Tag: life

Mediation Experiences – Cuatro

This is the fourth installment “Cuatro” in my series on my meditation experiences. The previous installments included:

Meditation Experiences – Uno where I covered some of the basics of meditation and how I began my own practice.

Meditation Experiences – Dos was targeted at a discussion on some of the benefits I have received from my practice.

Meditation Experiences – Tres is where I tried to make the case for having no expectations from your practice.

Ok enough about the past, but if you haven’t read these posts I recommend you do so, as this has been a journey for me, and you get a better context for what I have experienced if you start at the beginning. During the time that I have written this, I have been meditating on a daily basis for about 3 months. I don’t know if I mentioned this, but my practice has also included studying Buddhism, which I have been doing for maybe around the last 10 years or so. So when I talk about my practice it is comprised of meditation and Buddhist studies.

All of human history has been turbulent, but we are living in a strange era with this pandemic and technological advances that have brought so much prosperity to the world and at the same time caused so many people to be displaced. If there was ever a time that we needed something to provide a lifeline or an anchor in our world the time is now.

As I went beyond just studying and dedicated myself to daily meditation, I feel that this might be an answer to living a meaningful life amidst all this craziness. In fact, it may be the only true way out of this situation. The Buddha spent years coming to the realization that suffering exists as a natural state for human beings and that there is an end to suffering. His prescription was developing a practice of meditation and following the Eightfold Path. You might be thinking this is bullshit, how can I benefit from studying an applied philosophy created 2,500 years ago. I would argue that Buddhism has survived so long because it was relevant in the past and is relevant today and will be relevant in the future. The basic premise of Buddhism that life is Dukkha (suffering), is as true today as it was yesterday.

As I have become consistent with my practice and specifically the meditation component of it I have found it to be the lifeline that I so badly needed. I won’t kid you there are times when I sit down on my cushion and have trouble tuning out the world around me, thoughts about my work, or other things become so prominent that I have trouble staying present. While some sessions seem better than others, all of the time spent meditating is a respite from the insane world we live in. This daily practice starts out as somewhat of a challenge, but as you persist it becomes a habit, and you will start to look forward to it. You become your practice, you become compassionate, and ultimately you become Buddha. Your practice will soon become the most important thing in your life because all good things result from it. You might just become a better spouse, parent, or friend. You might even start seeing the world as it really is and you will start seeing the good in people.

I will leave you with this somewhat funny quote from the Dalai Lama:

Namaste

 

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Excited to start the day

We have a natural tendency to think if our behavior seems a bit strange that there is something wrong with us. For instance, I have this propensity to get up in the middle of the night after a few hours of sleep. At one time I thought I must be insane and wrote it off to anxiety or too much caffeine. This was simply incorrect on my part. What I determined was that there was nothing wrong with me, but instead, I was just ready to get up and start my day.

Did you ever consider that maybe just maybe you are excited about your life? There is a distinct possibility that you are simply motivated to get things done. What better time than 1 A.M. or 2 A.M. to do things that you are passionate about. I find that as I get older, the value of time increases and I don’t want to waste not even a moment of it. You may feel the same and decide that you are willing to trade a little sleep for something you really enjoy doing.

The moral of the story here is you are not some basket case that needs to be fixed. Think about it for a minute, you are one of the few people that are excited about your life, and you are making time for the things you are really love doing.

In a world that is critical of everything, where our very society seems to be crumbling, it might seem a bit odd that you have not bought into this shit. You are a doer, yes someone who thrives on getting things done. While the rest of the world complains, protests, riots, and seeks to destroy society, you are building it up. Give yourself some credit and ignore the morons that seek anarchy over reason. This conflict between those who view this world as lacking seeking to destroy it and those who see it as one big opportunity will always exist.

Go ahead, while the rest of the world sleeps, you pursue your dreams, you get shit done, and you make things happen.

You don’t buy into the negativity because you are an achiever and ultimately you win!

Namaste


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A life without challenges

Do you ever wonder what it would be like to have all the money you could ever spend or anything you wanted without effort? There are a few people where this is, in fact, the situation, usually the children of billionaires or multi-millionaires. You may think their life is superior to yours as they have a life of leisure where everything is provided not earned.

These people are often living a life that is flat and aimless as there is nothing for them to attain and no challenges. It is the challenges in your life that make overcoming them so sweet. How can you distinguish the struggle from achievement when there is neither in your life. We are a pretty goal-oriented species and without those goals and subsequent achievements, we become bored and unsatisfied. In fact, many of the people that we consider great Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet, Winston Churchill, Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King, or Nelson Mandella all achieved greatness through their struggles.

I love this quote from Mahatma Gandhi as it illustrates his struggle for an independent India:

mahatma-gandhi-quotes-first-they-ignore-you

Do you think any of us would remember Gandhi if he had not encountered challenges and overcome them? Hell No!

Next time you think that life is too hard, and you catch yourself saying I’m sick of this shit, think about how greatness is achieved. It’s not achieved by quitting or just giving up. Ultimately what you will achieve will be proportionate to the number of challenges you encountered and the level of perseverance you exhibited.

Whatever you have achieved so far in your life it is directly related to the struggle and challenges you have faced. Think about your life, when you obtained that Master’s degree, started that business, wrote that book, or hell made a better life for your family. Was any of this easy? Did you feel better for having done these things?

There is no struggle-free life unless as mentioned above you were born into massive wealth, and you know deep in your heart that life wouldn’t be worth living without the challenges.

