stress-free-zoneSource: farm2.staticflickr.com

Have you ever had a bunch of problems, all seemingly real that has taken grip of your mind and you can’t stop thinking about it? Then all of a sudden, you have a cigarette, or a coffee, or watch a funny movie, and your life isn’t that bad after all?

It’s all a matter of perception. The subjective nature of reality suggests that what you call “serious” life problems are simply your own creation. The bad things happen and you start to panic. You feel bad. You may think that it’s the right response, to panic and hopefully that will solve the problem, but this is never the case. You view life as something that is being done to you, but in truth life is simply happening. It’s happening through you. You are merely the watcher, the ‘experiencer’ of these things. So when you start to feel bad, all you’re doing is projecting yourself into the problems. You lose your job, and suddenly you worry. The tedious work that you use to have to pay the bills is gone.

However, this is not happening to you, this is just happening. Don’t take it personally, but act as just the witness to this event. From this perspective, you start to think clearer, you’re not stressed, you are more creative and have more motivation. You can take it many ways, and the way you take it your body will respond accordingly. When you don’t take it seriously, you suddenly realize you have more freedom to spend time on the things you really love. The things you enjoy. You might even start a blog about it, or sell how-to books, which are just one of a million ways in which you can make a living from doing what you love.

When you get creative, all possibilities arise. It’s like when you smoke weed, or take acid, you suddenly have an inrush of creativity. You become a Genius. No worries to think about, no burdensome thoughts, just pure focus of the mind on what ever it is you’re doing. This is all achievable naturally, just takes a bit of practice. Meditate, live in the present moment and maintain your health, and don’t think negative. You don’t have to think positively and be all woo woo, but don’t dwell on any thoughts which don’t make you feel good.

Life isn’t serious, so don’t treat it so seriously that you curl yourself into a ball and hide in a corner. Don’t do that to your mind, because its important and you need it.

It makes no sense to worry about things you have no control over because there’s nothing you can do about them, and why worry about things you do control? The activity of worrying keeps you immobilized. – Wayne Dyer

THATIAMSource: pulsarmedia.eu

The ultimate truth is That.

The basis of your existence is That.

‘That’ is the only thing that doesn’t change. The source of all things is That.

‘That’ can also be called consciousness, or existence itself. The root of all existence is because of That.

Ever since you were little, there was one thing with you that hasn’t changed. Everything else has changed. You are a completely different person than you were when you were a child. Your beliefs have changed, your values, your looks, your structure and many other things. But one thing that hasn’t changed is your awareness – the consciousness that is experiencing all this change.

Your consciousness which was present when you were young and the consciousness that is now hasn’t changed. And from this, we know that what is truth is something that doesn’t change. The ultimate truth to your existence is consciousness, that that doesn’t change. Everything that is illusion is something that is temporary, something that changes. Something that is impermanent is illusion. So everything around us, and about us, is only illusion. It is real in the sense that it exists now, and only now, but due to the nature of illusions it is impermanent, it changes. It isn’t real.

So view the world as it is, an impermanence. You are also impermanent, and will change. Don’t worry about what’s happening in your life, don’t worry about anything at all. You are just an illusion, subject to change. The only thing constant in this world is change, and your consciousness. But your consciousness isn’t really a thing; it is the’ thing’ that gives rise to other things. It make’s sense the world, and gives it meaning.

Without your consciousness the Universe wouldn’t exist, because it doesn’t exist for you. If it doesn’t exist for you then it doesn’t exist as all, in a subjective world. In an objective view of the world it can exist, but since you are a subject and everything you experience is subjective, then it doesn’t exist in that sense.

So That in which you are is the source of everything. Many religions have tried to explain ‘that’, through words. They say soul, spirit, and the eternal. These words are true, in the sense that they point to consciousness. But the problem lies in the fact that these things are merely pointers, they are just words, sound vibrations. So when religious organizations convey these words, the followers attribute the words to be truth.

The words themselves don’t mean anything, they simply just point. They are labels that can lead you to the truth, but aren’t the truth in themselves.

The only way to know truth is to experience it first-hand. I’ve had a few instances where I’ve been in touched with this truth, and some of these times I have been under the influence of psychedelic drugs. I wouldn’t recommend you go out and start taking drugs, but if you wish to have a glimpse of this truth then drugs can be the way. But I don’t recommend it, as it is only a temporary glimpse and you don’t need it to experience this truth.

The best way to experience truth is to live in the moment, always. That which you are resides only in the present moment. It doesn’t know past or future, as past and future are not experiences. The thing that experiences all existence experiences existence in the now. Past and future only exists in the realm of mind, the realm of thinking. You are lost in thoughts, thinking that ‘Yesterday a man on the train called me dumb’, ‘I lost an argument with a group of people’, ‘I have an assignment due tomorrow morning’. All these things are ways your mind lives in the past and future, always worrying and stressing about the things that doesn’t exist now.

The way to know That, not just to believe it because some book told you to, is to experience it first-hand. To feel it coming through you, alive inside you, is to be it. Be it fully, and use it to experience things fully. When you eat, be there with your eating. When you shower, be there when you shower. Put your full attention on it, and let it emerge.

The more you let That emerge, the more it will start to guide your life for the better.

