To be observant

“I think, therefore I am” is a well-known phrase from Rene Descartes, (1) said at the beginning of the Enlightenment. (2) I would add, “I observe, therefore I think, therefore I am.” The power to take notice of the world around me is a skill that must be nurtured and enhanced. I recently took a group of senior high school students on a walk to a local, prominent venue. It was a site that most would pass by on a daily basis. What confounded me were their comments on the beauty of the locale, the majesty of the towering trees, and the exciting feeling of the blustery day.

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My personal choice

If you could pick just one capacity, one realization that made your life interesting and worthwhile, what would you choose? Would you decide on conscious, awareness that came to you at 20 or so? This helped you understand who you were and what you had to do with your piece of life. Even if it was not yet fully formulated, you understood that there was a mission there — whether to act upon it or not was within your purview.  

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To mothers

Dear mom: I just wanted to send you a quick note. We don’t often get time to reflect and really connect on what our relationship has meant to me. I would like to share just a few, of my many, many thoughts and feelings. From the very beginning of our relationship, I felt a sense of safety. I was protected by some supernatural force — that presence of maternal love, celestial sheltering. You gave my siblings and me values, but gosh you were a hard taskmaster! 

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Why am I my own teacher?

This is most certainly one of the more perplexing questions of our time. It is a perennial one, having been with us since time immemorial. To paraphrase Socrates (470-399 BC) “to know your self is the beginning of all wisdom.” (1) We are shocked when we realize that we have consciousness and exist in the world. This is comfortable in our adolescence, but as we age, we stumble upon those pervasive and lingering questions. “Is everyone like me? Do they think like me? Do they feel like me? Am I awake?”  

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To be free, spiritually, emotionally and financially is your birthright.