Tag: happiness

Reframing goal setting

One of the books I have been reading is called “Ask and It Is Given” by Esther and Jerry Hicks and in that book, they have exercises for helping you manifest what you want with the law of attraction. One of the exercises they advocate is basically framed as:

I want “something” because “what it provides you”.

The idea is to list what you want and why for various categories of your life such as material things, career, relationships, health, etc. So naturally, I start listing shit I want such as a bigger house, a new car, a boat, and some gym equipment. Why did I jump right to listing the stuff I wanted instead of experiences, new behaviors, or being more mindful? I think much of this is the programming we receive from society and the media. Take Instagram for instance and you see all of these posts with expensive cars, extravagant homes, and private jets. We are literally being programmed to think first of acquiring more shit, when we know in our hearts the satisfaction from all this stuff has but a momentary effect on our happiness then it is off to buy the next piece of crap we don’t really want or need.

Now I’m pissed off for wasting my precious time dreaming about shit I don’t need when the things I really want have little do anything in the material realm. So it occurred to me that I needed to reframe the way I think about setting goals and what I really want in life. Let me be clear I’m not saying material things shouldn’t be on your list, but there is a price you pay for pursuing those things often at the expense of goals such as cultivating a more mindful existence. Let’s say we flip this paradigm upside down and our goal categories become something like this:

  1. Mindfulness
  2. Relationships
  3. Experiences
  4. Knowledge
  5. Health
  6. Career
  7. Finances
  8. Material Things

What the hell, now we have some really worthwhile things to focus on, things that bring happiness and personal development, and guess what items one through five either cost nothing or are relatively inexpensive. This revelation came to me after I had completed that law of attraction exercise and still felt uninspired. I need to go back now and rework my list to look something like the one above and dig deep into each category and focus on those things that will really enhance my life and not just drain my bank account.

To be continued………..

Namaste


This post was proofread by Grammarly.

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But I Can’t

Random Thoughts / Poetry

But I Can’t

I catch myself complaining about things

Let it go

I expect things to turn out a certain way

Expect nothing

I will be happy when such and such happens

Be happy now

Everything is changing

Change yourself

I can’t do this

Yes you can

It’s too hard to do this shit

No, it isn’t

I’m too tired

Do it anyway

No more excuses

 

Namaste


This post was proofread by Grammarly.

 

Moving On

Random Thoughts / Poetry

Moving On

Is every day a repetition of the last?

Move on

But the money and the benefits are so good

Move on

Have you quit dreaming and setting goals?

Move on

When was the last time you got a good night’s sleep?

Move on

Are you tired all the time?

Move on

Are you drinking a little too much to forget this shit show?

Move on

Are you waiting to have enough money to retire?

Move on

Are other people maybe your family members telling you just one more year and you can do anything you want?

Move on

Have you mastered this job to the point you are no longer learning?

Move on

Do you spend a lot of time doing pointless work that adds no value?

Move on

Has the line blurred so much that you can’t tell your work from the rest of your life?

Move on

Is your work so demanding that you have abandoned all your hobbies?

Move on

Afraid you can’t do better?

Move on

Will you miss the long days and continuous demands?

Fuck No!

Move on

 

Namaste


This post was proofread by Grammarly.

Nothing to become

Random Thoughts / Poetry

Nothing to Become

We spend so much time and energy searching for the meaning of life

Always looking for a purpose

Is it success at work?

Is it material things?

Is it happiness?

All this seeking is exhausting

Be patient it’s just around the corner

Am I there yet?

Where is my purpose?

Maybe there is nothing to find

Nothing to become

Maybe we are to just be

 

Namaste

 

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Always Seeking

Random Thoughts / Poetry

Always Seeking

We are always seeking to improve ourselves

We think if I master this or that I will be content

We pursue a litany of goals only to achieve them and still feel unsatisfied

We think once I have this or that I will be happy

We wish our life away

We are never happy as our goals and desires are a moving target

We never live in the present moment

Namaste

 

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Focusing on your purpose

It is one of the fundamental laws in life, that you have finite time, and using it for any particular purpose is where you will see results, not elsewhere. Let’s take an example say you work 60 hours a week at your job, but you would like to be a writer. Now that book you have wanted to write will not magically write itself, as almost every waking hour is dedicated to your work, i.e. not writing. It’s called a tradeoff, this is what life is one tradeoff after another. You spend your time doing this and you can’t do that other thing. The problem is not that we are making tradeoffs, it is often that we are focused on the wrong thing.

