Many people consider confidence to go hand and hand with self-esteem. However, that isn’t entirely true. The difference between the two is that confidence is a quality that generally appears externally, while self-esteem is a quality that appears internally and manifests itself externally … Continue reading
The following short story is one that I was asked to write for an assignment in one of my Social Work classes. We were asked to schedule and attend an appointment with a therapist in order to “Walk A Mile” … Continue reading
Meditation has been an important part of my personal and spiritual growth ever since I began silencing my mind a few years ago. At that time the idea of “meditating” was still a very esoteric topic, however more and more … Continue reading
The mark of a New Year always offers us an opportunity to change, but many question whether or not change is really possible. The pessimist might wonder whether or not someone is even capable of cultivating a permanent change within … Continue reading
We’ve been discussing existence in one of my Philosophy classes and Aristotle’s answer to the question “What is being?” Although Aristotle’s answer is a little too abstract to understand practically, the ancient wisdom held within the words of his argument for existence can be applied in a practical manner if understood properly. In general, Aristotle believes that being is substance and substance is a blend of matter and form. All that is is substance, which is essentially matter and form. One cannot exist without the other. Perhaps a practical illustration of this will help you better understand this concept, consider the statue of David created by Michelangelo. The matter that Michelangelo used to make this statue is marble, the form he chose is a statue of an infamous naked man, the substance or “being” is the statue of David. The matter is merely potential without form to actualize this potential. Form however, exists potentially and in actuality. Once matter and form have come together in unison a “being” or substance has become actualized.
So how does this all apply to you and your life? Well in order for the statue of David to become actualized, Michelangelo had to access the marble matter he had to work with and envision it’s potential. Without this vision, he could not have created the statue of David. Once Michelangelo saw the object of his desire, he could then bring form to the matter of marble by carving it into the form of a naked man. The combination of matter and form depicted Michelangelo’s vision of the statue of David, the famous biblical character. Together Michelangelo’s vision and action created the object of his desire. Just as he did, so too can you.
I want you to ask yourself not what you want to do with your life, but who you want to be in this life. You cannot do anything wonderful without choosing what part of your being is wonderful. Just as a piece of marble, your physical body is nothing but potential. Potential that God brought to life by the form or essence of your own individual spirit. Without your spirit, you are dead and your body is nothing but a corpse. Just as Aristotle’s argument asserts that form exists both as potential and actuality, so too does your spirit which is the essence of who you are. It is up to you and only you to actualize your potential, to bring who you are to fruition and create something of significance.
So consider who it is that you wish to be. Do you wish to be successful? Compassionate? Happy? Loved and Lovable? Joyous? Intelligent? Kind? In order to be these things, you must first realize that you already possess this quality within yourself. All you have to do is act in ways that illustrate this quality that you already possess. Ask yourself; How would my successful self act? What would my compassionate self do in this circumstance? What would my happy self do right now? What would my lovable self do? What would my joyous self say? What would my intelligent self think? How would my kind self respond? So many people wonder how they can be happy without realizing that happiness already abides within themselves just waiting to be realized. In order to be happy, you must act in ways that will actualize your potential happiness.
If you find you still don’t understand, try working your way backwards. What is it that you desire and wish to possess? What is your goal in life right now? Do you desire a degree? A relationship? More money? Better friendships? What must you do to acquire these things? Is your goal in life to be successful? What defines success for you then, or what is it that you must do to be successful? After you have answered these questions, question how you will feel once you have what you desire. How will you feel when you are in a relationship? Loved? How will you feel when you have more money? Secure? In order for you to achieve these things, you must first know that you are lovable and feel loved, know that you are secure and feel secure, know that you are a good friend and be a good friend, know that you are successful and be successful. You must know your potential in order to realize it.
You see, all of life begins by being. You do things and act in ways according to what you believe and how you feel about yourself. Your intrinsic beliefs, feelings and values determine your everyday actions. Your everyday actions create your reality. Your outer world is a direct reflection of your inner world. You can either let what is outside of you define you, or decide what is inside of you and let it define your outer world. The choice is yours. Whether or not you decide to choose does not matter, because either way it will determine how you experience your life.
