If you stop to be kind, you must
from your path.
Laughter is the shortest
between two people.
in simplicity, self-respect, and indifference
between virtue and vice.
Love the human race. Follow
pay for what they do, and still more, for what they
have allowed themselves to become. And they pay
for it simply: by the lives they lead.
Go of "Spiritual" Specialness
eternal changeless nature of Truth, we are not our busy, fractured
minds. Yet it is crucial to acknowledge that we believe we are
indeed fractured. Every day we accept our ego thoughts and
feelings as our only thoughts and feelings.
our ego represents the conflicted voices and lessons we stockpiled
during our formative years, we react to them as our essence, our
individuality, how we "feel" about things. If we are
honest, we will admit that this part of us is our primary teacher
and guide. We are not on a spiritual path; we are on an ego
can have the concept that we are not our ego (our inner
demons, shadow self, mortal self, dreaming mind, busy mind), but in
a thousand ways each day, we demonstrate that we live through and
for our worldly identity.
You and I do
not believe we are "children of God." We may
give lip service to that concept, but we believe we are autonomous,
a creation of ourselves. We think we are pretty much whatever
we decide to be and not the creation, the extension, the "image
and likeness" of God. This belief is not
"nothing." It creates almost everything we
experience. It is the source of our fear, misery, and
loneliness. It locks us in a tale that begins with hope and
excitement, but ends in disillusionment and destruction. It
doesn't matter if this tale is not the truth of God, because you and
I experience it as if it were.
When we are
in a restaurant, we look over the menu and select a dish. We
don't think, "Oh, this preference for linguini is coming from
my ego and is not my preference." We order the
linguini. Without any real second thought, we accept almost
every reaction we have to the circumstances and people we encounter
each day--even though only our ego has a range of emotional
responses to aspects of separation. Surely no one would argue
that God likes fried okra over lima beans. No one would say
that the governing Principle of the universe hates "call
waiting." Or suggest that the Host of Heaven "buy
array of emotions within them, individuals on a spiritual path often
single out just a few feelings and call them "ego."
For instance, we can "love" getting a promotion and feel
euphoric for a day or two, yet not have an instant's concern that
these are ego reactions. But if we feel jealousy about someone
else getting the promotion and we are depressed for a day or two, we
say, "These emotions are my ego." Or if it dawns on
us that we dislike the French, or yuppies, or our brother-in-law, we
think, "That's just ego."
years of counseling individuals on a spiritual path, I know that
when most people say, "That's just ego," or, "That's
my inner parent," or, "That's the devil," or,
"That's just the alcohol talking," what they really mean
is, it is not me. And, of course, from the standpoint
of absolute Truth, it isn't. Yet notice that it is them when
it comes to the pinions they hold about politics, religion,
parenting, or whether they are "good in bed."
In fact, we
tend to be proud of most of our patterns of separation:
"I'm a morning person," "I run a tight ship,"
"I believe in speaking my mind," "I don't tolerate
fools," "I'm a spontaneous kind of guy," "When I
pay this much, I expect good service."
emphasize too strongly that we run the risk of underestimating the
power of our beliefs when we notice a destructive line of thought
but say to ourselves, "Oh, that's just ego." Our
beliefs are so powerful that they color our entire world. We
literally see what we believe, but we can--and most of us do--fail
to take responsibility for what we see, especially what we see
within. Provided it's not acted out, consciously blaming
others for how we feel is a fairly obvious and innocuous mistake
compared to the mistake of attributing our feelings to the ego or
the devil. . . .
our harmful tendencies to something that is "not us"
tempts us to stop taking the steps needed to render them
powerless. Once any destructive thought is made fully
conscious, we still recognize it whenever it surfaces, but it no
longer scares, shocks, or controls us. As a safety precaution,
I counsel people to think, "I hate women," "I disdain
men," "I feel superior to my best friend," "I
can't stand three-wheelers," "I resent mansions,"
rather than, "My ego is feeling hateful (disdainful, superior,
resentful, and the like)." We purify ourselves by
acknowledging how we are now and becoming more aware of it now.
author Hugh Prather has a knack for putting his finger on
the pulse of America's emotional and spiritual angst. In The
Little Book of Letting Go he gives voice to the internal
chatter that prevents us from enjoying or pursuing our true
desires. "Within our human heart we all feel the call
to be simple, to be present, to be real," Prather
writes. "Yet throughout the day, the world urges us to
be at war with ourselves and each other: 'Be resentful about
the past.' 'Be anxious about the future.' 'Be dissatisfied
with what you do see.' 'Be guilty.' 'Be important.' 'Be
bored.'" Prather compares these thoughts to the stale
clutter in the back of our refrigerators. By cleaning out
our minds, we allow room for fresher and more nourishing
foods for thought.
