Truth: A Matter of Perspective – The Affirmation Spot for Monday February 25, 2008


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ray_launchpad.jpgWhat Ray’s reading right now:

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose (Oprah’s Book Club, Selection 61)




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Today’s affirmation is:

“I am transforming judgment into understanding. I am the source of change in my life, in my group, and in this world.”

mushroom_cloud.jpgHow you see the world is really a matter of perspective.  Your absolute conviction in the truth as you see it, can be absolutely rejected by the next person with the same absolute conviction. When these views collide conflict often ensues. That is, when we insist upon our way or no way.

The fact is that we are beings living in a world that none of us completely understands. We can hide that fact beneath layers of belief in some ideology, religion, or even scientific certainty. The fact remains; we never have all the facts to pass the judgment we are often too ready to pass upon others.

In a world being shrunk by technology and proliferating civilization ending weapons, we might be wise to take stock. Given our permanent state of uncertainty, maybe, just maybe, we should think about giving the other guy a break.

This can be as simple as, “live and let live.” You don’t have to agree with the other person. You don’t have to endorse their behavior. You simply have to understand that you can never completely understand his or her perspective and he or she can never completely understand yours.

The world watched this week as Slavic nationalism was stoked by the declaration of independence in Kosovo. Turkey has become emboldened to start a low-grade war with the Kurds in Iraq. We have the ever-present monotheistic struggle for dominance in the middle east. The problem shows itself everywhere.

Narrow-mindedness and tribal group-think were luxuries humanity has lived with, despite the brutal consequences, throughout its history. We have reached the point now where it is about to the break budget for our survival on this planet.

Saddest of all, there are forces on this planet who have powerful control over information outlets and government who thrive and profit by stirring the conflict that generates wars and foments hatred. They have played the masses like a fiddle to keep us divided and powerless. For our world to take the next steps, the people must see the manipulators for who they are and negate their ability to lead us around by our collective noses.

The alternative, should we persist in our unwillingness to take this approach in world affairs, is the destruction of us all. Who will be right then?

Albert Einstein is famously quoted as saying, “The world’s problems will not be solved by the level of thinking that created them.” We are a world in desperate need of a new level of thinking. We need a level of thinking that is not so sure of our group’s perfection and the other group’s evil. We need a level of thinking that sees people as the human beings they are and not subhumans summed up by the term “them”.

We have the power to change our perspective and mend our ways. We can and we must! We have it within us to say, “enough”. It all begins with “live and let live”. Until we are willing to do it, we walk on dangerous precipices.

Back in 2003, I wrote the following simple dialogue between a student and his teacher to illustrate this point to a friend during a discussion. I used a non-human thing to take the emotion out of it and help focus on the concept.

Student: Master, why do people not seek truth?

Master: People do seek truth, but they confuse personal truth with universal truth.

Student: Master, what is the difference?

Master: Do you see the rock over there?

Student: Yes, Master, I see the rock.

Master: How are you different from the rock?

Student: Master, I have intelligence and wisdom. I can change and grow. I offer more value to the world than the rock.

Master: So you are more important than the rock?

Student: Yes, Master, I believe I am.

Master: What do you think the rock thinks of you? Do you think the rock sees its place in the universe as more important than yours?

Student: Perhaps, Master, but that is the rock’s point of view.

Master: Ahh, your truth puts you at the center of the universe. The rock’s truth puts it at the center of the universe. WHOSE TRUTH IS CORRECT?

Student: Master, I know not.

Master: When you have attained universal truth you will no longer be concerned with my question. You and the rock will live in harmony rather than conflict; he with his truth and you with yours.

Be Peaceful Be prosperous!

Ray

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Remember Your Power – The Affirmation Spot for Monday February 11, 2008


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copy-of-ray_hawaii1.jpgWhat Ray’s reading right now:

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose (Oprah’s Book Club, Selection 61)





Today’s affirmation is:


“The power that lies within me moves mountains and commands the seas.”


jesus_rs.jpgJesus stands alone in human history in one indisputable regard. An overwhelming majority of the human population reveres him in one way or another. For many, he is their lord and savior. For at least as many others, he is considered a great teacher or prophet. He is nearly universally accepted as one of great teachers.

Today’s blog is not about debating what Jesus represents to you. It is about asking you, revere him how you will, to look at something he said about you and accept that it is true. He said you probably have a deficit when it comes to faith, belief, and trust about how this universe works and about your capaibilities.

Two of my favorite verses in The Bible are Jesus’ statements to his disciples about the power that lies within. Jesus is clear in both instances. The disciples’ inability to create miracles was not due to their lack of power, but to their lack of faith.

mustardseed.jpgMatthew 17:19-20

“Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, ‘Why could we not cast it (a demon) out?’ He said to them, ‘Because of your little faith. For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”

Luke 17:5-6

“The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith!’ The Lord replied. ‘If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.'”

How’s your faith? You’ve probably got smaller issues to deal with than moving mountains into the sea. Although, some days, your struggles can seem that daunting.

I’m sure we could have a spirited debate, depending on your belief, as to how you access that faith and the power that comes with it. Nonetheless, Jesus clearly states that you have it, if you choose to have it. The price? Simply, belief that you can do it.

The power Jesus attributes to the mustard seed is the power to live in trust and without doubt. The mustard seed, as far as we know, does not have a highly conflicted and intelligent mind feeding it reasons not to believe. It trusts in God or the universe to provide for it. The mustard seed loses itself in the flow of that trust. It lives free of doubt.

Jesus is calling us to lose ourselves in that trust. If we can move beyond the doubt, we can find the power he describes.

It’s always been strange to me; this tendency humans have to see ourselves as less than we are. Why do we so readily accept negatives from the Bible and other sacred writings, but we cannot bring ourselves to believe the positives?

We believe, “I am a sinner.” That’s not a problem. But tell me I can move mountains into the sea? No way! This is just a spiritual example of the same negative self-talk that afflicts us in other aspects of our lives.

“I could never go to college.” “I will never have the relationship I want in my life.” “I am never going to pull out of this depression.”

St. Augustine is famously quoted as saying, “Miracles happen, not in opposition to nature, but in opposition to what we know of nature.”

We don’t believe we can move the mountain or go to college because they defy our belief quotient. That is what we believe “we know of nature”. And so, says Jesus, “You’re right.” Those miracles will not happen as long as that is our mindset. If we are looking for miracles – large or small – we must be willing to trust in what seems “in opposition” to nature. 

I’m going to leave it to you to decide how much stock you want to put in Jesus’ words. You can choose to keep believing the negative thoughts that flow through your mind, limiting your life. Or, you can choose to believe that anything is possible and that, with the faith of a mustard seed, you can make it happen!

Let me just encourage you when life seems difficult to always remember who you really are.

Be peaceful Be prosperous!

Ray
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A World About to Be Born – The Affirmation Spot for Wednesday January 9, 2008

sun.gifThe sun is rising; the clouds have passed away. And in the minds of at least a few, a greater consciousness has arisen.

Tradition is no more. There is only awareness: an awareness of radiant possibilities and transcendent hopes for a world about to be born.

A world in which our fondest dreams shall come to pass. Where the greatest potentiality of humanity is realized: that each member of the human family will awaken to the inner light that opens one’s heart and frees one’s mind to look across culture, race, gender, religion and vast distance and see oneself.

When human beings can join together in this moment, free of all constraints and limits; simply experiencing their existence and connecting to the life force that flows through the universe in the most real and sincere way —THAT IS NIRVANA.

I speak not of a mystical experience to be had by a select few, but rather of the courage of anyone to remain completely present in this moment without attachment to outcomes or results. So I call myself a dreamer resolved to stay with this moment, where my heart may express tenderness and appreciation for all that is. For my heart is the birthplace of compassion for myself and this world.

Be of good cheer, o patient ones, for this new day dawns; a day of wonder and hope. A day, when filled with joy, all people shall attain their full potential. Long has been the night of toil and pain. Too long have brothers and sisters lived according to their fear of each other rather than their love for each other. But no more, the blinders have come off.

