This is one of those quotes I really love. When you think about religion it is often, if not always created after the death of its most important figures. That being the case, as it is in the three examples above, it would be impossible for the individuals to be a member of a religion they inspired. That does not make these religions any less valid or take anything away from their beliefs or practices.
What it does is allow us to step back and take a good hard look at what is the common thread that was woven through all of these great leaders, and by consequence, through all great spiritual beliefs – Love. These individuals did not preach a certain religion, but rather a set of moral principles predicated on love. Love is the common thread that flows through most spiritual beliefs. It is a force that drives many of the other principles and tenets of whatever faith you may practice. It is the driving force behind a spiritual practice. Love, combined with faith and hope make up the basis for most of the world’s religions.
Which brings me to my point, if the founder of the faith you follow based their teachings on love, how can you not do the same? Interacting with those of different faiths should we not all come with a spirit of compassion, acceptance and understanding? Those are all aspects of love. The individuals mentioned above were strong in their beliefs and certainly strong in their love. When you are filled with faith, hope and love you do not judge another. You do not say evil words towards another because they are following a different path of love than you.
Let us all belong to the religion of love no matter what organized faith we may follow.
My first video in a series recapping the weeks blog posts
Years ago I used to ponder why the world was as it is. Why, if there is a supreme being, is the world filled with hate, jealousy, racism and the like? Why did I find a lot of those things in my life as well? It was on one of my darkest days in which I finally received the answer. I wasn’t sitting on a park bench like the man in the picture above. I was in a library trying to find a book that would give me some advice on turning my life around. Some books were way to metaphysical for me at the time. Some were very complex and involved psychological phrases you would need a degree to decipher. While getting frustrated at the lack of a book for the average Joe to turn their life around, a voice in my head spoke to me. “If you can’t find one, write one.” From that day forward I have continued to find tools to help the average individual live a more positive and rewarding life.
What led me to this dark and dreary day in the life of Neil was a lot of circumstances. Professional, personal and my surroundings. By surroundings I mean things such as some of the music I was hearing, shows on television I saw, what I read in the newspaper and what I witnessed people doing to each other around me. Again, I began to wonder how the spiritual powers that be would allow such things.
The answer to that question was very similar to the first question I asked, except this one was a riddle of sorts. (yes, even my own head doesn’t always give me a straight answer) “How do you change a dark room?” This may sound foolish until you look at it in the terms of the world as a whole. If you want to lighten up a dark room you do not work on ‘removing the darkness’ you simply add light. If your glass is half-full you do not try to remove the air you just add more water, or rum, or iced coffee, but I digress. If we all remained focused on removing the negativity from the world we would create a vacuum that could very well be filled with…well…more negative things. The only way to decrease the negativity in the world is to add more positivity and love.
Another shocking revelation is that either one of these situations, love or hate, mankind does to itself. We make the choices. If we sit back and do nothing to counter the troubles we see in the world we are allowing it to happen. If you see someone hungry give them food. If you still watch the news and hear about some group being discriminated against, do something to make someone feel more loved and accepted. As the saying goes, “God helps them who helps themselves.” This is not just true for one person, but for all of us everywhere and the world as a whole.
A few posts ago I informed everyone of my current medical challenges. The amount of thoughts, prayers and well wishes I received were amazing! I was overcome with emotion. I felt so grateful and so loved.
Another thing that amazes me is the expression of determination and confidence in faith expressed by many people who follow this website. This website honors people of any and every faith. As long as you honor and love each other, what faith you do so doesn’t matter here.
Interestingly enough, I experienced my own miracle while in the hospital. The aorta coming out of my heart was enlarged you 5cm, the size in which the do open heart surgery.
While pondering what this meant for me and my life, I continued to read how friends, family and even people I have never met continued to pray for me. I did my best to relax and feel their love.
For clarity the doctors decided to conduct another test. After what seemed like an eternity, they came back to tell me they now had a measurement of 4.5 cm, where I can just remain on medicine and go for observation. While not ideal, it certainly beats open heart surgery.
Was this just an inaccurate measurement by the first procedure or was it something miraculous? That would depend on your beliefs. All I know is that hearing the strong faith spoken by my friends Julie, Kelly, Mimi and others gave me was invaluable.
You add that to my mother and of course my beautiful Margie staying by my side giving me love and support, and it turned a very trying experience into a miraculous one.
Thank you to each and every one of you who prayed, sent well wished and kept me in your thoughts. I’m certainly not out of the woods yet, but at least more informed and confident going forward. To me, it helped demonstrate and prove the existence of miracles.
Further proof inspiration can strike nearly anytime. Last Sunday I was having a few cocktails at a local establishment I visit when I ran into a friend of mine, Matt, that I have known a while. He shared with me this very interesting story that truly helps explain why it is so important to be kind to others. Understand I am recalling this from memory and it is a night I was having some cocktails as mentioned above.
