Friday, November 13, 2009

Good or Bad?

There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. ~ William Shakespeare

There is no reality; only perception. Accepting this means that you embrace the fact that, no matter what happens in your life, how you interpret the event is up to you. Whatever meaning or value a particular circumstance has for you will be the meaning or value that you give it.

The key point is that where your perceptions are concerned, you have the ability to choose differently from what you are currently choosing if you wish. When it comes to how you see things, you do have a choice.

One of the harshest tests of this truth occurred in the life of Dr. Victor Frankl, an Austrian psychiatrist who was captured by the Nazis during World War II and held prisoner at the Auschwitz concentration camp.

Writing afterward of his experiences in the camp, Dr. Frankl described the obsessive control that the guards exercised: each day, he and his fellow prisoners were told when to sit, when to stand, when to work, when to eat and when to sleep – and they were told whether they would be allowed to live or die.

In his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, Dr. Frankl noted that in the face of these unending atrocities, he discovered one very important aspect of his existence that the guards could not control. They could not control what attitude he took about his suffering. They could not force upon him how he would interpret and react to his treatment.

At a particular moment in the midst of his imprisonment, Dr. Frankl made a life decision. He saw that if he were made to suffer these terrible events in his life for no meaning, he would go insane. He decided, instead, to live by the principle that, we only know and experience this life through the meaning or relevance of perceptions that we assign it.

The lesson in Dr. Frankl’s experience is the realization that between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way. ~ Dr. Victor Frankl

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