Monday, November 29, 2010

I think I get it now...

It was always confusing to me in trying to understand the apparent inconsistencies in human behavior. Even though we are physically similar, our mental, spiritual, and emotional aspects make us so dramatically different.

Think about the vast differences between a mass murderer and a nun. Other than being two living and breathing human beings, just how similar are these two individuals?

How about a bank robber and a bank teller? What about a drug dealer and a drug addict? How about a soldier of war and a street thug killer? How are these humans similar and what part makes them totally different?

From an outward perspective we recognize each other’s human element. Unlike zebras or tigers that recognize each other’s markings, we see only a surface that differentiates us from other mammals. We recognize our human aspect, but other than that we know very little.

Because we are so wonderfully made yet so imperfectly assimilated our physical appearance tells us very little about the real person inside the human facade. A thief could look like a saint and a military hero could look like a mass murderer.

Judging a person merely by their image tells us only so much about them, but reading and delving into a person’s character can tell you more about the real person inside that shell. Realizing this to be a fact all we would need to do is learn how to read someone’s character.

Unfortunately many people know how to cover up what they don’t want you to know. Take, for example, intimate relationships that end up in marriage: just how much do couples really know about each other before they tie the knot?

The reason behind so many failing marriages is because certain vital information was concealed from the other party. Once this information was revealed the couple found out just how incompatible they were in the first place. Because of this, learning to read character could save so much time and heartache for countless people.

Obviously there are people that go to school to learn how to read behind the fa├žade, but even they are not perfect. One simple way to read into people is to follow your hunches. You get a sense of people almost from the beginning, but most are willing to ignore this sixth sense in order to acquire what’s behind door number two.

Some are so eager to find a mate, a close friend, or to get close to others that they ignore what their sixth sense tells them. This is similar to the secret of a good magician. They intentionally convince you that you are seeing something that in reality, you are not!

In order to read another's character you have to decide in advance to look beyond the facade, or what your eyes reveal to you. By doing this, your mind opens interior eyes that are not just attached to the sight, but much deeper to the heart-sensor as well.

You sense character through the heart rather than the eyes. It is feeling something that is unseen, which is the essence of the spiritual and emotional charkas. It is a knowing beyond conscious awareness.

The problem most have is our willingness to accept what is seen rather than probe more deeply into the unseen, which is the real person inside the shell. Their character is their soul. The soul cannot lie because it is the total essence of the person beyond their physical characteristics and attributes.

It is said that the eyes open a window to the soul of a person. If you are contemplating adding someone into your inner circle, such as in an intimate relationship, look into their eyes without speech or preconception and see what is revealed from their soul.

Stop looking at what you want to see and feel what you sense instead. We all have this ability, but many choose not to use it. In understanding the apparent inconsistencies of human behavior try using your sixth sense rather than what the eyes reveal. When you sense something don’t ignore it in order to acquire the storefront dressings.

I think I get this now…you have to want IT first. Not what you hope for, but what’s really there.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Walk a mile in someone else's shoes

ALTADENA – Have you ever wondered why there seems to be so much chaos, conflict and confusion in the world?

In truth there are so many mini-worlds in the entire world. People can live and die in a relatively close in proximity and never know each other. In order to get to know people there must first be a desire to do so or, secondly, something that causes your paths to coincide.

Think about how many different shoes you pass by daily. We have our leaders, the clergy, law enforcement, business owners, educational community, the banking community, real estate services, child care facilities; senior citizen care and services, neighborhood associations, the military, healthcare providers, builders, craftsmen, farmers, public roads and highway services, the Chamber of Commerce, public services, communication services, entertainment professionals, and on and on. This doesn’t include some of the negative distinctions such perverts, criminals, or derelicts.

In your community alone there are so many different walks of life on so many levels of the spectrum. You might wonder why there isn’t more unity among people, the causative reason being that we all walk in so many different paths that chances are that we may never walk a mile in each other’s shoes.

Not that long ago I could not figure out why more people couldn’t learn to get along better and live in amity and harmony. One of the reasons may be because of the invisible walls that partition us. I don’t think much of this is intentional, at least not any longer. It’s more in the way we have grown accustomed to living. We are so focused upon our own activities that we pay little attention to the world of others.

Then along the way came a spider. Well, actually, along the way came technology. We are connected in ways like never before. We can literally reach into each other’s space quite easily these days. We may choose to be extremely connected with a huge network of people if we so desire. We are finding out what it’s like walking in another's shoes, perhaps more than we’d like.

It’s not that hard to reach out and touch others these days. However, one of the main factors to consider is personally exposing yourself as you step into the world of others. With smart phones you can point, shoot, and upload into the media. The problem we have so far is learning how to act with this much unbounded freedom. We will need to redefine the rules of this new game.

