Ben Nadel
On User Experience (UX) Design, JavaScript, ColdFusion, Node.js, Life, and Love.
I am the chief technical officer at InVision App, Inc - a prototyping and collaboration platform for designers, built by designers. I also rock out in JavaScript and ColdFusion 24x7.
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Ben Nadel at cf.Objective() 2012 (Minneapolis, MN) with:

The Five Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die By John Izzo

By Ben Nadel on

A while back, I read The Five Secrets You Must Discover Before Your Die by John Izzo. I believe it was recommended to me by a blog reader; but I cannot for the life of me find the recommendation, so sorry for not thanking you. In this book, Dr. John Izzo distills the critical and commonly held beliefs present in the several hundred interviews he (and his team) gave to hand-selected elders (those over the age of 60). The pool of interviewees was selected from the thousands of individuals that were suggested by everyday-people as being particularly wise or happy. These elders were then asked about their lives and their outlook; the answers they provided were then analyzed and resulted in five commonly held beliefs about what conditions create happiness, meaning, and fulfillment in life.


 
 
 

 
The Five Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die by John Izzo, review by Ben Nadel.  
 
 
 

According to Izzo, the interviews with the elders contained many pearls of wisdom. However, if you want to get at the most commonly held, most powerful pieces of advice, he presents the following as the five secrets you must discover before you die:

  • Be true to yourself.
  • Leave no regrets.
  • Become love.
  • Live the moment.
  • Give more than you take.

To be honest, we've probably heard all of these before in one form or another. A huge part of the book, however, doesn't just concentrate on the secrets - it concentrates on reflection. It's one thing to have a list of secrets; it another thing to actually put those secrets into action. Along with each "secret", Izzo provides a large number of questions that one can ask themselves each week as a means to think deeply about their life and how to steer it back in the right direction.

For example:

  • Did this week or day feel like my kind of week or day?
  • What would make tomorrow or next week feel more true?
  • Was I the kind of person I want to be this week?
  • In what ways do I want to be more like the person I want to be tomorrow?
  • Am I following my heart right now?
  • What would it mean for me to really follow my heart right now?

For me personally, the one secret that resonated most profoundly was that of:

Become love.

As I stated in my Philosophy of Love blog post, this statement has lodged itself deeply within my mind. There's something so simple yet profound about what it is saying. In a way, it succinctly defines so much of what I've been thinking about lately and striving for in my life. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I look at it as simply being my "montra."

I've never had a tattoo before; but, I have to admit I'm unbelievably intrigued with the idea of getting this phrase tattooed on my hand. Something small and simply, just enough that I could see it every time that I look down. I think I'll explore some temporary tattoo options online (as a sanity check).

If I come away from this book with nothing more than this phrase stuck in my mind, I feel like the book will have been well worth the read. There are impediments and barriers all around us built to prevent love. In fact, in the book, Izzo explains that the average household has a 14:1 negative-to-positive statement ratio. This means that for every positive comment exchanged in a household, there are, on average, 14 negatives comments exchanged. This blows my mind!

Reading a book like this in not an exercise in the search for the "silver bullet." As I mentioned before, we've probably all heard secrets like the ones listed in the book. Reading a book like this is all about practice. Like prayer, reflection, or meditation, it is meant to constantly keep us in touch with those aspects of our life that are most meaningful. And for me, remembering to "become love" is never without value.




Reader Comments

I can't do any of this "soul searching".

I have, for lack of better wording, an over-active and worrisome mindset that has me constantly wonder "what if" and "how come" 24/7. It is subconsciously controlled so I've found no way to shut it off outside of drugging myself.

Having to "worry" about asking myself those kind of questions would put my system into a knot so twisted it would make a pretzel maker blush. No, I need to find a way to do just the opposite. I need to find a way to get my mind to shut off and just relax; nothing is ever as dire as my mind makes things out to be.

