“Talk is cheap. Words are plentiful. Deeds are precious.” — H. Ross Perot
“He who speaks does not know, he who knows does not speak” Laozi from the Tao Te Ching
I have been listening recently to some old classic songs and one of them has glued itself to my mind – “Words” by Missing Persons.
They sing the lyrics:
“What are words for when no one listens anymore What are words for when no one listens What are words for when no one listens it’s no use talkin at all
Do you hear me Do you care Do you hear me Do you care Tell me what are words for”
I have spent a good amount of time the last 5-6 years by myself in public places which has afforded me the opportunity to listen to all the conversations going on around me. I did not necessarily want to hear them but unable to shut out all the noise close to me. I stayed at a hotel a few weeks ago and watched a table of three sisters at breakfast. One of them seemed to do all the talking and one looked to be bored listening while the other one seemed to be listening out of courtesy. Or I have camped next to a family of five that spoke horribly to each other and ruined their camping trip as they yelled at each other. We live in a world of constant information, technology, education, and media types of all formats which all leads to – SENSELESS, SELF-SERVING WORDS. Facts have become something that is no longer relevant while the media, politicians, and religion throw out all types of scare tactics lined with falsehoods. Using words for fear-mongering, hate, and self-serving expediency has become the norm.
Marital relationships are on the decline and as I read the top reasons for marriage failure almost all them can be attributed to their communication patterns and inability to communicate effectively. In a lot of cases it points to the inability to stop, think through what they are going to say, and come back with what is necessary, respectful, and effective. In my life I have been one in the past to “fly off at the cuff” when it comes to my emotions while constantly reacting to the people around me. Believe me from experience, this is not a effective way for dealing with the world and people in it. It has caused me a lot of confusion, angst, and relational issues. In my job as a sales manager, I spend a great deal of time communicating with my salespeople and clients with emails and speech. I have had a tendency to write or say the first thing on my mind which for me is coming from a place of emotions and not from a place of logic and reason. I have learned over the years to stop, breath, reread many times, and think through my forthcoming conversations. This way I can normally condense my words, make them more applicable for the situation, and logically, tactfully correspond with those around me.
I believe the best way to be able to correspond with the world around us in a compassionate, effective, and respectful way is to literally unplug from the world for periods of time. It is the ability to be with oneself in silence and solitude to look within for one’s spirit. The Moody Blues has a wonderful song called “The Voice” that says:
“And how many words have I got to say? And how many times will it be this way? With your arms around the future and your back up against the past. You’re already falling it’s calling you on to face the music. And the song that is coming through. You’re already falling the one that it’s calling is you.”
How many of us take the time to hear this calling, to look deep within, and know who you truly are. This I believe is the source of deep wisdom and understanding from which springs forth use of words as they were initially meant to be. All the great spiritual leaders of the past spent time in solitude before they met with the masses and afterwards to refresh their emotional, mental, and physical reserves. How can one communicate effectively when they themselves are in turmoil, chaos, and exhausted There is a saying in the 12 steps groups that one has trouble dealing and communicating with the world around them if they are too hungry, Angry, Lonely, and/or Tired – “H.A.L.T.
Political elections and politics in general is the best example of the use of words in a very demeaning, demonizing way. We use to be a nation where words were used for the benefit of all but in the political atmosphere today, words have become so depreciated that they no longer mean anything at all. Americans stayed glued to politician’s and media’s every word as if it were all a cardinal fact. Even words between nations have lost any meaning with pacts and treaties being broken all the time. The United States has become a nation of words that spew hate, separation, and just plain meanness all born a great deal from our current political atmosphere.
Religion in modern society is long on words and very short of action. There seems to be a big effort on saving someone else versus genuinely caring for another person in the here and now. Words of fear and manipulation are used ceaselessly by religion to “control” the masses. If anyone doubts this they need to look no further than the Spanish Inquisitions, the Salem Witchcraft, and words spouted by the terrorist communities around the world. Why did people throng to Jesus? Simply because he was full of compassionate action and short of words. One of the greatest speeches on love was the Sermon on the Mount which was short and very precise followed by a life that mirrored the words he spoke. Jesus had a way of communicating directly and lovingly without a lot of words. He spent a great deal of time healing and feeding the masses around him. Yet the Pharisees and Sadducee’s spent most of their time speaking as well as writing words of condemnation and back-bending rules. In today churches, we see a massive decline in the United States with church attendance. Could it be there is a lot of talk and not the actions of compassion that Jesus put forth that actually drew the throngs to him? Could it actually be the duty of mankind not to work on saving another person, which is not even a healthy attribute in a relationship, but simply to love and be there for them?
