Anger Never Heals

As sure as 2+2 does not equal 5, anger + anger never equals peace, contentment, or healing.

We live in a world that’s too often filled with anger. Some have just causes for their anger. Others just have unresolved issues lingering in their lives that cause them to lash out at the world. Still others were never taught other tools for dealing with their feelings beyond anger.

The relative anonymity and distance of social media makes it simple to torch other people, their ideas, and their motives.

Whatever the reasons for the anger or the justifications, the equation still holds. Anger + anger never equals peace, contentment, or healing.

Yet, if you look at many of the forces trying to reshape the world, it is anger that drives them. In a world where facts morph and people need scapegoats for their paradigms to work, it’s easy to see to why.

But I tell you this and say it clearly. No solution to our challenges will be conceived anger or its allies blame, hatred, and violence. The belief that these mindsets can fix a world already drunk on them is delusional.

Because of the immutable equation above, angry mindsets, motives, and ideologies cannot mend and heal an angry world. They may believe their ends justify their means, but their success can only result in another version of an angry world.

All the great teachers from all the great faiths – living and dead – have spoken with one voice on this. It is love, it is compassion, it is peace that can remake this angry world. Despite thousands of years of these wise teachings, it’s still easier for many people to rise and live their days filled with anger, blame, and hatred. They speak of “those people” – whoever those people are to them. They point fingers and they scheme win the game by wiping alternative views off the board. They follow leaders and voices that stir their anger rather than their humanity.

General Omar N. Bradley aptly described our dilemma at the dawn of the nuclear age.

We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing that we know about living.

We must get it through our heads that we are ALL in this together. For better or worse, we are passengers on this tiny little blue marble spinning precariously through a vast dark cosmos.

Peace is the way forward. Love is the way forward. Compassion is the way forward. It’s that simple and that hard. There are no exceptions to the rule. Anger begets anger. Love begets love.

The choice, as it always has been, is ours.

Just in case no one has reminded you today, you ARE awesome!

Ray

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Five Ways to Actually Be The Change – Day 294 of 365 Days to a Better You

You’ve all heard the famous shortened version of Mahatma Gandhi’s quote – “We must be the change we want to see in the world.”

The question becomes, what are some practical things you can do to be that change? Here are five things every one of us can do to be the epicenter of big changes.

  1. Demand peace. It’s time for our species to grow up. Our weapons and their proliferation, if not our moral and common sense, means we must find peaceful ways to coexist on this little blue marble of ours. One very practical thing we can all do is stop electing leaders not committed to peace as a principle. The issue of war and peace is too important to be way down on the list of qualifications. I believe not being committed to peace should be a disqualification.
  2. Live and let live. Going along with number one, our world is too small to continue violently squabbling over belief systems. Have your beliefs. Hold them strong. Give others the same courtesy. That’s what freedom is about. As long as the other persons’ beliefs aren’t harming others, live and let live.
  3. Get different points of view. Even a positive belief that’s never challenged can become a hollow and stagnant dogma. Challenge your own beliefs regularly. Hear people with different points of view and really understand how they got there. You’ll likely find they’re not as a different from you as you think.
  4. Never stop developing yourself. As we’ve alluded to throughout this series, a better world is brought about by you, me, and everyone else getting better. As more and more of us resolve to get better and do better each day, the vibration of the whole planet benefits.
  5. Believe firmly in a better future for humanity. Our thinking really does create our world. If we allow negative, dystopian views of humanity’s future to prevail, then that’s what we’ll get. See the potential in yourself, in those around you, in all of us. Believe that better is possible and then go out and create that.

By doing these simple shifts in the way you address the world each day, you’ll be putting Gandhi’s advice into practical application. I’d love to hear other ways we can be the change. Leave your comment below on what else can make us the change.

In case no one else has told you today, you’re AWESOME!

Ray

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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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The Sage Who Sees – Day 260 of 365 Days to a Better You

Thank you so much for taking a few minutes to read today’s post.

Do you ever feel different; like you don’t quite fit in with the ways of this world? I do. It’s not something I came to as an adult. It’s who I’ve been my entire life. It’s like what’s intuitive to me is counterintuitive to our civilization. My polarities are reversed.

My own mother once asked, “Why can’t you just fit in?” Do you vibe with that?

There’s a great quote in the Bhagavad Gita that explains why you and I might feel this way.

“In the dark night of all beings awakes to Light the tranquil man. But what is day to other beings is night for the sage who sees.”

    • The world lusts for war. You seek only peace.
    • The world strives for bottom lines. You believe people are the bottom line.
    • The world adulates at the alter of fear. You have always known love is the answer.
    • The world wants to be cool. You’d rather be wise.
    • The world looks without. You have always gone within.
    • The world sees the dark clouds. You see the bright sun behind the dark clouds.
    • The world clamors for instant gratification. You opt for sustainable gratitude.

    I’ve long suspected something. While you and I see ourselves a unique, I’m not so sure we’re that unique. Maybe what comes natural to us is the secret yearning of most people. In fact, I’m certain of it. They simply can’t bring themselves to believe it’s possible. They retreat into the herd safety of the mass consciousness.

    As the sage who sees, I believe our mission is to light the path to this greater realization the same as our teachers and mentors have lighted it for us.

    Your poles are not reversed because there’s something wrong with you, Don’t give into the gravity of that thinking. Your poles are reversed because you’re here to be a beacon to the world that can be if only a critical mass of people would believe. And today, today, we’re one step nearer than ever before.

    You’re absolutely awesome just as you are! Keep following your bliss!

