From the moment our senses receive the first signals of life, school is in session. We learn whether we intend to or not. We're just built that way. The brain is a giant sponge absorbing the relevant and the ridiculous with equal ease and eagerness.
At first we have nothing to compare our experiences to and those experiences become our basis of comparison to all following experiences. Then the judging begins. Now we don't just absorb; we dissect and analyze and scrutinize. We become the hall monitor judging which lessons get through and which do not.
But, we not only determine whether we accept what comes at us, we also determine what comes at us. Not consciously - usually. It can all be wrapped up in one statement: What we learn depends upon the teachers we choose. If you look back over your own life, I'm sure you'll prove this out.
Recently a lady told me a story that illustrates this principle perfectly...
We both immediately went to the Internet to research his diagnosis and learn about the possible prognosis' for the remaining length of his life. That evening we were on the phone and she was so upset and full of doom and gloom while I was happy and eager to share my tales of survival and beating the odds.
She couldn't believe I'd found so many positive, upbeat stories from strong people who weathered the storm of their cancer while all she'd found were dismal tales of good-byes and tears.
I asked her what she punched into the search engine when she was looking for information. She'd typed in "lung cancer mortality rates" while I'd typed in "surviving lung cancer."
Ever since then I've used the comparison, "Life is like a search engine, you get out of it what you type into it!" If you go looking for the scary stuff, you surely will find it, but if you look for the positive, the life affirming, you will get those in spades.
So, if you look for good you find good. If you look for trouble you find trouble. I guess the real question we all need to ask ourselves each day is, "What am I looking for?" What are we expecting?
Take a look at your world outlook. What are you finding? War and devastation or hope and inspiration? They both exist at this very moment. They're both everywhere all the time. But, you won't find inspiration with eyes that focus on violence.
A good and valuable life of meaning depends upon how well we manage our outlooks - our minds - our thoughts - our expectations. Just because there are horrible things happening in the world doesn't mean that the world is a horrible place or that wonderful experiences are impossible.
Look for the needle in the haystack. The glimmer of light in the dark. Your intention and attention will call it forth and add to its substance. Easy? No, but no harder than looking for and finding the horrible! We're not here to have an easy life - we're here to create the life we want. That's an ACTIVE, not passive involvement.
Today...and for the rest of your life if your really adventurous...see the good and joyful; the kind and generous. Let someone else have the doom and gloom. Plenty accept it thoughtlessly. Don't let that be you! You know better. You can decide. That's all it takes.