The Wisdom of Thich Nhat Hanh

I know I could use a reminder of what really matters… We do our best when we remember that we are all connected… Let’s remember to look at our judgements with some detachment, and dare to ask ourselves, “Is It True?”                                                                                                                      ~ •’•~.. ~ •’• ~..~ •’• ~.. ~ •’• ~

The Vietnamese monk, Thich Nhat Hanh developed the “Fourteen Precepts of Engaged Buddhism” in the mid-1960’s at a time when the Vietnam War was escalating and the teachings of the Buddha were desperately needed to combat the hatred, violence, and divisiveness enveloping his country.

Today, there are thousands worldwide who regularly recite the Fourteen Precepts of Engaged Buddhism which remain uniquely applicable to contemporary moral dilemmas. They are guidelines for anyone wishing to live mindfully.

By developing peace and serenity through ethical and conscientious living, we can help our society make the transition from one based on greed and consumerism to one in which thoughtfulness and compassionate action are of the deepest value.

—Fred Eppsteiner

 The Fourteen Precepts of Engaged Buddhism

  1. Do not be idolatrous about or bound to any doctrine, theory, or ideology, even Buddhist ones. Buddhist systems of thought are guiding means; they are not absolute truth.
  2. Do not think the knowledge you presently possess is changeless, absolute truth. Avoid being narrow-minded and bound to present views. Learn and practice nonattachment from views in order to be open to receive others’ viewpoints. Truth is found in life and not merely in conceptual knowledge. Be ready to learn throughout your entire life and to observe reality in yourself and in the world at all times.
  3. Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education. However, through compassionate dialogue, help others renounce fanaticism and narrowness.
  4. Do not avoid contact with suffering or close your eyes before suffering. Do not lose awareness of the existence of suffering in the life of the world. Find ways to be with those who are suffering, including personal contact, visits, images, and sounds. By such means, awaken yourself and others to the reality of suffering in the world.
  5. Do not accumulate wealth while millions are hungry. Do not take as the aim of your life Fame, profit, wealth, or sensual pleasure. Live simply and share time, energy, and material resources with those who are in need.
  6. Do not maintain anger or hatred. Learn to penetrate and transform them when they are still seeds in your consciousness. As soon as they arise, turn your attention to your breath in order to see and understand the nature of your hatred.
  7. Do not lose yourself in dispersion and in your surroundings. Practice mindful breathing to come back to what is happening in the present moment. Be in touch with what is wondrous, refreshing, and healing both inside and around you. Plant seeds of joy, peace, and understanding in yourself in order to facilitate the work of transformation in the depths of your consciousness.
  8. Do not utter words that can create discord and cause the community to break. Make every effort to reconcile and resolve all conflicts, however small.
  9. Do not say untruthful things for the sake of personal interest or to impress people. Do not utter words that cause division and hatred. Do not spread news that you do not know to be certain. Do not criticize or condemn things of which you are not sure. Always speak truthfully and constructively. Have the courage to speak out about situations of injustice, even when doing so may threaten your own safety.
  10. Do not use the Buddhist community for personal gain or profit, or transform your community into a political party. A religious community, however, should take a clear stand against oppression and injustice and should strive to change the situation without engaging in partisan conflicts.
  11. Do not live with a vocation that is harmful to humans and nature. Do not invest in companies that deprive others of their chance to live. Select a vocation that helps realize your ideal of compassion.
  12. Do not kill. Do not let others kill. Find whatever means possible to protect life and prevent war.
  13. Possess nothing that should belong to others. Respect the property of others, but prevent others from profiting from human suffering or the suffering of other species on Earth.
  14. Do not mistreat your body. Learn to handle it with respect. Do not look on your body as only an instrument. Preserve vital energies (sexual, breath, spirit) for the realization of the Way. (For brothers and sisters who are not monks and nuns:) Sexual expression should not take place without love and commitment. In sexual relationships, be aware of future suffering that may be caused. To preserve the happiness of others, respect the rights and commitments of others. Be fully aware of the responsibility of bringing new lives into the world. Meditate on the world into which you are bringing new beings.

