Reflection About Dharma

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 Reflecting last week and the spiritual wisdom I’ve learned, applied and continue to apply with extra effort.

I’ve spent most of the Saturday in quiet meditation. I’ve observed my thoughts the life and quietly reflected upon what is. Mostly I’ve been happy about the present, somehow I’ve accepted the idea that the present is the best time to be and in fact everything that is in the present is all I need, it’s all I need now and all I need to grow.

Present moment, my surroundings the people I am with tell me where I am doing good and what I need to do if I were to look close enough.

Also I began to ponder upon some thoughts that I had pushed aside during the week and of course these thoughts get back, because that which doesn’t get enough attention will always come back more strongly.

One such thought was about voices in the head. I learned on Wednesday that in fact voices in the head are not that common. Depending on the source maybe about fifth of the population have voices in their heads. Stereotypically this would be quickly associated with mental illnesses and judged, however with closer observation most of the voices are not that harmful.

In fact what surprised me that I haven’t thought of this and I do hear voices. Past ten years I’ve had dialogue and I think this as mostly as a gift. Quick research online on few different websites seems to confirm that this is can be indeed the case as well. It’s funny thing that I haven’t considered this topic before, it was pure coincidence that I learned about it now!

Lesson: What I experience everyday differs from what you experience every day and that same applies to all other people too. There are similarities and perhaps even exact sameness with some odds, although the odds are tiny.

Being what we are to the fullest is our gift to the world and universe. This idea is expressed in Bhagavad Gita as “it is better to strive in one’s own dharma than to succeed in the dharma of another.”

I heard today similar idea contemplating upon the same topic while listening the Eat, Pray, Love  “God dwells inside you, as you.

These lines primed me into quietly reflecting my life and what is my dharma and how to strive to it? As I learned last week about the voices, there are many similar tiny things that make each of us rather unique expression in the universe.

When I am present, I understand the importance of striving towards my own dharma. Sometimes I see the work and yet because it feels too great I get distracted just like as a kid I used to when needed to get the homework done. We all have our personal dharma to strive towards to, and life is the personalized obstacle suitable for each one of us.

Thought to contemplate: what is the skillful response here?

Striving means trying. When we try we do not always succeed, we always can learn and go towards the right direction thought if we so desire. This is positive desire, to learn from failures and setbacks and go towards the right direction: next time I ought to try harder.

Be Calm and Prepare

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Calm and preparation make life to seem to be under our control. Of course even at best we have illusion of control, because life is way too big to be controlled. We at (best) can control our own impulses and responses to what life throws at us.

The calm and the preparation both help us to choose even better responses. And what makes life wonderful are those best thought out responses to whatever happens!

If we are calm, we have all the time in the world to make the right decisions.

If we are prepared, we are never in a hurry because we already are prepared and ready to go.

The sense of calm comes ability to see the reality as it is, not to take it too personally. In fact, the very nature is change between huger and huger forces at play so it’s just easier to remain calm because that’s the only thing we can control: how do we respond when everything comes crashing down.

We have to ability to remain calm and prepare for tomorrow, until sadly the tomorrow one day doesn’t come. Yet if we are calm and in control of ourselves we should have a lot of fun while at it. While others depress or worry, we remain calm and enjoy the life as it is!

Win Your Fears Quickly

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Today I realized that when I win my fears quickly, life is awesome. Quickly means without a delay and without a delay means right now. When there is no delay there is also no time to suffer about anything.

I cannot believe how much of my life I’ve wasted over being afraid something could happen and then letting that fear cripple me – even when what I feared never very likely happened. Fearing causes world to shrink and pain inside us.

Fear is meant to keep us safe and it does that rather well. However when it is about mental dimensions of present day social life, not many of the perceived fears are not real.

In society there are also people who are ready to exploit the fear to a direction and another. From personal standpoint it is important to notice where do the fears are baseless and when there is a justified reason. If we can do this separation we are going to be alright and we shouldn’t stick with our fears too long. Winning fears quickly before they take a root is a good habit that builds up courage and joy in your life!

Choose Your Response Carefully!

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A bit of continuation to the mature response -blog from last week.

That topic was in retrospect a big hit for myself, because by writing that I had prepared myself for rejection what followed the next day. Now I was ready to deal with it in mature way, because I had just revisited the notes and what it means to respond maturely. Despite knowing and remembering some of this, I have to say that dealing with rejection in personal relationships is never easy.

Even in professional life: sales and marketing people face rejection several or even dozens of times per day it’s not easy even though there it’s not so personal. Rejection hurts.

Here we come to the part what we are actually able to control: our response to the outside impulse. Separation between an animal and a conscious being is the ability to delay the time in between impulse and response. We have the ability to choose our response. This so called last of human freedoms is what many philosophies including stoicism teaches us.

Today I realized that choosing means that there are usually several different options for us to consider. Several paths, from which we can always choose the best suited path for our purposes.

How long can you take in between impulse and response? Try taking a moment of your time.

Usually the powerful have the time to be quiet and think before reply. Do you recognize the feeling?

Be responsible, choose your response carefully!

Tiny Action

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Action is over- and underappreciated word.

Overappreciated as in action without consideration, thought or end in mind.

Underappreciated as in thought without action. Action remains just a word, instead of verb in action.

There is the middle way: thinking, without thinking too much and doing, without doing too much.

My personal fault lies mostly in thinking too much and doing too little. Thus I see this quality in others as well emphasized. And it might be that I am too blind to my own actions that are mindless, so I cannot even name them yet. With a bit of thinking, I think there is indeed also this mindless action in play.

The more I’ve studied about habits and applied what I’ve learned to my life, I am amazed to discover these tiny pockets of time all around me. More efficient actions (=habits) create more time and space. What used require effort, do not any longer. Thus taking action becomes easier.

