Pebbles on Water

When Couples Fight

I’m a fan of this great blog by Tina Su called Think Simple Now and she has a fascinating article posted about When Couples Fight.

The biggest insight I got was that it all boils down to this:

  • Each of us wants to feel appreciated and validated
  • We are trying to let that person acknowledge us
  • We are trying to let that person value what we contribute

How many times have we done something or sacrificed something for our significant other, only to feel hurt when they don’t see the value.  Expressing appreciation is something so simple and powerful… and it doesn’t cost us anything.

Of course, your ego is going to paint you the victim here… but as with everything that has harmony and balance, it works both ways.

You must express appreciation and acknowledge the contributions of your other half…

Change is Life

Two years ago I was a bachelor spending my days doing whatever at a whim. I was a good zennist, finding tranquility in the complete quiet of solitary life.

Now I’m a husband to a beautiful wife, a father to three beautiful girls, and the caretaker of a mind full of chatter and unrest.

I now realize that I wasn’t a good zennist… I was cheating. It’s easy to be at peace and meditate when you have nothing to be responsible for and and nobody else to consider. But throw in the non-stop noise from a 6 year old girl and the unyielding pressures of supporting a family of five… well, my friend… even a zen master would start twitching regularly while conversing with his ego about the nature of sanity.

You know what, sanity is completely over-rated… just let go of the notion that you gotta hold on to sanity… it’s futile. Let go of sanity… be insane. Embrace your insanity… then just let go of it.

It’s still a daily struggle to find that tranquility, to let go of the anxieties and find that mental balance of non-judgmental being. The one thing I realize now and then is that all our anxieties and unrest are 100% in the mind. It’s possible to let go of them and feel that blissful detachment while taking steps to meet your real obligations.

I’m reminded of a book I haven’t read but has a great title: Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff–and it’s all small stuff

Each Moment

On the “Be-Normal Blog“, Josh goes into something that I feel is very important.  Our true spiritual practice is not only about sitting in zazen each morning… or a meditation break after lunch… or church.

Our practice is breathing… is being present in awareness each moment.  Every moment.

Living awake every moment… that is our practice.

Take a read, it’s worth it: Be Normal::Practice Makes Perfect

Who am I?

That’s the question I find myself asking ALL the time. It’s a central focus of my meditations more often than not.

I just randomly stumbled upon a blog that answers this question in a way that made me laugh so hard I’m still in tears… I introduce… Puppetji

…[forget] this nonsensical questions. People seem to believe they are what they do. Stop. This is false my friends. This is merely the identity trying to create meaning or purpose where there is none.

Let go of these questions… freedom comes in not knowing.

Violence of Separation

Burn This Book <<< dreamslaughter

When you call yourself an Indian or a Muslim or a Christian or a European, or anything else, you are being violent. Do you see why it is violent? It is because you are separating yourself from the rest of mankind. When you separate yourself by belief, by nationality, by tradition, it breeds violence. So a man who is seeking to understand violence does not belong to any country, to any religion, to any political party or partial system; he is concerned with the total understanding of mankind.
~ J. Krishnamurthi

The Window

 The Window
(Author Unknown)

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man  was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour a day to drain the fluids from his lungs. His bed was next to the room’s only window. The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back.

The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and   families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military  service, where they had been on vacation. And every afternoon when the  man in the bed next to the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window.

The man in the other bed would live for those one-hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and  color of the outside world. The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake, the man had said. Ducks and swans played on the water while  children sailed their model boats. Lovers walked arm in arm amid flowers of every color of the rainbow. Grand old trees graced the landscape, and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance. As the man by the window described all this in exquisite  detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene.

One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing by. Although the other man could not hear the band, he could see it in his mind’s eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words. Unexpectedly, an alien thought entered his head: Why should he have all the pleasure of seeing everything while I never get to see  anything? It didn’t seem fair. As the thought fermented, the man felt  ashamed at first. But as the days passed and he missed seeing more sights, his envy eroded into resentment and soon turned him sour. He began to brood and found himself unable to sleep. He should be by that window – and that thought now controlled his life.