JapanpolethingSource: aolcdn.com

You can get to that happy state now. It is important that you are constantly doing exercises to bring joy in through your body. To feel deep peace always means to live in surrender, live in the present moment and allow the external world to play out how it wants.

Don’t worry about the external world.

Worry only about your state of being, within. How do you feel now?

It is important to be conscious of your state of being, your level of consciousness. Allow the movements of form to be as they are, and have no inner resistance to what is. Your life may be in turmoil right now, and you may not know how to deal with it, but the main thing you can control is your level of awareness.

Simple exercise. Here’s a simple exercise to do when challenges arise in your life. When it happens, you must take your awareness away from your thoughts, through present moment awareness practices and bring yourself back into the moment. Become aware of your breathing, or your hands, and legs.

Become aware of the hands. To become aware of your hands and legs is to be in alignment with the present moment. No longer are you lost in past and future. To understand what I mean when I say to feel your hands, it is to simply ask the question, “Are my hands still there?”. The act of finding out, by you putting your attention on your hand to feel if it’s there, is what I mean by becoming aware of your hands. Feel the sensations in your hands, feel the aliveness of it.

By doing that, your mind is taken of your thoughts, even just for a while. Try to hold it for as long as you can, and remember than the important thing is persistence, not time. So if you can only do it for 5 seconds, then do it again instantly. Keep doing it

Problem with thoughts. Life challenges only become problems when you have a thought about it, when you label it. When something “bad” happens in your life, let’s say you just failed your finals, all these thoughts arise which makes you miserable. When you become miserable your level of thinking drops, you’re not as creative and not suitable to handle rough situations.

The aim of feeling good is because once you feel good, your mind is a lot clearer, you have a higher perspective and you can respond consciously. So in the case of failing your exams, rather than thinking about how your parents will think, how you won’t get very far in life, or how you’ll get kicked out of University, go straight to your body awareness. Get into the present moment, and don’t try thinking your way out. That comes later when you’re not in reactive mode and in a state of peace and clarity.

When you find out the exam results, and start to feel awful, put your attention to your hands and legs, and become conscious of your breath. Your task is to be in the present moment, to escape thoughts which will be accompanied with your emotions.

If the thoughts do arise, like the ones I mentioned above, then allow them in but see them as just mental noises. Thought is a process that occurs as a natural defense mechanism of the body to respond to fear. It has been conditioned into you your whole life, such as when people go, “What do I do now?? Think ,think, think!” when something bad and unexpected happens.

This is the wrong way to do it, because your clarity of thought is very small in moments of intense pressure.

The best thing to do is to stay calm, sit back, relax and don’t let negative thoughts take you over.

A clearer way of thinking

So if you’ve been in body awareness mode fully, and haven’t allowed your thoughts to take command, you can now use your thoughts in a clearer way.

You have become wise, as wisdom is simply knowledge and a deep clarity in thinking. Now you have a wider perspective on your problems.

In the case of the finals, you might reconsider if the course is the right one for you, you may wonder why you didn’t do so well and how to improve the next time.

You are no longer worried about what will happen to you, how people might think, and your future prospects, which is what normally happens when we are faced with a challenge.

Go straight to the present moment, which is what the hand awareness technique is all about. By simply stepping out of thoughts, and simply “Being”, you literally enter a whole new way of living, where the mind acts as a servant rather than the master.

You can use your thinking for your own good, rather than succumb to the thoughts and emotions associated with it.

Practice this hand awareness technique and you’ll start feeling good and your life will start to look better.

 

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I fear, every now and then. Or rather, fear arises when I identify with false beliefs. It comes out through me. Because remember, you are not what you think you are. You are not your thoughts, not your beliefs, not your ideals of life. All you really are is consciousness. The awareness behind every experience.

Fear exists purely in thoughts. Dangers are real, fear is not. The definition of an illusion is a false belief or idea, and that is exactly what fear is. A false belief.

When you think about the future, or regret the past, this is fear. Fear is hatred, anxiety and even shyness. If you experience these emotions, it’s because of fear.

When you hate someone, there’s something that you fear in them. They threaten your existence. If someone insults you, and you hate them, you are afraid of their beliefs, their ideals, and even their hatred for you. You fear situations which have happened in the past, which you think will happen in the future. The truth is you don’t know. Fear exists in not knowing.

Fear arises because you are identified with your thoughts, which stems from ego. From this we suffer, we become miserable.

So how do we escape all this fear, all these false beliefs and ideas?

First we must find where they reside in you.

They exist in your head, in your thoughts – which arises automatically. Thoughts are not yours, they come and go. Scientists say that the majority of our thoughts are repetitive; you have the same thoughts multiple times per day. They are a happening; they are a noise and a scatter. It’s just background static.

So we can get an understanding how fear is false. They restrict your ability to do quality actions. If you don’t know how you will pay your bills next week, fear and worry won’t help the situation. Fear arises from your repetitive thinking. They come to make us worry and suffer by our attachment to them. A thought pops up, as it will, and we grab onto it and go, “Oh no, this is something I have to think about, something I need to worry about”. This won’t solve the issue; it will only make it worse.

As Einstein once said, “Problems cannot be solved by the level of awareness that created them.” If you are trapped in a level of awareness where there is constant worrying and constant misery, then the answers to your problems are going to be hard to come by.

