A LESSON I HAVE LEARNED

There are a handful of lessons I have learned in my life that really stuck with me and defined who I am to this very day. One of them I was told was that “If you hate someone or something you just do not know enough about it. If you learn about it and still hate it, that does not mean it is bad, it means you still have more to learn.” This is something I keep with me to this very day.

If we are being honest, we would have to admit there are lots of messages telling us who we should dislike, who the bad guys are and why. From politics, sports and even religion have messages telling us that there are people who are less than us. When we read about some violent episode conducted by a group of people it can be easy to say “Look this group of people are evil.” If we were to apply that same guilt by association to every terrible act that has been done I fear we would all belong to some group of evil.

How can we ever not harbor some sort of negative emotions towards people who by their very acts cause the death of hundred, or even thousands of people? It is a very difficult question to answer. Quite often we must look back in history for answers as to why things happen today. Was there an event in history where this group of people were made to suffer under the group they attacked?

Even personal history can shed some light on why people can do acts most of us would find unspeakable. Did this person suffer years of physical and emotional abuse? Did their family constantly remind them of judgmental or even hateful beliefs that hand been handed down for generations? Were they raised in a neighborhood that also promoted these beliefs? Maybe while attending school for 8 hours a day surrounded by peers their age they learned to adopt their beliefs? They might have even did so just to fit in at first, but after years of trying to fit in those beliefs became part of their spirit.

This can be even worse when an entire society is fed information that is hateful. We can use both Nazi Germany during World War two, as well as early America as examples. In the 1930’s Germany began a campaign against the Jewish people. This was not only political, but in schools, the media and in the home. An entire generation grew up being taught a terrible doctrine of hate and evil. This resulted in the death of over 6 million men, women and children of Jewish decent. In the founding years of America the same thing happened. Americans were told the native people were uncivilized and less than they were. They were told they were violent and threatened their safety. It was also said that the Native Americans stood in the way of the prosperity and freedom of the white settlers. Again, this message was delivered in the media, the government, the home and even the church pulpit. This resulted in the death of over 100 million men, women and children. What is worse is that often entire nations and cultures were lost. Medicine and knowledge we could use today are gone forever.

Does this mean we should hate the German people who did not stand up to their government? Should we hate those who acted on the beliefs they were raised on? Should we still hate the American soldiers who killed pregnant Native American women because when they were being forced to walk from North Carolina to Oklahoma they were going to slow? Sure those acts, among many others in history are hard to understand and even harder to forgive for some people.

We must not only view the history, but be careful not to view it through our own eyes. It may be easy to say “If I was in Germany back then I would have told Hitler to go to hell !” We can say that as somebody who was raised free and without judgment. If we had been told, and often given ‘proof’ as to how bad this group of people were from the time we were born, we might act differently. While there is plenty of proof of people who have overcome very challenging situations to be loving non-violent people, it is impossible to know how we would act in the same situation. In fact, we will never know as we will never have their exact life and genetic makeup.

In a world that urges us to blame and condemn, there is very little accent on compassion and understanding. Those two elements are essential if we ever hope to change the world we live in for the better. Let me be perfectly clear on one very important point. Understanding someone’s violent action does not mean Condoning it. We can certainly condemn acts that harm others, and we should, but without following that with an equal effort to understand why they happened in the first place history would be doomed to repeat itself.

ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS I HAVE EVER WRITTEN 

THE GOLDEN RULE. The basis of every religion and shown in this picture perfectly. I will never forget the first time I saw this picture, it was at a pow-wow I was at. I actually got chills reading it. Virtually every faith has the basic belief to treat each other as they wish to be treated. Then confusion set in. IF every faith believes this, then how come there is so much conflict between them? That is the million dollar question that has plagued man for centuries.

How can men of different faiths not only all get along, but work together to bring peace and love to the earth? By doing just that – working together. Most of us believe our faith to be the one true faith. That is fine, but understand that just as much as we would not enjoy hearing our beliefs are incorrect or spiritually lacking, neither would any other faith. It is ok for you to believe what you do and them to believe what they do, even if that happens to be different. Let us instead strive to learn what we can from each other and to view each other with love and compassion.

