Sixteen Rules to Live By Revisited

cropped-courage.pngI discovered these ’16 rules I try to live by’ in 2007 but did not know who to attribute them to. Today I discovered they can be attributed to Go Daddy Founder and Executive Chairman, Bob Parsons.

As I read these principles again I found wisdom in them and they immediately brought to mind The Eight Irresistible Principles of Having Fun. So I have included both in this article for your reading pleasure.

Continue reading “Sixteen Rules to Live By Revisited”

Life Lessons: Aparigraha (non-grasping)

meditation treeI am as far as one can get from being an urban yoga practitioner. My husband and I choose to live a life of voluntary simplicity in a semi remote location. We waste not and want not.  As we chose to drop out of the consumer driven society and are unimpressed with the unrelenting advertising that assails and assaults us when traveling to the city, we are uncomfortable when evidence of misguided yoga connected marketing success shows up on our shore. Continue reading “Life Lessons: Aparigraha (non-grasping)”

Re-energizing After a Lay-Off

energyEveryone is familiar with energy drain. Researchers are studying the links between what we eat, how we work and live and how we feel.  There are different kinds of fatigue and different ways to improve your energy level.  How do you know if your low energy is caused by underlying disease or is the result of lifestyle factors, stress, poor diet, lack of sleep, or normal aging? Continue reading “Re-energizing After a Lay-Off”

A Difficult Week in Review

smallLast week was typical week for me.  I was busy and productive and though I had to deal with several difficult people I was happy.

I have resolved not to shun the so-called difficult people in my life for two self serving reasons. They teach me important lessons about myself, and learning from them provides  opportunities for my growth.

I acknowledged that every person in my life is my mirror. By remaining aware that each one was reflecting aspects of my own consciousness back to me,  I was able not to take their negativity personally. Continue reading “A Difficult Week in Review”

7 Energizing Snack Foods for Optimum Health

good foodToday’s nutrition message is ‘dump the junk; eat real food’.  I heard the call to eat healthy and enjoy life and acted on it.  Have you?

Obesity, heart disease and strokes are prevalent. It’s clear that many people aren’t either wise or moderate when it comes to the variety of foods and quantities they consume.  So it’s no surprise the nutrition pendulum has swung back toward eating unaltered food that is as close as possible to the way nature made it. Continue reading “7 Energizing Snack Foods for Optimum Health”

Train Your Brain to Become Happier

Protected by Copyscape Online Infringement Detector Depression has played a major role in my life since I was a child. There have been many times I had to struggle to make the happiness choice minute by minute, hour by hour, and day by day.

Granted in some cases of depression therapeutic intervention may be necessary.  But I am unable to take pharmaceutical drugs due to allergic responses so I have to rely on keeping my physical health and mental health in balance through alternative means. Continue reading “Train Your Brain to Become Happier”

Deeper Relationships

small talk As Winter Solstice approached I carefully considered what I wanted to leave behind and what I want to achieve in 2012.  In 2011 I was able to achieve my health and wellness goals. I had an unexpected opportunity to work side-by-side with my husband by traveling down a  path with heart that drew us closer together than we have ever been.  However,  during that time I met new people and re-discovered how very poor I am at making small talk work for me. Continue reading “Deeper Relationships”

Live in Joy, Peace and Love

compassionate lifeCompassion without attachment is possible. Therefore, we need to clarify the distinctions between compassion and attachment. True compassion is not just an emotional response but a firm commitment founded on reason. Therefore, a truly compassionate attitude towards others does not change even if they behave negatively. Genuine compassion is based not on our own projections and expectations, but rather on the needs of the other. – The Compassionate Life, Ch. 2  How to Develop Compassion p. 21 Continue reading “Live in Joy, Peace and Love”

Celebration of Health Posts 2011

My purpose is to live consciously and courageously in the now moment, to resonate with love and compassion, and to leave this world in peace. My overall goal is to take good care of myself and live my life to the fullest.  Developing self-compassion and achieving my health and wellness goals has meant overcoming many barriers by use of skillful means.

Continue reading “Celebration of Health Posts 2011″

Anger and its Antidote, Patience

phoenix I’ve been reading on the beach and learning much from what I have read. In How to Solve Our Human Problems Geshe Kelsang Gyatso proposes that there is no situation so bad that it cannot be accepted patiently, with an open, accommodating, and peaceful heart.

Reading this book caused me to take a look at my inner landscape. I have dealt with a large number of major issues in my life but not all. I experience anger less often than I have in the past because I tend to look at the big picture and ask myself how important is this? The answer is usually “not very” as emotions change and those things that evoked anger in me were really small when viewed close up. Sadly, there are still occasions when I don’t pause and ask myself that critical question. Continue reading “Anger and its Antidote, Patience”

Seed Thoughts From the Garden

leaf backgroundGardeners are perennial optimists.  In the cold of winter they  pour over seed catalogs making plans for a new beginning in spring.  Come spring they plant their seeds — seeds that are  symbols of potential,  each one carefully sown by a hopeful gardener who intends to care for them throughout their life cycle. When planted in the correct soil, at the correct depth,  at the correct time,  and watered the seeds become sprouts that break through the sun-warmed earth and reach for the sky. Continue reading “Seed Thoughts From the Garden”

A New Attitude: Can Do!

sad face happy face Resisting change is innate in the human psyche rooted deeply in our fear and desire to control.  Grumpiness is the negative attitude that arises when  we are faced with the truth and choose to resist reality —  we can’t control anything other than what we are doing in the moment. Continue reading “A New Attitude: Can Do!”