Your level of creativity is reduced as your mental power is distracted by fear. Your problem solving skill is limited. So if we are faced with challenging situations in life that cause fear in us, the first step is to raise your awareness.

How do we do this?

It’s more of a subtraction, a taking away of those which hold us back from finding a solution to these challenges. Our state of awareness is naturally very high, very creativity. Children are very creativity because they are yet to be conditioned, yet to fear. So understand that we just have to simply remove the things which holds us back, things that lower our awareness.

So what is holding us back?

As you’ve probably guessed, that’s fear. To find a solution to life’s challenges, we need our full mental awareness. Solutions arise when we have our full mental power focused on it – rather than lost in fear and worrying.

To step out of fear, or to reduce the mental chatter, is to step out of that mental chatter. Remove yourself from thoughts.

This may take 5 seconds, or a few minutes. Stepping out of thought is stepping into the present. The moment that exists now is all that really exists, so return your awareness to the things around you, the sensations of your body and your breath. To live in the moment is to put our awareness away from thought. Because that’s where past and future exists, in thoughts. So by simply stepping out of thought, you automatically return to the present moment.

Here are some tips to help you step out of thought and bring your awareness into the moment.

Stepping out of thought and into the present moment.

Become aware of your Breathing.
Feel fully the sensations of our breath going into our nose or mouth. What I try to do is to breath in both through our mouths and nose at the same time, and be aware of it fully. Do this for 10 or 20 breaths, and you’ll start to feel some distance between your awareness and your thoughts.
Mindful eating.
Whenever I’m eating I like to make it a mindful practice, and it is an easy way to take our awareness from thought. When you take a bite, taste the food fully. What does it taste like? What are the sensations on your mouth?  How does it smell? There are so many things to put our awareness on, that’s why mindful eating is such a good way to step out of thoughts.
Walking meditation.
Put all your awareness on every step that you take. Begin by standing still, and just being aware of your weight on your legs, the sensations of how this feels like, both on your thighs, your calf and your foot. When you take your first step, be aware of your feet hitting the ground, with the sole of your foot landing first followed by the rest of the feet.
Hyper focus on the hand.
Go straight to the hands with your focus and just feel. At first it’s tricky, as your thoughts will come in and you’ll start mentally labelling it and your mind will become involved. You may notice yourself going: “I don’t feel anything, what am I looking for?” or whatever thought may arise. The trick is to put your awareness on your hands, feel the aliveness of your fingers, your palms, and it’s interaction with the air around it.

Solutions to Challenges Will Arise

Once you step out of thought, and into the moment, you’ll start finding a deeper peace within you. Fear is gone, so naturally peace will take its place. A slight feeling of joy arises, and in this state your creativity also increases.

Now your thoughts are fresh, and thinking is renewed. No longer are you trapped in these thoughts. You become the master again; you have full control over them.

Many times after doing present moment exercises, challenges will seem trivial and problems that I once thought were bad are now no longer problems.

If you have any questions, please leave it in the comments – I will answer every one!

 

 

I’ve written many articles telling people to live in the present and articles about my own adventures on how to live in the present , but I’ve never truly explain why it’s necessary and how to go about doing it. The way I see it is that it’s like a muscle, a skill that you must develop and strengthen where it gets easier with time.

After a lifetime of conditioned thought patterns, we come to believe that thoughts are all there is to us. Rather than the quote, “I think, there fore I am”, I think it is more accurate to say “I am, therefore I think”. We believe that we are our thoughts.

I lived this way for many years, most of my life actually. Even after coming to the realization that living in the moment is crucial to my wellbeing, I continued to listen to my thoughts and live in them. Even today, driving to University I had many relapses of living in my thoughts, and coming to believe them as who I am. The distinction that we must come to realize is that we have thoughts, and we always will, and that’s okay. But once we let thoughts become the master, rather than becoming the master of these thoughts then we will suffer.

The senseless mental argument that you’re having with your friend about what the colour of the sky is doesn’t matter right now, and will only bring you suffering. Right now, whatever you’re doing is all it matters. If your thoughts are telling you your intelligence level is very low because you lost that argument, then that will only bring misery to the situation even if there isn’t something to be miserable about. Your true level of intelligence may be very low, or very high, but what are you going to do about it? You are born as you are, and you must come to accept that. And it doesn’t take much intelligence to memorise some facts. As Einstein said,

““Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

That’s only just one aspect of how our thoughts can take the beauty and true essence out of the moment you are in now, and make you live in the past whilst also bringing worry to the future.

Personally I’ve developed my intense presence awareness muscle so much that it is a lot easier for me to slip back into the now, as before it used to take me forever of battling with my own thoughts and trying to silence them. It was a struggle, and I understand that many of you who are reading this now struggle with it as well. But rather than fight it, we have to simply create space between it.

A key point to understand is when we are present it’s not so much that we won’t have thoughts; it’s more that these thoughts don’t become identified to who we are, and simply become just background noise or static. Thoughts are just a function of the human brain, and doesn’t reflect your true state of living. If your thoughts are saying you’re an idiot for losing that argument, just don’t listen to it; don’t attach it to who you are to it. See it as simply background noise. In some situations you may not know a lot, and in other situations you may be an expert. It doesn’t matter, and you lose the essence of the present moment. You’re thoughts are just thoughts, and don’t reflect your who you really are.

