Setting Expectations

What is it that you expect to happen?

How often are your expectations realized?

We have both good and bad expectations – about a whole range of things.

What’s more important than expectations are our actions to achieve our good expectations & our actions to work out or through our bad expectations…or to just let them go.

Expectations can hold us back, but they can also set us forward.

The choice is yours.

Memento Mori

“To practice death is to practice freedom. A man who has learned how to die has unlearned how to be a slave.”
—Michel de Montaigne

Memento Mori is Latin for “remember you will die”

This may appear to be a frightening remembrance, and it is to the ego, but Memento Mori is liberating to the human Soul.

“Of all the footprints, that of the elephant is supreme. Similarly, of all mindfulness meditation, that on death is supreme.”
—Buddha

Meditating on the thought of death can help loosen & release the ever so tightening & clinging grasp of ego in our lives.

Death of the ego gives birth to the Soul, and this world could use some Soul right about now.

“While I thought that I was learning how to live, I have been learning how to die.”
—Leonardo da Vinci

Insights from Alan Watt’s book, What Is Zen?

I was pulled into Alan Watt’s What Is Zen? book this week. Like really pulled into it. Into the present moment, as Zen does.

This book reminded me to take life one step at a time rather than multitask as I sometimes try to do. The multitasking usually only leads to unfocused thinking and un-productivity. Can you relate?

Anyway, the term Zen translates to “meditation”. And although I don’t always practice meditation, I find that when I do, my life improves.

Maybe it is for you, and maybe it’s not. If you’re interested in learning about Zen, I highly recommend Watt’s What Is Zen? Here are only a handful of insights from the book.

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“Zen cannot really be taught, but it can be transmitted through sessions of contemplation or meditation, called zazen, and through dialogues between student and teacher, called sanzen. In the dialogues between the student and Zen master the student comes squarely up against the obstacles to his or her understanding and, without making the answer obvious, the master points a finger toward the way.”

“Many hold Zen to be at one with the root of all religions, for it is a way of liberation that centers around the things that are basic to all mysticism: awakening to the unity or oneness of life, and the inward — as opposed to outward — existence of God. In this context the word God can be misleading because, as will be seen, the idea of a deity in the Western religious sense is foreign to Zen.”

“When Buddhism first came to China it was most natural for the Chinese to speak about it in terms of Taoist philosophy, because they both share a view of life as a flowing process in which the mind and consciousness of man is inextricably involved.”

“It is not as if there is a fixed screen of consciousness over which our experience flows and leaves a record. It is that the field of consciousness itself is part of the flowing process, and therefore the mind of man is not a separate entity observing the process from outside, but is integrally involved with it.”

“The practice of Zen is to experience the overall pattern directly, and to know one’s self as the essence of the pattern.”

“Zen is really extraordinarily simple as long as one doesn’t try to be cute about it or beat around the bush! Zen is simply the sensation and the clear understanding that, to put it in Zen terms, there are “ten thousand formations;  one suchness.” Or you might say, “The ten thousand things that are everything are of one suchness.” That is to say that there is behind the multiplicity of events and creatures in this universe simply one energy — and it appears as you, and everything is it.”

“The practice of Zen is to understand that one energy so as to ‘feel it in your bones.’ Yet Zen has nothing to say about what that energy is, and of course this gives the impression in the minds of Westerners that it is a kind of “blind energy.” We assume this because the only other alternative that we can imagine in terms of our traditions is that it must be something like God — some sort of cosmic ego, an almost personal intelligent being. But in the Buddhist view, that would be as far off the mark as thinking of it as blind energy. The reason they use the word “suchness” is to leave the whole question open, and absolutely free from definition. It is “such.” It is what it is.”

“That is why Zen has been called the “religion of no religion.” You don’t need, as it were, to cling to yourself. Faith in yourself is not “holding on” to your-self, but letting go.”

“Then what follows from that is the question, “How does a person who feels that way live in this world? What do you do about other people who don’t see that that’s so? What do you do about conducting yourself in this world?” This is the difficult part of Zen training. There is at first the breakthrough — which involves certain difficulties — but thereafter follows the whole process of learning compassion and tact and skill. As Jesus put it, it is “to be wise as serpents and gentle as doves” — and that is really what takes most of the time.”

“In each culture, it is quite definitely the same experience (the “spiritual experience”), and it is characterized by the transcendence of individuality and by a sensation of being one with the total energy of the universe.”

“I remember a dinner once with Hasegawa, when somebody asked him, ‘How long does it take to obtain our understanding of Zen?’ He said, ‘It may take you three minutes; it may take you thirty years.’ And, he said, ‘I mean that.’”

“There are two sides to this question, and it strikes me in this way: It’s not a matter of time at all. The people who think it ought to take a long time are of one school of thought, and the people who want it quickly are of another, and they are both wrong. The transformation of consciousness is not a question of how much time you put into it, as if it were all added up on some sort of quantitative scale, and you got rewarded according to the amount of effort you put into it. Nor is there a way of avoiding the effort just because you happen to be lazy, or because you say, “I want it now!” The point is, rather, something like this: If you try to get it either by an instant method because you are lazy or by a long-term method because you are rigorous, you’ll discover that you can’t get it either way. The only thing that your effort — or absence of effort — can teach you is that your effort doesn’t work.”

