Perspective – Intention – Effort

Intentional Personal Development occurs as a function of Perspective, Intention and Effort. This may seem obvious, but it is not always so easy to live.

PERSPECTIVE:
A useful perspective for enhancing Personal Improvement efforts is to recognize, acknowledge and live by the truths that actions have consequences (including non-actions e.g., procrastination).
AND
that different actions lead to different outcomes – some actions lead toward health, success and fulfillment while others lead toward an unhappy, early demise.
AND
Since everything is always changing, it is always possible, at any moment, to start again, to re-enter ones life from a better perspective, with renewed commitment, and to make progress toward our goals.
AND
Because, at our most essential level of Self, what we are is not limited by past conditioning, but is at essence, pure unmanifest potential waiting to blossom forth into life, we have at our disposal an often untapped source of intelligent constructive energy.

This is a useful (and obvious) perspective from which to enter one’s life.

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INTENTION:
The notion of Intentional Personal Growth requires that we intend at least four things at a general level. We must consciously intend:
1) to stop doing what isn’t working, to drop old habits and patterns of thinking, feeling, behaving that are dragging us down or taking us nowhere that we want to end up
2) to not accept or acquire any new dysfunctional or self-defeating habits or patterns that lead in undesirable directions
3) to build upon what we are already doing that is working, that is moving us toward our goals, that is aligned with our personal mission and purpose in life, and…
4) to adopt new habits and patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving that accelerate our progress toward the achievement of our fullest potential

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EFFORT:
In order to realize our fullest potential in life, it takes effort. We need to accept and live by principle that we must make the effort, do the work, take action, develop healthy habits, be more consistent, stop ourselves from venturing off the path, put in the hours, and continually reach for our highest potential by living/acting/performing in accordance with our highest intentions and aspirations.

Obvious, but not always easy.

Easy or not, it’s our best shot at success and fulfillment.

Which Ego?

The word “ego” has different meanings depending on the context.

The use of the word ego from a spiritual perspective has to do with how we (mis-)identify our sense of self with the unique life and conditioning we experience as separate individuals – our personality and our history.

In psychology circles, the ego refers to that executive function of the psyche which mediates between our internal “need states” and the external opportunities for “need gratification” that present themselves or are attainable in our environment.

One is a defined function of the mind.  The other refers to identification with that mind.

Moving through ordinary daily life from a source that lies beyond what is commonly referred to as the “ego” in spiritual circles, i.e., identification with the individual personal self / the “small” self / the “me”, is different than navigating life from down within that more constricted (small self) perspective of the psychological ego, which looks like and is experienced as ego-motivated, desire-driven behavior.

In the pursuit of spiritual awakening, it is not uncommon to conflate the two meanings of ego, and thus become confused about how to live successfully.

In an attempt to become less ego-driven – making an effort to drop, dissolve or rise above those constellations of identities, patterns and habits that form our (spiritual) ego – we can sometimes go too far.  Becoming more “spiritual” does not mean dismantling the psychological ego (as executive function for this body-mind) such that our daily life becomes unmanageable and dysfunctional.

You don’t have to wreck your life to awaken to a Higher Self and a Higher Purpose in life!

It’s OK, and it is possible, to be a well-functioning, successful and fulfilled individual (small self) AND realize / recognize / remember that another – and in some ways more essential – Self (as living Presence) is both animating and contextual to that smaller, individual life.

It seems paradoxical, but there you have it.

As long as we have a body and a mind, we are going to have an ego. It’s what keeps us alive and moving forward in life.

And a strong, healthy, well-functioning ego is more likely to provide a sure ride to success than a fragile, dysfunctional ego.

Transcending identification with this (small self) perspective, rather than staying stuck in the belief that it is the only or even the most essential perspective, brings greater potential to life.

 

 

 

Effective communication in a nutshell

The essence of effective communication is:

  1. Be present. Invite your awareness to venture out from your internal thought-stream and bring it – your Presence – to the encounter in the here-and-now moment.
  2. Pay attention. Focus your attention on the person in front of you. Pay attention to the words they are saying, and to the meaning of those words for them. Think about this person: what are they trying to communicate and why?
  3. Listen deeply. Listen with your eyes. Listen with your heart and your gut. Listen with the fullness of your Being for all of the ways that their meaning is being expressed – their breathing, their facial expression, their tone of voice, their posture, their position in relation to you.
  4. Respond with creative authenticity and appreciation. Offer a fresh, truthful response that arises in the moment – one that skillfully and accurately fits the context and content of the connection, and that is encouraging and pleasing to hear.

Is it possible? I think so.

Is it possible to live a life that is informed by science-based principles, strategies, and lifestyle choices, and thereby enjoy measurable increases of health, success, and fulfillment?

I think so.

Is is possible to live a life that is aligned with environmental concern without sacrificing elegance and pleasure?

I think so.

Is it possible to enter such a life from a perspective of expansive, contextual awareness and unmanifest potential?

I think so.

Is it possible for awakened consciousness to manifest as effective living?

I think so.

Is it possible to be highly successful in all areas of ordinary daily life and to live that life as persistent non-conceptual awareness – where the locus of “I” has shifted from the small, separate, individual self to boundaryless living awareness?

I think so.

Living as aware presence in the here-and-now.  Hmmm.

Do I fully embody and always live this way in every moment of every day?

No, definitely not.

But do I think it is possible?

Yes, I do.

I think it is possible to recognize and live from a more essential sense of “Self” than our current conditioning would suggest – as the animating aware presence of our beingness, as the spark of life that gives rise to and compels this particular journey – and thereby realize a fuller expression of our human potential in life.

But what about you?  What does your experience suggest?  Is it possible for you?

I think so.

And if you think not, why not? Why not you? Why not now?

 

The Ultimate Goal

What are we all looking for in life?  What is the ultimate goal?

It seems that for many of us, even those who live with the incredible good fortune of health, prosperous lifestyles, and bountiful social lives, the ultimate goal remains something like how to attain a state of permanent tranquility.  Upon deeper inquiry, it looks a bit like a desire to somehow escape or transcend the angst of human existence.

It seems that we are looking for a way out of the highest standard of living ever experienced by humanity. WTF?

But so long as our focus is on relief from the anxieties that befall our small, separate, individual lives, the possibility of rising above – to a Higher calling – and becoming of genuine use in the world eludes us.  We can sometimes find that we have become so preoccupied with seeking a way out of our own experience, that we fail to engage with life wholeheartedly and to bring our best intentions and highest potential to the present moment.

Perhaps the ultimate goal  might be, then, not to attain some state of tranquility or relief from what is part and parcel with life itself, but rather to find and express a deeper motivation – to become truly passionate and egoless in our efforts to participate in the upward, evolutionary expression of humanity.