life is hard

Life is Hard for Good Reason

“Even though life is hard, even though it is sometimes difficult to smile, we have to try. Just as when we wish each other, ‘Good morning,’ it must be a real ‘Good morning.’ Recently, one friend asked me, ‘How can I force myself to smile when I am filled with sorrow? It isn’t natural.’ I told her she must be able to smile to her sorrow, because we are more than our sorrow. A human being is like a television set with millions of channels. If we turn the Buddha on, we are the Buddha. If we turn sorrow on, we are sprrow. If we turn a smile on, we really are the smile. We cannot let just one channel dominate us. We have the seed of everything in us, and we have to seize the situation in our hand, to recover our own sovereignty.

“When we sit down peacefully, breathing and smiling, with awareness, we are our true selves, we have sovereignty over ourselves. When we open ourselves up to a TV program, we let ourselves be invaded by the program. Sometimes it is a good program, but often it is just noisy. … Even if our nervous system suffers, we don’t have the courage to stand up and turn it off,because if we do that, we will have to return to ourselves.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Life is Hard

Yes, life is hard. But as the song says, “I never promised you a rose garden”. Life on Earth, life in the material world is rarely, if ever, always pleasant. That is actually a good thing. If life here was always great, we would have no desire, no incentive, to seek a better life, a life of spirit. But even though life is hard, we can’t let it get us down and keep us gloomy all the time. We have to seek reasons to smile, reasons to have joy. So yes, life is hard, but you don’t have to be hard. Life is full of sorrows, but you don’t have to be trapped in sorrow. Continue reading “Life is Hard for Good Reason”

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cheer yourself

Cheer Yourself Up with Positive Thoughts and Deeds

“When thou wilt comfort and cheer thyself, call to mind the several gifts and virtues of them, whom thou dost daily converse with; as for example, the industry of the one; the modesty of another; the liberality of a third; of another some other thing. For nothing can so much rejoice thee as the resemblance and parallels of several virtues, visible and eminent in the dispositions of those who live with thee; especially when, all at once, as near as may be, they represent themselves unto thee. And therefore thou must have them always in a readiness.

“It is in thy power absolutely to exclude all manner of conceit and opinion, as concerning this matter; and by the same means; to exclude all grief and sorrow from thy soul. For as for the things and objects themselves, they of themselves have no such power, whereby to beget and force upon us any opinion at all.

“That which is not good for the beehive, cannot be good for the bee.

“No man can hinder thee to live as thy nature doth require. Nothing can happen unto thee, but what the common good of nature doth require.” ~Marcus Aurelius

Comfort and Cheer Yourself

Marcus is correct in telling us how to cheer ourselves when we are feeling down. If we are feeling sad, angry, or disappointed with people, look around us at those we live with, work with and hang around with. What virtues do they have? How do they bring us joy? How have they helped us? What do they do that benefits others in the world? When we look at the positive rather than dwelling on the negative, we will generally find that things are not so bad after all.

And it doesn’t stop there. If we can’t get a pet to behave, if the dog chewed up your new gloves, remember the good they have done and the joy they have brought to you rather than dwelling on the negative. Of course, you can teach them not to do such things, but don’t dwell on the problem so long it does more harm to you than to the animal.

If you are angry with your government and its policies or behavior, whether on the city, state, or national level, you may be justified. However, dwelling on it until it gives you ulcers and gray hair is not wise. As quickly as you can, remind yourselves of the benefits you get from the government—and don’t say “None!”. We all get some benefits from the government, but few of us stop to think of it regularly, if at all. Do you put money in a bank? Would you do that if the government didn’t have a guaranteed reimbursement policy on lost deposits? Would you or your children read as much if there were no public libraries? Would you feel safe on the streets of there were no police? There are many more such questions to ask yourself and contemplate how you benefit from the government, but I’ll stop there, having made the point.

And if none of that works, just do something that cheers you up. Go to a concert or a movie. Take a walk in a park. Go on a vacation. Just don’t sit around angry, sad, or depressed. That hurts no one but you. Don’t just stay angry or depressed, cheer yourself! Continue reading “Cheer Yourself Up with Positive Thoughts and Deeds”

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truth is joy

Truth is Joy, Ignorance Brings Fear

“The gospel of truth is joy for those who have received from the father of truth the grace of knowing him by the power of the word, who has come from the fullness and who is in the thought and the mind of the father. This is the one who is called the savior, since that is the name of the work that he must do for the redemption of those who have not known the father. For the name of the gospel is the revelation of hope, since that is the discovery of those who seek him, because the realm of all sought him from whom it came. You see, all was inside of him, that illimitable, inconceivable one, who is better than every thought.

