Share Your Light Once You Own It – Day 290 of 365 Days to a Better You

Good morning, my friends. There’s a challenge in our world today. Many of the people who practice personal development and spirituality tell you to avoid negativity – negative people and situations – like the plague. One common piece of advice is to drop friends and family who are negative. They tell you that once you’ve found your enlightenment, you should go blissfully about your business without touching the darkness in the world.

This is not a new problem. There’s a story in the Buddhist tradition that the Buddha, having attained complete enlightenment, looked at the darkness and evil in the world and considered keeping it to himself. It’s said the god Brahma appeared before the Buddha and pleaded with him to teach the dharma, arguing that both men and gods needed to hear it. As history tells us, the Buddha did go out and encounter that dark world with his enlightenment and transformed half this planet.

There is much darkness in our world today. Our economic, military, and even religious ideologies create havoc, violence, and injustice.

You and I have the same choice the Buddha had all those centuries ago. We can say our affirmations, meditate, develop our bodies and our minds and our spirits and keep it all to ourselves. We can say, “Thinking about or exposing myself to those realities upsets my balance, is unspiritual, or risks what I’ve achieved for myself.”

Here’s the thing. We still have to share the world with all the institutions and people who live in this negativity. Just like positive thinking, negative mindsets create in the world what begins in the mind. If you look at many of the challenges we face, you can see this at work all around us.

I believe we are called upon, having attained some understanding ourselves, to spread the light into the darkness that is hatred, war, and injustice; doing more than simply letting it persist.

Involvement in the process is actually the most enlightened thing you can do. If enough of us do it, then this world has hope of turning the ship around and heading in directions that will change everything and everyone for the better.

Engagement not avoidance is the way forward. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this below.

As always, in case I’m the only one who tells you today, you ARE awesome!

Ray

 

 

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Take Your Own Wise Counsel – Day 282 of 365 Days to a Better You

Today’s affirmation: I am a vast source of wisdom. I am a wise counselor. I have the answers within me.

Here’s something to stick in your back pocket today. You know an amazingly wise and perceptive person who is always ready and able to provide you fantastic advice. Fortunately, you have access to that person 365/24/7. I’m talking about you, of course. You’re a wise old owl.

“Me?” you say. “I’ve got lots of challenges I can’t figure out. How can I help myself?”

Don’t be so quick to discount yourself. It’s all a matter of perspective. You need to step outside your challenges, put on your wise counselor’s hat, and analyze your situation like you are a friend or a family member coming to you for advice.

You’ve played that role many times in your life. With some detachment, you’re amazingly wise, stunning insightful, and brimming with compassion.

Give yourself the benefit of that sagely master within you. What would you tell a friend to do in your situation? What would you caution him or her about? How would you encourage your friend?

You’re much more critical and cynical when dealing with yourself. Lend the wisdom and compassion you’d show someone you care about. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by this powerful internal resource walking around in you all day long.

In case no one else has told you today, you ARE amazing!

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Ray

Ray
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Walking Among the Greats

I wrote this is, well, not quite a poem back in 1997. It’s about getting on your path and encountering the giants that came before you. It’s how you measure up.

On my journey this day, I follow in the footsteps of the immortals. The imprints they have left behind on the Earth are large and their strides are a stretch for me. Yet, if I dare not encounter them and measure myself by them, how shall I ever know the true immensity of my own being?

So, I step consciously into the light; walking the path they once walked. Leaving it, occasionally, and improvising. Adding to it qualities uniquely my own.

Breathing with the trees and conversing with the clouds, as once they did. Our collective wisdom grows until no distinction remains among the path, the immortals, and me.

Follow and achieve your greatness!

Ray

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15 Buddha Quotes to Live By – Day 251 of 365 Days to a Better You

Siddhartha Gautama, better known to the world as the Buddha, was born a prince in northern India about 2600 years ago. His father was told his son would either be a world king or a great spiritual teacher. Wishing his son to expand the power of his kingdom, King Suddhodana ordered that he be immersed in the richest worldly pleasures to prevent him from pursuing the spiritual path.

However, at 29, Siddhartha was exposed to illness, aging, and death. These were all forbidden knowledge to him. His charioteer, against orders, explained that all human beings, including one day the young prince, experience these things. Then he saw a monk and was awakened to his true life’s purpose. The rest, as they say, is history.

Beginning with his famous Fire Sermon, the Tathagata taught for 47 years. He left us a wealth of wisdom. Here are 15 quotes we can all apply to our lives.

All these centuries later, these words are easy to read, but the challenge of a lifetime to live.

  1. All that we are is the result of what we have thought: we are formed and molded by our thoughts. Those whose minds are shaped by selfish thoughts cause misery when they speak or act. Sorrows roll over them as the wheels of a cart roll over the tracks of the bullock that draws it. All that we are is the result of what we have thought: we are formed and molded by our thoughts. Those whose minds are shaped by selfless thoughts give joy whenever they speak or act. Joy follows them like a shadow that never leaves them.
  2. Let none find fault with others. Let none see the commissions and omissions of others. But, let one see one’s open acts done and undone.
  3. A mind unruffled by the vagaries of fortune, from sorrow freed, from defilements cleansed, from fear liberated — this is the greatest blessing.
  4. Therefore, bhikkhus, you should train yourselves thus: ‘We will develop and cultivate the liberation of mind by lovingkindness, make it our vehicle, make it our basis, stabilize it, exercise ourselves in it, and fully perfect it.’ Thus should you train yourselves.
  5. Radiate boundless love toward the entire world.
  6. Some do not understand that we must die. But those who do realize this settle their quarrels immediately.
  7. All conditioned things are impermanent’ — when one sees this with wisdom, one turns away from suffering.
  8. Drop by drop is the water pot filled. Likewise, the wise man, gathering it little by little, fills himself with good.
  9. Irrigators channel waters. Fletchers straighten arrows. Carpenters shape wood. The wise master themselves.
  10. Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is a law eternal.
  11. The way is not in the sky. The way is in the heart.
  12. Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.
  13. If you understood the power of giving as I do, you would never let a meal pass without sharing.
  14. The root of suffering is attachment.
  15. The greats of the past only show the way. You must walk the path yourself.

Namaste, my friends, namaste!

Ray

Ray Davis is the founder of The Affirmation Spot. He’s been studying and practicing personal development for 30 years. He’s also studied many of the world’s spiritual traditions and mythologies.

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12 Pieces of Unwise Conventional Wisdom – Day 222 of 365 Days to a Better You

Axioms, idioms, proverbs, aphorisms; whatever you call them these tiny tidbits of “wisdom” permeate the popular consciousness. Many are very useful. Others, such as those below, offer abysmal and disempowering life advice.

  1. Better the devil you know than the one you don’t. This is one of those things a protective mother might tell you to keep you safe. It sounds like risk aversion advice, but it’s worse. It acknowledges that you’re dealing with a person or situation worthy of being called “the devil,” but encourages you stay put because taking a chance on change is supposedly more dangerous.
  2. Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt. Abraham Lincoln said this one so it must be true, right? Well, it’s pithy and could be true in some situations. However, most people have a hard time finding their voices. They don’t speak up, make their contribution because of fear of appearing foolish. That’s what makes this bad advice. The team, the country, the world is better off when everyone feels empowered to contribute without fear.
  3. Curiosity killed the cat. This is another one that assumes the worst and culls one of our most important traits as humans – our curiosity. Celebrate and be inspired by curiosity. Don’t fear it,
  4. Do as I say not as I do. This one requires little commentary. Never use this in someone else and never let it be used in you.
  5. Do not upset the Apple cart. Um, look around at the world. We need more people willing to upset the apple cart not fewer.
  6. East is east, west is west, and never the twain shall meet. This one is a battlecry for dogma. What is is. There are absolutes that can’t be changed. So why try? Nonsense. Beyond birth and death little else is unchangeable.
  7. You can’t teach and old dog new tricks. This one claims that once you reach a certain age, it’s too late to learn or change or that people can never change. Neither is absolutely true. As long as there’s breath there’s hope. It’s never too late to be the person you came here to be.
  8. All’s fair in love and war. Here’s a mindset that’s simply justification for bad behavior. No wonder relationships are in such chaos in our culture. Love is not a competitive sport. It’s not an excuse to become cut-throat. Aspire to something higher in your relationships.
  9. Every man has his price. This assumes that all people are unprincipled if tempted enough. It also is saying that normalizes this idea.
  10. Fight fire with fire. Here’s the mantra of people content to be vengeful and get even. Consider putting fires out in the world rather than pouring oil on them.
  11. Great minds think alike. I get that this one is usually said in fun when two people have the same thought. In truth, though, great minds think for themselves.
  12. Ignorance is bliss. This is among the most commonly used on this list and among the worst advice. It promotes apathy, disempowerment, and dependency. A strong human being ought never live in more ignorance than his or her seeking to date has left undiscovered.

There are more of these and I may do a second post on this down the line. Just because you’ve heard something said you’re whole life like it’s wise, doesn’t mean it is.

You’re all amazing. Take that to the bank! Have a great Sunday.

Ray

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Don’t Die with Your Music Still Inside You – Day 49 of 365 Days to a Better You

Don’t die with your music still inside of you.

One of my favorite moments in Spring is the first time I see and hear a cardinal sing. I love red and so I find cardinals to be stunning birds. The best thing, though, is their amazing song. I can’t get enough of it. I’d love to hear your song too!

The late Wayne Dyer often encouraged his listeners with this aphorism. I never heard Wayne say it, but I’ve always believed he was referring back to another proverb of indistinct origin. “A bird doesn’t sing because it has the answer, it sings because it has a song.

Did you know you have a song inside of you? I believe we all do. You may call it your bliss, your mission, your path. It’s that thing that we cannot imagine dying without having expressed, experienced, and shared. Yet, many of you reading this, have not blessed the world with your song.

“Well,” you might think, “No one really cares about my song. It won’t change the world or my situation.” Are you sure? Who among us knows how a word, a gesture, a thought from you might change everything?

Whether you “singing” your song would shift the world or just shift a moment, read the quote again. The reason for singing your song is not because your song is the answer, though it might be. The reason for singing your song is because you have a song and it’s what you’re here to do. You won’t feel complete until you pipe up. So, pipe up!

It doesn’t have to be the most beautiful song or the most profound. It only needs to be the contribution you came here to make.

No pressure, but it’s time to start singing!

Have a fantastic and song-filled day!

Ray

Be HERE Now – Day 18 of 365 Days to a Better You

Be here now.

Today’s Affirmation

Today I harness the power of NOW to create all my tomorrows!

You are doing great! We are already up to the 18th day of our journey together.

Wisdom reminds us that NOW is all we have. Yet, we often live around it, ignore it, and leave it unattended on our flights of fancy into the future or our clinging to a past that’s now nothing but a dry river bed.

Whether they consciously know or not, happy and successful people are those who can right here right now. Now is where we can feel life, change life, and make a difference for ourselves and those around us.

I recorded this brief video about this concept last summer.

This one doesn’t take a extra work or effort. It simply requires conscious awareness – when you leave this moment – to breathe and come back to NOW.

Power hack: Blogger and coach, Catherine Beard, offers these 12 fantastic tips for being more present.

Stay inspired and have a great day, my friends!

Ray