Archive for September, 2010

There is an essential give and take, push and pull, up and down, to life that is both simple and yet a core mystery of existence. Through this dialectic we develop character, form virtues, and gain integrity. The symmetrical nature of opposing forces helps us remember our wholeness.

This inherent opposition of life is designed to bring about growth, change, transformation, and evolution in life; and, ultimately, to shift our focus from the familiar to the mysterious, from the physical to the spiritual, and from time to eternity.

Here we have a fundamental principle of life that, in presenting us with endless pairs of opposites, creates contradictions, conflicts, and problems, or muddles, to be resolved. Each pair of opposites, as complementarities, adds up to a whole. Problems only arise when the whole is broken down into parts. In some traditions, the central problem of the human condition is precisely how to bring the two contraries into equilibrium, yet maintaining them as complementary forces. Knowing how to balance the creative and destructive energies is a guiding principle of human development.

A 40th way to explore your soul’s story – Identify a time, or an experience, when you were fully aware of a conflict of opposites going on in your life, a push and a pull between two forces that seemed to have equal power over you. What were the forces you were aware of, what kind of shift in focus or contradiction did this create for you? Did these opposing forces help you to understand any better your core values or virtues that you possess? How did you recreate a balance between these opposing forces for yourself? Tell this story of how you overcame, or resolved, the muddle these two opposing forces created for you, and post it here for others to benefit from, if you would like to.

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On this National Day of Service and Remembrance, nine years already since 9/11, and one year since I began this blog to explore ways we can remember who we are deep within us, we may still wonder how far we have come in uniting the great divide between us.

A little service to others goes a long way in helping us remember who we are and how much we are all connected. Stepping into the wounds of loss, separation, and grief with acts of altruism and selflessness leads to healing and reconciliation. Service can be the first step toward peace, both within and in the world. Service is prayer made visible. As Abdu’l-Baha said, “Service to humanity is service to God.” What will you do this day to serve and to remember?

A 39th way to review your life story – In your own place of quiet, where you can reflect deeply, ask yourself these questions about service. What does service mean to me? How does service fit into my life, now and in the future? In 5, 10, or 20 years from now, what will I have done with my life that is most satisfying? What will I have contributed to the world that will be my greatest source of happiness? What strengths and capacities will I build upon, and what weakness will I overcome, to be of service in this way? What do I need to do, or change in my life, today that would enable me to carry this out? Take as much time as you need to put all your thoughts on this down in a way that sounds and feels right to you, tell this story in your own voice, and post it here for others to benefit from, if you would like to.

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