20 Rules to live a Happy and Fulfilled Life

18 08 2018

I usually write original posts that bubble up in me.  But one of my teacher’s shared this and I thought I would share it in a place where it would not get lost.

 

Each person’s life is very different. No two can compare.

But a Japanese Buddhist claims that there are 20 rules we must all follow to lead a happy and fulfilled life. Mere weeks before he died, Miyamoto Musashi, created a list of the main rules he lived by. Born in 1584, he was an expert swordsman, a renowned warrior and his teachings are still studied today, but most importantly, his rules for life are incredibly inspirational. According to his text, ‘The Way of Walking Alone’ this is how we must all live our lives.

1. LEARN TO ACCEPT LIFE AS IT COMES

For the sake of mental health, you must accept the life you are given. Stress, anxiety, and despair are natural parts of a person’s life, and it should never be attacked. Acceptance of the most difficult aspects of life will make you stronger to their advances.

2. ABANDON ANY OBSESSION TO ACHIEVE PLEASURE

As humans, we spend a lot of time chasing down pleasure – we give in to our cravings, reach higher for promotions and raises, and have become part of a society obsessed with sexual pleasure. Musashi claimed we should try simply to live life in the moment and enjoy pleasure when it comes to us naturally instead of striving for it.

3. DO NOT ACT ON AN IMPULSIVE EMOTION

We are often told to follow our heart, but Musashi’s teachings suggest this is never a good idea. When faced with a feeling that seems to have come from nowhere, following its path can lead to bad decisions. It is advised that we stick with what we know for sure, and don’t give way to impulse.

4. DO NOT OBSESS OVER YOURSELF

Self-obsession is common in humanity. These days, we are so focused on online presence, taking a perfect selfie and striving for perfection, that we forget what matters in life. Strive to separate from yourself and your ego for a better perception of what is important.

5. NEVER ALLOW JEALOUSY TO RULE YOUR LIFE

Jealousy is a very strong form of hatred, and Musashi claimed that getting stuck in its grasp would ruin you. He said never to be jealous of others, and to simply be thankful for what you yourself have.

6. ABANDON ATTACHMENT TO DESIRE

In the same way as achieving pleasure, desire only makes us want for things we may never gain. The idea proposed was to live not wanting more than you have, and to wait for good things to come to you.

7. NEVER LIVE IN REGRET

As we often tell each other, the past cannot be changed. Musashi believed that everything happened for a reason, and it was all part of your path in life. Dwelling on things you once did could never change them.

8. DO NOT DWELL ON A SAD SEPARATION

Constantly thinking on a sad parting of friends or family prevents us from moving on and continuing our lives. Musashi thought that since there was no way to bring back the dead, they should be left behind in the past.

9. COMPLAINING SHOULD HAVE NO PLACE IN YOUR LIFE

Many of us find comfort in complaining when things go wrong, but according to Musashi’s teachings, we should simply let these things pass us by. Dwelling on what is going wrong only prolongs the past’s hold over your life.

10. DON’T LET LUST RULE YOUR LIFE

Humans are sexual beings by nature, and so many people waste their lives on lustful thoughts. Musashi thought we should instead strive for love and lasting relationships.

11. KEEP YOUR OPTIONS OPEN

Do not rule out matters of the future with closed off thoughts. Keep your options wide open to allow for the best opportunities to come your way.

12. DON’T BE A SLAVE TO YOUR SURROUNDINGS

Possessions and a luxurious home may seem important, but there are more important things to treasure in life. Love, health, and life itself should be treasured above all else in the world.

13. LEARN NOT TO BE GLUTTONOUS

We as a society obsess over food and the pleasures of fine dining, or even just a good takeaway. However, Musashi believed that we shouldn’t take so much pleasure in eating, and we should strip meals down to be filling, but not necessarily tasty.

14. ABANDON POSSESSIONS IN FAVOR OF MINIMALISM

Don’t hold on to things you don’t need anymore, in other words. If it once was important, it can still be cast aside now to live a pure and simple life.

