rules

It has been a few days since I last wrote.  Please forgive that but try to understand.  Sometimes these things just don’t come that easy.

This topic (rules) has kept coming back up over the last few days.  I have had discussions with friends, things have happened that brought them to mind, other things just seem to fit the bill.  Any way you look at it, the topic has come to the forefront for me.  And now I will try to share with you what this means to me.

I’ve always been somewhat of the black sheep in the family.  Not because I was such a bad kid.  Things are what they are.  That’s all.  Anyway, I challenged things, bucked the system (as it were), rebelled in my own way, and just generally did things my own way.  That really hasn’t changed too much.  I think my own way.  I do things my own way.  I really think that everyone does.

Rules are in place.  Some of them are good and some are bad.  Some are rules that deserve to be broken and others come with a high price.  Some rules can not technically be broken.  Laws of physics would be one example.  Yes, I’m aware that even those laws are sometimes broken or at least seem to be.  I say seems to be because if the Rule is broken, maybe it really wasn’t a real rule after all.  What goes up must come down?  Well, not always.  Still, if you try breaking that rule without the proper equipment, the concequences can be catistrophic.  And even with equipment, are you really breaking that rule?

Governments have rules.  The Department of Transportation, FBI, IRS, etc… all have their rules.  You can break the speed limit if you like.  Sometimes you will get away with it.  Other times you will have to pay the price.  Schools have rules.  Parents, skating rinks, the game of baseball, home owners associations, etc… all have their rules.  We LIVE in and with rules all the time.

Some of the rules we have are self imposed.  Cultural rules, religious rules, even rules about dating.  Ever changing rules.  It is very interesting how we so limit ourselves.   How we set guidelines and parimeters, and put ourselves into little places and put our minds there too.  We say we have freedom but that freedom has become limited by our own little minds.  Not in size.  In thought.

I’m not advocating breaking rules.  I’m saying that there are rules that make sense and those that don’t.  We have gotten to the point that we have lost the ability to think for ourselves.  We’ve somehow put ourselves in a position that greatly inhibits our own growth.  That is the growth of our minds.

Religious rules are some of the worst.  The so called “church” has held the minds of people in such control for so long, they no longer even question what is being told them.  The Catholic Church was one of  the worst of the offenders for a long time.  It is my belief that other churches are now doing as much harm.  The blind leading the blind.

There are Baptist churches, Penticostal, Methodist, Presbeterian, Catholic, Unitarian, etc…   None of them are alike.  Southern Baptist believe different things than Independent Baptist.  They would say this is not so but it is.  I use them as an example because I am more familiar with the Baptists but even in each variation of denomination there are different views.  Even inside each church, this class will have a different moral or religious viewpoint than another.  Why? Because we are all different.  Still, you’d think that there would be commonality.  One God only has one view.  One set of rules.

My God?  (by my understanding) My God is Love.  My God wants me to live life and live it more abundantly.  Not by mans rules.  By God’s rule.  The rule of Love.  It is for me to just be.  Be what I am.  Be who I am.  Just to be.

Personally, I think rules are meant to be challenged.  What our teachers, our preachers, our leaders of any kind say, all needs to be challenged to some degree.  Avoid accepting things just because it was said by someone who is thought of as having the answer.  They do not.

My father taught me well.  Even as a small boy.  I can remember his teaching me to challenge what I was taught.  Even if it was from him.  To this day I do this.  Not him as he is no longer here.  I challenge what I am taught.  I challenge rules.  I challenge what others think they know to be true.  I even challenge what I think I know to be truth.  To me, truth is the ultimate.  Truth stands on it’s own and can not be defeated.  Suppressed, yes.  Defeated, no.

Not all rules are bad.  Not all are good either.  I’d challenge you to open your mind’s eye.  The eye inside of you.  The eye of knowing.  The eye of truth.  Only then can you begin to know and understand what limiting rules you are allowing or are placing on yourself.  Only then can you really be free.  Free to live.  Free to just be.

Advertisements

thankful today

While I do like to write the darker stuff it seems, this morning I feel quite different.

As I began slowly rowsing out of my peaceful slumber this morning, I was greeted by the glow of bright sunlight shimmering off of the leaves of the trees across the street.  Yellows, browns, some greens, and of course a flash of light from the sun bouncing off of a windshield of a passing car from time to time.

The air was cool enough that I didn’t want to actually get my very warm body out from under the covers that I had so snugly tucked myself under.  I just took it all in.  Allowed myself the pleasure of just relaxing.  Something I seldom get to do except on weekends.  Such a far cry from the daily rude awakening of the alarm clock crying out for me to pry myself out of bed to face a cold morning and the hustle and bustle of every day life.

