6 September 2016
will tell whether one happy moment of love, or the joy of
breathing or walking on a bright morning and smelling the
fresh air, is not worth all the suffering and effort that
didn't belong as a kid, and that always bothered me.
If only I'd known that one day my differentness would be
an asset, then my early life would have been much easier.
can forge a little link of brotherhood, or at least
understanding. Some day perhaps every boy and girl
will have become at home in a foreign country, and there
could be no more useful step towards the abolition of war.
people have exchanged some part of their chances of happiness
for a measure of security.
societies get out of harmony, problems develop within the
society. Collective problems. Their purpose is to push the
whole society toward harmony. Individuals can discover
that they can not only grow and learn through individual
problem solving, they can learn and grow through
collective problem solving. I often say I've run out of
personal problems, then every once in a while a little one
presents itself somewhere. But I hardly recognize it as a
problem because it seems so insignificant. Actually, I
want to do all my learning and growing now by helping to
solve collective problems.
was a time when I thought it was a nuisance to be
confronted with a problem. I tried to get rid of it. I
tried to get somebody else to solve it for me. But that
time was long ago. It was a great day in my life when I
discovered the wonderful purpose of problems. Yes, they
have a wonderful purpose.
people wish for a life of no problems, but I would never
wish such a life for any of you. What I wish for you is
the great inner strength to solve your problems
meaningfully and grow. Problems are learning and growing
experiences. A life without problems would be a barren
existence, without the opportunity for spiritual growth.
met a woman who had virtually no problems. I was on a
late-night radio program in New York City. This woman
called the station and wanted me to come to her home. I
was intending to spend the night at the bus station, so I
She sent her chauffeur for me, and I found
myself in a millionaire's home, talking to a middle-aged
woman who seemed like a child. She was so immature, and I
wondered at her immaturity, until I realized that the
woman had been shielded from all problems by a group of
servants and lawyers. She had never come to grips with
life. She had not had problems to grow on, and therefore
had not grown. Problems are blessings in disguise!
Were I to solve problems for others they would remain
stagnant; they would never grow. It would be a great
injustice to them. My approach is to help with cause
rather than effect. When I help others, it is by
instilling within them the inspiration to work out
problems by themselves. If you feed a man a meal, you only
feed him for a day--but if you teach a man to grow food,
you feed him for a lifetime.
is through solving problems correctly that we grow
spiritually. We are never given a burden unless we have
the capacity to overcome it. If a great problem is set
before you, this merely indicates that you have the great
inner strength to solve a great problem. There is never
really anything to be discouraged about, because
difficulties are opportunities for inner growth, and the
greater the difficulty the greater the opportunity for
Difficulties with material things often come to remind us
that our concentration should be on spiritual things
instead of material things. Sometimes difficulties of the
body come to show that the body is just a transient
garment, and that the reality is the indestructible
essence which activates the body. But when we can say,
"Thank God for problems which are sent for our
spiritual growth," they are problems no longer. They
then become opportunities.
me tell you a story of a woman who had a personal problem.
She lived constantly with pain. It was something in her
back. I can still see her, arranging the pillows behind
her back so it wouldn't hurt quite so much. She was quite
bitter about this. I talked to her about the wonderful
purpose of problems in our lives, and I tried to inspire
her to think about God instead of her problems. I must
have been successful to some degree, because one night
after she had gone to bed she got to thinking about God.
"God regards me, this little grain of dust, as so
important that he sends me just the right problems to grow
on," she began thinking. And she turned to God and
said, "Oh, dear God, thank you for this pain through
which I may grow closer to thee." Then the pain was
gone and it has never returned. Perhaps that's what it
means when it says: 'In all things be thankful.' Maybe
more often we should pray the prayer of thankfulness for
our problems. Prayer is a concentration of positive
Many common problems are caused by wrong attitudes. People
see themselves as the center of the universe and judge
everything as it relates to them. Naturally you won't be
happy that way. You can only be happy when you see things
in proper perspective: all human beings are of equal
importance in God's sight, and have a job to do in the
give you an example of a woman who had some difficulty
finding out what her job was in the divine plan. She was
in her early forties, single, and needed to earn a living.