Late one night, as he lay staring at the ceiling, the man by the window  began to cough. He was choking on the fluid in his lungs. The other man   watched in the dimly lit room as the struggling man by the window groped for the button to call for help. Listening from across the room, he never moved, never pushed his own button which would have brought the nurse running. In less than five minutes, the coughing and choking  stopped, along with the sound of breathing. Now, there was only silence–deathly silence.

The following morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths. When she found the lifeless body of the man by the window, she was saddened and called the hospital attendant to take it away–no  words, no fuss. As soon as it seemed appropriate, the man asked if he  could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.

Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look. Finally, he would have the joy of seeing it all himself. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed. It faced a blank wall.


We are guided…

… by our higher selves.

Every day most find something to worry about. Sometimes we are already worried and in search of a reason to be so.
Sometimes unfortunate things happen in our lives… a loved one is sick, you lose your keys, your work falls into chaos… so many things to worry about.

Or you can choose to not worry. If you shut off your desire to control and relax your impulse to steer the ship, then quiet your mind… you will notice a pressure. This pressure is pushing you in a certain direction… this pressure is your intuition.

If we calmly follow our subtle intuition… and completely surrender our desire… all of a sudden things work out. It’s an astounding an amazing phenomenon.
Don’t pray, don’t desire… just surrender and “walk” in the direction of the subtle pressure.


Simple Detachment

Large parts of our life involve accumulating “stuff”. We’re always buying more and more, always collecting.

I’ve started to declutter my life by letting go of “stuff” each day. It’s a process of simplifying my living space.
The less stuff I have, the lighter and more at peace I’m feeling. It’s pretty powerful, this letting go.

Meditate on this, you don’t need anything other than breath, water, and small amounts of simple food. Some would add inter-personal interaction, and I would agree that we need people to interact with… but not as much as you think.

Let go and free yourself of your attachments… even if it’s just for a day.


The Meaning of Life

The Ultimate Quest, “The Meaning of Life” or “The Purpose of Life”.
I mean, we’re here living on this earth at this time… why?

Out of all the books I’ve read and people I’ve spoken with… the one bit of wisdom I’m finding in common is this:

“Life is without objective meaning.”

At first that sounds like a very bad, depressing notion. But think about it. If there’s no inherent purpose to our lives, then we are free. Free to create meaning.

So we are free to exist and free to create our purpose, however simple or grand it is… without external judgment.

What do you want to do now?

On Meditation

There are more books about meditation than I can count. Every book explains a different way to meditate and different reasons to meditate.

If we cut out all the excess information, there is only one primary reason and one primary way to meditate.

We meditate in order to stop our mental chatter.

Stopping our mental chatter brings euphoria, insight, improved physical and mental health, and taps into our intuitive unconscious. These are side effects of stopping our mental chatter and that is the goal of meditation.

Stopping the mental chatter can occur primarily by sitting and breathing. When a random though pops up we observe it from a distance, acknowledge that it is a thought, and then let it go bringing focus back to breathing. Sometimes we get the feeling of boredom that’s just another thought (strong because we’re identifying ourselves with it). Acknowledge it, let it go, focus on breathing.

Chanting is interesting because it’s basically a focus on breathing with an auditory component. Chanting with other people in unison… that’s an incredible experience that makes it very easy to stop the mental chatter.

The meditation books also talk about soft (new agey) music, incense, positions, etc. The point of all this is to put you in a better mood for meditation. They make you feel sacred and help you to relax.

When you meditate, if you’re going to use anything to help you, beyond sitting in a quiet place, make sure that your reason for using it is not ego based.

Being true in your motivations is very difficult to identify. The more you think or talk about it, the more false it is for you. You know right away if something is real, don’t ignore that.