Exploring Spaciousness: Experiencing Peace

sky In Are You Afraid of Stillness and Space? Part 1, Sandra Pawula suggests nourishing yourself with space. She explains how space is a vital element that brings balance into our lives, helping to keep stress, distress, and illness at bay.

In Are You Afraid of Stillness and Space? Part 2   Sandra’s  advice is to  slowly break free of our driving need to do and to accomplish and begin nurturing ourselves with small, less threatening doses of space. Continue reading “Exploring Spaciousness: Experiencing Peace”

Becoming your dream

dream dancesOur mind is creating possibilities, projections, and variations on themes for our lives even while we sleep. It’s up to us to catch them and make them come true or not.  It’s important to remember dreams but what good does retaining these memories do you if you do not seek the information for the purpose of interpretation? And what good is the interpretation if it doesn’t lead to action? Continue reading “Becoming your dream”

PTSD Flashbacks and Forgetfulness

scary dream imageIt seemed like I was running and trying to play catch-up in every aspect of my life both online and off-line this October. As All Hallow’s Eve was approaching I was so stressed out I realized I was forgetting and increasing number of simple things like where I had placed my keys, and what I needed as I had arrived at the shopping mall without a shopping list.

I almost arrived a week early for a scheduled haircut but my husband bailed me out on that one because he had made note of the correct date. I arrived 1/2 hour late to a meeting because I forgot the time had been changed. Worse still, when I got there I discovered I had brought the wrong file folder with me because I hadn’t labeled it. Labeling all my new folders for all my new files had been on my to-do list for weeks but I kept letting it slide. On October 31st I finished the bookkeeping in the nick of time and rushed off to the All Hallow’s Eve event. That’s where I came undone.

Alzheimer’s fears

They following day I kep thinking about a  friend who is  a veteran of the Vietnam war and has developed  Alzheimer’s.  Why was he coming to mind? Fear crept in.  I was too young to be suffering from Alzheimer’s, wasn’t I?

Minor memory lapses that occur with age are not usually signs of a serious neurological disorder, such as Alzheimer’s disease, but rather the result of normal changes in the structure and function of the brain. This report describes age-related changes and other causes of memory impairment — and how to distinguish between them. — Improving Memory: Understanding age-related memory loss

PTSD Flashbacks and Forgetfulness

When I read that article I recognized what had happened. Most people worry about forgetting things, but some people are tormented by memories of traumatic events they wish they could forget.

Rather than enjoying the  evening  on All Hallow’s I was in  turmoil. Without comprehending what prompted my inner distress I went through all the rituals of the evening forcing smiles and feigning “fright-night fear” because early in the evening I saw something that prompted a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) flashback.

After experiencing the  PTSD flashback it recurred to haunt me while I slept. I awoke and  recorded the same in my private dream journal.  That’s when I decided to take my PTSD flashback experience into a group I belong to, and when I did I discovered that most members of the group have also experienced PSTD flashbacks. PTSD can be a difficult illness to cope with.  Our therapist provided advice and outlined treatment options.

Memory Improvement

When I arrived home I came up with the idea of searching the internet to see if I could find any techniques for improving my memory, and I found an excellent article with very useful strategies in it.

It’s a classic situation – you meet someone new, and then moments later you’ve forgotten their name! Names, passwords, pin and telephone numbers… the list is endless – with so much to memorize is it really possible to improve how much you can remember. — Memory Improvement Techniques: Avoid frustrating memory loss. Retain and recall more information.

I aim to continue with PTSD treatment and to use to improve my memory retention using Mnemonics, Using Your Whole Mind to Remember, Designing Mnemonics: Imagination, Association and Location.

What’s helping me now is the practice of mindfulness. I recognize that rushing equals busyness and mindfulness gives quality priority over quantity. This being in the now moment practice enables me to become fully immersed in what I’m doing,  and evoke  a creative flow experience, rather than than going full speed ahead to meet a deadline and patting myself on the back for being productive.

Discussion

  • Do you have a good memory?
  • Do you ever experience PTSD flashback memories of traumatic events?
  • If so, have you entered therapy and undergone treatment for them?
  • Have you ever been concerned about forgetfulness?
  • Are you interested in learning techniques to improve your memory?

Benefiting from private journal blogging

hands on keyboardI have written down my observations and responses to events in my life in diaries since I was 8 years old.  Keeping a private personal growth journal is therapeutic process that helps me keep in close touch with my inner brat.   ;)   But sharing every detail of my personal life with the whole world online in a public blog would neither be wise nor appropriate.  So I  have been keeping both a personal growth journal online and a dream journal in private blogs.

My commitment to journaling was flagging when I read Doreene Clements’ The 5 Year Journal in 2007  but her book spurred me on. I shared my approach to keeping dream journal in this blog. I have also published some of my dreams in this blog and doing these things encouraged me  to continue recording  my introspective internal journey in my private journal blogs.

1.   Catch your dreams - We dream every night and in fact we dream all day long too although we are rarely aware of it. Our dreams are not usually depicting real events, except in situations of remembrance or prophesy it’s true, but if we stop and consider then we will realize our dreams are real scenarios – manifestations of our unconscious thoughts and our emotions – manifestations built from the stuff of our lives and made alive through our imagination with the assistance of our intuition.

