Where are you really? By Dan Millman

“…He asked, “Where are you today, right now?”

Eagerly, I started talking about myself. However, I noticed that I was still being sidetracked from getting answers to my questions. Still, I told him about my distant and recent past and about my inexplicable depressions. He listened patiently and intently, as if he had all the time in the world, until I finished several hours later.

“Very well,” he said. “But you still have not answered my question about where you are.”

“Yes I did, remember? I told you how I got to where I am today: by hard work.”

“Where are you?”

“What do you mean, where am I?”

“Where Are you?” he repeated softly.

“I’m here.”

“Where is here?”

“In this office, in this gas station!” I was getting impatient with this game.

“Where is this gas station?”

“In Berkeley?”

“Where is Berkeley?”

“In California?”

“Where is California?”

“In the United States?”

“On a landmass, one of the continents in the Western Hemisphere. Socrates, I…”

“Where are the continents?

I sighed. “On the earth. Are we done yet?”

“Where is the earth?”

“In the solar system, third planet from the sun. The sun is a small star in the Milky Way galaxy, all right?”

“Where is the Milky Way?”

“Oh, brother,” I sighed impatiently, rolling my eyes. “In the universe.” I sat back and crossed my arms with finality.

“And where,” Socrates smiled, “is the universe?”

“The universe is well, there are theories about how it’s shaped…”

“That’s not what I asked. Where is it?”

“I don’t know – how can I answer that?”

“That is the point. You cannot answer it, and you never will. There is no knowing about it. You are ignorant of where the universe is, and thus, where you are. In fact, you have no knowledge of where anything is or of what anything is or how is came to be. Life is a mystery. My ignorance is based on this understanding. Your understanding is based on ignorance. This is why I am a humorous fool, and you are a serious jackass.”

Actions>Thoughts

“Your thoughts are like wild monkeys stung by a scorpion.”
Dan Millman

Don’t believe everything you think; I have heard this phrase many times & it relates to this idea.

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We can’t always control what we think, but we do have control of our actions.

Yes, try to think positive & focus on the best, but don’t try to force thoughts away. Embrace them; let it come & then let them go like clouds passing by…

Quotes from Dan Millman below.

“You don’t need to control emotion,” Socrates said. “Emotions are natural, like passing weather. Sometimes it’s fear, sometimes sorrow or anger. Emotions are not the problem. The key is to transform the energy of emotion into constructive action.”

“Old urges continue to arise, but urges do not matter; only actions do. A warrior is as a warrior does.”

“. . Action always happens in the present, because it is an expression of the body, which can only exist in the here and now. But the mind is like a phantom that lives only in the past or future. It’s only power over you is to draw your attention out of the present.”

Paying attention is also an action, and one of the most important actions:

“A Zen student asked his roshi the most important element of Zen.  The roshi replied, ‘Attention.’ 
‘Yes, thank you,’ the student replied. ‘But can you tell me the second most important element?’ And the roshi replied, ‘Attention.’”

Practice paying attention.

“Ultimately you will learn to meditate your every action.”

“Use whatever knowledge you have but see its limitations. Knowledge alone does not suffice; it has no heart. No amount of knowledge will nourish or sustain your spirit; it can never bring you ultimate happiness or peace. Life requires more than knowledge; it requires intense feeling and constant energy. Life demands right action if knowledge is to come alive.” 

“Full attention to every moment is my desire and my pleasure. Attention costs no money; your only investment is training.”

8 Dan Millman Quotes on Being Happy Without Reason

1) “You don’t need a reason to be happy. If you do that reason can be taken away.”

2) “‘What do I do then, now? Where do I go from here?’ Dan asked Socrates.
‘Who cares?’ He yelled gleefully. ‘A fool is ‘happy’ when his cravings are satisfied. A warrior is happy without reason.  That’s what makes happiness the ultimate discipline—above all else I have taught you.’”

3) “Reality never matched their dreams; happiness was just around the corner — a corner they never turned. And the source of it all was the human mind.”

4) “There is no need to search; achievement leads to nowhere. It makes no difference at all, so just be happy now! Love is the only reality of the world, because it is all One, you see. And the only laws are paradox, humor and change. There is no problem, never was, and never will be. Release your struggle, let go of your mind, throw away your concerns, and relax into the world. No need to resist life, just do your best. Open your eyes and see that you are far more than you imagine. You are the world, you are the universe; you are yourself and everyone else, too! It’s all the marvelous Play of God. Wake up, regain your humor. Don’t worry, just be happy. You are already free!” 

5) “Sometimes sorrow, sometimes joy. But beneath it all remember the innate perfection of your life unfolding. That is the secret of unreasonable happiness.” 

6) “And so I awoke to reality, free of any meaning or any search. What could there possibly be to search for? All of Socrate’s words had come alive with my death. This was the paradox of it all, the humor of it all, and the great change. All searches, all achievements, all goals, were equally enjoyable, and equally unnecessary.” 

7) “The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.”

8) “Act happy, be happy, without a reason in the world. Then you can love, and do what you will.”

3 Transformative Messages from Eckhart Tolle’s “A New Earth”

In A New Earth, author Eckhart Tolle shares his open-minded & progressing ideas to help you achieve the peace of God which surpasses understanding, as Jesus spoke of.

He helps you gain insight into the harming effects the human ego can have when unchecked, which is a core element holding you back from peace.

As you work on decreasing the ego in your life(techniques included in third section), you will grow in conscious awareness, staying present in the moment–alert, listening, less consumed with compulsive thinking, resulting in abundant peace & joy.

One of the main messages from this book is that you are not separate from life. You and life are one, you are whole, together, but our egos thrive on division; division from everything—life, others, and even yourself.

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A few other fundamental concepts from the book include:

—Life to the fullest is lived Beyond Words

—The human egos current grip on humanity and what you can do about it

—Techniques & Parables to help you achieve peace

—Best Quotes

These 3 fundamental ideas and the best quotes each have their own section with the theme of being connected to life flowing through each section.

The meek are the egoless. They are those who have awakened to their essential true nature as consciousness and recognize that essence in all “others,” all life­forms. They live in the surrendered state and so feel their oneness with the whole and the Source. They embody the awakened consciousness that is changing all aspects of life on our planet, including nature, because life on earth is inseparable from the human consciousness that perceives and interacts with it. That is the sense in which the meek will inherit the earth.”

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I have been and am still working on a longer summary of each section(which I may or may not finish), but here are the shortened versions of each section!

You can be part of the shift toward this new consciousness, this New Earth.

Take your time & enjoy!