people behind the words
and excerpts - Daily
Two - Year Three
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What does it mean to live a full life? How do we
stay happy and content in a world that often seems to be
throwing more at us than we can handle? Thirty years in
the making, Universal Principles
of Living Life Fully explores different aspects of our
selves as human beings, aspects that we are able to develop and
expand when we need to in order to make ourselves more
comfortable in the world we live in. It explores 57 different
elements of who we are, from love to mindfulness to adversity to
prayer, in an effort to help you to figure out just where to
focus your energy and attention when life is being difficult for
you. Use the link to the left for the Kindle edition, or click
here for the print edition.
from The Greatest Miracle in the World
. . . . Thus we come to the fourth law of
success and happiness. . . for I gave you one more
power, a power so great that not even my angels
I gave you. . . the power to choose.
With this gift I placed you even above my angels. .
. for angels are not free to choose sin. I
gave you complete control over your destiny. I
told you to determine, for yourself, your own nature
in accordance with your own free will. Neither
heavenly nor earthly in nature, you were free to
fashion yourself in whatever form you
preferred. You had the power to choose to
degenerate into the lowest forms of life, but you
also had the power, out of your soul's judgment, to
be reborn into the higher forms, which are divine.
I have never withdrawn your great power, the power
What have you done with this tremendous force?
Look at yourself. Think of the choices you
have made in your life and recall, now, those bitter
moments when you would fall to your knees if only
you had the opportunity to choose again.
What is past is past. . . and now you know the
fourth great law of happiness and success. . . Use
wisely, your power of choice.
Choose to love. . . rather than hate.
Choose to laugh. . . rather than cry.
Choose to create. . . rather than destroy.
Choose to persevere. . . rather than quit.
Choose to praise. . . rather than gossip.
Choose to heal. . . rather than wound.
Choose to give. . . rather than steal.
Choose to act. . . rather than procrastinate.
Choose to grow. . . rather than rot.
Choose to pray. . . rather than curse.
Choose to live. . . rather than die.
Now you know that your misfortunes were not my will,
for all power was vested in you, and the
accumulation of deeds and thoughts which placed you
on the refuse of humanity was your doing, not
mine. My gifts of power were too large for
your small nature. Now you have grown tall and
wise and the fruits of the land will be yours.
You are more than a human being, you are a human
You are capable of great wonders. Your
potential is unlimited. Who else, among my
creatures, has mastered fire? Who else, among
my creatures, has conquered gravity, has pierced the
heavens, has conquered disease and pestilence and
Never demean yourself again!
Never settle for the crumbs of life!
Never hide your talents, from this day hence!
Remember the child who says, "when I am a big
boy." But what is that? For the big
boy says, "when I grow up." And then
grown up, he says, "when I am wed."
But to be wed, what is that, after all? The
thought then changes to "when I
retire." And then, retirement comes, and
he looks back over the landscape traversed; a cold
wind sweeps over it and somehow he has missed it all
and it is gone.
Enjoy this day, today. . . and tomorrow, tomorrow.
You have performed the greatest miracle in the
You have returned from a living death.
You will feel self-pity no more and each new day
will be a challenge and a joy. You have been
born again. . . but just as before, you can choose
failure and despair or success and happiness.
The choice is yours. The choice is exclusively
yours. I can only watch, as before. . . in
pride. . . or sorrow.
Remember, then, the four laws of happiness and
Count your blessings.
Proclaim your rarity.
Go another mile.
Use wisely your power of choice.
And one more, to fulfill the other four. Do
all things with love. . . love for yourself, love
for all others, and love for me.
Wipe away your tears. Reach out, grasp my
hand, and stand straight.
Let me cut the grave cloths that have bound you.
This day you have been notified.
YOU ARE THE GREATEST MIRACLE IN THE WORLD.
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person can become prosperous while he or she really expects or
to remain poor, for holding the poverty thought, keeping
poverty-producing conditions, discourages prosperity.
we can lift ourselves, we must lift our thoughts. When we shall
to master our thought habits, to keep our minds open to
divine inflow of life force, we shall have learned the truths
human endowment, human possibility.
from the foreword from the publishers of
Orison Swett Marden's Pushing to the Front, 1911
I was once looking to buy a new printer, and I went to a
store to see what kinds of printers they had to offer. I
had a couple of questions about their wireless capabilities,
so when one of the guys who worked there came over and asked
if I needed help, I said yes and asked him a question.
about halfway through the question when he asked "Which
operating system are you using?"
a bit taken aback that he had interrupted the question
before I had even finished it, and a bit perplexed that he
was asking a question that had nothing to do with my
question. It wasn't until I looked back up at him that
I realized that he was talking on the phone with someone
through the Bluetooth unit perched so prominently on his
Tell me to what
you pay attention and I will tell you who you are.
