Like clouds above,
They come & go; our feelings.
Actions break through that ceiling.
& up we go once again.
With our actions.
Like clouds above,
They come & go; our feelings.
Actions break through that ceiling.
& up we go once again.
With our actions.
“Zen cannot really be taught, but it can be transmitted through sessions of contemplation or meditation, called zazen, and through dialogues between student and teacher, called sanzen. In the dialogues between the student and Zen master the student comes squarely up against the obstacles to his or her understanding and, without making the answer obvious, the master points a finger toward the way.”
“Many hold Zen to be at one with the root of all religions, for it is a way of liberation that centers around the things that are basic to all mysticism: awakening to the unity or oneness of life, and the inward — as opposed to outward — existence of God. In this context the word God can be misleading because, as will be seen, the idea of a deity in the Western religious sense is foreign to Zen.”
“When Buddhism first came to China it was most natural for the Chinese to speak about it in terms of Taoist philosophy, because they both share a view of life as a flowing process in which the mind and consciousness of man is inextricably involved.”
“It is not as if there is a fixed screen of consciousness over which our experience flows and leaves a record. It is that the field of consciousness itself is part of the flowing process, and therefore the mind of man is not a separate entity observing the process from outside, but is integrally involved with it.”
“The practice of Zen is to experience the overall pattern directly, and to know one’s self as the essence of the pattern.”
“Zen is really extraordinarily simple as long as one doesn’t try to be cute about it or beat around the bush! Zen is simply the sensation and the clear understanding that, to put it in Zen terms, there are “ten thousand formations; one suchness.” Or you might say, “The ten thousand things that are everything are of one suchness.” That is to say that there is behind the multiplicity of events and creatures in this universe simply one energy — and it appears as you, and everything is it.”
“The practice of Zen is to understand that one energy so as to ‘feel it in your bones.’ Yet Zen has nothing to say about what that energy is, and of course this gives the impression in the minds of Westerners that it is a kind of “blind energy.” We assume this because the only other alternative that we can imagine in terms of our traditions is that it must be something like God — some sort of cosmic ego, an almost personal intelligent being. But in the Buddhist view, that would be as far off the mark as thinking of it as blind energy. The reason they use the word “suchness” is to leave the whole question open, and absolutely free from definition. It is “such.” It is what it is.”
“That is why Zen has been called the “religion of no religion.” You don’t need, as it were, to cling to yourself. Faith in yourself is not “holding on” to your-self, but letting go.”
“Then what follows from that is the question, “How does a person who feels that way live in this world? What do you do about other people who don’t see that that’s so? What do you do about conducting yourself in this world?” This is the difficult part of Zen training. There is at first the breakthrough — which involves certain difficulties — but thereafter follows the whole process of learning compassion and tact and skill. As Jesus put it, it is “to be wise as serpents and gentle as doves” — and that is really what takes most of the time.”
“In each culture, it is quite definitely the same experience (the “spiritual experience”), and it is characterized by the transcendence of individuality and by a sensation of being one with the total energy of the universe.”
“I remember a dinner once with Hasegawa, when somebody asked him, ‘How long does it take to obtain our understanding of Zen?’ He said, ‘It may take you three minutes; it may take you thirty years.’ And, he said, ‘I mean that.’”
“There are two sides to this question, and it strikes me in this way: It’s not a matter of time at all. The people who think it ought to take a long time are of one school of thought, and the people who want it quickly are of another, and they are both wrong. The transformation of consciousness is not a question of how much time you put into it, as if it were all added up on some sort of quantitative scale, and you got rewarded according to the amount of effort you put into it. Nor is there a way of avoiding the effort just because you happen to be lazy, or because you say, “I want it now!” The point is, rather, something like this: If you try to get it either by an instant method because you are lazy or by a long-term method because you are rigorous, you’ll discover that you can’t get it either way. The only thing that your effort — or absence of effort — can teach you is that your effort doesn’t work.”
“And so, one of the essentials of Zen training is, to quote a certain parrot from Huxley’s Island, “Here and now, boys!” Be here. And in order to be here, you can’t be looking for a result!”
“To sit in zazen in order to perfect a technique for attaining enlightenment, however, is fundamentally a mistaken approach. Sit just to sit. And why not sit? You have to sit sometime, and so you may as well really sit, and be altogether here. Otherwise the mind wanders away from the matter at hand, and away from the present.”
