Monthly Archives: December 2011

30 Things to Start Doing for Yourself

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December 18th, 2011 @ 10:18 am  by: Marc

30 Things to Start Doing for Yourself

30 Things to Start Doing for Yourself

Remember today, for it is the beginning.
Today marks the start of a brave new future.

Our previous article, 30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself, was well received by most of our readers, but several of you suggested that we follow it up with a list of things to start doing.  In one reader’s words, “I would love to see you revisit each of these 30 principles, but instead of presenting us with a ‘to-don’t’ list, present us with a ‘to-do’ list that we all can start working on today, together.”  Some folks, such as readers Danny Head and Satori Agape, actually took it one step further and emailed us their own revised ‘to-do’ versions of the list.

So I sat down last night with our original article and the two reader’s revisions as a guide, and a couple hours later finalized a new list of 30 things; which ended up being, I think, a perfect complement to the original.

Here it is, a positive ‘to-do’ list for the upcoming year – 30 things to start doing for yourself:

  1. Start spending time with the right people. – These are the people you enjoy, who love and appreciate you, and who encourage you to improve in healthy and exciting ways.  They are the ones who make you feel more alive, and not only embrace who you are now, but also embrace and embody who you want to be, unconditionally.
  2. Start facing your problems head on. – It isn’t your problems that define you, but how you react to them and recover from them.  Problems will not disappear unless you take action.  Do what you can, when you can, and acknowledge what you’ve done.  It’s all about taking baby steps in the right direction, inch by inch.  These inches count, they add up to yards and miles in the long run.
  3. Start being honest with yourself about everything. – Be honest about what’s right, as well as what needs to be changed.  Be honest about what you want to achieve and who you want to become.  Be honest with every aspect of your life, always.  Because you are the one person you can forever count on.  Search your soul, for the truth, so that you truly know who you are.  Once you do, you’ll have a better understanding of where you are now and how you got here, and you’ll be better equipped to identify where you want to go and how to get there.  Read The Road Less Traveled.
  4. Start making your own happiness a priority. – Your needs matter.  If you don’t value yourself, look out for yourself, and stick up for yourself, you’re sabotaging yourself.  Remember, it IS possible to take care of your own needs while simultaneously caring for those around you.  And once your needs are met, you will likely be far more capable of helping those who need you most.
  5. Start being yourself, genuinely and proudly. – Trying to be anyone else is a waste of the person you are.  Be yourself.  Embrace that individual inside you that has ideas, strengths and beauty like no one else.  Be the person you know yourself to be – the best version of you – on your terms.  Above all, be true to YOU, and if you cannot put your heart in it, take yourself out of it.
  6. Start noticing and living in the present. – Right now is a miracle.  Right now is the only moment guaranteed to you.  Right now is life.  So stop thinking about how great things will be in the future.  Stop dwelling on what did or didn’t happen in the past.  Learn to be in the ‘here and now’ and experience life as it’s happening.  Appreciate the world for the beauty that it holds, right now.
  7. Start valuing the lessons your mistakes teach you. – Mistakes are okay; they’re the stepping stones of progress.  If you’re not failing from time to time, you’re not trying hard enough and you’re not learning.  Take risks, stumble, fall, and then get up and try again.  Appreciate that you are pushing yourself, learning, growing and improving.  Significant achievements are almost invariably realized at the end of a long road of failures.  One of the ‘mistakes’ you fear might just be the link to your greatest achievement yet.
  8. Start being more polite to yourself. – If you had a friend who spoke to you in the same way that you sometimes speak to yourself, how long would you allow that person to be your friend?  The way you treat yourself sets the standard for others.  You must love who you are or no one else will.
  9. Start enjoying the things you already have. – The problem with many of us is that we think we’ll be happy when we reach a certain level in life – a level we see others operating at – your boss with her corner office, that friend of a friend who owns a mansion on the beach, etc.  Unfortunately, it takes awhile before you get there, and when you get there you’ll likely have a new destination in mind.  You’ll end up spending your whole life working toward something new without ever stopping to enjoy the things you have now.  So take a quiet moment every morning when you first awake to appreciate where you are and what you already have.
  10. Start creating your own happiness. – If you are waiting for someone else to make you happy, you’re missing out.  Smile because you can.  Choose happiness.  Be the change you want to see in the world.  Be happy with who you are now, and let your positivity inspire your journey into tomorrow.  Happiness is often found when and where you decide to seek it.  If you look for happiness within the opportunities you have, you will eventually find it.  But if you constantly look for something else, unfortunately, you’ll find that too.  Read Stumbling on Happiness.
  11. Start giving your ideas and dreams a chance. – In life, it’s rarely about getting a chance; it’s about taking a chance.  You’ll never be 100% sure it will work, but you can always be 100% sure doing nothing won’t work.  Most of the time you just have to go for it!  And no matter how it turns out, it always ends up just the way it should be.  Either you succeed or you learn something.  Win-Win.
  12. Start believing that you’re ready for the next step. – You are ready!  Think about it.  You have everything you need right now to take the next small, realistic step forward.  So embrace the opportunities that come your way, and accept the challenges – they’re gifts that will help you to grow.
  13. Start entering new relationships for the right reasons. – Enter new relationships with dependable, honest people who reflect the person you are and the person you want to be.  Choose friends you are proud to know, people you admire, who show you love and respect – people who reciprocate your kindness and commitment.  And pay attention to what people do, because a person’s actions are much more important than their words or how others represent them.
  14. Start giving new people you meet a chance. – It sounds harsh, but you cannot keep every friend you’ve ever made.  People and priorities change.  As some relationships fade others will grow.  Appreciate the possibility of new relationships as you naturally let go of old ones that no longer work.  Trust your judgment.  Embrace new relationships, knowing that you are entering into unfamiliar territory.  Be ready to learn, be ready for a challenge, and be ready to meet someone that might just change your life forever.
  15. Start competing against an earlier version of yourself. – Be inspired by others, appreciate others, learn from others, but know that competing against them is a waste of time.  You are in competition with one person and one person only – yourself.  You are competing to be the best you can be.  Aim to break your own personal records.
  16. Start cheering for other people’s victories. – Start noticing what you like about others and tell them.  Having an appreciation for how amazing the people around you are leads to good places – productive, fulfilling, peaceful places.  So be happy for those who are making progress.  Cheer for their victories.  Be thankful for their blessings, openly.  What goes around comes around, and sooner or later the people you’re cheering for will start cheering for you.
  17. Start looking for the silver lining in tough situations. – When things are hard, and you feel down, take a few deep breaths and look for the silver lining – the small glimmers of hope.  Remind yourself that you can and will grow stronger from these hard times.  And remain conscious of your blessings and victories – all the things in your life that are right.  Focus on what you have, not on what you haven’t.
  18. Start forgiving yourself and others. – We’ve all been hurt by our own decisions and by others.  And while the pain of these experiences is normal, sometimes it lingers for too long.  We relive the pain over and over and have a hard time letting go.  Forgiveness is the remedy.  It doesn’t mean you’re erasing the past, or forgetting what happened.  It means you’re letting go of the resentment and pain, and instead choosing to learn from the incident and move on with your life.
  19. Start helping those around you. – Care about people.  Guide them if you know a better way.  The more you help others, the more they will want to help you.  Love and kindness begets love and kindness.  And so on and so forth.
  20. Start listening to your own inner voice. – If it helps, discuss your ideas with those closest to you, but give yourself enough room to follow your own intuition.  Be true to yourself.  Say what you need to say.  Do what you know in your heart is right.
  21. Start being attentive to your stress level and take short breaks. – Slow down.  Breathe.  Give yourself permission to pause, regroup and move forward with clarity and purpose.  When you’re at your busiest, a brief recess can rejuvenate your mind and increase your productivity.  These short breaks will help you regain your sanity and reflect on your recent actions so you can be sure they’re in line with your goals.
  22. Start noticing the beauty of small moments. – Instead of waiting for the big things to happen – marriage, kids, big promotion, winning the lottery – find happiness in the small things that happen every day.  Little things like having a quiet cup of coffee in the early morning, or the delicious taste and smell of a homemade meal, or the pleasure of sharing something you enjoy with someone else, or holding hands with your partner.  Noticing these small pleasures on a daily basis makes a big difference in the quality of your life.
  23. Start accepting things when they are less than perfect. – Remember, ‘perfect’ is the enemy of ‘good.’  One of the biggest challenges for people who want to improve themselves and improve the world is learning to accept things as they are.  Sometimes it’s better to accept and appreciate the world as it is, and people as they are, rather than to trying to make everything and everyone conform to an impossible ideal.  No, you shouldn’t accept a life of mediocrity, but learn to love and value things when they are less than perfect.
  24. Start working toward your goals every single day. – Remember, the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.  Whatever it is you dream about, start taking small, logical steps every day to make it happen.  Get out there and DO something!  The harder you work the luckier you will become.  While many of us decide at some point during the course of our lives that we want to answer our calling, only an astute few of us actually work on it.  By ‘working on it,’ I mean consistently devoting oneself to the end result.  Read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
  25. Start being more open about how you feel. – If you’re hurting, give yourself the necessary space and time to hurt, but be open about it.  Talk to those closest to you.  Tell them the truth about how you feel.  Let them listen.  The simple act of getting things off your chest and into the open is your first step toward feeling good again.
  26. Start taking full accountability for your own life. – Own your choices and mistakes, and be willing to take the necessary steps to improve upon them.  Either you take accountability for your life or someone else will.  And when they do, you’ll become a slave to their ideas and dreams instead of a pioneer of your own.  You are the only one who can directly control the outcome of your life.  And no, it won’t always be easy.  Every person has a stack of obstacles in front of them.  But you must take accountability for your situation and overcome these obstacles.  Choosing not to is choosing a lifetime of mere existence.
  27. Start actively nurturing your most important relationships. – Bring real, honest joy into your life and the lives of those you love by simply telling them how much they mean to you on a regular basis.  You can’t be everything to everyone, but you can be everything to a few people.  Decide who these people are in your life and treat them like royalty.  Remember, you don’t need a certain number of friends, just a number of friends you can be certain of.
  28. Start concentrating on the things you can control. – You can’t change everything, but you can always change something.  Wasting your time, talent and emotional energy on things that are beyond your control is a recipe for frustration, misery and stagnation.  Invest your energy in the things you can control, and act on them now.
  29. Start focusing on the possibility of positive outcomes. – The mind must believe it CAN do something before it is capable of actually doing it.  The way to overcome negative thoughts and destructive emotions is to develop opposing, positive emotions that are stronger and more powerful.  Listen to your self-talk and replace negative thoughts with positive ones.  Regardless of how a situation seems, focus on what you DO WANT to happen, and then take the next positive step forward.  No, you can’t control everything that happens to you, but you can control how you react to things.  Everyone’s life has positive and negative aspects – whether or not you’re happy and successful in the long run depends greatly on which aspects you focus on.  Read The How of Happiness.
  30. Start noticing how wealthy you are right now. – Henry David Thoreau once said, “Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.”  Even when times are tough, it’s always important to keep things in perspective.  You didn’t go to sleep hungry last night.  You didn’t go to sleep outside.  You had a choice of what clothes to wear this morning.  You hardly broke a sweat today.  You didn’t spend a minute in fear.  You have access to clean drinking water.  You have access to medical care.  You have access to the Internet.  You can read.  Some might say you are incredibly wealthy, so remember to be grateful for all the things you do have.
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Why?

