Monthly Archives: February 2013

Finding Peace

In order to find peace in your life, you must focus on creating peace in your life.  The creation of peace has to be as important as any of your other life goals. Finding love will not create peace in your life unless you look for a love that supports your quest for peace.  Acquiring wealth will not create peace if you do not use peaceful means to obtain and use your wealth.  If you want peace in your life, peace has to be a part of everything you do.

It is difficult to fight through your day and expect to be peaceful at night. It is hard to bully your way through the week and hope to find peace on the weekend. The times when peace is most needed is when it is difficult to find. When you are feeling scared, sad, nervous, stressed or angry, those are good times to work on creating peace. When you find yourself in conflict with others, it is a good time to create peace. When you are faced with a daunting task, it is a good time to bring peace into your efforts.

Creating peace in your life is a constant process and a skill. The more you practice, the better you get.  Even if you never find wealth or love, if you find peace, you have peace. Of course, if you have peace, you also have wealth and love. Peace.

Looking 4 Truths – Truth 4 – There is a way to cure suffering

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Self Worth

You are valuable and invaluable. You are worth it, whatever it is. There is no doubt about it, you matter immensely. You are worthy. Once you understand that about yourself, you don’t have to worry about whether you measure up anymore. Once you stop worrying about yourself, you have nothing to worry about.

If you ever doubt your self worth, there is something wrong with your value system. From your perspective, how could anything be worth more than you? Without you, how could you appreciate anything? Without you to experience it, there is no world at all. That is your real self worth, you are everything. If you want a rough estimate of your self worth, that is it, you are worth everything.

It’s important to place a high value on yourself, because other people may not always recognize your value. They may not see that it matters whether you are happy or sad. In their ignorance, they may purposefully or accidentally make you feel worthless. When you know your ultimate worth, you can quietly sit and demonstrate to the world what you know. You won’t worry about whether anybody can see it or not, because you will be busy admiring your view. You won’t be looking in the mirror either. You will be absorbed in the wonders of the universe.

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The Way

The Sage and the Guru got into a fight

About who was wrong and what was right.

“Dear Guru, if you knew what I do, you’d know,

That the knowing as you know it, just isn’t so.”

“Though your words, dearest Sage, sound outrageously wise

There is much in this suchness you miss with your eyes.”

So the Sage and the Guru engaged in debate

About good and bad, dark and light, faith and fate.

They bickered away day and night, night and day,

And their egos, exposed, did erode in the fray.

Soon the Sage and the Guru grew buoyantly light

And forgot how to figure what’s wrong or who’s right.

They no longer, for certain, knew who was who,

If the Guru was Sage or the Sage was Guru.

“Beautiful Sage-Guru, If you could but see,

You would no longer doubt I am you, you are me.”

“My most gentle Guru-Sage, if that were true

Then I would be wrong and right would be you.”

What was true, who was what, who was who, who’s to say?  

Thus goes the new age Guru-Sage-Argue-Way.

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Zero Sum Game

In a zero sum game, the winners win just what the losers lose. There can only be a winner when there is a loser. This is a games theory concept, not life. Unfortunately, we often fall into the trap of thinking that life is a zero sum game.  We get competitive about all sorts of things. We feel that we are diminished when somebody else does well. This kind of thinking leads to jealousy and misery.  When we cannot take pleasure in other people’s accomplishments because we feel that their success implies our failure, we suffer because of our outlook.

In the Academy Awards, out of thousands of actors there are five nominees and one winner. Of course everybody is happy to be nominated, but they must be bitterly disappointed when they don’t win. Just by being nominated they get to go the the party, they get the adoration of the media, they get the swag, they get the recognition of being nominated and they get to go out of their heads hoping they will win and fearing that they won’t. That is the drama of a zero sum game. That is the kind of game that we imagine into all kinds of situations in our everyday lives.

When we are comfortable with ourselves, we can easily take joy in other people’s success. Although there will be times when others will profit at our expense, it is far more common that others’ success has no reflection on us whatsoever. In both situations we should practice being happy for others’ good fortune. If that is too difficult, the least we can do is recognize that we are never truly diminished by another’s success. Life is not a zero sum game. Life is certainly some game.

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The Simple Truth

When life gets complicated, it’s best to keep it simple. The truth is the most simple thing there is. Everybody is always trying to tell you what the truth is and that can get confusing. You know the truth. You know what is right. You know how you feel about things. That is the truth.

As soon as you start wandering away from the truth, things start to get complicated. If you pretend to be something that you are not, you are complicating your life.  If you tell big or little fibs, you are adding to life’s complications. If you talk about people in ways that you wouldn’t feel comfortable talking to them, you are tip-toeing around the truth. If you notice yourself in any of these situations, you are becoming aware of your dance with the truth.