“People have difficulties with these simple forms of meditation. Thoughts and feelings come up: ‘Is it only this? Is this all there is? Nothing seems to be happening. What’s going on? I feel a little frustrated, and I don’t particularly feel enlightened. There’s just nothing ‘special’ about this at all. Do I have to do this longer in order for something to happen?’
But nothing special is supposed to happen.
It’s just this. This is it, right here.”
Who is Patrick Buggy?
A coach, writer, and aspiring entrepreneur – creator of Mindful Ambition.
I learned more about Patrick via a Q&A interview. He has some great answers. Check it out below!
“I change in two ways: gradually and suddenly.
An INSIGHT can hit you in a moment. But transformational, last change tends to be an accumulation of gradual, incremental, step-by-step actions.
That’s how it’s been with my journey. There have been lots of insights that hit in an instant. But they don’t actually make a difference until they’re aggregated and compounded over time with consistent practice.
At Optimize, we talk about helping you go from Theory to Practice to Mastery.
An insight is the theory. It’s putting things into practice that has led me to feeling healthier, more energized, more confident, more connected, more on my path, etc.”
“The one that’s going to help me conquer my next most-important challenge. 😉
These days, I’m probably having the most fun with The Fear Game, helping me close the gap between hits of intuition of things I want to do, and actually doing them.”
“I’m profoundly grateful that two of my biggest mentors, Brian Johnson and Michael Balchan, are now my teammates at Optimize.
I could go on for days about these two. Both are astonishingly radiant exemplars, truly embodying and practicing wisdom to live life at their best and change the world.
Optimize has played a massive role in my personal and professional growth in the last 5 years. All of that is thanks to Bri.
Michael is the one who first turned me on to Optimize. He was the first coach I ever hired, and has played a direct role in supporting my growth in countless other ways.”
“Closing the gap between who you’re being and who you’re capable of being. Moment to moment.”
“I love moving my body and being outdoors! Hiking, climbing, camping, sports, going to the beach, playing games with friends, etc.
I find deep, meaningful conversations to be super fun.
And…I’m also obsessed with Optimizing! I geek out hard on the subject matter of my work, and generally find work to be fun.”
“My greatest accomplishments: every time I’ve made the decision to leave the safety of my comfort zone and the “approved path” to trust my intuition of what I really wanted.
What I want to accomplish: the same thing, repeated, to continue stepping into the next-best version of myself and giving my greatest gifts in service to others.
My biggest growth edge these days is all areas of building deeply meaningful, authentic, wholehearted relationships.”
“Most difficult = Loneliness and doubt when I hadn’t yet built any momentum in my business. I had no idea if forging my own path would work. I sometimes felt like I was crazy for trying. At one point, I had zero clients, went through a breakup, and my grandma died, all in the span of a couple weeks.
Every struggle requires a slightly different solution, but there are common frameworks and support structures that I apply in all of them:
1 – The Fundamentals. This is language we use at Optimize about how you’re managing your energy. How you’re sleeping, eating, moving, breathing, and meditating makes a HUGE difference in your ability to navigate challenges.
2 – What is it that I want? Beginning with the end in mind of the future vision. Orienting with that north-star. Then…
3 – How would I show up to this challenge if I were at my best? Getting clear on that. And then…
3 – Taking action. Taking small steps. That’s how we make progress.”
It’s not often that we have a challenge that’s UNcommon. All of our struggles are shared, in a way.
Simply having that frame, that we aren’t alone in, or broken for, facing the challenge the facing is a HUGE place to start.
If we are unwilling to accept and love our current situation, and find some semblance of okayness and internal safety within it, we’ll never be able to make effective progress forward.”
“1 – Dial in your Fundamentals. Sleep more. Eat nourishing foods. Move your body daily. Meditate every day. Breathe through your nose.
2 – Get support. Talk about your challenges with a trusted party.
3 – Treat it all like an experiment. Try things out. See if they work. Keep what helps, drop what doesn’t.”
“I’m living it. 🙂
The thing is, life is all about change. So this is mostly a process-orientation, not an end state.
Energetically, I’m in the best shape of my life and feel like I’m making meaningful progress towards my health/movement/energy-oriented goals.
Work-wise, I’m living on purpose. Giving a wide range of my skills in service to the world. Growing as a result of constant challenges. And working with a team, and in an environment of powerful support.
