uealse Being Best - Dr. Dina Evan's Columns

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What To Be, or Not To Be, When We Grow Up

The Tao Te Ching says. “If you want to be whole, let yourself be partial. If you want to be straight, let yourself be crooked. If you want to be full, let yourself be empty. If you want to be reborn, let yourself die. If you want to be given everything, give everything up.” These are not empty phrases; they are about our willingness to embrace life fully with humility and humanity. These words are about integrity and courage.

Today we live in a society that is hell-bent on materialism, plundering the earth and getting ahead, whatever ahead selfishly looks like. The greatest minds on the planet wonder whether we have time to turn this potential disaster around. We are on the brink of destroying ourselves. Perhaps since we created this, we deserve it but I am not sure that in the grand scheme of things, it matters. Every 25,000 years or so we have a disaster that is catastrophic and we, life miraculously begins again from the bowels of each disaster. However, is that really the issue? When, and if, we hit the wall, what will we each individually have to say to ourselves about what we did or did not do to contribute to our destiny and the strength of our character, both individually and as global citizens? It really is only and all about us.

Some believe, as I do, that we start our next life at the same level of consciousness in which we left this life. When we begin again, we have to start out learning the lessons we skipped learning in this life in order to move our soul forward. This time, this life is a precious gift, a blank canvas on which we write our own destiny. This is an enormous opportunity to wake up. So how are you doing?

Recently, some of us got curious about our spiritual IQ was and I thought you might want to do the same. Here’s the little test we took. I created it from an article in Family Therapy Magazine by Park and Peterson that described the character traits that brought people true happiness. Feel free to measure your own. And, when you are finished you may see some areas that deserve your attention. Take a moment to write in the percentage to which you feel you have achieved excellence in each category.

Character Strength and Spiritual Rating

1. Wisdom and knowledge:

  • Creative thinking, pushing out the limits, getting out of your comfort zone to try on new ways of doing and being
  • Curiosity and spiritual exploration into new areas of thinking and believing
  • Open-mindedness, seeing all sides with acceptance, free from judgment
  • Mastering new skills, tools and spiritual abilities

2. Courage, emotional strength and right use of will:

  • Authenticity and truthfulness, speaking in genuine ways
  • Bravery, willingness to face and resolve issues and fears
  • Persistence and level of commitment to spiritual values
  • Zest, approaching and participating in life with reverence and joy

3. Humanity, interpersonal strengths of tending to or be in service to others:

  • Kindness or doing good deeds for those in need
  • Love, commitment for self and others
  • Awareness of your own motives, using ethical boundaries and communication.

4. Justice, co-creating better world and community both spiritual and in general:

  • Fairness, treating all people equally and justly
  • Leadership, taking a lead role bringing greater awareness to groups, family and career.
  • illingness to pioneer consciousness.
  • Teamwork, making a conscious effort to empower and support others success

5. Temperance, strengths that protect against excess:

  • Forgiveness, not holding grudges or old resentments
  • Modesty, acting more out of spirit and alignment than ego
  • Preciseness, being careful about choices of what to do and not to do that empowers you and others

6. Transcendence

  • Appreciation for life and all it’s beauty, excellence and opportunities for growth that you create
  • Gratitude, thankfulness for all experiences and choices both good and hard
  • Hope for the future and determination to fulfill your purpose

OK, how did you do? The wonderful thing about getting conscious is that you get to wake up anytime and there is no judgment about when you decide to do it. The real issue is THAT YOU DO IT. This moment is a great time to begin or take it farther. Who knows, together we may be able to turn this potentially difficult future around.

© Dr. Dina Bachelor Evan 2008

All rights reserved. No part of the intellectual property of Dr. Dina Evan may be reproduced, placed on mechanical retrieval system, transmitted in any form by electronic, video, laser, mechanical photocopy, recording means or otherwise in part or in whole, without written permission of the author. Contents are fully copyrighted and may not be owned by any other individual or organization.

 

Is Being Best, Best?

More is better. Perfection is the only acceptable goal. Bigger is best. Enough is never enough. When did true nobility become about beating everyone else instead of being better than you used to be?

The constant comparisons, unrealistic desire for perfection and unattainable pressure to have the perfect body and succeed at everything is causing sensory overload for our children and for us as adults. Kids today seldom have a spare minute between after school activities and home- work. As therapists, we know the next wave of child abuse is indulgence. Kids are no longer encouraged to explore their inner world in order to establish strong character traits and core values. Instead they are taught to conquer the outer world and be at the top of the heap.

As adults, we seldom have time for anything beyond work, stock portfolios and organizational activities. Between the networking and the Internet, there is almost no time for imagination, creativity and exploration into the unknown. Most of us have no idea what it feels like to simply listen to our own inner guidance, and neither do we identify it as the most important source of information – even though it is. So what’s the big deal? Isn’t all this good competition and external motivation exactly what we need to be the best we can be? NO!

Having great values is wonderful, however, how we integrate those and the practices we set up to incorporate these values into our lives can be adding stress and can also set us up for failure. For instance, Nelson and Prilleltsky, a couple of psychologists in New York point out that having a value for personal well-being is great unless your belief leads to self blame and shame when you are not meeting goals established by society. If personal well-being is motivated by an internal locus or center of control, it leads to self-empowerment, greater control on our choices, enhanced self-esteem and a more positive identity. In other words, competing with you is the most growth-oriented path to excellence.

I have a plaque on my wall that reads,” Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but rather, by the moments that take our breath away.” The quality of life you experience is the most important thing. It’s the only thing you can take with you when you leave this planet. These precious experiences, moments of deep connection and conscious quantum leaps become the fabric and fiber of your soul. What good are all those external goodies if you can’t feel joy and happiness? So if being best and having the most doesn’t get it, what does?

Most will tell you, positive, supportive relationships, a sense of purpose, participation in social community and the welfare of the planet and a sense of safety and acceptance with ourselves is critical to happiness. No matter how sophisticated you are, the bottom line is that love is the only big deal.

When you have a sense of self-love and acceptance, you are able to move out of coercive, manipulative and controlling behavior and into compassion. The goal becomes one of mutual-empowerment and the need for force of any kind dissipates.

When you have a sense of community and love for the rest of humanity, forgiveness and compassion follow and an understanding is created that removes the sense of separation and division. When the frenzy, chaos and drama are removed the body’s immune system can function properly again and health improves.

We are sitting on the edge of a consciousness evolution. Most of you are feeling it. That voice that keeps asking is this all there is, keeps getting louder. The sense of never being filled up still growls in the pit of our stomach and the insufferable sense of separation and isolation even in the midst of relationships is becoming nearly intolerable. It’s time to ask what really matters?

© Dr. Dina Bachelor Evan 2008

All rights reserved. No part of the intellectual property of Dr. Dina Evan may be reproduced, placed on mechanical retrieval system, transmitted in any form by electronic, video, laser, mechanical photocopy, recording means or otherwise in part or in whole, without written permission of the author. Contents are fully copyrighted and may not be owned by any other individual or organization.