What the Mind is Prepared to Comprehend

…to understand the dream, is to know what a dream is made of.
What it is made of is simple: Thought.
To understand thought, and its relationship to dreams
is to understand the Dreamer.
You are the Dreamer.
This is your dream.
But do you realize it…?
Written in 2003 on physicsforums.com by “TheDreamer”

My concept of reality is how I personally perceive all that I sense and nothing else. No one sees or has even seen the world and what it contains exactly as I do. My philosophic mind knows that is a completely accurate statement, while my ego argues with me even as I type. It tells me some people have a more realistic view of the world than others and declares to me it is one of them. There is no way to prove or disprove my ego’s stance and it absolutely does not matter. My ego distorts everything! So I assume it is always twisting its view either a little or a lot.

Some perceptions do fit in the world of man better than others but that proves nothing. Just because people agree does not make what is perceived true or accurate.

We all know we humans have five senses only. We use our five senses to observe the world. We call that the physical world and declare arrogantly that non-physical beings don’t exist at all. That’s similar to an earthworm that’s blind declaring light do not exist. (by physicskid from the same forum mentioned above)

A human’s sight only takes in a certain range of color and needs light to be bright enough to see things. We consider light to be the combination of colors we can see: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. But that is just a small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum.

There is a minimum volume or loudness of a sound that most people can hear. Just as light is a spectrum of wavelengths, so is sound. Human ears have a limited range of wavelengths or pitches they can detect. When something barely touches your skin, you may not detect it or feel it like when a mosquito lands on your skin. And there are only certain chemicals and molecules that we can taste or smell.  All are only perceptions and nothing else.

As I move into my day, I will try to keep these thoughts present in my mind. They tell me that when I see things differently than another it does not make them wrong and me right. It simply means we perceive things differently. I am grateful for the reminder of this basic truth this morning.

The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.
Robertson Davies

Most Easily Understood

What often passes as general consensus is that the most meaningful thoughts of wisdom usually are filled with a good quantity of words, flowery expression and clever use of language. However, there are times a thought becomes striking in its simplicity, as I believe the four sayings below exemplify.

What’s done is done.
William Shakespeare

Turn your wounds into wisdom.
Oprah Winfrey

The best mind-altering drug is truth.
Lily Tomlin

My gratitude is sizeable for those who have the ability to boil down what they are saying into a small kernel of few words that are easily understood. Without the weight of layers and layers of vocabulary one’s intent is most easily understood.

The best things in life aren’t things.
Art Buchwald

Trail Markers

A definition of a “saying” is: a short grouping of words that together make a clever or meaningful expression which usually contains advice, wisdom or expresses an obvious truth. For me sayings are much like markers on a trail that help me keep on the life path I want my feet to stay on.

This morning in meditating on ‘character’ I pondered the following three “trail markers” and wanted to share them:

You can tell the character of every man
when you see how he receives praise.
Seneca

You can easily judge the character of a man
by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Wisdom is knowing what to do next,
skill is knowing how to do it,
and virtue is doing it.
David Starr Jordan

A thought from each of three different men from three different times: one from a philosopher of 2000 years ago (Seneca), another from a philosopher close to 300 years past (Goethe) and another saying from a man who lived within the last 100 years (Jordan). All three reach through time to express timeless wisdom to me about being a good man. I am grateful for what each one left behind to inspire me today.

Our chief want is someone who will inspire us
to be what we know we could be.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

A Letter To My Son on Father’s Day

ORIGINALLY Posted on June 19, 2011

Dear Nick,

Vivid in memory are the emotions I experienced just after you were born. The day after you arrived I wrote in a journal about the joy I felt, the gratefulness within for you being ‘normal” with the proper number of fingers and toes, the awe that filled me for life and the hopes I had for you. I described your birth as “the most incredible thing I’ve ever witnessed” and also wrote “No child could be more wanted or more loved.” Those thoughts have aged sweeter as time has clicked by.

Frequent have been musings of how I could have been a better Father. Had I not chased with such vigor the emptiness of dysfunctional illusion, success and money I could have been there for you more. There were too many of your games I missed,weekend outings that never were and small events at school that were big happenings for you when my presence was missing. I never did build the treehouse I promised you.