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Weak-willed or young, I am responsible for the hole in my heart. Words of wisdom from my little guy: “When you find someone worth having a future with, the past won’t matter.”  Kissing is cheating, I have fragments of memory to work with and I don’t care about anything anymore other than finding myself. I told him the truth but he wouldn’t relent until I gave him the worst possible scenario. In short: I don’t freaking know + alcohol poisoning.

He’s worth everything- and he’s different. (even though everyone expects him to be a certain way) Not being around someone doesn’t mean that you can’t stand to see them happy- it means that you have to think about your happiness first(considering you’re single) . It would be too painful, and two people can only be around each-other after-love if they both feel nothing. I hope he is happy- but until I find whoever I’m supposed to spend the rest of my life with then I’d have ulterior motives, because I’d still want to be with him. It is up to God at this point. (Yes, I said it.)

I haven’t let go of love because I haven’t let go of what I have for him, and I’m not going to love anyone until I get my life straightened out. Maybe there’s a future if the world doesn’t end in 2012.

Here’s to a new place, a new life and drinking a bottle of champagne (alone) on New Years. Good-bye booze. I might visit wine & cheese on the occasion <;[

Why do people confess to crimes they didn’t commit? (a repost from SLABBED archives)

December 31, 2009

Prosecutors wield tremendous power, which is kept in check by a set of unique ethical obligations. In explaining why prosecutors sometimes fail to honor these multiple and arguably divergent obligations, scholars tend to fall into two schools of thought.

The first school focuses upon institutional incentives that promote abuses of power. These scholars implicitly treat the prosecutor as a rational actor who decides whether to comply with a rule based on an assessment of the expected costs and benefits of doing so.

The second school focuses upon bounded human rationality, drawing on the teachings of cognitive science to argue that prosecutors transgress not because of sinister motives, but because they labor under the same cognitive limitations that all humans do.

… Research on the psychological effects of accountability demonstrates that when people are judged primarily for their ability to persuade others of their position, they are susceptible to defensive bolstering at the expense of objectivity.

With these thoughts from A Situationist View of Criminal Prosecutors in mind, we turn to  The Situation of False Confessions:

We know that false confessions do happen on a fairly regular basis…In the November 2004 issue of Psychological Science in the Public Interest, APS Fellow Saul Kassin looked at the body of research and described how the police are able to interrogate suspects until they confess to a crime they didn’t commit.

Generally, it starts because people give up their Miranda rights. In fact, Richard A. Leo found that a majority of people give up the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. In fact, according to self-report data, innocent suspects gave up their rights more often than guilty suspects (most told Leo either that this was because they felt that they didn’t have anything to hide because they were innocent or that they thought it would make them look guilty).

Once a suspect starts talking, the police can use a variety of techniques to make the accused feel as though they are better off confessing than continuing to deny (these include promises of leniency and threats of harsher interrogation or sentences). If a suspect feels like a conviction is inevitable not matter what he or she says, confessing may seem like a good idea.

