Creating Destiny

Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your habits, for they become your character.
And watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.

Thinking that you are a victim is enough to make you one, regardless of the straw you drew in life. You are not a victim of your circumstances, neither are you an impotent pawn of some generally loving but occasionally wrathful or perhaps ambivalent God. We all must make our way in the world and the idea that someone owes you a living is a childish notion.

If you wish to mature gracefully, you must learn to put childish things away. In this case, you must grow out of the needy, self-centered state that is naturally a part of childhood and grow into a generative state of being that is characterized by radiance and self-control.

Non-Suppressive Pediatrics

The practice of medicine took an interesting turn in the United States roughly a century ago. The net result of that turn is that the majority of interventions are suppressive in nature. This is particularly true in the field of pediatric care.

Symptoms and illness are not always a bad thing. In fact, more often than not they are evidence that the body is doing what it has been programmed to do. Whether that design came as a result of eons of evolutionary magic or at the hand of Providence or perhaps a little of both, the complex systems which constrain to homeostasis are a marvel to behold.

The immune and nervous systems play a particularly important role in maintaining the balance we know as health. Childhood, from a health perspective, is the time in which a future adult’s body grows accustomed to the xenobiotics present in the natural and man-made environment. The immune and nervous systems develop, grow and mature through exposure and many of the symptoms confused with illness are nothing more than the body working with the tools at its disposal to cleanse itself (nasal discharge, fever, etc.) and restore balance.

You may have heard a grandparent encourage to you let your children play in the dirt and not to worry too much about washing their hands afterward and there is plenty of scientific evidence which shows that such an approach does in fact promote health. But wait! Before you click off of my blog and wash your hands with anti-bacterial hand soap, read on. It gets better.

Your body is a remarkable collection of cells, but possibly more importantly, an impressive assemblage of microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi and archaea. You may have thought of your body as being primarily cellular, but microbiologists will tell you that there are at least ten times as many bacteria than cells in your body.

It is estimated that there are 500 to 1,000 species of bacteria living in the human gut and approximately the same number living on human skin. This microbiota performs millions of functions in your body, including supporting your immune and nervous systems in their tireless and life-promoting work.

So here’s the rub. We now live in a society where parents are trained to run to the doctor, to the drug stores as soon as symptoms appear in their children. Since the industrial revolution we’ve seen downtime as the nemesis of productive living and as a result we’ve grown to favor hard-hitting, fast-acting suppressive interventions over letting the body restore balance through its inherent and intelligent design.

Unfortunately, bypassing the body’s systems for dealing with imbalances can produce unwanted side-effects. Give a child acetaminophin to reduce a fever, and the body, which was using the fever to burn off xenobiotic that it could not handle using less drastic measures, has to resort to another strategy to handle the invader. Plan B is never as elegant, efficient or safe as Plan A, and it is precisely on this basis that acute illness is transformed, over time, into chronic disease. The body in its almost infinite wisdom effectively buries the problem, as bees coat contaminants in the hive that they are unable to remove with propolis. Unfortunately, to do so is always a compromise that invariably leads to health complications later on.

Many of the symptoms that we’ve have come to see as “bad” are really just evidence that the body is healthy and functioning as it should. Health does not mean the absence of symptoms, especially given the fact that we live in an increasingly toxic world. Don’t get me wrong, modern medicine has its place, but I have to wonder if we as a society have let it evolve into a system that favors disease management over health care.

My company, Energetix Corporation, is doing a lot of interesting work in relation to non-suppressive pediatrics and adult care. If you’d like to learn more, please call us for a referral to a health care practitioner near you who is trained in this type of approach.

Where I grew up we didn’t…

You’ve no doubt heard conversations in which people define themselves, defend their positions and deride others with the statement “Where I grew up we didn’t…” What follows is usually some anecdote that serves to make a point which carries the weight of precedent and by extension, history.

While it is certainly true that you are defined in large measure by your childhood experiences, you needn’t let the days of your youth define the years of your adulthood. Every child has the opportunity to rise above the strictures of personal and familial precedent. The idea that you don’t, that is, that you have a station in life and that you are better off respecting the envelope of possibility you were born into is outdated, outmoded and utterly false.

Your life expression rightly emerges from the inside out and is radiant in nature. Just as you had your start in the confines of your mother’s womb, when you continue to cooperate with life rather than struggling against it you will go through successive periods of rebirth into a larger sphere of living and influence. Life’s inclination is to move upward and outward, not downward and inward.

