Category Archives: Thoughts

I’m thinking…

I’m thinking about service…

COMMITMENTS TO SERVE

“Our deepest need is for the joy that comes with …knowing we are of genuine use to others.”
— Eknath Easwaran

Holding an intention to be in service shapes our overall attitude towards life in many ways. For example, it brings a greater sensitivity and awareness of others, a commitment to harmlessness, a willingness to put others’ needs before our own and a desire to be in harmony with all.

An attitude of service also involves a willingness to be served when we truly need support.

“… there is no such thing as just existing. Everything is in service to everything else. Existence is giving and receiving. A stone gives and receives no less than a saint.”
— Jacob Needleman

Copyright © 1999 – 2018 Higher Awareness Inc.
Edmonton, AB, Canada T5K 0K6

I’m thinking about integrity…

ARE YOU IN INTEGRITY?

“In order to live a rich life, everything about who you are must be one, in alignment, and in pure harmony.”
— Suze Orman

For clear and honest expression, our thoughts, speech and actions must all be congruent. We will not stand in our power if we are inadvertently sending mixed messages-if we say one thing and do another.

I found it helpful to consciously identify the values that matter most to me. With these values in mind, it’s easier to ensure I’m living them.

“Honor your integrity and you will be repaid many times over with increased prosperity.”
— Sanaya Roman and Duane Packer

Copyright © 1999 – 2018 Higher Awareness Inc.
Edmonton, AB, Canada T5K 0K6

I’m thinking about financial holes…

IN DEBT?

“Debt is a form of poverty – and one of the cruelest. It gives you the illusion of having more money than you do.”
— Jerrold Mundis

How much do you owe to a mortgage, credit cards and loans, other people? If you depend on debt to get what you want, you dig yourself into a deep financial hole.

If you are continually in financial distress, it may be time to adopt a very simple operating principle: spend less than you earn.

“If your outgo exceeds your income, then your upkeep will be your downfall.”
— Bill Earle

Copyright © 1999 – 2018 Higher Awareness Inc.
Edmonton, AB, Canada T5K 0K6

I’m thinking about enlightenment…

TRANSFORMATION

“The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”
— William Faulkner

Longing for a miracle that will transform your life? Miracles happen, and if we don’t want that magic to disappear on us, we need to learn from each epiphany — to integrate it, apply it, and build on it so we can permanently shift to a new level of being.

The real key to fulfillment lies in ONGOING transformation: building our awareness of daily opportunities to change our perceptions and raise our consciousness. Life is about dissolving the old and creating anew. The more we open to accepting and learning from every life experience, the more our lives transform.

“Enlightenment must come little by little — otherwise it would overwhelm.”
— Idries Shah

Copyright © 1999 – 2018 Higher Awareness Inc.
Edmonton, AB, Canada T5K 0K6

I’m thinking about soul needs…

DISTINGUISH PERSONALITY DESIRES FROM SOUL NEEDS

“Human history is the sad result of each one looking out for himself.”
— Julio Cortazar

We indulge ourselves when we seek to meet our longings through desires of the personality. We indulge ourselves when we buy more clothes to make us happy, when we eat another snack to ease the hunger, when we have an affair to feel powerful or loveable. Any pleasure we get, if we get any at all, is shallow and short-lived.

The only lasting satisfaction can come from meeting the deep spiritual needs of the soul. We discover what we are really after in life when we identify the spiritual qualities and needs that lie behind our desires for material pleasures.

“But life lived only for oneself does not truly satisfy men or women. There is a hunger in Americans today for larger purposes beyond the self.”
— Betty Friedan

Copyright © 1999 – 2018 Higher Awareness Inc.
Edmonton, AB, Canada T5K 0K6

Seneca on Gratitude and What It Means to Be a Generous Human Being

 “Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes,” Annie Dillard wrote in her beautiful case for why a generosity of spirit is the greatest animating force of creativity.

Two millennia earlier, great Roman philosopher Seneca examined this notion and its broader implications for human life in his correspondence with his friend Lucilius Junior, later published as Letters from a Stoic (public library) — the timeless trove of wisdom that gave us Seneca on true and false friendshipovercoming fear, and the antidote to anxiety.

Seneca

In his eighty-first letter to Lucilius, Seneca writes under the heading “On Benefits”:

You complain that you have met with an ungrateful person. If this is your first experience of that sort, you should offer thanks either to your good luck or to your caution. In this case, however, caution can effect nothing but to make you ungenerous. For if you wish to avoid such a danger, you will not confer benefits; and so, that benefits may not be lost with another man, they will be lost to yourself.

It is better, however, to get no return than to confer no benefits. Even after a poor crop one should sow again; for often losses due to continued barrenness of an unproductive soil have been made good by one year’s fertility. In order to discover one grateful person, it is worth while to make trial of many ungrateful ones.

