Tag: future

Meditation – Expectations

I have written a number of posts on meditation including Meditation Experiences Uno, Meditation Experiences Dos, Meditation Experiences Tres, and Meditation Experiences Cuatro. All of these were my personal experiences of meditation and to some degree outlining the benefits that you might be able to experience yourself. Of course your experience during meditation and afterwards may vary. One of the things that happens when you start meditating on a regular basis is that you may begin to develop expectations. These expectations of a special experience or some sudden break through, maybe even enlightenment may cause you to view your practice as a tool or some means to and end.

In the tradition of Zen Buddhism having some grand expectation for each meditation session is frowned upon. You should just sit in Zazen, expecting nothing, with your focus on being present. In a world that is dominated by activity, doing things, getting shit done; this might be very difficult for us. We typically spend most of our time thinking about what we are going to do in the future, that we often cannot make ourselves present in the now. If everything you do in your life must be in support of some goal or to satisfy some desire, meditating will seem foreign and you will struggle to be present even for a few moments, though you sat for 20 minutes. You may even feel that why should I devote 10 or 20 minutes just sitting, when I could be doing something productive. What the hell have we become?

There is a quote from Gary John Bishop that anyone that meditates should take to heart. While the book Mr. Bishop wrote Unfu*k Yourself isn’t about meditation, it will make you think about how you are fucking up your life with thoughts of the past and future.

Let me wrap this up. If you really want to change the way you think about this world, you will need to drop all these expectations and stop living in the future or even worse in the past. A consistent meditation practice will help you live in the present and change some these preconceived notions you have established over your lifetime. In a sense there is a war to be waged. There is the real you, a person with inherent Buddha nature and there is you that has been constructed over a lifetime. Choose the present moment without expectations or continue living imprisoned in the future, it’s all your choice.

Namaste

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Inspirational Book Reviews

Forgive Yourself

There are many philosophies and religions where the practice of forgiveness is extremely important. We are taught to forgive others for their sins against us, errors in judgment, or even crimes they have committed, but are we equally forgiving of ourselves?

If you are an egomaniac you wouldn’t feel bad about what you have done in the past and forgiveness would not even be a consideration. Fortunately for you, there is an awareness of how you fucked up, and you feel bad. Maybe what you did just hurt yourself, but most likely it also affected others and you are experiencing a guilt trip. You become angry with yourself, condemning yourself for being so stupid. All this guilt and anger does nothing for your current state of mind and prevents you from apologizing to yourself and others. It may be something where you physically harmed yourself or someone else, and a certain amount of guilt is warranted because as I said before you are not an egomaniac, you have some sense of empathy at least for others. It may be that you just can’t forgive yourself for the unsavory shit you did, but nothing will change if you continue to be weighed down by this guilt.

Here is the thing we are all just humans, well most of us anyway, and we are flawed as hell. There are two courses of action for you at this point:

  1. Stop doing the shit that is making you guilty. This could be some destructive habit or behavior, but you need to stop doing it. There will be some relief coming your way as you have quit doing the stupid thing that makes you feel guilty.
  2. Forgive yourself and move on. Every one of us has messed up our lives in various ways and it is very easy to keep blaming ourselves or worse yet someone else. Walk away from it, that shit you did that is tearing you apart is now in your past; bury it!

 

Many of us have an uncanny ability to forgive others, but when it comes to ourself we just can’t seem to be as gracious. You are terrorizing you, and can’t seem to come to grips with the imperfect version of you.

Let go of the guilt trip and walk away!

 

Namaste


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You live in the future

I think this quote is self-evident and I don’t want to elaborate endlessly on its meaning. You and I and every other homo sapien spend their time thinking about what I need to do next. It wouldn’t take too much convincing to say we all live in the future.

Here is the thing, living in the future burdened by a to-do list a mile long and an endless striving for one or more goals, leaves us forever unsatisfied. We have checked out of the present moment, trading it for the next achievement. We all live in this materialistic, goal-oriented, society that says you are never enough, and you need to work on yourself. Being unsatisfied with who we are has spawned the self-improvement industry where millions of dollars are spent by us in the hope that we can change ourselves to become a better version of ourselves.

