Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Turning toward your thoughts

When a thought enters our minds we instantly chose whether to turn towards that thought or away from it. As we turn towards it we give it strength by providing it with backup. This backup can come in the form of hard facts from our life experiences or stories that we tell ourselves about what we think the future might be. Fear can be a deadly backup to our thoughts because fear can exaggerate our thoughts and create anger as well as many other powerful emotions. Soon we can find ourselves in bad moods about things that haven’t even happened but that we have played out in our minds as reality. Since it is obvious that we cannot control everything or everyone in our lives, it is clear that the only thing that makes sense to control is what thoughts we turn towards and which ones we turn away from. I am sure we can all stop what we are doing at this moment and think of someone we love who is no longer with us, causing an immediate feeling of sadness. We could wonder what life would be like if they were still here and all the things in our life that person was not a part of. We could start thinking about our own eventual death and before long our thoughts would control our mood. I myself lost my father at a young age and losing him never really became any easier. I have just turned away from those thoughts and turned towards the positive ones. Through the years, I realized that I could not just continuously remain focused on those thoughts. My life would become paralyzed if I did not choose to turn my thoughts in another direction. Now when the thoughts of my father enter my mind I chose carefully how much I turn towards them and if there is a purpose in doing so.
Every minute, of every day of our lives, thoughts will come and go. We must be very selective which ones we decide to turn towards. If we turn towards thoughts of “me, me, me” the world is a selfish, difficult environment and we find ourselves being consumed with thoughts of self pity, envy, anger and resentment. If we turn away from those thoughts of self pity and ego, the world will change before our eyes. Turn towards the thoughts of giving and sacrifice and the world will give back to you without you ever asking. It may sound like lolli pops and gum drops but if thinking about lolli pops and gums drops work, turn to towards those thoughts and watch how things change. If we can learn to carefully choose what thoughts we turn towards we can learn to make our own happiness.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Responsibility = Potential ////////////////////// Comparison = Complacency

Would you expect the same play in basketball from a tall player than you would from a short player? Would you expect the same performance from a naturally gifted singer than you would from an average person who has not been given such a gift? What about that one student who barely studies but always get the highest grades, would you expect the same results from the average student? Would you expect the same behavior from a man than you would expect from a woman? People come in different shapes, sizes and natural talent. Everyone’s potential although similar, have obvious differences. It’s our responsibility to push ourselves to reach our own individual potential without comparing our success to those around us. Using some of the examples above, imagine Shaquille O'Neal bragging to you about how much better he is at basketball than Celine Dion. Wouldn’t that be absurd? Imagine that he used her basketball potential to define his success and then ask yourself if he would have ever reached his full potential. What if Celine Dion compared her singing to his and focused her success on her ability to out sing him. I could say the same about the student who everything comes easier to. How far would they go if they based their success on their ability to outperform the average student?
Comparing ourselves to others is natural but using it as an excuse to not reach our individual potential is complacency. What are the gifts you have been given? Are you reaching your full potential? Put blinders on and move forward, there are no limitations when you are on your path to your full potential.

Bonus: When you really understand that we all have different gifts you won’t take it so personally when others aren’t able to share yours. I can’t imagine a pianist getting mad at someone who can’t play the piano, so why would you get mad at someone who maybe can’t communicate the way you do.

