"The ends do not justify the means for me, and it is faulty reasoning to look at results and guess at motivation.” This quote from one of the characters in my novel, The Lafarnge Chronicles: the Fellowship of the Heart (coming soon), raises an issue when we think about our responses to and relationships with others. When we look at outcomes, the ends, we don’t always know the intents, the means, of others’ hearts; we don’t know their motivations. Guessing at such can create huge problems. That is why we need to be honest with ourselves and judge our own motivations when we engage in judging others. Do we want a solid, functioning, fulfilling relationship with that other person, or do we want to be right, thereby, making them wrong? We can be right all day long looking at things from our own perspective. We can be right about everything and anything in our own rationalizations, but we will find ourselves alone, distressed, depressed, and repressed. Beyond that, we might find ourselves in a direct conflict with the person who we judge—unpleasant at best, dangerous at worst.
The other side of the coin should be considered by those who wish to move in the fellowship of the heart. As we mature spiritually and increasingly awaken to self, we should realize the dangers of justifying questionable actions towards others in order to gain what we might deem a desirable outcome—sacrifice a person or principle in order to achieve an end that we feel is worthy. If we say that we will go out with a friend but a better offer comes along, then does the end of more fun justify blowing off our friend and breaking our word? If we think that our form of government is superior to others, do we justify war which causes death in order to impose our standards on another nation? (I’m not necessarily speaking of taking up the cause of those who ask for and need help; however, I’m also not saying that we should engage in war to help those who we decide need it.
This huge topic could get unwieldy, but I hope that I have written something that will help you think and discover truth about yourself. For those in the fellowship of the heart, the ends never justify the means because that idea always equates to doing something dishonest or harmful to others to gain a perceived benefit. It is also harmful to judge what others have done and to conclude that their motivation and actions to reach that end were faulty. Let’s test what we do moment by moment by the voice of our own hearts.
I would like to give you a practical example that illustrates why I make a distinction between passion, enthusiasm, and zeal. I hope that it will simply help you discover things for and about yourself. On August 31, 2012, about a year after I left classroom teaching, I discovered the passion that would drive my life: I am a writer, a writer who desires to continue the passion that I had for education to help others be discoverers, discoverers of self, discoverers of their own passions, discoverers of life in all its joy, fullness, peace, love, and significance.
When writing became my passion, I really focused on it and wrote in enthusiastic spurts. Since then, I completed a volume of poetry, started a second one, wrote a novel, started a second one, and have written things like this. I know, though, that enthusiastic spurts do not make a writer. So, while I had a passion that I knew would majorly impact my life, and while when I did write I was enthusiastic, I still did not have that untiring pursuit of zeal that results in a daily devotion to live my passion.
I had to make some extra money, though, because writing wasn’t going to do that for me in the near future. Once I had my epiphany, I still had to make a living, but I did not exercise that zeal which would subjugate and channel all other efforts into my passion and enable me to work enthusiastically at writing—day by day.
Sometimes analogies help. Passion occurs when a person decides she or he is a sculptor. That person lays eyes on a massive piece of marble or limestone. “Yes, that is it!” Then, enthusiasm sees what that stone will become, and the sculptor is excited about it, works on it, and begins transforming passion into vision. Ultimately, though, to reach that vision, zeal is needed as each tiny chip, tiny cut is made, because it takes a while and mistakes can be made and people can criticize, but zeal gives that untiring pursuit to endure to make that vision, borne from passion and conceived in enthusiasm, into reality. I hope that you will have such a vision for yourself that allows you to experience the joys implicit in the process of living passion, enthusiasm, and zeal.
Passion + Enthusiasm + Zeal = Visions Accomplished
A young friend of mine suggested that I give a background for why I desire to write and educate. A base canvas, as it were, on which I will sketch out those ideas and activities in which I engage. I believe now as I did when I taught English at the middle and high school levels: all people have wonderful dreams and talents and abilities and personality and latent contributions and love bound up inside of them. When in the classroom, I told my students that I knew there were many sitting in the room that were smarter than me. Yes, I might know more facts, but knowing facts doesn’t mean much.
