The following is an excerpt from The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson. It recounts the life and story of Buddha and how he went from being a young, spoiled child—who had essentially everything (and anything) he could have ever wished for—to the sage that we remember him as today who practiced severe asceticism before his enlightenment.
The suffering that the Buddha endured formulated the foundation for the teachings and philosophies on which Buddhism was later founded and the story of the Buddha shares a deep insight about how happiness is not the absence of suffering but rather a dance with suffering and non-ascetic, middle way living.
Below, you will find the story of Buddha as it was shared in The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. While you read, we strongly encourage you to reflect on your beliefs of suffering and happiness and challenge you to take notes (real or mental) on areas of your life that might need some attention or reevaluation.
Some questions to consider: Are you pursuing happiness or happy in your pursuits? Are you waiting for a criteria to be met before you feel that you can be happy? Is meeting that criteria really going to make you happy or will it just lead to more criteria? If you’re feeling moved, drop some of your thoughts in the comment section below! We hope this helps and we hope you find value in this story. Enjoy!
Osho is one of the most provocative and inspiring spiritual teachers of the twentieth century. Below, you will find some of his teachings on the art of living and dying derived directly from his book entitled just that, The Art of Living and Dying. Find out what he believes to be the “secret” of life and how you can come to terms with death so that it is no longer a fear. And as with any other deep insight, it will take discipline and deep reflection to internalize his message. Good luck and enjoy! 🙂
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Introduction: The “Art” of Living and Dying:
When we think of “art” we usually think of paint and canvas, camera and film, rock and chisel, pen and paper, drums and sticks, monitor and mouse, movement and dance, etc. And when we think of “masterpieces” we usually think of the best pieces produced using those mediums. But beyond these avenues of artistic expression, the larger “art” that we should be working hard to master is the art of living and the ultimate “masterpiece” that we should be looking to produce is that of our best life.
While pillow punching might seem like a good idea for, “letting off steam” and managing anger, hitting things while angry actually tends to have the opposite effect.
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Expressing anger is not always the best way to deal with it. In expressing anger we might be practicing or rehearsing it, and making it stronger in the depth of our consciousness. Expressing anger to the person we are angry at can cause a lot of damage.
Some of us may prefer to go into our room, lock the door, and punch a pillow. We call this “getting in touch with our anger.” But I don’t think this is getting in touch with our anger at all. In fact, I don’t think it is even getting in touch with our pillow.
The Way of the Superior Man is a book for both sexes. David Deida makes it clear in the introduction of his book that when he refers to ‘men’ he really is referring to the masculine energy and the purpose of the book is to unleash the most superior form of that masculine energy. For the masculine readers, this book will explore and provide insight as to why men feel the way they do, why they act the way they do, and how they can take control of their lives to fully embrace the man that they have the potential to become. And for the feminine readers, this book will answer the exact same questions—questions that, may or may not have crossed the feminine mind at some point or another (haha)!
Learning how to handle anger is a crucial skill not only for managing relationships with others, but for managing the relationship you have with yourself as well.
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Anger is an unpleasant feeling. It is like a blazing flame that burns up our self-control and causes us to say and do things that we regret later. When someone is angry, we can see clearly that he or she is abiding in hell. Anger and hatred are the materials from which hell is made. A mind without anger is cool, fresh, and sane. The absence of anger is the basis of real happiness, the basis of love and compassion.
When our anger is placed under the lamp of mindfulness, it immediately begins to lose some of its destructive nature. We can say to ourselves, “Breathing in, I know that anger is in me. Breathing out, I know that I am my anger.” If we follow our breathing closely while we identify and mindfully observe our anger, it can no longer monopolize our consciousness.
Awareness can be called upon to be a companion for our anger. Our awareness of our anger does not suppress it or drive it out. It just looks after it. This is a very important principle. Mindfulness is not a judge. It is more like an older sister looking after and comforting her younger sister in an affectionate and caring way. We can concentrate on our breathing in order to maintain this mindfulness and know ourselves fully.
One day the Buddha held up a flower in front of an audience of 1,250 monks and nuns. He did not say anything for quite a long time. The audience was perfectly silent. Everyone seemed to be thinking hard, trying to see the meaning behind the Buddha’s gesture.
Then, suddenly, the Buddha smiled. He smiled because someone in the audience smiled at him and at the flower. The name of that monk was Mahakashyapa. He was the only person who smiled, and the Buddha smiled back and said, “I have a treasure of insight, and I have transmitted it to Mahakashyapa.”
The following is an excerpt from The Mastery of Love by don Miguel Ruiz. In it, you will find a powerful analogy that will help you better understand your capacity for love and how relationships can squander love if you’re not careful. We hope it helps! Enjoy 🙂
Imagine that you have a magical kitchen in your home. In that magical kitchen, you can have any food you want from any place in the world in any quantity. You never worry about what to eat; whatever you wish for, you can have at your table. You are very generous with your food; you give your food unconditionally to others, not because you want something in return from them. Whoever comes to your home, you feed just for the pleasure of sharing your food, and your house is always full of people who come to eat the food from your magical kitchen.
Then one day someone knocks at your door, and it’s a person with a pizza. You open the door, and the person looks at you and says, “Hey, do you see this pizza? I’ll give you this pizza if you let me control your life, if you just do whatever I want you to do. You are never going to starve because I can bring pizza every day. You just have to be good to me.”
Photo by Jon Ellis
Outside the station, she stands with her child on the side of the street, taking pictures of cars.
You think she’s insane. Until, one day, you notice that she’s taking pictures of the license plates of the cars her child gets into.
Because you look. But you do not see.
And she walks out the shop with bags full of cat food. You think she’s some crazy cat lady until you find out, she has no cats.