But, in some cases, the accused comes to believe that he or she actually did commit the crime. It’s been shown repeatedly that memory is quite malleable and unreliable. Elizabeth Loftus has repeatedly shown that the human brain can create memories out of thin air with some prompting. In a famous series of experiments, Loftus, APS Past President, was able to help people create memories for events that never happened in their lives simply through prompting. She helped them “remember” being lost in a shopping mall when they were children, and the longer the experiment went on, the more details they “remembered.” The longer police interrogate a suspect, emphatic about his guilt and peppering their interrogation with details of the crime, the more likely a suspect is to become convinced himself.

. . . What confessions rarely include is an explanation of why the person confessed. In most states, police are not required to videotape the interrogations, just the confessions. So juries don’t get to see any potential police coercion and they don’t get to see the police planting those vivid details in the minds of the suspects.

I find both A Situationist View of Criminal Prosecutors and  The Situation of False Confessions relevant to Sop’s comment on A mind is like a parachute Sop suggested the post was the start of a process responsive to an offline comment about the need for reconciling the blogging we did on the Scruggs scandal with our collective body of work. While I see value in reflecting on our blogging (the process), after reading from the research on situationist thinking, I’m not certain of the need for reconciliation.

Last January I began a post on the “expert witness” reports in Gagne v State Farm with an applicable quote: “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are”.  My post-graduate education and training, as well as my professional practice, is in the scientific disciplines devoted to understanding how humans make sense of their world Sop explained his related interest when he introduced behavioral economics in a post this past July.

When I first met Nowdy and we began to get to know each other I told her my favorite hobby was investing and to that end, the fields of Game Theory and Behavioral Finance were of great interest to me along with their political first cousin Public Choice theory, the latter two economic disiplines being relative newcomers to our body of collective knowledge.

After 20 months of writing here at slabbed I finally get to indulge those passions and perhaps educate our readers on the mechanisms at work that resulted in what became known here on Slabbed as The Scheme, a series of posts by Nowdy that explained the bad behavior of the insurers here after Katrina. In short not only do we tell you who dunnit but also how it could happen in a large organization like State Farm, Nationwide, USAA, Allstate and others.

In other words, when our backgrounds are considered in light of the situationist research, there is a reconciliation of the blogging we did on the Scruggs scandal with our collective body of work – particularly when the recent 5th Circuit opinion on the lack of federal jurisdiction in bribery cases involving state court judges and the revelations in Kings of Tort are also considered.  In fact, System Justification Theory and Research: Implications for Law, Legal Advocacy, and Social Justice suggests it is not our blogging that needs reconciliation with fact:

The theory, first advanced by Jost and Banaji in 1994 and supported by scores of studies in the decade since, posits a general human tendency to support and defend the social status quo, broadly defined. How such a motive is expressed in attitudes and behavior will, of course, vary by individual and situation. But Jost and Banaji suggested that the familiar motives of ego justification (or self-interest) and group justification (or ingroupfavoritism) were insufficient to account for many phenomena observed both in the real world and in the psychologist’s laboratory. Among these phenomena are the many instances in which those who are seemingly disadvantaged by a social system become its most ardent supporters.’”‘

Stereotypes and ideologies supply ready-made justifications, explanations, and excuses for the system. Much as ego justification motives become more pronounced when our self-esteem is threatened, causing us to become “defensive,” system justification motives become most evident when we perceive a threat to the legitimacy of a system to which we are attached…

The public conversation about the Scruggs’ indictment was framed.

The terms frame and framing have come to mean slightly different things in several different disciplines, each of which has penetrated law and legal scholarship to a different degree. The “framing effect” first identified by Kahneman and Tversky, i.e., the tendency for people to prefer one presentation of a risky choice to another presentation of the same choice, is perhaps the psychological effect best known to legal scholarship.

And framing, as a more general concept referring to a tacit interpretation, is certainly not new to practitioners or scholars. The same event, such as the death of a child in an apartment fire, can be “framed” as a result of parental neglect, a greedy slumlord, or a deficient housing inspection program. Each frame implicates a different system: the family system, landlord/tenant relations, or the local government. Framing has consequences. Although all of these causal explanations might be true, most  people gravitate toward only one of them. As one popular account put it,”[e]very frame defines the issue, explains who is responsible, and suggests potential solutions.”

Who “framed” the public conversation about Scruggs? Lawyers with ties to the insurance industry and/or the judicial system in north Mississippi, including the northern district federal court, who perceived a threat to the legitimacy of the system to which [they] are attached.

SJT suggests that people are motivated to accept and perpetuate features of existing social arrangements, even if those features were arrived at accidentally, arbitrarily, or unjustly.

Obviously, one of the features of existing social arrangements some wanted to perpetuate were their own ethical lapses at the expense of those of Scruggs.   Why Good Intentions are Often Not Enough: The Potential for Ethical Blindness in Legal Decision-Making explains how otherwise experienced and principled lawyers can make blatantly unethical decisions:

To an outsider looking at these circumstances, it invariably appears that the lawyers involved consciously acted immorally.Within the common framework of deliberative action, we tend to see unethical behaviour as the result of conscious and controlled mental processes…one of the most important cognitive processes in the context of ethical awareness is rationalization. Not only is rationalization part of how we consciously reason about our ethical decision making, it also has the capacity, when used over time, to become an automatic mental process.

This tendency can be increased by situational factors that encourage rationalization, and by professional and organizational justifications that mask unethical conduct. As such, rationalization is important to consider in the context of legal decision making. If reasons such as ‘It is just my job’, ‘I was told to do it’ or ‘Everyone else is doing it’ become deeply embedded in how lawyers think about their behaviour, and this thinking is reinforced by workplace or professional norms, ethical blindness can result. In particular, lawyers may not ‘see’ the moral components of their behaviour, not because they are morally uneducated or lack good intentions, but because rationalization processes remove the ethics from view.

…we may need to rethink the extent of deliberative reasoning involved in the chain of moral judgment. It is probable that people unconsciously react first to situations, and then consciously reason through their decisions and behaviour in relation to those situations. This process can happen so fast that it is all perceived as being part of an authentic and conscious act of evaluation. Yet because the reactive part of the process happens almost exclusively at the unconscious level, the reasoning that follows is based on those aspects of the process that reach conscious awareness. This idea is also consistent with Haidt’s work on moral intuitions. He argues that ethical judgments usually reflect immediate intuitive reactions which individuals justify post hoc by recourse to socially acceptable reasons. “Individuals do not engage in moral reasoning to arrive at a conclusion, but rather engage in moral reasoning to justify a conclusion already reached.”

Finally, psychological research suggests that ethical decision making is influenced by a strong unconscious bias towards maintaining our self-interest. There is evidence from cognitive, social and evolutionary psychology that self-interest is an automatic egocentric default in our thinking.23 Perceptions, judgments and behaviours are generally shown to be biased towards promoting our self-interest and maintaining a positive self-image. “[I]individuals view themselves as moral, competent and deserving and this view obstructs their ability to see and recognise [ethical issues] when they occur”. As a result, Epley and Caruso suggest that “[a]utomatic evaluations produce moral reasoners who are not empiricists reasoning dispassionately about a particular issue, but motivated partisans seeking justification for a pre-existing intuition.”

How to stay in love the rest of your life.

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How to stay in love the rest of your life.

by Rabbi Dov Heller, M.A.

 

Intimacy is primarily about how two people make each other feel. If you consistently make each other feel good, then you feel close to each other. If you consistently make each other feel bad, you feel distant from each other.

