Primal Union

Guard your senses.

Smelling something bad, my first instinct is to move away from the odor. If it is toxic, I could be in danger. Otherwise, it is just unpleasant. Our noses are a first line of defense that would be unwise to ignore.

If it smells bad, it is probably not a good idea to eat it. If it tastes bad, spitting it out would be preferable to swallowing it. Taste, like smell, is a protective measure designed for our safety.

Touch, like the other two senses, is a protective measure. The skin holds everything in and is designed to keep the unwanted out. Pain is a fantastic indicator of a break in the system.

That leaves hearing and sight. Over-exposure can cause irreparable damage. Like the other major senses, they send their signals to the brain. However, hearing and sight are gateways to the soul. If we do not guard what we hear and see, we can allow unwanted and potentially dangerous messages to penetrate our inner beings and expose us to subtle toxins.

Temper your sharpness.

If it is sharp, it is designed to penetrate and cut. It is a weapon that can hurt ourselves and others. Our weapons are our words and actions. Lacking discipline, our sharpness will leave pain in its wake.

Think of a swordsman. Any fool can pick up a sword without regard to the damage it can cause. But a master knows its power and will only use it in times of dire need.

Mask your brightness.

There is a great light within each of us. It is my pride that would cause me to shine my light on those unwilling to see it. If I become so bright, others will either turn away or attempt to dim it. They will only see and hear the things they choose.

I can attempt to mask my brightness with humility. Therefore, others can choose of their own accord whether to see my light.

Be at one with the earth.

To be at one with the earth is to live in harmony. The instrumentalist that cannot maintain harmony will not get the chair in the orchestra. The team member that sows discord will eventually get thrown out of the office. We are a part of this universe. We are a member of our community, a community that will live long after we are no more.

We are the catalysts for a better tomorrow. To be at one with this earth, we must be the stewards that ensure that work is done.

Guard your senses. Temper your sharpness. Mask your brightness. Be at one with the earth. This is primal union.

Lao Tzu

Primal Union

How do we achieve primal union? We must become the people we were intended to be. we cannot do this if we cannot guard our senses. If we cut and injure others, who would be willing to come close to us? If we think that shining the repulsive light of our pride on others will attract them to us, then we are mistaken. And if we cannot  be in harmony with the universe, then we will get greased like a squeaky wheel.

Your Evolution

My first experience with the study of evolution was a poster on the wall. I would lie in bed and stare at the pictures. Each generation was a little sleeker and a little better. In the early years, the advancements were slow. Oh, the design elements were fantastic. However, the technology was not all there. It took years to get up to speed. And when it did, oh man, it came in the blink of an eye. What led to this evolution? It was a creator with a vision and a team that could bring that vision to life. The poster I had on my wall back in 1988 was the evolution of the Chevrolet Corvette.

My next experience with evolution came from the history books. It wasn’t the theorized evolution of what might have happened, but the actual evolution of mankind from the iron ages to the technological marvels we see today. In the beginning, progress was slow. Changes occurred in thousand-year increments. Then around the Renaissance, progress sped up to the century pace. Next, we progressed from decades to annual improvements. Finally, we come to the present where advancements come faster than we can keep up. What was new yesterday is almost a dinosaur compared to what is new today.

We are the facilitators of our own creative evolution.

William “Bill” Hicks

Do I believe in evolution? Yes, though not in the same sense many profess to believe. We live in a highly evolved world, vastly different today than it was 10,000 years ago. Traditional evolutionists would say one leap takes millions of years. That is beyond my ability to calculate. What I see is progress coming slow in the beginning and exponential growth now.

Of all the places where I hope my personal theory in evolution proves true is within myself. My growth started out slow. How long did it take me to master basic tasks as a child, teen, or as a young adult? As I continue to learn, things are speeding up in my middle years. I have not let off on the throttle of my personal growth. I can only imagine what the possibilities will be as I continue to move forward, as I continue to evolve.

Feature photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

Strong Body, Beautiful Body

Some say the body is a temple. Yet like the body, not all temples are the same.  Some are carved out of abandoned shopping centers, while others are magnificent structures designed to glorify the Deity it represents.

All temples began the same way. A dream and a vision, the clearing of ground, and then the work to build the structure. Once completed, it became a place of worship and spirituality.

It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.

Socrates

At forty-seven years of age, I still look in the mirror and imagine what my body can become. I can’t control my height, facial structure, or any of the odd features I was born with. Instead, I can only try to control the things within my power. I can make what I can control beautiful and strong. My temple holds my heart and my spirit. Therefore, I work to make it a worthy structure fit for a child of God. While on the earth, this body is the only I have, and I treat it with the reverence it deserves.

How is your temple coming along? It would be a shame to grow old and never be able to see the beauty and strength it is capable of achieving.


Feature photo by Jade Stephens on Unsplash.

Ambition and Perseverance

We are at Point A. This point is different for all of us. It could be horrible or just okay. But whatever it is, it is not Point B. Point B is where we really want to be. This is the green grass on the other side of the hill. And like our Point As, all our Point Bs are different.

To be successful in this life, we need a Point B. If we are going to get where we want to go, we must have an aim.  We need a coordinate to plug into our GPS. A map is good. It will show us the way to get where we want to go. However, a GPS is an upgrade that can give us a quicker route, keep us updated of traffic conditions, and let us know of any obstacles to avoid.  A GPS is real-time feedback.

A book will get you down the road, but can it compare to a good mentor?

If you are new to fitness and wanting to get in shape, imagine how much time a personal trainer can save you.

Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in.

Bill Bradley

Ambition is the path. It points to our intended destination. And persistence is a vehicle, albeit an incomplete one. Persistence is an unrelenting pursuit  from A to B. On a map, it would be as the crow flies. Instead of taking the road up the mountain with all the switchbacks and additional length, it is going straight up and through the cliffs, streams, and forest.

Persistence is when someone comes up with a possible solution to a task or problem and then stubbornly sticks to that process, regardless of whether it’s flawed or inefficient.

Rich Diviney, The Attributes: 25 Hidden Drivers of Optimal Performance

According to Diviney, persistence is one third of the more desirable attribute of perseverance. What are the other two?

Tenacity also means formulating a solution to a problem, but then constantly assessing its effectiveness.

Fortitude is the mental or emotional strength, or both, that allows a person to persevere.

Rich Diviney, The Attributes: 25 Hidden Drivers of Optimal Performance

Persistence is good, but it is not enough to get to where we want to go. We need tenacity when persistence won’t work. We need fortitude because life is a battle, and we must be able to endure the strains it puts upon us. To get to where we want to go, we need ambition and perseverance.


Feature photo by Tamas Tuzes-Katai on Unsplash

Just Say No

No. When I say it to my son, he gets upset. He doesn’t like it because his request is something he wants at the time. But what kind of parent would I be if I said yes every time?

People don’t like hearing the word no. They believe their request is reasonable. What they are asking is to their benefit. To tell them no is inconvenient for them.

It’s only by saying no that you can concentrate on the things that are really important. -Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs

If I am always saying yes, then I find an inability to get my own work done. It is difficult because I want to be nice. I want to be helpful. But doing so keeps me away from my goals, goals which are designed to benefit me and my family. I must learn to say no.

Maybe not for everything. Certainly not if I have nothing else going on.

Over the last few weeks, I have realized just how far behind I am. I had too many irons in the fire and was not making any progress on any of them. Would this have happened if I said no more often?

“No, I cannot watch your dogs, so you can have a spa day.”

“No, I can’t go to the winery for an afternoon of drinking and socializing.”

No. It is not that hard to say. I just need to get better at saying it.


Feature photo by Andy T on Unsplash

Today Is What Matters Most

What if there was a 70% chance you were going to die sometime at the end of the day? How would you go about your day? Would you approach it any differently?

Obviously, with a 70% chance, you couldn’t just throw it all in the wind, burn all your bridges, and go out with a bang. After all, there is still a 30% chance you would get to see the next day. But if you were given those odds, would you:

  • Spend a little more time the things that matter,
  • Hold your loved ones a little closer, or
  • Reflect a little more on the beautiful?

Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.

Buddha

This morning I am born again. I may still hear the echo of yesterday, but I can no longer change the sound. It is buried in the past. Tomorrow has not yet arrived. As a matter of fact, tomorrow may never come at all. With yesterday gone and tomorrow not guaranteed, all I have is today. All I have is this moment right now. I can affect this. I can do all the things I should have done yesterday. I can do all the things I hoped to leave for tomorrow. I can do this now as if my next breath were to be my last.


Feature photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Act in Accordance with Thinking

Consider these words from Alan Watts: A person who thinks all the time has nothing to think about except thoughts, so he loses touch with reality and lives in a world of illusions.

I’m a thinker. Not one of those ground-breaking scientists or a philosophical savant, but I do like to think. Maybe, a little too much. Maybe, even so much that I often have little to show for it.

I believed this was a good thing. Aren’t we supposed to use our heads, to be more thoughtful? The thinking part is easy. It requires little effort. Unfortunately, that’s where it goes wrong. If you want more than thoughts and live in the world of reality, then you must do something with all that thinking.

“By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground…”

Genesis 3:19

The hard part is work. that requires effort. It requires movement and action. Often, manual labor is looked upon as base and work fit for only the unintelligent unable to use their heads. If asked, many would rather work in an office than on a factory floor. They would rather use a keyboard than a wrench.

