Monday, August 24, 2009

The Empowerment Paradigm

The more troubling the times, the more we must seek refuge in ourselves. Now is the time for those who desire more out of life to step forward and be accountable for our actions. We cannot blame others without blaming ourselves. And like it or not, we are a part of the health care kerfuffle.

We must become serious about what we really want to see in our lives. To do this requires us to move beyond the regrets and fears burying us deeper into one the greatest social quagmires in our lifetimes. Now is the time for clarity.

The stench from our fears and worries overwhelms us. We become consumed by daydreaming about what could have been. We fantasize on what our lives would be like if we had everything we ever wanted. Perhaps, if we had everything we wanted, we would want something else.

Sometimes we even reminisce about what our lives would be like if we had married our first love, finished high school, college or the many aborted projects we just couldn't seem to finish. Whenever we do recall missed opportunities, we frequently believe this would have been better for us. If only, we had. ...

It's easy to daydream about what we should have done, but it's very painful and dangerous to try and relive past decisions. At the time we make our decisions, we do so based on what we think of ourselves. If we believe we are powerless as we decide, then we act as victims. On the other hand, if we feel complete and powerful, then we act as empowered individuals.

This moment-to-moment awareness of ourselves with or without power is our paradigm consciousness. It is the pattern of behavior we express in exemplifying who we are aware of being. And without effort or assistance from anyone, we express all that we are in that moment in time.

Some of us believe we are already empowerment. We want people to think we are good, kind, loving, and peaceful. We don't believe people perceive us as mean-spirited, angry, jealous, envious, and greedy, even when we act in this manner. Somehow we find it difficult to recognize this behavior in ourselves.

Nevertheless, whether we face it or not, the empowerment paradigm we have created for ourselves is badly flawed, and in need of some more spiritual work. This work begins with our changing the images we have of ourselves. We must perceive ourselves with power before we act. And when we don't do this, we must take the time to evaluate our behavior.

The key to power is not in the empowerment paradigm, but in its creator. And since we are the creators, we must ensure we are aware at all times what we are creating. In other words, our uncontrollable, regrettable emotional reflexives are effortless expressions of our innermost thoughts and beliefs.

On the road to empowerment, we must remain cognizant of the vision we have created of ourselves with limitless power. In this vision, we have the potentiality of limitless expressions. For us to embody this vision now, in this very moment, we must remove the revisionist behavior that inextricably keep us thinking and acting as victims. As revisionists of victim behavior, we evaluate our actions after-the-fact. This process prevents us from doing the evaluative work before we make decisions.

Similarly, whenever we act as victim revisionists, we distort our empowerment paradigm. From this perspective, we believe we are weak when we are actually powerful. We find it difficult to let go of the painful experience, because it continues to live in the changing-our-lives process.

Meanwhile, when we are conscious of being empowered, this means we have done the work to overcome the deleterious behavior of victims. We clearly know that for us to to be kind, loving, peaceful, and compassionate we must do more that read and espouse spiritual platitudes, we must do the work.

Regardless to the depths of our pain and suffering, we must do the work to change our behavior. The essence of our empowerment paradigms is work, and more work, until we feel and accept ourselves as having enough power to make decisions without any regrets or lingering doubts. Moreover, we must accept the results of our actions, regardless to how we interpret them.

In the meantime, we must exalt our consciousness to reside in our empowerment paradigms. And whenever others challenge our decisions or seek to engage us in their battles, we must remain confident that we made the best decision with the information (awareness) we had at the time.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Healthy Attitudes Toward Health Care Reform

Today, the fear of becoming ill is overwhelming many of us. We are constantly barraged by media reports about losing our health benefits, growing older, and facing pernicious illnesses. Fortunately, for those working on achieving enlightenment, we don't find this type of information frightening. Nor do we believe what we eat, think, and the manner in which we care for ourselves are determined by the actions of others.

Whenever we find ourselves in the bowels of despair, dripping with lack, limitation and struggle, we don't need anyone to tell us it's time to change our lives. Yet, even with this knowledge, we find it's difficult for many of us to summon the resolve to do anything about our problems.

Nevertheless, when we listen to any types of negativism, we place ourselves into a cesspool of fear, worry,lack, limitation and struggle. From this level of awareness, we find it difficult to believe we have the power to eat properly and control our emotional issues of rage, anger, hatred, and so forth. Yet it is from this level of awareness that we are able to perceive the value of having empowerment (enlightenment) as our life's goal.

The goal of empowerment requires us to eat healthy foods and nurture our minds with positive thoughts and deeds. We must do this daily, not whenever we become fearful of something happening to us. We cannot eat ravenous supplies of dead meat, processed animal byproducts, nor engage in stuffing ourselves with french fries, potato salad, potato chips, enriched bread, and so forth.