Your Mother and I went our separate ways when you were sixteen which took you hundreds of miles away. One of my deepest regrets is your high school years when seeing you only every couple of months I became a sideline spectator of your life. Yet, as I mature and learn I have come to know regrets past making sure you aware of them, have no good purpose.

There are so many wonderful memories I have of your growing up. No child has ever been more curious about the world than you. You never crawled and began to recklessly walk at 7 months old. Such determination you have always had!

In school you did well and had the respect of most of your teachers. You made good friends and some of those relationships are healthy and thriving today. The only time you ever really got in trouble at school was through protecting a friend from a bully. How the game of hockey worked when you started to play at seven was unknown to me, but no father was ever prouder than I was to watch you. The lessons that came at you in college were hard ones, but you learned from your mistakes. I can not begin to express my admiration for your determination and stick-to-it-ness to get the education you wanted.

On this father’s day I hope these borrowed words express clearly to you the feelings of my heart and the wishes of my soul.

Until you have a son of your own… You will never know the joy beyond joy, the love beyond feeling that resonates in the heart of a father as he looks upon his son. You will never know the sense of honor that makes a man want to be more than he is and to pass on something good and useful into the hands of his son. And you will never know the heartbreak of the fathers who are haunted by the personal demons that keep them from being the men they want their sons to see.

We live in a time when it is hard to speak from the heart. Our lives are smothered by a thousand trivialities, and the poetry of our spirits is silenced by the thoughts and cares of daily affairs.

And so, I want to speak to you honestly. I do not have answers. But I do understand the questions. I see you struggling and discovering and striving upward, and I see myself reflected in your eyes and in your days. In some deep and fundamental way, I have been there and I want to share.

I, too, have learned to walk, to run, to fall. I have had a first love. I have known fear and anger and sadness. My heart has been broken and I have known moments when the hand of God seemed to be on my shoulder. I have wept tears of sorrow and tears of joy.

There have been times of darkness when I thought I would never see light again, and there have been times when I wanted to dance and sing and hug every person I met.

I have felt myself emptied into the mystery of the universe, and I have had moments when the smallest slight threw me into rage.

I have carried others when I barely had the strength to walk myself, and I have left others standing by the road with their hands out stretched for help.

Sometimes I feel I have done more than anyone can ask; other times I feel I am a charlatan and a failure. I carry within me the spark of greatness and the darkness of heartless crimes.

In short, I am a man, as are you.

Although you will walk your own earth and move through your own time, the same sun will rise on you that rose on me, and the same reasons will course across your life as moved across mine. We will always be different, but we will always be the same.

This is my attempt to give you the lesson of my life, so that you can use them in yours. They are not meant to make you into me. It is my greatest joy to watch you turn into yourself.

To be your father is the greatest honor I have ever received. It allowed me to touch mystery and to see my love made flesh. If I could but have one wish, it would be for you to pass that love along.

I love you,

Pops

You are my son-shine.
Author Unknown

A Beautiful Soul

The thought-provoking images with a message below were found on a blog on tumblr.com called “life is a beautiful struggle”:

 

Sometimes running across what others have placed on their blog has more meaning to me at that moment that any other thing I know of or could write myself.  A beautiful soul keeps the blog I borrowed the above from and has my sincere gratitude for the inspiration she gave me today. 

If you see a friend without a smile;
give them one of yours.
Proverb – Author Unknown

Lost and Found

At the back of the class room was the “cloak room” is where we hug our coats. In one corner was a round cardboard “can” with metal edges that had originally been made to hold about three gallons of ice cream in the lunch room. Taped on the container was a piece of construction paper with “Lost and Found” written on it in Miss Pittman’s near perfect handwriting. She was a soon to retire, old maid school teacher who lived in the rundown school teacher dorms behind the high school. Years late I would come to feel sorry for her as I realized how lonely and sad her life must have been. She had evaporated into obscurity before I was twenty-one.