—Life to the fullest is lived Beyond Words

We live in a world overrun by words and thinking. 

Do you ever reminisce about childhood and wish to feel that joy & aliveness once again?

That joy is found when you don’t have a stream of endless thoughts, when you are in the present moment, acting “in the zone” or “flow” with no thought in mind.

“Some of those people who, through creative action, enrich the lives of many others simply do what they enjoy doing most without wanting to achieve or become anything through that activity.”

You are present when what you are doing is not primarily a means to an end (money, prestige, winning) but fulfilling in itself, when there is joy and aliveness in what you do.”

Think Less to Live More

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Thoughts come in different forms but their main form is through words.

Here are some related insights from Tolle:

“We often believe that words are facts, but in the end, words are just another thing created by humans!”

“When you look at it(anything) or hold it and let it be without imposing a word or mental label on it, a sense of awe, of wonder, arises within you.It’s essence silently communicates itself to you and reflects your own essence back to you…

…This is what great artists sense and succeed in conveying in their art…

…When you don’t cover up the world with words and labels, a sense of the miraculous returns to your life that was lost a long time ago when humanity, instead of using thought, became possessed by thought. A depth returns to your life. Things regain their newness, their freshness.”

And the greatest miracle is the experiencing of your essential self as prior to any words, thoughts, mental labels, and images.”

On that note—TELEVISION!

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“So does TV watching create inner space? Does it cause you to be present? Unfortunately, it does not…

…Your mind is inactive only in the sense that it is not producing thoughts. It is, however, continuously absorbing thoughts and images that come through the TV screen. This induces a trancelike passive state of heightened susceptibility, not unlike hypnosis…

…That is why it lends itself to manipulation of “public opinion,” as politicians and special-­interest groups as well as advertisers know and will pay millions of dollars to catch you in that state of receptive unawareness. They want their thoughts to become your thoughts, and usually they succeed…

…Television has this in common with alcohol and certain other drugs. While it provides some relief from your mind, you again pay a high price: loss of consciousness. Like those drugs, it too has a strong addictive quality.”

Another thing your thoughts influence is your idea of who you are.

Nobody can tell you who you are.”

You will learn more about this idea in the next section on the ego—that a current belief is that you are defined by your accomplishments, relationships, career, race, height, skills, etc, but this is NOT who you are. What you are is much more than these transient identities.

Here’s Tolle:

It’s okay to try and figure out about yourself, but don’t confuse knowing about yourself with knowing yourself… 

…The psychoanalysis tells you about yourself, they tell you about how your past has conditioned your behavior and thoughts but it is not you Tolle says. It is content, not essence. Going beyond ego is stepping out of content. Knowing yourself is being yourself, and being yourself is ceasing to identify with content.

“Knowing yourself deeply has nothing to do with whatever ideas are floating around in your mind. Knowing yourself is to be rooted in Being, instead of lost in your mind.”

“You are not the ego, so when you become aware of the ego in you, it does not mean you know who you are – it means you know who you are not. But it is through knowing who you are not that the greatest obstacle to truly knowing yourself is removed.”

Give up defining yourself – to yourself or to others. You won’t die. You will come to life. And don’t be concerned with how others define you. When they define you, they are limiting themselves, so it’s their problem.”

Tolle discusses how there are no absolute truths, although people often define themselves and others in an egoic way that they believe is true. It’s not.

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“We need to bear in mind here that nothing we say about the nature of the universe should be taken as an absolute truth…

…Neither concepts nor mathematical formulae can explain the infinite. No thought can encapsulate the vastness of the totality. Reality is a unified whole, but thought cuts it up into fragments. This gives rise to fundamental misperceptions, for example, that there are separate things and events, or that this is the cause of that… 

…Only the whole is true, but the whole cannot be spoken or thought. Seen from beyond the limitations of thinking and therefore incomprehensible to the human mind, everything is happening now…

…As an illustration of relative and absolute truth, consider the sunrise and sunset. When we say the sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening, that is true but only relatively. In absolute terms, it is false…

…Only from the limited perspective of an observer on or near the planet’s surface does the sun rise and set. If you were far out in space, you would see that the sun neither rises nor sets, but that it shines continuously. And yet, even after realizing that, we can continue to speak of the sunrise or sunset, still see its beauty paint it, write poems about it, even though we now know that it is a relative rather than an absolute truth…

…So let us continue to speak for a moment of another relative truth: the coming into form of the universe and its return to the formless, which implies the limited perspective of time, and see what relevance this has to your own life…

…The notion of “my own life” is, of course, another limited perspective created by thought, another relative truth. There is ultimately no such thing as “your” life, since you and life are not two, but one.”

I love the above message from Tolle even though it took me multiple times of reading it to get a good understanding of what he meant. To really realize that you are not the ego/labels/etc that you thought you were. That you are not separate from life, you are completely connected.

As you begin to understand that who you thought you were isn’t who you are, you may experience some insecurity and uncertainty.

Tolle says:

“There may be a period of insecurity and uncertainty. What should I do? As the ego is no longer running your life, the psychological need for external security, which is illusory anyway, lessens…

…You are able to live with uncertainty, even enjoy it. When you become comfortable with uncertainty, infinite possibilities open up in your life. It means fear is no longer a dominant factor in what you do and no longer prevents you from taking action to initiate change…

…The Roman philosopher Tacitus rightly observed that ‘the desire for safety stands against every great and noble enterprise…’

If uncertainty is unacceptable to you, it turns into fear. If it is perfectly acceptable, it turns into increased aliveness, alertness, and creativity

…Many years ago, as a result of a strong inner impulse, I walked out of an academic career that the world would have called ‘promising,’ stepping into complete uncertainty; and out of that, after several years, emerged my new incarnation as a spiritual teacher.”

Here is a parable I heard from the author Tim Ferriss about a person stepping into uncertainty and pursuing what life was guiding them to which is their dreams.

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“Don’t let a mad world tell you that success is anything other than a successful present moment. And what is that? There is a sense of quality in what you do, even the most simple action. Quality implies care and attention, which comes with awareness. Quality requires your Presence.”

You are so much more than how you or anyone else has defined you.

There is beauty beyond words. The joy you once felt as a child you can feel again.

—The human egos current grip on humanity and what you can do about it

“The ego could be defined simply in this way: a dysfunctional relationship with the present moment.”

Our egos are sculpted from the day we are born. We are given labels of who we are and people have an idea of how our future will be. These thoughts, which are expectations, have huge impacts on how each human life unfolds. The reinforcements of people telling us who we are become an obsession until we are constantly thinking that “this is who I am,” and defining ourselves with specific words.

