2 Ideas & 15+ Techniques to Help you Achieve a Clear Quiet Mind

“Our biggest mistake is that how we, as an individual, sees things, is the way life is. That’s not true. That’s one perspective out of billions of people on a planet in the universe. How could what you experience be true for everyone? That’s just ignorant to think that way.”

 

This summary & book (Clear Quiet Mind by Kevin Schoeninger) are guides for those who are looking for ways to attain a deeper inner peace, leading you to a more fulfilled life—being more happy, healthy, loving and wealthy.

All aspects of your life benefit from inner peace.

I highlight two main ideas from the book and within those sections I include many “how-to’s” and techniques that when practiced can help you obtain peace of mind and better life experiences. 

You don’t need to read the sections in any specific order—if there is a section that you think will help you most then go to that one first!

Table of Contents for this Summary:

1) Main Idea Number 1 —The way you perceive & think about Reality is unique and NOT how Reality actually is (Solution=Objective Thinking)

         1a) Perception in Politics

2) How to Take on an Objective Perspective

         1) Recognize & Accept that your personal perspective has been influenced & shaped by your environment throughout your upbringing

         2) THINK about specific experiences you would like to have more of, and then write them down

         3) Technique—Mental Rehearsal

         4) Technique—Making Conscious Turnarounds

         5) Write down small actionable tasks you can do to get closer to experiencing things you want

         6) Focus on what you are Thankful For

         7) Practice Self-Observation

8) 5 ways To Practice Healthy Detachments

         8a) Observe what you are doing from a place above and behind your head (The First Seat of Consciousness)

         8b) Laugh at yourself (this is one of my personal favorites)

         8c) Take a walk, exercise, change your posture, and move your energy

         8d) Journal

         8e) Detachment Drill

9) —Big Idea Number 2 — Life Is Communicating With You

         9a) Techniques & How To’s on Listening to Life

10) 7 More Techniques to Help you Live your Best Life

         11) Technique For Redirecting Thoughts: Mental Pause

         12) Mental Approach For Change: Take full responsibility

         13) Technique—Remind self of affirmations

         14) The Ultimate Release Technique: Forgiveness

         15) Technique: Rewriting the Past Technique

         16) Technique: Inner Smiling

         17) Mental Technique: Viewing tough times as opportunities

18) More Quotes

 

Kevin explains how peace of mind does NOT come from external circumstances; it is something to be had by practicing techniques (written throughout this post), which when practiced and applied to your life can help you have more of the life experiences you truly want.

Kevin dives deep into the human psyche throughout the book by using what he has learned in over 35 years of learning & teaching multiple fields of Mind-Body Training (Life Coach, Qigong Meditation Instructor and Reiki Master Teacher). He also has his Master’s Degree in Philosophy.

I have done my best to condense the almost 200 page book into an outline of what I think will best help you begin living a more peaceful life today…

..I can confidently say that if you take time out of your busy day to patiently practice some of these techniques, you will recognize yourself having less worries & truly enjoying more of the day-to-day tasks that you previously found to be tedious. 

If you’d like, you can buy the book here on Amazon.

Enjoy.

Main Idea Number 1—

The way you perceive & think about Reality is unique and NOT how Reality actually is.

We all perceive & think about reality in our own different & unique way.

The quote at the very beginning of this article talks about how our personal, narrow-minded thinking can limit our life experiences and therefore our happiness.

What is the solution?

Practicing Objective Thinking.

When you aren’t able to understand why a person does what they do, you are looking at life through your own personal lens and not allowing yourself to view life through their lens.

Our limiting thoughts become our idea of who we are, and what reality is, but our thoughts can not represent reality in an accurate way.

1a

Perception in Politics

A great example of this is in observing Politics. Politicians learn to speak confidently even if they are lying. They usually try to get people on “their side” and make “the other side” look bad. Instead of being objective and trying to truly see how they can help their community, country and world, they create an us against them mentality and only small and usually futile tasks are achieved. —This is not all politicians, but it seems to be a trend.

Can we one day genuinely cooperate & work together? Can we actually resolve negative situations?

*A way to resolve this is to take on the mindset of not viewing others’ opinions as ‘wrong,’ but just as different.*

Here are some quotes from Kevin that will help you begin taking on a more objective perspective:

“We believe that the way we think about things is the way things are—and if someone else thinks differently, we believe they are flat wrong. This leads to inner tension and outer conflict. It keeps us from expressing ourselves articulately and from working well with others.” (154)

“What if, instead of points of view being right or wrong, every point of view simply shows us some aspect of reality?” (154)

“What if we begin with each person sharing what is important to them, while the other people listen and ask questions to better understand where the one speaking is coming from? Everyone can then share their points of view with reference to the points made by previous speakers.” (154)

“What if our goal is not ‘Being Right!’ But, instead, coming to mutual understandings and solutions that honor each other’s perspectives?” (155)

“How might your discussions be if you start with these basic insights?:

1—Every point of view has something to show us.

2—No perspective contains the whole truth.”

“Once you let go of the need to be right, you can open to a much wider range of insight and information. You gain a deeper compassion for yourself and others.” (158)

How To Take On An Objective Perspective:

1

Recognize & Accept that your personal perspective has been influenced & shaped by your environment throughout your upbringing.

“Perspective is like a lens that offers a specific view of the world. It can be a collection of almost any number of preconceptions, expectations, thoughts, feelings, beliefs, desires, needs, moods, relationships, memories, physical sensations, and external circumstances which form your personal meaning context at a specific moment in time.” (11)

“Studies have shown that 90% of error in thinking is due to error in perception. If you can change your perception you can change your emotion and this can lead to new ideas.” Edward de Bono

Here are some questions that can show you how your perspective has been influenced by your environment. Answering these questions can help you gain a new perspective and lead you to living your best life on purpose:

What has been the result of living from this perspective?

Am I living a life I desire?

Have I chosen to surround myself with supportive people?

Practicing objective techniques (Below) can help you live a life you love.

Your actions are a result of your thinking, and if your thinking has been heavily influenced by your environment then how do you know you truly think for yourself?

You don’t need to be happy all the time—there are ups and downs in everyones’ lives—but you are the only person who can really know if you are living your best life.

Living as a product of one’s environment is easy, it takes little effort. Know that you have to put some effort into opening your mind to new perspectives and taking control of your life.

