true?  Even though all obvious freedoms had been taken away from him and he was living in constant threat of sickness, torture, and death, he discovered a depth of freedom inside of himself that he had never before experienced.

We are free spirits, and our minds are not bound to anything unless we think we are.  Several years ago, there was an old Three Stooges comedy routine on American television in which Larry would call out to Moe, "I can't see!  I can't see!"  Moe would immediately rush to Larry's aid, asking, "Why not?"  Larry would smile and proclaim, "Because I got my eyes closed!"  Then, of course, Moe would promptly bop Larry on the head.  It is a good idea to pause occasionally to think about what we may not be seeing in our world because we have our eyes closed.  (And preferably do this before we get "bopped" on the head by circumstances!)  We can consider whether it is life that may be restraining us or if we are confining ourselves with limited thinking.  Our happy realization can be that our minds cannot be tied to any experience unless we are bound by our own thoughts.

If we come to understand that freedom is inescapable, that understanding can serve us greatly in living a happy and productive life.  In the middle of one of the most restrictive environments imaginable, Viktor Frankl discovered this truth about freedom.  He learned that no matter where life might take him, no matter how terrible the external conditions might be, he still had the freedom of his own thoughts and attitudes.  He could choose to see with the eyes of a free spirit.

We may often give this inalienable freedom away by believing that our parents, teachers, friends, employers, or whoever cause us to feel a certain way.  However, when we truly understand that no one can make us think or feel anything unless we give them permission, we begin to understand the vastness of our freedom.  No person or circumstance has the power to change that truth.  Viktor Frankl has shown us, eloquently and movingly, that, even in the midst of a horrible experience, valuable lessons can be learned.  He could have thrown up his hands in despair at the outer circumstances.  He could have convinced himself the Nazis made him give up.  Instead, he realized that even dictators could not control his thoughts and attitudes and that he had the choice of making his experience whatever he desired.

If your thoughts sometimes flow in a negative attitude towards life, do you feel this is the result of some external force?  Do you ever hear yourself saying that you have no future because someone is coercing you in a particular direction?  Do you feel you could be happy if only others would change?  Or are you choosing to look for the meaning and good in every situation?

We cannot escape the truth that we are free to think as we choose, and we are responsible for our own thoughts and attitudes.  If they're not what we desire, we can change them and, thereby, change our experience of life.  So long as we cherish our freedom to think and be, it can never be taken from us.  Patterns were given to serve us--not for us to live for them.  An old adage says, "Behold the turtle who makes progress only when he sticks his head out!"  Do you dare to go boldly and freely forward--positively?  True freedom can come to us only by way of self-domination.  When a sincere desire for spiritual help begins to grow in the heart, that help is at hand and freedom is assured.  You then may become fully independent!
  
  

Worldwide Laws of Life is full of wisdom drawn from the major sacred Scriptures of the world and various schools of philosophical thought, as well as from scientists, artists, historians, and others. Its aim is to assist people of all ages to learn more about the universal truths of life that transcend modern times or particular cultures.  This treasury of practical morality, personal inspiration, and daily guidance is perfect for people of all persuasions. The organization facilitates group or personal study and spiritual development.

   

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Steps Toward Inner Peace
Peace Pilgrim

In my early life I made two very important discoveries. In the first place I discovered that making money was easy. And in the second place I discovered that making money and spending it foolishly was completely meaningless. I knew that this was not what I was here for, but at that time (this was many years ago), I didn't know exactly what I was here for. It was out of a very deep seeking for a meaningful way of life, and after having walked all one night through the woods, that I came to what I now know to be a very important psychological hump. I felt a complete willingness, without any reservations, to give my life, to dedicate my life to service. I tell you, it is a point of no return. After that, you can never go back to completely self-centered living.

And so I went into the second phase of my life. I began to live to give what I could, instead of get what I could, and I entered a new and wonderful world. My life began to become meaningful. I attained the great blessing of good health; I haven't had a cold or headache since. (Most illness is psychologically induced.) From that time on, I have known that my life-work would be work for peace; that it would cover the entire peace picture - peace among nations, peace among groups, peace among individuals, and the very, very important inner peace. However, there's a great deal of difference between being willing to give your life, and actually giving your life, and for me, 15 years of preparation and of inner seeking lay between.

