Learning Life’s Lessons

“Life’s really important lessons are learned only one way – alone and with personal suffering. They are never easy, but, once learned, they are yours forever.”

That is a quote from a book I was reading this past week: Sherlock Holmes, The Hidden Years edited by Michael Kurland. It might seem a strange source for inspiration but after all, inspiration strikes when you are ready. My inspiration here is quite straight forward. This is how we see most of our life’s lessons learned. Through the school of hard knocks. That leads me to wonder what the role is of these sorts of blogs and the whole “self-help” industry.

I was talking to a good friend and lamenting that I could not write a book I had in mind because I could not answer the question: Who will read it? In other words, who would I be writing it for? What audience? She made a few suggestions after asking what the subject was that interested me and I came to a realization that there were two things to keep in mind. First, I had something to say to an audience. Second, I could not control whether the audience I had in mind would ever read it or not. My friend’s admonition was to write it anyway! If the intended audience did not read it now, it may later, or another unintended audience may read it and take inspiration.

Now I come to the opening quote. I think that there are indeed other ways to learn lesson of life. However, the best learned lessons when they are internalized and we apply the lesson to ourselves (and our experiences or beliefs). We learn early not to touch a hot stove element, usually not by direct experience but by someone telling us the danger and we see something burn and apply that to ourselves in our imagination. Don’t touch! However, some lessons are a bit esoteric and the effects are more distant. In those cases, if we can find no way to internalize the ideas, we are condemned to not learn and it is only when we suffer the downside that we “learn” the lesson we heard earlier.

I write these entries even if there is no learning taking place all the time. I know from my own experience, that someone may well be inspired in some way to a positive outcome. That turns my crank. I write them to have as a resource for others in times of need. The lesson appears when the student is ready. However, that lesson can only appear if it is “out there” somewhere to be able to appear.

To be sure, we all learn academically from lessons we read and study. That is how we get on in life. We learn stuff and “believe it  in theory”. When we can actually experience it, we then develop a fundamental knowing!! It is in this knowing that the lesson is yours forever. Read widely, learn lots and find ways to try to apply them to your own life whenever you can. Increase your “knowing”.

A basic knowing is that everything is a transition. No matter how bad, it is a transition. Placed in the perspective of time and the role it plays in our lives, you can be happy anyway. More to come.

Universal Guidelines to Live By

My two Universal Guidelines:

  1. Do no harm to others.
  2. Help others who need and will accept help to the level that you are able to help.

The sages through history have espoused some version of “treat others as you yourself would want to be treated”. That is perhaps the higher form of both the Universal Guidelines. You should stop to think before you do anything and ask yourself – “what do I want the outcome to be as a result of this action?” When you do this, you must look far enough out in time in examining the outcomes to see just how they will relate to the two Universal Guidelines.

This seems so basic and straight forward that it is difficult to write about. Yet, I suspect that there is no one alive who can live absolutely consistently in accord with the two Universal Guidelines. We have world strife and wars. We have enslavement. We have huge poverty while we have huge concentration of wealth. We have theft. We have murder. We have one person striking out in anger at another. People leave garbage where ever they please. On and on it goes. All of these are anti-social and create divisions, discord and unhappiness.

My thesis is quite simple. If enough of us will try to live as close to the standards of the two Universal Guidelines as we can, the trend will grow and eventually prevail in a group of people, a location, a region, a country, a group of countries and eventually the world! I liken it to “phasing” in quantum physics. At a certain critical point it will take on a life of its own and line up together so that we are all in concert with each other and the two Universal Guidelines.

Understand, I am not speaking about a bland, vanilla world of sameness. Not at all! There will be plenty of room for difference. Ideas should still be challenged. We will still organize in societies with governments. Everyone at every level will just always work in consideration of the two Universal Guidelines.

Create a dreams catalogue!

Get ready to let your true self out of the constraints of your everyday reality. Get ready to shrug off the bindings that are holding you back. Look for the kid inside of you who had no trouble at all generating huge lists of what you wanted to have or do. Permit yourself to be very selfish for a while and do something that is just for you. You don’t have to share this with anyone. It is for you and your eyes only. Be honest with yourself. We are talking about your happiness.

Take a few minutes and just think. Think about what you would like to do if you could. Don’t worry about how for now. Just think about everything. It is going to be a bit noisy in your mind because you will start to get ideas that generate other ideas and your mind will throw up resistance. Ignore the resistance and keep thinking!! Your imagination is now engaged.

Now, take out some paper and a pen. This works best if you actually write it down. There is a link that seems to form when you actually write the things down. You can type it into a computer but please don’t worry about “pretty” list that is the correct format and so on. That is for later. For now, you are just getting the elements gathered for your catalogue for living a great and happy life. This will be your dreams list.

Find somewhere that you will not be disturbed. Set a specific amount of time to write your list of desires for you and your life. I would suggest about 10 or 15 minutes for the first try at this. This is not quite as easy as it sounds. Once you have everything together, go to it!

The best way to get started is to just start writing! Don’t edit anything. Do not stop. If you are at a blank in your mind and the time is not up that you set aside for this, write anyway. Even if it is a sentence saying that you can’t think of anything to write.

Keep on doing this exercise as often as you want to. Merge your lists together so you have one large catalogue to select from. We are going to do much more with this list. For now, revel in it and enjoy the feeling that you now have some interesting ideas of what you would really love to have, experience, achieve, do and be. I hope it is large. We will help focus and prioritise a bit at a later posting. Enjoy!! Dream!!

The Strength To Get Up

I don’t have the ability to post the video but if you can see it, it will inspire you greatly. You can see it at my facebook page or you can search for it on You Tube I think. Check out my Facebook page to view the video.

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/profile.php?id=1112615540&ref=profile