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The True Master of the Universe

The Lord Can Take What He Has Given

The Lord Can Take What He Has Given All life is a gift from the hand of the Creator. It is an ever-recurring miracle, which renews the wonder of creation. In addition, when life is withdrawn, we dare not fret, for its withdrawal is a reminder of die privilege we enjoyed during the time we were permitted to keep the gift.

The greatest grief comes to those who regard the world as their very own, for when deprived of something they feel that a great injustice has been committed. Happy are the enlightened who realize that we are here only by the invitation of the divine Host who is the true Master of the universe. A guest is conscious of being privileged by whatever token of recognition he receives from his host, though he knows that whatever is showered, on him will be withheld before long. The Lord only takes what He in the first place has given.

The withdrawal of the gift arouses a feeling of gratitude in a sensitive person for whatever time he was privileged to keep it. He will grieve because he misses what he has lost, but he will praise God as a righteous Judge. If in our casual life, we can smile, if we can be peaceable and happy, not only we, but also everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work.

Our Triviality and Vulnerability

Our Triviality and Vulnerability All that we really know so far encourages me to conceive in the hypothesis of further important progress in this region. This is not genuine: the ocean is ten times as large as the earth; salt makes a fortieth part of the sea. The importance of spiritual knowledge to the cheerfulness of humanity. All such references are to be taken as no literal expressions. On impact, he moved his BlackBerry from his belt clip to the inwardly pocket of his blue-gray tweed blazer.

Nearly in the clouds, on a mountaintop resort that is making the modulation from the rust color of fall leaves to the rainbow apparel of skiers, the heavyweight-boxing champion of the world is in training for his first vindication of the title. The Swiss-born British author and philosopher Alain de Botton wrote in The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work,

Death is hard to keep in mind when there is work to be done. … Work does not by its nature permit us to do anything other than take it too seriously. It must destroy our sense of perspective, and we should be grateful to it for precisely this reason, for allowing us to mingle ourselves promiscuously with events, for letting us wear thoughts of our own death and the destruction of our enterprises with beautiful lightness, as mere intellectual propositions. … We function of the basis of a necessary myopia. Therein is the sheer energy of existence, a blind will no less impressive than that which we find in a moth arduously crossing a window ledge, … refusing to contemplate the broader scheme in which he will be dead by nightfall. The arguments for our triviality and vulnerability are too obvious, too well known and tedious to rehearse. What is interesting is that we may take it upon ourselves to approach tasks with utter determination and gravity even when their wider non-sense is clear. The impulse to exaggerate the significance of what we are doing, far from being an intellectual error, is really life itself coursing through us.

Life on board a pleasure steamer violates every moral and physical status of goodly life except fresh air. It is a guzzling, lounging, gambling, dog’s life. The sole interchange to excitement is peevishness. A great number of like experiences have made it seeming that in the cases only the cognizance of the patient does not see and does not hear, while the sense function is in the meantime intact. Like ice cream, this definition would enable one to analyze many forms of happiness. The heaviest hammer of ironwork could not do it the fortieth part so soon. If we concur that the bottom line of life is happiness, not success, then it makes consummate sense to say that it is the journey that counts, not reaching the goal. It may be the same with sounds; the tone may decrease by aloofness, and yet we may not be spiritualist of it without a nice comparison. However, to determine the universal ability is not sufficient.

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Posted in Faith and Religion Philosophy and Wisdom

Death is Not Extinction

Destruction is a Prelude to New Creation

Destruction is a Prelude to New Creation Death is not a total extinction of life; it is as if the sculptor is smashing of a clay model. The form is destroyed; but it returns to its raw matter out of which the artist will attempt some new creation.

In the economy of God’s universe, there is a conservation of elements. We may disintegrate an atom, but the essence survives in the stupendous energy, which has been released. Similarly, death cannot destroy the body or the soul. The body returns to the treasury of primordial earth from which all physical life emerges and to which it returns. It decomposes into its constituent elements and continues to be part of the cycle of unending existence. The soul is invisible and it returns to its invisible living source. In addition, if we have lived with any beauty or goodness during the span of our years, then that beauty or goodness has entered the permanent reservoir of life’s assets, and it will continue to exist in newer incarnations; our deeds will be an inspiration to other lives.

Even our individuality is not wholly lost. For the seeds of immortality have been planted in us, and out of these seeds spring new life. For the Creator is infinitely resourceful and He employs the same stuff of life in eternally novel ways. Yet in that new life, we live on, for it is flesh of our flesh and spirit of our spirit.

Destruction is a prelude to new creation. It enables the Architect of our existence to wipe clean the slate at intervals and to start over again. The loss of the old is vindicated in the new—in the fairer copy, which comes after it.