“What you focus on determines what appears before you. How you focus determines your relationship to what happens. Why you focus determines your energy, inspiration, actions, and results. And your conscious choice of focus determines the quality of your life and interactions with others.” (14)

Ask yourself, ‘What am I focusing on at this moment?’ Then ask, ‘What happens when I focus on this?’” (15)

**When we have any experience, the primary mistake we all make is to think that ‘the way we experience things is the way things are.’ … We absorb those beliefs, attach to them, identify with them, and live from them as if they are true, as if they accurately represent Reality. We then tend to think these beliefs will always be true and continue to act in alignment with them. Then, in turn, produces results in our lives that reinforce those beliefs.” (19-20)

Kevin talks about how when we live with our limiting beliefs we quickly tend to judge ourselves and others: 

“We see ourselves and others conditionally. Only if people behave in certain ways, have certain preferences, or conform to certain beliefs and values, are they worthy of being loved, cared for, and rewarded. Otherwise, they are excluded or punished.” (20)

“Instead of asking ‘what is the right way to look at things?’ Ask ‘what does this perspective show us?’

‘What does it focus on and highlight?’

‘What does it reveal?’

‘What is the result of looking at this situation this way?’ (22)

2

THINK about specific experiences you would like to have more of, and then write them down (Technique-Mental Rehearsal)

“Is there anything you hope or wish for but haven’t been able to do, be, or have? A limiting belief is hiding there.” (21)

Many people automatically focus on negative results, which makes them more likely to have negative experiences. When you are thinking about an experience you do NOT want to have Kevin says you should think about positive alternatives and make a new choice that will lead to a better experience—(Technique-Making Conscious Turnarounds).

 

3

TECHNIQUE—MENTAL REHEARSAL 

(165-170)

“The purpose of mental rehearsal is to consciously use your imagination to pave the way for the experiences you desire and to test options that might provide these experiences.”

How to Practice Mental Rehearsals:

First, define an experience you’d like to have and imagine any important details of this experience.

Second, in your imagination step into the scene so it surrounds you. Notice what it feels like to live in this experience.

Third test some potential options that might give you this experience and notice how they make you feel.”

Take back control of your life. Ask these questions:

“Is it possible to let others have their feelings and opinions without allowing them to determine what you think and feel? Can you let go of allowing the opinions of others to control you? Is it possible to stand strong for what you want in the face of criticism?”

Also “Write down any obstacles or objections to the option you are considering and how you might handle them.”

“To summarize mental rehearsal, the key is to define and imagine your desired experience in full sensory detail, step into it as if you are living it, and notice how it feels.”

 

4

TECHNIQUE—MAKING CONSCIOUS TURNAROUNDS

“When you are frustrated, sad, angry, or depressed, what do you do? Are you at the mercy of these feelings? Do they make you think you’ll never have what you really want and never be who you want to be?” (173)

Conscious Turnarounds help you empower yourself. 

How to have a conscious turnaround:

(174-180)

“Be real about what you are feelings and the thoughts that stroke this feeling. Don’t suppress it.”

See if you can observe all this without judging yourself as good or bad. Use your skills of mindfulness, acceptance, and detachment.” (Mindfulness, acceptance & Detachment are discussed in Step 5).

“Ask yourself “When did I start thinking and feeling this way? What event set these thoughts and feeling in motion?”

“Have you thought this way your whole life? Or did a specific event or series of events set this mood in motion? Most recently, what prompted you to think, feel, and act this way?”

“This experience does not represent the way things are, it’s just how you think things are.”

“Perhaps there are other ways of thinking, which would feel different, lead you to act differently, and create different results?”

Remind yourself of your limiting perspective. Think about experiences you want to have and welcome those new possibilities.

“Ask yourself, “If anything is possible now, what would I like to have happen?”

“Even if you’re not convinced that you can think, feel, and act differently, what if you could? Even if you’re not convinced you can have different results in your life, what if it is possible? What happens when you act as if things can change?”

…“Once you crack open the door of what if, and allow in even a silver of light or a wisp of fresh air, that sets the stage for new thoughts, feelings, actions, and results to appear before you. What might these be?”

“Ask, ‘What is one, small, very doable action I can take to move in this direction, to have a taste of this experience?” (This is Step 3, below)

As you ask these questions and take action you become an intentional actor in your life instead of a victim of circumstances. Continuing to view yourself as a victim creates all kinds of anxieties and worries. Kevin says that conscious action is a cure:

“Stepping into conscious intentional action is the key to transforming your anxiety into excitement, anger and judgment into loving acceptance of yourself and others, depression into inspiration, doubt into confidence, and fear into faith.”

If this were easy everyone would do it. If it were easy to let go of how you think things are, we would all do it. It can be difficult because our thinking has been conditioned and reinforced throughout our lives. The more you practice letting go of how you think things are, the more you will take on new perspectives and allow for better life experiences.

“Your thoughts, feelings, actions, and results form a perspective through which you perceive yourself, others, and Life.”

 

5

Write down small actionable tasks you can do to get closer to experiencing things you want

Example—After writing down specific experiences you would like to have more of, such as “I would like to work from home and travel, living on a beach in _(fill in the blank)_,” some small actionable tasks to help you experience that are: 

—Think about a subject or subjects that you are knowledgeable in. Write them down.

—Look up stay at home jobs in that field & look up the top influencers in that field.

—Read the top books(find at least 3 specific books) in your field of interest.

—Continually seeking out opportunities that would allow you to work from home.

*Never Stop Learning.

—Feel free to email me if you have a goal or goals and are having a difficult time thinking of actionable tasks to achieve it.

 

6

Focus on what you are thankful for

Think of at least 3 specific things instead of dwelling on something negative. This can quickly change your state of mind. Billionaire entrepreneur and coach Tony Robbins agrees and explains Here how to not just think about gratitude but feel and step into a grateful ‘state of being.’ He says that “Gratitude is the solution to anger and fear.”

 

7

Practice Self-Observation

Self-observation is your ability to adopt a ‘neutral perspective’ from which you can witness your thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and results as objectively and honestly as possible—without judging them as ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ As best as you can, you simply witness what is.” (29)

Practicing self-observation includes using techniques that stem from mindfulness, acceptance, and detachment.

