Rediscovering the Balance


I’ve felt a bit mentally off balance this week, which I guess is because of stretching more in social life than usually. This morning I began to ponder that another thing has been that I haven’t had as much mindful time as I would prefer to. Therefore I decided to dedicate some time in the morning for meditation.

My key realization is that although physical exercise is important and is often times prioritized, how many of us prioritize mental training? Both are equally important, and at best they are the same.

Personally I had forgotten this lesson and happily spent twenty minutes of my precious morning time to meditate and it was worth every second and more.

“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day — unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour.” -Zen proverb

This Zen Proverb is so true! Often when we are the most hurried we forget the most important thing.

In life there is no excess: there is no hurry, or too much or too little. Our perception is merely off and that’s why we should find the inner balance again through sitting still with our minds and letting go of the thoughts.

Relax Under Pressure


First stop and take a deep breath.

There are few important things in life and most of those are present in the moment. Therefore stop being so serious about everything. Sure you are important and whatever is it important, however if you are honest to yourself, is it really that important?

When we are under pressure, it means we have to deal with that pressure. If we choose to tackle it, our bodies and minds gets to a stressed state in order to deal with it. In other words stress helps our bodies and minds to prepare and deal with it. Stress in these cases is beneficial.

We are oscillating between stress and relaxation. Too much of either for prolonged time is no good. We should consciously also be mindful in which state we are and do we need to increase or decrease the stress for example.

We do not need to be stressed when we are about to rest.

We need psyche a bit up before giving a talk or meeting a client.

If we all would be zen masters, we could do this consciously at a right time. Since we are not, we have to learn ourselves to control our minds through our breathing or meditation for example.

Everything begin with breathing, so breathing is one of the most effective ways to tell our lizard brains should we increase or decrease the stress levels.

Learn to relax under pressure, and you won’t have another bleak day, because you know what is important and what’s not. Above all you are just in the state of mind where you want to be.

Selfless Service


I have been reading Bhagavad Gita for quite a while now and I’ve almost finished it. It has been fascinating and inspiring book for me: i.e. since reading that I’ve decided to go vegetarian. Book has also strengthened by nonviolent beliefs and the kind of compassion for all living beings.

I’ve found many other good advice to apply and practice in my life as well in order to fulfill my purpose. At the moment perhaps my mission could be perhaps described as “good karma” – which could translate as doing more good deeds for the world than bad.

In order to succeed in this I feel like I need a game plan.

Previously I’ve thought about good karma along the lines of noble eightfold path and meditation. At times as well more practically, more along the lines of “zen of window cleaning…”

From Gita I’ve found even more practical way to further my mission: through selfless service. Selfless service means a service without attachment to the results of the work. Genuinely giving without expecting anything for return. I really like the idea.

Ideals and knowledge are great, yet everything like this is easy to forget to apply to all areas of life. Or to stay mindful at all moments.

Gita describes there are three levels of energies (gunas) present in us with ever varying proportions: sattvas, rajas and tanas.

  • Sattvas are pure: goodness, constructive, harmonious
  • Rajas are active, i.e. passion and confusion
  • Tanas are ignorant: darkness, destructive and chaotic

With these in mind it is easier to explain the mishap I observed myself doing today. I labeled it as a sandwich incident on later contemplation. At work, we had a breakfast today set up by thoughtful colleagues in the morning. I paid little attention to this in the morning as I stick to my morning routines rather compulsive manner. However later on the day my mind apparently started calculating in rather selfish terms about perhaps saving some of the leftovers for even later.

While this was understandable and mixed with other good intentions of saving the remainder of the stuff that was leftover, one could have approached with increased thoughtfulness and selfless service. One of my colleagues actually was surprised of my reply when I wasn’t considering others at that point. She is very considerate person and it was clear that her expectation of me was as well higher than that.

And to be honest on later reflection my expectation as well. Even thought the end result are the same, any attachment to end result means there is a different energy involved in this case it was more of raja – selfishly motivated although others did benefit from it too. Where as what I would like to strive for is sattvic, serving others first without expectation of any return.

Like it is mentioned in Gita, these energies of gunas exist in all people in ever varying degrees. Sometimes it takes another person to see to react to ourselves to even notice these energies at work.

Life Has Suffering and Happiness


Buddha taught: first noble truth is that there is suffering in life. He also taught the path the liberation.

Some millennia later there Mark Manson wrote in The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: “What pain do you want to sustain? The path to happiness is a path full of shitheaps and shame.”

That’s pretty well put. Life may have suffering, but we can really choose our suffering. Each kind of happiness comes with a different kind of suffering or pain, or whatever. We cannot have a life without suffering, because our minds produce suffering.

As Schopenhauer put it: our mind swings between boredom and suffering. Only within fleeting moments we may experience the Zen like state of the Middle Path.

I guess the many spiritual traditions and now the mindfulness movements, do tend to teach the skills for maintaining that state of mind. We need to apply the effort in every moment to state there, it’s like walking on a tightrope.

When we form the mental habits of tightrope walking, I guess anything can become automatic? My guess would be that the enlightened state of mind would be when we master and make the correct mental habits automatic, inseparable parts of our lives.

In any case, happiness feels good. Our minds don’t really bother to specify what’s good, euphoria fills whole body and mind. With pains and suffering it can be either vague or specific. Therefore it’s not as much about choosing which brings us happiness, but rather what kind of suffering that happiness comes with.

Choose wisely and crawl towards the kind of suffering that is worth it.

I wish you happy problems!

What causes certainty?

To my previous post about questioning I would like to add a bit. Questioning everything is great habit that let’s us break down concepts to more understandable form.

In the present moment it’s sometimes difficult to remain certain, so then I ask myself how I can be more certain? Future is quite unpredictable. Well, I do not know really that well, we can only be certain and confident when we have something to support the belief and feeling of certainty.

When such a feelings are not present, then our minds have to find the certainty elsewhere, like the success and stability of other areas of life.

I tried to Google around a bit, with slim results. Entrepreneur magazine lists four qualities to feel more confident: getting rid of negativity, organizing, staying healthy and power poses. This is nice, however I was looking for something more. 

From Quora answers I found a likely explanation for the feeling of certainty: indeed as brain recalls something several neural pathways activate and thus we feel certain. 

With this I’ll dare to guess out loud that certainty seems to be linked with that which is believed to be right. So how do beliefs form then? They are constructs in our minds that are supported by reference points.


The more reference points, in this case for example memories or experiences we’ve the more the table has legs and therefore more stable it is and more certain we feel.

Interesting question this point on wards how to construct more reference points to feel more confident and certain? One answer that comes in mind is to get minor successes really quickly and then build upon those successes.

Non-attachment and mindfulness practice can help to overcome the difficulties in the process and focus to the action part. Doing simple things is Zen.

Certainty seems to link so deeply to our experience, that story interpretation and telling probably will affect to it as well. That can be only done backwards thought, but however so that our past experiences become a little more supportive of our present day efforts, than they previously were.

If you’ve more or different ideas how to build certainty please leave a comment below, tweet or something!