True generosity, Seneca argues, is measured not by the ends of the act but by the spirit from which it springs. He writes:

Benefits, as well as injuries, depend on the spirit… Our feeling about every obligation depends in each case upon the spirit in which the benefit is conferred; we weigh not the bulk of the gift, but the quality of the good-will which prompted it. So now let us do away with guess-work; the former deed was a benefit, and the latter, which transcended the earlier benefit, is an injury. The good man so arranges the two sides of his ledger that he voluntarily cheats himself by adding to the benefit and subtracting from the injury.

In a delightful reminder that even the most serious of thinkers can regard themselves with a sense of humor, Seneca adds a remark he cheekily qualifies as “one of the generally surprising statements such as we Stoics are wont to make and such as the Greeks call ‘paradoxes’”:

The wise man… enjoys the giving more than the recipient enjoys the receiving… None but the wise man knows how to return a favour. Even a fool can return it in proportion to his knowledge and his power; his fault would be a lack of knowledge rather than a lack of will or desire.

In a sentiment which Henry Miller would come to echo two thousand years later in his reflection on the intricate balance of giving and receiving, Seneca considers the meaning of generosity and the proper object of gratitude:

Anyone who receives a benefit more gladly than he repays it is mistaken. By as much as he who pays is more light-hearted than he who borrows, by so much ought he to be more joyful who unburdens himself of the greatest debt — a benefit received — than he who incurs the greatest obligations. For ungrateful men make mistakes in this respect also: they have to pay their creditors both capital and interest, but they think that benefits are currency which they can use without interest. So the debts grow through postponement, and the later the action is postponed the more remains to be paid. A man is an ingrate if he repays a favour without interest.

At the heart of his message is the insistence that true generosity is not transactional and that gratitude, in turn, out to be calibrated to the intrinsic rewards of the generous act rather than to the veneer of a transactional favor:

We should try by all means to be as grateful as possible. For gratitude is a good thing for ourselves, in a sense in which justice, that is commonly supposed to concern other persons, is not; gratitude returns in large measure unto itself. There is not a man who, when he has benefited his neighbour, has not benefited himself, — I do not mean for the reason that he whom you have aided will desire to aid you, or that he whom you have defended will desire to protect you, or that an example of good conduct returns in a circle to benefit the doer, just as examples of bad conduct recoil upon their authors, and as men find no pity if they suffer wrongs which they themselves have demonstrated the possibility of committing; but that the reward for all the virtues lies in the virtues themselves. For they are not practised with a view to recompense; the wages of a good deed is to have done it. I am grateful, not in order that my neighbour, provoked by the earlier act of kindness, may be more ready to benefit me, but simply in order that I may perform a most pleasant and beautiful act; I feel grateful, not because it profits me, but because it pleases me.

Letters from a Stoic remains one of the most potent and enduring capsules of wisdom our species has produced. Complement it with Susan Sontag on what it means to be a decent human being, Rebecca Solnit on generosity of spirit in difficult times, and Simone Weil — one of our civilization’s most underappreciated sages — on attention as the highest form of generosity, then revisit Seneca on the key to tranquility of mind and how to fill the shortness of life with wide living.

From: newsletter@brainpickings.org

 

I’m thinking about honesty…

HONESTY

“Every violation of truth is not only a sort of suicide in the liar, but is a stab at the health of human society.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

What level of honesty are you living now? How honest are you with strangers, institutions and businesses, acquaintances, friends, family, spouse? How honest are you with yourself?

“Our lives improve only when we take chances – and the first and most difficult risk we can take is to be honest with ourselves.”
— Walter Anderson

Copyright © 1999 – 2018 Higher Awareness Inc.
Edmonton, AB, Canada T5K 0K6

I’m thinking about patterns…

REMEMBER…

“Never forget what you need to remember.”
— Garrett Bartley

What do you want to remember from this past week?

Reflect on your experience over the last 7 days. What was memorable about it? Write a short summary.

If you are not learning and moving forward, you are unconsciously entrenching older patterns more deeply. You are actually going backwards. So take a few minutes each week to reflect on what matters most in your life.

“Memory is the cabinet of the imagination, the treasury of reason, the registry of conscience, and the council chamber of thought.”
— Basile

Copyright © 1999 – 2018 Higher Awareness Inc.
Edmonton, AB, Canada T5K 0K6

I’m thinking about the risk of living…

SECURITY

“Let us never confuse stability with stagnation.”
— Mary Jean LeTendre

“Many people think that by hoarding money they are gaining safety for themselves. If money is your ONLY hope for independence, you will never have it. The only real security that a person can have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience, and ability. Without these qualities, money is practically useless.”
— Henry Ford

“One has to abandon altogether the search for security, and reach out to the risk of living with both arms. One has to court doubt and darkness as the cost of knowing.”
— Morris L. West

“One thing we can do is make the choice to view the world in a healthy way. We can choose to see the world as safe with only moments of danger rather than seeing the world as dangerous with only moments of safety.”
— Deepak Chopra

“The only peace, the only security, is in fulfillment.”
— Henry Miller

Copyright © 1999 – 2018 Higher Awareness Inc.
Edmonton, AB, Canada T5K 0K6