Mindfulness is your ability to consciously place your attention on something and be ‘present with it.’ — You are present with your thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and results, moment by moment, without being caught up in and carried away by them. You are simply witnessing presence.” (30)

Acceptance is crucial because it enables you to look at yourself very clearly, instead of avoiding the truth because you don’t like what you see.”

With acceptance comes detachment: 

Detachment is separating yourself from your thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and results.

Kevin describes detachment with: “You separate who you are from the thoughts and feelings ‘you have,’ the actions ‘you take, and the results ‘you get.’  You are NOT your thoughts, feelings and actions, or the results you bring. You are the one who ‘has’ the experience.”

8

5 ways To Practice Healthy Detachments 

(57-61)

8a) Observe what you are doing from a place above and behind your head (The First Seat of Consciousness) 

The first seat of consciousness is letting go of our thoughts and any associations we have as we experience a place just above and behind our head.

“For a few moments, you let go and your awareness ‘diffuses,’ so you take in the ‘whole field’ of this page, yourself, and the space around you.”

Kevin introduces and explains how to practice this seat of consciousness HERE.

 

8b) Laugh at yourself (this is one of my personal favorites)

“We all take ourselves pretty seriously..” This is true.

* “There’s a simple antidote: see what’s funny about what you’re doing, thinking, or saying—or make it funny.”

“Can state what you’re thinking in a funny voice and really exaggerate it. This can work well with a limiting belief, a fear, or something you really want to be right about!!”

“Bottom line is to find something funny about what you’re doing or make it into something funny to take the edge off your seriousness and let go of how tightly you’re hanging onto your point of view.”

 

8c) Take a walk, exercise, change your posture, and move your energy

“Take a deep in-breath as you raise your arms overhead. 

“If you really need an attitude adjustment, try more vigorous exercise.”

 

8d) Journal 

“When you journal, try writing down exactly what you are thinking and feeling, without judgment, nonstop, until you feel you’ve gotten it all out.”

“When you’re done writing, you may want to rip up what you’ve written, or burn it, to symbolize that those thoughts and feelings have run their course.”

 

8e) Detachment Drill

“Detachment Drill is something you can say to yourself, over and over, to imprint the idea that you are not defined by your current perspective. When you realize that you are much more than anything you think, feel, and do or anything that happens to you—this helps you detach and let go.”

As you practice detachment techniques you will be able to realize that you are not your thoughts. Thoughts are only one aspect to any individual—they are not the whole individual. Who you truly are is beyond thoughts, which is hard to understand because as humans we are constantly thinking.

You are the universe experiencing itself through the perspective of the physical body you are in.

When you begin recognizing how your perspective is shaping your experiences, you will be able to better shape & change your perspective so that you are able to make choices that lead you to experiences you truly want to have.

“Keep in mind that your limiting perspective is not a solid, unchanging thing. It is more like a tendency, a preference, a habit, and one that isn’t giving you the results you desire.” (34)

Know that your limiting perspective is temporary and only thoughts that have been reinforced. It can be changed.

Many people are comfortable in their pain, so they hold on to their limiting perspectives:

“If you strongly identify with your limiting perspective, think it is a permanent quality that defines you, or think it is the ‘true and right way,’ to see things, you make it more real and substantial than it really is. It becomes negative force in your life and strongly determines the results you get.” (35)

So detachment is a lot about letting go of limiting perspectives so that you can have experiences you actually want to have.

When applying self-observation:

“You become a magnet for better experiences and discover that you have a lot more power to influence what happens than you thought. As a result of these experiences, you tend to feel more grateful and at ease no matter what happens.” (48)

 

9

—Big Idea Number 2 — 

Life Is Communicating With You

(117-137)

In this section you will find quotes & ideas that can help you understand that life is communicating with you. People who ignore what life is telling them usually aren’t happy for long, but if you truly learn to listen to life, happiness happens.

This life-force is “An invisible life-force that has come in many names through many religions. This Life-Force is the Divine Breath that animates and connects us all.”

We experience this life-force all the time but we just don’t usually recognize it.

“Have you ever felt the presence of someone who just walked into a room? Or have you felt uneasy or deeply relaxed when entering a room? Do you get a feeling about a person when you meet them, without even knowing anything about them?”

These energies are life communicating with you.

9a

Techniques & How To’s on Listening to Life:

Breathing is one of the best techniques for activating the life-force. Breathing is the most primary event happening in the present moment that is keeping you alive.”

To practice breathing, find a quiet place as you sit comfortably upright. Don’t try to force breathing, but focus on the sensations inside your body:

“Allow your mind to rest on any sensations that draw your attention. See if it’s possible to simply be aware of how your breathing presents itself, without trying to feel anything specific and without trying to make anything happen. Just pay attention and notice any sensations of breathing..”

“See if you can maintain an attitude of ‘waiting on your breath’ and ‘following it’ just as it is.”

“To help you, can mentally repeat ‘breathe In’ when inhaling, then ‘breathe out’ when exhaling.”

“Or can say ‘Re’ when inhaling then ‘lax’ when exhaling. Many people find an anchoring word or phrase is soothing and helps them focus.”

As you breathe, ‘feel that you’re welcoming the Universal Life-force into yourself as you inhale and imagine that you are breathing out feelings of appreciation and gratitude for this gift of life as you exhale.”

“What if you relax and trust the flow of life through you, rather than trying so hard to make things happen, because you believe it’s all up to you and you have to do it on your own?”

Letting go and trusting life will give you a more abundant, healthy and peaceful life.

As you begin listening more to life as it communicates to you, you will be able to welcome new possibilities into your life:

“This is a powerful gift of a clear quiet mind—the ability to receive intuitive insight and guidance….your mind is in a state in which intuitive wisdom naturally arises.”

“You can use your analytical mind to gather date, assess pros and cons, and weigh alternatives. Then once you’ve done this preliminary research, it’s time to set your intuitive mind to work.”

“What if you pick up on everything that is happening around you because you are, in fact, interacting with everything energetically? What if you are not aware of these interactions simply because these exchanges are invisible to your eyes and you have not tuned into and cultivated your ability to sense energy?”

“With practice, this type of information can become a source of profound guidance. Receiving this guidance brings a sense of magic and spiritual comfort to life. It gives you the feeling that everything is set up just the way it is meant to be—and that all is well.”

“A nice analogy here is to imagine your mind as the sky. When the sky is clear, it’s easy to see individual clouds floating by. If your mind’s sky is stormy, it’s a jumbled, swirling, confusing mass of information that can be overwhelming.”

