In today’s world, we are bombarded with information; sounds of music, flashes of light and color, fluid motion, visions of warm tropical places, imagery of goals worth achieving, memories of childhoods past, scenarios of futures awaiting, temporal aspects of life, emotions and frame of mind, outcomes of poor decisions, rewards for a humble life. Indeed, all these sensical stimuli invigorate our thoughts, sway our judgment and populate our mind. Critically, they feed our soul.
And at our core, that which supports all the processing and analysis of this information is what I prefer to call, “The Voice that Matters“. This voice is silent, yet dominates and influences our actions via our thoughts. This voice formulates our opinions, guides our lives and determines our future.
But just what is this voice, where did it come from and why does it speak in silence? At the foundation of our being, we are creatures of free will; possessing the ability to think, reason, make judgments, form opinions, reach decisions and implement actions. The image of the proverbial angel and devil on our shoulders is so apropos.
Still, others identify this voice as our conscience. And it can manifest itself in our minds as darkness, solitude, light, echoes, angels, demons, perhaps parents, a friend or a person from our past. Regardless of form, this force of energy materializes whenever we are presented with multiple paths for decision or action.
And truly, this voice does matter, as our lives are impacted as a result of our thoughts and actions. Rest assured, we are never alone, yet at times, the world certainly can make us feel that way.
“To the degree we acknowledge, trust, leverage and listen to the voice that matters, our lives can be enriched and stretched or constrained and limited. Even more paradoxical is the revelation that it is our own doing that ultimately directs or creates our future. We are not soulless victims, but rather, energized gladiators. Life is not a matter of chance, but of choice”.
Morality, norms, spirituality, integrity and intuition, all feed our internal voice like an engine of sorts, powering our thoughts, guiding our actions and monitoring our behaviors, setting our path forward. Each of us has multiple futures, determined by the choices we make in life.
The quality of our being is in large part, determined by our resilience in resisting temptation, our resolve to reach and implement moral behaviors, our commitment to authenticity and our willingness to embrace and acknowledge God in our lives.
The real question is which words will you talk… Which path will you walk? Can you hear the sound of silence?
Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Within the sound of silence
In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
‘Neath the halo of a street lamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence
And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence
Fools, said I, you do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you
But my words, like silent raindrops fell
And echoed in the wells of silence
And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said, the words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls
And whispered in the sounds of silence
As the seasons echo changes in our physical world, so too, does age mimic the passing of time. In an eerrily similar fashion, Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter parallel our human life’s transformation of Child, Adolescent, Adult and Elder.
Without question, both transformations represent distinct, yet related stages or phases of growth, in the physical sense, and yes, also in the metaphysical sense. A cursory glance of each cycle could easily end purely on the visisble and tactile plane, yet, when examined at a more subterranean level, multiple layers of context bubble up to the surface. Emotional, Psychological, Spiritual and Cognitive strata collectively define our being as individuals.
And as surely as the seasons elicit deep understanding, wonder, amazement and respect, so should life… So MUST life.
As we (individuals) progress through life, knowledge is learned, experience is gained, values are formed and reinforced, behavior is exhibited, relationships are made and developed, and most importantly, wisdom is attained as a collective result. Truly, wisdom is underrated in life.
Indeed, as your children grow as children of God, they are as sponges in the ocean to your lead and example as parents and responsible adults. Your words and actions, your compassion, your discipline, your teaching, your Love…. blend a message your children directly and subliminally receive and absorb.
“Yet, inasmuch as this environment contributes to our development as human beings, it is unmistakably guided by each person’s free will, choices and decisions. Our life plays out at the intersection of responsibility and accountability. Indeed, actions have consequences”.
And then… physical maturity catches us from behind and prevents us from returning to our youth. Many perceive this “fact of life” to be madddening, frightening, horrifying and just downright abhorable. Yet, the other side of the coin has a redeeming merit; for it represents the shadows, profile and characteristics of everything we desire to share with others… and that is Wisdom.