~ •’…^ ~ •’…~ •’…^ ~ •’…^

Edited fromInterbeing: Fourteen Guidelines for Engaged Buddhism” 

How to Fix an Unhappy Relationship


Worth Reading from Off the Web!     ~ excerpt from: https://blogs.psychcentral/Relationships

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Relationships

If you’re stuck in couple communication patterns where you can “predict” what one other will say or do, it likely means it’s time to stop and think with your frontal cortex instead.

While it may be true that what your partner is doing is not working, its’ also true that you only have 100% power to change your part.

To make this work, each partner must own their part. You are not a rock, or an island. You’re interconnected.

But even if only one of you becomes more responsible and aware, the sooner you own your part, the sooner you can access your power to make optimal choices and create great outcomes. And if you put the habit of criticizing to rest for instance, the more likely you will “influence” your partner’s heart to do the same.

After all don’t you already:

“See” and “know” how ineffective it is when your partner uses blame-, shame-, or guilt-inducing comments, or gets stuck on making negative forecasts, focuses on “lack” etc?

See and know how unloving or unloved you “feel” inside when your partner seems to be competing for “who” is right, better, superior, etc.?

So then why would you use the same or similar tactics when you’re arguing, and expect a different response from your partner?

Ask yourself, do you really want the prize of “who’s more hurt, wronged, etc.” on your mantel? What would you gain if the whole world agreed that your partner is to blame or impossible to live with? If you continue to stay on a track that builds a case against your partner, would this finally lead them to give you the love and value you yearn to realize in the relationship?

Likely not.

Keep in mind, like your heart, the key that opens your partner’s heart is feeling loved, valued, appreciated. You’re both wired to keep reaching to feel good about your self and life (i.e., happiness, joy), and thus, absent healthy ways of knowing how to feel good in moments of stress, boredom, etc., your body-mind will subconsciously opt for old tried-and-true “cheap-feel-good” options, which are often a waste of time and energy at best, if not harmful, destructive.

In a sense, you become your thoughts. It’s not just a good idea to become consciously aware of your thoughts. To not do so is like sitting on a million dollars rather than investing in creating ways. The good news is that it’s never too late to change negative patterns. Perhaps the most important take away here is to know you have this power.

Realizing your potential to create happiness and healthy relationships is a living, breathing process that ebbs and flows. The most vital moment at any time in life is always the present one.

If you do not own your happiness, seek to actively grow, to learn what works and what does not (wisdom), to take action accordingly, then you risk approaching your partner with discouraging tactics of criticism, blame, doubts, etc., triggers their deepest fears and doubts. It’s as if you are not there.

If you allow your thoughts or self-talk to keep you worrying about the future or wallowing about past failures or regrets, you cannot be present moment as an observer of your self and your relationship with your partner. It’s as if you are not there.

If you do not know what your partner wants and their reasons, you are at risk of making energy-deflating assumptions or treating your partner as an extension of your self. It’s as if you are not there.

If you do not take actions to consciously support you and your partner to realize what you want, you are at risk of getting stuck in fear-based patterns that activate old emotion-command circuitry in your brain (so old, it takes you back to patterns formed when you were 3 or 5 years old!). Again, it is as if you’re not there.

Realizing your potential as individuals and a couple is less an “outcome” and more an intention to live life fully, to learn, to grow in wisdom and understanding, to realize the amazing built in capabilities you have to stretch your capacity for compassion for your self and your partner.

What does that mean exactly and what is true potential? One thing your potential isn’t is a fixed, static outcome written in stone. Flexibility is a characteristic of creative energy (power); whereas inflexibility is characteristic of destructive power.

Potential can be described as a growing desire to bring into your life and relationship more love, more authenticity, more integrity, more acceptance, more humility, more gratitude, more sense of wellbeing. This is living with the intention for you and your partner to love one another by living to keep reaching for your highest, true potential as individuals and partners.

Ultimately realizing your potential involves cultivating your ability to do the “right” thing, and keep doing the right thing , especially when you do not “feel” like doing so, builds character, strength, courage and also deepens and matures your capacity to love your self, partner and life in a compassionate, wise-and-understanding way.

To do the right thing is to take action accordingly, meaning that it stems from wanting to do so, thus, out of emotions love, joy, caring, thoughtfulness, kindness, instead of emotions of fear, guilt, and shame.