My response to all this self-improvement bullshit is as follows:

  • You are not broken – You are a human being with unique talents and skills. Don’t let other people tell you that there is something wrong with you.
  • You don’t need to work on your weaknesses – I really hate that shit when people spend so much of their time focusing on their weaknesses. It’s such a fucked up approach to your life. I mean you will never overcome all your weaknesses, instead, we should focus on our strengths. Do you know why they want you to focus on your weaknesses? To sell you more shit and this focus on what I’m not good at leaves you feeling inadequate.
  • There is no future – I’m not saying don’t have any plans but stop sacrificing today for tomorrow. I know this goes against all the goal-setting maniacs that are always advocating that you achieve more, acquire more, be more. Do you really want to miss out on time with your friends or family so you can drive a BMW or live in a million-dollar home?

Enjoy what you are doing right now, focus on what you want to do, and stop looking to someone else to give you the answer to living a life of your dreams. If you can begin to love yourself just the way you are, things start looking better, and you begin to actually make more progress in your life because you are not thinking about how fucked up you are. You must begin to start shifting from thinking about the future to being totally engrossed in the present.

Say this to yourself every day:

I’m not broken

I love myself

I have something to give to this world

I am focused on the now

 

Namaste


This post was proofread by Grammarly.

If you would like to support this blog, check out the awesome selection of eBooks at:

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Grateful for the life you have

So you think your life is so miserable and unexciting. You are constantly bombarded by information that emplores you to want more, so you seek satisfaction in acquiring more things, more money, more appreciation, something that you don’t have. All the while you compare yourself to others that you view as more successful, better looking, happier, wealthier, or whatever. Stop doing that shit!

If your mindset is all about striving for more or comparing yourself to others you will never be happy. If it is comparisons you want then think about the millions, well billions of people that would trade places with you if they could. Then what the hell is wrong with me? Well, let me tell you. You are fricking ungrateful for what you have and are seeking fulfillment in the future, usually by seeking more of something. You are being duped by this ungrateful, never satisfied, paradigm. If you continue down this path there will only be more of the same, achieve this, acquire that, and a continuous saga of pursuit.

Pop your head outside of your ego for a few minutes, look around you. Do you see the beauty in this world? All this shit you have didn’t exist 50 years ago, that cell phone that you stare at, or that flat-screen TV, the internet, shit even air conditioning. We are so unappreciative of all this stuff, we just take it for granted. Instead of appreciating what you have, you spend your time wanting more. Do you really need a BMW or Mercedes? Will it get you to point “A” better than your Honda?

You have become a materialistic junky, addicted to shit you don’t have, spending all your energy working for more stuff. It should come as no surprise by now that you live your life looking towards the future, missing out on the present moment and you lack even a small amount of gratitude for what you have. If what I have written here so far even marginally rings true for you, then you are in a pretty serious need of a reset in the way you think.

Let’s turn this shit around and instead of making what you want paramount in your mind and behavior, start with gratitude. There are many ways to shift from I want more stuff, to I appreciate all that I have. The two most effective ways that I have found to be more grateful include:

  • Be Present – When you shift your thinking from looking to the future for happiness, you start appreciating each moment. Sounds pretty simple, but it’s not that easy to do when you have spent the majority of your life looking ahead for satisfaction. The present moment is the foundation for being grateful. For me and my monkey mind, I need to practice yoga, meditation and take long walks to help me quiet the mind and live in the present.
  • Grateful Practice – Being the stupid egotistical morons that we are, we need to frequently remind ourselves to be grateful. I have a journal that I write down 3 to 5 things I am grateful for. I do this in the morning shortly after getting up so that I start my day with a feeling of being grateful. I find that actually writing it versus putting in an app on my phone, seems to make it more effective. This daily repetition is the beginning of a habit where you remind yourself of all the things you are grateful for which then chips away at the ego.

If you still need to compare yourself to others, then think about the billions of people that would trade places with you, and happily assume the life you have.

Namaste


This post was proofread by Grammarly.

If you would like to support this blog, check out the awesome selection of eBooks at:

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Taking life to seriously

I sat around this morning drinking coffee, and playing my To-Do list in my head over and over like I typically do wondering if I would ever get it all done on time and how all these future events would transpire. Does any of this sound familiar? Anyone with a modicum of drive and determination falls victim to this kind of routine, and quite frankly it sucks. Here’s the thing we all take life too seriously and we suffer because of that. Sometimes I have to remind myself that a year from now I probably won’t remember all the shit I worried about today, and ironically no one else will either.

The Stoics especially Marcus Aurelius often thought about just how insignificant we are in the scheme of things. I can assure you that no matter how successful you are at work, once you move on and within a couple years or less you will be just a distant memory to those who remain. The company or organization you work for will march on without you because that’s what they do. So lesson one is stop taking your work or yourself so seriously, really in the scheme of things, it’s not that important. I know this is hard to hear because you put so much of yourself into your work, you have tied your identity to what you do, not who you are.

