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Ever since my dear sister Chana, of blessed memory, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly, when it comes time to say goodbye to someone, I often reflect on whether this will be the last time I see this person or they see me. Mind you, not in a morbid way, but when I think about it, it is another alert for me to wake up and savor the moment in a deeper way. Here is why . . .
The truth is that saying goodbye for the day to a coworker is not much different than saying goodbye to someone you know you won’t see for a long time. Why? Because if you are staying in the moment – the future and the past are equally just illusions. The future is only a probability. Sure the probability you will see your co-worker is more than saying goodbye to a friend moving overseas but one must realize that it is only varying probabilities not a certainty.
The Noble Man knows that uncertainty, not knowing what is next, is one of the greatest gifts we have been given! It is what makes life full and is what keeps us alert and awake to life. The fact is that people who run through their lives in a walking sleep, live in the past or in an imagined but equally illusory future.
Live the moment of goodbye, see it as a celebration of a connection made. And what about the pain? It is unavoidable. The desire to unite and connect (spiritually, sexually, or otherwise) with another person is the greatest pleasure we have and so it holds that disconnection is among the most painful things. It is this pain that is natural. Sadness on the other hand is a different story. Sadness is defined as “Causing sorrow or gloom” and this is represented by you projecting these emotions into the future. A nobleman has a higher purpose in life that is based on savoring the present and helping those around you do the same. Acknowledging the pain of separation is natural – dwelling on it until it becomes sadness and projecting your emotions into an illusory future is unhealthy. Remember you do not know what the future holds and what the true meaning of this separation is! Not knowing the future is a wonderful thing! A great description of a hell is knowing exactly what was going to happen to you every moment of the day! Acknowledge the pain of goodbyes, savor a connection made, but get back on your path!
Shortly after birth, we all make the decision subconsciously to believe that the purpose of living is to escape pain and/ or pursue pleasure. Untold stories throughout every culture and tradition show that using this decision to lead your life leads nowhere. We can explore this more in another post but to be awake as a man, you must continually question this premise made several moments after birth. It follows that the one requirement for waking up and charting your course is to questions this basic premise. Sit now for a moment and look at the last several decisions you have made with your life and examine whether or not those decisions were made based on this first decision.
Every religion and especially the mystical traditions give instructions that are the same in regards to what your first step is. In Christianity, it is to renounce, renounce your ownership of your personality and realize that it is a largely a collection of subconscious decisions and reactions. In Judaism, it talks about becoming a “shomer” or literally a watcher. Lets face it, 99% of us are largely like a machine with buttons that can be pushed with predictable reactions, not exactly charting our own course. Once you break away from that basic decision, there is a frame of reference you can develop that is a higher aspect of yourself. Initially this part of yourself is weak and must be built strong through exercise. It is a life-long pursuit with many hills and valleys. Step aside, renounce or cease owning your personality and become a watcher of yourself as though you were looking through a glass ceiling in the room. You have the power to tap into a higher aspect of yourself and liberate who you really are – and you are more than you ever think.
The aim of the noble man is to be awake to truth at all moments, to get rid of the screen of personality, judgment, and imposed suggestions and liberate your true self. The most real part of the majority of people is not really real at all but is made mainly of layer upon layer of personality, suggestion, and the pursuit of pleasure or avoidance of pain. The nobleman’s aim here is not to wake them up – they need to come to it on their own accord but to raise the mood of the interaction and let them see that you are living truth through example. It should also serve to remind you to be a watcher! It is then that they may approach you and ask you what it is you are in to. It is only then that you should share your path of the nobleman!
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Freely adapted from work of Gerald Epstein, MD and Rhondell
You were born an innocent child. The beauty of infants is in the new and palpable sense of wonder of what may come and the great potential that they have. As we grow, somewhere along the line we take on anxieties and guilt for things. This guilt can damage your self image and make you feel a tremendous amount of self- doubt.
Decide right now that you are going to be a person that can look at the situations of your life and at least forgive yourself for things that you may have done or things that you failed at. You have to give yourself the permission to fail at things, its ok, and its part of the learning experience. It is when you retreat from failure and then avoid those situations and enter your comfortable coccoon of an existence that you begin to self-doubt for lack of overcoming those obstacles and retreating from the world.
Comfort is a double edged sword. The comfort that leads to laziness is the one that must be battled constantly, it will damage your self esteem and lead to self-doubt. You need a project, a higher mission in life to be a noble man. The opposite of comfort in this setting is not discomfort, it is sincere striving, it is characterized by an intense positive energy that can fill every aspect of your life but it is not comfort. As a noble man, you move from goal to goal elevating people along the way. Stay out of other peoples heads and don’t over analyze people, you are on a mission and have positive work to do.
The great men of history did not stop when failure arose, they looked it as another way NOT to achieve what they were trying to do and hence closer to their goal. You can adopt this attitude. I know people who are actually happy when they fail at something because they have so internalized this lesson, that they know that they are closer to the goal they have set than before the failure.