As for the negative comments, I'm a pessimistic cynic by nature, so seeing the positive in something just seems futile and hope-lorned (Yes, Firefox, I know that's not a word, but it SOUNDS right)

Thing is, I don't express my negativity to anyone other than myself, unless asked. Not to knock it for the sake of just knocking it, but "become love" kinda sounds like the mantra of a hippy, rather than that of a ColdFu master like yourself. :)

(Hey check that! I said something positive... AND IT HURTS SO BAD!)

It occurs to me that if you are true to yourself the other secrets will follow, or at least be easier to practice. It sounds like such a simple and natural way to be. Yet somehow it's a constant struggle to filter out all of the noise of societal values and norms. I am convinced that this is the most important key to leading a happy an fulfilling life. Thank you Ben! Great post!

@Aaron, regarding "I need to find a way to get my mind to shut off and just relax":

Try meditating thinking about nothing, emptiness, silence. If any thought comes into your head, make it evaporate by assigning it no importance. If the thought is a sentence, it turns into gobbledy-gook, gibberish. And you return to nothing, emptiness, silence.

In addition to helping you shut off your mind and relax, it also has the benefit of being free. No books to buy. No guru to consult.

@WebManWalking-

A lot of people have recommended meditation to me as "Step 1". Sitting somewhere and doing nothing for any amount of time sounds overwhelmingly unproductive to me (but that's my inner always-on voice saying that).

In reality, taking some time for myself would probably do me a world of good. Maybe instead of sitting somewhere actively telling my inner me to "Shut the heck up already!" I can, instead, maybe take a quick rest on the bed for 10-20 minutes and relax not only my mind by my body.

Funny, too, when I tell myself it's a waste of time to do nothing, I go back to what I am already doing, which might be watching TV (which is in and of itself, a form of nothing) I think my mind just wants to HEAR something going on (silence is deafening to it). And maybe getting into the habit of teaching my brain to disconnect will finally mentally relax the rest of me.

...that and I could maybe backoff on drinking 10 quad-shot cappuccinos a week...

Hey, ColdFusion is powered by Java and SO AM I!

@Aaron, you sound a lot like me in a lot of ways. I am so easily distracted, it has me going to the doctor to see if I have ADD, ADHD, or something else that could be distracting me ( @Ben 's blog). At the same time, I live for distractions, and silence is deafening to me. The times in my life I am able to really conctrate and focus on something, and those times do come, typically are when at the very least, music is on. I worked for a television station, and they insisted upon putting a t.v. in my office. My productivity increased by at least 35% - 45% during that time, and I was able to concentrate and work much easier than I am in a room that has nothing but silence. When I am in an office that is silent, I find silence very distracting, and my mind constantly wonders. It's like silence sends my mind into overdrive.

The other thing that reminded me of me when I was reading your comments was the thing about being unproductive. That's one of the first things I think about when I hear the phrase "become love". I think about all the things I could do in order to do that...go help an old lady across the street, help a woman with 5 children running around carry groceries out to her car, etc., but when I think about those things, all I can think about are the things that I need to get done, and I almost become overwhelmed by everything that I have to do, and it just feels so unproductive, or like doing those things would make me very unproductive. I think that's why I think that it's not possible for me to become love...I have too much crap going on.

Although, I wouldn't think of myself as a pessimistic person. I typically think of myself as a positive person...which isn't always the best thing. I always think the best of people, and sometimes that can cause me to get into bad relationships with bad people I shouldn't be in relationships with, because I haven't been able to see the bad that is there that you would think anyone would be able to see.

@Aaron,

No, you misunderstood. "Shut the heck up already!" is a sentence. It's something. You can't even think that.

It requires an enormous amount of concentration to think of nothing. Powerlifting for the mind.

@WebManWalking,

if it is kind of easy to think of nothing, does that make you a vacant person? I'm kind of afraid that if I made a point to lie down and think of absolutely nothing that my brain would turn off, shut down, and I would become a vegetable.

Hi Ben,

First of, I really enjoy your blog. You have a great talent for diving into technical stuff and relay your findings in such a way that gets me excited and want to explore futher - thanks.

