What Makes Life Worth Living?

To follow is an introspective exercise to help elicit and recognize the particular values we hold dear. Unfortunately, sometimes our values remain unexpressed and vaguely understood. We may intuit them but they are neither clear nor precise. For instance, David claims to value freedom above all else. Does he mean the freedom to murder or sexually exploit others? Exactly what sort of freedom is he talking about? Unless we give definition to our values we are bound for inertia and apathy. Now should David say that by freedom he means the right to pursue happiness, then it becomes possible that he is confusing happiness with freedom. These terms don’t mean the same thing. One can be free but not happy, and vice versa. So after pressing David further, to explain what he means, he says mental freedom. That might narrow it down somewhat but his answer remains too broad. The goal of this exercise is not for me to define your values but to share a video with you that may help open your mind to what truly matters to you. As you listen closely trust in your inner logos (reason) to bring into awareness the values that truly motivate and shape your life. Click play on the video above and write down your answers as you go. Once the presentation is complete you may compare your notes with my list of values below. While you compare feel free to adapt and modify your list so that they better represent your core values. Then order them from the most important to the least. You may share your top 5 values in the comment section. It is my hope to address some of them in a future talk and demonstrate how virtues can act as the means to actualize our values. Click here to access my list of general values but be sure to watch the video first.

Love & light,

JY

 

 

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Posted in Meditation, Self Development | Tagged , , | 17 Comments

ON PATIENCE

“Patience is the voluntary and prolonged endurance of arduous
and difficult things for the sake of virtue or profit.” – Cicero

How often have we heard others complaining about not having enough patience? What about yourself? Taking an honest look at the areas of our life where we lack resolve and determination can be likened to facing a nasty demon of sorts, but to slay the dragon we may need the full armour of patience. The objective in my video talk above is to convey the importance and necessity of this virtue; a skill that enables the full reach of our strengths. To compliment this introspective & educational presentation, I’ve included a very challenging yet practical exercise to help strengthen the muscle of patience.

Love & light,

JY

 

 

Posted in advice, Self Development | Tagged , , | 15 Comments

Our Inner Child Awaits

He awoke from a deep sleep not knowing himself.
His past no longer accessible.
Baffled and confused he staggered down the hall way.
Where he happened upon a drawer with a mirror.
His reflection was that of an old man.
The lines in his forehead suggested a life time of worry.
He couldn’t imagine what for.
What else might these aging lines confess?
Anticipation – his face lit up with hope!
Something good was about to happen.
‘Hehehe’, laughter dissolves his clinging.
A little girl grinning looked up at the old man.
Poppy! Why are you looking at yourself?
Oh my heavens! What do we have here asked the man.
Poppy it’s me. Why are you staring at yourself in the mirror?
Not sure my little dove.
Have you forgotten who you are again?
Why, yes, it certainly appears that way.
You are my poppy and I am a princess said the little girl.
A princess! My goodness what a wonderful princess you are!
‘Hehehe’, now you must dance with me?
Yes of course, how might we do that exactly?
You have to lift me up and hold me close.
Got it … oh this is dandy! What’s next?
Now swing me around and sing to me.
Figalo, figalo, round & round we go!
Piccolo, piccolo, beating drums & a banjo!
This is so much fun Poppy! Now it’s your turn to be king.
Very well sweat pea but all I want to do is sing.
Then sing we shall, about everything!

None of us is an island onto our self, for much of our lives are situational. We receive a sense of who we are through our interaction with others and in time come to know our place in it. Often we confuse our positions & roles with the actual ground of our being. That is we forget about the wonder of simply being present to things as they happen. Yet our inner-child awaits us, always eager to participate & play. Eventually the barriers fall away, through crude awakening or sometimes by slow decay. We return to what we are, warmly lit as a shining star.

Click on the image above to hear the poet turn his words into love.

Love & light,

JY

 

 

Posted in Poetry | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

Chimney Smoke

Chimney smoke rising up into the cold air
Still warm and careless as young love
Expanding with the first touch of morning wind
Like an Englishman’s old white powdered wig
Prancing along the roof tops without cloths
Caressing the ridge & sloping hips as it goes
With every twirly curl it gradually comes undone
Fading under the eagle’s wings of a rising sun
Yet how we forget the spark that first ignited
While the kindle lay in the ash of a wood stove
As pure potential before its heavenward rove
Our need for warmth a yearning to be united.

By Jason Youngman
November 2018

My photo above is of the Narrows leading into the Harbour of St. John’s, Newfoundland. The village on the left is The Battery and the development on the other side of the narrows is called Fort Amherst. It’s a very scenic place for hiking and taking lovely photos.

 

 

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Beautiful Moments – My Home & Native Land

Fell in love with St. John’s, Newfoundland back in the early 90’s. One of the most inspiring aspects of the locale is its beautiful trails in and around the capital. See my video above for a few sights that may take your breath away. Hopefully my guitar arrangement will enhance your experience and give you a feel for the invigoration that so often springs forth for those who visit this place.

Love & light,

JY

 

 

Posted in Beauty, Music | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

Self Affirmations – Weaving the Fabric of Love

Here are a few of my newly created self-affirmations but before we get into them allow me to explain the general idea behind this concept. Ideally, affirmations help to fortify any number of characteristics unique to the human being. There are occasions when we may want to pick out attributes that need to be reinforced in our lives. So for instance, if Tracey finds herself overly angry and quarrelsome, it may be to her advantage to reflect on qualities that go contrary to her disposition, hence affirmations based on loving kindness & forgiveness may help her to override or soften her irritableness and in turn foster conditions by which to better relate with others and attain more peace of mind.

Another important feature of developing a positive self-affirmation is that it enables us to create our own lives. Rather than blindly accept the scripts imposed upon us through family, friends and media, affirmations are a means to establish and strengthen the values we actively choose to live by. Repetition being a sensible way to condition ourselves, it is helpful to repeat self-affirmations again and again. The more colourful the affirmation is articulated, so as to engage all our senses and the more vivid they appear in our imagination, the more substance the mind has to work with to manifest. Without further ado, here are four of my recent creations in the form of a couplet:

How delightful it is for me to mindfully eat nutritious food,
And as a result improve my equanimity & daily mood.

My moderate diet enhances my concentration & focus,
Enabling good choices to stem from my inner locus.

There is much joy in learning through empathic listening,
A loyal means of building trust, to keep our heart a glistening.

What deep abiding gratitude grows in my heart each day,
While contemplating beauty, goodness & truth in its vast array.

Let’s address the first affirmation in order to explain the reasoning process of phrasing it as is. Right from the get go we have a positive emotion associated with the desired behaviour to be enacted. Then we have the active agent by which to acquire the desired result, namely mindfulness coupled with healthy eating habits. In the end we have the objective to be attained, that is equanimity and better moods, qualities that aid one in alleviating suffering or enhancing well-being, which incidentally reveals a significant aspect of my value system.

So now that we have taken a basic look at the ins and outs of my analytical approach to crafting affirmations, it would be my pleasure to read your favorite self-affirmation. Why not string one together and exercise it for a month. At the very least it will serve as a reminder to keep your values in the forefront of your day.

Love & light

JY

 

 

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Synchronicity – The Kiss of Life

“Contrary to the kiss of death, which implies failure and doom, synchronicity
is the kiss of life, for it is the mark of a fortuitous moment that pervades the
soul with a sense of interconnected belonging and cosmic purpose.”

Synchronicity can be defined as the simultaneous occurrence of events that appear meaningful and/or significantly related but have no causal connection as such. Just about all of us have experienced it at one time or another. They often leave us with a feeling that things are as they ought to be. That there is a greater intelligence at play in the universe in which we are part and parcel with. Even though our critical side may play the phenomena down to mere chance, some of these encounters are too significant to rationally explain away. Conversely, the associated video helps to make very good sense of the concept. In fact it provides an eloquent rendition of synchronicity, paired with images that seem to warmly light up the way for a more lush and colourful apprehension of its nature.

Love & light,

JY

 

 

Posted in Psychology, Spirituality | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

The first hour of the day sets the tone & directs the way

What we do during the first hour of the day often sets the tone for what follows. Whether we are living successful lives or not, that which retains our condition in life, for the most part comes down to our quality of habits & rituals. Allow me to demonstrate:

Could you foresee yourself waking up every morning on the dot, getting fully dressed, drinking a large glass of water and then going for a walk? During your stroll around the neighbourhood you repeat positive affirmations in your mind, and then ponder the various things for which you are grateful, followed with envisioning yourself participating in the most essential items of the day.

What do you suppose would happen if you continued with this ritual for 40 days? For starters it would probably be difficult to break from the new habit. Permeating your days with clarity, focus and energy is not something most people would likely want to wish away. Now imagine how you would feel if you continued with this practice for a year? From this perspective it is easy to see how the fabric of healthy habits is the means to fortify strong character and sustain well-being.

Aligning our rituals or patterns of living with a realistic standard, one in which is conducive to the common good, is a balancing act of sorts; living a life of integrity is a rewarding one, yet it requires daily deposits and effort to maintain such congruency. The first hour of the day can truly be the means to direct your way.

Image above was taken in my neighbourhood. Click here to view in high definition.

 

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On the Emergence into Life

On the descent of the soul into body, the Philosopher Plotinus explains the reason for our emergence into life. He holds to the notion that the universe is filled with souls in order to make it complete. It is here in the sense-realm that the soul is to manifest its powers, ‘which if they had remained dormant in the spiritual world would have been of no use because they would never have come into actuality.’

So while we reside in this world our mission is to participate in a work fitting to our nature; that is our enlightened nature which remains unscathed and unperturbed. But how do we know if this is true? Plotinus boldly expresses his opinion by stating that in some way our souls remain connected with its source. According to him ‘our soul does not altogether come down, but there is always something of it’ that remains in ‘the spiritual world’.

But take a good look around? Why are there so many people opposed to this kind of relational orientation? Plotinus gives an intelligent answer to this question: When the part of the soul which remains ‘in the world of sense-perception gets control and is therefore thrown into confusion, it prevents us from perceiving the things which the upper part of the soul contemplates.’ In other words the disorientation comes about like an Actor who becomes strongly fixated on his theatrical role and forgets his former self. Simply put we lose ourselves in the drama.

So the question we may have to ask ourselves is whether or not some aspect of our psyche is able to commune with a higher power. What needs to take place for us to accept such a notion? Either way, what does our upper soul do? According to Plotinus it ‘maintains the beauty and order of the whole in effortless transcendence…’

So in that spirit here is my natural and spontaneous interpretation of such art. Click on the image above to access my video On the Emergence into Life.

Love & light,

JY

 

 

Posted in Philosophy, Poetry, Spirituality | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

Ovid’s Metamorphoses – The Creation of the World

There are a number of creation myths in circulation but none quite elegant as that presented in Ovid’s Metamorphoses. In his rendition we are taken up in the spirit as though present to the god like forces that brought the cosmos into existence. A vision not possible through ordinary consciousness but made accessible through the medium of poetry. May my recitation in the video above give spark to your imagination, so as to open your inner eye to the truth contained in ancient myth…

Love & light,

JY

“Love is the force that leaves you colourless” ― Ovid, Metamorphoses

 

 

Posted in Poetry | Tagged , , | 2 Comments