Finally and forever the Human Race will stand in the radiance of the truths that have lived within each of us all along. Truths that can no longer be ignored or distorted. The truth of our UNITY and our place in this planet’s web of life and in the greater cosmos beyond.


Be peaceful Be prosperous



Ray

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Unrealistic Affirmations

cp.gifThe affirmations a person uses depend on many factors. What is the person trying to accomplish? Where is he or she now in relation to that goal or dream? What is their belief factor? Is he or she aspiring to something big or just looking for incremental improvement?

One of the biggest knocks critics have against affirmations is that they encourage unrealistic thinking.

It is ridiculous, they say, to encourage a sixth grader who can barely play “Hot Crossed Buns” on the saxophone to use an affirmation like, “I am a world-class saxophone player”. That’s just delusional, they argue, to have a child believing something so out of touch with reality.

I absolutely agree!

“What,” you say, “I thought you were in the business of promoting affirmations and encouraging others to follow their dreams?” I am. And, I still agree with those critics. Oh, I believe emphatically that affirmations are for everyone, but I do not believe every affirmation is for every person.

Yes. The critics are correct. This affirmation is completely unrealistic for any sixth grader who believes it is unrealistic.

They are also correct that a smart sixth grader is probably going to doubt the affirmation at some point. Sooner or later the sixth grader using this affirmation may have the thought, “I can’t even play ‘Hot Crossed Buns’. I’m not a world class saxophone player.”

These two pieces of information do not match up. The sixth grader, like most human beings, will search for a way to make the ideas congruent. When this happens it is decision time for the sixth grader and his or her dream of being a world-class saxophonist.

Whether they know it or not the critics are citing and the sixth grader is experiencing a well-known psychological phenomenon called cognitive dissonance.

This theory states that when we hold two incongruent pieces of knowledge in our minds there is a very strong psychological impulse to bring the two conflicting thoughts into agreement.

The idea being that our sixth grader cannot hold the thought, “I can’t even play ‘Hot Crossed Buns’,” in his or her mind while at the same time holding the idea, “I am a world class saxophone player.”

The classic example is the mother on the news who cannot reconcile the baby she brought into the world with the possibility that he may have committed a crime. So, she believes in his innocence even against overwhelming evidence.

Now, here is where the critics’ logic fails. They assume, I suppose, that the only option for this newly self-aware sixth grader is to stop using this unrealistic affirmation and stop pursuing such lofty and unrealistic dreams. Basically, “Give it up, kid, there’s no chance.”

The cognitive dissonance theorists tell us that there are actually three options (besides “getting real”) open to resolve this dilemma.

  1. Change beliefs – the sixth grader can change one or both beliefs to be more in line. “I know I’m not a world-class saxophonist right now, but I can be someday.” He or she admits the first fact and changes the condition for the second to bring them into congruence.
  2. Adding beliefs – the sixth grader can think, “It’s true I cannot play “Hot Crossed Buns”. It’s true that I’m not a world-class sax player right now.” “It’s also true that Charlie Parker was not a world-class saxophone player in the sixth grade and look what he accomplished.”
  3. Alter the importance of the beliefs – the sixth grader can think, “It doesn’t matter that I can’t play “Hot Crossed Buns” right now. I will be able to some day. I still have it in me to be a world-class saxophone player.” He or she chooses to diminish the importance of the current state and focus, instead, on the future possibility.

Part of the confusion, candidly, comes from affirmation gurus who promote the idea that your affirmations must be adhered to with unshakable belief to make a difference. Doubting – the cardinal sin of affirmationdom – must never be allowed to rise or else the magic potion will be spoiled.

People are people. Some days we believe in our dreams fervently and other days we completely lose sight of them. That’s not being negative that’s just being human. The path is not lost by one moment of doubt.

This affirmation may or may not be appropriate for the sixth grader in question. It depends on how he or she resolves the cognitive dissonance associated with it.

