27 June 2017
true joy of humankind is in doing that which is most proper to our
nature; and the first property of people is to be kindly affected
towards them that are of one kind with ourselves.
would be interesting, be interested; if you would be pleased, be
pleasing; if you would be loved, be lovable; if you would be helped,
your thoughts away from your troubles--by the ear, by the heels, or
any other way you can manage it. It's the healthiest thing a
body can do.
Principle of Now
heard it many times, so often in fact that it has
become a cliché: Live in the present.
The now is all there is. Forget about the past;
it's over. Don't worry about the future; there
is only today. While these are familiar
refrains, the truth is that living in the now
is an elusive activity for virtually everyone.
It may be easy to say, but it's very tricky to do day
in and day out. And yet, Alan Watts is
absolutely correct in the above quotation when he
states that it "already is the case."
This is why living in the present moment is so
about the past and you're not living in the now. . .
but the now is the only time available for thinking
about the past! Live in anticipation of the
future and you're admonished for not being here now. .
. but now is all you have for engaging in that
delicious "futurizing." Thus, as Alan
Watts reminds you, you strive for what already is.
To be in the now is really your only option. But
the real question isn't how to live in the now,
it's how to use the now by being
present--rather than wasting it on reflections of the
past or concerns about the future. . . .
Excuse Making, and the Elusive Now
spending several days preparing to write this chapter,
I was trying to focus on its significance when I
decided to go for a long swim in the ocean. As I
walked toward the water, I noted that I felt some
tension in my solar-plexus region. It wasn't
anything serious--it was just the discomfort I often
feel when I have many things to do or decisions to
the moment I was about to dive in, my thoughts went
back to the reading I'd just finished on the
psychology of the now. I decided to see if I
could totally immerse myself in the moment (which, of
course, meant that I was in fact striving for what
"already is the case," since I have no other
moment than this one), only this time, I'd be fully
present, letting everything just be. I wouldn't
worry about the ache in my chest, think about how cold
the water would be or which direction the current was
flowing, or rehash all the things I had on my current
to-do list. I'd simply be in the now.
indeed let everything go and stayed focused on the
instant, the place, and the surroundings. And
something strange and wonderful happened. My
chest stopped hurting, I loosened up, all of my
anxiety dissolved, and I felt totally energized.
For the next 60 minutes or so, I moved through the
water staying 100 percent present. The moment I
decided to just be there completely, with all other
thoughts pushed aside, the discomfort I was
experiencing disappeared. Moreover, I had the
most peaceful swim I've ever had, and I emerged from
the water fully refreshed.
conclusion is that the present moment is an antidote
for the pain and difficulties we experience, which we
habitually try to soothe with rationales and
explanations. When we plunge ourselves 100
percent into the now, experiencing it and nothing
else, we're on an Excuses Begone! journey, with
no need for all of those old habituated thinking
fact, excuses are simply what you've developed to
explain now moments that are tangled into the past or
future. If you're truly in that blissful
presence of the now, there's no desire to alter what
is. When your sentences express that "It's
going to be difficult . . . it will take a long time .
. . I'm not smart enough . . . I'm too old,"
you're wasting a present moment with excuses from a
not-now moment! And when are you having these
thoughts? You guessed it--the only time you have
a thought is in the now. So if your present
moment is being used up replaying why present-moment
thinking is incorrect (making excuses), is it
available for you to do something constructive?
excuses are avoidance techniques to keep you from
taking charge and changing your thinking habits.
If you weren't rehashing your excuses but were instead
immersed in the now, you'd be experiencing your own
form of the bliss and healing that took place for me
during my magical swim. You see, when I removed
ego from the moment, I stopped thinking about myself
and focused on being fully present--and then I was
able to be truly here without ego's
excuses. I had plenty of explanations for the
tension in my chest, but when I moved totally into the
now with no other thoughts, the excuses disappeared
along with the pain.
this groundbreaking work, Wayne presents a
compendium of conscious and subconscious
crutches employed by virtually everyone, along
with ways to cast them aside once and for all.
You’ll learn to apply specific questions to
any excuse, and then proceed through the steps
of a new paradigm. The old, habituated
ways of thinking will melt away as you
experience the absurdity of hanging on to
ultimately realize that there are no excuses
worth defending, ever, even if they’ve
always been part of your life—and the joy of
releasing them will resonate throughout your
very being. When you eliminate the need to
explain your shortcomings or failures,
you’ll awaken to the life of your dreams.
people behind the words
and excerpts - Daily
Two - Year Three
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Oriah Mountain Dreamer
It doesn't interest me
what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if
you dare to dream of meeting in your heart's longing.
It doesn't interest me
how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a
fool for love, for your dreams, for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn't interest me
what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have
touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by
life's betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of
I want to know if you can
sit in pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade
from it or fix it.
I want to know if you can
be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and
let the ecstasy fill you to the tip of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, or to remember
the limitations of being human.
It doesn't interest me if
the story you're telling me is true. I want to know if you can
disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the
accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul.
I want to know if you can
be faithful and therefore be trustworthy.
I want to know if you can
see beauty even when it is not pretty every day, and if you can
source your life from God's presence.
