Showing posts with label wisdom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wisdom. Show all posts

Mar 4, 2010

Remove Obstacles

I have slowed down the frequency of posting lately, only because I am falling behind and find myself racing to catch up with the train. It's been hectic but I am trying to stay centered and 'sane' inspite of everything.
I mentioned before that I have also taken up a course and so I have a couple of assignments to complete on top of the daily normal, usual and the extraordinary stuff that goes on called life.

My first thought today was -   is it  'life is for living' or 'living is for life' ?

Besides that,  I thought to share something interesting I read today from a book by Irvin D Yalom....
We all have the natural human instinct to live life, to grow and develop, to be well, to be happy. 
Therefore we don't need to work so hard at these, we merely need to recognise and remove the obstacles that block our paths and we will easily be on our way to achieving them.

Jan 20, 2010

Seeking Wisdom which brings Contentment....

The answer seems to be 'carry on with life, it's not my time to do anything yet'.

Seeking a miracle solution from The Book, there is none. They are work-at-it solutions.
There is hope for contentment in this life, without waiting for it in death. It appears that what we constantly seek can be gotten quite easily,  the incentives are wonderful and yet so very difficult in the doing.
Does contentment lead to acceptance or does acceptance lead to contentment?
Does this call for blind faith, to believe I am treading on the right path?  
How do I lay aside my own perception to trust Him 'wholeheartedly'. Do I stop thinking altogether each time I make a choice or decision.?
Not so easy to do - to think of Him in all things we do.

"Trust wholeheartedly in God
put no faith in your own perception;
acknowledge him in every course you take
and he will see that your paths are smooth."

And once we discover wisdom, it will
 ... "all lead to contentment.
... give life to your soul
and beauty to your neck.
You will go on your way in safety,
your feet will not stumble..
... you will not be afraid
.. sleep will be sweet"       
(Prv 3:5-6,17 22-24)..

Dec 12, 2009

Be Happy

I have been hopping through the bible according to questions and incidents that occur and interestingly, I found a response (feels more like a retort)  to my brooding of late, actually it (Ecc 30:21) found me.. Many of us are reaching out for the same thing, I hope you find comfort too in these words of wisdom.

Do not abandon yourself to sorrow,
do not torment yourself with brooding.
Gladness of heart is life to anyone,
joy is what gives length of days.
Give your cares the slip, console your heart,
chase sorrow far away;
for sorrow has been the ruin of many,
and is no use to anybody.
Jealousy and anger shorten your days,
and worry brings premature old age.
A genial heart makes a good trencherman,
someone who enjoys a good meal."

...  . let's try to be a genial heart.

Oct 31, 2009

Emptiness for Fulfillment

I've been readng 'Encounters with Merton' by Henri J M Nouwen and I wanted to share a part that interests me and that is on 'emptying oneself' which was also discussed in M S Peck's book. Thomas Merton was into such deep contemplation of the meaning of life, the search for God, his self and so much more; his thoughts and journey is so complex I am not able to spell it out clearly.
Merton reflects that emptying our selves will  help us do away with fear.  This is done by detachment, to claim nothing and possess nothing not even his life. We will then be able to "stand without fear in a violent world"  Nouwen adds that "detachment does not mean shirking one's responsibilities. Rather it is a supremely active deed that makes it possible to move unprejudiced and unafraid into the center of the evil".
Merton wrote "If I remembered that I have nothing called my own that will not be lost anyway, that only what is not mine but God's will ever live, then I would not fear so many false fears."

Merton reflected that learning the secret of our nothingness will lead us to find our true selves, because what will be left, is us 'made in His image and likeness'.
Paradoxically it appears, emptying our true selves will give us our fill of answers to many questions and we will then know the way to go.

I have come some way(a tiny fraction) of letting go and giving it up to Him and that has truly made me feel less afraid of the unknown.  So I can only imagine what it must feel like (thousand times more liberating ?) IF I COULD go the whole way.

Oct 15, 2009

Living and Dying Well - M Scott Peck

Part 2-3 of Denial of the Soul

Dr Peck's theological and religious leaning comes through quite strongly in his advise on how we should approach death. It is as if he too was searching for a way to the ultimate stage of acceptance.
The second half of the book draws a parallel between living and dying and Dr Peck discusses what it means to do both well and in communion with God or one's deepest self (soul) for secularists. There are stages that we go through in any situation of trouble or crisis and it applies to dying too.  (Kubler-Ross stages of learning)

Dr Peck puts forth that human beings are meant to continue learning and developing, most often we stop learning because we do not get pass the denial stage. The soul he believes, is not created to stagnate 'why would God not only create us but continue to nurture us unless we were developable. Unless God desired our development, our learning?' This he feels is the meaning of life.