2.   Journaling Your Dreams Part 1 – Beginning – Journaling is an important way to help remember dreams. Journaling dreams can make all the difference between getting a valuable piece of information and completely losing it.

3.   Journaling Dreams Part 2 – Tips – Get yourself a dream journal. If you scratch down your dreams on scrap pieces of paper, or in general note pads, you’ll be sure to lose them. Here are some tips in helping your dream recall.

4.   Journaling Your Dreams Part 3 – Questions - When journaling dreams there are specific questions that we can answer that will assist in dream interpretation.

Keeping a private personal growth journal online

Using a keyboard is not that much different than using a pen and writing a journal in long hand. In a blog the process is essentially the same, but in a blog I can do more in the way of self expression by uploading and adding images, video and audio to the text. Writing in a blog editor is far easier for me as I do have swollen finger  joints and painful hands.

The way bloggers communicate and present themselves and their opinions online is important, but even more important than online presence is “to thine own self be true”. Authenticity is the character trait of being genuine, honest with oneself as well as others.  It’s more than that too. Authenticity is the degree to which one is true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character, despite the demands of society or one’s conditioning.   – Blogging: Online presence and authenticity

Conversations with myself

My personal growth journal provides me with access to phases I have gone through. I  record significant events  and major issues in my life as they unfold, the issues I’m struggling with.  I return to what I record in my personal growth journal at later dates and I work things through by having conversations with myself.

Have a conversation with yourself and question your current strategies or aims. Criticize yourself. Praise yourself. Give yourself advice. Reflect on your mistakes.  –The Benefits of Keeping a Private Journal

I record the experiences that touch me deeply and  lead me to laugh or cry. I ask myself deep questions about what I think about them and I answer questions too. But most importantly, I record my spontaneous emotional responses to those significant events and life issues first,  then I revisit them again and again and record  my deeper thoughts about them as I move towards acceptance or resolution.

Gaining insight and healing

I have found that along with therapy, counseling, and meditation,  keeping a private personal development journal  is an essential part of my healing process. By undertaking the journal writing process I gain insight into my subconscious mind, insight I would not have gained if I hadn’t gone through the writing process.

I have used my journal to recall abuse and heal from it. I used my journal to chart my course through cancer and through recovery from a head injury. I’m currently recording my life struggles as a disabled person committed to overcoming chronic illness and stress.

By remaining committed to recording my thoughts and responses, posing questions and seeking answers  I am taking care of myself. The answers demand deep self-inquiry and to find them I must honestly explore my  desires and motivations.  I  must recognize not just my hidden  egocentricity, based on my attachments and aversions,  I must also find out where my non-negotiable commitments lie,   re-visit my core values, and make adjustments where required.  I use my personal growth journal to learn how to love myself and formulate strategies for setting myself free and becoming a better me.

The benefits of private journal blogging

Keeping a private journal helps me:

  1. record significant life events  and major issues and my responses to them;
  2. become aware of my inner dialog and gain insights into the workings of my mind;
  3. release disappointment,  frustration, fear and anger;
  4. become aware of my strengths and weaknesses;
  5. recognize patterns and best practices for replacing them;
  6. clear up confusion and solve problems;
  7. set goals and explore alternative ways of achieving them;
  8. express my creativity;
  9. celebrate my breakthroughs and victories;
  10. reduce stress;
  11. have more to compassion for others and more to contribute to relationships;
  12. remain committed to my personal growth, personal development and self improvement.

Discussion

  1. Do you keep a diary or journal?
  2. If so, have you tried private journal blogging?
  3. If so, what benefits you have received from keeping a diary or journal?
  4. Do you have opinions, either positive or negative, about the value keeping a private diary or a private journal blog?

Good Vibrations or Brain Plasticity?

changing brainLaw of Attraction people advise us to raise our vibrations. They believe we are are able to create the things you want including health and wealth by broadcasting our good vibrations into the universe. They have The Secret and ascribe to a belief that they ought to be thinking only positive thoughts.

“There are many books out there that explore visualisation and the laws of attraction, this is definitely not one of the better examples [The Secret]. It is however brilliantly marketed, sadly though for a book so completely lacking in substance this has not done the self-empowerment industry any good.” Source

The Law of Attraction was popularized by a book and video called “The Secret” which Oprah promoted. The book contains the wisdom of the ages and that means there is nothing new in it but please buy the book. The book and movie give the impression that wishful thinking will get you what you want and many people actually end up believing it is so.

In “The Secret” video the claim is made that how the Law of Attraction works all due to the operation of quantum physics. The claim is that all molecules vibrating in your body at a certain resonance attract like things. That’s certainly no secret but it’s not quantum physics.

It’s neuroplasticity. The more you think about something the more your reticular cortex notices similar things. Have you not noticed that if you buy a new car then all of a sudden you see that same car in the same color all over the place. That is your reticular cortex at work. The same principal causes the law of attraction to work.

The discovery of neuroplasticity, that our thoughts can change the structure and function of our brains, even into old age, is the most important breakthrough in our understanding of the brain in four hundred years. Dr. Norman Doidge introduces principles we can all use to overcome brain limitations and explores the profound brain implications of the changing brain in an immensely moving book that will permanently alter the way we look at human possibility and human nature.