Before I start teaching the many methods of how to live in the present, I will explain why it’s so crucial and necessary to do so.

Why Return To The Now?

The first point to why it is so crucial is that it cultivates aliveness in your being where life just becomes joyful for no reason. A sense of joy arises where you don’t know where it’s from, but it’s there. I believe this is because happiness is our normal state; we are born with this joy, those blissful states. So throughout life we grow up conditioned with reasons why we can’t be happy,  where commercials tell us we need to buy this, and society tells us we need to get a good job or we won’t be happy. All this does is skew our perceptions of reality. To get back into the present moment means to completely dis-identify with these thoughts of self-sabotage.

Once we no longer identify with our thoughts, we start to feel good, and feeling good only spreads goodness into the world. We are happier, we don’t cause suffering, and we generally make the world a better place. In the current state of the world where fear is so present in the awareness of many, feeling good is something that will bring back balance to our lives and the lives of many around us. As the Buddha said, happiness is like the light of a candle, where spreading it won’t make the candle light any less dimmer.

Another crucial point is that it brings a higher quality to what we do. When people do what they love, when they are so passionate about something and they do it — it automatically forces them into the present moment. Think about the last time you did something where time seemed to just completely disappear, whether it was playing a game, reading or watching a movie. You were so present that it caused time to simply not exist in your awareness, as you just simply forgot about everything else around you. I believe that this kind of presence will improve anything you do. If you currently work in the office, be there totally, when writing a book, be there completely, because if your thoughts are taking over you won’t put all your focus and attention on your work. The most successful people in the world are so successful because they do what they love, and in doing what they love they bring a presence to their work and they produce things of high quality.

The third and very important point is to simply end the personal suffering which is caused by thought. The ego predominantly stems from our thoughts, which is never present but always in the past or in the future. That’s not a good way to live because the future is always never as you imagine it to be and the past you can’t do anything about. Change is constantly happening.  If you’re always living in the past then you miss the essence of this change and you can even deny the change to happen. Let’s say someone has hurt you in the past, and you see them as that person who will hurt you again, you don’t allow them to change by the way you interact with them.

“Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry — all forms of fear — are caused by too much future, and not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of nonforgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence.” - Eckhart Tolle

Techniques On How To Live In The Present

There are many ways of cultivating your awareness muscle as I like to call it. Awareness is what will determine your level of presence, as you can put your awareness either on your thoughts, or on your being. We are human beings after all, not human doings or human thinkings. To return to the present moment is to simply put your awareness on your surroundings, on your body or on your breath.

There are many techniques and many different ideas of living in the moment, but the main essence of it all is to simply disengage thought, to create a gap between the thoughts and the present moment.

5 Methods Of Bringing Your Awareness Into The Now

Here I want to give you a list of techniques which I’ve personally used to cultivate my awareness muscle, and to allow myself to be more aware of the present moment and to create some distance between who I am and what my thoughts are saying.

1. Become aware of your Breathing. This is one of the most common ways people are taught on how to return to the now. We are breathing, always, even if we focus on it or not. Let me digress for a second however and give an analogy between our thought and our breathing, since we are on the topic. Our breathing is something that happens to us, and it is something that we can also make happen. It goes on naturally, even if we don’t focus on it. This can be applied to thoughts as well, because thinking is something that will happen naturally, whether or not we make it happen, and in the same way we can also choose to think. So don’t be so concern about what your thoughts are thinking, they are just a happening. Now you may see how thoughts can be compared to just noise and static.

So back to this method, a good technique is to feel fully the sensations of our breath going into our nose or mouth. What I try to do, to take our awareness further from thought is to breath in both through our mouths and  nose at the same time, and be aware of it fully. Do this for 10 or 20 breaths, and you’ll start to feel some distance between your awareness and your thoughts.

2. Mindful eating. Most of us when we eat we’re doing something else, we’re thinking about something else and forget about the food going into our mouths. Whenever I’m eating I like to make it a mindful practice, and it is an easy way to take our awareness from the static of thought. When you take a bite, taste the food fully. What does it taste like? What are the sensations on your mouth?  How does it smell? There are so many things to put our awareness on, that’s why mindful eating is such a great practice for your awareness muscle. Even if you’re drinking a beer, or a glass of wine, smell it, taste it fully. Many times you will find that this is a good way of eliminating all the things which are bad for our body. When we’re eating those French fries, and we bring our awareness to it fully, we truly taste what it’s like. It may be very oily, make us feel sick, and we will naturally not want to eat it.

3. Walking meditation. This is something easy and accessible at all times – especially if you do a lot of walking or moving about in your day. Popularized by Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, it is to put all your awareness on every step that you take. Begin by standing still, and just being aware of your weight on your legs, the sensations of how this feels like, both on your thighs, your calf and your foot. When you take your first step, be aware of your feet hitting the ground, with the sole of your foot landing first followed by the rest of the feet. This is a great practice to strengthen your awareness muscle even when your at work, at university or just walking around the home. For a more detailed explanation, check out this article.

