Or...banking on the fact that: "People can never get enough of what they don't really need."
For years I owned a marketing firm. Still dabble in it. In fact...I teach it at the university level.
During my firm's early years I had a partner who had worked for a well-known national magazine. He was the publisher of special guides that would come out during the year focusing on different categories of products. Cars, electronics, clothes, etc. would be the highlighted in all their beauty. I remember him saying that they would be lighted and displayed in such a way as to make them "sensual."
Yes...sex (and anything else that gratifies the senses) sells, even when that sensuality is transmitted through things. Mind you, I'm not talking about some beautiful being standing next to an automobile or holding a bottle of wine...I'm speaking about the things themselves.The textures, colors, designs, and other facets that go into the manufacturing of an item are often more important than it's function or reliability. And - the lighting and positioning of that product when it's photographed do as much to make them desirable as their design.
People are easily seduced...very easily seduced. Most consumers buy first with their eyes, then...secondly, with their minds. How does one avoid the trap of the "sensual seduction of things?" Initially, one has to realize that it exists. Next, I would suggest asking the question, "Do I really need this?" The answer is probably "No!" Then...comes the "want factor." Ah...the naughtiness of it all. Marketers depend on that. Now, I'm not saying that's a bad thing. But - I'm certainly not saying it's a good things either. The job of the marketers is to get you to buy what, quite often, you really don't need. I regularly add to that statement: "With money you don't really have."
Motorcycles, cars, clothes, shoes, electronic devices, food, as well as just about every other area of "Thingdom," is made to make you want to salivate, desire, caress, "love," and possess them. They are our substitutes for the real thing...other people.
As I teach, write, train, discuss, and guide people in their pursuit of building their businesses and selling their products, I am not ignorant to the fact that, if people truly love other people and have a wonderful relationship with their friends and loved one...the need for things often diminishes. But - I also know that we are beings who also love to create as well. So - balance, it seems, is the key. Work towards achieving entrepreneurial Nirvana, while making sure to remember that people are always more important than things. That - should help make for a totally "sense-ual" existence!
For as long as humans have existed on this Earth our species has been studying the stars, planets, galaxies, and other astrological bodies, as well as their (and our) home - the universe. It is so immense that no one actually knows where it begins or ends. In fact...there isn't a person alive who can be certain that it has a beginning or an end, or...if there aren't other universes. Perhaps we live in a cosmos of multiverses.
Yet, there is one thing that I am sure of - you, my blog reading friend, are most certainly the center of your universe. Okay, you may not be the center of MY universe, but...I can tell you this - without you, your universe wouldn't exist.
You see, everything is relative. No one knows what another person's view of reality is. Nor can we be able to fully understand what goes on in another human's (or for that matter, any other living thing's) mind. So, without you, your universe wouldn't exist. It would cease to be. Or, as Monty Python might (also) say..."It is no more."
Just as the age old question asks, "If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" the same holds true for everything else, including our "universal concepts." In other words...the universe exists for you only because you are in it, can observe or detect it, use your senses to identify it, and call on your (and others') knowledge to "verify" that it is an actual entity.
However, what happens when you're gone? Once YOU'VE ceased to be...does the universe, as you now know it, continue to be "real." A philosophical conundrum? Indeed! But - one that will never be fully answered because of who must answer it.
As we go through life, we are constantly swimming through a sea of concepts and constructs. Many of which are believed by most, some of them believed by many, and a few of them believed by a small number - perhaps just one. So...before you make absolute statements, think about the dilemma each of us faces on a continuous basis, and even then - you may only be right for yourself.
Have fun dissecting things my friends...it certainly is an invigorating exercise - at least it is for one person I know...me!
"You can't tell a book by its cover," has been a mantra against preconceived ideas and prejudice since I can remember. In the materialist societies of today it's as true as it has ever been...if not more. The "book" may be beautiful on the outside, but once a person begins to read it - a very different truth is revealed.
