Yesterday I was clever and wanted to change the world. Today I am wise and I am changing myself – Rumi
Our experience of life is always colored by our world view, which is usually developed at the subconscious level. The subconscious mind doesn’t differentiate between actual experience and imagined experience. It believes whatever is presented to it, which is both a blessing and a curse.
It’s a curse because we often accept whatever information is presented to us, especially if the information comes from newspapers, radio and television, the internet, or in the case of religion, from traditional doctrine presented by Sunday school teachers, ministers and priests, friends and family members.
It’s a blessing because we can use our power of awareness to eliminate false illusions and delusions. An illusion is a mistaken perception. A delusion is a false or flawed belief and opinion that prevents rational thinking and blurs our perceptions.
How do we know if we are suffering from illusions and delusions? Here are some symptoms: we are strongly identified with our egos, our personality or our physical body; our behavior is impelled by habits, opinions and urges to satisfy our desires and whims; we are inclined to be like others with whom we associate; we accept information that is presented to us without question or reflection.
What’s the cure? We can use our awareness to be intellectually discerning, alertly perceptive and wisely purposeful.
Intellectual discernment is the ability to use our intelligence to identify flawed beliefs.
Alert perception is the ability to use rational thinking and careful reflection to gain understanding and insight.
Wise purpose enables us to do things that benefit others and our environment.
We can use these abilities to change our lifestyle by learning to have life-enhancing desires that are easily fulfilled.
We can adhere to moral and ethical behaviors that nurture healthy, harmonious relations with ourselves, with others and with our environment.
We can cultivate inner peace by meditating to connect with Ultimate Reality and cultivate our innate Divine Nature.
When we go within and connect with the Infinite, we rise above our ego based thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Perhaps this is what the Master Teacher Jesus meant when he said “I have overcome the world.” (John 15:33).
I invite you to stop being clever and start being wise. Spend more time immersed in the energy of Divine Love and Wisdom. Instead of trying to change the world, try changing your own thoughts, feelings and beliefs. You may discover that when you change your inner world, the outer world miraculously changes too.
Light, Love and Blessings,
Rev. Shirley Bowman
Education of the Heart
The following is an excerpt from “Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World,” © 2011 by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Downloaded 8/20/17 from https://www.lionsroar.com/new-ethic-for-a-small-planet-march-2012/
[Observing] "the truth that effective societal change can only come about through the efforts of individuals,” a key part of our strategy for dealing with [our] problems must be the education of the next generation. This is one reason why, during my travels, I always try to reach out to young people and spend some time with them.
My hope and wish is that, one day, formal education will pay attention to what I call education of the heart. Just as we take for granted the need to acquire proficiency in the basic academic subjects, I am hopeful that a time will come when we can take it for granted that children will learn, as part of their school curriculum, the indispensability of inner values such as love, compassion, justice, and forgiveness.
I look forward to a day when children, as a result of integrating the principles of nonviolence and peaceful conflict resolution at school, will be more aware of their feelings and emotions and feel a greater sense of responsibility both toward themselves and toward the wider world. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? To bring about this better world, therefore, let us all, old and young—not as members of this nation or that nation, not as members of this faith or that faith, but simply as individual members of this great human family of seven billion—strive together with vision, with courage, and with optimism. This is my humble plea.
Within the scale of the life of the cosmos, a human life is no more than a tiny blip. Each one of us is a visitor to this planet, a guest, who has only a finite time to stay. What greater folly could there be than to spend this short time lonely, unhappy, and in conflict with our fellow visitors? Far better, surely, to use our short time in pursuing a meaningful life, enriched by a sense of connection with and service toward others.
So far, of the twenty-first century, just over a decade has gone; the major part of it is yet to come. It is my hope that this will be a century of peace, a century of dialogue - a century when a more caring, responsible, and compassionate humanity will emerge. This is my prayer as well."
This is my prayer as well.
Light, Love and Blessings,
Rev. Shirley Bowman