One of the most powerful (and least accessed in relationships) kinds of action is to make clear, action-inspiring requests.

In couple relationships, this often comes “easy” for one partner, and not so easy for the other. If this sounds like you, don’t worry. It seems to be nature’s plan to bring together polar opposites on this (and other) dimensions. Nature seems to be interested in your growth, progress, transformation, and loves to challenge you.

Your couple relationship is a top-notch school, you may say, and the curriculum seems custom designed for both of you to stretch or change or modify your approach in the direction of the other.

For example:

  • For the partner who “easily” makes requests, it may mean they need to tone down the intensity with which they make requests so they sound less like demands, ultimatums to the other.
  • For the partner who responds with “I don’t know” when asked what they want, it may mean they need to stop talking themselves out of connecting to what they really want or making requests (to avoid upsetting the other).
  • For both partners, it likely means you need to learn to “reimage” the other in your mind, so you “see” and treat the other as loving and loved, valued and appreciated (as you did when you first met!). This is an infinitely more powerful and effective way to restore your relationship –  better than criticism, reactive negativity and the like.

To create the life experiences that meet your deepest yearnings means you must develop the ability to ask for what you want, and to listen to understand your partner’s.

Set an intention to become more and more aware of how you choose to use your power in present moments:

  • to know and understand what you and your partner want and why
  • take action to make life consciously more wonderful for one another This also frees you both to access life-shaping, miracle-making energies inside.

29 Signs You’re Doing Just Fine (Even If It Doesn’t Feel Like It)

Worth reading – from Off the Web!

Happiness is not the absence of problems, but the ability to keep things in perspective and deal with them.

We all have days, weeks, months and – for some – even years of feeling anxious and uncertain.It’s a vague feeling you can’t quite put your finger on. From the outside, people think you have it all together, but they can’t see what’s going on in your head. Emptiness fills your thoughts and emotions all too often, nagging at you throughout the day. You set goals but they never satisfy your ego. You always feel a day late and a buck short. The search can seem almost endless.

And a question continues to spin in your mind: “Why can’t I just be happy?”

The good news is you don’t have to live like this. There is a better way to view the world that will lead to what you seek. The first step, though, is to stop searching. You will never find happiness by continually looking for it in another time and place. When you focus on the lack of something in your life, what you want will always elude you.

Angel and I often tell our coaching clients they’re doing so much better than they give themselves credit for. Most of us are so busy trying to make something big happen, we forget to pause and appreciate all our little victories.

Rather than dwelling on what’s missing in your life, start looking at what you have. This isn’t just about material possessions; it’s about all the goodness in your life. When you focus on the abundance you already have, the negative feelings that come from lacking something else gradually fade from your conscious. Living isn’t an easy thing to do, but it can be enjoyable when you start to see the good instead of focusing on the bad.

Having trouble seeing the goodness? Here’s a list of things you have to smile about – some obvious signs you’re doing just fine in life:

1) You have the freedom to live your life the way you want to live it. – If you often worry about what you’re going to do with your life – your career, your family, the next step, etc., be grateful. All details aside, this means you have ambition, passion, drive, and the freedom to make your own decisions.

2) You are courageously walking your own path. – When people argue with you and challenge your decisions, remind yourself that you don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. You’ve got to do what’s right for you, even if some people disagree.

3) You are making difficult decisions and acting upon them. – How well you play the game of life comes down to the sum of your choices. You know this. Whatever you decide, don’t be the chess piece, be the chess player.

4) You are working hard for people and causes you believe in. – Working hard for something you don’t care about is called stress; working hard for something you love is called passion.

5) You are choosing to be happy in your own way. – When you stop chasing everyone else’s definition of happiness, you begin to see that the decision to be happy has been available all along.

6) You see obstacles in front of you because you are not settling. – If you settle for just anything, there wouldn’t be any obstacles in your way, but then you would never know what you are capable of either. Because your obstacles are your opportunities. Obstacles are put in your way to help you determine if what you want is really worth fighting for.

7) You have made the best of some tough situations. – Smiling doesn’t always mean you’re happy with everything. Sometimes it just means you’re strong enough to accept it and make the best of it.