I remember an acquaintance of mine telling me why he dressed like (in his words) "a bum." He was, in fact, a very wealthy businessman whose company's clientele were in (as he put it) "the worst and most dangerous" parts of the city. He himself would often visit his customers and supervise the work. This millionaire, who looked like a sloppy version of the television character "Columbo," drove to his work in an old car and gave the impression that the next words out of his mouth would be, "Do you have any spare change?"
My encounter with him is as clear today as it was when I met him years and years ago. He was a living example of "The Book, The Cover, The Judgment."
How often do people judge others without any knowledge or insight about them? Far too often. Wars, and the killing they bring, are based upon creating an image of the "enemy" as to judge them as less than human. To cause a person to demonize them, and to make it easier to kill them.
About 10 years ago I was speaking with a real estate agent who relayed a story about a couple who bought a house at the top of their budget. So much so, that they couldn't afford furniture to grace their new abode. The wife insisted upon purchasing the home and the husband acquiesced. The agent confided that the pair of new homeowners were not uncommon. She also said that the people who go out of their way to look prosperous were often the folks who aren't. As another friend of mine likes to say, "Big hat...no cattle." The furnitureless couple were the opposite of my "Columbo" friend.
Where does that leave us? Well...it sets us in a place where we must realize that the person you think is "beneath you" is actually your equal (if not..."above you" - if you care to make a judgmental statement like that). The homeless man or woman may have been the boss of a hundred people before they ran into a stretch of "very bad luck." The beggar (as I mentioned on my facebook page) may, in fact, be a prophet. And the wealthy looking individual may actually be wealthy. But how would we ever know unless we get to speak with them, listen to them, and know them as individuals.
Judging people on their looks, their religion, their nationality, their ethnic group, the color of their skin, or any other criteria one may choose, is about as valid as believing that you can exist without breathing. Remember...you are also the subject of someone's preconception. And - until we realize the fallacies of that thought process, we - as individuals and societies - will be caught in a stunted growth cycle.
So remember...while the cover of "the book" may not be immediately attractive to you - you may find, after investigating further, that you are "blown away" by its contents.
What is it about a smile that makes us feel so good? Is it the fact that we realize the joy behind it is being transferred to us, or that the person smiling is expressing happiness, love, and/or compassion for themselves and others as well?
Sure...well can all recognize a phony smile. It doesn't take a scientist to tell us when someone's smile is "full of it." In those cases the feelings conveyed are inauthentic. Often, it means someone wants something. Perhaps your approval, your vote, your money, or your compassion. But...we pick up the "pasted on smile" right away.
The other - the "real smile" however...well, that's just pure lightness. A great one exudes love, excitement, and enables us to see "inside" the person's heart. That smile is a snapshot of the authenticity of the person at that moment. No hiding, no pretense, no wanting something in return. It's just the embodiment that something wonderful is going on right then and there. Often...the smile leads to laughter, sometimes uproarious laughter that permeates everything and everyone around it and spreads faster than a cold in a kindergarten classroom.
Smiling is therapeutic. It creates wellness. Try it. It's hard to feel sick during the short period of a smile. In fact, when we are sick and someone brings us an authentic smile, it instantly makes us feel better (even if it's ever so slightly better). And...if we start to laugh, well then - all our ills somehow magically disappear.
So my friends - don't be stingy with your smiles. Give them away constantly. Let them lead to laughter. Bring them with you always. Spread them around freely. And - especially use them when they are often needed the most: during hard times, sad times, tough times, and times when you are all alone. Yes...that means you smile for no one but yourself. Because...your own smile can bring you joy as well.
Remember, during the worst of times a smile can light up the darkness. And - during the best of times, and all times in between, it can light your way even during the brightest of days. Make sure you don't forget them my friends...you'll need them - that's for certain. Because, the journey is a long one and everyone, including you, will need the lightness they contain.
Inner peace seems to be what we are all in search of. Some humans realize it, others don't. Many people mask their desire for inner peace by overcompensating with and/or about other things. Often the material world becomes their substitute for inner peace. It brings them a costume, a form of self deception that hides their inner being, or so they think. However, those who recognize the depth and reality of inner peace are not taken by the mask, they know that the material only covers the nakedness of the soul.
