Why Am I Struggling?


There are times in your life in which you just don’t feel right. And if you are like most humans it drives you nuts. It encompasses you. It engulfs you. You find yourself drowning in it. In response to it you do what you’ve been taught to do. You analyze it and you analyze it and you analyze it some more. You think about it all day and you can’t find an answer of peace though you’ve searched your mind from pillar to post. The more you seek the solution the worse you feel. Instead you discover more bad feelings and more logical causes for your dilemma. You just cannot seem to get there no matter how hard you try. Yet, you dutifully persist, confused and dismayed tunneling further and further underground. The deeper you go the darker it gets and you find no relief. Eventually you have to ask yourself in your futility, “Am I doing something wrong? Is there something else I do not know? Is there a solution to my private nightmare?” The good news is yes my friend, you are doing something wrong.

Life in its basic essence is spiritual. There are spiritual causes for the things that plague you. However, spiritual problems cannot be discerned by your five senses reasoning. Accordingly, you are NEVER going to find your answers by searching the senses realm, though you search diligently night and day forever. Instead all you will find is heartache and loss. All you will discover is more darkness; more obscurity; more things that serve to cloud your mind and render you helpless, hopeless, lost… Darkness works most effectively by garnering your consideration. It presents an inscrutable form of bait designed to appeal to your human reasoning. And evil knows it can easily defeat your human reasoning. Oh yes, it is evil! It is at work in the world to steal, to kill and to destroy and it does so by capturing your attention. And, like every worthwhile bait, behind it is a hook from which you will find it hard to escape.

You are struggling because you are being led down the path of unhappiness. It’s a well worn path because of the millions that have tread it down. And depending upon how long each person traversed on that path, the more misery they have encountered in their life. But, it does not have to be this way. There is a way out but the way out is not what you thought at all. The way out seems to stand in absolute defiance to what we have been taught to do. It is very, very difficult to turn that thinking machine off. It is even harder to resist the temptation to track it like a hound and follow it wherever it may lead. But, resist it you must. Temptation, though always veiled and hard to discern, works by finding a way to get your attention and later keep your attention. You escape by your lack of attention. You break free by deciding to change your focus. You make up your mind to look at something else!

The problem you face today is an insatiable drive to get you to focus on yourself. Everywhere and in every way you are being driven back to yourself, your feelings, your thoughts. “Take time for yourself!” “Focus on yourself!” Self, self, self! “You are most important!” “You are number one!” You, you, you! Obviously your needs are important and of course you want to be happy, but your happiness is most fulfilled when your focus isn’t yourself! I’ll say it again. Your happiness is most fulfilled when your focus isn’t on yourself! It’s a trick. It’s a trap. It is a delusion on a grand scale. It is a lie. It seems right and sounds good, but it is still a damnable lie. When your focus is yourself, all you will find is yourself with all of your faults, failings and imperfections. You have to learn to look at something else.

Have you ever noticed how you can be feeling super crappy about yourself or your problems, imagined or real, and then something demands your focus and takes you away from yourself for a bit? Suddenly you don’t feel so bad or your problems aren’t that big anymore. Your issues didn’t get any smaller, but your focus changed enabling you to see things for what they really are instead of what you imagined them to be in your obsessive focus on yourself. Few things feel as good as a full day of work where you actually focused on the work instead of yourself. Or, maybe the grandkids came over and you focused on blessing them for a while! Wow, suddenly things don’t seem as bad as you thought. These little delights serve as valuable clues. You weren’t designed to focus on yourself, save yourself, or fix yourself. You were made to function best when your focus was on others, expecting God to take care of you! Self-focus is a struggle from which you can easily escape. 

Stop, cease, quit looking inside of yourself to find something good. End the endless stewing and churning and burning. Make up your mind to get out of your own mind and live a little. Stop being so damn cerebral! Cease from living in a world where you are encased with an obsessive focus on yourself. Quit it and for God’s sake let it go! Let it go! You haven’t yet been successful in solving you, have you? Well, you aren’t going to, so I will save you a little (or a lot) of time! Instead move that lovely mind of yours towards something else besides you. Help someone. Build someone up. Do something nice for someone! However or whatever you do, move your focus away from yourself because self-focus sucks and leads you down a miserable path! Outward focus, helpful focus, anything but me focus, leads you to something beautiful and worthwhile. It leads you to life and all the wonder and beauty it entails. 

Choose life, choose others, choose to struggle no more!

Just some good thoughts…

 

 

 

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Genuine Self-Help…


Sri-Lanka-OrchidThe term “self-help” has fallen out of favor in recent years. I guess the notion that you were reading a book because you needed some assistance, made you into a weak person, ever in need of help. So, they changed the name to “self-development” which is actually the exact same thing, but whatever works to sell books, I suppose. And boy, do they ever sell books! So, I mused… Why would a person read a self-help book? I think, if you are honest, you are reading it because you perceive that something needs to change in your life. Or, you might feel that something is wrong with you and that you are in need of repair. In either case, I’m not sure why that would be considered shameful, as all of us need fixing up at times! But, here’s the crucial question. Does self-help really help? Do the avid self-help readers really change for the better? And, if the people who invest their hearts into the literature don’t change, why is that?

I recall a time in my life when I was an avid reader of self-help literature. I mean, I read everything there was to read. As soon as I finished one, I went and got another. Looking back, it was a time in my life when things had sort of gone south on me. Through wrong teachings, harsh associations and mega doses of fear, I had morphed into someone who I hated. I just couldn’t stand myself. How in the hell did fun-loving, carefree Tony turn into “that guy?” I had become hard and callous and critical and worst of all, religious! I needed help and sought comfort from the self-help literature. And wow, did it ever comfort me! But, after quite some time, I noticed a pattern. While I was reading the literature I felt awesome, but it quickly faded and necessitated purchasing a new book. And you wonder why the self-help business is booming?! In most cases there was nothing wrong with the information. The books were loaded with principles and valid suggestions, but knowledge alone doesn’t get the job done! In order to transform your life, you need wisdom otherwise known as “knowledge applied!”

My wife and I have a dear friend named La Detra, whom we greatly admire. She is very successful and lives a dream life. When she has an idea, she pursues it to the full. Yes she is very intelligent and yes she went to Harvard. She is a critical thinker in the highest sense of the word. She is always in pursuit of the knowledge. But, what separates her from the pack is her determination to “do!” When she wants to make something happen, she analyzes the necessary conditions and then takes action to make it a reality. The reason so many equally intelligent people don’t realize their goals is their failure to actually launch! They think and study and read and think and study and never actually apply! Nothing happens, nothing changes, nothing ever gets better until you turn your knowledge into action. Self-development literature is loaded with time-tested principles that will always work in your life. But somewhere along the line you have to change from an avid reader to an avid “do-er!”

Our life dreams, our goals, our heartfelt desires are only realized when we decide to turn our thought into action. I know, I know, it seems so intimidating, so impossible, so huge! But, I submit that it’s only so arduous because it has not yet left your imagination! Have you ever woke up in the morning afraid of something, only to discover it loses its grip on you once you finally decide to get up? Action cures fear and inaction strengthens fear! As long as you remain in research mode you may feel better but you won’t experience real change! Genuine change comes about only when you begin to act. The path to your desired outcome only reveals itself when you finally get out of your mind and on the path! Take a step. Make a move. Begin!!!

No-one experiences success in life overnight. No flower starts off by blooming. Instead it is first planted, then struggles through the soil, continues growing until it is at last a beautiful orchid. So you too, my friend, must first plant that glorious picture of the “new you” in your mind, endure the struggle of change, and continue growing until you become, at last, what you always knew you could become! And incredibly, once you embark on your journey, you’ll discover that all of life is voting in favor of you. Your answers will reveal themselves like glittering gold in the murky riverbed. What once abruptly halted your progress will fade away like the morning mist. You will rise and fight and overcome and nothing shall, by any means, stop you. That is, if you can persuade that old obstinate mind of yours to take an actual step!

As you are thinking this through today, ask yourself this question… What idea, what dream, what goal have you actually applied yourself to with full effort and still failed? You know and I know, those things you call failure are actually “you not taking action” or “you stopped taking action!” As long as you are still alive, you still have a shot at achieving your dreams no matter how many times the fat lady has already sung!

What change do you so desperately need in your own life? What do you need to do to stop hating that guy or gal in the mirror? Take some time to get a clear picture in your mind of your “new” self, find the knowledge that appeals most to your heart and then take the action the knowledge suggested! You will be greatly challenged in the beginning because someone or something wants you to remain defeated. But, there’s an infinitely bigger Someone or Something that wants you to succeed! The life you’ve always wanted is there for you, my friends, but you have to get out of bed, dress up and show up!

Just some good thoughts…

PS If you need a great book (that you promise to apply), I highly recommend:

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