If you really want to work 60 hours a week on your job because you love your work then, by all means, do it, but be aware you may be giving up family, friends, hobbies, and relaxation. We have created a society where many of us can work from anywhere and we have so many tools that make this possible. I am constantly being interrupted by messages sent to my phone by various apps that I feel like I am never off the clock. To make it worse we have a global workforce, where you will often work with team members in China, Europe, India, Mexico, and the United States just to name a few. What this means is early meetings and late meetings the day is being stretched and so are we. What used to be a manageable length day now becomes a marathon.

Just remember you get what you focus on and nothing else. Make a habit from time to time to analyze what you are spending your time on and weighing it against where you want to go.

Namaste

 

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Satisfied with a little

The Greek Philosopher Epicurus sums it up so simply and yet eloquently with this quote. If you can’t appreciate the little things in life you will not appreciate anything. Did you enjoy that cup of coffee or tea this morning, walking the dog, cleaning your kitchen, or taking a shower? These are simple examples of little things you might do in the morning and if you gained some sense of satisfaction or joy from them, then you are living in the present moment and you have some sense of what it is like to be grateful for even small things.

What if instead, you can’t find any pleasure in the simple things that are most typical in our lives? You would then be someone that is consumed by thoughts of the future, seeking something better, and likely never satisfied with anything or anyone. We can all shift into this mindset from time to time, and then we become ungrateful, egotistical, and greedy. Your life will now consist of periods of suffering and discontent, followed by spending your precious time criticizing everything. Nothing is ever good enough, everyone is a jerk, and life sucks.

Contrary to what you see in the media or on Instagram, life is not some highlight reel where every day is a party, and people are throwing money at you. Instead most of what we call life is made up of little things. If you allow your mind to drift into future mode, then you miss all the little things, and you basically are missing out on life. The quote below by Jon Kabat-Zinn is one of my favorite quotes for helping us to appreciate all the little things in our life.

Sometimes you just need to reboot your brain and one of the best ways I found is to go for a walk. This allows you to breathe the fresh air, look at the sky, feel the sun on your skin, and soon you begin to calm down and start living in the present. Walking is a healthy alternative to sitting around and watching television or messing around with your phone. When I go for a walk I’m not doing it to burn calories or increase my heart rate, in fact, I am really doing quite the opposite, and sometimes walk fairly slowly just enjoying the sights around me.

Walking is a little thing, but be grateful as it is also a wonderful thing. Your life is made up of hundreds of little things and they all have the potential to be a great source of joy if you stay present and mindful.

Namaste

 

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

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A bit about Epicurus

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epicurus

Epicurus (Ancient GreekἘπίκουροςromanizedEpíkouros;[a] 341–270 BC) was an ancient Greek philosopher and sage who founded Epicureanism, a highly influential school of philosophy. He was born on the Greek island of Samos to Athenian parents. Influenced by DemocritusAristippusPyrrho,[3] and possibly the Cynics, he turned against the Platonism of his day and established his own school, known as “the Garden”, in Athens. Epicurus and his followers were known for eating simple meals and discussing a wide range of philosophical subjects. He openly allowed women to join the school as a matter of policy. Epicurus is said to have originally written over 300 works on various subjects, but the vast majority of these writings have been lost. Only three letters written by him—the letters to MenoeceusPythocles, and Herodotus—and two collections of quotes—the Principle Doctrines and the Vatican Sayings—have survived intact, along with a few fragments of his other writings. Most knowledge of his teachings comes from later authors, particularly the biographer Diogenes Laërtius, the Epicurean Roman poet Lucretius and the Epicurean philosopher Philodemus, and with hostile but largely accurate accounts by the Pyrrhonist philosopher Sextus Empiricus, and the statesman and Academic Skeptic Cicero.

