August 1

August, Thoughts for…

Posted by William Berry | Filed under Blog | No Comments

Photo by Alexi Berry

31. We all live with the objective of being happy; our lives are all different and yet the same. Anne Frank

This harks back to the suggestion from the Dalai Lama I posted a while ago, about spending 5 minutes a day remembering everyone just wants to be happy. When you meditate on that you can feel the power it holds, the compassion inherent in it.

30. I don’t believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive. Joseph Campbell

29. We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty. Mother Teresa

28. Unbeing dead isn’t being alive. e. e. cummings

27. Realistically, everyone loses their shit sometime. Berry

26. …it could mean you’re the righteous man and I’m the shepherd and it’s the world that’s evil and selfish. And I’d like that. But that shit ain’t the truth. The truth is you’re the weak. And I’m the tyranny of evil men. But I’m tryin’, Ringo. I’m tryin’ real hard to be the shepherd. Dialogue written by Quentin Tarantino and spoken by the character Jules played by Samuel L. Jackson from the movie Pulp Fiction

Okay, perhaps it isn’t the most insightful quote of all time. But in this piece of dialogue a character who has been, to say the least, focused on monetary gain regardless of the acts against humanity and society, decides he has had an awakening and is going to change paths. Shortly after making this decision he is confronted with a crossroad, and makes the choice to try hard and be the shepherd. Although for most of us the transformation is not this dramatic, it is nonetheless a giant step in a different direction.

25. What the world generally refers to as love is an intense emotionality combining physical attraction, possessiveness, control, addiction, eroticism, and novelty. David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D.

Amen. I’m trying really hard to be that other love. but it is hard.

24. Man’s worse sin is unconsciousness, but it is indulged in with the greatest piety. Carl Jung

To me this quote refers to the act of living life mindlessly, unaware, not being present, and coasting through life without challenging yourself to a more pleasant and fulfilling life.

23. To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. e. e. cummings

22. Ever since I was a child I have had this instinctive urge for expansion and growth. To me, the function and duty of a quality human being is the sincere and honest development of one’s potential. Bruce Lee

21. We are not what we are, nor do we treat or esteem each other for such, but for what we are capable of being. Henry David Thoreau

20. Man’s dilemma, now and always, has been that he misidentifies his own intellectual artifacts as reality. David R. Hawkins M.D., Ph.D.

I have said this in regard to challenging people’s perceptions in therapy for a good while. It was interesting to run across it in print.

19.You have no control over whether misfortune comes, but don’t call it to you. You have no control over whether when good fortune comes, but don’t reject it. When misfortune occurs, since you have not caused it, you need not experience grief. When good fortune comes, since you have not caused it, you need not glory in your achievement. Lao Tzu

Yesterday, as my group ended a discussion of what they are doing for personal and spiritual growth, a member who had been uninitiated to Taoism picked up a book on the end table, and read the passage for yesterday and today. The one posted is the one for this day in that book, and the one he felt was “genius”. I’m not sure I agree with the quote 100%. But then I am not fully following the Tao. Regardless, it is an excellent quote and guideline. A girlfriend once said while ending the relationship “I wish I could be more like you, just enjoying the moment and not worrying about the future. ” After initially attributing it to my evolution spiritually, she followed it with “But maybe you do because you have lived your life.” It is true. Some of the center of my spirituality comes from the experience that comes with age. Even though I have done some reading and practicing, it is not completely my doing that I am wherever I am spiritually. The path has guided me as well.

Additionally, I still grieved at the misfortune of her ending the relationship, although I did my best not to contribute to it (but we all do, don’t we?).

18. At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want. Lao Tzu

17. I want you to be everything that’s you, deep at the center of your being. Confucius

Yesterday in speaking with a client I discussed the conundrum in Eastern thought of needing to be completely yourself, and at the same time being mindful and not giving into reacting to stimuli. I have probably said this before, but the best definition of mindfulness I have seen is: Mindfulness is feeling the itch, feeling the urge to scratch it, and not.” So when are you actually being you, when you react to some stimuli or when you feel the urge but do not? I believe the answer to being truly you lies within the practice of mindfulness: beyond your conditioned responses to stimuli, but embedded in the spontaneous person that lies deep within. Like I said, its a conundrum.

16. Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation. Elizabeth Gilbert- Eat Pray Love

I believe this to be a very insightful and enlightening statement, and have found it to be true both personally and professionally.

15. I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself. Maya Angelou

For everyone in my most recent abnormal psychology class.

14. The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware,joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware. Henry Miller

13. I read this recently and thought it important to share. These are the Dalia Lamas suggestions for bringing more compassion to your life:

A. Spend 5 minutes at the beginning of each day remembering we all want the same things (to be happy and be loved) and we are all connected to one another.