There are thousands of books written on the psychology of intimacy and love. The Torah provides a profoundly simple formula for creating and maintaining intimacy based on the premise that emotional intimacy depends upon how well you handle negative or troubling feelings. The formula of which I speak is found in the book of Leviticus 19:16-19. There are seven commandments which follow one another in quick succession. Contained in these verses are fundamental psychological principles about how to stay in love for the rest of your life.

 

As you study this formula, rate yourself and your partner on each principle on a scale from 1-10. 1=Failing miserably. 10=Consistently excellent

1. “YOU SHALL NOT BE A TALE BEARER AMONG YOUR PEOPLE.”
Principle A: Strong boundaries are necessary to protect intimate relationships.

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This commandment warns us against telling someone what someone else said about him or her, if sharing this information will hurt the person or cause any kind of harm. One underlying principle here is about setting boundaries in order to protect your relationship. Every relationship needs to be protected from outside influences that might harm it. You must carefully watch what you say to others about your spouse.

As a general rule, I tell married couples that any problems in your marriage should never be shared with anyone outside the relationship unless you have permission from your spouse to do so. This is one aspect of setting good boundaries.

A common fatal mistake in this regard is when married couples share their problems with family members. Parents and in-laws need to be kept out of your marriage. Parents must respect your privacy and if they don’t, need to be told to stay out. Once you’re married, your spouse is your number one priority.

 

Principle B: Carefully watch every word you say to others.

We are never permitted to hurt anyone with our words. This is a simple idea, with very profound consequences. We are always responsible for what we say to another person, especially our spouse! Yet, we see how careless and lazy so many couples are with their words.

 

It is never right to call your spouse names, curse at her, or even raise your voice to her, if it will scare or intimidate her. Imagine how much greater their love would be if every couple followed just this one guideline. Every word you say to each other has either a positive or negative impact on how you feel. If you want to be in love forever, you must constantly monitor and control the way you talk to each other. There is no such thing as “down time” in a marriage; every interaction matters. Every word you speak to each other will either bring you closer or push you further apart. Rate yourself on a scale of 1-10.

2. “YOU SHALL NOT STAND IDLY BY THE BLOOD OF YOUR NEIGHBOR.”
Principle: Do not dismiss another person’s emotional pain.

 

How do you respond to your spouse when he or she is in pain or in a bad mood? Do you get upset and intolerant or do you listen with patience? Most of us don’t like it when our partner is in a bad mood. In fact, sometimes we even resent it.

 

Frequently our bad moods are an expression of emotional pain. I suggest you try to see them as a cry for help. When I’m in a bad mood, what I’m really saying is, “I’m in pain and need you to understand and support me.” This commandment tells us that it is an obligation to be sensitive to other people’s pain and certainly not cause them more pain if they’re already in pain.

It is never acceptable to dismiss or attack someone who is in pain, let alone your spouse! How many times has your spouse said to you, “Just get over it already.” This is not only insensitive, it’s cruel.

One of the deepest needs of a human being is to be understood. When we dismiss our spouse’s pain, we are very far from providing a nurturing experience of being understood. Every time we reject our spouse’s pain and don’t take the time to understand him or her, we are missing a great opportunity to create more closeness. One of the greatest acts of kindness that a person can do for another is to listen without judgment. Rate yourself on a scale from 1-10.

3. “YOU SHALL NOT HATE YOUR FRIEND IN YOUR HEART.”
Principle: Don’t dismiss or deny bad feelings. You are responsible to process and resolve your bad feelings about others.

 

The Biblical commentators point out that the power of this commandment lies in the words, “in your heart.” The implication is that it’s normal to have bad feelings, even feelings of hatred. Only Mr. Spock never has bad feelings towards others. Unfortunately, many people who grew up in emotionally unhealthy homes don’t give themselves permission to feel their bad feelings, or for that matter, even their good feelings. Some people actually believe that highly evolved people don’t ever experience bad feelings.

This is not the Judaism’s view of human emotion. The Torah assumes we will have bad feelings towards others, and the key is not to hold onto them and let them stew in your heart. The problem isn’t having bad feelings; it’s not being able to manage them effectively! And the prerequisite for managing feelings effectively is the necessity of being emotionally honest with yourself.

We all occasionally have bad feelings towards our spouse. But bad feelings that are not understood and resolved become toxic and destructive. They must be dealt with and understood.

Beating yourself up, feeling guilty or blaming others are ways to avoid taking responsibility for your feelings. There are four ways you can explore and resolve your negative feelings. Work them through yourself, speak to a friend, or discuss them with your partner. And if the bad feelings persist, talk with a professional.

 

One of the challenges of staying in love is learning from and resolving your negative feelings towards your spouse. Rate yourself on a scale from 1-10.

4. “YOU SHALL CERTAINLY REBUKE YOUR NEIGHBOR.”
Principle A: When someone hurts you, communicate with him about how you feel.

 

We are not permitted to dismiss people from our lives because they hurt us. Judaism requires that we communicate with those who hurt us and try to repair the relationship by communicating openly and honestly. In marriage, good communication is about telling my spouse how you feel in order to repair breakdowns in the relationship.

 

Principle B: In order to communicate, you must feel safe.

In order to talk about your feelings with your spouse, he or she must be receptive to listening and allowing you to express how you feel without judgment, ridicule, or criticism. Creating a safe space for sharing your feelings is a necessary prerequisite for open and honest communication. How safe do you feel with your spouse? And how safe do you make your spouse feel? Rate yourself on a scale from 1-10.

5. “YOU SHALL NOT BEAR SIN BECAUSE OF HIM.”
Principle: Communicating how you feel does not give you license to shame your spouse, make him feel guilty, or abuse him.

 

Rashi, the famous Biblical commentator, interprets this commandment as a prohibition against shaming another person when telling them how we feel. Shame is one of the most painful feelings a person can experience. This is why Judaism compares it to spilling one’s blood.

 

There are three communication styles. Some people never tell their spouse how they really feel. This is the passive style, which only results in much suffering and distancing. Of course, sometimes the reason why a spouse chooses not to communicate his or her feelings is because they are afraid of how their spouse will react. This is why it is essential that couples learn how to create a safe space for each other. If you don’t feel safe with your spouse, you will never tell her how you really feel.

 

The other unacceptable communication style is aggressive. Aggressive people only know how to yell and be angry in order to get their feelings out. This is obviously not effective and in many cases is abusive.

 

The style that works is assertive. Assertive communication means you can tell your spouse how you feel without provocation. Assertive communication gives you the opportunity to be heard and understood. The most you can do is express your feelings honestly and respectively to your spouse. He or she may choose to listen or may choose not to, but at least you did your part by expressing yourself assertively.

 

One of the most important relationship skills that couples must have in order to succeed is what Dr. Jon Gottman calls the ability “to repair breakdowns.” Assertive communication is the essential tool needed in order to repair breakdowns. A breakdown is considered repaired when no resentment, anger or other bad feelings remain. This implies that repair means the conflict is 100 percent repaired. Ninety percent is not good enough. If you have 50 fights and repair each one 90 percent, you are left with ten percent resentment multiplied by 50. Those little amounts of resentment add up quickly! When resentment or any bad feeling lingers, the relationship weakens and love disintegrates. The “issue” is rarely the problem. The communication about the issue is the real problem! Lasting love is built on assertive communication. Rate yourself on a scale from 1-10.