Living and Lifelessness

Living and Lifelessness In searching for happiness in all the unseasonable places, we continually perpetuate the canonical misapprehension that we exist. Let those who are subject to slight complaints of this kind avoid wine, and supply its place by beer of a due potency. As a dripping-stone will not grow enough for a ship’s company, the following expeditious method may be practiced. We promptly attain the level of the triumphant ones. This is unconditioned love, love that does not expect or need a return, love that sees past the petty differences and disputes in life to the cosmopolitan longings for happiness that we all share. You cannot service two masters. Then follows the actualization that the differentiation between living and lifeless is a human conception.

We would see them inspiring individual religious belief and public dedication; restoring graveness of manners and simple mindedness of life; promoting in every man contentment with his lot, surrender to ecclesiastic designation, and continual regard to the blessing of heaven. –We may glorify riches and traffic; but, in truth, the preponderance of such principles of public virtue and concord forms the real strength and glory of a nation. The second half of a man’s life is made up of nothing but the habits he has acquired during the first half. For illustration, although the particular correlation between the powers of speed in different performances has been found to come close to zero, this need not inevitably be at all the case as regards preferences of rate; on the contrary, the person who likes to do one thing in a measured manner is very likely to prefer deliberation in other things also. American psychologist James Hillman wrote in Kind of Blue—An Essay on Melancholia and Depression,

Fundamentally everything in inexplicable. If doesn’t matter what you go into deeply enough, you realise there is no answer, because because there is no reason. Probably melancholia gives you the feeling of coming to the end. It affects the feeling level. It isn’t that your mind can no longer understand what is happening to it. But you have the feeling that there is no way you can go on. And that reason itself has come to a stop. They say time itself has come to a stop, or the mind has come to the end of its tether. That’s its importance though; that it stops the mind’s inflation that it can understand everything or come to grips with anything.

The happiness of life may be greatly increased by small good manners in which there is no parade, whose voice is too still to tease, and which evidence themselves by tender and lovesome looks, and little kind acts of attention.

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Posted in Faith and Religion Philosophy and Wisdom

The Death of Confucius

The Death of Confucius

From age 56 to 68, the Chinese philosopher Confucius wandered from state to state hoping that somewhere he could put his political doctrine into practice. During these years he never lost confidence in his cailling as political mentor of the Empire.

At age 57, when he returned to his native state finally, he lamented in a poem that, “men are without insight, quickly the years pass.” He said, despite all his wanderings through nine provinces there was still no goal in sight for him.

Confucius spent his last years peacefully in Lu. He accepted no government position. He seems to have undergone a profound change. A hermit once said of Confucius: “Is that not the man who knows that striving is without hope and yet goes on?” He studied the I Ching, or Book of Changes, so rich in secrets and completed his systematic groundwork for a new mode of education by committing traditions to writing and by instructing a group of young men.

One morning Confucius felt the approach of death. He walked about the courtyard, humming the words: “The great mountain must collapse, the mighty beam must break, and the wise man wither like a plant.”

When an alarmed pupil spoke to him, he said: “No wise ruler arises, and no one in the Empire wishes to make me his teacher. The hour of my death has come.” He lay down and died eight days later at age 73.

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Posted in Philosophy and Wisdom

Confucius on Ages of Life

Confucius on Ages of Life

Confucius says of the ages of life:

In youth when the vital forces are not yet developed, guard against sensuality in manhood, when the vital forces have attained their full strength, against quarrelsomeness; in old age, when the forces are on the wane, against avarice.

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Oliver Sacks on Learning He Has Terminal Cancer

Oliver Sacks was a renowned British-American neurologist

Oliver Sacks was a renowned British-American neurologist. He served as a professor of neurology at NYU’s School of Medicine.

In an 1995 interview with Charlie Rose, he said that the brain was the “most incredible thing in the universe.” Sacks became popular as an author of best-selling case studies about his patients’ disorders. His his books adapted for film and stage, most prominently as the movie Awakenings (1990) starring Robert De Niro and Robin Williams.

In February 2015, he wrote an essay in the New York Times about learning he has terminal cancer.

Over the last few days, I have been able to see my life as from a great altitude, as a sort of landscape, and with a deepening sense of the connection of all its parts. This does not mean I am finished with life.

On the contrary, I feel intensely alive, and I want and hope in the time that remains to deepen my friendships, to say farewell to those I love, to write more, to travel if I have the strength, to achieve new levels of understanding and insight.

This will involve audacity, clarity and plain speaking; trying to straighten my accounts with the world. But there will be time, too, for some fun (and even some silliness, as well).