15. DO NOT BELIEVE SOMETHING JUST BECAUSE YOU’RE TOLD TO

Allow your own thoughts and beliefs to have space. Don’t just follow the crowd and listen to other’s opinions. Form your own ideas.

16. RESPECT THE GODS, BUT DO NOT RELY SOLELY ON THEIR GUIDANCE

Gods should be looked up to, but they cannot lead you through every motion. They need to be a figure of guidance, but in the end, a person must make their own path.

17. HAVE NO FEAR OF DYING

Fearing death only prevents you from living life to the full. Live each day individually and do not fear the consequences of each action.

18. DO NOT USE WEAPONRY UNLESS IT IS NECESSARY

Despite Musashi’s fame with a sword, he still believed that weaponry should be used sparingly and only when needed. He claimed that defending yourself was okay, but enforcing attack without reason was a sin.

19. DO NOT PUT PRESSURE ON RETIRING WITH RICHES

Many of us save for our retirement age so that we can live a life of luxury, but The Way of Walking Alone claimed we do not need possessions to live happily. Again, it was suggested we should live in the moment and not chase happiness in the form of possessions.

20. ALWAYS PROTECT YOUR HONOR

Musashi claimed that the only way to be true to yourself was to follow your own beliefs and live life as honorably as you know how to.

The text is full of inspirational information. Musashi lived a full, incredible life and to follow his rules seems like a way to achieve the same satisfaction. Though some of his ideas have been branded as crazy, far-fetched and nonsensical if he achieved happiness, who are we to question his practices?

Source: https://dailyinformator.com

 

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Living in Uncertain Times

5 07 2018

It seems like we are bombarded with messages of fear in recent years.  I actually go all the way back to Y2K.  Everything thing was going to end.  Our society was going to crash.  Computers would not work.  Fear, Fear, Fear…  Then it was the Mayan calendar coming to an coming to the end of a cycle which somehow indicated the end of everything.  And of course we have had various versions of the world is going to end because…  The rapture is happening, the comet is coming by, the calculations have been done (more times than I can count) and the end times are here.

I now think that people cannot imagine the world going on without them.  No body predicts the end of the world in 2165.  They predict it in their life time.  It is like there is no way the world can continue after I am gone, so obviously it is not going to continue.  Something bad is going to happen (choose your flavor of bad here), and our whole civilization is going to fall.  We are going to live out one of the post apocalyptic versions the movies give us.  The Zombie Apocalypse, the run our of oil Apocalypse, the disease will kill us all Apocalypse…  (Choose your own Apocalypse here).

Then there is the our country is going to end because of the current president or political climate.  The media has sold so much fear based on the current president in numerous areas of life, but during the last administration when we had President Obama, the fear was around racism and Black Lives Matter, and Blue Lives Matter.  It is so strange to me that it was such an issue and in the media every day or at least every week, but now we do not hear anything about it.  There are new things to fear and the fears under Obama have fallen into obscurity.  In the 1980’s it was the Soviet Union, and nuclear holocaust.  In the 1940’s it was WWII and the rise of fascism, in the 1950’s and 1960’s it was the rise of communism.  There is always something to keep us in fear, to divide us.

I am not saying there are not real problems, but I am not sure we know what the real problems are.  We are being told over and over again, what the real problems are.  In any of these problems it would take serious research to figure out the truth.  What we are told is often not accurate.  It is a slant on what is going on, but it is not what is going on.  It does not matter where the information is coming from, someone has an agenda on the issues they tells us about, and how they tell us.  I have not watched the media for many, many years now and I believe my life is much better for it.  I tell people with depression or anxiety or both to try not watching the news for a month and see how they feel.  Most of them improve significantly.  A common reaction will be, but I want to know what is going on.  I do not think watching the news is really letting us know what is going on at all.  It is a version of somethings that are going on, that someone, some where has decided they want us to hear about for whatever reasons they have for telling us these things and driving fear in a certain direction.  It is not the truth.   Now, not watching the news for several years do I think I am uninformed?  Not at all, I hear about the things I need to hear about, through some other means.  And if there is something I want to know more about then I  might check into it, but I do not live my life in the constant barrage of media messages.

