Now is the Time to Be What You Can Be

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In short I’ve fallen for stoicism. During the January I’ve re-read two books on stoicism: Meditations by Marcus Aurelius and Obstacle is the way by Ryan Holiday. Also currently I am reading Ego is the Enemy and I will read the Daily Stoic.

Stoicism is a practical and applied philosophy of a virtuous life. If you cannot practice the thought or virtue, it’s not stoicism. Being a stoic means having inner dialogue, finding what you are in control of and then living the best life you can from there with no complaints about the circumstances or about results. Stoicism is about action, not about attaching to the rewards.

Living the best you can in the present, because stoic recognizes life is only in the present. Nobody can change the past, however with the action in the present we create future. Nor does stoic gets attached to the future – everything goes to the plan because we are creating the plan every moment as we go. Stoic cannot be thus harmed by ill will, because stoic turns any obstacle into opportunity or dies trying.

Literally stoic recognizes the shortness of life: memento mori – remember you are mortal.

It’s only now time to be what you can be. It’s now when you should start not only being, but start the doing. Be the doing you can be!

I decided to modify the words of Gandhi: Do the change you want to see in the world. Doing is being, do not just talk, start doing something about what you want! In the end we never cannot be still to long, we are never complete, perfection is just a day dream. Excellence is what we should pursue. Excellence means the best we are capable of with the given time and resources. We do not need to commit overly too much resources, that would be foolish, yet we need just enough to create excellence, the best possible solution.

Excellence requires letting go and yet finding ways to fulfill the need completely. Excellence is the practice of virtues. Every day we become what we can be if we practice excellence. The time to practice excellence is now!

Wonder of the Present Moment

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Present is the wonderful state, in which you have everything you will ever have or ever need. Your past cannot be taken away from you, or you cannot lose your future just because it has been promised to you. Only real time is the present, others are just fragments of the past and future has not yet decided how it will appear.

Do not worry about past, you cannot change it.

Do not worry about future, you cannot control it.

Focus to the tiny portion of the present in which you are in control.

“Present is all we have, no past or future cannot be taken away from us.” – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Be fully present, inhale, exhale! Those are the joys of life. Just as the breath, life is full of energy going in and out. World has plenty of energy, plenty of possibilities, plenty of time!

World is abundant place when you sharpen what it is you want to do in the present moment. At the present moment you only have a space for one thing, you have chosen wisely, make sure to keep choosing wisely!

Have a great present moment!

Janne

We Have All That We Have

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We do not have anything more than the present. We do not have our past and certainly not our future.

Suffering is created by clinging either to the past or the future.

If we go to past or the future we are distancing ourselves from the present. This in turn creates a vicious cycle of suffering, because if we are going to past or the future, we will lose present again.

All that we have is now, the present. Present includes everything. Buddha understood this very well and he also understood about the thinking and action which leads to these results.

In addition to the present, our present mindfulness or our thinking is all that we have. In fact we are not our thinking, because we can observe our thinking. Yet only few of us consciously exercise this human superpower called ‘thinking critically what we are thinking.’

We shouldn’t let our thinking taint our present experience, because present is all that we have. We should come to accept what we have and be happy with that 🙂

Giving Up Desires is a Piece of Bliss

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I’ve found refuge in the thoughts of karma:

Now as a man is like this or like that,
according as he acts and according as he behaves, so will he be;
a man of good acts will become good, a man of bad acts, bad;
he becomes pure by pure deeds, bad by bad deeds;

And here they say that a person consists of desires,
and as is his desire, so is his will;
and as is his will, so is his deed;
and whatever deed he does, that he will reap.

— Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, 7th Century BCE

One is like is his desires. In the end if we live up to our best, in the end we will be well.

Another train of thought, I like to entertain is that of philosopher (stoic). With few desires there needs are easily fulfilled and life is lived happy.

Avoiding desire is difficult and requires effort. It also involves dealing with thoughts such as:

I am not my grades

I am not my past

I am not my thoughts

I am not my salary

I am not my net worth

Most of these I’ve found to be incredibly helpful thought, each one has been kind of like a breakthrough, giving up a desire is acquiring a piece of bliss.

Reflections on Responsibility

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As I’ve spend time on thinking, reflecting, questioning my life this weekend, I’ve made realizations as well as managed to connect some dots through my life. I am about to hit thirty years of age in September, so this kind of thinking practice has allowed me to finally put some fragments of my experience together and make sense for the next actions.

What I am happy and grateful in my life at the moment is that I am willing to take calculated risks, and I am willing to endure short term pain in order to achieve long term goals. What’s more is my ability to take responsibility of really hard things and deliver results at least over some period of time.

