Changes in an Instant

With the hurricane happening in Texas, I’ve turned my attention to the people down south who are suffering. Up here where I am, everything is dry, cool, crisp. When I put myself in the shoes of the people currently in the hurricane, it makes me realize a fundamental truth: life can change in an instant.

Maybe it’s a hurricane. Maybe your house gets robbed. Maybe a loved one dies. Maybe you are diagnosed with cancer. The point is that in an instant, EVERYTHING can change. What creature comforts you once had may suddenly become unhelpful. Things you enjoyed, may no longer be accessible. People you love, may no longer be around.

Writing this, it can be difficult not to feel depressed with the fragility of life. The fact that things can change so quickly to something so much worse could feed the pessimism in the optimism of most people.

But what if you looked at it another way…What if you looked at it as a way to value everything and everyone you have in the here and now? What if you paused, right now, looked around you at the people in your life and the things you have, and simply realized how fortunate you are to have those things.

What if rather than pessimism, you were filled with gratefulness? I think that’s the more important lesson here, to be grateful for the things we do have, and to really appreciate them.

Take time to slow down when you eat food.

Listen and love the people who matter in your life.

Marvel at every day objects.

Appreciate every moment and the things/people in that moment. Because in another moment, all of that could change.

The Disease of Being Busy | On Being

How did we create a world in which we have more and more and more to do with less time for leisure, less time for reflection, less time for community, less time to just… be?

Somewhere we read, “The unexamined life is not worth living… for a human.” How are we supposed to live, to examine, to be, to become, to be fully human when we are so busy?

This disease of being “busy” (and let’s call it what it is, the dis-ease of being busy, when we are never at ease) is spiritually destructive to our health and wellbeing. It saps our ability to be fully present with those we love the most in our families, and keeps us from forming the kind of community that we all so desperately crave.

Our overscheduled lives leave little time for contemplation and reflection. How do we enable each other to pause and reflect together and ask how our hearts are doing? Check out the article below!

Source: The Disease of Being Busy | On Being

Approaching Life with Beginner’s Mind : zen habits

A lot of our troubles could be solved by one simple practice.

A lot of joy could be found with the same practice.

And it is simple: practice seeing life with a beginner’s mind.

Source: Approaching Life with Beginner’s Mind : zen habits

How to Cultivate a Year of Mindfulness : zen habits

In 2016, I practiced mindfulness more than I ever have before, after 10 years of sporadic practice.

I meditated regularly, practiced with a local Zen group, did a great one-day sitting, went on a retreat, took courses, read books, practiced mindful eating and exercise, learned some great new practices, and taught several mindfulness courses.

I learned a lot about how to cultivate a more mindful life, and I’d like to encourage you to try it this year.

Why? A few good reasons:

  • You learn to be awake to the present moment more, and lost in the daydream of your thoughts less.
  • You begin to see your mental patterns that affect everything you do, and thus begin to free yourself of those patterns.
  • You learn to be frustrated less, and let go more. And smile more.
  • You learn to be better at compassion, equanimity, love, contentment.
  • You learn to be better at not procrastinating, and better at building better habits.

I could go on about better mental and physical health, better relationships, less fear … but the reasons I’ve given are strong enough. It’s important stuff.

So how do we cultivate a year of mindfulness? I’m glad you asked.

Source: How to Cultivate a Year of Mindfulness : zen habits