It is fear that I am really addressing here.  Most of us are living our lives with some kind of fear gong on all the time, and we make decisions based on that fear over and over again.  It can be in any area of life, it can be work, or family, or the political situation, global warmer (climate change), even conspiracies like we didn’t go to the moon, or 911 was an inside job, or Kennedy was shot by the Mafia or CIA or the Russians or Johnson had it done.

What I have noticed is most things do not really impact my life and living in fear of them will not solve anything, and it wears down my body.  Release the fear, restrict the input of fear, calm your body through meditation or other practices.  Live a quiet existence internally, and a calm life externally.  Be grounded, be peaceful, know there are things you have no control over.  Be kind, be loving, be accepting, be open.  Accept what is in the world.  One of my teachers says it is all perfect the way it is…  I understand that concept, and it is hard for me to integrate at times.  There seems to be injustice every where, but do we actually know the real story?  Hard to say, and if I spend my life energy trying to work that out I do not have any for living.

We are not living in uncertain time, we are living in times…

 





Time

21 06 2018

It has been so long since I wrote a post here, and so much has happened in life.

My mind has been filled with thoughts of work, daily life, and other details, that have not left time or space to feel into me, you, the world.  I now sit and the keyboard and feel everything.  Opening to it all.  I realize in this I am been more closed than open for the past six months or more.  What is that closure?  Closed to life in ways, to creativity certainly.  The daily grind, the one step after another days.  This is not the life I want, I want time and space to open.

What barriers am I facing, what is keeping me small and contained in my mind and life?  What is not letting me be open to more than my small existence?

Life will distract us.  It will make demands on us.  It will keep us from our power.  There is more.  Openness is the key.  Open, quiet, space within…  Breath

As I sit here and let the words flow I feel cleansed.  Maybe for the first time in almost a year.  I feel open, I feel more free.  Freedom…  We can all be free, and our minds and our thoughts, and the demands of existence hold us back.  We have concerns over so many things.  And ultimately those concerns are just a distraction.  They feel very important.  Everything in life feels very important.  Ah, the struggle…

These past few years have been a very real struggle for me, and yet the true importance of all of this is not truly important.

Three years ago I faced a choice point.  I was killing myself with stress over a life situation.  I stopped one day and sorted out what was important in that life situation.  I realized I am not the situation.  I was very closely identified with it, and it felt like failing in that situation was annihilation of the me.  But at that choice point I realized I could continue as I was, and cause myself harm, or I could come to the understanding that I was not the situation.   I de-identified from the life situation.  I understood in that moment the situation was  not me.  There was a me, and there was a situation, but the me did not have to be sucked in to all the stress of that situation.  I feel on a much lesser scale I face this again.  Even thought three years ago I separated for the life situation I was facing, I have slowly taken on a related and extended situation.  It is not as acute, it is not as stressful, but I have slowly taking up an identification with my current life situation and wrapped it around the me.  I now wear a cloak of a life situation as if it is me, or part of me, or insuperable from me.

I engage in a form of madness, to distract me from what is real.  I, of course, am not this life situation either.  I do not stop enough, breath enough, meditate enough.  I do not let life sort itself out, but try to wrestle it to my whims.  Madness…

In the new minutes I have reflected and written, and allowed myself to not be as distracted by life I feel more openness, more space, more peace, and more of the me.    This is the true task, not the busy world we face, and all the distractions it brings, but accessing our true nature.  Another lesson in what is truly important to me.  I do not desire to let life fall apart on introspection.  I do not desire to lock myself away from the world like a monk.  I think when we open to more, rather than withdraw, we should live more in the world with the others who share this journey with us.  The strong (in whatever way) should help others.  This help can be in very small ways, or big ways, in life changing ways or just quiet ways.