So, parents and seasoned humans skilled in the profession of “life”, take stock in the beauty that is wisdom; Adolescent and Adult sons and daughters, take value in the beauty of your parents and elders, for they are a rich and robust source of wisdom. As they age and their physical acuity begins to fade, never forget the tremendous insight they have about life. Their life experiences may not even be known to you, yet assuredly, they suffered, they rejoiced, they learned valuable life lessons and they simply want to share this wisdom with you because they Love you. Moreover, they possess the unique ability to package, customize and deliver that wisdom about many facets of life to you; if only you allow yourself to be open, receptive and appreciative of it.
“When I was a boy of fourteen, my old man was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have him around; but by the time I became twenty one, I was amazed at how much he had learned in seven years.”
– Mark Twain
If I’ve learned one thing in my life, it’s that even though my relationship with my dad was rocky at times, I learned a tremendous amount about life and living from him in a relatively short period of time; about self-respect, compassion, focus, humility, and excellence, along with a few things not to do. And from my mom, I learned the gentleness, tolerance, caring and duty to family that is required to achieve spiritual maturity.
Photo Credit: A.F. Bradley in his Studio
Above all, however, I would give my right arm, yes, even more, to be able to see my parents again and be able to sit down and talk with them about many things; and to thank them for loving me in their own way, for working hard to raise me and my family, for demonstrating by their actions, the reality, truth and grace of God, and to tell them that I love them deeply… For my soul is Saved in large part because of their love for me.
“Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.”
– Robert Fulghum
Remember when life was simple and understandable? Yeah, neither do I. As reality would have it, we exist in a world of context, image and ambiguity. Some by choice, other by perception. Where does that leave authenticity? Answer, you and me. It is incumbent upon each of us to project our authentic self. And it is when we are most still that clarity and awareness reveal themselves to us.
We must first acknowledge and accept that we are all very complex beings. We value, we believe, we hope, we fear, we love, we avoid, we seek, we appreciate, we contemplate, we aspire, we interact, we influence, we anticipate and we pray… that others understand and respect us.
Given the hodgepodge of mixed messages we emit to the world in a continuous fashion, it is no surprise that misunderstanding occurs on a very regular and frequent basis. And what results is tension, confusion, anxiety, fear and even depression. Just to be clear, I’m describing the emotions each of us experience as we live our lives while striving to reveal ourselves to the world.
Much of life’s stress can be channeled, perhaps even avoided, if we can truly look within ourselves to identify the person in the mirror. How we are ‘wired’, what we believe, where we are going and what is our goal. Man, if we don’t know this, how do we expect anyone else to figure it out?
The best advice I’ve ever discovered is, “To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.” – William Shakespeare
This is not rocket science, people. It is pure and unadulterated common sense, yet it goes without heed by millions on a daily basis for all eternity. Self-awareness is the key to happiness and happiness means something uniquely distinct to each of us. Self-awareness alone, however, does not lift the fog of life. It must be coupled and forever joined with courage; the courage to live your conscience and core values without apology and certainly without hesitation.
“Profound truths such as trust, relationships, harmony, happiness, respect, dignity and motivation all become squarely within our grasp as human beings, once self-awareness and courage are lifted from the toolbox of life and used as a habit in each of our lives.”
Personally, I’ve found that I am most happy when the reality of my life is in balance and harmony with my core values and faith. I live to help others, to generate good will, to share positive energy, to be a happy and content person, to experience the world on my terms, to believe and practice my faith, and of course, to write. All that I am is but a glimmer of the man I want to be; and that pursuit keeps me going like the energizer bunny, non-stop.
So, do yourself (and the world) a favor and get to know yourself before crafting that image, creating that context and eradicating that ambiguity that others see as you. Focus on who you want to be and not what others believe you should be. Strive to project the image of your spirit and aura and most importantly, be honest with yourself. It is only then that Truth will reveal itself to you.
As darkness is truly and simply the absence of light, it follows that the evidence of light is revealed in the shadow(s) it creates upon its presence, when set with a background. In much the same way of thinking, the evidence of God is revealed in the behaviors of others upon His presence, with the world as a backdrop. As with light and God, it is difficult to view both directly as they are piercingly brilliant and vanquish all darkness around them.
