The reality of interbeing

Thich-Nhat-Hanh-interbeing

“To be is to inter-be. You cannot just be by yourself alone.
You have to inter-be with every other thing.
This sheet of paper is, because everything else is.”

— Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Buddhist monk

Posted in Awareness, Earth Appreciation, Focus, Freedom, Happiness & Joy, Oneness, Peace, Thankfulness | Leave a comment

Freedom

freedom

Posted in Awareness, Belief, Declutter, Focus, Freedom, Happiness & Joy, Peace, Simplify, Thankfulness | Leave a comment

Thinking about thinking

thinking-about-thinkingHappiness involves a kind of “meta-awareness” — a consciousness of consciousness. That is, being aware of what we’re thinking enables us to let go of negative thoughts that produce feelings of unhappiness within us. Through awareness of our thoughts, we can choose not to be governed by negative thinking.

By bringing our awareness back to the present moment, we don’t waste energies focusing on the unchangeable past or indeterminate future. Instead, we’re intimately connected to what’s happening right here, right now — the only place and time we actually have to think, feel and take action. The present moment is where we have the freedom to choose; it’s where we can experience peace and contentment.

Cultivating an “attitude of gratitude” heightens our awareness of the present moment and all the opportunity it contains. When we’re aware of the possibilities that exist in the now, we can make choices that move us in a positive direction. Awareness of these opportunities (and our ability to act on them in this moment) leads to happiness.

So the next time you’re unhappy, simply bring your mind back to the present moment, where the gift of opportunity always presents itself, and where gratitude — the catalyst of happiness — fills your heart.

————————-

You Can Feel Good Again is one of the most perspective-changing books I’ve ever read about the relationship between our thinking and our experience of happiness. It’s an insightful and profoundly helpful read, and I hope you can benefit from its wisdom, too.

Posted in Awareness, Belief, Declutter, Detachment, Focus, Freedom, Happiness & Joy, Oneness, Peace, Thankfulness | Leave a comment

Happiness is…

I-want-happiness

Happiness is what’s left after we strip away cluttery thoughts of ego and attachment. Ironically, our own thinking is the stumbling block we must overcome to be content and happy.

Like anything that’s real and true, happiness is with us all along, “hidden in plain sight” — it’s always available to us, if only we can remove the obstructions that keep us from experiencing it.

Posted in Awareness, Belief, Declutter, Detachment, Focus, Freedom, Happiness & Joy, Humor, Peace, Simplify, Thankfulness | Leave a comment

Don’t worry. Be happy.

A man who knows how to smile...Admittedly, I never really thought about the lyrical wisdom expressed in Bobby McFerrin’s 1988 hit song. Sure, the catchy, upbeat tune makes you want to smile and whistle along — which, funnily enough, takes your mind off worries and engenders happiness.

But is it really that easy? Is achieving happiness as simple as not worrying and choosing to be happy?

Turns out McFerrin’s four-word maxim nails it.

Worry (aka “anxiety”) is based on fear — fear of the unknown, fear of the future. But there’s little we can do to prepare for unforeseen or uncertain situations except live fully in the present moment. Through awareness of what’s going on here and now, we can direct our thoughts and actions toward the best possible outcome.

If it’s within our power to change what’s to come, there’s no need to worry. And if we can’t do anything about the situation, worrying is pointless. Either way, worry is a waste of time and energy.

Here’s a nifty diagram to illustrate:

No worries, mate!Bottom line: there’s never a reason to worry.
Worrying doesn’t solve problems or prevent mishaps. So don’t worry.

As for the other part of McFerrin’s mantra — “be happy” — fortunately we’re able to choose our thoughts, and therefore choose our feelings. Happiness is a choice because we have the power to let go of negativity and focus our minds on positive, life-affirming thinking.

We can let go of worry and fear; we’re free to choose happiness.

Don’t worry. Be happy.
Simple as that. :-)

Posted in Awareness, Belief, Declutter, Detachment, Focus, Freedom, Happiness & Joy, Humor, Peace, Simplify, Thankfulness | Leave a comment

Becoming free

Becoming free means letting go - Thich Nhat HanhThat about says it all.  :-)

This post is dedicated to Krista Murphy, a longtime friend, compatriot and genuine seeker of wisdom and truth. She’s also someone who likes to share a good laugh — undoubtedly one of friendship’s greatest gifts.

Posted in Awareness, Belief, Compassion, Detachment, Focus, Freedom, Happiness & Joy, Oneness, Peace, Simplify, Thankfulness | Leave a comment

Purging emotional clutter

Forgiveness — letting things go — is the key to healing and inner peace.

Forgiveness is key to nonviolence, peace... and happinessExternal clutter often mirrors internal disarray — it’s usually a visible sign of inner turmoil or distress in our lives. Effectively purging external “crap” is only possible after removing the emotional blockages that hold us back.