I want to know if you can
live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of
a lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, "Yes!"
It doesn't interest me to
know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can
get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to
the bone, and do what needs to be done for the children.
It doesn't interest me
who you are, how you came to be here. I
want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me
and not shrink back.
It doesn't interest me
where or what or with whom you have studied. I
want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls
I want to know if you can
be alone with yourself, and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments.
The Invitation, Oriah expands on the poem that
started it all, exhorting us to fully examine our lives,
learn to live with intimacy and joy, and, above all, be
true to ourselves. The Dance is the celebrated
follow-up that reveals how to let go and enjoy the dance
of life. To dance, alone or with others, is to slow
down and realize that who we are is enough. Finally, in The
Call, Oriah shows that each of us has our own call,
our own specific place in the universe, and a contribution
that only we can make.
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x 800 - 1440
I still find each day too short
for all the thoughts I want to think,
all the walks I
want to take, all the books I want to read,
and all the
friends I want to see. The longer I live the more my mind
dwells upon the beauty and wonder of the world. I hardly
which feeling leads, wonderment or admiration.
Kindness to a
Arriving in Geneva
It had been a very
long day. I had left
Barcelona that morning, hitchhiking eastward, heading to
hitchhiking experience had been limited to Spain before then, and
Spain is a country where hitching is extremely difficult to do.
Both times that I tried it I had ended up spending many
hours on the side of the road, taking two days to get to places
that really should have taken me just under a day.
So I was prepared to spend at least one night in
France—the day before I had changed some pesetas to French
francs so that I would have something with which to pay for a
youth hostel somewhere. Then I would change whatever French
francs I had left to Swiss francs.
or unfortunately, though, I found myself standing on a street
leading into Geneva at about seven p.m.
I wanted to catch a bus into the city, but of course I had
no Swiss francs at all and it was far too late to find an open
bank. I was just about
to resign myself to walking all the way into the city when I
decided to take a chance and put my weak French to use to find out
if there were some way to change a few francs from the French to
the Swiss version.
nothing else, it was a beautiful evening to be in Switzerland for
the first time. It was early May, and the weather had been mild the whole
day—right around 70 or 75 degrees with clear blue skies all the
way across southern France. I
certainly wasn’t in desperate need of shelter, and even a long
walk into town wouldn’t have been that big of a deal.
The street was quiet, and very, very clean—after a year
in Spain, the cleanliness of Switzerland was almost shocking, and
one of the first things that I noticed.
I absolutely loved living in Spain, but the clean streets
were almost luxurious and very attractive.
had no idea exactly where I was.
I’ve looked at maps since then, trying to figure out what
street I was on, but to no avail.
The man who had given me the last ride had left me right at
the border on what looked to be a typical suburban street with
nothing on it that distinguished it from any other suburban
street. There were a
few stores and restaurants and everything else that one would
expect to find on the outskirts of a major city. He had told
me that I could get a bus from there to the city, a bus that I
couldn’t get on without risking getting a significant fine for
riding without a valid ticket.
of the biggest problems I’ve dealt with in my life has been
shyness, especially early on, so it was kind of surprising that I
decided to ask someone for help.
It was especially surprising because I’d have to ask in
French, which is definitely not a language that I would consider
myself to be strong in. Nevertheless,
when a young woman was walking by me, I caught her eye and asked,
“Perdon, est-ce que vous pouvez me dire, on peut-on changer
d’argent?” I just
wanted to exchange some francs for francs, but I had no idea where
I’d be able to do so.
couldn’t even describe her to you right now.
I have a vague memory of what she looked like, but I also
have a feeling that the memory has been warped by later
experiences with other people.
I can’t remember what her voice sounded like, or how tall
she was, or even what color hair she had.
What I do remember is the kindness in her eyes, but also
the melancholy there. She
took one look at me and told me to follow her.
a couple of minutes we were seated in a cafe, and we each ordered
a coffee. I was kind
of bewildered—I had simply wanted to know where to exchange some
cash, and to be sitting down in a cafe with someone I didn’t
know was not at all what I had expected.
But it was okay—she seemed like a very nice person, and
when you’re hitch-hiking through a continent that’s foreign to
you, you don’t really ask too many questions.
You tend to go with the flow and do what’s called for at
turned out to be a fascinating time for me—a very short amount
of time, to be sure, but fascinating nonetheless.
She spoke English pretty well, so we were able to have a
conversation that was actually interesting, especially for me.
I don’t know how she felt about it.
turned out that she was on her way home.
She lived in France and worked in Switzerland, as the rents
and the costs of living in general were much cheaper in France
than in Switzerland, even just across the border like that.
She didn’t particularly like her job, it seemed, but it
was good for her to be earning more money.
She explained the bus system to me, and told me that I only
needed on Swiss franc to ride the bus into the city, which
wasn’t much at all. She
even gave me a franc, so I didn’t need to change any money,
though she also told me that there on the border, you could use
whichever currency you wanted to in most places.
They accepted both the Swiss and the French money, so
generally there was no problem.
