Monthly Archives: August 2008

Contemplatation

Take a moment to just sit back and relax.

Take your thoughts on a journey.

Contemplate today, tomorrow and the days to come.

What do you want to see?

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the final yield

“And what will I myself be at that hour, when I am only myself and nothing else? My whole life long I have been nothing but the ordinary routine, all business and activity, a desert filled with empty sound and meaningless fury. But when the heavy weight of death presses down upon my life and squeezes the true and lasting content out of all those many days and long years, what will be the final yield?” Karl Rahner

Tao 65

The ancient Masters
didn’t try to educate the people,
but kindly taught them to not-know.

When they think that they know the answers,
people are difficult to guide.
When they know that they don’t know,
people can find their own way.

If you want to learn how to govern,
avoid being clever or rich.
The simplest pattern is the clearest.
Content with an ordinary life,
you can show all the people the way
back to their own true nature.

Passion and skill

“Without passion, all the skill in the world won’t lift you above craft. Without skill, all the passion in the world will leave you eager but floundering. Combining the two is the essence of the creative life.” Twyla Tharp “The creative habit: Learn it and use it for life”

Skill and passion linked together create a powerful potion for success. Passion and opportunity linked together create a powerful elixir for success.

What happens when the passion is missing?

Perhaps the skill is there but the passion isn’t, or the passion is there and the skill is missing. It might happen often that one of the two, passion or skill is missing but we forge ahead without one of them and that is when we find that something is missing. Joy emerges when we are able to put both passion and skill into the crucible in the presence of a catalyst.

Too often both skill and passion are mixed together and nothing happens and as a result people walk away wondering if they are doing the right thing. The catalyst might be a bit of encouragement, or a person who continue to push for a result but it is an external force that ignites the passion and skill mixture. The catalyst might be bit of inspiration, a bit of wisdom, a kind word, a challenging word, a flash of insight or hard work late into the night.

What do you use as a catalyst for action? When are you able to use both your skills with your passions? Do you encounter joy when you are able to use both skill and passion?

Description

“No man knows himself or can describe himself with fidelity. But he can reveal himself.”

Louis Fischer

“1. That the good of the individual is contained in the good of all.
2. That a lawyer’s work has the same value as the barber’s, inasmuch as all have the same right of earning their livelihoods from their work.
3. That a life of labor-the life of the tiller of the soil and the handicraftsman – is the life worth living.” Gandhi, from “The Essential Gandhi” (p. 60).

Two quotes that express a revelation of self. We don’t know self but we can reveal self through our philosophies, our actions and our words. It is like we are an artist. We can cover the canvas with paint as an expression of the interior of our self. What color are we? What color naturally emanates from our words and our life? What painting is on the inside waiting to get out?

Gandhi speaks of equality. Do you think of yourself as equal to another? In this world there is a premium paid to some and little to another and yet the worth of each is the same. Far more often than not identity is associated with monetary worth. What does that do personal self-worth? How does that translate into personal success? How does that translate into doing well?

The yardstick by which we measure ourself is no shorter or longer than the yardstick by which others measure themselves. What is true about that statement? What is troubling about that statement?

Francis Fukuyama writes, “What the demand for equality of recognition implies is that when we strip all of a person’s contingent and accidental characteristics away, there remains some essential human quality underneath that is worth of a certain minimal level of respect …” from Our Posthuman future.

What question lingers in your mind?

Shift

Have you ever found yourself in a conversation, perhaps a heated conversation and using words that only seem to add fuel to the fire? It happens often and there is a way to help reduce the force of the words.

It takes a shift of position, a shift in the language and the reference you are using. Notice I used “you” in that sentence, and that alone may cause some negative feelings.

The shift in the language that could take place is this:

Frame the issue,

When you ____________________________ (do something that is disagrees with your values)

I feel ________________________________(describe the feeling – upset, angry, …)

Because _____________________________ (why do you feel that way)

What does that do for the other person? Does it help them see why you may be upset with the issue? Does it change the plane of reference – a shift from them to “you”.

