30 December 2017

My one word resolution for 2018

Every year about this time I choose a theme for a New Year's resolution that I can put a one word label on and just concentrate on that one thing for a whole year until it becomes an ingrained habit. I am pleased to report that this system has worked for me very well. Here is a partial list from years past:

2011 "Ideate" ("to form an idea of", "think of", "imagine", "conceive of","envision", "visualize")

2012 "Update" ("improve", "correct", "renew", "revise", "upgrade", "amend", "overhaul", "modernize", "contemporize")

2013 "Motivate" ("prompt", "drive", "move", "inspire", "stimulate", "influence", "activate", "impel", "push", "propel"

2014 "Ataraxia" ("Tranquility", a state of freedom from emotional disturbance and anxiety)

2015 "Contemplate" (Know Thyself, "examine", "inspect", "observe", "survey", "study", "scrutinize")

2016 "Intentionality" ("Intentionality" is the connection between our conscious mind and the object we are thinking about. It is the quality of our thoughts and beliefs that consists in their being directed toward some object or state of affairs. In other words a clear and conscious focus.)

2017 "Altruism"  (The practice of selfless concern for the well being of others. It is the charitable and humble giving of oneself to other people in many different ways. 

My theme for 2018 is "Meditate" (To focus and quiet the mind to reach a higher level of awareness and inner calm.)

Meditation is part of Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions but it is in the Christian, Judaic, and Islamic religions that meditation is intimately bound up with a true religion. By "true religion" I mean one that is based upon ethical monotheism, a form of monotheism in which one Almighty God, the Creator of the Universe is the source for one standard of morality, and who guides humanity towards unity with Him through ethical principles. 

I was introduced to meditation when I sought out some information on "self hypnosis" which helped me greatly in breaking some bad habits. After following some scripted self hypnosis techniques I found that I could fall into a deep meditative state without the scripting. The secret to meditation is clearing the mind of all the garbage thoughts that are constantly flowing through it and clamoring for attention. These garbage thoughts are like a plaque that builds up on our psyche from the time we are born and these thoughts compete with each other in a form of cognitive dissonance. They take up so much room that we can hardly think rational thoughts because we get caught up in their little tug-of-war games. There are various techniques for shutting out this "noise." The serious use of the Catholic Rosary when performed in a carefully meditative manner can be very helpful. Also There are very well developed methods like the one called "The Examen" by Saint Ignatious Loyola and used by every Jesuit. I use a form of that for my nightly prayers. For my morning prayers I follow the method of Saint Francis de Sales called "A Guide for the Devout Life". However, not being  as "saintly" as are these two wonderful gentlemen (by a long shot) I don't use their material verbatim but I found them to be an excellent guide in preparing my own format.

The main thing about prayer through meditation is that you learn to speak to God "face to face" like Moses, with whom the Lord used to speak face to face, as a Man speaks with his friend (Exodus 33:11).

When we believe in God and keep His commandments we cease to be mere creatures of God but become children of God and thus we may call Him "Abba", father, as did Jesus Christ Himself: "And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” In Romans 8:15 St. Paul tells us to do the same: "You have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!"

Now, the question that people usually ask..."Does God ever really talk to you?" And the answer is that of course He does, in several ways. First of all, if you are sincere and speak to Him like a child to a father, He may answer you in the words of your prayer to Him and you will immediately realize this. He speaks to us through our conscience and our intuition. I guarantee that you will know when He has answered you. Do you always get what you want? Yes, but in His time not in mine. There is another important factor. If you pray fuzzy prayers you may get a vague answer. Be sincere, and be precise and talk to Him about how, or how many ways you think that your prayer might be answered. Another hint. Don't use somebody else's prayer. Use your own. If the words don't come easily, take your time. Keep trying until you get an answer. Along the way you will learn to meditate, and your life will never be the same. May God bless everyone who reads this, with an answer to their prayers.


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I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. I have been living in Mexico since January 6th, 1999. I am continually studying to improve my knowledge of the Spanish language and Mexican history and culture. I am also a student of Mandarin Chinese.