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!
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.
Enlightenment is a word that has taken on layers of meanings. To the spiritualist it signifies a certain heightened awareness and insight of, and about, energy and the universe. To the scientist and intellectual (who may also be the spiritualist) it also connotes a higher level of knowledge, a thirst for examining the wondrous things around us, and a desire to cognitively dissect and explain why and how things exist and work.
Too often the word is not interpreted to its fullest extent. I recall a man reacting to a poster about enlightenment on a facebook post recently. He thought that it relayed a kind of unattainable spiritual hocus-pocus. It was nonsense to him. Of course...his narrow perspective (a common cause of ignorance in reference to any subject), created a prejudice towards the word and what it implied.
I have a different interpretation. To be enlightened is to be aware of things around you. To question and learn. To not take things at face value and mindlessly follow. To be on a constant quest to understand what life is and how it functions. To learn as much as one can while knowing there's always more. To be humble in one's recognition of self and one's place in the universe while exhibiting respect for the Earth, other people and other species. It is having wisdom and knowledge and realizing that each of us is an integral part of the fabric of life.
It is also the ability to welcome discourse. To actively listen to others. To know when to be silent and when to speak. To understand that you may not always be right. To know that people make mistakes. To not blindly believe what you see, hear, or read without investigating further. To not take one's self too seriously. To know the joy of laughter. To revel in being surrounded by family and friends. And...to be at peace, show love, display kindness, and promote learning.
The beauty of enlightenment is that it's available to everyone at anytime. It might seem easy or extremely hard. It may not happen quickly or happen in an instant. It's all in how much you want to open your mind and how much you want to quench you thirst for growth. Enlightenment is powerful. So much so...that an entire age of humanity was named for it.
I, like most people these days, am a pretty busy person. Many of the things I do are passions of mine. Teaching, keynote speaking, writing (including; here, my books, and my social media posts), spending time with family, friends, and clients, and watching baseball, are all things I enjoy. Quite a few of them encompass, what many would call, my career.
With all the time I spend in front of groups of people, my computer, and on the road, I know how important it is for me to "do nothing" but contemplate life. It's my way of focusing on the beauty around me. Don't get me wrong...I do that on a constant basis in what I call "my yogic lifestyle." Yet...there are times when I just want to slow things down and look at a stream, check out the trees, look at people, or watch the ocean ebb and flow.
Spending time alone "doing nothing," except enjoying contemplative thought, is like detoxing from the humming of life that surrounds us all. I don't chant (not that there's anything wrong with that), I just let nature do it. I listen to the gurgling of a brook, the rustling of leaves, the power of the wind. I also love to look at the sky, watch the sun rise and set, see the movement of the clouds, and witness the spectacular array of distant stars and planets. It also reminds me of the fact that I'm a tiny piece of a massive universe (perhaps even multiverses) that we sometimes call "everything." And - I marvel at the fact that everything out there, is also in me. It's quite awe inspiring to know that, if I want - I can experience the different aspects and energies of life - often...just by "doing nothing."