Concentration

Concentration: (n) the action or power of focusing

Pain is insane.

Especially when it is self-induced.

It is an automatic thought that springs into our head: if things aren’t difficult, they’re not real accomplishments.

This is certainly one of the greatest pieces of human foolishness.

I’ve never heard anyone say, “I need to concentrate” without frowning. They are communicating that they are so damn mature that they must go into contortions funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
to acquire achievement.

What the hell?

If life was intended to be difficult, yet we are all universally intended to live it out, how cruel is our Creator? For we are not all suited to the same regimen.

Of course, a certain amount of concentration is necessary to alert the brain to turn off all phones, ignore other messages, and place focus on the project at hand. Undoubtedly.

Yet if that experience is not rewarding–and dare I say, joyous–we will run away from concentration in favor of erratic behavior.

So I taught all of my children, and those who ever came within my earshot, a very simple principle, which both initiates concentration and provides fulfillment through it:

Wherever you are, be there.

Don’t split your attention. Don’t be considering lilies and weeds at the same time.

Allow yourself the glorious blessing and luxury of inhaling the atmosphere which has drifted your way.

 

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Codger

Codger: (adj) an elderly man, especially one who is old-fashioned or eccentric.

It is not because I keep piling up birthdays–nor that there seems to be a new wrinkle in my countenance.

No, it is the fact that I believe that “codger” is not based on age. Instead, it’s a disposition.

Going through the store the other day, I noticed a fellow–no more than twenty-five years old–who was with his wife and little daughter.

He trudged.

I’m sure he didn’t need to. I’m quite positive that his legs were still filled with lots of power. But somewhere along the line, he convinced himself to adopt the profile of the masses when it comes to everyday living.

I describe that condition as a perpetual visual and emotional proclamation of, “It’s too much.”

  • It’s too much debt.
  • It’s too much crime.
  • It’s too much trouble with the kids.
  • It’s too much argument with my spouse.
  • It’s too much pressure on the job.

Once convinced of this, any individual–at any age–becomes a grouchy codger.

He or she spews the venom of a sour soul, giving up on the possibility of the possible–checking out, absolutely certain that there’s no need to check in.

Now, I will grant you that many old people have also donned this persona in honor of their ancestors, simply to prove they were no better nor worse than their predecessors.

But it seems to me that it keeps starting younger and younger, and considering the fact that we seem to be living longer and longer, it certainly might make for an awfully dreary lifespan.

If you want to keep from being a codger, you have to use both eyes and ears:

One eye on what’s going on, and one eye on the blessing that might be coming your way.

One ear on the complaints that surround you, and the other listening intently for the song of hope.

 

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Cheat

Cheat: (v) to act dishonestly or unfairly in order to gain an advantage

Some people compare the human brain to a computer.

There may be truth to that–though the brain is capable of much more reasoning and processing.

But one of the similarities that would hold true is that the brain does maintain a browser. It has a listing of most recent files, frequently viewed files, and even files we think we’ve deleted.

Every once in a while, they’ll just pop up and remind us that the mind doesn’t always find ways to be kind.

It’s a little piece of nastiness.

So it runs a tally.

How many murders have we watched in television and movies over the past six months?

How many shows on the beauty of Antarctica and gorgeous flower displays from India?

How many scenes of pornography and the abuse of the female body have crossed our eyes in comparision to the downloads we have perused of mothers loving their children and women conquering prejudice, to be successful in business?

Because our browser is filled with corruption, we cheat.

  • We cheat on our taxes.
  • We cheat on our lovers.
  • We cheat ourselves out of blessing because cursing is so easily available.
  • We cheat our children out of intimacy in favor of a quick trip to the amusement park.
  • We cheat our talent out of the privilege of being used in a creative way while constantly bitching about the limitations of our job.

We cheat.

And then, fearing that we will be revealed as cheaters, we develop a honeycomb of intertwined lies, which now buzz from our lips with far too much glib precision.

Where will our cheating take us?

Well, we certainly don’t think anybody is going to be better than us, so it turns us into suspicious, angry and vindictive neighbors.

