Viktor Frankl and Aiming for the True Higher Potential


After uploading the most recent podcast, I ran into this short video of Viktor Frankl, author of Man’s Search for Meaning:

Also found online here:
https://www.ted.com/talks/viktor_frankl_youth_in_search_of_meaning

He speaks about aiming for your greater potential to reach one’s true possibilities. Enjoy ūüôā

Sacred Path of the Shadow

I ran into this excerpt, regarding how healthy it is to explore the unknown parts of ourselves, sometimes referred to as our “shadow”.

Excerpt is by Caroline Myss, co-creator of the work “Sacred Path of the Shadow”:

 

I saw the following quote in an article about how meaning, value, and fulfillment can be lived/derived/experienced from “normal” kinds of lives:

“Her full nature, like that river of which Cyrus broke the strength, spent itself in channels which had no great name on the earth. But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.‚ÄĚ

Middlemarch by George Eliot

The Beast and Alcohol

I was chatting recently with a friend who realizes they have a problem with alcohol, and has decided to stop drinking. In my chat and later I came up with a few points that I want to share about how I personally look at alcoholism.

For me, I see that when I drink, I truly become a different man. It is a different person, and all it takes is a single first sip. After 5 years without alcohol (Thank God) I have come to tell myself the following fundamentals about my drinking persona:

  • He is not you
  • You do not know him
  • You cannot control him

The man I become when I drink is someone completely different from my non-drinking self. So different that I dont even see it as “me when I’m drinking.” No, it is not me anymore. What that person is capable of doing is very different than what I would allow myself to do. I dont know what he will think, say, or do, at any given moment. And no one has control over him, especially not he himself.

He is someone completely different, yet he is in my body, with direct access to my family, friends, and my entire life situation.

But I do not judge him, because he is a beast, and it is his nature. It is like judging a wolf for devouring the young of another animal. It is its nature. I introduce alcohol into the brain and bloodstream, and therefore have become a beast. Literally, and with no exaggeration. Dr. Jekyll, and Mr. Hyde. No exaggeration. Truly it is the same thing. I sip alcohol, and it is an elixir which transforms me into an unpredictable beast, until the elixir has left my body.

Therefore, I must exert discipline to never, ever, become that beast, ever again. I can never ever take the first sip, ever again.

For me, alcohol is more dangerous than any good that can come from it.

I cannot let myself reminisce about “the good times.”

I am a different man when I drink. I do not trust that man.

But I am glad I have saved my life. And I have saved the life of others as well by me not drinking. Therefore I am a hero everyday I dont drink.

Further note to myself:

Don’t judge the drinking man, it is a beast, that is his nature. Just make sure you do not become him. All it takes, is one sip.

The sober man exerts discipline, and knows that he will transform when he takes the first sip. NEVER take the first sip. Ever. Never, ever, again.

“This moment is not life waiting to happen, goals waiting to be achieved, words waiting to be spoken, connections waiting to be made, regrets waiting to evaporate, aliveness waiting to be felt, enlightenment waiting to be gained. No. Nothing is waiting. This is it. this moment is life.”

-Jeff Foster

…if there’s one thing that I’ve come to realize, if there’s one thing that I see as the biggest problem,

it’s not in building a world where we eliminate the ignorance of others.

It’s in building a world where we teach the acceptance of ourselves,

where we’re okay with who we are, because when we get honest, we see that we all struggle and we all suffer.

Kevin Breel – Confessions of a depressed comic TED talk

“…have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”

-Rainer Maria Rilke, from Letters to a Young Poet

Accept Thyself

“In the journey toward the goal of ideal self-expression, we must use negative feedback data to correct course, as in any other goal-striving situation.

This requires admitting to ourselves–and accepting the fact–that our personality, our expressed self, or what some psychologists call our ‘actual self,’ is always imperfect and short of the mark.

No one ever succeeds during a lifetime in fully expressing or bringing into the actuality all the potentialities of the real self. In our actual, expressed self, we never exhaust all the possibilities and powers of the real self. We can always learn more, perform better, behave better. The actual self is necessarily imperfect. Throughout life it is always moving toward an ideal goal, but never arriving. The actual self is not a static but a dynamic thing. It is never completed and final, but always in a state of growth.

