“Be kind, because everyone is having a really hard time.” ~ Plato
This line gets quoted so often and I am not playing along anymore. I refuse to believe that I am having a ‘really hard time’ and I will not collude with you that you are having a hard time. That way we are both free to reinterpret what we think we are experiencing.
“What other people think of me is none of my business” ~ Wayne Dyer
I love the sense of freedom that comes from this line, but I sometimes feel as if it can be used as a means of straying from personal responsibility. While I cannot control how people will feel about me, I can certainly be mindful of my words and actions, and determine how to experience others--as either an obstacle or bridge to peace.
"You do not become good by trying to be good, but by finding the goodness that is already within you, and allowing that goodness to emerge. But it can only emerge if something fundamental changes in your state of consciousness." ~ Tolle
That fundamental change happens when I realize that who ‘i’ think ‘i’ am is not Who I Am in Truth. Piece of cake.
"Cat: Where are you going?
Alice: Which way should I go?
Cat: That depends on where you are going.
Alice: I don’t know.
Cat: Then it doesn’t matter which way you go." ~ Lewis Caroll
Ahh, that ancient question: “Why am I here?” For me the deepest, darkest place I called
myself was when I had no idea why I was even alive. And, if I have no idea I will ask the ego and it will give me a long list of ‘reasons’ each one of these prevents me from connecting to the real reason: To Be Happy! It is sort of funny, though, that at a deep level the answer: “Then it does not matter which way you go” applies whether I know where I am going or not....
"What a liberation to realize that the “voice in my head” is not who I am. Who am I then? The one who sees that." ~ Tolle
How true. The one sees that I am not who I think I am, or who others think I am, is the One that Knows Who I Am. I am That. It takes some mind training to stop believing my feelings, I know, they seem so real. It takes some mind training to realize that I have chosen these feelings. It takes some mind training to find the ‘I’ that chose the feelings and recognize I am not that ‘I’.
“The greatest disease in the West today is not TB or leprosy; it is being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for. We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love. There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread but there are many more dying for a little love. The poverty in the West is a different kind of poverty. It is not only a poverty of loneliness but also of spirituality. There’s a hunger for love, as there is a hunger for God.” ~ Mother Theresa
Yes, this is true. The challenge is to finally accept that ‘loneliness’ can only be relieved by falling in Love with the Self. If I loved the one I am alone with, I would never be lonely. The ‘hunger for love’ cannot be satisfied by anyone or anything from the outside, even though, briefly, I may well have that experience. In the long run, it will never work. The ego’s shabby substitutes – i.e. ‘patriotism’, ‘membership’, even ‘marriage’- may bring a short lived illusion of joining, or Oneness, but it cannot be sustained because each is a frantic attempt to create Oneness in separation. Our hunger for love IS the hunger for God. It is the hunger of an unconditional experience of Oneness.
“I will not change until you treat me differently when I was ten years old.” ~ Yalom
This line certainly reveals the grim, if not sadly comedic, nature of holding onto upsets. The past is past. It is absolutely vital, in my opinion, to go back to past events, but only for the purpose of uncovering how I am presently experiencing, or reliving, them via their personal interpretations.
"So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they're busy doing things they think are important. This is because they're chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning." ~ Mich Albom
There have been so many moments in my life that I distinctly remember having a impact long afterwards. One of these was the morning that I woke up and instead of worrying whether I was going to ‘get’ what I thought I needed I had a thought that asked: “How can I serve?” and that has made all the difference.
“In writing, you must kill all your darlings.” ~ William Faulkner
What a great metaphor for life. My ‘darlings’ are the things that I am attached to--that I have created an identity around--that bring me a sense of comfort on some level. I do not believe the answer is necessarily to kill, or get rid of, whatever the attachment is. But it is to create an awareness around what is drawing me towards the particular object or behavior so that I can develop a sober relationship with it.
I often wonder if Freud’s insistence that “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar” is simply a subconscious protest of stating: “Keep my cigars out of this!”
"The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Isn’t it wonderful how there are always other ways of seeing anything. The way I see this is exactly reversed: the purpose of life IS to be happy and out of that happiness flows a life of being useful, honorable, compassionate. If I am not happy what good would all these laudable behaviours really do? If I refuse to receive Love, how truly can I Love another? If I do not Love the Self such behaviour constitutes little more than an investment and the ego awaits payback and is keeping score. You can be sure I will be operating from a chronic state of deficit. I am not ‘happy’ because I ‘work’ in a magnificent center in Costa Rica or a spectacular place in France, no, I find myself in these places because I am happy. I am not happy because I have an amazing team around me and incredible partner, no, it is because I am happy that these are in my life. Don’t be afraid to make being happy the sole purpose of your life, we’ll all benefit from that decision.
Diederik Wolsak is program director at Choose Again