I would just throw out there notice your conversations this week, the emails you send, and the speech constantly plowing through your mind. Are they a stream of emotional reactions that cause distress or thought-out communication that projects love and compassion? I believe we must get to the point with our words where we can show constant love in our speech at work, personal relationships, and strangers we come into contact everyday. It may be a word of comfort or a smile to someone who whose “tank” is empty or just to listen without speaking to someone who is hurting.
I also find that as words become more important and useful to me that I tune-out the communications around me that use them cheaply and without thought. This includes the media, relationships that are toxic, conversations that ramble on and on without any substance. Our life is short and to spend it on numb-minding communication is such a waste. I have never wasted time in nature alone simply listening to the sounds around me and the voice within.
Should we speak with others? Absolutely, but with words that are necessary, respectful, and, compassionate to those we communicate with.
I had the pleasure today to hike at Eisenhower State Park in Texas after a week of turmoil at work and just life itself. It all dissipated as I listened to the wind, the water crashing against the cliffs, and the chatter of the birds. Hopefully you can find the time to spend alone in whatever way refreshes your reserves whether that be a hike in nature, a smooth, relaxing bath, or just enjoying some time in your favorite chair with no outside noise.
Mindfulness this week is asking us do we actually know what we saying when speaking words?
Charity is a very necessary part of our world. Ever since the beginning of time there has been those who have that have given to those who do not. Without charity the world would evolve into chaos and destruction. Charity helps feeds the poor, takes the homeless off the street, rescues human trafficking victims, helps with the incredible physical suffering many people experience in life from bodily sicknesses, etc. I will never deny the need for charity worked organizations but my purpose in this writing is to explore and expose how some people profit off these non-profits with enormous CEO salaries and how one might better give of their money and resources.
I was brought up in a very conservative Christian setting with talk of a god who is watching us 24/7 and judging our every action. It was from this environment that I was indoctrinated about tithing and giving back to god at a tenth of what I made. I vividly remember a well-paid pastor once say that god still loves those who do not tithe but just finds it harder to. I use to worry intensively about this idea of giving back to god what is his and what is really a tenth. There are whole books written outlining tithing and what their perception of what god wants from us. It has been a evolving concept for me from a shameful giving to one today where I think on my own and have my own ideas of what tithing or better called healthy charity giving is really all about.
I do feel the need to give and want to out of what has been blessed to me. I went from tithing to the church to giving to non-profits that primarily helped with children around the world. I did that for years and years never really doing much research into where my money was really going and who was getting it. I just assumed that if it was a well-known charity, they were trustworthy and accountable. Though I will say most charities do publish their financial statements, but there are pages on top of pages that a non-financial person could never decipher. As I began to investigate these organizations, especially the ones I gave to, I found exorbitant CEO salaries. I will not call any out by name, but many notorious charities are paying large 6 to 7 digit figures to their CEO’s. CharityWatch is a accountability program for non-profits that has some great information on it and was really surprised by the ones I was giving to had good-sized CEO salaries. Here is a interesting web page from CharityWatch on the highest paid non-profit CEO’s salaries and some of these are well-known organizations:
I make a modest income from hard work like the average person and have chosen to give to these organizations without adequate research. Some may not have a problem with this declaring they need really “good people” to run these organizations, and this is what it takes to attract people to run these organizations. The “good” people to me are the teachers, the firefighters, the hard-working people who go in every day and earn a modest income trying to keep up with the cost of everything versus what they make. Many like myself then turn around and give their hard-earned money to these non-profits thinking it is mainly going to those in need and not into high-paid salaries to run these non-profits. Sure, they should be paid a commensurate rate for a non-profit but with the idea of what is feasible for a organization that is reaching out to help others. We have all heard for “a dollar a day” we can feed a starving person then how many more, if we paid reasonable CEO non-profit salaries, could we feed – thousands more? The extra money going into the pockets of these few individuals could feed and clothe as well as rescue thousands of people. There should be limits and regulations set forth to the amount CEO’s salaries/bonuses of charities (and also companies but that is for another blog) can make but capitalists yell that there should be no limit, the more the merrier while money is taken out of the “field” to line the pockets of CEO’s. This is a crime against humanity and should not be tolerated. Yet in our societies today we have learned to not think on our own and accept what is handed to us, myself included.