Many individuals find comfort in being the shadow, believing in their hearts that their efforts are noble, and hence, their salvation secure. As with any and most conventions, however, the genuine truth lies somewhere beneath the surface and beyond the image. Artificial light is precisely that; not real and only reflective of true light.
“What, then, is true light? It begins with pure intent and robust knowledge, and is complemented with action.”
It is a fervent desire to learn as much as possible about God, the Trinity, and perhaps most practical, how to apply that knowledge to everyday life. Amazingly, it is the resulting change in us as human beings, once affected by God’s love. Bottom line, it is the ability to positively impact those around us by sharing our thoughts, words, lives and actions (key word; action).
I’d like to profoundly modify the historic quote by Lao Tzu from “To Know and Not Do is to Not Know”, to “To Know God and Not Do is to Not Know God”. As spiritual beings, we are compelled by our heritage to “Do” the work of God and not simply know about it. To Do God’s work inherently enlightens us as Christians and positively impacts those around us with whom we have contact and interaction.
Importantly, there is a distinct and meaningful difference between being the shadow and being the light. If we were made to live and walk in God’s image, then it is incumbent upon us to strive to become the light and not be content to be merely the shadow.
The Light is warmth, peace, illumination, clarity, awareness, calm, joy, beauty and confirmation. Most of all, it is Love. It is the presence of all that is good and righteous. Be the Light, become eternal and dare I say, become Inspired!
Like most children in elementary, secondary and high school, most of us were taught to learn, appreciate and recognize facts to explain the world around us, to prove hypotheses and to understand why things work or are the way they are. We have been conditioned to constantly seek cause/effect relationships, to conduct experiments, look for patterns and document results with the intent to demonstrate mastery over the unknown and likewise serve as examples of discovery.
This factual world we now live in, however, as fervently as it tries, still cannot explain nor comprehend certain “incomprehensible truths” that concretely and unequivocally exist for all to witness without mortal comprehension or explanation. Yet, as inexplicable as these events are to the human eye, mind and soul, they are profoundly “real”, critically “meaningful” and plainly “revealing” of the degree of Life we know little about, speak constantly to, yet absently avoid seeking to understand.
A dictionary definition of Incomprehensible is: “Incapable of being understood” and “Limitless, Boundless”
Everyday examples of “Incomprehensible Truths”:
- We’ve all first-person witnessed or heard about an individual on death’s bed or having been given “months to live” as a result of a terminal illness or prognosis. Yet, against all odds of recovery, miraculously is cured (healed) without explanation, reason or logic. Prayer is the most plausible explanation followed closely by Divine Intervention.
- Numerous articles documenting a person that has clinically “died”, many times for a lengthy amount of time that
reason and logic indicate should result in brain damage, severe complications or death; then, miraculously, has come “back to life”. Science has no answers, save a miracle. These experiences are commonly referred to as NDE’s (Near Death Experiences). In some cases, I’d call them DE’s (Death Experiences). In all examples, they could realistically represent the eternal life and/or the existence of a soul.
- Dating back to 330 B.C., Aristotle empirically concluded the Earth was a sphere, however, many other cultures did not truly agree with or support this “theory” until the late 17th century. Applied Geography and Astronomy were limited in scope, theory and consensus. Most people and cultures believed, as a result of limited knowledge and science, that the earth was in fact, either a flat disc or surface, resulting in the perceived fear of falling off or sailing off the “edge”.
- In 1895, Lord Kelvin uttered his now infamous quote, “Heavier-than-Air Flying Machines are Impossible” . Well, we pretty much know how that story ended… or more appropriately perhaps, began. Related topics include space flight, “light years”, and the Universe.
All of these examples illustrate the importance and presence of an independent variable, i.e., time. At the time or era specific to these comprehensions, this mode of thinking was considered an Incomprehensible Truth. It went without question or challenge that this is simply how the world works or the specific limits of our existence; at the time. Likewise, each example underscores the need for us to be Bold and question/challenge any or all facets of our life, existence, environment and thought.