We cheat.

Mostly, we cheat ourselves.

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Bribe

Bribe: inducement offeredj-r-practix-with-border-2

Tit for tat:

  • If you will do this, I will do that.
  • If you give me this, I’ll give you that.
  • If you believe in me, I’ll believe in you.
  • If you kiss me, I’ll kiss you back.

We are constantly bribing each other. We withhold blessing, generosity and affection as hostage while we negotiate our deal.

We need to be self-motivated. We should do things because we want to, not because we have to or we’re trying to get something off of someone else.

Truth is, if I love myself, I can do a helluva lot of good things. In order to love myself, I need to believe I have enough resources through my talent and faith to sustain success. That way I don’t have to negotiate bribes to acquire my sense of worth.

Dictionary BDoing things of our own volition is the secret to contentment.

Otherwise, you and I will continue to bribe each other, only satisfied when we feel we get the better end of the deal.

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Bramble

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Bramble: (n) a prickly scrambling vine or shrub

Is the Universe a sporadic series of incomplete evolutions, or a well-constructed and defined object lesson?

It’s a damn good question.Dictionary B

Because if I were to believe that everything is spawned by chance, then I might be completely unable to make sense of anything around me.

But if there is some sort of reason, purpose or genius behind the way things are placed, then I have the glorious task of unraveling the mystery.

Why do roses have thorns?

And why do bramble bushes have prickly parts that make it difficult to pick the berries which often inhabit their vines?

What’s the message?

Is there a need for us to be discouraged in the pursuit of beauty and nutrition?

Are we to understand that blessing is achieved, rather than guaranteed?

Is the Creator trying to separate the perseverant from the lazy?

Because plucking a rose is risking a prick.

And hunting for berries might tear at your skin.

Is there a message here? Or am I reading deeper thoughts than intended into an evolutionary mishap?

I’m not sure.

But I can tell you, the pursuit of wisdom never fails us … even if there’s very little information to be uncovered.

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Bountiful

Bountiful: (adj) large in quantity; abundant.

What do we have the most of?Dictionary B

Or is it:

Of what do we have the most?

You see, right then and there you discover the power of determining what is bountiful.

The first way I asked the question is common speak. The second way is considered to be proper English, but a bit clumsy.

Is proper more important than clarity?

Good question.

What is bountiful in the American culture?

1. Individuality

We are so proud that each one of us is a snow flake that we’re unwilling to melt into a common cause.

2. Opinions

So because we’re convinced of our uniqueness, we feel the tiny creek of understanding that descends from our brains to our tongue is spilled out, pretending it’s an ocean

3. Sense of fear.

When you blend the fear that was placed in you as a child with the fear you developed through disappointments, and add onto that the fear and superstition from too much religion or academia, you end up being too cautious to be productive.

Life is bountiful–but not with blessing.

Rather, life is bountiful with opportunity, which through patience and effort, can turn into majesty.

 

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Befall

Befall: (v) something bad to happen to someone.Dictionary B

The secret to life is not in obtaining wealth or feigning contentment.

It is also not merely achieved by professing faith in God.

And certainly never conjured by denying His existence.

It is understanding that God is a process, not a reaction.

Since He is a Creator, He had a plan. Having a plan, in order to maintain the integrity of that original blueprint, there has to be a Natural Order.

So it is in studying science and Nature’s laws that we gain the greatest insight into the mind of the Creator. Otherwise, we manufacture a mythical Giant in the Universe who runs His kingdom by emotion, levies punishments against those who are found in disfavor and bestows blessings on the subservient.

I became a much happier man when I realized that there is actually very little in life that befalls me.

Almost everything that comes my way was invited by me, ushered in by me, welcomed by me, accidentally acquired by me, or was the fruit of me. I tapped a process and the process responded.

  • Sometimes, it is a gusher of blessing.
  • Other times, I hit dry wells or poison streams.

But it is not because the God of creation is reactionary and temperamental.

What befalls me is the end result of the sowing I have achieved coming to fruition … as my reaping.

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