If we found anything in the class room and did not know who it belonged to, we were supposed to put it in the lost and found. If we lost something that was the first place to look for it. Sometimes things ended up there because some 5th graders would put other people’s things there as a joke, although I never thought it was funny.

No matter how strict Ms. Pittman was or how much in turmoil was in my life then, those were simpler times in that wrong and right seemed clearer to me then. My Mother had decided to marry a man sixteen years older that my Brother and I did not like. As we would come to know, that was for good reason. He was a mean and abusive stepfather and we always thought he had a few screws loose. In those days I knew bad was bad. That was clear. Then I imagined good was simply the absence of the bad.

Through my childhood and into early adult life there were parts of me that ended up lost and stayed unfound for many years. Unlike the classroom of my youth, there was no ice cream bin to check out for what was missing. I did not develop the ability to love a girl/woman properly and it was replaced with neediness and want. With very little family influence of love expressed and shown, there were no teachers to emulate. So I read books, watched TV and saw movies. When I was sixteen that’s about all I knew about love.

My education continued, but painful and slow, learning the most difficult way from repeated mistakes and bad choices. The girls, then women, I was attracted to were often attached and several times I became the ‘secret guy” on the side. Too, I had a penchant for choosing ‘female roller coasters’ who were emotionally unstable. I sure could pick ’em, but they were not the problem. It was my ‘picker’ that was. I look back now and can see I thought the intensity, the anguish, the heartache and the longing totaled together was love.

Today awareness of who I am, where I come from and what I have been through has brought a willingness to pull the lost part of me out of “lost and found”. Like a broken vase that has been glued back together, the fractures and scars will always visible. But it is from those very wounds that knowledge and wisdom benefits me today. My sensitivity, ability to relate and identifying my feelings are all keen sense now. From what once hurt and confused me came great teaching from strict and difficult teachers too, just like Miss Pittman. But I got A’s and B’s in her class and give my self pretty good grades for living life and knowing how to love today. I am grateful for the difficulties I endured that eventually made me more able than most to know and express my feelings.

People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself.
But the self is not something one finds,
it is something one creates.
Thomas Szasz

Great and Little Things

On a hilltop in Italy in 1971 Coca-Cola assembled young people from all over the world to create a commerical with a message in song: “I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony and keep it company…”.

In a recent video Coke focuses on the good in simple things like
People stealing kisses…
Music addicts…
Harmless soldiers…
Honest pickpockets…
Potato chip dealers…
Attacks of friendship…
Love…
Kindness…
Friendly gangs…
Unexpected firemen…
Rebels with a cause…
Peace warriors…
A lot of crazy people…
And a few crazy heroes…
Let’s look at the world a little differently.

See the video here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=auNSrt-QOhw

By including the video below I am making no statements one way or the other about the Coca-Cola Company or its products. However, I do think the core content the marketing message has been wrapped around is a good and worth ninety seconds.

While the video did not make me want to rush to the fridge for a Coke, I am grateful watching it made me pause and acknowledge there are a lot of good people in the world doing many mostly unnoticed small and meaningful positive things all the time.

Character, in great and little things,
means carrying through what you feel able to do.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Stripped by a Storm

Within the last six years, I have lived the equivalent life experience of several decades.  My very being, mentally and emotionally, was thrashed to its barest existence.  Within that kneading and pounding  the majority of the greatest insights of my life have come.  So today I am grateful for my teachers called pain, grief and heartache.  They beat me into submission where I needed to go so like a tree stripped by a storm I could grow more fully and stronger than before.

Taken from “Moving On” by ‘Cue Ball’
As of now, I am moving on.
Through and out, this hard time.
The clouds will clear, and the storm will pass.
Things are looking up, as I raise the mast.
Sailing on, and moving out.
From these dark days, I muster all my clout.
I am ready, to start again.
Just to see, where life begins.
Tough it is, and tough it will be.
Life moves on, and this I see.
So move on I will to start all over.
Just to see, the fields of clover.
I am still hurt, from my loss.
Nothing can change, what was lost.
Strength is coming, for me to move on.