But blog posts like these have a tendency to hit me over the head waking me up from hour-long geeky endeavours to remind me that their is another reality on the other side of my monitor - thanks!

Keep up the great work :)

Oh and on a side note to the other fellow commentators. I find doing sports an effective form of meditation.
Go to a pool doing laps for half and hour or sit on a stationary bike just focusing on your puls or cadence. The trick is to focus all you attention on one monotone thing. I brings me into a trance like state where 30 minutes afterwards feels like only 5 and my head is emptied from thoughts - don't worry, they will come back ;)

@Ben, thanks for a wonderful post. "Become Love" is right on the mark. Life without love is just not worth living.

@Aaron and Anna, I hear you, I also struggle with Ben's advise to "Become Love" and WebManWalking's advise to "think of nothing". Our minds always get filled up with clutter that we don't need.

@WebManWalking, if I have one thing to say, emptying the mind is good, but I think the emptied space needs to be filled anew with thoughts of great value. Which brings us back to what Ben is saying. Why don't we empty our minds of all the things we worry about, and fill it with thoughts of love and gratitude?

This is what I think of love, it's taken from 1 John 3:16: "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters." We become love by learning to emulate the One who truly is Love. Just my two cents!

@Gerald,

I was responding only to Aaron's complaint of being unable to shut off his mind and relax. I described a way to actively shut off one's mind by willing it to shut off.

No more than that.

@Aaron Martone,

Try repeating one word in your head. For me, that's usually, "Sleep."

It focuses you on one thought and shoves most of the others out. It's quite hard, actually, but will help.

And, yes, say no to java.

@Ben,

Say no to tatts. Say yes to TEMPORARY tatts.

I think tattoos, when they're new, are sexy.... on women of course.... but after a year or two, they fade and after 20 years simply look awful. My $.02.

Along the lines of your five secrets, another way of the same thing is, "If I knew I was going to die tomorrow, what would I do today?"

@Randall, yay, I agree with you about something! Tats...are tacky. At least most of them, I think. I have seen some that were well done and well executed, but some of them look like the person spilled trash on their arm (or whatever body part they had it done on). Ironically enough, I do think some are sexy, so although I overall don't like tats, there have been some that I thought were very sexy (but on men, they are really only sexy if done in a place containing great muscles, and they in some way show off that muscle.) I think a lot of it has to do with placing and how good the person/body of person looks it is done on. If a woman has a nice rear, and has a tat on the rear, I think it's very sexy. But when getting a tat, another thing to think about is...my arm is nice now, but will it still be 20 years from now? Tats are permanent. Your parts may not permanently look like they do today. And with women (and men), some stomach tats are cool now...but often, the stomach area is one that grows as people get older, and it's really gross when someone, who may have had awesome abs when they were younger, gets a tat on their abs and they are huge now, and it's stretched out all over the beer belly/keg that has replaced the six-pack...

In some ways, it draws attention to that part, whereas they could've made it look better had they not put the attention-drawing tat on it.

I've seen people who had tats when they were younger, and it looked good/was sexy when they were younger, and then saw them later and thought, "what were they thinking". Obviously, they had no idea their bodies would go that far downhill, but it just really made them look worse (in my opinion, but probably a lot of others, too)

I kinda agree about tattoos. Moreover, these just don't look good on people with a good amount of that pigment (I can't spell the word) that gives one brown skin, and I'm one of these folks.

So, yeah, go with temporary tattoos.

