Tag Archives: Philosophy

Is your reality real?

“Most everyone’s reality is a blend of their past experiences, their expectations, and what they think they see or feel. This, unfortunately is not true reality at all. Many events we witness or are exposed to are not exactly as we think they are. So in fact, life just full of instances and visions clouded in mystery and untruths based on one’s own view of reality. Therefore, everyone’s reality is what they want it to be, not what it truly is.”

~ James Filbird

Really?

Shining souls

“The beauty of the soul shines out when a man bears with composure one heavy mischance after another, not because he does not feel them, but because he is a man of high and heroic temper.”

~ Aristotle

The human spirit is mighty. Throughout our lives, we are faced with circumstances that force us to look deep within ourselves to find what is good so that we can do amazing things for others in need. When something bad happens to another person, whether you know them personally or not, you feel compelled to reach out to them from the depth of your heart and help them get to a place of comfort, safety and peace. You can do this through prayer, a financial contribution, or with a helping hand. This temperament is displayed often when tragedy strikes and is one of characteristics that make the human species unique from most all other earthly creatures. This very type of behaviour must also be used when we find ourselves in a difficult place in life. All too often, we neglect our own needs when we are faced with a tragedy, depression, weakness, etc. It’s very important to remember that as individuals, we need to be heroic for ourselves too. In doing so, we keep our own soul shining so that we are available to assist others in keeping their souls shining too. 

The Soul of a Flower

Special thanks to Tim Coffey for his use of this illustration.

Love thy enemy

“If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.”

~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow on the Isle of Wigh...

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

One of the hardest things to do is love your enemy. If you really ponder the fact that all our enemies are just like we are in that they desire the same things we desire. They want freedom, power, peace, love, a place to call their homeland, money, religious rights, etc. just like we do. But for many centuries, people have been fighting amongst themselves and with other cultures and nations creating havoc, unspeakable tragedies, and untold sufferings. What can we attribute this to? Is it because men dominate world affairs and women don’t? Is it because humans are more animalistic than they are spiritual? Is it because this is man’s destiny — to always be at war? Whatever the reason, it’s pitiful that people of all races, religions, and creed do not look for ways to live in harmony as much as they look for ways to become more powerful and destructive. If people in power took the time to look into the hearts of their “enemies” perhaps they would find the answers the perplexing questions posed above. Peace to all.

Managing mistakes

“The sages do not consider that making no mistakes is a blessing. They believe, rather, that the great virtue of man lies in his ability to correct his mistakes and continually make a new man of himself.”

~ Wang Yang-Ming (1472-1529) Chinese Philosopher

Wang Yangming (1472–1529), considered the most...

Wang Yangming (1472–1529), considered the most influential Confucian thinker since Zhu Xi.

Correcting mistakes you’ve made is more important than making them in the first place. We all know that life isn’t perfect, so there’s no point in trying not to make any mistakes. Instead, be very aware of all the mistakes you make in life so that you can make sure you don’t make them anymore. This is very simple in theory to understand but not so easy to physically do. I suppose it’s because humans are creatures of habit and can’t easily change or adapt themselves to a new environment. The ones that can will surely succeed in ways that most cannot. Part of being a wise person is knowing where and when to navigate in the path of life. The mistakes we have made (and will continue to make!) in life will teach us how to be wise as souls and happier as people. To me, life is simply about trying to be better human beings, and to be better we must constantly be sharpening our souls so that we can live renewed lives as much as possible.

The purpose of money

“Wealth still failed to impress him; the purpose of money was to purchase one’s freedom to pursue that which was useful and interesting.”

~ H. W. Brands, in his biography of Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin 1767

Benjamin Franklin 1767

Today’s Lesson: “Letting Go of Attachments”
This goes along with simplifying your life. And the act of simplifying certainly helps you recognize your attachments. You’ll see what I mean when you start to give away a perfectly good suit that you haven’t worn in ten years. Suddenly that suit looks really necessary. But once you do let go, you never look back. And suddenly you are lighter and freer than ever before.

Using this same thinking will help you to not be attached to money. The greatest asset money has is that it allows us to live our lives more richer because of the free time it gives us in life. Enjoying interesting and useful time with good friends, family and loved ones. One must remember to be wise when money and free time are available in excess because they can destroy a person very easily if one isn’t careful. Go find your purpose, and then be wealthy.

An excellent idea

“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but rather we have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”

~ Aristotle

Aristotle (1811) Galleria dell'Accademia, Venice

Aristotle

Such a poignant statement that sums up how we should truly measure ourselves. As I celebrate my 54th birthday today, I will take these words by Aristotle with me as a reminder to live my life each day as someone who lives rightly. Doing so will help me be an excellent human being who has chosen to develop habits that are conducive to a life of excellence. After all, isn’t that what we all want to achieve with our lives? Today, choose to be an excellent person who inspires others to live their life in excellence. This is a most excellent idea. 

Golf balls, pebbles, sand and coffee

“The Mayonnaise Jar and Two Cups of Coffee”

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with GOLF BALLS. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of PEBBLES and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of SAND and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with an unanimous “yes.”

The professor then produced TWO CUPS OF COFFEE from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

“Now,” said the professor as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that:

1. This JAR represents your life.

2. The GOLF BALLS are the important things–your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions–and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

3. The PEBBLES are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.

4. The SAND is everything else–the small stuff. “If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

“Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your spouse out to dinner. Spend more time enjoying your hobbies. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the sink disposal. TAKE CARE OF THE GOLF BALLS FIRST–THE THINGS THAT REALLY MATTER. Set your priorities. THE REST IS SAND.”

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the COFFEE represented. The professor smiled. “I’m glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.”

People should spend more of their time thinking about what is most important in their lives and about those who are closest to them, then spend the remainder of their time doing things for and with those people.