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Providential Dynamics

Tudor

Tudor (Photo credit: TBoard)

Yesterday, I saw an advertisement for a self help program. The tag line begged to ask the question, “What is the number one reason your dreams are failing you?”  

To me, this is a rather bizarre question, but I know what the program is probably getting at. So, I’ve decided to throw in my two cents on the subject.

Assuming you are an adult, at any given moment in time, you are exactly where you’ve lead yourself. You are exactly where and what you’ve always wanted. You are the fulfillment of your own dreams and aspirations. Even if you think this is not the case in your own life, it is you, and only you, who shifts the gears and steers the wheels toward your own destiny.

You are exactly where and what you’ve always wanted. You are the fulfillment of your own dreams and aspirations. The Cosmos will bend over backwards to get you what you’re asking for. Unfortunately, such providence is not in the rack of candy bars beside the checkout counter at the grocery store. The Cosmos is not set up for instant gratification. There tends to be a delay in the process. If your dreams are failing you, it’s probably because you’ve outgrown the ones that got you where you are today, replaced by new dreams and aspirations.

I should point out here that dreams and aspirations are not fulfilled from the thoughts of the conscious mind, which tends to be impetuous and hedonistic. Dreams and aspirations are fulfilled from the thoughts of the subconscious mind, which tends to concern its self with the survival and continuity of its mechanism. Your conscious desire to be a multi – millionaire may not be congruent with your subconscious desire to keep a consistent flow of food on the table.  The good news is, your pragmatic subconscious mind gets its view of the World from your impetuous conscious mind.

Lets examine this dynamic on a superficial level.

Lets say you have a thing for Tudor cottages. You think Tudor cottages are simply the coolest style of house in which a person could live. You want to build a Tudor cottage for yourself, and go live in it. You start gathering Tudor cottage blueprints, Tudor cottage wood, Tudor cottage nails, Tudor cottage sinks and Tudor cottage toilets. You marshal all your Tudor cottage stuff out to a spot in the woods, and start building yourself a Tudor cottage. You measure twice, cut once. line things up, and nail them together in Tudor cottage fashion. You are going to have yourself a Tudor cottage.

Somewhere along the process, you see a ranch style house … level, long, sleek, no stairs to climb. You start thinking how cool it would be to live in a house like that. Your tastes have evolved. You have a new dream, a new desire, a new aspiration. However, you can’t just stop working on your Tudor cottage, tear it down, and start building a ranch house. You have a lot of time, energy, and resources tied up in this Tudor cottage. All the stuff you have lined up for building a house is Tudor cottage stuff, not ranch house stuff. You then drudge through finishing your Tudor cottage to get a roof over your head.

Your dreams of building and living in a ranch style home did not fail you. They simply evolved away from your dreams of building and living in the Tudor cottage you already have in progress. However, if you keep the dream alive, you will more than likely build yourself and live in a ranch style home.

Hopefully, I won’t wait another two years to post an article on this blog. However, till next time, remember, you are spectacular, so dream big, and dream often.

Finding Your Why

We have a new year coming at us, and it will be here shortly. Think of all the possibilities. Think of all the good things waiting for you. Think of all the things you’re going to accomplish over the next twelve months. I’m sure you have a list of resolutions already prepared.

All too often, we write out our resolutions for the coming year, and file them in the garbage can shortly after the First of January. Our intentions seem to start out enthusiastic, but wane quickly with all the other things we have on our plate. We can’t seem to get the ‘how’ of our resolutions knitted into our agenda.

Someone once gave me a few great words of wisdom on this very subject. Once you determine what it is you want, figure out why you want it, and the how will fall into place. It’s one of the orders of the Cosmos.

Here’s an exercise to help you find your why. Take the first item from your list of resolutions, and write it on a separate piece of paper. You should do this with all your goals, but we’ll just focus on one for this exercise. The next step is to ask yourself why you want that item to come into fruition. Write the reason down. Next, ask yourself why that reason is. Write it down. Next, ask yourself why the previous reason is. Write it down. Do this at least four or five levels deep. The object is to get right down to the core motivation for your desire. Why do you really, really want this, and, do you really want it at all?

If nothing else, you may be surprised at what you find out about your particular desire. I was. I conducted this exercise with an all time favorite resolution, ‘I want to make a lot of money.’

I wrote down on a piece of paper, ‘I want to make a lot of money.’ In the first place, I should have specified an amount, and also specified a deadline, but that’s all another lesson for another time.