@Ben,

The more I think about 'become love', the more i come up with positive thoughts. It's like "if you smile, the world will smile with you." It's truly a mantra... I'll have to remember to say it to myself when I get annoyed or irritated by anything...:)

I like @WebManWalking's suggestion to meditate or calm one's mind. One other thing I do is let each thought come in and then acknowledge it and tell the thought that you will think about it later. So procrastination works best in this case. Mind is usually overwhelmed when it's pressured to come up with a resolution right away, so more you would want to avoid or ignore the thought more chaotic it gets. So key is to slowly letting the thought go. One need not sit still or lie down to calm oneself. I usually try to do while driving, washing dishes or doing laundry...:)

About tattoo, I would so much want to get may be small one or two for me...:) I know they would look bad as we get older and wrinkly. So may be some area that doesn't get wrinkled like above ankle or lower back won't be that bad. Or may be I should get when I'm seventy or so, that way skin would be already wrinkled...:)

@Aaron,

I'll agree with you that having to ask such questions is a burden. It's one of those things that becomes easier only when it's a habit; but, I don't know how to commit enough to it for it to become a habit. That why, for me, I've found the mantra to be an awesome thing. It's easy to remember and hopefully will be easier to bring into my conscious.

@MKM,

I definitely agree. The basis of so much of this stuff is probably just being true to yourself. We just run into so many barriers that stop us or make us extremely self-conscious of being that way. Perhaps what's nice about the "become love" concept is that it gives your desire a bit more focus. Be true to yourself is good; but, you have to figure out what "true" is for you. Become love, at least for me, allows me to focus in on an important aspect of what I think is true for my life.

@WebManWalking, @Aaron,

I have found watching TED Talks to be incredibly relaxing ( http://www.ted.com ). They are always very interesting and thought provoking. And, since they are chock full of information, it doesn't feel like it's unproductive. Yet, at the same time, since the topics vary so widely, you also don't feel like the topics have to be productive. It's just a great great way to spend little 20-minute chunks of time here and there.

@Anna,

For "Become love", I find one thing that makes it feels great is to concentrate locally first. I think about the people that are already close to me - how can I love them more? How can I be a better friend to them? To be completely honest, helping people I don't know is the last thing that enters my mind. I'm not saying to doesn't feel good to help people you don't know (I love using www.kiva.org); I'm just saying that I err on the side of strengthening existing relationships than I do on creating new ones.

@Morten,

Thanks my man! I'm glad you enjoy this kind of stuff as well. I think it helps to keep me mentally balanced.

And I also find sports to even me out! I'm not a huge sports person in general; but, I do love to work out. And, when I'm not working out consistently, I definitely feel like my life is off kilter. That reminds me, I have to workout today :D

@Gerald,

Thanks! I also believe that this makes life much more worth living.

@Randall, @Lola,

Yeah, I will definitely go temp tattoo :) Ink is just so permanent and I have trouble committing to that. I'm gonna try to create one in Fireworks and then send it off to one of those print-on-demand places. Apparently they have temp tattoo printing these days.... I love this world :D

@Smita,

I like to get lost in thought when I am walking. I tend to star down at the sidewalk; but, I find it to be really relaxing and allows me to do some good introspection.

If anyone interested, here is a mantra that I say it aloud to calm myself down and feel better.
This is an ancient sanskrit hymn. This reminds me that each of us individually can't be happy and content until everyone is happy and content. Makes me feel good to pray for everyone than just for myself.

Sarve bhavantu sukhinah - May all be happy!
Sarve santu niraamayaah - May all be healthy (free of sickness)!
Sarve bhadraani pashyantu - May all see the goodness in others!
Maakaschit duhkha bhaag bhavet - If there are any sorrow or suffering, may it all go away!

Om... shanti... shanti... shanti! - With everything within me (My interpretation of Om)... Peace... Peace... Peace!

@Smita,

That's nice. In my philosophy class, we often talk about the unity that exists between all of us. One of the teachers made a joke that there used to be only one law: Unity. And we didn't do so well with that... so we got 10 commandments... and we didn't do so well with that... so we now have thousands and thousands of laws and precedence :)

@Ben,

That's right... the difference between physical rules of engagement that must abide by law vs rules for our souls which is above any law. For example, In reality the person who commits a crime is punishable by law. But morally both the person who commits and the one who thinks of committing are equally guilty. In someway the person who commits the crime physically is less guilty since they are honest. Some sort of repurcussion because of his or her action may lead to change in his or her course. They also serve as cautionary tales for others to not make same mistake. But the person who contemplates of committing never realizes what would have been the outcome, so lives in a perpetual state of guilt or rationalizes to him/herself since s/he didn't act on it somehow makes them better. My point is not that we all should just act on every crazy thoughts that come into our minds but rather have a control over our minds to match our thoughts to our actions. Some thoughts like helping others we should act on right away, some thoughts like doing something in anger we should procrastinate for sometime to make sure it is truly needs to be act upon and some thoughts like hurting someone or oneself we should just try to find out why we think that way and find help if needed to erase such thoughts. Some simple rule that would remind us to help us remain honest with ourselves. 'Become love' helps us that way. Before someone else can love us, we need to make ourselves lovable. 

Now coming to rules... I found this nice blog ... don't think I follow most of it...:/ but it helps you ponder about coming up with own personal rules to make it easier to get a hold on one's own life.

http://www.earlytorise.com/2011/07/20/12-rules/

@Smita,

Regarding your link... Eh. I clinched up just reading them. If Craig does all those things to the level of rigidity he writes, I doubt I could be friends with him.

I applaud him, to be sure, but we're going to get to the same place eventually -- six feet under. He sounds like he'll never be satisfied.

It's good to have goals and aspirations, but also realize that, before this morning, I had never heard of the guy and he still hasn't heard of me. He probably works his rear off. I work hard. He might earn a few more bucks than me. Oh well. He might live longer. Good for him. I feel I will enjoy my life a bit more. Maybe not.

In other words, I'm not lazy, but I'm not a workaholic. If someone says, "Let's go do something tonight," I don't want to say, "Sorry, gotta be in bed by 9:00. It's the law." I just feel like this guy WILL fail. That completely ignores the essence of the law and focuses purely on the letter of the law.

...Okay, back to work :-)

Good discussion going on here. @Ben, I re-read where you were thinking about getting said tatoo. The hand wouldn't be a bad place, especially on the back right above the wrist, or on the wrist, or even on the arm right below the wrist, or on the front, same areas. The good thing is that those areas aren't the ones that wrinkle and sag, etc., with old age as much. The bad thing is that those areas are typically pretty bony, and I have heard that bony areas are the most painful places to get tatoos. I think that the most "comfortable", least painful areas are fatty areas, but those are also the places that are very prone to sagging, stretch marks, and wrinkling as you age. Also, these two words aren't bad, and with the right font could look pretty cool, and not gaudy at all, like some tatoos are. You could get a sun tatoo of "Become Love", also. Those are fun! And work especially well with someone who tans really easily. What you do is get the letters for "Become Love" in some sort of sticker format. You put those on your body whereever you want the tatoo (places that work best are the ones that tan the easiest), and then you go and tan, leaving the area that is covered by the stickers lighter than the tanned area around it. It's actually a pretty cool thing, and can last a pretty long time if you take care to maintain it. It's good, after you do this, to always cover it up if you are going to be in the sun for extended areas so that the "Become Love" part doesn't tan and fade into the other tanned part.

Or you can do something else that is permanent (or should be), like tatoos, but is not something you would do to your body -- you can have the words "Become Love" inscribed on your wedding band (and possibly your wife's wedding band if she'd like to do that also). That way, you would hopefully always have it there on you as a reminder. It could be put on the outside part of the wedding band, or the inside part of the wedding band. I fully intend to have "1 Corinthians 7:3-4" inscribed on my wedding band when I get married. :-)