Dying gives us the opportunity for learning and soul development. By opting for Euthanasia however we are denying the meaning of human existence and attempting to 'escape the reason for our being', 'it shortchanges ourselves.'  In his experience with dying individuals, the final stage of Acceptance appears to lead one to an ethereal awareness of self,  they seem to emanate 'light that embraces their company', no sadness is experienced.
When we are depressed, the healing of depression requires that there be (existential)l suffering. When we seek out answers to our troubled feelings, we come out on the other side with learning and wisdom on a higher plane. Interestingly he says sometimes the solution could mean there is no solution, we accept that and move on.  Dr Peck describes that to arrive at enlightenment we need to recognise our shortcomings and give up 'things of the ego' - arrogance, excessive competitiveness, need for self-esteem, righteousness etc. We need to identify it and realise we 'can give it up' and do it.  It is about making a choice to continue learning, to develop the inner being and thus we should continue to live until we cannot.

Death of the ego or letting go can be painful. Dr Peck likens these episodes of working at depression to 'little deaths'. One of these characteristics is the 'need to be in control'. Certain forms of Euthanasia or assisted suicides is motivated by this need to control our exit from life.  But Dr Peck maintains that it is not up to us to decide when. In such cases that need (ego), means forgoing cooperation with the Creator and forgoing the ultimate enlightenment of 'emptying ourselves'.  The relief of suffering at the expense of hastening death is acceptable as opposed to shortening life to avoid facing death. Extreme pain and suffering without viable relief is the influencing factor and timing is not of our choosing.
In the final part of the book part 3, Dr Peck discusses different ways to handle terminal illness, their aftercare and suggests methods and counseling for individual medical contexts and also proposes pastoral advisors for meeting the needs of the soul.

"The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.”
I believe there is a close parallel in religious writings that many of us can identify with - 'to die in order to live'.

I am finished with the book but not really done with it (if you know what I mean).

Sep 23, 2009

A Wednesday Awakening

It's been a little heavy going, it's time to retreat with a brief interlude..
I wrote the words to this song a few years ago in my note book at a time when it held a special message for me. There was a time when I thought appearances was primary but I've learnt that it is of no importance or use; just be me.  Life's like that,  we don't always have to like it, and we can be honest about it.
It is an old song (reminiscent of ancient tones) with an ever-relevant simple message (Return To Innocence -by Enigma)

That's not the beginning of the end
That's the return to yourself
The return to innocence
Love - Devotion
Feeling - Emotion
Love - Devotion
Feeling - Emotion
Don't be afraid to be weak
Don't be too proud to be strong
Just look into your heart my friend
That will be the return to yourself
The return to innocence
If you want, then start to laugh
If you must, then start to cry
Be yourself don't hide
Just believe in destiny
Don't care what people say
Just follow your own way
Don't give up and use the chance
To return to innocence
That's not the beginning of the end
That's the return to yourself
The return to innocence
Don't care what people say
Follow just your own way Follow just your own way
Don't give up, don't give up
To return, to return to innocence.
If you want then laugh
If you must then cry
Be yourself don't hide
Just believe in destiny.

Aug 8, 2009

To Be (Insane) or Not to Be (Sane)

A while back, I decided I would read one of Paulo Coelho's books. Call me prejudiced, but I have a preference for reading books by women rather than men. It's more about the style and thought processes. There is a certain directness in men's writing which is fine depending on the type of novel. For some stories I like to linger and for some I can't wait to know how it ends.

I also must tell you, I hate sad endings but for some strange reason I picked 'Veronika Decides To Die'. The story takes place in Slovenia, did you know it used to be Yugoslavia?

I found it extremely thought-provoking, not sad. It's a very good read, unique in the telling and how it unfolds. It's a little contrary, but there is much about human nature I can identify with.
For those of you who, like me, prefer happy endings, you'll be glad to hear she didn't die in the end.

It's about Veronika, a young girl who wanted to die, she attempted it but failed. She then finds herself in a mental asylum, and again waits to die because that's how she has been diagnosed.
What's intriguing is her journey of discovery; discoveries about herself, her inner experience in the asylum, with other inmates, about the subject of sanity and insanity. While in the asylum she sets herself free and lets go of her inhibitions because as she says " I'm crazy, I'm allowed to do this. I can hate, I can pound away at the piano. Since when have mental patients known how to play notes in the right order?'