Adolescence is one of those critical periods of rebirth. Teenagers, full of the spirit of life, are typically hellbent on defining themselves. The longing to know who they are and what they are here to do burns in their hearts and minds, but they typically lack the tools and discipline necessary to navigate the pressures of labor and birth present in this important phase of life. As such they need a doula or a team of advisors (typically other than their parents) to help keep them on the path to self-revelation.

Parents who do not allow the lives of their children to expand do a tremendous disservice to the child. They create an artificially self-limiting environment that is deficient in critical nutrients as no parent or parents are so complete in and of themselves that they can provide everything their children need. Most parents who do this to their children feel well-justified, typically on the argument that they don’t want to miss the child’s youth, which, dear readers, is fundamentally selfish reasoning that is ignorant of the process by which individuality is nourished into being.

In an imperfect world it is highly unlikely that any child will have a perfect childhood. There will be deficiencies, mistakes made and imbalances that become more obvious as the child grows older. You are wise, then, to recognize that your childhood experiences should not limit or define those of your children. This is not to say that your children will be “better” than you, neither does it mean that their purpose is to beat your records. True individual expression is not relative, it is absolute.

Parents would be wise to provide the safe and controlled growing room by means of which their children can see beyond the blinders imposed by immediate family, relatives, societal norms and cultural mores. Individuality loses its unique and original character whenever life expression is stuffed into a preformed box.

As you can imagine, there are implications for parenting, education, business organizational theory and more to this notion of personal development. We, in all of our human brilliance, have elected the familiarity and comfort that dribbles from the status quo over the newness and richness that flow abundantly from a more dynamic, organic approach to living. Life is never static. Neither should we be.

Slowing Down Time

Time is the father of truth, its mother is our mind.” ~ Giordano Bruno

I have often considered – and not without wonder – the generally held opinion in those well my senior that time passes more quickly the older one becomes. Childhood, from the perspective of the child, lasts forever, while those in their 50s, 60s and beyond regularly express their amazement at the increasingly rapid passage of time.

Why is that?

Some might claim it to be the result of the mathematics of life: each moment as you age becomes an increasingly smaller fraction of your total life. Others might say it results from the realization that every year you advance puts you closer to the end of your life and the decreasing distance between where you are and where you will end up gives the impression of speeding up.

I have to wonder if there is another piece to this puzzle.

Let us consider memory for a moment. What is memory? Put simply, memory is the record of moments passed. Memory varies in its accuracy and in its level of detail and the greater the detail the more vivid and rich the memory of the actual experience.

You no doubt have had an experience or two in your life where you found yourself in a dangerous situation, say a potential car or airplane crash. Did you notice that time seemed to “slow down,” that you noticed more detail or that you seemed to have more space – within the same time – to decide how to respond? This illusion is often represented in the cinema, a classic example being the character “Neo” in The Matrix when he was being shot at. His perception of time slowed to the point that he could see the bullets coming at him and avoid them be bending away at just the right moment.

The change in perception in moments such as these, where the mind “speeds up” and lays down more layers of memory of an event, are fascinating. Whether this is a result of a chemical change in the body, for consciousness is in part the result of a delicate chemical balance, or some other less tangible and therefore less explicable factor, the mind and body shift into overdrive, producing a memory (if the brain doesn’t compensate by closing off the memory entirely) that is much richer than would be the case in a less stressful situation.

As we age we tend to gain experience with the world around us. This familiarity tends to produce a complacency, or perhaps better put, a prejudice that lulls the conscious mind to “sleep” in relation to the details of living. If you drive the same route to and from work over and over again, those elements which do not change along the route – the fences, the homes, the buildings, the trees and just about any other detail in the scenery – no longer catch the attention of your conscious mind. You may even find yourself remembering only leaving the parking lot at the office and then driving up your driveway at home. You may be unable to recall any other details from the trip. Scary, but true, right!?!

So now for the piece of the puzzle I mentioned earlier.

When you are a child, everything is new to you. You notice details that just about everyone else misses. A simple walk through the woods is a festival for the senses, where layer upon layer of detail impress themselves upon your malleable consciousness, imprinting their record upon the soft and relatively unstructured substance of your memory. A ten minute walk could seem like a day, a week or a year! You “lose yourself” in the secret of time, which as Thomas Mann once wrote is “lacking in substance and yet almighty.”

As you grow older, less and less tends to capture your attention in the same way. You begin to pay more attention to what you are looking for, confirming your now well-developed worldview, opinions and beliefs, rather than seeing the fulness of what is actually going on round about. In short, you notice less and as a result, remember fewer of the layers of detail that, years earlier, might have cast a spell on you.

They say that “time flies when you’re having fun.” But isn’t that an observation made after the fact? During the event, however, there is a timeless quality to the moment. Time opens up and swallows you for the moment.

