Category Archives: Topic

Happiness

The following provides a few definitions of ‘happiness’.

Happiness

Happiness is an inner quality; a state of mind; it is peace of mind.  If your mind is at peace, you are happy.  If your mind is at peace, but you have nothing else, you can be happy.  If you have everything the world can give – pleasure, possessions, power – but lack peace of mind, you can never be happy.

Normal Happiness

Normal happiness is the belief that happiness exists outside of ourselves; it is a matter of the ego-self looking to the world to determine happiness.

Normal happiness is something than comes and goes.  As we work to achieve it, we can increase it to a degree, but much of what gives us peace of mind is out of our control.  So, normal happiness can come and go.

True Happiness

True happiness is the belief that happiness exists within ourselves; it is a matter of the ego-self looking to one’s true-self to determine happiness.

True happiness is happiness that continues in you over time.  It is independent of the things that are currently happening in your life.  True happiness rest in our spirituality and must be developed over time.  To obtain true happiness requires effort to change the way we are in the world.  The following articulates some of these changes:

Being limited by our beliefs TO living beyond our beliefs
Holding onto the past TO letting go of the past
Living an unfulfilling life TO living a meaningful and fulfilling life
Improving and accepting ourselves
Looking for and giving love
Sharing happiness
Simplifying our life

Notes

Dr. Mark Atkinson  has an interesting view of happiness that seems to correlate with the Bible.  See his website for information.

References

References

Self

The following provides a few definitions of ‘self’.

Physical-Self

Our physical-self is our physical body including our brain, heart, and senses; everything that physically makes us who we are on this earth.

Ego-Self

Our ego-self is our physical-self with the inclusion of our awareness of our environment.  This awareness is what we perceive through our physical senses as modified by the model of the world that our brain has built by using that same information.

When we are born, we are aware only of the information provided by our senses.  As we grow our brain integrates the information it receives into a data store that provides a model of our environment.  Our brain never has access to our environment directly; only through our senses.  Once it has built a model of its perceived environment, it interprets new information received with-respect-to this model.

Our brain, using the model it has built, reacts to the environment.  This means that we react to each new experience in a way that depends not only on the current experience, but also on our past experiences.  Our awareness of our environment depends on the information provided by our senses and how our brain interprets them given the model it has built.

This has profound effect on who we are, as we all have different internal models of the world.  How any given one of us will respond in any given situation depends not only on our physical-self, but also our ego-self that we have become because of the experiences we have had in life.  This difference can be seen in the same individual by considering them when they were a child versus when they have grown into an adult.

Some people refer to the ego-self as the real-self.  They say that the real-self is who we are.  It is how we think, how we feel, look, and act.  The real-self can be seen by others, but because we have no way of truly knowing how others view us, the real-self is our self-image (how we think people see us).  This is consistent with the above definition of ego-self.

True-Self

The true-self is an idealized version of who we are.  Different people have different ideas about what this could mean.  A couple of ideas are described in the following:

True-Self Is Who We Want to Be: It is an idealized image that we develop over time, based on what we learn and experience.  This could include things like what our parents taught us, what we admire in others, what society fosters, or what we happen to think is in our best interest.

True-Self Is Our Spiritual Self: We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience –Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.  Consider that we have a body and a spirit.  Our spirit interacts with our environment through our ego-self.  Our spirit can be considered our “true-self”.

In either case above, the true-Self is an idealized version of our ego-self.  I prefer the spiritual version since the “who we want to be” approach seems flawed because we have a flawed ego-self postulating this, which seems would lead to a flawed “who we want to be”; a conundrum.  Whereas the spiritual version is at least compatible with the plan of salvation as expressed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  You must decide this for yourself; there are likely also other ideas to consider.

The bottom line takeaway is expressed at the beginning of this section independent of what the underlying mechanism is for implementing it.

Quotes

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.” – Teilhard de Chardin

“The primary purpose of life is to wake up to the presence of our spiritual being and allow it to flow into our doings.” – Eckhart Tolle

References

Communicating with God

Introduction

This is a complex world and there are consequences to what we do.  We need to be diligent to do those things that will cause good to ourselves and those around us and avoid those things that will cause unnecessary strife, contention, and division.  Sometimes we need to do exactly that which will cause problems to bring things to where they need to be.  What should we do in any given situation?

