Self Mastery

​ON KNOWLEDGE

“One thing only I know, and that is that I know nothing.”

Socrates

The famous proverb ipsa scientia potestasest meaning knowledge itself is power was famously stated by Sir Francis Bacon. The phrase knowledge itself is power means that knowledge is the most powerful tool to achieve or do anything.

Knowledge has always and forever will be half the battle. It further means that the more knowledge a person acquires, the more control he is able to exercise upon others and over himself.

To make smart choices means a person takes decisions based on sound knowledge and facts, despite the case to act otherwise. To work smart and not hard means making well informed and well thought decisions, carry out calculable risks and as such opening the doors for massive chances success. 

How wonderful is it to know that an understanding of that or this is made stronger through the proper application of knowledge, wisdom and understanding  as its gives one an edge in a field of inquiry.

The growth and survival of mankind depends upon knowledge. From the Stone Age till date, man has struggled to know the unknown. He explored land, water and space by virtue of his knowledge. Man has made progress in all fields starting from science, technology to arts.

At the dawn of civilization, the birth of rationality, man was at the mercy of nature. He lived the life of a nomad. He invented tools and weapons for hunting and gathering. His intellect grew and verbal communication developed. He discovered fire and the wheel, resisted the elements and climbed to the top of the food chain. These were the initial steps taken by man by utilizing his brain.

Man, then started living in communities and tribes. He settled near rivers and took up agriculture and iron smithing. The settlements soon transformed into villages, moving from caves to man-made structures. Waterways and canals were constructed for irrigation purposes. He built storage units to preserve his bounty. 

Soon villages transformed into towns, then provinces and later cities and provinces. He discovered new places and things and invented things for his own benefits. The gradual change and development from the stone Age to the Present Age has been made possible by knowledge.

The successful discoveries and inventions encouraged new ideas. His ability to rationalize, analyze and store the events in his memory enabled him to achieve success and was further stored through art, books and paper.

 Knowledge gave him the power, confidence and courage to make life worthy of living. He began to use the forces of nature for his own benefits. Thus, life became comfortable. He utilized his knowledge to improve his own life.

Man has been able to eradicate a number of diseases like polio, pox, and plague from the face of the earth. The human body can be operated upon for removal of cancer or for an open heart surgery.

The discovery of a number of antibiotics and drugs have reduced the sufferings of mankind. More agriculture techniques were developed. The use of high yielding crop yield. The invention of the devices of communication has transformed the world into a global village. Computers have changed human life altogether. 

All these have been the fruits of mans quest for knowledge. Knowledge gave man the feeling of strength and power. To think smart is holding true to the old adage of knowing being half the battle.

Knowledge develops human faculties, because our ancestors thought smart, this leads to the excellence of the human mind. It enables one to give sound judgment if wielded properly. 

Education and knowledge are thus desirable for systems of governance. This further leads to the continual spread the knowledge base in all fields in the masses as of today.

Man has placed himself at the top of all living beings and natural objects of the world by means of his great knowledge which he has acquired over the ages. Man has conquered the space above, tamed the sea and scaled the snow-clad mountains. 

He has dug out the wealth that remained deposited long in the womb of the earth. He makes use of air, water and other elements of nature to run his machines.

According to Kofi Annan, Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family. Knowledge is a powerful factor that empowers people to achieve great results. The more knowledge a person gains, the more powerful he becomes. 

There is no end to knowledge. There is no limit to what a person can learn. Knowledge helps human beings to utilize the various forces of nature for the benefit of humanity. The rise of human beings as the most powerful living-beings on the planet is only due to the knowledge and the proper application of knowledge.

Knowledge plays a vital role in every sphere of human life and activity. Knowledge has helped in the advancement and development of civilization and culture. The application of knowledge has led man to the path of progress.

 If we use our knowledge wisely, we can create a better and safer world than the world of today. Why waste time duplicating something that has been created or optimized by someone else? Instead of spinning your wheels. 

We can choose to tap into the experiences of others and learning from them. Take their ideas and solutions and build on them. Glean the basic concepts that can become the foundation for your own ideas. Now thats thinking smarter.

Many times, pressure is self-induced. We set unrealistically high goals or standards for ourselves and feel like we should be doing more. To think smart empowers a person to control events. 

A knowledgeable person is able to turn an event, situation, or person in his favour. Ones talent, aptitude, or ability to perform entirely depends upon his level of knowledge, understanding and education. Thus, knowledge is a precondition for success

The issue of personal productivity is too complex for one formula to be developed which will suit every persons specific requirements. That has to be done on an individual basis, adopting whichever principles are most applicable, adapting others to suit the circumstances and coming up with new hybrid combinations of various ideas. Your actions today create the circumstances of your tomorrow. 

According to Carlo Cellucci to the question of What is happiness? does not admit a unique answer, and hence the answer is not necessarily Knowledge, does not mean that knowledge is irrelevant to happiness. On the contrary, in a sense knowledge is an important precondition of it. 

“An essential condition for a happy life is to know who are we, and to a large extent we are what we know. We mirror reality, and reality is for us what we have access to and know. Generally our aspirations, desires, hopes are essentially bound to what we know.” 

What is the role of knowledge? 

He states that a lack of knowledge also generates superstition, and prejudice and superstition are the cause of so many fears and human sufferings. 

“Knowledge does not only play a biological role, it is not only sought as a means to satisfy that basic necessity of life that is survival, nor has it only a cultural role. Knowledge is sought also as it is a precondition of that state of emotional well-being that we call happiness. In these three roles  biological, cultural and as a precondition of happiness  knowledge shows its nature and finds its reason, its purpose and its accomplishment.” 