Jose Ortega y Gassett
had asked me if I needed help, while he was supposedly
"helping" someone else on the phone. It was
ridiculous, and I told him that I was fine and that I'd
figure out my questions on my own. He looked at me a
bit surprised, and asked, "Are you sure?" I
said yes--after all, what good can he do me when he's not
even focused on what he's doing?
constantly amazed at the number of people I see spending
"quality" time with their kids, only to pull out
the cell phone and have a long and involved conversation
with someone who isn't even there. The poor kid is
relegated to the status of ignored companion, unless they do
something they shouldn't do, when the adult will take two
seconds from the conversation to say "Knock that
makes me wonder if today's little kids will have to become
even more destructive and anti-social in order to gain the
attention that they crave.
forgotten how to remember, and just as importantly,
we've forgotten how to pay attention. So, instead of using
your smartphone to jot down crucial notes, or Googling an
elusive fact, use every opportunity to practice your memory
skills. Memory is a muscle, to be exercised and improved.
spite of the reams of evidence that cell phone use and other
driving are incredibly dangerous (at least 3000 people DIE
every year because of it), many, many people still insist
upon carrying on phone conversations while behind the wheel
in traffic. (See http://www.distraction.gov/stats-research-laws/
Tens of thousands of people have lost their husbands, wives,
sons, daughters, mothers, fathers. . . . you name it, only
because someone thought "It'll never happen to
me." Those people were wrong, and they've killed
other people because they weren't willing to give their
undivided attention to the task at hand, which was driving.
are we so unwilling--and almost unable--to give our
undivided attention to the tasks that we do? All
throughout our culture and society, we see declines in the
quality of work and the service, and much of this is due to
the fact that people seem to think that multi-tasking isn't
just a new norm, but a necessity.
the United States, at least, we used to have a very strong
work ethic, and we used to teach our kids to be proud of the
results of their work. We much more often focused on
outcomes, and because we wanted it to be positive, we
learned to put our undivided attention to the task we had
taken on. When a parent spent time with a child, they
spent time together, talking or playing or just going for a
long walk. Nowadays, though, parents seem to resent
this distraction that keeps them from watching their TV and
spending time on the phone talking about trifles. So
they compromise by being there physically with the
kid, but certainly not there emotionally or mentally for
hard to pay attention these days because of multiple
effects of the information technology nowadays. You
tend to develop a faster, speedier mind, but I don't
think it's necessarily broader or smarter.
the classroom, in spite of all the people who unjustifiably glorify the
idea of multi-tasking, I find that the students who are able
to sit down and focus on the assignment are the ones who
succeed in learning the material. Because of that, I
spend a lot of time in class teaching kids how to focus, and
believe it or not, these kids appreciate that. Over
and over again, these teenagers thank me for helping them to
learn how to study, because no one else ever had tried to do
so. Most teachers are so intent on the assignments
that they never pay attention to whether or not their
students are even able to focus on the material they're
supposed to be learning.
with the role models that these young people have, is it any
surprise that they have a hard time focusing? Whom
have they seen who models the ability to put their undivided
attention on a task? Even many pro athletes don't
focus on their sports exclusively any more--during games,
watch how many NFL players are just as interested in the
crowd and the cameras as they are in the game. And
those are the ones that the networks give the most camera
time to. . . .
know many people who are almost never satisfied with the
results that they get in life, whether that be at work, with
their hobbies, in their relationships, or in other
areas. Most of these people don't get the results they
desire because while they're doing something, they're also
focused on something else. Is a conversation with your
wife as valuable when you're also watching a TV show?
Is time spent with your teenager going to be as valuable if
you--or her--spend most of your time on the phone with
someone else? Can you really get your work done well
if you're also surfing the Internet? These are
questions that most of us never seem to address--and
probably because we already know the answer, and we just
don't really want to hear it.
of the most important elements
of living life fully is
awareness-- awareness of our surroundings, of other people
and their motives and fears and desires, of the things that
affect us most in our lives, both positively and negatively.
In the twelve years of livinglifefully.com's existence, this
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that happen around us, but also our reactions to those
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Life Fully, the e-zine
exists to try to provide for visitors of the world wide web a
of growth, peace, inspiration, and encouragement. Our
are presented as thoughts of the authors--by no means do
mean to present them as ways that anyone has to live
from them what you will, and disagree with
whatever you disagree
with--just know that they'll be here for you
way in which we think of ourselves
has everything to do with how our world
a year of one-sentence reminders
of ways that we can
make the most of our lives each day that we live.
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novel of life and learning; Walker's fascinating journey
will remind you of all that is good in this world.
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David agrees to
give 70-year-old Hector
a ride west, he can't imagine the lessons he'll learn
about his life.
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and spending, we lay waste our powers," wrote
Wordsworth over 150 years ago. And we're still doing
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