I can hear you now and I can hear myself saying, well that’s great, but I have a lot of shit to do, and if I want to keep earning a living I need to get it done. Most of us can’t just jump off the hamster wheel and join a Buddhist monastery, we need to provide for our families and all that other stuff. When I talk to myself and yes I talk to myself, I try to simplify and tell myself it will all get done, but only if you focus on one thing at a time and stay present. Being present not only makes you more productive so you can eradicate that to-do list, but it also reduces your anxiety as you are not focusing on the future.

Another benefit of focusing on the present moment is that you begin to find joy in what you are doing. Here’s my advice, fuck the productivity benefits, screw the fact that you are getting more done for others; focus on the present for yourself so you can gain some enjoyment from what you are doing.

Namaste

 

If you would like to support this blog, check out the awesome selection of eBooks at:

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Visit my other blog Inspirational Book Reviews where I review some incredible literature.

The fools life

I really enjoyed this stoic quote by Epicurus as it covers three important areas including gratitude, fear, and not being present. Epicurus defines the fool as someone who is not grateful for what they have, is consumed by fears, and thinks only about the future. Talk about a path to misery. Do you know people like this? These people do not appreciate what they have, fear just about everything that is out of their control, and instead of living in the present they are focused on the future. You often here them say someday when I get that new job, buy that expensive house, have some free time I will be happy. Always looking towards the future for contentment and missing out on what is happening today.

Then there is this lack of gratitude expressed by so many people. They will say my job sucks, the people I work with are morons, the government is inept, and on and on; clearly never seeing all the wonderful things going on in their life. A fool wastes their life by not being present, not appreciating what they already have, and seeking something better that may or may not happen. We are all guilty of this from time to time, but we don’t turn it into a life philosophy. The fool just doesn’t know any better, they stay stuck in this mindset, and because they are a fool they don’t even know it.

You my friend are not a fool!

Namaste

The Cure for Expectations

house_sitting_expectations

I recently wrote a review on the book UnFu*k Yourself where one of the authors rules for life was “I expect nothing; I accept everything”. As you think about this for a while it begins to make sense. Expecting things to turn out a certain way or for people to act a certain way is the road to disappointment. To start out with it takes you away from the present and instead you are living with expectations of the future. Let’s take a few examples:

  • While I’m driving I expect people to follow traffic laws. Little things like stop signs, traffic lights, speed limits, etc. Now this is one hell of a stupid expectation. When humans get behind the wheel of a car they turn into complete morons.
  • I expect that I will be recognized for my work at my place of business. Occasionally this happens, but never enough to live up to our expectations.
  • I expect that my significant other will appreciate the things I do for them. So what is it that they must do to live up to these expectations?
  • I expect that my children will be as motivated and driven as I am. That’s a real crock of shit.
  • I expect that my government will spend my tax money smartly and not build up trillions of dollars in debt. How silly is that?
  • I have expectations for myself surrounding being constantly happy or healthy. Set the bar high my friend and disappointment will find you.

These are just a few examples of how we all live with expectations that are literally sucking the fun out of life. There is no better way to mess up living in the present than by having all these stupid expectations. I’m not advocating that you don’t have dreams or goals, but be aware that if these are laden down with heaps of expectations you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Things rarely turn out the way you expect, often things turn out much better or much worse. You have so little control about how things will turn out, or what someone thinks of you, and planning on how things will turn out is a risky proposition. Do the best you can but don’t be so definitive about the outcome.

So what is the cure for this never ending life of expectations? I’m guessing if you read Gary Bishop’s book you know the answer. One little, but powerful word Acceptance is all you need to understand. By accepting things as they are, you are taking a big step towards living in the present. Give yourself a fucking break; you can often be accepting of others, but you can’t cut yourself some slack. If you can start living with a mindset of accepting life as it is, you will begin to really enjoy what you have and maybe even the things you do. Here are a couple of different ways to look at acceptance:

Acceptance-1Acceptance 2

You don’t need to throw away all your dreams or vision for the future, but don’t get so specific that you put yourself in a corner when things don’t turn out exactly as you expected. Throwing out those silly expectations leaves you open to a whole new perspective and to enjoy how things unfold. All of this can provide amazing levels of joy instead of comparing what happens to your expectations.

I will leave you with one other quote from Gary Bishop that really resonated with me.

