19 June 2018
a generous spirit starts with
Mindfulness, simply stated,
means paying attention to what is actually
happening; it's about what is really going on.
Miracles, in the sense of phenomena we cannot
surround us on every hand: life itself is the miracle of miracles.
George Bernard Shaw
Half of our
mistakes in life arise from feeling where we
to think, and thinking
where we ought to feel.
John Churton Collins
There are plenty of people going around talking about
death, and despair, and misery. If you want that,
you can get it everywhere. Read your paper.
Turn on your TV sets. Or you can choose to say life
is good, life is beautiful, let's celebrate
Have you ever thought about going to see what the
dictionary says about a word like life? I'm going to
read you what I found because it's glorious.
"Life is the quality which distinguishes a vital and
functioning being from a dead one." Now isn't
that glorious? But it's not a lot of help, is
it? There's another one, and I love this one.
It says, "The period of usefulness of
something." I thought, if usefulness is the
determinant of our being alive or dead, there are an awful
lot of dead people running around the place.
The one I love the best is the third definition:
"To pass through or spend the duration."
You know, most of us are really passing through and
spending the duration. Not very many of us are
really, in the real sense of the word, alive and living
fully. The thing is, I'm certain that as long as you
leave your life in the hands of other people, you'll never
live. You have to take responsibility for
choosing and defining your own life.
I really believe most people are afraid of
life. I don't know why it is. We're afraid to
be what we are! We get marvelous, insane feelings
and we don't act on them. You see someone really
attractive and you think, "I'm going to tell her
she's really beautiful."
you think, "Oh, I couldn't do that." And
then she goes all of her life not knowing she's
beautiful! It's a shame because if we really don't
live fully we keep other people from living fully!
We're afraid of living life, therefore, we don't
experience, we don't see. We don't feel. We
don't risk! We don't care! And
therefore we don't live--because life means being actively
involved. Life means getting your hands dirty.
Life means jumping in the middle of it all. Life
means falling flat on your face. Life means going
beyond yourself--into the stars!
But you must decide yourself, for yourself.
"What does life mean to me?" I'm convinced
if we spent as much time--no, one quarter as much
time each day thinking about life and living and loving as
we do planning a meal, we'd be incredible!
But life has a wonderful way of solving this
problem. It's always very fascinating to me because
when life is not being lived, it explodes in
us. It's like trying to hold the lid on when the
steam is ready to blow. Something will happen, I'm convinced
of it. You'll either turn to extremes of fear, pain,
loneliness, paranoia, or apathy. All signs that you
are not alive, you are not living! So if you're
feeling any of these things, roll up your sleeves and say,
"Let me live." The minute you start
getting involved in life, the steam lets off, and
you're safe. It isn't easy, but life lets us know
that it must be led. How wonderful!
People come to me and say, "You seem to have things
all together. If life is so great, how come we have
death, pain, misery, and all these negative things?
Why must children suffer? Why are there murders and
rapes and wars? Why, why, why?"
I say, "How the hell am I supposed to
know?" Greater people than I have been asking
these questions for years. But you know what I've
done? I have stopped asking the questions, and I've
started living into the answers, and it's made all the
people behind the words
and excerpts - Daily
Two - Year Three
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Is Easy, but so Is Neglect
People often ask me how I became successful in
that six-year period of time while many of the
people I knew did not. The answer is
simple: The things I found to be easy to
do, they found to be easy not to do. I
found it easy to set the goals that could change
my life. They found it easy not to.
I found it easy to read the books that could
affect my thinking and my ideas. They
found that easy not to. I found it easy to
attend the classes and the seminars, and to get
around other successful people. They said
it probably really wouldn't matter. If I
had to sum it up, I would say what I found to be
easy to do, they found to be easy not to
do. Six years later, I'm a millionaire and
they are all still blaming the economy, the
government, and company policies, yet they
neglected to do the basic, easy things.
In fact, the primary reason most people are not
doing as well as they could and should, can be
summed up in a single word: neglect.
It is not the lack of money - banks are full of
money. It is not the lack of opportunity -
America, and much of the free World, continues
to offer the most unprecedented and abundant
opportunities in the last six thousand years of
recorded history. It is not the lack of
books – libraries are full of books - and they
are free! It is not the schools - the
classrooms are full of good teachers. We
have plenty of ministers, leaders, counselors
Everything we would ever need to become rich and
powerful and sophisticated is within our
reach. The major reason that so few take
advantage of all that we have is simply neglect.
Neglect is like an infection. Left
unchecked it will spread throughout our entire
system of disciplines and eventually lead to a
complete breakdown of a potentially joy-filled
and prosperous human life.
Not doing the things we know we should do causes
us to feel guilty and guilt leads to an erosion
of self-confidence. As our self-confidence
diminishes, so does the level of our
activity. And as our activity diminishes,
our results inevitably decline. And as our
results suffer, our attitude begins to
weaken. And as our attitude begins the
slow shift from positive to negative, our
self-confidence diminishes even more. . . and on
and on it goes.
So my suggestion is that when giving the choice
of “easy to” and “easy not to” that you
do not neglect to do the simple, basic,
“easy” but potentially life-changing
activities and disciplines.
Life Fully, the e-zine
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are presented as thoughts of the authors--by no means do
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cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. .
So why bother in the first place?
what is above knows what is below,
but what is below does not know what is above.
One climbs, one sees.
One descends, one sees no longer but one has seen.
There is an art
to conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what
saw higher up.
When one can no longer see, one can at least still know.
I'm just finishing up a
project. If this project pans out, then everything
will be fine--I'll earn more money, I'll have other
people's respect, I'll have better job opportunities,
and everything will be not just fine, but great!