“The greater our knowledge increases, the greater our ignorance unfolds.”

 John F Kennedy

 

A PLACE BETWEEN HOPE & FEAR

​”Your present circumstances dont determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.”

 Nido Qubein
An ever growing world can be a very exciting yet, a scary place. As Margaret wheatley puts it this way,” hope and fear have been in the news .We watch for years as the future disappeared under disabling clouds of fear, then suddenly we again could see the sky,  with hope and the possibility of change”. 

This is pretty much how things have been since humankind had realised consciousness, from periods of great joy and prosperity to times of deep pain and suffering.

The world is a big bad place, a deep mix of both fearful fear and dead devotion. With this thought in mind, Albert Camuss hero-Sisyphus holds voice in each persons heart and as firmly put in his essay “there is but, one truly serious philosophical problem and that is suicide, judging whether life is or is not worth living that is the fundamental question of philosophy”

In the grander scheme, life can be pointless as many existentialists put it, when solid hope is taken away by constant endless evil as our lives will be forgotten and our species being constantly corrupt and violent. 
Despite all this, we should endure none the less. We must cope with whatever we can with whatever we are supposed to do, we must acknowledge the absurd background of our existence and triumph above the constant hopelessness. Life is worth enduring.

 
Once you properly realise the absurdity of life, you may be on the edge of despair but, also have a desire to live life more intensely. When motivated by hope, but then further confronted by fear and failure, we become depressed and demoralised.
 At such a time, we learn the price of hope and the paralysing nature of fear. Rather than inspiring and motivating us, hope has become a burden made heavy by death and all of its friends.

According to Wheatley, to have a meaningful life means, we have to abandon extreme hope, all of us, and learn how to find the place “beyond hope and fear.” She believes this is the present.

Being present should quicken us into action, this is a better way of planning a progressive or self-driven life as this is a first step in creating a meaningful one. We create a clear vision for the future we want, by relating and doing what’s needed to be done instantly now, as this breaks the wall between strategy and action (which can be a big issue for humanity as history evidently repeats itself).

We focus strategically on doing only those things that have a high probability of success and also embrace failure in all its forms. As long as we are present and work smart, our endeavours will at best create the world we want. 
How could we do our work, if we don’t take pride in our work presently?

As Wheatly puts it this way “all fear and hope arise from looking forward or backward.” The present moment is the only place clear to see the uncloudedness done by hope or fear. Both are necessary as tools and not as a master.
 Fear is the necessary consequence of feeling hopeful again. Contrary to our belief that hope and fear are opposites where one trumps the other, they are a single package, bundled together as intimate, eternal partners. You can’t have one without the other.

To be present means mastering both, living life in pain and pleasure, seeing life as worth living, having a purpose, building self-value, self-esteem, overcoming one’s feelings of doubt and shame, having the ability to love and mean it, embracing self-knowledge as an essential to building a future and having the courage to keep fighting. 
Being present makes us make the most out of all moments, small or big, it makes us less self-centred, it makes us learn to care and not be small minded. It makes us appreciate others and ourselves. It ultimately helps us cope with the bad times rather than run or reminisce in the good old days. 

“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, nor to anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”

 Buddha

A RACE AGAINST TIME

​“At least three times every day take a moment and ask yourself what is really important. Have the wisdom and the courage to build your life around your answer.”

Lee Jampolsky   

“So much to do, so little time”, many among the common phrases used to express just how little time we have in a busy and progressive world. Strictly speaking, Time management unnoticed to these who advocate anyone and everyone to be time cautious is that at its core, time management is really self-management or an important aspect of self-mastery. 

Managing one’s self means organizing your life in accordance with a purpose or meaning that reflects your own unique individuality. Only in this way can you be said to truly control your own self. Ask yourself what constitutes your ultimate worth and significance of your being and begin to see that time is everything and of the essence. 

Without a reason to keep time, you won’t plan what to do with it. Without a sense of responsibility for the time you have alive, which is obviously minimum – one may not be living but, in truth be unknowingly breathing to death.

Making firm choices about how to give shape to your life is necessary to live as an individual, but being a self still requires more and this means being time cautious, because the meaning you give your life must be unique to you as an individual and be within your sphere of existence, your time space.
 

To succeed at being a self means being noble, which means being time oriented or having a deep sense of time management.

“Now consider the law of supply and demand to see how much those moments of life are worth to you. When you treat death as an event that’s far off and distant from you, you’re clearly reasoning that that you have a decent amount of supply (of life) lying around.”

 
“You’re convinced that even if you’re going to die, it won’t be today or tomorrow or even next week. You see supply as high, so the value of life winds up being low. That’s why the important stuff gets put off. You think you have plenty of time to get back to. You live frivolously.” This in itself isn’t a call to perfection but, a realisation that in the long run each moment does matter.

“If the supply-and-demand theory of life is accurate, the answer is no. The supply of life would go up, infinitely. But if that’s right, the value of life drops infinitely as well! As a consequence, immortality doesn’t sound particularly attractive.”

“Sure, you’d have an infinite amount of time to experience things. But you wouldn’t value the moments. You’d forever put things off. Why not? You could always do the important stuff later. The immortal would live with no zest. No passion. Not for us, thanks! We’ll choose death!” Gregory Gale

It is easy to be swayed by recognizing exterior values or meanings, so to avoid being pushed to and fro, you give yourself a self-created purpose as you use your time and make decisions, make your goals fluid and possible to be achieved as they need to be.
 

Hence the idea of “I have no time” is just in truth poor time management but, ultimately means poor life management or poor self-mastery.

