Set Forth into the Deep

This poem largely draws upon platonic thought so as to express how we have come to experience reality as separated beings. It encapsulates a world view no longer acceptable by the masses but for the poet it remains the fabric of heaven by which to colour and give contour to the ineffable. If it is true that our individuated souls repeatedly come in and out of existence, then surely we are free in part to say something good about this cyclic process. And should our rigid minds lack the intellectual valour for deductive reasoning, then at the very least we can ponder what it might be like to be wholly one and then to set forth into the deep in order to become our own radiant sun. Click on the image above to dance with me along the edge of time, let us light this great expanse with melodious measure & rhyme.

Love & light,

JY

 

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Seek First to Understand – Empathic Listening

Below are 10 suggestions to becoming an empathic listener. Please share your thoughts on the validity of these statements and/or tell us why cultivating the habit of seeking first to understand requires so much effort to master.

1. Practice saying “take your time, I’m listening” and really mean it.
2. Set aside your own agenda.
3. Be available and receptive emotionally as well as through body language.
4. Try to appreciate the other person’s point of view.
5. Listen without being in a hurry to take over.
6. Try to imagine yourself in the other’s place: feel what the speaker feels.
7. Help draw out thought and feeling by asking questions.
8. Have the speaker elaborate for further understanding.
9. Say “Let me make sure I understand” and then restate the issue.
10. Be sensitive to the speaker’s feelings.

Seek first to understand, then to be understood, is a social principle which can be applied in various situations while in dialogue with others. As we mature in this practice our ability to communicate is enhanced and our relationships are deepened. We attain more clarity and understanding of the content, as well as the other person or persons.

We all know what it is like when someone is genuinely interested in hearing what we have to say in a spirit of cooperation and fellowship. We feel that our point of view is validated and that our opinions actually matter. This in turn enables a degree of trust, a quality of comfort by which we can freely speak our minds and demonstrate our personal truth without the fear of condemnation.

Often we emphasize on the delivery of communication, yet listening is just as crucial and requires much work. Dialogue needs to flow both ways in order for it to be effective and meaningful. But not just any kind of listening will suffice. Attentive listening and selective listening certainly have their place in acquiring information. Whereas deep authentic dialogue, that which is conducive to vibrant relationships, requires empathic listening.

Empathic listening allows one to enter more fully into another’s frame of reference. It requires a degree of courage & sacrifice to entertain an idea from someone else’s point of view, especially if it goes against our own beliefs, and in so doing we take the risk of having to rethink our own thoughts on the matter. By seeing things from alternative perspectives, we may come to recognize our own short-sightedness and by consequence have to change our stance. Regardless of the vulnerable position we put ourselves in through empathic listening, the very act can alter and transform the relationship itself, enabling both parties to better relate with one another and to genuinely seek solutions that are mutually beneficial.

Love & light,

JY

 

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Creating Pathways of Peace

If put into action, the following biblical suggestions may help to reduce the psychological plaque to well-being. Such counsel is by no means a panacea fix for all individuals. Nevertheless it possesses a spirit or a certain kind of poise by which to navigate our way through rough waters and be open to pathways of peace. My compilation of scripture was taken from various translations of the new testament bible. The photo of the flower above puts me in mind of a star forming nebula. Orange represents creativity & action. In this context it is a sign for taking initiative to cultivate a path filled with beauty, harmony and splendour.

Reduce Criticism:

“Therefore, let’s no longer criticize each other. Instead, make up your mind not to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.” – Romans 14:13

“Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” – Matthew 7:3

“Don’t speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize and judge each other, then you are criticizing and judging God’s law.” – James 4:11

Reduce Complaining:

“Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and perverse generation, in which you shine as lights in the world”. – Philippians 2:14,15

“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” – 1 Timothy 6:6-8

“Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door.” – James 5:9

Reduce Condemning:

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” – Luke 6:37

“You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.” – Roman 2:1

“For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” – Matthew 12:36

Reduce Conflict:

“Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.” – 2 Timothy 2:23,24

“But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.” – Colossians 3:8

“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.” – James 4:1,2

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Click on my photo above to download it in high resolution and feel free to use my images to bring joy to others.

Love & light,

JY

 

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Between the Heart & Mind

A life void of pleasure may be dull and boring, or something far worse. You might ask what would be the sense of working hard at something if there is no reward in the end or at least some enjoyment along the way. Even in the doing there must be some kind of satisfaction to motivate ongoing action. Surely we need to feel somewhat good about the toil itself if we are to sustain effort; otherwise, the activity may become meaningless or even disdainful. The significance of this line of thought is that we cannot strictly remove feelings from our judgement; as in making calculated decisions resulting in reasonable outcomes. The heart and the head must be aligned if we wish to maintain equanimity. Now that which pulls us in a particular direction may be irrational in the beginning or during other intervals along the way. How we go about reconciling such opposing forces requires an understanding of both mental processes and that which stirs the heart. As for the later, I believe Dante provides a wonderful canto to express the way the mind and heart must go together to truly know integrity. Click here or on the image above to experience the profundity of such poetic wisdom.

Love & light,

JY

 

 

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An Endless Inferno begotten through the Privation of Spirit

Getting stuck in a rut ain’t nothing to scoff at. It can happen to anyone. To break its hold you may think it is only a matter of shaking things up and doing things differently. If only it could be so simple. All sorts of people get caught in very complex loops and by consequence run around aimlessly in circles trying to escape their fate. The various degrees of hell we create for ourselves may be subjective on the one hand and on the other a very real and mutually shared pattern of wretched behaviour. Being aware of the potential snares that bind us to a life of monotony and suffering is not enough to alter our course. Neither is trading one burden for another an actual way to emancipate ourselves from a bottomless existential pit. Dante engages the thinking of his generation to go where few have the courage to explore. He envelops the world with his poetry so as to shed light upon the various psychological aspects that keep us entombed in existence and sleep walking through life. To this day his work is revived because of its timeless relevance. By it we are encouraged to make sense of the absurdities and to bridge the gap of unknowing with meaning and thoughtful sentiments. The illusionary progression that holds sway over our world gradually fades as we delve deeper into the realm of soul, for the way out of the inferno is by going within. Click on the image above to encounter the spirit by which Dante courageously descended below.

Love & light,

JY

 

 

 

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The love of God – By Dante

The love of God, unutterable and perfect,
Flows into a pure soul…
The way that light rushes into a transparent object.
The more love that it finds, the more it gives itself;
So that, as we become clear and open,
The more complete the joy of loving is.
And the more souls who resonate together,
The greater the intensity of their love,
For mirror-like, each soul reflects the other.

By Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) of Florence, Italy.
Click on the image above to hear the poem brought back to life.

 

 

 

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What we do in secret sets the rudder

What shall I grow… In my secret garden,
No cold can blow… Our love cannot harden.

Into the deep… Where One divides in many,
We fall asleep… Embodied souls made heavy.

To plant the seed… In soil it now must grow,
Let it proceed… As above, so below.

Eternal Keep… Vision pristine and clear,
No eye shall weep… Nor heart give way to fear.

Reap what you sow… What leads into Gnosis,
Rid weeds of woe… That twist into neurosis.

Love to bestow… To give is to receive,
Paint like Van Gogh… You are what you believe.

Place in my soul… A never ending stream,
To fill this hole… That thirsts for the supreme.

You take the lead… Into the tomorrow,
You know my need… And the cause of sorrow.

Cut off from love… Experience is pain,
Yet being in love… Becomes our greatest gain.

What shall you grow… In your secret garden,
What do you owe… To grant lasting pardon.

By Jason Youngman
Summer of 2018

 

 

 

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A Pearl of the Night

A dream world that shifts from one image into the next
Neither connected with logical sequence or pattern
Simultaneously changing into becoming and nothingness
Breathing in and out at the same time without breath
You appeared in the middle of it all enshrouded in mist
But only for a moment before you fell back into bliss
My mouth opened up to call out your unspoken name
Then the wind blew it back from whence it came
Your memory morphed into something alien and misfit
The notion of you became me and my mind became split
Individuality slithered away leaving its scaly skin behind
It puffed into fairy dust that covered the earth and sky
Then floated away like a balloon without a goodbye
There it remained disguised yet never truly forgotten
Those with eyes to see remember what you have done
Urging consciousness to become an ‘I’ out of eternity
Now estranged in mystery you dance a perpetual swirl
Yet within this beautiful night you remain a priceless pearl

By Jason Youngman
Summer of 2018

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Every Writer Needs A Healthy Heart

For those of us who spend a great deal of time writing while seated at a desk, it is important to keep our bodies fit if we expect to keep our minds sharp and generating fresh ideas. In this article it is my intention to share a handful of useful tips that have helped me to keep my production capability strong and sustainable.

Some of my best thinking happens while walking outside. With fresh air the heart pushes more oxygen to the brain allowing thinking to become a breeze. Use this time to break down barriers, overcome obstacles and locate solutions to problems. Break up the ice to dive deep into the subconscious and bring back a net of ideas to keep the writing process going.

Green tea may not taste good initially but add some fresh lemon, ginseng and/or ginger for a super healthy brain potion to get the creative juices flowing. The time it takes to prepare a cup of tea is a great way to begin and maintain an essential habit. While waiting for the water to boil do several push-ups and/or sit-ups and/or squats. Keep a set of dumbbells nearby and work your biceps, triceps and/or shoulders. The objective is to get both a cardio and strength workout in before the water boils. Then use the time it takes for the tea to steep for some light stretches. Now you can return to your writing area feeling refreshed and eager for another power hour of writing.

Last but not least, remember to snack on veggies throughout the day such as broccoli, bell-peppers, carrots and spinach. The goal is to eat light food, high in energy and good for the heart. There is no better way to diminish junk food than to simply add more healthy food in its stead. For the love of clarity avoid heavy food while writing.

So that pretty well wraps things up. Implementing these changes into your lifestyle can be challenging in the beginning. It may be best to gradually ease them into your practise. Overtime the benefits of these healthy heart habits may bring about immense progress for you as they have for me. In the meantime click here for a more elaborate list of items to help improve oneself as a writer.

Love & Light,

JY

 

 

 

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Solace – When All Lights Go Out

Few of us thoroughly consider the possibility of getting into a serious accident and how we might cope with such misfortune. Can you imagine yourself in a hospital bed for weeks on end without the full use of your body and senses? What would you do to pass your time if you were unable to move around, read a book or speak with visitors? It may be difficult to imagine this initially but with a little creative thinking we can mentally prepare ourselves in part for similar situations. Allow me to address this scenario through the wisdom of ancient philosophy:

“For nowhere either with more quiet or more freedom from trouble does a man retire than into his own soul, particularly when he has within him such thoughts that by looking into them he is immediately in perfect tranquility; and I affirm that tranquility is nothing else than the good ordering of the mind.” – The Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

The good ordering of the mind can be rendered as planning, evaluation, prevention and prioritizing first things first. By taking initiative to create a life built upon principles and values conducive to the common good, we can free up our minds from unnecessary doubt and uncertainty, thus enter into a peace of mind (tranquility) that grants one a wider capacity to decide and act appropriately within various circumstances.

What thoughts do you have close to your heart that will bring you solace in your day of hardship? Are these ideas transient and subject to change? Or are they solid as a house built upon a rock? Are these experiences begotten through self-discipline, service, contribution and sacrifice or are they fleeting as a one night stand? Do you have a storehouse of wisdom from which you can draw upon again and again in order to obtain consolation?

Here is a rough idea of the items being gathered into my treasure: Stories, quotes, passages and poems that belong to a number of people who lived throughout history. It’s a lot of information to draw upon, so here is one means to modify:

“Withdraw within yourself, and examine yourself. If you do not yet therein discover beauty, do as the artist, who cuts off, polishes, purifies until he has adorned his statue with all the marks of beauty…”

It is essential to deeply explore the content of our mind -which includes beliefs and opinions- for what is transparent, true and aligned with reality. Because we have come to understand the world about us through a dialectical process that has taken place over thousands of years, it would stand to make sense that some of those revolutionary shifts along the way would appear axiomatic. Such as the idea of loving your neighbour as yourself or attaining higher states of consciousness in view to alleviating suffering for all living creatures. Once you have retrieved beautiful gems from the dross, then you may freely remove…

“…from your soul, therefore, all that is superfluous, straighten out all that is crooked, purify and illuminate what is obscure, and do not cease from perfecting your statue until the divine resplendence of virtue shines forth upon your sight.” – Plotinus, Enneads (I,6,9)

As a creative artist we can proactively design our lives in accordance to principles that allow for clarity and tranquility, despite our rendezvous with suffering and deprivation. By purging ourselves of superficial and narcissistic tendencies we can enter into a domain of mind where neither moth nor rust destroy. We don’t have to wait for the worse to happen before we take measures.

Why not begin with the end in mind and gather together your own special collection of passages by which you can attain serenity in your darkest hour. Come to know it by heart rather than memorizing the words. Most things we memorize slip away in time but that which we keep close to our heart –whatever is true, good, right, pure, lovely, excellent and commendable– becomes life sustaining and echoes with the heartbeat of eternity.

Love & light,

JY

“You will find rest from vain fancies if you perform every act in life as though it were your last.” – Marcus Aurelius

 

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