To Ponder

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This is an ongoing list of some thoughts I invite you to ponder; see if they have any meaning for you.

Victor Frankl was a German Jewish psychiatrist who survived years in a Nazi concentration camp during WWII. He wrote of his experiences in a landmark book called “Mans’ Search for Meaning.” In the book he says this, “They took from us all but the last of the human freedoms; the freedom to choose our attitude.” He learned to spend his years there letting go of hatred and focusing on the practice of love and compassion for his fellow prisoners. He reports that this change in attitude significantly reduced the suffering that he experienced in the camps.

Frankl also said this, “I’ve found that one who has the WHY to live can live with almost any HOW.”

This curious world which we inhabit is more wonderful than
it is convenient; more beautiful than it is useful; it is
more to be admired and enjoyed than used.
– Henry David Thoreau, undated journal entry

“To believe that we’re only as worthwhile as others agree to
see us burdens us with feeling that winning the good opinion
of others is somehow our responsibility.”

— Guy Finley

The real work

It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work,

and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.

Wendell Berry

Underneath the Noise Hearing the Whisper

You may have noticed that if you want to speak to someone in a noisy, crowded room, the best thing to do is lean close and whisper. Yelling in an attempt to be louder than the room’s noise generally only hurts your throat and adds to the chaos. Similarly, that still, small voice within each of us does not try to compete with the mental chatter on the surface of our minds, nor does it attempt to overpower the volume of the raucous world outside. If we want to hear it, no matter what is going on around us or even inside us, we can always tune in to that soft voice underneath the surrounding noise.

It is generally true that the more insistent voices in our heads delivering messages that make us feel panicky or afraid or are of questionable authority. They may be voices we internalized from childhood or from the culture, and as such they possess only half-truths. Their urgency stems from their disconnectedness from the center of our being, and their urgency is what catches our attention. The other voice that whispers reassurances that everything is fundamentally okay simply delivers its message with quiet confidence. Once we hear it, we know it speaks the truth. Generally, once we have heard what it has to say, a powerful sense of calm settles over our entire being, and the other voices and sounds, once so dominant, fade into the background, suddenly seeming small and far away.

We may find that our own communications in the world begin to be influenced by the quiet certainty of this voice. We may be less inclined to indulge in idle chatter as we become more interested in maintaining our connection to the whisper of truth that broadcasts its message like the sound of the wind shaking the leaves of a tree. As we align ourselves more with this quiet confidence, we become an extension of the whisper, penetrating the noise of the world and creating more peace, trust, and confidence.

But what’s wrong? What is this sadness we cannot name? Here is a question that deserves loving meditation. Perhaps the heart of our melancholy is that we miss the person we were meant to be. We miss our authentic selves. But the good news is that even if you have ignored its overtures for decades, your authentic self has not abandoned you. Instead it has been waiting patiently for you to recognize it and reconnect. Turn away from the world this year and begin to listen. Listen to the whispers of your heart. Look within.

 The precursor to almost every negative emotion is the belief in being RIGHT. When a DISCUSSION becomes an ARGUMENT it is because both people forget that they’re expressing an OPINION and believe that they’re RIGHT. Remember… can be RIGHT or you can be happy, but you probably can’t be both.

 When you are upset (angry, anxious, fearful, disappointed, etc.) it has nothing to do with the person or event that SEEMS TO BE CAUSING your upset, but is instead a result of your THOUGHTS AND BELIEFS about these people and events.

Your body is one of the “pieces of clothing” that your spirit self wears during this incarnation. Your body changes, just like clothing. Eventually you lay your clothing aside and return home.

 Jesus Revisited
I believe that Jesus (or someone like him) lived and taught. His teachings are timeless and reflect the major truths evident in most serious religions….that peace, love, joy come not from anything outside of us. They are, rather, inner states and it’s inside that they are created. I don’t believe he spoke of reward or punishment after death. He was only concerned with LIFE. So he wasn’t teaching a way to an after death peace. He was talking about a way to peace, love and understanding in this life. I don’t believe he taught morality. That came, as it has in other religions, from those men who manage the INSTITUTION that they formed. I don’t believe he had “world peace” in mind. He was speaking to each one of us about our own peace and the path to a rich, full, meaningful life. I’ve never read anywhere that he said “I love you.” Rather, he demonstrated love everywhere he went. Why should we love? Not to be a “better person.” To be a happier person. Because when we let go of our judgments…. when we simply ACCEPT our brother and our sister and our heart opens to love, we let in the light and we can breathe again. And when we accept our life as it is, we say to the Great Spirit of the universe, “THY WILL BE DONE.” It’s heavy work, this carrying of judgments about others and about life. Letting go of them lightens our load and allows us to connect with life and with one another in a place beyond fear, disharmony and loneliness. And because when we look deeply enough we see our own beauty and our own truth reflected in the beauty and truth of our brother and our sister….and our life. In loving, we understand who we really are. In loving, we come home….to the Kingdom of Heaven.
Christ, it seems, is a word that describes not a person, but a consciousness.




“Always strive to remember that there is neither one thing
practical, nor wise, about any state of self that punishes you;
even when, as in the case of anxiety, it sweetly promises to
release you once you’ve done its bidding. So, regardless of
circumstance, know that the following is true: All anxious
emotional states are secretly against what are your own True
best interests.”

     — Guy Finley

OSHO “Ten Commandments”
1. Never obey anyone’s command unless it is coming from within you.
2. There is no God other than life itself.
3. Truth is within you, do not search for it elsewhere.
4. Love is prayer.
5. To become a nothingness is the door to truth. Nothingness itself is the means, the goal and attainment.
6. Life is now and here.
7. Live wakefully.
8. Do not swim—float.
9. Die each moment so that you can be new each moment.
10. Do not search. That which is, is. Stop and see.

A metaphor for two different world views.

Standing on 33rd Street in NY City, it’s smelly, noisy, frenetic, uncertain. An elevator ride to the top of the Empire State Building, however, makes the same events appear quiet, orderly, natural,…even safe. At street level we would insist that we’re seeing the “true” picture. This is the rational world view. The view from above might be called the “spiritual” view. We’re not as likely to argue for the truth of this view, but perhaps a voice from inside suggests that it might just be that. It’s interesting. Standing on 33rd St. we feel anxious. Higher up we feel tranquil. Is it possible to adopt this “alternative” world view in the midst of sometimes difficult situations? How would that change our experience?

Life and death are soul choices. Your soul (spirit) decides on the conditions of its incarnation for lessons it wants to learn and to teach. It also decides the moments of birth and death. No spirit leaves the body behind before it is ready to do so.

You and I are interconnected, interdependent parts of all that is…the whole universe. This is our primary identity.


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