Many instances in the story allude to the fact that we would like to behave in some manner that would be considered insane but because of society's expectations we are not free to do so. For Veronika 'she expended most of her energy in trying to behave in accordance with the image she had created for herself'.'

Among the characters, a number of inmates were not-truly-insane, but they were there because 'they looked for the easiest way out; a separate reality'; and remained there for different reasons of security, normalcy and freedom . They are rational enough to say to the nurses " This is a mental hospital. No one is obliged to behave the way you do'. Because of Veronika, the not-truly-insane start to re look at their lives and now think that it is time leave the asylum. One of them, who is released feels she will be better off now in the outside world because she has the license to speak freely, since people know she was in the asylum previously.

As for Veronika, having made discoveries and experiences for herself, she purged her baggage. But, because she believed she only had a few days, Veronika now wished to live.

I have been thinking about it, to pick another of Paulo's books, I hope it will be just as appealing.

Jul 31, 2009

A Day in the Life - trying too Hard

Some days I feel like two different persons.

The sane rational one in the office and dysfunctional in the home.
It's on days when I am so tired from work and would like nothing more but to shower and sleep right away.

Child3 and child2 have been arguing and fighting - so the judge (mom) has to preside. Imagine you are dying for some peace and quiet, both the boys insist on having their say first - at the same time. I can't think straight for all the noise and I just stare at the both of them. I let them go at it for about 15 min. Then asked 'are you both done' , they said 'yes'. I said 'good, that's settled', left them open-mouthed and went to take a shower.

The second matter, Child2 hasn't apologised to his older sister - that's a backlog, have to address it today. I thought I can't put it off or he'll think I forgot about it and he'll forget about it too. I take him aside to talk. After a while, he says he's thinking about it. I decide to leave it, that is more than I expected, I will bug him tomorrow when I'm clearer. But then, he turns around and asks me about the earlier situation, 'what about it' I ask, He asks me, 'aren't you going to do anything'. I ask 'why, did you do something wrong' , he says 'well I did snatch the toy from him'.
And I think .. Wow! I didn't have to say anything at all and there it was - the unblemished truth!

So, I don't have to try too hard all the time, enlightenment, understanding emerges somehow, TIME is all he needed (he was moved by my lack of response).
But then we know, the formula is rarely the same each time.

The oldest thankfully was out like a light ..too tired - thank God for small mercies, ...I could hit the sack, duties done!

"Live in the along"

I've discovered lots of interesting writers and thinkers in the past few days through the various sites, some amazing, thoughtful, few eye-openers and plenty of sad. Whatever it is about, expressing ourselves and sharing helps us and helps others too.
Over the last day, I've quoted this poet twice, one for the words as poem and the other for it's context. The poem is by an American, the last 4 lines reminds us to live life ..

From Gwendolyn Brooks 1917 (last 4 lines) -
"And remember:
live not for Battles Won.
Live not for The-End-of-the-Song,
Live in the along."

Teach our children well.

Jul 29, 2009 this...

"If I had to summarize their* message ..- it is that we are all stuck together in the moment of history, and the most appropriate response to each other is compassion and a sharing of laughter. After all we don't really have a clue as to what is going on here, if anything, and most likely we aren't really in charge of very much of it anyway, and in the end the joke seems to be on all of us. Knowing that, we can relax a little and dispense with any blame. So far, as human beings, our greatest gifts, aside from the ability to make good painkillers, are our feelings of love and sense of humor."

in short... live life, don't dwell too much on it about it !

Quote from Wes 'Scoop' Nisker (2001)- 'The Essential Crazy Wisdom' .. it's a real crazy read.. as books go..

*['their' refer to the sages, scientists, fools, early philosophers, genius., wise men, presidents...]

Jul 18, 2009


In her book 'Creating a Charmed Life' by Victoria Moran, there is much wise wisdom if we but consider the various steps. One of the chapters that struck me was 'Breathe'. Don't we do that as a normal part of life?

Ah.. but therein lies a path to well-being. By taking a deliberate conscious control of the act of breathing in different situations or even as a start to the day we get our minds in the right mode to steady ourselves.

This is more than just meditation. Unfortunately I forget more often than I remember in my eagerness to get on with living and yet living would be so much easier with starting on the right breath. Sometimes we need to re-learn new ways to live well.

It's like a prayer in a way, give it up to HIM, before we begin anything.

Two steps are always better than one, one for the physical and one for the soul.

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