In Gratitude: I Express My Gratitude to You
Simple Keys to a Fuller Life
I want to express my gratitude for the countless blessings and miracles in my life. From interpreting for presidents at the top levels of international politics to helping dying patients as a hospice nurse to transition from this world with as little pain and as much joy as possible; from being involved in several of the most loving, nurturing communities you can imagine to developing rich and meaningful relationships with some of the most knowledgeable and inspiring individuals in the world; from helping people to better understand all that is going on deep behind the scenes in our world to a fascinating article about my transformative work being published on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, my life has been incredibly fun, rich, and exciting.
One simple, yet very memorable example of a small miracle happened over 10 years ago while I was resting on the comfortable bed in my hotel room after a particularly enjoyable day of interpreting. As I relaxed there, I began to experience an uncomfortable pain in my stomach. I knew that physical pain often has its roots in deeper emotional or spiritual causes, so I explored within myself and managed to find and shift what I suspected was the underlying cause of this pain. As soon as I did this, the pain disappeared.
In that magical moment, I felt so grateful that I sent out a heartfelt message to the universe that I wanted to give something back as a way to express my gratitude for all the joy and many blessings that I've been given in my life. Almost immediately, the idea came into my mind to share the simple life principles I had learned early on, which are a major reason my life has been so deeply fulfilling. Thus was born the inspiration to write "Simple Keys to a Fuller Life," which I share with you here below as way to express my gratitude. May this essay in some way touch and inspire you to live an ever richer and fuller life.
With all my gratitude and wishing you ever more love, joy, and fulfillment in your life,
Fred Burks for PEERS and WantToKnow.info
P.S. Just a note that I've had some serious challenges in my life, too. Yet by applying the principles below to the difficulties that have shown up, almost always they have turned into rich learning experiences for which I feel so much gratitude. Some of my most deep and powerful experiences came from big challenges that were completely transformed. And note that this is a two-page summary. For the full eight-page essay, click here.
Simple Keys to a Fuller Life
What's Best for All
The Power of Choice. Every one of us
makes countless choices every day. Every choice we make has an impact on
our lives. Even insignificant choices can affect what we experience
and how we feel. When hunger strikes,
we can reach for a healthy, nutritious snack, or we can choose the sugar
high of junk food. The more important the decision,
the more profound its effect. For instance, how do I act towards that person
who treated me badly? Do
I generally choose to be passive, or do I actively set clear intentions and create what I want in my life? Every choice we make, however big or small, affects us in some
How Do You Make Choices? If you are interested in living a richer, fuller life, there is a
foundation upon which you can base all of your decisions which can make
life better not only for you, but also for those around you. This foundation
is to choose based on what's best for all. Imagine a world where every parent,
spouse, friend, teacher, businessperson, and politician truly did their
best to choose what's best for all involved in every decision they made.
We would certainly live in a more caring, supportive world.
It's the Intention. "But
how do I know what is really best?" you might ask. The answer is simple.
It doesn't matter. What matters is not the choice you make, but rather the
intention behind your choice. What matters is
that whatever decision you make, you are clear in your intention of choosing
based on what's best for all. If it later turns out that
you made what appears to have been a bad choice, there's no need for guilt.
Knowing that you did your best to choose with a sincere desire
for what's best for all, your conscience stays clear and open. This then
allows you to more easily learn from your mistakes, and to live with a clear
heart and mind.
What's Best for Me, Too! Choosing what's best does not mean you have to always sacrifice yourself
for others. An overly exhausted mother can lose her temper easily. Some
time off for this mother might seem selfish, yet in the long run, it can
help her to be a better mother to her children. So
as we move through each day of our lives, let us remember to include ourselves as we do our best to choose what's
best for all.
Many Meanings for Divine. Guidance can come from many sources. Yet by opening to guidance from the divine, we open to the support of
powerful forces greater than ourselves. The divine has different meanings for different people, whether it be God, Creator, Jehovah, Allah, or Great Spirit. Yet even if you don't believe
in any of these, consider the possibility that there is a very
wise part of yourself—a higher self or a deeper self—which
can provide you with guidance. What is important is that we open to this presence, however we choose to define the divine, and that we consciously invite
this powerful guidance into our daily lives.
All Requests Only if it's
Best. When seeking divine guidance with a specific result, be sure to end with "only
if this is what's best for all." There are times when what's best is not what's easiest
or most enjoyable. Sometimes unwanted or unexpected challenges, difficult situations,
and even pain can teach us important lessons that in the long run help us
to enjoy life more fully. When we choose to see all experiences
as gifts from the divine and opportunities for growth and understanding,
we open to a deeper level of divine guidance.
