November 22, 2017

Gratitude and Thankfulness

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

“Thankfulness creates gratitude which generates contentment that causes peace.”
- Todd Stocker

The secret to finding the simple life that appeals you is tapping into the spirit of gratitude and thankfulness. It is this spirit which allows one to appreciate what they have instead of longing for what they might have.

Thankfulness leads to contentment, one thing advertisers and neuro-marketing manipulators do not want you to feel. Ever. They need you to be constantly craving.

They begrudgingly give it up for Thanksgiving, but follow it up with Black Friday, the most surreal shopping event of the year. “Ok, enough of the gratitude, take your desire, lust and acquisitiveness off pause and let's get back to shopping.”

“Sometimes we spend so much time and energy thinking about where we want to go that we don't notice where we happen to be.”
- Dan Gutman

So we have supper with the family, give thanks for our good fortune to be living in the land of everything for everybody all the time, then spend the night camping out on a sidewalk so we can be the first to grab a deal on the lust-have material trinket of the year.

Be thankful you have fists, because you might have to use them to break the store doors down, or beat a competing consumer for the last item on the shelf.

What if, when Thanksgiving ended, you decided not to re-engage your infinite desire for more? What if you decided you had enough, and no amount of more could possibly improve your quality of life?What if you decided that living to work and shop was the problem, and chose instead to be perpetually grateful for the most precious of things in life?

What if you decided to be content with what you already have? More? No thank-you.

“Be thankful for your allotment in an imperfect world.  Though better circumstances can be imagined, far worse are nearer misses than you probably care to realize.”
- Richelle E. Goodrich

I am thankful to be alive, healthy, and experience love in my life. I am grateful to have enough to eat, a warm, dry place to rest my head, and clothes to keep me warm and covered. I am content with a minimal level of material possessions, and appreciate how they actively support the things I love to do with my time.

If you can cultivate a daily, moment to moment appreciation for the gifts the Universe has bestowed up you and your life, you are on your way to creating a simple, intentional life that allows the best possible outcomes for you, the human family, and all life on Earth.

November 20, 2017

Human Responsibilities

Just because something is legal doesn't make it moral. And not everything illegal is immoral.

The crusade to convince humanity to embrace responsibilities and obligations is thousands of years old. It hasn't taken yet, but perhaps we are closer to universal acceptance than ever before.

We hear a lot about human rights these days, as we should. They are critical to sharing this world in harmony and with peace for all. What you don't hear much about, are human responsibilities. But freedoms and rights in the absence of responsibilities and obligations is a dangerous state of affairs.

We have many lists of critical human responsibilities, for every major religion has one of its own. They are all very similar.

“I truly believe there is a common ethic running through all the world’s major religions. The basic values, the ethical standards, needed for a peaceful society, are shared.” 
- Malcolm Fraser, Prime Minister of Australia (1975-1983)

Mahatma Gandhi crafted his own non-religious list, his Seven Social Sins.

There are also the Seven Deadly Sins, and Seven Principal Virtues that may be more familiar to many than Gandhi's list.

We have a responsibility and obligation to adopt acceptable standards of behaviour.

More recently, The InterAction Council, a group of former heads of states, brainstormed a Universal Declaration of Human Responsibilities to go along with the UN adoption in 1948 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I have summarized the document below.

"The InterAction Council has been working to draft a set of human ethical standards since 1987. But its work builds on the wisdom of religious leaders and sages down the ages who have warned that freedom without acceptance of responsibility can destroy the freedom itself, whereas when rights and responsibilities are balanced, then freedom is enhanced and a better world can be created."

Each of us has the responsibility and obligation to:

- Treat all people in a humane way.

- Strive for the dignity and self-esteem of all others.

- Promote good and avoid evil in all things.

- Accept a responsibility to each other, to families and communities, races, nations, and religions in a spirit of solidarity.

- To put into practice the motto: "Do unto others, as you would want them to do to you."

- Act in peaceful, non-violent ways, and respect all life.

- Protect the air, water and soil of Earth for the sake of present and future life.

- Solve disputes between states, groups or individuals without violence.

- Promote sustainable development globally in order to assure dignity, freedom, security and justice for all people.

- Ensure that economic and political power is not handled as an instrument of domination, but used responsibly in accordance with justice and for the advancement of all humanity.

- Codes of ethics should reflect the priority of general standards such as those of truthfulness and fairness.

All together we have a "Handbook For Living Together On Earth". We know what to do, and have known for a long, long time. What are we waiting for?

We may be approaching a time when we finally adopt a Universal Declaration of Human Responsibilities, and use it to be better people, and therefore form a better world. I see a golden opportunity, and hope that each of us chooses to seize it.

Let us build on our advancements over the decades, centuries, and millennia. We have the potential to create a wonderful balance between the rights we enjoy and the responsibilities and obligations we have to each other, and the planet.

Is there any other endeavour more worth doing?

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