Healthy (empowered) eating does not guarantee we'll have prefect health; however, it does reduce our risks of having to make an emergency trip to the hospital or doctor. And we do this not to live for a hundred years, but to live quality, energetic lives regardless to our longevity.

To have healthy attitudes, it is important for us to ensure we do all we can to maintain our health, we must also engage in silent meditations or prayers each day. If it's convenient, we should attempt to meditate for 5-10 minutes after each meal. You can usually do this in your office, the park, or another suitable place. The idea is to allow our bodies to process the food with minimal restrictions.

Regardless to how much we talk and worry about our health, we still must take control over what we eat and think. This means we must not only eat and think, but we must exercise our bodies and minds to help us digest what we are putting into them.

So a daily exercise program is invaluable for people of all ages. This means doing something -- a slow or brisk walk around the block three times a day, a jog around the park, calisthenics at the local gymnasium or in your home -- are some things we all can do.

At the end of each day, we should commit ourselves to some quiet time for the body and mind to rest. We turn off the televisions, cellular phones, and remove all external distractions. We should make an effort to do this without causing too much discomfort to our family. By doing this, we provide ourselves with the maximum protection from diseases, viruses, and stress-induced illness caused by anger, fear, worry, and so forth.

For many of us, the sheer volume of worry and stress in our daily activities is enough to make us vulnerable to all sorts of health issues. And when we add to this behavior, too much sodium, saturated fats, and fried foods, we not only are acting irresponsible, but we are also acting hypocritical.

Moreover, we enhance our deleterious behavior by drinking too much alcohol, soft drinks, beer, bottled sweet tea and lemonade, coffee, unhealthy drinking water, and so forth.

All of this type of behavior contributes to our abusing our leased bodies. We cannot commit to achieving enlightenment, while ignoring what we eat, think, and do. If we believe we can, then we are prime candidates to become patients in the new health care reform program.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Yes, to Empowerment Ideals

A couple of decades ago, First Lady, Nancy Reagan, extolled us to overcome drug addiction by, "just say, no." Several decades later, with rising drug and alcohol addictions, many people still don't know how to say no to drugs and many other harmful addictions.

As many of us know, it's difficult to say no or refrain from doing something we are addiction to. While some of us find it easy to condemn those on drugs, we are less harsh with ourselves when it comes to our own addictions with food, anger, envy, jealousy, greed, and victim lifestyles. Even though society labels some addictions as acceptable or more acceptable than others, for many victims with addictive lifestyles food is just as harmful to us as drugs are to the addicts.

All addictive behavior contributes to the pain and suffering and, ultimately, our victim beliefs. Nevertheless, armed with countless empowerment insights and years of work on ourselves, many of us are still vulnerable to addictive behavior, particularly when we are tired and restless. When we feel weak, tired from the hustle and bustle of work and when we settle into the still of the night, our restless minds begin to focus on satisfying our burning desires for food, alcohol, drugs, anger, envy, jealously, and so forth. For some reason, this time of day is the most challenging for many of us working to achieve enlightenment.

Similarly, it seems whenever we slow down to a peaceful pace, some of us forget this is the time for us to meditate rather than vegetate. We confuse peace with restlessness. Nevertheless, our restless minds remind us to be mindful of the actions we are about to take as we listen to our bodies cravings for all sorts of harmful things.

In the meantime, for us to overcome this conflict, we must focus on what's important to us. If we believe a bowl of ice cream or a large order of french fries are more important than eating an apple or orange, then we do that which we believe is most beneficial for us at that time. And regardless to what others might tell us about the harm we doing to our bodies, we don't hear their voices in the still of the night. We only hear and feel the cravings driving us to act.

By refraining from doing something we're accustomed to, we're in effect changing our lives. Whenever we say yes to empowerment, we are saying no to everything that caused us to think of ourselves as victims. Regardless to the number of times we eschew dysfunctional behavior, unless we have made a commitment to achieve empowerment (enlightenment), we are most likely to succumb to our addictions.

Similarly, when we focus on empowerment, we settle our minds to see beyond the deleterious behavior caused by our victim beliefs. And if we hear a voice telling us it's time to go beyond our current limitations, we will say yes, and not mean no.

The truth about us is not found in what we say, but in what we do. For someone not addicted to drugs, it's easy to tell others to "just say no," and it's just as easy for them to agree with you and continue using drugs. However, in taking the action necessary to embody the feelings associated with saying now, we quickly discover it's not quite that easy to do.

Whenever we discuss personal responsibility and self-reliance, we must be cognizant of the work we must do in working with this social philosophy. This means we must fill in the missing steps between our desires and our achievements. In other words, there's some work we must do before we can just say no to anything.