Norman Doidge on the brain and neuroplasticity

The Brain That Changes – Part 2_3

In Tibetan Buddhism, the concept of neuralplasticity has been around for far longer than Western science has recognized it – the term for it is le-su-rung-wa which means “pliability”; your brain can change based on repeated experience. It’s no surprise then that studies have been performed on plasticity during meditation and have shown that the brain can change based purely on mental training. This of course has huge ramifications for mental practice and its impact on overall well-being. If you can think yourself into being more compassionate, or more positive and more resourceful, or calmer and more content, it seems a little too good to be true. But with some effort, it’s possible. —  Neuroplasticity: Your Brain’s Amazing Ability to Form New Habits

Oprah began by raving about how the Law of Attraction encompassed everything she had ever believed, but when a viewer wrote to thank her for that show and tell her that she was planning to eschew conventional cancer treatments and rely on the LOA, Oprah freaked out and hunted her down to bring her on the show and urge her to follow her doctor’s advice.

The Secret and its followers are  a cult-like phenomena. They focus on using positive thinking to focus energy on securing material health,  wealth and financial success from the Universe that smacks of religion that puts me right off.  Have you ever heard an Law of Attraction advocate talk about human frailty or death? Well, those are the only certainties known to man.

When the truth is that you don’t like the way things are, then it’s time to set yourself free of the magical thinking you had as a child.  Learn to tune and listen to your inner child self. Is that little child seeking  material things? If so then instead of broadcasting those desires into the universe help that little child within to grow up and face reality just as it is.

Everything we do is based on core beliefs and agreements we have made – agreements with ourselves, with other people, with life. But the most important agreements are the ones we make with ourselves. In these agreements we tell ourselves who we are, how to behave, what is possible, what is impossible. One single agreement is not such a problem, but we have many agreements that come from fear, deplete our energy, and diminish our self-worth. Remove all core values your previously agreed to that are harmful and/or useless and place them with healthy ones.

Learn how to love yourself by practicing self-acceptance. And when you practice self-acceptance of your feelings just as they are right now, you will experience real changes in consciousness. Learn how to meditate and how to remain  in the present moment.  Learn how to view every failure and/or obstacle to becoming a better person as a stepping stone to success. Learn how to choose to be happy no matter what.

I value my powers of critical thought and I value negative people and circumstances too, because they test my ability to stay in touch with myself and become a happier and healthier person day by day.

If  anyone counsels me to use The Law of Attraction to escape something undesirable or to acquire something like wealth, status, fame, health or love — I run the other direction as quickly as I can, knowing such egocentric broadcasting is doomed to failure because I am objecting to reality.

Use your brain. Change your thoughts. Face reality head on. Live your life honorably. Learn how to accept what is, how make changes where you can, and how use all opportunities to become a better person — a healthier, happier and more compassionate person.

Simple Living: When Less is More

cabinChoosing to live the simple life involves severing attachment to things, clearing clutter from your mind and premises, and  replenishing mindfully. Frugal living is making do with what you have.  Simple living is about  learning how to do more for yourself.  Conscious living is  choosing to have less impact on the planet. Continue reading “Simple Living: When Less is More”

Set Yourself Free

freedomYou are responsible for where you are in life at  this moment – what you think about yourself and others and how you feel and whom you choose to share your life with.  Stress is literally a killer and if you are unsatisfied with the way things are now, you  can choose to take personal responsibility to change them and set yourself free to become the best you that you can be. Continue reading “Set Yourself Free”

Naked in Eden Book Trailer

This is so exciting. My friend Robin Easton adventurer, writer and blogger has released her Naked in Eden book trailer. It’s the remarkable story of her adventures and awakening in the Australian rainforest. The book will be released Sept 2010. Follow the Naked in Eden Blog – Robin Easton for updates. And while you are visiting treat yourself to reading some of her excellent blog posts.  Continue reading “Naked in Eden Book Trailer”

Overcoming Chronic Illness and Stress

purple flowerOver the course of 3 years I have avoided becoming too personal in this blog, lest I become maudlin and repel readers. Today I’m choosing to share my experiences as a  person with invisible disabilities (fibromylagia, chronic fatigue,  multiple food and drug allergies) and how I have learned to take care of myself.  Hopefully, my readers will share what they do to take care of themselves in return. Continue reading “Overcoming Chronic Illness and Stress”

The Observer Within

buddha face Tim Ferris brings an analytical, yet accessible, approach to the challenges of self-improvement and career advancement through what he calls “lifestyle design.” His 2007 book, The 4-Hour Workweek , a self-improvement program of four steps: defining aspirations, managing time, creating automatic income and escaping the trappings of the 9-to-5 life.

Tim describes our modern worker society as believing that responding to email is doing actual work. We’ve become a society of digital bit pushers that have no more found a way to be happy than the pencil pushers that have come before us, except now everything buzzes, flashes, beeps and demands our attention. And it feels good to engage in that finite moment of Pavlovian validation so we keep doing it. But in the end we have accumulated nothing but a digital log of empty experiences that have done nothing to advance our respective goals in life and we wonder why we are so miserable.

Each of us  has to face the truth of our lives based on the decisions and belief systems in which we have invested. If we don’t like the results then it is up to us to change,  and that’s easier said than done because it’s hard to view yourself  objectively and thus understand what to do next.

Are subconscious beliefs sabotaging your personal power?