If there is something to this consideration on memory, then it would follow that taking an approach in living that emphasizes curiosity, open-mindedness and enthusiasm would lead to richer memories, thereby producing the effect of time slowing down. I have not proved this theory, but I am looking forward to putting it to the test.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter!

 

A Foundation in Truth

I saw a great many castles while traveling through Europe during my youth and one in particular caught my fancy. Pictured above, the Neuschwanstein castle (“New Swan Rock”) is a magical edifice built upon Swan Rock, a massive stone outcropping overlooking Hohenschwangau near Füssen in southwestern Bavaria. A powerful symbol for a life built upon a foundation of truth, Neuschwanstein is also incidentally the original model of the castle that has captured the imagination of generations of children, Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle.

On that note and on this, my 600th consecutive daily post, I am privileged to share with you helpful words of instruction from Mr. William George Jordan on the matter of raising children:

Truth is the straight line in morals. It is the shortest distance between a fact and the expression of it. The foundations of truth should ever be laid in childhood. It is then that parents should instill into the young mind the instant, automatic turning to truth, making it the constant atmosphere of the mind and life. Let the child know that ‘Truth above all things’ should be the motto of its life. Parents make a great mistake when they look upon a lie as a disease in morals; it is not always a disease in itself, it is but a symptom. Behind every untruth is some reason, some cause, and it is this cause that should be removed. The lie may be the result of fear, the attempt to cover a fault and to escape punishment; it may be merely the evidence of an over-active imagination; it may reveal maliciousness or obstinacy; it may be the hunger for praise that leads the child to win attention and to startle others by wonderful stories; it may be merely carelessness in speech, the reckless use of words; it may be acquisitiveness that makes lying the handmaid of theft. But if, in the life of the child or the adult, the symptom be made to reveal the disease, and that be then treated, truth reasserts itself and the moral health is restored.

Constantly telling a child not to lie is giving life and intensity to ‘the lie.’ The true method is to quicken the moral muscles from the positive side, urge the child to be honest, to be faithful, to be loyal, and to be fearless to the truth. Tell him ever of the nobility of courage to speak the true, to live the right, to hold fast to principles of honor in every trifle—then he need never fear to face any of life’s crises.

The parent must live truth or the child will not live it. The child will startle you with its quickness in puncturing the bubble of your pretended knowledge; in instinctively piercing the heart of a sophistry without being conscious of process; in relentlessly enumerating your unfulfilled promises; in detecting with the justice of a court of equity a technicality of speech that is virtually a lie. He will justify his own lapses from truth by appeal to some white lie told to a visitor, and unknown to be overheard by the little one, whose mental powers we ever underestimate in theory though we may over-praise in words.

Teach the child in a thousand ways, directly and indirectly, the power of truth, the beauty of truth, and the sweetness and rest of companionship with truth.

And if it be the rock-foundation of the child character, as a fact, not as a theory, the future of that child is as fully assured as it is possible for human prevision to guarantee.

As I’ve mentioned before it is much easier to carry on about what’s wrong than it is to articulate what is right, especially in an inspiring way. It has been my aim in this blog to share my perspective on the truth in as many ways as possible. The truth is marvelous and majestic, beautiful beyond words. Its principles and laws are impervious to human tinkering and any attempt to bend it in one’s favor is cast away like water off a duck’s back.

Human beings have long satisfied themselves with the temporary appearance of having circumvented the truth. They treat the truth as something that can be bartered, something external to themselves like a magic trinket. They turn to it as a measure of last resort, rather than resting their head upon its bosom all the days of their lives. Well, the truth is that such an approach is destined to implode once sufficient weight and pressure are placed upon its faulty foundation.

No matter how impressive, elaborate or seemingly “too large to fail” humanly-devised substitutes to the truth have been at any point in history – great religious and secular institutions, vast libraries of knowledge, ingenious systems of governance, long-standing dynasties and the like – the truth remains unchanged, untarnished by time and always available to be known. The veil which sits between knowing of it and actually knowing it varies in thickness depending on the level of consciousness of mankind and despite the appearance of progress on the surface, the most apparently advanced civilizations on the surface are often the farthest from the truth.

Enough about humanity. What about you?

Are you too enamored with all the world has to offer to fall in love with the truth? Are you too busy to bother yourself with the pursuit of truth? Are you too impressed by that which has usurped the seat of authority of truth to have faith in the power and importance of truth in your life? Are you too tired from making a name for yourself, leaving your mark or landing the “big one” to work for the truth in every detail of your living?

