Philosopy 101 for Everyday Life
Philo is the Greek word for love or loving. Sophy is study. No, that doesn't mean "I love to study". It's more like the love of study, and what is more of a learning experience than life itself? There is an expression, "Learn something new everyday". So let's learn about life, and what makes us happy in our dealings with the world around us.
The collection of viewpoints are my own, which makes sense for me and help make me function on a better level. With a little bit of luck, they will make you feel better, so let me know what you think! The comment section is available for your thoughts.
I want to feel good everyday.
The outside is a mirror of the inside
We all have our good sides and our bad sides, but as ordinary people, we don't have too much time to think about this. There's the job, the kids, the family, the bills - the precious moments to yourself to be still, read the newspaper, enjoy a cappuccino with a friend or walk the dog.
Some problems just don't seem to go away. An unreasonable boss or spouse. The feeling of being an outsider. The years creeping by, with little or nothing to show for them. Money problems. A nagging feeling - lack of self confidence, regret and disappointment. Logical or not, it's there. And now what?
- A day of life is worth more than all the treasures of the universe. Ask yourself without delay: what can I do to get a grip and take control of this unreasonable situation?
Midas' touch - as we all remember - enabled him to turn all he touched to gold. Besides the meaning of materiality not equaling happiness, the other truth is that we all possess the Midas touch. (Remember? In the fable, everything was fine until the moment when his children came to embrace him. Unfortunately, they too turned into gold! And without them, his life meant nothing at all!)
The Midas touch is that a word, conversation, gesture of appreciation or goodwill, can turn the tide to a better outcome. So - do what you can in this moment - make a phonecall, set some firm boundaries - let today be the catalyst for change.
- The environment is, fairly or unfairly, a reflection of ourselves.
There is a Russian proverb, "Don't blame the mirror if your face is awry". We are the ones who need to set the tone.This takes determination and plenty of positive energy. After all, we can't fall undertow to the dog - eat - dog environment around us or else we too are a part of the problem. The energy can come from meditation, books, and good company. Getting adequate rest and trying to avoid negativity can allow the positive strength you need to climb up and out of the pit that seems to keep finding you.
Good books are surprisingly uplifting. Victor Hugo's Les Miserables, Tale of Two Cities, and so on have many nuggets of truth. Once heard "You will be the same person in ten years - the only difference is the people you've met and the books you've read". Fuel your soul with some inspiration - the public library is full of possibilities.
- Parents and bosses are in a position of authority - they lead. Leaders are meant to be followed.
Respect your elders. Look at the birds flying in the V-pattern. Each one takes a turn at leading, while giving each the vantage view of where the flock is flying. Next time it will be your turn to lead! Let's respect those in charge, it will help us in the long run. It's not easy to be the boss and responsible for the actions of others.
- Respect others and respect will be given back as surely as a shadow follows a form.
Try to give the other person the benefit of the doubt.
- The past is gone. Take a deep breath - forgive yourself - and move on. Today is here! Pope John Paul II forgave his would-be assassin in his ambulance ride to the hospital. Regardless of your religious views, his stance is worth considering. "How can we face God when we can't forgive one another?"
A reminder - we know that yesterday is a cancelled check. Tomorrow is a promissory note. Today, and only today is cash in hand! If an apology is in order, tell the other person, "please forgive me, I definitely made a mistake". If the apology is made sincerely and still not accepted, you did your part - and the only thing left to do is to move forward from the incident.
- Appreciation - the ability to say, think or feel "thank you!" is very important.
The job - admittedly - sucks. But, thank goodness - in this shaky economic situation - I have a steady job and reliable income. Of course, I'll absolutely find a better job. In the meantime, as a sign of respect to myself, my coworkers and the firm, I will do my best while I'm still here.
- Everything we say, do and think is felt and responded to.
That jerk! Oh - I guess he wasn't paying attention. Oh, I just heard his kid is seriously ill. That poor guy!
- Appearances and reality are not the same!
Don't judge your insides with another person's outsides. You never know what terrible difficulties they may be facing. Many people suffer in their mansions.
- Don't blame anyone - what happened, happened.
When you point a finger (of blame) there are three pointing back at yourself! It's true - try it. Kind of funny, huh!
You and I deserve to be happy, healthy, prosperous and at peace! All this and more - Absolutely!
Believe - and receive!
A wise man once said, "a beautiful statue, if constructed of excrement is, in effect, only excrement." The bottom line is - QUALITY.
We are the main actor, actress, character etc. of our life's play. Let's hold our heads high. The audience is around us. We are writing in the journals of our lives. Our children and our friends see our every move. Let's not obsess over this, just take the initiative - let's do our very best!
The 1980's band re-did an old Ella Fitzgerald hit from the late 1930's. The title? 'Taint What You Do, It's the Way that You Do It". When making lunch, let it be a Great lunch. When washing the car, let the chrome Shine. When brushing your hair, putting on make-up remember - today is Your Day.