The Bible says:

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

We need some mechanism to help us make decisions.  This post provides insight on communicating with God to gain knowledge and guidance on what we should do.

Talking to God

Tips are:

  • Place: Helps with focus when there is a specific place to pray.
  • Time: Helps with focus when there is a specific time to pray.
  • List: Recording items to pray about keeps praying focused.
  • Guide: Make a list of things to pray about like: leadership, ministry opportunity, etc.
  • Specifics: Use lists for prayers and avoid general prayers.
  • Notepad: Record thoughts that come to you during prayer.
  • Journal: Keep a record of prayer items and how they were addressed.
  • Aloud: Helps with thinking through prayer items.

Listening to God

When a new thought comes into your mind take the following actions and consider the questions to determine if it is from God.

Actions:

  • Holy Spirit: Ensure the feeling in your heart confirms the thought. (Hebrews 8:10-11)
  • Scriptures: The thought should harmonize with the scriptures. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
  • Godly Counsel: Gain insight and confirmation from trusted counselors. (Proverbs 11:14; Matthew 18:16)
  • Circumstance/Timing: Is there a circumstance or is the timing such that it enables acting on the thought?

Questions:

  • Does it persuade you to do good?
  • Does it promote feelings of love?
  • Does it enlighten your mind?
  • Does it build you or someone else up?
  • Does it bring peace?
  • Does it inspire you to be better than you are?

Receiving a Calling

One of the things that can be received by listening to God is a calling.  A calling is an invitation from God for you to carry out a mission for Him in this world.  The Bible lists some potential callings:

Romans 12:6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; 7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; 8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

This is received the same as any other thought placed in our mind by God.  It may be a longer receiving process given the impact and importance of a calling to one’s life.

Goals

The specific definition of goal with-respect-to this post is:

A goal is a desired outcome toward which effort is expended to achieve.

An objective is a goal that defines an increment of progress toward a main/greater goal.

The following provides ideas to consider in formulating goals.

SMART Goal

SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Based.  A SMART goal is really a high-level plan for achieving a main goal and its elements are objectives to be met to accomplish it.  The following is an example.

Main Goal: Write a novel.

The SMART goal objectives might be:

  • Specific: Use social media to write a minimum of 150 pages.
  • Measurable: Write one chapter a month, or 3-5 pages per week.
  • Attainable: Create a story design and use it to write the story which will be self-published.
  • Relevant: Using social media will help establish a readership.
  • Time-Based: Complete the manuscript and have it ready to publish in one year.

The SMART goal following from these objectives can be written as:

To establish a readership, write a 150-page novel on social media by writing one chapter per month (3-5 pages per week).  The book will be completed in one year and will be self-published.

Type of Goals

Examples of goal types are:

  • The need to win a competition, the love of another, etc.
  • The need to stop someone, something bad from happening, etc.
  • The need to escape
  • The need to deliver a message, one’s self, an item, get to a destination, etc.
  • The need to retrieve a magic ring, a hidden or lost treasure, a lost love, etc.

Categories of Goals

Examples of goal categories from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs are:

  • Physiological: Air, Water, Food, Clothing, Shelter
  • Safety and Security
    • Protection against assault or injury
    • Adequate money
    • Steady emplorment
    • Good health
    • Protection of private property
  • Love and Belonging: Friendship, Romance, Intimacy, Family
  • Esteem and Recognition: Independence, Compensation, Respect, Promotion, Credit, Gratitude, Appreciation
  • Self-Actualization
    • Higher education
    • Spiritual enlightenment
    • Artistic pursuits
    • Travel and experience
    • Altruistic and charitable contributions to others

Online References

The following references provide information about specific goals:

Truth Theme Statements

The following is a categorized list of truth theme statements created from information obtained from the Internet:

The acquired information has been organized into categories and a few notes of my own have been added before some of the themes which are list in bullets.

Truth Is True

Not being known does not stop truth from being true.  The universe is what it is and we are what we are quite independent of what we think and say about it.