You must engage the world, accept failure as the true recognition that you are on a mission, learn and go at it again. Do not doubt yourself. You are new everyday of your life, forgive yourself, if you are fortunate to have today, then yesterday’s lessons can allow you to live a whole new life today, filled with strength, optimism, and belief in yourself. Be the man!! Because you owe to it yourself and to the world!!
“He makes people pleased with him by making them first pleased with themselves.”
“My son, here is the way to get people to like you. Make every person like himself a little better and I promise that he or she will like you very much”
Lord Chesterfield wrote the above in a letter to his son, these letters were then published years later. As you go about your day and life you will inevitably find people who are not living up to their potential. You raise them up by studying them and finding an attribute that is positive, getting them to express it, and then praising them for it. Do not reward them for it before they have expressed it! You may discover this attribute before they express it through observation. Only when they have expressed it should you reward or praise them for it. If you do before that, the person will not feel it to be sincere, even if it is true. This is a very important concept to remember and live by.
Once you recognize that positive attribute, draw it out of them by showing sincere interest in it, and then let them talk and express it through open ended questions, then reward them for it. If they have low self-esteem or for other reasons, it may be difficult to get them to talk about it and you may need to put a little pressure on them by asking them an open ended question and remaining strong and silent and waiting for them to express what you know is true.
Emerson said “Our chief want in life is someone who shall make us do what we can.” Don’t ever be afraid to hold people to high standards! Ultimately, that is what they want! The benefits of doing this are two-fold, you improve the person and even if there is resistance, they will end up respecting you greatly.
The man who possesses noble masculinity is in a never ending exercise of raising people up in the way described by great men like Emerson and Chesterfield. It is through this method that you show your interest in humanity as an active participant and an upholder of noble masculine virtues that enhance your status and improve the lives of others.
Freely adapted and interpreted from the following books.
Lord Chesterfield’s Letters
Positive Imaging : The Powerful Way to Change Your Life by Norman Vincent Peale
Do you know why you strive for the things you desire? Have you analyzed the motivations for goals?
The nobleman’s reasons for any specific goal relate to the reward of actually achieving that goal, never any of its accompanying benefits. The nobleman realizes that noble masculinity requires of one to be honest with himself, we do not delude ourselves by trying to achieve things to make up for a lack of other skills. One doesn’t desire riches because one is deficient in other areas and think that riches will make up for a lack in another realm of your life, to use an example. Examine why you desire the things you do! Will the achievement of that goal lead to another grander one? If it does not or you can not imagine that it will, you should really re-assess your goals.
Through honest searching of your strengths and weaknesses, the nobleman isolates those deficits that are worthy of correction and makes it a distinct goal to overcome these deficits. He does not overcompensate in one area in order to make up for lack in another. He does not make the mistaken assumption that by achieving in one area it will somehow make up for another.
I know many friends that have spent their lives pursuing money and riches with the notion that this will bring them success with women and lead to happiness. The nobleman works in a different way. If he is unsuccessful with women for example, he will make it a sincere goal to overcome this problem through diligent work and making contacts and learning from those who are successful. A nobleman does not overcompensate for a lack, when a lack is discovered a new goal is formed, if it is deemed important for his constant growth.
The lesson here is that noble masculinity requires of a man to be honest with his defects and strong enough to make a plan to overcome and excel at them.
The nobleman is a scientific observer of human interactions. When someone rubs you the wrong way, it is important to remain as unemotional as possible and switch to observer mode. When in this mode even your gaze can overcome potential conflict. Your gaze communicates the feeling that you are unmoved by their behavior and are curious as to why they are behaving this way.
In your neverending quest for social mastery, you must begin to love your role as someone who is truly interested in humanity, even segments which you don’t like. The nobleman is not free from dislike or even hate of those who are evil, but it doesn’t affect him like others. The normal man will get a physical reaction, stress, and disrupted thinking from those he hates. The nobleman greets the emotion of dislike or hate from another direction. He looks at it as a scientific observer and decides whether or not it is worth his energy or should he move on to productive activity and interactions. When he makes that decision he will leave the emotion and its accompanying bad side effects behind.
The nobleman has a sensitive moral compass but he does not let evil or dislike affect him in such a way to derail him from his lofty aims. The worst side effect of dislike and hate (besides the physical reactions and stress) is to take precious time away from moving toward one of your many aims.
All of this is of course very difficult. In your quiet moments of reflection or prayer or meditation, try to spend some time, distancing yourself from being invested in dislike and hate, see it being bounced off of you. You don’t have to love those you hate or annoy you, that is unrealistic. The nobleman constantly strives to honestly acknowledge that emotion, takes a look at it as a scientific observer especially in the midst of an interaction, remain detached as much as possible, and move on to better things.
Freely adapted and interpreted based on material from Positive Imaging by Norman Vincent Peale
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