Do you know that children learn ambition from their fathers? Perhaps it is because the father role is traditionally one of working parent. Bread-winner. The need to be the provider is inherent in many men. It drives them to do extraordinary things. It makes a difference if a father is absent from a family. It just does. A single mother can try as hard as she likes, she cannot role-model as dad and mom. For one thing, she is not a man. There are a lot of children without fathers. There are a lot of children whose mothers lie to them about their parentage. This is a sad state of affairs. Each child deserves to know who its mother is and who its father is. How else will they ever establish a concrete sense of identity? We are of our forebears. You cannot escape that reality.
There are a lot of children being bred that will not stand out as remarkable because they have not been taught about competition, ambition. If you do not stand out as remarkable in this world you will find that your career options are few. There are too many of us on this planet. Competition is fierce. Ambition is important. So is competition. Both will take you far on the path towards realising your full potential. If you are not striving for something, you are not going to learn just how magical you are as a human being. You need to push yourself to get the best from yourself. There are too many people sitting down wondering what is going wrong in this world. It is time people stood up and gave the best of themselves to benefit the rest of humankind. By giving your best to the world – in your unique way – you are nurturing yourself and growing your soul. That is the best news about giving of yourself. It is an investment in your future. To do that, though, you need first to find the best in yourself. That is not a one-minute job. You will spend your entire life finding your best if you are bothered to look properly.
It is irresponsible to cultivate children who do not understand competitive sports, for example. It is short-sighted to ask children to learn that its okay to be part of the majority. If they blend in with the rest of their peers then who is going to be doing the independent thinking for these children? Competition stimulates children. It encourages them to achieve. To feel pride. It is the mismanagement of pride that serves as a problem in so many lives. If you take pride in context – and have the understanding that it is a formidable part of the ego – it is useful. Just take pride in the right things. You know what the right things are.
If you do not have it, you must cultivate the will to face all things. That means facing your fears. Fears are deceptive. Realise that before you realise anything else. They give the impression that they are material because they feel as real as any feeling you may have. Fear – as a feeling – is a powerful motivator. There is a lot of news about giving your feelings a miss, that they are not to be allowed to dominate your everyday. I put it to you that you are a human being. How can you not be dominated by your feelings? Even serial killers are under the control of their feelings. It is the rush of death that keeps them doing what they do. That rush is within. A feeling. The same rush you or I might feel when we succeed at something that is important to us. To complement will, you need courage. Fortitude. Courage comes in many shapes and sizes. Feelings, too.
You cultivate will through pointing out to yourself the positives in any given situation. The positives engender hope, and we all work well when we allow ourselves to hope. We can find the will to strive towards something that is better than where we find ourselves now. Hoping for the best outcome for yourself in whatever predicament you might find yourself is one of the simplest things you can do to change your patterns of thinking. Instead of dreading an impending disaster (even if there is one coming), or imagining the worst possible scenario that could present itself – try imagining for once that things are going to work out the way you need them to. I am talking about the big picture. You need to practice focussing on the big(ger) picture. The realities you are a part of are stepping stones across a wide, strong river. You can choose to see this and use the stones to cross over or you can stay back on the riverbank for eternity. I would suggest that you do not stay on the bank. Take a step into the river and stand for a moment, feel the movement around you. That is who you are in this world.
The unexpected can weaken our will. When we are faced with surprises in life we tend towards a brief panic and then a desperate clinging to anything in the vicinity that is familiar. We cling to our conditioning, to our behaviours, to our beliefs. To other people. We must learn not to cling to other people. That is like a drowning man drowning his rescuer. We need to learn that life surprises (of the startling variety) all contain learning. Step back when they happen and see where your instincts take you. We are forced to use our initiative when dealing with the new. Initiative is valuable, nurture your nature.
Remember, too, that our will needs to get us through adversity. It needs to take us through our worst, when it comes. And it always comes. The thing to remember is that it always goes. That come and go, ebb and flow, is life living for you. Appreciate its miracle. Appreciate that your worst is only ever as bad as your good is good. The higher your highs, the lower your lows. That is equilibrium.
Some of us are bred to embrace change. Others are afraid. Change is a remarkable leveller and it should be employed by all of us to prevent our getting complacent. Complacency is not something to aspire to. There is a point at which change becomes destructive, however, and so we need to know how to manage its happening. Try not to make dramatic changes too often. Rather go at the process slowly, taking time to adjust to whatever it is that is new to you before you take on another set of circumstances. The same applies to your thinking. In order to change your thinking – and this is advisable for 2013, the year of new beginnings – you need to go at it slowly. Expect resistance from your old ideals and thought processes. Getting your mind to tidy itself up is a challenging task, but one that is worth doing. If you have help in the shape of a good listener who can assist you with the exorcism of bad memories, make use of their facility. Open your heart for a moment to someone you can trust with its vulnerabilities. Bad memories take up a lot of mind space. They waste a lot of mind space. Take them out and look at them, then decide how best to dispose of them. You will never be rid of them entirely, but you can put them into storage once you have worked out their pain. Do not be afraid to change your mind. Never be afraid to change your mind. If it is acceptable for women to be changeable, then it is acceptable for men to be changeable. This is a world in which we work towards the ideal of equality, is it not?
