Posts Tagged talents

The Gift X Gyfu

Francesco Hayez, The Kiss (1859)

At this time of the year the word gift is prominently on people mind but have you ever given it any further thought? In the runic alphabet, the rune Gyfu has the meaning of gift. It is shaped like the Roman letter X and it was used to denote things dedicated to the gods. According to a rune poem Gyfu is “To people, giving is an ornament of value, and to every outsider without any order, it is substance and honour.”

Whether you believe in a divine being or not to give a gift always indicates a belief in something greater than yourself. For when you give a gift you are reaching out to something outside of yourself in recognition that something outside of yourself exists and the gift becomes the token of the desire to link yourself with that which you wish to honour in recognition.

Symbolically, Gyfu describes the gift of one’s own ability or talent in service to another. Ability itself, or talent, was viewed as a gift to the individual from the gods. When anything is given, a relationship is established between the giver and the receiver. In this world when we give a gift it is a direct reflection of our talent or abilities, for even in choosing a shop bought gift we are using our abilities to choose through our personal vision what the other whom we wish to honour might like. In other words we are looking at the other through our personal vision and are recognizing their uniqueness through the symbol of the particular gift. In reflection upon ourselves the gift is a symbol of what we have to give, thus our abilities and talents that we are able to give to the world.

Gyfu also signifies the unifying effect that a gift makes between the donor and the recipient of the gift. The gift thus expresses the qualities of linking seemingly separate people in a common bond, or even human with the divine. If you look at the symbol of “X” it is two separate lines crossing each other to form a new symbol in unity, thus expressing exactly the implications of giving and receiving. Each one of us has unique talents and abilities when joined with other talents and abilities becomes something greater than the than the individual. It is indeed in sharing our talents and abilities that they grow and mature and become a gift to the world. Yet, we need courage to express and give our talents and abilities.

Esoterically Gyfu is the quality personified in the Norse goddess Gefn or Gefjon, the bountiful giver, the equivalent of the goddess Abundantia, formerly worshipped in central Europe. This further elucidates the meaning of the gift, for we can only give something when we feel that we have something to give. It is only when we are able to give that abundance will follow.

In modern usage, Gyfu is the sigil used to represent a kiss. This is perhaps the most intimate form of the gift, for when we kiss another we truly give our being in union with another. So the fire of a greater passion fills body and soul possessed by the deepest desire for full embrace and intimacy, union – the fire of love is set ablaze, actual, real, full and true. So it is with a gift given in the spirit of love; we take the best of our abilities, of what we symbolically are and gift it to another to honour what they represent to us in gratitude of what their being in this world have brought to us. By simply knowing the other, we have grown and was given a new vision of being, a gift more precious than any material token can symbolize.

I will like to use this opportunity to give my deepest gratitude to all whom have crossed my path to form the symbol of Gyfu to my being; a gift to my existence.



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Your Gifts….

by Greg Kimura

You enter life a ship laden with meaning, purpose and gifts
sent to be delivered to a hungry world.
And as much as the world needs your cargo,
you need to give it away.
Everything depends on this.

But the world forgets its needs,
and you forget your mission,
and the ancestral maps used to guide you
have become faded scrawls on the parchment of dead Pharaohs.
The cargo weighs you heavy the longer it is held
and spoilage becomes a risk.
The ship sputters from port to port and at each you ask:
“Is this the way?”

But the way cannot be found without knowing the cargo,
and the cargo cannot be known without recognizing there is a way,
and it is simply this:
You have gifts.
The world needs your gifts.
You must deliver them.

The world may not know it is starving,
but the hungry know,
and they will find you
when you discover your cargo
and start to give it away.

Posted by Michael McKnight

Also see Hunger and Desire

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Are we confined to our mental physicality?

In reply to Capt.’s comment under

Capt. I am pleased you brought up the meta-physical realms and perceived limitations. One of my strengths according to this particular test is connectedness. So I tend to see everything as connected, somehow all complexity converge to the simplicity of oneness. How I see it, is that the prism of colours all tell me more about the creative possibilities of their source. I see limitations as a creative challenge through which I can explore new connections which I would not have explored if those limitations did not present themselves to me in the first place. Although I may want to rant and rave at times at the limitations I find myself in, I know at the same time that they are there to show me another perspective, another possibility.

