Seven Billion With Me

March 15th, 2017

“When I meet someone,” the Dalai Lama said, returning to what was becoming an important theme, “I always try to relate to the person on the basic human level. On that level, I know that, just like me, he or she wishes to find happiness, to have fewer problems and less difficulty in their life. Whether I am speaking with one person, or whether I am giving a talk to a large group of people, I always see myself first and foremost as just another fellow human. That way, there is in fact no need for introduction.

“If, on the other hand, I relate to others from the perspective of myself as someone different — a Buddhist, a Tibetan, and so on — I will then create walls to keep me apart from others. And if I relate to others, thinking that I am the Dalai Lama, I will create the basis for my own separation and loneliness. After all, there is only one Dalai Lama in the entire world. In contrast, if I see myself primarily in terms of myself as a fellow human, I will then have more than seven billion people who I can feel deep connection with. And this is wonderful, isn’t it? What do you need to fear or worry about when you have seven billion other people who are with you?”

— Douglas Abrams, The Book of Joy, p. 100

I Am Self-Defining.

March 13th, 2017

The magic of being a unique human being is that only you can define yourself. If you recall some abusive comment that defines you, your motives, thoughts, or feelings, you may choose to laugh at the comment because you know that no one on earth knows your thoughts, feelings, needs, motives, or future. Only you can know what you are, want, feel, should do, how to do what you do, and so forth.

— Patricia Evans, Victory Over Verbal Abuse, p. 98

Enjoy Now!

March 12th, 2017

Do not wait for retirement to enjoy yourself. Do not wait until it is too late to begin to enjoy your partner. Look at them, drink them in, feel them inside you, enjoy every gift they have. Do not wait to say how much you love and appreciate someone. Think of the people who have really meant something to you in your life and contact or call them. Just say thank you from your heart, because appreciation brings enjoyment. Do not wait to take a full breath of the air of life, to take such a bite out of life that when the juices run down your face, everyone will lick their lips. Open yourself and drink in life. It is all being given to you now.

— Chuck Spezzano, If It Hurts, It Isn’t Love, p. 244

The Spiritual Work of Being Human

March 11th, 2017

When the love is imperfect, or a family is destructive, something else can be learned: forgiveness. The spiritual work of being human is learning how to love and how to forgive.

— Kerry Egan, On Living, p. 30

The Search for Love

March 10th, 2017

The real search for love is about embracing our most authentic self, sharing that true self with the precious people who know how to honor it, and learning to offer others the same in return.

— Ken Page, Deeper Dating, p. 2

Meaning of our Lives

February 25th, 2017

The meaning of our lives cannot be found in books or lecture halls or even churches or synagogues. It’s discovered through these acts of love. If God is love, and I believe that to be true, then we learn about God when we learn about love. The first, and usually the last, classroom of love is the family.

The remarkable thing about this crucible of love is that the love we experience in our families doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact, it can’t be perfect, because none of us is perfect.

— Kerry Egan, On Living, p. 29

Happy People and Pain

January 14th, 2017

Happy people have just as much pain as anyone else, in some cases more. It could even be argued that the happy feel pain more acutely than the unhappy, whose feelings are relatively numb. The real difference in happy people is that they’re not trapped by their pain. Rather than settling inside a happy soul, pain moves through it as through a channel, and that channel is joy. Joy keeps pain moving.

Happiness, rather than indicating an absence of pain, denotes a certain efficiency of processing life’s problems. Happy people don’t stay stuck for long; their lives are too rich for that. Greater happiness empowers them to take on more challenges, and moving through challenges makes them happier still.

Joy knows it’s on the winning side. That’s why it can rejoice even in the midst of suffering. If any of life’s horrors were permanent or unconquerable, joy would be impossible. Yet how easily we’re cowed into a defeatist attitude. It doesn’t take a major calamity to get us down; a petty annoyance will do nicely. A day, an entire week, indeed a lifetime, can be spoiled by a series of light and momentary troubles. While one believer praises God in the midst of terminal illness, another grumbles because of a runny nose. What’s the difference between these two lives? Attitude.

— Mike Mason, Champagne for the Soul, p. 41-42.

Making a Pearl

January 7th, 2017

Most of us have had traumatic things happen to us. At the time of a trauma, we have a choice as to what the experience will become for us. Either we choose for this experience to become the thing that wounds us so mortally that it eventually kills us because we never get over it or we choose for it to become the grain of sand around which we produce a great pearl.

— Chuck Spezzano, If It Hurts, It Isn’t Love, p. 221

Feedback Loop

December 31st, 2016

The human brain must do three operations when confronted with a bad situation. The first is in the Toddler brain. When something bad happens — or seems like it might happen — the alarm sounds in the Toddler brain: fear, anger, shame, anguish. The alarm is usually triggered by external change (cues in the environment) or internal change — something felt, thought, recalled, or imagined. (Remember, the Toddler brain has only primitive reality-testing; toddlers confuse reality with what they feel, think, remember, and imagine.) The second operation is in the adult brain, where the alarm/signal is interpreted and the perceived bad thing assessed for threat and damage. The third and most important operation, improve (without making things worse), is in the more profound part of the Adult brain. Alas, those who have developed habits of retreating to the Toddler brain under stress tend to get stuck in a feedback loop of the first two operations. Instead of testing the alarm against reality, the interpretations and assessments by habit enhance it by justifying it. They never get to the Adult brain’s ability to improve.

— Steven Stosny, Soar Above, p. 123-124

God Will Overcome.

December 30th, 2016

Evil is a hard thing, even for God to overcome. Yet thoroughly and altogether and triumphantly will he overcome it.

But not by crushing it underfoot — any god of man’s idea could do that — but by conquest of heart over heart, of life over life, of life over death, of love over all. Nothing shall be too hard for the God who fears not pain, but will deliver and make true and blessed at his own severest cost.

— George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons, Third Series, “Justice,” quoted in Discovering the Character of God, edited by Michael Phillips, p. 247.