Self-reflection . . .

Continuing the introspective examination I’ve been doing of late, I believe I have discovered a way to achieve more of a balance to daily livingness.

Well, I don’t think I can actually take credit for this entirely, as it is a program that was known well to ancient peoples.

The primary weakness that intellectual people face is one of physical weakness.  A strong mind is good thing to have, but it lends itself all to quickly to the neglect of your body.  That is what happened to me after I left the military.  My focus shifted to study, and I did not continue some form of activity that would require the mental dedication to physical conditioning.  The result was that my disability did, in just a few years, become the dominate force in determining my physical health.

The way to combat this, especially for those who are gifted with a strong mind and burdened with a disability, is to have an active physical discipline.  Something along the lines of yoga or martial arts.  Life requires balance, and imbalance expresses itself as a disruption of optimum health.

Please, if you are the parent or guardian of a gifted child, do them a HUGE favor and guide them into a lifetime activity that conditions and strengthens the body as much as you aide them in training their mind.

Spiritual awakening …

I’ve long said that there is more going on with mankind’s spiritual existence than what western religions want you to know.  One possible reason for that is “control” – people are easier to control when they think the petty things they have (including this one lifetime) are incredibly precious, and in need of preservation at all cost.

In harmony with that sentiment, a dear friend recently sent me a link to the website “Real Good News” – which is published by another friend of hers.  I have not yet looked at nearly as much of the site as I want to, but one of the articles that stood out quickly was this one:

http://realgoodnews.com/religiousspiritual/3-year-old-remembers-his-murder-and-identifies-his-killer/

I have, myself, clear and vivid memories of the lifetimes of several previous bodies I’ve used.  I phrase it that way deliberately, because it is my opinion that I’m still the same being, no matter what body I use (or gender it is, or status it gains, etc.).  In my case, I don’t have any great revelations to share.  I was not murdered, and I have not recently been anyone famous.

Take some time and look the site over.  There is a wealth of information on there.  Many different subjects are grouped under easy to navigate tabs using the navigation bar near the top of the main page.  Shoot – I wouldn’t mind having that layout for THIS site!  lol

“The Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living”

The quote above has been variously attributed to both Plato and Socrates. It ranks right up there with the command, “Know thyself” – indeed, both are variations on the same theme.

Regular readers of this blog will know that I have, for a very long time, been engaged in the examination of myself. I recently had an insight that humbles me, and shook to my core.

You see, one of the stable data I’ve worked with throughout my life was that, because of the combination of a higher-than-average IQ and a very high literacy skill, I have a near infinite capacity to learn new things. I’ve employed it to my advantage so many times that the list is ridiculous.

So, imagine my consternation at realizing that my gift has also worked against me.

A couple of years ago I embarked on the realization of a life-long dream to learn to play the guitar. I was in junior high school (primary school grades 7 & 8) when I remember first wanting to learn. The school music instructor had a special “extra curricular” class after school for students interested in learning. There was one catch – the school didn’t own any guitars, so each interested student had to provide his/her own. My parents were not willing to help me get one, so the chance passed me by.

Then I learned of the “video game” called ROCKSMITH – which you might compare to Guitar Hero, but the comparison is faulty. To use ROCKSMITH, you actually use a real guitar, and it teaches you how to play the real guitar. I bought the game, and an electric guitar, and settled in.

An hour later, I had to put the guitar down. The tips of the fingers on my left hand were so sore I couldn’t use them for hours. In the nearly 2 years since, I’ve repeated the scenario several times, with very long breaks in between. A few days ago I was sitting in the living room looking at the guitar, and wondering why I hadn’t learned to play it yet. Which led me to the epiphany.

Because learning has always come easily to me, I’ve never invested much effort into it. I never had to learn PATIENCE. But, patience is exactly what I need if I’m to condition my fingers for the job of playing a guitar. Or, perhaps it’s perseverance; I’m not sure. I guess we’ll see if I have “the right stuff.”

Progress notes . . .

Back when I was in high school, our PE (physical education) teacher had a saying – it was pretty popular back in the 1970’s.  “No pain, no gain.”

Perhaps that is true with physical fitness, but I’m doubting it’s truth to the broader scope of life.  Mind you, this is not a declaration of my completing the journey to enlightenment, but I have some recent observations to share.