@Smita, that reminds me of something that was said during a talk I was listening to..."Take captive your thoughts before you become captive to them". It was a reminder that, although it's obviously normal to have fleeting thoughts that maybe you shouldn't have, thoughts are something that you should keep under control. When you allow yourself to dwell on something, you're really only one step away from doing that particular thing. And the thing about hurting others, even if they have hurt you and you feel they deserve it, is that if you don't bring some kind of justice against them, it will still be done. It is rare that justice is never done, you may just not get to see it. When you were talking about the constant guilt of someone who has thought out bad things, but never done them, I couldn't help thinking of "The Scarlet Letter"...about how she lived with guilt and shame, mostly brought on by other people, and the sensation of the red letter "A" burning a whole in her chest, but how over time, that "A" almost came to symbolize honor and good-doing, because that's the way she chose to live her life after she was "caught". Whereas, the preacher (or church leader, or whomever the other guy was) ended up letting the guilt eat him up and dying from it (I think), because he never had to publicly face shame and guilt for what he did, but internalized it. It ended up affecting him internally and his health much more than it did her, even though she lived with the initial guilt.

I also think of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" and how the religious leader in that movie let himself be overcome by lust, and acted out against people, doing bad things to others because he had so much trouble controlling his own thoughts.

@Smita

Your post about guiltiness was interesting, so I could not resist sharing with you a few of mine.
I think you cannot just "erase" the bad thoughts because they have external source:
There are spirits everywhere around us. Their main task is to tempt us to do bad things.
If someone always haunts his/her thoughts and desires to fulfill them, the spirits that whisper him/her these thoughts, will completely enslave him/here.
This is when a people becomes addict of something.
Not all of the thoughts and feelings are temptations, but many of them is temptation.
But there is something more:
the spirits do this all led by 2 very clear purposes:

1.
All that we do is recorded, and one day the record will be analysed. When a human's life ends, he also becomes a spirit. Then God will do a decision about him/her based on what he/she did. And this is the point where bad thoughts come to focus. If he/she cannot overcome the temptations and this way he/she lives as a slave of "bad thoughts" alias slave of the spirits, God will decide that he/she will be given to them completely. And this is the point when the human enters the dominion of Hell. And since he/she became a spirit, he/she will see the spirits, and can touch them, feel the odor of them, and sense them with all his/her senses. And that is the time when they will not tempt him/her anymore, but they will do something completely different: they will fulfill all of their horrifically sick desires on him/her, and he/she will have to suffer their companion eternally.
God forbid this from happening with any of you.
Because these spirits are so much degenerated from the goodness that it is beyond any description. The more their victim suffers the happier they are. They are so purely evil, that a human being who is quite good (even the worst of us) is absolutely horrified when he/she can experience their presence with all of his/her senses. In our generation there are a few people who had the opportunity to see some things from the other side, because of some illness, coma, or spiritual phenomena. Almost all of them testified that they were completely horrified from the things that they saw on the bad part of the other side.
So one motivation of the spirits to tempt humans is to obtain him/her to their dominion eternally. They are also organised in strict hierarchy, and this is also their task from the higher positions of their hierarchy.

2. The spirits tempt the humans, because the spirits don't have a body, probably they lost it long long time ago, and if they are not embedded in a body, they suffer constantly and they don't find rest anywhere. What they feel is probably strong thirstiness. And if they can tempt a human successfully so that the human gives himself to the desire that they whisper, they get the right to enter the body of the human, and live there. And if they are inside, their whispers are much more loud and effective, because from inside, they can generate physical desires, physical feelings according to their goals.

Imagine our body (mainly brain, and heart - yes, heart has also a mini brain as scientists discovered not so long time ago) as a hardware, and our personality as the software running on it. The other parts of our body are manipulative and supportive tools, serving our personality running in our brain. So in the case of humans, the twist is, that we have a dual hardware: physical body as the part of physical world, and spiritual body as the part of spiritual world. And on this dual hardware, a distributed application is running: us, our personality.
In the case of animals, there is a single physical hardware, and once it is destroyed, their personality annihilates. But this way they are still so much compatible with us, that we can play with them, use them to work, keep them as pets, and so on. This compatibility contributes to a warm environment, that provides a good and kind feeling for us as we live in it.

We can hear the whispers of the spirits, because we have not only a physical part but also a spiritual part. When you hear a spirit whispering to you it is not like a physical noise, but it is more like a thought, or a feeling. But you can clearly indicate that it is not from you, in many cases you are surprised by how sick or bad it is.

In case of humans, when the physical part dies, the spiritual part remains, and the "running" of our personality continues, with different conditions.
The spirits lost their physical part, but they have the spiritual part which has an interface compatible with our physical body to a certain extent. And so they can literally "live" in human bodies. Fortunately they cannot completely obtain the control, but they can do rather much.
And look at this: If you are a human who has much money to spend, and this way has the freedom to do more things in life, you are a more desirable target of them, because in your body they can have more pleasures.

This thing that I shared with you has many many other aspects, but my post is already too long so I conclude the following:
Considering the aforesaid, the most basic interest of us is to develop strong resistance against temptation which is often disguised as our own thought or feeling, and to keep as much away from these spirits as possible.
In the Earth realm, real freedom is when you are not the slave of sick desires, and evil spirits.
And to achieve this, you have to learn how to fight the spirits, and to defeat them, and you must be also geared with the appropriate abilities that only God can give you. Practically we can get out of the mess that the spirits made for us only with the help of God.

There was somebody on this planet at a time, who was and who is a real expert in fighting, and defeating evil spirits: Jesus Christ. God sent him exactly for this: to defeat the evil. He is the most high ranked being, he is the Son of God.
If you read what He did you will see that he chased out the evil spirits from humans, and when the spirits whispered to Him he successfully resisted the temptations.
If you stick to Him, you can survive, and defeat the spirits. He is available to all of us. We can contact Him and build a relationship with Him.
He did something more: If the evil spirits caused you already to commit sins that are recorded for you, He can obtain forgiveness for you.

God knows exactly how much humans are defeated by the evil spirits, and He loves us, and He wants very much to help us in our survival, and He wants that we don't become the prey of spirits eternally, but live as free beings forever. Believe me, there is a great difference between the two.

I shared this all with you to help you.

I know that probably for you what I wrote is like science fiction. But I tell you something. We are in such a cruel situation, that if someone misinterprets the reality that is surrounding him, he will pay a horribly high price for it.
And do you know what is one evidence of this that I wrote? Temptation itself.
All of us experienced temptation. And unfortunately all of us fallen a few times.
So you also know what I am writing about.
Just analyse temptation, think about how it feels, how it works, and you will sooner or later find the same as I did. (And many others before me)

Finally I wish all who read my post that you will successfully defeat the tempting spirits, get saved by Jesus Christ, and avoid the horrible place called Hell, and the horrible companion of the evil spirits.

Sorry for the huge post, but there are some thoughts that cannot be effectively expressed shortly.

@Sandor,

Yes I think we can express this in two sentences. Matthew 9:9 recounts this story:

As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector's booth. "Follow me," he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.

I apologize if quoting the Bible offends anyone here - I don't mean to impose. I just believe that the perfect pair to Ben's "Become Love" mantra is Jesus' invitation, "Follow me". My life hasn't been the same since I answered "Yes".

@Gerald,

Agreed. Deciding to follow Jesus as revealed in the Bible resulted in radical and long lasting improvements in my life. It was literally the best decision I have ever made. I am a better and happier person because of it. I highly recommend such a decision.

@Ben, Your blog is awesome. Whenever I google a CF subject, I am glad to see one of your posts listed. I know that I will always get some good solid help from your writings. Thanks for all your work and your willingness to share. I hope many people think of you when they need professional CF consultation.

