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Archive for the ‘General’ Category

The Universe

Consider this: In the entirety of the universe you are unique. You were born carrying a Gift, and you are here to sing that song. If you chose not to sing your song,  then it will never be heard on the face of the earth.
Alphonse

Visualization works wonders when the cause is transcendent. Why would the ‘Universe’ bother pandering to the greedy fantasies of the narcissistic few? Once you have committed your life to some decent purpose or ‘calling’, that’s when the axle will shift, that’s when the wheels will begin to turn; and that’s when you can expect those synchronistic happenings that will light your path and empower your purpose.

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From the great blue whale who traverses the depths of the Southern Ocean, to the tiniest amoeba crawling along through the primordial ooze, all things in nature swim, dance, and sing to their own peculiar rhythm; only mankind        has lost its direction. Anon.

The concept of finding and following a ‘calling’ is as old as time and appears in stories, myths and legends from around the world. The very first book; The Epic of Gilgamesh, written on clay tablets approximately 5,000 years ago,  recounts the legend of the young warrior King Gilgamesh, bored with his present existence, going out into the wilderness to seek meaning and purpose to his life. The adventures he encounters are classic examples of what Joseph Campbell describes as The Hero’s Journey, a journey we will all be challenged to face at some stage, and actually several stages, in our lives. As Campbell was fond of saying:  “The question is; will we say yes or no to that challenge; will we say yes or no to the adventure of life itself!”

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‘Even if you are on the right track, you’ll still get run over by a train if you just sit there!’    Will Rogers.

Am I on the right track?

Once you have discovered your purpose, then you must find a way of expressing that ‘Purpose’ in your life. This is not always easy; but if you know what you really want to commit your life too, then you can never be truly happy until you find the courage and commitment needed to express yourself honestly and fully in the world.

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Dr. Viktor Frankl, a Jewish psychiatrist imprisoned in Austwich by Hitler’s Gestapo in 1942, for no other crime than his religion, was a prominent psychiatrist at the time of his arrest and had worked for many years prior to the war with men and women suffering severe and prolonged depressions as well as various other types of mental illnesses.

As Frankl had worked with hundreds of these patients, he came to realize that none of them seemed to have any purpose or meaning to their lives, they had no goals or dreams to fulfill, and they appeared to have no idea at all where there lives were headed.

These initial observations encouraged him to study the phenomenon at depth, and as his work progressed he came to understand that once an individual had discovered a worthwhile cause or mission in life, their return to health was both rapid and enduring.

Realizing the enormous potential of this discovery, he set about writing a book, expounding his theories in the hope that it would reach the countless millions of depressed, alienated and lonely souls, tormented by various types of mental disorders.

And so, as the overcrowded train the Nazis had forced himself and hundreds of others onto, rolled into the dreaded Death Camp of Austwich, his most pressing concern was that this manuscript, which he had clutched underneath his overcoat since the time of his arrest, should not be lost or destroyed, it was the culmination of his life’s work, or so he thought that day.

Over the following years Victor Frankl would suffer all the atrocities of those abominable camps with the stoicism and courage few of us could ever hope to emulate. Loosing his manuscript immediately on arrival was a devastating blow, made worse by the mindless atrocities that followed. He had his faith to cling to, but with the never ending barbarisms carried out on a daily basis by the brutalized Nazi guards, the starvation, the beatings, the gassing of innocent children, the rapes and senseless murders, faith itself must sooner or later begin to crumble.

Surely in the darkness of those endless nights, Frankl’s theories must have come back to mock him, his fundamental belief that if a man could find a meaning for his life then he could endure virtually any amount of suffering, must have seemed like an impossible dream at times.

Yet one day Victor Frankl awoke, and with the sudden realization that his prayers for salvation were not being answered, he spontaneously changed the prayer from ‘God help me’ to ‘Lord, make me worthy of my suffering.” What a leap in consciousness! And in that transcendent moment, in the depths of that obscene Nazi Death Camp, a new vision was born and with it a new hope for mankind, the belief that once we have found the meaning and purpose of our own lives, then we have the ability to surmount virtually any hardship.

From that day on Viktor Frankl began caring for those of his fellow prisoners who were in acute distress, sharing his meager food rations, comforting those who had abandoned all hope, and kneeling in prayer with the dying. In doing so he rose above his own suffering and not only survived the camps but went on to rewrite and publish his best selling book, (Man’s search for Meaning) and to found what would become known as Logotherapy, the Third Viennese School of Psychiatry.

It has been suggested by others that those few camp inmates that gave away their food were the ones that survived the camps, implying that the ones who accepted did not; but Frankl himself made no mention of this.

Victor Frankl lived to the age of 91, and for the rest of his life worked with men and women of all ages, helping them discover the individual meaning and purpose of their lives. To his last days he was fond of quoting the German Philosopher; Friedrich Nietzsche: “He who has found a ‘Why’ to live, can endure almost any ‘How’.

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