7 August 2018      

Welcome to August 7!  The world continues to turn, and time continues to move
on its merry way, adding days and weeks to our ages and bringing new, exciting
opportunities and experiences.  May you find every way possible to make the most
of all of the chances that this world is throwing your way each day!

Lessons from My Father
Denis Waitley

Seeing with Innocence
Deepak Chopra

All around Us--Living Things!
tom walsh

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Let us not look back in anger or forward in fear, but around in awareness.

James Thurber

Beauty as we feel it is something indescribable; what it is or what it means can never be said.

George Santayana

What value has compassion that does not
take its object in its arms?

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Lessons from My Father
Denis Waitley

My dad had a keen imagination, and we would often play a little good-night game that became our special ritual.  He would come into my room to talk to me and listen to the triumphs and tragedies of my day.  As he was leaving, Dad had a way of leaning back against the switch by my door and rubbing against it to "magically" blow out my light like the birthday candles on a cake.

As he did his little routine, Dad would say, "I'm blowing out your light now, and it will be dark for you.  In fact, as far as you're concerned, it will be dark all over the world because the only world you ever know is the one you see through your own eyes.  So remember, son, keep your light bright.  The world is yours to see that way.  I love you, son.  Good night."

When I was very young, I used to lie there in bed after Dad left and try to understand what he meant.  It was confusing to think that the whole world was dark when I was asleep and that the only world I would ever know was the one I would see through my own eyes.  What Dad was trying to tell me was that when I went to sleep at night, as far as I was concerned, the world came to a stop.  When I woke up in the morning I could choose to see a fresh new world through my own eyes -- if I kept my light bright.  In other words, if I woke up happy, the world was happy.  If I woke up not feeling well, the world was not as well off.

My father's guidance about self-perception and the power in the eye of the beholder was invaluable.

What he was trying to teach me with his little light show was this:  "Denis, everything depends on how you want to look at what happens in life.  It doesn't make any difference what is going on 'out there' -- what makes a difference is how you take it."

Instead of teaching me "my glass was half-empty," my father taught me "my glass was more than half-full."  He taught me to view life as something that was continually opening and expanding with new opportunities and events to enjoy.

Somewhere he picked up a bit of quantum physics theory.  Depending on the kind of experiment you conduct, a particle of light can become a light beam or a light wave.  It all depends on how you want to examine it.  The light can change form, not because of its properties -- it still remains light -- but because of how you choose to behold it.  My dad taught me that ugliness or beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  Want and abundance are in the eye of the beholder.  Being mediocre or being the best depends on the eye of the beholder.

Those good-night rituals with my father taught me that it didn't make any difference what the other kids said, what the other kids wore, or what they did.  Their opinion of me wasn't that important.  What was important was the way I handled what they might do and say.

And the same is true for both you and me today. . . People's opinions of me aren't what is important--it's the way I handle their opinions and actions that makes the difference.

* * * * *

Reproduced with permission from the Denis Waitley Ezine.


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Seeing with Innocence (an excerpt)
Deepak Chopra

Ego is "I"; it is your singular point of view.  In innocence, this point of view is pure, like a clear lens.  But without innocence the ego's focus is extremely distorting.  If you think you know something--including yourself--you are actually seeing your own judgments and labels.  The simplest words we use to describe each other--such as friend, family, stranger--are loaded with judgments.  The enormous gulf in meaning between friend and stranger, for example, is filled with interpretations.  A friend is treated one way, an enemy another.  Even if we do not bring these judgments to the surface, they cloud our vision like dust obscuring a lens.

Because he has no labels for things, the wizard sees them afresh.  For him there is no dust on the lens, so the world sparkles with newness.  The same faint song is heard in everything:  "Behold yourself."  God could be defined as someone who looks around and sees only Him- or Herself in all directions; insofar as we are created in His/Her image, our world is also a looking glass.

Mortals found this wizardly viewpoint very strange, for their interest was drawn in an entirely different direction.  They looked outward and  were fascinated by things, and whatever thing they saw, they craved to name and then to use.  Names had to be given to all the birds and beasts.  Plants were grown for food or pleasure.

Merlin showed almost no interest in any of this.  Wizards often do not know names for the most ordinary things, like oak trees, fallow deer, or the constellations.  However, a wizard could look at a gnarled oak, a feeding doe, or the night sky for hours, and every moment of his contemplation would be all absorbing.

Mortals wanted to share this kind of rapt attention.  When asked the secret of how to look at the world afresh, with delighted eyes, Merlin said, "You lack innocence.  Having labeled a thing, you no longer see that thing, you see its label instead."  This was easy enough to illustrate.  If two knights who were strangers met in the forest, they immediately searched for the emblem or pennant that told them whether the other was friend or foe.  The instant this sign was spied, the knights could act, but only then.  A friend could be embraced, welcomed to the feast, invited to tell stories.  A foe could only be fought with.

This obsession to label things, Merlin said, is the activity of mind, pure and simple.  Mind cannot react without a label.  We carry millions of labels in our heads, and our minds can run through these labels with lightning swiftness.  The speed of the mind is dazzling, but speed does not save us from staleness.  Whatever you can think about, you have already experienced, you are going to grow tired of.  "Do you wonder that you cannot look at an oak or a deer or a star for more than a minute?" he said.  "I can hear your minds all but groaning, 'That old thing!' and off you go on your mad rush for something new."


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Success, recognition, and conformity are the bywords
of the modern world where everyone seems to crave the
anesthetizing security of being identified with the majority.

Martin Luther King, Jr.



All around Us--Living Things!

One of my favorite moments of all the movies I've ever watched comes in the film Harold and Maude.  After Harold and Maude have planted a tree in the forest, Maude exclaims something to the effect of:  "Isn't it wonderful?  All around us--living things!"

I'm especially aware of the importance of this statement because I'm spending the summer living in a forest setting, surrounded by trees and bushes and birds and deer and all sorts of other living things.  In a situation like this, it's much easier to notice just how much life there is all around, while during the times that I've spent living in buildings in the middle of cities or towns, I haven't felt nearly the depth of the connection with the other living things about me--even though most of those other living things were people just like me.

One of the marvelous things about our lives on this planet is our shared condition of living.  Every person that we see, every animal that we see, every plant that we walk past--all are alive and functioning thanks to air, food, water, and sunlight.  All are living and breathing and doing their things, depending on what they are.  Chipmunks are gathering food and hiding from predators and keeping up their nests, while hawks are trying to find something like chipmunks to eat, keeping up their nests, and sleeping and flying about.

As people, we have much more flexibility concerning what we're able to do with ourselves.  We're not a part of any food chain, so we buy our nourishment from others; we try to meet other people who share our interests and whom we like; we try to fulfill our emotional, physical, and spiritual needs; and we even try to help others to make the most out of their own lives.

When we see a little baby or a tiny puppy or kitten, it's really easy to think of the miracle that life really is.  After all, this brand-new life right in front of us simply wasn't here a few days ago, and now it is.

Somehow, though, we aren't nearly as capable of seeing the miracle in the life of the cashier at the convenience store or the police officer or the schoolteacher.  And that dog across the street is kind of nice when it's not barking, but it certainly isn't a miracle.  And that tree that's been in our back yard forever?  A miracle?  Hardly.

The fact is, though, that all life is miraculous.  Every human being that you've ever seen started out as two cells that joined and grew into millions of cells, just as every animal that you've ever seen also started out.  And the huge trees once were seeds that were smaller than our fingernails that grew out of a combination of dirt and water and sunlight.

I suppose the most important question about all this is a simple one:  so what?

I can only speak from personal experience, but I know that on the days on which I'm able to look about and see the truly miraculous things for what they really are, my days are much richer.  I have a feeling of oneness inside of me, a feeling of connection to everything else, a sureness that I'm not an isolated occurrence in an uncaring universe.  I share much with all of the living things about me, and my attitude towards life is much more positive when I recognize that sharing and appreciate it.

When Maude makes her comment to Harold, she's voicing her gratitude for life and living and for all the other living things that share this planet with her.  It's recognizing the value in everything around her, and expressing it quite clearly and simply.  When we start to see the value in the other living creatures around us, our view of the world grows richer and deeper, and our days grow brighter and more full of wonder as we get in touch with the miraculous nature of this experience that we call life.


More on life.



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Education would be much more effective if its purpose was to ensure that by the time they leave school every boy and girl should know how much they do not know, and be imbued with a lifelong desire to know it.

William Haley

I began my studies with eagerness.  Before me I saw a new world opening in beauty and light, and I felt within me the capacity to know all things.  In the wonderland of Mind I should be as free as another [with sight and hearing].  Its people, scenery, manners, joys, and tragedies should be living, tangible interpreters of the real world. The lecture halls seemed filled with the spirit of the great and wise, and I thought the professors were the embodiment of wisdom.

But I soon discovered that college was not quite the romantic lyceum I had imagined.  Many of the dreams that had delighted my young inexperience became beautifully less and "faded into the light of common day."  Gradually I began to find that there were disadvantages in going to college.  The one I felt and still feel most is lack of time.  I used to have time to think, to reflect, my mind and I.  We would sit together of an evening and listen to the inner melodies of the spirit, which one hears only in leisure moments when the words of some loved poet touch a deep, sweet chord in the soul that until then had been silent.  But in college there is no time to commune with one's thoughts.

One goes to college to learn, it seems, not to think.  When one enters the portals of learning, one leaves the dearest pleasures--solitude, books and imagination--outside with the whispering pines.  I suppose I ought to find some comfort in the thought that I am laying up treasures for future enjoyment, but I am improvident enough to prefer present joy to hoarding riches against a rainy day.

Helen Keller
The Story of My Life


The ideals which have lighted me on my way
and time after time given me new courage to face
life cheerfully, have been Truth, Goodness, and
Beauty. . . . The ordinary objects of human endeavor -- 
property, outward success, luxury -- have always
seemed to me contemptible.

Albert Einstein




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