6. “DON’T TAKE REVENGE OR BEAR A GRUDGE.”
Principle: If you don’t finish all “old business,” you will continue to hurt each other.

 

Unfortunately, too many couples don’t repair their breakdowns 100 percent and as a result build up scores of toxic feelings and unresolved issues that are never brought to closure. When old wounds are not fully healed, they become infected and love begins to fade. This commandment tells us two ways that people try to hurt the one who hurt them: taking revenge and bearing a grudge.

 

Taking revenge in marriage means “getting even” or getting back at your spouse. This may look like withholding help or pleasure from your spouse such as intimacy, affection, or any kindness. How often do couples give each other the silent treatment, withdraw or attack the other with accusations or complaints? These are all forms of taking revenge and will obviously extinguish the flames of love.

 

Bearing a grudge is the other way we try to hurt back. We are bearing a grudge when we say to our spouse, “Okay I’ll help you this time, but don’t think you can get away with what you did to me again!” Or, “I’ll help you, because I don’t want to stoop to your level.” Rate yourself on a scale from 1-10.

 

7. “LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.”
Principle: When we resolve our bad feelings towards others, we create a space for love.

 

The fact that the commandment of love comes last in the series indicates the truth of this principle: love and intimacy cannot flourish and grow in an atmosphere of negative feelings. Bad feelings must me confronted and resolved if you want to stay in love the rest of your life. It’s always easier to ignore our feelings or try to rationalize them away. But this approach never works! The difficult road — and ultimately the only road — is to acknowledge and understand our troubling feelings and take responsibility to work on them. You must make a commitment to be emotionally honest with yourself and your spouse. If you don’t feel the love you want to feel, it is because you and/or your spouse are holding on to bad feelings that have not been dealt with effectively.

 

Rabbi Noah Weinberg defines love as the pleasure we experience when we identify someone with their virtues, while accepting them with their faults. When there are bad feelings such as anger, resentment, shame, loneliness, and guilt, they cloud our ability to see the good in another person. Negativity always obscures the positive. Only when you’ve created a space for love by removing the negative can you consistently identify and appreciate the virtues in your spouse which generate love. Rate yourself on a scale from 1-10.

Lithuanian Recycled Christmas

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A Frugal Town in Lithuania Erects a Christmas Tree Made from 40,000 Recycled Plastic Bottles

A Frugal Town in Lithuania Erects a Christmas Tree Made from 40,000 Recycled Plastic Bottles trees recycling Lithuania Christmas

A Frugal Town in Lithuania Erects a Christmas Tree Made from 40,000 Recycled Plastic Bottles trees recycling Lithuania Christmas

A Frugal Town in Lithuania Erects a Christmas Tree Made from 40,000 Recycled Plastic Bottles trees recycling Lithuania Christmas

A Frugal Town in Lithuania Erects a Christmas Tree Made from 40,000 Recycled Plastic Bottles trees recycling Lithuania Christmas

A Frugal Town in Lithuania Erects a Christmas Tree Made from 40,000 Recycled Plastic Bottles trees recycling Lithuania Christmas

A Frugal Town in Lithuania Erects a Christmas Tree Made from 40,000 Recycled Plastic Bottles trees recycling Lithuania Christmas

Okay municipalities of the world, pay attention. For a third consecutive year the city of Kaunas, Lithuania approached artist Jolanta Šmidtienė to assist with their annual holiday decorating. Recognizing the city’s somewhat dire financial state the artist challenged herself to build something that wouldn’t rely on any administrative funds set aside for the event. The result: an enormous 13-meter tall Christmas tree made from nearly 40,000 recycled green bottles and zip ties. At night the tree is lit from the inside resulting in a glowing, translucent, emerald green spruce that’s making headlines across the country. I would love it Chicago had the foresight and ambition to do something like this. (via design you trust, delfi, lrytas.lt)

25 clever ideas to make life easier

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25 clever ideas to make life easier

Posted on November 01, 2011 in Bed, Bath & Kitchen, Decor & Furniture, Organise & Personalise by Simone

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Clever ideas: hull strawberries with a strawVia: amy-newnostalgia.blogspot.com

Why didn’t I think of that?! We guarrantee you’ll be uttering those words more than once at these ingenious little tips, tricks and ideas that solve everyday problems … some you never knew you had! (Above: hull strawberries easily using a straw).

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Clever ideas: use a walnut to heal furniture scratches Via: apartmenttherapy.com

Rubbing a walnut over scratches in your furniture will disguise dings and scrapes.

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Clever ideas: WD40 for cleaning crayon off TV screensVia: unplggd.com

Remove crayon masterpieces from your TV or computer screen with WD40 (also works on walls).

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Clever ideas: keep a cut apple from going brownVia: athomewithrealfood.blogspot.com

Stop cut apples browning in your child’s lunch box by securing with a rubber band.

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Clever ideas: store bedlinen sets inside their pillowcasesVia: marthastewart.com

Overhaul your linen cupboard – store bedlinen sets inside one of their own pillowcases and there will be no more hunting through piles for a match.

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Clever ideas: bowl as iPhone sound amplifierVia: realsimple.com

Pump up the volume by placing your iPhone / iPod in a bowl – the concave shape amplifies the music.

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Cleaver ideas: wet wipe dispenser as plastic bag storageVia: savvyhousekeeping.com

Re-use a wet-wipes container to store plastic bags.

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Clever ideas: baby powder to remove sand from feetVia: iheartnaptime.net

Add this item to your beach bag. Baby powder gets sand off your skin easily – who knew?!

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Clever ideas: velcro strip on wall to hold soft toysVia: realsimple.com

Attach a velcro strip to the wall to store soft toys.

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Clever ideas: gift wrap storage on cupboard ceilingVia: flickr.com

Look up! Use wire to make a space to store gift wrap rolls against the ceiling, rather than cluttering up the floor.

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Clever idea: stocking over vacuum to pick up lost itemsVia: instructables.com

Gotcha! Find tiny lost items like earrings by putting a stocking over the vacuum hose.

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Clever idea: box lid cupcake holderVia: realsimple.com

Make an instant cupcake carrier by cutting crosses into a box lid.

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Clever idea: how to fold a fitted sheetVia: stephmodo.com

For those who can’t stand the scrunching and bunching: how to perfectly fold a fitted sheet.

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Clever idea: magnetic bobbypin storageVia: sprwmn.blogspot.com

Forever losing your bathroom essentials? Use magnetic strips to store bobby pins (and tweezers and clippers) behind a vanity door

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Clever idea: use shower caps to hold shoes when packingVia: realsimple.com

A tip for holiday packing. Store shoes inside shower caps to stop dirty soles rubbing on your clothes. And you can find them in just about every hotel!

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Clever idea: muffin pan craft storageVia: familyfun.go.com

A muffin pan becomes a craft caddy. Magnets hold the plastic cups down to make them tip-resistant.

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Clever idea: bread tags as cable labelsVia: unplggd.com

Bread tags make the perfect-sized cord labels.

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Clever idea: cook cupcakes in ice cream conesVia: kiboomu.com

Bake cupcakes directly in ice-cream cones – so much more fun and easier for kids to eat. Definitely doing this!

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Clever idea: microwave your own popcorn in a plain paper bagVia: squawkfox.com

Microwave your own popcorn in a plain brown paper bag. Much healthier and cheaper than the packet stuff.