Love-wise, I feel connected with a community of people who care about me and want me to be my best, that my most important relationships are deepening in authentic and meaningful ways, and that I’m strengthening my ability to forge new connections.
Put another way, my ideal life is feeling like I’m on my path, and that I’m showing up every day ready to take another step forward.”
“1 – To make it the norm for everyone in the world to meditate every day.
2 – For everyone in the world to understand how to regulate their nervous systems and process challenging emotions.
3 – More wishes? ;)”
1— “Identify yourself with your aim in life, and do not permit any person, place, or thing to deflect you from your inner sense of peace, tranquility, and radiant health.”
2— “Do not let others do your thinking for you. Choose your own thoughts and make your own decisions.”
3—“Your mental attitude, i.e., the way you think, feel, and believe determines your destiny.”
4— “Every cell, nerve, tissue, and muscle of my lungs are now being made whole, pure, and perfect. My whole body is being restored to health and harmony.”
5— “The suggestions of others in themselves have absolutely no power whatever over you except the power that you give them through your own thoughts. You have to give your mental consent; you have to entertain the thought. Then, it becomes your thought, and you do the thinking. Remember, you have the capacity to choose. Choose life! Choose love! Choose health!”
6— “Once you understand that you do not have to accept them, choices open up for you.”
7—“Choose to believe that something good can happen and is happening now. Your greatest power is your capacity to choose. Choose happiness and abundance.”
8—“Busy your mind with the concepts of harmony, health, peace, and good will, and wonders will happen in your life.”
9—“Never finish a negative statement; reverse it immediately, and wonders will happen in your life.”
10—“The way to get rid of darkness is with light; the way to overcome cold is with heat; the way to overcome the negative thought is to substitute the good thought. Affirm the good, and the bad will vanish.”
11—“As you sow in your subconscious mind, so shall you reap in your body and environment.”
He brings up Bible verses:
12—“Whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. MARK 11:23.”
13—“Whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. MATT. 21:22”
14—“You must choose happiness. Happiness is a habit. It is a good habit to ponder often on Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report..”
15— “All of us have our own inner fears, beliefs, opinions. These inner assumptions rule and govern our lives. A suggestion has no power in and of itself. Its power arises from the fact that you accept it mentally.”
16— “Every thought is a cause, and every condition is an effect.”
17— “You grow old when you lose interest in life, when you cease to dream, to hunger after new truths, and to search for new worlds to conquer. When your mind is open to new ideas, new interests, and when you raise the curtain and let in the sunshine and inspiration of new truths of life and the universe, you will be young and vital.”
18— “The American philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson, said, ‘Man is what he thinks all day long.’”
19— “As a man thinks, feels, and believes, so is the condition of his mind, body, and circumstances.”
20— “The process of all healing is a definite, positive, mental attitude, an inner attitude, or a way of thinking, called faith. Healing is due to a confident expectancy, which acts as a powerful suggestion to the subconscious mind releasing its healing potency.”
21—“Though invisible, its forces are mighty. Within your subconscious mind you will find the solution for every problem, and the cause.”
22—“Remember, you are spiritually recharged during sleep, and adequate sleep is essential to produce joy and vitality in life.”
23—“Know that in your deeper mind are Infinite Intelligence and Infinite Power.”
24—“Your mental attitude, i.e., the way you think, feel, and believe determines your destiny.”
25— “Over ninety percent of your mental life is subconscious. If you fail to make use of this marvelous power, you condemn yourself to live within very narrow limits.”
26—“Look at your fears; hold them up to the light of reason. Learn to laugh at your fears. That is the best medicine. Nothing can disturb you but your own thought.”
27— “If you have indulged in fear, worry, and other destructive forms of thinking, the remedy is to recognize the omnipotence of your subconscious mind and decree freedom, happiness, and perfect health. Your subconscious mind, being creative and one with your divine source, will proceed to create the freedom and happiness, which you have earnestly decreed.”
28— “Remember, it is the world within, namely, your thoughts, feelings, and imagery that makes your world without.”
29—“Just keep your conscious mind busy with expectation of the best.”
Disclaimer—This might change your perspective on life. Hopefully for the better.
The choice is yours.
The 4 philosophy ideas I discuss stem from a philosophy called stoicism.
