Posts Tagged ‘intention’

The presence of resolutions

January 1, 2013

I actually found something useful on the Internet.

It was an article on Yahoo about nine daily habits that will make us happier. The article promised “immediate results” which (of course) caused my gullible alert meter to skyrocket. I’ve edited them a bit for personal use as New Year’s resolutions:

1. Start each day with expectation.

The article noted that life “lives up to (or down to) your expectations” and advises you to think “something wonderful is going to happen today” when you first get up in the morning. If you and your loved ones make it through the day alive, something wonderful has indeed happened so this one is a no-brainer. My personal edit to this one would be to look for the wonderful in my life and expect to find at least one if not many.

2. Take time to plan and prioritize.

Article advice is to “pick one thing that, if you get it done today, will move you closer to your highest goal and purpose in life. Then do that first.” My highest goal and purpose in life has nothing to do with achieving status or accumulating wealth. It is to become the best human being I can be. The real trick is to remember to be and do that in each moment even after some nutjob has just cut me off on the Washington beltway going 75 mph.

3. Give a gift to everyone you meet.

The article defines gift as a “smile, a word of thanks or encouragement, a gesture of politeness, even a friendly nod.” It also admonishes readers to “never pass beggars without leaving them something.” For those of you who claim that giving to the homeless just encourages them to remain homeless, here is my experience with that: most of the people who are homeless are not there out of choice. If they could cope with life better, they would. The awful truth is that they cannot for reasons too numerous to list here. You could not rescue them if you tried. I follow my conscience and do what helps me sleep at night.

4. Deflect partisan conversations.

The article advises to “bow out” of conversations about politics and religion but I look upon these conversations as opportunities to find out what is really going on inside the other person. I don’t have to engage in an argument, but I can bring out my inquisitive self and just keep asking questions like “why do you say that?” and “what makes you feel that way?”

5. Assume people have good intentions.

The article states an immutable truth: “Since you can’t read minds, you don’t really know the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’ that people do.” However, it implies that you should assume “good intentions” rather than “evil motives” with regards to “other people’s weird behaviors”. My feeling is that I have to use some judgment about those “weird behaviors” and get more information before I assume anything good or bad.

6. Eat high quality food slowly.

The article recommends that we “eat something really delicious, like a small chunk of fine cheese or an imported chocolate” once a day and to “focus . . . taste . . . savor it.” Why only once a day? Why is only fine cheese or imported chocolate “really delicious”? And, why only “high quality food”? Food (REAL food, people!) is more satisfying if eaten slowly and consciously.

7. Let go of your results.

The article tells us that worry is “the big enemy of happiness” and advises us to not focus on “events that are outside” of our control. Once we have done all that we can about any situation, we need to let go of the results. A good deed done does not necessarily translate into a good outcome.

8. Turn off “background” TV.

The article states that “the entire point of broadcast TV is to make you dissatisfied with your life so that you’ll buy more stuff.” I don’t know that this is true. I see plenty of things on television that make very happy that I have my life and not someone else’s life. That being said, I agree with turning off the noise for a little while each day. Embracing solitude and silence helps reduce stress.

9. End each day with gratitude.

The article recommends each day writing down at least one wonderful thing that happened such as “making a child laugh.” I can’t argue with keeping a gratitude journal but I encourage you to find at least three things each day to be grateful for. Make it your assignment each morning knowing that you can’t duplicate items from day to day.

And here is my personal habit that I am adding: live your life as a question. Quit seeking the answers and instead, live into the question you are asking. For more about that, see my article at Loyola’s Meaning Making blog.

Finally, this is my year of Living the Prayer. Praying has always seemed to me to be a very passive sort of activity, so I generally pulled it out only when I had no other choice (the prayer was usually preceded by terminology similar to “oh, crap!”). Something in my realization of what “eternal presence” signifies has caused me to sit up and take notice that while there are always beginnings and endings, there are also continuings (<=== is this a real word?).

Welcome to my continuings.