Because we are able to peek into the lives of so many people it seems as though we know people when we really don’t. We see Obama in the news so much that we think we know him. How about Oprah, Sarah Palin, Kobe Bryant, or your local news personalities? We peek into the lives of these people so often that it appears we know them. In truth you have no idea of what it is like to really walk a mile in their shoes.

Where is all this transparency leading us? For one, I think once we get used to the extra exposure we might possibly become more humane. Perhaps we will become more compassionate with each other as we realize the price of walking in someone else’s shoes.

We just might learn that being rich and famous comes with a price and that being less fortunate financially is not as bad as one might think as long as there is love in the picture.

In truth we don’t know what it is like walking in many of our fellow human being’s shoes but suffice to say that with each walk we'll discover there is a load to carry. It may not be exactly what you imagine.

Might I suggest that before you get so carried away with walking in the shoes of others that you spend an ample or even equal amount of time perfecting your own walk in your own shoes! Before you criticize the lives of others make sure your life is worthy. Learn how to walk a good mile in your own shoes before you try to take on the load of others.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Keep it fresh

The fact that we are suffering through a miserable economy is not news. We’ve been in this mode for over five years now and counting. At times such as this it seems as though we’re going through a lunar eclipse that casts darkness over the entire planet. In this case the darkness is the gloom that is being felt worldwide.

This is not the first time we have experienced such despair. This is not even the worst financial depression the world has faced. Although very few of us were around during the Great Depression of the 1930s, what we’re currently experiencing would have been a joy compared to what they faced.

How do you remain positive when there are so many people and things around you suffering? Most of us know of someone who has lost a job or home or even worse. If you don’t know them personally all you need to do is turn on the news or read the periodicals. When gloom is this pervasive it reaches nearly everyone in some shape or form.

One thing to consider, if or when you are filled to the brim with gloom, is to reduce the amount of negativity that you allow to penetrate your mind. Your mind has an almost unlimited capacity for storage, yet the things that we allow to dominate or proliferate in it takes the full spotlight. It’s like one rotten apple that spoils an entire barrel of good ones.

Perhaps I’m doing myself a disservice as a columnist, but I would strongly suggest that you turn off the news and discard the periodicals that constantly fill your mind with negativity. Instead, find ways to feed the mind with positive things.

Imagine that your mind is a cup. A cup has only a maximum amount of liquids that it may hold. In your cup you may put in muddy unclean water or you may put in mountain-fresh water. If you think of putting just a teaspoon in your cup per day for forty-eight days, your cup would be full of muddy water. The same would be true if you put forty-eight teaspoons of pure, clean water in the cup, it would be full.

Using this analogy why would you constantly put garbage in your mind daily? If you are feeling gloomy perhaps you are “full of it.” Why not instead make a more desirable choice to feed or otherwise fill the mind with wholesome positive thoughts and ideas.

Think about what you are feeding your mind. Are you watching too much television? Do you spend too much time gossiping or socializing through the net? Do you spend too much time around negative people that constantly have bad news to pour into your cup? Until you make an accounting of what you are putting in your cup (mind) you will not do anything to change your current status.

Keeping it fresh means intentionally going out in life and choosing what goes into your mind. Even though you cannot avoid the negativity of life, you don’t have to swim in it. As they say, “birds may fly over your head daily, but you don’t have to allow them to land on your head and build a nest.” You must be in control over your mind.

Go out and take a walk in the woods, in the park, along the beach, through the neighborhood, or just sit silently and quietly on a clear day and gaze at nature. You may also do it in the rain or snow. Find a way to flush out the garbage with which you have been gorging your mind. Consider meeting new friends if your old ones insist upon filling you with muddy water. You don’t need to be rude to them, simply find a way that no longer permits them to "dump" on you.

Change the way you look. Color or cut your hair, if you still have some. Wear a different color than usual. Grow a mustache, beard, or cut off the one you have. Do anything to create a new image of the person you would like to become. Find ways to keep life fresh and new rather than dull and boring. If you are in a rut, exit it - fast! Part of that is a clear and intentional choice.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Part of the problem or the soultion

Although there's no justification, when we go out and enjoy our action-filled violent movies, what price are we paying for it with our souls? I must admit that I enjoy an action-filled movie, but I’m beginning to query myself about that enjoyment. Is it the acts of violence themselves that I enjoy or simply the thrill of witnessing graphically violent imagery?

Lately some of the really gory movies have been making me sick to the stomach. Movies specifically about killing victims in the most horrific ways have ceased to be entertaining to me. When nearly everyone in the plot dies so gruesomely and there is no message of redemption you wonder why are we watching such movies and calling it "entertainment"?

What message is the movie industry sending us? Better still, what messages are we, in turn, sending to the movie producers? Their bottom line is making money for the producers, so when they produce those bloody violent movies they do so with the understanding of what’s most marketable. Violence sells “big time” so let’s not blame business people for delivering what the people willingly pay to see.