“Plan for victory and learn from your defeats.”

Here are a few quotes on acceptance to ponder.

Happiness can exist only in acceptance. George Orwell

The greatest gift that you can give to others is the gift of unconditional love and acceptance. Brian Tracy

The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance. Nathaniel Branden

My happiness grows in direct proportion to my acceptance, and in inverse proportion to my expectations. Michael J. Fox

Acceptance looks like a passive state, but in reality it brings something entirely new into this world. That peace, a subtle energy vibration, is consciousness. Eckhart Tolle

Namaste

What are you waiting for?

 

Wating Game

Like most of us I have deferred doing many things in my life. I tell myself maybe it’s not the right time, not just yet. I tell myself maybe it is too risky or beyond my abilities. I tell myself that it is too expensive or I just don’t have time for it. Unfortunately I have lied to myself and time marches on with me no closer to my dreams.

I tell myself there is lots of time to do that which I long to do in the future. I have focused my thoughts and desires to be something I will attain in the future. My mind does not live in the present it only focuses on the future. I make investments in myself, in others, sometimes financially or physically so that I will have a better future, or so I think. The irony is, there really is no guarantee of the future. The future has yet to happen and it is a figment of my imagination.

Ask yourself is there something you want to do? Maybe you would like to write a book, travel somewhere, have a relationship with someone, start a business, purchase a new home, or find a way to give something back to the world.

What are you waiting for?

 

With no guarantee of the future, all of this waiting for the right time to begin to live the life you want is simply wrong. You don’t know how much time you have left on this earth, so why wait? Here are some examples of deferring to the future:

  • I’ll start that business or buy that thing when I have more than enough money saved, maybe 4 or 5 years from now. Are you really going to wait 4 or 5 years for something you really want to do? Are there no other options?
  • I will stop that addiction (smoking, drinking, drugs, gambling) sometime in the future when the time is just right. Have you noticed the time is never quite right? Will you be better off deferring being free from the addictions that are dragging you down?
  • I don’t have time to work on that book I always wanted to write. I have far to many responsibilities to attend to. If you had all the time in the world what other excuse would you use? Have you ever thought that you have never prioritized your writing over all the other bullshit you think needs to be done?
  • I really would like a better relationship with my significant other, children, siblings, parents, friends, but I’m too busy to call or spend time with them. Do you really want to go to your grave not being present for the people you love?

These are yet a few examples from my own life that plague me; I’m sure you can come up with your own list.

Quit imagining that you have all the time in the world to do the things you want to do, because you don’t. Make at least some effort to prioritize what is important to you and do it. If that means you have to be a little selfish then so be it. Look at your habits and decide do I really need to sit there every night and watch 2 hours of television.

Decide right now that the future is an illusion; begin living in the present and start doing the things you want to do and I mean now!

Stop taking for granted all the wonderful things that are happening around you understanding that tomorrow they become a thing of the past. You cannot wait for something to happen to experience fulfillment, happiness, and joy in your life; decide that the time is now.

happiness-is-now

These things that you want to do or have, may or may not bring the satisfaction you think they will in your life, but by not acting on your desires you will never know.

As human beings we attempt to live our lives in the past, present, and future. We often work in soul crushing jobs so that we can enjoy two or three weeks off. Are you actually working yourself to death for a couple weeks off? You can have a life more fulfilling that that; you were not created to simply settle.

It’s fine to think about what you want to become or have, but don’t stop by just dreaming about it; you must act and you must live in the now.

Namaste

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your life is right now!

Your life is right now!

I have this app on my phone that you get inspirational quotes from, and the other day I was checking it out in the morning like I normally do and the following came up:

“Your life is right now! It’s not later! It’s not in that time of retirement. It’s not when the lover gets here. It’s not when you’ve moved into the new house. It’s not when you get the better job. Your life is right now. It will always be right now. You might as well decide to start enjoying your life right now, because it’s not ever going to get better than right now-until it gets better right now!” Esther Hicks

I don’t normally make the focus of a post on a quote alone, but in this case I had to make an exception. For some reason reading this a couple days ago just seemed to resonate with me, as I have been struggling to stay focused in the present, often drifting into future mode. Future mode is a slippery slope and tends to lead to nothing but cycles of envision, want, plan and acquire, followed by another cycle of envision, want, plan and acquire. Oddly enough this reminds me of my job as a Project Manager, anyways it is no way to live your life.

Hope you enjoy this quote and take it to heart. Stay in the present my friend.

Namaste