Get Your PhD in Subtlety…


PhD-graduate-007You know, for as much as we focus on the pursuit of our personal happiness, you’d think we would be a lot smarter in the chase. We want and want and want, yet we don’t always think. When we think, it’s sloppy and haphazard. It’s laced with expediency and self interest. We are easy prey. We grab the first offering. We listen to our thoughts as if they were outsiders and adjust ourselves accordingly. Something touches us but we are too numb to feel it. It’s subtle, oh so subtle, and we need some education to perceive it…

If you were orchestrating, even manipulating the minds of people, how would you do it? Would you approach their minds with catastrophe? Would you go for the jugular on the first try? No, you would be smarter than that, wouldn’t you? No hustler accomplishes his hustle if he tips his hand. Instead he exercises caution and leads his unsuspecting vicim along, until the time is ripe; until he’s already appealed to his victim’s selfish tendencies and base greed. Then, and only then is the ‘mark’ ripe for the score.

If life; a happy life, comes about from a contest that takes place in your mind, (your mind is the arena) then the assailant isn’t you, it’s outside of you and shows up in the form of thoughts. However, like the hustler behind it, it’s very quiet and surreptitious. It cannot show all the cards or you would awaken, startled and see the slight. Instead it’s skulks beneath in subtlety just below the surface, perceptible, yet imperceptible. It whispered to you a message and you heard it but you didn’t hear it. You were feeling good. Your were alive and vital. You were on top of the world and something changed. You questioned your sudden, inexplicable temper and your irritation level rose. Subtlety happened…

Like any art done well, we tend to be enamored by the big picture, yet fail to see the detail behind it. And, even if you peer closely, you’ll never see the drafts, the rough attempts, the entries that made it only to the garbage. Indeed, the devil is in the details because the details are where the life resides. Even one day consists of a multitude of thoughts. And amidst the thousands, which one caused you to stumble? What slippery, false prediction of the future took the wind out of your sails? What secret utterance raised your anxiety quotient and robbed you of the joy that is today? Which stealthy reminder of your past failures stole away your confidence and convinced you to settle for a mediocre existence. It’s that minuscule and it’s that grandiose!

In order to win at the game of life, you have to learn to pay attention. The world is fraught with distractions and causes you cannot affect. You spent the evening espousing racial inequality and succeeded in changing no-one. You fought for a cause that is no cause and neglected the only life you could change. In your passionate protest, you volunteered to fight the enemy, but failed to recognize the foreigner within. Your life demands your full attention both in the mundane and in the highlights. Your feelings; your built in receptors are conveying a message and you have to learn to hear it. You must learn to isolate the intruder and challenge its assertions. The peaceful life; the happy life; the exquisite life requires it!

Life itself is a frightfully short proposition. There just isn’t enough time. But, the time that is begs for control. It urges you to maximize the moment and revel in the present reality. Your joy exists right here, it says, fumbling distantly through the fog of your own making. It’s not the money or the successes or the status, it screams, it’s more simple than that. And like the flower that knows it must bud before it blossoms, it asks that you settle yourself patiently in order to master the moment. A happy life doesn’t come about from a single, glorious moment, but instead the mastery of a million moments in between. Master your moments.

Like any artist that has given themselves to their craft, you must, in humble submission, give yourself to your life. The joy of living is not a theory that eludes you but instead a reality that you already possess. And your bank balance would be very obvious to you if ever you tracked down the thieves that attempt to break through and steal…

Control, like discipline isn’t something you have to avoid. Both feel good unless they are motivated by fear. What you fail to control, controls you and the world is already full of sheep.

Cease your whining and feeling bad and complaining. Put a halt to your haphazard pursuit of the good life. Slam the brakes on the fruitless analysis of circumstances and events. Instead, put your hand firmly to the helm of thought and finally see what you never saw before. Anyone who wants to know, will know and you can bet your life on that.

So, how can you move beyond elementary school in discerning the subtlety that besets your life? You can do it by slowing down and paying attention. You achieve it by recognizing and controlling your thoughts. Your victory comes when you’ve earned your PhD in subtlety and the evil that lurks behind it.