Of course, that wasn’t something that an ignorant
American tourist would know, but it was good to learn.
was a very surreal situation for me—I had left Barcelona just
that morning, and now I was sitting in the outskirts of Geneva,
having a cup of coffee with a complete stranger.
I remember so little of the conversation that it almost
seems silly writing about what happened because I can’t give any
the details don’t matter to me.
What does matter is the fact that this young woman showed
me a kindness that I had no reason at all to expect, and that
I’ve appreciated ever since.
I think about her often—how a young French woman gave me
a very pleasant introduction to the city of Geneva, even though
she didn’t live there herself.
about half an hour, she said she had to get home.
I told her that I was going to be in Geneva for a few days
and I offered to buy her lunch as a thank-you—she had even paid
for the coffees. She
though a moment, then she shook her head and thanked me anyway.
funny to think of how much a chance encounter can affect a person
for the rest of his life. She
showed me a model of compassion and kindness that I’ve ever
since aspired to meeting myself, even though I usually fall far
short of doing so. A
complete stranger in Geneva taught me a great deal about caring
for other people, and it’s a lesson that I continue to try to
live up to, as a thank-you to her.
I’ve forgotten much about our short time together—her
name, what she looked like, what kind of work that she did—but
I’ll never forget her kindness.
Or her sadness. Or
what seemed to be sadness. Her
melancholy struck me deeply, I think mostly because even though I
felt the sadness very strongly, she was still willing to help out
a complete stranger, a foreigner, who needed a bit of help.
Perhaps I’m wrong; perhaps she wasn’t sad at all.
She might have been very tired after a hard day of work, or
she might have been distracted by something going on in her life.
It doesn’t matter.
we parted ways, she walked me to the nearest bus stop and told me
which bus to take and where to get off when I reached Geneva.
I felt like I was unable to express the gratitude that I
felt for her help and for her taking the time to have a cup of
coffee with me. I said
“Merci beaucoup,” but those two words most certainly didn’t
feel adequate. They
would have to do, though, because she was soon on her way, and I
was soon on a bus into town. She
was out of my life as quickly as she had entered it, but the
memory of how she helped me is something that will never leave me.
I've thought about her often since
then. Did she go on to live a happy life? Did she have
a loving family and plenty of friends? Why did she go out of
her way to help me and to talk to me, when she could have just
showed me the bus stop and handed me a coin?
The questions that I have will never be
answered, of course, but that's okay. I have a wonderful
memory of a kind person helping me out when I really needed help,
and that's worth a fortune to me.
Because I want to be the person that she
was to me. I want to be kind to strangers, to help them out
when they need help. I want to know that kindness is a huge
part of my life, and that I really am contributing to the peace
and harmony of the world when I am kind. I would like to be
the person who gives to others with no thought of getting anything
back, even if it's something as simple as a one-franc coin that
will allow them to take a bus to where they need to go. On a
spring evening on the outskirts of Geneva, that young woman taught
me an extremely important lesson about life, and I sincerely hope
that someday I'm able to make kindness something that people
remember about me--if they remember nothing else about me, may
they remember that "he was kind."
A Matter of
This is a new column for me, a way to examine and
explore things that have happened to me in my life
that have been extremely positive and extremely
negative--things that have helped me to learn about
life and living and about myself and my strengths
and my weaknesses, my prejudices and abilities, my
shortcomings and my gifts. It's based on the
idea that while life is long and varied, there are
many moments that stand out, times when we've
learned important lessons and developed
significantly as human beings in a very short
time. One of the reasons I'm doing it here is
simple: I've wanted to write this as a book
for a long time, and if I do the separate
entries each week, by the end of a year or so, the
book will be written and will need just a bit of
work to tie everything together. So please
enjoy these moments!
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
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Always, I suppose,
if you have a few perfect days, you can count on some kind of
trouble. But whether or not you live with a happy attitude
depends on your own cast of mind and the power of your
faith. What you think determines what you are.
remember this illumination happening to me one noontime as I stood
in the kitchen and watched my children eat peanut butter and jelly
sandwiches. We were having a most unremarkable time on a
nondescript day, in the midst of the most quotidian of
routines. I hadn't censed the table, sprinkled the place
mats with holy water, or uttered a sanctifying prayer over the
Wonder bread. I wasn't feeling particularly
"spiritual." But, heeding I don't know what
prompting, I stopped abruptly in mid-bustle, or mid-woolgathering,
and looked around me as if I were opening my eyes for the first
time that day.
room became luminous and so alive with movement that everything
seemed suspended--yet pulsating--for an instant, like light
waves. Intense joy swelled inside me, and my immediate
response was gratitude--gratitude for everything, every tiny thing
in that space. The shelter of the room became a warm
embrace; water flowing from the tap seemed a tremendous miracle;
and my children became, for a moment, not my progeny or my charges
or my tasks, but eternal beings of infinite singularity and
complexity whom I would one day, in an age to come, apprehend in
their splendid fullness.
assured me that in order to accomplish the feat of making myself
I had to work in the most intense fashion, and that it was absurd.
had now realized I could work just the same in making myself complete and
"The trick is in what one emphasizes," he said.
"We either make ourselves miserable,
or we make ourselves strong.
The amount of work is the same."
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