First – I’ve entered a strange phase in my growth cycle.  It would be easy to say that I’ve completed the journey, because I feel so stable.  It isn’t that life has no challenges, but even the challenges are welcome.  I’m calm, level headed, and unflustered about almost everything.  The almost is the key to my recalcitrance at declaring a total victory.  There are still times when I “lose it”.

Back to the pain/gain cycle.  My wife was recently selected as one of a few test subjects on the campus at the college she works at – field testing something called a “flexi-desk”.  The basic idea is that it is adjustable, you can use it sitting or standing.  So far, she loves it, but reports to me that she can’t stand for more than about 5-10 minutes at a time.  She’s noticed her calves firming up, for certain.

That got me to thinking about how much time I spend sitting the last 5 years, and I decided to start spending some of my gaming time standing (thank goodness for wireless controllers).  I’m noticing the same things – calves firming, time limit of just a few minutes – and the insides of my thigh muscles are sore.

But, like I said before, even the challenges are welcome.  Though I pick my battles, I haven’t had any of that soreness stop me from doing other things around the house.  I’m also still not getting 8 hours of sleep in a row but I am finding that I think clearly enough to get most things done, and done right.  I’m also becoming “forgetful” – but in a good way.

That is going to take some explanation.  Our society has become so focused on warning signs for Alzheimer’s Disease that sometimes we forget that it is good to forget some things.  For instance – forgetting to worry about politics; forgetting to obsess over past mistakes; letting the future take care of itself.  These are good things – indications that we’ve started to “live in the eternal NOW” as Eckhart Tolle would say.  I’m finding that to be an easier state of mind to live in.  I’m not ecstatic, blissful, or overjoyed; but I’m also not worried, depressed, or obsessed.  Life simply IS, and that is in itself pretty neat.

I’m interested in where it goes from here.

Even ancient China knew . . .

Tao Te Ching – Stanza 57

Govern with integrity. Weapons of war may be used cleverly, but loyalty is only won by self-restraint.

How do I know the way things are? Thus:

The more prohibitions you make, the poorer people become.

The more weapons you deploy, the greater the chaos in your land.

The more information publicized, the stranger the world becomes.

The more laws that you make, the greater the number of criminals.

Therefore the Master says:

I do little, and the people seek good by themselves.

I seek peace, and the people take care of their own problems.

I do not meddle, and the people prosper.

I restrain my desires, and the people return to the Uncarved Block.

I’m impressed with this one. . .

I’ve had a running joke ever since I was a child – based on the fact that my family name (aka our surname) is POPE.  The joke is that every time the Roman Catholic Church elects a new Pope, it is really just my family trying to decide which of the Cardinals is most worthy to wear our name.

I know: kinda lame.  But hey, I’ve been wearing this name for nearly 53 years now (and my dad is nearly 73) – most of the pontifs in Rome don’t go beyond 20.

But this new one, Francis, is impressive.  Here are some of the quotes I found, attributed to him, on an official quote website.

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/p/pope_francis.html

First of all, you ask me if the God of Christians forgives one who doesn’t believe and doesn’t seek the faith. Premise that – and it’s the fundamental thing – the mercy of God has no limits if one turns to him with a sincere and contrite heart; the question for one who doesn’t believe in God lies in obeying one’s conscience.

____________

A church without women would be like the apostolic college without Mary. The Madonna is more important than the apostles, and the church herself is feminine, the spouse of Christ and a mother.

_____________

The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone!

____________

An example I often use to illustrate the reality of vanity, is this: look at the peacock; it’s beautiful if you look at it from the front. But if you look at it from behind, you discover the truth… Whoever gives in to such self-absorbed vanity has huge misery hiding inside them.

____________

Each of us has a vision of good and of evil. We have to encourage people to move towards what they think is good… Everyone has his own idea of good and evil and must choose to follow the good and fight evil as he conceives them. That would be enough to make the world a better place.

___________

Together with a culture of work, there must be a culture of leisure as gratification. To put it another way: people who work must take the time to relax, to be with their families, to enjoy themselves, read, listen to music, play a sport.

___________

Proselytism is solemn nonsense; it makes no sense. We need to get to know each other, listen to each other and improve our knowledge of the world around us.

___________

If the Christian is a restorationist, a legalist, if he wants everything clear and safe, then he will find nothing. Tradition and memory of the past must help us to have the courage to open up new areas to God.

___________