8) You have come a long way. – Do not judge your failed attempts and mistakes as an indication of your future potential, but as part of your growth process. Your past has given you the strength and wisdom you have today, so celebrate it and use the knowledge you’ve gained. Don’t let it haunt you and hold you back.

9) You haven’t quit and you aren’t planning on it. – People rarely quit over the last thing that happened. Instead they quit a tiny bit each day. Trying to fix the last thing misses the point. Keep this in mind.

10) You do your best to accept what you can’t change. – Moving on is never an easy thing, but if you start accepting things for what they are it’ll be a lot easier. Acceptance is always the key to moving forward and making positive changes that are within your control.

11) You aren’t scared to fail forward. – The biggest difference between wildly successful people and total failures is that successful people fail more often, instead of just once.

12) You haven’t let fear get in your way. – You have to wonder how many people are afraid to die, in part, because they often realize too late that they were afraid to live.

13) You still believe in the possibilities that lie ahead. – Accept what is, let go of what was and have faith in what could be. Remember, life does not have to be anywhere near perfect to be wonderful.

14) You dare to dream every day. – Dr. King gave the famous “I have a dream” speech not the “I have a plan” speech. It’s our dreams that change the course of history, not just our plans. Keep dreaming.

15) You have a vision for your future. – “Vision” is the ability to talk about your future with such clarity, it’s as if you are talking about your past.


16) You haven’t let the judgments of others stop you. – Keep listening to your intuition, and make this your lifelong motto: “I respectfully do not care.” Say it to anyone who passes judgment on something you strongly believe in.

17) You are doing what you can with what you have. – The secret to living the life of your dreams is to start living the life of your dreams, right now, to any degree that you already can.

18) You are doing your best to provide value. – No one is entitled to success. To remain successful, you must constantly find new ways to add value. Keep putting your heart, mind and soul into even your smallest acts. This is one of the great secrets of lasting success.

19) You go out of your way to help people. – Service is not doing what is required of us. Service is doing more than is required of us. Remember, successful people are always looking for ways to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, “What’s in it for me?”

20) You aren’t scared to express your love, openly. – Love is great when spoken, but greatest when shown. So if you care about someone’s wellbeing, show it. Keep doing little things daily to show the people around you that you care.

21) You continue to make a difference. – Have you ever thought about how much your actions mean to others? Maybe that smile you gave to a stranger today made their bad day better. Maybe that hello you gave to a colleague today made them realize people actually notice them and care. Maybe that money you gave to a homeless man today gave him hope. Maybe spending time with someone special today made them forget their problems for a while. Keep it up.

22) You have enough right now to live comfortably. – You didn’t go to sleep hungry last night. You awoke this morning with a roof over your head. You had a choice of what clothes to wear. You have access to clean drinking water and electricity. You are online right now. You have plenty to be comfortable. Being wealthy is a mindset. Want less and appreciate more.

23) You haven’t let rampant materialism get the best of you. – Our lives are not defined by the things we possess. Our lives are defined by the things we pursue. Make sure what you own, never owns you.

24) You are reasonably healthy. – In other words, if you got sick today you could recover. Never underestimate the gift of your health. It’s the greatest wealth you will ever own. It’s the foundation for every chance at happiness and success life has to offer. Your body is the only place you will truly ever live.

25) Your relationships are less dramatic than they use to be. – Keep forgoing the drama and ignoring the negativity. Don’t let ignorance stop you from being the best you can be. Just keep doing what you’re doing – being sincere and kind, and promoting what you love, rather than bashing what you hate.

26) You have escaped from some very toxic relationships. – Don’t worry too much about people who don’t worry about you. Know your worth! When you give yourself to someone who doesn’t respect you, you surrender pieces of your soul that you’ll never get back.

27) You know deep down that you are not alone. – Next time you feel all alone, remember, again, that you are not.

28) You have great people in your life who are standing beside you. – Know that it’s less important to have more friends and more important to have real ones. And remember, it’s during the toughest times of your life that you’ll get to see the true colors of the people who say they care about you. Don’t take these people for granted. Look around and appreciate them, right now.