“And so, one of the essentials of Zen training is, to quote a certain parrot from Huxley’s Island, “Here and now, boys!” Be here. And in order to be here, you can’t be looking for a result!”

“To sit in zazen in order to perfect a technique for attaining enlightenment, however, is fundamentally a mistaken approach. Sit just to sit. And why not sit? You have to sit sometime, and so you may as well really sit, and be altogether here. Otherwise the mind wanders away from the matter at hand, and away from the present.”

“People have difficulties with these simple forms of meditation. Thoughts and feelings come up: ‘Is it only this? Is this all there is? Nothing seems to be happening. What’s going on? I feel a little frustrated, and I don’t particularly feel enlightened. There’s just nothing ‘special’ about this at all. Do I have to do this longer in order for something to happen?’
But nothing special is supposed to happen. 
It’s just this. This is it, right here.”

Intro to Stoicism

Oxford Dictionary defines Stoicism 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; 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.

At its core, Stoicism is about trusting life as it is, not how we think it should be. 

It’s about focusing on what’s in our control — our lives, and acting virtuously, not being pushed and pulled by our emotions.

Practicing Stoicism helps us see life objectively, giving us an understanding that we are not the center of the Universe — That the Universe is indifferent to our thoughts and feelings, and that that’s perfectly okay. This knowledge helps us live less selfishly and more cooperatively.

Stoicism has been practiced for thousands of years by numerous people. Other than Zeno, a few famous early practitioners of Stoicism were Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, and Epictetus, about 2,000 years ago. The modern day leader in Stoicism is Ryan Holiday, who gave me the opportunity to intern with him; a modern day apprenticeship. There were many events that led to this, it didn’t just happen, which you can read how it all came to be here on Thought Catalog.

During this time Holiday deepened my knowledge of Stoicism, inspiring me to apply these practices into my life — which doesn’t make someone perfect, it just makes us more Stoic, which you can decide if that’s good or bad.

I contemplated Stoic ideas before knowing they were Stoic ideas, thinking they were just far-out thoughts. Then, when reading Holiday’s book recommendations, I came across Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, and devoured it. It was one of those books that I got pulled into and didn’t want to leave. I highly recommend reading the whole book, but here’s a link to some of Meditation’s main ideas for now.

Below are 4 fundamental Stoic principles you can begin practicing today:

1) Asking, “Is this within my control?”

—If yes, ask, “How can I act virtuously in this moment?”
—If not, ask, “How can I act virtuously in this moment?”

Most of life isn’t in our control, but our response is.

2) Sympatheia

—This is the idea that all things are connected and mutually interdependent. 

Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, in Meditations, wrote: 

“The universe made rational creatures for the sake of each other, with an eye toward mutual benefit based on true value and never for harm.”

Here is a YouTube video speech given by Carl Sagan to view life from a perspective outside of yourself, thus, growing in the practice of Sympatheia.

3) Amor Fati

—The idea and practice of loving your fate. 
—Things often don’t happen as we’d like them to happen, but we can learn to appreciate all that happens to us by practicing Amor Fati.

Here is a link to an ancient proverb, telling us a story that shows us how when we think something “bad” has happened, it can be good in disguise, and when we think something “good” has happened, it can be bad in disguise. It’s one of my favorite stories and has broadened my way of thinking.

Nietzsche 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.”

Epictetus, born a slave, said: “Demand not that things happen as you wish, but wish them to happen as they do, and you will go on well.”

4) Memento Mori

—Remember you will die.
—This idea scares some people, but it inspires Stoics.  

“If everything is ephemeral, what does matter? Right now matters. Being a good person and doing the right thing right now, that’s what matters and that’s what was important to the Stoics. Be humble and honest and aware.”
Ryan Holiday

We all know we are going to die one day, but it is a subject rarely talked about. We’d rather ignore the fact of death instead of embrace it, so it ends up scaring the hell out of us. Let’s start discussing the topic of death. Let’s let it inspire us to live life wholly, focusing on what’s important, keeping in mind we won’t live forever, and that’s okay.

Here are some inspiring Memento Mori related quotes:

“Every third thought shall be my grave.”
William Shakespeare

“People who are excited by posthumous fame forget that the people who remember them will soon die too. And those after them in turn. Until their memory, passes from one to another like a candle flame, gutters and goes out.”
Marcus Aurelius

“So this is how a thoughtful person should await death: not with indifference, not with impatience, not with disdain, but simply viewing it as one of the things that happens to us. Now you anticipate the child’s emergence from its mother’s womb; that’s how you should await the hour when your soul will emerge from its compartment.”
Marcus Aurelius

“Stop whatever you’re doing for a moment and ask yourself: Am I afraid of death because I won’t be able to do this anymore?”
Marcus Aurelius

“To practice death is to practice freedom. A man who has learned how to die has unlearned how to be a slave.” 
Michel de Montaigne

“Of all the footprints, that of the elephant is supreme. Similarly, of all mindfulness meditation, that on death is supreme.”
Buddha

These are just a few Stoic principles you can begin practicing today. I recommend checking out dailystoic.com for more articles on Stoicism, reminders to:

Act virtuously.
Trust the unknown.
Love your fate.
Remember death.

