Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Learn to Help Yourself

To other people, I might appear to be a nice enough guy. However, I too have been arrogant, brash, hurtful, inconsiderate, mean and selfish at times. I am truly intent though on making these negative traits less prevalent in my relationships with others. Of course as we know words are a cheap substitute for reality. Therefore, it is my actions which I want to be the consistent and convincing evidence of my improved self-mastery, wisdom, and spirituality.


What I have discovered within me is the capacity to change and it is this fact that has helped and continues to facilitate growth and strengthening in the areas that will make me the prize winning author of my life. I believe that we all have this resource inherently built into our bodies, minds and spirit. It just takes some of us a little longer than others to reach this common core of divinity that lies within us.

All of us, at some point in life, must learn to help ourselves not just to survive but to actually flourish.  This does not require that you be religious or if you wish you can be. The choice is yours. However, you can just as readily compile a list of virtues and significant spiritual qualities that you would like to work on to reach the calibre of godliness, goodness, kindness, holiness, love, or spirituality that gives you joy and happiness. As you and I know, there are all kinds of ways of being in the world. Go ahead and start now to remake yourself into the change that you would like to see in our world (Gandhi)!

A resource that proved very helpful to me is the Alphabet of Spiritual Practices designed by Darren C. Polito which is based on the books Spiritual Literacy and Spiritual Rx. There are also practice homepages that can be found at the SpiritualityandPractice.com website.

As an alternative, I also encourage you to consider making use of a tool that I have created and which like to share with you at this time. It is a list of 50 qualities that compiled and refer to as "The Metrics of Spiritual Transformation" (The MoST).

