If anything is not wrong, why not just enjoy the Tao? Tao means road.
Last night I could not sleep, because I had taken rather long nap that evening. My mind was wandering over from thing to another. Monkey mind in action.
Eventually I stumbled upon a thought about four noble truths. I was trying to recall what were they exactly. First is that life has suffering. Second about causes of the suffering and there my train of thought stopped, what were the causes of suffering again? I could recall parts like that craving to be or craving not to be something and attachment, yet it felt incomplete. I had to check.
The cause of suffering has two parts. First part is selfish desire which I did not remember. I had recalled the second part correctly.
Third noble truth is about cessation of suffering. I could not recall the reasons for that, only that there was a concept called three poisons involved. I wondered if the three poisons were the same as suffering mention above or something else?
It turns out the three poisons have also different labels, although root cause may be same. The three poisons are attachment, anger and ignorance.
Question then is how to remove the three poisons?
Yoda might say ways there are many and that is indeed the first step to answer is to come up with that question. One such path could be fourth noble truth: the knowledge of the path that leads cessation of the suffering, noble eightfold path.
With the right question however other paths may open too.
With the right questions the right understanding comes (first of the noble eightfold path). With right understanding of the world you’ll understand the significance of the intentions, right speech, right action, right livelihood. You’ll come to understand the right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration too.
You are in the right place right now. Realize you have purpose here and now. Enjoy and make the best use of it.
With philosophy there comes responsibility to live it.
Wisdom is knowledge in action.
Sometimes the distance in between knowledge and action is long, because we have internal resistance to overcome Seth Godin talks about this resistance in his book Linchpin. I revisited my notes and highlights of the book today as I was overcome with huge resistance to finish my company’s website.
Seth Godin writes that the purpose of beginning is to finish. It’s our job to deliver and it is often our fear of inadequacy that keeps us from delivering.
Most meaning we can get is through serving others, and to serve others we must begin and finish.
In writing these is this thing called “the first ugly draft.”
In life we are often afraid to be defined by this first ugly draft. Then the one draft becomes hundred, or a thousand and we have not published anything.
When I follow professional work I am often surprised at how high levels people are holding back.
At the same time I’ve great feeling of inadequacy with my own work, own writing, pretty much anything I d so I can understand: it’s easy to tell others what to do.
Mostly our life is a struggle against ourselves, our beliefs about ourselves what we can or cannot do.
I’ve just started on the path of entrepreneur. I’ve a long and rocky way ahead of me. I know this, because big part of me still would like to take the safe and comfortable path of employment, not failing, not starting and trying to do something different.
Yet I choose to try. I want to grow and keep growing. I also don’t want to buy into the mass hypnosis of not good enough and to break out from that I need to do anything differently, even if it fails.
Must is a powerful reason for action. I believe, I do what I must when I must.
Until then I’ll try to do something different, because there is also part of me that thinks that asks maybe I am good enough and at least some of my work is as well.
Because of the nature of life itself as conscious beings our greatest purpose comes from learning.
Real learning does not happen with the teachers. Or in the schools.
It happens after.
Teacher appears when the student is ready.
Learning begins when the teacher leaves.
So if teachers appear anyway when we are ready and learning doesn’t happen with the teaches, do we need consciously seek out teachers?
Questions is for you to answer. My answers is that it is at least good to be aware about teachers to appreciate and grow.
In first 22 years of so of my life I wasn’t happy with my life or my self at all. Unhappiness accumulated to a point where I was a on a edge of a decision, to continue or not. I decided to continue. And because I decided to start and continue at that point, I realized I have a lot to learn.This realization has lead to greatest blessings and strengths in my life: humble yet hungry attitude towards the learning about life.
To live means to suffer is what Buddha realized: life has suffering.
Buddha is one of my teachers and he is a great teacher, because Buddha encouraged to listen and then try and see for yourself. And it is a lesson I encourage you to carry through your life as well: find great teachers, great ideas and yet always think by yourself.
Life has also happiness, this is a lesson I learned later on from my other teacher Ajahm Brahm. I’ve found this lesson at least as useful as the first one I learned from Buddha. Both of the lessons are true at the same time.
Seek teachers who practice what they preach. Ethos,. Practice also what you preach,practice, practice practice.
See the results, how it works? If it doesn’t perhaps there is still something to learn?
Focus on what you can do.
Do not focus on who is to blame, or who is wrong.
“What is a bad man, but a good man’s job?
What ia a good man, but a man’s teacher?” – Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching
Dharma is the way thing are and part of that is your present and potential contribution to the reality.
To understand dharma, is to understand life. Can this be even possible? As far as I understand it is what we should strive for in our human experience, even if we are a step late with our limitations.
Striving is trying to be perfect without any knowledge of the actual perfection and acute understanding of imperfections. It requires virtuous mind, to remain humble and open minded about all that can be learned.
Yet it requires appreciation of the wisdom already accumulated and hastily put into a virtuous action without a hesitation.
Reality is vastly interconnected. E = mc2 materia is energy and energy is materia, two different sides of the same.
When I hurt you, I hurt myself.
In Bhagavad Gita there is insight about highest dharma, and it is your own dharma.
Then there is insight about ahmisa. Ahmisa is universal love towards all living beings, and because of this love there is desire not to hurt. Often this second part is more widely understood, and first part failed to understand.
Non-violence is expression of the primary desire and understanding how interconnected everything is.
Yet sometimes best intentions are deadly to us as well. No amount of good intentions makes us less vulnerable to the nature of reality.
Nature of reality is coexistence of life and death, this cannot be escaped.
Now you remember this, what is your part in the play of Dharma?
Anything that was holding me yesterday back, I wrote there and came to the conclusion that only action was left for me. I cleared the challenges I set for myself yesterday and planned progressively challenging tasks for today both mental and physical uncomfort.
In the first half of the day as I’ve done most of the physical challenges I set for today, I realize that there is something else. One reason from my past came to my mind in shower: the reason why I’ve unconsciously avoided getting strong is from my childhood experiences with my other half-brother who is nine years older than me. He kind of used me as a living punching bag when ever he felt frustrated and that has caused me to avoid physical confrontation as much as possible because well who wants a fight they can’t win? I can forgive him and now start owning this pain and weakness as well and grow something else in place instead.
Life is about growth and we grow through challenge. Sure at times environment challenges us. But then at times it doesn’t, especially in the dimensions we need that challenge. It is up to us to do that and that’s what drives me now.
Instead of speaking of ideals, I would like to live them. Like in this order: Read a book. Live the book. Write a book.
Let’s see what part of the many ideas I can carry until completion. That is my mission, what is yours?
I started reading Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins today. My friend has been talking about the book for at least six months. I’ve seen some David Goggins videos in the past and I definitely have thought that it has been a plus.
There is abundance of great quality content out there and I am definitely a person who does not need more quality content. I need more action. One good example of this is the way I wanted to read LESS in 2019 and do more.
On 2019 and 2020 I’ve been doing quite a lot, but many of them are wrong things. Job for example. And the reason I quit my job as well. After a work week and party on Friday I groped an employee after she had fallen asleep. She woke up though and left the apartment. I was overcome with shame and guilt, only thing I could do is to sleep. After I woke up I realize this is real. I texted her with a message where I acknowledged what I had done and expressed deep remorse. I did not get response. In the end she had brought the topic to my superiors which then asked to hear my part of it. After hearing we together decided that it is right thing to do for me to quit, so I did. This was the conclusion that I had come to in three days of contemplation by myself as well. In a sense it was a relief.
My identity is based on truth, and that’s my part of the story. For me it cost my work and position immediately. I had been working for that company for more than 5,5 years and intended to do so in the future.
Of course my mind I also had other aspirations every now and then. One is to see where I could go by myself as an entrepreneur. Now I’ve that opportunity which I intend to take.
Davind Goggins has challenges in his book. First challenge is about bad hand. So what else has been holding me back in my life? What is my bad hand?
I don’t need to think about this, I know this:
Picture is more powerful than the words. However, my physical body has had serious effects on my mentality as well. Mostly I am ashamed of my body and keloid acne scars, which have become a symbol for ugliness, unworthiness and failure for me.
There has been a little success in in treating those scars physically. Cortisol helped to the ones on my shoulders, however the ones on chest did not much budge after two or three shots of it.
Eventually I’ve tried to accept them as part of me. Even so, they affect me. I am a prideful person and I would not liket o put myself into situations where I need to be. I don’t like to be around strangers shirtless at all. At times I’ve tried to condition myself for such occasion as well, sometimes succeeding better than others. However as long as they are physically there, they remind to myself of my own unworthiness which is the story that most frequently pops into my mind.
Now what this Goggins does it to recall my fighting spirit towards that which I hate most in my life. It’s not even the physical appearance, but the weakness and perceived social status that hurt me the most I think.
As a cure for myself I decide that the story must be rewritten. Let the truth be myself. I’ve noticed that even so I may fear death. And what if death actually comes and I’ve not faced the fear of death?
I have, several times. Yet when it comes to the fear of losing my face, fear feels overwhelming.
Question is, what I am going to do about it?
There are some things in life which we can do. Some actions produce desired results, others do not.
Doctors and people around me have been helpless in perceiving and easing my suffering. What is left there, but to help myself?
I’ve felt deeply guilty of these scars and of myself. In the past 32 years they’ve shaped me in both good and bad. In good, they’ve lead me on the path to grow in other ways. In bad, they’ve left me isolated and fearful of what might happen if and when I’ve to face the reality.
I can only embrace what I’ve: a healthy body with a few scars. Scars that are physical reflection of my mental and emotional pain that I felt at that time. From doctors I have not received understanding how the scars became to be, however I know for sure that those are the physical reflection of anxiety, stress, isolation that I felt at that time about fifteen years ago. All that combined with aimlessness and bad habits created that physical expression that lasts probably as long as I live.
What is done is done, all that is left is for me to embrace who I am and what I can do for the world. There is nothing more left to say than just do (challenge #2), I don’t believe that no thing more than these two things are currently stopping me from being me at my best.
Truth hurts, only once. Lies frequently.
Perfection is a myth. Most of the trees are crooked. It’s about life after the crookedness that matters the most. Better to view the crookedness with light, that allows healing to happen.
What is your bad hand?
Joy and energy to you!
P.s. Those who are suffering with body image problems I highly recommend Brene Brown book Gifts of Imperfection.
Where Wikipedia starts with “There is no single-word translation for dharma in Western languages”, I’ll just use one definition in this blog for dharma: nature of reality.
To elaborate, nature of reality is the way things are so called cosmic order. Cosmic order is not a fixed concept, but as dynamic and ongoing process as life itself. Nature of reality is change and cosmic order meets the needs of the present moment all the time.
You as a living being therefore are part of this ongoing process of reorganization through your presence as a living being. Each moment is opportunity to live and fulfill your dharma by being completely mindful. You can think that there are different kinds of option in each moment: the option of passivity, the option of too much action or unskillful action, or the option of right and skillful action. Although not limited to these categories, mostly our thoughts, words and actions fall into these categories when we think of the opportunity cost to fulfill our dharma.
We are creatures of habit, because of our physical survival needs. We want to conserve energy in this chaotic and complex world in order to survive.
When we are born into this world, most of our habits we adopt come from reactions and the example of our surroundings. Even if we would be surrounded by enlightened beings even then it would be better for us to look how our habits serve our own dharma.
Not even the best habits and example of enlightened people will serve you, because you are you and your dharma is your responsibility.
Succeeding in our own dharma is the greatest challenge, purpose and contribution. Your gift for the universe.
It’s not your bosses dharma. Not your parents, or your children. Not your spouses. Not your friends dharma. Your dharma.
Be present now and you will know what it is you need to do if anything.
Outcomes. Processes. Identity. These three layers are described in James Clear book Atomic Habits in terms of lasting change. Changes that start from identity are the lasting changes, where as outcome based (i.e. lose 10 kg of weight) are the least lasting ones.
If you are a sporty person, then it makes sense to do things a sporty person does.
I am in in crossroads.
Age of question “what I want to become when I grow up?”
Even though I learned a much better version of this question from Tom Rath (in terms of my strength, what kind of contribution I want to do to the world), I am still struggling.
I am kind of doing and becoming all the time something. And if I am not doing, that is the scariest thing of them all.
There is the “same same but different option”.
Then there is the new and different option.
Then there is to do nothing option.
Any many variations of these.
Mostly I am struggling with the thing that based on what I like to do and where I think my strengths are, I do not know even if these are enough.
I know that from these crossroads moments I am probably going to take a peek to the unknown. What is known, is known and there is a reason that personally I do not want to see that movie in any time soon.
Decisions have lasting impacts. It’s like the thought of choosing the problems, choosing the suffering, choosing the happiness. Thinking about the “bad” actually helps to cause action in the present. Present action will lead to happier future moments and problems.