Often heated conversations are about transferring blame without transferring understanding. Will the format used above help inform the listener of the issue without transferring blame?

Listen to hear

Listen to learn, how hard is that to do? How often do we take the time out just to listen? To listen to others? To listen to the sounds of nature? To listen to our own hearts? How much time do we take out of our lives to just listen?

When we listen are we preparing to answer the thought that is being generated in our minds? What is the nature of that thought? Where did the thought come from? If our mind is focused on listening it needs to be focused on the words, the sounds and rhythms rather than formulating a response.

What if we had a listener first approach to sounds of the world whether people, nature or the heart?

Look at the image at the top of the post. What do you hear? What sounds do you think are emanating from the image?

Are life’s secrets in the listening?

Being Transparent

Like a looking glass into our soul. Often it is something that isn’t done. It is a way to keep our true self from being seen by others. Being transparent and showing your inner light to others is not something everyone does.

Hiding self from others for fear of rejection, or because of a lack of self-confidence, or because there are deep scars, or because there is a smoldering wound, or because there is a broken heart, or because there is an unfilled void is not the path towards greater happiness. Living a transparent life is a choice that must be made. Living behind a veil will in many cases diminish the fullness of life.

How does being transparent help bring about a better life? When there are no secrets, no deep voids, no fear then power that was coming from others comes from within. Power from within is continuous, it is free, it is brighter and of better quality.

Transparency gives power away. Initially it takes power, courage and confidence to release the darkness that prevents being transparent. It takes time to test it … does it really release power or does it consume power?

Think about it from the perspective of a leader. Which leader has more power, the one that shows what is inside or the one who shrouds things in mystery? The transparent leader will acknowledge the faults, the foibles, the failures they have experienced. They will admit their shortcomings. What happens when a person reveals their inner-self to others? Do they become genuine and authentic? Do they become real people just like everyone else? Do they have the ability to relate to others?

If you want to find out what a big obstacle the ego really is, try to come together with other people in genuine transparency. Transparency means radical authenticity, free from ego defenses and impure motives. It’s the ultimate challenge to the ego. You could sit on a meditation cushion until you dropped dead and never have your capacity for radical transparency tested. The real test, for all of us, is in relationship. Come together. When there’s radical transparency and the ego steps aside, each single individual in that extraordinary collective context has access to the power and depth and clarity of the enlightened mind. And that’s when enlightenment really starts to take on new meaning and significance for us all.”

Andrew Cohen
London, March 2004

Transparency is sliding aside the curtains of the soul revealing its character. It is not easy or quick to do if there have been many years, many scars, many fears that stand in the way. The opaque window will neither let in light nor let light out.

Dostoyevsky wrote, “Every man has reminiscences which he would not tell to everyone but only to his friends. He has other matters in his mind which he would not reveal even to his friends, but only to himself in secret. But there are other things which man is afraid to tell even to himself, and every decent man has a number of such things stored away in his mind.”

Transparency reveals the character of a person. Transparency informs others of the integrity of a person. Information that threatens the self threatens self-esteem. Threats create anxiety and the anxiety transforms our character. The reason it damages the character is due to the nature of the internal self-talk that takes place – generally negative. Transparency will remove the need to hide from the issues which generate anxiety. The lack of anxiety will naturally result in self-talk that is positive – the self will not be talking down the self but rather acknowledging the self in a positive form.

The idea that the truth will set us free is an outcome of transparency. Working towards transparency might be better done with someone that can be trusted. Exposing the darkness will require a trusted relationship so that the surfacing of the negatives can be done safely and without repercussions.

Transparency allows one to shift from hiding behind pretense to genuine living.

In a journal write down those things that prevent you from living transparently?

What can you do to become more transparent?

What risks are you willing to take?

What benefits do you think you would obtain by living transparently?