“So the first step in discerning intuitive information is learning to clear and quiet your mind—To recognize where you’re coming from, let go of how you think things are, and return to your clear quiet mind.”

“In a nutshell, this is a matter of paying attention to what is happening in the present moment, noticing information in the many forms it might come to you, asking good questions about what you notice, and testing out the results and consequences in real life.”

“For example, Dr. Rossman, suggests that, if you become aware that you’re having heart trouble, you might imagine that your heart can speak to you. Ask it what it has to tell you, what it wants. If you have headaches, imagine that your head or brain can speak to you.What does it need in order not to hurt so much?”

“Good questions to ask: ‘What’s the message in this pain, anxiety, fear, irritation, or discomfort? What needs attention right now? What can I do about this?”

“A second way your subconscious speaks to you is through images. Do you notice any recurring scenes, scenarios, or images in your dreams? Do you notice the same images in your environment again and again? Recurring and attracting images can be signs that important information is available.

“Third notice signals in your environment. What is life showing you by what is happening to you? What do you hear others saying? What is life revealing about you by what is appearing around you?”

Journaling can help you put the pieces of this puzzle together. To figure out what life is telling you, write down everything that happens throughout your days—your thoughts, feelings, actions, experiences, etc.

“What if life is always guiding you to your next step? Imagine a possible step you could take.”

Again, Good questions to ask:

“What can I do about such and such?

What is the message in this experience?

What is important to know about ________?

What is my soul purpose in this situation?”

“Pay attention to insights arriving in your daily life, your dreams, and your interactions with others. You also might receive images or insights that don’t make clear sense at first, but, as you contemplate them more, they reveal new insights.”

“See if you can simply stay present with your inquiry, without rushing to have an answer. Allow it to resonate within you and imagine your inquiry sends out lines that connect with what you need to know right now.”

It’s important to stay present, open and aware without judging anything to really hear what life is telling you.

10

7 More Techniques to Help you Live your Best Life:

11

Technique For Redirecting Thoughts: Mental Pause

Kevin encourages readers to use the technique of a Mental Pause to redirect your negative thoughts to a better experience:

“Can be used in moments of tension, fear, anxiety, stress, and confusion…to practice mental pause, stop what you’re doing, take a time-out and insert a mental pause…. 

—Ask, “What am I afraid of at this moment? Notice the first thing that comes to mind.” 

—Ask “Is there anything I need to do about this? Does this relate to a painful situation from my past? If so, am I now ready and willing to let this fear go?”

“As you discover this deeper source of peace, you’ll gain a greater trust, faith, and belief in the benevolent grace of Life and be able to welcome new and better possibilities.” (52)

12

Mental Approach For Change: Take full responsibility

We know that the first step is to recognize the way you’re thinking. Now, take 100% responsibility for your perspective. Yes, our environment shapes us, but now that you know that it shapes you, it’s time for you to shape yourself.

“Only when you take full responsibility for how you are thinking about things are you able to let go of thoughts that no longer serve you.”

Lasting results come from inner work. 

“This inner work is not just for you, because, as you release your fear-based thoughts, stories, and beliefs, you add this ability to our collective consciousness.”

Detachment helps with this inner work—“Detachment is simply stepping outside your current perspective, so you can let go, gain new insight, and welcome new possibilities.” (57)

13

Technique—Remind self of affirmations:

—“I have thoughts and opinions, and I am more than these. I am a conscious observer who can entertain many different thoughts and choose the ones that work best at any given moment.”

—“I have emotions and feelings, and I am more than these. I can explore the energy and information in emotions to better understand myself and others.”

—“I have interests and desires, and I am more than these. I can use my interests and desires as information to steer me toward what I am here to do.”

—“I have a body, and I am more than a body. My body is just a vehicle in which my soul has experiences.” 

—“I have experiences, and I am more than these. I am a witnessing presence who can choose how I relate to whatever happens.”

“Repeat this sequence (affirmations above^^) out loud or in your mind until you notice a shift in your consciousness—until you’ve really detached from hanging onto any way you define yourself that limits you. Then, notice how you feel.” 

I loved chapter 7 so much that I wrote an article on this chapter alone. You can find out more on the Myth of Perfection HERE.

14

The Ultimate Release Technique: Forgiveness

What is true forgiveness? And how can you really forgive? Read Kevin’s impactful view on forgiveness below.

“Forgiveness is an essential technique for letting go of any experience that has an intense emotional charge.”

Kevin has a good perspective on forgiveness:

“Before we explore what it means to forgive and why it’s so effective, let’s dismiss two common misconceptions about forgiveness that may hold you back from it—

—1) That forgiveness is about letting a person who did something wrong ‘off the hook.’

—2) That forgiveness means you are weak or ‘giving in.’

“Forgiveness is primarily about the one doing the forgiving. Forgiveness is something you do to let go. It is something you do to stop allowing the past to intrude on the present.

“It is about letting go of being defined and controlled by something that happened in the past. You forgive so you can move on. Forgiveness is a step toward your own personal inner freedom.”

“Forgiveness is an act of strength. It is saying to yourself, ‘I will not be controlled by what happened to me in the past. I will not be a victim. I choose to let go, so I can move forward.’” 78

“Forgiveness may or may not be expressed to someone else. You don’t need to say: ‘I forgive you for _____’ you can forgive them for yourself as you say it to yourself.”

Many times people unintentionally hurt another person because of something going on inside of them. Practice not taking your pains personally:

“That doesn’t mean that what they did was right, or excusable, or in any way acceptable to you. They may have been completely misguided. However, what if what they did was an expression of where they were coming from at that moment—and that was about them.” 79

“What they did might have been a retaliation for something you did that was unfair, uncaring, dishonest, or harmful. Is there something you did, said, thought, or felt that played into what happened?”

Kevin also talks about the importance of forgiving yourself. He asks readers, “Is there something you need to forgive yourself for?”

“Forgiveness happens in layers over time — You’ll know when its been effective. You’ll feel an inner freedom that wasn’t there before. You may also sense a clearing in the relationship with you and the others involved.”

Forgiveness can be a process that takes time. It can take multiple efforts and progressive insights & results for real forgiveness to happen.

Doc Childre said “If you stop traveling down those pathways, they’ll soon give way to the new patterns you’re creating, but it takes repetition.”