I have a job interview next week. If I get that
job, then I'll be able to pay my bills, move into a
nicer place, afford better clothes and food, and be able
to actually go out to eat and go to the movies every
once in a while.
And everything would be just fine now if that certain
someone hadn't screwed me over two years ago. I
lost everything I had, and I haven't been able to
recover. Every day has been miserable since then,
because I haven't had any money, I lost my job, I had to
move to a much cheaper place, and I've been worried
constantly about everything.
These are examples of what it means to be living in the
past or the future. These are often the ways that
we think about our lives--how good they're going to be
when and if something good happens to us, or how good
they would have been if something awful hadn't happened
in the past. These are just the kinds of thoughts
that keep us from living in the present, that keep us
from noticing the beautiful and wonderful things that
surround us all day, every day.
we know that we are now at the point where we have always
wanted to be, we will be there. . . because we are never
there but always here, now!
I know many people who
spend so much time worrying about the future,
thinking about how great things are going to be in
the future, agonizing over things that happened last
week or last year, or holding on to anger for
something that happened a long, long time ago.
They're not at all happy in the present moment
because their minds are trapped in the past or the
future, and they're unable to see the beautiful
things in their lives right here and right now
because they simply aren't focused on the
present. Instead, they're focused on a
different time, keeping that in their minds instead
of the now.
Most of us, of course, are hoping for and working
towards better things in our future. We hope
for better jobs, more satisfying work, situations in
which we're greatly appreciated, times when we can
take long vacations and relax somewhere
special. If those things are in our future,
that's great. If they aren't, there's really
nothing we can do about it right here and right now,
so our best strategy is to love the moment we're
living right now, to recognize in it the beauty and
the miraculous things that make each moment very
special, if we just take the time and make the
effort to recognize it.
stopped thinking all the time of
stopped asking myself what's going
to happen tomorrow.
this minute, that's what I care
So what can we
actually do to avoid this kind of tendency? I
find that the most effective thing for me is to
simply stop and look around myself, and find
something that's quite beautiful and/or amazing, and
look at it very closely, trying to notice things
about it that I might not have noticed before.
In Walker, one of my novels, the main
character finds that trees are a very good object to
focus on. At first, he has no knowledge of any
language, and he finds after he learns language that
his thoughts start running and running, keeping him
from focusing clearly on the present moment.
At one point, he stops and looks at a tree that he
had just walked past without even noticing, and he
takes in every detail he can, bringing himself back
to the present moment in a very positive way.
Later in the novel, another character who is special
to him dies. He becomes lost in grief,
thinking about what had happened and thinking of
what he might have done to prevent the death if he
could have. Again, looking at a tree brings
him back to the present moment, helping him to
realize that life goes on. The tree stands
there faithfully, always existing in the present
moment, and the tree itself is full of life and
miraculous things like leaves and insects and
branches and bark--and it's not worried at all about
the past or the future. It simply is, as we
could be if we could but learn how to be so, and it
can remind us of the importance of the now if we but
take the time to notice it and actually receive its
can feel guilty about the past, apprehensive about the future,
but only in the present can I act. The ability to be in
moment is a major component of mental wellness.
Maybe it will take
some effort on your part. Perhaps when you're
talking to a friend or a loved one, you'll need to
stop thinking about what you need to get done later
and focus on the words the person is saying and the
meanings of those words. Maybe you'll need to
truly forgive someone who did something awful to you
so that your mind isn't caught up in yesterday's
garbage any more. It could be that you'll need
to leave your phone at home so that you can focus on
the people that are here with you now instead of
thinking so much about people who are somewhere
else, doing something else.
I tend to believe the people who tell me that I can
improve the quality of my life experience if I'm
able to focus on the here and now more
strongly. And because I believe them, I want
to do the best I can to actually make the changes I
need to make to improve my ability to live in the
present moment. When all is said and done, of
course, the present moment really is one of the most
important moments of our lives, because it truly is
the only moment for which we are actually alive and
actually participating. Let's make it all that
we can make it! The effort most definitely is
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was saying to Picasso that he ought to make pictures
of things the way they are--objective pictures. He
he wasn't quite sure what that would be. The person
bullying him produced a photograph of his wife from his
and said, "There, you see, that is a picture of how she
really is." Picasso looked at it and said, "She is rather small,
isn't she? And flat?"
One of the
most important habits of a creative thinker is to be a good
listener. Stand guard at the ear-gateway to your mind,
heart, and spirit.
to the good. Tune your ears to love, hope, and
courage. Tune out gossip and resentment.
to the beautiful. Listen to the music of the
masters. Listen to the symphony of nature--the hum of the
wind in the treetops, bird songs, thundering surf. . .
critically. Mentally challenge assertions, ideas, and
philosophies. Seek the truth with an open mind.
with patience. Do not hurry the other person. Show
them the courtesy of listening to what they have to say, no matter
how much you may disagree. You may learn something.
with your heart. Practice empathy when you listen.
Put yourself in the other person's shoes.
for growth. Be an inquisitive listener. Ask
questions. Everyone has something to say which will help you
creatively. Listen for ideas or the germs of
ideas. Listen for hints or clues that may spark creative
to yourself. Listen to your deepest yearnings, your
highest aspirations, your noblest impulses. Listen to the
better person within you.
with depth. Be still and listen. Listen with the
ear of intuition to the inspiration of the Infinite.
And above all, watch with
eyes the whole world around you
because the greatest
are always hidden in the most
unlikely places. Those who
believe in magic will never find it.