She hated her work to the extent that it made her sick,
and the first thing she did was to go to a psychiatrist
who said he would adjust her to her job. So after some
adjustment she went back to work. But she still hated her
job. She got sick again and then came to me. Well, I asked
what her calling was, and she said, "I'm not called
to do anything."
was not true. What she really meant was she didn't know
her calling. So I asked her what she liked to do
because if it is your calling you will do it as easily and
joyously as I walk my pilgrimage. I found she liked to do
three things. She liked to play the piano, but wasn't good
enough to earn her living at that. She liked to swim, but
wasn't good enough to be a swimming instructor, and she
liked to work with flowers.
got her a job in a florist shop so she could earn her
living working with flowers. She loved it. She said she
would do it for nothing. But we used the other things too.
Remember, she needed more than just a livelihood. She
needed other things. The swimming became her exercise.
fits in with sensible living habits. The piano playing
became her path of service. She went to a retirement home
and played the old songs for the people there. She got
them to sing, and she was good at that. Out of those three
things such a beautiful life was built for that woman.
became a very attractive woman and married a year or so
later. She stayed right in that life pattern.
I knew another woman who was confined to her room and had
been there for quite some time. I went in to see her and I
could tell immediately from the lines in her face and the
tenseness of her that it wasn't physical at all. And I
don't think I had talked to her for more than five minutes
before she was telling me all about how mean her sister
had been to her. The way she told it, I knew she had told
that story again and again and mulled over in her mind
constantly that bitterness against her sister. I found
myself explaining to her that if she would forgive, ask
forgiveness, and make peace with her sister, then she
could look for an improvement in her health.
"Huh!" she said. "I'd rather die. You have
no idea how mean she was." So the situation drifted
early one morning at dawn this woman wrote a beautiful and
inspired letter to her sister, which she showed to me.
(There is something very wonderful to be said about dawn.
Sunset is good, too. The only thing is, at sunset most
everybody is awake and they're hurrying and scurrying
around. At dawn most everybody is slowed down or asleep
and they are much more harmonious when they're asleep. So
dawn is often a good time for spiritual things.) I
immediately went into town and mailed the letter before
she could change her mind. When I got back, she had changed
her mind--so it's a good thing I had mailed it! She
worried a little, but by return mail came a letter from
her sister, and her sister was so glad they were to be
reconciled. And you know, on the same day that letter
arrived from her sister the woman was up and around and
out of bed, and the last I saw of her she was joyously off
for a reconciliation with her sister.
something to that old saying that hate injures the hater,
not the hated.
people behind the words
and excerpts - Daily
Two - Year Three
for your free daily spiritual or general quotation ~ ~ Sign
up for your free daily meditation
What does it mean to live a full life? How do we
stay happy and content in a world that often seems to be
throwing more at us than we can handle? Thirty years in
the making, Universal Principles
of Living Life Fully explores different aspects of our
selves as human beings, aspects that we are able to develop and
expand when we need to in order to make ourselves more
comfortable in the world we live in. It explores 57 different
elements of who we are, from love to mindfulness to adversity to
prayer, in an effort to help you to figure out just where to
focus your energy and attention when life is being difficult for
you. Use the link to the left for the Kindle edition, or click
here for the print edition.
Read more about the book here.
for Living Life Fully
If you want to have many of the quotations that you find here on
our pages to take with you wherever you go, whenever you go
there, our collection of quotations--over 3800 of them-- is available for the Kindle
for just 99 cents! (It's available only on the Kindle
because the price would end up being far too high for a print
copy.) Some of the wisest words that you will ever read,
all organized by topic and ready to provide you with
encouragement, motivation, and reinforcement. This may be
the best dollar you ever spend!