Be kind, and an example to others in how to live with grace and love…





Humanity

6 03 2016

I was talking with a friend this morning, and a subject I have mentioned to people several times over the years, came up in the conversation.  The subject is my youngest daughter.  I have never seen her angry.  Even as a young child, I do not recall her having an anger outburst or throwing a tantrum.  I think this is likely unique but it speaks to something larger to me.  I feel that there is an evolution going on of humanity in general.  I have seen this evolution in myself, my children, and others in my life.  I have seen many people change significantly over the past 20 years or so.  They have mostly done it on a different path than mine.  We all choose our own path and unique way of progressing, I think.  My path included several healing modalities, meditation, and meditation retreats.  I have also had many teachers along the way, probably about 10 of them over the past 20 years.  Some of them concurrently, and others as my only teacher at certain times.  Lately, I have two main teachers and a nearly daily meditation practice that are serving me well.

Others have a totally different path.  My son is a philosophy major working on a Masters degree, and I have seen his studies impact his life deeply, and he has evolved significantly through this study.  It seems to be a totally different kind of evolution that I have experienced, and at the same time I cannot deny his evolution as a human.  I have met many friends on this journey, some I am very close to, and others I have infrequent contact with.  Our journeys have overlapped in one way or another over the years, and I have seen many of them grow in some way.  Become more whole, more real,or change in significant ways through their personal work and studies.  Through their healing work in certain modalities, or deep spiritual practices.  Every year I meet more people who are on some kind of healing or spiritual journey.  Among these people I come in contact with there is change, more realness, and clearer living in some way.

Many think that humanity is falling into an abyss of anger, and fear, and moral decay.  I know not everyone is working on changing themselves or their lives but I do not think the trend is toward lower energies but we as a group, race, species are slowing changing for the better.  And I think some of that change is not through work but those being born are a bit different than those that came before.  Maybe not in all cases but it seems to be happening.  I feel my youngest is an example of this process.  At a young age she seemed settled in herself.  In a way, at the time, I was not settled in MYself.  It was hard for me to grasp what was different about her.  At four years old she would leave her toys all around her room.  I would ask her to pick them up and she just did not see the need for such an action on her part.  One day, I was upset about it and I packed up all of her toys in boxes and put them in a hall closet.  “If you can’t pick them up I will do it for you.”  She just shrugged and walked away.  I left them there for a couple of days, and she did not blink.  She truly did not seem to care about the toys.  She enjoyed them when she had them but did not seem attached to them when they were missing.  To this day I marvel at her ability to just let them go, and continue being herself.  She was clearly not her toys.  I am a family therapist, I work with family that face all kinds of issues, and I have seen children deeply impacted by losing a toy, or game, or something else they identified with closely.  With my daughter, none of this was really important, at 4 years old.  She was and is a great teacher for me on the topics of non-attachment and just being.  I will not say she does not have things to work out in life, but some of the things I had to work very hard to resolve for myself came naturally to her, and appear to be a basic part of who she is.  This is amazing to me, as someone who has worked hard to even catch a glimpse of what she must naturally be.

I think we are evolving, all of us, together; in some strange way.  It is what I talk about in the Goddess Broke My Heart, Life has a way of pushing us toward growth in some way.  What that means to each of us is likely different, but we are all moving together with our Goddess Broken Hearts, changing and growing, and evolving.  All of us, not just those who take it on as a project.  Life will give us situations that will grow us.  Over and over and over…  Sometimes we will fail in the circumstances we face, and other times we will navigate it with grace.  Always a challenge, always life serves throws something new at us.  We will resolve certain areas of who and what we are, and this will make our lives easier, and we will get stuck in certain other areas that make our lives harder.

It is not hopeless.  What we see in the news does not define us, the fear we are confronted with is not who we are, the misery in the world is not the true human condition.  We move, we grow, we evolve.  As everyone of us changes for the better, we affect those around us.  We send ripples out that influence others, and as we grow others are impacted by our growth, and through that influence often grow themselves in some way.

Those that are actively seeking opportunities to grow and change are a blessing.  Those who are organically changing through life challenges are just as much of a blessing.  We all contribute to the evolution of us all.  Humanity is not on a decline into fear and anger and hatred; but a rising spiral of more understanding, raising energy and love.  All can join us.