With habits also the cost of starting doing something (which I feel is immense). Have you tried to start a work out after a long work day? That’s only difficult if you do not already have the neural circuitry in your mind to fire of and start doing it. When you’ve the network however, it will automatically flare up and you will start the work out when you just find the right triggers for that.

The difference between habit and a separate action decision is huge. Habits have little to none starting cost, they trigger automatically. Decisions to do something have tremendous starting cost and when we are tired and hungry we are less likely going to make any good decisions.

Therefore life consists of making these tiny decisions right through the days, these will ensure sufficient energy when we need it the most.

We need tiny action everyday to start building momentum for the bigger decisions and challenges.

 

Random Thoughts: Humility and Potential Paradox  

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I need to remind myself to stay humble. The work I do is yet fairly insignificant what it could be.

Do you see your potential? Even as a collective human species we barely manage to make a dent in the universe. Space is vast and unknown.

This morning, I was listening a podcast where the theme was The Big Leap Book by Gay Hendricks. There are four levels of achievement: the zone of incompetence, zone of competence, zone of excellence and zone of genius. Where would you put yourself?

I mean that is pretty eye opening, because we often settle for competence or even excellence, where the genius would be where we would thrive. Surrendering to the genius is a wonderful idea, yet our egos are terrified by that very same idea.

Humility and the potential, what a paradox.

Learn and Apply It to Your Life

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Alive time or dead time concepts are in Robert Greene’s books. Most of my life I feel like I’ve lived in dead time. I’m now 30 so 21 years I’ve lived in dead time. Only a bit over 9 years I would qualify as alive time.

Or as in Shawshank Redemption they put it: “Get busy living, or get busy dying.”

Many talk about learning. Many go to schools. Many talk about doing this or that as well.

Yet few actually do anything. That includes me personally. Every day I have to remind myself to start doing: often we teach what we need to learn ourselves the most.

One mantra that I have is that only learning that matters is a learning that shows in actions.

“Swords, not words” would a character (Minsk) in Baldurs’ Gate 2 say.

It’s not that difficult: only learning is the applied learning.

There is also more to the learning that just that. There is the wisdom that even if we do something today and then let it be like that, we are going to lose that skill.

“Use it or lose it.”

This is one of my biggest fears with writing and prioritization. I fear that if I would prioritize other things, I would lose even my modest ability to get things done.

We only get to keep those virtuous that we sustain and nourish every day. And if we want to get a head we need to learn and apply to it every day as well.

Light in Blight

 

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Life is full of uncertainty and unexpected. Some of this makes it joyous and exciting, while at times it can be difficult to deal with.

Most common forms of obstacles are failure or experience of failure. Failure is impermanent and there is always something to be learned.

Success is nice when we reach it and while at it, yet success is as impermanent as is failure. If we forget to stay open and humble we will inevitably fail. Thus the success contains a seed of destruction within.

Failure either as it is or after a great success can get us to a dark place. Yet in the darkest days, the rays of hope can be seen most acutely: there is always hope as long as we are alive.

In fact most of the life is like that: we are facing something, then we fail and it is literally what we do after the failure that defines and makes us. It’s how we respond to the failure. If we choose to learn, stay humble and keep building ourselves up, we will succeed – there is no question about it.

Most importantly we shouldn’t be doing anything for success or not, we should do it for the greater good, for the opportunity to do what is true, right and beautiful. We should do the right thing because that is in our potential, that is the virtuous action in practice. That is our best godlike nature in action.

Mature Response

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I read King, Warrior, Magician, Lover and The King Within to support my contemplation on maturity and what does that actually means. It’s clear that not all old people are mature, or all the mature people are old.

Maturity has to do with a quite a different thing than age. It’s more about how do you respond to outside stimuli. Jari Sarasvuo put it very well: “maturity is impulse control.” He further adds that it is either that you cannot be and express yourself or you cannot control your impulses.

Mature response to outside stimuli is to create a win out of everything that happens to you. It’s not only that ability to see and create it, however it’s ability to see the bright side in everything.

World is providing abundant possibilities for us to build the character we want to be, it is up to us to start shaping ourselves through responding more maturely through action and effort.

Observe your emotions and tell me what do you see? Do you see fear, insecure or perhaps it is anger or lust? Whatever emotions you have, does not mean you are those emotions.

We all are incomplete and immature to a degree. Yet the fact that we feel something, doesn’t mean we are something. What we feel we are not. We may still choose how do we act on these feelings.

I.e. I may feel jealous, however once I recognize that it is up to me what to do with this feeling and the energy. Do I put it to work on my own virtue or do I waste it on useless things to feel better or to put it in effort of resentment of others, which does not lead to anyone’s goodness.

Emotions are energy to be used for fuel of our virtue. Mature response is to sublimate whatever you may feel, into something greater for the good of others. If you can keep doing this, you will live the virtuous true and nothing in the world can stop you from enjoying and living a happy life. You are in fact building one for yourself through responding and shaping what the world throws at you.

Whatever the world throws at you, make something good out of it! Take everything as a gift, add you thing to it and give it further 🙂

Examples for such mature response and action would be in my case writing, meditation,  exercise, work or connecting with loved ones.  You will always find ways to channel the setbacks into a virtuous action and if you keep at this long enough, you good things will follow to your life.

Have a great evening!

Janne

A Bit More

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What if everyone tried a bit more, what would follow? Just a bit more at the most important task, how much further would it take you?

A bit times thousand is a lot of effort and trying.

A bit more is not possible in everything, but try not to think it that why. Just try a bit more at something.

Complaining does not help to solve problems or further the cause. How about you instead try to be a bit more accepting instead of complaining?

What would you like to be bit more? Start doing today.