Monday, March 15, 2010

We Can't Compute

We tend to limit what we think can exist by the way that our own minds understand things. Just the same, we tend to limit what one can accomplish by what we have accomplished and or think we can accomplish. Yet if we look around the world, we see things we don’t understand and people doing things we never thought could be done. Most of these things we will never understand and or be able to accomplish but it will not stop us from using them and or believing they exist. A microwave somehow manages to heat up our food and pop our popcorn yet no one really seems to care how or why, as long as it does its job. I am sure very few could really explain how it works. The amount of information stored on a computer chip is equally just as difficult to understand and explain, yet we all use them daily. Just the same, we have all seen things we never thought possible become possible and it was those who believed they could do these things, that persevered.
I have come to believe that everything in life happens for a reason and that we must have faith that although we may not understand how it all works, or be able to explain it to one another, it’s important to just believe that it’s for a reason and just “pop the popcorn.” Although we ourselves could not possibly understand the complexity of how everything could be interconnected and guided by one force, the force can. Try to imagine the amount of information that a computer is computing at one moment in time as you surf the internet. Do you think you could do the same or even begin to explain it? If the most powerful computers in the world can do what they do, isn’t it reasonable to assume that the most powerful force in the universe can handle each and everyone one of our seemingly complicated lives, in a nanosecond?
We can’t compute but we can believe and have faith. Believing is what brings us to that place where we can put a bag full of kernels in a metal box, push a few buttons and wait around for three minutes in the hope that when we open the door, popcorn will be there waiting for us. This blind faith comes from our experiences in the past. So I guess the question is, when you look at the overall picture hasn’t it all worked out in the past?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Life's Mirror

I have heard it said that life and the world around you, is a reflection of yourself. In the book “The Secret”, they say that what you put out or think about will come back to you. Dr. Wayne Dyer would say, “What you say to the universe, the Universe will say back to you.” I always understood the message but felt it to be more of a positive thinking attitude, than anything else. Recently, I realized that it is much more than just being positive and hoping that the “Universe” is listening. I realized, that what we are thinking , has an incredible effect on not only how we perceive the world around us but how we feel about ourselves. Naturally when our perception changes, our actions change and therefore so do the reactions. Here’s an example of what I mean.

If we tend to criticize and gossip about others, wouldn’t it only make sense that we would assume others do the same about us? So naturally, our actions towards others create our own discomfort because we now feel judged and gossiped about. The more we judge others, the more we feel judged. If we walk around feeling judged all the time, I would imagine we would be pretty miserable and negative. How do you think the world responds to a person who walks around like that all the time? On the other hand if we never did these things, it would not be on our mind and we would be unaware as to what others may or may not be saying about us. As the saying goes, “ignorance is bliss” so I would imagine our attitude would be one of confidence and happiness. How do you think the world would respond to one who walks around with that attitude? My guess would be that good things would happen to that person and therefore you can see the compounding affects of the decision to be positive about others. In the long run, it would have a greater impact on our own lives and be less about what we felt it was originally about.

I think through that example, one can see how the world is a mirror of yourself. It also puts a whole new meaning to, “Do unto others, as you would have them do on to you.” I thought that to be some one-liner the priest in school told me to make me behave. Now I realize what I do to others, has a direct impact on me, so my translation would read, “Do unto others, as you do on to you.”

Monday, March 8, 2010

Why Me Again?

I am sure we can all relate to suffering through what seems to be the same issue over and over again. It can seem like a particular problem follows us around and the only thing that changes, is the messenger. Over and over again, we find ourselves facing the same issues. What are the chances that out of all the people in the world, these problems choose us. Isn’t it more likely that we are the ones choosing these problems, or better said creating these problems? The reason they keep popping up in our lives, is because we keep making the same decisions that create them. I have told my children that God knows our weaknesses and he is going to keep confronting us with them, until we can master them. We can speed up this process by make a conscious effort to change the way we do things, in an effort to change the results.

Example: If you’re that person that feels like they are always being taken advantage of in your relationships, ask yourself what you have done in each relationship to invite that kind of behavior from others. I can assure you that your decisions have created their actions and in turn the relationship. The next relationship you start, take a different path. Force yourself to look at what might be creating the other person to see you as someone who will accept the unwanted behavior. A different path, will create different results. Unfortunately, we do what we are immediately comfortable with and don’t realize that we create a long term discomfort by doing it.
Changing the way we do things requires, effort, reflection and time, so don’t think it’s going to happen overnight. Overtime it will become easier and the results will be everlasting.