There is nothing that will substitute for experience.
Experience can be attained if you. . .
Care more than others think is wise;
Risk more than others think is safe;
Dream more than others think is practical;
Expect more than others think is possible;
Live on planet earth.
Youth is wholly experimental. — Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) Scottish Poet
• Ultimately, the only value of the past is what it has made of you today. The value of your outer experiences is what they have made for you inside.
• God is a participant with you. He gave you free will to decide what to experience. Along the way, He gets to experience your experience. And, He is the force moving reality after you have chosen it.
Reflection: As you look back, do so with the realization you have accomplished things, experienced realities, and incorporated qualities into your being. If you look into your past with worry, regret, sorrow, criticism, hostility, or resentment, you are allowing your unpleasant experiences to hold you in a restricting grip. Let go to free yourself to learn their lessons and move on. Holding on to the negative affects your health and attitude. It is natural to wish, sometimes very strongly if the mistake was a big one, to have lived those moments differently. Go with those feelings in order to forgive yourself (and possibly others involved), and also to process the experience in order to learn and become a new, and better, person for the future. But do not dwell, doing so could crystallize the negative in your soul. If you just can’t seem to get a handle on what would have been the ideal action or reaction, then let it go entirely, with the sure knowledge you will be given (or give yourself) the opportunity to experience the lesson in the future.
• Consider the chemistry of the body, the food you eat, your mental states, and genetic patterns. All of these represent modifiers to your experience.
• The argument of physics – only measurable things exists – is only valid on the physical level (and only then as long as the measuring tools exists). Even the scientific method must rely on nonphysical qualities to be considered valid. Would any scientist accept an inconsistent theory? Or a dishonest scientist? Therefore, consistency and honesty – and a multitude of other nonphysical positive qualities – overlay material reality.
• Qualities, personality, behavior, thought, and feelings are observable both subjectively and objectively. Therefore they are experiential. When something has such wide general agreement, it is considered to exist. It is proven to exist with the most basic logic: I experience it, therefore it is.
• We are all products of both external and internal experience. Externally you may be the beneficiary of either an affluent or impoverished upbringing. Your adult attitude – altruistic, snobbish, bitter, or nurturing – has just as much to do with your internal experience as with your external experience.
If you were abused, you could be either abusive or sensitive and patient. If you have felt prejudice are you bound to be prejudiced or do you have a greater sense of justice? The external characteristics and the external situations are molding and modifying factors in your possible behavioral patterns.
Sociological studies state only the generalities. In sociology, a particular set of circumstances occur, and the majority respond a certain way. Those may be true and good studies but the possibility does not necessarily make it the probability. The individual is just as complex as the group. The individual has control over their personal attitudes and choices. The individual can be overcome by the circumstances or overcome them. Or a combination of both.
• We accept the most incredible things as long as we can experience them. The aspiring and acquiring of qualities is the same. The proof of knowing, through experience, is progressive and ultimately infallible.
• Although the mind moves through the realms of understanding relatively quickly, it is the experience of daytoday living that really sinks in. These experiences are how we describe our growth. Thought processes are swift, but it takes time to grow.
• Experience is the most important element of growth. Choose your experiences to open your possibilities. It is okay, maybe even preferable, if they are difficult. Don’t just stay with what you’re used to because it’s comfortable. Move out into new experiences in a prepared way, but also with curiosity and courage.
Admonition: We have a tendency to want to repeat really great experiences. It cannot be done. In truth, what really created the experience in the first place was your willingness to let go of the past and hold yourself open for the new experience.
Exercise: Look at your choices. They led to the experiences you’ve lived. Make a distinction between what you chose to experience versus what you have experienced because of some outside influence. Then look at the choices you made because of either one. Your choices control what happens to you. You control how it happens to you by your attitudes – either before the experience or after.