Working in a factory, I have done jobs that have required minimal brain power. If you repeat a process enough times, it will soon become second nature. I loved this type of work because it was a form of escapism. My brain could wander free without having to concentrate on the task at hand. Maybe, it was because the thinking was the easy part. I could disconnect from the hard labor. But even so, there was still a disconnect. Something was still missing.

To think is easy. To act is hard. But the hardest thing in the world is to act in accordance with your thinking.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

To act in accordance with your thinking is something only a few can do. Imagine the possibilities if we could all do this.

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What You Do

This is a continuation of the post: I Don’t Know It. If you haven’t read it yet, I invite you to do so.

From my earliest years, I have been on the hunt for wisdom. King Solomon said wisdom is calling us, and all we must do is heed the call (Proverbs 8). I took this literally. I also made the Book of Proverbs a staple in my daily reading. Initially, I believed there were two major keys to acquiring wisdom. First, you must collect as much knowledge as possible. Then, you must do your best to understand it. For most of my life, this was my modus operandi. Yet, something was lacking.

I thought the world would benefit from my vast stores of wisdom. I thought the masses would flock to me for guidance. Okay, maybe that is a bit of an exaggeration. However, I did believe I would be more valuable to the world if I wasn’t a complete fool. All I had was the wisdom found in books. A good thing no doubt, but wisdom is more than book smarts. It is more than theory. If I genuinely want to be wise, I must learn the practical application of wisdom. I must get out of the perpetual classroom that I am living in and get into the experimental aspects.

The world cares very little what you or I know, but it does care a great deal about what you or I do. -Booker T. Washington

Booker T. Washington

Action. It always comes down to action. Or in the case of wisdom, it comes down to application. And this is where I went wrong for the longest time. We know knowledge does us no good if we don’t understand it. And what is the purpose of knowledge and understanding if we don’t know how to use it? We can have a theory about what is in the great unknown, but it is not the same thing as actually venturing into the unknown. We must get out of the classroom and get into the world.


Feature photo by Tim Wildsmith on Unsplash

Happiness, not Amusement

Maybe, the crowd was not prepared for all the blood and the gore? Sure, that is why they came to the arena in the first place, but this? The fighter was too efficient, too merciless. They had never seen anything like this before. Instead of a scared and bumbling idiot with a weapon, they saw a warrior. They saw the Roman general Maximus Decimus Meridius.

Of course, the movie Gladiator is fiction, but it gives a glimpse of the lengths people go to in their search for amusement.

Amusement is a diversion from the ordinary. It is a get-away from reality. The world spends around 2 trillion dollars a year in entertainment. It has become something we are constantly seeking. And if we are in a perpetual state of amusement, we don’t have to face reality. We don’t have to confront the hard things in life.

Escapism. That is what we are looking for. We want the release of dopamine derived from watching sports, movies, and social media. We want the excitement, and we will go to great lengths to get it. Even though we know it is fleeting, we will still look for it. And when the buzz is no longer sufficient, we will continue down the path even if it means we must find a harder drug.

Happiness is not found in amusement.

Aristotle

Unlike amusement, happiness doesn’t have to be fleeting. Instead, it can be a state of being. You can find happiness in the mundane. You can find it in doing a day’s labor. You don’t have to go to greater and greater extremes to find happiness. You can just be happy. It is in your mind. It is in your perception.


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Plan Before You Start

For years, this was me. Maybe, it was you too…

The alarm goes off and the motions began. Snooze. Snooze again. Get up. Get ready for work. Go. Work, then lunch. Work, then home. Dinner. Television. Sleep. Repeat.

Not counting school, this was about 70% of my life for over two decades. If you take a moment to think about it, then you would realize that it was not much of a life. And just imagine the conversation on Judgment Day:

“What did you do with the life I gave you,” God asked.

“Well,” I stammered, “I worked, I slept, and I watched TV.”

“You are My son. I made you in My image. I gave you life. And this was your gratitude? You took My gift and buried it in the ground like an unfaithful servant.”

Here I have no response and can only hang my head in shame.

“Let me show an image. This is you, the person I made, with all your potential and all your gifts. You could have been this person. This is the person you were supposed to be. I didn’t put you on earth only to work, sleep, and watch TV.”

Don’t begin the activities of the day until you know exactly what you plan to accomplish. Don’t start your day until you have it planned.

Jim Rohn

It is easy to get caught in the trap of the same routine. It is a cycle that left unchecked could continue through the decades. And in the end, you would little to show for it. How do you end this pattern and become who you were meant to be?

Start with a plan

It really is that simple. Oh yes, you must execute it, but it starts with a plan. And if you start every day with a plan, you give yourself direction. You give yourself meaning.

But what happens if you can’t complete your daily plan? Then add it to the next day. Eventually, you will complete it or get tired of writing down the same thing every day.

Each day is a fresh start. Plan. Execute. Win. Become the person you were intended you to be.


Feature photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash