According to the Buddha, there are three causes of suffering and three cures to suffering. Everyone in life experiences pain, but sufferings different. It is how we experience pain. Pain X Reaction = Suffering.
The three cause of suffering are referred to the 3 Poisons:
Examples: buying stuff you don't need to fill a void; hanging on to a relationship that is spiritually unhealthy.
Examples: talking negatively about someone else; saying hurtful things to yourself and others; war.
Example: not being aware of what is actually happening; looking the other way; rationalizing and other defenses such as projection (blaming others) and intellectualizing (reasoning).
The 3 Cures are:
Examples: letting go of what is not to be; living within your means; helping others.
Examples: sharing positive and caring thoughts to others regardless of your aversion to them; not acting out in anger; jealousy.
Examples: Being in the present moment without judgment; lowering defenses and feeling emotions (feeling them in your body); education (reading this website).
What are your thoughts?
Do you consider yourself to be a learner?
Take the time and be aware of learning.
No matter how old we are, we are always capable of learning new things or about old things in a novel way. What is also fascinating is that we can continue to learn about ourselves.
For example, lately I am spending more time reading about topics of personal interest. I discovered that it is easy for me to read a book fast, but harder for me to study what is written. What I mean is that I am making the effort to read slower and trying to go more in depth to the messages of the book.
From reading slower and more in depth, I am retaining the material better and being able to reflect on it and even apply it to aspect of my life.
What I have learned about myself is the I have a very short attention span. As good as the book is and as much as I want to learn from it, my mind can easily wander. This wandering is usually about something that needs to be done in the future (planning). When this happens, without judgment, it bring my attention back to my reading. I am happy to say, although slowly, I am getting better at my learning.
Pay attention to how much you learn in a short amount of time, about an hour. This can be learning directly from others, by taking a class or reading a book. When you pay attention to the fine details of what you learn from others and what you learn about yourself, it brings a strong sense of joy to your life.
The photo was taken in a small creek in WNY in January 2017 after a winter thaw.
January is that time of year. We over-indulged over the holidays leaving me feeling blah in the dead of winter. If you live in a climit of lake effect clouds and no sun in the winter months. Although it can be beautiful, winter is more work than normal having to deal with the extra clothes, snow boots, shoveling, shivering and winter driving. On top of that taxes and holiday credit card bills are due.
Depressing? Maybe not.
Jumping on the diet and exercise wagon or going head on with one's new year's resolution is doomed to fail with the use of will power. Work and social obligations begin to take over, our mind is on over drive and we are left right back where we were (relapse).
I learned recently about what is called riding the urge wave. It is related to mindfulness and is designed to help us not relapse into our old ways. In other words, not making the important changes that we say that we want. For example, let's use food. We plan to eat less, and healthier food. This is going good for a while. Then we are exposed to the yummy food that we are trying to aviod. We eat it. Then we negatively judge ourselves. We give up. So much for will power.
Instead, we can ride out the urge wave. Think of waves that have high points and low points. The high point is when the urge is the strongest to eat the bad stuff. The low point is when we are eating good and feel like we are in control. Neither of these points last forever. They are transient. And don't expect perfect still water either, life doesn't work that way. First be aware of the urge without becoming the urge. Second focus on your breath, both the in-breath and the out-breath. This connects the mind to the body. Let the urge come and go - ride the wave. If you become the wave and give into its urges, do it without negative self-judgement. Return to focus your breathing and try again when the next urge wave comes.
Live in the present moment without judgement. For more information learn about mindfulness and meditations for stress and anxiety relief find a mindful counselor/psychotherapist in your area. Recommended books: Minfdul Therapy and Living the Full Catastropghy. This stuff really works!
Do we put to much emphasis on goals?
How do you define your goals? If you don't meet them, do you get frustrated, feel disappointed, or feel like less of a person?
Do you set general goals or concrete goals? Maybe both.
The trend of some mental health practitioners is to set long and short-term specific measurable goals. Is this evidenced-based? Or is it coming from insurance companies?
Fitness experts also say you need goals. What kind of goals? Most new years resolutions never last. Many of us are proof of that. What is the best way to set goals or at least not have negative emotional consequences when we don't meet them?
How do I set goals:
I set a general goal. For example, I want to graduate from college or I want to be a top in my age group at CrossFit. If I get more specific than that, then I feel that I am setting myself up for failure.
My specific goals are on a daily basis. Any longer then one day at a time then I am setting myself up for failure, or self-judgment, low self-worth, yadda yadda yadda.
How do you set goals? Do they work? What is your insight?
Post your comments below and thank you!