I have learned not to damn the trials and difficulties of my life.  As hard as any might be to face, it is still “my life” they are happening in.  To damn them, is to damn my own existence.  Much gratefulness is within to have learned that simple wisdom.

Serenity is not freedom from the storm,
but peace amid the storm.
Anonymous

Two Poems and a Saying

This morning finds me a bit groggy after a good night’s rest even after a half hour awake and my first cup of coffee of the day. Extra measures of the activities of a good life squeezed out some usual sleep hours over the last ten days and I’m now in catch-up mode. I’m dragging!

Reading is frequently the best medicine for brightening my mood and I reached on top of the two stacks of books on the side of my desk. The first one I picked up for inspiration this morning was “Moments of Awareness” by Helen Lowrie Marshall published in 1968. There I found the little pick-me-ups I needed.

“Good Morning”
“Good Morning!” What a lovely way
To open up a brand new day!
Not knowing what that day may hold-
A sun of tinsel or of gold-
The phrase embraces in its scope
His faith-of every soul a part;
The love that lives in every heart.
“Good Morning-and a Good Today!
May all things happy come your way;
And may the light of this new dawn
Find all your cares and worries gone.”
So much the simple words convey-
“Good Morning-It’s a lovely day!”

“A Shaft of Sunlight”
A shaft of sunlight breaking through
Can make the whole world shining new;
Can shape tomorrow, change a life;
Can banish doubt and fear and strife.

One shaft of sunlight through the grey,
One word of cheer that we may say,
Could carry far-flung consequence,
And might make all the difference.

The words of sages, philosophers and poets have frequently been the sign posts of my life that pointed me in the direction I needed to go or else reminded me of what I already knew. Silently each writer is my companion on this adventure called life and gives me insight, strength and encouragement. I am grateful for my ability to read and all those who inspire me by their words put down for me to discover.

I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of hunger for life that gnaws in us all.
Richard Wright

Opening Up and Letting Others

One of my dearest friends who I have known for over twenty years published his third book in January of this year. “Positive 365: A Positive Quote for Every Day of the Year” is a compilation of sayings and snippets from Sam Wilder, his friends, writers on the Internet and those he admires present and past.

He quotes everyone from Norman Vincent Peale to Muhammad Ali, Emerson to George and Martha Washington, Mr. Rogers to Albert Einstein and from his friend, Mike Dooley, to Star Trek’s Mr. Spock. I’m humbled that even a couple of my quips made the pages of the book.

Based on likes and comments on his Facebook page here’s the top five most popular quotes printed on the last page of Sam’s book:

1. There are five rules of freedom
1) You are not a victim.
2) Speak the unspoken truth.
3) Accept yourself for who you are.
4) Change your world.
5) JUMP! (you need to take risks and expose your true self to achieve your destiny. Steve Sherwood)

2. That little kid that our grandma loved and that old person that grandkids will love is the same person… you. Take a moment today to think about the love you’ve received and the love you give and honor the person you are.

3. “People are created to be loved. Things are created to be used. The reason the world is in chaos is because things are being loved and people are being used.” (from Tumblr.com)

4. “Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind, ‘Pooh’ he whispered. ‘Yes, Piglet?’ “Nothing,’ said Piglet, taking Pooh’s hand. ‘I just wanted to be sure of you’. (A. A. Milne)

5. “Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.” (Albert Camus)

Trying to retype here what he wrote in the copy my friend, Sam Wilder, sent me is difficult because my emotions keep trying to turn on the sprinklers in my eyes. He wrote, You are one of the greatest men I know. Thanks for your incredible insight, mentoring and most of all friendship – I love you madly! Sam. 

If only I could express fully in one place at one time the gratitude I feel for all I’ve received from my long friendship Sam Wilder. What is here is far from the complete version of my gratefulness, but at least it is a small public statement of my love and admiration for this man who is my dear friend and fellow passenger on the spiritual path of discovery we share.

Some people are so much in their own heads
that there’s no room for anyone else.
It is only by opening up and letting others
in that we experience our best life.
Sam Wilder on the back cover of “Positive 365…”

 

More about Sam Wilder’s work:  Positive Magazine 
About the Sam’s book “Positive 365…” book