True self-mastery as with time management means deciding what you want to get out of life, what you want to achieve, committing to it and setting forth a road map to do so. 

Heidegger has a way of thinking about your existence as temporal, If being authentic means thinking about your future as aiming toward your eventual death, “What should I do now?” is a question that necessarily requires your conscious involvement in the answer and the act of realization of making your actions to come to life. 

To Heidegger, knowing that your time is finite, you no longer wait but drive forward in an active sense, resolute to forge courageously toward not only your death but by living as an individual in light of the projects you commit to.

Although your future possibilities are fixed in the inauthentic future, in the authentic future they’re open, and you take an active role in determining what they are and this means knowing how to plan your time. Pay attention to the way you’re existing right now. 

Are you just in the moment? Or are you always looking ahead into the future, trying to see where to go next? You’re always reaching ahead of yourself into the next moment. Hence thinking that your past, present and future are distant or individual is a great and common misconception.

Not having a good perception of your time is disowning a large and essential part of yourself. Think about time existentially seems very different; time is central to your way of existing, one in which moments in the past, present, and future are related to one another in the way you experience life as meaningful. Existing for you means living across time.

Being a time keeper means being yourself, your way of existing must strive to live in your past and future specific to you as a self, just as much as your present acts. 

Only in living this way can you hope to succeed in pulling together your whole self and can you really enjoy life in colour, despite time and the human life being very finite as Horace put it: “we are but dust and shadows”.

“Character is the result of two things: mental attitude and the way we spend our time.”

Elbert Hubbard

ON MEDITATION

​”Meditation is to dive all the way within, beyond thought, to the source of thought and pure consciousness. It enlarges the container, every time you transcend. When you come out, you come out refreshed, filled with energy and enthusiasm for life.”

David Lynch

Why bother? Meditation is not an easy thing, it feels somewhat boring to really calm an active mind whose biological history meant it was not to be calm but, active and attentive to the ever-present dangers around it. 

It takes time and it takes energy for one. It also takes determination and a lot of discipline. It requires a host of personal qualities which we normally regard as unpleasant and which we like to avoid whenever possible.

Meditation, despite this is a way of transforming the mind. Buddhist meditation practices are meant to encourage, strengthen, develop concentration, character, clarity, emotional positivity and as well as build a connection with the true nature of things.

By engaging with a particular meditation practice they learn the patterns, structures and habits of their minds, and the practice offers a means to cultivate new, more positive ways of being, as it said to bring deeper meaning and perspective to you and how you relate to the universe.

Buddhism teaches that it is the only real cure to our own personal sorrows, anxieties, fears, hatreds, and general confusions that affects the human life and condition. 

Why rather bother at all? For one, I do understand that am not a master of the art, but I do embrace, its core need or importance in the busy 21st century rush hour life. Each inhalation and exhalation is tracked with focused attention. When meditating, it’s important to identify the in-breath as the in-breath, and the out-breath as out-breath. 

The mental discourse begins to subside as one embraces the serenity of pausing and being present, letting go for a brief yet, meaningful moment the reality of things.

Calming the chaos or the “monkey mind”, a swift pause from all the bullshit is a good and noble practice, but of course, if you live in this modern jungle one must not aspire or desire to stay there.

 Meditation offers a gate way to take a breather and yes really does have a great amount of health benefits from the obvious relaxing and reinvigoration, it aids in stress relief, better attention and mental focus and much more. Science approved.

Life seems to be a perpetual struggle, some enormous effort against staggering odds, meditation has some spiritual implication and some deep mystical vibes but, despite this being true or not, its a healthy way to get back on a much needed regular stance. 

Meditation is intended and meant to purify the mind. It cleanses the thought process. Many unique techniques of meditation are available which anyone can get into and benefit from.

Meditation is a state of both nothingness and mindfulness. It reduces your tension, your fear, and your worry into measurable and manageable pieces. Its not obviously a permanent solution but, a reliable, small and yet profound tool in a demanding, constant and melancholy world we find ourselves in.

“Meditation is all about the pursuit of nothingness. It’s like the ultimate rest. It’s better than the best sleep you’ve ever had. It’s a quieting of the mind. It sharpens everything, especially your appreciation of your surroundings. It keeps life fresh.”

Hugh Jackman

ON PROVOCATION & PRIDE

​Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

Rev. John Watson

Including you.

Glennon

Every human experiences has a similar set of emotions to act upon that respond to a wide range of human encounters. From the ups and downs, we react as to interact with the world and people in it.

Despite being able to reason, our emotions are these essential yet, primitively rooted mechanisms driving us to take immediate action based on instant defensive judgments. 

While yes, our emotions contain precise remarkable wisdom and insight that has guided our ancestors’ survival in years past, emotions often get it wrong, especially in our modern world. Man isn’t in one way built for the urban jungle.

Anger results in a bigger sense from humiliation, an unjust challenge to stature, in this case any aspect of one’s being.

Some people are easily provoked to anger; they just seem to be angry all the time, at everyone and everything. This may be caused by their fragile ego, specific hostile personality traits, or because they hold too unreasonable rules for making decisions or how they see the world.

Anger is the emotion that seeks to preserve and defend our sense of self or as a response to a provocation or a really hurt pride. Anger is an urgent plea for Justice, a strong and often misguided method of both defence and offense toward life.

Pride is a strong and powerful emotion that is rooted in self-value as well, however vague the individual knows oneself. Provocation is an attack on pride and the awareness energizes us to take swift decisive, in most cases uncalculated action leading to violent action-verbal or otherwise to preserve and restore justice, repair our loss or hurt frame of mind and achieve our goal despite, whether said attack on our pride was fallacious or not.

In his book, “Why Insults HurtAnd Why They Shouldnt”, William B. Irvine explores the idea of provocation and pride through insults which is truly meticulous and timely to anyone who really wants to get some footing.

He states “What is the best way for us, as individuals, to deal with insults? We should, to begin with, develop a strategy for preventing others from insulting us.”

He jokes by saying One way is by avoiding other people,” A loner’s wet dream, I guess? But obviously this isn’t pragmatic and so unrealistic, for we see and need people. And even if this is possible, what happens when people decide to come to you?

This might not seem like a sensible thing to do if our goal is to minimize the harm the insulter does us, but under some circumstances, capitulation can be a singularly effective weapon. “It will make the insulter look cruel for having said whatever he said.

Staying true to the child in us, a popular way to rejecting an insult is to retaliate with a counter insult. He further says “This response seems utterly appropriate. By insulting the person who insulted us, we are following the Old Testament injunction to take an eye for an eye: we are attempting to make the insulter feel the pain he made us feel.”

Furthermore, if our counter insult causes the insulter to experience enough pain, I mean, we say, they started it. But well, Ghandi kind of had it right, despite the need to gratify someone with insults all we have is a blind world.

  

Ones thinking despite this is that the insulter will think twice about insulting us again. Thus, by responding vigorously to an insult too.  ”Who are they?” Who are they to say that about me?” So says the archaic instincts driving us within. This means most people would maintain, prevent future insults. Responding to an insult with a counter insult is also likely to be emotionally satisfying.”

But, is this the best way to go about it? Let’s explore the available counter responses by Irvine to which we get to use if provoked.

(1)The dismissive response – deal with an insult by shrugging it off. We thereby demonstrate to the insulter that his insult did not hurt us. In another kind of dismissive response, we dismiss not just the insult but the insulter as well. In doing this, we dont attack the insulter personally, the way we would in a retaliatory insult. Instead, we imply that because he is who he is, the things he says to us can have little or no effect on us.”

(2) Retaliatory insults – “Retaliatory insults can be ranked on a cleverness scale. At the bottom of this scale, we find echoed insults: when someone calls you lazy, you respond by saying, No, it is you who are lazy!

 

The proverbial ” i can do anything better than you” .These insults are easy to express and deliver as they can be used in response to any insult someone might direct your way.

“Poet A. E. Housman, for example, is said to have written down in a notebook witty insults that might come in handy in the future. All Occasions, Louis A. Safian explains that he compiles insults so people will have snappy comebacks to use when they have been insulted. This is either an interesting venture or a true narcissism at work or both.

(3) The Smart Aleck – I guess all responses do make you sound like a clever dick or a smarty pants but, this one takes the cake. Another way to respond to an insultuseful to those of us not likely to go down in history for our skilful reparteeis by dismissing it. In doing this, we dont offer a counter insult. 

We dont ignore the insult either. Instead, we make it clear to the insulter that the insult has failed to damage its target. One way to dismiss an insult is by instantly forgiving it.

We should say: I know. Thanks. Which sounds like a good idea but…

(4) The Middle finger response – The peoples favourite, a trigger to the eventual self-imposed shit storm. The most aggressive way to dismiss an insulter can be summed up in the statement, Whatever, Kiss my ass.  

“In saying this, we are implying that we dont really care what the insulter thinks, that his feelings are irrelevant. It was this response that allegedly triggered an outburst of anger in actor Russell Crowe. 

He had been unable to reach his wife on a hotel phone. When he called the hotels concierge to complain,
The concierge responded, Whatever, and on hearing this, Crowe threaten to come down and kick his ass. Subsequently, he did go down, but instead of kicking the concierge, Crowe threw a phone at him. It was an assault that could conceivably have put Crowe behind bars for eight years. Such is the power of a dismissive response. People just dont appreciate being dismissed.

EVER CONSIDER BEING A VERBAL PACIFIST?

A pacifist is a person who refuses to respond to violence with violence. Hit him and he will not hit you back and therefore an insult pacifist is a person who refuses to respond to verbal violence with verbal violence: he will not respond to an insult with a counter insult, which means an insult pacifist will be unwilling to unleash first-strike insults, the way a pacifist in the usual sense of the word will be unwilling to strike a first blow.

We will worry that if we respond to the insult with pacifism, the insulter and those who witness his insult will regard us as a safe target for insults and will therefore pummel us with them in the future. This concern will stand between many people and the practice of insult pacifism. Is this concern justified? Is it true that insult pacifists will find themselves deluged with insults?”

Irvine says “I have, in recent years, paid attention to other peoples use of insult pacifism and have experimented with it myself. I have discovered that pacifism in response to insults isnt nearly as risky as one might think.”

“If a pacifist responds to an insult by declaring himself to be an insult pacifist, she is likely to be astonished. It will probably come as news to her that someone can be a pacifist with respect to insults. As soon as she recovers from her initial astonishment, though, she might put his pacifism to the test by bombarding him with insults to see whether she can provoke him into hurling one back. 

As long as he keeps shrugging his shoulders in responseSorry, but like I said, I dont do insultsshe will ultimately grow weary and try to seek out an easier target for her put-downs. it is important that he remain calm internally in the face of an insult.

“If he can accomplish this, his failure to respond to an insult will not simply be a show put on for the benefit of the world around him; it will instead be a true reflection of how he feels about the insult. This is coped with learning the art of building a frame of mind that prevents insults from upsetting or using any of the above responses within the heat of the moment.

All in all, a pacifist will strive to become a person who, besides seeming to be immune to insults, is in fact immune to them. This vital emotion yet explosive emotion called anger, would serve us better if our snap judgments were more accurate, our sense of justice was more widely shared, and if anger would lead us to justice without starting a fight or a need to insult anyone.

We all have a unique view-point on the world based on our own centre of awareness. Its good to have a decent amount of self-worth, which should as such never be decided or defined by insults. We are responsible for the choices we make and the results, good or bad. We apply knowledge to choose our beliefs and ultimately how and where we place our self-worth as we relate to our pride and the provocation the world dishes out at us.

I Can & I Will

​The French novelist Honore de Balzare says, “Passion is universal humanity. Without it religion, history, romance and art would be useless.” To that the age old question, what does it mean to be passionate?
 A core ingredient in living passionately is finding a cause or giving your life meaning within your individual existence which in truth, you alone are responsible for your own existence.
 The meaning you find for your life should be one you’re willing to work for, commit to, one you have given thought to as you have chosen and might I say, one you would  die for, one you’re willing to embrace and to organize your whole life around. 
To be truly passionate, such a choice must also embrace a degree of mystery or uncertainty. David Hume, a famous 18th-century philosopher, once said about life that “The whole is a riddle, an enigma, an inexplicable mystery.”
To that, living passionately means choosing to be vulnerable in the face of your own life. It means recognizing the insecurity and unpredictable nature of events that surrounds your life choices, but also recognizing that those choices still need to be made with solid resolution and committed force.
This means embracing the power that is in your hands and no one else.
Freedom is an essential part of being this passionate person that you desire. You’re different from the nonhuman creatures that surround you, so the way in which you approach your own life should be seen as different from the way animals approach theirs.
Seen in this way, nonhuman objects, being entirely natural in composition, don’t make choices; they’re not free. You’re a natural being too. Sometimes your movements are dictated by factors in the physical natural world. 
From birth, you don’t pick and choose your race, religion, name, location or type of socialisation or any other general facticity.
In view, one must realise that there are always instances in which you can be self-moving. This intentional action isn’t the result of some set of environmental conditions in the world. When you do act intentionally, which includes deciding how you face up to your impending future-your actions are up to you alone and nothing else.
Your freedom to choose how to act in the present and face the future has limitations placed on it by the world you live in. 
The unique nature of your freedom shows that although you do live in the world and are subject to its influences, you also transcend the world, because you’re not determined by it.
To transcend, to be of passion doesn’t mean that you float above the world like a disembodied spirit. It just means that you can rise above the physical cause and effect explanations that seem to govern nonhuman things. 
Freedom is an essential part of what you are, it’s a facet of your existence that you must cultivate if you’re to live in an honest, truthful, or authentic way. You must be true to this special aspect of what you are. 
This cultivation requires that you take the question of how to face your future and your existence very seriously. Which in turn make up the formation of what it means to be passionate about something.
Because of this shift in reality, a passionate life isn’t just about doing certain specific things. It’s not what you do but, how you do it, how you choose to embrace your existence with your means. The “how” is always more important than the “what”.
It’s up to you to figure out what path, out of all the ones possible for you, to take. After you choose that path, pursue it with hope and engagement, with a fire of lived intensity. As Camus puts it ” Mystery and risk are what give life that weight; they’re the fuel from which the fire of passion burns.”
 By making these kinds of choices and commitments, you can make sure your life embodies the kind of risk that passion thrives on. 
Cultivating a beautiful relationship with your own existence requires you to choose a direction in life that expresses your individuality. 
No two people can share such a direction. Because passion requires that you express your own freedom and subjectivity, you must revolt against allowing your choices and projects to flow from any influences outside your individual nature.
At the most basic level, being passionate means being very aware of the very particular concrete world that you live in. Living passionately means saying ”I can and I will” A passionate life emphasizes how you go about living and not what you end up actually doing.
Understanding a passionate life is to draw the distinction between living as a participator and living as a detached observer.
 Living passionately means cultivating a bond with your own life that doesn’t approach it as a problem to be solved, but as a relationship that you need to involve yourself in and remain open to.
As Kierkegaard once said

 “that the pagan who prays passionately to a false God shows more truth than the Christian who prays falsely to his real God.”

Mind Your Mind

“​Loving yourself and knowing what you what are necessary keys not only to master the art of willpower, or in a better light Self-respect is the fruit of discipline;  the sense of dignity grows with the ability  to say no to ones self.”Abraham Joshua Heschel

