The King's Guide is written to help men investigate certain spiritual truths, without accepting metaphysical abstractions. One important factor for men to consider is that a man's life is now. Life is rich with experiences to enjoy. Life is not in the past, and it's not in the future. Life is now. This is the self-evident truth. Men should be mindful of this.
Because, before you know it, life passes you by. Ten years have got behind you, and now what? The truth about life is that it's happening right now. Seems a bit simple to say, "Life is now." Yet it's liberating to realize this simple truth. Being free -- physically, mentally, spiritually -- rests upon fully knowing that life is happening right now. This is it. Make no mistake where you are.
Unfortunately, all to often, men find ourselves living from one situation to the next, always looking for that happy state being. We're always struggling to move away from fear and trouble, and towards the things that make us happy. I am guilty of this. For example, I have a routine of getting up, kissing the wife (often more than just that), and getting dressed. I notice my jeans are dirty. I need a new pair. But they might not fit like I want. So, I make coffee. Cream smells bad. I need to go to the store and pick some up. Making lunches for the kids, I notice they need more veggies in their diet. Grab veggies from the store. Put together some breakfast, gluten-free, paleo. We need more groceries. I confirm cash in pocket. Kiss and hug everyone at the breakfast table. Confirm weather conditions. Check the kids are wearing the right clothes. My jacket looks old, and I think about buying a new jacket. What about saving for vacation? Where would we go. And what about work today. Got to check my email on my phone. And on, and on, and on it goes.
Augh! Is this what life is all about?
Might there be more to life than this monotonous movement through one situation to the next? From feeling this to feeling that?
Yes. Of course.
Yet, men get unknowingly caught and swept in the river current of the mundane -- sometimes for years.
What should we do?
Some unfortunately turn to religion or other man-made spiritual dogma. Some turn inwards and focus on breath, physical body movement, emptying and quieting the mind, or repeating self-affirming phrases. Nice remedies for sure.
But where is the abundance? Where's the life-sustaining power? Might there be a way to experience (on a daily basis) joy, unconditional love, and meaningful compassion? How do I make sure I'm not actually missing a universe of energy and possibilities?
Might there be something about being mindful? Mindfulness is about being aware. Having a state of mind that is clear and undistracted by the commotion of the day and without regard to whether something is making you happy or not. It's not simply thinking with your eyes closed and breathing from your gut energies. It's about being in thought. I think of it has being in spirit. In spirt. Inspired.
To be in spirit, to be mindful, aware of life that is around you, and you in it, is an active task. It takes some guidance, or at least some practice, before becoming a powerful habit.
Mindfulness is a part of the Buddhist doctrine. Many Buddhist texts are repetitive and, frankly for me, quite boring to read. However, when compared with the words, the truths, the heavenly promises written in other texts, the difference is remarkable and unmistakable. Being in spirit, being mindful, being aware of your consciousness is a simple internal thing yet phenomenal in its external manifestation.
Where's the Power?
There's actually power in being mindful, spiritually mindful. Real power -- manifested in your physical life experiences. Texts refer to this as fruit -- fruit of the spirit. Your mind can free you from suffering, fear, doubts and worries. The Buddha taught that one responds to suffering with mindfulness. True. But where's the power?
That's what many men desire.
To be mindful, aware, to contemplate and presently enjoy my endless life experiences as they happen requires me to believe.
Believing is action, both mental and physical action. To be mindful, I don't have to physically remove myself from the world; I don't have to close my eyes; I don't have to empty my mind; I don't have to move, stretch, or sit in a physically challenging positions for extended periods of time; I don't need incense, silk clothing, or verbal digressive repetitions.
My consciousness is not dependent upon feelings, which come and go like the pleasant or unpleasant winds. My abundant life is not dependent upon moods, for attitudes change like the playful overhead clouds. Love is not dependent upon the five senses, for my physical body is limited.
Mindfulness, awareness, consciousness is believing.
Mindfulness is not passive. It's active. It's an active experience of your present life, without any doubt, worry or fear. When I am mindful, I am not trying to run from fear, or move towards happiness. When I am aware, spiritually mindful, I am fully aware of the reality of life. Believing is neither being lost in thought, nor is it an attempt to remove everything but thought.
