The teachings of many of history’s religious and philosophical figures are timeless, but are often mistakenly taken at face value. It’s easy to slap a quote on an image or a t-shirt and pass it around, but it takes deliberate thought to actually internalize the true meaning behind the words, and often these quick philosophical ‘bytes’ are passed over too quickly for this to happen.
It’s easy for us in this day and age to be “spiritual” by identity and pass it off well without ever truly living spiritually — without recognizing and benefitting from what we can learn from having a spiritual relationship with ourselves and this world. Because of that, it’s common to come across a great deal of logical spiritualists and fake ‘new-agey’ type personalities that don’t truly live the core of what these great teachers have shared.
So I wanted to share my own perspective on the true meaning behind some of these quotes.
“Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.”
To be in good health allows us to experience this world to its fullest, the way the body, mind, and soul were meant to experience it. It’s common to view wealth in a monetary sense, but having a state of peace within oneself is a much more powerful and useful tool than simple material wealth. Trusting in oneself and one’s path is an important part of our relationship with the self.
“Every human being is the author of his own health or disease.”
We create our own outcomes with many things. There are many interesting strands of research these days showing us how certain long-term emotions and traumas can have a huge impact on disease. Obviously this may not apply to the health of a newborn, but this wisdom is intended, it seems to me, to remind us to look at our long-term thoughts and actions in our lives and consider how they may be affecting our physical well-being.
“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”
The moment is all we have. We can learn from our past and project goals onto our “future moment,” but to spend all our time in either is to miss out on what’s happening in front of us. This refers to the times we walk through the park thinking about what’s coming next or what happened before, without seeing or really experiencing the amazing beauty and nature around us in that moment.
“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.”
You can try to help someone else and you can wait forever for someone to come save you, but until a person decides to make a change themselves and commits to it, there’s little that can be done. Change must be desired before it can be effected. Throw both feet in and go for it. Otherwise you’re always going to spin your tires.
“In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true.”
Everyone has their own perception of a situation or what might have been said. This does not mean that perception is universally true; rather, it is simply true for them in their current state. Don’t take other people’s perceptions of certain situations as ultimate truth, and in the same way, don’t take to heart what they think or believe about you. With yourself, understand that you too have your own perceptions, and allow yourself to be open to what others think and feel just as you would hope others would do for you.
“Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.”
Like many things which continue to reveal themselves in our world, the truth cannot be hidden forever. It will eventually come out. This is one of the most exciting parts about what I do here with CE.
“It is easy to see the faults of others, but difficult to see one’s own faults. One shows the faults of others like chaff winnowed in the wind, but one conceals one’s own faults as a cunning gambler conceals his dice.”
Be humble and be open to seeing your own “faults” in the same way you are open to seeing them in others. It takes true strength, honesty, and love to be open to your own flaws and to tackle the challenge of moving beyond them.
“To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.”
Our health is so crucial to living well, and contributes to everything we do in this experience we call life. It’s interesting to view the sheer disconnect in our society between our emotions, spirituality, and overall health. The more disconnected we are, the more unhealthy we are. The greater connection we gain to ourselves and our health, the more in balance all other areas of our lives become.
“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.”
What you think has a big impact on your overall state of being. This has been proven time and time again and I believe is becoming a pretty mainstream idea these days.