If he or she cannot come to terms with the disparity, then an affirmation like “I am becoming a world class saxophone player” or “I am a better saxophone player every day” may be more acceptable and reduce the cognitive dissonance.

Conversely, the previous affirmation is ideal for a college student majoring in music performance on the saxophone. That person has already put in many years and is now an expert on the instrument. He or she may be planning a career playing the saxophone. That college student certainly can realistically aspire to becoming a world-class sax player.

Here is what I have learned from more than 17 years experience working with affirmations. There really are two classes of affirmations – aspirational and incremental.

Aspirational affirmations are your “big thinking” affirmations. They are the ones that remind you that something far greater than right now lies within you. That knowing is not for anyone to label as delusional or unrealistic. It depends on you and your belief.

Incremental affirmations are affirmations that are more finely tuned. They focus on specifics and immediate steps. They are the trees to the aspirational affirmations’ forest.

In my view, they are both part of a healthy affirmation diet. Just like protein and calcium serve two different but beneficial roles in the body. Both kinds of affirmations add value to your over all growth. One is today’s weather forecast and the other is the long range forecast.

Let me illustrate the difference with a couple examples.

A high school quarterback with big dreams might use both of the following affirmations:

Aspirational: “I am the next John Elway.”
Incremental: “My completion percentage is improving each and every game.”

A person trying to climb out of depression might use both of the following affirmations:

Aspirational: “I am completely happy with all aspects of my life.”
Incremental: “Today I am putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward.”

A person focusing on creating a better financial future might use both of the following affirmations:

Aspirational: “My million dollar idea is on its way to me right now.”
Incremental: “Today I am paying my bills on time.”


It’s not about being unrealistic. It’s about using the very real power of your thoughts to support your immediate goals and your long term dreams.

So, if you are a sixth grade saxophone player with a passion to be the world’s greatest saxophonist, I say go for it! One thing is for sure. None of your critics will be there to beat you out!

Be peaceful Be prosperous!

Ray

Ray Davis is the Founder of The Affirmation Spot and focuses on empowering minds to think positively, achieve goals, and live dreams.He’s spent the past 21 years in sales and sales training for major companies.

anunnaki_cover_full_colorRay’s 2015 speculative fiction novel, Anunnaki Awakening: Revelation, is turning heads. Where did humanity really come from and where is it going? This is Book 1 of a trilogy. The Awakening has begun!

Learn more about the trilogy and order your signed copy today at AATrilogy.com.

Is There A Santa Claus? – The Affirmation Spot for Christmas Eve 2007




santa.gif Is there a Santa Claus? This headline appeared in the September 21, 1897 editorial page of the New York Sun. The question was posed by eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon. Her letter to the editor reads as follows:

“Dear Editor: I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, ‘If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.’ Please tell me the truth: Is there a Santa Claus?”

~ Virgina O’Hanlon
115 West Ninety-Fifth Street

New York Sun editor Francis Pharcellus Church responded to Virginia’s letter with this now famous editorial.

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowlege.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas how dreary would be the world if there was no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if their were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

110 years later we live in a world infinitely more skeptical than the one Church decried. Many view Santa as just another marketing device to feed our consumerist frenzy. He is real only in as far as he serves the bottom line and provides a small slice of innocence to an ever shrinking childhood.

In our world, one where knowledge is controlled by economists and scientists; if you cannot weigh something, measure it, or define it in objective terms, it’s not real. Santa doesn’t fit into this worldview. He cannot be observed or tested in a lab. Therefore, the reasoning goes, he is not real.

Santa represents one thing – The Possible. He cannot be conclusively proved. Neither can your dreams, determination, hope, compassion, or most of the other things that make life worth living. You cannot measure a dream or weigh determination or define hope. These concepts are not susceptible to the scientific method or measurable on a profit and loss statement. And, yet, can you deny their reality?

They, like Santa, are only observable indirectly by their effects on the world. What would the world be without dreams, determination, hope, or compassion? It would be devoid of The Possible the same as if there was no Santa. Even as adults, we must continue to believe in The Possible or risk being stuck in what is; unable to move forward.

