Monday, July 02, 2012

What Has Influenced You?

All of us are like a bowl of gumbo or perhaps an unfinished sculpture. Whoever we are today is the result of every influence and experience, good and bad, that we’ve had up to this point. Like a sculpture, every new influence and experience will continue to reveal the person we are becoming. If you talk to a sculptor, most will tell you that they don’t really create an image so much as they bring to the surface the image hidden within the block of wood or rock. I think within each one of us is our essence. How this essence is manifested in who we become is dependent on the ingredients of our personal gumbo or how our block or wood or stone is struck. Think about your life experience so far. What influences or experiences have shaped you. I am the first born child in my family of origin. That makes a difference. I am also a child of the sixties. That makes a difference. I once lived in a monastery that changed the way I look at life. That makes a difference. I have lived most of my life with a wife and children. That makes a difference. I’ve had many good teachers and mentors. That makes a difference. Look at who you admire. My primary influences have been Jesus, Buddha, Gandhi, Thomas Merton, and the Dalai Lama to name a few. Notice that I didn’t include any rock stars or other entertainment types. Although I may love their art, I am rarely influenced by their personal lives. I have read thousands of books. That makes a difference. I have not chased after money or worldly possessions. That makes a difference. I have spent many hours deep in thought and meditation. That makes a difference. I have tried to be a good man who is kind and compassionate. That makes a difference. Who or what has seasoned your gumbo? What influences or experiences, good or bad, has helped to reveal the image within your personal sculpture?

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