I have decided to stop my monetary giving and start my own charity work. In the town I live in as in most, there are numerous homeless and street people all around. I have decided on the first of the month to go to my local dollar store and buy numerous amounts of toiletries as well as items that people need to make it in life. Then I will make a trip to my local Salvation Army that houses some of the homeless and deliver these articles that will go directly to those who need it. Sure, it will take more time, effort, and energy than paying some charity on auto draft while the CEO is living rather well but the items are getting directly to the person in need. I will say that I have stuck to the CEO’s salaries but within these organizations there are others making amazing salaries and bonuses. I am not saying what I have decided to do is for someone else but hopefully it will prompt others to research the non-profit they are giving to through work or personally. I have come a long way from giving out of shame to a god to having the ability to question and make my own decisions about where my financial charity goes. Until non-profit CEO salaries are regulated and reasonable, I will continue my monthly trip to the local Salvation Army as long as I can and am able.
Let me know your thoughts and maybe other ideas other than giving money to charities that would be an better alternative.
Take a moment and think of a time where you were unjustly criticized and let it sink in. Let it permeate your cells and creep into the crevices of your mind. Did it affect your well-being while your whole day was influenced by it?
Or now take a time when you complimented and praised greatly for who you are. Let it sweep into the corners of your mind and sink into your belly. How does it feel? Does your whole metabolism feel vibrant and energetic? Does it help you feel like you could accomplish anything?
I have always been fascinated by the concept of the Butterfly Effect. It was a term coined in the 1960’s by Edward Lorenz and simply is the idea that small causes can have larger effects. It is the idea that every action sets into motion larger and more magnificent actions that follow. It has been scientifically studied within the realm of quantum physics and mathematics while being proven by very simple systems. The idea had been studied in the 1800’s by Henri Poincare, who mathematically examined the interactions of orbiting bodies and mass points which eventually lead to the term “theory of chaos.”
So how does this pertain to you and me today? If we get down to the nitty-gritty of how we affect the world today – every word, every action, every gesture sets into motion a string of events that changes the world forever. YES, we are that powerful and are literally creators of the world around us. What about a great mentor in your life? Contemplate how they modeled your world. Or how about that teacher that you really admired and gave you that extra nudge in school? Think about the difference it made in your life up to today forming who you are. With our magnificent brains, you are a part of everyone you have ever come into contact with for the rest of their lives. They store those memories and their consciousness is forever altered with the exchange of your mutual synergy. WE set into motion a great tidal wave of causation in our interactions with other people, the environment/nature , and the animal kingdom around us. Along with this great idea comes great responsibility.
One of the great philosophical questions is “What is my purpose here?”.
WE are Creators – WE give meaning to all that surrounds us – WE set into motion energy field that reverberate around the world.
Now look at your typical day and who you interact with as you go along your path. WE have our children and those children around us who need a positive role model in their life that shapes their destiny, or people in passing who may need that little smile or kind word that nudges them along affecting their whole family that evening. All of this by just saying a kind word or paying them attention in a positive human interaction. The consequence of your action in that person may not be outright noticeable but may be more of a subtle, gentle coaxing of the mind.
What about the Manhattan Project in the 40’s during World War 2 with the invention of the Atomic Bomb ? It’s reverberation continues today and forever has changed the world. Or take a look at a young Indian man named Ghandi, known as the “great-souled one”, as he looked around at the quandary of his Indian people. He made the decision to dedicate his life to the advancement of his people’s plight turning his back on the riches that could be afforded him if he followed his legal education. He took it a step further and instead of violent protest and hate, decided to carry on the dissent in peaceful actions that today is admired and praised.
But wait a minute, these are grand events that are easily noticeable in its impact on the entire world. What about your world? Did your actions toward the neighborhood grocery store’s young person who carried out your groceries cause a chain of events that could possibly change in a subtle way his mindset for the rest of his life? Many people at our place of employment are craving positive human interaction that they don’t get at home. Everyone around us needs LOVE! Better still, how did we treat even ourselves today that is largely shaping our tomorrow for ourselves? Did we LOVE and care for ourselves in meaningful, positive manner?
Victor Frankel, a Holocaust survivor, changed the world by his deliberate decision to take his horrible treatment and experience while turning it into a positive mental event for him. He then opened it up to the world in his book, “Man’s Search for Meaning” and as they say, the rest is history.