So, Virginia, is there a Santa?  Yes, there is, but those looking for Santa in chimneys will never find him. He lives only in the hearts of determined, hopeful, compassionate dreamers willing to suspend disbelief long enough see what is possible.

Be peaceful Be prosperous

Ray

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One in a Trillion Miracle – The Affirmation Spot for Wednesday December 19, 2007

Welcome to The Affirmation Spot. If this is your first time to the site, be sure to click one of the subscription options (top left) to be notified each time the blog is updated. Thank you for visiting. If you enjoy what you read here, help us spread the word about The Affirmation Spot.

There are direct links to downloadable mp3 affirmations at The Affirmation Spot.com on the right menu. They are set to music and allow you take positive thoughts with you wherever you go all day.

There are new affirmations in the Christianity section, the tennis section, and the Personal Empowerment section.

Enjoy today’s post. 
 


Today’s affirmation is:

“Today I recognize the miracle that is me and the other miracles all around me.”ggb_trafficjpg.gif

 Well it’s Wednesday and in case you were thinking it is the middle of “just another week” here are some things to ponder.

Someday we will all face the end of our walk in this form.

Sometimes during the course of “just another week” we don’t recognize how precious each moment is and how quickly all this is passing us by. We forget what a miracle it is that any of us are here at all.

Have you ever really considered just how many unlikely things had to happen for YOU to be here, or, for that matter, for HERE to be here?

Every single thing we see around us all day long every day was a one in a trillion shot. Each blade of grass, each cloud, each person, even the traffic jam you found yourself in on the way to work this morning – all are totally unlikely combinations that beat the long odds to burst into existence. That’s nothing short of a miracle.

grass1.gifSomeday when you do reach the end of this stage of your journey; this “just another week” may seem a lot more special than it does now. You may wish you had stopped to witness and marvel at the whole miraculous play.

Today, make a point to see the miracles. Tell the person you care most about in this world that you love them and remind them that they are a miracle.

And when you encounter the traffic jam on the way home this evening, breathe deeply and say, “Ah, yes. You are a miracle too.” It won’t get you home any faster, but it will make the ride more enjoyable.

Enjoy a miraculous Wednesday!!

 Be peaceful Be prosperous

Ray

The Affirmation Spot

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Moving Mountains Beginning with Mole Hills – The Affirmation Spot for Tuesday December 18, 2007


Today’s affirmation is:

It is not the mountain I conquer, but myself. I am reaching for the top of the mountain and my day in the sun is here.”

mountain.gifThere is a famous quote variously attributed to several people that says, “Whether or not you believe you can do a thing, you’re right.”  In the Book of Matthew, Jesus audaciously states, “Had you the faith of a mustard seed, you could command a mountain to be moved from here to there and it would be so.”

Both statements clearly to remind us that we have within us an astonishging capacity to do what would ordinarily be considered miraculous. In both instances, the fuel for the miracles is our belief.

I have often pondered this statement of Jesus and thought, “Ok, I believe it. I command the mountain to move.”  Immediately, even before I can get the words out, “common sense” enters my mind and says, “This is nonsense. The world does not work that way.”  Doubt has entered the picture. That’s why Jesus started his statement with, “Had you the faith…”

In Buddhism, doubt is one of the “five hindrances” to wisdom and considered the most difficult to overcome. We live in a society that teaches us that doubt and mistrust are prerequisites for our own self-protection. I wonder if the doubt spread by this world view is hindering us, individually and collectively, as we pursue our goals.

Although easier said than done, if we could suspend our disbelief just long enough to allow a firm belief in ourselves and our potential to take root and flourish; we could begin bringing the miraculous into our lives.

Maybe we start with things smaller than mountains like succeeding in our career, or strengthening our friendships and relationships, or simply achieving peace of mind.  Then perhaps we can tackle the mountain.  But then as Edmund Hilary stated, “It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.”

How true!

Everyone have a great Thursday. Find a situation today to suspend your disbelief long enough to allow your miracle.

Be peaceful Be prosperous

Ray

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