During this time I became acquainted with what Psychologists refer to as Ego and Conscience. I began to realize that it's as though we have two selves or two natures or two wills with two different viewpoints. Because the viewpoints were so different, I felt a struggle in my life at this period between the two selves with the two viewpoints. So there were hills and valleys - lots of hills and valleys. Then in the midst of the struggle there came a wonderful mountain-top experience, and for the first time I knew what inner peace was like. I felt a oneness - oneness with all my fellow human beings, oneness with all of creation. I have never felt really separate since. I could return again and again to this wonderful mountaintop, and then I could stay there for longer and longer periods of time, and just slip out occasionally. Then came a wonderful morning when I woke up and knew that I would never have to descend again into the valley. I knew that for me the struggle was over, that finally I had succeeded in giving my life, or finding inner peace. Again this is a point of no return. you can never go back into the struggle. The struggle is over now because you will do the right thing, and you don't need to be pushed into it.

However progress is not over. Great progress has taken place in this third phase of my life, but it's as though the central figure of the jigsaw puzzle of your life is complete and clear and unchanging, and around the edges other pieces keep fitting in. There is always a growing edge, but the progress is harmonious. There is a feeling of always being surrounded by all of the good things, like love and peace and joy. It seems like a protective surrounding, and there is an unshakeableness within which takes you through any situation you may need to face.

The world may look at you and believe that you are facing great problems, but always there are the inner resources to easily overcome these problems. Nothing seems difficult. There is a calmness and a serenity and unhurriedness - no more striving or straining about anything. Life is full and life is good, but life is nevermore overcrowded. That's a very important thing I've learned: If your life is in harmony with your part in the Life Pattern, and if you are obedient to the laws which govern this universe, then your life is full and good but not overcrowded. If it is overcrowded, you are doing more than is right for you to do, more than is your job to do in the total scheme of things.

Now there is a living to give instead of to get. As you concentrate on the giving, you discover that just as you cannot receive without giving, so neither can you give without receiving - even the most wonderful things like health and happiness and inner peace. There is a feeling of endless energy - it just never runs out; it seems to be as endless as air. You just seem to be plugged into the source of universal energy.

You are now in control of your life. You see, the ego is never in control. The ego is controlled by wishes for comfort and convenience on the part of the body, by demands of the mind, and by outbursts of the emotions. But the higher nature controls the body and the mind and the emotions. I can say to my body, "Lie down there on that cement floor and go to sleep," and it obeys. I can say to my mind, "Shut out everything else and concentrate on this job before you," and it's obedient. I can say to the emotions, "Be still, even in the face of this terrible situation," and they are still. It's a different way of living. The philosopher Thoreau wrote: If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps he hears a different drummer. And now you are following a different drummer - the higher nature instead of the lower.
   

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Freedom is as frightening now as it was thousands of years ago.  It
will always require a willingness to sacrifice what is most familiar
for what is most true.  To be free we may need to act from integrity,
on trust, sometimes for a very long time.  Few of us will reach our
promised land in a day.  But perhaps the most important part of the
story is that God does not delegate this task.  Whenever anyone
moves toward freedom, God Himself is there.

Rachel Naomi Remen

   

 

The Loving Decision

We all make decisions every day, and that's one of the things that distinguishes us from other life forms on the planet.  Our decisions are made after we think about things and consider options, not just on instinct, as the decisions of most of our animal friends seem to be made.  Unfortunately, though, much of our thinking and consideration about our decisions seems to be focused on our selves--how can I make the situation benefit me?  How can this decision add to the good in my life?  How can this decision put me ahead of others?

I've always liked the little question "What would love do?," though I'll be the first to admit that I don't put it into play nearly as much as I'd like to.  I'm faced with decisions all the time, and they almost always affect other people.  Yet I still leave love out of the equation, even though I'm fully aware that all of my decisions should be made with love in mind.  The loving decision is one that will benefit as many people as possible, and it's a decision that will provide benefit to the world, as well.  But it's not a decision that I make nearly enough.  I try to, and I think I make it more than many other people do, but when all is said and done I know that I could be making it more.

One of the benefits of the loving decision is that it makes decision-making much easier overall, for it quickly eliminates many possibilities from the process.  If I'm faced with three choices and one of them has benefits only to myself, then the chances are slim that that's the option I'll choose.  (Though notice that I say "slim"--there are times when such a course of action can be not only appropriate, but better overall.)

   

More than anything else, I believe it's our decisions, not
the conditions of our lives, that determine our destiny.

Anthony Robbins

   
For example, when I'm driving the most loving thing that I can do is to make sure that I'm being safe for others who are out on the road--and that includes other motorists, pedestrians, bikers, skateboarders, and anyone else who may be around.  Recently I was out walking and I stepped into a crosswalk, only to have to jump back onto the curb when the car that was supposed to stop at the thick white line didn't, and actually stopped half-way through the crosswalk.  It was pretty obvious that pedestrians were not on that driver's list of important things that day, and I certainly didn't feel loved after I almost got hit.  If I make the decision the moment I get into the car that I'm going to pay close attention and respect pedestrians, though, that's something that more than likely never will happen to me.