“If” Inspirational Poem by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you   
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;  
 

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;   
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;   
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,   
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,   
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,   
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

25 Law of Mind Quotes from Geniuses

“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”
— Einstein

“Those who fall in love with practice without science are like a sailor who enters a ship without a helm or a compass, and who never can be certain whither he is going.”
— Da Vinci

“It has long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.”
— Da Vinci

“The whole history of science has been the gradual realization that events do not happen in an arbitrary manner, but that they reflect a certain underlying order, which may or may not be divinely inspired.”
— Stephen Hawking

“I have noticed that even those who assert that everything is predestined and that we can change nothing about it still look both ways before they cross the street.”
— Stephen Hawking

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.”
— Einstein

“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”
— Einstein

“Everything is energy and that’s all there is to it. Match the frequency of the reality you want and you cannot help but get that reality. It can be no other way. This is not philosophy. This is physics.”
—Einstein

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^^Let all these quotes sink in⌄⌄

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“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.”
— Buddha

“Nothing can harm you as much as your own thoughts unguarded.”
— Buddha

*“Thinking is easy, acting is difficult, and to put one’s thoughts into action is the most difficult thing in the world.”
Goethe

“As you think, so shall you become.”
— Bruce Lee

“The mind is the root from which all things grow if you can understand the mind, everything else is included. It’s like the root of a tree. All a tree’s fruit and flowers, branches and leaves depend on its root. If you nourish its root, a tree multiplies. If you cut its root, it dies. Those who understand the mind reach enlightenment with minimal effort.”
― Bodhidharma

“The human mind is our fundamental resource.”
— John F. Kennedy

“Thoughts are but dreams till their effects be tried.”
— William Shakespeare

“Men are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of their own minds.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt

“No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking.”
Voltaire

“Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”
Steve Jobs

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t—you’re right.”
— Henry Ford

“Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours.”
— John Locke

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.”
— Romans 12:2

“17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.

20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
— Ephesians 4:17—24

“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
― James 5:16

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
―2 Corinthians 4:16-18

“Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

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Enjoy the quotes?

You’ll definitely enjoy our weekly emails diving deeper into this supernatural world.

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A 3-Step Process to Begin Creating YOUR Life

1—Define your ideal life.

Ask yourself: 
—“What does my ideal life look like?”
—“What does my ideal job look like?”
—“What do my ideal relationships look like?”

Continue this process of questions in each area you want to improve in.

2—Write down your answers.

It’s one thing to contemplate your ideal life, but when you write it on paper or a word doc, it enters the physical world and plants seeds into your subconscious.

3—Affirm your ideal life.

Your mind is like a garden, what you put into it is what will grow.

I have experienced this first-hand, “coincidentally” brushing shoulders with giants again and again. Affirm it daily. The more you affirm it, the more it will manifest.

“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think.”
—Buddha 

“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”
―Thomas Jefferson

“If you have a strong mind and plant in it a firm resolve, you can change your destiny.”
―Paramahansa Yogananda

This process is extremely effective in manifesting a life of your choosing. It’s simple yet requires great responsibility.

Some say “With great power comes great responsibility,” but it’s more like “With great responsibility comes great power.”

Great spiritual teachers spoke of this.
Great psychologists spoke of this.
Great philosophers spoke of this.
&Great scientists speak of this.

A Panda’s Journey includes all the above, and it can be learned.

I offer one-to-one coaching but recommend starting with our weekly free emails.

Just enter your email below to join hundreds of others learning This Path of the Panda.

The path of Responsibility. 
The path of Empowerment.
The path of Truth.

The path to your Best Life.

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A Panda’s Journey

A Panda’s Journey incorporates Spirit & Mind with Quantum Physics to reveal the power within you.

The power within us all.

The power of realizing you are in control of your destiny.

Leading you to the power of training & disciplining your mind to create a destiny of your choosing.

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This isn’t new.
 
Geniuses of all kinds, past and current, understood this truth and applied it in their lives.

Science is now catching up with the minds of geniuses, discovering truth in this law of the human mind.

This discovery is both fascinating & frightening knowing we are literally creating our lives.

It’s liberating but requires deliberate, responsible action, which Freud says most people don’t actually want:

“Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility.”

And here’s Bob Dylan:

“A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom.”

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I’ve previously heard these “ideas”, thinking they were cool, but it wasn’t until recently that this truth hit me like walking into a brick wall before being absorbed by it.

That’s how this feels for me & my gratitude is through the roof.

I feel alive in a way I never fully experienced before & want to share it with you.

I invite you to join me and hundreds of others on this empowering and world-changing journey by signing up for our weekly email list. 

Learn about your mind in a way you never knew, to live the life you never thought you could.

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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.”