There were lots of universal truths presented here in this blog this week. If you have not had a chance to view them I invite you to do so. There are quotes that have inspired me from at least 3 different faiths. My apologies for those faiths I did not quote from, I promise in the future I shall show some amazing inspiration from yours as well. Which is what this is all about. We can learn so much and accomplish so much more by working together than we can focusing on our differences. The above example of the golden rule is but one example of the basic truths we all hold dear. The more you search, the more you will find. Sure, there will be differences and we must treat those with respect. As long as it does harm to nobody, we should all be free to believe and practice as we do. Our ritual may be different, our wording may be different, but our love can still be the same.

HOW TO TURN AN ENEMY INTO A FRIEND

This comes from the religious text of Islam. Without being Muslim myself, I have personally used this great secret often. Read the quote again. It shares with us the plan for turning enemies into friends. It also tells us what to do when we are faced with a negative, or evil situation. What is that? Repel it with what is better? Someone treats you harshly, treat them with love. Someone continually expresses views contrary to the ones you express? Treat their opinions with respect and consideration. Is this easy? Not at all.

Then why should we do it? Why, as the Quran urges us here, should we take the high road? If you look at the beginning of the quote is reminds us that good and evil deeds are not equal. Meaning that in the long run, doing good will be more powerful than doing bad. Thus, the quote instructs us to repel evil with what is better, not just what is opposite. I am a firm believer that good will always triumph over evil. Hitler, Stalin and lots of other famous evil doers had the final years of their lives filled with paranoia and suffering, even though at periods of time it seemed they may never be toppled.

Another reason why we should always counter evil with good, negative with positive is stated in the final line of this quote. The one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend. Enemies are a lot of stress. When we know there is someone who is against us we must always be on guard for deception and wrong-doing. This drains us of a lot of energy and physical well-being. So how do we turn enemies into friends? We cannot do so by force, or by proving our points or our person as superior to their own. The French revolution should be evidence of this. No, the only way we can turn the hearts of our enemies is through Love and compassion. The two most powerful tools against hate and evil.

Tomorrow we tie everything we have learned this week with one amazing example. I look forward to sharing that with all of you.

THE GREATEST ENEMY IS ALSO THE GREATEST ALLY

We begin our journey of inspiring quotes with one from the Bhagavad Gita, a 700 verse Hindu  scripture. This quote could not be more true in modern times. How and what we think about determines how we feel. Most of us live in a state of reaction. That is we decide how we feel based on what outside circumstances seem to be happening to us. Through either ignorance or lack of effort very few of us take control of our minds. This mistake can be fatal.

When we have control of our minds, we have control of our lives. Outside circumstances no longer decide how we feel about life, we do. This can start the very next second. Make a statement to yourself as to what kind of life you are deciding to live. You might want to write it down as soon as you are able. This gives us clarity of purpose and we begin to act instead of react. We decide what happens to us instead of life.

Think of waking up in the morning. How often do you say to yourself “I am going to have an amazing day no matter what life throws at me today”? If you do congratulations you are a step ahead of most of the world. If you do not do something like this, do not worry, you have just discovered a simple thing you can do to dramatically change your life for the better.

I recommend writing your statement down because as you go through your day there very well may be challenges. Allow me to share a person story. I made the statement that 2017 was going to be an amazing year for me. I am determined that is so. In the month of January alone I have faced a few challenging situations. My car was totaled while it was parked and I was sleeping. I came in second place in the ‘Best author in Milwaukee’ competition to a man who has his own show on public television. For a while these began to chip away at my enthusiastic outlook for the coming year. Now this is important to note, this will happen. Getting control of your mind is a journey. The more you do it, the easier it will become, but make no mistake there will always be challenges.

What to do when this happens? There are several things. My first suggestion is to look for the positive. Even in my car situation, I will probably only receive a fraction of what my car is worth and still have to go through trying to purchase a new one. There is the matter of the cost of the rental car. All of these happened through no fault of my own. (As I mentioned I was inside my house sleeping when my car was hit). Still I think there may have been something that could have went wrong later on that would have cost me more? Perhaps if the man had not hit my car that was parked and empty he could have hit one with a family and children in it. This may sound naïve to some of you, but it is quite the opposite. Learning to find the light in even the darkest of situations takes the mind of a warrior and can be quite a challenge. When we are able to do so we are no longer slaves to the negative feelings that can come from personal challenges.