You only have this one shot, right? You aren’t getting any younger. Wake up, get up and see what you, deep down, knew was going on all along… PhD folks; get your PhD!

Just some good thoughts…

 

Just Who Exactly Do You Think You Are!


who-do-you-think-you-areThat little title says more about your life than any other thing I can think of! Who you think you are is exactly who you are in stunning detail and ultimately determines every success, every failure; your results or lack thereof. If you think of yourself as a victim, you will be victimized on every turn. If you think you are always the one that comes up short, then you will always come up short. If you think the “good life” is reserved for others, then don’t be surprised that your life ain’t so good.

To this point you may have underestimated the result  “what you think of yourself” has on you, but it is perhaps the largest cause for the effects you experience. But, it happens with such subtlety that most folks miss it for a lifetime. Despite what you may have heard, no-one’s life is predetermined or destined. The idea of being born with a certain destiny absolves you of responsibility for your life. And trust me, whether in ignorance or just plain laziness, you are responsible. The Good Lord gave you something that can make your life whatever you wish it to be. That thing is the ability to think and subsequently believe. Believing knows no boundaries and overcomes all difficulty, no matter the severity. But always before believing comes thinking…

Have you ever tried to track down the things you are saying to yourself throughout a day? Once you start actually paying attention, you may be horrified at the result. You are going to hear yourself criticizing yourself. You are going to recognize your own negative expectation. And you will find your internal chatter has something to say about every situation you find yourself in. Most of the time it’s negative. It’s not negative because that’s how life is, it’s negative because that’s how you have become in response to life. The test? You didn’t think that way as a child!

Like anything that breaks from the status quo, at first it’s hard to get a handle on. You may even feel like you are lying to yourself. But in reality, up to this point, that’s all you have been doing – lying to yourself. Things don’t always have to turn out badly. Symptoms and indicators don’t always lead to negative results. What it looks like and what it ‘seems’ like are not the end result. The end result is what you accept as the end result before the end result shows up. (Read that again…) In order to get your unruly mind under control you have to first challenge those offending thoughts. Have you ever had an anxiety attack? Anxiety attacks are result of many unchallenged thoughts, now misplaced and coming back in a generalized form. You have to slow down and pay attention to your thoughts. Just because you thought something doesn’t make it true. Wait, hear that one again with volume. JUST BECAUSE YOU THOUGHT SOMETHING DOES NOT MAKE IT TRUE! You see, web as a society have become so trained that we falsely conclude that everything we think is true. (And everything we read for that matter).

Once you have gathered the energy necessary to pay attention to your thoughts, next you must challenge the negatives. You do this by telling yourself, “that’s not true” and then saying what is true. “Well, that doesn’t feel right!” So what! Neither did riding a bike the first time you did it. Once you develop this new habit, you will be successfully modifying your thoughts, which modifies your believing; which leads to the change you desire.

Believe it or not, your mind is neutral. You give things the meanings they have for you. Take, for example, the circumstances you find yourself in. Those circumstances are not your destiny. They are simply an accurate reflection of what you have already been thinking/expecting. Thus your circumstances are no indicator of what you can be, but rather a reflector of what you used to be. As James Allen once said, “Man is buffeted by circumstances so long as he believes himself to be the creature of outside conditions, but when he realizes that he is a creative power, and that he may command the hidden soil and seeds of his being out of which circumstances grow, he then becomes the rightful master of himself.”

As someone who has practiced these principles for a very long time, I can tell you that it is not easy to see your life differently than it is today. But to make any real change you must! And the easiest way to do it is by starting today. In fact, start right now. Watch your thoughts and begin the process right now. Thankfully God had so ordered life that we only have to concern ourselves with the present day. So begin today. Deeply reflect on what I’m sharing with you and begin to make the change. Rid your mind of negatives and defeat. Put behind you all of your judgments and condemnations. Lay aside that thinking that drives you bonkers and choose life. Harboring and dwelling on negative ideas doesn’t prepare you for things to some, it only serves to keep open the possibility that those things may come! Deny the possibility!

Just who exactly do you think you are? It should be everything you ever dreamed and hoped it would be. It is YOUR life and you have only one short life my friends, to learn this lesson. Learn it and apply it today!

Just some good thoughts…