How to Practice Forgiveness:

“Forgiveness, in our context, is letting go of anger, resentment, blame, or indignation toward yourself and others for perceived wrongdoing.” 80

You forgive not because what was done was OK, or in any way acceptable, but simply because forgiveness will help you to heal, move on, and journey forward. Regardless of the potential impact on others (which can be powerful), forgiveness of others and yourself is most important for what it does for you, the person doing the forgiving.” 80

It’s normal to feel resistance to forgiveness.

Kevin invites you to practice forgiveness using a meditative journaling process called “Rewriting the Past.” Rewriting the past helps you call to mind a past event and view it in a new healthier and objective perspective.

15

Technique: Rewriting the Past Technique

How to Rewrite the Past:

(80-87)

“Find yourself a quiet private environment and commit 20 minutes to do this. Turn off your phone.”

1) Begin by consciously relaxing

—Imagine your body parts completely relaxed. Feel them relaxed. “Take a few slow, deep breaths and feel the sensations of breathing inside your body. Each time you exhale, release any tension from your body with a deep sigh, ‘haaahhhh.’”

2) From this relaxed place, call to mind the past experience you would like to let go of and give it a name.

—Imagine where you were, who you were with, what happened, and how you felt. As you recall this event, accept whatever images, thoughts, or feelings arise.

“You had this experience, but you are more than this experience. It in no way defines who you are. You are a conscious presence who is more than any experiences you have had.

All feelings come and go. It’s OK. You’ll be fine. If you feel overwhelmed, take a few slow deep breaths to help you let go and come back to present-moment sensations in your body. 

3) Now shift to key components of the memory associated with this experience.

—Look back on the past event as objectively as possible, see it as a learning opportunity, forgive yourself and others, and, then, see the past in a new light.”

4) Forgive self for the part you played in this experience.

5) Observe self in new light. 

—Remember better moments/experiences with the people involved. Can you create a new memory in relation to this event in the light of self-compassion?

—Imagine and feel as if your whole body is filling with your breath. As you exhale, imagine and feel as if your whole body empties out.

—Other ways to rewrite the past include forgiving the other person or persons involved. Not because it was ok for them to do what they did, but for your healing.

Also see if it’s possible to remember better moments with the person or people involved.

Is it also possible to see this past experience as a learning opportunity? 

“Write down any insights about how this experience can help you be wiser or become a better person.”

Here is an idea of why we stress so much:

“We normally identify who we are with our body, our personality, our thoughts and feelings, what we believe, the roles we fulfill, and what we do. Because these aspects of our being are subject to change, decay, and death, we constantly try to make ourselves into something more substantial and secure. We are always striving to be, do, or have more. This fruitless pursuit keeps us in a perpetual state of stress.” (95)

Who is the “I” that is having the experience? It’s not your ego-it’s NOT who you think you are. Kevin calls this egoless state of mind your “clear quiet mind” (96)

This can help you prioritize: “What might you let go of because it’s not really that important? What might you choose to prioritize and focus on?” (107)

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Technique: Inner Smiling

(109-114)

Inner smiling is also a great technique to create better experiences and a clear quiet mind for yourself.

“Inner Smiling is a powerful way to heal your heart, reduce stress, improve your health and immune response, stay calm in the midst of chaos grow stronger relationships, and find clear intuitive guidance.”

It’s “Focusing on your heart while you generate these ‘core heart feelings.’”

“Using appreciation, gratitude, love and trust within the space of your heart shifts you into a state of optimal function and healing.”

Step to help with inner smiling:

—Get relaxed, imagine your favorite place. (Example- sitting in sun in warmth) Feel yourself smile and smile and feel gratitude.

“Imagine you are breathing warm, positive, smiling energy in and out through your heart…As you breathe in, imagine and feel you are welcoming warm, positives smiling energy into your heart. Appreciate and feel grateful for this soothing energy.”

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Mental Technique: Viewing tough times as opportunities

(141-150)

“What if these challenging moments are the ones that hold the greatest opportunity to break free from your habitual reactions? What if your most challenging struggles carry your greatest guidance and deepest connections?”

“Challenging emotions are portals to deeper insights and connections.”

“Doc Childre and Howard Martin of the HeartMath Institute describe the power of the heart: The heart’s electromagnetic field is by far the most powerful produced by the body; it’s approximately five thousand times greater in strength than the field produced by the brain, for example. The heart’s field not only permeates every cell in the body but also radiates outside of us; it can be measured up to eight to ten feet away with sensitive detectors called magnetometers.”

So remember that you have a limiting perspective. Don’t avoid your feelings or distract yourself. Limiting thoughts arise often. Once you recognize them you can move forward.

How you think things are are NOT the way things actually are. It’s just how things are for you.

“Place your attention in your heart, imagine you are breathing in and out through your heart, and allow your emotions to flow freely through you, rather than trying to stop them.”

Imagine yourself in a comfortable position. An ideal place. On a beach. A couch. Relaxing in a country you’d love to be in. A place that soothes and supports you.

Ask yourself what you need to do to move through this. What can you learn from this experience? How can you respond to this situation to move forward with meaning and purpose? Allow yourself to welcome new possibilities.

“Shrines of loved ones…We see them every day and remember that life is more than a few years in this body and we are always part of a larger spiritual family. The worries of life seem so much less scary from an Eternal perspective.”

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More Quotes

If there are any quotes in this section that have already been written throughout the paper it is because repetition is a great way to learn. The more you hear something, the more you are likely to learn it.

Perspectives, just like subjects in schools, are learned, which means that you can change yours with practice.

