The Words of The Seidel Family

Bridging the Gap between Ideal and Reality: A Personal Perspective

Chris Seidel
Poughkeepsie, NY
April, 1999

How is perfection realized? This is a question which undoubtedly has no clear-cut answer.

Although what follows is a less-than-perfect personal interpretation, it is one tool which can perhaps help bring us closer to our "ideal" reality. After all, the more tools we have in our spiritual toolbox, the better equipped we are to blaze the trail to the Promised Land.

In my opinion, the first step involves recognizing what our Source of Strife is. "Recognizing the Source of Strife" has to do with the restoration of the first aspect of human spirit, or Intellect.

We often quick-correct our problems, but if the source still lingers, more problems are on their way. Correcting the problems are short-term solutions; correcting the cause, on the other hand, obliges the problems to correct themselves.

Unfortunately, when we see through the lens of our problems, the world seems a very clouded, oppressive place. This adversely affects our ability to think objectively and realistically.

So we have:

S(ubject): Problems <--> O(bject): Intellect

The task we face is to realize that we are, in fact, seeing our world through the lens of our problems. Once they are clearly identified as just that, problems can no longer substantially affect our thinking. In effect, we replace our fuzzy, irrational "problem" lens with a sparkling clear objective one. The result is to see the world from a hopeful and optimistic viewpoint. The world is now our empowering haven, rather than an oppressive problem-generator.

So our restored relationship is:

S: Intellect <--> O: Source of Strife

To elucidate via an example, take Julie, her violin and her parents. Julie has willingly played her instrument for many years, both out of her own inspiration and the encouragement of her parents. One day she decides that she hates the violin, but is very reluctant to tell her parents her true desires, because her parents have invested much time, energy and, of course, money into her violin lessons.

She decides to keep mum, but eventually her frustration bubbles forth in other ways, as she refuses to talk with her parents, goes to her room and locks the door every time her parents tell her she "needs to practice."

The subject in this example is the problem: the lack of honesty between daughter and parents, which infects a wholesome interaction between the two.

The second step is adopting a resolving principle. This is intimately tied with the restoration of the second aspect of human spirit, or emotion. Seen from a principled perspective, the problem is that our Emotions are usually in the subject position (the reverse of intellect). That is to say, we allow our emotions to dictate our ultimate response, even if our response conflicts with our conscience, or principles.

So we have:

S: Emotions <--> O: Principles

However, who wants to have their destiny dictated always by how they feel? It is a necessary step to tie your emotions to a stable base to allow maximum manifestation of your potential. That is to say, not to restrict the intensity of how your heart expresses itself, but to have your emotions free-flowing on a plane where harm to your spirit is no longer a possibility. However, where can we find this stable base? Fads, our hair, technology, the weather, even other people donít have an absolutely unchanging nature, so we must derive our stability from something which is intangible and never changes.

This is the purpose of principle.

By adopting a principle, we are making that crucial step which says: This is the way I WANT to live my life. An example of personal principle might be: "I wonít eat gummy bears before dinner" or "I will say grace before each meal." And amazingly, the principle itself will never change (unlike weather and your hair, for instance)! Your new principle gives you a firm base from which to supervise your emotional fluctuations, like an emotional control tower.

Your indwelling attitude will permit emotions to land safely.

So our restored relationship is:

S: Principle <--> O: Emotions

Julie finally sees her violent tempers as a by-product of her inability to be honest with her parents. Finally, she decides to confront her parents with "the hard facts," after another one of her irrational rages.

We see from this that after Julie recognizes that she has been dishonest with her parents (step I), she establishes a principle of parental honesty in her own mind, vowing to put her foot forward first whenever a disagreement or miscommunication arises (step II).

The third and final and most difficult step is Applying the Principle. This is all too obvious but very difficult to achieve.

In any case, applying a principle relates to restoration of human will. On many occasions we find ourselves overcome by the pressures which surround us, and we succumb to their insurmountable force, even if it is in conflict with a principle which we have adopted for ourselves.

So we have:

S: Pressures <--> O: Willpower

Ironically, this can be simultaneously the most discouraging and the most empowering principle. Some wise minds will help clarify this point:

"People are just about as happy as they make up their mind to be." Abraham Lincoln

"Whether I fail or succeed shall be no manís doing but my own. I am the force." Elaine Maxwell

"There is nothing to fear but fear itself." Franklin D. Roosevelt
"We are what we think." (author unknown)
"There is always a way. Just look for it." Rev. Sun Myung Moon

Basically, this final step is only discouraging if we think itís discouraging. If we donít think so, then it is not so. Thatís the beauty of human will: it draws power from the angle of our attitude. If we could completely embrace the simplicity of this concept, the possibilities of self-empowerment would be virtually endless!

So our restored relationship is:

S: Willpower <--> O: Pressures

By telling her parents she would rather be playing rugby than practicing violin, Julie is making the first crucial mold in becoming an honest individual.

Perfection isnít achieved overnight, obviously. But if we just digest morsels of principles every day, and encourage rather than discourage ourselves, we will undergo a gradual transformation. The key is envisioning. Everlasting encouragement -- like the train who said I think I can.

The ultimate purpose of all this is not just to become "perfect" per se, but more concretely to realize God as an active, pulsating, engaging, real existence. We should give Him the chance to manifest himself more and more in everything we do. His nature should finally be revealed to us, and the nebulas of self-doubt will disperse forever. Our divinity should no longer be a question without an answer. Then the next person who asks us "Do you believe God exists?" we can answer "NO, I donít believe that God exists, I know He does."

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