Creating Space for "Real Life"

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Lately I have begun making inroads in a new aspect of acheiving my life balance. For some time now I have felt that I am spending way, way too much time involved in watching TV, hanging out on Facebook and/or playing computer games. I am sure there are plenty of people who spend just as much as I do if not more, but that's not the point.

Do I feel like I, personally, am wasting too much of my precious life experiences in frivolous and somewhat meaningless technological "entertainment"? Am I participating in a form of escapism from the world and all its challenges? The answer to this point is "Yes". I am the only one that should decide what I feel is "too much" of a good thing, and I think right now, I am spending too much of my life in meaningless pursuits. I want to keep working on becoming a better person and live by the virtues of God. I want to keep striving to be of service to the world. I want to make a difference and not sit idly by while the whole world moves on without me! I am WASTING TOO MUCH TIME!

This weekend I made a conscious choice to change my focus. I have been doing yoga, exercising, taking the dogs for a walk, praying, meditating, cleaning house, writing out personal goals in my planner, trying to learn the guitar AND I slept outside on my deck under the moon and stars the last two nights.

I have to say, it has been an incredibly refreshing change of pace and I have really enjoyed it a lot. I want to focus more on active "living" rather than being passively "entertained". In order to truly make a difference in the world my focus has got to change from being indulgent to finding ways to focus my energies on living a life of virtue and service to others. I feel so much better already!

It is not like I am going to avoid technology and entertainment all together - if you know me at all you know better than that. I am not going to mind spending some of my time watching T.V. if it really is something worth watching. And I think some of the time I spend on the World Wide Web is valuable - keeping in touch with friends on Facebook, sharing life experiences and talking about things that matter in the world. And I guess playing video games every once in a while is harmless as long as it doesn't become obessive or the focus of all my free time.

I am creating space in my life for "real life". I am striving for balance and moderation in all things. The picture above I took on my walk today to the ponds from my house. Just think, I would have missed the opportunity to take that picture if I was sitting in my living room watching "Wipeout".

Here are some more pictures from my walk and a couple of quotes on this topic. What do you think about entertainment and escapism? Do you use it or abuse it? Are you living your life or just skimming thru it? Are you creating space for "real life"? As always, please share your thoughts and quotes!

Gucci certainly looks happy that I took the time to take him on a walk!

"Where is that man in the world who is so restrained by shame that he avoids laziness like a thoroughbred horse avoids the whip? Like a thoroughbred horse touched by the whip, be strenuous and determined. Then you will be able to rid yourself of this great suffering by means of faith, morality, energetic behaviour, stillness of mind and reflection on the teaching, after you have become full of wisdom, good habits and recollection." (Buddhist, Dhammapada - Sayings of the Buddha 1 (tr. J. Richards))

Many a dawn hath the breeze of My loving-kindness wafted over thee and found thee upon the bed of heedlessness fast asleep. Bewailing then thy plight it returned whence it came."(Baha'u'llah, The Persian Hidden Words)

Whew! Thanks for the walk dad, but now we're exhausted. Are we there yet?

If You Really Knew Me...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

This is a trailer for the new show on MTV called "If You Really Knew Me". It started a few weeks back and "WHEW!" is it a real tear-jerker and very very powerful in my opinion. It focuses around a new high school every week and is about an event called Challenge Day. It's mission statement...

"The Challenge Day mission is to provide youth and their communities with experiential programs that demonstrate the possibility of love and connection through the celebration of diversity, truth, and full expression."

I think the thing that hit me the most was the idea of "living 100%", meaning that most of us go thru our lives only really showing 10% of ourselves, which leaves 90%, or the bulk of who we really are, unrevealed and unexpressed. They use the concept of the iceberg (which I am familar with from training classes).

The concept goes that when we think of an iceberg, we are only really thinking about the "surface" or 10% of the iceberg that we see floating on top of the water. But in reality, there is whole lot more to it, under the "surface", if we just look "deeper".

People need to be seen for who they really are and feel comfortable and safe to truly express themselves 100%. But in a culture where gossip, sarcasm, backbiting and putting down and judging others are seen as "basic conversation" skills - most people put up walls in order to feel safe. They don't feel comfortable being real and the 10% that they show the world will most likely be the least interesting and superficial aspects of themselves.

Imagine a world where we all strived to express 100% of ourselves. A world where we looked beyond "surfaces" to the "deeper" parts of each individual so we were seeing the "whole" person. Where that space for compassion and understanding is always found. Where we never felt alone because there would always be someone there to have our back...sometimes even a stranger. That's a world I would like to live in.

If you really knew me, you would know that the concept of a peaceful and unifed world of true brotherhood and compassion for all is what I strive to help build. If you really knew me, you would know that I enjoy having "real" conversations where I get to truly learn about you and not just that 10% "image" you project to the world. If you really knew me, you would know that I just want to connect to each and every person I come in contact with - human to human, heart to heart.

What would I know if I really knew you?

The utterance of God is a lamp, whose light is these words: Ye are the fruits of one tree, and the leaves of one branch. Deal ye one with another with the utmost love and harmony, with friendliness and fellowship. He Who is the Daystar of Truth beareth Me witness! So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth." (Baha'u'llah, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 14)

Global Oneness

Friday, August 6, 2010

There is a website I found some months back called the "Global Oneness Project" that really has a lot of fascinating videos to watch on it. Here is the trailer for the site that kind of sums up the types of videos the website hosts.

All I have to say is that "Unity in Diversity" and the creation of a world culture focused on oneness and justice is within our grasp. In fact is is essential to the evolution and sustainability of our future on this planet. We have to find a way to live together in peace, truly "loving our neighbor", not just in word, but in deed. In my opinion, this is what God wants us to do. He is not going to do it for us, he wants us to do it for ourselves. He is like a parent patiently waiting for us to figure it out. How else would we learn? It is time for us all to step up to the plate and help create the Kingdom of God on earth. Here is a quote from the Bahá'í writings on this subject.

"I charge you all that each one of you concentrate all the thoughts of your heart on love and unity. When a thought of war comes, oppose it by a stronger thought of peace. A thought of hatred must be destroyed by a more powerful thought of love. Thoughts of war bring destruction to all harmony, well-being, restfulness and content.

Thoughts of love are constructive of brotherhood, peace, friendship, and happiness.

When soldiers of the world draw their swords to kill, soldiers of God clasp each other's hands! So may all the savagery of man disappear by the Mercy of God, working through the pure in heart and the sincere of soul. Do not think the peace of the world an ideal impossible to attain!

Nothing is impossible to the Divine Benevolence of God.

If you desire with all your heart, friendship with every race on earth, your thought, spiritual and 30 positive, will spread; it will become the desire of others, growing stronger and stronger, until it reaches the minds of all men.

Do not despair! Work steadily. Sincerity and love will conquer hate. How many seemingly impossible events are coming to pass in these days! Set your faces steadily towards the Light of the World. Show love to all; 'Love is the breath of the Holy Spirit in the heart of Man'. Take courage! God never forsakes His children who strive and work and pray! Let your hearts be filled with the strenuous desire that tranquillity and harmony may encircle all this warring world. So will success crown your efforts, and with the universal brotherhood will come the Kingdom of God in peace and goodwill."

(Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 29)

What are your thoughts on global oneness? Do you believe it can be acheived? Do you think you can play a role in accomplishing it? Do you have any quotes from other holy writings that you would like to share?
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