“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.”― Thich Nhat Hanh

4. Mindful showering. Rather than trying to think about your issues, or trying to solve the world’s problems, a good way to practice being in the present is when you take showers. Showers are something you do every day, and it’s another place for you to return back in the now. A shower is full of sensations for your sense perceptions and a good place to take your awareness off your thoughts. A good place to start is as soon as you take your clothes off, feel the sensations of the air on your bare skin. Once you turn on the shower, put your focus on the sensations of the water hitting your body, what it feels like, where the water droplets land. What I like to do is to feel the sensations of each individual part of my body, starting from my toes, through my legs, up to my body and then onto my head. Then you can focus on the sound of the shower, the feelings of the steam hitting your face, and whatever way you can think off. Remember, the important thing is that you’re creating distance between your awareness and your thoughts.

5. Hyper focus on the hand. Have you ever put your full attention on your limbs, especially your hands? There’s a certain aliveness about it, a slight tingling sensation you can feel. It’s as if it’s vibrating at the minuscule level. To do this you just have to go straight to the hands with your focus and just feel. At first it’s tricky, as your thoughts will come in and you’ll start mentally labelling it and your mind will become involved. You may notice yourself going: “I don’t feel anything, what am I looking for?” or whatever thought may arise. The trick is to put your awareness on your hands, feel the aliveness of your fingers, your palms, and it’s interaction with the air around it. Go straight to your hands with your awareness, and feel it as fully as you can. Practice always makes perfect with this one.

Some of you may have noticed why I didn’t put down sitting meditation. There’s nothing wrong with sitting meditations, and it can become very beneficial to have a daily period where your awareness is completely disengaged from the mind, and your thoughts are allowed to just be and your consciousness is allowed to just be. But what I’m trying to advocate in this article is to be in the present all the time, not just for 30 minutes a day.

The truth is that you can never not be in the now, and it’s just your thoughts which make you believe otherwise. Thoughts can only truly exist in the past or in the future, and the ego also lives in the past or future. To end suffering in your life, and to fully grasp the beauty of living, we have to step out of thought and return to the moment in which is all there really is. You are always in the present moment; it’s just that you forget.  Some people live their whole life either in the future or in the past, and they then wonder where their life has gone. It is always there, you just have to notice it.

So I hope you now understand how to live in the present. If you have any questions at all on this, please feel free to ask as I’d be glad to help. Enjoy your present moment adventures!

 

change

One of the core tenets of Buddhism is that we must embrace change.

Or we can suffer. And I don’t like to suffer, and I’m sure you don’t either.

Everything in life changes, it is the essence of growth. We were once babies. Trees were once seeds. Tigers were once cubs.

As everything in this life is transient, the act of not wanting to let go is foolish as it will only bring misery. As hard as it is to do, and it may feel bad for a few days, when  change happens we must embrace it. Let it in, allow it to happen. Once we embrace it, we find that things are actually better, the change was necessary to weed out the old and bring in the new. It’s not bad.

I remember growing up I would always cling to my possessions, cling to my current experiences. After a while, after  much suffering, I would learn to fully embrace it. And once I embraced it, life would present me with things which bring much more joy to my life. When one door closes, you can then go through other doors. Doors with better, newer and more nourishing experiences.

A few times per year I would go on holiday with my family to Thailand, my home country. Everything there was better. The food, the people, the experiences. I had freedom there, where when I would come back to Australia (where I live) I would have to go to school, stay home most of the time, and have a miserable time.

I would suffer, as I would wish that I was back in Thailand, I wished I didn’t have to go to school. But as I grew up, and many hard lessons later, I came to accept it. I said to myself that I would just let it be, it is what it is. Embrace it.

I would very gradually feel okay with it, I was fine. I didn’t long to go back any more. I did miss it, but I didn’t allow to get to me and wish I had what I had, and not enjoy what I had now. I told myself, “Okay, you’re here now, you won’t be back for a while, enjoy it, and everything in the end would be fine.” And it was always was. I would start to find fun things to do in Australia. But that couldn’t happen if I whined and moaned about the situation I was in. You can’t allow yourself to enjoy where present situation if you’re always stuck living in the past.

As Paulo Coelho says, “Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.” This inspiring quote comes with it a good mindset in tackling change. If you just lost your job, had your car stolen, or whatever, then remember that it will be okay in the end. And the definition of okay is really up to you, and it will be determined by you, no matter what chaotic the moment seems to be you’ll develop new perceptions to the make world okay again.

The proverb “This too shall pass” indicates that all situations and things, whether good or bad, will pass.

So what do we do from understanding this?

Sometimes in the midst of chaos, we forget. Often times you’ll find yourself in grief, in misery and suffering about what ever loss you just experienced. That is fine. Feel the emotions feel the anger, feel the grief.

But there comes a time that we must take action, we must follow through with our lives. That is to truly embrace something. Hold change closely in your arms, squeeze it, it is what it is.

Remember also that having good experiences all the time isn’t realistic. Life will present you with situations that will make you furious, make you miserable, make you ecstatic, and the trick to is fully embrace every single one of them.

If you get angry, get fully angry. Let it all out, because if you keep it in it’ll come out later. It’ll manifest into nasty and unwanted situations in times you wouldn’t want it to arise. Depression and anxiety are one manifestation of unreleased anger. Anger is okay for a while, until it becomes denial.

