Mostly, when we take a leap of faith, we don’t realize that we are challenging or testing or affirming ourselves. When we state that we are performing certain feats, honoring our word, or acting in the name of a particular person or thing we undoubtedly believe that we are truly acting as we have averred. But that’s the funny thing about faith, when you are declaring to all and sundry that you are acting in its name or for it, you are distancing yourself from that faith by assuming you know faith and whatever is behind it. Only when we release ourselves from the chains of what we call faith and honestly and knowingly openly can we experience the benefits of faith. If we try to rely on something we don’t really understand we’ve gained nothing; blind faith will get us nowhere since it requires nothing from us. Devotion and constancy are traits that are of value anywhere and any time and we can only gain to acquiring them. It’s not an easy aspiration and its expression does not appear often but… Don’t you think it might be worth it?
There are times we feel that we don’t know a familiar place at all: we don’t know the landscape, we don’t know the language, we don’t even know those who are or who have been closest to us. We feel a disconnect from the reality we have come to know as our own and can’t, for a time, sometimes a long time, bridge the gap that separate us from all that is comfortable and that used to feel just right. This can be caused by many things: small, short-lived things like fatigue or intense concentration, or by longer acting things such as an absence or ideological clash. For the shorter-lived things one generally needs only to wait and continue along one’s regular path and normalcy will reassert itself sooner or later. For longer term feelings of dislocation one must take a look at one’s core beliefs and evaluate any changes in actions or the direction one is, consciously or unconsciously, now going. It is good to check to see if your companions’ language or behavior has begun to mystify you or if your behavior or language has begun to mystify them. When one has begun to feel like a stranger in formerly familiar surroundings one can only take to heart what one has learned and move on to the next stage, don’t you think?
We all have reasons to feel proud of ourselves, we may have achieved a goal we have set ourselves or that someone else has set for us, we may, in company with a team, have overcome an obstacle or removed a barrier to success, or we may have made it through the day in the face of opposition. All of these victories, and more, are things that we should feel proud of. But pride, well-deserved pride, has acquired a negative connotation that it doesn’t always deserve. However, an excess of pride can, and should, be seen as harmful to others and, in time, detrimental to the prideful person. Those who are proud of themselves for undeserving reasons or feel proud that they are better than anyone else without justification give pride a bad name. With these bad examples, seen almost anywhere, it can feel embarrassing or dishonest to receive praise and recognition for the things we have done that we should feel proud of. When it comes to hiding our light under a bushel, thus fostering false modesty, we might consider again choose to accept accolades, and most importantly, acknowledge to ourselves that we have done something admirable, handled a bad situation well, that we are really good people. Wouldn’t you like to feel pride in yourself without guilt?
We are tempted to and do, upon occasion, rush headlong into a variety of things. Sometimes what tempts us watching others rush ahead with no visible consequences and feeling that if they can do it, why then, so can we. What we don’t know is if the person we’re watching has thought carefully about what they’re doing, or if there have been well-made plans brought into play, or if they have done what we are watching many times before therefore have confidence and the ability to behave as if with reckless abandon. Just as many physical activities appear to be done without apparent effort and so do many intellectual and spiritual one the reality is that a huge amount of effort on all levels is put into any activity if it is going to look effortless. Reckless abandon may look like throwing off restraining shackles and throwing oneself into fray without thought of consequences but those throwing themselves not only recognize what they are throwing themselves into they are aware of any consequences there may be and are prepared to accept them. If through stress or other distress we do run headlong into a situation we are very likely to find that we are lost in confusion and possibly hurt in one way or another. Planned reckless abandon can be fun and gainful, shouldn’t it be planned?
When there is plenty all around us, plenty of food, plenty of love, plenty of satisfaction, we seldom think of when there will be none. We may not even know what to do with the plenty we do have and only nibble around the edges of it, not recognizing its extent or its impact on us and our wellbeing.To accept the bounty offered us we need to strive to be observant and to learn to appreciate what we have. Many times we don’t see that the plenty around us is not there without effort, we don’t see that we have a responsibility to accrue and maintain what we’ve been given or have obtained with our own exertions. Once we’ve recognized that plenty we should not complain that it is not enough or begin to take it for granted; it would be best if we could learn to share our bounty with others, but if giving is not possible, we can make the best use of what we have and not waste it or throw it away unthinkingly. It is imperative that we make a choice to recognize and accept whatever plenty we’ve consciously or unconsciously acquired, we have no idea when or if there will be none. Shouldn’t we accept the plenty we have with grace and pass it along if possible?
Not all opportunists are after only tangible things – you will find that they can be seeking your physical labor, your mental labor, your mental support, your warmth of spirit and sense of what is right. They want all this from others rather than taking the time for figure out or seek for themselves. And they want these things right now! One must be careful when dealing with opportunistic people for you will find you are making and following through on any or all plans to be made. You will also be the one to define and maintain any kind of moral compass or insist that principles agreed upon will be followed. It is wise to look out for such traits in people you find you are constrained to work with or spend any leisure time with. Once you are aware that such a person will be a part of a group you are included in, or you are thrown together with this person on your own, it would be best to set guidelines at the outset of your association so that you will not find yourself compromising your own values and ethics. This can be done if you trust yourself enough to set those guidelines. If you must work with an opportunist, isn’t it better that you are in control?