These thoughts get reinforced into the child until they are living completely through their ego, labels & judgments of who they think they are, and this grows stronger throughout life when it is unchecked.

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“Many people don’t realize until they are on their deathbed and everything external falls away that no thing ever had anything to do with who they are…

…In the proximity of death, the whole concept of ownership stands revealed as ultimately meaningless…

…They also realize that while they were looking throughout their lives for a more complete sense of self, what they were really looking for, their Being, had actually always already been there, but had been largely obscured by their identification with things, which ultimately means identification with their mind…

…‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs will be the kingdom of heaven.’

Poor in spirit means no inner baggage, no identifications. Not with things, nor with any mental concepts that have a sense of self in them…

…The kingdom of heaven can be the profound joy of Being that is there when you let go of identifications and so become ‘poor in spirit…’

…This is why renouncing all possessions has been an ancient spiritual practice in both East and West. Although this will not automatically free you of the ego…

…The EGO will attempt to ensure its survival by finding something else to identify with, for example, a mental image of yourself as someone who has transcended all interest in material possessions and is therefore superior, is more spiritual than others.”

Ego is no more than this: identification with form, which primarily means thought forms.”

“The more people identify with their minds, the more they suffer…

…If the sufferer could look at her body without the interfering judgments of her mind or even recognize those judgments for what they are instead of believing in them—or if she could feel her body from within—this would initiate her healing…

…Those who identify with their good looks, strength, or abilities experience suffering when those attributes begin to fade and disappear, as of course they will.

“‘I’ always leads to suffering sooner or later. To refrain from identifying with the body doesn’t mean that you neglect, despise, or no longer care for it. Enjoy and appreciate its attributes while they last. Right nutrition and exercise too.”

“The ego isn’t wrong; it’s just unconscious.
When you observe the ego in yourself, you are beginning to go beyond it.
Don’t take the ego too seriously.
When you detect ego behavior in yourself, smile.  At times you may even laugh.”

One area the ego can be unconscious and bring suffering upon itself is in relationships. 

The ego is constantly on guard, defending itself to maintain the identity it has been giving itself.

Tolle gives these words:

“The ego is always on guard against any kind of perceived diminishment. Automatic ego-­repair mechanisms come into effect to restore the mental form of ‘me’….

 …When someone blames or criticizes me, that to the ego is a diminishment of self, and it will immediately attempt to repair its diminished sense of self through self-­justification, defense, or blaming. Whether the other person is right or wrong is irrelevant to the ego. It is much more interested in self­-preservation than in the truth. This is the preservation of the psychological form of ‘me.’ Even such a normal thing as shouting something back when another driver calls you ‘idiot’ is an automatic and unconscious ego­-repair mechanism. One of the most common ego­-repair mechanisms is anger, which causes a temporary but huge ego inflation. All repair mechanisms make perfect sense to the ego but are actually dysfunctional. Those that are most extreme in their dysfunction are physical violence and self-delusion in the form of grandiose fantasies.”

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“In addition, gossiping often carries an element of malicious criticism and judgment of others, and so it also strengthens the ego through the implied but imagined moral superiority that is there whenever you apply a negative judgment to anyone…

…If someone has more, knows more, or can do more than I, the ego feels threatened because the feeling of ‘less’ diminishes its imagined sense of self relative to the other. It may then try to restore itself by somehow diminishing, criticizing, or belittling the value of the other person’s possessions, knowledge, or abilities. Or the ego may shift its strategy, and instead of competing with the other person, it will enhance itself by association with that person, if he or she is important in the eyes of others.”

Tolle says to do nothing when someone criticizes or blames you.
        —Check out the parable in section 3 “Is that so?”

“Making yourself right and others wrong is one of the principal egos mind patterns, one of the main forms of unconsciousness.”

“All you need to know and observe in yourself is this: whenever you feel superior or inferior to anyone, that’s the ego in you.”

“The stronger the ego in you, the more likely it is that in your perception other people are the main source of problems in your life. It is also more than likely that you will make life difficult for others. But, of course, you won’t be able to see that. It is always others who seem to be doing it to you…

…The more the sufferer sees himself persecuted, spied on, or threatened by others, the more pronounced becomes his sense of being the center of the universe around whom everything revolves, and the more special and important he feels as the imagined focal point of so many people’s attention. His sense of being a victim, of being wronged by so many people, makes him feel very special. In the story that forms the basis of his delusional system, he often assigns to himself the role of both victim and potential hero who is going to save the world or defeat the forces of evil.”

“Each person is so identified with the thoughts that make up their opinion, that those thoughts harden into mental positions which are invested with a sense of self. In other words: Identity and thought merge. Once this has happened, when I defend my opinions (thoughts), I feel and act as if I were defending my very self. Unconsciously, I feel and act as if I were fighting for survival and so my emotions will reflect this unconscious belief. They become turbulent. I am upset, angry, defensive, or aggressive. I need to win at all costs lest I become annihilated. That’s the illusion. The ego doesn’t know that mind and mental positions have nothing to do with who you are because the ego is the unobserved mind itself.

“An emotion is the body’s response to a thought…
…Emotion in itself is not unhappiness. Only emotion plus an unhappy story is unhappiness.”

“In Zen they say: ‘Don’t seek the truth. Just cease to cherish opinions.’ What does that mean? Let go of identification with your mind. Who you are beyond the mind then emerges by itself.”

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Now that you seen some of the toxicity of the ego it’s time to look at what can happen when you live without ego.

“It comes as no surprise that those people who work without ego are extraordinarily successful at what they do. Anybody who is one with what he or she does is building the new earth.”

All truly successful action comes out of that field of alert attention, rather than from ego and conditioned, unconscious thinking.”

Living awakened, without ego, includes modalities of acceptance, enjoyment, and enthusiasm, Tolle discusses:

“Each one represents a certain vibrational frequency of consciousness. You need to be vigilant to make sure that one of them operates whenever you are engaged in doing anything at all – from the most simple task to the most complex. If you are not in the state of either acceptance, enjoyment, or enthusiasm, look closely and you will find that you are creating suffering for yourself and others.”

