Archives For Quotesense

Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.
~ Benjamin Franklin

Face it, while you were ringing in the New Year singing Auld Lang Syne with friends, or watching the ball drop from your living room couch, at some point you were probably thinking of those blasted resolutions. Some of us will be relieved of the stress involved in setting lofty goals when we secretly agree with ourselves to resign from any “difficult” goals after 3 days…

Though this is typically because we set goals that are too intense and lack any actual plan to accomplish them, I believe it may be due to certain vices getting in the way. This is especially an issue when negative vices begin to take over who we are. Even more so when that vice becomes threatened and convinces our subconscious how you can’t live without it. But it doesn’t stop there.

Some vices are easy to exercise, however, if our willpower is poor, bad habits will fill voids in our lives and create an ongoing battle for those who are brave enough to fight it!

Benjamin Franklin’s words harken to this constant battle. Published in Franklin’s lengthily titled, “Poor Richard Improved: Being an Almanack and Ephemeris of motions of the Sun and Moon; The True Places and Aspects of the Planets; The Rising and Setting of the Sun, and the Rising Setting and Southing of the Moon,” his quote covers the essential basics to annual resolutions. Still, it is important to not get hung up on vanquishing every single bad habit this year, but to rather concentrate on ridding one and filling their voids with something positive.

One vice I have resolved to focus on vanquishing any practice of judgmental behavior or fear of it from others. I was reminded of this poisonous emotion after reading an article, Taming the Mammoth: Why You Should Stop Caring What Other People Think. After realizing the possible power of shedding the burden of caring what others think, I made that one of my top priorities for 2017, and suggest everyone give the article a read and enjoy the nice artwork – it really keeps you going!

So, with that, Auld Lang Syne. Should no acquaintance be forgot, and no unnecessary vices be allowed to grow.

~ David Joseph Leingang

Ah the power of “No.” Who would believe that two letters could hold so much power. Whether used to empower ourselves, or to disempower others, its use comes with great responsibility. But it’s not only it’s use that we must be careful of, but how we hear it.

Though it is important to know when to say it, knowing how to take “No” is just as important. If you’re like Mr. James Cameron, and don’t take “No” for an answer, it may be because when you hear that rejection you hear opportunity knocking.

Hearing someone tell you “No” forces you to become a better salesman in what you are trying to seek approval for in the first place. Which would explain how Mr. Cameron has become one of the most successful directors in Hollywood who has not only produced over 30 movies, but has also directed over, 20 movies that have all contributed to a lifetime gross total of $1,974,307,733.

“No” should not be meant to inhibit action, no matter how harsh the context or how crude the source. It is simply a challenge that our English language has incorporated into our rhetoric. There are many other words and phrases that can have negative connotations, but it is a great skill to acquire to know how to take rejection in any form, and just press on.

By: David Joseph Leingang

My 3-year-old daughter has had a plaque with these words in her room since she was born. And though I am sure Lao Tzu had a greater context for this quote, expecting a new child any day, I hold a different significance to it.

As I see how far my little girl has come, and wonder where she is headed, the thought of witnessing another child’s journey makes me realize how grateful I am for life. It is simply amazing, as an adult, to see the challenges these little feet tread through before they can comprehend the greater nature of our world. What’s more amazing and equally disheartening is the washing away of innocence with each step and experience they endure. Yet hopeful, they awaken every day for the wonder that is life.

When do we lose this sense of exploration? At what point, do we become so cynical to discovery that we lose our yearning to dream? At what point, do we throw away fantasies to be an astronaut, a veterinarian, or a fireman when we grow up, and settle for being something that we force ourselves to like?

The answers to those questions vary from person to person, from place to place. However, the common denominator still equates to us losing a piece of ourselves that we sometimes never find again. That piece is the spark that sends us on that destined journey.

But why wait till we are in a place of discomfort in our lives that we are made to choose to live in misery or go searching for something new.

Watching my little girl grow up has awakened a new sense of wonder within me. It has tailored my language toward her by removing negative words and phrases such as “can’t,” or “don’t do that.” It has made me aware of my actions and the way we play together, read together, learn together. I try to let her experience as much as there is available. Even if it means letting her hammer in a nail… and me getting a sore thumb from the experience. Heck as far as I am concerned she is one swing closer to being a carpenter.