What’s at your core? It’s not always easy to slice into the center and uncover our core beliefs and values. When we do this we may find some very negative ones left over from childhood. If you got more “I can’t” than “I can” messages as a child, you are probably having more “I can’t” than “I can” experiences as an adult. In other words, if you heard messages from parents and other authority figures that told you that your opinion didn’t count and that your actions didn’t matter, you are likely to have subconscious beliefs that mirror those ideas. The result is often a person with deep insecurities about their ability to positively affect the course of their lives.

Some people overcompensate for this feeling of powerlessness by making a career out of becoming powerful. Usually this sense of power is achieved by acquiring money, possessions and social status. Unfortunately, these external signs of power seldom satisfy the gnawing feeling of insecurity and powerlessness within. People with authentic power can have an abundance of money, possessions and social status, but their personal power does not come from the things they have, but rather from who they are.

Your self-esteem profoundly influences how others view you. If your self-esteem is high, other people will tend to see you that way also. However, if your self-esteem is low, others will respond accordingly with a lack of confidence and trust in you.

The way people treat you is a reflection of your subconscious beliefs. If you want to change how you are treated, you need to change the self-sabotaging beliefs causing undesirable treatment. As the saying goes, “If you can’t love yourself, you can’t expect others to.”

Sample Affirmations:

1. I deeply appreciate and accept myself.
2. I trust the decisions I make.
3. I trust the guidance I am receiving.
4. I do my best and my best is good enough.
5. I deserve to be happy.
6. I am worthy of the very best that life has to offer.
7. I acknowledge my ability and responsibility to make a positive difference in the world.
8. I actively embrace the opportunities that come with change.
9. I am true to my personal vision.
10. I am willing to take the risks necessary to live my life openly and honestly.
11. I give myself permission to do what I love.
12. I am proud of who I am and I am a good person.

To acquire knowledge, one must study; but to acquire wisdom, one must observe.

The Internal Observer < – click the title to view the youtube video.

The Eternal Observer is a powerful tool for self-improvement and personal development. The Internal Observer is an aspect of the Self, the part of the psyche capable of self-observation, evaluation and reasoning. During our journey through life, we face different situations that are both challenges and learning experiences. Many times our paths seem to reach a crossroads. At these moments, the only resource to be accessed comes straight from the Light and the knowledge of ones own soul.

Through developing and installing an Internal Observer we widen our personal ability to be self-reflective and therefore enabling ourselves to be more aware of our environment, interactions and relationships.

The Humanity Healing Network is offering series of free classes to help you achieve Self-Mastery in your life. The Internal Observer is one of the tools you will learn.

On Awareness, Gratitude and Conscious Living

happy peopleMy friend, Jonathan has published his informative and insightful “how-to”  post Allow Gratitude to Transform Your Life:

We can actually train ourselves to search for, discover, and focus on legitimate reasons to feel grateful and appreciative.

Continue reading “On Awareness, Gratitude and Conscious Living”

Tim Ferris: Smash fear, Learn anything

woman in swimming poolI like this video and it’s not only because I used to be terrified of swimming. It’s also because Tim Ferris has a unique approach to smashing fear and learning anything.

As a kid a couple of boys held my head under water in a pool for so long that I passed out and had to be revived by the lifeguard. That’s when my fear of drowning was created. Continue reading “Tim Ferris: Smash fear, Learn anything”

Taking responsibility for my consciousness with Eckart Tolle

About Eckhart Tolle:

Eckhart Tolle was born in Germany, where he spent the first thirteen years of his life. After graduating from the University of London, he was a research scholar and supervisor at Cambridge University. When he was twenty-nine, a profound spiritual transformation virtually dissolved his old identity and radically changed the course of his life. The next few years were devoted to understanding, integrating and deepening that transformation, which marked the beginning of an intense inward journey.
Continue reading “Taking responsibility for my consciousness with Eckart Tolle”

Effective strategies for conscious living

circle As a child I was a seeker full of questions and as an adult I’m still a seeker and questioner. I am committed to opening my mind as wide as possible to all possibilities.

Are you a seeker and questioner too? Or do you have all the answers?

Continue reading “Effective strategies for conscious living”

Silence is Medicine for the Soul

alg2532In this mad world filled with video, TV, cell phone mania, and music of all kinds at all times and in all places, how much do you desire and value silence?

Do you yearn for silence or view it as an uncomfortable experience?

Do you make time for silence or do you avoid it?

I choose to start my days in silence with nothing on my agenda other than just being and meditating. I rise early and sit bundled up on deck chair with my cup of cocoa between my hands. As I inhale the aroma my mouth watering in anticipation of the moment the first creamy swallow will glide over my tongue, I sigh a single audible sigh, and then begin to seek the silence.

Sitting alone in a quiet place can be a difficult experience. Without distractions, we can feel bombarded by unpleasant thoughts and emotions. All the ways we’re unhappy about ourselves and our lives come raging back into our awareness when there’s space for them to come up.– How Getting Used To Silence Can Help Your Productivity by Christopher R. Edgar on Productivity

Observing silence outwardly but allowing my mind to be noisy wouldn’t do so when I finish I rise from my chair, sit my cup on the table and position myself cross-legged on the cushion I place there for this purpose. Then I begin by simply following my breath in and out. Not striving to change it in anyway simply observing it. With eyes half closed I witness my monkey mind cavorting from topic to topic and yammering, yammering, yammering about the things I must accomplish today. I pay this no mind but neither do I push it away. I continue to follow my breath – Buddhist Meditation: Mindful Breathing Practice. In time my monkey mind will quietly come to rest as I make the shift into consciousness — into the meditative state.

Some time later I make the shift back into everyday awareness filled  with the knowledge that all of us, all over the world, are living breathing cells in the body of humanity nurtured by the silence, a spacious place for growth.

Throughout the ages sages have emphasized the value of silence saying that talking expends energy and time, while silence insures we use our resources judiciously. An early defender of Quakerism, Robert Barclay, emphasized on how much more powerful silence is than any argument used to dissuade a person from the error of his ways. Indeed, self improvement coaches, counselors and writers exhort us to befriend silence for they have personal knowledge of its power.

For decades I have sought silence several times every day and cannot imagine what it would be like never to experience this peace and quiet and the benefits it brings me. Silence refreshes me and heals me of the exhaustion and angst caused by the noise of every day life. Silence provides the spaciousness in which my many scattered parts can come together and mend. Silence provides the canvas upon which my next painting will appear first on the back of my eyelids and then in reality.

What relationship do you have with silence?

How Deeply You’re Connected To My Soul

I have two near death experiences and many health crises in my life. I have sung this healing  chant many many times.

Not surprisingly,  this song has been a source of inspiration and healing for many around the world and  Shaina Noll sings this song so beautifully. I hope you like it as much as I do. Continue reading “How Deeply You’re Connected To My Soul”

Growing Happiness

You Can Be Happy Even When…

  • People have disappointed, betrayed or even defamed you
  • Somebody else is having a bad day and gets upset when you don’t join in their misery
  • Nobody seems genuinely supportive of your goals and dreams
  • You are falling short of your high expectations or you didn’t complete your to-do list
  • Nothing runs smoothly, on time or according to your plans

A video I found to be very empowering is a TED conference video and I’m going to share it with you.

Matthieu Ricard, French translator and right-hand man for the Dalai Lama, has been the subject of intensive clinical tests at the University of Wisconsin, as a result of which he is frequently described as the happiest man in the world. — Robert Chalmers, The Independent

After training in biochemistry at the Institute Pasteur, Matthieu Ricard left science behind to move to the Himalayas and become a Buddhist monk — and to pursue happiness, both at a basic human level and as a subject of inquiry. Achieving happiness, he has come to believe, requires the same kind of effort and mind training that any other serious pursuit involves.

His deep and scientifically tinged reflections on happiness and Buddhism have turned into several books, including The Quantum and the Lotus: A Journey to the Frontiers Where Science and Buddhism Meet. At the same time, he also makes sensitive and jaw-droppingly gorgeous photographs of his beloved Tibet and the spiritual hermitage where he lives and works on humanitarian projects.

His latest book on happiness is Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill; his latest book of photographs is Tibet: An Inner Journey.

Matthieu Ricard on the habits of happiness

Happiness is something that everyone is searching for. When we’re happy, life just feels great. Everything feels…right. Now, as happiness is a goal for many of us, there is a lot of advice out there. I’ve even wrote a post myself about attaining instant happiness, but today I wanted to share some proven examples. –
5 Research-Proven Ways to Increase Happiness

Brain science

Most famous for his work with Palm where he took part in creating the first handheld computers, Jeff Hawkins has recently got himself into neuroscience.

In a TEDTalks video urges us to take a new look at the brain — to see it not as a fast processor, but as a memory system that stores and plays back experiences to help us predict, intelligently, what will happen next.

  • Why we don’t have a good brain theory.
  • What it’s important.
  • What we can do about it.

Hawkins argues that what’s lacking is a theoretical framework. We have lots of data, but little in the way of theory. This is where Hawkins seeks to contribute, most famously with his hierarchical temporal model of memory. Memoirs of a Postgrad has a far better summary of the theory here. The theory is that the brain is basically a big memory system that uses past experiences to make predictions about the future – this is Hawkins’ definition of intelligence. So in this view, we literally learn from experience.

Coaxing computers to perform basic acts of perception and robotics, let alone high-level thought, has been difficult. No existing computer can recognize pictures, understand language, or navigate through a cluttered room with anywhere near the facility of a child. Hawkins and his colleagues have developed a model of how the neocortex performs these and other tasks.

The theory, call Hierarchical Temporal Memory, explains how the hierarchical structure of the neocortex builds a model of its world and uses this model for inference and prediction. To turn this theory into a useful technology, Hawkins has created a company called Numenta. Hawkins describes the theory, its biological basis, and a software platform created by Numenta that allows anyone to apply this theory to a variety of problems. Part of this theory was described in a book he co-authored in 2004 called “On Intelligence”.

22 minutes

Being yourself: The stillness of pure consciousness

The following is a partial excerpt of an interview with Eckhart Tolle from a book called Dialogues With Emerging Spiritual Teachers by John W. Parker.

I also started reading on Buddhism and immediately understood the essence of Buddhism. I saw the simplicity of the original teaching of the Buddha compared to the complexity of subsequent additions, philosophy, all the baggage that over the centuries accumulated around Buddhism, and saw the essence of the original teaching. I have a great love for the teaching of the Buddha, a teaching of such power and sublime simplicity. I even spent time in Buddhist monasteries. During my time in England there were already several Buddhist monasteries.

I met and listened to some teachers that helped me understand my own state. In the beginning there was a Buddhist monk, Achan Sumedo, abbot of two or three monasteries in England. He’s a Western-born Buddhist. — Eckhart Tolle

Constructive approaches to conquering fear of rejection

On one hand, all humans strongly want to be considered by others to be capable, competent and lovable. On the other hand, the greatest fears we humans have are the fear of abandonment (rejection) and fear of the unknown. Continue reading “Constructive approaches to conquering fear of rejection”

Openminded or Closedminded?

About this video – Talks – Jonathan Haidt on the moral roots of liberals and conservatives.

It is difficult to compare the merits of conservatism and liberalism because value judgments are divisive by nature. Jonathan Haidt argues that we can avoid this argument because these seemingly conflicting values actually compliment each other (yin and yang). This is another way of saying that we ought to avoid extremes and strive to find balance. Continue reading “Openminded or Closedminded?”

Life Eternal: The Great Cosmic Joke

This post was inspired by and includes the words of my friend

Tony Hogan, The Acoustic Guitarist

Men have argued about the nature of God and life after death since the beginning of time. The next time someone asks you if you believe in life after death please consider this:

Perhaps we all have eternal life and most have no recollection of past lives and that’s the great cosmic joke.

The Dream, is the underlying element in Jnana Yoga or Advaitism. The Universe is a dream in the mind of God and, God plays all parts and pretends that God is not God.

The One becomes many to experience LOVE. It is nothing but a quest for LOVE, and throughout out time ( I use that term loosely) puts on the garb of billions of beings to experience this.

The journey from self to SELF, is the journey, where God gradually shakes off the ignorance and reclaims the Divinity, or basically is conscious of his/her/its Divine Reality – LOVE.

Thus, the smile on the Buddha’s face.

God is also a process. The mind is not the tool to analyze God, never was, never will be, it has limitations. God has to be experienced, not dissected by the limited human mind. So really, God hasn’t gone anywhere, done anything, but is still seated in the same spot and has dreamed him/her/itself as ignorance.

Why?

The ONE becomes many to experience LOVE. It is nothing but a quest for LOVE, throughout out time (I use that term loosely), the ONE puts on the garb of billions of beings to experience this.

I don’t cogitate,  I meditate and when all the things associated with my “self” like greed, anger, hate, etc. dissolve there is no self; there is no distinct being that is separate from God – LOVE.

Neither male nor female, neither good nor bad, neither light nor darkness but containing all there is and situate everywhere: the universal stream of consciousness flowing through all is  God – LOVE.  Hence, God is found in everyone and in everything; God just keeps on experiencing LOVE.

We have only one life in this body at this point in time, but again and again, we return to live in a new body with no recollection of previous lives, until we stop clanging like cymbals, and actually become  ONE – LOVE.

I have twice been declared dead but have come back to life. I no longer fear death and no longer question what my life purpose is. I know that I am meant to LIVE,  LOVE  and LEARN and that’s why I’m here.

I know the lesson before me is to conquer  egocentricity and  experience freedom from attachments and aversions in meditation.

I know in my heart of hearts — I am meant to teach as well as to learn.

Death is a transition; it’s a new beginning. After my life in this body is over, I will return again to this earthly plane, with no knowledge of any past lives, and I will be faced with more lessons to learn and more to teach. Until I have learned all my lessons perfectly and taught them all perfectly, and I have become ONE – LOVE, I will return again and again.

Perhaps we all have eternal life and most have no recollection of past lives and that’s the great cosmic joke.

Not everyone has loved me in my past lives. Not everyone will love me in this life or in my future lives either. I have I not loved nor will I love everyone either but that’s okay, because at our core we are all much more the same than we are different.

Wisdom of the Buddha

The Buddha, Siddhāttha Gotama civilized half the world with his teaching. These are a collection of his wise quotes. It doesn’t matter which faith you follow or if don’t particularly consider yourself a religious person, you will find truth in his words. The video is after the jump.
Continue reading “Wisdom of the Buddha”

Detecting Egocentricity

This blog is focused on personal growth, personal development,  self improvement, and relationships. I believe very strongly that we are our own healers so I seek out information focused on self help.

Our human historical records make it clear that people who attempt to rationalize and/or justify egocentric thoughts and behaviors as being requirements of their religion and/or political ideology are the most dangerous people on the planet. Continue reading “Detecting Egocentricity”

A Week of Love

It is so easy for couples that have been together for some time to get to a point where they begin to take one another for granted. It doesn’t take much to find yourself in a routine where your needs are put first without considering the other’s. It almost becomes a habit to just live together instead of interacting like we did in the beginning of the relationship. Continue reading “A Week of Love”

No Competence – No Success

No Competence – No Success by Guest Author Windroot

Every Man A Giant
Every Man A Giant

Letʼs begin with a caveat. No matter how many tips for success you read, nothing replaces competence.  Assuming a minimal aptitude for the work, what follows are some practical lessons learned over a 35 year career working in a large organization as a middle manager.

Continue reading “No Competence – No Success”

Online or offline: Ears hear and hearts listen

heart and handsFaith of Chaotically Calm posed this question in a discussion on the Blog Catalog forum:

Is There a Difference Between Hearing & Listening? Just randomly is there a difference between listening to someone and hearing him/her. I notice that people use the words interchangeably but the other night while in a discussion someone told me that I was hearing him but I wasn’t listening. Thoughts … Continue reading “Online or offline: Ears hear and hearts listen”

Failures: Stumbling Blocks or Stepping Stones?

steppingstones
steppingstones

Failure is the key to success; each mistake teaches us something. — Morihei Ueshiba

The kind of self- protective mindset that dictates that we only undertake things that we know we won’t fail at is a barrier to moving forward. Holding onto that  prevents us from taking risks and failing.  That’s unfortunate because failing is a lesson in learning how to succeed. Continue reading “Failures: Stumbling Blocks or Stepping Stones?”

Five Steps to Success

by guest blogger buddhaofhollywood

success

There is this old story about a very pious, religious man that every day of his life prayed to God to win the lottery – which never happened.

Finally the man dies and goes to heaven. There he meets God and asks him “God have I ever done anything to upset you?” “No – said God – You have lived the life of a saint, I’m very pleased with you.” “So how come – said the man – you never granted my wish of wining the lottery?” And God replied “Because you never bought a freakin’ ticket.”

So you see, success is not an accident. Even winning the lottery requires some action.

Now that the New Year is around the corner, and New Year resolutions are on order, I thought I’ll share with you my 5 steps to success recipe. It goes like this:

(1)      Stop dreaming

It is hilarious how many self help gurus proclaim the virtues of wishful thinking:

“If you want it badly or hard enough you will get it.”

Stop dreaming! You will not get it.

How many people do you know that want to be broke and miserable and sick? None. We all want to be happy, wealthy and healthy, but the ones that will get there are the people that have stopped dreaming and turned their dreams into goals.

(2)      Set your goals

The difference between dreams and goals is specificity.

Goals are well defined targets of your life. They are part of a global strategy that should encompass all aspects of your life material and spiritual.

You should look at money, career, business, relationships, health, spirituality, love, family and all the other aspects of your life as a whole interacting and interdependent of each other. Here is some help in setting your goals: Are you enlightened ?

(3)      Visualize your success

“Wait a minute I thought you said – stop dreaming!”

Visualization should be a mental rehearsal of the steps you will have to take on the journey to success. Visualization is a disciplined technique not day dreaming.

There are two parts  to visualization:

The constructive visualization – Where you start from where you are today and see yourself taking the necessary steps towards accomplishing your goal.

The deconstructive visualization – Where you see yourself at the point of success and you are tracing your steps backwards towards where you are today.

This less known and used technique is very useful when you get stuck and can’t figure your way over an obstacle. You pick a point past the obstacle and work your way backwards. It is also very good in checking out for omitted steps and flaws.

If your visualization runs smooth both ways you are ready for:

(4)      Planning

I know, I know. “Isn’t planning the same thing?” No it is not.

Planning is done on a piece of paper or a computer. Planning is taking your visualization to the next level.

In planning everything becomes concrete. If you are planning to contact an editor, or a sales person or the president of a company, in planning you should put the name of the person, all the contact information as well as the time when you will contact the person.

Your plan should have a time table with dead lines and concrete measurable results of your progress.

Planning is the essential step between visualization and actualization. Without a plan you’re your goals and your actions are disconnected and you most likely are facing frustration and failure or at least make things much harder and complicate.

(5)      Do it!

Everything must end in action. Without action nothing will be accomplished.

Here is my personal recipe for getting things done: How to accomplish more

Footnotes:

Handling rejection

There is no rejection! It is all in your mind.

Unless the person you are dealing with is your friend or a relative, there is no rejection.

When I started blogging nobody would come to my blog and read my posts. I felt pretty bad and I had to remind myself that there was no rejection. The rejection was only in my head. The people did not read my blog because they did not like me. Simply nobody knew I was writing a blog.

When someone tells you “No” or ignores you, it is not because they have something against you. It is just the way things are, it is part of the business and it doesn’t have anything to do with you.

So don’t make it personal. It is up to you.

Handling failure

You know the saying “Behind every successful man there is a woman”?

Well behind every failure there is a good excuse.

There is a story about Edison working on the bulb invention. He tried about 500 different materials for the filament but none worked. A journalist visiting him asked: “Don’t you think after 500 failures you should give up?” Edison replied: “I didn’t fail 500 times. I eliminated 500 bad choices and now I’m 500 steps close to success.”

The problem with intelligent, smart, educated people is that they are very good at finding the best excuses. Some time the dumb people succeed simply because they don’t see any reason for failure.

There is no failure unless you accept your excuse.

Go back to step 1!

Do you love yourself?

You awaken to the fact that you are not perfect and that not everyone will always love, appreciate or approve of who or what you are … and that’s alright. (They are entitled to their own views and opinions.) You learn the importance of loving and championing yourself and in the process, a sense of new found confidence is born of self-approval. Continue reading “Do you love yourself?”

Some Self Development Tips

meditationpath

As long as you are still alive, you are capable of changing and growing. You can do anything you want to do, be anything you want to be. Listen to some positive thoughts on how to continue your self development and then apply them in your own life.

  • Accept personal responsibility for your own growth; no one can do it for you. What you do today will determine your readiness for tomorrow.
  • Take time every day to do something for yourself.
  • Take classes to stay current in your field of expertise and to expand into others. The world is changing rapidly and you can learn to manage change to avoid obsolescence. The way Will Rogers put this was that “Even if you are on the right track, if you just sit there you will get run over.”
  • Watch videos and read books on personal and professional growth topics.
  • Never look back to the past-you only can control your actions in this instant, so what should you be doing right now?
  • Learn from “other people’s experience” rather then having to try everything for yourself. It shortens the time needed to learn. — Author Unknown