“To sum up: Enjoyment of what you are doing, combined with a goal or vision that you work toward, becomes enthusiasm. Even though you have a goal, what you are doing in the present moment needs to remain the focal point of your attention; otherwise, you will fall out of alignment with universal purpose… 

…Make sure your vision or goal is not an inflated image of yourself and therefore a concealed form of ego, such as wanting to become a movie star, a famous writer, or a wealthy entrepreneur. Also make sure your goal is not focused on having this or that, such as a mansion by the sea, your own company, or ten million dollars in the bank. An enlarged image of yourself or a vision of yourself having this or that are all static goals and therefore don’t empower you…

…Instead, make sure your goals are dynamic, that is to say, point toward an activity that you are engaged in and through which you are connected to other human beings as well as to the whole. Instead of seeing yourself as a famous actor and writer and so on, see yourself inspiring countless people with your work and enriching their lives. Feel how that activity enriches or deepens not only your life but that of countless others. Feel yourself being an opening through which energy flows form the unmanifested Source of all life through you for the benefit of all.”

 

But the ego is tricky and tries to find other ways to make it focus on itself, such as dwelling in the past or worrying about the future.

“Your personality, which is conditioned by the past, then becomes your prison. Your memories are invested with a sense of self, and your story becomes who you perceive yourself to be. This “little me” is an illusion that obscures your true identity as timeless and formless Presence.”

Here is a good story Tolle retells which illustrates the unwillingness of the human mind to let go of the past:

“Two Zen monks, Tanzan and Ekido, who were walking along a country road that had become extremely muddy after heavy rains. Near a village, they came upon a young woman who was trying to cross the road, but the mud was so deep it would have ruined the silk kimono she was wearing. Tanzan at once picked her up and carried her to the other side…

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…The monks walked on in silence. Five hours later, as they were approaching the lodging temple, Ekido couldn’t restrain himself any longer. ‘Why did you carry that girl across the road?’ he asked. ‘We monks are not supposed to do things like that.’

‘I put the girl down hours ago,’ said Tanzan. ‘Are you still carrying her?’

…Now imagine what life would be like for someone who lived like Ekido all the time, unable or unwilling to let go internally of situations, accumulating more and more “stuff’ inside, and you get a sense of what life is like for the majority of people on our planet. What a heavy burden of past they carry around with them in their minds.”

“When you make the present moment, instead of past and future, the focal point of your life, your ability to enjoy what you do – and with it the quality of your life – increases dramatically.”

“Your Being then does not shine through form anymore – or only barely. Through nonresistance to form, that in you which is beyond form emerges as an all-encompassing Presence, a silent power far greater than your short-­lived form identity, the person. It is more deeply who you are than anything in the world of form.”

—Techniques & Parables to help you achieve peace

Parable–Not Minding What Happens

“J. Krishnamurti, the great Indian philosopher and spiritual teacher, spoke and traveled almost continuously all over the world for more than fifty years attempting to convey through words ­ which are content – that which is beyond words, beyond content…

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…At one of his talks in the later part of his life, he surprised his audience by asking, ‘Do you want to know my secret?’ Everyone became very alert. Many people in the audience had been coming to listen to him for twenty or thirty years and still failed to grasp the essence of his teaching. Finally, after all these years, the master would give them the key to understanding.

This is my secret,’ he said. ‘I don’t mind what happens.’

Does this mean you can no longer take action to bring abut change in your life? On the contrary. when the basis for your actions is inner alignment with the present moment, your actions become empowered by the intelligence of Life itself.”

**

How to be at peace now? 

“By making peace with the present moment. The present moment is the field on which the game of life happens. It cannot happen anywhere else. Once you have made peace with the present moment, see what happens, what you can do or choose to do, or rather what life does through you. There are three words that convey the secret of the art of living, the secret of all success and happiness: One With Life. Being one with life is being one with Now. You then realize that you don’t live your life, but life lives you. Life is the dancer, and you are the dance.”

**

Don’t seek happiness

“If you seek it, you won’t find it, because seeking is the antithesis of happiness. Happiness is ever elusive, but freedom from unhappiness is attainable now, by facing what is rather than making up stories about it. Unhappiness covers up your natural state of well­being and inner peace, the source of true happiness.”

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**

How to live a life of abundance in all aspects of life

Try this for a couple of weeks and see how it changes your reality: Whatever you think people are withholding from you—­ praise, appreciation, assistance, loving care, and so on – give it to them. 

You don’t have it? Just act as if you had it, and it will come. 

Then, soon after you start giving, you will start receiving. You cannot receive what you don’t give. Outflow determines inflow. Whatever you think the world is withholding from you, you already have, but unless you allow it to flow out, you won’t even know that you have it. This includes abundance. The law that outflow determines inflow is expressed by Jesus in this powerful image: “Give and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap.”

**

How to be enthusiastic

“Enjoyment of what you are doing, combined with a goal or vision that you work toward, becomes enthusiasm. Even though you have a goal, what you are doing in the present moment needs to remain the focal point of your attention; otherwise, you will fall out of alignment with universal purpose.”

**

How to recognize when ego begins acting in your life & what to do

“SEE if you can catch your voice in the head, perhaps in the moment it complains about something, and recognize it for what it is: The voice of the ego, no more than a conditioned mind-pattern, a thought.

Whenever you notice that voice, you will also realize that you are not the voice, but the one who is aware of it. You are the awareness that is aware of the voice.

In the background, there is awareness. In the foreground, there Is the voice, the thinker.

…In this way you are becoming free of the ego, free of the unobserved mind.

The moment you become aware of the ego in you, it is strictly speaking no longer the ego, but just an old, conditioned mind-pattern.  

Ego implies unawareness.
Awareness and ego cannot coexist.
Every time the ego is recognized, it is weakened.”

**

Parable on accepting everything without taking any of it personally

IS THAT SO?

“The Zen Master Hakuin lived in a town in Japan. He was held in high regard and many people came to him for spiritual teaching. Then it happened that the teenage daughter of his next­door neighbor became pregnant. When being questioned by her angry and scolding parents as to the identity of the father, she finally told them that he was Hakuin, the Zen Master. In great anger the parents rushed over to Hakuin and told him with much shouting and accusing that their daughter had confessed that he was the father. All he replied was, ‘Is that so?’

News of the scandal spread throughout the town and beyond. The Master lost his reputation. This did not trouble him. Nobody came to see him anymore. He remained unmoved. When the child was born, the parents brought the baby to Hakuin. ‘You are the father, so you look after him.’ The Master took loving care of the child. A year later, the mother remorsefully confessed to her parents that the real father of the child was the young man who worked at the butcher shop. In great distress they went to see Hakuin to apologize and ask for forgiveness. ‘We are really sorry. We have come to take the baby back. Our daughter confessed that you are not the father.’ ‘Is that so?’ is all he would may as he handed the baby over to them.

The Master responds to falsehood and truth, bad news and good news, in exactly the same way: ‘Is that so?’ He allows the form of the moment, good or bad, to be as it is and so does not become a participant in human drama. To him there is only this moment, and this moment is as it is. 