Next, I asked myself, ‘Why do I want to make a lot of money?’ I answered, ‘Because, I want to be able to pay for stuff when I want it.’ I wrote that answer down.

Next, I asked myself, ‘Why would I want to be able to pay for stuff when I want it?’ My answer, ‘Because, I don’t like being without things when I want them.’ I wrote that answer down.

Next, I asked myself, ‘Why do I not like being without things when I need them?’ ‘Because, I’ve already been there, and I’ve already done that, and I don’t want to go through it ever again.’

Next, I asked myself, ‘Why would I not want to go through ‘it’ ever again?’ I answered, ‘Because I’ve been cold, and I’ve been hungry, and I’ve worn rags, at the same time having other mouths to feed, faces to warm, and bodies to clothe, a burden on my friends and family.’

I will be honest with you, this particular exercise did conger up several unhappy memories. However, this was a small price to pay to get at the core ‘why’ of my goal. My analysis tended to indicate to me that my motivation was not necessarily to become flamboyantly rich, but to make enough money to be independent and free from excessive discomfort.

The point is, my core ‘why’ does not necessarily match my goal. I honestly would love to be filthy rich. I’d love to be able to run out on a whim and buy a brand new bass boat fitted with all the bells and whistles. Knowing my core ‘why,’ I am able to guide, and tweak it in such a direction that someday I may be able to do just that. However, for now, such activity, even on a much smaller scale, would contradict my core ‘why.’

Determine what you want from life; explore the reasons why. Fine tune your list. Get what you really want. You are spectacular.


From the Tiny Acorn Grows

There is an old saying. You’ve probably heard it. ‘From a tiny acorn, the mighty oak tree grows.’ It is a truism, oak trees grow from acorns; ‘acorn’ being the name given to the oak tree seed. This old saying is used as an analogy to demonstrate growth, or growing into. It is most often applied in my culture to give heart to children feeling diminutive, and insignificant.

This is a good saying to encourage children to look forward, to hope, and to dream about what they may turn out to be. However, there is much more wisdom in this saying than is commonly gleaned. It demonstrates much more than the potential for growth and greatness.

The acorn already knows what it’s going to be. It doesn’t even think about it, it is genetically programmed to become an oak tree. The acorn is not distracted by the glories of becoming a fireman, nor an astronaut. An oak tree is what it will become, come Hell or high water.

The acorn is focused on becoming an oak tree. It is genetically programmed to be so. In every moment of every day its every action is taken to become an oak tree. It doesn’t care about the weather, nor the Stock Market, nor its neighbors opinion. It will become an oak tree.

The acorn gathers to it all the resources at its disposal, and applies them to becoming an oak tree. It is genetically programmed to do so. It doesn’t bother with what it doesn’t need, nor does it waste the resources it has. If an acorn doesn’t need a second blender, it doesn’t buy one, no matter how shiny it is, nor how much it’s on sale.

Humans are not like acorns. Humans have so many things from which to choose, from what to become, from what to own, from what to do. While it is impossible for the acorn to become distracted in any way from its end result, it is difficult for the Human not to.

Conversely, the acorn can only become an oak tree. It can not become an astronaut, nor a fireman, nor a butcher, nor a baker, nor a candle stick maker. It will never be able to calculate a trajectory to the Moon, nor Mars, nor the Crab Nebula. It will never be able to write a book on stamp collecting, nor playing marbles. It will never be able to look up in the night sky and wonder of what the stars are made, nor how much force it would take to throw a rock from the Earth to the edge of the Cosmos, nor even question whether there is an edge to the Cosmos or not.

What can humans become that an acorn can not! The choices are theoretically endless. However, we need to make those choices if we are to become our own oak tree. We need to be our own type of acorn. We need to take a dream we have, and say ‘This is the one.’ We need to turn that dream into a goal. We need to stay focused on that goal, no matter what anyone says, and no matter what else is going on around us. We should apply our resources toward that goal, and not be wasteful of them. We may admire other endeavors, but we should stay diligent toward our own.

We should also remember, the acorn does not turn into an oak tree over night. It takes around 30 years for an acorn to become an oak tree; and even then, it’s still considered to be in its youth. It takes time to become an oak tree, but not to worry. The oak trees growth is marked in stages. It’s an acorn, and then it’s a sprout. Then it becomes a sapling, then a little tree, then a bigger tree, then a bigger tree still, and then, a dominating, prolific, majestic oak tree.

Dream a dream. Turn that dream into a goal. Plan to reach that goal. Work on that goal, stay with it, do not become distracted. You are spectacular, and how much more than an oak tree?

A Visit with Psalm 23

I am a linguist by education. My language specialty is Hebrew, the language I studied most thoroughly. In linguistics, I’m what you might call a word harvester, but I’m not sure such a classification truly exists.

There is a funny thing about words. They have no meaning. They are only utterances, noises. They are like letters in a writing system. Letters are nothing more than squiggles on a page, unless one knows what the squiggles represent, facilitating the individuals interpretation of the combination of squiggles in context.

So it is with words. Our knowledge of these utterances, when produced systematically, allow us to interpret the intent of the utterer. However, even knowledge of each individual word  may still lead to confusion, and misinterpretation. I once had a friend from Peru, who spoke impeccable English, which is my mother tong. I wanted to express my emphatic appreciation for something, the details of which I can’t remember at this time. I sprung the antiquated idiomatic expressioncool and groovy‘ on him. He had a difficult time reconciling ‘a chilled state‘ and ‘having small, carved ruts‘ into the subject matter. We had to have a little talk.

Idioms permeate most, if not all, language systems. It is good to at least know they exist when interpreting. It is better to know the meaning of the idiom in addition to its respective parts. Sometimes we have to jump through hoops in order to get at the core meaning of an expression, or, at least help us gain a better understanding.

A while back, I read through Norman Vincent Peales book You Can if You Think You Can. I found it very interesting, and enlightening. One of the more interesting things I found in this book is an interpretation of Psalm 23, ‘The Lord is my Shepherd …’ Taken from a Japanese version of the Bible, it was then translated into English. I hope you find it as intriguing as did I.


Psalm 23

The Lord is my Pace Setter, I shall not rush;

He makes me stop and rest for quiet intervals,

He provides me with images of stillness,

Which restore my serenity.

He leads me in the way of efficiency through calmness of mind,

And His guidance Is Peace.

Even though I have a great many things to accomplish each day,

I will not fret,

For his prescience is here,

His Timelessness,

His all importance,

Will keep me in balance,

He prepares refreshment and renewal in the midst of my activity,

By anointing my mind with His Oils of Tranquility.

My cup of joyous energy overflows,

Surely harmony and effectiveness shall be the fruits of my hours,

For I shall walk,

In the Pace of my Lord,

And I shall dwell in His House forever.

Amen!

Source: You Can if You Think You Can by N. V. Peale, ©Norman Vincent Peal 1974,Prentice – Hall Inc., Englewood Cliffs, NJ, ISBN 0-13-972547-4

A Pondering

Humans are monkeys, nearly hairless as they are, and living in houses as they do. They are a very complexly developed functionary of the Cosmos. For whatever reason the Cosmos feels the need for a functionary such as me, I am clueless. I’m just happy to be here as I am, and not still a mud puddle by the ocean somewhere.

The Cosmos experimented with the concept. It set up a nice laboratory where dirt and water could flourish as flora and fauna. The dinosaur wasn’t working out, so it abandoned that project almost entirely, and it ignored the mouse for much further research nor development … and the shark it’s left pretty much alone for a very, very long time. The Cosmos settled on an obnoxious creature living in trees, very clever, and ever so inquisitive. Intrigued, the Cosmos singled out and shepherded certain of these creatures toward the station of Humanity.

This all brings up a question I’ve often pondered since my childhood. Where are we going with this? Next year, we pretty much know what Humanity will be doing, pretty much more of the same. The process is excruciatingly slow from the perspective of an impatient advanced monkey with extreme restrictions on its ability to experience time, and space.

What about 10,000 years from now, or 50,000 … and I know you’d still spoil your childrens childrens childrens children. What will they be like? What will they be doing? Will they have big bumps on their heads and saber – tooth fangs? Will they still yearn for a day off so they can go enjoy an ice cream cone in peace and unhurried?

I do know that this planet we are on, and this stellar system of which we are part is just a little over half way through its life span. I do know that at some point within the next 5,000,000,000 years (that’s billions with a ‘B’), we … Humanity, and all of our couches, and chairs, and pets, and farm animals, and corn stocks … need to be up, and off this planet. At some point in the very distant future our star, the Sun, will peter out, and go into what could be considered a pathetic, weak, wimpy Super Nova. Weak, and wimpy as this event will be on stellar scales of catastrophes, this event will emaciate, and then devour the Earth. The Sun will swell up into a reddish-orange ball of fire engulfing most of the stellar system of which we are now a part.

This isn’t such a bad thing, when you sit down and think about it. It’s a motivation. This future event will give us a really good reason to move before the old dam breaks, and the valley gets flooded. This’ll give us a really, really good excuse to get up off the couch, and go see what else is out there, and maybe even socialize a little bit with other advanced – monkey type things the Cosmos has running around. You never know, there might be a tree out there with advanced intelligence … just a thought, but wouldn’t that be neat thing with which to sit down and talk.

This is going to be a very complicated, difficult, wrought – with – trouble project of which to undertake. It may take the next five billion years to figure it out, till it’s an adequately operational endeavor. We already seem to be pointed in that direction.

Till the time comes, we maybe ought to appreciate what we have going for us as a group, and take care of what we’ve got right now, and continue to develop as Humans.

You’re spectacular.

Who Says the Words?

“Who says words with my mouth?” This is probably the most profound question for introflective thought I’ve ever heard. It was posed to me through an ancient poem written by a 13th Century Persian poet, the Sufi philosopher Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī, more commonly referred to as just Rumi today.

I heard this question, and I thought to myself, ‘Ok! I’ll play your silly game. Who does say words with my mouth?’ I shut my eyes, and went looking. I quickly found the mechanism for saying the words, but not the director. My modest and humble knowledge of brain housing group function and physiology assisted me in finding where the words were stored, but I didn’t find who strung the words together. I looked deeper.

I found myself standing on the stage of my mind. ‘You big dummy!’ I said to myself standing on the stage of my mind, ‘You are the one who says words with your mouth.’ However, if I am standing on the stage of my own mind talking to myself, then to whom is the me standing on the stage of my talking? This started a descending spiral of antilogic which I quickly abandoned.

Who does say words with my mouth? Who does see things with my eyes? Who does taste things with my tongue, and who feels things with my fingers? The mechanism The – I – That – Is – Me occupies perceives them, interprets them, and stores them in memory. These are all superficial functions. Where is the observer? I never did find The – I – That – Is – Me.

My own speculation is that the Observer is Consciousness. I also speculate that Consciousness is one of the Basic Constructs of the Cosmos, the others being Time, Space, Matter, and Energy. We all know that Humans, like everything else we discern, are made up of Matter, propelled by Energy, occupying Space, in Time. Consciousness is a little harder on which to grasp as it is that which actually does the discerning.

Carl Sagan proposed that Mankind is a mechanism for the Cosmos to gaze back on its self. I, myself, adhere to that proposal … and I’m really glad my own, particular belief system lacks the dogmatic restrictions which would prevent me from exploring the minds of ancient Sufi poets, and modern Atheist scientists.

I’ve provided a nice, jazzy, multi – media, Modern English interpretation of the poem Who Says Words with My Mouth? by Rumi for your enjoyment, below. And, just remember, you are spectacular.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2y8YSw7fUWw]

The Vista

My older sister Alisa died very recently. She is, and always has been one of my most favorite of people. Her sudden and unexpected death left me very sad. Like most people, I’ve had a lot of sadness in my life. Unfortunately, I do not deal with sadness well. However, I have developed a technique for dealing with sadness. I let The Observer take the helm, while the I that is me goes below decks to be distraught and hapless.

A few days later I was driving home from work in the late afternoon. The Observer said to the I that is me, ‘Come on up here and look at this!’ So, the I that is me moped up and peered out the window of my eyes. The Observer said to the I that is me, ‘Now! That’s pretty, isn’t it.’ And, it was. Broadly, for miles and miles in front was the dark green Nebraska countryside capped by a pale blue sky which, its self, was layered with delicate formations of fluffy white clouds. ‘Yes it is.’ the I that is me responded, ”Lisa is seeing this.’

When I heard what the I that is me had said, it made me step back and think for a moment. The I that is me didn’t say, ”Lisa should see this.’ The I that is me said ”Lisa is seeing this.’ It actually gave me a great deal of comfort.

My belief system dictates that life is a union of the material with the corporeal; specifically, matter, energy, time, and space with consciousness. When the two are no longer able to sustain one another each member of the team returns to its respective domain, no longer encumbered by each other.

I can travel to Alisas grave site, and see where her body is buried. It may be that she can travel to me, and enjoy the material World through my eyes. She has now fully rejoined with what those like me would call The Observer, others The Source, others still might call God.

In any event, this is yet another reason we should choose to be happy, positive, and find the beauty in all things. You may have your own Alisa wanting to catch a glimpse at a broad and beautiful horizon. She may not be inclined to come to your house when you’re in a foul mood, when you are seeing things as dank and despicable.

You are spectacular.