You can create your life by being, doing and having what you want. There is no right or wrong way, there is only your way. So I encourage you to determine what way is right for you!
How do you know you’re on the right path to fulfilling your destiny? This is a question I have often wondered myself, and I’m sure you have too. We all want confirmation and the comfort of knowing that we are … Continue reading
Recently I’ve realized that we all possess two opposing “people” within ourselves. There is the facade created by the ego, and than there is our true self which is aligned with our soul. The two seem to be in constant conflict with one another when left unacknowledged.
The facade of our ego is different for us all, but it’s primary agenda is always the same. The ego sees only separation, separation from what we want, from other people, from the world and even from God. To the ego life appears as a constant struggle, and it never seems to have or be enough. Because of this false belief produced by the ego we attach ourselves to people, places, outcomes, the past, the future and the material world.
In contrast, our true selves see life as an exciting adventure filled with love and joy. Our true selves always have enough, are enough, and will always be enough. The true self maintains an attitude of detachment, it is able to let go of life’s “problems” and move on from the past. It sees the bigger picture and remains calm amidst chaos. Our true self empathizes with others and understands that although everyone may appear different, we are all fundamentally the same.
The difference between the two is night and day, and when in confliction they make the world appear grey with confusion. Anxiety arises when the ego is present and left unobserved. As it attaches itself to outcomes, people, places and things, it makes us believe we are attached to it as well. However we are not, and when this is left unacknowledged we live a life of dispair as we become enslaved by our own thoughts and our own minds. As Eckhart Tolle would say, the master mistakes itself as the instrument. Hell isn’t a place, hell is our attachment to the ego and to our minds.
You see, life is just one big production. The ego is the role we play and our true self is the actor. But who we are is in all honesty the audience, we are the observers of our lives and the experiencers of life. The script was written by God, and we are here to experience ourselves. In order to experience and know ourselves, we must first experience what we are not in order to know what we are. What we are not is the role we are playing and our ego. What we are is our true self and the actor of it all. But who we are is the audience, the one observing and experiencing the whole play.
The thing is, this production that forms the appearance of reality is just an illusion of who we really are. We are spiritual beings having a human experience, not human beings having a spiritual experience. What is the best way to know oneself? By experiencing what one isn’t. Experience has always been the greatest of teachers, so in an effort to not only know of oneself conceptually we have come here to know ouselves empirically.
I challenge you all to observe yourselves and your minds. Appreciate the dichotomy of not only this complex outer world, but the inner world within yourself as well. Observe it all without judgement, because the mind is the only thing that judges and attachment to the mind is attachment to your ego. Enjoy the bliss of being and become the observer of your life in order to get in touch with your true self. That is where true inner peace and happiness reside.
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity… It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”-Melody Beattie
Thanksgiving is a great excuse to look around at our lives and appreciate all that we have been blessed with. It is a reminder to stop and smell the roses and find pleasure in the simple things that life has to offer us. In today’s world, a day dedicated to spending time with those we love in an environment of gratefulness and great food is essential to refilling the fruits of our soul.
I encourage you all to consider today what you may have missed yesterday. Do you often forget to be grateful for the breath in your body and the food that nourishes it? How often have you taken for granted the people in your life that have always been there for you, even when you weren’t there for yourself? Have you ever considered what life might be like for someone who has a lot less than you? Are you thankful for having all that you need, or do you wish it away always wanting more? Can you find satisfaction in all that you are and all that you have today?
If you have found the answer to some of these questions as anything less that gracious, try and slow down and appreciate life from a higher perspective. If it is happiness that you are seeking, I assure you that it will almost always be found by first appreciating the things in your life that you often take for granted. Happy people know that when they don’t have what they want, they need to want what they have. When you find yourself feeling ungrateful, and we all find ourselves that way some days, shift your attention to all of the things that you do appreciate about yourself and your life. Because life is a beautiful thing, and there is always something or someone to be thankful for. Give thanks.