“Experience life in all possible ways – good-bad, bitter-sweet, dark-light, summer-winter. Experience all the dualities. Don’t be afraid of experience, because the more experience you have, the more mature you become.”  ― Osho

Embrace the change, and you will find your anger, misery and suffering suddenly drops.

It’ll be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.

Sadness gives depth. Happiness gives height. Sadness gives roots. Happiness gives branches. Happiness is like a tree going into the sky, and sadness is like the roots going down into the womb of the earth. Both are needed, and the higher a tree goes, the deeper it goes, simultaneously. The bigger the tree, the bigger will be its roots. In fact, it is always in proportion. That’s its balance. – Osho

feetkissingearth

The start of my shift at work was accompanied by relative peace. So I thought it was peace. I was just about to leave home and I felt good. My mind was clear, my heart was at peace, but I knew this wouldn’t last.

In the back of my head I longed for it to last, but somewhere I knew that this longing would eventually cause it to go away. I wanted to last because it felt good, and my thoughts were good, but the mere act of wanting causes it to go away. Because to want is to be in thoughts, and whenever you’re in thought it’s very hard to get out of. It’s hard in the sense that you forget all your mindfulness techniques, and they become harder to implement.

Thoughts are tricky, and they come to screw up your Zen practices in ways you can’t imagine. You can’t imagine it because thoughts are what you imagine with. It’s all one process, and once you’re trapped it’s hard to escape.

So I was ripping tickets, at my job at the local movie theatres. It was Monday night and I felt good. It was bright, and flashy, and I could put my awareness on all those things.

This is the thing with awareness. The more chaos, flashy lights, loud noises there are, sometimes I find it a lot easier to get into a peaceful state. My thoughts could easily be turned off as I focused my awareness on the flashy outside world. Sometimes walking through a forest, or a long a river I find my mind can become very loud, and hard to let go off. You forget the peacefulness of the trees.

Many people say that they need some quiet time, some alone time to get their mind of things. But the more quiet it is, your mind will be the loudest one in the room. Usually. So be wary of your need for this.

So back to me, standing there ripping movie tickets. I felt good, so I let my mind do its thing. This happens to me a lot. Whenever I feel good, I tend to focus on the good thoughts, without realizing that they are also just thoughts. Thoughts of a good future, a million dollars, or whatever else. This caused my mental downfall at the time because eventually bad thoughts also came in. And once these bad thoughts came in, I was still very much identified to my thoughts, and so they kind of took over.

Thoughts I find are like the weather. Sometimes it rains, sometimes it shines. It is an up and a down, and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it.

It is very dangerous to let your good thoughts become identified to who you are. Your boss praised you at work, so you then attach whatever thought that arises to who you are. I must be very smart, I must be a very good worker. I’m the king of the world. Then one day you’re not in the right state of mind, you slept late, you didn’t have breakfast, and suddenly you didn’t so well at work. Your idea that you were the king is damaged, and you will suffer for it. So let it be what it is.

You forget that identification with good thoughts  is also another form of identification with thoughts. That sounds redundant but it is no less true. But it feels good, you say, and you don’t want to let it go. You have to, as I found out. As good as you think it feels, that’s just an ego level of feeling good. It is limited, and the deep joy that arises from intense present awareness is far better than any good feeling that can come from thoughts.

The reason you have to is as I showed earlier, once you identify with good thoughts and suddenly negative thoughts arises, as they will do, then you are stuck. It’s harder now to dis-identify yourself with your bad thoughts.

What I tend to do, which I forgot to do in the moment, was to start focusing my awareness on the aliveness of my body. This is a good way of creating distance between you and your thoughts. Like in this article, what you do is focus your thoughts on a particular part of the body, like the legs, or the feet. Put all your attention on there, put all your mental energy into bringing your awareness into the feelings and sensations of it. If its a hot day, feel the sweat or the warmth that’s there. If it’s a cold day, do the opposite. Feel it touching the floor. If you’re walking, a good mindset to have comes from Thich Nhat Hanh, who says “Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.” Isn’t that an awesome way to look at it?

So when you’re walking, feel your feet hitting the earth, and whatever that feels like to you.

Once you’re not so much in your thoughts, consciousness then comes through you and enters this world. Things become alive. You feel at peace. Intense peace like nothing can touch you, you are fine, you are an anchor in  existence it self.

I keep forgetting this, and it is hard for me once I’m so trapped in thought. And once I’m trapped in thought I forget these things. What must be done is to not identify with any thought, both good and bad, because if you identify with good thoughts and bad thoughts come, you’re stuck. Like I was stuck.

The whole night at work, I was trapped in thought. Thoughts won, they won this time. We’re friends still, and it’s just a playful banter.

 

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I had just finished working at the local Thai joint. I do deliveries there a few times a week and I love it. Free food, easy work and decent money. Half the time I’m sitting in a chair reading books on my Galaxy S 4 (Who needs physical books).

Over the past couple of days I had been doing some present moment training. Intense dis-identification from thoughts, being body aware and returning my awareness to my breath if I ever felt stuck.

