Time: Relentless and Precious

The relentless march of time will take everything – all that we have accomplished and all that we have accumulated. It will take our loved ones, our youth, our health, and eventually our very life. Power, fame and fortune have nowhere to hide, for all must yield to the relentless passage of time.

I hate that.

While this may seem an occasion for discouragement and dread, it can, instead, serve as a source of inspiration when held in a broader perspective.  It can remind us to open fully, lean into and appreciate this very moment.

It can inspire us to aim high and reach deeply for the fullest expression of our unique potential in life.

It can remind us to embrace the opportunities that surround us, and to breathe promise and possibility into the lives of those around us and the situations we encounter on this very day.

From a spiritual perspective, we are standing on holy ground right now, right where we find ourselves at this very moment.

Time is precious.

For that which will inevitably be lost to the relentless march of time has not been taken yet.

We need only remember to see and truly know that, whoever and whatever is in front of us right now, this is where connection, joy and meaning are to be found in this life. Right here. Right now.

We can choose to be grateful, and learn to appreciate this moment that we have been given, and to say, “It’s good to see you,” “Please forgive me,” “What can I do to help?” “Can we back up and start over?” “I appreciate you in my life,” “I love you.”

 

being truly helpful

When we combine a sincere desire to be helpful with the admission that we don’t always know how, we open ourselves to learning.  We bring ourself to a point where discovery can occur.  We are humbled into listening more closely and more deeply to what we may have missed.

Our willingness to admit that the complexities of life can leave us perplexed is not a failing, not a showing of weakness.  When coupled with a true desire to be of service, it is an invitation to a deeper understanding of our humanity, and a healing of the arrogance in thinking that we could, that we should, that we might have it all figured out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

*   *   *

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

*   *   *

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.