What matters is simply discovering and knowing yourself, knowing how to set and achieve goals, and knowing how to think in order to enjoy life while heading towards those goals. I value people, and I believe we can create realities based on all those wonderful thoughts bound up in each of us. We need to use the immense energy and power that we each possess. I simply want my work to help you realize your abilities to learn, to know yourself and your passions, to create visions, and to walk into those visions. I want to encourage you to listen to your heart and then respond to your heart. That’s it! Discovery!
Oh, my young friend who suggested this, Steve Albers, lives the life that I hope for my students. What? No! not living in a mansion with garages full of luxury autos but rather listening to his heart and pursuing his dreams and passions. Don’t believe me? Check out Center Ice Brewing in a search engine. You’ll see! You’ll also see that he’s smarter than me. No lie!
Do you know what hinders the mission in the title of this post? All of us, at one point or another, seek fulfillment, happiness, love, friendship—almost everything that makes life worth living—in things like taking jobs that pay the most, hanging out with people who flatter us, loving someone who looks good, meeting others’ often well-meaning expectations, and many other external sources. The problem? Until we become aware of who we really are at the very core of our beings—what characterizes us, what motivates us, what delights us, what challenges us, what causes us to work like every second is a joy, i.e., until we realize who we are, what our truth is, and how we wish to express that–we will never be fulfilled, happy, loved, befriended, or any of those great things. Once, however, we discover self, once we become aware of self, then we begin to create those realities of significance, love, peace, joy, fulfillment, and all the good things that make life matter. So, while it is almost cliche to say that we need to find ourselves, the practical philosophy beyond that is we need to learn how to express that self every single day. The reason that does not happen is that most of those trudging through life looking for the greener grass are living according to the ego that is shaping us to become what or who everyone else thinks we should be. Many people are deceived because for awhile, sometimes a long while, their ego feels good because they are having fun and going places and doing exciting things, but they don’t really know who they are at their core because they have never really discovered their wonderful, unique spirit, and at some point, it all comes crashing down—unless, of course, they harden themselves to ever hearing their own heart, and then they become controllers of others in order to maintain their emotional states, denying and deceiving the true self. (I have often thought that this is what happens when very talented celebrities in many fields seem to fall apart in one way or another, or even worse, commit suicide. They seem to have it all–the talent, the money, the fame–but they have been listening to the siren call of many other expectations but have, for many reasons, muffled the clarion call of their own hearts.) The really practical part is that when we listen to our hearts—that part of ourselves that is often ignored because that part of our core being does not give a rat’s ass about what anyone else thinks or believes we should be or do—to repeat, when we listen to our hearts and truly discover self and are satisfied with that self, then all the other things flow—the love, the career of significance, the relationships of blessing. They flow because our spirit is then in flow with the Spirit of the Universe, the Spirit of all.
My hope for you is that you will be a discoverer, first of all of yourself via your heart and then a discoverer of all the sweetness of life about which your core self can be passionate and create dreams and visions and take action and make your life happen because you are being you.
I want to help you discover Self, Passion, Purpose, Dreams, Visions, Actions, and Realities.
When this happens, you are enriched and your heart’s desire is to enrich others, too, with your own rich, wonderful self. A true heart never seeks to harm, only to bless self and others; that is the flow of the Spirit of the Universe.
1.Do it: carve out five minutes to settle yourself–no cell, computer, tablet, no partner, no nothing–just you and yourself.
2. Directly address your heart with the questions you have about your life.
3. Listen for responses. They may not be direct answers but will definitely begin a conversation with the deepest part of yourself, your heart.
4. No matter how short the first response or how long, know that you are on the way to a fuller, more significant, satisfying life.
After you try this, leave a comment and let me know what’s going on. Feel free to comment on anything else about this post, too!
Questions to consider:
How many times have you asked yourself or simply thought about the following questions?
Who am I, really?
What is my truth?
How do my actions reveal what I really feel and believe?
What would I do with my life if I could do anything?
What is my passion?
Why am I here?
How can I discover answers to any of these questions?
If you have considered any of these questions, I hope that my experiences and writing will give you some guidance. Please read my blog and comment and share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you!