@Randall,

Your comment regarding the link is hilarious. Tell me about going to bed at 9:00 pm, I would be happy if I can maintain 9:00 pm west coast time while living in east coast...:) It's 2:00 am and I just got done with some of the work stuff to finally get a chance to write this comment..:) I think the point I was trying to make is each of us can come up with our own set of rules to abide by. While for sure I can't go to bed early, but I would love to wake up at 5:00 am so that I can go to gym before my son wakes up. After baby, I think time management has become biggest issue in my life, so I would like to set some rules for me to get a handle over it. So don't take that guy's set of rules but rather come up with one or two of my own. To tell you the truth I am not very good at following rules... I break or bend it at my wills most of the times...;)

@Anna,

Thanks for those examples of people living in guilt or daring to stand up to society enforced guilt as in Scarlet Letter. We have discussed before how much we both love that book...:) In my previous comment I didn't get a chance to elaborate that there are certain things that's universally wrong and then there are things that we consider as wrong according to our own conditioning or belief. So it's essential to understand and educate oneself so that one doesn't go through unnecessary self or society inflicted guilt. Then there are some things that I may not think right for myself doesn't mean I can just state it as wrong for everybody else. I would not go into examples since don't want people to get offended or find it outrageous or even disturbing...:) The point is as long as one has the basic goodness in their heart in whatever they feel and do then there is harmony within themselves and their interaction with other.

@Sandor,

I think it's easier to blame it on outside influences for one's own follies. It's normal for us to get influenced by the society we live in, but as human being each of us have the ability to make a conscious decision towards which are the things we want to get influenced by and which we must reject. That doesn't mean we won't make mistakes, but those mistakes are sometimes necessary like a child must fall few times before learning to walk. In the realm of this blog post I think @Ben wants to focus on what we ourselves can do for others rather than expecting others to love or do for us. I think in various relationships conflict arise usually when one feels unappreciated or ignored or misunderstood, so before letting those feelings take over and cause invisible barriers, one should look inward and focus on what can each of us to do to make ourself open to love. For example recently I noticed another mother at my son's school was pretty cold and a bit not nice to me (since she was friendly and nice to few others), so I was baffled by her attitude towards me since we absolutely had no significant communication other than hi or hello. Then I realized that's exactly is the problem, she probably thinks I'm stuck up or something since I have not gone out of my way to exchange more niceties. So the other day I just saw her in parking lot and I walked up to her and chatted up for 5 minutes...:) It's easy to find things we disagree on and even come up with fictitious disagreement, but it is so much peaceful to focus on goodness of others, since that has all the power to change all of our lives around for better.

Okay, now that things have settled out a bit:

Thinking of nothing is harder than thinking of any particular something. It's bodybuilding for the mind, and the heaviest weight available for the bar. But the skills of mind-clearing you develop will help you in every other aspect of your life.

"We choose to go to the moon in this decade and to do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard." JFK

Hey Ben, that was me that recommended this book to you!

After reading one of your more emotional posts, I felt like I wanted to share some of my experiences in life. ive been through so much most people here would love to see the movie of my life.

Im glad it helped you think differently abt your life, I actually also own the audio book which I play on my ipod on my 4 hour commute to work. Insane right? my hair is falling out bc of work... sometimes it just aint worth it!

Anyway, keep in the gym, brotha!
Your mind, body soul will thank you. Us gym-rat coders are RARE ... we are the cream of the crop in a world of chumps.

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle

As always thnks for providing me with some great coding snippets. If you ever need to chat, hit me up.

Yer friend,
Alex

@Alex,

Thanks so much for the book recommendation! Sorry I couldn't remember originally. I really try to take all the book recommendations to heart and get what I can out of the reading. I actually have this one on audio book, too ;) I am a HUGE fan of audio books! They just make life awesome!

... 4 hour commute though, that is quite a commute :(

That looks like a great book, and I'll probably read it as soon as I finish my backlog on Kindle downloads on my iPod. The problem with Kindle is that it is too easy to order a book, and now I have get through my queue!

@Kevin,

I also highly recommend Venus on Fire, Mars on Ice. Excellent, especially if you are into bodybuilding and general mental health, because it ties relationships with hormones. It a great book.

Alex

@Kevin,

Ha ha ha, I know exactly what you mean. I'm an "iBook" person when I'm not listening to audio books. The only thing that keeps my queue lower than it could be is the fact that the computer my iPad is synched to isn't always convenient to get to.