Living the Boundless Abundant Life

Abundant Life

What does it mean to enjoy a boundless, abundant life? That’s the question many a philosophical sage and mystic has ventured to answer. It’s been said before: life is meant to be lived! Unfortunately, far too many of us walk around fairly spiritually dead. Why is that?

The world is certainly no paradise, that’s for sure. Things happen that cause us pain. And people do things that hurt us. We try to cope with life’s slings and arrows as best we can. We build defenses. And we develop various strategies for dealing with others (i.e. personality styles). (For more on this see: Personality and Character Disorders: A Primer.) In the process, our hearts begin to close. It seems like they have to. For in this world, they’re far too easily broken. This takes some of the life out of us.

Living a more boundless, abundant life takes a real leap of faith. Folks leading such a life have set all their fears aside. They dare to live more fully resting peacefully in the present moment.  They’re not haunted by the past or anxious about the future. But as we’ve been discussing, our appetites and aversions can easily enslave us. Of course, it’s natural to shy away from what hurts and to be drawn to what pleases us. But a life governed by the pursuit of comfort and security breeds a type of spiritual emptiness. A more vast and wondrous existence awaits those who allow faith and not fear to rule. (See also: Life Beyond the Pleasure Principle.)

Heeding the Commands

We’ve been talking about the “10 commandments” of sound character development. They represent the crucial life lessons we need to embrace and master to be psychologically and spiritually healthy. And they’re far more than a list of dos and don’ts. Rather, they’re a set of practices that can propel us toward a more boundless, abundant life. Moreover, they all work together. They represent a kind of cooperative dance of growth. Each builds upon the other.

To be sound in both spirit and character you have to know your worth. And you have to know whence it derives. (See also: Cultivating Healthy Self-Worth.) It also helps to step outside yourself and see the bigger picture of existence. (See: Outgrowing Natural Egocentricity.) Knowing how interconnected everything and everyone is gives you a broader perspective. And seeing things accurately, without bias or self-deception helps clear your personal growth pathway. (See: Character Requires Revering Truth.)

The Next Commandment

Next week we’ll begin discussing the 6th “commandment” of character. That commandment has to do with mastery over our impulses and how to achieve it. The series on this commandment will serve as a prelude to discussing perhaps the touchiest subject of all: our human free will.

You can read more about  all the commandments in Character Disturbance. But I’ll be spending a good deal of time both of the upcoming commandments, because of their importance. To refresh, here’s the 6th commandment:

Be mindful. Think before you act. Be master of your impulses.

Psychology’s official manual of mental illnesses lists a cluster of “impulse control disorders.” Sadly, far too many folks these days lack internal controls. They act on impulse, without thinking things through. Sometimes, they act first and think later, experiencing after-the-fact regret. Of course, by then it’s too late. Sometimes they simply act unthinkingly with no regret. That’s because they lack a sound conscience. T

These days, we have medicines that can help a person exercise better impulse control. But there’s simply no substitute for sound character. And to develop that we have to cultivate mindfulness.

A Paradigm for the Age

We live in times when far too many appear out of control. Fortunately, we came to realize some time ago how intrinsically interconnect our thinking patterns and actions are. This is the heart of the cognitive-behavioral paradigm. And it’s the preferred method for dealing with the character-impaired. (See also: A Primer on Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy.)

What we think and believe really matters. And how we think matters a lot, too. We can say a lot of things about what we believe. Talk, as they say, is cheap. But the attitudes we really hold are best reflected in our actions. So it matters that we get our thinking straight. And it behooves us to be as fully aware as possible. That’s the heart of mindfulness. And we’ll be talking a lot more about mindful self-control in the coming weeks.

Tidbits

I’ll have some announcements soon on the new direction for Character Matters. The program will be going to an all “podcast” and “spotcast” format. But we’ll still have provisions for folks to ask questions. And we’re working on a way for real time commentary as well.

 

 

 

 

7 thoughts on “Living the Boundless Abundant Life

  1. To All, Joey, Andy, Lucy, Kat, E, and so on……..

    The Abundance of Life……

    I have found it is not the material goods we acquire in life, it is the abundance of relationships with people in our lives that matter. People who care and have the capacity to understand and reach out and touch our souls.

    On this blog I have been blessed to know and interact with many who have touched me in a a way that I will be forever changed. Kindred Spirits who have shared the same experiences I have and are willing to give of themselves to lift others up.

    I think of you Joey, Andy, Lucy, Kat, E, Elva and so many others who have come here to share and lift others up. This, to me is abundance and is a rare commodity in these selfish, selfie days.

    This blog given by Dr. Simon is a wonderful gift filled with abundant wisdom on how to reach out and be the best we can be, how to understand the CD and rise above and heal. I am grateful to all of you past and present who unselfishly have given of themselves to lift others up. And most of all, it has help me to grow, flourish and an understanding guide on how to rise above and be the best I can be.

    I would like to thank you Dr. Simon for all you have done in my life through this blog. I pray God blesses you and your family with good health that you may continue the generous work to reach and continues the wonderful work you contribute to society through this blog.

    Thank you, all of you and may Gods Peace and Love touch all of you.

  2. Be mindful. ” I am ”

    Think before you act. “I very Much Do”

    Be master of your impulses.” I am in control, I have to be.”

    “Because the love of my life is a married lady”.

    “Things Could MOVE forward”.

    “BUT! ”

    “They Never Ever Will”.

    1. Joey,

      To bad you are so far away.
      I have long brown hair and brown eyes.
      I am single and a little older than you.
      All I can say is stay away from the married lady.
      If you respect her, than look for a single lady with her qualities and snatch her up.

  3. Dr. Simon, good news about Character Matters!
    BTOV, thanks for including me in your list, I know I haven’t been on here for a while. But recently I came back to read comments. Seems like off and on we deal with some of the effects of the CD past and have to plug back in where people here relate to what we have been through and are healing from.
    Joey, my son went out with a married lady without knowing she was married. Well one day the husband discovered where she was and came over to retrieve her. Lucky for my son he’s a big guy, they didn’t fight because the guy didn’t want to tangle with him but it may have worked out differently had my son not been bigger than him. Needless to say he quit seeing her.

    1. KAT,

      SO glad you are back commenting. You add so much with your experience and compassion. I look forward to your input as you have wisdom far beyond many that are struggling and you can be a great asset.

      I respect your discernment and have learned from you, thank you….
      God Bless

  4. BTOV,
    Thank you for your kind words. I think those things about you. Your support here has meant a lot to me. I think all of us on here have been through a lot and we want to heal and be better people for it, but its a process and we are not islands so we need each other. Glad to be here.

  5. Difficulties in life forced me to learn things about humans that I would otherwise not have known. I am very greatful for that. Now I know to put up appropriate boundaries where needed.

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