Posts by josephsacco

Part time philosopher and full-time Project Manager/ScrumMaster. I enjoy yoga, meditation, blogging, reading, and strength training.

Love Impermanence

We live our lives seeking situations or things that are permanent. This might include a relationship, a profession, investments, our bodies, or beliefs. It is human nature to plan for the future seeking a sense of certainty as if we had control over the present or the future. Here is one of my favorite quotes by Thich Nhat Hanh:

Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist, founder of the Plum Village Tradition. One of the primary tenants of Buddhism is impermanence. Impermanence is the lack of permanence, or the fact that everything is changing, thus nothing is really permanent or even certain. I guess if there is any certainty it would be that nothing is permanent. As you are reading this your body is changing, the weather is changing, even our own most strongly held beliefs are under siege. Because of impermanence our plans for the future are at best a wish and in reality are extremely uncertain.

If you can accept that everything is impermanent you will begin to free yourself from worrying about your problems. If everything is impermanent than so is your pain and suffering. That situation that is causing you so much grief is likely to change and you will inherent a new problem to worry about. Flip the coin and the joy you feel today may be replaced by pain tomorrow, or by some other form of happiness. You might be thinking well all this in not very comforting and what am I to do about this impermanent life of mine? The answer is that there is nothing for you to do. If you need to do anything it would be to simply accept impermanence and live in the present moment.

Listen, I’m not saying you should not make plans, but any plan you make must include some flexibility due to the fact that whatever you have planned will likely need to change. Working towards a goal you have can be a wonderful thing, but then impermanence steps in and what you are working for may no longer be possible to achieve. Remember impermanence does not equate to something negative and in fact it often will result in new opportunities that avail themselves if you are willing to embrace uncertainty and drop your bullshit adherence to the plan you have in your head.

Let’s say you have this job working for some corporation and your plan is to work there for the next 5 years and then retire. However your company begins losing market share and they have to eliminate your high paid position. You could be angry, start blaming the company or yourself, and have a nice pity party and this might be something you decide to keep doing for the foreseeable future. For someone who embraces impermanence this kind of reaction to the situation would be impossible. The person that accepts uncertainty would say Fuck it and move on. The plan you had is no longer valid, but you think well let’s take a look at this world of possibilities and act upon some other interests you have. I have personally been in similar situations and every time a door closed, another one opened and the change only enhanced my life. This is why I love impermanence because when you embrace it you learn and grow as a person, you become unstuck. Here is another quote from Thich Nhat Hanh:

Learn to love impermanence and all will be well with you.

Namaste

 

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Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind

Inspirational Book Reviews

Zen Mind Beginners Mind

Review

Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind is a book by Shunryu Suzuki a Japanese author and Zen Master. I have been studying Zen Buddhism for the past year or so and attempting to sit in the Zen meditation style of Zazen. Having read a number of books on Zen, with some of them bordering on boring me to death, I felt compelled to write a book review on Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind.

I have listened to the Audible version of this book probably 20 times now as I find it so simple and at the same time so profound. For those of you who like Audio books this one is narrated by Peter Coyote who does an excellent job, making it a joy to listen to. Instead of the somewhat severe dogma and focus on enlightenment, Shunryu Suzuki focuses on just practicing and provides many hints on good practice and bad…

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Grateful Journal July 18, 2019

Up early again and after a few cups of coffee it was time to practice being grateful again.

source post on Grateful Practice

Grateful Tip of the Day:

The only way to be truly grateful is to appreciate what you have or what you are becoming. You cannot be grateful by spending your time thinking about things you do not have. It is understanding what you have that brings you happiness; there is no happiness in wanting. You will receive more when you finally appreciate all you have.

Journal Entry:

Namaste

Grateful Journal July 17, 2019

Up early again and after a few cups of coffee it was time to practice being grateful again.

source post on Grateful Practice

Grateful Tip of the Day:

While the typical grateful journal entry may only take 10 or 15 minutes, there are times when it will take longer. Don’t give up, search your soul and think about those things that you are thankful for, even if it takes much longer than 10 or 15 minutes. This is not something you are doing that is on your To Do List, it is a practice and only benefits you if you take the time to do it with all your heart.

Journal Entry:

Namaste

Grateful Journal July 12, 2019

Up early again and after a few cups of coffee it was time to practice being grateful again.

source post on Grateful Practice

Grateful Tip of the Day:

Don’t ignore even the smallest things to be grateful for. After all most of our lives are made up of experiences that what we sometimes consider insignificant, but are actually the most important.

Journal Entry:

Namaste

Your Grateful Practice

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything for this blog. I’m not sure why, but it is what it is as they say. I have written about being grateful and actually writing it down in the past, although my own adherence to this advice was somewhat intermittent at best, until about 6 months ago. I broke down and bought a journal partly because I had always read that hand writing things down has more of an impact than typing them. For me that seemed to ring true. So everyday or almost everyday I get up early and at about 5:00 a.m. I start writing in my journal what I am grateful for and then I add a little thing called Decree to the Universe.

The Decree to the Universe is to a large degree a realization that your grateful practice is providing you. It may take the form of an affirmation or at least a way of being, even if it only lasts for the day ahead of you.

Sometimes I write very conventional statements of being grateful for things like my family or my home, and sometimes very simple things like this cup of coffee is pretty damn good. At other times I write what I think I am becoming. All of this journaling takes about 10 minutes of your time. Write down what you are grateful for and then some Decree to the Universe; read it back to yourself slowly so that you really feel it.

One of the things I noticed is that all the benefits I list below, did not happen for me overnight. It seems like it took months to attain the full effect that a grateful practice can provide. Maybe I’m a bit slow, but in any case it appears that perseverance matters.

So why go to all this bother? Well there are a few good reasons:

  1. It’s hard to start your day as an asshole if you just listed a number of things you are grateful for.
  2. It begins to distance you from the woe is me and isn’t this world unfair way of thinking.
  3. You start appreciating even the little things more intensely and you really start appreciating the people around you.
  4. It makes you more focused on who you really are or who you should be than the pain ass that you can be even to people very close to you.
  5. You eventually become more mindful, which ultimately results in you becoming a happier person.

Just a note here, there is really no need to buy some special grateful journal any decent journal with lines on it will do the trick.

Here is an example from my journal this morning. I may post more in the future.

Namaste

The Sirens of Titan – book review

Inspirational Book Reviews

If you read my posts on this blog you might be wondering does he read anything but Vonnegut (see excerpt about the author below)? Most of my earlier posts had to do with non fiction and leaned towards a lot of self improvement stuff. More recently I have enjoyed escaping into Kurt Vonnegut’s work, which in a way is both a joy but is not lacking in some pretty interesting lessons about humanity.

The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut is both an interesting read or listen depending on your choice of formats. I listened to this book on Audible.com. This book centers around maybe a half a dozen characters with Malachi Constant also called Unch at times. Much of the novel is centered around an invasion of Earth from Mars orchestrated by the character Winston Niles Rumfoord. As with many of Kurt Vonnegut’s novels he takes you on a…

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