Buddhist roshi Joan Halifax works with people at the last stage of life (in hospice and on death row). She shares what she's learned about compassion in the face of death and dying, and a deep insight into the nature of empathy.
"What is mindfulness? It’s often described as being “in the moment.” Yet it’s much more than that.
Hear Jon Kabat-Zinn, Professor of Medicine Emeritus and founding director of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, as he explains mindfulness as: “the awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment – and non-judge-mentally.”
Seems simple enough, doesn’t it? But this short video could make you aware of how UNaware you may be!"
"The focus of my life in recent months has been living mindfully, and while I don’t always remember to do that, I have learned a few things worth sharing.
The first is a mindful life is worth the effort. It’s a life where we awaken from the dream state we’re most often submerged in — the state of having your mind anywhere but the present moment, locked in thoughts about what you’re going to do later, about something someone else said, about something you’re stressing about or angry about. The state of mind where we’re lost in our smartphones and social media."
"A simple question, you say. Well, how do you answer it? With your name? With your family pedigree? With your job? At some point, you see that nothing you say really answers the question and you stop — at the edge of a vast open space. “This can’t be who I am?”, you say, and turn away."
A Stanford research project explored the key differences between lives of happiness and meaningfulness. While the two are similar, dramatic differences exist – and one should not underestimate the power of meaningfulness.
"A report published this week analysing data from 47 clinical trials involving 3,000 participants suggests that mindfulness, a meditationtechnique aimed at focusing the mind on the present moment, produces measurable improvements of up to 20% in symptoms of anxiety anddepression compared to people who practise another activity, and can also help alleviate feelings of stress and enhance quality of life.
"The rapidity with which modern life moves seems to increase with every passing day. We experience wonderfully poignant moments of bliss and excitement constantly.
Before we can even begin to fully comprehend them in real-time, they flee our consciousness and we must subsequently dwell in the past. Time moves steadily and to compete with it is futile. If we're going to live fully, we might as well take things slowly.
"As the Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw said: "Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself." Truly, life is a creation -- a gift we can build and shape and alter as we please.
But as we busily create, do we have a clear vision of the masterpiece we're molding? Can we see the finished product in our mind's eye? Or are we halfheartedly adding pieces to the puzzle day by day, hoping some might be the right fit?
Like laying out an open map of your life, expanding your vision means seeing the full spectrum beyond the present in anticipation of greater prospects."
"As unique as we all are, an awful lot of us want the same things.
We want to shake up our current less-than-fulfilling lives. We want to be happier, more loving, forgiving and connected with the people around us.
So... we make decisions ("I'm going to hang out with happy people!"); we give ourselves lectures ("If you'd just stop feeling guilty, you'd able to do what you want); and we strive for markers of that accomplishment ("Just go to the completely intimidating party and meet one person!").
Brené Brown, PhD, LMSW, author of The Gifts of Imperfection and research professor at the University of Houston, has spent the last 12 years figuring out what keeps us from living -- despite our best efforts -- the kind of wholehearted, fully involved existences that we're trying to lead. It turns out that a lot of the assumptions we hold so dear and we believe will turn around everything are... well... just plain wrong."
"Many sites have created lists of things “every man should own”, coincidentally around the holiday shopping season.
A reader suggested I create a Zen Habits version of this list.
This list is definitive.
Pen and notebook. For jotting down life lessons, and starting a novel.
A library card. To read the Tao Te Ching, Anna Karenina, and Zen Mind Beginner’s Mind.
A phone for calling friends, so you can spend time together. Email works too, and this can be done for free via the library internet computer.
A set of clothes, plus another set to change into. Second set is optional.
A tea cup. You can use any cup. Goodwill has some if you don’t own a cup.
Soap. Hygiene is important.
A gym membership, so you can have the satisfaction of canceling it when you decide to work out outside, doing bodyweight exercises, and going for hikes and runs with the abovementioned friends. Actually, the gym membership is optional.
As an aside, I think every woman should own these too.
Free Things Every Man Should Do
In addition, I have recommendations for things you should do without needing to own something:
Meditate. You don’t need to own a cushion to do this. You can use a chair or couch, or do it outside for free.
Learn self sufficiency. Stand on your own two feet, be content with yourself, know yourself. This will help when you get involved in a relationship with someone.
""Dozens of the survey’s findings reflect a new American notion of success, but perhaps none more starkly than the sentiment that Americans ranked 'having a lot of money' 20th on a list of 22 possible contributors to having a successful life," the LifeTwist Study's authors wrote in a press release. "
This sentiment mirrors the steadily rising trend ... that Americans are increasingly placing greater priority on living a fulfilling life –- in which being wealthy is not the most significant factor.""
Aloha: If there’s a single lament-slash-question I get most often — and most pointedly — lately, it goes something like this: “Listen, Deepak Kafka. I’ve read your stuff about living a meaningful life; I’ve followed your advice; I’ve even spent long evenings at dive bars, just like you recommend.
But what the blazes do I do with mine? I’ve searched high and low, looked far wide, listened long and loud, but I still can’t find anything even vaguely resembling my purpose.”
"The life worth living is one centered on the passions and values we hold most dear. And that is why meditation matters.
Many people go through life with no clear sense of their true values. Instead, their lives are molded by the voices that bombard them each day from the Internet, television, radio, magazines, and celebrities. Their desires are ever-changing and are quickly swept away by the newest fashion, most recent technology, or opportunity for financial gain. Their lives are no longer centered on their personal passions and values.
In contrast, firm conviction leads to an intentional life. It is not tossed about by the culture. It is built on the things you hold truest in your heart. And no new advertising campaign is able to shake it.
Meditation provides the opportunity to find that conviction. It slows our mind, calms our spirit, and centers our soul. It removes our mind from the culture of consumption that surrounds us and centers us on something greater and more fulfilling. It draws us out of the finiteness of the visible and dares to connect our souls with the invisible. It provides opportunity to identify our desires, articulate our values, and align our pursuits accordingly."
How do you meditate? There are countless practices to introduce you to the vast and pristine dimension of self that we can discover through meditation. Free awareness is one of those time-honored practices.
"The term "affluenza" -- a portmanteau of affluence and influenza, defined as a "painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety, and waste, resulting from the dogged pursuit of more" -- is often dismissed as a silly buzzword created to express our cultural disdain for consumerism. Though often used in jest, the term may have more truth than many of us would like to think."
"Meditation was a secret to much of the Western world for thousands of years. For a long time, it was something only monks and other devout religious practitioners did. Today, it's everywhere. Meditation has many more benefits than I've listed here, but included here are some foundational reasons why it's an important practice and one that can help you everyday. "
"It is wise for each of us, from time to time, to stop and evaluate our lives as we seek to make the most of them.
The start of a calendar year provides an opportunity to look back at the decisions that shaped our lives during the past year and gives us an extra push to make adjustments for the next one. Every new January represents a natural opportunity to evaluate the direction of our lives, adjust course if necessary, adopt new habits, or make healthy changes.
With the start of a new year upon us, consider these 11 resolutions for a better you—proven by science. It is, after all, our habits that determine the course of our lives."
"The idea of the 'calling' is cliched and abstracted by now, but it still exists. Many of us do indeed have a true purpose in life, and to put at least a little bit of effort towards discovering it is one of the most worthwhile things we can do for ourselves in the long-run. These are just a few tips..."
"This is the dreadful mistake we are making: allowing ourselves to believe that having more money and more stuff enhances our wellbeing, a belief possessed not only by those poor deluded people in the pictures, but by almost every member of almost every government. Worldly ambition, material aspiration, perpetual growth: these are a formula for mass unhappiness."
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