©2013 by Barbara L. Kass

The presence of obligation

January 1, 2011

Well, it’s the new year and, no, I don’t have a single resolution. I left resolutions lying by the side of the road when I took my first steps down my reality path. They are probably all still lying there in a jumbled decaying heap occasionally oozing out a noxious trickle of good intentions gone bad.

It was the obligations that wore me down. Once I make a resolution, I feel obligated to fulfill it. As the year makes its relentless appearance day after day after day, the new resolutions I make tangle with the old ones and suddenly my life is full of these obligations to myself, to others, and to imagined beings I think hold the key to my destiny. Often, they are contradictory and in direct conflict with each other. Sometimes, taking good care of me means saying “no” to someone in need and exiting the presence of nasty people.

My personal scrutiny discovered that obligations are not always solidly and clearly defined. They tend to get amorphous, bordering between the wants and choices and the musts and shoulds. It also does not matter. An obligation is a burden. It is a burden made by some agreement.

My obligations can come from a sense of love or duty. I feel obligated to contribute to my granddaughter’s well-being. I let elderly people or people holding babies have my seat on the Metro train when it is crowded.

My obligations are delivered through course of law. I am obligated to drive my vehicle safely in a manner that does not endanger others. I am obligated to pay taxes on my income.

There is an obligation that is a debt . . . it is attached to the favor that someone did for me. The bank lent me money to buy a car and I am obligated to pay the bank back. If I ask someone for a ride to work, I feel obligated to contribute towards the gas.

What about favors that people do for me that I do not ask for and do not expect? Is gratitude enough of an obligation or am I obligated to return the favor in kind? What about people who upon first appearance seem to be causing me problems yet as I work through the problem, I discover something amazing about myself or end up helping another person? What obligation do I owe that person who first appeared to stir things up?

Some people are out there doing favors for others with the expectation that the favor will come back to them in some form. Are they then being truly altruistic or is the favor really a bribe to the universe?

Because I have resources, am I obligated to share those resources? And, if so, with whom? When?

So many questions . . . and it isn’t even noon yet.

The year is already laughing at me.

Typical.

©2011 by Barbara L. Kass

the presence of free will

July 24, 2010

On my internal quest to reconcile the God of my childhood with the reality of who I am, I struggle with the all-encompassing definitions of God.

In the July 2010 issue of Science of Mind, the 22nd daily guide, the quotes and text define God as humans being God. A quote from Emma Curtis Hopkins says “No word can express your understanding of God. You are It.” I can interpret this two ways. First, “It” is me. In other words, I am God. A second interpretation is that I am my understanding of God. My question is: If this is true, is it true for all humans? Even the ones who commit atrocities against the earth and their fellow creatures? Are they God, too? Or, are they expressing their understanding of God? Our entire history up to the present moment is full of examples of people behaving stupidly, disregarding other’s beliefs, disrespecting boundaries, and preying upon the weak and helpless to express their God or their understanding of God.

A second quote says “The only God man knows is the God of his own Inner Life; he can know no other.” This quote indicates that God is a manifestation of our own creation. You are reading this and you know what God means to you. What you might be thinking is that I don’t know what God means to me. I suggest that you suspend that thought for a moment and consider that I am God struggling to define my presence and define myself through this human being everyone calls Barbara.

As a human, I have my human conditioning, limits, beliefs, and free will. I choose whether or not I believe in the existence of God. I choose whether or not to become more conscious and aware. I even choose how God is expressed through me. In spite of my belief that we are all God (the One, Spirit, Divine), I don’t believe that I am a marionette dancing to the pull of strings upon my body and soul. When I am in touch with my own eternal spirit, my true presence who ventured into human existence, the touch of God is inherent in my being. In those moments, God is no longer struggling to define his/her/my/itself. And it is not because I discovered who God is or how God behaves. It is because eternity’s wisdom becomes one with my human existence and my feelings, thoughts, choices, and actions come from the all-knowing, the all-understanding. This knowledge and understanding are not whirls of timeless memories of all that has ever existed. Rather, they are intentions and ways of being that I have evolved in my eternal presence.

Because I came from God, because I exist within God even with my free will, all that I express is God. The only decision I need to make from moment to moment is how I want the God who is me to live and be seen.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass