April 5     

Today's quotation:

The promises of this world are, for the most part, vain phantoms; and to confide in one's self, and become something of worth and value is the best and safest course.


Today's Meditation:

We see the promises of this world day after day in our lives, in an almost never-ending stream of temptations and exhortations to buy the "latest thing" or to follow the latest diet which is sure to renew our self-esteem and make us feel so much better about ourselves on every level.  But Michelangelo is right to call them "phantoms," for the promises themselves turn out to be little more than smokescreens.

Most of the promises follow the lines of "If you do this, you'll. . . ." or "If you buy this, you'll. . . ."  When we do what is asked, though, whether it be refinance our homes or buy new furniture or invest our money in a certain endeavor, we find that the promise itself, the part that follows "you'll," usually doesn't happen at all.  New furniture is nice and it often makes our homes more comfortable, but it doesn't do anything for our sense of self-worth.  That must come from within.

Taking on the new commitment of volunteering your time somewhere may make you feel a strong sense of doing something worthy, but when it starts to keep you away from your family and friends, is the promise really being fulfilled?  And the new large-screen TV may make you the envy of the neighbors and may make watching movies enjoyable, but did you really need that extra debt in order to escape from reality for a couple of hours a day?

This world makes many promises-- that's how things are sold, and how people fulfill their own needs.  If I buy something I don't need, I'm simply following the suggestion of someone who has developed an ad campaign to try to get me to do just that:  buy something I don't necessarily need.  And what kinds of promises did that person make just to keep his or her job?

The promises of this world truly are phantoms-- they almost never come through in the ways they're presented.  The only way to true fulfillment is to value myself and to treat myself with dignity and respect.  Then my needs will change, and I'll no longer try to fulfill those needs with things that I get or do as a result of promises that really do hold no weight at all.

Questions to consider:

What kinds of promises from "the world" do you notice each day?

Why do these promises so rarely come true in our lives?

Just who is making these promises to us?  Do they know us and our needs, or are they trying to create needs by making promises?

For further thought:

The tragedy is that so many people look for self-confidence and self-respect everywhere except within themselves, and so they fail in their search.

Nathaniel Branden

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