That does not mean that one can't have material things, wealth, physical desires, and inner peace as well. It's only when the physical/material world is so pervasive in one's mind that their soul is lost in the process.
I am only an individual like you. One who has had his ups and downs and has dealt with health, happiness, sickness, and death. Through it all I have learned that inner peace can come by way of a long process or enter one's life as an epiphany. It arrives from knowledge and the wisdom of using one's mind in a cognitive way. By not being led except by one's self. It is derived through questioning...everything - and accepting nothing until all pertinent information has be deciphered. It means having an open mind and not being judgmental. The paradox comes when you finally know that you may never know. When you can flow with the energy of life as if it is a river. And...when you can enjoy the beauty of life for its own sake.
The calmness of inner peace is unveiled when one understands that a cloudy day presents its magnificence in a different, yet no less incredible, way as a day when the sun is brilliant and sheds it light on all that can be seen - like a blanket covering the Earth with a golden hue that cannot be matched by the greatest of artists. Inner peace comes when the sound of children laughing soothes one's soul like the music of a philharmonic. And...when all the things of life are viewed as a huge fabric textured by every nuance that each day brings - that is when one is engulfed by the realization that inner peace is a continuum.
With that, I have listed 7 steps that may help in one's discovery of inner peace. They are as follow:
1. Love all: Every being on this Earth desires love, including one's self. It is hard to give love when a person does not love himself, or herself, first. Be loving to yourself. That also means to forgive yourself and others so that your love is unencumbered.
2. Help many: No one can help everyone. That's impossible. But...each one of us can help a lot of people in a lot of different ways. Whether you give of your time, your money, your effort, or your advice...it doesn't matter. It is the act itself that counts.
3. Care kindly: Many people will care for others in a begrudging way. It may be their job, profession, or...they may feel that it's their obligation. The caregiver who gives without kindness is not giving care at all, but just performing a function. Kindness makes care a caring service.
4. Enjoy others: Each of us needs enjoyment. We all have to laugh. As I often say, "Laughter is the nectar of the soul." Laughter and smiling, fun and enjoyment, are all emotionally and physically beneficial and makes everyone feel better and calmer about themselves.
5. Choose wisely: Life is filled with choices - constantly. We choose every action, everyday. Think about how your choices affect your life and the lives of others. The peaceful individual realizes that his or her energy and actions can create havoc or harmony, for themselves and others. Choose harmony.
6. Want little: The pursuit of material things often produces feelings of anxiety, depression, stress, distrust, greed, and many other emotions that take one's being away from peace. The most important things we have are ourselves, each other, our Earthly home, and time. The more time and energy you spend chasing a fabricated need for an over abundance of the material, the less time you will have to enjoy the peace and tranquility of life.
7. Need only yourself: Ultimately we only have ourselves on this trip called life. Of course, each one of us has other people and animals that we care about, love, and desire to be close with and to. Yet, when all is said and done...we are alone within the multitude. No one should ever be totally dependent on another person. Knowing how to be calm and relaxed in solitude is a wonderful experience. It frees us to realize that true peace materializes when we can be at peace with ourselves first. Then...one can begin to know the beauty of inner peace.
We live in a world filled with sensory delights, and yet...we keep insisting on desensitizing ourselves. We have become plugged into things that unplug us from the reality around us. In this video I discuss our situation and what we can do about it. Hopefully - you'll watch it and not just look at it, listen to it and not just hear it, and perhaps...you'll pick up a few intriguing thoughts as well.
Smell doesn't get enough press. Yeah - that's right...it doesn't! We write and speak a lot about feeling stuff and touching things (including those we love), talking and listening (both VERY important to any type of relationship). Hearing keeps our love of music, language, and the other interesting stuff that vibrates our eardrums, at the top of our lists of things we enjoy. While seeing, looking, and viewing life as it passes stimulates us as much as, if not more than, the movies, videos, and TV shows we watch.