I wanted to title this post: “Stoicism 101; an old philosophy that can liberate you,” but I’m not sure if many people have heard about stoicism, and I know most people have heard of philosophy.
So what is stoicism? (scroll down to ‘4 Main Points‘ section for just the main points if you’d like).
Stoicism is defined as: “The endurance of pain or hardship without a display of feelings and without complaint.”
It is being okay with everything that happens & accepting how you feel. It is focusing on what you can control, and letting go of the rest.
Stoicism is also defined as: “An ancient Greek school of philosophy founded at Athens by Zeno of Citium. The school taught that virtue, the highest good, is based on knowledge, and that the wise live in harmony with the divine Reason (also identified with Fate and Providence) that governs nature, and are indifferent to the vicissitudes of fortune and to pleasure and pain.”
Stoicism helps us accept life as it is. It helps us get past our labels of “good” & “bad.” Stoicism helps put us in a mindful state of awareness, getting us out of our constantly judging mind, enabling us to experience life fully, non-judgmentally.
In relation to living non-judgmentally, I’ve heard this quote: “What is chaos to the fly is normal to the spider.”
Shakespeare also said, “there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
We know what is good or bad in human terms, but there is a lot more going on in the universe than what we think.
There is so much happening beyond us.
We know that murder is a bad thing, yet cows, chickens and other animal life are murdered daily in our world. I eat meat so I am not complaining, I am just trying to get us all to think.
Multiple countries eat dog today, and other countries think that this is very wrong…Here is an article that came out April 3, 2018 that discusses how over 5 million dogs are eaten in Vietnam every year—Click Here For Article.
Is it wrong to kill animals for food? I don’t have that answer.
Maybe hundreds or thousands of years from now, if the human race is still around, they will wonder how we could have eaten the meat of other animals.
Maybe not though as well.
Look back to a few examples from recent centuries, the 1900’s & beyond, to things we look back on in disgust: Open racism, public hangings & no womens’ rights.
These injustices are still happening today in some places.
So this is what philosophy is; thinking. Thinking, learning & then living out the best life from what we know. Philosophy is about questions & perspectives.
Stoicism is not pessimistic, it is optimistic, you just need to see it in the right light.
Before I get to the main points of stoicism, I would like your feedback via email. I am considering writing a short ebook that will discuss stoicism in more detail. I have about 70 pages of solid notes on the subject, & have read multiple books regarding stoicism, so if you would be interested in reading a short ebook(condensed to about 20 pages) please let me know!
For now, here is a summary of a few main points that stoicism offers & how we can apply them to our lives.
•Which translates to a love of one’s fate•
German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche was a big fan of amor fati.
He is quoted saying, “my formula for greatness in a human being is amor fati: that one wants nothing to be different, not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not merely bear what is necessary, still less conceal it, but love it.”
The stoics also had another way of looking at this. They believed in a universal guiding force of the universe. They thought we are like a dog tied to a moving cart, and we have two options: We can try to dig our hind legs in, struggling to control everything, getting dragged & being challenged. Or we can enjoy the ride & live our best lives.
Last quote on Amor Fati:
“Demand not that things happen as you wish, but wish them to happen as they do, and you will go on well.” Epictetus (Philosopher & former slave)
Are you loving your fate? If not, you can with practice, and it will help you live your best life.
Most of us have heard this quote: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Reinhold Niebuhr
We have heard it, and might think, “yea that’s good, I should do that.” But we often don’t follow through with this quote.
We need to follow through with action. Make a list of things you can control, and a list of things you can’t control. Then stop wasting any time on things you cannot control. This takes time & practice, as I am practicing this myself and am not perfect at it.
I love this idea from Philip Ghezelbash that relates to focusing on the things we can control:
“Do you have a problem in your life?
No? ► Then don’t worry.
Yes? ► Can you do something about it?…
Yes? ► Then don’t worry.
No? ► Then don’t worry.”
I have been practicing this lately when I am stuck in traffic. There is no reason to get upset in uncontrollable traffic, but many people do & I have too at times. I’ve been reminding myself that I have no control over the traffic, and this reminder has been bringing me peace of mind.
This may sound counterproductive but it can actually help a person grow tremendously.
When we intentionally practice poverty & misfortune a few days each month, we will be more prepared and accepting for when it does come.