… however if the personality becomes interested in a subject, it can form new connections from what already exists in the mind. “

This is true also relating to the general context of our existing network. Often we have already existing talents that never the less remain latent due to physical circumstances that prevents a person from using it until later in life. Stymied as such. Take Anna Mary Robertson Moses – Grandma Moses her childhood yearning for sketching was pushed aside by the demands of farming and only when she retired from farming, at the age of seventy-eight, she could let her talent loose. The rest is history. There are many stories like that.

Now according to this particular study the reason why it is almost impossible to change the original network of a mind is because you would have to use too much energy to make new connections as we make at least a thousand decisions per day, so you will have to be focused and aware of every tiny decision you make. Your body has to expand relatively large amounts of energy creating the biological infrastructure (blood vessels, alpha-integrin proteins and the like) to create these new connections. In tests with rats it has been found that through repetition new connections can be made. They speculate that the danger of repetitive training without the underlying talent is that you burn out before you net any improvement. To improve at any activity requires persistence. In order to withstand the temptation to slacken off, you need fuel. You need a way to derive energy from the processes of improving so that you can keep improving. Unfortunately, when you repeatedly try to mend a broken connection, the opposite happens. It drains you of energy.

So theoretically to make new connections without an underlying talent, you need a … lets call it for lack of a better word, a super-natural energy source. Then indeed there are no limitations and we do not have to rely on our finite “battery supply.” In other words a source of energy that does not come directly from our biological processes. Is this possible? We already know that we receive information, stimuli other than through direct physical concrete means, which Ervin Laszlo calls the “the psi-field”. So could one then not receive energy in the same way? Joseph Chilton Pearce for example states that there is ample examples of mind-mind transference of energy and even energy can be drawn directly from the what he calls the ‘Primary Process.” – a nonverbal form of psychological communication, an intuitive rapport that operates outside ordinary rational, linear ways of thinking and perceiving.

To transcend any limitations, in my experience, one has to first know they are there, and then work through them in a disciplined manner, until one alchemically transcend them. So lets look at the mind from a metaphysical perspective. In esoteric traditions the intellect and finite reason are merely the surface of the mind. Beyond the surface, there is the higher mind, illumined mind, intuitive mind, and the universal mind or cosmic consciousness. Although, indeed, for example the aim of the Gnostic is transcendence of the mental being altogether, this transcendence comes through the full development of the mental being from one level or gration to another, until, at the level of the universal mind, one is able to pass through the great threshold called “cessation” into the metamind state of supernal consciousness or what is called the”perfect thunder mind.”

Says Tau Malachi;

‘… the Sefirot are channels or vehicles of the supernal light, our mental being, vital being, and even our physical being are to be channels or vehicles of the supernal consciousness-force. However, the vital being must be purified and the mental being fully developed from base to peak, every level of the mental and vital consciousness being linked together in a state of integral being.

We are all familiar with the ordinary mind and from time to time, most of us experience something of the higher mind and illumed mind. The higher mind is experienced as flashes of insights, whether into things mundane or supramundane. The illumined mind is something more than flashes of insights; it is experienced as streams of inspiration in which insights are linked together, forming a flow that may continue for a shorter or longer period of time. The intuitive mind is less common. It is the experience of whole fields of knowledge and understanding appearing in the mind, as though knowledge and understanding of a whole subject suddenly fills the mind. What we call “genius” tends to be the function of the intuitive mind …

The universal mind or cosmic consciousness is something beyond what we typically would call a genius, and one one might say represents a state of “greater genius.” Essentially, the universalmind represents knowledge and understanding of multiple fields of knowledge and combines both supramundane and mundane knowledge. While the intuitive mind can manifest in either mundane or supramundane matters, the universal mind always includes the spiritual and metaphysical. One could well be an atheist and attain something of the intuitive mind. But in the development of the universal mind, there is an awareness of the sacred unity underlying existence and knowledge of the souece in reflection. Whether one is a theist or nontheist, the universal mind is innately spiritual and one is compelled by love and compassion. In one way or another, one becomes aware of a cosmic intelligence in the universe and aware that nothing is truly separate from it. This cosmic intelligence is reflected within one’s mind, thus the state of greater genius that manifests…

