Today’s Forecast – The Affirmation Spot for Friday January 22, 2010

Here is your forecast for today:

Today: A powerful storm of success and happiness is forming in your vicinity. Looks like soaking growth-based rains leading to new self-discoveries and ever-growing opportunities.

Tonight: Clearing with a 100% chance of inspiration. Lows in the mid high achiever range.

Tomorrow: Sunny and warm as a high pressure project moves over your area. A gentle tail wind blows at your back, it looks like smooth sailing all the way to your dreams.

Stay inspired!

Ray

2010 Affirmation

“2010 is my year! This is the year I break free. This is the year I break through! This is the year I break out!”

Truth: A Matter of Perspective – The Affirmation Spot for Monday February 25, 2008


Thank you for visiting The Affirmation Spot. Your comments on the blog or this article are always welcome. Please click here to comment on today’s blog.




ray_launchpad.jpgWhat Ray’s reading right now:

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose (Oprah’s Book Club, Selection 61)




Download a free mp3 affirmation from The Affirmation Spot.com.



Today’s affirmation is:

“I am transforming judgment into understanding. I am the source of change in my life, in my group, and in this world.”

mushroom_cloud.jpgHow you see the world is really a matter of perspective.  Your absolute conviction in the truth as you see it, can be absolutely rejected by the next person with the same absolute conviction. When these views collide conflict often ensues. That is, when we insist upon our way or no way.

The fact is that we are beings living in a world that none of us completely understands. We can hide that fact beneath layers of belief in some ideology, religion, or even scientific certainty. The fact remains; we never have all the facts to pass the judgment we are often too ready to pass upon others.

In a world being shrunk by technology and proliferating civilization ending weapons, we might be wise to take stock. Given our permanent state of uncertainty, maybe, just maybe, we should think about giving the other guy a break.

This can be as simple as, “live and let live.” You don’t have to agree with the other person. You don’t have to endorse their behavior. You simply have to understand that you can never completely understand his or her perspective and he or she can never completely understand yours.

The world watched this week as Slavic nationalism was stoked by the declaration of independence in Kosovo. Turkey has become emboldened to start a low-grade war with the Kurds in Iraq. We have the ever-present monotheistic struggle for dominance in the middle east. The problem shows itself everywhere.

Narrow-mindedness and tribal group-think were luxuries humanity has lived with, despite the brutal consequences, throughout its history. We have reached the point now where it is about to the break budget for our survival on this planet.

Saddest of all, there are forces on this planet who have powerful control over information outlets and government who thrive and profit by stirring the conflict that generates wars and foments hatred. They have played the masses like a fiddle to keep us divided and powerless. For our world to take the next steps, the people must see the manipulators for who they are and negate their ability to lead us around by our collective noses.

The alternative, should we persist in our unwillingness to take this approach in world affairs, is the destruction of us all. Who will be right then?

Albert Einstein is famously quoted as saying, “The world’s problems will not be solved by the level of thinking that created them.” We are a world in desperate need of a new level of thinking. We need a level of thinking that is not so sure of our group’s perfection and the other group’s evil. We need a level of thinking that sees people as the human beings they are and not subhumans summed up by the term “them”.

We have the power to change our perspective and mend our ways. We can and we must! We have it within us to say, “enough”. It all begins with “live and let live”. Until we are willing to do it, we walk on dangerous precipices.

Back in 2003, I wrote the following simple dialogue between a student and his teacher to illustrate this point to a friend during a discussion. I used a non-human thing to take the emotion out of it and help focus on the concept.

Student: Master, why do people not seek truth?

Master: People do seek truth, but they confuse personal truth with universal truth.

Student: Master, what is the difference?

Master: Do you see the rock over there?

Student: Yes, Master, I see the rock.

Master: How are you different from the rock?

Student: Master, I have intelligence and wisdom. I can change and grow. I offer more value to the world than the rock.

Master: So you are more important than the rock?

Student: Yes, Master, I believe I am.

Master: What do you think the rock thinks of you? Do you think the rock sees its place in the universe as more important than yours?

Student: Perhaps, Master, but that is the rock’s point of view.

Master: Ahh, your truth puts you at the center of the universe. The rock’s truth puts it at the center of the universe. WHOSE TRUTH IS CORRECT?

Student: Master, I know not.

Master: When you have attained universal truth you will no longer be concerned with my question. You and the rock will live in harmony rather than conflict; he with his truth and you with yours.

Be Peaceful Be prosperous!

Ray

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Remember Your Power – The Affirmation Spot for Monday February 11, 2008


Thank you for visiting The Affirmation Spot. Your comments on the blog or this article are always welcome. Please click here to comment on today’s blog.




copy-of-ray_hawaii1.jpgWhat Ray’s reading right now:

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose (Oprah’s Book Club, Selection 61)





Today’s affirmation is:


“The power that lies within me moves mountains and commands the seas.”


jesus_rs.jpgJesus stands alone in human history in one indisputable regard. An overwhelming majority of the human population reveres him in one way or another. For many, he is their lord and savior. For at least as many others, he is considered a great teacher or prophet. He is nearly universally accepted as one of great teachers.

Today’s blog is not about debating what Jesus represents to you. It is about asking you, revere him how you will, to look at something he said about you and accept that it is true. He said you probably have a deficit when it comes to faith, belief, and trust about how this universe works and about your capaibilities.

Two of my favorite verses in The Bible are Jesus’ statements to his disciples about the power that lies within. Jesus is clear in both instances. The disciples’ inability to create miracles was not due to their lack of power, but to their lack of faith.

mustardseed.jpgMatthew 17:19-20

“Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, ‘Why could we not cast it (a demon) out?’ He said to them, ‘Because of your little faith. For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”

Luke 17:5-6

“The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith!’ The Lord replied. ‘If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.'”

How’s your faith? You’ve probably got smaller issues to deal with than moving mountains into the sea. Although, some days, your struggles can seem that daunting.

I’m sure we could have a spirited debate, depending on your belief, as to how you access that faith and the power that comes with it. Nonetheless, Jesus clearly states that you have it, if you choose to have it. The price? Simply, belief that you can do it.

The power Jesus attributes to the mustard seed is the power to live in trust and without doubt. The mustard seed, as far as we know, does not have a highly conflicted and intelligent mind feeding it reasons not to believe. It trusts in God or the universe to provide for it. The mustard seed loses itself in the flow of that trust. It lives free of doubt.

Jesus is calling us to lose ourselves in that trust. If we can move beyond the doubt, we can find the power he describes.

It’s always been strange to me; this tendency humans have to see ourselves as less than we are. Why do we so readily accept negatives from the Bible and other sacred writings, but we cannot bring ourselves to believe the positives?

We believe, “I am a sinner.” That’s not a problem. But tell me I can move mountains into the sea? No way! This is just a spiritual example of the same negative self-talk that afflicts us in other aspects of our lives.

“I could never go to college.” “I will never have the relationship I want in my life.” “I am never going to pull out of this depression.”

St. Augustine is famously quoted as saying, “Miracles happen, not in opposition to nature, but in opposition to what we know of nature.”

We don’t believe we can move the mountain or go to college because they defy our belief quotient. That is what we believe “we know of nature”. And so, says Jesus, “You’re right.” Those miracles will not happen as long as that is our mindset. If we are looking for miracles – large or small – we must be willing to trust in what seems “in opposition” to nature. 

I’m going to leave it to you to decide how much stock you want to put in Jesus’ words. You can choose to keep believing the negative thoughts that flow through your mind, limiting your life. Or, you can choose to believe that anything is possible and that, with the faith of a mustard seed, you can make it happen!

Let me just encourage you when life seems difficult to always remember who you really are.

