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One must often work on changing their belief about themselves and what they deserve before they can grow, find themselves and discover their true path.  There is the story about the baby elephant who had a heavy rope on one of his legs that was tied to a strong stake in the ground.  His experience of the world was within that circle that he moved around in daily.  When he was older the heavy rope was replaced by a thin rope and a small stake.  He could easily free himself but stayed confined to the limiting circle that was familiar to him.  There was also the gold fish that was place in the bath tub while his bowl was being cleaned, yet swam in a circle about the size of his fish bowl.  Experiments with rats raised in boxes where they were regularly given electric shocks showed that when they were older and given the opportunity to leave their familiar boxes and move to other boxes where they would receive no shocks they chose to return to their original boxes.  The rats chose the familiar life of shocks and helplessness.  How often humans make the same choices, rather than leave their own comfort zones and a find different and fuller life.

You can never really change your life until you get the courage to step out of you comfort zone.  Comfort can be your biggest hindrance and coming out of your comfort zone your biggest challenge, but it’s when you’re outside your comfort zone that you experience yourself the most.  True self-discovery usually begins where your comfort zone ends.

When was the last time you did anything for the first time?  If you want something you’ve never had, then you’ve got to do something you never did. Even the smallest change in your daily routine can create incredible ripple effects that expand your vision of what is possible.

In the end we regret the chances we didn’t take.  It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.

It is important to recognize death, even if you don’t understand or accept it.  At some point the reality of limited time will catch up with all of us and make it impossible to dodge any longer the question of how you spend your remaining time.  Your purpose and priorities will come front and center, and how you allot your time should be consisted with your values and where you find meaning in life.

Death can be a teacher, and when you are faced with this lesson, you can appreciate that “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”   George Elliot

Other lessons include:  “It is only when you are no longer afraid to die that you can say you are truly alive.”   Rabbi Kushner

“Only in the agony of parting do we look into the depths of love.”  George Elliot

“Death, and its ever-present possibility makes love, passionate love, more possible.  I wonder if we could love passionately, if ecstasy would be possible at all, if we knew we’d never die.”  Abraham Maslow.

Love doesn’t die, people do.


Some exercises include:  Write your own epitaph, and the three words you would want on your tombstone.

List three things you want to stop doing, and then three things you want to start doing.


“Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?  Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”    Mary Oliver

New Year’s Resolutions can be helpful – but awareness of some things, at every stage of life, can keep you on a more meaningful journey.

Questions, and their impact, will vary for each of us.  Some you may want to ponder could include:  How much have you loved?  What do you love doing that you aren’t doing? What do you want to accomplish?   How do you want to be remembered?  If you had something to add to humanity, what would it be?  What are your favorite memories?  Who do you love most?  Who are your mentors?  What are you most proud of so far?  What feeds your spirit?

There’s also the three traditional questions:  What would you do if you had all the time and money in the world?  How would you live if you knew you had only five to then years left?  And what would you most regret if you died tomorrow?

The goal of these questions is to lead you to a deeper understanding of what’s most important to you and to bring you back closer to your individual path for a meaningful life.

To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.            Nietzsche

If there is meaning in life at all, then there must be a meaning in suffering.  Suffering is an ineradicable part of life, even as fate and death.  Without suffering and death, human life cannot be complete.Frankel

Although life if full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.              Helen Keller

Be grateful for your pain and suffering, you will need these to grow.

It hurts when you go through something that kills you inside but you have to act like it doesn’t affect you at all.  That feeling when you’re not necessarily sad, but you just feel really empty.  When you feel somewhere between giving up and seeing how much more you can take.  When sometimes you say “I’m okay,” and you just want someone to look you in the eye, hug you tight, and say “I know you’re not.”

Perhaps watching someone you love suffer can teach you even more than suffering yourself can.

Many people are silent sufferers.  Many because they do not reach out and share, others because they have tried and found no one there to care and listen.

Buddha didn’t say life is suffering, just that there is suffering in life.

Life is full of misery, loneliness and suffering – and it’s over much too soon.       Woody Allen

Suffering is our psychological resistance to the pain that happens in our life.  Pain itself is a relatively objective, physical phenomenon.  In other words, events may create physical pain, but they do not in themselves create suffering.  Resistance creates suffering.  Stress happens when our mind resists what is.  Suffering is a basic problem in our life, as it is our mind’s resistance to life as if unfolds.

Suffering passes, while love is eternal.  That’s a gift from G-d.  Don’t waste it.



The purpose of meditation is to reach a greater understanding and a heightened level of spiritual awareness.