A gentleman was in the hospital after a serious car crash. He slipped into a coma while recovering. During such time he left his body and was taken up to heaven. His excitement was short-lived as God told him the reason he had brought him there was so he could visit both heaven and hell and tell the world about it. Given the choice of which place he could visit first he chose hell so he could get it over with. Down he went expected fire and people crying out in pain. When he arrived all he could see was a lavish banquet sent with some of the finest dishes available. This isn’t so bad he thought. Then he saw the people arrive. Attached to the end of their arms were extra long utensils. Try as the may the could not get the food to their mouth. Time sped up and he watched as day after day these people tried every different idea they had, yet all of them ended up starving while sitting in front of a table full of food. He felt helpless and sad, then he started to rise up and was soon back in heaven. Again he was at the same lavish banquet. Again the people came in the same utensils attached to their arms. “Surely this must be a mistake” he thought. how could the same suffering that existed in hell exist in heaven? He saw the people begin to try in vain to eat unable to get the food to their mouths. He felt confused and disillusioned. He heard the voice of good tell him to keep watching. Eventually the people figured out a solution, they began to feed each other. As time sped up here he watched as all the people stayed happy and satisfied. In addition they seemed to be happier and better connected with each other.
No matter what your spiritual belief may be this story shows something very important. When we try to rely on and only help ourselves we will surely starve. Not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well. When we dedicate our lives to helping others it shall be returned in kind and everyone will prosper. So look where you can feed others. Feed them physically, spiritually, emotionally. Give them some of your time, an ear when they need to be heard, a shoulder when they need one to cry on. The more of us who do this the more this world will resemble heaven.
We have all heard the idea that we become what we think about. The power of thought has been promoted by some of the greatest beings to have lived including Jesus, Buddha, and leaders of almost every other spiritual belief system. It has recently been made popular in such recent books as “The Secret” and the “Law of Attraction” series by Jerry and Ester Hicks. One of the most powerful ways to capitalize on this power to change our lives is through the feeling of expectation. Think of how you feel when you have a negative expectations. Remember as a child waiting for that bad report card from school? yeah, me neither I was a perfect student as well. How about that review from the boss? Any situation we are dreading can be made far worse by us thinking about it or worse worrying about it. Our stomachs turn in knots…we become nauseous. Sometimes we develop a headache. We can literally make ourselves sick. Quite often the moment is never as bad as we feared. Even if it is, we have not made it any better by worrying ourselves sick about it. Think about the flip side of this. When we are excited about something. A date with a person whose company we really enjoy, a vacation we have been planning. The sad part is I know of a lot of people who use the negative power of expectation with these good things as well. I know a friend who had been planning a trip to the islands for some time. I saw her about a week before and she looked genuinely upset. I asked her what was wrong. She told me it was getting so close to her vacation she was getting nervous. She told me she was hoping that nothing would go wrong with the flight or the reservations. She was also going to pick up some medicine because she was worried she would get sick on the food. To avoid the overwhelming urge to ask her what the hell was wrong with her and to quite frankly get some ‘fresh air’ I excused myself to go visit the men’s room. Ok, probably not the best place to get fresh air, but I really needed to stop listening to a recital of all the things that can go wrong on vacation. What happened next was one of those moments that the divine power gave me a little extra help. While ‘taking care of my business’ I happened to notice what one fabulous soul decided to jot down on the wall of the men’s room. There is black magic marker was written the phrase “Do yourself a favor, expect a miracle” as I made my way back to the table my friend was at no doubt thinking of sharks attacking her while snorkeling I pondered the power of the this simple statement. If we truly are expecting miracles in our lives that fills us with a sense of hope, a feeling of joyous expectation. Even when we run into what seems to be a negative challenge if we can maintain that feeling of positive expectation we can more easily make it through the tough times. As for my friend? Sadly to say her vacation was amazing, she did not get food poisoning and all her worry, fear and dread served no purpose other than to ruin the days leading up to her vacation. So do yourself a favor and listen to the soon to be famous artist from the men’s room at my local watering hole- expect a miracle in your own life.