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Events are not personalized. He is nobody’s victim. He is so completely at one with what happens that what happens has no power over him anymore. Only if you resist what happens are you at the mercy of what happens, and the world will determine your happiness and unhappiness.

The baby is looked after with loving care. Bad turns into good through the power of nonresistance. Always responding to what the present moment requires, he lets go of the baby when it is time to do so.

Imagine briefly how the ego would have reacted during the various stages of the unfolding of these events.”

“Non reaction is not weakness but strength. Another word for nonreactor is forgiveness. To forgive is to overlook, or rather to look through. You look through the ego to the sanity that is in every human being as his or her essence.”

“In Zen they say: ‘Don’t seek the truth. Just cease to cherish opinions.’ What does that mean? Let go of identification with your mind. Who you are beyond the mind then emerges by itself.”

**

A Parable on Peace: “This too will pass” 

According to an ancient Sufi story, there lived a king in some Middle Eastern land who was continuously torn between happiness and despondency. The slightest thing would cause him great upset or provoke an intense reaction, and his happiness would quickly turn into disappointment and despair. A time came when the king finally got tired of himself and of life, and he began to seek a way out. He sent for a wise man who lived in his kingdom and who was reputed to be enlightened. When the wise man came, the king said to him, “I want to be like you. Can you give me something that will bring balance, serenity, and wisdom into my life? I will pay back any price you ask.”

The wise man said, “I may be able to help you. But the price is so great that your entire kingdom would not be sufficient to pay for it. Therefore it will be a gift to you if you honor it.” The king gave his assurances and the wise man left.

A few weeks later, he returned and handed the king an ornate box carved in jade. The king opened the box and found a simple gold ring inside. Some letters were inscribed on the ring. The inscription read. This too will pass. “What is the meaning of this?” asked the king. The wise man said, “Wear this ring always. Whatever happens, before you call it good or bad, touch this ring and read the inscription. That way you will always be at peace.”

This too will pass. What is it about this simple words that makes them so powerful? Looking at it superficially, it would seem while those words may provide some comfort in a bad situation, they would also diminish the enjoyment of the good things in life. 

“Don’t be too happy, because it won’t last.” This seems to be what they are saying when applied in a situation that is perceived as good.

…this story points to the fact of impermanence which, when recognized, leads to non-attachment. Non-resistance are the three aspects of true freedom and enlightened living.

Those words inscribed on the ring are not telling you that you should not enjoy the good in your life, nor are they merely meant to provide some comfort in times of suffering. They have a deeper purpose: to make you aware of the fleetingness of every situation, which is due to the transience of all forms- good or bad. When you become aware of the transience of all forms, your attachment to them lessens, and you dis-identify with them to some extent. Being detached does not mean you cannot enjoy the good that the world has to offer. In fact, you enjoy it more. Once you see the transience of all things and the inevitability of change, you can enjoy the pleasures about the future. When you are detached, you gain a higher vantage point from which to view the events in your life instead of being trapped inside them.

coacht.blog this too shall pass

**

What to do when you’re with people

“When you meet with people, at work or wherever it my be, give them your fullest attention

…The human Being becomes more important than the things of this world. It does not mean you neglect whatever needs to be done on a practical level. In fact, the doing unfolds no only more easily, but more powerfully when the dimension of Being is acknowledged and so becomes primary.”

**

How do you measure true success?

“The world will tell you that success is achieving what you set out to do. It will tell you that success is winning, that finding recognition and/or prosperity are essential ingredients in any success. All or some of the above are usually by­products of success, but they are not success…

…The conventional notion of success is concerned with the outcome of what you do. Some say that success is the result of a combination of hard work and luck, or determination and talent, or being in the right place at the right time. While any of these may be determinants of success, they are not its essence. What the world doesn’t tell you – because it doesn’t know – is that you cannot become successful. You can only be successful…

Don’t let a mad world tell you that success is anything other than a successful present moment. And what is that? There is a sense of quality in what you do, even the most simple action. Quality implies care and attention, which comes with awareness. Quality requires your Presence.

**

How to love yourself

“To love is to recognize yourself in another.”

to-love-is-to-recognize-yourself-in-another-eckhart-tolle-19113607

**

How to feel the peace that surpasses understanding

-Realize what the ego is and how it works.

-Allow forms/labels that you once identified with collapse and that will lead to the ego collapsing since ego is identification with form.

“When there is nothing to identify with anymore, who are you?”

Tolle goes on to say:

“When forms around you die or death approaches, your sense of Beingness, of I Am, is freed from its entanglement with form: Spirit is released from its imprisonment in matter.

You realize your essential identity as formless, as an all-pervasive Presence, of Being prior to all forms, all identifications.

You realize your true identity as consciousness itself, rather than what consciousness had identified with.

That’s the peace of God.
The ultimate truth of who you are is not in I am this or I am that, but I Am.
Circumstances and people then become helpful, cooperative. Coincidences happen.

When you yield internally; if action is possible or necessary, your action will be in alignment with the whole and supported by create intelligence, the unconditioned consciousness which in a state of inner openness you become one with. You rest in God.”

**

Parable on Entering Zen

Can You Hear The Mountain Stream?

“A Zen Master was walking in silence with one of his disciples along a mountain trail. When they came to an ancient cedar tree, they sat down under it for a simple meal of some rice and vegetables. After the meal, the disciple, a young monk who had not yet found the key to the mystery of Zen, broke the silence by asking the Master, ‘Master, how do I enter Zen?’

He was, of course, inquiring how to enter the state of consciousness which is Zen.

The Master remained silent. Almost five minutes passed while the disciple anxiously waited for an answer. He was about to ask another question when the Master suddenly spoke. ‘Do you hear the sound of that mountain stream?’

The disciple had not been aware of any mountain stream. He had been too busy thinking about the meaning of Zen. Now as he began to listen for the sound, his noisy mind subsided. At first he heard nothing. Then, his thinking gave way to heightened alertness, and suddenly he did hear the hardly perceptible murmur of a small stream in the far distance.

‘Yes, I can hear it now,’ he said.

The master raised his finger and, with a look in his eyes that in some way was both fierce and gentle, said, ‘Enter Zen from there.’

The disciple was stunned. It was his first satori – a flash of enlightenment. He knew what Zen was without knowing what it was that he knew!