For Epicurus, the purpose of philosophy was to help people attain a happy, tranquil life characterized by ataraxia (peace and freedom from fear) and aponia (the absence of pain). He advocated that people were best able to pursue philosophy by living a self-sufficient life surrounded by friends. He taught that the root of all human neurosis is death denial and the tendency for human beings to assume that death will be horrific and painful, which he claimed causes unnecessary anxiety, selfish self-protective behaviors, and hypocrisy. According to Epicurus, death is the end of both the body and the soul and therefore should not be feared. Epicurus taught that although the gods exist, they have no involvement in human affairs. He taught that people should behave ethically not because the gods punish or reward people for their actions, but because amoral behavior will burden them with guilt and prevent them from attaining ataraxia.

Like Aristotle, Epicurus was an empiricist, meaning he believed that the senses are the only reliable source of knowledge about the world. He derived much of his physics and cosmology from the earlier philosopher Democritus (c. 460–c. 370 BC). Like Democritus, Epicurus taught that the universe is infinite and eternal and that all matter is made up of extremely tiny, invisible particles known as atoms. All occurrences in the natural world are ultimately the result of atoms moving and interacting in empty space. Epicurus deviated from Democritus in his teaching of atomic “swerve”, which holds that atoms may deviate from their expected course, thus permitting humans to possess free will in an otherwise deterministic universe.

Though popular, Epicurean teachings were controversial from the beginning. Epicureanism reached the height of its popularity during the late years of the Roman Republic. It died out in late antiquity, subject to hostility from early Christianity. Throughout the Middle Ages Epicurus was popularly, though inaccurately, remembered as a patron of drunkards, whoremongers, and gluttons. His teachings gradually became more widely known in the fifteenth century with the rediscovery of important texts, but his ideas did not become acceptable until the seventeenth century, when the French Catholic priest Pierre Gassendi revived a modified version of them, which was promoted by other writers, including Walter Charleton and Robert Boyle. His influence grew considerably during and after the Enlightenment, profoundly impacting the ideas of major thinkers, including John LockeThomas JeffersonJeremy Bentham, and Karl Marx.

An opportunity to grow

After working much of the weekend, which is a bit abnormal for me it occurred to me that I was not resentful over spending so much of my time on the job that currently pays the bills. I won’t bore you with the details, but some of the work was not even remotely interesting, but it got done anyway. I was thinking about it this morning and such a simple concept came into my mind. Is it possible that you either view all the things you need do as an obligation (negative), or as an opportunity (positive) to grow and improve?

Most of us view the things we need to do as obligations, which means there is a somewhat negative connotation in play here. Obligations weigh on our mind, cause stress, and a feeling of dread. Looking at the things you need to do in this world as obligations provide no joy, no focus, and little sense of accomplishment. You just feel like a hamster on a wheel, living a life where you dread each day as the process repeats itself again and again.

What if instead, I looked at those things I need to do as an opportunity to grow. What would my day look like then, maybe the consequences of this viewpoint would provide:

  • Growth in terms of knowledge acquired, working towards mastery.
  • If I view what I am doing as an opportunity I am more likely to stay focused in the present moment and to experience flow.
  • I am sure to be more productive since I am getting things done because I want to do them, instead of feeling obligated.
  • I will have jumped off the fucking hamster wheel, left the stupid matrix, and I will begin to find meaning and satisfaction in what I do.

Oh, I forgot to mention you might even feel a strange feeling that was buried long ago, something called happiness!

Maybe I had a flash of Satori or it could have just been the three cups of coffee. Satori is a Japanese Zen Buddhist word used to describe a temporary experience of awakening or oneness that seems to come spontaneously from within.

Seriously, if you start viewing your work as a series of opportunities for growth, you begin to live in the present and that is where the magic begins to happen.

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.

 

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 Happiness Illusion (updated)

 

happiness is not good enough

“Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.”
― Ernest Hemingway, The Garden of Eden

You are constantly bombarded by self help gurus that preach the mantra that happiness is the primary goal for you life. Take some time to observe your own life and calculate the amount of time each day or week where you feel truly happy. I’m not talking about the times you feel content, challenged, or at peace, but instead the emotion of feeling very happy or elated. If you are forever chasing some state of happiness where the majority of the hours of the day are filled with happiness, then you are setting yourself up to experience yet another emotion, which will be a feeling of disappointment. You immediately jump to the conclusion that there is something wrong with me. I must be doing something wrong or I would be happy all the time, instead of the brief forays into happiness I am currently experiencing.

