B1 Intermediate US 4445 Folder Collection
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I really like you guys.
I consider it a privilege to be able to drop in,
unscheduled, to talk to you.
Thank-you for making time for me.
I know you’re busy.
I’m going to say a few things about the challenges of life.
But first I want to congratulate the new Avatars.
You are acquiring a set of tools that you can “use if you choose”
to unlock your greatest potential.
“Use if you choose…”
Of course you could sit back and let temptation and circumstance
shape your life and your beliefs and your character.
It’s not what I’d advise, but plenty of people do it that way.
And, as always, if there’s something that I say that you don’t agree with,
just label it “another viewpoint”.
Since our life experiences evoke different choices,
it’s not surprising that the conclusions
that we draw are different, too.
My choice is to live deliberately.
I feel so strongly about that
that I wrote a book called “Living Deliberately”.
Maybe you’ve heard of it…
The Avatar tools won’t do you much good if you don’t choose to use them.
But if you start out using them deliberately,
and continue using them until they become a habit,
you will learn to live deliberately.
Circumstances might get you there, but it’s unlikely.
And temptations which start out hot soon cool off.
You want another word for temptation?
It’s an attractive desire that promises quick happiness.
I heard a story about twin brothers:
one was a ruined bum and a drunkard,
and the other was happy and successful.
And somebody asked the drunkard
how he came to be where he was, and his answer was,
“I’m where I am today because my father was a drunk.
And the successful brother was asked the same question
how did you come to be where you are?
You want to know his answer?
“I’m where I am today,” he said,
“because my father was a drunk.”
Same temptation, same circumstances
two different outcomes.
Temptation and circumstance only shape your life if you choose to let them.
And there will always be temptation and circumstances
that you have to live through,
but you don’t have to let them ruin your life.
Hard times, everyone has to deal with a few.
These are the challenges of life,
will you deliberately choose,
or will you let
temptation and circumstance make the choice for you?
Victor Frankel, who survived a Nazi Concentration Camp wrote:
Now, “because my father was a drunk”
which brother made a deliberate choice?
Which brother allowed temptation and circumstances to shape his life?
I’m a big promoter of deliberately practicing virtues.
And it’s not because I’m a great paragon or model of virtue,
but because I think that the struggle between
temptation and deliberately practicing virtues
is the real game that we came here to play.
I don’t mean to sound like a Preacher, but there it is all the same.
It’s the ageless battle between good and evil.
Maybe you just believe in good and don’t believe in evil.
Someone once told me that the motto of evil is “I don’t exist.”
But without the contrast of evil you wouldn’t have good.
Could you be good if you couldn’t be evil?
I mean, which side do you want to be on?
Not everybody chooses the side of good.
There are some people who measure their success
by the amount of suffering they inflict.
I give a lecture in Wizards called “Virtues”.
You ought to see me, I get really steamed up!
And the message is that virtues are not ‘shoulds’ or ‘shouldn’ts’,
but they’re wise advice on how to live a happy life.
Virtues are the nuts and bolts of a spiritual path.
Human virtue is the courage to act like a merciful god would act
a merciful god.
Do you act toward others like a merciful god would act?
That’s a tough question.
Virtues are also good strategies.
Some people have virtue mixed up with judgment or suffering,
or living a really dull boring life.
That’s a wrong view.
Virtues are time-tested strategies
for dealing with whatever the world throws at you
and coming out of it a merciful god, an Avatar.
You develop these virtues by working on yourself.
Jim Rohn, a renowned business philosopher who I admire,
That’s good advice.
I’ve got my own version of that philosophy:
if you work hard on developing virtues
you’ll not only be successful,
you’ll be happy when you get there.
Success is no protection against depression
virtuous actions are.
Virtues are like,
I once made a list of virtuous actions,
and I had over a hundred on the list.
And it’s an easy list to make because
you have a built-in virtue meter
it’s called feeling good about yourself.
Any action that you take out of loving-kindness
will register on your virtue meter.
Your honest intention is what moves the meter.
You might refer to your virtue meter as a moral compass,
or intuition,
or guidance from the higher self.
Virtuous acts make us noble.
They connect us with a divine current,
that in our best, sanest moments
we would sacrifice anything to join.
Here’s something interesting that you probably already know.
How many ends to a stick?
How many directions to a path?
Always at least two, right?
For every virtue there is an opposite vice
and virtues nurture loving-kindness,
vices nurture selfish fears.
Like positive and negative, this is a two-pole universe.
There’s love and kindness at one pole,
and fear and evil at the other pole.
And it appears to me
that the life-stream flows from the positive,
which is motivated by service to the universe, down to the negative
where it disappears into egocentric selfishness.
