Monthly Archives: July 2016

Do You Truly Practice the Meaning of Friendship?

Do you truly practice the meaning of friendship? What is a friendship? The philosopher Aristotle said, “In poverty and other misfortunes of life, true friends are a sure refuge. They keep the young out of mischief; they comfort and aid the old in their weakness, and they incite those in the prime of life to noble deeds.”

Friendship necessitates an inquiring mind; for others and for ourselves. This does not involve sticking our nose into someone else’s business or forcing our opinions on others.

It means the creative use of the imagination, not the destructive abuse of it. It is the eye of a healthy self image, the soul of friendship. It takes inspired imagination to help others.

Rich imagination is not an exclusive gift of geniuses. It is potentially in all of us. If, daily, you long to improve yourself, to use your creative powers, you will seek enriching ideas in your mind; and you will find them. Perhaps you will share them in friendship.

Friendship is always a sweet responsibility, never an opportunity” ~ Khalil Gibran

Each day resolve, in your imagination, to be a good friend. What can you do for those who you like? What can you say to communicate your brotherly feeling? Put yourself in the other fellow’s shoes; what consideration would he appreciate? “What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.” ~ Confucius

The practice of friendship is the practice of eloquence; this eloquence needs no words since it implies an understanding of your fellow man. There is eloquence in the performance of a friendly act, done impulsively, without thought of a reward. There is eloquence in a brotherly fellow-feeling, a fellow-feeling of identification, of sharing the human condition. There is eloquence in meeting others halfway, perhaps more than halfway.

“Friendship is like a garden. It is beautiful when it is watered and tended to with love, care, hugs, tears and cheers, but it will be withered up and die if left untouched.”

The ability to practice friendship does not belong to a few; it belongs to all of us, if we but make it one of our daily goals. Friendship requires the highest degree of courage. This is not often recognized, but it is nonetheless true. A good friend must be a courageous person.

We consider a man courageous when he risks his life cutting his way through snake or crocodile infested forests. We consider courageous the fireman who plunges through smoke to save a child’s life or the policeman who pursues a dangerous, armed criminal.

These are acts of bravery; some are also actions for the benefit of the community. These people are heroes of our civilization, protectors of civilized life, who rise up in times of crisis.

Yet courageous does not require an apparent crisis. One can be brave during the ordinary twenty-four hour day with no blatant dangers, but with variety of small dangers lurking behind the minutes. It takes real courage to attain the stature of friend to your brothers and sisters on earth. You show courage when you meet life every day with self-control. You do not attack a man for the colour of his skin, the size of his noise, his values and beliefs, or if he is more convincing in an argument than you are. You fight off, conceit, malice, and disdain; you refuse to find fault with others to support your own sense of inadequacy. “We were all humans until race disconnected us, religion separated us, politics divided us, and wealth classified us”

Friendship means we must courageously move toward our fellow men, not retreat from them as in passive living. Friendship forbids indifference toward others. It means that we stand up and fight not only for our beliefs but the beliefs of others. Only a brave can enter into such demanding relationship as these. “A true friend unbosoms freely, advises justly, assists readily, adventures boldly, takes all patiently, defends courageously, and continues a friend unchangeably.” ~ William Penn

Let your energy flow away from yourself to others less fortunate, helping them willingly with your compassionate hands. Have the courage to keep moving toward life, toward people, in spite of problems, frustrations, defeats. Be strong enough to give to others in a spirit of equality. Be determined enough so that you can overcome your negative feelings; if you can’t, you will not be a friend to yourself or to others. Friendship is a reaffirmation of the life instincts; it is the personification of fighting life force.

Friendship is an exciting voyage of discovery of the good in yourself and in others. It is a daily search that never ends, a search for giving in yourself and in others; a full time job.

“Shine your soul with the same egoless humility as the rainbow and no matter where you go in this world or the next, love will find you, attend you, and bless you.” ~ Aberjhani


Enjoy Life to the Fullest

Enjoy life to the fullest, it has an expiration date. Life today should mean pleasure, but our modern concept of living is often just the reverse; negative in concept and implying the resignation of one’s self image. Modern living often means abandoning satisfaction because of a phantom called “twentieth-century anxieties”.

“Rejoice while you are alive; enjoy the day; live life to the fullest; make the most of what you have. It is later than you think.” ~Horace

Life should be a happy vocation. People should be useful to themselves and to others. Pleasure must be part of us; like our heart, our eyes, our hands, and our feet. It should know no race, no creed, no colour, no status, no age. The good feelings to life belong to us and there is no moral aspect to it except that it is immoral for people to fester in unhappiness.  “Live life to the fullest because you only get to live once”.

By forgetting the mistakes of the past, you can live each day to the full.  You can find pleasure in working, in living, in friendship, and every other aspects of your life, if you feel that you have a right to enjoy yourself. I am not a great believer in sin, but if there is sin, it is for people who sit around, finding fault with themselves for the mistakes they have made; mistakes which are only human.  “A life spent making mistakes is not only more honourable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing” ~George Bernard Shaw

There are so many people who waste the wonderful power of their imaginations and torturing themselves with their past blunders. It is sad but true that many of us who blame ourselves so severely have in reality lead lives characterized by hard effort and a constant attempt to be decent human beings; yet we give ourselves no rights.

When we criticize ourselves, we deny ourselves pleasure. Yet we have the right to feel free of fear, to feel free of guilt; to feel pleasure. In order to enjoy our lives to the fullest we have to find resolution within our minds to be happy. It is a victory of one’s positive thinking-imagining forces over negative thinking-imagining forces. We prepare ourselves to enjoy our lives as we strengthen our images of ourselves each day. We live vitally, allowing ourselves pleasure because we feel that we deserve it. “I have decided that no matter what is happening in my life, I will choose to be happy! Not because everything is perfect, but because I deserve it”.

Through strengthening your self image, through seeing yourself at your best, through encouraging your success instincts, you can create pleasure for yourself. But the unfortunate fact is that many people do not feel that it would be fair for them to be happy. They do not feel they deserve it, and they use rationalizations to explain their misery:

If only they had money…..

If not for that financial catastrophe……..

If that accident hadn’t happened…….

If not for that childhood disease which only they had contracted……

A tragic event from the past is dredged up and used to explain all the pain, all the lack of their pleasure in life. But what they don’t realize is that everyone knows tragedy, everyone knows pain; fate didn’t single them out for punishment. Successful, happy people know pain, too, but they just keep pushing forward through pain to pleasure. “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass… It’s about learning to dance in the rain”.

Imagine a man sits at his desk; he is an executive for a large company. His desk is full of menus, letters, contracts, and other papers. Two lights on the side of his telephone flicker on and off, indicating people waiting to talk to him. He is in conference with two men who sit, waiting for his attention. He looks at his appointment book and notes that another vital conference is set for this day, and he must devote a few hours to a project which is behind schedule, and also he must dictate letters to A, B, C,….

The enormity of these pressures might overwhelm many of us. “It is too much for us” we’d say. But not this man. He feels pleasure and he enjoys doing it. He refuses to let a daunting imagination ruin his effectiveness. Instead he sees in his mind the successes that his day will bring. He Turns warmly to his visitors, listens attentively, does his best to respond to their needs and demands. He answers the phone, and getting to the heart of communicating instantly, returns to his visitors. He tells them what action he intends to take on the matters under discussion, dictates a message into a machine, turns back to them to ask if they are happy with his decisions. They are, and he ushers them to the door, shaking hands warmly. Nothing phony, simple pleasure in a direct, effective moving toward goals. This man projects his imaginations into action in a positive way. He accepts his right to feel happy and be successful. Many people fill their minds with destructive, depressing thoughts; and pleasure is caught in a squeeze in which it is crushed. They worry about disasters that never or rarely happen. The feelings of happiness and satisfaction from their work are not tolerated, and they obviously cannot function in the successful way that this executive does. They do not enjoy their work; they do not enjoy their life either. “We call pleasure the alpha and omega of a blessed life. Pleasure is our first and kindred good” ~ Epicurus

We must enjoy our lives to the fullest. We can feel pleasure in our every day of living. We can sing in the shower and feel musical thoughts in our minds and generosity in our hearts. It is a question, basically, of what we will allow ourselves. We must not block the attainment of our legitimate satisfactions. No years can be creative if we deny ourselves the principle of happiness and enjoying our lives to the fullest.