I feel a sudden clear focus and perspective. There is no time for anything inessential. I must focus on myself, my work and my friends. I shall no longer look at “NewsHour” every night. I shall no longer pay any attention to politics or arguments about global warming.

I have been increasingly conscious, for the last 10 years or so, of deaths among my contemporaries. My generation is on the way out, and each death I have felt as an abruption, a tearing away of part of myself. There will be no one like us when we are gone, but then there is no one like anyone else, ever. When people die, they cannot be replaced. They leave holes that cannot be filled, for it is the fate—the genetic and neural fate—of every human being to be a unique individual, to find his own path, to live his own life, to die his own death.

Oliver Sacks died on 30 August 2015 at age 82.

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Posted in Health and Fitness Philosophy and Wisdom

The Joys of Getting Old: You Don’t Get Old … You Get

The Joys of Getting Old

We’ve created a stereotype that old age is a very negative transition. Getting older is getting better. There is no convincing evidence about what happens to old skeptics, but their future is doubtful.

  • Old cooks never die, they just get deranged.
  • Old knights in chain mail never die, they just shuffle off their metal coils.
  • Old students never die, they just get degraded.
  • Old printers never die, they’re just not the type.
  • Old skate boarders never die, they just lose their bearings.
  • Old owls never die, they just don’t give a hoot.
  • Old sewage workers never die, they just waste away.
  • Old cashiers never die, they just check out.
  • Old accountants never die, they just lose their balance.
  • Old photographers never die, they just stop developing.
  • Old typists never die, they just lose their justification.
  • Old cleaning people never die, they just kick the bucket.
  • Old electricians never die, they just lose contact.
  • Old teachers never die, they just lose their class.
  • Old hippies never die, they just smell that way.
  • Old deans never die, they just lose their faculties.
  • Old schools never die, they just lose their principals.
  • Old actors never die, they just drop apart.
  • Old investors never die, they just roll over.
  • Old bankers never die, they just lose interest.
  • Old garage men never die, they just retire.
  • Old policemen never die, they just cop out.
  • Old horticulturists never die, they just go to pot.
  • Old limbo dancers never die, they just go under.
  • Old farmers never die, they just go to seed.
  • Old bookkeepers never die, they just lose their figures.
  • Old daredevils never die, they just get discouraged.
  • Old programming wizards never die, they just recurse.
  • Old lawyers never die, they just lose their appeal.
  • Old quarterbacks never die, they just pass away.
  • Old numerical analysts never die, they just get disarrayed.
  • Old milkmaids never die, they just lose their whey.
  • Old basketball players never die, they just go on dribbling.
  • Old sculptors never die, they just lose their marbles.
  • Old steel makers never die, they just lose their temper.
  • Walt Disney didn’t die. He’s in suspended animation.
  • Old sailors never die, they just get a little dingy.
  • Old archers never die, they just bow and quiver.
  • Old number theorists never die, they just get past their prime.
  • Old laser physicists never die, they just become incoherent.
  • Old beekeepers never die, they just buzz off.
  • Old Soldiers never die. Young ones do.
  • Old wrestlers never die, they just lose their grip.
  • Old musicians never die, they just get played out.
  • Old bosses never die, much as you want them to.
  • Old architects never die, they just lose their structures.
  • Old white water rafters never die, they just get disgorged.
  • Old chauffeurs never die, they just lose their drive.
  • Old tanners never die, they just go into hiding.
  • Old pacifists never die, they just go to peaces.
  • Old chemists never die, they just fail to react.
  • Old programmers never die, they just branch to a new address.
  • Old hardware engineers never die, they just cache in their chips.
  • Old hypochondriacs never die, they just lose their grippe.
  • Old seers never die, they just lose their vision.
  • Old journalists never die, they just get de-pressed.
  • Old pilots never die, they just go to a higher plane.
  • Old doctors never die, they just lose their patience.
  • Old mathematicians never die, they just disintegrate.
  • Old hackers never die, they just go to bits.
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The Third Chapter of Life: Retirement

The Third Chapter of Life: Retirement

The thought of retirement after a career as a professional can be both exciting and terrifying. The notion of going from 100 miles per hour during the first and second chapters of life—the early/mid-level careerist phase and senior-level professional phase, respectively—to zero can be anxiety producing for both the professional and his or her family.

Unfortunately, some professionals avoid the issue and never make a plan to retire; eventually retirement is forced upon them by health issues or by their organization or board. There is a lot to be said for going out when you are at the top of your game. Take the fabled Yankee relief pitcher Mariano Rivera, who chose his time and went out in a stadium filled with adoring fans wishing their hero farewell. The antidote for retirement anxiety is proactively planning for that next chapter of your life.