“This ignorance of the father brought about terror and fear. And terror became dense like a fog, so no one was able to see. Because of this, error became strong. But she worked on her material substance vainly, because she did not know the truth. She assumed a fashioned figure while she was preparing, in power and in beauty, the substitute for truth. This, then, was not a humiliation for the illimitable, inconceivable one. For they were as nothing, this terror and this forgetfulness and this figure of falsehood, whereas established truth is unchanging, unperturbed, and completely beautiful. For this reason, do not take error too seriously.” ~The Gospel of Truth

Truth is Joy

Yes, truth is joy, especially when you can be sure that it is the truth and not opinion. It also depends on the kind of truth. It may be true that a loved one has died, but being told that will not bring joy. It may be true that you are out of money, but finding that will also not bring joy. In truth, the kind of joy you get from having money or material things won’t bring you the truth or the kind of joy that the Gospel of Truth is talking about.

Real joy comes in knowing that the truth you know isn’t opinion or illusion. It isn’t truth agreed upon by the majority and enforced by the legal and educational institutions. It is a spiritual truth that comes from an awakened soul. So the real Gospel of Truth that brings joy is not a written scripture, but true spiritual knowledge that is accessed directly by the soul. Continue reading “Truth is Joy, Ignorance Brings Fear”

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confidence

Confidence In Our Abilities, Physical and Spiritual, Helps Us Succeed

“He puts no confidence, however, in his labors,and manner of life, until he obtains the things hoped for. Until the Lord comes and dwells in him in the full experience and energy of the Spirit. And when he tastes the goodness of the Lord, and delights in the fruits of the Spirit, and the veil of darkness is taken away, and the light of Christ shines upon him and works in him in joy unspeakable, then is he fully satisfied. …

“But he still has conflict and fear from the robber spirits of wickedness, lest he should grow selfish1 and lose his labor, before he is accepted in the kingdom of heaven, in the Jerusalem which is above.

“Let us then beseech God that He would put off from us the old man, and put on us the heavenly Christ, here and now, so that being in gladness, and thus being led by Him, we shall be in great tranquility.” ~St. Macarius the Egyptian

Lack of Confidence

A lack of confidence in ourselves and our abilities is common. We try something, but are not sure we will succeed. As a result, we fail more often than we should. Having confidence in ourselves makes us try harder. It also helps us make better decisions. When we have confidence, the things we need to succeed are drawn to us. When we lack confidence, we push them away. So confidence is key to success.

Spiritual Confidence

St. Macarius says we will have confidence in our spiritual abilities when the Lord comes and dwells in us. But in actuality, that is a catch-22 situation. The Christ Power, or Christ Consciousness isn’t going to enter us until we have fully prepared for it. In order to prepare properly, we have to have a certain degree of confidence already. It is true that if we achieve Christ Consciousness, we will have unstoppable confidence. But that doesn’t happen overnight. It doesn’t even happen with a few months of practicing spiritual growth techniques. So it behooves us to work on developing confidence on our own rather than waiting until we achieve Christ Consciousness.

Joy Unspeakable

Even before truly achieving Christ Consciousness, we do have the light of Christ shining on us. This spiritual light, that comes to us through the spiritual sun, does help enlighten us and give us more confidence. This encourages us to continue on the path to complete enlightenment and the highest levels of consciousness.

Robber Spirits

Yes, there are robber spirits that can fill us with fear and doubts. You can call them devils, demons, or forces of darkness. The name doesn’t matter. What matters is they can affect us. We must be strong and alert so we can recognize when these dark one are trying to manipulate us. They can also work on us indirectly through other people who they have in complete control.

Jerusalem Above

An important point here that might be missed. St. Macarius is telling us that there is a Jerusalem other than the city on Earth. There is a higher Jerusalem a spiritual Jerusalem. And when you read things that prophets and others have said about Jerusalem, you need to know which one they are referring to. So when Jeremiah says, “At that time Jerusalem shall be called the throne of the Lord, and all nations shall gather to it, to the presence of the Lord in Jerusalem, and they shall no more stubbornly follow their own evil heart.” or John in Revelation writes, “And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” they are not talking about a city, but a spiritual place.

Put Off the Old Man

When St. Macarius advises us that God will “ put off from us the old man,” it isn’t talking about the elderly. By old man (or woman) he means the former man, the person you were before a spiritual awakening. So he is correct in saying that God wants us to put off that self and take on a new self, a Christ self. That is the purpose of all real spiritual training. But first, we must develop the confidence that we can do it.

  1. I am assuming this word should be “selfish”. What is actually in the book is “slftck”.
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