29) You have a home. – A house is a home when it shelters the body and comforts the soul. But a home isn’t always a physical structure, or a specific location on a map. Home is wherever the people you love are, whenever you’re with them. It’s not a defined place, but a space in your heart and mind that builds upon itself like little bricks being stacked to create something stable that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go.

Recognizing these little victories in your life on a daily basis can take you from a mindset of wishing you had more, to a mindset of joyful appreciation.

Source: 29 Signs You’re Doing Just Fine (Even If It Doesn’t Feel Like It)

What would you add to the list? 

What’s something positive about you and your life situation that you often overlook? 

Which of these signs resonate with you? 

Which ones did you forget about until now? 

Please leave a comment below.


Other Posts

Life Is Like a Book. 



Alan Watts – Everything is Interconnected & Inseparable

Creative by Nature

“I seem, like everything else, to be a center, a sort of vortex, at which the whole energy of the universe realizes itself.. Each one of us, not only human beings but every leaf, every weed, exists in the way it does, only because everything else around it does. The individual and the universe are inseparable.” ~Alan Watts

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The following are excerpts from a transcript of Alan Watts’ “Conversations with Myself.” The full video can be viewed here on youtube. It’s the closest thing we have to a TED Talk from Watts, a systems thinking pioneer, decades ahead of his time.

“I’ve been living out here for some months; to write, and to absorb an atmosphere that is different from the city. To try and find out what is the essential difference between the world of nature and the world of man. Because there’s an obvious difference, like the difference of…

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Self Criticism? How to Overcome Your Inner “I’m Not Good Enough” Voice

Worth Reading – from off the Web!

Instead of going down the beaten path of self-blame and self-punishment for not being “good enough”, we can rewire our brains to think and behave differently.

We live in a world where the theme of unworthiness shows up in all areas in life. As kids, we proudly show off our high marks and perfect behaviors knowing they will earn us praises and approval from adults, and as adults, we constantly judge and punish ourselves for our lack of wealth, success, relationships and others’ good opinions of us. In my healing and coaching practice, the most common story that is told over and over is the one of “I’m not good enough.”

That was the story of my life as well, for over 3 decades. Having grown up in an Asian culture in the 80’s where being an overachiever was encouraged, the accepted, even celebrated method to motivate children was to subject them to harsh criticism and belittling (ie. “who do you think you are”, “you are nothing until you prove your worth so you can be something”, etc.) As a result, I not only internalized the disempowering belief that “I am not good enough” but I also made sure it dominated and manifested in every area of my life — without fail.

As powerful as this or any belief can be, it is only a belief, and we can choose to liberate ourselves from it – simply because it isn’t who we are. If you are constantly battling with a similar story, I invite you to read and practice the following steps to take your power back from that self-limiting belief.

Signs, Signs Everywhere

The first sign is always what we call a negative feeling. Our feelings are intelligent communications from our bodies to indicate to us whether a belief is in or out of alignment with who we are. How we feel at any moment is filtered by our thoughts and our thoughts derive from our existing beliefs. When our beliefs are no longer serving us, our feelings – being the language of the soul in a very literal fashion will give us a little (or large) kick to raise an alert. When I am in a coaching session, whenever a story comes up that is out of alignment, I always ask my clients how it makes them feel. The answer is always along the line of “it makes me feel crappy.”

The signs can range from physical ailments such as lack of energy or tension in various parts of the body to mental and emotional symptoms such as procrastination, depression and anxiety; or they can be a combination of conditions from all levels including feeling a tight knot of anxiety in the stomach that is often accompanied by digestive issues.

Our beliefs also have clever ways to disguise themselves as positive as well as socially approved motivations and behaviors.

Perfectionism is one of them. For the longest time I unconsciously chose to tell the story of “I am a perfectionist” which allowed me to get away from the harsh voice of “I am not good enough.” Yet time and time again when I ruthlessly put myself down for every little perceived failure, I finally realized my perfectionism was only a sugar coated version of “I suck.”

Another common disguise is altruism, or people pleasing behavior. We convince ourselves it is noble of us to place others’ needs before ours as well as compromise our own happiness because it earns us praises such as compassionate, kind and selfless.

Some of us have the tendency to give ourselves up or lose ourselves completely in relationships. Our society has a very powerful reinforcement system when it comes to encouraging selfless behavior without addressing the fundamental notion that our first relationship is always the relationship with ourselves. Without loving, cherishing and respecting ourselves, there is no relationship with others. When we do not know how to value ourselves and make the highest choices for ourselves, how can we honor others as loving, deserving and worthy?

There is certainly nothing wrong with giving our best in circumstances and relationships. However, it is helpful to always do a little honest self-inquiry and ask ourselves how each decision makes us feel. And if it does not feel uplifting, what belief is underneath that decision?

When we practice consciously acknowledging our old patterns every by listening to what our bodies are trying to tell us, we are stepping out of the unconscious and reactive way of living so we can compose a response that allows us to freely create based on who we want to be rather than recreate past scenarios of who we were told to be.

Instead of going down that old beaten path that leads to nothing but a stinking swamp, aka the self-blame and self-punishment for not being worthy, we can choose again and create a new path. The more we can catch ourselves on auto pilot, the more we can rewire our brains to think and behave differently.

Decisions, Decisions

Read more here: Self Criticism? How to Overcome Your Inner “I’m Not Good Enough” Voice

Why Practice Mindfulness?

Why Practice Mindfulness?

peaceMindfulness-Based Stress Reduction pioneer Jon Kabat-Zinn shares several good reasons for us to make mindfulness part of our lives and our communities.

The ultimate promise of mindfulness is much larger, much more profound, than simply cultivating our attentiveness. It helps us understand that our conventional view of ourselves and even what we mean by “self” is incomplete in some very important ways.

Mindfulness helps us recognize how and why we mistake the actuality of things for some story we create. It then makes it possible for us to chart a path toward greater sanity, wellbeing, and purpose.

“If our thinking is not balanced with awareness, we can end up deluded – Mistaking reality for some story  that we created.”

Today, as we bring science together with meditation, we’re beginning to find new ways, in language we can all understand, to show the benefits of training oneself to become intimate with the workings of one’s own mind in a way that generates greater insight and clarity. The science is showing interesting and important health benefits of mind/body training and practices, and is now beginning to elucidate the various pathways though which mindfulness may be exerting its effects on the brain (emotion-regulation, working memory, cognitive control, attention, activation in specific somatic maps of the body, cortical thickening in specific regions) and the body (symptom reduction, greater physical well-being, immune function enhancement, epigenetic up and down regulation of activity in large numbers and classes of genes). It is also showing that meditation can bring a sense of meaning and purpose to life, based on understanding the non-separation of self and other. Given the condition we find ourselves in these days on this planet, understanding our interconnectedness is not a spiritual luxury; it’s a societal imperative.

Even very, very smart people—and there are plenty of them around—are starting to recognize that thinking is only one of many forms of intelligence. If we don’t recognize the multiple dimensions of intelligence, we are hampering our ability to find creative solutions and outcomes for problems that don’t admit to simple-minded fixes. It’s like having a linear view in medicine that sees health care solely as fixing people up—an auto mechanic’s model of the body that doesn’t understand healing and transformation, doesn’t understand what happens when you harmonize mind and body. The element that’s missing in that mechanical understanding is awareness.

Genuine awareness can modulate our thinking, so that we become less driven by unexamined motivations to put ourselves first, to control things to assuage our fear, to always proffer our brilliant answer. We can create an enormous amount of harm, for example, by not listening to other people who might have different views and insights. Fortunately, we have more of an opportunity these days to balance the cultivation of thinking with the cultivation of awareness. Anyone can restore some degree of balance between thinking and awareness right in this present moment, which is the only moment that any of us ever has anyway. The potential outcomes from purposefully learning to inhabit awareness and bring thought into greater balance are extremely positive and healthy for ourselves and the world at large.

Working on our mindfulness, by ourselves and along with others, hinges on appreciating the power of awareness to balance thought. There’s nothing wrong with thinking. So much that is beautiful comes out of thinking and out of our emotions. But if our thinking is not balanced with awareness, we can end up deluded, perpetually lost in thought, and out of our minds just when we need them the most.

Jon Kaba t-Zinn is the founding director of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He is  the author of Coming to Our Senses: Healing the World and Ourselves through Mindfulness.   Article from Shambala Sun