    Ray

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    Are You an Open-Minded Person? – Day 250 of 365 Days to a Better You

    I did a recent poll on my Twitter and Facebook account asking if people consider themselves an open-minded person. Not surprisingly, the results came back with 78 percent of people claiming the open-minded mantle.

    Being open-minded or seen to be open-minded is generally considered a positive trait in our society and one most people readily claim. You always get the person, when you ask a question like this, that quotes the old phrase, “Don’t be so open-minded that your brains fall out.” That aside, most want to be seen this way.

    Here’s my question for you (and me) today. Are you truly open-minded?

    The phrase is defined by Dictionary.com as “being open to new ideas, unprejudiced.” Merriam-Webster defines it as, “receptive to arguments or ideas.”

    We human beings have a tendency to hold onto our cherished beliefs about the world against all facts. Are you truly open to ideas that might question your religious faith? Are you receptive to ideas that might change your political ideology? Do you really judge every idea on its merits and put aside previous biases?

    The fact is no one does or probably can remain open-minded 100 percent of the time. We’d be shifting our paradigms by the moment as more information arrived and we’d find it hard to live our lives.

    That said, it is useful to sincerely gauge your level of openness to new ideas. Do you really listen to new ideas or ideas that question your paradigms or do you immediately dismiss, attack, and become argumentative in defense of your cherished ideas? Do you really measure your beliefs against the bar of your current knowledge or do you hold onto them because “that’s what we’ve always believed?”

    This leaves many of us with a kind of cognitive dissonance between how open we believe we are and how open we actually are?

    Here’s my challenge to you against the backdrop of a culture deeply divided by paradigms with wide gulfs and little understanding. Can you push yourself a little bit more? Can you hear the other person out before you automatically decide you disagree? Can you facts-test your beliefs once in a while? Can you give a little ground on the idea that your side has the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?

    If you can do that and I can do that and enough people in our culture can do that, healing and more dialogue are possible. Change that serves everyone can be achieved.

    No pressure, but this is one of those things that really starts with you. If you’re waiting for your proverbial “them” to be more open first, you may wait a long time. Someone has to show the glimmer of enlightenment. Let it be you and me!

    Thank you SO MUCH for stopping by. I hope today’s post spoke to you. If so, please consider sharing it with a friend or two.

    Have a great Friday!

    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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    Radicalizing Your Transformation – Day 245 of 365 Days to a Better You

    Before I begin, THANK YOU. Subscriptions to this blog have doubled this year. That’s thanks to all of you spending your valuable time reading and sharing with a friend. My deepest gratitude for it.

    Many of you have probably encountered the serenity prayer at some point in your lives. It’s a beautiful, inspiring prayer that many, including me have found empowering. There’s a line in that prayer that reads:

    “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.”

    Today I came across a quote that twists this line in a radical way and it immediately resonated with me. It’s the rebellious cry of someone ready to challenge the status quo. Not surprising, because it was coined by a political activist and professor named Angela Davis. She spent her early life operating way outside the political and civil norms in our culture.

    Here’s the quote. “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.”

    The power of the serenity prayer is its reliance on the power of acceptance and rest there are forces beyond our control. All true. At certain times in your journey, this is a needed message.

    However, if you’re feeling stuck, trying the same things over and over, and getting nowhere; you may need to radicalize your mindset to the second quote. It’s a statement filled with fire and determination to overcome the obstacles that stand between your dreams and you. It’s a refusal to accept what is anymore. It’s a statement of I’m ALL IN in on changing my circumstances.

    I think we can find wisdom and power in both quotes. If you’re ready to kick your status quo to the curb, the second quote may provide the fuel to inspire it. I think you’re entitled to get radical for your dreams.

    Ray

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    Lao Tzu’s Four Cardinal Virtues – Day 241 of 365 Days to a Better You

    We’ve mentioned Lao Tzu previously in our journey together. He said to have authored the Tao Te Ching and founded Taoism. He’s considered among the great spiritual masters of ancient China.

    He wrote:

    “To realize the constancy and steadiness in your life is to realize the deep nature of the universe. This realization is not dependent on any transitory internal or external condition, rather it is an expression of one’s own immutable spiritual nature. The only way to attain the Universal Way is to maintain the integral virtues of the constancy, steadiness and simplicity in one’s daily life.”

    What are the virtues he’s speaking of and how do you and I apply them to our lives? There are four main virtues or spiritual rules he lays out in the Tao Te Ching.

    1. Reverence for all life – this first virtue drives the others. It lays the foundation for harmony within and from there spreads to all living beings. It recognizes that all living things rely on each other for their very survival. As such, we should approach all other beings with kindness, respect, and gratitude. The Buddhist metta meditation is a very effective way to make this virtue a practical part of your day.
    2. Natural Sincerity – our ability to spread harmony into the world begins with our ability to find it within. According to Lao Tzu, we find harmony within through sincerely and authentically being ourselves. He’s essentially encouraging us to live our truth. Stress and unhappiness come when we are living in insincerity. Peace and happiness come when our thoughts, feelings, and actions align.
    3. Gentleness – this virtue is practiced by relinquishing our egoic thinking and action in the world. We cease needing to be right or to control others. We become sensitive to the needs of others and choose to live in harmony with them.
    4. Supportiveness – Because we revere all life, we live with sincerity, and we practice gentleness, we’re able to be supportive of ourselves and all other beings. This virtue promotes love and service. It’s focused on what you can give rather than simply what you can get. It’s the energetic glue that holds us all together through our care for and commitment to each other.

    Four simple virtues that are simple and profound. They took minutes to read and a lifetime to master. However, even imperfect application begins to yield results. You operating by these principles will change your life. Many people living this way would shift the world.

    May we achieve change in both!

    Just in case no one else tells you today, you’re AWESOME!

    Ray

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