In Pamplona, Spain, there is a festival called the Running of the Bulls. I didn't participate. I know that there's a lot of danger involved, machismo, and fear involved in the activity in which bulls are let loose to run down the streets while people are running with them. If you're running with the bulls, you can't be overwhelmed with fear, because fear will stop you in your tracks. And if that happens, you're in a world of hurt. You have to be vigilant as to what's around you (bulls, people) and also focus on where you're heading (down the street to the finish line).
To live without fear we must run the race of life with total confidence in ourselves and the power that we have within. If we can consistently orient ourselves, our direction life, to God and practice the presence of God in our lives, this will help us eliminate fear and live and life that is set before us.
To help us live without fear, we can look to spiritual truths, written thousands of years ago, by men and women who desired to share what they knew to be true and applicable to your present-day life.
In II Timothy 1:7, we read, "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." Back then, the church was teaching people to fear God. It's even written in the Bible. But after studying the original text a more accurate translation would be "respect". Not "fear."
Fear does not come from God. We don't fear the Spirit.
Now there are times in our lives where we can be challenged or tempted to fear. If we decide, for some odd reason, to run with the bulls in Spain, for example. To eliminate fear we shift our focus away from fear, pay attention to what's going on around us, and direct our thoughts and attention to the ultimate truth, God, Spirit, who has given us power, love, and a sound mind.
When you're living without fear and filled with the knowledge of God, you have:
We can live without fear because God gave us those things.
In Acts 1:8, it says, "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost [holy spirit] is come upon you."
Ephesians 1:19 says, "And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power."
The believer has potential power residing within her. God’s power is manifested in our lives when the Word is heard, believed, and acted upon. That's what is referred to as "believing action."
In Ephesians 3:20, there is a spiritual promise. And it's for you. Ephesians 3:20 says, "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us."
We have the right and privilege to rely on God’s power each day. We put it into operation and God does the energizing. We can live without fear because God gave us love.
I John 4:18 says that there is no fear in love. Perfect love casteth out fear.
Love is the antidote for fear. God can be realized by studying. The knowledge of God’s Word gives us all things that pertain to life (II Peter 1:3). When we put our focus on living God’s love and keeping His commandments, we’ll find no room left for fear.
We can live without fear because God gave us a sound mind. A sound mind demonstrates good judgment and wisdom. It includes disciplined thinking. James Allen illustrates this in his work entitled As a Man Thinketh where it says, "A man’s mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected, it must, and will, bring forth... Just as a gardener cultivates his plot, keeping it free from weeds, and growing the flowers and fruits which he requires, so may a man tend the garden of his mind, weeding out all the wrong, useless, and impure thoughts, and cultivating toward perfection the flowers and fruits of right, useful, and pure thoughts"
We eliminate fear when we direct and focus our thoughts on God. We keep heading in that direction. James Allen goes on to say, “By pursuing this process, a man sooner or later discovers that he is the master-gardener of his soul, the director of his life.…”
II Timothy 1:7 says, "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."
We do not have to live with fear in our lives. We can observe what's going on around us and direct our attention to what provide us with power and love. We are sound in our minds because God has given us a spiritual power that works in us to manifest the spiritual fruits in our lives. We can live in love. We can live without fear. We can meditate upon these things which have been given to us. And let's live a life that's more than abundant.
More Spiritual Lessons for Men
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.
In this article, we'll learn about:
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 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 toys back where they belong and folds her laundry decently and in order. Her room would be more of a blessing to walk into. Sure. This would be good example to teach children how to work heartily.
The downloadable document was used for our family fellowship for the kids to color.
For Us Adults
For us adults, we 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 universe), we inherit from God a right/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 an gray beard), 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?
Galatians 5:22 says that when we work, with this knowledge of having spirit within our hearts, then we are fruitful. Fruit comes from knowing, being aware of, and walking in spirit. The fruit of spirit, the work that God’s presence within you accomplishes, is:
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. 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.
Hercules, King Augeas, and Working Smartly
There's a story I've told to my kids a few 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 strong stream 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 at the 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.
The following downloadable crossword puzzle was used in our family fellowship to help us remember the teaching topics in a fun way.
How you think about the world around you, directly affects how you live in it. Your thoughts influence your actions. And spirituality is different from religion in that one is about how your consciousness (mind, thoughts) is connected to the universe; the other is about how one man controls another. Spirituality is about a state of mind, where religion is about a state of fear. God is not religion, and vice versa. For example, there is a religion that teaches that a savior will one day throw unbelievers into a lake of fire, killing them all. Another teaches that suicidal killing of unbelievers is the highest form of believing.
The challenge for me is to teach my children about love, compassion, ethics, freedom, enlightenment, and doing good without getting trapped by religious dogma that is in direct conflict with those virtues. Religion is not the way. There must be another. And I believe I'm on the right path. And it leads directly to the brain. The exploring the mind is most important when learning about being a spiritual person, someone enlightened, not conformed to this world, but transformed. Full of light. A person in spirit.
Prayer, meditation, and yoga are all good ways to help a person control their mind and body. These ways can help a person fully understand the mind and how thoughts of self and your spirit affect the world around you. Rudolph Steiner said, "Seek the spirit, but seek it not out of spiritual greed, but so that you may apply it in the genuinely practical life.” Life is indeed as you see (think) it. Strip away all the trappings of this world (work, money, fashion, entertainment, technology, laws, taxes, etc.), and what do you have left?
You, and how you see yourself. That's what you've got.
Everything else is fleeting and consumable. You may surround yourself with cool friends, a big house, a fast car, a fat wallet, and a hot woman. Friends come and go. Houses fall apart. Cars break down. Money is spent. A great woman can help, but she can't do it for you. There's only one person in charge of your own self, and that's you. Other people? No. Gurus? No. Spiritual leaders? No. Jesus? No. Buddha? No. Religion? Certainly not.
I am assuming that we (as human beings, regardless of race, age and gender) all share a common need for experiencing love and joy. And the path to attaining fulfillment is a spiritual one. Not a religious one. The Buddha said, "To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one's family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one's own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him."
It is written, "For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he" (Proverbs 23:7). But what does that really mean to me as a man, husband and father? In The King's Guide, I share my personal study into spirituality, the mind, God, and the great exploration into the depths of being a spiritual, powerful man, with a goal applying the knowledge gained to my life.
You may be interested in reading articles from The King's Guide that will help you work on being a great man.