In the same manner violent video games are very popular among our youth. Blowing away people, making the most horrific destructive scenes and the like is the attraction. The more graphically depicted the better it sells. Do we blame the game creators for delivering to the purchasing public what they are most eager to possess?

Pornography has long been a very lucrative market. It is like a plague that seemingly focuses on those males who have a problem in dealing with their sexual appetites. It gives these men what they want to see in order to scratch an itch they can’t reach as readily or as easily in real life. Are we to blame the producers of such graphically explicit material that even involves minors when there is a market that quickly sucks up all they produce?

Wherein lies the problem? The movies and games are usually fictional, but the actual people that cater to this sort of material are real. We may cut up the films and destroy the games but the only way to eradicate the source of the problem is to eradicate the people that are carrying the problems. Since we can’t go around killing everyone that is causing the problem where is the solution?

I am part of the problem because I have either willingly and intentionally purchased or participated in the production or purchase of such product. To the degree that I have participated is the degree of blame that I shoulder.

Perhaps I should be stoned for my crime against morality, but whom could we find that would be worthy of my stoning? Let he or she who without sin cast the first stone. Make sure that their violent action in my stoning does not find making them guilty of evil as well.

As I read of the Connecticut man who was condemned to death for a night of terror inside a suburban home in which a woman was strangled and her two daughters tied to their beds, doused in gasoline and left to die in a fire, I wonder who is to blame.

These were not actors in a violent movie or game. These victims will never come back. The criminals were among the sickest of the sick. Are we not a bit culpable here?

Even though we don't condone such behavior, if we're the consumers of violence that is sold to us as entertainment, where does our appetite fit in this equation?

Until we stop being the willing consumers of violence and in essence thereby condoning it, we are part of the problem and not the solution. I am not worthy of even casting the one hundredth stone here. What about you?

Carving Your Pathway

If you're under the age forty you may not have reached this fundamental awakening point in life yet but once you cross over something changes the way you see things. Yes, it appears that there is an invisible veil that seems to separate young ambition from matured realization.

When I was young I saw things through the eyes of youth. Things seem to be more hopeful and idealistic. However as I have matured I see the reality that was virtually obscured by my youthful exuberance. This is not usual; it is the “normal” path of youth.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could see an image of where you are headed before you actually had to make a critical decision about which fork in the road you should take? Oddly, though, in life we don’t have the option of living in suspended animation. Each tick of life counts like that of an old grandfather’s clock, even when we’d prefer otherwise.

Acquiring wisdom is not a magical process. It is the one thing that is actually real about reality. Your life is happening. Each notch is like mounting each individual brick of a huge brick wall. The totality of your life is unfolding moment by moment, however, most of us are not fully aware of this process with vivid awareness while it is happening.

When you’re young you don’t usually realize that which you don’t know. No one can or could effectively convince you of your ignorance at that stage. This is fact. If you’re currently in this stage of life you may have issues with my statement. Don’t worry; it makes you “normal,” for most of us were similarly idealistic.

Alternatively there are rare individuals that dance to a different tune. They know very early in life who they are and have a good idea of where they are headed. They appear to have inbred wisdom beyond their years. Such individuals end up carving their own path in spite of the circumstances.

At the proverbial fork in the road of life they pick the one that propels them toward their perceived goals. Such individuals make up less than one tenth of one percent of the population. Some call them our natural born leaders.

Look back at some of our recent leaders. Look at our past presidents, governors, senators, or other leaders. Most didn’t just wake up one morning late in life and decide to get their act together. Perhaps George W may have been an exception to this according to his accounts. It was at his crossroads when he decided to turn his life around. We are now aware of his story from that point of change. Most of us have such a period in life, but only a few make it to such a high position.

Regardless of your personal opinion of George W the facts prove that this man turned his life around and carved a much different path than where he had been headed. He was able to see himself in a mirror and did not like the direction in which he was headed. This is what inspired him to carve a different path.

Most people come to such a point in life but not all make a clear choice to turn their lives around. Some just continue becoming old fools. Since George W became one of our past presidents he definitely didn’t fall into that category, putting political differences aside.

Although this essay deals specifically with adults making critical choices to carve a specific pathway, each of us tend to operate on our own unique time clocks. My critical point was specific to my life along with all the circumstances and situations therein. Your critical moment happens just at the perfect moment of life when it becomes necessary. This is similar to how each individual fruit on a tree ripens when it is ready, but not all ripen at the exact same moment in time.

Ironically life really doesn’t have to take as much time as we assume but since most aren’t aggressively and affirmatively moving things forward by intentionally carving out the path they wish to take, they’re left with waiting on the forces of nature to bring them forth. I say you may decide otherwise. This is what free will allows us. We all have it but only a few choose to use it.

Carve your own path in life…don’t just wait on it to carve one for you.