No, today was a bit different.  I awoke refreshed and renewed.  Pleased with the beauty of nature just outside.  Makes one glad to be alive.  Glad to be in a warm place.  Thankful for that warmth and shelter.  Thankful for sight to see the beauty of nature.  Thankful for so many things.  Too many to enumerate here.

Yes.  It is a day to be thankful for.  I guess that every day should be a “thankful” type day.  It is a good thing if you are even just able to get up.  Many can’t.  It is a good thing if you have a place to stay even if it isn’t your own.  Just having shelter is a blessing.  So many people don’t have that.  Warmth and comfort.  Another of those things to be thankful for.  Food in the belly.  I am so blessed to have the things I need.  It makes me feel for those that don’t.

I have my health.  At least as good as it is.  Better than many my age.  I know a number of people that are going through things with regard to their health.  Everything from weight problems to hate problems.  From cancellations to cancer.  From diabetes to depression.  From hair loss to the loss of a loved one.  So many things that could be going on in my life that are not going on today.

Like everyone else, I’ve had my share of problems.  My share of pain and misery.  Today is not that day.  At least not yet.  For now, I just want to be thankful.  Thankful that the day has started out with beauty.  With pleasure of what I have to be thankful for.  Even something so simple as that great cup of coffee I just had before writing this.

I think we should all be thankful.  Thankful for little things.  Thankful for the love of family if that is something you have even if just from one.  Thankful for friends if you are fortunate enough to have at least one.  Thankful for kindness of those that you don’t even know that can come from nowhere to brighten your day.  Thankful for all goodness around you.  You CAN even be thankful for rain when it comes if you look at it the right way.  You can be thankful for pain if you realize that even that pain is something that is good.  Good because it notifies you that you are alive or that there is something that needs attention.  Without it (pain) you may not ever know there is or was a problem.  So it too can be a good thing.

It is not what is happening to you that causes good or bad.  It is how you respond or react to it that gives to you or takes away from you.  Much of life is choice.  Yours.

What are you looking for

This is as much a personal question as it is anything else.  We all are involved in some sort of search.  One which involves every fiber of our being.

Some are in search of love.  Some in search of money.  Others in search of status or popularity.  For many it is a search for multiple things.  All of us are in search of something.  Over the last few years I have found that my major search is for truth.  Truth about many things.  Not just about my personal relationships but for truth in all things meaningful to me.  Love is one of those but not the only thing.  In fact, I’m not sure that it is even the greatest or most important of my searching.

I’d say that my major search over the last few years has been in the realm of spirituality.  I feel that I am making headway but have not yet attained.  Not sure that I ever will on that level.  This particular blog is not about that search or even any search in particular.   It is more an attempt to point out that all of us are in some sort of search.

You may think you know that for which another person is search.  I’d say that what we normally see on the surface is exactly that.  Surface!  It takes knowing that someone in a deeper manner to get even a glimpse into the depth of their search.

What ALL of us are really want and even need is significance.  Whether that significance is to ourselves or to someone else or to “multiple others” does not really matter.  It is what we all have that deep desire to have.  Some sort of recognition even if in our own selves of ourselves.

I do believe that you need to find out who you are before you can really be of use to yourself or anyone else.  A bit of the “love yourself first” theme.  Once you have that then your search can continue toward other levels of acceptance whether your own personal acknowledgment of your own self worth or some measure of value from others.

The light in the darkness

The darker the night, the brighter a light shines.

A good friend has been giving me quotes from time to time that have meant something to him.  I too give him quotes that I find that speak to me.  We share our thoughts and, as a result, grow in our minds, in our perceptions, in our knowledge, and in our spirits.  One of those quotes was “Be what you are.  That is the first step in becoming better than you are.” Though I do not know who the author is, I find it to be a very fulfilling quote.

There have been times when I did not feel that I have lived up to being what I should have been.  What I could have been.  Or even what I should be at times.  Still, this quote is a light to me.  When I feel the darkest, this small piece of light shines within me.  It gives me direction.  A beacon if you will.  A star upon which to fix my heading.

It is in the darkest of night that the stars are the brightest.  On a very dark night, a match lit while standing on the deck of a boat can be seen for miles.  In the darkness of a cave even a small ember can be seen very easily.  It is the darkness that gives the light its brilliance.

