Golden Silence

“Golden Silence”, a Haiku by Gregg Hake

The moment before
An audience cheers wildly—
Golden silence reigns.

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What I’ve Learned

This is my 1,746th consecutive daily post. That is roughly 4 3/4 years of daily posts, come rain or shine, hell or high water. I’ve enjoyed sharing my thoughts with all of you, casting my bread upon the waters of cyberspace without expectation of result and with no strings attached. Though I haven’t ever sought to monetize my writing, I would be the first to admit that I have profited greatly from the exercise.

Writing the way I do, which comes as much from my heart as it does my head, really forced me to put childish things away and petty concerns aside. The basic essence of my process, which is nothing more than letting my highest and finest thoughts for the day come clearly to focus and then writing them down in whatever written form seems to fit, has remained the same all the way through.

Some of you who have been with me from the start or who started later and went back to catch up have mentioned to me that you’ve appreciated seeing how my writing and thoughts have evolved over the years. Others of you have mentioned that you’ve enjoyed seeing how your digestion and application of my daily meditations has affected your lives in one way or another. My hope in starting this was to share freely and to hopefully offer useful starting points for further consideration and from emails I’ve received from a number of you, it’s safe to say, well, mission accomplished!

That said, I feel in some ways that I, and we – which is how I see it – are just getting started. The wellspring of inspiration is the fountain of youth. You cannot drink from it without sharing it, for the rejuvenating qualities of the waters of inspiration are only sustainable as they are given again, once received. If you try to take inspiration to yourself and don’t share it, it will quickly fade and you will once again find yourself searching for more.

I guess what I am saying is that whenever and wherever you are inspired, look right away to be an inspiration to others. You needn’t proselytize; you can actually give inspiration freely, without expectation of a return or a result. I’ve done this as a blogger every day for close to five years and as I mentioned, I have been richly rewarded by the effort. If you have too, then, congrats and please share your story with me privately or via a comment to my posts. If not, well, then, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get down to work.

From what I can tell the world is in great need of people who are willing to stick their neck out in this regard. There will, of course, be those who accuse you of ulterior motives or who sit back with their arms crossed, waiting for you to make a mistake or to offend them in some way so they can write you off and escape the pressure of being around someone who is genuinely interested in selfless service, but you needn’t pay much mind to them. The naysayers are a dime a dozen in this world. They always have been and they always will be.

The true gold, however, is in those who are not only willing to be inspired, but who then take the next step which is to find the way(s) share their inspiration with others – not just every now and again, but day in and day out. And I, my friends, believe that you are capable of that!

I hope that what I’ve learned has helped you in some way in your life. I make it a point to acknowledge such things as often as possible, even when those gifts of life and inspiration come from someone I am not particularly fond of or totally in agreement with. Truth and love will come to the surface through even the meanest of intellects if they are given the space to do so. If you judge and write someone off, you throw the baby out with the bathwater. And that is on you, not them for not being perfect in your eyes.

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Inner Glow

“Inner Glow”, a Haiku by Gregg Hake

Glowing flame within:
Love radiating outward
Pours forth in blessing

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The Gift of Life

What would the world be like were the appropriate response to be given in every circumstance by every person?

Some might argue that life in such a world would be bland, free of the friction, dissonance, and drama that makes life “interesting.” Others might dread such a state, fearing the level of responsibility that would have to be assumed for it to become a reality. My own impression is that the world created would be much more caring, reverent, and safe than the world we have created for ourselves using a lower standard.

Forget grandiose thoughts of what the world would be like for a moment. What would your life be like were you to respond appropriately more often than you do now? For starters, you’d probably regret less, forgive more, and be more at peace. It’s probably safe to safe that you would be a more agreeable person to be around on your “bad” days and those days would occur less often. I imagine, too, that the negative aspects of your personality and as a result your reputation, would slowly but surely be recast in a more positive light.

The next obvious question, if you agree with what I’ve said so far, “where do I start?” Now to my mind, no matter how wonderful or terrible your life has been up to this point, you have been given the greatest gift a person could be given: the gift of life. Even if you are having a bad day, week, month or decade, that gift is constantly being given to you. Were it not, you wouldn’t be there thinking about it, would you?

Now you don’t have to live very long to know that receiving this gift with ingratitude, disdain, bitterness, complaint, and a host of other negative attitudes is likely to send you and your life and your relationships tumbling downward. Nobody really wants that, though hundreds of millions of people have found themselves on that slippery slope through the ages, despite the fact that it is completely unnecessary to spend your life in a state of perpetual misery or in the fear of impending doom.

