Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Great Panel Discussions on Living the Good Life!

Good morning, Happy Souls!

I was delighted by the huge response to my blog entry on Live Better than a Billionaire on Five Dollars Extra a Day about creating your own version of Renaissance Weekends.

Since so many people seem interested in that subject, let me share some more insights today.

While many view Renaissance Weekends as being something that only liberal Democrats attend, that's not the case. In fact, before Bill Clinton became president, the group had an extraordinary balance of Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives. In small settings and private conversations, that made it possible to grasp key perspectives on opposing viewpoints that would never emerge in all the screaming and shouting on Crossfire.

From that experience, I learned that we all benefit when a panel discussion can include both world-renowned experts . . . and a wide diversity of opinion.

I would like to share with you my reaction to a panel by religious leaders of many faiths on living the good life. These people not only knew their own religions well . . . they had also deeply studied and considered other religions as well.

For the first time, I heard religious leaders talk together about what they agreed upon in their religions. I was fascinated to find that a major theme was to avoid evil. In that way, we are not even tempted to do evil. Temptation itself can lead to sin. A rabbi reminded the group that Jesus said that we have sinned when we lust in our hearts. That was a biblical reference that I hadn't thought about since Jimmy Carter ran for president and confessed to having lusted in his heart.

There was a lively debate as the high achievers in the audience spoke in favor of the idea of overcoming temptation as being a great thing. The religious leaders politely disagreed. "Favor the good life instead." That was their advice.

When most of us think about the good life, various carnal pleasures are likely to come to mind.

These religious leaders were describing instead focusing on God, God's love for us, spiritual perfection and our ability to follow God's will for us.

That religious discussion in a secular setting had more impact on me than any sermon I've listened to. By bringing religion and religious ideas into the secular setting, I found my religious sensitivities being integrated into all of my life in a new way . . . in a way that seems remote when I'm sitting in church.

So do have fun sharing experiences about great vacations (I've still got a lot of places I plan to go based on Renaissance Weekend reports) . . . but also take time to explore the spiritually good life together. It's great soul food!

In the process, you'll find great peace and understanding about the purpose of your life . . . gifts that may not be available to the billionaire who is solely focused on the next billion dollars while making a big splash on television.

May God bless and keep you on the path to the good life!

Donald W. Mitchell, Your Dream Concierge

Copyright 2005 Donald W. Mitchell


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