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The Cycle of Life

By Peter Shepherd

Life works on a cycle of Identity -- Action -- Goal.

Identity
This of course is who you are, made up of your opinions, beliefs, attitudes, feelings and values. If you don't change who you ARE, then nothing can change in terms of DO or HAVE. The same old ball game continues. This is the defining factor: who you are determines your ethics, your sense of right and wrong, your self-control and discipline, the strength of your personality. Strength comes from self-respect, from being true to one's heart, from being courageous, from resolving inner conflicts and not hiding them away.

We need to break out of the confining box of our conditioning, but sensibly, not treading on others, and maintaining our social relationships of family, group and culture. Empathic communication is the key to achieve this. It's no good working toward goals that break your existing responsibilities and agreements unless these can be re-arranged in a way that respects the rights of others. We are social creatures; we need each other. Sometimes we do need to stand alone but it's much better if we can stand together, with a shared understanding.

Action
If you don't change what you do then despite changing your identity, still nothing will actually change in terms of your results, what you achieve and have. To act effectively we often need to build up our capabilities: to increase our knowledge and to gain skills. If our goal is clear and worthwhile, this will be part of the fun.

How we act needs discernment too. We need to act toward others as we would wish others to behave toward ourselves; otherwise what we do will return to destroy us. Love is the guideline, accepting and working to improve our own weaknesses, and understanding and forgiving the weaknesses of others.

The pleasure of achievement is in the doing, not just the having at the end. Self esteem comes from demonstrated competence. Production equals morale. The problems that stand in the way should not be viewed as barriers to work around but as challenges to overcome. Life's about enjoying ourselves in the process of learning and achievement. We need to try hard but not be serious and solid about it; it's like a game of football. We have opposition but after the game, the opponents remain friends.

Goal
If you don't align your way of being and your actions with a goal or a vision that is inspiring and motivating, true to your own desires and ethical values, you won't have the energy, inspiration and motivation to actually do and achieve anything. You need to perceive genuine value in what you produce. If you do create results that are valuable to others, wealth will naturally come to you in exchange. Not just in terms of money but in terms of happiness; fully expressing our capabilities and being of service to others creates happiness.

The Way Beyond
I have tremendous respect for those of you who are working to understand the true principles of the way life works and to implement them in your lives. That means, I believe, each and every one of you. Thank you, very much indeed, for allowing Trans4mind to be a part of your growth process. I believe this process crosses all ethnic and religious barriers - what is universally true applies equally for Muslims, Christians and followers of all religions, and for people of all colors and races. For men and for women.

But what is true is not so just because I say it is, or because your teachers or leaders say it is; it is true only if and when you find that understanding within your own heart, and when it proves out in your daily life to enhance your awareness, your communication and your empathy with those around you. The best guideline is always the same; it is Love. The most fundamental truth, upon which all else is built, is simple: God is love, and God is within you. All religions, at their core, say this.

So what is Love? Love, as I see it, is unconditional acceptance. That quality is also our essential nature, who we really are. It is love of parents for child; also the non-possessive love of partners; also the caring love for all people that enables forgiveness. It is not the emotional lust of being 'in love' though that may well be in alignment with true love - or unaligned, as in jealousy. It's above energy, though it may be expressed energetically; it's Spirit itself, the nature of God, the quality we share with God; and it is the binding force of the Universe, necessary for all Creation.

The meaning of spirituality, to me, is not about the paranormal... It is the beauty of life that makes one forget the self and feel a sense of oneness. It's perceived in the aesthetics of music, architecture, paintings and nature. Empathic literature. It's felt when one perceives a person at their core: the vulnerability of the human heart laid open. It's the honest and true essence of a person, their creative and ethical source-point. Our highest purpose in life is to realize and actualize this essential, Higher Self and then to go even beyond, to perceive its connection with all Spirit.

Inner Guidance
On our path, we need our rationality and intelligence, but also our intuition and emotional intelligence in equal measure. We need to be aware of the guidance that our intuition provides, as expressed in our inner feelings and ideas emerging from the subconscious...

  • Sometimes it's the base instincts calling us, the drives to procreate or to destroy an enemy.
  • Or messages for survival, which may be reactive emotions based on fear: the fight or flight response is necessary in certain situations but still, it is animal intuition.
  • Our further fundamental needs make themselves felt: for belonging, for control of our lives and our curiosity for knowledge.
  • There is the emergence of creative insight as a result of the workings of the mind that continue below the surface of consciousness, making connections and perceiving relations.
  • And there is the knowing of the Higher Self, which encourages empathic and truthful communication toward understanding - the constituents of Love.

Discernment and mindfulness, then, are our allies on the spiritual path. We can recognize those which are base instincts, reactive emotions, fundamental needs, creative insights, and the inner guidance of Spirit.

This is my understanding, not spoken out of any sense of rightness or pomposity, nor because I am in any way an authority on these matters, but because I think the concepts discussed can be a helpful guide.

The purpose of the resources at Trans4mind and the online video workshops at Trans4mind Training is to support you to find your healing path - your route to self-actualization. I trust you will have a wonderful time ahead!

Peter Shepherd is the founder and producer of the Trans4mind personal development website and author of 'Daring to be Yourself.' He edits and publishes the Inspiring Quotes of the Week Plus and with a team of colleagues has recently launched the amazing Trans4mind Personal Development Training. Get in touch with Peter here.

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