Tension arises every day – in my yoga asana practice, in my meditation and in my daily life. There are times in yoga that I feel as if I don’t exit this pose right now, my muscles are going to rip apart. Or in meditation, my mind can take the thread of a thought and in a minute it’s a tangled mess. In daily life, I can have an unpleasant encounter that causes my stomach to knot and my pulse to race. But in each of these different areas – physical, mental, emotional – the means to relieve the tension is the same, my breath. No matter where I am – on my mat, in my car, at my desk – I bring my attention to my breath. If I really, really focus on my breath, feeling – even seeing – the flow, in and out of my whole body, the relief is immediate. By focusing on my breath, rather than on the point of tension, the muscles soften, the mind disentangles, the pulse slows. Then once again I remember that I do not have to be governed by my body, my mind or my emotions, but rather than I can be in control through the simple focus on my breath.
This week, instead of making a ‘To Do’ list, I’m making a ‘To Be’ list.
To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. e. e. cummings
“One of the first things that Munindra said to me when we met [in Bodh Gaya, 1967] was that if I wanted to understand the mind, I should sit down and observe it. The great simplicity and pragmatism of this advice struck a very resonant chord within me. There was no dogma to believe, no rituals to observe; rather, there was the understanding that liberating wisdom can grow from one’s own systematic and sustained investigation.”
– Joseph Goldstein (via the-starpilot-has-landed)
Everyone wants to be happy. For some, happiness is a state of euphoria or ecstasy, for me, happiness is more a state of contentment or satisfaction. So, what does the life guidebook (the bible) say about contentment?
1. Contentment is really, really valuable. Paul the apostle writes: “godliness with contentment is great gain”. Big promo for contentment here; Paul’s aim in life is to teach the importance of God and here he is adding contentment to the mix.
2. Contentment doesn’t come easily to us. Paul again writes: “I have learned the secret of being content”. So, contentment is a secret that must be learned. And, if contentment is really valuable then it must be worthwhile for us to try to learn this secret. So, where do we start?
3. Ditch our love of money. The writer of Hebrews says : “keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have”. This suggests that loving money is in conflict with being content. So, instead of loving money (and stuff), love God, love people and be content (happy).
I’ve decided to buy a suit. Why? Well after renting a suit for a wedding earlier this year and now needing a suit for another wedding, I’ve concluded that it makes financial sense to buy a suit, as long as it’s casual enough to be used more than twice a year.
So, easy financial decision, just go buy a casual suit, right? Well, maybe financial sense doesn’t equate to emotional sense, because, in my whole life, I don’t remember buying anything being this difficult. Maybe it’s because deep down I don’t really want to own a suit, but I just can’t seem to find anything that makes me want to part with my money. If it was outdoor clothing or a travel item, one hour on the internet and whatever I needed would be on its way to me. But after visits to numerous shops and hours online, my head is spinning and I’m no closer to finding the suit I need. Every suit seems to be either for heavy tweed for old men, bland grey for office workers or designer skinny for teenage boys.
- Life truly is a precious gift; I want to be thankful every day and I don’t want to waste a minute of my life being angry.
- If I walk one mile at a time, climb one step at a time and take one day at a time, I can walk across countries, climb mountains and survive life’s challenges.
- I haven’t figured out how to make loads of money in my sleep but I have figured out that I don’t need loads of money (or stuff) to be happy.
- Mental, spiritual and physical health is important; good food, meditation, prayer and exercise keeps me healthy.
- There are many other people like me pursuing an alternative to the consumption addicted, obese, medicated, destructive lifestyle that is commonplace.
“Slavery was never abolished, it was only extended to include all the colors.”
“And what hurts is the steadily diminishing humanity of those fighting to hold jobs they don’t want but fear the alternative worse.”
Read this amazing letter from writer Charles Bukowski
click here: Letters of Note: People simply empty out.
Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.
Paul an apostle of Jesus – 1 Timothy 6:9
Sometimes you find that you have a person in your life who causes you anguish. A person who seems to feed on your pain. Just seeing their name in an email, or their phone number come up on your phone, causes your stomach to knot up. You fleetingly think “maybe this conversation will be different”, but it isn’t, every encounter leaves you worse off.
So you’ve turned the other cheek and now you’ve been repeatedly slapped on both cheeks. You can’t tolerate them. You can’t change them. You can’t bargain with them. Jesus says don’t resist them. What to do? Get away from them! As fast as possible! Run, don’t walk!
Gran Canaria – Sometimes you just gotta put your feet up and enjoy the sunshine.