  • Truth draws strength from itself and not from the number of votes in its favor.
  • Truth stands, even if there be no public support; it is self-sustained.
  • An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it.

Truth Masking

There is much error in the world today.  People lie both deliberately and through ignorance.  Effort is required to see through what comes to one; is it truth or error?

  • The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie — deliberate, contrived and dishonest — but the myth — persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic.

Truth Seeker

  • There are very few lovers of truth, for truth’s sake, even amongst those who persuade themselves that they are so.

Truth Seeking

  • Not being known doesn’t stop truth from being true.
  • If you would be a real seeker after truth, you must at least once in your life doubt, as far as possible, all things.
  • When the mind seeks truth, the truth it has read about in books, that “truth” is self-projected, for then the mind is merely in pursuit of the known, a more satisfactory known than the previous one. When the mind seeks truth, it is seeking its own self-projection, not truth.
  • The search for truth is the most important work in the world; and the most dangerous.

Truth Acquisition

Acquiring truth requires identifying and evaluating propositions.  Therefore, truth acquisition comes from understanding gained from experience.  One can actively seek the truth or learn simply by existing and experiencing what occurs.

  • Truth requires us to face the facts as they are, not to involve ourselves in self-deception; to refuse to think merely in slogans.
  • Let us deal with the realities as they actually are, not as they might have been, and not as we wish they were. […] The truth doesn’t die.

Teaching Truth

  • It is one thing to show a man that he is in error, and another to put him in possession of the truth.

Truth Criteria

How can one know if something is true?

  • Gentlemen, that is surely true, it is absolutely paradoxical; we cannot understand it, and we don’t know what it means. But we have proved it, and therefore we know it must be the truth.
  • Repetition does not transform a lie into a truth.
  • Things are true or false in themselves. Truth cannot be affected by opinions; it cannot be changed, established, or affected by martyrdom. An error cannot be believed sincerely enough to make it a truth.
  • Believe those who seek the truth, doubt those who say they find it.

Standing for Truth

  • Tell the truth and fear no man.
  • Truth is the cry of all, but the game of the few.

Conform to Truth

  • Hell is truth seen too late—duty neglected in its season.
  • Chase after the truth like all hell and you’ll free yourself, even though you never touch its coat tails.
  • Yet ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Belief

  • People never want to be told anything they do not already believe.
  • Although a large group of men say something is so; that does not make it so.
  • The opinions and belief of men depend not on their own will, but follow involuntarily the evidence proposed to their minds.

Religious “Truth”

Christians believe certain things to be true by faith in those whose group they are members; this is not truth.

  • Truth, in matters of religion, is simply the opinion that has survived.
  • It is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope.

Truth

The specific definition of truth with-respect-to this post is:

True means that something is in accordance with fact or reality.

Proposition is a statement or assertion that expresses a judgement or opinion (e.g., love leads to happiness).

Truth is a proposition that is accepted as true (e.g., scientific truths; fundamental truths about mankind).

To determine if something is a truth it is necessary to identify the proposition that is to be evaluated and then determine what the evaluation is.  Therefore, there is a difference between what any given person or group says is truth and whether it is truth or not.

Human beings can never know if something is truth.  They can only evaluate the proposition in various situations and assess its truth for themselves.  It is like saying that gravity will always be.  It is our experience that gravity always has been.  Therefore, we conjecture that it will always be.  We go about our lives believing that will never float off from the earth, but we don’t really know for sure what will happen.  In this case, we have scientific evidence that leaves essentially nothing to doubt in this regard, but still there is just what we have learned over time that supports our belief that this is a truth.

Humans interpret the reality around them via their senses.  What they consider to be reality is just an interpretation of reality provided by their senses.  This leads to the sayings:

Truth is in the eye of the beholder.

“Every kind of ignorance in the world all results from not realizing that our perceptions are gambles. We believe what we see and then we believe our interpretation of it, we don’t even know we are making an interpretation most of the time. We think this is reality.”  –Robert Anton Wilson

“We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are.”  –Anaïs Nin

Knowing truth is subjective.  Care must be taken in believing that we know truth.  It is better to understand our level of certainty of its being truth.  This life must be lived by faith.