In a converse approach, one of my Incomprehensible Truths is that each of us has a soul or spirit, unique as our fingerprint, that inhabits and controls our minds during each of our physical lives. At the moment of death, the soul separates from the physical body and continues to survive, or more aptly, live on into eternity. To the primitive limitations of the physical human senses, the separation of body and soul is indiscernible, inexplicable and to many, non-existent.
Out of sight, out of mind, however, has never been one of my mindsets. Each to their own and mine to me. I choose to believe in eternal life and a God of Creation as opposed to a singularly mortal or physical existence with a void at the end of it. That is the beauty of Free Will and the difference between human beings and other life forms.
If someone were to ask you what is the temperature outside today, you’d likely look for the answer on your radio, television, computer, smartphone or the thermometer hanging outside your kitchen window. And chances are that most, if not all of these sources would be identical or very close to each other.
When you really think about it, however, each of these historically referenced sources rely on technology or something made by humans to provide information; and answers. The fact is, that we (humans) create or fabricate literally everything in our world that we consider ‘real’.
Using our core senses (see, hear, smell, touch and taste), we fabricate the experience of the world and environment around us. Our mind interprets and transforms the information from our physical senses into meaningful and understandable thoughts we then use to generate behavior and reaction to stimuli.
How do we truly ‘know’, however, whether the information we have come to be very, very dependent upon, is in reality, accurate? The truth of the matter is that we do not know, yet we accept the information as being correct. And herein, lies the foundation of the ‘blurring’ down of our society.
Every aspect of our lives is impacted, whether it be our jobs, our family, our relationships and profoundly… our future.
When you go to the theater today or play a movie from a DVD, you witness modern technology in all its grandeur, from Avalon, Inception and the Avengers, to E.T., Star Wars and Independence Day. Contemporary advancements in 3D technology make each experience all the more ‘real’.
And it doesn’t end there; programs like Photoshop and Magix provide the capability to warp or bend reality into something out of the depths of our imagination and make it appear ‘real’. Teen Vogue and Seventeen Magazines were recently in the news addressing accusations from models to stop ‘photo-shopping’ images of subjects in their magazine to make them slimmer, visually more appealing and well, near flawless. Is this reality?
Another example of the blurring of America is the current political climate amidst the competition for the next President of the United States that will be elected in less than four months. Not only is reality being challenged by adverse television advertising by the candidates, but also by the recent hoopla over the digital ‘Birth Certificate’ of our current president.
And if that isn’t enough to cause you to bang your head repeatedly against the wall, then the major television networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN) have provided blurring nirvana as a result of the spin they place on political stories of the candidates as well as what stories (they call it News) they decide to cover and what they choose to avoid or overlook in support of their desired political preference.
Artificial Intelligence has become the most blatant and best example of an oxymoron since Jumbo Shrimp. Today’s world is fast becoming an alternate reality via video games, android robots, animated movies, diet food and artificial leather. Our lives now better resemble a fiction novel than true living.
You might ask, what is the purpose of life, then? More importantly, what is the value of life? ‘We’ can now create new realities via cloning sheep and dogs, growing artificial human organs, generating or reproducing bacteria for study and producing entertainment that can effectively replace what used to be called ‘reality’.
There is one surefire approach to truth and reality in its empirical form and it exists inside each of us. Call it your spirit, soul or conscience; it remains the one and only thing in this world that cannot be fabricated or artificially reproduced. Accordingly, it is the one thing that each of us must cherish more than our physical life as it transcends us into eternity.
Following, the most visible and meaningful manifestation of our spirit or soul, certainly the one way we can best relate to eternity is Love. Expressing it, experiencing it, sharing it, teaching it, living it, losing it and accepting it are the keys to maintaining a focus on what is real and what is not, along with what is important and what is not.
Rest assured, what is real is what is in your heart and your soul. Technology is a cheap, insincere and temporary illusion.
Live well, Love well, Think well, Be well.
- Is Reality Television the Scourge of America and the Family? (cerkas.wordpress.com)
- Redefining Reality with Artificial Intelligence (semanticweb.com)
- The Paradigm of Love (cerkas.wordpress.com)
- Made in the U.S.A.