B. Spend 5 minutes — breathing in – cherishing yourself; and, breathing out – cherishing others. If you think about people you have difficulty cherishing, extend your cherishing to them anyway.

C. During the day extend that attitude to everyone you meet. Practice cherishing the simplest person (clerks, attendants, etc., as well as the “important” people in your life; cherish the people you love and the people you dislike).

D. Continue this practice no matter what happens or what anyone does to you.

It is really so simple: just a 10 minute focus on all of being in this life together. But practicing this focus 10 minutes a day can have a big impact on your behavior the rest of the day.


12. Not to feel is inhuman. To be carried away by feeling is foolish.

Not to have desire is death. To be a slave to desire is to be lost. Deng Ming-Dao

I advocate moderation through mindfulness.

11. Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it. Buddha

10. He who begins by loving Christianity better than truth, will proceed by loving his own sect or Church better than Christianity, and end up in loving themselves better than all. Samuel Taylor Coleridge

This quote discusses the risks of totally buying into a set of beliefs regardless of what appears evident or true. It focuses on the risk of in-group out-group bias, and of discounting others to protect one’s beliefs. I like this quote because it illuminates the risk of closed minded believing. Be open minded, listen to others, read about other beliefs, choose your beliefs through a process of learning and experience.

9. It is not the sound of a stone hitting bamboo or the color of plum blossoms that makes people enlightened. It is their practice. Shunryu Suzuki

8. When science discovers the center of the universe, a lot of people will be disappointed to find they are not it. Bernard Baily

I want to bring my focus on humility to a close, and this is an excellent quote to close it with. It is the natural tendency of humans to view themselves as the center of the universe. In the quest for enlightenment it is important to overcome this natural desire. I will continue to reference overcoming the ego occasionally as these quotes continue, because it is such an integral part of this quest.

As I write this I struggle with what to put in the blog. This is because if I discuss my work / struggle / progress with humility, then I am not being humble, and humility is something I try to work toward. I once said “I think I’m pretty humble” and received the response, “it is pretty arrogant of you to say that .” Although I’m not sure if it fits the definition of arrogance, it certainly wasn’t humble.

While researching these quotes I came upon some that said to deny your talent is hypocrisy. Being humble is not self-deprecation: it is more an honest assessment but not flaunting your value. It can be a difficult balance.

In my life I have been called arrogant, and I find this to be very insulting as it goes against my beliefs (indicating I am not as far on the path of enlightenment as I’d like to believe). As an undergraduate I did an experiment on what contributes to the perception of arrogance. (My hypothesis was not supported).  Arrogance, and its counterpart humility, have been of interest to me for some time. And, like many trying to improve themselves, I have struggled with the balance between humility and feeling self-worth.

One important aspect for me is realizing I have led a charmed life. One of the quotes I read that related to this was Some people are born on third base and go through life thinking they hit a triple. Barry Switzer.   The quote I’d like to end this little rant with provides a little more humor to the topic: If I only had a little humility, I would be perfect. Ted Turner. All the best on your path.

7. In all that surrounds him the egotist sees only the frame of his own portrait. J. Petit-Senn

6. None are so empty as those who are full of themselves. Benjamin Whichcote

A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small bundle. Benjamin Franklin

I wanted to include this as it is similar.

4. Humility does not mean thinking less of yourself than of other people, nor does it mean having a low opinion of your own gifts. It means freedom from thinking about yourself at all. William Temple

Although this is quite a tall order, I do feel as if it goes with the theme of reducing ego that is so essential to Eastern thought. Again, as with most things in self improvement and the movement toward enlightenment, it is the progress toward the goal that is important.

3. It is well to remember that the entire population of the universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others. Andrew J. Holmes

In keeping with my beginning theme of the month, here is another quote on humility. This quote highlights the tendency to think of ourselves first and often. Instead the author suggests remembering you are but one piece.

2. The man who thinks he can live without others is mistaken; the one who thinks others can’t live without him is even more deluded. ~Hasidic Saying

1. There are two kinds of egotists: Those who admit it, and the rest of us. Laurence J. Peter
I thought I would spend at least a little time on humility to begin this month. The topic of ego and thinking your ideas are best came up in my group yesterday; it is something I have struggled with throughout my life; and it and its opposite, arrogance, have interested me for decades. It is a vital part of Eastern tradition.  thought this was a good quote to start off with, as identifying there is an issue is the first step to change.

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This entry was posted on Sunday, August 1st, 2010 at 8:30 AM and is filed under Blog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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