Although many people experience something of the higher mind and illumined mind, and a few people even experience something of the intuitive mind, the experience of theses higher states of mental consciousness does not necessarily reflect actual attainment. Actual attainment implies that one is able to enter and exit a higher state of consciousness at will, whether it is a higher vital or mental consciousness. While many people may experience higher levels of vital and mental consciousness from time to time, for most part it is a random or inconsistent experience that is not under the conscious control of the person. In most cases, the person does not know how it happened and cannot consciously invoke the experience again. Therefore, he or she has not realized or attained it. To actually realize a higher level of mental or vital being, we must develop the capacity to consciously shift into it and form a link between the higher and lower levels. In order to do this, we must develop spiritual self-discipline and, specifically, the power of concentration or focused awareness. (Kavvanah)

To conclude this line of thought I must add an interesting conclusion from a recent study in how focused our awareness generally are. On average, those sampled, were not thinking about what they were doing 30% of the time. For some even between 80% and 90%. It indeed seem that if we want to make any significant changes to our minds it is kavvanah that we should look at most closely, through yes, the dreaded discipline. :] As they say, it is ironically discipline that brings us freedom.

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Inclinations, talents and strengths – Why do we have them and not others?

But what guides those inclinations? The will? It’s well known we only really recall things we’re interested in…so which half of the mind has more of its hand on the wheel of volition, or will, which one tries to control it, and which one “let’s it be?” Nordicvs

I came across a very interesting explanation of this in what is called the Strengths Test by Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton. I was asked to do this Test recently, and was most surprised to see what mine were. This Test is now used by many businesses to manage their staff and even to establish whether someone is suitable for a job. The test basically establish what your naturally recurring patterns of thought, feeling and behavior are. These establish your strengths your innate inclinations. They explain it in the following way.

The brain is an odd organ in that it seems to grow backward. Your brain gets very big very quickly and then shrinks into adulthood. Most bizarre of all, as your brain becomes smaller and smaller, you become smarter and smarter.

The secret to making sense of this topsy-turvy organ can be in what is called a ‘synapse.’ A synapse is a connection between two brain cells (neurons) to communicate with one another. These synapses are your threads, and you need to know about them because, as it says in one neurology textbook, “ Behavior depends on the formation of appropriate interconnections among neurons in the brain.”

Your synapses create your talents.

So how are your synaptic connections made? Forty-two days after you are conceived, your brain experiences a four month growth spurt. Actually, the word ‘spurt’ doesn’t do justice to the scale of what happens. On your forty-second day you create your first neuron, and 120 days later you have a hundred billion of them. But once this explosion dies down, much of the neuron drama is over.

Elsewhere in your brain, however, the real drama, the synapse is just beginning. Sixty days before you are born your neurons start to communicate with one another. Each neuron reaches out – literally – a strand called an axon – and attempts to make a connection. Whenever a successful connection is made a synapse is formed, and during the first three years of your life, your neurons prove phenomenally successful at making these connections. In fact by the age of three each of your hundred billion neurons has formed fifteen thousand synaptic connections with other neurons. Fifteen thousand connections for each of your hundred billion neurons. Your pattern of threads, extensive, intricate and unique, is woven.

But then something strange happens. For some reason nature now prompts you to ignore a lot of your carefully woven threads. As with most things, threads that are neglected fall into disrepair, and so across your network connections start to break. You become so inattentive to parts of your mental network that between the ages of three and fifteen you lose billions and billions of these carefully forged synaptic connections. By the time you wake up on your sixteenth birthday, half your network is gone.

And the bad news is that you can’t rebuild it. Yes, over the course of your life your brain does retain some of its early plasticity. For example, it now appears that learning and memory require the formation of new synaptic connections, as does figuring out how to cope with the loss of a limb or your eyesight. However, for most practical purposes, the configuration of your mental network, with its range of stronger to weaker connections, doesn’t change much after your mid-teens.

Why would nature do this? Why would it expand with so much energy creating this network only to let large chunks of it wither and die? The answer to this question, as educator John Bruer describes in his book ‘The Myth of the First Three Years’, is that when it comes to the brain, ‘less is more.’ It is not true that the more synaptic connections you have, the smarter you are or the more effective. Rather, your smartness and your effectiveness depend on how well you capitalize on your strongest connections. Nature forces you to shut down billions of connections precisely so that you can be freed up to exploit the ones remaining.