They continued on their journey in silence. The disciple was amazed at the aliveness of the world around him. He experienced everything as if for the first time. Gradually, however, he started thinking again. The alert stillness became covered up again by mental noise, and before long he had another question. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I have been thinking. What would you have said if I hadn’t been able to hear the mountain stream?’ The master stopped, looked at him, raised his finger and said, ‘Enter Zen from there.’”

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—Best Quotes

Give up defining yourself – to yourself or to others. You won’t die. You will come to life. And don’t be concerned with how others define you. When they define you, they are limiting themselves, so it’s their problem.”

“The sapling doesn’t want anything because it is at one with the totality, and the totality acts through it. ‘Look at the lilies of the field, how they grow’ said Jesus, ‘They toil not, neither do they spin. Yet even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.’ We could say that the totality – Life – wants the sapling to become a tree, but the sapling doesn’t see itself as separate from life and so wants nothing for itself. It is one with what Life wants. That’s why it isn’t worried or stressed. And if it has to die prematurely, it dies with ease. It is as surrendered in death as it is in life. It senses, no matter how obscurely, its rootedness in Being, the formless and eternal one Life…

…Doesn’t the existence of any goal imply that there is a temporary disruption in that harmony with the present moment and perhaps a reestablishment of harmony at a higher or more complex level once the goal has been attained? I imagine that the sapling that pushes its way through the soil can’t be in total harmony with the present moment either because it has a goal: It wants to become a big tree. Maybe once it has reached maturity it will lie in harmony with the present moment.”

yourstory-telangana-sapling

Acknowledging the good that is already in your life is the foundation for all abundance. The fact is: Whatever you think the world is withholding from you, you are withholding from the world.”

Those who do not attempt to appear more than they are but are simply themselves, stand out as remarkable and are the only ones who truly make a difference in this world…

…They are the bringers of the new consciousness. Whatever they do becomes empowered because it is in alignment with the purpose of the whole…

…Their influence, however, goes far beyond what they do, far beyond their function. Their mere presence – simple, natural, unassuming – has a transformational effect on whoever they come into contact with.”

Many poets and sages throughout the ages have observed that true happiness – I call it the joy of Being – is found in simple, seemingly unremarkable things.”

“True happiness is not caused by the thing or event, although this is how it first appears”

“There are two reasons why we don’t see this unity, why we see things as separate. One is perception, which reduces reality to what is accessible to us through the small range of our senses: what we can see, hear, smell, taste, and touch. But when we perceive without interpreting or mental labeling, which means without adding thought to our perceptions, we can actually still sense the deeper connectedness underneath our perception of seemingly separate things.

……The other more serious reason for the illusion of separateness is compulsive thinking. It is when we are trapped in incessant streams of compulsive thinking that the universe really disintegrates for us, and we lose the ability to sense the interconnectedness of all that exists. Thinking cuts reality up into lifeless fragments. Extremely unintelligent and destructive action arises out of such a fragmented view of reality.”

“The notion of ‘my own life’ is, of course, another limited perspective created by thought, another relative truth. There is ultimately no such thing as ‘your’ life, since you and life are not two, but one.”

“The meek are the egoless. They are those who have awakened to their essential true nature as consciousness and recognize that essence in all “others,” all life­forms. They live in the surrendered state and so feel their oneness with the whole and the Source. They embody the awakened consciousness that is changing all aspects of life on our planet, including nature, because life on earth is inseparable from the human consciousness that perceives and interacts with it. That is the sense in which the meek will inherit the earth…
…A new species is arising on the planet. It is arising now, and you are it!”

“If uncertainty is unacceptable to you, it turns into fear. If it is perfectly acceptable, it turns into increased aliveness, alertness, and creativity.”

“The decision to make the present moment into your friend is the end of the ego. The ego can never be in alignment with the present moment, which is to say, aligned with life, since its very nature compels it to ignore, resist, or devalue the Now. Time is what the ego lives on. The stronger the ego, the more time takes over your life. Almost every thought you think is then concerned with past or future, and you sense of self depends on the past for your identity and on the future for its fulfillment. Fear, anxiety, expectation, regret, guilt, anger are the dysfunctions of the time­bound state of consciousness.”

Not what you do, but how you do what you do determines whether you are fulfilling your destiny. And how you do what you do is determined by your state of consciousness.”

coacht.blog new earth

I hope you enjoyed this as much as I enjoyed the book A New Earth!

You might also like one of my most viewed posts: 5 Life-Changing Takeaways from the Book, “Way Of The Peaceful Warrior”

Share this message and ask how you can be part of the New Earth!

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.

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7 More Techniques to Help you Live your Best Life:

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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)

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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)

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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.

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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.

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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

5 Life-Changing Takeaways from the Book, “Way Of The Peaceful Warrior”

Way of the Peaceful Warrior: A Book That Changes Lives

Book Written By Dan Millman

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Dan signing my Peaceful Warrior book!

Click on Dan’s name above to go to his website & learn more about him. (Also can scroll down to go straight to the 5 life-changing takeaways if you’d like).

Growing wise through personal and spiritual experiences, this story follows a World Champion Gymnast, Dan, who seemed to “have it all” in the eyes of society.  Even though he had everything he desired in the physical realm, he was still not happy.

I think many people can relate to this^.  We get what we think we want and then find out that it doesn’t bring lasting fulfillment. We hear about rich & famous people committing suicide, although many people often desire that famous/rich life. Dan is still alive & well today, but he went through many struggles to be able to live life beyond his ego.

I feel good, sometimes I don’t, ay,” said Drake in his popular song “God’s Plan.”

Everyone feels bad at times, no matter how much ‘success’ they have in this world. And it’s okay to feel bad, even though the media only portrays happy people having a good time. Remember that what you see on tv usually isn’t an accurate example of real life.  You can check out an article I wrote on accepting our feelings by Clicking Here.

Anyway, one night, while Dan was still in college, he went to a gas station after waking up in the middle of the night.  He met a unique old man who he named Socrates later on. (“Socrates” never told Dan his real name).

Socrates became Dan’s guru/mentor/teacher. Helping to enlighten Dan, Socrates teaches him many things throughout the book that ultimately opens Dan’s mind and allows him to awaken; to be happy now without a reason.  Like many people in the World today, Dan was living through his ego before he met Socrates.  He pursued worldly pleasures & accomplishments only to find out that those “fulfilling” moments don’t last.  Led by his teacher, Socrates, Dan is able to experience life beyond his ego, and live in peace.

The “living in peace” phrase just created another thought through me; we always say Rest in Peace when someone dies, but why don’t we ever say Live in Peace when we are living??

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Way of the Peaceful Warrior was one of the first books that had a big impact on my life.  I read it for the first time when I was around the age of 19, and have continued to read it again & again.

