Everything

35. PLEASE STOP BY…..

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Welcome!

I write a blog dedicated to the subject of ground-floor self-help topics. My introduction says a lot about where I come from and who I am. Further subjects address different areas of interest. I’m looking for new subscribers and will respond to all who care to leave a message.

With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

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26. WHAT DOES GOD LOOK LIKE?

I was lucky. When it came time to put my belief in a higher power to the test I had no problem accepting that there was something “out there.”  My faith, as feeble as it was, was little more than an understanding that the cosmos existed under some sort of unified purpose. There are those who might call this approach strictly scientific. I for one figured that science itself was still part of everything and therefore part of God. In any event I had an upper hand on those who were reluctant to accept the idea of a supreme being. As time went on I began to wonder, “How could I present a logical picture of God to those who simply could not grasp the idea?” Mind you, I’m NOT looking to convert, change minds, or persuade others to follow my way of thinking. What I am trying to do is offer my view on the subject. If it helps clarify what God is then perhaps there are those who can move past this stumbling block and continue along a path of continued prosperity.

This is my illustration of  God – (click on the picture to expand)

IMAG1532 (2)

The idea for this representation evolved from asking myself “How does God move?”  My first inclination was to conclude everything is a part of God; all of it is connected. This makes sense to me because as soon as it’s suggested something exists that isn’t a part of God, then I must accept there is more that one point of origin. Two or more “laws” of creation cannot co-exist within the same universe. Any conflict will cause the weaker force to vanish after being instantly overpowered by the stronger one. My second conclusion was that a “living” existence must do at least two things, draw energy and perpetuate survival by either expansion or reproduction. The ability to overcome and adapt is the motive for perseverance.

For the sake of presentation let’s call the substance that God draws upon for continuation “chaos.” This is (1.) on the picture. Others may call this darkness or dis-order but I prefer to interpret it as an unorganized source of energy; one that isn’t negative or positive, simply neutral.  I’m well aware that God is both; but then again, so are we. We too have within us raw material which we draw from, intending to change whatever it is and improve how we live.

Most us live in the world of perceived opposites. This is (2.) on the drawing. Here we think in terms like, up – down, left – right, good – bad, black – white. We have a tendency to process a three-dimensional life with two-dimensional judgment. We also cannot see those on the other side of the equation but we feel their movements. This is an unstable environment leading to petty conflicts and an illusion that there is separation between ourselves. This is also where the material plane calls itself home. Stuff and personal accomplishments prevail in abundance.

As we continue towards the center, there is a realization that we must nurture our connection to everyone and everything. This is (3.) Our vision for the future includes those we once thought of as our opposition or enemies. Our lives begin to calm down and conflicts begin to disappear in place of a more cooperative existence. A desire to work in harmony is unavoidable at this point. There is an urge to let go of our two-dimensional habit of judging and embrace a more encompassing way of unity.

At  the center of movement, as indicated by (4.)  we drop all previous conceptions. Complete balance and clarity emerges. Life and living is about connecting harmoniously with everything. The mantra here is “oneness towards expansion.” We leave the material world behind and begin a journey towards a collective existence of pure spirit. From a fractured and turbulent source to an ordered and symbiotic destination this is the journey we all will eventually complete. Awareness of connection speeds up the process while denial of connection slows it down.

Once completely past the world of judgment we enter an “expansive whole” (5.) where growth continues. All of this is symbolic of course and just MY understanding of how we are moving through the universe. I feel for those grasping for a concept, this should do nicely. Getting past the idea we are NOT separate is difficult for many. The fact is we are all symbiotic. I rely on people to grow food, sew my clothing, provide fuel, and so on. Even those who claim solitude exist because two people got together and had sex. No one is here independent of the environment, and our environment is actually infinite.

I believe that the need to connect is part of everyone. We make friends, we have lovers, we socialize and communicate, and we pray. We want our as our purpose to be part of the chain that leads to the center. The way is easy, ask for guidance on one hand and offer assistance with the other.