In the meantime, as we teach others to refrain from addictive-driven lifestyles, we must remain vigilant of the work we must do to maintain control over our own potential addictions. The latent desires lurking deep in our consciousness are driven by habits and weaknesses. For us to overcome them, we must accept we are masters of mindful actions. And as masters of mindful actions, we are always fully present in the moments between our thoughts and actions. This is all the time we need to overcome instinctive actions of anger, envy, jealousy, and so forth.

One of the critical problems we face in proclaiming ourselves as teachers of something, particularly enlightenment, we must have already become masters of mindful actions. If we have not done this, then we must teach at the level where we are, and not where we desire to be.

Meanwhile, for those of us willing to say no to drugs, alcohol abuse, overeating, and so forth, we must remain focus on our work to achieve enlightenment. This requires us to maintain mindful attitudes about our power to control how we think and live. And when we interact with others, we give them the knowledge we have without any attachments or expectations.

So, for those on the empowerment road, we say, "Just say, yes to empowerment" and no, to victim beliefs.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Overcoming 21st Century Racism

Today, it's difficult, if not impossible, to find anyone willing to admit to being a racist. Even the avowed racists believe they're not racists. Not to mention all the politicians, news reporters, bankers, business and civic leaders, sports franchise owners, managers, and players. None of them is racist. Yet we know that racism exists in the social, political, and economic fabric of our society.

For those of us working on overcoming the obstacles preventing us from achieving empowerment (enlightenment), we frequently tread timidly when the issue is racism. Racism is tricky, sensitive, and difficult for many of us to discuss. And 21st century racism, with its new and varied definitions, has become even more difficult for us to comprehend, much less discuss with others.

To be sure, for those working on overcoming the obstacles causing us to feel constant pain and suffering, we find that racism is one of the most difficult obstacles to overcome. Perhaps this difficulty is caused by its deceptive nature of being buried so deeply in our consciousness that we don't even realize it's there.

Nevertheless, we prod along on our journeys, working diligently to overcome our anger, jealousy, self-hatred, envy, success and failure without giving much attention to the root cause, racial beliefs, of many of the issues we are working to overcome.

Whenever we define our problems, it's easier for us to bury our racism by not admitting its existence. For sure, we receive less criticism from others if we write and talk about anger, jealousy, envy, and so forth rather than racism. Yet, it is racism, identifiable or unidentifiable, that is the untreated victim belief that's responsible for most of the problems we are working on overcoming.

Many of us feel we are not victims of racism, because we believe we treat everyone fairly. Moreover, we argue to ourselves and others that we're not the ones preventing someone for obtaining a job, renting an apartment, or buying a house in our neighborhoods. No, we truly believe we are blameless when it comes to racism.

Regardless to how we frame our answers to racial beliefs, we cannot deny that something is causing us to experience constant pain and suffering in our lives. Even though we have brief, infrequent moments of happiness, we find they're interrupted with unexpected outbursts of anger, jealousy, envy, and hatred. Yet, amidst all of these uncontrollable emotions, we continue to ignore the obvious: we are all victims of societal racism.

Meanwhile, some of us, including the well-intentioned empowerment adherents, believe only certain types of people are able to become racists. Some of us claim our divine righteousness by hiding behind our enlightenment training. We believe our work allows us to be the self-proclaimed moral arbiters between right and wrong behavior, which includes racial beliefs. In this position of regal authority, we choose to remain free from ever having to examine our own racial beliefs.

Whenever one race decides what racism is to another group, both groups become pawns in the victimization game. To illustrate this point, many African Americans strongly believe significant numbers of white people are racist. Oh, I know the polls don't reveal this, because most of us lie about it to others.

Many blacks believe whites are responsible for the pain and suffering in our lives. Moreover, we believe their positions in government, business, education, and the judicial system provide them with advantages over those who are unable to wield such power. And it's from whites' positions of institutional power that many blacks believe make them responsible for disseminating racism throughout the country.

Similarly, today, many whites label blacks and Latinos as racist. From U.S. Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor to President Barack Obama, we hear shouts of racism being hurled against individuals previously believed to be victims of racism. Yet, it's this type of racial nitpicking that's preventing us from ever understanding that both races are victims of societal racism. And this makes us angry.

The problem with identifying racism in ourselves is that we don't recognize its existence. Yet, nearly all of us identify people of different races by their race. When we enter a crowded room of individuals of a different race, we feel some discomfort, even it's no more than realizing we're the only one in the room. For some of us, this seemingly innocuous feeling is not racism.

Whenever we watch a television program or movie and discover we are identifying more with the characters of our own race than with others, we don't consider this racism. Nor do we consider it racism when we identify ourselves by race when meeting someone at the airport or restaurant who has never seen us.