Imagine changing from a backward-thinker to a forward-planner. Stranger things have happened. They say the future belongs to the dreamers. They are not far wrong. The dreamers each have a guarantee. Their futures will happen as they imagine them. It is the easiest concept to grasp. Where you put your headspace is where you will find yourself. You are what you think. And since you are always becoming – you are always changing. You cannot escape it.
Let life change you. The safest way to go forwards (and forwards is a good way to be going) is to be adaptable. When you can watch life unfolding in front of your eyes and negotiate its rapids as smoothly as you can manage its meanderings, then you know you are being adaptable. Adaptable is flexible. When you resist change you block your feng shui. Any blockage in Nature is a problem. You must not restrict your own flow. Let life come to you and take its deliveries with grace, humility. Then let them go. Nothing is yours to hold on to. Feel that you are a part of the flow and know then that you have surrendered to the way of things. Surrender is good when it lessens stress. It is not defeat. Be sure that what you surrender to – if you are able to give yourself up – is worthy of your burdens. I think Jesus is tired of carrying the load and besides, I do not see that piling your sins on the shoulders of a dead man is in any way helpful to you in the long run. All the Jesus-believers need to give the guy a break and take accountability for themselves. That will be hard at first, when you are used to delegating responsibility for your behaviour to God or Jesus. I wonder what will happen when the bottom falls out of the church? It will fall. It is just a matter of time. I wonder then whether the myriad believers will turn on their priests the way the Jews turned on Jesus? I think there will be too many questions without answers. That is the church’s problem now – they have a book of songs to explain life to their children. How helpful is it in this day and age to be taught from the bible? It is not helpful. There are many more reliable sources to use when training the minds of our today-children.
How do you forgive the guy who sells you fake tickets for a Justin Bieber concert in Johannesburg? After explaining to the children who arrive at the turnstile after a two hour wait – children whose ages range from 6 to 11 – that mommy somehow bought rubbish tickets from a con-man, you must stand outside with the children and watch everyone around you go into the stadium. What do you say to the broken smile of each child? That kind of cruelty to children cannot be forgiven. Not in any hurry. How senseless a human being do you have to be to know (and care less) that you are selling a non-experience to a child with stars in their eyes? It’s shocking. It is an outrage that people do such things in the name of money. Worse still, selling fake tickets for a meet-and-greet. Conscienceless. These people with no scruples should be named, and shamed. Then prosecuted. One by one.
Forgiveness is tricky at the best of times. I often wonder who we think we are that we give out forgiveness like God’s blessings bestowed. If someone has wronged you, I suppose it is your right to decide whether or not they deserve to be forgiven, but be careful that you are sure what is wrong and what is not. In this age I think it’s the feeling of forgiving that is wrong. I think too often we go about it in a self-righteous manner and self-righteousness is a dangerous game for anyone to play. Do not hand out forgiveness like alms. Be aware that it is serious – if you choose to forgive (which is advisable for your own peace of mind) then you must know you mean it. True forgiveness comes where you can coerce your heart into complying with your mind. If your heart cannot let go of a hurt, you cannot forgive. It is simple.
Forgive where you can. Remember it is destructive to hold on to a hurt for too long. The hurt stagnates, it becomes boring to think about and its persistent nag is a drain on your energy resources. Get over it. People hurt each other. That is what they do. Expect people to be unpredictable, perhaps thoughtless on occasion. Expect disappointment. We are all learning, that is important to remember, too. How can we get the best from one another if we aren’t allowed to make mistakes with our handling of each other along the way?
Instinct is not your sixth sense. Your sixth sense is extra-sensory perception. Instinct is there to be heeded. It is not a fleeting feeling that you cannot pin down, it is a concrete feeling that you cannot pretend you do not have. We all have strong instincts. A lot of us are just good at suppressing them. We teach ourselves to ignore our instincts, too. This is not productive. Instincts are powerful enough to make us act when we let them. When you have to trust your instincts – and we all rely on their being there when we need them – you find yourself acting quickly, decisively. Your instincts steer you towards the ‘safest’ option for your human in a given situation. A driving instinct is our desire to survive. Most of us operate on auto-pilot in this regard.
I think some days how fragile our existence, really. We need air to breathe, otherwise we die. Simple. We need trees to produce oxygen. Why are we letting deforestation go ahead? Why are we allowing certain nations to decimate their jungles? There should be someone who can say no to these things and have people listen for a change - someone who has the ears of a collection of civilised leaders. The jungles do not belong to the people. They belong to the earth. She should be considered in all of this. Like the animals should be considered in all of this.
How much longer are the humans going to waste going in the direction of money? Money is helpful but it must be kept in perspective. It does good when it’s used properly, but it also makes palm oil plantations grow. It makes logging a viable option for a lot of people. It makes dogs fight, cocks fight. It makes circuses trap animals and it kills rhinos, whales. Money makes sex into big business. How do we slow down a people obsessed with its power? Money in this world is a god. It is worshipped as such. How can it be in a world this rich that the global economy is failing? There is too much about this man looking out for himself only, and that man taking more than his fair share. When you have this imbalance you have a problem. You do not have to give the shirt off your back to the next homeless guy you see. That is not what charity is about. Just be aware that as a person taking up space on this planet you are obliged to give something back. Every single human has that duty. There are currently too many takers, not enough givers. And you cannot say you have nothing to give. You give of yourself if you cannot give materially.