Why am I doing all these Zen practices? Mainly because it makes life so much more exciting. I’m not sure where it comes from, but every time I do it a tingling feeling of excitement and bliss arises. It just comes. No matter what my life circumstance is, I practice Zen to feel good. Or at least I think it’s Zen.

So I was driving back from a good day at work, heading to my girlfriends house. I had been for the past few hours in and out of intervals of awareness, of being completely out of my mind.

That’s all it is I think. To be present means to just putting our awareness somewhere other than our mind. It feels good because your thoughts are just static, just a noise. And when you start listening to this noise you start feeling a bit sick. Sick in the head. You feel bad, you have arguments with people who you encountered 3 years ago.

The other day I was arguing with some guy at a club who looked at me weird. It happened 3 years ago and he was looking at me weird, and I just thought he had a problem with me. I don’t know why, but I felt like he was judging my cool tie that I bought that day. It was blue, but it was cool. He was just probably gay, and just checking me out (hopeful thinking). I don’t know. My mind is weird.

Your ego will take any opportunity to be recognized. You’re not your ego, and the nature of the ego is just to be recognized. Hey look at me, it says. If it’s not getting much attention, it will start provoking other egos and that’s how it’ll get it’s attention. That is the cause of much conflict, why people love to feel paainn. It’s simply the ego and it’s attention seeking behaviour.

Anyway, enough ego in this post, why did I just start talking about the ego anyway? See, my thoughts.

Back on topic, I was driving back from work. I thought, “hey lets see if I can make it all the way without a lapse in presence”. It was a daunting task, but I’m always up for challenges.

To my surprise it was a lot easier than I thought. My hands were gripped on the steering wheel, and my foot was on the pedals. I could put my awareness on my hands, or my foot, or my body wrapped by the seats of my car. Plus, I had the whole world whizzing past me at 80 km/h. My thoughts had no chance, I had the whole world excitedly to focus on.

Halfway through the trip, still in intense presence, I had a weird realization. Something strange happened and it made me almost crashed my car. I didn’t swerve or anything, but I just suddenly felt panicked that I wasn’t able to control the car any more.

I was intensely aware of my hands gripping the steering wheel, and the next thing I know I just felt like I wasn’t there. I wasn’t driving the car any more. It just felt weird, but fascinating. My awareness was just my eyes, my vision, nothing else. My arms stretched out in front of me and it felt like they weren’t mine. All I was was the vision I was having, the awareness behind it all. For a few seconds I thought I wasn’t able to control the car any more. Or that I could only just watch things happen.

Have you ever been mesmerised, watching the sunset, or the sunrise, or a beautiful nights sky… or whatever you were doing that you were completely mesmerised, and suddenly you come out of it like you didn’t notice anything else? Hmm.. how can I explain this. You know the scenes where a guy goes in for the kiss, and the girl likes it, and suddenly the whole world revolved around them, spinning, and they came back looking around like what the hell just happened? Well that’s what happened.

I was intensely staring at my hands, the world around me, and everything in my line of site, like I was watching a movie. It just felt outside of what I was. I felt safe though, but I felt like I was going to crash the car unless I came back in to intervene. Have you ever experienced this?

After it happened, a sudden rush of excitement came, as I thought I just had  a pretty cool experience. Something I would read in spiritual books about it happening to other people. I tried to do it again.

And I could, it was easy. My arms stretched out in front of me gripping onto the steering wheel, I felt like I was just watching them. Whose arms are these, and who am I?

It was a very vivid and exciting experience. I want it to happen again. I will try again later.

Some strange things have been happening after doing my intense present awareness practices. Today I haven’t been doing it much, I just feel off. My thoughts have been powerful today, but starting now I will practice, I will defeat you thoughts. We still love each other, and it’s just there. I can’t make it my enemy, I just have to stop listening to it.

When I make my thought my enemy it has more power, I give it more of my attention. I don’t care about you thoughts, I just don’t care anymore. I like you, but in the same way I wouldn’t hang out with a lion, I don’t want to hang out with you. Lions are dangerous, and they will eat me, but that’s just it’s nature. That’s the same with thoughts.

So much excitement was had in that car.

Anyway, I hope you learnt something from that. I’m going to go listen to some Eckhart Tolle.

 

laughinbhuddha

Happiness is the one thing that drives the world; it makes us do what we do. In this article I present you seven insights into happiness where I give little pointers on how you can become happy, right now. No matter what your circumstance is in life, you can be happy now.

7 Insights On Happiness
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1. Happiness is peeling back.

In the same way we become healthy by not doing unhealthy things, we become happy by not doing things that make us unhappy. You’re default state, at the deepest level, is happiness. You were born happy. All babies seem to be happy and all children seem to be happy. We are born happy and then we are taught and conditioned to do things that make us unhappy. If you’re friends are making you unhappy then get new friends, if it’s your job then get a new job. Peel back all the layers and once you’ve reached the core you’ll find happiness waiting there to be realized.

