28 August 2018      

Good day, and welcome to the end of August!  Time continues to flow by,
moving at its own pace, and we're almost to the end of another summer in
the northern hemisphere, and the end of winter far to the south.
Please make the end of your month a truly special time in your life!

Pearls of Abundance
John Marks Templeton

Going with the Flow
Cristina Carlino

Not to See, but to Be Seen
tom walsh

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If you doubt you can accomplish something, then you can't accomplish it.   You have to have confidence in your ability, and then be tough enough to follow through.

Rosalynn Carter

Discipline is the duty and the hope of all who would enjoy the benefits of society and of instruction.

John H. A. Bomberger

Good habits are worth
being fanatical about.

John Irving 

  

Pearls of Abundance
John Marks Templeton

An Eastern legend tells of a fair maiden who was offered a rare gift by the king of the land.  The king presented her with a bag of pearls and promised her she could keep the largest, most perfect pearl she could find in the bag.  However, he set down these conditions:  she must choose one pearl only; she must remove one pearl at a time from the bag and either accept it or reject it; and she could not take that pearl up again for another look once it was rejected.

So, joyously the maiden began taking the pearls, one at a time, from the bag.  In the process, she saw and held many large and perfect pearls.  But she was looking for the one gem that would be just a little larger and a little more perfect.  So she passed up many special treasures.

As she delved more deeply into the bag, the pearls became smaller and of poorer quality.  Occasionally, she found pebbles instead of pearls.  Now, inasmuch as she could not go back to the pearls she had formerly discarded, she had to keep looking.  The pearls continued to become smaller and less valuable.  Even the pebbles became more common.  When the maiden reached the bottom of the bag, she sadly went away as empty-handed as when she arrived at the place.

This legend can also portray us when we may sometimes rush through life seeking to get a better job, a bigger house, a better mate, a more glamorous social life, or whatever, and we miss the great pearls of abundance all around us every day.  Where is our focus of interest?

We may be searching for the kingdom of heaven, which is right within us all the time, yet often we recognize it not.  Then we sit down, dreading to go on because of our concern that things may get worse tomorrow.  Either way--the rushing around or the sitting down and waiting--can produce the same results.  Nothing much happens!  This is why we often hear the phrase from philosophers and teachers, "Now is the most important moment of your life."  We cannot go back even two seconds, nor can we leap forward two seconds.  We live in the eternal moment of now, and our interest in life and its offerings exist in this moment.  NOW is the time of choice and blessing.

It can take every moment that we live of life's days to think on the true, honest, just, pure, and lovely things of life.  These are the things that guide us into experiencing the true happiness and excitement available for our lives.  These become the pearls of great price.

The American philosopher Charles Fillmore said, "When you experience any kind of inharmony, you can be certain that you are entertaining some kind of false illusion.  We have the priceless pearl of truth right in front of us, but are we willing to sell all to attain it?  Are we ready to give up all false illusions and head straight for truth?"  Wow!

more on now

   

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Going with the Flow
Cristina Carlino

Your journey up until this point has been fueled with positive energy, negative energy, or a little bit of both.  Most of us, along the way, have had our series of ups and downs, but if you find that you are experiencing more downs than ups, it's time to take responsibility and ask yourself why.

In order to understand the answer to that question, you must first stop blaming the world, your parents, your friends, your ex-lovers, or anyone you feel ever did you wrong.  It is essential that you forgive it all if you are to reclaim your power.  As you know, this is often far more easily said than done.  As you work toward this goal, it might help to bear the following in mind--you don't need to keep the relationship, or have the person close to you, in order to forgive.  Forgiveness is a mental, not a physical, state--a positive energy.  Consequently, from this day forward you need to understand energy and how it can work for you or against you.

Energy is all around us.  It is at once the most pervasive and the most indefinable force in the universe.  Everything in our universe generates energy--animals, plants, minerals, and even colors are all composed of energy.  Most important, we are pure energy.  By our thoughts alone we are constantly transmitting our own unique energy field or aura.

You do not need to immerse yourself in arcane mysteries of ancient thought or physics to understand the concept of how the energy of other people and places works with or against our own energy fields.  Instead, simply consider the following:  Why do you feel a charge when you first meet somebody you are attracted to?  Why do you feel depleted of your energy after an encounter with a person you don't like?  Why do you immediately feel better when you step out into nature?  Why were people like Princess Diana and Mother Teresa able to inspire millions with their love and courage?  These are examples of the energy fields of souls who shape the way we feel about ourselves and the world.