Did you know that there are no virtues connected solely with concern for self?
I mean, there are a few virtues that are connected with concern for family,
and a few connected with loyalty to a group,
but most are connected with love and kindness for strangers.
Wow, isn’t that interesting?
The life-stream washes around you, and you know what?
The virtues are always upstream.
And we talk about ascension,
rising higher, higher self, aspiring... all upstream.
I don’t know why it is that way…
Maybe we’re meant to turn in to the life-stream, and
maybe the challenge is swimming into the current.
I mean, succumbing to temptation doesn’t take much effort.
Practicing virtues, ooof...
at least at the beginning it takes a lot of effort.
Maybe you think this isn’t fair, that
living deliberately takes effort, that life is a challenge,
that the best rewards are upstream.
But even my tilapia seem to know this.
Virtue is helping someone, and wisdom is knowing who to help.
Helping a serial killer to commit more crimes is probably a lack of wisdom.
Or helping a sociopath to wreck
the work of good people is a lack of wisdom.
Setting the wisdom issue aside for a moment,
here’s the brutal bottom-line on virtues and vices:
an action done with harmful intent brings suffering into your life;
an action done with good intent brings happiness into your life.
It would be wisdom if we would print that on our money
so it kept reminding us
I mean, maybe that’s what “in God we trust” means. I don’t know…
I do believe that an action done with harmful intent
brings suffering into your life,
and that an action done with good intent
brings happiness into your life.
And a person can get into a state,
mostly through transgressions and bad intentions,
where they feel they deserve to suffer.
And this is where confession and forgiveness can turn a life around.
I was 24 by the time I discovered the value of virtue,
and by that time I was really out of practice.
Don’t wait that long.
I wasted a lot of life ‘going with the flow’.
Have you seen the “No Fear” t-shirts?
My t-shirt would have said “No Effort”.
I was drifting downstream in the current of
temptation and circumstance.
“Hey, man – be cool.
Oh, chill – don’t take sides.
Love the one you’re with.
Hey, if it feels good, do it.”
Do you know where that philosophy of life took me?
I was treading water;
I was heading for a divorce, I hated my work...
yeah, I was real cool, though.
One of the few people who would still be straight with me, my Dad,
gave me some advice.
“Son, if you’re going to get anywhere,
you need to take control of your life.”
What fabulous advice, fabulous advice;
I knew it was genius, you know. It was right.
Do you like good advice?
“Son, if you’re going to get anywhere,
you need to take control of your life.”
It took me 10 years to figure out how to take control of my life.
You see, I was working at it from within the mind
thinking, figuring...
which is like stirring a boiling pot of temptation
while you’re sitting in the middle of the pot.
That’s a lot of cooking.
Stick a fork in me, I’m done.
It took me 10 years to discover that
taking control of my life could only be done from source.
I’m not a fast learner.
Wasn’t it kind of God to finally take pity on me and let me discover Avatar?
Avatar is the quick-start instructions for taking control of your life.
Now you can be up and running in 9 days.
That’s fast.
You might not be able to improve the world a lot in 9 days,
but you can accomplish miracles in your own life.
And your life is where you start.
And when you start to get that squared away,
there’s the Masters Course.
Most of the people who know me know that I’m an amateur gardener.
And they also know that when I talk about the mind
I’ll probably start using the garden for an analogy.
What? If it was good enough for Buddha and Christ,
it’s good enough for me.
Ok, you know I could be more modern and creative and use an analogy like:
you go down to the local Mind Store
and you buy this fabulous mind that’s hungry for thoughts.
You bring your mind home in a big box,
and you body-modem it into the collective consciousness,
and as soon as you boot it up it will
multiply, amplify, and defend whatever it finds.
Hey, and don’t worry about saving the packing box
once this mind is out of the box it will never go back.
And your new mind doesn’t care what thoughts you put in it.
It will amplify, multiply, and defend anything you put in it.
That’s fantastic when you think about it.
Uh-huh… In fact,
...the more you think about it, the more amplified the idea becomes.
The mind will amplify, multiply, and defend anything you put
or allow... into it.
If you want to trash the mind up with dirty pictures,
or plans for revenge,
or grudges, or fantasies about being rich and famous,
it doesn’t care.
I mean, it will amplify, multiply, and defend a rumor
as quickly as it will the truth.
To a mind, one thought tastes pretty much like another thought.
It’s hungry for thinking
and it doesn’t care what you feed it ... as long as you feed it.
What do they say in the computer world,
garbage in, garbage out. It's like that…
Just out of curiosity,
were computers modeled after the human mind, or
and you have to stretch way across the stars for this possibility
were human minds modeled after computers?
Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
You see why I feel a lot safer with the garden analogy?
So let me illustrate it by this,
your mind is a fertile garden.
Whatever you plant will seek to survive and grow.
And if you don’t deliberately plant anything,
a crop of temptation weeds will grow.
Anytime you make a primary, or for that matter, an excuse,
you’re planting a thought that will seek to survive and grow.
Anytime you characterize yourself or another,
you’re planting a thought that will seek to survive and grow.
Anytime you voice a limitation,
you’re planting a thought that will seek to survive and grow.
Anytime you set a goal or you create a belief,
you’re planting a thought that will seek to survive and grow.
You see, the garden doesn’t care what you plant.
I think one of the wisest sayings that I ever heard was,
"You reap what you sow".
And it’s true, but some crops require a lot more work than other crops.
I have practical experience with this.
I planted tomato seeds with the expectation of harvesting tomatoes.
Wow, it was a struggle!
There were a lot of secondaries.
I had to keep the bugs away, I had to keep the plants watered,
shade them from the summer sun, battle the weeds.
But the final creation was a harvest of fresh tomatoes.
Can you imagine how good I felt bringing a bowl of perfect tomatoes
into the house and giving them to Avra?
Wow – I felt like a winner.
Now I could have planted temptation weeds and there
wouldn’t have been any secondaries with the bugs or the weather,
but no valuable harvest, either.
I would go, “Damn, I should have planted something useful.
”So, what do you prefer?
“Wow, I feel like a winner”, or...
“Damn, I should have planted something useful".
As you draw your last breath in life are you going to go,
or “Damn”?
See, here’s that upstream lesson again.
It’s harder to grow a perfect tomato than it is to grow temptation weeds,
but the personal reward for growing tomatoes is a whole lot better.
If you intend to live without putting forth any effort
you’re going to end up with temptation weeds.
“Damn, I should have planted something useful.”
And unless you’re really lucky and you happen upon a gold mine,
it takes effort to succeed.
Anybody can grow temptation with almost no effort.
No effort is why temptation isn’t valuable.
Temptations are secondaries,
and secondaries spring up without effort.
It’s the primary that takes a lot of effort.
If you plant negative emotions;
pride, greed, envy, jealousy or hatred in your garden,
what do you think the crop will be?
Of course; pride, greed, envy, jealousy, and hatred.
And while these things are easy to grow, almost no effort
they’re just not worth very much.
Your life will unfold according to what thoughts you plant.
This is old wisdom, really old wisdom.
Gautama Buddha said,
Marcus Aurelius, a Roman philosopher, said,
Good advice all,
but not much in the way of instruction.
God wasn’t ready to release Avatar yet.
Avatar requires honest self-examination,
and the willpower to make deliberate choices.
Therefore it doesn’t work for everyone.
Cynics and psychotics and Avatar bashers
are not big on honest self-examination.
They don’t like to work in their own garden;
they’d rather criticize yours.
Their own gardens are planted with secrets and transgressions,
and the only harvest they ever get are hidden agendas.
They grow blame to explain their troubles and difficulties;
the problem is with blame, it’s a harvest that nobody wants.
Hey, if you think differently, I’ve got a whole stinking
truckload of blame out in the parking lot – I’ll sell it cheap.
But now if you deliberately
make the effort to plant thoughts of forgiveness,
the harvest will save your life.
If you plant thoughts of resentment, the harvest will ruin your life.
Caring and sharing thoughts will leave you feeling good about yourself.
Envious and selfish thoughts will lead to disaster.
Compassionate thoughts will make you wise,
angry thoughts will make you stupid.
Plant an opinion about yourself and you will grow an identity,
and you’ll discover more about identities on the Masters Course.
They are the scarecrows in your garden.
You are the gardener,
the essence of source.
And your life unfolds according to
the thoughts you allow to grow and the thoughts you weed out.
What you think, you become.
Pull out the “I can’t” thoughts and plant some “I can” thoughts.
Weed the fears out of your courage patch
I know you can do it.
The Avatar Course may shock you at first,
but you will finally figure out
who’s been keeping you down,
who’s been suppressing you,
who’s been causing you to fail,
who’s been making your life such a struggle...
the guy in the mirror.
I’m sorry if that’s too blunt.
But the good news is,
if it’s the guy in the mirror,
you can fix it.
So here’s my advice to the new Avatars
open your hearts and look for good.
Choose to use the tools.
Enjoy the rest of your course, and I’ll see you at Wizards.
Thank-you for your love.
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Life Challenges

4445 Folder Collection
pao2ge published on December 4, 2014
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