Charlotte Joko Beck
My dog doesn't worry about the meaning of life.
She may worry if she doesn't get her breakfast,
but she doesn't sit around worrying about
whether she will get fulfilled or liberated or
enlightened. As long as she gets some food and a
little affection, her life is fine. But we human
beings are not like dogs. We have self-centered
minds which get us into plenty of trouble. If we
do not come to understand the error in the way
we think, our self-awareness, which is our
greatest blessing, is also our downfall.
degree we all find life difficult, perplexing,
and oppressive. Even when it goes well, as it
may for a time, we worry that it probably won't
keep on that way. Depending on our personal
history, we arrive at adulthood with very mixed
feelings about this life. If I were to tell you
that your life is already perfect, whole, and
complete just as it is, you would think I was
crazy. Nobody believes his or her life is
perfect. And yet there is something within each
of us that basically knows we are boundless,
limitless. We are caught in the contradiction of
finding life a rather perplexing puzzle which
causes us a lot of misery, and at the same time
being dimly aware of the boundless, limitless
nature of life. So we begin looking for an
answer to the puzzle.
first way of looking is to seek a solution
outside ourselves. At first this may be on a
very ordinary level. There are many people in
the world who feel that if only they had a
bigger car, a nicer house, better vacations, a
more understanding boss, or a more interesting
partner, then their life would work. We all go
through that one. Slowly we wear out most of our
"if onlies." "If only I had this,
or that, then my life would work Not one of us
isn't, to some degree, still wearing out our
"if onlies." First of all we wear out
those on the gross levels. Then we shift our
search to more subtle levels. Finally, in
looking for the thing outside of ourselves that
we hope is going to complete us, we turn to a
spiritual discipline. Unfortunately we tend to
bring into this new search the same orientation
Most people who come to the Zen Center don't
think a Cadillac will do it, but they think that
enlightenment will. Now they've got a new
cookie, a new "if only." "If only
I could understand what realization is all
about, I would be happy." "If only I
could have at least a little enlightenment
experience, I would be happy." Coming into
a practice like Zen, we bring our usual notions
that we are going to get somewhere--become
enlightened--and get all the cookies that have
eluded us in the past.
Our whole life consists of this little subject
looking outside itself for an object. But if you
take something that is limited, like body and
mind, and look for something outside it, that
something becomes an object and must be limited
too. So you have something limited looking for
something limited and you just end up with more
of the same folly that has made you miserable.
all spent many years building up a conditioned
view of life. There is "me" and there
is this "thing" out there that is
either hurting me or pleasing me. We tend to run
our whole life trying to avoid all that hurts or
displeases us, noticing the objects, people, or
situations that we think will give us pain or
pleasure, avoiding one and pursuing the other.
Without exception, we all do this. We remain
separate from our life, looking at it, analyzing
it, judging it, seeking to answer the questions,
'What am I going to get out of it? Is it going
to give me pleasure or comfort or should I run
away from it?" We do this from morning
our nice, friendly facades there is great
unease. If I were to scratch below the surface
of anyone I would find fear, pain, and anxiety
running amok. We all have ways to cover them up.
We overeat, over-drink, overwork; we watch too
much television. We are always doing something
to cover up our basic existential anxiety. Some
people live that way until the day they die.
As the years go by, it gets worse and worse.
What might not look so bad when you are
twenty-five looks awful by the time you are
fifty. We all know people who might as well be
dead; they have so contracted into their limited
viewpoints that it is as painful for those
around them as it is for themselves. The
flexibility and joy and flow of life are gone.
And that rather grim possibility faces all of
us, unless we wake up to the fact that we need
to work with our life, we need to practice.
to see through the mirage that there is an
"I" separate from "that."
Our practice is to close the gap. Only in that
instant when we and the object become one can we
see what our life is.
is not something you achieve. It is the absence
of something. All your life you have been going
forward after something, pursuing some goal.