“Meditation also taught me about the diversity in myself. I can have a whole host of different thoughts and feelings—and none of these define who I am. I can inhabit any number of roles and engage in any number of different activities, yet none of these define me. I am something other than the thoughts, feelings, roles, and behaviors in which I participate.” (157)

“I am simply one who has experience. Objectively speaking, I am “a place” in the Universal Field where “experiences happen.” Subjectively I am a witnessing presence who can step into and inhabit any perspective that I choose in order to experience a wide variety of possibilities.” (157)

“Personal flaws can be doorways to greater awareness, as well. When we approach them with mindfulness, acceptance, and detachment, our flaws give us perspectives that lead us to specific insights or to develop specific skills we wouldn’t have discovered otherwise.” (157)

“Our personal quirks give us unique perspectives that widen the world. They also give us more appreciation for the quirks of others.” (157)

“Instead of hunkering down and being scared, defensive, judgmental, and angry, we can accept the diverse parts of our own experience—including our own feelings of vulnerability. We understand that anger and judgment are defenses that protect these softer sides of ourselves.” (158)

“Underneath our anger and judgments are feelings of wanting to be loved, accepted, safe, and secure.” (158)

“You can live in many different worlds —and these worlds change moment by moment, depending on what you focus on and how you relate to it.” (162)

“Houses are a great metaphor for perspective. A perspective is a point of view you inhabit that enables certain experiences. Perspectives include thoughts, feelings, memories, actions, and habits that form a point of view. A point of view enables you to see certain things and not others. It gives you a focus that supports certain types of experiences.”162

“So when searching for a house, or making any decision, here are some good questions to ask yourself: ‘What experience do I want to have? And “What decision best supports this experience?” (162)

“As one who has experiences, as a witnessing presence, you can choose to inhabit any perspective.” (185)

Kevin encourages you to think that everything happens for the benefit of the whole life-source:

“I believe the challenges we are having right now on our planet are doing exactly this—pushing us to evolve. What if Life is calling us to expand and grow, to raise our consciousness to a new level?” (185)

“What if all these events are coming up to make us more of who we are here to be?” (186)

“In the face of these challenges, (what if we learned to ) ask more empowering questions:

“What is this experience trying to tell me? If life is set up to always guide me forward, what is this experience revealing? What is it calling forth from me? What do I want to see more of in the world? How can I participate in this? How can I make a positive difference in my own life—and share this with others?” (186)

“What do you feel inspired to do? How can you act on this today?” (186)

“When you engage in conscious, positive, intentional action—even a little every day—it changes how you feel about life. When you make inspired action a practice, you no longer feel like a victim of circumstances. You realize you are a conscious creator who can make a difference. You are here to play your part, to take on your unique role. In the light of this perspective, your actions take on a life of their own and they carry you, and all of us, forward to places we’ve never imagined possible!” (187)

“From the deep inner peace of your clear quiet mind an abiding appreciation and gratitude for the gift of each moment naturally arises—and you realize you can welcome any experience you choose!” (187)

 

As you begin to live with more of a clear quiet mind, you are able to view life through a lens of love, being able to live more of the experiences you truly want.

 

Continue practicing techniques that help you deepen your inner peace. Good luck & I hope the best for you on your journey!

 

The Myth of Perfection

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As I was reading a book an acquaintance sent me, Clear Quiet Mind, I came across a section in the book from Chapter 7, The Myth of Perfection, that I believe is very helpful for accepting our imperfections and living with peace of mind in a World that is constantly telling us to be “perfect.”

After reading this chapter on the myth of perfection I googled “myth of perfection” and found that many people have written on this subject: The Huffington post, Professors, TEDTalks, etc. It is a popular subject, so it must be important to discuss. 

Here I break down what I find from these multiple sources with practical ways of accepting our imperfections from Clear Quiet Mind, which can help you get past your myth of perfection to living a life with more peace of mind. Enjoy.

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Dictionary definitions of perfect include: “Having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be.”

“Completely free from faults or defects, or as close to such a condition as possible.”

Why do so many of us strive for an impossible feat which only leads us to disappointment? Why do we judge others when they make a mistake, but are forgiving for our own faults?

Are your role models perfect? Who are your role models? If they are a superhero from a movie or book, then that’s just not realistic.

A TED Talks speaker, Jim Hill, speaks of his former unrealistic expectations of himself and of others here.

He says, “Ive been wrong about role models all along. They don’t have to be perfect. How could they be perfect? They’re people.”

He goes on to speak about how no one is “perfect” all the time. We’re people. We’re flawed, and that is okay. After someone told him he was a good role model, he thought of all the reasons why he was not a good role model, but he says, “But if I could be a good role model for this slice of time, well then maybe all my role models could be perfect in slices of time.” 

Instead of judging a person off of one bad thing they did, or maybe something they didn’t do, we can look at the slices of their lives that are inspiring to us: A characteristic of theirs, an achievement, an attitude, etc. When we chase perfection in ourselves and in others we only end up beating ourselves up, or others up (verbally usually), because we all fall short.

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I want to be perfect just like you do, so how can we accept this inevitable fact of being imperfect?

Practical techniques from Clear Quiet Mind are next, but one way the speaker Jim helped himself was by practicing recognizing that his friends aren’t perfect, but they are pretty awesome at times, so he looked at the positive traits in them instead of focusing on any negative. He now tries to look at everyday people as role models, none of them are perfect, but they have slices of perfection woven into them. He says that doing this has let him off the hook of perfection.

An incredibly helpful way to release the myth of perfection is to understand that no one is perfect or ever will be, but we can look at the good qualities in others life and look up to those qualities.

Author Kevin Schoeninger also has great ideas and ways on how to handle this myth of perfection. He goes a little deeper on this subject by diving into ways to recognize when we are viewing things from a myth of perfection and then ways to release the myth of perfection.

Remember, we all struggle at times with this myth of perfection. Don’t beat yourself up for not being perfect.

Kevin says things like:

“Do you avoid taking risks in business because you think you might fail?”

“The Myth of Perfection is an invisible line that is impossible to measure up to.”

“When have you done enough? “By what standards can these be judged—and, who says so?”

“Is it really important for you and/or your kids or be busy, productive, and perfect all the time? Does that make for a happy and healthy life?”

“What if these standards of perfectionism are arbitrary, illusory, and moving targets that keep you locked in the stress of never being good enough or worthy enough for what you really want?”

The bottom line is that ‘perfection’ is a myth. What you see when you step back and observe life more objectively is not perfection, but ‘diversity.’ Life is infinitely diverse. Diversity is a rule here on Earth. There are over seven billion different human bodies, sets of skills, habits, lifestyles, preferences, and personalities—and countless other lifeforms, each with their own unique characteristics.”

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3 ways to recognize The Myth of Perfection

(All quoted examples below are from Chapter 7 in Kevin’s Book, Clear Quiet Mind, pages 63-74)

“The myth of perfection needs to be made conscious before you can let it go and choose another outlook. Until you recognize it and can pause it as it arises, you’ll be a slave to its mythical power.”

The first way to let go of any limiting perspective is to recognize what you’re doing, Kevin says.

