Why Our Lives Are Not a Journey

This video is a gift. The imagery may be a little over the top but the words and adorable British accent and candid tone of Zen teacher Alan Watts are well worth 4 and a half minutes of your day.

Our cultural conditioning has us in a rat race. Achieve, achieve, achieve! Win! Don’t be a loser! “Man up!”

The good news is that we can choose to step off the giant hamster wheel at any time.

We can choose to slow down, to quit overscheduling ourselves and our children, to quit working for the weekend. We can choose to sit and drink a cup of tea and do nothing else. We can choose to silence our devices and let our minds’ endless chatter settle down for a change.

We can choose to leave a soul-sucking school, relationship or job in favor of pursuing our passions.

It’s neither easy nor automatic, but making the choice, taking the vow, to move toward a slower-paced, more meaningful, heartful and mindful life can start to affect us today, right now in the most amazing of ways.

Your life is not a journey, and it is a journey. The path is the goal. There is no there there. It’s right here and now, and nowhere else and at no other time than this.

So quit scrolling, quit searching, quit seeking, quit criticizing, quit worrying.

Simply sit, stand, walk, listen, look… and soon you’ll see.

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-ing

dreaming waking

sitting standing walking

breathing  living  existing

listening   looking   intending   imagining

hearing   seeing   creating

believing releasing

(repeating)

cooking eating cleaning dirtying

hugging  kissing

writing reading

playing working

speaking talking stretching dancing

wondering    thanking    appreciating

taking   giving

laughing  crying

it’s good just being here.

atitlan

What is “practice”? What is not practice?

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1. Nothing is not practice.

2. We have our formal practice of hatha yoga, or mindfulness, or whatever, and we have our “informal” practice of life. We have meditation and “postmeditation.”

3. Formal practice is important. Essential. Sit down and shut up. Learn to concentrate the mind. Delve into the practical techniques of meditation. Gain insight, humility, compassion and so much more.

4. Just as essential is “informal” practice: how we carry ourselves in the world. How we speak, eat, act, drink, look, see.

5. The best is when boundaries are blurred, when formal and informal collapse into one. When work is play and play is work. Passion plus compassion.

6. Enlightenment is not an epiphany. It’s simply being absorbed in the moment and in the paradox of life: that all is one and the same yet each is separate and unique.

7. Keep doing your yoga schmoga, whatever it may look like. Keep being you, whoever you are. And realize that ultimately, we’re all made of the same stuff and headed toward the same end.

8. Practice or don’t practice. Everything is practice!

Read the full version here.

Why Write?

“Don’t be a writer, be writing.” ~ William Faulkner

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Why am I writing? Because the blank page is daunting until the moment I sit down and write. I face fear, truth and reality and let the letters and words flow through my fingers.

Writing is one continuous, tangential discourse with myself.

And also with you.

Writing lifts up my heart.

I’m writing what I enjoy and enjoying what I write. I’m writing to harvest delicious sentences and cultivate bountiful paragraphs.

Because I adore words.

I delight in the act of creating essays.

I love language and crave communication.

I’m writing because in the act of quality writing, I have no choice but to be present.

Hence, I’m writing as a mindfulness practice—a daily life practice—I’m writing to express myself.

To connect.

To unite with you, for just this one moment as you read these words.

I’m writing to benefit myself and all beings, or as many as I can possibly affect with my string-of-pearls-of words.

(Keep reading)

How to Blow Your Mind Wide Open.

I have been a grateful sojourner on the winding spiritual path for as long I can remember.

At certain points in the past, I have wished for epiphanies, signals and sudden enlightenment. Of course, life doesn’t work that way. What we seek eludes us. Letting go allows newness to enter.

So, although I would like to gift you with these teachings that have altered my mind and improved my life, they may not resonate with you. The most important teaching of all is that we are each where we need to be when we need to be there, learning the lessons that we need to learn.

{Please read the full version on elephant journal to get all the goodness.}

1) Everything I need is already within me.

2) I can (and do) create my life through creative visualization (to a certain extent).

3) All things must pass.

4) Beliefs separate.

5) Faith is letting go.

6) All meditation is good meditation.

7) Metta.

8) Each morning, I am born again. What I do today is what matters most.

9) Equanimity.

10) No self.

11) Suffering is the result of clinging.

12) Worry is useless.

13) Friendship is the highest form of love.

14) Difficult people are the best teachers.

15) Therefore, be grateful to everyone and everything.

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The Myth of Independence & the Truth of Interdependence.

Can there be true peace, balance and independence in a country where depression and anxiety are rampant, food is fast and often not really food at all, neighbors are isolated and mass shootings are more and more commonplace all the time?

What if we shift our paradigm?

From being “the greatest country in the world” to being a great place among innumerable great places on this beautiful earth.

From a human race to a global community of lifelong learners.

Most of all, from independence to interdependence.

“We can either emphasize those aspects of our traditions, religious or secular, that speak of hatred, exclusion, and suspicion or work with those that stress the interdependence and equality of all human beings. The choice is yours.” ~ Karen Armstrong

“The task that remains is to cope with our interdependence—to see ourselves reflected in every other human being and to respect and honor our differences.” ~ Melba Pattillo Beals

Read 6 more inspiring quotes on elephant journal.

3 Essential Life Lessons that Maya Angelou Taught Me.

3 Essential Life Lessons that Maya Angelou Taught Me.

(1) “The honorary duty of a human being is to love.” 

(2) “Never make someone your priority while allowing yourself to be their option.”

(3) “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.”