By the way, turn the picture upside-down for a surprise……..

Please follow this blog. Comment and share as you wish.

With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

23. THE IMPORTANCE OF THE RIGHT QUESTION

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A few weeks ago I wrote an entry called “The Right Questions.” (here is the link)https://danielandrewlockwood.com/2013/05/25/the-right-questions/ This is a follow up or companion piece to that article. This approach to life is a passion of mine and I’ll most likely write about it again in the future.

When I first ventured towards new horizons a different perspective of both asking and answering questions became necessary, and  the volume was more than I’d anticipated. Some were clear and the answer obvious, and some were cryptic. The latter of the two was meant to free certain “mental” wheels that had been poorly maintained. For instance, I was asked “What must I do to begin building up a life of reliability?”  The solution revealed to me was to stop being late everywhere. There was no doubt as to the meaning of this directive and there was no uncertainty as to the outcome of its implementation. On the other hand I was often given nothing more than the answer with instructions to search for the question. One such example was “You limit yourself because you have a fear of success.” Quite often my goal was to come up with the question that fit the answer. Eventually I did, and the question was, “Why do I avoid responsibility?”  In any case, the quality of my life improved with the quality of the questions that were being asked, either directly or indirectly.

 One such question that drastically changed my life was, “If you knew you only had an hour to live and if you felt good and weren’t scared, What would you do?” It’s an old  point of discussion and I’ve heard it before, but I’d never meditated on it. Once I did, my outlook on life changed drastically. Basically I’ve Heard two answers from those who were sincere in coming up with a real reply. I’ve heard that prayer and silence would be a choice. This is a minority answer; maybe one on twenty say it. The majority say something that sounds like this, “I would use part of my time to thank those whose lives have made mine better, and spend the rest of it in the arms of the person I loved the most.” My personal response probably lies here. It’s an interesting question because no one says “I’ve only got an hour, maybe I should clean the house, or mow the lawn, or go to the bank, or even eat.” Nothing material is attached to where true value lies. Nothing. This is but one example of a high quality question.

Most seek nothing but answers when their true quest should be identifying the correct questions. My mentor used to say, “There are no right answers to the wrong questions.” If you say to the ether “Why me?” you will get lots of answers that do nothing to empower you. In return you’ll get plenty of information designed to reaffirm why you are in a place of undesirability. Logically, if the original inquiry is producing unwanted answers, then should not the opposite question produce what is sought? Try asking instead “Why NOT me?” If you want to lose weight the opposite of “Why am I fat?” is NOT “Why am I not thin?” This is the same question in disguise. It’s true opposite would be “How can I get thin?” Subtle; yes, but believe me the brain knows the difference and it will eventually churn out what is asked of it.

Subconsciously (and of course consciously) everyone has conversations in their minds designed to eliminate what is wanted and attract what is desired. The problem with attracting what is unwanted is truly in how we word our queries. Think about it. If you constantly ask yourself why are you passed by for promotion you will get answers that are, one- riddled with blame rather than accountability, and two- will serve only self-defeating behavior.

There are several ways to stop the habit of asking bad questions.

First- Stop saying “why?” and start saying “how?” It is a one word change that will get instant results. When “why” is the driving force of a question, you will generate excuses. When “how” is used instead, you will generate solutions. By the way, don’t revert to “how come?” That’s just another “why” in disguise.

Second- Stop asking yourself questions that are really better answered by a more qualified source i.e. “How do I stop drinking?” The use of the word “how” in this case will eventually force us beyond the limits of our own minds. When we embrace outside information (oftentimes masquerading as criticism) we open ourselves to unlimited choices, and isn’t that what we should have anyway?  Remember what Einstein said, “We can’t solve problems  by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” For me this means I have to stop re-arranging what’s in my own head while trying to convince myself it will eventually add up differently. He also said that the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. It really comes down to listening more than talking; something I still struggle with.