When I teach, I have a standing decision already made--that I won't say anything to degrade my students.  They might not have done their homework, but that doesn't justify me if I call them lazy or say that they don't care.  I know that lots of things go on in everyone's lives, and while there's a good chance that they did just blow the assignment off, there's also a good chance that something happened that kept them from doing it.  And my harsh and offensive words will do nothing to help the situation, and they could do much harm.  My loving decision is to be supportive and non-judgmental, and hope that that works.

That doesn't mean that hard love isn't sometimes important--I just don't use it at school.  With someone who's abusive or addicted, though, my loving decision may be to say exactly what I feel, even if the person may feel offended or hurt.  The loving decision may also be not to rush to someone's aid when they're facing a problem that they caused themselves due to their own behavior.  Sometimes, the most important lessons we can learn come from cleaning up our own messes after we've made them.
    

Every decision that you make either moves you toward
your personality, or toward your soul.  Each decision you
make is an answer to the question, "How do you choose to
learn love?", "How do you choose to learn authentic
empowerment-- through doubt and fear, or through wisdom?"

Gary Zukav

    
The loving decisions will be known to us when our hearts are at peace with them.  We'll know them when we don't have to continue to justify them to ourselves, when we don't have to rationalize why we did something.  When we make a loving decision, we're okay with it and we don't need to explain it to others.

I can't help but think back to the years when I was a child and I witnessed so many decisions made by adults that were not the result of love, but of anger or insecurities or fear or frustration.  I've always tried to learn from other human beings, whether from their successes or their mistakes, and I know that I want to avoid making other people feel the ways that I felt when I was very young and an adult did something hurtful to me.  They decided to do something that actually damaged me in many ways, and I don't want to pass that kind of lesson on to anyone else.  I want to escape any cycle they might have been fulfilling, and be my own person--a person who makes my decisions based on love, hoping that they'll help others, not hurt them.

There are many areas in which we constantly have decisions to make that can be loving decisions:  how we talk to others, how we drive, how we do business, how we treat children and strangers and elderly people, what we do with our money, what we do with our time, how we eat, whether or not we share--the list is an extremely long one.  In all of these cases, though, we have the chance to contribute to the positive side of the world rather than the negative.
   

There may be no trumpet sound or loud applause when we
make a right decision, just a calm sense of resolution and peace.

Gloria Gaither

   
Love must be a part of our decisions if we're going to contribute love to the world instead of fear and selfishness.  It's important that we get ourselves into the habit of thinking to ourselves "what would love do?" when we're faced with a decision that intimidates us or that can go in several different directions, each with its own set of results.  We need to hope for the best result, one that leaves all people involved affected in positive ways so that we all may grow and learn in our lives.  We have a chance to contribute to the world in positive ways with each decision that we make, and while no one else in the world will probably know about our decisions, we will--and that's what's most important.

   
More on decision-making.

   

One of the most important elements
of living life fully is awareness-- awareness of our surroundings, of other people and their motives and fears and desires, of the things that affect us most in our lives, both positively and negatively. In the twelve years of livinglifefully.com's existence, this essay series has been a mainstay of the weekly e-zine--a series that has explored not just the things that exist and that happen around us, but also our reactions to those things. The first five years of the column are now available exclusively on Kindle.

   

  

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The friend of my adversity I
shall always cherish most.  I can
better trust those who helped to
relieve the gloom of my dark
hours than those who are so
ready to enjoy with me the
sunshine of my prosperity.

Ulysses S. Grant

  

Code of Ethics
Lao Russell

To bring blessings upon yourself, bless your neighbor.
To enrich yourself, enrich your neighbor.
Honor your neighbor and the world will honor you.
To sorely hurt yourself, hurt your neighbor.
Those who lack love will find it by giving it.
The measure of one's wealth is the measure of the wealth one has given.
To enrich yourself with many friends, enrich your friends with yourself.
That which you take away from any person, the world will take away from you.
When you take the first step to give yourself to that which you want, it will also take its first step to give itself to you.
Peace and happiness do not come to you from your horizon.  They spread from you out to infinity beyond your horizon.
The whole universe is a mirror which reflects back to you that which you reflect into it.
Love is like unto the ascent of a mountain.  It comes ever nearer to you as you go ever nearer to it.

   
  

Fun is fundamental.  There is no way around it.  You absolutely must
have fun.  Without fun, there is no enthusiasm.  Without enthusiasm,
there is no energy.  Without energy, there are only shades of gray.

Doug Hall

    

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