“We must learn to disappoint ourselves at leisure before the world ever has a chance to slap us by surprise at a time of its own choosing.” Alain de Botton
Alain goes on to say: “One of the goals of civilization is to instruct us in how to be sad rather than angry. Sadness may not sound very appealing. But it carries – in this context – a huge advantage. It is what allows us to detach our emotional energies from fruitless fury around things that (however bad) we cannot change and that are the fault of no-one in particular and – after a period of mourning – to refocus our efforts in places where our few remaining legitimate hopes and expectations have a realistic chance of success.”
Entrepreneur, practicer of stoicism, and author of a New York Times Best Selling Book, The 4-Hour Workweek, Tim Ferriss, practices this each month. See him talk about it by clicking here…
Ferriss talks about how the philosopher Cato, would practice poverty & misfortune:
During Cato’s age, over 2000 years ago, every now and then he would wear clothes that society viewed as humiliating.
Cato did this to train himself to be ashamed of only those things truly worth being ashamed about.
Deep down we know that clothes are nothing to be ashamed of, but many people spend a lot of money to buy brand clothing to impress people they don’t even like.
The philosopher Seneca also practiced this. In one of his writings he wrote: “Set aside a certain number of days, during which you shall be content with the scantiest and cheapest fare, with coarse and rough dress, saying to yourself the while: ‘Is this the condition that I feared?’”
We undervalue what we have, because most likely we’ve always had it…
“Many of your fears are based on undervaluing the things that are easily obtainable.” Tim Ferriss
Ferriss also practices this by doing fasts, not eating anything for days, & also doing fasts that include only eating rice, or only drinking water. (If you plan on doing a fast, research it as much as possible beforehand).
This year I have done two 30 hour fasts, and multiple 16-20 hour fasts.
There has been a lot of research done on fasting, and it has many benefits. This Harvard study explains how fasting can lead to a longer and healthier life: Click Here for the study.
I’ve been practicing this another way without even knowing it: When I need clothes, I first go to Goodwill or other thrift stores, where I buy great clothes for a cheap price. I am very glad my mother took us to thrift shops growing up; they really have some amazing gems. And when I buy clothes that society might think is “poor,” that doesn’t bother me & I’ll still wear it.
Macklemore agrees here in his song Thrift shop(clean version).
He says, “I’m like, ‘yo, that’s 50 dollars for a t-shirt.’ Limited edition, let’s do some simple addition. 50 dollars for a t-shirt, that’s just some ignorant _____.
I call that getting tricked by the business.”
Do we care that much about the opinions of others that we will spend enormous amounts of money to impress them?
2000 years ago, former Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius said, “it never ceases to amaze me: we all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinion than our own.”
Think about what your life would be like without the things you have. It could happen. Better to have practiced misfortune so that if it comes to you, you won’t be bothered by it.
Are you practicing poverty & misfortune? If not, do you think you will?
Again, this may sound pessimistic, but it is liberating, and if you are still reading you can sense that practicing stoicism can be liberating.
Marcus Aurelius reminded himself of all the people who have died, whether they had a “great” occupation or a “lowly” one. He said: “Run down the list of those who felt intense anger at something: the most famous, the most unfortunate, the most hated, the most whatever: Where is all that now? Smoke, dust, legend…or not even a legend. Think of all the examples. And how trivial the things we want so passionately are.”
“No matter how clever or brilliant, none of what we do lasts…It’s good to remember that.” Ryan Holiday
“If everything is ephemeral, what does matter? Right now matters. Being a good person and doing the right thing right now, thats what matters and that’s what was important to the Stoics. Be humble and honest and aware.” Ryan Holiday
If you want to really live your best life, it is important to frequently think of your own mortality. This will help you appreciate each and every moment, and not have such an intense fear of death that most people refuse to think about.
“You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think.” Marcus Aurelius
I hope you enjoyed learning about, or learning more about the wonderful philosophy of stoicism. There are many more practices involved with stoicism; these were a few key starting points I believe are good to begin with, & they are ones that I am practicing.
If you want to learn more about stoicism, I recommend reading the book “Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius. I recently read it & it is now one of my top 3 all-time favorite books.
And as I said, I have many notes on stoicism and am considering writing a short ebook on the subject to discuss it in more details (the ebook would be around 20 pages). If this is something you’d be interested in reading please let me know 🙂
I look forward to hearing from you, & hope you have gained a new perspective through reading this.