“If you think positive, any sound becomes music, any move becomes dance, any smiles becomes laughter, and the entire life becomes a huge celebration. So always think positive and live your life happy to its fullest”


Continuous Personal Growth

Continuous personal growth involves a lifelong of reflecting, connecting, and learning which enhance our understanding of who we are, the world around us, and provide us with more and better opportunities to improve our quality of life.

To be able to improve we have to accept that something about us needs to be changed, and when we are ready to unlock the perceptions that we have created over the years, then we can start living a joyous life of change and growth.

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” ~Marcel Proust

As we go through life, our main attention is usually on external world and the material possessions, but the reality is that the most important thing that we have to focus our energy on, is the development of self into the person we want to become. And when we achieve a real connection to our authentic self and realize our true purpose, all the external achievements and successes will pursue anyway.

“Personal development is your springboard to personal excellence. On-going, continuous, nonstop personal development literally assures you that there is no limit to what you can accomplish.” ~ Brian Tracy

Over the years, I have learned to practice and focus my energy on the proven track of actions and beliefs that had helped me to improve the quality of my life and the state of my mind.

Here are the strategies that have worked well for me . . .

  • Be present: The method for being present is really simple, but it needs practice. When we practice something regularly, we become good at it. It becomes like a mode of being rather than a task on our to-do list. Whatever you’re doing, at any time, learn to focus completely on doing that one thing. Pay attention to every aspect of what you’re doing, to your body, to the sensations, to your thoughts. It might become tiring at the beginning, if you’re not used to it. Let yourself rest if you grow tired and come back and practice it again. After a while you realize how your worries fade away and you enjoy your present task much more. When we learn to be joyful in whatever we’re doing, grateful that we’re able to do that task, and appreciate every movement and sensation of the task, then we become aware that anything can be an amazing experience, anything can be a miracle. ‘Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.’ ~ Thich Nhat Hahn
  • Stop seeking approval from others: When we have a need for approval we value the beliefs and opinions of others above our own, it becomes addictive and we can quickly develop a need for more. Once we stop worrying about how other people would think of us, how our decisions might disappoint others, or how they might judge us, we become free to be fully authentic selves. The biggest irony with approval-seeking behaviour is that it usually causes the opposite results to those which are intended. If you take a moment to observe those people whom you respect most, you will find that one of their strongest traits is their ability to be true to who they are. There is usually so much pressure from society, peers and media to conform to certain standards and ideals. But if we are led through life always and only really doing and being what we’ve come to believe is ‘expected of us’, then, in a way, we cease to exist, to live, and be real. When you cease being worried about people’s disapprovement of you, a whole new world of personal possibility opens before you.
  • Reflect on Transformational Moments: We all have critical and determining moments in our lives. We come to a fork in our life, and we make a choice that will affect everything since. Once the choice is made, we can never withdraw and start over again because circumstances and people involved change. Words have been said, lives affected and these can never return to the original form. Looking back on those focal points in our past is a great way to look at how far we’ve come, and to discover where we want to be in the future. Always evaluate your options, and consider how they will affect your principles and values. Each one of us has a set of values that define who we are. If one option has you compromise your values, no matter how profitable it may be, it will not be worth the risk. There are a number of people who have reflected, after picking a fork in their road, “There was just something that didn’t feel right, but I did it anyway.” If it doesn’t feel right, you can’t force it to be right. “By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest” ~ Confucius
  • Move past failure: “The major difference between achieving people and average people is their perception of and response to failure” ~John C. Failure is a part of testing the limits of what we know, and it’s an opportunity to learn how to take that next step forward. The truth is that when we experience failure, we’re growing, stretching, and expanding. Each setback, whether small or large is an opportunity for growth. When we change our perception toward failure, then we will be able to use it as stepping-stone to success instead of a stumbling block. But first we have to acknowledge it. Our initial tendency is often to blame others or some uncontrollable, external factors. But rarely are the failures in our lives entirely the responsibility of someone else. And until we take personal responsibility in some capacity, we can never move on to the next step. After we accepted our failure, then we can look back at them as simply feedback that can take us to another level of awareness. “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” ~ Napoleon Hill’
  • Teach, and learn by teaching: “The beautiful thing about teaching is that our legacy is defined in what we give and empower others to do, not only in what we do ourselves”. Wisdom is understanding where we have been, and how we got to where we are now. All of us have experiences and wisdom worth sharing with others. One of the best way of personal growth and change is to listen to other people’s experiences and sharing ours. Have you ever helped a friend through a difficult time and then you became aware that you feel better and happier? Our most lasting and fulfilling achievements in life are often earned by helping others fulfil theirs. As if when we help, encourage, and enable others to reach their dreams, we can also achieve our dreams along the way. Giving and helping others is a powerful pathway to personal growth and lasting happiness. And it may just be the secret to living a life that is not only happier but also healthier, wealthier, more productive, and meaningful. “Making the conscious commitment to empower yourself by directing your thoughts, energy and focus toward what you most want and the goals you need to achieve is the first step towards creating an extraordinary life.” ~ Tony Robbins

 


Creative Living

Creative living starts when people realize that by setting purposeful goals and make it a daily habit to achieve them, their lives will have meaning. They must learn that life is more than a succession of twenty four hours of nothingness. The major enemy of creative living is the passive scheme that people fall into, believing that they are meaningless particles in a huge world. And as a result, they become “watchers” in a world that passes them by.

“If we fail to nourish our souls, they wither, and without soul, life ceases to have meaning…. The creative process shrivels in the absence of continual dialogue with the soul. And creativity is what makes life worth living.” ~ Marion Woodman

Just as we get into habit of doing things without questioning ― buttoning a shirt, brushing our teeth, washing the dishes ― so we tend to adopt culturally stereotyped ways of thinking without making a real individual selection. Often we may uncritically accept patterns of thought which do not make real sense.

“To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong” ~ Joseph Chilton Pearce

About creative living for example, I believe that most people believe it is silly to devote time to thinking about creative living. They are of the opinion that one’s life pattern is either dynamic or static; and planning will not help. I disagree. I believe, firmly, that sound planning plants the seeds of rich, dynamic and fulfilling living.

In rising above the animal state, man increasingly has used planning to achieve the goals he values, most of which are not spur-of-the-moment accomplishments.

“You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win” ~ Zig Ziglar

The forty two year doctor, with his comfortable practice, will have figured out his lifework perhaps in his early teens, as a high school student.

The lawyer and the physicist, too, doing work they like and receiving rewarding pay for their efforts, paved the way for their successes with similar planning.

The incomparable inventor Thomas Edison, was experimenting with his mechanical environment when he was six years old. Many of our timeless entertainers, such as Donald O’Connor, performed as children and enlarged their talents through experience and experimentation.

When you are in high school, in college, starting your first job, raising your children, building your career, cultivating your mature ideas, visiting your grandchildren ― during these years, you should be going beyond your function, always looking to fill your years with life. The essential ingredient in your plans must be the development of your belief in yourself as a human being in the world, not outside it, living each day fully, not fleeing in fear from the demand of life.

The search from childhood to old age is the search for a healthy self image. Fearful of approaching the threshold of adult life, we search for it during adolescence. We seek to strengthen it during adult life and spend a lifetime in this pursuit ― if we are wise and if we do not lose it in paying homage to false gods and worthless values. If we are sensible, we continue to build on it during our later years instead of finding the easy way out in a passive withdrawal from life.

We have to realize that we must live fully today. We must understand that each day is a lifetime to be lived now and that the mistakes of yesterday must be left in the tomb of time.” When your past calls, don’t answer. It has nothing new to say”. The young become mature and the mature become young when they learn to deal with negative feelings and to rise through them to their full recognition of themselves as adequate human beings. We must learn to accept ourselves now in realistic terms. I do not mean that we should constantly tell ourselves how wonderful we are, or how much we are better than anyone else, as this is a narcissistic process of going away from oneself into a world of fantasy. Our estimate of ourselves must be valid and must take into consideration our fellows around us; aspiring to see ourselves in our best moments and trying to prolong and extend these moments. We must also honestly see our weaknesses and be compassionate toward them, as we would be compassionate toward the weaknesses of a loved friend. “It is a beautiful experience being with ourselves at a level of complete acceptance. When that begins to happen, when you give up resistance and needing to be perfect, a peace will come over you as you have never known.”

My point is that we must, at as early age as possible, feel good enough about ourselves so that we need not run away from life. We must get into the habit of accepting ourselves, in the world, in life, without retreat, even if we find no perfection.

If we truly accept ourselves and the world we live in, we are laying the groundwork for a creative, and dynamic living. This is the only solid base for real living.

When you know yourself you are empowered. When you accept yourself you are invincible. ~ Tina Lifford