Our thoughts create feelings and emotions, so thoughts of anger, hatred and resentment focus our attention on negativity and create unhappiness within us. But by changing our thinking — by letting go of negative thoughts and past hurt — we can change how we feel. Through forgiveness, we have the power to be happy and content.

Forgiveness leads to internal freedom, and it’s completely within our power to be free. It’s our choice to let go of thoughts (and the feelings/emotions they create) that are harmful and cause suffering to ourselves and others. Through forgiveness, we have the ability to move forward and stop obsessing about the unchangeable past.

Unlike the separation/division caused by negative thoughts and feelings, forgiveness is a free-willed choice toward wholeness and unity. In other words, forgiveness is healing. Forgiveness releases the emotional “baggage” that weighs us down; it’s an act of true liberation for both the “forgiver” and “forgiven.”

Forgiveness is a profound act of love toward self and others. To forgive is to overcome one’s ego when it’s most difficult to do so, and forgiveness shows a strong desire to be united with others. Ultimately, forgiveness is the path to liberation, oneness and peace.

Posted in Awareness, Belief, Compassion, Declutter, Detachment, Focus, Freedom, Happiness & Joy, Oneness, Peace, Simplify, Thankfulness | Leave a comment

Stuff begets stuff

Cases, adapters, cables, chargers… it’s amazing how one item can involve numerous accessories.

Let me begin with a Zen reflection — a haiku that describes a perplexing and common dilemma:

We own to feel free
But possessed by possessions,
Ownership enslaves.

In short, the more we have, the more we need… because we need more stuff to take care of the stuff we already have!

Accessorize, accessorize…. Consumer culture constantly pushes us to acquire more. Our “things” need shelves, containers and replacement supplies. Rooms need furniture and decoration. Kitchens need appliances and cooking utensils. And don’t forget the various products and equipment needed to maintain our stuff and keep it clean!

You’ve heard that “nature abhors a vacuum”? Well, maybe nature doesn’t, but the human psyche does.

It’s funny how we think an empty space needs something to fill it. For example, we’ll put a table in an open area to “fill the void.” But we’re not content leaving the surface bare, so we then acquire a decorative piece, which in turn requires supplies for cleaning/upkeep… and this involves more accessories, gadgets, tools/parts and organizing containers… all of which necessitates additional storage space. So filling one empty space often has the effect of spilling into another, and having one thing can easily lead to acquiring something else.

It takes stuff to care for stuff — ownership can be a “slippery slope” where possessions are amassed at an exponential rate. Having less creates less, while having more creates more. In the vast ecosystem of consumerism, stuff begets stuff.

What we possess has, in its superfluous accumulation, the potential to possess us. So buyer beware — because if we allow it, what we own can become a demanding, insatiable master.

And isn’t our goal to be truly free?

Posted in Awareness, Declutter, Detachment, Focus, Freedom, Happiness & Joy, Peace, Simplify | Leave a comment

Motto for today… and always

Joyful Simplicity: both a goal and a spiritual discipline

Simplicity isn’t about deprivation; it’s about freedom from encumbrances.

By eliminating what we don’t need and focusing only on the essential, we reject distractions that keep us from living happy and purposeful lives.

In achieving this balance, we become our authentic selves. We learn to trust — we realize that we have everything we need, and that everything will be OK.

Trust brings a sense of true peace, the liberating awareness that there’s no reason to be afraid. And because fear and anxiety no longer govern us, love and joy fill our lives.

Simplicity is manifested in joyful, authentic living.

Posted in Awareness, Belief, Compassion, Declutter, Detachment, Earth Appreciation, Focus, Freedom, Happiness & Joy, Oneness, Peace, Simplify, Thankfulness | Leave a comment

Making connections

Are YOU a "connector"?

Life is all about relationships — and making connections that bridge gaps. This core principle has been on my mind a lot lately… an awareness of how we’re all interconnected and interrelated in profound ways. And given the intricacies of the modern world, our interdependency on each other has never been more apparent.

And so I recommit myself to the idea of being a “connector” — of being a better instrument for “linking” people and experiences. By reaching out to individuals I wouldn’t usually encounter, and by being open to ideas and experiences outside my “comfort zone,” I hope to help bridge gaps and promote harmonious coexistence.

This renewed effort toward connectivity and inclusiveness also extends to our relationship with the natural world around us. After all, we human beings are inextricably linked to the planet where we live. We’re all part of our environment — and we can only exist within this delicately balanced, global framework of interrelatedness. And, of course, our home planet connects us to a more universal web of existence.

By being more aware of our interconnectedness and how one thing always affects another, my hope is to live more deliberately as a “part-of-the-whole” that facilitates connection between seemingly different elements. Because in the end, what we call “differences” are really just expressions of our connectedness… ’cause being “different” is only possible in relation to something else.

We are all truly one. And being a “connector” is key to making the most of life’s many relationships.

Posted in Awareness, Compassion, Earth Appreciation, Focus, Freedom, Happiness & Joy, Oneness, Peace, Thankfulness | Leave a comment