I love this word: extra — ordinary! It suggests bigger than what exists, larger than the average. — an opportunity to imagine something greater than endures at present.
In our zeitgeist, unfortunately, the term has become abused — overused, in fact! We are summoned to live exceptional lives or to have astonishing experiences. But, of course, most of us do not exist in these external superlatives. We are, nonetheless, bombarded with images from the Internet. This manipulates many people into living mostly vicarious lives in the blind pursuit of fame, riches, and glory: the capitalistic dream of economic achievement. All this marketing nonsense is simply designed to heighten our consumptive desires. (1) Don’t you want to look wealthy like your favorite, chique billionaire? Then, drive this particular Land Rover, etc., etc.
There is nothing wrong with physical wealth. It is wonderful to be able to live a good life and assist your family and friends. The problem arrives, in my estimation, when we look to extrinsic factors to live astounding lives. You must ask yourself, “Why does a man — usually men — kill himself when he loses all his money? Obviously, his lucre has defined him. Movie stars or people of immense fame also encounter the same kind of denial and anger. (2)
The conflict is not with society, it is with me. I must begin at the beginning when I am 20 years old or so — my first blush with consciousness. After prayer and introspection, I realize that I am distinct from my social identity, I am unique. I am extraordinary just by the fact of being alive. There is no one like me, there never has been, and there never will be. But, I am only a raw diamond, an unfinished tableau, an incomplete novel. Without an effort placed on my growth — spiritual, physical, and psychological — I remain nothing. I continue, perhaps for my lifetime, in an unfulfilled state.
Now to my development: firstly, my notebook is called for. Every single day, I begin to chronicle my special talents, my gifts. Which ones are innate and which ones must be developed? Prayer: have I developed a special relationship with God, Gaia, or the Universe — the maker of all things? Then, after my formal education, my thoughts and beliefs are put into action, again and again, and again. I accept that failure and loss are the necessary stripes of maturity. Without these struggles, success can never be achieved. And then, there it is — Flow. (3) I have arrived at what is extraordinary in me.
After further practice, I can present my contribution to society. It cannot be taken away from me by loss or rejection because it dictates who I am. I have become a person who is truly extraordinary. When Gandhi (4) died he owned six items, including his glasses, yet he changed the way we view peace and he further liberated India. He leaves us with his thoughts: Carefully watch your thoughts, for they become your words. Manage and watch your words, for they will become your actions. Consider and judge your actions, for they become your habits. Acknowledge and watch your habits, for they shall become your values. Understand and embrace your values, for they become your destiny.
A closing thought: It is important to draw a distinction between vanity and a true understanding of your attributes. We experience this when we meet people for the first time. The truly powerful do not boast of their accomplishments in the world of business, romance, or life. They are modest and yet all-powerful. The Dalai Lama (5) is a living example of this strength.
To sum up: This week, we spoke about being extraordinary. It is an undeveloped quality in all people.
To be noted: From Benjamin Franklin (6) — After crosses and losses, men grow humbler and wiser.
Just for fun:
This week, on your pensive walk, please reflect on what your extraordinary nature means to you.
Every day look for something magical and beautiful.
Don’t be a wage slave –critical thinking is great!
Quote: I am nothing without effort.