No Self

I felt enlightened by a conversation that I had with my mentor. She is a Buddhist nun who used to be a medical doctor. I asked her how to refresh my mindfulness practice and manage my negative emotions better. She said, “Emotions do not belong to you.” 

“When people talk, it’s just sounds. And we are sensing and listening to these sounds. Self is a delusion. When we feel threatened, this delusion gets threatened. When we feel angry, this delusion gets angry. Anger is Nama, not yours or mine.”

I felt relieved and less guilty after listening to the noble truths. 🙂 Hope they will help you too.

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The Miracle Morning

 I just finished reading the book called The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. I followed the 6-minute-miracle morning exercise and it really jump start my every day with a good mood! Ok so these are the things that I have been doing in the first 6 minutes of a day.

1. One minute silence (sitting meditation)

2. Set good intentions (be a kind, compassionate and patient teacher)

3. Do some stretching and power walk

4. Hydrate (drink 2 cups of warm water)

5. Send loving kindness to everyone and be grateful to what I have

6. Journal for a minute

I feel much alert and powerful after doing these activities in the morning. I just feel calmer and more purposeful throughout a day. Let me know if this work for you!

  

Three Minutes of Silence

When the students entered the classroom, they were chatty, pushing each other and ran around  for a while. We could feel that they were not ready to learn yet. They were very excitable. What should we do?

An easy way to draw back their attention is to practice three minutes of mindful breathing. If the students are younger than 10 years old, one minute maybe good enough. While practicing mindful breathing, the children can sit upright with eyes closed so that they won’t feel drowsy. They can observe the rising and falling of the tummy or put their attention on their noses. After three minutes of mindful breathing, especially in the last period, students felt more energized and refreshed. 

  
Reference of picture: http://www.uwcsea.edu.sg

The Trapped Mind

When I was in Italy, I got an interesting question from the owner of the B&B. He asked, “When are we truly free?”

When I recalled the past, I have never been truly free from suffering. Certainly, there were quite a lot of happy moments. But I always felt kind of trapped by the conditions in my life. I am always unsatisfied about something and wish something will be different. I was never completely happy.

Today it suddenly dawned on me that I wasn’t trapped by my life conditions. I was trapped by the desire to have something more or less than the present. If I fully accept the conditions that I have right here and now, I am truly free and happy. I was trapped by the desire of the mind rather than the outside conditions. Unconditional self-love exists in the complete acceptance of the present.  

 
Reference of picture: foryourmiddleground.com

From Anger to Freedom

The journey from anger to freedom in our heart is very long. Sometimes people get stuck in the middle and never reach the final destination. 

Whenever we cannot get what we want, we get threatened, or we lose something important, we become disappointed and angry. Some people will express anger every time they feel it. But many of us try our best to suppress it until it reaches a breaking point.

When our anger gets triggered, we exploded. Sometimes the victim of our explosion is clueless about what exactly we are mad about. The root of the anger is usually a need that has not been met. So after our emotional outburst, we feel guilty and we try to suppress the anger again by putting up walls around us.

Over time, this suppression may turn into depression. We grief for the loss of what we desire or the need that seems can’t be met. Some people get stuck at this point if they still have the hope that happiness may one day be brought to them by the others.

But some people who realize that they have suffered enough from longing and pain, they become awakened from the grief. They stop waiting for the people and conditions around them to change. They decide to be happy and love no matter what life brings to them. They accept life as it is, but refuse to be defeated by life. 

These are the things that I have learned from my most resilient friends. 

  

True Power

When I contemplate our life conditions deeply, I realize that I have never been truely free and happy because of them. Even though I may have plenty of money, friends, youth, a good career, health, etc, I may still feel dissatisfied.  It’s because all of these conditions are dealt to me by the Universe regardless of my likes or dislikes. And they will be taken away from me one day regardless of my wishes or effort. 

But I feel truely free when I fully accept and open my heart to all life conditions. When I have found my courage to love and learn no matter what conditions I am in, I am truely free and happy. The true power that we have is to make the decision to love in the here and now. A good life is the accumulation of the loving decisions that we make moment by moment. 

  

Awakening

I feel very happy to know one of my friends cured her depression after a mindfulness retreat. I believe in the power of mindfulness can give us a glimpse of the impermanence of pain. When we have experienced the temporary peace at the high concentration level, we gain more faith in the cessation of suffering. It is the glimpse of this possibility that awakens us from a dream. It is always fascinating to witness the beginning of the awakening process. I wish her an exciting new journey.

Voices

All of us are made of the same components.  We have the seeds of similar emotions.  We all have joy, peace, anger, fear, grief and desires. Our path is determined by what seeds we are watering.  At the beginning of a life all of these seeds remain dormant.  Our desire to survive and be happy drives us to water different seeds.  These seeds grow in certain conditions.

If we water them enough, they will solidify into entities with voices in the consciousness.  They will start talking to us.  They compete each other for air time to speak in our head.  A few or one of voices, which we believe in them most of the time, will dominate.   Gradually the dominating voice will become our own voice.

Which voices is your consciousness giving power to? Are you feeding the one that you want to become in the future?

Mulholland-Our-Inner-Voices

Reference of Picture: http://blogs.plos.org/neuroanthropology/2013/05/10/our-inner-voices/

Let the Discourse Begin

I feel excited to find the English version of Buddha’s first teachings. This is the first discourse of Buddha’s teachings called Dhammacakkapavattana. I am on my way to study the four noble truths again.

  

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