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Friday, November 7, 2014

Learning To Be Unconquerable


Over the millennia of recorded human history we have countless examples of beings who may have been ill, suffering, in chains, or suppressed in some other way, and yet their spirit was never conquered because they had made some inner choices

Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese opposition politician who remained under house arrest in Burma for a period of 15 years, even when her husband was dying in England is an excellent example of being unconquerable. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in the midst of this in 1991. Nelson Mandela (my perennial favorite, as I always feel so inspired by him), is another unconquerable hero due to his 27 years as a prisoner of the Apartheid régime in South Africa, where he did not allow this harrowing situation to gain power over his inner self. As we all know, when he was finally released, he served as South Africa's first black elected president from 1994-1999. We can also go back in history to heroes such as Joan of Arc in France, Spartacus in Rome, or Winston Churchill in England. 

What unites all the people I've mentioned is the indomitable aspect of their spirit; their refusal to allow their inner selves to be conquered by very difficult circumstances. Part of this may be due to the fact that they strongly believed in some goal or ideal, and part of it may be due to the fact that they took extremely good care of their thoughts.

Taking good care of your thoughts implies being conscious and aware (and loving yourself enough to want to do so and therefore to practice being so, while this is not yet a habit in your life). Imagine you are not aware of your body needing a shower, or your teeth needing a good brushing. You simply wouldn't do it if you were not aware of it. This, unfortunately, is what happens to so many who are not aware of their thoughts. They therefore allow these thoughts to run away with them, i.e., they allow their thoughts to dominate their mind, their emotions, and ultimately, their lives, resulting in a situation where they are not able to be unconquerable in the way I have described the mind of the above heroes.

Learning to take good care of your thoughts is a question of awareness, as said - a question of being mindful about your present moment - and practicing being aware, until it becomes second nature. That's it. Seneca said: It is the power of the mind to be unconquerable. 

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