Be peaceful Be prosperous!

Ray
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Are The Beatitudes Realistic in Our Modern World? – The Affirmation Spot for Thursday January 31, 2008

Ray’s Daily Affirmation:

“God’s love flows through my entire being each and every moment all day long.”
(Download this or 100s of other mp3 affirmations at The Affirmation Spot)





jesus_teaching.jpgThe Beatitudes is one of the most often quoted passages in the Bible. These promises to the faithful appear at the beginning of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. The account is recorded in Matthew 5:3-12. The word beatitude comes from the Latin beatitudo which translates as “happiness”.

Scholars generally regard the statements as spiritual assurances of reward for those who suffer for their faith in this life.  However, I believe they represent far more than that. Clearly, Jesus believed the characteristics he describes are the hallmarks of a spiritual and happy person. I concur.

2000 years later they remain a measuring stick by which we can evaluate our own development as people.
Do we bless and encourage the attributes described by Jesus? Do we encourage our children to embody these values? How about those we place in positions of authority over us? Do they bless and promote these values? Or, do they exhibit behaviors that are the polar opposite?

Do we too much extol the virtue of the warrior and deride the peacemaker? Do we thirst for justice or have we become content with a comfortable corruption? Do we comfort all who mourn or only those on our side? Have we so divided the world into “us” and “them” that mercy is no longer an option? Do we see these ideas and the people who promote them as weak and unrealistic?

Are they just nice words or are they traits we should seek to develop in ourselves and our children? Do we mean to create a society based on these ideals or continue to be led down paths going the other direction? These concepts are grounded in love while hate, anger, and fear are the engines driving our world today.

I am not here today to answer these questions for you or for our society. I am simply asking the questions.

However, I will offer this. Whether you are a Christian, a spiritual seeker, or just someone trying to see the world in a more positive and hopeful way, the logic and compassion of these virtues is inescapable.

Many earnestly believe in these words, but have been taught that such a world is not and will not be possible. To them, I suggest that as long as you hold that mindset; you are correct. But the moment enough of us are willing to release that mental block, a whole new world is born.

Just as people must grow and grow up societies must do the same. The opportunities are there for us every day. The question is only whether we will choose a new course or remain on our present one.

Here are Jesus’ words. As you read them, consider, for at least one moment, what the world can be instead of just what it is today.

  1. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  2. Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
  3. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
  4. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be satisfied.
  5. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
  6. Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.
  7. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
  8. Blessed are they who suffer persecution for justice sake, for theirs is the kingdom of God.


Follow your bliss! Experience your bliss! Become your bliss!

Ray

Ray Davis is the Founder of The Affirmation Spot and focuses on empowering minds to think positively, achieve goals, and live dreams. He is author of the ebook The Power to Be You and the forthcoming The Power to Be You 2.

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If We Want Change, We Must First Question – The Affirmation Spot for Tuesday January 15, 2008



Today’s affirmation is:

“I question assumptions and long-held beliefs to discover new and beneficial ways to live.”
 

If we are to have change in the world or in our lives, we must learn to question. Questioning is difficult. The group does not like to be questioned. So much so, that in many instances the questioner is ostracized or even put to death. Jesus, Martin Luther King,  and Gandhi are all examples of those who challenged the status quo and felt its wrath.

The ego is not much more forgiving. When we challenge its dominance the ego can be nearly as viscious as the group. Stress, depression, and self-destructive behavior are defense mechanisms used by the ego to maintain its control.So, questioning is scary. Nonetheless, a failure to question is an invitation to slavery, tyranny, and unhappiness. We must question so that fresh ideas can be aired and new possibilities created.

Questioning is not the same as not believing. In fact, questioning is really an empowered type of believing that takes belief to a whole new level by verifying it and testing it against reality.Today we have three very short stories. The first two illustrate the trap of failing to question. The final story offers one way to test the validity of our beliefs and assumptions and come out stronger because of it.