Third- Start shifting your approach to life from one of doubt to one of expectation. This will automatically re-write how thoughts word themselves. Don’t generate anxiety, uncertainty,  or worry  about your goals; expect them and they will manifest. Get off the “what if?” ride and jump onto the certitude express. Remember, planning for the worst and assuming it are vastly different. Contingency plans are fine but they must exist only in the background. Driving a vehicle without brakes and seatbelts will force you to a crawl; whereas utilizing the car’s safety features will allow maximum confidence in both driver and machine.

Make a list of good questions and repeat them a LOT to yourself. If they are indeed high quality they will generate even more high quality questions. My top three are-

How can I become a better man?

How can I serve?

And..

How can I live without regret?

With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

WELCOME TO SELF-HELP AND RECOVERY FOR BEGINNERS!

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For both men and women, knowing where to begin a better life can be overwhelming. I’m only the doorman to tomorrow. I can show you where to start, but I will not tell you where to go.

“…it’s easier to undertake a journey when the entrance is clearly marked.”

When I first set out to seek out new avenues and new sources for self-improvement, I made a trip to my local book store expecting to find exactly what I was looking for. I didn’t. I stood there facing several hundred choices wondering where to start. Surely someone had written a beginner’s guide, a square one launching point that wasn’t overwhelming. My goal was to find something not only easy to read, but informative and entertaining. I sought plain and straight forward instruction on how to move ahead in my life. I wanted a resource that would offer the basics and inspire me to continue researching whatever subject might stimulate my interest.  After thumbing through several dozen publications, I found out rather quickly my thirst for knowledge was being offered to me through a fire hose. There was no doubt every answer conceivable lay buried in the pages of the volumes I was wavering in front of, but the process of sifting through endless manuals to look for what appealed to me was not one I was eager to attempt. For the most part, each title addressed a specific topic, and that was fine, but my tastes were much more generalized. What I longed for, even though I didn’t know it at the time, were the right questions. Eventually, through trial and error, I became interested in specific authors, various subjects, and diverse teachings. Even though the road I chose was slow and treacherous, I never stopped progressing. There is, however, little doubt in my mind, I’d be a lot further along than I am now if it had been somewhat less intimidating. It is my opinion that the absence of an easy first step keeps many a wandered traveler from finding their way home.

There was a time when I was truly certifiable. I had nothing in my world that someone would have wanted in theirs. In 1995 I was drinking two-fifths of vodka a day. Since July 28th of that same year, I have been in recovery. As the years progressed, I worked on various elements of my character that needed nurturing. My health improved as did the rest of my personal life. Abundance flowed in, while misfortune waned. In the summer of 2007, came one of my biggest wake-up calls. I had hit the high mark of my weight–347 pounds. After committing to a weight loss program early in 2009, I lost over 105 pounds in six months without loss of energy or strength. I now tip the scales at an average of 220. I’ve had heat stroke, carbon monoxide poisoning, viral pneumonia, MRSA (staph infections), pulmonary embolisms, and car accidents. There are those who may use similar events to convince others how unlucky they are; I use them to prove how fortunate I am. I’ve survived these and other temporary setbacks with flying colors. If attitude is everything, then I’m the direct result of the resolute belief that life gets better every day.

My attempt with this blog is not to provide a goal, but rather an introduction. I’m not a scholar, nor am I a counselor. As a matter of fact, I’m a plumber; a blue-collar worker who has no problems getting his hands dirty and breaking a sweat for a living. Hopefully, my background will offer an approachable and relaxed alternative for those just starting out. I know it’s easier to undertake a journey when the entrance is clearly marked. I’ll never tell anyone where to go, but I’ll be glad to talk about where I’ve been and if you want to visit these places, I’ll simply point the way.

Please follow my blog. Comment and share as you wish.

With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood