Consider this: We all know that it is in those moments when we completely lose ourselves — engrossed in a good book or movie, engaged in an all-consuming task or hobby, or immersed in our child's or lover's gaze — that we are truly happy. These experiences point to something extremely important: Our greatest joy comes when we vacate ourselves and give ourselves over to something or someone else. It is when we manage to 'stand outside of ourselves' (exstasis) that we experience ecstasy.
"True and deeply felt self-esteem comes not through the exhausting quest for more and more ego inflation. It comes only when the ego and its endless demands are quieted and quenched, when the lower self is emptied and the fullness and plentitude of the Higher Self arise.
"It is only when we stop narrating the play-by-play of our lives and actually start living in an unmediated and direct way that we become really present and fully engaged. It is only when that little voice inside our head finally shuts up that we become wholly assimilated with what's actually happening, and become truly happy.
"It is important to have a good, healthy sense of self-worth, and the point of being nobody is certainly not to become servile, a doormat on which others can trample. But thinking that we will feel fulfilled only if we become more special than others leads to an increase, not a diminishing, of anxiety and dissatisfaction.
"Wanting to be somebody unique — or somehow 'more unique than others' — is actually quite common: there's nothing special about wanting to be special. But it is this very drive for radical individuality and superiority that keeps us feeling isolated and alone. In the end, the willingness to let go and be nobody is what's really extraordinary, and it is the only means for real connection with others and communion with what is real."
We each have the choice in any setting to step back and let go of the mind-set of scarcity. Once we let go of scarcity, we discover the surprising truth of sufficiency. By sufficiency, I don’t mean a quantity of anything. Sufficiency isn’t two steps up from poverty or one step short of abundance. It isn’t a measure of barely enough or more than enough. Sufficiency isn’t an amount at all. It is an experience, a context we generate, a declaration, a knowing that there is enough, and that we are enough.
There are thousands of people out there with the same degree you have; when you get a job, there will be thousands of people doing what you want to do for a living. But you are the only person alive who has sole custody of your life. Your particular life. Your entire life. Not just your life at a desk, or your life on the bus, or in the car, or at the computer. Not just the life of your mind, but the life of your heart. Not just your bank account, but your soul.
"Mindful awareness can be considered as a way of being, more than something that involves our “doing” something. Engage a certain “state of mind” that has the range of qualities we have heard repeatedly even though there is no fixed and final definition of mindfulness: How we pay attention (different from awareness), on purpose (but it doesn’t have to be done with active effort, it can in fact be an intention that happens “automatically” as a habit of being, not a consciously thought out plan of carrying out a way of focusing attention) to the unfolding of present moment experience (but, in fact, we can pay attention to memories of the past or plans for the future—but do so…) with a sense alertness, attention to detail, and with kindness and compassion."
Resilience is the ability to adapt to stress and change, to bounce back and rebound from negative experiences and the wear and tear of daily life.
Resilience is the ability to adapt to stress and change, to bounce back and rebound from negative experiences and the wear and tear of daily life. Resilience is a skills set that may be learned and practiced and benefits grow and accumulate over time.
These are a few of the myriad ways to build and reinforce resilience:"
By Leo Babauta I was talking to a loved one yesterday about her fears, and several times made the comment, “Everyone has these fears. Everyone.” And this is true. The fears and problems you have are not unique to you.
Sherwin Nuland writes about death, but not in the way that you might expect. He wants to clear the fog of the fear of death away from our eyes. Death, in his view, has everything to do with how we live. In his own words: "The honesty and grace of the years of life that are ending is the real measure of how we die. It is not in the last weeks or days that we compose the message that will be remembered, but in all the decades that preceded them. Who has lived in dignity, dies in dignity."
There is no need to be afraid of death. It is not the end of the physical body that should worry us. Rather, our concern must be to live while we’re alive – to release our inner selves from the spiritual death that comes with living behind a façade designed to conform to external definitions of who and what we are. Every individual human being born on this earth has the capacity to become a unique and special person unlike any who has ever existed before or will ever exist again. But to the extent that we become captives of culturally defined role expectations and behaviors – stereotypes, not ourselves, -- we block our capacity of self-actualization. We interfere with our becoming all that we can be.
Before you know what kindness really is you must lose things, feel the future dissolve in a moment like salt in a weakened broth. What you held in your hand, what you counted and carefully saved, all this must go so you know how desolate the landscape can be between the regions of kindness. How you ride and ride thinking the bus will never stop, the passengers eating maize and chicken will stare out the window forever.
"Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could hack into our own brains and rewire them to be happier?
Science has shown we actually can thanks to a phenomenon called experience-dependent neuroplasticity. "It’s a fancy term to say the brain learns from our experiences," says Rick Hanson, neuropsychologist and author of the bookHardwiring Happiness. "As we understand better and better how this brain works, it gives us more power to change our mind for the better."
"How do you stay resilient and resourceful when disasters threaten to swamp your boat? When a job is lost, a relationship unravels, cancer is diagnosed, when insecurity and distress seep through your circles of families and friends, how do you let yourself be “affected but not infected?”
Here are six practical tools and resources I’ve found most effective in 20 years of helping my clients cope skillfully with the challenges and crises of their lives."
My friends, lets grow up. Lets stop pretending we dont know the deal here. Or if we truly havent noticed, lets wake up and notice.
Look: Everything that can be lost, will be lost. Its simple how could we have missed it for so long?
Lets grieve our losses fully, like ripe human beings, But please, lets not be so shocked by them. Lets not act so betrayed, As though life had broken her secret promise to us. Impermanence is lifes only promise to us, And she keeps it with ruthless impeccability. To a child she seems cruel, but she is only wild, And her compassion exquisitely precise: Brilliantly penetrating, luminous with truth, She strips away the unreal to show us the real.
This is the true ride lets give ourselves to it! Lets stop making deals for a safe passage: There isnt one anyway, and the cost is too high.
We are not children anymore. The true human adult gives everything for what cannot be lost. Lets dance the wild dance of no hope!
"If we could literally reach into you and remove all your fears – every one of them – how different would your life be? Think about it. If nothing stopped you from following your dreams, your life would probably be very different. This is what the dying learn. Dying makes our worst fears come forward to be faced directly. It helps us see the different life that is possible, and in that vision, takes the rest of our fears away.
Unfortunately, by the time the fear is gone most of us are too sick or too old to do those things we would have done before, had we not been afraid. […] Thus, one lesson becomes clear: we must transcend our fears while we can still do those things we dream of."
As a long-time meditator, I’ve learned that stillness is not just an external posture. Well, it’s that too. But there is a deeper dimension to stillness. Knowing how to access that stillness through meditation can turn impatience on its head. Here are 4 simple tips for how to be still when you meditate and 5 key lessons I’ve learned about the life-changing power of stillness.