Everything Changes…

27 12 2015

Today I had an opportunity to go back and read many of the things I have written, and updates I have posted.  The thing that is most clear to me is that things are constantly in flux.  Things that were hard for me a few months ago have had their time, or their way with me and these things are no longer as important, or hard, or consuming as there were when originally written.

The first is the process I have gone through of a life reconciliation.  That was a long and profound process.  Triggered by many things in my life.  One of them being my upcoming birthday in a few months.  This process seems to have run its course for now.  Maybe it lingers a bit and there is still flashes of past events, choices, or situations that pass through my mind with a sign that says, look at me, process me, resolve me, or let me go…  It has wound down to a quiet nonintrusive, background process that no longer takes center stage of my mind whenever it is not otherwise occupied.

The next is the situation that caused the past year to be so difficult.  Even though all of the ramifications of that year are not resolved and still may not be for many months (or even a year or more) it is not causing much stress in my life.  I am doing all I can do to resolve those issues to include working harder that I would like to work.  But this will all pass too.

I think that is the point of this post.  Everything passes.  Everything is temporary.  All thoughts, emotions, situations in life eventually pass to a different way of being with us.  We cannot keep our attention on something for too long.  And what we put our attention on increases.  I prefer to have my attention on things that serve me in some way, and not on the things that I am struggling with.  That does not mean I can ignore those things.  I think one of the lessons going on in the past few months is that I must take care of things as they arise.  In the past I have had a tendency to just let things flow as they will and imagine they will work out, but they often do not work out on their own without action or help from me.  I guess I did not take appropriate action, but at the same time worried about the situation.  I found myself watching the situation I should handle increase and become unmanageable.  There are so many situations that I can recall (back to that again) which I let slide to my detriment.  This has not worked.  I have done a much better job in the past few months of handling things as they arose and another process has emerged from it.  I have had many annoying small things with people show up.  It is like all the difficult people in my life have decided this is the to act out.  It has happened in several ways with several people.  It has been very strange.

Life continues to work on me in its way.  I remain open to letting life continue to refine me in whatever way it next has in store for me.

 

 





The Viewpoint

27 08 2015

I am moved tonight to talk about our viewpoint.  I read and post many things on facebook that I consider inspiration, and a contribution to our growth experience.  And then my photo work and some talented artists from time to time.  And what really has become clear is that people read all of these things from where they are sitting.  One person who has had a profound break through regarding sex, very often relates it to their sexual experiences even though the post is not implying this (to me) in anyway.

Another person may see sexual danger every where because they were abused as a child.  This abuse colors their whole life and everything seems to come back to that for them.  They see abusers in everything and every where.

Another person has been victimized in their early life and they have embraced the role of victim.  And everything seems to be an attack to them.  Someone is doing something to them, even when the post is about love and connection, for this one it comes back to the way we can abuse each other.  Also, this state of victim brings with it a sensitivity that constantly re-enforces the state of “victim.”  It is a very hard road to travel.  I understand it, I went PRO in being a victim until maybe 10 years ago and it was hard work to give up that position and take on a new one.  A similar thing happens with those who have taken a rescuer role.  The are constantly attempting to save another whose life is not working out well for them.  This shows up a lot when someone says I am having a hard time in my life around this issue.  The rescuer cannot just receive that communication but must do something to help or fix that person.  They explain a thing to the person, or they give advice, or tell a story that is meant to educate the other to have a better life.  The biggest disappointment to the rescuer is that the rescuee does not get rescued.  They just go on in their victim state  feeling the whole universe is out to get them.  The funny thing is that as long as they live in that state it is true.  The whole universe is out to get them and the beauty of it is that the victim can decide at any moment to take responsibility for everything in their life and the whole dynamic changes.  Now, they may move into another state but that victim state can be blown out simple by taking responsibility for everything in their life and circumstances.  At that point they no longer are victim to anything because they have taken responsibility for it all.  They are the cause and they have given up the main contributing factor, the state of victim.