2. Happiness is conscious freedom

Freedom,  the ability to do what ever you want to do when you want to do. This is the ultimate happiness. Stemming from point 1, once we peel back all the restrictions to our lives  we will find happiness. I write conscious freedom because we have to know what we want. If you are free but have no idea what to do with your time, then you won’t be happy. But if we know what we want out of life, know what our passion is, know the path to take then happiness will come. True freedom is actually conscious freedom. To even be writing conscious freedom is actually redundant if we’re looking at it from a higher level. We are trapped in thought and self-harming beliefs, in unconscious conditioning and most people have the wrong idea of freedom. We have to first become conscious, become aware and the freedom we get can then be used to do the things that are right for you.

3. Happiness is elusive

The movie The Pursuit of Happiness has given many people the wrong impression of how to be happy. The idea that we have to pursue happiness and that there is a destination we can reach gives people false hope. You can be happy right now, there is no need to pursue it. In fact, the act of trying to pursue it is chasing it away, putting up false hope for yourself which will bring more unhappiness. Getting the big house will make you happy? Maybe for a few weeks, but once  that initial high goes away you’re stuck in the same spot. Then you want more, thinking that it’s not the big house but maybe a billion dollars. The cycle continues and suffering continues. The truth is that we want to be joyful, be at peace. Pleasure is something that feels good, but it doesn’t last long. Pleasure stems only from things which are external, whilst bliss and joy arises from within.

4. Happiness ensues

Like I said in point 3, you can’t pursue happiness. The idea that we have to chase it is actually pushing it further away, because what you chase is usually going away from you. You won’t ever be able to catch it. Happiness is something that ensues from living a good life. It’s something that just happens once you peel back all the layers of the onion. It is there right now, deep inside of you waiting for you to experience it. You just have so many things blocking it off that it can’t arise. In order to be happy we need to live a good life, and living a good life starts from the inside. Feel good now, and the world will start reflecting it. You’ll start to be kind to people, and people will reciprocate and be kind to you. You’ll feel more motivated, you’re not inside your head, your creativity flows and your work has a higher quality and you’ll do it more passionately.

5. If you want it you can’t have it

If you try to get it, you’ll always be missing it. You’re missing the point of it. Happiness isn’t a thing, isn’t a goal, but just a by-product. So the act of wanting it is redundant, it’s to completely miss its mark. As Eckhart Tolle says, “Don’t seek happiness. If you seek it, you won’t find it, because seeking is the antithesis of happiness.” It’s the antithesis of happiness because happiness is always there. To believe that it is outside of us, that it’s something that we can head towards is to completely go as far away from it as we can. The more you search the further you go. But instead of searching for happiness, seek to find the things which make you unhappy, and happiness will arise on it’s own.

6. Happiness is thoughtlessness

Nothing, no event, person, or thing can you make unhappy unless you think it’s bad, it’s not good. It’s never the situation that makes you unhappy but it’s your thoughts about it. It can  be hard to think positively about thing which is by your definition is bad, but another method I propose to is allow what happen to fully happen. Being upset about it may help you vent some anger, but in the long run you’re only giving yourself high-blood pressure and unnecessary stress. Here’s a Zen story about not judging a situation and just allowing things to be:

The Zen master Hakuin was praised by his neighbors as one living a pure life.

A beautiful Japanese girl whose parents owned a food store lived near him. Suddenly, without any warning, her parents discovered she was with child.

This made her parents very angry. She would not confess who the man was, but after much harassment at last named Hakuin.

In great anger the parents went to the master. “Is that so?” was all he would say.

After the child was born it was brought to Hakuin. By this time he had lost his reputation, which did not trouble him, but he took very good care of the child. He obtained milk from his neighbors and everything else the little one needed.

A year later the girl-mother could stand it no longer. She told her parents the truth – that the real father of the child was a young man who worked in the fishmarket.

The mother and father of the girl at once went to Hakuin to ask his forgiveness, to apologize at length, and to get the child back again.

Hakuin was willing. In yielding the child, all he said was: “Is that so?”

So the next time something happens, don’t judge it, don’t judge it as even good, just allow it to unfold and experience it fully. Experience the emotions it gives you, the feelings that arise. Sometimes nothing bad is even happening, we’re just lying in bad and suddenly we’re caught in the midst of an arugment between you and the customer today, or your boss, or your partner. It’s all just your thoughts. Don’t try to repress or resist the thought, it’ll just come up another day because that’s the nature of though. Let is arise, watch it, beware of it and understand that it’s just noises.

 7. Happiness is gratitude

You’re wants and desires keeps you in a perpetual state of not enough. Being in a state of not enough causes us to be miserable, jealous and believing that in order to be happy we need to add more to our lives. But the truth is if you want to be happy right now you can, and that is through gratitude. Whatever it is you have now in your life, be thankful for it. There’s millions of people in the world who would love to be in your situation, to have a computer, to have a warm bed to sleep in, to not have to worry about the next meal. You can live your life right now in intense joy by simply being grateful. Every morning you wake up and just before you go to bed, think of all the things your’e grateful for. Truly feel the emotion and be grateful and you’ll see that happiness arises, a warm feeling of peace arises.

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So happiness is inside all of us, waiting to be realized. We cover it up with layers of unhappiness, and by simply not doing things that makes us unhappiness happiness will arise. There is no need to pursue it, because pursuing it is to miss the point. It’s something inside of us, and the more we look for it outside the more we’ll suffer. Be grateful now for all the things in which you have, and you’ll be surprised by the sudden realization that you are happy now.