If able to begin this journey now, and continue all through life, how grand would the story be? Though every good story needs conflict, why should one of those conflicts be the choice to return to the adventure of life? How many conflicts and successes are missed while in that purgatory?

So as I see into this world, a new life, with new feet. I am eager to see the first steps that lead that little one on one hell of a journey.

 

By: David Joseph Leingang

“the prevalent sensation of oneself as a separate ego enclosed in a bag of skin is a hallucination which accords neither with Western science nor with the experimental philosophy-religions of the East.”

            ~ Alan Watts

In alignment with this month’s thought letter, I found this intriguing note from Alan Watts. A philosopher from the 50’s – 70’s, Watts shared wisdom about practices, both physically and mentally, that have now become popular. Meditation, yoga, and reflection are daily prescribed answers to many of life’s dilemmas. Finding peace and balance through discovering a purpose in life while becoming part of this world is a way of thinking that Watts developed through fusing Western and Eastern philosophy.

Diverging a bit away from Freud’s philosophy about the, yet sympathizing with its idea, Alan Watts expands on his belief that we are not a sole ego, but part of a larger picture.

This feeling of being lonely and very temporary visitors in the universe is in flat contradiction to everything known about man (and all other living organisms) in the sciences. We do not “come into” this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree. As the ocean “waves,” the universe “peoples.” Every individual is an expression of the whole realm of nature, a unique action of the total universe. This fact is rarely, if ever, experienced by most individuals. Even those who know it to be true in theory do not sense or feel it, but continue to be aware of themselves as isolated “egos” inside bags of skin.”

Watts even goes so far to explain how some religions limit our perspective of the universe. When left unchecked or questioned, they become divisive and quarrelsome as they become dependent on the line drawn in the sand that separates the saved from the damned.

This example can lead to the positive sides of the ego, becoming an unattractive quality which is so commonly attributed to the word “egotistical.”

This sense of “one-upmanship”, as Alan Watts calls it, is expressed in all facets of politics, education, athletics, etc. Not always, but again, when left unquestioned or evaluated can become that segregator to a greater sense of togetherness.

Our normal sensation of self is a hoax, or, at best, a temporary role that we are playing, or have been conned into playing — with our own tacit consent, just as every hypnotized person is basically willing to be hypnotized. The most strongly enforced of all known taboos is the taboo against knowing who or what you really are behind the mask of your apparently separate, independent, and isolated ego.

Whether you are the one drawing the line in the sand, or the one crossing to either side, without searching for another option or accepting many options, you may never discover who you really are. We are all driven by our id, but if we are forced to act and speak a certain way without reason, we never know what it is like to march to the beat of our own drum, or better, how to dance to the music within us all.

Alan Watts philosophy isn’t for everyone, however if you like thought provoking words that don’t attempt to make your mind up for you, please check out his work. Quotes and philosophies in this article can be found in his book, The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are.

By: David Joseph Leingang

http://www.alanwatts.org/collections.php

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=the+book+on+the+taboo+against+knowing+who+you+are+by+alan+watts

In a message for American Education week, on September 27th, 1938, Franklin Delano Roosevelt reflected on something that is very prevalent in our present day.

As we all know, we are in an election year, and boy has it been a doozy. Mostly a knockout, drag out battle since the beginning no matter what side you are one, it would seem the perfect presidential candidate is far from sight.

But why is this? Where is the unity? Where is the vision?

Debate after debate, speech after speech, what have we learned about each candidate’s stance, besides how much they dislike their opposing candidates? I am afraid not much. Whether it be climate change, civil rights, or overseas relations, all we have seemed to learn is how not to handle classified emails and incite a fear of others within our country. Fingers are being pointed instead of hands being extended in greeting or friendship. Instead of finding commonalities we have managed to point out differences.

It’s been such an extravagant show, that our neighbors overseas have been either finding humor in our situation or fear of what may happen. Especially since some of those neighbors have a stake in what the outcome will be.

