Have you ever heard the saying, “If you don’t go within, you go without?” I never quite knew what that meant, until I posted the quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson yesterday (please see my previous post).
If what lies within is so much larger than what lies behind us or before us, doesn’t it make sense to cultivate and focus on “what lies within” than to worry about the external? But that presents a dilemna of whether we can discover, cultivate and know what it is that lies within.
Inquiring minds still want to know…what is it exactly that lies within?
The answer to that question, dear reader, will determine the quality of your life. What you discover by going within, determines how you perceive, connect and explore your outer world. Your inner view sets your outlook on life. It is as if you are looking at the world from the inside-out, through a pane of glass or lens. Your external world is colored by your internal world.
For example, if you believe that you are generous and kind, you will display those qualities to others. If you believe you are not worthy of love, you will act in ways that are not worthy of love. It is your own self-definition that defines your life.
Look closer at why you believe what you do about yourself, especially if it is negative and sets limits on your willingness to live fully. When did that belief or limit first take hold in your consciousness? Was it because a parent or teacher said it to you and you believed it? Or did you cast judgment on yourself after a particularly painful insident? Whatever the root source of the negative belief, you can change your thoughts about it.
Underneath the false assumptions you may have about yourself lies a pure, innocent place that never changes and can never be lost. No matter what you have done in your life. Never.
Let the finality of these words sink in — you are and always will be a child of God. You are and always will be loved by God, the Creator. You are and always will have a connection to God as his heir. You are God’s child, loved beyond all measure and a joy in his sight.
Spend some time today just being quiet, allowing yourself to relax and breath in this special space – the space within. Spend time with God and you will hear the “Still, small voice” that lets you know you are worthy of love. Release your worries in this place and breathe in the knowledge of your inheritance.
Be still and know God.
You are to love yourself first, then go out and love your neighbor. Connect within then go forth and connect with other. Go within, then go out in the world, secure in your knowledge of who you are.
“What lies behind us, and what lies before us, are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Have you ever come across a quote and thought, “Yes, that is exactly how I feel!” When I first read this famous quote from Mr. Emerson, my initial reaction was instant recognition. The validity of truth expressed in these eighteen words shone brightly in my mind and stayed with me, causing me to look at situations from a different perspective. A simple question of logic spurred by this quote has redirected my thoughts and energy.
If what lies within me is greater than anything that can happen to me, then why do I spend so much time on the external and not the internal?
The answer to that question, dear reader, is the purpose of this blog and my many musings on different subjects. It is so much more comfortable to focus on what someone else is doing, rather than inspect my own motives or behavior. My finger, pointed in accusation towards another, still leaves four fingers pointed at me.
Perhaps it is the condemnation and judgment that is so disturbing. As long as I focus on someone else, the laser beam of criticism cannot be trained on me. Fear of exposure propels my energies outward, my words shaped in judgment and my thoughts constantly on the lookout for the next victim.
Fortunately, as I have grown older (and perhaps a bit wiser), I have learned that I have nothing to fear about myself. Time spent getting to know ME is time well spent, for it shapes my thoughts about my world. I have pulled back the curtain and discovered that I am O.K.
What lies within is nothing short of God‘s greatness, waiting to be expressed without.
The hit movie, The Hunger Games, (www.thehungergames.com) opened this weekend and smashed box office records ($19 million opening night). Adults and teens are flocking to see this movie, after making the book by the same title a New York Times best seller.
As described by Wikipedia, “It is written in the voice of sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives in a post-apocalyptic world in the country of Panem where the countries of North America once existed. The Capitol, a highly advanced metropolis, holds absolute power over the rest of the nation. The Hunger Games are an annual event in which one boy and one girl aged 12 to 18 from each of the 12 districts surrounding the Capitol are selected by lottery to compete in a televised battle in which only one person can survive.”
The movie and book are both gory and involve impossible situations for teens. Life and death choices face them at every turn, and only the strongest survive. Given the premise of the book and movie, why has it captivated so many people?
Instead of the story turning on the classic “good and evil” conflict, it focuses more on the depravity that people will accept to keep themselves secure. But as the events unfold, those same people who gave up their human decency and integrity for security are jolted awake by one girl’s defiant integrity. In one of the defining moments of the film, the main antagonist questions his own purpose in the Games.
Survival of the fittest in the Hunger Games Arena becomes survival of the hungriest. Violence, dominance and revenge are challenged by the strength of love, kindness and decency. I won’t tell you who wins, but the choices made show that there is hope for mankind. When hope opens the locked doors to human hearts, the acceptance of cruelty and oppression is no longer an option.
The Hunger Games is a phenomenon that forces you to question your choices everyday about how other people are viewed, judged and possibly dismissed. The question remains — what are you hungry for? Basic survival by killing others, or reaching out to support others, thereby helping yourself?
Go see The Hunger Games and feel free to share your answer. Remember, as one of the characters is fond of saying, “And may the odds be ever in your favor.”
Between stimulus and response, there is a space.
In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response.
In our response lies our growth and our happiness. Stephen R. Covey
I am rereading “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and came across this text. It hit me on the head and woke me from a walking sleep. The clear unadulterated truth of the space between captured my attention with the possibilities of different choices.
Had I always made the best choice for my growth and happiness?
The answer to that question of self-examination also becomes an answer of self-determination. My choice in any given moment may be wildly inconsistent from the previous moment or from the next. But it is the living through the different choices I have made that I discover what encourages my growth toward self-awareness, or my slide toward self-pity.
The results of my choice, made in that instant between stimulus and response, come to define both myself and my world. I am “at cause” in that instant of decision. The results flow from that point, either moving easily through my life or creating obstacles of my own making.
As Mr. Covey notes, “I realized that I choose responses that would affect the stimulus itself. I could become a force of nature in my own
Did you read the title of this post and immediately assume that I made a typo, or that I was careless in my use of the English language? It’s O.K. to admit it, but it does reveal something about you and our world at large that what appears to be a mistake is immediately highlighted.
It is all a trick of the ego.
The word “ego” can be defined as your concept of yourself and how you perceive yourself as different or separate from your world. Since everyone has an ego, the logical conclusion is that everyone sees themselves as separate and apart from each other.
And therein lies the problem.
When you see yourself as separate, your ego will convince you that you are better, smarter, wiser (fill in the adjective). To prove yourself right, you look for situations and opportunities to display your “betterness.” Just like your reaction to the title of this blog…
Step back and look at the world, and you will see the same pattern. From the Presidential candidates to the Letters to the Editor in your local newspaper, it seems that everyone is critical, judgmental or angry with someone else. When the smoke and mirrors of each situation is dispelled and the basic energy of the people involved is shown, it always boils down to the ego’s motivation to prove separateness.
But does that lead to a joyful and peaceful life? Always striving to prove that you are better, smarter, quicker, faster than someone else? Survival of the fittest is really a battle of egos.
There has to be a better way.
Instead of being a “piece of God,” why not claim your “peace of God“? Learn to live first in God’s peace, and then look outward to your world. It does not matter what religion you practice, or what beliefs you hold about God…resting in his peace will restore your soul. The separate “piece” that you perceive as you merges into the greater whole of God’s love. And with that melding into the whole, you in turn become holy.
When you live from your peace of God, you are not separate from others. Instead, you are joined with their “piece of God” and differences disappear. There is no need to be critical or judgmental, because you see yourself and others as one of the whole. The ego takes its proper place in your psyche, to serve a function in your life, instead of being you.
Start to notice the ways that you fall for your ego’s tricks, and consciously decide to see differently. Adopt a contemplative practice each day and save the space for yourself to be still. You are a piece of God, but the only way to discover his peace is to allow it in.
May the peace of God be with you.
I had the immense pleasure of conducting my first blog interview. The creator behind LiveTheLifeYouImagined.wordpress.com is a sharp, witty and funny individual who has a heart for sharing. We exchanged interview questions by email, and as our conversation deepened, I actually felt a connection with someone I had never met! There is an intimacy that is created by this process – it felt like I was almost asking myself questions and the answers flowed back to me, revealing a new perspective that caused me to sit back and wonder at the unity of it all.
As you can tell, I love the wonder of connecting with other, like-minded individuals.
FYI, I also answered her questions. That interview should be posted on LiveTheLifeYouImagined.wordpress.com in the next day or two. Be sure to check out her blog too!
Anyway…without further ado, I give you my first blog interview:
When did you first remember that you are the creator of your life?”