Copyright (c) 2008 Mind Body Spirit Central, LLC
You were brought into the world with an innocent mind, heart and a pure, unblemished, open spirit. You had zero preconceived notions, zero prejudice, zero anger, fear, anxiety or stress. However, over the course of your life, the pressures of society and opinions of others clouded your eyes, mind and of course – your heart.
In today’s world, happiness, serenity and peace are elusive gifts. Stress, anxiety, and increased rudeness in society are piled on all of us and weigh us down, suffocating us. We are bombarded with bad news by the media twenty-four hours a day about violence, crashing economies, stories of genocide and prejudice. Not to mention the ongoing threat of terrorism – car bombings, torture and more.
And to make things even more complex, on the battlefield of the human spirit, two “masters” constantly contend for the supremacy, authority and domination of your heart.
The first of which is the “Master of Self”.
The other is “The Master of Truth”.
The “Master of Self” is the rebellious one whose devices are rage, ego, greed, vanity, selfishness and the trappings of darkness.
The “Master of Truth” is the humble, patient and peaceful one whose devices are gentleness, purity, sacrifice, humility, love and instruments of light.
When you cling to and are ruled by the “Master of Self” you open yourself to unnecessary torment.
Here are some examples (that you may have experienced) when you are ruled by the “Master of Self”:
1) You suffer disappointment because YOUR plans have been frustrated,
2) Someone has not lived up to YOUR expectations,
3) You regret YOUR behavior in public and private,
4) You are overwhelmed with regret because of the attitude or comments of someone toward YOU,
5) You are wounded on account of what has been done to YOU or said of YOU.
As you may have gathered, I intentionally put the pronouns and adjectives in BLOCK letters to reinforce how you blindly cling to YOUR “self”.
However, did you know that a world-wide study is now underway sponsored by National Geographic, IBM and others? This study has captured DNA data from volunteers, analyzed it and determined that all humans, no matter where they live in the world today, what their circumstance in life is, or their skin color, race and creed, are descended from two people from the East Central area of Africa that lived only 60,000 years ago? (Just as a frame of reference, the Earth is 4.54 BILLION years old). They have been able, through scientific DNA analysis, to identify key genetic markers that show how the offspring of these two individuals, our ancestors, migrated across the planet.
The results show that we are all from the same “parents”. Yet we continue to gravitate toward beliefs that are selfish and self centered instead of showing empathy and compassion to others.
What I am saying is for you to sacrifice your hatred, greed, prejudice, and opinions that bias the way you look at every day things and people around you. Begin looking at others with compassion, with love, and with respect. When you look at people in this manner you enter the pathway of truth, and find the peace from which the rest of the world is shut out. The absolute denial and extinction of self is the perfect state of truth.
However, how does one begin to find this state of truth? In a recent book, The Power of Serenity and Peace, the author shows you how to find happiness in today’s stressed-out world. In today’s world, happiness, serenity and peace are elusive gifts.
One of the effective exercises in the book shows you how to find the “Master of Truth”. Of course, just doing the exercises does not make you a “master”. The exercises will only begin to make you more aware and start you on the path to finding the Master of Truth within you. It will and can only grow within you through continuous practice, ongoing study and actually living it.
Here are the simple yet effective compassion and empathy exercises for you to try. The author also suggests that you to keep a brief journal, and write down what you experience and feel emotionally. Choose one of the following “a” or “b”.
a. Spend one day (yes, 24 hours) mute with no talking allowed. Only gesturing, writing on slips of paper, sign language (if you know it) is allowed. Journal your experience. How did people react to you? What did you learn from this?
b. Spend a full day experiencing a physical impairment. Tape a small, hard object (a ball bearing, small pebble no bigger than the size of a pea) to the bottom of your foot on your heel area. Put on your sock and shoe. Wear this for the rest of the day. Journal your experience. (And no, this does not qualify you to park in the handicapped spot at the mall, the restaurant, or other).
The great Japanese samurai, Miyamoto Musashi said, “Practice a thousand hours and you learn self discipline. Practice ten thousand hours and you learn about yourself.”
As you succeed in overcoming self you will begin to see things in their proper relationships. When you free your spirit from all anger, prejudice, preference, and partiality, and have nothing to attack, defend, conceal, and no interests to guard, you will be at peace – and one with your fellow man and woman.
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