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Clever idea: use a tension rod to hang spray bottlesVia: jengrantmorris.blogspot.com

Brilliant space-saver: install a tension rod to hang your spray bottles. Genius!

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Clever idea: how to make heart-shaped eggsVia: 9gag.com

Win friends at breakfast with this heart-shaped egg tutorial. Aww shucks!

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Clever idea: use upside-down muffic pan to make cookie bowlsVia: wilton.com

Turn your muffin pan upside down, bake cookie-dough over the top and voila – you have cookie bowls for fruit or ice-cream. Click here for recipe.

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Clever idea: freeze aloe vera lotion for soothing burnsVia: realsimple.com

Freeze Aloe Vera in ice-cube trays for soothing sunburn relief.

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Clever idea: gutter veggie gardenVia: lifehacker.com.au

Gutter garden: Create a window-box veggie patch using guttering.

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Clever idea: egg cartons for Christmas ornament storageVia: re-nest.com

Use egg cartons to separate and store your Christmas decorations.

Osho- Ego

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Ego – The False Center

From Beyond the Frontier of the Mind by Osho

      The first thing to be understood is what ego is. A child is born. A child is born without any knowledge, any consciousness of his own self. And when a child is born the first thing he becomes aware of is not himself; the first thing he becomes aware of is the other. It is natural, because the eyes open outwards, the hands touch others, the ears listen to others, the tongue tastes food and the nose smells the outside. All these senses open outwards.

           That is what birth means. Birth means coming into this world, the world of the outside. So when a child is born, he is born into this world. He opens his eyes, sees others. ‘Other’ means the thou. He becomes aware of the mother first. Then, by and by, he becomes aware of his own body. That too is the other, that too belongs to the world. He is hungry and he feels the body; his need is satisfied, he forgets the body.

      This is how a child grows. First he becomes aware of you, thou, other, and then by and by, in contrast to you, thou, he becomes aware of himself.

      This awareness is a reflected awareness. He is not aware of who he is. He is simply aware of the mother and what she thinks about him. If she smiles, if she appreciates the child, if she says, “You are beautiful,” if she hugs and kisses him, the child feels good about himself. Now an ego is born.

      Through appreciation, love, care, he feels he is good, he feels he is valuable, he feels he has some significance.

      A center is born.

      But this center is a reflected center. It is not his real being. He does not know who he is; he simply knows what others think about him. And this is the ego: the reflection, what others think. If nobody thinks that he is of any use, nobody appreciates him, nobody smiles, then too an ego is born: an ill ego; sad, rejected, like a wound; feeling inferior, worthless. This too is the ego. This too is a reflection.

      First the mother – and mother means the world in the beginning. Then others will join the mother, and the world goes on growing. And the more the world grows, the more complex the ego becomes, because many others’ opinions are reflected.

      The ego is an accumulated phenomenon, a by-product of living with others. If a child lives totally alone, he will never come to grow an ego. But that is not going to help. He will remain like an animal. That doesn’t mean that he will come to know the real self, no.

      The real can be known only through the false, so the ego is a must. One has to pass through it. It is a discipline. The real can be known only through the illusion. You cannot know the truth directly. First you have to know that which is not true. First you have to encounter the untrue. Through that encounter you become capable of knowing the truth. If you know the false as the false, truth will dawn upon you.

      Ego is a need; it is a social need, it is a social by-product. The society means all that is around you – not you, but all that is around you. All, minus you, is the society. And everybody reflects. You will go to school and the teacher will reflect who you are. You will be in friendship with other children and they will reflect who you are. By and by, everybody is adding to your ego, and everybody is trying to modify it in such a way that you don’t become a problem to the society.

      They are not concerned with you.

      They are concerned with the society.

      Society is concerned with itself, and that’s how it should be.

      They are not concerned that you should become a self-knower. They are concerned that you should become an efficient part in the mechanism of the society. You should fit into the pattern. So they are trying to give you an ego that fits with the society. They teach you morality. Morality means giving you an ego which will fit with the society. If you are immoral, you will always be a misfit somewhere or other. That’s why we put criminals in the prisons – not that they have done something wrong, not that by putting them in the prisons we are going to improve them, no. They simply don’t fit. They are troublemakers. They have certain types of egos of which the society doesn’t approve. If the society approves, everything is good.

      One man kills somebody – he is a murderer.

      And the same man in wartime kills thousands – he becomes a great hero. The society is not bothered by a murder, but the murder should be commited for the society – then it is okay. The society doesn’t bother about morality.

      Morality means only that you should fit with the society.

      If the society is at war, then the morality changes.

      If the society is at peace, then there is a different morality.

      Morality is a social politics. It is diplomacy. And each child has to be brought up in such a way that he fits into the society, that’s all. Because society is interested in efficient members. Society is not interested that you should attain to self-knowledge.

      The society creates an ego because the ego can be controlled and manipulated. The self can never be controlled or manipulated. Nobody has ever heard of the society controlling a self – not possible.

      And the child needs a center; the child is completely unaware of his own center. The society gives him a center and the child is by and by convinced that this is his center, the ego that society gives.

      A child comes back to his home – if he has come first in his class, the whole family is happy. You hug and kiss him, and you take the child on your shoulders and dance and you say, “What a beautiful child! You are a pride to us.” You are giving him an ego, a subtle ego. And if the child comes home dejected, unsuccessful, a failure – he couldn’t pass, or he has just been on the back bench – then nobody appreciates him and the child feels rejected. He will try harder next time, because the center feels shaken.

      Ego is always shaken, always in search of food, that somebody should appreciate it. That’s why you continuously ask for attention.

      You get the idea of who you are from others.

      It is not a direct experience.

      It is from others that you get the idea of who you are. They shape your center. This center is false, because you carry your real center. That is nobody’s business. Nobody shapes it.

      You come with it.

      You are born with it.

      So you have two centers. One center you come with, which is given by existence itself. That is the self. And the other center, which is created by the society, is the ego. It is a false thing – and it is a very great trick. Through the ego the society is controlling you. You have to behave in a certain way, because only then does the society appreciate you. You have to walk in a certain way; you have to laugh in a certain way; you have to follow certain manners, a morality, a code. Only then will the society appreciate you, and if it doesn’t, you ego will be shaken. And when the ego is shaken, you don’t know where you are, who you are.

      The others have given you the idea.

      That idea is the ego.

      Try to understand it as deeply as possible, because this has to be thrown. And unless you throw it you will never be able to attain to the self. Because you are addicted to the center, you cannot move, and you cannot look at the self.

      And remember, there is going to be an interim period, an interval, when the ego will be shattered, when you will not know who you are, when you will not know where you are going, when all boundaries will melt.

      You will simply be confused, a chaos.

      Because of this chaos, you are afraid to lose the ego. But it has to be so. One has to pass through the chaos before one attains to the real center.

      And if you are daring, the period will be small.

      If you are afraid, and you again fall back to the ego, and you again start arranging it, then it can be very, very long; many lives can be wasted.

      I have heard: One small child was visiting his grandparents. He was just four years old. In the night when the grandmother was putting him to sleep, he suddenly started crying and weeping and said, “I want to go home. I am afraid of darkness.” But the grandmother said, “I know well that at home also you sleep in the dark; I have never seen a light on. So why are you afraid here?” The boy said, “Yes, that’s right – but that is MY darkness.” This darkness is completely unknown.

      Even with darkness you feel, “This is MINE.”

      Outside – an unknown darkness.

      With the ego you feel, “This is MY darkness.”

      It may be troublesome, maybe it creates many miseries, but still mine. Something to hold to, something to cling to, something underneath the feet; you are not in a vacuum, not in an emptiness. You may be miserable, but at least you ARE. Even being miserable gives you a feeling of ‘I am’. Moving from it, fear takes over; you start feeling afraid of the unknown darkness and chaos – because society has managed to clear a small part of your being.

      It is just like going to a forest. You make a little clearing, you clear a little ground; you make fencing, you make a small hut; you make a small garden, a lawn, and you are okay. Beyond your fence – the forest, the wild. Here everything is okay; you have planned everything. This is how it has happened.

      Society has made a little clearing in your consciousness. It has cleaned just a little part completely, fenced it. Everything is okay there. That’s what all your universities are doing. The whole culture and conditioning is just to clear a part so that you can feel at home there.

      And then you become afraid.

      Beyond the fence there is danger.

      Beyond the fence you are, as within the fence you are – and your conscious mind is just one part, one-tenth of your whole being. Nine-tenths is waiting in the darkness. And in that nine-tenths, somewhere your real center is hidden.

      One has to be daring, courageous.

      One has to take a step into the unknown.

      For a while all boundaries will be lost.

      For a while you will feel dizzy.

      For a while, you will feel very afraid and shaken, as if an earthquake has happened. But if you are courageous and you don’t go backwards, if you don’t fall back to the ego and you go on and on, there is a hidden center within you that you have been carrying for many lives.

      That is your soul, the self.

      Once you come near it, everything changes, everything settles again. But now this settling is not done by the society. Now everything becomes a cosmos, not a chaos; a new order arises.

      But this is no longer the order of the society – it is the very order of existence itself.

      It is what Buddha calls Dhamma, Lao Tzu calls Tao, Heraclitus calls Logos. It is not man-made. It is the VERY order of existence itself. Then everything is suddenly beautiful again, and for the first time really beautiful, because man-made things cannot be beautiful. At the most you can hide the ugliness of them, that’s all. You can decorate them, but they can never be beautiful.

      The difference is just like the difference between a real flower and a plastic or paper flower. The ego is a plastic flower – dead. It just looks like a flower, it is not a flower. You cannot really call it a flower. Even linguistically to call it a flower is wrong, because a flower is something which flowers. And this plastic thing is just a thing, not a flowering. It is dead. There is no life in it.

      You have a flowering center within. That’s why Hindus call it a lotus – it is a flowering. They call it the one-thousand-petaled-lotus. One thousand means infinite petals. And it goes on flowering, it never stops, it never dies.

      But you are satisfied with a plastic ego.

      There are some reasons why you are satisfied. With a dead thing, there are many conveniences. One is that a dead thing never dies. It cannot – it was never alive. So you can have plastic flowers, they are good in a way. They are permanent; they are not eternal, but they are permanent.

      The real flower outside in the garden is eternal, but not permanent. And the eternal has its own way of being eternal. The way of the eternal is to be born again and again and to die. Through death it refreshes itself, rejuvenates itself.

      To us it appears that the flower has died – it never dies.

      It simply changes bodies, so it is ever fresh.

      It leaves the old body, it enters a new body. It flowers somewhere else; it goes on flowering.

      But we cannot see the continuity because the continuity is invisible. We see only one flower, another flower; we never see the continuity.

      It is the same flower which flowered yesterday.

      It is the same sun, but in a different garb.

      The ego has a certain quality – it is dead. It is a plastic thing. And it is very easy to get it, because others give it. You need not seek it, there is no search involved. That’s why unless you become a seeker after the unknown, you have not yet become an individual. You are just a part of the crowd. You are just a mob.

      When you don’t have a real center, how can you be an individual?

      The ego is not individual. Ego is a social phenomenon – it is society, its not you. But it gives you a function in the society, a hierarchy in the society. And if you remain satisfied with it, you will miss the whole opportunity of finding the self.

      And that’s why you are so miserable.

      With a plastic life, how can you be happy?

      With a false life, how can you be ecstatic and blissful? And then this ego creates many miseries, millions of them.

      You cannot see, because it is your own darkness. You are attuned to it.

      Have you ever noticed that all types of miseries enter through the ego? It cannot make you blissful; it can only make you miserable.

      Ego is hell.

      Whenever you suffer, just try to watch and analyze, and you will find, somewhere the ego is the cause of it. And the ego goes on finding causes to suffer.

      You are an egoist, as everyone is. Some are very gross, just on the surface, and they are not so difficult. Some are very subtle, deep down, and they are the real problems.

      This ego comes continuously in conflict with others because every ego is so unconfident about itself. Is has to be – it is a false thing. When you don’t have anything in your hand and you just think that something is there, then there will be a problem.

      If somebody says, “There is nothing,” immediately the fight will start, because you also feel that there is nothing. The other makes you aware of the fact.

      Ego is false, it is nothing.

      That you also know.

      How can you miss knowing it? It is impossible! A conscious being – how can he miss knowing that this ego is just false? And then others say that there is nothing – and whenever the others say that there is nothing they hit a wound, they say a truth – and nothing hits like the truth.

      You have to defend, because if you don’t defend, if you don’t become defensive, then where will you be?

      You will be lost.

      The identity will be broken.

      So you have to defend and fight – that is the clash.

      A man who attains to the self is never in any clash. Others may come and clash with him, but he is never in clash with anybody.

      It happened that one Zen master was passing through a street. A man came running and hit him hard. The master fell down. Then he got up and started to walk in the same direction in which he was going before, not even looking back.

      A disciple was with the master. He was simply shocked. He said, “Who is this man? What is this? If one lives in such a way, then anybody can come and kill you. And you have not even looked at that person, who he is, and why he did it.”

      The master said, “That is his problem, not mine.”

      You can clash with an enlightened man, but that is your problem, not his. And if you are hurt in that clash, that too is your own problem. He cannot hurt you. And it is like knocking against a wall – you will be hurt, but the wall has not hurt you.

      The ego is always looking for some trouble. Why? Because if nobody pays attention to you, the ego feels hungry.

      It lives on attention.

      So even if somebody is fighting and angry with you, that too is good because at least the attention is paid. If somebody loves, it is okay. If somebody is not loving you, then even anger will be good. At least the attention will come to you. But if nobody is paying any attention to you, nobody thinks that you are somebody important, significant, then how will you feed your ego?

      Other’s attention is needed.

      In millions of ways you attract the attention of others; you dress in a certain way, you try to look beautiful, you behave, you become very polite, you change. When you feel what type of situation is there, you immediately change so that people pay attention to you.

      This is a deep begging.

      A real beggar is one who asks for and demands attention. And a real emperor is one who lives in himself; he has a center of his own, he doesn’t depend on anybody else.

      Buddha sitting under his bodhi tree…if the whole world suddenly disappears, will it make any difference to Buddha? -none. It will not make any difference at all. If the whole world disappears, it will not make any difference because he has attained to the center.