The simple truth is what you see and hear. What you think may or may not be true. What you think can be influenced by what you want and fear.  The truth exists between what you perceive and what you think about it.

The truth is simple. You like people and people like you. You are a splendid creation. If that does not look like the truth to you, you must be complicating things with thinking.

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Looking Up

If you look around when you are feeling down, you will see things that confirm your mood. You may notice a person crying and not see a person laughing. To break your mood, you can practice being aware of what you see and focus your attention on pleasant sights.  Look for happiness.  Look for people smiling. Look for beauty in what you see.

When you find yourself stuck in a bad or sad mood, you can use your awareness to help improve your spirits.  If you are aware of what you perceive around you, you will notice yourself seeing ugliness and despair. If you actively look for beauty and joy, you will jar yourself from your habitual mood.  Look at the world around you and you will find what you are looking for.  Look for beauty and joy and things will start looking up.

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Expressing Anger

Anger is an emotion that requires careful expression. Any thoughtless expression of anger can easily turn anger into violence. Becoming violent does not address the cause of the anger, it just spreads the problem to the people nearest to you. The root of anger is fear and hurt. If you express your anger, letting it become violence, you take the fear and hurt that you are feeling and inflict it on those around you. The people subject to your anger will be hurt by you and afraid of you and they will also become angry. That is how anger spreads.

Anger creates a pressure, which wants to be released. When you feel that pressure you should treat it like a lit stick of dynamite and take it to a wide open space to blow up safely. Once you are safely out of range of others, you can defuse the bomb instead of letting it explode. If you feel angry, you can look into your situation to see why you are hurt and what is scaring you. If you figure out why you are so upset, you can talk to somebody about it and let them know just how and why you are hurting. Then things actually get better.

If when you feel anger, you just vent your anger, without considering those around you, they will not bother to notice that you are afraid and hurt. They will become defensive rather than compassionate. If you use your anger to help you notice how you hurt, you will find ways to stop hurting and the people around you will help you. Anger does not need to be expressed, but it needs to be released. With a mindful approach to your anger, you can transform it into compassion instead of violence. Everybody will feel better then.

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Ace in the Hole

If you don’t meditate, you can suffer through the ups and downs of life knowing that if things get really bad, you can always start meditating and you will be able to make things better.  If things get really bad and you decide that it is time to start meditating, you need to be patient and give your meditation practice some time to start working.

When you first start meditating, it won’t make all your problems go away, but it will give you a familiarity with peace. You may not even feel the peace while you are meditating. You may feel it at other times during the day, when you are sitting in class or at work or just walking. When you start to notice little pockets of peace throughout the day, or you  find yourself sleeping better at night, you’ll see that your meditation is changing your life.

If you want meditation to be there for you when you need it, you could start practicing now. If things aren’t quite as bad as they might be, you could try sitting for five or ten minutes a day.  You can figure out what cushions you will sit on, where you will sit and you may find a timer to time your sitting. Once you have your space set up, you can find your comfortable position and practice watching your breath. Then you will know that your meditation will be there for you when you need it. When you find that confidence, your practice is already working.

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Spreading Joy

When my daughter was three or four, she had a horn on her bicycle.  One day, when she was riding her bicycle to the park, she told me “I’m going to beep my horn and make everybody happy”. When my daughter sounded her horn, everybody in her world was happy. That is how we spread joy. Imagine what you can do to make everybody in the world happy. Beep beep. 

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Addressing Depression

There is a little comfort in the idea depression is a disease and not lifestyle choice. Nobody is to blame for becoming depressed. Nobody in their right mind would choose to be depressed. Nobody who is depressed is exactly in their right mind either.  Being depressed makes it more difficult to make the type of choices that can lead you out of depression, but there are things that you can do to address your depression.

The depression lives somewhere between body and mind. The body elements of depression are things like hormones, which are influenced by diet and sleep and exercise. Placing your depression in your body makes it seem more like a sickness, like the flu. It will pass if you drink plenty of fluids and get rest.

The part of depression that is in the mind is scarier because we tend to associate ourselves closely with our minds. We think that if there is a problem with our mind, then there is a problem with us. We are not really our minds any more than we are our bodies. We are both and something else.  We are something that can recognize that we are suffering from depression and can look for causes and solutions to that suffering. Although we can’t just choose to be happy, we can choose to try things that will set the stage for our happiness. We can recognize our situation, do what we can to address the situation and ask for help when we need it.

Looking 4 Truths – Truth 1 – There is Suffering

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