Our energy fields need to travel in very specific directions in order to fulfill our divine destiny.  We literally must learn to go with the flow and not against it.  A simplified way of thinking about the flow of energy is what I call the Open Door Policy.  It is, quite simply, the difference between trying to travel through a door that is open versus one that is closed.  We are instinctively attracted to positive energy, as we are to colorful sunsets and open spaces.  But often instead of following our instinct to pursue the positive and move toward the doors that are open to us, we follow our fear and insecurity, which lead us not only to doors that are locked but to dark corners inhabited by other people who have lost their way.  And eventually we become used to these corners and call them home, despite their inherent negativity.  It is this negative energy that gets us caught in recurring ruts of monotonous, unfulfilling work routines, perpetually unsatisfying relationships, and unsupportive, negative friendships.  If we had traveled through the doors that were open, however, we could have avoided these situations completely.

The fluid motion of going through a door that is open is not unlike that of a stream flowing down a mountain.  Our positive energy is not meant to be stopped.  Its course can, however, be redirected when it faces an obstacle, such as a dam or a rock or, in our case, a negative person or situation.  It is solely our responsibility to keep our stream as free and unsullied as possible by going around our obstacles rather than merging with them.  When we fail to do this, the energy that once made us openhearted and joyful makes us closed-minded and distressed.  Often only a thin line separates the positive energy that allows for creative communication from the negative energy that creates malicious gossip, or the positive energy of the wise and intuitive from the negative energy of the intellectually arrogant and ungraciously self-righteous.

Be warned that when we deliberately try to alter the flow of energy by enveloping obstacles or attempting to to open closed doors, we go against the will of God.  We begin forcing open doors that should remain closed and ignore the fundamental law of synchronicity.  Instead of allowing things to fall into place, we attempt to manipulate circumstances.  Before we know it, negativity is knocking on that door we forced open, prepared to teach us a painful lesson--a lesson that is often prolonged by the stubbornness that says, "Well, now that I've got the door open. . . ."  Remember, there is peace in surrender.

more on letting go

  

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The more we have given to ourselves, the more we have to
give to others.  When we find that place within ourselves that
is giving, we begin to create an outward flow.  Giving to others
comes not from a sense of sacrifice, self-righteousness, or
spirituality, but for the pure pleasure of it, because it's fun.
Giving can only come from a full, loving space.

Shakti Gawain

   

 

Not to See, but to Be Seen

I went out early yesterday morning to go running with a friend.  I'm almost never in my car, especially early in the morning, as I generally walk to work.  The sun hadn't come up yet, but there was some light already--not nearly enough to see clearly by, but enough to get around.

In a very short drive, I saw at least four cars--all of them with dark paint--without lights on.  It's very frustrating to see this, because it's pretty common knowledge that this is an extremely dangerous thing to do.  If you were to talk with the drivers, they would say something like, "I don't need my lights.  I can see just fine."  But that's not the problem.  In light like that, the problem isn't whether you can see where you're going, but whether people can see your vehicle without lights.

At least one of the vehicles followed me for about a mile, and I can honestly say that I almost couldn't see it at all; I had to strain to make it out in the rear-view mirror.

Some things in life we don't do for ourselves.  Some things in life we do to make things safer or more comfortable for others.  In several states, for example, they've actually made laws based on cars being visible:  if your windshield wipers are on, then your headlights must be on, also.  They know that the cloud cover necessary for rain generally makes it difficult for drivers to see other cars, especially dark ones, and that can be very dangerous.

   

And so it's good that we remember
Just as soon as we've discovered
That the things we do in life
Will always end up touching others.

Paul O'Neill

   
The point is that you're not always turning on your headlights just to see--you're often turning them on so that others can see you, and making things safer for everyone.  There are many things that we could be doing in life to make things safer, more comfortable, and more enjoyable for others without any direct need or benefit for ourselves, but that we often neglect because we're thinking mostly of ourselves and our immediate needs.  We're unable or unwilling to think past the moment to the idea that if someone doesn't see our vehicle, they could pull out in front of us and cause a collision between us and them, changing both or our lives immediately.

If that happens, our neglect has caused a potentially life-changing incident for more people than just ourselves.

They understand this concept in the military because of the possible drastic consequences of many actions--and of neglecting certain things.  While it's easy to see the maintenance of a weapon as simply a question of personal discipline, for example, it can be disastrous for everyone (except the enemy, of course) if someone's weapon stops working due to neglect.