It is important that we learn to accept this actual self, with all its imperfections, because it is the only vehicle we have.”

-Maxwell Maltz, Psycho-Cybernetics

Musings of Gratitude

I was at my cousin’s 30th birthday celebration last night, and when I asked him if there was something specific he asked for, he answered me with something like “nothing except health; health for me and my family, my friends and their family.” Then he started talking beautifully about how grateful he was, in general. He spoke for quite a bit of time, maybe 10minutes or more, about how he feels so much gratitude on a daily basis.

His waxing was beautiful and seemed to help me. I want to offer a small summary from my memory here:

“My girlfriend bought me this new watch, but it was at the bottom of this box of new sweats. When I opened the box I saw the sweats and thought that was my birthday gift from her, and I was so happy for them. After she led me to find the new watch, she said ‘how could you be happy with just sweats for a gift?’ I told her ‘I was so grateful that you got me something to keep me warm.’

I dont need an expensive meal, I’m happy if we go to Wendys.

All these people here at this celebration. They could be anywhere. They could be anywhere but they chose to be here. Some came from Jersey and other far parts of NY. And they’re here with me. I’m so grateful.

People are so busy. They have their own priorities and have very little time. Any time they give is a gift. Any time at all they choose to give me is a gift.

I used to feel I had to be in control of things. I thought by the age of 25 I would be married with 2 kids already. I used to be so upset that I didnt have this great job like my brother. But everyone has their own time. For some people it could be 25, for some it could be 30, for some it could be 35….

I have so much acceptance now. I had to learn to relax. To let things go. I dont have to be in control. Things will work out.”

I mentioned that it sounded like he had built a muscle of gratitude, and that he works out this muscle and it gets stronger; something like developing gratitude as a skill. He completely agreed.

“Whatever You Can Get, You Can Unget”

I’m very happy that when the speaker of this talk asked “What do you need to get to be happy?”, I said “nothing.”

The word “get” triggered that this would be a dependency, and, I dont believe I need a dependency for happiness.

There may be situations that help, but no matter what, happiness is accessible, I think.

Easy for me to say in my apartment, secure, safe, warm, healthy, loved, ambitious, alive, and vibrant.

But, Thank God, it is easy for me to say.

In the diary you find proof that in situations which today would seem unbearable, you lived, looked around and wrote down observations, that this right hand moved then as it does today, when we may be wiser because we are able to look back upon our former condition, and for that very reason have got to admit the courage of our earlier striving in which we persisted even in sheer ignorance.” -Kafka

And herein we find the secret of propelling our heart’s desires from the state of imagination to the reality of our everyday lives. It’s our ability to feel as if our dreams have already come to life, our wishes are fulfilled, and our prayers already answered.”

The Divine Matrix – Gregg Braden

Note: If you already¬†feel the way you would¬†if this circumstance¬†were¬†true, then on many levels, it doesn’t matter whether¬†it is actually true or not. It seems like this is often¬†the place where the magic happens….

Though I do not believe a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed. Convince me you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders.

-Henry David Thoreau

…the point is to flex your flexibility, keep catlike presence with a reality that is becoming more unpredictable. not in an anxious way, rather in a “no matter what, something good¬†for me arises from this” way. the more present and accepting of the moment you are, the more you will allow your mind to present you with opportunities to capitalize on every reality you encounter.

“So I would like to end this with a paragraph written by that young man, in a letter to his mother, the night before he was put to death.

…’and I want you all to remember — that you must not dream yourselves back to the times before the war, but the dream for you all, young and old, must be to create an ideal of human decency, and not a narrow-minded and prejudiced one. That is the great gift our country hungers for, something every little peasant boy can look forward to, and with pleasure feel he is a part of — something he can work and fight for.'”

This comes from the children’s book “Number The Stars” by Lois Lowry, and she is quoting the real-life letter of a leader of the Resistance in¬†Denmark during¬†Nazi occupation. His name: Kim Malthe-Bruun, and he was captured and executed by the Nazis at the age of 21.

Gratitude and Happiness

When this difficult thing occurs to us…they are opportunities and those who avail themselves of those opportunities are the ones that you admire, they make something out of Life. And those who fail…get another opportunity. You always get another opportunity. That’s the wonderful richness of Life

-David Steindl-Rast