Even the most terrible thief presumably loves his wife and child. That terrible person you know has some goodness within. We all have our moments - naturally! - but watch those mental processes. "well, you know, he or she is such and such" - try to bail out of this type of thinking. There is a grain of goodness in everyone. Danger is to be avoided. But those we can't escape from, we must find a way to embrace mentally "Yes, she is terrible sometimes. But she is a good mother as far as I can see." It's unreasonable to say that anyone is 100% bad or no good.
The Importance of Dialogue
Social networking is the new buzzword. But what creates value the most, although it is the most time consuming? One-on-one dialogue.
The secret of Mahatma Ghandi's success was engaging in dialogue, one person at a time. This is the most concrete way to exchange heart to heart bonds and develop trust.
Pray for the bastard
Anger and stress have the ability to give us cancer. There was a study done that the wife or husband of an alcoholic is at greater risk than the alcoholic! This also includes alcoholic-type behaviors (like gamblers, drug addiction, or other compulsive disorders). The significant other was under such a tremendous amount of stress that it was noted that the spouse frequently died beforehand! The immunities in our bodies can only go so far. The best advice I ever heard in keeping healthy - eat lots of fruits and vegetables (fresh, not canned or frozen if possible) because they are chock full of vitamins and other immunities that our bodies need - and even doctors and scientists haven't uncovered it all, yet.
Second of all - let the problem GO. As much as possible, let the hurtful comment go in one ear and out the other. If there is something to learn, keep that part. The other - tone of voice unwelcome advice and so on - forget it. A catholic priest once told me "Flush" - we know what that means! Don't let the smell of nasty things get to you. Push the flush button and Move On!
Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, pray for the bastard. They obviously have a problem or else they wouldn't be bothering you! I used to pray "that they get everything that they deserve". Now I've changed it, "for his or her happiness". It all makes sense. If they are happier, then the people around them will feel that and their happiness will also increase. It's like a magnification between mirrors.
There comes to a point in life that everything seems stuck. The love of life is nowhere to be seen. The job is boring and new opportunities are elusive. Stuck, stuck, stuck. That 5 pounds simply won't go away. What now?
First of all, a wall is like saying "Congratulations!". A wall is a sign of just how far you have come so far! Imagine fields of grass behind you. You have been traveling weeks, years - and now - it's time to take stock, take a deep breath - and there will be a breakthrough. These moments are not to complain but to "thank" the universe - Gee - I have been able to come so far!
With this new-found appreciation, new energy comes forth. When our fists unclench, the benefits can be received. So bask in your success. After all - you were 20 lbs overweight before, right? Who could imagine that you'd come so far? 75% of the way is done! The burden of the extra 5 seems almost "weightless", right?
Sometimes the formula of what you're doing - let's say learning something, going to school, learning lessons in life - but it takes a little more time than you'd bargained for. That's OK! Remember that there is a reason why it's not happening right now. Either something better is coming around the bend - or whatever it is you need to improve on hasn't been uncovered. Relax. Don't blame yourself. We are all creatures - here on earth to live and learn every day we are alive!. So - let's keep learning!
Once the pressure is off it will be much easier to uncover that missing link of "what I should be doing differently". Like a tiny hole, it can be fixed and then your tires will be firm and fully functional. Our lives are like that, too. Let's fix what we can and simply move on. The hard stuff that we are able to eventually overcome makes us better, more refined people, and gives us the heart to understand our fellows. Then and only then can we consider ourselves to be a friend and a human being.
I heard a story from a friend. Over her coworkers desk was a sign OPPORTUNITYISNOWHERE. How did you read this? I admit, I saw Opportunity is Nowhere, but if you look again it really says Opportunity is Now Here! Dig below your feet. Opportunity is very close at hand. Sometimes within walking distance of your home.
Your Existence is Pure Gold!
The Lotus Blooms in the Muddy Pond
Nothing By Coincidence
Wherever you are now, consider your present circumstances as the ideal recipe for your growth. After all, doesn't the beautiful and pure water lily blossom in the muddy and polluted pond?
Evil will never really "go away". It is by resisting it and developing our own inner goodness that we use a bad situation - like lemons - to make ourselves nobler, more compassionate, and wiser - like lemonade. If everything was rosy and effortless we would simply remain complacent, lazy, and even negative.
In college we must study for examinations - this makes us learn. In life, there are other tests - and by stepping up to the plate to challenge these situations, we become qualitative human beings, capable of showing compassion to our fellows.
- And now, I close this hub with words of a famous European singer, Tosh Proeski. Incidentally, he tragically died a few years later in an airplane crash. It's a very catchy song, voted as song of the year back in 2004, the kind of song that stays with you. It goes like this: