discontented

Do Not Be Discontented When Spiritual Growth is Slow or Difficult

“Be not discontented, be not disheartened, be not out of hope. If often it succeed not so well with thee punctually and precisely to do all things according to the right dogmata, but being once cast off, return unto them again; and as for those many and more frequent occurrences, either of worldly distractions, or human infirmities, which as a man thou canst not but is some measure be subject unto, be not thou discontented with them. …

“Is it not for that respect especially, that pleasure itself is to so many men’ hurt and overthrow, most prevalent, because esteemed commonly most kind and natural? But consider well whether magnanimity rather, and true liberty, and true simplicity, and equanimity, and holiness; whether these be not most kind and natural? And prudency itself, what more kind and amiable that it.” ~Marcus Aurelius

Be Not Discontented

Longfellow put it this way:

“Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.”

In other words, don’t let the rainy days get you down They will be followed by sunny ones. And the rainy days do good things, like clean the are and water the plants and animals.

So what Aurelius is saying is that we shouldn’t become discontent, or depressed as we are more like to say today, simply because things are not happening exactly as we want them too. Maybe you tried to manifest wealth by Tuesday, and yet on Wednesday, it still hasn’t happened. Perhaps you prayed for a cure for an illness, yet you are still sick the next day. We must have patience and not become discontent. We may ask for things, but we cannot command them to happen according to our schedule. Those who claim we can are spreading fantasies. Pleasant fantasies, yes, but fantasies nonetheless.

All Dogma is Dogma

It is both sad and funny how many spiritual people laugh at religious folk who believe things of which they have no proof. They often do the very same thing with regard to manifesting things, the evils of ego, and other dogma spread by new-age gurus. No more proof of their dogma exists than does the dogma of the churches. To be truly spiritual, you must release all dogma, and be open to truth. This is why Aurelius is gently scolding those who become depressed and discontent when things don’t happen exactly as their favorite guru said it would.

Worldly Distractions

There are far more worldly distractions available now than in the time of Marcus Aurelius. There are movies, books, the internet, and move. Now virtual reality is becoming popular. Soon we may have people who constantly hide from reality in those virtual reality devices. Aurelius seems to be warning us that we should not let such things make us discontent. They are, after all, but entertainments. Getting angry and depressed because your favorite sports team lost the championship makes no sense. It is only because we have become raped up in illusion that they do seem to make sense. People have seen their children murdered in war, but we get depressed over who won a game.

Sometimes, we need to wind down. Worldly distractions can help us do that. But we should never get so attached to them that they can leave us depressed.

Respect of Pleasure

I read on many supposedly spiritual groups n social media that an awakening is all about becoming happy and avoiding all we do not find enjoyable. Having fun all day is an expected goal of small children. It is not a worthy goal for an adult. Becoming spiritual is about seeking truth and knowledge, not happiness. True happiness comes with knowing truth. That is better than the false happiness of living in fantasy.

Aurelius tells us that true liberty, simplicity, and holiness bring us true happiness, natural happiness. In other words, while seeking spiritual truth is a difficult, and sometimes lonely task, the result is true knowledge and happiness. That is better than the false happiness that comes with living lies. Much better than the happiness of embracing the trivial things like professional sports and movies as your reality. So don’t get discontented when the task is difficult. Just remember that it leads ultimately to real happiness. And we appreciate it more when we work hard to get it.

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happiness

The Happiness of Unhappiness that Helps Us Grow

“However can thou, O man! Term that unhappiness which is no mischance to the nature of man. … What then has thou learned is the will of mans nature? Doth that which has happened to thee hinder thee from being just, Or magnanimous, or temperate, wise, or circumspect, true ,modest, or free? Or from anything else of all those things in the present enjoying and possession hereof the nature of man is fully satisfied?

“Now to conclude; upon all occasion of sorrow remember henceforth to make use of this dogma, that whatever it is that has happened unto thee, is in the very deed no such thing of itself, s a misfortune, but that to bear it generously, it certainly great happiness.” ~Marcus Aurelius

The Unhappiness of Happiness

Many think that happiness is the greatest thing possible. If you join spiritual groups on social media, you will find that many believe the whole purpose of spiritual awakening and spiritual development is to be happy all the time. The right to the “pursuit of happiness” is written into the United States constitution. But happiness is a two-sided coin, a two-edged sword. While having happiness is a good thing, too much happiness makes us lazy.

When we are happy, contented, well fed, and so on, we don’t change, we don’t grow. Why should we? We are all, to various degrees, creatures of habit. If we are happy and comfortable doing what we are doing, we have no incentive to change. In fact, if anyone tries to push us to change, we are likely to resist strongly. We see this with the wealthy and greedy people. Some of them are spending a great deal of money trying to prevent changes in politics that might force change upon them. They would argue, of course, that the change is a bad thing. Continue reading “The Happiness of Unhappiness that Helps Us Grow”

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Divine Within that Leads to Oneness

“Only the Divine in you,which gives you an impulse, should you rely on. The other things in you are also nice, but the Divine is the seed, the Divine is the power, the Divine is happiness in man’s life. Upon it rests the health and happiness of a man’s life, from one end to the other. …

“God is a Consciousness in which all other consciousnesses reside. He strives to regulate all those consciousnesses in Himself. … If we do not put heart into serving God, we will achieve nothing.” ~Biensa Douno

The Divine in You

Many are confused about the idea of the Divine within ourselves. Some think it is impossible for the Divine to be within us. Others claim that they are God because they have the Divine within. Both of those viewpoints are wrong.

We have the Divine within us in the form of the Soul. The soul is Divine because it comes from God. The soul may be considered part of God, but it is not God. When we say we are God we are speaking from ego, not the Soul. We are part of God.

A cell in your finger is a part of you, but it isn’t you. It would be ludicrous for that cell to declare that it was you. You would laugh at that cell. Or perhaps cut it off and flush it down the toilet to teach it some manners. Yet that cell is no more foolish the the human ego declaring that it is God. Huge difference between being a part of a thing, and being that thing. A spark plug is part of a car, but don’t try to drive a spark plug to work.

Divine Happiness

Mr. Douno says happiness comes from the Divine within ourselves, and I agree. Yes we can have some degree of happiness without it, but that happiness is always limited and temporary. If money makes us happy, that money can be taken away from us. When being strong and healthy is what makes us happy, the gift of a disease from Satan can end that happiness. If friends make us happy, they can drift away from us. The only happiness that is permanent is divine happiness. That divine happiness that happens when we become one with God, the Angels, and the Beings of Light. The happiness that happens when we awaken the divine within our souls. But that doesn’t mean that God is within ourselves and we need to turn within to awaken. The Soul is within, but God is mostly without so we need to look within and without. The looking without should primarily consist of gazing at the spiritual sun or Sun of Righteousness. Continue reading “Divine Within that Leads to Oneness”

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Good Fortune prison

Good Fortune, Ill Fortune, and a Golden Cage

“Truly I believe that ill fortune is of more use to men than good fortune. For good fortune, when she wears the guise of happiness, and most seems to caress, is always lying; ill fortune is always truthful, since in changing, she shows her inconsistency. The one deceives, the other teaches; the one enchains the minds of those who enjoy her favor by the semblance of delusive good, the other delivers them by the knowledge of the frail nature of happiness. … Good fortune, by her allurement, draws men far from the true good; ill fortune often times draws men back to true good.” ~Boethius

Need for Greed

One way I can see that I am old is by looking at the changing attitudes I see around me. When I was young, people valued sharing and caring. We were our brother’s keepers. We helped our neighbors who were having difficulties. And when we had difficulties, they helped us.

Now most of us seem to have been convinced of just the opposite. We believe in helping others only if we think it will ultimately benefit us to do so. We share with others only if we want something from them. We worship greed and those who excel at it. We have even elected a greedy conman as President of the United States. Boethius knew better, as do most spiritual people.

Fickle Fortune

The problems with wealth, or as Boethus says it: “good fortune,” are many. Let’s look at the fickle part of it. We are happy when we have plenty of money, plenty of food, a good home, and so on. But those things can all be taken away from us in a moment. A natural disaster can destroy it. A dreadful disease can make us so ill we spend it all seeking a cure we never find. A new government could take it all away from us. And most wealthy people, especially those born wealthy, have no ability to function in a world where they have to work like common folk.

Boethus says ill fortune is better in this matter because at least we know that such things are temporary. While some of us may always have some form of ill fortune, it is constantly changing. So you can safely say during the worse of it, that it will pass and be happy again.

Golden Cage

The other problem with too much good fortune is that we become imprisoned by it. There is no need for us to do anything, no need to change, so we remain still like a frog on a lily pad. We become imprisoned by it just as if we really were in a gold cell. We may go to the finest college available, but feel no real need to learn anything new. We may attend lectures and seminars by the greatest speakers, who we hear but don’t really listen to. Rarely do such people ever go beyond physical pleasures to seek out the spiritual.

Burning Bridge

Those with what Boethus calls ill fortune are not in a golden jail cell. It is more like they are crossing a bridge that is on fire behind them. They know that they must keep moving forward or be caught by the fire. So they rarely rest, but keep moving all the time. And not just moving but also observing and learning. The look for a way off the bridge. They look for ways to put out the fire. They seek ways to protect themselves from the fire. They are constantly moving, constantly thinking, constantly learning.

The Spiritual Seeker

Because those who are frequently visited by ill fortune are constantly learning, they are the ones most likely to turn to seeking spiritual truth. Since the material world tends to be unfriendly to them (or so they think) , they will start looking elsewhere for happiness. The man in the golden cage will rarely look beyond it, except at a larger cell.

People like St. Francis of Assisi and Nostradamus are good examples of this. St. Francis was sent off to fight in a war and returned home with what we now call PTSD. While laying in his bed recovering, he had a spiritual awakening while watching a sunrise. Nostradamus say his family and friends died from the Plague, causing him to look beyond the physical for solace. There are exceptions, of course. Occasionally a wealthy person with no apparent problems will awaken to the need for spiritual development, but not often.

So maybe what Boethus calls ill fortune is the real good fortune, for it helps us grow, and helps us learn. Most of all, it can get us to turn away from material pleasures and seek out the spiritual.

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