My hope would be that by someone reading this today, it may change their actions slightly or greatly when they are interacting with everything around them and the world is a better place for it.
YOU ARE A POWERFUL INFLUENCE IN THIS WORLD – LET’S MAKE IT BETTER PLACE FOR US BEING HERE IN THIS MOMENT!
I have previously written about reaching out and loving others but how is that truly possible? What does it begin with and how do we get there?
Do you love the person who stares back at you every morning when you look in the mirror when you have just woken up? Do you ADMIRE, RESPECT, and have a all out APPRECIATION of who you are?
It seems like I hear more than anything from others when talking about themselves:
“I wish I could….”
“If only I could…”
“I need to lose weight”, “my nose is too big”, “I am too short – too tall”
“I should (shouldn’t) have…”
“I am just not intelligent enough..”
“I am not lovable or loved.”
The first place to look for love is from YOURSELF. The old song “looking for love in all the wrong places” has a lot of deeper meanings to it for me and may for you to if you take the time to contemplate it intensely. Searching for love seems to be the “modern” thing going on as we look around us. Dating sites have taken off in the last five years as people more and more are trying to find that wonderful thing called love wanting that human connection with someone. The media and advertising have taught us that we can never be satisfied with our bodies as they are now. They are constantly telling us we need to look like that perfect fitness trainer, constantly feed our bodies medications to improve, and become something we are not. It is amazing to watch the endless infomercials that tell us we aren’t good enough and need to work harder as well as diet more to become something else besides who we are. IT sells, sells, and sells while feeding us into the economic quicksand that drives us deeper and deeper into financial as well as emotional debt promising us a “better” you.
Why can’t I just be “me” and love that “me”?
I would like to start by looking at what we are as a human body. Those of us who are able to walk have a intricate web of wonderful parts that allow us to be mobile. There are 250,000 sweat glands in a pair of feet, when walking and the foot strikes the ground it forces the toes to carry half your body weight, and the sole of the foot contains more sensory nerve endings than any other part of the body (wonder why your foot is ticklish?). Your eyes contain 2 million working parts, are very quick healers, and are the most active muscle in the body (unless you are Mr. Universe). Each part of the human body contains numerous and wonderful functions that even still baffle science today. Most of us spend our lives looking for the supernatural, the miracles, or some sign there is something “higher” than we are. To me, the most sure sign of a higher power and loving force is the miraculous functions my body performs for me without any conscious input from me every moment of every day. It is as if someone or something has said:
” I am giving your conscious this wonderful vessel that contain inexhaustible complexities that is as wonderful as the galaxies themselves.”
Then we move on to how we treat ourselves and the self-loathing that seems more and more to permeate our lives today. The raising and parenting of small children is a great part of how we can become who we are today. If you take a child from birth and parent that child constantly about their shortcomings/sins , bodily flaws, physically beat them as punishment, and withhold love until their behavior warrants it, what do you think the outcome will be? Yet, it seems that is what many of us do to ourselves all day long. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow is not here – this moment is ALL that we have and to accept ourselves in that moment totally is what love is truly about. There may be no tomorrow where you can become the perfect person you may wish to be or there is no past – IT IS GONE FOREVER and there is NO NEED to constantly berate ourselves for past mistakes. It is NOW. WE are the perfect person now that exists in this moment with all our flaws, mistakes, and blemishes – we are a beautiful creation with it all, that is what makes us. I have a German Shepherd and as I watch him he just seems to always be enjoying the moment just as he is. If he makes a “mistake” I have never seen him berate himself or even worry about the color of his coat. He is in the moment with himself.
Is it truly loving yourself to hold resentment or anger over a lifetime? Or lashing out at the next person who comes our way when we are having a rough time? Or emotionally eating junk food until we feel “satisfied”?
There is one person we will spend our entire life with and that is the wonderful “me”. Yet, it is our decision how we will look at ourselves – wonderful me or the flawed, sinful wretched being we are taught. The great thing about our brains it is scientifically shown it CAN change with the discovery of plasticity with the brain. No matter where we are now with our thinking of ourselves, it CAN be altered. Is it always easy? Absolutely not but it is the most worthy adventure we can ever take on – loving ourselves.
What is it you love to do? What is your body telling you it needs today with your cooperation to function for you optimally? If we love ourselves, each moment of the day the greatest thought we can have is what will I do that is going to benefit my well-being. Can I say no, is it okay to detach from this situation, or do I need to take a breather and just go out into nature to replenish my soul? Developing true self-love can take some time and effort but it is the most worthwhile investment we will ever endeavor in this life and really doesn’t take any money to cultivate.