1) Black and White thinking

Example: “A person is a ‘good person’ or a ‘bad person.’”

“Actions are either ‘right’ or ‘wrong’”

“This just isn’t true. Every person is a diverse mix of different intentions, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. There are no 100% good or bad people. No one is 100% percent anything.”

“Actions can only be judged in context-yes even the ‘bad ones,’ like stealing, lying, and taking a life(example just below). What if these actions were in the service of a greater good?” 

(Example)—“Would you lie to a Nazi about hiding a Jewish family in your attic? Would you steal their gun if they barged in and were trying to use it? Would you kill them to save innocent lives? Perhaps?”

*”Life presents itself in a rainbow of different colors and shades. Black and white thinking just doesn’t represent Reality. It’s important to view everything, every action, and everyone in their uniqueness within the complex contexts in which they appear.”

2) Always, Never, and Should

“This kind of thinking disregards the truth that all things in this physical world of time and space change and grow. Circumstances change and require different responses. We all change. Life is always changing. Life requires adaptation.”

…“Yet, we tend to label things as if they are unchanging. We say things like, ‘you always…’ and ‘I never…’ to judge others and justify ourselves.”

“‘Should’ is an equally fallible concept. We think that people should follow the rules, until they break them, create something new and amazing, and become famous for it. Then, in retrospect, they were courageous or creative geniuses.”

What if minorities and women never stood up for their rights and just followed the rules? There were laws that women couldn’t vote and that people could own slaves..How unbelievable is that? What good would happen if we didn’t break rules that are meant to be broken?

“We think that people should work until they are 65—yet, we admire those who can retire early. We think that we should long for retirement, yet those who stay engaged and active in purposeful work seem to have the most fulfilling, healthy, and happy lives.”

“Discernments about what is good, right, and valuable can only be made within the ever-changing contexts in which they occur. So, check yourself for the words always, never, and should. See if you can notice the arbitrary standards behind these statements. What if these are unnecessarily stressing you out or creating conflict?”

3) Comparison and Nitpicking

“We are brought up to compare—and this naturally leads to critical judgments if we or others don’t measure up.”

“A current example of this is the notion of ‘political correctness.’ This concept is one of the most arbitrary markers for what is good and bad. Political correctness clearly is about what is most important to the group with which you identify. It has no absolute value on its own.”

“In U.S. politics, as people congregate around ‘whatever Democrats do is bad’ or ‘whatever Republicans do it bad.’ This type of thinking leads to all sorts of contradictory and conflicting judgments…Life doesn’t offer absolute answers”

The bottom line is that people, things, and actions can only be discerned within the complex contexts in which they occur. Quick and easy, black and white judgments are inaccurate to how life actually presents itself. Life is infinitely diverse.

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4 powerful techniques on releasing The Myth of Perfection

1) Notice Exceptions and Alternatives

“Notice exceptions to the rule you’re applying.” Kevin’s idea is that we are around imperfect people all the time, friends, family, etc, but we still love them for who they are.

He says, “For example, do you think so and so is beautiful even though he or she is ‘overweight?’ Can you think of a time when a ‘good person’ had a ‘lapse in judgment?’ Can you remember a time when the point you are now disagreeing with was true?”

“Notice the variety of possible ways you can look at the same situation. By momentarily adopting different points of view, it helps release you from the stress and tyranny of any one perspective.”

“At a minimum, it can lead you to say, ‘Maybe there are a variety of ways of looking at this situation.”

2) Refute Irrational Ideas

Our ideas, our self-talk, whether rational or irrational will impact our emotions, and our emotions motivate our actions. Kevin discusses how the psychologist Albert Ellis wrote about this, identifying common irrational beliefs that “launch us into stressful feelings which result in poor coping behaviors.”

Some of these adapted irrational beliefs include: “I must have love and approval for me to feel good, I must be flawlessly competent, successful, and perfect to deserve good things, My happiness and suffering are entirely dependent upon external events, Anything unknown, uncertain, or potentially dangerous is scary, What happened in the past determines what will happen now.”

There may be truth in some of these ideas for you, but “it’s how you use these ideas against yourself that’s decisive,” Kevin says, “When you attach to them as strong beliefs, they limit how you view yourself and your possibilities.”

“Certainly, you don’t control everything that happens, but you can control how you interpret, relate to, and respond to what happens.

“Ellis discovered that, if you can refute your irrational ideas, you can interrupt the chain of reaction, and create a new outcome. If you reframe your thinking, you will feel and act differently. By doing this, you become stress-resistant and stress-resilient.”

Kevin discusses Ellis’s 5 Steps to Refute Irrational ideas which you can read more about here in Ellis’s ABC Model

3) Ask yourself, ‘Am I Coming from Love or Fear?’

“Anytime you’re feeling critical or judgmental toward yourself or others ask this question: Am I coming from love or fear?”

“The root of the myth of perfection is fear of vulnerability— that ‘I am vulnerable if I’m not perfect.’

“The cure for fear is first identifying your fear and acknowledging it, then deciding if it needs to be acted on or not. This helps respond appropriately to what is happening. Perhaps your fear is alerting you to something that needs to be done? If so, how can you address your fear by taking appropriate action? If not, can you let that fear go?”

Good questions to ask fear: ‘What am I afraid might happen? Is that likely or am I exaggerating that possibility? What actions do I really need to take? Is it possible that nothing needs to be done except letting go of fear and seeing things in a more realistic empowered way?’”

“Once you’ve identified necessary actions or decided that you may be exaggerating risk to protect feelings of vulnerability, you can move toward love.”

“On the love side, you can ask, ‘How can I be more loving and compassionate toward myself and others in this situation? What would ease fear? What would help things work out well for all concerned? How can I initiate or participate in this positive outcome?’”

“In moments of fear and vulnerability, what would someone who loves you unconditionally, exactly as you are, say to you or do? How can you apply this principle to how you relate to yourself and others?”

Love is a response that naturally arises when you see the real needs of yourself and others in any situation. Love desires the best for all concerned. Love is your natural response when you are free from fear. When you love, instead of criticizing and blaming, you can observe and discern what needs to be done.”

4) Observe and Accept What Is Actually Happening

“In moments of challenge, vulnerability, and fear, is it possible to set aside all mental chatter, all stories and judgments, and simply be an objective witness to what is happening? … It is possible with practice to do this, to free your mind.