- The Real Deal
- Authentic Athletic Performance
- It’s the Real Thing
So, what exactly does it mean to be an authentic person and/or live an authentic life?
For me, authenticity is a storyboard. It is knowing who I am, my aptitudes, interests, skills, limitations. It is what my core values are, what is important to me, where I draw my boundaries, defining my goals and developing my relationships. Once that framework is defined (it is never complete), it’s a road map of sorts, call it my internal compass of where I ‘should’ be going and what I ‘should’ be doing in life.
The more closely my alignment becomes, the better I feel about myself, the lower stress I experience and the happier I become and more peaceful I feel. This is not rocket science, folks! It is common sense, taking yourself seriously and then making the commitment to change what needs changing and doing more of the things that create and maintain that alignment; and harmony.
Two essential points about authenticity:
1. Self-Awareness (knowing and accepting who you are as a human being)
2. Ownership (taking responsibility for who you are and holding yourself accountable for the results)
- Be yourself to free yourself… (gbrianbenson.wordpress.com)
- The Secret to Success? Just be You. (women-unlimited.co.uk)
- Defining Your “Authentic Brand” (authenticmarketing.wordpress.com)
- NEW Website for Spirit of Purpose Community (liesthatlimit.wordpress.com)
- Presence (selfawarenessforchange.wordpress.com)
The days of BW (Black & White) television emerged many classic iconic series. One of them featured Jack Webb as Sergeant Joe Friday and Harry Morgan as Bill Gannon in Dragnet; a transitional, yet impactful made-for-television crime drama series that originated on the radio in pre-television America.
The verbal moniker that evolved into one of today’s most recognizable maxims opened the weekly show with “Just the facts, ma’am”. As much as facts are a prerequisite to solving crimes and mysteries, many times, they in fact, do not reveal the Truth.
As facts serve to define, outline and describe some earthly, visible and physical object, event or situation, conversely, the truth is the core knowledge or awareness of something that completely exposes and shares its presence. Inherently, truth is an inward sense of something as opposed to facts, which are outward in nature.
As a living and spiritual being, I have always sought the truth of any matter and have never settled for mere facts. In reality, facts are simply bread crumbs that lead to the truth. In many ways, society today has confused facts with the truth, believing they are one in the same. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In the search for inner knowledge and self-awareness, there is a ‘food chain’ of related concepts… Data, in its empirical form, leads to information, when combined with additional information, leads to the creation of fact, and when facts are woven together, they can lead to hypotheses, which then creates knowledge. The ultimate expression of knowledge is wisdom, and wisdom is the only pathway to the revelation of truth.
The supreme power of truth is in its application in the journey of discovering who you are, how you function as a person and how your presence affects the world around you. In essence, discovering truths about yourself leads to complete self-awareness and eventually to the purpose of your life.
Make no mistake, there are multiple truths as there are multiple scenarios in life. Specifically, truths that pertain to work, family, relationships, aptitudes, beliefs, skills, attitudes, education, etc.
A primary goal in life is to acquire and discern your truths of self, and then, acknowledge and apply them to your life to realize your potential as a human being. Anything less is an infringement of life itself as well as a waste of your unique and invaluable energy.
Live well, be well and do well. That is the Truth.
- Just the Facts (juwannadoright.wordpress.com)
- Knowing The Truth (talesintranslation.wordpress.com)
- A matter of records: Old-time radio listening, 27 April (examiner.com)
To fall in Love mesmerizes the senses and reduces the world to a single other.
To Be in Love elevates the self, obliterates time and journeys to the boundary of a single merged soul,
To make Love creates a euphoric memory invisible yet stronger than the forces of nature.
To lose Love voids the soul as an empty well that is parched of an inability to share leading to loneliness,
To share Love yields vulnerability, practices trust and seeks joyfulness present and future.
To teach Love actualizes every Being as a beacon of Light and sheltering passageway,
To realize Love as Truth and the answer to living fulfills life’s purpose and emerges a destined path.
To live a life of Love defines model behavior, nurtures the heart and transforms the soul impervious,
To accept Love conquers death, prepares a place and welcomes eternal Life in the Kingdom of God.