No matter the candidate, no matter your political denomination, it is important to be educated in not only who the candidate really is, but what they stand for and who they stand with. Try not to focus on man vs. woman, blue vs. red, and consider who might actually be the best fit, morally and ethically, to lead our country.

This will require some extra homework, class. Yup, that means not only getting your information from one television or radio station, and exploring other venues of CREDIBLE information.

I believe it was valiant of Mr. Roosevelt to encourage his constituents to investigate their choices and educate themselves on the issues at hand and how each candidate was planning to handle them.

So, in the spirit of the election season, please do yourself, your family, your friends, and your country a service and make an educated choice this November. Choose who YOU believe in and decide what is best for our nation and its people.

“The possibility of having a dream come true,” now that is something to chew on. How many of us appreciate the fact that we have the choice to make a dream come true? Better yet, how many of us take advantage of the freedom to carry out our passions and live the way we wish?

When you begin to think about the idea of making a dream come true for yourself or someone else, something happens. Suddenly when you focus on a goal or an end game, the universe seems to conspire with us to make things happen. It may take time, but nonetheless, if we keep at it we can be successful.

Imagine what our forefathers were dreaming of when they decided to not only abandon their consignment to the British Empire but prepared to defend their idea to the death. On July 2nd, after much bloodshed, the Second Continental Congress agreed upon and passed a resolution of independence which inevitably united the 13 colonies becoming the United States of America and ending their relationship. Two days later, the Declaration of Independence was signed by the Committee of Five; John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert Livingston.

John Adams had his own prediction or dream about the impact the date of the signing of the declaration of independence would have on our nation. He wrote to his wife Abigail,

The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more. You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.”

Though he was off by two days, he pretty much hit the nail on the head. Coincidentally, both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died on July 4th, 1826.

So while you’re enjoying the long weekend, watching bombs burst in air, and spending time with friends and family, be sure to take a moment and be appreciative of a dream that made your life a little more interesting. And while you’re at it, maybe begin to think about your dreams and how making them come true might make someone’s life a little more interesting.

By David Joseph Leingang

It’s one of the most uncomfortable feelings in the world. It steals away your attention from anything else, and forces you to focus on its discomfort. And yet, no matter the size of the object, we press on when all it would take is a short break to remove the shoe and shake out the coarse disturbance that rattles within.

We’ve all been there. While walking, hiking, or running, we’ve managed to get rocks and other debris in our shoes. But what about that discomfort do we enjoy that seems to prevent us from shaking out the shoe? Why is it, that we cannot be bothered to pause and stop such a distraction when we know that if we do not, the rock will eventually create a blister which can lead to more intense discomfort and possible leave us unable to walk for a while.

It’s a juvenile lesson we think we learn at a young age. I remember being younger and neglecting to put my shoes on before I left the house to play. Eventually we learn that we need those rubber soles to keep our feet safe and free from injury so we can keep moving forward, yet when we get those shoes on, sometimes we don’t want to waste the effort of taking them back off, even if there is a rock in them.

This is relevant to the distractions we encounter on our path to success or while following our dream. The mountain is your dream, and the top is your desire. One would think that the actual journey would be exhausting, however, if that mountain is your passion then the work takes on a different connotation. Now, place the tiniest, most insignificant piece of stone in your shoe, and see how much fun that journey is.

That stone, similar to the pebble Mr. Ali speaks of, symbolizes the distractions we face while achieving our purpose, or following our dreams. But here’s the kicker, any distraction that hangs you up on your journey, is your fault.

That’s right, distractions will always be there. They come in many shapes and in many sizes, but it is inevitably how we deal with them that affects how we pursue our dreams.

Variations of this quote have been published since 1916 in a trade publication for the insurance industry. More commonly attributed to Robert W. Service’s quote,

It isn’t the mountain ahead that wears you out — it’s the grain of sand in your shoe.”

It is difficult to find when and where Ali said his variation, but one of the first uses of his variation was utilized in a satirical fashion in Bryan Burwell’s November, 2003 article; Tossing Off Pebble Costs the Cardinals Mountain of Bucks, in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Whether it is a grain of sand, or a pebble, either signifies an inevitable boulder of distraction that can send you careening off of your desired course.