It wasn’t always like this:

  • In 2006 I was about to fail in vocational school, because of depression and attempt to fulfill the void in my life with World of Warcraft.
  • Later on after some intervention and help, in the second half of 2007 I reached so far highest high, took serious responsibility and completed one years’ work in six months.
  • 2008 offered state provided mission and purpose for my life called military service. I crawled to the pipe somewhat motivated, however after two weeks I had lost my internal drive due to meaninglessness and just seek out easiest way to get it done. I had real trouble adjusting after the six months of compulsory military service to the civilian life and depression hit me again.
  • In the first quarter of 2009 I had had my space again and I made the attempt to take responsibility of my life once again. Bit by bit I decided to take full responsibility of my life, first on the agenda was my health and second most important to thing to me was to carry my own weight in the society. By the August 2009 I was well on track both as I had found employment, quit several bad habits and on track to better health.

I find the time about 11 years ago very crucial to turning point in my life. I’ve often mentioned that in April 2009 I started writing journal every day, which has been with me ever since. Now it is inseparable part of me and my life, so since then I’ve been able to keep more closely track on my progress.

From before that the time and memories seem to be ever fading.

I’ve strived and changed because of that. As most important characteristic in that change has been my openness to take on responsibility. As I’ve marched on with that eagerness to take on responsibility, I’ve noticed that many people do avoid that. I was doing good job, until I had taken on too much an my ability to go on began to be burdened.

What felt right, was to create space and to reflect the priorities. I am still in the process of prioritizing and figuring everything out, however one thing I’ve realized: if it’s not hell yes then it is no. Using this simple question, I can find what parts are in fact crucial and what are not.

Reflecting about past failures and successes is kind of soothing experience. Looking eleven years back, I can in the present feel the weight of my decisions upon another 11 years forward.

 

We maybe outcomes of our past,

Time is running out fast,

The pressure to cast the die is vast,

With cunning, we surpass the time at last.

 

Developing the Present Moment Positive Energies Further

 

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This morning I had weird and clear first thoughts when I hit the alarm: we are really algorithms that process the present moment and transform it into different kinds of energies.

Life happens in the present. We are what we remember, and how we future prospects may influence how we behave in the present. I.e. if we know that we are receiving enough passive income to sustain our expenses for indefinite time then we probably will spend our time differently, than if we know that we do not have any passive income what so ever and therefore we must actively work for the survival.

Future prospects do matter. Past does not so much, because past is remembered differently and you can always rewrite your own story.

Present moment on the other hand matters a lot! Suffering in the present is because of the wasted future. Do no not waste your present moments, because you only have one at a time.

How is the present moment related to the energy? Well, I would rather be positive in the present than negative. I feel that everything achieved through positive state of mind will have also larger impact, and it is nice to return to that as well.

We can interpret present in many ways. Taking each moment as a present like kung fu Panda said and making most of it is the key. We have choice in the present: preferring the proactive and positive will also build our capacity for experiencing the positive energies.

That to which we focus will grow. I am currently reading the Big Leap Book by Gay Hendricks, and the one big idea there is that, we all can build our capacity to experience positive emotions. Most of us deny this from ourselves, so we sabotage ourselves the possibility that we could be feeling more positive feelings all the time. Unless we build the capacity this remains true, however we can build it.

So in that sense, present moment is the place to enjoy being more positive.

Past Story May or May Not Become Present Story

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We can learn a lot from the past. Yet we should keep open mind for the future, because future does not necessarily follow the same paths as the past. We should be wise enough to avoid the pitfalls, and then be mindful enough to live in the present to be able to be on our wisest in present.

Future flows to present inevitably. We do not know how it will fit, but it surely will.

We might be inspired the stories of yesterday, and despair because we do not see how we can live up to that story. Yet we should forget the stories of yesterday, and focus to the stories of today.

Possibilities in the present are abundant.

Each of our story is unique, and not limited to the possibilities of the past, for we have the possibilities of the present moment.

What we may imagine, may become. Let’s not be fixed to the past, let’s imagine something more beautiful in the present.

Creative use of the past

Past is past, nothing can change that. But we can use that to change our present. Most significantly I would point out the power of creative force, through which we can express even painful memories and experiences and then through the act of creation redefine them.

Using the past and even present this way, then all the experiences become unlimited source for creation, rather than suffering.

We can also learn a lot from the past. For these few days I’ve been struggling quite a bit with the long distance relationship and I’ve been losing my focus. So therefore, I decide to revisit some of my old journals to find some better coping strategies. And from the last year, around the same time we were last time separated for a longer while, I did find something helpful: poems. The actual poems from last year already made my heart warmup, however also the brilliant thought that I should use now this opportunity as well to create some new ones, the pain of the separation is the best creative source after all.

Of course past journals contain a lot of unforgotten wisdom as well. Our mind has tendency to forget that which we do not not use, which means most of it. This way the journals also become a sort of filtering system for useful information. The more often some thoguhts are mentioned in a journal, the more likely it is that the thought has been useful.

Do not be defined by your past, but use the past experiences to define your present in a way that serves you better.