Enlightenment is dropping all that. But to talk
about it is of little use.
practice has to be done by each individual.
There is no substitute. We can read about it
until we are a thousand years old and it won't
do a thing for us. We all have to practice, and
we have to practice with all of our might for
the rest of our lives.
Wallpaper! Just click below
the size your desktop is
right-click on the
picture that appears
in the new
window, and choose
"Set as background."
photo's from a spring
day in the Canadian Rockies)
x 800 - 1440
Is it wholly fantastic to admit
possibility that Nature
call beauty? Face to face with
any one of the elaborate
which the human's cultivation
has had nothing to do
not seem fantastic to me. We put survival
first. But when we have
margin of safety left over,
expend it in the search for
Who can say
Nature does not do the same?
Joseph Wood Krutch
Sometimes life does get difficult. There are times it seems
when I'm trudging uphill with no end to the climb in sight--I look
ahead and all I see is more hill, more climbing, more
struggle. These are the times when it's easy to get
discouraged, to feel that there's no real purpose in going on
because there's not going to be any relief from the difficult
But I took a bike ride yesterday that illustrates to me the
importance not just of going on, continuing to trudge, but also
the importance of pushing ourselves that little extra while going
up that hill. Heading north from our house, there's a
beautiful little road that's paved for fifteen miles, then turns
to dirt. The problem is that it's a road that leads into the
mountains, so it's almost all uphill from where we live. I
had gone a few miles out on it before, but yesterday I wanted to
go to the spot where it turns to dirt.
If you've ever ridden a bike uphill, you know the struggle
involved, especially when the road gets steep. The beauty of
riding uphill, though, is that you know that eventually what goes
up must come down--you're going to have to descend if you spend a
lot of time ascending. So as I pushed myself up some of the
hills that were extremely difficult yesterday, I kept reminding
myself that this very same hill that's causing me great grief at
the moment will be a hill that will bring me great satisfaction
later when I'm heading in the other direction.
And that type of reminder is very important to me. When I
was down in the very low gears, riding at just four or five miles
an hour uphill, I knew that when I was heading in the other
direction I'd be able to coast with no effort at all except to
steer the bike.
Whenever life throws me some difficult times these days, I remind
myself of all the runs that I've done and bike rides that I've
taken that have involved hills and mountains. I know that
it's important to keep in mind the fact that this too shall pass,
these difficult times are like the uphill trudging that I do, that
eventually becomes downhill coasting as long as I persevere and
keep on going up that hill.
One of the most important parts of this principle, though, is
recognizing when I'm just not ready for a particular hill, or when
this hill just isn't worth the effort. I couldn't have done
the fifteen miles yesterday if I hadn't trained for it--I couldn't
head out on my bike one day without any practice at all and expect
to do the climbing I did yesterday. Likewise, there are
other hills around that simply wouldn't be worth the effort
because they're too dangerous or because the road isn't paved or
because my bike couldn't handle it. We do have to have the
discernment necessary to choose our battles--the hills that we
The reward yesterday came almost immediately--it took me 90
minutes to do the 15 miles north, but once I turned around it took
me only 50 minutes to do the same distance back home. There
were points at which I hit 30 and 40 mph, coasting, without having
to pedal. In life, too, I know that these downhills come
along, times when things go well, when we accomplish what we want
seemingly without having to put forth any real effort. We
have to remember that when we're struggling, we're struggling to
get to the top of a hill, when all that we've learned from the
struggle will come together to help us, to give us the chance to
coast downhill for a while until our next great struggle comes up.
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.