If you are concerned about the future, and I venture to say that you are, take the time necessary to get to know the truth and the right course of the future will be assured. Love it. Pursue it. Have faith in it. Make it your life’s work, regardless of your profession or occupation.
Nota bene: like Prince Phillip in the classic fairytale Sleeping Beauty, it is not enough to have the sword (of truth) in your hand; you must throw it at the heart of the dragon for the truth to prevail through your living. You can overcome maleficence in your life, but only when you are armed with the truth. The truth is present within you and you have the right, nay, the obligation to let the truth be known through your radiant living.
So let it be.

Facing the Mistakes of Life VIII

It is a greater mistake to err in purpose, in aim, in principle, than in our method of attaining them. The method may readily be modified; to change the purpose may upset the whole plan of our life. It is easier in mid-ocean to vary the course of the ship than to change the cargo.” ~ William George Jordan

So much of life depends upon a clarity of purpose, yet so little time is devoted in the education of our children to draw forth a clear sense of purpose from each one. More time, it seems to me, is focused on the methods of achieving, than on the formation of a clearly articulated and individualized life purpose. Achieving, as it were, is more highly prized than being.

Surface purposes abound, and humanity expends countless calories in the pursuit of frivolous aims, yet how few, how precious few consecrate themselves to the actualization of their individualized expression and the realization of the fundamental and timeless goal: “as above, so below.” Rather than allow the circumstances and relationships at hand to be contact points for the radiation of their inner qualities and intrinsic nature, they seek to derive a sense of value and meaning from the outside in, mistakenly believing that the perfect arrangement of people and things will bring happiness.

You needn’t look far to see that such an approach is futile. Evidence of the failure of the outside-in approach is available at every turn. Take the United States, for example. No group of people has ever spent their way into happiness. Momentary satiety, yes, but never happiness.

Happiness and fulfillment come as life purpose is translated from invisible potential to visible manifestation. No one can tell you what your purpose is, and to accept another’s vision of your purpose is a fool’s errand. Happiness arrives only on the heels of personal radiance, of outward expression, from the core of you out into the world you are privileged to center. If you settle for less, say contentment or satisfaction, you will have your reward and I wish you well. If your innermost longings cannot be assuaged by the understudies of happiness, that is, contentment and satisfaction, you’re almost there.

If you can articulate the question, you can discover the answer.

And in this case, the answer comes invariably from within.

New Experiences

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” ~ Mark Twain

I was speaking with fellow yesterday who had spent the greater part of his life of 45 years or so in the same county in Northeast Georgia. Having been born an Army brat my childhood was anything but static. Born in Europe, temporary resident in a number of US states, I had my fair share of travel early on.

During our conversation my new acquaintance described his appreciation for what it must have taken to change schools, homes and friends so often, but I assured him that in so doing one learns to make friends quickly and learn to adapt, especially as a child. I, in turn, expressed my respect for the long-term friends he described, many of which were either neighborhood pals or schoolmates from years earlier than he could remember.

There are no doubt advantages and disadvantages to both styles of childhood, and to the degree that each of us made good use of the advantages and mitigated the disadvantages, we developed character and gained perspective on the world around us.

That said, there are few substitutes worthy of note when stacked against travel. Travel, to me, is synonymous with exploration. It exposes you to the unfamiliar in varying degrees, depending on where you go, where you stay and how you move about. Most importantly, it provides a change in rhythm, which triggers a change in pace, which influences enormously the way in which you experience life.

Rhythms can become stale and predictable when they are overly repetitive.

The current Delta Sky magazine features an article about Parisian life and the French ethic, two qualities I have explored significantly in my travels over the years. The rhythms of life in France, and in Paris in particular, are quite unlike any other in the States, for example. The author describes living in Paris as being “…the privilege of being a part of something both desirable and enigmatic. It is the thrill of constantly seeing things in a new light.”

What a great way to describe it. And what a wonderful way to look at life! I’ve lived in places where I took advantage of what the local environs had to offer and I’ve lived in others where I unconsciously took the area’s charms and special wonders for granted, if not overlooking them. What a terrible waste!

It is easy to explore your local community, the lands just beyond. More than anything it takes a little gumption to step out of an old and familiar rhythm and into a new, unfamiliar and exciting rhythm that challenges you on many levels. If you have the opportunity to travel beyond that, by all means, dare to enjoy it!

Properly considered, the differences in texture, rhythm, perspective and value will broaden your horizons and give you new respect for that which is different. Suffering through it defensively, however, will only serve to crystallize your prejudices. As with my previously described acquaintance, you can make a lot or a little out of a little or a lot.

So why not aim for the gold and let your vision be enhanced by new experiences at home and abroad, as well as by a new experience of that which may be dreadfully familiar to you.

What do you have to lose?