Because you eat. But you do not taste.
It’s been a while since their last album but he assures you, he’s doing just fine these days, white flecks in his nostrils. Then he asks you if he can spend the night on your couch, even though it stinks.
Because you sniff. But you do not smell.
And they say “Just OK” when you ask them how school was. Then you wonder what they’re hiding until you find their diary and the last entry reads “I wish you’d give me some privacy.”
Because you listen. But you do not hear.
And they’ve got a bruise over their eye and you run the tips of your fingers over it and ask them how it happened. You believe them. Until it happens again.
Because you touch. But you do not feel.
And they walk past you everyday, one million stories, each waiting to be told. Waiting for you to ask.
Because you live. But very few, love.
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The above was an excerpt from the book, I Wrote This For You by Iain Thomas.
Motivation can be powerful for short term spurts of high intensity productivity. Discipline, however, is the key to long term success.
Motivation is fickle and requires constant attention. Discipline is reliable and becomes a way in which you lead your life.
What we’re lacking in the world isn’t sources of motivation—it’s self-discipline.
Type in “motivational video” into Google and you’ll get upwards of 13,000,000 results! And I’ll be the first to admit that most of the videos are incredibly motivational!
The problem is that motivation wanes fairly quickly and it is weak when challenged.
All it takes to throw off a persons motivation is a slight loss in sleep; a hungry tummy; an endless social media timeline; a phone call; a comfy bed… We’ve all been there.
Solutions to universal challenges we all face as humans.
In the rush of modern life, we tend to lose touch with the peace that is available in each moment. World-renowned Zen master, spiritual leader, and author Thich Nhat Hanh shows us how to make positive use of the very situations that usually pressure and antagonize us. In his book, Peace is Every Step, Thich Nhat Hanh discusses solutions and action steps to universal challenges and issues that we face as humans. These challenges and issues include: overcoming anxiety, fear, and depression and how to feel more fulfilled, calm, and happy in the present moment; understanding anger and learning how to live in a more compassionate, blissful state; and bringing peace to both our inner and outer worlds with every step we take in life.
One of the fundamental lessons that Thich Nhat Hanh communicates in his book is that any large scale change – on a community or global level – must (and always) starts with the individual. Peace work is not a means, Nhat Hanh reminds us, it is the way. In the forward to the book, the Dalai Lama introduces this point and discusses the importance of becoming a more compassionate, mindful, and peaceful person and the ripples that our actions have on the larger scale. He says: Continue reading
Imagine a perfect relationship. You are always intensely happy with your partner because you live with the perfect woman or man for you. How would you describe your life with this person?
Well, the way you relate with this person will be exactly the way you relate with a dog. A dog is a dog. It doesn’t matter what you do, it’s going to be a dog. You are not going to change a dog for a cat or a dog for a horse; it is what it is.
Just accepting this fact in your relations with other humans is very important. You cannot change other people. You love them the way they are or you don’t. You accept them the way they are or you don’t. To try to change them to fit what you want them to be is like trying to change a dog for a cat, or a cat for a horse. That is a fact. They are what they are; you are what you are. You dance or you don’t dance. You need to be completely honest with yourself—to say what you want, and see if you are willing to dance or not. You must understand this point, because it is very important. When you truly understand, you are likely to see what is true about others, and not just what you want to see.
The things you do for yourself are gone when you are gone, but the things you do for others remain as your legacy. Everything That Remains is a book about reprioritizing your materialistic desires with experiential desires. It’s about spending less money at the mall and about spending more time with friends; about wasting less money on fancy cars and designer clothes and investing more money into trips to new places and people you hold dear; about focusing on ways that you can enrich your life rather than ways you can become rich.
Emotional poison is created by our reaction to what we consider injustice. Some wounds will heal, others will become infected with more and more poison. Once we are full of emotional poison, we have the need to release it, and we practice releasing the poison by sending it to someone else. How do we do this? By hooking that person’s attention.
Let’s take an example of an ordinary couple. For whatever reason, the wife is mad. She has a lot of emotional poison from an injustice that comes from her husband. The husband is not home, but she remembers that injustice and the poison is growing inside. When the husband comes home, the first thing she wants to do is hook his attention because once she hooks his attention, all the poison can go to her husband and she can feel the relief. As soon as she tells him how bad he is, how stupid or unfair he is, that poison she has inside her is transferred to the husband.
If you had to boil down your life’s guiding principles to two sentences… What would they be?
…Only two sentences? …To guide you through life?
…Tough. I know.
Well, during a conversation with one of my students, Aaron, I discovered two sentences that were intricately tied to how he lived his life which impacted me deeply and compelled me to investigate further.
These two sentences came from one of Aaron’s mentors, Melvin Scott—a man he crossed paths with at a gym when he was a young teenager.
The influence Melvin had on Aaron and the impact those two sentences have had on his life ever since is unquestionable and speaks to the power of two key principles: Continue reading
Malcolm X’s Alma Mater – And How Choosing Between ‘Dead Time’ and ‘Alive Time’ Can Change Your Life.
Malcolm X was a criminal. He wasn’t Malcolm X at the time – they called him Detroit Red and he was a criminal opportunist who did a little bit of everything. He ran numbers. He sold drugs. He worked as a pimp. Then he moved up to armed robbery. He had his own burglary gang, which he ruled over with a combination of intimidation and boldness – exploiting the fact that he did not seem afraid to kill or die.
Then, finally, he was arrested trying to fence an expensive watch he’d stolen. He was carrying a gun at the time, though to his credit he made no move to fight the officers who had trapped him. In his apartment, they found jewelry, furs, an arsenal of guns, and all his burglary tools.
He got ten years. It was February 1946. He was barely twenty-one years old.