When I teach, I try to deal with classroom disruptions not as a personal response to a person who's acting inappropriately, but as an effort to provide an atmosphere that's effective for learning for everyone involved.  If the one person's actions are making things difficult for all, most of us are willing to see that as a problem, yet many people wouldn't admit that driving without headlights in poor lighting has the same effect--it's making the streets less safe for everyone who happens to be in the area.
    

We are responsible for one another.  Collectively so.  The world
is a joint effort.   We might say it is like a giant puzzle,
and each one of us is a very important and unique part of it.
Collectively, we can unite and bring about a powerful change
in the world.  By working to raise our awareness to the
highest possible level of spiritual understanding, we can
begin to heal ourselves, then each other and the world.

Betty Eadie

    
The same can be said for speeding, for example.  Many people argue that they can speed safely because they have quick reaction times, but that's not the main reason that speed limits are in place.  We have speed limits partly because other people need to be able to figure out how long they have to pull out in front of us or drive across the road ahead of us.  There's a brilliant commercial that was made in New Zealand about just this thing, and it very effectively shows the effects of thinking only about how fast one wants to drive, and not about the effects of the speed on other people.  You can see it here (it's about 60 seconds long):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qNjt04bpQM

As somebody once said, this world is made up--with one paltry exception--of other people.  One of the most important ways to make our own lives exceptional is to pay attention to the needs of others, and to do all that we can to improve their lives, even if we do so in what seem to be very minor ways.  One thing that we can do consistently is to make sure that we aren't causing danger or problems for others, so that they can live their lives without worrying about what we're going to do, or without having to react to inconsiderate or even dangerous things that we've done.
   

We cannot live only for ourselves.  A thousand fibers connect us with
our fellow men and women; and among those fibers,
as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes,
and they come back to us as effects.


Herman Melville

   
Interestingly enough, my wife and I were crossing a street in a very quiet residential area yesterday morning, after I had written the first part of this article.  It was early on a Saturday morning and the streets were empty.  We were halfway across the street when a car flew around the corner and headed straight for us at much higher than the speed limit.  We had to rush off the road so as not to get hit, on a morning that before had been very relaxing and enjoyable.  This incident didn't ruin our day by any means, but it underlined just how dangerous it can be when we aren't cognizant of how we affect others.  And ourselves--that driver's life never would have been the same had he hit us, and if we hadn't been quick enough, he very well could have done so.

We're a part of a world that's much bigger than us, and while we each have our own personal needs, it's also important to pay attention to the greater good, to the needs and hopes of others.  We certainly don't want to harm others, but it's important to keep in mind that harm can happen as a result of our neglect, too, and not just as a result of deliberately harmful actions.  We can hardly live our lives fully if we don't keep in mind the fact that we do affect others, and it's important to affect them in positive ways if we're to add positively to our own lives, too.

   
More on community.

   
   
  

   

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People today distinguish between knowledge and action and pursue them separately, believing that one must know before one can act. . . . They say they will wait til they truly know before putting their knowledge into practice.  Consequently, to the end of their lives, they will never act and also will never know.

Wang Yang-ming
Instructions for Practical Living

  
Symptoms of Inner Peace
unattributed

1.  A tendency to think and act spontaneously, rather than based on past experience.
2.  An unmistakable ability to enjoy each and every moment.
3.  A loss of interest in judging others.
4.  A loss of interest in judging self.
5.  A loss of interest in conflict.
6.  A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.
7.  A loss of the ability to worry.
8.  Frequent overwhelming episodes of appreciation.
9.  Contented feelings of connectedness with others and nature.
10.  Frequent attacks of smiling through the heart.
11.  Increasing susceptibility to love extended by others as well as the uncontrollable urge to extend it.
12.  An increasing tendency to let things happen, rather than to manipulate them and make them happen.
   

  

Follow the wisdom provided by nature.  Everything in moderation--
sunlight, water, nutrients.  Too much of a good thing will topple
your structure.  You can't harvest what you don't sow.  So plant your
desires, gently nurture them, and they will be rewarded
with abundance.

Vivian Elizabeth Glyck

    

  

   

A new way of reading has been here for a while now.  And while we still love our books, if you're like many people, you get tired of lugging around the books that sometimes weigh more than anything else we carry.  Imagine carrying hundreds of books--novels, self-help, history, travel, you name it--and reading them comfortably on a no-glare screen, setting things like text size to your own preferences.  It's a great experience, and it's available to us now for less than the cost of ten books.  And there are plenty of free books to download, especially timeless classics--you can easily get enough free books to pay for the Kindle.  Give yourself the gift of wonderful literature that you can easily bring with you, wherever you go!

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