      But you, if the wife escapes, divorces you, goes to somebody else, you are completely shattered – because she had been paying attention to you, caring, loving, moving around you, helping you to feel that you were somebody. Your whole empire is lost, you are simply shattered. You start thinking about suicide. Why? Why, if a wife leaves you, should you commit suicide? Why, if a husband leaves you, should you commit suicide? Because you don’t have any center of your own. The wife was giving you the center; the husband was giving you the center.

      This is how people exist. This is how people become dependent on others. It is a deep slavery. Ego HAS to be a slave. It depends on others. And only a person who has no ego is for the first time a master; he is no longer a slave. Try to understand this.

      And start looking for the ego – not in others, that is not your business, but in yourself. Whenever you feel miserable, immediately close you eyes and try to find out from where the misery is coming and you will always find it is the false center which has clashed with someone.

      You expected something, and it didn’t happen.

      You expected something, and just the contrary happened – your ego is shaken, you are in misery. Just look, whenever you are miserable, try to find out why.

      Causes are not outside you. The basic cause is within you – but you always look outside, you always ask:

      Who is making me miserable?
Who is the cause of my anger?
Who is the cause of my anguish?
And if you look outside you will miss.
Just close the eyes and always look within.
The source of all misery, anger, anguish, is hidden in you, your ego.

      And if you find the source, it will be easy to move beyond it. If you can see that it is your own ego that gives you trouble, you will prefer to drop it – because nobody can carry the source of misery if he understands it.

      And remember, there is no need to drop the ego.

      You cannot drop it.

      If you try to drop it, you will attain to a certain subtle ego again which says, “I have become humble.”

      Don’t try to be humble. That’s again ego in hiding – but it’s not dead.

      Don’t try to be humble.

      Nobody can try humility, and nobody can create humility through any effort of his own – no. When the ego is no more, a humbleness comes to you. It is not a creation. It is a shadow of the real center.

      And a really humble man is neither humble nor egoistic.

      He is simply simple.

      He’s not even aware that he is humble.

      If you are aware that you are humble, the ego is there.

      Look at humble persons…. There are millions who think that they are very humble. They bow down very low, but watch them – they are the subtlest egoists. Now humility is their source of food. They say, “I am humble,” and then they look at you and they wait for you to appreciate them.

      “You are really humble,” they would like you to say. “In fact, you are the most humble man in the world; nobody is as humble as you are.” Then see the smile that comes on their faces.

      What is ego? Ego is a hierarchy that says, “No one is like me.” It can feed on humbleness – “Nobody is like me, I am the most humble man.”

      It happened once:

      A fakir, a beggar, was praying in a mosque, just early in the morning when it was still dark. It was a certain religious day for Mohammedians, and he was praying, and he was saying, “I am nobody. I am the poorest of the poor, the greatest sinner of sinners.”

      Suddenly there was one more person who was praying. He was the emperor of that country, and he was not aware that there was somebody else there who was praying – it was dark, and the emperor was also saying:

      “I am nobody. I am nothing. I am just empty, a beggar at our door.” When he heard that somebody else was saying the same thing, he said, “Stop! Who is trying to overtake me? Who are you? How dare you say before the emperor that you are nobody when he is saying that he is nobody?”

      This is how the ego goes. It is so subtle. Its ways are so subtle and cunning; you have to be very, very alert, only then will you see it. Don’t try to be humble. Just try to see that all misery, all anguish comes through it.

      Just watch! No need to drop it.

      You cannot drop it. Who will drop it? Then the DROPPER will become the ego. It always comes back.

      Whatsoever you do, stand out of it, and look and watch.

      Whatsoever you do – humbleness, humility, simplicity – nothing will help. Only one thing is possible, and that is just to watch and see that it is the source of all misery. Don’t say it. Don’t repeat it – WATCH. Because if I say it is the source of all misery and you repeat it, then it is useless. YOU have to come to that understanding. Whenever you are miserable, just close the eyes and don’t try to find some cause outside. Try to see from where this misery is coming.

      It is your own ego.

      If you continuously feel and understand, and the understanding that the ego is the cause becomes so deep-rooted, one day you will suddenly see that it has disappeared. Nobody drops it – nobody can drop it. You simply see; it has simply disappeared, because the very understanding that ego causes all misery becomes the dropping. THE VERY UNDERSTANDING IS THE DISAPPEARANCE OF THE EGO.

      And you are so clever in seeing the ego in others. Anybody can see someone else’s ego. When it comes to your own, then the problem arises – because you don’t know the territory, you have never traveled on it.

      The whole path towards the divine, the ultimate, has to pass through this territory of the ego. The false has to be understood as false. The source of misery has to be understood as the source of misery – then it simply drops.

      When you know it is poison, it drops. When you know it is fire, it drops. When you know this is the hell, it drops.

      And then you never say, “I have dropped the ego.” Then you simply laugh at the whole thing, the joke that you were the creator of all misery.

      I was just looking at a few cartoons of Charlie Brown. In one cartoon he is playing with blocks, making a house out of children’s blocks. He is sitting in the middle of the blocks building the walls. Then a moment comes when he is enclosed; all around he has made a wall. Then he cries, “Help, help!”

      He has done the whole thing! Now he is enclosed, imprisoned. This is childish, but this is all that you have done also. You have made a house all around yourself, and now you are crying, “Help, help!” And the misery becomes a millionfold – because there are helpers who are also in the same boat.

      It happened that one very beautiful woman went to see her psychiatrist for the first time. The psychiatrist said, “Come closer please.” When she came closer, he simply jumped and hugged and kissed the woman. She was shocked. Then he said, “Now sit down. This takes care of my problem, now what is your problem?”

      The problem becomes multifold, because there are helpers who are in the same boat. And they would like to help, because when you help somebody the ego feels very good, very, very good – because you are a great helper, a great guru, a master; you are helping so many people. The greater the crowd of your followers, the better you feel.

      But you are in the same boat – you cannot help.

      Rather, you will harm.

      People who still have their own problems cannot be of much help. Only someone who has no problems of his own can help you. Only then is there the clarity to see, to see through you. A mind that has no problems of its own can see you, you become transparent.

      A mind that has no problems of its own can see through itself; that’s why it becomes capable of seeing through others.

      In the West, there are many schools of psychoanalysis, many schools, and no help is reaching people, but rather, harm. Because the people who are helping others, or trying to help, or posing as helpers, are in the same boat.

      …It is difficult to see one’s own ego.

      It is very easy to see other’s egos. But that is not the point, you cannot help them.

      Try to see your own ego.

      Just watch it.

      Don’t be in a hurry to drop it, just watch it. The more you watch, the more capable you will become. Suddenly one day, you simply see that it has dropped. And when it drops by itself, only then does it drop. There is no other way. Prematurely you cannot drop it.

      It drops just like a dead leaf.

      The tree is not doing anything – just a breeze, a situation, and the dead leaf simply drops. The tree is not even aware that the dead leaf has dropped. It makes no noise, it makes no claim – nothing.

      The dead leaf simply drops and shatters on the ground, just like that.

      When you are mature through understanding, awareness, and you have felt totally that ego is the cause of all your misery, simply one day you see the dead leaf dropping.

      It settles into the ground, dies of its own accord. You have not done anything so you cannot claim that you have dropped it. You see that it has simply disappeared, and then the real center arises.

      And that real center is the soul, the self, the god, the truth, or whatsoever you want to call it.

      It is nameless, so all names are good.

      You can give it any name of your own liking.

      From Beyond the Frontier of the Mind by Osho