Darkness is not a bad thing.  In general,  sleep is much better if it is dark.  Even better if it is dark, a bit cold, and can hear the rain beating on the roof.  Right?  Yes.  I knew.  While none of us want to live in darkness, it is still the darkness that gives us at least part of what we need even if that is rest.  While I like the sunlight and even appreciate the benefits of sunlight, it is still the darkness that both intrigues me and allows me to rest.  Even hide if I feel the need.  And yes, I do feel the need to draw away sometimes.  Just for myself.  Just to reflect and to meditate and to mull things over.  It is in this darkness that I find the bits of light that I would not have seen in total daylight.

Try it sometime.  Light a match in broad daylight and see if you can even see it from 100 feet away.  Try taking it down the road a bit.  See if you can see a match lit 1000 feet away.  I doubt it.  Do that in the dark and it is a brilliant display of light.  Who goes to see the fireworks go off at noon?  Nobody.  It is the night that gives all of those colors their glimmer and glow.  You would miss the whole purpose if you were to shoot off fireworks in the daylight.  Kids do not enjoy lighting sparklers in the daytime or even at dusk.  They like it best (as you would) in the darkest part of the yard.

When I feel the lowest, when I feel down, the smallest of sparks is something I can see.  I recently had the experience of many bright lights in my life.  More friends than I knew I had.  They shined in their brightness in ways even they do not know.  A card here, a kind word there, even just a touch of the hand meant much to me.  It came from many more than I ever expected.  It came from people I would not have known even cared.  I have been very blessed by their kindness.

When someone else is low, it may be you that is that glimmer of hope.  If someone calls you asking for you to be a friend, take the time.  You may be the only light they need to get back to where they need to be.  You can shine your brightest when someone else is in their darkest hour.  All it takes is a little of your time.  The reward is greater than you can imagine for both of you.  You don’t have to have lots of money.  You don’t have to be famous.  You don’t have to look good, smell good, or really even be very good.  All you have to be is a friend.  Be there.  Just be what you are.  Just be!

Perception

There are so many ways to think about things.  Everyone has their own way.  Each has his or her very distinct view of any particular topic.  The effects of those views can be astounding.

We pass through this life with very little understanding of the whole.  We are limited by our culture, our climate, geographical locations, a variety of outside influences, our genetic makeup, our education, ethnicity, and add to that the various life experiences we have and each of us come away with a very skewed view of things.  Such things as the time of year a person is born can have an effect.  What type of and how much or how little affection or food or how a mother or father or other member of the family interacts, all have an effect on the outcome, the persona of a person’s being and thus their view of things.

The question gets asked, “what is the meaning of life?” and no-one really ever has THE answer.  That is because there is no answer.  Each individual must find for themselves the answers.  Those answers can only be found within one’s self.  No teacher has the answer.  No Psychiatrist, Psychologist, no Counselor, Preacher, Priest, Guru, or Philosopher.  Anyone that follows such a one is following someone that only has the answers they have found that apply only to themselves and thus can not apply to anyone else.  Each developing their answers found by viewing life through their own kaleidoscope.  In fact, that is a very good physical application to this viewpoint.  Your kaleidoscope of life may have fixed facets whereas someone else may have pieces that float or of different colors as this world and thus your barrel of your kaleidoscope shifts and turns.  No two are alike.  The view is ever changing and each has their own view.  Their own perception.

Balance

Balance is the key.  For everything there is balance.  In order to understand joy you must first experience the pain.   The greater the pain, the greater the joy can be experienced and appreciated.

What does this tell us?  That pain is bad?  Quite the contrary.  Without pain or suffering, how would you know you were happy or glad.  Without hunger, how would you know the pleasure of a meal.  Would you understand it’s value?  Doesn’t hunger give you a better understanding of the goodness of a full belly?  Doesn’t food that tastes bland give you the appreciation for food that has flavor?  Of course it does.

Without the cold we would not appreciate warmth.  Without a loss, we never appreciate what we have.  Those that are never alone never learn to appreciate those they have with them.  At least not until they are gone.  Those people that have much tend to never learn to appreciate the value of simple things.

I feel for those that have never experienced the loss of something dear to them.  What is worse is to never allow yourself to experience that loss.  Yes… that is possible.  It’s called denial.  It may be a method of self preservation, but, it limits that one who can not stand to experience the pain.  To FEEL is what allows the person to experience all things.  This is not an easy thing for most people.  Allowing yourself to feel puts yourself in the position to be vulnerable.  That is what makes it so difficult for most.  Those of us that allow ourselves to feel are the ones that live life to it’s fullest.