So the next time you feel something rattling around your shoe, or you acknowledge the distraction ahead of you, take a moment and shake free the debris and take a few breaths. Meditate or pray and be on your way. Be ready for the next distraction and plan to take the time necessary to find the correct path around that boulder so you can continue on your way to the top.

By: David Joseph Leingang

Why are we advised to never look back? Growing up, I remember hearing that phrase a lot, “Don’t look back, or you will never move forward.” I’m paraphrasing of course, but in cartoons, movies, and in school it was not hard to find or hear someone or something preaching that philosophy. Naturally, though, when you tell a child they can’t do something, what happens? They usually do it anyway. Why is that?

I find it odd that on one note we are told to never look back, and on the next beat we are told to learn from history, or learn from the mistakes of others or ourselves. Those two philosophies kind of cancel each other out, don’t they?

In fact, if you type “what is the meaning behind never look back?” you will come across dictionary sites that define that statement as, “to become increasingly successful.” How can that be?

Looking at Mr. Disney’s quote, of course I glean from the message that we must keep moving forward in order to find new opportunities, new ideas, etc. However, I can’t help but notice the first sentence of the quote, which is usually not included in certain publications, “Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long.” Without that first sentence, to me, the rest of the quote means nothing.

Walt does a good job of surfing between two ideals by including that first line. The key is to not focus on the past, yet to acknowledge it and continue with the knowledge of past experiences as a guide to help you find a more prosperous path. For if we forget what we have already endured how are we to keep from falling into the same traps that may have snared us in the past. Sometimes a glimpse into our past will give us new insight into life, or maybe a recent event has enlightened your mind to look back and understand a past incident more clearly.

This philosophy is carried out in many Disney movies, one of them being The Lion King. The motto shared by some of the characters is “Hakuna Matata.” A Swahili phrase, it means, “no worries,” and is further explained by one of the characters, Timon, that when the world turns its back on you, you gotta turn your back on the world. It’s a mentality that is easily adopted by Simba, the protagonist of the story. Yet he eventually realizes how easy it is to forget who we really are without accepting your past, and unfortunately, sometimes, we need to look back to accept or get over things we’ve experienced only to grow into something more. Ultimately, Simba faces his past and becomes king, like his father before him.

When we hear about opening doors, it is easily forgotten that the past is on the other side of one. It’s only right behind us, out of sight, out of mind. Only when we become curious will we open that portal and only then will we have the right state of mind to move forward and conquer the path that lay ahead.

 

By: David Joseph Leingang

A man with a unique since of wonder and understanding, Joseph Campbell’s life is an incredible story. Born with a keen interest in not only what people believe, but how they believe, Joe grew up with a different perspective toward religion and mythology than most might. Knee high to a grasshopper, he developed a fascination with Native American living and mythology. This hunger led him down a rabbit hole of sorts, as he devoured every Native American text in the children’s section of his local library. Once he was permitted into the adult section, where he read through many texts in a white heat. This sparked a wildfire of self-learning and educating that Mr. Campbell would not be able to tame, and would eventually come to understand as his bliss.

What is your purpose? What gets you jazzed, pumped, inspired, ginned up, or just plain ol’ excited? How do you find Zen? It’s no secret that everyone wants to be happy, but what is the secret to finding such a state of mind?

“It is miraculous. I even have a superstition that has grown on me as a result of invisible hands coming all the time – namely, that if you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in your field of bliss, and they open doors to you.” – Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth

Another way I look at that statement is; As you walk through a city you have to keep your head up. If you continue to take stride after stride with your eyes to the pavement, worried about the cracks you may step on, you will miss out not only on the correct turns and paths you are hoping to take, but the beautiful faces you will encounter along the way. The doors are always there, but if we do not become aware, or open to our purpose (or bliss) we will not see them. Even when we are aware we need something extra, like our desire, to approach the threshold of a closed door and try the handle. If it is locked, we shall rely on our persistence and courage to either pick the lock or break the door down to see what’s on the other side.

I know, I know, easier said than done right? If only we were unable to practice this method every day, right? Every dawn brings closed doors that we must either open or break down. We might not realize it, but we do. Whether it’s public speaking, dealing with conflict, taking a new job, or quitting your current one to pursue your bliss, or looking past a friend or loved one who doesn’t believe you can succeed.

In the end it’s what makes you happy that is important. Come on, we’ve heard this since we were kids. So why is it so hard to follow through? Do we feel guilty of our happiness when we know so many who aren’t, or is it something else?

“Now, I came to this idea of bliss because in Sanskrit, which is the great spiritual language of the world, there are three terms that represent the brink, the jumping-off place to the ocean of transcendence: sat-chit-ananda. The word “Sat” means being. “Chit” means consciousness. “Ananda” means bliss or rapture. I thought, “I don’t know whether my consciousness is proper consciousness or not; I don’t know whether what I know of my being is my proper being or not; but I do know where my rapture is. So let me hang on to rapture, and that will bring me both my consciousness and my being.” I think it worked.” – Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth

There you have it! What puts that smile on your face, or makes you jump into action? That happiness you feel when you think about whatever it is that makes you feel good, that is the start of finding your bliss and living the life you want! Everyone in the world right now knows whether or not they are happy or not. Some for different reasons, such as health, wealth, etc. but nonetheless it is relevant to how we live our lives and how we operate in this world. Through happiness and finding our bliss, we can better ourselves, we can better our families, our communities, the world.

In my experience, the word “bliss” hasn’t always carried fruitful connotations, frankly because of the misuse of the term. Not necessarily religious or spiritual, it really just means happiness in the utmost.

Thankfully, through the work of Joseph Campbell, I have been exposed into a more enlightening connotation of the word. While on my adventure to discover more on bliss, I found an interesting definition for bliss when used as a verb.

To bliss or be blissed: reach a state of perfect happiness, typically so as to be oblivious of everything else.

What could get you down when your blissed?

-David Joseph Leingang

I am part of a light, and it is the music. The Light fills my six senses: I see it, hear, feel, smell, touch and think. Thinking of it means my sixth sense.”

~Nikola Tesla

     “One day, I was in Westminster in London — this was after we had introduced the character — and I was sitting in a sandwich bar. All of a sudden, up the stairs came John Constantine. He was wearing the trenchcoat, a short cut. He looked — no, he didn’t even look exactly like Sting. He looked exactly like John Constantine. He looked at me, stared me straight in the eyes, smiled, nodded almost conspiratorially, and then just walked off around the corner to the other part of the snack bar.
     I sat there and thought, should I go around that corner and see if he is really there, or should I just eat my sandwich and leave? I opted for the latter; I thought it was the safest. I’m not making any claims to anything. I’m just saying that it happened. Strange little story.”

~Alan Moore; Describing an encounter with fictional character John Constantine.

The creative tentacles of Alan Moore have managed to work their way into the lives of many, even if they are not aware of it. From his contributions in the Batman and Superman DC universe, his work in Watchmen, V for Vendetta, and From Hell – all of which are major motion pictures, and the creation of Swamp Thing and John Constantine. His character development has become legendary, and has influenced the culture of comics and graphic novels.

Born in Northampton, the Englishman began his creative journey at a young age reading comic books and imagining the characters and manifesting his own. This practice not only possibly assisted in the creation of many memorable characters, but may have personally worked that sixth sense muscle to physically manifest his thought forms.

Moore’s imagination is powerful indeed. And if the quoted experience is true, his power of creation is something to behold and could be recognized as his sixth sense. It is a common concept to consider thoughts as our natural sixth sense, but it could be considered as anyone’s superpower. For some, that extra sense could be the power of reason, power of understanding, coaching others, make great art, etc.

The idea of manifesting thought forms is present in almost every culture. Tulpa’s are one of those known methods. Through concentrated thought, it is believed, one may construct a thought form from the mind. I wonder what happens when you start to interact with them? I guess we learned how unnerving it was for Napoleon Hill while convening with his Invisible Counsel.

Similar to what Mr. Hill shares in this month’s chapter, about his visits with his counsel, it would seem as though many open minded artists and thinkers may experience like events. Whether Alan Moore actually saw John Constantine, or someone he mistook for the character, to be able to create a personality and believe you interacted with them is one heck of an ability.

By: David Joseph Leingang