Readings and Reflections About Mid-life, Age, and Change
Of all the beautiful truths pertaining to the soul, which has been restored and brought to light in this age, none is more gladdening or more fruitful of divine promise and confidence than this: That you are the master of your thought, the molder of your character, and the maker and shaper of your condition, environment, and destiny.
As You Think
You can create opportunity for yourself by speaking about your Life Work as you want it to be. All of your life counts, and you do not know where your most important opportunity will show up. You create the significance of your Life’s Work.
Start today, telling yourself about your Life’s Work in its largest way. Let yourself dream and envision the impact you want your Life’s Work to make.
How can you make a difference in the life of your work? What do you believe needs to happen about its course or pattern that would give you great joy? If nothing stopped you, what and how would you live your life? Life Work is a big idea. You get fulfillment and passion when you put talk into life, and life into your talk.
Brown, Paulson, and Wolf
Living On Purpose
I am not a mechanism, an assembly of various sections, And it is not because the mechanism is working wrongly that I am ill.
I am ill because of the wounds to my soul, to the deep emotional self, and those wounds of the soul, take a long, long time … only time can help… and patience, and a certain difficult repentance; a long, difficult repentance, [which includes] a realization of life’s mistakes, and the freeing of oneself from the endless repetition of the mistake…. especially of those that humanity and society have chosen to sanctify.
All things in the creation exist within you, and all that is within you exist in the creation; there is not border or boundaries between you and the closest things, and there is no distance between you and the farthest things, and all things, from the lowest to the loftiest, from the smallest to the greatest, are within you as equal things.
In one atom are found all the elements of the earth; in one motion of our minds are found the laws of all existence ; in one drop of water are found the secrets of all the endless oceans; in one aspect of you are found all the aspects of existence… “[Thus] your life has no end, and you shall live forever more. ”
Mid-Life and Change:
Invocation/ Opening Words:
If I desire to accomplish or complete anything of merit or lasting worth in my life, I have to remember this:
Before I can do anything, I must be willing to be someone;
That I am not a human doing, but a human being– and that the greatest and most challenging task of my life is to be myself-
to find, to affirm and then to be my truest, kindest, most transparent and highest self.
May I outgrow whatever problems currently beset me– May I replace worry and fear with courage and trust
May I believe in my own self-worth, and my own capacity to express love for others and through my community.
May I remember that any limitation of my humanity is not better and no worse than any I might find in others, and that we are together to promote understanding, justice, forgiveness and compassion.
May I be open to knowing the dark and unresolved that is within me, and to be courageously true to whatever light there is in me, and allow it to shine– And in these ways, May I become a living poem, and become an embodied blessing.
Readings from the World Religions
Wisdom writings, collected stories, koans, etc.
“Master”, the young student exclaimed,” I want to become a teacher, a teacher of Truth!
The Master replied, “Are you ready, then, are you willing and prepared to be ridiculed, ignored, poor and starving until you are at least forty-five, even fifty?
The student said, “Yes, yes I am. But tell me: What happens after I am forty-five, even fifty?
“By then,” the Master said,” you have gotten used to it.”
Hold on to what is good,
even if it is a handful of earth
Hold on to what you believe, even though
you might feel that you are a tree, standing alone
Hold on to what you must do
even if it is a long way from here, a long way from home
Hold on to life
even if giving up and letting go is easier
Hold on to my hand
even when I have gone away from you.
To Change The World
The Sufi saint, Bayazid, said this about his life and his effect on people:
“I was a revolutionary when I was young. All my prayers and all my actions were aimed at giving me the power, the attention of others, so that I could change the world!
As I approached middle age, I realized that half my life was over, without knowing whether I have changed one soul, or one situation. So, I changed my prayer asking to give me the ability to be heard by my family and friends, and then I will have changed enough people to have changed the world.
Now that I am older, and my days are numbered, I have only one prayer left- give me the grace to change myself- If I had prayed and acted in that way from the beginning, I would have not wasted my life, I would have changed the world.”
And with that prayer, he became enlightened.
The Guru and The Scholar
A Guru was asked by a scholar how he would be able to obtain greater self-understanding than anything he had found in the Scriptures. The Guru said, “Go out into the next rain, and raise your eyes and hands to heaven… That should bring you to your first self-revelation.”
The scholar came back after the next rainy day to report conscientiously to the Guru… He told the Guru that he followed his advice, raising his eyes and hands towards heaven, but the cold water just flowed down my neck… That as I stood there getting wet, I felt like a perfect fool!
Well, said the Guru, for the first day, that is quite a self-revelation, isn’t it?
What good is it if the scholar pours over the words and misses their meaning? Reads intently what is holy but does not feel soaked in love?
What good is severe ascetic disciplines and multiple prayers, wrapped in saffron robes if your soul remains colorless and your spirit bland?
What good is it if you scrub your ethical behavior until it shines, but your heart contains no music?
There is a difference between knowledge and enlightenment:
Knowledge- the task of the first half of life- teaches you how to hold the torch so that others might see and find the way…..
Enlightenment – the task of the second half of life- is when you, your life becomes a torch from whom all others can see and find their way…..