“Telling the truth and making someone cry is better than telling a lie and making someone smile.”
“Telling the truth and making someone cry is better than telling a lie and making someone smile.”
As we grow to adulthood, we humans learn to override many of our natural tendencies. We “socialize” our children, and teach them to “behave” and resist many of their natural impulses. By the time we’re adults most of us are so disconnected from nature, and from our own nature, that we accept “adult” roles and responsibilities that pay the bills but stifle us, rub us the wrong way and even cause harm to each other and our environment.
Somewhere along the line, we lose touch with the simple wisdom of our natural instincts.
Needless to say, there are many spiritual lessons we can learn from observing nature. Just under the surface, our animal instincts are still there, just waiting to be tapped into, and reactivated, and honored — and what better role models than the animals we love and share our lives and homes with?
1. Keep a curious spirit and approach uncertainty with a positive attitude.
2. Physical touch is natural, and vital for our well-being.
3. Get plenty of rest, and spend time soaking up the sun.
4. Show gratitude. All it takes is a purr, or a squinty smile.
5. Stretch regularly. It’s good for body and soul.
6. Live in the moment. There is only now.
7. Play. Play. Play. Play. Play!
8. A happy life is a simple life. All we really need is love, a full belly, and a quiet place to rest.
9. Let the inner wisdom of instinct and intuition guide you. If it doesn’t feel good, walk away.
10. Be fearless. Live like you’re on your ninth life.
~Dedicated to Gracie the cat, whose simple, loving approach to life inspired this article.
Artwork by Ascension Avatar
“Genuinely wise, balanced, whole, and mature politicians are rare. Too many leadership choices are motivated by greed and fear and enabled by immaturity, paranoia, and lack of moral development. The politicians we have today are spiritually stunted and immature, yet despite this, they continue to get elected.”
Recent events seem to show our world being turned upside down. With political, ecological, economical and religious stress everywhere, we’ve been experiencing one crisis after another, with no end in sight.
Although there is currently a wave of change occurring at a global scale, the natural state of human beings is one of crisis.
We are the only living beings (that we know of) that are aware of our own existence, of the changes we go through internally and externally, and how we expect the world should be. We are constantly in the process of going from the known toward the unknown, the familiar towards the unexpected. It’s no surprise that we are constantly in crisis, the crisis of being alive. We feel this crisis in our perpetual states of existential anxiety, tension, and anguish.
Our basic spiritual desire to answer the questions “Who am I?” and “Why am I here?” are born from the crisis of being alive and not knowing what on earth to do with ourselves.
At a fundamental level, we’re wired to dislike change because it is something we (the ego) can’t control. But our resistance to growth keeps us stranded in a state of stagnation. As a result of this inner stagnation, many of us try to fill this void with all kinds of distractions: work, material consumption, travel, food, socializing, movies, video games, and much more.
The truth is that this abyss within us is always here. But many of us refuse to face this void until we’re forced to, usually through a crisis of sorts.
Every great change in history has occurred in a period of crisis. From Martin Luther King’s revolution and Gandhi’s movement to the French Revolution, the most effective changes have come from the most intense periods of dissatisfaction.
And we’re in such a period right now.
With political and social instability on the rise, we’re starting to see the wide-reaching impacts of chaos and the way it breaks apart our old patterns and paradigms.
Have you ever noticed that when everything is static, we as a collective feel socially indifferent to any particular view? As a result, not much change is possible. But when chaos arises, change is not only inevitable, it is destined.
This is why crisis is actually a necessary force. Without it, we would be stuck rotting away in our ingrained habits, beliefs, and structures.
Rethinking our system and structures is expensive, and there are a whole bunch of people who are invested in preserving the status quo. This system is protected by wealthy elites armed with the power of law, privately owned media, large multinational companies, propaganda, the police force, and the army.
The only way that we, as the other “99%” can make a real, soulful change, is through the force of crisis. Crisis is the only thing that can motivate us enough to change the way we think, feel, and behave.
We have come to a point where a new vision is needed. It has never been needed as much as it is now. Not only is our Earth in an ecological crisis due to our abuse of it, we’re also experiencing a severe political crisis with untold future repercussions.
For these old foundations to dissolve, we must lay new foundations. But for the new to be born, there must be some birth pains. That’s what the crisis we currently face really is.
The history of politics in Western civilization is full of stories featuring power grabbing or, at best, well-intentioned but psycho-spiritually immature leaders.
Genuinely wise, balanced, whole, and mature politicians are rare. Too many leadership choices are motivated by greed and fear and enabled by immaturity, paranoia, and lack of moral development.
Perhaps our political system is a reflection of our society and education systems that teach us to contribute to the “common good” through self-interest. In our society there is little consideration or exploration of what the “good of the whole” might mean or exploring the primordial questions: “How should I live?” and “How should we all live together?”
Yet when we trace back to the origins of politics we realize how divorced it is from its original Socratic intention as the search for the ideal “good life.”
The good life for Socrates had two primary aspects: what he called “the improvement of one’s soul,” and on the other hand, there is the improvement of one’s society. This sort of Socratic knowledge was what he called wisdom.
This pursuit of wisdom cannot be simply legislated or bureaucratically enforced. The government is only an institution, human-made, and cannot provide the wise society that we seek.
Instead at the center of such a cultural and consciousness revolution must be a spiritual, intellectual and moral rebirth of ourselves as individuals; what Socrates disciple Plato referred to as “Periagoge,” or “a turning around of the soul” toward truth, beauty and good.
The politicians we have today are spiritually stunted and immature, yet despite this, they continue to get elected. In the end, our leaders are a reflection of us as a society, and as a planet at large. Therefore, our social and ecological health are entirely dependent on our capacity as voters to do some intense soulwork, and go through a genuine process of human maturation.
Only once we have more matured Souls on this planet will we realize that “self-interest” actually includes the concern for other people because we are all interconnected.
The current state of our world brings great despair and anguish to all of us, this is especially true for the old souls with mature hearts among us who feel the rape of society and torture of the earth more intensely.
Mature action involves preserving and protecting all that is left while simultaneously exploring our inner selves and reconnecting to our Souls.
Whether it be political or charitable action, mature action must come from an inner place of humbleness, rather than from a place of “needing to do good” which can easily be tainted with all kinds of needs, such as self-gratification, power, and control — as is the case with so many politicians today.
“I find the best way to love someone is not to change them but instead, help them reveal the greatest version of themselves”
~Dr. Steve Maraboli
At a certain point in our spiritual journey we begin to unlock our own inner truth. We no longer are looking to outside sources such as religions, gurus, self-help books, etc. to tell us what to do and how to be, but instead we begin to realize that the answers were inside of us all along.
Not to say that we still don’t read books or open ourselves up to learning from others, but rather we have a more clear connection with our own intuition, which allows us to FEEL the “truth” rather than intellectualize it only.
When we were at the point that we needed outside sources to show us the way, they were coincidentally brought into our lives, either in the forms of other people, reading material, or any modality of spirituality that best fit our own personal needs.
Once, we have graduated from needing the constant affirmation and validation from these outside entities, we most likely will find that we have become the “teacher” that has manifested in someone else’s life in the form of a way-shower.
Then it becomes our turn to be the light on someone else’s path. If you have found yourself in this position, consider your responsibility very carefully. Life is a constant journey of learning and growing, and just like there will be countless teachers on our path of growth, we will also find ourselves in situations that we must be the teacher.
So what is the most effective way of being the light and giving someone advice? How do we go about showing someone the way to their own inner truth while still allowing them to learn their own lessons without our interference?
“A teacher is never a giver of truth; he is a guide, a pointer to the truth that each student must find for himself.”
The only person we will have the power to change is ourselves. No matter how much we want the best for someone, want them to be happy, want them to realize their inner light, or want them to be their best self, we cannot force them to do any of these things.
And just like we had to walk our own journey, complete with struggle, adversity, heartache, sadness, anger, etc.. we must realize that all these things are a part of the human experience, so they too will most likely have to go through all of them.
When we give advice to others we must always realize we are only speaking from our own inner truth, the truth as we know it given the situations and circumstances that we’ve experienced.
However, their life is not ours. Their truth will never be exactly the same as our truth because their mind is not our mind and their life has not been exactly as ours has. What we can do however is be in our own awareness and light so strongly that we become an inspiration for them to find their own awareness and light.
If a person comes to us for advice and questions we can’t come up with a million “You need to…” or “You should do this…”, directives, but instead, only point them in the direction of their own inner light and unconditional love. The only advice there ever is to really give is to accept the “what is” and love yourself anyway.
All arrows should point back to unconditional love of the self… no matter if the person is sad, depressed, frustrated, insecure, it doesn’t matter. As long as they have identified the feeling, felt it without resisting it, accepted themselves for having it and loved it, there can be nothing else to do. Without attaching ourselves to the outcome of whether they follow our advice or not, we actually free ourselves and them.
We don’t fear for them, because we trust that their journey is bringing them to the right people and situations that are perfect for them. And they don’t abandon their own inner self by blindly attaching to whatever we are saying as their ultimate truth, which may not always be what’s best for them.
However, if we find that we have been put in another person’s life to help them, guide them or show them something, we must trust that the Universe is speaking through us in the best and most effective way possible. Without doubting ourselves, we find that our inner light shines automatically and manifests in the best way possible for all parties involved, as long as we trust that it always will.
“As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence actually liberates others.”
We will sometimes be students and we will sometimes be teachers in life. Since we cannot ever know everything about everything, we will find that this role reversal happens over and over throughout our lives.
The most amazing thing about all of this is that as soon as we think we are giving someone else advice and showing them the way, as most teachers know, we realize that we were also giving ourselves the same advice.
Sometimes the Universe brings another person to us in the form of a student, but in actuality in our helping of them, we are actually helping ourselves with the same issue. By being in the form of another person, we were able to look at the situation in a different way, from a 3rd party perspective, that we weren’t able to do when dealing with ourselves and our own life.
As always, we must be the change we wish to see in the world. In doing this, we find that we always attract the right people into our lives, either to teach us something about ourselves or to be the teacher for them.
But if we really pay attention and become super aware of how things happen in this ironic Universe, we realize…. it is always both.
“There’s a thin line between confidence and arrogance… it’s called humility. Confidence smiles, arrogance smirks.”
Somewhere along the line what we recognized as confidence may have been misconstrued a little. We started associating traits like aggressive, loud, opinionated and arrogant with being a confident person. You’ve probably seen the type, or maybe you are the type.
They know FOR SURE that what they believe is the unequivocal truth. Therefore they need to tell everyone about it… constantly.
When they aren’t able to convince someone to believe exactly as they believe they may be caught calling others, “asleep” or a “sheep” or any other plethora of derogatory names that I probably can’t mention here. We also may have misconstrued what it means to be humble a little bit too. Being Humble is associated with weak, shy, meek, and someone who cowers to others.
Someone who is so unsure of themselves or their beliefs that they keep them to themselves and are too insecure to tell everyone they meet their opinion on everything. Is there a way to be both? Can a confident person also be a humble person? In order to answer that question we must dissect what it means to be truly confident, and how does “artificial confidence” come about.
“Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself the whole world accepts him or her”
There are many reasons a person may develop artificial/arrogant confidence. One may be cognitive dissonance, which means they may be holding on to a belief so tightly that when evidence is presented that contradicts this belief they may be completely unwilling to look at the new evidence. They may have become so attached to this belief that it has become a part of their sense of self.
Since they are completely attached to who they think they are it may be a painful experience for them to open their mind up and see things from a different perspective. The actual energy behind holding on to a belief so tightly that you are unwilling to let it go is fear.
The human ego is always afraid to be found out, so to speak, therefore, any threat of someone or something coming along and debunking one of its belief attachments may bring about a negative emotional reaction such as anger. Anytime anger is involved we can be assured that fear is the culprit behind it.
Genuine confidence doesn’t need to get angry because there is no part that fears being wrong or that others aren’t believing them. Another reason a person may develop artificial confidence is because they are insecure.
An insecure person may not truly believe in their theory or themselves so they feel if they can convince others that they are absolutely the right one they can at the same time convince themselves.
This is often done in an aggressive manner, because they are attached to the outcome of people believing them. Again, the fear behind not achieving the outcome they desire is causing them to act in a rude or aggressive manner. Genuine confidence can remain quiet, kind and humble because there is no underlying fear that needs other people to believe exactly what they are saying.
Genuine confidence is humble. It kind of realizes that most people are operating from their own level of understanding and trying to convince them that they are “stupid” or “wrong” usually won’t work anyway. The humble part of them realizes that LIVING and BEING their truth is always more effective than incessant talking or convincing ever will be.
Also, humble confidence isn’t attached to being right. In fact, it happily welcomes new ideas and beliefs because it knows that only when it opens itself up to seeing things from all perspectives is it able to perhaps learn something new.
“The time which people spend in convincing others, even half of this time if they spend on themselves, they can achieve a lot in life.”
In order to maintain humble confidence about our beliefs we must do two things. One is question ourselves….constantly. You may ask yourself, “Do I know absolutely without a doubt that this belief is true?” Meaning, “Did I see it with my own eyes”- normally the answer to this will be no.
So not to say that you won’t have some beliefs about things that involve situations that you weren’t physically there, but it just means that you always maintain a healthy sense of doubt about your beliefs.
This doesn’t mean that you’re unsure of yourself, it means you are wise, because it means you are open to hearing new evidence. Or you can ask yourself, “Is it possible that I am so attached to this belief that it has become a part of who I think I am?” Or even, “Does it matter if the person I am telling about my belief believes me or not? In this present moment does the fact that they are convinced or not convinced change anything in this exact moment in time?”
“Confidence is silent.
Insecurity is loud.”
You may find that most of the time, the answer to that is “no.” The other thing a person can do in order to remain humbly confident in their beliefs is to realize that every person they come in contact with can only understand things from their own level of understanding. Which means they are only operating from their own personal programming which may or may not be completely different than yours.
So yes, there may be times when you tell someone something and you enlighten them to something that they hadn’t thought of before but there will also be times where any effort to convince will fall on deaf ears.
When you are unattached to the outcome, you will be fine with either without getting frustrated or angered. Once we realize that our “truth” may not be someone else’s “truth” we can completely relax into interpersonal relationships and take every interaction with a human being as a potential learning experience, which will allow us to always be learning and growing as a person.