The Ham  ham.jpgThere is a story of a woman who was preparing a ham to be baked. Before placing it in the oven, she sliced an inch off the end of the ham.

Her daughter was watching her bake a ham for the first time. She asked, “mom, why did you cut an inch off the end of the ham before you placed it in the oven?”

“I don’t know,” replied the mother, “my mother always cut an inch off a ham before she put it in the oven.”

Curious, the mother picked up the phone and called the grandmother to ask why she cut the end off a ham before baking it.

The grandmother answered that she had no idea why she cut the end off hams before baking them. “My mother always did it,” she said.

Finally, the mother and the grandmother got the great-grandmother on the phone. The grandmother asked, “Mom, why did you cut an inch off the end of the ham before placing it in the oven?”

The great-grandmother replied, “I cut the end off the ham because my oven was too small to fit a full ham.”

We learn by watching and absorbing the thoughts, actions, and beliefs of those around us. Often we don’t even stop to question them. Two generations of this family always cut off the end of the ham. They never quetioned it. They did it because they had seen their mothers do it.

Nothing changed until the great-grandaughter finally asked, “Why?”

Blind Leading the Blind 

buddha_teaching2.jpgWe have generational blindness leaning on generational blindness.

The Buddha once spoke to a group of young Brahmins (priests) about their “belief” in Brahma (God). “Who among you has personally seen or spoke to Brahma,” asked The Buddha?

The Brahmins answered, “None of us has seen or spoken to Brahma.”

Buddha continued, “Well then, which of your teachers has seen or spoken to Brahma?” Again, the youths answered that none of their teachers had actually seen or spoken to Brahma.

Finally, Buddha asked, “Who in your lineage going back seven generations has seen or spoken to Brahma?” The young Brahmins admitted that no one even going back seven generations had actually seen or spoken to Brahma.

“Then,” said Buddha, “If not you, nor your teachers, nor their teachers going back seven generations has seen or spoken to Brahma, you are but the blind leading the blind.

Buddha was not attacking their beliefs. He was trying to get them to examine their beliefs and ideas and to become a fully awake and responsible human beings. 

Challenge Beliefs and Put Them to the Test

buddha_teaching.jpgDuring a visit to the town of the Kalamas, the Buddha was asked a crucial question.

“Reverend Gautama, many teachers enter our midst teaching that their way and their way alone is the path to salvation. They extol the virtues of their own doctrines while tearing down the doctrines of other teachers. This creates doubt in our minds about all their teachings. For how are we to know which speaks the truth and which speaks falsehood?”

Buddha replied, “Kalamas, you have doubt in circumstances where doubt is understandable. Where doubt thrives uncertainty is born.” The Buddha proposed a test against which to measure any teaching including his own.

  • Do not believe something because it has been passed down and believed for many generations.
  • Do not believe something merely because it is a traditional practice.
  • Do not believe something because everyone believes it.
  • Do not believe something because it is written in a book and has been recited over and over.
  • Do not believe something solely on the grounds of logical reasoning.
  • Do not believe something because it fits your preconceived notions.
  • Do not believe something because you trust who is saying it.
  • Do not believe something only because your teacher says it is so.

“Kalamas, when you yourselves know directly something is unskillful, unwholesome, blameworthy, rejected by the wise, harmful to yourselves or others, leads to poverty or unhappiness, you should give it up.”

“One the other hand, Kalamas, when you know directly that something is skilled, wholesome, blameless, praised by the wise, and leads to well-being, prosperity, and happiness, you should accept it and practice it.”

We all need to examine the beliefs that are driving our actions in this world. When we look at the state of the world we must conclude that there is more each of us can do to make a difference. It all begins with questioning age-old beliefs. Even beliefs based in truth can become clouded by generations of unexamined hatreds, fears, and prejudices.

Every change, personal or global, begins with the courage to question.



 Be peaceful Be prosperous!


Ray

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