I’m guessing your day is filled with time spent in some or all of the following emotions:

  • Feeling anxious.
  • Frustration with yourself, others, or some man made process or rule.
  • Feeling challenged by your work and/or people you work with.
  • Loving others or feeling loved.
  • Feeling the fear of the unknown or known.
  • Anger or being pissed off about something or someone.
  • Self loathing for not living up to your own expectations or the expectations of others.
  • Envy for things or envious of what others have.
  • Fleeting moments of bliss or happiness.
  • Satisfaction with accomplishing something or learning something new.
  • Feeling uninspired or tired.
  • Feeling appreciated or unappreciated.
  • Desiring stuff, money, sex, or some mind altering drugs or alcohol.

I could go on and on with this list of emotions we experience often on a daily basis. We are filled with all these thoughts that affect our well being and all the yoga and mediation in the world will not eradicate them from your mind, believe me I’ve tried. Give yourself a fucking break, you are an emotional bundle of somewhat uncontrollable thoughts and you know it. Don’t and I mean do not let some dumb ass on YouTube tell you that if you buy this, or practice this, all of this will go away, and your life will become one big vacation. You can’t exist in some state of continuous bliss; you are not the Dali Lama. Sure you can seek enlightenment and end all this suffering and discontent, and I hope you achieve it someday, but on the off chance you don’t then you are going to have to learn to live in the world you currently inhabit.

I think happiness is overrated, there are many other emotional states that should occupy your mind; those that are more valuable to you and to others. I’m not saying you should live in some state or misery, but chasing a state of happiness is an illusion. Replace that quest with these feelings or life goals:

  • Taking responsibility for you life, your work, and your decisions.
  • Feeling challenged by your work and the fulfillment you feel when you step up to take on the challenge, win or lose.
  • Feeling good about yourself because you are working at being more disciplined.
  • Being grateful for all the shit you have; just look around you and notice the type of life that many are merely existing in, and you will see you have a lot to be grateful for.
  • Developing an appreciation for the people in your life, family, friends, co-workers, and customers.
  • The quiet satisfaction you feel from learning that came from reading, studying, experimenting, watching, and listening.
  • Desiring more from yourself or desiring more from life than you are currently getting. Desiring more for your life is not a bad thing. A lot of great things have been done by people with a burning desire to accomplish something.

Suffering builds character

In fact I would challenge you to consider that happiness as your constant state of mind would put you at a big disadvantage in life when it comes to achieving what you want. You need to experience difficult times, challenges, and a certain amount of pain to grow as a person. Maybe you can be satisfied by all the obstacles you have overcome to be where you are today, instead of wishing for a life of ease and self gratification. If the totality of life consisted of sitting on a beach in the Caribbean and drinking one Margarita after another how happy would you be then?

Think back on all the things you have accomplished, the events in your life that bring back good memories. What about the time you landed that job you wanted, or met that special person, or obtained that degree or certification you worked so hard for. I’ll bet you weren’t sitting around bullshitting yourself in some blissful state of euphoria; instead you got off your ass and took action. Quit wishing for happiness and start doing something constructive; in the long run you will feel a whole lot better about yourself.

I used to watch all this motivational shit on YouTube from Tony Robbins, Jim Rohn, Eric Thomas, Les Brown, and Bob Proctor, but instead of motivating me it made me feel dissatisfied with my work and my life in general. To tell you the truth these people have some good ideas, but ultimately they are trying to sell you one of their books or have you come to their seminar. Meanwhile they make you feel unfulfilled about your life so they can generate more sales and then you just feel like shit when you could have been enjoying the life you have.

You already know what you need to change in your life to progress. You certainly don’t need someone else to tell you the areas of your life that are pretty fucked up.

Let me leave you with this quote from Gary John Bishop that comes from his book UNFU*K Yourself:

I expect nothing and accept everything!

Try living your life for a while expecting nothing and accepting everything that happens to you. If you expect to be happy all the time and can’t accept it when life sucker punches you then you are doomed my friend. Drop the stupid expectations and take life as it is served up to you, then you can at least control the suffering and enjoy the good stuff.

Namaste