The possession of willpower and self-discipline or their lack, play an important role in everyones life. One may have goals, plans and schedule to achieve what is to be gain, in order to reach, reap and bear said fruits, the art of sowing must be known, practiced and mastered.
A general attitude toward the idea is that it is rigid and authoritarian, is centred around the virtues of frugality and saving, and in many ways was hostile to life and there has been an increasing tendency to be suspicious of any discipline,
 and to make undisciplined, lazy indulgence in the rest of one’s life the counterpart and balance for the routinized way of life imposed on us during the eight hours of work, waking up early, hard work, moderation and indulge in unnecessary luxuries.
How does one practice discipline? To get up at a regular hour, to devote a regular amount of time during the day to activities such as meditating, reading, listening to music, walking; not to indulge, at least not beyond a certain minimum, in escapist activities like mystery stories and movies, not to overeat or overdrink are some obvious and rudimentary rules.
 It is essential, however, that discipline should not be practiced like a rule imposed on oneself from the outside, but that it becomes an expression of one’s own will; that it is felt as pleasant, and that one slowly accustoms oneself to a kind of behaviour which one would eventually miss, if one stopped practicing it. The East has recognized long ago that that which is good for manfor his body and for his soulmust also be agreeable, even though at the beginning some resistances must be overcome. Erich Fromm 
Now here is the mountain to climb in the idea of willpower. Leon Seltzer states that The price of discipline is always less than the pain of regret. Surrendering to immediate, self-indulgent attractions or enticements inevitably leads to your becoming subservient to them.
And as a consequence, the likelihood of achieving longer-term goals is seriously undermined. Self-discipline: a willingness to do whatever it takes to reach personally valued goals and objectives, independent of whatever challenges, or unpleasantness, may be linked to the process of attaining them. 
Learning to feel really good about ourselves is a major part of what personal growth and evolution is all about.  And our progress in this venture requires us to become more adult in our thinking. 
Giving up pursuing transient feelings of euphoria and instead seek out those things that culminate in far-more-lasting positive feelings about self is one that will also boost our self-esteem. And it will promote a self-love that is totally separate from any mere narcissistic gratification.  
Self-discipline is an act of cultivation. It requires you to connect todays actions to tomorrows results. Theres a season for sowing and reaping, minding your mind helps you know which is which.

No one is free who is not master of himself.  (Shakespeare)    

Most powerful is he who has himself in his own power.  (Seneca)

Who are you?

​”I think, therefore I am” 
 Desecrates

“Who am I?” There comes a point in one’s life, this age old question spores, be it in the briefest of thought or in a metaphysical pondering. Whether we got answers or left with a bigger floating question mark on top of our heads, we to say the least,crave for the deep reality of said answer.

We indeed NEED to know the answer to this, one of life’s fascinating questions.
The day you were born, you began a learning process that will continue for the rest of your entire life. You were from the beginning moulded by your surroundings. Be it parents, relatives, friends, teachers, the people in your area. You absorbed all the general attitudes, ideas and beliefs-the good, bad and ugly. 

You came in contact with each new year of life added to your past, changing the way you view every new day, influencing how you reacted to everything from the simple to the complex. Events touching you and your experience in the world we live in

Bertrand Russell says “as a child, there is nothing unattainable, good things and desires with a whole force of a passionate will can be obtained and yet impossible to them is not credible.” 
We subconsciously carry and express certain manners and attitudes we had as kids as we grow.

As you grow older, you interact with people from far and wide with different backgrounds and ideas about life. Like most people, you probably belong to that vast river of mankind, which lives each moment in the easiest and some-what pleasant way possible.

Believe it or not, most of us are voluntary prisoners of our minds, unwilling to question who we are and get definite answers and we are happy to just simply roll along through life. 

Most of us will live from birth to death in a world, we fashioned from our past to suit our present. Few of people ever stand free from present and daily lives to ask, to wonder, to think and to explore.

Each of us is born, we live various lives and then we will die. We should remember that we have a separate nature which is our own and which sets us apart from every other person who lives or who has lived. We share similar characteristics but, each of us is unique.

You are YOU. Russian born author Ayn Rad formed the concept of “the sense of life” .She described how the sum of all your thoughts, experiences, ideas and emotions about our life form the sum of the state of who we are.

 Our sense of life and your perceptions as individuals are based on previous experiences and how they are integrated in our personality to evoke our emotions, thoughts and values. 

A person’s sense of life isn’t some programme by a single evaluation, it is an integration of countless evaluations over the course of one’s life, a person’s integrated emotions and value judgments related to all aspects of living.

It dictates the internal dialogue, the ongoing conversation you have with yourself about the world and people in it. It is the basis of your self-esteem, if your sense is controlled by external forces, then your self-esteem will suffer and you will feel that you lack control over your life.

Increasing our awareness is a never ending process. Taking control of your “sense of life”, influencing it with reason and steering it in a positive constructive direction is the most important thing you can do to arrive of being human.

Humans have an instinctive feelings of self-preservation and satisfaction as you can choose. 

That also makes you unique, our choices seem to be based not only on what you believe will happen if you make a certain choice but, also on what you want to happen. You can choose the opposite of what your instincts or personality tell you. You call the shots.

Your decision is your decision. Your decision is a product of your singular existence and being. Being able to engage in rational thought and to choose freely among various courses of action based on those thoughts, you are in a very real sense what you choose to be.

“Remembering the past as it gives thought to the future which is important, but only to the extent that it helps one deal with the present”.
To that I say you are who you are and like Nietzsche said “we must become who we really are.” You are the sum of your decisions.

“We are born originals and die as copies” 
Kierkegaard
 

On An Attitude of Gratitude

​All you need are these: certainty of judgment in the present moment; action for the common good in the present moment; and an attitude of gratitude in the present moment for anything that comes your way. Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 9.6

From the onset, the ideas of gratitude comes from a place of appreciation and gladness in the everyday endeavour from the big to the small acts of goodness toward us. Gratitude being itself not an emotion but value and virtue is more important in daily living then most may think. 

From the rituals of religion to the labs of academic thought, to be grateful isnt only pragmatic but, is an underlining root of human mature and mental serenity. Cicero believed that gratitude is a precursor for all of the other virtues, including happiness, kindness, reason and courage. Wealth, possessions, and good fortune are not necessary for happiness

Gratitude in its linguistic sense comes from the idea of being thankful, pleased and agreeable, but at its core has more to offer than just useful social, psychological and physical benefits. You hear a lot of talk about gratitude, but most of the time. Its hard to do and most seem adamant, but gratitude is at its essence is an active process of constant practice, willful attitude and purposeful self-reminder.

To have an attitude of gratitude comes from a place of revolt, maturity and appreciation toward life’s goodness as opposite to its ever present bad state. A stoic attitude of kindness, humility and proper response to a good state of affairs be it by divine, chance or probability of the reality of things.

It is a call to the human heart to affirm the goodness of others and a reminder that we are beyond ourselves. It is an unescapable fact,we are dependent on each other. 
To be grateful is dynamic, realistic, its a loving endeavour, the bridge to common courtesy, kind recognition and mutual kinship benefit to the solace of our minds and the people around us.

The attitude of gratitude stems from 2 stances, one must ask themselves, what it means to be a giver and what does it mean to be a receiver?. It goes without saying but pillar to these two positions is knowledge and clarity on the elements of what constitutes a grateful response is critical for developing an accurate account of what gratitude actually is.

THE GIVER 

No one is  truly obligated to give anything really. To give is just a gesture of goodwill. To give as McConnett states mostly deals with ideas of cost, sacrifice, risk and liability. So why give at all? Why go the distance with if in most cases, no real benefit at all?

We are givers if we do it out of love, love by heart but accompanied by attitude and deed. To be mature is to give more than you take out of life. We celebrate the present. We give because it is a good thing to do.

Gratitude is the truest approach to life. We did not create or fashion ourselves. We did not birth ourselves. Life is about giving, receiving, and repaying. We are receptive beings, dependent on the help of others, on their gifts and their kindness.

William Arthur Ward states that “Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”We need to know how, who and when to give. The mature giver learns not to give for giving sake. But from an uncommon place of kinship with a right heart, motive and mind set.

It’s often thought that a reservation in giving is an attitude of selfishness but thats untrue. Unmindful giving is just as destructive as untamed egoism. To give well comes from the pillars of healthy self-Awareness with undying empathy.

Be a grateful giver is having in mind you are doing this because it is what you want to do, or because it is the right and or sound thing, responses of the receiver becomes unimportant. Accept that some people simply expect people to continue to just do things for them with no reciprocation or acknowledgement. 

Some people don’t know or are unable to show almost any emotion or emotionally stunted and I doubt if most intend to convey what they conveying,that is to show no gratitude. But then again, we don’t know people perfectly and its unhelpful to assume malice as a norm to said individuals.

You will meet people who may be completely self-absorbed to the point that they don’t even understand that other people are just as human as themselves. If you have it in your mind you are doing something because it is what you want to do, or because it is the right thing, their reactions become unimportant.

Be polite and respectful. No surprise, this can be hard to do, though. You have to constantly recheck your reactions and thoughts, Being the giver is as Seneca part of “living with the lot’ of life, living with the occasional resentment and not be possessed by it. Living above the pity thoughts, one needs to find a way to still be kind and gracious without building resentment and never giving out of some moral superiority.

It means we have to strip down our egos and be aware of this unhealthy sense of false entitlement or indebtedness because of our very act of goodwill. We can’t change people and should not be in our interest to forcedly teach anyone to show gratitude.  We should draw respectful intellectual and emotional lines.

Joseph B. Wirthlin put it like this, Gratitude is a mark of a noble soul and a refined character.” We like to be around those who are grateful, Being a mature giver ultimately means you are motivated by an appreciation of people, possessions, the present moment, rituals, feeling of awe, social comparisons, existential concerns, and believing that behavior which expresses gratitude is good for us all, a badge of love and resilience.

THE RECEIVER

We all begin life dependent on others, and most of us end life dependent on others. The human condition is such that throughout life, not just at the beginning and end, we are profoundly dependent on other people. Bring a grateful receiver means not falling prey to Forgetfulness, apathy, pride and laziness  towards the acts of others. 

In truth, we will never  really have enough of what we want to pursue, only if we dare to relax our guard long enough to draw pleasure from what we have, an embrace of our gifts  and ultimately our mortality.

Dr. Robert Emmon and others heralds of gratitude advise us to taking time to count our blessings, displaying positive character traits, appreciate the quiet moments of nature and by keeping a daily gratitude journal where we express joy for all of the good things that happened to us.

As such they also suggest that we are wired to take things for granted. The garden variety of daily dissatisfaction, fears of life and complacency can make gratitude arbitrary. All these sadly cemented by unfair, unrealistic conscious or subconscious comparisons of our peers and the world around us.

Novelty and gratitude wear off quickly. To be more grateful or its practice stands in deep conflict with a central drive in human nature: ambition and desire, the pillars of the human ego. Human beings are not just beguiled by the occasional reminder to be or see no reason at all to be grateful. 

We use what makes us happy as the default, the baseline from which things are judged. We start to feel entitled to have things the way they are, instead of in most cases due to luck or the efforts of others. So practicing gratefulness is a great art and we would be less likely to take life for granted.

 Our lives get transformed, Seneca stressed that time is a fleeting and slippery possession. Every moment of every day we die. This is completely outside of our control. It makes sense to value our time and use it well. This lies at the heart of what it means to be a good receiver.

As such, the receiver is at most content with how things already are. The attitude may sound like a kind act of pretension but with a world full of constant indifference and usurp, to be grateful is a humble acknowledgement and one of life’s noble insurrections.

We may not get all that we want or be eternally happy and fulfilled. Bad stuff may be the talk of the day but, we don’t need to become slaves to our lot and fear- big or small, we fight light with darkness. 

We need to remedy ourselves with the reality that more often than we should that we dont yet recognize the dissatisfaction that arises is our unrealistic frequency of attraction to things, this only is perpetual to the cycle of dissatisfaction, hatred and ungratefulness.

A mature receiver isn’t a stance to pull us away from our real ambitions, or to not be absorbed by the lights and glamour of the world, it just means that it doesnt let it get in the way of a better life. 

Camenisch (1981), suggest that just as forgiveness, the receiver may not feel a sincere need to say and express thanks but the act prompts developing grateful beliefs, feelings and other dispositions that they may not have at the time of thanking and in turn signals the giver to commitment to ridding negative thoughts and feelings that are bad if it had not been said. Which is a healthy characteristic of human relationships, sounds obvious but is extremely pivotal.

In the beginning, exerting an effort and attitude of gratitude in many cases need not be inconsistent with being grateful, just as exerting an effort of will to help a friend under similar circumstances would not make one a bad friend. Hence what’s truly at the center of gratitude isn’t feelings or acts but an attitude prompting them that makes its essence.

The very act of expressing the words “thank you” is the least yet best thing one may do and the giving of thank-you gifts or the doing of return-favors isnt and shouldnt be due to indebtness and in truth, must be done when possible as is a cardinal foundation of good and healthy relations.

The very act of expressing the words thank you despite, the depth of a relationships stands as a statue and a frequent reminder of humility and as an oasis to the monotonous hot ego expectations of the everyday giver.

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” Albert Schweitzer. The mature receiver exercising their perceptions and by reaching out to friends by celebrating their progress as we would our own and this requires that we first get over ourselves.

The attitude of gratitude as such means we recognize and accept  that there are already at this moment very good reasons ,even if its  minimal to be a little more satisfied with who we are, what we have become and what we have.

“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow…Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.”

Melody Beattie

Love Thine Self

​”A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.”

 Mark Twain

Margo Anand writing on the art of self-love says Loving yourselfdoes not mean being self-absorbed or narcissistic, or disregarding others. Rather it means welcoming yourself as the most honored guest in your own heart, a guest worthy of respect, a lovable companion. 
The most important decision of your life, the one that will affect every other decision you make, is the commitment to loving and acceptance of yourself. It directly affects the quality of your relationships, your work, your free time, your future and most of all your general well-being.
Having a love affair with yourself and letting go of the layer of false admiration of self through honest reflection and a mindful shift is a must venture in human life. Independently, wholly and plainly letting go of the veil of self-imposed doubt and self-neglect. Being the best you, you can be involves Loving thine self.
 

5 STEPS TO KEEP IN MIND IN “THE ART OF SELF LOVE”

1. Knowing and finding your core values.
You should love yourself unconditionally.
Loving yourself no matter what, through success or failure and no matter what other people think and realize that just by being a human being, being alive you are lovable. You don’t need to do anything. Your very existence is essence and that is enough. Knowing yourself isn’t arrogance, In fact, arrogance is often the foundation of low self-esteem and insecurity. Learning to embrace who you are, both strengths and weaknesses is intimate and a very important fact as you begin the art of self-love.

2. Speak to yourself positively and Stop surrounding yourself with toxic people, words and actions.

Do you pursue your dreams and goals because youre excited about the possibilities and the discoveries, because you want to serve others and honor your life’s work? Or do you do it because you want to prove to yourself and others that you are worthy of love, adoration and respect?
There is no greater path than to fulfil one’s own way, no one will truly ever understand you, yourself included and people will talk about you whether you do bad or good, so finding a healthy balance between being selfless and selfish is important. 
If you stop and look in the mirror to notice that you stopped thinking negatively and letting these negative thoughts about yourself, negative words people say about you consume you, its a good sign that you learning to accept yourself.
Establishing positive affirmation with yourself as you is important. The use of your words toward yourself with utmost strength, care and consideration. This is among the most powerful and self-effective ways in refining your words to keep your thoughts and action in perspective. This can be done by keeping a journal as you keep your thoughts, goals and plans in permanent form as this is key to the art of self-love.

3. Take care of your mind and body.

Don’t fill your mind and body with stuff that is detrimental to your health. Love your body, your looks and appearance, learn to be confident with who you are, because no one truly will but, you. 
By eating right, exercising and various other good lifestyle related choices, one lives, learns and loves that unique being that makes the essence that is you.

4. Find the ways in which you can live Life enjoyably.

No one loves a boring, unproductive or dry life. Take time and effort to put your life and mindset in the most realistic and comfortable way possible, be it in all aspects of your life.
 So the art of self-love means making something of Life. Finding that unique voice that only you can hear and following it wholeheartedly. Committing to your plans and goals, learning to have fun with it all. Treasure it, its your life after all.

5. Make good decisions.

Take time to think about what you will do and the choices you make. Don’t make hasty decisions. They say “a man is a sum of the choices he makes”, so do take wise and fulfilling steps toward your life. If your decisions are more thoughtful and deliberate than you have less regrets and will be less depressed even when stuff goes wrong.
Feeling worthy requires you to see yourself with fresh eyes of self-awareness and love. Acceptance and love must come from within and from you. You dont have to be different or special to be worthy.
 Your worth is in your true nature, a core of love and inner self acceptance and mastery. You are a being. Who are you? You are who you are. We cant bury ourselves and its impossible to neglect self completely. 

• Final thought

While you should always have the drive to improve yourself, its also important to care, accept and love yourself the way you are. Be patient, sincere and kind to yourself during your life. When you mess up, forgive yourself. When you fall, get back up. When you doubt, seek clarity. Most importantly, practice loving yourself as you move through life. Soon the art of self-love will become part of you. Loving ourselves isnt a onetime event or decision. Its an endless, ongoing process. It begins with you, ends with yourself in your own affection and appreciation.

“Until you value yourself, you wont value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.”

M. Scott Peck