There is another amazing thing we can do to not only take control of our minds, but add more joy and magic in our lives. What is that? Come back tomorrow for the answer and a quote from yet another different faith.

KEEP MOTIVATED…DAILY! PART TWO

yesterday we looked at daily calendars and how they offer a simple, yet powerful way to expand our minds and get closer to our goals. today we are going to look at yet another amazing avenue of simple and effortless motivation…the internet. now this next statement may shock some of you, so if you are reading this while standing up you may wish to take a look for the nearest place to sit down. What is this shocking news? There is a lot of bad stuff on the internet. ok, so maybe that wasn’t so shocking for most of us. I hear daily, mostly from an older crowd, but not entirely, how there is nothing but bad things to be found on the internet. The internet, like books, television or any other medium is neither good or bad. it all resides in how we use it. For all the adult entertainment, scams, online shopping sites we can spend our time and money on, there are also a lot of amazing things to be found online as well. Charity sites. No matter what your passion is, animal rights? rights for the physically or mentally challenged? They all have sights on the internet. In addition to charity sites there are lots of sites that offer daily motivation to their subscribers. More often than not a lot of these are free of charge. Some will send an email to your inbox with an inspiring quote, some an inspiring thought. One of my favorites is Metal Motivation it may be a bit hardcore for some, but I enjoy the ‘daily screams’ or calls to action given there daily. it helps a person like myself who can find themselves a bit unmotivated at times. The point being here that the internet is one tool we can use to add motivation to our lives daily. You are going to check your email anyway, why not have a few inspirational/motivation emails thrown in there? Remember the secret to staying focused and motivated is to make it as automatic as possible.

KEEP MOTIVATED…DAILY! PART ONE

To paraphrase the late Zig Ziglar motivation expert and author, Motivation doesn’t last, neither does bathing that is why we must do it daily. So how to capture this? How can we work in motivation every single day with limited or no effort on our part? How can there be a reminder every single day to seed our mind to greatness and expand our compassion and our drive for success. The answer can be found on your wall, or on your desk, or on that table by the television. It is a great tool that is often overlooked. The day by day calendar. Whoever started this great idea was on to something. it is getting to be that time of year where calendar stores start popping up at your local mall. I strongly suggest paying a visit to one. For roughly the price of one dinner out you can be treated to daily motivation right in your home! They have calendars for all different angles. Trying to become more driven? They have calendars for people who are starting their own business. looking to create more peace and tranquility in your life? Try a zen calendar. The one I am currently using is ‘insight from the Dalai lama’ he is a man I greatly respect and his words give me a lot to think about as I go through my life. All I do to accomplish this is tear off a little piece of paper as I grab my daily cup of coffee. Think of whatever goal you are aspiring to, now imagine 365 powerful thoughts towards its creation. All of them already written and waiting for you with no effort on your behalf. how much closer to accomplishing your goal, whether it will be to be more relaxed, prosperous or enlightened if you could focus on it in a different manner 365 ways in a year. a great thing about these calendars you can tear off the sheet, which is roughly 4 inches by 4 inches and take it with you. fold it up and put it in your pocket/wallet/purse whatever. Then you can take it out and think about it several times a day. My aunt who either has far more ambition, time or both than myself even saved a few of her favorites and made a scrap-book of them. Thus, they can keep inspiring her for years to come. Now if I could only find that calendar with beautiful beaches, lovely island girls and motivational quotes I would be set. Seriously, stop by your local calendar store and take a look around, see what may work for you. Also there are nice little desk calendars and even wall calendars that can provide you with inspirational thoughts weekly or monthly. They are great for developing mantras and building on a single idea for a prolonged period of time. Recently my amazing friend Crystal gave me one and I love it! Not only do I enjoy the inspirational quotes, but I am always reminded of, and grateful for the amazing friend I have in her. So they also make wonderful gifts to inspire others.