The irony of it all is self-love is not someone else telling us we need to be different, act different, or look different but when we truly love ourselves and accept ourselves our we are now, we want to be better to ourselves and excel in our ways to benefit my lifestyle. The true motivation in lifestyle changes begins when we truly love ourselves.
Then and only then can we reach out in true love to our fellow human beings. I know it is a controversy but I believe that we cannot truly love another being in the truest sense until we learn that deep love for ourselves first because we only pass along what we have inside ourselves to others. Then with that love we have truly developed for ourselves can be passed to all those we come into contact with.
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”
“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.”
Buddha left the walls of his castle going into the streets after being secluded throughout his upbringing and saw all the tremendous suffering that was going on around the city he had been sheltered from, then spent the rest of his life committed to bringing a end of suffering to the world. Jesus Christ wandered the hillsides and villages witnessing sufferings of devastating proportions which one day allowed him to lay down his life to relieve the sufferings the world seemed to thrust upon all living beings. Mother Teresa dedicated her life all the way to her death to relieving the horrible sufferings she saw in Calcutta as well as founding the Missionaries of Charity servicing the hurting and down-trodden in 133 cities. Ghandi witnessed the sufferings of his people in the workplace and violations of Civil Rights, then tirelessly spent his life in nonviolent protest to help relieve the suffering of those around him and his countrymen.
There are numerous organizations in the world to relieve suffering:
Then one can turn on the news or read news articles to see the widespread sufferings in this world – Syrian refugee crisis and massacres of masses of people, human slave/sex trafficking, proliferation of nuclear arsenals, nationalism that denies the solidarity of all humans and responsibility to the world, and wars that kill and maim the innocent while the perpetrators sit in enclosed walls that shield them from the very travesties they order.
ONE thing is UNIVERSAL – SUFFERING, it unites all peoples in a common bond. A young one is born into this world under the stress of the birth and dies under emotional, physical, or psychological stresses. Many religions, psychologist, philosophers, and enlightened individuals have tried to explain the arguments and persuasions for the goodness in suffering. SUFFERING IS NOT GOOD and is not virtuous! Try to explain the goodness of suffering to someone that has just lost a spouse or child, to the starving throngs around the world, someone in the depths of anxiety and depression that can see no way out, or is being severally abused and see how far you make the argument go. Sure, people overcome and move forward out of sufferings with forgiveness, perseverance, and courage but suffering itself is not inherently good or virtuous. I personally have dealt with depression/anxiety some in my life and can tell you it is not good but can be a living hell.
I believe that the only real thing that can be the goodness found in suffering is the human’s ability to be a part of the relieving of suffering in others as well as ourselves. “Survival of the fittest” is the enemy of the compassion and has been forced down our throats since the beginning of human existence. I am going to make a statement that I strongly believe to be one of the few Universal Truths – that all human beings are equal and there is not one anywhere that is better than anyone else in the world. It makes no difference of race, religion, varying opinions, place of birth on the earth, monetary status, or intelligence. One day when all of us return to the earth, it is all dirt in oneness. The death of a Muslim child in war is as atrocious as the death of a Christian, Russian, Chinese or Hindu child. It is amazing how the human race has placed values on the human race by all types of criteria. Politics and politicians have become the enemy of compassion while elevating the sufferings of others at the expense of their own security.
So what have you done today to step out of the ego and help alleviate the suffering of another. Or if you yourself are suffering, what have you done to be compassionate and loving to yourself instead of giving yourself a hard time for not performing better or being better? Maybe it is just to question what you believe of others or what real security is, possibly contemplating things you could do to alleviate the sufferings of others. In the end, will it matter what you have, how prestigious you are, or the great education you achieved? Of all the reading about and witnessing of people who have died, these things didn’t amount to a pile of dung. It was all about relationships and experience. Have you had a compassionate moment today in a relationship or experience? It can be as simple as a smile at someone while shopping, a kind word to one suffering or a stranger, a simple random act of kindness today. It can also mean sitting with those dying in Hospice, providing food to someone on the street in need, volunteering in the countless organizations that relieve suffering (including animal rescue centers), and giving financial resources to causes/organizations that provide comfort.
A great religious text says “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted”.
SHALL WE BE THE ONE WHO CAUSES THE SUFFERING OR THE ONE WHO COMFORTS?