In fact, our society is fixated on how we look and what we see. That's what style, the fashion industry, marketing, and advertising, are all about. Including - the optical/eyewear industry - where my entrepreneurial background took shape and grew, and a field that combines both fashion and vision (in both the literal and figurative sense)
And...we certainly love the titillation of our taste buds! How else can we explain the popularity of cooking shows, restaurants, wine magazines, "liquor stores," delicatessens, food courts, food trucks, all the various food stores, and the myriad of other wonderful places and stimulating venues for our gastronomic desires!
Ahh - but what about the joys of the nose?! Smells are miraculous things. You can walk by something and its odor can take you into a memory so deeply that you actually feel like you're there. There are certain "Army smells" that transport me right back to my days in fatigues and "dress greens." The smell of a skunk instantly teleports me back to my farm and living the life of a man tilling his garden, wading in his stream, riding his tractor, and checking out his barn. So...that "skunk smell" it just fine by me. In fact, I kinda like it! I guess those memories have negated all the propaganda against the "stink of the skunk" that has been "thrown out there" during my lifetime.
Of course, the fragrance industry recognizes the monetary benefits of smell. It's been with us since recorded history. I'm sure there's an odor that reminds you of someone important in your life. It could come from the perfumeries of a designer or be strictly the work of Mother Nature.
But - some of the greatest smells of all, for me, are the odors I encounter when I walk into a bakery! Mmm...they're really tough to beat! Freshly baked bread, newly made cakes and cookies, scones, pies, bagels...yum! I can smell 'em right now! Can't you?! I always wondered how a baker can resist constantly eating all those luscious things they make. The smells alone cause my mouth to water. It's like walking into mom's kitchen on a cold winter's night when the stove, oven, and counter tops are all doin' their thing at top proficiency with the best ingredients she could buy!
So my friends, take joy in the wonders of the nose. Revel in your olfactory sense. Enjoy what nature and human innovation have provided through those waves of smells that waft up your nostrils and into your brain, to be locked there for the rest of your life and brought back as a reminder of days past and experiences lived!
Now, if only you could smell that picture at the top of this post! Does anyone have any strawberry jam?
We hear the word enlightenment tossed around quite often, but...how does a person become enlightened? What does it really mean? And - "How will we know it when we see it?"
In the this short video I discuss some of the different means used to "achieve" enlightenment and what parts self-separation, rising above one's self, and the capacity of the human mind plays in becoming enlightened. In addition, I cover some of the contents of my new book, "Soaring To Enlightenment - The Secret to Living a Contented Life."
We all know that we live in a universe much greater than ourselves. Yet, understanding the magnitude of our surroundings and the enormous role that energy plays in our environment, our lives, and our individual existence, is not usually discussed in everyday conversations and our educational systems.
I look forward to your comments about this video, your own experiences (relative to enlightenment and the topics discussed), and any other relevant information you would enjoy passing along.
It is not unusual for people to say, "I just what to sit in complete silence." Or..."I enjoy concentrating on the larger nothingness." Are either of those things possible? I think not.
If complete and total silence and nothingness existed, how would we recognize them? Just by the mere fact that we would, or could, know they're there cancels out their existence. While I think it's admirable to want to experience both or either...your being itself is constantly doing something, even if your mind is "still." So - when you sit in silence, the sounds of the functioning of your body continues - even if you can't, or won't, hear them. To paraphrase the gentleman in the film "The 11th Hour," within 10 seconds more things are happening in your body than there are stars and galaxies in the universe. Silence and nothingness are, on the surface, viable possibilities - but...when one goes deeper - they are both impossible for us as beings to live in and/or enjoy.
The sounds of silence is an oxymoron (as we all know), as is the sight of nothingness. If you can imagine it, some say, than it can be. However, in this case...you can imagine it, yet - it cannot be. Your imagination is not silent and it certainly isn't nothing. So, I think we must come to grips with the fact that we can enjoy some "form" of silence, or perhaps a better way of saying it is...almost no noise. And - maybe we can long to "be in the nothingness." But for now, while we may understand both concepts, we'll just have to live in their shadows.