Thursday, September 22, 2016

A Living Philosophy

As important as it is to have a philosophy of life, it is equally as important to have some guidelines for practicing that philosophy. Here is a format that I use every morning to remind myself of my philosophy, to clear my mind and clarify my purpose, to stabilize and harmonize my feelings and emotions, and to relax my body and charge it up for the activities of the day. I do it as if I were a teacher to myself. Sometimes I do it very briefly on a very busy day, but whenever I have the time I work with it for awhile.

Be Aware that the world is what you think it is, so decide what you want to believe today. It is up to you, after all. No one forces you to think in a particular way. It is totally up to you whether you think the world is a place of struggle and pain and danger, or a place of beauty and light and magic. Outside events do not rule how you feel, but the way you interpret them does.

Be Free because there are no limits, so give yourself the right to change your mind. An amazing number of people limit themselves unnecessarily because they feel they don't deserve to be happy or successful, due to something they've done or didn't do in the past. If this is your problem you have to forgive yourself and move on, or forever be bound by the chains you've put around yourself with a lock to which only you have the key. It doesn't matter who else says you don't have the right, or even that you do have the right. You will never have it until you give it to yourself.

Be Focused because energy flows where attention goes, so increase your desire to live the life you choose. You'll probably read this again several times in different forms, but the secret to increasing your desire to live the life you choose is to focus on the benefits of doing that and to decide that those benefits are really important to you. When the benefits become important enough then the focus will be automatic.

Be Here because now is the moment of power, so start right now with some kind of action to be, do, or have what you want. You can't do anything yesterday, and you can't do anything tomorrow. You can only do something right now. But "right now" is like a foreign country to people who spend most of their time dwelling on the past or the future. If you aren't used to it, it isn't easy to stay centered in the present moment, but the way to practice is to consciously breathe, consciously look at colors and shapes, consciously listen to the sounds you can hear, and consciously touch what is in your reach. And then consciously act, even in the smallest way, in a direction of your choice. The past and the future can be interesting places to visit, but you wouldn't want to live there even if you could. Your real home is here and now.

Be Happy because love is the source of power, so enjoy and acknowledge the good that is. If you aren't happy, get happy. How can you do that when so many awful things are going on? Well, "faking it till you make it" is one way, but I'll give you a simpler way that works for me and for thousands of others. A very ancient technique, it's called "count your blessings." You do it by actively seeking out and feeling appreciation for all the good things you can find. This includes all the good experiences you've ever had, no matter how minor they may seem; all the skills you've ever learned, and don't forget walking, talking and dressing; all the beauty and wonder you can discover in the world around you; all the good things that you see and hear about that other people do; and all the good things that you want to experience in the future. I'm not suggesting that you pretend bad things don't exist, because this is a practical teaching, after all. But the more you are filled with an awareness of goodness, the easier it is to deal with the bad.

Be Confident because all power comes from within, so always trust yourself. You can't trust people to always do what you want, because they have their own priorities and agendas which may or may not agree with yours. You can't trust the world to always be the way you want it to be, because there are so many forces and influences at work which may not be moving in the direction you want things to go. But you can always trust that you have the power to change what you can change, adapt when you're unable to make changes, and increase your skills by study and practice. One of the best posters I ever saw was of a sailor at sea in his boat, with a caption that read "You can't control the wind, but you can always adjust your sail."

Be Positive because effectiveness is the measure of success, so always expect the best. Some people believe in preparing for the worst, so they won't get any nasty surprises. There are two problems with that. First, they usually get nasty surprises anyway; and second, they seldom get any good surprises. Other people avoid optimism because they are afraid of being disappointed. Let's take a hard look at that. Disappointment is being unhappy with the way things have turned out. So these people are not planning for success because their plans might not work and then they might feel bad. And they are so afraid of feeling bad that they'd rather not feel good. There's something about that logic that escapes me. Yes, things might not turn out the way you want and you might decide to feel bad. So? If you still want to be effective you try something different and start again. Let me give you a quote from Serge Kahili King: "People don't fail, plans do. People just give up or make new plans."


  1. Thank you Serge! Great words of encouragement and wisdom!

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