Let’s face it there will be no easy life in the future, that is free from challenges or problems, so stop looking forward to it. It does not exist. I would like to end this post with a quote from Bruce Lee:

Bruce Lee - dont pray for an easy life

Namaste


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Worthy of happiness

Worthy Of Happiness

I was reading a quote this morning and thought it was very interesting. I knew little of Immanuel Kant, but what intrigued me was the premise that to be worthy of happiness you need to live a moral life. As I processed this thought that the possibility of happiness can be earned as a result of morality I thought about The Five Precepts in Buddhism, which are:

  1. to abstain from taking life
  2. to abstain from taking what is not given
  3. to abstain from sensuous misconduct
  4. to abstain from false speech
  5. to abstain from intoxicants as tending to cloud the mind

In Buddhism, the five precepts are a moral code for laypeople, or one could think of them as the fundamental baseline of morality. Read them and you begin to realize how broadly they can be applied and how powerful their influence could be on your personal conduct.

Personally, I tend to stay away from talking too much about morality, as it is often applied for example in religion to various behavior that I may see as moral and not immoral. Still, there is something about this quote that made me think that maybe we all need to strive to be more moral, and by doing so provide an opportunity to be a bit happier.

Note Kant does not equate morality to happiness only to being worthy of happiness. To me, this means real happiness like everything else must be earned, and in Buddhism, this starts with the Five Precepts. Can you be happy without striving to live a moral life?

If you are aware of the consequences of your actions and the impact they have on others, then the answer is no.

Who was Immanuel Kant?

He lived in the 1700s to early 1800 and was an influential German philosopher in the Age of Enlightenment. In his doctrine of transcendental idealism, he argued that space, time, and causation are mere sensibilities; “things-in-themselves” exist, but their nature is unknowable.

Kant’s theory is an example of a deontological moral theory–according to these theories, the rightness or wrongness of actions does not depend on their consequences but on whether they fulfill our duty. Kant believed that there was a supreme principle of morality, and he referred to it as The Categorical Imperative.

Well enough, for now, I need to start making myself worthy of happiness and do something good today, guess I will start by reflecting on the Five Precepts.

Namaste


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Reference:

Five Precepts of Buddhism Explained

 

A little information on Immanuel Kant

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immanuel_Kant

 

 

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


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Driven

Random Thoughts / Poetry

Driven

We make so much of every situation

It all seems so important

A heightened level of anxiety becomes our natural state

We are told to escalate for every issue

Everything becomes critical

Our life is one of hyperactivity

Driven to achieve by ourselves and others we are exhausted

Is it any wonder we are so unhappy?

We are asked to do more and more with the same amount of limited time

Our life is now dominated by schedules and to-do lists

The pace we set for our life cannot be sustained

We seek the answer in meditation, yoga, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and any other number of ways to calm our mind and give our life meaning

The days become a blur as they pass us by

You tell yourself someday I will jump off this hamster wheel, once I earn a little more money

That day never happens and you die never having really lived

Is that really what you want from your life?

Stop deferring your fucking life

Today I will jump off the hamster wheel even if for an hour or two

Once I taste freedom I will cease to jump back on the wheel

Remember the world will always try to pull you back into the vortex

Only you can save yourself

 

Namaste

 

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The end of suffering

Random Thoughts / Poetry

The End Of Suffering

You know everything is impermanent

Yet you choose to suffer

Only change is certain

Yet you choose to suffer

You are aging day by day

Yet you choose to suffer

Life and death is ever-present

Yet you choose to suffer

Love and joy surround you

Yet you choose to suffer

You have no direction

You can find no end to suffering

The end to your suffering is a walk down the Eightfold Path

 

Namaste

 

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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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Living without expectations

Random Thoughts / Poetry

Living without expectations

I diligently followed my expectations

Things didn’t turn out the way I thought they would, leaving me disappointed and unfulfilled

I set a new goal and the pattern repeated itself leading to more disappointment

I decided to try again but without any expectations

I let things unfold as they will

No expectations, no disappointment

Learning to live without expectations

Namaste

 

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Until the next page is turned

Your life is like a book where you turn a page every day as you awaken. Each page is to be savored because you may not finish the book and it would be in your best interest to enjoy each page that you read. Waiting until the book is finished to be grateful would be a shame and a waste of your time.

Each day you turn another page and you have another opportunity to be alive, to enjoy the time you have on this earth. Should you choose to spend your time complaining and wishing for something more you will have wasted that day. Your life unfolds minute to minute, enjoy the journey wherever it takes you. Remember you can’t go back and say I wish I would have gone in this direction or that direction. You are where you are for a reason because this is where your path has led you.

A couple years ago I started writing in a journal three to five things I am grateful for every morning. It has become a ritual over time, that is followed by some yoga and meditation. Starting each day feeling grateful for what you have will allow you to serve others, instead of having feelings of resentment, anger, or another ego manifestation.

Today I am grateful for?

  1. My family who may not be perfect, but are always my top priority
  2. My work that provides challenges and financial rewards
  3. My writing, which is a therapy for me and hopefully benefits others
  4. My yoga and meditation practices that make me feel good and calm my mind
  5. Waking up today and having another opportunity to enjoy each moment as it unfolds

 

Being grateful has many benefits including:

  • When you are grateful for what you have feelings of entitlement and envy melt away
  • When you are grateful for the people in your life you will treat them better and be less critical of their behavior
  • When you are grateful for your dwelling and having food to eat you will crave less and feel more satisfied
  • When you are grateful for what you have you will have a tendency to serve or give back in appreciation versus expecting something
  • When you are grateful you will feel better and be more positive

Of course, I could go on and on, but you get the point by now that a grateful practice has too many benefits to not incorporate into your daily routine.

Namaste

 

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