Confucius was an extremely prominent Chinese philosopher and political figure. Born in 551 B.C., his words continue to resonate with people all over the world to this day. His teachings are preserved in the Analects, and are focused on creating ethical models of family and public interaction, and setting educational standards.
Confucius has written some of the most influential books in world history, with common threads of positivity, humbleness, respect, integrity, and compassion running throughout. The teachings of so many ancient philosophers still hold great value today, and it is always a remarkably humbling experience to see the depth of wisdom displayed by people who lived so long ago. Our spiritual roots have been largely abandoned in our modern age, and with them, a great deal of knowledge and compassion. Perhaps, if we are to move forward, and live on this planet together as one united race, we may first need to return to some of these ancient principles.
Regardless of what you think of Confucius himself, hopefully these words give you something to think about and give you the push you need to further your own personal development.
“Our Greatest Glory Is Not In Never Failing, But In Getting Up Every Time We Do.”
I like to believe that there is no such thing as failing, and that what we perceive to be ‘failures’ are actually stepping stones. It’s amazing how an experience in your life can change just by shifting the way you think about it. Easier said than done, I know, but it’s a great practice for practicing mindfulness and detachment. Your first feelings about an event are not always the truest indicator of its meaning. Once you shift from viewing certain experiences as ‘failures’ to appreciating them as lessons and opportunities for growth, you will be amazed at how much better you feel, and how quickly they will begin to actually fuel your progress.
Every failure brings you one step closer to success.
“Never Impose On Others What You Would Not Choose For Yourself.”
It’s the golden rule; a teaching that has been found in multiple faiths and cultures throughout the world at various stages of human history. This is something that definitely resonates with me, as I can clearly see that most human beings don’t consciously wish to cause physical or emotional harm to another person, but sometimes our own desires blind us to the needs of others.
It is my belief that we have been taught to think and behave this way, but since that is a huge topic to cover, I will not do so here. I have, however, written about this in depth, and you can read that here if you are interested.
“Wheresoever You Go, Go With All Your Heart.”
“When we can’t say ‘No,’ we become a sponge for the feelings of everyone around us and we eventually become saturated by the needs of everyone else while our own hearts wilt and die. We begin to live our lives according to the forceful should of others, rather than the whispered, passionate want of our own hearts. We let everyone else tell us what story to live and we cease to be the author of our own lives. We lose our voice — we lose the desire planted in our souls and the very unique way in which we might live out that desire in the world. We get used by the world instead of being useful in the world.” (source)
These are the words of Dr. Kelly M. Flanagan, and I believe her ideas have their roots in this Confucian teaching. So many of us live in fear of following our own hearts. Most of us have been conditioned to believe that we must go to school in order get a job, in order to pay our bills and then to do die. I don’t believe this resonates with many people, and I think more and more people are finding it difficult to just buckle down and deal with it. That being said, if you do find yourself doing something you don’t want to out of necessity, such as an unfulfilling job, perhaps you could use that experience to practice mindfulness.
I have approached every distasteful job I ever had in this way. I chose to find something within the experience that would allow me to better myself in some way, and sometimes it was as simple as doing a little mind hack, shifting the way I thought about the experience to change the way I felt about it. I also made sure to always engage in things I was passionate about, to make time for the things that brought joy into my life, like research. For as long as I can remember, I have always followed my heart, and was always prepared to suffer the consequences as well as reap the rewards.
The great thing about following your heart is that you can do it at your own pace while still being confined to the requirements of this human experience. The joy lies within the journey, not the destination.
So, the next time you really want to do something, whether it be in the short term or the long term, go out and do it, or draw up some action steps to get there.
“I Hear And I Forget. I See And Remember. I do And I Understand.”
To me, this quote is saying that knowledge gained from experience is the most potent; that we cannot know something fully until we experience it for ourselves. This is why we learn more from our own mistakes than the mistakes of others. I believe it also means that we are capable of learning anything we desire, provided we are willing to put in the practice required to do so. Finally, I believe this quote hangs on the same thread as “actions speak louder than words.”
“Everything Has Beauty, But Not Everyone Sees It.”
This is one of my favourites. Not all of us perceive the world in the same way. Not all of us look at people, places, and experiences in the same way, since what is beautiful to one may be atrocious to another. Moreover, most of us (myself included) go through life without ever stopping to think about existence, or to notice the beauty that exists all around us. Corporate media bombards us constantly with bad news and negativity, and while there are indeed many tragedies and injustices in our world that need to be addressed, the truth of the matter is, there is still a lot of beauty, a lot of good, and a lot of light in this world. We should be paying as much attention to that as we do the things we desire to change.
“Real Knowledge Is To Know The Extent Of One’s Ignorance.”
This sentiment has been expressed by many philosophers in one form or another, and for good reason. Socrates, for example, put it quite bluntly when he wrote that “the only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing,” for only if we approach learning with an open mind can we truly educate ourselves.
I do believe that we should always question the extent of our ignorance. Being part of the consciousness movement has taught me to always question things, even things I thought I knew already. Our broader understandings of science and technology are always evolving, and we must learn to evolve with them.
Always question what you think you know, and remember that there is probably a lot more to a subject than we currently recognize:
We knew that the Earth was flat, we knew that we were the center of the universe, and we knew that a man-made, heavier than air piece of machinery could not take flight. Through all stages of human history, intellectual authorities have pronounced their supremacy by ridiculing or suppressing elements of reality that simply didn’t fit within the framework of accepted knowledge. Are we really any different today? Have we really changed our acceptance towards things that won’t fit the frame? Maybe there are concepts of our reality we have yet to understand. – taken from the film The Day Before Disclosure
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