There really is only one appropriate response to the gift of life: appreciation. No matter what comes your way, you can first give thanks for the privilege of the gift of life. From there you can give that gift to others. When you stop beating the world around you on the head to set them straight, you quickly find that appreciation works far better at greasing and opening locked and closed hearts than the other, more hurtful alternatives like anger, pettiness, disdain, disparagement, and so on.

Where the underlying attitude is appreciation, there is no room for “he said, she said”, no need for barricades and barrages, no need to throw the proverbial baby out with the bath water. Appreciation is the high stance in which you can acknowledge differences without sacrificing commonalities.

The next time you are faced with a situation, conversation, or thought that triggers a tightening of your heart, consider these words and this approach. Take whatever time you need (there is typically more time available than you might think) to bring to focus your appreciation for something, anything so that you can be light on your toes from the start, rather than digging your heels in and preparing for a fight. I guarantee, without qualification that this will change the course of history for you, if not for the world.

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The Wheels of Progress

How you handle the successes in your life is just as important as how you handle the failures. You’ve no doubt watched someone who had a habit of squandering the momentum generated by one or more successes. They go up and down like a yo-yo, never moving upward on the ascending spiral of eternal progress. The promise of upward movement is quickly rejected, that is, they move up the spiral slightly, but just as soon as they do they either get fearful or cocksure and waste the momentum on some trivial, or worse, damaging pursuit.

Some even go so far as to make this a strategy in living. They convince themselves that they have been “good” and then indulge in a “bad” thing or two using the logic that they’ve earned it or deserve it. This sense of entitlement gets a lot of people into a lot of trouble. This habit often shows up in relation to dietary choices, but it also effects, or should I say infects daily decision making about relationships, attitudes taken towards others, and money.

If you try to act “good” to build up a bank account so that you can indulge in your favorite peccadillos, you will invariably stop the momentum you’ve generated. You may even go backwards! Righteousness, that is, doing the right thing for the sake of being right, is a no-strings-attached state of being. If you do right out of a concern to get something, you will fail. It always backfires.

Others do this unconsciously. They go through a good patch and because of a lack of self-worth, a conviction of eventual failure, or a basic mistrust in life itself, they wait in their heart or the recesses of their mind for the other shoe to drop. They refuse to open themselves to the possibility of eternal progress because it flies in the face of their deeper beliefs in things like Murphy’s Law (i.e. if anything can go wrong it will…and to me). This stubborn stance closes the window of opportunity that was opened by the success they were having and they stand there with their backs to the window saying “See, I told you so!”

When people feel good about themselves, they tend to get sloppy in their decision-making. Have you ever read about someone who won the lottery? That momentary success tends to breed a whole litter of failure that quickly devours the lives of the so-called “winners.” Have you ever watched a person on a meteoric rise to stardom? It’s rarely a pretty sight. The problem isn’t going fast; the trouble comes when you live life fast and loose.

It’s easy I suppose to analyze or criticize others in this regards, so, enough about them…what about you? What do you do with the little and large successes you have? Do you hold and protect them, nurture them, study them, and learn from them so that you can build on them? Do you treat the momentum as you would a ski jumper whose successful completion of the next jump depends upon his wise and judicious use of the momentum generated from the last? Or do you put on the brakes and start skidding to a halt out of fear or do a wild victory dance as you’re approaching the next jump and find yourself out of position when the next challenge comes along?

I am not saying that you shouldn’t celebrate, but I am saying that the momentum you generate should be handled with great care if you wish to continue in the direction you began moving (i.e. upward) when you have a victory, be it big or small. Relationships, careers, and lives are made and broken on this basis. If you want to live your life by fits and starts, then, by all means waste that momentum. If not, you’ll have to watch more closely when you start moving up the spiral.

Eternal progress is possible. It is within your reach, but you must let yourself be open to it. That’s really half the battle. From there you will begin to discover the fulfillment which comes with doing the right thing because it is the right thing to do. You’ll stop bargaining “good” for “bad” in your life and more importantly, you’ll stomp out the little fires of self-destruction that you probably lit yourself, either deliberately or accidentally when the wheels of progress started turning.

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“Love’s Call”, a Haiku by Gregg Hake

“Love’s Call”, a Haiku by Gregg Hake

Stop! Listen through
The ceaseless noise of culture—
Do you hear love’s call?

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