Please feel free to modify this list to best suit your current developmental needs.
  1. Affection: Affection is having genuine concern for others. (Bertrand Russell)
  2. Attraction: Attraction occurs when we open our hearts with great love and peaceful interactions with loving people. We do not need to send love but rather feel love. ...when we chase after anything, it turns away. If we simply open our hearts and love, we attract all of the goodness of the universe. (Doreen Virtue)
  3. Awareness: Awareness involves being conscious of one's current thoughts, feelings, and surroundings. (Shauna Shapiro)
  4. Awe: Awe entails having your consciousness enlarged, along with the perceptions of everything or becoming altered from within. (Wayne Teasdale).
  5. Beauty: Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it. (Confucius)
  6. Benevolence: When virtue is lost, benevolence appears, when benevolence is lost right conduct appears, when right conduct is lost, expedience appears. Expediency is the mere shadow of right and truth; it is the beginning of disorder. (Lao Tzu)
  7. Calm: Remain calm, serene, always in command of yourself. You will then find out how easy it is to get along. (Paramahansa Yogananda)
  8. Compassion: Compassion is a call, a demand of nature, to relieve the unhappy as hunger is a natural call for food. (Joseph Butler)
  9. Commitment: Commitment is an act, not a word. (Jean-Paul Sartre)
  10. Contemplation: What we plant in the soil of contemplation, we shall reap in the harvest of action. (Meister Eckhart)
  11. Contentment: Man falls from the pursuit of the ideal of plain living and high thinking the moment he wants to multiply his daily wants. Man's happiness really lies in contentment. (Mohandas Gandhi)
  12. Creativity: Creativity is letting go of certainties. (Gail Sheehy)
  13. Courage: Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking.Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. (Steve Jobs)
  14. Discernment: We should not fret for what is past, nor should we be anxious about the future;men of discernment deal only with the present moment. (Chanakya)
  15. Encouragement: Correction does much, but encouragement does more. (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)
  16. Fairness: Fairness is what justice really is. (Brit Hume)
  17. Forgiveness: Forgiveness is the answer to the child's dream of a miracle by which what is broken is made whole again, what is soiled is made clean again. (Dag Hammarskjold)
  18. Generosity: Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need.(Khalil Gibran)
  19. Grace: If the grace of God miraculously operates, it probably operates through the subliminal door. (William James)
  20. Gratitude: Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. (John Milton)
  21. Harmony: One must marry one's feelings to one's beliefs and ideas. That is probably the only way to achieve a measure of harmony in one's life. (Napoleon Hill)
  22. Honesty: Achievements on the golf course are not what matters, decency and honesty are what matter. (Tiger Woods)
  23. Hope: Where there is no vision, there is no hope. (George Washington Carver)
  24. Hospitality: The hospitality of the wigwam is only limited by the institution of war. (Charles Eastman)
  25. Humility: Humility is the solid foundation of all virtues. (Kong Fu Zi)
  26. Identity: An identity would seem to be arrived at by the way in which the person faces and uses his experience. (James Baldwin)
  27. Impartiality: It is well, when judging a friend, to remember that he is judging you with the same godlike and superior impartiality. (Arnold Bennett)
  28. Intention: Our intention creates our reality. (Wayne Dyer)
  29. Inter-connectedness: What's natural and right is to go with the energy of how it all has to work together. What's natural and right is interconnectedness, not individualism. What is natural and right is respect for the system, not killing the system. What's natural and right is love. (Susan Powter)
  30. Joyfulness: Joyfulness keeps the heart and face young. A good laugh makes us better friends with ourselves and everybody around us.(Orison Swett Marden)
  31. Kindness: A warm smile is the universal language of kindness. (William Arthur Ward)
  32. Liberty: Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty. (John F. Kennedy)
  33. Love: Love is all we have, the only way that each can help the other. (Euripides)
  34. Patience: Genius is eternal patience. (Michelangelo)
  35. Presence: Wherever you are - be all there. (Jim Elliot)
  36. Reconciliation: The practice of peace and reconciliation is one of the most vital and artistic of human actions. (Nhat Hanh)
  37. Rectitude: Justice is a certain rectitude of mind whereby a man does what he ought to do in the circumstances confronting him. (Thomas Aquinas)
  38. Responsibility: If you take responsibility for yourself you will develop a hunger to accomplish your dreams. (Les Brown)
  39. Seeking: Seeking means: to have a goal; but finding means: to be free, to be receptive,to have no goal. (Herman Hesse)
  40. Self-command: A man has to learn that he cannot command things, but that he can command himself; that he cannot coerce the wills of others, but that he can mold and master his own will: and things serve him who serves Truth; people seek guidance of him who is master of himself. (James Allen)
  41. Self-control: Self-control means wanting to be effective at some random point in the infinite radiations of my spiritual existence. (Franz Kafka)
  42. Self-realization: Men can starve from a lack of self-realization as much as they can from a lack of bread. (Richard Wright)
  43. Service to community: Community service has taught me all kinds of skills and increased my confidence. You go out there and think on your feet, work with others and create something from nothing. That's what life's all about. (Andrew Shue)
  44. Spiritual practice: The goal of spiritual practice is full recovery, and the only thing you need to recover from is a fractured sense of self. (Marianne Williamson)
  45. Tolerance: America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition. Instead,they overlap, and share common principles of justice and progress, tolerance and the dignity of all human beings. (Barack Obama)
  46. Transcendence: Humanity could only have survived and flourished if it held social and personal values that transcended the urges of the individual, embodying selfish desires- and these stem from the sense of a transcendent good. (Arthur Peacocke)
  47. Ultimate concern: Man's ultimate concern must be expressed symbolically, because symbolic language alone is able to express the ultimate. (Paul Tillich)
  48. Unknowing: All we know is still infinitely less than all that remains unknown. (William Harvey)
  49. Wonder:The happiness of the bee and the dolphin is to exist. For man it is to know that and to wonder at it. (Jacques Yves Cousteau)
  50. Zest:If you have zest and enthusiasm, you attract zest and enthusiasm. Life does give back in kind. (Norman Vincent Peale)

Lastly, there are many self-assessment instruments available, both informal exercises and formal tests/inventories. They are often available for free at local high schools, colleges, and workforce development agencies. The following list provides a number of very useful examples that I have reviewed and highly recommend for personal use:
  1. Adult Attachment Interview
  2. Altruistic Personality Scale
  3. Compassion Scale
  4. Emotional Regulation Questionnaire (ERQ)
  5. Psychological Well-Being (PWB)
  6. Subjective Well-Being (SWB)
  7. The Engaged Living in Youth Scale
  8. The Gratitude Questionnaire
  9. The Life Engagement Test (LET)
  10. Meaning in Life Questionnaire (MLQ
  11. Purpose in Life Test (PIL)
  12. Santa Clara Strength of Religious Faith Questionnaire
  13. Satisfaction with Life Scale
  14. Scale of Positive and Negative Experience (SPANE)
  15. Social Support Questionnaire (SSQ)
  16. Spiritual Involvement and Beliefs Scale