As we know, we can use similar examples ad infinitum and still not be any closer to recognizing our own racial beliefs. So, with clouded visions, and undeterred commitments to ignoring our racial beliefs, we continue to seek enlightenment.

Whenever we can, we congratulate ourselves for not cursing the driver (black, white, Latino, Asian, etc.) who cuts us off on the freeway. And whenever we can, we tell those who will listen how proud we are not to be racists. After all, only whites are racists. We can't be racists because we are powerless victims of whites' power.

Meanwhile, most blacks that have been victimized by whites, particularly those who wield great power over our institutions, don't accept whites' arguments that they are now racists. For them, racial beliefs expressed by victims are different from those expressed by individuals in positions of power, even if one or two from the victim class are allowed to participate in those positions.

Nevertheless, the victims of this society, particularly those working on ourselves to overcome all our victim beliefs, including racial ones, that's preventing us from achieving empowerment, must empower ourselves to go deeper into our consciousness and find the racial beliefs causing us to think of ourselves as victims.

Similarly, for those victimized by racism, we must understand it's not possible to achieve enlightenment until we overcome this illness. The cure for any illness is to first identify the illness. After we do, then we can asses the damage done to our minds and develop an enlightenment treatment plan to cure the illness.

Some suggestions to assist us on our journeys:

1. Begin by acknowledging we are victimized by racial beliefs.

2. Evaluate how racial beliefs have affected our behavior.

3. Develop an action plan to overcome racial beliefs.

4. Remain committed to our plan of treatment in spite of recurring setbacks.

5. Liberate our minds to illumine our thoughts with objective love towards all sentient beings.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Finding the Patience to Remain Calm When we are Angry

Anger is a powerful emotion that's driven by our insecurities and beliefs about the level of power we have to accomplish our goals. For some of us, we find it easier to maintain anger than to embrace forgiveness or express compassion for those who don't measure up to our high expectations of human behavior.

Whenever we feel angry toward someone, we lash out at them with venomous words and deeds. We anxiously and urgently have the urge to respond now, immediately, without regards to the pain and suffering we might inflict on others. And rarely, if ever, do we take the time to think before we act.

What is really strange about anger is that it comes into our lives without any warnings whatsoever. In other words, we don't leave our homes to go to a movie or ball game expecting to become angry. We seek pleasurable things because they don't make us angry. Yet, we can explode with anger at the movie if someone spills popcorn or a drink on us, or continues to squash our knees as they make numerous trips to the concessions area.

What can we do about anger? Well, one thing we can do is exercise patience in all of our actions. We experience patience infrequently because it represents confidence, contentment, compassion and power. And until we become aware of the need to remove the layers of victim beliefs preventing us from achieving enlightenment, we will only sporadically experience brief, uncontrollable moments of patience.

For us to express patience, we first must condition our minds to obey us. To do this means we must believe we have control over what happens in our lives. This control is not the same as having control over someone dying, becoming ill, losing their jobs, or experiencing intense heat or cold weather. Control is how we interpret and respond to seemingly uncontrollable situations.

Some of the obvious things we can control is our behavior. We can act compassionate towards someone who is shouting angry words at us, or the person talking loudly while we are trying to watch a movie. All of these are opportunities for us to express patience rather than anger.

Obviously, patience is not a quality we see expressed by many people. The recent brouhaha between the professor and policeman is typically the way people act. When we believe someone has infringed on our rights, space, or time, most of us become angry. And during our moments of anger we say and do things we would never do if we took the time to think about the situation.

When we are willing to relinquish our claim to being right and correct in all our actions, then we open ourselves up to see endless possibilities for us not to be angry. In hindsight, we are able to critically judge the professor and policeman actions based on our own level of awareness. If we are rarely patient, we seek justification for a point of view that supports how we would feel if someone does something to us that we feel is unjustified.

Meanwhile, any judgments or advice from an angry person to another angry person is worthless. Perhaps what is said sounds politically and socially correct, but it doesn't help us to overcome anger. It just delays it until the next time. And the next time the physical damage or hurt we cause others might be more severe.

For us to condition ourselves to become patient, we must seek an inner knowledge of self-discovery that enlightens us to perceive ourselves without societal labels of race, color, gender, political affiliations, and so forth. These are the things responsible for our ignorance, not for the knowledge we need to overcome our anger.

Similarly, if we desire to acquire the knowledge that defines us without our limitations, we must be willing to seek it. This requires a certain level of forgiveness or our parts. We first must be willing to forgive ourselves each type we succumb to anger. We must also be willing to forgive those who become angry toward us. Now, we are able to move in a continual process of creating compassion, confidence, and power in our lives. These are the cornerstone of our knowledge for achieving patience in our lives.

The difference between anger and patience is knowledge. Patience is not magical, we must work for it.