“Remember your skills of mindfulness, acceptance, and detachment. Is it possible to mindfully observe what is happening, accept it as it is, and let go of judging people and events as good or bad? Is it possible to see others and situations innocently, as if for the first time, without prejudice? —To help do this you might use the First Seat of Consciousness(technique): — Observe the situation from a perspective above and behind your head. Imagine yourself sitting up there, looking down on yourself, others, and the situation as a whole.”

The technique above reminds me of the Stoic technique of “taking a view from above.

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You can imagine being in the sky, on a cloud, looking down at yourself and all of life, which can get you out of your own thoughts.

“I encourage you to try these techniques to release the myth of perfection in situations in which you are harshly judging yourself or others.”

Kevin’s book is very useful in helping people achieve an inner peace through practical techniques. I have underlined almost every single word throughout this book as I read it. As I read the book, part of me wanted the next page to not connect with me so I didn’t have to underline it, but it kept happening!

If you would like the full book you can buy it here from Amazon for $15

4 Philosophy ideas that can bring you temporary peace

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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 liberating.

Stoicism can help you: 

  • Become a better person & friend
  • Deal with people & external events appropriately
  • Deal with adversity
  • Maintain a level head through praise & criticism
  • Come to peace with death
  • Overcome destructive emotions, and many more.

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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.

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Think about the millions of galaxies just like this one. Or even think about 10 more. The Universe is vast.

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.

Do you think eating dog is bad?

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.

4 Main Points

1~Amor Fati

Which translates to a love of one’s fate•

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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.

2~Focus on what you can control and let go of the rest

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

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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.

3~Practice poverty & misfortune

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

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Tim Ferriss

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

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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.”

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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?

4~None of what you do lasts

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

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“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

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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.

Cheers.

“In your actions, don’t procrastinate. In your conversations, don’t confuse. In your thoughts, don’t wander. In your soul, don’t be passive or aggressive. In your life, don’t be all about business.” Aurelius

It’s okay to feel bad

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And it’s okay to feel good.  

How long have we had this idea in America that everyone should be happy all the time?

The media portrays smiling families, good times, and happy endings, but that isn’t always the case.

happy people

How people think they should be.

unhappy_customers

How people think they shouldn’t be.

You don’t need to be happy all the time To Live A Great Life.

Does your Instagram look like the picture on the top left?

Oftentimes we look at someone who is upset and think “Oh there must be something wrong with them.”  Why do we think something has to be wrong?  Maybe it’s okay for them to feel bad.  It’s okay for them to feel what they feel.  When we allow our feelings to come and don’t try to force them to leave, they will leave on their own.  When we try to control our emotions, they multiply.

You are not alone in your struggles.  Basically everyone at one point or another in their lifetime will experience depression, anxiety, OCD etc.

Check out this list of some of the greats who have dealt with depression and in some cases suicide:

Vincent Van Gogh, Ernest Hemingway, Ludwig Wan Beethoven, Pablo Picasso, Edgar Allen Poe, Abraham Lincoln, Isaac Newton, Friedrich Nietzsche, George Orwell, Robin Williams, Jim Carrey, Kurt Cobain, Ellen Degeneres, Johnny Depp, Eminem, Chris Evans, Jon Hamm, Angelina Jolie, Lady Gaga, Michael Phelps, Brad Pitt, J.K. Rowling, Channing Tatum, Owen Wilson, and many others.

Robin-Williams-Quotes-Good-Will-Hunting-1

So we can be there to support others and to support ourselves because everyone is going through something, and that’s okay.  We need to remember that everyone suffers in life, and the meaning we give our suffering can make our lives better or worse.

“You don’t need to feel great to act great.” Coach T

So how can we gain Peace of Mind through this idea of accepting our feelings as they are?

“Don’t look for peace. Don’t look for any other state than the one you are in now; otherwise, you will set up inner conflict and unconscious resistance. Forgive yourself for not being at peace. The moment you completely accept your non-peace, your non-peace becomes transmuted into peace. Anything you accept fully will get you there, will take you into peace. This is the miracle of surrender.” Eckhart Tolle

Echart Tolle

A Study…

Psychologists at the University of California Berkeley have researched and tested the idea of accepting negative emotions and have found that “people who habitually accept their negative emotions experience fewer negative emotions, which adds up to better psychological health.”

See their article Here

These psychologists have also stated that acceptance and self-compassion are two key habits to happiness.

“People who accept their emotions without judging or trying to change them are able to cope with their stress more successfully.”

My Experience

There have been multiple times where I’ve experienced overwhelming feelings.  Over time I’ve learned that I can sit and dwell in these feelings or I can try to move on.  Sometimes these feelings come back to me, but I now work on accepting them as they are.  I allow myself to feel what I’m feeling, and then let the emotions go away in their time.

I remind myself that these feelings are temporary.  They will pass, and it will be okay.  With each new day comes a choice to suppress our emotions, or to allow them to come and then go.

Smiling helps, just look in the mirror and smile.  It’s funny, I know.  Try it for a few minutes and see what happens.

I Exercise.  This is something that is known to boost endorphins which trigger a positive feeling in the body.

Or you can take some time to just breathe.  Listen to your breath, just your breath.  Find a comfortable place, let go of the wandering mind and breathe.  Listening to your breath allows you to get back to this moment, here, now.  Try that for five minutes just to see how often your mind wanders.

I am not perfect at this craft, but I enjoy the practice and think you will too!

Peace-of-Mind

Conclusion:

It’s okay to think & feel happy, sad, depressed, anxious, joyous, all the emotions.

Remember that feelings are temporary; they will pass, but your actions will last.

Try to be conscious of how you are thinking and feeling when you are down, and don’t allow yourself to just dwell on auto-pilot in negative feelings.  Feel what you feel, accept what you’re feeling and thinking, even wave to your feelings if you’d like, and then watch them go like cars passing by.

Peace of Mind is not just a state of relaxation.

Peace of Mind isn’t about feeling a certain way.  

It’s about feeling the way you feel.

Feeling how you feel is the greatest happiness of all.

“You can’t stop the waves (of emotions) but you can learn to surf.”

Above all, it’s about letting the mind be as it is and knowing something about how it is in this moment.  It’s not about getting somewhere else, but about allowing yourself to be where you already are. — Jon Kabat-Zin

Thanks for reading!  Please share your thoughts in the comments.