Life Fully, the e-zine
exists to try to provide for visitors of the world wide web a
of growth, peace, inspiration, and encouragement. Our
are presented as thoughts of the authors--by no means do
mean to present them as ways that anyone has to live
from them what you will, and disagree with
whatever you disagree
with--just know that they'll be here for you
- contents - Daily
Meditations - abundance - acceptance
- aging - ambition
- anxiety - apathy - appreciation -
- art - attitude
- awakening - awareness
balance - beauty
- busyness - caring -
- challenges -
change - character
charity - children
- comparison - compassion
competition - complaining
- compliments -
- confidence - conformity
contentment - control
- crisis - criticism
discouragement - diversity -
doubt - dreams
- earth - education -
ego - emotions -
enthusiasm - envy
- ethics - example - exercise - experience - failure
- family - fate - fathers
- feelings - finances
- flowers - forgiveness
- frustration - fun - the future
- garden of life - gardening
- goals - God
- grace -
- grief - growing up
- guilt -
- home - honesty
- hospitality - humility
ideals - identity
idleness - idolatry
- illusion -
imagination - impatience
- the inner child - inspiration -
integrity - intimacy
introspection - intuition
- journey of life - joy
- judgment - karma - kindness
knowledge - language
learning - letting
go - life
- listening - loneliness
- lying - magic - marriage
mistakes - mistrust
- moderation - money -
- motivation - music - mystery
pain - parenting - passion
- the past - patience
- perspective - pessimism
- poetry -
potential - poverty -
power - praise
- pride - principle
- problems - progress
- reading -recreation
- reputation - resentment
respect - responsibility
- rest - revenge
risk - role models
- running -
ruts - sadness
life - self - self-love
self-reliance - self-respect
- selfishness - serving others - shame
down - smiles
-solitude - sorrow -
strength - stress
- success -
suffering - talent
the tapestry of life - teachers - thoughts
- today - tolerance
- truth - unfulfilled
- vulnerability - walking - war
- wealth - weight
issues - wisdom
wonder - work
worry - worship
- spring - summer
- fall - winter
Christmas - Thanksgiving
New Year - America
Zen sayings -
The Law of Attraction -
- e-zine archives
our most recent e-zine - Great
Thinkers - the people behind the words
© 2016 Living Life Fully,
all rights reserved.
free to re-use material from this site other than
contact each author for permission to use those.
If you use material, it would be
greatly appreciated if you would provide credit and
a link back to the original
source, and let us know where the material is
published. Thank you.
one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most
difficult of all our tasks; the ultimate, the last test and
proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation.
a Positive Thinker
Pamela Owens Renfro
. . there is a deeper strength
and an amazing abundance of peace
available to you.
Draw from this well;
call on your faith to uphold you.
You will make it through this time
and find joy in life again.
continues around us,
even when our troubles seem to stop time.
There is good in life every day.
Take a few minutes to distract yourself
from your concerns--
long enough to draw strength from a tree
or to find pleasure in a bird's song.
realize that life is a series of levels,
cycles of ups and downs--
some easy, some challenging.
Through it all, we learn;
we grow strong in faith;
we mature in understanding.
The difficult times are often
the best teachers, and there is
good to be found in all situations.
Reach for the good.
Be strong, and don't give up.
is a wonderful, rich word that means revival, a new
birth. It is the spirit of new life and new
values. Here are some ways to bring yourself a touch
of the spirit:
Express love to a family member or a stranger in a way
that does not involve money.
Give the present of your time and attention to a child.
Take time to reach toward your own spiritual center in
whatever way touches you. Give yourself love.
Make one contribution to peace within your family, among
your friends, and in your world.
Choose peace of mind over conflict.
Success Is the Quality of Your Journey
Finish every day and be
done with it. You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them
as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and
and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense.
This day is all that is good and fair. It is too dear,
with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on yesterdays.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
inspiring and motivational books that may interest you. Our main way of supporting this site is
through the sale of books, either physical copies
or digital copies for your Amazon Kindle (including the
online reader). All of the money that we earn
through them comes back to the site
in one way or another. Just click on the picture
to the left to visit our page of books, both fiction and