After I finished reading this book for the first time it immediately became my favorite book, and remains my favorite to this day. It opened up my mind to new ideas & a different way of viewing & living life. Way of the Peaceful Warrior has helped me live joyfully in the present moment, to be happy now without reason, to focus on things that really matter, to take action instead of dwelling in thought, to live non-judgmentally, & to live life in love.

I do not always remain in this state of bliss, but when I accept my feelings & situations as they are, this brings me peace. I shared this earlier, but click here if you’d like to read an article on this.

The author, Dan Millan, said he wrote this book “to inspire, uplift, and to remind readers of life’s bigger picture & higher promise.”  This book definitely inspired me & gave me more insight into the bigger picture of life.

Live the moment

“Be happy now, without reason, or you’ll never be happy.”

~I truly believe that this book should be read throughout schools all around the world.  The ideas & ways of thinking this book explains could benefit the education system & our future tremendously~

In this post I will summarize some of the main points of the Way of the Peaceful Warrior. I will discuss how I have been using what I’ve learned from this book, will provide you with many of my favorite quotes from the book that relate to each takeaway & I’ve added some thought provoking quotes from the book at the end. Thank you for reading & Enjoy!

**I also want to encourage you to not just read this, but to put these ideas into practice. Ask yourself, “How can I apply this to my life?” These life-changing ideas need to be more than just read. Be patient when practicing these, & continue to remind yourself of these ideas throughout your days for them to become second nature.**

1) BE HAPPY NOW, WITHOUT REASON.

  • Millman’s words helped me see that happiness lies in the journey, not in the destination.  Many people are working at jobs only to make money for retirement.  Retirement does not equal happiness. I have used this knowledge to do more of what I love & to practice being fully present in each moment.  I am able to enjoy the ‘little things’ in life, such as a cup of coffee, a book, playing basketball, teaching, hanging out with family/friends, and the list goes on.

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Why waste half your life doing things you don’t enjoy doing if you have an opportunity to do something you enjoy?

Happiness happens now, in this present moment.  The future never really comes, the future only happens as another present moment.

Here are great quotes from the book that can open your eyes to being happy now, without reason:

* “‘What do I do then, now? Where do I go from here?’ Dan asked Socrates.

‘Who cares?’ He yelled gleefully.  ‘A fool is ‘happy’ when his cravings are satisfied. A warrior is happy without reason.  That’s what makes happiness the ultimate discipline—above all else I have taught you.’”

“Reality never matched their dreams; happiness was just around the corner — a corner they never turned. And the source of it all was the human mind.”

“There is no need to search; achievement leads to nowhere. It makes no difference at all, so just be happy now! Love is the only reality of the world, because it is all One, you see. And the only laws are paradox, humor and change. There is no problem, never was, and never will be. Release your struggle, let go of your mind, throw away your concerns, and relax into the world. No need to resist life, just do your best. Open your eyes and see that you are far more than you imagine. You are the world, you are the universe; you are yourself and everyone else, too! It’s all the marvelous Play of God. Wake up, regain your humor. Don’t worry, just be happy. You are already free!” 

“Sometimes sorrow, sometimes joy. But beneath it all remember the innate perfection of your life unfolding. That is the secret of unreasonable happiness.” 

“You Don’t need a reason to be happy. If you do that reason can be taken away.” 

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“And so I awoke to reality, free of any meaning or any search. What could there possibly be to search for? All of Socrate’s words had come alive with my death. This was the paradox of it all, the humor of it all, and the great change. All searches, all achievements, all goals, were equally enjoyable, and equally unnecessary.” 

“Act happy, be happy, without a reason in the world. Then you can love, and do what you will.”

“The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.”

2) You are much more than what you think

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Live in the Present.

  • Our thoughts limit our experience.  When you can let go of your thoughts, you can be fully alive in the present moment.  The answers you seek lie beyond thought.

“My name doesn’t matter; neither does yours.  What is important is what lies beyond names and beyond questions.”

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“The birth of the mind is the death of the senses” 

^^ I’ve been realizing this more & more lately that we are most alive when we are not dwelling in thoughts.  We can take time to have rational thoughts, but take some time to meditate in nothingness.  Let go of your thoughts by focusing on your external environment.  Tap into your senses. What do you see? Hear? Smell? Taste? Feel?  Try to do this for at least a few minutes.

When you are only in your mind, thinking, you are never fully in the present moment. Practice focusing your attention to things outside of you.

* “Satori is the warrior’s state of being; it occurs at the moment when the mind is free of thought, pure awareness; the body is active, sensitive, relaxed; and the emotions are open and free.”

“Remember, every-moment satori.”

“The warrior is Here, Now.”

“You have to ‘lose your mind’ before you can come to your senses.” 

“Stay in the present. You can do nothing to change the past, and the future will never come exactly as you plan or hope for.  The warrior is here, now. Your sorrow, your fear & anger, regret & guilt, your envy and plans and cravings live only in the past, or in the future.”

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“Your business is not to ‘get somewhere’ — it is to be here.

“You have been immortal since before you were born and will be long after the body dissolves. The body is Consciousness; never born; never dies; only changes. The mind — your ego, personal beliefs, history, and identity — is all that ends at death.”

^^This quote reminds me of the philosophy stoicism. I wrote a post about it that you can check out by Clicking Here.

3) Life is much more than what you can think.

  • This book helped me view the external environment without judging it. Instead of looking outside & thinking “Ooo I love or hate this weather. There is a bird & a tree, and wow that car is going really fast,” I practice just looking outside & dwelling on what is, letting thoughts come & then go like passing clouds. I practice not judging things around me, seeing them just as they are, with no thinking needed. I am not like this all the time, but it is good to practice this technique!

“You now see everything through a veil of associations about things, projected over a direct, simple awareness. You’ve ‘seen it all before’; it’s like watching a movie for the twentieth time. You see only memories of things, so you become bored. Boredom, you see, is fundamental non-awareness of life; boredom is awareness, trapped in the mind. You’ll have to lose your mind before you can come to your senses.”

“You’ve become bored to things because they exist only as names to you. The dry concepts of mind obscure your direct perception.”

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“Like most people, you’ve been taught to gather information from outside yourself; from books, magazines, experts.  Like this car, you open up and let the facts pour in.  Sometimes the information is premium and sometimes it’s low octane.  You buy your knowledge at the current market rates, much like you buy gasoline.  Like this gas tank, you are overflowing with preconceptions; full of useless knowledge.  You hold many facts and opinions, yet know little of yourself.  Before you can learn, you’ll have to first empty your tank.

4) Actions are more important than thoughts.

“Your thoughts are like wild monkeys stung by a scorpion.”

Don’t believe everything you think; I have heard this phrase many times & it relates to this idea.

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We can’t always control what we think, but we do have control of our actions.

Yes, try to think positive & focus on the best, but don’t try to force thoughts away. Embrace them; let it come & then let them go like clouds passing by.

“You don’t need to control emotion,” Socrates said. “Emotions are natural, like passing weather. Sometimes it’s fear, sometimes sorrow or anger. Emotions are not the problem. The key is to transform the energy of emotion into constructive action.”

“Old urges continue to arise, but urges do not matter; only actions do. A warrior is as a warrior does.”

“. . Action always happens in the present, because it is an expression of the body, which can only exist in the here and now. But the mind is like a phantom that lives only in the past or future. It’s only power over you is to draw your attention out of the present.”

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Paying attention is also an action, and one of the most important actions:

“A Zen student asked his roshi the most important element of Zen.  The roshi replied, ‘Attention.’ 

‘Yes, thank you,’ the student replied. ‘But can you tell me the second most important element?’ And the roshi replied, ‘Attention.’”

Practice paying attention.

“Ultimately you will learn to meditate your every action.”

“Use whatever knowledge you have but see its limitations. Knowledge alone does not suffice; it has no heart. No amount of knowledge will nourish or sustain your spirit; it can never bring you ultimate happiness or peace. Life requires more than knowledge; it requires intense feeling and constant energy. Life demands right action if knowledge is to come alive.” 

“Full attention to every moment is my desire and my pleasure. Attention costs no money; your only investment is training.”

5) On Life & Death.

* “Experts devote their life to training. Masters devote their training to life.”

“I’ve tried to show you by example that a warrior’s life is not about imagined perfection or victory; it is about love. Love is the warrior’s sword; wherever it cuts, it gives life, not death.”

* “Everyone tells you what’s good for you. they don’t want you to find your own answers. they want you to believe theirs.”

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* “‘Why worry? Better to live until you die.  I am a warrior; my way is action,’ Socrates said. ‘I am a teacher, I teach by example.  Someday you too may teach others as I have shown you—then you’ll understand that words are not enough; you too must teach by example, and only what you’ve realized through your own experience.’”

“The World out there, is a school, Dan.  Life is the only real teacher.  It offers many experiences, and if experience alone brought wisdom and fulfillment, then elderly people would all be happy, enlightened masters

..But the lessons of experience are hidden.  I can help you learn from experience to see the world clearly, and clarity is something you desperately need right now.  Your intuition knows this is true, but your mind rebels; you’ve experienced much, but you’ve learned little.”

“Think of death as a transformation — a bit more radical than puberty, but nothing to get particularly upset about.” 

“Death is not sad; the sad thing is that most people don’t really live at all.”

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“Where are you? Here. What time is it? Now. What are you? This moment.”

“You fear death and crave survival. You want Forever, you desire Eternity. In your deluded belief that you are this ‘mind’ or ‘spirit’ or ‘soul,’ you find the escape clause in your contract with mortality.” 

“Wake up! If you knew for certain that you had a terminal illness – if you had precious little time left to make use of your life and consider who you are, you’d not waste time on self-indulgence or fear, lethargy or ambition.  You do have a terminal illness – it is death. Be happy now, without reason – or you never will be at all.”

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Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed these book notes as much as I enjoyed the book.  I think many people can relate to this incredible story.

Let us be happy now, without reason, and we will live our best life.

You can purchase The Way of the Peaceful Warrior book from Amazon by clicking here if you’d like.

More thought provoking quotes from the book:

* “So I’m a fool, huh?” Says Millman.  Socrates responds with, “We’re all fools together.  It’s just that a few people know it; others don’t.”

“Your mind is your predicament. It wants to be free of change, free of pain, free of the obligations of life and death.  But change is a law, and no amount of pretending will alter that reality.”

“Enlightenment is not an attainment, it is a realization. And when you wake up, everything changes and nothing changes.” 

“How do you know you haven’t been asleep your whole life?  How do you know you’re not asleep right now?”

“Understanding is the one-dimensional comprehension of the intellect. It leads to knowledge. Realization is three-dimensional — a simultaneous comprehension of head, heart, and instinct. It comes only from direct experience.” 

“Focus all your energy not on struggling with the old, but on building the new.” 

“Embody what you teach, and teach only what you have embodied.”

“Stress happens when the mind resists what is.”

“There are no ordinary moments!”

*Story about a younger traveler, Milarepa who has been seeking enlightenment everywhere.  He eventually sees an old man carrying a heavy sack down a mountain & thinks the man knows the answer to his question… 

Milarepa says, “‘Old man, please tell me what you know. What is enlightenment?’ The old man smiled at him for a moment, and swung the heavy burden off his shoulders, and stood straight.

‘Yes, I see!’ Cried Milarepa. ‘My everlasting gratitude. But please, one question more. What is after enlightenment?’

Smiling again, the old man picked up the sack once again, slung it over his shoulders, steadied his burden, and continued on his way.”

I had to read this story^ a few times before I understood it. I hope you can see it.

“Life is not suffering; it’s just that you will suffer it, rather than enjoy it, until you let go of your mind’s attachments and just go for the ride freely, no matter what happens.”

“If you don’t get what you want, you suffer; if you get what you don’t want, you suffer; even when you get exactly what you want, you still suffer because you can’t hold on to it forever.”

“Reading the future is based on a realistic perception of the present.  Don’t be concerned about seeing the future until you can clearly see the present.”

“Meditating an action is different from doing it. To do, there must be a doer, a self-conscious someone performing.  But when you meditate an action, you’ve already released all thoughts, even the thought of, ‘I.’ There’s no ‘you’ left to do it.  In forgetting yourself, you become what you do, so your action is free, spontaneous, without ambition, inhibition, or fear.’”

“The journey is what brings us happiness not the destination.”

I hope you enjoyed the quotes as well as the summary! Now it’s time to put what you’ve learned into practice! Start today, ask “How can I apply these ideas to my daily life?” Let these ideas sink in to who you are.

I also recommend reading Dan’s second & third books in the Peaceful Warrior trilogy. (Sacred Journey of the Peaceful Warrior & The Hidden School) which you can purchase from Amazon if you’d like by clicking on their title.

Get the books from a library or buy them; either way it will be worth your while! I read both & thoroughly enjoyed them.

Happy Reading! I wish you well on your journey toward becoming a Peaceful Warrior.

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