Yesterday we spoke of challenges and seeing them as opportunities. Let me tell you, I sure got some practice at that today. Life is an amazing practice ground for maintaining a positive lifestyle. In addition to all things at my job at the post office. I discovered my aunt had lost her job and my uncle who is recovering from a serious injury may have taken a step back at least emotionally. In fact, it may even be affecting his relationship with his wife. Now, all these things are stressful. Most of them are either completely out of my control or involve the variable of other people and their personalities. So while speaking with my mother about this and hearing some of the challenges she encountered today we found ourselves discussing all the things and people we were concerned about. In this case ‘concern’ could be a quick replacement for worry. Well I am a firm believer in the law of attraction and focusing on other people’s problems, even if it is with the intent to solve them just sends more negative energy to the situation. It was then I remembered an idea I had read in a book I just finished. When there is a person with a problem, be it you or someone you care about, instead of focusing on their problem I have a solution that will not only help them I believe but it will feel better for you. In fact, I would go so far as to say it would feel good. That is exactly what I am talking about here. Say we are worried about a person who lost a job. Instead of focusing on how they must be worried about being able to pay the bills, and how hard it is to find a job, do something a bit more constructive. Close your eyes and picture that person in a job they enjoy being paid a decent wage. Feel their happiness and send them your happiness as well. Then, and this is very important, feel gratitude for that situation turning out for everyone’s good. Really feel it. Do this every time worry rears its ugly head. It won’t be easy, but it will make you feel better. If this is for somebody else and you think they would be receptive, encourage them to do the same. Then calmly keep your eyes open for that job. It can work with an illness too. Picture the person, or yourself, healthy. Don’t say “I’m thankful that illness is gone” instead say “I am thankful to see Kim healthy and happy” or Bob or Tom or…well you get the idea. The important thing here is the emotion. Really feel the joy, really feel the gratitude. You will feel better and you will be sending a lot better energy out to the world. Will it work? I believe it will. Not to mention it will feel a lot better than worry. Oh and if you want to be happy and grateful for my new-found wealth I would be ok with that too. Stay positive and stay grateful my friends!
We have all heard the story a million times. An ordinary person rises from the ashes to become a hero, saving the day. It happens almost daily in sports. We’ve seen it in the movies. We have read about it in classic literature. How are these people different from us and what secret weapon do they use? First the good news, these people are fundamentally no different from you and I. I say fundamentally because is essence we are all the same, human. Now it is understood that some people have certain obstacles and some people have certain advantages. That was discussed in an earlier post. For the most part however, we basically all start out the same. Ok, so if we are all the same how come some people rise so above the crowd and some just trudge through life on a daily basis? Here is the secret. The heroes among us have two traits that the ‘average’ person does not have, vision and faith. Now I want you to take a moment and a really think about those two words. We will approach them separately in the days to come, but for now just think about them. Vision, we must know where we are going and the end result we are aiming for. This can be amended as we grow as individuals, but we must have an aiming point to begin. persistance, as Earl Nightengale once said, is just another word for faith. If we didn’t have faith we wouldn’t persist. It is the absolute knowing you are going to arrive where you set your mind to be. So what about all those times you have set a goal, tried and failed miserably? Truth is the only true failure is giving up. If you have faith and suddenly you are confronted with what appears to be a let down, you will know it is either a lesson to be learned or an opportunity to grow stronger. The best way to describe this would be the stories of two people I consider heroes.
First, my friend Shannon started an online group of people she wished to share her journey towards a healthier lifestyle with. At first it seemed only she and a few select others would have anything to offer to the group. Although a bit dismayed, Shannon’s passion and commitment to share what she learned persevered. Slowly, but surely people began to comment, ask questions and share their experiences. Personally I have received meal ideas, work out tips and even a few new friends through this group. In fact, as of the creation of this post I cannot go a day without interacting with someone from that group. Shannon’s vision in sharing a healthy lifestyle and all its rewards and challenges with her friends has changed the lives of countless people for the better and made her a hero.
Next there is my friend Cari. She had faced some serious personal challenges. Some of which would cause a lesser person to give up on living a rewarding life. Not this lady. Cari developed a vision of using her struggles to help people going through the same thing. This sounds easy enough, but how many of us really act on it? Cari, with the help of her church, formed a class to mentor people. They announced it, she prepared lessons, and…nobody came. She found herself a little dismayed, but her faith as to the job put on her by her creator made her dust herself off and try again. She began simply talking to people, some of them began approaching her asking for advice. She is currently developing new and amazing ways to inspire and assist people all while still healing her own life. That, my friends, is a hero.
So develop your vision. I don’t care if you are 12 or 112! Decide now what it is you would like to do with your life and begin to develop the passion and faith to make a difference. Truth is, we all have a super hero inside of us. Especially you.
This past Sunday Christians around the world celebrated Easter. About a week before that, spring officially began. Both of these are celebrations of rebirth, renewal and resurrection. Whether you are honoring the resurrection of your chosen saviour or the rebirth of nature, let us draw inspiration from this. Let us focus on the rebirth of our own spirit. New years has come and gone, yet this time of year presents us with a unique opportunity. As the we watch the weather warm, so let our hearts warm up to all that is love and joy in the world. Let us resurrect our attitudes from the despair that can envelop us in a media driven world to one that inspires others. Symbolism is a great reminder to help us stay on track (more on that tomorrow). As we watch the snow melt, let us be reminded to melt the anger in our hearts as well. As we watch the trees and flowers start to sprout and bloom. Let a new spirit of joy blossom in us as well. So by the time we reach the first day of summer our joy will be as powerful as the summer sun warming the hearts and spirits of others. Helping their spirit of joy grow as well.