Tuesday, December 11, 2018

On Keeping On

        When I was a child, there was a wonderful children’s story at the time that was frequently read. It was called simply “The Tortoise and the Hare,” and it involved a race between the two animals. The hare, being by far the fastest of the two, should have won the race easily, but it got sidetracked at every turn, and the tortoise, who paced itself and kept moving steadily forward, actually ended up winning. The learning for children was that “slow and steady wins the race,” a good teaching motto. Now there are, of course, a few flaws in the logic of the story, but never mind that, the idea of reaching a goal by steadily keeping on was a good one.
The value of concentration and effort...

Today, with all the electronic gadgets that bring us instant gratification without the need to extend ourselves much, is this a story that could be told to our kids? Is the value of concentration and effort as obvious as it used to be? If we are still thinking clearly, we know that it often is. We know the athlete’s skills are not built instantly; a flower bed does not produce blossoms overnight; a course of learning cannot be gotten by waving a book or a video at us and then moving on.

A fully-formed human being...

The wise among us know that gadgets serve their purpose, but they cannot substitute for the time and energy generated on becoming trained, skilled, fluent and expert in life’s ways. Indeed these are the marks of a fully-formed human being, and there is no way to go from childhood to genuine adulthood without them! Some things are truly precious and worth all that it takes to enjoy them.

http://More Essays About Everything is now available on Amazon

You may also enjoy "On Doing What is at Hand."

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Nothing Stands Still

Living things move…all the time… sometimes very fast, sometimes quite slowly, but they move. We all know that a certain amount of exercise is necessary to keep our bodies humming, lest movement become harder and painful. Even instruments need lubrication so that their continual movements remain assured.

We must remain aware of what's emerging...

What is not always obvious is that our minds must remain open to the passage of new thoughts and ideas. And it’s a great annoyance at times to pay attention to the raft of ideas that are always coming along. Nevertheless information moves at such a fast pace now that we must remain aware of what’s emerging or risk losing out.

The discerning mind...

There is a question to be asked: Is every new idea or series of thoughts worthy of our attention? Does everything merit serious thought? We know some things are too silly…or too unhealthy…to receive serious time, so the next consideration is…what gets a glance and what gets real time? It is the discerning mind that knows when to turn away and when to remain, and it is important to become this aware. If, as I believe, we are connected in life and either add to it or distract from it by thoughts and acts, we owe it to ourselves and to life to know what’s up. Since humans are the main actors on our planet, I do even the smallest things to assist. For instance I use “Love” stamps on all my mail to send the message of good every chance I get. And why not? Nothing stands still.

http://More Essays About Everything is now available on Amazon

You might also enjoy "On Completions." 

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

We are our own Saviors

When I suggest that we are our own saviors, I do so with the utmost respect. I know that the great spiritual masters like Moses, Jesus, Buddha and Muhammad hold great meaning for their followers. Their teachings are peerless, and their guidance inspires lives, but the lives they lived long ago were their own, and not ours. They created their teachings and made their choices, and we must make ours.

 Love, service, selflessness and kindness...

The teachings of love, service, selflessness and kindness are essential to the wellbeing of the human soul; their origins lie within us, but we must choose them and make them cornerstones in our lives. Others cannot do this for us, which is why we must recognize our own leadership.

We cannot live a choiceless life...

If we are to live in a world that offers general wellbeing for all, we must recognize the harbingers of essential good and elect to bring them forth. We cannot live a choiceless life, and no one can live in our stead.

Perhaps it is we who hold inspiration...

Does this sound like a well-worn platitude? Perhaps. But maybe we should take a look around us and notice who’s currently in charge. If our leaders do not inspire, perhaps it is we who hold inspiration and we who must demonstrate it in our everyday living.

Perhaps it is really true. We are our own saviors….

http://More Essays About Everything is now available on Amazon

You might also enjoy "On Ordinary Miracles." 

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

On This Very Day

      We may have dreams, and we may make plans, and so we should. There should be a place in us that casts far into the future and imagines ourselves as bringing our talents and love to bear. But it’s also good to remember that we have only one day at a time to deal with. No matter what we may anticipate for tomorrow, there is still this day that is ours to live. Who knows whether or not today will be our last? It probably won’t be, but we can be reminded that our best is before us to give.

Is there someone who needs our attention....

Is there someone who needs our attention and love? A child perhaps whom we can lift with our special concern? A task that we are especially equipped to do? We do ourselves no favor by making less of ourselves, and we do life no favor by denigrating what we uniquely can offer.

We owe it to ourselves...

This day will never return. Its possibilities will be gone when the clock turns to midnight. We will be one day older and one day less involved. Certainly we owe it to ourselves to look out into what is before us. Certainly we owe life the vitality and energy it so willingly gives us. One foot in front of the other. That is all it takes to begin!

http://More Essays About Everything is now available on Amazon

You might also enjoy "On Noticing." 

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

A Place to Stand

       On our Ministers’ Listserve lately, some of my colleagues have asked one another how they managed to do effective prayer in such a charged, political atmosphere…a very good question in a situation that has been described by some as “tribal.” Just this word itself makes one think of little, segregated groups of those bearing certain characteristics not shared by others, which creates more divisiveness than ever when we should be thinking of ourselves as spiritual beings participating in life together.

Our shared Oneness...

Our ministers are finding places where they can stand spiritually, each in his or her own way, that emphasizes our shared Oneness, a condition we consider our greatest spiritual truth. Disconnection holds no place in our spiritual practices or prayer work since we are all part of God’s “tribe,” so to speak.

Shared, recognized love...

More than ever, it is up to us as individuals to remember that we are in this grand, democratic experiment together. It is shared, recognized love for the goodness that we can bring to life today that we all can access through our prayer work and daily acts. In fact, it is we the people who have the wisdom and energy to scope out a place of shared concern for one another in our active lives.

Prayer and cooperation are a good place to stand, and we can choose this!

http://More Essays About Everything is now available on Amazon

You may also enjoy "On Cooperation or Competition."