There's a children's song that we sing in our family fellowship that we have every Sunday morning with our friends. The words of the song are, "God has something to say to you. God has something to say. Listen. Listen. Pay close attention. God has something to say." It's a reminder for us, including children, to pay attention to what's going on in your life. God is there. God is saying something to you.
In everything, God.
If I'm not mindful, I might miss it. I might miss it all.
Men, we might miss what God, this unlimited power of the universe, is saying to us. We ought to consider and be mindful not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. The things that are visible are temporal (brief and fleeting), but the things that are invisible are boundless and everlasting (2 Corinthians 4:18)
I encourage men to be mindful. Mindfulness is about actively experiencing your life. It not about emptying your mind, but filling it with truths that manifest themselves in phenomenal ways that result in love, joy, and peace. These fruits of the spirit originate in your mind, come from your heart, and are self-evident in your work. Read more about how your spirt makes your work fruitful.
Work is very important to our lives. I teach my kids that their work could be walking the dog, sweeping the floor, doing the dishes, taking out the trash, doing homework, or cleaning their rooms. Whatever work we do, we ought to do it heartily. And when we do that, our work is fruitful.
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Whatever may be our task, we can work at it heartily, from our soul. And in our work, we can do something not just for others, but for our own spirit (God's presence within us). We can work for money, material possession, or praise from others. Certainly. However, the real reward from our work comes from the spirit (Colossians 3:23-24).
How can this be?
To work heartily means to use an intensive force, with all the powers of your being. The Buddha said that our work is to discover our work and then with all our heart to give ourselves to it. That's pretty good. When we work heartily, we are using our bodies, our minds, soul, and spirit. We use everything of ourselves and we give it our all. We intuitively understand, subjectively, without effort, that we have spirit within us. And that spirit is something like a heavenly inheritance that we've received from God (Ephesians 1:13-14).
Spirit is a gift, like a reward. And we keep that spiritual gift within our hearts (2 Corinthians 1:22) like a treasure.
So, let’s recap. Whatever work we do, we do it heartily (with intensive force and all the powers of our being), knowing that we have received the reward of our inheritance, which is a gift of spirit in our hearts.
Consider this. Let’s say I tell my kid to pick up her room before she goes to a friend’s house. She runs to her room, throws her toys into her closet, stuffs her clothes into a drawer, and runs out the door. Would you say she put your whole heart into this task? No.
Now, consider the same situation, but let's imagine that she takes a couple of extra minutes to straighten each area of her room. She puts her things back where they belong and folds her laundry decently and in order. Her room would be more of a blessing to walk into. Right? Sure. This would be good example to teach children how to work heartily.
For Us Adults
For us adults, we also try to work heartily in everything we do. Why? Because we have inherited from God our reward, a gift of holy spirit, the presence of God within ourselves. Inheritance means having a right or privilege to which a person is entitled by birth. When we are born again (or when we realize and believe to connect with the God and everything that is created), we inherit from God a right and a privilege to live with holy spirit in our hearts. What an incredible gift!
Rudolf Steiner said that the strength of humankind was planted by God in his soul so that he could, with all his might, love to work and learn.
Remember. Because God is spirit (not an old man with a gray beard floating in the clouds), God's gift is spirit. Because God is spirit, God's gift is spirit. We have the gift of holy spirit in our hearts. And when we work, we do it heartily, with all that intensive force and power in our being. Cool stuff, eh?
But where's the fruit? Where's the fruit of our work?
Galatians 5:22 says that when we work, with this knowledge of having spirit within our hearts, then we are fruitful.
This is the work that God's presence within you, your spirit, accomplishes.
Whatever we do, we do it heartily, because God’s presence within us brings forth fruit, such as love, joy, and peace. We bring forth fruit in every good work we do, as we steadily grow in the knowledge of God (Colossians 1:9-12).
The more we grow, learn, become mindful of God (the universe, our Source, the unlimited power that surrounds us), the more fruit is produced in every good work that we do. As we renew our minds upon that which God has provided to us (Romans 12:2), the more we intuitively understand how powerful our spirit is in relation to the work we do.
The word translated in that verse is from the Greek word meaning “metamorphosis.” It refers to the process that leads to an outward, permanent change. Like a caterpillar to a butterfly.