Initially, nature gives you more connections than you will ever need because during those first few years, you have a great deal to soak up. But soaking up is all you are doing. You are not yet making sense of your world. You can’t because with this abundance of connections you are overwhelmed by so many signals from so many different connections. To make sense of your world you will have to shut out some of the noise in your head. Nature helps you do just that over the next decade. Your genetic inheritance and early childhood experiences assist you in finding some connections smoother and easier than others. You are drawn to these connections time and again until they become tighter and tauter. To use an Internet analogy, these are your superfast T1 lines. Here the signals are loud and strong.

Meanwhile, ignored and unused connections in other parts of your network wither away. No signal can be heard. For example, if you end up with a T1 line for competitiveness, when you see numbers, you cannot help using them to compare your performance with other people’s. Or if you wind up with a T1 line for inquisitiveness, you are the kind of person who can’t hep asking why. Or perhaps you have no connection for empathy. Rationally, you understand that empathy is important, but moment by moment you just can’t seem to pick up the signals that other people are sending.

On a microscopic level your mental network, ranging from smooth T1 lines all the way to broken connections, explains why certain behaviors and reactions “just feel right” to you, while others no matter how hard you practice, always seem stilted and forced. This is as it should be. If nature didn’t whittle down your network to a smaller number of strongly forged connections, you would never become an adult. You would remain a permanent child, frozen in sensory overload.

Author Jorge Borges imagined what such a character might be like. He told of a boy ‘possessed of an infinite memory. Nothing escapes him; all of his sensory experience, past and present, persists in his mind; drowned in particulars, unable to forget the changing formations of all the clouds he has seen, he cannot form general ideas, and therefore … cannot think.’ A boy like this wouldn’t be able to feel, either, or build relationships or make decisions of any kind. He would lack personality, preference, judgment, and passion. He would be talentless.

To save you from this fate, nature and nurture reinforce some connections and allow billions of others to fade away. And so you emerge – a distinctly talented individual blessed and/or cursed to react to the world in your own enduringly unique way…

Our talents feel so natural to us that they seem common sense. On some level it is quite comfortable to believe that the ‘sense’ we make of the world is ‘common’ to everyone. But in truth our sense isn’t common at all. The sense we make of the world is individual. Our ‘sense’, our recurring pattern of thought, feeling, or behavior, caused by our unique mental network. This network serves as a filter, sorting and sifting the world we encounter, causing us to zero in on some stimuli and miss others entirely …

Talents have not only an “I can’t help it’ quality to them but also an ‘it feels good’ quality. Somehow nature has crafted you so that with your strongest connections the signals flow both ways. Your talents causes you to react in a particular way, and immediately a good feeling seems to shoot back up the T1 line. With these signals flowing smoothly back and forth, it feels as if the line is reverberating, humming. This is the feeling of using a talent.

By imbuing talents with their built-in feedback mechanism, nature has ensured that you will keep trying to use them. In a sense, talents are nature’s attempt at a perpetual motion machine. Nature causes you to react to the world in certain recurring ways, and by making those reactions feel satisfying, it pushes you to react in that way again and again, ad infinitum.

This raises interesting questions.

Is the universe a cosmic accident or an intelligent design?

Looking at the above it is indeed amazing that each of us develops in such a unique way. According to the Strengths theory it is virtually impossible to change your network after 16. You can develop the skills ( steps of an activity) of your talents, thus make a few more connections, but to learn a new talent would require you reweave your entire network. You may only really discover and fully utilize your talent later in life but you are always filtering every decision you make through your particular network.

One can then easily turn one’s thoughts to karma, and destiny because your unique network, your unique pattern will ensure that you experience the world in a unique way causing you to learn certain lessons as a result of how you react. Just like the story in the Bible about the talents we can choose to bury our talents and passively let it happen to you, squander it, or use it pro-actively to help make the world a better place.

And just as they say about the “StrengthFinder” test;

You can’t fail StrengthsFinder because every signature theme contains the promise of a strength. The only possible failure would be never managing to find the right role or the right partners to help you realize that strength.

Learning the skillful means in the perspective revealed does indeed transform for me the karmic knots from a burden to a “creative limitation” within which to experience joy in the divine play of this magical display of reality.

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