Sunday, June 20, 2010

Thought for the Day

Every thought a person dwells upon, whether he expresses it or not, either damages or improves his life.
-Lucy Malor

We regret losing a purse full of money, but a good thought which has come to us, which we've heard or read, a thought which we should have remembered and applied to our life, which could have improved the world--we lose this thought and promptly forget about it, and we do not regret it, though it is more precious than millions.
-Leo Tolstoy

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Wise Old Man

"Be strict in judging yourself and gentle in judging others, and you will have no enemies."
-Chinese Wisdom

There's an older man at our church who changes our church marquee. He always picks out witty quotes. Last week it was "Praise Loudly, Blame softly".

He's really the greatest example of someone who lives lovingly toward others. He's always got a good word to say, and is quick to overlook an offense. Though everyone loves him, because that is the result of loving others, he is easy to overlook.

Yet, here is someone who seems to have found the key to life. His is a quiet wisdom and a deep joy. Even after losing his wife, a daughter, and son all within the last three years. He is ready to depart from this world, though the world is not ready for him to leave.

The secret? He is quick to judge himself and gentle in judging others. You couldn't not like this guy, though many fools have thought themselves wiser.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Good Life

"The prerequisite of a good life is peace between people, and the major obstacle to peace is pride. A person should be humble, prepared to be falsely accused, ready for everything; only then can he bring peace into his relationships and into the lives of others."

It does seem true that we are angered the most when it is a matter that concerns our pride. We all deserve to be treated decently, and when we aren't, we understand that the other person is considering his/herself to be better than we are; looking down on us.

Looking down on others is the cheaters way of bringing ourselves 'up'. Rather than doing, or better yet, being someone of worth, we devalue the other which immediately makes us taller. We have not grown, but we are taller.

Most unfortunate is that we are even more offended when someone offends us not realizing they have said or done something demeaning. If they demean without trying to demean, then they truly do see themselves as better than us, and this we cannot stand, or stand for.

Truth is, we all think we're better than most others, and the fact that we are offended by others thinking about us the same way we think about them is ironic, and perhaps hopeless.

We think ourselves better because we think it makes life better, yet it does just the opposite. It causes us to compete, which always ends in someone trying to outdo the other one, and just as with five year olds 'pretend' fighting, it always turns out bad.

Hence, the biggest obstacle to peace is our pride.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Trauma Unit

"A person who broods on revenge only worsens his wounds. His injuries would heal if he would refrain."
-Francis Bacon

i'm still trying to figure out both why a person harbors bitterness and resentment, and how to be released from both.

People do terrible things to other people. Sometimes they hurt us by destroying our trust, other times through physical or emotional trauma, and still other times simply as an insult to our pride. It is usually the attack of one's pride which leads to retaliation in all its forms. The other kinds of hurts disable us in other ways.

i don't know whether i've just not been hurt to such an extent, or whether i've simply found the secret of not harboring resentment. If i have found the secret, it is simply this, to be deeply aware that others are just as or more fallen than oneself. We're screwed up. When we can accept that, perhaps we can move beyond emotional captivity.

Or, maybe i just haven't been traumatized. Knock on wood...

Tuesday, June 08, 2010


"I will never seek or accept merely my own personal salvation. I do not want to receive satisfaction by myself; always and everywhere I live and work, I will hope and strive for the universal salvation of all people and all creatures in the world. Until all have been saved and freed, I will not abandon this world of sin, sadness, and strife."
-Ancient Chinese Wisdom

i wonder if individualism is itself a sin. The very idea of "every man for himself" seems divisive.

Is 'tribalism' just another form of individualism? When we embrace an 'us' against 'them' mentality, aren't we just making the 'i' bigger? [I]

No one can be saved 'alone'. To be separated from others is itself the definition of hell.

Monday, June 07, 2010