Becoming a Transition Person Among other things



I believe that giving "wings" to our children and to others means empowering them with the freedom to rise above negative scripting that had been passed down to us. I believe it means becoming what my friend and associate, Dr. Terry Warner, calls a "transition" person. Instead of transferring those scripts to the next generation, we can change them. And we can do it in a way that will build relationships in the process If your parents abused you as a child, that does not mean that you have to abuse your own children. Yet there's plenty of evidence to indicate that you will tend to live out that script. But because you're proactive, you can rewrite the script. You can choose not only not to abuse your children, but to affirm them, to script them in positive ways. You can write it in your personal mission statement and into your mind and heart. You can visualize yourself living in harmony with that mission statement in your Daily Private Victory. You can take steps to love and forgive your own parents, and if they are still living, to build a positive relationship with them by seeking to understand. A tendency that's run through your family for generations can stop with you. You're a transition person -- a link between the past and the future. And your own change can affect many, many lives downstream. One powerful transition person of the twentieth century, Anwar Sadat, left us as part of his legacy a profound understanding of the nature of change. Sadat stood between a past that had created a "huge wall of suspicion, fear, hate and misunderstanding" between Arabs and Israelis, and a future in which increased conflict and isolation seemed inevitable. Efforts at negotiation had been met with objections on every scale -- even to formalities and procedural points, to an insignificant comma or period in the text of proposed agreements. While others attempted to resolve the tense situation by hacking at the leaves, Sadat drew upon his earlier centering experience in a lonely prison cell and went to work on the root. And in doing so, he changed the course of history for millions of people. He records in his autobiography: It was then that I drew, almost unconsciously, on the inner strength I had developed in Cell 54 of Cairo Central Prison -- a strength, call it a talent or capacity, for change. I found that I faced a highly complex situation, and that I couldn't hope to change it until I had armed myself with the necessary psychological and intellectual capacity. My contemplation of life and human nature in that secluded place had taught me that he who cannot change the very fabric of his thought will never be able to change reality, and will never, therefore, make any progress. Change -- real change -- comes from the Inside-Out. It doesn't come from hacking at the leaves of attitude and behavior with quick-fix personality ethic techniques. It comes from striking at the root -the fabric of our thought, the fundamental, essential paradigms, which give definition to our character and create the lens through which we see the world. In the words of Amiel: Moral truth can be conceived in thought. One can have feelings about it. One can will to live it. But moral truth may have been penetrated and possessed in all these ways, and escape us still. Deeper even than consciousness there is our being itself -- our very 206 substance, our nature. Only those truths which have entered into this last region, which have become ourselves, become spontaneous and involuntary as well as voluntary, unconscious as well as conscious, are really our life -- that is to say, something more than property. So long as we are able to distinguish any space whatever between Truth and us we remain outside it. The thought, the feeling, the desire or the consciousness of life may not be quite life. To become divine is then the aim of life. Then only can truth be said to be ours beyond the possibility of loss. It is no longer outside us, nor in a sense even in us, but we are it, and it is we. Achieving unity -- oneness -- with ourselves, with our loved ones, with our friends and working associates, is the highest and best and most delicious fruit of the Seven Habits. Most of us have tasted this fruit of true unity from time to time in the past, as we have also tasted the bitter, lonely fruit of disunity -- and we know how precious and fragile unity is. Obviously building character of total integrity and living the life of love and service that creates such unity isn't easy. It isn't quick fix. But it's possible. It begins with the desire to center our lives on correct principles, to break out of the paradigms created by other centers and the comfort zones of unworthy habits. Sometimes we make mistakes, we feel awkward. But if we start with the Daily Private Victory and work from the Inside-Out, the results will surely come. As we plant the seed and patiently weed and nourish it, we begin to feel the excitement of real growth and eventually taste the incomparably delicious fruits of a congruent, effective life. Again, I quote Emerson: "That which we persist in doing becomes easier -- not that the nature of the task has changed, but our ability to do has increased." By centering our lives on correct principles and creating a balanced focus between doing and increasing our ability to do, we become empowered in the task of creating effective, useful, and peaceful lives...for ourselves, and for our posterity. A Personal Note As I conclude this book, I would like to share my own personal conviction concerning what I believe to be the source of correct principles. I believe that correct principles are natural laws, and that God, the Creator and Father of us all, is the source of them, and also the source of our conscience. I believe that to the degree people live by this inspired conscience, they will grow to fulfill their natures; to the degree that they do not, they will not rise above the animal plane. I believe that there are parts to human nature that cannot be reached by either legislation or education, but require the power of God to deal with. I believe that as human beings, we cannot perfect ourselves. To the degree to which we align ourselves with correct principles, divine endowments will be released within our nature in enabling us to fulfill the measure of our creation. In the words of Teilhard de Chardin, "We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience." I personally struggle with much of what I have shared in this book. But the struggle is worthwhile and fulfilling. It gives meaning to my life and enables me to love, to serve, and to try again. 207 Again, T. S. Eliot expresses so beautifully my own personal discovery and conviction: "We must not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we began and to know the place for the first time." 208 Appendix Appendix A

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