Acceptance and Understanding
Essence. Deep down we are all beautiful beings worthy of love and support.
The sweet innocence of babies and young children is a clear example of this.
Yet for most of us, the shining essence with which we came into this life became obscured
over the years as our family and others were unable to give us the kind of
unconditional love and support we so craved. As children,
when we were repeatedly told that we were not good enough or were punished
just for being who we are, thick layers of confusion and doubt developed,
clouding our divine essence. Layers of fear and insecurity were woven into
The Mask. By the time we are grown, most of us have developed a protective mask
or persona to hide these layers of fear and insecurity from others, and at
times even from ourselves. Outwardly we might appear happy or content,
yet on the inside most of us to varying degrees feel unhappy with who we are. Yet beneath it all, that shining essence is still there. No matter how much we may have forgotten, no matter
how thick those overshadowing layers may be, our beautiful core essence is and has always been there.
Accepting and Understanding
Myself. By choosing to accept and understand all of who you are—both your deep
shining essence and the layers of dark clouds within—you can invite that beautiful inner essence
to shine through the clouds and to shine again in your life. When fears,
dark thoughts, or difficult emotions arise, first choose
to accept that they are there. Then work towards understanding these dark clouds and where
they came from. Ask for divine guidance as you explore and transform these dark places.
Courage. It takes
courage to accept and work to understand our fears and weaknesses. Yet by doing our best
to be fully ourselves in all our strengths and weaknesses, our relationships
can grow richer, deeper, and more meaningful. This may be challenging, as some people are unable or unwilling to accept certain
parts of us. Yet as those around us see us becoming more real and honest with
them, many will also be inspired to be more real and honest with us. Thus,
instead of continually avoiding or denying those clouds or dark layers in
both ourselves and others, we open to a deeper, more authentic way of living
and of relating to others.
and Understanding Others. As
you develop greater acceptance and understanding of yourself, you will notice that others, too, have lost touch with their shining core essence. As you work to accept and understand yourself,
it is most important that you choose also to give this gift to those around
you. Acceptance of what is, coupled
with understanding of what we can change and what we cannot, allows us to find the courage to
be all that we can be, and to empower others in doing the same.
Love and Empowerment
Let me start with myself. I will do my best to love and empower myself to be the best I can be every day of my life. By
making this commitment to yourself, it becomes
easier to love and empower those around you. But do you really want to give this gift
to all other people?
What if you really don't like someone? In this case, you can remind yourself that it is usually a person's
personality that you don't like—the mask or dark clouds blocking their deeper
essence. Remember that beneath the mask is a shining
divine essence. While acknowledging those parts you don't like,
do your best to empower the shining being
hidden beneath the mask or personality that you don't like. You can choose
to love and empower the divine spark within all.
Judgment. Judging someone to be bad as a person does not empower or inspire anyone to
be a better person. When you
find yourself feeling negative judgment, first acknowledge the part of you
that wants to judge—the part that wants to be right or better than
others. Then do your
best to learn from your judgment and let
it go. Open to finding first acceptance, and then understanding and love both
for you and for the person you judged. Choose
to let your last thought always be that of love.
Stopping harm. What if someone does something that
is clearly wrong or causes harm? In this case, be firm and
take whatever action you feel is best to stop harm. Enforcing a serious
consequence with someone who has acted out of extreme self-interest may
be the most loving, empowering action you can take. Yet even as you take
to seeing the inner turmoil that causes people to do harm. You can act
from a place of love and support, even while firmly
stopping someone from doing wrong or causing harm. Through choosing to see
beneath all of the pain, suffering, and hatred, and to recognize and connect with the divine essence within even those who would do us harm, not only
do we heal the world, we heal ourselves.
Imagine… Imagine for
a moment a world where all people truly did their best to love and empower
each other. Imagine if a significant number of the people on this planet
truly did their best to live by these simple keys. You
can choose to become one of those people right now. You can choose to make
your life and our world a better place. It is fully
possible. There are people of all races, religions, and beliefs around the
globe already committed to living by these or similar ideals. Let us then
choose with an open mind and heart to add to their numbers. Let us
choose every day of our lives to do what's best for all, to open to divine guidance, to accept and understand, and to love and empower ourselves and all around us to be the best that we can be.
For the full, eight-page version of Simple Keys: www.weboflove.org/keystolife
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