Research has shown that planning before retirement is a predictor of satisfaction after retirement. There are many benefits to retirement planning, the most important of which is that you have control. You are going toward something, as opposed to moving away from something that has been a large part of your identity for several decades. Prior planning with your spouse or partner can also make the transition easier for both of you. In addition, you can tell your colleagues and friends about your plans so they can share your excitement.

Predicators of a Satisfying and Fulfilling Life

Since ancient times, humans have been thinking about and debating the factors that need to be present for a satisfying and fulfilling life. In modern times the subject has been studied and researched. Based on my research about ancient teachings, current research on predictors of life satisfaction, adult life cycles, career planning literature and retirement planning literature, I would offer the following elements, which if present in your next chapter plan, should lead to a satisfying and fulfilling life. They are: engagement, meaning, relationships, intellectual stimulation, physical well-being, pleasure and financial security. Allow me to briefly describe each of these:

  • Engagement: Engagement, or flow as it is called by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a psychology professor noted for his work on happiness, is “being so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter.” All of your attention, concentration, intellect and knowledge are stretched and consumed. These activities are not passive or relaxing. This description probably reminds you of your current job. While exhausting, engagement can bring great satisfaction for a difficult job well done.
  • Meaning: Meaning is doing something for others or the greater good. Meaningful endeavors may or may not meet the criteria of engagement.
  • Relationships: We were not meant to be solitary souls. Having relationships in your life that bring you joy and comfort are important for most people. These relations can be with family, friends or people with whom you share engagement and/or meaningful activities.
  • Intellectual Stimulation: Intellectual stimulation provides the challenges that keep you learning, curious and growing. Physical well-being by taking care of your well-being, you can remain physically active for as long as possible without limitations on your activities.
  • Pleasure: Pleasure is doing or experiencing things that bring you joy. These can be active or passive activities.
  • Financial Security: Financial security is having enough savings, retirement income or supplemental income during this next chapter to support the lifestyle you desire. If supplemental income is necessary, the previously mentioned elements can be used to determine the types of income-producing activities you may want to pursue to provide income as well as satisfaction and fulfillment.

Developing the Plan

The process resembles the journey you went through when you were deciding on what career path to follow. It requires a lot of introspection and some experimentation. But the good news is you now have a lot more experience and wisdom to draw upon. Developing the plan can be challenging to do when you are working full time, because so much of your intellect and emotional energy are expended on your responsibilities. Carving out the time, however, will position you for success.

If there is a spouse or partner in your life, planning this next chapter together can be exciting and satisfying. You can also learn more about each other and strengthen the relationship. Taking the time to do planning exercises individually and then sharing the results with each other keeps the playing field level. Sharing your results with each other can be very reaffirming and lead to some new insights about each other. Sharing also makes it your joint plan for the future. There will be things you want to do together and some, each on your own. Here are some ways to help you devise your plan:

  • Values: Think about what is important to you. What are your value strengths that you can put into action? There are online tools, like the Values in Action survey that can help you identify those values and strengths.
  • Knowing Yourself: This is the hardest part. Most of us identify our skills and knowledge in our job title. For instance, when someone asks what you do, your answer is probably something like “I am CEO of a capital goods company. I am vice president for patient care services. I am an IT consultant.” The challenge is to deconstruct your current job and other life experiences into the skills you possess and the types of situations you have experienced and then identify the ones that brought you the most satisfaction and fulfillment. For instance, you may have found great satisfaction in mentoring and coaching high-potential managers in your organization. The challenge then becomes a matter of identifying those skills you want to hold onto, those skills you are just as happy to let go and new skills you would like to acquire. You should also identify those life situations that brought great satisfaction, like coaching your child’s basketball team.
  • Relationships and Obligations: Next is identifying your relationships with family, friends, organizations, etc., and what if any obligations you have to them-for example, looking after an elderly relative who is in failing health.
  • Adventure: What have you always wanted to do? Where have you always wanted to go but just never had the time or opportunity?

Pulling It All Together

Now it is time for you and your spouse or partner to put the puzzle pieces together. Think about the predictors of a satisfying and fulfilling life. Then, take what you and your spouse or partner have learned about yourselves and each other, the knowledge of what has brought you satisfaction in the past, your financial circumstances, things that you have always wanted to do, and your obligations, and then develop some initial options for the next chapter of your lives.

You can then experiment, volunteer and find ways to experience the new roles and see if they are a good fit. For example, if you are thinking of teaching in a graduate program, try serving as a guest lecturer before you teach a course to see if doing so brings the fulfillment and satisfaction you desire.

With advance planning, you are now on your way to that satisfying and fulfilling next chapter of your life. All the best in your quest!

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