Embrace it. It comes to us all and if you cannot accept that fact you will not recognise it when it arrives. Despite their status, even the most serene souls experience chaos. That theirs’ is within and remains within is no mean feat. The turbulence beneath the surface – in our subconscious where our archetypes reside – is relevant to our development. The archetypes fight. You can be a Buddhist monk and your archetypes will still fight. It is in learning how to watch them fight that you conquer their effect. Watching them leads to an understanding of their actions. It leads to seeing reason for their being. For our archetypes work. They are active in our self-expression, they are active in manipulating our behaviours so that we manoeuvre smoothly into the position where we are best-placed to face the choices that we have made for ourselves. Our human nature shows us the way. Importantly, human nature is not negotiable. We are all what we are: part wild, part not. Part human, part not. Part nature, part not. Our complexity is what makes us interesting. We are of Nature. We are first and foremost of Nature. Not of sacred mud, nor of Adam’s rib. Should that really be the case then we are all borne of incest. If Eve was of Adam’s rib, then Eve was of Adam’s DNA. That makes brother and sister by my reckoning. Sex between brothers and sisters is frowned upon no matter who you are or where you think you belong.
I would rather believe that I come of a miracle of evolution called procreation than from a story of incest in a book so old its message is virtually obsolete. Perhaps the guy who wrote the bible spoke the universal language. Perhaps. I think there were moments when he translated the truth. However, he rambled a lot. The bible goes on too much about stuff that doesn’t matter anymore. The church has failed to realise that the universal language does not ramble any longer. Or mumble. Dusty sermons served to dead ears are these days, obsolete. I think the church has got dead ears – they fail to hear the very loud call for their God to turn up and take responsibility for his humans. If God said and it was so, then God is what we think. Because thinking makes it so. That is fact. Change your thinking and you change your world. That is Buddhist wisdom. There is a lot be said for Buddha’s wisdom. He got to where he was through perseverance, and experience. That makes him someone we can trust. I would trust the say-so of the real man more than I would the imperative of an invisible God.
The church really has a lot of work to do. It is so behind that it precludes itself from joining world debate. Its message is outdated and its methods archaic. Who in this day and age could possibly advocate no contraception? Which god would want his own planet (for I believe that Earth has an overseer) over-populated and ravaged by the likes of poverty? This world is struggling to cope, it is subverted by poverty. Please understand this. Poverty makes people do inhuman things. If you have never been short of money, then consider yourself very, very lucky. Whether through your own provision or private circumstance, consider yourself part of a privileged minority and be thankful.
Love never fails. That is what to take from the lesson on the left. In an ideal world, love would guide everyone. It doesn’t. Also, it would be everywhere. It isn’t. This world is far from ideal. However. There are those who have it, and those who do not. It is clear to see those who have it. They walk around like the Dalai Lama with a heart open, oozing pure love. Feeding the environments – both physical and mental – with positivity, like prayer flags feeding the breeze. To be able to do that takes a lot of practice, and it takes an extraordinary amount of personal work. You don’t get to be the Dalai Lama by accident. To him, love comes naturally. Love is breathing. Alive.
To understand that we are a reflection of this love is to achieve perfection with your life. Unfortunately there are a great many obstacles between realising perfection and achieving it. But obstacles are just that. They are in the way, they are not insurmountable. They are sent our way to challenge our complacent ideal, our idea of life. We are all affected by our externals, those naturally-occurring factors that shape our realities. Realise that reality is pretty reactionary. It responds to you. It is a pity we cannot control every one of our externals. Nature has the element of surprise on her side. She is never complacent. She is in her same cycle of hot, cold, hot, cold. At the moment she is heating up again. Her path is prescribed. She rolls around as does spring, summer, autumn, winter. Each time, the same. Nature knows what to do. What she did not anticipate was the rush of humans on the face of her earth. There are too many of us. That fact is not worth panicking about, but it is a reality worth waking up to. Who are you to have more than a handful of children? A handful is enough in any culture.
Be aware, too, that you do not need to keep children as contingencies. You do not need your genes out in the world over and over again. These days be prudent. A reasonable number of children should satisfy family needs. How hard must some parents try to get it right? Or is it that a breed of women just do not care that they are breeding creatures rather than people? For that is what they are doing. There is a breed of women with five children by five different men who are not around. What does that say about society? It says society is failing. What can a teenager teach a child? Life experience is what you share with a child. I have seen these mothers swearing at their kids so many times it becomes unremarkable. I do not believe that it is productive for a child to grow up being sworn at. That is like being spoken at. It is rude. From the other side – would you want to be trapped as a dad (and keep in mind a dad is different to a father) as a teenager? Not a chance. These teenage mothers are a problem. The solution? Girls should keep their legs together when they drink or learn to use contraception. They should stop the rush to motherhood. It is not an escape.