Our work, when brought forth from the spirit, produces fruit, which actually is the manifested presence of God's love in the renewed mind. Read that again. Our work, when brought forth from the spirit, produces fruit, which actually is the manifested presence of God's love in the renewed mind.
Hercules, King Augeas, and Working Smartly
There's an old story that's been told many times. It's the one about Hercules cleaning the dirty cattle barns of King Augeas. Hercules asked the king that if he could clean the incredibly messy cattle barns (which held 300,000 cattle) in one day, would the king give Hercules 30,000 cattle in return for his work. The king agreed, because he knew it would be impossible for a man to shovel the 3-feet thick layer of manure that covered the floor of his enormous barn. Hercules was smart about his work though. Let's say he was inspired. Instead of shoveling the barn, he dug a trench from the nearby river and directed the flowing water toward one end of the barn. The water flowed through the barn, washed everything away, and the barn was cleaned in less than one day. Hercules worked heartily. And smartly.
In conclusion, our work may not include cleaning a messy cattle barn, but whatever work we do (from cleaning our rooms to working in a kitchen to working in a ditch to working at an office), it can be done heartily. When we work heartily, we put all of our being into it, knowing that we have inherited a holy spirit, which brings forth fruit, such as love, joy, and peace. I encourage you to work heartily in whatsoever you do, and grow in the knowledge of God.
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Women, here's some advice from us men: We want you to chase your dreams.
Don't sacrifice everything your entire life and set aside all of your dreams for your man and family. We don't want to be the source of your lifelong regrets.
As a man, my personal goal is to look back on my life and have tremendous satisfaction on my experiences with serving others, daring greatly, loving unconditionally, and ending it all totally exhausted. I want my children to try everything and do whatever their passionate about.
But my deep desire is for my wife, my love, to achieve her goals in life, whatever they may be. I want her to be giddy happy and fulfilled in her dream-pursuits.
A woman should not make her man the reason for abandoning life aspirations.
I expect my wife to make sacrifices. And she expect the same from me. It's part of our partnership deal. But make sure you understand this: men really want their women to be happy. A great man is devastated when he realizes his woman is not happy and could not enjoy something she truly desired. A great man will love his wife in the same way he loves himself. You'll find that a man who loves his wife will also love himself. So ought men to love their wives as being in a sense their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself (Ephesians 5:28).
Have you said the following to your man?
Those words could be a great open door to meaningful conversation with your man. Or it could be very damaging to your relationship. Take great care in starting conversations with your man beginning with those types of sentences. Be courageous to speak out and share your thoughts and dreams, but be careful. Your man could be caught by surprise. He may say something like, "You never mentioned this before to me." Or, "Go ahead. Who's stopping you?" Be careful. Sharing your heart can be a wonderful enlightening experience. Prepare yourself. Trust your husband.
Trust that your man wants to hear of your dreams and aspirations. He really does want you to be happy in life. A great man will do anything for you, and with you.
Your man desires to live joyfully with you, whom he will love all the days of his life (Ecclesiastes 9:9). If you have goals, needs and dreams, tell your man. Sooner the better. And allow your man to share in your happiness of the pursuit.
Women, men need compliments. A few words that build up your man will last forever. It'll mean the world to him. So, what are you doing right now? Is your man sitting next to you? Lean over, and give that man of yours a compliment.
Somehow my wife, Alicia, knows exactly what to say and when to say it. One day, Alicia and I were sitting outside on our back deck. Afternoon. Summer time. Sun was out. We were in the shade. I made a couple margs. We were just sitting back. Chillaxin'.
My wife leans over and says, "You done good, babe. You done real good."
I knew exactly what she meant. And it meant everything to me.
Her compliment was totally unexpected. She didn't say something nice after arguing; she didn't say something nice during some some expensive vacation; she didn't say something nice to coax me into doing something around the house. No. She said it when we were just chill and relaxed. It was authentic and sincere. And I often think about those words, particularly in times when I'm not feeling all that great.
Her words get me going! You know what I mean? Nudge, Nudge, wink, wink.
Women, say some words of affirmation to your man. Say it soon. Right now. He probably really needs to hear it. Tell him that he's doing a pretty good job at being a husband, father, provider, and spiritual leader.
Men need to hear that we're doing a good job. My advice to women is: Compliment your man right now.
Read "Advice to Women: Slide Over" from The King's Guide.
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