The purpose is not to transcend the body, but to embody the transcendent.   Dalai Lama

In Sufism, the mystical tradition of Islam, with every stage in deepening meditation you remove a veil.  The meditator yearns to connect with the divine.  The first veil to fall is the physical, and allows one to see the Self a little more clearly.  The mental veil falls and one sees even more clearly.  Finally the ego falls, the veil of self-will, and reveals the beauty and love that one has been longing for.  When you have seen G-d (or whatever you chose to call it) in your own heart, in the depths of meditation, you see it everywhere.  When self-will is extinguished and the mind becomes still, you see the whole universe as the manifestation of G-d’s love.

Praying is talking to the Universe – Meditation is listening to it.

As you breathe in, cherish yourself.  As you breathe out, cherish all beings.    Dalai Lama

You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day, unless you’re too busy;  then you should sit for an hour.   old Zen saying

The most dangerous risk of all:  the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.       Alan Watts

The trouble is, you think you have time.      Buddha

You have two lives.  The second one begins when you realize you only have one.

The tragedy of life is not death, but what we let die inside of us while we live.

Remember happiness is a way to travel, not a destination.

A person who thinks all the time has nothing to think about except thoughts, so he loses touch with reality and lives in a world of illusion.

Don’t fear failure.  Fear being in the exact same place next year as you are today.

Perhaps the journey involves a transformation of our beings so that our thinking mind becomes our servant rather then our master.  A journey that takes us from primary identification with our body, through identification with our psyche, on to an identification with our souls, then to an identification with G-d, and ultimately beyond identification.  A journey toward simplicity, out of time, leaving behind every model we have had of who we think we are.  Ram Dass

We think of ourselves as humans searching for a spiritual awakening – when in fact we may be spiritual beings attempting to cope with a human awakening.  Looking at yourself from the perspective of the spirit within will help you remember why you came here and what you came here to do.

We are visitors to this time, this place.  We are just passing through.  Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love … and then we return home.       Australian Aboriginal Proverb

We may be just walking each other home …

Plato’s Allegory of the Cave distinguishes between people who mistake sensory knowledge for the truth and people who see the bigger picture.  In other words, people who believe that knowledge comes from what they see and hear in the world (empirical evidence) and those who find that believers of empirical knowledge are trapped in a ‘cave’ of misunderstanding.

The prisoners in the cave could only see the stone wall in front of them, and since birth have never seen outside the cave.  They have seen the shadows of objects on the wall, but never the real objects.  They believe the shadows of objects were ‘real.’  One of the prisoners then escapes from the cave and is shocked at the world he discovers, not believing it could be real.  As he becomes used to his new surroundings he realizes that his former view of reality was wrong.

He goes on an intellectual journey and discovers beauty and meaning.  He returns to the cave to inform the others, but they do not believe him and threaten to kill him if he tries to set them free.  This reaction illustrates that people are often scared of knowing philosophical truths and do not trust or pursue further thinking and possibilities.



There is also the story of the two twin fetuses communicating with each other in the womb.  The one goes on and on about their dream that they were soon to go down a tunnel toward the light and discover a whole new world.  The other refuses to accept such a story and claims that is ridiculous – this darkness is all we have ever known and all there ever could be.


We must transcend our logical reasonable mind.  (like the person searching for his watch under the street light, even though he lost it in the alley – but he was looking where the light was)


Our journey is towards simplicity and quietness, to a kind of joy that is beyond time, a journey where we leave behind all our models of who we are.     Ram Dass     (a journey from body to psyche to soul to G-d)


What we are today comes from our thoughts of yesterday, and our present thoughts build our life of tomorrow:  our life is the creation of the mind.     Buddha


This may be one of many transitions …


The first step may be to see life as a game and stop taking it so seriously.

It may be important to understand that life is a game, and that nobodies rules are the same.

We may all be in the same game, just different levels – dealing with the same hell, just different devils.

Life’s not a video game – you can’t have an extra life or try again.

If life’s a game, all you have to do is know how to play it.  (Play the role, without being attached.)

Life is a tragedy for those who feel, and a comedy for those who think.    Jean de la Bruyere


Surely growth, learning and reaching maturity must be a purpose and have meaning for life:

Maslow provides the hierarchy of needs, leading to Self-Actualization

Covey gives the seven habits, leading to Interdependence

Jung writes about the four stages of adulthood, ending when you realize you are a Spiritual being having a human experience.   The first stage is the athlete, when identification is our physical prowess.  The second stage is the warrior, when we extend our prowess to conquering the world – setting goals, accomplishing things, defeating other people.  The third stage is the statesman, when you try to transcend your ego and begin to ask how you can serve and make this a better place.  Many people get to this stage in their lives, but Jung said the highest stage is the fourth stage.  The fourth stage is the spiritual, when you realize that you’re none of the three things – the athlete,  the warrior or the statesman.  When you realize you are a spiritual being having a human experience (rather than the other way around) your consciousness shifts out of the material world and is able to go into the other world.