The rescuer on the other hand has a different strategy to be free.  That person must let everyone else take responsibility for their lives.  When the rescuer is no longer taking responsibility for other people’s life, choices, consequences, and other behaviors that are not working they are free too.  It is exhausting to manage others.  It is ultimately much harder than managing ourselves but it does distract us from our reality and our own suffering.  We can focus on the life and problems of another who happens to be a victim or we focus on our own growth and life.

Our individual viewpoint is the filter we see life through.  It colors everything for us.  It is the brush we paint the world with.  Give up your position, whatever it is.  See the world with fresh eyes, see it from another perspective.  Do not get stuck in one way.  I know that our early childhood, and other experiences have created this position and it seems to be the only reality.  It is the way the world is.  If we were abused, there are abusers out there.  Imagine that some people were raised with safety and love; they have a different experience and a different position.  And even though that position is more pleasant and maybe fun to view life from; it is also a position.  Give them all up and open to how it really is.  Get that how you see it may not be the way it really is.  Check it out with other people and see how they view life and the world.  You will soon find that there are an unlimited amount of positions.  Do not get fixed in yours.  Let it flow and change, and be flexible.  And let yourself see life and situations the way they really are and not through the filter of your viewpoint.

Accept it all…





“The Meaning of Life”

22 04 2015

It does not seem to me that our purpose in this world is to have a good time.  I seems that there is a much deeper purpose to our lives. Everyone I know has suffering in their lives of some kind.  I meet a lot of people and they all suffer in some way.  Now a rare few of them are past their suffering and living a different quality of life than most of us.  Some of my teachers fall into that category but not all.

Buddha said “Life is Suffering.”  referring to our attachment to things being the way we want them to be.  When we accept things they way they really are without imposing our own desires on them we reach a level of freedom and we suffer less.  There are other levels of attachment we can resolve in ourselves to attain more freedom and less suffering.  And maybe this is why we are living these lives to work through the things that cause suffering in our lives.  What I know is when we work through  a difficult relationship or a life issue that is causing us pain then things loosen up in ourselves and life gets a bit easier.

We are constantly challenged in some way.  I think these are challenges to grow and become more of ourselves, more solid in our being.  We face the challenges and resolve them and there is a payoff which is more freedom in ourselves and more joy.  Joy does not come from the things we do or people we spend time with, we can take joy in those things but joy is an internal game.  It comes from within.  Just as our suffering does.  One reason I do not resist the hard life challenges is that I want to move through them as quickly as I can.  I would rather have a very hard year or two than 10 years of nibbling at the edge.  I also realize that when that challenges is over and I have integrated it all and reached a new level of awareness about life and myself, that something new will come around and shake my life up again.  This is because I am ready for a new level, and we do not seem to just decide to work on the new level of awareness we are facing but life needs to confront us with the new challenge that will bring us to the next level.  There will always be a new level to challenge us.  But as we resolve these challenges in ourselves we find that we suffer less.  The next challenge although unique does not bring the level of suffering it would had we not resolved past opportunities.

Some people feel they have a life where everything goes wrong and they are always challenged in some way.  This is usually because they are not resolving the current issues they are facing so life serves it up in a variety of ways to get the point across to us.  There is a point.  It is not random life events.  If we are constantly challenged there is something we need to work on within ourselves and resolve so we can grow.  If we do not face the issues that are confronting us we stay at that level, we do not attain freedom, we do not grow and we suffer even more.  Life will break us again and again to get it across.  Realize that all those things that happen outside of us that we consider happen to us are really internal processes on how we perceive ourselves and life.  If we feel everything is happening to us and we have no control then we suffer more.  Feeling helpless is one thing and we all face this at times, being helpless is different it is  a position we have taken and life will grind it out of us until it no longer exists within us.  It will grind us down to a fineness where our positions no longer work fur us and we have to give them up.  I would rather face then and resolve them and make the grinding process a shorter one.  Face our positions consciously or unconsciously but we will face them.  Consciously is better…

We must face life and everything it throws at us, or our suffering will be overwhelming.  This is our purpose here, to grow through life challenges and resolve our suffering, to give up our positions and our identifications.  To move toward freedom within ourselves.








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