Posts Tagged ‘life’

Two Opposites and a Harmonious Resolution

June 27, 2009

Kabbalah teaches that the universe is built on a tripod, consisting of two opposites and a harmonious resolution. This is the pattern for everything in life. Stability and confidence is impossible without the support of all three legs of the tripod. We cannot have “shalom” without all three. This tripod – and its attendant challenge of conflict resolution – is inherent inside each one of us, in all of nature, of mankind as a whole, and in the spiritual realm as well.  –Korach (Numbers 16-18) Conflict Resolution

For the scholars of scripture they have an advantage over the rest of us. They have the time to think through some issues, take a step back, and perceive patterns that are opaque to us while we are in the trenches of the war of life. This week’s Torah portion is such an insight and when you think about it we can gain perspective on our lives, our community our country and the world.

I am struck by the conclusions to be reached by this statement. You see, if we are talking about a tripod, then if you take away any one of the legs it will fall. You might, as I did at first, focus on the harmonious resolution leg as the “most important.” Take it away and the tripod falls. For true harmony to evolve there must be recognition of discordant views. No two people (or for that matter two countries) can have identical views. Our thoughts, brain process, perceptions and conclusions are like fingerprints — they define us as unique individuals. So even if you say “I agree” you might find out sooner or later that you agreed with something the other person did not say or mean.

What this means to me is that for me to strive to live in a harmonious world I need to seek out both people who see things in similar ways to me AND people who don’t. I must engage BOTH the people who seem to agree with my world perspective AND those who don’t. Standing in the shoes of both “camps” is the only way I can perceive where there is commonality, conflict or room to compromise. With the recognition that life is a process and not a series of events comes the foundation of the process of harmony. Harmonious relations do not represent a static place of equilibrium, but rather a dynamic place of interaction, catalytic relationships and evolving development of ourselves, our society and our world.

Harmony and the whole tripod fails when we deny the existence of other points of view. If we deny the validity of other points of view we deny their existence and we deny the speaker the right to hold such views and express them. We take away one leg of the stool and the tripod fails — because there is nothing left to process toward a harmonious resolution.



December 1, 2007

25 Rules of Life

At the end of the “day” (meaning at the conclusion of anything, including your life), everyone knows everything. Eventually the smallest secrets become known, so you might as well disclose them up front and avoid giving your power up to other people who get to know the secret. Act, speak, and think as though you are under the constant gaze of God. You are the captain of your ship and you are taking people with you. As you are at the helm, think about the people who are your passengers.  These are my rules for life:


  1. Trust Everyone. See the good in everyone no matter what the circumstances. You can notice the bad and avoid relying on those who don’t earn it, but we aware that nobody is perfect. My experience is that about 80% of the people you meet will at best be only vaguely aware of these notions. 20% will be aware and live by at least some of them. This is what I call the 80-20 rule. Of the 20% only 5% will be committed to truth and honesty and act accordingly. Yet everyone has something good to offer. Find it, build on it and acknowledge it.
  2. Make Conscious Decisions. Avoid coasting (this has nothing to do with being in constant motion — you need rest and time for contemplation). About everything and everyone in your life or that you want in your life, Who do you want to be?
  3. Nip it in the Bud. When you see evil or unacceptable behavior remove yourself immediately. Don’t wait. It is the waiting that hurts the most and results in the most damage. When you encounter a toxic person that is constantly on an agenda, remove yourself from their presence and disallow their influence on you or anything you do, act, say or think. If I had to pick the biggest mistake I made in my life, it was violation of this rule. 
  4. Take Risks: The rewards are worth it even when you come up short. It feels good to push the edge. Visualize what you want, who you want to be, and imagine what it will take to get there. Take the first step and then another, until you change you mind or you get to where you want.
  5. Never Allow Yourself to Feel Stuck: This is from Johnny Carson, the famed late-night talk show host who died a few years ago. He was talking about careers, business relationships and even family relationships. There is always something you can do to move on in a constructive way. Feeling stuck or paralyzed is a way we avoid the natural fear of risks. Put it aside or take it with you. 
  6. Be Willing to Walk from the Table: I can’t remember where I first heard whatever prompted me to come up with this or I would give attribution for it. The point is that you make up your mind going into a situation, or negotiations or whatever, that you are truly willing to walk from the table from something you want. In that way, regardless of outcome you get to do what you want to do and keep your sense of empowerment. You’d be surprised how many impossible situations are turned around by using this strategy.
  7. Choose Your Friends Wisely and Consciously: In the 80-20 realm, most people, including myself at times, have tended to accept as friend, lover, even wife, what was available rather than proactively going out to look for what I want, knowing what I want, and holding out for it. It is there. It takes patience and perseverance. I have the perseverance but only lately have I developed the patience. Your friends should round out your life. Nobody can be everything to you including your mate. You should always have your own life in addition to the relationships you commit to. Find people who are willing to commit to be your friend and who fill the categories you want filled — social, fun, intellectual, physical, romantic, spiritual, emotional. 
  8. Choose Your Activities Wisely: Same as choosing your friends.
  9. Once you commit, commit completely. Hold nothing back. It might make you crazy at times but it will leave you proud of yourself. Avoid distractions and be sure to say no, when a new commitment will interfere with one already made — unless you wish to change course.
  10. Have an Unreasonable Faith in Yourself and Your Abilities. At all times see challenges, not obstacles. The more you believe in yourself, the more you get to know your strengths and push the edge, the more you will learn about your incredible abilities. Surprise yourself as often as possible.
  11. Submit to a Higher Cosmic Power: Whether you call it God, evolution, cosmic forces, unknown forces or paranormal activities, always be aware that there is a cosmos out there of which the Earth and you are only a speck of dust. The meaning of your life is what you make it, and the context is a universe that is filled with unimaginable forces and things that are beyond human comprehension. The great paradox and irony here is that by true submission to a higher authority or force, you gain power over your own life. By denying it, you lose power.
  12. Avoid Organized Religion, Political parties, Groups, Clubs that require a commitment from you beyond the moment. Adamantly stick to your own independent thoughts. Take the risk of being wrong and then getting it right. These groups ALWAYS lead to suppression of free thought and speech.
  13. Make Music: Try your hand at an instrument and play for yourself. It isn’t about talent, it is about making the sounds. It puts you in touch with harmonies around you that are beyond music. 
  14. Pray every Sabbath: Actually both Judaism and Christianity call for prayer on Saturday but somewhere along the line a distinction was drawn. Either way is fine. Make up your own prayers and bless the people in your life and the people who have passed.
  15. Learn the Serenity Prayer: Know the difference between the things you can change and the things that are not your business or under your influence. Run your own life and avoid getting into positions where you are telling others how to run their life. 
  16. Stay in Touch, Take the Time: Allow a certain amount of time every week and every month for contacts with family and friends so that you are always in touch with everyone. Reach out to people, even some you don’t know well (yet). 
  17. Vote: The United States in a miracle. I think people ought to read the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution regularly, like the Bible. Bottom LIne: People are the boss. If they don’t care to don’t come to “work” as citizens, they shouldn’t complain what happens in government with corruption, war and social unrest. Wherever you are, learn the issues, pick your candidate or proposition and vote. It is easy to vote by mail. 
  18. Confront and fight as a Last resort: In the 80-20 world people fight now as first resort. If there is no way out, and you need to protect someone or something dear to you then by all means fight. Have a plan and work the plan. Fight smart and be ready to change (if called for) tactics when the going gets tough. And by all means don’t fight unless you intend to win and will accept nothing less.
  19. Every Day look Back to yesterday, today and tomorrow. Think about the things you are happy about, what you might want to consider doing differently, what you are looking forward to for this day and what plans you might have for tomorrow. 
  20. Save Money, Stay Out of Debt: One of the great cancers on our society today is what we let happen with consumer debt. By not waiting a month or two people are in debt for the rest of their lives, encouraged by credit card companies to spend now and don’t worry about paying until later.  Take a look at your closet, how many things would you rather have the money for now rather then item you purchased? Watch out for that sale item — put it on credit card and you will be paying five times the price when you are done. Always put money aside, no matter how small, so that you can afford emergencies when they happen, change of careers when you want them, and retirement. Don’t depend upon social security or any pension to bail you out. 
  21. Blame nobody, Ever: Take responsibility for everything you could have done differently and let the rest go. Call for change loudly and use your right of free speech. Don’t insult anyone.
  22. Forgive Everyone, Condone Nothing. It lets you move on while not approving of the specific behavior you found wrong or objectionable. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you give them a higher trust score either. 
  23. Count Your Blessings: My Great Uncle told me shortly before he died at 94 that everyday he would think of things to be thankful and somehow that made his day a little easier. 
  24. Express appreciation, respect, and admiration for people in a meaningful way. Make sure they get it. receive the same with humility but don’t expect it back as payment for the compliment you gave. It isn’t a bargain, it is life.
  25. Listen for your own echo. See yourself in the mirror, listen to yourself speak, and listen and watch how others react to you and see you. Make whatever changes you want.

The righteous are called living even when they are dead. The wicked are called dead even when they are living. (From my prayer book).